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Nice Going Home Again

Yesterday, I went back home to celebrate my dad’s birthday. On the long drive, my oldest was just whining about how hungry he was.

When I got into town, we passed by the old pizza place we practically lived in growing up. This was always the stop for the kids in the neighborhood.

We’d ride our bikes there after school. After Little League games, we’d stop there for Italian Ice’s. I swear people in the neighborhood went there at least three or four days a week. It was more when it had Street Fighter and NBA Jam video games.

For about the first time in 15 years, i walked into that pizza place. With a beard and five year old by my side, I was a completely different person than the one who used to frequent that place.

As soon as I walk in, the owner exclaimed, “Holy sh–! How ya doin’?”

I honestly couldn’t believe he remembered me after all these years. I really couldn’t believe him when he told me I hadn’t changed a bit. We then walked down memory lane talking about our shared memories of the place.

My son watched with amazement taking in and enjoying everything. That’s when the owner noticed him.

He laughed when my son told him his name saying, “Of course, he’s the fourth.” He then laughed harder when my son told his favorite team was the Mets. It was met with, “Let me tell you, kid. No one loved the Mets as much as your dad. Stick with them.”

Then he offered my kid a rainbow Italian Ice.

He told my son about how my friends and I would get one after every game. In disbelief, my son said, “Really? My Daddy never eats ice.” This caused the owner to laugh and say that maybe I have changed.

On the way out, he shook my hand telling me not to be a stranger while telling me to say hi to my parents and to wish them well.

As I left with, pizzas in hand, I looked down at my son eating the rainbow ice, and it brought me back to those times I walked out of that pizza place with my own father. My son was bemused with stories of my childhood.

It was as good and nice a moment as you can experience. It’s only one you can experience if you not only go home but go around your hometown.

26 thoughts on “Nice Going Home Again”

  1. The Cleats That Straw Stole From Bruce Berenyi says:

    Wow….

    I miss the Willie Randolph days of 2006 where you had Oliver for longer relief and everyone else was assigned their inning!! Was it side arm Bradford for the fifth?

    If the 2006 Mets had a durable 6,7,8,9 and the 9 guy could do a four out save… then Lugo and Lugo’s stuff could be a two inning guy….two innings is the long relief guy unless you had Familia’s stuff in 2011 where pitch counts were lower.

    If 2006 applied today, Gsellman would be pushed into the seventh.

    Gsellsman would have pitched the seventh and Lugo the eighth.

    Is it sustainable to have Lugo pitch two innings anymore?!!!!
    He threw a 85 mph, up slider to Baez on 0-2 on his 42nd pitch?!!

    I get that they had Flexen throw two yesterday and if Lugo is a good example Flexen needs two days rest.

    I get it on Pounders etc have fragile confidence…..

    Yet give them an inning assignment, give them relief when trailing and see what they can do….. if they can not muster it? Let them work in what they can work on at Syracuse….

    *****

    The Cano situation looks dreadful.
    He and deGrom had one out and man on second base.
    deGrom hit his ‘up the middle’ grounder strong enough and Cano did not.
    Well at least there was no double play. A second one?
    Cano’s 9th inning ABAT was so passive, so lethargic that he must be sat down next time!
    Cut down on double plays?
    Let Cano bat after Nido, Lagares or the pitcher.
    Cano hit a lefty slider for a double, was it Friday or Thursday?
    Was it 84 mph?

    ****

    Don Smith was not getting power production despite significant ABATs, they tried him at cleanup and it has been downhill since.

    Maybe Dom has to show his power value or he is not much of a commodity after all?

    ****

    I hope they continue to steal bases, have smart aggressive base running and try to hit to opposite field and scratch out runs after the 6th.

    Correct me but the last time I saw quality RISP hitting in the seventh onward was o’Neil on Saturday against Chicago.

    *****

    On the Baez HR, why would Nido follow a deGrom slider away on Baez with a Kugo. Erosion at 85mph?

    Is relief supposed to create imbalance, unpredictability, different rhythms and if same pitch, just harder?

    *****

    Gomez had a nice strong throw to Nido to keep Botte at third.

