Mets Merized Online » Babe Ruth Fri, 20 Jan 2017 01:11:54 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Know Your Stats: OPS/OPS+ Thu, 23 Jun 2016 17:00:04 +0000 simpsons sabermetrics

For the next few days, I will be bringing back my “Know Your Stats” series that I began a few years back to highlight some important sabermetric stats and concepts. We begin this afternoon with OPS and OPS+.

OPS, or On Base Plus Slugging was one of the first sabermetric stats to go mainstream. It is, as the name implies, On-Base Percentage plus Slugging Percentage. It’s crude and simple, but it’s a good quick and dirty reference tool

OPS is expanded on even further when made into an index, OPS+. OPS+ does something very important: puts the OPS into context. The stat makes it possible to compare players from different eras, different teams, and different ballparks.

OPS+ is set on a percentage point scale. Essentially it is the percentage of league OPS. 100 (or 100% of the league average) is the league average, while a 110 mark is ten percent better than league average, and 90 is ten percent worse.

There are many issues with the crude OPS and OPS+. Is one point of OBP worth the same as one point of SLG? The math says no. In fact, the math says a point of OBP is worth 1.7 times what a point of Slugging is. Neither OPS nor OPS+ tell you the composition of OBP or Slugging and thus overvalues extra base hits.

OPS as I mentioned, is crude and the most basic sabermetric stat out there. It has its flaws, but it is a great way to get people to start thinking about sabermetrics. OPS and OPS+ are solid stats and certainly better than batting average, although not as good as wOBA or wRC+.

More thoughts

  • Anytime there is a stat with a “+” at the end, that means it is an index and adjusted for park factors. I get a lot of questions and concerns about the fact that these park factors sometimes change from year to year. However, these changes are so miniscule from year to year that they don’t really effect the stat. Here are Yankee Stadium’s park factors going back to 2009:

Screen Shot 2016-06-23 at 12.44.30 AM


OPS= ((H +BB+HBP)/PA) + (TB/AB)

OPS+=100 x (OBP/lgOBP*+SLG/lgSLG*- 1) then park adjusted

In Context

ops chart 3ops chart 1

Further Reading

Up Next: wOBA

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Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom: Baseball’s Next Great Dynamic Duo? Thu, 27 Aug 2015 16:30:47 +0000 IMG_20150511_150631-e1431459969935

We’re all familiar with the many unique aspects that make Baseball the true National Pastime. The game can conceivably go on forever. It’s the only sport where the defense has the ball. The team trying to score is outnumbered 9 to 1. My personal favorite is that it’s a team sport based around a collection of one-on-one match-ups.

In 2014, after 6 weeks of spring training, 162 games spread out over the course of six months, one month of post-season games and more than 750 players from 28 different cities, the entire year came down to Madison Bumgarner standing 60 feet 6 inches away from Salvador Perez.

Players are part of a team that strives to bring a championship to their fans and their city. But there is still that part of them that burns deep inside, a natural born competitiveness. They’re not just competing against other clubs but in a way against each other.

Over the game’s long and glorious history, some players are eternally joined. Ruth and Gehrig. Koufax and Drysdale. Mantle and Maris. Harvey and DeGrom?

A closer look at these unique pairings indicates that not only did these players join forces to bring greatness to their respective teams and push each other but they had completely opposite personalities.

New York Yankees Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth - 1932.Baseball.

Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig alone combined for 1,207 home runs, 4,208 RBI’s and 5,594 hits. When Gehrig retired, he and Ruth held the top two spots on Baseball’s All-Time HR list. Yet, these legends could not be more different.

The Bambino was larger than life, both literally and figuratively. More than 80 years have passed since he took his final AB and yet he remains the most iconic figure in the history of American sports. He was loud, rambunctious, flamboyant and exciting. He drank and partied.

The Iron Horse, by contrast, was quiet, reserved and modest. When the Yankees traveled, Ruth had women in every town. Gehrig, on the other hand, was frequently accompanied by his mom on road trips.

Sandy koufax don Drysdale

The most potent 1-2 pitching duo in history was Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale. For half a decade they dominated the pitching landscape like never before. Koufax was a skinny Jewish kid from Brooklyn who feared pitching inside, and worried he would end someone’s career with his fastball.

Drysdale, born in California, stood at 6’6 with broad shoulders and movie star looks. Twin D once stated “I hate all hitters. I start a game mad and stay that way until it’s over.” He also loathed intentional walks, claiming, “If I hit a guy that only takes one pitch. Why waste four?”

mantle and maris

In 1961, two teammates were assaulting Ruth’s single season HR record of 61. Mickey Mantle was adored, worshiped and idolized. He played hard but lived harder and excelled  under the media glare and pressure of NY. He remains one of the games’ most loved stars. Roger Maris, however, was quiet, sullen and withdrawn. He detested the attention,  became physically sick and began losing his hair as he closed in on Ruth’s mark.

Thurman Munson was the tough, gritty hard-nosed captain of the Yankees in the 70’s. Then along came Reggie Jackson who was the media darling and seemingly always rose to the occasion. These two diametrically opposed teammates single-handedly brought the Bronx Bombers back to relevance after more than a decade of ineptitude. During one post-game interview after a Yankee victory, a reporter asked Munson a question. He sourly clipped, “Go ask Mr. October.” The name stuck.


However, one doesn’t have to look at other teams. The leaders of the Mets in the 1980’s were Keith Hernandez and Gary Carter. “Mex” epitomized the “Live Hard, Play Harder” approach of their take-no-prisoner attitude. He smoked (sometimes in the dugout) and had a history of drug use. “The Kid” lived a clean life, loved his wife and children, was religious and frequently thanked Jesus Christ after something good happened.

An injury to Johan Santana in 2012 forced Sandy Alderson’s hand. Sooner than he hoped, he recalled Matt Harvey from Buffalo.

The 23 year-old did well in his debut season, compiling 70 K’s in 59 1/3 innings and recording a 2.73 ERA. It was just the beginning.

In 2013, The Dark Knight of Gotham began drawing comparisons to Curt Schilling and Justin Verlander. Doc Gooden called him ‘The Real Deal.’ In April, Harvey was named Pitcher of the Month fanning 46 batters in 40 IP, a 1.56 ERA and .153 Opponents Batting Average. In May, despite a persistent nosebleed Harvey retired the first 20 batters he faced.

Finally, after all these years and all these promises, the Mets just may have found ‘The Next Tom Seaver.’

Like The Sultan of Swat, The Mick and Mr. October, The Dark Knight relished the media spotlight. He loved New York and New York loved him. He appeared on magazine covers. He did skits on late night TV. Not since Doctor K nearly three decades earlier had a pitcher with this much greatness and potential toed the rubber in Flushing.

The last time the Mets hosted an All-Star Game was 1964. Gas was .25 cents per gallon, the government was sending troops to some place most Americans never heard of called Viet Nam, the price of a Rolls Royce had climbed north of $16,000, people wondered if four long-haired mop-tops from Liverpool were just a passing fad, and the surgeon general reported for the first time that smoking may be hazardous to your health.

Now, in 2012, the Mets were again hosting the Mid-Summer classic. And Matt Harvey was the starter. In two innings he fanned three batters and allowed just one hit. 22 of his 33 pitches were strikes. It was the largest crowd ever at Citi Field.

Then, later that summer, it all came crashing down. A partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow ended his season. And the next one as well.

As Harvey rehabbed and came back from Tommy John surgery, someone else materialized.

