Mets Merized Online » 2006 http://metsmerizedonline.com Wed, 11 Jan 2017 19:09:51 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.16 Terry Collins Believes Long Layoff Will Benefit The Mets http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/10/terry-collins-believes-long-layoff-will-benefit-the-mets.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/10/terry-collins-believes-long-layoff-will-benefit-the-mets.html/#comments Sun, 25 Oct 2015 12:13:25 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=197812 Terry  Collins

The New York Mets are facing a long layoff heading into the World Series after making quick work of sweeping the Chicago Cubs in the NLCS.

History wise, teams that face long layoffs usually don’t fare well in the World Series according to a report by Adam Rubin of ESPN New York.

He writes that 6 of the 7 teams that swept the League Championship Series have gone on to  lose the World Series. The only team to sweep an LCS and win the World Series were the Atlanta Braves back in 1995.

The Mets will have five days off before Game 1 of the World Series vs the Kansas City Royals next Tuesday. Manager Terry Collins sees the extra rest as an advantage.

“The extra rest we’re going to get right now I think is going to benefit us more than hurt us,” Collins said.

He looked to his mentor Jim Leyland for some advice on the subject. Leyland managed the 2006 and 2012 Tigers who both lost the World Series after long layoffs.

“The general response I got was there’s nothing you can do about it, no matter how hard you try – pipe in loud noise, try to have simulated games,” said Collins.

“Jim told me one time they brought in their instructional league team to play them. And they said guys go through the motions. … You can’t simulate a game. You can’t simulate a game. You can’t simulate 46,000 people in here, the flag-waving, the pressure of 3-2 with the bases loaded. He said, ‘Go about your job and make sure they’re prepared.’ And that’s all you can do.”

The Mets had a voluntary team workout at Citi Field on Friday and only about half of the players attended. On Saturday the workout was mandatory and everyone took part.

Despite what history suggests, Collins believes the long rest will be beneficial to some of the players who are banged up. Cespedes is nursing a sore left shoulder injury that required a cortisone injection on Thursday. Wright and Granderson are also banged up and the starting pitching has been heavily worked. So Collins thinks the long layoff can help them physical wise.

“I don’t know if every team is the same,” said Collins. “We’re going to ride that pitching. And, by the way, our pitching right now can use a blow because we’re pushing them pretty hard.”

Thoughts from Joe D.

Personally, there’s really nothing to see here. It seems as though the media loves to dig up all these crazy theories to suggest the Mets are in trouble and their luck is about to run out. Before the NLDS it was having to face Kershaw and Greinke four times. Then it was the Cubs sweeping us in the regular season. Now it’s the long layoff. The Mets have been bucking all these concocted trends and defying the odds all year, and I see no reason for that to stop now. Mets in five.

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MMO Fan Shot: Pessimism… Why It Makes Winning Better http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/10/mmo-fan-shot-pessimism-why-it-makes-winning-better.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/10/mmo-fan-shot-pessimism-why-it-makes-winning-better.html/#comments Thu, 15 Oct 2015 17:15:45 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=196167 wright Mets win

An MMO Fan Shot by Brandon Butler

As I write this, I have to be very honest. Heading into the 2015 season, we heard loud and clear once again that “this was going to be the year we go from a rebuilding team to a title contender”. Sandy Alderson reiterated to the media once again that the Mets were going to “win 90 games”. We heard all of that jazz. But hearing that same old stuff copied and remanufactured again brought me absolutely no hope, no optimism, and nothing to really get all hyped up and excited about. And I know I was not alone in that regard.

We heard the same story at the beginning of 2014. The team thought they were going to contend, but we all knew they could not and would not, especially without Matt Harvey. It was the Washington Nationals who took the NL East Division without any sort of fight. And seeing how the Nationals signed Max Scherzer to a massive contract, it seemed as if they would hold the reigns of the National League East Division for years to come because they improved an already great team while the rest of the division continued to look absolutely weak.

But If there is one thing I’ve learned over the last several years, it’s that while you can speculate and predict baseball outcomes on paper, never forget that ultimately it is all settled on the diamond come game day.

To get on a nice roll during the beginning of the season for the Mets was nice. Winning 11 straight games was great to watch. But I still couldn’t believe the Mets were “title contenders” this year. Not by a long shot. Yes, the rotation was young, dominating and exciting, but I felt eventually they would run out of gas and struggle.

By the time July rolled around, I have all but given up on the Mets season. Especially in early July when the Mets were soundly beaten by a very good Chicago Cubs team. It didn’t seem as though the team was ever going to get out of the offensive funk they were in. Even if the rotation was on point and allowed the opposition to score two or less runs, the Mets’ offense squandered one stellar start after another. And if we grabbed a lead and the coughed it up, they couldn’t salvage a comeback.

My pessimism got worse when the Mets blew a 5 run lead against the San Diego Padres in the ninth inning after a lengthy rain soaked affair in stunning fashion. Seeing a large lead blown like that made me extremely worried about playing the pivotal three-game series against the Washington Nationals that began the following day, where a sweep would give us a virtual lock on first-place in the division. If you would have told me the Mets would sweep the Nationals and take over first place and run with the division afterwards, I would have called you crazy, or a complete moron.

Yoenis , Cespedes

After seeing the Mets acquire Yoenis Cespedes, I thought that one player couldn’t change the overall makeup and confidence level of the team. That was, until we all saw the type of play both at the plate and on the field we saw during the month of August from not just Cespedes, but the entire Mets ball club as well. That is right around where I felt the Mets could maybe, just maybe, steal away a division title that everyone in Major League Baseball thought would belong to the Nationals.

When it came to September, I was like many Mets fans where I was nervous and afraid to watch the team because of what most people called it “The Ghosts of Collapses Past”. I thought that the Mets have struggled greatly with a great team before, and while August was the best month the Mets have had since 2006, I still wasn’t 100% sold that the Mets would hold the lead in the East and steal the division crown. We began to struggle through the middle part of the month and I was freaking out when the lead went from 8 ½ games down to less than 5 games. Even after the Mets swept the Nationals again, I still wasn’t entirely convinced the team would clinch the NL East Division Title.

The moment I realized that the Mets were going to clinch the NL East was when the magic number was down to two games. How can a team with about a week left in the season blow the division with just two games to clinch right? Especially with the way the Nationals were playing in the month of September.

When the Mets went into Saturday afternoon with the chance to win and clinch the division, I have to say that I was beyond thrilled. For someone who has said all along that he was pessimistic through and through, I was so happy to see that the Mets controlled their destiny from that point on and we didn’t need to rely on any other team to lose/win to finally clinch.

Once I saw Jeruys Familia strike out Jay Bruce, all I could do is just jump up and down in excitement, and said “We finally f*****g did it.” After all these years of disappointment, pessimism, and heartbreak, I finally got to witness another postseason celebration like I haven’t seen in quite some time. It was Amazin’ to say the least!

I was somebody who has been pessimistic and bitter about the Mets for many years since 2006. But as much as I want to see my team win, I am someone who tends thinks in a realistic manner. Like a realist if you will. I try to think about the realistic possibilities and not try to shoot for the moon when it comes to whatever life throws our way. That is why I tend to sound more pessimistic and not optimistic. But being able to witness the Mets capture the National League East crown when I thought there was no chance in hell at the end of July made the celebration the more exciting and rewarding. Especially when you saw that nobody thought the Mets would win the division.

If there is anything I can say after watching how the 2015 season unfolded, it’s that this Mets ball club never gave up, and from now on, I’ve learned that never giving up will reward you. It may not be today, it may not be tomorrow, or next week, or next month, or next year, or even 10 years. But when the moment comes and your rewarded for your patience, the times you were pessimistic make it that much sweeter!

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This MMO Fan Shot was contributed by Brandon Butler. Have something you want to say about the Mets? Share your opinions with over 30,000 Met fans who read this site daily. Send your Fan Shot to FanShot@MetsmerizedOnline.com. Or ask us about becoming a regular contributor.

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Gary Cohen Will Not Cover Mets Postseason Games On WOR http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/10/gary-cohen-will-not-cover-mets-postseason-games-on-wor.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/10/gary-cohen-will-not-cover-mets-postseason-games-on-wor.html/#comments Wed, 07 Oct 2015 18:10:22 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=195753 gary cohen 2

Neil Best of Newsday reports that SNY play-by-play announcer Gary Cohen will not be doing any postseason games for WOR radio  as had been speculated by some.

According to Best, Cohen was criticized in some quarters in 2006 for doing guest innings in the Mets’ radio booth during the NLCS — which became more noticeable when he called several key moments, including Endy Chavez’s famous catch in Game 7.

Cohen is now scheduled to appear on pre-game and post-game shows during any home games during the postseason for SNY.

Josh Lewin will continue to partner with Howie Rose on radio except for Game 3 of the NLDS when Wayne Randazzo will cover for him while Lewin works the San Diego Chargers’ Monday Night Football game.

Bob Raissman of the Daily News ripped into Cohen last month, accusing him of big-footing it in 2006 when he pushed his way into the radio booth for the Mets postseason broadcasts.

“The last time the Mets made the playoffs someone thought it would be a swell idea to move Gary Cohen into the radio booth to do two innings of each playoff game.”

“This was big-footing at its worst. Rose and McCarthy had worked almost every regular season game only to have postseason innings stolen by Cohen.”

Raissman says the move treated Howie Rose and Tom McCarthy like two schleps who were incapable of calling such huge games.

I didn’t really see what the big deal was if Gary called an inning or two. Cohen is beloved by the fans and it would have been a nice gesture for someone who most regard as the voice of the Mets.

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WE DID IT!!! METS ARE THE NL EAST CHAMPIONS!!! http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/09/we-did-it-mets-are-the-nl-east-champions.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/09/we-did-it-mets-are-the-nl-east-champions.html/#comments Sat, 26 Sep 2015 23:25:34 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=194748 2015 NL EAST CHAMPS! 

THE METS HAVE CLINCHED THE N.L. EAST!!!

The Mets (88-67) have defeated the Cincinnati Reds (63-91) by a score of 10-2 this evening at Great American Ballpark, and in the process have ensured a spot in the playoffs for the first time in nine years.

Well, it’s been a long, crazy ride since 2006. I’ve graduated middle school, high school and have completed half of college since the last time the Mets made the playoffs.

Since then, the Mets have made my stomach churn, they’ve broken my heart, they’ve kept me up at night, and things seemed mighty bleak for years.

mets celebrate

Going into this season, I thought the Mets would be competitive and put up a fight, but never could I have imagined this. The Nationals were the favorites to win the World Series, and I thought it would be improbable to leapfrog them in the standings.

At times this season, I was very frustrated. I thought it was just going to be another one of those seasons, but with all of our pitchers, I knew that if we just got a few bats, we would be a force to be reckoned with.

The non-trade of Wilmer Flores, the additions of Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson, the bullpen upgrades of Tyler Clippard and Addison Reed, the very important acquisition of Yoenis Cespedes and the return of El Capitan David Wright have seen us gain 11.5 games in the standings, and have now lead us to a National League East title!

We’ve waited for this for a long time, and we deserve a winning team to be proud of.

What a damn magical season, and it’s only beginning.

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Offense:

The Mets teed off against Reds’ starting pitcher John Lamb, chasing him from the game after just the second inning.

