VEGAS UNWRAPPED with Aaron Phillips & Ricky Cash

SOCIAL MEDIA EXPLOSION

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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

So Long Jerry I Don't Hate to See You Go- Who's Next?

That's it, I'm done. In fact I'm well done as in overcooked the same as over-managing. This is not something new with me. I have been on this tare since Jerry threw Ryan Church and Daniel Murphy under the bus in Spring Training.

I will say I was a Willie Randolph fan. Was he the best manager in Mets history? No, not even close, but he was, at least in concept, what this team needed when he was hired. He came from a Yankee mold under Joe Torre that let the players play the game but they were held responsible for their actions. He wasn't their buddy and he was in the field on a daily basis teaching players how to play the game fundamentally the correct way.

He played the game the right way. He hustled out of the box and ran hard all the time. He knew how to advance a runner. He knew when the third baseman is charging down the line you bunted towards the first base side. He knew not to miss a base while circling the base-paths. I could go on ad nausea.

Every year his team improved. He was unjustly blamed for the 2007 September collapse. He was criticized for his use of the rotation and the bullpen during that time. He was dismissed most unceremoniously just after his team had just beat the best team in baseball at that time, the LA Angels in their park 2 out of 3 games.

Fast forward to Jerry "Gangsta" Manuel. The press loved him from day 1. Why? Because he gave good sound bytes and gave the media what they wanted. Besides he was a former "Manager of the Year" for the Chicago White Sox.

Wonder why he didn't get another managerial job after he was terminated? I'll tell you why. The reason he was terminated in Chicago was his misuse of the White Sox bullpen and his inability to get along and motivate veteran players. Not my words. I heard it spoken and verified on XM's MLB morning show this very day.

Less then 2 weeks ago, I wrote that Jerry was managing the Mets right out of of contention. http://bleacherreport.com/articles/197695-jerry-manuel-managing-the-mets-right-out-of-contention. The overall comments were in disagreement with my assessment. I would venture to say that there might be some different opinions today.

OK. I will not beat this drum anymore today. I want to give you my 5 best candidates for the opening which will probably not happen but here goes anyway.

Number 1 - Buck Showalter

All Buck ever did was create the team that Joe Torre took over in 1995 and win what? 4 World Series. Next he built the Arizona Diamondbacks only to watch Bob Brenley win a World Series a year later.

The biggest complaint about Buck is he is a no nonsense guy. Just what the doctor ordered. Maybe under Buck Carlos would charge a ball hit in front of him or David would become more disciplined and not be fooled by every pitch that has some movement on it.

Number 2 - Larry Bowa

Get the feeling I'm seeing a pattern here. Just try not busting down the line and having Bowa waiting for you in the dugout. Trust me they'll run,and run,and run.

Nobody with the exception of Pete Rose played this game any harder than Larry Bowa and he would have his players back and blast them when they don't perform the way their capable of.

Number 3 - Don Mattingly

Hmmn, more Yankees connection. I'm trying to make up to Stephen (HBOB), inside joke. Seriously, "Donny Baseball", knows how the game should be played and as a manager he wouldn't tolerate anything less.

Both he and Larry would love to be in Queens after the treatment the Skankees gave Joe as well as themselves.

Number 4 - Keith Hernandez

Can't and will not happen because Keith has become a gardener and you know those seeds are compelling.

Listening to him every night he's on the air has me convinced that he knows the make up of this game better than anyone I have heard on the subject of how to play this game. I actually feel he would be the best by far but as I said, will not happen.

Number 5 - Bobby Valentine

Another choice that will not happen. Why? Because the Mets ownership never admits that they ever make mistakes. He brought a totally overachieving team to a World Series in 2000.

He would also be the most popular choice of Mets Fans.

So here you ago. A change has to be made and now is the best time. The other choices. Wait until Aug 1st when we are 12 - 15 games out or the end of the season when we've won 72 games and brought us all the way back to 1964.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Skankees Sweep the Mets

Sorry to have to stoop this low to call Major League Baseball teams derogatory names in this day and age of professional sports writing. However the product I just viewed over the past 72 hours leaves me with little choice but to degrade these teams that pretend to be high class organizations that put out a quality product.

I guess that’s what’s expected when the combined yearly payroll of these 2 teams equals the entire Gross National Product of a dozen third world countries where poverty and starvation runs rampant.

You ask what does this have to do with baseball? It has to do with the inequities of the game I love. I’ll be less damning on the bombers because they have been trying to buy championships for the past 30 years and since they haven’t yet to win one in the 21st century it serves them right.

They have a grand total of 2 quality men on their 25 man roster. Derek Jeter is the consummate professional and the fact that he smiles during the game and shows emotion probably the same way he did 25 years ago in Little League is the reason why I would still build a team around him.

The same thing can be said about Mariano Rivera. This future first ballot Hall of Famer notched his 500 career save tonight while driving in his first RBI in the his major league career. Good going Mariano you deserve all the accolades you get. I liken him to Barry Sanders who would drag people into the end zone and just turn the ball over to the ref. That’s class, That’s Mariano.

The truth of the matter is that when all is said and done for the 2009 “Subway Series”, the Yankees are not as good as they looked and the Mets are not as bad as they seem.

The Yanks beat a AAA team out scoring them 18-3. Their two very rich free agents easily handled the “B” Mets as expected and Mao Tse Tung showed that he still can get minor league hitters out.

