Mets Merized Online » interview Mon, 05 Dec 2016 13:30:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Strawberry Is Trying to Save Gooden’s Life Mon, 22 Aug 2016 17:13:19 +0000 strawberry and gooden

After the 30 for 30 special entitled “Doc and Darryl,” many Mets fans came away from the documentary feeling that while Darryl Strawberry had turned his life around, many feared that Dwight Gooden had not. Many feared that trouble still lied ahead for the once great Met phenom.

Unfortunately, as it turns out, those fears may not have been displaced. In fact, they were re-ignited when Gooden failed to appear for what was supposed to be a joint interview with Strawberry on WFAN with host Joe Beningo.

In an exclusive interview with John Harper of the New York Daily News, Strawberry somberly said, “I have to try something before he’s dead.”

“The condition Doc is in, it’s bad, it’s horrible. It’s like cocaine poison. I feel like I’ve got to get it out there because nobody else is doing anything to help him, and it might be the only way to stop him.”

Strawberry painted a dire picture of Gooden’s health, a player who was 190 pounds in his playing days, saying, “I don’t think he weighs 150 pounds soaking wet right now.”

Dwight Gooden, Jr. (Doc’s son) reached out to Strawberry, begging him for help. “I’ve been trying behind the scenes to talk to him and get him to go for help, but he won’t listen. He thinks he can manipulate and BS his way through everything. His son called me to beg me to help his dad before he dies.”

In a publicly released statement, Gooden’s son said:

On behalf of myself and my brothers and sisters we would like to thank Darryl (Strawberry), Janice (Roots), members of the media, friends and most of all, the fans for their concern for our father’s health,” he said. “His problems have been well documented and publicized through the years. At this time our only concern is his health and that he takes care of himself. There has not been a single day that our love for him or his love for us has ever wavered. One thing that has always been constant has been our Father’s determination to provide for us regardless of what was going on in his life. He has always provided for us and has always been there for us.

This has been a very hard year for our entire family. With our Grandmother’s diminishing health and her passing last month, the stress and sadness that this brought us has been unthinkable. She was the leader of our family and things will never be the same without her. Between this and our father’s work schedule he has been under an extraordinary amount of stress, pressure and above all sadness. He has been planning on taking a break from the spotlight to rest and regroup and address his health. We will be pushing this respite up. We, as a family, are currently planning his best course of action and thank you all for your concern, messages and prayers.

But it’s not just Strawberry and Gooden’s son who are speaking out, it is also Gooden’s ex-girlfriend, Janice Roots, who desperately tried to get him to go to treatment as she told John Harper.

“I felt helpless to do anything. I finally left because to sit there and watch somebody kill himself was devastating. It got to a point where he just succumbed to his addiction.”

Roots explained that Gooden has consistently struggled not just with addiction but also with how he is perceived publicly. “He was embarrassed. He went on his book tour (in 2014) and told everybody that he was OK. He’s a celebrity. I think that’s part of the fear. He felt like others would judge him, and they probably would. Most people don’t understand addiction.”

In the end, Roots had to break off a four year relationship with Gooden this past February because his addiction became too much to handle.

“It breaks my heart because Dwight is a loving, compassionate man who took care of me when I had health problems. But then he morphed into a cocaine monster.”

I would urge you to read the entire exclusive by John Harper, who reached out to many of Doc’s friends and loved ones. The sad truth is Gooden is in a very bad place, and ultimately, it is up to him to get the help he so desperately needs.  It has been a lifelong struggle for Gooden, whose battle with addiction still wages on. Despite all the interventions by those closest to him, the fear is that Gooden is spiraling toward a tragic end.

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The Amazin’ Metscast: The Inaugural Episode Thu, 14 Jul 2016 17:00:34 +0000 yoenis cespedes

Thank you for joining us on the inaugural episode of “The Amazin’ Metscast.”

Our first episode includes an interview with WOR’s Wayne Randazzo, who can be heard on the pre and postgame shows for the New York.

We take a look at the first half of the season, the possible trade market and where this team could be headed in the second half.

Please let us know what you think and follow us on social media via our Twitter and Facebook pages at the links below.


Tweet to @theamazinmetscast

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On Being a Mets Fan in College Tue, 14 Jun 2016 15:00:14 +0000 Citrus tv countdown

College is supposed to be about finding an identity. That’s what they tell you when you first walk in past the gates into a crowded dorm full of strangers. Personally, I was fortunate to come in with one. The identity of being a Mets fan is a badge of honor that I’ve worn ever since I was able to follow a baseball game. It’s one of the first things that people associate with me. But for the first time in my life, I had my identity challenged by people and by circumstances.

Between responsibilities to professors, friends, student media organizations, and more, it’s been tough to follow the team. The perpetual stress, sleep deprivation and two pretty serious illnesses have given this past academic year its twists and turns, but underneath it all, one thing has remained constant. I’m still a Mets fan to the core, and I cling to that identity with all the strength I’ve got.

Still, being a Mets fan in college isn’t easy. Between the sometimes overwhelming time demands of academics, extracurriculars, and a social life, I don’t have time to watch every game anymore. Responsibilities at the university TV station and both radio stations have taken precedent over meticulously following the Mets. With my time spread so thin, I’ve had to get creative to follow the team.

Much to the displeasure of anybody around me during game time, Adam Rubin’s live tweets created a soundtrack wherever I went. (I coordinated Twitter alerts so that each ping on my phone signified that something happened in the game.) Breaking the mold of the thrifty college student, I even splurged for an MLB TV subscription, so I could watch games while cutting together a TV news report or engineering a talk radio show.

My own best friends have also made being a Mets fan difficult. Coming from the Midwest, they could care less about the trials and tribulations of my favorite team. In addition to the constant razzing they throw my way, they set the climate for the floor lounge. Because of them, It’s deteriorated into a free for all, with sports fans hailing from all corners of the country fighting to watch their game. Currently, with playoff basketball and hockey in full swing, I’m rarely permitted to put on the Mets.

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Despite its challenges, being a Mets fan in college has been rewarding on so many levels. The magical playoff run in 2015 connected me with seemingly all the Mets fans in my building. For each playoff game, 20 of us banded together to cheer on our favorite team. We all shared the highs together, from the blasts of Babe Murphy to sweeping the Cubs. And during the World Series, we consoled each other after Christian Colon’s fateful base hit that put the nail in the coffin on the Mets’ season.

