NY Mets Had A Good Weekend, But It Could Have Been A Great Weekend

The good news is the Mets are 6-3 and took 2 of 3 from the Phuck Phaces in Filthadelphia. Should they have swept?  It not only would have been very sweet but I would have had a much better vibe about this team than I do this morning if they did. Do not get me wrong, I am very happy with this start and any time you can go to Filthadelphia and win a series is a solid positive but again the Mets allowed a team to get 4 or 5 outs in an inning will be the difference between the club staying in playoff contention or dropping to the second division.  The Mets are just not good enough to make a lot of mistakes.

Mike Pelfrey had another solid start yesterday, sure that WHIP of 1.80 is not good at all and he does leave pitches up in the zones that get smashed but yesterday after the first inning that looked like the beginning of a disastrous start, Pelf made adjustments and relied a lot on his sinker, a 90+MPH sinker I might add, and got ground ball out after ground ball out. Nice job out of Pelf.

I know Mike Nickeas is here for his defense but I don’t see how he is this solid defensive receiver.  Throwing out Juan Pierre at third was more on Pierre being an idiot making the third out at third base, than Nickeas being Jerry Grote. I’ll give Nickeas a bit of a hat tip as he seems to call a decent game but his backhanding of balls in the dirt and inability to keep balls in front of him has me turned off a bit.

Teams that have 2-1 leads going into the 7th inning have to get those last 9 outs and the ones that do are the teams that are pennant contenders. So far the bullpen has done a great job (Bobby Parnell, Jon Rauch and Frank Francisco) but yesterday when the frontline relievers weren’t used and the second tier arms came in the game, the results were a disaster. It wasn’t all Ramon Ramirez, Miguel Batista and Manny Acosta’ fault as Ruben Tejada made a bad throwing error and Scott Hairston played left field like he had marbles instead of spike on his shoes but again this team has a super model thin margin of error.

Congrats to Mets Fan Rich for sending in the correct answer to yesterday’s trivia question (R.A. Dickey gave up 6 HR’s in a game tying a modern MLB record) and winning the VIP tickets to the Tribeca Film Festival showing of Knuckleball! On Saturday April 21 at 8PM. This event is open to the public for FREE. So come on down and get a chance to meet R.A. Dickey, Charlie Hough, Tim Wakefield and Jim Bouton.

 

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WHO’S #1 IN THE TOP METS METS OF ALL TIME? WHO ELSE BUT…..

The Greatest!!!!!!!

This off season Ed Marcus (a/k/a RustyJr) of Real Dirty Mets took on the project of asking his readers to send in their list of the Top 50 NY Mets of All-Time. What’s great about the list that Ed tabulated as we enter the 50th season of Mets baseball, there are three generation Mets fans, the oldtimers (my crowd) who have lived through the best and worst of this franchise, the early to mid 40’s Mets fan who aligns very close with the old timer but didn’t witness the ’69 Championship but reveled in ’86. Then there is the young guns of the Mets fandom, the 20-30 something’s who are sick and tired of the previous generations (especially the old-timers) talking about the halcyon days of the franchise.

When I look at the list (Ed has the list of the top 50 posted today but you should look in the archive of that site to read the essay he put together on each player which are well researched and well written especially for you neophyte Mets fans who need a history lesson) there were some pleasant surprises and a few head shakers as well.

At the last game at Shea Stadium, Felix Millian(#50) was introduced and fans my age were clapping and imitating Millian batting stance complete with choking up half way up on our makeshift Mets magazine/bat. More surprising to me was Little Al Jackson coming in at  #35 who has been in the organization as a player/coach/instructor from day 1. Robin Ventura was a shocker at #9 as he played only three seasons with the Mets with 1999 his best, the other two were so-so although like I told Ed I still have my “Mojo Risin’” t-shirt from the 1999 post season.

