Mets Merized Online » Giants Sun, 07 Feb 2016 15:12:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Lazaro Armenteros: Will Mets Continue To Ignore Premium International Free Agents Mon, 18 Jan 2016 13:30:42 +0000 Lazarito2

Latest Cuban Phenom Lazaro Armenteros Declared A Free Agent

Last week the question was posed here on MMO as to whether or not the Mets should trade LHP Steven Matz and another player to the Red Sox for shortstop prospect Yoan Moncada. The trade was proposed by Baseball America and I have a huge problem with this, let me tell you why.

Since 2010, the Mets ownership and front office have been negligent and unresponsive among other things, when it comes to taking advantage of international free agency.

Of course after the wonderful Kaz Matsui experience I can almost understand why they always seem to show absolutely no interest in the best international free agents every year. But smart teams utilize it as a means to infuse blue chip talent into their farm systems, just ask the Red Sox, Cubs and Dodgers.

Over a year ago during the 2014 Winter Meetings, Sandy Alderson acknowledged that the Mets haven’t engaged in premium international players during his tenure, but vowed that would soon be a thing of the past.

“We haven’t been in that category, but I expect we will be in that category, soon. We don’t know when “soon” is, but there are encouraging signs that “soon” might be as close as the next few weeks.”

The next few weeks? Needless to say, Korean shortstop Jung-Ho Kang, Japanese shortstop Takashi Toritani, and Cuban second baseman Yoan Moncada ended up on the Mets. Promises, promises.

Now I wonder will Sandy sit on his hands and do nothing again while more newly minted Cuban free agents are hitting the market?

And believe me, I am fully aware that it’s the Wilpons who may be holding Sandy back. But whatever the truth is, our team suffers because they are denied an opportunity to take advantage of this emerging pipeline of premium players.

There’s a Cuban outfielder who is a free agent right now by the name of Lazaro Armenteros, better known as “Lazarito” and recognized as one of the most intriguing and exciting Cuban prospects in international scouting circles.

Armenteros, who is only 16 years-old was declared a free agent by Major League Baseball and is subject to the international signing guidelines because of his age and experience. He will be eligible to sign with a major league team starting February 10.

The Mets as we all know have a serious situation in center field and Lazarito is the real deal. Consider him this years’ Yoan Moncada. Lazarito hits and hits with power, he runs and is an excellent base-stealer and should have no trouble becoming a plus defender in center field.

Did I forget to mention his cannon for an arm? And at only 16 the sky is literally the limit with this kid. He is just what the Mets need, and don’t already have in their farm system.

Do you honestly think the Mets will be serious players for Lazarito? Guess again. They don’t have the stomach or the fortitude to sign this guy. I’m so sure of this that I’m willing to pledge:

“If the Mets sign Lazarito: I Petey Pete will sing the national anthem at Citi Field in the buff. That’s right, in the raw, buck naked, bare-assed, au naturel, unclad, without a stitch, sans leaf, in my birthday suit!” Now, how’s that for certainty?

Exactly a year ago this excerpt was part of a piece on Cuban free agents published on

“Moncada has yet to receive a formal offer, Sanchez writes, but he’s worked out privately for the Cubs, D-backs, Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers, Padres, Giants, Rangers, Rays, Tigers and Brewers.”

Now correct me if I’m wrong but weren’t the Mets in need of a shortstop this time last year? Yet they are one of the only teams that didn’t even work him out. They were so busy conducting their biz that they couldn’t even be bothered to kick the tires on Moncada a year ago.

And now we should wonder if it’s a good idea to trade a talented and controllable left-handed pitcher like Matz for someone we could have simply signed a year ago and gave up nothing for except cash? Now you are beginning to see why this whole trade idea seems so ludicrous to me.

Despite the Mets current need for a lead-off hitter and a real center fielder, I think we can safely assume that the Mets owners and their lackeys are too busy focusing on looking good, saying the right things and putting spin on everything, than they are of making the team better.

If it costs any money they simply aren’t interested. That’s the one constant with the Wilpons, they’re unwilling to invest in the team even after a banner year and record revenue and profits. This is why I am certain I will not have to do any singing naked on national television, aren’t you relieved?

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Hot Stove: Jeff Samardzija Lands 5-Year, $90 Million Deal with Giants Sun, 06 Dec 2015 06:25:35 +0000 jeff  samardzija

Mothers don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys. Let them grow up to be below average starting pitchers with mediocre stuff instead. The San Francisco Giants have signed free agent right-hander Jeff Samardzija to a five-year, $90 million contract on Saturday.

Samardzija, 30. went 11-13 with a 4.96 ERA last season which ranked third-highest among all qualified American League pitchers. He has seen his strikeout rate decline from 8.7 to 8.0 to 6.9 over the last three seasons and his home run rate has climbed from 0.6 to to 1.0 to a career high 1.2 as a starting pitcher in 2015. His 0.2 WAR is also the lowest of his career and a far cry from the 3.7 he posted in 2014, the only good season of his career.

Maybe I’m being a little harsh, but to see a pitcher like this coming off such an awful year and getting a five year deal that will pay him $18 million dollars a year – a hefty raise from the $9 million he earned last season – is just mind-boggling to me.

Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, and Steven Matz will combine to earn less than $6 million in 2016. Damn, if that doesn’t bring a smile to Met fan’s face, nothing will. Now if we can only a win a championship or two during the 3-4 year window when they’ll all be under cost-controlled contracts.

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Live From New York, It’s… Noah Syndergaard Sun, 22 Nov 2015 08:19:30 +0000 noah syndergaard

Noah Syndergaard continued his whirlwind tour of New York City with a stop on the set of NBC’s Saturday Night Live. He posted a photo of himself with the historic and familiar SNL backdrop on Instagram.

Syndergaard, 23, is having the time of his life taking in all the great sights and happenings the city has to offer. Last week he was spotted at the New York Rangers game at the Garden, and a couple of days later he was back at MSG to watch LeBron James take on the Knicks.

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He also took in an Islanders game this week at the Barclays Center, and of course he had himself some great seats to see the Giants vs Patriots where he also took a great picture of himself sprawled out in the Giants end zone. I mean how freaking cool is this guy? :-)

As we passed along last Thursday, our young flame-thrower hopes to be a Met for life and it’s quite obvious he really means it. Lock him up, Sandy…

Seriously speaking, I get goosebumps thinking about how good Syndergaard is going to be. I actually have a bet with my cousin that Thor will be the next pitcher to toss a no-hitter. He thinks it will be Matt Harvey, but let’s face it – all four of our young guns could do it.

I was checking out Syndergaard’s Steamer projections the other day and they have him down for a 3.09 ERA and 1.100 WHIP with 193 strikeouts in 176 innings pitched next season.

And as incredible as those numbers sound, I personally think they are being way too conservative. I feel a huge breakout season coming in 2016 for this exciting young man. This kid has it all… He’s got the stuff, he’s got the command, he’s got the swagger, and he’s got the perfect personality that’s as big and bright as the city he plays for. I love this guy…

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An MMO Original: The Say-Hey Kid Comes Home Sat, 22 Aug 2015 14:42:45 +0000 0kiner mays

As we all know, the Mets were created fill the gap left after the departure of the Giants and the Dodgers from the city of New York following the 1957 season. In the four year period before the advent of the Amazin’s, Gotham’s National League fans were left to follow their teams as best they could from afar (remember, no cable TV at this time nor webcasts, and radio coverage was spotty at best if you were following a west coast team).

williemays-swing - CopyFor die-hard fans, and there were many, this was a hardship that was duly noted by the fledgling Met ownership which sought to assuage (or exploit, depending on how you look at it) their feelings of abandonment by bringing in notable Dodger greats like Gil Hodges and Duke Snider for a last go-round in a Met uniform.