Lucas Duda came to the plate in the first inning with the bases juiced, and promptly unloaded them as he hit a rocket over the right field fence, giving the Mets a four spot before Matt Harvey even took the mound.

In the second, Curtis Granderson slammed his 25th home run of the year to put the Mets up 5-0, his second in as many days.

Michael Cuddyer tacked on two more runs in the third inning, as he hit a gapper into left center field to score Daniel Murphy and Lucas Duda.

David Wright in poetic fashion, hit a three run home run in the top of the ninth to put the icing on the cake and extend the Mets lead to 10-2, which would prove to be enough as the Mets would secure their title in the bottom of the ninth!

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Pitching:

Matt Harvey was the man at task to lead the Mets to their sixth division championship today, and despite one inning in which he let up two runs, he was able to buckle down and actually pitched very well.

The Dark Knight would go 6.2 innings, allowing just the two runs on nine hits, while striking out six and walking zero.

Addison Reed finished off the seventh, and Tyler Clippard kept the Reds at bay in the eight despite letting up two hits.

Appropriately, Jeurys Familia pitched the ninth inning in a non-save situation to seal the deal for the Mets, and despite allowing two hits, he was able to strike out Jay Bruce to end the game.

Thoughts:

This feeling is incredible. I can’t even begin to explain it. I don’t know whether to laugh, to cheer, or to cry tears of joy. I have been emotionally invested in this team since I was six years old. This is me and my dad going to the games, this is me not being able to sleep at night, this is so many things that have lead up to this very moment. I knew it was going to happen, and now that it’s here, there is no better feeling in the world. I love the Mets. Always have, always will. There’s still a lot of work to be done, but we’ve got this. I have full faith in this team. LGM.

On deck:

The Mets take on the Reds for the series finale tomorrow afternoon, as they look to overtake the Dodgers for home field advantage in the NLDS. Jacob deGrom (13-8, 2.64 ERA) takes on Keyvius Sampson (2-5, 6.45 ERA) and first pitch is at 1:10 PM.

AMAZING-CLINCH

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10 Signs You Root for the New York Mets http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/09/10-signs-you-root-for-the-new-york-mets.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/09/10-signs-you-root-for-the-new-york-mets.html/#comments Sat, 12 Sep 2015 17:42:52 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=193166 kelly johnson mets win

Meaningful September baseball? A real lineup? A starting rotation that dominates, and a reliable bullpen? Are we sure these are the same Mets that looked all but dead in June? The short answer is no, they aren’t; they’re a rejuvenated, electric, never-say-die bunch that feed off the crowd’s energy while simultaneously creating their own (and believe me, there is plenty of momentum in the crowd).

Yoenis Cespedes is a complete game changer, Tyler Clippard and Jeurys Familia are a lockdown combination, and there are no longer any automatic outs in the lineup. Chances are you’ve been loyal to the orange and blue quite some time now, and you may have picked up some of these habits that make it more obvious than you think that you’re a Mets fan.

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1. Your eyes are trained to spot the colors orange and blue.

That’s a nice looking, vaguely blue water bottle sitting on the counter over there. Holy crap, there’s an orange right next to it!

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2. In fact, half the things you own are orange and blue.

Orange shirt, blue shorts. Blue sheets, orange pillowcase. Blue shoes, orange laces. Definitely a blue and orange phone case. Is there a pattern here?

jacob deGrom

3. You style your hair like Jacob deGrom.

And you’ve sent him multiple fan letters asking him what kind of shampoo and conditioner he uses.

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4. You have the urge to scream extremely crass things whenever you hear the name “Fred” or “Jeff”

It’s a built in defense mechanism.

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5. You hate everything about Philadelphia.

Screw you too, Washington Nationals.

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6. You stick your tongue out like David Wright while performing everyday activities.

Taking out the garbage, paying bills, walking the dog, you name it, tongue out.

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7.  Something in your family is named Shea.

Your dog, your kid, your car…

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8. You cringe at the mere mention of the year 2006.

“I can’t believe it’s been nine years since we married, honey. On this day in 2006—honey… why are you crying…?”

 

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9. Your pin number is some variation of the numbers 86 and 69.

I just can’t imagine why!

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10. The word “amazing” is your favorite word.

But you usually shorten it to “Amazin’”. Life is strange like that sometimes.

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Hoping Mets Give Me The Best Gift Of All http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/09/hoping-mets-give-me-the-best-gift-of-all.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/09/hoping-mets-give-me-the-best-gift-of-all.html/#comments Fri, 04 Sep 2015 14:00:13 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=192403 lucas duda home run daniel Murphy

Today, on September 4th, 2015, I turn 26 years old. In most years on this day I’m usually full throttle in Football mode, crossing my fingers that another Jets season won’t go to waste, or perhaps that Joe Namath will find the fountain of youth and return as the Jets starting QB.

This year is different though, and finally after waiting a grueling seven years, the baseball god’s have granted me the best birthday gift of all; a New York Mets pennant race.

Some may say that this is just a mere tease of a present. After all, September’s were made for Mets collapses, and with 29 games still left to be played, it is true that anything can happen. However, heading into tonight’s game against the Miami Marlins, the Mets hold a six game lead over the Washington Nationals for 1st place in the National League East. It’s a safe lead, but after seeing what happened during the September’s of 2007 and 2008, I won’t go as far as to say it’s a comfortable one.

See you have to understand, as a 26 year old die-hard Mets fan, there just hasn’t been a whole lot to cheer about over the years. Sure there was the late 90’s and the World Series appearance against the Yankees in 2000, but that was the one World Series I’ve gotten to see the Mets in, and it didn’t turn out all that well for us. Then there was that magical run in 2006, when I thought for sure it was our year to be kings of baseball.

I remember watching that game seven of the NLCS against the Cardinals when Endy Chavez made “the catch” to rob Scott Rolen of a HR and turning to my Dad and saying, “Ok, this HAS to be our year.” Instead I watched in shock as Carlos Beltran stood lifeless as he watched a called third strike go by him with the bases loaded, crushing any chance of getting to the promised land.

I’ve often wondered if being a Mets fan was a curse. Growing up just a short drive down the turnpike to Philadelphia, people would always ask, “What made you become a Mets fan.” That, as it turns out, is something I can thank my Dad for. I can’t blame him though, after all he did grow up in a time where all was well in Queens. Tom Seaver was throwing gem after gem, and the Mets were the talk of the town. In the late 60’s and early 70’s, the Mets, Jets, and Knicks were all flying pretty high, and it’s the reason I’m fans of those teams today.

Aside from the fact that I’ve probably lost several years of my life watching this team, I can honestly say that I am thankful to be a Mets fan. It may not be the most rewarding franchise in baseball, and I may have never witnessed a Mets World Series Championship, but I know that time will come, or at least I think it will.

Wilmer, Flores

We were all told that 2015 was going to be THE year. I myself looked at 2015 as the year where the Mets would at least start to turn things around. So far the Mets have held true to their word, and then some. Instead of being satisfied with just being in “the mix” of things down stretch, it looks as though the Mets will settle for nothing less than a championship, and they shouldn’t.

The Mets have the talent. They have a pitching staff that is second to none, and they now have a lineup that puts fear in the eyes of opposing pitchers. One scout has even called the Mets a “runaway train.” The Mets, the same Mets who were going about their lives on daily basis in a world known as “Panic City” just a couple months ago, are now considered to be a runaway train.

So while the 2015 Mets may have given me a nice birthday gift for a change, I am still not satisfied. Before I blow the candles out tonight, I will be wishing for something bigger, better, and much more fulfilling. Perhaps something that goes much deeper into October and even into November. After all, even at 26 year of age, I can still dream right?

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MMO Original: The Burden of Great Expectations http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/08/mmo-original-the-burden-of-great-expectations.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/08/mmo-original-the-burden-of-great-expectations.html/#comments Mon, 24 Aug 2015 17:00:22 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=191273 The lasting image of the young Wright celebrating

The lasting image of the young Wright celebrating

Writers like me tend to embrace subjects we call “evergreen.” This refers to topics that remain relevant for a good long time after they are published.  And today’s topic is one of those.

This could have been written in March, when all the experts said the Nationals would win the division simply by throwing their gloves on the field.  Or when the Mets ripped off 11 straight wins in April.  Or at mid-season, when the Nats had seemed to reassert their rightful place atop the division.  Or now, when it’s the Mets division to lose.  Or anytime.

We know what this is like.  It happened to us in…dare I mention it..2007.  And again in 2008.  And it is happening to the Washington Nationals right now.

No, we’re not talking about underachievement per se.  We’re talking about those great expectations surrounding teams that are loaded on paper – and have already had a taste of post-season baseball.

So why are these great expectations a curse for the fans?  Well, with the possible exception of the 20th century Yankees, a team whose fans believed (and still do) that perpetual victory is a birthright, it can suck the joy out of the whole experience.

Great expectations did not surround the 2015 Mets.  A run at the wildcard was possible, but winning the division seemed pure fantasy.  Of course, that’s why they play the games.  Even after Bryce Harper asked for his World Series ring in the winter.

But in the wake of that roller coaster ride to end all roller coaster rides, transforming the team from laughingstock to borderline powerhouse in the space of five unforgettable days that bridged the end of July with the start of August, we can now see our window opening, just as the Nats’ may be closing.

While this hardly means we are sure to win this division, the trajectory is clear for the Mets at least, and what’s making this whole ride so joyous is that for the most part, we began the season with…low expectations.

Contrast that with fans of the Nats, who experienced the same joyride in 2012 as we are now.  But who entered this season with a burden to bear.  The burden of two ugly post-season failures.  The burden of having to win this season because they are such heavy favorites, and their core is starting to age, and they face the loss of multiple key players after this season.  They carry the burden of a high ceiling that results in mostly simple head-nodding or relief rather than celebration after victories.  The burden of…this finishing first thing is fine, but it won’t mean a thing if we don’t win it all in October.

No joy in that.

If we harken back to 2006-07, Mets fans can recall an almost identical experience.  The 2006 team was surrounded by expectations of improvement, like this year’s team, but not burdened by necessarily having to finish first to mark the season as a success.  And certainly not expected to win it all.  So what’s happening now – some might prefer to say what’s happening in this AD portion of the season as opposed to BC (before Cespedes) – feels like 2006.

And then we recall – oh so painfully – 2007.  After Wainwright froze Beltran with the hook from hell, that haunting conclusion to 2006 instantly generated great expectations for 2007 that only a World Series title could fully satisfy.  And even leaving the great collapse aside, recall the difference in your emotions when they won games in 2007 compared to 2006.

2006 was “wow, this is fun.” 2007 was “yeah, well, they should have won that game.”

Almost like the difference between business and pleasure.

Analogies abound.  The 2006/2015 Mets and 2012 Nationals are akin to the 2015 Astros and Cubs.  On the way up, exceeding expectations, generating a steady buzz of energy and excitement.

The 2007 Mets and 2015 Nationals are akin to the 2015 Tigers, Mariners, Red Sox and White Sox, whose fans’ experience has been similarly and particularly bitter because of…great expectations.

Of course, the Nationals could still change the narrative, but it will now require the cooperation of a team everyone thought they would squash like a bug.

