Mets Merized Online » Gary Sheffield Sat, 03 Dec 2016 18:57:37 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Who Will the Next Mets Hall of Famer Be? Tue, 26 Jul 2016 14:50:36 +0000 piazza1

When Mike Piazza was inducted into the Hall of Fame yesterday, he became the 14th ex-Met to gain enshrinement into Cooperstown– and only the second player to go in orange and blue.

The Mets have seen an alumnus inducted in each of the last three seasons; first with Tom Glavine in 2014 and then with Pedro Martinez last season. This is by far the most significant for the team, since Piazza is best remembered for his years with the Mets. But these Hall of Fame fortunes will likely diminish over the next couple of years; there is no imminent Met on the ballot for another couple of seasons– and definitely nobody who will be inducted as a Met for a while.

Here’s a rundown of former Mets who could become Hall of Famers. And most of these players are remembered for their times away from New York.

Jeff Kent: A lot of younger fans might not even realize that Kent was a Met; he played with the team from 1992-1996 and lacked the star power he showed in his later career. Kent has 76 more home runs than any other second baseman in baseball history, and deserves a lot more Cooperstown consideration than he has received. He only got 16.6 percent of the vote in his second year on the ballot.

Kent could eventually receive a higher percentage on a less-crowded ballot. It’s definitely possible that he could become a Hall of Famer one day, but it won’t be with a Mets cap on his plaque.

Gary Sheffield: Sheffield played his last MLB season with the Mets in 2009. 500 homers used to mean a guaranteed ticket to Cooperstown– Sheffield can check off that box– but his PED ties have all but nullified that guarantee. He only received 11.6 percent of the vote in his second year of eligibility, which probably has something to do with PED’s.  He probably won’t make the Hall of Fame, and if he does it definitely won’t be as a Met.

Billy Wagner: Wagner surprised some observers by getting double-digit support on his first year of eligibility– on a crowded ballot, no less. He posted an ERA+ below 140 just once in his 16 MLB seasons, and his career mark of 187 isn’t too far behind Mariano Rivera’s record-setting 205. Should he go in, which isn’t all that impossible, Wagner will probably be wearing an Astros (or maybe a Patriots) cap– but he would owe the Mets a nod during his induction speech.

Johan Santana: Santana hasn’t officially retired, but he hasn’t thrown an MLB pitch since 2012, and will be eligible in 2018 in the likely event he never pitches again. He is arguably the best pitcher of the 2000s, and had a five-year stretch where he was without question the best pitcher in baseball. From 2004-2008, he was 86-39 with a 2.82 ERA and 1,189 strikeouts in 1,146.2 innings. He won two Cy Youngs during that stretch, and finished in the top five every year.

His dominance was cut short due to shoulder injuries. Had Santana had another two years in his prime, he would be a lock for the Hall– his career ERA+ of 136 is higher than Randy Johnson, Whitey Ford or Greg Maddux. He will definitely receive consideration, and would presumably go in with the Twins. But who knows? Maybe Santana throwing the Mets’ first and only no-hitter is impressive enough to override that.

Carlos Beltran: If any of these candidates are to be inducted as Mets, it’s Beltran. He played more games with the Mets than he did with any team, and put up some of his best numbers there as well.

Beltran hasn’t received the glitz and glamor a lot of other stars of his day have, but his stats are as good as anyone’s. His career bWAR of 70 is higher than Hall of Famers Gary Carter, Tony Gwynn, Eddie Murray and Carlton Fisk to name a few. He is one of just five players ever to record 500 doubles, 400 homers and 300 steals; the others are Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, Eddie Murray and Andre Dawson. Oh, and he also won three Gold Gloves.

Beltran is having one of the best years of his career this season. Although he won’t be eligible for a number of years, it will be hard to deny his credentials once he appears on the ballot.

David Wright: If David Wright’s career is over (which it may very well be), than he is probably not a Hall of Famer. But another two or three seasons of classic David Wright could put him into the conversation. From 2005-2013, Wright’s average season was a .302/.384/.505 slash with 23 home runs, 93 RBI and 20 steals. He’s a longshot for Cooperstown at this point, but Wright is a lock for the Mets’ Hall of Fame.

Francisco Rodriguez: “K-Rod” is sixth on the all-time saves list with 413 saves, and he’s still only 34. “K-Rod” could become baseball’s all-time saves leader by the time he hangs ‘em up. This, along with a 2.70 career ERA, 10.7 strikeouts per nine innings ratio and a 156 ERA+, will guarantee him some consideration. As every Mets fan who watched him pitch knows, he will not be going into Cooperstown as a Met. This distinction will likely come with the Angels, where he set the single-season saves record back in 2008.

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MLB Players React To Chase Utley Breaking Ruben Tejada’s Leg Sun, 11 Oct 2015 06:27:27 +0000 ruben tejada pain

There are no shortage of reactions from around baseball on the dirty take-out slide by Chase Utley that resulted in a broken leg for Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada.

Terry Collins – “Broke my shortstop’s leg, that’s all I know. I’m not going to get into it. It’s over. It’s done. Not much we can do about it except come out in a couple days and get after it.”

Justin Turner – “I think everyone knows how hard Chase plays the game and did what everyone would do going hard to break up the double-play. Unfortunately the ball put Ruben in kind of a bad position to be there. We don’t want to see anyone get hurt, but hopefully, I know it’s a fracture, but he’s a good friend of mine. I hope it’s not too bad and doesn’t effect anything with his career.”

Kelly Johnson – “The issue is, he hit our shortstop first, before hitting the dirt. At what point is that illegal? At what point do we say, ‘Hey, we missed something here?’ We have rules at home plate to protect our guys, what’s the difference. Ruben stuck his next out there and before he could get the ball out of his glove he’s getting tackled. I don’t get it. It’s sad.”

Joe Torre – “After viewing all relevant angles, the Replay Official definitively determined that the fielder’s foot was not in contact with second base at any time when he had possession of the ball. The fact he was called out means he was not required to touch second base. When the play is overturned he’s awarded second base. If they had tagged Utley before he went off the field he would have been out.”

Adrian Gonzalez – “Chase is trying to break up the double play. At the end of the day, the replay confirmed it all, it was as big play for us. The slide saved a victory. We get another win and then we have our two big guys going for us again.”

Jose Reyes – That was a really weak attempt at a slide by Chase Utley.

David Wright – “Only Chase knows what his intent was. There is the way to play the game hard. I have a problem with the play on a number of different levels. He’s a second baseman. If he wants guys sliding like that into him, then it’s perfectly fine. He knows how to play the game. If he doesn’t mind guys coming in like that when he’s turning a double play, then we don’t have any problem with it. It’s a legal slide. It’s within the rules. But somebody is going to get hurt.”

Michael Cuddyer – “That’s not a slide. That’s a tackle. That’s for you to decide if tackling is legal in baseball.”

Shane Victorino - ”Always called him one of my toughest teammates. Utley showing why I always called him a winner. Never wanna see anyone get hurt but I have seen worse but the magnitude of this one will bring up a lot of debate for sure.”

Pedro Martinez – “A lot of people are fuming in New York. I have a hard time watching this play, not because of what happened to Tejada. But just watching Utley up close, it seemed to me like he never had the intention of sliding and breaking up the double play. He went straight after Tejada. And that is something that is mind-boggling coming from a second baseman. It kind of bothers me to see that.”

Gary Sheffield – “This is baseball. It’s the shortstop’s job to know where the runner is. Any time a runner can take him out, he’s going to take him out. He’s coming in there like a bulldog, and you never turn your back on a runner like that. He should’ve just gotten the out and not tried for the double play.”