Of course I feel Ed Kranepool should have placed higher but that’s my personal bias. I can see Mike Piazza at #2 even though I’m not a big Piazza fan (Jerry Grote is still the best catcher in Mets history with Gary Carter close second) and of course the #1 choice will always be the #1 choice as he is then, now and forever THE FRANCHISE, George Thomas Seaver

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MY TOP 50 NY METS OF ALL TIME

As I posted here the other day, Ed Marcus a/k/a lagranderusty is looking for readers to post a list of top 50 Mets of all time. What follows is my 50 All Time Mets, some are no-brainers and some are “are you kidding” the names are in no particualr order:

Ed Kranepool

Tom Seaver

Jerry Grote

Jerry Koosman

Tug McGraw

Ron Hunt

Al Jackson

Bud Harrleson

Rusty Staub

Tommie Agee

Cleon Jones

Felix Milan

Jon Matlack

Dwight Gooden

Ron Darling

Sid Fernandez

Keith Hernandez

Gary Carter

Darryl Strawberry

Nolan Ryan

John Olerud

Edgado Alfonzo

Rey Ordonez

Robin Ventura

David Wright

Jose Reyes

Mike Piazza

Randy Myers

Jesse Orosco

Roger McDowell

Al Leiter

John Stearns

Todd Hundley

Craig Swan

Ron Swoboda

Frank Viola

George Theodore

John Milner

Ken Boswell

Wayne Garrett

Turk Wendell

Carlos Beltran

Lenny Dykstra

Wally Backman

Bob Ojeda

Mookie Wilson

Kevin Mc Renyolds

Cliff Floyd

Bernard Gilkey

Richie Ashburn

 

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WALLY BACKMAN, STILL PART OF THE FAMILY

As expected, Wally Backman will remain in the Mets organization as manager of the Binghamton Mets. Although there was an outcry in the some parts Metsville on Backman getting the big league job as skipper, a jump from managing short season team to a Double A team is very impressive.

Nothing sparks debate better than a list of all time players and Mike Silva has stoked the fire of Mets fans hearts with his Top 50 All Time Mets list. I will be quite curious to read the comments on Mike site over this list as I found out with Kerrel Copper writing about retiring Ed Kranepool’s #7, there is a bit of a generation gap between the guys of my generation and the 20-30 something Mets fans. 2011 will be the 25th Anniversary of the 1986 World Champs, that means the twenty something’s have never witnessed a Mets parade down the Canyon of Heroes (my old ass has seen both Mets parades) and the thirty something’s  have a vague memory of the festive day on Broadway. I don’t blame the younger Mets fans for getting tired of old farts like myself waxing poetic about the Mets of yesteryear but then again don’t discount the players of the era either.  

By the way, I e-mailed Mike with my displeasure of John Franco being ranked higher that Ed Kranepool on his list.  Same with Johan Santana at #20, a bit high. Tug McGraw and Rusty Staub should definitely be ranked higher than Santana.  Jerry Grote at #30?  Com’on way tooooooooo low and by the way all you kids better get off my lawn. What about George Theodore, Joel Youngblood, Ron Swoboda, Ron Hunt and Dennis Ribant, okay Ribant is a reach.          

The best part about the end of the holidays is that the Mets front office should be open for business next week and maybe we can start seeing some signings or trades for pitchers. Yeah I’m beyond antsy.

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EVERYONE’ S TALKIN’ METS BASEBALL

First things first, Happy Mothers Day Let’s hope the Mets bring you a nice sweep of the Giants as a Mothers Day gift.

Nice to see Mike Piazza wants to go into the Hall of Fame as a Met and quite frankly he should. Even though I’m not a big Piazza fan (I’ll still take Jerry Grote over him forget the offense Grote was a real leader and was second only to Johnny Bench who I consider the greatest catcher ever, in his era) but it would be nice to see a Mets cap on his HOF plaque.

Just to let you know the Mets are the talk of the town once again. Yesterday before our Babe Ruth game there was more talk of the Barajas walk off than their was about who we were playing. !4 boys some Mets fans some Highlander fans all agreed on one thing, just once in their lives they’d love to hit a walk off homer, not a Little League homer but a real over the fence win the game homer. Same thing last night when I went to a father-daughter dinner-dance at my daughter’s school, the dads some Mets most Highlander were talking about the Mets back to back, catcher to catcher walk off home run wins.

Wayne Coffey has a great story on Highlander trainer Gene Monahan and his fight with throat cancer. Put your fan allegiance aside and pray for Geno.

