“Don't expect happiness, you won't get it.  Life is all a big nothing.  In the end, your friends and family let you down, and you die in your own arms.” - Livia Soprano

Yes, I loved the ending.  It took me a while.  Initially, I was frustrated and confused, and a bit disappointed.  However, I talked with a few people, read a review or two, watched the episode again, and thought about the overall series, what the writers have been telling us for years about our society and about Tony, and then it all clicked – and I was more than satisfied with what transpired in the series finale, which was perfect, brilliant and underwhelming all at the same time, much like life I suppose.

How could we ever have expected closure?  We’re such fools.  This show has always been about ‘life,’ and in life you don’t get closure.  It just ends.  Suddenly.  You only get darkness.  

In the first episode of Season Six, the start of show’s final arc, Agent Harris says, “No one ever went broke overestimating the taste of the American public,” and then he throws up an Italian sandwich.  If that isn’t a commentary on how we, the viewing public, expect things from the show, i.e. closure, I don’t know what is.  I always think of that line when I am watching this show, because it’s a clear F-U from the writers to our expectations – and those of us who though AJ would kill Tony, or that Tony would flip to the Feds, etc, should have known better.  

To me, the show’s creator, David Chase, who wrote and directed this episode, is saying, “You are what you are.”  You’ll never change, no matter how hard you try – and its okay, it doesn’t matter, because in the end it’s all just a faded, distant memory, like for Uncle Junior, or, if you’re lucky, it all just goes black in an instant – and everyone’s life goes on with out you.  This is very sad.  I actually feel very strange today, because I can’t get this idea of mortality and legacy out of my head, two concepts the show has focused a lot on during this season.  I mean, is that really it?  Will I end up in a chair one day, unable to remember the life behind me, like Uncle Junior, meaning it all may not have happened anyways, or, will I just be living my life and then bam, it’s over – maybe from a heart attack, or a car accident, or old age, whatever – either way does it just all go black?  It’s a scary thought, and Chase is telling us what he thinks, which is that when your show ends, life simply goes on without you.  

As for the episode, the idea of “I am what I am, it’s my nature, I can’t help it” which is uttered in a ton of great literature, is the essence of this final episode.  Keeping this idea in mind, there actually is closure in some way.

Tony has repeatedly said there are only two options for him: Death or prison.  Tony is living on borrowed time, and we know it, so that’s how the show ends.  Someday, Tony will either die or go to jail.  In fact, the wheels are in motion for prison, with Carlo going to the Feds.  Nevertheless, we know this is Tony’s fate, he knows it’s his fate – so, do we really need to see Tony, our hero, for better or worse, have his brains spilled out on a table in a dinner - do we really want to see Tony being hauled off to jail, as a loser.  I don’t.  I know it’ll happen one day, but I don’t want to remember him that way, which hits on that legacy idea again.  Regardless, the bell tolls for Tony, like the bell that kept ringing on the door in the restaurant at the end of the show.  The bell rings, Tony looks up, and it’s over, just blackness.  “You probably don't even hear it when it happens,” like Bobby Baccala says in this season’s first episode.  Frankly, neither did we.  All we got was silence, for a painful amount of time, much like death, I suppose.  Maybe Tony didn’t get shot right there, by the guy who looked like his dad in the ‘Members Only’ jacket, but when he does, and you know he eventually will, that’s how it will go down.  Bam.  Blackness.  “It’s all a big nothing.”  So that’s Tony’s life, waiting to be arrested or whacked, always looking up at the door wondering if this is it, is this the one.  That’s his hell.  That’s his life.  That’s our closure.  Eventually it will end.  Maybe Chase didn’t give us direct visual closure, but by giving us implied closure, he also protected our eternal image of Tony, with his family, “trying to remember the good times,” while eating supper as a father, which is all he ever really wanted to be – and, frankly, all we wanted him to be, as well.  Either that, or Chase whacked us, and our world just went black.  Or both, I suppose.  Either way, life goes on, like the song from Journey said in that final shot, “Oh, the movie never ends, it goes on and on and on and on, Don't stop.”  Cut to black, now you, the viewer, can go on with your life.  

