Mets Merized Online » David Cone http://metsmerizedonline.com Tue, 02 Feb 2016 12:13:44 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.12 Yankees Clinch On A Walk-off Home Run By Ike Davis http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/12/yankees-clinch-on-a-walk-off-home-run-by-ike-davis.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/12/yankees-clinch-on-a-walk-off-home-run-by-ike-davis.html/#comments Thu, 19 Dec 2013 11:11:14 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=135857 Ike Davis

Marty Noble penned a new post for MLB.com where he ponders a world where the Mets trade Ike Davis to the New York Yankees. It’s a terrifying world filled with ghastly apparitions of former Mets players turned Yankee pinstriped heroes, and ungodly visions of former Mets hurling no-hitters or launching game winning home runs in postseason play. Alright I’m exaggerating a little… Here’s what he writes:

In the first moments following Cashman’s words, my mind jumped far ahead and linked what I had heard, the Yankees’ possible need, with the Mets’ desire to unload a first baseman. Hmmm. I didn’t think logically — I recognize that now. I didn’t consider that the Mets probably wouldn’t consider dealing a player with the potential of Ike Davis to a team with a short right field and an area code identical to their own.

Moving Davis to the Bronx doesn’t have a fastball’s chance in Hades of happening, if only for that reason. But what if? What if the Yankees developed interest in Ike’s left-handed swing, and the Mets addressed their overpopulation at first base by sending Davis crosstown and he became the next Roger Maris? Or merely the next Kevin Maas.

How would the Mets deal with that? They weren’t too comfortable when their homegrowns, Darryl Strawberry and Dwight Gooden, played for champion Yankees teams. Nor were they delighted when David Cone became a high-profile Yankees contributor. What in the name of Nolan Ryan would they do if they dealt Davis to the Yankees and he found the form he demonstrated in the second half of the 2012 season? What would they do if Ike bombarded the area inhabited by the Bleacher Creatures and points south and in fair territory?

Exactly… What would they do? I guess we’d do what we did all those other times… Cower in the corner and pout.

Read the entire article here.

mmo

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The 10 Best Mets Pitching Staffs Since 1980 http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/11/the-10-best-mets-pitching-staffs-since-1980.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/11/the-10-best-mets-pitching-staffs-since-1980.html/#comments Tue, 26 Nov 2013 17:07:40 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=133696 david cone

You have to score runs in order to win games, but you also need to pitch. Which Mets teams since 1980 have been the best at run prevention? Let’s take a look-see, shall we?

Runs Allowed Per Game

  1. 1988   532 runs   3.32
  2. 1985   568 runs   3.51
  3. 1986   578 runs   3.57
  4. 1989   585 runs   3.61
  5. 1990   613 runs   3.78
  6. 1998   645 runs   3.98
  7. 1991   646 runs   4.01
  8. 2005   648 runs   4.00
  9. 2010   653 runs   4.03
  10. 1992   653 runs   4.03

Hmm… there was certainly a trend here. Over the eight year span from 1985-1992, the Mets had 7 of their best 10 staffs since 1980. The only year they missed the list was 1987. Even the 1991-1992 squads (which were among some of the worst Mets offensive teams of the last 34 years) had solid pitching.

While the Mets had some really good relievers during these years, a team is going to live or die by its starting rotation. What did the Mets rotations look like these years? The top 5 starters (in terms of games started) for these squads were as follows – we’ll progress by year from 1985-1992 (skipping 1987) so we can see the progression:

1985 – Dwight Gooden, Ron Darling, Ed Lynch, Sid Fernandez, Rick Aguilera

1986 – Dwight Gooden, Ron Darling, Bob Ojeda, Sid Fernandez, Rick Aguilera

1988 – Dwight Gooden, Ron Darling, David Cone, Bob Ojeda, Sid Fernandez

1989 – David Cone, Sid Fernandez, Ron Darling, Bob Ojeda, Dwight Gooden

1990 – Frank Viola, Dwight Gooden, David Cone, Sid Fernandez, Ron Darling

1991 – David Cone, Frank Viola, Dwight Gooden, Wally Whitehurst, Ron Darling

1992 – Sid Fernandez, Dwight Gooden, David Cone, Pete Schourek, Bret Saberhagen

Some pretty good names, huh? There was also a lot of continuity as well. Dwight Gooden was in all 7 of these top 10 rotations. Ron Darling and Sid Fernandez were on 6. David Cone was on 5. Bob Ojeda was on 4. Those were 5 pretty good names. Former Cy Young award winners Frank Viola and Bret Saberhagen (although Bret’s best years were behind him by the time he became a Met) were there, too. No wonder this stretch saw a lot of really good Mets pitching. Unfortunately, we only saw two playoff appearances and one championship during this time.

So what about those other three starting rotations during those top 10 seasons?

1998 – Rick Reed, Bobby Jones, Al Leiter, Masato Yoshii, Hideo Nomo

2005 – Pedro Martinez, Tom Glavine, Kris Benson, Victor Zambrano, Kazuhisa Ishii

2010 – Mike Pelfrey, Johan Santana, R.A. Dickey, Jonathon Niese, Hisanori Takahashi

On Deck: The 10 Worst Mets Pitching Staffs Since 1980

Presented By Diehards

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Doc Gooden Was Great After He Stopped Being Great http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/11/doc-gooden-was-great-after-he-stopped-being-great.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/11/doc-gooden-was-great-after-he-stopped-being-great.html/#comments Sat, 16 Nov 2013 18:46:48 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=133078 Photo by Ray Stubblebine/AP

Photo by Ray Stubblebine/AP

Baseball historians will say that Dwight Gooden‘s first three seasons in the major leagues were some of the best by a young pitcher in the game’s history.  Gooden took the mound 99 times from 1984 to 1986, going 58-19 with a 2.28 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 35 complete games, 13 shutouts and 744 strikeouts – reaching 200 or more strikeouts in each season.

