David Wright

Buck Showalter Needs To Be Better

Back in 2015, the New York Mets blew the World Series in large part due to Terry Collins. While time has somehow been more kind to Collins, fact is he is the main reason the Mets didn’t win the World Series.

Yes, Jeurys Familia blew three saves. Daniel Murphy made an error. David Wright fielded a ball he shouldn’t have while Lucas Duda threw it away. However, there were a series of just baffling and just flat out dumb decisions from Collins which led to these events. Really, these were all consequences of Collins’ horrific managing.

All of his errors have been explained in full here and other places. Ultimately, this is the worst case scenario for a team. You cannot have a manager and his poor decision making be the reason a team does not win a World Series.

We are starting to see signs Buck Showalter is probably cut from the same cloth as Collins. His recent decisions are an indication of that, and that would be very bad news for the Mets.

The Mets last game against the Milwaukee Brewers should have each and every Mets fan very nervous for the postseason. To set the stage, Starling Marte is on the IL, and Brandon Nimmo had to come out of the game with a quad injury. The Mets were trailing 1-0 heading into the seventh despite having base runners on in each and every inning.

Before we get into the pitching, he would leave a very clearly hobbled Jeff McNeil on the field. For one game, Showalter risked losing McNeil for the rest of the season and postseason. He did that and then managed his bullpen horrifically.

Some questioned letting Taijuan Walker start the inning. That is a decision which can be debated with some of the bullpen arms probably unavailable including Edwin Diaz and Seth Lugo. After Walker stumbled, Collins went to David Peterson.

Now, Peterson is a starter who has struggled out of the bullpen. This was a big ask of him. Runners were on first and second with no outs and a run already in.

The thing is Peterson did his job. The Brewers gave up the out with a sacrifice bunt before Peterson struck out Christian Yelich. The Mets were one out away from getting out of the inning. That’s where Showalter made a number of flat out dumb decisions.

While you can understand the impetus not to want to pitch to Willy Adames, intentionally walking him to load the bases is a bad move because it gives Peterson, a pitcher who sometimes inexplicably loses command, no lee-way. However, as we found out, it wasn’t going to be Peterson.

After Craig Counsell pinch hit Mike Brosseau for Rowdy Tellez, Showalter went to Drew Smith. This is the same Smith who has not pitched since July 24. This is the same Smith who has been homer prone this year. Well, he would go up 0-2 in the count before giving up that grand slam.

Keep in mind, Showalter isn’t dumb. He is the guy who prepares and over prepares. He is the type of manager who likes to take control and set innings into motion. He’s not a bystander. Put another way, Showalter put that inning in motion with the intent of having Smith pitch to Brosseau.

He was prepared for that eventuality when he sent Walker out there to start the inning. He had that plan when he ordered the intentional walk of Adames. This is the match-up he wanted. He wanted it, and it blew up in his face.

Unfortunately, this is Showalter in big moments. It is David Cone for too long before Jack McDowell. It is Bobby Chouinard over Matt Mantei. It is literally anyone but Zack Britton. It’s been a problem in Showalter’s managerial career, and it is a big reason why his teams have only won one postseason series, and it’s why Showalter is still chasing that elusive World Series ring.

Right now, we’re seeing that same Showalter. If he really wants to win this time, and he has the roster capable of winning a World Series, he is finally going to have to adapt and change. If not, we may see moments like this again come this postseason with Mets fans dreaming of what might have been.

Mets Ruining Old Timers Day With Reyes Invitation

One of the best things Steve Cohen has done in terms of fan engagement is Old Timers’ Day. The New York Mets now have their own history, and we now get the opportunity to celebrate it. Apparently, fans aren’t the only ones eager to celebrate it.

We have seen a number of players eager to return. Already on the docket are a who’s who of Mets greats including Mike Piazza, Keith Hernandez, Darryl Strawberry, Dwight Gooden, Howard Johnson, John Franco, Johan Santana, Pedro Martinez, Daniel Murphy, Mookie Wilson, and many, many more. Really, Mets players are coming out of the woodwork to try to attend this event.

With every name came more excitement and more fond memories. Then, the Mets announced Jose Reyes was returning.