When the dust clears and September rolls into October, the Yankees will be nowhere to be found. Boston is a far superior team in every aspect of the game and the Rays are starting to heat up so when July is finished the Yanks will be looking up at them as well.

As far as my beloved Mets, they need to only make one move to keep tham alive in the already terrible NL East. They MUST part ways with Jerry Manuel who is single handily managing the Mets right out of contention. I have been saying this since April and the last three games did nothing to change my mind.

For the sense of brevity I will give just one example of his obvious lack of managing skills which never fails to amaze me.

OK, ninth inning. K-Rod, the Mets always exciting closer , never knowing quite to expect has given us some agata by putting two men on with 2 out and Derek Jeter coming to the plate. On deck sits Mariano Rivera who has a grand total of one at bat last Wed in Atlanta.

Now try to keep this in mind. the Mets are paying Frankie close to 13 million dollars a year to get out of situations just like this. Any Little League manager knows that when you’re behind one run in your last at bat you never under any circumstances put the insurance run 90 feet away. If you load the bases anything bad can get that run home. An infield hit, a passed ball, a wild pitch, shall I go on.

So Jerry starts it off by doing the right thing and pitch to Derek. First pitch 93mph at the knees, strike one. The next two pitchers just a bit outside, not Bob Ucker’s “just a bit outside” but really just a bit outside. So what does Jerry do now? He calls for the intentional walk.

Are you frickin kidding me?. Over managing again. This is what he is paid for, to get out the hard out. You could see K-Rod’s eyes come out of his head when he saw the sign.

Well, he walked Rivera putting the game out of reach. Jerry has been doing this kind of nonsense since the day Delgado left the line up.

Will the Mets leadership do anything about this? No. It was ok to fire Willie Randolph in the middle of the night after his Mets beat the Angels 2 out of 3 last June but in this case it won’t happen and this year we won’t have to wait for a September collapse again. Why? Because the Mets will be buried in 4th place by then.

Not a fun weekend for this reporter.

June 29, 2009

"The New Commish"

Here's my lame attempt at a humorous article. Trust me on this one. My son Russ in his earlier years was a stand up comic who traveled and performed in many comedy clubs east of the Mississippi River and if he would have tried to make a skit out of this, he would been thrown off the stage. However, of course I liked it.



After a much self introspective and soul searching thought process, Bud Selig, MLB’s drug lord Commissioner, has stepped down today amidst baseballs' latest scandal concerning the discovery of Babe Ruth’s DNA, which showed every steroid known to man in his system.

MLB owners immediately replaced Selig with Richard "Vegas Rich" Marsh who is an analyst, writing for the Bleacher Report.

When notified of the position Marsh, who is Brooklyn-born, was heard to have said, “It’s about friggin time”.

The 15-year Vegas resident who admittedly is hiding from “Three Finger Louie," has previously written about the changes he would be making if he was in charge.

This article, was virtually ignored on the BR, getting only 40 reads and zero comments.

When asked why, Vegas Rich said that was before he learned how to pimp his articles.

Now he tells everyone when he writes an article. He spends about four times the amount of time pimping his work. Hasn’t hurt since he is ranked either first or second (to a 16-year-old do you believe that? No offense Mike Kent) on the New York Mets page.

Here is an exclusive interview with the new Commissioner from his palatial two bedroom condo in Vegas, which he’s renting.

Me: Now that you’ve been named Commissioner what will be your first action?

VR: I will immediately return Babe Ruth’s DNA to its rightful place.

Me: Next?

VR: I’m going to kick the Hall-of-Fame's butt. No more voting from the Baseball Writers presently on the job.

Only Bleacher Report writers along with members of the Mets Police, Dom D’s Mets Fan Blog, and the 7th train get to vote.

Maybe, Matt Cerrone as well. I like metsblog.com.

Me: Wow that’s a big step. Do you think the owners will go along with you on that?

VR: Frack em. I bet none of them knew who the last Cylon was anyway.

Me: What about the issue of steroids?

VR: No, let’s get back to the Hall for a minute. Immediate reinstatement for Joe Jackson and Pete Rose back into baseball. What a travesty that’s been.

Steroids, once and for all as of the beginning of the 2009 season every player will be BLOOD TESTED whenever I feel like it. If they test positive they will suspended for the next 365 days.

The second offense, bye bye birdie.

Me: Wow again, what do you think the Players Union will say?

VR: Frack them too. Let the players contribute 10 percent of their salary to a family benefits fund to all the families of deceased players. Those selfish sons of bitches.

Me: Wow you are really going to be one hell of a tough Commissioner.

VR: Are you kidding me? All of them will get an offer they can’t refuse. I’m gonna clean up this game and make it easy for the next generation to enjoy the world’s greatest sport.

Me: How are you going to get the kids more involved in baseball?

VR: The owners are going to roll back ticket prices to the 1960s.

Me: The owners are just going to love you.

VR: Frack em again, they have enough money. Those billionaire creeps, if they don’t like it, I have some dirty shorts I know they’ll enjoy.

Me: Is there anything else you would like to tell the public about your appointment and changes you plan to make to baseball?

VR: Yes there’s one more matter that I will be putting into place, sorry Christian.

I plan to cancel the month of September if the Mets are in first place. It will just traumatize the children too much if they collapse again.

