Mets Merized Online » Major League Baseball Thu, 04 Feb 2016 15:08:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Non-Waiver Trade Deadline Moved To August 1 Thu, 21 Jan 2016 20:26:54 +0000 wilmer flores

For the upcoming season, the Major League Baseball non-waiver trade deadline will be moved back 24 hours from July 31 to August 1, reports Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports. The move will only be for the 2016 season because July 31 falls on a Sunday.

According to’s Richard Justice, the commissioner’s office does not want the flurry of deadline deals to occur as games are going on. This would not only make it more feasible for teams to use their new players immediately (instead of waiting a day for the player to travel) but would also prevent a Wilmer Flores-type situation from happening.

While the Flores-Carlos Gomez deal did not take place on July 31 last year, there have been many instances in the past where traded players were on the field for their old teams. Moving the deadline to a time where no games are going on (it will presumably still be 4 p.m.) makes the process easier for everyone.



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Mike Piazza Questions Enter A Gray Area After HOF Announcement Thu, 07 Jan 2016 15:16:52 +0000 pete-rose-e1426541102609

After he was banished from baseball for violating its golden rule, it appeared there would be no more moments of glory for Pete Rose. When you gamble in baseball, you always lose. You’re always out. No more managing the Reds. Certainly, no Hall of Fame.

Then Bud Selig relented, if only slightly. As part of the turn of the century, Major League Baseball wanted the fans to vote on the All Century Team. Even though Rose’s name would never be permitted on a Hall of Fame ballot, Major League Baseball was going to allow its fans to decide if the Hit King should be a part of the All Century Team. The fans selected Rose, and Selig invited Rose to take part in the honoring ceremony during the 1999 World Series.

At the time, we believed this would be the last time Pete Rose would ever step foot on a major league ball field. When the members of the All Century team were introduced, Rose received the biggest ovation. It was a big night for him. On that night, it was also a big night for Jim Gray to get an interview with Rose:

Jim Gray stood there and asked every question each and every person was hoping Rose would answer.  On the one hand, he was forceful in trying to get answers to his questions. On the other, he was seemingly doing his job. He would be universally derided. A new rule was set forth. There should be no tough questions when a former player is celebrating an achievement. That was until yesterday.

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Finally, after years of waiting, Mike Piazza was elected to the Hall of Fame. He then did the rounds to answer questions on what it meant to him to be a Hall of Famer. It was a victory tour of sorts for Piazza. Then came the question that you’re no longer supposed to ask on these occasions as transcribed by Adam Rubin of ESPN:

Are you bothered when people make accusations against you alleging steroid use and just cite acne on the back?

Someone broke the rule and went there. Piazza was gracious answering the question saying he “really want[ed] to celebrate his career” and accusations like that are out if his control.

In the past, this issue has rankled him. He once asked Peter Gammons, “what does acne have to do with steroids?”  He had steadfastly denied the steroids rumors. Rumors that have been propagated by the Murray Chasses and Jon Heymans of the world without any proof.

Despite the rumors and innuendo, Piazza rose above it all and became a Hall of Famer. He deserved his moment in the sun. However, someone had to go and ask him a steroids question during his HOF announcement press conference . At one time, it might have been a fair question. After 1999, such questions were supposed to be out of bounds. It wasn’t yesterday.

If someone like Pete Rose, who agreed to his own banishment under the cloud of his betting on baseball, can’t be asked hard questions, no one should. This goes double for Mike Piazza, who has never been implicated in any report, test, or investigation. Hopefully, one day these questions will end, and we can just focus on Piazza’s career. Unfortunately, that day is not today.  At least for today, no question is out of bounds no matter the setting.

It makes me wonder.  Is Piazza owed an apology for the question, or is Jim Gray owed an apology for the criticism he received?

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Report Links Ryan Howard and Ryan Zimmerman to HGH Doping Ring Sat, 26 Dec 2015 05:16:17 +0000 Zimmermans ryan

MLB Trade Rumors posted a statement from the attorneys for both Ryan Howard and Ryan Zimmerman:

“It’s inexcusable and irresponsible that Al Jazeera would provide a platform and broadcast outright lies about Mr. Howard and Mr. Zimmerman. The extraordinarily reckless claims made against our clients in this report are completely false and rely on a source who has already recanted his claims.  We will go to court to hold Al Jazeera and other responsible parties accountable for smearing our clients’ good names.”

Original Report – 12/26

An Indianapolis anti-aging clinic has supplied human growth hormone or other performance enhancing drugs to a number of high-profile sports stars including NFL quarterback Peyton Manning and MLB players Ryan Zimmerman, Ryan Howard and Taylor Teagarden, according to an undercover sting operation conducted by Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit.

The report which is entitled, “The Dark Side,” is the result of a months long investigation in which Liam Collins, a British hurdler, went undercover in an attempt to expose the widespread nature of performance enhancing drugs in global sports.

The report officially airs on Sunday but was shared in advance this evening with The Huffington Post.

Mark Townsend of Yahoo Sports also reported that Zimmerman, Howard and Teagarden have all denied the allegations, but Al Jazeera reportedly has video and audio evidence to back their claims. It’s not clear if that will be presented during the airing on Sunday.

Neither of the three players have ever tested positive since Major League Baseball implemented expanded testing for human growth hormone during the 2013 season. Still, this could be explosive if they have any of these players on audio/video transacting business or acknowledging usage. Let’s see how it plays out.

(Hat Tip to Sir Octopus)

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Big Sexy is Back and He’s Moving On Up Sun, 20 Dec 2015 23:14:43 +0000 Colon Bartolo

With Bartolo Colon coming back for a third season with the Mets, Big Sexy will continue his climb up Major League Baseball’s record books as a Met.  He’s also making a climb up all-time lists with the Mets as well.

All-Time MLB Rankings:

Wins – 76th with 218

Losses – 146th with 154

Career Starts – 69th with 467

Innings – 136th with 2,980.2

Hits allowed – 120th with 3,029

Earned Runs allowed – 79th with 1,314

HR allowed – 27th with 355

Walks – 194th with 856

Strikeouts – 53rd with 2,237

Total Batters Faced – 125th with 12,588

All-Time Mets Rankings:

Wins – 35th with 29

Losses – 49th with 26

Games Started – 40th with 62

Innings – 48th with 397

Hits allowed – 41st with 435

Earned Runs – 45th with 182

Strikeouts – 47th with 287

Total Batters Faced – 50th with 1661

Colon turned down higher offers to re-sign with the Mets. “I’ve had a great experience in New York,” Colon, said on Friday. “The fans are great, being part of the postseason was great. I’ll do anything Terry wants me to do this year, start or relieve. I just want to help us get back to the World Series.”


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Pete Rose To Remain Banned From Baseball Mon, 14 Dec 2015 17:49:39 +0000 pete rose

In March of this year, Pete Rose made a formal request to be reinstated to Major League Baseball, and new commissioner Rob Manfred agreed to meet with Rose and hear him out.