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The 2009 Mets: Where Are They Now? Mon, 09 Sep 2013 03:23:30 +0000 Welcome to the second installment of Where Are They Now?, where we take a Mets roster and check in on what the players have done since last playing in Queens. Last week, we looked at the 2010 Mets, so this week we go back a year and look at the 2009 team, the first year the Mets played their home games at Citi Field. That season, Jerry Manuel led his squad to a 70-92 record, good for a fourth place NL East finish. Let’s look at the players.

Right off the bat, 21 players also played for the Mets in 2010, who I covered covered in my previous article. If you wish to learn about what happened to Luis Castillo, Alex Cora, David Wright, Carlos Beltran, Jeff Francoeur, Fernando Tatis, Angel Pagan, Jose Reyes, Nick Evans, Josh Thole, Mike Pelfrey, John Maine, Oliver Perez, Francisco Rodriguez, Bobby Parnell, Pedro Feliciano, Sean Green, Fernando Nieve, Elmer Dessens, Jon Niese, and Tobi Stoner, check out The 2010 Mets: Where Are They Now?

Only one player (who hasn’t already been covered) that played for the Mets in 2009 is still playing for the Mets, Daniel Murphy who is now one of the top hitters in the Mets lineup. Murphy currently ranks second on the team in batting average and third highest with a 2.7 WAR. Not only does Murphy provide a presence in the top of the lineup, but he may give the Mets strong trade bait going forward.

Only two other players from the 2009 are still in the majors albeit with another franchise: J.J. Putz and Darren O’Day.

Putz, who amazingly only played in 29 games with the Mets, played with the Chicago White Sox in 2010, before heading to Arizona where he played for the Diamondbacks in 2011. He still plays for them now. Side-armer Darren O’Day was claimed off waivers by the Rangers in April of 2009 and played in Arlington until 2011. After that season, the Baltimore Orioles claimed him off waivers. He is currently in his second year with them.

Five players from that team are currently in the Minor Leagues with other organizations and include Omir Santos, Jeremy Reed, Fernando Martinez, Argenis Reyes, and Nelson Figueroa.

Omir Santos did the bulk of the catching for the 2009 Mets, and he now sits behind the plate for the Rockies’ Triple A affiliate in Colorado Springs. He also played for the Toledo Mud Hens in the Detroit Tigers system in 2011, before spending some time with the big league team for the Tigers in  2010. He’s also played with the Indians Triple-A team this season.

Jeremy Reed signed with the Blue Jays in January of 2010 and was called up on April 12th. On July 12th he was sent down, released, and signed with the White Sox. He played the rest of the season with their Triple A team, the Charlotte Knights. The Brewers signed him in 2011 and he made the opening day roster. He was sent down to make room for Jonathan Lucroy, which led to him being traded to the Twins, where he finished the year. He is now in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization, but is not currently assigned to a team.

fernando martinez

Fernando Martinez was claimed off waivers by the Astros in January of 2012 and played in Houston until he was traded to the Yankees this past June, knowing there was a chance that he could be suspended for steroids. He was among those named in the Biogenesis scandal and is currently serving a 50-game suspension.

Argenis Reyes played in the Red Sox system in 2010 and was then traded to the Cleveland Indians where he played the rest of the season. He spent time with the New Jersey Jackals of the Independent Leagues in 2011 before returning to the Indians system. He is currently not playing with an Indians team although he unassigned.

Nelson Figueroa saw time in the Phillies and Astros systems in 2010, and played in the majors with the Astros in 2011. He also played in the Pirates system that year. 2012 saw him spend time with the Yankees and Red Sox minor league systems, and now plays for the Diamondbacks Triple-A affiliate.

One 2009 Met is officially a free agent and that is Casey Fossum who played all of three games for the Amazins that season. Fossum was released at the end of April in 2009 and soon after signed with the Yankees. He played the rest of the year with their Triple A affiliate and then moved onto the Chicago Cubs system. His 2010 season was spent with the Hanshin Tigers in Japan, where he went 2-5 with a 5.72 ERA. Fossum signed with the Mets again in January of 2011 and played nine games, before being released a year later. He eventually signed with the Orioles but was soon released and has not resurfaced ever since.

13 players have retired. They are Gary Sheffield, Ryan Church, Brian Schneider, Cory Sullivan, Carlos Delgado, Ramon Martinez, Emil Brown, Marlon Anderson, Brian Stokes, Ken Takahashi, Lance Broadway, Jon Switzer, and Billy Wagner.

Gary Sheffield couldn’t find a team to play with in 2010, so he retired in the spring of 2011. Ryan Church was traded to the Braves for Jeff Francoeur and finished the year in Atlanta. 2010 was spent in Pittsburgh until the Pirates traded him to the Diamondbacks along with future Met D.J. Carrasco. He was non-tendered after the year and retired.

Brian Schneider played with the Phillies from 2010 to 2012 and retired officially on January 29th this year. Cory Sullivan, who is most remembered for being the last player to hit two triples in one inning, played with the Houston Astros for half of 2010. He played with the Phillies for half of 2011, and retired after failing to make the Dodgers opening day roster in 2012.

After being injured for most of the 2009 season, the Mets released Carlos Delgado when the season was over. The Boston Red Sox signed the future Hall of Famer to a Minor League contract. He went 3-for-13, was released and retired on April 13th 2011. He was most recently the hitting coach for the 2013 Puerto Rican team in the World Baseball Classic. Current Mets pitching coach Ricky Bones was the pitching coach for that team (and if you ask me, Delgado and Bones look extremely like each other).

Not much to say about Ramon Martinez here. The infielder who played only 12 games with the 2009 Mets was released after the season and immediately retired. Emil Brown retired after being released on June 22, 2009.

Super utility man Marlon Anderson was released in April and signed with the Newark Bears of the Independent Leagues. He played the rest of the season there and retired when the season was done. He was last seen in professional baseball as the hitting coach for the Potomac Nationals in 2012.

Brian Stokes was traded to the Angels for Gary Matthews Jr. prior to the the 2010 season and made 16 appearances for the Halos that year. In 2011 he played in the Arizona D-Back’s system, and then moved onto the Camden RIversharks of the Independent League. Ken Takahashi became the third oldest player to make his Major League debut at the age of 40 on May 2nd 2009. He was released by the Mets in October of that year and went back to his homeland of Japan and played with the Hiroshima Carp in 2010. He retired after that year.

Lance “Best Name in Baseball” Broadway has not played in the Majors since his time with the Mets. He spent time with the Blue Jays organization in 2010 and played with their Triple A team, the Las Vegas 51′s. He has since retired and done what I believe no other Met has done in their lifetime. Lance played Agent O’Neil in the 2013 movie, Olympus Has Fallen. We should keep an eye out for other movies that feature Mr. Broadway.

