VEGAS UNWRAPPED with Aaron Phillips & Ricky Cash


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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Ownership In The Way

Omar is on the way out. That's certainly no secret. It's only a matter of time. His legacy will be dissected by Mets fans forever as they do whenever a Manager or a GM or just about every player who leaves this disjointed and disassociated franchise.

To say that the Mets are in disarray is putting it mildly. Recently the ownership, specifically Jeff Wilpon, has been under sever criticism and scrutiny for his meddling and trying to be too involved with the baseball operation of the team. Duh! It's his team and the last time I looked if you were the owner of any company in America you could clearly do whatever the hell you pleased whether it is determined to be good or bad for the organization. In Wilpons case it's clearly bad.

Whether you believe the Madoff scandal affected the running of the Mets organization, it didn't really doesn't matter. Would the Mets have spent more than the 130 million already  this year to field a better product? Would Wilpon have left Minaya to do his job without the so called interference he's received?  Who knows.

Here's my beef and whomever the reader chooses to blame for this discrepancy I will gladly leave it up to them. Flashback to 2005. The Mets were starting to make some seriously good moves in player personnel to put the team back into contention in the National League East. The Braves were getting older and falling on hard times. Much celebration in my household with that news I assure you. The Phillies were an upcoming threat based on their fine farm system that was was being built from the ground up and would surely be contenders over the next couple of years.

The 2006 Mets were without a doubt one of the two or three best teams in all baseball and you will not get any serious arguments about that. Willie Randolph, although a relatively young and inexperienced manage,r was doing well enough despite some concerns about the way he was handling the pitchers. But he had Peterson, the "Guru of Oakland" by his side and mediocre pitchers like Oliver Perez and John Maine were on their way to 15 win seasons.

The vastly better managed St. Louis Cardinals ended the 2006 dream with a called third strike which had followed the greatest defensive catch in Mets history. It was a bitter pill to be swallowed and Carlos Beltran, perhaps one of the best players of his generation has never been forgiven for that called third strike.

Perhaps here was when the ownership started to interfere with the baseball operations of the team. The collapse of 2007 and 2008, the firing of Willie Randolph, the hiring of that loser Jerry Manuel, and the rash of injuries and questions about the Mets medical procedures have lead us to where we are.

In the meantime, The Braves have become resurgent and the Phillies who was the first team in baseball history to lose 10,000 games is on their way to competing in three straight World Series. Ugh!. The Phillies we are talking about. Are you kidding me? Except for a brief spell in the late 70's through 1983 they were the laughing stock of all baseball. The fifth largest city in the United States and an ownership that was so cheap if they bought a cheese steak at Ginos or Pats they would pull out half the meat to resell it themselves.

First they build a state of the art new stadium created for the team they are building. Then the pocketbook opens up the they are able to outbid the super power houses of the baseball world, The Yankees and the Red Sox for the likes of Cliff Lee, Raul Ibanez, Roy Oswald and the best pitcher in the game bar none, Roy Halliday who just happened to win his 20th game of the season last night and virtually bury the Atlanta Braves.

Players want to go to Philadelphia. Can you believe that? I have trouble believing it because I spent 20 years 10 miles from the Vet and it was the worst stadium I ever had the privilege to attend. What a dump.

The Mets call themselves a big market franchise? That is without a doubt the biggest joke on the planet. In order to get back into the hunt it's going to take a lot more than a new General Manager and a new Manager. What it's going to take is a brand new owner or a complete turnaround on the part of Jeff Wilpon which is as likely as his money being returned by Bernie Madoff.

I am not a doom and gloom guy. Many of you know reading my "Anatomy of a Franchise" series by attending the opening day game on April 12th 1962 at the Polo Grounds that my fan hood bleeds orange and blue. That's why I'm in total despair as I see and relive 1989 all over again.

For my younger Mets fans I would say as Bon Jovi once beautifully said "Keep The Faith". However if you're a New Yorker as I am in my mind and in my heart this is not an easy process. Seriously you can probably kiss 2011 and 2012 goodbye right now as this team needs to be rebuild from the ground up. I truly believe that trading Reyes and or Wright is not the the answer because their best years are still ahead of them but with that said, major changes are going to have to take place and if that means to trade away top players for prospects and develop markets like Cuba, Korea, Japan, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican then maybe pulling the plug on Omar may not be the right thing to do.

