My New 13 Year Journey

Last week marked the opening of schools.  It also marked the start of a new journey for thousands of parents.  Sending your child of to school for the first time.

My son Cameron started kindergarten on Wednesday.  He has been attending pre-school 3 days a week for the past 2 years already, but this is different.  He is growing up.  You feel like he is starting a new stage in his life.  He will now be out of the house 5 days a week for the next 13 years. (WOW).  He will develop new friends that will last years.  These years will shape him into the person he will start to become.

It will be my job to make sure he stays on track.  To sit down with him nightly to go over his homework and review any difficulties he has with it.  To find out which subjects he enjoys and which he struggles with.  To ask how school is going.  To listen to what he say and doesn’t say to really understand.  As he gets older, to pay attention to who he is friends with, whom he “hangs out” with.  To make sure that he doesn’t fall in with the wrong crowd.  To push him just enough, so he continues to enjoy everything, but not too much that he turns away from it or me.

In other words, to make sure that he develops into that wonderful, upstanding young man I know he will become.

Then in two years, start it all over again when my daughter starts kindergarten.  But I will have one advantage.  On older brother to look after her in school as well.

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Read me at SmithtownPatch as well

I was invited to blog on www.smithtownpatch.com to detail my experiences with my power restoration with the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA).  Please read my blog posting there:  http://bit.ly/mRM9gS  and continue to follow me there as well as here.

Thanks

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LIPA Unprepared for Hurricane Irene?

Newsday yesterday reported that LIPA acknowledges it has a communications problem.  I can attest to that.

I live in Nesconset, TownshipofSmithtown.  My power went out immediately as the storm started.  I woke up at 1 AM Saturday night to find the power out.  In the morning, I called LIPA to report the outage.

Fast forward to Wednesday.  I called LIPA around noon for an update.  I was told the repair work was with the local substation and would most likely the power would be back within 48 hours.  The phone rep also stated that a there was a live down wire in the area.  How their can be a “live wire down since Sunday is beyond me but that is another matter.  The rep said they only receive new information at 10am and 10pm everyday and I may call back Thursday for further info.

Today, Thursday, the 5th day without power, I called at 10:30 am for another update to see if LIPA had new information or an update on when power may be restored.  The phone rep told me the same information as the day before.  It is with the local substation and she has no further information.  Could give me an estimate on when power would return.

How can LIPA go 24 hours and have no update on progress being made, or when the electric MAY be back?  I have not seen one truck of any kind in my town working on the problem, but I now they are because the majority of the area that lost power is back.  It seems to just be my street.  Every street I pass on the way to mine, at one time this week with no power, now has lights.  I turn onto my street and it is pitch black.  The overhead wires leading to my street come from poles that are providing power to other houses.

I just can’t understand how LIPA does not have any significant information to give when all week they stressed that survey crews were out in the field for days to estimate the damage and provide action plans.

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MoNY Sports: NY Mets Update

CITIFIELD- Home of the NY Mets

Well, I haven’t wrote ANYTHING in a long time, so I guess I should give my views on what The NY Mets have been up to, if they have been following my 5 Keys to Fixing the NY Mets.

They definitely cleaned out the management.  Jerry and Omar are gone and in is Sandy Alderson.  Now, I was asking to bring in JP Ricciardi, and they have, as special assistant to the GM.  Just as good to me. A coup for the Mets, since he had a standing offer to join the Red Sox front office.  They also went ahead and hired Paul DePodesta as Vice President for Player personnel & amateur scouting.  Some have thought that Sandy was too far removed from the game to be an effective GM, but with Ricciardi and DePodesta, the Mets have some excellent baseball brains in the upper trust.  Now, nobody can say the Mets do not know what they are doing.  It will be interesting to see how statistical analysis (Moneyball) will work when there is infinitely more money available to play with compared to Oakland.

Now let’s see what they do for a manager.  They seem to be interviewing everybody (except Booby V – who is now a looooong shot, considering Sandy’s type of manager is the complete opposite of Bobby).  The favorite now seems to be Terry Collins.  He has a relationship with DePodesta and impressed Mets brass in the minor league system.  At this point, I would not have a problem with that decision.

Following up on my other points, I still feel they need to get rid of Castillo and Perez at the very least, and try as they might to get rid of Beltran.  They picked up Reyes option, but if they are not going to sign him to a long term deal, than trade him as well.

