Mets Merized Online » 1986 http://metsmerizedonline.com Mon, 28 Jul 2014 20:58:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.3 Is The Quest For 90 Over? The Math Says It Is. http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/05/is-the-quest-for-90-over-the-math-says-it-is.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/05/is-the-quest-for-90-over-the-math-says-it-is.html/#comments Mon, 26 May 2014 15:55:52 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=156736 alderson-sandy

“This team is now about being successful. This is about concrete expectations about what we need to do. The 90 wins is about challenge.” – Sandy Alderson

There are still 113 games left in the 2014 season, and while the Mets are only five games under .500 with a 22-27 record and sitting six games out of the National League East division lead and four and a half games out of the wildcard, the season is slipping away fast.

Without getting into the minutiae surrounding the details of the lineup, the bullpen, the hitting in clutch situations and so forth, I’ll very simply look at the win-loss totals.

The 90 win total that Sandy Alderson set as the goal prior to the season can be looked at the projected win total that would be needed to make into the playoffs. Yes, that number may shift up or down by the end of the season, but at 90 wins, you’re at the very least in playoff contention.

In order to reach that 90 win total, the Mets will need to go 68-45 for the remainder of the season. This is a .602 winning percentage over the remainder of the season.

A .602 winning percentage over the course of a full season is 97 wins.

The Mets will need to play like a 97 win team over the course of the rest of the year to be in contention.

The Mets have achieved 97 wins only five other times in their history – 1969, 1986, 1988, 1999, and 2006.

Can a team play well enough down the stretch after a weak start to make the playoffs? Of course, it’s happened before. But looking at the current team – is this team on par with any of the above mentioned Mets squads that played .600 ball or better?

Hardly.

I’m still that annoying optimistic Mets fan, but the #QuestFor90 is over. However, one can still dream, right?

MMO

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Win Mets Tickets from MetsMerized and 5 Towns! http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/03/win-mets-tickets-from-metsmerized-and-5-towns.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/03/win-mets-tickets-from-metsmerized-and-5-towns.html/#comments Fri, 21 Mar 2014 21:27:20 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=151177 mets win satin

We had so much fun with giving away autographed vintage Mets photos from our friends at 5 Towns Mini Golf & Batting in Lawrence, NY – we’ve decided do another giveaway! They’re open for the season, so get your swing on!

Who wants Mets tickets?  We’re giving away two pairs!

You can win them and be in attendance to see David Wright and Company take on the Cincinnati Reds on Friday, April 4th – all you have to do is figure out…

Who Am I?

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  1. I once had a 24 game hitting streak with the Mets.
  2. I was drafted on 5 prior occasions before finally signing with the Mets as a first round pick.
  3. I was involved in two Mets trades – both times involving members of the 1986 championship team.

Email your answer to metsfanontwitter@aol.com

Double your chances of winning – when submitting your answer, let us know you’re following 5 Towns – @5TbatNgolf – and tweet this post – (include your twitter handle) and you’ll be entered twice!

Enter by 7pm on Wednesday, March 26th!  Two winners from all correct responses will be randomly chosen and you’ll be at the game courtesy of 5 Towns!

Presented By Diehards

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41 Years a Mets Fan http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/03/41-years-a-mets-fan.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/03/41-years-a-mets-fan.html/#comments Sun, 16 Mar 2014 13:50:39 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=150571 jesse-orosco-winning-1986-world-series

Legend has it that after Jesse Orosco fanned Marty Barrett and tossed his glove to the heavens it never came down. But on the evening of October 27, 1986, something else went even higher: My dad and me jumping up and down in the living room.

At that frozen moment in time my dad was not my dad. He wasn’t the one who taught me to ride a bike and drive a car. He wasn’t the one who showed me how to use a razor and knot a tie. He wasn’t the one who made me cover my ears when George Carlin launched into ‘The 7 Words You Can’t Say on TV.’ He wasn’t the one who snuck into my bedroom on Saturday nights and, unbeknownst to my mom, woke me up to watch wrestling. He wasn’t the one who explained to me that Baseball “is a business” after the Mets traded Tug McGraw. He wasn’t the one who once advised me, “Don’t trust anyone who doesn’t like Baseball.” He wasn’t the one who told me, “The Mets never lose. Sometimes we just run out of innings.” On that unforgettable Monday evening there was not 23 years between us.

We were two little kids. We were celebrating the fact that OUR TEAM was World Champions. We were Mets fans.

My mom eventually went to sleep but not my dad and me. We stayed up until dawn–drinking coffee, sharing some munchies, reminiscing. My dad smoked and although I, too, had picked up that habit and despite the fact I’d be turning 21 in 2 weeks, I still felt awkward smoking in front of him. We didn’t want to close the door on the ‘86 season. We discussed what the Mets would do with the logjam of Strawberry, Wilson, Dykstra and Mitchell in the outfield. We agreed that Cashen damn well better sign Series MVP Ray Knight. We fretted about Gary and Keith getting older but Gregg Jefferies would surely fill their shoes.

As the tentacles of sunrise began slithering through the curtains and the first day in eight months without baseball was upon us, my dad and I hugged again. With a smile displaying pride, dad casually mentioned, “That’s three.” The three he referred to was the number of championships he’d won in his life: one with Brooklyn in 1955. And now two with the Mets.

My dad passed away three years ago, just 2 weeks before Opening Day 2011. He never got to see a fourth.

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Over the past several years I’d guestimate that more than half the blogs I’ve written for MMO have been extremely critical of Sandy Alderson, his “plan” and his request to be patient. Part of me–deep down inside–agrees with him. To a certain point, with the financial handcuffs ownership has placed on him, he has little flexibility. We’re not the Yankees who are battling for a pennant year in and year out. In all fairness to the GM, perhaps it’s me. I came of age in the 80’s, the decade of instant gratification and quick edits in music videos.

To quote Tom Petty, the waiting is the hardest part. On the other hand, if small market clubs with small payrolls such as Atlanta or Oakland can compete year after year, why can’t we? I take umbrage with Alderson’s call for patience. I have 41 years under my belt as a Mets fan and over that time, I’ve got just one championship. In 41 years my team has only made the post-season 6 times. 6 for 41: A 146 average. And I’m tired of waiting.

To anyone reading this, STOP! Take a moment and think back to where you were, what your life was like in 1986. How much has changed? How much have you changed? Where you were then? Where are you now?

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Me? I’ve lived an entire adult life since 1986 as have many of you. I watched girls I had crushes on marry other guys. Then have kids. In some cases, now having grandkids. I fell in love, got married. I fell out of love, got divorced. I’ve had good paying jobs. I’ve had bad paying jobs. I once was hired on the spot during an interview. I once was fired on the spot when my employer reduced staff by 35%. I’ve gone from standing outside a stadium all night to get Springsteen tickets to still seeing Springsteen, but now, with the exception of the first few songs and last few songs, I sit for most of the 3 hour concerts. I’ve gone from a plethora of speeding tickets to…hell, I can’t even remember the last time I got pulled over. I’ve gone from a really bad-ass silver and black Chevy to a nice, conservative four door sedan. I’ve gone from spending hours on a Saturday waxing and washing my car by hand to expelling less energy and going to a drive-thru. I’ve gone from being able to eat an abundance of fast food to avoiding spicy foods so I don’t aggravate my ulcer. I’ve gone from watching MTV and The Cosby Show to watching my cholesterol and my blood pressure. I’ve visited my parents in the hospital several occasions since 1986. And I’ve seen my parents standing at my bedside in a hospital. I once volunteered on a presidential campaign and four years later found myself on the opposite end of the political spectrum, voting against the man I’d fought so hard for. I’ve lost grandmothers, uncles, aunts, cousins. I’ve had one of my best friends die in a car accident, another succumb to cancer at 31.

