Mets Merized Online » Bobby Valentine http://metsmerizedonline.com Mon, 16 Jan 2017 02:08:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.17 Alderson Hopeful Cespedes Can Return From DL When Eligible http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/08/alderson-hopeful-cespedes-can-return-from-dl-when-eligible.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/08/alderson-hopeful-cespedes-can-return-from-dl-when-eligible.html/#comments Tue, 09 Aug 2016 20:24:12 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=219709 cespedes

Updated – Aug 9

Mets general manager Sandy Alderson told reporters that outfielder Yoenis Cespedes took batting practice in Port St. Lucie on Tuesday.

While he remains hopeful that Cespedes will be able to return from the DL as soon as he is eligible after the minimum 15 days, Alderson would not commit to a specific return date.

Original Report – Aug 4

Mets All Star outfielder Yoenis Cespedes is coming under a lot of intense media fire after landing on the disabled list only hours after playing a round of golf before the game despite a persistent quad injury.

Cespedes was placed on the disabled list after aggravating his right quad during his final at-bat in a 9-5 loss to the Yankees.

“It has been frustrating,” Cespedes said after the game. “I’ve lost my timing. I’ve lost games and I haven’t been able to contribute to the ballclub. I think the best option is just rest, about 10 days are so, because if I keep playing like this I’m never going to recover.”

golf

During the post game show on SNY, Gary Apple took issue about a photo that circulated on Twitter that showed a joyous Cespedes showing off his scorecard after playing a round of golf with MLB Network’s Kevin Millar.

Apple, who is usually quite upbeat, was not happy after listening to Cespedes speak to reporters, and then he asked analysts Nelson Figueroa and Bobby Valentine for their thoughts and if they thought Cespedes was out of line.

“When you’re being rested and kept off the field it’s for a reason. The team thinks the time off your feet is a good thing,” Figueroa said.

“Everybody knows he loves to play golf. Everybody knows he’s a scratch golfer. But to be out there and have photos of you golfing on the day of the game and you end up being placed on the disabled list?” …I understand he’s the superstar of your team, but when you are getting time off to rest your legs you shouldn’t be playing golf.”

“Swinging a golf club and swinging a bat – they’re both rotational – it’s a rotational thing. If I had a blister on my finger and I loved bowling I’m not going to go bowling. That’s just not okay. You’re a paid professional in one sport and that sport is baseball for now.”

“He’s in New York, you just can’t do it,” exclaimed Valentine. “You just can’t do that.”

Manager Terry Collins defended his player as always and dismissed the idea Cespedes was risking further injury. “Was he running on the course or was he walking? Was he riding in a cart or was he jogging? I don’t have any problem with it.”

Cespedes is batting .292 with 18 doubles, 22 homers and 59 RBIs this season for the Mets.

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What Could Have Been: Ichiro As A Met http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/07/what-could-have-been-ichiro-as-a-met.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/07/what-could-have-been-ichiro-as-a-met.html/#comments Sun, 24 Jul 2016 14:20:54 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=218458 ichirp

As the New York Mets conclude their three-game set against the Miami Marlins on Sunday, baseball fans continue to watch a 42-year-old hitting marvel, who is only four hits shy of reaching the elusive 3,000 hit club. What’s more amazing is that combined with the nine-years he spent with the Orix Blue Wave team in Japan, Ichiro Suzuki already has a combined 4,274 hits, 18 more hits than Major League Baseball’s hit king, Pete Rose (4,256).

Former Mets’ manager Bobby Valentine remembers Ichiro well. Having managed the Chiba Lotte Marines, a Japanese team in the Nippon Professional Baseball league in 1995, Valentine remembers a young 21-year-old who he would eventually describe as a “freak of nature”.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Valentine spoke on how his team would hold daily meetings to discuss how to pitch to the unstoppable Ichiro at the plate.

“I said, ‘I can’t believe we’re having a meeting every day. We’ll get him out when the season starts,’” Valentine said. “I guess we needed two meetings a day.” (Jared Diamond, Wall Street Journal)

Valentine and his staff had good reason to game plan against Ichiro. In 1995, Ichiro compiled one of his best seasons in Japan, with a stat line of .342/.432/.544 with 25 homers, 80 RBI, 49 stolen bases in 58 chances, 104 runs scored, and more walks (68) than strikeouts (52).

Ichiro became a phenomenon in Japan, winning three straight Pacific League MVP Awards (1994-96), was a seven-time batting champion (1994-2000), and won a Japanese championship in 1996. His hitting prowess became so noteworthy, that the press began calling him the “Hit Manufacturing Machine”.

Fast forward to 2000, as Orix permitted MLB teams to submit offers for Ichiro’s services to play in the states. The team wasn’t as good as previous years, and they didn’t want to risk losing Ichiro for nothing, so they allowed him to negotiate with major league teams after the 2000 season.

Valentine was now in his fifth year and fourth full season managing the Mets in 2000, leading his team to the World Series against the crosstown rival New York Yankees. When Ichiro was posted for teams to bid on, Valentine wanted desperately for the Mets to make a move for his services.

“There’s been many a night that I said to myself, ‘I wonder how things could have been different if he was in my outfield,’” Valentine said. “For him in New York, for me staying in New York. I think it would have been fun.”

But doubts lingered, even after all the amazing feats Ichiro had accomplished in Japan. No position player had ever come to the states and transitioned from the Japanese league to the majors. There was a certain amount of risk being placed by whichever team took a shot at the then 27-year-old, especially with his unorthodox batting style and his mannerisms at the plate.

“We had this internal debate: What do you expect out of him?” said Jim Duquette, then an assistant general manager with the Mets. “I remember seeing video of the swing, and it was like, ‘Eh, is that going to play?’ You just had no idea.”

Mets brass met and discussed Ichiro numerous times, before comfortably bidding a little over $9 million, which would go the the Orix Blue Wave as compensation, then leaving the winning team with 30 days to negotiate a contract with the player.

To read the whole story, please go to the Wall Street Journal. where Jared Diamond shares more details on how it all played out, plus additional insights and commentary from Duquette, Phillips and Valentine.

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Mike Piazza 9/11 Jersey Rescued By Three Mets Fans http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/04/mike-piazza-911-jersey-rescued-by-three-mets-fans.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/04/mike-piazza-911-jersey-rescued-by-three-mets-fans.html/#comments Thu, 14 Apr 2016 19:45:07 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=208763 piazza1

Great news on the 9/11 Mike Piazza jersey flap. Thanks to the efforts of three huge Mets fans, the jersey will soon be back in New York where it belongs.

According to Kevin Kernan of the NY Post, Anthony Scaramucci, Tony Lauto and an anonymous third business partner, came to an agreement in principle Thursday to buy the jersey for approximately $355,000, making it the most expensive modern-day jersey.

The three of them told The Post that they worked hard to set up the deal so the jersey can spend time at Citi Field, as well as the 9/11 Memorial Museum and the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.

“We had too many friends die in those buildings to let that jersey go anywhere else,” Scaramucci said. “Tony and I wanted to make sure that jersey stays in New York. We talked to Mike, he’s happy. We talked to Mike’s father, Vince, he’s happy.”

Kernan adds that the Mets made no attempt to buy back the jersey, after selling it for a small profit three years ago.

Not for nothing, but the Wilpons need to do something for these three generous fans. And I’m not talking about inviting them to visit a batting practice and meeting Mr. Met.

It’s great to have a happy ending to this. That jersey meant so much to Met fans and New York City, but also many veterans, active duty military and first responders.

April 5

According to a report by Kevin Kernan of the New York Post, Mike Piazza is “very disappointed” after learning the jersey he wore when hitting his epic home run on Sept. 21, 2001, is being sold in an online auction that began on Monday.

Piazza, who will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame this summer, expressed his feelings to Mets COO Jeff Wilpon, telling him that the jersey never should have left Citi Field.

“They have assured me that contact with the seller has been made and they are making a concerted effort to get the jersey back,” Piazza said. “I’m hopeful that an agreement can be reached and we can give back to the fans and all New Yorkers a piece of that evening that was more than just a game.”

