Wilmer Flores

Now batting for the New York Mets, the second baseman, Wilmer Flores!

Mets Magic Number is 11

I so badly wanted to use number 11 to rant about how much I despised Razor Ramon Castro. However, since he was on good Mets teams, he doesn’t qualify

That’s fine. I was able to find a truly despicable Met in Vince Coleman:

  

Coleman was a terrible Met, and if his Mets tenure was any indication, he was a terrible human being. It all came to a head in 1993, the only year Coleman wore 11, for a 59-103 Mets team. 

That was the year Coleman crossed the line you do not cross. He attacked the fans. After a July game, he threw a M-100, which is used by the military to simulate grenades, towards a group of 200+ fans less than 30 feet away. It was described as nothing more than a prank. I guess it’s alright that he threw the firecracker because they were heckled after not stopping for autographs. 

Unsurprisingly, there were fans injured. This included a two year old girl who suffered from second degree burns, a lacerated cornea, and an index finger injury. So no, I don’t agree with Coleman when he says he’s “no monster.”  Who does this to people? By the way, where was Bud Selig, who was then acting commissioner?  The lack of a suspension makes Roger Goodell look like he has a clue. Speaking of punishments, Coleman would serve no jail time, get 200 hours of community serve, and owe a small fine.

This was the lowlight of an otherwise dreadful 1993 season. It was a season that reminded you that sometimes your team is hard to root for when it has terrible people. It’s not only the baseball is bad, but the players are terrible as well. They don’t respect each other, the fans, or the game. They suck a the fun out of everything. 

When I first thought of Coleman and the 1993 Mets, I was irritated. However, I began to think of the 2015 Mets and how they are the polar opposite in every way. This team is enjoyable. They play hard. They respect the fans. In fact, thinking of the 1993 team has made me appreciate this team all the more. Since that was the goal of this series, I guess mission accomplished. 

I’m not offering a hat tip here to Coleman. He doesn’t deserve it. Let’s tip our caps to the 2015 Mets and hope they complete their mission to win the World Series. Lets Go Mets!

Happy Grandparents’ Day

When I was born, I only had two grandparents, and I lost my grandfather when I was five. My son is lucky to have three grandparents: two grandmothers and one grandfather. 

The grandfather is my Dad. He’s the man that got me started on my Mets’ fandom. He brought me to my first game. Last year, he got tickets so he can bring his grandson to his first game. He got tickets again this year to bring him to another game. My Das gets a kick out of seeing his grandson, his namesake, cheering on the Mets. He’s amazed his grandson that never seems to stop running around can sit and follow a Mets game. 

He’s also more fun as a grandfather than a Dad at these games. When he took my brother and I, we brought our food, and we got one souvenir (that cost a certain amount). As a father now, I really understand why, but back then?  I just wanted a Mets jersey. That wouldn’t happen until I purchased one myself when I was 17. However, with his grandson, his opinion has changed:

  

Yup, my son has his own Mets jersey. What’s even better is my son is the IV, which meant my Dad had to do this: 

  
Yes, it’s personalized. It makes me happy because these are things my Dad and son can bond over. My son tells my Dad that Duda, Murphy, and Wright plays for the Mets. My Dad gets a kick out of it. 

Isn’t that supposed to be the grandfather-grandson relationship?  I only had a small taste of it, and I know I missed out on something. I’m glad my son and Dad are getting that experience. 

If you’re lucky enough to still have your grandparent, I hope you reached out to them today. I know I would’ve. My son saw his grandparents yesterday, and he FaceTimed with each one of them today (technology really is amazing). 

So to my parents and my mother-in-law, Happy Grandparents’ Day. Somewhere I know my Nana, who though Grandparents’ Day is a made-up holiday, is up there saying, “for God’s sake.”  

No Error, the Mets Won

If Terry Collins was the late, great Herb Brooks, he would be at Turner Field until midnight running infield drills:

However, this is the majors, and I’m sure the Wilpons aren’t paying for two different flights. 

As much as I would like to get on Jon Niese for today, it’s not his fault. I’d don’t care if Collins sat a number of starters including Yoenis Cespedes and David Wright, you’re expected to play fundamental baseball. On a side note, the Mets were only charged with two errors. The official scorer had an equally bad day. 

Lucas Duda had two miscues that helped give away the 2-0 lead the Mets earned on Michael Conforto‘s two run homer. Subsequent leads disappeared behind Daniel Murphy and Juan Uribe misplays. By the way, Duda and Murphy are everyday players, and Uribe is a good defensive player. 