Jon Switzer only got into four games as a New York Met, which led to a 8.10 ERA. He signed with the Astros and played in their Minor League system in 2010. He retired after 2010 and went back to school. He is now a business manager.

billy wagner

Billy Wagner, who is probably the greatest Mets closer of the last 10 years, was traded at the end of the year to the Red Sox for Chris Carter and minor leaguer Eddie Lora. Wagner played two games for Boston and then signed with the Atlanta Braves for the 2010 season. He was injured in the NLDS, but instead of going on the disabled list, he retired. Billy is currently the Head Coach for Miller High School in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Two players are currently in the Independent Leagues. Wilson Valdez played for the Phillies in 2010 and 2011 and was then traded to the Cincinnati Reds before the 2012 season. The Reds traded Valdez to the Giants in December of 2012 but he was released this past March. He signed with the Miami Marlins the next day and was released on May 19th. He is now with the Camden River Sharks. Longtime Mets backup catcher Ramon Castro was traded to the White Sox for Lance Broadway in 2009, but I don’t think it mattered to Ramon, because later in the season he was behind the plate when Mark Buehrle tossed a perfect game. He was released by Chicago after 2011, and did not play baseball in 2012. He signed a Minor League contract with the Dodgers this March but was released after failing to make the roster. He now plays for the Long Island Ducks.

anderson hernandez

Three players are playing in foreign countries, and they all play in Mexico. They are Anderson Hernandez, Angel Berroa, and Robinson Cancel. Hernandez, who was traded from the Tigers to the Mets back in 2004 for Vance Wilson, was claimed off waivers by the Indians in 2010 but was claimed by the Astros in July. 2011 was spent in Triple A with the Astros franchise. In 2012, Hernandez played with the Pirates Triple A team. This year he has been playing with the Piratas de Campeche, where he is hitting five points south of .300 with 11 home runs.

The 2003 American League Rookie of the Year (I still think Rocco Baldelli should have won) Angel Berroa, who before LaTroy Hawkins and David Aardsma was the last player to play for both the Mets and Yankees, played in the San Francisco Giants organization in 2010. In 2011 he played with the Arizona Diamondbacks Triple A team and the Bridgeport BlueFish of the Independent Leagues. 2012 saw Berroa play with the New Jersey Jackals. He now plays for Leones de Yucantan in Mexico. He is hitting .293 with 12 homers.

Robinson Cancel made his first big league appearance since 1999 in 2008 with the Mets. He spent 2010 with the Long Island Ducks, 2011 with the Astros Triple A team (and a few games in the Majors), 2012 with Monterrey in Mexico, and is still playing in Mexico with Minatilan.

One player is coaching. Andy Green went 1-4 with the Mets in 2009. He spent 2010 in Buffalo playing for the Bisons at the Mets Triple A level. He is now managing the Diamondbacks Double A team, the Mobile Bay Bears. He is managing former Met Nick Evans.

So there are your 2009 New York Mets. What were some of your best and worst memories of that season? Next week we’ll take a look at the 2008 team and the last year of Mets baseball at Shea Stadium.

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DOC – A Memoir: On Sale Now! Sat, 08 Jun 2013 19:36:35 +0000


A Memoir

By Dwight Gooden and Ellis Henican 

doc a memoir gooden

In the mid 1980’s no pitcher was more feared and more dominant than the Mets young superstar, Dwight “Doc” Gooden. Gooden arrived in New York in 1984 as a shy nineteen year old from Tampa and became a pitching sensation overnight, Times Square even held an 105 foot mural of Doc on the mound. His first season he was named Rookie of the year; his second, he won 25 games, earning the Triple Crown and one of the most prestigious awards in baseball: the Cy Young Award.

The Mets loved him, New York loved him, and at the age of 20 with a 98-mph fastball he had cemented himself in baseball history. In 1986 when the Mets won the World Series, Gooden’s life would change forever. Instead of celebrating with his teammates at the Tickertape parade, he watched them on TV, bleary-eyed, drunk and high. For the next 25 years Gooden battled alcoholism and drug addiction while his life and career spun out of control.

With fresh and sober eyes, Dwight Gooden shares the most intimate moments of his successes and failures, from three World Series rings to endless self-destructive drug binges in his brutally honest memoir DOC written with Ellis Henican.

Taking accountability for his actions, both on and off the field, Gooden holds nothing back. He reveals the hidden traumas in his close-knit Tampa family; the thrill and pressure of being a young shy baseball prodigy in New York; the raucous days and nights with the Mets’ bad boys; the drug binges and arrests; his comeback with the Yankees; the heartbreaking attempts at getting sober; the senseless damage to family and friends; and the unexpected way he finally saved his life—on VH1’s Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew.

Gooden details his close friendships with many of baseball’s greats: Pete Rose, George Steinbrenner, Joe Torre and nephew Gary Sheffield. For the first time ever, he reveals the real story of his troubled relationship with fellow Mets superstar Darryl Strawberry. Intimate and vulnerable, Gooden tells the moving story of the Yankees no-hitter he pitched for his dying dad and the complicated and at times estranged relationships he has had with his own children.

A story of family, baseball, of talent squandered by the disease of addiction, and of the long road to getting clean, DOC is a riveting baseball memoir by one of the game’s most fascinating figures, and an inspiring story for anyone who has faced tough challenges in life.

As you would expect, the book contains large chunks of his time with the Mets and details the 1986 Mets clubhouse which was known as much for their antics off the field as well as on. Gooden shares what it was like and the real story of why he missed the 1986 World Series Victory Parade in New York City.

doc a memoir gooden


A brutally honest memoir of baseball, family, addiction and the long road to getting and staying clean by one of the greatest pitchers of all time

Dwight Gooden’s directness, rarely seen in athlete-penned memoirs, distinguishes this book.”
— Publishers Weekly

“How could you not like Dwight Gooden? There is no way. His disease took so much from him. He lost everything. And in spite of that, he is having this glorious recovery. He understands what’s really important in life –your family, your relationships, getting right with God, doing what you need to. He gets that now. It makes his story that much more tragic –and that much more inspiring.”

— Dr. Drew Pinsky 

 “The young Dwight Gooden was as beautiful to watch as any pitcher I have ever seen. The question seemed to be not whether he would make the Hall of fame but where he would rank among the very greatest pitchers who ever lived. In Doc, Gooden honestly confronts how and why the story didn’t quite turn out that way.”
Bob Costas


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Former Mets Thoughts From The B.A.T. Dinner Sat, 28 Jan 2012 21:05:32 +0000 Mets 50th Anniversary

Here are some Mets thoughts from the afternoon media session from Tuesday’s 23rd annual MLB B.A.T. Dinner.

Gary Sheffield

Sheffield said it was not difficult for him to retire after his long career, which included a World Series championship in 1997 with the Marlins and hitting his 500th career home run as a Met.

“I pretty much did everything I wanted to do on a baseball field,” he said.

He has enjoyed spending time playing football and baseball with his five boys. He thinks his 5-year-old has the best shot to make it big.

Sheffield has been involved with B.A.T. in the past and likes where the organization is headed.

“I think it’s very important for every player to be here,” he said. “A lot of guys fall on hard times, but many of those guys wind up being successful.”

Ed Kranepool

Ed Kranepool

Ed Kranepool

Kranepool was an original member of 1962 Mets, so he was thrilled to be back for the team’s 50th anniversary.

“It’s a lot of fun to be part of it,” he said. “The organization has great tradition, and I hope it continues.”

Kranepool spent his entire 18-year career with the Mets and saw the team’s transformation from “Lovable Losers” to World Series Champions in 1969. He said the team was able to turn it around through the combination of hard work and the development of young players.

He also said Gil Hodges was the main reason for the turnaround.

“Under Gil Hodges’ tutelage, we became a good ball club and we could have won more pennants if he didn’t pass away,” said Kranepool.

Kranepool was the only member of the original Mets to still be with the team in ’69. Naturally, his favorite career memory was winning the World Series.

“Forty years later, they’re still talking about the ’69 series,” he said.

Jay Payton

Jay Payton was back in town for the B.A.T. Dinner, and he was one of the highlights of the afternoon media session.

Currently, Payton is spending time with his 7-year-old son in Oklahoma and is officially retired from baseball. He did say he would be interested in getting involved as a coach at the professional level when the time was right.

