‘Remake’ of Mets Radio Booth is Officially a Mess.

The general perception among many Mets fans is when team COO Jeff Wilpon tries to fix a perceived problem, he generally creates a public relations mess in the process, and then blames the media for misconstruing his intentions along the way.

Wilpon’s latest gem is a Steinbrenner-esque foray into the team’s broadcast booth, where discussions to shake up the very popular team of Howie Rose and Josh Lewin are currently being pushed by the younger Wilpon.

From Capital New York:

The sources who spoke to Capital say there’s a desire from Wilpon to incorporate an ex-player into the booth, a change from the pure-announcer backgrounds of Rose and Lewin. It’s hardly a revolutionary idea, and in fact the ex-jock formula has worked exceptionally well for the Mets on TV, with the extrordinary, anti-homer combination of Gary, Keith and Ron.

But it flies in the face of how the Mets have typically deployed their radio announcers for the half-century they’ve been around.

What’s interesting about this development is that a week ago, after rumblings of a possoble Lewin exit from the Mets radio booth, I asked around the industry and was told the following:

This is not to suggest that Howard Megdal’s story is incorrect; far from it. I trust his work as much as I do my own. It’s just that whomever is doing the pushing and pulling, the idea that changing the dynamic in the broadcast booth is a problem that needs to be fixed — and in a highly public fashion — is well, ludicrous.

Even more so when one hears things like former GM Steve Philips’ name being mentioned as a possible Lewin replacement. When it comes to Jeff Wilpon sometimes, you just can’t make it up.

QBC 2014: Meet The New Media

On Jan. 18, 2014, a very special baseball event will be happening at McFadden’s at Citi Field; the first-ever Queens Baseball Convention. It is a celebration of the New York Mets, by New York Mets fans and it’s being put together by two of the best Mets fansites in creation; MetsPolice.com and The7Line.com.

My contribution, other than attending with my dad (You know him as the Terry Collins look-alike) and my son (who still misses Jose Reyes), will be moderating the New Media panel, which will kick off the event at approximately high noon.

I say “high noon” because, well, I am the reigning Mets Gunslinger of the Year.

The reason I wanted to be a part of the QBC was simple; for years I have wondered why the Mets – a team clearly in need of energizing its fanbase — no longer held offseason FanFests ( as many teams in MLB currently do) or their once-annual Mets Caravan. With the opening of a new ballpark in 2009 — which could easily host a FanFest for baseball-hungry Mets fans — it seemed like it would only be a matter of time for one to be organized. The folks at MetsPolice.com and The7Line,com decided they didn’t want to wait anymore and have put together a great event for Mets fans of all ages.

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The New Media panel is especially exciting for me as it allowed me to bring together some of the biggest names the Mets blogosphere has to offer:

Matt Cerrone (MetsBlog.com) – Matt is the lead writer and creator of MetsBlog.com, which reaches more than 3.5 million page views per month. Prior to making MetsBlog.com a full-time job in 2006, Cerrone worked as a communication strategist for politicians, authors and entertainers. In 2007, he partnered with SportsNet NY, the TV home of the Mets, to help develop more in-depth content for MetsBlog.com, while working to create new team-specific blogs for their website, SNY.tv.

Greg Prince (FaithandFearinFlushing.com) – Greg is a professional writer, editor, and communications consultant whose work has appeared in The New York Times and Wall Street Journal Online Edition and on SNY.tv and MLB.com. He is the author of the book “Faith and Fear in Flushing” and “The Happiest Recap”.

Jason Fry (FaithandFearinFlushing.com) – The co-author of FAFIF.com, Jason is s a writer, editor and media consultant in Brooklyn, N.Y. He spent more than 12 years at The Wall Street Journal Online, serving as a writer, columnist, editor and projects guy. While at WSJ.com he edited and co-wrote The Daily Fix, a daily roundup of the best sportswriting online. He blogs about the Mets at Faith and Fear in Flushing, and has written for or consulted with Nieman Journalism Lab, the Poynter Institute, Yahoo! Sports, MSG.com, Deadspin, Baseball Prospectus, EidosMedia and the Library of Congress.

Kerel Cooper (OnTheBlack.com) – Kerel is the owner and operator of OnTheBlack.com, and whose video podcasts are among the most-watched in the Mets blogosphere. It has been featured on such industry leaders as Metsblog.com and various other Mets Sites. Kerel is also the Senior Director of Digital Ad Platform Strategies for Advance Digital.

Steve Keane (KranepoolSociety.com) – Steve is the creator of the popular Mets blog “The Eddie Kranepool Society” and numerous podcasts about the Mets. A true-blue Mets fan, Steve is never afraid to tackle any subject when it comes to the Mets, and that includes taking on the ownership, front office and the players. He is a also a popular guest on many of his fellow panel members’ podcasts as well.

Mike Silva (ESPN LI 107.1/96.9FM) – Mike currently hosts the “Weekend Watchdog” on Long Island’s ESPN Affiliate Champions Radio (107.1/96.9 FM Suffolk County) from 10AM to 1pm every Saturday. His longtime “NY Baseball Talk” podcast was one of the longest running of its kind, and is well-known to Mets fans for his other blog and podcast “Sports Media Watchdog”.

Taryn Cooper (KinersKorner.com) – “Coop” is a special part of the Mets blogosphere for many reasons, not the least of which was her first effort “My Summer Family”. You can find her now at Kiner’s Korner and hear her on the Kult of Mets Personalities podcast that has a great following.

Ed Ryan (MetsFever.com) – Ed owns and operates MetsFever.com, and stands out as one of the more even-handed Mets bloggers in the industry. He’s been blogging about the Mets since 2006, and was a regular on many of the Mets former and current message boards way before that.

The QBC is going to be a blast, and if you are a Mets fan, you should really do yourself a favor and check it out.

For tickets, a schedule of events and any info, go here - http://queensbaseballconvention.com/


For Mets Fans By Mets Fans: The Queens Baseball Convention

QBC2Last year, I opined that the New York Mets were doing their fans a disservice by not holding a FanFest, Winter Caravan or similar promotion to gets fans excited about the upcoming year.

There is NO reason for not trying to do this with the Mets fan. With all of the aforementioned ability to support and promote their own product, especially with tickets sales being down every year since Citi Field opened, the idea that the Mets don’t have an annual Fan Fest is incredibly short-sighted.

Well, many Mets fans agreed, and the folks from MetsPolice.com and The7Line.com have banded together to throw their own FanFest; The Queens Baseball Convention, or QBC as it is referred to in social media.

