As stated here and on other sites, the repartee of Gary Cohen, Ron Darling, Keith Hernandez and Kevin Burkhardt have helped take the edge off another unfulfilling season by the NY Mets. Last night was no exception.
Just as I was ready to switch over to the Rays-Jays game, Gary Cohen brought up the comments by Wally Backman about the Mets managerial job. Wally kind of hinted that some of the moves that Jerry Manuel has made this season are not particularly the same ones he would have made as Mets manager. No one is better than setting up his partners like Cohen and this subject got Hernandez and Darling going and we were off to the drag races.
Darling seemed offended by Wally’ statement saying there should be some sort of code of conduct between mangers. Hernandez then added it wasn’t such a bad thing like when Gary Carter practically put his thump and pinky to his ear during an interview and mouthed ‘Call me Jeff” into the camera. Darling agreed and you can just tell that back in the day, Kid Carter was a handful in the clubhouse. Hernandez then went on to let us know that Wally likes to talk. He mentioned that when the Mets were to play the Astros in Game 5 of the 1986 NLCS Backman was crowing in the clubhouse how the Mets were going to win that game. Hernandez said he went over to Backman and told him to keep quiet, and reminded him that Nolan Ryan was pitching (against Dwight Gooden in one of the great post season match ups as Ryan K’d 12 and walked just 1 in 9 inns while Doc pitched 10 innings and got a ton of ground ball outs as the Mets won the game in 12 innings on a Gary Carter single scoring guess who? Wally Backman) to which Backman replied in his Wally Way “Who gives a fuck”!
From there the SNY camera got a glimpse of Roger McDowell on the Braves bench and Hernandez had us all gather around the 50’’ Sony HD TV to hear the how Roger McDowell hated Gregg Jefferies guts. Keith brought up, as he has a many occasion (you get the feeling that Richie Hebner would be given a warmer welcome into the Mets Alumni than Gregg Jefferies ) how Jefferies was the only player on the team to have his own private bag for his bats, and Keith blamed Charlie Samuels for that as Darling added “you blame Charlie for everything” and the trio of announcers had a good laugh. Hernandez continued on how this burned the other players ass’s and McDowell had had enough of this little prima donna getting preferential treatment and proceeded to take Jeffries bats and tossed them from the bag out into the parking lot at Shea. That yarn brought back memories of when Soldier of Fortune aficionado Randy Myers and McDowell took Jefferies bats and sawed them in half. I have mentioned here a few times when John Franco joined the Mets in 1990 he tried very hard to get Jefferies to understand he needs to be more of a “we” guy than the me guy he was and to that end Franco invited Jeffieries for a night on the town in Bay Ridge Brooklyn. Franco was an acquaintance of a few of my friends so I’ve gotten to meet him on a few occasion so when he walked into the club where my buddies and I were hanging out, with Jefferies, we thought we were set for a pretty good night of partying. Well, after just about an hour at the club (The Penthouse for all you old disco types from Brooklyn out there) Jefferies was hitting on every woman in the place and nearly got the living shit kick out of him for it. Lucky for him the bouncers at the club were teammates of ours from our Staten Island Touch Tackle League team (Someday I’ll tell the story of when I ran down former Notre Dame and Pittsburgh Steelers QB Terry Hannraty for a sack, the highlight of my journeyman athletic career) so Jefferies was spared a Bay Ridge beat down. Also that was the last time Franco ever invited Jefferies out for even a cup of coffee. When I was managing teams in Staten Island Little League, Franco’ son JJ was in the league and John would come watch him play when he could, When I saw him one evening at the complex I went to say hi and he said “Geez I see you everywhere around the Island (Franco lived just a few block from me on Staten Island) I laughed and then I asked him if he still kept in touch with Jefferies, Franco looked at me and said “Holy shit your were there too”?
Wow talk about making a short story long, anyway, Hernandez went on about the last game of the 1989 season when McDowell then a Phillie, and Jefferies fought as the last out of the game and season was recorded. The story in the NY Times paints a very ugly picture of that season and gives us a glimpse of the turmoil that the 90’s would bring. This quote from Phillies manager Nick Leyva sums up the feeling for Gregg Jeffries around baseball:
Nick Leyva, Philadelphia’s manager, defended McDowell by saying that Jefferies is not popular among his own teammates, then Leyva said, ”There were 30 guys on our side rooting for Roger and 20 guys on their side rooting for Roger.”
As a Mets fan, the one thing you should be rooting for right now is tonight’s game is a blow out early, maybe story time with Keith and Ron will talk about the nights at Rusty Staub’ restaurant on the East Side, that will be better than Taxi Cab Confessions.