A Mets spokesperson issued the following statement to the Post:

“We made a mistake in selling the jersey and Jeff called Mike to express our regret in so doing,’’ the spokesperson said. “We have dedicated a section in the Mets Hall of Fame and Museum to celebrate Mike’s achievements and his induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame and are exploring memorabilia to display in that area.”

The iconic jersey could become the most valuable in memorabilia history, and Piazza is furious the Mets let it go. He says that the jersey belonged to the fans and to the people and to New York.

Original Report – April 1

Mets fans will always remember the game against the Atlanta Braves on September 21, 2001. It was the first home game in New York since the horrific terrorist attacks on September 11th, and was a game that gave New Yorkers something to cheer about, even for just one night.

With the Mets trailing 2-1 in the bottom of the eighth inning, Edgardo Alfonzo drew a one-out walk against set-up man Steve Karsay. Alfonzo was lifted for a pinch runner, Desi Relaford, who was the tying run. A mistake by Karsay, for now he had to face the fiercest hitter in the Mets lineup, Mike Piazza.

Piazza took the first pitch, a 97 mile-per-hour fastball on the outside part of the plate for strike one. Karsay knew the scouting report on Piazza was to keep the ball away, hoping to keep Piazza from turning on a pitch and pulling it to leftfield.

Catcher Javy Lopez was calling for the pitch to be away, setting up well to the right of the right-handed Piazza. Karsay threw his second pitch, which got just enough of the plate for Piazza to drive to centerfield for a go-ahead two-run home run.

Shea Stadium went nuts, fans jumping up and down, hugging each other, chanting “U.S.A”. The home run offered a temporary relief to those in attendance, allowing fans to embrace the moment. The Mets would go on to win that game 3-2, sending fans home smiling and excited, during the toughest of times.

The very jersey Piazza wore to put the Mets ahead in the eighth is being auctioned off in April by Goldin Auctions. Starting Monday April 3, fans will have a chance to bid online for the iconic piece of memorabilia. The auction concludes on April 30 with a live event in New York.

The white home jersey has an American flag on the back collar, “9-11-01” stitched on the right sleeve, and is signed by the newly elected Hall of Famer.

Piazza spoke about the home run and what it meant to him in January, one day after he got the call to the Hall of Fame.

“It’s tough because I get emotional thinking back at that week,” Piazza said. “I mean, anybody knows who was there, it’s something you can’t define. It changed all of our lives, not at a baseball level, but personally for me. I mean, it really put my life in perspective and focused what the important things in life are, and that’s family and friends and relationships.”

Ken Goldin, founder and president of Goldin Auctions based in New Jersey, says that his cosigner bought the jersey from the Mets in a private auction held about three years ago. I find it odd that the Mets would sell off a piece of memorabilia that has so much meaning behind it. That moment brought fans back to baseball, allowing those who might have been afraid to laugh and enjoy themselves during a time where the nation was seemingly on high alert each day, to celebrate and enjoy the come from behind victory.

The other piece to the story is who owned the jersey before the cosigner? The cosigner bought this jersey from a private sale with the Mets three years ago, so someone had it in their possession for over ten years. Goldin suspects that the original owner of the Piazza jersey was none other than Charlie Samuels, the longtime Mets clubhouse attendant who pleaded guilty in 2012 to tax fraud and possession of stolen property. It was also reported that Samuels had taken an estimated $2.3 million in Mets memorabilia during his 27-year career with the Amazins.

charlie samuels

Goldin Auctions is hoping to set a record sale for a Mets game worn jersey, which is currently held by a 1970 Nolan Ryan jersey, which sold for $53,758 back in 2008.

I believe that this jersey should be displayed at Citi Field or in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. The jersey is from an iconic moment not just for New York baseball, but all of the Major Leagues. Some fans feel that Piazza’s home run is a symbol of strength and unity, at a time where Americans needed to feel that after the devastating loss that was felt just ten days earlier.

The New York Daily News spoke with Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson, who feels that Piazza’s jersey should be hanging in the museum, as an artifact that will be able to retell the story of what happened during the turbulent time in our history.

“We would have loved to see Piazza’s jersey in Cooperstown,” Idelson said. “Once the games resumed after 9/11, we tried to figure out how to best tell the story of 9/11. Mike Piazza’s (game-winning) home run was a big part of that night. We think we have artifacts and items that reflect the story so that people who come 50 years, 100 years from now will have an understanding.”

While the Hall does have pieces of equipment from that night including a FDNY hat worn by John Franco, and a NYPD hat worn by then manager Bobby Valentine. However, Piazza’s home run is the lasting image in many fans minds, and having something personal of his to showcase at the museum, and in a year where Piazza finally got the call to Cooperstown, would’ve been an ideal situation.

One can only hope that the person that purchases the jersey in the April auction will donate the jersey to showcase either at Citi Field or in the Hall of Fame, so it can serve its true purpose, being a part of Met history and an item of remembrance for Major League Baseball and our country.

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MMO Exclusive: Bobby Valentine Says Mets Could Win World Series http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/08/bobby-valentine-says-mets-could-win-world-series.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/08/bobby-valentine-says-mets-could-win-world-series.html/#comments Mon, 17 Aug 2015 16:33:01 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=190578 bobby valentine

In the last three weeks, the conversation has largely shifted from if the Mets make the postseason to when. The question still remaining however, is whether this is a team capable of playing deep into October or not.

Bobby Valentine, who knows a thing or two about quality Mets baseball, believes this year’s club could win it all.

“I think they could win a World Series,” Valentine told me Saturday while I was covering the Mets game for WSOU–Seton Hall’s student radio station. “Those guys are healthy and they’re out there pitching. No one wants to play the New York Mets.

In addition to the pitching staff that are “compared to none,” Valentine said the 2015 Mets just have the right formula for postseason success.

“When you get really good talent and then you get really good health you have a chance of being more than competitive down the stretch, I think you have a chance of winning it,” he said.

The flurry of deadline deals, highlighted by the acquisition of Yoenis Cespedes, not only drastically improved an offense that was in dire need of assistance, but made a statement that the Mets were ready to play relevant baseball into the final weeks of the season. Valentine, who’s 1998 team benefited from the midseason trade for Mike Piazza, said it is a major confidence booster for a ball club when a front office chooses to buy at the deadline.

“It just changes the attitude,” he said. “Once the attitude changes, life is good. Guys go up there now feeling good about themselves.”

It is that attitude alteration, particularly on offense, that Valentine said puts the Mets over the top.

“They didn’t have enough confidence, now they have enough confidence on offense,” he said. “So they’re the team to beat.”

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Collins Passes Gil Hodges For Third All-Time In Franchise Wins http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/06/collins-passes-gil-hodges-for-third-all-time-in-franchise-wins.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/06/collins-passes-gil-hodges-for-third-all-time-in-franchise-wins.html/#comments Wed, 17 Jun 2015 13:03:40 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=184696 terry-collins-mets

Terry Collins won his 340th game with the Mets last night, surpassing Gil Hodges for the third-most managerial wins in team history. Only Davey Johnson (595) and Bobby Valentine (536) have more victories.

While this is a nice milestone for the Collins, he has yet to manage the team to a winning season. He started his tenure in New York back in 2011, and his overall winning percentage with the team stands at .476.

Despite these shortcomings, Collins surprisingly has the Mets sitting in first place with a 36-30 record this season.

“I’ve been lucky to stay here long enough to get that,” Collins said. “I love what I do, but I’m all about the players. I’m not about what I accomplish or anything else. It’s certainly an honor to be in that class.”

Not too long ago, it looked like the team’s hopes were about to fade, especially after being no-hit by the Giants’ Chris Heston. However, the Mets have responded well to this adversity as they have won four out of their past five games.

With the Mets continuing to play good baseball, it’s becoming increasingly more likely that Collins will return to manage the team next season, and more importantly lead the team to its first winning season since 2008.