Not too different from things you’ve also probably encountered. Just…well, just life. And through all of this, I’m still waiting.

Some of you reading this may be too young to remember 1986. Me, and those around my age, can still see in our mind Gary Carter’s fist-pumping curtain calls after going deep, the majestic swing of Darryl Strawberry, Ray Knight clobbering Eric Davis in the head and the cat-like quickness and elegance of Keith Hernandez at 1B. But for those who are too young you only know these images from YouTube. They don’t pull at your heartstrings unless you witnessed it first-hand. Unless you lived it. Same for me who is too young to personally recall 1969 with Agee’s catches, Swoboda’s dive, Seaver’s imperfect game or Cleon Jones dropping to one knee for the final out, something my dad recreated for me dozens of times in our living room in Queens.

And some of you reading this were not even born the last time the Mets won. Hearing about or reading about ground balls to Buckner or the euphoria and feeling of invincibility that filled Shea whenever Doc Gooden took the mound carries little significance. Same goes for me when my dad told me stories about Jackie Robinson stealing home, Sandy Amoros’ catch or Johnny Podres shutting down the mighty Yankees in Game 7 of the ’55 World Series.

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There are several excellent bloggers on this site who are hopeful, positive and have no qualms about waiting. They’re young. They’re in college. And I’m actually a touch envious of their optimism when they look into the future. Sadly, they’ve never experienced the jubilation, the exhilaration, the sheer joy of being able to say my Mets are Champions.

It seems like just yesterday I, too, was in college. In October 1986, I was a senior, seven months away from entering the real world. I had my whole life ahead of me, my dreams and hopes still intact. I was certain ’86 would only be the beginning of Mets dominance. Now, nearly thirty years later, I’m still waiting for that encore.

The last time the Mets were presented a World Series trophy I wasn’t even of legal age. And suddenly, somehow, someway, without even realizing, next year I’ll be…gasp…50. I went through my 20’s, my 30’s, and my 40’s waiting. And, per Sandy Alderson, I should wait just a wee bit longer.

One more time, STOP! No matter what your current age is, think of yourself fifteen years from now. Try to picture yourself fifteen years older. Pretty hard to do. But that’s how old we’ll approximately be if David Wright is a first ballot Hall of Famer.

The thing is that we all have only X amount of seasons in us. There’s no clock in Baseball, but there is one in life.

So, I’ll continue to grumble about Alderson, the Wilpons, Terry Collins. As I enter my 42nd year rooting for this team I’ve seen a lot. Over these four plus decades, I’ve gone through 8 GM’s and 16 managers. And after Alderson is gone, after Collins is gone, after the Wilpons are gone (soon, I hope), I’ll still be here, cheering for the Mets into my 50’s just as I’ve been doing since I was 7. I’ll write plenty more blogs critical of the ‘plan.’ But what choice do I really have? I’m not going to switch my allegiance. I’ve got too much time invested in the Mets. I’ve spent my entire life rooting for this team.

I’ll wait. I’ll keep waiting. I’ll keep waiting and hoping. Just like my dad kept waiting to see a fourth championship in his life, I’ll keep waiting for my second.

seaver number 41

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Amazin’ Trades of the Past: Bobby Ojeda http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/03/trades-of-the-past-bobby-ojeda.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/03/trades-of-the-past-bobby-ojeda.html/#comments Sat, 08 Mar 2014 07:25:14 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=79755 Continuing this series of posts on the best trades the Mets ever made, if Bernard Gilkey was the only hitter to have a career year after being traded to the Mets, then Bob Ojeda was clearly the first, last, and only pitcher to similarly have a career year after coming to Flushing.

Ojeda had been a decent, if unspectacular starting pitcher for the Red Sox for a few seasons. The Mets had been impressed with the work another former Boston lefty, John Tudor, had done with the Cardinals and were seeking a similar pitcher, so they inquired about Ojeda. Coming off a 1985 season in which he was 9-11 with a 4.00 ERA, Ojeda was definitely obtainable, but the Sox were still able to attract what seemed like a pretty hefty price from the Mets.

Calvin Schiraldi was among the Mets’ best young pitching prospects, Wes Gardner looked like the Mets’ best young reliever and John Christensen and Laschelle Tarver were AAA outfielders who looked ready to contribute on the big league level. The Mets sent all 4 to Boston for Ojeda, a pretty good minor league pitcher named John Mitchell, and a couple of other minor leaguers, Chris Bayer, and Tom McCarthy. At the time of the deal, few fans expected Ojeda to be anything more than a fourth or fifth starter and it looked like the Mets were overpaying in prospects for a mediocre pitcher.

But Ojeda had a tremendous year for the World Champion Mets in 1986, going 18-5, 2.57 and placing fourth in the Cy Young balloting. An off-season freak injury made 1987 a lost year for Ojeda, and after that, he was just so-so for the Mets, but his big year in 1986 made this trade one of the best ever for the Mets.

Although the Mets have dealt for one-time aces throughout their history from Warren Spahn and Dean Chance to Frank Viola, Bret Saberhagen and Johan Santana, it was the Ojeda deal that will remain as the only one in which an established pitcher went on to have a career year right after the Mets acquired him.

Since 2009, Bobby Ojeda has been the lead analyst on SNY’s Mets pre and post game coverage.

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MMO Contest: Win A Vintage 1986 Mets Autographed Photo! http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/02/mmo-contest-win-a-vintage-1986-mets-autographed-tonight.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/02/mmo-contest-win-a-vintage-1986-mets-autographed-tonight.html/#comments Thu, 20 Feb 2014 02:48:17 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=147550 five towns banner

We love our readers and we love making our readers happy.

While we can’t give out a championship, we can give out some autographed photos of players from our 1986 World Champion New York Mets!

Starting Friday, February 15th – for four consecutive Fridays, our friends at 5 Towns Mini Golf and Batting Range in Lawrence, NY will be giving away an 8×10 photo signed by one of our 1986 Mets to one of our lucky readers.

MMO CONTEST DETAILS

Two autographed vintage Howard Johnson photos and two vintage Tim Teufel autographed photos are up for grabs!

You know you want it. So how are you going to get it? It’s super simple…

1. Follow them on Twitter – @5TbatNgolf

2. Tweet or RT – Hey @5TBatNgolf & @bigmetsfan1 – I want that signed Mets photo! #MMOGiveaways

You’ll be entered and every Friday we’ll give away a photo to a lucky winner, courtesy of 5 Towns! Enter every week!

