In the fourth inning of Game 2 of the ALDS Ron Darling said there was a “chink in the armor” referring to how Masahiro Tanaka was losing his control. Of course, this would lead the New York Daily News to say Darling “used a racial slur.”
This is completely dishonest reporting, and it is surprising a newspaper which trades in words, language, idioms, and common vernacular would stoop to such a level.
If you track the full etymology of the phrase, it is not a phrase with racial overtones, not is it used that way today.
As explained by various sites, including Writing Explained, the term was derived in the 15th century to explain a small opening in one’s armor. Since the 17th century, it has been used as an idiom to explain “refers to a weakness in one’s character or something that makes one vulnerable.”
For example, a pitcher losing control is a chink in their armor.
Now, if Darling used that to refer to Tanaka wearing his Yankees jersey? Well, obviously that would have been a racial slur. Clearly, he didn’t, and obviously, Darling would not even go there.
For those that forget, Darling is from Hawaii, is part Chinese, and has faced racial slurs all his life. No, this is not the rapper argument where they can use slurs other people can’t. No, it just serves to highlight how Darling might be sensitive to the issue and would not want to inflict upon someone the pain he has endured in his life.
Given how Darling has had to face real racial slurs in his life and the fact the term he used is not racist, calling Darling a racist here is callous and completely unwarranted. This is garbage “journalism” and it’s name smearing.
What the New York Daily News did to Darling is far worse than Darling using an appropriate term to describe an event. While Darling apologized, it is Darling himself who is owed the apology.
After Clayton Kershaw dominated for eight shutout innings where he allowed just two hits, the Atlanta Braves have scored exactly zero runs in the NLDS.
With that, the Mets have scored the same amount of runs as the Braves this postseason. Apparently, that’s where the 38-30 record the Mets and Braves had in the second half gets you.
This and the fact the Braves actually tabbed Anibal Sanchez to be their Game 2 starter should tell us all how much the Mets messed up the 2018 season.
It was the same mistakes they always make, and the end result was the Mets losing the division to a team whose second best pitcher is Anibal Sanchez.
Last year, we saw most of the players the Mets traded at the deadline appear in the postseason. Notably, Jay Bruce hit a couple of homers in the Indians ALDS loss to the Yankees. Similarly, Addison Reed would not get out of the ALDS as the Red Sox lost to the Astros. This year as the postseason has begun there are former Mets on all teams except the Rockies. Can you name those players? Good luck!
Prior to Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS, there was much debate over who Willie Randolph should give the ball.
It was Steve Trachsel‘s turn in the rotation, but he was terrible in Game 3 and bad in the NLDS. Possibly, it was the result of the microdiscectomy he had in 2005, but he didn’t have in anymore.
Due to the rainouts in the series, Tom Glavine in one day of rest was a non-starter leaving the Mets unable to throw their best (healthy) pitcher in a winner-take-all-game.
As a result, when you broke it all down, the Mets best option was Darren Oliver Perez. That’s right, it was some combination of Darren Oliver, the former starter who was brilliant in the Mets bullpen in 2016, and Oliver Perez, the pitcher who did just enough to win Game 4. With Perez not being nearly as good as he was as his 2002 breakout season, and him starting on three days of rest, this truly was an all hands on deck type of game.
Looking at the game, it made sense to put the Mets bullpen front and center. The Mets had the best and deepest bullpen in the National League. That bullpen led the National League in wins, ERA, and fWAR. It was dominant, and even with the hiccups in Games 2 and 5 in the series, you certainly trusted it much more than you trusted anyone in the rotation.
As we are aware, things turned out much differently than anticipated. With the help of Endy Chavez making the greatest catch you will ever see, Perez would allow just one earned on four hits in six innings of work. He went far beyond what anyone could have anticipated, and really, he put the Mets in position to win that game.