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Those Amazin’ Mets: Dave Kingman, OF/1B http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/those-amazin-mets-dave-kingman-of1b.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/those-amazin-mets-dave-kingman-of1b.html/#comments Sun, 12 Jan 2014 12:30:07 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=139496

Dave Kingman was one of the most fascinating players in Mets’ history. Because he played in one of the Mets’ major down periods – the mid ‘70’s to early ‘80’s, you  don’t hear his name mentioned much in Mets’ retrospectives, but for a while, he was clearly the Mets’ biggest star and one of their very few drawing cards, at least at home. If remembered at all, it’s as a low-average power hitter, but Kingman deserves to be remembered for so much more.

Kingman was an outstanding pitcher in High School up through his sophomore year at USC, but coach Rod Dedaux thought he could help the team more as a regular player. Kingman reportedly wanted to stay a pitcher and it seemed at times throughout his career he was angry about something. That might have been it.

Kingman was  drafted by the Giants out of USC and rose to the big leagues quickly, mostly because of his prodigious power. At 6’6 with a long sweeping swing,  Kingman certainly looked the part. His long legs also gave him above average speed on the bases, but his defense was mediocre at best. Dave always seemed to give the impression that fielding was a part of the game he wasn’t very interested in.  It was ironic that Kingman who was made for the role of designated hitter spent the first 10 years of his major league career in the National League where he was forced to play the field.

dave-kingmanSince the Giants always seemed well stocked in the outfield and at first base, Kingman’s last shot at staying with the team as a regular was at third base, but found wanting there, he was sold to the Mets before the 1975 season. For a cash deal, this proved to be a great pickup for the Mets as “Kong” (a nickname he hated) went on to set a club record for homeruns with 36 in 1975 and broke it the following year.  Although it’s hard to say he was one of  the Mets’ most popular players since reporters characterized him as surly and uncooperative, he was certainly one of the few players  Mets’ fans came out to see on an otherwise dull and uncompetitive team.

Kingman hit some of the longest home runs in history while a Met, but like the greatest Met of all, Tom Seaver,  Kingman  let it be known that he considered himself underpaid and dissatisfied with the direction of the team and that led to a ticket out of town, being traded to San Diego on June 15, 1977, the same day  Seaver  was traded to the Reds. Kingman brought back the underwhelming package of mediocre pitcher Paul Siebert and future Mets’ manager, then fading utility player, Bobby Valentine. Toward  the end of the 1977 season, San Diego let him go and Kingman appeared for both the Angels and Yankees, helping the Yankees win the division.

Following the season, he signed a free agent deal with the Cubs, but eventually wound up back with the Mets during the early years of the Wilpon/Cashen regime in a trade for Steve Henderson. Although Kingman continued to hit some long home runs, once the Mets dealt for Keith Hernandez and seriously began to build a winner , Kingman’s value to the team declined and he was released at the end of the season.

Today, Kingman is remembered more for his sour disposition than his long homeruns, although as a Met he was relatively well-behaved. It was as a Cub that Kingman dumped ice water on a reporter’s head, and as an Oakland A, following his second stint with the Mets that he sent a female reporter a live rat. Despite hitting over 400 homeruns, no one (least of all, reporters who vote) considered Kingman a candidate for the Hall of Fame. But Mets fans like me will never forget the anticipation every time Kingman came to the plate, unmatched in Mets’ history.

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The Original King Of Queens http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/10/the-original-king-of-queens.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/10/the-original-king-of-queens.html/#comments Sun, 06 Oct 2013 02:53:57 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=130757

Dave Kingman was one of the most fascinating players in Mets’ history. Because he played in one of the Mets’ major down periods – the mid ‘70’s to early ‘80’s, you  don’t hear his name mentioned much in Mets’ retrospectives, but for a while, he was clearly the Mets’ biggest star and one of their very few drawing cards, at least at home. If remembered at all, it’s as a low-average power hitter, but Kingman deserves to be remembered for so much more.

Kingman was an outstanding pitcher in High School up through his sophomore year at USC, but coach Rod Dedaux thought he could help the team more as a regular player. Kingman reportedly wanted to stay a pitcher and it seemed at times throughout his career he was angry about something. That might have been it ! Kingman was  drafted by the Giants out of USC and rose to the big leagues quickly, mostly because of his prodigious power. At 6’6 with a long sweeping swing,  Kingman certainly looked the part. His long legs also gave him above average speed on the bases, but his defense was mediocre at best. Dave always seemed to give the impression that fielding was a part of the game he wasn’t very interested in.  It was ironic that Kingman who was made for the role of designated hitter spent the first 10 years of his major league career in the National League where he was forced to play the field.

Since the Giants always seemed well stocked in the outfield and at first base, Kingman’s last shot at staying with the team as a regular was at third base, but found wanting there, he was sold to the Mets before the 1975 season. For a cash deal, this proved to be a great pickup for the Mets as “Kong” (a nickname he hated) went on to set a club record for home runs with 36 in 1975 and broke it the following year.  Although it’s hard to say he was one of  the Mets’ most popular players since reporters characterized him as surly and uncooperative, he was certainly one of the few players  Mets’ fans came out to see on an otherwise dull and uncompetitive team.

Kingman hit some of the longest home runs in history while a Met, but like the greatest Met of all, Tom Seaver,  Kingman  let it be known that he considered himself underpaid and dissatisfied with the direction of the team and that led to a ticket out of town, being traded to San Diego on June 15, 1977, the same day  Seaver  was traded to the Reds. Kingman brought back the underwhelming package of mediocre pitcher Paul Siebert and future Mets’ manager, then fading utility player, Bobby Valentine. Toward  the end of the 1977 season, San Diego let him go and Kingman appeared for both the Angels and Yankees, helping the Yankees win the division.

Following the season, he signed a free agent deal with the Cubs, but eventually wound up back with the Mets during the early years of the Wilpon/Cashen regime in a trade for Steve Henderson. Although Kingman continued to hit some long home runs, once the Mets dealt for Keith Hernandez and seriously began to build a winner, Kingman’s value to the team declined and he was released at the end of the season.

Today, Kingman is remembered more for his sour disposition than his long home runs, although as a Met he was relatively well-behaved. It was as a Cub that Kingman dumped ice water on a reporter’s head, and as an Oakland A, following his second stint with the Mets that he sent a female reporter a live rat. Despite hitting over 400 homers, no one (least of all, reporters who vote) ever considered Kingman a candidate for the Hall of Fame. But Mets fans like me will never forget the anticipation every time Kingman came to the plate, unmatched in Mets’ history.

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Featured Post: Let’s Just See What Happens… http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/10/featured-post-lets-just-see-what-happens.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/10/featured-post-lets-just-see-what-happens.html/#comments Thu, 03 Oct 2013 19:28:07 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=130381 wright 221 homers

It’s been quite a while since I wrote my last post. During that time, like most Mets fans, I’ve resigned myself to another season of mediocrity. The ownership is cheap, the general manager doesn’t care, the manager isn’t very good and the talent just isn’t there to compete.

Well the season has come to a end and already the fans are up in arms because “a team source” says that the Mets won’t spend big money on free agents and Terry Collins and his coaching staff are all coming back. So what can we expect but another year of uncompetitive dull baseball ?

Fans want the Mets to go after some big-name free agents and maybe package 4 or 5 young prospects for a “stud” like Giancarlo Stanton. Well, I look at it this way. Suppose before the 2013 season started, I told you that the Mets would finish the season with approximately the same record as the Blue Jays, Giants, and Phillies. Yes, those same Blue Jays who dealt prospects for three of baseball’s best starting pitchers (Dickey, Johnson, and Buehrle) and arguably the game’s most exciting player in Jose Reyes, the World Champion Giants and our arch-rival Phillies loaded with proven talent like Halladay, Lee, Hamels, Papelbon, Howard, Utley, Rollins, and an up and coming star in Dominic Brown. Now THOSE teams had disappointing years.

Last off-season, I thought the Mets should look into bringing back Lastings Milledge from Japan to provide some righthanded punch in the outfield. Instead, the Mets signed Marlon Byrd. I have to admit that was a much better move.

