July 2010

R.A. Dickey knows why the Mets are still in it

alg_mets_dickey.jpgThere are a million reasons to love RA Dickey, arguably the Mets’ biggest happy surprise of 2010. You might think the latest reason was his dazzling 8+ inning shut-out against the validly strong Cardinals, but in fact, the very latest “I Love Dickey” moment came after the game, in the dugout talking to Kevin Burkhardt. 

In his genuine, humble yet determined way, Dickey captured exactly the tenor and essence of his team:
You can say a lot of things about the 2010 New York Mets, but you don’t ever say that we don’t play hard. I mean we’ve got–you look at Angel Pagan’s uniform, and Jose Reyes after a thirteen inning heartbreaker last night, coming off a 2 and 9 road trip–we don’t give up. And we’re not gonna give up.”

Well said, Dickey, and I’m sticking in there with you. Let’s Go Mets. 

Home field advantage: Roar of the fans or heads of the players?

house2.gifHome sweet home. It’s as if the Mets have a corresponding embroidered sampler hanging in the clubhouse. Perhaps Mrs. Met has gotten crafty lately?

It’s tempting for fans to claim partial credit for the Mets’ success at Citi this season. We’re so supportive! Our loud approval gives the team the extra motivation it needs to actually hit the ball. We are awesome, like a magic fingers bed, massaging our Metsies into stellar offense and victory.
But really, when you consider the variables that might be most significant for the Mets’ home winning percentage this year, the biggest one is simply that–the Mets win at home. And the Mets lose on the road. Not only do they all know it, they must think about it all the time. It’s in the players’ heads, which means it’s in their bodies, their confidence, their stances, their patience, their hitting. This season, home has been a safe haven while the road has been nothing but bumpy. Once the pattern started, the Mets internalized it. Now what must be done is to shake that standard loose.
Baseballers are mental. Why else go through routines and superstitious tics if not to put one’s mind at ease? The team needs to feel safe on the road, as confident and sure as they are at home. Perhaps this means taking part of Citi with them, like a cherished teddy bear to clutch in the dark. So how can we bottle Citi Field and send it on the road? Some Pick Me Up suggestions:
  • Get Danny Meyer to ship Shake Shake burgers and Blue Smoke ribs with the team. The aroma of Citi’s delicious food will transport the players–like Proust’s madeleine–back to their happy place.
  • Use television magic to make the team think they’re in Citi. Turn the outfield wall of any away ballpark into a giant green screen to project more outfield, just like home. Then, surprise! Extra home runs for you.
  • Fancy up away locker rooms. Send a design team ahead to install as many amenities as possible so the team feels as perk-heavy as they do in their own clubhouse.
  • Bring beat down cars and auto parts to sprinkle around visiting parks so the team thinks it’s entering right at Willets Point.
  •  Send the team on the road with a truck full of Queens water. Use the water in away toilets, showers, water fountains. Clearly it has magic powers.
  • Hypnosis. Convince the boys they never left the comforts of Citi. There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home. Now cluck like a chicken. 
Meanwhile, all this week, don’t forget to vote in the MegdalforGM poll!

Does Howard Megdal have your vote of confidence?

P1110268.JPGMeet Howard! He’s running for Mets General Manager! Make sure to peruse his website, MegdalforGM.com, and take a gander at Pick Me Up Some Mets’s exclusive Q & A interview below. I’ve spent time with Howard, and I can attest that he’s dedicated to channeling his immense passion for our team–along with his significant baseball smarts–into a future position as the first fans’ GM of the New York Mets.

Pick Me Up Some Mets is pleased to offer Howard its endorsement, and someday I hope to say “I know Howard Megdal. Howard Megdal’s a friend of mine. You’re no Howard Megdal.”

But let Howard tell you more…

Should Howard Megdal Be the Next Mets GM?online surveys

Howard needs your vote! But more importantly, Howard cares about your vote.

Q: Why run for a position that’s not open to election?

A:
A better question: when we spend three hours a day, 162 times a year in a single pursuit- rooting for the Mets- not to mention the hours we read about them, talk about them, agonize over them- why shouldn’t we try to take control of the franchise that holds sway over our emotions?

Q: Other than being a lifelong fan, what are your qualifications to be GM of the NY Mets?