    *****

    Rosario had an excellent road trip

    ****

    Todd Frazier amazes me with his resurrection.

    ****

    As great Alonso has been, there is still much more upside….

    1. metsdaddy says:

      It’s all a mess, and Callaway will pay for BVW’s incompetence and the Wilpons cheapness

    2. Blair M. Schirmer says:

      re: The Cleats That Straw Stole…

      “Don Smith was not getting power production despite significant ABATs, they tried him at cleanup and it has been downhill since. Maybe Dom has to show his power value or he is not much of a commodity after all?”

      == Dom’s not a true power hitter, I don’t think. He hit only 14 HR at Bingo, and 16 HR in LV in his full season there before the dropoff the next year. Still, pro rate his 2019 PA’s to a full season and he’ll hit in the neighborhood of 20 HR and 35 doubles. Obviously we can live with that, but once his BAbip falls back to Earth, he probably won’t hit enough to be a full-time 1Bman. The Mets would do well to deal him while his value is high, if they can get another team to bite. Dom’s just not an OFer, and 1B is obviously taken. If they can even swap him for a similar player but at a position of genuine need, they should move.

      “As great Alonso has been, there is still much more upside….”

      == I’d like to think so, but how much upside can there be for a player hitting .276/.366/.642/1.008 on pace for 57 HR and 128 RBI? He’s too big to ever turn into more than an average defender, so I think we’re seeing what there is to see. As crazy as this sounds, at the moment he’s Willie McCovey–only with more power. Modest average, does get on base, and has the power to lead both leagues in HR. That’s an insanely good player.

      1. Fred’s Furlough says:

        I see an intellect in Dom, he is a survivor, he is grounded and he is resilient.

        I see him hitting .300 and with his 15 hrs I see a patient, situation focused part of a batting order.

        Sure, he got on base as as a PH as a transition as a 1B man hits his HRs.

        So I am concerned that he has not choked up as much as a starter lately.

        With Alonso, I do necessary look at a higher ceiling on OPS but a driven pro to uncover every opportunity to become as best as he can become — hitting for average, recognizing pitcher’s strengths, less Ks, less GIDPs, as good a fielder he can be, a team mate, role model, leader and a man.

        Alonso is a rare generational player.

      2. metsdaddy says:

        With respect to Dom, many evaluators will tell you he had power potential in his bat.

        On Alonso, I’m very interested how the rest of this year and the next play out.

    3. No More GIDPs! says:

      Put Cano at lead off!!
      Cano will show you that he is the most valuable Met!

      1. metsdaddy says:

        Wait, what?

  2. David Klein says:

    Cool story nostalgic feelings is cool. Thoughts on Mickey’s managing today? Loss is on Mickey talk about having no feel for the game and I never thought the Mets could have a more incompetent manager than Terry and more careless in handling bullpens and yet here we are. Mickey probably wanted deGrom to pitch the seventh but deGrom seemed to have discomfort so you couldn’t send him out for the seventh so Mickey went with Lugo vs the bottom of the order when he could have easily go with a Gsellman or Pounders in that spot. Mickey decides to go with Lugo fine so Lugo couldn’t get his curve over and got squeezed by the ump yet somehow got out of it in the seventh. I have no idea why he sent him out for the eighth but once it was clear he had nothing how do you not pull him how do you let him face Baez? They’ve talked about using Diaz for more than an inning and he’s thrown 12 pitches in the last six days? You can nitpick Lugo’s pitch sequence to Baez on a 0-2 pitched but he was on fumes throwing 45 pitches just insanity. There should be some blame on the ump for squeezing Lugo but the majority is on Mickey, who as a former pitching coach should know better but he’s way over his head, what a fucking dumbass.

    This went from a feel good series to a gut wrenching loss thanks to the bearded douche manager. What a disaster. Oh and double switching McNeil in making him due up fifth in the ninth, lol.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Mickey screwed up big time, but this is what you get when the team ties your hands on using your closer.

      1. David Klein says:

        But it was clear to everyone that Lugo had nothing and having him throw 40+ pitches is crazy.

