Was Last Night’s No Hitter The Start Of Something Bigger ?

 

This post will be all over the place, so let me apologize in advance because I still can’t get my thoughts all in one place after watching Johan Santana’s no hitter last night. What has me all verklempt is this was more than just the first no hitter in the history of the NY Metropolitan Baseball Club, it was more a display of what this little thing of ours, being a Mets fan means. If the non-believers don’t grasp the concept of Mets fandom after last night, they never will and that’s their loss.

The look of determination on the face of Santana will stay with me for a long, long time as will the image of Terry Collins who was put in the worst spot of al,l worrying about the health of his Ace and the historical place this game was headed. Later we would learn that Santana would sing his own version of The Weight as he told Collins he was not coming out of this game taking the load off the manager and putting on him.

I thought of Josh Thole, just activated after suffering a concussion guiding Santana along. After a week- ten days of working out in a back field of Pt. St. Lonesome to this electrifying moment, I was hoping his head wasn’t hurting.

I thought about Mike Baxter who went above and beyond the call of duty crashing into the left field wall to make a catch that is now another in memorable catches in Mets history. Watching him come off the field with Ray Ramirez holding his arm, I thought the worst but then this morning I read Baxter quotes where he said “I’ll be ok, it’s not about me it’s Johan’s night”. Baxter typified the all for one, one for all attitude this team has taken on.

I thought about Gary Cohen calling the game on SNY and Howie Rose calling the action on WFAN, they are not just the Mets play by play men, they are one of us. I feel even closer to them since we are all from the same generation who got into Mets Fandom on the ground floor. I’ve always wondered if our paths ever crossed way back when in the Upper Deck at Shea maybe during a Craig Swan start or cheering a Willie Montanez home run, complete with the stutter step home run trot. When the no hitter was “in the history books” as Howie noted, Ron Darling, who was extremely fired up in the late innings of this game, and Keith Hernandez, who was astonishing quiet maybe superstition took over, asked Gary if he thought the no hitter drought would ever be broken and without missing a beat Cohen said “NO” I got a bit misty in the eyes when Gary said that because I knew exactly where he was coming from.

I thought a lot about Johan Santana. I thought about all the hard work he put in to get back on a Major League mound and like Bobby Ojeda said on the post-game show pitching “on back fields in front of tumble weed and three legged dogs”. This is part of the professional athletes life that many fans either ignore or just don’t care about. The work that Santana put in after his shoulder surgery is what separates him as one of the top pitchers in MLB to the guy holding on or trying to get a roster spot. All pitchers at this level can throw a baseball, it’s the few who have the work ethic and the intelligence to make the climb to the top that stand out. When Santana went down with his shoulder injury that needed surgical repair he was one of the best pitchers in baseball. He worked his ass off in rehabilitating the shoulder and in getting himself back on his game right where he left off.  After last night’s performance all those days with the physical therapist and then on the back fields of the Mets minor league complex with the sweat dripping off him to the scrutiny of Dan Warthen and Terry Collins in spring training to the skepticism of the media and fan base, wondering which Johan Santana we would see, has paid off big time. What we’ve seen is one of the best pitchers in Mets history and a player with the heart of a lion.

Last night was not about the owner and how much money he has or doesn’t have  nor was it about whether this team is playing over their heads, no, it was about what it’s like when you sign on to become a Mets fan. There are good days and some bad days and then there are days like yesterday that wash away all the bad.  If you’ve decided not to support this team because of your disdain for the ownership, well you’re stupid. If you learned anything last night it’s not about the Skill Sets, it’s not about the Robinson Rotunda, it’s not about the outfield walls and it’s not about the Shake Shack, it’s about the 25 players and it’s about us and for all of you who have been avoiding Citi Field, you better hop back on the bandwagon and buy some tickets and come out to watch this team play because I don’t think they are done making history, the no hitter might just be the beginning of something very special.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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PAGAN BE GONE

 

If Angel Pagan is the Mets opening day center fielder I’m going to be pissed off.  A lot of my angst over Pagan has to do with his inconsistent play especially in the outfield and some of it has to do with what is perceived as a “me” attitude that looks as if it chaps the mangers ass as well. Terry Collins was miffed when Pagan took himself out of a game last year claiming he had a stomach virus and was dehydrated but never told the manger he was headed to the porcelain palace in the clubhouse as his turn to bat was up. Pagan also bitched and moaned about batting leadoff when Jose Reyes was out with his blown up hammy, solidifying his rep as a selfish player

Mike Silva wrote a piece on how Pagan may be the best of what’s out there as far as centerfielders go, but why do the Mets always have to settle?  If it’s going to cost at least $5mil to sign Pagan why not go a couple of million more and sign David DeJesus?