Shannon “Shark” Prior and Keith Blacknick, the pair behind blog site Metspolice.com, have teamed up with Darren Meenan of The 7 Line clothing brand to bring the first ever Queens Baseball Convention (QBC) to McFadden’s bar in Citi Field on January 18.

The event is a fan fest for Mets fans of all ages to enjoy and meet team legends, including Ron Darling, who was on the 1986 World Series team, and Ed Kranepool, who was on 1969 championship squad.

“Even if I wasn’t involved in it I was going to be there,” Meenan said. “It’s something that will bring fans together, whether you’re a young kid or someone who just likes jerseys. There’s something for everybody.”

Meenan is correct; as in addition to the appearances of Kranepool and Darling, there is a full schedule of events.

The New Media roundtable will kick off the QBC, moderated by yours truly, and features a collection of some of the biggest names in the Mets blogging and podcasting world; Matt Cerrone (MetsBlog.com), Greg Prince and Jason Fry (FaithandFearinFlushing.com), Kerel Cooper (OnTheBlack.com), Steve Keane (KranepoolSociety.com), Mike Silva (ESPN LI 107.1/96.9FM), Taryn Cooper (KinersKorner.com), and Ed Ryan (MetsFever.com).

For tickets, info and special deals, please visit QueensBaseballConvention.com

Gotham Classic: Peas in a Pod; Goldis and Bernazard

Editor’s Note -This story was written the day after Willie Randolph was fired by Mets – MH

Back in 2004, or the last time the Mets’ front office was in this much turmoil, one guy (with some help from another guy) was the divisive force that created so much havoc that super-prospect Scott Kazmir was traded for a injury-prone, arbitration-eligible (and serious non-tender candidate) right-hander, Victor Zambrano. That guy’s name was Al Goldis, and his partner in crime was Bill Livesey. Yeah, those guys. “The Super Scouts”. These two geniuses helped destroy a blossoming farm system, an exceptional scouting department, and got an undeserving GM fired. They also helped turn a fan base against Jeff Wilpon.

Sound familiar?

Later that year, after the white-hot venom of the Mets’ fan base had erupted for several months, the Mets decided that Omar Minaya would fix all of the Mets’ problems, repair the front office, and circle the wagons. At first, he did. Then he made the mistake of hiring Tony Bernazard as his assistant.

Unlike Goldis, whose agenda to usurp any influence that newly-minted GM Jim Duquette (after spending half a year as the interim GM after Steve Phillips was fired) began the day he was hired, it took Bernazard a year before he got himself promoted to VP of Player Development, despite having not a shred of scouting, coaching or front office experience. That’s quite a trick. But hey, his resume clearly indicated his fine work on the World Baseball Classic.

He never wanted to undermine his good friend Omar Minaya, but his actions and behavior have had the same result. Even better, like Goldis, he has – for the most part — put enough of his cronies in place so that any criticism – or corroboration – is virtually non-existent.

Let’s rewind back to July 30, 2004.

The day before the Kazmir trade was made. Several days earlier, noted columnist Bob Klapisch was on MSGSportsDesk discussing a trade rumor that had the Mets considering trading Scott Kazmir in exchange for The D-Ray’s Victor Zambrano. The emerging Internet community reacted with outrage, stating the Mets would never make that deal, etc. They also added that Klapisch “made it up”.

At the time, I was working at the Associated Press, knew of Klapsich’s reputation (which was excellent) and started checking with all of my contacts with the Mets’ Minor Leagues to see why they were considering dealing their top pitching prospect, who was rated by Baseball America as the a Top 5 blue chipper in all of baseball.

The answer was Al Goldis. I got this info at 11:30 pm EDT on July 29th, spent the next few hours writing the story and publishing it on the then-Mets Inside Pitch website (now insidepitchmagazine.com). Here is the relevant body of that article:

Given this is Jim Duquette’s first full year as general manager, it seems ill-advised that right before the all-important trading deadline, his role is being being circumvented by others in the front office.

Yet, it appears that’s exactly what is happening…(as) sources indicate that Mets’ owner Fred Wilpon is starting to tune out Duquette at the worst possible time of the year.

“Superscout” Al Goldis is the man that Wilpon is apparently listening to, …(and) has become increasingly active in the team’s day-to-day activities, including constant criticism of the team’s scouting and minor league development people, as well as pushing for the trade of some of the team’s top prospects for a all-out run at the NL East. (Matt) Peterson and left-hander Scott Kazmir are the team’s top pitching prospects, yet each are being bandied about in trade talks, only months after being considered untouchable. Duquette, widely known throughout baseball circles as a patient man _ especially when it comes to the club’s farmhands _ is rumored to be against trading either player.

Yet, somehow, Peterson may very well be on his way to Pittsburgh, while Kazmir is supposedly the (main component) that would net the Mets’ righty Victor Zambrano from the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

For a team that spent much of the offseason selling its fan base on the future and it’s so-called “Plan”, this chain of events is alarming to those who believe the Amazin’s only hope of consistent playoff contention is the minor league system. Duquette, the lone voice opposing ex-GM Steve Phillips’ the ill-fated deals for Roberto Alomar and Mo Vaughn, has suddenly appeared to have changed course.

“No one is untouchable” said Duquette, who appeared as a guest on ESPN 1050AM on Thursday.

The “win now” mantra that is emanating from Shea Stadium the past few weeks makes the non-signing of Vladimir Guerrero, on his way to a possible MVP season for the Angels, now seem ludicrous. If Fred Wilpon thought highly enough to hire Duquette in the first place, why allow Goldis, who is supposed to a special assistant to the general manager, to have such sway in the team’s makeup? Along with Director of Scouting Gary LaRocque and Minor League Coordinator Guy Conti, Duquette have presided over a complete overhaul of the team’s minor league system, now considered one of the best in baseball.

The lack of trust being shown Duquette is (alarming), whose opinions are being shunted aside in favor of a “subordinate”, who just happens to have the owner’s ear.

The next day, those trades were made, and as the fans’ reaction started to explode, people started looking for folks to blame. Not a single writer, save Newsday’s Dave Lennon (who got Peterson to say, “Go ask Al Goldis”, in answer to a direct question about his role), ever mentioned Goldis’ name in any of their stories.


“(Goldis) is never around.” said one writer a few days after the deal. He was from a major NY tabloid, who is now out of the business, but I couldn’t reach him to get permission to use his name in this story. Frankly, it’s not important. What is important as his next sentence. “It’s easier to blame (Mets pitching coach Rick) Peterson. He likes Zambrano, was impatient with Kazmir because he didn’t buy into Rick’s program, and he’s weird.”

