Curtis Granderson

Best Mets Of All Time: No. 3 Curtis Granderson

Back in the day, we have talked about how Keith Hernandez was the player the Mets acquired who provided leadership to a young Mets team to help them fulfill their full potential and become World Series champions. To a certain extent, Curtis Granderson did the same thing for the 2015 Mets team.

Granderson made himself a friend to Mets fans everywhere by saying, “I’ve heard true New Yorkers are Mets fans.” He would do far more than that in his career to forever endear himself to Mets fans.

It wasn’t that way immediately as Granderson would struggle much in the same way many Mets players did in their first year with the Mets. There could be a number of reasons why that happened, including but not limited to the original cavernous configuration of Citi Field.

They fixed the ballpark in the offseason, and Granderson was more comfortable as a member of the Mets. That would show in his play on the field and in how much of a leadership role he would take. That leadership was needed in a season where David Wright left a void with his career altering injury.

Speaking of injuries, at times, Granderson seemed like the lone professional bat in the Mets lineup. The team had squandered an early season lead. It was basically Granderson and the starting pitching staff keeping the Mets afloat until the regulars got healthy, and Sandy Alderson brought in reinforcements.

In that 2015 season, Granderson led the Mets position players in WAR, and he was second in wRC+. He was also a finalist for the Gold Glove in right field. Looking at it, he was really doing everything the team needed from him. Not only did his contributions during the time the Mets were struggling to keep their head above water, so were his contributions in the stretch run.

While Yoenis Cespedes did receive much of the credit, Granderson had the second highest WAR and wRC+ on the team during that stretch where the Mets went from a pivotal series against the Nationals to winning the division by seven games.

Granderson was great in the NLDS against the Dodgers when they needed everything this team had to beat them. That included him having a five RBI game in Game 3. In Game 5, he led off the game with an infield single, and he scored from first on a Daniel Murphy double giving the Mets an early 1-0 lead in a game they’d eventually win 3-2.

Granderson had his best performance in the World Series, and in an alternate universe, he likely would’ve been the World Series MVP. That began with Game 1 where, if not for Alex Gordon hitting a two out homer against Jeurys Familia in the bottom of the ninth, he would’ve had a key home run which tied the game propelling the Mets to victory.

In that series, he would hit three homers, each of which would tie the game or give the Mets the lead. That includes his electrifying homer in Game 3, the only game the Mets won in that series:

Granderson helped lead the Mets that game like he did all season. He homered again in Game 5, and for a moment, it appeared like that was going to force a Game 6, but we know how it all ended.

In 2016, Granderson did not have the same impact, but he was once again an important player. By WAR, he was the team’s third best player. However, it was more than that. When the team needed him to move down the lineup to bat clean-up, he did. With Cespedes and Michael Conforto dealing with injuries, and the team adding Jay Bruce at the trade deadline, Granderson shifted to center field because that’s what the team needed him to do, and he did whatever the team needed. For a moment, he made a dazzling play in the Wild Card Game which, now, is very Endy Chavez-esque:

As we know, Granderson is much more than just a ballplayer. He won the Roberto Clemente Award for his charitable work during his time in New York. Actually, it was for all he had done in his career. He’s also won the Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award four times, which is two more than anyone else in Major League history. Overall, he was such a good ballplayer and even better person that they should build a wing in the Hall of Fame for people like him.

When you look at players in Mets history who have worn the number 3, none have had a bigger impact on and off the field. If not for Babe Ruth, you might’ve been able to say that for all of baseball history.

Editor’s Note: This is part of a series highlighting the best players in Mets history by highlighting the best Mets player to wear a particular uniform number. In this case, this is not saying Granderson was the third best player in Mets history, but rather the best Mets player to wear the number 3.

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1. Mookie Wilson
2. Mackey Sasser

MLB Should Be Doing More To Celebrate The 100th Anniversary of the Negro Leagues

There are a number of reasons why it was overlooked, but MLB‘s announcement of a joint $1 million donation with the MLBPA to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and every team wearing a uniform patch honoring the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Negro Leagues on June 27 was overlooked. Worse than being overlooked, it is not enough.

Major League Baseball owed the Negro Leagues a debt of gratitude for producing players like Jackie Robinson, Larry Doby, Willie Mays, and Hank Aaron. They also owe players like Josh Gibson and Cool Papa Bell an apology for never being able to prove they were the greatest on the biggest stage in the world.

