Mets Merized Online » Pedro Martinez http://metsmerizedonline.com Sat, 14 Jan 2017 17:30:31 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.17 All-Time “He Was Good Until He Went to the Mets” Team http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/07/all-time-he-was-good-until-he-went-to-the-mets-team.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/07/all-time-he-was-good-until-he-went-to-the-mets-team.html/#comments Fri, 15 Jul 2016 16:00:33 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=217606 jason bay

“He was good. Until he went to the Mets.”

If you’re a Mets fan, there’s a solid chance you say or hear that sentence at least ten times per year. The Mets have had several notable occurrences of “He Was Good Until He Went To The Mets” syndrome over their five decades of play, and countless players have fallen prey to it.

When the Mets turned 50, they released an “All-Time Team” to remember the greats who wore the orange and blue. But if you’re a die-hard Mets fan, you know that the greats are only half of the story. For every Keith Hernandez, there’s a Mo Vaughn. For every Mike Piazza, there’s a Jim Fregosi. For every… you get it.

So now we have an all-time “He Was Good Until He Went To The Mets Team.” This team was built with the players at each position who had the best careers prior to a lackluster stay with the Mets:

Catcher - Yogi Berra

After Berra was fired as Yankees manager in 1964, the Mets immediately scooped him up as a player/coach. Many people don’t even realize that Berra played for the Mets– albeit for four games in 1965. He went 2-for-9, and retired after striking out three times in a game for the second time ever on May 9. The American icon went on to coach and manage with the Mets for the next decade, including in a memorable run to the World Series in 1973.

First Baseman - Mo Vaughn

Vaughn looked like a potential Hall of Famer when he played for the Red Sox and Angels. From 1993-2000, an average season for Vaughn was .305/.394/.552 with 35 home runs and 111 RBI. But it was all downhill after the 2000 season. He missed all of 2001 with a torn bicep and was traded to the Mets for Kevin Appier prior to the 2002 season.
While Appier won 14 games and helped the Angels win the 2002 World Series,

Vaughn did little for the Mets. His first year with the team was far below his pre-injury averages– albeit not awful. He batted .259/.349/.456 with 26 home runs and 72 RBI. However, he played in just 27 games in 2003 and missed all of 2004 with a career-ending knee injury. The Mets paid him $46 million dollars over these three seasons to play in just 158 games.

Vaughn is perhaps best remembered by Mets fans for his weight issues; despite once weighing 225 pounds, Vaughn had skyrocketed to 275 pounds when he was with the Mets. This led to many an angry call into “Mike and the Mad Dog.”

Second Baseman - Roberto Alomar

Alomar has a plaque in Cooperstown today, but it’s safe to say this has little to do with his time on the Mets.
Much like Vaughn, Alomar was acquired from the Indians during the 2002 offseason to revitalize the team. The Mets would be acquiring a 32-year-old player who had made 12 consecutive All-Star teams and won 11 consecutive Gold Gloves.

Both of these streaks ended once he came to the Mets. Alomar batted just .266/.331/.376 in 2002, and after putting up similar numbers the following season, was traded to the White Sox in July of 2003. Alomar played just one more season before calling it a career.
The trades for Vaughn and Alomar helped end Steve Phillips’ time as GM of the Mets, who was fired in 2003.

(Dis)Honorable mention #1 - Carlos Baerga

Baerga was the first second baseman since Rogers Hornsby to record consecutive seasons of 200+ hits, 20 home runs and 100 RBI when he did so in 1992 and 1993. After he was traded to the Mets in 1996, he never reached any of these plateaus again.

(Dis)Honorable mention #2 - Luis Castillo

Castillo won three Gold Gloves with the Marlins, yet is best remembered as a Met for failing to catch a pop-up. Enough said.

Phillies vs Mets

Shortstop: Kaz Matsui

Matsui is a legend in Japan, where he batted .309/.362/.486 with 150 home runs and 306 steals from from 1995-2003. This 2003 scouting report on ESPN.com called him “More talented than Hideki Matsui,” and the “Best all-around player [in Japan] since Ichiro left.”

So when Matsui decided to take his talents to America, the Mets signed him to a three-year, $20 million contract prior to the 2004 season. The team was so confident in his abilities that it moved highly-touted shortstop prospect Jose Reyes to second base to make room for Matsui.

Unlike the other Matsui in New York at the time, Kaz failed to meet expectations. He batted just .256/.308/.363 in three injury-plagued seasons with the Mets. He was traded to the Rockies in June of 2006. He spent the next four seasons with the Rockies and Astros before heading back to Japan in 2011.

In case you’re wondering, Matsui still plays in Japan for the Rakuten Golden Eagles, where he batted .256/.324/.366 with ten home runs and 48 RBI in 126 games last season.

