Mets Merized Online » Nolan Ryan http://metsmerizedonline.com Mon, 08 Feb 2016 23:00:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.13 Featured Post: Will 1967 Repeat Itself In 2014 For The Mets? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/featured-post-will-1967-repeat-itself-in-2014-for-the-mets.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/featured-post-will-1967-repeat-itself-in-2014-for-the-mets.html/#comments Mon, 06 Jan 2014 11:39:28 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=138668 tim foli

To even the casual observer, it would appear that building a productive farm system in baseball is undertaken with the same predictive science and art as trying to pick the winning lottery ticket before scratching off the numbers. Lack of talent, career altering injuries, failure to translate potential, bad luck — the rise to the big leagues, never mind achieving stardom, is statistically akin to a crap shoot.

The Yankees went nearly 30 years before drafting a starting pitcher in the first round who ever pitched an inning for them in the majors. Then again, going all the way back to buying or trading for established players from their major league ‘farm team’, the Kansas City A’s, to unchecked free agent spending since, the Yankees prefer to gamble their money on major league proven talent.

The top ten Mets 1st round draft picks of all time is embarrassingly thin and uninspiring after Gooden, Strawberry, Matlack, and Wright. Not sure how much more damming odds have to be, but the mention of the name Tim Foli (photo right) in any team’s top ten best draft picks of all time should forever provide a cautionary guidepost for Mets fans when the predictability of drafts and the potential of high ceiling prospects is discussed. The Mets 1st round blunders include the infamous Steve Chilcott (Reggie Jackson went next), Billy Beane, Kirk Presley, and more recently, Lastings Milledge, who didn’t last very long at all.

Conversely, every player in America that showed any promise was drafted before teams finally picked Don Mattingly and Mike Piazza, who were given zero chance of reaching the big show, never mind having great careers. In Piazza’s case, it was a favor to his godfather, Tommy Lasorda. I guess none of the scouts thought Ted Williams, who rightly predicted stardom for Piazza when he was only in high school, knew anything about hitting baseballs.

Here’s the intractable beauty of baseball, though. All sports, for that matter. Fans are hardly deterred by cold, hard, logical facts and data that may form counter points to the unbridled optimism they unilaterally bestow on the next crop of top prospects coming out of their team’s farm system. Wild emotion rules the day when it comes to high ceiling, untested, unproven prospects. Yes, one imagines, even for Steve Chilcott in his day. But for every Pete Rose or Bob Gibson, there are a thousand Gregg Jefferies, a million Bill Pulsiphers. Ten bad games pitched in the big leagues, or a hundred lousy at bats, and the anointed are quickly dethroned, and a fresh group of untested royalty take their places. See how the applause meter has already begun to impatiently drift to the wrong side with Flores and d’Arnaud.

Seaver-Koosman-Matlack - Copy

Rarely are the baseball gods as merciful as they were for the Mets in 1967. Not six years into their existence, after a run of historic failure, the Mets had Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, Nolan Ryan, Jon Matlack, Tug McGraw, Ed Figueroa and Gary Gentry under team control, either in the majors or minors. Two of them would, of course, make the Hall Of Fame, and the rest had strong major league careers (not always with the Mets). In 1969, the majority of this group would help the Mets stun the baseball world, and forever stamp the word ‘miracle’ into their collective lexicon. Have the tides again turned in 2014? This year the Mets have Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, Noah Syndergaard, Rafael Montero, Jenrry Mejia, & Jeurys Familia under team control in the majors or minors. Sound familiar? Even the most pessimistic amongst Mets fans much concede that the comparisons are far more than wishful thinking. The Mets have stockpiled an incredibly exciting group of young pitching, that is poised to change the fortunes of the franchise — perhaps for the next decade.

Which is not to say that this group of talented young Mets will all succeed and be as productive in the major leagues like their 1967 predecessors. That now appears to be as statistically improbable as all of them failing. Unfortunately, trading one or more away for proven talent mitigates none of the risk, as it didn’t in the ill-advised Nolan Ryan trade. But here’s the thing: if only two or three of these prospects produce as expected, well, we know how it turned out in 1969.

In ten years or so, will Mets fans lament the collective failures of this group, like we did the Generation K trio in the 1990′s? Or will 1967 repeat itself in 2014, as some of these players continue to ascend to varying degrees of greatness, eventually becoming the foundation for another World Championship team?

Presented By Diehards

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Paul Blair, The Met Who Got Away http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/12/paul-blair-the-met-who-got-away.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/12/paul-blair-the-met-who-got-away.html/#comments Fri, 27 Dec 2013 02:54:45 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=137082 Former Orioles center fielder Paul Blair died tonight at the age of 69. Blair played 13 seasons with the Orioles and four with the Yankees, winning two World Series titles with each team. Blair won eight Gold Gloves and was widely considered one of best defensive center fielders of all time. MMO sends their condolences to the Blair family. Here is an MMO Flashback originally posted in January of 2007 and written by Barry Duchan. 

In their long history, the Mets have had more than their share of young players who were dealt away and became stars with other teams. Nolan Ryan and Amos Otis are probably the 2 names mentioned most often. And the trading of future MVP’s Kevin Mitchell and Jeff Kent were in retrospect, major mistakes, too.

But the very first star the Mets let get away was Paul Blair who became nothing less than the premier centerfielder in the American League for 10 years while the Mets were constantly trying to fill the void. The Mets tried Jim Hickman, Johnny Lewis, Billy Cowan, and Don Bosch among others before landing Tommie Agee to fill the role nicely for a couple of years. Then, the drought began again with the likes of Don Hahn, Dave Schneck, Jim Gosger and Del Unser getting most of the playing time in centerfield while Blair and then Otis were still among the best centerfielders in the game.

Blair had always been a shortstop, until he got into the minor leagues. The Orioles made him a full-time outfielder, and he quickly became the top non-pitching prospect in their organization. The Dodgers refused to sign Blair out of high school, because they thought he was too small to make it the big leagues. He was signed by the Mets originally, for a $2,000 bonus. He played one year for the Mets’ Santa Barbara club in the California League in 1962, batting .228 while playing both infield and outfield.

The Mets didn’t have many prospects following the 1962 season, so their failure to protect Blair by putting him on the 40-man roster is tough to excuse. Obviously, the Orioles saw something in him that the Mets didn’t and drafted him as a first-year player for $8,000 while the Mets were still searching for anyone who could play centerfield.

Blair went on to have an excellent career. While his hitting was never his strong suit, in 1969, Blair hit .276 with 26 HR’s and 76 RBI. Oddly, the exact HR and RBI totals that Tommie Agee put up for the Mets, and with a better average than Agee. And of course, Blair had a much longer and more consistent career than Agee. So, letting Blair go was a mistake of major proportions. Especially when you figure that if the Mets had kept Blair, there would have been no reason to make deals for Cowan, Bosch, or Agee. So, the Mets could have used what trading chips they had for help in other areas.

When you talk about the ones that got away, no doubt Nolan Ryan will head that list, but Blair should be right behind him.

Rest in peace, Paul…

Presented By Diehards

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Yankees Clinch On A Walk-off Home Run By Ike Davis http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/12/yankees-clinch-on-a-walk-off-home-run-by-ike-davis.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/12/yankees-clinch-on-a-walk-off-home-run-by-ike-davis.html/#comments Thu, 19 Dec 2013 11:11:14 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=135857 Ike Davis

Marty Noble penned a new post for MLB.com where he ponders a world where the Mets trade Ike Davis to the New York Yankees. It’s a terrifying world filled with ghastly apparitions of former Mets players turned Yankee pinstriped heroes, and ungodly visions of former Mets hurling no-hitters or launching game winning home runs in postseason play. Alright I’m exaggerating a little… Here’s what he writes:

In the first moments following Cashman’s words, my mind jumped far ahead and linked what I had heard, the Yankees’ possible need, with the Mets’ desire to unload a first baseman. Hmmm. I didn’t think logically — I recognize that now. I didn’t consider that the Mets probably wouldn’t consider dealing a player with the potential of Ike Davis to a team with a short right field and an area code identical to their own.

Moving Davis to the Bronx doesn’t have a fastball’s chance in Hades of happening, if only for that reason. But what if? What if the Yankees developed interest in Ike’s left-handed swing, and the Mets addressed their overpopulation at first base by sending Davis crosstown and he became the next Roger Maris? Or merely the next Kevin Maas.

How would the Mets deal with that? They weren’t too comfortable when their homegrowns, Darryl Strawberry and Dwight Gooden, played for champion Yankees teams. Nor were they delighted when David Cone became a high-profile Yankees contributor. What in the name of Nolan Ryan would they do if they dealt Davis to the Yankees and he found the form he demonstrated in the second half of the 2012 season? What would they do if Ike bombarded the area inhabited by the Bleacher Creatures and points south and in fair territory?

Exactly… What would they do? I guess we’d do what we did all those other times… Cower in the corner and pout.