Ultimately, the Mets would lose the game and as a result the series for two reasons. The first was the Mets offense didn’t deliver. After Endy’s catch, Javier Valentin struck out with the bases loaded, and Endy did not have more magic left for the inning instead flying out. In the ninth, Cliff Floyd struck out, Jim Edmonds robbed Jose Reyes, and Carlos Beltran struck out looking.
The second reason was the bullpen, specifically Aaron Heilman. He pitched a scoreless eighth, and he started off the ninth well striking out Edmonds. After the Scott Rolen single, he really was through the dangerous part of the lineup. He should have gotten through that inning unscathed to give the Mets a chance to walk off. Realistically speaking, no one could have anticipated what came next.
In 2006, Heilman did not get hit hard. He yielded just a 4.4% FB/HR ratio, and he had a 0.5 HR/9. He had not given up a home run since July 16th, and that was hit by Phil Nevin. Again, no one could see Yadier Molina‘s homer coming.
That didn’t stop it from coming, but just because it came, it did not mean Randolph and the Mets made the wrong decision trusting Heilman.
Sometimes, you make the right decision, and the wrong thing happens. It is what we saw happen last night with the Athletics.
Like the 2006 Mets, the real strength of that team was the bullpen. In a winner take all game, Bob Melvin put his faith in them. Ultimately, it was two of his best relievers, Fernando Rodney and Blake Treinen, who failed most. They took a close game and put it well out of reach.
That doesn’t mean he was wrong to trust those arms for one game. It just means the team’s best players didn’t perform, which is the reason the Athletics lost. Really, it was the use of an opener or the bullpenning. It was Rodney and Treinen, two pitchers who were definitively going to pitch in the game even if the Athletics used a traditional starter, who lost the game.
In the end, there is still a debate at the merits of using an opener or bullpenning, but the Athletics losing this game did not settle this debate. Not in the least.
For years, we have heard rumors about how much Jeff Wilpon interferes with baseball operations. The famous quote along these lines came from Peter Gammons who once said of the Mets hierarchy, “Ask the general manager, Jeff Wilpon.” Judging from the rumors we have heard over the years, things have not changed much, if at all, from the days Omar Minaya was the Mets General Manager.
Of course, Jeff Wilpon says otherwise. In fact, on the topic of the Mets spending the past few seasons, Jeff Wilpon had the audacity to pin the blame on Sandy Alderson saying the team not signing top free agents was based on Alderson’s recommendations. Notably, Jeff would not answer questions about the team’s willingness to spend this offseason.
While he would not address the budget, Jeff would certainly address personnel decisions. While Jeff gave some lip service to the notion he would give the new General Manager final say on everything, he also offered he wants to see the triumvirate of General Managers (Omar Minaya, J.P. Riccardi, John Ricco) as well as Mickey Callaway and the entire coaching staff return.
Given what we’ve seen the past few years, we should expect Jeff to get his way.
Considering Jeff wants to be the guy, much like he was at the trade deadline when he made himself the team’s General Manager, Jeff should just make himself the guy. Drop all the pretext. If Jeff thinks he’s smart enough to run an entire organization, he should go out and do it.
Stop hiring shields and figureheads. Stop sending out General Managers and managers to deliver confused and clearly false messages to the media. Instead, be the guy. Get in front of a microphone and tell everyone why you made this trade or signed this guy instead of that guy.
If Jeff is being honest, that’s what he wants. He wants all the credit. He wants us all to believe he is the smartest guy in the room. For that to happen, he’s going to have to pull back the curtain and make himself accountable.
The hope for Mets fans is if Jeff does actually make himself the General Manager, the person with whom praise or blame befalls, if he is the guy who has to answer to all the organization does, the team will open the pocketbooks. He will be motivated to sign Manny Machado because he wants to look like the genius. Mostly, he is not going to want to fail.
So go ahead, Jeff. Do it. Drop the charade and finally make yourself the General Manager. Show us all you really do know more than everyone and that you are up for the job. In the end, if you do it, and the Mets are successful, we will all love you for it. Seriously.
