Mets Merized Online » John Franco http://metsmerizedonline.com Mon, 16 Jan 2017 22:25:21 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.17 Why I Love The Mets: And The Winner Is… http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/12/why-i-love-the-mets-and-the-winner-is.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/12/why-i-love-the-mets-and-the-winner-is.html/#comments Mon, 23 Dec 2013 19:06:32 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=136093 kindle

Our heartfelt congratulations to Steven, the winner of our Why I Love The Mets contest! I’ve also decided to reward the other two finalists, John and Larry, with $25 Gift Cards to Amazon.com because all three of them were winners! Thank you to everyone who participated! 

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In the spirit of the season and in the kinship we share as part of the Mets family, have a blessed and happy holiday season! And now, a second and very worthy look at this year’s winning entry. Enjoy… 

john franco

Why I Love The Mets

By Steven Colasanto

I love the Mets so much and I owe it all to my dad, but not in the way you would think. After he died tragically in 1996, I was devastated and wasn’t really handling it as well as my older brothers and sisters. I was named after him, and everyone always called me Stevie instead of Steven. I hated baseball growing up and I wasn’t a big sports kid at the time. I was addicted to video games and no matter how hard my dad tried to get me to go out with him and have a catch, I always found some way to get out of it. Today, I beat myself up over it whenever I think about it.

He was a huge Mets fan and would always talk about them. My dad would never miss a game, even when my oldest sister got married. The catering hall had a bar with a TV and he’d keep going back there to watch the action to the dismay of my mom. When the game was on at home, we all knew never to disturb him, I mean he was totally addicted to the Mets. Unfortunately, he was killed in a car accident while driving home from work less than five miles from home. It was raining and a witness said he swerved to avoid hitting a dog and lost control of his vehicle.

About a year after his death I was home alone and had gotten into a big argument with my girlfriend that day. I was still upset and turned on the TV to get my mind off of it. It was the third or fourth inning of a Mets game and they were playing the Pittsburgh Pirates. Instead of changing the channel as I would normally do, I kept watching. It was weird, but I felt like my father was sitting there with me. It felt good and I just kept watching. All that you could hear in my house was the game, and it was a good one. It drew me in. During a break in between innings, I grabbed a Coke and hurried back to watch as the Mets were three outs away from winning the game as they headed into the top of the ninth ahead 9-7. I couldn’t believe how exciting this all was to me. I grabbed the remote and raised the volume to watch the end.

But then the unthinkable happened. The Pirates came roaring back with two runs to tie the game. I don’t know why, but I moaned something inaudible in frustration as the tying run crossed the plate. I didn’t know who John Franco was at the time, a Met I’d grow to love, but at that moment I started yelling at my TV and cursed this poor guy out. The Mets didn’t score in the bottom half of the inning and so it was onto the tenth, further adding to my anxiety.

At this point I was totally engrossed in this game. I wanted to to see the Mets win. I wanted so desperately to see them come back and beat these Pirates for my dad. And wouldn’t you know it, I was going to experience my first ever Mets miracle – my first taste of Mets magic.

In the bottom of the tenth, Carl Everett hit a three-run shot that just cleared the top of the fence to beat the Bucs 12-9. I jumped up and yelled “yes!!!” at the top of my lungs just as my mother was just coming home. “What are you screaming about and why is the TV so loud!”

“The Mets won! The Mets won!” I said. “You should have seen it, mom!”

“Since when did you become a Mets fan,” my mom asked. I thought about it and said, “just now.” That was the first day of my Mets journey.

My dad left behind a huge collection of books on the Mets for me to catch up on all their history. He also left me his Mets baseball card collection which was now all mine. One day, while going through some of the cards and reading the backs, I discovered a note from him in one of the boxes of cards. It said, Dear Stevie, I hope you’ll enjoy these as much as I have. Love, Dad. I was so shocked that this note from my dad was sitting in one of those old boxes for all this time.

He was probably waiting to give them to me, if I had only gone out and played that game of catch with him. So this is why I love the Mets. They are a bridge to my dad who I miss so much. But also because they taught me how to believe in miracles. I love this team.

Lets Go Mets!

mets win satin

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Bambino’s, Billy Goats…and Joan Payson: Why the Mets are Cursed http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/10/bambinos-billy-goats-and-joan-payson-why-the-mets-are-cursed.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/10/bambinos-billy-goats-and-joan-payson-why-the-mets-are-cursed.html/#comments Thu, 03 Oct 2013 13:30:16 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=130557 babe-ruth-red-sox_i-G-16-1685-P161D00Z - CopyOn January 3, 1920, Red Sox owner Harry Frazee sold Babe Ruth along with mortgage rights on Fenway Park to the New York Yankees. On January 4, 1920, there were no newspaper articles talking about ‘The Curse of the Bambino.’ For a curse to gain traction two things must happen. First, there must be the passage of time. Secondly, a reversal of fortune based around strange and unexplainable events from that point forward must occur.

Prior to trading Ruth, the Boston club had won 5 of the first 15 World Series played. It would take 86 years to capture their 6th. And as New Englanders waited, they watched the Yankees win 27. The curse ended on October 27, 2004 when Boston completed a sweep of the Cardinals. The final out was recorded on a comebacker to the mound off the bat of Edgar Renteria. Renteria, like Babe Ruth, wore no 3.

In 1945, the Chicago Cubs were facing the Detroit Tigers in the World Series. In the stands at Wrigley that afternoon was Billy Sianis, avid Cubs fans and owner of The Billy Goat Tavern. Sianis brought his pet goat to the game but when fans seated nearby complained about the goats’ odor, security had both of them physically removed from the stands. Furious, Sianis shouted, “Them Cubs, they aint gonna win no more.” Not only have the Cubs not won a World Series since then, they have never even returned to the Fall Classic.

Over the last few decades, we have shaken our heads more times than we can recall at the amount of absurdities and “unexplainable” bad luck that has befallen our Mets. But maybe, it’s not a simple case of bad luck. Perhaps, just perhaps, the Mets, like the Red Sox and Cubs, are cursed.

To look for the origin of this curse, one must go back. Way back. Before the Mets even existed.

The year was 1957 and Brooklyn Dodgers owner Walter O’Malley was insistent on moving his team 3000 miles away to Los Angeles. For Major League Baseball to approve a transcontinental move, a second team would also need to relocate to California. The westernmost team at the time was St. Louis and it would be too costly to have clubs fly another 1500 miles for just 3 games. Enter Horace Stoneham, owner of the New York Giants. Stoneham, like O’Malley, was getting nowhere in his quest for the city to build his club a new stadium. When the Giants decided to vacate the hills of Coogan’s Bluff for the hills of San Francisco, there were only three dissenting votes. The nays were that of Joan Whitney Payson, her husband and M. Donald Grant. When the relocation was officially announced, Joan Payson immediately sold her shares of stock and promised to do whatever necessary to bring National League Baseball back to New York.

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Her dream came to fruition in 1962 when the Metropolitans played their first game in, of all places, the Giants old stadium. Payson became the first woman in the history of North America to be a majority owner of a professional sports franchise. She was a brilliant businesswoman who was also an avid baseball fan. And although she loved her Mets—not as an investment but as a team—her heart was in San Francisco. Her favorite player on her beloved Giants was on his way to becoming the greatest all-around athlete the game had ever known. On May 11, 1972, at the unremitting demand of Payson, the Mets sent pitcher Charlie Williams along with $50,000 to bring The Say Hey Kid back to New York. Another dream of Joan Payson’s came true as she watched her cherished Willie Mays play for the team she owned.

At 41 years old, Willie was in the twilight of his career and was focusing on what to do after his playing days ended. The Giants were financially strapped and management could not keep Mays on payroll in any capacity, be it coach, hitting instructor, scout, etc…Payson assured Willie a spot on the coaching staff after retirement. He agreed and Willie Mays once again wore NY on his cap.

Payson made Mays a promise. His time as a Met would be brief and she could not justify having his number joining Casey Stengel’s 37 as the only numbers retired. She did, however, promise that no Mets player would ever again wear no. 24.

On October 16, 1973, Willie Mays played his last professional baseball game. On October 4, 1975, Joan Whitney Payson passed away. On August 7, 1990, the Mets “accidentally” reissued number 24. And so, ladies and gentlemen, begins The Curse of the Joanbino.

payson willie

Kelvin Torve was a 30 year-old utility infielder when he entered the Shea clubhouse for the first time in the summer of 1990. He had played 12 games with the Twins 2 years earlier but now was awed as he looked around at his new teammates. Torve was back in ‘The Show,’ sharing a locker room with Doc Gooden, Darryl Strawberry, David Cone, Sid Fernandez and Frank Viola. He was handed a jersey, number 24, and suited up to take infield practice.

Fans began calling the front office. They started writing letters. That number was never supposed to be used again they reminded management. The Mets went on the road and while in the visiting clubhouse, equipment manager Charlie Samuels advised Torve of the uproar and asked if he’d mind changing numbers. Torve had no qualms about it. He was trying to stay in the majors and would do anything asked of him. On August 18th, he replaced his 24 with no. 39. The change of numbers happened on the road…as the Mets played, of all teams, the Giants. In the 10 days Torve wore Mays’ number, he batted .500.

In April 99, the number would be issued again, but this time not by accident. Newly acquired outfielder Rickey Henderson insisted on wearing 24. But it really didn’t matter by then. The Curse of the Joanbino had already taken hold.

As I alluded to earlier, for a ‘curse’ to have some legitimacy, there must be strange, unusual or downright weird events. Using the issuance of the Torve uniform as a benchmark, one can clearly delineate a reversal of fortunes of the Mets from that point forward.

Prior to 1990, our Mets were no strangers to bizarre plays. However, they always went in our favor.

Ron-Swoboda-Catch

In 1969, the Mets shocked the baseball world by overcoming 100-1 odds and defeating the heavily favored Cubs for the division title. Facing the power heavy Braves in the LCS, the big question was could the Mets pitching quiet the lethal bats of Hank Aaron, Rico Carty, Felipe Alou and Orlando Cepeda. Our pitching failed miserably. However, the light hitting Mets beat the Braves at their own game, scoring 27 runs in a 3-game sweep. The Mets would go on to upset the Baltimore Orioles, a team that carried 4 future Hall of Famers–Brooks Robinson, Frank Robinson, Jim Palmer and manager Earl Weaver, along with 1969 Cy Young Winner, Mike Cuellar. Ron Swoboda, a well-known liability in the field, would make one of the most iconic defensive plays in Series history. A miracle indeed.