But after off-the-field problems came to light prior to the 1987 campaign, Gooden went from being Dr. K to being Dr. Just OK.  Or did he?

From 1987 to 1991, Doc’s numbers were clearly not the same as they were during his first three seasons.  But they were still pretty darn good.  In his fourth through eighth seasons with the Mets, Gooden went 74-34 with a 3.39 ERA and 1.23 WHIP, striking out 797 batters, completing 22 games and tossing eight shutouts.  He also finished in the top five in the Cy Young Award voting twice.  (Gooden was fifth in the Cy Young balloting in 1987 and fourth in 1990.)  He accomplished all of this from 1987 to 1991 despite making fewer than 28 starts in three of the five seasons.

Perhaps his greatest and most underappreciated accomplishment occurred in 1991.  After seven consecutive seasons of winning 87 or more games, the Mets finished under .500 in ’91.  But Gooden still managed to finish with a 13-7 record, 3.60 ERA and 150 strikeouts in only 27 starts.  In 15 of those 27 starts, Gooden allowed two earned runs or fewer, but received losses or no-decisions in six of the games, mainly because he was surrounded by a putrid offense.

Keith Miller (.280) and Gregg Jefferies (.272) were the only players with 300 or more plate appearances to finish the year with a batting average north of .260.  Howard Johnson (38 HR, 117 RBI, 108 runs) was the sole Met with more than 16 homers, 74 RBI or 65 runs scored.  Gooden basically had to help himself when he was in the game, as he batted .238 with three doubles, a homer, six RBI and seven runs scored in only 63 at-bats.  His .333 slugging percentage was higher than the marks posted by Mark Carreon (.331 in 254 AB), Vince Coleman (.327 in 278 AB) and Garry Templeton (.306 in 219 AB).

In the five seasons immediately following the 1986 World Series championship campaign, when Gooden supposedly went from being a great pitcher to just being a very good pitcher, the right-hander’s winning percentage was .685 in 137 starts.  That was the highest winning percentage for all pitchers who made 100 or more starts from 1987 to 1991.  The rest of the top five included Dave Stieb (68-34, .667), Roger Clemens (94-48, .662), Bob Welch (88-42, .662) and Dave Stewart (95-56, .629) – pitchers who combined to win 909 games over their long and successful major league careers.

Despite his dropoff in strikeouts following the 1986 season, Gooden’s 797 Ks from 1987 to 1991 was surpassed by just one pitcher in the National League – his teammate, David Cone.  Cone struck out 945 batters over the five-year stretch.  Gooden’s 74 wins was also second in the NL to Doug Drabek, who won 77 games for the Pittsburgh Pirates from ’87 to ’91.

One other thing that Gooden was great at from 1987 to 1991 was something that never showed up in the boxscore.  During those five years, Gooden was outstanding at helping the Mets win games immediately following a loss, thereby preventing the Mets from suffering through extended losing streaks.  Doc started 65 games following a Mets loss from 1987 to 1991.  The Mets were 41-24 in those games.

Photo by Ed Leyro

Today is Dwight Gooden’s 49th birthday.  It’s been nearly three decades since he rocketed onto the major league scene with his blazing fastball and devastating curveball as a rookie in 1984.  It’s also been almost two decades since he threw his final pitch as a member of the New York Mets.

From the ages of 19 to 21, Gooden was arguably the best pitcher in the game.  Then, as his off-the-field habits started to come to light, he failed to approach his otherworldly numbers from 1984 to 1986.  But that didn’t mean he stopped being a great pitcher.  In fact, no one in baseball gave his team a better chance to win from 1987 to 1991 than Gooden, and only a handful of pitchers sent as many opposing batters back to the bench without putting the ball in play than Doc did.

Just because he wasn’t leading the league in strikeouts and threatening to throw a no-hitter in every start didn’t mean he wasn’t the Doctor anymore.  In fact, he continued to operate with surgical precision for quite some time after the 1986 campaign.

Doc Gooden never stopped being great on the mound.  It’s a shame that some people thought his greatness just wasn’t good enough.

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Featured Post: Dillon Gee Has Pitched His Way Into An Exclusive Club http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/featured-post-dillon-gee-has-pitched-his-way-into-an-exclusive-club.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/featured-post-dillon-gee-has-pitched-his-way-into-an-exclusive-club.html/#comments Tue, 24 Sep 2013 13:09:11 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=129788 dillon gee

Prior to his start on May 30 against the Yankees, Dillon Gee was on the verge of losing his place in the starting rotation.  The Texas native was 2-6 with a 6.34 ERA and was hearing Zack Wheeler‘s footsteps as the über-prospect was just weeks away from being called up for his first taste of big league action.

But everything changed for Gee with that late-May start at Yankee Stadium.  Gee pitched into the eighth inning, allowing one run on four hits.  He also set a career high by striking out 12 batters without issuing a walk.

After allowing four runs or more in six of his first ten starts, Gee has allowed two runs or less in 14 of his last 21 starts.  His 2-6 record is now just a bad memory, as Gee is leading the team with 12 victories.  Since Matt Harvey‘s season ended with nine wins and no other pitcher on the Mets has more than seven, it’s safe to assume that Gee will remain the team leader in pitching victories.  Therefore, the 2013 campaign will mark the second time in three seasons that Gee has led the team in wins, after finishing first on the Mets with 13 victories in 2011.

In doing so, Gee will become only the 14th pitcher in team history to lead the team or finish tied for the team lead in pitching victories multiple times.  The chart below lists the 14 pitchers who have accomplished this feat.