Don’t forget to include the #MMOGiveaways hashtag so we can keep track…

Week 1 Winner – @joychica

Week 2 Winner – @kenergized

Week 3 Winner – @Dibrizzi

Weed 4 Winner – @wwoodard

 

CHECK ‘EM OUT: IT’S HOJO AND TEUFEL!

1986 photos

We want to thank our friends at Five Towns for their generosity and also all of our readers for your incredible support.

Good luck to all of you and may the odds be ever in your favor. :-)

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Around the Diamond: Center Field http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/around-the-diamond-center-field.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/around-the-diamond-center-field.html/#comments Mon, 27 Jan 2014 19:19:43 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=137617 mookie wilson

In the Mets’ 52 seasons, there have been 26 different Center Fielders who could be classified as the “primary” player in any given season.

As we continue this series, who were the ten Mets who have played the most games at each position, we now look at center field. (seasons as the primary in parenthesis)

10. Don Hahn (1973-74) – 268 games in Center (188 starts). In 1974, Don hit .251 with 4 HR and 28 RBI.

9. Cleon Jones (1966-67) – 268 games in Center (235 starts). Cleon played more games in Left Field than any other Met, but he also made the list in Center. In 1966, he hit .275 with 8 HR and 57 RBI.

8. Jim Hickman (1962-64) – 268 games in Center (246 starts). In 1963, Jim hit .29 with 17 HR and 51 RBI.

7. Angel Pagan (2010-11) – 278 games in Center (268 starts). In 2010, he hit .290 with 11 HR, 69 RBI, and 37 stolen bases.

6. Brian McRae (1998-99) – 282 games in Center (257 starts). In 1998, he hit .264 with 21 HR, 79 RBI, and 20 stolen bases.

5. Lenny Dykstra (1986-88) – 493 games in Center (392 starts). In 1986, he hit .295 with 8 HR, 45 RBI, and 31 stolen bases.

4. Lee Mazzilli (1977-79) – 572 games in Center (547 starts). In 1979, he hit .303 with 15 HR, 79 RBI, and 34 stolen bases.

3. Tommie Agee (1968-72) – 591 games in Center (544 starts). In 1969, he hit .271 with 26 HR and 76 RBI.

2. Carlos Beltran (2005-09) – 723 games in Center (719 starts). In 2006, he hit .275 with 41 HR and 116 RBI.

1. Mookie Wilson (1981-85) – 907 games in Center (816 starts). In 1982, he hit .279 with 5 HR, 55 RBI, and 58 stolen bases. And then there was that little ROLLER up along first….

Presented By Diehards

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What Would The 1986 Mets Be Making In Today’s Dollars? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/what-would-the-1986-mets-be-making-in-todays-dollars.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/what-would-the-1986-mets-be-making-in-todays-dollars.html/#comments Sun, 19 Jan 2014 15:00:58 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=140186 1986 ojeda fernandez gooden darling

Baseball-Reference.com has a pretty cool feature where you can translate a player’s salary for any particular year into current year dollars.

I was curious, so I wanted to see how much the 1986 Mets would be paid in 2013 dollars. This just goes to show how much money has flowed into the game since then… not only at the top end of the spectrum, but at the current MLB minimum as well. Nearly half the roster was making the equivalent of less than the current MLB minimum.

Dillon Gee would be paid more than every player, but George Foster, Gary Carter, and Keith Hernandez. And Lucas Duda is practically asking for Darryl Strawberry money…

George Foster – $5.96M

Gary Carter – $4.6M

Keith Hernandez – $3.51M

Dwight Gooden – $2.81M

Darryl Strawberry – $2.01M

Jesse Orosco – $1.76M

Mookie Wilson – $1.49M

Ray Knight – $1.37M

Lee Mazzilli – $1.3M

Bob Ojeda – $1.17M

Ron Darling – $937K

Danny Heep – $745K

Wally Backman – $692K

Doug Sisk – $586K

Rafael Santana – $500K

Howard Johnson – $484K

Tim Teufel – $426K

Sid Fernandez – $426K

Roger McDowell – $394K

Rick Aguilera – $277K

Lenny Dykstra – $197K

Randy Niemann – $177K

Kevin Mitchell – $128K

Ed Hearn – $128K

Kevin Elster – $128K

New York Mets Tickets

Presented By Diehards

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You Know You Miss Baseball When… http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/12/you-know-you-miss-baseball-when.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/12/you-know-you-miss-baseball-when.html/#comments Sat, 28 Dec 2013 15:04:03 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=137133 snow citi

This is a funny time of year. The previous baseball season is now well in the books and fading fast in the rear-view mirror while next season is still too far of for even the earliest of prognostics to hit the scene. It’s a kind of baseball limbo where there is little but a frosty nip in the air and spring seems like an eternity away. I’ve often found myself searching frantically for some connection to our great pastime that may tide me over until the next tidbit of hot stove news reaches me, or until there is some hope of a thaw in the weather. I thought I’d put together a brief list of some of my more desperate attempts to connect to my summer pastime. Feel free to add your own in the comments section.

You know you miss baseball when you catch yourself mimicking the crack of a bat and a cheering crowd with a pencil in a dentist’s waiting room.

You know you miss baseball when you find yourself replaying old David Wright interviews counting how many times he says the word “obviously.

You know you miss baseball when you devote an entire day to the 1986 boxed set with your bobblehead collection (and your little toy parachute guy) displayed on your coffee table.

You know you miss baseball when you imagine the weather report as told by Vin Scully,

“Yes folks, this particular blizzard as a young low pressure system attended Texas A & M and was known to be quite the prankster.”

You know you miss baseball when you spend an hour in your attic going through old boxes looking for your Roger Clemens voodoo doll.

You know you miss baseball when you can’t get the SNY opening credits theme out of your head as you shovel the walk …

You know you miss baseball when you find yourself reciting Gary Cohen’s opening monologue out loud in a Denny’s.

You know you miss baseball when your browser history shows 28 compulsive hits on MLBtraderumors.com in the space of a half an hour.

You know you miss baseball when you devote a day to washing your baseball caps in the dishwasher (top rack).

You know you miss baseball when you start to feel the A-Rod / Selig spat was quaint in its own way.

You know you miss baseball if you clear out a 40 yard straight shot from one side of your basement to the other free of furniture or breakables so you can play catch with your kid

You know you miss baseball when 4:30 to 5:00 on weekdays is devoted to arguing various points on the Metsmerized Online comments threads.

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The Sky is Not Falling in Queens http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/11/the-sky-is-not-falling-in-queens.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/11/the-sky-is-not-falling-in-queens.html/#comments Sat, 30 Nov 2013 12:00:36 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=134098 chicken_little_fcp_sky_fallingColor me optimistic, but I do not believe the sky is falling in Queens.

I heard rumors of such an event. I heard adamant insistence that such rumor was fact. So I decided to be brave, open up my door, look out into the big, bad city and take a look for myself. I looked to my left. I looked to my right. When I didn’t see casualties lying on the ground that were the result of falling objects, I took a deep breath and looked up.

Nothing.