“I want to make sure I understand all of the details of the Dowd Report and Commissioner Bart Giamatti’s decision and the agreement that was ultimately reached,” Manfred said at the time. ”I want to hear what Pete has to say, and I’ll make a decision once I’ve done that.”

Well according to a report today in the New York Times, Rob Manfred has decided not to lift the permanent ban imposed on Pete Rose more than a quarter-century ago.

“The decision by Mr. Manfred, who succeeded Bud Selig as commissioner last January, has not been publicly announced. But three people familiar with the decision, speaking on condition of anonymity because they did not want to be identified discussing a matter that was supposed to remain confidential, said that Mr. Manfred had made up his mind to keep the ban intact.”

Rose, now 74, is baseball’s all-time leader in base hits and has been banned for over a quarter-century from MLB and thus barred from the Hall of Fame despite his stellar Cooperstown worthy career.

In 1989,  M.L.B. concluded that Rose was betting on baseball games while managing the Cincinnati Reds and that some of the bets had been placed on his own team. After years of denial, he finally admitted in a 2004 autobiography that he bet on baseball and the Reds, although he insisted that he never bet on the Reds to lose.

Rose, a 17 time All Star, Rookie of the Year and MVP, ended his career with a record 4,256 hits and a lifetime .303 average. He led the league in hits seven times and won three batting titles including 1969 when he batted .348.

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Baseball America Tabs Sandy Alderson MLB Exec of the Year Tue, 01 Dec 2015 15:10:36 +0000 nlcs-cubs-mets-baseball sandy alderson

According to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, Baseball America is set to name New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson as Major League Baseball’s executive of the year. Nothing yet on the BA site, but Rubin has close to ties to them so it should be officially announced shortly.

** Scratch that lest sentence, here is the full announcement from Baseball America which went live two minutes after I posted this. **

A couple of weeks ago, ESPN’s Jim Bowden recommended Alderson for the award and said:

“The Mets had a quiet offseason; the signing of outfielder Michael Cuddyer was their only significant move. In this case, Alderson’s best moves were the ones he didn’t make, including trading one of the team’s good young starting pitchers to get a hitter.”

“That said, once it was evident that the team could win the division in 2015, Alderson went to work, making multiple deals to transform one of the league’s worst offenses into one of its best.”

Terry Collins also spoke highly of Alderson and believes he is deserving of the award as well.

“When Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe walked into our clubhouse, the attitude changed. He knew we needed a big bat and added Cespedes. I think there is no question he is the Executive of the Year.’’

“He is the guy who was the architect of this rotation,’’ Collins told The Post. “He timed all these guys coming up here at the right time, he didn’t rush any of them.”

In his fifth season as the Mets GM, Alderson’s Mets produced a 90-72 record, won the National League pennant, and were a heartbeat away from being World Series champs.

“Sandy is the best leader I’ve ever been around,” Mets special assistant J.P. Ricciardi said. “He lets you do your job. He respects you. And he wants your input. In the world today, his ‘yes’ means yes and his ‘no’ means no. That’s one of the best things about him. He’s always in the forefront. He’s not afraid to take arrows. He’s just a great leader.”

Congrats to Sandy, and I hope he’s doing okay wherever he is. I haven’t heard a peep from him ever since the team announced he would miss the GM Meetings due to a medical procedure. I reached out to Jay Horwitz and asked about him before the Thanksgiving holiday and was only told that he’d pass along my well wishes.

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Mets Players Receive Record $300K World Series Share Mon, 30 Nov 2015 05:56:14 +0000 opening ceremony world series citi field

Major League Baseball announced the 2015 Postseason Shares on Monday in a press release.

A full Postseason Share for the 2015 World Series Champion Kansas City Royals was worth $370,069.03, while a full share for the National League Champion New York Mets totaled $300,757.78.

The average share value for the Mets was a record high for a World Series runner-up, eclipsing $291,667.68 for the 2006 American League Champion Detroit Tigers.

The entire New York Mets player pool was worth $16,771,715.82 and included 44 full player shares and 11 partial shares. There were also 25 cash awards of undisclosed amounts.


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Are You Ready For A Mets Dynasty? Tue, 20 Oct 2015 16:23:32 +0000 noah-syndergaard-matt-harvey-jacob-degrom-pittsburgh

Jon Morosi of Fox Sports points out that the New York Mets’ postseason rotation comprised of Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey and Steven Matz are historically the second quartet in modern baseball to meet the following criteria:

1. They are each 27 or younger.

2. They made their Major League Baseball debuts with the same team, the Mets.

3. They made their MLB postseason debuts in the same victorious series, this year’s NLDS.

According to STATS LLC, the 2010 San Francisco Giants are the only team to have performed the same feat with Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Jonathan Sanchez and Madison Bumgarner.

Morosi goes on to say that the Giants’ young rotation was the foundation for what became three World Series championships in five years for San Francisco.

So here’s the big question… Are you guys ready for that Mets Dynasty I keep talking about with our Awesome Foursome leading the way?


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Red, White & Dodger Blue Sat, 04 Jul 2015 18:59:01 +0000 MLB: New York Mets at Los Angeles Dodgers

How about a Norse analogy for the celebration of our own nation’s independence? Noah “Thor” Syndergaard goes into the belly of the beast, Dodger Stadium itself, and matches arguably the greatest pitcher in the league over the past three years.

T’was no rainbow bridge in this tale. Just one of the visitor unfriendliest venues in all of Major League Baseball. If I were to end the 1st half of the season (Game #81) on a note, it would have been the one our Mets did last night.

It’s going to be hard to live up to a win over a Cy Young/MVP winner, but perhaps a matchup between Greinke and Harvey may quell our appetites.

The Yankees have Sinatra to serenade a victory in the Bronx, while the Dodgers have Randy Newman, but as the sun sets over those San Gabriel mountains outside beautiful Chavez Ravine this evening, it’ll hopefully be over a series lead for the Mets.

The bats have been quiet as of late, and that – in and of itself – is a huge understatement, but Dodger Stadium isn’t friendly to bats anyway.

I’m still waiting for that resurgent game from Daniel Murphy since his return from the DL. He’s due for it, and he’s too good of a hitter for it not to happen. Maybe he’ll surprise Greinke or one of the Dodger outfielders in this rare 4:05 p.m. local start.

Anything goes on the west coast in this rare time frame. No marine layer, yet, and a sun to battle like a pestering fly too big to swat. Are the odds good these will affect us as well? Of course they are, but hey, we won the start probably every Mets fan chalked up as “the loss to get out of the way.” Now, if we can leave Chavez Ravine with two or even (dare I say) three victories, we’ll have shown a promising preview of a possible playoff matchup.

So when the Mets go back to the ocean being on their right side instead of their left, they’ll have the solace of this weekend to motivate them as they chase their curly W nemesis from the nation’s capital.


