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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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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MUNSON: THE LIFE AND DEATH OF A YANKEE CAPITAN & SATCHEL: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF AN AMERICAN LEGEND

 

 

I know as Mets fans this is not the best time to talk about a book dealing with the Highlanders but MUNSON: The Life and Death of a Yankee Captain by Marty Appel(Random House) is a must read as Thurman Munson was a not only a revered Yankee but he was respected by everyone in the game. At the time of his death, which is approaching its 30th Anniversary (W-O-W!!!!) the big debate with baseball fans when it came to the catcher position was Johnny Bench, Carlton Fisk and Munson. All three could hit and Bench was the better receiver and Fisk the more durable but none were tougher or more of a clutch hitter (back in the 70’s we believed in clutch hitting) than Munson.

 

As tough and productive as Munson was on the field he was as complex off it and if anyone could give you a look at the complexity and the esteem that Thurman Munson held with his teammates and his peers it’s Marty Appel.

 

Appel was the long time Yankees PR Director in the heyday of “The Bronx is Burning” era of Yankee baseball.

 

Put your team alliance aside for now and pick up MUNSON: The Life and Death of a Yankee Captain by Marty Appel as it is not only gives you an inside look at baseball back in the 70’s but it chronicles the life and times of a player who was headed for the Hall of Fame who was taken at young life as he tried to juggle his responsibility as a husband, parent, teammate and leader.

 

MUNSON: The Life and Death of a Yankee Captain can be found in book stores and at

Amazon

BN

BORDERS 

 

 

One of the things about baseball that it has head and shoulders over other sports is it’s characters and one of the greatest of all time was Satchel Paige. In SATCHEL: The Life and Times of an American Hero, (Random House) Larry Tye goes in depth about not just Paige the pitcher but Paige the man taking us from his childhood in Mobile, Alabama through the Negro Leagues, to his Barn Storming Tours to finally making it to the Major Leagues with the Cleveland Indians in 1948 and winning AL Rookie of the Year at the age of 42.  After reading SATCHEL : The Life and Times of an American Legend, and ask yourself where does Paige rank on the list of all time pitchers and if you didn’t think he was a top 10 before you may be surprised you change your mind after reading this book.

 

SATCHEL: The Life and Times of an American Hero can be found at book stores and at

Amazon

BN

Borders

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WHAT ABOUT JERRY GROTE?

 

I don’t give a rats ass about the numbers and Hall of Fame credentials Pepsodent smile and all that, my favorite Mets catcher of all time is was and may forever be Jerry Grote. Not even close. Go ahead flame my ass about this I don’t give a fuck you hear me all you Piazza and Carter fans.  My guy Grote was the original Captain Red Ass.  Nobody fired a ball back to a pitcher (including The Franchise) with purpose like Grote did.  Add in the fact that he wore a wool baseballall cap with the bill turned up (no protective helmet for him) that my young whipper snappers readers was a man’s catcher.

So why the “Get off my lawn” diatribe you wonder? Well the good folks at The Hardball Time have an outstanding post on the comparison between Mike Piazza, Pudge Rodriguez and <head bowed> Johnny Bench that fired my middle aged ass up this morning

For all my love of Grote I also have a deep respect and admiration for JB. In fact last time I was up in Cooperstown I bought a Reds t-shirt with BENCH 5 on the back. Check out the posting as it breaks down all three’s offensive and defensive numbers   

Still, the guy I want behinf the plate for my team is Jerry Grote.  Now GET OFF MY LAWN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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R.I.P. DOCK ELLIS

HGH? Steroids? HA, that’s for pussies, try pitching after dropping a tab of acid and tell me how your performance was enhanced. That’s what Dock Ellis did against the San Diego Padres back in 1970 and in one of the most incredible performance in baseball history, pitched a no hitter.

Not only could Dock pitch whale trippin’ he had a kick ass attitude when it came to taking no shit from the opposition like when it came to the Big Red Machine:

 

{Perhaps Ellis’ most startling act occurred on May 1, 1974, when he tied a major league record by hitting three batters in a row. In spring training that year, Ellis sensed the Pirates had lost the aggressiveness that drove them to three straight division titles from 1970 to 1972. Furthermore, the team now seemed intimidated by Cincinnati’s “Big Red Machine.” “Cincinnati will bullshit with us and kick our ass and laugh at us,” Ellis said. “They’re the only team that talk about us like a dog.” Ellis single-handedly decided to break the Pirates out of their emotional slump, announcing that “We gonna get down. We gonna do the do. I’m going to hit these motherfuckers.” True to his word, in the first inning of the first regular-season game he pitched against the Reds, Ellis hit leadoff batter Pete Rose in the ribs, then plunked Joe Morgan in the kidney, and loaded the bases by hitting Dan Driessen in the back. Tony Perez, batting cleanup, dodged a succession of Ellis’ pitches to walk and force in a run. The next hitter was Johnny Bench. “I tried to deck him twice,” Ellis recalled. “I threw at his jaw, and he moved. I threw at the back of his head, and he moved.” At this point, Pittsburgh manager Danny Murtaugh removed Ellis from the game. But his strategy worked: the Pirates snapped out of their lethargy to win a division title in 1974, while the Reds failed to win their division for the first time in three years.}

 

and the man had the balls to wear hair curlers 

Ellis did time with the Mets back in 1979 when he was at the end of his career, too bad as his attitude would be a breath of fresh air in Flushing these days. 

Big tip of the Blue and Orange Mets cap to BBTF for the fantastic link.  

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