What? I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I told him that his paper’s actions were unethical and that I would print what he said. He didn’t seem to care, I printed it, and even have repeated it on dozens of radio shows since. No one seems to be too disturbed by it.

The truth is, Peterson’s input played a role, and as he was the “CEO of Pitching”, but his “I’ll fix him in 10 minutes” comment, perpetuated as the REASON, is regurgitated nonsense. Much like the oft-repeated “Play it again, Sam” line from “Casablanca”, it doesn’t exist and is a myth. Also, John Franco and Al Leiter, while liked by ownership, were not asked for their input at the time of the deal. At that time, there was a growing resentment between certain members of the media, the two aforementioned veterans, and the manager.

Again, sound familiar?

Contrary to a recent TV report, and confirmed by more than one former member of the 2002 front office, Mets COO Jeff Wilpon, though respectful of Goldis, who was once the young Wilpon’s batting coach, did not “engineer” the Kazmir trade. As I reported then, and am reporting now, Jeff Wilpon was very reluctant to deal the young left-hander, who had become a fan favorite before ever throwing a pitch for the big league Mets, because of his tenure with the younger Wilpon’s claim to fame; the Brooklyn Cyclones. The opinion was shared by Duquette, long an admirer of the building of an organization from within.

The only problem was that his “assistants” had been spending the season plotting their purge of the previous – and current – regime’s prospects. Adding to that dynamic was the fact that Fred Wilpon had never really trusted Duquette’s evaluation skills, and had tried to hire Minaya away from the Expos in early 2004 before grudgingly giving the job to him. Instead, he hired the superscouts.

”We knew when Jim took over that that we had to hire two superscouts right away,” Fred Wilpon told the New York Times in 2005. “’Now Jim has two guys who are very, very important to him.”

Ah, the irony.

But later that summer, while the shining light of Art Howe had finally begun to dim, the Mets were again playing under expectations. Faced with slim-to-none hopes of making the postseason, the “Kitchen Cabinet” pulled the trigger. It was the room, dominated by Goldis and Livesey (whose role was excellently portrayed by Lawrence Rocca in a story published in the Newark Star-Ledger in August of 2004), that Fred Wilpon listened to and trusted the wrong people, and a franchise was ruptured.

The “all-powerful” Jeff Wilpon, who had urged his father to give Duquette a shot at the full-time job, then had to tell his friend that he was out and Omar, Fred’s personal choice, was in. The backlash from the deal was so unexpected, so bitter and so intense that “someone needed to pay the price.” Only recently has Duquette ever spoken about who pulled the trigger and even then, by only saying “There were too many cooks in the kitchen.”

Over the next two years, Wilpon’s money, Minaya’s personality and a very professional Willie Randolph were able to turn things around quickly, but as the organization started to heal itself, another man who would be King started to exert the influence bestowed on him by the GM. The difference is, this assistant GM had his sights set on the manager, pitching coach and others in the organization. He operated in the shadows like Goldis – and started driving good people out of the organization.

I wrote about this in the summer of 2005, as did Madden and Newsday’s Ken Davidoff.

Peterson kept his job (Bernazard realized that the Wilpons hired Peterson, not Duquette, a little too late), but he was able to drive Minor League Coordinator Tony Tijerina out the door. Most fans don’t know “T.J.”, but the former minor league catcher served as a player, coach, manager and assistant to Guy Conti (who he replaced as Coordinator) for the Mets since 1991, when he was drafted in the 13th round of the amateur draft. Deemed “too negative” by Bernazard to be a cog in his machine, he was replaced by Luis Aguayo.

Yeah, the new third base coach.

The new first base coach is former Minor League Manager of the Year Ken Oberkfell. The superb skipper, who helped develop David Wright, Jose Reyes and Kazmir, was really supposed to be the Mets manager in 2005. But once his biggest supporter (Duquette) was replaced as GM, he wasn’t even given an interview. Retreads Terry Collins and Jim Riggleman were, though.

The only good thing to come out of this whole debacle is that Oberkfell and new pitching coach Dan Warthen are getting their chance to work for the Mets. Finally. Good things do happen to good people.

Now to Randolph. Undermined by Bernazard, the lack of any real confidants on his coaching staff (interim manager Jerry Manuel was an Omar hire), and all of the mistakes made by the front office doesn’t change the fact that he wasn’t a very good manager. He deserved to be fired last year, got a chance to redeem himself, but didn’t deserve to get fired the way he did. Blame Omar Minaya for the clumsy way he handled this entire situation. Blame Omar Minaya for his assistant’s constant open-door policy with the Latino players, which hurt the skipper’s credibility. But stop blaming Fred and Jeff Wilpon for stuff they didn’t do.

Fred and Jeff Wilpon did not order Omar Minaya to fire Willie Randolph in the middle of the night. That was Minaya’s doing, and was on Minaya’s timetable. Sure, much like former Met Bobby Valentine’s ill-advised “Baseball at-bat on Marijuana” pantomime at the Tony Tarasco press conference in 2002, Randolph’s comments on race and SNY were an impetus for then Phillips and now Minaya to get the final approval from Fred Wilpon to fire the manager. Fred Wilpon is building his rotunda to honor Jackie Robinson, and is the guy who really hired Willie Randolph in the first place. He was hurt, and shocked that his manager could say the things he did. The moment they were made, the last real support Randolph had died. Jeff Wilpon? He was ready to fire Randolph after last year’s collapse, sure. So were a lot of people. Had he really “run” the organization, he would have. He deferred to Minaya. So much for that nonsense.

My favorite line lately is “Jeff Wilpon leaked info to the media”, as being blamed by many for the terrible timing of the firing. One writer even went on to say that Jeff “picked his favorite media guys” and told them that the firings were imminent. Really? Who would those guys be? The answer is zero. The media has been relentlessly smearing Jeff for years. Some have called him “Paris Wilpon” and others spew derivatives of “rich, spoiled, silver spoon brat” around the tabloids and blogs for good measure.

He’s no George Clooney. But he’s honest and while he often chooses not to comment, he never gets the benefit of the doubt. He had a few weeks there in the winter, as he was lauded for his role in the Johan Santana negotiations, but otherwise, is never fairly treated.

“Why should he have any say in the team, he’s just the owner’s son.” barks Chris Russo on WFAN. Sure Chris, I’m sure if you, or Peter Gammons or Vinnie From Flushing’s dad owned the Mets, you’d get a job in some other industry. Jealousy, thy name is everyone not named Jeff Wilpon.

