Mets Merized Online » Jerry Koosman http://metsmerizedonline.com Tue, 17 Jan 2017 22:12:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.17 Talkin’ Mets: Long Before the Miracle http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/01/talkin-mets-long-before-the-miracle.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/01/talkin-mets-long-before-the-miracle.html/#comments Mon, 09 Jan 2017 00:04:26 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=229033 1962 mets

Happy New Year! The Talkin’ Mets podcast has returned from holiday hiatus.

The hot stove is very cold right now so I decided to take a different approach to this week’s podcast.

This week I chatted with Bill Sullivan, author of the book “Long Before the Miracle,” which examines the early sixties Mets. Hear Bill remember stories about the Polo Grounds, the Dodgers leaving Brooklyn, Jerry Koosman, Ron Hunt, Nolan Ryan and Roger Craig among others. This is a rare opportunity to remember members of the Mets who were part of the transition from “lovable losers” to 1969 World Series champs. 

Next week I will be doing my annual Hall-of-Fame show where I give my ballot and feature a guest who gives their perspective on who should be inducted into this year’s class.

 

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1967 Mets Top Prospects: Best Crop Ever? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/1967-mets-top-prospects-best-crop-ever.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/1967-mets-top-prospects-best-crop-ever.html/#comments Tue, 27 Dec 2016 17:16:05 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=228479 baseball digest 1967

50 Years Later, A Look Back To 1967′s Top Mets Prospects

With the proliferation of web sites now dedicated to evaluating minor league prospects, fans have a fairly easy time reciting their team’s top prospects, usually “in order”. Back in the ’80′s, there was only Baseball America to provide this glimpse into the future.

In retrospect, there were many more misses than hits, but it’s fun to look back on these lists and reflect on them. Like, whatever happened to one-time Mets’ top prospects like Tito Navarro and Rick Ownbey ?

Before Baseball America was born in 1980, prospect hunters looked forward to the annual March issue of Baseball Digest which was dedicated to providing scouting reports on every rookie listed on every major league team’s 40-man roster. These reports were usually extremely conservative. For example, several future Hall Of Famers were tagged with “has a chance at the big leagues”.

Baseball Digest listed the prospects alphabetically by team, so you’d have to read the reports in order to make a mental 1 to 10 list. Thankfully, I’ve saved all of these issues from the sixties. Just prior to the 1967 season, the Mets were loaded with prospects and had 17 of them listed, although a few like Al Schmelz and Bart Shirley weren’t even projected for the big leagues at any time.

These lists also were restricted to the 40-man rosters, so #1 draft pick Steve Chilcott doesn’t show up (although he would have certainly rated near the top for potential alone).

seaver-koosman-ryan

Here then is my list of the Mets’ top prospects for 1967 with scouting reports courtesy of Baseball Digest. The rankings are based on how Baseball Digest projected the player’s chances, and the words are verbatim from Baseball Digest’s published scouting reports:

1. Don Bosch CF – Good speed, fine fielder. Can be a good centerfielder. Sure to make big leagues.

2. Tom Seaver RHP – Good fastball. Curve only fair. Control and fielding OK. First year man with hard fast one. Best of futures on Jacksonville club.

3. Greg Goossen C – Has a power bat. Very good looking young hitter. Crude catcher and needs work. Should improve and have chance for a solid long major league career.

4. Nolan Ryan RHP – Must be considered a major league future at this time. Fastball good and poise better than average.

5. Les Rohr LHP – Has tools including good arm. All he needs is to learn to move ball around and improve curve. Fastball is alive. If he continues improvement, has good future, even majors.

6. Ken Boswell 2B – Hitting improved from beginning to end of ’66. Fairly good fielder now and should get better. Not ready yet, but should be with another year of 3A.

7. Jerry Koosman LHP – Fair fastball. Average curve. Control only fair. Needs to improve curveball and help in control. Needs to pitch more.

8. Joe Moock IF – Pretty good hitter. Good arm. Needs improvement in field.

9. Terry Christman LHP – Has one of best moves to first seen in minors. Also has better than average curve and poise. Fair fastball, curve, and control.

10. Bob Heise IF – Good competitor. Good hustler. Hits better than average with fair power. Throwing fair.

Looking back on this list, of course Bosch was a major disappointment, Seaver, Ryan, and Koosman were severely underrated and Rohr never lived up to his “raw potential”. Goossen had a decent major league career after he left the Mets, but never was a star. Boswell basically became what was expected. So, even though this was 46 years ago, the list is not unlike the recent typical Top 10 Prospect lists when viewed in retrospect.

Of course, most teams’ annual prospect lists don’t include two future Hall Of Famers and another who was almost in that class. This was possibly the Mets’ best group of prospects ever.

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Jerry Koosman: The Story Of One Mets Veteran http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/11/jerry-koosman-the-story-of-one-mets-veteran.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/11/jerry-koosman-the-story-of-one-mets-veteran.html/#comments Fri, 11 Nov 2016 17:33:52 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=226335 jerry koosman

Back in 1962, the New York Mets were having their inaugural season while a 20-year old from Appleton, Minnesota was drafted into military service. Being drafted into the military would forever change the future for Jerry Koosman and the New York Mets.

While Koosman was stationed at Pere Marquette State National Park, he had taken and passed the officer’s test. While awaiting his orders, fate would intervene. Koosman’s dentist, who was a commanding major general of the Minnesota National Guard, helped arrange a transfer where the talented left-hander could play baseball for the military. With that, Koosman was transferred to Fort Bliss.

The dentist intervening changed everything. As Koosman said, “Most of those guys didn’t come back. I was two weeks from having my destiny changed.”  (Irv Goldfarb, SABR.org).

At Fort Bliss, Koosman’s catcher was a Queens native named John Luchese. As luck would have it, Luchese’s father was an usher at newly built Shea Stadium. Luchese would write to his father about the talented left-hander he was catching in the military, and Luchese’s father would pass along the information to Mets executive Joe McDonald.

Upon receiving the tip, the Mets dispatched a scout to the base to see Koosman pitch. Eventually, the Mets would sign Koosman, and upon his discharge, he would officially become a member of the New York Mets.

Koosman would have a strange odyssey through the minor leagues before making the debut in 1967. The next season in 1968 he would have a terrific year including finishing second in the Rookie of the Year voting to Johnny Bench. This was the beginning of a great Mets career for Koosman. The highlight of which was Koosman recording the final out of the 1969 World Series.

In Koosman’s 12 year Mets career, he was 140-137 with a 3.09 ERA and a 1.219 WHIP. He was a member of the 1969 World Series champions, and he was a member of the Ya Gotta Believe! 1973 pennant winning Mets. He’s the franchise leader in wins, games started, innings pitched, strikeouts, complete games, and shutouts by a Mets left-handed pitcher. In 1989, he was inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame.

This all began because Koosman was ready to sacrifice his life in service to this country. Like many veterans, we owe him a debt of gratitude for his service.

On a personal note, Koosman was always a favorite of my father, who served in Vietnam. During my father’s tour of duty, he was awarded the Purple Heart. He is now a DAV, and in retirement, he volunteers at his local VA. On this day, I thank all veterans, especially my father, for their service to this country.

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Week 10 Mets Pitching Review: Matz Keeps Rolling http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/05/week-10-mets-pitching-review-matz-keeps-rolling.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/05/week-10-mets-pitching-review-matz-keeps-rolling.html/#comments Tue, 31 May 2016 16:28:04 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=213473 steven matz

A review of the latest turn through the Mets starting rotation:

Name

InningsThe

Hits

Runs (Earned Runs)

Strikeouts

Walks

ERA (Season)

WHIP (Season)

Quality Start?

Matt Harvey (3-7)

5.0

8

5(5)

1

2

6.08

1.69

No (10/3)

Steven Matz (7-1)

8.0

4

0(0)

7

1

2.36

0.99

Yes (8/7)

Jacob deGrom (3-1)

7.0

3

1(1)

7

3

2.81

1.19

Yes (8/5)

Noah Syndergaard (5-2)

2.1

2

0(0)

3

0

1.87

0.97

No (10/8)

Bartolo Colon (3-3

 6.0  7

2(t2)

 3  1

3.39

1.23

Yes (9/5)

Best Start: After the drama of the last three days against the Dodgers, it’s easy to forget that earlier this week Steven Matz continued his amazing start to the season. Did you know he’s 10th in the league with a 2.36 ERA that continues to go down with each start?

