WELCOME BACK R.A. DICKEY

A few observations on last night Mets win over the NY Highlanders:

Reports of the demise of R.A. Dickey and his knuckleball have been greatly exaggerated. The Dickster was spot on with his Dance of the Sphere With 108 Stitches, that floated through the Bronx night. The Highlanders got to R.A. for one run, on a home run by Mark Texiera that just nudge itself over the right field wall of Cheap Knock Off Stadium.  At Citi Field, Ruben Tejada gets a P4 in the score book on that bloop.

I haven’t watched many Highlander games this season but after watching them last night, my question to Highlander fans is “do they always look this feeble”?

If you thought I was a Terry Collins fanboy, how about the Mets TV announcing team? Gary, Keith, Ron and Bobby O were gushing about the job that TC has done with this team. If you’re still not convinced that this team is in tune with the manager, then how about this. Last week after a Mets win, in his post game presser, Collins out of the blue singled out the struggling Josh Thole for a great job he did behind the plate and for some great at bats. Last night when Kevin Burkhardt spoke to Daniel Murphy after the game and wanted to know about the HR he hit that proved to be the game winner, all Murph wanted to talk about was the outstanding job Dickey and the bullpen did. The Mets are starting to take on the manager’s personality.

All this Rapture, end of the world talk we’ve been hearing is pure bullshit. Nothing will happen until Justin Turner says it happens.

After watching Jose Reyes last night all I kept think was the Skill Sets better sell whatever else the own to raise money to keep Jose. If that means selling all their homes, cars and boats and moving into the Queensbridge Houses, then so be it.

Frankie Rodriguez has been so good so far this season that I only eat two Tums and one teaspoon of Maalox when he comes into a game .

The one big drawback tonight is the game is on FOX

Felt bad for F-Mart and Ruben Tejada last night as they were disrespected   by home plate ump Tim Timmons last night. F-Mart motioned to Timmons for time as Freddy Garcia went into slow down mode in the 7th and his request was denied and a strike was called as Garcia threw a pitch after Martinez stepped out of the box. Timmons then called a third strike on Tejada in the 9th inning to halt the Mets attempt  to get an insurance run.

 

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AUGUST 4, 1975: WHAT THE HELL WAS YOGI BERRA THINKING ?

After a day of trudging through the snow, slush and ice of the sidewalks of Lower Manhattan, little did I know what a wonderful reward was waiting for me when I got home, SNY was showing the 1975 Mets Yearbook and a name from the past that only Mets fans of a certain era would know, Randy Tate was the star of the show.

What you don’t remember or never heard of Randy Tate? Don’t worry you’re not alone. I vaguely remember Tate and for good reason, he not only had just one season in Flushing but that one year been the extend of his big league career.

On the night of August 4, 1975, Randall Lee Tate of Florence Alabama came close to becoming the first Mets pitcher to hurl a no hitter. As we all know, the Mets have not had a pitcher throw a no hitter in their history, but Randy Tate joins the ranks of those who came close, as Tate held the Montreal Expos hitless for  7 innings and the Mets held a 3-0 lead. Tate was dominating through 7 as he K’d 10 and walked 4 which for Tate was a great ratio as his season tally of BB/K was 86/99 in 137.2 IP. Tate came into the game with a 4-9 record after his last start against the Cardinals that lasted just 1.2 innings and got his tits lit for 5 runs on 5 hits and 5 walks. Tate was a back end of the rotation guy, along with Hank Webb. The front end of the staff by the way was 22 game winner Tom Seaver along with Jerry Koosman and Jonathan Trumpbour Matlack.

The Mets scored all of their runs in the 5th inning of this game as Jerry Grote singled and went to second base on a wild pitch by Expos starter Dan Warthen (Yes, our own pitching coach Old School Dan Warthen) The 8 hole batter, Jack Heidemann (what a head of hair Heidemann had back then) walked. Randy Tate then tried to lay down a sac bunt but he bunted right at Old School Warthen who wheeled and threw to Larry Parrish at third to force out Grote. Gene Clines the Mets centerfielder and lead off man stepped up and hit a triple down the right field line that scored Heidemann and Tate. Second baseman Felix Milan hit a ball down to first base that Mike Jorgensen misplayed and Milan was safe and Clines scored the third run of the inning and the game. Jesus Alou flied out to left field and the inning was over.

Tate was strong through six but in the seventh inning he started to show signs of fatigue. He walked rookie catcher Gary Carter and Parrish but was helped out by two force plays and a key strikeout of 2B Pete Mackanin .

Now remember, the manager of the Mets at this time was one Lawrence Peter Berra, who was hanging on to his job by a bare thread. Berra was not very popular in the clubhouse especially by his pitchers as he had never lived down not going with a rested George Stone in Game 6 of the 1973 World Series with the Mets up 3game to 2 over the A’s but making a bad move by going with Tom Seaver on 3 days rest and then going with Jon Matlack on 3 days rest when he could have had both his pitchers on 4 days rest in case of a game 7.

The Mets go down in order in the bottom of the 7th with Tate making the last out. On to the top of the 8th.