In baseball history, the Negro Leagues are both a source of pride and shame. The pride comes from their proving anyone, no matter their background, race, or heritage, can be great at baseball. The shame is that another league needed to be created to prove this because of the disturbingly named “Gentleman’s Agreement” to keep black players out of baseball.

Because of that decision, we missed out on seeing the great careers of many black players. We did not get to see Satchel Paige face batters in a Major League Game until he was 41 years old. Think about that. At a time when he should have been retiring, he was just a rookie. All because of the agreement to keep black players out of baseball.

With that decision, not only did the black players lose, but we, as fans, and historians of the game lost. Much like we ponder how Pedro Martinez would have fared against players like Lou Gehrig, we are left to wonder how Smokey Joe Williams would have fared against Babe Ruth.

The obvious difference between the two were Williams and Ruth were contemporaries. They should have faced each other in a game, or quite possibly, have been teammates. However, they couldn’t because of small minded people. That necessitated the creation of the Negro Leagues, and for that, we should eternally grateful for the Negro Leagues as they kept baseball alive in the black community.

For a number of reasons, that is something baseball is struggling to do. For years now, baseball has tried to regrow the game in the black community, and it bemoans how few black players there are. Last year, USA Today noted only 7.7% of players were black, there were 11 teams who did not have more than one black player, and three teams who dd not have one black player.

One of those three teams was Jackie Robinson’s Dodgers. Of course, that does overlook their manager, Dave Roberts, and that has changed with the Dodgers obtaining Mookie Betts and David Price from the Boston Red Sox.

Perhaps the next time MLB questions why there are so few fans, they should focus their attention to what they are doing to drive interest in the game. Better put, they should focus on what they are not doing.

This year, they are not doing all they can do to honor the Negro Leagues. The Negro Leagues are an extremely important part of baseball history. In the centennial celebration of the founding of the Negro Leagues, Major League Baseball needed to do more than Jackie Robinson Day on April 15, and Negro Leagues Day on June 27.

This needs to be a year-round celebration. If it wasn’t already planned, MLB should make a push to promote and celebrate players like Betts, Price, Marcus Stroman, and many more players. In addition to donating $1 million the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, they should be hiring former players like Curtis Granderson to find ways to reach out and grow the game.

After all, Granderson has done his part to help grow the game through his charitable endeavors. In fact, he helped build Illinois’ baseball stadium, which is used not just for the college’s baseball team but also for youth events.

The 100th anniversary of the Negro Leagues should be celebrated and used as an opportunity to grow the game. It demanded much more than $1 million, which is a paltry sum from MLB and the MLBPA, and more than just a day. This should be a year long celebration with patches appearing on the jerseys of every Major League team throughout the season.

This isn’t just an opportunity to honor and frankly apologize to baseball legends. No, it is also an opportunity to educate and grow the game. By not investing more in the Negro Leagues memory, using this as a launching pad to invest more in the game at the youth level, and not honoring these players all year long, baseball is missing an opportunity here.

Baseball needs to be better and do better. In that sense, perhaps that is the best way to remember the Negro Leagues because it would never have existed in the first place if people were better and strived to do better.

Michael Conforto Making Case To Be Mets Next Captain

Since David Wright has retired, there has been some question over who should be the next captain of the New York Mets, or even if there should ever be another captain. In the event the Mets do ever seek to name a new captain, they have a roster full of homegrown players who could step up and be exactly that leader the next Mets captain needs to be.

The popular choice is Pete Alonso. That choice is inspired, and Alonso has shown himself worthy. In addition to a record setting rookie season, he showed himself to be a great teammate by and through his friendship with Dominic Smith, and he showed true leadership with the 9/11 cleats.

Another very worthy candidate is Michael Conforto.

In his five year career, Conforto has seen it all. He was the phenom how helped the Mets win the 2015 pennant. He was there for the Mets tearing down that roster to build it back up. He has handled his own injury problems, and he has been bounced around the outfield to suit the Mets needs.

He’s been a future superstar, a platoon player, a bust, an All Star, a what could’ve been, and finally, a good baseball player again who is a part of a team who could win the World Series.

More than anyone, Conforto knows what it is like being a Met when times are a good and when times are bad. In some ways, he had a career arc not too different than what we saw with David Wright, albeit on a truncated and less dramatic scale. On that note, Conforto was there when Wright battled back from spinal stenosis, and he was there to learn from him.