The moral of the story is not just that great expectations have the power to crush the spirit, but that low expectations have the equal and opposite power to allow the spirit to soar.

So enjoy this ride.  Soak it in.  Live in the moment.  Because no matter how this season ends, we know next season will arrive with great expectations.

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An MMO Original: Redefining the Mets and Myself http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/08/an-mmo-original-redefining-the-mets-and-myself.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/08/an-mmo-original-redefining-the-mets-and-myself.html/#comments Mon, 17 Aug 2015 19:45:15 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=190580 endy_chavez_catch

For as long as I can remember, I have been a Mets fan. My grandfather began cheering the Mets on in 1962, hungry for a National League New York team to root for since his beloved Brooklyn Dodgers departed for California. My parents were married in September of 1986 and gleefully recall watching the World Series on patio furniture inside their first home. I was born six years later and my baseball destiny was predetermined: the New York Metropolitans were my team.

Every summer, Grandpa Teddy would take all of us grandchildren to Shea Stadium to see a Mets game. I seem to recall that the Mets lost almost every time we went, but I didn’t care. I loved every minute of it. While my brothers and cousins could only stomach the three-hour game in person, I watched game after game on any television in the house that happened to be free.

I slowly learned the players’ names and their statistics and that eventually matured into understanding the strategy and subtle nuances of the game. Grandpa Teddy would read the box scores from the newspaper on the beach and help bridge any gaps in knowledge that I was encountering. And when he passed away in 2003, his daughter, my Aunt Caroline, continued our annual pilgrimage. And while I vaguely remember the Mets of the early 2000s, the first year I felt like they were my team, not my parents’ or my grandparents’ or my Aunt’s, but my team, was 2006.

Young Trevor learns the finer points of baseball signing from Grandpa Teddy

Young Trevor learns the finer points of baseball signing from Grandpa Teddy

I was in seventh grade, at the height of my awkwardness when the 2006 season began. The Mets had finished with a winning record the year before, and they were only supposed to be better this year. Well we all know the story by now. The Mets dominated the regular season to the tune of 97 wins and a first place finish in the National League East (ending a Braves’ dynasty that seems impossible in the days of parity baseball).

After an exciting sweep of the Dodgers in the Division Series, the Mets began a fierce battle with the eventual World Champion St. Louis Cardinals. The Mets, who seemed to be sprinkled in magic dust all season, lost in game seven. I remember watching Carlos Beltran take strike three and then promptly turning off my TV and lying in my bed wondering how I was going to respond to all my Yankee fan friends the next day.

My first baseball-less winter seemed like the longest season of my life, and I could not wait for our chance at redemption. I remember that before the game began on SNY, there was a montage to the tune of Linkin Park’s “What I’ve Done” playing while Gary Cohen recounted the chip on the Mets shoulder after missing out on winning it all.

As if they needed more fuel, Jimmy Rollins claimed that the Philadelphia Phillies were the team to beat in the East. With 17 games left to play, the Mets had a commanding seven game lead in the division and my eyes turned towards October baseball. But it never came. Not for the Mets, anyway.

It was one of the largest collapses in sports history, and I struggled to wrap my brain around it. But even more confusing than the collapse itself was the longer tenured Mets fans’ reaction to it. “Typical Mets,” seemed to be the sentiment surrounding the 2007 season.

But that was not typical for the Mets I knew. I didn’t live through the early 80s or 90s, and I wasn’t really aware of their struggles in the beginning of this millennium. The only team I knew was the 2006 Mets, and they were warriors. The Carlos-es would strike fear in the heart of any opposing pitcher. Paul Lo Duca was a little psychotic, but gritty and tough. David Wright and Jose Reyes were the homegrown stars that were going to start the Mets dynasty. Instead, 2006 stood alone as an aberration; a brief reprieve from decades of suffering.

And so I began to truly understand what it meant to be a Mets fan. The firing of Willie Randolph in the middle of the night, the Luis Castillo dropped pop-up, and the irrelevance. Year after year, no one cared about the Mets except me. I watched every game, hoping that each win would start a streak that would propel them into the postseason. And during those eight years, I would sometimes think of 2006. I would imagine David Wright, stained in champagne and brandished with a cigar, waving to the cheering Mets faithful at Shea Stadium. He imagined that cigar would be the first of many, just like I did. But that expectation for success was quickly replaced by an expectation for failure. Until now.

The Mets this year have a spark; a flame of resilience that is reminiscent of one that once burned inside my heart and the heart of every Mets fan at one time or another. The Boys of Flushing find themselves with a 4.5 game lead over the World Series favorite Washington Nationals. And yeah, they just got swept by the Pittsburgh Pirates. In years past I would begin to panic or allow myself to recede into the safety of distancing myself from the team I love. I wouldn’t get my hopes up. But my hopes are up. I want this team to win and I believe in them, as foolish as that may be. But that’s what Mets fans do. After all, ya gotta believe.

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Happy Birthday Gary Cohen http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/04/happy-birthday-gary-cohen.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/04/happy-birthday-gary-cohen.html/#comments Wed, 29 Apr 2015 16:11:25 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=180281 Gary_Cohen,_Ron_Darling,_Keith_Hernandez_2013.jpgTop Series: Batted .357 (5-for-14) at Sacramento (April 13-16) Batted .476 (10-for-21) vs. Fresno (April 17-20) Batted .368 (7-for-19) at Reno (April 21-24) Multiple-hit games: 12…hit safely in 13 of 18 games  You could listen to the rest of the interview here.

It’s Outta Here!!!!

Gary Cohen turns 55 years old today. There’s no one I would rather see calling every game’s live action on SNY. The trio of Cohen, Darling, and Hernandez makes for entertaining television, even when the Mets are having a losing season.

Cohen has been calling the action in the Mets booth since 1989. He started on WFAN radio calling games with the legendary Bob Murphy, and got promoted to calling the action on live television during SNY’s debut in 2006.

Cohen is a human Mets encyclopedia. It’s very hard to stump Gary in anything Mets related. He has been an avid Mets fan ever since childhood and knows just about everything there is to know about the New York Mets. Try to stump Gary, and good luck, cause you’ll need it. The man is a Mets baseball genius.

Gary Cohen’s enthusiasm is definitely noticeable whenever the Mets score a crutial run, hit one over the fence, make a great defensive play ( who could ever forget Cohen’s enthusiasm when Endy Chavez robbed Scott Rolen in the 2006 NLCS ), turn a double play, get a crutial strikeout, etc. SNY made a brilliant move in moving him to the television booth in 2006. There is no one better.

Gary is still going strong calling all the Mets action. We hope to have him around for many more decades to come. Happy Birthday Gary Cohen. We all love ya.

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Mets Strongly Considering Bartolo Colon For Opening Day Start http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/02/mets-strongly-considering-bartolo-colon-for-opening-day-start.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/02/mets-strongly-considering-bartolo-colon-for-opening-day-start.html/#comments Sat, 28 Feb 2015 04:09:45 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=175327 bartolo colon 2

On Monday, a team source told Mike Puma of the New York Post that the Mets are strongly considering Zack Wheeler for the Opening Day start against the Nationals in Washington on April 6.

However, Adam Rubin of ESPN New York is reporting today that “multiple sources” have told him that it’s Bartolo Colon whom the Mets are strongly considering for the Opening Day start.

“The sources added that the Mets have narrowed the choices to Colon and one other pitcher, and that it’s too early to decide which will get the assignment.”

So perhaps it’s between Colon and Wheeler, although I don’t know why they need to make this decision so soon and before one pitch has been thrown in Grapefruit League play.

Rubin also added that if it ends up being Colon, he would become — at 41 years, 317 days old — the oldest Opening Day starter in the majors since Jamie Moyer (43 years, 136 days) and Randy Johnson (42 years, 205 days) in 2006. He also would become the oldest Mets Opening Day starter ever, surpassing Tom Glavine in 2007 (41 years, 7 days).

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Carlos Beltran Signed With Mets 10 Years Ago Today http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/01/carlos-beltran-signed-with-mets-10-years-ago-today.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/01/carlos-beltran-signed-with-mets-10-years-ago-today.html/#comments Tue, 13 Jan 2015 17:04:53 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=173090 On January 13, 2005, ten years ago today, the Mets signed free agent  Carlos Beltran to a seven year, $119 million dollar contract.

I can’t recall a greater Mets player who was as under-appreciated as Beltran was when he was with the Mets, despite always giving it everything he had and delivering countless big hits and big plays.

“He had a couple of monster seasons for us, and was a huge reason why we made it as far as we did in 2006,” Wright said of his former teammate. ”We came a couple runs from making the World Series, and we don’t get close to that without Carlos.”

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The following is where Carlos Beltran ranked in Mets franchise history after he was traded

Batting average: .280 (12th)
On-base percentage: .369 (6th)
Slugging percentage: .501 (5th)
OPS (on-base plus slugging): .870 (5th)
Runs scored: 548 (8th)
Hits: 877 (13th)
Total bases: 1,566 (10th)
Doubles: 208 (6th)
Triples: 17 (17th)
Home Runs: 149 (6th)
RBI: 557 (6th)
Bases on Balls: 446 (9th)
Stolen Bases: 100 (11th)
Extra-Base Hits: 374 (6th)
Sacrifice Flies: 37 (7th)
WAR (Position Players): 32.2 (2nd)
Offensive WAR: 27.8 (5th)
Defensive WAR: 4.4 (3rd)

Here are our Top 5 Beltran Moments…

5. The First Win As A Met – April 10, 2005

Setting the scene: For the first moment on this list, we head all the way back to Beltran’s first win as a Met. The Mets started the Pedro Martinez-Carlos Beltran era 0-5 under rookie manager Willie Randolph, and were on the verge of being swept out of Atlanta. Pedro Martinez and John Smoltz were locked in a pitcher’s duel, with Smoltz striking out 15 Mets.

What Happened: Up came Mr. Beltran in the 8th Inning with the Mets down 1-0, and Jose Reyes on base. Beltran took Smoltz deep for a 2-Run HR that not only put the Mets ahead for good, but knocked Smoltz out of the game. With Smoltz out, the Mets were able to get to the Braves bullpen for 4 more runs, including another Beltran RBI in the 9th. Pedro Martinez picked up the complete game win.

4. Tie-Breaking 2-Run HR, 2006 NLCS Game 1 – October 12, 2006

Setting the Scene: Tom Glavine and Jeff Weaver of the St. Louis Cardinals were locked in a 0-0 pitching duel in the first game of the 2006 NLCS. In the 6th Inning, Paul Lo Duca singles with two out to keep the inning alive for Beltran.

What Happened: Beltran drilled a 2-2 offering from Weaver to right-center, giving the Shea Apple a reason to come out and shine. It would be the only runs the Mets score that night, as the Mets took Game 1 from the Cardinals 2-0.

Beltran would hit two more HR’s in Game 4, tying Babe Ruth for most post-season HR’s against the Cardinals. The series would end on a sour note for the Mets and especially Beltran in Game 7. However, the Mets would never have gotten to Game 7 without the magnificent 2006 season that Beltran put up.