A: I
have written about the Mets for most of my adult life, in venues
ranging from SNY.tv to ESPN.com to New York Baseball Digest to New York
Mets Inside Pitch, and many others. Professionally, how I’d run the Mets
has been an open book. And I have the knowledge of the players
throughout baseball, the history of both the team and the sport at
large, that I can bring to bear upon this organization through three
simple pillars: LOGIC, TRANSPARENCY and PASSION.

Q: What’s the next step, after the primaries–what will you be doing with your results?

A: If I am fortunate enough to receive a mandate from the Mets fans- and in seven primaries, I have been the winner of that mandate, in often-overwhelming fashion- I will give an acceptance speech, and invite the fans who put me in such a fortunate position to help take the next step- securing a job interview for the position of General Manager.

Q: Tell me something concrete and not “politiciany” about what you’d change on the current team or hope to add to a future Mets team?

A: There’s so much to choose from, but simply put: the Mets would not sign players to expensive, long-term contracts who weren’t in their prime years. Signing Jason Bay last year means the Mets don’t have a place to sign Carl Crawford this offseason. And the difference in skill level, age and fit on this team could scarcely be greater.

Q: How important is it to consider the ballpark when putting together a team?

A: Only to a certain extent. Remember: the Rockies were supposed to be unable to develop pitchers, since they’d all get destroyed at Coors Field. Conventional Wisdom, meet Ubaldo Jimenez. There isn’t a single star player I can think of who would somehow be disqualified by Citi Field. And I love this ballpark, right down to the pitchers’ advantage- which is far smaller than advertised, incidentally.

Q: How far are you willing to go to realize your dream of being the Mets GM?

A: Well, I’m taking the time to vigorously campaign for the job, and will do everything in my power to secure an audience with the Wilpons to press my case. Ultimately, what I wish for this team is the kind of management that allows me to go with my wife and daughter, with my parents, with my friends to Citi Field and not feel frustration over what can be easily fixed. I don’t believe the Mets can win every year- I do believe much more can be done to make victory likelier, and for the fans to feel like honored guests when they come through the turnstiles. So I’ll never stop campaigning for those basic principles.

Thanks to Howard, and I’m sure he’ll agree with me when I say Let’s Go Mets!
(No really, bats, let’s go. Runs, let’s go. August, please, let’s go!)

Happy things for Mets fans to read and watch

I’m often told by readers that when they read my blog they always leave in a better mood than when they came. Well hey, that’s what I aim for. And considering last night’s excruciating 13-2 loss to the Diamondbacks, I think it’s time for some happy Mets distractions.

1) Ike Davis on Mets Weekly. Pick Me Up Some Mets friend Julie Alexandria continues to give Mets fans delightful, charming, and informative player interviews this season. My favorite so far has been with Ike Davis. He says of his father, Ron Davis, “The best thing he’s ever told me was like, hey, I don’t care if you
play baseball. I’m gonna love you no matter what, you’re my son. But if
you’re gonna play baseball, you better give it all you have while you’re
playing it. And if you don’t want to play, just quit, and I won’t think
anything different.” How can you not give a little “awww.”

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Afterward, an interview with Ron Davis himself continues to make the former big league reliever seem like a great dad. At Yankee Stadium for the subway series, Julie asks “What’s it like for you to be here today?” And Ron Davis replies about his son, “Just to come out and watch him play, I don’t care who he plays against, just to get to watch him play, that’s all I care about.”

2) How ’bout that All-Star game? No, no, not what’s come after it during the West Coast road trip, but the game itself, with the National League’s first win since 1996, and our David Wright putting his stamp on the game with an impressive two hits and a stolen base. David knows the fans went out of our way to give him a push late in the voting, and how could he better show us his appreciation? Our boy keeps making us proud.

3) Look at my cute baseball dress that I wore in honor of the All-Star game. This garment began as an XXL Gary Keith and Ron t-shirt honoring Ron Darling, (donated by the delightful Lynn Cohen), until I brought it to the skillful, creative hands of AuH2O’s Kate Goldwater. Based on the designs featured on her website, I chose a neckline and length, and she turned my GKR tee into a sexy little halter dress. Don’t hesitate to contact Kate should you have any t-shirts or dresses you’d like remade into new t-shirts and dresses. She’s fab!

P1110934.jpg4) Finally, I’ll leave you with this quote from our own Gary Cohen, which came in the later innings of last night’s unfortunate blow out. “The Yankees are entitled to all their fans, but it takes great character to be a Met fan.”