But, if you’re not going to do it, knock it off. Stop interfering and sabotaging the front office and manager. Give them a budget, and give them the freedom to do their jobs. Let them build the Mets next World Series winner.
There’s no other course. Either do the job or let someone else do it. The nonsense has to stop, and it has to stop now.
With the 2018 officially starting tonight, we will see a number of former Mets in the postseason. Some of these players have starred for the Mets in the postseason, while others have sought their own glory elsewhere. In any event, these players mere presence on each roster may motivate fans to root for or against certain teams:
Boston Red Sox
Alex Cora – Coming off a career best year, the former World Series champion was brought to the Mets in 2009 to fortify the bench. Cora played one-and-a-half years with the Mets before being released in August 2010.
Oliver Perez – Once, Perez was a beloved Met who made clutch starts in Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS and the final game at Shea. After that he signed a big contract, and he was terrible. Eventually, he became a pariah and was released. After a year in the minors, he reinvented himself as a left-handed reliever with varying success.
Neil Ramirez – After Ramirez struggled with a 8.71 ERA with the Giants, he was released, and the Mets picked him up. The team stubbornly held onto him for nearly three months until he was finally released. Like Perez, he has pitched much better with the Indians.
Collin McHugh – In 2013, the Mets traded McHugh to the Rockies for Eric Young, Jr., who would would lead the league in stolen bases. After a brief stop in Colorado, McHugh was moved to Houston where they better utilized his superior spin rate on his curveball. First, he was a part of a rotation which began Houston’s resurgence. He’s now a key piece of their bullpen.
Joe Smith – A year after being the Mets 2006 third round draft pick, he was in the majors and contributing int he bullpen. He would be included in a three team trade which netted the Mets J.J. Putz. As Mets luck would have it, Smith was the best reliever in the deal.
New York Yankees
Neil Walker – After the 2015 pennant, the Mets obtained Walker in exchange for Jon Niese. After an up-and-down 2016 season, which ended with Walker having season ending back surgery, Walker accepted the qualifying offer from the Mets. He would have an injury plagued 2017 before being traded to the Brewers for Eric Hanhold.
Lucas Duda – Believe it or not, Duda is the Mets all-time leader in HBP. After beating out Ike Davis for the first base job in 2013, he really became one of the more polarizing players among Mets fans. Where some fans saw a 30 home run hitting first baseman who carried the Mets in that series in 2015, other fans saw a player who went cold for prolonged stretches and who threw the ball and the World Series away. He won’t get that chance now with him being a pinch hitter stuck behind Freddie Freeman.
Rene Rivera – Rivera was an important part of the 2016 Mets team as he was the defensive catcher who helped Noah Syndergaard get through his issues holding on base runners. With his reputation as a defensive catcher, he has found himself picked up by postseason teams the past few years. At the moment, it is not likely he cracks the postseason roster with Kurt Suzuki and Tyler Flowers ahead of him on the depth chart.
Curtis Granderson – Granderson was a leader for the 2015 Mets team who made that surprise run to win the pennant. In that 2015 World Series, Granderson was the best player on the field hitting three homers. Last year, the Mets traded him to the Dodgers for Jacob Rhame. After a tough postseason, he was left off the Dodgers World Series roster. Granderson will now get another crack at winning that elusive World Series ring in what could be his last season.
Junior Guerra – After being released by the Braves and being out of baseball for a year, the Mets signed Guerra to a minor league deal. Despite pitching to a 2.28 ERA in his time between Kingsport, Brooklyn, Savannah, and St. Lucie in 2008, the Mets would release him. He bounced around the minors and foreign leagues before re-emerging with the White Sox in 2014. Finally, he was picked up off waivers by the Brewers in 2015, and he has been a solid contributor for them.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Erik Goeddel – Goeddel was an effective but injury prone reliever during his time with the Mets. In the last offseason, with the Mets having a 40 man roster crunch, the Mets designated him for assignment while keeping players like Rafael Montero. Goeddel began his season in Seattle, and he would land with the Dodgers where he was terrific before suffering another season ending injury.
