Mets Merized Online » Barry Bonds http://metsmerizedonline.com Fri, 02 Dec 2016 22:21:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.16 2017 Hall Of Fame Ballot Announced http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/11/2017-hall-of-fame-ballot-announced.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/11/2017-hall-of-fame-ballot-announced.html/#comments Mon, 21 Nov 2016 21:00:45 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=226916 manny ramirez Home Run

 The 2017 Hall Of Fame Ballot has been released, and already the speculation has begun as to who the new inductees will be. The 2016 class included one of the smoothest swings of all time Ken Griffey Jr. as well as the greatest hitting catcher of all time Mike Piazza.

The 2017 ballot contains all kinds of players, but there aren’t really any “no-brainers” like Ken Griffey Jr. was last year.

The new additions to the ballot are Pat Burrell, Orlando Cabrera, Mike Cameron, J.D. Drew, Carlos Guillen, Vladimir Guerrero, Derrek Lee, Melvin Mora, Magglio Ordonez, Jorge Posada, Manny Ramirez, Edgar Renteria, Arthur Rhodes, Ivan Rodriguez, Freddy Sanchez, Jason Varitek, and Tim Wakefield.

Here are the returners on the ballot, as well as how many years they have been on it: Lee Smith (15th and final), Tim Raines (10th), Edgar Martinez (8th), Fred McGriff (8th), Jeff Bagwell (7th), Larry Walker (7th), Curt Schilling (5th), Roger Clemens (5th), Barry Bonds (5th), Sammy Sosa (5th), Mike Mussina (4th), Jeff Kent (4th), Gary Sheffield (3rd), Trevor Hoffman (2nd), and Billy Wagner (2nd).

If I had to predict one player that will be inducted, my money would be on Trevor Hoffman who received 67.3% of the vote last year in his first go around. He is second on the all-time saves list with 601 and impressively finished second in Cy Young voting twice as a closer.

While Manny Ramirez and Pudge Rodriguez certainly have the numbers to be inducted, their PED history might put them in similar situations as Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, and Sammy Sosa.

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Know Your Stats: OPS/OPS+ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/06/know-your-stats-opsops.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/06/know-your-stats-opsops.html/#comments Thu, 23 Jun 2016 17:00:04 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=124861 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:

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Formula

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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No ‘Home’ For the Man with 660 Home Runs http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/05/no-home-for-the-man-with-660-home-runs.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/05/no-home-for-the-man-with-660-home-runs.html/#comments Tue, 05 May 2015 01:46:55 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=180761 alex rodriguez

Christmas 1980 was a few days away. As Americans anticipated the swearing in of President-Elect Ronald Reagan to end the malaise that had befallen the nation, and the entire world was still dealing with the assassination of John Lennon, my dad and I had our first father-and-son weekend getaway. Destination: Cooperstown.

Lake Otsego was completely frozen. Dead branches like skeletal arms veiled the road into town. When we entered the actual Hall itself I was awed by the sheer quietness of the grand room. For this was a shrine, a temple to the greatest men to ever walk onto a field. I’d finally get to see plaques of players I’d read about when I should have been doing homework. I sucked at math and was failing algebra. But I could tell you any guy’s batting average.

All generations were represented. Pitchers from The Dead Ball era like Walter Johnson and Cy Young were honored alongside sluggers from The Live Ball era such as Jimmie Foxx and Lou Gehrig. My dad ambled around, spending extra time at the plaques of his childhood heroes like Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella and his favorite Brooklyn player, the recently enshrined Duke Snider. I chuckled when he only gave a passing glance to Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford and other Yankees from the 1950’s.

“Dad, here’s Yogi,” I pointed out, referring to the Mets former manager.

“Yogi was good,” my dad conceded, “But he was no Campy.”

“You think the Mets will ever get any guys in here?” I whispered reverently.

Without hesitation, he answered. “Tom Seaver.”

“Cool.” I mulled that over, then asked, “You think Lee Mazzilli or Steve Henderson will make it?”

My dad arched a brow at me, probably wondering if I was really his child.

The players my father and grandfather saw as a boy were memorialized for all eternity. Eventually players I grew up watching would also be acknowledged. Guys like Willie Stargell, George Brett, Rod Carew—and yes, Tom Seaver.

Today there’s an entire generation of fans who will never get to experience that. Some of the best hitters they watched—Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Manny Ramirez—may possibly never be enshrined.

And perhaps no player typifies the ugliness of The Steroids Era more than Alex Rodriguez. Ironically, by tying Willie Mays on the all-time HR list he has only cemented his standing as the poster boy for everything wrong with baseball for a generation.

Babe Ruth hit for power and average but didn’t have the speed. Rickey Henderson had the speed but not the power. Mel Ott had the power but didn’t have the glove. Roberto Clemente had the glove, the arm and the average but not the power. Ernie Banks had the power and the glove but was a career .274 hitter.

willie mays_b3_600

Willie Mays did it all.

The Say Hey Kid scored over 2,000 runs and retired with a BA above .300. When Willie said goodbye to America in 1973, he was 6th in RBI’s (1 903), 3rd in HR’s (660) and 7th in hits (3,283). As if these stats aren’t impressive enough, one must remember Mays played during a time when stadiums were massive enough to warrant their own zip code.

Mays also stole 338 bases, an impressive total considering he hit in the middle of the batting order. His success rate on the base paths was 76.6%. His 12 Gold Gloves ties him with Clemente for the most by any outfielder. Again, an amazing accomplishment considering Willie played the bulk of his career in the blustery winds of Candlestick Park, perhaps the worst location ever for a stadium.

He won Rookie of the Year, two MVP’s and his 24 All-Star games ties him with Stan Musial and Hank Aaron for most midsummer classics. Despite these numbers, SF Chronicle journalist Harry Jupiter once wrote, “As a player, Willie Mays could never be captured by mere statistics.”

Willie is one of those players, along with Aaron and Sandy Koufax, who even the casual fan knows what number they wore.

There have been probably billions of photos capturing many of the National Pastime’s greatest moments. However, no image is more iconic than that of number 24 with his back to home plate, snagging a deep fly off the bat of Vic Wertz in the 1954 World Series. It’s an image so entrenched in our psyche that even today, more than 60 years later, whenever an outfielder makes an over-the-shoulder catch the announcer invokes the name Willie Mays.

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In the 1950’s, Mays frequently played stickball with kids in the shadows of the Polo Grounds. To this day, in the Bay Area, Mays is treated like royalty, more so than Tony Bennett or Joe Montana. Willie is the only ballplayer in history to be equally loved on two coasts three thousand miles apart.

Alex Rodriguez, like Mays, also played on two coasts. And that’s where the similarity ends.

Despite the fact A-Rod has now tied Willie in HR’s as well as passing him in doubles, RBI’s and Slugging, the adoration Mays experienced from New York to San Francisco is not something A-Rod experienced from Seattle to New York.

Over the last two decades there’ve been numerous players who can be considered black marks on Baseball. But A-Rod is unique. Barry Bonds is still appreciated in the Bay Area. Sammy Sosa is idolized in Chicago. Mark McGwire is loved in both STL and Oakland. But A-Rod? He’s burned bridges everywhere he’s played.

a_rod alex rodriguez

In Seattle, he was appreciated for being the quiet kid with great talent. After the 2000 season, however, he left behind an admiring public and went to Texas. Granted, who amongst us hasn’t taken a job for more money? But despite the fact his contract was the biggest in history, it was clear A-Rod’s decision was all about A-Rod. The Rangers were an awful team, losing 91 games and finishing more than 20 GB. However, Arlington is a hitter’s park. And while making more than a quarter billion dollars, he could also pad his stats. That’s exactly what he did.

In just 3 years with Texas, Rodriguez clobbered 156 HR’s, 24% of what Mays hit over his 22 year career. He racked up 395 RBI’s while compiling a .615 slugging percentage. Now that A-Rod had locked up the Hall of Fame, there was one thing missing from his resume. A ring.

The Rangers were looking to free themselves of A-Rod, and the man who wanted a Championship found himself playing for the most successful franchise in the history of American sports, a team that played in 6 of the previous 8 World Series. After his arrival, A-Rod’s Yankees would appear in the Fall Classic just once in the next 10 years

Early on we heard he needed to ‘earn his pinstripes.’ Despite being a Yankee for more than a decade, he never truly did. In 60 post-season games he’s averaged an insipid 238. Yankee fans are quick to cheer him when he does something good but equally quick to boo him when he doesn’t. He’s failed to win the hearts of fans the way Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Bernie Williams or even Aaron Boone did.

alex rodriguez a-rod

Despite his impressive career stats, through artificial means or not, you never heard him praised. I can’t recall anyone saying he was a good teammate. I don’t remember a rookie ever thanking A-Rod for helping with a flaw in his swing. No one has ever called him a ‘positive influence in the clubhouse.’ If anything, A-Rod’s behavior over the last several seasons, his smug denial of steroid use in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, has caused tenseness in the clubhouse. His off-the-field antics have overshadowed what transpired between the lines.

A-Rod being A-Rod.

Rodriguez has burned bridges from Seattle to Arlington. Ironically, even though he hasn’t vacated New York, he’s already burned that bridge as well. A new low even for him. Ownership has tried to rid themselves of A-Rod and the baggage that comes with him. The organization that spends money like there’s no tomorrow is refusing to pay his $6 million dollar bonus for tying Mays’ mark of 660. It’s difficult to imagine an Alex Rodriguez statue outside a stadium where he played. It’s even more difficult to picture him being immortalized in Monument Park next to Yankees like Mantle and DiMaggio and Mattingly, Yankees who DID NOT disgrace their uniform or the game.

We are generally a forgiving society. Twenty five years ago who would’ve believed Pete Rose would be taking baby steps toward inclusion in the Hall of Fame. Maybe twenty five years from now players from the steroid era will be considered.