Read the entire article here.

mmo

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Mets Announce 2014 Promos: Free-Shirt Fridays, Saturday Concerts, Family Sundays http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/11/mets-announce-2014-promos-free-shirt-fridays-saturday-concerts-family-sundays.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/11/mets-announce-2014-promos-free-shirt-fridays-saturday-concerts-family-sundays.html/#comments Wed, 13 Nov 2013 19:50:34 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=132904 550x373_2014_promo

The New York Mets today announced their promotional schedule for the 2014 season at Citi Field.  All promotions will take place on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays highlighted by Free-Shirt Fridays, Saturday Concerts & Fireworks and Family Sundays.

Single game tickets for all 81 Mets home games including Opening Day and the Subway Series go on sale Saturday, November 23 at 10:00 a.m. at Mets.com and (718) 507-TIXX. An exclusive presale for Citi cardmembers starts Monday, November 18 at 10:00 a.m. at Mets.com/CitiPreSale.  Mr. and Mrs. Met will appear at the Citibank branch in Union Square from 12:00-1:00 p.m. on November 18 to help celebrate the exclusive presale.  Fans are also encouraged to utilize their Citi ThankYou Preferred Card on all Mets offers throughout the season as they will receive 2 points for every dollar spent on all dining out and entertainment purchases.

The 2014 Mets season will begin with Opening Day, March 31 when the Mets host the Washington Nationals at 1:10 p.m.  All fans in attendance will receive a 2014 Mets Magnetic Schedule presented by SNY.

Free-Shirt Fridays

On the following Friday dates, all fans will receive a uniquely designed Mets themed T-Shirt:

  • April 4 vs. Reds
  • April 18 vs. Braves
  • April 25 vs. Marlins
  • May 9 vs. Phillies
  • May 23 presented by GEICO vs. Diamondbacks
  • June 13 vs. Padres
  • July 11 vs. Marlins
  • August 1 vs. Giants
  • August 15 vs. Cubs
  • August 29 presented by Pepsi vs. Phillies
  • September 12 presented by Budweiser vs. Nationals
  • September 26 vs. Astros

Saturday Post-Game Concerts

Four Saturday home games will feature post-game concerts: June 14, July 12, August 16, and September 27.   The 2014 Mets Concert Series presented by Duane Reade will be headlined by Huey Lewis and the News (July 12) and Boyz II Men (August 16).  The other two acts will be announced in the coming weeks.

Huey Lewis and the News will perform following the Mets-Marlins game on July 12. The band is best known for its third album SPORTS, a 10-times platinum chart-topping smash that generated four Top 10 singles including “The Heart of Rock & Roll” and “I Want a New Drug.”  Huey Lewis and the News also scored three No. 1 songs: “Stuck With You,” “Power of Love,” and “Jacob’s Ladder.”

Boyz II Men will take the stage after the Mets-Cubs 7:10 p.m. game on August 16. The Grammy Award winning, multiplatinum iconic pop group has sold more than 60 million albums worldwide with No. 1 hits such as “End of the Road,” “I’ll Make Love to You,” and “One Sweet Day.”

The performances will begin approximately 20 minutes after the conclusion of the game from a stage in the outfield behind second base.  Admission to the concert is included in the price of the game ticket.

Fireworks

There will be three fireworks nights in 2014 starting with a special 4th of July celebratory show following the 7:10 p.m. Mets-Rangers game.

Fireworks Night presented by Duane Reade will take place Saturday, August 2 following the 7:10 p.m. Mets-Giants game and Saturday, September 13 after the 7:10 p.m. Mets-Nationals game.  Fireworks will be launched from Citi Field’s roof and the centerfield grass, providing a 360-degree experience for fans throughout the ballpark.

Saturday Premium Giveaways

At the following Saturday games, the first 20,000 fans will receive the following premium giveaway items:

  • 2014 Mets Calendar – April 5 vs. Reds (1:10 p.m.)
  • Shea Stadium 50th Anniversary Canvas Print – April 19 vs. Braves (7:10 p.m.)
  • Replica Mets Batting Helmet – April 26 vs. Marlins (7:10 p.m.)
  • Nolan Ryan 1969 Commemorative Bobblehead from Delta Air Lines – May 10 vs. Phillies (7:10 p.m.)
  • David Wright Canvas Print – May 24 vs. Diamondbacks (TBA)
  • Floppy Hat – July 5 vs. Rangers (TBA)
  • Mr. Met Canvas Print – August 30 vs. Phillies (7:10 p.m.)

Family Sundays

Sunday games will cater to families with Family Sundays at Citi Field.  Each of the promotional items will have a kids theme, and the Mr. Met Dash, where kids run the bases after the game, will take place every Sunday.  For Mother’s Day (May 11), there will be a special giveaway item for moms and their children and they will have the opportunity to run the bases after the game in the Mr. Met Dash. Similarly on Father’s Day (June 15), dads and kids will receive a special item and participate in the Mr. Met Dash.

The following is the complete list of promotions on Sundays.  Promotional items will be given out to the first 15,000 fans unless otherwise noted.  All Sunday games are scheduled to start at 1:10 p.m.

  • Player Poster #1 – April 6 vs. Reds
  • Recyclable Tote Bag presented by MLB Network – April 20 vs. Braves
  • Loom Bands – April 27 vs. Marlins
  • Mother’s Day Moms & Kids T-Shirts – May 11 vs. Phillies (all moms and kids)
  • Banner Day – May 25 vs. Diamondbacks (pre-game parade)
  • Item TBA – May 25 vs. Diamondbacks
  • Father’s Day Dads and Kids Cap – June 15 vs. Padres (all dads and kids)
  • Cereal Bowl – July 6 vs. Rangers
  • Player Poster #2 – July 13 vs. Marlins
  • W.B. Mason Truck– August 3 vs. Giants
  • Batting Practice Cap – August 17 vs. Cubs
  • Lunch Cooler Bag presented by GEICO – August 31 vs. Phillies
  • Player Poster #3 – September 14 vs. Nationals
  • 2015 Magnetic Schedule – September 28 vs. Astros (all fans)
  • Fan Appreciation Day – September 28 vs. Astros

Times for Saturday and Sunday games may change, subject to Major League Baseball’s national broadcast agreements with FOX and ESPN.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s some more from the Post article:

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

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

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

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

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

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This Day In Mets Infamy With Rusty: The “All Time Mets Scrub Team” Edition http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/this-day-in-mets-infamy-with-rusty-the-all-time-mets-scrub-team-edition.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/this-day-in-mets-infamy-with-rusty-the-all-time-mets-scrub-team-edition.html/#comments Sun, 15 Sep 2013 14:27:38 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=129309 sad mets bench

With the loss in game one of yesterday’s doubleheader with the Miami Marlins, the Mets clinched their 5th straight losing season. This shouldn’t come as a shock since it has happened many times in the past - from the newly minted team of the ’60′s to the “Franchiseless” Mets of the late ’70′s and early ’80′s. Hell even the teams from the Mid ’90s as well as the ’02-’04 seasons were exercises in futility. So I figured I would try to compile the All Scrub Mets Team that encompasses players from all these eras – except from the ’60′s because lets face it 99% of the men that played for those Mets teams were either past their prime – or never had a prime to go past.

So without further ado…

My All Time Mets Scrub Team 

Manager: Jeff Torborg – He was a winning manager during his tenure with the Chicago White Sox, but  I don’t know if it was the expensive payroll of stars ( one of the most expensive payrolls at the time ) or that he melted under the bright lights of New York, but he barely lasted one and a half seasons as the skipper of a sinking ship.

Catcher: Alex Trevino – He was a both offensively and defensively challenged behind and at the plate.

First Base: Mike Jorgenson – Before returning to the Mets in the early ’80′s Mike had been a serviceable reserve outfielder/ first baseman.

Second Base: Luis Castillo – If you find yourself asking why he is on this list you are obviously not a Mets fan.

Shortstop: Frank Taveras – He was your prototypical no hit/all glove infielder. He had speed ( leading the Mets with triples in ’80 ) but he really never got on base enough to flash it.

Third Base: Jim Fregosi – We traded Nolan Ryan for him. He sucked. ‘Nuff Said !

Outfield: Jason Bay – See Luis Castillo.

Outfield: Juan Samuel  - For some reasons not known to man nor beast, then Mets General Manager, Frank Cashen traded Lenny Dykstra and Roger McDowell to the Phillies for second baseman, Samuel. The Mets tried to convert him to an everyday centerfielder. Guess what – they failed.

Outfield: Vince Coleman – File him under “Never sign a player that is a Mets killer” because they will continue to kill the Mets – from the inside!

Starting Rotation:

The luckless Anthony Young

The Charismatic Jose Lima – too bad he concentrated more on his ” Lima Time” slogan than actually pitching effectively.

The Past his prime Mike Torrez.

The pitcher that obviously didn’t want to be here, Mickey Lolich.