Justin Turner – The story of Turner has been long documented leading to much debate among Mets fans. Suffice it to say, Turner has been a very good player since joining the Dodgers. To just add fuel to the fire, just like Murphy, Turner has an NLCS MVP under his belt.
Cory Mazzoni – On the eve of the 2015 season, the Mets traded their former second round draft pick to the Padres for Alex Torres. Mazzoni has bounced around between a few organizations over the past few years. He pitched well in limited duty for the Cubs this year, but he has not appeared in a Major League game on July 28, and as such, he is not going to be a part of the postseason roster.
Daniel Murphy – Murphy went from postseason folk hero to Washington National and Mets killer. After two All Star seasons, he had an injury plagued 2018 season, which helped facilitate a disappointing season for the Nationals. He’s now with a Cubs team who he annihilated in 2015 en route to winning the NLCS MVP.
Taking all of this into account, I am rooting for a Brewers-Indians World Series. My motivation for rooting for the Brewers is my wanting to see Granderson win a World Series ring before he retires. Looking at the American League side of the ledger, while I did like Smith with the Mets, I would like to see Indians fans see a World Series victory due to their 70 year drought punctuated by heartbreaking losses.
Back in 2011, Jose Reyes would lay down a bunt single to preserve his batting title. The first in Mets history. After reaching safely, Reyes would be lifted from the game much to the consternation of Mets fans. Much of the consternation eminated from the fact it looked like this was going to be the last time fans were going to get to see Reyes in a Mets jersey, and those fans wanted to see Reyes play just one last time and say good-bye.
Sunday, Reyes was in the lineup once again leadoff in what many believed to be his final game as a Met. Reyes would take one at-bat, ground out, and he would walk off the field for a final time. While the circumstances may seem to mirror what transpired seven years prior, the two situations could not have been more different.
During Reyes’ first stint with the Mets, he was the most electrifying player in the Majors. He could turn anything into extra bases, and extra base hits were nanoseconds away from becoming triples. When he was on the basepaths, he was a constant stolen base threat, and his dancing at third base helped entice a few balks leading to a run. Reyes was so dynamic we came up with the term “Reyes Run” for him getting on, getting over, and getting in.
Reyes was more than a dynamic offensive force. He was a shortstop with a bullet arm and a fan favorite. His apparent joy on the field was infectious to the fan base, and it did seem to get the team going. (Sometimes, like 2007, it would also motivate the opponents). Mets fans would shower him with the “Jose!” chant (a chant which began Saturday, March 29, 2003). We loved him, and he seemingly loved us too.
In 2011, you could argue it was he and not David Wright whom the Mets should keep. After all, Reyes was the younger player, and Citi Field was built more to Reyes’ than Wright’s strengths. Whatever the case, the Mets opted not to re-sign him, devastating a fan base, and having the organization a nd fans looking for a new fan favorite. Arguably, no one could fill that void like the way Reyes once did.
That was the Reyes who left New York after the 2011 season. That Reyes was barely recognizable after leaving.
After one year in Miami, he was traded to the Blue Jays as part of that organization’s efforts to return to the postseason. In 2015, in Reyes’ third year as a Blue Jay, it seemed the organization’s plans were coming to fruition. They were competing for a postseason spot with hopes for the division. It was time for a bold move, their GM Alex Anthopoulos made that bold move. In a six player trade, Reyes was traded to the Blue Jays for LaTroy Hawkins and Troy Tulowitzki.
In a year, Reyes and the Mets were supposed to return to the postseason, Reyes instead found himself playing for the Colorado Rockies. He didn’t want to be there, and the team didn’t want him. This also meant instead of playing in the postseason, Reyes would be making vacation plans to go to Hawaii.
