We Say Never Forget But In Some Way We Have Forgotten

Today here in Lower Manhattan it looks like business as usual, folks are stopping at the coffee carts and then running to their office, the SI Ferry was packed with working folks and school kids and the weather, after one of the hottest and most humid NYC summers in a long time, is bright, cool and crisp, just like it was 11 years go.

I hear and see the words “Never Forget” every anniversary of the attacks of September 11th 2000 and I say to myself how can you forget? Every day I report to work I’m reminded since I have to pass the now construction site where a new 1 World Trade Center has risen high to the sky.  I’m reminded like I was last night when I stepped out on the front steps of my house and looked up to see two powerful beams of light shining high into the clear night sky. This is same from steps that my wife and then 6 year old son and 2 year old daughter sat waiting for me to return home and then busting into tears of joy that I did return home unlike many of my Staten Island neighbors.  Over 300 of the murder victims of that day were from Staten Island.  Some were men men who I had been coaching against at Staten Island Little League and some were parents of kids playing in the league. Some were firemen and cops who made the ultimate sacrifice that is still to this day underappreciated by the public they serve.  When you travel through Staten Island you see names attached to street signs, the names are of people who lived on those blocks that were killed in the attack. There is a beautiful memorial in the Grasmere section in a triangle in the middle of the road that leads into Hylan Blvd, it’s called Angels Way. It was started by a woman who lives across the street from the triangle who lit a votive candle and planted a pray card on the fence. From there more people came with candles, pray cards and pictures of loved ones lost. From there it grew to where a local nursery donated flowers and shrubs and people devoted many hours to build the site into a beautiful shrine. It always amazes me how people can come together in times of sorrow but why does it take tragedy to bring us together? That’s what hurts the most.    

Eleven years ago today in Lower Manhattan when the Towers crumbled and people ran to help save as many lives as they could, no one cared if you were a Christian, Jew, Muslin or an Atheist. No cared if you were born in this country or were an immigrant. No one cared if you were White, Black, Brown or Yellow. No one cared if you were Gay or straight. All we cared about that day was you were a human being who needed help and comfort from another human being.   

So when we say and write “Never Forget” it should cover not only the attack of that day but the compassion, kindness and total concern we had for one another.

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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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I DON’T KNOW IF I SHOULD GO TO BED OR HIDE UNDER IT

Sorry I’m late here but between the panic of Swine Flu and jet planes buzzing Lower Manhattan and Jayson Williams asking me to join him on vacation I was debating whether to leave the house today or not but I decided why miss the floor show on the SI Ferry that the very flamboyant students of La Guardia High (it’s the La Gage aux Folles of the city high schools) put on every morning so let’s look at the Mets news:

 

You know either Gimp Castillo or Carlos Delgado is going on the 15 day DL and this spells reprieve to Omir Grote Santos to stay on as either way Fernando Tatis ,Alex Cora Daniel Murphy and Gary Sheffield have the right side of the infield covered.

 

If I were Shrek or Brain Schneider I’d be asking the manager if he needed more coffee or his dry cleaning picked up just to curry some kind of favor with him as J- Man is smitten by Santos as are his teammates. When you get a post game shaving cream pie in the face that’s considered love in baseball.

 

Maybe we should give D- Wright a break eh Mets fans?. Sure he is not driving in runs at a pace we’d like and his extra base hits have been few and far between but back in 2007 he had the same kind of start and ended up with 73 xbh (30HR, 42 2B  1 3B) along with 34 stolen bases. As we saw last night on SNY pre game show no ones works harder than Wright so think about that the next time you asshats boo him.

 

Not only am distracted by the flu epidemic and low flying planes but the Rangers are getting ready for a Game 7 tonight in DC. Hopefully Coach Torts can control himself tonight and he plays both Sean Avery and Colton Orr and guys like Nik Antropov and Nik Zeredev step up like men. I have a very shaky feeling about tonight  as the coach looks a bit unstable and I’m one more Markus Naslund penalty in the offensive zone from throwing the remote through the TV,  but I’ll be glued to the tube for this one with my Walt Tkaczuk poster by my side.  

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TUESDAY NIGHT? WHAT HAPPENED TUESDAY NIGHT?

Just a quick hit here as I had to participate in an emergency evacuation drill in out building this morning and I have to leave early as my wife has some business to take of and my kids have turned our home into a social club so someone has to be home to scream and yell at a bunch of kids so it’s my turn but a few things from last night:

 

I give up. I’ve got a headache from trying  to analyze this Mets team and trying to figure out how this season is going to end. Tuesday night I went to bed furious with the failure to hold a 7 run lead and last night I went to sleep dreaming of ticker tape falling from the skies of Lower Manhattan and Carlos Del GOD o holding the World Series MVP trophy. Talk about she loves me, she loves me not.

 

What bullpen problems? Brain Stokes to Feliciano Smith to Luis Ayala what’s wrong with that trio? I can’t believe you people were worried about the bullpen, PLEASE!

 

Mush Schoeneweis got his balls in an uproar after Tuesday night and was called into Warlord Jerry’s office before last night’s game. Supposedly both Mush and J-Man left the office smiling. J-Man for getting his point across to Mush to keep is unproductive pie hole shut and Mush for being able to walk out of the office on his own power. Seems Mush was pissed that he got up to throw a few times Tuesday and was a bit burned out when he had to come in. Mush forgets he is a decoy that gives the opposition hope that they can see him on the mound and light his ass up. J-Man was just letting him know that he was sorry for getting up so much as he had to use him as a last resort as the last thing J-Man wants to do is use Mush in a big spot.

 

J-Man’s albino brother Charlie got some explaining to do to the Philly fans for not brining Brad Lidge into the game in the 8th   Don’t get the guy up if your not going got use him C-Man.  Also for not giving that little prick Victorino the bunt sign in the 6th with runners on 1st and 2nd no out. You’re no Gangsta’ C-Man.

 

So we are right where we were when the Mets team bus pulled up to the Vault on Tuesday a half game in front. The Cheesesteakers now go to Wrigley to face the Cubs (root-root, root for the CCCCCUUUUUBBBIIIIIESSSS, if they don’t win it’s a shame) so lets have an Old Style and hope the North Siders help us out. The Mets go down to South Beach and will see old pal Paul LoDuca (another excellent move by Omar that has gone unnoticed not bringing back the washed up teen idol) at Shea Stadium South. The only thing I’ll miss about this series is listening to the Fish broadcasters bitch and moan about the pro-Mets crowd at the House that Dan Marino Built.

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