Sandy Alderson Conference Call With Bloggers

You can read a full recap at Amazin’ Avenue.


Sandy had spoken earlier about not having been tempted yet to trade some pitching depth for a really good outfielder, or for anything else, but he then rattled off a dozen or so names and talked about the minor league roster crunch and that perhaps he’d be tempted soon. My question was meant to be a followup to that, where I asked, or tried to ask, what would push that temptation to the point that a trade is made?


He responded with a lot of talk about how close they came to making some moves with Bourn or Upton, and talked confidentially about the club, but it did dance around the question a bit. I was trying to figure out what the factor would be that changed his mindset from tempting to need and if part of the temptation might stem from the current plan getting derailed a little bit?


Perhaps if I could’ve asked a followup question I would’ve asked “If the Mets had won 83 games last year instead of what they did, is it more likely you would’ve traded for Upton?” What I was really looking for is if the temptation to trade these players is going to be the result of the team’s success, or is going to drive the team’s success. When does focus shift from making shrewd transactions to needing to acquire the player you want, even if it’s an overpay. Is it only when adding a player like Justin Upton makes the Mets a favorite to make the playoffs, or can it be done simply to make the team better and let other factors, such as long-term success from Zack Wheeler, be what puts them over the top?

The Mazzy Awards

The third annual Mazzy Awards were held Saturday night at Donovan’s Pub in Woodside. No matter what other activities you’re interested in to pass the time between last out and first pitch, you miss your baseball pals. The men, women, and baseball-headed mascots that make up so much of your life from the time when pitchers and catchers report to Port St. Lucie and the final strike of the season. Alas, Mr. Met couldn’t make it this year, but maybe next time..


When you have the opportunity to help honor fellow fans and bloggers and talk baseball on a quiet night in January, you do it. No one takes themselves too seriously, it was just a fun way to whittle away the offseason, but Shannon and Keith both did an amazing job setting up and executing these awards. High quality video streams, a private room for us, official envelopes and even bobblehead award statues. Everyone agreed that they should make it an annual event; next year I hope you join us.


Hanging out with a beer or two with fellow Mets fans talking sports, Hall of Fame, old wax cups at Shea Stadium and even television almost made you feel like it was baseball season again. If you listened carefully you could almost hear Howie Rose describing the new blue uniforms as the Mets jogged out to take their places on the field.

The Mets Won! Notes from the game.

I ended a Citi Field drought Saturday by making it out to the park for Mike Piazza bobblehead day.  You can check him out in my new header image.


I was finally able to have the Steak Sandwich from Pat LaFrieda.  It was delicious, as confirmed by a billion other people at this point.  Also confirmed by others, but worth posting here for completeness’ sake, the beer selection.  No new beers available, despite rumors/hopes that other Sixpoint nano-kegs would be present, but you do get Sixpoint Sweet Action, Brooklyn 16oz cans, and three pints of the mass produced variety.

The Mets won, which was nice to see.  They even scored three runs!  The crowd, understandably, was dead.  There was no Lets Go Mets chant until the 9th inning, and the scoreboard barely prompted us to cheer.  There was an annoying bunch beyond us that wanted to scream for long periods of times when Dickey struck someone out..mercifully R.A. Dickey only struck out two.


Realizing my chances were running low, I got a Carvel Sunday in an ice cream helmet, so I could add the 50th anniversary helmet cap to my collection.  The ice cream hit the spot too.


Finally met Andrew Vazzano of The Ropolitans at the Read the Apple tailgate.  I’m slowly working my way through most of the more well known bloggers.  Who’s next?


Tejada made a really neat jump and fake on a throw to third from Scott Hairston.  It kept Greene from taking an extra base on the throw, and although it’s a play that should probably be made on most chances, it’s still nice to see the Mets putting in the right effort and execution on the fundamentals.


Blog Notes:

There will be one more ticket giveaway in early September.

I’ll be out of the country for the second half of September.  Likely without much internet or time.  I’m probably going to schedule a bunch of baseball and beer related posts, so keep an eye out for that.