The highlight of Payton’s career was the 2000 World Series. He enjoyed playing for Bobby Valentine and said he wouldn’t be surprised at all if Valentine led the Red Sox to the playoff in this his first season with the team.

“We had the right blend of young guys who were hungry and veterans,” Payton said of the 2000 team.

Individually, he’ll always remember hitting a home run off Mariano Rivera. In fact, Payton’s home run in the World Series was one of only two home runs Rivera has given up in the postseason in his career.

When asked about what his advice would be to young players coming to New York, he responded with the following: “Get an apartment about 300 miles outside of the city.”

He stressed the importance of a young player keeping his head on straight, especially in the New York market.

“Having success here is unlike having success anywhere else,” he said.

Payton looks like he’s still in playing shape and joked that he could go out and play right now.

“I only need about five days,” he said with a smile.

Tom Seaver

Hall of Famer Tom Seaver was on hand for the festivities. While many of the reporters were curious to hear about Seaver’s favorite Mets memories from his playing career, all Seaver wanted to talk about was wine.

During his playing career, he was asked what he would do once his career was over.

“I said, ‘I’m going to go back to California to raise grapes,’” said Seaver.

Seaver enjoys his 90-second commute to work where he runs a Cabernet wine bottling company.

“I can’t wait to get out of bed an go to work,” he said.

Seaver said that both his dreams—playing professional baseball and having his own win company—have come true.

Ron Swoboda

Ron Swoboda

Ron Swoboda

“Rocky” was also excited to be celebrating the team’s 50th anniversary. He is currently the color man on the broadcast for the New Orleans Zephyrs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Miami Marlins, and he has great fun doing that.

Swoboda will never forget playing for Casey Stengel as a 19-year-old. Stengel never called him the right name—Stengel never called anyone the right the name for that matter—but he knew who Swoboda was.

Stengel placed his confidence in Swoboda as a rookie, which led to Rocky hitting 19 home runs.

“Stengel said, ‘You can’t learn to hit by sitting on the bench,’” said Swoboda.

He called the Mets climb from a 100 loss team to a 100 win team “meteoric,” especially in the days when free agency didn’t exist.

Of course, Swoboda’s legacy is his great catch in the ’69 World Series. But his favorite memories are the months leading up to that catch.

“You don’t make a catch in the World Series unless you get there,” he said. “You have to win a few ballgames to even get there.”

Finally, Swoboda actually thinks the current Mets will be better this year than last year. Let’s hope he’s right.

Wally Backman

Fiery second baseman Wally Backman will take over managerial duties of the Buffalo Bisons this season as he continues ascending up the ladder in the Mets organization. He previously managed the Brooklyn Cyclones and the Binghamton Mets.

However, he doesn’t see too much of a difference jumping from level to level.

“You’re teaching fundamentals,” Backman said. “The same things you’re teaching in the lowest levels, you’re teaching in the highest levels.”

He’s most looking forward to working with outfield prospect Kirk Nieuwenheis and the young pitchers Matt Harvey, Jeurys Familia and Zach Wheeler (who will like start the year in Double-A). Backman compared these three pitchers to the Mets young studs in the mid 1980s: Ron Darling, Sid Fernandez and Doc Gooden.

“Being in Buffalo, my job is to get this guys to the big leagues to help Terry (Collins),” he said.

Recently, Backman spent time with Gary Carter at Carter’s golf tournament. He wished Carter the best and said “The Kid” is still fighting.

“Gary wasn’t just a teammate,” said Backman. “He was like a brother to a lot of us.”

Davey Johnson

Who would have thought that Davey Johnson would take over the Washington Nationals last season?

Well, his team played some great baseball down the stretch, and Johnson is excited for a full season at the helm. He did say it feels strange to be back in New York as the enemy.

“I have to whip up on those Metsies that I love,” he said.

Though his team lost out on signing Prince Fielder, he is happy with the current team and is excited to see young phenoms Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper take the field.

“Harper hasn’t made my club yet,” Johnson said. “But he’ll have a chance. We’ll find out this spring if he’s good enough.”

Johnson said he thoroughly enjoyed his time with the Mets. He even hinted that he had been helping the Mets well before he took over as manager in 1984.

That’s because Johnson made the final out of the ‘69 World Series on a long fly ball to Cleon Jones.

We should be seeing plenty more of Johnson this season.

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Oliver Perez Is Exactly What Is Wrong With The Mets Tue, 20 Jul 2010 11:00:45 +0000 It looks like later today or possibly tomorrow Oliver Perez will be reactivated and be back with the big league team.  The genius that Jerry Manuel is has reportedly decided to use him the bullpen as a second lefty.  The fact that Oliver Perez is going to be back on this team just shows how bad the management of this team really is.

Oliver Perez shouldn’t even be on this team anymore.  Perez was signed not for his accomplishments since he never accomplished anything, but for his “potential.”

He has done nothing since Omar gave him that undeserved contract.  We all know why Omar signed Perez over Lowe and let’s admit it it wasn’t because of that 4th year.  Look at what Lowe has done for the Braves since signing his contract: Lowe has started 54 games, so far he’s won 25 of those games.  Oliver Perez since signing his contract: started 25 games and has only won 3 of those games!  Perez since signing that contract has been “injured” and has been downright awful!

The Mets made as many excuses as the could last year after Perez’ horrible season. This year was supposed to be different.  Perez spent a good amount of time in Arizona training before the Spring.  Of course nothing changed.  Perez was as bad as ever.  He also refused to go to the minor leagues even though he was hurting the team paying him 12 million dollars a year.

And now he’s coming back.  Instead of cutting their loses with Perez they are going to continue to let him hurt this team.  Look at the smaller market teams the last couple of seasons have done with expensive talent that has failed to produce. Detroit last year released Gary Sheffield.  Toronto last year released BJ Ryan. Earlier this season the Tampa Bay Rays released Pat Burrell.  Yet the Mets refuse to cut ties with Perez.  They would rather pay Perez to lose games for the Mets than see him go to another team or sit home and collect a paycheck.

Since it’s inevitable that Perez will be back on this team why is Manuel going to place him in the bullpen?  Perez being in the bullpen makes a weak pen even weaker and it hurts the rotation by keeping Takahasi in there.  Takahasi has been great out of the pen.  As a long reliever he’s a valuable player.  As a starter he isn’t. Since Perez is going to be on this team, let him start.  Takahasi can help this team more out of the pen than Perez can.  Just makes no sense at all.

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Could The Mets Use Eric Byrnes Or Rocco Baldelli? Thu, 21 Jan 2010 00:34:58 +0000 Adam McCalvy of reports that the Brewers have signed free agent left-hander Doug Davis to a one-year deal worth $4.25 million dollars with a $6.5 million mutual option for 2011. Davis was 9-14 with a 4.12 ERA in 34 starts with the Diamondbacks last season. The Mets never really showed any interest in the veteran southpaw.

Two former 2009 Mets outfielders have new home teams tonight…

First, Alyson Footer of, reports that the Astros have signed Cory Sullivan to a Minor League Contract, and have invited him to Spring Training. And earlier today, Jeremy Reed signed a Minor League contract with the Blue Jays. With the Mets fourth outfielder Angel Pagan starting the season as the Mets everyday center fielder, I wonder who will make the opening day roster as the fourth and fifth outfielders?

One player the Mets might want to take a look at is Eric Byrnes, who was released by the Arizona Diamondbacks along with his $11 million dollar contract. The Mets could take a flyer on him for $400 K much as they did last year with Gary Sheffield. Prior to 2008, Byrnes was a very productive player and at 33 years old he is still young enough to rebound and return to form. He’s also great in the clubhouse.

