Trivia Friday

Mets pennants do not come around often. This has only been the fifth in Mets history. You know what comes around less frequently?  Yes, no-hitters. Also, Mets NLCS MVPs. Can you name them?  Good luck!


Harvey Leads Rangers to Victory

As everyone predicted, Matt Harvey was at the Rangers game tonight:

It’s great that he got a standing ovation. Not a boo to be heard. It seems now that everyone is a Mets fan in New York. Everywhere I was people were talking about it. There was a run on stuff at Modells. Dicks was limiting sales on hats and t-shirts to one per customer so they wouldn’t run out. 

The main reason for all of this might be because the Mets are the only show in town for the first time since the 2006 NLCS, or the 1988 NLCS, depending on your perspective. It’s a sign the Mets could be taking back New York

If they don’t, who cares?  The only thing I really care about now is the World Series. If the Mets do win the World Series, you can only imagine the ovation Harvey will get at that game. With Game 7 of the Workd Series slated for November 4th, the next Rangers home game will be Tuesday, November 10th against Carolina. I can’t wait to see the video and hear the ovation then. 

By the way, the Rangers won 4-1 with Rick Nash scoring an empty net goal without putting the puck in the net. Apparently, with the MLBAM/NHL deal, the NHL adopted the Chase Utley rule

What to Watch Instead of Baseball Tonight

After the euphoria of last night, I’m all pumped up. I want to watch baseball. Nope. It an off day in the ALCS. There’s now a void at 8:00. 

I have a suggestion. We should all watch Back to the Future, Part II. First off, any of the Back to the Future movies are terrific. My factory is the first one. It would be a desert island movie for me. I could talk about and quote that movie all day. The second one was a good movie. Surprisingly, the movie has now occurred in the past since Marty went to October 21, 2015.

Anyway, one of my favorite parts of this movie was when the headlines on the newspaper changed. When I throw it on tonight, I’m going to see if it automatically updated like we saw in the movies:

Vine provided courtesy of @lets86it. 

Maybe we’ll see this:

  
If it does, I’ll be saying this all night:

I Want More

My brother and I got into an argument before the season started. We were both optimistic about the Mets season. However, I thought the Mets were an 85 win team that could compete for the second Wild Card. He thought they could win the World Series. 

I didn’t think this was possible. I thought there would be an innings limit problem with Matt Harvey (there was). I didn’t think the Mets would make a trade to go for it (they did). I thought 2016 was their year (it still might be). On the other hand, my brother knows nothing about baseball. Like nothing. He doesn’t even own a Mets jersey. He had to buy a hat for the playoffs. Why believe him?

Just kidding. My brother is a die hard fan too. He’s not as crazy as I am (who is?), but a diehard nonetheless. He was just more optimistic. I think he was more optimistic than most Mets fans out there. If most are being honest, they didn’t see this coming, especially with David Wright hurt and John Mayberry, Jr. batting cleanup. 

By any measure, this season has been a complete success. Even if the Mets get swept in the World Series, it was a successful season. With all that said, I won’t be satisfied unless they win the World Series. 

These chances come do infrequently, especially for a team like the Mets. Think about it. That loaded 80’s team won the only World Series they were in. The Mets went to back-to-back postseasons in 1999 and 2000, and they had no World Series to show for it. The 2006 Mets were built for the long term. All we saw was a Game 7 in the NLCS and two collapses.

Sure, with this young pitching, we can see an 80’s like run. It could be more successful because there’s now four extra playoff spots. However, we’ve seen this before. You need to seize the opportunity when it comes. If you don’t, you may never see it again. 

I will always look fondly on this season like I do the 1999 and 2006 regular seasons. Now, I want to remember the 2015 season in its totality. 

LETS GO METS!

Thank You Mike Hampton

In 2000, Mike Hampton became the first Met ever to win the NLCS MVP. He was 2-0   He didn’t allow a run. He pitched a complete game shutout in the clinching Game 5. 

He was terrible in his only World Series start. He allowed four earned in six innings, and he wasn’t even that good. He was critical of Mike Piazza for not starting a brawl after the Roger Clemens bat throwing incident. He made this statement even though he tied the rubber in Game 2, and he never sought retaliation. 