Pitcher

# of Times as Wins Leader

Years as Team Wins Leader

7

1967, 1969-73, 1975

5

1998-2002

4

1984-85, 1987, 1993

4

2001, 2003-04, 2006

3

1963-65

3

1968, 1974, 1976

3

1988-89, 1991

2

1965-66

2

1977-78

2

1979, 1982

2

1989, 1992

2

1995, 1997

2

2008-09

2

2011, 2013

With 33 major league victories under his belt, Dillon Gee has the second-fewest wins of the 14 pitchers who led the team in wins in at least two seasons.  (Nino Espinosa had 25 wins as a Met.)  But there are 30 pitchers in Mets history with more wins than Gee and most of them never led the team in wins more than once.  In fact, two of the top ten winners in franchise history never became two-time team leaders in wins.

Ron Darling had 99 wins as a Met – 4th all-time – but only led the team in wins once.  And when he did so (1989), he shared the team lead with David Cone and Sid Fernandez.  Similarly, Jon Matlack recorded 82 victories for the Mets – 7th all-time – but never led the team in wins.  (He can thank Seaver and Koosman for that.)

Tom SeaverJerry KoosmanDwight Gooden.  Sid Fernandez.  David Cone.  Johan Santana.  Those are some of the best pitchers who have ever taken the mound for the Mets over their 50-plus years of existence.  In addition to being six of the finest pitchers to wear the orange and blue, they also have another thing in common.  All six have led or tied for the team lead in wins multiple times.  Their exclusive club now has a new member, and his name is Dillon Gee.

Dillon Gee has come a long way to become a top starter for the Mets.  He was overlooked in the first twenty rounds of the 2007 amateur draft before the Mets selected him in Round 21.  After pitching well in the lower levels of the minor leagues, Gee had an ERA near 5.00 at AAA-Buffalo.  But he never gave up hope.  And now he’s accomplished something that Seaver, Koosman, Gooden, Fernandez, Cone, Santana and a small group of others have done.  Not bad for a pitcher who almost lost his spot in the rotation just four months ago.

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Happy Anniversary To Matt Harvey Who Debuted One Year Ago Today http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/happy-anniversary-to-matt-harvey-who-debuted-one-year-ago-today.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/happy-anniversary-to-matt-harvey-who-debuted-one-year-ago-today.html/#comments Fri, 26 Jul 2013 14:09:20 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=125841 harvey 2

Matt Harvey made his major league debut one year ago today on July 26, 2012 at Arizona. (Pictured above) Since his debut, he holds the following ranks in the majors: fifth-most strikeouts (227); third-best ERA (2.38); second-best WHIP (0.97); the second-lowest H/9 (6.23) and baserunners/9 (8.94).

Harvey has appeared in 30 games (all starts) and has the lowest ERA (2.38) and WHIP (0.97) in franchise history after his first 30 games. His 2.38 ERA is the lowest mark for any pitcher since 1921, whose first 30 major league appearances were all starts.

harvey

The young Mets righthander also has the second-best WHIP (0.97) of any pitcher since 1921 through his first 30 career starts, trailing only Dick Hughes (0.925).

Harvey has 10 starts this year where he’s pitched 7.0 or more innings and has allowed one or fewer runs. That is tied for the most such starts in the majors with the Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw.

Additionally, Harvey has six double-digit strikeout games, the most in the NL this year and is tied with Texas’ Yu Darvish for the for most in the majors. He is the sixth pitcher in team history to register six double-digit strikeout games in a single season, joining Tom Seaver, Dwight Gooden, David Cone, Sid Fernandez and R.A. Dickey.

Opponents have swung and missed at least 10 times in each of Matt Harvey’s last 23 starts, the longest current streak for any pitcher. His 28.9% missed swing rate is the third-best rate in the majors.

matt-harvey

Matt Harvey is a game-changer for the Mets. Anything good from here on in is all because of this young man who gave the team hope from the moment he arrived. He is the most valuable player this team has and the the only established young core player that the team can build around. Hopefully there will be others, but for now Matt Harvey stands alone. With apologies to David Wright, right now, Harvey is the franchise.

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MMO Fan Shot: Matt Harvey – The Best Is Yet To Come http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/04/mmo-fan-shot-matt-harvey-the-best-is-yet-to-come.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/04/mmo-fan-shot-matt-harvey-the-best-is-yet-to-come.html/#comments Wed, 24 Apr 2013 16:46:58 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=116035 matt-harvey

It’s now been over seven years since that promising Opening Day in 2006, which was only day one of a season that took the Mets just a big swing away from the National League Championship trophy, and a visit to the World Series. With the exception of a few R.A. Dickey masterpieces, and a special no-hitter, there hasn’t been much cheering in Flushing since that magical run in 2006.

The Metropolitans are a team that has always been known for its pitching, with ace Cy Young winners like Tom Seaver and Dwight Gooden leading the pack, career years from David Cone, and the aforementioned Dickey, are just compliments to the team’s rich pitching history. All of those Mets aces brought with them to the stadium every fifth day, great stuff, a great baseball mind, and of course big crowds.

With an ace, comes a crowd. With Matt Harvey, come the masses. He is in a word, phenomenal, and perhaps even more important to Flushing than the wins he brings, is the spirit he brings to the ballpark.

Matt began his pro career as a first round draft pick for the Mets in 2010, but hasn’t always been looked at as the ace type he has recently shown to be. Just last season before he arrived in Queens to play with the big boys, scouts as well as others around the organization, and around the league, had doubted Matt’s ability to be a front end pitcher.