Well, actually, maybe not nothing. I saw the sun. I had to squint and I sneezed a couple of times (because sudden bright sunlight has a tendency to do that to me). “Well,” I said to myself. “The sky is most certainly not falling. It actually is pretty bright out.”

Yes. The future is bright. While it may be cold outside, we’re not as far off as we may think.

This is not me preaching patience and drinking the Sandy Kool-Aid. Just because there’s a new Sharkleberry flavor coming out doesn’t mean I’m drinking it. The Mets need some more bats in their lineup. But they do have pitching. Harvey won’t be there for 2014, but we have three pretty solid starters coming back in Zack Wheeler, Jon Niese, and Dillon Gee. Wheeler got better as the season went on and while I’m not expecting him to be as dominant as Harvey was, he can be a front of the rotation guy. No one is going to confuse Niese with the second coming of Seaver – but we know what he is.

Niese is a good, productive lefty that’s a plus in your rotation. Dillon Gee continued to prove he belongs in the bigs and he’s going from being almost an afterthought and a rotation holder to a guy that if he threw with the other hand, half the teams in the majors would be banging down Sandy’s doors to try to acquire. We’d be talking about locking him up long term just like we did with Niese.

monteroRafael Montero and Noah Syndergaard are on the horizon. Mejia was pitching very well before his season was cut short with a bone spur. Even without adding another starter, we’re potentially at 6 guys deep going into spring training (although I don’t think it’s in the plan to have either Montero or Syndergaard break camp with the club in April). Lets’s even throw in dark horse Jacob deGrom into the mix as competition out of spring training. I’m telling you, the rotation is going to be okay.

I won’t go off the deep end and say that the Mets will be a playoff team in 2014. I don’t think they will be. I do think that this past season was more like 1983. They were bad. 1984 began the turnaround as the arms developed. Then the team got really good in 1986. With the rotation, I think they’ll be .500 in 2014. When Harvey returns in 2015 and we find out who from among the rest of the contenders lives up to their billing, we’ll begin to make a serious run.

So let us not panic. We have arms. And we have more coming. Now we just need some bats to go with those arms. Has it been painful to be a Mets fan the last few seasons? Yes. But that thing that landed on your head? It was just an acorn.

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The Top 10 Mets Offensive Seasons Since 1980 http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/11/the-top-10-mets-offensive-seasons-since-1980.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/11/the-top-10-mets-offensive-seasons-since-1980.html/#comments Thu, 28 Nov 2013 05:19:51 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=133664 piazza

It’s hard to believe that we’re only a few seasons removed from some of the best offensive seasons in Mets history (hard to argue they haven’t been offensive lately, just in a different sense).

So what are the 10 best Mets seasons in terms of offensive production over the last 34 seasons? (I’m using 1980 because I’ve been following the team since the 80s)

Runs Scored Per Game

1.  1999 – 853 scored – 5.23

2.  2006 – 834 scored – 5.15

3.  1987 – 823 scored – 5.08

4.  2000 – 807 scored – 4.98

5.  2007 – 804 scored – 4.96

6.  2008 – 799 scored – 4.93

7.  1986 – 783 scored – 4.83

8.  1997 – 777 scored – 4.80

9.  1990 – 775 scored  – 4.72

10. 1996 – 746 scored – 4.60

We can see that from 2006-2008, the Mets produced some of their best offensive clubs since the 80s.  Yes, they collapsed in 2007 and 2008, but they had some of their best run producing seasons those three years.  From 1996-2000, we saw 4 of the top 10 best offensive seasons (with the exception of 1998, which did not make the list).  1986-1987 also produced another two top 10 seasons.   The only season that isn’t clumped together was 1990 – which was at the tail end of their dominance and followed the 1988 and 1989 seasons which included some of their top pitching clubs.

So who made up these typical lineups during these seasons of offensive plenty?

2006-2008

C – Paul Lo Duca / Brian Schneider

1B – Carlos Delgado

2B – Jose Valentin / Luis Castillo

SS – Jose Reyes

3B – David Wright

OF – Cliff Floyd / Moises Alou / Fernando Tatis

OF – Carlos Beltran

OF – Xavier Nady / Shawn Green / Ryan Church

Where was there continuity over those three seasons?  Carlos Delgado, Jose Reyes, David Wright, and Carlos Beltran.  Four pretty good names.

1996*-1997

C – Todd Hundley

1B – Butch Huskey / John Olerud

2B – Jose Vizcaino / Carlos Baerga

SS – Rey Ordonez

3B – Jeff Kent / Edgardo Alfonzo

OF – Bernard Gilkey

OF – Lance Johnson

OF – Alex Ochoa / Butch Huskey

Edgardo Alfonzo made 85 starts in 1996 at 2B/3B/SS

1999-2000

C – Mike Piazza

1B – John Olerud / Todd Zeile

2B – Edgardo Alfonzo

SS – Rey Ordonez / Mike Bordick

3B – Robin Ventura

OF – Rickey Henderson / Benny Agbayani

OF – Brian McRae / Jay Payton

OF – Roger Cedeno / Derek Bell

1986-1987*

C – Gary Carter

1B – Keith Hernandez

2B – Wally Backman

SS – Rafael Santana

3B – Ray Knight / Howard Johnson

OF – Mookie Wilson / Kevin McReynolds

OF – Lenny Dykstra

OF – Darryl Strawberry

Tim Teufel made 70 starts in 1986 and 72 starts in 1987 as part of a platoon with Backman, Mookie Wilson made 76 starts in 1987

1990

C – Mackey Sasser

1B – Dave Magadan

2B – Gregg Jefferies

SS – Kevin Elster

3B – Howard Johnson

OF – Kevin McReynolds

OF – Daryl Boston

OF – Darryl Strawberry

edgardo alfonzo

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Doc Gooden Was Great After He Stopped Being Great http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/11/doc-gooden-was-great-after-he-stopped-being-great.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/11/doc-gooden-was-great-after-he-stopped-being-great.html/#comments Sat, 16 Nov 2013 18:46:48 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=133078 Photo by Ray Stubblebine/AP

Photo by Ray Stubblebine/AP

Baseball historians will say that Dwight Gooden‘s first three seasons in the major leagues were some of the best by a young pitcher in the game’s history.  Gooden took the mound 99 times from 1984 to 1986, going 58-19 with a 2.28 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 35 complete games, 13 shutouts and 744 strikeouts – reaching 200 or more strikeouts in each season.

But after off-the-field problems came to light prior to the 1987 campaign, Gooden went from being Dr. K to being Dr. Just OK.  Or did he?

From 1987 to 1991, Doc’s numbers were clearly not the same as they were during his first three seasons.  But they were still pretty darn good.  In his fourth through eighth seasons with the Mets, Gooden went 74-34 with a 3.39 ERA and 1.23 WHIP, striking out 797 batters, completing 22 games and tossing eight shutouts.  He also finished in the top five in the Cy Young Award voting twice.  (Gooden was fifth in the Cy Young balloting in 1987 and fourth in 1990.)  He accomplished all of this from 1987 to 1991 despite making fewer than 28 starts in three of the five seasons.

