— Days Without Shea —

Filed under: Baseball | History | Mets
by Kingman on October 29 at 9:00AM
Sandy Alderson will be named the new Mets GM today at 2:00, ushering a new Mets era where actual professionals may be running the team.

Alderson, a Marine and Vietnam vet, has served as president of the Oakland A's during their steroidically successful seasons in the late 80's/early 90's. Sandy was also CEO of the Padres before his latest role working for MLB.

Bud Selig put the hard sell on the Wilpons to bring Alderson in and relinquish control of the baseball decision-making. Ya gotta believe Sandy will be calling all the shots or he wouldn't have taken the job.

According to Amazin' Avenue, Alderson is also bringing in some big guns when he comes.  "According to several sources, he already has reached out to Paul DePodesta, whom he hired in San Diego, to help strengthen the Mets' statistical department and J.P. Ricciardi, whom he worked with in Oakland, to assist on player personnel."

 Supposedly Sandy believes in hiring understated managers who don't rock the boat, so no Bobby V or Wally. But please...no Art Howe!

So is Sandy the right man for the job? Well he's a different man for the job, so that's a start. Lets face it: a GM is critical to a team's success but it will take more to get Met fans excited and back in the ballpark. There is alot of outreach Sandy and his unit will have to do once they hit the beach and establish a perimeter. Semper Fi.

Here's the note from Mets management:

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The Flushing Flash
October 29, 2010

Dear Mets Fans:

We are pleased to announce we have hired Sandy Alderson as the new General Manager of the New York Mets.

We realize this is a critical time for the future of this organization and we are confident Sandy is the right person to reinvigorate this franchise and produce a winning and contending team for the long term.

Sandy has led clubs to a World Championship, three American League Pennants and six division titles. He has served as General Manager, President and Chief Executive Officer of teams and also an Executive Vice President at the Commissioner's Office.

We will introduce Sandy this afternoon during a press conference at Citi Field broadcast live on SNY and Mets.com at 2:00 p.m.

This is the first step of many in our continuing efforts to follow through on our pledge to deliver a team our fans can be proud of for the short and long term.

Thanks again for your support.

[October 29, 2010 7:53 PM]  |  link  |  reply
Display Cases For Baseballs said

If we don't get Wally, how about Sandy going after Ron Gardenhire of the twins?

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by Kingman on October 27 at 9:19AM
Thumbnail image for Loge13sign_SheaStadium1.JPG
Longtime Mets (and Yankees) official scorer Bill Shannon died in a house fire in West Caldwell, NJ yesterday. He was 69 years old.

Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe wrote a nice tribute to Bill Shannon last night:

It's impossible to say who is the best at what they do. We all have opinions on who is the best player in baseball, the best manager, the best GM or which is the best ballpark.

But the best official scorer in baseball was unquestionably Bill Shannon, who died in a fire at his home in New Jersey early this morning. He was the chief scorer at Yankee Stadium, Shea Stadium, Citi Field and for countless postseason games over the years after starting in 1979. He was 69.

The official scorer has an impossible job these days. Ruling a ball a hit or an error could theoretically cost a player hundreds of thousands in performance bonus money. Meanwhile only a million or so people watching at home are judging the same play on their televisions.

But Bill always had it right. If you disagreed, he had a way of explaining it to you so you came away believing he made the right call. He did not get defensive or angry.

Baseball press boxes are full of memorable characters. Bill was tops among them. He had a booming voice and would announce the lines of each pitcher ("6 innings ... 7 hits ... 4 runs ... Earned ... 3 walks .... 7 strikeouts ... and one hit batter!) in an authoritative fashion then repeat the line rapid-fire like an auctioneer.

He thought the sacrifice fly was a foolish stat and would announce it with scorn in his voice, so distinctively that we all would imitate it.

He always wore a dark suit jacket, even on the hottest summer days, and carried around a bunch of newspapers. At the old Yankee Stadium, the scorer sat in the middle of the third row in a special seat that was a little higher than everybody else and had its own monitor. It looked like a throne, which always struck me as fitting.

Bill also worked for the Associated Press, writing stories and collecting postgame quotes. He was a regular at Madison Square Garden, Columbia football games and other events in New York. Much to my surprise, he had literally an encyclopedic knowledge of tennis.