Unlike his early success this season, Matt, although he performed well, did not dazzle as he has thus far in 2013. He finished the 2012 season at 3-5, with a 2.73 ERA; impressive, yet not startling.

Any bit of doubt that had yet to evaporate going into this baseball season, was gone after Harvey’s very first start of the year. If the season were to end today, the Cy Young Award would most definitely be spending a second consecutive year in the Big Apple, and it would say Harvey all over it.

The good doctor, Mr. Dwight Gooden has already given the Mets 24 year old ace his blessing. Gooden tweeted to his 35,000+ followers on twitter Saturday, that the Mets now have “The Real Deal” in town, and Gooden likes what he sees.

Citi Field has a very different aroma on “The Real Deal” days, instead of Amazin’ fans chowing down on some delectable delights during innings, Mets fans are paying close attention to each and every time Harvey serves up one of his out pitch – that devastating high fastball.

The fans rise on each two strike count, and they get behind their, so far, 4-0 ace every time he needs that extra bit of adrenaline from the Citi Field faithful. He is certainly a special player to say the least, and there is absolutely no doubt from anyone in baseball that there is much more from Matt “The Real Deal” Harvey, yet to come.

* * * * * * * *

This Fan Shot was contributed by MMO reader, Michael Feldman. Follow him on Twitter at @michael4ny. Have something you want to say about the Mets? Share your opinions with over 16,000 Mets fans who read this site daily. Send your Fan Shot to GetMetsmerized@aol.com. Or ask us about becoming a regular contributor.

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Johan Santana A Hero? No, No, No http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/03/johan-santana-a-hero-no-no-no.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/03/johan-santana-a-hero-no-no-no.html/#comments Sat, 09 Mar 2013 16:46:41 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=110407 johan-santana no-hitter

A pair of Chicago Cubs centerfielders, Jimmy Qualls (1969) and Joe Wallis (1975), stole two of Tom Seaver’s early bids for a no-hitter. One year after being traded from New York to Cincinnati, Seaver threw a no-hitter for the Reds. Nolan Ryan never pitched a no-hitter – as a New York Met – but after being traded to the California Angels in 1971 he nudged Mets fans every couple years, throwing seven no-hitters.

“Every time he pitched you expected a no-hitter – or 15 strikeouts,” said Jay Horwitz, Mets VP/Public Relations, referring to Dwight Gooden.

In May 1996, Gooden tossed the only no-hitter of his career – as a member of the New York Yankees. Even Duffy Dyer had to leave the New York Mets to catch his first no-hitter (John Candelaria, Pittsburgh, 1975), 11 years before Josh Thole was born.

Four years later, in 2000, amidst a slow start and turmoil over comments Mets manager Bobby Valentine made during a speech at Penn’s Wharton School of Business, Mets ace Al Leiter attempted to lighten the mood. “I think I’m going to have to throw a no-hitter today to get the back page in New York with all the stuff going on,” he said. Starting against the Pittsburgh Pirates on the road, Leiter surrendered a second-inning lead-off home run to Wil Cordero, crushing the hopes and promise of the first-ever Mets no-hitter.

John Maine was on the brink, again, in 2007, until Florida Marlins catcher light-hitting catcher Paul Hoover reached on an infield single with two outs in the eighth inning. Maine settled for a one-hit, complete game shutout but, again, hopes of a no-hitter were dashed.

There were other close calls before, after and in between those chronicled here, but you get the idea. The New York Mets avoided no-hitters for a half-century. It was baffling at times. How could the pitching-rich Mets not have a no-hitter?

Seaver, Ryan, Gooden, Leiter, Jerry Koosman, Jon Matlack, Craig Swan, Ron Darling, Sid Fernandez, David Cone, Mike Hampton, Bret Saberhagen, Frank Viola, Bob Ojeda, Pedro Martinez, Tom Glavine; over 50 years of baseball the stars never aligned, not for a single summer’s night, for Steve Trachsel, George Stone, Rick Reed, Bobby Jones, Orlando Hernandez, Dave Mlicki, Pete Harnisch, Pete Falcone or Pat Zachry? No, no and no. Game after game, season after season the Mets were denied.

To blunt the pain and frustration, Mets fans turned the no-hit quest into a punchline. On any given night during the season a Mets fan could grab their smartphone, tap the Twitter icon and wait for [insert pitcher’s name here] to give up the first hit of the game which, inevitably, led to a tweet along the lines of:

Well, not tonight #Mets fans. That’s 7,952 games without a no-hitter.

So, on June 1, 2012, when Johan Santana became the first pitcher in Mets team history to throw a no-hitter, fans celebrated. I celebrated. In fact, the New York Daily News and New York Post back pages hang on my office wall. It was a big deal. But that’s where the road forks for me and many Mets fans.

Last week, amidst controversy over Santana’s health, Mets blogger Ted Berg tweeted:

Johan Santana returned from career-threatening surgery and pitched the first Mets no-hitter. He could show up 300 lbs. and he’d still be my hero.

Thirty-five people re-tweeted the post. I am not sure if the reaction was a symbol of support or fans just wanted to share his message with the baseball world. Either way, I disagree. Yes, I was amazed by Santana’s drive to come back and perform like the two-time Cy Young Award winner he once was with the Minnesota Twins. No, Santana should not be labeled a hero for one game.

SNY’s Chris Carlin dished out a portion of these stats on Twitter, to which another Mets fan replied:

Fair, for first no-hitter in Mets history.

Fair? Really? This is a sad – and misguided – statement.

When the Mets traded six players for Santana in 2008 they also agreed to sign him to a six-year, $101.5 million contract. Since then, he’s made 109 regular season starts, winning 46 games. He’s earned over $900,000/start in New York, or, $2.2 million per win. He missed all of the 2011 season and one-half of the 2012 season (because of the wear and tear he put on his arm pitching the no-hitter).