Of course, there were disappointments – Ike Davis for sure, Ruben Tejada, and Matt Harvey’s season-ending injury just when it looked like the Mets had their new Seaver or Gooden. Obviously, you aren’t going to win any pennants when guys like Mike Baxter, Andrew Brown, Omar Quintinilla, and Justin Turner get regular playing time, but I still have hopes that players like Wheeler, d’Arnaud and Lagares can be part of a bright future. I would have hoped that Collins gave more playing time to Flores so we could see if/where he might fit in. Most likely, he’s trade bait. I would have also liked to see Vic Black given more chances to close rather than LaTroy Hawkins, but it’s hard to fault Hawkins’ work. There will be changes for sure, but there is no quick fix, no matter how much the team spends. It’s easy to say that if you don’t compete for the big-money guys, you can’t win, but Oakland in particular, has shown that’s not necessarily true. And as far as replacing Collins, before the 2012 season, the Red Sox hired a “proven winner” in Bobby Valentine and they had their worst year in memory.

And by the way, Marlon Byrd had a better year than Giancarlo Stanton, Josh Hamilton, or Albert Pujols to name just a few. Projecting the team’s future with players like Montero, Syndergaard, Puello, Nimmo, and Dom Smith is fun, but probably meaningless. Let the Mets surprise us and become winners again. It may not happen in my lifetime, but if it does, it will be special. I have no trades to offer, no surefire free-agent signings, no master plan. As long as I’ve followed baseball and as much as I thought I knew, there’s no way I would have predicted that Chris Davis would be better than Ike or that Kyle Seager would be better than his more highly-touted college teammate, Dustin Ackley, who looked like a future star at UNC. And having seen a bunch of UNC games living in Chapel Hill, there’s no way I expected Matt Harvey to outshine Andrew Miller or Daniel Bard. Yes, I know I’m rambling and changing the topic, but after 50 years of following the Mets, it’s time to sit back and hope for the best and not think I know more about putting together a winning team than the men who are paid to do it. However the Mets can bring us a winner, I’ll be grateful for it when it happens. A fan is someone who supports a team through thick and thin. And I will stay a Mets fan.

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SNY’s Bobby V Refuses To Back Down, Wants Photo Proof That Yankees Aided New York http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/snys-bobby-v-refuses-to-back-down-wants-photo-proof-that-yankees-aided-new-york.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/snys-bobby-v-refuses-to-back-down-wants-photo-proof-that-yankees-aided-new-york.html/#comments Thu, 12 Sep 2013 19:29:19 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=129075 bobby valentine 2

SNY Analyst Bobby Valentine refuses to back down from comments he made yesterday that the Yankees were nowhere to be found in the aftermath of the World Trade Center attacks on September 11th, 2001.

His remarks led to this statement from New York Yankees president, Randy Levine:

Bobby Valentine should know better than to be pointing fingers on a day like today. Today is a day of reflection and prayer. The Yankees, as has been well documented, visited Ground Zero, the Armory, the Javits Center, St. Vincent’s Hospital and many other places during that time. We continue to honor the 9/11 victims and responders. On this day, he would have been better to have kept his thoughts to himself rather than seeking credit, which is very sad to me.

Today, Valentine appeared on the Erik Kuselias Show on the NBC Radio Network, and while most thought he would take back his comments, he instead refused to back down and asked that the Yankees should present photographic proof they were out comforting victims, helping first responders or aiding in some capacity as the New York Mets were.

“All I remember is people asking for the Yankees and me making excuses for them not being there,” he told Kuselias.

This is outrageous to me…

Honestly, I’m shocked that SNY has not stepped in and issued an apology or better yet, fire Bobby Valentine…

This has nothing to do with the Mets or baseball and goes to the heart of showing some solemn respect for the tragedy of 9/11. I don’t understand what his angle is…

It’s been 12 years and now after all this time he’s pointing fingers and blame at the New York Yankees?

(Updated by Joe D.)

Original Post

Bobby Valentine was a loose cannon when he managed the New York Mets and not much has changed.

Yesterday, on a day that should be about reflection and remembrance of those lost their lives, did we really need Valentine to open old wounds and accentuate pettiness?

That’s exactly what Valentine did while speaking on WFAN, the soon to be ex-flagship station of the Mets. The former manager who doesn’t always have a filter between his brain and mouth, was at it again. The only thing missing were the fake glasses and mustache.

 

The Mets, as I wrote earlier, should be commended for their actions following the September 11 terrorist attacks. The Mets were certainly visible as Shea Stadium was used as a staging ground for trucks unloading supplies.

Valentine and his players, in uniform, maintained a high profile helping unload those supply trucks. The Mets also made numerous public appearances to police and fire stations, as well as visiting the injured. And, with the Mike Piazza homer, no single post September 11 baseball moment was as emotional and unifying.

The Mets were to be commended, but Valentine came off as petty, not to mention wrong, when he fired a shot at the Yankees 12 years later.

“Let it be said that during the time from 9/11 to 9/21, the Yankees were [not around],’’ Valentine said. “You couldn’t find a Yankee on the streets of New York City. You couldn’t find a Yankee down at Ground Zero, talking to the guys who were working 24/7.’’

What did he have to gain by saying this?

Let it be said Valentine is totally wrong and came off as reminding us why, in large part, he lost his job managing the Mets. Valentine, quite simply, has a tendency of rubbing people the wrong way. As knowledgeable as he is as an analyst, he’s way off base on this one, and tyesterday was not the day to inflame old wounds.

The old Yankee Stadium, because of logistics, wasn’t ideal for a staging ground, but I covered the Yankees then, and I know they made their share of appearances to fire and police stations. Roger Clemens, as creature of habit as there is for a pitcher, made appearances on the day he pitched.

As if Valentine couldn’t get his foot in his mouth any deeper, he sure tried.

“Many of them didn’t live here, and so it wasn’t their fault,’’ Valentine said. “And many of them did not partake in all that, so there was some of that jealousy going around. Like, ‘Why are we [the Mets] so tired? Why are we wasted? Why have we been to the funerals and the firehouses, and the Yankees are getting all the credit for bringing baseball back?’ And I said ‘This isn’t about credit, guys. This is about doing the right thing.’’

The way it sounds coming from Valentine, it does seem about credit. When you do something, volunteer as the Mets did, you do it without fanfare. It sounds as if Valentine is seeking a pat on the back. It comes off sounding like the Mets made all those appearances for the public relations impact. I know this isn’t true because the Mets are as generous any New York team when it comes to giving back to the community, but Valentine’s comments come off as acknowledgement.

If it really is about doing the right thing, Valentine should extend a formal apology to the Yankees, because he’s wrong. The Yankees got credit for bringing baseball back because they played in an emotional World Series that season, and let’s face it, they are more high-profile nationally than the Mets.

The Mets?

They were 82-80 in 2001 and largely irrelevant after Piazza’s ball cleared the wall. That’s something Valentine conveniently forgot, but when you operate without a filter, that happens.

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Bobby V: No Way Commissioner Or Anyone Else Was Keeping Us From Wearing Those Hats http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/bobby-v-no-way-commissioner-or-anyone-else-was-keeping-us-from-wearing-those-hats.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/bobby-v-no-way-commissioner-or-anyone-else-was-keeping-us-from-wearing-those-hats.html/#comments Wed, 11 Sep 2013 18:10:46 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=129052 bobby valentine

Bobby Valentine was a guest on WFAN this afternoon and reflected on the events of 9/11 and what led to the team taking the field while wearing the first responder hats.

“It was really emotional, you know, and it was filled with symbolic gestures,” Valentine said.

“It started in Pittsburgh, when Robin Ventura and Jay Horwitz decided to wear an NYPD and an NYFD hat in practice, and then the guys wanted to do it in the game, and then the commissioner said we weren’t allowed because we had a contract with New Era. And then we said ‘B.S.’ to the commissioner and anybody else who’s going to try to keep us from wearing the hats.”

Read more about Bobby Valentine’s reflections here.

The Mets will again honor New York City’s first responders Wednesday by wearing hats from the NYPD, FDNY and other New York City service departments during batting practice.

MLB has prohibited the Mets from wearing the hats during the game because of licensing agreements, and they can only be worn during batting practice.