Perhaps in 2040, some will make the trip from San Francisco to Cooperstown to honor Barry Bonds induction. People may don Cubs hat and cheer when Sammy Sosa steps to the podium. Yankee and Red Sox fans may stand side-by-side, simultaneously cheering Roger Clemens. And what about A-Rod? If he is one day inducted, would anyone even bother showing up.

In closing, the words of Ty Cobb seem fitting. Cobb was an avid racist and one of the most despised players in his day. But even he had a home and a loyal following in Detroit. In the twilight of his life with his heath failing, the 74 year-old Georgia Peach looked back on his career and said, “I wish I would’ve done things differently. I wish I would’ve had more friends.”

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A Little Advice for A-Rod http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/a-little-advice-for-a-rod.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/a-little-advice-for-a-rod.html/#comments Wed, 15 Jan 2014 11:00:55 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=139675 alex rodriguez

Alex Rodriguez Plans To Appeal Arbitrator’s Decision

A-Rod, I have a little bit of unsolicited advice.

Just say, “My bad.”

You see, the American public is very forgiving. Fess up, take your medicine, and we’ll eventually come back around. Those that do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it – so what have we learned from history?

Jason Giambi said “My bad.” He took his boos and eventually, we stopped caring he was tied up in the BALCO scandal and he was even being considered for the Rockies manager position last year before he decided to keep on playing.

Barry Bonds did not say “My bad.” Look at him.

Andy Pettitte said, “My bad.” He was given a hero’s welcome.

Roger Clemens did not say “My bad.” He’s getting the Bonds treatment.

Mark McGwire did not say “My bad,” at first. He didn’t want to talk about the past. Then he fessed up, said “My bad,” and now he’s been welcomed back into baseball and is coaching in a Major League dugout. He won’t get into the Hall of Fame, but he’s not being run up a flagpole, either.

Rafael Palmeiro wagged his finger in front of Congress, then he got caught. He never said, “My bad.” We still don’t like him.

Ryan Braun stood at a podium, said he didn’t do it, threw a poor guy under a bus, stomped on him a little bit and smiled for the cameras. Then he got caught again, said “My bad,” a bunch of times and he’ll get booed for a while, but eventually even what he did will all be water under the bridge for him, too.

You see, Alex – we’re not naive. We know that players are taking banned substances. Players have been cheating in some way, shape, or form since the game was first played. We know there are guys on all of our favorite teams that are taking stuff that haven’t been caught yet. Heck, two Mets were caught in the same scandal you were. We just signed another one this offseason. Bartolo Colon said “My bad,” and he got a two year contract. Jhonny Peralta said “My bad” and he got $53 million this offseason.

We know guys are cheating. That doesn’t make it right. It still makes it wrong. I don’t like that it’s in the game, but if you’re going to get caught, just fess up to it, take your punishment, and move on with life.

What we really, really, really don’t like is being lied to and treated like we’re stupid. That’s what we don’t like about Barry. That’s what we don’t like about Roger. That’s what we don’t like about Rafael. That’s what we don’t like about you.

So do yourself a favor. Stop acting indignant and making a federal case out of it. Just take your lumps, take your suspension, collect the millions more you’re still going to make, and stop paying the lawyers. Take out a full page ad in the Daily News with your picture that just says, “My bad.”

mmo

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Mike Piazza: Out of The Cage and Into the Metsmerized Hall of Fame http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/mike-piazza-out-of-the-cage-and-into-the-metsmerized-hall-of-fame.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/mike-piazza-out-of-the-cage-and-into-the-metsmerized-hall-of-fame.html/#comments Tue, 07 Jan 2014 18:00:25 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=139011 bobby-thomson-new-york-giants-shot-heard-round-the-world-giants-win-the-pennant

The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant!

Russ Hodges’ broadcast of Bobby Thomson’s home run is the most famous call in Major League Baseball’s long history. On August 11, 1951, the Dodgers held an insurmountable 13 game lead over their arch enemies. Down the stretch Brooklyn played well, 26-22. The Giants, however, were a team possessed. They went 37-7 and New York’s 2 NL teams ended the season tied, 96-58. A three-game playoff was held to determine who would oppose the AL in the Fall Classic.

The first two games were split. But then in the deciding game, Thomson’s 3-run homer in the bottom of the ninth gave the Giants the win, the pennant and the birth to that iconic phrase shouted by Hodges.

Baseball historians refer to the Thomson blast as ‘The Shot Heard ‘Round the World.’

The world? A bit of an exaggeration really. It was a decisive home run to settle a pennant race between two teams whose stadiums were only 15 miles away from each other. The World???

Almost 50 years to the day, there would be a home run hit in New York, a home run that truly would be a shot heard ‘round the world. It would occur in a stadium not yet even built, by a team not yet even in existence, off the bat of a player not yet even born.

Michael Joseph Piazza was born to Vince and Veronica in Norristown, PA on Sept 4, 1968, the second oldest of five boys. Vince had dreamed of making the majors but dropped out of school at age 16 to help support his family. Vince’s childhood friend, Tommy Lasorda, became Dodgers manager and Mike’s Godfather. When LA played in Philadelphia, young Mike frequently served as bat-boy. Vince also asked his friend Ted Williams to work with his son. Williams praised the young man’s talents and advised him, ‘Don’t ever let anyone change your swing.’ Growing up in the cold harsh winters of the northeast, Mike could be found clearing snow in the backyard so his father could pitch to him. Winters be damned.

Los Aneles Dodgers

In 1988, Lasorda’s Godson was drafted number 1,390 overall. He convinced Piazza to forego his position, first base, and learn to catch, claiming catchers were always in higher demand. On Sept.1, 1992, 23-year old Mike Piazza made his major league debut. And doubled in his first official at-bat.

Piazza not only became one of the best hitting catchers in the game, but additionally one of the games’ best righthanded hitters. Period. In 1993, he hit .318 with 35 home runs and 112 RBIs and won the NL Rookie of the Year award. There was no sophomore slump for the young kid and the following season he would bat .319. In five years with Los Angeles, Piazza clobbered 168 HR’s, averaged .336, knocked in 526 RB’s and slugged at a .582 clip.

There are good players, great players, and very great players. And then there are players who simply instill fear in their opponent. For my grandfather, a young man and Brooklyn fan in the 1920’s, it was the likes of Rogers Hornsby and Frankie Frisch. For my father, there was nothing more frightening than Mickey Mantle and Yogi Berra bringing their big bats to little Ebbets Field every October. For me, in the 1970’s, I was fearful every time Willie Stargell windmilled his bat and Joe Morgan cocked his back arm, something my friends and I mimicked in schoolyards and makeshift baseball fields in Queens. By the 90’s, names like Bonds, Griffey Jr, Gwynn and Piazza could be added to the list. But now, for the first time ever, one of these players would be on my team.

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Mike Piazza arrived in New York on May 22, 1998 in exchange for Preston Wilson, Ed Yarnall, Geoff Goetz and Nick Daly. He would hit .348 the rest of that season while going deep 23 times and knocking in 78 RBIs. The Mets played .542 baseball after his arrival, missing the wildcard by just a game and a half.

With Piazza behind the plate for the entire ‘99 campaign, the Mets returned to the post-season for the first time in more than a decade. In 2000, they did it again, capturing the NL pennant. For the one and only time in our history, the Amazins were in the playoffs two consecutive years. This, in and of itself, is a true testament to the value and importance of Mike Piazza. One player can—and did—make a difference.

In the 70’s, the Mets had the most formidable trio of starters in the league. Yet, we never made the post-season two straight years. We had a ‘dynasty’ in the 80’s, but failed to play into consecutive Octobers. And let’s admit it; the 98-00 Mets did not even come close to possessing the talent of previous successful clubs. Al Leiter was good…but he was no Seaver. Timo Perez? Not a bad lead-off hitter, but Lenny Dykstra he wasn’t. We liked Benny Agbayani, but we loved Darryl Strawberry. The difference: Mike Piazza.

During the 2000 NLCS, as the Mets handily defeated STL in 5, Mets coach John Stearns was caught on camera screaming defiantly, “The monster is out of the cage! The monster is out of the cage!” in response to Piazza getting a big hit.

Over eight seasons in New York, Piazza established himself as one of the premier hitters to wear the blue and orange. He stands at or near the top of every offensive category. His slugging percentage of .542 is highest ever. His 655 RBIs rank third, 220 HR (3rd), .296 BA (4th), .373 OBP (5th), 193 doubles (7th), 1028 hits (8th), 532 runs (10th).

Loved by fans and feared by opposing pitchers, his stint in Flushing is best remembered for two events.

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In 2000, Mike was the recipient of a Roger Clemens fastball to the head. Shattered helmet. Concussion. A missed All-Star Game. In October, the Piazza-led Mets were in the World Series for the first time since 1986. When these two men faced each other, Piazza broke his bat. The sheared off edge landed close to the mound. As Piazza trotted to first base, Clemens angrily scooped up the broken piece of wood and tossed the weapon at Mike. Piazza shouted to Clemens. Clemens shouted back. The two men approached each other. Both benches emptied and although there were no punches thrown, the Mets-Yankees rivalry nearly became an all-out brawl.

Clemens claimed he thought the bat was the ball and was simply tossing the ‘ball’ out of play. After 17 years in the majors and tossing 3,600+ innings, one would think Clemens would know the difference between a baseball and a bat…but that’s another story.

As inconceivable as Clemens actions were, 11 months later something even more unimaginable transpired.

september-11-terrorist-attacks

Like our grandparents on December 7, 1941 and like our parents on November 22, 1963, it was now our generation that lost its innocence. This wasn’t a navy base 3000 miles off the coast of California in a place called Pearl Harbor. This didn’t occur on a grassy knoll in Dallas. This happened in our city, to our home. This wasn’t an attack on the military, nor was it centered around one man who happened to be President. This was an attack on fellow Americans. Citizens. Regular people like you and me. Americans who kissed their spouse, said good-bye to their children and went to work downtown like it was any other Tuesday. This time the weapon was not a Japanese Zero or a cheap Carcano Rifle. This time the destruction came from hijacked commercial airlines.

