Ed Kranepool

Mets Blogger Roundtable: Finding Good in the Wilpons

Last week, my brother challenged me to find something nice to say about the Wilpons.  Given the tall task this was, I figured the best way to handle this was to turn the question over to the fine people who participate in the Mets Blogger Roundtables:

Mark Healey (Gotham Baseball)

Here’s the deal; unlike a lot of people, I’ve spent some time with Jeff Wilpon. (That’s me interviewing Jeff during a tour of Citi Field) I know he loves baseball. I know he wants to win. I think he gave Sandy some decent money to spend this offseason and it was invested poorly. Jeff, IMO, needs to be less passive aggressive and more out in front of everything that happens. The Wilpons and Katzes are not going anywhere, so we need to put away our pitchforks and find some constructive ways to remind ownership of how much we want this team to succeed.

Editor’s Note: On Gotham Baseball, Mark had a more detailed analysis about how fair the coverage of the Wilpons has been.

Joe Maracic (Loud Egg)

The Wilpons have not sued me yet for using trademarked material in my toons.

Michael Mayer (MMO, MMN)

The Wilpons (Jeff) have done a great job running their Overwatch League team, which Jeff says stems from staying out of day-to-day operations.

Metstradamus (Metstradamus Blog)

I’m not falling for this. The minute I make some joke like “well, I’m sure Jeff Wilpon has never kicked a puppy”, Bob Woodward is going to link Jeffy to a puppy mill in Greenwich for the Washington Post. I’m out. You make your jokes. Hope they age well.

Greg Prince (Faith and Fear in Flushing)

Shannon Forde cited Jeff Wilpon as being very supportive of her when she was battling the cancer that eventually took her life. That’s what I think of when I try to remember there’s a human being behind the caricature.

Tim Ryder (MMO, FOB)

it’s tough to find anything overwhelmingly pleasant to say about the Wilpons. They’ve been doing an excellent job of trolling an entire fanbase for 16 years. Does that count?

Breanna Susa (That Mets Chick)

The Wilpons are really good at saving money. I bet they have a ton of money saved for their retirement. Their financial advisor must be so proud of them with their savings. Actually they are probably their own financial planners since they wouldnt want to give up that 1% of compensation the planners would recieve. Genuis if you ask me. I guess thats why Jeff graduated from Harvard. Dude knows how to save, its almost as if he’s seen a financial crisis like the one in 2008 when the stock market collapsed. Genuis I tell you.

Mets Daddy

The Wilpons are trying to save baseball by pointing out just how unsustainable its economic model.  Teams like the Red Sox, Yankees, and Dodgers are spending at unsustainable rates, and it is going to send them into financial ruin.  Once those teams go down, who knows about the future of baseball?

Fortunately, we have people like the Wilpons who are there to advise all of baseball how to avoid financial ruin and to build a profitable baseball organization which is predicated upon building just one team per decade capable of going to the World Series.

On a more serious note, it was good to see the Mets have a tribute video to Matt Harvey and to welcome back Ed Kranepool and put the word out about his need for a new kidney.  Fans have been justifiably angry with the Wilpons, but they did deserve credit for doing the right thing in those instances.

Here’s hoping you take the time out to help out of a Mets great while you’re taking the time to read some of the excellent work from this group of Mets bloggers.

 

Mets Bullpen Holds On

With the Mets continue to struggle, Homer Bailey, who entered the game with a 7.22 ERA against the Mets, was a sight for sore eyes.

The Mets quickly went to work against Bailey with three first inning runs highlighted by birthday boy Wilmer Flores opening the scoring with an RBI single.

Overall, it was a really good birthday for Wilmer. He would go 3-for-4 with a run, two RBI, and a HBP. As noted during the telecast, Flores was one of 14 players with three singles and a HBP on his birthday. Two of the other players were Lou Gehrig and Shoeless Joe.

That 3-0 first inning Mets lead grew to 6-0 in the strength of another Flores RBI single, and homers by Kevin Plawecki and Jeff McNeil.