Another option might be former Tampa Bay Rays phenom Rocco Baldelli. The former number one pick hit .253/.311/.433 with seven home runs and 23 RBI in 150 at-bats last season for the Red Sox. At 28-years old, Baldelli might be motivated to cash in on some of that promise he once had. The word is that the Yankees are hot on his trail.

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It’s Going to Take a Few Moves Tue, 06 Oct 2009 19:49:44 +0000 We can debate all day and year long whether or not the Mets’ awful season is the fault of Jerry Manuel, Omar Minaya, the Wilpons, or the Injuries, or a combination of all of them.  But there is one thing I want to see happen this off-season.  Omar needs to make more than one big move this time to improve the club.  Two years ago he pulled the trigger on bringing in Johan Santana, and last year it was K-Rod and JJ Putz.  But nothing was done before the 2009 season to bolster the team’s biggest weakness—starting pitching.

I was worried going in that we didn’t have enough horses in the rotation, and while you surely can’t win when Johan and John Maine each miss more than a month of time, you could also argue that you can’t win with Johan and a collection of #3 and #4 starters.  I was a big Maine fan, and still am, but I have tempered my expectations on him being dominant and healthy for a full season.  He’s really a #3 or #4 guy now.  Pelfrey is a train wreck, and so is Ollie P.  And Livan pitched great for a couple months before being derailed by awful performance and then injury.  We should pursue Roy Halladay as Joe suggested earlier today, but we can’t stop there.  If we can land both Halladay and Jason Marquis, the rotation would look a whole lot nastier—championship nasty so long as everyone stayed healthy, a big if.

But that’s still not going to fix the other big problem—an utter lack of power.  Daniel Murphy leading the team with 12 home runs (not counting Jeff Francoeur, who had 5 when he came to New York)?  That’s not going to cut it.  Depending on the health of both Carlos’, the age of Gary Sheffield, and the fact that David Wright’s 10 homers might be a horrible anomaly, we really need another big bat.  I don’t know what that bat is, but you can’t win a championship by hitting 95 home runs as a team.

And the worst part of all this is that I don’t think Omar is going to do enough, again.  He’s going to make one token move and otherwise go with what he’s got, and we’re all going to be complaining again.  If you feel differently, please say so, but that’s what my gut is telling me.

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Do You Ever Wonder? Tue, 22 Sep 2009 19:47:08 +0000 Do you ever wonder what guys like Johan Santana think after suffering through two straight non-playoff years?  Last year the Mets collapsed in September for the second straight year, and the Twins were a one-game playoff away from reaching the postseason.  This year the Twins are battling the Tigers for the AL Central crown while the Mets have been out of the race since July.  I know Johan likes the bright lights, but let’s face it, dude came here to win, and he may never win a ring in a Mets uniform.

Do you ever wonder that even if the Mets make the postseason in 2010, it will be the first time they have done so since 2006?  Think about that for a minute.  All that talent and all that payroll, and the clock just keeps ticking since Carlos Beltran watched that hook from Adam Wainwright go past him.

Do you ever wonder that if Daniel Murphy does not hit a home run in the final 10 games and if David Wright or Gary Sheffield do not hit more than one, we will likely have the lowest high of 11 for a single season?  It could happen.  No, it really could happen.

Do you ever wonder if for all the crap we’ve had to endure since 2006, that the baseball gods could do us a solid and throw a no-hitter our way?  And I mean for us, not against us.

Do you ever wonder when the last time the Mets had a solid #2 starter was?  Even the 2006 team had this rotation, give or take for injuries: Tom Glavine, Steve Trachsel, John Maine, El Duque, Ollie P and Pedro Martinez.  A decent rotation, but not a true #2 or even #1 at that point in their careers.

Do you ever wonder if Mike Pelfrey would be a much different pitcher in, say, Kansas City?

Do you ever wonder that if the Yankees lose in the first round this year, that many baseball pundits will forget what a horrible season the Mets just had?  (hey, we can only hope).

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Sheffield Out For The Season Tue, 08 Sep 2009 15:42:53 +0000 On Saturday, Jerry Manuel said that Gary Sheffield (back spasms) likely will not play again this season. It’s kind of strange when you consider that the Mets had an opportunity to get something in return for Sheffield on August 20th when he was claimed on waivers by the San Francisco Giants.

The Giants were in the market for a righthanded bat off the bench, a role that Sheffield could have certainly filled.

The Los Angeles Dodgers had just traded two minor league prospects to the Nationals for Ronnie Belliard who was only batting .246 with 6 HR and 24 RBIs. So you would have expected at least as much for Sheffield who was batting .280 with 10 HR and 40 RBIs.

Sheffield was upset when he learned that he could have finished the season playing for a contender and could have helped his chances to play one more season in 2010 with the added exposure.

Instead, the Mets chose to pull him off waivers. Since August 21st, Sheffield has started just two games and he is now finished for the season.

He is a Class B free agent, but the Mets will not get anything in return for him as they will not offer him arbitration.

What a comedy of errors…

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This is an Epic Power Outage Wed, 02 Sep 2009 17:45:21 +0000 While we all know how the Mets have suffered what has basically amounted to season-ending injuries for several players, among them arguably our two top sluggers in Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado, I don’t think any of us expected this power outage to be legendary.  Because that’s what this is bordering on.

The Mets have 76 home runs through 132 games, putting them on pace for 93, their lowest total since 1992 when Bobby Bonilla led the team with 19.  Gary Sheffield currently leads this Mets team with 10 (Jeff Francoeur has 11, but only 6 with the Mets), so it looks like our leader is on pace for 12 or 13, a number that harkens back to the ‘70’s.

And if it weren’t for the 2008 San Francisco Giants, who had 94 homers (the lowest total and only mark under 100 of the new millennium), this Mets’ power or lack thereof would really be a black eye in the record books.  It still might be, as it’s quite likely the tally can be between 85 and 90, depending on if Beltran comes back.

So for all of the bad things that have happened to our Mets this season, the lack of home runs is possibly the most insulting, most disturbing and utterly forgettable trend we’ve seen.  It’s even magnified by the fact that this team has the second-highest payroll in the game.  By comparison, those guys across town have hit 207 homers, and even the lowly and small-market Pirates and Royals are over 100 at this point.

I know I’ve written about this subject before, and I’m not worried about this being a problem in 2010 (yet), but you have to admit these numbers are just baffling, and we might not see a power outage like this for another 30 years.

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The 2009 Mets: Where Are They Now? Wed, 26 Aug 2009 00:32:29 +0000 Earlier today, Joe D posted a blog on the 1969 tribute at Citi Field.  In it, he included a “where are they now” segment to catch readers up on what their heroes from 40 years ago are doing.  Perhaps I should do the same with the 2009 Mets.  After all, some of this year’s players have been gone for so long, we may not recognize them when they come back.

Below you will find the Opening Day roster for the 2009 Mets.  Some of these players have been traded, some are on the disabled list, some are stuck in traffic, yada, yada, yada.

Starting Pitchers: Johan Santana, Mike Pelfrey, Oliver Perez, John Maine

Relief Pitchers:  Pedro Feliciano, Sean Green, Darren O’Day, Bobby Parnell, J.J. Putz, Francisco Rodriguez, Brian Stokes

Catchers:  Brian Schneider, Ramon Castro

Infielders:  Carlos Delgado, Luis Castillo, Jose Reyes, David Wright, Alex Cora

Outfielders:  Marlon Anderson, Carlos Beltran, Ryan Church, Daniel Murphy, Jeremy Reed, Gary Sheffield, Fernando Tatis

Let’s catch up on where these players are now, in case you’ve forgotten about them.  After all, those were the players referred to by Citi Field public address announcer Alex Anthony on Opening Night when he let out his traditional “Ladies and Gentlemen.  Here they are!  Your 2009 New York Mets!”