Third Base - Jim Fregosi

Before the days of David Wright, the Mets struggled to find an everyday third baseman throughout much of their early history. In fact, they had eight different starting third basemen from 1962-1971.

The Mets hoped to put an end to these woes when they acquired Jim Fregosi from the Angels in December of 1971. Fregosi was a six-time All-Star with a bWAR of 44.8 and an OPS+ of 119 from 1963-1970. But a down season in 1971 made him expendable for the Angels, who traded him to the Mets for some young pitcher named Nolan Ryan.

Unfortunately for the Mets, the man bought in to be the third baseman of the future had a short and forgettable stay in Flushing. He batted an abysmal .233/.319/.328 with five home runs and 43 RBI in 146 games in 1972 and 1973. The Mets’ search for a star third baseman would continue until Howard Johnson made his debut with the team in 1985. Meanwhile, Nolan Ryan went on to throw over 5,000 strikeouts and seven no-hitters en route to the Hall of Fame.

Outfield - Jason Bay

After a season in which Daniel Murphy led the Mets with just 12 home runs, the Mets were in desperate need of a power hitter. So they signed Bay to a four-year, $66 million contract. Bay came to the Mets with seven consecutive seasons of at least 20 home runs and 80 RBI, and was coming off a season in which he hit 36 home runs and 119 RBI with the Red Sox.

In three years with the Mets, Bay hit just 26 home runs and 124 RBI. He batted just .234/.318/.369, and had his contract terminated prior to the 2013 season.

Outfield – Vince Coleman 

Coleman stole 549 bases during the first six seasons of his career with the Cardinals. He is one of just four players in the modern era to steal over 100 bases in a season, which he did three times from 1985-1987.

It looked like the Mets were signing the next Lou Brock when they signed him in 1990. What they got was one of the biggest embarrassments in team history. Coleman, who played with the Mets from 1991-1993, never played more than 100 games in a season.

Aside from the disappointing on-field performance, his off-field behavior was even worse. He was gone for good after he was charged with felony a firecracker at a group of fans at Dodger Stadium, which injured three people– including a two-year-old girl. Prior to this dubious incident, he injured Dwight Gooden by swinging a golf club in the clubhouse and had been suspended for feuding with manager Jeff Torborg.

willie mays

OutfieldWillie Mays:

The “Say Hey Kid” was traded to the Mets in the middle of the 1972 season. Mays was 41 at the time, and was hardly the player he used to be. He hit just .238/.352/.294 in 135 games with the Mets from 1972-1973 to finish out his career.

Unlike many of the players on the “He Was Good Until He Went to the Mets” team, Mays is still looked at with reverence by the organization and fans, so much so that his No. 24 jersey has remained mostly out of circulation since he retired.

(Dis)Honorable Mention #1 - Bobby Bonilla

Many Mets fans would probably put Bonilla over Mays on this list, but from a purely numerical standpoint, Bonilla was actually not awful. He made two All-Star teams in four seasons while he recorded an OPS+ over 120 in each of his first four years with the team.

(Dis)Honorable Mention #2 - George Foster

Much like Bonilla, Foster didn’t live up to the hype of his five-year, $10 million contract, the second-largest in baseball history in 1982, but still put up decent numbers. Foster had at least 20 home runs in three of his five years with the Mets and had two years with a WAR over 1.5.

(Dis)Honorable Mention #3 - Duke Snider

Snider was a Hall of Famer and fan-favorite in New York as a Brooklyn Dodger before the team relocated to Los Angeles in 1958. He came back to New York in 1963 when he was sold to the Mets, where he batted .243/.345/.401 with 14 homers and 45 RBI in his only season with the team.

New York Yankees v New York Mets

Starting Pitcher - Pedro Martinez

Pedro signed a four-year, $53 million dollar contract with the Mets in December of 2004. This represented a new era in Mets history, and was a major factor in persuading Carlos Beltran to sign. However, he contributed little on the field after the first year of his deal.

Martinez’s first season with the Mets was electrifying, as he went 15-8 with a 2.82 ERA and a league-leading 0.949 WHIP and 4.43 strikeout-to-walk ratio. After this season,Pedro would never make more than 24 starts in a season again, and recorded a 4.74 ERA throughout his remaining time with the Mets. A healthy Pedro could have made all the difference in 2007 and 2008, when the Mets were eliminated on the last day of the season.

Starting Pitcher - Tom Glavine

Glavine was one of the best pitchers of his era with the Braves, and was pretty solid with the Mets as well. He went 61-56 with a 3.97 ERA during his five seasons in New York. But he will always be remembered for his performance on the final day of the 2007 season, when he allowed seven runs in one-third of an inning to the last-place Marlins. Not a good time to have the worst start of your career.