3. “We’re Going Home” – May 23, 2006

Setting the Scene: The Philadelphia Phillies took an early lead, and despite the best attempts of the New York Mets, the Phillies continued to hold on to their lead. Jose Reyes tied the game with a 2-Run HR in the 8th, and the Mets and Phillies carried an 8-8 score into extras. Ryan Madson pitched 7 Innings in relief to take the game to the 16th Inning.

What Happened: Carlos Beltran led off the bottom of the 16th with a solo, walk-off HR. That’s it. Game over. The SNY call of the game is memorable for Gary Cohen proclaiming We’re going home after the game ended after midnight.

2. The Catch Up Tal’s Hill – July 7, 2007

Setting the Scene: On the Saturday before the All-Star Break (and the luckiest day to play the slots), the Mets and the Houston Astros played a 3-3 tie deep into extras. The Astros and the Mets frequently threatened to score, putting men on base in every inning except the 13th.

What Happened: The Astros put men on at the corners with two out. The runner on third is the only one that matters. Luke Scott steps in to pinch hit and drills the Joe Smith pitch 420 ft…to straightaway center. Carlos Beltran got an excellent jump on the ball, ran over 50 feet, and made a stunning, over the shoulder grab, while running up the hill and falling down, to save the game. Beltran, who was the top defensive CF in the National League for a stretch, had the defensive play of his career here.

Three innings later, in the 17th, Beltran drove in Jose Reyes to score the go-ahead run amidst all the usual boos from the Houston fans. David Wright would follow with an insurance run, and the Mets won 5-3 after 5 hours and the most thrilling game of the 2007 season.

1. Home Run Derby At Shea Stadium – August 22, 2006

Setting the Scene: The Mets open up a 1-0 lead on the St. Louis Cardinals with a solo HR from Carlos Delgado, before Albert Pujols smacks a 3-Run HR and a Grand Slam in back-to-back innings to give the Cardinals a 7-1 lead. Carlos Delgado answered Pujols’s Grand Slam with one of his own(his 400th career HR) in the bottom of the 5th. Jose Reyes scored in the 6th to pull the Mets to 7-6.

What Happened: Jason Isringhausen came in to close the game. After retiring Reyes, he gave up a single to Paul Lo Duca. Up stepped Carlos Beltran with the power to end the game with one swing…which is just what he did. Beltran turned one over the right-field wall to walk the Mets off the field with an 8-7 win in maybe the most thrilling game of the 2006 season.

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This Day In Mets Infamy: Random Thoughts From Yesterday’s Doubleheader http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/05/this-day-in-mets-infamy-random-thoughts-from-yesterdays-doubleheader.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/05/this-day-in-mets-infamy-random-thoughts-from-yesterdays-doubleheader.html/#comments Mon, 26 May 2014 15:06:25 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=156843 Diamondbacks Mets Baseball

Yesterday had all the trappings of being a great day at the ballpark at Citi Field. The sun was out warming the many fans that came to celebrate the recently reinstated Banner Day. Mets Rookie phenom, Rafael Montero was on the mound for the first game of a single admission doubleheader, and to boot it was Bartolo Colon poster day (albeit I had hoped the poster would show him in a string bikini looking all seductive in a Farrah Fawcett-esque pose – but that’s just me).

My Wife and I got to the game and headed directly to the Caesars Club for lunch. When we reached our seats in the sun drenched Pepsi Porch there was no sign that the Banner Day parade was about to start, and I found out later that it was held way before the gates were opened to the public.

Well this got my Irish up, I mean what is the point of  having a Banner Day in front of an empty Citi Field? How is this supposed to instill a sense of tradition in the newer generation of Mets fans – and with all this talk from their PR arm – Wouldn’t real Mets fans show up in the stands to watch Banner Day? In my opinion the Mets dropped the ball once again.

Here are some more random thoughts that I took away from yesterdays game one debacle.

I still feel that the Mets traded away their best first base option. Ike Davis would not have dropped that routine foul pop – Duda looked as though he was trying to spot clouds shaped like fuzzy bunnies while the ball plopped right in front of him.

Chris Young has no use on this team – unless there is a need for a feast or famine power hitter who doesn’t hit for average. He seemingly pops up on first pitch swings or is stranding a boatload of runners in scoring position. Oh and by the way his walk up music sucks also!!!

Yeah Stephen Drew might not be deserving of the 10 million dollar contract that he just signed with the Red Sox – but Ruben Tejada isn’t even worth the league minimum.

Murph, Murph, Murph – I understand that you have made great strides learning the second base position – but jeez that error that you committed in the eighth inning was just painful to watch!

Montero I think is going to become a stalwart of this rotation – that is if he can get any kind of run support from this anemic offense.

And lastly a message to Saul Katz….  PLEASE CONVINCE FRED TO SELL THE TEAM!!!!!

By the was I was on hand for a blogger event at Citi Field this past Thursday and I had the chance to participate in a group interview with both Dillon Gee and Travis d’Arnaud. To see the Dillon Gee interview click here and to check out d’Arnaud please click here – he reveals that he is a big New York Rangers fan!!!

And with that said…. HERE COMES THE INFAMY!!!!!

Mets alumni celebrating a birthday today includes:

Mets coach from ’82-’83, Jim Frey turns 83 (1931). The season after he left the Mets, Frey led the Chicago Cubs to the National League East pennant over his former team.

Other transactions of note include:

The New York Mets released utility man Bobby Pfeil on May 26, 1970.

The New York Mets signed free agent pitcher, Terry Leach on May 26, 1984. Leach was  quite possibly the most dependable pitcher during the ’87 campaign. He went 11-1 with a era of 3.32 for a Mets team that saw the bulk of it’s pitching staff on the disabled list that season.

The New York Mets traded spot starter/middle reliever, Geremi Gonzalez to the Milwaukee Brewers for minor league pitcher, Mike Adams on May 26, 2006.

The New York Mets purchased the contract of reserve infielder, Wilson Valdez from the Cleveland Indians on May 26, 2009.

Mo Vaughn bought 5 cases of hot dogs and buns, 10 cases of Bubba Burgers, 5 suitcases of Sam Adams, 20 2 liters of Diet Coke and at least 20 lbs of potato salad, coleslaw and chips for his Memorial Day Party.  If you attend you can’t have any of it, bring your own eats and beverages!!!

MMO HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY

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Granderson’s Struggles Continue, Collins Says It’s Only April http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/04/grandersons-struggles-continue-collins-says-its-only-april.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/04/grandersons-struggles-continue-collins-says-its-only-april.html/#comments Wed, 23 Apr 2014 12:35:24 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=153903 curtis granderson

April 23

Curtis Granderson’s struggles continue and he is now hitless in a career-high 22 straight at-bats. However, manager Terry Collins has no intentions of sitting his right fielder.

“He hasn’t changed his demeanor at all, and that’s why I know he’s not letting this get to him,” Collins said. “He’s going to battle his way through it. There’s a certain time, and you see it with a lot of guys, where after a while something is going to get slammed down. But he’s handled it great.”

“It’s April still. We’ve got to get him some at-bats and get him ready.”

I can’t imagine a worse way for Granderson to get his Mets career started. Forget the batting average which now stands at .116, nobody ever expected him to come to Flushing and bat .280 or .290. What is most alarming is that he’s shown no power whatsoever. Even when he makes contact it’s been mostly grounders and popups.

I don’t see what the harm is in giving him a couple of days off to regroup, work with Hudgens and spend some extra time in the batting cages. But as is usually the case with decision-making and the Mets, we have to take the slow and drawn out approach.  

April 22

We’re closing in on the end of the first month of the season and right fielder Curtis Granderson is batting .121 with just eight hits and a .451 OPS in 76 plate appearances.

It’s that time of the year when statisticians drum up things like “Granderson will need to bat .375 the rest of this season to finish with a .230 batting average.”

Batting in the No. 2 spot for the second straight game, Curtis Granderson struck out in all three of his at-bats during Monday’s 2-0 win over the Cardinals. He also reached base after getting hit by a pitch. That extended his hitless streak to 19 straight at-bats – two at-bats shy of his career high — an 0-for-21 skid in 2006 with the Tigers.

Despite that feel-good, walk-off sac fly on Sunday, Granderson was 0-for-6 going into that at-bat and if there was nobody on third base, it’s just a shallow fly to left.

Granderson has now struck out 23 times in 66 at-bats this season.

“I just need to get results,” Granderson said. “I’ve just got to go ahead and put the bat on the ball, put it in play, and hopefully some good things will happen.”

The problem is that he isn’t putting the bat on the ball and for the most part when he does, he’s not doing any damage.

Mike Puma of the NY Post sarcastically said last night, “If Curtis Granderson keeps this up, the Jason Bay comparisons will stop. They’ll be too generous.”

“I’m still trying to get a good ball to handle,” said Granderson, who has been working with hitting coach Dave Hudgens in an attempt to get out of his slump. “I’ve talked to [Hudgens] about trying not to cover everything. Cover your strengths and work on that.”

But what are his strengths?

mlb_e_granderson11_576x324

A look at his heat map from ESPN suggests that he’s an easy out no matter where they pitch him. Granderson has no comfort zone.

The worst part of his HBP on Monday was that he had to stand at first base all that time while being suffocated by a chorus of boos. There was no hiding in the dugout.

For his sake – and ours – I hope he gets it together soon. Even last season’s .229 batting average would be a significant improvement.

Presented By Diehards

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Video Game Fans: MLB 14 The Show Is Now The Only MLB Licensed Video Game http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/video-game-fans-mlb-14-the-show-is-now-the-only-mlb-licensed-video-game.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/video-game-fans-mlb-14-the-show-is-now-the-only-mlb-licensed-video-game.html/#comments Tue, 07 Jan 2014 17:44:52 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=139126 It looks like baseball video game fans will have one major reason to go out and buy a PS4.

MLB 14 The Show has been the premiere baseball video game franchise since 2006, when it’s first installment was released for the Playstation 2. It’s main competitor has been the MLB 2K franchise, which started in 2004, and has been the only officially licensed baseball games available to XBOX owners.

Well, as of December 31 (when their contract expired), 2K Sports officially pulled the plug on the MLB 2k franchise. That’s right, if you own an XBOX 360 or an XBOX One, you will not have an officially licensed baseball game to play for the first time since 2004.

If that news wasn’t enough to run out and get a PS4, take a look at this tweet from MLB The Show:

Look at the difference in the graphics from the PS3 version to the PS4—gave me goosebumps (I know, I’m a nerd). The MLB The Show franchise has been one of the main reasons why I had a PS3, and also got a PS4 back in November. I’m really excited to see what the MLB The Show franchise will offer on the PS4.

Another great feature of the 2014 version will be the ability to carry over saves to future versions of the game—the first time this has ever been available. You can view the official teaser at the bottom of this post.

I will definitely have a copy of MLB 14 The Show on it’s release date. If you are looking for a friendly game, be sure to shoot me a friend request. My gamer tag is Petnick78.

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Mets Historic First Round Picks http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/12/mets-historic-first-round-picks.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/12/mets-historic-first-round-picks.html/#comments Mon, 30 Dec 2013 23:11:08 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=136958 matlack

The Mets have selected 62 players in the first round of the June Amateur Draft since 1965. 41 players have made it to the Majors, which is a 66% rate.

Who are some of the first rounders who have seen the most success at the Major League level?