The 272nd overall pick in the 2010 draft, Jacob Anthony DeGrom was originally slated to work out of the pen. As the year progressed, it became clear that there just may be a new ace in town. Seaver had Koosman. Koufax had Drysdale. Harvey had deGrom. Or maybe deGrom had Harvey?

After posting a 9-6 record with 144 K’s in 140 IP and a 2.69 ERA, lower than Harvey in his first year, deGrom became the first Met to win a Rookie of the Year award since Dwight Gooden in 1984.

And just like that, The Dark Knight found himself behind DeGrom.


Like many other celebrated duos, DeGrom and Harvey are very different. Harvey maintains a robust physique whereas DeGrom is wiry and lanky. Harvey gets into twitter spats with Yankee fans, argues with the front office and is photographed extending his middle finger. Although both take their pitching seriously, Harvey comes off as brooding, serious, almost as if he is battling inner demons to be the best.

DeGrom, on the other hand, has fun on the mound a la Tug McGraw, enjoying the stardom but with an awestruck boyish charm.

At the start of 2015, it became clear there woulde be no sophomore jinx. While deGrom came out quick, Harvey pitched tenuously as he battled back from elbow surgery. We all watched—nervously—to see if the Dark Knight would be okay. Initially he took a back seat to deGrom. But now Harvey’s coming on strong.

After a June 10 loss to the Giants, Harvey’s ERA was at 3.86, the highest of his career since August 3, 2012 – his second start ever. Since then, however, he’s turned it up. Possibly for himself, possibly for the team, possibly to reclaim his status as Mets ace and possibly for a pennant.

Since then, he’s lowered his ERA more than a full point. In 74 1/3 IP, he’s fanned 59, allowed just 54 hits and posted an impressive 1.61 ERA. His teammate meanwhile has allowed just 54 hits over his last 79IP, averaging more than a strikeout per inning and maintaining a 2.41 ERA.

Ultimately it doesn’t matter who the ace is. As someone once said, “My number one is the guy on the mound today.” But if Harvey pushes DeGrom to be better and DeGrom pushes Harvey to be better, the biggest benefit will be to the Mets and their fans while the NL may just have to sit back and deal with a 21st century tandem equivalent to Koufax and Drysdale.

2015 may just be the beginning.


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Little Roller Up Along First… Behind the Bag! It Gets Through…Hernandez? Thu, 09 Jul 2015 16:21:30 +0000 red-sox-celebrate

October 25, 1986: Boston:

It took 68 years for the Red Sox to end the ‘Curse of the Bambino’ and they did it in historic fashion in front of a sold-out Fenway Park.

The heavily favored Mets, winners of 108 regular season games, turned to Bob Ojeda in hopes of forcing a game 7. Trailing by a run heading to the home half of the eighth, Boston tied the game at 3. The Mets seemed destined to win when they scored two in the top of the tenth for a commanding 5-3 lead.

However, the bullpen could not close it out. After Jesse Orosco retired the first two batters, Boston rallied for an unprecedented three runs in the bottom of the 10th. Several times Boston was down to their last strike but the Sox were amazin. Roger McDowell allowed the tying run to score on a pitch in the dirt that Gary Carter couldn’t handle.

Tied 5-5 and with the winning run on second base, centerfielder Dave Henderson hit a slow roller along the first base line. Somehow, the ball skipped below the glove of Keith Hernandez, and Red Sox third baseman Wade Boggs raced home, hands atop his helmet in disbelief, and into the arms of his teammates.

In other Baseball news, Pirates young slugger Barry Bonds appears to be getting bigger…

Okay, okay, you’re all wondering what I’m smoking and where you can get some. I admit to taking some literary license and rewriting history. Or am I? Game 6 did not end this way. But it definitely could have had Bud Selig been commissioner back then.

Beginning in 2003, Commissioner Selig, along with approval from the Player’s Union, decided that the winner of the All-Star Game would have home field advantage in the World Series. And just like that the National Pastime’s two greatest institutions, the All-Star Game and the World Series, would be forever altered. Both had remained relatively untouched since their inceptions in 1933 and 1903 respectively. And then along came Bud.

The reason was simple. Viewership for the Midsummer Classic was down. Interest was waning. The powers-that-be believed the game should now carry significance. For seventy years the All-Star Game was by and large an exhibition put on for the fans. It gave us a chance to see the best and brightest from each league. Now that’s changed. And not for the better.

Since 2003, the league that won the All-Star Game has gone on to win the World Series 8 out of 12 times. In other words, an ‘exhibition game’ in July has direct influence over the Fall Classic in October. It also can–and has–changed the history of the game.

In 1986, the Mets returned to Shea where they rallied to win games 6 and 7. However, had Selig’s rule been in place then, it’s likely 1969 would be the Mets only championship season. The AL won the 1986 All-Star Game. Boston would have had home field advantage, not us.

In 2005, the White Sox won the Series in 5 games. It was their first championship since 1917 when they were led by guys named Joe Jackson, Eddie Cicotte and Buck Weaver. The victory, however, was bittersweet for Chicagoans. Had the home field advantage rule not been in place, the Sox would have been home for games 3, 4 and 5, not on the road. Their first championship would have—and should have—been in Chicago, not Houston.

Game 6 of the 2011 World Series was arguably the greatest post-season game ever played. Facing elimination, the Cardinals returned to STL needing 2 wins. They went to the HOME half of the 8th inning of game 6 trailing 7-4. They scored 1 in the bottom of the frame, two more in the HOME half of the ninth, twice more in the HOME half of the 10th and finally won it in the HOME half of the 11th. The following day they won Game 7. Had the old format been retained and home field alternated year-to-year, Texas would have hosted games 6 and 7 and most likely would have won their first Championship in team history.

San Francisco Giants win the 2012 World Series

San Francisco fans waited more than half a century to see their Giants win it all. Yet, despite the fact their club has won 3 titles in the last 5 years, all series clinchers have come on the road. Once again, had the original alternating format been in place, the NL club was scheduled to host 4 of the 7 games in even years. The Giants would’ve won 2010 and 2012 at AT&T Park, not in Texas and Detroit.

The All-Star Game now carries major importance. Yet, it still maintains that Exhibition Game feel. If the point is to win—and it clearly is—why does every team need to be represented? Why does the manager need to stress about making sure every guy gets in as much as he stresses about winning? We are NL fans. We want the NL to win. Therefore, I want the best guys out there for 9 innings. I want to see Max Scherzer pitching to Buster Posey for all 27 outs. I want Paul Goldschmidt to have at least 4 AB’s.

Why should ONE game have such a huge bearing on the Fall Classic? Since there’s interleague games daily, why not just look at the best head-to head records throughout the season? Whichever league wins more over the course of 6 months, not one night, gets home field advantage. After all, as it stands now, how many of us really care when the AL Mariners play the NL Rockies?

As a kid growing up in the 70’s, watching the All-Star Game was one of my favorite times of the year. Being a NL fan, the biggest stars in the AL were just names in a box score. The Mid-Summer Classic gave me a chance to see my Baseball cards come to life. I could actually see a Nolan Ryan fastball rather than hearing about it. I could witness Harmon Killebrew uncoil from his crouch. I could watch Rod Carew change his stance on each pitch depending on the count. It was a wonderful thing.

Even before these recent changes, the luster of the ASG has diminished. MLB Network, ESPN, YouTube, etc…obviously weren’t around back then. Seeing Mike Trout every night on the highlight reel is nothing special. Seeing Al Kaline Saturday afternoon during an episode of “This Week in Baseball” was.