I’ve met some great people over the course of this past year, but perhaps none more helpful than Syracuse Crunch hockey broadcaster Dan D’Uva. While working on a video project for a class about the Crunch, I noticed a poster advertising “Darryl Strawberry Night” in their arena. I immediately followed up with Dan, who is also an avid Mets fan, to see if it would be possible to set up an interview. It was a shot in the dark, but he didn’t hesitate to say yes, and I was rewarded with one of the coolest experiences of my life. I don’t often get starstruck, but as I sat rink-side interviewing Darryl Strawberry in person, I was in awe. Not only at the fact that I was casually talking to one of the greatest Mets in history, but at how the whole situation came to be. Needless to say, the interview would not have happened without the connection I made with the team’s broadcaster and public relations liaison.

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As I sit here in my dorm, packing and recovering from illness and finals, I think back over everything that’s happened to me this year. College has provided me with a plethora of unforgettable experiences in just my first year. Following the Mets from Syracuse -even in a limited capacity- has kept me not only sane but happy. Watching them gives me a chance to temporarily escape my worries and focus on the sport I love.

I’ve been rewarded immensely for being a Mets fan, from gaining great friends to having unforgettable experiences. At the end of the day, I thank my lucky stars that I root for the Mets because that’s my identity, and no person or thing can take it from me. I look forward to another awesome summer contributing to MMO.

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Mets Valued At $1.65 Billion, Season Tickets Have More Than Doubled Wed, 23 Mar 2016 18:34:04 +0000 Mets fans citi

The New York Mets were ranked as the sixth most valuable MLB franchise by Forbes today. The New York Yankees came in first with their value set at $3.4 billion dollars. Forbes says the Mets are worth $1.65 billion dollars and have annual revenue of $313 million.

1. New York Yankees $3.4B $516M
2. Los Angeles Dodgers $2.5B $438M
3. Boston Red Sox $2.3B $398M
4. San Francisco Giants $2.25B $409M
5. Chicago Cubs $2.2B $340M
6. New York Mets $1.65B $313M
7. St. Louis Cardinals $1.6B $300M
8. Los Angeles Angels $1.34B $312M
9. Washington Nationals $1.3B $293M
10. Philadelphia Phillies $1.24B $263M

In an interview with Neil Best of Newsday, Mets Chief Revenue Officer Lou DePaoli said that last year’s World Series run continues to provide big boosts to many of the team’s revenue streams.

For one, the season-ticket holder base has more than doubled compared to this time last year. While DePaoli declined to give any numbers, he did say that fans are motivated both by the fact that late last year games began to sell out, shutting out non-season ticket holders on the primary market, and because season-ticket plans allow for access to playoff tickets at face value.

The Mets drew 2,569,753 in attendance last season, their best Citi Field’s inaugural season in 2009 and an increase of 18.11 percent over 2014 according to Newsday, and those figures are expected to be eclipsed again in 2016.

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Granderson Arrives At Camp With Healthy Thumb Mon, 15 Feb 2016 16:12:06 +0000 curtis granderson hr

Curtis Granderson arrived in camp on Monday and reported his surgically repaired thumb is completely healthy.

In a video interview posted by Adam Rubin, Granderson said, “Hand’s all good. Met with the doctors, that would have been, middle of December to get the brace off and everything, and was instructed that really no physical therapy was needed. Just normal movement was going to go ahead and strengthen it right back up.”

“I’ve been working out, started hitting again in January like I normally do, all baseball activities as normal.”

Granderson injured the thumb in game three of the NLCS, but didn’t have surgery until shortly after the World Series ended.

Last season Granderson hit .259/.364/.457 with 26 HR, 70 RBIs, and 91 walks in 157 games.

I’m looking forward to having an outfield of a healthy Granderson, Yoenis Cespedes, Juan Lagares, Michael Conforto, and Alejandro De Aza this year. Let’s go Mets!

Follow me on Twitter @LBarer32


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Antonio Bastardo In Camp, Ready To Help Mets Win A Championship Fri, 05 Feb 2016 12:02:49 +0000 antonio bastardo

Antonio Bastardo is pumped to be part of the Mets bullpen and is already training at the team’s complex in Port St. Lucie. In an interview with Kevin Kernan of the New York Post, Bastardo said he wants to help the Mets anyway he can and he looks forward to bridging the gap from the starters to closer Jeurys Familia.

“I know the Mets needed help and that is why I signed here,’’ Bastardo told The Post. “The Mets have a great team, with great, great young arms. We just have to make sure we stay focused and hopefully this year or next year we can win the World Series.”

“I want to make it so Familia is fresh in the ninth inning. Four outs is a lot of work for the closer. You want him fresh for that winning situation in the ninth.’’

Bastardo, 30, signed a two year, $12 million deal in January and the lefty is expected to take over the setup role for the Mets this season – a role the team struggled to fill consistently in 2015.

“If our pitchers dominate from the first to the sixth or seventh inning they’re not going to have a chance,” Bastardo said in a phone interview with Matt Ehalt of The Record. “They’ll be frustrated from beginning to end.”

Bastardo could not contain his excitement about joining the Mets and he expects big things this season and next.

“The team was in the World Series and competed the whole year. That makes me think we can be in that spot this year, for sure,” Bastardo said. “If you see the starting pitching we have, and the hitters we have, all that makes you think about being in the World Series with these guys.”

Bastardo had a great year for the Pirates, going 4-1 with a 2.98 ERA, 1.134 WHIP and a 10.0 K/9 rate. He appeared in 66 games and pitched 57.1 innings, striking out 64 and walking 26.

Lefties batted a mere .138 (9-65) against Bastardo in 2015, with one home run and three RBIs (righties batted .207). In his career, lefties have batted .176 against him, so last season was not an outlier.

(Photo: NY Post)

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Gilmartin, Montero, Verrett Could Fill Sixth Starter Role Thu, 04 Feb 2016 19:01:11 +0000 sean gilmartin

According to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, the Mets could turn to one of Sean Gilmartin or Logan Verrett as a sixth starter during the first half of the season. I would also add Rafael Montero into that equation as well.

That is based on comments made by general manager Sandy Alderson on Wednesday, who said the organization plans to strategically use a sixth starter to keep their staff fresh in the first half of the season.

That is not to suggest that Mets starting pitchers will have and innings restrictions and limits imposed on them as was the case last season. That is not the issue at all. Most of the top four starters including Steven Matz should all be able to eclipse the 200 inning mark in 2016.

logan Verrett

But these guys are still young, and there’s nothing wrong with keeping them fresh and strong. I would imagine the team will be keeping a close watch on Gilmartin, Verrett and Montero this Spring to see which of them will get the call when the team needs them. I expect all three to begin the season in the Triple-A Las Vegas rotation until that happens.

For now, Matt Harvey, Jacob deGromNoah Syndergaard and Matz will get plenty of work with Bartolo Colon serving as the fifth starter. Some time around July 1st, Zack Wheeler will join the rotation and probably push Colon into a long relief and spot starter role.