On one beautiful weekday morning, everything we knew changed. Forever. The nation we grew up in would, from this day forward, be unlike the nation our children would grow up in. The US constitution would be bent, our way of life altered eternally. We found ourselves giving up freedoms and privacy so we could continue to maintain our freedom and privacy. President Bush urged a weary and panicked nation to go on. Failure to do so would mean the terrorists won. But how?

Did anyone really give a damn about Barry Bonds’ pursuit of a silly home run record? In the overall scheme of things did it really matter if best friends Ross and Rachel got together? Regis asking contestants, “Would you like to use a lifeline?’ seemed trivial.

We were advised to return to our lives as if nothing happened. Impossible. Even the national pastime had come to a halt. For a while…

But on September 21, 2011, the game we cherished, was back. It was the first post- 9/11 sporting event to take place in grief-stricken New York. A late September contest against the Braves should’ve garnered undivided attention and exuberant chants of “Lets Go Mets.” But it didn’t.

Fans at Shea kept one cautious eye on the field and one wary eye to the sky as planes landed at nearby LaGuardia. A few miles west powerful lights representing where the Towers once stood shone a pristine white glow toward Heaven.

When Mike sent a Steve Karsay offering over the wall to left-center in the bottom of the 8th, it gave the Mets a 3-2 lead and ultimately the win. It moved us within 4 ½ of the first place Braves. But it was more than just that, much more.

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It was the first step on a long road back. We could begin healing. We could, albeit slowly, return to living our lives once again.

The world? If there truly was a Shot Heard ‘Round the World, it occurred in 2001, not 1951. Thomson’s homer brought hope to a team’s fans. Piazza’s home run brought hope to an entire city. And returned a sense of normalcy to a frightened nation that now stared into the abyss of an uncertain future.

The location of Thomson’s HR was long ago replaced by apartment buildings. The stadium where Piazza hit that significant blast no longer stands, a parking lot now in its place. Two towers have been replaced by one.

The Polo Grounds, Shea Stadium and the Twin Towers have been forever erased from the landscape. However, they, like Piazza’s stint in New York, continue to live on in our hearts, our minds and our collective memory.

And with that, Metsmerized Online is pleased to announce that Mike Piazza is now the newest member of the Metsmerized Hall of Fame.

mike piazza HOF

Piazza joins Tom Seaver, Keith Hernandez, Jerry Koosman, Dwight Gooden and David Wright in our own hallowed halls honoring the best players the Mets ever had. Congratulations, Mike!

We ask you to leave your best memories and most heartfelt recollections of Mike Piazza in our comment threads s we cross our fingers and hope for some great news by way of Cooperstown, New York on Wednesday, January 8th.

MMO HOF BANNER

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Mike Piazza and Faith in Hall of Fame Voting http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/mike-piazza-and-faith-in-hall-of-fame-voting.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/mike-piazza-and-faith-in-hall-of-fame-voting.html/#comments Sat, 04 Jan 2014 14:00:11 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=138834 Another year, another batch of worthy players kept from the Hall of Fame.

As of January 3, according to Baseball Think Factory, only four players, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Frank Thomas, and Craig Biggio, have appeared on 75 percent of publicly-released Hall of Fame ballots in one of the strongest classes in history. Approximately one-fifth of all ballots have been released.

Could Piazza be snubbed from the Hall again?

Of all the projected Hall of Fame snubs, the one that hits closest to home among Mets fans is certainly Mike Piazza. For fans of both the Dodgers and Mets, he seems like a clearly-deserving candidate. However, some voters, almost 30 percent so far, have left Piazza off their ballots. A few voters have kept Piazza off their ballots based on merit, arguing that in a year where the ballot is full of all-time greats, Piazza wasn’t great enough. However, although there are some voters for whom being far and away the best hitter at a position just isn’t enough, most voters who have left Piazza out have done so because of steroid suspicion.

Of all the players on this year’s ballot, only one, Rafael Palmeiro, has ever officially failed a drug test (Sammy Sosa reportedly failed an anonymous drug test in 2003, but it was never officially confirmed by Major League Baseball) . Only one other player, Mark McGwire, has admitted to it. There are suspicions about others, but no one else has been proven guilty. Players like Piazza and Craig Biggio, each deserving of a spot in the Hall of Fame, have been punished simply because they played in the same era as suspected cheatersThis is voting at its ugliest.

I have always thought that players who have cheated do not belong in the Hall of Fame. A few years ago, had I been given a vote, suspected players like Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds would not have been on my ballot. However, Piazza’s situation over the past two years has changed my thinking. The attempts to keep  cheaters out of the Hall, at the expense of clean players, has gotten way out of hand.

To punish steroid users, and mostly suspected ones at that, is hypocritical of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. It will be the first time players will be kept out of Cooperstown en masse based on the “integrity clause.” To keep steroid users out of the Hall would be to not acknowledge the racists, bigots, criminals, drunks, and drug abusers already enshrined. The writers will vote for players who have a well-documented history of those offenses, but if there is any suspicion of a player using steroids, they won’t get votes? That’s not right. Maybe those voters would have some ground to stand on if we knew for sure who cheated, but with players like Piazza and Biggio getting snubbed, they have lost me.

Ty Cobb once  climbed into the stands to beat up a handicapped fan. It’s even rumored that he once beat a man to death with the handle of a pistol. Some Hall of Famers cheated on their wives. Others were viciously racist. Numerous players even admitted to using “greenies,” since banned by Major League Baseball, in their playing days. Gaylord Perry, Don Drysdale, Don Sutton and Whitey Ford, all Hall of Famers were notorious for throwing illegal spitballs.

As much as I’d like integrity and character to be a part of the voting process, it hasn’t been done for the 75 years the Hall of Fame has existed. If the Hall was started all over again, then I would understand the fight to keep cheaters out. But now, after decades of voting in cheaters and generally bad people, suddenly deciding to embark on a massive witch hunt that keeps players out because of back acne and hat sizes is completely unfair. The Hall of Fame doesn’t have to be perfect, just as its members aren’t.

Follow me on Twitter @UpAlongFirst.

Presented By Diehards

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Big Mets Fan’s Hall of Fame Ballot http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/12/big-mets-fans-hall-of-fame-ballot.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/12/big-mets-fans-hall-of-fame-ballot.html/#comments Thu, 19 Dec 2013 16:11:57 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=135812 This should have been Piazza's plaque being added into the Hall of Fame

This year features a very crowded Hall of Fame ballot. It features a strong set of first year eligibles as well as a lot of holdovers that haven’t yet made it, but very well can get in. A writer can only cast votes for 10 players with their ballot. If this Big Mets Fan had a ballot to cast, I’d be casting all ten votes this year. I’d actually want to cast more than 10 this year, but if I had to cast only ten…

  1. Craig Biggio – Biggio was actually a tough one for me to put in my top 10. Not because I don’t think he should get in the Hall. But I had to debate with choosing him over a couple of other players for my 10th spot on the ballot. 20 MLB seasons. 3,060 hits. All with the Houston Astros. Maybe my feelings are a bit swayed because I didn’t think of him as the Player to be Feared and thought of him as more of a compiler. He was a career .281 hitter which doesn’t bounce off the page as a super hitter – but when you take a closer look, he scores 100+ runs 8 times and 90+ 12 times. He scored 120+ runs in a season 4 times including 146 times in 1997. He had 7 seasons of 40+ doubles including 51 in 1998 and 56 in 1999. He had 5 30+ HR seasons. He hit 20+ HR 8 times. He walked 1,160 times and scored 1,844 runs. So if he was a complier, he was pretty darn good. He’s getting my vote.
  2. Jack Morris – Jack is on the ballot for the 15th and final time this year and I hope he gets in. His ERA is high for the Hall at 3.90 which has been a detriment to him over the years. He has 254 career wins. He pitched 200+ innings 11 time including 293 2/3 in 1983 with 20 complete games. He was a bulldog on the mound. It was his championships that win his vote for me. If the argument is to be made that a player’s postseason failures should be held against him, then the argument should be made for Morris to get in for his success. Jack was a 4 time World Series Champion and the #1 starter on the staffs of the 1984 Tigers and 1992 Blue Jays. He was also one of the Big Three starters for the 1991 Twins as well as that staff’s inning’s leader. He was outstanding in the 1984 postseason. He had a brilliant 1991 postseason and his 10 inning shutout in the clinching game 7 is the clincher. He rose to the occasion on the biggest stage ever.
  3. Mike Piazza – I may be a Homer, but this isn’t a Homer call. I don’t need to make my case – Mike’s in. He should be already.
  4. Tim Raines – He should have been in long before. He was a dominant threat for the 10 years of his prime. He was just overlooked in Montreal and his career was in decline and he was a role player by the time he was in a major market. Based on his 10 year prime – he should be a no-brainer Hall of Famer.
  5. Curt Schilling – Curt may not have the best regular season numbers of the HOF candidates. He his career record was 216-146 with a 3.46 ERA. It was his two championship seasons that did it for me and 2004 in particular. In 2001, he was 22-6 with a 2.98 ERA and was co-World Series MVP’s with Randy Johnson. In 2004, he went 21-6 with a 3.26 ERA for the World Champion Red Sox. But it was the legendary Bloody Sock game that broke the Curse of the Bambino that makes him legendary.
  6. Roger Clemens – A lot of controversy on this one. A lot of people will say he should never go in. Do I think he did PED’s? Yes. Do I think he lied about it? Yes. Do I also think he was a great pitcher? Yes. I’m voting him in because he was a great pitcher, not because I like him. Can you imagine him and Piazza on the podium at the same time?
  7. Barry Bonds – See Roger Clemens. Nice guy? No. Great player? Yes. Even without the PED’s that took him from a player that was already Hall worthy into a Superfreak. HOF.
  8. Greg Maddux – If there’s anyone who leaves Maddux off their ballot, they’re stupid and should have their head examined.
  9. Frank Thomas – The Big Hurt was called just that because he would hurt you. He was a great player. Hit .300 and you’ll be in the Hall of Fame? He hit .301 over 19 years. He declined in his later years, but over an 11 year streak from 1990-2000 he hit over .300 10 times. Teams were terrified to pitch to him and he walked over 100 times 10 times. He scored 100+ runs 8 times. He had 11 100+ RBI seasons. He had 9 30+ HR seasons and 521 career home runs. His career OBP was .419. He was a great hitter.
  10. Tom Glavine – His career was in decline by the time we saw him with the Mets, but he did have three pretty good years. He’s a career 300 game winner. He won 20+ games 5 times. He threw 200+ innings 14 times. He was a two time Cy Young Award Winner. He’s in.

