NY Mets Notes for 4-1-13

A few Opening Day notes form the NY Mets:

Last Met to hit a leadoff home run on opening day was Kaz Matsui on 4-6-04 at Turner Field

In the history of MLB the NY Mets have the best opening day winning percentage of all time at .647 (33-18)

David Wright has had at least one hit in every opening day game he’s played in for the Mets since his debut in 2005

There has been only one Mets Grand Slam hit on opening day and that was by Todd Hundley in Colorado on 4-26-1995

Happy Birthday to Daniel Murphy (#Imwith28 who turns 28) and Rusty Staub (Le Grand Orange) who turns 69 years old and will throw out the first pitch of today’s game.

The Mets will honor the first responders who did outstanding work during Hurricane Sandy.

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OLD MAN CHASS ON BOBBY VALENTINE

Murray Chass The Jack Ass-curotsy of pitchershiteighith.com

I received a link today of a post that Murray Chass (the big dumb ass) wrote about Bobby Valentine and how he can’t stand BV and BV couldn’t stand him either. Chass it seems felt it was his duty to call Larry Lucchino the Red Sox CEO, to find out how the Sox managerial search was going. I guess after screaming at his grand kids and staring out the window for hours making sure no one parked their car in front of his house, Chass decided he needed to know if Bobby Valentine was THE GUY the Sox were ready to hire as their field boss.

From reading the post it’s clear Chass has an agenda, in fact since Chass was canned by the NY Times he’s had a hard on for lot of people and he’s in denial that he has gone from being the National baseball writer for the Old Grey Lady to a blogger . Chass will never identify himself as a blogger but that’s all in the denial side of his old ass life. Anyway, Chass has gone and dug up gossip and innuendo from Valentine’s days as Mets manager using the one player that Valentine really had no use for, Todd Hundley to make his case but back to Chass calling Lucchino. The Sox CEO told Chass that Valentine had a great interview and then wanted to know what Chass thought of BV, I’ll let Chass tell you in his own words his feelings on Bobby V:

I would rather not have people I am interviewing ask me questions. In this instance what I thought about Valentine or any other candidate shouldn’t matter. I am not the one hiring and paying the new manager.

On the other hand, Lucchino asked a reasonable question, and the primary problem I had with it was whether I should offer some vague, non-committal comment or answer honestly. Of course, I chose honesty because I expect honest answers from the people I question.

“I have found him to be the most disliked man in baseball,” I said. And I added, “He doesn’t like me and I don’t like him.”

I didn’t offer any details, but if Lucchino wants to know why I made those statements, I will enlighten him here, which is a more appropriate place for a reporter or columnist than the telephone.

One thing we know about Valentine is there is no middle ground when it pertains to how people feel about him. I admit to be being a big fan of his but I can see how his personality could grate on one’s nerves if you had to deal with him on an everyday basis but what I take issue with Chass is his view of Valentine is personal not business.  No place in his column does Chass give Valentine credit for being an outstanding bench manager.  You can hate the guys guts but you lose credibility when he don’t acknowledge that Valentine gets more out of what he’s given than anyone in baseball.   

Chass really embarrasses himself when he critiques Valentine’s managerial record by harping on the fact his teams never had a first place finish:

Valentine undoubtedly talks a good game; that’s why ESPN hired him. But ESPN doesn’t have to worry about a won-lost record. While it’s a fact that Valentine managed the Mets to two consecutive wild-card berths in 1999 and 2000 and the World Series in 2000, it’s also a fact that in 14 years with the Rangers and the Mets he never managed a team that finished in first place.

 

Presumably, the Red Sox, who have not participated in post-season games the last two years, have studied Valentine’s history (and not just tested his knowledge of Jamesian sabermetrics) and know that he ranks third in history among managers who have managed the most games without finishing in first place.

 

Valentine took over a Mets team in 1996 that had stopped to listening to Dallas Green whose method of motivation was to scream at his players “to look in the mirror” and man up. Valentine’s main strength was getting the most out of his 25 man roster but he had to deal with a few clubhouse lawyers who became very comfortable living the high life in the Shea Stadium clubhouse one in particular was Todd Hundley. I’ll get to Hundley in a minute, Chass just kind of glosses over the fact the Valentine won a pennant with the Mets and if not for the shit the bed performance by Kenny Rogers would have had back to back pennants under his belt. Someday Chass should let us know what he thinks of Bobby Cox whose teams finished in first place 14 times but has one World Series flag to fly? What about the greatest manager to ever put a pen to a lineup card Tony LaRussa, winning a World Series with a wild card team?  What Chass doesn’t get is all you have to do is get in the tournament, who cares how you got there? I’m sure there isn’t a Cardinals fan out there complaining how their favorite team got to post season as they are reveling in their successful post season tour.

