Mets Merized Online » Joe Torre http://metsmerizedonline.com Mon, 02 Mar 2015 17:57:28 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.5 An All Star Game To Remember http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/an-all-star-game-to-remember.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/an-all-star-game-to-remember.html/#comments Mon, 14 Jul 2014 04:44:45 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=160725 beatles2_1024

1964 was a bustling time in our nation’s history. With America still reeling from the shock of our president being assassinated on the streets of Dallas, we were under invasion by a group of four long haired lads from Liverpool. New President Lyndon Johnson declared a ‘War on Poverty.’ Average annual income in America was $6000, a new house cost $13,000, a new car $3500. For $1.25 you could purchase a movie ticket, for $4.50 you could fill your car.

Sidney Poitier became the first African-American to win an Oscar for his role in “Lilies of the Field.” Ford unveiled a new sports car called the Mustang, a game show named “Jeopardy” premiered and another group from England, this one calling themselves the Rolling Stones, released their debut album. In New York, a group of twelve young men were arrested for their rebellious act against the establishment. In what is regarded as the first anti-war protest of the decade, they publicly burned their draft cards in protest of our growing involvement in a place half way around the world most Americans could not locate on a map. A place called Vietnam.

People in NY were excited. Not only were we hosting the World’s Fair but with the opening of Shea Stadium, NL baseball was officially back in NY. With this new state-of-the-art modern facility that could be modified for football, Mets fans were ecstatic. In only the 31st game ever played at Shea, Jim Bunning tossed a Perfect Game. It was the seventh perfecto in history and the first in the NL since John Montgomery Ward tossed one against the Buffalo Bisons in 1880.

Now it was time for our home to appear in the National spotlight. 50,850 packed Shea as the Mets hosted the 35th All-Star Game. The 1964 midsummer classic is regarded by historians as one of the best ever. Walt Alston managed the NL club and Al Lopez piloted the AL players. Current Mets manager Casey Stengel and future Mets manager Gil Hodges were coaches. Dean Chance took the mound for the AL, Don Drysdale for the NL. The Mets own Ron Hunt started at second base. Of the 18 starting players, eight wound wind up in Cooperstown.

Batting Orders

American League                                                                 National League

Jim Fregosi  (SS)                                                                  Roberto Clemente   (RF)

Tony Oliva   (RF)                                                                   Dick Groat         (SS)

Mickey Mantle  (CF)                                                              Billy Williams    (LF)

Harmon Killebrew  (LF)                                                         Willie Mays     (CF)

Bob Allison    (1B)                                                                 Orlando Cepeda  (1B)

Brooks Robinson  (3B)                                                          Ken Boyer     (3B)

Bobby Richardson  (2B)                                                        Joe Torre      (C)

Elston Howard     (C)                                                             Ron Hunt       (2B)

The AL wasted no time taking the lead. Fregosi opened the game with a solid hit to left field, moved to second base on a passed ball and scored two outs later on a rocket to left off the bat of Harmon Killebrew. 1-0 AL.

1964-allstar-game-ron-hunt - Copy

LA Angels’ Dean Chance baffled the NL for three innings. In the fourth he was replaced by John Wyatt of the Kansas City A’s. Billy Williams welcomed Wyatt to the game by leading off the fourth with a solo home run. Later that inning a solo blast by Ken Boyer put the NL on top, 2-1.

The NL added to the lead in the fifth. With two outs, Clemente singled up the middle off of Camilio Pascual. Cardinals shortstop Dick Groat doubled, Clemente raced home and the NL was up 3-1.

The American League rallied to tie the game in the sixth. After Oliva was fanned, Mantle and Killebrew singled. Brooks Robinson hit a line drive to the power alley in left-center. The ball rolled to the wall, Mantle and Killebrew scored. 3-3.

The AL recaptured the lead in the seventh when Elston Howard was hit by a Turk Farrell pitch. Pinch-hitter Rocky Colavito doubled, making it second and third. Fregosi hit a sac-fly to center that scored Howard and put the AL back on top, 4-3.

Boston’s Dick Radatz came in and once again the NL hitters were baffled. Radatz struck out 4 of the 6 batters he faced in the 7th and 8th. Juan Marichal made quick work of the AL in the top of the 9th. Radatz took the mound in the bottom half of the frame needing only three outs. But he’d have to face the heart of the NL’s potent lineup.

1964All-StarGame

Mays opened the inning with a walk and stole second. With the tying run in scoring position, Mays’ teammate Orlando Cepeda dug in. He hit a pop fly to short right that dropped. Mays scored easily to tie the game at 4-4. Cepeda, who took second on the throw home, was replaced by pinch runner Curt Flood. Ken Boyer popped out for the first out. Reds catcher Johnny Edward was intentionally walked to set up the DP. With runners on first and second and the game knotted at four in the bottom of the ninth, who was due up but none other than our own Ron Hunt, the Mets sole representative.

Manager Alston, however, decided to pinch hit for Hunt with Hank Aaron. The future HR king was fanned and it seemed like Radatz would get out of the jam when Phillies outfielder Johnny Callison stepped to the plate. Callison sent the first pitch high and deep and the ball sailed over the right field wall and gave the NL an improbable come from behind 7-4 victory, scoring four runs in the bottom of the ninth. The Phillies outfielder joined Ted Williams and Stan Musial as the only players to win an All-Star Game on a walk-off HR.

It was a great and memorable All Star moment and it happened right here in Flushing, right here at Big Shea.

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All 30 MLB Clubs Unanimously Approve Instant Replay http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/all-30-mlb-clubs-unanimously-approve-instant-replay.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/all-30-mlb-clubs-unanimously-approve-instant-replay.html/#comments Thu, 16 Jan 2014 19:51:43 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=139764 mlb-logo

2:45 PM Update: All 30 MLB clubs have just unanimously approved expansion of instant replay, which will be in effect for the 2014 season and postseason.

Clubs can now show all replays on scoreboard in stadiums.Teams should know if they’ll win challenge before doing so. Can look at video.

Anthony Rieber of Newsday is at the Owners Meetings where the big thing on the agenda is whether Major League Baseball should scale back its planned ambitious expansion of instant replay so it can be implemented in time for the upcoming season.

MLB executive vice president of baseball operations Joe Torre said on Wednesday night, ”I think it’s going to happen.”

Torre said MLB is considering adding fair/foul calls and limited safe/out calls with a manager’s challenge.

Previous incarnations of the system proposed to begin this season included all safe/out calls, but that may no longer be the case.

“It’s not a perfect game,” Torre said. “If you try to get every single thing right, you’d have to time the game with a calendar.”

He indicated that adding safe/out calls on plays at the plate was the first priority. The current replay plan looks only at whether a ball is a home run.

“The home run thing, it’s worked really well,” Torre said. Of the changes, Torre said, “We certainly don’t want a play at the plate where umpires realize they were wrong and couldn’t do anything about it.”

Torre said the umpires are on board, but any plan approved by the owners must also be approved by the players’ union for 2014. Owners also are discussing banning home-plate collisions at these meetings.

Back in November, when the plan was first bought to the table and met with a strong willingness by the owners to move forward with it, our own John Ginder wrote the following:

Touching on it briefly, it looks as if managers will be allowed two challenges a game. If they are unsuccessful with their first challenge they will lose the second one. It is still unclear what can be challenged, but it won’t just be home runs anymore.

One thing about baseball that I have always loved and admired is the human element. Maybe I am in the minority. I understand how frustrating it can be when a call doesn’t go your way, but I also know the feeling when you get away with one. Implementing this replay system in a way is phasing this out. I am not saying that I don’t agree with it, I am just saying that one of the things that I along with many love about the game is being handed over to the replay booth.

A complaint for years has been how long games take to be played. With pitching changes, hitter’s pre-at bat rituals, time between pitches, etc… adding the possibility of four challenges isn’t going to speed things up any. I am not complaining about the duration of a game because I could spend all day everyday at a ballpark, I am just stating the facts.

It is still early in this process and I know that the people involved are going to put in a ton of time to iron out the details to be sure the right system is in place, but it leaves me with an on the fence feeling about how much it actually will change the game.

The technology is there to make this work but where does it stop?