Remember baseball is game we play as children and how beautiful it is when, with baseball, we never have to grow up.

Me: Thanks VR.

VR: No problem just call me anytime you need someone whacked.

This article can also be found on the metspolice.com, Dom D's Met Fan Blog and the 7th Train.

Well maybe not after this.

2009 MLB Predictions

We are closing in on the halfway point of the 2009 Major League Baseball season. Let's take a quick look back just a few months and see just how bad Vegas Rich knows his baseball. UGLY

I usually don't like predictions because I am really bad at them. These are just numbers, not backed up by statistics from last year because, frankly, I don't give last year much thought. Especially because I'm a Mets' fan.

So I made these extraordinary picks. Not too many surprises, that's why I still have three out my four final four picks still in there.

I'm all for nostalgia, so I have my two favorite teams to relive some brilliant baseball history, and after another drug-filled off season, I think everyone would agree that we need some excitement this season.

So here goes; My predictions are well known to Vegas Gamblers. They see my predictions and bet the opposite.


NL East

1. Mets 2. Phils 3. Marlins 4. Braves 5. Nationals
96-66 90-72 86-76 80-82 75-87

NL Central

1. Cubs 2. Reds 3. Cards 4. Astros 5. Brewers 6. Pirates
95-67 86-76 83-79 75-87 74-88 71-91

NL West

1. D-Backs 2. Dodgers 3. Giants 4. Rockies 5. Padres
89-73 88-74 77-85 70-92 60-102

AL East

1. Red Sox 2. Rays 3. Yanks 4. Orioles 5. Blue Jays
96-66 94-68 88-74 78-84 76-86

AL Central

1. Indians 2. Twins 3. Tigers 4. White Sox 5. Royals
90-72 88-74 86-76 85-77 80-82

AL West

1. Angels 2. Rangers 3. Athletics 4. Mariners
91-71 83-79 79-83 74-88

NL Wild Card

Phillies

AL Wild Card

Rays

NL Cy Young

Johan Santana

AL Cy Young

Josh Beckett

NL MVP

Carlos Beltran

AL MVP

Evan Longoria

Playoffs NL

Cubs beat Phillies
Mets Beat Diamondbacks

Mets beat Cubs

Playoffs AL

Rays beat Angels
Red Sox beat Indians

Red Sox beat Rays

World Series

1986 Deja Vu all over again.

Mets 4 Red Sox 3

Baseball Needs a Savior

Unless you are living on another planet you must know that Major League Baseball has taken a hit so hard that not only it's image but the entire game which we know and love is in serious jeopardy. "The Steroid Era" is not going away and most assuredly it never will. It's different than "The Dead Ball Era" simply because players had found a way to destroy the level playing field with illegal steroids and performance enhancing drugs. The history of the game is severely tarnished. Players who were not involved have been unfairly lumped into this group and are resentful that the numbers that they achieved righteously are questioned. Everyone is seriously pissed off. Perhaps what baseball needs is a savior, again.

The story is not. Major League Baseball, no, baseball as a whole, has suffered a critical if not mortal wound this week as the "Steroid Era" has reared its ugly head once more, only this time to take down its greatest star. Not it's greatest asset but it's greatest star. More on A-Holefraudroid later.

This mortal blow to baseball is certainly its own fault, but I need for us to go back to the other two most critical attempts of killing baseball that the game ultimately survived because there came "The Savior."

Flash back; 1919. The Chicago White Sox, clearly the team to beat for the World Series, inexplicably lost the Series with the infamous Shoeless Joe Jackson leading the way to baseball's immortality.

They cheated, they threw the World Series because a gambler was able to get "Eight Men Out." Judge Landis, the iron-handed baseball commissioner, threw the book at them and baseball seemed doomed. It sure looked like it.

Enter "The Savior," Herman "Babe" Ruth. If nothing else, just look at his stats: 142 games (they payed 154 back then), 457 ABs, 158 runs.

Are you kidding me? 172 hits, 36 doubles, nine triples, and an unheard-of 54 home runs. Plus, 137 RBI, 14 stolen bases, 150 walks with only 80 strikeouts, and a whopping batting average of .376. My God. An OBP of .533 and a slugging percentage of .849, the highest ever in his career.

The crowds came in droves to see "The Babe." Hell, they even named a great candy bar after him ( I liked "The Reggie" better). Everywhere he went, the people braved the elements just to catch a glimpse of him.

He once said, "I had a better year and I'm more popular than the President, and I make more money than him too".

Baseball was saved by "The Savior."

Flash forward to 1947. Baseball was struggling again. World War II cost the American people over 100,000 of their young men. You ever wonder how many of them could have been the next Babe Ruth? How many of those lost were African Americans? I have no clue. I could probably look it up, but for the sake of brevity I'm sure the number was significant.

Yet baseball had refused to integrate the sport and now, admittedly, 60 years later it is widely known that not all the best players at that time were playing in the MLB. Baseball was on the verge of tanking once again.
Author Poll Results

Who Could Be The Next Savior of Baseball

*
Alfred Pujols
13.3%
*
David Wright
60.0%
*
Jon Lester
0.0%
*
Write in someone else in your comment.
26.7%
* Total votes: 15

Enter "The Savior," Jack Roosevelt Robinson. I don't need his stats to justify his contribution to this game. We all should know what they were. Jackie and those who followed him led the way to what I believe were baseball's glory years.

