Mets Merized Online » Pedro Martinez Wed, 23 Apr 2014 02:47:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Spring Shots: Mets Baseball in Port St. Lucie Tue, 11 Feb 2014 16:21:21 +0000 tradition field mets

Many Mets players are already in Port St. Lucie and the number keeps growing everyday. Pitchers and catchers don’t report until February 15 and the position players until February 20, but that hasn’t stop some Mets from trying to get a step ahead.

Here are some of the sights from Tradition Field as posted by the beat writers and the New York Mets.

dominic smith's bat kevin kernan

Dominic Smith is in St. Lucie and his gear is ready for action. It will be a treat for Met fans to catch a glimpse of one of the team’s top hitting prospects this Spring. (Kevin Kernan, NY Post)

shots from st lucie 1

Ike Davis and Josh Satin reported to Mets camp Monday, well ahead of the Feb. 20 official date for position players. Davis plans to wait until Friday to speak with the media. (Adam Rubin, ESPN)

jay horwitz jon niese mets

We haven’t figured out what Jon Niese and Jay Horwitz are doing here. Maybe this is one of Niese’s warm-up routines? The Mets’ southpaw was the Opening Day starter in 2013, will he repeat this season? (NY Mets)

dice-k glove kevin kernan

That orange glove belongs to none other than Daisuke Matsuzaka. Looks like neon is back in style, at least in Port St. Lucie. (Kevin Kernan, NY Post)

bobby parnell mets

Bobby Parnell was one of the first arrivals to camp and tosses the ball on Monday. He’s expected to be ready for Opening Day. (NY Mets)

mets in cage psl

We think that’s Ike Davis, but we’re not so sure though in this cool, but unattributed photo taken by TC Palm.

shots from st lucie 9

This time we’re certain it’s Ike Davis as he takes some batting practice on Monday. (Adam Rubin, ESPN)

david wright spring 14 mets

David Wright set to fire one home from left field? Nah, he’s just having a catch and rocking some cool Mets gear. (NY Mets)

eric young speed swag by mets

Eric Young Jr. sports a t-shirt that reads, “Speed Swag.” These Stolen Base Crown winners are all alike. :-) (NY Mets)

Mets cap dubble bubbe USA TODAY

Totally cool shot from our friends at USA Today.

As you can see, baseball is in full swing at Tradition Field in Port St. Lucie, and in a couple of weeks we’ll start to see the Mets playing some games. It should be a lot of fun.

Presented By Diehards

]]> 0
This Day In Mets Infamy With Rusty: Random Thoughts On Granderson Sun, 08 Dec 2013 16:31:10 +0000 Orioles at Yankees

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

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

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

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

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

Mets alumni celebrating a birthday today include:

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

Other transactions of note include:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Presented By Diehards

]]> 0
The Curtis Granderson Story: Have We Seen This Movie Before? Sat, 07 Dec 2013 16:32:53 +0000 We’ve been waiting all winter for our team to do something. Yesterday, our inactive front office became active by signing Curtis Granderson for 4 years/$60 million. But is the waiting over? Will this be our only major move or will it be the first of several? Is this the first baby step in bringing a winner back to Flushing or purely window-dressing?

I’ve been a vocal outspoken critic of Sandy Alderson since his arrival. However, when Alderson does something positive, such as re-signing David Wright — something I never thought he’d pull off — I tip my hat to him.

With the Granderson signing, however, it’s different. I applaud Alderson and the Wilpon’s for bringing him over. No matter what, we’re a better team now than we were 48 hours ago. However, Granderson alone will not turn us into instant champions. But I still have concerns, many concerns.


Back in 1985, Paramount Pictures turned the board game Clue into a motion picture. When they distributed it to theatres, there were three different endings. I feel that the acquisition of Granderson is a movie I’ve already seen. I’m just unsure of the ending. Will it be a Pedro Martinez ending or a Jason Bay ending?

In 2005, the Mets signed Pedro Martinez. It was a “statement.” Omar Minaya laid down the gauntlet to the NL that the Mets were serious. One month later, he added Carlos Beltran, awarding him the most lucrative contract in team history.

Martinez was our ace that first year. He was the team leader in wins (15), IP (217), K’s (208) and ERA (2.82.) Yet, most fans look back and view this signing as a bust. Over the remaining three years of his contract, Pedro would only win 17 more games, average 90 IP while compiling a 4.22 ERA. Minaya’s “statement” was, for all intents and purposes, window-dressing. We generally regard the Martinez-Mets relationship as a failure.

Five years later our fan base and the NY media was itching for Minaya to do something else, something big. The 2009 Mets stumbled and stumbled badly. It was the first time in half a decade we finished below .500 (70-92). And while the Mets christened their new stadium, fans in the Bronx were treated to yet another Championship. The pressure mounted, Minaya caved and made a move because he felt he needed to do something. That something was named Jason Bay.


I’m not really going out on a limb here when I say Bay won’t ever join Keith or Rusty or Piazza as one of the most beloved Mets of all time. Almost immediately he caught the ire of the fans and became the poster boy for everything wrong with the Minaya regime. Seemingly from day one, we were biding our time to be free of his salary.

Hindsight, however, is 20/20. Bay arrived in Flushing a top run producer in the game. He was one of the most sought after Free Agents that winter. Yet, he quickly learned that Citi Field is the place where power hitters go to die. Just look at the decreased power production of David Wright since ‘09.

What’s worrisome is the fact that Bay’s numbers in the 4 years prior to coming to New York are far better than Granderson’s over his previous 4 years. It’s doubly worrisome due to the fact Granderson played those 4 years in the launching pad known as Yankee Stadium.


Bay was 31 when he donned a Mets jersey for the first time. Granderson will be 33.

I can’t help but feel that Alderson made this move due to the pressure to do something. I hope I’m wrong. I hope there will be a few more transactions to make this club relevant again. But I don’t see it. What I do see, however, is a double standard.

In 2011, Jose Reyes stated he wanted to stay in NY, the team he came up with. Negotiations dragged on and on. In spite of Reyes being one of the most beloved players in team history and already being near or at the top of numerous offensive categories, after eight seasons Alderson wanted to see more. Reyes went out and became the first Mets player to win a batting title. His .337 BA is third highest since 1962. Yet, Alderson made jokes about sending chocolates while Reyes packed up his batting title and headed south. Here we are two years later, still without a suitable replacement.


I alluded to it being a double standard. One concern that Alderson expressed (and understandably so) was Reyes’ history of injuries. However, with the acquisition of Granderson, that is apparently no longer a concern. In the 7 year span from 2005-2011, Reyes played in 928 games. In the 7 year period of 2007-2013 Granderson played in 972 games—a difference of only 44 games over 7 seasons. If Alderson had concerns about Reyes’ health, Granderson isn’t exactly Cal Ripken. Although Granderson averaged only six more games per year than Reyes, suddenly Alderson is NOT concerned about health.

Sarah Palin

When Jose Reyes batted .337 with 181 hits, an OBP of .384 and slugging percentage of .493 in 126 games, Alderson morphed into Sarah Palin: Thanks, but no thanks. When Granderson plays in 61 games, batting .229 with 49 hits, an OBP of .317 and a slugging percentage of .407, Alderson has no qualms about handing over $60 million. Alderson refused to sign a 28 year-old Reyes for 5-6 years. Yet, he signs a 33-year old Granderson for four years and coming off a season where he missed 100 games.


I can’t help but think of Robert Plant: Ooh, and it makes me wonder.

I applaud Alderson for doing… something.

The Mets are a better team than we were just a couple of days ago. And even though we’ve been waiting all winter… even though we’ve been waiting nearly 30 years for a championship…  even though we’re going on a decade since our last post-season… we’ll still have to wait some more to see how the Granderson signing plays out.

Hopefully this movie will have a good ending.


]]> 0
Clayton Kershaw, Max Scherzer Grab Cy Young Awards Thu, 14 Nov 2013 00:31:38 +0000 The Detroit Tigers’ Max Scherzer won his first American League Cy Young Award, while the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw easily grabbed his second NL Cy Young in three years as the Baseball Writers’ Association of America announced winners this evening.


Scherzer, the AL starter in the All-Star Game, went 21-3, leading the majors in wins and his league in WHIP while striking out a career high 240 batters and helping Detroit to its third straight AL Central title. He received 28 of the 30 first-place votes. Fellow Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez, the AL ERA leader, and White Sox lefty Chris Sale split the other two first place votes. Scherzer finished with 203 points overall, more than double the total of runner-up Yu Darvish of the Rangers, who had 93.