After the season, he left the Mets for Colorado due to the school system. I’m sure the eight year $121 million contract didn’t play a part. He warned every boo that would be rained upon him on every return trip to Shea Stadium. So why am I thanking him?

David Wright. Wright was the compensatory draft pick the Mets received when Hampton signed with the Rockies. Because Hampton left, we’ve had Wright’s terrific career. He’s been an All Star, MVP candidate, and the Captain. His career so far merits Hall of Fame consideration. 
Now, he’s going to play in a World Series. It may be nine years after than we thought, but Wright has led the Mets to the World Series. It wouldn’t have been possible if Hampton didn’t do to Colorado. 

So, thank you Mike Hampton for leaving town. We were better off for it. 

How’d You Celebrate?

When the Mets went to the 2000 World Series, I was jumping up and down alone in my dorm room. Not many Mets fans in Western New York. 

When the Mets won the 2006 NLDS, I was at a bar down the road from my apartment. My brother and I ran down there after the end of the seventh inning. I remember the bar erupting, and people spraying beer all over like it was the locker room. It was awesome. 

Last night, I woke my 22 month old so up to see the final out. I had a much ore romantic idea of what was going to happen. We were going to cheer and high five. We would then call my Dad and brother. Instead, he watched the last out and got really, really cranky. While I was over the moon, I was trying to get a cranky kid back to bed. 

Once I accomplished that, I went downstairs, and I talked to my Dad and brother in hushed tones. They’re excited and talking loud. I’m talking in a loud whisper. I then went back to bed and watched all of the postgame coverage.

Side note: as I noted in an earlier post, my son has been on the money in his predictions. I’ve been keeping him up later with the playoffs. When Lucas Duda came up, he said, “Duda homerun!”  We know what happened next:

Right after the homerun, my Dad texted me “J4 called that for Duda?”  When I replied he did, his next text was, “Tell him to keep it up and speak for Wright.”  I’m trying folks. 

This morning, my son didn’t want to get out of bed. He was tired. I wonder why?  When he woke up, he said to me, “Mets HOMERUN!”  It certainly was. It was the celebration I was looking forward to last night. It’s okay that I had to wait for it. 

Now, I just need to follow my Dad’s request and get him to predict a homerun for Wright. 

It Was Worth the Wait

My favorite Mets team was the 1999 team. I loved everything about that team from Bobby V to Mike Piazza to Edgardo Alfonzo to Robin Ventura to John Olerud. It was my first real taste of a pennant race and the playoffs. I was lucky to be there for Pratt’s All Folks and the Grand Slam Single. I look back on the year with melancoly because of this:

In 2000, the Mets got Mike Hampton. The season became World Series or bust. A strange feeling for a Mets fan. Hampton would deliver. He was the NLCS MVP. The Mets then had to face the Yankees in the World Series. It was a cruel series with Todd Zeile‘s ball landing on the wall and falling back into play.  Timo Perez didn’t run and didn’t score. Roger Clemens threw a bat at Piazza and wasn’t ejected. The series then ended in the most heartbreaking way possible:

The Mets would be terrible for the next few years, but everything came together in 2006. Our homegrown stars, Jose Reyes and David Wright, we’re becoming superstars. They were joined by the two Carloses: Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado. It was a team that ran roughshod over the National League. Beltran was the best baseball player on the planet that year (who somehow didn’t win the MVP). The Mets had momentum in Game Seven with Endy Chavez’s catch. Here’s how that season ended:

In 2007, the Mets reloaded and were primed to go back to the World Series. They were up 7 with 17 to play. On the final game of the season, they sent future Hall of Famer Tom Glavine to the mound with his 300 wins. He wouldn’t be devastated when he got out of the first, but we would:

In 2008, the Mets diagnosed their problem, and much like 2000, they went out to get it. The Mets brought in Johan Santana, and he delivered. they needed him in a strange year that saw Wille Randolph fired after a win on the first game of a west coast trip. The interim manager threatened to cut Reyes if he didn’t come off the field after pulling up lame, and people acted like it was a good thing. Through all of that, the Mets were collapsing again, and yet an injured Santana took the ball on three days rest. He saved the season, but only for a day: 

The last three were the most difficult for me because I was there. It got more difficult because Citi Field was initially a disappointment. It got worse because the product on the field was bad. 