By some miracle, Niese was on the long side when Tim Stauffer would make his Mets debut. It was quickly first and third with no outs, and Stauffer got a tapper right back to him. Instead of getting the lead runner, he went for the double play. The score was then tied 4-4. 

Stauffer would come out again in the eighth. He leave the game after allowing an “infield single.”  Dario Alvarez would not continue his recent good play allowing the inherited runner to score. He allowed a runner to score, and he left some ducks on the pond. Bobby Parnell came into the game. To be fair, Parnell (who earned the win) was not bad today as the inherited runners would score off a Curtis Granderson misplay in right. After eight innings, it would be 7-4 Braves. 

However, these Mets are hard to kill. Even with two outs in the ninth, they would come back to tie the game. Juan Lagares hit a double just out of the reach of the diving Nick Markakis. Granderson would walk, and Murphy would hit an improbable three run homer. 

In the tenth, the Braves imploded.  With a chance to get out of the inning with runners on first and third unscathed. Sure enough, with two outs, they threw the ball away allowing Kirk Nieuwenhuis to score the go-ahead run. The Braves would then walk the ballpark to load the bases AND walk home two runs. 

Addison Reed would get the save. He had to work around an error by Ruben Tejada because, why not?  It was a fitting end to an absolutely ugly game. They had no business winning the game, but they did because the Braves are terrible and the Mets are resilient.
Good job by Collins allowing his guys in the field and pen to fully rest. The Mets won’t need to win another game until October, and he managed accordingly. As I noted, his managing is really getting better lately. 

In any event, the Mets won a game they shouldn’t have. They won’t get away with this in October, but they showed the will to win that’s important in October. In any event, it’s always a good day when the Mets win. Today is a good day. 

Go Watch the Jets

For reasons I’ve discussed previously, I’m a Giants fan even though my Dad and brother are Jets fans. My son will also be a Giants fan. I got him started on that early:

  

In any event, I love the Mets more than any other team. I’m a diehard fan. I know many others are as well. I’m also a diehard Giants and Rangers fan. I don’t plan on watching much of either team until November. 

However, I get to watch the Giants unadulterated tomorrow because they are on at 8:30. For you Jets fans, your game starts at the same time as the Mets game. I say this as the biggest Mets fan I know – go watch the Jets game . . . especially if you have tickets. You don’t have to turn in your diehard Mets fan card. It’s not an indication you’re more of an NFL fan than a Mets fan (although you are if you watched the Patriots over the Mets on Thursday). 

It means the Mets have done their job and effectively wrapped up the NL East. If I were in your shoes, I would use my PIP to put on both games with very divided attention. So go ahead and watch the Jets. I’ll see you diehards on Monday. 

Wilmer Flores

Now batting for the New York Mets, the shortstop, Wilmer Flores!

Wilmer Flores

Now batting for the New York Mets, the shortstop, Wilmer Flores!

Magic Number is 12

Yesterday, the problem was finding out who to pick for 14 in this series with the paucity of choices. Today’s selection was an abundance of good choices. 

There was Roberto Alomar‘s disappointing tenure. I’m sure there are Mets fans that would’ve picked Willie Randolph, but he was decent with the Mets in the last year of a good career. Furthermore, I was higher on him as a manager than most people. I remember that Jeff Kent was hated by Mets fans, except the ones in my household. 

When fans booed Kent, my Dad was baffled. When he saw Kent, he saw a terrific player. My Dad was right. Kent played well in his five years as a Met. Kent would win the 2000 NL MVP and finish his career with the most homeruns by a second baseman. However, all of that happened elsewhere. Why elsewhere? Well, the Mets made an idiotic trade including him and Jose Vizcaino for Carlos Baerga and today’s selection, Alvaro Espinoza:

  
Espinoza was not a great major league player, but truth be told, he was at his best in those 48 games with the Mets. So, why pick him?  He was part of a trade that ditched a possible Hall of Fame second baseman for a player fading fast in Baerga. Neither player was of much help, especially in a 1996 season when the Mets finished 71-91. 

Baerga’s numbers dropped steadily his three years in New York, and he couldn’t stay on second base.  He would be gone before the glory years of 1999 and 2000, but you know who would reappear in 2000?  Vizcaino. The man who put an end to Game 1 of the 2000 World Series. He was in that position due to Timo Perez‘s lack of hustle and Armando Benitez once again caving in from the pressure. 