How about of the top 40 pitchers in the MLB when it comes to ERA, only three have walked less than 10 people. The first one dazzled on Sunday night (and as a fan of pitching, I’m shocked Dodgers coach Dave Roberts didn’t leave Clayton Kershaw to face Granderson in the 8th). The other two both wear Orange and Blue.

Noah Syndergaard (9 walks in 66.2 innings) is touted every time he touches the ball, but Matz has only walked 9 batters in 49.2 innings. He walked one on Wednesday afternoon in Washington, a game against a division rival and to determine the series. Granted, Bryce Harper didn’t start the game but he did come up in a pressure situation and harmlessly grounded out.

Matz has been using pinpoint accuracy with his 93 MPH+ fastball to offset a quality curve and improving changeup. He’s everything a Mets fan could ask for and while history recently remembered the 1986 team, I think back to the first championship with a hard-throwing righty named Tom Seaver and a lefty named Jerry Koosman who in 1968 broke all the franchise records set by the Franchise a year earlier.

Koosman went 19-12 with seven shutouts, 178 strikeouts and a 2.08 ERA. He would have been the Rookie of the Year if not for some guy named Johnny Bench, but a year later he helped to earn an even better trophy. While we complain about the now, this year’s team is still on track to compete for that same trophy and with Matz on board and pitching well, they’re well-positioned to do just that.

Worst Start: There’s been more than enough said about Matt Harvey, so I’ll only say that I didn’t think his last start was that bad and Joe Trezza of MLB.com wrote about the pitch selection being too similar to batters. I think this is more mental than anything physical…but at the end of the day, we’re focused on one of five starting pitchers for a team with the 3rd best ERA in all of baseball.

I’m more concerned with Thor losing a lightning bolt behind a batter and getting ejected without warning. Therefore the worst start actually goes to umpire Adam Hamari for too quick of a trigger.

Best of the Bullpen: This wasn’t a good week for just about everyone, but especially Jeurys Familia. I’ve never liked a closer entering in the 9th in a non-save situation, but the excuse that he needed work made sense. The results, both on Friday and Sunday were stunning.

The stat that jumped out to me the most was Familia had allowed 5 runs in his first 23 games and 6 runs in the last two. Stuff like that will jump your ERA to 4.07 and plummet the bullpen staff as a whole to sixth in the league with a 3.10 ERA.

Next Big Thing: While the White Sox is what’s right now, a 10-game road trip looms at the end of the week starting with a trip to Miami. Syndergaard returns to the mound on Friday for a scheduled start against the Marlins, who have always been annoying and feature a pretty potent offensive outfield. That’s followed by a visit to PNC Park in Pittsburgh, but there’s time to talk about that potential playoff matchup in the days to come.

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It’s Easy To Forget How Good Jon Niese Has Been http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/12/its-easy-to-forget-how-good-jon-niese-has-been.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/12/its-easy-to-forget-how-good-jon-niese-has-been.html/#comments Sat, 13 Dec 2014 20:12:28 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=171752 jon niese

Reading the tea leaves, Jon Niese, Dillon Gee and Bartolo Colon will all inevitably be traded in the near future sooner or later and certainly before their team control with the Mets expires. Top pitching prospect Noah Syndergaard will likely come in and assume a rotation spot this season, followed by the final development and eventual promotion of Steven Matz who will ultimately replaces fellow left-hander Niese.

The question is, what will Matz have to accomplish at the major league level in order to reproduce the void created by Niese’s absence?  What would it take for the younger to surpass the elder?

Matz and Niese have often drawn parallels between one another because they are both southpaws and were each drafted and developed by the Mets. However, Matz is still just a prospect and there’s no telling if his career will ever match or surpass what 28-year old Niese has been able to accomplish thus far as a major leaguer.

Jon Shestakofsky, Manager of Media Relations and Baseball Information for the Boston Red Sox, tweeted an interesting fact about the top five starting LHP in the National League who’ve racked up the most wins over the last three seasons (’12-’14). Here’s how the best stack up:

1. Clayton Kershaw (51)

2. Madison Bumgarner (47)

3. Gio Gonzalez (42)

4. Cole Hamels and Wade Miley (34)

Next on that list would be none other than Jon Niese with 30 wins. During that three year span, Niese also produced an impressive 3.49 ERA.

Niese also ranks in the top twenty among all NL pitchers over the last three seasons in the percentage of ground balls induced (14th) and the percentage of men he’s left on base (19th).  By most measurements, Niese is a well above average veteran starter.  His  cutter and his curveball blend beautifully with one another when they’re both clicking and he gives the Mets a reliable weapon to throw off the timing set by the other hard throwing righties.

While we’re all excited to eventually see Steven Matz who brings the same tools as Niese and is supposedly better, it’s easy to forget just how valuable Niese’s performance level, grit and determination is.

Niese has pitched well above what’s considered average among all starters, but even better, he’s up there with some of the best among lefties. He quietly produces and gives you all the things you look for in a hard-nosed veteran, yet there he sits, quietly on the trading block, biding his time.

Does it make sense to hang onto Niese at least until we know exactly what we have in Matz? Or should Sandy deal our only proven lefthanded starter when the first decent offer comes along?

Lets! Go! Mets!

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Open Letter From Mets: No Good Deed Goes Unpunished http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/04/open-letter-from-mets-no-good-deed-goes-unpunished.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/04/open-letter-from-mets-no-good-deed-goes-unpunished.html/#comments Wed, 30 Apr 2014 16:33:18 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=154536 mets-letter-2

By now, most of you should have received the email from the Mets, encouraging you to prove that you are “real” fans and to sign a pledge of support.

The letter, which was signed and sent by Keith Hernandez, Ron Darling, Cleon Jones, Ed Charles, Jerry Koosman, and Doc Gooden, read as follows:

To True New Yorkers -

The victory you earn is sweeter than the victory you’re given.

When we won in ’69 and ’86, we, the players, didn’t do it on our own.

We made history together — players and fans — through a gritty, even stubborn, belief in this club against all the odds.

When we’ve won, we’ve proved through the way we did it that true New Yorkers are Mets fans.

So today we’re issuing a call to all Mets fans: Show your New York Mets pride — stand up and say you’re a true New Yorker.

As players, we can tell you that what happens in the clubhouse and what happens in the stands — players and fans together, believing in each other — makes a tremendous difference with what happens on the field.

Your support matters; we wouldn’t have won without you. So we’re calling on you to give today’s club the same chance we had.

If you agree that the fans have a role to play in making amazing things happen, add your name to this letter:

Mets.com/TrueNewYorker

One fan — maybe you — will present the signatures on this letter and the messages from fans to the team, before the Mets’ first Subway Series game at Citi Field. If you add your name, it could be you.

We’ll see you there. Let’s Go Mets!

The reaction from most of the fans on Twitter bordered on outrage, apathy, bewilderment and an overall feeling of, “I give up.”

The Mets marketing people just can’t seem to get out of their own way and their lame attempts at connecting with fans does more to disparage them than to reign them in.

Perhaps Mike Vaccaro wraps it up better than I can when he tweeted the following:

After hanging with this team through thick and thin over the last five years of dreadful baseball, poor performance, and the myriad of public relations disasters, do they really doubt our loyalty? Really?

The truth is that over the last few years it is us the fans who deserve proof of the team’s commitment to the fans, and NOT the other way around.

We want proof of the ownership’s loyalty to this team. Our team. A team that feels like it’s been hijacked ever since Fred, Jeff and Saul became majority owners.

That’s the real problem right there.

The fans of this franchise should all get medals of honor for how incredible and steadfast their support still is despite all of this organization’s bumbling debacles.

How about you sign our petition that you stop blaming us for everything that is wrong with this franchise?

How about you sign our petition that you stop telling us you won’t invest another dime on this team unless we come to Citi Field and sell the place out forty times a a year?