My Paper: The New Age Mets Fan

As you probably know by now, Hofstra held Dana Brand’s 50th Anniversary of the Mets conference last week.  I wrote a paper on the new age of Mets fans, like myself, who have not seen a Mets World Series Championship.  I talk about the differences in rooting for the team without remembering them going all the way, without that light at the end of the tunnel.  I emphasize how different it is for us not to have lived through all the great stories told about the ’86 and ’69 teams and how a lot of the changes to baseball like the Wild Card or black uniforms are things we’ve pretty much always had.


Check out some of the other bloggers who were there, particularly Greg at Faith and Fear in Flushing who put a lot of work in making it a conference Dana would’ve been proud of. On the Black.  A Gal For All Seasons.  Metstradamus. The Eddie Kranepool Society. Mets Police. And probably a bunch I’m forgetting this morning.


You can read my paper in its entirety here.

More Info on 2012 Mets Tickets

The usual cast of bloggers just finished up a conference call with Mets VP Dave Howard about the new ticketing schemes.  Not a ton of new info came to light, but some things were clarified and hinted at.


I asked about the dynamic pricing floor.    Specifically that the dynamic pricing will never dip below what a season ticket holder paid for the same seat in that section.   What was left unclear was if that meant you’ll never get a ticket less than $12 in sections 535/536 where season ticket holders sit, or if you’ll never get a seat less than $12 in the Promenade Outfield section which encompasses a large subset of the cheaper seats.


This is not a move towards being a small market team or anything.  The pricing was created off of a lot of data, meant to optimize revenue.   Adjusting prices should help them sell more tickets, and if the team remains competitive all year, the dynamic pricing will increase revenue.


Renewal date is coming earlier, although there will be a payment plan option.  Basically it seems the Mets want your commitment as early as possible, but are more flexible with the actual cash.  It was hinted at that you could see your 2013 invoices by this time next year.


Mostly there wasn’t a lot of specifics revealed in the conference call.  Dave Howard mentioned keeping the ticket fees within a reasonable percentage of the ticket price, and mentioned that offered best technological package and had a good relationship with MLB.  Went into the thinking of dynamic pricing without breaking down when prices would go up/down and what types of prices you could expect to see.    There will be more to come as season plans and individual ticket info is released.  I’d say the number one thing I took out of this is:   Buying tickets day of game is getting to be a worse and worse idea around sports.


For now, read other recaps around Metsopotamia.


Metspolice has a bunch today, keep checking back for analysis.

Amazin’ Avenue has a full transcript.



NL MVP vs AL Cy Young, Vote Reyes, DePodesta Recap

Couple of noteworthy things to look at today.  The first is the Mets are playing a day game today at 1:05.  The potential National League MVP, Jose Reyes, will leadoff the game against the potential American League Cy Young, Justin Verlander.  Should be a fun day.  The Mets won the first game on a blowout, the second on a slugfest, could the third be a pitcher’s duel?  Is Mike Pelfrey up for it?

Secondly today we need to get #votereyes trending on Twitter and also to vote for Reyes as many times as we can.  It would be a travesty if Reyes was not the starting shortstop for the National League.   While you’re voting, throw in some votes for Carlos Beltran too.  On the American League side Asdrubal Cabrera deserves your vote, especially as he’s currently being led by a player having a poor season that’s on the disabled list in Derek Jeter.  Mike Francesa thinks the All-Star Game should be Jeter’s personal 3000 hit celebration, which is even more fodder.  Also, Alex Avila deserves your vote for AL Catcher. 

Thirdly, last night a bunch of bloggers talked with Paul DePodesta and Michael Baron of Metsblog kindly put up a transcript.  I’m sure there are couple of other breakdowns out there too.

Eating With Bloggers: A Citi Field Food Tour

Monday night I, and many of your other favorite bloggers, was invited out to Citi Field for a Mets game, and a pre-game tour of Mets concessions and clubs with Scott Kleckner, Resident District Manager, Sports & Entertainment for Aramark.  It did not disappoint.  We ate.  A lot.