MLB_Hall_of_Fame_National_Ball

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Talkin’ Baseball: Tim Raines Should Be In The Hall of Fame http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/12/talkin-baseball-tim-raines-should-be-in-the-hall-of-fame.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/12/talkin-baseball-tim-raines-should-be-in-the-hall-of-fame.html/#comments Tue, 17 Dec 2013 05:05:14 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=135620 We’re all hoping that Mike Piazza will get the call when the Hall of Fame voting results are announced on January 8th. This year is a very crowded field with newcomers Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Frank Thomas, Mike Mussina, and Jeff Kent among the top first timers along with strong holdovers Craig Biggio, Jack Morris, Jeff Bagwell, Lee Smith, Curt Schilling, Edgar Martinez, and Fred McGriff. There are also the steroid guys that have the numbers to get in, but never may – Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, and Rafael Palmeiro. That’s already 18 guys (and only 10 votes can be cast by a single writer) before this one player that should be in the Hall.

While he was not a Met, he was a fierce competitor of the Mets that I’ve been in favor of his enshrinement ever since he was first eligible in 2008.

His name is Tim Raines.

Tim-RainesHe’s on the ballot this year for the 7th time. Last year he managed to achieve 52% of the vote and he may eventually get there. However, will the crowded field hurt his chances and the momentum he’s gained the last few years?

Raines played 23 seasons in the majors. While he spent the last several years of his career as a role player and after 1993, he was not the same player that in my opinion made him a Hall of Famer, he did have a dominant 10 year stretch where he was one of the most feared players in the game.

He wasn’t a slugger, but he was the player you didn’t want to beat you. He played his best seasons in Montreal, so most of his greatness wasn’t in the spotlight. He also was overshadowed by Rickey Henderson. Raines game was speed. He got on base and he ran. He did it better than almost anybody else. He was Rickey Henderson in the National League.

During his 10 year stretch as a full time player in Montreal from 1981-1990 (1981 being a strike shortened year), he stole 627 bases, had 1,597 hits, scored 926 runs, had 81 triples, and had 769 walks. During this 10 year stretch in Montreal, he hit .302 and had an OBP of .391.

He was a dangerous player. By the time he left Montreal, he was a Hall of Fame player, and had already put in the 10 years needed for the Hall. Maybe he wasn’t in the Big Room, but he was in the hall. For that 10 year stretch, he wasn’t a compiler – he was someone you were scared of. Mets fans know that well.

Before that 10 year stretch, he had cups of coffee in two other seasons with the Expos and played for an additional 9 years with the White Sox, Yankees, A’s, Orioles, Expos, and Marlins. He had a few productive years as a full time player with the White Sox – in his 5 full seasons with the Sox, he scored 100 runs twice, hit .300 once, and had two seasons with over 80 walks. He stole 51 bases in 1991 and 1992 (which were the two seasons he walked over 80 times). His .306 season occured in 1993 at the age of 33, but saw his stolen base production drop to 21 and he was never the same player after that. He aged after that the way players naturally do. His last season as a full time player came in 1995 with the White Sox where he hit .285 and stole just 13 bases.

By the time he started to play in big media markets, Tim Raines was already a player on the decline. He began to diminish in Chicago and he was only a role player by the time he came to the Yankees. He played well in his 3 seasons in New York, batting .299 with a .398 OBP in part time duty, but by then, he was far removed from his Hall of Fame level.

Had Raines retired earlier, he would probably be in the Hall by now. He stuck around long after his prime as a good, but not great, role player which may have watered down memories of how great he was in his prime. The cocaine usage also may not have helped him either.

Tim Raines deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.

mmo

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Miguel Cabrera, Andrew McCutchen Win Most Valuable Player Awards http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/11/miguel-cabrera-andrew-mccutchen-win-most-valuable-player-awards.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/11/miguel-cabrera-andrew-mccutchen-win-most-valuable-player-awards.html/#comments Fri, 15 Nov 2013 03:11:15 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=133009 Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers and Andrew McCutchen of the Pittsburgh Pirates were named American and National League Most Valuable Players tonight by members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

Miguel  Cabrera

Cabrera finished with 385 points, while Mike Trout got five first-place votes and 282 points. Baltimore’s first baseman Chris Davis, who led the majors with 53 homers and 138 RBIs, was third.

Cabrera, 30, is the first American Leaguer to win back-to-back MVPs since Frank Thomas in 1993 and ’94 and just the sixth ever to do so in that league. Last year, Cabrera became the first hitter to win the Triple Crown in either league in 45 years. This season, he was better across the board, falling two RBIs short of his 2012 total of 139 and matching his home run output of 44 in fewer plate appearances while posting career highs in batting average (.348), slugging percentage (.636) and OPS+ (187).

andrew mccutchen

McCutchen, third in MVP balloting last season, got 409 points. Arizona’s Paul Goldschmidt finished second with 242 points, while Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina received the other two first-place votes and came in third. Pittsburgh has its first NL MVP since Barry Bonds in ’92.

McCutchen, 27, batted .317/.404/.508 with 21 homers and 84 RBIs this season. Over the last two seasons he has hit .322/.402/.531 (160 OPS+) while averaging 102 runs, 190 hits, 26 home runs, 90 RBIs and 24 stolen bases, while playing a strong centerfield.

Congratulations to both Miguel and Andrew.

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David Wright Nominated For Hank Aaron Award http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/10/david-wright-nominated-for-hank-aaron-award.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/10/david-wright-nominated-for-hank-aaron-award.html/#comments Mon, 07 Oct 2013 17:52:11 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=130829 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 Mets.com and MLB.com.

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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Thanks For the Me”Mo”ries http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/thanks-for-the-memories.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/thanks-for-the-memories.html/#comments Sat, 28 Sep 2013 14:40:05 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=130191 mariano rivera

I know what you’re thinking. This is a Mets website. Why do I have to read about a %$#@*^# Yankee? Yes, we are all Mets fans. And yes, we all despise the Yankees and everything they represent. But ask yourself this: Next time you drive north to Cooperstown, will you look at Tom Seaver’s plaque and then go home? Probably not. The Baseball Hall of Fame is a place where the most talented ballplayers are forever enshrined in immortality. And now the curtain is coming down on Mariano Rivera, the best closer the game has ever known.

My friend and fellow MMO blogger, Satish Ram, pointed out something that shows Rivera’s greatness: 12 men have walked on the surface of the moon. Only 11 men have scored against Rivera in the post-season.

In the 17 years from 1996 to 2012, the Evil Empire made the post-season every year but one. They captured 13 division titles, 7 pennants and 5 World Championships. There’ve been lots of talented players in the Bronx over these years. Jason Giambi, Paul O’Neill, Tino Martinez, Andy Pettitte, Bernie Williams, Roger Clemens and of course, Derek Jeter. However, at the risk of going out on a limb, I’ll state that the main reason for the Yankees success over this time is due to Mo.

Simply put, Mariano Rivera changed the very nature of the game. He didn’t do it in the way Babe Ruth or Jackie Robinson did, however, he did alter each individual game just by his presence. In the late 1990’s and early 2000’s teams did whatever was necessary to avoid facing Barry Bonds with runners on base. Even so, that did not work. As Bonds shattered records, opposing managers would intentionally walk him. Often the free pass would even put a runner into scoring position. Rickey Henderson was another. His speed alone changed the complexity of the game. Pitchers did whatever they could to keep him off the basepaths. Once Rickey was on, they KNEW he’d go…and they still couldn’t stop him. Rivera is in that same class. The game of baseball is designed so that each team has 27 outs. But with #42 poised and ready, Yankee opponents had only 24 outs. If you were losing to the Yankees after eight innings, your fate was sealed.

rivera

Considered a “fringe prospect at best,” Rivera debuted on May 23, 1995 as a starter. He got his butt kicked, allowing 5 ER in 3.1 innings. After four more starts, his ERA stood at 10.20. He spent much time being shuffled back and forth between the Bronx and Columbus.

At this same time the Yankees had a kid named Derek Jeter in the minors. The team was less than warm to him at first. He had a good glove, but they questioned his hitting. Scout Clyde King advised that Jeter was “nowhere near ready.” Yankee manager Joe Torre said he was hopeful Jeter could at least hit .250, good enough to stay in the majors.

Owner George Steinbrenner, however, was restless. Determined to bring a pennant to The Bronx, he approved a trade sending struggling starter Mariano Rivera to Seattle in exchange for shortstop Felix Fermin. However, GM Gene Michael and assistant GM Brian Cashman convinced ‘The Boss’ to give Jeter a chance. Steinbrenner relented and elected to hang on to both Jeter and Rivera — at least for the short term to see how things went.

In 1996, Rivera served as the set-up to John Wetteland. That season the Yankees were 70-3 when leading after six innings. Amazing.

