On the last game of the season, the Mets had a young kid came up to help them. They needed him after losing six straight and getting no hit. Before entering the ballpark, he visited the bricks to remind himself of who he was playing for:
The ball didn’t quite make it out of the park, so he would have to hustle to give the Mets a shot to win:
AN INSIDE THE PARK HOMERUN! His hit would help the Mets win 1-0 and secure 90 wins en route to the division series. After the game, he would be carried across the Shea Bridge on his biggest fan’sshoulders as he celebrated with Mets fans:
Congrats on a great season. I can’t wait for the playoffs. Lets Go Mets!
In 1996, Todd Hundley had set the major league single season record for homeruns by a catcher. On a somewhat lesser note, he also set the Mets single season record for homeruns. Unfortunately, the Mets still finished 20 games under .500 and in fourth place.
Nevertheless, my brother, father, and I went to the last game of the season. It seemed like we were the only ones. We took advantage of it. We started the game in the mezzanine and slowly made our way down. By the end of the game, we were within 10 rows of the Mets dugout. Believe it or not, you used to be allowed to do this.
Anyway, the game ended with a Mets loss. A fitting end to another lost season. As was the norm, we stayed in our seats. You see my Dad would like to stay in the seats until we were kicked out. He found it easier to leave Shea with two kids when no one was around, and he liked the traffic dissipating while we relaxed.
While we were sitting there, something incredible happened. The Mets players came out of the dugout and started tossing their gear into the stands. Batting gloves, wrist bands, hats, etc. With a record setting year, anything from Hundley was a prized item. Initially, we struck out. Then, Todd Hundley took the cap off his head, and he threw it in the stands.
My brother was perfectly situated. He was on a seat. He caught it and brought it to his chest. He was then TACKLED by two men, who started to fight him for the hat. This 14 year old kid held onto the cap until the ushers arrived to break it up.
They came in, took the hat from my brother, and then brought it to a family seated right by the dugout. I don’t know the denomination, but I saw money exchange hands. I went off, and my brother and I were told to get out of a ballpark that was already closed.
We told my Dad, who missed everything because he went to the bathroom. I remember him looking for someone’s head. Unfortunately, there was literally no one left in the stadium. I still think of this from time to time, especially now that I’m a parent bringing a child to a game. It still bothers me because:
- How can an adult tackle a child for a cap?
- Where was the integrity of that usher and/or the family?
- The Mets still owe my brother a hat.
Today, no one will have this problem because the Mets will need their gear for the playoffs. If something does get thrown out there today, I’m not saying to let the kid have it if it’s within your reach. I’m just saying don’t tackle the kid to get it. I shouldn’t have to say it, but based upon past events, I know that I do.
In actuality, these tickets were a birthday gift from my wife and son. My wife said she might be getting me tickets, and I requested a Sunday game so I might be able to bring my son into the field for the Mr. Met Dash.
I’m happy she picked the last game of the season. Tomorrow, I get to go to Citi Field and salute the improbable 2015 NL East Champions. Even after an ugly loss, the mood should still be jubilant. This team should be saluted for an incredible season. I’m happy that I’ll be able to get this snapshot to remember this year by.
The problem is that unless the Mets win the World Series, their year will end on a down note. I remember 1999 for the Kenny Rogers‘ walk. I remember 2000 for Timo Perez not running, Roger Clemens‘ [alleged] roid rage, and a Mike Piazza ball that did not travel quite far enough. I remember 2006 for the Adam Wainwright curveball.
It’s a shame because those were terrific Mets seasons. What they did is no small feat, especially for a franchise that has gone to the playoffs eight times in 53 years. I want to remember 2015 for more than just how the season ends, even if the Mets win the World Series.
There was the 11 game winning streak. There was the return of Matt Harvey from Tommy John surgery. There was the deGrominance of Jacob deGrom including his amazing All Star Game appearance. There was the amazing rookies seasons of Noah Syndergaard and Michael Conforto. There was “A Cespedes for the Rest of Us.” There was the David Wright homerun on his return from spinal stenosis.