Sandy said the Mets will not be buyers this off season, so the free agent market is pretty much dead to us.  All the more reason to trade Beltran and Reyes and try to get some major league talent back.

The team has lowered 2011 ticket prices and gave an additional discount to season ticket renewals.  And they threw in some extras, like batting practice on the field.

So far, the team is heading in the right direction.  The Wiplon’s seem to realize what needed to be done and brought in some heavy hitters.  Let’s give them time and see what else they can do.

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MoNY Sports: 5 Keys To Fixing The NY Mets

The NY Mets need to make some moves to show they are relevant again and show the fans that they are serious about the organization.  Below I give my 5 keys to fixing the mess that is the Mets.

1) Clean out Mananagement – Get rid of Omar and Jerry   This is mandatory and needs to be done as soon as the season is over.  If the Mets do not do this, then you might as well forget about the rest and be prepared for more of the same. Hire a respected veteran GM.  Do not hire a newbie.  Two candidates to consider are Kevin Towers, JP Richardi.  For Manager, give it to hands on manager.  Someone who will make the most of what they have.  Don’t worry about players feelings.  We are past that point.  Bring back Bobby V or give it to Wally Backman.  Bobby V will be expensive, but it will show that fans that the Wilpons are serious. If they do not want to spend that kind of money on a manager, then the choice is Wally.  Both will light a fire under the player’s asses and get them to play to the best of their abilities.

2) Get rid of dead weight and malcontents.  Try to trade Luis Castillo and Ollie Perez.  If no takers, bite the bullet and cut them.  The Mets will just have to eat the money.  Easier said when it is not my money, but they have to.  Bad contracts were made.  The Mets can’t waste another season and roster space on these players just because of bad contracts.  They have to admit their mistake and suck it up.  We are in NY and we should have the resources fix the problems.  We should be able to, when needed, admit our mistakes and move on.  Philly and Atlanta do and they are significantly smaller markets. The Mets also must trade Carlos Beltran. He is in the last year of his deal and will be looking for another big contract.  He will not resign with the Mets after next year.  Beltran and Boras are annoyed at organization.  Find a team willing to take some of the money and dump him.

3) Trade Jose Reyes.  Not sure if it can be done, but pick up Reyes option then trade him.  You have to trade somebody of value to get value back.  David Wright is the face of organization and a fan favorite.  The move will show the team and the fans that again, the Mets are serious about changing the organization and culture.  Try to get either another short stop, or try to return a 2nd baseman or right fielder. If not, trade him for some top prospects.  If we can’t get a SS, then bring in either Alex Gonzalez or Edgar Renteria. At the same time, send Ruben Tejada to winter ball to get more swings and try to build his offensive game.  If the Mets can’t trade for a right fielder, consider Carl Crawford, if he will sign.  Will be expensive but he is well suited for the ballpark.  The only problem is who will move to rightfield, Bay or Crawford.  Who can play rightfield?

4) Sign Pitching in offseason Some potential pitchers to bring in are Bronson Arroyo, Aaron Harang, Ted Lilly, Javier Vazquez, or Jake Westbrook.    Our starting rotation would be Mike Pelfrey, Free Agent, John Niese, RA Dickey, Jenrry Mejia.  If the recent injury to Mejia is more serious than thought, then bring in a 2nd, lower level pitcher.  I have left out Johan Santana because of the uncertainty of when he will return from his shoulder surgery.

5) New PR campaign to bring back fans. The Mets must engage the fans.  They are disgusted with the team, its moves and results on the field.  The moves described above show the organization is serious about rebuilding and changing the culture. I am not a marketing or PR guy, but try to do more with the fans.  Give them reasons to come to the ballpark.  If they follow these moves, the team might contend but most likely it will will a rebuilding year.  You will need to do something to keep the fans coming to Citifield.

I do not know if all the above moves are possible (don’t know all the rules or which free agents will actually be available), but when all is said and done, the team might look something like this:

Catcher Josh Thole
First Base Ike Davis
Second Base Ruben Tejada
Short Alex Gonzalez or Edgar Renteria
Third Base David Wright
Outfielders Jason Bay
Angel Pagan
Carl Crawford
Pitchers Mike Pelfrey
Bronson Arroyo
John Niese
RA Dickey
Jenrry Mejia
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MoNY Sports: Darrelle Revis and The NY Jets Together No More?

Jason Cole of Yahoo Sports had a column today where he states the Jets are in danger of losing Darrelle Revis forever.  While I do not disagree with the overall theme of the column, I do however, from my layman’s view, disagree with the reasoning.