There are ballplayers we dislike. Names like Clemens, A-Rod and Swisher come to mind. Then, there are others who, while we dislike them, you still gotta love ‘em. Manny Ramirez for example. Growing up and watching the Yankees win pennant after pennant while the Mets floundered in the NL East basement, I hated Reggie Jackson. But ya still had to love Reggie. Say what you will about Barry Bonds, but as he walked toward home plate, did you ever get up to get something to drink from the kitchen?

rivera mariano

Sure, Rivera is a Yankee. And we therefore have it in our genes to detest anyone in pinstripes. However, like Jeter, Rivera is and has always been a class act, the consummate professional. He’s not an in-your-face closer like a Jose Valverde or Jonathan Papelbon. Rivera never shows up an opponent. He comes in, does his job and walks off the mound.

He recorded 25 saves or more 15 consecutive seasons—a major league record. His ERA has been under 2.00 11 times, tying him with Walter Johnson. His career ERA of 2.21 and WHIP of 1.00 is the lowest of any pitcher in the live ball era. He has the lowest ERA (0.70) and most saves (42) in post-season history. He is baseball’s All-Time save leader with roughly 10% more than the man in second, Trevor Hoffman.

What made Rivera great is not just how effective he was but his durability. There have been plenty of great closers over the last few decades. Most, however, have a few solid seasons and then fade away. Francisco Rodriguez set the record for the most saves in a season with 62. Then never again came close to that mark. In 1990, Bobby Thigpen set the mark K-Rod would break. Thigpen’s 57 saves was unheard of at the time. However, he recorded only 31 more before injuries and ineffectiveness cut short his career at 31 years old. Dodgers’ closer Eric Gagne notched 152 saves over 3 seasons. Burned out, he then recorded just 35 more over 5 years.

As these and many others came and went, Rivera has remained the game’s predominant closer.

Some can argue that Rivera has it easier nowadays. Goose Gossage praises him but also points out that in today’s game closers traditionally work just one inning. In his entire career, Rivera recorded just one 7-out save. By comparison, Gossage notched 53. Closers, or “Firemen” as they were sometimes called, like Bruce Sutter, Rollie FingersDennis Eckersley and Tug McGraw frequently tossed well over 100 IP, an exorbitant amount by today’s standards. There is some validity to Gossage’s claim.

To offset that, however, Rivera pitched the bulk of his career during the steroids era and in smaller hitter friendly parks. The Yankees string of post-seasons as well as extra round of playoffs also meant that Rivera logged more innings in pressure situations. Yet, his durability was never affected. (Mitch Williams anyone?)

Mo is linked to one of Baseball’s Greatest Moments. But not in a good way. The 2001 World Series saw the upstart Arizona Diamondbacks defeat the heavily favored Yankees in a seven game thriller. Arizona rallied for 2 in the bottom of the ninth game seven to defeat the Yankees. It was an iconic moment in Series history. It was a shock that the D-Backs won. It was more of a shock that they upset the Yankees. However, the key to this extraordinary incident is not the fact that Luis Gonzalez knocked a bloop hit over the drawn-in infield but rather that it came off Mariano Rivera. Rallying for 2 in the bottom of the ninth off any team would be historical. The fact that it was against the best closer in history is what elevated this moment.

There are two teams I root for in Baseball: The Mets and whoever is playing the Yankees. When Jay Bell scored from third and ended the Yankees 2001 season I jumped off my sofa cheering as if Jesse Orosco had just fanned Marty Barrett all over again. If we can’t win, I don’t want to see the Yankees win either. It was sweet revenge for the 2000 World Series. For years I used Luis Gonzalez’ nickname, Gonzo. Anyone who knocks the Yankees out is okay in my book. Seeing Rivera and his teammates wander off the field in stunned shock was a beautiful thing. I have rooted against the Yankees my whole life and will continue to do so. However, while I loathe the team, I still can’t help but respect Rivera for what he meant to the game itself and to the post-season. Tom Verducci once stated, “Basketball has Michael Jordan, Hockey has Wayne Gretsky and Baseball has Mariano Rivera.”

Once asked to describe his job, Rivera stated, “I get the ball, I throw the ball and then I take a shower.”

mariano-rivera

If I ever get back to Cooperstown again, I’ll spend a lot of time admiring the plaques of Tom Seaver and The Kid, Gary Carter (despite the fact Gary’s has that ridiculous M instead of the more appropriate NY). But I will also spend a few extra moments checking out Rivera’s plaque. I didn’t cheer for him, never rooted for him. But I did experience his greatness and that is what makes Baseball a beautiful game.

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Mike Piazza One Of Many All-Time Great Players Never To Win A World Series http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/mike-piazza-one-of-many-all-time-great-players-never-to-win-a-world-series.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/mike-piazza-one-of-many-all-time-great-players-never-to-win-a-world-series.html/#comments Thu, 26 Sep 2013 13:17:23 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=130058 mike piazza

Is it not really known why society loves to classify everything into black and white? Maybe it’s just easier to minimize everything down into it’s most simplistic form. When it comes down to it, the vast majority of major league baseball players have never played in a World Series, let alone win one.

Some of the best players in the history of the game never won a World Series, are these all time greats still considered winners, or losers? If nothing else, it does go to show just how much of a team game baseball really is. With that being said, who do you believe are the best player to never win a World Series at each position?

Should I acknowledge the elephant in the room and point out that Barry Bonds has never won a ring?

Some people are willing to look past his tainted past to give him credit as one of the best hitters of all time… myself? Not so much.

On the topic of sluggers, however, you can look down the line at Harmon Killebrew and Willie McCovey, two other greats who each failed to win a World Series.

S

You could look at a couple of players from this current era, whatever it is you choose to call this era, and you’ll find Ken Griffey Jr.. and Mike Piazza, my two favorite players in MLB history, who also fell short of that ultimate glory.

Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell? Yep, they never got sized up for rings either. And if your interest happens to be pitchers, what about Gaylord Perry or Don Sutton? And do I even need a segue into mention the likes of Ty Cobb and Ted Williams? Believe it.

I wondered if I could make an All-Star team based on players that never won a World Series. How’s this for a team that never won baseball’s greatest achievement – a World Championship?

C : Mike Piazza

1B: Willie McCovey

2B: Nap Lajoie

3B: Ron Santo

SS: Ernie Banks

OF: Ty Cobb, Ted WilliamsKen Griffey Jr.

SP: Gaylord Perry, Juan Marichal, Fergie Jenkins, Early Wynn, Robin Roberts

RP: Lee Smith, Trevor Hoffman 

Bench: George Sisler, Harmon Killebrew, Carl Yastrzemski, Carlton Fisk, Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell, Ralph Kiner, Ryne Sandberg, Nellie Fox, Barry Bonds.

ted williams

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Remembering Mike Piazza And The Return Of Our National Pastime http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/remembering-mike-piazza-and-the-return-of-our-national-pastime.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/remembering-mike-piazza-and-the-return-of-our-national-pastime.html/#comments Wed, 11 Sep 2013 04:17:26 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=60254 mets braves september 21, 2001

The Mets. The Braves. Late September. This is what a pennant race is all about. It was the 148th game that season and the defending NL Champion Mets were surging. We’d cut the lead from 13 ½ to just 5 ½ and now the first place Braves were coming to town. At least, that’s what a pennant race should be about.

But on this September night there was not the usual electricity in the air that accompanies a crucial ballgame. Instead there was a sadness. A feeling of fear, uncertainty, confusion. Tears were mixed with anger. Disbelief intertwined with vulnerability. As the Mets took the field, just eight miles away, in what was becoming known as Ground Zero, rescue workers were sifting through debris and clearing away rubble through the still billowing smoke.

For the first time in our nation’s history our mainland was attacked. For the first time in our nation’s history American citizens, regular people, were targeted by a cold hearted enemy. For the first time in our nation’s history, the game of Baseball was put on hold due to terrorism.

mets braves post 9-11

The Mets/Braves game on September 21, 2001 was the first sporting event that would ever be held in NY in a Post 9/11 America. From this point forward everything would be different. President Bush and others urged us to go back to our everyday life. The best way to show these gutless terrorists that a few planes could not destroy America or alter democracy was to get back to our daily routine. But how could we? Everything was different.

During the pre-game memorial, PA announcer Roger Luce exclaimed, “We now return to our National Pastime.” Easier said then done.

In spite of the Mets fighting long time rivals Atlanta in a huge series at Shea, there was a calmness in the air. Mets and Braves players exchanged hugs on the field before the game. The expression on the faces of Mets players was not one of determination to defeat Atlanta but instead, eyes were glossy, teary. Swallowing was a little harder. Diana Ross sung God Bless America before the game and Liza Minelli brought the Shea faithful to their collective feet with a powerful rendition of New York, New York. Even our mayor, avid Yankee fan Rudy Giuliani, was cheered at Shea.

bobby valentine

For years, going to a Mets game meant hearing planes. We fans grew so accustomed to that familiar roar the sound of the jet engines didn’t even faze us anymore. This night, however, we glanced skyward when we heard planes overhead.

The game on the field seemed almost unimportant. We all questioned our own importance, our own place in life and for the first time realized that our shores were not impenetrable. These things only happen somewhere else, in a foreign country thousands of miles away. This only happens to strangers, not to family and friends, not to New York’s finest.

In the overall scheme of things, in the big picture, with the future of our country being questioned, did it really matter who won a meaningless baseball game in Flushing? Did anyone really care if Barry Bonds would break McGwire’s HR record? Was the farewell tour of Cal Ripken jr truly that important?

For seven and half innings Shea was eerily quiet. Sure, there were a couple chants of ‘Lets Go Mets’ that broke out but clearly, New York was not ready to cheer. All of that, however, ended in the bottom of the eighth.

Trailing 2-1 and with pinch runner Desi Relaford on first, Mike Piazza stepped to the plate.

mike piazza

Piazza hammered an 0-1 offering from Steve Karsay into the night. A monstrous blast that reached the camera platform beyond the wall in straight away center field. Hollywood couldn’t have scripted this stuff. Like Roy Hobbs, Piazza circled the bases. The only thing missing was the fireworks from the blown out light tower.

The Mets won 3-2 and cut the Braves lead to 4 ½. But the game meant more then that.