The Mets are in an incredibly ideal situation, boasting one of the top rotations in baseball and even having all their bases covered with quality depth and contingency plans if needed. This is going to be so fun and exciting to watch.

Bonus: A Text Conversation I Had

Met Fan - I love what Zack Wheeler said about throwing inside in that interview you posted.

Joe – Could it be we now have two Bob Gibson and Pedro Martinez “Don’t Crowd My Fu*king Plate” type pitchers?

Met Fan – With the velocity these guys throw with, that should be all of their strategies.

Joe – Guys that throw 98 usually have good careers. Guys that throw 98 and own the inside part of the plate go to the Hall of Fame in my opinion.

Met Fan – Yep, throwing inside is what makes the slider/curve a more effective pitch and makes a pitch on the outside half tougher to handle because in the hitter’s mind he is worried about getting jammed on the inside pitch.

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David Wright Says Mets Are Now A Destination Team For Top Players Fri, 29 Jan 2016 13:54:34 +0000 David, Wright

Adam Schein of CBS Sports spoke with Mets third baseman David Wright, who weighed in on the Yoenis Cespedes signing and pointed out that the Mets are now a team that has become attractive to the game’s top players.

“Until this Yoenis signing, we didn’t have that big splash, sexy free agent signing. We made good baseball moves this offseason, I believe. And then you come in at the end and get an impact bat like Cespedes definitely makes our team better going into this year. We are, I feel, a much better team than what we were going into 2015.”

“Obviously you want the good players to come play for you instead of going to your division rival. We’ve proven that players want to come play for us. You have to prove that you can be a winning team, a winning organization, an organization that is willing to be aggressive and pull triggers on trades in the middle of the year, or make those free agent signings. And once you prove that you can stabilize that, and hopefully become a perennial winner, big time impact players want to come play for you. That was the case here.”

The Mets’ captain also talks about Sandy Alderson and his impact on the team, expectations for the 2016 season, and why it’s important for the Mets to be on top of their game now that they’ve become targets.

When David Wright re-signed with the club back in 2012, he took a leap of faith in Sandy Alderson’s plan and now he’s seen the team grow into a very desired destination after years of struggles. The team is on the rise and on the verge of a dynasty-type run thanks to the patience, player development, and stability that Sandy has provided. As long as the team continues to trend upwards, being a destination team should remain the norm.


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David Wright Wants Cespedes Back Fri, 22 Jan 2016 22:54:13 +0000 yoenis Cespedes

Is the momentum building?

In an interview with the NY Daily News’ Kristie Ackert, David Wright now says he would like to see Yoenis Cespedes return to Queens for the 2016 season.

I will put my name behind the statement that Yo was a good teammate on the field and a great teammate off the field,” Wright said. “And I hope we find a way to bring him back.”

“With that said, and I have said this before, I trust Sandy (Alderson)…He took a team that was finishing last in the division and made a National League champion. He deserves our trust.”

Wright of course was careful not to criticize Sandy Alderson or the front office: “I am competitive and want us to sign all the great players we can. That month or six weeks Yo had with us was unbelievable, one of the greatest things I’ve ever seen in baseball… But again, I trust what Sandy’s doing.”

Ackert explained that the argument that Cespedes had been a problem or diva in the clubhouse was “leaked as a reason to ignore calls by fans to give the Cuban slugger a long-term contract.”

Wright was, as always, very diplomatic with his answers, but this only further dispels the rumor that Cespedes is a bad teammate.

And just as this article came out, Andy Martino tweeted that the Mets feel a resolution will come within a day or two. Stay tuned…


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Terry Collins Says Mets Are The Hunted Ones Now Mon, 18 Jan 2016 15:00:26 +0000 Collins Terry

Check out this interview reporter Jon Santucci conducted with Terry Collins for TC Palm.

Here are two quotes I thought were pretty fascinating. The first one is Terry talking about what the message will be in spring training after a surprising World Series run in 2015.

“There has to be a confidence,” Collins said. “That’s a good way to describe it. We’re going to continue to talk about winning and what it takes to be successful, but we’re not going to sneak up on anybody now. We were the hunters for a long time. Now we’re going to be the hunted.”

Then asked if he will miss Yoenis Cespedes and Daniel Murphy, Collins responded:

“Well, those are huge pieces. Daniel Murphy is a guy who seemed dangerous all the time. And Cespedes was a big hitter. But remember, everybody thinks we turned it around when we got Cespedes. We turned around when we got Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe and then we got Cespedes. We’ll miss them. But I still hold hope that when all is said and done, Yoenis is still out there and may pick up the phone and say this is where he wants to be.

It’s interesting that Collins is still clinging to the hope that he somehow gets Cespedes back this season. I recall reading a quote from Collins after the Mets acquired Alejandro De Aza. The topic was the new Mets offense and he said something along the lines of, “I hope we’re not done yet.” which I thought was quite revealing.

Anyway, be sure to check out the full interview here.

Mets pitchers and catchers will report on February 17 and formally work out for the first time on Feb. 19. The first full-squad workout is set for Feb. 26.

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Keith Hernandez and SNY Agree To New Contract Wed, 13 Jan 2016 00:30:11 +0000 keith-hernandez-jpg

According to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, Keith Hernandez and SNY have agreed on a new contract.

Mike Puma of the New York Post adds that the deal may be longer than his previous three-year contract.

Hernandez will resume his role as an analyst with Gary Cohen and Ron Darling during Mets telecasts.

Awesome news… It wouldn’t have been the same without Keith.

Original Report

Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reminds us that SNY color man and analyst Keith Hernandez still remains unsigned, but that contract negotiations to remain in the Mets broadcast booth are expected to begin shortly.

SNY has had some major turnover recently and parted company with analyst Bobby Ojeda and roving reporter Kevin Burkhardt last season, both of whom were replaced by Nelson Figueroa and Steve Gelbs respectively.

Hernandez, 62, has been a commentator on Mets telecasts on SNY for 10 seasons. He has been joined by play-by-play announcer Gary Cohen and fellow analyst Ron Darling to form one of the most beloved broadcast teams in sports.

Here is an excellent and entertaining interview of Keith Hernandez by sportscaster Dan Patrick.

Here is part two:

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Pete Rose To Remain Banned From Baseball Mon, 14 Dec 2015 17:49:39 +0000 pete rose

In March of this year, Pete Rose made a formal request to be reinstated to Major League Baseball, and new commissioner Rob Manfred agreed to meet with Rose and hear him out.

“I want to make sure I understand all of the details of the Dowd Report and Commissioner Bart Giamatti’s decision and the agreement that was ultimately reached,” Manfred said at the time. ”I want to hear what Pete has to say, and I’ll make a decision once I’ve done that.”