But for fans of the “New York baseball Giants” as they were once referred to, there were no remaining links to the glory days of the team. Instead, they were left to scan the box scores or change their allegiance to the Yankees. The latter choice was anathema to most of the Giant faithful, including my father, who had regaled me with stories of following the 1951 pennant race by radio as many had done, and had exulted with much of the city as Bobby Thomson’s  “Shot Heard Round the World” was broadcast. His favorite player was not Thomson, however. It was the Giants’ wunderkind, Willie Mays.

Mays had a place in New York baseball folklore as part of a triumvirate of great center fielders along with Mickey Mantle and the Duke, but had a penchant for near-mythical displays that seemed to supersede his contemporaries. Who could forget “The Catch” where he tracked down Vic Wertz’ missile in the 1954 World Series or “The Throw” where he ran to catch a shot in the right field gap and spun on the dead run to unleash a throw like no one had ever seen to catch the Dodgers’ Billy Cox at the plate? Not to mention an MVP season in 1954 and a 1955 season where he clubbed 51 homers, a feat that was downright uncommon in the pre-steroid era.

willie2Mays would go on to more glory with the Giants, including a pennant in 1962, another MVP in 1965, Gold Gloves, perennial All Star appearances, and all the things that fans bask in when their team and their favorite player are in the limelight.

But Mays was San Francisco’s now, even if those fans more readily embraced Willie McCovey. New York fans were left with their memories…and the Mets.

So, when the buzz began in May of 1972 that a deal was in the works to bring Willie back to the east coast, the “sleeping Giant” so to speak, of 1950’s New York baseball fandom began to stir. And lo, so it was, for a mere $50,000 and a middling right-hander named Charlie Williams, the Mets finally obtained what may have been the most symbolic link to the city’s baseball legacy.  And, largely symbolic it was, because at 41 years of age, Mays was clearly a shadow of his former self as a player. Still, his mere presence in a Met uniform was enough to drive fans into a state of excitement usually reserved for visits from the President or the Pope.

Fans flocked to Shea for the series against Mays’ now former employers the Giants. Willie was set to make his debut as a Met in the Sunday game on May 14th, but when the team needed a pinch hitter in the Friday game prior, fans began clamoring for manager Yogi Berra to send him to the plate. When John Milner emerged from the dugout instead, he was booed roundly “for not being Willie Mays” as I recall the announcer Lindsey Nelson reporting. Finally, the big day arrived and Mays was in the lineup, leading off and playing center field.

willie-mays2My dad and I watched the game together. He had been a fairly hard core NY Giants fan but had come over to the Met side of the dugout for the most part as his kids had “caught baseball fever” as a MLB marketing campaign had urged and gotten swept up in the championship run of 1969. But today was all about number 24 and his return to the fold.

If you are familiar with the game, you know that it began auspiciously for the Mets, with Giants pitcher Sam McDowell walking the bases full and then surrendering a grand slam to Rusty Staub. By the bottom of the fifth however, the Giants had tied the score and McDowell had been lifted in favor of right hander Don Carrithers. Mays led off the inning and unloaded on a fastball. As the ball cleared the fence in left and Mays trotted around the bases for the 647th time in his career, my father stopped grinning long enough to tell me “That’s the way it should be.” Cornball, but I swear it’s a true story.

That homer provided the winning edge as the Mets prevailed 5-4, and even though moments like that would be few and far between for the balance of Mays’ Mets career, the memory of that triumphant return and its near-poetic climax (hitting the homer in the bottom of the ninth would have clinched the poetic part, but let’s not squabble over details) remains indelible. The Mets and Mays had helped the New York branch of Giant fans to reclaim at least part of their legacy and gave the team that abandoned them a swat in the process. For that day, it was enough.


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An MMO Original: Losing Streaks Are Part of the Game Tue, 18 Aug 2015 18:26:03 +0000 bartolo colon

Three losses to the Pirates at Citi Field ignited a case of the jitters throughout Met land. The unbridled euphoria Met fans had experienced over a recent winning streak and their teams ascent to the top of the National League’s Eastern Division dimmed some over the weekend.

Based on our most recent experiences and stretching back for almost a decade, it’s totally understandable that the newly found ‘swag’ of long suffering Met fans might waver watching their team drop three in a row, two in extra innings, in their home park. A gnawing in the stomach continued to grow as the weekend unfolded turning into outright angst during the Mets ugly meltdown on Sunday afternoon.

Take a deep breath fellow Met fans. Losing streaks during the dog days of August over a long, hard baseball season are hardly unique. In fact, every noteworthy Met team of yesteryear suffered through similar lapses.

Baseball’s 1969 darlings, those 100 win World Champion Miracle Mets had a mid August swoon. A three game set with the Astros that began on August 11 and ended on the 14th went sour with Houston sweeping away the Mets 3-0, 8-7, and 8-2.

In 1973, the Mets reached the seventh game of the World Series, but the regular season was hardly stellar with our Metropolitans suffering several losing streaks. Once again the Ides of August began on the 11th of August that year when the Mets feel to the Giants 8-7. The Mets fell 4-1 to San Francisco the following day, then lost 3-2 and 9-0 to San Diego on August 13 and 14.

Met fans knew they had something special during the 1985 season when the Mets finished in second place behind the Cardinals but still won 98 games. Early in ’85, the Mets dropped six consecutive games. This time the August performance dip happened later in the month. The Mets dropped back-to-back games on August 26 and 27 to finish a series with the Dodgers, then fell to the Giants the following day in the first game of the next series.

Even the record setting Mets of 1986 slumped in August. Once again, August the 14th was the day when the mischief began. The Mets lost 5-1 to the Cardinals that day in the second game of a doubleheader, then dropped three more to the Cards over the next three days to close out a disappointing series. And, those ’86 World Champs shouldered another four game losing streak in the month of September.

The 2000 Subway Series Mets got through August unscathed, but almost fell off the table in early September losing 7 of 8 games to start the crucial month of September. The Mets dropped a close contest to the Cardinals on September 1, then lost two more one run outcomes to the Redbirds on the 2nd and 3rd. Cincinnati won the opening game of the following series going away at 6-2. The Mets rallied for a tight 3-2 victory, then lost the getaway game to the Reds, 3-2. The Phillies extended the 2000 Mets September misery winning 2-0 and 6-3 on September 8 and 9.

The 2006 Mets had a horrid run beginning in mid September, September 15th, in fact. Starting on September 15, the Mets lost 10 of the next 13 games including two, three game losing runs and one streak that stretched four games.

This is baseball. Good teams suffer losing streaks all the time. In late August of 2010, the San Diego Padres went from contenders to pretenders when they lost 10-games in a row beginning in the last days in August and stretching into the month of October.

The ’82 Braves won 89 games but had a wretched baseball month of August. The Braves lost 11 times in a row and went 2-19 and lost 14.5 games during a run that started on July 30 and ran through August 18. Atlanta still won their division that year.

Baseball losing streaks, small or large, are never recommended, definitely during a pennant race during the months of August and September. But, they happen all the time. After the 2007 and 2008 seasons Met fans might appreciate that fact better than most. That’s why the Bucs weekend sweep left us gasping.

No one knows how the 2015 NL Eastern Division pennant race will end. Our three game Met losing streak to the Pirates might have us squirming, but the six straight games the Nationals dropped to the Dodgers and Giants have Nat fans begging for relief of any kind.

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MMO Game Recap: Mets 4, Giants 1 Wed, 08 Jul 2015 21:49:56 +0000 Jacob, deGrom

The Mets (44-42) defeated the San Francisco Giants (43-43) by a score of 4-1 this afternoon at AT&T Park.

Jacob deGrom and Jake Peavy matched each other pretty much pitch for pitch until the sixth inning when the Mets finally broke into the run column.

