Posted in Uncategorized

Queens Baseball Convention promises winter fun for Mets fans

Wally Backman (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)
Wally Backman (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

The second annual Queens Baseball Convention at McFadden’s Citi Field is coming up this Saturday, and for the second year I’m going to have to miss it. (The day I was going to purchase my ticket, I found out I was going to have to work on Saturday… maybe I’ll get to go in 2016.)

Three former Mets players with World Series rings will be the headline guests of the convention – Mookie Wilson, Wally Backman and Ed Charles. Current Mets radio broadcaster Josh Lewin and New York’s best baseball mascot, Mr. Met, will also be there.

Backman and Wilson will both be signing autographs for fans (free of charge with paid admission) and participating in panel discussions, while Charles is attending to accept the Gil Hodges Unforgettable Fire Award. Filmmaker Heather Quinlan will discuss the making of 86 Mets: The Movie, a film about baseball’s most beloved and hated team. There will be a presentation about legendary Mets broadcaster Lindsay Nelson, a Q&A panel with ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin, and a “State of the Mets” round table with bloggers and professional media members.

The full panel schedule includes many other events. Tickets to the Queens Baseball Convention are $35 and are still available.

If you’re going, please let me know what you think is the best part.

You can follow Paul’s Random Baseball Stuff on Facebook or Google+, see my photos on Flickr and Instagram, and follow @Paul_Hadsall on Twitter, where I talk about about a variety of things in addition to baseball.

Posted in Baseball, New York Mets, Uncategorized

Backman & Wilson announced as guests for 2015 Queens Baseball Convention

Wally Backman (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)
Wally Backman (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

Two members of the 1986 World Series Champion New York Mets, fan favorites Mookie Wilson and Wally Backman, have been announced as guests at the 2015 Queens Baseball Convention on January 10 at McFadden’s Citi Field.

Tickets are on sale now for $35 and include one autograph from each guest as admission to a variety of panels and other events. For more information, visit

Posted in Baseball, Uncategorized

Alderson & Collins get to continue what they’ve started

CitiFieldThe New York Mets have officially announced that both manager Terry Collins and general manager Sandy Alderson will return next season.

The decision had been rumored for recent weeks and there was never any serious speculation that Alderson’s job was in jeopardy. There were more doubts about Collins, but I wonder how much of that was real and how much of it was wishful thinking from fans and media members who want to see Wally Backman in the manager’s office.

I’m fine with giving both men a chance to complete their reconstruction plan that we were never officially allowed to refer to as “rebuilding.”

Alderson has built assets at the minor league level that are beginning to help the major league team. His moves with players at the big league level have been more of a mixed bag, and for that reason I don’t think I would have been so quick to offer Alderson an extension covering 2016 and 2017 yet.

I’d like to see some more actual winning first. But no one wants to work under lame-duck status and it is encouraging to me that Alderson wants to stick around for three more years – I don’t think he’d do that if he wasn’t convinced that the Mets were headed in the right direction.

I’m less enthusiastic about Collins. All accounts suggest that he is a good guy and his players like him, but from an outside perspective it seems like he’s too willing to accept mediocrity at times and too concerned about winning every game to prioritize the big picture at others. (I’d also mention bullpen management and lineup construction issues, but I think if you watched any team on a regular basis you’d see their manager do something in one or both areas to make you crazy.)

But on the bright side, Collins did not get a contract extension and Backman, Bob Geren and Tim Teufel will all be readily available to replace him next year if the Mets get off to a bad start.

Hopefully 2015 will be the year when being patient begins to pay off.

What do you think about the Mets’ decision to bring back Sandy Alderson and Terry Collins?

Posted in Uncategorized

With Collins re-signed, the Mets must address their important off-season issues

Terry Collins argues with CB Bucknor
Terry Collins, seen here arguing with umpire CB Bucknor after a blown call, received a two-year contract extension Monday (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

New York Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson formally announced that Terry Collins had been given a two-year contract with an option for 2016 during a lunchtime press conference Monday.

That answered what is probably the least important question the team will need to deal with this off-season.

The Wally Backman fans are probably going nuts that their guy is not going to manage the Mets. (But hey, there are already job openings in Washington, Seattle and Chicago… maybe he’ll land one of those, or a spot that’s yet to officially open.)

The pro reporters are talking about what a great job Collins did with the limited talent on his roster, but they’re mainly happy because Collins is a good guy to deal with. Fair enough, but I don’t really care if their jobs are easy or hard.

I’m more interested in the roster. The Mets have an All-Star at third base, and a highly regarded rookie who will get the opportunity to prove he’s a worthy major league catcher.

They’ve got a 24-year-old center fielder who caught everything he could get to and threw out 15 runners on the base paths, but hit just .242 with an OPS of .633 in 121 games.  The second baseman had a pretty good year, but will never win a gold glove and had a .319 on base percentage with a .286 batting average. The left fielder led the National League with 46 stolen bases, but hit just .249 (with a .310 on base percentage.)

First base, shortstop and right field may as well be black holes.

And the latest guesstimate is that Alderson has $35 million to play with this winter. Is that enough to patch the worst of the lineup holes, add a veteran backup catcher and some bullpen arms and bring in another starting pitcher (maybe Johan Santana?) for insurance? Probably not.

And even on September 30th, the names of the players in the lineup matter to me a heck of a lot more than the name of the guy filling out the lineup card.

Posted in Baseball, Uncategorized

Pre-hurricane baseball news roundup

With Hurricane Sandy bearing down on the northeast, I really don’t know how much of an opportunity for blogging I’ll have next week. I’ve done what I can to get ready, and now I’m left to hope for the best. If you’re in the path of the storm, please be safe

Jerry Manuel, seen here taking the baseball from Hisanori Takahashi during a 2009 New York Mets game, could be the next Colorado Rockies manager. (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

A few interesting items that have popped up in the news over the last couple of day:

  • The Colorado Rockies interviewed former Mets manager Jerry Manuel for their vacant position, according to the Denver Post. I have to say, I hope he gets the job – just think of the entertainment Manuel could provide if he got hired.
  • With a lack of teams interested in him for a major league manager’s job, Wally Backman will manage the Triple-A Las Vegas 51s next year. I know a lot of you are excited about the possibility of Backman managing the Mets someday, but I’m not. He’s done ok in the minor leagues, but most fans seem to like him because of his 1986 World Series ring. I still remember Buddy Harrelson‘s managerial tenure, so a World Series ring alone is not enough to appeal to me.
  • According to the Star-Ledger’s Andy McCullough, the Mets may play an exhibition game in Las Vegas during spring training. Nice to see them making a bit of an effort to keep their Triple-A affiliate happy, but it’s too bad they didn’t do more when they had one in the Eastern time zone.
  • Finally, Beckett Media’s Chris Olds writes about the postseason “celebration-used” items available through MLB Auctions. I’d scoff, but as someone who spent money for a small display with some dirt taken from the Citi Field pitcher’s mound following Johan Santana‘s no-hitter, I really can’t.