Obviously the Keith’s Burger that I wrote about earlier in the season was included.  We learned that it’s doing very well, and will likely become a permanent fixture in the future much like the Pastrami sandwich (which we also sampled) was tested last year.   I love that the Mets and Aramark are trying out new things and never satisfied with the status quo.  At Shea the most exciting change you could look forward to was if they changed burger suppliers.


Here’s a shot of the bloggers enjoying a slice of Margherita style pizza at Cascarino’s.

Cascarino’s was chosen in part because it’s local.  It’s right there on College Point Blvd and so local that if you could get pizza delivered to Citi Field, Cascarino’s is close enough to do so.


Speaking of local fare, I brought up the departed Brooklyn Brewery beers.  Without getting anything explicitly confirmed, it was made pretty clear that Budweiser can exert a ton of pressure financially over what beers are available.  It was also suggested that Brooklyn Brewery may not be gone forever. (besides the cans of lager that remain) Right now the only true local beer available to the masses is Blue Point Toasted Lager at Catch of the Day.  There’s also a tap of Sixpoint Sweet Action (and some Ommegang. Honestly, given it’s Cooperstown affiliation, EVERY ballpark should have some of it) in the Delta Sky Club, but that’s obviously a limited access area.


Perhaps the best thing we ate all night: An eggplant parmigiana sandwich.  It was delicious: perfectly breaded with tasty sauce and excellent bread.  I highly recommend it if you have a chance to be in the Delta Sky Club, or if they end up offering it elsewhere.


We also sampled the new fried chicken sandwich from Blue Smoke, which was my second favorite taste of the day.  I’m not a big seafood eater, so I passed on the Po’Boy and Flounder at Catch of the Day, but everyone else liked it.  I did have a handful of popcorn shrimp, which were definitely tasty but I’ll second Rob Castellano of Amazin’ Avenue in wishing there was some dipping sauces with them.  The final thing we tasted was a new appetizer in the Delta Sky Club.  It was some hot dog bites, basically a small hot dog dipped in panko breading.  It was good, but nothing to really write home about.


Check out some of these other write ups while you’re at it, and don’t forget to follow me on Twitter.

Mets Bloggers Chat With Terry Collins

In what still feels like a dream, the Mets continue to invite some of us bloggers to chat with Mets VIPs.  Tonight we had a conference call with Terry Collins.  My impressions of him are positive, he seems very high energy and seems to be making a concerted effort to learn from previous mistakes and accept that he doesn’t know everything.  He still strikes me as a fairly traditional manager in terms of the Xs and Os, but it’s still rare for a baseball team to stray far from that in a managerial hire.


I asked him about keeping players fresh and managing playing time, specifically as it related to Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran.  (And David Wright, but he didn’t answer that and we know Wright will be fine anyway)


He mentioned Beltran will probably play five of seven games starting out, and hopefully will strengthen his knees and when it gets warmer hopefully play more.  With Reyes, he acknowledged that Reyes is a guy that gives you everything he’s got and it’s important to get him rest when he needs it, and to possibly double it up by resting him going into or coming out of an off day.  Here’s his response as transcribed by Michael Baron of Metsblog.


“Carlos and I have already discussed the upcoming ten day period, and resting that leg, so he can continue on a positive note and his legs can get stronger and stronger for the hot months. Even if he’s on the bench, he can come up and make a big difference. We hope to have him in five out of seven games to start off. Regarding Reyes, he goes out there, gives all he has, and I want him out there a lot so I have to be wise enough to maybe give him days off before an off-day. One thing we have to do, because we aren’t very deep, is to make sure we are ready to compete later in the summer.”


Michael Baron at Metsblog transcribed this quickly and efficiently.

Greg at Faith and Fear in Flushing finds Terry Collins’ enthusiasm infectious, even on the phone.