And rounding out the starting rotation – Oliver Perez (See Luis Castillo)

Bullpen:

The ineffective Doug Sisk.

The lead blower, Rich Rodriguez – I still maintain that the only reason why he wasn’t released by the Mets is because he was a friend of then G.M, Steve Phillips from their minor league days.

Ineffective reliever from the early ’80′s. Mark “Bombs Away” Bomback.

Another man who couldn’t hold a lead – even if it was glued to his hand – Ryota Igarashi.

Two words that should send a shiver down your spine Guillermo Mota.

And lest we forget, Luis Ayala.

The closer spot is a tough one since the Mets had many men who were not able to put out the fire and save the game, so by default I went with Braden Looper. Yes Looper was playing through injuries in his last season with the Mets, but he still blew the lead in important games when he was healthy – he didn’t have the killer instinct.

Bench:

The light hitting David Newhan.

The light hitting Dan Norman.

The couldn’t get a hit to save his life Ron Hodges.

And the weak hitting Gary Rajsich

So there is my list… Do you agree/disagree? Who would you add or omit ? Please give your lists in the comments section below.

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

Mets alumni celebrating a birthday today include:

Charley Smith would have been 76 (1937) today

One of the most ineffective middle relievers ever to wear a Mets uniform, John Pacella is 57  (1956). In Pacella’s 3 seasons with the Mets he compiled a 3-6 record with a ERA of 4.83 in 104.1 innings.

Middle reliever from the ’02 season, Satoru Komiyama is 48 (1965).

Middle reliever from the ’91 season, Doug Simons turns 47 (1966).

Utility infielder from ’96-’97, Jason Hardtke is 42 (1971).

Some other notables include:

The  New York Mets traded  minor league pitching prospects, Shane Young and Jeff Richardson to the California Angels for  reliever, John Candelaria on September 15, 1987. The Brooklyn born “Candy Man” was once one of the most dominant closers in the game. But by the time he was obtained by the Mets he was well past his prime.

The movie character that Mo Vaughn wishes he could be  is Pizza the Hut from “Spaceballs” !!!!

pizza

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This Week In Baseball: Doc Becomes Youngest 20 Game Winner, Yanks Release Rizzuto http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/08/this-week-in-baseball-doc-becomes-youngest-20-game-winner-yanks-release-rizzuto.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/08/this-week-in-baseball-doc-becomes-youngest-20-game-winner-yanks-release-rizzuto.html/#comments Sun, 25 Aug 2013 04:04:26 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=127809 dwight-gooden

AUGUST 25:

1922: Leading 25-6 after 4 innings, the Cubs hold on to beat the Phillies, 26-23. The Phillies left the bases loaded in the ninth. The 49 total runs is the most ever scored in a single game.

1956: The Yankees pick up Enos Slaughter off waivers and in turn give an unconditional release to fan favorite Phil Rizzuto.

1983: The Louisville Redbirds (AAA-Cardinals) become the first minor league team to draw one million fans.

1985: At 20 years, 9 months and 9 days, Dwight Gooden becomes the youngest pitcher in history to win 20 games.

1986: With a prodigious blast off Detroit’s Walt Terrell, a rookie named Mark McGwire hits his first major league home run.

1997: Boston’s Nomar Garciaparra gets a hit in his 27th straight game, setting a record for AL rookies.

2005: With a 6-3 victory over the Pirates, Cardinals skipper Tony LaRussa wins his 2195th game, passing Sparky Anderson for third all-time. The only managers with more wins are Connie Mack (3731) and John McGraw (2763)

AUGUST 26:

1898: The Cleveland Spiders play their final home game of the year. Nicknamed ‘The Nomads,’ the Cleveland club plays 83 of their final 87 games on the road.

1939: At Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, NBC televises the first Major League game in history. Red Barber does the play-by-play as the Dodgers and Reds split a double-header.

1947: Dan Bankhead of Brooklyn becomes the first black pitcher in history. He homered in his first plate appearance that day, but allowed six earned runs.

1961: Roger Maris hits home run # 51, putting him ahead of Babe Ruth‘s record setting pace.

1965: After defeating the Mets in 13 straight starts, Sandy Koufax (21-7) loses to Tug McGraw (2-2).

1966: Vic Roznovsky and Boog Powell of Baltimore hit back-to-back pinch hit HR’s. It’s only the third time in history this has happened.

1980: At County Stadium in Milwaukee, Royals third baseman George Brett goes 5-for-5 and raises his BA to 407.

1987: The longest hitting streak in the AL since Joe DiMaggio‘s in 1941 comes to an end at 39 when Paul Molitor fails to get a hit. Ironically, Molitor was on-deck when the final out of the game was made.

2002: The first video streaming coverage of a baseball game appears on the Internet. The Yankees defeat the Rangers, 10-3.

2002 — New York shortstop Derek Jeter scored his 100th run of the season, joining Ted Williams (1939-49) and Earle Combs (1925-32) as the only players in modern history to score at least 100 runs in their first seven seasons.

AUGUST 27:

1911: Future Hall of Famer Ed Walsh of Chicago no-hits Boston, 5-0.

1918: Christy Mathewson, now retired, steps down as manager of the Reds and accepts the role of Captain in the US Army. While serving in World War I, Matty is accidentally gassed during a training exercise resulting in his premature death in 1925, at age 45.

1938: Monte Pearson tosses the first no-hitter in Yankee Stadium, a 13-0 win over Cleveland.

1946: At the annual Owners Meeting, the owners decide to continue ‘The Gentleman’s Agreement’ and ban black athletes from playing in the majors. The ludicrous reasons include that black players display “…an absence of skills necessary…” as well as “…a lack of fundamentals.”

1955: Making only his second start in the majors, a young lefthander named Sandy Koufax defeats the Reds, 7-0. Koufax allows only 2 hits and fans 14.

1974: Benny Ayala of the Mets becomes the first player in 13 years to homer in his first major league at-bat.

1977: Bump Wills and Toby Harrah of Texas hit back-to-back inside the park home runs on back-to-back pitches.

1978: Joe Morgan becomes the first player to reach 200 Home Runs and 500 SB’s.

1982: Rickey Henderson breaks Lou Brock‘s single season SB mark with his 119th swipe of the year. Henderson stole it against the battery of Doc Medich/Ted Simmons…on a pitch-out.

1997: As a joke, the Indians pull up their socks to just below the knees to celebrate the birthday of teammate Jim Thome. Cleveland would go on to win 17 of their next 27 games and ultimately, the American League pennant.

AUGUST 28:

1884: Mickey Welch of the NY Gothams fans the 1st 9 batters he faces. Welch wins 39 games this year and a total of 307 in a brief 13 year career.

1945: In a secret meeting in Brooklyn, Branch Rickey privately meets with Jackie Robinson and tells him of his plan to integrate the majors. During the long meeting, Rickey will get in Jackie’s face and shout an endless barrage of racial slurs just to ‘test’ the young player and see how Robinson reacts, knowing full well what lies ahead.

1977: Nolan Ryan fans 11 and reaches 300 K’s for the fifth time in his career.

1983: Greg Luzinski, ‘The Bull,’ joins Jimmie Foxx and Ted Williams as the only players to hit a ball onto the roof of Comiskey Park.

1989: Frank Viola of the Mets defeats Orel Hershiser of the Dodgers, 1-0. It was the first ever regular season match-up of two defending Cy Young Award winners.

Jackie_Robinson_42

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

Justin asks…

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

Joe D. replies…

Thanks for your question, Justin…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Lessons Learned From Mets Sweep Of The Rockies http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/08/lessons-learned-from-mets-sweep-of-the-rockies.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/08/lessons-learned-from-mets-sweep-of-the-rockies.html/#comments Fri, 09 Aug 2013 16:40:47 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=126785 latroy hawkins john buck

This week’s Met sweep of the Colorado Rockies is instructive.  In taking the broom to the Rockies at Citi Field, the Mets showcased the blueprint they hope can make them a contender as early as next season – solid pitching.

In designing that building plan the Mets need look no further than their first World Championship team the 1969 Mets.  That Met team, a group that shocked the world, was built around solid starting pitching.  The ’69 Mets won 100 games.  When they held teams to three runs or less the ’69 Mets had an 80 percent winning record.  Take a look.

chart 1

Met pitchers in 1969 allowed opposing teams 3-runs or less in 63% of the 162 games played.  When Met pitchers in the championship year allowed 2 or fewer runs the Metss were almost unbeatable (65-8).  The ’69 Champions won 80% of their regular season games when they allowed 3 or fewer runs.