On a personal note, I arrived in New York in 1999 after spending my career at a small newspaper in eastern Connecticut. The idea of driving to the Bronx or Queens to cover a baseball game was somewhat terrifying after years of attending UConn basketball games in bucolic Storrs.

Bill came over on my first or second day, introduced himself and said he once lived in Yonkers and read my paper. Over the years, he helped me out many times and made me feel welcome in a setting where I felt lost. I suspect that was the case for many people.

He always had a story to tell about covering baseball 30 or 40 years ago that left you feeling somehow connected to that era, if only because you were talking to him about it. Players come and go in baseball as do beat writers. But people like Bill Shannon are constants. That it takes them passing away for us to pay tribute is a shame.

For people whose work took them to the press boxes in New York, today was a sad one.

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Filed under: Baseball | Mets | Shea
by Kingman on October 15 at 9:20AM
Shea Stadium may be gone but the lawsuits are still with us!

On Opening Day 2007, 58-year-old Met fan Ellen Massey was having a grand old time cheering on the Mets against the Phillies. Just before the 7th inning, a drunk fan fell on her, breaking her back.

Somehow, the drunk fan was able to stumble away but Massey went to the hospital with a broken back (See "It's Raining Drunks" from the Loge13 archives for more detail).

The Trial of the Century is now underway. Some complex philosophical issues are taking the stand, questions such as:

"If a person can't properly pronounce 'Lets go Mets,' is that person really drunk?"

" Is the phrase 'I'm going to kick your ass' really not an invitation to a fight?"

More details here and below:

 The 300-pound baseball fan who fell on a woman and broke her back at New York City's Shea Stadium was so drunk he could not even chant "Let's Go Mets," the woman's lawyer said Thursday.

Timothy Cassidy was so blasted before his sloshed tumble onto lawyer Ellen Massey on Opening Day in 2007 he could barely walk, was picking fights with random fans and dropping the "L" from the "Let's go Mets" chants, Massey's lawyer said in court.

"He was unable to pronounce the word 'Phillies' or say 'Let's Go Mets,'" said Joshua Kelner, Massey's lawyer.

Cassidy also was berating his fellow fans in the upper deck for not being loud enough, Kelner said.

"Why aren't you cheering for the Mets? I'll kick your (expletive) ass!" Kelner quoted him as saying.

The lawyer leveled the allegations to bolster his client's contention that the Mets and their beer vendor should be held responsible for his client's injuries for serving the obvious drunk more beer and for failing to have security remove him from the game.

Mets' lawyer Carla Varriale told the judge it was a "rowdy, boisterous crowd" on hand for the eventual 11-7 win over the Phils, and Cassidy did not stand out to security.

"When you drop the 'L' in 'Let's Go Mets' that does not mean slurring," Varriale said. "He may have been obnoxious, but that's not the same thing as challenging someone to a fight," she added.

"'I'm going to kick your ass is not a fight?" the incredulous judge responded.

Cassidy's lawyer, Brian O'Connor, maintains his client was not drunk, and was pushed by another fan who was upset with him for paying more attention to his Blackberry than the game.

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Filed under: Baseball | Ex-Mets | Mets
by Kingman on October 11 at 2:39PM
The NY Daily News is reporting today that Omar Minaya may remain on with the Mets in a different role after a new GM is hired.

The paper also feels pretty confident that Sandy Alderson will be the new GM.

This isn't a huge surprise. There was no finality to Minaya's tenure during last week's news. To be honest, keeping Omar around isn't such a bad idea, depending on the new GM and his strengths. Here's the piece:

If Sandy Alderson becomes the next general manager of the Mets - and at this moment it is hard to imagine a different outcome - his predecessor, Omar Minaya, could be well-positioned to remain active in the organization.

According to people close to the team, Minaya's relationship with Fred and Jeff Wilpon remains very strong, despite the owners' decision last Monday to remove Minaya from the position he had held since 2004. On that day, the Wilpons and Minaya met at Citi Field and had a brief and respectful conversation during which Minaya basically agreed that a change was necessary.

Minaya is not expected to make a decision about his future for at least another month, several weeks after the Mets name a new GM (that will likely happen before the World Series).