Admittedly, both Fred and Jeff can be their own worst enemy, as they lack the communication ooze of PR hacks. But they are straightforward, honest, family men that refuse to lower themselves to debating with people that use personal attacks, embittered ex-employees and innuendo to publish the “facts”. Their biggest problem is that they put their trust, consistently, in the wrong people. From Al Harazin to Steve Phillips, the list is long.

Fred Wilpon loves baseball. He loves it so much that during this spring training he was talking to anyone who would listen about young pitcher Jon Niese. Jeff Wilpon loves baseball so much he goes on scouting trips to watch all levels of the farm system. They have been wrong often, and are stubborn, and defensive. But they love this club, want to win a World Series, and dammit, in a industry that is littered with franchises that could care less about being competitive, they desire excellence.

They’re not perfect, and they sure as hell have no particular affection for me (which is an understatement), as I have been extremely critical of ownership through the years. But they are NOT at fault for this latest debacle. This is fully and completely the responsibility of Omar Minaya.

Because he’s extremely likable, friendly and a honest GM (who understands his fan base more than most GMs), so much like painting Rick Peterson as a vindictive mad scientist, the media’ decision to portray Minaya as the reluctant triggerman is equally easy.

The evil Queen did not send the huntsman into the woods to kill Snow White. Great drama, great soap opera, but ultimately, bull.

The truth? Minaya’s firing of Randolph had a heckuva lot to do with his own job security. If he’s going to go down, he’s going to go down with his own guy, Manuel. You see, back in 2005, Rudy Jaramillo was Omar’s first choice to manage his club. Bobby Valentine was also a consideration, but not an option. Randolph – who had been linked to the Reds with Minaya as a possible manager-GM team in 2000 — was a compromise candidate, agreed on by Omar with full support – and strong suggestion — of ownership.

Then-newly hired Bernazard was never really on board with the hire, but waited until he had consolidated his power to start sowing his seeds of discontent. For nearly two seasons, Bernazard has been undermining the skipper in the clubhouse and in the front office. Thanks to The Daily News’ Bill Madden and WFAN’s Mike Francesa and Chris Russo (the latter two are sadly, vastly uninformed in other aspects of the story), his role took him out of the shadows a bit.

“(Thankfully) he’s Minaya’s problem,” said one baseball official, who spoke with Gotham Baseball Magazine on condition of anonymity. “He and Goldis are peas in a pod.”

So, the free-for-all now being directed at the Mets’ ownership, while par for the course, is ridiculous and unwarranted.

Randolph deserved to be fired at the end of last season, and 2008 should have been the beginning of a new regime. Minaya decided to keep the manager, and couldn’t bring himself to make a decision that was months in the making. He repeatedly told people in Tuesday’s press conference that it was “his decision”, yet the mudslinging of Fred and Jeff Wilpon is the main theme of what you read and hear today.

Unfair, and far from the truth.

All indications are that, even if the Mets miss the postseason again, Minaya will be safe. But will Bernazard? For the Mets’ sake – and Minaya’s – a real VP of Player Development is needed. It’s hard to imagine Minaya firing his friend, but maybe like in “What About Bob”, the Mets will find someone to take him off their hands.

Bernazard was in line for the Pirates GM job (which went to Neil Huntington), and lots of Mets’ insiders were secretly hoping he would get the gig. He didn’t. He is also being rumored to be in line for the vacant Seattle GM job.

Don’t be surprised if you see lots of crossed fingers at the next organizational meetings.

Internal Strife In Flushing?

Anyone who’s ever paid close attention to the ownership / front office dynamic of the New York Mets over the years knows there’s always more going on behind the scenes than is ever reported. Ex assistant GM Tony Bernazard was a divisive force between ownership and baseball operations long before he ripped off his shirt in Binghamton. Fred Wilpon once hired his son’s former batting coach to help run his scouting department. Ownership once fired a very competent GM because he didn’t want to carry a cell phone.

One would have thought that the hiring of a no-nonsense Marine with a great baseball resume would have put an end to all these shenanigans. Unfortunately, when the protagonists of the messy office politics are the ownership group, even the most competent GM — even who has the backing of the Commissioner of Major League Baseball — has his hands full.

Whether one wants to believe the hiring of Sandy Alderson as Mets GM was by direction of Bud Selig or not, one important element of the move is significant; Jeff Wilpon, the team Chief Operating Officer was not on board with the hiring. Perhaps more accurately, the younger Wilpon was not given a vote in the decision. Nor was he given a vote in the initial hiring of the team’s manager, Terry Collins.

I was told at the time, and have been told again that despite what is continuously reported in the mainstream media, Jeff Wilpon is on the outside looking in as far as the baseball operations department is concerned, and he isn’t happy about it at all. More than one Former Mets executive who no longer work for the club and wish to remain anonymous all tell a similar tale; there is a growing tension between the ownership group and the baseball operations group because certain promises regarding payroll have not been kept, and the junior Wilpon has been ‘very impatient with the rebuilding process, and wants it accelerated”.

There is little love lost between Alderson’s staff and the COO, because the GM runs his department separately from the rest of the organization, and really doesn’t allow the access to ownership which was responsible for so much dysfunction in the past. That is particularly galling to Jeff Wilpon, who spends most of his time and gets a good deal of information from pre-Alderson Assistant GM John Ricco.

“It’s not a good situation,” said one Mets insider we spoke to. “Alderson is frustrated because he’s not getting the money he wants to spend on players, and then has to deal with the owner’s son sending a mixed message.”

It’s unclear as to whether this turmoil will in any way tamper what is clearly a challenging offseason for the embattled franchise, but it’s clear that the GM’s job, as hard as it is, is starting to get even harder.

Untouchables: the Case for Syndergaard and Montero

Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero, depending on who you ask, are one of two things. For those with a daunting fear of the unknown, they’re keys to a barely pre-owned, just as shiny as the day he was unwrapped, somehow 24-year-old Giancarlo Stanton. For others, they’re the Matlack and Stone to Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler’s Seaver and Koosman.

But because we don’t live in a world of binaries, the two pitching prospects aren’t nearly as expendable as the first contingent would have you believe, nor are they the franchise saviors the second group might boast. They should, however, fall decidedly on the “Keep Them” side of the spectrum.

Mets fans having been previously put through the ringer time and again with pitching prospects who didn’t pan out, compounded with several black holes in the Mets’ lineup, plus a general human fear of the unknown, makes it hard to so vehemently defend the value in two minor-league pitchers, one who hasn’t yet faced the gauntlet of the Pacific Coast League. But make no mistake, they should be here to stay.