Conforto was also there learning from other leaders like Jay Bruce, Michael Cuddyer, and Curtis Granderson. In fact, when Bruce and Granderson were traded away in 2017, it was Conforto who initially had to step up and fill the leadership void, something which became difficult as he dealt with a potentially career ending surgery.

It has become quite clear Conforto learned from people like Bruce, Cuddyer, Granderson, and Wright.

Right now, the biggest issue in baseball has been the sign stealing. That scandal has impacted the Mets as they have already lost a manager in Carlos Beltran before he even managed a game. One of their best pitchers, Marcus Stroman, has been quite vocal in his issues with the Astros sign stealing. While we haven’t seen public statements, there are reports Jacob deGrom and Edwin Diaz are similarly angry.

With J.D. Davis and Jake Marisnick having been part of that 2017 Astros team, that could be very problematic for this Mets clubhouse. That is an even bigger issue with Marisnick doubling off Stroman in a specific game Stroman commented saying the Astros were “Ruining the integrity of the game.”

This is the type of situation which begs for someone to step up and tackle this issue before it is a problem either in the clubhouse or publicly. Right away, Conforto has stepped up and tried to take control of the message:

This is exactly what you need from a captain of your team. You need someone to have the savvy to disspell any notion of internal strife and have the status in the clubhouse to make sure that this will in fact be the case. In that statement, we see while he may not be the captain, Conforto remains a leader in that Mets clubhouse.

Conforto has indicated he loves being a Met, and he would be open to a contract extension. If the Mets step up and make him a Met for life, it would be fitting to also named him the next captain in team history as he is showing he is a leader, knows how to handle everything which has come the Mets way, and ultimately, he is the type of player and person who would make a good captain.

Jacob Rhame May Be Part Of Opening Day Roster

With Major League Baseball’s new rules, teams can only carry 13 pitchers, and seeing how the Mets have operated the past few seasons, the Mets will very likely carry 13 pitchers in 2020. With the five man rotation, this means the Mets will have an eight man bullpen.

Right now, barring injury, the Mets have Edwin Diaz, Seth Lugo, Dellin Betances, Jeurys Familia, Justin Wilson, and Brad Brach as absolute locks for the Opening Day bullpen. That is going to leave two bullpen spots open with one of them going to the pitcher who loses the bullpen battle. That pitcher is most likely going to be Michael Wacha.

That is where things begin to get a bit interesting.

On the surface, it would seem Robert Gsellman has an inside track for the last bullpen job. After all, he has been a reliever for each of the past two seasons. However, he has not performed well out of the bullpen with an 87 ERA+ and 4.03 FIP over that stretch. When you combine the Mets wanting him to spend the offseason working as a starter, you wonder if a pitcher who still has options remaining will begin the year in Triple-A as a starter.

On the topic of options, Jacob Rhame is out of options, and the Mets will have to expose him to waivers if they are going to keep him in the organization.

Rhame is coming off a season where he had ulnar transposition surgery. That is the same surgery Jacob deGrom underwent in 2016. In his first year after the surgery, deGrom was a good starting pitcher, and in the ensuing two years he emerged as the best pitcher in baseball.

Now, that is obviously not Rhame’s ceiling. However, we do see after undergoing that surgery a pitcher can reach their full potential. While many may debate what exactly that is for Rhame, the Mets clearly have some interest in finding out as they have kept him throughout this offseason despite fully knowing he is out of options.

With Rhame having a career 6.23 MLB ERA and a Triple-A 4.05 ERA, you have to wonder what exactly the Mets are seeing in him.

Looking at Baseball Savant, Rhame throws in the mid-90s, and back in 2018, before he needed the transposition surgery, he had above average movement on that fastball. While he did not get much vertical movement on his splitter, it had very good horizontal movement, which is part of the reason why it was a swing-and-miss pitch for him.

Ultimately, that is what the Mets see in Rhame – his potential. Since the day they obtained him from Curtis Granderson, they knew they were getting a big arm with relatively untapped potential. He still has the ability to generate strikeouts, and as we saw with Rhys Hoskins, he has a bit of a nasty streak where he won’t back down or take anything from the opponent.