While the Mets were blowing Game 4 of the 2015 World Series, Reyes was in Hawaii grabbing his wife by the neck and throwing her into glass doors. The altercation was so violent, the hotel would need to call the police, and his wife would need to be taken by ambulance to a local hospital to be treated for her injuries.

The Colorado Rockies (who also had Trevor Story ready) were so appalled they released Reyes. There was a debate whether Reyes would ever play a game again. After all, who in the world would want someone like that on their team? It’s one thing to deal with someone on your roster. It is a whole other to proactively go out and sign that player (or acquire him if you are the New York Yankees and Aroldis Chapman).

Well, frankly, the Mets were cheap morons, and their third base plan for 2016 was David Wright. That lasted until May 27. After that, the Mets were trying to figure it out on the fly. Instead of looking to make a trade, they opted to do the whole dog-and-pony show of trying to rehabilitate Reyes’ image.

Reyes was decent enough, and he had a big homer against the Philadelphia Phillies. The media acquiesced with the Mets demands and wrote the necessary articles (yes, they are 100% complicit) to support the Mets bold move to cheap out and take bad a wife beater. Everyone was so happy the Mets brought Reyes back.

Well, third base wasn’t good enough anymore for Reyes. With Asdrubal Cabrera‘s thumb injury, Reyes pushed his way to short. It was a bad year for Reyes, and it was apparent to the Mets, they needed to pivot. Amed Rosario was called up at the end of the year to be the shortstop of the future, and in the offeseason, they had to sign Todd Frazier to play the third base Reyes no longer wanted to play.

Reyes agreed to be the utility player. Anything to help the team. Again, just talk.

Reyes didn’t really put the time in to succeed in the outfield. He was terrible, and he stopped playing there. Then, the sham of the narrative he was going to mentor Rosario was exposed when he whined to the media about it. This came at a time when the baseball world was wondering if he was done and would soon be ticketed for being designated for assignment. Instead, he was rewarded with more playing time.

Despite the beating of his wife and acting bigger than the organization, he was given a big send-off as part of the Wright festivities. He got to retire as the Mets leadoff hitter and shortstop. He deserved none of this.

After he beat his wife, the Mets had kept throwing him olive branch after olive branch. None were good enough for him. He showed a complete lack of gratitude to this organization. And now, he’s going to be rewarded by being brought back for Old Timers’ Day like he didn’t beat his wife and wasn’t a completely selfish jerk on his way out?

Seriously? This is Wilpon level garbage and has no place in the Steve Cohen era. In reality, Reyes has no business being at Citi Field for Old Timers Day even if he bought his own ticket.

Pete Alonso Is True Test Of Mets Fans Greatness

It is readily apparent from a position player standpoint Pete Alonso is Mets fans favorite player. After all, he’s been talked about as a future captain and MVP even if those monikers never really quite fit. It doesn’t matter because he’s adored.

And for very good reason. Alonso has set records, started the LFGM thing, had epic Home Run Derby performances, and has donated portions of his winnings to charities helping veterans. All of the love thrown his way has been more than warranted.

The thing is we’re really about to find out how much Mets fans truly love Alonso.

There was a time being a star or superstar on the Mets meant you were starting the All-Star Game. That was the case in the 1980s with Darryl Strawberry. We saw it again with Mike Piazza and then with Carlos Beltran. Keep in mind, with Beltran, he wasn’t all that beloved, and yet, he was voted a starter in 2005 even when he had his worst year in Flushing leading to the booing.

Things changed a little after that. David Wright never really got the same benefit. In fact, back in 2012, Pablo Sandoval was voted the All-Star Game starter over Wright. Yes, Wright was a deserving All-Star that year, but he would not start.

In fact, Wright only started five All-Star Games, The last one in 2013 took a massive push to get Wright elected in the year Citi Field hosted the All-Star Game. This was at a time when Wright was a superstar playing in the largest market in the world.

There are different reasons why Wright didn’t get the same benefit other Mets did. For starters, the internet ballots changed nearly everything. It really negated the advantage larger markets had in having fans flood the park and voting for their favorites.

Another important factor is the Wilpons and the Madoff Scandal was a massive blow to Mets fans. There was a general depression among the Mets fans, and the earliest dimensions of Citi Field did not help. Getting excited for anything Mets was very difficult to do until Matt Harvey‘s Major League debut. Yes, that had a large part of Wright’s boost in the voting that year.