Ruben Tejada reached base on a dunker to right field, and came all the way around to score on the next play when Daniel Murphy hit a ball into the hole on the third base side. Brandon Crawford made an incredible effort getting to the ball, but threw the ball away, slapping Peavy with an unearned run.

Murphy would move up to third on a groundout from Wilmer Flores. However, the Mets couldn’t get him home, as after Lucas Duda walked, Kevin Plawecki flew out to end the frame.

In the seventh inning, the Mets tacked on another run to give Jacob deGrom a two-run cushion.

Eric Campbell lead off the inning with a single, and advanced to third on hit-and-run single from deGrom himself, as Mets pitchers continue to rake.

Campbell scored on a fielder’s choice from Juan Lagares on the next play.

Jacob deGrom set down the last thirteen batters to face him before being pinched hit for in the ninth inning, much to the dismay of this MMO writer. He finished the day pitching eight very strong innings, allowing only two hits on zero runs while striking out ten and walking just one. He improves to 9-6 on the season, and lowers his ERA to a sparkling 2.14.

Eric Campbell gave the Mets a four run lead in the ninth, hitting a two-run home run to left field. Apart from Curtis Granderson, this was the first home run a Mets player has hit since the Giants hit played the Mets in New York. Almost a month ago. It was also the first time in nine games any Met has homered.

Bobby Parnell came on in the ninth to seal the win for the Mets. Joe Panik singled to lead off the inning, and made it up to third after a wild pitch and a groundout. He scored the first Giants run on a Hunter Pence single.

Jeurys Familia then entered the game to record the last two outs, and did just so, earning his 24th save of the year.

So the Mets went 4-2 on this west coast trip. Not too shabby, but they need to finish off strong against Arizona going into the all-star break.

On deck:

The Mets are off tomorrow, but return home on Friday to face the Diamondbacks. Noah Syndergaard (3-4, 3.38 ERA) gets the nod for the Mets, and takes on Chase Anderson (4-2, 3.71 ERA). First pitch is at 7:10 PM.

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Despite Recent Run Of Success, Interest In Jon Niese Remains Stagnant Wed, 08 Jul 2015 19:26:50 +0000 jon niese

Despite the recent run of success by lefthander Jon Niese, Andy Martino of the Daily News says it’s done little if anything to increase his value or interest in him.

Baseball people he checked in with were impressed that Niese had pitched well against quality teams like the Blue Jays, Cubs and Giants, but noted that good general managers are rarely swayed by a hot streak.

“I would assume GMs wouldn’t overreact to recent performance, and would consider the long term picture along with health and the financial commitment,” one evaluator said.

Added one National League executive: “It changes nothing for me. Stuff has gotten lighter every year. The Mets are going to tell everyone it’s as good as ever to keep trade value high.”

Niese pitched his best game of the season against the Giants on Monday, tossing eight shutout innings and limiting San Francisco to just three hits. He has a 2.41 ERA over his last six starts.

As the trade market continues to expand, there are no shortage of quality pitchers who are reportedly available including Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija, Cole Hamels and Scott Kazmir.

It’s not clear what exactly the Mets can net in a trade for Niese and there’s some buzz he may not even be available at all.

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MMO Game Thread: Mets vs Giants, 3:45 PM Wed, 08 Jul 2015 17:03:34 +0000 jacob deGrom

The New York Mets and San Francisco Giants play a rubber match this afternoon as the Mets look to take the series in a 3:45 PM matinee at AT&T Park.

All-Star Jacob deGrom (8-6, 2.30 ERA) will toe the mound for the Mets and will oppose Jake Peavy (0-3, 6.43 ERA) for the Giants.

Mets Starting Lineup

  1. Curtis Granderson – RF (.251)
  2. Ruben Tejada – SS (.235)
  3. Daniel Murphy – 3B (.277)
  4. Wilmer Flores – 2B (.255)
  5. Lucas Duda – 1B (.244)
  6. Kevin Plawecki – C (.238)
  7. Eric Campbell – LF (.167)
  8. Jacob deGrom – RHP (.194)
  9. Juan Lagares – CF (.257)

Last night, the Giants scored 3 runs over 6 innings against Colon and that was all they needed because the Mets scored nothing.

Anyway first time all-star Jacob deGrom takes the mound today and he can hit too so  maybe the Mets will score some runs today.

Jacob is 8-6 over 16 starts and 105.2 innings with a 2.30 ERA. In his last nine starts and 64.0 innings he is 5-2 with a 1.55 ERA. He missed the Giants earlier this year but last year he allowed 2 ER over 7.1 innings while striking out 7. The Giants have the following numbers against Jacob:

  • Belt 1-2
  • Crawford 0-3
  • Panik 0-3
  • Pence 0-3
  • Posey 0-3
  • Peavy 0-2

Peavy will be making his 4 start of the season today. So far he is 0-3 over 14.0 innings with a 6.43 ERA. This only his second start since coming back from injury, in his first start he allowed 3 runs over 6.1 innings against the Nationals. Last year he allowed 4 ER over 7.0 innings against Mets. The Amazin’s have the following numbers against Jake Peavy:

  • Granderson 4-20, 2 2B, HR
  • Cuddyer 4-13, 2 2B
  • Murphy 2-8, 2 2B
  • Duda 1-5, HR
  • Flores 1-3, 2B
  • Lagares 1-3

Let’s Go Mets!

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MMO Game Recap: Giants 3, Mets 0 Wed, 08 Jul 2015 05:24:00 +0000 bartolo colon

The Mets (43-42) were defeated by the Giants (43-42) by a score of 3-0 Tuesday Night / Wednesday morning at AT&T Park.


Bartolo Colon started for the Mets, going 6 innings allowing 3 runs (2 earned) on 10 hits and 4 strikeouts. While the Giants’ hits were, for the most part, not hit too hard, they were still able to string them together and scrape together 3 runs. He was handed the loss.

Colon was relieved by Carlos Torres who proceeded to strike out the side in the 7th inning. Alex Torres, who had given up runs in his previous two outings, pitched the 8th inning for the Mets. He first faced lefty Brandon Belt but subsequently walked him, however he then induced a double play and then struck out Andrew Susac to end the inning.


The Mets recorded four hits, all of which were extra base hits, but were unable to capitalize on any of them.

Kevin Plawecki was 2-for-3 with two doubles, the first of which hit off the wall, narrowly missing a home run. John Mayberry Jr. also doubled.

Curtis Granderson was 1-3 with a walk and a triple. He was on third with nobody out, when Ruben Tejada came up and flied a ball into shallow right field, however in foul territory. Fresh-off-the-DL Hunter Pence slid and caught the ball, and Granderson tagged up to try and score. However, with a hop and a little spin, Pence popped up and threw a perfect strike to the plate to nail Granderson by a hair. It was a tremendous play by Pence, gotta tip your cap.


The Mets were shut out for the 10th time this season. At least it wasn’t another 1-0 loss. Actually there’s no positive way to spin that.

With the win, the Giants snapped a 7-game losing streak.

Lucas Duda is hitting .162 with one home run since the beginning of June… Oy.

On Deck:

The Mets will send All-Star Jacob deGrom (8-6, 2.30 ERA) to face Jake Peavy (0-3, 6.43 ERA) and the Giants in the rubber match on Wednesday at AT&T Park. Game time is 3:45 PM.

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At Long-Last, A Well Deserved Win For Jon Niese Tue, 07 Jul 2015 15:42:42 +0000 jon niese

It’s been more than eight weeks since Mets lefty starter Jon Niese earned a win, despite a month-long run of spectacular starts.

But on Monday, against the reigning World Series champion Giants, the veteran southpaw finally got the “W” and a well deserved one at that.

Niese might’ve pitched his best game of the season against the Giants, twirling eight shutout innings and limiting San Francisco to just three hits while striking out four, reducing his ERA to 3.58 on the season.