How about you sign our petition that if the Mets dont win a championship in the next three years, you’ll sell the team and get the hell out of Dodge?

It’s been nearly 30 years since our last championship, and we’re all still here – rooting and waiting – and you have the gall to ask us to pledge our loyalty?

What do you call the last three decades of our lives?

mmo

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Who Should be on Mets Rushmore? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/who-should-be-on-mets-rushmore.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/who-should-be-on-mets-rushmore.html/#comments Thu, 09 Jan 2014 19:30:30 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=139184 Screen Shot 2014-01-08 at 9.46.56 AM

Photo Credit: foxsportsradio1410.com

Four spots. 52 seasons. Who belongs on Mets Rushmore?

Without a doubt, Tom Seaver. If there isn’t a Mets Rushmore without The Franchise, it’s just another rock.

So how about the other three?

We could go with Casey Stengel. His number is already retired and on the wall. We can go with Gil Hodges. His is as well. Both are worthy.

How about Jerry Koosman? He’s Robin to Seaver’s Batman. Doc? Darryl?

Can’t forget the more recent half of our history. There are some worthy candidates, too.

So who would this Big Mets Fan put on Mets Rushmore?

Tom Seaver. Dwight Gooden. Mike Piazza. David Wright.

One great Met for each era.

Who’s on your Mets Rushmore?

Presented By Diehards

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Tom Seaver, Closer? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/tom-seaver-closer.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/tom-seaver-closer.html/#comments Wed, 01 Jan 2014 23:49:37 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=138610 tom seaver jimmy qualls

Tom Seaver won 311 games during his great career. He won 198 of those games with the Mets.

He also saved one career game.

The year was 1968. The day was July 7th. The Mets were playing the Philadelphia Phillies in a doubleheader that Sunday afternoon at Connie Mack Stadium. The Mets had already lost lost the first game 4-3. Danny Frisella was starting game two for the Mets, facing off against the Phillies Larry Jackson.

Frisella went 8 innings that afternoon and the Mets held the lead 4-2 going into the bottom of the 9th. It wasn’t Tom Seaver that was handed the ball, instead it was Jerry Koosman. Jerry faced one batter, hitting Tony Gonzalez. With zero out and one on, then it happened – Tom got the call from the pen.

Tom struck out cleanup hitter Dick Allen on three straight pitches. Johnny Callison came up next and Seaver quickly got him to fly out to center for the second out.

With two out and the tying run at the plate, the only man who stood in the way of Tom’s only career save was third baseman Tony Taylor. On an 0-1 pitch, Seaver got Taylor to fly out to Cleon Jones in left field to end the game and pick up his one and only career save.

Presented By Diehards

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Why I Love The Mets – Finalist #3 http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/12/why-i-love-the-mets-finalist-3.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/12/why-i-love-the-mets-finalist-3.html/#comments Mon, 23 Dec 2013 00:10:10 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=135963 1962 mets

Here is the last of our three finalists, and as you will soon see, all three of them did an excellent job and should be applauded. Overall, I tip my cap to all 109 Met fans who entered our “Why Do I Love The Mets” contest. including a 10-year old girl from Dallas, TX named Gayil, who says that she will always believe in her Mets, because no matter what they always plays hard – win or lose. That’s some good advice. Tomorrow afternoon I will announce the grand prize winner as my nephew will draw the winning entry from a Mets cap. Congratulations to all of you and Good Luck to the final three!

Why I Love The Mets – Finalist No. 3

By Larry Jones

It was 1962 and in that year two fateful things happened. One, and most notable for a very large number of people was the birth of the New York Metropolitans baseball team. The other and not of very large concern to anyone outside of my immediate family was my birth and thus begins the story of my love of the New York Mets.

One of my earliest memories was an old, worn copy of the 1963 Official Mets yearbook which featured Mr Met on the cover. I was five years of age at the time and found it laying atop a pile of old magazines in my Dads office. At the time I had no real idea what baseball was, but that image of Mr Met held my gaze and captured my interest. I kept that yearbook under my pillow and would spend hours looking through the pictures contained in it.

Later that year I heard a song over the radio that was destined to shape a good portion of my young life. My dad had brought home a fancy new radio and after plugging it in and working the tuning dial I heard the chorus to the Mets fight song “Meet the Mets”. I faintly remember curling up in the big chair with my dad and listening to the game, my very first. This became a common occurrence and soon I was able to name a number of the Mets players along with their failings or their strengths as told by my dad much to his delight and my mom’s dismay. That Christmas I received my very first baseball glove and a NY Mets ball cap and so it began, my lifelong love of the New York Metropolitans.

On July 25th, 1969 my dad took me to my first game. I was wide eyed with awe and wonder at the hugeness of Shea Stadium, the greenness of the grass and the energy of the place. The Mets won that game beating the Cincinnati Reds 4-3 behind seven strong innings from Jerry Koosman and an 8th inning two-run homer from J.C. Martin. I was hooked, an incurable Mets fan for life.

I have relished the joyous victories, like the 1969 “Miracle Mets” and felt the stinging misery of defeats such as the 2000 “Subway Series”. But through the ups and the downs, the good and the bad, the delight and the exasperation, my loyalty to “my team” has never wavered.

Many things have come and gone in my life but the one constant, like a warm and familiar blanket has always stayed with me, my baseball team, the New York Mets.

jerry koosman 1969

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Why I Love The Mets: Finalist #1 http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/12/why-i-love-the-mets-finalist-1.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/12/why-i-love-the-mets-finalist-1.html/#comments Sat, 21 Dec 2013 21:54:37 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=136073 1969 miracle mets

We are getting down to the end of our Kindle Fire HDX giveaway. We’ve already posted our two Honorable Mentions and we now present to you our Three Finalists. From these three a winner will emerge. It was tough narrowing down 109 different entries – all of them fantastic – to these three, but we believe we made the right choices. After we post all three of our finalists, we will randomly choose the winning entry, as we will place the final choice in the hands of fate. So without further adieu, here is the first of our Final Three. 

Why I Love The Mets – Finalist No. 1

By John Cardillo

Let’s start with why I became a Mets fan: A strong desire to connect with a distant father.

I was 7-years old and playing with Matchboxes in the hallway, lost in an imaginary race of epic proportions – one no doubt featuring Speed Racer. I had a clear line of sight to the back door off the kitchen and was startled when my father burst through it.

Dad wore a smile as wide as one I’d ever seen on his face and he twitched like someone who badly needed to use the bathroom as he struggled to remove his shoes. He was frantically waving a white pennant on a stick. It featured blue and orange lettering and stapled to its widest portion was a team photo of the 1969 Mets.

“They did it! They won, they won, they won!! They actually won!!,” giggled the man that I knew only as serious, stern and sometimes sullen. He couldn’t be drunk; he was not a drinker. Who was this clown masquerading as my father?

At that moment, I didn’t care. To see my father so happy was a wonderful gift and I wanted to share his joy with him. I jumped to my feet and bounced around the hallway as only a boy could.“Yes! Yes! I knew they’d do it,” I screamed, my arms raised skyward. It was a joyous feeling I’ll never forget.

And that, my friends, is the day I pledged my allegiance to the New York Metropolitans for life.

I’d by lying if I said that was also the day my father and I bonded as I had hoped. He died of cancer less than 10 years from what may have been the happiest day of his life, without us ever achieving the classic father-son relationship I craved, but I remain a die hard Mets fan to this day,

Ironically, the reason I remain a Mets fan probably has more to do with my mother than my father. Mom was a war bride, born and raised in Paris, France, and a survivor of the German occupation of her homeland during World War II. Likely because of her childhood experiences, she was defiant, stubborn and a bit of a contrarian — all traits I inherited.

All the other kids on my street in the small bedroom community of Sparkill, N.Y., were Yankees fans. The more they ridiculed me for my allegiance to the Mets, the stronger my commitment to them grew. From someone who craved acceptance, it did not make much sense to hang onto Mets fandom, but as I said, I inherited my mother’s traits. To this day I much prefer to root for the underdog than jump on the bandwagon of a winning or popular team. It’s who I am.