Presented By Diehards

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MMO Exclusive: Joe Torre Reflects On His Time With The Mets and Yankees http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/12/mmo-exclusive-joe-torre-reflects-on-his-time-with-the-mets-and-yankees.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/12/mmo-exclusive-joe-torre-reflects-on-his-time-with-the-mets-and-yankees.html/#comments Mon, 09 Dec 2013 16:58:46 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=134919 torre mets

Joe Torre hoped it would happen, but he never dared think it would. The former New York Mets player and manager, who later carved his legacy as four-time World Series manager of the Yankees, was selected to the Hall of Fame today by the veteran’s committee.

The announcement was made at the Walt Disney Swan resort hotel in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Torre will go in with fellow managers Tony La Russa and Bobby Cox. All three won over 2,000 games and World Series titles. All three are incredibly deserving.

Also deserving, but left out were Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, whom Torre said, “changed my life for giving me that opportunity,’’ and Marvin Miller, the former director of the Players Association.

TORRE: Former Met goes into Hall of Fame.As much as friends told Torre – who currently works in the commissioner’s office – his nomination was a given, he never let his mind wander there.

“That’s what they said when we were up 3-0 against the Red Sox, and looked what happened,’’ said Torre of the Yankees’ infamous collapse in the 2004 ALCS. “As much as I would have liked it not to happen, I never obsessed over it.’’

Torre has little to say about his time with the Mets other than, “I started with the Mets when they weren’t spending anything,’’ and that he wasn’t the manager for two weeks when the club dealt Tom Seaver to Cincinnati.

Torre, a lifetime .297 hitter, finished his playing career and was named manager shortly thereafter.

Torre, who managed the Mets, Yankees, Braves and Cardinals, won 2,326 games, fifth all time, along with six pennants. He wore his 2003 World Series ring.

While he credited Steinbrenner for the opportunity, he saved his greatest gratitude for his players.

“You can’t win the Kentucky Derby unless you are on a thoroughbred,’’ Torre said of the team that won titles in 1996, 1998-2000. “They had so much heart and backbone.’’

Fred Wilpon offered a fitting statement to salute the Mets’ one-time skipper.

“We are thrilled that Joe Torre has been elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. “Joe has distinguished himself throughout his career both on and off the field.  His records and accomplishments as a player and manager speak for themselves.  All of us at the Mets salute and congratulate Joe.”

Joe was always one of the classiest people in the game.

Today’s honor is fitting for this baseball giant.

Original Report

The 16-member Expansion Era Committee unanimously elected Bobby Cox, Tony LaRussa, and Joe Torre to the Baseball Hall of Fame. The announcement came Monday morning at the Winter Meetings.

Cox managed the Braves for 25 seasons and the Blue Jays for four seasons. During that span he has guided his teams to five pennants and one World Series (1995, with the Braves). Cox also won 15 division titles including 14, 30 of them in in a row with with the Braves. The 3-time NL Manager of the Year ranks fourth on the all-time list with 2,504 wins.

La Russa has three World Series titles to his credit and is one of two managers to win a championship in each league. He also has six pennants under his belt and ranks third all-time with 2,728 wins.

Torre, a former Met player/manager, has had a distinguished career as a hitter and nine-time All-Star tallying 2,342 hits and 252 home runs while winning the NL MVP in 1972. As a manager, Torre ranks fifth on the all-time wins list with 2,326 victories and has won four World Series.

Cox, La Russa and Torre will be inducted alongside those elected by the BBWAA on Sunday, July 27, 2014 in Cooperstown.

Photo courtesy of the New York Mets.

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Collins Is Lobbying Hard For A Cleanup Hitter To Protect Wright http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/11/terry-collins-is-lobbying-hard-for-a-cleanup-hitter-to-protect-wright.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/11/terry-collins-is-lobbying-hard-for-a-cleanup-hitter-to-protect-wright.html/#comments Fri, 15 Nov 2013 05:30:46 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=133013 terry collinsAccording to a report from Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, Mets manager Terry Collins said the top priority for Sandy Alderson is to find a bat to protect David Wright.

“No. 1, we’ve got to find a bat in the middle of the lineup that produces runs,” Collins said at Joe Torre‘s annual charity event in Manhattan.

“We certainly hoped Ike [Davis] could do it. He had a rough year. He’s certainly not done by any means. He’s still a young guy. But for us to compete, we’ve got to make sure we have a guy who we know is going to produce. We’ve got to protect David. I know that’s probably our No. 1 priority right now. ”

The key words in that statement by Collins is making sure we get a slugger “we know is going to produce.”

Collins has been lobbying for some thump in the lineup ever since the Mets announced his two year extension after the season ended.

He told the Midland Daily News that Wright was the centerpiece of the offense, but he needed a cleanup hitter to help him at the plate.

“We’ve got to find us somebody who can keep the opposing pitchers from pitching around David,” Collins said. “That’s one of the things we will be looking for in the offseason.”

Some would say that the Mets are already behind the eight-ball as they need to replace almost 40 home runs from the losses of Marlon Byrd and John Buck.

We’re all praying that Travis d’Arnaud can provide some of that thump behind the plate, but he would need to stay healthy and not look as overwhelmed as he did at times last season. The Mets need to see some punch from the one-time top catching prospect in the game who soon turns 25.

Currently, the Mets have nobody on the roster who could bat cleanup. Lucas Duda comes the closest, but there’s not a pitcher in the game that fears pitching to him, and that’s what the Mets need to protect Wright.

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Time For Some Brave, New, Bold Moves For Mets http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/11/time-for-some-brave-new-bold-moves-for-the-mets.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/11/time-for-some-brave-new-bold-moves-for-the-mets.html/#comments Thu, 07 Nov 2013 14:41:41 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=132160 sandy-alderson

He is the best man who, when making his plans, fears and reflects on everything that can happen to him, but in the moment of action is bold.  ~  Herodotus

The moment of action for New York Met General Manager Sandy Alderson is now. It is time for Sandy to fly against his better nature, to throw caution to the wind, and take his own bold approach to fixing the Mets.

Rules are guidelines to give us structure, but in dire times rules are made to be broken. Sandy, be a lion, throw caution to the wind, and dare to employ a different dynamic in improving the Met roster.

For three years, our Met GM has worked diligently retooling our minor league system with an emphasis on stockpiling young pitching prospects. Other than the captain, all our high paid former stars are gone, and we’ve been told that unlike other Hot Stove campaigns, this year there is money in the kitty to spend.

It’s time to throw out the old baseball playbook and rebuild our team with a roster that plays to the vastness of our home at Citi Field. With few true power options available through free agency, and an understandable reluctance to exchange a bevy of coveted young pitching arms for even a single credentialed major league slugger, why not build around speed?

I realize modern baseball sabermetrics have rendered the value of speed to the baseball scrap heap. But, a potent argument can be made that it’s time to shuck off the modern trend in favor of a lineup based on pitching, defense and speed. Paraphrasing E.F. Hutton, ‘lets do things the old fashioned way.’

Everyone knows a murderer’s row team brings throngs of fans to the park. But more available money or not, we lack the resources to rebuild our roster around homerun power. Besides power, the next offensive quality to ignite a fan base is speed. That was part of what started Met fans love affair with a young shortstop named Jose Reyes.

Think about it. Fans love to see athletic speed- burners hustling on the base paths to add another base. It’s not simply about stolen bases. It’s turning would- be double plays into fielder’s choices, forcing opposing infielders to hurry throws turning would-be infield outs into infield errors. It’s baserunners who stir up a ruckus turning would-be outs into base hits, singles into doubles, and doubles into triples. It’s about athletic outfielders running down balls in the outfield and making dazzling defensive plays to choke off rallies.

Speed is athletic. Speed is dynamic. Speed is energizing. And, speed doesn’t have a bad day. It’s the root of a mental toughness that can define the way a baseball team approaches the game.

So, what is Sandy to do. First and foremost, don’t fear promoting some young arms to plug up holes in the pitching staff. This will direct precious resources to finding speedy position players through free agency. Young pitching options are especially the case in the bullpen. Vic Black, Jeurys Familia, Jeff Walters, possibly Cory Mazzoni should all compete for possible bullpen slots with legitimate chances to make the squad.