No shock here but the first player to ever go deep in an All-Star Game was Babe Ruth. When returning to the dugout, The Bambino said, “Let’s show these NL bums how we play.” From 1933 through the early 90’s, there was indeed a rivalry between the leagues. That, too, is now gone. Players have no qualms about switching teams, much less switching leagues. The biggest free agents last winter—Max Scherzer, Pablo Sandoval and James Shields—all changed leagues. And hey, if entire franchises can switch (Houston to the AL, Milwaukee to the NL), why shouldn’t players?

Ironically, despite the Commish’s best efforts to increase interest, it’s failed. The 2002 ASG, the final one without ‘meaning,’ was watched in 10 million homes. In 2013, just 7.5 million tuned in, a drop of 25%.

Keeping in mind I am a traditionalist, I feel it’s imperative that this ‘experiment’ be put to rest. Let’s have the All-Star Game mean exactly what it was designed for: a chance to take a breather for a few days, sit back and watch the best players in the game display their talent.

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We’ll Need More Than Just Harvey To Win In 2015 Sun, 07 Sep 2014 12:00:32 +0000 ichiro

On October 1, 2004, I was having dinner with my wife of six months and my new in-laws. As we bantered back and forth I kept one eye on the TV mounted in the corner of Applebee’s. When I saw a basehit up the middle,

I excitedly tapped my wife on the shoulder. “He did it!” My in-laws, who knew nothing about Baseball, asked, “Who did what?” I explained that Mariners’ outfielder Ichiro Suzuki just broke George Sisler’s record for most hits in a season, a record that stood untouched for more than 80 years. My mother-in-law asked innocently, “Are the Mariners a good team?” “No,” I responded. “They suck.” The look on her face was…well, priceless. How a team with such a talented player could suck was mind-boggling to her.

But that’s what makes baseball the most beautiful game ever created. You can’t keep getting the puck to Wayne Gretzky, handing off to Walter Payton or passing to Magic Johnson for a lay-up. The National Pastime, more than any other game, is a team sport. This is a fact we need to remember.


Enter Walter Johnson. Widely regarded as the best pitcher in history, The Big Train was to pitching what The Bambino was to hitting. Over a 21 year career, Johnson won 417 games, second only to Cy Young.

His career ERA was an anemic 2.17. He recorded 3,508 strikeouts. It took another 50 years for a pitcher to even reach 3,000. In the last 50 years only two pitchers—Tom Seaver and Nolan Ryan—even came “close” to his record 110 shut-outs. They recorded 61. Johnson led the American League in wins six times, twice eclipsing 30 of them Throw in five ERA crowns and leading the league in strikeouts 12 times.

Yep, that Johnson guy was not bad. However, despite incredible numbers for two decades, Walter Johnson only was a World Champion just once.

The reason is simple. In spite of Johnson’s splendid career, he played for what is generally regarded as a bad team. He had poor defense behind him, and a weak offense provided little, if any, run support. Johnson compiled a .599 winning percentage while his team compiled a 492 winning percentage. Incredibly, in his 279 losses, the Senators were shut out 65 times. Imagine how many more games Johnson could’ve won had he played for a team with some decent hitting.

MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks at New York Mets

Matt Harvey made his debut for the Mets on July 26, 2012. In 10 starts he posted a 2.73 ERA and fanned 70 batters in 59.0 innings pitched. His strikeout to walk ratio was nearly 3:1, yet despite such a grand debut, Harvey had a losing record. 3-5.

Having Harvey for an entire season made the fan base cautiously optimistic for 2013. The Dark Knight became the newest member of  ‘The Next Tom Seaver’ club. Maybe, just maybe, this time there was some truth to this oft thrown around label.

The hard-throwing righty did not disappoint. Harvey whiffed 191 batters in 178 innings while walking only 31. He became the first Mets pitcher to start an All-Star Game since Doc Gooden a quarter of a century earlier. Harvey was having an epic campaign and yet despite all his gaudy numbers, he won just nine games in four months.

As you all know, Harvey was shut down after being diagnosed with a torn elbow ligament. He’d miss the rest of 2013 and all of 2014 after Tommy John surgery. Barring setbacks, in 2013 Mets fans were not clamoring “wait till next year” but “Wait till the year after next year.”

We widely regarded 2014 to be another ‘throw-away’ year. And it certainly has been. Yes, there have been some bright spots, but by and large the Mets have spent the year struggling to approach 500 and fighting to stay ahead of the Phillies to avoid last place. The general consensus is that next year (2015) when Harvey returns, we’ll be better. Many fans believe with Harvey pitching every fifth day the Mets have a legitimate shot at making the post-season. But do we?

Assuming Harvey returns in 2015 with the same dominance he showed for three-quarters of 2013, you can be sure he will be on an innings limit roughly between 150 and 175. The Nationals’ Stephen Strasburg was capped at 160.

This means that even if the Mets DO find themselves battling for a wild card, it’s unlikely Harvey will still be around in September. Could we compete for the playoffs with our ace on the bench during the month-long stretch run? I hope so, but who knows. I just don’t want to see 2015 turn into another ‘wait until next year’ grind when Harvey will be free of restrictions in 2016. I want to see a serious commitment to winning next season with plans A, B and C firmly in place.

The point here is twofold. The Mets really need to do better than an offense that ranks 29th in batting and 28th in OPS if we seriously intend to make a run for the playoffs next season. And it may be a good idea to have a solid backup plan for Matt Harvey – just in case. Lets be proactive for a change. This is going to be one of the most significant offseasons we’ve had in years. Lets make it happen in 2015. We need the teamwork to make the dream work.

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Lessons In Latin America: A Brief Cuban History Sun, 05 Jan 2014 15:18:42 +0000 jose abre cuban caseball

I would like to share to many, details into Cuban baseball history, which is an excerpt of my senior thesis. I hope you enjoy. This will be an ongoing feature with different countries, and will have a surprise interview at the end.

There is no question about where the root of Caribbean Baseball was as it started in Cuba, but the stories of how it got there are very different from person to person. According to Viva Baseball, a documentary created by the Spike Channel about Latin American players, upper class White Cuban students who had been studying in America, learned about the sport from Americans around the time of the Civil War. According to Viva Baseball, they brought it back and taught it to others.

Another story, according to Kurlansky, told of American influence directly onto Cuban Baseball when the embargo ended in 1814 with Spanish controlled Cuba. During that time trade was happening between the United States, and Cuba, so with the trade came Baseball in the 1860’s.

What both sources agree on was why baseball was cemented as the Cuban pastime. The sport was a form of defiance by the Cubans against the Spanish, by using their economic opposition’s pastime, America against the Spanish. It was an easy choice, according to Viva Baseball, considering many Cubans were not fond of soccer, Spgymain’s pastime. Soon after being introduced, many different amateur teams started to sprout up all over the countryside. American influence was a large reason for Baseball spreading, not just to Cuba, but to each Latin American country in general, and it wasn’t just by how the United States asserted itself into countries, but also by the sugar trade.

Sugar started booming in the 1860’s in Cuba. Baseball boomed with it. Cuba was a large host to the sugar trade, and at that time became one of the largest export of sugar in the world The sugar trade summoned foreign sugar cane workers called Cocolos from different islands around Cuba, who played the sport in their scarce, yet valued break time. Entrepreneurs then spread the sport through their own businesses to places such as Venezuela and the Dominican Republic.

