This time Fightin Phillies talks with Mets blog owner, Kerel Cooper, from
“On The Black”
FightinPhillies: Your blog is part of the BBA, Baseball Bloggers Alliance as is the FightinPhillies blog. How did you get into blogging about the NY Mets, and tell us a little about you.
My name is Kerel Cooper and I am the owner and operator of OnTheBlack.com. I began OnTheBlack in September of 2008 as a way to give myself the opportunity to voice my opinions about the team I love, the New York Mets. Over time the site has evolved into a video blog. 90% of the posts are video and the other 10% are written posts such as things around Mets Team News, Game Recaps, Interviews or Photos. My long term goal is to create a daily web show that is all about the New York Mets.
2. The Mets have had some pretty horrible seasons in the past three years, do they turn it around this year? How does this season differ from the last few?
I picked the Mets to finish third in the division in my pre-season predictions. Of course I hope my prediction is wrong. I think as long as they can pitch well, they have a chance to compete. So far they are pitching well and that has translated into wins lately. It's a long season and anything can happen, but so far I can say that I do like the 2010 version of the New York Mets. This weekends match-up against the Phillies will be a good test to see where the Mets are.
3. How do you compare baseball at Citi Field with Shea? Does Citi Field have it's own natural feel as the new home of the Mets? Are ticket prices becoming more affordable than they were originally priced there?
Shea will always be "home" because there are so many memories I have in that park from all the games I've been to. At the same time Citi Field is a wonderful place to watch a game and enjoy a nice summer afternoon. With any new thing, it takes some time to get use to it and you have to "break it in". I think the Mets organization did a fantastic job over the off season by adding elements to the park that make it feel more like "home". You can see some pics I took at opening day from around the park here or you can view some of my pics from the Mets Hall of Fame here. The ticket prices haven't changes enough for me. Back at Shea I use to get a ticket plan but I have not done so at Citi Field. Partly because the team hasn't been good and partly because the prices are too expensive for my taste. Now don't get me wrong, I still go to a few games throughout the year but I prefer to buy single game tickets at this time.
4. Who is the current best player on the Mets, and how does he lead this team into the playoffs this year?
The Mets have a lot of talented players but if I have to pick one I would say that Jose Reyes is the best player on the Mets. Reyes has so much talent and can impact the game in many different ways (his arm, defensive range, speed, bat). Although I'm not a big fan of this, I do understand why Reyes is currently batting third in the lineup. This is just one example of how talented Reyes is. He's been a leadoff hitter his entire career but now the team is asking him to be a run producer out of necessity. I think his enthusiasm and confidence resonates with the rest of the team and will help carry them this season.
5. Omar Minaya has had several years to prove his worth as GM, he's come up horrible in the time he's been in charge. Should he lose his job anytime soon?, and what's your thoughts on Jerry Manuel?
On Omar: On one hand he's done a great job of bringing in the big name player during his time here (Pedro Martinez, Carlos Beltran, Carlos Delgado, Billy Wagner, Francisco Rodriquez, Jason Bay, etc..). The flip side of that, Omar has been bad at: 1) contract management (example Luis Castillo) 2) bringing in mid-low tier players (example Mike Jacobs) and off the field team PR (example Carlos Beltran surgery and the Tony Bernazard issue). The bottom line in the time he's been the Mets GM the team has had one play-off appearance, two season ending collapses and a string of off the field embarrassing moments. I personally think he's at the end of the line and if the team doesn't produce this season he should be gone.
On Manuel: While he's made some in game decisions that have made me scratch my head, I really don't think he's been that bad. You know the players also have to accept some responsibility as well. I do believe however that if the team doesn't perform this season, Manuel will be out along with Omar.