With the shutout victory, Mets pitchers have not allowed a run in their last 19 innings after they also blanked the Dodgers on Sunday 8-0 behind rookie Steven Matz.

The last time the Mets produced back to back 3-hit shutouts, was on July 8-9, 2008, when Mike Pelfrey and Johan Santana threw back-to-back shutouts against the Giants at Shea Stadium. (ESPN New York)

Before Monday’s win, the last time Niese got a win, was back on May 9 vs the Phillies at Philadelphia. Since then, he went 0-6 in nine starts and that’s despite a 2.06 ERA in his last five starts.

“He deserved it a lot,” said manager Terry Collins on Niese earning the victory. “He’s pitched very, very well lately and has just come up short. It was another tremendous outing by him tonight. I’m glad we scored some runs for him for a change.”

Niese was so effective on Monday that he averaged only 10 pitches an inning in the game, ending his night with a 81-pitch effort before handing it over to closer Jeurys Familia who sealed the deal.

“We executed the game plan”, Niese said. “We knew coming into the game that they were going to be aggressive. The plan was to pound the bottom of the zone with all of the pitches. We were able to do that.”

Even though Niese may not be in the Mets future plans with the depth of their young starters, as long as he’s in the rotation, his bounceback stretch has been a welcome sign and only increases his value to the team and on the trade market.


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MMO Game Recap: Mets 3, Giants 0 Tue, 07 Jul 2015 05:05:11 +0000 kirk Nieuwenhuis

The Mets defeated the Giants by a score of 3-0 tonight at AT&T Park in San Francisco.


While the Mets lineup struggled for most of the game against Chris Heston, they broke out for three runs in a thrilling 9th inning.

It all started with a leadoff single Michael Cuddyer. Kirk Nieuwenhuis then doubled on a hit and run play, which put runners on first and third with no outs.

Johnny Monell delivered the key hit with a rocket to right field that drove home both runners.

Juan Lagares also added an insurance run later in the inning with a RBI single up the middle.


Jonathan Niese had perhaps his best start of the season. He tossed eight shutout innings while allowing just three hits and striking out four. He was efficient and economical with his pitches as his pitch count only stood at 81.

Jeurys Familia earned his 23rd save of the season with another dominating appearance.  He retried all three batters that faced him, and he recorded one strikeout.

On Deck:

Bartolo Colon will get the start tomorrow at 10:15 against Giants’ starter Matt Cain. The game will be televised on SNY.

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Collins Wants Harvey To Be Like He Was Fri, 12 Jun 2015 16:41:17 +0000 Matt Harvey

Matt Harvey and pitching coach Dan Warthen spent Thursday watching film and working together trying to find the root of the problem plaguing the Mets right-hander over his last four starts.

Warthen told Kevin Kernan of the New York Post that progress was made and two of them identified the problem.

“Harvey was landing too soon on his front foot so his arm was not in proper position. Harvey was pushing the ball a bit instead of throwing it. As a result, pitches were up and Harvey did not have the same late movement. It’s about getting the arm, and the head, in the proper position.”

General manager Sandy Alderson said he hopes that the new adjustments will get Harvey back on track and said this was all part of the process of returning from Tommy John surgery.

“I think we have to be realistic about what he’s gone through over the last year and a half. Still in the process of finding out what Matt is going to be able to do over the course of the season.”

Manager Terry Collins knows he needs Harvey if this team is to have any chance.

“We’ve got to get our pitching going, that’s what we were all about when we started.”

“He hasn’t been in the best of moods these days,” Collins. “I just want him to be the Matt Harvey he was.”

June 11

Matt Harvey had one of the worst games of his career during last night’s loss to the Giants at Citi Field. He allowed a career high tying seven runs and nine hits – including three home runs – while striking out only two in six innings pitched.

The only other time Harvey gave up seven or more runs was just last month against Pittsburgh on May 23rd, just three starts ago.

Despite the poor outing, Harvey didn’t make any excuses and said that his struggles are not due to injury or a Tommy John hangover or fatigue. (Mike Vorkunov,

“I just have to be better. There’s no excuses to be made. It’s my job to put up zeroes and I’m not doing that very well.”

The main problem for Harvey of late is that he is being hammered by the long ball. He has allowed eight home runs over his last four starts (25.0 IP) and now has given up a 12 home runs in 79.2 innings this year after allowing just seven home runs in 178.1 innings in 2013.

“It was just a terrible performance. The last couple of starts have been extremely bad.”

A 2013 All Star, Harvey has now allowed multiple home runs in three of his last four outings and four of his 11 starts since April 14.

Nine of his 12 home runs have come from lefthanded batters this year after allowing just two home runs in 321 at-bats to lefthanders in 2013.

This rough stretch has inflated Harvey’s ERA to 3.62 on the season, and it has dropped his record down to 6-4.

“Everything was all over the place,” Harvey said. “I’m not putting people away when I need to. I’m not keeping people off base when I need to and obviously I’m not keeping the ball in the yard when I need to.”

Mets manager Terry Collins felt Harvey was leaving too many fastballs over the middle of the plate, especially during two-strike counts.

“It’s not just about having great stuff,” Collins said. “It’s making great pitches.”

Additionally, Harvey’s two strikeouts yesterday was the lowest total of his MLB tenure. This ends the streak of 47 consecutive starts with three or more strikeouts to begin his career, which is a mark that has only been surpassed by Yu Darvish and Mark Prior.

Harvey says he’s determined to turn his fortunes around in his next outing, and he will likely face a tough challenge with Jose Bautista and the dangerous Blue Jays lineup coming into Citi Field early next week.

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]]> 0 Syndergaard Struggles Against Giants, Says Bad Luck Was a Factor Wed, 10 Jun 2015 17:46:35 +0000 noah Syndergaard

Last night’s outing was a frustrating one for Mets’ phenom Noah Syndergaard. While he appeared to have outstanding stuff, the Giants were able to scratch out four runs and ten hits against him.

After the game, Syndergaard told reporters that bad luck was responsible for his disappointing outing.

“I felt I had some of the best stuff I’ve had in my entire life,” Syndergaard said about last night’s game. “I just didn’t get the results I wanted. … They just happened to make contact. They had some hard hit balls. I was able to get some ground balls, but they hit them where our infielders weren’t.”

Syndergaard also cited luck as a factor in his previous outing against the Padres, but he doesn’t need to be making excuses.

Yes, the Giants dinked, doinked and dunked him all night, hitting them where they ain’t. But the home plate ump was giving him (and obviously Chris Heston) a very liberal strike zone and they were making too much contact against him, something Keith Hernandez raised during the broadcast.

Syndergaard clearly has the talent to be a dominant pitcher, so I wonder if all he needs to do is make a small adjustment now that more MLB hitters are more aware of his strengths and weaknesses and the book is out on him as Nelson Figueroa pointed out last night.

With his last two starts, Syndergaard’s ERA has climbed from 1.82 to 4.15. His WHIP stands at 1.35, but his excellent 5.67 strikeout to walk rate remains a positive sign. He has a total of 34 strikeouts in 34.2 innings while only walking six.

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MMO Game Recap: Heston and the Giants No-Hit Mets 5-0 Wed, 10 Jun 2015 02:18:56 +0000 USATSI_8603843_154511658_lowres

The Mets (31-28) were no-hit by Chris Heston and the Giants (33-26) and lost by a score of 5-0 Tuesday night.


Um… Well some guys didn’t strike out, so that’s good.

The Mets were shut out for the fifth time this season (all at home). New York has been held scoreless in five of its nine losses at Citi Field this season.

In New York’s nine home losses this year, the team has scored 12 total runs and hit .158 (45-284).

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Noah Syndergaard started and unlike the other guy, he just didn’t have it today. He went 6 innings, allowing 4 earned runs on 10 hits, striking out only two batters. He walked one and allowed a home run.