Well according to a report today in the New York Times, Rob Manfred has decided not to lift the permanent ban imposed on Pete Rose more than a quarter-century ago.

“The decision by Mr. Manfred, who succeeded Bud Selig as commissioner last January, has not been publicly announced. But three people familiar with the decision, speaking on condition of anonymity because they did not want to be identified discussing a matter that was supposed to remain confidential, said that Mr. Manfred had made up his mind to keep the ban intact.”

Rose, now 74, is baseball’s all-time leader in base hits and has been banned for over a quarter-century from MLB and thus barred from the Hall of Fame despite his stellar Cooperstown worthy career.

In 1989,  M.L.B. concluded that Rose was betting on baseball games while managing the Cincinnati Reds and that some of the bets had been placed on his own team. After years of denial, he finally admitted in a 2004 autobiography that he bet on baseball and the Reds, although he insisted that he never bet on the Reds to lose.

Rose, a 17 time All Star, Rookie of the Year and MVP, ended his career with a record 4,256 hits and a lifetime .303 average. He led the league in hits seven times and won three batting titles including 1969 when he batted .348.

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Magic Number 5: Nationals Are Done, Williams Is Done, Mets On Verge Of Clinching Division Thu, 24 Sep 2015 13:21:02 +0000 jonathon papelbon

Things could be worse… You could be the Houston Astros… Or the Washington Nationals. Like I tweeted out last night, I don’t care if we back in or if we bash down the front door, last night the Nationals lost and despite our listless play of late, the Mets magic number is down to five with ten games left to play.

Last night was a crushing blow for the Nationals when Manny Machado hit a two-run homer off Max Scherzer with two outs in the seventh inning and the Baltimore Orioles rallied to beat then 4-3.

Washington’s frustration was on full display when Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon twice threw up and in to Machado in the ninth, plunking the Orioles third baseman with his second pitch.

Home plate umpire Mark Ripperger immediately ejected Papelbon, prompting both benches to empty but no fists were thrown.

Like I’ve been saying for months now, the Washington Nationals are done. The Mets might be playing tight, as Terry Collins said on Tuesday, but the Nationals are doing much, much worse.

So despite a disappointing 3-6 homestand for the Mets, who have lost six of their past eight games, the Mets maintain their 6.5 game lead and it’s only a matter of days until they clinch the NL East title.

“It’s always good when that magic number shrinks,” captain David Wright said when told the Nationals lost. “Ultimately we’d like to play better and have that magic number shrink because we’re winning, and not have to have it shrink because they’re losing.” (ESPN New York)

“I think this is our first losing homestand all year. We’ve played well at home. Lately we’ve played really well on the road. So hopefully we continue to be those road warriors.”

As usual, Wright keeps saying the right things and of course he’s right. The Mets have been a juggernaut on the road since the additions of Yoenis Cespedes, Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson, and the promotion of Michael Conforto.

Additionally, we head to Cincinnati with our young guns Steven Matz, Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom ready to go in a four-game series with the Reds.

“It’s a poor homestand, but we’ve got some of those young horses going in Cincinnati,” Wright said. “So, hopefully, we can go win a series and get that much closer.”

Meanwhile, it sounds like the end is near for Nationals manager Matt Williams. During a local radio interview on Wednesday, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo was asked whether Matt Williams will remain the team’s manager next season.

“Well, we’re going to certainly evaluate everything that went right and went wrong this season, after the season… We’re going to let the chips fall where they may.”

Yikes… the former Manager of the Year has been a train wreck this year, guiding the odds-on favorite to win the World Series to a disappointing 78-73 record.

So if you’re mad as hell about the New York Mets these last few days, you can take solace in the fact that things could be much worse than having a 6.5 game lead with 10 left to play.

I say the Mets clinch Sunday at Great American Ball Park.

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MMO Exclusive: Sandy Discusses Team Chemistry, Conforto, Plawecki (Part 3) Mon, 17 Aug 2015 17:14:44 +0000 sandy-alderson

Here is the final part of my exclusive interview on Friday morning with Mets general manager Sandy Alderson who was a guest on my Tip-Off Show. You can read Part One of Sandy’s interview by clicking here and Part Two here.

Huge thanks to Mets media relations vice president Jay Horwitz for putting this together and Joe D. who laboriously did all the transcribing so that this could be presented to you.

John: How important are the intangibles that a player possesses, including resilience, makeup or character in the decisions you make when you’re evaluating a player that your interested in acquiring?

Sandy: I think those things are vitally important. You know we have so much emphasis on the game today being placed on analytics and numbers. But those numbers are more easily realized or exceeded if the culture in the clubhouse or the chemistry in the clubhouse and the relationship with players is constructive.

Sometimes the relationship isn’t always friendly or professional and it’s difficult to predict what will be the outcome when you’re putting together 25 different players. What we try to do is make an attempt to have the right blend.

In our case we have some great veteran leadership in our clubhouse, but we’ve also got a lot of young and highly motivated players as well. It’s very nice right now because we have leadership in many different places. We have leadership among our position players, leadership among our starting pitchers, and leadership in the bullpen. Hopefully that’s a formula for getting as much out of our players as we possibly can.

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John: Rookie outfielder Michael Conforto has moved through the Mets system in record speed, what makes him so special?

Sandy: It’s a couple of things. First of all, he’s a very polished and advanced hitter both from the standpoint of his mechanics as well as his approach. One of the reasons that we were comfortable with promoting him from Binghamton, despite having very little experience above Single-A and no experience in Triple-A, was knowing that he had that solid approach from his amateur days and that it would serve him well and that he would be fine.

Conforto is a very mature player that fits in very well with any group, and he’s been taken under the wing of many of his peers at the major-league level who really like him. He’s done an excellent job for us… he’s not hitting .400 but he’s had some big hits for us, and some great at-bats, and that’s really our point of emphasis right now with him.

John: How about Dominic Smith? He was the FSL player of the month in June and he’s another number one draft pick, can you share some insights on him?

Sandy: Dom’s a left-handed hitting first baseman, and a pretty good defensive player. He’s also a very patient and selective player who is always looking for good pitches to hit.

The knock on Dom is that he doesn’t hit for much power, but he’s in the Florida State League which is a very tough hitter’s league. I think he’s third or fourth in OPS. So while he may only have four or five homeruns, he has lots of doubles and is proving to be a solid run producer. He’s having a very solid year hitting a little above .300 and his slugging percentage is excellent.

As I said he’s an exceptional defensive first baseman and a run producer who is still young, and I believe that Mets fans are going to like what they see from Dominic Smith when he eventually comes up.

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John: You recently demoted Kevin Plawecki and promoted Anthony Recker to the major-league squad. The injury to Travis d’Arnaud allowed you to get an extended look at Plawecki. Can you tell us what you saw and what he needs to do to continue his development as a major league catcher?