Even my childhood best friend and next-door-neighbor Jay Oliva, who’s father would later become the president of NYU, was a Yankees fan. He didn’t ridicule me, though; he accepted my decision to love the Mets and defended my ability to do so. That’s a true friend.

The other kids in the neighborhood pretended to be the Yankees of that era: Bobby Murcer, Roy White and Thurman Munson when hitting; Lindy McDaniel, Mel Stottlemyre or Fritz Peterson when pitching. Not me. When hitting or fielding I was Cleon Jones, Bud Harrelson, Wayne Garrett or even Bruce Boisclair. When pitching, I was Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman or Tug McGraw.

I wasn’t afraid to be different and that made me a stronger person throughout life. People become Mets fans for many different reasons, but those that stay Mets fans have the intestinal fortitude to withstand the ridicule they’re sure to receive.

So why have I stuck with the Mets all these years? Many reasons. Loyalty. Defiance. Faith. Commitment. An underdog mentality. A belief in a miracles. The desire to again feel the euphoria experienced in 1969 and 1986. The list is endless.

I simply can’t imagine rooting for another team. I’m committed to them through thick and thin, good times and bad, sickness and health. I want to be there for the next miracle season.

Most of all, I want my grandchildren to see me so happy they think I’m loaded — and for that to be a memory of me they will never forget.

jerry koosman mets b&w

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This Day In Mets Infamy With Rusty: Random Thoughts On Granderson http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/12/this-day-in-mets-infamy-with-rusty-random-thoughts-on-granderson.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/12/this-day-in-mets-infamy-with-rusty-random-thoughts-on-granderson.html/#comments Sun, 08 Dec 2013 16:31:10 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=134810 Orioles at Yankees

When the news broke late Friday morning that the Mets had finally came to an agreement with outfielder, Curtis Granderson I admit I did the proverbial  “happy dance” while driving in my car. Yes Granderson is not the “savior” that the Mets need to help this team escape from mediocrity as well as ineptitude. But his signing is a start and I do agree with Daily News columnist, Andy Martino, that his signing is the type of signing that shows other free agents that the Mets are trying to field a team that is trying to win.

Is Granderson a game changing free agent like Pedro Martinez or Carlos Beltran like the Mets signed before the 2005 season? No, but I feel he will be more of a leadership type ala Cliff Floyd, and a good complimentary player that will take the pressure off some of the other players including David Wright who now doesn’t have to do all the heavy lifting.

Is he worth the contract that he signed? Well he got a contract that reflects the robust free agent market this season. Would I have gone a fourth year? Obviously if I didn’t have to I wouldn’t, but hopefully by the end of his contract he will still be healthy enough to produce and that his career doesn’t mirror that of George Foster.

Lastly, I do not believe Mike Francesa’s “sources” that Jeff Wilpon had to twist Alderson’s arm to go the fourth year on Granderson. I’ll go with Mike Puma’s version of events, who tweeted that the fourth year was all Sandy. Now lets just hope the Mets GM can do some adding-on this week in Orlando.

And with that said….. HERE COMES THE INFAMY!!!

Mets alumni celebrating a birthday today include:

The original “Crazy Horse”, shortstop Tim Foli is 63 (1950). Foli was one of the players that was dealt in the trade that brought Rusty Staub to the Mets. The Mets would bring him back seven years later as a utility infielder.

Other transactions of note include:

The New York Mets purchased the contract of outfielder, Richie Ashburn from the Chicago Cubs on December 8, 1961. Ashburn was the first Met to ever bat over .300.

The New York Mets traded reserve infielder,  Elio Chacon and starting pitcher, Tracy Stallard to the St. Louis Cardinals for  outfielder, Johnny Lewis and middle reliever,  Gordie Richardson on December 8, 1964.

The New York Mets traded  former Rookie of the Year pitcher, Jon Matlack and power hitting first baseman/outfielder, John Milner to the Texas Rangers for first baseman, Willie Montanez, as well as reserve outfielders, Ken Henderson and Tom Grieve on December 8, 1977. This trade definitely goes down as one of the top 10 worst trades in Mets history!

The New York Mets traded fan favorite Jerry Koosman to the Minnesota Twins for future closer, Jesse Orosco and Greg Field on December 8, 1978. Koosman demanded to be traded when he saw how the Mets front office dismantled the team the season prior. M. Donald Grant granted Kooz his demands and it would take four years until we realized that the Mets got the better end of that deal.

The New York Mets traded utility infielder, Bob Bailor and spot starter/middle reliever, Carlos Diaz to the Los Angeles Dodgers for pitcher, Sid Fernandez and utility infielder, Ross Jones on December 8, 1983. This in my opinion was one of the biggest steals in Mets history

The Florida Marlins signed first baseman, Dave Magadan of the New York Mets as a free agent on December 8, 1992.I always felt is was a no brainer that “Mags” should have been the heir apparent to Keith Hernandez‘s job after “Mex” was let go. But the Mets management didn’t see him that way and paired him with various players in a platoon role. One has to wonder what coulda been if he was given the role full time.

The Florida Marlins signed starting pitcher,  Al Leiter of the New York Mets as a free agent on December 8, 2004. Although Mets fans saw Leiter as a clubhouse lawyer type it is not crazy to say that was one of the best pitchers over the last 20 years to wear a Mets uniform.

Mo Vaughn thinks the Grandy Man can!!! He was heard singing the confectionery jingle, “I Want Candy.”

Presented By Diehards

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This Week In Baseball History – Metsmerized Edition! http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/10/this-week-in-baseball-history-metsmerized-edition.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/10/this-week-in-baseball-history-metsmerized-edition.html/#comments Sun, 13 Oct 2013 05:16:51 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=131078 mazeroski

October 13

1903 – The first ever World Series ever played is completed as the Boston Pilgrims defeat the Pittsburgh Pirates 3-0 and take the series, 5 games to 3.

1914 – The Boston Braves, who were in last place in mid-July, rebound to win the World Series. “The Miracle Braves” defeat the Philadelphia A’s in the first sweep in Series history.

1921 – In the first all New York “World” Series, the Giants beat the Yankees, 1-0 and win the series, 5 games to 3.

1960 – In perhaps the greatest moment in Pirates history, Bill Mazeroski homers in the 9th against Ralph Terry and gives Pittsburgh a 10-9 win in Game 7. It’s the first walk-off HR to win a World Series.

1971 – The 1st World Series game is played at night. Led by Roberto Clemente with three hits, Pittsburgh defeats Baltimore, 4-3.

1985 – In one of the strangest World Series incidents ever, Cardinals speedster Vince Coleman is injured. While stretching before the game, Coleman becomes trapped under a moving tarp for 30 seconds. He is unable to play for the rest of the Series.

1996 – With a 6-4 win over the Orioles, the Yankees win their 34th pennant and go to the World Series for the first time in 15 years.

agee

October 14 

1905 - Christy Mathewson blanks the A’s, 2-0 and the Giants win the Series in 5. It is Mathewson’s 3rd shut-out of the Series and this will also be the only World Series where each game is a shut-out.

1906 – In spite of winning 116 games during the season, the Cubs lose to their cross-town rivals, the White Sox. The losers share, $439.50, is the smallest in history.

1908 – The Cubs beat the Tigers, 2-0 and win the World Series. The attendance is 6,210, the smallest ever for a World Series game.

1969 – Led by two remarkable catches by Tommie Agee, the surprising New York Mets beat the Orioles, 5-0 and take a 2-1 lead in the series.

1972 – A’s catcher Gene Tenace becomes the first player to homer in his first two World Series at-bats.

1973 – The Mets win Game 2, 10-7, and tie the A’s at one game apiece. This game features the last major league hit ever in the career of Willie Mays.

1976 – Chris Chambliss goes deep against Mark Littell in the bottom of the 9th in the fifth and deciding game of the ALCS, the Yankees defeat the Royals, 7-6 and win the pennant.

1984 – Led by Kirk Gibson’s two home runs, the Tigers beat San Diego 8-4 and win the series in five games.