Very different philosophies governed the ways teams used pitchers in 1969.  Pitch counts were not emphasized and starting pitchers often pitched deep into games.  52 times Met starting pitchers completed games in the miracle season of ’69.  That represented almost one of every three games the ’69 Mets played.  Take a glimpse of the starting pitcher’s numbers in 1969.

chart 2

Met pitching in the Colorado series was the lynchpin in a rare series sweep, allowing only three runs in three games.  With a solid core in the current starting rotation and a long list of promising youngsters carving a path from the minor leagues to Citi Field, the Mets are shaping their rebuilding program around pitching.  Even during a Met transition year like the 2013 season the performance of our starting pitchers is instructive.  Take a look.

chart 3

Even though current Met starters have completed only 2 games, when Met pitchers have held opposing teams to three or fewer runs this year, we have a commanding won/loss record (74%), fairly close to the heralded percentage of the ’69 Mets (80%).  The big difference is the percentage of games current Met pitchers have been able to limit the opposition to these number (47%).  The ’69 Mets held opposing teams to three or fewer runs in 102 of 162 games or 63% of all games played.

Admittedly, Gil Hodges used his bullpen in a very different way than Terry Collins or any current managers in the major leagues.  The ’69 Mets bullpen compiled 34 saves spread out over 5 relievers.  Ron Taylor led the group with 13 saves.  Tug McGraw followed with 12, but McGraw started a dozen games for the Mets in their championship year.  Cal Koonce racked up 7 saves and Nolan Ryan and Jack DiLauro both had a single save.  Five of the ’69 relievers shouldered heavy inning loads pitching 76 innings or more with McGraw, a cross-over starter, leading the pack with 100.1 innings.

As the Colorado series proved, the name of the rebuilding game for the Mets is solid pitching.  If the Mets could push the percentage of games they allow 3 or fewer runs to the 55% level, would they become contenders for a playoff spot next season.  I think so.  The higher that number goes, the more likely the Mets could play serious baseball in October.

Is it doable?  Time will tell.  But, with so many young arms in the Met system, more and more Met fans are beginning to appreciate the possibilities.  For the first time in a long time, we’re beginning to detect a buzz around Citi Field as Met fans look forward to finding out.

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Pitch Counts: Are They Good For The Game? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/pitch-counts-are-they-good-for-the-game.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/pitch-counts-are-they-good-for-the-game.html/#comments Fri, 12 Jul 2013 12:08:38 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=124580

100 pitches….Ha…Ha…Ha

There was some talk the past couple of days regarding Matt Harvey‘s pitch count, and an 210 innings limit that Sandy Alderson mentioned about a month ago. That innings cap would have Harvey’s season end approximately two weeks before the end of the regular season.

Joe D. also pointed out that it seems like Harvey’s effectiveness declines after he throws his 100th pitch.

We are seeing it more and more these days — as pitchers make higher and higher salaries as the years go by, they also throw less pitches.

Since the year 2000, the amount of games where the starting pitcher has thrown over 125 pitches has steadily declined. In 2007, there were only 14 games the entire season where a starting pitcher threw at least 125 pitches.

The game is suffering from pitch counts and so are the pitchers. It seems every year more and more teams try to protect their pitchers, yet every year we see star pitchers succumb to arm injuries.

Pitchers used to pitch until they couldn’t get anyone out anymore. In today’s game, you are more likely to see a starting pitcher that is pitching a shut out get pulled from the game with two outs left in the ninth inning, than complete that game.

Would Bob Gibson let his manager take him out of the game? How about Nolan Ryan? I don’t even think their managers would have the backbone to walk out of that dugout in the direction of the pitcher’s mound. You want to know why? They were warriors.

Pitchers these days have under-developed arms due to this idea that pitchers should only be allowed to throw 100 pitches in a game. By capping pitchers at 100 innings, what you are actually creating is a self-fulfilling prophecy. The reason why pitchers become ineffective after 100 pitches these days is all due to the belief that they will. Either that, or due to the fact that their arms are conditioned to only throw 100 pitches.

For hundreds of years, nobody ever thought that a human being could run a four-minute mile. Doctors theorized that the runner’s heart would explode under the stress. Roger Bannister finally debunked that myth when he ran a mile in under four minutes in 1954. His record lasted a mere 46 days before someone ran it even faster than he did when he set the record. Now it seems like a common occurrence.

Baseball is trending in the opposite direction. Pitchers used to throw well over 100 pitches regularly. Now there is this fear that something bad will happen to the pitcher who throws too many pitches. Nolan Ryan threw 142 pitches in a game when he was 42 years old. If that is not enough to prove that the pitcher’s arm won’t fall off than I don’t know what will. Juan Marichal is said to have thrown over 250 pitches in a game once — so why is the 100 pitch count number so important?

johan santana no-hitter

Johan Santana threw over 125 pitches during his no-hitter last season. He threw 134 pitches to be exact, and I was shocked to see his arm didn’t spontaneously fall off. I was waiting for it to happen…but it never did. Johan went over his 115 pitch count cap, and survived. Who would have thought it? Pitchers really can throw over 125 pitches and live to see another day. So again I ask, what is the point of a pitch count?

I have the confidence in major league managers and pitching coaches to recognize when a pitcher is getting tired, and make a decision to pull him from the game. Do they really need a pitch count to determine that? Why stick to this blanket 100 pitch count idea when every pitcher is different, and every decision should be made according to the situation that presents itself?

The problem is by creating the 100 pitch count myth, you now are forced to abide by it. Pitchers are no longer conditioned to pitch over 100 pitches in a game, and what you start to see is the pitchers becoming less effective after they throw the 100th pitch. The pitchers haven’t changed, the game has. Pitchers are just as capable physically to throw over 100 pitches in a game in 2013 as they were in 1913 — but the mentality has changed.

The game shouldn’t be impacted by a pitch count if the pitcher isn’t tired or still getting hitters out. Some managers obviously let their pitchers pitch past 100, but even those managers usually don’t let the pitchers go past 125. This is, in many baseball enthusiasts opinions, ruining the game.

History has proven that pitchers have gone well over 125 pitches in the past and lived to tell about it. There is no medical evidence that says a particular pitcher’s arm injury resulted as a result of pitching over 100 pitches, or throwing over 100 pitches on a consistent basis.

Please note, I am not a doctor, and have no medical evidence to support what I am about to say, but I have been around the game the majority of my life, and my experience with witnessing arm injuries is that they tend to occur earlier in games. This is most likely because the pitcher’s arm is still not loosened and not necessarily a result of throwing too many pitches.

I’m not really sure why teams have made this 100 pitch count so important. I’m sure it has something to do with protecting their multi-million dollar investments, but I haven’t seen many pitchers careers extended since adopting the pitch count, nor have I seen a decline in arm injuries.

So what’s the point?

There is something romantic about pitchers pitching complete games. This part of the game is steadily being phased out. Maybe the blue collar, American attitude of not having someone else finish your work is fading away. Maybe the baseball minds look at Henry Ford’s assembly line model said hey, let’s have pitchers with specialized roles in order to be more efficient.

The theory of bringing in relief pitchers seems sound — replace your tired pitcher with a pitcher who has a fresh arm in order to get the opposing hitters out. I mean, that is what the word relief means — to alleviate pain or distress — not to try and keep the mileage of the starting pitchers’ arms.

Let these starting pitchers start earning their paychecks and gain back their warrior image on the mound. Bring back some of the romanticism…the fans will be happy you did.

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Featured Post: Patience Is Bitter…But It’s Fruit Is Sweet http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/featured-post-patience-is-bitter-but-its-fruit-is-sweet.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/featured-post-patience-is-bitter-but-its-fruit-is-sweet.html/#comments Tue, 02 Jul 2013 15:11:01 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=123494 Patience was never really a word you would hear when it comes to New York fan bases. Now, possibly more than ever, Mets fans with the exception of a vocal minority are practicing patience with regard to their expectations for this franchise.

I know it’s tough to be a fan especially in New York and think “we’re almost there,” especially after 2006 – but the situation is what it is. I’m trying to embrace it and hope for the best rather than live in a constant state of negativity toward a baseball team.

Zack Wheeler is going to be the ultimate test for so many fans, and even the coaches and front office.

Control was always Wheeler’s biggest flaw, and what Wheeler becomes will be the truest form of evaluation for Dan Warthen. I didn’t even want Wheeler called up in 2013 because I feared the possibility of being sent back down to work on his control which could crush the kid. He’s here, he needs to stay here and Warthen needs time to work with him first before we decide anybody’s fate.

Everybody loves to mention the pitching coach when a pitcher fails. Nobody mentions that Dillon Gee, Bobby Parnell or even Matt Harvey when it comes to evaluating Warthen. The truth is, none of us know what impact he’s had whether it be positive or negative. With Wheeler, I think we’ll all be able to tell – but we have to be patient and allow him some time to actually work with Wheeler.

In my lifetime, nobody was better with his control than Greg Maddux. Maddux threw over 400 major league innings before he turned 23. His WHIP was a 1.42, and his BB/9 was a 3.4 with a K/9 at 5.4. In all reality, Maddux didn’t really figure it all out until he was 25 years old. From 25-37, Maddux’s BB/9 rate went down to a 1.5 with his K/9 rate jumping to a 6.5 paired with a 1.055 WHIP.