This is the second consecutive start he’s lost his command and sharp break on his curveball. Last time he could find solace in his 10 strikeouts, but this was definitely a game to forget.

Dillon Gee had his first relief outing, going 1.2 innings. After allowing a solo home run he looked uncomfortable, allowing a further walk and two hits.

Sean Gilmartin finished the game, going 1.1 perfect innings striking out 1.


The Mets were held without a hit for the seventh time in their history and the first time since Houston’s Darryl Kile tossed a no-hitter at the Astrodome on September 8, 1993 in the Astros’ 7-1 win.

Congratulations to Chris Heston and the Giants on the no-hitter! How in the world did you do that in under 130 pitches??

He did hit three batters; Anthony Recker, Ruben Tejada, and Lucas Duda. This was already the 9th time this season Duda has been hit.

Look forward to getting Travis d’Arnaud back, as he should be activated before tomorrow’s game.

On Deck:

The Mets will send Matt Harvey (6-3, 3.05 ERA) to the Citi Field mound against the Giants’ veteran Tim Hudson (3-5, 4.41 ERA) tomorrow evening at 7:10 pm.

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Tulowitzki Leaves Game With Quad Strain, Rockies GM Blasts Trade Talk Rumors Sat, 16 May 2015 14:37:24 +0000 troy tulowitzki

A person who knows Troy Tulowitzki told Jon Heyman of CBS Sports that Tulo would prefer to be traded to the Dodgers, Giants, Angels, or Yankees. However, he would be okay with going to the Mets, Red Sox, or Cardinals.

Heyman writes that the Rockies tried hard this winter to engage the Mets, and at one time there was allegedly at least a bit of long-shot talk of a deal that would have possibly involved Noah Syndergaard.

However, Heyman now hears that Syndergaard and Steven Matz are virtually untouchable, and they still like Wilmer Flores, who’s looking serviceable, at shortstop.

“Not interested,” came the word from one Mets connected person.

Tulowitzki met with his agent and some Rockies higher-ups Thursday and did not ask to be traded. In fact, they called Joel Sherman’s report erroneous.

“The one thing I do want to make clear is that I don’t know where the talk came from of me demanding a trade,” Tulowitzki said.

“There is no talk like that and never has been. And my relationship with the Rockies … we never wanted it to get to that point.”

Additionally, late last night, Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich blasted the New York Post report about a possible Troy Tulowitzki trade, calling all the recent buzz a “complete East Coast media production.” (Denver Post)

“What’s gone on the last few days, especially the last 72 hours, really has a been a media production, more than anything else,” Bridich said.

Bridich said the most frustrating part was that he didn’t want his players to “face the constant questioning and badgering” from the media.

Tulowitzki has approximately $109MM in guaranteed salary remaining on his contract through the 2020 season, plus a $4MM buyout of his $15MM club option for 2021 and an extra $2MM assignment bonus if he’s traded during the course of the deal.

Last night, Tulowitzki left the game after he pulled up lame running to first on a groundout. The Rockies are calling it left quadriceps tightness and listed him as day to day.

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Getting to Know Johnny Monell Fri, 15 May 2015 09:49:08 +0000 johnny monell

When the Mets return home to Citi Field on Friday after their worst series of the season we will see a new face behind the dish.

On May 4th the Mets called up Catcher Johnny Monell from Triple A Las Vegas and he has already made his presence known as a left handed bat off the bench and we will see the first of Monell behind the plate when he pairs up with Bartolo Colon, Friday night.

Monell’s passion for the game started at a young age as he has always been following in his father’s footsteps, Johnny Monell Sr. His father played professional baseball for 17 years, a career that took him to numerous cities and countries from Atlantic City to Italy and even a stop in the Mets farm system. As the story goes, one of Monell Sr’s teammates let little Johnny Monell try on one his catcher’s mitts and the rest was history. Before long he was catching bullpen sessions for his father’s teammates.

After being drafted by the Giants and Mets in the 2005 and 2006 MLB entry drafts respectively and failing to sign, Monell would eventually reach a deal with the Giants when they took him in the 30th round of the 2007 draft.

After seven extensive years in the minor leagues, being a player who always hit around .300 and a powerful bat, the Giants would give Monell the nod during 2013 September call-ups. Monell was able to do something his father never had the chance to do, play in the MLB. His first hit would come off Peter Moylan and the Dodgers, that hit would turn out to be his only hit in eight at-bats that September.

After that season Monell was sold to the Baltimore Orioles, who designated him for assignment only a few months later. Monell begin the season in Triple A, with the Norfolk Tides where he would spend the first two months of the season struggling at the plate. Monell’s journeyman type run would continue that May when the Orioles traded him to Dodgers. He would get a similar Triple-A assignment but this time he was able to pick up his play and get back to the solid average and power bat scouts had been so used to talking about.

Monell’s contract would expire after the season putting him on the free agent market. The Mets were the team to give Monell a chance, signing him to a minor league deal in November. Monell would impress Terry Collins and company from the get-go having one of the best springs out of any Mets player.

The New York native hit .340 with 4 home runs in 27 games including a multi hit game on his 29th birthday. He gave Anthony Recker a run for his money and if not for Recker’s power off the bench and experience with the starting staff we may have seen Johnny Monell on the Opening Day roster.

Monell, now 29,  hit .397 in the 17 games he played in Las Vegas this year, which would earn him a promotion as the Mets bats to continue to struggle. Monell is 1 for 5 in his short run with the Mets including a crucial double in Sunday’s win over the Phillies.

He has the ability to be the Mets main lefty off the bench with Kirk Nieuwenhuis continuing to struggle and the team carrying a rare three catchers. The Mets looked to John Mayberry Jr. to be that guy but he hasn’t shown it thus far and the team hoped Monell could add some punch.

Monell has hit at every level of his career and has showcased a great deal of power and plate discipline. Tonight he makes his first start behind the plate and the Mets hope he can translate his minor league performance to the majors.


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Will Great Expectations Lead to Great Disappointment? Thu, 05 Mar 2015 15:30:33 +0000 Tug McGraw

Tug McGraw fanned pinch-hitter Billy Conigliaro to cement the 2-0 victory. Afterwards, the Mets bound a plane for the west coast. The date was October 18, 1973. All they needed to do was split the next two in Oakland and the World Series was ours. It was not meant to be.

In the 9th inning of Game 7 we managed to get the tying run to the plate in the form of Wayne Garrett. Garrett, who was second on the team in home runs, popped out. Disappointing? Yes. Heartbreaking? Definitely. But overall, it was hard to feel dissatisfied. We’d been in last place on August 30, 10 games below .500. We eeked out the division with 82 meager wins, shocked the powerhouse Big Red Machine in five games, and pushed the defending World Champion A’s to the last at-bat in the last game on the last day of Baseball. Not bad at all.

By contrast, 15 years later, the 1988 Mets, only two years removed from winning it all, were poised to do it again. We reached 100 wins for only the 3rd time in team history (a benchmark we haven’t reached since) and captured the division by 15 games. The shocking upset at the hands of the Dodgers still sticks in the craw for all of us who witnessed the inconceivable HR by Mike Scioscia off Doc Gooden that turned everything around. Disappointed? Yes. Heartbreaking? Definitely.

The Mets honored the 86 club twenty years later as history appeared to be repeating itself. Like 1986, the 2006 Mets dominated all year. 97 victories (5th most in history), winning the division by 12 games and having 3 players with more than 25 HR’s and 100 RBI’s. However, it was a repeat of 1988, not 1986. A 9th inning HR by another light-hitting catcher, this one named Yadier Molina, stunned Shea into a tomblike stillness and ended the Mets season earlier than anyone anticipated. Disappointed? Yes. Heartbreaking? You bet your ass…

The question is ‘why’?