1992 – With a 9-2 win over the A’s, the Toronto Blue Jays become the first Canadian team to go to the World Series.

2003 – Just five outs shy of returning to the World Series for the first time in 58 years, the Cubs blow a 3-0 lead. They give up 8 runs on 5 hits, 3 walks and an error after a controversial call of fan interference.

2006 – Silas Simmons, the oldest living baseball player, celebrates his 111th birthday. Simmons was born the same year as Babe Ruth.

mets astros 1986

October 15

1917 – The Chicago White Sox win the World Series. Eddie Collins races home from third base when the Giants leave the plate unprotected. Shortly after their victory, 24 members of the White Sox file a grievance with the league, insisting they did not receive their full winner’s share. This may be part of the motivation for the Black Sox Scandal two years later. Interestingly, the letter itself disappeared, only to be found five decades later in a box in a storage closet at the Hall of Fame.

1923 – The Yankees win their first World Series as they defeat the Giants.

1946 – In Game 7, Enos Slaughter scores from first base on a single as the Cardinals defeat Boston, 4-3.

1969 – Led by Ron Swoboda’s diving catch and Tom Seaver’s excellent outing, ‘The Amazin’ Mets’ beat Baltimore, 2-1, in 10 innings and take a 3-1 lead over the heavily favored Orioles.

1972: In a televised speech prior to the World Series, Jackie Robinson urges Major League Baseball to hire a black manager. Jackie would not live to see this. He would die just 9 days later.

1975 - Luis Tiant throws 163 pitches as Boston beats Cincinnati, 5-4, to even the series at 2 games each.

1986 – In the longest post-season game in history, 4 hours 42 minutes, the Mets win their third pennant, defeating the Houston Astros 7-6 in a 16 inning thriller. The Mets trailed 3-0 going to the ninth, when a rally was started by Lenny Dykstra and Ray Knight with big hits.

1988 – Making his only appearance of the World Series, Kirk Gibson homers against Dennis Eckersley with two outs in the bottom of the ninth of Game One to give the Dodgers a 3-2 win over Oakland.

mets 1969 world series koosman

October 16

1909 – Pirates rookie Babe Adams wins his third game of the World Series as Pittsburgh defeats Detroit in seven games.

1912 – Giants CF Fred Snodgrass drops a routine fly ball in the 10th, allowing Boston to win 3-2, and take the series.

1936 – After hitting 354 with 49 HR’s, 152 RBI’s and 164 Runs Scored, Lou Gehrig wins the AL MVP.

1960 – The National League decides to expand for the first time since 1900. The new franchises will begin playing in 1962 in Houston and New York.

1962 – With the tying and winning runs in scoring position in the bottom of the ninth in Game 7, Willie McCovey lines out hard to Bobby Richardson. The Yankees win, 1-0, their 20th Championship.

1969 - The Miracle. Behind a complete game 5-hitter tossed by Jerry Koosman, the Mets beat the Orioles 5-3 and win the series in 5. After losing Game 1 in Baltimore, the Mets won 4 straight.

1976 – In Game One of the World Series, Reds utility man Dan Driessen becomes the first National Leaguer ever used as a DH.

2000 - Mike Hampton tosses a three-hit complete game. The Mets defeat the Cardinals 7-0 and win their first pennant in 14 years.

gil hodges place 1969 Mets parade

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Reggie Jackson Says Mets Decision Not To Draft Him Was Based On Race http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/10/reggie-jackson-says-mets-decision-not-to-draft-him-was-based-on-race.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/10/reggie-jackson-says-mets-decision-not-to-draft-him-was-based-on-race.html/#comments Mon, 07 Oct 2013 15:37:34 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=130820 reggie jackson a'sLooks like Reggie Jackson and his soon to be released auto-biography will be hitting the ground running as the Hall of Famer leaves no stones uncovered as he seeks to dispel some of the bad raps against him through his career as a player.

The New York Post shared an exclusive excerpt from the book in which Jackson accuses the Mets of racism for opting to select Steve Chilcott instead of him with the first pick in the 1966 MLB Draft.

Arizona State standout Reggie Jackson was considered the best amateur ballplayer in the country heading into the 1966 Major League Baseball draft. The team picking first that year was the lowly, awful New York Mets.

Jackson recalls how his coach at Arizona State, Bobby Winkles, broke the bad news.

“A day or two before the draft, Bobby Winkles sat me down and told me, ‘You’re probably not gonna be the No. 1 pick. You’re dating a Mexican girl, and the Mets think you will be a problem,’ ” Jackson writes. “ ‘They think you’ll be a social problem because you are dating out of your race.’ ”

Jackson was especially baffled because he’s part Hispanic — his grandmother is from Puerto Rico and his middle name is Martinez. But that didn’t matter, even to the perennial cellar-dwelling Mets.

“No, you’re colored, and they don’t want that,” Winkles said.

Jackson would get even of course in 1973, when the Oakland A’s beat the Mets in the World Series that season – Jackson would be named the World Series MVP.

Here’s some more from the Post article:

He blamed the Mets’ infamous draft-day decision on Bob Scheffing, the team’s director of player development. According to Jackson, he was also the guy who would later trade Nolan Ryan. But Scheffing tried to pass the blame on to Casey Stengel, who was scouting for the team at the time.

“I know I never saw Casey Stengel when I was being scouted,” writes Jackson. “And how could you be in a ballpark and not know if Casey Stengel was there?”

Jackson wishes he could have been directly inspired by Mets’ veterans and managers of that era, including the late Gil Hodges, whose team won the 1969 World Series, and Yogi Berra, who managed the overachieving 1973 squad. “Unlike Billy Martin, Yogi didn’t need to be the star all the time,” he notes. “He already was the star.”

His desire to have been a Met comes off as almost romantic. “I think about that sometimes. I would’ve been coming up just as that team was finally improving. They had all those great arms: Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, Jon Matlack, Nolan Ryan, Tug McGraw. Oh boy!”

Safe to assume that the Mets may have had a dynasty run had they selected Jackson over Chilcott… But then again, who knows?

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

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

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

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

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

Pitcher

# of Times as Wins Leader

Years as Team Wins Leader

7

1967, 1969-73, 1975

5

1998-2002

4

1984-85, 1987, 1993

4

2001, 2003-04, 2006

3

1963-65

3

1968, 1974, 1976

3

1988-89, 1991

2

1965-66

2

1977-78

2

1979, 1982

2

1989, 1992

2

1995, 1997

2

2008-09

2

2011, 2013

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

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

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

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

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MMO Mailbag: Why Do The Mets Baby Their Starting Pitchers? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/08/mmo-mailbag-why-do-the-mets-baby-their-starting-pitchers.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/08/mmo-mailbag-why-do-the-mets-baby-their-starting-pitchers.html/#comments Tue, 20 Aug 2013 15:36:20 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=127541 wheeler harvey

Justin asks…

Why are the Mets always babying their pitchers? It’s not like any of these inning caps and pitch counts have resulted in fewer injuries. Look at Matz and Fulmer and Mejia just this year alone. I just don’t get this obsession. Nobody worried about these things with Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, Nolan Ryan and Jon Matlack and all four had great careers. Ron Darling complains about it all the time and he’s supposed to be our expert analyst, right? So what gives?

Joe D. replies…

Thanks for your question, Justin…

I can’t argue with the long and mostly healthy careers of the Mets pitchers you cited, but this new philosophy of trying to protect a young pitcher is not unique to the Mets and is an MLB-wide focus and it begins in the lowest levels of the minors.

I don’t really have a problem with safeguarding these young arms in the minors and trying to minimize any injuries to their arms. When you’re just 17-22 years old, there should be some checks and balances in place to keep from taxing them at so young an age.

I have a bigger problem with it when your 25 or older as in the case of Jacob deGrom, who isn’t even a hard thrower to begin with. The type of pitcher you are should matter and flame-throwers should be handled differently than pitchers who rely mostly on breaking balls and changeups.

One pitching coach told me that from the day a kid gets drafted or signed from the International arena, there is a progression these younger pitchers go through not only from year to year, but also from game to game. They start off gradually, increasing their pitch counts from 50 and then rise 10-15% per outing. Some pitchers will get maxed out at 75 pitches, others 90-100, but not repetitively – especially in the lower levels.

