Mets Merized Online » Atlanta Braves Thu, 26 Feb 2015 23:14:46 +0000 en-US hourly 1 MMO Game Recap: Mets 3, Braves 2 Wed, 27 Aug 2014 02:09:22 +0000 juan lagares

Here’s a quick recap. The good news is that the Mets opened their homestand with a well-played 3-2 victory over the Atlanta Braves tonight at Citi Field.

Here’s the scoop:

Dillon Gee had his best start since the All Star break, holding the Braves to two runs in 6.2 innings of work while scattering six hits. He improves to 5-7 with a 3.77 ERA.

Juan Lagares had a huge game on defense with five spectacular catches and then he continued his recent hot streak at the plate going 2-for-3 including a huge two-run homer – his second in three games. This kid keeps getting better and better.

The Mets also got a two hit game from catcher Travis d’Arnaud who doubled and also scored a pair of runs. The beat goes on for TDA.

Jeurys Familia picked up his 14th hold with 1.1 innings of scoreless relief. His ERA is now down to 1.93 for the season. This man is fearless…

Jenrry Mejia saved his 19th game of the season. Hey we won, cheer up!

Up next: Zack Wheeler (9-8, 3.48) will get the nod on Wednesday night against the Braves’ Julio Teheran (12-9, 2.96). Should be a nice matchup. First pitch is at 7:10 PM. Be there!

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The Braves Retool Blueprint Wed, 16 Jul 2014 17:02:56 +0000 atlanta-braves-1995

Of Mikes and Men, the autobiography of Atlanta Braves long time and beloved broadcaster Pete Van Wieren is a fascinating read. Van Wieren grew up in upstate New York and cut his teeth as a baseball broadcaster in Binghamton covering the play-by-play for the Triplets. In fact, a few summers back I sat in the stands at NYSEG Stadium as Pete Van Wieren was inducted into Binghamton’s Baseball Shrine. Like every baseball broadcaster who works for the same franchise for several decades, Pete Van Wieren is a baseball historian, a curator of the Atlanta Braves baseball past.

Of course any tome addressing the history of the Atlanta Braves is historically interwoven with our New York Mets. As I dove deeper and deeper into Van Wieren’s work, I couldn’t help but draw parallels between the early Braves and the current status of our Mets.

The Braves have been positioned as a National League power for so long, it’s easy to forget that at one time they were an abysmal baseball mess. In Van Wieren’s first 15 seasons manning the mike in Atlanta the Braves had just three winning campaigns and finished in last place eight different times.

Things began to change for the Braves when they rehired former manager Bobby Cox to be their General Manager. Cox had skippered the American League’s Toronto Blue Jays to a 99 win 1985 season before rejoining the Braves. And, Cox was blunt about the retooling task that faced him in Atlanta telling everyone who would listen it would take five years to reshape the Braves organization. As Van Wieren emphasizes, Cox was right.

And, ironically during those 5 building years, Cox was unable to field a quality Braves baseball product on the field at Atlanta’s Fulton County Stadium. What he did do was build a foundation that would help shoulder 14 consecutive division winning baseball seasons, seasons he would enjoy from the Braves dugout after he was moved down from the front office to take the reins of the Atlanta team as manager.

Bobby-CoxIn some ways, Cox’s strategy closely resembles the Sandy Alderson game plan put into place in Flushing to retool the Mets. Cox understood if the Braves were to become successful they needed to overhaul their player development system to establish a pipeline to bring quality young baseball talent through the Atlanta farm system to the major leagues. Sound familiar?

According to Van Wieren, Cox immediately added minor league affiliates and hired more minor league coaches and baseball instructors. The size of the Atlanta scouting team grew proportionately and trades were made with an eye on the future with Cox moving established major league pieces on the Braves roster for talent he believed would be part of a brighter Atlanta baseball future.

Of course, the most significant of those moves came when Cox sent an aging, 36-year old Doyle Alexander to help the Tigers chase a pennant for low level minor league prospect John Smoltz. Lesser productive trades during that 5 year retool brought guys like Lonnie Smith, Francisco Cabrera and Charlie Leibrandt, all players who would factor into the early Brave renaissance when things shifted in a positive direction in the early 1990’s.

In some ways, I saw a lot of Sandy Alderson in Van Wieren’s description of Bobby Cox’s years as the Braves GM, the building block years of Atlanta’s baseball reawakening. Yet, it wasn’t until Cox moved back to the dugout and Atlanta brought John Schuerholz from Kansas City as the team’s new GM that the Braves employed the daring and risk taking to fit all the pieces together into a championship baseball product.

Schuerholz was wildly busy in his first off-season as the Braves GM. The new Braves boss understood much of the heavy lifting had been done by Cox and the Braves farm system was packed full of promising home grown talent. He also understood, it was imperative to use some of that talent to leverage trades as well as to be active in the free agent market to bring in vital pieces to anchor a Braves championship run. Significant Schuerholz moves brought Terry Pendleton from St. Louis and Sid Bream and Rafael Belliard from Pittsburgh.

Appreciating the value speed adds to a roster, Schuerholz also signed Deion Sanders and moved two minor leaguers to Montreal to pick up Otis Nixon. The new GM found Juan Berenguer, ‘Senior Smoke,’ who saved 17 games out of the pen for the championship 91 Braves.

Pendleton would become the National League’s MVP in Schuerholz’s maiden season as the Braves GM. Nixon would set a club record with 72 stolen bases. More importantly, the Braves would finish first in the NL’s Eastern Division beginning an incredible 14-year run. And, attendance at Fulton County Stadium exploded growing from 980,129 in 1990 to 2,140, 217 in 1991 then surging to just under 4 million the following summer.

Bringing winning baseball to Atlanta and bringing the fans to the Stadium locked in a revenue line that allowed Schuerholz the flexibility to strategically wheel and deal to keep the post season train in motion. Never complacent, Schuerholz signed ’92 Cy Young Award winner Greg Maddux before the 1993 season. Maddux would go on to win the Cy Young award in each of his first three seasons in Atlanta.

Even with Maddux leading a star studded pitching staff, Schuerholz feared the Braves roster might not have enough to repeat in ’93. On July 18 with the Braves at 54-41 but still 8 games behind San Francisco (63-32), Schuerholz pulled the trigger on a pennant shaping move, sending three minor leaguers to the Padres for ‘The Crime Dog,’ Fred McGriff. With McGriff pounding 19 HR’s, knocking home 55 runs and with a slash line of .310/.392/.612, the Braves caught the Giants and moved to the post season once again. Of course, that pattern of strategic decision making was repeated over and over again much to the distress of all New York Met fans.

But, it’s exactly that daring, insightful and bold decision making that, so far, is missing from the Met rebuilding blueprint. Like Bobby Cox, Sandy Alderson has laid a solid minor league foundation, a pipeline to add important roster pieces in Citi Field for some time to go. But, like John Schuerholz, will Sandy take the next step; bold and brass free agent signings sprinkled with the strategic trades that see the Mets rise to the next level, post season baseball play? We’ll see.

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MMO Game Recap: Mets 4 , Braves 1 Thu, 10 Jul 2014 01:52:58 +0000 dillon gee

The New York Mets (42-49) were looking for the series victory against the Atlanta Braves (49-42) tonight at Citi Field. Dillon Gee, making his first start since May 10th, took the mound for the Mets, as Ervin Santana got the start for Atlanta.

What you should know:

The Mets got off to an early start again tonight, as they took the lead in the bottom of the first with Lucas Duda driving in Daniel Murphy. The Mets have now scored sixty-two runs in the first inning this season, good for best in the MLB.

The Braves would tie the game in the bottom of the sixth, as B.J. Upton drove a ball to deep left center to score Ervin Santana. The ball was cut off by Lucas Duda who threw out Upton trying to advance on the play to end the inning.

travis d'arnaud

The Mets would regain the lead in the bottom of the seventh, as Kirk Nieuwenhuis drove in David Wright with a sacrifice fly, followed by a two-run bomb by Travis d’Arnaud, making it 4-1 Mets.

Dillon Gee picked up right where he left off tonight, pitching a very impressive outing, throwing seven innings allowing one run on six hits, walking one and striking out four. A great sign to see from Gee, who has been one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball since last May.

Ervin Santana would pitch seven innings for the Braves as well, allowing four runs on six hits, while walking two and striking out four, taking the loss.