“If the Jets can’t bridge the gap between what they are offering Revis and what he believes they promised him at the end of last season, he’s not showing up, period.”

Does anyone really know what the Jets promised Darrelle?  We are all know that the Jets told Revis  that they would redo his contract and make him a Jet for life and that he has outplayed his contract.  But did they promise to make him the highest paid cornerback in the NFL?  Did they promise him a specific guaranteed amount?  I highly doubt any numbers were promised when the season ended.  If they were than Mike Tannenbaum and the Jets lost all their negotiating power and I think they are smarter than that.

“Revis believes the Jets have toyed with him by making their initial overtures so public. If this had been done privately, Revis would have shown up for training camp even if a new contract hadn’t been agreed upon.”

Would he have really shown up for camp?  Nobody knows but I would tend to believe he would have still held out.  He held out as a rookie to get the contract he now doesn’t like.  He knows his uncle held out a full year, and his demands were met (after being traded).  Plus the history of his agents and the NY Jets practically dictated that he would hold out.  We all saw on Hard Knocks Tannenbaum get off the phone with Darrelle’s agents and say that was the first non-contentious conversation he has ever had with them.  And the relationship goes back some years, as they represented Pete Kendall and Chris Baker. Not to mention that the other high profile, ugly holdout right now is Vincent Jackson, who is represented by the same agents.

Jason Coles states it took him 30 seconds to figure that Revis wants $160 million.  We all know what he wants.  But this is a negotiation.  Both sides start at what they believe is warranted and then meet in the middle.  The Jets also have to take into account other factors, such as the signing of Ferguson and Mangold (subsequently signed to long term deals with the team).

“Schwartz and Feinsod crafted a brilliant contract for Revis the first time, one so good that no other team has ever done it since. Schwartz and Feinsod know leverage and they have certain principles.”

Now, I do not know the particulars of Revis original contract, but I do know he is scheduled to make around $1 million this year and, according to the article, $21 million over the next three years.  He is underpaid when you look at the one year figure, but he averages $7 million for the 3 year period.  That is still underpaid for his skills, but Revis keeps mentioning the $1 million figure.  And you have to remember, Revis and his agents held out for this contract.  The majority of his money was front loaded.  They knew years ago that he would make $1 million on 2010.  If I was running the team I would be weary of giving a high value contract with some years at minimal money just for this reason.  The player can claim they are underpaid but ignore the fact that they made most of the money already.

And I believe that once the season starts the leverage all belongs to the team.  They control the rights to Revis.  If they fundamentally disagree on the value, they can dig in their heels and hold out till the team feels the contract is fair.  The team goes on.  The team keeps playing.  They will not be as great as they can be if Revis holds out the year, but they will still be very good.  Revis will sit out and lose the year.  He will lose the money for this year and 1 year off his football life. And sitting out will cause him to lose a year towards free agency eligibility.  And there is the potential that the players will be locked out by the owners in 2011 and no football would be played.  So is he willing to sit out two years, potentially three if the jets want to be spiteful?  And if he did, I highly doubt that he would return the same player.  You can’t lose two years of your football life and return as the best defender in the game.

“Gilbert learned that great players get great money even if they miss an entire season. This year alone, No. 1 overall pick Sam Bradford got $50 million guaranteed even though he was coming off an injury-marred season in which he barely played. Likewise, wide receiver Dez Bryant and tight end Jermaine Gresham were both first-round picks this year despite barely playing last season in college.”

Another fundamental part of the column I disagree with is the comparison of Revis’s original contract with that of 1st round rookies of this year.  You can’t compare the contracts.  1st round pick contacts increase dramatically each year.  Why do you think The NFL is wants to institute a rookie cap.  Because the salaries are outrageous for people who have never played a down in the pros.  If a #1 pick doesn’t work out, the team is set back for years.  If Sam Bradford turns into nothing more than a backup for St Louis in the next couple of years, would they be able to go out and draft another early 1st round QB and pay him top money when Bradford is already guaranteed $50 million.  Darrell, drafted in 2007 at #14, held out and eventually signed a 6 yr $30 million contract with $16 million guaranteed.

Lets compare him to the #1 picks, as Coles does.  The following are the contract values of the #1 picks since 2007:

YEAR     PLAYER                          CONTRACT VALUE        GUARANTEED VALUE

2007        Jarmarcus Russell            $61M                                    $32M

2008        Jake Long                          $57.75M                               $30M

2009        Matthew Stafford             $72M                                    $41.7M

2010        Same Bradford                  $78M                                    $50M

You can see the spiraling costs of the 1st pick.  And the increase in the value of the #1 pick causes all following picks values to increase as well.