One of the things the Mets and other organizations stress is being efficient so that you can go deeper into the game. In other words reducing the walks and not expending 7-10 pitches to get a batter out.

We’ve seen that contrast at play between Zack Wheeler and Jenrry Mejia before he was shut down. Wheeler himself in his last start told reporters he needed to stop focusing on striking batters out and running up his pitch counts and just pitch more efficiently.

The formula is simple said one pitching coach in the Washington Nationals’ system, “Throw the ball over the plate, force contact, and don’t walk people.” “If you throw six, seven, eight pitches per batter, you’re not going to be out there very long.”

You may recall the Nationals deciding to shut down their ace Stephen Strasburg last fall and not pitch in the post season. Some blamed their first round exodus on that decision. Was it the right call? Nobody really knows.

Many pitchers have been limited to 100 pitches, and many of them suffer arm injuries just as frequently as those who have no such limitations.

It may take another 10-15 years until we have enough data to prove whether or not these pitch limits have done anything scientifically conclusive to prove that they have extended the average careers of pitchers in the 2000′s than it did in the 80s and 90s.

So I can’t say emphatically that I agree or disagree with a system wide approach to this. I’m leaning toward disagreeing. I think limits should be done on a case by case basis. I see Matt Harvey and I see a workhorse who is built for endurance. I can’t say the same thing about Zack Wheeler. His wiry frame and unorthodox delivery makes him a great candidate for an innings cap.

I’m not a proponent of a one size fits all philosophy for pitchers or hitters… Each player is unique and altering what makes them unique just so it fits neatly into an organizational philosophy sometimes leads to a player regressing rather than improving.

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Featured Post: Harvey vs Wheeler After Ten Starts http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/08/featured-post-harvey-vs-wheeler-after-ten-starts.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/08/featured-post-harvey-vs-wheeler-after-ten-starts.html/#comments Tue, 13 Aug 2013 15:34:43 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=126927 wheeler harvey

As Zack Wheeler wrapped up the 10th start of his young and promising career on Saturday night, I was all set to compare his first ten against Matt Harvey‘s until I saw the incredible job that Brian Joura did over at Mets 360. Rather than churn out 500 words to basically say the same thing, I figure you would all be better served by reading what Brian had to say and let him do all the heavy lifting.

Most intriguing were his two charts, one for you traditionalists, and the second one which is the one that is most revealing to me and says a lot.

360a

360b

“There is a lot to chew on in the above chart,” Brian says. “Both pitchers were remarkably similar in their ability to limit BABIP, a skill Harvey has duplicated here in 2013 with a .258 mark this season. However, we see a huge difference in their ERA estimators. Given Harvey’s abundance of strikeouts and Wheeler’s elevated HR rate, the difference in FIP is not a big surprise. But even after we normalize homers, Harvey still enjoys a substantial advantage in xFIP.”

This is not intended by Brian (or myself) to be some sort of “Harvey’s Better” post. Rather it puts into perspective just how remarkable and special Harvey is, even when compared to what has so far been an excellent rookie season for Zack Wheeler.

Aside from the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw, you can pit any other National League pitcher up against Harvey and you’ll likely get the same disparity and in fact even more separation than what you see here.

This is further validation that in Harvey we may just have our Tom Seaver, and so far, handedness aside, in Wheeler we may have our Jerry Koosman. Two foundation pieces for a rotation that is shaping up to be one of the most dominant forces in the league and possibly in the game once those other pieces arrive (Noah Syndergaard, Rafael Montero, etc.) as soon as next season.

This is an exciting time to be a Mets fan… I know there are still some of you bandwagon fans that are holding out for more, but for those of us who can put what we are seeing into it’s proper context, it’s clear that our future is going to be a bright one.

the future

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Have the Mets Reached a Turning Point? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/have-the-mets-reached-a-turning-point.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/have-the-mets-reached-a-turning-point.html/#comments Thu, 25 Jul 2013 13:29:37 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=125713 strawberry hernandezThe 1983 Mets finished their season winning 31 of their final 60 games, including a stretch from July 31st to August 23rd where they went 15-7. They also won six of their final eight. Many will point to 1984 and the way the Mets stormed out of the gate as the turning point, but for me, the writing was on the wall as early as the second half of 1983, when their run in early August signaled a team that was playing .500 baseball with real signs of promise. I’ve been waiting for a similar moment in a Mets season for the past 3 years without so much as a smidgen of hope.

That may be changing. The Mets have gone 20-14 since a pivotal June 16th walk-off win against the Cubs. They are currently 9 games under .500. They have not only been playing better lately, they have managed to beat some pretty good teams. The Mets have been scoring more, pitching better, and the bullpen has been surprisingly solid. While Sandy Alderson’s moves over the past three years have been suspect or inconsequential, 2013 has seen a pronounced string of good signings and shrewd trades.

Marlon Byrd, Scott Rice, LaTroy Hawkins, Carlos Torres, David Aardsma, Eric Young Jr have all played their parts well.

The good moves are starting to pile up, but I wonder whether part of that may have more to do with the organization as a whole turning their focus and resources more to the major league club? For the past three years the focus has clearly been on building up the farm and improving development programs, that also appears to be shifting.

The thing about Alderson is he is fairly conservative in that he will do what’s been proven. Stockpiling quality pitching in the minor leagues is a no-brainer … doing it during a period when the owners are distressed and unable to spend much makes it all the better because they have an excuse for not fielding a competitive team.

Alderson’s catchphrase since he’s gotten here has been sustainability. I don’t think he cares all that much about the Mets’ win-loss record over the past few years, but I think Alderson and his assistants are starting to because the fruits of their labor in the minor leagues are getting closer, and the fan base has finally had enough. They’re pushing their luck asking for a 3 or 4 year rebuilding phase from a beleaguered Met fan base. It’s all about timing. We’re getting to the point where even a lengthy small market rebuilding plan would have run it’s course, and the natives are getting restless.

The real effect of Alderson’s tenure probably won’t be felt until he’s gone. The plan to propel the Mets into perennial contention involves a sustainable minor league system focused on producing quality pitchers and a budget where big contracts are staggered, allowing for flexibility … we get it. If you need a model for the kind of pitching based sustainability we speak of, look no further than the Rays, who continue to churn out ace caliber pitching year after year (Chris Archer anyone?). That they would actually consider trading David Price in the midst of a season where they are not only contending but are probably the most dominant team in the game over the past month, is mind boggling.

syndergaard montero nimmoAlderson’s plan is clearly to construct something along these lines. Whether it will work or not remains to be seen, but honestly, as a Met fan you can’t help but be excited about Harvey, Wheeler, Montero, Syndergaard and the slew of quality arms moving through the system. The hope, for the Mets, is that sometime in the very near future we will finally see a confluence of this pitching reaching maturity, and a sizable bump in spending, which should theoretically move the team into almost certain contention. But this isn’t Kansas City, it’s not even Pittsburgh … New York has been remarkably patient with this down period and we’ve reached the point where the team needs to show us something. It is increasingly looking like this something may indeed occur as soon as 2014, but is it happening even now?

Was the June 16th win against the Cubs the turning point? It was also around this time that something else occurred. On June 18th the Mets called up Zack Wheeler. Has a legitimate second fire-balling threat on the Mets rotation, triggered a kind of tipping point? Two aces, that’s been the recipe, from Tom Seaver and Jerry Koosman, to Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling, to Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum, there have been numerous examples of teams who’ve managed to win with two aces atop their rotations and little else.  Alderson and his brain-trust have hedged their bets on their ability to augment Harvey with at least one more ace caliber pitcher over the next few seasons. Between Wheeler, Noah Syndergaard, and Rafael Montero, you’ve got to like their chances.

It’s true that one reason Alderson was brought in was to slash the budget and right the financial ship, but Alderson almost certainly also saw it as an opportunity to tear the system down with impunity and build it back up in a very different way. An opportunity that, ironically, would not have been available were it not for the Madoff disaster. They knew they had a good 2-3 year window during which time the Wilpons and their spending cuts would be perceived as the main culprits, so they had a chance to implement strategies and program models typically seen in smaller markets while the fans lamented a financially challenged ownership group.