Starting Pitcher - Warren Spahn

As a Brave, Spahn averaged 20 wins from 1947-1963. But after going 6-13 with a 5.29 ERA in 1964, he was sold to the Mets.
Much like Berra, Spahn had an oft-forgotten abbreviated cameo with the Mets in 1965. He was purchased and given both a spot in the rotation and the title of pitching coach.

Spahn had won 356 games prior to joining the Mets, and still believed that he could get to 400 wins when he joined the team. This proved to be a fruitless endeavor, however, as the 44-year-old went just 4-12 with a 4.36 ERA before being released midseason.

While on the Mets, Spahn was reunited with Casey Stengel, who he had played under with the Boston Braves in 1942. Reminiscing on his time with the Mets, Spahn once said: “I’m probably the only guy who worked with Stengel before and after he was a genius.”

Relief Pitcher: Francisco Rodriguez

The 2008 Mets’ bullpen was so bad that had their games ended in the eighth inning, they would have won the NL East by 12 games rather than losing it by three games. So that offseason, they signed Francisco Rodriguez, who was fresh off setting a single-season record with 62 saves, to a three-year, $37 million contract.

Rodriguez failed as a member of the Mets. His ERA ballooned to 3.71 in 2009– more than a run higher than it had been in 2008. He suffered a season-ending thumb injury in August of 2010 by assaulting his girlfriend’s father following a loss. “K-Rod” was traded to the Brewers in a salary-dump trade in 2011, where he has since made two All-Star teams.

Relief Pitcher - J.J. Putz

Putz recorded a 5.22 ERA as the setup man in 2009 before suffering a season-ending elbow injury that June. Putz was a stellar closer for the Mariners prior to 2009, as he had a 3.07 ERA and 101 saves in his six-year tenure with the team. After his time with the Mets, he recorded two 30-plus save seasons with the Diamondbacks in 2011 and 2012.
Putz later said that the Mets never gave him a physical upon acquisition. As Mets fans found out last year, medicals are rather important.

Manager - Art Howe

Howe was bought in in 2003 to be the Mets’ manager following Bobby Valentine‘s firing. Howe was the hottest managerial name on the market, as he had just led the Athletics to three consecutive playoff appearances. If he could lead the $40 million payroll Oakland A’s to three straight playoff appearances. Imagine what he could do with more than double that budget?

Not much. Howe went 137-186 in his two years on the job. He was fired following the 2004 season, and never managed again after leaving the Mets.

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Bartolo Colon Notches A Special Victory http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/04/bartolo-colon-notches-a-special-victory.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/04/bartolo-colon-notches-a-special-victory.html/#comments Sun, 17 Apr 2016 12:51:22 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=209885 bartolo colon

With the Mets 6-5 win in Friday night’s contest with the Cleveland Indians, RHP Bartolo Colon notched his 219th career victory. He moves up the career wins list and is now tied for 77th all-time.

Another achievement took place with win number 219 however, as Colon tied fellow Dominican native, former Met, and Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez for second all-time in wins by a Dominican-born pitcher. Hall of Famer Juan Marichal owns the record for wins by a Dominican-born player with 243, which he notched in 1974 while pitching for the Red Sox.

Colon pitched well for his second start of the season, going 5 1/3 innings, allowing two runs on eight hits, striking out five, and issuing his first walk on the year. Along with Noah Syndergaard, Colon has been a steady presence on the mound so far in the early start of the season.

Friday night’s win was also special for Colon because it took place in Cleveland, the organization that signed him as an amateur free agent in 1993. Colon pitched 5 ½ years with the Tribe, before being dealt to the then Montreal Expos along with Tim Drew for what turned out to be a king’s ransom in prospects Cliff, Lee, Grady Sizemore, Brandon Phillips, and journeyman Lee Stevens.

After the game, Colon spoke about the accomplishment of tying Martinez for second all-time in wins by a Dominican-born pitcher, and posting the win in the place where it all began for him some nineteen-years ago.

“It means a lot,” Colon said through an interpreter. “Pedro Martinez back in my homeland, the Dominican Republic, is a special person. And to do it here in Cleveland is something special for me. First and foremost, I want to thank the Cleveland Indians organization for the opportunity.” (ESPN)

The Mets re-signed Colon this offseason for one-year at $7.25 million. He’s serving as the team’s fifth starter until Zack Wheeler returns in July from his rehab after his Tommy John surgery.

Colon has posted double-digit wins for the Mets in his first two seasons with the club, and understands that he will both start and relieve for the team throughout the season. Colon serves as great insurance for the clubs young arms, in case of any long-term injuries and allowing the Mets to skip some of their prized arms to keep them fresh throughout the year.

MLB: New York Mets-Workouts

Colon has become a fan favorite during his time with the Mets. He serves as inspiration for the “every-man” that dreams of playing professional baseball. The always-jovial Colon serves as comic relief for the club, and has wowed fans and spectators over the years with his behind the back flip to first, over the shoulder catch on the infield, and his always-entertaining at-bats.