Eric Simon at Amazin’ Avenue asks Terry about Kerfuffle.

Kerel Cooper at On The Black with a recap and better list of links than this.


A Blogger Chat With Sandy Alderson

This evening a selection of bloggers had a second conference call with Mets general manager Sandy Alderson.  The first one took place in December. There were a lot of great questions asked, and I’m sure there will be a full recap around the blogosphere.  For now, the response to my question, followed by links to the other bloggers’ write-ups that I will update as I see them.

I asked Alderson how active he would be with transactions this season, in particular with regards to the second base or bullpen candidates that “just missed” making the team.

He explained that once these final decisions are made in Spring Training, a lot of that possible depth in the bullpen goes away.  Guys may have to be offered back if they’re rule 5 picks, or they may choose to opt out of their contracts or just retire.  The depth in the bullpen would most likely be Igarashi, although the Mets are pretty deep at second base.  He stressed the importance of making sure guys are given a chance to perform and not go into every game like it could be their last.  I feel like this is a big upgrade from last year; despite the ultimate results, I didn’t think it was fair for guys like John Maine and Oliver Perez to have it constantly held over their head that they were pitching for their careers to the point that Jerry Manuel actually publicly contemplated removing Maine from the rotation without ever mentioning it to him.

This is a good philosophy to have, but I wonder if it may be a little naive.  After all, it’s not usually the manager and GM that are holding the axe over a players head, it’s the fans and sports radio.  Mike Jacobs and Frank Catalanotto only got 28 and 26 plate appearances  respectively before being cast away, and it seems like the fans were calling for their heads long before that.  Obviously the first base position took a rough turn when Murphy got hit with an injury days before the Opener, but what amounts to seven or eight games is hardly a telling sample size.  Ultimately getting Ike Davis on the Mets, particularly when Murphy experienced a setback in recovery, was a good move but that doesn’t mean Jacobs or Catalanotto got a real fair shot to contribute.

Two quick things I took note of during the call.  One is that there is still a chance Nick Evans makes this team, regardless of what happens with Beltran.  The other is it seemed like Sandy’s biggest test for Jose Reyes is his on base percentage, and that if he can raise that, he’ll be resigned.  I’m confident both will happen.

Transcript Courtesy of Michael Baron

Mets Blog

On The Black

Faith and Fear in Flushing

Mets Police

Amazin’ Avenue

The Real Dirty Mets Blog’s Matthew Artus

Mets Today

Blogger Conference Call with Sandy Alderson

This evening Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson took the time to have a conference call with many of our favorite Mets blogs, including this one.  Everyone asked great questions, and Alderson’s answers were very enlightening and thought out.  Michael Baron wrote up a lot of it here. The Mets tweeted some of the conversation as well.

(You can follow me on Twitter too!) Sandy is doing a live webcast on Monday, so if there is still a question you’d like to see answered, go ask it!

As a representative of the optimistic fan base, or what still exists of it, I asked a suitably optimistic question of Sandy:  “You’ve mentioned being somewhat restricted in what you can spend this offseason, but if things go well and the Mets are in contention around the All-Star Break, what type of flexibility do you have to add a player or two to improve the club and keep them there?”

His response was positive.  He didn’t laugh at the idea of the Mets being in contention or talk about focusing on the future.  He said that that is the position they want to be in, and he would have to ability to add the pieces they need. He also suggested that if the Mets were in that position he would expect the attendance to reflect that.

In essence, he’s going to do the best he can to put the best team on the field and he hopes we’ll be prompted to go out and enjoy the games.  He ended the call saying we should do this again, and the entire experience left me feeling good about the Mets, and anxious for the season.

I’ll try to update this post with links to other write-ups as I see them, although you should know where to look by now. Mets Merized Online wins the award for speed, at least of what I’ve seen.

On the Black

The Eddie Kranepool Society

Mets Police

Very good transcript at Amazin’ Avenue

Matthew Artus
Faith and Fear in Flushing

Mets Today