Based on what we have seen this offseason, the Mets are going to allow Rhame to work with new pitching coach Jeremy Hefner to show his potential can yield results. Presumably, he is going to get an opportunity to show the Mets he is a better option in the bullpen than Gsellman, who may belong in the rotation, or Walker Lockett, who is also out of options.

In the end, the Mets have kept Rhame around for a reason. Perhaps, that reason is to have him be a part of the 2020 Opening Day roster. With pitchers and catchers reporting soon, he is going to get the opportunity to prove he belongs.

 

Simply Amazin Podcast Appearance (Preparing For The Universal DH)

I had the honor and privilege of joining Tim Ryder on the Simply Amazin Podcast. During the podcast, I referenced my Kobe, DH, and Sign Stealing articles.

The following people were mentioned: Curtis Granderson, J.D. Davis, Seth Lugo, Jake Marisnick, Marcus Stroman, Noah Syndergaard, Jeremy Hefner, Luis Rojas, Carlos Beltran, Mickey Callaway, Phil Regan, Jeremy Accardo, Steven Matz, Dellin Betances, Edwin Diaz, Justin Wilson, Jeurys Familia, Mo Vaughn, Jared Kelenic, Justin Dunn, Andres Gimenez, Mark Vientos, Rick Porcello, Jason Vargas, Bartolo Colon, R.A. Dickey, Asdrubal Cabrera, Devin Mesoraco, and others.

Please listen.

Curtis Granderson Should Be Inducted Into The Roberto Clemente Wing Of The Hall Of Fame

The National Baseball Hall of Fame is home to some of the worst human beings you can find. This despite the character clause being one of the considerations voters must take into account.

Cap Anson was one of the driving forces behind the ill-named “Gentleman’s Agreement” which attempted to keep black players out of baseball. He also went out of his way to personally vet the races of players to see who should and should not be allowed to share the field with him.

However, because he had 3,435 hits, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1939.

There are other Hall of Famers of dubious character like Ty Cobb (even if some of what was once believed has been dispelled). However, players like Cobb had the production on the field.

Then, there’s Tom Yawkey who was inducted for nothing other than owning the Boston Red Sox for 44 years. In that time, he fought against integration with the Red Sox being the absolute last team to sign a black player. During his time, Yawkey helped commit other vile acts like helping cover up sexual assaults.

At the end of the day, it’s difficult to reconcile having a Hall of Fame with people like Anson alongside truly great human beings like Roberto Clemente.

More to the point, it’s really difficult to reconcile a Hall of Fame which has a Tom Yawkey, but not a Curtis Granderson.

You could make a case for Granderson on the field. After all, he was a better player than center fielders in the Hall of Fame like Hack Wilson, Edd Roush, Hugh Duffy, and Lloyd Waner.

His 115 wRC+ is higher than Hall of Famers like Robin Yount and Cal Ripken, Jr.

As noted by MMO‘s Michael Mayer, Granderson joins a group including Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, and George Brett as the only four players in Major League history who have “at least 90 triples, 150 stolen bases, 315 homers, and .330 OBP.”

Despite these accomplishments, it’s unlikely Granderson gets inducted into the Hall of Fame as a player. However, that does not mean there isn’t room for him in the Hall of Fame.

Granderson is the only player in Major League history to be named the Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award four times. That’s two more than anyone else.

Granderson joins Hall of Famers Jim Thome and John Smoltz as the only people to win multiple Marvin Miller Awards and the Roberto Clemente Award.

Through his Grand Kids Foundation, Granderson has provided over 35 million meals to families in need and over $3.5 million to food banks. He’s also run summer camps and helped build facilitates to help expose children to baseball and a healthy lifestyle. This is just the tip of the iceberg on what he’s done to help people.

That includes his $5 million donation to the University of Illinois which was the largest donation an athlete has ever made to his alma mater. In addition to being used for Illinois baseball games, the field is also used for “hosting several area little league teams for games, camps and clinics.”

Through it all, Granderson is as good a human being as there has ever been to don a Major League uniform. When you combine on the field success with his off the field endeavors, he may be second only to Clemente.

When the Hall of Fame has wings which honor broadcasters and writers by name and displays baseball related art, there should be room to honor truly great human beings who have played the game.

More to the point, there needs to be room in the Hall of Fame for people like Curtis Granderson. It’s incumbent upon baseball to not let what he’s done fade away decades from now.