Johan Santana:  Out for the season with an elbow injury, perhaps caused by lifting too many big chipotle cheesesteak sandwiches at Subway restaurants.  His injury is like “you know who big”.

Mike Pelfrey:  Has remained injury-free all season, but it’s not like he hasn’t tried.  He tumbled to the ground on Opening Night when his cleats got caught in the dirt, but was uninjured.

Oliver Perez:  Spent over two months on the disabled list from May to July.  There is now some concern that he may have suffered a neck injury from twisting it to look at the long home runs he gave up to Jayson Werth and Carlos Ruiz on Sunday.

John Maine:  Has been on the disabled list with what the Guinness Book of World Records is calling the world’s most tired shoulder.  Guinness is also researching the length of his rehab assignment to determine if Maine will be adding a second world record to his résumé.

Darren O’Day:  Pitched in four games for the Mets in April before being designated for assignment.  Was picked up by the Texas Rangers and has pitched beautifully in Arlington, keeping them in the Wild Card chase that the Mets fell out of weeks ago.

J.J. Putz:  Has been on the disabled list for nearly three months and was scheduled to make rehab appearances in Brooklyn but was shut down.  His right forearm is still hurting and there is now a slight tear that has been discovered.  He will be shut down for the rest of the season and will now stay in Brooklyn to practice for the next hot dog eating contest.

The law firm of Feliciano, Green, Parnell, Rodriguez and Stokes has been able to remain healthy, but they have occasionally been known to lose a few cases.  After performing their duties on the mound, they are considering taking on some medical malpractice suits that their injured teammates have presented to them.  The suits are based on the Mets’ inability to disable them when they needed to be shut down, exacerbating their injuries and keeping them out for longer periods of time, effectively wiping out their 2009 seasons.  There are numerous plaintiffs in this case, some of which are presented below.

Brian Schneider:  Spent six weeks on the disabled list from mid-April to late May with a muscle strain in his back.  Apparently, he also has a muscle strain in his bat, as his batting average has dipped below the Mendoza line.

Ramon Castro:  Lost his backup job to Omir Santos and took his Imperial Death March theme music to the South Side of Chicago.  Soon after, he caught Mark Buehrle’s perfect game.  It was the first time he was the catcher for Buehrle.

The entire Mets infield (Delgado, Castillo, Reyes, Wright, Cora):  Except for Castillo, the other four are currently on the disabled list getting their cases together for their attorneys.  Somehow, Luis Castillo is the only infielder not to make an appearance on the disabled list this year.  However, he did miss four games when he forgot to use two hands…on the Citi Field dugout handrail.

Marlon Anderson:  Stuck in traffic somewhere.

Carlos Beltran:  Has been on the disabled list since June.  Wants to return but has not yet run the bases.  Has spent his time off practicing his new guarantee for the 2010 season to be revealed during next year’s spring training.

Ryan Church:  Took his two home runs to Atlanta in a trade for Jeff Francoeur.  No word if the Devil joined Church when he went down to Georgia.  Also apparently donated his concussion to the David Wright Foundation.

Gary Sheffield:  Did the equivalent of turning water into wine by turning a right leg cramp into a 15-day DL stint.  Has played relatively well despite his tender legs.

Daniel Murphy, Jeremy Reed and Fernando Tatis:  These three 2009 Mets have not been injured this year.  That’s because they hold the natural antidote to the injury bug that has permeated throughout the Mets clubhouse.  Unfortunately, since the Mets’ medical team is being taken to court by the residents of the DL Hotel, there is no one left to take their blood samples so that they can cure everyone’s maladies.  Ah, sweet irony!

Manager Jerry Manuel has not been injured, but he was recently seen in this disturbing image, making a gesture resembling a gun pointed at his head.  No word on whether GM Omar Minaya was anywhere in the room when this picture was taken.

There you have it, my friends.  You have now been reacquainted with the team that took the field and was in the dugout on that early April day when hopes were high and injuries were low.  Regarding those injuries, there is something positive that could come out of it.  The majority of the team will now be eligible for the 2010 Comeback Player of The Year Award.  Now if only somebody could just locate Marlon Anderson.  I knew the Mets should have included a GPS system for his car in his contract!

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How The Mets Can Hit Into A Quadruple Play Tue, 25 Aug 2009 03:30:42 +0000 So far this season, the Mets have lost a number of games in bizarre and improbable ways.  From failing to touch third base at Dodger Stadium to dropping a potential game-ending pop-up at the new Yankee Stadium, Mets fans everywhere have been forced to revise their “I’ve never seen that before” lists.  After Sunday’s stunning game-ending unassisted triple play, I’ve been thinking about new ways the Mets can lose ballgames.  There is one thing worse than ending a game on a triple play.  They could actually hit into a “quadruple play” to end a game.  If my knowledge of the baseball rule book is correct (and please correct me if I’m wrong), here’s how it would work.

Say the Mets load the bases against the Phillies in the bottom of the ninth inning.  For argument’s sake, let’s put Luis Castillo on third, Daniel Murphy on second and Jeff Francoeur on first.  (I feel bad for the guy.  There’s no way I was going to make him the hitter in this scenario.)  Let’s also say they’re losing 6-5, with Gary Sheffield batting and waiting on a no-out, 3-2 pitch from Brad Lidge.  Sheffield lines a ball to the Cryin’ Hawaiian in center field, who takes his foot out of his mouth just in time to make a highlight-reel, over-the-shoulder catch before tumbling to the ground.  The umpires haven’t made an out call yet because Victorino is seeing hula girls circling his head due to the impact of his diminutive body against the center field turf.  As a result, the baserunners are still running the bases.  Once the umpires make the out call, Raul Ibañez takes the ball out of Victorino’s glove (leaving his customary tissue in the ball’s place) and throws to Victorino’s fellow member of the Lollipop Guild, Jimmy Rollins, who tags Murphy trying to get back to second and then tags Francoeur.

This looks like a triple play with the game ending once Francoeur is tagged out.  However, Castillo scored from third base long before the second and third outs were made.  Once Rollins tagged Murphy, the force was removed on Castillo.  Therefore, his run would count since it scored before the third out was made.  Of course, in between bites of a chocolate bar, Charlie Manuel notices that Castillo also left third base early.  Therefore, he instructs the team to go back onto the field for an appeal play at third.  When Pedro Feliz steps on third, the third base umpire calls Castillo out for leaving the base too early. This is the “fourth out” of the inning and prevents the Mets from tying the game. Had the “fourth out” not been made, Castillo would have scored a legal run and the game would have gone into extra innings with score tied 6-6.

I expect this bizarre play to occur at some point in September, if not earlier. If it does, please do not ask me for my thoughts on lottery numbers. That information is on a need-to-know basis and you don’t need to know.

Just for fun, I’d like to ask the readers for their opinions on unusual ways to lose ballgames.  Is there anything you can think of that could rival Sunday’s ending?  Not including this season’s odd endings, what’s the most bizarre way you’ve ever seen the Mets lose a game?

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Oops, He Did It Again Fri, 21 Aug 2009 17:43:09 +0000 The easiest decision the Mets have to make this year is staring them right in the face: Cut Gary Sheffield.

As soon as he walks into the Mets club house today have equipment man Charlie Samuels greet him at his locker with a surplus of Hefty bags to stuff his belongings into. He came with baggage let him leave with garbage bags.