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July 4th, 1985: The Show Must Go On Sat, 04 Jul 2015 13:00:55 +0000 Thousands of baseball books have been published. Millions of baseball stories have been told, every one of them starts with the same basic understanding: two teams, nine innings, balls, strikes, runs, hits and errors. Along the way there are various twists and turns ending in perfect games, no-hitters, walk off home runs and everything in between.

No two games are the same, but many are alike. They all come back to the final out. Strike three. Game over. But what happens when a game goes on and on and on … with no apparent end in sight? Then, when the moment seemingly arrives, hope is dashed by improbability. There was a major league game like this. It was played on July 4 (and July 5), 1985. This is the story, as told by those who played, reported, broadcast, watched and witnessed it.

Extra innings changes everything. The game of baseball is redefined. To score is to win. To err is to lose. Strategy is discarded. Position players become relief pitchers and relief pitchers are pinch runners, and occasionally hit home runs.

On Independence Day 1985 at Atlanta Fulton County Stadium, the New York Mets and Atlanta Braves played 19 innings, the equivalent of two baseball games (plus one inning) including two rain delays totaling two hours, five minutes, 29 runs, 14 pitchers and 43 players, 155 official at bats, 115 outs, 615 pitches, 46 hits, 23 walks, 22 strikeouts, five errors, 37 stranded base runners, six lead changes, a cycle, two players were ejected and 25 years later the most memorable moment was recorded by the losing pitcher Rick Camp.

Camp was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in 1974. He grew up on a farm in Georgia, went to school and played ball in Georgia, drove a pickup truck and the team agreed to give him a tractor as part of his deal. Now he was going to pitch for his hometown team. Camp was close to living his dream.


“To hit a home run in the big leagues — that was my dream,” said Camp. Prior to signing with the Braves he hit a lot of home runs, all of them as a designated hitter at West Georgia University where he attended college.

By July 1985, the odds of Camp seeing his dream come true seemed gone. He had 10 hits and a career batting average of .060. “He couldn’t hit his way out of the cage when he’d take BP,” said former teammate Paul Zuvella.

Camp had been moved to Atlanta’s bullpen. The chances of him even getting an opportunity to bat would take, I don’t know, maybe a couple rain delays, a lot of pitching changes and extra innings. Good luck with that.

The Mets arrived in Atlanta on July 4th weekend, grumpy. The team was slumping, winning three of their previous 11 games when rookie Len Dykstra dug in to lead off the game after an 84-minute relay delay. Most of the sellout crowd was still in the ballpark.

Sporting a golf ball size wad of tobacco in his left cheek, Dykstra choked his pine tar covered bat about six inches from the handle. He weighed 155 pounds according to the Mets 1985 media guide. He was 30 at-bats into his major league career.

Back in New York, Mookie Wilson, the Mets regular center fielder in 1985 was watching from a bed in Roosevelt Hospital, one day removed from arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder to repair torn cartilage.

Dykstra dropped a bunt past Rick Mahler. Glenn Hubbard charged from second and bare-handed the ball to Bob Horner at first. Dykstra, in typical hard-nosed style, stumbled over the base, nearly colliding with umpire Jerry Crawford before being called out.

After Wally Backman legged out an infield dribbler, Keith Hernandez stepped to the plate. Mahler fired to first. Backman slid back safely. Mahler persisted, trying again … and again … and again …

Pete Van Wieren doesn’t own a Ouija board. He has no psychic powers. He has never been to a tarot card reading, but he does have an amazing sensory perception on matters related to the diamond. “At the rate this game is going the big 5th of July fireworks show will be presented right after the contest,” he said as the pickoff attempts continued like a broken record.

Mahler finally caught Backman leaning too far. As Crawford signaled Backman out, the Met second baseman slowly climbed to his knees and stared out at Crawford from underneath his helmet. The long give-and-take seemed to last longer than the 84-minute rain delay.

After Hernandez lifted the next pitch into left-center field for a double, Gary Carter grounded a single into centerfield. The ball took two hops and stopped dead in the rain-soaked outfield grass. Braves centerfielder Dale Murphy raced through puddle, scooped up the ball and fired it back to the infield. After a Darryl Strawberry single, advancing Carter to second base, and a George Foster walk to load the bases, Mahler struck out Ray Knight to end the inning.

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A tall, thin, 20-year old Dwight Gooden was on the mound for the Mets. He was pitching on three days rest for the first time during the 1985 season. He would go on to win 24 games with a 1.53 ERA in 276 innings pitched. In 35 starts, Gooden pitched 16 complete games. His season performance cinched the Cy Young Award, claiming 120 votes, almost twice as many as John Tudor of the St. Louis Cardinals, who finished second (21-8).

Claudell Washington led off the Braves first inning with a triple. The 44,947 in attendance were on their feet. One pitch later, Rafael Ramirez grounded out to shortstop, scoring Washington. It took the Braves four pitches to tie the game.

Gooden followed by walking Murphy on four straight pitches, prompting Carter to zip halfway out between home plate and the mound to settle Gooden down.

Gooden walked Horner on four pitches; eight straight balls.

Terry Harper dug in and Gooden shoved a fastball on the inside corner at the knees for strike one. He sent Harper back to the bench on three pitches. It was as if Gooden pushed some internal on/off button.

“Just three years ago he was pitching to high school kids,” said the late Skip Caray. “My goodness, just think what that must have been like?”

Rick Cerone had missed three weeks due to a sore shoulder. He was activated two days earlier, but hadn’t played in a game since his return. His first at-bat came after a long rain delay against Gooden. Could the cards be any more stacked against the 31-year old Cerone?

“He probably said, ‘Thanks a lot!’ when he saw Gooden out there,” said Caray sarcastically. “He hasn’t played in a month.”

Cerone slashed the first pitch from Gooden to Mets first baseman Hernandez. The ball caromed off his midsection and he bare-handed a sidearm throw to Gooden covering first to end the inning.

“Back in the ‘70s, Atlanta had one of the worst infields in baseball – but there were a lot of bad infields in the old days,” said Hernandez. “I never liked fielding in Atlanta because it was so hot and everything baked. I always had to do a lot of gardening there, but by the ‘80’s, it was a very good infield.”

The rain returned in the third inning and Terry Tata stopped the game. Two nights earlier in San Francisco, Tata was informed by Major League Baseball he would the acting crew chief for the series in Atlanta, replacing Harry Wendlestedt, who was ill (Wendlestedt did not return to umpire until July 18).

“I took a redeye off the west coast and arrived in Hartford, Connecticut, spent some time with my wife and then took a flight from Bradley Field and arrived in Atlanta at 5pm,” remembers Tata. By the time he arrived at Fulton County Stadium it was already raining.

The Atlanta Braves employed two full-time groundskeepers and an estimated 25 part-time employees to help on game days. Sam Newpher, now the groundskeeper for Daytona International Speedway, was the head groundskeeper at Atlanta Fulton County Stadium in 1985.

Newpher stayed in close contact with the National Weather Service at the Atlanta airport. The weather service could pinpoint the time and location of the incoming storm and its relation to the stadium.