So I picked Esponiza more as a symbolic gesture as a reminder that the trade for the star usually doesn’t work in the Mets history. I think that reminder is quite aprospros this season. 

With that in mind, please join me in offering a hat tip to Magic Number 12, Alvaro Espinoza. 

Harder to Hit Than Spell Syndergaard

After skipping his last start, the Mets brought Noah Syndergaard to the mound. After shaking off some rust and allowing a first inning run, he was completely dominant.

His fastball was consistently between 98-100. He mixed in his breaking pitches keeping the Braves off balance all night. His final line was seven innings, two hits, eight strikeouts, and one earned. All of this was just on 94 pitches. He looked like an ace. He looked like someone that needs to be pitching in October

His fellow rookie, Michael Conforto, backed him up in the field. As Keith Law would say:

Conforto made some nice plays including this gem (even if the runner should’ve been called safe):

The Mets needs to be good in the field because the Braves were great in the field including turning four double plays. 

Unfortunately, Thor did not get the win even if Yoenis Cespedes hit another homerun in the eighth to get a 4-1 lead. Tyler Clippard imploded and allowed a game tying three run homer in the eighth. It’s hard to get on him with his great he’s been. The Mets would return the favor by giving him a cultured win. 

Travis d’Arnaud continued to be d’Man. He went 3-4 with an RBI, and he started the game winning rally with a ninth inning ground rule double. Eric Young, Jr. would pinch run and score on Kelly Johnson‘s RBI single. Johnson would score by beating Andrelton Simmons‘ throw him on Cespedes’ bases loaded fielder’s choice giving the Mets a 6-4 lead. 
Jeurys Familia would make it stand up with his 41st save of the year. He’s been dominant this year, and the Mets have been dominating lately. They now sit at 81 wins guaranteeing they will not have a losing season. 

I think I speak for everyone when I say that finishing above .500 is the least of the Mets goals right now. 

I Don’t Know What to Make of Collins

Terry Collins came into this season as a lame duck manager. That can be poison going into a year. A lot of that was alleviated by the Mets 11game winning streak in April. Then the injuries came. 

On April 14thDavid Wright went on the DL with a hamstring, but we would later learn it could be much worse. On April 19thTravis d’Arnaud went to the DL with a right hand fracture. He would come off the DL on June 10th, and he would return to the DL on June 23rdJerry Blevins went on the DL with a broken forearm on the same day as d’Arnaud’s first DL stint. On June 5thDaniel Murphy went on the DL with a left quad injury. 

These injuries were on top of season ending injuries to Zack Wheeler and Josh Edgin. The Mets lost Jenrry Mejia first two injury on Opening Day and then to a steroids suspension. Rafael Montero was first an option in the bullpen and then the rotation. He went on the DL with a shoulder injury and would never pitch again. Dillon Gee was in and out of the rotation, and he went on the DL. Eventually, he went into the doghouse. 

There was also the issues of ineffectiveness. Lucas Duda started out hot, and then got really, really cold. He had trouble carrying the offense. It’s no wonder his back went outKirk Nieuwenhuis was terrible, and he was traded to the Angels. When Nieuwenhuis flopped with the Angels, the Mets and their dreadful offense took him back. Of course, Michael Cuddyer had a typical first year with the Mets. 

Through all of this, Collins kept it together. It was a miracle. The Mets should not have been in position to make trades. They were in a small part because the Nationals didn’t run away with it. A larger part was Collins holding it together. Then when he finally had a real MLB roster, his abilities as a tactician into question. 

He started making questionable choices, and he cost his team some games. Then the season defining series against the Nationals. Collins said he was treating it like a playoff series. He made a number of moves. He was brilliant. However, it leaves me to question which is the true Terry Collins. Is he the man that is better at getting the most out of a team?  Is he a guy that can jeopardize a game with questionable moves?  Is he the guy that can pull it together to make all the right moves when a series is in the line?

Is he all these things?  I don’t know.  Part of the reason why is this is Collins first real pennant race as the team to beat. Another reason is he’s never had a team this good. Finally, he’s never been in the playoffs. He’s going to get his chance now. 

It’s funny that with no new contract, this could be Collins first and last chance at a World Series. I hope he gets it. Not just because I’m a Mets fan, but because he’s a good man. He’s spent his life in baseball, and he has earned his chance. 

I just hope when the time comes we see the Collins that managed against the Nationals. 

NOTE: hat tip to @koosman2pointOh for his suggestion on this post.