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Two More Years! Two More Years! http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/08/two-more-years-two-more-years.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/08/two-more-years-two-more-years.html/#comments Fri, 02 Aug 2013 17:00:02 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=126301 It seems that recently, the Mets discussion has centered around the guy who is or isn’t writing out the lineup card.

It’s likely a minority opinion, but I think the Mets need to lock Terry Collins up to a two year deal now, and put the discussion to rest.

Wally Backman was my favorite player growing up. I have nothing against him at all, but I believe that MOST of the people who want him to be the Manager, have likely never seen him manage.

I believe you can take any Manager decision that didn’t work, and use it to build a case toward firing that Manager. Most of the people that do not want Terry Collins back in 2014 have some legitimate arguments. The problem I have is that most of the time it’s based on things like “handling of a bullpen,” or a “late game decision,” and when they reference Backman as the answer – I wonder how do they know he wouldn’t make those same mistakes?

Backman has zero experience at the big league level as a coach. If he was to be hired, he’d make mistakes – does that mean we let him go as well?

wally backman 1

When the managerial search was on, there was a large majority of Mets fans that wanted Backman over both Collins and Melvin. Melvin is on his way to possibly his second straight Manager of the Year Award. Sometimes the answer isn’t always the popular one. I do believe Backman deserves a chance somewhere, and I hope he gets it one day.

I said it before, managing can be summed up by a move that Eric Young Jr. made this week. If when he goes for the delayed steal and is thrown out by a mile – it was a stupid move and people are angry. But, he was safe and so it was a gutsy, and “heady” play that should be applauded.

To me, the Manager is more about what he gets out of the players then what one move out of thousands that they make.

Take the Yankee four game series for example. The Mets came into that series having lost 5 of their last 6 and when you compared each team’s roster you had a clear advantage leaning the Yankees way even with their injuries. The Mets came back to win the first two games, one of which was against the greatest closer who ever lived, and then went into Yankee stadium and dominated the so called “big brother.”

I look at the July 1st game against Arizona when the Mets were down 3-0 in the 7th inning, chipped away at the lead and blew a tied game in the 13th inning thanks to a Cody Ross HR and then coming back to score 2 runs to win the game.

Even the July 4th game when the Mets lost to Arizona in 15 innings after Arizona took a lead in the 13th and 14th inning, the way the team played that game was a reflection on their manager despite the loss.

To me, the Manager is less about X’s and O’s and more about how he leads the team and whether the team responds to his leadership. Bobby Valentine can be a great X’s and O’s guy, but he was a total bust in Boston because he lost the clubhouse before the season started.

I’ll admit, I didn’t like the idea of throwing Valdespin out there to be beaned, and I even said I thought it was a reflection of Collins being more of a minor league instructor than a big league manager. It was a mistake. valdespin 2

When you look at this team, and try to figure out their future – you see David Wright, Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, and then a bunch of question marks right now. This franchise needs stability from the top down, they need a leader that the players can count on and Collins has proven to me that he’s that guy.

Heading into the 2009 season, San Francisco Giants Manager Bruce Bochy was heading into his final year of a 3 year deal. Fans in San Francisco were comparing his bullpen management to that of Dusty Baker as a reason why the Giants should look elsewhere for a Manager.

With a 24 year old Tim Lincecum, and a 23 year old Matt Cain the Giants won 72 games in 2008 which was the first year the Giants began their “Bonds-less” path.

Heading into 2009, Bochy was 143-181, and prior to that he was 951-975 with San Diego. The Giants gave Bochy time to see the rebuild through, their franchise was in a transitional/rebuild phase. They trusted that their plan of Lincecum+Cain could work in the future and that after a four long terrible seasons, the franchise needed stability in leadership, and not another change.

Bochy’s Giants won 88 games in 2009, and he was given a two year extension.

The next thing that happened? Well you know the rest. Bochy’s Giants have won two World Series’ in the last 4.

Now I’m not suggesting Collins will win two out of the next four World Series’. From my fingers to God’s eyes right?

But, what I am suggesting is that Collins is in a similar spot with his roster as Bochy was in 2008.

Unfortunately, Collins’ contract expires so he doesn’t have the 2009 season to give everybody an obvious reason as to why he deserves two more years.

I believe Collins deserves two years because I think the next two years are significant for this franchise and the front office. The excuses are gone, the accountability must be present.

The bad contracts are off the books, the young players are finding their way to the big leagues – it’s put up or shut up time for everybody in the Mets organization.

The Mets do not NEED a new manager – they NEED a new 1B, SS and OF.

What they need to do is remain stable in their leadership and provide the best tools possible in 2014 and 2015 to try and finally turn things around.

I believe Collins is the leader they need, and he has shown me enough to suggest he deserves two more years.

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Memorable Mets Moments: Benny Agbayani Slams The Cubs http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/05/memorable-mets-moments-benny-agbayani-slams-the-cubs.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/05/memorable-mets-moments-benny-agbayani-slams-the-cubs.html/#comments Tue, 21 May 2013 13:16:22 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=119461 AGBAYANI

AGBAYANI: THE METS’ “BENNY-FACTOR” SLAMS THE CUBS

Did you ever notice that certain players that have toiled in the minors for a while tend to exhibit surges in production when they finally get a crack at the big time? It’s as if they had those hits stockpiled for the Show and can’t wait to get them out of their systems once fortune and the front office permits. So it seemed to be with Benny Agbayani, a stocky outfielder who physique evoked the same comparisons with a pineapple that were applied to his predecessor as the resident Hawaiian Met, Sid Fernandez. Benny flaunted a somewhat more athletic build however, and for a time looked to be a greater source of batting power than his record on the farm had indicated.

A 30th round draft pick by the Mets in 1993, Agbayani spent the better part of 6 seasons moving up the rungs of the farm system with stops at Pittsfield, St. Lucie, Binghamton and Norfolk before getting a 15 AB cameo with the big club in 1998. However, he failed to make a good enough showing to remain, going 2 for 15, and was returned to AAA where he found himself assigned once again the following season.  Never a major power threat, Benny had nonetheless endeared himself to Norfolk manager Bobby Valentine during his tenure there with a combination of hustle and timely hitting. When Bobby V moved up to take the reins of the varsity squad, he lobbied for Benny’s promotion when a wave of outfield malaise necessitated a call up. And so, in May of 1999, Agbayani was given another shot at the majors.

At this point, Benny was a 27 year-old spare part who was generally regarded as a non-prospect by much of the baseball intelligentsia of the time. Prospect or not, he seized the chance afforded by this second go-round and went on a power binge that was so out of character with his past performance that it amazed even him. Inserted into the lineup against the Colorado Rockies (in a weird instance where both starting pitchers that day were named Bobby Jones), Benny collected two hits including his first big league home run. He continued to mash after that, collecting 6 more bombs over the next 2 weeks and an amazing 10 in his first 73 at bats.  He reached the All Star break with a total of 11, but came back to earth in the second half of the season and finished the year with 14.

Still, he had put up solid numbers for the year, batting .286 in 276 at bats while knocking in 42 runs with an OPS of .888. More importantly, he had played a not-insignificant role in helping the Mets reach the post-season for the first time in 11 years.  He would save his playoff heroics for the following year however, and batted a soft .235 between the Division Series and LCS in ’99 with only 1 RBI.

The 2000 season began with the Mets facing the Cubs in the Tokyo Dome in the first major league game played on a continent other than North America. Benny hadn’t had a particularly glorious showing in spring training that year and was lower in the club’s pecking order of outfielders.  In the opening series, Valentine had opted to go with Jay Payton, Darryl Hamilton, Rickey Henderson, and Derek Bell, the latter coming over in the trade that had netted new rotation ace Mike Hampton. Agbayani was relegated to the bench, the vantage point from which he watched the team drop the first contest by a score of 5-3.