Final score: Mets 4 , Braves 1

Winning pitcher: Dillon Gee (4-1)
Losing pitcher: Ervin Santana (7-6)
Save: Jenrry Mejia (9)

Player of the Game: 

Tonight’s Player of the Game goes to Mets starting pitcher Dillon Gee, who pitched seven quality innings, allowing only one run and earning the win. Gee never missed a beat, as this was his first start in fifty-five games.

On deck: 

The Mets look for the series sweep tomorrow night at Citi Field with Bartolo Colon (8-7, 4.04 ERA) facing former Met Aaron Harang (8-6, 3.67 ERA)

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MMO Game Recap: Mets 4 , Braves 3 Tue, 08 Jul 2014 03:24:04 +0000 david wright

The Mets (40-49) opened up a four game, weeknight series against the division leading Atlanta Braves (49-40) tonight at Citi Field with Daisuke Matsuzaka facing off against Mike Minor.

What you should know:

Matsuzaka wasn’t the prettiest for New York tonight, but he still managed to throw seven scoreless innings, while allowing six hits, walking two and striking out three.

The Mets jumped out to an early lead in the bottom of the second as Travis d’Arnaud kept up his hot hitting, driving in Eric Campbell on an RBI double.

They would add on to their lead in the bottom of the third with David Wright hitting a solo shot, his seventh of the season.

The score would remain 2-0 New York until the top of the eighth inning as Atlanta scored three runs. Josh Edgin came in with two outs and threw a wild pitch to Jason Heyward that scored Freddie Freeman. Heyward would single, and be driven in by a long double hit by Chris Johnson off of Jenrry Mejia who was brought in for a four out save. Christian Bethancourt then hit a soft single to right field. The ball was cutoff by first baseman Eric Campbell who threw to second instead of home, allowing the go ahead run to score.

The score wouldn’t stay 3-2 Atlanta for very long, as Curtis Granderson hit a solo homerun to right field to tie the game, his thirteenth of the season.

After Eric Campbell singled in the bottom of the ninth, Juan Lagares dropped down a sacrifice bunt. The ball was thrown to second, but Andrelton Simmons‘ foot came off the base. The play was reviewed and overturned, giving the Mets two on and no out as opposed to one on and one out. After loading the bases, nothing would come into fruition as the Mets failed to score a run.

After two quality innings pitched by Carlos Torres, the Mets would win the ballgame in walk-off fashion, with Ruben Tejada singling home Juan Lagares to win the game in the bottom of the eleventh inning.

Final score: Mets 4, Braves 3
Winning pitcher: Carlos Torres (4-4)
Losing pitcher: Anthony Varvaro (3-2)

Player of the Game:

The Player of the Game goes to Mets’ shortstop Ruben Tejada, who delivered the walk-off hit to win the game for New York in the bottom of the eleventh inning.


In a game where Matsuzaka didn’t have his best stuff, he still managed to hold the Braves scoreless over a span of seven innings. The Mets bullpen blew it in the eighth inning, and every Mets fan became bitter as it seemed that it was another night with the same result, and the Mets destined to lose. However, the Mets never lost hope as they battled back and secured the win! Ruben Tejada has been hot, which is a great sign, and we all hope he can keep it up. Also, good to see Granderson keep up the good work, and Travis d’Arnaud continue his hot streak. (d’Arnaud has hit safely in 10 of his last 11 games since being recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas)

On deck:

The Mets continue their series against Atlanta tomorrow night at Citi Field with Jacob deGrom (1-5, 3.77 ERA) squaring off against Julio Teheran (8-5, 2.29 ERA)

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July 4, 1985: No End in Sight Thu, 03 Jul 2014 13:00:42 +0000 Thousands of baseball books have been published. Millions of baseball stories have been told, every one of them starts with the same basic understanding: two teams, nine innings, balls, strikes, runs, hits and errors. Along the way there are various twists and turns ending in perfect games, no hitters, walk off home runs and everything in between.

No two games are the same, but many are alike. They all come back to the final out. Strike three. Game over. But what happens when a game goes on and on and on … with no apparent end in sight? Then, when the moment seemingly arrives, hope is dashed by improbability. There was a major league game like this. It was played on July 4 (and July 5), 1985. This is the story, as told by those who played, reported, broadcast, watched and witnessed it.

Extra innings changes everything. The game of baseball is redefined. To score is to win. To err is to lose. Strategy is discarded. Position players become relief pitchers and relief pitchers are pinch runners, and occasionally hit home runs.

On Independence Day 1985 at Atlanta Fulton County Stadium, the New York Mets and Atlanta Braves played 19 innings, the equivalent of two baseball games (plus one inning) including two rain delays totaling two hours, five minutes, 29 runs, 14 pitchers and 43 players, 155 official at bats, 115 outs, 615 pitches, 46 hits, 23 walks, 22 strikeouts, five errors, 37 stranded base runners, six lead changes, a cycle, two players were ejected and 25 years later the most memorable moment was recorded by the losing pitcher Rick Camp.

Camp was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in 1974. He grew up on a farm in Georgia, went to school and played ball in Georgia, drove a pickup truck and the team agreed to give him a tractor as part of his deal. Now he was going to pitch for his hometown team. Camp was close to living his dream.

Rick Camp

“To hit a home run in the big leagues — that was my dream,” said Camp. Prior to signing with the Braves he hit a lot of home runs, all of them as a designated hitter at West Georgia University where he attended college.

By July 1985, the odds of Camp seeing his dream come true seemed gone. He had 10 hits and a career batting average of .060. “He couldn’t hit his way out of the cage when he’d take BP,” said former teammate Paul Zuvella.

Camp had been moved to Atlanta’s bullpen. The chances of him even getting an opportunity to bat would take, I don’t know, maybe a couple rain delays, a lot of pitching changes and extra innings. Good luck with that.

The Mets arrived in Atlanta on July 4th weekend, grumpy. The team was slumping, winning three of their previous 11 games when rookie Len Dykstra dug in to lead off the game after an 84-minute relay delay. Most of the sellout crowd was still in the ballpark.

Sporting a golf ball size wad of tobacco in his left cheek, Dykstra choked his pine tar covered bat about six inches from the handle. He weighed 155 pounds according to the Mets 1985 media guide. He was 30 at-bats into his major league career.

Back in New York, Mookie Wilson, the Mets regular center fielder in 1985 was watching from a bed in Roosevelt Hospital, one day removed from arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder to repair torn cartilage.

Dykstra dropped a bunt past Rick Mahler. Glenn Hubbard charged from second and bare-handed the ball to Bob Horner at first. Dykstra, in typical hard-nosed style, stumbled over the base, nearly colliding with umpire Jerry Crawford before being called out.

After Wally Backman legged out an infield dribbler, Keith Hernandez stepped to the plate. Mahler fired to first. Backman slid back safely. Mahler persisted, trying again … and again … and again …

Pete Van Wieren doesn’t own a Ouija board. He has no psychic powers. He has never been to a tarot card reading, but he does have an amazing sensory perception on matters related to the diamond. “At the rate this game is going the big 5th of July fireworks show will be presented right after the contest,” he said as the pickoff attempts continued like a broken record.

Mahler finally caught Backman leaning too far. As Crawford signaled Backman out, the Met second baseman slowly climbed to his knees and stared out at Crawford from underneath his helmet. The long give-and-take seemed to last longer than the 84-minute rain delay.

After Hernandez lifted the next pitch into left-center field for a double, Gary Carter grounded a single into centerfield. The ball took two hops and stopped dead in the rain-soaked outfield grass. Braves centerfielder Dale Murphy raced through puddle, scooped up the ball and fired it back to the infield. After a Darryl Strawberry single, advancing Carter to second base, and a George Foster walk to load the bases, Mahler struck out Ray Knight to end the inning.

doc-goodenA tall, thin, 20-year old Dwight Gooden was on the mound for the Mets. He was pitching on three days rest for the first time during the 1985 season. He would go on to win 24 games with a 1.53 ERA in 276 innings pitched. In 35 starts, Gooden pitched 16 complete games. His season performance cinched the Cy Young Award, claiming 120 votes, almost twice as many as John Tudor of the St. Louis Cardinals, who finished second (21-8).

Claudell Washington led off the Braves first inning with a triple. The 44,947 in attendance were on their feet. One pitch later, Rafael Ramirez grounded out to shortstop, scoring Washington. It took the Braves four pitches to tie the game.

Gooden followed by walking Murphy on four straight pitches, prompting Carter to zip halfway out between home plate and the mound to settle Gooden down.

Gooden walked Horner on four pitches; eight straight balls.