Sandy: He did an excellent job for us defensively when we lost Travis. He stepped right in and did the lion’s share of the catching and was excellent. It’s not just our pitchers that create the great pitching environment that we have, it’s also the catchers and he did an outstanding job in that regard.

The reason that we sent him to Las Vegas was just to get him more at-bats, because with Travis coming back he was going to be sitting on the bench most of the time. We felt it was important that he go back to Vegas and get some at-bats on a routine basis. We hope to see him again sometime around September 1.

If you look at Kevin’s history, he has the kind of approach at the plate that we like. But anytime you’re a young player when you come in at the major-league level for the first time – particularly when you have to play every day – it becomes kind of a sink or swim proposition.

It’s not always easy to just fall back on that foundational approach you have, as Michael Conforto has also shown so far. But we like how Kevin Plawecki has come along, we believe in him, and we will see him again very shortly.

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We hope you enjoyed this exclusive interview with GM Sandy Alderson, his fifth with the gang at MMO. We thank Sandy for his generosity, openness, and allowing us to pick his brain and being very cordial and sincere about it.


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MMO Exclusive: Sandy Talks Leadup To Trade Deadline and Impact On Team (Part 1) Mon, 17 Aug 2015 17:00:39 +0000 1439556199758

I was fortunate enough to have another exclusive interview with Mets general manager Sandy Alderson again on Friday morning during my weekly Tip-Off show.

With the New York Mets in first place atop the NL East and opening up a 4.5 game lead over the Washington Nationals, fans are salivating at the thought of postseason baseball for the first time since 2006.

After a torrid start to the season in April that included a season-high 11 game winning streak, the Mets quickly stagnated to a .500 level team as the offense averaged just 3.2 runs per game from May through July.

However all that changed after Sandy Alderson made a series of bold moves highlighted by the trade for All Star outfielder Yoenis Cespedes. Since that day the Mets are 10-2, but more importantly they have scored more runs than any team in the majors and averaging 5.6 runs per game.

Here is what the architect of the 2015 Mets had to say on a number of topics, most of which focused on player development and building a strong system that would produce a pipeline of top talent to the big league roster.

John: At the trade deadline you decided to go big and make several moves to bolster the New York Mets roster for the home stretch of what’s turning out to be an incredibly exciting pennant race. Those moves have been symbolic and strategic and have really charged up the players and the fans alike. Explain for us how all of that happened.

Sandy: You’re right, John. I think those moves were both symbolic and strategic. I think at that point of the season we acknowledged that we had some great pitching, that we were in a race, and that we clearly had some deficiencies and parts of our roster that we needed to improve. You can’t do that without having access to players outside of the organization, especially when you approach the trade deadline.

We acquired Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe a week or so before the deadline and that was really intended to upgrade the overall offense and give Terry Collins some more options and a little more depth on the bench.

We felt it was very important to add some veteran experience and both those players have been very good and have made an immediate impact. And a nice thing especially is that Kelly Johnson can play so many different positions and Juan Uribe has always been a very clutch player and is terrific in the clubhouse. We’ve seen that in the last few games.

We also felt we needed to improve the bullpen, especially with the loss of Jenrry Mejia. We thought we needed to provide some additional experience for the bullpen and we added Tyler Clippard who has been an excellent setup man. We knew that he could play in this environment and that he could exceed in that role as he did when he was with the Washington Nationals. Interestingly, he’s the only bullpen arm we have with any playoff experience, and I think that Bartolo Colon is the only other pitcher we have who’s been in the postseason. We felt that that was also important.

It’s still left us with a need to provide the team with some quality offense. We spent a lot of time for the three days leading up to the trade deadline and exploring many different possibilities. Everybody is now aware of the ill-fated Carlos Gomez trade, but we are very happy that we ended up with Cespedes and that Wilmer Flores is still with us. So all in all everything worked out pretty well.

So far all of those guys have really done well, and they’ve been a big boost for us. It also freed the rest of the roster to do what they do. Rather than having only three or four guys who we could count on to produce in the lineup we now have tremendous depth and solid options up and down the lineup.

We shouldn’t overlook the fact that we also called up Michael Conforto as well and traded for Eric O’Flaherty to give us another left-handed reliever. We’ve made a lot of different and significant roster changes over the last couple of weeks that we are very pleased with.

John: And the energy level surrounding this team has just been so astounding since those moves. The dramatic change and positive energy, not just with the players and the team but also the fans and the city, has been so incredible to see. People all over the town are now wearing Mets stuff and talking about Mets stuff it’s pretty amazing.

Sandy: That’s been very exciting and rewarding. We had a rough 4-5 days there where we lost a pitcher to a full year suspension, and then we had that Gomez thing which was very public and negative. Then we lost a very tough game on the Thursday following that aborted trade, so by the time we got to the trade deadline, things had gotten a little exhausting. So you make the trades hoping that things will improve but you never really know.

At the point we made the Cespedes trade we were three games out for the division lead and even more than that for the wild-card spot. But you do what you have to do and hope that things will improve and luckily they have. It ended up costing us some young players that we liked and one of them has been pitching very well and was very prominent in Michael Fulmer. But sometimes you have to do what you gotta do.

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Read Part Two of this interview where Sandy discusses Cespedes, development and organizational philosophies.

Stay tuned for part three of this exclusive interview on Saturday.


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Getting To Know Mets Pitching Prospect Akeel Morris Mon, 15 Jun 2015 03:27:32 +0000 image-1

Here’s an interview we did with recently promoted pitching prospect Akeel Morris. This was conducted this past Winter right after the Mets decided to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft. As you’ll see, the St. Thomas, Virgin Islands  native spoke extensively about his success and what drives him. Enjoy…

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Petey: Hi Akeel, thanks for taking the time to do this interview for all of us at MMO, all the readers will really enjoy hearing from you.

After your amazing season this year in Savannah, there is a great deal of buzz about you in and around the organization not to mention the rest of baseball. How do you feel about the year you just had now that you have had a little time to decompress?

Akeel: The year I had personally was for me a great accomplishment. To see what I could do in a full season, the competition level and just moving up and being successful at every level for me is an accomplishment. I’m happy about that and excited to keep moving up and challenges, and challenging better hitters. So that really was an accomplishment for me personally. About the baseball world, it was a really great year, for me to make the All-Star team and post-season All-Star team, and the Sterling Award. On top of a great season that was even more than I could have asked for.

Petey: Well all those awards and accolades were well deserved my man. It is great to see your hard work and dedication paying off like that. Are you going to play any winter ball?

Akeel: No I’m not going to play any winter ball.