No, the Curtis Grandersons of this world are true role models, and baseball should honor them and uphold them as an ideal much like they do with people inducted as players. There’s room for a humanitarian wing. Let it be named after Roberto Clemente, and five years from now, let Granderson be the wing’s first inductee.

Houston Astros Should Sign Curtis Granderson

In the aftermath of the penalties levied on the Houston Astros for the sign stealing scandal, the team made the right decision in hiring Dusty Baker as their new manager. Based on his experience, he was the best man for the job.

In San Francisco, he had to deal with the strife between Barry Bonds and Jeff Kent. That was nothing compared to Washington.

Baker took over for Matt Williams in the season after the Nationals saw Jonathan Papelbon choke Bryce Harper in the dugout. Even with the Nationals beginning the following season with both players on the roster, Baker would lead the team to consecutive NL East titles.

In sum, Baker can handle these situations adeptly. Arguably, there is no one better than him to handle him. However, seeing this Astros team in action recently, it may not be enough.

Public comments made by Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, and Justin Verlander were not well received publicly. From a player perspective, this is an organization flailing, and looking at their roster, they don’t really have a veteran who can help guide them through this process and to be a spokesman for the team.

This is a team who needs Curtis Granderson.

Between his time with the Yankees and Mets, he’s experienced it all. He was there for the drama between Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez. To that end, he was also with the Yankees and A-Rod dealing with the Biogenesis scandal.

With the Mets, he dealt with the Matt Harvey drama. He was there for Scott Boras causing a stir saying the Mets should shut him down. He was there when Harvey missed a postseason workout and was suspended by the team for not showing up to the clubhouse.

There was the news cycles created when Harvey was sick, and there was Harvey’s struggles with TOS.

Granderson was also with the Mets when the team brought back Jose Reyes after his domestic violence suspension.

Overall, Granderson has seen just about everything in his time with the Mets and Yankees. Through it all, he has been on teams facing intense media scrutiny which only heightened with scandal and team drama.

There may not be anyone better able to help those Astros players through what they’re about to experience.

More than that, this is clearly an Astros team whose public image has been destroyed. They’re easily the most reviled organization in baseball and perhaps in all of sports.

Yuli Gurriel made a racist gesture purportedly mocking Yu Darvish during the 2017 World Series.

They traded for Roberto Osuna. It went lower when Brandon Taubman harassed female reporters following the ALCS. Now, suspicions of their cheating have been confirmed leading to the firing of Jeff Luhnow and AJ Hinch.

Every time an Astros player opens their mouth they come across as smug and out of touch. At the moment, none of their players appear likable, and those who once did, now look like hypocrites.

There is no one more genuine and likable than Granderson. He’s a three time Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award, and he’s won the Roberto Clemente Award for his extensive charitable work.

Granderson would go a long way towards restoring credibility in that organization, and it would go a long way towards helping those players who simply don’t have a clue. That’s important because they’re going to face more media scrutiny this year than they ever have.

With teams having an extra roster spot this year, it makes all the more sense. Keep in mind, Granderson showed last year he has something left in the tank with his still having sufficient speed to be backup outfielder and his having a .829 OPS as a pinch hitter.

Overall, the Astros need help getting their team through this season from a PR perspective. Hiring Dusty Baker was a very good first step. Now, they need to sign Granderson.

Mets Who Should Be Inducted Into Team Hall Of Fame

The Mets have continued their recent push to honor their past by announcing they will induct Edgardo Alfonzo, Ron Darling, Al Jackson, and Jon Matlack into the Mets Ha of Fame. This is a very good group, and the Mets should be commended for taking this positive step.

That said, the Mets Hall of Fame is not as representative of the best players in team history, and the Mets still have work to do. On that front, here are five people the Mets should look to induct in the ensuing years.

David Wright

Believe it or not, the Mets have yet to induct Wright into their Hall of Fame despite his being their all-time leader in many offensive categories, leading all Mets position players in WAR, and being the fourth Captain in team history.

Obviously, it’s only a matter of time before the Mets induct him, and very likely, it’s also a matter of time before the Mets retire his number five.

Al Leiter

Leiter is arguably the third best left-handed starter in Mets history, and with his 124 ERA+, he’s definitively a top ten starting pitcher in Mets history. Expounding upon his ERA+, it’s third best in team history behind only Tom Seaver and Jacob deGrom among Mets pitchers who have thrown at least 1,000 innings.