Whether you are an Alderson apologist or a detractor, there is no doubt that signs are pointing up. Pitching wins, and there is nothing like having a couple of lights-out no-doubt show stopping arms in the rotation with several more in the pipeline. Whether or not you believe that dawn is finally breaking over this long dark baseball night for Mets fans, and regardless of where you stand on current management, the team is winning. Granted it’s a limited sample, but, dare I say it, the team’s current play has a sustainable feel to it. That they rebounded Tuesday night the way they did after Monday’s heart wrenching loss says something.

wheeler, harvey, geeThe question that looms as we head towards the trade deadline increasingly appears to be whether this Met team has a miracle run in them. They are 11 games back of both the first place Braves as well as the Wild Card with 66 games left to play. Crazier things have happened and did so with this franchise twice before. It nevertheless sounds as if Alderson is content to stand pat with one or two minor trades, and then only if the moves stand to benefit the team “moving forward.” Another way of saying they do not intend to trade away any core prospects. While trading Byrd and Parnell would likely be a death knell to the season, trading any of our prized pitching prospects for a bat may take away from the “critical mass” of pitching they’ve been stockpiling. We’re not quite where the Rays are in terms of being able to trade from a known and established talent pool.

It’s a tough call, and, as always, Alderson appears to be straddling the fence. He may trade Byrd and hold onto Parnell, he may trade a lower level pitching prospect but not any of our bigger names, he may simply continue to bide his time until he can spend and more of our prospects come on line. Personally I’d rather he take the conservative route.

As much as I’m beginning to enjoy the games again with an eye on an outside shot at some real drama, I wouldn’t risk 2014 by trading from the pitching that appears to be at the center of the limited success we’ve been enjoying for the past month. I’d rather stay the course, particularly as the present course appears to be winning more games than it’s losing.

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Harvey Dazzles, Strikes Out Ten In 5-0 Win Over Phillies http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/harvey-dazzles-strikes-out-ten-in-5-0-win-over-phillies.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/harvey-dazzles-strikes-out-ten-in-5-0-win-over-phillies.html/#comments Sun, 21 Jul 2013 20:34:10 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=125461 matt harvey

HARVEY DAZZLES AGAIN!!!

On the strength of a scintillating performance by ace Matt Harvey backed by three home runs, the Mets beat the Philadelphia Phillies by the score of 5-0 this afternoon at a sun-drenched Citi Field.

Harvey dominated the Phillies all day and held them to just three hits and never letting a batter advance past second base. His fastball hit triple digits on a few occasions and stayed in the 98-99 mph range all day. Batters were overmatched by his heat as well as his biting curve and slider. Harvey struck out the side in both the third and fifth innings and totaled ten Ks in his seven scoreless innings of work. It was his sixth double-digit strikeout game of the season and eighth of his career. Amazing…

Recently activated reliever Scott Atchison, slammed the door behind Harvey with two more scoreless innings to complete the shutout.

The Mets scored all five runs on a pair of back-to-back homers by Marlon Byrd and David Wright in the first inning, and then Juan Lagares had the big blast – a three-run homer in the fourth, his second of the season. Byrd now has 17 home runs for the season, while Wright is two behind with 15 dingers.

Lagares has turned it on since Collins has given him some semi-regular playing time and he is batting .387 in his last 11 games with nine ribbies. Lagares matched a career high with three RBIs and it comes on the heels of Saturday’s three-hit performance.

I am running out of great things to say about Matt Harvey. It was amazing to see the standing ovation he received as he walked off the mound. He continues to rollover the competition like a bulldozer and has become an unstoppable force when he takes the mound. Just looking at the expressions on the faces of the batters he strikes out, and watching their knees buckle is a sight to behold. His performance today lowered his ERA to 2.23 for the season – good enough for the third in the National League. He leads the NL with 157 strikeouts and has only walked 27.

Harvey also set a new franchise record today and surpassed Jerry Koosman (2.39) for lowest ERA (2.38) through 30 games (minimum 100 innings).

On Monday, the Mets will host the first-place Atlanta Braves for four games. Dillon Gee (7-7, 4.32 ERA) opposes right-hander Julio Teheran (7-5, 3.35) and first pitch is at 7:10 PM.

Harvey Pitching 6/28

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Cheering For Dwight Gooden… Again http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/cheering-for-dwight-gooden-again.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/cheering-for-dwight-gooden-again.html/#comments Tue, 16 Jul 2013 12:23:02 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=125004 doug flynn

I was 12 years old in the summer of 1978 when I heard the coolest news ever… My friend Lee called and told me he’d heard from a friend of a friend who knew where Mets second baseman Doug Flynn lived. And it was just down the street from me!

True, this wasn’t Jerry Koosman or Steve Henderson or Craig Swan. But it still was a real live Mets player.

Lee and I both lived in Bayside and Doug Flynn (supposedly) lived in the middle of three buildings that neighborhood kids referred to as ‘The Towers’ right off the Cross Island Parkway overlooking Little Neck Bay.

Lee had heard that Flynn lived on the 14th floor but didn’t know the exact apartment number. The two of us spent a day forging a plan. How would we find out which exact apartment? How would we get passed the doorman?

The following day we put our plan into action. It was one of the only times in my youth I went out without my Mets hat. I didn’t want to give myself away and spoil our flawlessly devised plot.

“What do you kids want?” asked the burly doorman, eying us suspiciously.

“I’m looking for a friend of mine who lives here,” I said, scanning the endless sea of names in the tenant’s directory.

I thought it was pretty clever…until he replied, “Oh, yea? What’s his name?”

Uh oh. “We can’t remember,” Lee responded as I continued checking the resident listing. I didn’t see “D. Flynn” anywhere.

With that, we were told to get our you-know-what off the property. Well, so much for meeting a Met. However, one name I caught a glimpse of was “S. Woods” in apt 14-K. As Lee and I regrouped we decided that had to be him. A code name. Woods. What are benches made of? Wood. And who was the Cincinnati catcher Doug Flynn played with before coming to NY as part of the Tom Seaver trade? Yep, Johnny Bench. It was all coming together. The extra proof was the apt #. 14-K. K…as in strikeout. Coincidence? I think not.

We spent the afternoon attempting different ways to bypass the doorman. (Doesn’t this guy ever take a break?) We offered to help little old ladies inside with their packages so we could gain access. We looked for a way to climb the fence into the pool area. A back door? A laundry room? Something???

starsky hutchWe snuck into the underground parking lot, exhaust fumes filling our lungs. Occasionally we’d get sidetracked by our own imagination, making guns with our hands as we darted between parked cars and “shot” at each other like we were Starsky and Hutch.

Then, it dawned on me. Even if we did manage to meet “S. Woods,” aka Doug Flynn, what would we say? I mean, Lee was 13, I was 12. And Doug Flynn was a real live major leaguer.

Our plan failed. We never got to meet the mystery resident in 14-K.

A few days later I was riding in my elevator. An elderly neighbor with white hair who stood at four foot nothing casually mentioned to another passenger, “I was having breakfast in the coffee shop in Bay Terrace yesterday and guess who was sitting across from me? Doug Flynn.”

I was shocked, flabbergasted. The only thing I could think of to say was, “What did he eat?”

“Bacon and eggs,” Miriam responded.

Bacon and eggs? This was a letdown. Bacon and eggs? I eat bacon and eggs, too. Surely, being a professional ballplayer he should be eating different food than me. Maybe even some baseball-related food, like a hot dog. Or Cracker Jacks. But no, Doug Flynn, professional major leaguer, was just like me.

12138878-doc-bookA few days ago I concluded reading Doc: A Memoir by Dwight Gooden and Ellis Henican. That 12 year old kid scampering around an underground garage like Starsky is a fading memory. But after reading Doc’s memoir, I was once again reminded that ballplayers are people, too. They have issues to deal with. They have families. They eat bacon and eggs.

We come home from our jobs, turn on a ballgame and watch others do their job. We venture out to Flushing to escape our own lives for a few hours to watch others work. But those guys down on that field are people just like us.