Lastly, Chase has always used this show as a way to expose Americans as being a material, self-absorbed, bargaining type culture, whose best days are behind it.  It’s actually the basis of the very first conversation between him and Dr. Melfi.  If you buy in to this, the writers are essentially painting Tony’s family as America.  Hell, the title of the episode was “Made in America.”   Each character has a chance to do good, but when faced with struggle and sacrifice they all revert back to what they know.  This has happened over and over and over again on this show.  They tease you with redemption, then yank each character back in to the materialistic world they are most comfortable in.  We’d like to think we are capable of change, and being all philosophical, and enlightened, listening to Bob Dylan in our SUVs, but we aren’t.  We are who we are.  We try to change, but can only muster up cosmetic adjustments, like cute bumper stickers and weight loss diets, all while telling ourselves and others that we’re good people and still the best, even though we know the best is behind us.  I suspect that Chase sees this as America’s biggest flaw going forward, and he may be right.  Personally, I’ll keep ‘believing’, like the final song in the show suggested.  Contrary to most people’s view of me, I’m very much an optimist, hence the Half Full shirt I like to wear.

A few random thoughts…

  • I truly believe the writers are leading us to believe Tony eventually gets whacked, set up by the Members Only jacket on the guy at the end, who a) looked like his dad, and b) is the name of episode when Tony got shot by Junior; also, Tony’s eating an orange earlier in the last episode, which a) is odd, because he never eats fruit, and b) is a total hat tip to the Godfather, which used oranges as a foreshadow for death.  Specifically, Phil is killed in front of his wife and two grandkids, which, to me, is foreshadowing for Tony being killed in front of his wife and two kids.  Regardless, in some way, Tony is already dead, at least in the eyes of his subordinates.  I mean, did you see how dejected and unloyal they all acted towards him.  Ag

    ain, if he didn’t actually die in that final scene, which is how I like to imagine it, then he will die in that manner some day. 

  • The scene with Tony and Paulie, at the end, outside of Satriale’s, was beautiful when viewed in contract to how that same sort of scene was filmed in years past.  Once, to be out front of Satriale’s showed a large group of guys, lots of conversation, camaraderie, laughter, life, action, etc.  Now, it’s just Tony, Paulie and a bunch of empty chairs, with the scene all washed out and very quiet and awkward.  The mafia’s impact is essentially dead.  I mean, there’s a Jamba Juice up the street from them.  In addition, they drive this home in another brilliant moment, in which Butchie walks a few blocks in Little Italy, only to run out road and end up in Chinatown.  The best is behind you, Butchie. 
  • I loved AJ coming down the steps in a robe, just like Tony.  Nice touch.
  • In therapy, with AJ’s shrink, Tony falls right in to his old pattern with Melfi, simply complaining of his mother, no effort to move forward, again, he is what he is.  The look Carmella gave him was priceless.  That look alone was worthy of an Emmy.
  • In the end, after all the stuff with Adriana, and the wire taps, etc, it’s not Tony he flips to the Feds, but, instead, Tony flips the Feds, and gets Agent Harris to dime out Phil Leotardo.  This is important, too.  Harris is suppose to be a good guy, like us, and yet, here he is watching and cheering on the train wreck just like us, just like the people at the Bing who gathered like a mob to see Silvio gunned down.  Why are we so obsessed with these villains like Tony?  Why do we live vicariously through evil? 
  • I read some place that Chase and Co. specifically cast an Italian looking man, who looked like Tony’s dad, for that final scene.  In fact, the guy isn’t even an actor, but a pizzeria owner up the street from that real restaurant who they ran in to while at lunch and asked to be in the show.  Why an Italian guy?  Did they want to create suspicion?  Was this a final commentary on the omnipresent subject of how society views Italian-Americans as criminals, and we all just did the same?  Very clever.

So that’s that. 

It’s over. 

I really can’t believe it. 

I love Walt Whitman, especially Leaves of Grass, so it should come as no shock when I say that this show has taught me more about myself, and how I look at life, for better or for worse, more than any other work of art I have encountered – and I don’t think it is hyperbole to say that.

Seriously, it struck a major nerve in me, which is all very personal and something I’m not too comfortable discussing.  I know some people simply watch this show for the murder, or the humor, the entertainment, etc, but, for me, it was a personal journey of sorts – and I feel very empty knowing it’s over, yet I also feel oddly content.  I can’t describe it.  Either way, part of therapeutic nature of this journey has been sending out these long-winded, some-what trivial e-mails, so, I guess what I’m saying is, thank you for reading…and now life goes on.


In this week's second episode, Robert Brender does his best to convince MetsBlog's Matthew Cerrone that the Mets should trade Michael Conforto for Pirates OF Andrew McCutchen.