Before examining what makes Syndergaard and Montero keepers, it’s important to remind ourselves how crucial organizational pitching depth is. The Mets tied for the National League in pitchers who started a game in 2013 (12). That number isn’t far above the league average (10.47), and most teams were in the eight to 11 range. Consider, though, some of the back-end guys who carried the torch for New York: Daisuke Matsuzaka, Aaron Laffey, Aaron Harang (there were indeed two Aarons on the Mets this season), Collin McHugh and the ill-fated Shaun Marcum.

Next, consider the National League champion Cardinals, who used only two fewer starting pitchers than the Mets. Among the late-season fill-ins who made the spot-starts that become inevitable over a 162-game season: Michael Wacha, Carlos Martinez, Joe Kelly. It’s a six-month slog for every team, and as a fan, you don’t want to be the one tweeting, “Who had Dice-K starting for the #Mets on August 23?” You want to be watching meaningful baseball in September, and any baseball at all in October.

It’s easy enough to sit here and say a Harvey-Wheeler-Jon Niese-Dillon Gee front-four will do just fine. And with each of them playing at the peak of his abilities, and tapping into his potential, it’s not a rotation I’d soon want to face. But that’s not how Major League Baseball plays out. Pesky things like shoulders and elbows come into play in a league where you can’t construct a rotation in a vacuum. Harvey requiring Tommy John surgery, specifically, exposed just how fickle a raw, prized arm is, even under the most fastidious watch and concern.

At this point in their careers, it’s not worth predicting how Syndergaard and Montero will figure into the Mets’ rotation in 2014 and immediately beyond. Both project to be called up at some point in the upcoming season, and will probably do so under the pretenses that the Mets could not staple down a back-end starter, not as supplements for a midseason or playoff push. Although their niche in the Mets rotation will be murky at first, exacerbated by Harvey’s absence throwing the staff off its axis, keeping them at all is of utmost importance for the Mets going forward.

Let’s begin with Syndergaard, who’s yet to throw a single pitch of Triple-A ball. The 21-year-old side-dish to Travis d’Arnaud’s main course in the R.A. Dickey trade with Toronto, his legend burgeoned with a masterful stretch at Double-A Binghamton in 2013. In 11 Eastern League starts, Syndergaard went 6-1 with a 3.00 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, and 69 strikeouts in 54 innings pitched. The numbers were slightly better than those from his 12 starts with High-A St. Lucie, where he went just 3-3 with a 3.11 ERA and 1.21 WHIP.

Much of his success at the higher level had to do with his workload and the way management minced his starts. He went six full innings or less in all but one start, and was never pulled in the middle of a frame. One hopes the measured pace of his development is less coddling than it is exactly what he needs to thrive as he climbs the minor-league ranks and eventually takes the mound at Citi Field. From a stuff perspective, at 6-foot-6, the righty is very much a downhill thrower, using his imposing size to power a fastball that generally touches 96 mph. His secondary pitches, a power curve and power change-up (power can be ascribed to pretty much anything Syndergaard does) are a work in progress, but his projection as a front-line starter doesn’t seem an overestimation at all.

Montero, a six-foot 23-year-old Dominican product, gets by with more savvy than power, with a slider and fading change-up that are already quality pitches — though his fastball can still hit 95. To his credit, he has already spent half a season in the PCL, and turned the pitcher’s worst nightmare into a stellar campaign, most strikingly allowing just four home runs in 16 starts for the Las Vegas 51’s in 2013. He was hit in Triple-A (.254 BAA), but perhaps more telling is his comparatively low ERA (3.05) and his torrid stretch in Double-A to being the season (7-3, 2.43 ERA, 0.92 WHIP in 11 starts).

Naturally, there’s an apprehension to accept flashy minor-league numbers as minor-league numbers. And when you can sell high on unproven talent to bolster a team with innumerable holes in its lineup, it almost seems like a no-brainer. But the prevailing sentiment should be that when you’re rearing the two most promising arms in years (Syndergaard and Montero), just months after you’ve finished rearing the two most promising arms in years (Harvey and Wheeler), you stop becoming ashamed about your embarrassment of riches.

There are other ways to field a lineup, which depending on your faith in Sandy Alderson’s piggy bank, may or may not be found in value, mid-level free-agent signings, or perhaps trading less-heralded, less-advanced pitching prospects for smaller returns than a Stanton. This isn’t to say the Mets don’t need a few impact bats like the fate of the franchise’s next decade depended on it — it does — but the point of no return on Syndergaard and Montero, if ever there was a time to doubt their spot on the Mets going forward, is squarely in the rear-view mirror.

Does Methodology Matter?

“My nature is such I am not interested in buying things. Building something is fun. That’s competition. That’s what the real fans really want.” – M. Donald Grant, 1978

When the once-powerful M. Donald Grant was cut loose by the New York Mets, he defended his penurious spending practices to his sometimes defender, the bombastic Dick Young, in a column written on Nov. 25, 1978.

In print, Young followed the quote from Grant with a quotable of his own:

“(Grant) has overestimated the fans. The fans want a winner, and could care less how it is achieved. That is the lesson we have all learned, or should have.”

Forget the backstory of Seaver and Thornton Geary; Young was once a great columnist who — for a great deakl of time — understood the fans of New York better than most.

I don’t bring this up to dredge up the eventual erosion of every ethical Young once stood for, but to ponder the point he was trying to make. Do fans really care about the methodology more than the result?

The Miracle Mets shocked the baseball world with a fresh-faced kiddie corps led by Seaver and Koosman. The arrogant, hedonistic 1986 version also won the brass ring, yet are as beloved by their fans as much as the New Breed who cherished theirs.

The current Mets fan is understandably impatient. Confused about the ownership’s true financial standing, or celebrating the “sensible” approach to team building is a constant theme on social media and on sports radio.

But in the end, does it really matter HOW success is eventually achieved? I would really like to know.

The Full Nelson: The Man Who Saved The Mets

“There are still a lot of National League fans in this town. If you can show them a clean stadium where they can get a beer and a hot dog and have a good time, you’ve got a good thing going.” – Nelson Doubleday.

The year is 1979. The cheers from the magical summer of a decade ago have long grown silent. The New York Mets have the worst record in the National League. A stadium, that just 15 years ago hosted the All-Star Game and was a major attraction at the 1964bWorld’s Fair, is filthy, neglected and on most days, empty. With the exception of homegrown matinee idol and All-Star center fielder Lee Mazzilli; the once-Amazin’ Mets are an embarrassment.

