Metsmerized Today – Amazin’ Ron Taylor, Beware of Sheets, Bobby V

We have a special treat for you this morning. Our friends over at Bugs and Cranks, had an opportunity to interview former Mets reliever and one of the heroes of the 1969 Mets, Ron Taylor.

Taylor recorded nine wins and set a then-team record 13 saves for the ‘69 Metropolitans, the first of three consecutive seasons Taylor accomplished the feat. And despite solid regular season numbers, Taylor was at his best on the biggest stage – October. In six post-season games between the Cardinals (1964 World Series) and the Mets, Taylor accumulated three saves without allowing a single run.

Who was one player, or what was one aspect of that ‘69 Mets club that has never gotten their just due for their contributions to that championship? Lost in the shuffle, so to speak.

Jerry Grote. He was an All-Star catcher, and he was the one that made that pitching staff great.

You saved Game 2 of the ‘69 World Series, and earned a save in Game 1 and a win in Game 2 of that year’s NLCS — what was it like stepping onto that stage for such an improbable team?

At that point, we were such a close team that we didn’t think about outside perceptions. We just felt that we had a great team, a great chemistry, and I had no problems at all about going out there and pitching against Atlanta and Baltimore. I just felt that I could do the job.

Here are just two of my favorite questions from their fantastic interview, check out the full interview by clicking here.

Did you notice how Gary Sheffield hobbled from first base to third base during last nights loss against the Pirates? Gary Cohen first supposed that he might be hurt, but this morning Adam Rubin confirms it and counts him among the Mets’ walking wounded.

Sheffield moved gingerly going from first to third on Jeremy Reed’s third-inning double, then labored going after Adam La Roche’s double to right-center off Pedro Feliciano in the eighth. He acknowledged afterward that he’s been dealing with discomfort behind his right knee. Sheffield pledged to fight through the trouble by being smart about exerting himself. He noted he still stole second base in the 11th inning Friday to set up the winning run.

In that same article, Rubin informs us that Alex Cora will be activated from the disabled list today, and replace the injured Angel Pagan on the 25-man roster.

The Mets may be very close to getting shortstop Jose Reyes back as soon as he is eligible to be activated this Friday. Steve Popper checks in on him down at Port St. Lucie.

Jose Reyes and Ryan Church took live batting practice in Port St. Lucie, Fla., with no problems and are scheduled to play in an extended spring game today. If all goes according to plan, Reyes will play two extended spring games, take a day off Thursday and be activated to join the Mets on Friday in Washington. Church is eligible to return Sunday.

This one if for all of you Bobby V lovers out there. Apparently, according to The Record’s Bob Klapisch, Bobby Valentine wouldn’t mind stepping back into the fold as an MLB manager, and he’s as good as gone from he Japanese gig come 2010.

Bobby Valentine is too smart to come out and say he covets another shot at the big leagues – Mets, Yankees, Dodgers, whatever – but given the friction with his current Japanese bosses, you can make book on this: The man is heading home in 2010.

“What I’ve learned from experience is that there’s no way an outsider can win the battle of words here,” Valentine said by telephone recently. That means some general manager inevitably will be tempted by Bobby V’s unique blend of managerial and personality skills – OK, his eccentricities. Who knows, it might even be Omar Minaya.

Everyone it talking about trades these days and thats just fine with me. I love trade rumors and the Hot Stove season. The Mets can certainly use some help, and one name I keep hearing again and again, is that of the oft-injured starting pitcher, Ben Sheets. Andrew Marchand, caught up with his agent yesterday and wrote,

I just got off the phone with Ben Sheet’s agent, who would not comment at all where Ben Sheets might end up. But he could be a low-risk, high reward option for the Mets.

His agent, Casey Close, says they are not going to make any comments right now. He wouldn’t even say how Sheets is doing so it is unclear where he is in his rehab.When he had his elbow surgery in February he was supposed to be out four-to-six months, which would mean he possibly could be ready next month.

I don’t like the smell of that at all. Most agents won’t stop gushing about how well their free agents are doing and how great they look. For Casey Close to remain so tight-lipped about his client Sheets who is hoping to pitch again this season, really makes me want to step back and look elsewhere for help.

That’s all for today, keep bleeding’ orange and blue!

About Joe D 7943 Articles
I'm a lifelong Mets fan who loves writing and talking about the Amazins' 24/7. From the Miracle in 1969 to the magic of 1986, and even the near misses in '73, '00 and '15, I've experienced it all - the highs and the lows. I started Mets Merized Online in 2005 to feed my addiction and interact with other passionate Met fans like you. Follow me on Twitter @metsmerized.