Terry Harper dug in and Gooden shoved a fastball on the inside corner at the knees for strike one. He sent Harper back to the bench on three pitches. It was as if Gooden pushed some internal on/off button.

“Just three years ago he was pitching to high school kids,” said the late Skip Caray. “My goodness, just think what that must have been like?”

Rick Cerone had missed three weeks due to a sore shoulder. He was activated two days earlier, but hadn’t played in a game since his return. His first at-bat came after a long rain delay against Gooden. Could the cards be any more stacked against the 31-year old Cerone?

“He probably said, ‘Thanks a lot!’ when he saw Gooden out there,” said Caray sarcastically. “He hasn’t played in a month.”

Cerone slashed the first pitch from Gooden to Mets first baseman Hernandez. The ball caromed off his midsection and he bare-handed a sidearm throw to Gooden covering first to end the inning.

“Back in the ‘70s, Atlanta had one of the worst infields in baseball – but there were a lot of bad infields in the old days,” said Hernandez. “I never liked fielding in Atlanta because it was so hot and everything baked. I always had to do a lot of gardening there, but by the ‘80’s, it was a very good infield.”

The rain returned in the third inning and Terry Tata stopped the game. Two nights earlier in San Francisco, Tata was informed by Major League Baseball he would the acting crew chief for the series in Atlanta, replacing Harry Wendlestedt, who was ill (Wendlestedt did not return to umpire until July 18).

“I took a redeye off the west coast and arrived in Hartford, Connecticut, spent some time with my wife and then took a flight from Bradley Field and arrived in Atlanta at 5pm,” remembers Tata. By the time he arrived at Fulton County Stadium it was already raining.

The Atlanta Braves employed two full-time groundskeepers and an estimated 25 part-time employees to help on game days. Sam Newpher, now the groundskeeper for Daytona International Speedway, was the head groundskeeper at Atlanta Fulton County Stadium in 1985.

Newpher stayed in close contact with the National Weather Service at the Atlanta airport. The weather service could pinpoint the time and location of the incoming storm and its relation to the stadium.

In the press box the media were already playing weatherman. “Everyone working at the ballpark lives in different parts of the city, so it’s not at all uncommon for someone to call home and see if it’s raining in that part of town,” said Van Wieren. “Then you start hearing, ‘well it’s not raining in Dunwoody!’ Then Skip will say, ‘Well, let’s go up there and play.”

Newpher watched as the second rain storm soaked the tarp.

“All of the drainage was surface drainage which drains off to the outside edge (of the field) into two surface drains,” he said. “It was a turtle shell type mound with the center of it being about 25 feet behind second base. Keep something in mind, if a tarp is on the field and you dump the tarp, you’re taking a couple thousand gallons and just going plop in one spot,” he said.

Van Wieren watched the rain fall from the Braves press box. He glanced at his scorecard, then the stadium clock and back to the field. He took a deep breath and exhaled, well aware of how late this game was going to end.

“The team wasn’t very good and sellout crowds were very rare,” said Van Wieren. “We had a sellout crowd that night and the team would do everything in their power to get that game in so they could get the gate.”

When play resumed 41 minutes later, Mets manager Davey Johnson announced he was taking Gooden out to avoid risk of injury. It marked the first time in 27 starts dating back to Aug. 11, 1984 that he had failed to go six innings. Gooden, unhappy, retreated to the Mets clubhouse and began drinking.

The Braves took their only lead of the game, 8-7, scoring four runs in the bottom of the eighth inning. But the Mets tied it in the ninth. By the time the New York Mets and Atlanta Braves began extra innings the calendar read July 5. Still, fans moved to the edge of their seats. Not in anticipation of a win, but the post-game fireworks.

When the Mets came to bat in the 12th inning, Hernandez was a single away from the cycle. He had doubled in the first off Mahler, tripled in the fourth off Jeff Dedmon, homered in the eighth inning Steve Shields.

Hernandez would be facing Terry Forster. He needed his brother, who was home in San Francisco. Hernandez dashed back to the Mets clubhouse, called the operator and asked for an outside line.

“He was my good luck charm,” said Hernandez. “He always came down on West Coast trips. When we left San Francisco he’d come with me to San Diego and L.A. – and I always killed San Diego and L.A.”

Ironically, eleven years earlier on September 11, 1974, as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals, Hernandez pinch hit against the Mets in a 25-inning game at Shea Stadium. “That was my first year,” remembered Hernandez. “I pinched hit in the ninth off Harry Parker and Dave Schneck robbed me of a home run.”

keith hernandezThe Cardinals eventually won, 4-3, after seven hours, four minutes and 25 innings. The Mets went to the plate 103 times and the Cards with 99 plate appearances and a major-league record 45 runners left on base. The game ended at 3:13 a.m., the longest game played to a decision without a suspension.

Hernandez singled off Forster to complete the cycle. Superstition rules.

Van Wieren stared at his scorebook. Nothing good could come in the 13th inning, maybe that’s why most scorebooks have 12 innings he thought. “Once you run out of innings in your scorebook it’s improvise time,” he said.

The Mets took a 10-8 lead in the 13th inning. Finally the end was in sight – finally. To his left, Van Weiren’s wife Elaine and two sons (Jon and Steve) sat, waiting for the fireworks.

All Tom Gorman needed now was three outs. After a leadoff single by Rafael Ramirez, the Mets left hander struck out Dale Murphy and Gerald Perry. One more out. Gorman zipped two strikes past Terry Harper. One strike left. Let the fireworks begin. Harper obliged, lining a two-run homer off the left field foul poll to tie the game again.

“I just looked over and they had their head down like, ‘we’re never gonna get out of here,’” remembers Van Wieren.

“You wondered where it’s going to end,” said Caray, remembering Harper’s home run in an interview years earlier. “When (Rick) Camp hit his (in the 18th inning), you figure, we’re going to go on forever. Once is amazing. Twice is incredible. I’ve never seen anything like it in my life and I never think I will.”

The Braves broadcasters weren’t the only ones wondering.

Paul Zuvella was called up just a couple weeks before the July 4th game. His high school buddy Chris Hopson flew in from Milpitas in the Silicon Valley, south of San Jose, California to visit Zuvella and catch a game.

“That was the first game he had come to,” said Zuvella. “Poor guy, he was one of the very few remaining at the end.”

Zuvella was inserted in the sixth inning and faced five different pitchers in seven plate appearances – sidearm pitcher Terry Leach, Jesse Orosco, Doug Sisk , Gorman and Ron Darling – going 0-for-7.

“That, I do remember,” he said. “I remember hitting the ball hard. I hit some line drives right at people. I’m thinking, ‘How unfair is this?’”

“Pitchers tend to have an advantage in that type of game,” said Zuvella. “That’s why they keep throwing the zeros up. It gets a little tougher offensively as the game goes on. You start to think, is this game ever gonna end?”

Both teams put up zeros in the 14th, 15th and 16th innings. In the 17th inning, with nerves frayed, Tata called strike three on Strawberry. As he walked away, Strawberry “had some choice words” and Tata ejected him. “I still see the pitch today when they show it on ESPN Classic. It didn’t look like a bad pitch.”

As Strawberry walked back to the dugout, Mets manager Davey Johnson jogged toward Tata. The argument heated quickly.

“When Davey Johnson gets in my face and I turned my hat around backwards so I could get right in his kisser,” remembers Tata. “As I am looking over his shoulder there’s a digital clock along the first base line and it reads two – five – seven. It’s 2:57 in the morning and I say to Johnson, ‘It’s three o’clock in the morning, everything looks like a strike.’”

Tata ejected four managers, coaches or players in 1985, two of them within 60 seconds.

“The one thing you don’t put in your mind is the hope that it will end,” revealed Tata. “It will end naturally. You can’t root for a guy to hit a home run or driving in the winning run. You’ve got to block that out of your mind and concentrate on the game. Once you start hoping for that it’s going to detract from your overall sense of the game and your job.”

The Mets regained the lead, 11-10, in the 18th inning on a sacrifice fly by Dykstra.

Again, all Gorman needed was three outs. Again, he retired Perry. This time he shut down Harper. One out remained – pitcher Rick Camp. Mets pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre was taking nothing for granted and paid Gorman a visit. Stottlemyre warned Gorman about Harper now he was warning him, don’t make the same mistake. Don’t take Camp for granted.

Gorman registered two quick strikes on Camp. One strike left. Let the fireworks begin – please let the fireworks begin. Gorman fired a forkball on 0-2 and, like Harper five innings earlier, Camp obliged, hitting one over the left field wall to tie the game.