Perhaps his greatest and most underappreciated accomplishment occurred in 1991.  After seven consecutive seasons of winning 87 or more games, the Mets finished under .500 in ’91.  But Gooden still managed to finish with a 13-7 record, 3.60 ERA and 150 strikeouts in only 27 starts.  In 15 of those 27 starts, Gooden allowed two earned runs or fewer, but received losses or no-decisions in six of the games, mainly because he was surrounded by a putrid offense.

Keith Miller (.280) and Gregg Jefferies (.272) were the only players with 300 or more plate appearances to finish the year with a batting average north of .260.  Howard Johnson (38 HR, 117 RBI, 108 runs) was the sole Met with more than 16 homers, 74 RBI or 65 runs scored.  Gooden basically had to help himself when he was in the game, as he batted .238 with three doubles, a homer, six RBI and seven runs scored in only 63 at-bats.  His .333 slugging percentage was higher than the marks posted by Mark Carreon (.331 in 254 AB), Vince Coleman (.327 in 278 AB) and Garry Templeton (.306 in 219 AB).

In the five seasons immediately following the 1986 World Series championship campaign, when Gooden supposedly went from being a great pitcher to just being a very good pitcher, the right-hander’s winning percentage was .685 in 137 starts.  That was the highest winning percentage for all pitchers who made 100 or more starts from 1987 to 1991.  The rest of the top five included Dave Stieb (68-34, .667), Roger Clemens (94-48, .662), Bob Welch (88-42, .662) and Dave Stewart (95-56, .629) – pitchers who combined to win 909 games over their long and successful major league careers.

Despite his dropoff in strikeouts following the 1986 season, Gooden’s 797 Ks from 1987 to 1991 was surpassed by just one pitcher in the National League – his teammate, David Cone.  Cone struck out 945 batters over the five-year stretch.  Gooden’s 74 wins was also second in the NL to Doug Drabek, who won 77 games for the Pittsburgh Pirates from ’87 to ’91.

One other thing that Gooden was great at from 1987 to 1991 was something that never showed up in the boxscore.  During those five years, Gooden was outstanding at helping the Mets win games immediately following a loss, thereby preventing the Mets from suffering through extended losing streaks.  Doc started 65 games following a Mets loss from 1987 to 1991.  The Mets were 41-24 in those games.

Photo by Ed Leyro

Today is Dwight Gooden’s 49th birthday.  It’s been nearly three decades since he rocketed onto the major league scene with his blazing fastball and devastating curveball as a rookie in 1984.  It’s also been almost two decades since he threw his final pitch as a member of the New York Mets.

From the ages of 19 to 21, Gooden was arguably the best pitcher in the game.  Then, as his off-the-field habits started to come to light, he failed to approach his otherworldly numbers from 1984 to 1986.  But that didn’t mean he stopped being a great pitcher.  In fact, no one in baseball gave his team a better chance to win from 1987 to 1991 than Gooden, and only a handful of pitchers sent as many opposing batters back to the bench without putting the ball in play than Doc did.

Just because he wasn’t leading the league in strikeouts and threatening to throw a no-hitter in every start didn’t mean he wasn’t the Doctor anymore.  In fact, he continued to operate with surgical precision for quite some time after the 1986 campaign.

Doc Gooden never stopped being great on the mound.  It’s a shame that some people thought his greatness just wasn’t good enough.

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Sprinting to the Finish: The Culture of Losing http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/sprinting-to-the-finish-the-culture-of-losing.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/sprinting-to-the-finish-the-culture-of-losing.html/#comments Fri, 20 Sep 2013 17:00:58 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=129668 Six weeks ago, an unidentified Mets executive – and really, how many are there – told Mike Puma of the Post that the front office was pleased with the work of Terry Collins and his staff. Then he said this:

“I think they’re doing a good job of sprinting to the finish line.”

Sure, if the runner in question is Ramon Castro.

The Mets are sprinting nowhere, once again. They’re tumbling, scuffling, tripping to the finish line, another dreary soul-crushing fourth place finish, another dispiriting September, acres of empty seats in the cool Flushing air.

They call the top deck at Citi Field the “Promenade” but that suggests movement, as in quantities of people moving around, promenading to and fro, while top quality baseball unfolds on the greensward below. Static, empty green seats and old Nathan’s wrappers blowing like ghost town tumbleweeds does not a “promenade” make.

I’m not sure what to make of the insistence that Terry Collins has created some sort of miracle with the low-rent talent Sandy Alderson has given him. Isn’t that narrative either a vicious indictment of Alderson (who has seemed as checked out at times as any New York sports general manager this side of Glen Sather) or the very faintest of praise for Collins? I’m not a Collins hater. I admire a gritty baseball lifer as much as the next Wilford Brimley fan, but I simply have no understanding of this movement to keep him at the helm as the team slips further into irrelevance. It’s not that he’s been a disaster. In some ways I agree with Michael Baron of Metsblog, who repeated on Twitter once again the line that “we will just be having the same argument about the next manager. In the end, it really doesnt matter too much.”

You could almost hear Baron (who has great eye behind the lens, by the way) sigh in frustration.

Yet I think it does matter, at least a little bit. When Gil Hodges took over a losing franchise in 1968, he changed the culture. Old-timers will remember that it was like flipping a switch. The Mets didn’t win right away, but losing became unacceptable and the man in the dugout was clearly the man in charge of what happened at Shea Stadium. Davey Johnson‘s arrival – one Mets generation later – had a similar effect, and Johnson had managed many of the young players who formed the core of the juggernaut Mets of 1986.

One of those young wallbangers was Wally Backman, a knock-about second baseman who would do anything to win. Backman is finishing his second year managing the Mets AAA affiliate, making the post-season despite the revolving door on his bench, as the big club filled its empty slots and shuttled players between Vegas and Flushing like a partially inebriated blackjack player flicking his chips between hands. Backman is a hot head, a brawler, and the kind of character that gets the attention of young players. He’s had Flores. He’s had Lagares. He’s had Wheeler and the rest.

The party line seems to be another year of Collins. But why not Backman? Why not the brawler with the dirty uniform? Yeah the talent level doesn’t (yet) indicate a winner in Queens – but can’t the manager at least be obsessed with not losing? I think so. Time for Wally-Ball.

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Why Do You Still Watch? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/why-do-you-still-watch.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/why-do-you-still-watch.html/#comments Wed, 11 Sep 2013 19:23:50 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=128995 daniel murphy

You  might be frustrated and disgusted by watching the Mets lose to the Nationals, but it is far better than not having any Mets to watch at all.

October has to be the worst month because there’s baseball, but baseball without the Mets. At least in November there’s the start of the free-agent season, highlighted by the Winter Meetings, which is winter’s World Series.

January? You can see spring training from there, and February, regardless of the wind chill, gives us our first warming taste of summer.

It’s not like a greater force mandated you become a Mets’ fan. In some families you might be born into it, but eventually it becomes your choice to root for the Mets.

You rooted in the beginning when they lost 120 games. You rooted throughout the sixties until you were rewarded by 1969, the year of the Miracle Mets and when man first walked on the moon.