Isn’t it interesting that Maddux’s control success seemed to coincide with his arrival in Atlanta under pitching coach Leo Mazzone?

I’m in no way comparing Wheeler to one of the greatest pitchers of all time. However, I am trying to point out that control issues can be something a pitching coach can help a pitcher with and for Warthen there is no greater opportunity than with Wheeler. If Wheeler cannot get it together under Warthen, then it will be time to bring a new coach in.

For fans, the realization that not every young pitcher can be Matt Harvey out of the gate and that it takes time to figure out how to pitch in the big leagues. I’ve gone on record to say I think Wheeler should be the main trade chip to acquire Giancarlo Stanton, but if that cannot happen – then we need to be patient with him as he figures out a way to be a big league pitcher.

There was a lot of hype around Wheeler, there’s no denying that. The hype was created when fans and local media learned who Wheeler was on the day Beltran was traded. We all read the reports, and we judged the trade from that standpoint. I’d still make the trade happily, but I think some of us penciled him in as an automatic. The truth of the matter is, there’s nothing automatic about baseball players whether young or old.

If I told you that in 1,705 games Albert Pujols would hit 445 Homeruns, drive in 1,329 runs and hit with a 1.037 OPS you’d call him one of the greatest players to ever play the game. We all did. At 31 years old, names like Fox, Aaron, Mantle and Robinson were being tossed around when comparing Pujols in a historical sense.

Now, in 234 games he has hit 43 HR, driven in 154 runs and has an OPS of .822. An OPS of .822 isn’t really all that bad, but when you were on a path to becoming one of the greatest players ever – it’s borderline horrifying.

If Pujols isn’t a guarantee, then nobody is.

We as fans as well as the franchise itself need to practice the art of patience. Patience would have meant Nolan Ryan in a Mets uniform long term. Patience could have meant Heath Bell as the Mets closer during the two years the Mets desperately needed relief help. Patience is a funny thing, nobody likes to lose – but sometimes you need to go through some rough times before things get better.

The truth of the matter is, nothing Wheeler does or can do will turn this franchise around overnight. The Mets still need to figure out their 1B and SS situation, along with a long term solution in the OF.

The best thing for Wheeler right now is to continue to work, and figure out a way to get the talent that everybody says he has and translate it into a big league pitcher.

He doesn’t need to be an ace, he just needs to be an effective pitcher. His success is in all of our best interests, and so I hope everybody, fans, coaches and executives practice a little patience when it comes to Wheeler. Every bad outing doesn’t make him a hopeless cause, and every successful outing doesn’t make him Tom Seaver.

“Have patience. All things are difficult before they become easy.”

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MMO Exclusive: The Mets And Their Difficult Relationship With The New York Press http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/06/mmo-exclusive-the-mets-and-their-difficult-relationship-with-the-new-york-press.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/06/mmo-exclusive-the-mets-and-their-difficult-relationship-with-the-new-york-press.html/#comments Sat, 08 Jun 2013 00:20:53 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=120671 jeff wilpon

To Jeff Wilpon The Mets Are Just A Laughing Matter…

That charming headline appeared in a May 29th Daily News article by the rabble-rousing Filip Bondy

You may remember that Jeff Wilpon showed up at Citi Field and made a rare public appearance during a pregame ceremony for Mariano Rivera, who threw out the first pitch, and eventually the last. That was the day that the Mets COO gave up on the season and let the future HOF closer know about it.

The title caught my eye like a mangled raccoon on Interstate 94, but as I wasn’t able to read it until days later. I tried to hold my preconceptions in check, but it looked like Jeff may have put his foot in his mouth again. Or maybe not… Here is what he actually said: “Wish we could see you in the World Series,” Wilpon told Rivera. “But I’m not sure that’s going to happen.”

For Mr. Bondy, this is tantamount to throwing in the towel, giving up, abandoning hope and tucking tail, only one problem … that’s not really what the words say. “I’m not sure that’s going to happen,” doesn’t mean it won’t … or can’t, or even will not … Correct me but don’t those words mean that Jeff WIlpon isn’t certain the 2013 Mets will make it to the World Series?

On what planet is this a revelation? Is this not what any rational person might say under the circumstances? Am I actually coming to Jeff Wilpon’s defense? What kind of warped alternate reality have I just stepped into? Cue the Twilight Zone music.

For Mr. Bondy these comments were outrageous, an affront to his own lofty standards for spirited competition. He never even thought about giving up when he was on the chess team back at the University of Wisconsin (Badgers never surrender!), or maybe it brings back all those ugly memories in H.S. when the jocks would make Filip cry “uncle” between an atomic wedgie and a swirlie. You may recall, this is the same “Flip” Bondy who spent a year in 2004 with the “Bleacher Creatures” in Yankee Stadium and who wrote the following in 2010 as he was gearing up to cover the ALCS:

“Ryan’s no-hitters aside, this ALCS represents one of sports’ great historical mismatches, 40 pennants versus zero. The Yanks should win this series just by throwing their pinstriped uniforms onto the  field and reading from a few pages of The Baseball Encyclopedia. If only Bud Selig would agree to waive a few silly postseason rules, the Bombers might send their Scranton/Wilkes-Barre roster to Arlington for the first couple of games, make this a fair fight.”

Of course the impossible to beat Yankees lost that series the same way they recently lost four games to the Mets, shocker.

Now lets pan back a little ways to 2008 and look at a different quote by a different NY Journalist.

“The Yankees are absolutely down two stars this season, Jorge Posada and Hideki Matsui. They still have enough big names and big contracts in their batting order and that is why it is almost bewildering that, at this point in the season, it is so difficult picking an offensive MVP for them. Right now the closest to that, the player doing the job you expect him to do, is the guy hitting between Jeter and A-Rod, Bobby Abreu.”

“But the biggest offensive disappointment in town, as much of an under-producer as any big name or big ticket or big player either New York team has, is Carlos Beltran.”

The above  was written by Mike Lupica in August of 2008. Lupica never seemed to appreciate Beltran and it is believed his attacks may have had at least something to do with Carlos’ brief media blackout after his difficult first year in NY. To read Lupica on Beltran you’d think the guy slept with his wife or stole his lunch money or failed to treat him with the customary reverence media royalty demand. I never quite understood the unceasing vitriol directed at a guy who by all accounts was a great player (the best center-fielder the Mets have ever had) and a decent human being.

Maybe Lupica was upset that Beltran didn’t end up in pinstripes? Who knows. Maybe Beltran brushed past Lupica in the clubhouse on his way to the restroom just as Mike was trying to ask a question? Hard to say, but, beyond the questionable beef stir-fry at the player’s buffet, what was clear was the one man campaign Lupica went on to try and destroy an athlete’s reputation. None of the accusations that Lupica leveled against Carlos were true, not the selfishness, or the lack of leadership, or the absence of passion, or the surly listlessness, in fact, to anyone who knew Beltran and had actually watched him play, they were categorically false.

Or how about Lupica lumping Beltran in with Castillo and Perez (two bonafide lumps) during the whole Walter Reed fiasco, even though Beltran had a more than legitimate reason than them not to attend? This didn’t prevent Lupica from throwing in a nasty little innuendo:

“All athletes worry about their next contracts when they get close to the end of their current ones. It is why Beltran wanted to get back on the field, even in his current diminished capacity, hoping he would look better than he has before his walk year, worried about what happens to him when he comes to the end of his $100 million contract a year from now.”

Lupica once called Beltran “as much of a free-agent disappointment as any big hire the Yankees or Mets have ever made.” Remember, this is a guy who had a 7.5 WAR in 2006 (only Pujols had a higher WAR a 5.1 WAR in 2007, and a 7.1 WAR in 2008 and who by almost any and all measures more than earned his salary over the course of his contract. Carlos remains one of the greatest players ever to put on a Mets uniform, and this is how he is treated? Unbelievable you say?

How about Murray Chass and Mike Piazza? One man’s tenacious obsession with another man’s back acne may very well have resulted in Piazza not entering the hall as a first ballot inductee. The personal and relentless focus on one of New York’s good guys was weird and creepy, and for what? In the end it seemed Murray’s one man witch hunt was more about Chass demonstrating the power of his pen and less about the ethics of PED use. Chass had this to say in a recent post on his blog following this last ill-fated HOF vote.

“When I worked for The New York Times, I tried more than once to write about Piazza and steroids, but the baseball editor said I couldn’t because his name hadn’t been linked to steroids. I can link his name to steroids, I countered, but I had to wait until I started this Web site to talk about Piazza’s acne-covered back, a generally accepted telltale sign of steroids use.”