Cuba’s league started to gain fame to American players. At times in the early 1900’s, American teams like the Cincinnati Reds came down to play in warm-up games. The Cuban teams started to become very good, and were noticed for their talent, especially when pitcher José Méndez kept the Reds from scoring a run for 25 innings in 3 games.

Yankees legend Babe Ruth, after a warm-up match was so impressed, that he believed if they signed some of these Cuban players, the team would likely run away with the division by June. So some American teams started to sign White Cuban players. Armando Marsans and Rafael Almeida debuted together as the first two Latin American players in the Major Leagues in 1911 with the Cincinnati Reds.

martin dihigoWhile Cuban whites were allowed to play, up, darker players in Cuba had to stay in their leagues until Jackie Robinson and Branch Rickey broke the Color Barrier, or go to others such as the Mexican, Puerto Rican, Dominican, Venezuelan, and Negro Leagues in the United States. Had it not been for racism, players such as Martin Dihigo would have had a place among High American Baseball Honors.

Dihigo was a wonderful example of how American Baseball would have progressed earlier if not for racism. He was a dark-skinned Cuban, who had played every single position, and really just dominated. To many, he was well revered as a legend for Cuba, and went and played in many leagues that weren’t the Majors, such as the Mexican, Venezuelan, and American Negro Leagues. He was famous in every league, pitching first no-hit game in the Mexican League, and competing for the Triple Crown, year after year with Josh Gibson, who was said to be the Black Babe Ruth (Or some say, even better). In the Mexican, Venezuelan, Cuban, and Negro Leagues, he entered the Hall of Fame.

The Washington Senators really started the first mass-signings of White Cuban players in the mid 1930’s. Clark Griffith, who was owner of the team, hired scout Joe Cambria, to start bringing in new talent to their team. While the team was an utter disaster, aside from legendary pitcher Walter Johnson, they did provide a new bridge into Latin America. “Papa” Joe Cambria found a way to stroll the Cuban sugar fields, and nearly kidnap Cuban players, by signing them to incredibly cheap bonuses and sending them to Washington to compete.

After Robinson and Rickey broke the color barrier in 1947, blacker players came in to the mix from Latin America. Although Rickey wanted to integrate first into Brooklyn, he could not find a Latin Ballplayer with a demeanor that would endure racism the way Jackie Robinson did. Rickey integrated the Major Leagues with players who weren’t the best in their leagues, but people say he was certain could endure hardship. In Jackie Robinson’s recent biopic 42, Rickey exclaimed he wanted a player “with the guts not to fight back.” The players he chose who were Latino, were more high-strung than the black players.

Minnie Minoso, however, was not. In 1951, Minoso broke the Black-Latino color barrier with the Chicago White Sox, which started the floodgate of many Latin American stars coming in. No one, however believed that this would have been done without help from Robinson and Rickey four years before. However, Minoso endured more than Robinson, not just for color, but because he was Latin as well. But, while Cubans like Minnie Minoso and RHP Luis Tiant pioneered Latin-black integration, Cuban recognition was then suddenly shut out by politics when Fidel Castro came to power and an embargo happened between the United States and Cuba in 1960.

What was worse for the Cuban and United States’ embargo was that the most prominent winter leagues were played in Cuba. So America then moved to the Dominican Republic, Mexico, and Venezuela to continue to play in the hot sun with some fierce competition. Cuban baseball, however, never exactly diminished on the Island because of being cut off from American leagues, and still boasts the best talents. Many stars from Cuba, seeking better bonuses than what the island had to offer, defected from Cuba to sign large team deals with Major League teams. Jose Abreu is one of the newest examples of Cuban talent, signing with the White Sox for 4 years, and $64 Million Dollars.

Presented By Diehards

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David Wright Nominated For Hank Aaron Award Mon, 07 Oct 2013 17:52:11 +0000 david wright

The New York Mets, Major League Baseball and MLB Advanced Media today announced that David Wright was named the club’s nominee for the 2013 Hank Aaron Award.  Fans can vote exclusively online at and

Wright, who was named to his seventh All-Star team (fifth as starter), led the Mets with a .307 batting average.  The third baseman hit 18 home runs with 58 runs batted in, despite missing six weeks with a right hamstring injury.  Wright homered in three straight games twice, and also passed Mike Piazza to move in to second on the Mets all-time home run list with 222. On June 23rd, Wright collected four extra base hits (two doubles, one triple and one home run) to tie the franchise record. Wright was named the fourth captain in club history by his teammates in March.

For the fourth straight year, a special panel of Hall of Fame players led by Hank Aaron will join fans in voting for the award, which is officially sanctioned by Major League Baseball and has recognized the most outstanding offensive performer in each League since it was established in 1999.

The Hall of Fame panel led by Aaron includes some of the greatest offensive players of all-time –Roberto Alomar, Johnny Bench, Tony Gwynn, Paul Molitor, Eddie Murray and Robin Yount.  These Hall of Famers – who combined for 15,581 hits, 6,902 RBI and 1,334 home runs – have all been personally selected by Hank Aaron to lend their expertise to select the best offensive performer in each League.

Through October 10, fans will have the opportunity to select one American League and one National League winner from a list comprising of one finalist per Club. The winners of the 2013 Hank Aaron Award will be announced during the 2013 World Series.

“It is a great honor that Major League Baseball recognizes the most outstanding offensive performer in each League with an award in my name,” said Hank Aaron. “The game is full of so many talented players today that I am thankful my fellow Hall of Famers and the fans assist in selecting the much deserving winners.”

Past winners of the Hank Aaron Award include: Miguel Cabrera and Buster Posey (2012), Jose Bautista and Matt Kemp (2011), Bautista and Joey Votto (2010); Derek Jeter and Albert Pujols (2009); Aramis Ramirez and Kevin Youkilis (2008); Alex Rodriguez and Prince Fielder (2007); Jeter and Ryan Howard (2006); David Ortiz and Andruw Jones (2005); Manny Ramirez and Barry Bonds (2004); Rodriguez and Pujols (2003); Rodriguez and Bonds (2001-02); Carlos Delgado and Todd Helton (2000) and Manny Ramirez and Sammy Sosa (1999).

The Hank Aaron Award was introduced in 1999 to honor the 25th Anniversary of Aaron breaking Babe Ruth’s all-time home run record, and, at that time, was the first major award introduced by Major League Baseball in more than 25 years.

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Beltran Doesn’t Rule Out A Return To The Mets Sun, 06 Oct 2013 20:32:40 +0000 carlos beltran

Carlos Beltran told Mike Puma of the NY Post that he wouldn’t be against a return to the Mets when he becomes a free agent this offseason.

“Maybe I’ll see you, maybe I won’t,” Beltran said laughing when asked about a return to the Mets. “I’m going to listen to everybody and we’ll see what happens.”

According to sources, Beltran spoke with Mets COO Jeff Wilpon at the All-Star Game in July, and the two sides may have patched up old wounds. Beltran did acknowledge on Saturday that he spoke with Wilpon, but declined to specify what was discussed.

The Mets will have some level of interest in the 36-year-old Beltran, according to what a source told Puma, but they do have concerns about his diminished range in right field.

Beltran batted .296 with an .836 OPS for the Cardinals this season. In 600 plate appearances he racked up 30 doubles, 24 homers and 84 RBIs.

Original Post 10/3

St. Louis outfielder Carlos Beltran led the assault as the Cardinals pounded the Pittsburgh Pirates 9-1 in Game 1 of the NLDS on Thursday.