“As soon as it left the bat you knew it was gone,” said Tata. “That just cut your legs off at the knees.”

“That certifies this game as the wackiest, wildest, most improbable game in history!” yelled John Sterling, then a Braves broadcaster on WTBS.

“You’re really certain it’s going to end with Rick Camp at the plate,” said Van Weiren. “When Skip talked about it he said he never saw me get animated in the booth. But when that ball was hit I literally jumped out of his seat and put my hands on top of my head and said, ‘you gotta be kidding me!?’”

Jay Horwitz joined the New York Mets as public relations director in 1980. He was in his fifth year with the team. “I was in the press box,” said Horwitz, who watched most of the extra innings with then Mets scouting director Joe McIlvaine. “I had my binoculars, and I remember looking at the expression on Danny Heep’s face, it was the most incredulous look I’d ever seen. I remember thinking, ‘this game is never, ever going to end.’”

One year later, in 1986, the Mets were involved in a 16-inning marathon game against the Houston Astros, a game that decided the National League Championship Series.

When Billy Hatcher homered off the foul poll in the 14th inning at the Houston Astrodome to tie the game, Horwitz started having flashbacks of Atlanta. “It was the same kind of feeling,” said Horwitz. “You think you have the game won, you’re going to the World Series, they tie the game. We had enough fortitude to come back and win that game. But outside of the rain delays it was almost a duplicate game.”

Jonathan Leach grew up in metropolitan Atlanta and had been a Braves fan since 1973, captured by the Hank Aaron chase. He was home from college for the summer. He fell asleep as the game weaved through extra innings until “the early morning hours, when my brother burst into my room and woke me up to tell me they were still playing,” said Leach. “I saw Rick Camp’s home run which may be the most improbable event in the history of baseball.”

Hundreds of miles north in New Rochelle, New York, Jonathan Falk arrived home from a party at 10 p.m. and turned on the television. “I turned on TBS to find out how they’d done, figuring if I was lucky I might catch an inning,” wrote Falk, a lifelong Braves fan. “They were still playing. I was glued to the set. The Rick Camp homer was probably the single most amazing thing I’ve ever seen in 43 years of baseball watching.”

“That was the most unbelievable part. No one expected that,” said Ken Oberkfell, a Brave in 1985 and the Mets Triple-A manager today. “I mean, I have a better chance of flying an airplane than he (Camp) did of hitting a home run, and there it went. I remember I was in the clubhouse figuring the game was over, but when I saw the home run I came running back to the dugout.”

When asked now if he remembers the pitch Camp said, “I would say it was a fastball. I mean, heck, I had a zero point something batting average. There wasn’t anyone else to hit. I was just trying to make contact.”

As he rounded third, Camp was smiling as he met Tata halfway between home and third base. “You SOB, I was only kidding,’” said Tata.

“Even after I got out of baseball, every time I’d see him he’d just point to left field and laugh,” said Camp.

The Mets scored five runs off Camp in the top of the 19th inning.

“When you’re involved in a season like that and you get into one of those games you really don’t have the same concern over who wins,” remembers Van Weiren. “If you’re in a pennant race you do. If you’re 30 games out, you don’t really care. Sure you’d like to win the game, but if they don’t it’s not going to impact the pennant race. So when you get to a point in a game like that you’re just ready for it to end.”

Not the fans. As the Braves mounted another rally in the bottom of the 19th, scoring two runs, the fans began to chant, “We want Camp!”

“If we have to rely on me to hit a home run to win a game, we’re in bad shape,” said Camp. “I’ll always remember the homer, but it was a hard thing for me to do that and then go out and suck up a loss.”

“Go ahead hit another one out, we’ll pay ‘til noon,” said Tata.

This time Camp was facing Ron Darling, the Mets seventh pitcher of the game. Darling hadn’t made a relief appearance since his freshman year at Yale. The Mets were so certain Camp would not hit another home run, they began untying their shoes in the dugouts, equipment was being packed away.

“I remember the last pitch,” said Camp. “It was a high fastball I swung and missed. Struck out. You get a fastball from here up (motioning from his chest to eye level) it looks like a watermelon. I was trying to kill it.”

Strike Three. Game Over.

“This was the greatest game ever played – Ever,” said Howard Johnson.

“That was the greatest thing I’d ever seen,” added Bruce Benedict, Braves’ catcher, ” The tough thing about it was that there were a lot of lifetime memories in this game and we lost it. It’s hard to put those things in perspective. It was embarrassing.”

“That was the most bizarre game I ever played in – bizarre and fascinating, depressing and great, thrilling and boring,” said Darling. “It was all of those things mixed in. It would have been a story but Rick Camp made it a big story. I’m just glad I got my name in the box score.”

“I thought we were going to win it after that,” said Dale Murphy. “I couldn’t believe it. It’s the most unbelievable thing I’ve ever seen. I’ll never forget that home run. I’ll never forget this game. I can’t explain this game. I’ll be feeling this for the next week.”

Gary Carter “Thrilling,” “fascinating” and “great” didn’t describe the experience for Carter, who was playing his first season in New York. He caught the entire game, handling seven New York pitchers and catching 305 balls.

“The game took a toll on me,” said Carter. “It was worse than catching both games of an afternoon doubleheader because of the rain (delays). My body was aching and throbbing.”

“Do you know what it’s like to be playing baseball at 3:30 in the morning?” asked Dykstra after the game. “Strange man. Real strange.”

“I saw things that I’ve never seen in my major league career,” added Hernandez.

Like Camp hitting a home run … or Knight who left 11 runners on base in his first nine at bats, including three times with the bases loaded.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, no other continuous game in major league history had ended so late. Prior to July 4-5, 1985, the previous latest game was completed at 3:23 a.m. in Philadelphia when the Phillies beat the Montreal Expos 6-1 on Aug. 10, 1977.

Rick Aguilera never saw it, any of it. Aguilera was sent home in the 13th after Johnson’s go-ahead home run. ”When I got to the room, I turned on the TV and saw the game still going,” he said. “I thought it was a delayed broadcast. I couldn’t believe it when they said it was tied.”

Aguilera went to bed. His roommate Sid Fernandez arrived a few hours later and Aguilera asked if the Mets won. ”He said we did,” remembers Aguilera, “but he also said I wouldn’t believe it.”

“When the game ended we were all so exhausted we were just thinking, we gotta get out of here and get ready for tomorrow … I take that back, we gotta get ready for today.”

Gorman was credited with a win. It was then that Gorman found himself in a save situation with the Mets ahead 10-8 in the 13th inning. He lost that lead. And then another.

“To give up a homer to the pitcher in the 18th inning is totally embarrassing,” Gorman told the media a couple hours later. “I learned I can’t take anything for granted. I felt like I saw it all tonight. I should have saved the game; I should have won the game; I should have lost the game. It’s the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen.”

”There’s not one thing you can say you feel at that moment,” added Gorman. “It’s not like pitchers don’t hit home runs; they do. I’m not trying to take anything away from Camp, but you know if you hit the ball good here, it’s going to go out. I’d never pitched at three in the morning, but guess they’d never hit then either.”

Newpher and the grounds crew headed back to the field after arriving at Atlanta Fulton County Stadium at 8am. “One of the very few people left in the stands was my wife,” he said.

“What are you still doing here?” he asked.

“I came to see the fireworks,” she said.

Fireworks? It’s four in the morning. But the Braves were in no position to negotiate. There were 8,000-10,000 people still in the stands, delirious and jacked up on coffee, waking up their children for the fireworks. Then, there was WTBS, who sold sponsorships for the July 4th fireworks show.

“There was a great concern about whether the fireworks show would or would not go on,” remembers Van Weiren. “Ted (Turner) had gotten the station (WTBS) to sell a separate post-game that would include the fireworks. Once the game ended there was going to be a commercial break, we’d come back on the air and televise the fireworks.”

Braves television broadcaster Ernie Johnson was beside himself about the whole concept. Fireworks on TV? Come on, who’s going to watch that.

“We kidded about that,” said Van Weiren. “Ernie (Johnson) said ‘what are we supposed to say when the fireworks go off? Do we just sit there and go ‘Ooooh! Ahhh!?’ It was going to be a strange deal.”

Van Weiren said as the game went deeper into the night, there were a lot of questions about “whether they were going to do the fireworks,” he said. “We got the word that the fireworks were gonna go because this was a sold program on TBS and they were going to get the sponsored money.”

So, at 4:01 a.m. on July 5 the July 4th fireworks display began. For nearly 10 minutes the skies over Atlanta thundered. Bright colors lit up the night followed by the sounds of massive explosions. The roar hit a crescendo with a finale so intense, Atlanta resident Vivian Williams jumped from her bed.