On October 31, 2015, Michael Conforto hit two homers. Instead of going to Jeurys Familia for the six out save, Terry Collins brought in Tyler Clippard, who walked two of the three batters he faced. When Familia finally did come in, Daniel Murphy booted a grounder. The Mets 3-2 lead would quickly become a 5-3 deficit.
While this was happening, Jose Reyes would throw his wife into a glass door in Hawaii. His wife would need to be taken to a nearby hospital to treat her injuries, and Reyes would be arrested. Reyes faced not just prison time but also deportation. Instead, because his wife did not cooperate with prosecutors, the changes would be dropped.
While Reyes was able to avoid legal troubles, he could not escape MLB punishment. With a new Domestic Violence policy, Reyes would be suspended 51 games, which stands as the longest Domestic Violence suspension to date. With the Rockies already wanting to transition to Trevor Story, they were more than happy to release Reyes.
Fortunately for Reyes, the Mets needed a third baseman. Wright was injured again, and he was going to miss the rest of the season. Eric Campbell, Matt Reynolds, Wilmer Flores, and Kelly Johnson just weren’t to cut it. Partially due to desperation and partially due to nostalgia, the Mets threw Reyes the rope none of the other 28 teams were likely willing to give him.
A fan base was divided. While the “Jose!” chants returned, they did not have the same enthusiasm. Some of the people most willing to lead the cheer would sit on their hands or boo. Reyes beat his wife, and the Mets signing him was sending the wrong message.
Still, Reyes stayed, and he played reasonably well. He would have some highlights including the September 22nd game where both he and Asdrubal Cabrera homered which helped turn a 6-4 loss into a dramatic 9-8 11 inning victory which helped propel the Mets into the top Wild Card. Much like in his last postseason game with the Mets, Reyes went hitless as his team was eliminated at home.
In the subsequent two years, he was about the worst players in baseball. Despite all of Collins’ efforts to get him going, Reyes floundered, and there would be reports he was not happy playing third base. At the end of the 2017 season, he helped reinvent himself as a mentor to Amed Rosario. Between that and his hitting in September, the Mets brought him back.
He was dreadful this year hitting .189/.260/.320. He’d post a -0.8 WAR. Worse yet, he would complain about his playing time. He believed as a utility player he should have received more playing time, and really, without that playing time, the Mets were not giving him a chance to succeed. While there were some who were able to compartmentalize the off the field issues, when he was bad on the field, more and more Mets fans were disenchanted with him.
However, despite the ever growing calls to release him and make way for more talented prospects like Jeff McNeil, the Mets stubbornly held onto him. They treated him like one of the Mets greats, which he was in the first part of his career. Against all odds, Reyes would last the full season with the Mets. It allowed him to play alongside Wright in the Captain’s final game.
It also meant Reyes would get to leadoff in what is likely his final career game. Between innings, the Mets showed a video tribute. Reyes would emerge from the dugout to tip his cap to a standing ovation.
The crowd was much smaller than the sold out crowd who was there to see Wright’s final game. The standing ovation Reyes received did not remotely compare to the one Wright received. If you went back a decade, that would seem implausible as both were beloved players with Reyes being the one who probably generated more enthusiasm from the fans.
Personally, I loved Reyes. The first player jersey I ever purchased was Mike Piazza, the second Wright, and the third Reyes. Overall, I had more Reyes shirseys than any other player including a last season at Shea and first season at Citi one. That Reyes was the most exciting player who ever played for the Mets. When he went to Colorado, I still believed he had an outside shot at the Hall of Fame.
After he left, I was left livid with the organization. In no way should Wright and Reyes have ever been split up. Like great Mets duos of the past, Tom Seaver and Jerry Koosman and Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry, it seemed like their destiny was to win a World Series together. Between that, Flores’ struggles at short and Ruben Tejada not being a particularly good baseball player, I desperately wanted the Mets to make a trade with the Rockies to bring back Reyes for that 2015 run.