Before a sellout crowd of 45,693 delirious Cardinal fans, Beltran blasted a three-run bomb off Pirates starter A.J. Burnett that rocketed its way into the second deck of Busch Stadium. The 443-foot blast was the second-longest ever hit in the ballpark by a left-handed batter.

When Beltran came out of the dugout for a curtain call, the stadium let out a thunderous roar of approval. It was the latest chapter in Beltran’s historic post-season career and with tonight’s homer he equaled Babe Ruth with 15 playoff home runs.

An All-Star for the eighth time this year, Beltran is the all-time postseason leader in slugging (.782) and OPS (1.252), while ranking sixth all-time and first among actives in on-base percentage (.470).

Perhaps Matt Snyder of CBS Sports presents the strongest case for why Beltran has put together a convincing Hall of Fame resumé…

He has the highest career postseason slugging percentage and OPS (1.238) in baseball history. According to Elias Sports Bureau, Beltran has the second highest home run rate in postseason play (15 homers in 129 at-bats — so one home run for every 8.6 at-bats), trailing only Babe Ruth. Ever heard of him? In terms of postseason play, an argument could be made Beltran is the best postseason hitter of all-time.

We’re talking about a guy with over 350 homers and 300 stolen bases. Here are the only players in baseball history to have done that: Barry Bonds, Willie MaysAlex Rodriguez, Andre Dawson and Beltran.

The eight-time All-Star Beltran carries a career triple-slash line of .283/.359/.496, good enough for a 122 OPS+ (22 percent better than the league average throughout his entire career). His 67.5 WAR ( version) puts him 83rd among position players in history. That might not sound impressive, but we need to think about just how many thousands upon thousands of position players have even taken the field. He also has 446 doubles, getting him close to the top 100 ever (104th right now).

Also, take note of the players who accumulated less WAR over their respective careers: Roberto Alomar, Duke Snider, Pee Wee Reese, Craig Biggio, Andre Dawson, Willie McCovey, Dave Winfield, Billy Williams, Richie Ashburn, Mark McGwire, Harmon Killebrew, Yogi Berra and, well, you get the idea.


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Bambino’s, Billy Goats…and Joan Payson: Why the Mets are Cursed Thu, 03 Oct 2013 13:30:16 +0000 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.

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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.


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.


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.


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 Matt Harvey Overexposed… Literally? Mon, 08 Jul 2013 16:07:08 +0000 matt harvey nude

In the summer of 1990 the Yankees were playing the White Sox in a relatively unimportant game. “Neon” Deion Sanders walked to the plate and with the end of his bat he drew an “S” in the dirt with a line through it. A dollar sign. The Sox catcher immediately wiped it away. Undeterred, the 22-year-old Sanders again marked the area in front of home plate with a dollar sign. “That’s why I’m here,” he stated to the catcher. The catcher that afternoon was 43 year-old veteran Carlton Fisk, an old school ballplayer in every sense of the word. The future Hall of Famer wiped it away a second time and stated defiantly, “You do that a third time, Sanders, and I’ll bury you there.”

“Pudge” was a big time throwback. In his own way he taught Sanders that this is baseball and that kind of behavior won’t be tolerated in a game so steeped in tradition and history.

As I’ve stated before in previous blogs, I am a complete traditionalist when it comes to our National Pastime. I cherish the history, the records, have memorized stats and view the all-time greats as if they were Greek Gods from Mount Olympus. So, when the fabric of the game is possibly tarnished, it doesn’t sit well with me. When it’s one of the Mets, it’s hard to accept.

I am old-fashioned. Perhaps too old-fashioned. And maybe I have too much time on my hands. I like to hold baseball and those who play the game to a higher standard than athletes of other sports.

On July 12th, ESPN will release their annual ‘The Body Issue’ in which athletes are featured nude, albeit with strategically placed items covering genitalia. 21 sports stars will be included in the 2013 issue. Only two baseball players are included. One of whom is our own Matt Harvey.

Granted, Harvey is a young and buff 24-year-old professional athlete. He’s obviously fit, tone and muscled. His chiseled form would make Hans and Franz jealous. Again, I’m old-fashioned but again, I like to hold ballplayers and especially my Mets to a higher standard. I won’t say he was wrong for doing it. But I can’t say I’m in favor of it either.

Danica_Patrick_03 - CopyNow, many women who look at the pictures will have no problem with the physical specimen Harvey is. Many guys will say, “I don’t need to see that.” But is this necessary? Are the photographs “art?” Maybe, maybe not. Art is subjective. Some consider the Mona Lisa a masterpiece. Others consider a collection of Campbell Soup Cans a masterpiece. Each to his own.

Some will argue that “If it was a woman, you’d have no problem with it.” But I must disagree. If someone wants to be recognized for their achievements in a competitive sport then they should not resort to using their own sexuality. Danica Patrick gets angered when she’s treated differently than one of ‘the boys.’ She wants to be judged on her individual merits and accomplishments. A professional athlete, a NASCAR driver. But then she goes out and poses in a bikini lying across the hood of a car. Natalie Gulbis gets upset when she is treated like a sex object and not a professional golfer. But then, she turns around and sells her annual calendar in which she appears in various provocative outfits.

True, I have no problem with the double-standard displayed by Patrick or Gulbis or others. But they are golfers and race car drivers. Not baseball players.

Football has cheerleaders. Basketball has cheerleaders. And while I’m not a fan of either sport, I have no problem with that. But I am glad baseball does not. In the mid 1980’s, Cubs ball girl Marla Collins found herself in the national spotlight as WGN broadcast games from coast-to-coast. Collins took advantage of her notoriety and posed for Playboy. She was quickly fired.

Over the last three plus months Harvey has been compared to Tom Seaver and Doc Gooden. I know times have changed. And baseball has changed. But can anyone picture a 25-year-old fit Tom Seaver doing a “photo shoot” of this nature?


Babe Ruth was the greatest baseball star ever. He was an icon that became bigger than the game itself. He was America’s first sports hero. Yet, he managed to accomplish this level of stardom without ever appearing spread eagle in a Speedo across the hood of a Studebaker. (I’m assuming he never did. I was too afraid to Google ‘Babe Ruth Speedo.’) The most important player to ever walk onto the diamond was Jackie Robinson. But the No. 42 was retired by all major league clubs and April 15th is known as Jackie Robinson Day because of what Jackie meant to the game and to America, not because he ever stretched across second base at Ebbets Field wearing only a strategically placed batting glove.

I’m a man. And I’ll be the first to admit it’s a man’s world, be it in the job market where men are paid more or movies which are mostly geared to men. Even advertising makes it abundantly clear: Drink our beer and you go home with the hot chick. Put on a splash of our cologne and you’ll go home with two or three hot chicks.

So, is there a double standard? Absolutely. But it goes both ways. Matt Harvey is pitching superbly and therefore gets a pass. Now, what if one-win-10-loss Shaun Marcum, another physically fit athlete, did this? For 15 years, Derek Jeter has been the heartthrob of female fans nationwide. Yet, I am fairly sure the Captain of the Yankees has never been photographed like this. A friend of mine who is an avid Mets fan has had a schoolgirl-like crush on Mike Piazza for years. Yet, Piazza somehow managed to establish his place in the hearts of Mets fans by being a winner and hitting a home run days after 9/11. And he did this while leaving his clothes on.