More than the numbers, Leiter was instrumental in those late 90s teams. His 1998 season was one of the best seasons a Mets starter ever had. The following year, he had one of the best starts a Mets pitcher ever had.

In the do-or-die Wild Card play-in game, Leiter pitched a two hit shut out against the Reds. Not only did the set the stage for the magical 1999 postseason run, it was very likely the best regular season start a Mets pitcher ever had in a must win game.

Overall, Leiter was a big game pitcher who was one of the best Mets starters ever. Given his impact on those Mets teams, you really cannot adequately tell the story of that era or the Mets as a franchise without mentioning him.

Bobby Valentine

At the moment, Valentine has the third highest winning percentage, the third most wins, and the third most games managed in Mets history. He was the first manager to ever guide the Mets to consecutive postseasons.

Valentine was the perfect manager at the perfect time for the Mets. He always seemed to know the right button to push, including but not limited to his showing up in the dugout with just about the worst disguise you’ve ever seen after he was ejected.

More than the numbers, Valentine played an important role post 9/11. He was visiting firehouses and was at Shea Stadium when it was being used as a staging ground for the relief efforts. He also stood alongside his players in a NYPD cap as his players took the field for the rest of that season wearing the first responder caps.

Gary Cohen

The Mets are nearing a somewhat awkward situation with Cohen. The man who is very likely the best play-by-play announcer in the game has been a Ford C. Frick finalist, and he’s likely going to win the award at some point with his being eligible again in three years.

Effectively speaking, this would mean Cohen is in the Hall of Fame (albeit not formally inducted) but not the Mets Hall of Fame. Keep in mind, Cohen is already in the New York State Baseball Hall of Fame.

Mets fans love Cohen not just for his being part of GKR, but also for his having some of the greatest calls in Mets history. The lifelong Mets fan always seems to be able to take a great moment and elevate it.

With his fellow broadcast partners, Keith Hernandez and now Darling being inducted, he should join them in short order. When he’s being inducted, he should be joined by Howie Rose, who is similarly great and also has some of the best calls in Mets history.

Carlos Beltran

Seeing how Alfonzo was awkwardly fired from the Brooklyn Cyclones and just a few months later is going to be inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame, there is actually precedent for Beltran being inducted after what has recently transpired.

Looking at his Mets career, Beltran is the best center fielder in team history, and you could argue he’s the best outfielder. Certainly, he’s the best free agent signing in team history.

Beltran ranks among the top 5 – 10 in many offensive categories, and he’s the only Mets outfielder with multiple Gold Gloves. In fact, Beltran joins Hernandez and Rey Ordonez as the only Mets to win at least three Gold Gloves.

Beltran was a leader of those Mets teams, and his 2006 season was one of, if not, the best season a Mets positional player ever has. On merit alone, he deserves induction into the Mets Hall of Fame.

Given recent events, it’s likely we won’t see that happen anytime soon. Beltran isn’t the only worthy individual who may not be inducted soon.

In fact, the same could be said about Nelson Doubleday, who is the only Mets owner with a winning record. With his acrimony with the Wilpons, it’s unlikely they move to induct their former business partner.

There are other individuals who could be considered. Johan Santana has thrown the only no-hitter in Mets history, Robin Ventura had the Grand Slam Single, Howard Johnson is the only player with multiple 30/30 seasons, and Curtis Granderson was a leader on the field and just about the best human being to ever don a Mets uniform.

All of this highlights how the Mets have a rich and full history, and it’s great to see them finally dedicated to recognizing and celebrating it.

Mets Fans Need To Take It Easy On Edwin Diaz

By now, Mets fans are well aware playing in New York is just different, and there are some players who struggle with the experience. There are countless examples, and it is really difficult to ascertain who will struggle, and who will succeed.

Bobby Bonilla was kid from the Bronx who grew up a Mets fan. When he hit free agency, he wanted to be a Met, and it proved to be the worst thing that ever happened to him.

While he did have good years, he wasn’t the player we expected. It led to booing and probably worse. Things were so bad he had to wear earplugs.

Jason Bay handled Boston extraordinarily well, but he couldn’t quite handle New York. However, to be fair, there would prove to be extenuating circumstances like the outfield walls and concussions.

What’s really interesting is even being a Yankee previously isn’t an indicator of immediate success. For example, Curtis Granderson needed an adjustment year before taking off in 2015.