Some time this winter, though, the team and Minaya will discuss his future. Still owed more than $2 million over the next two seasons, Minaya has built many strong relationships with other executives in the league, and is generally respected as a talent evaluator. Throughout the process of debating his role late in the season, Mets brass remained open to retaining Minaya as a scout or adviser - and open to dismissing him altogether, if a new GM wanted that.

According to people familiar with the team's thinking, the assumption in high-level meetings last month was that a younger GM who had not yet worked in that role might prefer not to have Minaya around. A more experienced executive, team hierarchy presumed, might be secure enough in his own position to want to utilize Minaya's skills.

It is not known if any of the people whom the Mets will interview this week - Alderson, Chicago White Sox assistant GM Rick Hahn, Boston assistant GM and onetime Kansas City GM Allard Baird and former Diamondbacks GM Josh Byrnes - will want to work with Minaya. It is worth noting, though, that Harvard Law School grad Alderson's background is not primarily in scouting; Minaya's strengths could complement his perfectly.

Alderson, 62, was the GM of the Oakland Athletics from 1983-1997. He later worked for commissioner Bud Selig's office and served as CEO of the San Diego Padres. Alderson is currently working for MLB to stabilize various issues in the Dominican Republic.

While one of the other candidates could so impress the Wilpons during the interview process that the owners hire him over Alderson, this does not seem likely. It is clear that Selig is invested in Alderson's candidacy. Once Alderson told the Daily News last Friday that he was interested in the position and would meet with Jeff Wilpon on Thursday or Friday, he became the logical front-runner for the job.

[October 12, 2010 12:02 PM]  |  link  |  reply
Metsie said

There is one problem with the Alderson Minaya marriage is that Minaya found most of his gems in the latin american market where Alderson has been investigating on behalf of the league for steroid use and age fudging.

My guess is Alderson is probably going to question every player presented from there and that may cause some doubt about Minaya's judgement later on.

I personally think Omar is a good scout and good at finding B level low hanging fruit talent. Where he lacked was in making trades and overvaluing what he had in deciding to make or not make those trades.

I think it can work though so lets see if Alderson takes the gig. After that it doesn't really matter who he hires as scout because we will have a competent GM in charge. Maybe the first since Cashen!

[October 15, 2010 6:20 PM]  |  link  |  reply
Ron Hunt said

I'm not convinced that Alderson is the right choice. He has presided over the most steroid abused club in Oakland and then was Selig's right hand during the MLB coverup.

I still think the Mets need someone with the gravitas of Alderman as President, a young GM and an solid Mgr. If Jeff Wilpon remains COO, we're in deep stuff.

[October 25, 2010 12:51 AM]  |  link  |  reply
fantasy football award said

I think Alderson is the right man for the job. His tough & resilient.

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by Kingman on October 5 at 1:11PM
Lost in the tumult of yesterday's Minaya and Manuel news, was the passing of Met legend Bob Mandt.

Bob Mandt was a living monument to the history of the Mets and Shea Stadium. He experienced it all during his tenure in the team ticket office and served as a folklorist and institutional memory for a team and times most people prefer to forget.

If you don't have a copy, go buy Tales from the 1962 Mets, a great little oral history of the Mets' early days. Mandt generously offers up his recollection of how he set up the first Mets ticket office in the basement of the Hotel Martinique in 1961.

Marty Noble posted an excellent obit today:

The Mets lost again on Monday; Bob Mandt died. His passing made a dark, dank day at Citi Field sad and uncomfortable. What follows is a slightly updated version of the story I wrote for this website, advancing the club's honoring Bob and recognizing his many contributions to life at Shea Stadium. I liked him. I miss him. -- Marty Noble

NEW YORK -- It was merely an agenda, a schedule of all that was to happen and at what times on the afternoon of Aug. 1, when the Mets would open the doors of their Hall of Fame to new members for the first time since 2002. When it arrived via e-mail, I began to skim through it. My scrolling ended abruptly when the name Bob Mandt appeared. Names of friends jump off the screen as if presented in upper case, boldface italic.

The day's events would focus on the induction of four men who helped make Shea Stadium the place to be for the better part of seven successive and successful summers -- Frank Cashen, Davey Johnson, Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry. Before any of that, though, the Mets would recognize a man who made Shea a good place to be for far longer, most of its 45 years, the man who made Shea work as Cashen and Johnson made the Mets win.