In the press box the media were already playing weatherman. “Everyone working at the ballpark lives in different parts of the city, so it’s not at all uncommon for someone to call home and see if it’s raining in that part of town,” said Van Wieren. “Then you start hearing, ‘well it’s not raining in Dunwoody!’ Then Skip will say, ‘Well, let’s go up there and play.”

Newpher watched as the second rain storm soaked the tarp.

“All of the drainage was surface drainage which drains off to the outside edge (of the field) into two surface drains,” he said. “It was a turtle shell type mound with the center of it being about 25 feet behind second base. Keep something in mind, if a tarp is on the field and you dump the tarp, you’re taking a couple thousand gallons and just going plop in one spot,” he said.

Van Wieren watched the rain fall from the Braves press box. He glanced at his scorecard, then the stadium clock and back to the field. He took a deep breath and exhaled, well aware of how late this game was going to end.

“The team wasn’t very good and sellout crowds were very rare,” said Van Wieren. “We had a sellout crowd that night and the team would do everything in their power to get that game in so they could get the gate.”


When play resumed 41 minutes later, Mets manager Davey Johnson announced he was taking Gooden out to avoid risk of injury. It marked the first time in 27 starts dating back to Aug. 11, 1984 that he had failed to go six innings. Gooden, unhappy, retreated to the Mets clubhouse and began drinking.

The Braves took their only lead of the game, 8-7, scoring four runs in the bottom of the eighth inning. But the Mets tied it in the ninth. By the time the New York Mets and Atlanta Braves began extra innings the calendar read July 5. Still, fans moved to the edge of their seats. Not in anticipation of a win, but the post-game fireworks.

When the Mets came to bat in the 12th inning, Hernandez was a single away from the cycle. He had doubled in the first off Mahler, tripled in the fourth off Jeff Dedmon, homered in the eighth inning Steve Shields.

Hernandez would be facing Terry Forster. He needed his brother, who was home in San Francisco. Hernandez dashed back to the Mets clubhouse, called the operator and asked for an outside line.

“He was my good luck charm,” said Hernandez. “He always came down on West Coast trips. When we left San Francisco he’d come with me to San Diego and L.A. – and I always killed San Diego and L.A.”

Ironically, eleven years earlier on September 11, 1974, as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals, Hernandez pinch hit against the Mets in a 25-inning game at Shea Stadium. “That was my first year,” remembered Hernandez. “I pinched hit in the ninth off Harry Parker and Dave Schneck robbed me of a home run.”

The Cardinals eventually won, 4-3, after seven hours, four minutes and 25 innings. The Mets went to the plate 103 times and the Cards with 99 plate appearances and a major-league record 45 runners left on base. The game ended at 3:13 a.m., the longest game played to a decision without a suspension.


Hernandez singled off Forster to complete the cycle. Superstition rules.

Van Wieren stared at his scorebook. Nothing good could come in the 13th inning, maybe that’s why most scorebooks have 12 innings he thought. “Once you run out of innings in your scorebook it’s improvise time,” he said.

The Mets took a 10-8 lead in the 13th inning. Finally the end was in sight – finally. To his left, Van Weiren’s wife Elaine and two sons (Jon and Steve) sat, waiting for the fireworks.

All Tom Gorman needed now was three outs. After a leadoff single by Rafael Ramirez, the Mets left hander struck out Dale Murphy and Gerald Perry. One more out. Gorman zipped two strikes past Terry Harper. One strike left. Let the fireworks begin. Harper obliged, lining a two-run homer off the left field foul poll to tie the game again.

“I just looked over and they had their head down like, ‘we’re never gonna get out of here,’” remembers Van Wieren.

“You wondered where it’s going to end,” said Caray, remembering Harper’s home run in an interview years earlier. “When (Rick) Camp hit his (in the 18th inning), you figure, we’re going to go on forever. Once is amazing. Twice is incredible. I’ve never seen anything like it in my life and I never think I will.”

The Braves broadcasters weren’t the only ones wondering.

Paul Zuvella was called up just a couple weeks before the July 4th game. His high school buddy Chris Hopson flew in from Milpitas in the Silicon Valley, south of San Jose, California to visit Zuvella and catch a game.

“That was the first game he had come to,” said Zuvella. “Poor guy, he was one of the very few remaining at the end.”

Zuvella was inserted in the sixth inning and faced five different pitchers in seven plate appearances – sidearm pitcher Terry Leach, Jesse Orosco, Doug Sisk , Gorman and Ron Darling – going 0-for-7.

“That, I do remember,” he said. “I remember hitting the ball hard. I hit some line drives right at people. I’m thinking, ‘How unfair is this?’”

“Pitchers tend to have an advantage in that type of game,” said Zuvella. “That’s why they keep throwing the zeros up. It gets a little tougher offensively as the game goes on. You start to think, is this game ever gonna end?”

Both teams put up zeros in the 14th, 15th and 16th innings. In the 17th inning, with nerves frayed, Tata called strike three on Strawberry. As he walked away, Strawberry “had some choice words” and Tata ejected him. “I still see the pitch today when they show it on ESPN Classic. It didn’t look like a bad pitch.”

As Strawberry walked back to the dugout, Mets manager Davey Johnson jogged toward Tata. The argument heated quickly.

“When Davey Johnson gets in my face and I turned my hat around backwards so I could get right in his kisser,” remembers Tata. “As I am looking over his shoulder there’s a digital clock along the first base line and it reads two – five – seven. It’s 2:57 in the morning and I say to Johnson, ‘It’s three o’clock in the morning, everything looks like a strike.’”

Tata ejected four managers, coaches or players in 1985, two of them within 60 seconds.

“The one thing you don’t put in your mind is the hope that it will end,” revealed Tata. “It will end naturally. You can’t root for a guy to hit a home run or driving in the winning run. You’ve got to block that out of your mind and concentrate on the game. Once you start hoping for that it’s going to detract from your overall sense of the game and your job.”

The Mets regained the lead, 11-10, in the 18th inning on a sacrifice fly by Dykstra.

Again, all Gorman needed was three outs. Again, he retired Perry. This time he shut down Harper. One out remained – pitcher Rick Camp. Mets pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre was taking nothing for granted and paid Gorman a visit. Stottlemyre warned Gorman about Harper now he was warning him, don’t make the same mistake. Don’t take Camp for granted.

Gorman registered two quick strikes on Camp. One strike left. Let the fireworks begin – please let the fireworks begin. Gorman fired a forkball on 0-2 and, like Harper five innings earlier, Camp obliged, hitting one over the left field wall to tie the game.

“As soon as it left the bat you knew it was gone,” said Tata. “That just cut your legs off at the knees.”

“That certifies this game as the wackiest, wildest, most improbable game in history!” yelled John Sterling, then a Braves broadcaster on WTBS.