In the end, this may end badly for all interested parties.  The Jets may not have their best player on the field for their Super Bowl run this year (and it is looking more and more like he won’t be here).  Darrell may miss a year of income and playing time.  The Jets could force him not to play for 3 years.  If Darrelle forces a trade, the Jets could trade him anywhere.  And to be spiteful who’s to say they don’t trade him to a perennial non contender and his languishes there.

So the best option for all involved is to go into a room, lock the door and not come out till a new contract is settled.  How does $150 million over 10 years with $40 million guaranteed sound?

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Mike on NY Sports

One topic I will be exploring on this blog will be NY Sports.  I will be discussing NY Sports from an everyman’s point of view.  I am a fan of the NY Mets and The NY Jets, so it would naturally tend to focus more on those two teams, but I will discuss all metro teams.  It will focus on all things NY Sports, including the business of sport.  One example would be the marketing prowess of the NY Yankees, which I consider genius for what they have done to increase the value and visibility of the franchise, beyond what it already was.

I will be using the heading of MoNY Sports for all my sports postings.

My first posting is coming soon, my view on the article from Jason Cole about the future of Darrelle Revis and the NY Jets.

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P90x and Me: Week 1

One week ago I started the P90x journey.  90 days of insanity.  One week in and I feel GOOD. 

I am pretty much out of shape.  I am broad shouldered so I can hold some weight but I am the heaviest I have been (5’10” and 225 lbs).  All the weight sits in my gut.  I don’t have any flab on my arms or legs.  I had enough.  My wife and I are going on a week long cruise the Saturday after Thanksgiving and want to lose some weight before we leave.  I have tried going to gyms before but never kept up with it.  I need a structured program to follow and a trainer for every session is just too much money.  So we both decided to try P90x.

The day after the first session, my body was sore.  I hadn’t done any exercise in a looong time so I expected it, but it felt good.  The next day was Polymetrics, an explosive cardio program with jumping.  Let me tell you.  It is hard.  Couldn’t keep up with the program but I did as much as I can. 

As the week progressed, I found myself pushing harder with each day, trying to push out one more rep or go on for 10 more seconds.  I don’t necessarily look forward to each days program, but I am, for the first time ever, doing something each day because I want to.  I don’t want to skip a day of exercise.  I even surprised myself by pushing hard on days when I do the program alone.

Today is day 7, either rest or the stretch DVD.  I am going to rest the 1st week (mainly because I am going to a Jimmy Buffet concert tonight and won’t be home to do the stretch program). 

They say the first week is the hardest.  If you can get through that, you see some results and will keep it up.  I can vouch for that.  I was sore everyday this week.  Each day a new part of my body hurt, especially after yoga.  But my body feels a little tighter.  My pants bunch up a little in the waist.  I haven’t been able to suck in my gut this far since I was 40 pounds lighter.

My goal for the 90 days of P90x is to do the program everyday, and show improvement week in and week out with each program.  Be able to push harder and keep up with the DVDs.  My overall fitness goal is to get to between 180-190 lbs.  The summer of 2002 I was 178 lbs.  I met my wife that year.  Since then, my son and daughter were born and I became more complacent.  I gained 47 lbs (sounds so bad when you actually say it) and haven’t basically done much since then.  I want to be able to keep up with my kids and be there for them for years to come.

I will keep you posted on my program and let you know how it is working.

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Hello world!

Welcome to my online world.

Quick background.  Born and raised on Long Island, NY.  Have a BA in Economics from Stony Brook University and an MBA in Finance from The Fordham Graduate School of Business.  Married and a father of two wonderful, beautiful kids, a 4 year old son and a 2 year old daughter.  Recently I started to develop an interest in social media and digital media & marketing.

I will be using this website as my vehicle for that purpose, learning about WordPress, SEO, SEM, and social media in general.  My goal is to become an expert in social media (but isn’t everybody these days) and use this skills for new endeavors.

To that point, this blog will be a constant work in progress.  I expect it to change a lot in the early stages as I learn more about WordPress and the resources available.  Any tips or critiques are most definitely welcome.

So, again, welcome, and explore my world.  Follow my blog by clicking “Subscribe to Michael Fleece by Email” on the right.

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