Americans had been urged to return to their every day life. It seemed a daunting task—until Piazza hit that shot. Cheers were heard in New York for the first time in over a week. Joyous screams filled the air from Flushing to downtown Manhattan. Things would now return to normal—slowly, but at least the days of darkness were ending. There was a light on the horizon. Once again, Barry Bonds’ HR chase DID matter. Cal Ripken’s farewell DID mean something.

But more important, the simple fact that a guy hit a baseball 400+ feet signified that New York was back. Baseball was back. And yes, America was on its way back.

shea stadium post 9-11 game

Although one can argue there’s never been a bigger Home Run in team history, Piazza’s blast reached far beyond the box score of one game. It carried with it a significance that extended beyond Shea. It meant something, not just to a team, but to an entire city. An entire city now began to heal. And Mike Piazza gave us the medicine we needed.

In lower Manhattan rescue workers worked feverishly to clear the rubble of what had once been the most significant part of our world famous skyline. The symbols of American capitalism and the most symbolic office buildings in our city had been destroyed. Two buildings, 110 stories each that reached to the heavens, now lay in a smoldering pile of twisted metal and broken glass and within it, almost 3000 Americans.

A few miles to the north of where the WTC once stood another monument of a different kind also once stood. This one was called The Polo Grounds. Just 12 days after Piazza brought a city back from its knees, October 3, 2001 marked the 50 year anniversary of Bobby Thomson’s famous HR that handed the pennant to the NY Giants over the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Unlike Thomson the hit by Piazza did not clinch the pennant and send a team to the World Series. However, in the same tradition of Thomson, Piazza’s HR carried great meaning, both on and off the field. In more ways then one, it was yet another ‘Shot Heard ‘Round The World.’

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Who Were The Best Players Never To Win A World Series? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/08/who-were-the-best-players-never-to-win-a-world-series.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/08/who-were-the-best-players-never-to-win-a-world-series.html/#comments Sun, 25 Aug 2013 13:00:45 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=127801 Grimsley

There are bad ways to win and good ways to lose. What’s interesting and troubling is that it’s not always clear which is which. — Grimsley, Pokemon

Is it not really known why humans love to classify everything into black and white categories? Maybe it’s just easier to minimize everything down into it’s most simplistic form. When it comes down to it, the vast majority of major league baseball players have never played in a World Series, let alone win one. Some of the best players in the history of the game never won a World Series, are these all time greats still considered winners, or losers? If nothing else, it does go to show just how much of a team game baseball really is. With that being said, who do you believe are the best player to never win a World Series at each position?

Should I acknowledge the elephant in the room and point out that Barry Bonds has never won a ring?

Some people are willing to look past his tainted past to give him credit as one of the best hitters of all time… myself? Not so much.

On the topic of sluggers, however, you can look down the line at Harmon Killebrew and Willie McCovey, two other greats who each failed to win a World Series.

S

You could look at a couple of players from this current era, whatever it is you choose to call this era, and you’ll find Ken Griffey Jr.. and Mike Piazza, my two favorite players in MLB history, who also fell short of that ultimate glory.

Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell? Yep, they never got sized up for rings either. And if your interest happens to be pitchers, what about Gaylord Perry or Don Sutton? And do I even need a segue into mention the likes of Ty Cobb and Ted Williams? Believe it.

I wondered if I could make an All-Star team based on players that never won a World Series. How’s this for a team that never won baseball’s greatest achievement – a World Championship?

C : Mike Piazza

1B: Willie McCovey

2B: Nap Lajoie

3B: Ron Santo

SS: Ernie Banks

OF: Ty Cobb, Ted WilliamsKen Griffey Jr.

SP: Gaylord Perry, Juan Marichal, Fergie Jenkins, Early Wynn, Robin Roberts

RP: Lee Smith, Trevor Hoffman 

Bench: George Sisler, Harmon Killebrew, Carl Yastrzemski, Carlton Fisk, Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell, Ralph Kiner, Ryne Sandberg, Nellie Fox, Barry Bonds.

ted williams

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Davis Defends Potential Flaw In His Swing; The Pronounced Hand Drop http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/06/davis-defends-potential-flaw-in-his-swing-the-pronounced-hand-drop.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/06/davis-defends-potential-flaw-in-his-swing-the-pronounced-hand-drop.html/#comments Sat, 01 Jun 2013 13:31:29 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=120531 ike_davis

Marc Carig of Newsday talked to Ike Davis about what some believe to be the main culprit in his prolonged slump at the plate; the pronounced hand drop as the ball is being released by the pitcher.

“I’ve always wanted to stop my hands from dropping,” Davis told Carig. “But I’ve always swung like that. Obviously, it’s not something that you want all the time, but I mean, Barry Bonds dropped his hands. A lot of people did and had success. It’s just the way I’ve swung my whole life with my hands. It’s tough to stop that.”

Barry Bonds? Really?

Our analyst Mitch Petanick, also discussed this flaw last week and wrote:

Right now, Davis starts his swing with his hands very high, above his head. Then as the pitcher starts his motion, he drops his hands almost down to waist level, then has to bring them back up to the zone to get his hands in a position to hit. That is a ton of noise before he has to prepare for a 95 mph fastball. With all that going on, he almost has to be thinking fastball on every pitch in order to catch up to it, which is probably why he has so much trouble hitting the off-speed pitch.

It’s time to change your ways Ike. Let’s quiet that swing, and get rid of all that noise. Keep the wide stance, but start your swing with your hands between your shoulders and ear. Don’t drop the hands, load them straight back and throw them at the ball. See the ball, hit the ball. I don’t understand how the Mets coaches allow Davis to continue to shoot himself in the foot, and go out there every night like this.

By limiting what he is doing before the pitch arrives, he will be able to trust his hands more and adjust to whatever pitch he sees. By keeping his hands between his shoulder and ear, he already has them in a good hitting position, and doesn’t have to make three movements before the pitch arrives to get them there. Simplify, simplify, simplify.

Hitting coach Dave Hudgens is one of the first baseman’s chief defenders and does not want Davis demoted to the minors. He acknowledges the potentially flawed swing, but is fearful of trying to reinvent that swing or his approach.

“When you’ve got that many moving parts, it’s got to come together the right way,” Hudgens said. “But once he gets locked in, he stays there a while. I mean, when you look the whole second half last year, I think he’s progressing into an area that will be more consistent.”

Hudgens said a danger looms when major changes are made.

In his last ten games, Davis is batting .194 (4-for-31) and after another strikeout last night, he now has 61 Ks in 166 at-bats.

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Prima Donnas and Clubhouse Chemistry: A Met Perspective http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/05/prima-donnas-and-clubhouse-chemistry-a-met-perspective.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/05/prima-donnas-and-clubhouse-chemistry-a-met-perspective.html/#comments Sat, 18 May 2013 13:00:17 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=119096 If Shakespeare were to write a play about the state of the Mets these days, it would probably be titled “Much Ado About Valdespin” as that’s about all anyone has to talk about outside of the largely dismal performance of the team between the lines. Inasmuch as the role young number 1 plays on the team is largely limited to that of utility player/pinch hitter, I wonder if the fuss being kicked up over his various perceived misbehaviors is not out of proportion to the relative importance he has to the team. Not that he is without talent-we all are tantalized by his speed, occasional power, and penchant for heroics, but the holes in his game are gaping enough to justify only judicious use of his presence in the lineup. Add in to this equation the somewhat larger-than-life aspects of his personality and you have a recipe for clubhouse controversy as testified to by the recent statement by seasoned veteran LaTroy Hawkins.

jeff kentSo, just how important is the ingredient of clubhouse chemistry to the relative success of a team? My feeling is that the degree of significance is in opposite proportion to the on-field success of the player involved. One former Met whose flinty personality rubbed people the wrong way everywhere he played was Jeff Kent, yet his undeniable offensive prowess (in more ways than one, I guess) led to a HOF-caliber career which included several seasons in the same lineup as Barry Bonds, no paragon of social niceties himself. In retrospect, the Mets trade of Kent for Carlos Baerga was a total clunker as Kent’s level of production exploded to All-Star level just as Baerga’s went into the tank. But at the time, Baerga was an All-Star who was younger than Kent and who carried none of the baggage associated with Kent, whose primary offense in a Met uniform was refusing to participate in a rookie ritual that involved wearing a ridiculous outfit for a team trip.

Team management saw the opportunity to swap a player they saw as having a somewhat negative effect on team harmony for a proven performer and they went for it. History has shown this to be one in a litany of bad trades that Met fans would just as soon forget, but you can’t argue with the logic at the time.  Add to this the fact that Indians management saw nothing wrong with spinning Kent off in the trade that landed him in San Francisco (where stardom followed) and you can’t really jump on poor Joe McIvaine’s case too hard. Once in Giant livery, Kent reeled off a string of tremendous seasons that culminated in arguably one of the greatest careers of any second baseman in MLB history. But he was still regarded as a major-league prick. I guess most teams would have put up with that aspect of his game as long as the rest of it was intact.

Another interesting chapter in the DSM of Metdom involved one Randall K. Myers and wunderkind batsman Gregg Jefferies. Jefferies, as you undoubtedly recall, was perhaps the most heralded Mets hitting prospect ever outside of Darryl Strawberry. Fans were regaled with tales of his incredible switch-hitting talents, honed through a variety of batting drills such as the semi-weird “swinging underwater in a pool” routine that the sports press of the time delighted in recounting. Upon his arrival, young Gregg looked to be the real thing, ripping off an impressive month at the end of the 1988 season and challenging the team to find a way to fit him into the same infield as Howard Johnson, the incumbent at Jefferies preferred position of third base.

gregg jefferiesAfter shifting the rookie across the diamond to second, the team received satisfactory offensive performance from him over the next two seasons, including a league leading 40 doubles in 1990. But prior to that campaign, the team had seen fit to trade Myers, a fireballing lefty reliever, to the Reds for his veteran counterpart and future Mets Hall-of-Famer John Franco. Not a terrible swap in retrospect, but at the time many wondered why the Mets would exchange a talent of Myers’ ilk for a player two years older who relied primarily on a deceptive change-up as an out pitch. The role of closer was one that most felt was better served by the blazer of young Randall K., and so inquiries as to the motivation of management with respect to the trade were made.