Growing up as a Brooklyn Dodger fan, and perhaps I may be biased (Of course I am, I'm from Brooklyn), but the players of that era were beyond belief. There was no free agency and players hardly moved from team to team, and when they did, it was the result of a blockbuster trade like Rocky Colavito for Harvey Kuenn. You identified with players and they made up the team of your choice, and they became your role models and you copied their stance, their swing, their walk, their everything. I could copy "Stan the Man's" stance exactly from the left side and turn around and do the same with Ernie "Let's play two" Banks.

Baseball was saved by "The Savior."

Fast forward once again. 1994. Oye! Greed, corruption, plus the vast growing popularity of the NFL, baseball owners, the Players' Union, and perhaps the most dreaded event that was ever to take place: The players strike again!

Not the first time, either. Unreal! No, it was real and the ultimate slap in the face; no, actually a direct shot to the heart was the cancelling of the 1994 World Series. Seriously, are you kidding me? NO, I'm not. What where they thinking? MONEY, MONEY, MONEY, the proverbial root to all evil.

America's game was totally devastated. Lifelong fans, students of the game, everyday Janes and Joes swore off baseball for good. Even myself, who proclaims to be one of the greatest fans in Mets history has a blank in the years following the strike.

Enter "The Saviors," Mark McGwire and Slammin' Sammy Sosa. 1998. These two muscle-bound (scenes of things to come) players crashed their way into Americas' heart and soul doing what they did best. Slamming the hell out of opposing pitchers on their way to assaulting the magic "No. 61." Roger Maris' record was clearly in jeopardy as early as June of '98.

My take on this is, if it were just one guy alone it would have not had the impact as it did. But to have two polar opposites competing for this sacred record was too good to be true. Mark McGwire, the All-American lumberjack-looking boy, as good as homemade apple pie, against Sammy Sosa, the lovable Hispanic outsider on the world's most favorite underdog team, the Chicago Cubs, against their arch-rival and enemy, the St. Louis Cardinals. Hollywood could not have written a better script.

By September, baseball had fully returned to public adulation and, when on the last day of the season McGwire hit his 70th and Sammy finished with 66, not only was baseball history made but once again baseball needed and received "The Savior."

Honorable mention here to Cal Ripken and the streak. Sure didn't hurt to have that going either, but as future Hall of Famers Greg Maddux, Jon Smoltz, and Tom Glavine said it best, "Chicks dig the long ball."

Fast forward to the present date, Feb. 10, 2009, and once again, and maybe for the last time, baseball is near death.

MLB knew full well in 1998 and earlier that illegal steroid use was running amok in the sport and chose to do nothing about. Their saviors were juiced and, although not illegal yet in baseball, nevertheless it still was illegal and yet baseball chose to sweep it under the rug. You know when you do that sweep thing or any other means of hiding a body, it eventually starts to stink.

And so it has.

The greatest players of our era, Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Sammy "Three straight 60-plus home run seasons" Sosa, Roger Clemens, arguably perhaps the greatest pitcher of all time, 500 home run-hitter Rafael Palmeiro, and now today's greatest player (No, Katie, I never used performance-enhancing substances), Alex Rodriguez, has brought the house of cards also known as Major League Baseball to its knees, going down to perhaps the final countdown.

Baseball needs a Savior, enter?

Baseball For the 21st Century

The economic times we live in have made it nearly impossible for the everyday fan to go out to the game and enjoy his favorite team with putting out an arm and a leg. The cost of running and paying for a major league team has made the owners do the only thing they see to do to keep their teams in the black. They keep raising the ticket prices and the vicious circle continues. How about a solution. Lower the costs of travel, get more bodies in the seats, lower the ticket prices and keep making money. How to do that. The hell with tradition. At the present rate there might not be a game in 20 years. Try this on for size.



Believe it or not, this is not an attempt at humor on my part. It was inspired by an article about throwing Tampa Bay and Toronto out of the American League East—so kudos to that.

With all the talk in this country of the growing concerns about the economy and how it has affected the free agency market this winter, I propose the most radical change in Baseball since the inception of the designated hitter, and after I finish, the DH change will seem like child's play.

Consider this, if the economy continues to falter and most experts predict it will be at least a year for the rebound to occur it is not unreasonable to think that baseball attendance will have it's first decrease in recent history.

I imagine that by July 4 we will see attendance plummet for those teams that are already out of contention. Loss of attendance means loss of revenue and sh*t rolls downhill can certainly put this sport in mortal danger.

So how can you be proactive and fix the problem before it happens? Total realignment of both leagues and create instant geographic rivalries not dissimilar to those already in place during inter league play. Create these rivalries and people will attend despite being 20 games out of first place in August.

Would I ever get tired of seeing the Mets vs. the Yankees 15 to 18 times a year? I don't think so, duh.

OK- here goes.



The National League Northeast

Red Sox, Yankees, Mets, Phillies, Orioles, Nationals

Would You Like To See Realignment?

* Yes
* No



The American League South

Braves, Marlins, Rays, Rangers, Astros



The National League Central

Blue Jays, Pirates, Indians, Reds, Brewers



The American League Central

Cubs, Cardinals, Tigers, Royals, White Sox, Twins



The National League Northwest

Rockies, Mariners, Athletics, Giants



The American League Southwest

Diamondbacks, Dodgers, Angels, Padres


15 teams in each league. I'll let all you mathematicians figure out a schedule that will give less travel each year. For instance, no interleague play or the need for the DH. In year one, the NL East travels one time to the west. In the next year, the NL West travels one time to the east.