The fact that he asked Omar Minaya for a contract extension for 2010 is not surprising considering he has always looked out for number one, the reason he has moved around like a baseball vagabond. His timing couldn’t have been worse.

With all that has befallen the Mets this year, Sheffield’s future ranks up there on the priority list with ordering more paper clips. So what he has a team leading 10 home runs (wow) and has filled in admirably. They rescued him from the scrap heap (how bad does a team want to rid themselves of a player than to choke on 14 million dollars of severance like the Tigers did?) and they can deposit him right back there in the waning days of a brutal season.

Why would he think in August the Mets would commit next year to a soon to be 41-year old outfielder with barking hamstrings? Because he’s Gary Sheffield. It’s irreverent he was put on waivers and claimed but pulled back. Any GM worth his salt will tell you dozens and dozens of players are put on waivers after the trade deadline to gauge interest.

If someone claimed him, and the Mets could not agree on compensation, then their only recourse is to pull him back. After all, the Mets need warm bodies at this stage of the sorry season. By the way, he hasn’t homered since June 29th.

Sheffield has always been an ingrate. The surprise here is that it took until August 20th for his true persona to surface. Sitting out last night to “clear his head,” is tantamount to quitting on the fans and teammates. He was slated to be in the line-up last night.

The point is the Mets have already had their quota (for two seasons) of aggravation, and don’t need it from someone who is in the twilight of his career. Let him walk, run to the door (and don’t let it hit you on the way out you bum).

Does his presence in the lineup really matter at this point? The Mets are going to finish in 5th place with or without Sheffield.

Don’t just help him pack, but drive him to the airport too.

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Sheffield Has A Good Gripe Fri, 21 Aug 2009 14:48:54 +0000

It was only a matter of time until the Gary Sheffield story, as it pertains to the Mets, would take a turn for the ugly. However, I’m hanging this on Omar Mianay and not Gary Sheffield.

Here is the latest…’s Jon Heyman tweeted that the Giants were the team that claimed Gary Sheffield and prompted the Mets to pull him back. Many others had speculated that the mystery team was the Marlins.

In a post to NY Baseball Digest, Frank Rizzo writes,

Last night, I contacted one of my sources, a Giants front office official, who confirmed for me that Omar Minaya was asking for “high level talent” for his aging slugger, something that Giants GM Brian Sabean was not willing to part with.

What I find curious is this… Why put Sheffield on waivers and then not trade him when you had the opportunity?

It’s funny because not only do we overrate our prospects to the point that they are untouchable, but now we even overrate our 40 year old outfielders with bad knees that are in their last month of their contract and we have no interest in bringing back. Great… Wake up Omar, wake up…

Brian Costa of the Ledger, tweeted the following after the game.

As he walked out a back door to the Mets’ clubhouse, Gary Sheffield said, “I’m done.” Perhaps in more ways than one. 

Claimed on waivers earlier this month and pulled back by the Mets, Gary Sheffield is unhappy that he “essentially is being held hostage” from moving on to a contender for the remainder of this season, according to a person familiar with the situation who spoke Thursday night on the condition of anonymity. That’s according to our friend, Adam Rubin.

I know there are many who are really taking shots at Sheffield with their “I told you so” posts, but I’m with Sheffield on this.

First of all, Omar Minaya continues to show how out of touch he is with the reality of baseball economics, player evaluation and recognizing opportunities to help this team. How can he possibly believe he can get a top level prospect for Sheffield who can only play 3-4 games per week and could blow out his knee or hamstring at any given moment?

Second, If you had no intention of trading Sheffield in the first place, why did you place him on waivers only to awake the sleeping bear? I would think you’d have some appreciation for a player who gave this team his all and did it for the rock bottom price of $400,000 (cost to the Mets). 

Third, If Sheffield wants to play the last days of this season for a contender, why not grant him that small favor considering the small throng of fans he gave you in the days leading up to his 500th homerun; the only highlight in this miserable season?

Finally, you have now put us in a situation where Sheffield simply walks and we have nothing to show for him. If you had no intentions of bringing him back, why not get something for him?

Your plan is to have this black cloud that you created, hang over the team for the rest of this depressing season?

Wow, are you really gonna do this to the few fans like me who still tune in to watch the games?

Swallow your pride and place Sheffield back on waivers and give the guy his freedom and get us a prospect, any prospect.

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Report: Sheffield Released? Thu, 20 Aug 2009 22:14:21 +0000 According to Steve Popper of the Bergen Record, citing an unnamed Mets player, Gary Sheffield has been released from the team.

This would certainly be a blow to the team for the remainder of the season, as Sheffield was one of very few legitimate Major League bats in the Mets lineup.

Originally signed to be a back up to Daniel Murphy and Ryan Church in the corner outfield positions, Sheffield soon found himself in the lineup just about every day.

In 248 at-bats with the team Sheffield hit .286 and slugged 10 home runs. 10 home runs may not sound like a lot, but it actually was the most home runs hit by any full-time Mets player this season.

If nothing else, Sheffield also provided the team with what will most likely be the biggest highlight of the 2009 season, when he crushed his 500th career home run against the Brewers in early April.

Unfortunately, Sheffield’s release comes as no surprise as Sheffield and Mets manager Jerry Manuel have been at odds over playing time for the slugger recently.

Despite this, however for the most part Gary was very professional during his Mets tenure and did not exhibit the attitude problems that were feared prior to his signing with the team.

Update (6:40 PM EST): Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that Sheffield’s future with the Mets is up in the air, as he met with team officials to discuss a possible contract extension. When the Mets declined, Sheffield reportedly was angry and threatened to leave the team and return home.

Update (7:01 PM EST): Joel Sherman just talked to a Mets higher up, who said that Sheffield has not been released, however that official did confirm that Sheffield requested an extension.

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It Takes Ten To Tango! Wed, 19 Aug 2009 15:01:45 +0000 Who could have believed that a lineup that is so wrought with injuries and filled mostly with backups and backups to backups could pull of what the Mets did last night!

The Mets set a new franchise record by getting 10 hits in the fourth inning, a first in franchise history. Wow…

The Mets had seven singles, two doubles and a stolen base in that inning. Both Luis Castillo and Gary Sheffield had two hits each in the inning, with Sheffield getting two extra-base hits, something that hadn’t been done since Jeromy Burnitz last did it in 2003. Oh and by the way, the Mets beat the Braves 9-4.

The Mets batted around sending fourteen players to the plate and the only player not to get a hit was Daniel Murphy, who made two of the three outs. Heck, even Ollie got himself a hit…

The Mets scored eight runs in the record setting inning and then tacked on a ninth run in the the seventh inning when Jeff Francoeur doubled and scored on a Fernando Tatis single.

Luis Castillo, Gary Sheffield and the sizzling hot and suddenly reborn Jeff Francoeur, each had three hits in the game.

You really have to cherish games and moments like this especially when they occur in such a downer of a season. I’m very proud of the strong effort and the amazing fight the Mets still have in spite of all the adversity.

As for the pitching, Oliver Perez started and lasted five innings allowing four earned runs on five hits including two mammoth homeruns.One bright note was that he only walked one batter, which can only mean he’ll walk six on Sunday. And that’s IF he pitches on Sunday at all. Ollie hurt his knee covering first base, but stayed in the game. However he complained of knee pain to reporters afterward. Such is life for the 2009 Mets.

The bullpen did a great job as Brian Stokes, Elmer Dessens and Pedro Feliciano combined to pitch four scoreless innings.