Keep in mind, Mets fans adored Wright. We did see that in his starting five games, but he should’ve started more. Really, in another day and time, Wright would’ve started more. To a large extent, blame the Wilpons for that.

However, now, we have Steve Cohen. We have an owner who will actually do all he can to make the Mets the best they can be. In many ways, this is like when Nelson Doubleday purchased the Mets in 1980. There is a trust in ownership and palpable excitment among the fanbase.

That should translate to All-Star voting.

Yes, Paul Goldschmidt is having a better year. You can say the same for Freddie Freeman in Los Angeles. Seeing that, you can argue Alonso may need the push from Mets fans to be named the deserving All-Star he is. He should be voted as a starter by this fanbase.

Failing to do so wouldn’t be a failure of the fans at all. Rather, it is just be a dose of reality that Mets fans don’t carry the power they once did. There are many reasons for that, but it would seem like they love of Alonso is there for this fanbase to flex their muscles (while also using them to vote Francisco Lindor, Jeff McNeil, and Brandon Nimmo) as starters.

Steve Cohen has brought the Mets back to where they should be. Mets fans now need to be back to who they are. They need to make Alonso the starting first baseman for the All-Star Game.

 

Mets Need Mike Piazza Statue

On April 15, 2022, the New York Mets are finally going to reveal their Tom Seaver statue. It is something which should have happened when Citi Field officially opened on March 29, 2009, but with the Wilpons being the Wilpons, we needed to wait all of this time.

When you talk about the Mets, you talk about Seaver. He is the greatest player to ever don a Mets uniform, and in all likelihood, he will forever be the greatest. He deserved not just the statue, but he also deserved to be the first player to see his number retired.

For a time, Seaver was the only Mets player with his number retired. That was until Mike Piazza was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame with Piazza opting to wear a Mets cap on his plaque. At that moment, there was a clear standard set. If you want your number retired with the Mets, you need to enter the Hall of Fame wearing a Mets cap.

That was the standard until it wasn’t. As the Wilpons were on their way out, they announced Jerry Koosman was going to have his number retired. If you were going to outside the realm of Hall of Famers, Koosman more than deserved to be first in line for this honor. After all, his pitching was the biggest reason the Mets won the 1969 World Series.

After Koosman, Keith Hernandez had his number retired. Unlike Koosman, we can reasonably expect him to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. What we don’t know is what cap Hernandez will opt to have on his plaque.

Gary Carter likely would have his number retired if the Hall of Fame honored his request to go in as a Met. In all likelihood, David Wright will not be inducted into the Hall of Fame, but he will have his number retired one day. After that, who knows?

The one thing that becomes clear is as more numbers are retired the less that honor is for Hall of Famers. For some time, it was something special reserved for the Hall of Famers, and now, that is no longer the case. We can debate if that is a good or bad thing, but in the end, the Mets should have one separate and special honor for their Hall of Fame players.

Seeing the Seaver statue getting erected, it would seem that can and should be the new honor for Mets players inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame wearing a Mets cap. Right now, that applies only to Seaver and Piazza.

This is why Piazza should get his statue. He’s a Hall of Famer deserving of an honor above all the rest. Perhaps, it can be that pose after he blasted yet another big homer.

Certainly, there is more than enough room for it outside of Citi Field. More than that, there is room to further celebrate Mets history and the greatest of the greats. Ultimately, this is why we need a Piazza statue.

Buck Showalter Showing Shades Of Bobby Valentine

During Spring Training, Buck Showalter has made it a point to bring Keith Hernandez down to the field. In fact, as reported by Bob Klapisch of nj.com, Showalter removed the old rule which banned Hernandez from the batting cages. Showalter made it a point to get rid of the dumb rule (which was explained away because Hernandez was a part of SNY).

Specifically, Showalter noted, “I wanted people to notice Keith next to me and it wasn’t by coincidence. To me, Keith Hernandez is Mets royalty. He can go wherever he wants around here. This is his team.”

Showalter is exactly right here. After all, Hernandez was the first captain in team history. That 1986 team constantly talks about how much Hernandez meant to that team in terms of his leadership and defense. To keep that away from the team is pure and utter Wilpon nonsense. Well, the Wilpons are gone and so is much of their stupidity.