Kershaw was chosen first on 29 of the 30 ballots cast. The Cardinals’ Adam Wainwright got the other first-place vote and finished second overall. The Marlins’ Jose Fernandez — who won the NL Rookie of the Year award on Monday — was third. Kershaw led the majors in ERA for the third straight season with a 1.83 mark that was the best in the bigs since Pedro Martinez had a 1.74 ERA for Boston in 2000. He also paced the majors in WHIP and the NL in strikeouts while being the ace of the staff for the NL West-winning Dodgers.

]]> 0
Reverting Back to “You Gotta Believe” Wed, 14 Aug 2013 17:19:56 +0000 In 2005, the Mets fan was generally an optimistic one. Sure, we as fans were still getting over the bitter Subway Series defeat. Yet, the idea that somebody fresh and new was coming in to take over the Mets and build a team around our two young potential stars in Jose Reyes and David Wright allowed any Mets fan I know to be patient, but more importantly optimistic.

The ideas of a “plan”, or value of player contracts never once came up in any conversation I ever had.

When Omar Minaya was hired it was because he was the right guy for the job. He was eager, and excited to take the Mets to new heights. The Mets saw an opportunity to POSSIBLY be New York’s team once again if everything was done right. David Wright & Jose Reyes were going to be the toast of the town – and Minaya was going to bring in the right guys to make sure that happened.

What Mets fan wasn’t beside themselves with excitement when Pedro Martinez was signed? You can use hindsight all you want – but that was a big move. This was Pedro Martinez, in my mind the most dominant pitcher of his era wearing a Mets uniform. Sure, he was 33, but every start he had was “must see.”

That move set the tone for this franchise moving away from the “same old Mets.” Then, Carlos Beltran, the 28 year old quiet but formidable center fielder was brought in after his 8 post season homeruns made the baseball world aware of his talent.

Fast forward to Endy Chavez’s catch. I remember where I was, when it happened and how I reacted. I was sure the Mets were going to the World Series after that. Weren’t you?

We all know what happened next. A downward spiral towards heart break in 2007 followed by the team stepping on our hearts in 2008 just to make sure we were not alive anymore. Up until Atlanta and Boston decided to collapse on their own, it was the worst collapse (twice) I ever remember seeing as a sports fan.

In 2009, I came to MetsMerizedOnline somehow, some way. I honestly have no idea how I found MMO – but I know why I landed here.

Omar Minaya had just gotten into a public spat with reporter Adam Rubin and the damage to Minaya’s image was done. I came here to defend Minaya, and wrote a Fan Post which later spring boarded me into being a full time writer here.

I defended Minaya because he was the GM of my favorite team and felt he was being treated unfairly. At that moment – I believe the Mets fan base in my eyes changed dramatically.

The 2009 season gave Mets fans no reason to be anything but negative. It turned an optimistic “you gotta believe” fan base into a fan base that would soon be divided into many different groups.

Later on, the writing was on the wall. It had been 6 seasons and only 1 playoff appearance and Minaya had to go. The job search seemed to be extension for his replacement, but anybody who understands Bud Selig’s relationship with Sandy Alderson and the Wilpon’s should understand that it was Alderson’s job for a reason.

It was at this moment that the divide between Mets fans turned into the Grand Canyon. Sure, there were some that were willing to see what he’d do first – but there were so many (mostly younger) fans who were excited about the “new way” of thinking that Alderson and his staff would bring to the Mets.

They became obsessed with player contracts, not because they care about the Wilpon’s financial well-being, but likely because they understood that it’s hard to spend money on baseball players when you are in the middle of a $1billion lawsuit for possibly taking part in the largest Ponzi scheme this country has ever seen.

The day Jose Reyes signed with Miami was the end of Mets fans being able to celebrate together. The young superstar we all hoped would define what this franchise could be all about walked off the field in game 162, never to be seen in a Mets uniform again. reyes-marlins

If you spend any time on any Mets related blog/fan site you know what I mean when I speak of this divide. If you spend any time following any outspoken Mets fans on Twitter, you know what I mean when I speak of this divide.

Unfortunately, we’ve reached a point where we all are not just fans anymore. There is no common bond between those you interact with on Al Gore’s internet with regards to your favorite baseball team.

Every move, every non-move, every play, every bullpen decision, every call up or send down will be diagnosed and in an instant, will have generally two sides thinking that it should have been done differently than the other side.

That is what is great about baseball. That’s why the Hall of Fame is great. The Hall of Fame is an amazing barometer for baseball discussion because rarely is anybody ever 100% right. You can have an honest and fair discussion right now about whether Jack Morris should be in the Hall of Fame and both arguments could be respected.

At some point in the Mets fan base, whether it be the day Minaya and Rubin got in their spat, the day Tom Glavine collapsed, the day Alderson made his first move or the day Jose Reyes left New York – the discussion went in many cases from “baseball” to “personal.”

No longer was your opinion on a game looked at as just another way to look at the game, instead it turned into an opportunity to get personal with those who disagree with you. I’m guilty of it to, and I’d wager a large percent of the people reading this are as well.

I am not a professional writer, I have no aspirations of being a writer – I’m just a 30 something guy, dad of 2, a non-profit employee, and passionate baseball fan. I come here because I love to talk about the game of baseball, but at some point many of those who disagree with me have taken that passion away and resorted to personal attacks not only against myself, but against this very website.

Defaming people because they view a baseball team differently than you is exactly what is wrong with our internet based society today. That in it of itself is proof that what is wrong with the social media aspect of being a sports fan is that is allows people to spew out hateful words they normally would never say if there was no keyboard in front of them.

Whether it’s a disagreement against me, or somebody who sees things differently than I – in either case, it’s wrong.

This is by far and away the greatest Mets fan site around and I am lucky to be considered a small part of it. I don’t think many of you realize just how hard guys like Joe work to make this site what it is. I’ve informed Joe D that I will step away from this website for the time being with the hope of maybe one day returning.

To the fans that have always respected me and given me their feedback whether in agreeable or disagreeable fashion, I thank you.

To those few who seek out my opinions, not to discuss them but to use them against my character – I also thank you.

Because of you, I’ve been able to revert back to the way I felt about this franchise back in 2005. Where hope, optimism and enjoyment for the game reigned supreme. I only hope that you yourself can find that same “you gotta believe” mentality once again.

Because of you, I’ve learned to further understand that baseball is a game that none of us have any control over and I’m lucky that I live a life in which my favorite baseball team’s W-L record doesn’t change who I am or how I enjoy my life every day.

Regardless of who you are, thanks for letting me chat about the game I love with you for so many years.

The Mets are embarking on a potentially special time, and right now there are so many fans whether here, other sites or on twitter that will miss out on what we as fans deserve because they are too focused on the details and not the outcome.

Their focus is not on enjoying the team they grew up being a fan of, but simply on those they disagree with – whether it be the General Manager, other fans or the former General Manager. My best advice no matter the side of the fence you’re on, start enjoying the game again, because that is what I’m going to do.

I’ll leave you with this…

Last night, when I got home from work my two year old ran to me and said “I want to go play baseball.”

Up until this point I’ve never asked her or even mentioned the idea of playing baseball. She has a Mets t-shirt and has watched a few games here and there – but for some reason, yesterday was the day she wanted to play.

So we went in the backyard (I couldn’t get changed fast enough) and she didn’t want to be the hitter, she wanted to be the pitcher.

So she’d throw the ball to me as best she could and I would hit it (crush it) with a whiffle ball bat. Then, we’d run as fast as we could to the ball to see who could pick it up first. She always won because I would “just miss” getting the ball.

What many fans do not understand is that moment from the time I walked in the door to the very first swing of the bat is what baseball is supposed to be all about.

That moment awakened me to realize there are so many more aspects to the game that arguing about sabermetrics, managers or free agents just loses sight of.

So tomorrow, you’ll find somebody else to attack because they disagree with how you view the sport of baseball – but you won’t find me because I’ll be in the backyard playing catch with my daughter.

]]> 0
Having Cash vs Spending Cash: There Is A Difference You Know… Fri, 19 Jul 2013 14:22:24 +0000 dorothy_oh_my

The top of the food chain on the New York Mets have been out in full force the past 4-5 days with one clear and concise message, “We have plenty of money to spend, and we’re gonna spend it… maybe.”

In a series of four separate broadcast interviews and two print interviews, Fred and Jeff Wilpon have been telling the world: Financial problems? What financial problems?

Both Mets owners have been making the rounds on WFAN, ESPN, and FOX and yesterday Fred spoke to Richard Sandomir of the New York Times, and added even more clarification to what the immediate future may hold for the Mets.