That McNeil homer was absolutely crushed going way up the Pepsi Porch:

(Yes, it’s the Coke Corner now, but the Pepsi Porch sounds better).

That 6-0 lead was looking very safe with Noah Syndergaard dominating the Reds. That was until the seventh.

With one out, Syndergaard plunked consecutive batters. The Preston Tucker one really must’ve been bad as he was checked on by the trainers multiple times, and he could score from second on a Billy Hamilton single, and that’s even with Brandon Nimmo overrunning the ball in right.

Tucker would score on a Jose Peraza single which chase Syndergaard.

In a pleasant surprise, Mickey Callaway initially went to Bobby Wahl in the bases loaded one out situation. Given the Mets record, this is exactly what the team needs to be doing.

Wahl started by throwing three straight balls to Joey Votto. To his credit, Wahl battled back into the count getting two quick strikes. After Votto fouled off two, Wahl walked in a run making it 6-2 Mets.

Wahl rebounded by striking out Scooter Gennett on a 3-2 pitch.

After a tough couple of at-bats, and with Plawecki saving Wahl’s bacon a few times by blocking balls in the dirt, Callaway went to Robert Gsellman.

Gsellman would allow a two RBI single to Eugenio Suarez before getting out of that inning and pitching a perfect eighth.

In a surprise, Jerry Blevins pitched the ninth, and he recorded his first save of the season. In what has simply been a goofy year, Blevins has a start and a save this year.

Overall, the Mets won 6-4 in a game where we saw some good things from youngish players who could be pieces next year. That’s a pretty good day for the 2018 Mets.

Game Notes: Mets had a tribute video for Matt Harvey before the game. Luis Guillorme had an infield single in the eighth. With that hit, Guillorme extended his MLB best 50 at-bats without a strikeout.

Jeff Wilpon’s Treatment Of Sandy Alderson His Latest Despicable Act

When it comes to Jeff Wilpon, you keep wondering how one person could be just so despicable.  Over the past few years, he fired an unwed pregnant woman leading the team to have to settle a lawsuit.

In 2015, when former co-owner Nelson Doubleday died, the Mets held a moment of silence, but they refused a uniform patch or even a black armband for the man who rescued the Mets in 1980.

As reported by the New York Time this past December, Jeff Wilpon holds a grudge against Ed Kranepool stemming from an incident from about five years ago when Kranepool said rather than buying shares available for sale, he wanted to buy the team from the Wilpons because he could run the team better.

In response to this, with Kranepool suffering through real health issues causing him to sell off some of his personal memorabilia, Kranepool said, “Not that I need them to do anything for me, but Fred or somebody could have called to say, ‘How you feeling?’”

In and of themselves, each of them are despicable acts, but in true Jeff Wilpon fashion, he seemed to raise the bar yesterday.

In what was a surprise press conference, where Sandy Alderson was announcing he was stepping aside so he could continue his battle with cancer, Jeff Wilpon led things off by saying this:

This is a results business and we’re well below our expectations, from ownership on down.  Talk to the baseball department, the scouting department, the development department, the coaches, the players. Nobody expected to be in this position.

You have a range of emotion just like our fans that include incredibly frustrated, disappointed, angry about our season at this point, certainly.  We’re in a results business and at this point, we’re well below our expectations.

From there, he went into saying how Sandy Alderson was basically stepping aside, and how there was going to be the triumvirate of J.P. Riccardi, Omar Minaya, and John Ricco, who would bring the decisions to Jeff much in the same way they were handled by Alderson.

Put another way, before giving Alderson the floor, Wilpon trashed the job Alderson did this year, essentially said he could do Alderson’s job better, and then he sat there stone faced, disinterested, and playing with the paper in his hands as Alderson, a man fighting for his life, fought through tears to get through everything.

Jeff Wilpon just sat there as Alderson took responsibility for this season and in his saying his performance does not merit him returning to the Mets after he hopefully wins this battle with cancer.  Mets fans can all agree Alderson made some mistakes over the years, but you’d be hard pressed to find a single one who believes everything was completely his fault.

