NY Sports Dude

Category — NY Mets

Celts on top, Tiger’s out and Willie’s canned

An interesting week for NY sports and sports in general.

First off, too bad the Lakers couldn’t dispatch the Celtics. Obviously, any NY fan is going to cheer for the team playing Boston in any championship. The Lakers never seemed like the better team in this series though and were totally outplayed. Check out this Celtics Championship gear if you’re a fan.

Next, Tiger Woods is out for the year after winning the US Open in a spectacular playoff. So many people were watching the playoff that the volume on the NYSE dropped 9% during the broadcast. The loss of Tiger is very unfortunate for the PGA because it will take away a lot of casual golf fans like me, but if there’s any upside, it’s that it will allow for some of the sport’s other great players to steal some of the limelight.

But the biggest NY sports story recently has been the firing of Mets manager Willie Randolph. For the record there were other dismissals in addition to Randolph–Rick Peterson and Tom Nieto. You’ll remember from my post a few weeks ago that I thought Randolph was on a short leash, and I’m not surprised they axed him what with the Mets under-performance this year and rumors spilling out about how indifferent the players were towards him as a manager (not to mention his poor treatment of the media). But what was a surprise was how poorly the Mets organization handled the dismissal. 

What did Omar Minaya and the Wilpons achieve by firing their manager in the middle of the night when he’s on the west coast? If anything it generated sympathy for Randolph in the very media that despised him only a day before he was fired. The move can almost only be seen as a massive dis on Randolph–they just couldn’t stand him anymore. But if this was the case why did the organization lend its “full support” to him a month ago in a highly-publicized press conference. For a funny send-up of all this check out this Daily Show clip of the firing of Willie Randolph.

Meanwhile, the Yankees keep beating up on weak National League teams and are now 5 games over .500. Let’s hope they can keep this all going despite losing Chien-Ming Wang for a month so so.

June 22, 2008   No Comments

Willie stay or Willie go?

Willie Randolph

Since the beginning of May, the Mets’ world has been consumed by whether their manager, Willie Randolph, will be fired–not exactly the kind of press a team needs. On almost a daily basis there is speculation about when/how Willie will get the ax, and every time the Mets blow a lead to lose a game, Willie’s head is the first thing to be discussed.

On May 26, SI reported that the Mets leadership will support Randolph for now at least. (This is the Wilpons AND Omar Minaya lending their support.) On Mike Silva’s NY Baseball digest, Mike and Howard Megdal speculated last week that Willie will still be on a very short leash in the coming weeks and that the Mets players are, at best, indifferent towards the manager’s fate.

There does seem to be consensus about one thing: if there were a decent manager out there to replace Willie, the Mets would have pulled the trigger already. The Mets brass can’t be happy with the Mets lackluster performance so far this year on top of one of the worst late-season collapses in recent memory. Since the second half of last year until June 1, 2008, the Mets are a .500 club. With all that talent and a payroll that is 3rd in the majors ($138 MM), no wonder fans are grumbling.

(Interesting note: As of June 1, the top 3 payrolls in baseball, the Yankees, Tigers and Mets (a combined $486 MM) are each in 4th place in their divisions.)

There are some who strangely believe that the return of Pedro Martinez and Moises Alou and some others will somehow rejuvenate this team and save Willie’s job. I doubt this will happen. There is a pall that has fallen on this team. Like the Yankees, I’m not seeing a team that can consistently play with determination and grit, and this clearly stems from the leadership.

The Mets are a good team that has been underachieving for almost a year now. If you’re still a fan, check out some of this Mets gear available on BizRate. Making a leadership change makes sense; too bad there’s nobody the Mets can slip into the Manager’s role overnight. Until then Willie will be at the helm, and the Mets brass will continue to make glib statements of support so that they don’t undermine their manager too much.

June 1, 2008   1 Comment

We’re Underway!!

opening-day-08.jpg

So the 2008 MLB season is underway. It’s been a long off-season. The Mets opened strong with a standout performance from their new ace, Johan Santana. Click here for an array of New York Mets jerseys. Who says I don’t cover the Mets enough?! And my beloved Yanks beat Toronto in a close game.

I love how already there’s analysis about how each team will perform in 2008 when there’s 161 games left on the year. Imagine forecasting how the next six months of your life will go based on what happened yesterday. But it’s still fun to kick around different scenarios about how this season will play out. Opening day is the one time in the year when all teams are on the same footing.

The combination of having the first new manager since 1996 and playing the last season in the old Yankee Stadium will make for a memorable year (and even higher ticket prices) for Bombers fans. The Mets too will say goodbye to their much-maligned Shea stadium. While switching homes for the Mets is a real no-brainer, (See plans for the new Citi Field here), replacing Yankee Stadium is much more controversial.

First off, Red Sox fans love the idea of tearing down what has been until recently their personal house of horrors. Check out the last time the yanks really stuck it to the Sox in the 2003 ALCS. Yes, the new Yankee Stadium will be adorned with the various hagiographies of its retired players and will have all the winning mementos, but it obviously will not be the same. The new Stadium will be built very intentionally to be a Boston fan’s version of hell with constant reminders of the 26 world championships. But we all know there’s no substitute for the real thing.

All this said, let’s focus on reality for a second. Yes, the old ballpark will be gone, and what can replace it? But let’s focus on all the good things the new Stadium will have (higher ticket prices notwithstanding):

1. Better access to Metro North and additional subway services is huge. Getting to/from games now is just not fun.

2. A lot more open space. The old ballpark feels in a lot of places like it really is from the 1920s. Too much old concrete and steel makes most fans feel very confined. Plus those nice old facades return in the new stadium.

3. An overall better look. Face it, the old stadium was half-torn down in the early 70s to build the monstrous upper deck. The result is a stadium that looks a bit half-baked. The new Stadium will be a unified structure that invokes all the best of the pre-renovated stadium with all the modern amenities.

I know I’ll take a lot of heat for “dissing” the old Stadium, and it’s an amazing place where I’ve had some of the best moments of my life (first home game after 9/11), but nothing’s going to bring it back. Plans for a new stadium have been in the works for decades, and now it’s finally happening. So let’s not forget the old HTRB and welcome in what’s essentially the HTSB (the ‘S’ is for Steinbrenner).

 

 

April 3, 2008   No Comments