With the 1973 pennant hanging in the balance, another “strange” play occurred. On Sept 20, in a crucial game against the first place Pirates, Pittsburgh appeared ready to finally win in extra innings with a long blast to LF. The ball, however, did not go over the wall. Nor did it bounce off the wall. Rather, it bounced on TOP of the wall and back into play. Cleon Jones turned, fired to Garrett who pivoted and threw home to catcher Ron Hodges who nailed Richie Zisk at the plate. The Mets would win in the bottom of the next inning and pull to within half a game of first. Two weeks later the Mets were facing Cincinnati in the LCS. At the time my dad advised me, “The ghost of Gil Hodges was sitting on the fence and knocked the ball back into play.” I was almost 8 years old and that seemed plausible. Strange indeed.

And if the Miracle of 1969 and balls bouncing on top of walls weren’t enough, there’s also Game 6 in 86.

All of these peculiar plays went in the Mets favor. After Kelvin Torve was issued Mays’ number, the Mets underwent a reversal of fortune and everything from that day forward has seemingly gone against us. Although we only won 2 Championships and 3 pennants before the mishap of reissuing the number, the Mets still appeared almost charmed with good luck. After, we seemed, well, cursed.

Here are some of the bizarre incidents that transpired after Joan Payson’s promise was not maintained.

1991: The very first year after accidentally allowing another player to wear Mays’ number, the Mets draft 2 pitchers they intend to build their future around: Bill Pulsipsher and Jason Isringhausen.

1992: The Mets sign Bobby Bonilla to a lucrative (at the time) 5 year/$29 million contract. Bonilla was a superstar in Pittsburgh. And although he was a native New Yorker just like John Franco, Lee Mazzilli and Ed Kranepool, he would become perhaps the most despised Met in team history. A subsequent renegotiation of his contract will see us paying Bonilla until he turns 72 years old. 72, the same year Willie Mays returned to New York.

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Mid 90’s: The Mets spend big bucks to bring a pennant to Flushing. The plan falls short and instead they become known as ‘The Worst Team Money Can Buy.’

1999: After one of the most dramatic moments in team history, Robin Ventura’s  famous Grand Slam single, the Mets lose the NLCS the following day on, of all things, a walk-off walk. It’s the only time in history a team lost the pennant in such fashion.

2000: The Mets lose the World Series in 5 games to the Yankees. Mike Piazza records the final out. Piazza didn’t ground out to the shortstop or strike out or pop up. He flew out—to center field, the same area Mays patrolled decades earlier.

2003: Earning more than $17 million, Mo Vaughn is the highest paid player on the team, netting more than even Piazza. His season ends on May 2 due to injuries. He retires from baseball.

2006: The Mets are expected to crush the Cardinals. St. Louis barely made the post-season and had numerous players injured. They were relying on a rookie to close named Adam Wainwright. The loss in the 7 game LCS was a shock and never expected. The decisive blow was a HR by Yadier Molina who hit only 6 HR’s all season. At the time, Molina was 24 years old.

2007: The Mets suffer what is regarded by many to be the greatest collapse in baseball history, blowing a 7 game lead with just 17 left. We even fail to make the wildcard.

2008: The Mets blow a 3 ½ game lead with 17 left. We again fail to even make the wildcard.

2009: Citi Field opens and in the inaugural game, a cat runs onto the field. Although it was not a black cat like happened to the Cubs in the heat of the 69 pennant, there is an interesting similarity. Fellow MMO blogger Ed Leyro pointed out at the time that in 69, the black cat ran out while Ron Santo was in the on deck circle. In 09, a cat ran out while David Wright stood in the on deck circle. Both Santo and Wright are considered the best third basemen in the history of their respective clubs.

2009: Mets players spend a total of 1,480 days on the disabled list. Our new home offers no immediate hope of a bright future. The Mets finish under .500 for the first time in 5 seasons.

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2009: Luis Castillo against the Yankees. ‘Nuff said.

2011: After 50 years and 8020 games, a Mets pitcher finally throws a no-hitter. And from this point forward, for all intents and purposes, Johan Santana’s career comes to an end.

2013: Johan Santana’s salary is $25,500,000 for the season. He pitches zero innings.

2013: Fans finally see a light at the end of the tunnel. Matt Harvey conjures up images of Seaver and Gooden. He becomes the first Mets pitcher to start an All-Star Game in a quarter century. Six weeks later he is put on the disabled list. He is 24.

Maybe it’s just bad luck. Fate, perhaps? But one can easily see a difference in the Mets pre-Joanbino curse and post-Joanbino curse. In addition to the previously mentioned bad karma that has appeared since the no. 24 was reissued, there are also other, shall we say, “coincidences.”

2000 saw the Mets lose the Series to the Yankees. However, for the entire post-season, the Mets outscored their opponents, 60-51. 51…as in 1951, the year Willie Mays debuted. The last time the Mets won a World Series was 1986, our 25th year in existence. However, many don’t consider the strike-shortened 81 season a real season. Therefore, you can say that 86 was the Mets 24th season. Granted, that’s a stretch and somewhat tongue-in-cheek.

Here, however, are a couple more that garner some serious attention. Things that appear too coincidental to be mere happenstance.

Game 6 of 86 saw the Mets conclude the greatest come from behind victory in World Series history. We tied the series at 3 games and game 7 was slated for the following day. However, the hand of fate intervened and the game was rained out, played instead on Monday, October 27, 1986. 10-27-86. 1+0+2+7+8+6=24.

Billy Sianis Cubs Playoffs 1984In 1969, the Mets swept Atlanta, then defeated Baltimore 4 games to 1. In 73, we defeated the heavily favored Big Red Machine in 5 before falling short to Oakland in 7. In 86, we defeated Houston in 6, Boston in 7. In 1988, we were upset in the NLCS by the Dodgers, 4 games to 3. All of these post-seasons appeared before Willie’s number was accidentally reissued. The total post-season victories—3 against Atlanta, 4 against Baltimore, 3 vs. Cincy, 3 vs Oakland, 4 vs Houston, 4 vs. Boston and 3 vs. LA totals out to…yes, you guessed it. 24.

The bad thing about curses is they are inconsiderate when it comes to time. If the Mets are in fact cursed, how long will it last? The Curse of the Bambino lasted over eight and a half decades. The Billy Goat Curse is still ongoing.

On the positive side, Mays’ old number was recirculated in 1990. 24 years from that makes it 2014. On the other hand, Joan Payson was 72 years of age when she passed away. That would make it 2062 if 72 years has to pass. And worst of all, Mays hit 660 home runs.

Do I really think our Mets are cursed? Nahhh, of course not. Probably not. I’m sure it’s not real. I mean, come on. That’s silly. Right?

But just in case the spirit of Joan Payson is really, really upset and keeping in mind Willie’s 660 career home runs, here’s to the 2650 Mets.

New York Mets owner Joan Payson

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Video: Mike Piazza Inducted Into Mets Hall Of Fame http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/video-mike-piazza-inducted-into-mets-hall-of-fame.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/video-mike-piazza-inducted-into-mets-hall-of-fame.html/#comments Sun, 29 Sep 2013 17:55:16 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=130341 photo (32)

Very rarely is a team graced with a player of the stature and talent of Michael Joseph Piazza. Subsequently, very rarely does a fanbase and a city mutually bond with a player like Michael Joseph Piazza.

Today as Piazza was inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame, fans were able to share yet another special moment with the greatest offensive catcher of all time.

“I look back now, in retrospect, and realize it was just fate,” said Piazza in a press conference prior to his induction ceremony. “I was just meant to be here. That’s that feeling I was talking about. You know, you can talk about agents and numbers and arguments and who’s right and who’s wrong. But if you look at the big picture of life, you realize that sometimes there’s just a destiny in things. And I truly feel it was my plan to be here, in one way, shape or form. It may not have been the most beautiful journey at the time, but it was meant to be.”

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Piazza emerged from the home dugout and onto the field for a sellout crowd as master of ceremonies Howie Rose introduced the 12-time all-star. Met greats such as Doc Gooden, Rusty Staub, John Franco, Edgardo Alfonzo, Ed Kranepool, Keith Hernanez, Buddy Harrelson, Al Jackson, Mookie Wilson and Ed Charles were on hand to celebrate the 45-year old.

After Rose announce September 29th Mike Piazza Day in the city of New York, a number of teammates including Alfonzo, Franco commended him on his tremendous accomplishments as well as Al Leiter who did so via video message from MLB Network’s Studio 3.

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Then came the induction, in which Franco and Alfonzo presented Piazza with his plaque, to which he proud held overhead for all 41,891 fans see.

piazza

In Piazza’s speech, he continued to thank the fans as well as God for his incredible baseball career. He then spoke to his mother and father, in a tearful moment in which he thanked them for all of their hard work in getting him to where he is today, his father visibly emotional.

Piazza then moved into an unfamiliar location, the mound, to throw out the first pitch. Mets captain David Wright acted as the catcher, in a fantastic moment in which Piazza delivered a perfect strike on the left side of the plate, much to the pleasure on an elated crowd, yet another beautiful moment between him and the fans.

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“I think, my relationship here with the fans, like any relationship; when I got here they didn’t know me too well,” said Piazza. “They didn’t know anything about me. They didn’t know if I was going to stay. They didn’t know if I was completely committed to staying here. And I had some rough patches. I obviously struggled a little at the plate driving in runs and they let me hear it, and I was thinking to myself, ‘I can do one of two things: I can run and go to somewhere a little more safer and comfortable. Or I can meet this head-on and try to prove to these people that I want to belong and want to play for them and perform for them.’”

Mike Piazza, who with a swing of the bat brought New York City to their feet following the attacks on 9/11, was able to do so with a smile and a wave one more time in a tremendous ceremony of a Mets great.

Hopefully sooner rather than late, we will be able to celebrate Piazza once again, when number 31 is officially in left field among the other immortalized Mets; where it belongs.