“You’re really certain it’s going to end with Rick Camp at the plate,” said Van Weiren. “When Skip talked about it he said he never saw me get animated in the booth. But when that ball was hit I literally jumped out of his seat and put my hands on top of my head and said, ‘you gotta be kidding me!?’”

Jay Horwitz joined the New York Mets as public relations director in 1980. He was in his fifth year with the team. “I was in the press box,” said Horwitz, who watched most of the extra innings with then Mets scouting director Joe McIlvaine. “I had my binoculars, and I remember looking at the expression on Danny Heep’s face, it was the most incredulous look I’d ever seen. I remember thinking, ‘this game is never, ever going to end.’”

One year later, in 1986, the Mets were involved in a 16-inning marathon game against the Houston Astros, a game that decided the National League Championship Series.

When Billy Hatcher homered off the foul poll in the 14th inning at the Houston Astrodome to tie the game, Horwitz started having flashbacks of Atlanta. “It was the same kind of feeling,” said Horwitz. “You think you have the game won, you’re going to the World Series, they tie the game. We had enough fortitude to come back and win that game. But outside of the rain delays it was almost a duplicate game.”

Jonathan Leach grew up in metropolitan Atlanta and had been a Braves fan since 1973, captured by the Hank Aaron chase. He was home from college for the summer. He fell asleep as the game weaved through extra innings until “the early morning hours, when my brother burst into my room and woke me up to tell me they were still playing,” said Leach. “I saw Rick Camp’s home run which may be the most improbable event in the history of baseball.”

Hundreds of miles north in New Rochelle, New York, Jonathan Falk arrived home from a party at 10 p.m. and turned on the television. “I turned on TBS to find out how they’d done, figuring if I was lucky I might catch an inning,” wrote Falk, a lifelong Braves fan. “They were still playing. I was glued to the set. The Rick Camp homer was probably the single most amazing thing I’ve ever seen in 43 years of baseball watching.”

“That was the most unbelievable part. No one expected that,” said Ken Oberkfell, a Brave in 1985 and the Mets Triple-A manager today. “I mean, I have a better chance of flying an airplane than he (Camp) did of hitting a home run, and there it went. I remember I was in the clubhouse figuring the game was over, but when I saw the home run I came running back to the dugout.”

When asked now if he remembers the pitch Camp said, “I would say it was a fastball. I mean, heck, I had a zero point something batting average. There wasn’t anyone else to hit. I was just trying to make contact.”

As he rounded third, Camp was smiling as he met Tata halfway between home and third base. “You SOB, I was only kidding,’” said Tata.

“Even after I got out of baseball, every time I’d see him he’d just point to left field and laugh,” said Camp.

The Mets scored five runs off Camp in the top of the 19th inning.

“When you’re involved in a season like that and you get into one of those games you really don’t have the same concern over who wins,” remembers Van Weiren. “If you’re in a pennant race you do. If you’re 30 games out, you don’t really care. Sure you’d like to win the game, but if they don’t it’s not going to impact the pennant race. So when you get to a point in a game like that you’re just ready for it to end.”

Not the fans. As the Braves mounted another rally in the bottom of the 19th, scoring two runs, the fans began to chant, “We want Camp!”

“If we have to rely on me to hit a home run to win a game, we’re in bad shape,” said Camp. “I’ll always remember the homer, but it was a hard thing for me to do that and then go out and suck up a loss.”

“Go ahead hit another one out, we’ll pay ‘til noon,” said Tata.

This time Camp was facing Ron Darling, the Mets seventh pitcher of the game. Darling hadn’t made a relief appearance since his freshman year at Yale. The Mets were so certain Camp would not hit another home run, they began untying their shoes in the dugouts, equipment was being packed away.

“I remember the last pitch,” said Camp. “It was a high fastball I swung and missed. Struck out. You get a fastball from here up (motioning from his chest to eye level) it looks like a watermelon. I was trying to kill it.”

Strike Three. Game Over.

“This was the greatest game ever played – Ever,” said Howard Johnson.

“That was the greatest thing I’d ever seen,” added Bruce Benedict, Braves’ catcher, ” The tough thing about it was that there were a lot of lifetime memories in this game and we lost it. It’s hard to put those things in perspective. It was embarrassing.”

“That was the most bizarre game I ever played in – bizarre and fascinating, depressing and great, thrilling and boring,” said Darling. “It was all of those things mixed in. It would have been a story but Rick Camp made it a big story. I’m just glad I got my name in the box score.”

“I thought we were going to win it after that,” said Dale Murphy. “I couldn’t believe it. It’s the most unbelievable thing I’ve ever seen. I’ll never forget that home run. I’ll never forget this game. I can’t explain this game. I’ll be feeling this for the next week.”

“Thrilling,” “fascinating” and “great” didn’t describe the experience for Carter, who was playing his first season in New York. He caught the entire game, handling seven New York pitchers and catching 305 balls.


“The game took a toll on me,” said Carter. “It was worse than catching both games of an afternoon doubleheader because of the rain (delays). My body was aching and throbbing.”

“Do you know what it’s like to be playing baseball at 3:30 in the morning?” asked Dykstra after the game. “Strange man. Real strange.”

“I saw things that I’ve never seen in my major league career,” added Hernandez.

Like Camp hitting a home run … or Knight who left 11 runners on base in his first nine at bats, including three times with the bases loaded.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, no other continuous game in major league history had ended so late. Prior to July 4-5, 1985, the previous latest game was completed at 3:23 a.m. in Philadelphia when the Phillies beat the Montreal Expos 6-1 on Aug. 10, 1977.

Rick Aguilera never saw it, any of it. Aguilera was sent home in the 13th after Johnson’s go-ahead home run. ”When I got to the room, I turned on the TV and saw the game still going,” he said. “I thought it was a delayed broadcast. I couldn’t believe it when they said it was tied.”

Aguilera went to bed. His roommate Sid Fernandez arrived a few hours later and Aguilera asked if the Mets won. ”He said we did,” remembers Aguilera, “but he also said I wouldn’t believe it.”

“When the game ended we were all so exhausted we were just thinking, we gotta get out of here and get ready for tomorrow … I take that back, we gotta get ready for today.”

Gorman was credited with a win. It was then that Gorman found himself in a save situation with the Mets ahead 10-8 in the 13th inning. He lost that lead. And then another.

“To give up a homer to the pitcher in the 18th inning is totally embarrassing,” Gorman told the media a couple hours later. “I learned I can’t take anything for granted. I felt like I saw it all tonight. I should have saved the game; I should have won the game; I should have lost the game. It’s the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen.”

”There’s not one thing you can say you feel at that moment,” added Gorman. “It’s not like pitchers don’t hit home runs; they do. I’m not trying to take anything away from Camp, but you know if you hit the ball good here, it’s going to go out. I’d never pitched at three in the morning, but guess they’d never hit then either.”

Newpher and the grounds crew headed back to the field after arriving at Atlanta Fulton County Stadium at 8am. “One of the very few people left in the stands was my wife,” he said.