As a Mets’ fan you endured long periods of frustration and lousy ball, but once a decade you were rewarded by the postseason, in 1973, 1986, 1999, 2000 and 2006.

In a commercial David Wright said his greatest thrill was playing October baseball in New York, “that there’s nothing like it.’’

That’s the ultimate reason we watch our team, but there’s a greater, more intimate reason why you’re fascinated, enthralled or even consumed by the Mets. There was one incident, one moment, that made you into a Mets’ fan, win or lose, and lately it has been mostly losing.

If you’re willing to share, I’d be interested to know what was the defining moment, that despite a fifth straight losing season, makes you hang on for news about injury updates for Bobby Parnell and Matt Harvey, the progress of rookies Travis d’Arnaud, Zack Wheeler and Wilmer Flores, the uncertainty about Ike Davis and Lucas Duda… or about the outfield for next season…

It is why we’d like to see just one more time before the leaves change, Wright’s compact swing rip a ball into the gap and him running into second with a stand-up double.

I know that’s why he’s yearning for one more game in the Summer of 2013.

What are the reasons why you still hang on to the summer?

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MLB Films, Features, Classic Games Now Available On iTunes! http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/mlb-films-features-classic-games-now-available-on-itunes.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/mlb-films-features-classic-games-now-available-on-itunes.html/#comments Fri, 05 Jul 2013 19:19:18 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=123819 MLB ITUNES

 MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL PRODUCTIONS FILMS

AVAILABLE ON iTUNES!

All-Star Games, World Series Films, Season 1 of “This Week in Baseball”

Baseball fans are now able to experience their favorite films in an entirely new way, as titles from the Major League Baseball Productions Film & Video Archive are now available on iTunes.

Over 100 titles are now live on iTunes, which already includes hundreds of classic games as well as podcasts and award-winning mobile apps from MLB Advanced Media, including MLB.com At Bat, the top grossing sports app of all-time.

Aside from MLB Bloopers and Prime 9: MLB Heroics, available programming includes:

  • The Best of the Home Run Derby and “Prime 9: All-Star Moments.
  • Official World Series Films dating back to 1947, including the 1969 and 1986 films.
  • The first season of “This Week In Baseball,” which originally aired in 1977.
  • A documentary offering a fresh perspective on Jackie Robinson’s life and career.
  • Recent productions including a comprehensive film chronicling every era of World Series play and documentaries created to celebrate notable anniversaries for the Mets, Astros and Red Sox.
  • Bloopers titles highlighting the funniest MLB moments; and many other titles.

Any of these films can now be downloaded from the iTunes store (www.iTunes.com/MLB). Prices range from $1.99 for individual episodes of “Prime 9” and “This Week in Baseball” to $19.99 for the Official 2012 World Series Film in HD.

HELP US GET THE WORD OUT!

WIN ONE OF THESE TWO COLLECTIBLE METS DVDS!

A&E Johan No-Hitter

20th Person To Re-Tweet This Post wins this Johan Santana No-Hitter DVD!

game 6 dvd

40th Person To Re-Tweet This Post wins this 1986 World Series Game 6 DVD!

mlb itunes banner

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Like Father, Like Son: L.J. Mazzilli Off To Hot Start With Cyclones http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/06/like-father-like-son-l-j-mazzilli-off-to-hot-start-with-cyclones.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/06/like-father-like-son-l-j-mazzilli-off-to-hot-start-with-cyclones.html/#comments Mon, 24 Jun 2013 20:37:40 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=123010 Former Mets’ star Lee Mazzilli made the borough of Brooklyn his stomping grounds growing up.

Abraham Lincoln H.S. in Coney Island was his home until the Mets drafted him right out of high school in 1973.

Lee and L.J. Mazzilli (Photo by Jim Mancari)

Lee and L.J. Mazzilli (Photo by Jim Mancari)

Located just a mile and half from Lincoln down Ocean Parkway and on Surf Avenue is MCU Park. Though the stadium wasn’t there during Mazzilli’s playing days, he now has a special connection to the park.

Lee’s son, L.J. Mazzilli, was the Mets’ fourth-round draft-pick out of the University of Connecticut in early June. The second baseman was immediately assigned to the Brooklyn Cyclones, who play their home games at MCU.

“I sit here with goosebumps because I grew up about a mile or two away from here,” said Lee, who now works for the Yankees. “As a dad, I don’t know if I can be any more proud. Now just to see my son (L.J.), I think every dad would feel the same way. It’s just a special feeling, and he’s going to go out and start his own career. The Mets didn’t draft him in the fourth round for any nepotism. He’s got some talent. They’re not going to waste a fourth-round pick on that. They’re smarter than that. So he’s got a chance to do some pretty good things.”

Lee  Mazzilli (Photo by Jim Mancari)

Lee Mazzilli (Photo by Jim Mancari)

L.J. hit safely in five of the Cyclones’ first six games as the team’s No. 3 hitter. He said his dad has consistently helped him with the mental approach to the game of baseball.

“I’m just so proud to be his son and be able to not necessarily follow his footsteps and what he did with the Mets but to add to my own legacy and wear my last name with a lot of pride,” L.J. said.

Right when L.J. was drafted, he and his dad immediately jumped up and gave each other a huge hug. L.J. said that Lee was probably even more excited than he was with the selection.

“We’re still on cloud nine, but I think we’re starting to come down a little bit,” L.J. said.

Lee said he learned the game from the greats like Willie Mays, Tom Seaver and Joe Torre, and he passed on what he learned to L.J. Though he was born in 1989 – the year Lee retired – and never saw his father play, L.J. has plenty of memories as his dad as a coach for the Yankees and Orioles.

L.J.  Mazzilli (Photo by Jim Mancari)

L.J. Mazzilli (Photo by Jim Mancari)

Lee said that he is lucky to work for a great organization like the Yankees and now have his son work for a great organization like the Mets.

“He’s (L.J.) better than I was; I’ve watched him,” Lee said. “He’s more advanced than I was at his age. I think because guys have more things readily available for them, things we didn’t have growing up.”

“I think I’m a good hitter, and I bring the bat to the table,” L.J. said. “I’ve been working out my all around game as well, and I think I can bring fielding and instincts and base running as well. But I think my bat is the one thing that will talk for me.”

In addition to the similarities playing for the Mets and playing in Brooklyn, the two are also linked through Cyclones’ manager Rich Donnelly. Lee is ecstatic that L.J.’s first pro manager is Donnelly, who was the first base coach when Lee played with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1986.

Lee and L.J. (Photo by Jim Mancari)

Lee and L.J. (Photo by Jim Mancari)

Lee said he wasn’t able to see L.J. play as much as he would have liked to based on the nature of his job. But now, he will be a fixture at MCU Park

“Now it’s come full circle, and he’s (L.J.) going to leave tickets for me,” Lee said. “I’ve been around here a long time. There are so many good things that have happened to me like winning a World Series, playing in New York and playing in my hometown. But to see your son play, it’s kind of neat and I’m proud of him.”

As for L.J., this summer in Brooklyn will lay the foundation of his career, and he’s excited to keep getting better and taking pointers from his dad.