(Photo Credits: Clayton Collier)

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Retire No. 31 While You’re At It… http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/retire-no-31-while-youre-at-it.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/retire-no-31-while-youre-at-it.html/#comments Mon, 15 Jul 2013 13:45:58 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=124820 mike piazza

Yesterday, the New York Mets announced that Mike Piazza, the greatest home run-hitting catcher of all-time, will be inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame on Fan Appreciation Day Sunday, September 29 at Citi Field. Piazza will become the 27th member of the Mets Hall of Fame during the Mets Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony prior to the 1:10 p.m. game vs. the Milwaukee Brewers.

It’s about time… But why stop there?

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Here’s something photoshopped about two years ago before the Mets moved in the walls at Citi Field. How cool would that look in our ballpark?

Has Piazza done enough as a Met to be worthy of such distinction? Absolutely… Consider this…

Piazza hit 220 of his 427 career home runs with the Mets, ranking second in franchise history. He ranks first in team history with a .542 slugging percentage and is third in RBI (655). Piazza was a seven-time All-Star with Mets.

Piazza set a team-record with 124 RBI and hit 40 home runs in 1999 and then finished with 38 home runs and drove in 113 runs in 2000 as the Mets qualified for the playoffs in back-to-back years for the first time in team history and reached the 2000 World Series.

That’s not all… Piazza hit his 352nd home run as a catcher on May 5, 2004 to break Carlton Fisk’s major league mark.

Now… Consider that and then throw in the Post 9/11 Game… His dramatic eighth-inning home run in the first sporting event in New York City after the 9-11 attacks beat the Atlanta Braves and helped the city begin the healing process.

Chief Operating Officer Jeff Wilpon had this to say about Piazza yesterday:

“Mike Piazza reinvigorated our franchise when we acquired him in May, 1998. Mike is one of the greatest players in our history and we are thrilled to induct him into the Mets Hall of Fame.”

Lets go all they way on September 29 and do this thing right…

piazza gfx

RETIRE NO. 31…

(Photo credit: Newsday)

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Sights and Sounds of the 2013 All-Star FanFest! http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/sights-and-sounds-of-the-2013-all-star-fanfest.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/sights-and-sounds-of-the-2013-all-star-fanfest.html/#comments Sat, 13 Jul 2013 16:31:51 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=124719 fan fest ribbon cutting

Let’s get this 2013 MLB All-Star FanFest started…

all star 5k run

On your marks, get set, go… MLB mascots kick off today’s 5K All Star Run…

gooden franco larussa

John Franco wants to know if there’s a Doctor in the house…

mookie ozzie

Mookie and Ozzie and some dude with a big head…

mlb fan fest family photo

I have no idea who what that green thing in the White Sox hat is….

fan fest mets ball

Now that is one cool baseball!

harvey wright jerseys

Hmmm…. Let me get one of each in extra large please….

finzie

Everybody wants an autograph….

cano rivera

Boo!!!!

mets baseball fan fest'

OMG!!! How cool would this look in my man cave?

bucket of all star balls

Something for the kiddies….

Former Mets John Franco, Mookie Wilson and Edgardo Alfonzo are on hand at the Javits Center to open the five-day 2013 All-Star FanFest.

Noah Syndergaard, Taijuan Walker and Archie Bradley visit Foley’s, the Fan Cave, MLB.com offices and FanFest during a tour of New York City.

Check back later for more sights and sounds from the All-Star FanFest!

 

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Sights and Sounds From An Amazin’ Day http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/sights-and-sounds-from-an-amazin-day.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/sights-and-sounds-from-an-amazin-day.html/#comments Tue, 09 Jul 2013 02:36:53 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=124204 mincone franco

Mets Hall of Famer John Franco strikes a pose with Brooklyn Cyclones lefthander John Mincone.

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Randy Medina from Read the Apple with another one of his awesome creations.

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Who the heck is that?

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Oh…

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Well these two are still together and going strong….

And finally a word from the Mookster who holds the world’s tiniest baseball…

I heart mets button

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John Franco, Mets, Citi Unveil New Outdoor Playground at Shorefront Y In Brighton Beach http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/john-franco-mets-citi-unveil-new-outdoor-playground-at-shorefront-y-in-brighton-beach.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/john-franco-mets-citi-unveil-new-outdoor-playground-at-shorefront-y-in-brighton-beach.html/#comments Tue, 02 Jul 2013 11:45:49 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=123578 Franco Shorefront Y

Mets legend John Franco cuts the ribbon at a revitalized Hurricane Sandy-affected playground area, funded by Citi, at the Shorefront Y in Brighton Beach. Franco is joined by Shorefront Y Executive Director Sue Fox (center) and Citi Senior Vice President Jill Kelly (right)

Citi, the New York Mets and the Mets Alumni Association presented by Citi hosted an unveiling of a new outdoor playground at the Shorefront Y, a United Neighborhood Houses (UNH) member, Monday in Brighton Beach, a continuing effort to help the New York/ New Jersey area following the devastation from Superstorm Sandy.

Mets Hall-of-Famer and New York native John Franco was on-hand for the event, as well as Citi representatives and over 250 YMCA children to celebrate the addition to a facility that supports over 3,000 children annually.

Citi provided funding for renovations to the playground area’s sinking concrete structure, installation of fencing, repairing cracks near and around the tennis court area and replacing a storage area.

shorefront y

Established in 1949, the Shorefront YM-YWHA is a not-for-profit Jewish Community Center and Settlement House that serves the Brighton Beach local community. The Shorefront Y’s mission is to build community, strengthen families and empower individuals to enhance their quality of life. Since 2005, the Shorefront Y has been a member organization of United Neighborhood Houses of NY.

UNH promotes and strengthens the neighborhood-based, multi-service approach to improving the lives of New Yorkers in need and the communities in which they live. UNH supports its member agencies through policy development, advocacy and capacity-building activities. UNH’s membership comprises one of the largest human service systems in New York City, with 38 agencies working at more than 400 sites to provide high quality services and activities to a half million New Yorkers each year. For more information visit www.unhny.org

This is just one of several unveilings that the Mets and Citi have partnered together for throughout the season. In ways both large and small, the Amazin’s and Citi Bank have been committed to helping the community following the most devastating natural disaster to affect our region. From the Rockaways, to New Jersey to now Brighton Beach, this continued effort has provided aid in getting several communities back on their respective feet as the effects of that October 29th disaster still remain ever-present to millions of New York/New Jersey residents.

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Bobby Parnell: Our Savior Has Arrived! http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/05/bobby-parnell-our-savior-has-arrived.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/05/bobby-parnell-our-savior-has-arrived.html/#comments Mon, 20 May 2013 14:20:07 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=119337 bobby parnell

On Sunday, Bobby Parnell notched his sixth save of the season, recording the final three outs of the Mets’ 4-3 victory over the Cubs.  With the save, Parnell now has 20 in his six-year career with the Mets.  Now that may not seem like much, but it does give Parnell a special title.

Tell me, my fellow Mets fans.  Do you know which homegrown Met has the most saves in team history?  That would be Tug McGraw, who had 86 saves in a Mets uniform.  (Jesse Orosco, who had 107 saves in Flushing, made his major league debut with the Mets, but was originally drafted by the Minnesota Twins and made his professional debut in their minor league system.)

McGraw is followed by Roger McDowell (84 saves), Neil Allen (69 saves), Randy Myers (56 saves), Doug Sisk (33 saves), Bob Apodaca (26 saves), Danny Frisella (24 saves) and Parnell.

Did you notice that all of the homegrown relievers ahead of Parnell pitched for the Mets exclusively in the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s?  When Randy Myers was traded for John Franco after the 1989 season, that began a nearly quarter century stretch in which the Mets went with closers whom they traded for or signed as free agents.

First it was John Franco (acquired from Cincinnati).  Then it was Armando Benitez (acquired from Baltimore).  Benitez was followed by Braden Looper (free agent signing), Billy Wagner (free agent signing), Francisco Rodriguez (free agent signing) and Frank Francisco (yup, another free agent signing).  During that 20-plus year stretch, homegrown pitchers were used to close games primarily when the incumbent closer needed a day of rest or was on the disabled list.

So since the departure of Randy Myers following the 1989 campaign, which homegrown pitchers have registered the most saves for the Mets?  Here is the top three list:

  1. Bobby Parnell (20 saves)
  2. Anthony Young (18 saves)
  3. Aaron Heilman (9 saves)

The only homegrown pitchers to record at least ten career saves for the Mets since Randy Myers’ last season in New York are Anthony Young and Bobby Parnell.  Young is also the only homegrown closer since 1990 to record an individual season of more than seven saves when he saved 15 games in 1992 – the same year he began his major league-record 27-game losing streak.

Bobby Parnell has been given the closer duties by manager Terry Collins.  He is the first homegrown pitcher since 1989 to earn that responsibility out of spring training.  And he is now the team’s all-time saves leader for homegrown pitchers since that year.

The Mets have not developed many closers over the past quarter century, choosing to bring in closers from other teams.  Bobby Parnell is finally getting a chance to become the next Tug McGraw, Roger McDowell or Randy Myers.  If he succeeds, he stands to join those pitchers as the best homegrown closers in franchise history.

Our ninth inning savior has finally arrived!  And his name is Bobby Parnell.  It sure is nice to see a familiar face on the mound in the ninth inning instead of a recruit from another team.

This is a scene that very few homegrown pitchers have been able to repeat.

This is a scene that very few homegrown closers have been able to repeat.

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Wright Named Official Spokesman For 2013 All Star FanFest http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/04/wright-named-official-spokesman-for-2013-all-star-fanfest.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/04/wright-named-official-spokesman-for-2013-all-star-fanfest.html/#comments Wed, 24 Apr 2013 09:25:49 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=116147 mr met

Updated 12:15 PM

David Wright on Wednesday joined New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg and former Mets favorites in kicking off this year’s All-Star Game festivities at City Hall, with less than three months to go before the Midsummer Classic at Citi Field.

Wright was named Major League Baseball’s official spokesman for the T-Mobile All-Star FanFest, to be held at the Jacob K. Javits Center from July 12-16, while former Mets Edgardo Alfonzo, John Franco and Mookie Wilson were anointed All-Star ambassadors.