Like many others living in the Atlanta suburbs, Williams believed the city had come under attack. The phones lit up at the police station. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution later reported “residents of Capitol Homes and other areas near the stadium called the police to complain that their neighbors, the Braves, were disturbing the peace.”

Williams told the police “setting off fireworks at 4 a.m. is inappropriate and ill-advised.”

Meanwhile, calls were pouring in to the Braves public relations office. Some came from fans who left before the end of the game and were angry that the fireworks display was not postponed until another date, he said. Other calls were from neighbors of the stadium who called the Braves to complain about the noise.

“We went back to the hotel and the USA Today was already under the door,” remembers Horwitz. “That’s always a bad sign, when the USA Today beats you there.”

Chip Caray, then home on college break, remembers his father stumbling in as the sun rose. He figured it was a late night with the guys.

“It’s the latest I’ve ever stayed out in my life and not done something I was ashamed of,” Skip said.

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Granderson’s Struggles Continue, Collins Says It’s Only April Wed, 23 Apr 2014 12:35:24 +0000 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?


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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MMO Game Recap: Mets 4, Braves 3 Sun, 20 Apr 2014 22:14:49 +0000 curtis granderson

The Mets salvaged the finale of their three game series and beat the Atlanta Braves 4-3 on a walk-off sacrifice fly off the bat of Curtis Granderson in the bottom of the 14th inning.

Zack Wheeler started for the Mets and earned a quality start, tossing six innings and allowing three runs on six hits and three walks while striking out six batters.

The Mets got eight scoreless innings of relief from the bullpen including three from Daisuke Matsuzaka and two by Carlos Torres. Jose Valverde, who lost his job as closer before the game, pitched the 14th inning and picked up the win. 

David Wright followed up Saturday’s three-hit game with four more hits to raise his average to .316 for the season. Lucas Duda contributed two ribbies and a pair of singles as he and Wright collected six of the Mets’ nine hits.

Granderson was hitless in six at-bats before lifting a shallow fly that was deep enough to score Kirk Nieuwenhuis in the 14th.

With the win, the Mets improved their home record to 3-6 at Citi Field this season.

The Mets begin a four game series with the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday at 7:10 PM. RHP Jenrry Mejia gets the start for the Mets.

Presented By Diehards

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Spring Training Recap: Mets 7, Braves 6 Thu, 20 Mar 2014 21:00:32 +0000 recker walkoff

The Mets, back in action from their off day on Wednesday, faced the Atlanta Braves at Tradition Field today and Zack Wheeler went up against the Braves newly signed free-agent pitcher, Ervin Santana.

After a game that saw a combined 13 runs on 22 hits, the Mets came out on top after an Anthony Recker three-run bomb in the bottom of the ninth to give the Mets a 7-6 victory. The Mets evened their Grapefruit League record to 10-10.


Zack Wheeler was tagged in the first inning for a triple, single, and a home run, that put the Braves up 2-0.  It would have been worse if not for another amazing catch by Juan Lagares, leaping at the wall to steal away a home run. Wheeler threw 5.1 innings, giving up two runs on five hits, a walk and striking out two. He came back strong.

Kyle Farnsworth tossed one inning and gave up two runs on two hits, a walk, didn’t strikeout a batter and his spring ERA ballooned to 5.87.

Scott Rice threw an inning and gave up one run on two hits and Jose Valverde, earned the win, but gave up one run on two hits with no strikeouts.

Eric Young, Jr, led off the bottom of the first with a bunt single and scored the Mets first run on a line drive single to left by Ruben Tejada. EY Jr finished 1 for 3, with a run scored and Tejeda had his best offensive game of the spring, going 3 for 3, with a run scored and one RBI.

David Wright went 1 for 2, with an RBI and Curtis Granderson went 0 for 3 and left four men on base.

Anthony Recker, the star of the game, was 1 for 2, with a run scored and three RBI on that massive home run in the bottom of the ninth to steal the victory.

Chris Young, playing left field today, was 1 for 3 with an RBI and is hitting .300 on the spring.

Ike Davis in his first game back in action, was 0 for 3.

Travis d’Arnaud, is hitting a measly .125 and was hitless in two at bats today with a run scored, after reaching base on a walk. D’Arnaud has not gotten a hit in a game since March 7; he is 0 for 21 in his last eight games.

Juan Lagares, batting in the ninth spot, was 1 for 2, with a run scored and a RBI and is batting .316 this spring.

Coming up:  The Mets travel to Fort Myers on Friday to face the Minnesota Twins at Hammonds Stadium, with the first pitch at 1:05 pm.

(Photo Credit: AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Presented By Diehards

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Wheeler Not Pleased After Tossing Three Scoreless Mon, 10 Mar 2014 13:00:15 +0000 zack wheeler

Zack Wheeler faced the Atlanta Braves for his second game of the spring on Sunday at Tradition Field. He threw three scoreless innings, allowed three hits, one walk and struck out three batters.

Wheeler opened the first inning by striking out the first batter he faced and even though he looked to have a live fastball, his main focus for the game was to work on a few things.

“Today was really just go out there and just work on some stuff, just because we face those guys [Braves] tons during the season.” Wheeler continues, “I was trying to work my changeup a lot today.”

Even though Wheeler decided to go with a different approach in the game, he wasn’t happy with the results, ”A little erratic,” says the righty. ”I’d like to forget what I just did out there.”

Wheeler was working on his game and trying some new things in an effort to improve his overall game. “I threw a change up to a righty a couple of times, don’t normally do that,” the young righthander told us after his outing. “I tried to mix stuff up a lot; threw a lot of off speed today, trying to get a different look.”

From a fan view, there didn’t seem to be anything different from Wheeler’s approach, and even Terry Collins felt he pitched a good game, “I thought he threw the ball very well,” said the skipper.

However, Wheeler is on a different level. He came into camp with a mindset that he wants the Opening Day assignment and that he wanted to help the Mets alleviate the loss of Matt Harvey as best as he can.

As I watched him perform on Sunday, I could see him attacking each batter with such a determined approach. His focus was there, his intensity was peaking, and you just know that when he finally figures it all out that he’s going to become something special for the Mets.

With approximately three weeks before the regular season starts, Wheeler has time to work on his full repertoire of pitches and by then he should be ready to lead the Mets rotation.

Presented By Diehards

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How Does Curtis Granderson Fare Against The NL East? Sun, 08 Dec 2013 17:30:28 +0000 curtis granderson_b2_576

The Mets signed Curtis Granderson Friday to a four year, $60 million deal. One thing is for sure, he can hit. But there’s only one problem with that. Granderson has played his whole career thus far in the American League, revealing uncertainty when it comes to facing the National League. Let’s take a look at how he has fared against the NL East and where his 43 2012 home runs would have landed in opponents’ ballparks.

Philadelphia Phillies

Arguably the Mets biggest rival in the division, Curtis Granderson has hit Phillies pitchers decently. He has compiled a career .258 against current Philadelphia pitchers with three home runs. Granderson has faced Cliff Lee 42 times and hit safely 12 times, with two doubles and a homer. He has matched up with Jonathan Papelbon 18 times and is 4 for 18 with two home runs against him. Granderson has yet to get hits off Mike Adams and Kyle Kendrick, who he has faced collectively four times. In terms of hitting home runs at Citizens Bank Ballpark, only one of Granderson’s 43 long balls would not have been ruled a homer in Philadelphia.

Miami Marlins

Curtis Granderson has hit fairly well in his career against current Marlins pitchers, hitting .387 against them. Granderson is 6 for 16 against Kevin Slowey with a home run, and 3 for 12 against Henderson Alvarez. It will be interesting to see how Granderson will do against the 2013 NL Rookie of the Year, Jose Fernandez, for the first time. As for hitting in the spacious Marlins Ballpark, seven of his 2012 home runs would not have cleared the fence in Miami. This includes six that went over 350 feet.

Washington Nationals

Curtis Granderson hasn’t faced Stephen Strasburg yet, but he has faced Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann, and newcomer Doug Fister. Granderson is 2 for 16 against Gonzalez, but that does include a home run and two runs batted in. Similarly, he is 1 for 6 against Fister with one home run. In total, Granderson is 3 for 31 (.097) against Nationals pitchers with 11 strikeouts. Six of his 2012 home runs would not have cleared the Nationals Park fences.