“What are you still doing here?” he asked.

“I came to see the fireworks,” she said.

Fireworks? It’s four in the morning. But the Braves were in no position to negotiate. There were 8,000-10,000 people still in the stands, delirious and jacked up on coffee, waking up their children for the fireworks. Then, there was WTBS, who sold sponsorships for the July 4th fireworks show.

“There was a great concern about whether the fireworks show would or would not go on,” remembers Van Weiren. “Ted (Turner) had gotten the station (WTBS) to sell a separate post-game that would include the fireworks. Once the game ended there was going to be a commercial break, we’d come back on the air and televise the fireworks.”

Braves television broadcaster Ernie Johnson was beside himself about the whole concept. Fireworks on TV? Come on, who’s going to watch that.

“We kidded about that,” said Van Weiren. “Ernie (Johnson) said ‘what are we supposed to say when the fireworks go off? Do we just sit there and go ‘Ooooh! Ahhh!?’ It was going to be a strange deal.”

Van Weiren said as the game went deeper into the night, there were a lot of questions about “whether they were going to do the fireworks,” he said. “We got the word that the fireworks were gonna go because this was a sold program on TBS and they were going to get the sponsored money.”

So, at 4:01 a.m. on July 5 the July 4th fireworks display began. For nearly 10 minutes the skies over Atlanta thundered. Bright colors lit up the night followed by the sounds of massive explosions. The roar hit a crescendo with a finale so intense, Atlanta resident Vivian Williams jumped from her bed.

Like many others living in the Atlanta suburbs, Williams believed the city had come under attack. The phones lit up at the police station. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution later reported “residents of Capitol Homes and other areas near the stadium called the police to complain that their neighbors, the Braves, were disturbing the peace.”

Williams told the police “setting off fireworks at 4 a.m. is inappropriate and ill-advised.”

Meanwhile, calls were pouring in to the Braves public relations office. Some came from fans who left before the end of the game and were angry that the fireworks display was not postponed until another date, he said. Other calls were from neighbors of the stadium who called the Braves to complain about the noise.

“We went back to the hotel and the USA Today was already under the door,” remembers Horwitz. “That’s always a bad sign, when the USA Today beats you there.”

Chip Caray, then home on college break, remembers his father stumbling in as the sun rose. He figured it was a late night with the guys.

“It’s the latest I’ve ever stayed out in my life and not done something I was ashamed of,” Skip said.

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Jacob deGrom and Wife Stacey Talk About Their Home In New York City Mon, 15 Jun 2015 18:39:18 +0000 jacob deGrom

Here’s a cool video from our friends at Coldwell Banker. It’s Jacob deGrom and his beautiful wife Stacey showing off their home away from home in New York City.

DeGrom talks about the memories of playing catch with his dad growing up, something he still enjoys doing in the off season.

The 2014 MLB Rookie of the Year and his wife discuss their adjustment to city life from the comfort of their apartment in the big apple.

For the second year in a row, Coldwell Banker Real Estate is partnering with to offer an exclusive look inside the homes of some of the biggest names in baseball.

“The Home Field Advantage series brings together the American Pastime and the American Dream like never before,” said Sean Blankenship, chief marketing officer for Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC.

“Just like baseball, homes are filled with fascinating stories. This series allows us to connect with these icons on a more personal level and get a glimpse of how their homes are special to them.”

In addition to Jacob deGrom, MLB players Yasiel PuigKris Bryant and Jake Peavy are just a few of those whose homes have already been showcased.

To see inside the homes of other Major League Baseball players, click here to see other videos in the Coldwell Banker Home Field Advantage series.

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Fair’s Fair, Except When It’s Unfair Sun, 24 May 2015 14:07:20 +0000 pittsburgh_027_pnc_park

Perhaps one of the “fairest” ballparks in Major League Baseball (not to mention the most beautiful), PNC Park in Pittsburgh has seemed a little biased against the visiting Mets these past two games.

Even Matt Harvey seemed a little “penetrable” with his back to the Allegheny on Saturday. The test, I believe, the Mets will be facing the next four and a half months is how they fare against playoff-caliber opponents as a visitor as well as a host.

With a 4-9 record against the NL Central and not even a sniff of a game against the NL West yet, the Mets have several pitcher friendly matchups both home and away to hopefully tip the scales back in their favor.

With Atlanta taking water into their lungs at the .500 level, the competition is starting to look a little more fierce for these Metropolitans as we near the halfway mark to the all-star break.

With a one week homestand against the bottom two rungs of the NL East ladder looming, hopefully the Mets can escape Pittsburgh having holstered the brooms of PNC’s patrons and outshined the weekend series finale’s pierogi race winner.

Look for Niese to outlast Liriano and the bullpen to close the broom closet doors.

Here are some facts to know before this afternoon’s finale:

The Mets will look to avoid being swept today. The last time the Pirates swept the Mets in a three-game series was June 1-4, 2009 in Pittsburgh. New York has been swept just once this year, a four-game series at Wrigley against the Cubs.

The Mets have lost their last six road games and are 7-14 on the road this season and 2-5 in road series. Today ends a stretch of 14 consecutive games vs. the NL Central and the Mets have gone 4-9 in those contests.

The Mets have scored three runs or fewer in 18 of their last 25 games, and overall they have scored three runs or less 25 times this season, tied for the most in the majors with the Phillies. The Mets are 7-18 when scoring three or fewer runs.

The Mets bullpen has not allowed a run in its last 14.2 innings dating to May 19. The bullpen has a 1.53 ERA this month, the second-lowest in the majors, behind Detroit (1.22 ERA). Opponents are hitting .189 vs. the pen and overall, they rank fourth in the majors with a 2.33 ERA.

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MLB To Launch Investigation Into Rash of Positive Stanozolol Results Wed, 15 Apr 2015 18:06:43 +0000 rob manfred

Commonly sold under the name Winstrol (oral) and Wonstrol Depot (intramuscular), Stanozolol is a synthetic anabolic steroid that began to be widely used in sports during the 80’s but which has actually been around since 1962.

It was in fact the steroid that Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson tested positive on in 1988. As of 4/14, Jenrry Mejia of the Mets, Ervin Santana of the Twins, Arodys Vizcaino of the Braves and David Rollins of the Mariners have all been suspended having tested positive for stanozolol. Per NBCSports, this has prompted MLB to launch an investigation. Rob Manfred made the following statement:

“Major League Baseball investigators have launched a Biogenesis-style investigation to determine if there is a link — a doctor, trainer, drug dealer or dietary supplement — between the four cases.”

This is going to get interesting. When Mejia initially commented on his suspension he seemed genuinely surprised by the result. Maybe I’m being naïve, but you’ve got to wonder … this stuff apparently was what the original steroid tests were designed to find, it would be beyond foolish to use stanozolol.