“All-Star FanFest is the world’s largest baseball fan event and is a great experience for the whole family,” Wright said in a statement. “Just like New York City, FanFest has something for everyone, and I am proud to be a part of the home team as we host this exciting event.”

As FanFest’s official spokesperson, Wright will help to generate public awareness for the event and make appearances in support of it. Alfonzo, Franco and Wilson, meanwhile, will take part in an array of All-Star events leading up to and throughout MLB All-Star Week.

Some attractions include:

  • The Diamond - Located at the center of T-Mobile All-Star FanFest, this attraction features daily clinics and appearances by MLB players, managers and other experts. Past appearances have included George Brett, Tony Gwynn, Torii Hunter, Derek Jeter, Cal Ripken, Jr. and many other MLB greats
  • Legends Autograph Program - Free autographs from Hall of Famers and MLB legends. Players such as Andre Dawson, Rollie Fingers, Ferguson Jenkins and Juan Marichal have previously signed for fans at T-Mobile All-Star FanFest
  • National Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum - Take a stroll through Baseball’s glorious past and experience the history of the national pastime with one of the largest collections of artifacts on loan from the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown
  • The Negro Leagues - A compelling visual journey back in time, the Negro Leagues attraction brings to life the heroic history of some of the game’s proudest and most talented players
  • Hometown Heroes - Hometown Heroes showcases the New York Mets history, roots in the community and promise for the future
  • World’s Largest Baseball - What better way to welcome families to the largest baseball fan event in the world than with the World’s Largest Baseball? The signature white leather, red-laced ball measures 12 feet in diameter and features the signatures of baseball greats such as Hank Aaron, Rod Carew, Derek Jeter, Nolan Ryan, Ozzie Smith and Ted Williams

The All-Star Game will return to Queens this summer for the first time since 1964, when the Mets hosted it during Shea Stadium’s inaugural season. New York City has played host to the Midsummer Classic eight times, most recently at the old Yankee Stadium in 2008.

Citi Field opened in 2009 after more than a decade of planning and construction; its completion coincided with the demolition of Shea Stadium, which the Mets called home for 45 seasons. Owner Fred Wilpon recently called the All-Star Game a chance to “show off the ballpark,” which was constructed to resemble old Ebbets Field in Brooklyn.

New York City has hosted the All-Star Game nine times, but this year’s game will be the first in Queens since 1964. New York last hosted the Midsummer Classic in 2008 at old Yankee Stadium.

Including the space in 54 luxury boxes, six clubs and restaurants, Citi Field can hold up to 41,922 fans at maximum capacity. Opened in 2009, the ballpark is within steps of the Citi Field-Willets Point stop on the New York City subway’s elevated No. 7 line.

 

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Mets Make It Official, David Wright Named Team Captain http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/03/mets-make-it-official-david-wright-named-team-captain.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/03/mets-make-it-official-david-wright-named-team-captain.html/#comments Thu, 21 Mar 2013 20:31:27 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=110848 wright spring

Updated on 3/21

Terry Collins just announced that the Mets have named David Wright the captain of the New York Mets.

Wright becomes the fourth captain in team history, joining Keith Hernandez, Gary Carter, and John Franco.

“This is probably one of the proudest days of my career so far,” Wright said.

“To be viewed in this light – by ownership, by Sandy and the front office, the coaching staff, and most importantly by the players – means a great deal to me. I’m honored and proud to be on the short list of guys of captains of this franchise. It’s a dream come true, to say the least, and something I am very, very proud of.”

Wright will not wear the “C” on his jersey, unlike the captains before him.

Interestingly enough, yesterday I think I told Clayton (was it you Clayton?) that this news was going to break today.

Original Post 3/13

From Bakersfield, California to Bayonne, New Jersey, Mets third baseman David Wright has become an overnight sensation as he continues to shine for Team USA in the World baseball Classic. Step aside Justin Bieber.

From trending nationally on Twitter to being the hot baseball topic on sports talk shows from coast to coast, Wright has gone from face of the Mets franchise to the face of Team USA and his fans now number in the millions.

david wright Team USA diving stop

Meanwhile, back in Port St. Lucie, the buzz about Wright goes beyond his exploits in the WBC and questions regarding his captaincy still continue. Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, caught up with Mets COO Jeff Wilpon, who is happy for Wright and said It’s nice that they’re calling him Captain America.

When asked if Wright would be named the Mets’ team captain before Opening Day, Wilpon responded by saying he could not talk about it, but Rubin believes it sounded like something could be happening soon. If it does happen, Wright would become the fourth captain in team history, joining Keith Hernandez (1987-89), Gary Carter (1988-89) and John Franco (2001-04).

david wright safe team usa wbc

Of course, the big story of the Spring is David Wright’s dominating performance in the WBC for Team USA. He leads the team with a .438 batting average, .750 slugging percentage and a 1.276 OPS. Wright’s 10 RBIs are also the most in the WBC.

captain america wright

This great graphic of Wright as Captain America was designed and posted by @theroar_24 on Twitter and has been making the rounds all over the Mets blogosphere. I love it!

Team USA will battle against the powerhouse Dominican Republic at Marlins Park on Thursday night at 7:00 PM in what is certain to be an epic clash. The winner will move onto the semi-final round at San Francisco’s AT&T Park.

Former Met and reigning NL Cy Young R.A. Dickey will be on the mound for Team USA and will face-off against Samuel Deduno for the DR.

GO TEAM USA!

GO TEAM USA!

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Matt Harvey Finishes Strong In Mets 8-5 Loss To Nationals http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/03/matt-harvey-finishes-strong-in-mets-8-5-loss-to-nationals.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/03/matt-harvey-finishes-strong-in-mets-8-5-loss-to-nationals.html/#comments Thu, 14 Mar 2013 00:45:42 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=110839 matt harveyNearly flawless in his last start, Matt Harvey took his lumps today, but on a positive note rebounded and regained control.

Harvey gave up a three-run homer to Washington’s Bryce Harper in the first inning, but rebounded to throw three scoreless innings and strike out six in an 8-5 loss.

Harvey settled down to retire 11 of the final 12 hitters against him; a very good sign for any pitcher let alone a young one after a rough start.

“I struggled there in the first inning, obviously. I think I came out a little too excited and needed to tone that down a little bit,’’ Harvey told reporters. “I made one bad pitch and it cost me three runs.’’

Harvey said he came out pumped in trying to atone for a three-homer rocking by the Nationals last year in spring training.

Bobby Parnell had a rough outing, giving up four runs in the seventh inning, which included a run-producing error by left fielderLucas Duda and RBI single by Harper.

Bright spots for the Mets included Collin Cowgill’s homer and scoreless relief innings from Robert Carson and LaTroy Hawkins. As of now, Cowgill seems to have the inside track in center field. Hawkins is expected to earn one of the bullpen spots. Carson, who was effective last year out of the pen in spots, could be the second lefty behind Josh Edgin.

METS MUSINGS: The Mets are expected to option catching prospect Travis d’Arnaud and infielder Wilmer Flores to the minor league camp by Friday. If a player on the 40-man roster is injured within 15 days of Opening Day they qualify for major league service time and pay, and must be placed on the disabled list until they are healed. It’s a financial risk the Mets will not take, especially since neither is expected to make the team. … The Mets are expected to name David Wright captain by the start of the season, joining Keith HernandezGary Carter and John Franco. Wright is having a mammoth WBC with ten RBI in four games, including a grand slam. Hope he doesn’t get used to hitting with the bases loaded when he returns. If the USA goes the distance, Wright will be out of camp for another week. …Daniel Murphy is expected to get into a minor league game this weekend. He took live batting practice today. … It his hoped Kirk Nieuwenhuis will begin baseball activities Thursday. He’s been out with a bruised left knee sustained 10 days ago. … Jordany Valdespin, who was hit in the groin by a Justin Verlander pitcher yesterday, now vows to wear a cup. Smart guy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That’s some valuable real estate.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Video: John Franco Enshrined In Mets Hall Of Fame http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/06/video-john-franco-enshrined-in-mets-hall-of-fame.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/06/video-john-franco-enshrined-in-mets-hall-of-fame.html/#comments Mon, 04 Jun 2012 16:48:13 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=83926 Check out my video coverage of last night’s induction of John Franco into the Mets Hall of Fame.

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Live Blog From Citi Field: John Franco Hall Of Fame Induction http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/06/live-blog-from-citi-field.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/06/live-blog-from-citi-field.html/#comments Mon, 04 Jun 2012 00:11:46 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=83590 Update 12:18

Andres Torres had a big night offensively, but he credited the pitching staff for their stellar performances lately. “Pitching is a big key for winning games, and all our pitchers are terrific.”

He thinks tonight was his best offensive game as a Met. He’s not focused on being in first place right now, since it’s still so early.

Torres was a home run shy of the cycle. I asked him if he was hoping for an at-bat in the bottom of the eighth inning for a chance to do it. He has never hit for a cycle at any level in his career.

“Never been close. I was trying to get a swing but that (Hairston double play) happened.”

He was more excited though that the team won the game.

Update 12:13

Kirk Nieuwenhuis was asked if he deserves to be here, especially with Jason Bay scheduled to return from the DL. “You have ups and downs during the season. You try to keep as even keel as possible.”

He said it’s “pretty cool” that the Mets will start tomorrow tied for first place in the NL East.

He hit his home run on an 0-2 cutter.

Update 12:11

Jon Niese post-game

Niese felt he felt good out there tonight. Last start, he said he tried to throw the ball too hard. Today, he took it nice and easy.

He’s not concerned at all about his elevated heart rate.

After two straight shutouts, Niese didn’t concern himself with trying to throw another. “I don’t want to put that kind of pressure on me. I went out there with mindset of just a quality start.”

He said he has learned a ton from fellow lefty Johan Santana. Niese said he charts the game on tv. “I see how he (Santana) sets up hitters and how he reads hitters mid-swing.”

Update 12:05

Post-game Terry Collins

“I think that’s the best I’ve see him (Niese) throw the ball in a while. He used his curveball very effectively. He threw it for strikes. He threw it out of the zone.”

Niese apparently had an elevated heart rate on the bench and that was why Collins came out to the mound in the fifth inning. It has happened to Niese a few times before.

Collins was with the Dodgers organization when they drafted John Franco. “He’s been a great friend of mine for many years. It’s certainly a well deserved honor. He was a great pitcher.”