People with way better computer skills than I can figure that out. What I offer are rivalries that are sure to bring folks to the park, pretty much no matter what.

The only rivalry that I can't seem to get back together, and yes I admit it is a very big one, is the Dodgers and the Giants. I am open to suggestions, but I want to keep the traveling limited to save $$$$.

Of course, I realize that something like this couldn't happen because of the purists and the traditions already in place, But maybe, just maybe, that is part of the problem that this country is already going through.

Regardless of your political affiliation, we all recognize the need for change and certainly hope that the current administration, a historic change in of itself, will lead the way out of the mess we find ourselves in.

Remember in Field of Dreams, James Earl Jones says to Kevin Kostner " Ray, it's always been about baseball". Well maybe that's so, I believe it is. I have loved this sport for as long as I can remember.

My son likes to kid me that Moses was my tutor, and baseball has always been a passion for me that is hard to describe. But frankly, it needs help. The pundits say NO, baseball is thriving, but I respectfully disagree.

I believe we are at the precipice of a downturn for all major sports because of the economic difficulties this country faces and most fans are not like me who will pay to attend a game in Phoenix to see the Mets play the Diamondbacks when I live it Vegas and the trip, game, hotel, food etc will most assuredly mean that something more important to others would have to be sacrificed.

I will do that. Most people won't.

Baseball must survive. It is American, born here, raised here, and then spread throughout the world. It is a living breathing thing of beauty and grace and unless drastic change takes place, I fear that, perhaps not in my lifetime but certainly in my children's lifetime they may see "The Day Baseball Died."

The 2009 New York Mets: Built to Compete Not To Win.

Back in late January, early February obviously without any idea of how decimated this team would be from the injuries that had occurred. I took another blast ( I do this a lot) at the Mets ownership and organization ie: the General Manager. I am no profit but this situation we are in today and so many times in this teams history is a lack of bold out of the box aggressiveness. Tell me if do not agree.



I am going to make this short and sweet. The New York Mets, in the midst of two of the worst collapses in their history, seem hell bent to repeat the debacle of the last three, yes three Septembers.

Mets fans have been overwhelming in their support for the acquisition of Manny Ramirez. They have also begged ownership and their general manager to stand up and take accountability for the disaster at second base.

They are obviously enormously pleased with the bullpen overhaul, but if opening day was tomorrow they would be spending the entire season chasing the Phillies.

I have said previously as much as I loathe "The Evil Empire," I have to respect the effort they make each year to put the best possible players on the field, to get them into and ultimately win the World Series. Whether they do or don't is a matter of records and say what you will, but 26 championships looks like "scoreboard" to me.
Author Poll Results

With the current Met team, will they win the NL East in 2009

*
Yes
42.5%
*
No
56.2%
*
Whatever
1.4%
* Total votes: 73

The Mets don't operate that way. Does anybody really believe that the Wilpons do not have the money to spend? Are you serious? These are billionaires. They've got it, they're just reluctant to go "ALL IN."

This is just ludicrous and I don't mean that rapper guy. What is it going to take to wake this ownership up? Frankly, after watching the slow improvements that this team tries to make every year in order to compete, it's just not enough.

I grew up in this country's first city and that city is New York. We walk around this town like we're Tony Manero and to be on top should be our criteria. I am sick and tired of this team acting like they are a small market club and the red headed stepbrother to the Yankees.

It's the same thing with the Giants and our NY J-E-T-S Jets.

It's now or never, wake the hell up Mets. The 2009 season is just two months away and soon there will be no impact players left. You've already played your early cards and everyone knows what's left in your hand. If you play your remaining cards the way you always do you are going to lose again and again and again.

An MLB Salary Floor

Way too much complaining about the lack of parity in Major League Baseball. The haves and the have nots bases on the ownerships willingness to spend the big bucks. Not every team can spend a quarter of a billion dollars to bring in 3 players to help buy them a championship. The Players Union will never agree to a salary cap and neither will the owners. The solution? I present the Salary Floor. I know it Pittsburgh and other cities this will be greatly received.



I am sick and tired of all the complaints about the big-market teams spending all their money and buying a championship.

I have been hearing that nonsense since the days of Catfish Hunter and Reggie Jackson. My buddy Schmitters, a Phillies fan, wrote an excellent article actually defending the action of the Yankees, Mets, and other teams that are willing to spend the money to make their teams competitive.

My pet peeve has to do with the ownership of Major League Baseball teams. Every single one of them comes from a business background, where they made a 'gazillion' dollars during the last 20 years. In those 20 years, more billionaires have sprouted from the woodwork than all the previous years combined.

At that time, the chic thing to do was to purchase a team so you could tell all your friends and business associates that you owned one and they could watch the games in the luxurious owners boxes and suites. The problem with these owners is that all they believe in is the bottom line.

In business, it's all about profit and loss. If you became a billionaire, loss was never part of the plan.
Author Poll

Salary Floor?

* YES
* NO
* NOT SURE
* DON'T CARE


So what happens? They run their teams just like a business that has already made them richer than rich. They don't take chances. They are not going to do anything that could possibly hurt the bottom line. They refuse to break even or, God forbid, lose a dime.