Atlanta Braves

Granderson is hitting .308 in his career against current Braves pitchers. He is 1 for 6 against Mike Minor, but 2 for 2 against tough reliever Jonny Venters. Granderson has not recorded a hit in four at bats against Craig Kimbrel, Kris Medlen, and Jordan Walden, collectively. Of his 2012 home runs, eight would not have been home runs at Turner Field, the majority of these coming in right-center field. Granderson has not faced the Braves much in his career, so we shall see how it plays out.

Playing in the AL, Curtis Granderson has not had much exposure to National League pitching, with the exception of Cliff Lee (Cleveland, Seattle) and Gio Gonzalez (Oakland). The Mets begin 2014 with a series at home against the Nationals, as they also play the Braves and Marlins at home. The Mets will visit Atlanta and Philidelphia during the course of April as well.

(All of the information used in this post was courtesy of and

Presented By Diehards

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This Day In Mets Infamy with Rusty: 5 Songs That Describes Mets Hot Stove So Far Sun, 24 Nov 2013 13:24:35 +0000 infamy

Ah it’s that time of year again…  A time for new beginnings, a time for change, and for most it is a time for optimism. Yes, it’s time for that kooky year end ritual otherwise known as the Hot Stove Season – or as many Mets fans in the past five years like to say - PURGATORY!!!

Once again, many Met fans have bought in to ownership’s promises of the team spending more money than it did last season and guess what, they have. With the signing of our new left fielder Chris Young they have surpassed their $5 million dollar spending spree from a year ago.

All I know is that at this juncture I don’t have the warm and fuzzy feelings I used to get around this time of the year – but I’ll hold the right to reserve my total venom until I see how this Mets roster shakes out by the start of Spring Training.

But anyway, here are my five songs that best describe the Mets Hot Stove so far:

5. State of Shock by the Jackson’s  - Because we now know when Jeff Wilpon saw how much money even the middle-tiered free agents were asking for, they all needed smelling salts to revive them!

4. Bringing On The Heartache by Def Leppard – Pass me the Rolaids.

3. Money Changes Everything by Cindi Lauper – Because when it comes to this teams finances it seems like Sandy Alderson always has to do more with less.

2: Slip Slidin’ Away by Simon and Garfunkel – Because if this team doesn’t even remotely try to improve itself the fan base will keep slipping away until Citi Field has less life in it than the city morgue.

1. Death On Two Legs by Queen - Because if the Mets ownership doesn’t show that it has the willingness or discretionary spending to try to field a competitive team this upcoming season, fans’ sentiments will mirror the lyrics to this song.

So do you agree with my choices ? Are there songs that you feel summarize the Mets Hot Stove better than the ones I listed? Feel free to post your lists in the comment section.

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

Mets alumni celebrating a birthday today includes:

One time Mets minority owner, G. Herbert Walker would have been 108 today (1905). Walker was not only the grandfather of president George W Bush, but he was also the Mets Executive Vice President from 1962 until his death in 1977.

Spot Starter/middle reliever from the ’66 season, Bob Friend is 83 (1930).

Starting pitcher from ’94-’95, Jason Jacome turns 43 (1970). In his 2 seasons with the Mets, Jacome started 13 games, going 4-7 with an E.R.A of 4.80.

Some other notables include:

Sadly on this date the Mets lost two members of their extended family. Hall of Fame (not as a Met) left-handed pitcher Warren Spahn in 2003, and third base coach from the ’77 season, Tom Burgess  in 2008.

The New York Mets traded reserve first baseman, Dave Gallagher to the Atlanta Braves for starting pitcher, Pete Smith on November 24, 1993.

The New York Mets traded  first baseman/catcher, Mike Jacobs, along with pitching prospects Yusmiero Petit and Grant Psomas to the Florida Marlins for power hitting first baseman, Carlos Delgado in 2005. This in my opinion was one of the best trades from the Omar Minaya era.

Mo Vaughn has been so distraught by the Mets hot stove so far that he lost his appetite….. That lasted all of a half hour!!!

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This Day In Mets Infamy With Rusty: Five More Promotional Days I Want To See Thu, 14 Nov 2013 14:48:41 +0000 Auguste clown

Earlier in the day yesterday  among all the speculation and the harsh reality that ensued after a few cryptic quotes from Mets C.O.O, Jeff Wilpon, the Mets revealed that no they were not about to announce a trade nor did they announce the signing of a power bat. But what they did unveil were the promotional dates for next season which included post game concerts by ’80′s pop rock stalwarts Huey Lewis and the News along with the platinum selling R&B act from the ’90′s, Boyz II Men in addition to mainstay promos such as the ever popular Fireworks Night and a new twist on T-Shirt Tuesdays now called Free-Shirt Fridays.

These promotions are all well and good , but there should be five additional promotional dates for us fans to sink our teeth into – especially if there aren’t any sweeping changes made to the teams roster this off season.

Here are some promotional dates that I would love to see – although I clearly understand that the powers that be will likely never give the green light on any of them…

Lee Mazzilli Black Velvet Portrait Day: Hey, if this franchise is destined to be mired in a mid-to-late ’70′s like funk, why not embrace it by offering up the quintessential seventies art décor. (black light not included)

Mike Cubbage Appreciation Day: Why not embrace the much maligned third base coach and interim manager from the early to mid ’90′s team?

Schizophrenia Awareness Night: Free tickets for all your multiple personalities with the purchase of one regularly priced ticket for yourself.

Obscure Met Day: A day to honor the men who donned the orange and blue Mets caps – even if we vaguely remember them . Some notable players to be hailed include Chico Walker, Doc Medich and Kelvin Torve.

And lastly ……..

Mo Vaughn Lookalike Day: It doesn’t matter if you look like the rotund first baseman, everyone still gets a free Mo Vaughn diet book “A Fridge To Far” with admission anyway.

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

Mets alumni celebrating a birthday today include:

Mr “Fear Strikes Out” himself, outfielder, Jimmy Piersall  is 85 (1929). Jimmy will always be remembered for running the bases backwards after hitting his 100th career homerun as a Met which prompted his quick release at the behest of then manager Casey Stengel.

Spot starter and middle reliever from ’64-’66, Darrell Sutherland  is 72 (1941).

Middle reliever from the ’05 season, Tim Hamulack is 37 (1976).

Outfielder/first baseman from the ’06 season, Xavier Nady  is 35 (1978).

Other Met notables include:

Sadly, on this date in 2004, reserve catcher from ’63-’65, Jesse Gonder passed away.

The New York Mets released catcher, Gary Carter on November 14, 1989. This truly marked the end of the glory days that were the winning Mets teams of the ’80′s.

The Atlanta Braves signed utility infielder, Jorge Velandia of the New York Mets as a free agent on November 14, 2003.

The only thing scarier than Mo Vaughn at an “All You Can Eat Buffet” is Jeff Wilpon speaking to the Media!!!

Jeff Wilpon

“We have 4-5 balls in the air right now, something’s cooking.”

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This Day In Mets Infamy With Rusty: Hope For The Best, But Expect The Worst Edition Sun, 10 Nov 2013 15:41:10 +0000 fansI have been a Mets fan since my birth 41 years ago, and in that time I have seen more than a handful of highs – and more than my share of lows. I have lived through Frank Taveras and Alex Trevino, Bob Bailor and Bruce Bosclair, Rich Rodriguez and Tony Tarasco, and now Lucas Duda and Ruben Tejada.

This is why whenever somebody looks at me cross-eyed when they find out that I am indeed a Mets fan I summon the old credo:

“I’m a Mets fan – I hope for the best, but I expect the worst”

That being said I am trying to stay positive this hot stove season because I have to think that ownership understands that they are at a crossroads. Because of the Madoff scandal, this team has seen it’s payroll shrink from its $150 million dollar apex to the $90 million dollar level when this season opened on April 1st.

Both Ownership and General Manager Sandy Alderson are on the record saying they have money to burn and they intend on importing better talent than in previous seasons. I hope against hope that they aren’t paying lip service to the fans, and maybe I will be less skeptical when I see the first “big” acquisition – whether a free agent signing or trade – announced. But right now I will try to check my apathy at the door.

The thing that makes me feel a bit skeptical is that the general feeling out there is that the Mets may only be able ( or willing) to spend upwards of $40 million on new talent which would bring the payroll up to around the same $90 million give or take. Teams can win with that kind of payroll, but this team has a serious lack of talent on the big league level with the exception of a handful of players. With this alleged $40 million you definitely wont be able to afford a Ellsbury – or even a Choo, Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if Marlon Byrd will command – and get a 3-year, $40 million dollar contract coming off the season he just had.