Later in the show, Cerrone and Brender discuss Monday's news and rumors from DC, including more on Jay Bruce and Curtis Granderson, O's reliever Brad Brach, and if the Mets should trade with the Royals...

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New York Mets' Jose Reyes (7) reacts after hitting a game-tying, two-run home run in the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens) (Kathy Willens/AP)
New York Mets' Jose Reyes (7) reacts after hitting a game-tying, two-run home run in the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens) (Kathy Willens/AP)

The Mets will work out Jose Reyes in the outfield during Spring Training, Mets GM Sandy Alderson told reporters Monday at the MLB Winter Meetings.

"We didn't want to do it last year, because we didn't want him working out at multiple new positions," Alderson explained about when the Mets acquired Reyes last summer.

Tags: Jose Reyes
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Alderson answers fans' questions 00:05:56
Mets general manager Sandy Alderson answers fan-submitted questions on Mets Hot Stove.

New York Mets GM Sandy Alderson talks David Wright's health, Jose Reyes' position in the lineup and what he thinks of Travis d'Arnaud when he answers fan-submitted questions on Mets Hot Stove.

Tags: David Wright, Jose Reyes, Travis d'Arnaud
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David Wright waits during batting practice before facing the San Diego Padres. (AP)
David Wright waits during batting practice before facing the San Diego Padres. (AP)

David Wright will be the team's primary third baseman entering spring training, Mets GM Sandy Alderson told reporters Monday during the Winter Meetings.

According to Alderson, Wright is on track to start baseball activities during December.

Last month, Alderson told WOR 710 AM radio that, while he's hopeful that Wright will return, the Mets need to be realistic about what to expect from him in 2017.

"I think that we're very hopeful he's gonna be able to come back and be productive," Alderson said. However, "I think we have to be realistic about how many games we can expect him to perform."

Tags: David Wright
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Sep 25, 2016; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets right fielder Jay Bruce (19) hits a single during the fifth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
		  (Anthony Gruppuso)
Sep 25, 2016; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets right fielder Jay Bruce (19) hits a single during the fifth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports (Anthony Gruppuso)

Dec 5 | 3:50 PM

The Mets have been in contact with the Orioles about a potential trade of Curtis Granderson or Jay Brucereports Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. Earlier today, a source told ESPN.com's Adam Rubin that the Orioles recently rejected Sandy Alderson's efforts to trade Bruce for a high-end reliever.

According to Rosenthal, the Mets may be targeting O's right-handed reliever Brad Brach, who had two saves and a 2.05 ERA (2.92 FIP), while striking out 92 batters during 74 innings last season.

Tags: Curtis Granderson, Jay Bruce
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Free-agent relievers Fernando Salas, Brad Ziegler, Joaquin Benoit and Joe Smith (Credit: USA Today Images)
Free-agent relievers Fernando Salas, Brad Ziegler, Joaquin Benoit and Joe Smith (Credit: USA Today Images)

Dec 5 | 3:50PM

The Mets are also in contact with the Orioles about a potential trade of Curtis Granderson or Jay Bruce, reports Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, who says the Mets have interest in O's reliever Brad Brach. Adam Rubin of ESPN recently reported that the Orioles rejected the Mets' initial asking price of a high-end reliever.

Brach, 30, had two saves and a 2.05 ERA (2.92 FIP), while striking out 92 batters during 74 innings with the Orioles last season. He has thrown 288 innings during his six-year career, including five straight seasons with an ERA under 4.00.

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McCutchen (22) at bat at PNC Park (Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)
McCutchen (22) at bat at PNC Park (Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)

The Rangers, Dodgers, Nationals, Mariners and a 'mystery team' have all recently asked about trading for Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen, according to reports on MLB Trade Rumors.

The Nationals have pursuing him since July, Jayson Stark of ESPN recently said to Twitter. However, in addition to the above teams, the Mets, Orioles, Blue Jays, Giants, Phillies and Cardinals have all reportedly expressed interest in acquiring a center fielder this off season.

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SNY at MLB Winter Meetings 00:19:03
Andy Martino and Steve Gelbs discuss all the up-to-date topics with the Mets and everything else in the league at the Winter Meetings.

Earlier today, also on Facebook, MetsBlog's Matthew Cerrone answered questions during a Live Q&A about the overall hot stove, and what's next for the Mets >> To watch Cerrone's Q&A, click here!

Cerrone will be doing another Facebook Live Q&A for SNY tomorrow around 11 AM ET, after which Gelbs and Martino will return at 1:30 PM ET with another Winter Meetings Live from Washington, DC.