These people do not belong in Major League Baseball. Their teams never win, nor can they really compete. They'll waste hundreds of millions of dollars to build a new stadium but won't fill it with a couple of highly paid superstars.

By Memorial Day, they are 10 games under .500 and 16-1/2 games out of first place in their division. By the trade deadline, they're lowering their payroll some more so a profit can be made by the end of a season.

Frankly, it's a disgrace. Luckily, I have a solution.

It's quite simple. All owners must make a commitment to winning. They will have to have a minimum payroll of $100 million a year, with an increase for a cost of living every other year.

If they refuse, then they will have to relinquish their ownership to MLB until a suitable replacement can be found.

I don't want them to lose money, and they won't. Baseball is very healthy right now. Each owner with that minimum payroll would make a profit because their teams will remain in close races all season long and attendance will remain high. More concessions, more merchandise, and more visibility can only keep the coffers growing.

Owners must take the responsibility to make their team competitive every single year.

I heard Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman say when introducing Mark Teixeira that the Yankees felt they owed their fans their commitment to contend every year. I'm not a Yankee fan by a long shot, but the fact remains that the Yankees, win or lose, will do everything that is necessary to build and keep a team winning baseball games, including spending whatever they feel is needed.

For all the fans out there who feel that baseball is unfair because of the big-spending teams, don't complain to us. Complain to the owners who don't deserve to be involved in the greatest sport in the world today.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Pay the Damn Guys, PLEASE

This was my first of many whacks I have taken against the Mets Ownership and organization. As I die hard fan it's not easy to sit by and watch your team flounder when it's time to be proactive and aggressive. The Mets are the "red headed step brother" of the New York "Skankees" (there,I've said it again)and they are right near the top of my extreme dis-like list ( I was going to say hate, but I don't know if children might read this)along with the Phillies and my least favorite the Braves.



Why is it that the New York Mets, who are considered by all to be a big-market team, act just like the opposite of one? If they want to keep the payroll around $143M, which it was last year, then tell me why they won't finish second again?

If we are to compete with the Phillies and the rest of the N.L. East for the next five years at least, they can not wait that long until it develops our farm system so it is in the top 10. The Mets have made strides in that area during Omar Miniya's tenure, but that will take at least five more years to achieve.

The Mets have to PAY TO PLAY. Do they want to win? Of course they do, and so do the fans so that they can rid the taste of the last three disappointing years. Here's what I believe the Mets need to do.

First and foremost, I cannot believe the Mets have turned a cold ear to having one of the five most productive players in the league on their radar. I say two years for $45 million to Manny, with a third-year option at $25 million, based on performance.

Who dares to disagree that most certainly would be an upgrade to a Tatis/Murphy platoon in left? I would love to have those two guys coming off the bench in the late innings.

Next, the Mets need a bona fied consistent No. 2. Most people believe that Derek Lowe is that person. OK, finalize the offer to Lowe at $39 million for three years or if Boras is a fool to take it, then how about Oliver Perez for $32 million for four years?
Author Poll

Manny Ramirez in Left at Citi Field

* YES
* NO

vote to see results

I know many fans in South Philly who cringe at the mention of Perez on the hill at Citizens Bank Park facing Utley, Howard and Ibanez three times a year.

With either of those two signed, I would go hard at Randy Wolf who very quietly had a very good year between San Diego and Houston and for $20 million for three years he would add a second or third left-hander to give the Phillies fits.

Next on my agenda and for those who regularly read my articles and for those who know you can never have enough quality starting pitchers I would most DEFINITELY re-sign Pedro. He could be had for as little as $6 million for two years and with major incentives to get him as much as $10M.

I believe that Pedro could be good for 20 to 30 wins in the next two years. He wants to finish his illustrious career on a high note and nobody will work harder than Pedro to thank the Mets for believing in him as he especially wants to make up for the last two years, particularly last year.

The other tremendous upside to this move is the very special relationship between Pedro and Manny, who, besides being close teammates from their World Series Championship in Boston, Pedro has always and will continue to keep Manny under control.

This next one is going to be a surprise and I believe that this is Omar's thinking as well. The Mets need to give Castillo until May 30 to see what's he's willing to do to save his career. He knows better than all of us if he can't change the perception that he has perpetuated by his play and his effort both on and off the field last year and if it does not change right from Jump Street, he knows that he will be through as a player in the MLB.

If the answer is still NO to Manny, which I think is truly ridiculous, then the most obvious choice is to bring in Adam Dunn to play left field for at least a year or two and then, as many reporters have suggested, he could be moved to first base upon Delgado's departure and while keeping that, as the plan having Murphy continue his work at second base if Castillo blows up.

I'd rather see a platoon of Tatis/Church in right then platoon of Tatis/Murphy in left.

Omar, you fill these holes, and the payroll will increase by around $45 million this year and barring key injuries to the core players, not only will the Mets be the overwhelming favorite to win in '09, but we should definitely be in the hunt for the next 5 years.

ONE MORE TIME: It's time to start acting like this is NEW YORK, Mr. Wilpon. You just have to PAY TO PLAY.

Rebels Upset Louisville

Clearly the highlight of the UNLV Runnin' Rebels season, this was a great way to end 2008. I was literally on the edge of my couch watching Louisville make a last minute run against Lon Kruger's boys. I had visions of a final four after this game but I was smart enough to know that the lack of height in the 5 spot would limit any Rebels chances of even making the big dance.