1977-1000-poster-01 - CopyGrowing up in the 70s, my bedroom wall was adorned with numerous posters and photographs. As expected, I, like most boys my age, had the obligatory posters of Farrah Fawcett and the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. I also had a poster of Fonzie with his thumbs up and a caption reading, “Heyyyyyy.” (Fonzie being Henry Winkler, not Edgardo Alfonzo.) But I also had baseball related pictures. Each year I scotch taped that year’s team picture of the Mets, as well as posters of Rusty Staub, Tom Seaver and George Brett. The only ‘suggestive’ posters were the ones of Farrah and the Cowboy Cheerleaders. The one of Seaver was in mid-wind-up, the ones of Staub and Brett were standing at home plate. I doubt that any eight year Mets fan will be putting these types of pictures of Matt Harvey on their wall.

Again, I’m old-fashioned. And perhaps, this is much ado about nothing. It probably is. And really, I should be old enough and wise enough at this point in my life to realize that ballplayers are just people and not Gods from Mount Olympus.

Congratulations to Matt Harvey for being selected to his first All-Star Game. Let’s just hope (at least us guys) that he remembers to be wearing his uniform when he takes the mound next week.

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Hefner Constantly Making Adjustments To Maintain His Edge Sun, 07 Jul 2013 14:20:19 +0000 jeremy hefner

It was Jeremy Hefner‘s turn to have a Sunday round with Steve Serby of the New York Post. As is usually the case, Serby did a nice job of revealing a side of Hefner we hadn’t known on a variety of topics ranging from the two times he was drafted by the Mets and didn’t sign, to how he would pitch Babe Ruth. The following four questions I found to be most compelling.

Q: What drives you?

A: I really love the game. I want people back home, people in Queens, kids in Queens, to look at me as an example of someone who does it right. … I just try to use my platform for the goodness of the game … that there are good people that play the game, too.

Q: So you’re resilient.

A: I have to be, ’cause I’m not Matt Harvey, or Adam Wainwright, you know. Those guys that just have the stuff to get people out even on the bad days. So I have to prepare, I have to tweak, I have to do all those things to keep an edge, because the league’s always gonna catch up to you, and so you’ve gotta keep making adjustments back at ’em.

Q: Describe your mound temperament.

A: Much like we’re talking right now, just very relaxed. I’m probably more competitive off the field than I am on the field, playing board games or video games or whatever the case may be. I try to keep an even keel. … Every once in a while I will get a little riled up. Sometimes that helps me focus on what I need to be doing and not getting distracted by other things.

Q: Would you compare yourself to anyone?

A: I’d say Adam Wainwright, because that’s someone that I looked up to whenever I was in college. He’s a guy that I’ve tried to repeat mechanically. … He’s had very good success. And I told Adam whenever we were in St. Louis that I appreciated how he goes about his business So that’s someone that I try to kinda model myself around.

You can read the full interview here.

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2013 All Star Game Menu and David Wright’s Home Run Derby Jersey Fri, 28 Jun 2013 15:09:27 +0000 david-wrights-2013-all-star-game-jersey

Here’s a look at David Wright’s All Star Game batting practice jersey… It complete with the “C” as one of the official captains for the Home Run Derby.

These are the jerseys that they will be wearing for the Home Run Derby and are different from the actual All Star Game jerseys that do not feature the skyline.

Both Wright and Robinson Cano of the New York Yankees will don the “C” as captains of their respective Home Run Derby squads.


As we reported on Sunday, David Wright has overtaken San Francisco’s Pablo Sandoval for the voting lead at third base in the latest update. The Mets third baseman was trailing by more than 100,000 votes as recently as ten days ago and has now taken a 128,831 vote lead. There are only six days remaining to vote.

Cast Your All Star Vote For Wright Here!

bears all star

Joey, Iggy and Ed Leyro were all on hand Wednesday, as the Mets unveiled their All Star Game Menu at the Caesar’s Club in Citi Field.

They did a superb culinary roundup of all the world class delights which features a centuries old recipe for their All Star Meatball Sub. The meatballs are made using a combination of prime beef, milk natured veal and pork cheeks, and is then smothered in a delicious Sicilian tomato sauce with melted authentic buffalo milk mozzarella imported from Italy. A topping of deep-fried sweet basil completes this decadent delight.


Go to Studious Metsimus for all the tasty and delectable details…

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Coming Soon To A League Near You: The Designated Hitter Sun, 23 Jun 2013 13:32:43 +0000 matt harveyImagine waking up tomorrow morning, checking out MMO and reading that Matt Harvey got injured. Our jaws would drop, our stomachs would sink and our heart would skip a beat. Then, to take it one step further, imagine if our ace and the pitcher we intend to build our future around was injured not by pitching, but while taking a turn at bat. Wouldn’t it be that much worse?

The question I raise is this: Is it time for the NL to adopt the DH?

Let me begin by saying I am a traditionalist when it comes to the grand ol’ game. I think artificial turf is stupid. I’ve never warmed to the idea of three divisions. And yes, even though extra wild card spots add excitement until the very last day, it bothers me that 1 of every 3 teams make the post-season. This is Baseball, not Basketball.

And honestly, I’ve never liked the Designated Hitter. I’ve always thought that to have a guy on your roster who can only do ONE thing—HIT—is lame. I believe that guys who spend the bulk of their career as a DH, like an Edgar Martinez or David Ortiz, should not be considered for the Hall of Fame. If they are Cooperstown-worthy, then why not Jose Oquendo?

What if a guy had no talent other than a strong arm? Should he play right field as a Designated Outfielder? In 1975, the eccentric Charlie Finley included Herb Washington on the A’s roster. Washington had no baseball skills whatsoever. His only attribute was that he was speedy. He was baseball’s one and only Designated Runner. (The experiment lasted one season)

Pitchers get hurt. We, as Mets fans, realize that better than anyone. Approximately one third of our 2013 payroll, $24 million plus, is locked up in a LHP who may never pitch again. So, yes, injuries are a part of the game. Injuries to pitchers are devastating. But when pitchers get hurt doing something they’re not paid to do, it’s that much worse.

If a Buster Posey gets run over blocking the plate and misses 4 months, well, that’s part of the game. If Jose Reyes pulls a hammy running the bases, well, that’s part of the game. But when a pitcher gets injured hitting?  Well, that’s just…different.

Several weeks ago, Ryan Vogelsong of the Giants was having his first solid start of the season. In the fifth inning, he swung at an inside pitch. The ball came in, effectively breaking the pinky finger on his pitching hand in two places. See you in 6-8 weeks, Ryan. From 2006 to 2008, Josh Beckett, Randy Johnson, Bartolo Colon, Pedro Martinez, Carlos Zambrano, Chien-Ming Wang and Scott Downs all missed significant time due to injuries sustained from hitting or running the bases.

Had the DH been around for most of the last century, how different would the history books look? In 1934, Babe Ruth played part time because he was too old to field his position. Yet, he still hit 22 HR’s in 365 AB’s. In 1928, Ty Cobb saw limited playing time due the fact he was 42 and his legs were gone. Yet, he still hit 323. Had Cobb DH’d several more seasons, Pete Rose would not be all our all-time hits leader. And we can only imagine what kind of numbers Mickey Mantle would’ve compiled had he not been relegated to patrolling the expansive outfield of the old Yankee Stadium on bad knees.

Mickey  Mantle Lying on Couch with Covering on Injured KneePerhaps it’s time—and I cant believe I’m actually typing these words—for the NL to adopt the DH.

It was 1973 when, for the first time in history, the AL and NL played under different rules. For the following 3 years, pitchers had to bat in the World Series. Beginning in 1976, Commissioner Bowie Kuhn decided to alternate the DH. One Fall Classic with, one without. In 1986 that rule was changed to the DH allowed when the AL champions played host.