Revelations were forthcoming to the effect that the clubhouse friction between Myers and Jefferies was such that it was deemed best for all concerned to “keep ‘em separated,” to borrow a song lyric. Jefferies had been noted as being especially fussy about his bats and other equipment, and had garnered a reputation as a bit of a prima donna due to his helmet flinging episodes following strikeouts. Following reports that Myers had conspired with fellow bullpen denizen Roger McDowell to saw several of Jefferies bats in half and perhaps bring the youngster down a peg or two, it was made clear that the front office preferred to remove elements of controversy from the clubhouse. The element chosen was the self-styled cowabunga warrior Myers, a change that management hoped would help the more sensitive Jefferies flourish.  He did, ultimately, making the All-Star team and challenging for a batting title in 1993-for the St. Louis Cardinals. Prior to that, he had been part of the trade package put together to bring Bret Saberhagen to New York after his various peccadilloes had become less bearable in light of his merely competent level of production.

Another notorious bête noire of Met clubhouse history was former first-rounder Lastings Milledge whose escapades are still relatively fresh in the mind of the average Met fan. Now consigned to showing up opponents and teammates in Japan, the young Mr. Milledge arrived in 2006 with a reputation for trouble already established but with his talent still largely a promise of things to come. After two seasons in the Orange and Blue, he was sent packing to Washington for Ryan Church and Brian Schneider, worthy enough role players but lacking any star power of the type hinted at by some aspects of Milledge’s game.  When his potential for stardom failed to materialize after that, he drifted to Pittsburgh, then on to the south side of Chicago before opting for the Far East. Still only 28, he may have finally found himself as a player with the Tokyo Yakult Swallows. One can only hope that he has overcome the habits that lead to the posting of the infamous “Know Your Place, Rook” sign in his locker by Met teammate Billy Wagner.

A more unusual aspect of the “player as clubhouse distraction” syndrome was noted during the 2004 and 2005 seasons when Anna Benson, the wife of the contrastingly low-key Met pitcher Kris Benson, arrived on the scene.  The combination of Mrs. Benson’s startlingly frank pronouncements on virtually everything with behavior such as appearing as a va-va-voom version of “Mrs. Claus” at the Met annual Christmas charity function combined to lead to a trade with Baltimore sending her husband out of town after a season and a half. That the male Benson’s apparent talent level was that of an eminently replaceable back-of-rotation starter probably contributed to his exit as well. Had he displayed more in the way of dominant pitching skills, the team’s tolerance for the more “colorful” aspects of his spouse’s persona might have been greater.

So, what of the Mets’ current bad boy? I expect that as long as whatever contributions he makes on the field outweigh the perceived negative effect of his extra-curricular antics, he will stick around. At this point, the team hasn’t done a lot to enhance his trade value anyway.  Considering the organization’s history though, I imagine that if circumstances conspire to raise his baseball value in the estimation of any general manager not named Alderson, he could be on his way somewhere in the relatively near future. Maybe someone will be enticed to take him for a “’Spin?”

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Featured Post: Seeking A Villain For The Mets’ Hitting Woes http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/05/featured-post-seeking-a-villain-for-the-mets-hitting-woes.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/05/featured-post-seeking-a-villain-for-the-mets-hitting-woes.html/#comments Wed, 15 May 2013 17:25:34 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=118945 An incredible 46 strikeouts in the Mets’ last four games… Hmmm. Let’s see, whom can we blame?

I know, lets blame batting coach Dave Hudgens and his approach to work the count, be selective, and get a pitch and drive it.

k_104_lgThat’s it, his approach is wrong. It is why they are striking out so many times. They are taking, taking, falling behind, and then whiffing. Damn, it’s Hudgens’ fault.

That’s the current analysis of the Mets’ offensive woes and it is nonsense.

There is nothing wrong with the approach, the game plan, if you will. It is fundamental baseball, and it only doesn’t work if you don’t have the hitters with the ability to make it work.

There is nothing wrong in working the count and taking a strike. What IS wrong, is taking that strike if it is a pitch you can drive. This is about pitch selectivity and recognition, and Mets hitters don’t have it.

Remember when Yankees-Red Sox games lasted close to four hours? The approach from both teams was to run up the count. For the Yankees, when they faced Pedro Martinez, the magic number was 100. Once Martinez reached that number he became less effective.

Surprise, surprise, it works that way with all pitchers on a consistent basis. Some games they’ll have the stuff to go long, but usually they’ll break down.

imagesIt worked because those teams had hitters capable of recognizing their pitch and reacting. Bernie Williams, Paul O’Neill and Manny Ramirez. The term used is “professional hitter.’’

Trouble is, when you look at the Mets, you don’t find many. David Wright, sure. You can even make a case for Daniel Murphy, but he’s in a dreadful slump, which happens to everybody.

We knew going in Ike Davis and Lucas Duda were strikeout machines. Looking at their roster, so is everybody else.

Of their most-used lineup, only Murphy and Ruben Tejada are projected to finish with less than 100 strikeouts, and their numbers of 93 and 79, respectively, are high for supposed “contact’’ hitters.

For all the talk of John Buck’s hot start, he has come to Earth average-wise and his power numbers have cooled. But, not his strikeouts; on pace for 162.

Here’s the projected numbers for the rest: Wright (106, which is a marked improvement from recent years), Duda (153), Rick Ankiel (154), and Marlon Byrd (139).

Even in his limited at-bats, Jordany Valdespin is on pace to whiff 65 times. Give him full time at-bats and it would be over 100, also.

images-1Given this, then why have an approach of taking pitches?

Answer: Because that gives them the best chance to succeed, if they have the ability to do so.

Early in the year we were thrilled about Duda taking walks and having a high on-base percentage. What went wrong is two-fold: 1) he fell back into bad habits and started chasing, and 2) he didn’t swing when he got his pitch.

Too often, Mets’ hitters still swing at garbage. In fact, they aren’t taking enough. Consider Davis’ last strikeout Sunday against Pittsburgh when he flailed at three pitches outside the zone, either low or away, or both.

If the Mets had a roster of guys such as Wade Boggs or Barry Bonds, who knew how to wait out a pitcher and what to do when he got his pitch, this wouldn’t be an issue.

But, they don’t. They have a roster of guys who aren’t major leaguers.

Pitchers know the Mets are taking, so they adjusted and are throwing down-the-middle strikes early and hard-to-reach strikes late in the count.

If the first pitch is there, swing at it. The approach isn’t about taking until you have two strikes. It is about driving one strike. Sometimes, that’s the only good pitch you’ll get.

Outside of Wright, who is getting better, few Mets know how to protect the plate with two strikes, which is shorten your swing, foul off pitches that are close, and go to the opposite field.

No, the problem isn’t the approach. The problem is a roster of hitters who don’t understand the fundamentals of hitting.

The problem is also general manager Sandy Alderson, who is about the funky stats of Sabermetrics and has settled for a roster of players not able to hit, but oh boy they can walk.

But, the easiest thing to do is blame Hudgens, who after all, is only trying to get his hitters to understand Hitting 101.

Please follow me on Twitter @jdelcos

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A Few Changes MLB Can Implement To Improve The National Pastime http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/03/a-few-changes-mlb-can-implement-to-improve-the-national-pastime.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/03/a-few-changes-mlb-can-implement-to-improve-the-national-pastime.html/#comments Wed, 20 Mar 2013 04:05:50 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=111332 MLB: Washington Nationals-Pitchers and CatchersThe NFL is contemplating a rule where running backs can’t duck their heads when outside the tackle box. Like the rule or not, unlike baseball, football is proactive when it comes to rule changes and adjustments in the game.

It isn’t as if Major League Baseball has to appeal to the Supreme Court for changes. Some could be negotiated through the Collective Bargaining Agreement, where others are common sense.

Here are some changes that could be made to improve the quality of play, and yes maybe a few are tongue in cheek:

INSTANT REPLAY: Expansion is being considered and rightly so. If they have replay, do it right. Nobody expects it on balls and strikes, although the TV pitch tracker box shows a lot of mistakes. Unlike football and basketball, where action occurs all over the field, much of baseball’s action happens at fixed locations, such as the bases, foul lines and outfield wall. Cameras can easily be focused on those key spots. There are out and safe calls on the bases, as well as fair and foul, that could be overturned with a minimum of time. It would take a fifth umpire located in the press box with monitors. Should take no more than a couple of minutes to get it right, and MLB has the money for the extra umpire.

THE UMPIRES: There is an adversarial relationship between players/managers and umpires. Too many umpires have a short fuse and eject at the slightest debate. So, put a microphone on them they can’t control to record arguments. Not only will it show umpires sometimes being in the wrong, but it also can be taped and sold for extra marketing bucks. Who wouldn’t want a DVD of greatest umpire-manager fights?

SCHEDULING: The scheduling is a mess that creates problems. For example, why are the San Diego Padres opening the season at Citi Field? The weather is ugly in April, so the first month should be mostly within the division so games can be made up easier. If the Padres-Mets game is bagged, it will be hard searching for a make-up date. Why put the Padres, or any team, in position of crossing three time zones to make up a game? Just makes no sense.

THE GETAWAY GAME: The last game in any series, if not followed by an off day, should be in the afternoon. As it is, teams don’t get into the next city until 3 or 4 in the morning, and players are exhausted for the next game. Players can be seen in the clubhouse before the first game of a series guzzling coffee and Red Bull. The quality of play suffers when the players are tired, so why not put them in the best position to succeed? Alert players give the fans a better product. Also, it provides teams at least another couple of day games in a month and what’s not to like about day baseball?