On Andres Torres: “When Andres gets on base, he scores. That’s what we’re looking for.”

Collins expects to put Jason Bay in the lineup when he returns. “We’ll have some fun decisions here as we head down the road with who should play and who should rest.”

There’s been an infectious feeling amongst the starting pitchers. “You want guys when they are pitching good to compete with each other. Tomorrow, I want Dillon (Gee) to stand up and say, ‘I’m going to do that same thing.’”

“This is the best atmosphere in a clubhouse that I’ve been around in a long time.”

Update 11:10

METS WIN!!!! 6-1. Mets take three straight from the Cards. Will try for a four-game sweep tomorrow at noon.

Jon Niese improves to 4-2 on the year.

The scoreless streak is over, but the wins keep piling up.

The Mets are now tied for first place in the NL East.

I will head down for post-game interviews and then return to the press box to transcribe some quotes. Stay tuned for the coverage.

Update 11:07

And it comes down to Beltran…

Update 11:07

Holliday goes fishing for the second out.

Update 11:06

Oh boy. Error by David Wright.

Either way, Mets have 22 wins this season against teams with an above .500 winning percentage, which is the most in the NL.

Now they just have to beat the teams that are under .500.

Update 11:03

One out in the ninth.

Update 10:59

No cycle tonight for Torres (assuming of course that Frank Francisco protects the five-run lead). But a great overall night for Andres.

Update 10:57

My bad, I spoke too soon. Hairston hits into the 6-4-3 double play. Captain Kirk will have to keep it going.

Update 10:56

I thought it was guaranteed before that Torres would have at least one more at-bat. I was wrong. Mets need at least one baserunner…

And there it it. Thole walks. Scott Hairston is the pinch hitter. Assuming there’s no double play, Torres will bat in this inning in search of a cycle. Will need the long ball.

Update 10:53

Jason Motte entering the game for the Cards.

Update 10:52

Byrdak starts a new scoreless inning streak at 0.1 innings.

Update 10:51

Tonight’s attendance: 23,559

Update 10:49

Just showed clips on big screen of the no-hitter. Still in awe about that. And I only had to wait  23 years to see it. I can only imagine what fans since 1962 must have felt.

Then again, I wasn’t around in 1986 so I envy all the Mets fans who got to see that.

Update 10:47

And there it goes…

Elvin Ramirez gives up an RBI single that snaps the Mets scoreless streak at 25 innings.

Tim Byrdak comes in.

Update 10:45

Ramirez has a good arm on him.

Update 10:44

This is almost as stressful as the no-hitter was in keeping the scoreless streak alive. Ramirez strikeouts Adams for the second out.

Update 10:42

Seems fine. Matt Adams pinch hitting here for the Cards. Runner on second, one out.

Update 10:41

And then gets drilled with a Yadi Molina line drive. Coaches, trainers and entire infield crowding around him. Will attempt a few throws.

Update 10:40

Welcome to the big leagues Elvin Ramirez. David Freese singles up the middle.

Update 10:37

Elvin Ramirez enters the game for the Mets and will make his Major League debut. Keep the streak going Elvin.

Update 10:36

We head to the top of the eighth.

Update 10:35

What a terrible swing there from Ike. He might benefit from being sent down. Bay comes back to the outfield and Duda moves to first. Bay and Hairston split time with Kirk and Torres.

Update 10:33

A very emphatic “Yankees Suck!” chant just resonated through the ballpark.

Update 10:32

Sure enough, Scott Stapp from Creed sang God Bless America.

Update 10:28

STRIKE THREE! Parnell survives a rough inning. The scoreless streak continues. 25 consecutive scoreless innings.

Update 10:27

Parnell just hit 100 mph. But it was inside.

Update 10:25

Dan Warthen out to talk to Parnell after the walk to Holliday. The dangerous Carlos Beltran coming to the plate.

Update 10:24

Don’t want to count our chickens but the last defending World Series champions to be shut out for three straight games was the 1966 Los Angeles Dodgers.

Update 10:23

Captain Kirk has taken well to left field. Remember that whole debate about who should play center when Torres returns. Well, Torres has been great in center and Kirk has been great in left. Collins is a genius.

However, we will see how much of a genius he is when Jason Bay is eligible to return from the DL, which will likely be this week.

Scott Hairston is hitting well too, so Bay may be slowly eased back in. But with Mike Baxter now on the DL, the team will need another outfielder.

Update 10:20

Mets have the worst bullpen ERA (5.45) in the league and the second most blown saves (10).

Update 10:19

No pressure on you Bobby. Your team just has a streak of 24 scoreless innings going.

Update 10:18

Like I said before, leadoff walks score 80 percent of the time, if not higher. Parnell walks Daniel DeScalso with the top of the Cards order coming up.

Update 10:14

Bobby Parnell will be the first reliever attempting to keep the Mets scoreless inning streak alive here in the top of the seventh.

Update 10:12

Torres is a homer away from the cycle. He should have at least one more chance this game.

Update 10:09

Crowd not happy after that inside pitch to Wright.

Update 10:08

Another big hit from Andres Torres! Mets lead 6-0. This is a team of destiny.

Update 10:05

Kirk just set a new career high in RBI in a game with three.

Maickel Cleto in to pitch for St. Louis.

Update 10:04

Kirk comes up big again. Single up the middle drives home Quintanilla. 4-0 Mets. Here comes a double switch.

Update 10:01

Valdespin fails to get the bunt down and then pops up. Collins ain’t gonna be too happy about that. 3-0 is still a close game and you gotta do the little things right in those spots.

Update 10:00

Niese’s day is done. Six innings, six hits, one walk, 10 strikeouts, 70 of his 96 pitches were strikes. That’s unreal.

Update 9:59

Sidenote: I was in the dugout before with Scott Stapp from the band Creed. I think he’s singing God Bless America. He recorded one of those rallying Mets chants like Chris Rock and Kevin James do.

Update 9:58

Another John Franco shot from his speech.

Update 9:56

Mound visit from Mike Matheny. And he’s pulling Jake Westbrook. Lefty Sam Freeman coming in for the Cards.

Update 9:55

Fantastic at-bat there from Josh Thole. Runners on first and second and nobody out for Valdespin. Do you bunt here? If so, why not leave in Niese to bunt?

Update 9:54

Bobby Parnell warming up in the pen. Looks like Jordany Valdespin will hit for Niese.

Update 9:51

80 percent of leadoff walks score. Omar Quintanilla just walked; let’s see if he scores.

Update 9:47

That’s now 24 consecutive scoreless innings from Mets pitching. Notice: ALL FROM STARTING PITCHERS.

Update 9:46

Great throw home by Andres Torres!!!! The streak is alive!!! Looked like a close there at home plate. Thole might have just got the tag on.

Update 9:45

HUGE strikeout from Niese. Adrian Chambers who has struck out twice already today steps to the plate with two outs.

Update 9:42

Beltran rips Niese’s 90th pitch into left field for a base hit. This might be his last inning of work. No activity as of now in the bullpen.

Great play there by Omar Quintanilla and good turn by Murph. Freese beat the throw though.

Update 9:37

Davis hit that ball very well, but Citi Field is still too big.

Update 9:36

It’s been announced in the press box that Dillon Gee will start tomorrow afternoon’s game for the Mets

Update 9:35

No-Han t-shirts are available in the Mets team store. The drawback: $32. Wow, $32 for a t-shirt. The best way to have those prices drop is for another Met starter to throw a perfect game.

Update 9:34

Five scoreless innings from Mr. Niese. It’s just been one great pitching performance after another. Keep in mind it’s not like the Mets pitchers are blanking the Astros (despite the Astros sweeping the Mets earlier this season). The Cardinals have one of the top offenses in the NL even without Albert Pujols.

Update 9:32

Collins comes out to talk to Niese. That was weird. He just set a career high in strikeouts with nine.

Update 9:29

If Niese continues this pace, the Mets bullpen will go four full days (including last Thursday’s off day) without much work. Even if Niese gets through seven, that would only be two innings. Is this good or bad for the pen? What do you think?

Yes, the bullpen hasn’t been great, but the only way for them to regain confidence is by getting on that mound and getting the job done.

Update 9:26

David Wright before popping out to end the bottom of the fourth.

Update 9:22

Cards trainers and coaches out to tend to Westbrook. He might have a sore neck after giving up that bomb.

Update 9:21

Captain Kirk goes blastoff! He needed that shot. No. 3 on the season. And that was on an 0-2 pitch. Mets 3, Cardinals 0.

Update 9:19

Jon Niese is 2-for-2. That ties Niese’s career high in hits in a game. Last time: September 2010 in Chicago.

Update 9:17

We got a pitcher’s duel brewing here at Citi.

Update 9:15

Gotta love Brooklyn boy Johnny Franco!

Update 9:13

GOT HIM! And the streak continues!

Update 9:12

Big Niese strikeout. Now must get out Westbrook.

Update 9:10

Ike was off the base on that one. Same umpire (Adrian Johnson) who blew the Beltran fair or foul call. But he got this one right. Ike must have saw the runner crossing and came off early. Scoreless inning streak in serious jeopardy.

Update 9:08

Not known for his speed, that was actually Molina’s fifth steal of the season.

Update 9:06

Every time up, Yadier Molina is berated with a chorus of boo’s. Lines a single to left. The guy can flat out play.

Update 9:05

It’s amazing how a guy like David Freese can go from being a relative unknown to a household name in a matter of games. Play well during the postseason and that’s what happens. Niese fans him here though.

Update 9:03

John’s son J.J. Franco presented his father with his Hall of Fame plaque. J.J. was drafted by the Mets, but instead chose to attend Brown University on a baseball scholarship. He’s a second baseman.

Update 9:01

Not necessarily boo’s for Ike Davis. But fans are very apathetic towards him.

Update 8:59

This team may not score a lot of runs, but remember that pitching and defense win championships.

Update 8:56

Beltran goes down swinging. Niese is through three without surrendering a run. Scoreless streak at 21.

Update 8:54

Carlos Beltran started off the weekend getting applause, but now it’s mostly boo’s.

Update 8:48

The members of the Mets Hall of Fame as well as Franco’s special guests.

Update 8:45

ESPN just showed the clips of Terry Collins during Santana’s no-hitter. Nice!