This was something Bobby Valentine had done so well during his Mets tenure. We didn’t just see the Mets greats pass through Spring Training for a photo op and media attention. That is something we will see this Spring with Mike Piazza, Al Leiter, David Wright, and others passing through and working with the players for a day or so.

Valentine had taken it a step further than that. Valentine put Mookie Wilson on his coaching staff. We also saw it with him having Al Jackson, an original Met just inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame, on his coaching staff. There many be many reasons why Valentine did that, and it could very well be because Davey Johnson once did the same thing with him and Bud Harrelson on the Mets coaching staff.

Being a Met is different than being a part of any other team. It’s being the big market target while sitting in the shadow of the Yankees. It’s having a fan base who clings to Tug McGraw‘s “Ya Gotta Believe!” who also expects Tom Glavine to implode completing the collapse. We know Gary Carter is going to start an improbable rally while fully expecting Lucas Duda to throw it nowhere near Travis d’Arnaud.

The Mets are the most unique team in all of sports, and they have the fanbase to match. Each and every player who has come through here fully understands it. After all, Carlos Beltran went from reviled while playing here to a standing ovation at the All Star Game wearing the enemy St. Louis Cardinals uniform and fans who cheered him as a conquering hero when he was brought back as the manager.

Valentine knew all of this, and he had a coaching staff reflect that. Showalter seems to get that as well, and he wants the former Mets to be a part of this team both in Spring Training and beyond. He understands the team history, and in the end, Showalter just implicitly gets it.

When the Mets have a manager who gets what being a New York Met is all about, magic happens. We saw it in 1986 and 1999. Mookie brought home Ray Knight. Robin Ventura hit a grand slam single. Seeing how Showalter is managing this team, Mets fans should be ready to see what is coming next.

Simply Amazin: Looking Bleak Podcast

Due to site difficulties, this is going up a week later than anticipated, but fortunately (or unfortunately), all of what was discussed remains relevant. Players discussed during this podcast included Michael Conforto, Jeff McNeil, Pete Alonso, Melvin Mora, Mike Bordick, Brandon Nimmo, Mark Canha, Starling MarteBilly Taylor, Jason Isringhausen, Matt Harvey, Dwight Gooden, Darryl Strawberry, Josh Hamilton, David Wright, Ike Davis, Jake Marisnick, Blake Taylor, Dominic Smith, Robinson Cano, Eduardo Escobar, Shawon Dunston, Craig PaquettePedro MartinezCarlos Beltran,  and many, many more.

As always, thanks to Timothy Rider. It was an absolute blast. Please take a listen to the Simply Amazin podcast (by clicking on this link).

 

Fun Former Mets Who Need To Return

With the return of the Old Timer’s Day, we are going to see some of the most beloved Mets in history return and play a game in front of adoring fans. We will once again get to see beloved players like Cliff Floyd, Daniel Murphy, and Robin Ventura return for the day. It is going to be a great and emotional experience.

Those are players forever in Mets lore. We will always love them for what they did on the field. Not all of them had the biggest personalities. There are, however, some Mets who had the innate ability to become fan favorites without so much as dominating.

One player all over the baseball news is Tsuyoshi Shinjo. The formet Met was hired as the manager of the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters. Sorry, as Shinjo says, he isn’t the manager, but he is rather the “Big Boss.” This is just Shinjo being Shinjo. No one has better understand the great theatre baseball can be in the moments outside of the action. After all, he used to name his homers and orchestrated his own epic retirement ceremony

Baseball needs that type of theatre, and the Mets are the perfect frachise to embrace it. Shinjo can create a spectacle which could garner attention and interest. Really, teams pay a lot of money to hire people who try to figure out the things Shinjo just does on his own, and it comes naturally to him. Whether as a part of the coaching staff, televsion, or just as a team ambassador, Shinjo would make Mets games that much more entertaining.

In recent history, Mets games have probably not been as much fun as they were in 2015. A large part of that was the Mets winning the pennant. Another component of that was the force of nature that was Juan Uribe.

Uribe was the perfect addition to that Mets team. First and foremost, he was the real stopgap third baseman the team needed. He would quickly ingratiate himself to Mets fans with a walk-off hit in his second game with the team. He would then become a larger than life character for needling David Wright, objecting to football being played on TV, and for declaring he doesn’t wear a cup in the field because there isn’t one big enough for him.