Terry Collins remembers Colon’s time with the Tribe well, having seen him pitch in his prime while managing the Anaheim Angels. Colon faced Collins’ Angels nine times from 1997-99, going 4-2 against them.

“I’ve got a lot of recollections of it and it wasn’t very fun,” Collins said of facing the then-young Colon. “He was 98-97 (miles per hour) with a dynamic breaking ball, just pure power. He threw strikes, so he was one of those guys when you faced him, you better get your ‘A’ game bats out. He was tough to face, they had a really, really good young pitching staff back then and he is still a good pitcher.”

Colon has reinvented himself into a control and finesse pitcher, no longer relying on the days where he threw in the mid to upper nineties. With the decrease in velocity, Colon has learned to locate and limit the number of walks he allows. Colon was fifth in MLB with 30 walks allowed in 2014, and first in 2015 with only 24 free passes issued.

Collins recognizes how Colon has reinvented himself later in his career. He marvels at the way in which Colon was able to do so, and with the degree of success he’s had while adjusting.

“When you reincarnate yourself as a completely different kind of guy and are satisfied with it and settle into what you have to do to get guys out, it just shows how smart he is, how sharp he is,” Collins said. “He knew after some of the injuries to his arm he had to change it and did. It’s really one of the great stories, this guy at his age is still one of the most effective pitchers in this league.” (Daily News)

Unless Colon pitches beyond the 2016 season, he won’t pass Marichal for the wins record by a Dominican-born pitcher. He can move up the career wins ladder though. If Colon wins ten more games this year, he would be tied for 64th all time with Sam Jones, Luis Tiant, and Will White for 229. That would see him pass All Stars Joe Niekro (221), Jerry Koosman (222), Tim Hudson (222), and Hall of Famers Catfish Hunter and Jim Bunning (224).

It has been great fun watching Colon pitch and be so animated during his tenure with the orange and blue. When it’s his turn on the mound, I find myself with little to no reservations or real worry, knowing that his craftiness and tremendous pitch location will often find him with great results. Congrats “Big Sexy” on your win accomplishment.

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Commissioner Manfred Needs to Lift the Ban, But Not on Pete Rose http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/commissioner-manfred-needs-to-lift-the-ban-but-not-on-pete-rose.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/commissioner-manfred-needs-to-lift-the-ban-but-not-on-pete-rose.html/#comments Sun, 20 Dec 2015 13:00:32 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=202803 He was arguably the greatest natural hitter of his generation. He was idolized by hometown fans and feared by those he competed against. He was the one guy opposing pitchers vowed not to be beaten by. His batting stance was copied in ball fields and backyards across the country. He was a World Series champion. He even had a cool nickname.

Am I talking about Charlie Hustle or Shoeless Joe?

pete-rose-e1426541102609

On Sept 11, 1985, Pete Rose became Baseball’s all-time hit leader, shattering a record many experts believed would stand forever. By the time he retired he was first in hits, singles, games played, AB and had appeared in 17 All-Star Games. But despite being perhaps the greatest hitter to walk onto a diamond Pete Rose is not in the Hall of Fame.

Days ago, in the face of growing support to have Rose’s lifetime ban lifted, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred upheld the 1989 decision in the Dowd Report. Manfred stated Rose was “misleading” in a recent meeting.

“Rose initially denied betting on baseball currently and only later in the interview did he ‘clarify’ his response to admit such betting,” Manfred wrote in his decision.

I applaud the Commissioner’s verdict to not be swayed. In the face of growing pressure, Manfred put the integrity of the National Pastime first.

In 1989, Rose agreed to a permanent inclusion on Baseball’s Ineligibility List, claiming there is “a factual reason for the ban.” In 2010, at a function attended by several former teammates, the hard-edged Rose openly wept, acknowledging he had “disrespected baseball” and promised to never do it again.

In 2004, he confessed to gambling on baseball. Attorney John Dowd who’d been retained by Commissioner Bart Giamatti revealed that Rose bet anywhere from $2000 to $10000 per game from 1985 through 1987 while managing Cincinnati. In ‘87 alone he bet on nearly one-third of all Reds games, games that as manager he had a direct impact on. Although Rose maintained he only bet on his team, never against them, there is no discrepancy in Rule 21 section D:

Any player, umpire, or club, or league official, or employee, who shall bet any sum whatsoever upon any baseball game in connection with which the bettor has a duty to perform shall be declared permanently ineligible.

Men enshrined in Cooperstown’s hallowed halls are there for what they did on the field, not off the field. The Hall of Fame includes racists, bigots, anti-Semites. If character was a judge of baseball brilliance there’d be plenty more wall space.

Granted, we are a forgiving society. But Baseball has always governed itself. And Pete Rose broke those rules.