Didn’t matter that the accusations were largely based on one observation of some acne which may very well have been caused by Mike’s chest protector straps. Didn’t matter that Piazza had an on and off again history of problems with acne since High School, nope, all that mattered was that Chass was certain that Piazza was a roider, judge jury and executioner.

seaver tradedLets go even further back in our little insidious chronology to February 1977 when Tom Seaver blasted M. Donald Grant for not doing more to improve the team. Later that summer, with a contract agreed upon in principle on the table, Seaver called Grant and demanded a trade after an article by Dick Young came out in which Young commented:

Nolan Ryan is getting more [salary] now than Seaver, and that galls Tom because Nancy Seaver and Ruth Ryan are very friendly and Tom Seaver long has treated Nolan Ryan like a little brother.”

For Seaver the personal nature of the comment was “the straw that broke the camel’s back,” he would not tolerate his family being dragged into the fray. Young faced numerous conflict of interest allegations in the press and was vilified by the fans who were aware of his close ties to Grant and McDonald, and the fact that his son-in-law worked for the Met front office.

The day after the trade, in a rare direct assault on a fellow member of the press, Maury Allen of the New York Post responded, “It is Young who forced the deal, who urged Grant on, who participated strongly in the unmaking of Tom Seaver as a Met.”

The wolf spider is known for a particularly peculiar practice, they will very often devour their own young.

You can’t walk into the Met clubhouse without feeling it. The tension is thick and palpable. I couldn’t help notice on the occasions when I was present that there was visible consternation among many Mets players at having to negotiate the press gauntlet, starting most prominently with Terry Collins who seemed acutely agitated and perturbed — even after a win. It was painfully obvious that this team did not like or trust the press. Their words were measured, their inflection flat, their demeanor extremely guarded.

I’m not saying the N.Y. Press should act like a bunch of obsequious homers pandering to a less than informed home crowd as you might see in some other cities. I’m not saying they shouldn’t continue to hold athletes who play in N.Y. to a higher standard. N.Y. is a tough place and New York’s news-media establishment is the one of the most prestigious in the world. If you can make it in N.Y. right? But there’s a difference between holding players to a higher standard and petty character assassinations.

When you contemplate the ubiquitous nature of the N.Y. media, the brightness of the big city spotlight, and the intensity of the fan base, playing in N.Y. is hard enough, we don’t have to make it any harder by subjecting these kids to the megalomaniac rants of self-declared kingmakers holding who knows what grudges against an organization and it’s players. Bondy has openly admitted his dislike of the Mets dating back to 1969 when they dashed his Cubs’ hopes. Seriously? He’s upset because the Cubs lost? That’s like holding a grudge against a bear for pooping in the woods.

It’s hard enough to play in the Major Leagues and it’s hard enough to do so in New York, but when the press becomes it’s own story, adding to an increasingly difficult set of hurdles that young often foreign born players have to overcome, you almost get the sense they are spiting their own just for the hell of it, because they can, and because negativity sells. Circling like sharks at the slightest inkling of controversy ready to destroy lives and careers because they believe it to be within their purview and part of the dog-eat-dog terrain. Meanness for the sake of meanness. Whatever it takes to break a story or make a mark.

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Good Memories Of Covering Robin Ventura On The Beat http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/05/good-memories-of-covering-robin-ventura-on-the-beat.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/05/good-memories-of-covering-robin-ventura-on-the-beat.html/#comments Tue, 07 May 2013 17:35:23 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=117836 robin-ventura blackOne of the players I most enjoyed covering was Robin Ventura for those two years he played for the Yankees. In that clubhouse full of stars and egos, Ventura was a voice of calm, reason and humorous relief.

I enjoyed stopping by his locker to shoot the breeze for a minute or two, talking about things other than baseball. Very smart, clever and possessing an insight on numerous issues. When there was the inevitable blow up or moment of absurdity, Ventura was always there to put it into perspective with a quip as short and hard-hitting as his swing.

Once I asked him about his fight with Nolan Ryan, and his response was he knew he had made a mistake halfway out to the mound, but couldn’t turn around. You’ll even notice in the video he slowed down.

Was it an embarrassing moment? Yes, but years later he handled it with humor. He even joined with Ryan to autograph photos of the brawl.

When I covered the Orioles and he was with the White Sox, I’d make time to go over to his clubhouse for a few moments. He was accessible to anybody who would take the time to ask a question.

I am sure there will be a lot of questions for Ventura pre-game tonight when he brings his White Sox into town. There will be rehashing about his time with the Mets and Yankees, about being in New York during September 11 and what he remembers about Mike Piazza’s homer the first game back in the city.

He’ll also get a question or four about his grand-slam single against the Braves in the 1999 playoffs.

Best Infield Ever

That night is one of the greatest team displays of enthusiasm outside of winning a championship I have ever seen. That, and I suppose, the Piazza post 9-11 homer. Both were amazing to watch.

Ventura wasn’t a five-tool player, but was consistent and clutch. With a runner in scoring position you wanted him at the plate because he’d usually make contact.

Ventura was a .267 lifetime hitter and only once hit over .300, that being .301 in 1999, his first season with the Mets. Considering his 66-game hitting streak in college, I always wondered if he thought he should have hit for a higher average. He also hit 32 homers with a career-high 120 RBI in his first year with the Mets.

What the Mets wouldn’t give for a player with that production now.

Ventura had three solid years with the Mets, who, during that span had arguably one of the best defensive infields in history. Few balls got by Ventura, Rey Ordonez, Edgardo Alfonzo and John Olerud.

Both Olerud and Ventura would later play for the Yankees. When they left the Yankees, I believed I’d see both again managing in a major league dugout. I’m still waiting on Olerud.

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Darkness In Corona: The Night The Lights Went Out At Shea http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/05/darkness-in-corona-the-night-the-lights-went-out-at-shea.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/05/darkness-in-corona-the-night-the-lights-went-out-at-shea.html/#comments Fri, 03 May 2013 13:30:58 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=117304 NYC Blackout Shuts Out Shea 1977

NYC Blackout Shuts Out Shea In 1977

It had been a sweltering hot summer in NY, so hot that my dad and I had taken to sitting out in the backyard to listen to the games.  It was July 13, 1977, and the Mets were playing the Cubs. They were losing 2-1 in the bottom of the sixth in spite of  an 11-strikeout effort by Jerry Koosman. We were eating watermelon and cheese. I remember spitting watermelon seeds out towards the tomato plants occasionally bouncing a seed off the big red tomatoes hanging from the vines.

Jerry Koosman, who had always been good, had never been Tom Seaver great. If we went to a game and Koosman was pitching it was like getting almost what you wanted for Christmas, like getting a pair of Pro-Keds instead of the Converse hightops you had your eye on … I was 12, what did I know? I’d been spoiled by one of the greatest ever to pitch off a mound and I was still reeling from having lost my all-time favorite NY Met. With Seaver gone, you’d think I would have grown to appreciate Koosman’s ability, but it was just the opposite. I grew to resent Koosman even more because he wasn’t Tom Seaver. Koosman became something like a bad imitation, an imitation that offered no consolation when the real thing ended up being taken away forever.

So we listened to the game and swatted mosquitoes and ate watermelon and sharp Greek cheeses. My mom and my sister weren’t home because my sister was in class over at Queens College and my mom had taken the car to go pick her up. Normally my sister would take the bus, but lately my mom had become so worried about this .44 caliber killer the tabloids had tabbed “Son of Sam,” that she’d taken to driving her out and picking her up every night.

My sister also happened to be a long-haired brunette which apparently was a favorite target of this particular psycho. Anyway, we’re listening with Lenny Randle at the plate and Ray Burris pitching and suddenly there’s a roar in the crowd and Lindsey Nelson starts going on about the lights going out in the stadium and just as I was explaining to my Dad that the lights had gone out (he had a hard time with any English vocabulary that wasn’t specific to his remarkably complete baseball lexicon – he even knew what a balk was) the radio went dead. It didn’t hit us at first because there weren’t any lights in the backyard, so we were just kind of staring at the radio wondering what happened. Then we heard the yelling and screaming from all around us and realized the lights had gone out, all the lights, everywhere.
blackout nyc 1977It was becoming a long night as we sat in the hot kitchen lit only with a few old Easter candles while my dad paced back and forth chain-smoking. We were waiting for my mom and sister to get home. We had no idea where they were or how they’d get back in the dark. Eventually they did manage to get home without getting shot or looted, well past 11:00 PM. We were just happy to be together and safe.

My sister later explained that Mom had pretty much driven the entire way never exceeding 15 miles per hour with the windows up and never coming to a full stop. We ended up laughing a little as my parents fretted about spoiled cheese and melted butter at the store (my family owned a small deli on Roosevelt Ave.), and after a while we didn’t even mind the dark so much as we drifted off to bed. The noise of the increasingly more distant and sporadic yelling continued to waft through our open windows throughout the night with my dad keeping a quiet vigil at the front of the house, guarding from whatever chaos might happen by.

My friend Andy from across the street who was three years my elder was at the game that night with his cousins. He told me all about it the following day the same way he’d retell rated R movies scene for scene, word for word. I’ll never forget listening to him recite Jaws in all it’s gory and suspenseful detail, I swear it took longer for him to retell the movie than the movie itself. It took him a week to finish the Exorcist.