Like it or not, the Latin players are the immediate future for the game of baseball. 10 years from now it will be China and whoever gets there first will reek the benefits. Can anyone guess why the Yankees are already getting so involved there? Let's face the facts, the bottom line is the ownership, the Wilpon's, must go. If not, I know for sure that I'll never see a championship flag fly over Citi Field.

I'm going on 66 and plan to hang around here until I'm at least 85 and I'd really like to see at least a World Series appearance. My biggest nightmare however is a recurring dream that sees the Phillies and the Braves taking turns playing the Skankees every year in the World Series and seeing Carlos Beltran in a Braves uniform hitting a Grand Slam with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 9th three runs behind and winning game seven. Oh my God!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Breaking a Promise

I usually keep my promises and I think a did a good job on this one but I have finally broken down and decided it was time enough to make my comments about my beloved New York Mets.

The promise was a simple one I made in Spring Training because of the major conflict I was having about my rooting status for this team. You see I spent the entire 2009 season bashing the manager of this God forsaken club Jerry Manuel because, although he might be a great guy and a wonderful manager to play for, I really doubt that, but I'm not in the clubhouse, I really believe he may be, along with Art Howe, one of the worst managers not only in Mets history but in all baseball for all time.

I spent article after article after article clearly pointing out his mis use of the pitchers, his in ability to make a starting lineup where players would find themselves playing everyday to, and most important, his in game decisions that cost the Mets no fewer than 10 games last year and subsequently at least that many or more this year.

My promise however has not stopped me from watching every single game they've played this year from the first pitch until the last one but also attending road games in San Diego, LA, San Francisco, Phoenix, Colorado, and Philadelphia. I will not let anyone tell me that I don't know what I'm talking about when it comes to the Mets.

Manuel must share the blame of this teams failure to be consistent and win on a regular basis. Omar Minaya, hopefully in his last year as the General Manage,r has once again shown that he reacts to situations rather than take the initiative and make decisions regarding players prior to the disasters that happen constantly to this team.

I'm not going to rehash what should have been done after the fact because that has already been beaten to death by other more qualified writers than myself. I'd like to address what to do from this point of the season with less than 30 games left to play.

Time has run out on both Manuel and Minaya. Why bother to let them finish the season? Do they deserve to? I think not. If Ricci is or is not the new Mets GM for next year give him the interim title right now. It's not that he could do anything in the final 3 weeks of the season anyway but it would give him a head start on the winter meetings and the hot stove arena which he will be thrust into. If he's not the man for the job, well it's no big deal as a title means nothing if you're not able to accomplish anything anyway.

Jerry, bye bye as well. Lets bring Bachman or anybody else to be the interim manager as well. My reasoning for this is we have brought the main club our top players from AA and AAA for this final run to nowhere and personally I'd rather have anybody else for their induction into the big leagues than Jerry Manuel.

In addition to those two firings, (finally) I would shut down, Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran and Johann Santana immediately. Reyes and Santana are easy ones. They are still hurt to some degree and despite their competitiveness they are susceptible for re injury more than any other players on the team. As for Beltran I'm not as concerned for him to re injure himself as I am to see what some of the new guys can show during the final weeks of the season. Besides, Beltran must be made accountable for waiting so long to have the surgery on his leg thus keeping him out for the first half of the season. He is a lame duck center fielder for the Mets next year unless he decides he will need to play his ass off in his final contract year. Having the next three weeks off should give him something to think about for the winter.

Maybe somebody should make the decision on Bobby Parnell one way or the other. He's either your full time closer or he's not. Make up your mind already. For me, if I have a guy who hits triple figures on the radar gun, I want him as my closer. That why Bard will be the closer in Boston next year and Papelbaum will be pitching somewhere else.

A number of things are for certain. Attendance is way down and you can't blame that only on the economy. We could have got Halliday and we chose the wrong guy. Enough money could have kept for us Billy Wagner who would have been our 8th inning answer and the replacement when Francisco went bazonkers on his girl friends father. Castillo should have just plain released and Jenrry Mejia should have spent the entire year learning how to start in AAA, but I promised not to dwell on the past.

Do I feel 2011 could be a turning point year? Well maybe a little. I see 2012 being the year we will actually be back in the hunt. Next year our new manager and GM will have to be on the same page and the ownership who has spent money foolishly needs to lock up their key players and show confidence in their personnel and try to sell the team so we can stop hearing about the money Madoff cost them. How about Mark Cuban? Now he would be a breath of fresh air and we would have a championship flag flying above Citi Field.

Vegas Rich is officially back!