Then Matt Harvey came up and was an All Star. Jacob deGrom came from seemingly nowhere to become a Rookie of the Year and an All Star. They were joined by Noah Syndergaard. The Mets made a flurry of trades including one for Yoenis CespedesDaniel Murphy had an out of body experience. Then this happened:

All that pain. All that suffering. We know what it’s like to be Mets fans. There’s pain and suffering. However, there are moments of pure joy. It’s all the losing that makes nights like last night all the more special. 

We’re Mets fans. We were there for all of this. There are older fans who experienced more pain, but also more joy. There are younger fans who only know losing. Now, we’re all Pennant Winners. It’s like the 80’s again when the Mets are the best team of baseball. We’re “Back in the New York groove!”

THE METS HAVE WON THE PENNANT!

The Mets came out tonight and made sure they were going to quash any notion they were going to blow a 3-0 series lead. The opening salvo came off the bat of Lucas Duda:

Travis d’Arnaud finished the inning off by going back-to-back, apple-to-apple:

The Mets batted around in the first and had a 4-0 lead. This series, nay postseason, has belonged to NLCS MVP Daniel Murphy, but tonight belonged to Duda. Duda came alive in this game. In addition to the three run homer, he would hit a two run RBI double in the second. It would be a record tying hit:

It was all the Mets pitchers need. Steven Matz no-hit the Cubs through three. However, he allowed a run in the fourth, and he got in trouble in the fifth prompting Terry Collins to replace him with two outs in the inning. Bartolo Colon came in and struck out Kris Bryant with runners on first and second. 

Colon would pitch a clean sixth before being lifted for Addison Reed. Because Matz couldn’t get out of the fifth, Colon earned the win. It’s strange that the 42 year old Colin would get the pennant clinching win on a team with all of this dominant young pitching. The answer to the trivia question is Jeurys Familia struck out Dexter Fowler

  
As for Murphy?  He had an off night only going 3-4 with a double and a run scored in the first seven innings. In the eighth with his streak on the line he did this:

Overall, the Cubs had some fight in them, but it wasn’t enough. They lost 8-3 tonight. The only damage inflicted was Yoenis Cespedes leaving the game early with a sore shoulder. Hopefully, it’s not series because he’ll be needed in the WORLD SERIES!

The Mets swept the Cubs.  The Cuba never had a lead in the series. It is the first time the Mets have ever swept a best of seven series. I can’t believe I’m writing this, but the Mets are going to the World Series!  There’s no way to describe this amazing feeling. There may be only one way to describe this:

Enjoy Tonight

If you’re a Mets fan, nights like tonight don’t come around often. Keep in mind 1986 was 29 years ago. Since that time, the Mets have only played in three games where a win meant the Mets went to the World Series. 

In 1988, Orel Hershiser shut down the Mets in Game 7. In 2000, Mike Hampton, the only Met player to win the NLCS MVP, pitched the Mets into the Subway Series. We are all scarred by Yadier Molina and Adam Wainwright in Game 7 in 2006. Tonight, the Mets can win and go to the 2015 World Series. 

The Mets have four cracks at it. Obviously, each game the Mets don’t do it, the more nervous you’ll be. Don’t think about that. Just focus on tonight. There should be nothing but enthusiasm for tonight’s game. It’s alright to plan your celebration. I’m waking my son for the final out. Once it’s recorded, I’m talking to my Dad and brother. I’ll text my cousins as well. 

We’ve been through all of this together. The ups and downs. We have waited for this day, not for nine years. I’ve waited for this all my life. You have too.  Enjoy it.

LETS GO METS!

What Are the Cubs Made Of?

Nothing can make a team look bad like great pitching. Nothing can take a red hot team to their knees like great pitching. As anticipated, the Mets have had great pitching. Here’s how the Mets starters have performed:

Matt Harvey 7.2 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 9 K
Noah Syndergaard 5.2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 9 K
Jacob deGrom 7.0 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K
It’s the reason why the Cubs have been shut down thus far. This is the same Cubs team that scored 20 runs in a 3-1 win over the Cardinals in the Division Series. The Cubs entered the playoffs winning eight in a row before taking out the Pirates in the Wild Card Game. 

The Cubs back are against the wall, and they get a slight break tonight with Steven Matz. We’re going to see what the Cubs are made of tonight. I expect them to bring their best.  

I still expect the Mets to win.