“I absolutely feel like this is my first step,” L.J. said. “I just want to get in there and get playing. I dream to be playing for the Mets one day at Citi Field hopefully for a long time.”

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Mets 4th Round Pick L.J. Mazzilli Officially Signs With Team http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/06/mets-4th-round-pick-l-j-mazzilli-officially-signs-with-team.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/06/mets-4th-round-pick-l-j-mazzilli-officially-signs-with-team.html/#comments Sun, 16 Jun 2013 00:31:49 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=122131 Photo courtesy of Christian Abraham

Photo courtesy of Christian Abraham

The New York Mets fourth round pick, second baseman L.J. Mazzilli, has officially signed with the team according to the company’s official Twitter page.

The Mets made the announcement early on saturday posting a Tweet which read,

“Mets 4th rounder UConn 2nd baseman L.J. Mazzilli, Lee Mazzilli’s son, has officially signed and will be sent to @BKCyclones”.

The announcement marks yet another 2013 draftee to come to terms with the organization. Mazzilli, the 116th pick in the 2013 draft, was scheduled to appear at second base for the Brooklyn Cyclones and this recent announcement makes it official.

L.J. Mazzilli is the son of former Mets player Lee Mazzilli, who played right field for the 1986 championship winning team. He was chosen by the Mets with the 14th overall pick in the 1973 draft before going on to play with the team from 1976-1982 and 1986-1989.

Coming out of The University of Connecticut, L.J. Mazzilli is an offensively skilled second baseman who hit six home runs and stole 29 bases this year.

L.J. was drafted by the Twins in the ninth round of last years draft, but opted to return for his final year of college. His decision resulted in a senior year where he hit .354 with 51 RBI’s and went on to lead the Huskies to a Big East Title.

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Gooden: If I Had Died After Mets Won Series, I Could Have Saved Many People A Lot Of Grief http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/05/gooden-if-i-had-died-after-mets-won-series-i-could-have-saved-many-people-a-lot-of-grief.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/05/gooden-if-i-had-died-after-mets-won-series-i-could-have-saved-many-people-a-lot-of-grief.html/#comments Fri, 10 May 2013 17:11:32 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=118256 doc a memoir goodenMarc Raimondi of the NY Post writes about Dwight Gooden who has a soon to be released biography entitled, “Doc: A Memoir.

The bio reveals some shocking and even sad details about his life in baseball and the toll that drug addiction took on his career and his life.

Gooden believes if he had died the moment the Mets won the World Series in 1986, he would have saved many people a great deal of grief – starting with himself.

The mercurial former ace’s downward spiral began just minutes after Jesse Orosco tossed his glove in the air to celebrate the Amazin’s comeback victory over the Red Sox, Gooden writes in his new autobiography “Doc: A Memoir.”

The first call Gooden made after becoming World Series champion was his father. The second was his drug dealer. That night, Gooden went on a cocaine and booze bender that ended up causing him to miss the Mets’ victory parade. Instead, he watched the celebration on television at his home – a moment he describes as the loneliest he has ever felt.

“As my teammates road through the Canyon of Heroes, I was alone in my bed in Roslyn, Long Island, with the curtains closed and the TV on, missing what should have been the greatest morning of my life,” Gooden wrote.

The book reportedly chronicles Gooden’s rise to become one of the best young pitchers in baseball history, his years with the Yankees and his complicated relationship with Darryl Strawberry.

People make mistakes, and Dwight has made a lot of them. But we have always been a forgiving people and we now know that drug addiction is a disease that can sometimes grip you and never let go.

I’m glad Gooden didn’t die and I’m even happier to see him continuing to fight through his addiction. It’s a never-ending battle.

I was talking about Gooden just last night and discussed how cool it is that this one-time mets pitching phenom is the one leading the charge and heading up the Matt Harvey Fan Club. He never misses one of his starts and he takes to Twitter every five days and joins the rest of us to cheer Harvey on.

Doc’s always had a good heart and many times I often wonder just how great his career could have been before the drugs took him down that dark path. To this day, his rookie season was one of the most thrilling and exciting times of my life as a Met fan. The World Series in 1986 was the cherry on top. I will always love Dwight Gooden for that.

Pre Order “Doc: A Memoir” Now!

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Jonathon Livingston Niese http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/04/jonathon-livingston-niese.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/04/jonathon-livingston-niese.html/#comments Mon, 15 Apr 2013 13:57:45 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=114589 seagullThe other day I noticed my kid was reading this book that I recognized from when I was around his age. Jonathan Livingston Seagull, by Richard Bach. The short novel about the transcendent ascension of a seagull who refused to be confined by the boundaries of his own defining limitations. He flew higher, faster, until he became a kind of zen master of flight and was even able to teleport if I recall. Like most everything, it got me thinking about the Mets and a guy on the team named Jonathon. Jonathon Niese.

Of all the players I ran into over the weekend Niese somehow stood out. He carries himself well, he’s bigger than I thought (actually they’re all bigger than you think – they’re like on a different scale), he’s soft spoken and unassuming and just seems like a really nice guy.

Jonathon Niese was born on October 27th 1986, the day the Mets won their last World Series. Talk about cosmic coincidences. He was picked 209th overall in the 2005 draft, and he spent time at all three levels of the Mets minor league system where his numbers were good but not great. His best year was probably his 2008 season in Binghampton when in 22 games he had a 3.04 ERA. The season before in St. Lucie he’d gone 11-7 with a 4.19 ERA. At the age of 22 while at AAA Buffalo in the midst of a stretch where he’d pitched to a 3.82 ERA over 16 games he got the call.

My first impression of him was that he was ok, nothing special. He gave up a homerun to his first batter, Rickie Weeks, and ended up surrendering three runs in three innings. Not so good, I thought. Maybe a back end number 4 type guy at best. Then in his next start Jonathan Seagu … er, Niese, surprised me, pitching 8 shutout innings to beat the Braves 5-0. What I noticed was the sweet arcing trajectory of his beautiful southpaw curveball. A true hammer. Jonathon had defied my initial impression with that performance.

Niese got called up again in 2009 after Oliver Perez got hurt. He pitched to a 4.21 ERA that year making only 5 starts before he suffered a complete tear of his hamstring and had to miss the rest of the season. Niese went 10-9 in 2010 with a 4.20 ERA and 11–11 in 2011 with a 4.40 ERA and it was looking like my initial assessment was maybe not so far from the truth, middle to back end of the rotation kind of guy.  But like Jonathan Seagull’s doubters (a seagull cannot fly like a hawk!)  I was focusing too much on his limitations …

Niese had rhinoplasty after the 2011 season at the urging of ex-teammate Carlos Beltran. I knew what this was. Nasal deformity can result from skeletal hypoplasia or skeletal asymmetry and can cause an assortment of breathing problems up to and including sleep apnea. The problem can also affect nasal resonance (hyponasality), which can distort speech. I found it a little odd that a number of early stories found humor in Niese’s “nose job.” When you look at some older pictures of Niese, his nose deviated severely to his right. Functional rhinoplasty is actually a vital procedure for those who suffer from obstructed and malaligned nasal passages.