“I think Sterling’s position is excellent. The Mets’ business is excellent.”

“We haven’t turned Sandy Alderson down on anything.”

In regards to whether the team will return to a $140 million payroll, Wilpon told Sandomir, “I asked Sandy about that. He said he couldn’t invest that much money.”

Alderson has been saying as much since last December and in fact his first words as Mets GM, even before he realized what he was walking into, was that he saw no reason why the Mets couldn’t win with a payroll of around $100 million. His first thoughts about his new team was that a $140 million payroll was too much even in a market as large as New York City.

I’ve oftentimes wrote here that spending large is not in this man’s DNA and if you expect that to change then you really haven’t figured out what Alderson is about yet. He is not about paying market value or above on any player – free agent or otherwise. Put away those thoughts of Shin-Soo Choo, Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran. Perish the thoughts of Carlos Gonzalez or Giancarlo Stanton, it’s not happening.

As I’ve ascertained on many occasions, business is booming at Sterling Equities and the rising values far eclipse any debt that tiny division called the New York Mets may have. To put it more succinctly, the Wilpons are going nowhere.

“We don’t need to sell,” Wilpon said, adding that the Mets had not refinanced their bank debt of $300 million to $400 million, due next year. “We have thousands of apartments; they’re full up and we have opportunities to refinance or sell,” he said.

Jeff Wilpon, only days prior, said that Sandy has always had full autonomy to spend and as to why he hasn’t, one should ask him. “It’s his team, his plan, and his decision.”

When he was asked about this in March, Alderson replied, “I have plenty of money to spend, but that doesn’t mean I have to. If you are unhappy with current payroll levels, don’t blame Mr. Wilpon, blame me.”

Now, nearly four months later, Alderson spoke with David Lennon of Newsday yesterday and said, “the payroll will be substantially higher than $55 million, and could approach $100 million in 2014.”

“There’s a substantial capacity there and hopefully we can use it,” the GM said.

Certainly not a sign that that payroll is to go up anytime soon, even in a year that was supposed to be the metamorphosis for the franchise.

“Was 2014 always a target year? Yeah. It should be an important year for us.”

He also took blame for his run of sizable contracts that have largely been busts. “Something that has disappointed me is the inability to get any real performance out of some of the bigger investments that have been made.”

As I always say, Sandy is a nice guy, but if you think he’s going to dole out money like Frank Cashen did for Gary Carter, Keith Hernandez and Bobby Ojeda, or like Steve Phillips did for Mike Piazza, Todd Zeile and Robin Ventura, or like Omar Minaya did for Carlos Beltran, Johan Santana and Pedro Martinez, you’ve got the wrong man.

To bring any marquee free agents to this team will require some serious overpaying – something that won’t happen with Sandy at the helm.

To acquire and major talent via trade will require some heated heated bidding wars that will drive the price up – again, something I don’t see happening.

When confronted with either of those situations this offseason, like a frightened turtle, the Mets retreated into their protective shell. That – in an offseason where there was about $20 million available dollars that went unspent…

There’s something to be said about having ample cash on hand and not spending it, as compared to having no cash at all.  The latter hasn’t really been a valid excuse for almost a year now. The cash is there, however the willingness to spend it has yet to peak its head outside of that protective tortoise shell.

The Mets will have $45 million to spend this offseason and that’s just to keep payroll at current levels and includes no budgetary increase. I doubt very much that it will be enough to dole out raises that are due and still have enough for a signature piece. Expect more Cowgill, Brown and Byrd type acquisitions.


]]> 0
Baseball’s All-Time Underachievers: 2006-2008 Mets? Fri, 28 Jun 2013 17:23:22 +0000 2006 mets

Ken Davidoff of the NY Post ranked his Top 5 All-Time MLB Underachievers and listed the 2006-2008 Mets second behind the 1980s Expos.

About why he chose the Mets, he writes:

2000s Mets. Carlos Beltran would be a Hall of Famer if he retired today. David Wright is on a Cooperstown track. Carlos Delgado probably will miss out, but he has 473 homers on his resume. Jose Reyes will go down as one of the most dynamic, if health-challenged players of his time.

And yet even with these four for 2006 through 2008, with varying contributions from future Hall of Famers Tom Glavine and Pedro Martinez and then two-time Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana, the Mets managed one playoff appearance, 2006, that is remembered most for its jaw-dropping conclusion and then blew postseason appearances by losing their final games in both 2007 and 2008. They just never had the roster depth to supplement the stars.

The Mets rank very high because that, unlike some of the teams further down on this list, the Beltran-Delgado-Reyes-Wright run is recalled with pretty much zero positivity. The exceptions being Adam Wainwright, Jimmy Rollins and Wes Helms.

The only player that remains from that 2006 NL East championship team is David Wright, who signed an eight-year extension with the Mets worth $142 million this past offseason.

There was no doubt some heartbreak and disappointment during those years, but lets not pretend it wasn’t also the most exciting run of Mets baseball in a quarter-century.

Second worst underachievers in baseball history?

I doubt it.


]]> 0
Take Me Out To The Brawl Game: Mets’ Greatest Hits Wed, 12 Jun 2013 16:02:38 +0000

One of my fellow writers on MMO sent me a video link to the Ian Kennedy plunked his L.A. counterpart, Zack Greinke, with a high-and-tight pitch. The Dodgers’ pitcher, who fractured his collarbone in a brawl with the Padres earlier this season, was the third player hit in the tense NL West tilt. That 92-mph fastball at Greinke’s head proved to be the final straw.”>D’Backs versus Dodgers brawl last night. The bench-clearing fiasco got underway in the seventh inning after Arizona pitcher Ian Kennedy fired a 92 mph fastball straight to the head of Dodgers starting pitcher Zack Greinke who fell flat to the ground. All hell broke loose after that and Don Mattingly, Mark McGwire, Allan Trammell were just a few of the names on the field.

“No use calling out names, they’re all there,” Dodgers announcer Vin Scully said with a calm that belied the frenzied action on the field.

Anyway, as far as baseball brawls go, today’s brawls are so much more tepid than the ones I remember from the past. In 2009, I actually wrote about some of the most notable and infamous Mets brawls which included many career-ending injuries as well as some pretty significant bumps and bruises. Enjoy…

Take Me Out To The Brawl Game

Elio Chacon, an original Met, may best be remembered for starting the first triple play in Mets history in 1962. It happened on May 30 (Memorial Day), and it came against the Los Angeles Dodgers. They were playing their first game in New York since their final game at Ebbet’s Field on September 24, 1957 as the Brooklyn Dodgers.

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

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

The Mets have been involved in many notable bench-clearing brawls since their rumble with the Giants in ’62. One of the great ones involved Mets catcher John Stearns who in 1978 triggered a huge brouhaha  when he swung at and punched then Expos catcher Gary Carter in the face. The photogenic Carter walked away from the encounter with a face that was bruised and battered. It would take almost a week until the swelling went down.

After some extensive research, I put together a “Mets All-Brawl Team” for your pleasure. Despite some of my research and personal recollections, I may have missed a couple of incidents worth noting. That’s where you the readers come in so feel free to add any memories of your own. The team is comprised solely of players who wore the “Orange and Blue”, although a few of the incidents may have taken place while they played for another team.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Honorable Mention: Gary Sheffield has initiated more brawls than any player in the last two decades, and one of his last acts was as a Tiger that resulted in making a bloody mess of the righthander formerly known as Fausto Carmona  

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

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

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

SP Nolan Ryan: In 1993, the Rangers’ Nolan Ryan plunked White Sox third baseman Robin Ventura on the right elbow. Ventura had no idea he was running into a buzz-saw when he slammed his helmet to the ground and charged the mound. Waiting for him was a 46-year old Ryan who greeted him with a headlock and five roundhouse punches to his face. Surprisingly, Ryan was allowed to stay in the game after one of the nastiest, dirtiest brawls in baseball history. There was no pity for a battered and bruised Ventura who picked the wrong guy to mess around with. This was not a no-hitter.

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

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

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

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

There you have it my friends…

]]> 0
Is Ike Davis Really Mike Jacobs Reincarnated? Wed, 22 May 2013 12:11:04 +0000 ike-davisIt always is interesting how people automatically call a hitter that hits homers, strikes out a lot and has a low average “Dave Kingman.” Kong certainly had his issues, but regardless of what you think he still had a 16-year career in which he hit 442 homers. To say that Ike Davis is Kingman would be an insult since that would be an improvement over what he’s producing today. As a matter of fact, a caller to Evan Roberts and Joe Benigno on WFAN actually may have uncovered who Davis really is: a reincarnation of Mike Jacobs.