To this day, part of me wonders what would have happened if Reyes did return to the Mets in 2015. Do they win that World Series, or do they still fall short? Would Reyes and his contract stood in the way of Yoenis Cespedes returning? Mostly, I wonder about that night.
While statistics prove differently, to this day, I hope it was an isolated incident, which could have been avoided by Reyes being in New York instead of Hawaii. In the converse, maybe this was a pattern of behavior which grew increasingly violent, and perhaps, things could have been hidden for longer if he was never in Hawaii. There is no way of knowing anything. What we do know is that instead of being in New York, Reyes was in Hawaii where he forever changed his legacy by committing a vile act.
Because of all of this, I was initially irritated Reyes was sharing Wright’s spotlight, but I made peace with it because it was what Wright wanted.
At the sake of sounding hypocritical, I must admit seeing Reyes doubling and moving to third on a sacrifice bunt was exciting. Wright coming up to the plate in an RBI situation was exciting. Wright being able to drive Reyes home just one last time made the moment all the more special.
In all honesty, I was surprised nostalgia got the better of me in the moment.
Perhaps it is because I truly miss the Reyes of 2003 – 2011. I just miss how fun it was to watch him play.
That fun completely disappeared when he returned. He was no longer a young up and coming superstar. He was a violent wife beater. Some people may be able to compartmentalize it, but I wasn’t. Certainly not for a player I once held in the highest of regards.
Now that is career is over, I honestly do wish Reyes well. I want him and his family to be able to move on from the domestic violence to have a happy and safe home life. If that happens, then no matter how much I was against it, Reyes returning to the Mets was worth it. I will be happy if Reyes returning to a place he was loved and cared for led him to not only seek help but to end what might have been a pattern of abuse. Hopefully, he is a better husband and father for the experience.
In the end, congratulations to Reyes on a great career. You are the greatest shortstop in Mets history. The memories of you and Wright playing together were some of the best I’ve had as a fan. Rooting for you was never the same, and it will never be the same again. Still, each and every Mets fan, including myself, wish you and your family well.
God bless the Reyes family.
Perhaps more than any season, there is a sense of sadness which washed upon me when the 2018 season ended. Perhaps, it was because my father is another year older, and I have yet to truly experience the Mets winning the World Series with him. Maybe it is because my son follows the game a little bit more and he is starting to become attached to some players, and those players are up in limbo.
There is the sadness with David Wright leaving. He was the most beloved Mets player in history, and he was arguably the best position player this organization has ever produced. He was a Met for his entire career, and he ended his career the right way – on the field. Unfortunately, that career did not end with him winning a World Series.
Past Wright, there are question marks about some other players. Is this the last time Wilmer Flores ever wore a Mets uniform? Are we just waiting for him to shed tears when he is wearing another team’s uniform? Could we have already seen the last of Travis d’Arnaud? How about Juan Lagares? With him in the last year of his deal, he is certainly more tradeable, and there should be savvy teams lining up to acquire his defense. Is he just destined to go somewhere else where the will be able to finally put it all together? Will a new General Manager come in and opt to start a rebuild that would likely begin with trading Jacob deGrom?
Honestly, will Yoenis Cespedes ever be able to play again? He has only had one of the two heel surgeries he needed. Whenever you see a report on him, no one seems to be able to pinpoint a date he can play next year. At some point, you have to question if he will ever really be able to play. That seems like such a big departure from the larger than life figure he has been since joining the Mets.
Really, when you look around the 2015 Mets team we loved so dearly has been slowly trickling away. Matt Harvey and Jeurys Familia were traded away this year. Addison Reed, Lucas Duda, and Curtis Granderson were traded away last season. Juan Uribe, Kelly Johnson, and Daniel Murphy are distant memories. Bartolo Colon is off making goofy barbecue ads in Texas. Sandy Alderson, the man who orchestrated it all, “took a leave of absence” because he is battling cancer.