Like Reggie Jackson or Pedro Martinez or Bryce Harper, Rose was one of those guys you loved to hate. Still, for us fans who witnessed the legends’ fall from grace in 1989, it was damn heartbreaking. Twenty five years ago the thought of Rose even being considered for eligibility was inconceivable, especially when you recall Commissioner Giamatti died only eight days after handing down his decision.

If Rose was to be enshrined does this open the door for more rule breakers to receive the same honor? A generation from now, as time passes, will the public be clamoring for others to be immortalized? Will people look back on the 90’s and laugh at the overreaction to steroids?

gil-hodges-aims

How would you feel bringing your children or grandchildren to Cooperstown one day and seeing Roger Clemens’ plaque alongside Tom Seaver’s? Or seeing Alex Rodriguez a few feet from Ralph Kiner? Would you be able to explain why Rafael Palmeiro is enshrined and Gil Hodges is not?

The tide is turning. More than 60% now feel Rose’s ban should be lifted. He worked as an analyst during the post-season on FOX and was granted permission to participate in All-Star Game activities this past year in Cincinnati.

Personally, I’m against Rose being respected alongside iconic heroes like Mickey Mantle and Cal Ripken and Willie Mays. However, if Rose is one day included in this elite brotherhood I feel that another player must be enshrined first.

Shoeless-Joe-Jackson

Rose was found guilty of betting on Baseball for at least three full seasons. Joe Jackson was accused of accepting bribe money for 8 games and subsequently banned for life.

Life. He died more than 60 years ago.

The 1919 Chicago White Sox were one of the greatest teams in baseball’s young history and were expected to crush the NL Champion Reds. As we all know The Black Sox lost 5 games to 3.  Eight players were in on the fix. However, unlike Rose, who admitted his guilt in gambling, Jackson’s involvement is cloudier.

His .375 BA in the Fall Classic was the highest of any player on either team. He hit the Series’ only home run. He handled 30 chances in the OF without incident or making an “error.” He threw to the correct cut-off man every time. The film Eight Men Out argued the point that Jackson, who was illiterate, did not comprehend what he was getting involved in, going so far as to argue he only consented after teammate Swede Risberg threatened Jackson’s family.

Jackson himself asserted that on two occasions he refused to accept the $5,000 bribe, despite the fact it was more than double his annual salary. Teammate Lefty Williams, who was in on the fix, flung the cash onto Jackson’s bed in a hotel room and walked out just prior to the first pitch of Game One. Shoeless Joe tried to contact Sox owner Charlie Comiskey to advise him what was going down. Comiskey refused to speak with his star player.

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It seems unlikely that Jackson, who rivaled Ty Cobb in prominence, would tarnish his own legacy. This was a man who averaged an unheard of 397 over his first three seasons in the majors. By Game One of the 1919 World Series he was just 32 years old and had averaged 331 over his previous 3 seasons. Unlike co-conspirator Chick Gandil this was not an aging player with diminishing talent in the twilight of his career. Jackson’s lifetime BA of 356 is third best in history, behind only Cobb and Rogers Hornsby.

The eight men in question were acquitted of any wrongdoing. Yet, Commissioner Kennesaw Mountain Landis overruled the courts and banned the players for life.

Years later, the seven men out disclosed Jackson was never present in a single meeting with gambler Arnold Rothstein. In 1951, Jackson had agreed to “finally set the record straight” in an exclusive interview. Sadly, as arrangements for the tell-all were being ironed out, Shoeless Joe died of a heart attack. He was just 61.

If Rose, who admitted his mistake, is granted access to the game’s Holy Land, then shouldn’t Joe Jackson, whose guilt is questionable, be honored first?

In 1920 eight men were forever excoriated with fixing the World Series. Commissioner Landis wrote the following:

Regardless of the verdict of juries…no player who sits in confidence with a bunch of crooked ballplayers and gamblers, where the ways and means of throwing a game are discussed and does not promptly tell his club about it, will never play professional baseball.

If Landis’s statement was good enough for Shoeless Joe, isn’t it good enough for Charlie Hustle?

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MLB Players React To Chase Utley Breaking Ruben Tejada’s Leg http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/10/mlb-players-react-to-chase-utley-breaking-ruben-tejadas-leg.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/10/mlb-players-react-to-chase-utley-breaking-ruben-tejadas-leg.html/#comments Sun, 11 Oct 2015 06:27:27 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=196131 ruben tejada pain

There are no shortage of reactions from around baseball on the dirty take-out slide by Chase Utley that resulted in a broken leg for Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada.

Terry Collins – “Broke my shortstop’s leg, that’s all I know. I’m not going to get into it. It’s over. It’s done. Not much we can do about it except come out in a couple days and get after it.”