The UNLV Runnin Rebels on the last day of 2008 turned the clock back almost 20 years to the glory days of top ranked Rebel teams of the past with a stunning one point 56-55 come from behind road victory in front of 19,000 screaming Cardinal fans at Freedom Hall in Louisville this after afternoon.

With Wink Adams sidelined with the lower abdominal strain he suffered in last weeks Rebel win over Southern Utah, Lon Kruger's stifling defense led the way to one of the most inspiring wins I have ever seen as a UNLV fan.

The first half was all Rebels. With Rene Rougeau making everyone forget that Curtis Terry is no longer the leader of the Runnin Rebels, the defense held the Cardinals to 21 first half points while opening up an 11 point lead. Rougeau is nothing short of remarkable. In his time on the court which was considerable he totaled 17 points, most of them banging in the paint with battleships to contend with.

He went 8-9 from the field with eight rebounds and four assists. What the stats don't show was his tenacity on defense and he was right there on every loose ball and seemed to reach back to keep the game close when the Rebels cooled off considerably in the second half.
Author Poll

Rebels go further than the Sweet Sixteen

* YES
* NO

vote to see results

Knowing full well that Rick Pitino would make the necessary adjustments in the second half, the Cardinals went on a 16-5 run to take the lead for the first time with three minutes to play.This Cardinal team with a 15 game home winning streak was not about to fold. At this point in the game it became the Tre'Von Willis/Oscar Bellfield show. Willis hit on six straight free throws and Oscar slashed his way in the paint to keep the Rebels close in the closing minutes of this lead changing game.

With less than 40 seconds remaining in the game Bellfield did his thing. The LA freshman drove through the lane and threw up a floater that seemed the hang on the glass forever. When it fell, the Rebels had regained the one point lead with 15 seconds to play. The defense that held the Cardinals to 29%, which was amazing all game, then closed the door with a stop with two seconds to play.

The Rebels ran out the clock and when I stopped screaming I knew for certain that 2008 was going to end on a very positive note.

With wins over Arizona and Louisville two perrenial top ten powers the Runnin Rebels have finally taken the biggest step in the Lon Kruger era by winning big games against big time opponents at home and on the road. Although they have made two very nice runs in the NCAA Tournament in the past two years, their regular season has repeatedly been marred by not being able to beat these types of teams. Today they proved they could.

The momentum created by this win today should certainly put some fear into Mountain West opponents as conference play begins next week. I can't begin to tell you how good this game was to watch. If we can continue with this intensity for the next two months there will be no doubt where we will be playing in March.

Two years ago we made the sweet 16, last year we lost to eventual champion Kansas in the second round. This year, 2009 just may start to resemble 1990 all over again.

New York Jets Epitath 2008

I really liked the acquisition of Brett Favre. I was however, clearly in the minority but I thought Brett had the style, charisma and game to bring back the glory days off Joe Willie Namath. I even bought a Brett Favre New York Jets jersey. In a few years or so it will probably be a collectors item. Here's a look back.



Lets bury the New York Jets. One month ago 8-3 coming off two very impressive road wins in New England and the undefeated Titans to go into sole possession of first place in the AFC East and talk of the first all New York Super Bowl, had all the pundits out and cheering the Brett Favre sensation, risen from the frozen tundra in Green Bay, to lead Gang Green to the promised land.

Not so fast my lads, this the New York Jets were talking about. The same team that was 10-1 and lost the last five games, the same team that was field goal away from a Super Bowl appearance a few years back and for the last 40 years has been a team of broken promises and broken dreams.

We all knew what happened until today. They lost three out of the next four and should have lost all four except for a "mini miracle" in the Meadowlands, but still going into today had an outside chance of making the playoffs. Even with that, for those who know the game a win against Miami would be a plus-six wins from last year and something that a team can really build upon. But no, these were the same old Jets. Knowing at the start of the game the Pats had already won that they would have to watch the scoreboard for some help in Baltimore and when the Jaguars went up 7-3 against the Ravens at the end of the first quarter the stands were alive and so were the Jets.
Author Poll

Brett Favre 2009 Jet

* YES
* NO

vote to see results

Even going into the third quarter down 14 - 9 and despite the mistakes that would eventually seal their doom, the Jets took the lead 17 - 14 at the 10 minute mark of the third quarter. I started to think that the Jets would win and the Ravens would as well, and I would look back on this season as one of the better comebacks from a bad year to a good one in their history. I was then convinced that I could write a positive sounding article and although I knew I would take some heat on that point. I was still going to say the Jets had a great year and if Favre's shoulder could be dealt with then I believed he should be brought back for 2009.

So just to spoil my day and about at least a few million of us out there, the wheels came flying off. Miami scored the last 10 unanswered points and knock us as well as the Pats out of the playoffs and created an even better story for Chad (I redeemed myself) Pennington as he took a Miami team who won one game last year and allowed them, not the Jets to the playoff right in his old back yard. How fitting.

If you look at the final stats they were pretty even except for one glaring and telling stat that spells out the finish to the Jets season. Four turnovers, yes four including three interceptions from the legacy quarterback who looked as bad as any third string quarterback I have ever seen in the last five games. Besides leading the league in INT's, (not the first time in his career ), Favre showed why a 40-year-old is not an exceptional quarterbacks in the NFL over a grueling 16-game season. Goodbye, Brett, it's time to go. Goodbye, Eric, it's time to go. Goodbye, both offense and defensive coordinators, it's time to go.