  • Jon Matlack – Jon was the 4th overall pick in 1967 and went onto a 13 year MLB career with the Mets (1971-77) and the Texas Rangers (1978-83). He appeared in 361 games with a 125-126 record and an ERA of 3.18 and 3 saves in 2,363 MLB innings. He pitched 200+ innings 7 times, including a career high 270 innings in 1978 where he had a record of 15-13 and an ERA of 2.27. He led the National League in shutouts in 1974 (7) and 1976 (6) while with the Mets. He was the 1972 Rookie of the Year when he went 15-10 with an ERA of 2.32 in 244 innings. He was also a 3 time all star with the Mets (1974, 1975, 1976) as well as the MVP of the 1975 game.
  • Tim Foli – Tim was the 1st overall pick of the 1968 draft and spent 16 seasons (1970-85) with the Mets, Expos, Giants, Pirates, Angels, and Yankees including two stints with the Mets (1970-71, 1978-79). Tim was also part of trade that brought Rusty Staub to the Mets from the Expos on April 5, 1972. In 1,696 games, Tim hit .251 with 25 HR and 501 RBI with 1515 base hits.
  • Lee Mazzilli – Lee was the 14th overall pick of the 1973 draft and spent 14 seasons in the majors (1976-1989) with the Mets, Rangers, Yankees, Pirates and Blue Jays, including two stints with the Mets (1976-1981, 1986-1989). He was traded by the Mets to the Texas Rangers on April 1, 1982 for Ron Darling and Walt Terrell before returning to the Mets as a free agent for the stretch run of the 1986 team. He played in 1,475 games and was a career .259 hitter with 93 HR, 460 RBI, a .359 OBP and 1,068 base hits. His 162 stolen bases as a Met is 6th all time for the franchise. He is 14th in franchise history with 796 hits, 15th in doubles (148), and 10th in walks (438). Lee was an All-Star with the Mets in 1979.
  • Wally Backman – Wally was the 16th overall pick of the 1977 draft. The current AAA manager for the Las Vegas 52s played 14 seasons in the Majors (1980-93 with the Mets (1980-88), Twins, Pirates, Phillies, and Mariners. He appeared in 1,102 games in the majors, batting .275 with 10 HR, 240 RBI, 893 hits, 138 doubles and 117 stolen bases.
  • Hubie Brooks – Hubie was the 4th pick of the 1978 draft. He played 15 years in the majors (1980-94) with the Mets (1980-84, 1994), Expos, Dodgers, Angels, and Royals. He appeared in 1,645 games and hit .269 with 149 HR, 824 RBI, and 1,608 base hits. Hubie was traded to the Expos on December 10, 1984 along with Floyd Youmans, Mike Fitzgerald, and Herm Winningham for Gary Carter. Hubie was also drafted on 5 prior occasions (by the Expos, Royals, White Sox- twice, A’s) before signing with the Mets and was a two-time All-Star with the Expos (1986, 1987).
  • Tim Leary – Tim was the 2nd overall pick of the 1979 draft. Tim played 13 seasons in the majors (1981, 1983-94) with the Mets (1981, 1983-84), Brewers, Dodgers, Reds, Yankees, Mariners, and Rangers. Tim did not have much success with the Mets, appearing in only 23 games before being sent to the Brewers in a 4 team trade in 1985 that brought Frank Willis to the Mets. He pitched in 292 MLB games (224 starts) and had a career record of 78-105 with an ERA of 4.36 and 1 save. He pitched 1,491 1/3 innings and in 1990, he led the American League in losses (19) while a member of the Yankees. His best season was with the 1988 World Champion Dodgers where he went 17-11 with a 2.91 ERA in 228 2/3 innings.
  • Darryl Strawberry – Darryl was the 1st overall pick of the 1980 draft. He played 17 seasons in the majors (1983-1999) with the Mets (1983-90), Dodgers, Giants, and Yankees. He was the 1983 Rookie of the Year with the Mets, an 8 time All-Star (including 7 times with the Mets), won two Silver Sluggers (1988, 1990). In 1988, Darryl led the NL in Slugging (.545) as well as Home Runs (39). He played in 1,535 games in his career and hit .259 with 335 HR and 1,000 RBI to go with 1,401 hits, and 898 runs scored. He was a member of the 30 club in 1987 with the Mets (39 HR, 36 SB) and is among Mets franchise leaders in games played (8th – 1,109), hits (9th – 1,025), doubles (8th – 187), triples (6th – 30), home runs (1st – 252), RBI (2nd – 733), walks (2nd – 580), strikeouts (2nd – 960), stolen bases (4th – 191), OBP (11th – .359), and slugging (2nd – .520). Darryl was inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame on August 1st, 2010.
  • Billy Beane – Billy was the 23rd overall pick in the 1980 draft and a compensation pick from the Pirates for Andy Hassler. While he did not see much success in 6 big league seasons as a player (1984-89) with the Mets (1984-85), Twins, Tigers and A’s where he hit just .219 in 148 games with 3 HR and 29 RBI, Billy has been the longtime General Manager of the A’s (1999-present) and was played by Brad Pitt in the 2011 film Moneyball, based on the 2003 book by Michael Lewis.
  • John Gibbons – John was the 24th pick of the 1980 draft and was a compensation pick from the Red Sox for Skip Lockwood, the third of the Mets first round picks that year. John had a less than spectacular major league playing career, appearing in 18 MLB games as a player with the Mets (1984,1986) and was a career .220 hitter with 1 HR (off not-pop star Michael Jackson) and 2 RBI. John has spent two stints and the manager of the Toronto Blue Jays (2004-08, 2013-present) and has a career managerial record of 379-393.
  • Dwight Gooden – Doc was the 5th overall pick of the 1982 draft and Once Upon a Time looked like a sure lock for Cooperstown. Doc played 16 seasons in the majors (1984-94, 1996-2000) with the Mets (1984-94), Yankees, Indians, Astros, and Devil Rays. Dwight had a career record of 194-112 with a 3.51 ERA and 3 saves. He appeared in 430 games (410 starts) and threw 2,800 2/3 innings, including 7 seasons of 200+ innings and 2,293 strikeouts (48th all time in MLB history). He was the 1984 NL Rookie of the year when he went 17-9 with a 2.60 ERA and a league leading 276 strikeouts in 218 innings. In 1985, Doc was the National League Cy Young Award winner when he went 24-4 with a 1.53 ERA. He won the pitching Triple Crown in 1985, leading the league in wins, ERA, and strikeouts (268) as well as threw a league leading 276 2/3 innings to go with a 0.97 WHIP. He was a 4 time All-Star with the Mets (1984, 1985, 1986, 1988). Dwight is among the Mets all time franchise leaders in wins (2nd – 157), ERA (6th – 3.10), games pitched (8th – 305), games started (3rd – 303), innings pitched (3rd – 2,169 2/3), strikeouts (2nd – 1,875), WHIP (6th – 1.17), and opponent batting average (8th – .235). Dwight Gooden was inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame on August 1st, 2010.
  • Calvin Schiraldi – Calvin was the 27th round pick in the 1983 draft and a supplemental pick for the loss of Pete Falcone. He pitched 8 seasons in the bigs (1984-91) with the Mets (1984-85), Red Sox, Cubs, Padres, and Rangers. He was part of the November 13, 1985 trade that brought Bob Ojeda to the Mets prior to the 1986 season. He appeared in 235 MLB games (47 starts) with a record of 32-39 and an ERA of 4.28 with 21 saves. In 553 1/3 innings, he struck out 471 batters. Calvin is best remembered as the losing pitcher for the Red Sox in both games 6 and 7 of the 1986 World Series.
  • Gregg Jefferies – Gregg was the 20th overall pick of the 1985 draft. He played 14 years in the bigs (1986-2000) with the Mets (1986-1991), Royals, Cardinals, Phillies, Angels, and Tigers. Gregg played in 1,465 MLB games and hit .289 with 126 HR, 663 RBI, 761 runs scored, 1,593 hits, 300 doubles, and 196 stolen bases. Gregg was a two-time All-Star with the Cardinals (1993, 1994), and led the National League in doubles (40) in 1990 while with the Mets. He was also a two-time Baseball America Minor League Player of the Year (1986, 1987). In December 2011, Gregg was traded along with Kevin McReynolds and Keith Miller for to the Royals for Bret Saberhagen and Bill Pecota.
  • Jeromy Burnitz – Jeremy was the 17th overall pick of the 1990 draft. He played 14 years in the majors (1993-2006) with the Mets (1993-94, 2002-03) and appeared in 1,694 games, batting .253 with 315 HR, 981 RBI, 917 runs scored, and 1,447 hits. Jeromy was an All-Star in 1999 with the Brewers.
  • Bobby Jones – Bobby was the 36th overall pick of the 1991 draft and was a supplemental pick for the loss of Darryl Strawberry. Bobby played for 10 seasons in the majors (1993-2002) with the Mets (1993-2000) and Padres. In 245 games (241 starts) he had a record of 89-83 with an ERA of 4.16 in 1,518 2/3 innings. Bobby was an All-Star with the Mets in 1997. He also led the National League in losses in 2001 (19) while with the Padres.
  • Preston Wilson – Preston was the 9th overall pick of the 1992 draft and is the stepson and nephew of Mets Hall of Famer Mookie Wilson. Preston played 10 MLB seasons (1998-2007) with the Mets (1998), Marlins, Rockies, Nationals, Astros, and Cardinals. Preston was part of the 1998 trade that brought Mike Piazza to the Mets from the Marlins. He played in 1,108 MLB games and was a career .264 hitter with 189 HR, 668 RBI, and 1,055 base hits. In 2003, Preston was an All-Star with the Rockies as well as the NL RBI leader with 141. In 2000, he also led the NL in strikeouts (187).
  • Paul Wilson – Paul was the first overall pick of the 1994 draft. He played 7 seasons in the Majors (1996, 2000-05) with the Mets (1996), Devil Rays, and Reds. He pitched in 170 games (153 starts) and had a career record of 40-58 and an ERA of 4.86 in 941 2/3 innings.
  • Terrence Long – Terrance was the 20th overall pick in the 1994 draft and was a compensation pick from the Orioles for the loss of Sid Fernandez. Terrance played 8 seasons in the bigs (1999-2006) with the Mets (1999), A’s, Padres, Royals, and Yankees, playing in 890 games, batting .269 with 69 HR and 376 RBI. Terrance was part of the July 23, 1999 trade that brought Kenny Rogers from the A’s.
  • Jay Payton – Jay was the 29th overall pick in the 1994 draft and was a supplemental pick for the loss of Sid Fernandez. Jay played 12 seasons in the Majors (1998-2008, 2010) and appeared in 1,259 games, batting .279 with 119 HR, 522 RBI, and 1,157 base hits. Terrance led the American League in games played (162) in 2001 and 2002.
  • Aaron Heilman – Aaron was the 18th overall pick in the 2001 draft. He played 9 seasons in the majors (2003-11) with the Mets (2003-08), Cubs, and Diamondbacks. He pitched in 477 games (25 starts) with a record of 35-46 and an ERA of 4.40 and 16 saves. He pitched 630 innings, striking out 548 with a WHIP of 1.36.
  • David Wright – David was the 38th overall pick in the 2001 draft and was a supplemental pick for the loss of Mike Hampton. David has played 10 seasons, all with the Mets (2004-present) and the Captain has appeared in 1,374 games with a career .301 batting average, 222 HR, 876 RBI, 853 runs scored, 1,558 hits (shameless plug – follow all of David’s hits on @DavidWrightHits), 345 doubles, 183 stolen bases, and a .382 OBP. David is a 7 time All-Star (2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013), a two-time Gold Glove winner (2007, 2008), and has won two Silver Sluggers (2007, 2008). David is among the Mets franchise leaders in games played (2nd – 1,374), runs (1st – 853), hits (1st – 1,558), doubles (1st – 345), triples (9th – 25), home runs (2nd – 222), RBI (1st – 876), walks (1st – 671), strikeouts (1st – 1,088), stolen bases (5th – 183), batting average (2nd – .301), OBP (4th – .382), and slugging (3rd – .506).
  • Scott Kazmir – Scott was the 15th pick in the 2002 draft. He never played for the Mets and was traded in July 2004 to the Devil Rays in the trade that brought the Mets Victor Zambrano. Scott has pitched 9 seasons in the majors (2004-11, 2013-present) with the Devil Rays/Rays, Angels, and Indians. Scott signed this offseason with the A’s for two years and $24 million. He has a career record of 76-70 with an ERA of 4.16. In 1,180 innings, he has struck out 1,155 with a WHIP of 1.40. He was a two time All-Star with Tampa (2006, 2008) and in 2007, he led the American League in strikeouts (239) and starts (34).
  • Lastings Milledge – Lastings was the 12th overall pick in the 2003 draft. He played 6 MLB seasons (2006-11) with the Mets (2006-07), Nationals, Pirates and White Sox. He was traded to the Nationals in November 2007 for Ryan Church and Brian Schneider. He appeared in 433 MLB games, batting .269 with 33 HR and 167 RBI with 404 hits. He is currently playing in Japan for the Tokyo Yakult Swallows on a three-year, $4.4 million contract.
  • Philip Humber – Philip was the 3rd overall pick in the 2004 draft. He has played 8 MLB seasons (2006-present) with the Mets (2006-07), Twins, Royals, White Sox, and Astros. He was part of the January 2008 trade that brought Johan Santana to the Mets. He has appeared in 97 MLB games (51 starts) with a record of 16-23 and an ERA of 5.31 in 371 innings. On April 21, 2012 as a member of the White Sox, he pitched the 21st perfect game in MLB history against the Seattle Mariners. In November 2013, he signed a minor league contract with the A’s.
  • Mike Pelfrey – Mike was the 9th overall pick in the 2005 draft. He has played in 8 MLB seasons (2006-present) with the Mets (2006-12) and Twins. He has pitched in 182 games (178 starts) with a 55-67 record and an ERA of 4.48 with 1 save. He has pitched 1,049 innings and a WHIP of 1.47. On December 14, 2013, Mike agreed to a two year contract for $11 million to return to the Twins.
  • Ike Davis – Ike was the 18th pick in the 2008 draft. Ike has played 4 seasons (2010-present) all with the Mets. We know the current first base situation with the Mets. He has played in 442 games and is a career .242 hitter with 67 HR, 219 RBI and 360 hits.
  • Matt Harvey – Matt was the 7th pick in the 2010 draft. Matt was the starting pitcher for the National League in the 2013 All-Star game and while he’ll be missing the 2014 season, we’re excited to see what he does in 2015 and beyond. He has a career record of 12-10 and an ERA of 2.39 in 36 starts, 237 2/3 innings, 261 strikeouts and a WHIP of 0.99.