In hindsight, 1973 should feel more tragic than 88 or 06. Coming within one hit of winning the World Series is undoubtedly more gut-wrenching than coming within one hit of even getting to the World Series.

I think the difference was that in 73 expectations were low. No one anticipated much of the Mets that year whereas in 88 and 06, we viewed the season as a mere formality, a coronation of what we deserved, what we were entitled to. My Goodness, we turned into…the Yankees.

Spring Training has just begun and the Mets are setting the bar high. Granted, all 30 teams are optimistic since right now the Giants and Royals are no better than the Astros and Twins. However, when it’s those ‘big mouth big city obnoxious New Yorkers’ talking crap, be it the Mets or the Yankees, other teams take notice. It only makes it that much sweeter to knock those big city folk down a notch.

I’ve said for years the Mets should display more swagger. It’s refreshing to now see it. What confuses me is where the newfound confidence is coming from?

This winter the Padres ratcheted up their team adding Matt Kemp, Justin Upton, James Shields and Wil Myers. The Red Sox acquired the most sought after bat by signing Pablo Sandoval in addition to Hanley Ramirez and Cuban sensation Yoan Moncada. Washington had the best record in the NL last season but didn’t stand pat and handed over $210 million to perennial All-Star Max Scherzer. Even the Cubs who last won a World Series when Teddy Roosevelt was President were active, acquiring Jon Lester and hiring Joe Maddon.

Meanwhile, the Mets added 36 year-old Michael Cuddyer who’s averaged 93 games the last 3 seasons. While I do think Cuddyer can help, can he make that much of a difference? Is this the so-called difference maker we were looking to add this offseason?

MLB: Oakland Athletics at New York Mets

I know, I know. I can hear it now: We have Harvey back. No doubt the Mets are better with Harvey than without him. But before we order our 2015 Mets World Champion T-shirts, let’s keep a few things in mind. Harvey is coming off surgery and hasn’t pitched in a real game in eighteen months. And despite having him through August of 2013, the Mets were just 58-69 and 18 GB with him in the rotation. By comparison, Clayton Kershaw who is just one year older, has 98 career wins, 1,445 K’s, 3 Cy Young’s and an MVP. Matt Harvey has 12 wins.

So, again, why the confidence? The Mets haven’t been to the post-season in almost a decade, haven’t played an important game or been in a pennant race in 6 years, haven’t even played .500 since our final season at Shea.

For conversational purposes, let’s assume 2015 gives us the same 3 division winners as 2014: Nationals, Cardinals, Dodgers. That leaves the defending champion Giants, the much-improved Padres, the solid Pirates, the always tough Brewers, the pesky Reds, the upgraded Cubs and the consistent Braves competing for two wild-card spots. Can the Mets win more games than all these teams—or at least all but one—to earn a wildcard?

Confidence, swagger and arrogance are a good thing. But a team has to be able to back it up. In the mid-80s, the Mets had that swagger. But we could—and did–back it up. Keith Hernandez and Gary Carter were proven winners, we had the youthful hunger of phenoms Darryl Strawberry and Doc Gooden and we had a manager who spent much of his career playing for the great Earl Weaver.


In the 70’s, we exuded quiet confidence. With the Big Three of Seaver, Koosman and Matlack along with the likes of clutch Cleon Jones, reliable Rusty Staub, the fire-in-the-belly of Buddy Harrelson and gritty Jerry Grote–many of whom already had a ring from 1969–along with a manager in Yogi Berra who was quite familiar with October Baseball, we had reason to be confident. And we had the arms to back it up.

What about now? The Mets issued t-shirts (supposedly now pulled back) claiming ‘Take the Damn Thing.’ Jacob deGrom recently stated “We want to make the playoffs, we want to win the World Series.” Zack Wheeler compared the Mets to the team that traded him away, the Giants, winners of 3 championships in 5 years. Curtis Granderson said, “We are primed and ready.” Terry Collins insisted “It’s time.”

A few weeks back I posted a question on a fan-based Mets page on Facebook. The question I asked was simple: How many of you would be satisfied if the Mets improve this year but do NOT make the post-season? 81% responded they’d be disappointed if the Mets fail to make the playoffs.

What do you think? Is this newborn confidence good or bad? Are we setting ourselves up for another depressing season? Several springs ago, Carlos Beltran proclaimed “The Mets are the team to beat.” And then the Phillies did exactly that. Let’s hope history doesn’t repeat itself. Let’s hope these Mets are as good as they say they are. Let’s Go Mets. Do it.


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That’s The Signpost Up Ahead, Your Next Stop, The Manfred Zone Sun, 08 Feb 2015 13:26:15 +0000 tumblr_mylw8lPK1h1slsalco1_500

The date is Tuesday, October 6, 2015 and we made it. Finally. After 8 draining tedious seasons, the Mets have returned to the post-season. 90 wins netted us the second wildcard spot. In order to face St. Louis in the LDS and avenge 2006 all we must do is win a one-game wild card elimination. Jacob deGrom (18-9 3.25 ERA) vs. Clayton Kershaw (21-5, 2.73 ERA).

Kershaw seems to have finally shaken his post-season woes. That is, until the top of the 7th when Lucas Duda plants one beyond the RF wall knocking in Lagares and Wright. The Mets need just 9 more outs. But the 7th inning stretch galvanizes the capacity crowd. Shortstop Jimmy Rollins (of all people) notices the corner infielders playing back and legs out a perfectly executed bunt for a lead-off single. The fans get loud. Carl Crawford clobbers deGrom’s next offering. Curtis Granderson turns and runs, snagging the high fly against the wall for the first out. 27 year-old deGrom is rattled. He takes a deep breath, paces, tries to regroup and wipes the sweat from his brow as Yasiel Puig digs in. Puig splits two outfielders. A double. The Dodgers, trailing 3-0, have runners on second and third. The tying run, represented by Adrian Gonzalez (.279-32-118) steps to the plate.

Eight more stinkin’ outs. Mets fans are growing restless, anticipating the worst. 56,238 Dodgers fans rise to their feet in an attempt to unnerve the Mets starter. It’s all happened so quick that Terry Collins hasn’t had a chance to get someone loose. The Mets need to stall. DeGrom needs to calm down. Mets fans scream at the TV for Collins to go the mound and buy some time for the bullpen. Why isn’t Duda sharing some words of encouragement??? Why is David Wright, our captain, just standing there??? How come Travis d’Arnaud isn’t calling time and walking to the mound to calm down the young pitcher the way Gary Carter did with Doc Gooden? DeGrom, nervous, losing composure and about to blow it, is left all alone. What the hell is going on??? Is this the Twilight Zone??? Where’s Rod Serling???

Then we remember. “Oh, yea. We’ve used up our allotted time-outs.” Welcome to the Rob Manfred version of Major League Baseball. You know, the version where games took too darn long and needed to be sped up.

One of the countless aspects that make baseball the greatest game ever devised is the link from generation to generation. For well over a century the National Pastime has remained relatively unchanged. A .300 hitter means something, no matter if it’s me cheering Jose Reyes, my father cheering Jackie Robinson or my grandfather cheering Babe Herman. A 20-game winner is a 20-game winner, be it Doc Gooden, Tom Seaver or Christy Mathewson. 200 K’s means the same to Randy Johnson as it did to Walter Johnson. The only significant alteration to the rules occurred in 1973. And more than 40 years after one league installed the DH, fans are still divided.

Buster-Posey-InjuryThe powers-that-be began tinkering with the Holy Grail of the game, the rule book, because of what transpired in Florida on May 25, 2011. On a play at home, Scott Cousins collided with Giants catcher Buster Posey. The defending Rookie of the Year suffered torn ligaments and a fractured fibula. For all intents and purposes, the Giants season was finished before Memorial Day. MLB felt, for whatever reason, changes needed to be made. And so began the descent down a perilous slope that could have a long lasting impact on the game we cherish.