On a personal note, it’s the year I finally came to love Citi Field. I brought my son to a few games. He got to meet Mr. Met TWICE! He got to play baseball. He had Shake Shack. He learned the Mets lineup. He watched games with me. He saw the Mets celebrate a division title. I may have loved the 1999 and 2006 teams more, but this has been my favorite season.
The Mets had a lot to do with it by winning. However, to me, this year has been about my son and I bonding over baseball. It started with a Spring Training Game with him imitating Gary Cohen’s excited, “LUCAS DUDA!” call. He’s learning the game. He loves the Mets.
I want to go to the game to celebrate all of that. The icing on the cake would be if we can run the bases. I know he will love it much like he loved this season. This is the last game of the year we can go to and just enjoy the day. We’re going to. I hope you will too. It was a great season.
Lets Go Mets!
Last night, I was reflecting on past Mets playoff performances. The first ever Mets playoff game I attended was Pratts’ All Folks. I can still remember Steve Finley‘s whole body sag when he realized he didn’t rob the homerun. I remember once that happened, Shea Stadium erupted immediately.
The following year, I again went to Game Four of the NLDS. This time it was Bobby Jones‘ moment in the sun. Actually, it was a pretty miserable day like it is today, but I digress. Jones would pitch a one-hitter sending the Mets to the NLCS.
After recalling those moments, something occurred to me that caused me to spend some time on Baseball Almanac. Here’s what I saw:
Diamondbacks 2 – Mets 9
October 9, 1999
Diamondbacks 3 – Mets 4 (10 innings)
October 7, 2000
Giants 2 – Mets 3 (13 innings)
October 8, 2000
Giants 0 – Mets 4
October 4, 2006
Mets 6 – Dodgers 5
October 5, 2006
Mets 4 – Dodgers 1
That’s right. Since the inception of the Wild Card, the Mets have never lost an NLDS home game. They’re 6-0. Looking over the Mets history, they’ve never lost a five game series, and they’ve only lost one home game (1973) in a five game series.
Some other interesting five game series facts:
- The Mets have only played in one fifth and deciding game, which was a 7-2 victory in Cincinnati.
- The Mets have had homefield advantage only once in a best of five series (2006).
- In each division series, the Mets have faced a former Mets player: Kelly Stinnett (1999), Jeff Kent (2000 & 2006), Justin Turner (2015).
- The Mets have a 3-2 record in road NLDS games and 7-3 overall road record in best of five road games.
- Edgardo Alfonzo has hit four homeruns in the NLDS, making him the Mets All-Time NLDS leader.
What does this all mean for the 2015 NLDS? To quote Dark Helmet, “Absolutely nothing!” With that said, I’m hoping history will repeat itself.
Lets Go Mets!
No, I’m not panicking after getting swept in both ends of a doubleheader. I don’t think this five game losing streak is that big of a deal. I actually like starting the NLDS on the road.
However, I’m angry. The Mets weren’t even competitive against Max Scherzer. They had no hits. They struck out 17 times. They didn’t even make a loud out. If it wasn’t for a Yunel Escobar sixth inning error, it would’ve been a perfect game. I don’t care that Scherzer is an incredible pitcher. It’s garbage. What bothered me most was quotes like this:
Plawecki: “You got to tip your hat. A night like this, he completely dominated and he pitched a great ball game."
— Matt Ehalt (@MattEhalt) October 4, 2015
I’m not asking Kevin Plawecki to disrespect his opponent. However, what is wrong with saying, “Scherzer embarrassed us out there tonight. We’re heading to the playoffs, and we need to be better than that.” It’s this attitude that bothers me the most.
The Mets are going to face Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke in the NLDS. They have the ability to be as good or better than Scherzer was tonight. They could face the Mets four out of the possible five games in the NLDS. I don’t need to hear how the Mets are ripping their caps. I need to hear how angry they are with their own performance. If you want to point to the Mets biggest flaw, it’s that. They’re too accepting of the poor performances.