It was disheartening to read that already Jenrry Mejia’s potential role in the starting rotation was being minimized. What’s the kid to think? He is elevated to the big team at the end of the season and simply dazzles in the starting rotation. In five starts, the youngster complies a sparkling 2.30 ERA, striking out 27 batters while walking only 4, with a 1.171 WHIP.

“I’m sorry, kid, you’re not ready yet, we believe you need more seasoning in Vegas,” simply seems disingenuous. The kid has earned a chance. All the other young kids are watching. Let Mejia continue to prove he belongs in Flushing as a part of the starting rotation. That, too will save additional resources for a speed shattering plan.

If we must go out and bring in a starting rotation place holder acquire them by trade. It pains me to say this because when he played in Binghamton he was my favorite B-Met, and on the parent squad he has always done whatever he was asked without complaint and with enthusiasm. But, in a plan to fly with the wind, Daniel Murphy becomes expendable as an exchange for a place holder starting pitching option.

eric young

How can that be? Who will play second base. No, not Wilmer Flores, I’m thinking Eric Young Jr. Don’t shut me off just yet. EY becomes a valuable asset in a lineup built around speed. Recently, I read a piece by Scott Fergunsen that used a new statistic he had created that he tabbed Scoring Positive Percentage. SPP measures how often a player gets himself in scoring position or scores himself whether via a hit or stolen base. To find an SPP, Scott simply adds a players stolen bases, doubles, triples, and home runs and divides by their number of plate appearances.

Measured against all the lead-off batters in the major leagues in 2013, Eric Young Jr.’s SPP was second best in the National League, trailing only Starling Marte. Young bested Shin-Soo Choo, Matt Carpenter, Carl Crawford, Denard Span, Norichika Aoki and all the rest.

When Fergunsen dug below the surface level of the baseball numbers, he concluded Young performed for the Mets far better than most people think. He was a sparkplug at the top of the Met batting order, a tough kid who provided a much needed energy boost to the lineup, and he was very effective when he led off a game or an inning during the game. Those situations equaled 40.2 percent of his bats with Young hitting .313 with a .387 on-base-percentage and a 10 percent walk rate. That batting average and walk rate in these situations ranked 3rd best in the NL.

And, Fergunsen notes that Young’s lead-off stats in general (leading off an inning or game or hitting with nobody on base and 1 or 2 outs) are pretty fine. In those cases, he hit .277 with a .349 OBP and a 9.2 base-on-ball percentage.

It was a stretch of 50 at bats representing 12-percent of Young’s plate appearances that skewed his overall statistics. I’m sure most every Met fan reading this post can remember that stretch well. Young hit only .095 over that span with a .357 OPS. Ouch. But, as Fergunsen notes, for 88 percent of his time at the top of the order, Eric Young performed well earning him a shot at returning to the top of the order next season.

Well, why can’t EY do that playing left field with Daniel Murphy still at second base you ask. Because a bold Sandy Alderson, a GM building a dynamic, lightning fast running machine will be bringing in Rajai Davis to play left field.

Toronto Blue Jays v Tampa Bay Rays

What? You’ve lost all your marbles you scream? Hear me out. Davis is a free agent who played for Toronto last summer. With speed our new premium, Davis could be the best base stealer in baseball. Last season he swiped 45 bases, one less than his SB total in 2012. Davis was only caught stealing 6 times in 2013.

I understand that Davis is 33 years old, a questionable time for guys who depend on their legs. Yet, in the past five seasons, with only one of those campaigns as a bonafide regular, Rajai has stolen 216 bases. And using Scoring Position Percentage, Davis goes off the charts at 19.4 percent.

The most appealing fact for Sandy could be that Davis should come cheap. The speedster earned $2.5 million last season and deserves an uptick, but he is on record saying his top priority is gaining a chance to play everyday. His hypothetical 8 year professional averages based on a 162 game schedule have him hitting .268 with 53 stolen bases, scoring 69 runs with a .316 OBP next season. In 2009 for Oakland in 390 at-bats, Davis hit .305, stole 41 basis and had a .360 OBP. The following year, his only full season as a starter with over 500 at-bats, Davis hit .284 with 51 stolen bases and a .320 OBP.

Davis’s is a right handed batter who rakes against left-handed pitching hitting .319 with an .859 OPS last summer. His numbers dipped dramatically against right handed pitching, but Davis is eager to prove all that will change with a chance to play everyday. An average defender, Davis gets a jump after a ball slowly, but depends on his blazing speed to make up the difference. With Juan Lagares in centerfield, Davis would man the left field corner spot in a remake that capitalizing on speed.

curtis-granderson_600

A bold Sandy Alderson remake will target a pure power hitter to play the opposite outfield corner slot, Curtis Granderson of the Yankees. And, yes, the Grandy Man is part of the speed equation makeover. Granderson’s 10 year, 162 game stolen bases hypothetical is 17 swipes for next year, and I certainly believe 15 is well within range. Extremely athletic, Granderson has stolen 20 bases or more 3 times in his career, the most recent in 2011 for the Yankees.

Alderson would need to pull out all the stops to snare Granderson. As an anchor in the middle of the lineup, Granderson would be the legitimate power threat the Mets need. In the two seasons before his injury plagued 2013 lost season, Granderson slammed 84, home runs, the most in baseball. Many Met fans will scoff attributing that number to playing in HR friendly Yankee Stadium, but 37 of those long balls came on the road.

Sandy will need to open up Fred Wilpon’s wallet to bring in Granderson, the signature piece of his winter wheeling and dealing. Granderson earned 15 million for the Yankees this season. Sandy would need to be prepared to overpay for the linchpin of a busy winter of Hot Stove play. Wine him. Dine him. Offer healthy contributions to his Grand Kids Foundation, his efforts to immerse inner city kids with educational and baseball opportunities. Bring in David Wright to pledge that side-by-side they will become the faces of a new baseball power in NYC. That and perhaps 55 millions dollar over 4 years could get it done.

And, imagine the glee of Met fans if Sandy could bring to Citi Field one of the Yankees’ major pieces. It might erase some of that lingering sting of having to endure Dwight Gooden, Darryl Strawberry and David Cone clad in pinstripes.

Get it done, yes, but is Sandy, done? Not yet. With every indicator leading Met fans to believe the front office has abandoned hope that Ike Davis can be the first baseman they craved, word has Lucas Duda slotted in at first base. This is not acceptable. Trade them both, even if its to get prospects or fillers to stockpile for a potential injury replacement in the rotation or another arm for the bullpen.

james loney

In their place, Sandy needs to pursue and sign James Loney. The free agent first baseman had a signature year as the full time first baseman for Tampa Bay the past season. With 598 at-bats he hit .299 with a .348 on-base-percentage and a .430 slugging percentage. Loney scored 54 runs, totaled 85 RBI’s, nailed 33 2Bs and hit 13 balls out of the yard. These are decent statistics and amazingly close to his 8 year average 162 game hypotheticals (.285 BA, 62 R, 31 2B, 13 HR’s, 80 RBI’s, .285 OBP, .421 SLG). And Loney is only 29 years old.

Loney is an above average defensive first baseman, a guy Joe Torre calls a defensive plus. His strikeout rate is fairly low, in fact he had fewer strikeouts than any Met players this season other than Eric Young Jr. and Omar Quintanilla, and they both batted 200 fewer times than Loney.

Additionally, only Daniel Murphy had more RBI’s this season than Loney. His RBI total this season was only topped by David Wright and Ike Davis in 2012. David Wright was the only Met to total a higher on-base-percentage than Loney this summer, and only Wright and Marlon Byrd had a higher slugging percentage.

My gut tells me Loney has matured and is ready to realize a performance uptick even better than his numbers this year. He was more selective at the plate this summer, swinging at fewer pitches off the plate. He has good line drive potential with the ability to occasionally pull a long ball over the fences.

If the price is right and the coffers still have available funds, I would consider trying to bring back Marlon Byrd. He would be a great right handed bat, provide clubhouse leadership and be a safety mechanism if Rajai Davis proved he could not handle righthanded pitching. The Mets might consider chasing Tampa Bay relief pitcher Jesse Crain. I think he might be a solid bullpen addition and guess what, he’s only 32 years old. Now that’s a novel idea for a Met reliever.