Happy New Year MMO

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Why I Love The Mets: Honorable Mention #2 http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/12/why-i-love-the-mets-honorable-mention-2.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/12/why-i-love-the-mets-honorable-mention-2.html/#comments Fri, 20 Dec 2013 20:52:13 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=135974 mlb_g_reyes_wright1x_600

This Kindle Fire giveaway has been so exciting and also a big revelation to me. I never expected such a heartfelt outpouring of Amazin’ entries. Every single entry was a true telling of why that person loved the Mets. We heard from 109 different Mets fans, male and female, young and old, east coast and west coast. Honestly, I was overwhelmed and never thought we’d get a response like this. It’s true what I always say and that’s that Met fans are the best fans in baseball. But sadly, there can be only one winner. However, I do want to highlight our three Finalists  and two Honorable Mentions. Please Enjoy…

Honorable Mention No. 2

By Daniel Brennan

My grandmother was an original New York Mets fan. She was a die hard Brooklyn Dodgers fan until they moved out West. Luckily, the Mets came into existence soon after and her life would never be the same. Neither would mine.

My grandmother has since passed, but from the time I was born until she died in 2006, she ingrained being a Mets fan in my blood. My parents are big Mets fans too (my mom was at more than half of the 1986 playoff games, including the Game 7 World Series clincher), but it was my close relationship with my grandmother that facilitated my eventual love for the Mets.

I would go to my grandmother’s house every Saturday. If it happened to be during the baseball season, we would watch the games together. She was remarkably sharp for an 80 year old women, and she helped teach me most of what I eventually learned about the Mets and baseball in general. She had a strong opinion on every player, and her opinions often shaped mine (even though she never saw him play, I KNOW she would have LOVED Daniel Murphy, as do I). Even when I was not at her house, I would call her after the conclusion of every game to talk about what had happened. There was rarely a phone conversation between my grandmother and I that did not include dialogue about the Mets.

When my grandmother was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2005, it was not simply devastating because she was my grandmother. It was devastating because she was my best friend and the main person I could share my love for the Mets with. The thought of watching the Mets without her insight was saddening and terrifying.

During the playoffs in 2006, my grandmother had gotten significantly worse. Even though she had just led her bowling team to a championship earlier that summer, her body had slowly disintegrated to the point where she could not even stay awake during Mets game. This was the clearest indication that cancer was sucking the life out of my grandmother.

After the Mets lost to the Cardinals in Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS, I remember crying, sitting on the stairs that lead to my basement. I was crying not only because the Mets had just been eliminated, but also because I had thought it was the Mets’ destiny to win the World Series for my grandmother. Sadly, that did not happen and my grandmother died in December 2006.

My love for the Mets has only grown since my grandmother passed, even as the team has gotten considerably worse over that period. Considering that I was born in 1994, I have not been alive for much success. I did not begin following the Mets until the summer of 2001, with my first memories being of Brian Jordan destroying the Mets as an Atlanta Brave. Still, the love of the Mets my grandmother instilled in me has left me unaffected by the Mets downturn.

I watch the games whether it is April and the Mets are alive and full of hope, or it is September and the Mets’ season has long since died. I watch the games if they are up by 10 or down by 10. I even stay up for the games if they are on the West Coast and I should be in bed.

My grandmother made sure that I was a true Mets fan, someone who was not going to leave the team even in the darkest of times. My grandmother taught me to root for a team that depended on the aging Mo Vaughn and Roberto Alomar; I can certainly root for any Mets team now. Without my grandmother, I am sure I would not be writing this email right now.

Heading into the 2014 season, I can only hope that the Mets return to their winning ways, not only for me and all of the other die hard Mets fan who are sending in their responses right now, but also for my grandmother. 2006 was their year, but they are bound to have another (and hopefully many more after).

Let’s Go Mets and thank you for reading,

We’re all with you Daniel. Thanks for your poignant essay, and like you, we’re all waiting for the Mets to get back to their winning ways.

I heart mets button

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Mets Bullpen Will Be The Best We’ve Seen Since 2006 http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/12/mets-bullpen-will-be-the-best-weve-seen-since-2006.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/12/mets-bullpen-will-be-the-best-weve-seen-since-2006.html/#comments Fri, 20 Dec 2013 17:50:11 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=135787 bobby parnell

While talking to the us at Citi Field on Tuesday, Sandy Alderson said that Bobby Parnell would be ready for Spring Training and that he doesn’t anticipate any problems.

Parnell, who is recovering from surgery to repair a herniated disk in his neck, has regained all the weight he lost, is feeling great and was in town for a routine checkup this week.

All in all, some great news for the Mets as it puts less of a demand on pursuing a late inning reliever on what is an over-priced free agent market. That should preserve some money for other pressing needs, but more importantly the Mets won’t have to scramble to find a temporary closer or rush a younger pitcher into a role he may not be ready for.

The 2014 bullpen is starting to take shape and unlike past offseasons where Sandy Alderson felt the need to do a full revamping, this current group seems to be full of potential. I like what I see.

Here are my pre-season thoughts on the Mets bullpen…

Bobby Parnell, RHP – The hard-throwing righty seized the closer’s role after Frank Francisco couldn’t start the 2013 season. Parnell had a fine campaign before his injury, posting a 2.16 ERA and 1.00 WHIP while notching 22 saves for the Mets in 49 appearances. The good news is that he’ll be ready for spring training and we look for him to have a big year and his first 30 save season.

Vic Black, RHP – The 25-year old righthander fared very well in his short stint with the Mets last season. Black posted a 3.46 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP while going 3-0 and earning his first career save in just 13 appearances. The Mets are very high on Black and he’ll be the primary setup man for Parnell in 2014, with even a few save opportunities thrown in for good measure. He’s gonna be a good one.

Scott Rice, LHP – After spending his first 14 pro seasons in the minors, Rice made his MLB debut in 2013 and was nothing short of spectacular holding lefthanded hitters to a .174 batting average and a .468 OPS. Rice was on pace to shatter the Mets record for appearances before undergoing season-ending surgery for a sports hernia. The 31-year old made 73 appearances for the Mets and tossed 51.0 innings. An amazing 60.3% of the pitches hit against him were grounders. You can bet he’ll be back and hopefully he won’t be abused by Collins the second time around.

Carlos Torres, RHP – Nobody even expected Torres to make the team and yet he became one of the more indispensable role players on the team, whether he was making a spot start, pitching 2-3 innings of relief, or coming in to get a big out. He finished the season with a 3.44 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP and his spot in the bullpen as the Mets’ swingman is all but guaranteed.

Gonzalez Germen, RHP - He made his major league debut at age 25 last season and delivered a very uneven performance. At times he shined on the mound and looked dominating, and at other times he left too many fat pitches over the plate. In 29 appearances he posted a 3.93 ERA with a 1.39 WHIP, with a 8.7 K/9 and a 4.2 BB/9. He showed enough promise to make him a lock for the bullpen, but clearly he’ll have to show marked improvement if he wants to keep his spot with other young arms knocking at the door. 

Josh Edgin, LHP - After a brutal start to his 2013 season, which included a demotion to Double-A Binghamton in April, Edgin came roaring back his second time around and displayed the stuff and the swagger we saw from him in his rookie season. He posted a 0.93 ERA over his final 23 appearances before suffering a broken rib to end his season. He finished the season with a respectable 3.77 ERA in 34 appearances. He’s a lefty who throws mid-nineties and should be back.

Jeurys Familia, RHP - The one time top prospect for the Mets had his season washed out due to surgery to remove bone chips from his elbow. He’s still young and has loads of potential, but it’s time for him to start strutting his stuff. He made the club out of spring training last year, but unless he dazzles in camp that may not be the case this season.