John O. Pickett, the owner of the New York Islanders, knew something about what buying a downtrodden franchise and making it a champion. So he convinced his country club pal and publishing magnate Nelson Doubleday (a fellow investor in Pickett’s once-pathetic, now on the cusp of greatness hockey team), that they should buy a 40 percent interest in the woebegone Mets.

At first, the process seemed daunting; finding a group that made sense to partner with failed a few times, and there were plenty of other parties vying for a shot at rebuilding New York’s National League club. One of those groups included a real estate developer named Fred Wilpon, who was willing but unable to raise any cash. He and his brother-in-law Saul Katz had a little more than a million bucks, but the price-tag for the Mets was 21 million dollars, a record sum at the time.

In a decision he would later regret, Doubleday – at Pickett’s urging — agreed to allow Wilpon to become part of his ownership group. Doubleday Publishing would control 95 percent of the team and Doubleday himself would serve as chairman of the board. Fred Wilpon owned anywhere from 2.5 % or 5% of the club, depending on who you wish to cite at the time of the sale.

The Associated Press ran several stories on the sale of the Mets to the Doubleday group, one which mentioned Pickett as the other principal investor (the AP story was titled “Lowly Mets Sold To Printer”), stating he’d been “identified with Sterling Equities, Inc.”, the real estate firm owned by Wilpon and his brother-in-law Saul Katz.

Neither Pickett or Doubleday liked the limelight.

“We never wanted the spotlight and were never in the spotlight even when we were winning,” Pickett said of his ownership group during the glory days of the Islanders. “It just wasn’t important.” – NY Daily News, Feb. 15, 1998

Neither was putting his own personal stamp on the team. Like Doubleday, Pickett believed that he was a owner first, fan second, and the best way to build a champion was to hire competent professionals and get out of the way. Bill Torrey (who was hired as the team’s first-ever GM at Doubleday’s urging), and Al Arbour, the respective Hall of Fame GM and coach did their jobs, Pickett went to the games.

Pickett and Doubleday assumed that this would be the case with the Mets. That modesty would backfire, as their “front man” for the ownership group would be Fred Wilpon. The long-suffering Brooklyn Dodgers fan and childhood friend of Sandy Koufax was the spokesperson at the press conference introducing them to the New York media. Doubleday even gave Wilpon the title of team president and CEO, believing that like his own title, Wilpon would treat his role on the team as largely administrative. Pickett had his hands full with the Islanders, Doubleday was running one of the biggest publishing houses in the country, and figured Wilpon’s real estate company would keep him equally engaged. In fact, the second largest error made by the Doubleday ownership group (including Wilpon in the Mets purchase was far more egregious), was not hiring someone outside of the ownership group to serve as President and CEO.

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Most people who follow the team today simply refer to the purchase of the Mets in 1980 from Charles Shipman Payson as when “Doubleday and Wilpon bought the team.”

In the New York Times, however, Doubleday was the guy who bought the team. Joe Durso, the late Hall Of Fame sportswriter from the New York Times called Pickett “ the man who had brought all the investors together” and preferred “to stay in the background and probably would,”

Wilpon, in what would be a foreshadowing of decades of strange quotes, said at the press conference,” John Pickett was very instrumental in guiding us, but there is no definite role for him now.”

Implied or not, it gave the impression Wilpon was dismissing Pickett, rather than giving him credit for putting the group together. It would be the first of public gaffes by Fred Wilpon and his employees that would eventually define the “Wilpon Doctrine”; take a simple situation and complicate it with over-thinking, and defensive corporate-speak.

Doubleday owned 11% of the Islanders during their heyday, and saw firsthand how Pickett’s style worked superbly. With the Mets, by allowing Frank Cashen to build slowly and surely – — and keeping Fred Wilpon from becoming too involved in the day-to-day executive he was becoming — the Mets would become a champion.

Doubleday still gets far too little credit for being THE owner of the Mets during their rise to glory. Part of it was his own doing, as he distrusted the media and granted few interviews during his tenure. One interview he did give, however, to Nancy Perry of Fortune Magazine was incredibly revealing.

Conducted over a course of several conversations with Doubleday in January of 1986 months before the amazing summer and fall that was to follow, it is by far the most complete interview ever done with the former Mets owner.

Six years ago, he says, everybody thought he was crazy to pay $21 million for a team that had finished last in the National League’s Eastern Division for three seasons in a row and was losing money. Friends laughed. Some Doubleday directors questioned his judgment. Worst of all, the “Cuckoo Convoy” thought he was nuts.

Back then Doubleday was in a group of citizens’ band radio freaks who met over the airwaves on their daily commute into Manhattan. A diverse group ranging from a maintenance man to a phone booth manufacturer to a big-time book publisher, they nicknamed themselves the Cuckoo’s Nest Convoy. Doubleday’s on-air name was the Bookworm. For five years, before CBs gave way to cellular car phones, he and his good buddies met to kibitz, talk sports, and tell jokes. He invited them to lunch at ”21,” greeted them at Shea Stadium by flashing ”Welcome Cuckoos” on the scoreboard, and chattered with them nonstop on the CB.

”It seemed a hideaway for him,” says Miles Godin, an advertising executive known to CBers as Magic Pencil.’ At Doubleday, everyone did things because he was Doubleday. But with us he was just the Bookworm.”

The day after he bought the Mets, Doubleday stopped as he did every morning for coffee with the Cuckoos at the McDonald’s on Astoria Boulevard in Queens. ”What are you buying a crummy team like the Mets for?” they razzed him over Egg McMuffins. His reply was prophetic. ”Just you wait,” he retorted. ”Give me five or six years, and they will be a first-place team.”

The Doubleday Publishing heir eating Egg McMuffins at McDonald’s in Astoria? Hanging out with a bunch of his CB buddies? Now this is a guy who should have let us peek behind the curtain more often.

In any event, he went out and made good on his boast, hiring former O’s executive Cashen to run his team. He was “the best guy for the job”, or so said MLB Commissioner Bowie Kuhn, for whom Cashen had been working for several years.

For the next six seasons, Cashen would have a free hand in creating a World Series-winning team. The front office dynamic was baseball first, everything else secondary and was cited by many as the reason for the consistent progress made by the new regime.

“Nelson made sure the baseball people were left alone,”said one former team employee, who asked that her name not be used. “In the beginning, Nelson deferred to Fred on things of a baseball nature because Nelson always thought himself as a fan and Fred had played in college. But as time went on, Fred wanted more than just a seat at the table, he wanted policies put in place that would give him more day-to-day contact with the baseball people. Nelson wouldn’t allow that. It caused problems.”