The next day found him there again as the teams took a 1-1 game into extra innings. As the game moved to the top of the 11th inning, the Mets looked for a chance to push the go-ahead run across and avoid a sweep. Cubs reliever Danny Young was brought in to start the inning, the seventh pitcher used by manager Don Baylor that day.  After getting two out, he surrendered a single to Mets first baseman Todd Zeile and then issued back-to-back walks to load the bases. The pitcher’s spot in the lineup came up and Valentine tapped Benny as a pinch hitter. After tossing his first pitch to Agbayani wide of the strike zone, Young made his next offering a little too good and Benny promptly knocked it over the center field wall for a grand slam. That shot would prove the decisive blow as Dennis Cook closed out the Cubs in the bottom of the inning for a 5-1 Met victory.

That game marked the initial win in the season that would see the Mets return to the World Series for the first time since the fabled run of 1986. Along the way, Benny would contribute another solid season, hitting a total of 15 HR’s and driving in 60 runs in part-time duty. He continued to shine during the post-season that year, crashing a walk-off 3-run shot off the Giants’ Aaron Fultz to win game 3 of the Divisional Series, and contributed during the subsequent NLCS against the Cardinals and the World Series against the Yankees where he drove in the winning run in the sole Met victory that fall.

After that, alas, the bloom was off the rose as Benny had a somewhat injury-plagued 2001 and saw his numbers dwindle along with his appearances in the lineup. That offseason saw him shipped to the Rockies where he toiled for a time with mediocre results, and then he was briefly with the Red Sox before leaving for the greener pastures of Japan’s Pacific League. There, he found glory with the Chiba Lotte Marines, reuniting with manager Bobby Valentine and helping to win a championship in 2005.

Agbayani may not have been among the greatest of Mets players, but found a measure of glory during his brief tenure that secured him a spot among the most beloved. Aloha, Benny.

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The MMO Grind: Terry Collins Is Safe At Home, But His Foot Missed The Plate http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/05/the-mmo-grind-terry-collins-is-safe-at-home-but-his-foot-missed-the-plate.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/05/the-mmo-grind-terry-collins-is-safe-at-home-but-his-foot-missed-the-plate.html/#comments Sat, 04 May 2013 13:55:20 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=117451 terry collinsAs of now, Terry Collins’ job is safe and deservedly so. Based on getting the most out of what he has been given and basic fairness, there’s nothing justifying Collins’ job being in question.

However, fairness is irrelevant in sports. A manager’s job security always becomes an issue when he has lame duck contractual status and his team has lost six straight games.Losing streaks get everybody edgy, with questions directed to management, in this case, GM Sandy Alderson, who was asked the inevitable by The New York Post.

“That’s not something that has entered my mind or any mind within the organization,’’ Alderson said. “Has it entered the minds of others in the media or what have you? Yes.’’

Well, of course it has. It’s been on the back burner since pitchers-and-catchers in February. And, I don’t think for a second it hasn’t crossed Alderson’s mind, either.

Walter Alston used to work on one-year contracts, but he was Walter Alston and his Dodgers teams were perennial winners. They were an organization that believed in consistency. They were the exception to the rule.

By contrast, Collins manages the Mets, a franchise that last went to the World Series in 2000. Thirteen years later, and they are on their fifth manager. That’s not even three years each, and that’s no stability. While this trend doesn’t suggest good things for Collins, it might work in his favor for at least this summer. If the Mets aren’t going anywhere, there’s no reason to make a change and have owner Fred Wilpon pay two managers.

Bobby Valentine managed that World Series team, but frequently clashed with then GM Steve Phillips – one of four since 2000 – and with his personality wore out his welcome. Art Howe was the polar opposite of Valentine, and that didn’t work, either. I thought Willie Randolph had a chance, but he was hamstrung from the beginning when he wasn’t given full reign to hire his coaches and had to deal with clubhouse spyTony Bernazard, who usurped his authority. Jerry Manuel was overmatched, but that’s what you get when you sack a manager after midnight.

Now there’s Collins, who was brought in by Alderson to clean up the mess. However, Alderson doesn’t have free economic authority to spend, and consequently Collins doesn’t have the pieces. He’s basically a custodian; here to keep things clean.

The pieces he’s been given don’t fit, but here’s the rub, Collins is judged on what he does with those pieces, much like on those cooking shows where the contestants have to make something out of a basket of random ingredients.

“He came into the season without a contract for next year and may not have one for next year through this season,’’ said Alderson, meaning don’t expect an in-season extension. “But as I’ve told him and said before: This isn’t just about wins and losses. It’s about how we approach the game and fully taking into account what he has to work with.

“We talk from time to time and the [job status] subject comes up. I’m not trying to avoid the topic. It’s status quo. You go through a tough week and people like to immediately jump to conclusions and start discussing a doomsday scenario. A good first week isn’t necessarily any more of an indication than a bad fourth week.’’

So, there you have it: Collins is the care taker for 2013.

Alderson wants to know more if his roster can work and play nice with each other rather than if it has any talent. He’s telling us – again – that it doesn’t matter if you win or lose, but how you play the game.

Unfortunately, they keep score and results do matter. Major League Baseball isn’t new wave, liberal physical education where everybody gets a prize for showing up.

Winning does matter on this level. Teams pay big money to get players capable of winning and fans pay big money to watch those players.

If the losing continues, attendance will eventually drop as it has every year since Citi Field opened. But, the players will get their money. And, Collins could be out of a job. Not fair, but that’s how they play the game. It is also something Alderson needs to think about concerning his own job status.

Thoughts from Joe D.

While I don’t think any manager can get more out of this team than Terry Collins is — and that is mostly because he’s been dealt a rotten hand by GM Sandy Alderson — I see too many flaws in Collins for me to defend him.

As an in-game strategist I disagree with more than half of the decisions he makes. No manager is perfect, but Collins makes too many bad decisions, many of which have negatively impacted the results of a game.

I thought it was a bad idea to let Collins play this season out as a lame-duck manager. Any of my regular readers know that. I wasn’t worried as much about his status becoming a distraction as much as I was concerned over the impact it would have on Collins as the manager and his decision-making process.

He’s making far too many bad decisions now than at any other time since taking over for Jerry Manuel. I think it’s a result of managing with a monkey on your back or your boss constantly hovering over your shoulder.

I don’t believe Sandy Alderson wants Terry back and that’s fine by me. But it should have been delineated that way before the season began. They could have handled it differently and just announce that this would be Terry’s last season as manager before assuming a new role in the front office. That would have made more sense, avoided all the constant questions, and let Tery and the players breathe a little easier throughout the season.

I got the sense from something David Wright said last week, that he and the team need to perform well because they like Terry and don’t want to let him down. ERRRRRRGGGHHHH. Wrong answer.

Collins has had to manage a team that is unworthy of being called a big market team and attendance has never been worse than this recent three-year run. As bad as the results have been, I doubt Gil Hodges or Davey Johnson could have done better with the same bad outfield, bullpen and backend of the rotation. This isn’t Terry’s mess, it’s Sandy’s mess – and he should be the one responsible for any of the bad results as well as cleaning it up.

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Memorable Mets Moments: Fonzie Goes Six for Six! http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/04/memorable-mets-moments-fonzie-goes-six-for-six.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/04/memorable-mets-moments-fonzie-goes-six-for-six.html/#comments Sun, 28 Apr 2013 14:30:10 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=115695 edgardo alfonzo white jerseyEdgardo Alfonzo remains one of the most beloved Mets alumni, both for his post-season heroics (e.g. 3 HR’s including a ninth inning grand slam in the space of two vital 1999 playoff games against the Reds and Diamondbacks), and his role as part of the “Best Infield Ever” as dubbed by Sports Illustrated. His flexibility as a player made him an invaluable asset to the team which moved him from his original spot at second base over to third, back to second upon the signing of Robin Ventura, and then to third again with the trade that brought Roberto Alomar into the fold. Despite a modicum of grousing due to all the defensive shifts, he provided consistent quality play during one of the upswing periods in Mets history.

As a batsman, Fonzie developed in almost textbook fashion before the delighted eyes of fans. Coming up, he had a reputation for a good eye at the plate, some evidence of moderate power, and the ability to make contact. Following his major league debut in 1995, the young Venezuelan worked diligently to refine his game both in the field and at the plate. By 1999, he had blossomed into one of the league’s premier middle infielders, hitting over .300 and slugging over .500 for the first time in his career. His peak game, and likely the peak offensive game by any Met, came in late August of that year as the Mets were heading toward a post-season berth under the guidance of Bobby Valentine.