Justin Turner – “I think everyone knows how hard Chase plays the game and did what everyone would do going hard to break up the double-play. Unfortunately the ball put Ruben in kind of a bad position to be there. We don’t want to see anyone get hurt, but hopefully, I know it’s a fracture, but he’s a good friend of mine. I hope it’s not too bad and doesn’t effect anything with his career.”

Kelly Johnson – “The issue is, he hit our shortstop first, before hitting the dirt. At what point is that illegal? At what point do we say, ‘Hey, we missed something here?’ We have rules at home plate to protect our guys, what’s the difference. Ruben stuck his next out there and before he could get the ball out of his glove he’s getting tackled. I don’t get it. It’s sad.”

Joe Torre – “After viewing all relevant angles, the Replay Official definitively determined that the fielder’s foot was not in contact with second base at any time when he had possession of the ball. The fact he was called out means he was not required to touch second base. When the play is overturned he’s awarded second base. If they had tagged Utley before he went off the field he would have been out.”

Adrian Gonzalez – “Chase is trying to break up the double play. At the end of the day, the replay confirmed it all, it was as big play for us. The slide saved a victory. We get another win and then we have our two big guys going for us again.”

Jose Reyes – That was a really weak attempt at a slide by Chase Utley.

David Wright – “Only Chase knows what his intent was. There is the way to play the game hard. I have a problem with the play on a number of different levels. He’s a second baseman. If he wants guys sliding like that into him, then it’s perfectly fine. He knows how to play the game. If he doesn’t mind guys coming in like that when he’s turning a double play, then we don’t have any problem with it. It’s a legal slide. It’s within the rules. But somebody is going to get hurt.”

Michael Cuddyer – “That’s not a slide. That’s a tackle. That’s for you to decide if tackling is legal in baseball.”

Shane Victorino - ”Always called him one of my toughest teammates. Utley showing why I always called him a winner. Never wanna see anyone get hurt but I have seen worse but the magnitude of this one will bring up a lot of debate for sure.”

Pedro Martinez – “A lot of people are fuming in New York. I have a hard time watching this play, not because of what happened to Tejada. But just watching Utley up close, it seemed to me like he never had the intention of sliding and breaking up the double play. He went straight after Tejada. And that is something that is mind-boggling coming from a second baseman. It kind of bothers me to see that.”

Gary Sheffield – “This is baseball. It’s the shortstop’s job to know where the runner is. Any time a runner can take him out, he’s going to take him out. He’s coming in there like a bulldog, and you never turn your back on a runner like that. He should’ve just gotten the out and not tried for the double play.”

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I’m Ready For The Return Of Harvey Days http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/01/im-ready-for-the-return-of-harvey-days.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/01/im-ready-for-the-return-of-harvey-days.html/#comments Thu, 08 Jan 2015 19:14:19 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=172651 New York Mets Matt Harvey

Jerry Crasnick of ESPN listed righthander Matt Harvey among his 15 Most Interesting People of 2015.

“After six straight losing seasons and some serial belt-tightening under the Wilpon family, the Mets have legitimate reason for excitement behind their young pitching nucleus.”

“A lot hinges on the performance of Harvey, who displayed ace-caliber stuff and serious star quality before blowing out his elbow and undergoing Tommy John surgery in October 2013. He’ll try to return to top form amid a Stephen Strasburg-type innings watch this season.”

Last month, Kevin Kernan of the NY Post caught up with soon to be Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez, who is very impressed with Harvey, calling the Mets ace “as good as anyone in the game.”

“He’s got everything he needs. He’s got toughness, he’s got desire, he’s got fire, he knows how to pitch, he is a competitor and he is smart. He has the entire package. Harvey is the key to the Mets in every way.”

Pedro added that he enjoys watching Harvey pitch and gets excited when he catches one of his starts.

The plan for Harvey according to Terry Collins is to hold him back until the Mets home opener at Citi Field on April 13 against the Phillies.

The Mets will also pitch him on five days rest occasionally, and may consider shutting him down for two weeks around the All Star break so he would be available to pitch in the postseason should the team make it that far.

I’ll tell you one thing, count me among those who are anxiously awaiting the return of Harvey Days. There was something special about watching every one of his starts that hearkened back to the way I felt whenever Tom Seaver used to take the mound. That confident swagger that you just can’t teach. I wish the 2015 season would hurry up and get here already!

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True Mets Fans Don’t Settle – The Billboards Are A Go! http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/01/true-mets-fans-dont-settle-the-billboards-are-a-go.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/01/true-mets-fans-dont-settle-the-billboards-are-a-go.html/#comments Thu, 08 Jan 2015 17:28:07 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=172804 METS BILLBOARD

What may have seemed like an impossible mission only two weeks ago, came to fruition tonight as the $5,000 funding needed to erect two billboards on Roosevelt Ave. was exceeded with well over a week left to go.