Expos manager, Gene Mauch goes right to his bench as he sends up Jose Morales to hit for Pepe Frias. Tate K’s Morales. Jim Lyttle now comes up to bat for pitcher, the pride of Glen Cove LI, Don DeMola. You’d have to figure that Tate was getting a bit weary on the mound. I don’t know what the weather was that night but August nights in NYC are usually warm and humid and Tate had thrown just an average of 4.2 IP in his last five starts but Tate was just 5 outs away from becoming the first Mets pitcher to toss a no hitter, but first he would have to get Lyttle out.

There weren’t many people at Shea that night as the paid attendance of 10, 720 shows but you can bet they were making as much noise as if the place were packed. That was one thing about Shea when the die hards hung around they were a noisy bunch. I can imagine the clapping and cheering as Lyttle stepped into the batters box to face Tate.

All the clapping and cheering turn to moans and groans on one pitch that Lyttle connected with to singled to left field to break up the no-hitter and spoil the greatest day Randy Tate ever had as a major league pitcher. Now that the no hitter was by the boards, it was time to concentrate on winning the game.

You’d have to think that Yogi Berra would have his bullpen up and have a fresh arm ready to close out the last five outs and preserve the win. Well, Tate stayed in the game and then walked the next batter Pepe Mangual to bring the tying run to the plate and still no movement from the manager. Tate then gave Berra a false sense of security by striking out Jim Dwyer, so with two out and one on up stepped Gary Carter, rookie Gary Carter. Again no change in pitcher and Tate is now up into the high 120’s in his pitch count as he gives up a single to Carter that plates Lyttle to make it 3-1 Mets. So the no-no and the shutout are gone and the go ahead run in former Met Mike Jorgensen is strolling to home plate. Still no pitching change by Yogi Berra.

I would love to know what was being said in the Mets dugout as this was playing out on the field. Rube Walker was still on staff as pitching coach and of course Tom Seaver was there as well. I can’t believe that Walker wasn’t looking to get his pitcher out of the game and get a new arm in the game, just from reading the play by play of this game I’m breaking out in a cold sweat.

Now remember Jorgensen was shipped out by the Mets to Montreal along with Ken Singleton and Crazy Horse Foli for Rusty Staub , no doubt he wanted to make his ex-team suffer and sure enough he did by hitting a 3 run home run to put the Expos ahead 4-3.

What in the world was Yogi thinking of not going to the bullpen? Tate had to be on fumes at this point in the game so it seems unless his arm fell off Tate was not coming out this game. Thankfully he got Larry Bitinger ot ground out to end this excruciatingly painful inning. Tate lost his no hitter, shutout and game and maybe his career in this 8th inning. Sad.

The Mets went down without a fight in the 8th and 9th and what could you expect as their manager showed no leadership in this game.

The next day the Mets and Expos played a twi-night double header and the Expos won both games by identical 7-0 scores, after the game, GM Joe McDonald (on orders I’d imagine from M .Donald Grant ) fired Yogi Berra and named Roy McMillan the interim manager. For Randy Tate, the change of manager came a day to late.

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GREETINGS FROM THE HOUSE OF MOUSE

Just have a minutte here to say hi from Disney World. Saturday I listened to Angel Pagan hit that 8th inning granny that proved to be the game winner. I see last night Big Pelf was not on his game and tonight Nelly Figs is back and starting.

I see I struck a nerve with my Billy Joel comments but like I say his is not the kind of music I listen to and it’s pretty weak to plat th elast concert at Shea and be a New Yorker and give in to Phillyfans by wearing thier colors.

Speaking of Philly fans there were a lot of them in the Magic Kingdom all of them in thier new Phillies cap andnew shirts all bandwaggon jumpers.

Tons of Rays fans as you wouls suspect and many Cardinal fans but the biggest group here are the English soccer fans with Everton the team most fancy.

GTG later

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A BIG HANG WITH ‘EM

It had the makings of a wonderful evening. The Mets with a three run lead heading to the 7th inning which has become close to automatic as the bullpen has gone from a house of horrors to as confident as one can be and still call themselves a Mets fan.

 

First there was the kicking around of Cole Hamels and then Big Pelf getting his back up on Chase Utley demanding that he “get the fuck back in the box” this game had season changer written all over it but of course it turned as it can only turn for the NY Mets.

 

First Carlos Beltran, of all people, misplayed a fly where he should not have jumped up that cost the Mets a run and got Pelfrey relived of his pitching duties. Sean Green came in and he has quietly turned his season around but gave up a hit and a run. Then Carlos Ruiz hit a ball down to D-Wright who either got caught in between or tried to rush the throw home couldn’t find a handle and Ibanez scored to make it 4-3. Rollins then hit into a fielder choice and the game was now tied at 4. Green gave up one legit hit in the inning. Hang with ‘em Sean.

 

The Mets had tons of chances after that (and before that as well as the old left the runners hanging reared it’s ugly head again in this game) in the bot of 7th  Daniel Murphy left the bags loaded, D-Wright left two on in the 8th, Castillo left a couple on in the 9th , but the killer was in the 10th.

 

Fernando Martinez got a clutch 2 out base hit as a pinch hitter and then D-Wright came thisclose to making up for his error as he drove a ball to the opposite field and Jayson Werth  made a spectacular play that was a sink or swim catch, if Werth misses that ball, F-Mart scores the game winner and the headline today would be the gritty, gutsy Mets coming back after losing a three run lead and not giving up and closing to a game of first place but no instead we talking about RISP, did Big Pelf have another melt down, Wright’s error and the comeback by the Phillies. Talk about a game of inches.    

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