Update 8:43

Back-to-back hits with one out. Now up Torres who socked a double last time up.

Update 8:41

Nice at-bat there from Niese. Fouled off some tough pitches and lined a single past Furcal.

Update 8:39

Al Leiter was one of Franco’s former teammates on hand for the festivities. Leiter had great things to say about Franco and said everyone listened to the reliever when he was the captain.

Update 8:37

Niese looking pretty good so far. Records a strikeout to retire the side. Keeps scoreless inning streak alive.

Update 8:34

Photos from the ceremony

Update 8:33

Niese just took a broken bat to the body. Appears fine.

Update 8:31

The Department of Sanitation pep band performed before the ceremony. Franco’s dad of course was in the NYC Dept. of Sanitation, and that’s why Franco always wore the orange shirt under his uniform. He got a little emotional talking about it, but he thanked his dad for teaching him how to play the game.

Update 8:30

Can’t leave the bases loaded with one out. Anyway, I will intersperse the live coverage with a recap of the John Franco Hall of Fame induction ceremony, which was very well done.

Update 8:28

Ike has to put the ball in play there. The slump continues. He looked good today in bp, but it has to translate into the game.

Update 8:25

Murph delivers a single. Mets can break it open right here. Ike Davis can really break out of a slump in a big way with a clutch hit. A grand slam would be great, but a single would do.

Update 8:24

Cards starter Jake Westbrook has induced eight double play grounders. He’s hoping for one here. But Murph may have different plans…

Update 8:22

Duda comes through. Mets 1, Cardinals 0.

Update 8:21

Nationals lost today so the Mets can pull into a tie for first place with a win. Get it started DUDA!

Update 8:18

Mets have a .264 BA with runners in scoring position–third best in the NL.

Update 8:16

Nice double from Andres Torres. Now let’s get him around.

Update 8:12

I’m back and the Mets and Jon Niese are through the top of the first.

Update 6:59

I’m heading down to the field to get a good spot for the John Franco ceremony. Be bacl later. Look for me behind home plate.

Update 6:57

Tarp

The tarp is coming off the field! There will be baseball tonight in Queens!

Update 6:55

Bill Maher

A few reporters were gathering outside the clubhouse, and HBO comedian Bill Maher was there wearing a Mets hat. He was mainly hanging out with Jeff Wilpon.

One of the other reporters noted that Maher recently purchased a minority share of the Mets and is now a partial owner. He said he’s been a Mets fan since he was young.

His first memory of the Mets was when his dad was reading the paper in 1961 and said that National League baseball was heading back to New York.

Maher said the purchase is a good investment, but he cannot disclose any terms of the agreement.

He said his role will simply to bring luck to the team. “Let’s be honest. They did not have a no-hitter for 50 years. I buy in and I come to town, and there’s a no-hitter. Draw your own conclusions.”

Update 6:49

R.A. Dickey spoke with reporters after his stellar performance from yesterday.

He said he’s open to pitching on short rest for his next start. “If it helps Johan (Santana) get an extra day of rest, so be it.”

He said he can measure how well he thinks he can perform on a given day based on his bullpen session.

“If I am given the ball on short rest, you have to treat me like it’s my normal day,” Dickey said. “I don’t want to get cheated.”

In typical Dickey lexicon, he said that “prudence will be measured in retrospect” when handling the issue of an extra day. “If we end up winning a game and it goes well, then it was prudent.”

Update 6:41

Check out Josh Thole taking some reps at first base.

Josh Thole

Update 6:38

John Franco

John Franco is currently working for the Mets, and he’s enjoying what he’s doing.

He commented that a no-hitter can rejuvenate a franchise. “You want to go out there, and Jonathon (Niese) probably wants to go out there and keep that scoreless innings streak going. Hopefully he does.”

Franco said that this current team needs to be consistent, and they could do something special.

_________________________________________________________________________________

Hello all!

Pre-game interviews just concluded. The tarp is actually on the field right now, but the sun is shining here in Flushing.

There are a couple of key new developments surrounding the team, and I will try to highlight those before I head down to the field for the John Franco Hall of Fame ceremony.

Enjoy!

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MMO Player Of The Week: David Wright http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/04/mmo-player-of-the-week-david-wright.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/04/mmo-player-of-the-week-david-wright.html/#comments Mon, 16 Apr 2012 13:55:30 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=77487 The MetsMerizedOnline Player of the Week for this week has shown he has a great impact on this team. This week also includes the opening series against the Atlanta Braves, for a total of 9 games played.  Here is our MMO Player of the Week for 4/5/2012-4/15/2012:

Through the use of the scorecard, let’s take a look at how David Wright did this week:

G

AB

H

R

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

K

AVG

6

21

12

4

0

0

2

5

4

2

.571

Despite missing three games due to a pinkie injury, Wright still had two home runs, five runs batted in, and a .571 batting average. During those three games he missed, his impact was noticed, as the Mets went 1-2 without him, while going 5-1 with him. This is the David Wright that we all want playing out there, week in and week out.

Honorable Mentions

These players, although not winning the Player of the Week award, had a very strong showing this week and deserve to be recognized. We will also show how strong a showing they had through the use of the scorecard.

Ruben Tejada

G

AB

H

R

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

K

AVG

9

34

10

4

5

0

0

3

4

8

.294

Daniel Murphy

G

AB

H

R

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

K

AVG

9

34

10

3

4

0

0

4

6

5

.294

Johan Santana

G

IP

W

L

SV

R

ER

BB

K

AVG

WHIP

2

10.0

0

1

0

1

1

5

13

.194

1.20

Jon Niese

G

IP

W

L

SV

R

ER

BB

K

AVG

WHIP

2

12.2

2

0

0

4

3

5

12

.156

0.95

Jon Rauch

G

IP

W

L

SV

R

ER

BB

K

AVG

WHIP

5

5.2

1

0

0

0

0

1

3

.000

0.18

Frank Francisco

G

IP

W

L

SV

R

ER

BB

K

AVG

WHIP

4

4.0

0

0

3

1

0

0

7

.188

0.75

Not So Hot

The Not So Hot area mentions a few players who did not have a good week this week.

Ike Davis

Jason Bay

Miguel Batista

Ramon Ramirez

Player Of The Week Scoreboard

This area shows the scoreboard of the Players of the Week, and who has won already this season and how many times.

1. David Wright – 1

Trivia

To finish off the Player of the Week announcement each week, I’ll be asking you a trivia question. The answer will be announced during the next Player of the Week announcement, as well as the first person who answered correctly. Another question will then be asked. So here is this week’s question:

In the 2000 NLDS, most Met fans remember that Bobby Jones won the clinching Game 4 with a one-hitter, and many fans remember that John Franco saved Game 2 for winning pitcher Armando Benitez to even the series when he struck out Barry Bonds. But what pitcher won game 3 of that NLDS for the Mets?

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Mets Great John Franco to Join Citi at Presale Promotion Events in NYC http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/02/mets-great-john-franco-to-join-citi-at-presale-promotion-events-in-nyc.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/02/mets-great-john-franco-to-join-citi-at-presale-promotion-events-in-nyc.html/#comments Mon, 20 Feb 2012 16:21:58 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=73087

OPPORTUNITY TO PURCHASE METS SINGLE GAME TICKETS

VIA ONLINE PRESALE

THIS MONDAY AND TUESDAY FEBRUARY 27 AND 28

The New York Mets today announced Citi will offer Citi credit and debit cardholders an exclusive opportunity to purchase Mets single game tickets for the 2012 season at Citi Field before they go on sale to the general public through an online presale at Mets.com/CitiPresale. The two-day promotion begins this Monday, February 27 at 10:00 a.m. and ends Tuesday, February 28 at 11:59 p.m.

This presale is for single game ticket purchases only and customers must use their Citi credit or debit card to take advantage of this special offer.

“Citi is thrilled to make this exclusive offer available to our valued Citi credit and debit cardholders,” said Bill Brown, Manhattan Division Director, Citibank. “This is yet another benefit to having a Citi card and we look forward to seeing fans out at Citi Field cheering on the Mets this year.”

As part of a series of events with the Mets Alumni Association Presented by Citi, Mets all-time saves leader John Franco will make several appearances in New York City February 27 to promote the presale and meet with fans. Franco, who will be inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame June 3, will be joined by Mr. Met. They will visit the following locations:

  • 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. – Citibank flagship branch in Union Square (52 East 14th Street)
  • 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. – Citibank branch on 42nd Street and Madison (330 Madison Avenue)
  • 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. – New York Mets Clubhouse Shop (11 West 42nd Street)

Additionally, all Citi customers who use their credit or debit card will receive a special 10% discount on all merchandise, excluding tickets, at the Mets Clubhouse Shop on 11 West 42nd Street between 5th and 6th Avenues only, for the duration of the two-day promotion.

“We congratulate John Franco on his upcoming induction into the Mets Hall of Fame and are excited that he and Mr. Met will be joining us to kick-off this wonderful promotion for Mets fans and Citi customers,” Brown said.

A limited number of tickets for Opening Day (April 5 against the Atlanta Braves) and Subway Series games (June 22–24) will be available in this presale. Each Citi cardholder is limited to a maximum of eight tickets per game, subject to availability.

Tickets are available online only, but fans with any questions regarding the presale can call the Mets Ticket Services team at (718) 507-TIXX for assistance. Single game tickets go on sale to the general public Monday, March 5 at 10:00 a.m. online at Mets.com and by phone at (718) 507-TIXX. For complete ticketing information, visit Mets.com.

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Are The Mets Done Shoving Parnell Down Our Throats Yet? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2011/09/are-the-mets-done-shoving-parnell-down-our-throats-yet.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2011/09/are-the-mets-done-shoving-parnell-down-our-throats-yet.html/#comments Thu, 15 Sep 2011 15:00:43 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=60983 This is beginning to get ridiculous now.  First the Mets removed Izzy from the closer role and asked him to groom Parnell to be the teams closer.  Now since Parnell has blown 5 saves in 10 chances they have decided to try John Franco as a potential mentor/tutor?

I am getting a little tired of this whole thing.  He throws really really hard, but THAT’S IT!  He has never been consistent with his secondary pitches and without that he will NEVER be a successful back of the bullpen arm.

