Dwight Gooden

Reyes Might Be a Lowlife Woman Beater

I remember the Francisco Rodriguez assault of a family member in 2010. The reports were Jose Reyes was deeply troubled by it, especially because his wife and kids saw it. Now I saw this:

Apparently, Reyes assaulted his wife in a hotel room in Wailea. My first reaction really was, no, it couldn’t be him. Not Reyes. Then I went to his Twitter page:

Yup, he’s vacationing in Hawaii. It at least adds credibility to a story I find incredulous. Frankly, I’m stunned, and this is coming from a guy who grew up rooting for Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry. If it’s true, Reyes will be the first player suspended under Major League Baseball’s new Domestic Violence Policy. It’s a test for Rob Manfred as Major League Baseball is dealing with this seemingly for the first time. 

If it’s true, I’ll immediately purge every Reyes thing I’ve ever owned. I’ll make sure to go to Mets-Rockies games and boo him mercilessly. Mostly, I’ll be sad and disappointed. Not just for losing a favorite player, but also because another man abused another woman. It’s got to stop. 

Hopefully, everything about the report is false. If it is, I’ll immediately take this post down. I really hope I have to take this post down. 

Be Ready for Anything

You never know what is going to happen before or during a postseason series. How a team responds to it may determine if a team wins or loses a series. 

I was reminded of that with another playoff series against the Dodgers. Both times the Mets played the Dodgers, one of their starting pitchers was injured. 

In 1988, Bobby Ojeda suffered a potentially career ending injury on the same day the Mets clinched at least a tie atop the NL East. It threw the Mets postseason rotation off kilter. Dwight Gooden started Games 1 and 4 (on three day’s rest). He wouldn’t make another start in the series. 

I still don’t know what Davey Johnson was thinking. The Mets had a 2-1 series lead. They already won a game in which Orel Hershiser started. Johnson unnecessarily went to Gooden on three days rest, and then he left him in too long. Even more baffling is the fact that Johnson went to Sid Fernandez in Game 5 with the series tied 2-2. 

Honestly, I don’t think Johnson doesn’t make a ponderous decision like this if Ojeda was able to pitch. Ojeda was 2-0 in the 1986 postseason. He stabilized things in Game 3, and he gave the Mets a chance in Game 6. Johnson doesn’t skip his start in 1988, and the Mets probably don’t blow that series. 

Eighteen years later, the Mets again found themselves facing the Dodgers in the playoffs. Again, a key starting pitcher went down. Two days before the NLDS, El Duque, the scheduled Game 1 starter, went down with a torn calf muscle. Keep in mind, he was the second choice after Pedro Martinez suffered a rotator cuff injury

Willie Randolph gave the ball to John Maine. Maine lasted 4.1 innings before hitting trouble. Randolph quickly turned to his incredible bullpen who brought it home. The Mets responded better to the problem in 2006, and they won the series. 

It’s possible the Mets have already been presented with their Ojeda-El Duque dilemma with Steven Matz. Matz slept on a sofa, and he injured his back. The Mets now have a critical decision to make, especially with Matz having a successful simulated game. If he responds well, he may be on the roster. If not, it will be Sean Gilmartin

Whomever the Mets choose, history shows it’s not who you pick that’s important. It’s how you respond to the crisis that’s important. Fortunately, this is one of Terry Collins’ strengths. Hopefully, there won’t be any more surprises. 

Lets Go Mets!

Dwight Gooden Career Advice

The 1980’s tremendous run was partly fueled by Darryl Strawberry and Dwight Gooden. They had their share of drug problems. They were self destructive. They were labeled the “Dead End Kids.”  

It seems after years, most likely decades, of problems, they’re finally clean. They have seemingly turned their lives around. They now have important things to say and have important things to do. It’s a remarkable turn-around. I want to hear them talk as much as possible about the dangers of drug use. It’s an important message. Hopefully, they’ll prevent someone from repeating their mistakes. Maybe they’ll help a troubled person through a tough time. 

What I don’t want to hear is them lecture other players on how they should be more like they were. Sure enough, Gooden weighed in on the whole Matt Harvey controversy:

This hypocrisy demands a look into Doc’s career, a look I would rather not make. However, when he tells everyone to look at what he did when he was playing, we should. 

Let’s start with the innings. Doc was abused by Davey Johnson and Mel Stottlemeyer. Doc was amazing. He was doing things not even Tom Seaver did. In his age 19, 20, and 21 seasons, he threw 218.0, 276.2, and 250.0 innings. His last All Star Game was in 1988, when he was 23 years old. On September 8, 1991, when he was 26 years old,  he received season ending rotator cuff surgery. For a man who set strikeout records, he would never again reach 150 strikeouts. In the last eight years of his career, his average season was 7-7 with a 4.45 ERA and 94 strikeouts. 