Back to Todd Hundley, it was no secret back then that Valentine wasn’t a fan of Hundley and Hundley felt the same about BV.  Hundley talks about his relationship with Valentine:

 In Hundley’s view, the problem with Valentine began when the manager appeared to be jealous of the player’s standing with the fans. ”He comes into a whole new situation and goes right after I guess the most popular guy,” Hundley said. ”It’s not my fault I’m the most popular guy.”

Hundley was especially upset at the timing of Valentine’s comments on his sleep habits because his mother was being treated for cancer and his wife was pregnant.

”I’m talking to my mom while she’s going through chemotherapy,” Hundley said, ”and I’m helping my wife with taking care of our two kids and he’s saying I’m out and about.”   

 

It’s true that Valentine gave a”wink-wink, nod-nod” statement about Hundley not getting enough sleep which was Valentine speak for Hundley being a hard partying guy. I have no proof that he was or wasn’t but I’m sure it was the manager sending a message to a player and the player reacted negatively. If it’s true that Hundley wasn’t getting sleep due to worrying about his mom and wife then Valentine was dead wrong to bring that up but what we saw with Hundley was he was not a true team player. When Mike Piazza was brought over from the Marlins it was Hundley who was affected the most and it hurt Hundley to no end that Piazza was coming to the Mets and was the new starting catcher. Hundley felt he was the most popular Met (I think Bernard Gilkey, Lance Johnson and of course Edgardo Alfonso were right there as popular Mets) but now with a super star like Piazza on the team he had to take a back seat in fact he had to find a whole new place to play, as Hundley was exiled to left field.  That’s when Hundley ceased being a Met. His play on the outfield was one of indifference; you knew his Mets days were over. Was Valentine the reason? Maybe part of it but the mostly it was the acquisition of Piazza that was Hundley’s problem.

Without a doubt Valentine is a very polarizing person, but he has a track record of turning teams around when he occupies the mangers office. I’m not sure that Valentine is the guy to run the Red Sox bench as I feel their problems run a lot deeper in that clubhouse but you know the Red Sox will be prepared and they will be interesting.  Valentine vs. the Boston Media will a show all by itself.

 

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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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WALKIN’ IN A WINTER WONDERLAND

I hope you are all enjoying this St Stephen’s (my namesake) Day nice and warm as we here in NYC are looking at a foot-foot and half of snow with blizzards conditions tonight which should make the morning commute just a joy.

Of course there is no Mets news but I did read an interesting post today by my buddy Mike Silva, where he ranks his top ten Mets teams of all time. As I commented on Mike’s site, it’s hard not to just award the top two spots on this kind of list to the 1969 and 1986 Mets, as they are the only teams to bring home a championship trophy to Queens.

Silva mentions the 1997 team in his honorable emotions and when you look at that team, there are some much underrated players in Mets history on the roster. Todd Hundley doesn’t get the mentions he should as his spilt with the club was not amicable, as he lost his job for the fact that Mike Piazza was a catcher and when he was asked to move to the outfield he was offended and really didn’t help himself with his playing left like a kid given a plate of Brussels sprouts.   It wasn’t all Hundley’s fault as the front office didn’t handle the situation as they should, such as dealing Hundley.

That team could get on base led by John Olerud with a .400 OBA followed by Hundley at .394 (and a team leading OPS of .943 on the strength of 30 homers) Edgardo Alfonzo at  .391 and Lance Johnson at .385

The pitching was good too led by Bobby Jones and his 15 wins and Rick Reed who won 13 games was the ace of the staff. The bullpen led by John Franco closing out games and Greg McMichale taking care of the 8th inning moved this club to a +17 over the  ’96 team in the win column in Bobby Valentine’ first full season as Mets manager.

Besides the World Series winners, who do you think were the best teams in Mets history?

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Tickets

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