Uribe was great in the clubhouse keeping the team on an even keel and upbeat during their first real pennant race. He was also a leader who helped the team reach their full potential that season. In some ways, his presence was missed the following season as he helped a Cleveland team get to the next level. Certainly, you want to believe there is room for him to do the same again for the Mets in some capacity.

Finally, there is Curtis Granderson. Aside possibly being the best human being to ever don a Mets uniform, Granderson was as fun a player as there was. He was not just terrific on the field, but he was also the genius behind the We Follow Lucas Duda Instagram account. Granderson didn’t just understand how to make baseball fun on the field, he knew how to do it off the field as well. The fact he is a great person on top of it makes it all the more important to get him to return in some capacity.

Overall, the Mets franchise has had a number of colorful characters. From Roger McDowell to the hot foots to Pete Alonso with the fake hitting coaches, you need a certain personality to handle and thrive in New York. While the Mets do need to honor their greats, they also need to find a way to better incorporate those players who made the Mets the fun team they are and hopefully always will be.

Mets Need Carlos Beltran To Return For Old Timers Day

The New York Mets made the announcement they are officially bringing back Old Timer’s Day. So far, it has been announced Mets greats Cliff Floyd, Howard Johnson, Daniel Murphy, and Robin Ventura will be there. We are undoubtedly going to see many other greats.

As we work through the list of players which will undoubtedly include Mike Piazza and David Wright, the most important player would be Carlos Beltran. This would set the perfect stage and opportunity for the best free agent signing and center fielder in team history to return.

The saga of Beltran and the Mets is in many ways a story still unfolding. During his playing days, he was never fully appreciated by the fans. Part of that was his very disappointing first year in Flushing, and then in 2006, when he was everything and more the fans expected, he would strikeout looking to end the NLCS. After that, while Beltran was great, he was part of the Mets teams who collapsed in consecutive seasons.

From there, he was a bit injury prone. Lost in everything was the Wilpons interference with his ability to get the treatments he needed. There was also the fact he graciously accepted a move to right field because it was what was best for the team. After his departure, it did seem Beltran was better received by Mets fans as evidenced by the ovation at the 2013 All-Star Game.

Of course, we know all too well Beltarn was initially hired to replace Mickey Callaway. He wouldn’t get the chance to manage one game because of his role in the Houston Astros cheating scandal. To date, he is the only player to face any discipline as the callow Wilpons fired him.

Sadly, it wasn’t the Mets who gave Beltran his path back into baseball. That would be the Yankees. Much like how Beltran began his post playing career working in the Yankees front office, he will be part of the Yankees’ YES studio shows. It is something the Mets could’ve potentially done with SNY, but it should be noted the Wilpons still owned the network, and as such, Steve Cohen didn’t have the chance.

This is now Cohen’s opportunity. He can reach out to Beltran and bring him back for a big ovation at Citi Field. He can remember him of all that was great during his time, and that Beltran will go to Cooperstown largely because of his time with the Mets.

Remember, Beltran will be on the ballot for the first time next season. Looking through his career, Beltran will likely have three choices for his Hall of Fame cap: (1) Royals; (2) Mets; or (3) blank. Beltran played more games for the Mets than any other team. He also accumulated his highest WAR, all three of his Gold Gloves, both of his Silver Sluggers, and five of his nine All-Star appearances with the Mets.

Fact is, Beltran will go to the Hall of Fame because of what he did in a Mets uniform. He belongs in Cooperstown as a Met, and his 15 should be retired. However, there is evidently still some healing which needs to occur to secure Beltran wearing that Mets cap. That should begin with Old Timer’s Day. It’s an excellent opportunity for a first step, and hopefully, it will be a big step in what can be a journey for Beltran emerging as a great former Mets ambassador for years to come.

Problem With Retiring Jerry Koosman’s And Keith Hernandez’s Numbers

It used to be in order for a New York Mets player to have their number retired, they needed to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame as a New York Met. That is why Tom Seaver and Mike Piazza had their numbers retired, and why Gary Carter didn’t. Had the Baseball Hall of Fame not treated Carter differently than every other Hall of Famer in baseball history, his number 8 would be in the rafters at Citi Field.