Gary Palumbo, who decided he had had enough of the way Mets ownership has embarrassed and mishandled the team over the years, took a stand and decided he wanted to let the team owners know how he felt.

billboard

The actual messages that these billboards will contain has not been made official yet, but the intent is to let ownership know that this team is ready to take their performance to another level. Our young pitchers are armed and ready and it’s time to make some noise. Real noise.

“Mets fans have been patient through this long rebuild process,” he told me tonight. “And now it’s time for ownership to give Sandy Alderson the resources to complete the job and bring a championship back to Flushing, New York.”

I applaud Gary and the over 200 fans who joined him for their conviction, and would also send a message to Pedro Martinez, that true Mets fans never settle. Action is always better than apathy.

Lets Go Mets!

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Deal or No Deal? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/08/deal-or-no-deal.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/08/deal-or-no-deal.html/#comments Fri, 15 Aug 2014 11:24:26 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=163451 There’s an old saying in baseball, “Pitching wins championships”. As far as I can remember, that quote always rang true even if it was often overused. If you looked at the history of the game, you’d be hard pressed to find championship winning teams that were lacking in the pitching department. You don’t even have to look back that far.

David-PriceJust take the Detroit Tigers this year. They have a pitching staff already fortified with two Cy Young winners in Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer. Most teams would be happy with that and call it a day but what did the Tigers do? They traded for another Cy Young winner in David Price by working out a three team trade involving the Rays and the Mariners, with the Tigers giving up centerfielder Austin Jackson and pitcher Drew Smyly.

Now granted, getting a Cy Young winner for outfielder Austin Jackson and pitcher Drew Smyly, is easily the coup of the year if you ask me but it does beg the question, does losing your best defensive outfielder and leadoff hitter really matter if you’re making your rotation the finest in the league? Apparently losing offense matters little to Dave Dombrowski, and dare I say rightfully so.

But Dombrowski’s not the only GM in baseball willing to sacrifice some offense for top notch pitching. Billy Beane, GM of the Oakland Athletics, traded outfielder Yoenis Cespedes to the Boston Red Sox for stud ace Jon Lester and backup outfielder Jonny Gomes. Am I the only one who see’s the pattern here?

All of this is leading me back home, to the New York Mets fan base, eager and rightfully wanting their team to be relevant again, who began demanding that Sandy Alderson trade their top prospect, pitcher Noah Syndergaard and just about every other significant farmhand for Colorado Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki.

First off let me be clear, Tulo is a stud and the best offensive shortstop in the game today and arguably ever. Unfortunately, he’s also made of Balsa wood and the Mets already have had a lot of experience with expensive, fragile yet immensely talented shortstops. Even Samuel L. Jackson’s character in the movie Unbreakable cringes when Tulo slides into second on a double as does Rockies owner Dick Monfort.

MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at Colorado RockiesNow here we are post trade deadline and the Mets are still under .500 and lo and behold guess what we find out, Troy Tulowitzki will have season ending surgery on a torn labrum in his hip. Somehow all the voices wanting Tulo soo bad have been quieted as if their Alderaan was just destroyed by the dreaded Death Star known as the Disabled List. Now if you didn’t know any better you’d think that Tulo actually had the (mis?)fortune of becoming a Met since this injury would be the typical initiation into the orange and blue, but no.

You see Tulo has a history of leg issues dating back to 2008 when he tore his left quadriceps tendon. That along with the fact that he’s on the wrong side of 30, has a mammoth contract which pays him guaranteed money (157 million) until 2020, and you could say that those factors pretty much made Alderson’s decision for him. Oh yeah and Alderson would have had to mortgage the farm for him too.

So here’s the quandary (for SOME Mets fans). Do we trade a potential future Cy Young winner, because you know they grow on trees, or do you bite the bullet and build around the promise of an amazing pitching staff, supplanting your offense by developing players from within (Wilmer Flores, Brandon Nimmo, Michael Conforto, and Dominic Smith) and perhaps a free agent on a short term basis? Sure, Sandy could package Syndergaard and Montero and a few others and make a run at a bat but then again, so did Fred Claire.

You see Fred traded Pedro Martinez when he was with the Los Angeles Dodgers, an organization well known for their pitching excellence, for – wait for it – Delino DeShields. Yeah, the Dodgers needed a second baseman and a leadoff hitter and they got three incredibly unproductive years from DeShields whereas Pedro went on to be, well, Pedro. You think Claire wishes he had a do-over with that one?

Not all deals involving trading pitchers turn out that dramatically lopsided but can you seriously imagine Noah Syndergaard ending up in Colorado or Miami or wherever and becoming the next “Pedro”? That would be quite the legacy for Sandy to leave wouldn’t it? I guess Mets fans shouldn’t worry it’s not like this team has ever done anything like that before. I mean it’s not like they traded Nolan Ryan for Jim Fregosi. Ok, that was a low blow.