The surgery likely addressed some lingering asymmetry that was obstructing his airway. I’d learned about this stuff during a graduate practicum at the University of Minnesota’s Craniofacial Clinic (one of the top institutions of it’s kind in the nation). I knew that if the breathing was repaired it could potentially make a big difference in his O2 intake as an athlete, not to mention the far more significant effects of improved sleep (if apnea was an issue). Sure enough he had the best season of his career, going 13-9 with a 3.40 ERA. Jonathon was on the move again, defying expectations, ascending.

Jonathon pitched a hell of a gutsy game the other night. With brutal near blizzard conditions at game time the Mets came out and pounded Vance Worley with 5 quick runs in the first. Worley’s command was off, his pitches all appeared to be some version of a straight fastball, he had nothing. The Minnesota weather was brutal, I couldn’t imagine trying to grip a baseball in this stuff when you could barely feel your hands.

I had my fingers crossed when Niese came out and sure enough he ran into some trouble with a walk and a hit. Niese appeared to be having trouble locating his signature cutter. Buck went out and chatted with him and Niese seemed to settle down after that, sans the cutter. He relied mostly on his fastball and change with a few breaking balls thrown in for good measure. In the end, Niese gutted out 5 innings for the win with 4 earned runs, 4 walks and a strikeout, which, under the circumstances was nothing short of amazing. This quiet kid from Lima, Ohio is something else I thought. Pitching like a true ace, Jon Niese has become resilient, able to do what he has to to win even when his stuff isn’t there and the conditions are stacked against him.

On Saturday, the morning after Niese’s start, as the groundskeepers were doing their thing and hosing down the infield, Niese was the first guy out of the Met clubhouse doing laps. He was working on that conditioning that had made all the difference for him in 2012.

This kid has gone from the ninth pick of the 7th round of the draft, from his average days in the minors, from an uninspiring start to his major league career, to what he is now, which is one of the best starters in the league with a true knee-buckling curveball that has to be one of the toughest breaking pitches in the game.

I wouldn’t put anything past this guy. Like Jonathan Seagull, he is on a stratospheric trajectory. There’s no ceiling in sight for Mr. Niese, and I don’t think he’s set any limitations on where he may end up, so I certainly won’t.

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Matt Harvey Draws Comparisons To Other Mets Pitching Legends http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/04/matt-harvey-draws-comparisons-to-other-mets-pitching-legends.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/04/matt-harvey-draws-comparisons-to-other-mets-pitching-legends.html/#comments Tue, 09 Apr 2013 16:00:04 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=113868 matt harvey 2While listening to last night’s Mets v. Philadelphia Phillies game, it took me back in time. I grew up in the 80’s era when Mets Legend Doc Gooden dominated almost every game and timely hitting scored just enough runs to compliment the man on the mound. Having witnessed the pitching dominance of the Mets in their World Series run in 1986, it has helped me to give a better insight look into the 2013 Mets and their version of the young guns. Pitcher Jonathan Niese (1-0) has pitched well enough so far which has kept the focus off the loss of Johan Santana and Pitcher Matt Harvey has been nothing close to brilliant in his two starts this season. I understand that it is early, but what Harvey has shown can be compared to legends of the past. Yes that may sound crazy on my part, but no one can deny what he has done so far in this young season and only time will tell how good he can be.

Matt Harvey went out last night and dominated his second game in a row and did it from the opening pitch to his last batter of the game. For a Mets team that no one is picking to do anything this season, they might just surprise some people with their young powerful arms. Harvey in the 7th inning, had his fastball clocked at 98 mph, which took me back to the nights that Doc Gooden was just as impressive. And Gooden did it for a full season which he was awarded the Cy Young award in 1985 with an impressive 24 wins and only 4 losses and a 1.53 ERA.

This season may not end the way it has started, but the excitement that Harvey has shown through his pitching has allowed fans to start to dream. It may only be two starts, but if Mets fans can’t get excited of what could be, then why are we considered fans. It all has to start at some point, and these games will be confidence boosters for Harvey down the stretch. Every game that Harvey pitches in is another experience he will gain and the more he pitches well, the better he will be.

At 5-2, the Mets are just a game behind surging Atlanta, and they haven’t faced the crème of the crop of the National League, but good teams take care of business and beat the teams that they should and just like last night, the Mets came out and surprised the naysayers by beating an old nemesis in Roy Halladay. Well not just beat him but knocked him out of the game, which is a great confidence boost for a young Mets team still looking for their true identity. And for Matt Harvey to out-pitch Halladay, it makes you wonder if the comparisons are not just wishful thinking. Best quote of last night “Matt Harvey reminds me of a young Seaver”, courtesy of my Dad.

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Trading Daniel Murphy Could Benefit The Mets http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/03/trading-daniel-murphy-could-benefit-the-mets.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/03/trading-daniel-murphy-could-benefit-the-mets.html/#comments Thu, 21 Mar 2013 11:00:28 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=111410 daniel murphy 2

‘Spin Watch 2013 rolls on with another multi-hit game against the Houston Astros.

I don’t know how many different ways I can say “Jordany Valdespin’s numbers have been impressive this spring.” He’s now batting .348/.388/.996. He also leads the team in hits (16), home runs (4), RBIs (9) and runs scored (8). He’s been so impressive, in fact, that Terry Collins’ latest comments about the young out-second-field-baseman have been nothing but complimentary.

Joe D made a post about Collins’ optimism on Valdespin leading off as well as his attitude. It’s about time the guy gets some respect. Committing to him is the right move. Now it’s just a matter of where to play him in the field.

I have an idea. Are you sitting down? Trade Daniel Murphy and play Valdespin at second base.

I know. It’s such a blasphemous request for me to make. I think Murph’s a good player, but that’s a contributing factor in my request.

Last season, the Mets turned down an offer from the San Diego Padres that would have sent right-handed relief pitcher Luke Gregerson to the Mets for Murphy. At the time, I wasn’t too keen on the idea, but now it makes a bit more sense. Murphy for a bullpen arm sounds a lot more appealing these days—maybe an established left hander. I don’t doubt there’s a lack of desire for a guy like Murphy. That kind of move would give Valdespin the opportunity to develop into an everyday second baseman.

Collins alluded to Valdespin playing so well he could take Lucas Duda’s spot, which gives me this queasy feeling that they would trade Ike Davis, move Duda to first base and have Valdespin play left field. It’s a radical concept, but trading Murphy would eliminate that half-baked idea from my head immediately.

Despite the flak the Mets’ outfield has endured this offseason, I think freeing up another spot is a good thing. It gives the Mets a chance to experiment with some different outfield combinations. Every once in a while you can mix Valdespin into the outfield (to keep his 2B and OF eligibility in fantasy baseball).

Young guys seem to have taken the reins of the Mets. It’s looking like a modern take on a 1986 classic—a remix, if you will. The Mets have guys like Matt Harvey, who wants to win at all cost. They have top prospects like Travis d’Arnaud, who is slowly proving that he can hit Major League-pitching. They have guys that are proving they can be who we expected them to be like Davis and Jonathon Niese. And who could forget Captain America?

Valdespin has done everything we all could have hoped for thus far. Let’s hope he can keep it going.

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