Although I don’t exactly look forward to another MLB witch-hunt, I do see the need. MLB tends to go in with crowbars and hammers where a scalpel might be better — trolling minor leaguers for information and bullying them into incriminating statements and penalizing them for not ratting out other players was certainly their MO under Selig, it will be interesting to see whether Manfred is perhaps more subtle. I don’t know … not sure I agree with the methods, particularly in light of how in the end, it wasn’t the thuggish bullying by MLB but the two excellent investigative pieces in the Miami New Times that broke the case.

Still, it’s nice to see MLB taking a prompt action on this outbreak. If indeed this is the result of a tainted or misrepresented substance you have to wonder whether the suspensions might be revoked and whether Mejia may yet be reinstated.

Given the recent controversy over tainted nutritional supplements it wouldn’t be entirely out of the realm of possibility. However, as Craig Calcaterra of NBC Sports noted, “More likely this was the result of someone telling the players that they can conceal it with some masking agent or system-beating scheme which makes the detection of this otherwise ridiculously detectable drug impossible.”

Thought provoking to say the least in light of last week’s Steve Kettman interview where he made the following statement:

“I’m not sure that we have entered a “post-steroid” era or that we ever will. The cheaters are smarter and more sophisticated now than they were, and juicing is less prevalent; we’d be naive to think it no longer occurs.”

It will be interesting to see where this latest can of worms takes us.


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Heath Bell Announces Retirement Wed, 25 Mar 2015 13:12:01 +0000 Heath-Bell-115248981

After being released by the Washington Nationals on Monday, veteran reliever and former Met Heath Bell has announced his retirement from Major League Baseball.

Bell told’s Corey Brock:

“My kids wanted me home. What’s more important: my kids or the big leagues? I’ve already accomplished more than I ever dreamed of. Now it’s time to help them accomplish their dreams.”

Bell pitched for the Mets from 2004-2006, but had his best years with the San Diego Padres from 2007-2011 after the Mets dealt him for relief pitcher Jon Adkins and OF Ben Johnson.

In three seasons. mostly as closer for the Padres (2009-2011), Bell went 15-9 while recording 132 saves, with a 2.36 ERA. He was an All-Star each of those three years and finished 8th in Cy Young voting in 2010.

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MLB to Allow Local Games to be Streamed on Phones and Tablets Fri, 20 Mar 2015 12:27:07 +0000 AtBat_Android_Devices_01_r7h86vtvMLB is finally going to  about to allow the ability to stream local baseball games on smartphones and tablets — including Mets games in New York, provided you already subscribe to SNY through a standard cable provider, Josh Kosman of the New York Post reports.

“Major League Baseball is expected to announce in the next few days a deal with a national distributor, like a wireless provider, to stream local games of every MLB team.”

MLB is currently the only major sport that does not stream games of local teams.

The move would serve two distinct purposes. For one it would allow team owners to put more pressure on regional sports networks, while also attracting younger fans who prefer to stream on their phones and tablets.

Fans will also have access to archived games to catch up on games they missed. No word on cost if any.


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Pete Rose Formally Asks To Have Lifetime Ban Lifted Mon, 16 Mar 2015 21:28:46 +0000 pete rose

Pete Rose has made a formal request to be reinstated to Major League Baseball, and new commissioner Rob Manfred agreed to meet with Rose and hear him out.

“I want to make sure I understand all of the details of the Dowd Report and Commissioner Bart Giamatti’s decision and the agreement that was ultimately reached,” Manfred said Monday morning, via ESPN. “I want to hear what Pete has to say, and I’ll make a decision once I’ve done that.”

I’ll tell you what, that’s big time progress right there. Bud Selig repeatedly rebuffed Rose’s efforts to talk to him and have the ban overturned.

Rose, 73, baseball’s all time hits leader with 4,256 hits, has never actually apologized to MLB although he’s shown remorse from time to time. Is he ready to formally apologize now?  And does an apology grant him a pardon and a lifting of his lifetime ban? What do you say?

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Did The Mets Offseason Meet Or Exceed Your Expectations? Fri, 20 Feb 2015 04:39:05 +0000 jeff wilpon

There is so much chatter from fans on Mets Twitter and even more so in the Mets Blogosphere regarding expectations and how the front office ultimately handled the offseason.

The mainstream media is giving the Mets two thumbs down, I’m sure you’ve read most of their assessments.

About a dozen MLB analysts and reporters list the Michael Cuddyer deal as one of the worst transactions of the offseason.

That no lefthanded reliever was brought in on a major league deal – after the front office listed it as a top priority – has also been scrutinized by the mainstream, with at least one report accusing the Mets of “chicanery” for leaks connecting them to almost every top lefty reliever out there.

The biggest point of contention, however, has been the lack of any creativity in upgrading at shortstop – or what Sandy Alderson called his top priority this offseason.

Is all of this criticism warranted or justified?

Here is part of a huge rant I read this morning on Mets 360.

“This was supposed to be a big offseason. The dead weight contracts were off the books, the young gun pitchers had arrived with more on the way, The Dark Knight was coming back, and the fans were getting restless. After four consecutive losing seasons on his watch, and four winters of shedding salary and stockpiling prospects, Sandy Alderson set this up to be the big offseason when the Mets would bring in the difference maker. Fans were clamoring for this team’s version of Gary Carter or Mike Piazza – and sports writers fed their enthusiasm with talk of slugging veteran outfielders and slick fielding shortstops.”

“Names bandied about included Troy Tulowitzki, Carlos GonzalezYoenis CespedesMelky Cabrera,Nelson CruzAlex GordonNick MarkakisStarlin CastroHanley RamirezJay BruceJose Bautista,Alexei Ramirez, and many others. But it was all wishful thinking. Nothing materialized beyond the signing of one overrated, overpriced, broken down free agent in Michael Cuddyer. Alderson and his team of Ivy League-educated underlings failed to properly assess the trade market and failed to facilitate the big blockbuster we were all waiting for and counting on.”

Alex Rodriguez just issued an instantly infamous hand-written note apologizing to his fans, the Yankees organization, Major League Baseball and anyone else who cares about the sport who might forgive a lying, cheating, egomaniacal, former superstar with questionable judgment. Perhaps Sandy Alderson should follow suit and issue his own hand-written apology to Mets fans for a very disappointing offseason.”

You can read the rest of this blog post on Mets 360.

But getting back to my question, is all of this criticism justified? Do most of you feel the same way?

The Mets stated their offseason priorities as:

1. Upgrading Shortstop

2. Acquiring a Right-Handed Corner Outfielder

3. Acquiring a Left-Handed Reliever

How did they do? Did this offseason meet or exceed your expectations?

Honestly, when the Mets came out guns blazing in the first week of free agency and signed Michael Cuddyer, I thought to myself, “Wow, this is going to be a great offseason.” I was happy. I was thrilled. I was ready to bury the hatchet after years of disappointment. But unfortunately that signing ended up being the entire extent of the Mets offseason.

I still believe the Mets will contend this season and snap their six year losing streak, but there was so much more they could have done after telling fans that this was the year they would get back in the game and make things happen. I expected more of an urgency to make this team a championship caliber contender.