Remember the day you heard the news that the Mets had finally acquired Santana from the Twins? I do. Expectations were high. After the crushing collapse at the end of the 2007 season, Santana symbolized a renewed hope that 2008 would be different. Of course, it wasn’t. The point is: Santana was going to help the Mets win; a division, a league championship, maybe a World Series. You did believe that, then, right?

Hypothetically, would you give back the no-hitter if the Mets could have had a healthy Johan Santana in July, August and September? I would. I am of the mindset that winning baseball games, not pitching no-hitters or breaking records, is the goal. I am most happy when the Mets are winning. It doesn’t matter how, but if the Mets win.

Let’s face it, Santana’s not coming back after the 2013 season (if he’s not traded earlier). Over five seasons in New York he’s been closer to a disappointment than hero. Call me naive, but I expected more than one no-hitter from Santana, but thanks for the memory (singular).

Read more of my thoughts on baseball at JohnStrubel.com.

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Mets Locker Room Real Estate Values: Past and Present http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/02/mets-locker-room-real-estate-values-past-and-present.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/02/mets-locker-room-real-estate-values-past-and-present.html/#comments Mon, 11 Feb 2013 18:38:14 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=107728 MetsYou can learn a lot about a baseball team from its locker room. The clubhouse is where relationships form, character is revealed and leaders speak out (or not). For the major league rookie, clubhouse real estate is valuable — sometimes priceless. Imagine being the rookie who spent eight months out of the year next to Sandy Koufax? Roberto Clemente? Lou Gehrig? Tom Seaver? These were model athletes, wise and humble men, who used their talent to teach.

Danny Frisella and Tug McGraw were in heated competition for fame and fortune from the outset of the 1972 season. The late Gil Hodges remembers both pitchers begging for their manager to pick them when he signaled to the bullpen. If Frisella was selected, and won the game, McGraw would give Frisella the “cold shoulder.” If McGraw got the nod (and won) Frisella would mimic the gesture.

There is no evidence whether or not the Mets clubhouse manager made an intentional effort to put Frisella and McGraw side-by-side in the locker room, but their adjoining lockers created more fun and competition. The two Mets pitchers would sometimes switch the locker nameplates to appear that the other won the game.

While Frisella and McGraw jockeyed for their manager’s affection, that same season a rookie named Jon Matlack was granted locker space between Tom Seaver and Jerry Koosman. Matlack was named 1972 Rookie of the Year, winning 15 of his 32 starts. He compiled 244 innings pitched, eight complete games and a skinny 2.32 ERA. Coincidence? Possibly. Seaver will tell you, for certain, it meant nothing then and means nothing now.

“Where you lockered really wasn’t that important,” Seaver told the New York Times in 2008. “It didn’t make any difference. Just your own little space; it could have been anywhere.”

For Seaver, locker space was irrelevant. It was a place – and space – where he took out his frustrations after a poor start. “When I make a mistake and beat myself with a bad pitch, then I get kicking mad and go after stools and water buckets,” Seaver told People Magazine.

Other times, Seaver used his locker as a prop. After getting off to a slow start in 1974, a Mets beat writer asked him if he had lost his fastball. Seaver paused, then started rummaging in his locker muttering, “Where are you, fastball? Are you in there somewhere?”

Seaver didn’t need sabermetrics to figure out the 1975 New York Mets were in for a long year. The Mets, a team renowned for their pitching stock, found themselves lacking. That spring, Seaver sat on a stool in front of his locker and looked up at the adjoining lockers. SEAVER. KOOSMAN, MATLACK.

Who are the rest of these guys? Seaver thought. “That’s Nos. 1, 2 and 3. Where are 4 and 5?” He rolled his eyes in frustration.

He knew, if something doesn’t change (and it didn’t), the Mets would not compete. The Mets were within four games of the lead in the National League East on September 1, 1975; then the bottom fell out on the season. They finished in third place 10 ½ games behind the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Seaver’s real estate at Shea Stadium was the site where many of the organizations proudest moments were celebrated. He sprayed champagne over the heads of his teammates in 1969 from that “little space.” Seaver helped the Mets win another National League title from that hole in the wall. He encouraged and mentored Matlack, Jackson Todd, Bob Myrick, George Stone and many others within earshot.

In one respect Seaver is right; a locker isn’t important. There’s nothing glamorous about an athlete’s locker. It’s literally a hole in the wall. For the common man, a locker is a lot like an office cubicle, a place to store your personal effects while you go take care of business. But, location is valuable, sometimes educational.

“I learned an awful lot from having my locker room stuck between Koosman and Seaver,” said Matlack. “”It was a very, very good location to be in.”

Seaver’s locker was physically unique, well, maybe for its modesty. Former Mets beat writer Marty Noble described the space this way: “there was no locker to the immediate left, just a three-foot-wide panel. A trash can was placed there.” Seaver’s “little space” was nondescript. Seaver, himself, was so Seaver was so impervious to his surroundings that, to this day, he is unsure whether he had the now famous locker space his rookie year of 1967.

Over time, Seaver’s locker took on a life of its own. After he we traded in June 1977, Bud Harrelson asked if he could move in. Not happening, said Mets equipment manager Herb Norman. The locker would be assigned to Seaver’s successor, Pat Zachry.

Seaver returned home, and to his “little space” in 1983, then, Ron Darling assumed the space from 1984-1991, followed by David Cone (July 1991-August 1992), John Franco (1992-2003), Steve Trachsel (2004-2006) and Aaron Heilman (2007).

“That locker did have history; more than any other in that place,” said Franco. “Nobody made the kind of history here that Tom Seaver made. It doesn’t matter how long anyone had it, it was always Seaver’s.”