Hank White takes a pie from Alex Cora after his walk off blast. Who will be the hero today (I Like Ike)

LMillz got caught again with his head down the other night thinking he had a home run when it hit off the wall. Milledge thought it was a grand slam his first in the bigs,  the Pirate and Cubs announcers thought is was gone, the guys who sets off the fireworks and play the music at PNC  Park thought it was gone, but as Milledge styled around second base Alfonso Soriano threw the ball in from left field to shortstop Ryan Thierot which stunned Milledge, as he ran back to 2nd base Thierot threw to Jeff Baker who tagged Millz out.

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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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SO WILL YOU CATCH ME NOW I’M FALLING

So now Josh Thole is the apple of Mets fans eye as his call up last September was love at first sight. Because of the lack of any Mets news of substance, Mets fans and bloggers are left to play GM and try to find ways to improve a team that not only is short on talent but lacking in brains and brawn as well, so a young buck like Thole is the baseball equivalent to Megan Fox. At one time Daniel Murphy was the hottest piece of tail to hit Flushing in awhile but now Mets fans treat him like he’s a used up Swedish nanny.  You folks are real love ‘em and leave ‘em types.

Of all the talk of who should be the Mets catcher for 2010 until Thole morphs into Jerry Grote/Johnny Bench, the names of Bengi Molina, Rod Barajas and Jason Vartiek make Mets fans react like they found out Jeffey Skill Sets has a long lost twin brother.

Everything I ‘ve read focuses on the offensive production of the catching position when that’s the last aspect of the position I look at. Give me a guy who can call a game in concert with the pitcher, block balls in the dirt, and throw runners out to the point they think twice about running on them and I’ll say “name your price man”

I’m not saying that young Thole is not a blue ribbon farm hand but let’s let the kid learn the trade of the tools of ignorance first. Let him play as much as possible in Buffalo and as we all know you never get through a whole season with just two catchers, so you will see him at $iti Field in 2010. But the best thing to do for the Mets is go after a vet backstop to match up with Omir Santos to start the 2010 season.

With $6.25 mil due him in 2010, the White Sox AJ Pierzynski could be had for a song or Eddie Kunz, let Kenny Williams choose. Pierzynski, just for the entertainment factor alone is worth bringing here but he also brings a decent bat with some pop, he is an above average defender and he’s bat shit crazy with just one year left on his deal, what’s not to like?

Bengi Molina wants at least 2 years so that sends up a red flag right there. Same for Rod Barajas. If you can get either guy for a year or a year plus an option, I’m fine with that. Jason Varitek for a one year deal? I think I’d rather bring back Paul LoDuca for a year, that is if he can get away from hanging with the cast of High School Musical. Henry Blanco anyone? Anyone? No one? Oh well, he can still throw out runners at a single bound and sure he’s 38 years old (which is 25 in Omar years) and he is Venezuelan and I believe on page 147, Section 2,  paragraph 4, Line 7 of Johan Santana’s contract it states that when a Venezuelan catcher is available the Mets are obligated to sign him.

So you see there are options out there for a catcher while young Thole grazes on the farm for awhile long until he’s ready for slaughter, errrrr…………. I mean Flushing.

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HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ONE AND ALL

Happy Thanksgiving to one and all and let me say how thankful I am to all of you who come to this site and read my posts and more important comment on them as well. I’m also thankful to the Mets bloggers who link to my site and also link to my posts, it’s so great to be a part of a passionate fan base that loves it’s team and doesn’t let inept management destroy their passion.

Andrew Vazzano of The Ropolitans has a posting that asks “What three Mets past or present would you invite to Thanksgiving dinner”? My three are Ed Kranepool (of course) Tom Seaver and Jerry Grote. After we got through discussing hitting and the art of pitching I’d unveil my plan to over throw the Skill Sets regime and save our Mets.

We’re so sorry but we haven’t heard a thing all day,
We’re so sorry, uncle albert, Elmer
But if anything should happen
We’ll be sure to give a ring.