Petey: I went back in the MMO archives to find the interview you and I did before and I was shocked to see that it was just over three years ago, October 2011! A lot has gone down since then. It seems things really started to roll when you were switched to relief, that was the beginning of 2012 I think?

Akeel: Yeah I was put in a piggy-back role in 2012 so I was coming out of the bullpen. Yeah so you could say I started relief in 2012. And 2013 I was with the Brooklyn Cyclones. I wasn’t on a full relief schedule there, the appearances were just as much but I was out of the bullpen. I was on a starter’s schedule but I was piggy-backing as well. But yeah this year in Savannah was the first full year in the bullpen. Doing back-to-back outings, that was a big difference. You’re on a throwing program everyday, and you got to pitch that night. You have to learn how to pace yourself and how your arm is feeling going into the game and stuff. It was also a learning experience for me coming out of the bullpen.

Petey: Yeah and if you’re facing the same team two nights in a row you have to be able to show them something different right?

Akeel: Exactly. So it was definitely a learning experience.

Petey: Was there a moment when things really started to ‘click’ for you, and did that help your confidence?

Akeel: Confidence-wise, when I’ve got my good stuff, on most nights consistently like that I kinda got a feel for. I know what I gotta do to have this and this, and you’re not going to have it every night. But when you can have it on most nights that’s all you can really ask for, and you have to battle it the other nights. I got a feel for how I need to be, what I need to be, and what I need to do, to have my stuff be effective most nights, you know? I guess that’s what really ‘clicked’, learning about myself.

Petey: That’s really cool man. So how would you describe your mindset when you are entering a game as a closer? How is it different from starting a ball game?

Akeel: Yeah, it’s definitely different, I mean as a closer or even late in a ball game, you’re going to come in when the game is tied or most likely when your team is up and your like okay, they play nine innings, you’ve got to shut it down. No free passes, no anything. You don’t want to give them any momentum, you know? It’s really just like shut it down, shut it down, that’s all you’re really thinking.

Petey: Being aggressive.

Akeel: Yeah. Basically that’s a simple message in my head, I got to shut it down, go right after these guys. Don’t give them any free passes.

Petey: Is there any ritual or mental prep you do in the bullpen before coming in with the game on the line?

Akeel: Mental preparation, I mean that’s gradual throughout the game. As the later innings come buy I start to get a little more locked in. I start to move around in the bullpen, even as the the game is close in the eighth inning sometimes I just sit around and it’s about mentally locking in. When the whole process really starts for me is before I get on the mound to warm up. Sometimes you don’t have as much time but it doesn’t feel like that once you mentally prepared yourself. So that’s what works for me.

Petey: When we did our last interview for MMO we discussed your pitches at the time. I would imagine they have come a long way since then. Back in 2011 this what you said on the subject:

“As of now I’m throwing a fastball, curveball and a change up. My fastball is usually low to mid 90′s, it peaked at 96 this season. My curve is mid to upper 70′s, and change up is upper 70′s to low 80′s.”

What kind of speeds and movement is your fastball exhibiting these days?

Akeel: My fastball has been sitting at 93-95 mph this season, topped out at 97. Most people tell me it has like a downhill plane, most times it has life to it. Sometimes my catcher will tell me it looks like it’s coming down and looks like it’s going to hit the ground, but it just rides out and it reaches the catcher. So it kinda looks like it’s downhill, downhill, downhill, but it somehow rides out to the plate. So I don’t know how to explain it, that’s what he told me.

Petey: Wow, it sounds like the pitch has natural rise or carry but you’re keeping the ball down in the zone as well.

Akeel: I guess so yeah something like that.

Petey: That’s a four-seam fastball?

Akeel: Yeah I throw a four-seam fastball.

Petey: How bout your change-up? The last time I talked to you it was something you wanted to focus on.

Akeel: The change-up has been really great. Sometimes I keep it down and there’s not as much movement, but it’s so much slower than my fastball and it looks so much like my fastball too, it’s hard for hitters to pick it up. And sometimes it’s even better when it has that drop-off to it. Sometimes it just drops off the table and they swing over it. And sometimes it doesn’t even have that much movement but it’s so slow they don’t see it and can’t put a good swing on it.

Petey: And your arm-speed? It’s the same as with the fastball?

Akeel: Yeah my arm speed is the same.

Petey: That’s awesome. Now what about your breaking pitches?

Akeel: I throw a slider. The slider has really come along a lot more this year. I started throwing it last off-season and at the beginning of this season I didn’t throw it as much. But when the second half came I started to bring it out and throw it, and it really started to develop a lot more. I even got a feel for it where I was throwing the slider even more than my change-up at times. And I love that feeling because I didn’t even have to depend on the fastball/change-up combination. I could go fastball/slider combination and when I mixed it in with the change-up too, it was even a lot better.

Petey: Yeah and the results from this last season certainly attest to that. Say Akeel, what are some of the things you hope to accomplish in your development this upcoming season? Do you set any goals for yourself?

Akeel: This upcoming season I would really like to get better control of my slider. Like be able to throw it for a strike more often. I would throw it for a strike at times but most times I’d throw them a slider it would break outside the zone and they would swing over it or they would take it. But it was more for them to see the pitch. So if I can throw it for strikes more often that’s what I really want to do.  So basically just develop the slider some more.

Petey: Are you able to throw the slider when you are behind in the count?

Akeel: Yes I’ve thrown it in various different counts and I feel that’s a big thing about pitching too. I feel whatever pitches you have you need to be able to throw it in any count. So yeah I have been working on that and I have thrown it in different counts.

Petey: Is there any one coach, or coaches that have helped you significantly since joining the Mets organization, in regards to your development?

Akeel: Coaching-wise, I’ve been with Jonathan Hurst for two years in Kingsport, he helped me a lot, and different coaches in extended spring training. But one of the coaches who really took a lot of time out with me and worked on mechanics while I was in extended spring training day-to-day was Miguel Valdez. He was the pitching coach for short season and I mean he’d really break down my mechanics  for me to understand it and I worked on it. It took a little time but it definitely paid off to where I understand my mechanics and I can see what I’m doing wrong. And as soon as I figured that stuff out it’s been going a lot better, a lot better. So Miguel Valdez has really helped me out a lot.

Petey: You were on a very talented Savannah ball club this past season, lot’s of excellent position players and pitchers. And of course you guys made the SAL playoffs. But let’s focus on the pitching staff for a moment. As someone who watched your starting pitcher’s performances in every game, are there any that stand out for what they bring to the table?

Akeel: That’s really hard, I mean we got so much talent. Actually the starting pitching, I mean for the full year I would say, John Gant for sure. He impressed me. I mean anytime he’s going into the game your guaranteed he’s gonna go at least six innings. He usually goes deep into the ball games and he’s  keeping the score close, giving your team a chance to win. So John Gant really impressed me with his consistency and being able to do that. Other pitchers, I like Robert Gsellman a lot too but he got hurt a little bit into the season. But I mean he really pitched good, he had a good year as well.