Over the last decade and a half, however, the glamour of interleague play has lost some of its luster. It’s no longer the novelty it once was. Attendance during The Subway Series as well as games between the two teams in southern California, northern California, Chicago, Texas and Missouri have decreased slightly for a few years now.

And with 15 teams in each league and an interleague game every day of the week for the entire season, the NL is at a huge disadvantage. On most AL teams, the DH is usually one of the best hitters on the team and hits in the 3, 4 or 5 hole. By contrast, the NL must resort to inserting someone who would normally be a bench player—a fourth outfielder or a back-up first baseman.

Even in the most recent Subway series where we swept the Yankees (and what a beautiful thing it was), John Buck was used as our DH in one game, allowing Anthony Recker to play. Recker’s batting average was .160. The other game in The Bronx Lucas Duda DH’d and Mike Baxter found a spot. Baxter and his 228 BA batted ninth. Meanwhile, the Yankees DH was Travis Hafner. Big difference.

And of course, it does not balance out when the NL plays host to an AL team. Can anyone say the difference between Hafner to Recker is offset by Matt Harvey batting as opposed to Hiroki Kuroda?

Since the advent of interleague play, the AL has a .525 winning percentage. I believe a large part of this is due to the advantage of a DH as opposed to a fourth outfielder.

Just thinking (or writing) out loud, what about a compromise? A DH is allowed—but he must bat in the #9 spot in the batting order.

Granted, putting the DH in to the NL would indeed take away strategy. And strategy has always been one of baseball’s bright spots. We’d see less double-switches, less pinch hitters, less walking of the #8 hitter forcing the manager to decide if he should pinch hit for his starter. I love that stuff. We all do.

On the flip side, how many times when a pitcher steps to the dish with a man on base and less than two outs, we already KNOW he’s going to bunt. How much strategy is that?

Those in favor of the DH say they don’t come to the ballpark to watch the manager think. I agree. On the flip side, how many come to the ballpark to watch the pitcher hit? We go to games to see pitchers pitch and hitters hit.

As Baseball fans and Mets fans, there are certain stats we have logged in our brain. Cy Young’s 511 wins. Walter Johnson’s 110 shut outs. We all know Seaver won three Cy Young Awards and that Doc was 24-4 in 85. However, does anyone know what their batting averages were? I sure dont.

This week the Mets will face the White Sox and their DH Paul Konerko or Adam Dunn. Do we have anyone on the bench to adequately counter them?

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Collins: It’s Too Early To Panic About Ike Davis Sat, 27 Apr 2013 12:47:01 +0000 Updated at 5:30 PM

Ike Davis

According to Terry Collins, it’s too early to worry about Ike Davis and his prolonged slump.

“There is no need to panic about Ike Davis, or talk about sending him to the minor leagues,” Collins told reporters.

Would the Mets consider sending Ike to minors?

“If that discussion is going to be had, it’s not going to be had for a long time. You have to have patience.”

Ike Davis is batting seventh in the order in tonight’s game against the Phillies.

Original Post 9:30 AM

Ike Davis should log on to his computer, Google the book, “Ted Williams: The Science of Hitting,’’ and order a copy.

Maybe it is time both he and the Mets realize Davis isn’t just struggling, but that perhaps he doesn’t know too much about hitting. Davis homered yesterday, but for my money I would rather he slapped a single to left in the sixth with runners on second and third and two outs.

Instead, he struck out. Again. For those scoring at home, it was the 24thtime he has walked back to the dugout in disgust, compared to just 12 hits. Old stats, new stats, it doesn’t matter, Davis is not producing.Davis has four homers and seven RBI. He’s hitting .174 with a .260 on-base percentage, .348 slugging percentage and .608 OPS. However, the number that kills me is he’s on pace for 194 strikeouts.

I spoke with Davis about strikeouts and using the whole field and he told me he’s a home run hitter, he likes to hit home runs, and strikeouts are part of the equation. He’s missing the boat with that reasoning, much like he’s missing the breaking ball away.

Suppose Davis cut his strikeouts in half to 97, which is still a lot. That would be 97 times he would be putting the ball in play instead of throwing his bat. Think how many more homers he’d produce in those 97 at-bats, not to mention productive at-bats when he’ll drive in a run with a hit, sacrifice fly or ground out.

“It’s about contact,’’ manager Terry Collins said. “These big home run hitters, they’re going to strike out. That’s part of the program. Ike, when he’s going good, he gets hits. He just doesn’t get home runs.

“You go back two years ago in the first half where he drove in everybody who was standing at second base. They were base hits. They weren’t always home runs. I think if he again starts using the field more – especially the opposite field – it also takes that shift away from them, which a lot of teams play on him. And I think it’ll make a difference.’’

That’s what Williams preached in his book. Teams used the shift against Williams, and this is when he didn’t use his own advice. However, Williams was so good he produced over his own stubbornness. In his wildest dreams, Davis isn’t half as good as Williams.

Williams might have been the greatest hitter ever, even considering Babe Ruth. Williams’ average year was .344 with 37 homers and 130 RBI. When you factor in he lost five prime years of his career serving in World War II and the Korean War, his lifetime numbers would have been through the roof.

When you boil it down, Williams’ fundamental advice about hitting was get a good pitch to hit. Williams was so precise he broke down the strike zone into baseball-size segments to where he had each area had its own batting average.

“As we’ve studied his at-bats, they’re just killing him away,’’ Collins told reporters after Thursday’s loss.

Williams calculated the low-and-away pitch at best would produce a .230 average. Davis isn’t even giving the Mets that much. That average would increase, Williams said, if the hitter went that way instead of trying to pull. Instead, Davis is chasing everything, which means the pitch doesn’t have to be that good.

Collins sees that: “If he starts going that way to where he’s going to use more of the field to hit, he’s got some better opportunities to drive some runs in.’’

Unfortunately, Davis does not: “Sometimes they’re helpful. Sometimes they’re not. Me slapping the ball the other way early in the count is probably not helpful.’’

Rebuttal: How would Davis know if he hasn’t tried it routinely? He did when he first came up, but rarely since.

Either Davis doesn’t know the fundamentals of hitting, or refuses to listen to his coaches and manager. And, Collins and GM Sandy Alderson are wrong for accepting this kind of performance.

Listen, I don’t know how to build a watch, but I know how to tell time, and the time has come for Davis to change. Either him, or the Mets should.

Please follow me on Twitter @jdelcos

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Doug’s Dugout: Throw Some Coal In That Stove Already Sun, 12 Dec 2010 01:11:02 +0000 In Doug’s Dugout today we talk about the Cold Stove, $$$, and other frozen feeble thoughts:

If newly minted General Manager Sandy Alderson was really interested in saving the organization money he would have worked from home instead of attending the Winter Meetings in Orlando. Or purchased a prepaid phone card and used it. Saving the Mets a grand or two on airfare, hotels, and eats.

Because his visit to the East Coast home of Mickey and Minnie was an unmitigated waste of time and ink.

Unless you call signing a player named Boof (as in “Boof goes the season”) Bonser a fruitful endeavor. As they say on ESPN Monday Night, “C’Mon Man.” Throw a bone to the starving faithful, will ya?

Maybe he indeed laid the groundwork for future trades and signings but he did nada in fostering buzz in his ballclub. In fact, he has made the savvy fans madder than a hornet’s nest. They read the 40-man roster and still see the names of Ollie Perez, Luis Castillo, and even Fernando Martinez, leftover crumbs from the previous regime still (de)gracing the ledger.