That adjustment year is something we’ve seen on multiple occasions. The most classic example is Carlos Beltran who went from complete and utter bust to Hall of Famer.

What is interesting with respect to these and other players who have struggled with the environment is they are not always upfront about how difficult it is to play and adjust to playing in New York.

To an extent, that makes Edwin Diaz unique.

In an interview with Nathalie Alonso of MLB.com, Diaz admitted to his struggles, and he also spoke about how he hopes Beltran can help him adjust. Certainly, it would make a lot of sense considering they have had very similar experiences.

What really stands out is he’s admitted to needing help learning how to handle the city and the need to prepare himself mentally.

While Diaz did not address the booing, it certainly had to be a factor. It’s hard to believe it wasn’t.

Considering his performance and the fans frustrations, you can understand their booing. In fact, you could say it was merited. However, now, we know it was the worst possible thing fans could’ve done.

On Opening Day, the fans need to give Diaz a standing ovation. We need to show our support of him and ease some of his anxiety. When he struggles, the fans need to refrain from booing him. Rather, the fans need to understand him.

He’s admitted to a struggle. That doesn’t make him mentally weak. In fact, it makes him strong. Anyone who admits a struggle and admits for help is strong. That said, he does need help.

It’s incumbent on fans to help the extent they can. Don’t boo him. Support him. Give him peace of mind. This is what fans need to do to help Diaz perform to the best of his ability, which at the end of the day, is all the fans want.

A reinvigorated Diaz returning to his 2018 form is something this Mets team desperately needs to succeed. Let’s do all we can to make sure that happens.

If Giants and Jets Can Trade, Why Not Mets and Yankees?

Yesterday, the New York Jets traded Defensive Lineman Leonard Williams to the New York Giants for a 2020 third round draft pick and a conditional 2021 fifth round draft pick. This is a shocking trade between teams who don’t just share a city but a building.

It was a gamble for the Giants in taking on an enigmatic player who is a pending free agent. For the Jets, this was seen as a coup to get a good return for a player they were not re-signing. However, if the Giants are able to get Williams to play like someone who was once the third overall pick in the draft, the Jets will constantly be reminded of their failure.

At the end of the day, who cares? Both the Giants and Jets did what they thought was best for their franchises. They put the fears aside, and they made a football trade just like they would’ve done with any other team. Somehow, this concept eludes the Mets.

Back in 2017, the New York Yankees were rumored to have interest in Lucas Duda. However, rather than trading Duda to the Yankees, the Mets opted to trade him to the Tampa Bay Rays for Drew Smith. There were rumors the Yankees could’ve bested the offer of what was just one relief prospect, but there was no real confirmation of what that return would be.

The Yankees were also to have been interested in Neil Walker. The Mets eventually wound up trading him to the Milwaukee Brewers for Eric Hanhold, a player the Mets recently designated for assignment so they could keep pitchers like Drew Gagnon, Donnie Hart, and Chris Mazza. In terms of the Yankees, we are not sure what they would offer, and there are some rumors the Yankees backed out of their deal because of Walker’s medicals.

Finally, there was Jay Bruce. The Yankees were reported to offer multiple prospects for him. Instead, the Mets moved him to the Cleveland Indians for Ryder Ryan, a converted reliever.

Over the past few years, the Yankees have been rumored interested in a number of Mets players like Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, and Zack Wheeler. Those trades never materialized, but then again, no trade ever materialized between the Mets and another team with those players.

Still, the point remains there has long been a hesitation between the Mets and Yankees to make a trade. While it does seem to mostly come from the Mets side, there is assuredly some hesitation from the Yankees as well. That may be in no small part due to their Pedro Feliciano experience, or inexperience as it proved to be, and they may also harbor the same issues which are imputed on the Mets.

Whomever is to blame, they need to get over themselves, and they need to make smart trades between themselves to benefit both teams.

The Yankees have seen former Mets like Carlos Beltran, David Cone, and Darryl Strawberry play well for them. The Mets have seen former Yankees like Curtis GrandersonOrlando Hernandez, and Al Leiter play well for them. This is of little surprise as good players who can handle New York can play well for either team.

Given how that is the case, perhaps it is time both teams benefit from these players switching teams rather than seeing other franchises serve as the beneficiaries of being the ones who get these players in-between stops.