SNY will be live streaming Sandy Alderson's mid-day talk with reporters on their Facebook page each day at 3:30 PM during the Winter Meetings, which you can follow here.

Lastly, later tonight, Cerrone and co-host Robert Brender will be recording their second Winter Meetings Podcast, recapping the day and looking forward to what's on tap for Tuesday. 

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Photo: Chris McShane
Photo: Chris McShane

The Mets' top prospect for 2017 is 21-year-old SS Amed Rosario, according an organizational Top 10 list by Baseball America..

The team recently added Rosario, RHP Marcos Molina, OF Wuilmer Becerra, RHP Chris Flexen, and Nido to their 40-man roster, which will protect them from December's Rule 5 Draft.

According to TPG Mets, no other players on BA's top 10 list are eligible.

Tags: Gabriel Ynoa, Gavin Cecchini, Robert Gsellman
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Travis d'Arnaud catches at Chase Field (Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)
Travis d'Arnaud catches at Chase Field (Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)

"The Mets are fully planning to go with Travis d'Arnaud as the primary catcher in 2017 and don't foresee going the external route," ESPN.com's Adam Rubin wrote late Sunday.

According to Rubin, the Mets do not intend on pursuing free-agent C Welington Castillo, who was non-tendered by the Diamondbacks this past weekend.

Tags: Kevin Plawecki, Rene Rivera, Travis d'Arnaud
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While the Mets have reportedly been trying to shop one of their outfielders for a relief pitcher, here's what the rest of the NL East has been doing at MLB's Winter Meetings...

Washington Nationals

The Nationals could be looking to make two blockbuster trades -- targeting White Sox ace Chris Sale and Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchenfor whom they might be willing to part with several top prospects, according to USA Today's Bob Nightengale.

However, Washington could end up passing on a trade and, instead, go after free-agent outfielders Dexter FowlerIan DesmondCarlos Gomez and closer Mark Melancon...

Tags: Atlanta Braves, Miami Marlins, Philadelphia Phillies, Washington Nationals, Matthew Cerrone
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MLB's 2016 Winter Meetings will begin today at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center outside Washington, D.C. The Meetings conclude Thursday morning after the Rule 5 Draft.

The buzz around the game points to more trade talk than free-agent rumors. The Mets will be among them, since multiple reports indicate they're trying to swap Jay Bruce or Curtis Granderson for an upgrade in their bullpen >> To read more about their plans, click here!

Later today on SNY's Facebook page, I will be doing a Live Q&A around 11 am, followed by a Hot Stove check-in from our guys in D.C.. We'll also be Live streaming Sandy Alderson's talk with reporters at 3:30 pm, after which Rob Brender and I will post a podcast here recapping the day's events >> To follow SNY on Facebook, click here!

In the meantime, to keep you warm until rumors, updates and news begin flowing later this morning, check out the following audio and video... Happy Hot Stove!

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 (Andy Marlin)
(Andy Marlin)

Mets INF Asdrubal Cabrera will play for Venezuela during the World Baseball Classic, reports Anthony DiComo of MLB.com.

The WBC begins on March 6 and ends with the championship on March 22.

Cabrera, 31, played through a left knee injury for the majority of the second half of last season.

Tags: Asdrubal Cabrera, Noah Syndergaard
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 (Jeff Curry)
(Jeff Curry)

The Mets have avoided arbitration with C Rene Rivera, agreeing with him on a one-year deal worth $1.75 million, the team announced Friday.


Today is the deadline to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players. Head here to see the other Mets who are eligible >> Read more!


Rivera, 33, hit .222 with a .291 OBP and .341 SLG with six HR and 26 RBI in 65 games last season.

He threw out 30 percent of would-be base-stealers.

Tags: Rene Rivera
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Steven Matz joins Mets Hot Stove 00:04:08
Steven Matz joins Steve Gelbs on Mets Hot Stove to examine his injury history and moving forward with his career.

Mets LHP Steven Matz has been cleared by the Mets and team doctors to proceed with his normal offseason routine, he told WOR radio Thursday.

"The doctors said, 'You're good to go,'" he told WOR's Pete McCarthy.

Matz had surgery in late September to remove a large bone spur from his pitching elbow. He ended his season early due to a rotator cuff impingement, which Sandy Alderson said in November did not require surgery. Instead, Matz received a platelet-rich plasma injection in his left shoulder.