A year ago Davis was coming off the valley fever scare and ankle injury. His .156/.212/.290 slash line could be intellectualized. Similar numbers (.149/.229/.248) this year are reason for concern. There are many players that are slow starters, but are the Mets’ doomed to Davis not showing up the first ten weeks of the season? Has reality set in that he might be a 4-A hitter with flawed mechanics at the plate?

Davis and Jacobs are not exactly apples to apples comparison. Ike was a highly touted first round pick in 2008. His struggles in Brooklyn during his rookie year in pro ball were well documented. Jacobs was a 38th round pick that nobody talked about when he had a breakout 2005 season in Binghamton. He was supposed to be an injury replacement at the big league level, but If not for Pedro Martinez‘s lobbying after a Sunday afternoon home run, we never would have been treated to Jacobs’ September to remember. It’s also possible that Carlos Delgado would never have been acquired that offseason.

As a full-time first baseman from 2006-2008, Mike Jacobs averaged 23 homers, 75 RBI and a .258 batting average. In his two full seasons of work (2010, 2012) Davis has produced 25 homers and 75 RBI with a similar average. Both produce about the same level of strikeouts, although Davis has the penchant to walk a bit more- although probably not enough for the organization’s liking. Both struggle against left handers. Defensively, there is no comparison. Even when he’s struggled Davis has gold glove potential. Jacobs was only plugged-in at first after failing behind the plate. Still, a first baseman needs to hit at an elite level to be considered valuable. If Jacobs is the best that Davis has to offer, then it’s probably time to question if the Mets have a cornerstone at first base for years to come. Should they package Davis if and when he heats up again? Will a trip to the minors help? Is Lucas Duda the answer? Can they afford to pay for a first baseman on the free agent market?

Many scouts have expressed concern over Davis’ mechanics at the plate. It’s complicated, awkward looking and appears difficult to replicate. The more “noise” a player has in the box the harder it will be to hit a baseball, an already difficult task. Can this be fixed? That is hard to predict, but Davis wouldn’t be the first hot-shot hitting prospect to fizzle at the big league level. At the very least a trip to Triple-A Las Vegas should be on the table.

The Mets got lucky when both Jose Reyes and David Wright developed best case scenarios upon their call-up a decade ago. Prospects are an inexact science and, to date, none of the current group of homegrown players has shown to be consistent everyday big leaguers, much less stars.

WFAN callers rarely provide for intelligent or even interesting commentary. Comedy is more how I would describe my experience. Ironically, a caller to the midday show just might have uncovered a hard reality: Ike Davis is no better than a former flash in the pan prospect. I doubt even a productive final four months of 2013 will net a player any close to Delgado’s capabilities. Remember, lightening doesn’t strike twice.

]]> 0
Is Collins The Blame For Team’s Poor Performance, Or Is He Just The Patsy? Sun, 19 May 2013 14:21:30 +0000 Terry CollinsWhile all the talk lately has been about whether or not it’s time to end the Terry Collins era as manager of the Mets, how much of the blame for the team’s poor performance should be equally shared with the architect and general manager, Sandy Alderson?

Joel Sherman of the New York Post, pops the question and defends Collins, saying:

“It is relatively easy to argue his second-year team had worse talent than his first and this, his third team, has worse talent than his second…That is why I have no idea if Collins is a good manager or not. Showalter would lose big with this team, and so would Tony La Russa and Joe McCarthy and Casey Stengel. Or some cloned combo of all of them.”

Sherman draws a comparison between what Collins has been given to work with as compared to the last Mets manager to succeed, Willie Randolph.

“He was given Pedro Martinez, Carlos Beltran, Carlos Delgado and Billy Wagner to team with the young Jose Reyes and David Wright and the still-succeeding Tom Glavine. Collins has had the opposite, pretty much — the removal of anything approaching veteran talent from this roster and a bunch of booby prizes put in their place.”

This is about lack of talent, not Collins, he goes onto write. And as I’ve been maintaining since the offseason, Collins will indeed be the sacrificial lamb – that much was true when he was allowed to go into this season as a lame duck manager.

But as Sherman concludes, no Mets manager ever will get a truly fair judgment if Sandy Alderson never figures out how to enrich the talent level of the 25-man roster.

Last week, I wrote how the most frustrating thing about Alderson’s first three years as the Mets’ GM, is that there is not one keeper he brought in on the MLB squad – not one major league player in three seasons.

While we hope the farm is as good and improved as we think it is, ultimately those determinations are only made in the major leagues and not from a prospect ranking list. That’s how it’s always been in the ol’ ball game…

]]> 0
The Dominator: Rafael Montero Mows Them Down Wed, 08 May 2013 17:24:36 +0000 MMO Contributor Gordon Donovan)

Some people believe that we were put on this planet to serve a purpose. They believe that we were all put here for a reason. Well if that is the case, Rafael Montero was put on this planet for one reason: to pitch.

Montero was going through the Trenton Thunder lineup with surgical precision tonight, prompting this tweet from Trenton’s beat writer and former MMO Alumni Matt Kardos:

Montero was incredible over six innings of work, striking out five consecutive hitters at one point. Montero was painting the corners and was working quickly. He was in a rhythm, and the Trenton hitters were doing very little to break that rhythm. They let Montero work at his own pace, and it was a major advantage tonight. The difference in the major leagues, when Montero gets there, will be that hitters will step out of the box to break his rhythm.

Through his first six innings of work, Montero had thrown 74 pitches, 55 for strikes. He gave up one hit, one walk, while striking out eight. It wasn’t until the seventh inning where Trenton started to get to Montero. Montero started the inning off by giving up a lead off walk, and it seemed to spiral after that. He ended the game giving up three hits and three earned runs.

The most impressive thing about this start by Montero is that it came off the heels of his worst start of the year. As I stated in this morning’s morning report, this game was an important test for Montero. The entire Mets organization was watching to see how he would respond after last week’s start where he gave up ten runs. Paul DePodesta commented recently that Montero needed to face some adversity. This was Montero’s first taste of adversity, and he passed this test with flying colors. How these young pitchers bounce back after bad starts is a big step in their development. Montero showed everyone that he was for real tonight.

Montero is special. Watching him work through those first six innings was a sight to see. I know most people were watching Matt Harvey dominate the Chicago White Sox, but this kid Montero, he’s pretty good too. I try to avoid comparing prospects to established superstars and all-time greats. I know Montero has drawn some comparisons to Pedro Martinez. I have tried like heck not to accept that comparison, but the truth is, I’m starting to see it.

He knows how to pitch, and he knows how to get batters out. The way he works the ball on the corners is completely masterful. The way he gets hitters to chase pitches out of the zone is equally impressive. Montero is scary good right now, and he’s only going to get better.

Here are some quotes from Matt Kardos’ post game interviews after yesterday’s game:

Montero on bouncing back strong after a bad start last week: “I feel happy because I am progressing as a pitcher and that is big for me.”

Montero on if he ran out of gas in 7th: “I haven’t gotten tired so far this year. I just have a pitch count and that’s why they took me out.”

Montero on the go-ahead hit by Slade Heathcott: “I don’t think it was a bad pitch, he just put it in play and you have to give props to the hitter.”

Thunder Manager, Tony Franklin, on Montero: “Montero is very good, the kid has some very good mechanics that allows him to throw the ball well.”

Slade Heathcott on Montero: “He filled the zone up. That’s the toughest thing. I think at one point he had something like 60 strikes and 20 balls. I think he was anywhere from 90-95. Nothing overpowering, his slider was decent but he filled the zone up & worked both sides of the plate.”

I really can’t stress enough how impressive Montero was yesterday. It was easily the best start I saw from a pitcher this year. Most people were busy watching Matt Harvey, and didn’t get to watch Montero, and the box score doesn’t give Montero any justice.

Watching Montero attack the hitters and be able to put the ball where he wanted made it look like he was a man among boys — he just looks like he doesn’t belong (in a good way). He has fluid and smooth mechanics that almost seem to lull the hitters to sleep at the plate. Before they know it, Montero’s 94 mph fastball just went by and nipped the black ever so slightly…Strike Three! This guy is the goods.


]]> 0
Wright Questionable For Tonight, But Not As Questionable As Collins’ Recent Moves Tue, 30 Apr 2013 19:14:15 +0000 wrightThe bad news about the Mets keeps getting worse. David Wright, who was supposed to rest his stiff neck last night, was used as a pinch-hitter and now he’s questionable for tonight’s game at Miami,

While it is conjecture Wright might have done something to aggravate his condition, the question can’t help be asked. Seriously, is winning a game in April worth losing Wright for a period of time? That’s the perception today and considering the Mets’ history in handling injuries, it is warranted.

