Sunday, July 10, 2011

Summer happenings: Arsenal rumour mill and Mets play respectable baseball

Man City's Sheikh
Once the European football season ends "The Silly Season" officially begins.  This is the time when fans are bombarded with rumours, speculation, half truths and a constant barrage of transfer gossip that may or may not have any validity.  Teams looking to bring in players and those looking to offload are busy during the summer months looking for the best deals that will make their squads' stronger.

Arsenal are no different than the rest. However, what has made this a frustrating and often infuriating summer so far is the nastiness and vitriol being thrown at the team and manager Arsene Wenger.  If all the stories that have been printed were true, it would seem that Arsenal would have no players left other than Sebastien Squillaci, Marouane Chamakh, Abou Diaby and a couple of ball boys.  I can certainly understand why The News of the World got shut down as most of the British tabloids are pure crap.  Here are just a few examples:

Samir Nasri Arsenal or mercenary?

Then of course there's the never ending Cesc Fabregas soap opera of will he rejoin his pals at Barcelona or will he stay at the club he currently captains.

Add to all these "tips" and "rumours" the constant Arsenal bashing of the press and you would think that Arsenal were Derby County of 2007-2008.  It's crazy.  This is one of the most successful football clubs in all of England and yes, they haven't won a trophy in 6 years, but they are always challenging for them.  Plus, let's be honest, a lot of teams haven't won a trophy since before most of us were born. 

One journalist who really got it right is John Cross of The Mirror.  What is most frustrating to Arsenal supporters who truly love the club, are players that seem to give up and don't take responsibility for their part in the teams' shortcomings.  This line from his article is spot on, "If Arsenal had won the title, there is no doubt in my mind that Nasri would have signed a new contract. But, at the same time, it's almost laughable when players absolve themselves personally of any blame for their club not winning trophies."

Agreed.  How about stepping up and being a leader for the club that gave you a shot at the big time?  If these players want to be with winners, then they themselves need to be winners.

Captain or join the boys club?
Cesc Fabregas has been great with Arsenal, but this love affair with Barcelona and their obnoxious players is ridiculous.  Be careful what you wish for Cesc as you may not get the playing time you are used to and you certainly won't be "the man" as you are at Arsenal.  In fact, you'll probably end up as a squad player.  I cannot understand a young player that has been given the captaincy of one of the biggest teams in Europe and is loved by the fans, throwing it all away so he can "hang out with his friends."  He may regret this decision,

Arsenal fans on Twitter are all united in their love for the club.  It's disappointing when a player that the fans have supported and sang songs for suddenly loses that passion once buckets of money and promises of glory are dangled in front of them.  This truly is "The Silly Season."

Switching gears, the 2011 New York Mets have thus far been surprising over achievers.  They will head in to this week's All Star Break with a record over .500 and have earned a degree of respectability from those around the league.  What's amazing is they have done this without regular players David Wright, Ike Davis, Johan Santana and most recently Jose Reyes.  Somehow the replace"mets" have shown some fight and the oft maligned Carlos Beltran has morphed in to the team's leader.

Justin Turner has arrived
Lucas Duda, Justin Turner, Dillon Gee, Jason Pridie and Ruben Tejada have all contributed to making the Mets a gritty, hard nosed team that is fun to watch.

The Mets' recent road trip to Oakland, Texas and Detroit for inter league play looked pretty rough on paper.  However, something amazing happened; the Mets won 2 out of 3 in each series including scoring 14 runs over the Rangers in one game and putting up 14 runs followed by 16 runs in consecutive games against the Tigers.

Don't trade Reyes
Meanwhile, Jose Reyes is having an MVP season thus far: batting .350, 124 hits, 22 doubles, 15 triples and 30 stolen bases.  He has been the player every Mets fan always knew he could be and the Don't Trade Reyes cause has taken off.  Latest news has GM Sandy Alderson listening to the fans. 

While no one really expects the team to make the playoffs this season, new manager Terry Collins and GM Alderson appear to be making the right moves in restoring the Mets' reputation.

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