The team was in Houston for a series against the Astros during their last go-round in the vast dimensions of the Astrodome. The following year, the team would move to the bandbox originally known as Enron Field (or “Ten Run Field” to fans for its propensity to produce high scoring games) and now dubbed Minute Maid Park. In stark contrast to the home run haven the Astros now inhabit, the ‘Dome was a pitcher’s dream and a slugger’s graveyard. Not only was the field characterized by expansive proportions, the roof insured that the very atmosphere itself was endowed with what batters swore was a deadening effect. But it was in this most unlikely of settings that the Mets’ version of the Fonz chose to put on perhaps the greatest display of slugging in team history.

1999 was a bumper year for runs scored by the Mets as they pushed 853 across the plate, good for 5th in the league and still the club record for a single season. Even 40 year-old leadoff batter Rickey Henderson was having a renaissance year, batting over .300 for the first time since in four campaigns. On the night of August 30 of that year, the team would rack up a run tally that was impressive even by the standards of that era, blasting the Houston squad by a score of 17-1.

The key figure in the onslaught was Edgardo Alfonzo who began his evening by rocketing a solo home run his first time up to give the Mets an early lead. After the Astros were retired in order in the bottom of the first, the New Yorkers erupted for six additional runs in the next inning with Alfonzo contributing a single and a run scored in the process. He then homered in his next two at-bats registering a two-run shot in the fourth and another solo round-tripper in the sixth. After collecting his second single of the game in the eight amidst another rally, he came up for a final time in the ninth. Urged by his teammates to shoot for the elusive 4-homer mark, he banged a shot off the right field wall for a run-scoring double, missing another 4-bagger by a matter of a few feet.

All told, Fonzie had recorded 6 hits in as many at-bats including 3 HR’s and a double. In the process he set Mets club records for hits, runs, and total bases in a game as well as collecting 5 RBI. Naturally, his performance set off the stat freaks at Elias who determined that the only other player to accomplish a comparable feat was none other than Ty Cobb some 74 years prior when he also recorded a 3 homer, 1 double, 2 single game against the St. Louis Browns.

Fonzie and Cobb, Cobb and Fonzie. A rather exclusive club with one member a Met.

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Bobby V Has A New Gig http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/01/bobby-v-has-a-new-gig.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/01/bobby-v-has-a-new-gig.html/#comments Sat, 05 Jan 2013 17:11:54 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=104237 According to the Huffington Post, former Mets and Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine will work as a commentator for NBC Sports Radio.

He will be the part-time co-host of a weekday talk show that debuts in April. Starting this month, he will also periodically provide analysis to NBC Sports Radio shows and affiliated stations.

Valentine was fired in October after just one season in Boston, when the Red Sox went 69-93.

His colorful no holds barred style should play well on radio.

Good luck, Bobby.

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Bobby Valentine To Be Named Red Sox’ New Manager http://metsmerizedonline.com/2011/11/bobby-valentine-to-be-named-red-sox-new-manager.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2011/11/bobby-valentine-to-be-named-red-sox-new-manager.html/#comments Wed, 30 Nov 2011 01:42:41 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=66437 After the severe lack of discipline that ran rampant throughout the clubhouse of Fenway Park, the Red Sox have now hired Bobby Valentine as their new skipper, replacing the passive Terry Francona. According to Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston, Valentine will be officially hired upon his return from Japan tomorrow.

The beloved former Mets manager will bring a much needed leadership role to the squad and will not put up with any nonsense as seen throughout the month of September. Valentine is the perfect man to light a fire underneath the BoSox and bring them to their first playoff berth since 2009.

The 61-year old now becomes the 45th manager in Red Sox history. After tours of duty with the Texas Rangers and Mets, Valentine will now suit up for his thrid MLB managerial job. Valentine also managed in Japan for the Chiba Lotte Marines in 1995 and from 2004-2009.

On a side note, I think it will be interesting to see how the Red Sox pursue Yu Darvish now that Bobby V. is their skipper. With such a great deal of experience in Japanese baseball, Valentine could provide a much-needed comfort level for a guy like Darvish coming over to such a different enviornment. Also, it will be interesting to see if Daisuke Matsuzaka’s performance changes it all now that he has a manager that can comminicate with him on a more one-on-one level.

 

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Bobby V Interested In Buying A Stake In Mets http://metsmerizedonline.com/2011/02/bobby-v-interested-in-buying-stake-in-mets.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2011/02/bobby-v-interested-in-buying-stake-in-mets.html/#comments Mon, 28 Feb 2011 17:14:46 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=45369

According to a report on ESPN New York by Adam Rubin, former Mets manager Bobby Valentine has talked to “serious financial backers” about the possibility of buying a portion of the Mets, the team he managed to the World Series in 2000.

“I’ve talked to a number of people interested in purchasing part of the New York Mets, but I’m not formally with any group that is actively pursuing this venture,” Valentine said Sunday night.

It will probably never happen, but how entertaining would it be too have Bobby V as one of the Mets owners?

I wonder if his first move would be replacing Terry Collins with himself as manager.

The Wilpons have said they will sell between 25 to 49 percent of the franchise, and will not cede majority ownership.

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2011 Sunday Night Baseball Schedule – Bobby Valentine Means Must See TV! http://metsmerizedonline.com/2011/01/2011-sunday-night-baseball-schedule-bobby-valentine-means-must-see-tv.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2011/01/2011-sunday-night-baseball-schedule-bobby-valentine-means-must-see-tv.html/#comments Wed, 12 Jan 2011 23:53:18 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=41436

ESPN has just released their 2011 Sunday Night Baseball schedule.

The new season will feature a brand new broadcast team of Dan Shulman doing the play by play, and former Mets Orel Hershiser and Bobby Valentine as analysts. This oughta be a lot of fun!

The Mets have games televised on May 1st and July 10th.

ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball (all telecasts at 8 p.m. ET)

April 3 San Francisco at Los Angeles Dodgers (ESPN2)
April 10 N.Y. Yankees at Boston
April 17 Texas at N.Y. Yankees
April 24 Cincinnati at St. Louis
May 1 N.Y. Mets at Philadelphia
May 8 Atlanta at Philadelphia
May 15 Boston at N.Y. Yankees
May 22 Chicago Cubs at Boston
May 29 Cincinnati at Atlanta (ESPN2)
June 5-July 3 TBD
July 10 N.Y. Mets at San Francisco
July 17 Boston at Tampa Bay

The second half of the schedule usually doesnt come out until some time in April.

Hey, at least we got two games in… the Marlins and Nationals didn’t get any.

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Mets Should Bring Back Old-Timers Day In 2011 http://metsmerizedonline.com/2010/12/mets-should-bring-back-old-timers-day-in-2011.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2010/12/mets-should-bring-back-old-timers-day-in-2011.html/#comments Tue, 21 Dec 2010 12:00:05 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=40580

Last week I wrote about how the Mets need to find ways to entice the fans to come out to the ballpark in 2011.  Last week I brought up the idea of retiring 17 in honor Keith Hernandez.  I thought it would give Mets fans something to look forward to during the long season that 2011 will be and I thought that when looking back on 2011 it would be a fun thing to remember.

The Mets have not had an old-timers days since 1994.  Back in 2009 WFAN’s Evan Roberts stirred up a bit of controversy when he relayed a quote from a Mets executive in regards to old-timers day.  Roberts said his source told him that it was too much work hosting old-timers day and that is why the Mets stopped doing it.  Dave Howard tried to do some damage control by saying:

It was particularly unpopular as a promotion. We didn’t see an increase in ticket sales or interest from sponsors or even from people who already had tickets. It died of its own unpopularity in the early ’90s.

I don’t know about you readers but one of the only times I ever watch the YES Network for baseball is on old-timers day.  I enjoy seeing the legendary players such as Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, Reggie Jackson, etc…  Even Darryl Strawberry has donned the pinstripes over the years for the Yankees on old-timers day.  I watch it to see some of the legendary players and it looks like a lot of fun to be honest, seeing these older players who retired long ago having some fun playing the game.