The rumors that are circulating out there and say that the Mets aren’t interested in any of the three available Dodger outfielders makes me just scratch my head. I feel like the Mets have the money and want to buy the Kobe beef, but they may once again settle for the 2 day old chuck roast that has been reduced for a quick sell.

For now, I’m not really jaded – more like confused – and I can only hope that by the time the Mets are set to open Spring Training come February, they will have imported some much needed talent that will be impactful not only in 2014, but for many years to come.

But once again my mind reverts back to that old credo:

I’m a Mets fan – I hope for the best, but expect the worst.

And with that said…..


Mets alumni celebrating birthdays today include:

Outfielder from ’75-’77, Mike Vail is 62 (1951). One has to wonder what might have been if he didn’t shatter his ankle while playing a pickup game of basketball during the  ’75 offseason.

Mets general manager from ’04-’10, Omar Minaya is 55 (1958) Although I am not one of Minaya’s biggest fans I am thankful that he was able to get the Mets back into contention within 2 years of his hiring. It is the simple fact that he sacrificed the future by making some ill advised trades and draft selections that have partially put this team in the situation it is currently in.

Utility infielder from the ’92 season, Junior Noboa is 49 (1964).

One of the biggest goats in Mets history, Kenny Rogers  is 49 (1964).

Outfielder from ’93-’98, Butch Huskey is 42 (1971). Lets face it, Huskey was Lucas Duda before Lucas Duda ever picked up a bat.

Right fielder from the ’06 and ’07 seasons, Shawn Green is 41 (1972). Yes by the time the Mets obtained the “Hebrew Hammer”, Green was on the downside of his career. He still managed to hit a combined .284 with14 homers and 61 ribbies, and he absolutely raked in the ’06 postseason.

Some other notables include:

The New York Mets signed free agent utility outfielder, Carlos Mendoza on November 10, 1992.

The Atlanta Braves signed reserve outfielder,  Esix Snead of the New York Mets as a free agent on November 10, 2004. Snead played parts of 2 seasons with the Mets, compiling a .308 batting average with one homerun, 3 rbis and 4 stolen bases in 18 games.

The Mets granted middle reliever, Shingo Takatsu  free agency on November 10, 2005.

The New York Mets signed free agent middle reliever,  Raul Valdes on November 10, 2006.

The Philadelphia Phillies  signed utility infielder,  Wilson Valdez of the New York Mets as a free agent on November 10, 2009.

When a Queens donut shop owner discovered that his morning supply of fresh-baked donuts had all been robbed and called the police, the two officers that responded looked at each other and said, “Gotta go to Mo’s.” Thirty minutes later the caper was solved as Mo Vaughn was cuffed and taken into custody – covered in powdered sugar. (Guest Mo Vaughn joke by Joe D.)

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This Day In Mets Infamy With Rusty: The Separated At Birth Edition Sun, 18 Aug 2013 14:17:17 +0000 It is funny how sometimes we look like famous people. I for example have been told that I look like a bloated Danny Partridge or a late in his career Rusty Staub (hence my nickname Rustyjr). But it is amazing when some of our favorite current Mets players and coaches look like other famous people.

So here I am happy to revive an old feature I used to do at another blog called …….


First off is current Mets outfielder, Marlon Byrd


And R & B legend, Jermaine Jackson


Up next is Met manager, Terry Collins


And actor turned accused murderer Robert Blake (Uncanny !)


Next up is Ace Pitcher, Matt Harvey

matt harvey kisses

And “Everyone Loves Raymond” co-star, Brad Garrett.


Then there is the case of  utility infielder, Justin Turner



And a Leprechaun


There is also the curious case of Josh Satin


And Bert from “Sesame Street


And lastly I present to you Mets pitching coach, Dan Warthern


And Hank Hill.


So what do you think ? Do you agree/disagree ? Is there any other Mets player that bears a striking resemblance to a celebrity that is currently living or dead ?

Please feel free to post in the comments section below.

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

Mets alumni celebrating a birthday today includes:

Mets third base coach from ’97-’99, Bruce Benedict is 58. Benedict also piloted for the Norfolk Tides in 1996.

Reserve outfielder from the ’85 season, Terry Blocker is 54. Blocker was the Mets first round pick from the ’81 amateur draft. His career never did pan out, and he was out of the majors by 1990 after a short stint with the Atlanta Braves.

Spot starter/middle reliever from ’09-’11, Pat Misch  is 32. He is currently pitching for the Detroit Tigers’ Triple-A affiliate, the Toledo Mud Hens.

The New York Mets purchased the contract of middle reliever, Dave Eilers from the Milwaukee Braves on August 18, 1965. Eilers would spend two seasons with the Mets, compiling a record of 2-2 with an ERA of 4.44 in 34 appearances.

The New York Mets traded centerfielder Brett Butler  to the Los Angeles Dodgers for minor league outfield prospects, Scott Hunter and Dwight Maness on August 18, 1995. Butler was one of the very few reasons to watch the Mets in ’95. He would later manager the Gulf Coast Mets during their ’04 season

Mo Vaughn bears a striking resemblance to the Wrestler Mo from Men On A Mission !!!!



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How The Mets Almost Derailed The Career Of Juan Lagares Fri, 16 Aug 2013 12:17:06 +0000 juan lagares

In a chat for ESPN Insider, baseball analyst Keith Law fielded a couple of questions about the Mets including one on Juan Lagares.

Keith Law: Pretty darn good defender, better than I’d ever heard (never saw him before he reached the majors). He was 10th on my Mets prospect rankings before 2012, so he was on the radar, but spent about a decade in Savannah before he finally hit enough to move up the ladder.

Joe D: Law is right in that Lagares spent a ton of time in Savannah that included one full season and parts of three others, but there is a backstory to this that needs to be told. At the age of 17, Lagares was playing shortstop for the Mets’ Dominican Summer League. The following season at 18, he was skipped three levels (GCL, Kingsport, Brooklyn) and began the year in Single-A Savannah – a jump that he was clearly not ready for, and he was the youngest player in the league. Apparently Tony Bernazard, who made that call, was bent on rushing this raw talent up the food chain as quickly as he could. It was a bad call. Lagares remained in Savannah for the entire season and batted a disappointing .210/.262/.317 in 304 plate appearances.

In 2008 and 2009, Lagares was now being tossed all over the place, making stops at the Gulf Coast League (Rookie Ball), Brooklyn (Low-A) and eventually two more stopovers in Savannah. By the time he was ready to be promoted to Advanced-A St. Lucie, the decision was made to convert him from a shortstop to an outfielder because he was being blocked by Jose Reyes. He started a fourth season at Savannah being tested at all three outfield positions where they decided he was best suited for center field.

Ironically, he’d be moved to a corner outfield position once Matt den Dekker came along, even though many outside the organization believed Lagares was the more superior center fielder.

Lagares was mishandled almost from the very beginning and it proved to be an impingement to his development and stunted his ability to have a smooth and natural progression through the system.

In 2011, Lagares finally had his breakthrough season and batted .338/.380/.494 for Advanced-A St. Lucie and then after a promotion to Double-A Binghamton he actually improved, posting a .370/.391/.512 slash in 170 plate appearances. The rest as they say, is history.

Since his promotion to the majors in April of this season, Lagares has enjoyed steady growth at the plate and has made adjustments along the way while working with hitting coach Dave Hudgens.

After batting .234/.255/.340 in sporadic play that included week-long stretches on the bench, Lagares has finally cemented himself as the Mets regular centerfielder and he has responded with a .294/.336/.500 showing in the second half. As an everyday player and fixture in the lineup he even earned himself a National League Player of the Week honor in late July – a month that saw him post a team best .937 OPS.

Defensively, the 24-year old centerfielder is rated among the best in the majors and leads the National League with 12 outfield assists and is second in DRS (defensive runs saved) at his position despite only logging 57 games as a starter.

The Mets will have many questions going into the 2013 offseason, but center field isn’t one of them.

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Citi, Mets Host City Harvest At Citi Field Monday To Fight Hunger Thu, 25 Jul 2013 12:00:33 +0000 DSC_3764

LEFT: Eileen Auld-Tri-State Regional Director of Citi Community Development. CENTER: Mets Legend Rusty Staub. RIGHT: Martina Santos, City Harvest volunteer and recipient of Citi’s “Teammates in the Community Award”.

Citi, the New York Mets and the Mets Alumni Association were on hand Monday prior to the series opener against the Atlanta Braves in front of the Jackie Robinson Rotunda to help fight hunger in our area.