There is nothing more exciting than witnessing a player rounding third and heading for home as the catcher plants his feet waiting for the relay throw. Nothing can bring an entire stadium to their feet quicker than anticipating a play at the plate. Both at the ballpark and watching from home our stomachs tighten. We hold our collective breath. Can the runner knock the ball free? Can the catcher apply the tag?

Beginning last year that thrilling aspect was removed. You could clearly see the confusion all season long. Runners were uncertain where their lane was. Catchers were tentative about where they were permitted to stand. Protecting a run became secondary to abiding to some silly rule. (As a side note, how many knew that the rule was amended during the season where catchers could NOT block the plate but position players COULD?)

Was Posey’s injury catastrophic? Absolutely. The 2011 Giants still managed to win 86 games, falling just 4 short of the wildcard. Surely, had Posey not been injured, he himself is worth 4 wins. However, MLB overreacted. Yes, catchers do get hurt. But that’s part of the game. And think about it. How often does that really occur? We see more injuries on routine plays. If MLB feels compelled to prevent injuries, what’s next?

More common is a batter pulling a hamstring sprinting down the 1B line trying to beat out a slow roller. How about a player rounding 2nd and turning on the afterburners. (Jose Reyes anyone?) We see players jamming thumbs stealing a base. Perhaps MLB should create a Designated Runner. We have a Designated Hitter so why not? Every player could have one DR assigned to them. Rosters would increase to 50, the union would be happy and star players we pay admission to see would never get hurt.

KEN GRIFFEY JR.Another way to prevent injuries could be prohibiting outfielders from crashing into the wall. Hey, we already have a warning track. Let’s put it to good use. If the outfielder can’t catch the ball before trespassing onto the warning track, that’s just too darn bad. (If such a rule existed twenty years ago, think of all those extra games Ken Griffey Jr. would not have missed. He’d probably be the HR King, not Barry Bonds.)

And pitchers? They are both the highest paid AND most often injured. Maybe MLB should outlaw the curve ball. And while they’re at it, they can outlaw the fast ball, too. After all, more batters are injured getting hit by a pitch than runners colliding at the plate. Perhaps we should reduce a strikeout to two strikes, a walk to three balls? How about extending the base paths from 90 feet to 110 feet. C’mon, let’s get the baseball thing over with in a hurry so we can all go back to seeing which Kardashian is pregnant this week.

Of course I’m being sarcastic. But based on recent changes, I’m not ruling out anything. In the Arizona Fall League MLB looked into methods to speed up the game. Some of the changes tested include:

• Batter’s box rule: Hitter required to keep at least one foot in the batter’s box throughout at-bat unless there is foul ball, wild pitch or passed ball — or if a pitch forces him out or the umpire grants “time.”

• No-pitch intentional walks

• 20-second rule: 20-second clock will be posted in each dugout, behind home plate and in outfield to prevent pitchers from taking too much time.

• 2:05 inning-break clock: Maximum time allowed between innings, and batters must be in box at 1:45 mark or umpire can call automatic strike. If pitcher throws pitch after 2:05, umpire may call ball.

• 2:30 pitching-change-break clock: Maximum amount of time allowed for pitching change.

• Three “timeout” limit: Teams limited to three trips to the mound by managers, coaches and catchers during game, except pitching changes.

Commissioner Manfred is also looking into outlawing defensive shifts, removing strategy from the most strategic game there is. That in and of itself is a mixed signal and demonstrates MLB is utterly clueless. On one hand they install policies to make games shorter. On the other hand, recent changes do just the opposite.

With the advent of a ‘challenge’ or ‘play under review,’ the game that supposedly already moves too slowly now comes to a grinding halt. Players on the field, fans in the stands and viewers at home now watch with baited breath as umpires stand in a circle wearing headsets conversing with some guy in a darkened chamber high above Manhattan like the mysterious shadowy “banker” in that Howie Mandel game show. During the course of a game this alone could add anywhere from 8-12 minutes. If they’re willing to delay a game to make sure the call is correct, isn’t it equally important to honor the history of the game itself and not mess around with lunacy such as pitch clocks?

Jimi-hendrix-guitar-on-fire-monterey-liveAnother contradiction from the incoming commissioner is his desire to bring offense back to the game. Outlawing defensive shifts will see the return of 9-7 slugfests instead of well-played 3-2 pitching duels. Yet, we all know a 9-7 game takes longer to play than a 3-2 game.

Making games shorter will not help ratings. Those who find Baseball “boring” and “slow-moving” will not suddenly become fans and purchase Mike Trout jerseys. And those of us who are purists will take umbrage to tinkering with the very essence of the game we treasure, the game taught to us by our dad or older brother. They need to stop mucking up the beauty of Baseball with hare-brained attempts to outdraw Football. Yes, 112 million TV sets were tuned into the Super Bowl last weekend while an average of just 13.8 million viewers watched the World Series last October.  But so what? Kanye West has sold more records than Jimi Hendrix. That doesn’t mean he’s better.

For more than 100 years Baseball has survived every conceivable transgression imaginable. Racists, bigots and anti-Semites have worn the uniform. But the game endured. Games have been fixed, an entire World Series was thrown. But the game endured. Some of the greatest players to ever walk on the field have been shamed and may never be enshrined in Cooperstown. But the game endured. Alcoholics, cocaine addicts and steroid users have played. But the game endured. Free agency, collusion, teams relocating, some franchises completely folded. But the game endured. Two World Wars and conflicts from Southeast Asia to Central America have taken place. But the game endured. On a Tuesday morning, terror came to New York City, Washington DC and western Pennsylvania. The game stopped. But after ten days, endured. Hopefully the game will be able to endure these potentially catastrophic changes.

“Baseball must be a great game. The owners haven’t found a way to kill it yet.”  – Bill Veeck

The date is Tuesday, October 6, 2015 and we made it. Finally. After 8 draining tedious seasons, the Mets have returned to the post-season.

It’s the top of the 9th in Los Angeles. The Mets squandered a 3-0 lead and now trail 4-3. Closer Kenley Jansen is on the hill to close it out and send the Mets home on a long cross-country flight. After retiring the first 2 batters, 56,238 Dodgers fans are on their feet. They smell blood. Juan Lagares keeps  our hopes alive and bloops one over the outstretched glove of Jimmy Rollins. Daniel Murphy fights off a wicked 0-2 cut fastball and shoots one down the first base line, just beyond the reach of Adrian Gonzalez. Lagares motors around to 3B.

Trailing 4-3, tying run on third and potential winning run at first. David Wright, candidate for Comeback Player of the Year (302-26-107) digs in. After falling behind 0-2, he fights off pitch after pitch after pitch. He fouls off close pitches, lays off others just off the black and works the count to 3-2. The capacity crowd is going crazy. Fans in New York are pacing in their living rooms.

Don Mattingly on the top step of the Dodger dugout. Terry Collins and various Mets on the top step of the visiting dugout. The camera, shaking due to vibration of chaotic screaming fans, scans the crowd. There’s Tommy LaSorda in the owner’s box staring wide-eyed at the field. We catch a glimpse of Jerry Seinfeld sitting behind the Mets dugout, cap pulled down over his eyes, too nervous to watch. We get a quick shot of Keith Hernandez in the broadcast booth, his hands clutching an imaginary bat, willing himself on the field as if its 1986 all over again. Catcher A.J. Ellis puts down one finger, pats his left thigh. Fast Ball inside. Jensen checks the runners and sets. Wright grips the bat.

Suddenly, as the fire-balling closer is ready to deliver, a slight breeze kicks up and blows something into Wright’s eye. The entire season is on the line. But David isn’t allowed to step out or ask for time because the rules now prohibit that since we need to get done quickly. Jensen fires a 98 MPH heater. And our entire season comes down to a one-eyed David Wright.

Thanks a lot Rob Manfred.