“It doesn’t matter [who preceded Seaver],” added Darling. “It’s his.”

In some ballparks, because of some professional athletes, lockers can become hallowed ground. When Lou Gehrig died, his locker was sealed and sent to Cooperstown. Before Shea Stadium was demolished after the 2008 season, Seaver’s locker was preserved and put on the block for a cool $41,000.

That’s some valuable real estate.

In 1984, the New York Mets were on the rise. Jesse Orosco and Doug Sisk anchored the Mets bullpen on the field, roommates off the field and lived out of adjoining lockers during the team’s championship run in the 80s.

“We’re just a couple of ordinary guys who get along, and have no professional jealousy,” said Sisk. “We’re both fairly serious, but we have different personalities. But we’re not rivals. You can’t be rivals. It won’t work.”

When it does work, the team benefits – at least that’s what Mets manager Terry Collins hopes will happen by placing Zack Wheeler and Matt Harvey side-by-side in Port St. Lucie. Collins told the media he intentionally put Harvey, 23, and Wheeler, 22, at adjoining lockers to give Wheeler the opportunity to ask questions and “soak up” the experience like Harvey did last season.

“Having lockers next to each other, we’re both baseball players who have the same mindset,” said Harvey. “Getting along, I don’t think, is going to be very tough.”

Wheeler has prime real estate in Port St. Lucie. Like Harvey in 2012, he will receive a valuable education a lot by watching and listening. Harvey described the experience as “eye-opening.” Last spring he watched Johan Santana, R.A. Dickey, Jonathon Niese and Dillon Gee prepare for a major league baseball season.

“That’s something that I’ve never seen,” Harvey told ESPN.com. “Watching the preparation that those guys had in order to throw 200 innings … Sometimes it’s stepping back and realizing, ‘Hey, this is a long process. Throwing until the end of September is a long time from now.’”

Let’s be honest here, Harvey is still learning too. Collins hopes the location will be the seed to a long-term successful relationship between his two future stars.

Spring Training, which officially starts today, is always an intriguing place for reporters to take stock in how and where players are positioned. The nameplates begin to disappear as February turns to March and the minor league players are dispatched for reassignment. The last days of March mark the time for final cuts. The veteran invited to spring training is playing his heart out and biting their nails in one corner of the clubhouse while the fresh-faced 20-something is bouncing off the walls hoping this will be his year.

As Opening Day creeps closer, locker room real estate values will increase.

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David Cone to Guest Bartend at Foley’s to Help Victims of Hurricane Sandy http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/11/david-cone-to-guest-bartend-at-foleys-to-help-victims-of-hurricane-sandy.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/11/david-cone-to-guest-bartend-at-foleys-to-help-victims-of-hurricane-sandy.html/#comments Sat, 10 Nov 2012 18:34:35 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=100470

Five Time All-Star “Pitches In” to Aid New Yorkers in Need

During his 17-year major league career, David Cone took the mound in big spots for the Mets, Yankees and three other teams. However, on Thursday, November 15, 2012, he’ll be “pitching in” to help New York area residents impacted by Hurricane Sandy.

The popular broadcaster and former star pitcher will put his mixology skills to the test at Foley’s NY Pub & Restaurant (18 W. 33rdSt.) on November 15 from 6-9 pm as a guest bartender at a fundraiser quickly organized to aid victims of Sandy’s destruction.

Foley’s will donate 100% of its sales from 6 pm to midnight, including proceeds from the drinks that the former five-time World Series Champion and YES Network analyst pours. In addition, all of David’s “tips” will go to the cause.

“Many friends and customers are suffering because of Hurricane Sandy. Seeing the devastation in Staten Island, The Rockaways, Long Island and New Jersey, I wanted to do something to make a difference. We reached out to David Cone, and he jumped at the opportunity to help,” said Shaun Clancy, owner of Foley’s, which houses one of the country’s most extensive public displays of baseball memorabilia.

“David won the Hutch Award in 1998, which is given to the MLB player who best exemplifies fighting spirit and competitive desire. He’s a personification of New York’s fighting spirit during a time that has been difficult for so many people,” Clancy added.

David Cone has long been a fan favorite in New York. During his career with the Mets (1987-92), a legion of “Coneheads” supported him in the stands at Shea Stadium. He went on to win a World Series with the Toronto Blue Jays in 1992 and the Cy Young Award with the Kansas City Royals in 1994 before collecting four championship rings with the Yankees as an essential part to the team’s rotation from 1995-2000. Cone also pitched the 16th perfect game in baseball history at Yankee Stadium on Yogi Berra Day (July 18, 1999) with fellow perfect game hurler Don Larsen watching in the stands. David Cone finished his career with a 194–126 won–loss record, 2,688 strikeouts, and a 3.46 lifetime ERA.

“Although we will have fun at Foley’s, we are all trying to help a serious cause,” said Cone, now a broadcaster on YES Network. “I invite all my friends in New York — Mets fans and Yankees fans alike — to come out and support this effort to help some of our neighbors who are in great need right now.”

Foley’s NY Pub & Restaurant (18 W. 33rd St.) is home of the Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame.A popular destination among baseball players, executives, umpires, media, and fans, Foley’s is located across from the Empire State Building. The “Irish Bar with a Baseball Attitude” features walls adorned with 2,500+ autographed balls, hundreds of bobbleheads, game-worn jerseys, stadium seats and other artifacts that make it the premier baseball bar in New York and one of the best sports bars in America. For more information, call (212) 290-0080 or visit www.foleysny.com or www.facebook.com/FoleysNYPub.