Anyway he explained how they didn’t realize it was a city-wide blackout until they were filing out and heard from people who’d been in the upper decks that the entire grid was black. He described the strange scene on the field as the players drove their cars onto the outfield grass with their headlights on and mimed infield practice to entertain the fans while the organist played Christmas music. Emergency generators lit up parts of the the stands but many of the halls and corridors were pitch black. Eventually they tired of waiting and slowly made their way out. They ended up walking the entire way back to 98th street, Corona.

seaver tradedThinking back to that summer I can’t imagine a more fitting metaphor to losing the Franchise, Tom Seaver, than being left dumbfounded in the dark with a dead radio in the middle of a game. They’d turned the lights out on us and herded us into the pitch-black unknown. I’ll never forget the front page of the Daily News, “Seaver to Reds; Kingman to S.D.” We couldn’t make any sense of it. I read the paper to my dad and we concluded it was all about money, but I was way too young to understand anything about free agency or renegotiating contracts or personal pride.

What precipitated the split was the new Collective Bargaining Agreement that was signed on July 12, 1976. It was the beginning of free agency. Only four months earlier, the Mets had signed Seaver to a three-year, $675,000 contract, and he was, at that time, baseball’s highest paid pitcher.

Later that winter as the first batch of free agents cashed in with players signing million dollar contracts (even Nolan Ryan ended up making more than Seaver as Gene Autry offered him a 300,000 dollar base salary in lieu of Nolan’s impending free agency), Seaver wanted to renegotiate. But the bitter pill for fans came after the realization that there was actually a renegotiated contract in place that would have kept Seaver in Queens when a story by Dick Young appeared in the Daily News describing how Nancy Seaver was jealous of the Ryans.

That was it for Tom Terrific, he wanted out and he got his way.  None of the participants, not Seaver, not Grant, not Young, not even Nancy, ever stopped to consider that their actions would leave some kid out in Queens very much … in the dark … eating cheese, and spitting watermelon seeds.

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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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The Gospel According To Matthew: “Harvey Never Wins A Cy Young” http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/04/the-gospel-according-to-matthew-harvey-never-wins-a-cy-young.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/04/the-gospel-according-to-matthew-harvey-never-wins-a-cy-young.html/#comments Sat, 20 Apr 2013 15:27:52 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=115530 matt-harvey

Everytime I watch Matt Harvey pitch, those words come to mind and it’s not just me. It’s become the Mets Meme on Twitter every time Harvey pitches. It’s brought up mockingly when you’re watching the game with other fans. Who knows, maybe those words give Matt Harvey a little extra motivation to prove SNY’s Matthew Cerrone wrong when he wrote back on March 8, “My bet is Harvey never wins a Cy Young.”

I take a little added joy whenever Harvey goes out and delivers like he did last night in the Mets 7-1 victory over the Nationals. He was a warrior. It was a marquee matchup between two of baseball’s pitching elite; Matt Harvey vs Stephen Strasburg, and at least on this particular night, Harvey delivered the knockout blow. It was a roundhouse punch straight to the jaw of all those who doubted him.

Harvey is currently the best pitcher in the National League and perhaps the entire game. In just his first full season, he is 4-0 with a 0.93 ERA. He has allowed 10 hits in his four starts. The only Met pitchers with more strikeouts in their first 14 games than Harvey’s 102 Ks are Dwight Gooden and Nolan Ryan. Gooden, by the way, may just be Matt Harvey’s biggest fan. He watches every game, tweets about him before, during and after every start, and even tagged him “The Real Deal. He should know.

Gary Cohen said during the SNY broadcast, that last night at Citi Field was the best atmosphere at a Mets game he’s felt since Johan Santana‘s performance on September 27, 2008. That was the game that kept the Mets season alive for one more day, and was to me his greatest moment as a Met. Because of the significance of that game, it was greater still than his no-hitter.

Last night at Citi Field there was a vibe that I haven’t felt in many, many years. There were a ton of empty seats to be sure, but you wouldn’t know it by the fan’s noise level and the cheers that drowned out anything Gary, Keith and Ron had to say. There was some old-fashioned magic in the air and if you didn’t feel it then you may want to consider your inner Mets fandom.

Matt Harvey reminded me of those nights when Tom Seaver and Dwight Gooden would electrify the crowd. Their mere presence gave us hope that the night would be magical and that we were all in store for a special treat. Those two names are iconic symbols whenever you talk about Mets pitching royalty. Those two have won their share of Cy Youngs.

As I wrote back on March 8 in response to the decree by SNY’s Blogfather, “Matt Harvey will have his Cy Youngs. One day he will be remembered along with Seaver and Gooden as the greatest pitchers ever to don a Met uniform.”

So, will Matt Harvey ever win a Cy Young? You bet your ass he will, and his first Cy Young may come as soon as this season. The first of many.

Last night’s duel over Stephen Strasburg had a very loud, clear, and convincing message attached to it. Last night, Matt Harvey put the National League and all of baseball on notice. Harvey is, as Doctor K plainly put it, The Real Deal. Put away any lingering doubts.

real deal harvey

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Matt Harvey Named National League Player of the Week http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/04/matt-harvey-named-national-league-player-of-the-week.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/04/matt-harvey-named-national-league-player-of-the-week.html/#comments Mon, 15 Apr 2013 20:20:56 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=114096 2013 matt harvey 33

Hours after being named MMO Player of the Week, Mets right-hander Matt Harvey was named the National League Player of the Week this afternoon by MLB.

Harvey fashioned a 2-0 record and 1.20 ERA last week, and took a no-hitter into the seventh inning against the Twins on Saturday. Through three starts this season, the 24-year-old has yielded only six hits in 22 innings, while striking out 25 and walking only six. He is the first pitcher since 1900 to win each of his first three starts of a season with at least that many strikeouts and that few hits allowed, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

In his first outing last week, Harvey outdueled Phillies veteran Roy Halladay, as the youngster limited Philadelphia to one run on three hits in seven innings. Five days later, Harvey held Minnesota to one run on two hits in eight frames.

Harvey is the first Mets pitcher to earn NL Player of the Week honors since Johan Santana accomplished the feat on June 3, 2012, two days after the southpaw tossed the first no-hitter in franchise history.

Original Post at 12:00 PM

real deal harvey

MATT HARVEY, RHP

MMO PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Is anybody else beginning to think we might have something really special in Matt Harvey? I think Dwight Gooden put it best, when he said in a tweet that the hurler’s nickname should be Matt “The Real Deal” Harvey. I think that is an awesome nickname, and I hope it sticks. Gooden wasn’t the only one to praise the big righty recently. Tampa Bay Rays ace David Price recently tweeted that “Matt Harvey is my new favorite pitcher outside of current and former teammates!! He’s nasty.”

The 24-year-old made my choice for MMO POTW an easy one, as he had one of the most dominating weeks for a Mets pitcher in recent memory. Harvey fired 15 innings over his two starts, including taking a no-hit bid into the seventh inning against the Minnesota Twins on Saturday. Over his 15 innings of work, he mowed down 15 batters, gave up just four hits, and had an ERA of 1.20 with a record of 2-0.

With Harvey dominating his opponents the way he has through his first three starts, here are some interesting stats.

  • Harvey is the first Mets pitcher to begin a season allowing no more than one run in any of his first three starts since Al Leiter in 2004.
  • According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Harvey is the first pitcher in modern major league history (since 1900) to win each of his first three starts of a season, with at least 25 strikeouts and six or fewer hits allowed over those three games.
  • Joe D. noted on Saturday, that he is only the third pitcher since the end of World War II to open a season with three straight starts of seven-plus innings and three or fewer hits allowed, joining Nolan Ryan and Jim Rooker as the only other pitchers to perform that feat, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Prior to Gooden’s tweet anointing Harvey “The Real Deal, I had been using the same words to describe his performances, and obviously I wasn’t alone. I even asked a couple of fellow MMO writers if they were getting goose bumps watching this kid pitch as I was. The last time I remember being this excited about a player the Mets brought up, was when Jose Reyes and David Wright made their debuts.

It’s been a long time coming for Mets fans to feast their eyes on a pitcher of Matt Harvey‘s potential and skill set. He has shown himself to be a dominating power pitcher, who is not afraid to pitch inside. The kid is a homegrown player who has all the makings of being the next Mets ace, something Mets fans have long been asking for.

Honorable Mention

The legend of John Buck continues to grow in Flushing, and if it wasn’t for the dominating performance of Harvey, would have been selected for a second consecutive MMO Player Of The Week honor. The Mets backstop has virtually carried the Mets on his back offensively for the first two weeks of the season. The pitchers love throwing to him, the hitters love getting on in front of him and the fans are getting to watch a performance of historic proportions.