Sometimes you just have to go with the hand you have and right now, the Mets are holding potential aces. You don’t find arms like the Mets have that easily. Great offensive players, especially outfielders, are scarce in MLB right now (PED testing anyone?) so it’s not just the Mets who are looking for offense. But to have the potential pitching studs and to just trade them for a “name” is just dumb. Especially if the player everyone wants – while great when healthy – makes peanut brittle look like Kevlar.

Sorry, no deal.

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Spring Shots: Mets Baseball in Port St. Lucie http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/02/spring-shots-mets-baseball-in-port-st-lucie.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/02/spring-shots-mets-baseball-in-port-st-lucie.html/#comments Tue, 11 Feb 2014 16:21:21 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=147708 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

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This Day In Mets Infamy With Rusty: Random Thoughts On Granderson http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/12/this-day-in-mets-infamy-with-rusty-random-thoughts-on-granderson.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/12/this-day-in-mets-infamy-with-rusty-random-thoughts-on-granderson.html/#comments Sun, 08 Dec 2013 16:31:10 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=134810 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.”

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The Curtis Granderson Story: Have We Seen This Movie Before? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/12/the-curtis-granderson-story-have-we-seen-this-movie-before.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/12/the-curtis-granderson-story-have-we-seen-this-movie-before.html/#comments Sat, 07 Dec 2013 16:32:53 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=134706 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.

ap-granderson-hurtjpg-6284dac22f1ef341_large

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.

Jason+Bay+New+York+Mets+Announce+Jason+Bay+aky-B7YqwDOl

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.

stats

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.

JOSE REYES EN LO MARLINS 2012

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.

robert_plant-led_zeppelin

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.

mmo

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Clayton Kershaw, Max Scherzer Grab Cy Young Awards http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/11/clayton-kershaw-max-scherzer-grab-cy-young-awards.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/11/clayton-kershaw-max-scherzer-grab-cy-young-awards.html/#comments Thu, 14 Nov 2013 00:31:38 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=132926 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.

Max-Scherzer

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

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.

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Reverting Back to “You Gotta Believe” http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/08/reverting-back-to-you-gotta-believe.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/08/reverting-back-to-you-gotta-believe.html/#comments Wed, 14 Aug 2013 17:19:56 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=127131 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.

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Having Cash vs Spending Cash: There Is A Difference You Know… http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/having-cash-vs-spending-cash-there-is-a-difference-you-know.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/having-cash-vs-spending-cash-there-is-a-difference-you-know.html/#comments Fri, 19 Jul 2013 14:22:24 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=125313 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.

turtle

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Baseball’s All-Time Underachievers: 2006-2008 Mets? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/06/baseballs-all-time-underachievers-2006-2008-mets.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/06/baseballs-all-time-underachievers-2006-2008-mets.html/#comments Fri, 28 Jun 2013 17:23:22 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=123310 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.

carlos_beltran_jose_reyes

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Take Me Out To The Brawl Game: Mets’ Greatest Hits http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/06/take-me-out-to-the-brawl-game-mets-greatest-hits.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/06/take-me-out-to-the-brawl-game-mets-greatest-hits.html/#comments Wed, 12 Jun 2013 16:02:38 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=121792

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…

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Is Ike Davis Really Mike Jacobs Reincarnated? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/05/is-ike-davis-really-mike-jacobs-reincarnated.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/05/is-ike-davis-really-mike-jacobs-reincarnated.html/#comments Wed, 22 May 2013 12:11:04 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=119545 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.

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Is Collins The Blame For Team’s Poor Performance, Or Is He Just The Patsy? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/05/is-collins-the-blame-for-teams-poor-performance-or-is-he-just-the-patsy.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/05/is-collins-the-blame-for-teams-poor-performance-or-is-he-just-the-patsy.html/#comments Sun, 19 May 2013 14:21:30 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=119316 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…

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The Dominator: Rafael Montero Mows Them Down http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/05/the-dominator-rafael-montero-mows-them-down.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/05/the-dominator-rafael-montero-mows-them-down.html/#comments Wed, 08 May 2013 17:24:36 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=117863 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.

 

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Wright Questionable For Tonight, But Not As Questionable As Collins’ Recent Moves http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/04/wright-questionable-for-tonight-but-not-as-questionable-as-collins-recent-moves.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/04/wright-questionable-for-tonight-but-not-as-questionable-as-collins-recent-moves.html/#comments Tue, 30 Apr 2013 19:14:15 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=116936 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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“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.’’

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Why Do Mets Pitchers March To The Beat Of Their Own Drums? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/03/why-do-mets-pitchers-march-to-the-beat-of-their-own-drums.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/03/why-do-mets-pitchers-march-to-the-beat-of-their-own-drums.html/#comments Fri, 22 Mar 2013 13:22:41 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=111508 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?

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