        1. metsdaddy says:

          I agree Lugo should not have been pushed like that. Awful managing.

        2. Jeff’s Weaver says:

          Your point is well taken.
          Pitchers do have to pitch when their velocity disappears?
          Or when they do not have their best stuff?
          Was it on the bullpen coach, Mr. Bones to decide before Lugo came in?

          So what do we have right now in this bullpen????

          1. metsdaddy says:

            The Mets shouldn’t have stuck with Lugo after a 20 pitch seventh. That’s when they needed to pivot off the plan.

    2. Gothamist says:

      Nice story…..

      David Klein you spoke not as a MetsChild but as a very astute fan….
      Metsdaddy is no child, he is adult, be like him….

      Sure…. Gsellman coming in a 5-3 did not give up damage but:

      A) In the seventh, the ump would have squeezed him, then his offspeed velocity would have gotten Gsellman into trouble as the Cubs fought back? What is Gsellman’s wicked plus pitch? He to come in after Lugo with two men on?
      Cubs about to lose three straight at home? Seriously? Gsellman in the eighth, seriously?!

      Yet how do you follow after deGrom’s 93 mph slider going right to left?
      Impossible …. maybe next week having Flexen pound a 95mph FB upstairs is an option? Yet, Flexen fell behind yesterday?

      B) I will never have my 8th inning guy in my 7th and my 7th inning guy with an ERA near five as my 8th inning guy in any situation!

      C) Mickey had three – four choices for the seventh and one choice for the 8th.

      D) Inning 8 was for Lugo only, if not Diaz… with one or two outs….

      E) Inning seven — Callaway either was babying the young guys, felt they had pitched yesterday or had no confidence in anyone else and hoped Lugo could get by both innings with less than thirty pitches….

      It was craps anyway you look at it….

      WHY DID MICKEY NOT PUT IN DIAZ TO FACE BAEZ?
      because he babied him also?!

      These are fragile egos here….

      Did Mickey need McNeil’s defense ASAP?

      1. metsdaddy says:

        On Diaz, Callaway’s not allowed to use him for more than four outs.

        1. Joan Payson Tribute says:

          Lol!

    3. Blair M. Schirmer says:

      It’s entirely possible I misunderstood the situation, having only caught it secondhand, but for all the talk about talk about using Diaz for no more than 4 batters or 4 outs or 1-1/3 innings (it’s not always clear when Mickey talks), why not have him take over for Lugo then just pull him when he has reached his limit? If Diaz comes in after 7-1/3 innings and you pull him after 8-2/3 (or even 8-1/3), so what? Why not? Putting Diaz in hardly means you have to let him finish the game, but putting him in does mean you get ostensibly your best reliever into a game at a critical juncture.

      I must be missing something, because the way the game unfolded made so little sense.

      1. metsdaddy says:

        Diaz is only allowed to be used to close.

        1. Blair M. Schirmer says:

          I thought that was likely because Mets, but it’s a bizarre approach, in my book. “The game’s on the line after 7 and a third, but Diaz can’t go more than 4 outs and therefore cannot come in to the game because he must get the last out of the game” is fundamentally irrational.

  3. Blair M. Schirmer says:

    Great story. Thanks for passing it on.

  4. Blair M. Schirmer says:

    In the 5-3 loss to the Cubs the Mets back half was Cano, Gomez, Nido, Lagares.
    Rosario led off. Davis hit 3rd. Frazier batted 4th.

    That’s some lineup.

    Had the Mets gone by OPS, deGrom would have hit 5th. Whatever Chili’s doing, it’s working.
    For their pitchers.

    It’s too bad the Mets don’t have a manager as well-spoken as Maddon. Agree with his moves or not, he’s an astute guy.
    https://www.mlb.com/gameday/mets-vs-cubs/2019/06/23/565164#game_state=final,lock_state=final,game_tab=videos,game=565164

  5. LittleJimmy says:

    Good post !

    Is there a stat for the position player bench’s record to help come back from behind in the later innings?

    1. metsdaddy says:

      No, nor should there be.

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