Somewhere along the way, perhaps not coincidentally coinciding with Steve Cohen’s purchase of the New York Mets, the Mets changed their policy on retiring numbers. First, it was Jerry Koosman. Then, it was Keith Hernandez. Certainly, we anticipate David Wright will be next followed by a massive argument amongst the fanbase as to who gets their numbers retired.

Therein lies the problem. When the Mets had a stringent policy, there was at least one. A player wasn’t slighted by not having their number retired, and they weren’t having their career or impact on the Mets belittled. Rather, there was a policy in place, but there was a Mets Hall of Fame available for some of the true Mets greats.

Now, there is admittedly a quagmire. While you can argue Koosman and Hernandez tweak the standard to impactful and great Mets who have won a World Series, Wright’s eventual number retirement will throw all of that out. What follows is really just chaos, and more importantly, a need for explanation on a number of players.

John Franco is the all-time leader in team history in saves, and he was the third team captain in history. You can argue his number should now be retired. If it should, do you double retire 31, or do you retire his 45? If you opt for 45, why not Tug McGraw too?

However, if you retire McGraw, do you then have to look at Armando Benitez, Jeurys Familia, and Jesse Orosco? All three have more saves and pitched on Mets pennant winning teams.

What happens to Edgardo Alfonzo? By WAR, Alfonzo is the Mets best middle infielder, and he ranks ahead of Hernandez in the rankings. He was part of the best infield in Major League history, was a clutch hitter, won a pennant, and he won the New York-Penn League championship as a manager.

Bud Harrelson was the first Met inducted into the team Hall of Fame, and he’s the only man to win a ring with the 1969 and 1986 teams. Howard Johnson was the first Met to have a 30/30 season, he’s the only Met to do it twice, and he was part of the 1986 Mets.

Of course, you have Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry. Both symbolize all that was great and went wrong with those 1980s teams. To this day, you could argue they’re also two of the most beloved Mets ever.

Everyone is going to have their line and opinion. Without clear standards, each and every one of these players will be slighted by not having their number retired. There are and will be more.

Yes, honoring Koosman and Hernandez is great. They deserve to be honored. It feels good to honor them.

What doesn’t sit right is all those who won’t get that honor now wondering why they haven’t.

Jimmy Rollins Nowhere Close To Hall Of Fame Caliber

With all due respect to Jayson Stark of The Athletic, Jimmy Rollins isn’t close to being a Hall of Famer. While he seems to be on track to somehow crack the 5% to stay on the ballot, he shouldn’t stay on for long.

Rollins had a terrific career. In his 17 year career, he hit .264/.324/.418 with 511 doubles, 115 triples, 231 homers, and 936 RBI while stealing 470 bases.

On the advanced stat side, he had a 47.6 WAR, 95 OPS+, 95 wRC+, and a 50 DRS.

He was a three time All-Star, four time Gold Glover, and the 2007 NL MVP. He was also a member of the World Series winning 2008 Philadelphia Phillies.

Again, great career. It’s just not a Hall of Fame one.

The average Hall of Fame shortstop has a 67.7 WAR, 43.2 WAR7, and a 55.5 JAWS. Rollins had a 47.6 WAR, 32.7 WAR7, and a 40.1 JAWS.

Put another way, the entirety of his 17 year career was the equivalent of the seven peak seasons of a Hall of Fame shortstop. That’s how much his career lagged behind the standard.

Yes, there are factors which bolster his candidacy. He was a leader. He did have an MVP even if Albert Pujols (8.7 WAR) and David Wright (8.3 WAR) had far superior seasons. He also won a ring.

On that front, Rollins wasn’t a great postseason player. Over his 50 games played, he only hit .246/.308/.364. Out of the 11 postseason series he played in, he had an OPS higher than .624 three times.

No, a player’s career shouldn’t be discredited for postseason struggles. However, you can’t look to his postseasons as a reason to try to bolster his career.

Overall, Rollins had a great career. The Phillies should have him on their Wall of Fame, and he should be under consideration for having his number retired.

However, no matter how magnanimous he was, and no matter how much of a leader he might’ve been, his is a career which fell well short of Hall of Fame standards. It’s a shame because Rollins was as like-able, and hard working a player as they come.