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J.J. CAN’T PUTZ THE GAME AWAY

Shades of ’07 last night as the Mets scored a bunch of runs early then the offense shout down and the bullpen , well not the entire bullpen just that Putz who pitches the 8th, gave one away. If Saturday made you made then last night must have broke a blood vessel in your head.

 

First off, Livan Hernandez was hotter than a jalapeño after the game as he wanted to finish the inning and I have to say I can’t blame him as Livan wants to live up to his reputation as work horse. He threw 127 pitches in his last start but also got an extra days rest for this one and at 103 pitches he’s just hitting his stride.

 

But J-Man decided to make the move but he brought in his best reliever not named Rodriguez to finish the inning in Bobby Parnell. Why not bring in Brian Stokes in that spot with his exploding fastball and save Parnell for the 8th inning? I know JJ Putz had this incredible bullpen session with Old School Dan Werthen earlier in the day but lets face it Putz is an MRI patient ready to happen. His velocity is down a bit and his pitches are as flat as stale beer so maybe that bone spur he took a shot for is effecting him? How long will it be until Putz hears the words “Dr. Andrews will see you now”

 

Outstanding work by Landon Evanson at Bugs and Cranks with this interview of Dr. Ron Taylor the standout reliever on the 1969 World Champs. Of all the Q & A’s in interview this is made my day:

 

   Who was one player, or what was one aspect of that ‘69 Mets club that has never gotten 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.

 

What was it that Grote did that made the pitching staff great? Was it calling games or handling the staff in pressure situations? What was it that Grote did that was so important to New York’s success?

 

We had confidence in the pitches he called, we very rarely shook Jerry off. And coming into a big game, in the World Series or in the playoffs, he would go out to the mound to meet you and support you.

 

Did you see Gary Sheffield running first to third last night? My legs hurt just watching him. The 40 year old Sheff is not built for everyday wear and tear.

 

How depressing a scene was PNC Ball Park last night? Rows and rows of empty seats as far as the eye can see. I know the Pirates have stunk for almost two decades but from what you hear the ballparks is a gem so between that and the nice weather you’d think they could get at least 25,000 fans to come out to see our Metsises.

 

 

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THE $ITI NEVER SLEEPS BUT THE TEAM DOES

So where do we begin with the First Night of $iti Field?

 

The opening was very nice I hear (I Tivo’d the pre game and I’ll watch it tonight as I ran a practice for my Babe Ruth League team last night that I wanted to do an hour and lasted two hours instead ) as The Franchise and Mike Piazza staged a sequel to the closing of Shea with the first pitch at $iti. At least The Franchise stayed for the game as Piazza I guess scared of having to answer any questions about PED’s took a powder after the ceremony. Should have brought Jerry Grote in instead, he never ducked anything.

 

You know what’s missing from $iti Field? Signage  Not enough advertising signs <eye’s rolling>

 

Okay yes I get it the food is wonderful at the new ballpark. The team can’t catch and has pitching question marks and clutch hitting is still a foreign substance but the food is really good <both eyes rolling> Maybe the team will perform as good as the Shake Shack or Box Frites some day.

 

I guess Big Pelf couldn’t build off his last start where he started like shit but finished strong. I wasn’t concerned until I heard J-Man on the post game saying he was concerned about Big Pelf so now I’m concerned and I guess you should be too.

 

Like a lot of Mets bloggers I was a Heath Bell fan and thought the Mets handled him badly but you know what Heath? Time to shut the fuck up! You too Duaner, especially you Duaner. If you put half the energy into to training that you do in running your mouth you might still be here. Sanchez has questioned why he had to prove himself in spring training as he is clueless that he never stepped up when counted on last year. Enjoy San Diego fellas’ and the dog days of August when you’re in last place.

 

I know with the novelty of the new stadium (I’m going Saturday and I’m leaving my scorebook home as I know I’ll be spending more time out of my seat than in it) and everyone is milling about but the site of ass-less seats behind home plate can not make the Skill Sets happy.

 

I love the cat running on the field last night. I didn’t get a good look at the fleet feline until this morning when I picked up the Daily News and I did a double take as the cat looks just like one of our cats (Sandy) I have to frame that back cover.

 

 

I hope Omar read the game summary of the Dodgers-Giants game last night.

 

 

  

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