You and me, kids. Tons of character.
 

SNY Travels to Brooklyn

P1110899.jpgAnd so did Howard and I to watch the Mets’ Single A team, the Cyclones, on Thursday. Howard Megdal, that is, who continues his campaign to be elected Mets General Manager over at Megdal for GM. But he’s also sticking to his day job, writing about baseball, which is what brought us to Coney Island on Angel Pagan Day and Wally Backman Jersey Day (I just missed the last jersey!) and Kevin Burkhardt and Bobby Ojeda Day.

Howard cares about the farm system. And about animals. And mascots.

Our Kevin Burkhardt was rocking the play-by-play for SNY that night. KB remains, in everyone’s estimation who has met him or worked with him–just the nicest, lowest ego guy ever. And since I was over there sayin’ hi, I couldn’t help but introduce myself to Bobby O and ask for a pic. Ojeda was perfectly genial and happy to comply.

P1110897.JPGJust to cap off the SNY-related tribute, notice the brand spanking new ’10 GKR design I’ve got on, available here. The Mets-friendly blue and longer length make for a sweet and chic homage to Gary Keith and Ron.

The Cyclones would dominate all game long, but the highlight of the evening for me was seeing Angel Pagan watch his Cyclones jersey number being retired. On his off-day, he was in Coney Island with us, throwing out first pitch and receiving what his expression told us he considered a great honor.

P1110816.JPGP1110811.JPGHoward was at the ballpark that day to interview Cory Vaughn, Mets 2010 draft pick, whom he seemed quite impressed by. I didn’t get my Backman jersey, but I got a pic of Wally being all managerial, and pics of Sandy the Seagull and the Cyclones cheerleaders and those racing hot dogs and Kyle Superbueno Peterson, the juggling unicycler.

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It’s just plain hard not to have fun at a minor league game. With Howard as company, it was even better. Check out Howard’s latest campaign ad, in which he shamefully pimps out his ridiculously adorable baby daughter for votes. Now if that isn’t a politician, I don’t know what is!

Johan mended the sacred talisman

At some point before the 2010 season began, Johan Santana stepped on a street gypsy’s talisman and broke it. The gypsy got angry. And thus his curse began.

During Johan’s every start this year, somewhere in the vicinity a greasy man with long hair–and a suspicious resemblance to Mad Men‘s Don Draper–would pop up blowing his saxophone. The cursed music distracted our Johan, causing his velocity to dip or prodding him to tip his pitches. But more, it bedazzled the Mets batters too, freezing run production and leaving Johan to flounder runless through his innings.

No one could deny the predicament: Sergio was branching out past the boardroom and into the ballpark.

http://www.hulu.com/embed/2WH6w4b0Ap3NWDWGgIz8Yw

Thankfully, it appears Johan has mended the broken sacred talisman. He’s hung it above his bed, and we have evidence already that the fix is working. Not only has Johan returned to prime form on the mound, but he’s even found power at the plate. Sergio has left the building. And instead of giving up home runs, Santana’s knocking ‘em out.

Keep the talisman safe, Johan. Protect it from harm and kiss it every evening before bed. For its curse is also ours, and we must never again invoke that gypsy vengeance.

The fans did it, and how!

Well done, Mets fans! And David Wright supporters! The final All-Star fan vote numbers resulted in our David not only catching up to Phillies’ Placido Polanco, but firmly surpassing him by almost 500,000 votes! All that clicking paid off. I did my part, and apparently you did yours too.

What’s best is how much D-Wright appreciates the fans’ vote of confidence. Keep on doing what you’re doing David; we’re loving watching it. On being selected, he said, “It never gets old. It’s a tremendous honor. Obviously, I’m very grateful for the fans that came out late that pushed me and got me the opportunity to start. I’m very grateful for that. I take a lot of pride in that. To be mentioned amongst some of the great players in the game is an incredible honor.”

Cap tip to Jose Reyes for squeaking in on the Players’ ballot, but I confess I hope he takes the break given the oblique problems he’s been having. And alas, Mike Pelfrey will get the time off as well–but if I’ve paid correct attention, his pitching schedule should have disqualified him from playing in the All-Star game anyway. 

Final NL ballot numbers at 3rd base:
David Wright: 2,285,959
Placido Polanco: 1,792,413

Make us proud National League! This is your year!

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