DeJesus would be a upgrade over Pagan in the outfield for sure and  an upgrade in the lineup as well as DeJesus has a better ability to get on base than that of Pagan.

Sandy Alderson has targeted the pitching staff, zeroing in on the bullpen, as job one this off season but he also needs to address the defense which was one of the worst in baseball last year.  The up the middle D was especially poor (Jose Reyes by the way was -11 in Runs Saved ) so if the organization can’t afford to go all out to get some decent arms then maybe an upgrade on the defensive side would help the arms the Mets have now?

I think this post by Shannon at  Mets Police says it all about being a Mets fan.

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HEY METS FANS, WE’VE GOT OUR SUMMER BASEBALL BACK!

 

ITEM: Mets Win and Hit 2 GRAND SLAMS!!!!

I’ll tell you what? I really like this team. Sure that’s easy to say after a though ass kicking of the Detroit Tigers but I’ve had this feeling for a month or so now. First off everything Terry Collins said in the winter about the team playing hard and leaving everything they have on field has become  fact and if he sees any slacking off he addresses it as he did in Pittsburgh about a month ago. Last night, Justin Turner made a nonchalant throw to Lucas Duda at first on a routine ground ball that Miguel Cabrera hit an dogged it down  the first base line ( I bet if there was a bottle of Johnny Walker Black on the bag he’s have busted his ass) that pulled Duda off the bag rendering Cabrera safe. You can be sure that in the giddiness of the winning clubhouse, Turner was pulled to the side by his manager and told to never take a play off  and you can bet Turner won’t do that again.

My biggest problem with the Mets on the field the last couple of years was that players went through the motions and had a “who gives a shit” attitude, well that’s in the past. This team not only cares and competes; it believes that they are one of the better teams in baseball. The one thing they don’t seem to care about is the opinion of fans and media who love to harp on the negatives, another good reason to be proud of this team.

Last night Mike Silva was my guest on This Call To The Bullpen Podcast and I said to Mike that this team reminds me a bit like the 1994 NY Rangers for the fact that their team motto was “Heave-Ho” that they all pulled the rope the same way in the tug o’ war of the hockey season. Right now this team is all up on the rope and pulling it together, their 35-26 record since the awful 5-13 start proves it.

ITEM: R.A. Dickey Tells Media “Don’t Talk to Me”

Having had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing R.A. Dickey his comment last night after the Mets win doesn’t surprise me in the least:

“What you guys are doing here is a little bit ridiculous,” he said. “You guys need to be interviewing Bay and Reyes, make the night about them. If I’m even mentioned in an article, I’m going to boycott.”

When Dickey was asked during the winter about pitching to Josh Thole, he praised Thole to the heaven’s teling me “ Oh Josh, bless his soul works so darn hard and just gets better and better behind the plate every time out, I can’t wait to hook up with him this season”

That is not Dickey blowing smoke either as he is as straightforward a guy you’ll meet. He said last season the club wasn’t prepared for the second half of the season and stressed that it was as much the players fault as it was the managers. He also was candid in saying that you don’t have to be friends with all your teammates as everyone has different likes, dislikes and lifestyles but you have to have your teammates back and always support them. That is where Dickey excels as he spoke up for Jason Bay:

about Bay. “He is so steadfast in his pursuit to get better,” Dickey said. “The guy is a tireless worker. He never complains about a dadgum thing, so it’s nice to see him get a payoff for all the hard work.”

Robert Allan Dickey is a good man, teammate and a terrific pitcher.

ITEM: It’s Time To Give Nick Evans Another Shot At The Big Leagues

Nick Evans is hotter than 5th Avenue asphalt on an August afternoon. As the Buffalo Bison continue to swoon, Evans has found his hitting stoke and would make a wonderful compliment to Lucas Duda at first base. It’s time to send Jason Pridie upstate and bring back Nick Evans to Flushing. A productive right handed bat is a terrible thing to waste.

 

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MORE ON ALDERSON

Just  a few more comments on last nights conference call with Sandy Alderson, a doff of my Mets cap and a bow to the guys at Amazin’ Avenue for transcribing the entire call, thank you guys.