Petey: Yeah a lot of Mets fans that follow the Mets Minor League teams are very high on those two guys.

Akeel: And also Kevin McGowan too because he had a game, he went deep into the ninth and I like when your starting pitcher is out there. His pitch count was up and he couldn’t pitch anymore in the ninth inning if he wanted to. And I had to come in and close the game, and he didn’t even want to get off the mound, he wanted to finish the game. So when you have your starters out there with that sort of fire, it pumps you up more to come in and save their game.

Petey: One more question. Now that you are a professional ‘closer’ Akeel, do you ever imagine yourself on the mound in the 9th inning of the World Series trying to preserve a one-run lead? How does it work out? Ha ha!

Akeel: Definitely, as a kid people have those fantasies, whatever scenario it is. Fortunately for me I was always pitching, since I became a pitcher that’s always been the fantasy. The World Series, last inning, game on the line and they call on you. I mean how that turns out is I’m just ready to pitch. Like I said, always in the minors to shut it down, and it goes well for me in my mind.

Petey: That’s is awesome man. Seriously Akeel, I want to thank you again for being so accommodating and taking the time to do this interview. You have always taken time out to talk to me and my colleagues at MetsMerized Online and we all really appreciate it.

Akeel: Alright man sounds good, anytime. I’m already psyched.


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MLB Commissioner Calls Wilpon A Victim That’s Been Treated Unfairly Tue, 31 Mar 2015 19:21:17 +0000 rob manfred

Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred was a guest on WFAN Radio on Tuesday and gave Mets owner Fred Wilpon another vote of confidence, portraying him as a victim who has been treated unfairly.

“I do understand that that undercurrent is out there. I really don’t believe it’s fair, however. The most important point is this: At this point in Major League Baseball, I think it’s very, very difficult to go out and make yourself into a winning team overnight by spending money in free agency.”

“If you look at the teams that are winning now, they’re teams that have fundamentally sound farm systems and bring along a cohort of players who are effective on the field, and they may add through free agency to get over the top. But it’s really hard to just go out there and rebuild your team by that mechanism because there’s just not enough talent in the market to do that.”

He contrasted the situation with former Dodgers owner Frank McCourt and Fred Wilpon as follows:

“In contrast Mr. Wilpon was a victim of the Madoff scheme,” Manfred said. “I think you have to treat somebody who is acting as opposed to somebody who is victimized differently.”

When reminded that the Mets payroll has shrunk from $147 million to a low of $85 million in 2014, he said:

“Under the basic agreement, it’s really not the business of central baseball to second guess the payroll decisions by clubs. I am satisfied that the New York Mets have a very strong desire to be successful on the field and that they’re making decisions directed at being successful on the field. I’m also satisfied they have sufficient resources to be successful.”

So there you go. Have at it…

March 31 – Original Post

Bob Klapisch of Newsday didn’t take too kindly to Fred Wilpon ducking several interview requests after a closed door meeting with the team on Monday. The only thing that was allowed to leak out was that it was “positive” and it was about “winning.”

Players were told not to divulge anything to fans or media, there was no press release to media, and the progenitor of the meeting himself refused to face reporters who were all anxious to hear what the Mets owner, who had a bodyguard to protect him, had to say.

“By all accounts this was a terrific meeting. Without going into specifics, David Wright said, “Fred has always been upbeat.” Terry Collins said it was “very, very impactful.” There were no threats, no win-or-else edicts issued. Wilpon played his hand to perfection, at least until the meeting ended and he strolled by a group of reporters.”

“That’s when Wilpon blew off a chance to deliver a state-of-the-team address. Instead of stopping, even for a few moments, to pump up the fan base, Wilpon walked right by. Not a word, not a gesture, no eye contact. Just feigned oblivion.”

This has been the case for Fred Wilpon for over two years now, avoiding any questions about his own team and preferring not to discuss anything about his not so shiny and not so new toy.

Like all the other opportunities to engage fans or the team’s reporters, Wilpon has perfected his close, oftentimes a smile and a nod and off he goes into his golf cart or his limousine.

“For those keeping score, it’s been two years since Wilpon granted his last interview, which prompts the obvious question: What’s he afraid of? Wilpon turned away from a slam-dunk opportunity to reassure ticket buyers that, yes, he’s got enough money to finance a Mets’ rebirth.”

“Instead, Wilpon continues to hide out, feeding the disconnect that made it possible for loyalists to love the Mets, but detest ownership. Ask any Mets fan if he or she would rather win a World Series or drive the Wilpons out of town and – guaranteed – they’d give serious consideration to door No. 2.”

Klapisch wonders why there has been no accountability from Wilpon in two years and believes he is hiding something, or hiding from something.

“Perhaps it’s the more difficult questions that still hover over the Mets. As in, will there be money for a midseason pickup should the Mets become legitimate contenders? Do the Wilpons have the means (and the guts) to bring Troy Tulowitzki to Flushing?”

“This is merely the top layer of distrust; the fans’ problem with ownership goes much deeper. They see the popular Bobby Ojeda walk away from SNY and think: It must be the money. They see Harvey denied the start in the home opener, pushed back to the second game, and think: It must be the money. Everything, it seems, is a money-grab with the Mets.”

“Yet Wilpon, born and bred in Brooklyn, seems to have forgotten that Mets fans cannot be conned. They are a tough, hardened and incredibly loyal subset. They know two years of silence represents arrogance at best, deception at worst.”

It’s very strange how Fred Wilpon is so afraid to come out in the open at a time when his team seems to be on the threshold of a new and special era. For a man who has spent the better part of the last quarter century always being out front and boasting about the team or preaching patience for better days, what an odd time for him to take refuge in a bunker, refusing to offer any words of encouragement to the tens of thousands who are going to be purchasing tickets to see this team and keep him afloat..

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Collins and Tejada Respond To Jose Reyes Criticism Sun, 01 Mar 2015 14:04:04 +0000 jose-reyes

Terry Collins told reporters that he has no problem with Jose Reyes being critical of Ruben Tejada.

“I don’t think there’s anything wrong with one of your peers challenging you once in a while,” Collins said

“Reyes is a guy who gets ready to play. I think the world of Jose Reyes. Apparently, he may know something I don’t. They were good buddies when they were here and I think Jose might know some things that I don’t know.”

Tejada also responded to the criticism.

“He tried to push me up and tried to help me. And that’s the way to take that comment.”

“I try to do my best and come every day to work hard.”