Share your thoughts and vote on our poll.


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Mike Trout and Giancarlo Stanton Win Hank Aaron Awards Sun, 26 Oct 2014 02:33:55 +0000 mike trout giancarlo stanton

Major League Baseball announced that Angels center fielder Mike Trout and Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton are the winners of the 2014 Hank Aaron Award in their respective leagues.

Since 1999, the Hank Aaron Award is presented annually to the best overall offensive performer in both the American League and National League.

In a press conference and pregame ceremony held at AT&T Park prior to Game 4 of the World Series, commissioner Bud Selig formally presented the awards to both Trout and Stanton.

Trout, 23, batted .287 with a .377 OBP for the Angels with 39 doubles, nine triples, and a league leading 36 homers and 111 RBI.

In a season cut short by a gruesome pitch to his face, the 24-year old Stanton batted .288 with a .395 OBP and .555 Slugging for the Marlins. He laced 31 doubles while clubbing an MLB leading 37 homers to go with 105 RBI.

Congratulations to both these deserving young players.

(Photo: USATSI)


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Young Fans Are Being Denied Great October Baseball Mon, 13 Oct 2014 18:00:58 +0000 kolten wong

Last night the St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants played an incredible baseball game. There were big hits, huge strikeouts and some of the most heads-up baseball I’ve seen in a long time (see Matt Duffy running the bases). A few minutes before midnight, after the Giants tied the game in the 9th inning, Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong launched a game winning home run into the right field stands.

It was another incredible moment in a postseason that’s been chock-full of them.

Despite these amazing games, many have taken to social media to voice their frustration with the timing of Major League Baseball’s playoff calendar. With games ending at or after midnight, it’s conceivable that while adult baseball fans are soaking in the intensity of the playoffs, kids are asleep and have to rely on SportsCenter during breakfast the next morning to see what happened.

What’s fascinating is that this isn’t a new occurrence. Playoff baseball games have always started around 8:00 PM. In 1986, the National League Championship Series featuring the Mets and the Astros, had games starting all over the place. Game one in Houston started at 7:30, ending at 10:26 PM. Game three, back in New York, started at 12:20 PM and ended in the middle of the afternoon (3:15 PM). Game four, also in New York, started at 8:20 PM, which is later than most of the East Coast games this year have started. That game ended at 10:43 PM.

As you can see, the start times for playoff games haven’t changed all that much. What has changed is the length of the games. Major League Baseball wants to hold onto the “prime time” slot for the cable networks but with the games getting longer and longer, it’s becoming a detriment to baseballs most important demographic. Kids under the age of 15. These are the future players, consumers and fans of baseball and they are being alienated.

The key change for baseball of course is the length of games. By 2000, the last time the Mets won the National League Championship, games were already getting quite long. Game two against the Cardinals in 2000 lasted almost four hours. This year, games lasted an average of about 3 hours, up over 30 minutes compared to 30 years ago according to The New York Times.

This is the challenge for baseball. How do you take a sport that naturally takes a long time to play and make it easy to watch for kids? The answer is simple and it has nothing to do with making the games shorter. It’s just about sliding the start times up. Games are always going to run late, especially when you have competition at the level it’s been at in recent years. But moving the start times up to 7:00 PM instead of 8:00 PM means that games are ending on this side of midnight.

Rob Manfred is going to spend the entire offseason figuring out ways to speed up baseball. While this is a noble cause, I’ll be the first to say that I don’t want or need baseball to be faster. Playoff baseball is exciting in a way that no writer could ever script into a movie. There’s drama that roughly three hours does justice for. I don’t need baseball to be faster. I just need the games to start earlier so that kids of all ages (and sleepy adults of all ages) can begin to enjoy moments like Wong’s game winner last night each and every night of October.

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Bing Devine Brought the Mets A Championship and “The Franchise” Mon, 13 Oct 2014 16:00:46 +0000 As we continue to wait out the Sandy Alderson era for a return to former Mets glory, here’s a little something about another Mets GM who helped engineer the first championship in franchise history in 1969. I’m talking, of course, about the great Bing Devine.

bing devineDevine’s tenure as General Manager of the Mets spanned the years 1965 to 1967 in between stints with the St. Louis Cardinals where he engineered some of the greatest teams in Cards history.

I would hardly call his work with the Mets perfect, especially since he had the final call on drafting Steve Chilcott over Reggie Jackson, but he was certainly an aggressive executive who while building up the farm system was also always looking to improve the team with trades and waiver pickups

In his 2004 book, Memoirs of Bing Devine, he states that in 1967 alone, the Mets made 54 deals.

While many of the players acquired did little or nothing to help the Mets, seven of those players, Tommie Agee , Ron Taylor, Cal Koonce, Art ShamskyJ.C. Martin, Al Weis  and Ed Charles were later instrumental in helping the 1969 Mets win a World Championship.

Earlier in Devine’s tenure, he had also dealt for Jerry Grote and Don Cardwell. Grote, of course, was a significant part of the Mets turnaround, both with his stellar defense and also for being charged with helping to develop a cadre of young and inexperienced pitchers who would eventually become the pride of the franchise. None of these players carried a high price tag or cost the Mets any promising young talent.

seaver-tom_ryan-nolan_69Add to Devine’s accomplishments that it was completely upon his recommendation that George Weiss agreed to put their name in the hat for the Tom Seaver lottery.

“The Franchise” would become the only Mets player ever enshrined into the Hall of Fame.

Devine recollected that Weiss was reluctant to spend the $50,000 the Mets would have to pay Seaver if they won a drawing for him in April 1966.

“George Weiss was against it,” Devine told famed author Peter Golenbock. “He didn’t know anything about him. I made a big case, and I recall it was only hours before we had to make a decision and agree to that, and George Weiss finally shook his head, I’m sure not wanting to do it, and said, ‘If you people make such a big case of it, go ahead.’”

It was also Devine and his assistant Joe McDonald that persuaded Weiss to keep Jerry Koosman who he was preparing to release after a poor season in the low minors.

Devine’s time with the Mets was relatively short, but he certainly accomplished a great deal in that time. Unfortunately, he passed away in 2007 at the age of 90 at his home in St. Louis.

Devine once said that success required more than a sharp baseball intellect. “You have to be lucky,” he told The Evansville Courier in 2003. “And you’re never going to get lucky if you’re afraid to make a deal.”

Did You Know?

It was a trade engineered by Bing Devine that had the greatest impact on Major League Baseball and changed the game forever.

On October 7, 1969, Devine traded star center fielder Curt Flood, along with Tim McCarver, Byron Browne and Joe Hoerner, to the Philadelphia Phillies for Dick Allen, Cookie Rojas and Jerry Johnson.

Flood refused to go to Philadelphia, ultimately challenging baseball’s reserve system that bound players to one team. His suit against baseball set the stage for free agency, and was undeniably one of the most pivotal events in the game’s history.

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