To that end, this smelled more like a “dignified” firing with cancer as an excuse that allowing a good man to focus all of his energies fighting cancer and then being given an opportunity resume his duties as the Mets General Manager.  Certainly, Jeff Wilpon had plenty of opportunities to say Sandy was welcome to return to the Mets, but he always made sure to steer clear of that.

Perhaps most disgusting of all was there was not one thank you uttered from the lips of Jeff Wilpon.  Not one.

This is a man whose hiring probably helped the Wilpons retain control of the team post-Madoff.  This was a man who did the rebuild which led to the Mets making it all the way to the 2015 World Series.  He is just one of two Mets General Managers to make consecutive postseasons.

Last year, after the season fell apart, he focused on saving the Wilpons money than maximizing the return for each and every single of those the players traded.

Mostly, this was a good man who fought for his country, and who did all he could do for the Mets.  In all the years after 1986, Sandy Alderson was quite possibly the closest to winning that third World Series.

When he leaves, he leaves behind players like Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Michael Conforto, Brandon Nimmo, and Amed Rosario.  He also leaves behind a farm system with Andres Gimenez, Mark Vientos, David Peterson, Justin Dunn, Peter Alonso, and so much more.  Long story short, he did an admirable job in difficult circumstances.

At the very least, even as Jeff Wilpon was trashing him and allowing Alderson to take the heat all upon himself, you would think at some point Wilpon would offer a simple, “Thank you.”

Thank you for serving the Mets for the past eight years.  Thank you for 2015.  Thank you for allowing us to retain control of the team.

That “Thank you” never did come, and we shouldn’t be surprised if it never comes.  After all, Jeff Wilpon has shown himself to be a despicable person who can’t help one gravely ill person in Kranpeool, who fires pregnant women and jokes about it, and lastly, allows Alderson to take the heat for all that has gone wrong.

The point cannot be driven home enough.  Jeff Wilpon is a petty and despicable man, and what he did to Alderson yesterday was inexcusable.

For about the millionth time, shame on him.

Meet The Mets Fan: Rep. Peter King

The Mets Fan

Pete King – Congressman from Long Island – Raised in Queens, went to high school and college in Brooklyn and then Law School at Notre Dame.

How You Became A Mets Fan

I was a fanatical Brooklyn Dodgers fan and saw the Mets as the successor to the Dodgers.

Favorite Mets Player

David Wright; Ed Kranepool

Favorite Moment in Mets History

1969 World Series Victory

Message to Mets Fans

We never give up. The Mets represent tough, hard-working, blue collar New York.

Meet The Mets Fan: Uni Watch’s Paul Lukas

The Mets Fan

I’m “the Uni Watch guy.” I write about uniform and logo design for ESPN and on my own website, Uni Watch.

How You Became A Mets Fan

I was born into a Mets family. One of the earliest life lessons I can remember getting from my big brother was that we rooted for the Mets and hated the Yankees. And thus has it ever been! I attended my first game — a 7-6 win over the Astros — in 1971 and still have the ticket stub to prove it.

Favorite Mets Player

When I first started rooting for the Mets, I somehow decided that I loved Tommie Agee. Not really sure why. Was also very fond of Jon Matlack during that period. Later became a huge Keith Hernandezfan. And always loved Ed Kranepool and thought they should have retired his number just because he played every season dating back to 1962. These days, I really like Jacob deGrom.

Favorite Moment in Mets History

The Buckner game, of course.

Message to Mets Fans

We all know we deserve better than the Wilpons, but the situation is what it is. Hang in there — we were in the World Series just a few years ago, so the pendulum can swing our way again.

Strange But True Mets Minor League Facts

As we head into the 2018 season, we have seen some of these Mets prospects for a few years now, and we have made some assumptions about these players. Some of those assumptions are right on the money, and some of them, not so much. There may be some facts when brought to life which may surprise many of us. With that in mind, here are some facts about the Mets minor leagues which are sure to surprise you.