What we have left is good, really good. We have seen Brandon Nimmo be the player the Mets hoped he would be when he was drafted. After concerns about his shoulder, Michael Conforto was once again Michael Conforto in the second half. Amed Rosario figured things out in the second half of the season, and Jeff McNeil seemingly came out of nowhere.
We watched deGrom reach a level we never thought possible making him a sure Cy Young award winner. Zack Wheeler went from enigma to ace. Steven Matz actually made 30 starts. Finally, Noah Syndergaard seemed to return to form as the season drew to a close. This is reminiscent of the pitching of 2015, pitching which led the Mets to a World Series.
Looking at it, the Mets had the best ERA in the majors in the second half (2.97), and they had the best record in the division in the second half (38-30). When you combine the finish with the start, you can see there is a World Series contender somewhere in the fabric of that clubhouse. In order for that to happen, the Wilpons are going to have to go out there and get the pieces necessary to put this team over the top. If they were to do so, it would be the first time since they signed Pedro Martinez and Carlos Beltran in 2005, and added Billy Wagner and Carlos Delgado the subsequent offseason.
Making bold moves like that to this core WILL put this team over the top, especially since Mickey Callaway and his staff grew during the season and showed they can be a coaching staff who can win you a World Series.
There’s a hesitation there. After Madoff, no Mets fan can really be assured this team is going to make the bold moves they need to take this roster over the top. Whatever hope you had was dashed when Jeff Wilpon told us all it was really Sandy Alderson who refused to spend and limited the size of the analytics department.
Thinking back, you realize this is partially why Wright retired without a ring. Sure, the Shea Stadium days were different. The Mets did add the aforementioned players, and they did make the Johan Santana trade. But after that? Well, it was Madoff and always finding themselves one or two players short. After all, the Mets traded for Kelly Johnson in consecutive seasons partially because the team believed Eric Campbell, and his major league minimum salary, was part of the solution.
In the end, this is a really likeable team. Watching Nimmo, Conforto, Rosario, deGrom, Syndergaard, Seth Lugo, and the rest of this Mets team, you can’t help but like and root for these guys. They are what makes being a Mets fan great. We don’t want to see deGrom, who looks to take up Wright’s mantle as the next great Mets player, leave Flushing without a ring. That can’t happen.
In the end, the ending of the 2018 season was a sad one. Hopefully, that sadness will quickly subside as the Mets go forth and seize the opportunity that is here. Hopefully, the 2019 season is going to be the year we finally see the Mets win another World Series. I hope so because I don’t know how many more opportunities I’ll have to celebrate it with all of my loved ones.
One of the major positives from the 2018 season was how Mickey Callaway and Dave Eiland have rejuvenated the pitching to the point where this once again looks like a rotation which can lead the Mets to a World Series.
Through all the exploits, there was just one thing the Mets had yet to accomplish – a complete game shut out. Well, it took 162 games, but Noah Syndergaard would accomplish the feat.
In a completely and utterly dominant performance, there would only be one Marlin who would even reach second base. That was Magneuris Sierra with a two out double in the eighth. That amounted to nothing as Syndergaard responded by striking out JT Riddle.
In the complete game shutout, Syndergaard’s final line was 9.0 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K.
It was the second complete game of Syndergaard’s career. Both complete games came this season. It was also the first shutout of his career.
Other than that, the Mets offense did just as little as the Marlins. Perhaps, this was just the last two teams in the division looking to go home for the year. Maybe, as Syndergaard would show, something was up with the bats:
Noah Syndergaard just broke his bat without making contact with the ball pic.twitter.com/SSBm9AWr2B
— SportsNet New York (@SNYtv) September 30, 2018
No matter the case, after the 1-0 game, it was time to say goodbye.
It was time to say goodbye to Jose Reyes, who led off and exited the game after a first inning groundout. With that, his Mets and likely his Major League career comes to an end.
While yesterday was his final game, it was one last chance to see David Wright in a Mets uniform.