Buck batted just .238/.238/.810 during his second week as a Met, but when he made contact, he crushed the ball.  The veteran hit a home run in four consecutive games (April 8-12), a feat that had not been done since David Wright did it in 2007. Richard Hidalgo holds the Mets franchise record with a home run in five consecutive games in July of 2004. Buck ended the week with four home runs, drove in 10 runs and scored five, but failed to draw a walk.

As Joe D. pointed out in his post on Saturday, Buck has entered rarefied air with his staggering RBI totals to start the season.

john buck

Buck hit six home runs through the first 10 games of the season, which is the second-most in team history behind Dave Kingman‘s seven home runs through 10 games in 1976. He did not hit his sixth home run of the season last year until June 24 (52 games) and did not drive in his 19th run of the season until June 27 (55 games). The veterans six home runs are more than all of the Mets catchers combined during the 2012 season.

Other Noteworthy Players

Daniel Murphy

David Wright

Murphy had a great week batting .500/.522/.750 with five RBI and five doubles. He seems to have settled nicely into the two hole, and should continue to see good pitches in front of David Wright. The captain had a .286/.348/.476 slash line, with six RBI, two doubles and a triple. It was a nice improvement in the run production department, as he had only had one extra base hit and three RBI during the first week. The Mets have been getting great production from Buck, but they need Wright to start to drive the ball, as he has yet to hit a home run yet this season.

Player Of The Week Scoreboard

T1. John Buck – 1

T1. Matt Harvey – 1

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Matt “The Real Deal” Harvey – This One’s For You, Kid… http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/04/matt-the-real-deal-harvey-this-ones-for-you-kid.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/04/matt-the-real-deal-harvey-this-ones-for-you-kid.html/#comments Sun, 14 Apr 2013 15:18:25 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=114521 real deal harvey

Last night, former Mets’ righthander Dwight Gooden tossed out the idea of coming up with a nickname for current great righthander Matt Harvey. Doctor K suggested we go with Matt “The Real Deal” Harvey.

As is usually the case when I get inspired, I immediately took to Photoshop and went straight to work and this is what I came up with.

Hey Matt… This one’s for you….

MATT-TASTIC!

Matt Harvey hurled a career-high 8.0 innings yesterday and did not allow a hit until Justin Morneau slugged a solo home run with two outs in the seventh inning. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Harvey is the first pitcher in modern major league history (since 1900) to win each of his first three starts of a season, with at least 25 strikeouts and six or fewer hits allowed over those three games.

Harvey now has 95 strikeouts through his first 13 career starts, the third-most in team history after 13 games. He trails only Nolan Ryan (103) and Dwight Gooden (96). Harvey’s 25 strikeouts this season are tied for the fourth-most in the majors.

Additionally, Harvey became only the third pitcher since the end of World War II to open a season with three straight starts of seven-plus innings and three or fewer hits allowed, joining Nolan Ryan and Jim Rooker as the only other pitchers to perform that feat, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

2013 matt harvey 33

WOO HOO! On Saturday, MMO smashed it’s all time single day record for unique visitors and hits! Exactly 20,345 different users visited our site yesterday and we had over 1.2 million hits. Of course, our Sandy Alderson interview being on ESPN, FOX Sports, Yahoo Sports, MetsBlog and even a few mentions on WFAN, sure didn’t hurt! Whatever it takes… Thanks everyone!

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Harvey-Mania Is Taking The Citi By Storm! http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/04/harvey-mania-is-taking-the-citi-by-storm.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/04/harvey-mania-is-taking-the-citi-by-storm.html/#comments Thu, 04 Apr 2013 15:12:18 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=113112 matt harvey 33

What a game by Matt Harvey last night, and if you missed our interview with him on Monday, you should check it out. As we stated last night, this is exactly what aces are supposed to do.

The young right-hander went 7.0 innings and surrendered one hit last night, tied for the fewest he’s allowed in a single game in his career. He also went 7.0 innings and allowed
one hit on September 19 vs. Philadelphia.

Harvey was brilliant and it wasn’t unexpected either. Those of us who count ourselves among his steadfast supporters know fully well what he have in Harvey. If it walks like an ace, and talks like an ace, then it must be an ace.

After his stellar performance last night, Harvey joined Dwight Gooden and Nolan Ryan as the only Mets pitchers ever to have three, ten strikeout games in their first 11 appearances in the majors.

2013 matt harvey 33

“He pitched an absolutely — under the circumstances — unbelievable game,” Terry Collins said after the game. “You walk out and you grab that baseball in that kind of weather, it feels like a cue ball. The fact that he commanded his stuff as well as he did is impressive.”

What’s more amazing about Harvey is how his incredible achievements are wowing other pitchers both past and present. He’s quickly rocketing his way to superstar status in the majors.

The victory last night was the first of Harvey’s career at Citi Field, and he became the fourth Mets pitcher to register at least 80 strikeouts in his first 11 starts with the team, joining Pedro Martinez, Dwight Gooden and Nolan Ryan.

“Today it was the fastball,’’ Harvey said of what was working. “I threw some good sliders when I needed and I threw my change-up in timely counts. … I said all spring training I wanted to pound the zone and I wasn’t about to let the cold affect me.’’

button simplyamazing

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Mets Minors: Syndergaard Could Be Mets No. 1 Prospect By All-Star Break http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/04/mets-minors-syndergaard-could-be-mets-1-prospect-by-all-star-break.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/04/mets-minors-syndergaard-could-be-mets-1-prospect-by-all-star-break.html/#comments Mon, 01 Apr 2013 04:09:34 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=112426 noah_syndergaard

Noah Syndergaard knows he has all eyes on him. By June 16, Syndergaard could find himself as the crown jewel and No. 1 prospect for the Mets if Travis d’Arnaud and Zack Wheeler are called up to the show. The Mets boast a young crop of power pitching right-handers that include the likes of Rafael Montero, Luis Mateo and Domingo Tapia. Once Wheeler is promoted, at the top of that list of names will read Noah Syndergaard.

Syndergaard is a tall and imposing figure on the mound, standing in at 6-feet 6-inches is an intimidating presence. I had the chance to watch a bullpen session on Syndergaard and love what I see. His mechanics are effortless and the ball explodes out of his hand (High 90s fastball). His changeup is great, and while there have been some knocks on his curveball in the past, it looks like it is developing nicely. This kid is the goods.

Milb.com recently sat down with the former first round pick, and here are some highlights from the discussion they had with Syndergaard where they talk about how he felt when he heard he was traded, and of course, his curveball:

MiLB.com: So your first Spring Training with the Mets is just about over — how different was it as compared to your previous two with the Blue Jays?

Noah Syndergaard: It’s not that much different, some minor things here and there — the instructors and goals — but it’s still the same.

MiLB.com: How shocked were you when you heard you’d been traded — in a deal for the reigning Cy Young Award winner, no less?

Syndergaard: I was pretty shocked. I went to bed the previous night before the rumors started and I thought it would just be Anthony Gose and [Travis] d’Arnaud. And the next afternoon I saw my name was in the mix. I called my agent, he said it’s probably just a rumor. About 30 minutes later, he texted me and said, “It might go down.” A couple days after that, I got the call that they’d traded me. It was pretty exciting to be traded for a Cy Young winner.

MiLB.com: You told us a year ago that you modeled yourself after Nolan Ryan growing up. A little before your time, but was he your favorite player? Have you ever met him?

Syndergaard: Never met him. I don’t know who my favorite player is. I always followed the Rangers, and Josh Beckett would be one of them. But Ryan, I never saw him pitch.

MiLB.com: Where are your off-speed pitches at coming into Opening Day? Are you confident with your curveball and slider after working on things this Spring?

Syndergaard: Yeah, definitely, my curveball was really good today. It’s felt good in my bullpens — it’s a lot better than it was last year in the beginning of the season — so it’s a plus pitch for me right now, a strikeout pitch.

MiLB.com: What’s your mind-set on the mound? Can you hear the fans and the dugout and the hot dog vendors, or is that level of focus something you think all pitchers have to work on?

Syndergaard: I’m able to tune things out pretty well. When I was in school, my mom would ask me if I could hear yelling and I said, “I’ve never heard you once from the stands.” The other day, when I was throwing my live BP, I didn’t notice anything but the catcher.

MiLB.com: Do you feel like you’ve had any pressure being a first-round pick? Or now after being traded for R.A. Dickey?

Syndergaard: Kinda, not much as a first-round pick, but definitely being traded for a Cy Young winner. Hopefully, I can live up to the potential.

MiLB.com: When do you see yourself getting to New York? I know guys like to deflect the timetables back to the player development folks, but do you feel like you’re a year or so away?

Syndergaard: I would say I’m probably two years away, I’m guessing. But it’s whatever the organization decides. I’ve never been to New York.

You can read the interview in it’s entirety here.

You have to love that the kid recognizes that he has the spotlight on him and that he can deal with the weight of those very high expectations. Former first round pick, traded for the N.L. Cy Young Award winner, plays for an organization where the city (and media) never sleeps, and is the heir apparent to being the No 1. prospect of that same organization… Piece of cake… :-)

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