The Mets played fast and loose with injuries to Carlos BeltranRyan ChurchPedro MartinezJohan Santana and Wright in the past several times only to have it come back to bite them. Perhaps I am being an alarmist, but following the Mets does that to a person.

“I would say it’s better now than it was when I woke up this morning, which is a good thing,’’ Wright told reporters in Miami after the Mets’ 15-inning loss to the Marlins. “So I think the treatment that I got on it during the day helped and was beneficial. I’ll wake up tomorrow and see how it feels. I’d like to play as soon as possible, so we’ll see.’’

That the Mets used Wright when they didn’t have to only indicates the panic mode the team – and manager Terry Collins? – must be in with their losing streak now at five.

The Mets’ heretofore lousy bullpen blew two leads last night. Sure, it is semantics to say Shaun Marcum is a reliever, but he was used in that role. First Bobby Parnell, who had been the Mets’ only reliable reliever, and then Marcum.

Blame the pen if you want, but the Mets went 1-for-18 with runners in scoring position and stranded 26 runners.

Compounding matters, the Mets not only wasted numerous opportunities to win the game, but squandered a Matt Harvey outing, one in which he threw 121 pitches to boot.

The Mets can’t afford to waste games pitched by Harvey and Jon Niese, but that’s what they’ve done the last two times through the rotation with them, winning only Harvey’s no-decision last Wednesday against the Dodgers.

While not as bad as it was for a month stretch last summer, the Mets’ offense is in tatters.

Ike Davis struck out three more times last night and is on pace to fan 196 times this season. That’s more than once a game. He has more strikeouts (29) than walks (12) and hits (13) combined, and there are no signs of him breaking out of his funk.

* Speaking of funks, after hitting over .300 for most of April, Daniel Murphy is on a 5-for-31 slide (.161 average with only one walk in that span).

* Wright’s on-base percentage is up, but needs to produce more than two homers and 19 RBI.

* Overall, the Mets have scored just ten runs in their last five games, and on the season have scored four or fewer runs in 13 of 25 games. They are averaging 8.5 strikeouts per game.

Thoughts from Joe D.

I guess a five game losing streak is a great time to clear the air. If not now, then when? Is it too early? Sure it’s early. but what does that have to do with some of the bad decisions we’ve been getting recently from Terry Collins? Is there a stat that shows Collins is a better strategist in July than he is in April? Do managers have slumps like players? Or are they just good or God Awful? Excuse me for going with the latter in Terry’s case. Sorry, Skip…

To begin, I think the concept of of bringing in a defensive replacement is lost on him. He substituted Collin Cowgill for Juan Lagares on Sunday and then got burned when Cowgill got a late break, a bad read, and watched a Ryan Howard shot sail over his head for a two-run double. He went with Cowgill again last night against the Marlins and left the better defender Lagares on the bench. On cue, Cowgill misplayed another flyball that translated into a Marlins win come-from-behind win.

And what’s the fascination with career utility outfielder Mike Baxter who has now made defensive miscues in three consecutive games?

Does he know that that the goal of a defensive replacement is to put in the player best equipped to bump your defense and not one who does the complete opposite?

Is someone telling him he HAS to play Cowgill and Baxter? Is it a clause written into their contracts? Because I don’t quite get the fascination – especially for Cowgill. He should be the next outfielder the team cuts and has no use to this team at all - offensively and defensively.

Yesterday, I blasted Collins for how he mishandles the bullpen, is too quick with the hook on starting pitching and then has the nerve to complain about them not going deep during his press conference. Both Jon Niese and Shaun Marcum admitted they wanted to stay in the game and had plenty left in the tank.

This is what happens when you’re a lame duck manager. It’s like trying to get work done while your boss looks over your shoulder. You make more mistakes, you slip up in areas you were once good at, you lose focus. Collins used to have a defender in me, but he looks like a dead man walking to me now.

terry collins 2

]]> 0
Harvey-Mania Is Taking The Citi By Storm! Thu, 04 Apr 2013 15:12:18 +0000 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

]]> 0
Why Do Mets Pitchers March To The Beat Of Their Own Drums? Fri, 22 Mar 2013 13:22:41 +0000 shaun marcumWhat is it with the Mets and their starting pitchers? Giving them near total control hasn’t worked. It didn’t for Willie Randolph and Jerry Manuel, and it isn’t for Terry Collins.

The impression is the tail is wagging the dog when it comes to Mets’ starters, and this isn’t new. Pitchers tend to be divas by nature, but it has gone to another level with the Mets.

Clearly, free-agent Shaun Marcum did not report to spring training ready to go by telling Collins and GM Sandy Alderson he only needed four starts to get ready. He was allowed to set his own pace, but obviously didn’t have the track record to deserve it.

Marcum received cortisone injections in each of the last three years, and last spring was down for nearly three weeks. Without question, this is a guy who should not be setting his own program.

Marcum vows 200 innings, a level he’s only reached once since 2005. His lifetime 57-36 record was why Alderson gave him the benefit of doubt, but his 124 innings last year should have accounted for something.

Wasn’t Marcum’s history and workout program discussed? If it was, then why agree to this?

Santana does have the resume to set his own program, but abused it when he threw off the mound without Collins’ knowledge the first week of March.

johan santana mets dodgers 072012The Mets said they monitored Santana in the off-season, and told him to go easy since he rehabbed the previous two winters. Something was lost in the communication as Santana wasn’t ready when spring training began and will open the season on the disabled list.

Collins said Santana knows his own body, but here’s a guy who hasn’t worked an inning all spring and at the beginning wanted to pitch in the World Baseball Classic. Had he done so, the results could have been career threatening.

Early in camp, after Alderson questioned Santana’s conditioning, the lefthander, angry with the Mets and media, threw off the mound without his manager’s knowledge. Collins wasn’t happy then and now must be fuming because Santana has done little since and has no set timetable. One must wonder how much that stunt set him back.

There are other examples of how the Mets let their starting pitches get away with setting their own routine that ended badly.

In 2009, Mike Pelfrey refused to go on the disabled list and miss a start and insisted on the start being pushed back. To placate him, the Mets brought up a starter from the minors, but to make room released reliever Darren O’Day, who only proved to be a key in the Rangers getting to the World Series twice.

O’Day has worked 247.2 innings in his five-year career with 217 strikeouts, 63 walks, a 2.73 ERA and 1.058 WHIP. The Mets don’t have anybody with that production in their current bullpen.

The Mets also let Pedro Martinez march to his own tune with mixed results for several years. Is Pedro pitching today? What’s going on with Pedro? It was like that every spring.

The Mets did everything they could, including alienating a future Hall of Famer, Tom Glavine, to placate Martinez and his whims.Of course, don’t forget Oliver Perez, whom former GM Omar Minaya signed to a disastrous three-year contract. The height of the absurdity is when Perez refused a minor league assignment – as was his contractual right – to work on his mechanics.

Consequently, the Mets carried him the rest of the season rather than release him and eat his contract, which they eventually did the following spring.

Funny, the Mets once had the stones – but no brains – and traded Tom Seaver, who wasn’t happy with his contract. Now it seems they don’t have either, as the trend is obvious, from Alderson to Minaya, and with each of the managers, to let some starters dictate to them how things would be and it turned out for the worse.

Will it be that way in 2013 with Marcum and Santana?

]]> 0
Congratulations to David Wright – Our Captain Fri, 22 Mar 2013 03:08:59 +0000 the captain dw

The Mets made it official this afternoon and named David Wright the team’s captain, joining a select group that includes John FrancoKeith Hernandez and Gary Carter.

“This is probably one of the proudest days of my career so far,” Wright said. “I’m honored and very proud to be on that short list of guys that have been considered captain of this franchise. For me, it’s a dream come true, to say the least.”

There has been speculation for years – as far back when Willie Randolph was manager – and intensified  this winter when Wright was signed to a $138-million eight-year extension. Manager Terry Collins said at the start of spring training it was something he was considering, but needed to run it through GM Sandy Alderson and COO Jeff Wilpon, as well as poll the clubhouse.

It was a foregone conclusion the announcement would be made prior to Opening Day. According to ESPN, Wilpon said the second Wright signed the contract there was nothing else to think about.

“When you commit that kind of money and resources that we have to a guy like this, you want to make sure he’s the leader,” chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon said. “And he’s proven to be that.”