It’s time to bid adieu to a bizarre and strangely beautiful 2018 season. The season was at times full of hope and at times full of despair. We say good bye to Wright and Reyes and usher in the next generation of Mets baseball.
It’s going to be very interesting to see where we go from here.
Let’s Go Mets!
Game Notes: Like yesterday, Amed Rosario was the player who substituted into the game.
When you operate a blog, when you observe everything that happened today at Citi Field, the last thing you want to be is overwhelmed by the moment. But when it comes to David Wright how could you help but be overwhelmed.
As a diehard fan who watches nearly every game, beginning on July 21, 2004 until May 27, 2016, in some, way, shape, or form, Wright was a part of your everyday life.
The hits. The catches. The wins. The losses. Sadly, the injuries.
From February until October, Wright was there. The best thing about my favorite baseball team. The one thing worth loving from a team who did not always deserve the love and respect.
To pick a favorite moment is nearly impossible.
The bare-handed catch in San Diego. Diving into the stands in Seattle. The classic bare-handed play with which he’s become synonymous.
Putting on a show in the Home Run Derby with Paul Lo Duca firing in darts. Homering in his first All Star at-bat. Starting and playing third at the first All Star Game played at Citi Field. Any of his seven All Star appearances.
The 30/30 season. Gold Gloves. Silver Sluggers. Being the first Met to homer at Citi Field.
Homering in his first at-bat back of the DL. The slide in Washington. The RBI single and fist pump in the NLDS. Staring at the World Series logo on his cap at Wrigley Field. The home run:
As much joy as there was, there is a sadness.
The epic 80s type run we all expected never materialized. It wasn’t due to Wright’s lack of trying.
Wright would be the only Met to deliver an RBI in Game 7. In September 2007, he hit .352/.432/.602. In September 2008, he hit .340/.416/.577. He homered off Yordano Ventura. More than any of that, he stayed.
Because he stayed, we watched on as his body failed him. It robbed him not just of a chance to go out there and play, but it was enough to cost him a chance at a ring and possibly much more.
With his body failing, we got to see what made Wright truly great. His integrity, hard work, dedication, and love of baseball were on full display. Make no mistake. Unless Wright possessed all of these qualities, especially the love of baseball, we would not have seen him continuously fight his way back despite the injuries and the surgeries.
If nothing else, Wright earned the opportunity to step back onto the field and end his career on his terms instead of in a trainer’s room. He earned that not just by the rehab and work he put in to return, but because of who he is and what he means to the franchise.
While Wright was thinking of sharing the moment with his daughters, I was thinking of sharing it with my sons. It was important for me to share the moment with them. After all, we’re Mets fans, and as Mets fans we love David Wright.
Certainly, poor Peter O’Brien missed the memo as he caught a Wright foul out in the fourth. For that crime, he will be forever mercilessly (and good-naturedly?) booed every time he returns to Citi Field.
With the foul out, you were left hoping and praying for just one more at-bat. Even an inning in the field. It wasn’t to be as Mickey Callaway made the switch.
Wright left the field to the adoration of Mets fans everywhere. Really, it’s remarkable how loud everyone was as they were all fighting through the tears.
A brilliant career in which he set many records and became arguably the second best player in Mets history was now over, and even with fans having over two years to prepare, none of us were.
We can say it’s time to find a new face of the Mets. It’s possible there will be another captain. But, there will never be another David Wright.
I count myself lucky for watching Wright’s entire career. I cherish the fact I got to share the experience with my father and brother, but also now my sons.
To me, in the end, this is what baseball is all about – the shared experience across generations.
There will be other players and other moments we can all share. Short of a World Series, it’s going to be next to impossible to top David Wright’s career.
In some ways, it’s sad to see that go. In others, there’s joy in having been able to experience it. Mostly, it’s gratitude.
Thank you for everything David Wright. You are loved by Mets fans, and you will never be forgotten.