And, one last point to make. The Sandy Alderson Met make over I propose would be wildly popular with the fans. Baseball fans like the physical power, grace and athleticism that comes with speed. Speed equates to hustle, and hustle to attitude and earned swagger, something our most recent additions of Mets have been sorely lacking. And, a fast aggressive team plays into the strengths of an old school manager like Terry Collins.

When you look at a proposed speed enhanced line-up, I think you might agree Met fans could rally around this gang.

  1. Eric Young, 2B – 50-60 SB, 5 HR
  2. Juan Lagares, CF – 12-15 SB, 8-12 HR
  3. David Wright, 3B – 15-20 SB, 20-25 HR
  4. Curtis Granderson, RF – 15-20 SB, 35-45 HR
  5. James Loney, 1B – 5 SB, 10-15 HR
  6. Rajai Davis, LF - 50-60 SB, 5-10 HR
  7. Travis d’Arnaud, C – 5 SB, 8-12 HR
  8. Ruben Tejada, SS – 8-12 SB, 2-5 HR

Note: You could keep Daniel Murphy to play first rather than Loney and use the saved free agent money to get a starting pitching fill-in, but I’m feeling a bold make-over might be in order.

Finally, the new additions in a new, brave, bold, Sandy Alderson baseball world are high character guys, players the fans would love to cheer for. In no time at all Eric Young has become a fan favorite. His passion for being a Met and his ability to win games with his feet resonate with Met fans. Young chats with fans on Twitter and signs
autographs freely.

Joe Torre calls James Loney a good personality for any clubhouse. “You’re going to love having him around,” notes the managing legend speaking to any perspective takers. Toronto GM Alex Anthopoulos calls Rajai Davis a good teammate, a guy who is easy to like. And, everyone knows Curtis Granderson has a big personality, a humble guy popular with the fans, teammates, and the media. Granderson is one of the most amiable players in the game, and a guy Met fans would love to see wearing orange and blue.

Go make your mark on the baseball world, Sandy. The blueprint is here for you to follow. Be the game changer we know you can be. Let the howling begin.

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Is Sandy Alderson The Next Commissioner Of Baseball? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/10/is-sandy-alderson-going-to-be-the-next-commissioner-of-baseball.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/10/is-sandy-alderson-going-to-be-the-next-commissioner-of-baseball.html/#comments Mon, 21 Oct 2013 19:16:08 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=131385 sandy-alderson

Commissioner Sandy Alderson?

I get this question asked a lot, and three years ago I would have said yes. But a lot’s happened since then and today I don’t even see him being among the top five contenders.

There was a great article on this topic about three months ago by Jayson Stark of ESPN.com, who begins by saying that after so many previous occasions over the years in which Bud Selig has hinted at retirement only to stay on, he won’t believe Selig will actually hang ‘em up after 2014 until he sees it.

“The sport needs this sort of clear, forceful, no-wiggle-room pronouncement for one obvious reason: The commish’s history is filled with previous occasions when he has said he plans to retire at the end of his contract — only to keep right on commissioner-izing. So even though this time feels different and more people than ever believe he really does mean it — this time for sure, no kidding — the skeptics remain. And they’ll always remain until Selig, now 78, removes every shred of doubt. If that’s even possible.”

Stark then hypothetically asks, “What are the odds the next commissioner will be someone who doesn’t currently work in baseball?”

He gives a blow by blow accounting that ultimately goes on to disqualify the following contenders:

• Bob Costas, sportscaster
• George Will, columnist
• George Bodenheimer, executive chairman, ESPN, Inc.
• Dick Ebersol, former chairman, NBC Sports
• Rick Levin, president of Yale
• Kent Conrad, former senator
• George W. Bush, former president

Bob Costas and George Will have always been popular with the fans and their names often come up as potential baseball commissioners. However, they have no chance in my opinion. Yes, the baseball commissioner is supposed to protect the integrity of the game and those two would be great at it. But the reality is that the commissioner’s main job is to protect the profitability and revenue growth of the game, as well as ensuring healthy bottom lines for every individual major league team and their constituencies.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but decisions in baseball are driven by profit margins and not integrity. Or better yet, here is how Stark sums it up:

“But here is the most important thing you need to remember: Nowadays, the commissioner of baseball isn’t the commissioner of The People. He’s the commissioner of 30 people — the owners. Period.”

As far as Baseball Insiders who could be options, Stark composes the following list:

• Rob Manfred, MLB executive VP
• Tim Brosnan, MLB executive VP
• Bob Bowman, CEO, MLB Advanced Media
• Joe Torre, MLB executive VP
• Tony La Russa, special assistant to Bud Selig
• Sandy Alderson, Mets GM
• Paul Beeston, Blue Jays president/CEO
• John Schuerholz, Braves president
• David Montgomery, Phillies president/CEO
• Dave Dombrowski, Tigers president/GM
• Mark Shapiro, Indians president
• Derrick Hall, Diamondbacks president/CEO
• Stan Kasten, Dodgers president
• Terry McGuirk, Braves chairman/CEO
• Larry Baer, Giants president/CEO
• Mark Attanasio, Brewers chairman
• Andy MacPhail, former Orioles/Cubs/Twins exec

I don’t ever see the role of commissioner falling into the hands of a former player who was once active in the Players Union, so scratch that idea. The thought of Torre or LaRussa may sound nostalgic and have a nice ring to it in theory, but they don’t fit the mold of the commissioner’s other underlying responsibility which is to have a hard line against the lofty demands of the players union.

Of the GM crop, I’d say John Schuerholz and Mark Shapiro have a leg up on their competition including Sandy Alderson. In fact, Schuerholz is my favorite for the job followed by Rob Manfred who has tremendous political clout, and then Shapiro in that order.

selig

Whomever owners do decide on to replace Selig, will require a super majority which means a minimum of 24 votes out of 30 owners and not just a simple majority. That may end up being more difficult than selecting a new Pope. So dont expect a billowing cloud of white smoke to appear anytime soon. There will be much debating and gnashing of the teeth amongst the 30 teams before someone everyone can live with emerges.

I don’t think Sandy is that guy.

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This Day In Mets Infamy With Rusty: Root For The Mole, Not The Cardinals Edition http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/10/this-day-in-mets-infamy-with-rusty-root-for-the-mole-not-the-cardinals-edition.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/10/this-day-in-mets-infamy-with-rusty-root-for-the-mole-not-the-cardinals-edition.html/#comments Sun, 13 Oct 2013 04:47:05 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=131086 beltran

Before the post season started, a few people asked me which two teams I predicted would meet in the World Series. I calmly responded that I hoped it would come down to the Pirates and the Athletics. Well as we know predictions are like opinions – everybody has one, and of course mine were wrong.

So now that we are down to the final four teams, I will have to hold my nose and root for the Red Sox as well as the Cardinals to meet in the Fall Classic. Why would I choose those two teams you may ask ? Well with the Sox I can’t hold much of a grudge. I mean we did beat them in ’86 and I am eternally grateful for their coming back from being three games down in the ’04 ALCS against the Goliaths of the American League, the New York Yankees, and go on to beat the Cards to win the World Series that year.

But I have hated the Cardinals of St Louis ever since that team took what was rightfully ours way back in ’85. Everyone knew that the Mets should have been the team that represented the National League East in the post season, but the Amazins faltered towards the end finishing in second place.

As we all know, the Mets would go on to win it all in ’86, but in ’87 the Cards once again stuck a dagger into the hearts of Met fans when on the 21st of September, Terry Pendleton hit that game tying home run off Roger McDowell and winning it in the tenth..

Zoom ahead 19 years to 2006, when it seemed like the Mets had the National League all sewn up and was on the verge of heading to the World Series for the first time since 2000. Once again it was our age-old rival who delivered the crushing blow as the Mets were shutdown by the Cards – this time from a Yadier Molina homerun that ended up being the game winner and a Adam Wainwright curveball that even the great Bambino himself couldn’t hit. But Carlos Beltran – one of the best postseason players at the time and still today was fooled by that nasty curve and didn’t even attempt to swing at the pitch that was eventually called strike 3. Game over! The Mets quest to be the 2006 NLCS and World Series Champs had ended.

So here we are seven years later, and Beltran (as well as his world famous mole) are members of the hated Cardinals. He currently has 9 RBIs and two home runs this postseason with plenty of action still ahead. He seems to be his stoic self at the plate, and I just have to root for him.