During the Randolph era, the manager said the promotion might be awkward because that team was loaded with veterans such as Carlos Delgado – who became a mentor to Jose Reyes – Carlos Beltran, and pitchers Tom Glavine and Pedro Martinez.

At the time, Randolph said there wasn’t a need for a captain because of the veteran influence. Then came the Jerry Manuel era, but the team was so bad it seemed like a futile gesture.

Even so, Wright was always the face of the franchise, and the one player the media sought out for analysis on the Mets or anything else relating to baseball.

wright spring

Wright will not wear a “C” on his uniform, but his leadership has been obvious in the clubhouse for years. Once, Reyes wanted to stay in a game, but was clearly hobbled. Wright, knowing an injured Reyes could be a liability told the manager, then Manuel.

Wright has worked closely with the pitchers and was one of the few players who could reach Mike Pelfrey when he was losing concentration. He often goes to the mound when a rattled pitcher needs to catch his breath.

With the Mets moving in a youth direction, there was no veteran presence other than Wright, who, as an All-Star had the talent to back up the promotion.

At the start of camp, Wright said being captain would be an honor, but wanted it through his teammates and not an edict from ownership or management.

“This is where I wanted to start my career and finish my career,” Wright said. “I feel very comfortable and very confident in this role.”


Today was just a formality. Wright has captained this team through good times and bad for the last five years. From the moment Wright was first called up, he has shown himself to be a leader in every sense of the word and has done so with integrity and honor.

He was never one to run and hide after an awful loss or those forgettable collapses in 2007 and 2008. Instead he  stood front and center in front of his locker and was always willing to take the bullet for the team.

As the years wore on, Wright eventually assumed the role of team ambassador, and no player in franchise history has done a better job despite the the negativity he was forced to navigate in. Despite it all, he always stood strong and wore his team colors proudly.

His record of accomplishments speak for themselves and he leads the team in over a dozen different offensive categories, many of which will likely never be broken.

Wright is too modest to wear the “C” on his uniform like all of his predecessors have. Instead he gets the “C” for class by all of us here at Mets Merized Online.

A heartfelt congratulations to David Wright – Our Captain.

button WRIGHT

Contributed to by John Delcos.

]]> 0
Johan Santana A Hero? No, No, No Sat, 09 Mar 2013 16:46:41 +0000 johan-santana no-hitter

A pair of Chicago Cubs centerfielders, Jimmy Qualls (1969) and Joe Wallis (1975), stole two of Tom Seaver’s early bids for a no-hitter. One year after being traded from New York to Cincinnati, Seaver threw a no-hitter for the Reds. Nolan Ryan never pitched a no-hitter – as a New York Met – but after being traded to the California Angels in 1971 he nudged Mets fans every couple years, throwing seven no-hitters.

“Every time he pitched you expected a no-hitter – or 15 strikeouts,” said Jay Horwitz, Mets VP/Public Relations, referring to Dwight Gooden.

In May 1996, Gooden tossed the only no-hitter of his career – as a member of the New York Yankees. Even Duffy Dyer had to leave the New York Mets to catch his first no-hitter (John Candelaria, Pittsburgh, 1975), 11 years before Josh Thole was born.

Four years later, in 2000, amidst a slow start and turmoil over comments Mets manager Bobby Valentine made during a speech at Penn’s Wharton School of Business, Mets ace Al Leiter attempted to lighten the mood. “I think I’m going to have to throw a no-hitter today to get the back page in New York with all the stuff going on,” he said. Starting against the Pittsburgh Pirates on the road, Leiter surrendered a second-inning lead-off home run to Wil Cordero, crushing the hopes and promise of the first-ever Mets no-hitter.

John Maine was on the brink, again, in 2007, until Florida Marlins catcher light-hitting catcher Paul Hoover reached on an infield single with two outs in the eighth inning. Maine settled for a one-hit, complete game shutout but, again, hopes of a no-hitter were dashed.

There were other close calls before, after and in between those chronicled here, but you get the idea. The New York Mets avoided no-hitters for a half-century. It was baffling at times. How could the pitching-rich Mets not have a no-hitter?

Seaver, Ryan, Gooden, Leiter, Jerry Koosman, Jon Matlack, Craig Swan, Ron Darling, Sid Fernandez, David Cone, Mike Hampton, Bret Saberhagen, Frank Viola, Bob Ojeda, Pedro Martinez, Tom Glavine; over 50 years of baseball the stars never aligned, not for a single summer’s night, for Steve Trachsel, George Stone, Rick Reed, Bobby Jones, Orlando Hernandez, Dave Mlicki, Pete Harnisch, Pete Falcone or Pat Zachry? No, no and no. Game after game, season after season the Mets were denied.

To blunt the pain and frustration, Mets fans turned the no-hit quest into a punchline. On any given night during the season a Mets fan could grab their smartphone, tap the Twitter icon and wait for [insert pitcher’s name here] to give up the first hit of the game which, inevitably, led to a tweet along the lines of:

Well, not tonight #Mets fans. That’s 7,952 games without a no-hitter.

So, on June 1, 2012, when Johan Santana became the first pitcher in Mets team history to throw a no-hitter, fans celebrated. I celebrated. In fact, the New York Daily News and New York Post back pages hang on my office wall. It was a big deal. But that’s where the road forks for me and many Mets fans.

Last week, amidst controversy over Santana’s health, Mets blogger Ted Berg tweeted:

Johan Santana returned from career-threatening surgery and pitched the first Mets no-hitter. He could show up 300 lbs. and he’d still be my hero.

Thirty-five people re-tweeted the post. I am not sure if the reaction was a symbol of support or fans just wanted to share his message with the baseball world. Either way, I disagree. Yes, I was amazed by Santana’s drive to come back and perform like the two-time Cy Young Award winner he once was with the Minnesota Twins. No, Santana should not be labeled a hero for one game.

SNY’s Chris Carlin dished out a portion of these stats on Twitter, to which another Mets fan replied:

Fair, for first no-hitter in Mets history.

Fair? Really? This is a sad – and misguided – statement.

When the Mets traded six players for Santana in 2008 they also agreed to sign him to a six-year, $101.5 million contract. Since then, he’s made 109 regular season starts, winning 46 games. He’s earned over $900,000/start in New York, or, $2.2 million per win. He missed all of the 2011 season and one-half of the 2012 season (because of the wear and tear he put on his arm pitching the no-hitter).

Remember the day you heard the news that the Mets had finally acquired Santana from the Twins? I do. Expectations were high. After the crushing collapse at the end of the 2007 season, Santana symbolized a renewed hope that 2008 would be different. Of course, it wasn’t. The point is: Santana was going to help the Mets win; a division, a league championship, maybe a World Series. You did believe that, then, right?

Hypothetically, would you give back the no-hitter if the Mets could have had a healthy Johan Santana in July, August and September? I would. I am of the mindset that winning baseball games, not pitching no-hitters or breaking records, is the goal. I am most happy when the Mets are winning. It doesn’t matter how, but if the Mets win.

Let’s face it, Santana’s not coming back after the 2013 season (if he’s not traded earlier). Over five seasons in New York he’s been closer to a disappointment than hero. Call me naive, but I expected more than one no-hitter from Santana, but thanks for the memory (singular).

Read more of my thoughts on baseball at

]]> 0
Taking 2013 Optimism To The Bronx Mon, 25 Feb 2013 13:00:23 +0000 david wrightI love the air of optimism that occurs this time of year. Over the last few days we’ve seen a slew of MMO writers share their optimistic predictions for 2013, all sharing the same tone “Why not us?”

In truth, the question is fair. Last year, nobody saw Oakland coming. The year prior, Arizona caught the league off guard and took the division from the 2010 World champion Giants. The last two years have had fans around the country thinking, “Is this the year the Pirates compete?”

The truth is, baseball is a funny game. The Mets were as exciting of a team to watch as there was in the sport until the All-Star break last year. They ran out of gas, and luck.

Getting to that point is half the battle though isn’t?

I don’t share the same optimism about the predicted result for the Mets in 2013, but I do believe they have enough talent to surprise people. When you’re in a situation like the Mets, the theme of your season centers around the word “if.”

If Wright and Ike can lead the offense and complement each other.

If Harvey and Niese can make a name for themselves in the National League.

If Wheeler can come up and have an impact.

If d’Arnaud can be the backstop we need.

If the outfield surprises us all.

If the bullpen avoids huge let downs.

If the team stays healthy.

In reality, none of those scenarios are impossible or even unlikely at some point. It’s just a matter of whether it all comes together at the same time.

But I’m going to take their optimism a step further. In poker, this would be considered a raise.