This team has more questions than the 2010 Census. And there were plenty of candidates to be had in Florida for those on a beer budget. The fans were not expecting a shiny Lexus under the Christmas Tree, but coal in the stocking is an affront to their baseball senses. The starting pitching staff is thinner than the crust of brick oven pizza. And about as satisfying.

We didn’t need a GM to revamp the team with his checkbook-throwing good money at bad, but Jack Benny the famous tightwad? The Wilpons are extremists no?

Perhaps Alderson’s goal was to lower expectations to the point that .500 next season places new skipper Terry Collins as frontrunner for “Manager of the Year” honors. Mission Accomplished for the former Marine! 81 victories is starting to look awful enticing as the hot stove turns to embers.

Besides Boof, he signed catcher Ronny Paulino, who sounds like the second coming of Ramon Castro, and journeyman relief pitcher D.J. Carrasco. Ice down the Dom, er, make it Cold Duck. That’s more inline with our budget.

Who knows, maybe D.J. was hired to man the turntables (do they still use them?) at the staff Christmas Party. Everybody has to double up and do their part during hard times. The bottom line is there still a season to be played and a shortage of capable players.

If you think the Mets will become players when all the tides hauls all this deadwood out to sea at the end of the 2011 season think again. What’s $50 million buy these days? Jay Bruce.

Speaking of $$$ remember the $100,000 Club? Baseball fans from the 1960′s recall it as the then lofty salaries of the elite stars of the game, such as Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, and Hank Aaron. It was an exclusive club for the creme de la creme, Back in that lost era players’ salaries were not generally reported in the media. Only if there was contract conflict in the winter did the numbers reach black and white.

The average player made the same as the butcher, baker, and candlestick maker. There was no where to find that information and nobody really cared. It fell into the category of “private.” Today, the curtain has been lifted on every aspect of celebrity and athlete’s lives’.

I almost wish it stayed that way because the 21st Century has brought us the $100,000,000 Million Club. And the members are hardly the end all of the game. Just recently Carl Crawford joined thanks to the Red Sox. Before him Jason Werth accepted the Nationals $126 million. At this writing, the Yankees are “sweating it out,” awaiting Cliff Lee’s decision to sign a $161 million 7-year offer. Good players making ungodly amounts of money.

Imagine your are Rumpelstiltskin, an avid baseball fan who fell asleep after Bill Mazeroski ended the 1960 World Series against the Yanks with a home run. You wake up at this year’s winter meetings and read of Crawford’s $142 million deal. The first question out of your mouth has to be: “How much does a cup of beer cost at the old ball yard?”

A lot, Rumpy, a lot.

Random Insipid thoughts: There are 1,458 innings to be accounted (not including extra frames) in a baseball season. If Mike Pelfrey, Jon Niese, and R.A. Dickey by some act of God hurl 200 innings each, that leaves a shortfall of 858 innings. Who is going to fill them, Johan Santana and Dillon Gee? Help better be on the way before the team reports to spring training or Ron Darling is going to be summoned from the booth.

It took baseball 25 years to go from the highest paid player-Babe Ruth at $50,000 per to double to $100,000 per for Pittsburgh’s Hank Greenberg (who was Ralph Kiner’s mentor and baseball’s most accomplished Jewish player until Sandy Koufax). And only 47 months (1/31/96-12/11/00) for Ken Griffey’s $8.5 million per deal to morph into Manny Ramirez’s $20 million per year ($160 for 8 years) accord with the Red Sox. By next season baseball might have it’s first $30 million per year player when Albert Pujols signs an extension with the Cardinals (or enters free agency).

Finally, enough about dollars and no sense. Except that combined Mays, Aaron, and Mantle earned less salary in their careers (over 1/2 Century) than Oliver Perez will rake in next year by the all-star break! If that is progress bring back the steam engine.

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Mets Must Play Better In September Mon, 27 Sep 2010 20:33:44 +0000 Going back to the 2007 season, the Philadelphia Phillies have always been able to really get it together and turn it on as a team in the month of September.

Yes, the Mets choked both in ’07 and ’08, but if not for late surges in September by the Phillies, they could have made the post season in both those years instead of falling short by just one game.

I decided to examine the Mets September record for the last 4 seasons and compare it to the Phillies and Braves. I then decided to throw in the Marlins who have taken great pleasure in playing spoilers the last few years.

Here are the results which are very telling:  

When you look at the Mets and the Phillies head-to-head in the last four, it becomes very clear how different these two teams are. The Mets may have always been able to get off to a better start than the Phillies as an examination of their April records indicate. But as Davey Johnson always said, it’s not how you start, but how you finish that matters most in this crazy game.


07 – September 17 - 11
08 – September 17 - 8
09 – September 17 - 13
10 – September 19 - 3        


07 – September 14 - 14 
08 – September 13 – 12 
09 – September 8 – 20 
10 – September 9 – 12

We can talk all we want about trading Beltran (who by the way is our best hitter in September) and signing Carl Crawford or Cliff Lee. but the fact of the matter is that this team’s problems go beyond adding another bat or arm.

As a team, they always shrivel up in big spots, and they can’t draw any adrenaline even in the heat of a pennant race. They lack concentration, motivation and execution when it matters the most, unlike the Phillies who are oozing with those qualities. Until that changes, not even adding Babe Ruth and Walter Johnson could get this team out of the their current quagmire… Or make them relevant in the NL East.

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George Steinbrenner Dies of Heart Attack Tue, 13 Jul 2010 19:24:06 +0000

As you may have heard, this morning at 6:30 AM in Tampa, Florida, New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner passed away after suffering a massive heart attack. We want to extend our condolences on the passing of one of the giants of the game and a New York icon. Rest In Peace George.

“He was an incredible and charitable man. First and foremost, he was devoted to his entire family — his beloved wife, Joan; his sisters, Susan Norpell and Judy Kamm, his children, Hank, Jennifer, Jessica and Hal; and all of his grandchildren,” the Steinbrenner family said in a statement. “He was a visionary and a giant in the world of sports. He took a great but struggling franchise and turned it into a champion again.” - New York Yankees Statement

“The passing of George Steinbrenner marks the end of an era in New York City baseball history. George was a larger than life figure and a force in the industry. The rise and success of his teams on the field and in the business marketplace under his leadership are a testament to his skill, drive, and determination…All of us at the Mets send our deepest condolences to his wife Joan, his sons Hank and Hal, daughters Jennifer and Jessica, his grandchildren, and everyone at the Yankees organization.”  – New York Mets Statement

“George was a giant of the game and his devotion to baseball was surpassed only by his devotion to his family and his beloved New York Yankees. He was and always will be as much of a New York Yankee as Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford and all of the other Yankee legends.” -  MLB Commissioner Bud Selig

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The Untouchables Fri, 27 Feb 2009 00:23:29 +0000

A man becomes preeminent, he’s expected to have enthusiasms.

Enthusiasms… What are mine? What draws my admiration? What is that which gives me joy? Baseball!

A man stands alone at the plate. This is the time for what? For individual achievement. There he stands alone. But in the field, what? Part of a team. Teamwork… Looks, throws, catches, hustles. Part of one big team.

Bats himself the live-long day, Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, and so on.

If his team don’t field… what is he? You follow me? No one.

Sunny day, the stands are full of fans. What does he have to say?

I’m goin’ out there for myself. But… I get nowhere unless the team wins. 

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