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Much Ado About Three-Homer Games At Home Sat, 03 Jan 2015 02:16:32 +0000 gkr gary keith ron sny

“You know, Keith, no Met has ever hit three home runs in a game at home.”

If you’ve watched as many Mets games as I have over the years, then you’ve undoubtedly heard Gary Cohen make this statement whenever a Met has come up to the plate after hitting two home runs in a home game.

It’s true.  Nine Mets players have hit three home runs in a game.  But Jim Hickman, Dave Kingman, Claudell Washington, Darryl Strawberry, Gary Carter, Edgardo Alfonzo, Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran and Ike Davis all accomplished their prodigious displays of power on the road.

So naturally I started wondering if the Mets were the only team in baseball to not have a single player hit three home runs in a home game.  My research yielded an interesting answer.

Below is a list of the last players to pull off a “Home Run Hat Trick” for each major league team while wearing their home whites.




Arizona Diamondbacks

Jason Kubel

7/21/12 vs. HOU

Atlanta Braves

Mark Teixeira

6/22/08 vs. SEA

Baltimore Orioles

Chris Davis

8/24/12 vs. TOR

Boston Red Sox

Kevin Millar

7/23/04 vs. NYY

Chicago Cubs

Dioner Navarro

5/29/13 vs. CWS

Chicago White Sox

Paul Konerko

7/7/09 vs. CLE

Cincinnati Reds

Joey Votto

5/13/12 vs. WAS

Cleveland Indians

Jim Thome

7/6/01 vs. STL

Colorado Rockies

Carlos Gonzalez

5/30/12 vs. HOU

Detroit Tigers

Miguel Cabrera

5/28/10 vs. OAK

Florida/Miami Marlins

Cody Ross

9/11/06 vs. NYM

Houston Astros

Morgan Ensberg

5/15/05 vs. SF

Kansas City Royals

Danny Tartabull

7/6/91 vs. OAK

Los Angeles Angels

Torii Hunter

6/13/09 vs. SD

Los Angeles Dodgers

Juan Uribe

9/9/13 vs. ARZ

Milwaukee Brewers

Prince Fielder

9/27/11 vs. PIT

New York Yankees

Curtis Granderson

4/19/12 vs. MIN

Oakland Athletics

Miguel Tejada

6/11/99 vs. LAD

Philadelphia Phillies

Jayson Werth

5/16/08 vs. TOR

Pittsburgh Pirates

Andrew McCutchen

8/1/09 vs. WAS

San Diego Padres

Phil Nevin

10/6/01 vs. COL

San Francisco Giants

Barry Bonds

8/2/94 vs. CIN

Seattle Mariners

Edgar Martinez

5/18/99 vs. MIN

St. Louis Cardinals

Albert Pujols

9/3/06 vs. PIT

Tampa Bay Rays

Evan Longoria

10/3/12 vs. BAL

Texas Rangers

Adrian Beltre

8/22/12 vs. BAL

Toronto Blue Jays

John Buck

4/29/10 vs. OAK

Washington Nationals

Adam Dunn

7/7/10 vs. SD

Editor’s note:  Barry Bonds was the last member of the San Francisco Giants to hit three home runs in a regular season home game, but the Giants’ Pablo Sandoval hit three home runs in Game 1 of the 2012 World Series, which was played in San Francisco.

Did you notice any teams missing in the chart above?  There were two – the Minnesota Twins and the New York Mets.  But prior to 1961, the Minnesota Twins were playing ball as the Washington Senators.  And on August 31, 1956, Jim Lemon became the first and only member of the original Washington Senators to hit three home runs in a home game when he clobbered his triumvirate of taters at Griffith Stadium against the New York Yankees.

With the Senators/Twins franchise having a member in the “three homers at home” club, that leaves the Mets as the only team in the majors without a player who has hit three round-trippers in a single game in his home ballpark.

It’s no wonder Gary Cohen continues to mention that fact ad nauseum in the same way he (and every other Mets broadcaster) used to discuss the Mets’ no-hitter futility before the events of June 1, 2012.


In honor of the topic at hand, here are some other bits of “three-homer at home” minutiae for you.

  • Two players have hit three homers in a home game on four separate occasions.  Both accomplished their feats for the Chicago Cubs.  Ernie Banks had his three-homer games at Wrigley Field in 1955, 1957, 1962 and 1963, while Sammy Sosa slammed his way to history at the Friendly Confines in 1996, 1998 and twice in 2001.
  • The Brooklyn Dodgers and the Milwaukee Brewers are the only teams to have three players accomplish the “three-homer at home” feat in the same season.  In 1950, fans at Ebbets Field saw Duke Snider, Gil Hodges and Tommy Brown go deep three times in one game.  Similarly, Miller Park season-ticket holders in 2011 witnessed Corey Hart, Casey McGehee and Prince Fielder circle the bases thrice in the same game.
  • Although no Mets player has ever hit three homers in a game at home, four opposing players had three-homer games against the Mets in New York.  St. Louis’ Stan Musial was the first to do so, smacking three bombs at the Polo Grounds on July 8, 1962.  Dick Allen of the Philadelphia Phillies became the first player to hit three home runs in a game at Shea Stadium on September 29, 1968.  A decade later, Cincinnati’s Pete Rose became the most unlikely candidate to have a three-homer game at Shea when he circled the bases three times on April 29, 1978.  It was the only time Rose hit three home runs in a single game in his 24-year career.  Finally, former Met Dave Kingman launched three long balls at Shea Stadium as a member of the Chicago Cubs on July 28, 1979.
  • No Mets player has ever hit three homers in a home game.  But seven players have hit three blasts in the same game against the Mets in their home ballparks, with one of the seven doing it twice.  Willie McCovey of the San Francisco Giants victimized the Mets at Candlestick Park in 1963 and 1966.  The next three times a player hit a trio of home runs in a home game against the Mets, those players were wearing Cubs uniforms.  Adolfo Phillips (1967), Billy Williams (1968) and Tuffy Rhodes (1994) gave a total of nine souvenirs to the Bleacher Bums at Wrigley Field, courtesy of various Mets pitchers.  The other three players to hit three homers in a home game against the Mets were Detroit’s Bobby Higginson (1997 at Tiger Stadium), Arizona’s Luis Gonzalez (2004 at Bank One Ballpark) and Florida’s Cody Ross (2006 at Dolphins Stadium).  Ross’ game remains the only time in Marlins history in which one of their own hit three home runs in a game at home.

curtis granderson

Since the Mets came into existence in 1962, there have been 175 instances in which a player hit three home runs in the same regular season game at his home ballpark.  In all 175 instances, the player who circled the bases was wearing a uniform that did not say “Mets” on it.

Curtis Granderson was the last Yankee to accomplish the feat at Yankee Stadium.  Now, of course, Granderson is a member of the Mets. Will he become the first Met to hit three homers in a game at home? Will the shortened fences and new hitting coach Kevin Long lead to some additional long balls for Grandy? Hey, if the Mets could finally pitch a no-hitter, then anything is possible, right?


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Must See TV: Bud Bewildered By Wilde Moment Thu, 30 Oct 2014 18:18:58 +0000 wilde selig bumgarner

You know that nauseating feeling you get whenever commissioner Bud Selig appears on your TV and his lips start moving?

Watching Selig’s reaction during the World Series MVP presentation to Madison Bumgarner last night, was priceless. In some small measure it felt like fate was exacting some revenge on my behalf.

In what may have been one of the most awkward World Series moments I’ve ever seen, Rikk Wilde, a marketing executive from Chevrolet, completely botched his presentation as he struggled to describe the Chevy Colorado truck that Bumgarner had won.

“It has “technology and stuff,” Wilde said as Selig agonized throughout the presentation, hoping someone would mercifully pull the plug.

Check out the video below, and remember, watch Bud…


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