As part of the initiative, over 75 Citi volunteers and the Mets were on hand along with City Harvest to repackage over 25,000 pounds of sweet potatoes. Members of the Mets Alumni Association Rusty Staub and John Franco were also in attendance to aid in the effort. The repackaged potatoes will go to families in need throughout New York City.
The Mets Alumni Association Presented by Citi was created in 2010 to expand financial inclusion and economic empowerment in local communities while honoring Mets history. In partnership with Citi Community Development and local non-profit organizations, former Mets players participate in various special events such as this throughout the year as part of this initiative.

DSC_3685 (1)

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Native American Heritage Night Chopped Thu, 11 Jul 2013 23:46:02 +0000 I hate these types of posts. The ones where you have to point out that your favorite team in the whole wide world did or said something that you find very appalling or distasteful.

litefootchristinaJust before the beginning of this season, the New York Mets decided to add a Native American Heritage Night to their promotional schedule for the new season. The Mets have always been very proactive in embracing the diversity of our city and have done a great job ushering in various Heritage Nights at Citi Field which have become popular with the fans and the multicultural people in our community.

To help launch this new addition to their promo schedule, they decided to approach a popular local non-profit organization called the American Indian Community House (A.I.H.C.). They were only too happy and proud to help the Mets organize and promote Native American Heritage Night which would be held on July 25th at Citi Field when the Mets hosted the Atlanta Braves. There would be traditional dancing, Native American music, and people dressed in their traditional Native American garb. The Mets and the A.I.H.C. even had custom designed t-shirts that featured the Mets logo adorned with feathers to help promote the event. It promised to be a great time for all and the best part was that all the proceeds were for charity.

Then, as the date drew nearer things began to slowly deteriorate. Now, with just two weeks to go, the entire event has been cancelled. The reasons that led to this may disturb you.

Scott Cacciola of the New York Times blows the lid off the sequence of events that led to the event being nixed.

There was a glitch, as far as the Mets were concerned: they were scheduled to host the Atlanta Braves that day. So in the past week, concerned that such activities might be interpreted by the Braves organization as a form of protest over its nickname, the Mets drastically reduced the day’s activities: no singing, no dancing. And now there won’t be any American Indians, either.

Four months into their agreement and only now did the Mets become so sensitive about how their rivals would perceive a day meant only to honor one of the many cultures that make up our great melting pot?

On Monday, the A.I.C.H. pulled out of the event, citing frustration with the Mets for thwarting months of planning. The team has removed the event from its online schedule of activities. I checked the promotional schedule on and sure enough “Native American Heritage Night” is gone and has been replaced by “David Wright Figurine Night.”

“This whole thing wasn’t even our idea”, said a spokesman for the A.I.C.H.. “But it just feels like we’re being marginalized again within our own community.”

The Mets sent an email to the A.I.H.C. that read:

It was brought to my attention that we need to be sensitive to the Braves being a partner MLB team and can’t put them in a situation for a potentially negative environment to be brought upon them. I know this is not the plan, but sometimes people come to events under different agendas than expected. I’m not referring to [A.I.C.H.] or any of the organizations involved, but more about unknown groups that may want to change the perception of the event.

The unknown groups. Those damned unknown groups are always messing around with our Heritage Nights, right? We can’t have that happening again, right? What a lame excuse…

“We’re not trying to be overly sensitive,” the A.I.H.C. told the Times. “But it seems like we fall into this type of thing a lot. We’re led to get enthusiastic about something, and then it’s like, ‘Oh, never mind.’ It’s disappointing, but it sort of amplifies a pattern of what we’ve been dealing with for hundreds of years.”

“It wasn’t like we were planning to protest anything. We just thought it would be great to show natives in a positive light — that we’re human beings, and we’re not from 300 years ago. It was a win-win situation. We’d be supporting the Mets, the Braves and Major League Baseball.”

Unreal…. As long as the Atlanta Braves feelings aren’t hurt though, right?


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3 Up & 3 Down: It’s All About The Kids Edition Fri, 21 Jun 2013 11:42:11 +0000 wheeler harvey

As the Mets wrap up an uncommon five game series win with the Atlanta Braves, we have an even more uncommon edition of 3 Up and 3 Down, featuring five “Ups” centered on the Mets youth movement.

Dillon Deserved Better: I actually missed Monday night’s game. The rain delay of over three hours was too much for me to bear. From all reports though, Dillon Gee pitched a gem, going 8.1 innings before giving up the walk off home run. Dillon has been pretty spectacular his last four outings giving up only 5 earned runs in his last 29.0 innings. He has also struck out 32 batters while walking four in that span.

Matt In The Matinee: Matt Harvey pitched the day game of Tuesday’s doubleheader and picked up a win at last. Marvelous Matt went seven innings giving up three runs and striking out, get this, 13 Atlanta Braves. He’s now 6-1 with a league-leading 115 strikeouts and a 2.16 ERA. Wow!

Primetime Wheeler: The junior member of the dynamic duo, Zack Wheeler, pitched the nightcap on Tuesday and pitched six scoreless innings allowing  while walking five and striking out seven. The newest Met was hitting 97 on the radar gun for most of the night. Wheeler and Harvey have given us a chance to dream about how good things may be. It was a great Tuesday for Met fans.

Recker Goes Yard: Anthony Recker was brought here until Travis d’Arnaud was ready to join the team. A broken foot by the Mets top catching prospect has kept Recker around as John Buck‘s backup for most of the first half of the season. On Tuesday, the Mets showed great faith in Recker by having him catch Wheeler, and then he hits the tie breaking home run in the seventh inning. Recker is the type of player I like to root for, an underdog making the most of his chance.

Five Straight For Satin: Satin broke the tie in Thursday night’s game with a pinch hit RBI double. The hit was his fifth straight time he’s been on base in his last five plate appearances. It was said Satin was hitting the ball well in Vegas, lets hope he hits the ball well in Philly, Chicago, Denver and Citi Field.

These kids have this old cynic thinking twice lately. The long series in Atlanta was enjoyable to watch, and lets hope things just keep getting better from here on out. Let’s Go Mets!!

addicted to mets button

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Atlanta Braves Broadcaster Shows Little Class During Matt Harvey At Bat Wed, 19 Jun 2013 16:27:51 +0000 This is just something I noticed during the first game of yesterday’s doubleheader. During Matt Harvey‘s at bat in the top of the third, an Atlanta Braves broadcaster made a comment in bad taste.

Here’s the clip.

For those of unable to play video at work or office, what Braves announcer Joe Simpson said was that he hopes that Matt Harvey strains his oblique.

I thought it was a bit classless to wish an injury on someone. I guess it’s just Atlanta’s way of expressing their fear of the future. Brace yourself Braves fans. There’s a lot more Harvey where that came from.


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Mets Lose A 2-1 Heartbreaker After A Braves Two-Run Blast In The Ninth Tue, 18 Jun 2013 05:40:03 +0000 dillon gee

What a punch in the gut… After a rain delay of three hours and 43 minutes, Dillon Gee took the mound and fired eight shutout innings against the Braves as the Mets took a 1-0 lead heading into the ninth. But it was all for naught as first baseman Freddie Freeman crushed a two-run, walk-off homer to give the Braves a dramatic 2-1 win to take the first game of the five game series.

Gee dominated the Braves and held the them to just three hits and one walk before going out for the ninth. But after a base-knock and a blast it was all over. Gee struck out six in 8.1 innings and takes the gut-wrenching loss.

Ironically, Gee drove in the only run of the game for the Mets with an RBI-single in the seventh. Otherwise the Mets were flat except for Lucas Duda, who started at first base and had a big game going 4-for-4 with three singles and a double.

I’m not gonna kill Terry Collins for letting Gee go out to pitch the ninth. It was his game to win or lose and he earned the right to go out there and go for the complete game shutout.

Oh, the pain, the pain…

spacematt harvey usa today zack wheeler usa today

The Mets will need to shake this loss off as they gear up for their Super Tuesday doubleheader that is bound to be one of the biggest highlights of the season so far.

You won’t want to miss this as we’ll all get a glimpse of what could be the Mets’ future 1-2 punch at the top of the rotation for what we hope will be years to come.

RHP Matt Harvey (5-1, 2.04) will take on LHP Alex Wood (0-0, 3.52) in the first game at 1:10 PM, and then RHP Zack Wheeler will make his major league debut in the nightcap against LHP Paul Maholm (7-5, 3.65) for the Braves at 7:10 PM.

are you ready 2

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