Long Shots – The Mets have a nice little arsenal of young pitchers on the rise who could debut at some point this season and maybe even make the team out of Spring Training. My favorites to make the team are 25-year old righthander Jeff Walters who posted a 2.09 ERA and led the Eastern League with 38 saves, and Jacob deGrom, also a righthander, who could transition from starter to reliever in 2014. On the bubble are Cory Mazzoni, Darin Gorski and Jack Leathersich, but not until they earn their stripes in Las Vegas.

Outlook – I consider the Mets’ bullpen to be one of their greatest strengths in 2014 and certainly one of the best pens we’ve seen since the 2006 season. We have some solid young arms that all seem to be suited for the various roles that comprise a major league bullpen. Parnell is a solid closer who can be counted on, Black looks like he’ll be a dominant setup guy, Rice is the best LOOGY in the NL East, Torres was also among the best swing men in the league. Edgin and Germen lengthen the pen and we’ll see how the final one or two spots shake out in Spring Training. All in all, this should be a bullpen we can all be proud of. LGM

Presented By Diehards

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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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Bambino’s, Billy Goats…and Joan Payson: Why the Mets are Cursed http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/10/bambinos-billy-goats-and-joan-payson-why-the-mets-are-cursed.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/10/bambinos-billy-goats-and-joan-payson-why-the-mets-are-cursed.html/#comments Thu, 03 Oct 2013 13:30:16 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=130557 babe-ruth-red-sox_i-G-16-1685-P161D00Z - CopyOn January 3, 1920, Red Sox owner Harry Frazee sold Babe Ruth along with mortgage rights on Fenway Park to the New York Yankees. On January 4, 1920, there were no newspaper articles talking about ‘The Curse of the Bambino.’ For a curse to gain traction two things must happen. First, there must be the passage of time. Secondly, a reversal of fortune based around strange and unexplainable events from that point forward must occur.

Prior to trading Ruth, the Boston club had won 5 of the first 15 World Series played. It would take 86 years to capture their 6th. And as New Englanders waited, they watched the Yankees win 27. The curse ended on October 27, 2004 when Boston completed a sweep of the Cardinals. The final out was recorded on a comebacker to the mound off the bat of Edgar Renteria. Renteria, like Babe Ruth, wore no 3.

In 1945, the Chicago Cubs were facing the Detroit Tigers in the World Series. In the stands at Wrigley that afternoon was Billy Sianis, avid Cubs fans and owner of The Billy Goat Tavern. Sianis brought his pet goat to the game but when fans seated nearby complained about the goats’ odor, security had both of them physically removed from the stands. Furious, Sianis shouted, “Them Cubs, they aint gonna win no more.” Not only have the Cubs not won a World Series since then, they have never even returned to the Fall Classic.

Over the last few decades, we have shaken our heads more times than we can recall at the amount of absurdities and “unexplainable” bad luck that has befallen our Mets. But maybe, it’s not a simple case of bad luck. Perhaps, just perhaps, the Mets, like the Red Sox and Cubs, are cursed.

To look for the origin of this curse, one must go back. Way back. Before the Mets even existed.

The year was 1957 and Brooklyn Dodgers owner Walter O’Malley was insistent on moving his team 3000 miles away to Los Angeles. For Major League Baseball to approve a transcontinental move, a second team would also need to relocate to California. The westernmost team at the time was St. Louis and it would be too costly to have clubs fly another 1500 miles for just 3 games. Enter Horace Stoneham, owner of the New York Giants. Stoneham, like O’Malley, was getting nowhere in his quest for the city to build his club a new stadium. When the Giants decided to vacate the hills of Coogan’s Bluff for the hills of San Francisco, there were only three dissenting votes. The nays were that of Joan Whitney Payson, her husband and M. Donald Grant. When the relocation was officially announced, Joan Payson immediately sold her shares of stock and promised to do whatever necessary to bring National League Baseball back to New York.

Slide1 - Copy

Her dream came to fruition in 1962 when the Metropolitans played their first game in, of all places, the Giants old stadium. Payson became the first woman in the history of North America to be a majority owner of a professional sports franchise. She was a brilliant businesswoman who was also an avid baseball fan. And although she loved her Mets—not as an investment but as a team—her heart was in San Francisco. Her favorite player on her beloved Giants was on his way to becoming the greatest all-around athlete the game had ever known. On May 11, 1972, at the unremitting demand of Payson, the Mets sent pitcher Charlie Williams along with $50,000 to bring The Say Hey Kid back to New York. Another dream of Joan Payson’s came true as she watched her cherished Willie Mays play for the team she owned.

At 41 years old, Willie was in the twilight of his career and was focusing on what to do after his playing days ended. The Giants were financially strapped and management could not keep Mays on payroll in any capacity, be it coach, hitting instructor, scout, etc…Payson assured Willie a spot on the coaching staff after retirement. He agreed and Willie Mays once again wore NY on his cap.

Payson made Mays a promise. His time as a Met would be brief and she could not justify having his number joining Casey Stengel’s 37 as the only numbers retired. She did, however, promise that no Mets player would ever again wear no. 24.

On October 16, 1973, Willie Mays played his last professional baseball game. On October 4, 1975, Joan Whitney Payson passed away. On August 7, 1990, the Mets “accidentally” reissued number 24. And so, ladies and gentlemen, begins The Curse of the Joanbino.

payson willie

Kelvin Torve was a 30 year-old utility infielder when he entered the Shea clubhouse for the first time in the summer of 1990. He had played 12 games with the Twins 2 years earlier but now was awed as he looked around at his new teammates. Torve was back in ‘The Show,’ sharing a locker room with Doc Gooden, Darryl Strawberry, David Cone, Sid Fernandez and Frank Viola. He was handed a jersey, number 24, and suited up to take infield practice.

Fans began calling the front office. They started writing letters. That number was never supposed to be used again they reminded management. The Mets went on the road and while in the visiting clubhouse, equipment manager Charlie Samuels advised Torve of the uproar and asked if he’d mind changing numbers. Torve had no qualms about it. He was trying to stay in the majors and would do anything asked of him. On August 18th, he replaced his 24 with no. 39. The change of numbers happened on the road…as the Mets played, of all teams, the Giants. In the 10 days Torve wore Mays’ number, he batted .500.

In April 99, the number would be issued again, but this time not by accident. Newly acquired outfielder Rickey Henderson insisted on wearing 24. But it really didn’t matter by then. The Curse of the Joanbino had already taken hold.

As I alluded to earlier, for a ‘curse’ to have some legitimacy, there must be strange, unusual or downright weird events. Using the issuance of the Torve uniform as a benchmark, one can clearly delineate a reversal of fortunes of the Mets from that point forward.

Prior to 1990, our Mets were no strangers to bizarre plays. However, they always went in our favor.

Ron-Swoboda-Catch

In 1969, the Mets shocked the baseball world by overcoming 100-1 odds and defeating the heavily favored Cubs for the division title. Facing the power heavy Braves in the LCS, the big question was could the Mets pitching quiet the lethal bats of Hank Aaron, Rico Carty, Felipe Alou and Orlando Cepeda. Our pitching failed miserably. However, the light hitting Mets beat the Braves at their own game, scoring 27 runs in a 3-game sweep. The Mets would go on to upset the Baltimore Orioles, a team that carried 4 future Hall of Famers–Brooks Robinson, Frank Robinson, Jim Palmer and manager Earl Weaver, along with 1969 Cy Young Winner, Mike Cuellar. Ron Swoboda, a well-known liability in the field, would make one of the most iconic defensive plays in Series history. A miracle indeed.

With the 1973 pennant hanging in the balance, another “strange” play occurred. On Sept 20, in a crucial game against the first place Pirates, Pittsburgh appeared ready to finally win in extra innings with a long blast to LF. The ball, however, did not go over the wall. Nor did it bounce off the wall. Rather, it bounced on TOP of the wall and back into play. Cleon Jones turned, fired to Garrett who pivoted and threw home to catcher Ron Hodges who nailed Richie Zisk at the plate. The Mets would win in the bottom of the next inning and pull to within half a game of first. Two weeks later the Mets were facing Cincinnati in the LCS. At the time my dad advised me, “The ghost of Gil Hodges was sitting on the fence and knocked the ball back into play.” I was almost 8 years old and that seemed plausible. Strange indeed.

And if the Miracle of 1969 and balls bouncing on top of walls weren’t enough, there’s also Game 6 in 86.

All of these peculiar plays went in the Mets favor. After Kelvin Torve was issued Mays’ number, the Mets underwent a reversal of fortune and everything from that day forward has seemingly gone against us. Although we only won 2 Championships and 3 pennants before the mishap of reissuing the number, the Mets still appeared almost charmed with good luck. After, we seemed, well, cursed.

Here are some of the bizarre incidents that transpired after Joan Payson’s promise was not maintained.

1991: The very first year after accidentally allowing another player to wear Mays’ number, the Mets draft 2 pitchers they intend to build their future around: Bill Pulsipsher and Jason Isringhausen.

1992: The Mets sign Bobby Bonilla to a lucrative (at the time) 5 year/$29 million contract. Bonilla was a superstar in Pittsburgh. And although he was a native New Yorker just like John Franco, Lee Mazzilli and Ed Kranepool, he would become perhaps the most despised Met in team history. A subsequent renegotiation of his contract will see us paying Bonilla until he turns 72 years old. 72, the same year Willie Mays returned to New York.

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Mid 90’s: The Mets spend big bucks to bring a pennant to Flushing. The plan falls short and instead they become known as ‘The Worst Team Money Can Buy.’

1999: After one of the most dramatic moments in team history, Robin Ventura’s  famous Grand Slam single, the Mets lose the NLCS the following day on, of all things, a walk-off walk. It’s the only time in history a team lost the pennant in such fashion.

2000: The Mets lose the World Series in 5 games to the Yankees. Mike Piazza records the final out. Piazza didn’t ground out to the shortstop or strike out or pop up. He flew out—to center field, the same area Mays patrolled decades earlier.

2003: Earning more than $17 million, Mo Vaughn is the highest paid player on the team, netting more than even Piazza. His season ends on May 2 due to injuries. He retires from baseball.

2006: The Mets are expected to crush the Cardinals. St. Louis barely made the post-season and had numerous players injured. They were relying on a rookie to close named Adam Wainwright. The loss in the 7 game LCS was a shock and never expected. The decisive blow was a HR by Yadier Molina who hit only 6 HR’s all season. At the time, Molina was 24 years old.

2007: The Mets suffer what is regarded by many to be the greatest collapse in baseball history, blowing a 7 game lead with just 17 left. We even fail to make the wildcard.

2008: The Mets blow a 3 ½ game lead with 17 left. We again fail to even make the wildcard.

2009: Citi Field opens and in the inaugural game, a cat runs onto the field. Although it was not a black cat like happened to the Cubs in the heat of the 69 pennant, there is an interesting similarity. Fellow MMO blogger Ed Leyro pointed out at the time that in 69, the black cat ran out while Ron Santo was in the on deck circle. In 09, a cat ran out while David Wright stood in the on deck circle. Both Santo and Wright are considered the best third basemen in the history of their respective clubs.

2009: Mets players spend a total of 1,480 days on the disabled list. Our new home offers no immediate hope of a bright future. The Mets finish under .500 for the first time in 5 seasons.