This game was all about the offense though. Luis Castillo was the only player in the lineup that was in our opening day lineup. How sick and insane is that?

Great job guys…

In a season full of heartache, you managed to deliver a satisfying and memorable win.

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Livan Gets Rocked By Giants 10-1 Tue, 18 Aug 2009 12:03:18 +0000 For the second straight game, the Mets were forced to play without any of their core players and this time it really showed as they were annihilated by the Giants 10-1. It was the Mets’ 12th loss in their last 18 games, and things are really starting to go downhill fast.

Livan Hernandez started and he was absolutely torched by the Giants batters who were teeing off on him like it was batting practice. He ended up lasting just 5.1 innings, but in the process he allowed six runs on eleven hits and a walk. Livan is clearly gassed and has hit the skids in the second half with a 6.55 ERA in six starts. Hernandez has an 11.30 ERA in his past three outings. I’ve had enough of the Hernandez siblings.

Elmer Dessens relieved Livan and looked solid, tossing 1.2 scoreless innings without allowing a hit or walk. Not bad at all, but then along came trouble… Tim Redding started the eight inning and got pummeled for three more runs on four hits. His ERA now stands at 6.42 this season. What a terrible addition he has been… In 69 innings pitched, he has allowed 83 hits, 39 walks and 49 runs. Nelson Figueroa pitched the final inning and gave up the Giants’ tenth run of the game.

The Mets lone run came courtesy of Gary Sheffield who singled home Cory Sullivan who had two hits and a walk batting leadoff. Dan Murphy also had a couple of hits while batting in the cleanup spot. Speaking of the cleanup spot, I have to say that as long as I’ve been watching baseball, I have never see outfielders come in and play so shallow when a cleanup hitter comes to the plate. It was so freaky watching the Giants come all the way in and then go all the way back deep when Jeff Francoeur came to the plate.

After the game, Jerry Manuel said that Livan Hernandez will remain in the rotation. Now don’t go flipping out on him, as the fact of the matter is what other options does he have? Obviously, all those untouchable arms we apparently have in the minors can’t seem to get AA batters out so what help can they offer? There’s really nothing else he can do and his choices are not only limited, but pretty bad as well.

The Mets begin a three-game series against the Braves tonight; Derek Lowe versus Oliver Perez. How fitting.

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When Will This Team Toughen Up? Thu, 06 Aug 2009 13:53:47 +0000 One of the more telling signs about the makeup of the current New York Mets, was clearly visible during the Wednesday matinée against the Cardinals.
The Mets may have won the game 9-0, but the Cardinals showed the Mets that they were the team to be reckoned with and not to be messed around with… or else.

In the fifth inning, Nelson Figueroa hit Albert Pujols with an inside pitch that Pujols seemed to turn into. It was the second hit batsmen of the game for Figueroa. None were life threatening.

In the very next inning, reliever Brad Thompson let a 95 mph fastball rip toward home plate only the catchers mitt was not the intended target. The heater sped toward David Wright’s head and if not for Wright’s quick reflexes which had him hit the ground hard, things could have taken a grave turn for the worse.

How did the Mets react when their franchise player laid there sprawled on the ground thanking God for his life?

The same way the Mets always react in these situations. Mum’s the word.

“I thought it was bush league,” Jeff Francoeur said afterward. “You don’t throw at a guy’s head. Hit him in the back.”

It was very reminiscent of the Roger Clemens and Mike Piazza incident. An incident that former Mets closer John Franco recently recalled by referring to Mike Piazza as a freaking wussy, although his choice of words were much stronger.

After Wright sheepishly got up and dusted himself off, not one peep came out of his mouth. Not even a glare. he simply swung at the next pitch and grounded into a double play.


Wright had this to say after the game.

“When it starts coming up there, forget about retaliation, you can get somebody seriously injured,” Wright said. “If you are going to go after somebody, make it in the back or do it the right way. You don’t throw at someone’s head.”

Gary Sheffield seemed to be the only one who was really riled up about it. After Wright grounded into the double play, he stepped up to the plate and gave Thompson an earful while pointing to his head. He ripped the next pitch for a line drive single, but pulled up lame and had to leave the game. Unbelievable…

I’m really tired of seeing the Mets get slapped around by opposing teams without any retaliation whatsoever. It’s already bad enough that none of our pitchers know how to own the inside part of the plate. You never see a Mets pitcher send an opposing hitter a message with some chin music whenever they crowd the plate. You always hear Ron Darling talk about it, but the message is never heeded in the clubhouse.

During the last two Philadelphia series, you saw three different plays where Jayson Werth, Chase Utley and Shane Victorino all slid in hard and took out Castillo or Cora at second base to keep them out of the double play. Keith Hernandez says the Phillies play the same way the Mets played when he was with the team. Good old-fashioned hard nosed baseball.

It’s just another one of those things that really bugs me about the current Mets.

I wish they would toughen up.

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Injury Checklist Wed, 05 Aug 2009 21:25:28 +0000 If you were watching today’s game when Gary Sheffield left the bases with apparent leg stiffness, Gary and Ron were reciting the litany of Met injuries, and having trouble remembering all of them. That got me wondering who has not been injured out of the Opening Day roster. Take a look:

Out of the Opening Day lineup, only Wright and Murphy have never been injured. Castillo is listed because we don’t have enough information on his injury, and the Mets would probably wait a while before putting him on the DL, if they do.

The rotation is another story, but a similar one as well:

Johan Santana

Mike Pelfrey:  Missed a start in April due to forearm trouble.

Oliver Perez: DL: Patellar Tendinitis (May 8-July 8)

John Maine: DL: Shoulder Weakness (June 12)

Remember, Livan wasn’t on the Opening Day Roster at first, he was called up in time for the 5th team game. Also, here are other starters that have done time on the DL

Tim Redding: DL: Shoulder Weakness (April 5-May 19)

Fernando Nieve: DL: Thigh (July 20)

Jonathan Niese: As of this writing, his injury was declared sprained hamstring. No timetables discussed.


JJ Putz: DL: Bone Spur (June 5)

K-Rod: Back Spasms gave us a scare

Billy Wagner started the year on the DL.

But wait, it get’s worse; to the bench:

Alex Cora: DL: Hand (May 18-June 5)

Ramon Martinez: DL: Finger (June 3)

Angel Pagan: DL Elbow (April 5-May 16) ;Groin (June 1-July 11)

Gary Sheffield: Hamstring (July 18-August 1)

Fernando Martinez: DL: Right Knee Inflammation (July 10)

This just isn’t fair.

Looking back, here are some original estimated returns from the time the players were placed on the DL:

Jose Reyes: Early June

Carlos Beltran: All-Star Break

John Maine: Early July

It’s now August.

I wonder if we built Citi Field on cursed land.

Till Next Time

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Mets Injury Update: Beltran Inching Closer To Return? Sat, 01 Aug 2009 21:49:35 +0000 According to Steve Popper of the Bergen Record, Carlos Beltran took batting practice today on the field for about twenty minutes.

Popper said that Beltran appeared to be “fine”. He reports that Beltran hit a ball hard enough to reach the Pepsi Porch, which is definitely encouraging. He even goes as far as saying that he was surprised that Beltran was not in the lineup tonight.

Bart Hubbuch echoed a similar report, however he noticed that Beltran still was walking with a limp. Hubbuch also reveals that Gary Sheffield will not play tonight, rather he will be activated tomorrow.

Hopefully, all goes as planned, as Jose Reyes was supposed to be activated ‘tomorrow’ two months ago. Still, it is encouraging to hear that two of the bigger bats in the lineup are getting close to returning.

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