THE DAY-NIGHT DOUBLEHEADER: If MLB insists on interleague play and the unbalanced schedule, there will continue to be 19 games a year against teams in the division. Familiarity does breed contempt, so perhaps this contributes to an attendance fall-off at the end of a season. If a day-night doubleheader were scheduled once or twice a month (at home and the road), it would clear 12 days, which could be used for extra off-days and make-up games. I’ve spoken to many players who would rather have the doubleheader if it meant another off day. This format could schedule shorten the season by up to a week and start the playoffs earlier. Anything to alleviate November baseball. I know they’ll never go for the traditional doubleheader because of not wanting to give up the gate, but this is feasible.

BODY ARMOR: This padding on the elbow has to go. If you’re protecting an injury, fine, but players are taking advantage of the padding and therefore don’t fear the inside pitch. Not fair. Barry Bonds spend the last four or five years of his career not having to worry about being plunked.

PITCHER SHIELD: Can’t a light helmet with a face shield for pitchers be designed to protect them from line drives to the head and face? They made helmets mandatory for base coaches after a coach was killed after being struck in the head. Does somebody else have to be seriously injured or killed before something is done?

SUSPENSIONS: When a player is suspended for throwing at a hitter or using a corked bat, his penalty should come against the team he was playing against at the time. Just seems a fairer way. And, why does the player usually have to wait until the next time his team plays in New York before an appeal? There’s teleconferencing and conference calls, so what’s the big deal?

There are countless of other possible changes, but these are a few that have been rattling in my mind. I’d like to hear if you have others.

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Reign Delay? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/01/reign-delay.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/01/reign-delay.html/#comments Mon, 14 Jan 2013 19:59:00 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=104859 As I was driving home the other night, I was listening to Casey Stern and Jim Bowden on the MLB Network Radio channel on XM. They were discussing with Jill Painter, the L.A. Daily News sports columnist, the Baseball Hall of Fame vote which took place Wednesday. This is the same Jill Painter, member of the Baseball Writers Association of America who thought it made perfect sense to cast one of her Hall of Fame votes for the former Blue Jay, Dodger, Diamondback and Met, Shawn Green. As she was engaging in verbal kabuki, explaining her vote, I could almost feel the indignation boiling over from the two hosts. Big kudos goes out to both Bowden and Stern for having the combined patience of a saint. That interview alone should earn them a few Marconi votes in my view.

It’s a good thing I don’t do radio; I wouldn’t have been nearly as diplomatic as they were. As if there wasn’t enough preordained controversy with this year’s crop of candidates, we get this nonsense and I’m not even going to enrage you with her supposed rationale. I have too much respect for you to even try. It’s almost as bad as the one vote that someone gave Aaron Sele. Again, not going to enrage you with the facts, you can look up Sele’s pathetic career statistics here if you wish. Then you have my permission to curse uncontrollably – - and yes you can practice reading that line in your best Bane voice. Or Darrell Hammond’s Sean Connery as I believe they’re one in the same.

Call me naïve but I was always under the impression that those having been afforded the privilege of a Hall of Fame vote would show just a modicum of respect towards it. I’m not the only one who thinks this way as does the great Metstradamus. But this is unfortunately the year that common sense, fairness and respect for the game clearly went over the edge of the train tracks faster than a New York City subway commuter. Ouch.

Now I’ve been very sympathetic to the plight the writers have when it comes to wading through the waters that PED’s have polluted in Major League Baseball. But like Metstradamus, when voters use their privilege to make some grand statement (i.e. voting no one in), peppered with some who find it – I don’t know – comical, to vote for the likes of Sele and Green, it simply demonstrates to me that stupidity isn’t determined by who you write for or what and if you get paid for writing it.

When the likes of Marty Noble, someone I’ve always had tremendous respect for, thinks that because Mike Piazza had an abundance of—wait for it—back hair, during his time as a Dodger and decides to connect the follicles and assume that it meant Piazza used. It shows me just how far we’ve fallen as a people more than anything. We’ll believe the very worst of each other just to protect our own vanity because God forbid a player is later found to have juiced.

We can’t have writers dealing with pangs of remorse now can we? To top it off, Noble then ironically said that as a Met, Piazza had a hairless back, which is ALSO a symptom of steroid use. So if Piazza essentially played with Robin William’s back he’s using yet if he’s smoother than an Abercrombie model he’s also using? Absolutely pathetic, especially that never, not once, has Piazza been accused or named in any report or tested positive for any performance enhancing drugs.

I always believed that MLB needs to be far more proactive of a guide for the BBWAA when it comes to Hall of Fame voting and steroids. I wrote a piece for Metsmerized in early 2011 calling for Bud Selig to commission a panel exploring the effects that PED’s have on actual playing performance. Of course Selig and MLB want absolutely nothing further to do with this issue—at least not what happened in the past. One bright spot happened a few days ago when the MLB Players Association and MLB agreed to year round drug testing for Human Growth Hormone and Testosterone.

The BBWAA and their writers refused to vote for some players and based it on innuendo and unproven allegations; and that is shameful itself. In part I can understand their fear of enshrining someone who later is proven to have used PED’s as players elected cannot be removed from the Hall of Fame. My question is why is that? Hypothetically if a Hall of Famer does something illegal, whether during or after their playing career, why are they not immediately open to removal? That, in my opinion, would allow the writers to choose players based on their careers and not on speculation.

George Orwell was quoted as saying:

“Saints should always be judged guilty until they are proved innocent.”

Now the real question remains, who was Orwell talking about; the players or the writers?

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Pedro Martinez Says It’s Too Difficult To Vote Bonds Or Clemens Into Hall http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/12/pedro-martinez-says-its-too-difficult-to-vote-bonds-or-clemens-into-hall.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/12/pedro-martinez-says-its-too-difficult-to-vote-bonds-or-clemens-into-hall.html/#comments Sat, 08 Dec 2012 17:10:08 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=102423

Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe caught up with Pedro Martinez who was at former teammate David Ortiz‘s celebrity golf fundraiser in the Dominican Republic yesterday.

The always outspoken Martinez had plenty to say about the steroids era as well as his own career and legacy.

“I never had a complaint. I don’t have it. I think I did it the best way possible,” he said on Friday. “What would have happened if I had a level playing field? It’s something to be guessed. This is the same body that you saw, except for a couple of more pounds.”

When asked about his thoughts on new Hall of Fame candidates Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds, Martinez minced no words:

“It’s really difficult for me to choose either one. I would have loved to face Roger Clemens when he was Roger Clemens with nothing. I would have loved to face him all the time.

Regarding his future candidacy:

“I was clean. I know I was clean. That’s all I can say. I was out there and they got the best out of me. Beat me or not, that was the best I had, and clean. I wish it were the same way for every one of them.”

“In my last years with the Mets, I was pushed too far. I was going too far with the pain. I did it naturally, I rehabbed naturally. I went through struggles a lot naturally. Today I can actually sit back, relax and enjoy the flight because I did it clean and my integrity is right where it belongs.”

Pedro, a three-time Cy Young Award winner, will no doubt get in as a first ballot Hall of Famer having never had any suspicion of PED or steroid use. Martinez is one of the rare great players from the steroid era to actually gain weight after retirement rather than lose weight.

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MMO Player Of The Week: David Wright http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/04/mmo-player-of-the-week-david-wright.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/04/mmo-player-of-the-week-david-wright.html/#comments Mon, 16 Apr 2012 13:55:30 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=77487 The MetsMerizedOnline Player of the Week for this week has shown he has a great impact on this team. This week also includes the opening series against the Atlanta Braves, for a total of 9 games played.  Here is our MMO Player of the Week for 4/5/2012-4/15/2012:

Through the use of the scorecard, let’s take a look at how David Wright did this week:

G

AB

H

R

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

K

AVG

6

21

12

4

0

0

2

5

4

2

.571

Despite missing three games due to a pinkie injury, Wright still had two home runs, five runs batted in, and a .571 batting average. During those three games he missed, his impact was noticed, as the Mets went 1-2 without him, while going 5-1 with him. This is the David Wright that we all want playing out there, week in and week out.

Honorable Mentions

These players, although not winning the Player of the Week award, had a very strong showing this week and deserve to be recognized. We will also show how strong a showing they had through the use of the scorecard.

Ruben Tejada

G

AB

H

R

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

K

AVG

9

34

10

4

5

0

0

3

4

8

.294

Daniel Murphy

G

AB

H

R

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

K

AVG

9

34

10

3

4

0

0

4

6

5

.294

Johan Santana

G

IP

W

L

SV

R

ER

BB

K

AVG

WHIP

2

10.0

0

1

0

1

1

5

13

.194

1.20

Jon Niese

G

IP

W

L

SV

R

ER

BB

K

AVG

WHIP

2

12.2

2

0

0

4

3

5

12

.156

0.95

Jon Rauch

G

IP

W

L

SV

R

ER

BB

K

AVG

WHIP

5

5.2

1

0

0

0

0

1

3

.000

0.18

Frank Francisco

G

IP

W

L

SV

R

ER

BB

K

AVG

WHIP

4

4.0

0

0

3

1

0

0

7

.188

0.75

Not So Hot

The Not So Hot area mentions a few players who did not have a good week this week.

Ike Davis

Jason Bay

Miguel Batista

Ramon Ramirez

Player Of The Week Scoreboard

This area shows the scoreboard of the Players of the Week, and who has won already this season and how many times.

1. David Wright – 1

Trivia

To finish off the Player of the Week announcement each week, I’ll be asking you a trivia question. The answer will be announced during the next Player of the Week announcement, as well as the first person who answered correctly. Another question will then be asked. So here is this week’s question:

In the 2000 NLDS, most Met fans remember that Bobby Jones won the clinching Game 4 with a one-hitter, and many fans remember that John Franco saved Game 2 for winning pitcher Armando Benitez to even the series when he struck out Barry Bonds. But what pitcher won game 3 of that NLDS for the Mets?

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