As much as I want to root for the Sox if they make it to the World Series, I most likely find myself painfully rooting for the Cards if they get past the Dodgers. Beltran has yet to win a World Series ring, and I feel that he is more than deserving. He never did me wrong as a Mets fan. He always tried to play as hard as he could – even when injured. It almost always seemed like he got a hit in the clutch when the team always seemed to need one. And when he came back from knee surgery in 2011, he checked his ego at the door and switched to right field because the Mets were afraid that his outfield range would greatly be affected. He stepped aside for the younger Angel Pagan in center field while delivering an MVP type season up until his final game as a Met. He came in on top and he went out on top.

And if it wasn’t for Carlos hitting the cover off the ball during the ’11 season we may never have gotten Zack Wheeler from the Giants  – which we all know at the time and now was a steal.

So if it comes down to the Cards versus the Sox during the Fall Classic, take a word of advice – Root  for Beltran to win a ring, and try to forget that the rest of the Cardinals will be getting one too.

Carlos = Beltran

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

Mets alumni celebrating a birthday today include:

Mets third base coach from ’68-’75, Eddie Yost would have been 87 (1926).

Middle reliever from ’73-’74, John Strohmayer is 67  (1946).

Spot starter/middle reliever from ’90-’91,  Julio Valera is 45  (1968).

Middle reliever from the ’11 season, Taylor Buchholz is 32 (1981)

Some other notables include:

The New York Mets traded spot starter/middle reliever, Ray Sadecki and middle reliever, Tommy Moore to the St. Louis Cardinals for third baseman,  Joe Torre on October 13, 1974. Not a bad score for the one time N.L MVP and batting champion (’71) , golden glove award winner (’65), but by the time he came to the Mets he was often injured. Although he did hit over .300 one time as a Met ( ’75) he had morphed into a double play machine – even doing it infamously four times in one game!

Mo Vaughn is openly rooting for the Cardinals and the Red Sox – but not because he likes the teams …. It’s because he loves their FOOD !!!!!

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This Day In Mets Infamy With Rusty: Songs That Best Describe The ’13 Season http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/10/this-day-in-mets-infamy-with-rusty-songs-that-best-describe-the-13-season.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/10/this-day-in-mets-infamy-with-rusty-songs-that-best-describe-the-13-season.html/#comments Sun, 06 Oct 2013 11:56:21 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=130767 2013 kiss my ass

It has been officially a week since the 2013 Mets campaign has ended – even though we pretty much knew that it was over just before the All Star Break. We saw some good baseball amidst the very bad . We saw  Matt Harvey dominate before being banished to the disabled list . We saw Juan Lagares look like the second coming of Tommie Agee with the glove – now if only he can hit. We saw a team that floundered most of the season with exception of a few weeks where they looked like they were world beaters. But in essence this team was more like a 10-year old kid fighting the Red Coats with a cap gun .

So here I give to you the songs that best describe the Mets 2013 campaign.

“Snowblind” by Styx: Who the hell would schedule baseball games in both Colorado and Minnesota in early April?!?

“Doctor, Doctor” by Robert Palmer: This song is dedicated to Johan Santana, Jenrry Mejia, Jeurys Familia, Bobby Parnell, Matt Harvey, Ike Davis, Jon Niese, David Wright, Ruben Tejada as well as any other Met to spend time in the infirmary.

“I Don’t Need No Doctor” by Humble Pie: This was Matt Harvey’s mantra for avoiding Tommy John Surgery. Too bad mantras don’t work.

“The Future’s So Bright I Gotta Wear Shades”  by Timbuk Three: See Wilmer Flores, German Gonzalez, Vic BlackTravis d’Arnaud, Zack Wheeler, etc.

“Dirty Work” by Steely Dan: Because Sandy Alderson, with his hands tied, had to assemble a ragtag squad that most of the season resembled more of a Triple-A team than a Major League squad.

“Lucky Man” by ELP: How else would you describe the fact that Terry Collins as well as the rest of his staff was retained?

“Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)” by Motley Crue: Yes Jordanny – just go away…

“Shooting Star” by Bad Company: For the All Star Game which with the exceptions of #HarveyDay or #WheelerDay was the only time there was a true buzz at Citi Field.

And lastly as the Doors’ Jim Morrison once crooned, “When the music’s over turn out the lights…Turn out the Lights… On the 2013 season.

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

Mets alumni celebrating a birthday today includes:

Joe Frazier, one of the forgotten men to manage the Mets would have been 91 today (1922). People forget that it was Frazier that was the last Mets manager before Davey Johnson to end the season with a winning record (86-76 in 1976). Too bad the ’77 squad was a team in turmoil and Frazier went down via a left hook by Mets C.O.O. M.Donald Grant after posting a record of 15-30 to start the season. He was replaced by Brooklyn’s own Joe Torre and the quick decent into the Dark Ages of the ’70′s had begun.

One of, if not the best, defensive catcher ever to protect the dish for the Mets, Jerry Grote  turns 71 today (1942).

On of the most overlooked Mets pitchers from the ’69 season, Gary Gentry is 67  (1946).

Reserve outfielder from the ’75 season, Gene Clines  is 67 (1946).

Middle reliever from ’95-’96, Robert Person is 44 (1969). Person’s tenure with the Mets was rather non-descriptive, but he was the player that we traded in order to pry John Olerud from the Blue Jays.

Setup man from the ’06 season,  Darren Oliver is 43  (1970).  I don’t know about you, but I wish Omar didn’t let him walk after the season concluded because maybe – just maybe the Mets bullpen wouldn’t have imploded so badly down the stretch in ’07 and ’08…

Other notables include:

The New York Mets signed free agent infielder, Ted Martinez on October 6, 1966. Martinez was one of the first players the Mets signed that hailed from the Dominican Republic. He made his Major League debut with the Mets in 1970, and spent five seasons with the Mets primarily as a back up infielder.

Mo Vaughn is as easy as a Sunday Morning!

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Managers May Be Able To Challenge Umpire’s Calls Beginning In 2014 http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/08/managers-may-be-able-to-challenge-umpires-calls-beginning-in-2014.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/08/managers-may-be-able-to-challenge-umpires-calls-beginning-in-2014.html/#comments Thu, 15 Aug 2013 18:02:53 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=127210 bud-selig 3The Associated Press reports that baseball as we know it could be changing forever beginning next season.

Major League Baseball is expanding its video review process next season, giving managers a tool they’ve never had.

Commissioner Bud Selig calls it a historic moment for the game in a press conference in Cooperstown after two days of meetings with representatives of the 30 teams. The proposal is to be voted on by the owners in November.

Managers will be allowed one challenge over the first six innings of games and two after the seventh inning until the end of the game. Calls that are challenged will be reviewed by a crew in MLB headquarters in New York City, which will make the final ruling.

MLB vice president Joe Torre gave the replay presentation to representatives from all 30 teams on Wednesday and it was discussed Thursday morning.

A 75 percent vote by the owners is needed for approval and the players’ association and umpires would have to agree to any changes to the current system.

Atlanta Braves President John Schuerholz, a member of the replay committee, says the umpires are receptive to the change. Schuerholz says 89 percent of incorrect calls made in the past will be reviewable.

Wow, I wonder how the owners will vote on this… Usually, Selig always gets his way especially with some strong-arming from his biggest allies like Fred Wilpon…

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Like Father, Like Son: L.J. Mazzilli Off To Hot Start With Cyclones http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/06/like-father-like-son-l-j-mazzilli-off-to-hot-start-with-cyclones.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/06/like-father-like-son-l-j-mazzilli-off-to-hot-start-with-cyclones.html/#comments Mon, 24 Jun 2013 20:37:40 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=123010 Former Mets’ star Lee Mazzilli made the borough of Brooklyn his stomping grounds growing up.

Abraham Lincoln H.S. in Coney Island was his home until the Mets drafted him right out of high school in 1973.

Lee and L.J. Mazzilli (Photo by Jim Mancari)

Lee and L.J. Mazzilli (Photo by Jim Mancari)

Located just a mile and half from Lincoln down Ocean Parkway and on Surf Avenue is MCU Park. Though the stadium wasn’t there during Mazzilli’s playing days, he now has a special connection to the park.