Last year at this time I was quite disgusted with the Mets front office, the manager, players and the owner. After listening to Alderson last night my attitude has done the ol’ 180 degree spin.  He took over an organization that had some huge cracks in its foundation and as any home owner knows cracks in the foundation spell disaster.  Alderson is not just going to patch the foundation of the Mets, he is going to rebuild it so it’s rock solid.

The Tea Party segment of the Mets fans base are clueless in their negativity on the direction of the team. For all of you dolts who are calling talk radio and ranting how you’re not going to buy tickets or Met merchandise, I guess you were happy with the past administration (for now on the past GM name will not appear on this site ever again) and maybe if the former GM get another job running a team (doubt it) you can switch your rooting interest.

Howard Megdal ran a campaign for GM this past summer on a platform of Logic, Transparency and Passion well we didn’t get Howard as Mets GM but Sandy Alderson has embraced those three characteristics very well.

So all you disgruntled so-called Mets it’s fine that you stay away from Citi Field but when the ship gets back on course don’t be a hypocrite and jump on the band wagon, use your heads and jump on now.

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WHY, SKILL SETS WHY?

So how was Christmas? Mine was outstanding but I have to work today so that sucks. I got a new NY Rangers jacket that I wanted. It has the big NEW YORK RANGERS crest on the back with the Stanley Cup years on the sleeve and was thrilled to open that on Christmas morning. So with all the hoopla yesterday I’m tired today and not really feeling like doing anything but I have work to do so I’ll just have this thought for the day.

 

The longer Manny Ramirez sits out on the free agent market the more anxious I get wanting the Mets to go out and grab him. I know the Skill Sets have said “No Way” and now it seems Omar is still interested in grabbing him but is finding resistance from the owners. Now if that is the Skill Sets position that the Mets are not players for Manny’s service I feel they have an obligation to Mets fans to explain as to why they are against this move.

 

Is it due to the monetary obligation? So far the best public offer has been the Dodgers 2yr/$44mil. So if you offered Manny/Boras say 2yr/$50mil with an option on a third year would the Dodgers top that? I doubt it. The only other serious bidder would be the Angels (although the Highlanders could bid just to show how they feel they are better than everyone else, “Hey, Pee Wee Cashman why do you wash your car with Evian”? Because that’s how us Highlanders roll motherfucker!) and even with their financial problems if the Skill Sets can’t afford to pay Manny that kind of coin then maybe Bernie Madoff should own the team.

 

If it’s Manny’s Manny Being Manny attitude then I call bullshit, because right know the attitude of the New York Mets sucks as they have been labeled as “chokers”, “losers” and “frauds” and no matter what you think of Manny Ramirez he is none of those. In fact if he would sign with the Mets a collective “OH SHIT” would be heard through out the National League none louder than in the Land of Cheesesteaks. Everyone on the Mets can be intimidated (except of Johan Santana) but Manny is never intimidated. In fact Manny is feared and no one on the Mets (except of Johan Santana) is feared

 

The longer Manny is on the market the more the pressure is on the Skill Sets to back up their words. Didn’t Jeffey Skill Sets say there is no budget and that even with the Madoof rip off didn’t he boast that the Skill Sets still had plenty of scratch? (go look it up like I told you I’m tired and now the more I write this post the more fucking cranky I’m getting) So back it  up Jeffey, Back it the fuck up and show me some balls and sign Manny Ramirez. The Mets are in dire need of a right handed bat and right in front of you is the best righty bat in the world and all it takes is money, money that you bragged about is still flowing into your pockets, that can secure this much needed bat. Manny is not a luxury item he is a neccisity.

 

I’m not on a rant because of the Highlander spending spree as my sights are on the  Phillies. That’s the team to beat and not only do I want to beat them I want them to pay for mocking the Mets and Mets fans. Yeah that’s right. Holiday sprit my ass. I want teams to look at that 2009 schedule and swallow hard and say “OH SHIT THE METS ARE COMING TO TOWN”.   You want to hate the Mets? Let’s give them something to hate a middle of the batting order with Manny-Beltran-Wright how’s that for hate?

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L MILLZ AND WIGGY ON THE TRADING BLOCK?

If it’s so bring them both back to NY. After reading this post, I too would be surprised if Jim Bowden traded Milledge (Wait a minute we’re talking Jim Bowden here just get him liquored up and he might do it) but if he went to the Phillies that would out and out suck. Now Wiggy would fill a great spot for the Mets with his righty bat, versatility and bull dog attitude (add Wiggy and Murphy and the Mets would have that much needed grit) and of course I’d welcome Milledge back to Gangsta’ Land in a heartbeat.

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