Final thoughts. A five-game turnaround in one year is a good season. What Miami and Atlanta accomplished is a great season. What the Philadelphia Eagles accomplished is a good season. Same thoughts for Minnesota, Arizona, The Giants, Ravens, Steelers Colts, Titans, Chargers, and Carolina. You all made the Big Dance and deserve to be there. For The Jets, it's on to 2009, hopefully with more changes on and off the playing field and on the sidelines.

Despite this again, I remain a loyal fan, not a bandwagon jumper who loves us at 8-3 then hates us at 9-7. You all know what they say is true in the NFL, "ANY GIVEN SUNDAY".

Accept The Phillies Mets Challenge

I did this about six months ago. I was just getting my feet wet in the Bleacher Report and reading day in and day out how the Phillies were the world champs and the Mets were nothing but choke artists had me in a tither. The response to this was pretty good and as a result almost all the Philadelphia writers on the site have become good buddies and the ranting between us continues on a regular basis.


In answering constant comments about the trash talk between the Phillie's fans and the Mets' faithful, I made a challenge to one of my counterparts down the Jersey Turnpike. Here it is, real easy, not complicated. Whoever wins will have something to really gloat about and have the evidence forever to be seen by all.

We're talking about the 2009 NL East crown because frankly that is what's at stake. If the Phillies should do it for the third straight year (and you all know how difficult that was for me to write) then all Mets fans who write on The Bleacher Report will have to wear Phillies apparel for one full week and have themselves photographed in places we all will recognize.
Author Poll Results

Who will win the NL East in 2009

*
Mets
55.6%
*
Phils
40.3%
*
Braves
2.8%
*
Marlins
1.4%
*
Nats
0.0%
* Total votes: 72

For me living in Las Vegas, I agree to have the photo in front of the "Welcome to Las Vegas" sign in a Phillies uniform, which by the way is the most photographed sign in the world. Then I will certainly do the same thing in front of the New York, New York Hotel and Casino which is right in front of the ESPN Zone. Coincidentally, this happens to be located right under the replica of the Brooklyn Bridge. For me that's a fate worse than death.

However, what I expect is Phillies fans to do when they lose is to have themselves photographed in Mets blue and orange at the entrance of Citizen's Bank Park, on the top step at the Franklin Institute and in front of Geno's and Pat's Steaks. For those who agree we will post those photos on the Bleacher Report by the start of the 2009 World Series.

Now let's see who will put their photo where their mouth is.

What You Have Missed

I am about to post some of the articles which I have published on the Bleacher Report that have been acclaimed by those who comment. They are more often about the New York Mets and that goes year round. I also will throw in a Eagles and Jets report from time to time but when College Basketball arrives it'g GO Runnin'Rebels all the way.UNLV looks like a top 25 team this year and I will be all home games. Should be an absolute blast.

Always looking for comments.

Thanks.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Mets Finally Win a Series

The raggedy band of substitutes put their ace on the mound to try to win their first series in over a month and to do it they had to beat one of the best pitchers the major leagues have to offer.

Chris Carpenter has had to come all the way back from injuries that has kept him on the sidelines for the better part of two years.

Clearly, when healthy, Carpenters stuff is the kind of pitcher that allows managers to get at least one or maybe even, if it falls right, two good nights of sleep each week.

Tony LaRusso may have more than 2500 wins but boy does he look tired after the Mets had taken two out of three already from the Cards, including a vicious 11-0 thrashing by a team whose argueabbly three best hitters, sit on the DL with a fourth having knee problems and a rookie centerfielder whose batting a buck seventy five.

So if anything looked like a must win for each team, today was sure it.

With the largest crowd to ever attend a game at the New York Mets new home, CitiField 41,221, the atmosphere felt more like October than June.

Santana, who has struggled of late gave what some people call a "gritty" performance. He only struck out 3 batters in 7 innings of work while walking 3 and allowing 2 earned runs on 7 hits.

When he needed it, he got the big out. Nothing bigger than having Albert Pujols to fly out one foot short of the warning track with the bases loaded. Now you know why he gets paid the big bucks.

Carpenter was even more brilliant having only one poor inning where the Mets managed to score 3 runs including a 2 out double by Nick Evans to the opposite field to give the Mets a 3-1 lead.

K-Rod came in in the 9th to close his 20th save of the year.

This Mets team counts the days until they can get their regulars back in the line up. In the meantime the old cliche about stepping up during hard times never has been more than true in this case.

This weekend brings a close to the interleague play for the 2009 season. As a die hard Mets fan I am sorry to see it go. We have played ok in inter league match ups but our feared and closest rival, the Philadelphia Phillies have been abominable against the American League for the second year in a row and that I love.

We conclude our final 3 games with the first visit of the New York Skankees, ( did I say that?) to CitiField. The Bombers took two out of three at the Stadium a few weeks back in a series that will be immortalized by Luis Castillo's dropped pop up that allowed the Skanks to pluck a win out of a sure loss.

So expect to see some fireworks this weekend and hopefully the Mets can finish this homestand on a high note and send A-Holefraudroid and his cousins back to the bronx.