Lee’s son, L.J. Mazzilli, was the Mets’ fourth-round draft-pick out of the University of Connecticut in early June. The second baseman was immediately assigned to the Brooklyn Cyclones, who play their home games at MCU.

“I sit here with goosebumps because I grew up about a mile or two away from here,” said Lee, who now works for the Yankees. “As a dad, I don’t know if I can be any more proud. Now just to see my son (L.J.), I think every dad would feel the same way. It’s just a special feeling, and he’s going to go out and start his own career. The Mets didn’t draft him in the fourth round for any nepotism. He’s got some talent. They’re not going to waste a fourth-round pick on that. They’re smarter than that. So he’s got a chance to do some pretty good things.”

Lee  Mazzilli (Photo by Jim Mancari)

Lee Mazzilli (Photo by Jim Mancari)

L.J. hit safely in five of the Cyclones’ first six games as the team’s No. 3 hitter. He said his dad has consistently helped him with the mental approach to the game of baseball.

“I’m just so proud to be his son and be able to not necessarily follow his footsteps and what he did with the Mets but to add to my own legacy and wear my last name with a lot of pride,” L.J. said.

Right when L.J. was drafted, he and his dad immediately jumped up and gave each other a huge hug. L.J. said that Lee was probably even more excited than he was with the selection.

“We’re still on cloud nine, but I think we’re starting to come down a little bit,” L.J. said.

Lee said he learned the game from the greats like Willie Mays, Tom Seaver and Joe Torre, and he passed on what he learned to L.J. Though he was born in 1989 – the year Lee retired – and never saw his father play, L.J. has plenty of memories as his dad as a coach for the Yankees and Orioles.

L.J.  Mazzilli (Photo by Jim Mancari)

L.J. Mazzilli (Photo by Jim Mancari)

Lee said that he is lucky to work for a great organization like the Yankees and now have his son work for a great organization like the Mets.

“He’s (L.J.) better than I was; I’ve watched him,” Lee said. “He’s more advanced than I was at his age. I think because guys have more things readily available for them, things we didn’t have growing up.”

“I think I’m a good hitter, and I bring the bat to the table,” L.J. said. “I’ve been working out my all around game as well, and I think I can bring fielding and instincts and base running as well. But I think my bat is the one thing that will talk for me.”

In addition to the similarities playing for the Mets and playing in Brooklyn, the two are also linked through Cyclones’ manager Rich Donnelly. Lee is ecstatic that L.J.’s first pro manager is Donnelly, who was the first base coach when Lee played with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1986.

Lee and L.J. (Photo by Jim Mancari)

Lee and L.J. (Photo by Jim Mancari)

Lee said he wasn’t able to see L.J. play as much as he would have liked to based on the nature of his job. But now, he will be a fixture at MCU Park

“Now it’s come full circle, and he’s (L.J.) going to leave tickets for me,” Lee said. “I’ve been around here a long time. There are so many good things that have happened to me like winning a World Series, playing in New York and playing in my hometown. But to see your son play, it’s kind of neat and I’m proud of him.”

As for L.J., this summer in Brooklyn will lay the foundation of his career, and he’s excited to keep getting better and taking pointers from his dad.

“I absolutely feel like this is my first step,” L.J. said. “I just want to get in there and get playing. I dream to be playing for the Mets one day at Citi Field hopefully for a long time.”

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Tim Leary and the Subtle Danger of Talent http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/04/tim-leary-and-the-subtle-danger-of-talent.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/04/tim-leary-and-the-subtle-danger-of-talent.html/#comments Sat, 20 Apr 2013 17:32:40 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=115430 On January 18, 1985 Tim Leary was quietly traded by the New York Mets to the Kansas City Royals. Leary was selected out of UCLA in the first-round (second overall) by the Mets in the June 1979 Draft. Less than two years later, at age 22, Leary made his major league debut. It lasted seven batters.

Life would have been better if no one said the phrase – ever — but it’s too late now. By the time Tim Leary first heard someone say it in his presence all he could do was go out and try to provide evidence to support the claims.

tim leary

Leary, a UCLA graduate, overpowered hitters with a 96-mile per hour fastball, then buckled their knees with a biting curveball. In 1980, his first season of professional baseball in the New York Mets organization, he was unhittable. Leary was named Most Valuable Player of the Texas League. Honestly, that only made matters worse.

The occasional mention became an everyday occurrence. Scouts, fans, analysts were singing a chorus of praises that always ended in similar refrain: Leary was going to be “the next Tom Seaver.”

Mets manager Joe Torre and pitching coach Bob Gibson watched his 22-year old prospect blow away major league veterans in the Spring of 1981. Torre told the media Leary was “overpowering.” The Mets manager wasn’t alone in his praise. ”You look at him pitch and know that someday he’ll be a super baseball player,” added St. Louis Cardinals manager Whitey Herzog.

”I like that son of a gun on the Mets. What’s his name, Leary?” Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda told New York Times reporter Joe Durso. “He can throw the hell out of the ball.”

Torre and Gibson knew they’d have to convince GM Frank Cashen to get Leary on the 25-man roster. Cashen was staunchly conservative in his approach to promoting young, developing arms.

By the end of Spring, Leary made it difficult for Cashen to say no. The Mets GM gave in. Leary was in. He earned it. He pitched his way North. Leary would join a 1981 rookie class that included Cal Ripken Jr., Fernando Valenzuela, Tim Raines, Tony Pena and Mets Mookie Wilson and Hubie Brooks.

It was a typical cold, windy 46-degree Sunday at Wrigley Field in Chicago. It was a day filled with hope for the Mets. Hopeful that rookie Tim Leary would be all the things he was promoted to be, hopeful the 22-year old would not feel overwhelmed by the pressure, hopeful that they were witnessing the beginning of “the next Seaver.”

Leary struck out Ivan DeJesus swinging and Joe Strain looking at a called third strike. Two batters, two strikeouts and now hope was floating in the Windy City. Bill Buckner grounded out and Mets fans were confused. Was this Tim Leary or Tom Seaver?

In the second inning, after Steve Henderson lined out and Bull Durham struck out, Cubs third baseman Ken Reitz worked walked. Leary threw a wild pitch and Reitz moved to second. But Leary retired Scot Thompson on a fly ball to end the inning.

Did you see it? What … the wild pitch?

No. Leary felt “a searing pain” in his elbow as he worked to Reitz. Something was wrong, really wrong. “I felt some pain in my arm on the way north,” remembered Leary.

When the Cubs came to bat in the third inning it was Pete Falcone, not Leary pitching. Four days later he was placed on the disabled list. He wouldn’t throw a major league pitch for another 30 months. Cashen never forgave himself – or Torre – for what happened wrote Peter Golenbeck in Amazin’.

”Since I was 8 years old, I pitched hundreds of innings and was never hurt,” remembered Leary. “Now, I was hurt. Any time you even sit in a whirlpool, you get criticized. And I was taking whirlpools twice a day for months. When I went home to Los Angeles, I’d walk the beach. I became a loner.”

The whispers about being “another Seaver” faded – fast. Injury trumps all in professional sports. Being a “head case” is a close second and Leary was branded with both. Once a player is tagged, the climb to the majors becomes Mount Everest.

“The pressure is on in New York,” former teammate Terry Leach told Peter Golenbeck, author of Amazin’. “Some people can’t handle the attention, because they expect so much of you. Or you think they expect so much of you, so you try to do more than you’re capable of, and that’s not good. And that’s what happened to Tim Leary in New York. He was young, it’s hard to cope. You don’t know what it’s like until you play big league ball in New York. That is the big leagues.”

Leary reported to Spring Training in 1982, hopeful. He spent the winter exercising, strengthening his elbow. Leary pitched one inning against the Philadelphia Phillies and he was “roughed up.”

”Every time I threw, it hurt,” said Leary. “I couldn’t even pitch. I went back home, and didn’t do much of anything except walk the beach and worry. That was the low point.”

In June 1983 Leary visited Dr. Daniel Alkatis, a nerve specialist in New York. In minutes Alkatis diagnosed Leary with a pinched nerve. “I’d been lying around for eight months, he found it in five minutes,” he said. “I still had a long way to go, but my mind was finally free.”