Natural closer’s are born with the attitude that you need to succeed with the game on the line. You can teach good mechanics, but you can’t teach the killer instinct you need to be a closer.

Parnell is scared and does not have the guts to get the job done. I wish the Mets would stop shoving him down our throats already!

Why don’t they just banish him to the 7th inning role because that is the only spot he will ever succeed.  If he can’t get it done in that role then he needs to be gone because he will be worthless to us.

He could throw 1,000 MPH, but if he does not have the mental toughness to get it done with the game on the line he’s still going to fail.  At 27 years old he is not a baby anymore and this whole charade of Parnell that has been going for a few years now has just run it’s course.

He got a shot to pitch in clutch situations a few years ago when Wagner went down and he bombed.  Now after a couple seasons of maturation he got another opportunity and he has bombed again.

I’m sick of the questions of whether or not Parnell can be a closer.  Isn’t it obvious that he can’t???

I don’t care how hard he throws, I think Bobby has made it pretty clear that he’s not the guy to succeed Krod!  What I don’t understand is why the Mets don’t see it.

Does anyone else agree with me on this, or am I just Crazy???

Authors Note: To read more of my insights come visit us at BigAppleMetsTalk, you can also follow us on Twittter @BgAppleMetsTalk.

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John Franco: Terry Is A Good Fit, But Players Better Be On Their Toes http://metsmerizedonline.com/2011/01/john-franco-terry-is-a-good-fit-but-players-better-be-on-their-toes.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2011/01/john-franco-terry-is-a-good-fit-but-players-better-be-on-their-toes.html/#comments Tue, 25 Jan 2011 04:20:16 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=43298 In this video produced by SNY, John Franco speaks highly of Terry Collins who he worked with when he played for him in the Dodger organization.

Franco calls him a straight shooter, a stickler for fundamentals and very focused on speed and defense which is exactly what the Mets need right now. He also added that Collins will not put up with any lackadaisical play and that those players better be on their toes. 

It’s going to be interesting to observe how all the players react after several years of laid back managers like Jerry Manuel and Willie Randolph.

There’s no doubt that this team has needed a heavy dose of discipline for quite some time, and I’m glad that they will get plenty of it with Collins. Although he wasn’t one of my top choices for manager, the more I hear from him with regard to his managing style, the more there is to like.

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Mets Should Bring Back Old-Timers Day In 2011 http://metsmerizedonline.com/2010/12/mets-should-bring-back-old-timers-day-in-2011.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2010/12/mets-should-bring-back-old-timers-day-in-2011.html/#comments Tue, 21 Dec 2010 12:00:05 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=40580

Last week I wrote about how the Mets need to find ways to entice the fans to come out to the ballpark in 2011.  Last week I brought up the idea of retiring 17 in honor Keith Hernandez.  I thought it would give Mets fans something to look forward to during the long season that 2011 will be and I thought that when looking back on 2011 it would be a fun thing to remember.

The Mets have not had an old-timers days since 1994.  Back in 2009 WFAN’s Evan Roberts stirred up a bit of controversy when he relayed a quote from a Mets executive in regards to old-timers day.  Roberts said his source told him that it was too much work hosting old-timers day and that is why the Mets stopped doing it.  Dave Howard tried to do some damage control by saying:

It was particularly unpopular as a promotion. We didn’t see an increase in ticket sales or interest from sponsors or even from people who already had tickets. It died of its own unpopularity in the early ’90s.

I don’t know about you readers but one of the only times I ever watch the YES Network for baseball is on old-timers day.  I enjoy seeing the legendary players such as Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, Reggie Jackson, etc…  Even Darryl Strawberry has donned the pinstripes over the years for the Yankees on old-timers day.  I watch it to see some of the legendary players and it looks like a lot of fun to be honest, seeing these older players who retired long ago having some fun playing the game.

I know a lot of Yankees fans who really look forward to old-timers day and go every year to see it.  They always tell me how much fun it is.  Now I can understand how in the 90′s they didn’t attract a lot of fans.  The early 90′s were not especially kind to the Mets and their fans.  However as the saying goes, “that was then, this is now.”

We learned in 2009 after the Citi Field opened how passionate Mets fans are about their history.  As nice and shiny Citi Field was there was not much of the Mets history on display and the fans let the Mets know how they felt about that proving that this fanbase wants to acknowledge their past.

Just thinking about an old-timers day while writing this piece has me excited.  I would love to see Tom Seaver and Dwight Gooden pitch while Mike Piazza catches them in an old-timers game. I’m sure we all would like to see Darryl Strawberry hit in Citi Field.  I would love to see the Mets of yesteryear on the field, playing in a game.

I’m sure we all have our favorites whether they be Rusty Staub or John Franco or Bobby Valentine, Wally Backman, Keith Hernandez, Buddy Harrelson and many more favorite Mets on the field, playing in an old-timers day.

I know I would look forward to it as the season goes on and I’m sure if done right it will be a fun memory to have of the 2011 season.

In comments, let me know if you agree or disagree and for fun list some of the Mets you would love to see playing an old-timers day in the future.

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My All Time Mets Pitching Staff…Plus One http://metsmerizedonline.com/2010/04/my-all-time-mets-pitching-staff-plus-one.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2010/04/my-all-time-mets-pitching-staff-plus-one.html/#comments Mon, 12 Apr 2010 14:13:30 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=24293 I always tell my friends who are Yankee’s fans, it’s easy to be a Yankee fan. Everything is handed to you. To be a Met fan it takes a certain rare, albeit hopeful, yet borderline delusional personality. The Yankee’s are like the older brother that grew up a Hilton to the Mets kid who grew up in an orphanage.

Ok that’s a bit extreme but the Yankees always seem to get all the attention. It takes guts to be a Met fan. We EARN our attention, both in good and bad ways but we do earn it.

The first week of the season is behind us and the Mets definitely earned their record of 2-4 against those National League East , ahem, juggernauts, Florida Marlins and Washington Nationals.

Even Johan Santana took his dose of Kryptonite against the Nats with a loss on Sunday, giving up a grand slam in the first inning. At least the Mets were kind enough to allow me to enjoy the rest of the day promptly.

Some of you may already want to throw in the towel. The calls for Manuel and Minaya’s head are on the streets. I for one will abreact these dark emotions. Big word huh? It’s a coping mechanism, so says my therapist. Not that a Met fan would actually see a therapist.

Anyway, the main topic of this off-season was the pitching staff, or as I like to call it, One Man and a Little Hazy. So in keeping with my therapist’s desire to keep me rooted in the here and now, I give you my All Time Mets Pitching Staff’s…plus one.

Staff ace, the real Mr. Met, Tom “Terrific” Seaver. I can easily wow you with his stats, 311 career wins, 2.86 career ERA, 3640 strikeouts. Three time Cy Young award winner. I much rather do this. In the time Tom Seaver was a Met from 1967 to 1977, including his return in ’83, the team won 936 games. Tom Seaver won 198 of them. That’s about 21% of the time the Mets won, it was due to George Thomas Seaver. No pitcher with a team as umm, eclectic as the Mets could have done more. Semper Fi Mr. Met.

Backing up Seaver I give you Dwight Eugene Gooden. Perhaps the biggest icon the team had since Seaver himself, the Doctor racked up insanely impressive numbers. He set the rookie record for strikeouts with 276 in 1984 while winning the Rookie of the Year. His follow up season the Doctor earned the Cy Young award by way of the pitching Triple Crown, leading the NL in Wins, K’s and ERA. His off field troubles are the only thing that kept Doc out of Cooperstown. Bittersweet memories fade hard.

Rounding out the top three I have Nolan Ryan. Now some of you might not think Ryan should be considered since he’s so synonymous with Texas. I can’t hold that against you but how can the Mets not include this Hall of Famer, arguably one of the best pitchers ever, at their number three starter? 7 no hitters, including one at the ripe old age of 44. He’s tied with Bob Feller for most one hitters with 12. He’s the All Time leader in strikeouts with 5714, and yes the Mets traded him in 1972 for Jim Fregosi. Just to let you know, Omar Minaya was 14 years old. It happens.

Towing the rubber is our number four pitcher, Johan Santana. Johan is one of the best left handed pitchers in the game today. He averages about 15 wins a season, an ERA around 3+, and well over 200 K’s a year. A two time Cy Young award winner, Johan will hopefully be a cornerstone for the franchise for years to come. That’s of course until they trade him to Cincinnati for…oh wait, we’d never do that.

Rounding out the staff is tough. Usually the 5th starter on a club wears the oft overused title of “journeyman” or “quality arm”. However, this is my fantasy and I’m going with Jerry Koosman. Granted all you Coneheads are freaking out now. It’s ok have a Zoloft, yummy. Jerry Koosman along with Tom Seaver, practically saved the Mets from complete obscurity. “Cool Hand” Kooz won 140 games as a Metropolitan with an impressive ERA of 3.09. He will be remembered for his incredible 1969 season where he went 17-9 with a 2.28 ERA and 6 shutouts. Not too bad for a 26 year old.

Closing it out I give you Mr. Brooklyn himself, Johnny Franco. If there ever was a Met that was more New York than Franco, I don’t think I ever met him. He looked like the guy who could be sitting next to you in a bar in Queens but he pitched like the guy who should be in the Hall of Fame. With 424 career saves, the most by a left handed reliever, John was the brick wall, all 5 foot 10, 170 pound frame, the Mets could ever want. While Tug made us all remember that “Ya Gotta Believe” John Franco made hitters say “Fuhgettaboutit” and go home, bat dragging behind them.

Well there you have it. My All Time Mets Pitching Staff…plus one. We’re a week in and sure we’ve seen the team sputter a bit. Look at the bright side seriously; we got Jose Reyes back and Carlos Beltran is around the corner. Have some faith! Or have a good therapist that doesn’t mind prescribing good meds,  we have a long way to go.

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We Have Ourselves a Brawl Club, The Mets of NY Town http://metsmerizedonline.com/2010/01/we-have-ourselves-a-brawl-club-the-mets-of-ny-town.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2010/01/we-have-ourselves-a-brawl-club-the-mets-of-ny-town.html/#comments Sat, 23 Jan 2010 19:29:50 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=19246 Elio Chacon, an original Met, may best be remembered for starting the first triple play in Mets history in 1962. It happened on May 30 (Memorial Day), and it came against the Los Angeles Dodgers. They were playing their first game in New York since their final game at Ebbets Field on September 24, 1957 as the Brooklyn Dodgers.