Okay, maybe not exactly like us. While I still have some moderate success in the batting cages at my local miniature golf course, I’m not exactly David Wright. When Dwight Gooden, star pitcher of the Mets, walked into a Strip Club in the 80′s, his fame and popularity opened the door to going home with a few strippers.

Me? While I love writing for this site, when I advise a stripper, “I’m a blogger for Metsmerized,” I don’t get the same result as Doc did. Instead, I get an arched eyebrow, a curious look and, “Look, dude, do you want this lap dance or not?” So, yes, I guess ballplayers are a little different in some ways.

Joe reviewed this book a few weeks back and did a far better job that I ever could.  I found Doc’s memoir to be painful, disturbing. A tough read. But also inspiring. I read the nearly 300 pages in three sittings, stopping every once in a while to let some of what I just read ‘sink in.’

If you’re looking for a “baseball book” this is not it. If you’re hoping for a behind-the-scenes tell-all into the boozing, brawling and bimbo-chasing bad boys of 1986, this is not for you. The entire glorious 86 season is summed up in one chapter. Game Six gets 2 paragraphs.

10-dwight-doc-gooden-mets-low-pants-high-stirrups-worst-sports-uniform-innovations - CopyThis is not about the great Doctor K–Rookie of the Year, Cy Young winner, starter of an All-Star game and surefire lock for Cooperstown. This is a book about Dwight Eugene Gooden, a man possessed by the demons of addiction—who just happened to be a baseball player.

Not many of us now first-hand what it’s like to be a baseball player. It’s not like we have family members or second cousins who play. However, many of us do have a close relationship to addiction. How many people reading this knows someone—a friend, family member—who battles some sort of addiction, be it alcohol, substance abuse, gambling, etc…While it’s difficult to relate to a “baseball player” it’s easier to relate to someone waging an internal struggle to NOT reach for that beer, to NOT do that line of Coke.

As I read this painful but moving story of a man’s life, a man who battled addiction brought on by a painful childhood and untold wealth, fame and popularity by being the top sports figure in the biggest city in America, I felt myself humbled. While reading this excellent work of non-fiction, at times I laughed. Other times, I was reminded of things I’d forgotten. I felt my blood boiling as Dwight recounted the way he was treated by prison intake guards during one of his incarcerations. And yes, I shed a few tears.

I even—as hard as this is to believe—gained a new respect for George Steinbrenner. I never thought I’d say this (or write this) but ‘King George’ was a class act.

In his words I found Dwight to be honest, humble, forthright and direct. He opened his heart and bared his soul for the entire world to see. He doesn’t make excuses for what he did. He doesn’t point fingers like that other player from the Mets he is frequently associated with. He accepts responsibility.

In Dwight’s blunt self-assessment of his life and his career, the words he uses leave no doubt. He is a man filled with sorrow. Not just for the heartache he brought upon his children, his wife, his parents, his family. But also for us Mets fans. You can’t help but get the feeling he is filled with guilt and regret. Dwight was 19 when he arrived in New York. A kid. But old enough to realize the hopes of an entire city rested on his teenage shoulder and in his teenage arm.

tom seaver dwight gooden

When Mets fans look back at the Dynasty that never was, it seems we view Doc as the poster child for everything that went wrong. I, too, had unfairly blamed him as one of the reasons.

I now feel it’s necessary NOT to blame Doc for what didn’t happen in the 80’s but to thank him for what he gave us.

In the summer of 91, my wife and I were living in Philly for a short time. One Saturday afternoon we drove up the Jersey Turnpike, across the Bronx and walked into Shea. The Mets were playing the Giants that day. As we sat in the mezzanine level along third base, I leaned over, tapped her on the shoulder and pointed to #16 on the mound. “One day,” I said, “we’ll be able to tell our grandkids that we saw the great Doc Gooden pitch.” We never had kids, grandkids and a decade later the marriage itself ended. But I did get to see the great Doc Gooden pitch.

I was too young to really appreciate the greatness I witnessed when Tom Seaver took the mound. And while Matt Harvey is a hell of a pitcher, he still has a ways to go. I can, however, confidently state that in forty years of rooting for the Mets I never—NEVER—saw a pitcher dominate a game the way he did.

By the time I finished reading this book, I was worn out. Reading about the roller coaster he endured left me physically drained. I can’t begin to imagine what it was like for him.

In the 80’s, I found myself cheering for Doctor K, Doc Gooden.

Now, in something that’s ultimately more important than defeating the Cubs or Cardinals, I found myself cheering for Dwight Eugene Gooden. Not the prodigy, not the young star who would lead a baseball franchise out of the dark wilderness. Rather a man, a human being, who learned and made me once again realize that sometimes the game of life is more important than the game of Baseball.

I’ve always been a fan of Doc. Now I’m a fan of Dwight.

WIN A FREE SIGNED COPY OF DOC!

You can purchase a copy of DOC: A Memoir for less than the price of a nosebleed seat at good ol’ Shea. Or you can follow us on Twitter at @Metsmerized for a chance to win a FREE Signed Edition of Doc during tonight’s All Star Game.

Just tweet us your favorite Doctor K moment and include the hashtag #DocGooden

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MMO GFX: Happy Harvey Day! http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/mmo-gfx-happy-harvey-day.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/mmo-gfx-happy-harvey-day.html/#comments Tue, 16 Jul 2013 04:35:13 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=125063 happy harvey day

As most of you know by now, Matt Harvey has been named the National League starting pitcher at the 84th All-Star Game to be played at Citi Field tonight at 8 p.m. EST.

Harvey is the third Mets pitcher to start an All-Star Game. Dwight Gooden started the 1988 All-Star Game at Cincinnati and the 1986 Game at Houston. Tom Seaver started the 1970 All-Star Game in Cincinnati.

Harvey became the fourth pitcher in club history to make the All-Star team in his first full season in the majors. He joins Seaver (1967), Jerry Koosman (1968) and Gooden (1984).

“It’s definitely a huge honor and something I’m very excited about,” Harvey said after the announcement.

Manager Terry Collins plans to start reducing Harvey’s workload and even having miss another turn in the rotation once the season resumes.

“He’s going to get skipped again in the second half,” Collins said yesterday. “There are going to be games where he’s going to have his ‘A’ game. He’s going to pitch. Now, after that, his next start, he probably won’t pitch as much. Now, five innings? I can’t really tell you that.”

The plan is to cap Harvey at about 200-210 innings which amount to no more than 70-80 innings going forward – or about 11-12 of his average starts. That would mean missing three starts between now and the rest of the season.

I’m totally down with that considering that Harvey was on pace to exceed last year’s workload by about 75 innings. You wouldn’t want to do that to any young pitcher especially one as special as Mr. Harvey.

1373928769000-harvey-USP-MLB-All-Star-Game-National-League-Practice-1307151854_4_3

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Matt Harvey To Start All-Star Game On Tuesday http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/matt-harvey-to-start-all-star-game-on-tuesday.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/matt-harvey-to-start-all-star-game-on-tuesday.html/#comments Mon, 15 Jul 2013 18:18:08 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=124942 matt harveyHere is the official proclamation from the Mets…

Matt Harvey has been named the National League starting pitcher at the 84th All-Star Game to be played at Citi Field tomorrow at 8 p.m. EST.

Harvey is the third Mets pitcher to start an All-Star Game. Dwight Gooden started the 1988 All-Star Game at Cincinnati and the 1986 Game at Houston. Tom Seaver started the 1970 All-Star Game in Cincinnati.

Harvey became the fourth pitcher in club history to make the All-Star team in his first full season in the majors. He joins Seaver (1967), Jerry Koosman (1968) and Gooden (1984).

Says Matt Harvey, “It’s definitely a huge honor and something I’m very excited about.”

Says Bruce Bochy: ”What a tremendous year he’s had. It really wouldn’t have matters what city we were playing in with the year he had.”

Bochy also jokingly said that Harvey will be limited to 100-120 pitches.

that's not funny

Original Post 11:30 AM

Just read the title… No other words needed… :-)

matt harvey i got this

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