I know a lot of Yankees fans who really look forward to old-timers day and go every year to see it.  They always tell me how much fun it is.  Now I can understand how in the 90′s they didn’t attract a lot of fans.  The early 90′s were not especially kind to the Mets and their fans.  However as the saying goes, “that was then, this is now.”

We learned in 2009 after the Citi Field opened how passionate Mets fans are about their history.  As nice and shiny Citi Field was there was not much of the Mets history on display and the fans let the Mets know how they felt about that proving that this fanbase wants to acknowledge their past.

Just thinking about an old-timers day while writing this piece has me excited.  I would love to see Tom Seaver and Dwight Gooden pitch while Mike Piazza catches them in an old-timers game. I’m sure we all would like to see Darryl Strawberry hit in Citi Field.  I would love to see the Mets of yesteryear on the field, playing in a game.

I’m sure we all have our favorites whether they be Rusty Staub or John Franco or Bobby Valentine, Wally Backman, Keith Hernandez, Buddy Harrelson and many more favorite Mets on the field, playing in an old-timers day.

I know I would look forward to it as the season goes on and I’m sure if done right it will be a fun memory to have of the 2011 season.

In comments, let me know if you agree or disagree and for fun list some of the Mets you would love to see playing an old-timers day in the future.

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Hurry Up And Wait http://metsmerizedonline.com/2010/11/hurry-up-and-wait.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2010/11/hurry-up-and-wait.html/#comments Tue, 16 Nov 2010 03:00:23 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=38679 Does it seem to you, as it does to me that in many respects the job Sandy Alderson has is about as contentious and uphill as Chris Christie – Governor of New Jersey? No matter your political persuasion – if you have one at all – one has to admit that both men have more than their hands full over the next few years.

Don’t get me wrong I’m not comparing the intricacies and obvious importance of leading a state is to running the New York Mets, although I’m willing to guess that the Governor would probably say that cutting the state budget is almost as tricky as finding a new manager for the Mets. Not to mention, just as controversial.

As a fan in my heart I admit was hinging on the fleeting hope that Alderson and Bobby Valentine would arrive at an agreement. I can already picture the huffs and hisses from fans out there with the opinion that Valentine is so yesterday’s Mets. Well far be it from me to keep any elitist opinion from making it’s way to this article.

Say what you want about Valentine the person but Valentine the baseball strategist is among the best the game has had. I happen to think the best baseball strategist not in the game right now is Valentine and that is a waste of talent. The problem is, Valentine also thinks he’s the best baseball strategist and he’s more than likely to remind those of that.

Some of the great qualities of a leader – vision, experience, an unwavering set of values – tend to be the same qualities that can clash with those around them.

In the end, a leader often times is determined to be the one who wins out when the dust has settled. Sandy Alderson is going to win out and as soon as the managerial candidates accept that – then and only then will the Mets have their manager.

Don’t take this the wrong way. I’m not suggesting that Sandy Alderson is seeking an automaton to run the team. First off he’s too secure of an executive to require that type of micromanaged control.

Just like a manager who finds it so necessary to call each and every pitch and relay it from the dugout to his catcher – Sandy Alderson embodies the exact antithesis of that. Nevertheless – he’s still in charge and it will be his vision and his organizational planning that will be implemented over time. Make no mistake.

Whether it’s an organizational focus on bases on balls – translating into higher OBP’s or as Alderson has often stated in his preference of player type – a leadoff hitter with power – it’s going to be Sandy’s way or the highway; as it should be.

I wrote an article early in the season suggesting that Bobby Valentine – perhaps at this point in his career – might want the dual roles of general manager and field manager.

Of course the complexities and responsibilities of both roles would be more than daunting and unlike the NFL where Bill Parcells had a similar role with the New York Jets, a 162 regular season MLB schedule not withstanding the playoffs, is a bit different from 16 regular season NFL games. That doesn’t mean Bobby V wouldn’t be interested though if offered.

His personality however would illicit the same statement that prompted Parcells to leave the New England Patriots, the team he led to the Super Bowl XXXI,

“If they want you to cook the dinner, at least they ought to let you shop for some of the groceries.”  – Bill Parcells

Sorry Bobby but Sandy has the A&P bonus savings club card and you’re not getting the nifty key chain backup. No Mets manager is.

So where does that leave the New York Mets managerial search? Some fans have clamored for Wally Backman. While his inexperience wouldn’t allow for any control demands – his relative lack of experience seems to be a source of uncertainty for Alderson.

However is major league experience really a harbinger for success in the Big Apple? Go ask Art Howe – whom Alderson admitted in a phone interview with Mike Francesca – was definitely not a good choice to manage in New York. Granted Alderson had no hand in that decision but currently the talk of the town is Terry Collins.

Yes the same Terry Collins who resigned as manager of the Anaheim Angels in 1999 when a revolt led by Mo Vaughn prompted Collins to pull a Sarah Palin and walk away. I’m sorry but I have a big problem with that. A BIG problem.

I’m sure – when he’s announced as the new Met manager – we’ll be told all about his impressive resume, which can be debated. His work as Mets minor league coordinator seems to be the prevalent key to his recent emergence as the potential heir apparent to Jerry Manuel.

However for me – he lost my vote when he decided to resign as leader of the Angels. You don’t walk away like that. One, you never let it get that far – to lose your clubhouse – but you don’t walk away especially with 29 games left in your season.  Pathetic.

Raise your hand if you think Jerry Manuel wanted to flip the bird to the New York media press corps and tell Omar, the Wilpons and just about everyone else where to go. Did he? Exactly.

I do have faith in Alderson but like I also said, don’t rush the bronze plaque of him for the Mets Museum just yet. One thing is certain – the vacuum that not having a manager creates is becoming unnecessary. One can be deliberate without becoming deliberating.

Oh and a side note – in 1993 Terry Collins replaced the fired Art Howe in Houston. History – it’s just like what Yogi Berra said, “it’s deja vu all over again”.

I just wanted to express my deepest condolences on the loss of Sandy Alderson’s father, John, who was struck by a car and passed away yesterday.  Life is a gift and we must cherish it every day with those we love.

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Alderson’s Big Test Will Be In Who He Hires As Manager http://metsmerizedonline.com/2010/11/aldersons-big-test-will-be-in-who-he-hires-as-manager.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2010/11/aldersons-big-test-will-be-in-who-he-hires-as-manager.html/#comments Tue, 02 Nov 2010 11:00:49 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=38126 While everyone celebrates that Sandy Alderson is the new GM and that he said all the right things the Mets still need a manager.  Unfortunately for us it looks like the Mets are going to be cheap with who they hire.  Also Alderson doesn’t like spending money so that means Bobby Valentine won’t be the new manager. Hopefully it won’ t be Bob Melvin since that will just be another Jerry with less personality.

I believe Wally Backman is the only option for the Mets.  Here’s why:

  • Backman will be cheap, much like Willie Randolph was when he was hired.  I believe Randolph didn’t cost more than $500,000.
  • Backman isn’t a “big name” manager since he has yet to manage in the big leagues.
  • Alderson in the best press conference ever said that he wouldn’t mind a fiery manager. Backman without a doubt is fiery and gets his players to play for him. Perhaps he can get Beltran to actually swing at a ball or run hard down the line. Miracles can happen.
  • Alderson in his great press conference last week said he wants the new manager to be smart and analytical.  What gets lost in his fiery reputation is his intelligence. Watching him manage the Cyclone’s this past summer you saw that he’s got a great baseball mind and knows how the game should be played.
  • The fanbase wants him! The Mets aren’t going to spend this year, no big surprise there.  I doubt they will eat the bad contracts of Beltran, Castillo and Perez.  At least Wally can make the Mets a little fun to watch.

Now we all know the Coupons Wilpons want Backman as the manager.  If the Sand-man hires him it makes it seem like the Wilpons forced him to.  So what?  Who cares how it looks? Besides Bobby Valentine Backman is best to manage the 2011 Mets.

I’d just feel sorry for Backman that his first season will be 2011 since this team the way it is right now most likely will finish 4th place again.

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