By the way, Matt Harvey was amazing himself tonight. He only let up an unearned run. Because the rest of his team didn’t show up, he got the loss. I hope it’s not an omen.
When you look at today’s game through that prism. Today was a good day. Noah Syndergaard was dominant going seven innings allowing two hits, one earned, one walk, and 10 strikeouts. He looked ready to start Game Two of the NLDS no matter where it will be played.
Also important was no one got hurt or tweaked a bat. Yoenis Cespedes played. It’s too early to judge if there will be lingering effects from the bruises, but he did look alright out there.
Jon Niese came out of the bullpen and pitched himself in and out of trouble. In many ways that’s very encouraging because part of pitching out of the bullpen is getting out of trouble. Even better, Niese did not have a meltdown when he got in trouble.
So yes, I’m downplaying Daniel Murphy not turning a double play. I’m not giving much attention to Addison Reed giving up a go-ahead two run homerun to Bryce Harper. It was the first runs he’s allowed as a Met. It was a meaningless 3-1 loss. I’m focusing on the positive because the first time in nine years there’s something positive.
I’m more excited because Thor was dominant, and that’s what the Mets will need in the playoffs. I hope you are too.
At the same time, the Mets also need to figure out their postseason roster. There are easy decisions to make like Travis d’Arnaud catches one game and Kevin Plawecki catches the other. There are more difficult decisions to be made especially if the field is sloppy. Ultimately, while making these decisions, the Mets to keep in mind the priority is not homefield but winning the World Series. Here’s how I would handle it:
- David Wright does not step in the field unless they pull Pete Flynn out of retirement and get his go-ahead;
- Jon Niese pitches today [and tomorrow];
- If Dilson Herrera has a chance to make the playoff roster, he needs to play in both games, and preferably, he plays a position other than 2B;
- Anyone who is on the playoff roster bubble must start one game and at least pinch hit in the other game; and
- At bats shouldn’t be wasted on players who can’t make the roster.
The Mets must keep in mind the goal is to win a World Series. The best way to help that is to make sure the team is healthy and primed to win. I don’t care if the Mets lose both games so long as they do what is needed to get ready for the NLDS.
I’m not calling this 2.0. To me that would indicate that I will make a number of changes, but I wanted to show you my work product. There’s nothing wrong with that, but that’s not my intention when I share my projections.
1. Travis d’Arnaud
2. Kevin Plawecki
3. Lucas Duda
4. Daniel Murphy
5. Kelly Johnson
6. David Wright
7. Ruben Tejada
8. Wilmer Flores
9. Michael Conforto
10. Michael Cuddyer
11. Yoenis Cespedes
12. Juan Lagares
13. Curtis Granderson
14. Eric Young, Jr.
15. Jacob deGrom
16. Noah Syndergaard
17. Matt Harvey
18. Bartolo Colon
19. Jeurys Familia
20. Addison Reed
21. Tyler Clippard
22. Hansel Robles
23. Jon Niese
24. Sean Gilmartin
25. Erik Goeddel
As you can see, the only change I made between the projections was exchanging Matz for Goeddel. I chose Goeddel because he’s been pretty good lately, and he can generate strikeouts with his splitter.
I still think there are two other players under consideration: Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Dilson Herrera. Kirk has been good lately, has some power, can run, and can play all three OF positions. However, since he’s a left handed bat going into a series with a lot of LHP, I don’t think the Mets will put him on the roster.
I think Dilson is getting consideration because he’s a right handed bat and definitively the team’s best defensive second baseman. With Flores’ back injury, Herrera is a definite possibility. What hurts him most is he only plays 2B. As I said in another post, the presence of Murphy and Johnson could alleviate those concerns.
However, for right now, I think the Mets give EY the edge, especially because he’s a Terry Collins favorite. If anything else happens, I’ll put out another revised projection.