What you may not know is that Elio Chacon was also responsible for starting the first bench clearing brawl in Mets history during that same inaugural year. While playing the Giants at Candlestick Park, Willie Mays slid hard into second base after being picked off and caught Chacon with his spikes. Chacon clocked Mays in the face with a right roundhouse punch. Un-fazed, Mays grabbed Chacon and body slammed him into the ground at second base inciting the Mets’ first ever benches clearing brawl.

For Chacon, it spelled the end. He would never be the same, and at 25 years of age, he’d never play another game after that 1962 season.

The Mets have been involved in many notable bench clearing brawls since their rumble with the Giants in ’62. One of the great ones involved Mets catcher John Stearns who in 1978 triggered a huge bench clearing brawl when he swung at and punched Expos catcher Gary Carter in the face. You could imagine the terror that came over the ever so photogenic Carter, who loved to see his face in the papers and magaznes each day. The swelling was gone in three days.

After some extensive research, I put together a “Mets All-Brawl Team” for your pleasure. It’s been almost a month in the making, and I’m sure that despite all my research, I may have missed a couple of incidents worth noting, but that’s where you the readers come in. The team is comprised solely of players who wore the “Orange and Blue”, though a few of the incidents may have taken place while they played for another team.

I purposely left off Roberto Alomar and Jose Offerman, who both had tempers that led to some much publicized brawls and incidents. However, I didn’t want to discredit my All Brawl Team with a saliva spewing punk and a bat wielding psycho. With that, I give you my “New York Mets All-Brawl Team”. A collection of some of the best bad-asses ever to play for the Mets.

1B Keith Hernandez – Of course everybody remembers the spring of 1989, when Keith Hernandez and Darryl Strawberry gave the Mets their ultimate Kodak moment on Team Photo Day when the two of them started wailing on each other after exchanging some heated words. The fists were flying and eventually order would be restored, but the damage was done. What few don’t know was that this was just a continuation of a bar room brawl that started the night before between the two as Strawberry blamed Hernandez for influencing the 1988 MVP vote. Even as recently as 2008 Keith is still feeling his oats. During a team flight, Hernandez and current Mets shortstop Jose Reyes, had a heated exchange that nearly went to blows if not for a few teammates being on hand to break them up.

Honorable Mention: Mike Marshall was involved in two classic baseball brawls before he joined the Mets. His grittiness certainly didn’t carry over in his new blue and orange duds however, and he had a tough act to follow in Hernandez. But I bet nobody ever stole his milk money. 

2B Felix Millan – Poor Felix “The Cat” Millan picked a fight with the wrong guy on August 12, 1977 when he slugged Pirates catcher Ed Ott in the face with the baseball still clenched in his fist. Millan went postal after he was upended by Ott who was trying to break up a double play. Ott retaliated and grabbed Millan with both hands, lifted him up horizontally and slammed him to the ground like a rag doll. The impact shattered his clavicle and ended Millan’s career. I thought a cat had nine lives? 

Honorable Mention: Wally Backman didn’t take any lip from anyone on the field, and he could glare toward the mound with the best of them whenever a pitch came too far inside. Strawberry thought he was a redneck, but actually he was just “scrappy”. He’s also the only Met whose mugshot appears on every internet search.

SS Bud Harrelson – During Game 3 of the 1973 NLCS, Rose slid hard into second base on a Joe Morgan ground ball to break up a double play. Harrelson took a swing at Rose and both benches cleared in a 10-minute brawl. When Rose took the field in the bottom of the fifth inning, Mets fans showered him with garbage and bottles and he had to take cover in the dugout until order was restored.

Honorable Mention: Jose Reyes completely snapped during the final days of the 2007 season, and in a futile attempt to fire up the team, he picked a fight with his longtime buddy, Marlins catcher Miguel Olivo. Reyes who was the runner at third, taunted Olivo who was on the mound with his pitcher until Olivo charged after him and the two wrestled while both benches cleared. It was later joked that none of the Marlins were too worried because they knew the Mets couldn’t hit. That damned Hanley Ramirez.

3B Ray Knight – In 1986, on their way to their second World Series in franchise history, Ray Knight ignited a 16 minute bench clearing brawl on July 22nd that would define the Mets character and become the turning point of their championship season. When the Reds’ Eric Davis slid hard into third base and pushed into Knight it seemed like a good hard slide. But as both players got up off the ground, Davis called Knight a choice expletive. Knight responded with two vicious punches to his head, and even the Reds’ Eddie Milner, who came in to break it up, was greeted with a Knight left hook to his face. After that, it seemed like the entire Reds roster piled up on top of Knight who eventually emerged out of the pile like a conquering warrior.

Honorable Mention: Gregg Jefferies showed ex-Met and then Phillie Roger McDowell a thing or two after Roger called him a “faggot”. Before anyone could break it up, Jefferies got in five blows to the head. Rumor has it that McDowell never called anyone a “faggot” again. I sure wish Jefferies could have shown as much power at the plate.

 

C Paul Lo Duca – The fiery and very outspoken Lo Duca had a temper that was set on a hair trigger. His outbursts were not limited to just opponents and umpires either, as he would have no problem getting into a teammates face if he sensed a lack of hustle. Who will ever forget the scene of Lo Duca flinging his catching gear onto the field after being ejected from the game. And don’t forget those times when the “crazy eyes” came out.

Honorable Mention: Mike Piazza took a lot of abuse over the years, most notably from Roger Clemens. However, Mikey did have his moment in the sun against the Dodgers’ Guillermo Mota who ran like a scared mongrel from an enraged Piazza, inciting a memorable bench clearing moment. However, Mota got even when he joined the Mets and wrecked our chances for another post season. 

LF Kevin Mitchell – Mitchell’s volatile temper paved the way for his trade to the San Diego Padres for Kevin McReynolds. Before he was drafted, he was shot three times when he ran with a gang call the “Syndo Mob” as a youth. He also got into a fist fight with fellow rookie Darryl Strawberry during a pick-up basketball game shortly after both were drafted by the Mets. He allegedly decapitated his girlfriend’s cat after an argument, was once arrested for assaulting his father, and in 2000 while managing in the minors, he was arrested for punching out the owner of the opposing team. ASnd I didn’t even mention his three notable brawls! Mitchell is the ultimate bad ass.

Honorable Mention: Gary Sheffield has initiated more brawls than any active player in the game today, and one of his last acts as a Tiger was making a bloody mess of Fausto Carmona as you can see in this video. Despite all that, he did give Mets fans one of the few rare highlights when he hit his 500th homerun last season.

  

CF Derek Bell – Bell notched his first of many suspensions, in 1994 when he charged the mound against some young sophomore pitcher named Pedro Martinez of the Montreal Expos. It was a bad year for the gifted outfielder as he was also busted for soliciting a woman for oral sex, among some of his other antics that year. At seasons end he was traded to Houston where he joined “The Killer B’s”, and enjoyed a huge 1995 campaign. But, it wasn’t long until his attitude got him into trouble again, this time he confronted manager Larry Dierker who had just returned from a month long absence due to brain surgery. He was traded to the Mets along with Mike Hampton, and had a solid season in 2000, his only season with the Mets. In addition to over a half dozen suspensions, he has also been arrested numerous times for various drug related incidents.

Honorable Mention – Lee Mazzilli let his “Italian Stallion” nickname get to his head at times, but it drove all the girls wild, and for a time he was the only Met that resembled an actual ballplayer as far as performance. Mazzilli got into a few scrapes as a Met, mostly to uphold his “macho” image, but he always came out of it with his matinée idol looks intact. 
  

RF Darryl Strawberry – Strawberry didn’t ever have that quintessential moment that you could point to like some of the others on this list, but everyone in the league knew he was a man not to be reckoned with. He was always the first Met out of the dugout whenever the benches cleared and he would arrive with his fists clenched and cocked. Even as a Dodger and then Yankee, players knew better than to cross the Straw Man, and Armando Benitez found out the hard way when he invite the whole Yankees bench to the mound after plunking Tino Martinez. Strawberry was the only one to land a good solid punch to the face.

SP Nolan Ryan – In 1993, the Rangers’ Nolan Ryan plunked White Sox third baseman Robin Ventura on the right elbow. Ventura slammed his helmet to the ground and charged the mound, where a 46-year old Ryan greeted him with a headlock and five roundhouse punches to his face. Surprisingly, Ryan was allowed to stay in the game after one of the nastiest, dirtiest brawls in baseball history. There was no pity for a battered and bruised Ventura who picked the wrong guy to mess with.

SP Pedro Martinez – Although he was with the Red Sox at the time, Mets fans still enjoyed watching Pedro Martinez throw Yankees bench coach Don Zimmer (an original Met) to the ground when he made the mistake of charging after Martinez in Game 3 of the American League Championship Series. Has Zimmer stopped rolling yet?

SP Pete Harnisch – In 1996, the Mets’ Pete Harnisch punched Cubs catcher Scott Servais in the head after being brushed back by a Terry Adams pitch that he took exception to. What ensued was one of the more memorable bench clearing brawls in Mets history. Nine players were ejected when all was said and done, but Mets won the game 7-6 thanks to a walk-off Rico Brogna homer in the ninth.

RP Frankie Rodriguez – When Frankie Rodriguez got wind of some disparaging remarks levied at him by the Yankees reliever Brian Bruney, K-Rod was hopping mad. You see his balls were already twisted because of that infamous dropped pop-up by teammate Luis Castillo. But to hear Bruney say he took joy in watching K-Rod blow his first save of the season, well, “thems were fightin’ words”. Rodriguez confronted Bruney before their next game during fielding practice, and if not for the intervention of several of his Yankee teammates, Bruney was about to get his ass handed back to him by K-Rod who looked like a man possessed.

Honorable Mention – John Franco completes the the All-Brawl Team. I gotta give props to the former Mets captain and resident hot-head, John Franco. He might be the only player in baseball history who managed to get himself ejected and suspended for his part in the 1996 Mets/Cubs fracas that took place on… you guessed it… ”John Franco Day” at Shea.

There you have it my friends, I hope you enjoyed it!

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