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Video: Soup Nazi and Frank Costanza at Mets Game

On Saturday, we passed along the news that actor Larry Thomas, better known as the Soup Nazi, attended the Mets-Dodgers game at Citi Field. The Soup Nazi was at the game “to give DVD prizes to fans at Citi Field who correctly answered trivia questions about the show,” according to the AP via Off The Bench. He wasn’t alone; Frank Costanza joined him as well. Frank, aka Jerry Stiller, managed to sing Take Me Out to the Ballgame without breaking character. Here’s the video via Mets Police:

At least their visit to Citi Field seems to have gone better than the last time a Seinfeld cast member attended a Mets game.

Mets Sacrifice Toolbox to Turn Season Around, Have Not Lost Since

Being a New York Mets fan is filled with surprises. Whether it means having your team mocked on a subway sign or trying to raise money to buy out a player’s contract, the news is rarely positive for New York’s other team.  By destroying a toolbox, the Mets hope to change all that.

Big League Stew shared a story with us on Saturday about a toolbox named “Stanley.”  Stanley was once a mainstay in the Mets bullpen.  He carried essentials such as nail clippers, medical supplies, and various toys.  After watching his team get off to a league-worst 6-11 start and his bullpen post a league-worst 4.11 ERA, Mets CEO Jeff Wilpon gave an executive order: kill Stanley.

Wilpon requested that every player donate an article of clothing or piece of equipment to place inside Stanley, and the team then took the toolbox into the back room before Thursday’s game and destroyed him with baseball bats — Office Space style.  That afternoon, the Mets beat the Astros, 9-1.  They currently hold a 2-0 lead over the Diamondbacks and have not lost a game since Stanley’s demise.

Was it the Curse of the Toolbox that was holding the Mets down for all these years? Time will tell.

Mets Mocked on New York Subway Sign

It’s not easy being a New York Mets fan. In fact it’s really, really tough. Between the season-ending collapses of historic proportions, the terrible contracts given to players like Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo, the arrest of our $37 million closer and the recent ownership issues, it has been a rough few years — four years to be exact. The team hasn’t been the same since Carlos Beltran struck out looking at a nasty curve from Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright in Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS.

Basically since the team’s inception in 1962, it’s been the M.O. of Mets fans to expect the worst and wear the team’s failures as a sort of badge of courage. In that spirit, The New York Times reported on Wednesday that Manhattan Mini Storage has produced this subway ad poking fun at the Mets organization:

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New York Mets 2011 MLB Preview: Middle of the Pack in NL East

Previewing the 2011 MLB season, we’ve already named the Phillies, Yankees, and Red Soxthe top World Series favorites. We’ve already looked at the NL Central, and this week we’re looking at the NL East. We’ve already covered the Phillies, Braves, and Marlins. Today we’ll look at the New York Mets; Thursday: Washington Nationals.

The Tweener: New York Mets

Off-Season Moves: The Mets lost lefty-specialist, and workhorse, Pedro Feliciano, who finished the last three seasons as the major league leader in appearances, to free agency. They also lost left-hander Hisanori Takahashi, who went 10-6 with a 3.61 ERA and eight saves combined over 12 starts and 41 relief appearances. New York also acquired two bottom of the rotation-type guys with a lot to prove in righty Chris Young and lefty Chris Capuano. The biggest Met-killer in recent history, outfielder Willie Harris, was also brought in.

Strengths: The Mets led the NL (fifth in the majors) in steals, with 130 in 2010. Newly-named center fielder Angel Pagan led the team with 37 steals, and though he missed some time, shortstop Jose Reyes stole 30. Third baseman David Wright (pictured above) added 19 bags. That team speed — along with some help from the spacious Citi Field — allowed the Mets to hit 40 triples, good for third in baseball.

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Mets Ownership Looking Lost, Seeking Partial Sale

The Wilpon family, owners of 100% of the New York Mets, have recently stated that they will entertain offers to sell up to 25% of the team. The family had previously said they never wanted to give up any portion of the team, but a recent lawsuit related to the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme has forced them to rethink that stance. The lawsuit reportedly seeks to recover between $300 million and $1 billion from the Wilpons, money that would be used to compensate the other Madoff victims.

The Wilpons, largely-known for their real estate success, have consistently said that the Madoff scandal would not affect the Mets financially. This lawsuit essentially aims to prove that the family actually profited from the scheme. If that is the case, then the sale of 25% of the team — recently valued by Forbes at upwards of $800 million — likely wouldn’t even be enough to cover the low end of the lawsuit estimates.

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Mets Fans Trying to Raise Money to Buy Out Oliver Perez’s Contract

This is without a doubt one of the most unique and hilarious fan stories I’ve ever come across. No offense to Oliver Perez, but apparently New York Mets fans have the ability to get pretty creative when they’re tired of the way things are going — which seems to happen more often than not.  Hardball Talk has brought to our attention that a few Mets fans are raising money to buy out Oliver Perez’s contract.

Absolutely brilliant.  The Mets are in the market for a new general manager and when they find one, I think he’d be wise to make cashing in on this proposal one of his top priorities.  The fans in charge of the fund plan to accept donations until February 13, which is when pitchers and catchers report to off-season workouts.  The goal is the $12 million that is left on Perez’s 3 year, $36 million deal.

Perez has angered Mets fans by pitching horribly since signing a fat contract in 2009 and even refusing a Triple-A assignment when he was struggling.  The organizers of the fund have even vowed to donate the money to charity if they fall short of their goal.  However, if they come even close to reaching the goal, I’d like to think the Mets’ front office would realize how passionate their fan base is about hating the guy and bite the bullet.  All in all, I think it’s a genius concept.

Mets Would be Wise to Hire Logan White as General Manager

I always told myself the past few years that if I ever came into the type of money needed to buy a baseball team, my first move would be offering Dodgers Assistant GM Logan White as much money as it took to get him to work for my team. Starting off as the Dodgers’ farm director and being promoted to Assistant GM a few years ago, White has built the Dodgers’ stacked farm system and he’s more responsible than anyone in the organization for the team’s recent success. He interviewed for the Arizona Diamondbacks’ GM vacancy and is now one of the five candidates for the Mets job. He would be a great hire for the team, and I’ll explain why.

Over the past nine years (when White ran his first draft for the team), the Dodgers have reached the playoffs four times and won at least 90 regular season games three times. The team reached the NLCS in back-to-back years, largely with a core established by White’s drafts. Here are some of the players White drafted since taking over in 2002: Clayton Kershaw, Jonathan Broxton, Chad Billingsley, Matt Kemp, James Loney and Russell Martin. In addition to selecting those young men who have turned into All-Stars for the team, White played a big role in the signings of Japanese pitchers Takashi Saito and Hiroke Kuroda. Saito became one of the best closers in the NL when he was with the Dodgers, and Kuroda has been a strong starter during his tenure with the team.

Put simply, Logan White is a superior talent evaluator. Think about your favorite team and take a look at the roster. How many All-Stars does your team have? How many were drafted and developed by the organization? Not many, right? That’s what makes what White did so impressive. I have no doubt he’ll be able to keep it up wherever he goes, especially an organization like the Mets where they would allow him to spend money on draft picks. Hiring him would lead to the rebirth of the team’s farm system and an excellent future in New York. You know what? I better keep my mouth shut — I don’t want the Mets becoming too good over the next decade.