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2009: Luis Castillo against the Yankees. ‘Nuff said.

2011: After 50 years and 8020 games, a Mets pitcher finally throws a no-hitter. And from this point forward, for all intents and purposes, Johan Santana’s career comes to an end.

2013: Johan Santana’s salary is $25,500,000 for the season. He pitches zero innings.

2013: Fans finally see a light at the end of the tunnel. Matt Harvey conjures up images of Seaver and Gooden. He becomes the first Mets pitcher to start an All-Star Game in a quarter century. Six weeks later he is put on the disabled list. He is 24.

Maybe it’s just bad luck. Fate, perhaps? But one can easily see a difference in the Mets pre-Joanbino curse and post-Joanbino curse. In addition to the previously mentioned bad karma that has appeared since the no. 24 was reissued, there are also other, shall we say, “coincidences.”

2000 saw the Mets lose the Series to the Yankees. However, for the entire post-season, the Mets outscored their opponents, 60-51. 51…as in 1951, the year Willie Mays debuted. The last time the Mets won a World Series was 1986, our 25th year in existence. However, many don’t consider the strike-shortened 81 season a real season. Therefore, you can say that 86 was the Mets 24th season. Granted, that’s a stretch and somewhat tongue-in-cheek.

Here, however, are a couple more that garner some serious attention. Things that appear too coincidental to be mere happenstance.

Game 6 of 86 saw the Mets conclude the greatest come from behind victory in World Series history. We tied the series at 3 games and game 7 was slated for the following day. However, the hand of fate intervened and the game was rained out, played instead on Monday, October 27, 1986. 10-27-86. 1+0+2+7+8+6=24.

Billy Sianis Cubs Playoffs 1984In 1969, the Mets swept Atlanta, then defeated Baltimore 4 games to 1. In 73, we defeated the heavily favored Big Red Machine in 5 before falling short to Oakland in 7. In 86, we defeated Houston in 6, Boston in 7. In 1988, we were upset in the NLCS by the Dodgers, 4 games to 3. All of these post-seasons appeared before Willie’s number was accidentally reissued. The total post-season victories—3 against Atlanta, 4 against Baltimore, 3 vs. Cincy, 3 vs Oakland, 4 vs Houston, 4 vs. Boston and 3 vs. LA totals out to…yes, you guessed it. 24.

The bad thing about curses is they are inconsiderate when it comes to time. If the Mets are in fact cursed, how long will it last? The Curse of the Bambino lasted over eight and a half decades. The Billy Goat Curse is still ongoing.

On the positive side, Mays’ old number was recirculated in 1990. 24 years from that makes it 2014. On the other hand, Joan Payson was 72 years of age when she passed away. That would make it 2062 if 72 years has to pass. And worst of all, Mays hit 660 home runs.

Do I really think our Mets are cursed? Nahhh, of course not. Probably not. I’m sure it’s not real. I mean, come on. That’s silly. Right?

But just in case the spirit of Joan Payson is really, really upset and keeping in mind Willie’s 660 career home runs, here’s to the 2650 Mets.

New York Mets owner Joan Payson

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Is a Kazmir-Mets Reunion Possible In 2014? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/is-a-kazmir-mets-reunion-possible-in-2014.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/is-a-kazmir-mets-reunion-possible-in-2014.html/#comments Fri, 06 Sep 2013 19:15:02 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=128657

Scott Kazmir has resurrected his career with the Indians this season.

Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Scott Kazmir will make his first career start against the Mets tonight, nine years, one month, and eight days after the Mets traded the budding prospect for Victor Zambrano and Bartolome Fortunato. The trade will always be remembered as one of the worst in Mets history, as Kazmir went on to have four very good seasons for the Devil Rays-turned Rays. Meanwhile, Zambrano had a decent 2005, but one day after striking out Andruw Jones in 2006, jogged off the mound and into the clubhouse after facing just four batters, never to be seen again, at least not in a Mets uniform.

After a few years with the Rays, however, the concerns that led the Mets to trade Kazmir flared up. He didn’t go deep into starts. He got repeatedly injured. In 2009, the roller coaster that was his career took a whole new turn. After posting a 5.92 ERA in the first half, he was dealt to the Angels where, at 25 years old, it became evident that his career was in danger. Over the next four years, Kazmir made only 55 starts, posting an ERA of 5.54 and striking out a little more than six batters per nine innings.

This season, the Clevland Indians took a chance on the journeyman lefty, signing him to a minor league deal, one which has paid off tenfold for the Indians. After winning the fifth starter job out of spring training, Kazmir now has a 4.36 ERA over 130 innings. Even more impressive, he has seen his velocity rise back into the mid-90s. When he auditioned for scouts in 2012, his fastball was clocked around 86 to 87 miles per hour. This year, according to PitchF/X, he is averaging 93.54 on his four-seam fastball this season.

With Matt Harvey‘s injury opening a big void in the Met rotation, a reunion with Kazmir may make sense for the team. He is a step up from the Mike Pelfreys and Chris Youngs of the world, meaning he will be more of a sure thing, yet still cheap, allowing the Mets to address needs in the outfield, and at shortstop and third base without having to spend a large chunk of their budget on a replacement for Harvey.

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Carlos Beltran Under-Appreciated? Not On MMO… Our Top 5 Beltran Moments http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/carlos-beltran-under-appreciated-not-on-mmo-our-top-5-beltran-moments.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/carlos-beltran-under-appreciated-not-on-mmo-our-top-5-beltran-moments.html/#comments Tue, 16 Jul 2013 17:25:02 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=125076 badbeltran

David Wright told reporters Carlos Beltran was under-appreciated when he was with the Mets before last night’s home run derby…

“He had a couple of monster seasons for us, and was a huge reason why we made it as far as we did in 2006,” Wright said of his former teammate. ”We came a couple runs from making the World Series, and we don’t get close to that without Carlos. So hopefully his reception from the fans tonight is warm.”

Under-appreciated? Not around here he was…

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Lets see where Carlos Beltran ranks in Mets franchise history:

Batting average: .280 (12th)
On-base percentage: .369 (6th)
Slugging percentage: .501 (5th)
OPS (on-base plus slugging): .870 (5th)
Runs scored: 548 (8th)
Hits: 877 (13th)
Total bases: 1,566 (10th)
Doubles: 208 (6th)
Triples: 17 (17th)
Home Runs: 149 (6th)
RBI: 557 (6th)
Bases on Balls: 446 (9th)
Stolen Bases: 100 (11th)
Extra-Base Hits: 374 (6th)
Sacrifice Flies: 37 (7th)
WAR (Position Players): 32.2 (2nd)
Offensive WAR: 27.8 (5th)
Defensive WAR: 4.4 (3rd)

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Here are our Top 5 Beltran Moments…

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5. The First Win As A Met – April 10, 2005

Setting the scene: For the first moment on this list, we head all the way back to Beltran’s first win as a Met. The Mets started the Pedro Martinez-Carlos Beltran era 0-5 under rookie manager Willie Randolph, and were on the verge of being swept out of Atlanta. Pedro Martinez and John Smoltz were locked in a pitcher’s duel, with Smoltz striking out 15 Mets.

What Happened: Up came Mr. Beltran in the 8th Inning with the Mets down 1-0, and Jose Reyes on base. Beltran took Smoltz deep for a 2-Run HR that not only put the Mets ahead for good, but knocked Smoltz out of the game. With Smoltz out, the Mets were able to get to the Braves bullpen for 4 more runs, including another Beltran RBI in the 9th. Pedro Martinez picked up the complete game win.

4. Tie-Breaking 2-Run HR, 2006 NLCS Game 1 – October 12, 2006

Setting the Scene: Tom Glavine and Jeff Weaver of the St. Louis Cardinals were locked in a 0-0 pitching duel in the first game of the 2006 NLCS. In the 6th Inning, Paul Lo Duca singles with two out to keep the inning alive for Beltran.

What Happened: Beltran drilled a 2-2 offering from Weaver to right-center, giving the Shea Apple a reason to come out and shine. It would be the only runs the Mets score that night, as the Mets took Game 1 from the Cardinals 2-0.

Beltran would hit two more HR’s in Game 4, tying Babe Ruth for most post-season HR’s against the Cardinals. The series would end on a sour note for the Mets and especially Beltran in Game 7. However, the Mets would never have gotten to Game 7 without the magnificent 2006 season that Beltran put up.

3. “We’re Going Home” – May 23, 2006

Setting the Scene: The Philadelphia Phillies took an early lead, and despite the best attempts of the New York Mets, the Phillies continued to hold on to their lead. Jose Reyes tied the game with a 2-Run HR in the 8th, and the Mets and Phillies carried an 8-8 score into extras. Ryan Madson pitched 7 Innings in relief to take the game to the 16th Inning.

What Happened: Carlos Beltran led off the bottom of the 16th with a solo, walk-off HR. That’s it. Game over. The SNY call of the game is memorable for Gary Cohen proclaiming We’re going home after the game ended after midnight.

2. The Catch Up Tal’s Hill – July 7, 2007

Setting the Scene: On the Saturday before the All-Star Break (and the luckiest day to play the slots), the Mets and the Houston Astros played a 3-3 tie deep into extras. The Astros and the Mets frequently threatened to score, putting men on base in every inning except the 13th.

What Happened: The Astros put men on at the corners with two out. The runner on third is the only one that matters. Luke Scott steps in to pinch hit and drills the Joe Smith pitch 420 ft…to straightaway center. Carlos Beltran got an excellent jump on the ball, ran over 50 feet, and made a stunning, over the shoulder grab, while running up the hill and falling down, to save the game. Beltran, who was the top defensive CF in the National League for a stretch, had the defensive play of his career here.

Three innings later, in the 17th, Beltran drove in Jose Reyes to score the go-ahead run amidst all the usual boos from the Houston fans. David Wright would follow with an insurance run, and the Mets won 5-3 after 5 hours and the most thrilling game of the 2007 season.

1. Home Run Derby At Shea Stadium – August 22, 2006

Setting the Scene: The Mets open up a 1-0 lead on the St. Louis Cardinals with a solo HR from Carlos Delgado, before Albert Pujols smacks a 3-Run HR and a Grand Slam in back-to-back innings to give the Cardinals a 7-1 lead. Carlos Delgado answered Pujols’s Grand Slam with one of his own(his 400th career HR) in the bottom of the 5th. Jose Reyes scored in the 6th to pull the Mets to 7-6.

What Happened: Jason Isringhausen came in to close the game. After retiring Reyes, he gave up a single to Paul Lo Duca. Up stepped Carlos Beltran with the power to end the game with one swing…which is just what he did. Beltran turned one over the right-field wall to walk the Mets off the field with an 8-7 win in maybe the most thrilling game of the 2006 season.

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Beltran’s time with the Mets was unforgettable.. Players like him come around once in a generation.

Here are some more original articles I picked out from the past. I hope you enjoy them.

Farewell No.15 – In Appreciation of Carlos Beltran

End Of An Era – Carlos Beltran’s Franchise Records And Rankings

Carlos Beltran: Un Icono

TRON: Legacy – How I Came To Admire Carlos Beltran

Reflecting on Carlos Beltran’s Time with the Mets

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