Tags: Steven Matz
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Apr 20, 2016; Duda (21), Cabrera (13), Wright (5) and Walker (20) during a pitching change (Credit: USA TODAY Sports)
Apr 20, 2016; Duda (21), Cabrera (13), Wright (5) and Walker (20) during a pitching change (Credit: USA TODAY Sports)

After years of injuries and ineffectiveness leading to a middle-infield-merry-go-round, the Mets find themselves entering the 2017 season with a stable tandem of shortstop and second base. Asdrubal Cabrera and Neil Walker are both coming off strong performances in 2016 and - ideally - they will provide a stable presence to an infield with question marks in the corners.

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Mets Hot Stove: Matt Harvey 00:04:12
The Mets Hot Stove panel discusses Matt Harvey's injury rehab and their expectations from the right-handed hurler in 2017.

In July, 2016, Mets RHP Matt Harvey had season-ending surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome, which was done to restore feeling in his pitching arm and fingers.

According to former Mets GM and SNY analyst Jim Duquette, Harvey is not yet throwing off a mound, but he's feeling strong, on schedule with his post-surgery, off-season throwing program and will be 100% ready for spring training.

"He's had a great deal of time to work out and focus on his body and strength. We expect him to come back and be the Matt Harvey of old," his agent, Scott Boras, told reporters in early November at MLB's GM Meetings. "He's throwing free and easy and he's strong."

Tags: Matt Harvey, Matthew Cerrone
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 (Steve Mitchell)
(Steve Mitchell)

Mets pitchers and catchers will report to Spring Training in Port St. Lucie, FL on Feb. 12, the team announced Thursday.

Position players are required to report by Feb. 17.

Earlier this month, the Mets today their official 2017 Spring Training Grapefruit League schedule, which begins Friday, February 24 against the Boston Red Sox in Fort Myers, FL

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Mets relievers Jeurys Familia and Addison Reed (Credit: USA Today Sports Images)
Mets relievers Jeurys Familia and Addison Reed (Credit: USA Today Sports Images)

Sandy Alderson has repeatedly said this offseason that he'd like to add at least one reliever to his bullpen before the start of spring training.

"There are some questions in the bullpen that we are going to have to answer, either internally or from external sources," he reiterated during Wednesday's press conference to announce the signing of Yoenis Cespedes.

Alderson said in early November that he has no interest in signing free-agent closers Aroldis Chapman, Mark Melancon or Kenley Jansen, who similarly have little interest in the Mets because Jeurys Familia is already the team's closer.

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New York Mets starting pitcher Zack Wheeler (45) during spring training at Tradition Field. (Brad Barr)
New York Mets starting pitcher Zack Wheeler (45) during spring training at Tradition Field. (Brad Barr)

The Mets have discussed using RHP Zack Wheeler in the bullpen to start the season, according to MLB.com's Anthony DiComo.

Wheeler, who had Tommy John surgery during March, 2015, was shut down in early September after being examined by Dr. James Andrew and diagnosed with a mild flexor strain in his pitching arm.

Wheeler went 11-11 with a 3.54 ERA for the Mets in 2014. In addition to the flexor strain, his return to action was also delayed in 2016 after having an undissolved stitch surgically removed. He also had an anti-inflammatory injection to treat nerve pain...

Tags: Zack Wheeler
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 (Rick Osentoski)
(Rick Osentoski)

The Mets have trade RHP Logan Verrett to the Orioles for cash considerations, the team announced.

The trade frees up a 40-man roster spot for recently re-signed OF Yoenis Cespedes.

Verrett, 26, had a 5.20 ERA and 1.56 WHIP while striking out 66 batters in 91 2/3 innings (12 starts, 23 relief appearances) for the Mets last season.

He had a 3.03 ERA and 0.87 WHIP in 38 2/3 innings for the Mets in 2015.

Tags: Logan Verrett

Sandy Alderson (left) talks with Wilpon at Citi Field (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)
Sandy Alderson (left) talks with Wilpon at Citi Field (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

According to multiple sources and reports, the Mets want to keep their Opening Day payroll around $140 million, which would leave money in reserve for mid-season acquisitions.

However, their current projected payroll already sits around $145 million when including upcoming raises, players under contract and after bringing back Yoenis Cespedes and Neil Walker.

At the same time, the Mets will likely save on part of Jeurys Familia's estimated $8.5 million salary, because they don't have to pay him during a potential suspension. Also, trading away Jay Bruce's $13 million would free up additional money.

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