February 27

Former Mets shortstop Jose Reyes had some harsh words for Ruben Tejada for failing to grab hold of the starting shortstop job with the Mets.

In an interview with reporter Anthony Reiber of Newsday, Reyes expressed disappointment in Tejada believing his former teammate didn’t do enough to win the job and keep it.

“He had the opportunity to be the everyday shortstop for a long time there in New York. You have to work, man. When you’re younger, you think you have everything there for you. But if you do something wrong, it’s going to go away. Quick.”

“Do the right stuff, work hard, and you’re going to be here in New York. Because the talent is there. You’re so young. And now he’s in a tough position because he doesn’t even have a position.”

“Something’s wrong,” Reyes said. As recently as a couple of weeks ago, Reyes said he tried to tell Tejada he had to try harder or risk becoming an afterthought at age 25.

“Every time I talk to him I try to give him some advice,” Reyes said. “What can I do? I try to push him to do stuff. I don’t know if he gets it or not.”

In 2013, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson publically criticized what he felt was Tejada’s reluctance to do extra work. The team also has expressed unhappiness with Tejada’s conditioning, although that doesn’t appear to be an issue now.

Terry Collins said earlier this week that Tejada will get every opportunity to win the starting shortstop job believing he could still be an All Star offensively.

However, Wilmer Flores is expected to earn the Opening Day job according to recent statements by Sandy Alderson.

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Granderson Understands That He Needs To Deliver Tue, 10 Feb 2015 12:00:34 +0000 curtis granderson

When the Mets signed  Curtis Granderson to a four-year, $60 million dollar contract last off-season, he was expected to be the dangerous lefthanded cleanup hitter that the team desperately needed. However, he underperformed in his first year with the Mets, hitting just .227 with 20 home runs and a .714 OPS. He eventually lost the cleanup hitter spot and then shuffled around the lineup from leadoff on down for the remainder of the season.

Granderson recently talked about the pressures of being a highly paid player and his thoughts about his first season with the Mets in an interview with Anthony McCarron of the Daily News.

“There a couple of high-profile, high-contract guys on our team. I’m one of them,” Granderson said. “You can’t hide behind that. It’s up to me to deliver. I understand that. It doesn’t change the pressure I put on myself. I’m going to be putting just as much pressure on myself as the city, the fans, the media.”

“That’s the way you want it to be. I’m part of this team and hopefully people think we can do some good things. I want to make those statements true.”

“I didn’t get the start I would’ve loved to have,” he said. “Historically, I haven’t necessarily been a good starter. There’s been some struggles in some months in my career. It would completely change the course of the season for me individually if I can eliminate extreme lows.”

While 2014 was a disappointment for Granderson overall, he said there were also some positives aspects of the season. Granderson liked how he “continued to battle” after a poor start in April, and how he was able to mentor first baseman Lucas Duda.

“Just talking to Duda, giving him confidence. Him realizing he’s one of the best hitters in the game. I really enjoy doing that.”

Like many other Mets players this winter, Granderson is very optimistic about the upcoming season.

“I’m extremely excited,” Granderson said. “I want to be on a winner and I feel like we have a team that can do that.”

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Parting Shots From Bobby Ojeda Wed, 04 Feb 2015 11:27:26 +0000 bobby ojeda

In an exclusive interview with Andy Martino of the Daily News, Bobby Ojeda said he did not want to delve into specifics over the breakdown in negotiations with SNY, but did add that his sharp opinions on the Mets were never an issue.

“I really couldn’t have been more disappointed,” Ojeda said. “I just loved what I’ve been doing for the past six years. I’ve just had a ball. It has been the quickest six years of my life. It has been great.”

News of Bob Ojeda’s departure from SNY last Thursday left Mets fans stunned and disappointed, writes Martino, a natural reaction, given Ojeda’s passion, preparation and candor as a studio analyst over the past six years.

However, Ojeda was not as soft spoken when asked about ownership and the front office. Asked if he thought the Mets could win under their current ownership, he responded:

“The Wilpons and Mr. Saul Katz — the people who say they don’t care about the team are sorely misguided. These are the biggest Mets fans you will meet.”

“Last I checked, Fred is not the general manager. Last I checked, Jeff is not the general manager. Last I checked, Saul is not the general manager. So the people they’ve put in those positions are the ones who have failed, and what have they done? They have tried to make changes, bring in the right people.”

“I do believe that it’s the guys on the field. If the guys pull together and rack up the W’s, that’s what it’s all about. So many times, it’s not the greatest team on paper (that wins). There are so many ingredients that go into creating a winning atmosphere. I think there is some work to be done on that winning atmosphere. I really do. And I think if those things are addressed in spring training, they’ll be on their way.

Ojeda takes issue with all the playoffs talk when they’ve yet to put together a winning season.

“But if the message is the same, that will be detrimental. Because the message is all this positiveness. The reality is six years under .500.”

“They need to calm down with the contender, postseason — ‘we’ve got eight guys that are going to win 20 games,’ and blah blah blah. We’ve got to calm down now. Just let the optimism build in the Mets fans, and don’t overextend your reach at this point. Just play the games, and see what happens.”

Ojeda went onto say that most Mets fans are in the know and very intelligent, and that they can see what’s going on. He suggests that the team stop blowing smoke and start playing some winning baseball on the field and not in soundbites.


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Travis d’Arnaud Is Pumped For 2015 Tue, 03 Feb 2015 17:47:01 +0000 travis d'arnaud

In an interview with Kevin Kernan of the New York Post, Mets catcher Travis d’Arnaud says that he is pumped for the upcoming 2015 season. He discussed his high expectations for the team, and the adjustments he made at the plate during the second half last year.

“I’m really excited,’’ d’Arnaud said. “Both Anthony Recker and I are really excited. The experience we gained with Zack and Jacob last year and having Dillon Gee, Jon Niese and Bartolo Colon and now you add on Matt Harvey, too. Me and Anthony have just shown up with smiles every single day.”

“The confidence is high for everyone.’’ D’Arnaud says that he is planning to make the postseason with the Mets. “One hundred percent,’’ he said.

Entering his second full season as the Mets starting catcher, d’Arnaud believes that his improvement during the second half last year was due to his mental approach.

“I wasn’t scared to go up to the plate anymore,’’ d’Arnaud said. “I wanted to be up at the plate in certain situations,’’ he said. “And I felt so much more relaxed and free at the plate.’’

“I feel like I’ve learned that I’ve got to work on defense, consistency,’’ he said. “As far as offense goes, just keep things simple.’’

David Wright added that confidence was the key for d’Arnaud’s big second half.

“Travis got sent down, went on a tear and that was all he needed confidence-wise. Now he has that swagger going into this year.’’

What are your expectations for Travis this season and what kind of a year do you project for him offensively?

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