I’m optimistic that within 3 years, the New York Mets are the toast of Gotham City. I look at the New York Yankees, and I see a team that is running out of time. You cannot outrun father time. None of us can. When you take a look at their farm system, anybody they are even close to excited about is still years away. They admit this.

Their top prospect, Gary Sanchez just finished A+ ball. Their second best prospect, Tyler Austin got called up to AA at the very end of the season last year.

The core of their dynasty is closing in on taking their final steps on the field, and their first steps toward Monument Park.

What if this is partly by design by the Mets? In 2005 and 2006, there’s no denying that the Mets made an attempt to take back New York City when they opened their checkbooks for guys like Pedro Martinez and Carlos Beltran. It could be argued that they were a tad premature in their attempt because the Yankees were still willing and able to spend on huge free agents such as Sabathia.

The game is changing though. Players like Sabathia, and Tex are not as likely to enter free agency during their prime. More and more, teams are building around their young core and using free agency to complement those players. The Red Sox are trying to do it now, and the Yankees will start to head that way shortly.

Before you call my optimism foolish or blind, answer me this. If (there’s that word again) the Mets core of Harvey, Wheeler, Niese, Wright, Davis, d’Arnaud are as advertised, then 2-3 years from now who do the Yankees have to compete with that? They will likely extend Cano, but after him, what exactly do the Yankees have to make me think the Mets aren’t built to attempt a takeover of New York City in the near future?

A 34 year old Teixeria? An aging Sabathia? An unhealthy Pineda? Who exactly is going to put them over? The truth is, it’s more likely that the Yankees are preparing for a similar roster situation as what the Mets were dealing with over the last few years.

There’s no denying that the Yankees regained control of New York City by developing their young talent and bringing in complimentary veterans. Why can’t the Mets be primed to do the same?

For those that may think this doesn’t matter, I will remind you that some of the greatest moments in this franchise’s history came when the Mets, not the Yankees had the heart of New York.

When I think of this year for the Mets, I will take each day with a grain of salt. Should they surprise me and compete for a playoff spot, I will appreciate the moment. To me, 2013 unlike 2012 and 2011 have a great purpose.

The prior years were about treading water, and finding ways to get rid of contracts. Now, this year is the start of special potentially special. Can Wheeler and Harvey take the necessary steps to become one of the best 1-2 combinations in the NL? Can d’Arnaud being behind the dish not only provide adequate numbers but also help our young pitchers grow? Can Ike Davis and David Wright create a feared 3-4 tandem for years to come?

If those realistic scenarios occur, I believe the Mets could once again take over the hearts of New York and have Yankees fans reminiscing about the way it used to be.

]]> 0
Prospect Pulse: Stock Is Rising For RHP Rafael Montero Thu, 21 Feb 2013 00:52:32 +0000 rafael montero


Bats: R  Throws: R
Height: 6′  
Weight: 170 lb.
Position: Pitcher
Age: 22
ETA: 2015
2013 MMO Top Prospect Ranking: #9


Here is a brief player profile from the recent 2013 MMO Top 25 Prospect series:

If you go by the numbers, Sterling Award winner Rafael Montero is a guy that you should be taking note of. He entered the Mets system in 2011, and has already seen work at six different levels, culminating in his work in St.Lucie last year. Montero was stopped short last year because he hit his innings limit, but impressed basically everybody with a 2.36 ERA in 122.0 innings over two levels, while posting a 0.943 WHIP.

He has continued to keep his walks down, as he’s done during every stop of his MiLB career so far, posting a 1.6 BB/9 rate compared to a 8.1 K/9. To put it plainly, he walked only 19 while striking out 110, and it’s mainly because of the strength of his secondary offerings. In addition, he only allowed six home runs all season, so there are more than just a few reasons to be excited about him.

Montero has an interesting skill set which is accompanied by a frame that most scouts agree needs to be bulked up a little before guaranteeing any success. His fastball is not dominant by any means, but it is possible to work with it at the MLB level. Although it sits in the 90-92 MPH range, it has great late movement and Montero commands it impressively. I have seen him work a curve and a change into his pitching arsenal at times, but I have to say he also throws a good hard slider that’s not far from being a plus-offering. Montero has three solid pitches to work with – the fastball, slider, and change up. He varies the speed on his change well and the bottom drops out more often than not.

Montero pitched well enough in 2012 to get an invite to spring training, and thus far in camp, he has been nothing short of spectacular. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports has reported in a recent tweet that Montero is ”thrilling Mets people” in camp, and “unreal’ is the word being used in camp when describing this exciting prospect.

Michael Baron of Metsblog was also recently blown away by Montero and noted that the young right-hander had “electrifying stuff.” Here is more of what he had to say about Montero, after watching a recent bullpen session down in Florida:

He worked counts and the pitch situations that come with that, such as coming back with fastballs down 2-0, and using his breaking pitch on the corners when ahead in the count. He didn’t seem to fall behind too much…Montero’s stuff looks electrifying, but he’s still quite raw, which is to be expected at this stage of his development. He throws very hard, and his breaking pitch has very heavy movement down through the strike zone. He is very lanky, kind of like Pedro Martinez when he was younger.

Baron’s report is just as promising as Heyman’s, however I found it to be a tad contradicting. Baron states that Montero worked counts, didn’t fall behind much, and used his breaking pitch on the corners when ahead in the count which hardly sounds like Montero is ”raw.”

I think what Baron was trying to convey was that Montero is inexperienced, since he has only pitched in the lower levels of the system. Someone who is raw generally oozes talent, but hasn’t figured out how to apply that talent in game situations — it seems that from Baron’s description that Montero is still figuring out how to pitch. Being a raw talent and an inexperienced player are two different things.


Based on the video, Montero does have a couple of minor mechanical issues he has to work on, but he does have electric stuff and tons of potential. His fastball tops out at 93mph, and he has a nice, biting slider to go along with his fastball.

He also throws a slower slurve, which is a bendy combination of slider and curveball, but he uses it very rarely. Montero has a lot of promise, but I would like to see him focusing on developing his changeup, and get rid of that slurve he throws. Most early scouting reports had Montero labeled as a bullpen arm, but with continued progress, he could be a very formidable middle of the rotation starter.

Montero still relies on his fastball, so the Mets will start working with Montero to incorporate his secondary pitches more and more as he progresses. In the lower levels of the system, it is easy for pitchers to get by with fastball, fastball, but as he rises through the system, he will need a variety of well developed pitches to get the more advanced hitters out.

Montero should start the season with Double-A Binghamton, and you should definitely keep an eye on him in 2013. Montero is a name that Met fans should get used to hearing.

prospect pulse mitch petanick

To read previous editions of this feature, go to our MMO Prospect Pulse Archives.

Follow MMO Minor League Analyst Mitch Petanick on Twitter at @FirstPitchMitch for even more Mets Minor League and prospect coverage.

]]> 0
Pedro Martinez Says It’s Too Difficult To Vote Bonds Or Clemens Into Hall Sat, 08 Dec 2012 17:10:08 +0000

Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe caught up with Pedro Martinez who was at former teammate David Ortiz‘s celebrity golf fundraiser in the Dominican Republic yesterday.

The always outspoken Martinez had plenty to say about the steroids era as well as his own career and legacy.

“I never had a complaint. I don’t have it. I think I did it the best way possible,” he said on Friday. “What would have happened if I had a level playing field? It’s something to be guessed. This is the same body that you saw, except for a couple of more pounds.”

When asked about his thoughts on new Hall of Fame candidates Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds, Martinez minced no words:

“It’s really difficult for me to choose either one. I would have loved to face Roger Clemens when he was Roger Clemens with nothing. I would have loved to face him all the time.

Regarding his future candidacy:

“I was clean. I know I was clean. That’s all I can say. I was out there and they got the best out of me. Beat me or not, that was the best I had, and clean. I wish it were the same way for every one of them.”

“In my last years with the Mets, I was pushed too far. I was going too far with the pain. I did it naturally, I rehabbed naturally. I went through struggles a lot naturally. Today I can actually sit back, relax and enjoy the flight because I did it clean and my integrity is right where it belongs.”

Pedro, a three-time Cy Young Award winner, will no doubt get in as a first ballot Hall of Famer having never had any suspicion of PED or steroid use. Martinez is one of the rare great players from the steroid era to actually gain weight after retirement rather than lose weight.