No. 1 Sandy’s First Draft Produced 11 Major Leaguers

When Sandy Alderson was entasked with rebuilding the Mets farm system, he and his staff went right to work with the 2011 draft. That draft was quite effective with the Mets producing 11 Major Leaguers from that draft.

1st Round: Brandon Nimmo & Michael Fulmer
2nd Round: Cory Mazzoni
3rd Round: Logan Verrett
4th Round: Jack Leathersich
8th Round: Daniel Muno
13th Round: Robert Gsellman
15th Round: Phillip Evans
21st Round: John Gant
34th Round: Seth Lugo
35th Round: Chasen Bradford

Almost as incredible, between trades and play on the field, nine of those players either played for a Mets team that made the postseason or were traded for a player who contributed to a Mets team that made the postseason.

No. 2 Vientos Same Age As Kranepool Was When Kranepool Debuted in the Majors

Last year, Mets second round pick Mark Vientos was the youngest player drafted at 17 years old. Amazingly, this is the same age Mets Hall of Famer Ed Kranepool was when he made his MLB debut. As a matter of fact, Kranepool was just a little more than four months older in his MLB debut than Vientos was when he made his debut in professional baseball playing in the Gulf Coast League.

No. 3 Alonso Only Player to Homer off Smith Prior to the Trade Deadline

When the New York Mets traded Lucas Duda to the Tampa Bay Rays for right-handed relief prospect Drew Smith, the one stat which immediately jumped off his Baseball Reference page was the fact he had allowed just one home run all season. The person who hit that home run was his future teammate Peter Alonso. On the home run, Smith would tell MMN’s Mathew Brownstein, Alonso “brings it up probably once a week (laughs). But that’s just part of it.”

No. 4 Nimmo Drew More Walks Than Rosario in Triple-A

Last year with all of the injuries, it seemed as if Nimmo spent most if not all of his 2017 season in the majors. To a certain extent that is true with him playing just 42 games in Triple-A. That was actually 52 fewer games than Amed Rosario had in Triple-A last year. Overall, Rosario would have 227 more plate appearances for the 51s than Nimmo would have. And yet, despite all of that, Nimmo would draw 10 more walks than Rosario did in Triple-A.

No. 5 DeFrancesco’s First MLB Win Came Against the Mets

In the offseason, the Mets hired the Houston Astros Triple-A Manager Tony DeFrancesco. DeFrancesco had been a manager in the Astros organization since 2011, and during that time, he did get a 41 game opportunity to manage the Major League club after the team fired Brad Mills. After beginning his managerial career losing five straight, his Astros came to New York to face the Mets. With the Suffern, New York native’s family in the stands, his Astros team won the game 3-1.

Mets Blogger Roundtable: Next Mets Hall of Famer

In what is a yearly tradition, the St. Louis Cardinals hold a fan vote over which player should be inducted into the Cardinals Hall of FameFor a number of reasons, the Mets do not hold such a vote for their fanbase, but in vein of what the Cardinals are doing, the Mets Bloggers tackle the issue of who should be the next Mets great inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame:

Joe Maracic(Loud Egg)

What about owners? Nelson Doubleday Jr.

The next player would have to be David Wright, I’m guessing.

Maybe Beltran

Michael Baron (MLB)

I do agree on the Nelson Doubleday nomination. He was a transformative owner for this franchise and single-handedly changed the direction, brand, and reputation of the club by forcing the Piazza trade. But it’s hard to see it happening while the Wilpons own the team.

Having said that, the next logical candidate to me is David Wright. He is among a true handful of players who have served as the identity for the on-field product. Up until age 30, he was among the top third baseman in baseball history (which some would be shocked to learn), and he has served through thick and thin as the voice of this franchise, earning the respect of both current and former teammates in the process.