Not on the field, though, as the 1984 Mets, led by new manager Davey Johnson, started to reap the benefits of great drafts and solid trades. For all of the mistakes it made and would make (and they made plenty), Cashen’s front office was full of talented evaluators and administrators who knew their roles. They also worked well with others, as many got themselves hired by other teams. For the most part, it was an operation allowed to function without ownership interference.

New York Times columnist Joe Durso would write in 1986 that the Mets were a model franchise:

In an era when some owners of baseball teams not only telephone the dugout but also summon the manager and feud with the players, the Mets are pursuing their destiny these days in a remarkably benign relationship with their owner.

It is even more remarkable because Nelson Doubleday is the present and future chairman of the Mets: He is the man who bankrolled the team when it languished on the bottom six years ago, and the man who reflects its soaring success at the top today.

Like most owners, he is the Boss. Unlike most, he keeps his distance. He rarely visits the locker room, never second-guesses the manager and never, never calls the dugout.

”When the dugout telephone rings,” Ron Darling was saying the other day in Shea Stadium, ”you never imagine it’s Nelson Doubleday. It isn’t, and it never could be.”

”Not with that owner,” he added, with meaning. ”And not with that manager.”

”If I ever tried it,” Nelson Doubleday said, wincing at the thought,”Davey Johnson would probably take me apart.”

There’s no mention of Wilpon in that piece. Nor should there have been. Doubleday set the tone of the organization, and despite the growing presence of Wilpon (especially in Cashen’s office), Doubleday still sat at the head of the table.

But things were already starting to change.


Jesse Orosco’s triumphant pose after the final out of the 1986 World Series is remembered by every Mets fan who witnessed it at Shea Stadium, or who watched it on NBC. What’s forgotten is that Doubleday was nowhere to be found afterwards. He was not present in the clubhouse after the game, did not accept the World Series trophy from Commissioner Peter Ueberroth, and did not attend the ticker tape parade.

In the aforementioned interview with Fortune, he was quoted as saying that he didn’t want the publicity, and that his feelings when the Mets clinched the championship was “tough” for him.

”The thing I never realized during the last two weeks,” he finally says, ”was the involvement of the city of New York. I think I was involved with the Mets and with winning, but . . .” His voice quavers and he breaks off, unable to continue. Tears glisten in his eyes, trickle down his cheeks.

”I had no concept,” he whispers after a moment. ”I really had no concept of just how much this meant to a lot of people.” He brushes the tears from his face, embarrassed, but they keep coming. ”I guess I surprise myself when I do something right,” he says.

It wasn’t until the year 2000, with the Mets facing the Yankees in the World Series, did anyone put some of the puzzle pieces together. Yes, Doubleday was a man who cherised his privacy, but according to Andrew Rice in the New York Observer, the emotion and lack of attendance during what should have been a triumphant time for Doubleday might have been borne out of anger, outrage and a sense of betrayal.

“ … around the same time, Mr. Wilpon was outmaneuvering Mr. Doubleday, parlaying his 5 percent stake into half-ownership. At the time, Mr. Doubleday was selling the publishing company that owned the Mets to the German firm Bertelsmann A.G. But Mr. Wilpon had a right of first refusal in the event of any sale of the team, and his lawyers made it clear he was ready to exercise it. In a settlement, the two men agreed to become equal partners, paying Bertelsmann $81 million for the team. It has been said that Mr. Doubleday never forgave Mr. Wilpon.”

We now know that during the 1985 season, while Doubleday was busy revamping his family’s publishing company (impressively enough to start a bidding war for its eventual purchase), Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz started investing with Bernie Madoff, and had lots of new money to play with.

When Bertelsmann purchased Doubleday Publishing, Doubleday not include the Mets in the sale because was planning on purchasing the club for himself. He had grown weary of playing offensive line for his GM against Wilpon, who clearly wanted his children to start getting involved in the team. It was not a situation Doubleday wished to continue. He felt “ambushed” said another former employee, who still works in baseball and did not wish to be identified.

In 1993, Doubleday would resurface after the Bud Selig/Jerry Reinsdorf-led ouster of then-Commisioner Fay Vincent, disagreeing vehemently with the decision and the people he believed to have led the movement.

Doubleday not only questioned loyalties, but vote-gathering tactics of three anti-Vincent owners: Bud Selig of the Milwaukee Brewers, Jerry Reinsdorf of the Chicago White Sox and Peter O’Malley of the Los Angeles Dodgers, even though all three have been quoted as saying they were not the leaders.

“They got 18 votes,” Doubleday said. “They conned 18 votes. Even the people who said, ‘The commissioner did a lot for us,’ they voted against him. That includes two of the newcomers. I don’t know what those guys promised them, but they must have promised them some sweet candy.”

As Doubleday predicted, the machinations of the owners would prove catastrophic. Vincent was more inclined to work with the MLBPA, whereas Selig and the owners were not, which would ultimately result in the 1994 player’s strike that would wipe out the World Series.

Unfortunately for Doubleday, his anger got the best of him. John Helyar, a Wall Street Journal reporter who co-wrote the best-selling “Barbarians at the Gate,” quoted Doubleday in his book making a racial slur. In the “Lords of the Realm”, Doubleday, angry that NL President Bill White and AL President Bobby Brown agreed to letting the owners call the meeting to vote to oust Vincent, yelled at both of them. “Well, I guess the Jewboys have gotten to you,” referring to Selig, the owner of the Milwaukee Brewers, and Reinsdorf, the owner of the Chicago White Sox.

What Doubleday didn’t know, and what most still don’t realize, is that Fred Wilpon very quietly was allying himself with both Reinsdorf and Selig in the ouster of Vincent. Wilpon may not have ever been as savvy a baseball man as he thought he was, but he was very good at creating networks of influence. It would prove very useful in the years to come for Wilpon, especially with regards to his relationship with Selig, who would become the next Commissioner.

Doubleday was extremely embarrassed and upset by the incident, and again removed himself from the public eye. It wasn’t until the Mike Piazza trade, a deal he pushed for, that Doubleday was back in the picture.

”Absolutely I’m getting more involved,” Doubleday. ”I’m around. I am back. I’m going to be much more involved. I had a lot of family stuff I was doing. It took up a lot of my time and I’m now able to concentrate on baseball.”

Doubleday would make news again during the 2000 World Series by publicly stating he did not share his partner’s vision of a new Ebbets Field.