]]> 0
The New York Mets – On The Fringe Of History Mon, 20 Feb 2012 15:00:45 +0000 Thursday – October 19th – 2006

Top of the 9th and the score is 3 to 1 in favor of the St. Louis Cardinals. The Mets are one loss away from post-season elimination. The St. Louis Cardinals are one win away from the World Series. Cliff Floyd has struck out with runners on first and second. Jose Reyes has just lined out to Jim Edmonds in center.  Hope is rapidly fading when Carlos Beltran makes his way to the plate to face Adam Wainwright in front of a standing room only crowd of 56,357 screaming Shea fans – yearning desperately for a return to the fall classic.

Wainwright scans the signs from Yadier Molina. Beltran, the 2006 Mets team leader in homeruns and RBI, focuses every ounce of the baseball knowledge he has on Wainwright. He’s prepared. This is the moment every child who’s ever taken a baseball field has dreamt of. The season, the city, everything is now in his hands. The intensity flowing from fan to players to concession stand operators becomes palpable.  The drumbeat of “Lets Go Mets”, reminiscent of glory days gone by, echo through Shea’s centerfield speakers. The stands begin to shake rhythmically in anticipation. Wainwright delivers his 1st pitch. Beltran swings…driving a Wainwright curveball high down the right field line.

Time grinds to standstill as the crowd instinctively and collectively holds their breath. Beltran however is far less concerned. He flips his bat with the same exuberance of a Little Leaguer – channeling every emotion into one fluid motion. He knows. Gary Cohen begins to scream “A LOOONG HIGH FLY TO DEEEP RIGHT WILL IT STAY FAIR…IT HIT THE FOUL POLE…IT”S OUTTA HERE, IT’S OUTTA HERE, IT’S OUTTA HERE, IT’S OUTTA HERE…

Present Day – 2012

Of course that never happened, as we know all too well. No we never did get to hear Gary Cohen cement himself into Met history with THAT particular call. Instead we were subjected to Joe Buck’s monotone droning, “And the 0 and 2 pitch; strike 3. The Cardinals are going to the World Series.” Scintillating I know. But somewhere, in some universe, Carlos Beltran and Mets went to the World Series.

How do I know this happened? Simple, Walter Bishop said so. Who the hell is Walter Bishop right? Well to those of us who gather around the flat screens every Friday night at 9pm, you know that Walter Bishop is father to Peter Bishop on the FOX television series Fringe.  Walter Bishop is a scientist du-jour, capable of explaining Quantum Mechanics to a 6 year old to whipping up the perfect strawberry milk shake from his genetically engineered cow, Gene, who by the way in one episode, had transferred into him, the “soul” of his friend and fellow scientist William Bell, played by Leonard Nimoy. Fascinating.


I know it sounds crazy but the show’s main premise is that there are “multiverses”; multiple universes that exist just as our very own universe exists with doubles of you and I and everyone in them, all going in there own different directions simultaneously. In the world opposite of Walter Bishop and our universe, many differences exist.  Everything from President Kennedy marking his 97th birthday – safe from our timeline’s morbid fate – to the Statue of Liberty representing the Department of Defense, stand out as obvious differences. There’s even the somber notion that in the alternate universe, the White House was the main target and destroyed on 9-11, sparing the World Trade Center.

This theory of multiple universes isn’t all that Hollywood-esque. In fact Albert Einstein while formulating his Theory of Relativity postulated the existence of parallel universes as has physicist Stephen Hawking. So if those guys say it’s possible, well hot damn somewhere someone in a parallel universe is celebrating Felix Millan’s induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. 

So it got me thinking; what if? What if in some topsy-turvy world, the woes we have felt as Mets fans never existed? Imagine it. Darryl and Doc went on to win another World Series, avoiding their personal demons. What if the Midnight Massacre never took place?  It’s such a tempting and seductive thought considering where the team and we as fans stand today. Hell, imagine no Bernie Madoff. Or perhaps imagine a Bernie Madoff that was perhaps legit?

Yes, it’s admittedly hyper-nostalgic if bordering on sad to have these “what if” type dreams. Considering that every so-called expert has the Mets barely outplaying the Chula Vista Little League champs this year, a little harmless indulgence never hurt anyone.  Every now and again, we need to realize that as fans, this is just a game and hardly life or death issues. The exception of course – the desire many have to see Bernie Madoff strung up by his soap on a rope in prison. Even the Almighty would probably turn a blind eye to that.

Let us dream shall we?

February 22nd 2007 – Port St. Lucie, Florida

Pedro Martinez arrived at Thomas J. White stadium slim, trim and poised to return to form. After the Mets lost the 2006 World Series to the Detroit Tigers in seven games, Martinez whose season was cut short due to a calf strain and a minor rotator cuff pull walked into manager Willie Randolph’s office with a clean bill of health. He was determined to reclaim his status as staff ace.  General Manager Omar Minaya, emboldened by his teams’ World Series appearance and his brand new 3 year $15 million dollar extension, making him the highest paid GM in all of baseball, was given more than just wider latitude by team owner Fred Wilpon. He was also given an additional $40 million in payroll, topping out at a league high $141 million.  Minaya spent $15 million of that on Alfonso Soriano who will take his potent bat, but suspect glove to second base at Shea. Also coming into the fold will be 6 time All-Star Kenny Lofton. The 40 year old will shift over to left field to accommodate Beltran and according to Minaya will provide speed at the top of the lineup along with Reyes.

Joining them would be former Houston Astro and Yankee Andy Pettite, who signed a 2-year contract with the Mets. Minaya was quoted by ESPN’s Peter Gammons saying, ‘We needed to add depth and protection to our rotation. Not having Pedro for us during the World Series was definitely a liability. Adding a player like Andy Pettite addresses our needs both during and post season. So with that said, signing Andy was necessary.”  The well-seasoned trio of Martinez, Glavine and Pettite proved father time wrong in 2007 as all three went on to pitch over 200 innings each and winning 46 games.

Another anachronism to the aging process was Shawn Green, who was acquired late last year from Arizona. Nary a fan in his right mind expected Shawn Green to revert to his borderline superstar self yet in 2007, Green did just that. Leading the team in RBI with 110, Green along with Wright, Beltran and Delgado, provided more than enough punch as the team scored an unprecedented 980 runs.

July 4th 2007 – 6 days until the All-Star game in San Francisco

As the 2007 season moved along the team announced that the naming rights negotiations to the new stadium being constructed directly across from Shea Stadium had been finalized. The final decision on naming rights came down to offers given by Citigroup and Apple Incorporated, with Apple winning the rights with an offer to pay the team $40 million per year for the next 20 years.  Apple co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs along with New York Mets owner and CEO Fred Wilpon and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg spoke to members of the press in front of the partially constructed stadium which is being dubbed “The Big Apple”. Construction should be completed by 2010.

By the All-Star break the Mets were comfortably 12 games ahead of the drifting Atlanta Braves. The Braves having lost 3rd baseman Chipper Jones for the remainder of the season with a torn hamstring found themselves the main topic of more than just Baseball news.  Braves team owner Ted Turner, along with thousands of others, were found to be victims of a vast Ponzi scheme orchestrated by Wall Street financier Bernard Madoff, who bilked hundreds of millions from his unsuspecting clients.

The misfortune of the Braves along with the success of the Mets, helped to bring about a 2 year extension for manager Willie Randolph, through to the 2010 season. And by seasons end, the Mets were sitting once again on top of the NL East, winning 99 games, 17 games ahead of the Atlanta Braves.

October 15th 2007 – The 2007 Postseason begins

Having run rough shot through the Colorado Rockies and the Arizona Diamondbacks, sweeping both teams in the Divisional and National League Championship series, the Mets were led by the starting pitching of Martinez, Glavine and Pettite. The three combined for 5 of the 7 wins with Martinez and Pettite winning 2 games each.

“What was even more impressive was their focus under pressure and their ability to give us strong innings. The fact that they (Martinez, Glavine and Pettite) all went deep into the games (each averaged 7 innings per start) was huge, absolutely huge. Well beyond what any of us expected or hoped especially from Pedro.” said a champagne soaked Mets pitching coach Ron Darling as he made room for Commissioner Selig who presented Martinez with the NLCS MVP. Martinez pitched 14 innings allowing only 1 run in his two winning starts.

Leading the team offensively came from two truly unlikely sources. 40 year old veteran Kenny Lofton hit .428 with 2 homeruns and 2 stolen bases, both coming in game 4 of the NLCS and Jose Reyes, who hit .447 with an NLCS record 10 stolen bases. On the downside, Reyes pulled his right hamstring in game 4 after recording his 10th stolen base and had to be carried off the field with the help of manager Willie Randolph and David Wright.  The Shea crowd, swelled in the energy of a World Series birth, sat stunned as their catalyst’s season and World Series was now in jeopardy. But would that include the 2007 Amazin’s?

To be continued…

]]> 0