Sure the modest crowd that peppered the box seats on the final day of the 1983 season was a far cry from the dreams Leary once carried on his right shoulder, but No. 38 was pitching again. The “next Seaver” comparisons were gone, maybe for good, but he was back in uniform, on the mound, in the major leagues at Shea Stadium. And that was all that mattered now.

Leary pitched nine innings and beat the Montreal Expos. It was his first victory in the big leagues.

1984 was an ironic convergence of the past and then-present. Dwight Gooden, Tim Leary and Frank Cashen arrived in Florida for Spring Training.

Gooden was wearing Leary’s 1981 shoes, Leary was “damaged goods,” a reclamation project hoping for a spot on the roster and Cashen was waxing, bordering on hypocrisy, to the media about the lesson he learned.

”We’re starting to hear Gooden used as a standard of comparison for other young pitchers,” said the Mets GM. ”The scouts are starting to say that so-and- so has a Gooden-type fastball. That’s a form of subtle pressure in a way, but Gooden doesn’t understand what subtle pressure is, while Leary did.

”Gooden is very phlegmatic. He’s not burdened with a lot of hangups. I don’t want to say that Tim Leary was emotionally immature, but he was like Cassius in Shakespeare. You know, ‘Young Cassius has a lean and hungry look. He thinks too much.’ That can be dangerous.”

tim leary

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Mets’ Ike Davis Doesn’t Make Team USA, Wasn’t Asked http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/03/mets-ike-davis-didnt-make-team-usa-wasnt-asked.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/03/mets-ike-davis-didnt-make-team-usa-wasnt-asked.html/#comments Wed, 06 Mar 2013 14:39:50 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=109931 ike davis

Updated by John Delcos on 3/6 at 9:15 AM

Ike Davis was on the WBC reserve list but wasn’t asked when Mark Teixeira was injured. Teammate David Wright was keeping him posted.

“I got a text from David,” Davis said. “He said (WBC manager) Joe Torre asked about me. I’m glad they thought of me.”

When asked if Wright put in a good word for him, Davis said: “He said he did … but I didn’t make the team.”

Davis said he would be intrigued to play in the World Baseball Classic.

“I’d get some at-bats, but not as many (if he had a regular spring training,” Davis said. “The games would be more intense. That would be a good way to jump start the season.”

Original Post 3/5

Ike Davis is now in the mix of names being considered for Team USA’s currently vacant first base position for the World Baseball Classic says Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com.

The spot was held by Mark Teixeira, but a strained right wrist put an end to that, leaving team USA with only Ben Zobrist and Joe Mauer as the only two on the roster with any experience at first.

In addition to Ike, White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko, the Tiger’s Prince Fielder, the Red Sox catcher/first baseman Mike Napoli and the Angel’s Mark Trumbo are among the names that could be considered.

Team USA manager Joe Torre expects a decision to be made Wednesday on Texeira’s replacement. First-round play begins for USA Friday at Chase Field against Mexico starting at 9 p.m. on MLB Network.

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The Feeling Is That Almost No Chance Johan Avoids The DL http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/03/the-feeling-is-that-almost-no-chance-johan-avoids-the-dl.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/03/the-feeling-is-that-almost-no-chance-johan-avoids-the-dl.html/#comments Tue, 05 Mar 2013 16:14:35 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=109846 johan screen

Things just keep getting worse and not better on the Johan Santana front.

Andy Martino spoke to more than one team source and the consensus seems to be that Johan Santana will not be ready by Opening Day which totally wipes out Santana’s assertion that “he knows what he’s doing” and everything is okay. “I know the deal, spring training is for training okay!”.

The Mets’ private expectations for Johan Santana’s April 1 availability are even grimmer than their public line of “we’ll see.”  Really, there is almost no chance that Santana avoids the disabled list at the beginning of the season, leaving the Mets in need of at least one additional starting pitcher — especially with Shaun Marcum still waiting to make his second Grapefruit League start.

Despite that, team insiders say it is almost certain that Jeremy Hefner, and not one of the options available outside the organization, will begin the year in the rotation. Other internal choices include Collin McHugh and Jenrry Mejia, but Hefner seems to have the edge.

Will Johan Santana be ready to take the ball on Opening Day?

It certainly doesn’t look that way from my perspective, and Joe D. may be right after all about Hefner who he has said on a few occasions to me, “I bet Heff’s the team’s number five.”

It’s looking like that right now.

More from PSL around 1 PM….

Originally Posted on  3/4 at 11:00 PM

What we have here is a failure to communicate. Or worse, a desire not to communicate.

Apparently, unbeknownst to manager Terry Collins, his veteran left-hander Johan Santana threw off the mound Sunday when the Mets earlier indicated it could be at least ten days before he would do so.ESPN reported this dialogue:

Collins: “What did you get on the mound for?”

Santana: “Because I felt good.”

Collins: “The last thing I need is to have you wake up tomorrow stiff and then we take a huge step backward because you wanted to show everybody you’re OK. I understand what you’re doing, but once in a while you’ve just got to let stuff slide away. You’ve just got to let it roll off your back and move on and get yourself ready.”

From that exchange, Collins was in the dark when Santana took the mound. And, Santana apparently didn’t care enough to follow the rest plan or to tell his manager.

This was amazingly ridiculous on the part of both.

First, as manager, how in the hell did Collins not know? It is a manager’s job to know everything that is going on with his team on all fronts. Everything. Do you think Joe Torre wouldn’t know? Do you think Tony La Russa wouldn’t know?

Secondly, Santana was incredibly selfish and stupid for risking his health just to prove criticism wrong. Pride is one thing, but pride for the sake of proving a meaningless point is simply reckless. If it would do any good, he should be fined. But, there’s nothing the Mets could do on that front that would affect Santana.

Thirdly, where was pitching coach Dan Warthen during all of this? A pitching coach should know at all times the work schedules for his pitchers. Rick Peterson and former pitching coach Guy Conti had it down to how many pitches they threw in the bullpen.

What about bullpen coach Ricky Bones? Ooops, I almost forgot, he was packing for the World Baseball Classic.

The Mets have not yet ruled out Opening Day, which is absurd because Santana would be rushed through no more than four starts when he would normally get six. This is begging for trouble. I can almost hear it now.

Collins is a lame duck manager who didn’t win any points by being unaware of something so important to the Mets. As for Santana, I don’t want to hear anymore about what a pro he is or about being a competitor. A real pro wouldn’t risk his health.

Of course, the perception eventually comes down to is Santana will make $31 million this year, including a buyout, so why should he care?

There’s a reason why the Mets are called amazing, and often it is because of stuff like this.

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Joe Torre Resigns MLB Job To Join Group Trying To Buy Dodgers http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/01/joe-torre-resigns-as-exec-vp-of-mlb-to-buy-dodgers.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/01/joe-torre-resigns-as-exec-vp-of-mlb-to-buy-dodgers.html/#comments Wed, 04 Jan 2012 15:33:54 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=68801 Joe Torre has resigned as Major League Baseball’s executive vice president for baseball operations to join a group trying to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Torre managed the Dodgers from 2008-10, then retired and joined MLB last February as a top aide to Commissioner Bud Selig.

The Dodgers have been put up for sale by owner Frank McCourt, who put the team into bankruptcy last year as he battled former team executive Jamie McCourt in divorce court.

Initial bids for the team are due Jan. 23.

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In Praise Of Jerry Manuel http://metsmerizedonline.com/2010/09/in-praise-of-jerry-manuel.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2010/09/in-praise-of-jerry-manuel.html/#comments Wed, 22 Sep 2010 15:01:56 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=36388 I write this morning to bring attention to the Mets Manager, Jerry Manuel, a man who has been with the team for only a short time, comparatively speaking, and has always maintained his own persona and has kept the Mets on an even keel under his guidance.   Just remember, Jerry doesn’t play the game, he manages – big difference.
 
Recently, the polish, or the patina has worn off some of the Mets baseball hierarchy like the Wilpons, Father and Son, and Joe Torre, a former icon of the Yankees from whom Jerry received an apology yesterday.  Funny how some people believe their press clippings.  Jeff Wilpon apparently has stepped on the toes of almost everyone in the Mets operation believing that his title gives him knowledge and authority.  He’s wrong.  If his Dad wasn’t the owner of the team Jeff wouldn’t be there at all.
 