“I’m not particularly interested in seeing a whole lot of taxpayer money going into a New York Mets fancy-dancy stadium,” Doubleday told the Observer while watching batting practice before Game 3 of the 2000 World Series. “We could [renovate Shea Stadium] over three years, section by section. This is a pretty nice place to play ball.”

The stadium issue was the last straw for Doubleday, who spent most of the last few years of his ownership trying to find the highest bidder for the Mets.

Last year, Mr. Doubleday was ready to sell 80 percent of the team to Cablevision for $400 million-a deal that could have shielded his children, who are uninvolved in the Mets’ affairs, from huge estate taxes. But Mr. Wilpon scuttled the deal, out of a concern that, as a minority partner once again, there would be no assurance that he would still run the team. Jeff Wilpon, who is closely involved with the day-to-day planning for the new stadium, is said to be eager to take over the team one day. – NY Observer

In 2002, Doubleday based the value of his franchise on the Cablevision offer in 1999, which was reported to be $500 million. So when he finally decided to sell to Wilpon and Katz, it seemed a fair valuation of the franchise could not be agreed on by the two parties, so a mediator was appointed. When he came back with a figure of $391 million, it appeared to Doubleday that the very agreeable “independent” mediator (who had once worked for an accounting firm hired by Fred Wilpon at Sterling Equities) and the MLB Commissioner were working in “cahoots” to lesson the value of the franchise.

He filed suit, claiming Robert Starkey’s valuation of the Mets was related to the owners trying to keep the Major League Players Association in the dark about the real value of baseball’s franchises, and that he was being shortchanged because of it. When Wilpon countersued, Doubleday finally sold his share to Wilpon and Katz for far less than he (and Forbes magazine, who valued the team ar $454 million ) thought his share of the franchise was worth. The reason for his quick capitulation is not known, but it’s not hard to speculate whether the strong relationship between Fred Wilpon and Bud Selig played a role.

Defeated, Doubleday would not go out quietly, angrily lashing out in what would be his last interview for very long time, unleashing a tirade of bitterness at the Newark Star Ledger’s Larry Rocca on July 21, 2003.

It has been almost 11 months since he completed the sale of his half of the Mets to Fred Wilpon, and Nelson Doubleday misses being involved in Major League Baseball, which is not to say he misses being involved with the Mets.

“I think it’s been awful out there,” Doubleday said by phone early Friday night from his Long Island home. “I don’t want to fire shells at somebody, but we’re 22 games out. It’s so close that it gets you nervous. We might fall into a minor league. We might not even make it into Triple-A.

Doubleday has great disdain for Fred Wilpon, but maybe even more for his son, whom he single-handedly kept out of the organization in recent years.

“I saw a comment in another paper after the (Roberto) Alomar trade, that it was a very good trade, but it would have been an excellent trade if they had included Jeff Wilpon. (John) Franco and (Al) Leiter meet with Mr. Jeff Wilpon everyday. Mr. Jeff Wilpon has decided that he’s going to learn how to run a baseball team and take over at the end of the year. Run for the hills, boys. I think probably all those baseball people will bail.” …

Doubleday also said he “felt badly” that Steve Phillips and Bobby Valentine were fired. “I mean, Art Howe?” Doubleday said. “Come on. This isn’t Padooka.” … Doubleday misses baseball, but not the Wilpons or the Mets.

The real tragedy isn’t that Nelson Doubleday isn’t the majority owner of the Mets anymore, because had he not been forced to bring Wilpon in as an equal partner in 1986, he likely would have sold the team once his health issues became serious during the early 1990’s.

Instead, it is that the 1980-1986 period of Mets history isn’t remembered as “The Doubleday Era”. Whether its revisionist history mandated by a Wilpon administration that has spent much of its existence ignoring Mets history, the Payson Family, Bill Shea, the 1973 NL pennant winners, or go-along, get-along journalists who have been scarred by the thin skins of the aforementioned ownership group, it’s always Wilpon and Doubleday this, or Wilpon and Doubleday that.

Sorry, folks, it was Nelson Doubleday, with or without Bernie Madoff’s favorite investor, who stepped in when Shea Stadium became a ghost town.

For years, Mets fans have been complaining that people like Davey Johnson, Frank Cashen, Darryl Strawberry and Dwight Gooden deserved to be in the Mets Hall of Fame, a modest display once housed in the old Shea Stadium Diamond Club. When Citi Field opened to mixed reviews, with many wondering if the Brooklyn Dodgers were returning to the borough to play there, there was no Mets Hall of Fame to be seen. When asked, Fred talked about vague plans for its future.

“We’re intending to have a Mets Hall of Fame,” Wilpon said after the dedication of the Jackie Robinson Rotunda in April. “We haven’t put it into practice. We’ll have a Mets Hall of Fame, Mets memorabilia. Things of that nature.” … Asked where the new display would be, Wilpon said, “We haven’t really exactly said where it’s going to be. We think it’s going to be out in the food court, where so many people will get to see it.”

Citi Field, whose opening was marred by a Jody Gerut home run which beat the Mets, and a season where the Mets would lose 92 games, would be vilified more as the terrible season wore on. So the food court idea was transformed into a very nice Mets Hall of Fame for the 2010 season, and Cashen, Hernandez, Strawberry and Dwight Gooden were enshrined in a very nice ceremony.

Yet the person most responsible for the 1986 World Series trophy, a prize that the franchise has yet to regain, is nowhere to be found.

If anyone deserves a spot in the Mets Hall of Fame it is Nelson Doubleday. He probably wouldn’t attend the ceremony, would likely turn down the honor even if he was so honored, but future generations of Mets fans should know and appreciate his place in New York Mets history.

Armida: Yankees, Jeter Do The Right Thing

One of mt favorite writers, Gary Armida, recently opined out the New York Yankees did the right thing by giving Derek Jeter a lot of cash to return to the team in 2014. Whether you agree or not, Armida makes a strong case in favor of the deal.

Surely, there will be many who disagree about giving a player who is entering his age 40 season a guaranteed $12 million. And, considering he hit just .190/.288/.254 and missed all but 17 games due to an assortment of injuries. With a season like that and at that age, any team would be justified in handing out an incentive-laden deal to its long-time star.

But, this is Derek Jeter and this is the New York Yankees organization.

It may sound cliche and all, but there is a difference when discussing how the Yankees spend their money. There will be talk about the $185 million and implications on the luxury tax, which are two things that nobody, even the most seasoned of investigative journalists don’t have anything definitive. There will be talk about an aging core and the need to rebuild.

Read the rest of the post here…

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