Effectively speaking, he was done when he was 26 years old. If anyone should be preaching caution against overuse, it’s Gooden. His Hall of Fame talent and possible career went the wayside due to abuse and overuse, at least partial so. 

That wasn’t the only abuse that ruined Gooden’s career. Gooden was a drug addict. Gooden became hooked on cocaine during the 1986 season. He missed the championship parade because he was high in the projects. In 1987, he was suspended for one month due to failed drug tests. He was forced into rehab by then Commissioner Peter Ueberroth. Gooden missed the Opening Day after a World Series title. He would return on June 5, 1987. It was 31 games into the season, the equivalent of six starts. The Mets missed the playoffs by three games that year. Gooden would be suspended for the 1995 season for failing a “bunch of [drug] tests.”  

So no, I don’t want Gooden to point to his career as an example of what to do. When he talks about Harvey being shut down for health reasons, he neglects how injuries damaged his career. When he talks about how Harvey should demand that he go out there for his teammates, he neglects to mention all the times he wasn’t. 

I don’t like bashing Gooden. However, I also don’t like the Harvey bashing. Harvey has a hard decision and a career to contemplate. It’s easy for everyone to tell Harvey what to do. It’s not their career or future. It was easy for Gooden to do the same. He just forgot how injuries ruined his career as well as the times he wasn’t there for his teammates. 

Harvey has a big start tomorrow, and he will pitch in the playoffs. I wish the best for him. More importantly, I wish the best for Gooden. They both need our support this year and beyond. 

Can the Mets Take Back New York?

After two consecutive sweeps, the Mets are rolling. With the Nationals loss last night, the Mets increased their lead in the NL East. Not only do the players seem confident, the Mets fans also feel confident. So confident they have resumed the taking over New York talk. 

When I grew up, the Mets owned New York . . . it was the first and only time. The reason the Mets owned New York was not only because they were the winning team, but also the sheer caliber of their star power with Strawberry, Gooden, Carter, and Hernandez. It was a fun team and it was a fun time to be a Mets fan. 

It all came crashing down with the Worst Team Money Can Buy. The Mets were no longer likeable and they no longer winning. The Yankees then had a dynasty featuring the Core Four and the disturbingly forgotten Bernie Williams. Seriously, Yankee fans who refer to the Core Four do not deserve those championships. 

Seemingly, the Mets are primed yet again to take back New York. They have star power with Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, and Noah Syndergaard. When David Wight comes back, we can include him. It also helps that Matt Harvey and Steven Matz are local kids. 

The last time we had this conversation was 2006. The Mets were the best team in the regular season that year. They had star power with Wright & Reyes, the two Carloses, and Pedro. That was an immensely likeable team. Their attempt to take over New York ended with that Adam Wainwright curveball. 

After the 2007 & 2008 collapses and the Yankees’ 2009 World Series title, the possibility of taking over New York was dead. You see it’s not enough the Mets be really good; it’s also important they’re clearly better than the Yankees. Right now, the Yankees are also in first place. 

We Mets’ fans quickly forget most people now were raised Yankee fans, who worshipped the temple who was Derek Jeter. I’ve heard people like Mike Lupica say New York is a National League town. He’s obviously referring to the ghosts of the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants. 

My grandfather was a New York Giants fan. He passed away almost thirty years ago. Initially, my father was a Brooklyn Dodgers fan. The Dodgers moved to LA when he was eight years old. When the Mets came into existence, the Yankees were the only team in town for five years. Effectively, it was for another seven as the Mets were mostly awful and always sub .500 prior to 1969. The New York is a National League town was either a myth or an outdated fairy tale. Long story, short, most people now have no concept of New York as a National League town. 

With that said and looking at everything, the Mets can potentially START taking over New York. Much of that will depend on the young pitching this year and in the ensuing seasons. Even if the Mets were to win the World Series this year, I’m not convinced the Mets take over New York. It will, however, accelerate the process. It’s not important to me that the Mets take over New York. However, I would still like to see it. 

I want to see it because it means we’ll see a stretch of baseball like we did from 1984 – 1992. It also means the Yankees fell on hard times, which is always good for the soul. Most importantly, it’s easier to raise my son a Mets’ fan when the team is actually good. I’d love for him to see Mets’ teams like the ones I had growing up.