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For Mike Pelfrey, The Hits Just Keep On Comin’ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2011/04/for-mike-pelfrey-the-hits-just-keep-on-comin.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2011/04/for-mike-pelfrey-the-hits-just-keep-on-comin.html/#comments Thu, 07 Apr 2011 21:15:26 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=47985 Mike Pelfrey is entering his sixth season with the Mets, compiling a 43-41 record over his first five seasons in New York (43-42 after his Opening Day loss to the Florida Marlins). Although Pelfrey is just 27 years old, there have been only 17 pitchers in franchise history who have won more games than Big Pelf.

More than likely, Pelfrey will continue to move up the all-time wins leaderboard as his career progresses, but how much longer will he pitch for the Mets, especially if he continues to give up base hits at an alarming rate?

Consider the facts. In his first two starts of the 2011 season, Pelfrey has given up 12 hits in 6 1/3 innings, a rate of nearly two hits per inning. Let’s compare that to the 17 pitchers who rank ahead of Pelfrey on the all-time club leaderboard for wins.

 

  • Tom Seaver (12 years, 198 wins): no seasons with more hits than innings pitched.
  • Dwight Gooden (11 years, 157 wins): one season with more hits than innings pitched.
  • Jerry Koosman (12 years, 140 wins): no seasons with more hits than innings pitched.
  • Ron Darling (9 years, 99 wins): one season with more hits than innings pitched.
  • Sid Fernandez (10 years, 98 wins): no seasons with more hits than innings pitched.
  • Al Leiter (7 years, 95 wins): no seasons with more hits than innings pitched.
  • Jon Matlack (7 years, 82 wins): one season with more hits than innings pitched.
  • David Cone (7 years, 81 wins): one season with more hits than innings pitched.
  • Bobby Jones (8 years, 74 wins): five seasons with more hits than innings pitched.
  • Steve Trachsel (6 years, 66 wins): two seasons with more hits than innings pitched.
  • Tom Glavine (5 years, 61 wins): four seasons with more hits than innings pitched.
  • Rick Reed (5 years, 59 wins): two seasons with more hits than innings pitched.
  • Craig Swan (12 years, 59 wins): four seasons with more hits than innings pitched.
  • Bob Ojeda (5 years, 51 wins): one season with more hits than innings pitched.
  • John Franco (14 years, 48 wins): five seasons with more hits than innings pitched.
  • Tug McGraw (9 years, 47 wins): two seasons with more hits than innings pitched.
  • Jesse Orosco (8 years, 47 wins): one season with more hits than innings pitched.

 

Dwight Gooden’s sole season allowing more hits than innings pitched was 1994. That was his final season in a Mets uniform. Ron Darling also had one such season in his career, which came in his final full season as a Met (1990). In 1977, Jon Matlack suffered his first season with more hits than innings pitched. He never did it again as a Met because that was his final year in New York. The only year in which David Cone gave up better than a hit per inning was (you guessed it) his final season (2003), when he allowed 20 hits in 18 innings.

Bob Ojeda and Jesse Orosco also finished their Mets careers with only one season giving up more hits than innings pitched. In both cases, that season came in their final year with the Mets.

Of the seven pitchers who allowed more hits than innings pitched in multiple seasons (Jones, Trachsel, Glavine, Reed, Swan, Franco, McGraw), all but one of them accomplished the feat in his final full season in New York. The lone exception was John Franco, who barely missed, allowing exactly one hit per inning in 2004 (46 hits in 46 innings pitched).

So that brings us back to Mike Pelfrey. How many times do you think he’s allowed more hits than innings pitched over a full season? Once? Twice? Take a look at his career numbers below:

 

  • 2006: 21.1 innings pitched, 25 hits allowed.
  • 2007: 72.2 innings pitched, 85 hits allowed.
  • 2008: 200.2 innings pitched, 209 hits allowed.
  • 2009: 184.1 innings pitched, 213 hits allowed.
  • 2010: 204.0 innings pitched, 213 hits allowed.
  • 2011: 6.1 innings pitched, 12 hits allowed.

 

Mike Pelfrey has allowed more hits than innings pitched in EVERY SEASON that he’s pitched in the major leagues! Judging by his start this season, he might be on his way to his sixth consecutive season allowing more hits than innings pitched. Of the 17 pitchers who rank ahead of Pelfrey in career victories as a Met, none accomplished the feat more than five times.

Because of Johan Santana’s injury, Pelfrey is now the de facto No. 1 pitcher in the rotation. But looking over his career numbers, the only thing Pelfrey is No. 1 in is allowing base hits. Considering the fates of other Mets pitchers who gave up more hits than innings pitched, especially late in their careers, Mike Pelfrey should be careful when he turns around. Another team’s uniform might be gaining on him.

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Izzy Lightning In A Bottle? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2011/02/izzy-lightning-in-a-bottle.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2011/02/izzy-lightning-in-a-bottle.html/#comments Sat, 26 Feb 2011 19:10:46 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=45176 Jason Isringhausen was one of three members of Generation K, the triumvirate of young pitchers who were supposed to be the ’90s version of Seaver, Koosman and Matlack. Isringhausen had the most success after his initial call-up to the majors in 1995, going 9-2 with a 2.81 ERA in 14 starts.

However, injuries took their toll on Izzy and he was dealt to Oakland at the trade deadline in 1999 for reliever Billy Taylor. Taylor’s career with the Mets lasted all of 18 games, as his 8.10 ERA probably had something to do with the length of his stay in New York. Meanwhile, Isringhausen went on to become an All-Star closer with the Athletics and Cardinals, saving 293 games over the course of his career.