Joe Torre surprised me – perhaps because Torre values his status so much that I never thought he would err, but he did, making those remarks about Jerry who is still on the job and minding his own and the Mets’ business.  In fact, Jerry minds his own business so much, that we really don’t know very much about him. We see Jerry on the job every day with the Mets team, and see the respect he has from his players. 
 
It is apparent to anyone in the New York City area that baseball will be played at Citi Field this fall – the kind of baseball that involves the structure of the game and the management of the business. The baseball of the Board Room. I wonder just how much leeway Fred will give Jeff then.
 
And, I hope that just maybe, Jerry Manuel will get to keep his job.  He is one of the Mets employees who has done his job well, and set an example for our children.
 
Good luck Jerry, whatever happens – it’s been a pleasure being with you.
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Joe Torre Apologizes, Officially Closes Door On Mets http://metsmerizedonline.com/2010/09/joe-torre-apologizes-officially-closes-door-on-mets.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2010/09/joe-torre-apologizes-officially-closes-door-on-mets.html/#comments Wed, 22 Sep 2010 02:45:59 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=36350 Updated 10:30 PM

From ESPN NY, more comments from Joe Torre.

“I apologize. He is right that I shouldn’t have said that, and I don’t think I did. Somebody asked me if I would take a call from Fred Wilpon. I have known Fred Wilpon forever. I won’t be managing the Mets, and I thought I made that clear yesterday. It was about taking a call as opposed to looking for a job. I went to New York to pay tribute to George Steinbrenner. If I was looking for a job, I probably wouldn’t have gone to New York.” 

After that, he was asked “Then why did you say you were keeping your options open? Are you officially closing the door on the Mets?”

“I guess you can call me a liar in that regard. I am closing the door on managing the Mets and probably everybody else. The only thing I’m trying to do is that I don’t want to mislead anybody. My intention is that when I finish here as a manager a week from Sunday, I am anticipating that will be my last game as a manager.”

In closing… 

“I apologize to Jerry Manuel and all the other managers. I don’t blame them. I know they don’t want to get stepped on I know in answering questions Monday and having a press conference, I know what my intention was. Unfortunately, I can’t get on the other side of it and see how it’s received. I would doubt very seriously if there would be anything that would entice me to manage again.”

Original Post 8:30 PM

Before tonight’s game, Jerry Manuel had harsh words for Joe Torre who has been openly lobbying for the Mets manager job in the last 24 hours.

“I don’t know [Joe Torre] on a personal basis. But when things like that come out or are said, you question integrity. That’s what comes to my mind…I don’t know him on a personal level to say whether he’s that or that, and I did not see, or I have not read, exactly what has been said. All I know is what I hear, and I don’t go to look for it.”

Now according to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times (via MetsBlog), Joe Torre has issued a public apology to Jerry Manuel.

“I had no intention of making people believe I wanted to manage the Mets. I would doubt very seriously if there would be anything that would entice me to manage again. I’m closing the door on managing the Mets and probably everybody else.”

Well, I’m glad Manuel got an apology. I’m not a big fan of him as a manager, but Manuel didn’t deserve to have someone dancing on his grave before he was buried.

Hopefully, whatever the Mets do decide about replacing Omar or Manuel or both, will not drag on for weeks and weeks. Otherwise expect more chapters to this never-ending soap opera that is the 2010 season.

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Torre Hoping Mets Will Call Him http://metsmerizedonline.com/2010/09/torre-hoping-mets-will-call-him.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2010/09/torre-hoping-mets-will-call-him.html/#comments Tue, 21 Sep 2010 06:34:34 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=36291 The Joe Torre angle isn’t going away.

[tweeted]http://twitter.com/Ian_OConnor/status/25060381787[/tweeted]

Additionally, Joe Torre was a guest on WFAN on Monday, and really sounded like someone who wanted to manage in New York again,

“I have not had contact with anybody,” Torre said when specifically asked about the idea of him managing the Mets. “I am curious. When the season is over, I hope the phone will be ringing.”

Looks like the media will fuel this fire as long as they can.

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Only The Mets Would Pass On Torre http://metsmerizedonline.com/2010/09/only-the-mets-would-pass-on-torre.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2010/09/only-the-mets-would-pass-on-torre.html/#comments Sat, 18 Sep 2010 19:38:51 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=36179 I can’t believe what I’m hearing this morning, that the Mets aren’t interested in Joe Torre. Yeah, maybe I can. And, unbelievably, there are some who believe he doesn’t have the right personality for the Mets. They probably are right. Torre has a winning personality and the Mets are a fall-short organization.

I’ll bottom line it for you: Joe Torre is a Hall of Fame manager who can only help the Mets. He’s been through it all, knows the ropes and knows how to handle players young and old. Laid back? What crap. When  Torre has an edge, there are none sharper. He knows how to motivate and how to teach. He has an iron fist underneath a velvet glove.

For those you think he can’t deal with young players, guess again. Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera all cut their teeth with Torre. As the Yankees rose to prominence in the late 1990’s all those young players made their mark under Torre. Bernie Williams became a star under Torre.

There is only one reason why the Mets won’t consider Torre and it has nothing to do with age or having the right personality. It has everything to do with being cheap and not paying what it takes to get out of their stagnant state. It is why they low-balled Willie Randolph and replaced him with Jerry Manuel. It is why they are talking about Wally Backman.

The Mets don’t know where to spend their money where it’s needed most. They cut some corners on the really important things.

If Torre wants to manage again, and he’d return to the Dodgers if the circumstances were right and that organization wasn’t in disarray, then the Mets should make a run at him.

Right personality? For those who think he doesn’t have the right personality they don’t know Torre or baseball. The man is a winner and he can only help the Mets. He can make them respectable and lift them from the laughingstock persona they are today.

If they aren’t interested, then they are saying they really don’t care about getting better.

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Mattingly To Replace Torre As Dodgers Manager http://metsmerizedonline.com/2010/09/mattingly-to-replace-torre-as-dodgers-manager.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2010/09/mattingly-to-replace-torre-as-dodgers-manager.html/#comments Fri, 17 Sep 2010 19:29:06 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=36145 According to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times, Joe Torre will be stepping down as manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers at the end of the season, and be replaced by hitting coach Don Mattingly.

There’s a possibility that Torre could remain with the Dodgers in some other capacity, but someone I spoke to with knowledge of the situation told me that Torre is very close to announcing his retirement from baseball and spending more time with his family.

According to ESPN, Mattingly has never managed at any level, but he is slated to manage in the Arizona Fall League after the season, an assignment that is far different from managing a major league club during the regular season because it is a league that exists primarily for showcasing prospects from a handful of different organizations.

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Ron Swoboda Takes A Swipe At A-Rod http://metsmerizedonline.com/2009/02/ron-swoboda-takes-a-swipe-at-a.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2009/02/ron-swoboda-takes-a-swipe-at-a.html/#comments Sat, 21 Feb 2009 14:54:04 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/wordpress/?p=2437 Former Mets outfielder Ron Swoboda, who helped the Mets win their first world championship in 1969, leveled some sharp criticism at Alex Rodriguez.

Kevin Kernan of the NY Post recently interviewed the beloved Met.

Swoboda’s love for baseball remains pure. But the steroid scandal and the escapades of Alex Rodriguez disgust him.

“He is a tremendous athlete, but for what he gets paid, his game breaks down in a bunch of different ways too often when it really matters,” Swoboda said. “Like Joe Torre said, he puts a lot of pressure on himself and he’s so aware of every move he makes sometimes you can just see him cracking because the play’s too easy. The guy can’t catch a popup, can’t make a simple throw, can’t get a big hit when it really matters.

“If you had eight A-Rods out there I doubt you would be a winning team. He isn’t about winning. He may think he is, but he isn’t about winning. He’s about building those numbers and some day being called the greatest player that ever played. That’s fine and dandy, but in my humble opinion, he is way overpaid for what he contributes to winning.”

“I’m not a quarter of the player that he is, but in every way his presence is at times bigger than the game and nobody is bigger than the game.

“The game is so self purifying. It has a way of overcoming everything from lunatic owners to cheaters whose egos have hit the stratosphere.”

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