Mandt would be recognized by the Mets but, in another way, he probably wouldn't be recognized at all by most of the folks who populated Citi Field that day. Throughout his tenure with the club, 1961-2004, he was a man behind the scenes, a man with an office in the bowels of the ballpark and a knowledge of everything from the floor of the basement corridors to the flight patterns of LaGuardia's jets.

Shea didn't breathe, sneeze, open or close without Mandt knowing about it. He knew all its nooks and crannies, leaks and secrets, and everyone's extensions. He could have been an often-hit website -- www.KnowItAll.com.

Bob knew the umps and the cops; the opposing players, coaches and managers; Mrs. Payson and Mr. Met; the secretaries and the grounds crew; M. Donald Grant and the guys from Harry M. Stevens; Casey, Gil and Yogi; the doctors and the trainers; the plumbers and the electricians; the writers, the bullpen catchers and the mayors; Stearns, Staub, Staiger and all the rest.

He had an original poster from The Beatles at Shea and bobble-head dolls from everything, even the Titans. Pins, trinkets and caps, and stories about most of them. And he had a picture of himself with Mick Jagger. His office was the unofficial Mets Hall of Fame.

If you had business at Shea, you had business with Bob. If you had a problem, he had a solution. If you had an anecdote, he had two dozen. If he had a cold, Shea had the sniffles.

Robert L. Mandt was going to be the inaugural recipient of the Mets Hall of Fame Achievement Award. It could have been appropriately named after him and no one would have quarreled with that. Listing his achievements, duties, responsibilities, good deeds and friends would require that cyberspace build an addition.

He began his time in the club's employ before Roger Craig threw the franchise's first pitch, before Casey said "Amazin'" for the first time and well before Marv missed first and second. He sold tickets in the basement of the Hotel Martinique in Manhattan and at Grand Central in 1961.

That his title upon retirement was vice president, that he had been the head of stadium operations and that the ballpark had operated smoothly on his watch was to be expected.

Now, at 74, he is a consultant. Bob Mandt remains the sharpest tool in the shed, the brightest crayon in the box. When Tom Seaver couldn't finish The New York Times crossword puzzle -- even the Saturday one -- he could turn to Mandt. When a writer needed a word, he could draw on Mandt's vocabulary. When a Payson, de Roulet, Doubleday or Wilpon needed something done, Bob knew the number to call whether it was at Gracie Mansion, a Broadway theater, Yankee Stadium, Julius La Rosa's home or "21" Club.

He is a member of Mensa, a bonafide smart aleck.

When Mets home night games still began at 7:40 p.m. ET, Bob (St. John's), Dave Howard (Dartmouth), Mark Bingham (Harvard), Ed Lynch (Miami Law School) and I (Newsday) often would watch "Jeopardy" in the press room.

The four of us were no match for Mandt, regardless of category. "Operas for $2,000, Alex" would prompt a silent beep and an accurate "question" from Mandt. On two occasions when the program had gone to commercial, Bob suggested that a contestant's response had unfairly been ruled incorrect. The response was approved when the program resumed.

He has always been the one who knew, or he knew how to find out. His phone book is "War and Peace" thick. When a man with a remarkable Mets memory identified a date other than Sept. 24 as the day the team clinched its first championship in 1969, Bob quietly put the man in his place.

"I should remember what day they clinched. It was my birthday," Mandt said.

Mandt has other skills. For years, he provided the Plan of the Day, an agenda that told everyone in the building what was going to happen, what time it would happen and who would be involved. Proud to say I made the Plan of the Day once -- to my knowledge -- when Johnny Maestro and the Brooklyn Bridge were to sing the national anthem.

The Plan usually included something unexpected: a Mandt sketch of Cashen's successor, Al Harazin, wearing a bow tie, Cashen's signature, the day he replaced his mentor. Nice touch.

Mandt is good for a surprise, a story or a laugh on a regular basis -- an anecdote long forgotten, a celebrity he had never mentioned previously, a photo from one of his many travels. A man with a collection that Cooperstown envies has one special photo that tells of his sense of humor. It's not just that it's Bob with Jagger; what makes it cool is that they are shoulder to shoulder, Jagger is almost without expression and Bob's tongue is out.

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