Had Isringhusen stayed in New York as a reliever (he picked up one save for the Mets in 1999), perhaps Mets fans would never have been subjected to watching Armando Benitez, Braden Looper or Luis Ayala putting the BS in Blown Save. However, that was then and this is 2011, a year that has brought Izzy’s baseball odyssey back to New York.

This has happened before, when a pitcher who made a splash with the Mets went elsewhere, made the postseason repeatedly, including a World Series championship, and then came back at the end of his career in an attempt to close out his career where it all began.

David Cone pitched for the Mets from 1987-1992 and had some of the best seasons of his career in Flushing. But after being traded to the Toronto Blue Jays for the underachieving Jeff Kent and Ryan Thompson (whose sole claim to fame was hitting a grand slam off John Smoltz in 1994 that preceded a bench-clearing brawl when Smoltz intentionally hit mighty mite John Cangelosi with his next pitch), Cone had his greatest success in the majors. He won the Cy Young Award in 1994 with Kansas City, threw a perfect game as a member of the Yankees in 1999 and won a total of five World Series rings (one with Toronto in 1992 and four with the Yankees in 1996, 1997, 1998 and 2000). He then came back to the Mets in 2003 and surprised everyone by making the team out of Spring Training. However, his comeback was short-lived, as he went 1-3 with a 6.50 in five games (four starts).

Jason Isringhausen, on the other hand, pitched for the Mets from 1995-1999 before his trade to Oakland in July of 1999. Because of the trade, he missed out on the Mets’ first playoff appearance in 11 years. But beginning the following year (2000), Isringhausen would become a staple in the playoffs.

In 2000, the A’s won the AL West and in 2001, Oakland made the playoffs as a 102-win wild card team. After signing with the Cardinals as a free agent, Izzy helped St. Louis win the NL Central division title in 2002. The Cardinals failed to make the playoffs in 2003, but then won three straight division titles, winning the National League pennant in 2004 and the World Series in 2006.

Injuries took their toll on Isringhausen following his last successful season as the Cardinals’ closer (2007) and he required Tommy John surgery in June of 2009, while a member of the Tampa Bay Rays.

Now Isringhausen is back on the Mets, and he is impressing the coaching staff to the point where he might pull a David Cone and make the team out of Spring Training. Mets’ pitching coach Dan Warthen has monitored Isringhausen closely in camp and had this to offer on his progress:

 

“I’ve seen a lot more than I expected at any time. The ball is coming out of his hand great. He still has the Izzy curveball, and he’s added a nice little cutter and changeup. I couldn’t be more pleased. If Izzy can come in and continue to do exactly what he’s doing right now, he is a major part of this.”

 

If Isringhausen does make the team, he may be wearing his old No. 44 (which symbolizes the fact that he was a 44th round draft pick in 1991). Right now, Jason Bay is currently wearing the number, but he has only worn it since being traded from the Pirates to the Red Sox in 2008. When Bay was making a name for himself in Pittsburgh, he wore No. 38. Although he hasn’t said that he will go back to wearing his old number with the Pirates (currently new acquisition Chris Capuano is the wearer of No. 38), he has said that he would gladly give up No. 44 to Isringhausen:

 

 

“I’ve tried to hit against him and I know how good he is. I hope he makes it because he’s a great pitcher and he’ll make our team better. And if he does, I’m giving him the shirt. It’s his. I want him to have it.”

 

 

David Cone tried to recapture some of his old magic when he broke camp with the Mets in 2003 after not pitching in the major leagues in 2002. Unfortunately for him, he wasn’t able to come back successfully. Jason Isringhausen didn’t pitch in the majors in 2010 while recovering from Tommy John surgery. Will Izzy be able to make the team and succeed in the bullpen? If so, the Mets might have found lightning in a bottle.

There are less than five weeks to go until Opening Day. If there is something left in Izzy’s tank, now is the time to prove that he is still capable of helping a big league team. With the departure of Pedro Feliciano and Hisanori Takahashi, the Mets are going to need all the help they can get in the bullpen. Jason Isringhausen might be one of those relievers, and if he is, lightning will have indeed struck twice for Izzy in New York.

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Would David Cone Be A Good Fit At SNY? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2010/01/would-david-cone-be-a-good-fit-at-sny.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2010/01/would-david-cone-be-a-good-fit-at-sny.html/#comments Mon, 04 Jan 2010 14:45:13 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=18386 I thought this would be worth sharing with our readers. On Saturday, Bob Klapisch of The Record reported that the negotiations between David Cone and the YES Network have soured and that Coney may be looking for a new home.

It appears Cone’s short but brilliant run in the YES broadcast booth may be over. Sources say Cone is out after a heated disagreement with network executives.

A spokesman confirmed via e-mail: “David’s contract is up. We’d love to have him back, but he’s in the process of evaluating his various options. … He may not be back based on what he decides.”

Klapisch likens Cone to SNY’s Ron Darling in that they both have a graceful way of analyzing the game for viewers in a manner that suits both hard core fans and casual fans alike. Unlike Darling though, Cone is on top of the latest advanced metrics and frequently incorporates them into each broadcast.

Can you imagine the animated dialog between him and the old school Keith Hernandez when Coney attempts to explain UZR to the eleven time Gold Glove winner?

That alone would be worth the price of admission.

With Ron Darling being called on to help out more frequently in the pre and post game shows, along with his expanded duties with TBS, Cone would easily be able to do 40-50 games a season for the Mets if not more.

He would also be able to do guest spots on radio, provide some on the field analysis in between innings, and add more depth to what is already a solid broadcast.

One other area that might work is pairing the cool and calm Cone with the more fiery and intense Bobby Ojeda in the post game show. (Leave Chris Carlin in the pre game show.) Their contrasting styles would make for some excellent exchanges especially after a particularly tough loss.

What are your thoughts?

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