Roger Cormier (Good Fundies & Fangraphs)

Reflexively I thought “Edgardo Alfonzo.” Then I checked to see if Ed Kranepool and Rusty Staub were already in the Mets Hall of Fame. They are. So I’ll stick with Edgardo Alfonzo. More hits and RBIs than any other Met in a postseason, and that doesn’t technically include his “Game 163” heroics. Excellent everyday third baseman in 1997 and 1998. Moved to second base in 1999 to accommodate Robin Ventura, forming The Best Infield Ever. Mentioned *by name* in Mike Piazza‘s Hall of Fame speech. Didn’t appear to ruin any Mets prospects managing the Brooklyn Cyclones last season. Forever underrated by everyone unlucky enough to not be in a knowledgeable Mets fan’s orbit.

Mark Healey (Gotham Baseball)

Nelson Doubleday belongs in the Mets Hall of Fame, but I seriously doubt the Wilpons would ever be s selfless to do the right thing here.

The real tragedy isn’t that Nelson Doubleday isn’t the majority owner of the Mets anymore. He might have sold the team anyway, as his children did not wish to be involved with the franchise. Instead, it is the misconception that the 1980-1986 period of Mets history wasn’t his legacy. Whether its internal revisionist history mandated by current ownership or a myth enabled by certain go-along, get-along journalists, that section of Mets history should be known as “The Doubleday Era.” It was Nelson Doubleday who came to the rescue when Shea Stadium became a ghost town. He was the man who saved the Mets.

Doubleday should have been inducted a long time ago…

Michael Mayer (MMO & MMN)

I’m in full agreement here with Doubleday.

David Wright is the obvious choice, and there aren’t a lot of dark horses. But the one I’ll give you is Edgardo Alfonzo. Universally loved, one of the best players on a World Series participant, and also worked for the Mets post retirement.

On FAFIF, I recently wrote about Edgardo Alfonzo’s induction being overdue, also mentioning Howard Johnson and Bobby Valentine as worthy, so let’s get them each in.

Amazing to me that the Mets have never so honored a second baseman. In addition to Fonzie, Ron Hunt, Felix Millan and Wally Backman all merit serious consideration. If we’re defense-minded, Doug Flynn, too.

In general, the Mets HOF is an underutilized asset. There’s no good reason not to make annual selections. I understand being somewhat stingy with retired numbers. This can and should be bigger, a way to warmly embrace those who made the Mets the Mets in the best sense.

At the risk of inciting Jerry Blevins‘s ire, I’ll close with what Terrence Mann had to say to Ray Kinsella: The Mets Hall of Fame reminds us of all that once was good, and that could be again.

Doubleday is a good one but I’m going – perhaps unsurprisingly – with David Wright.

It’s not all that often that fans of any team, let alone this one, get to see the best position player in franchise history. Mets fans, in fact, until recently didn’t really have a best position player in franchise history. We had lots of guys — Piazza, Beltran, Mookie, Keith, Carter, HoJo, Buddy, Millan, Kranepool, etc — who were franchise icons, but either not good enough to fit the description, or not here for long enough. But we never had our Ted Williams, our George Brett, our Craig Biggio — whichever comparison you use, up until very recently, we didn’t have one. When David Wright came up, it was evident pretty early on that he was going to be an all-time Mets great, provided he stayed long enough. Sure enough, as high as expectations were, I’d say he was better, for most of his career through 2013, than anyone could reasonably have hoped. People may not remember just how good David Wright was: in the ten years from 2004 to 2013, he batted .301/.382/.506, and averaged 22 home runs a year. The comparison doesn’t hold up, because George Brett had an absurdly productive second half of his career, but through his first ten years, Brett only hit .316/.370/.503, with far fewer home runs. Now, I KNOW that Wright’s career was completely derailed, while Brett went on to play ten more productive seasons — but George Brett is a top-5 all time third baseman, and matching up with him for ten years of a career is no easy task. And that’s not even getting into the intangibles, which to me, make it a no-brainer. David Wright is our captain, a leader in the locker room, and by all accounts, just about the nicest guy in baseball. He’s continued to work to come back from a series of injuries that almost certainly would have led a lesser player to hang ‘em up by now. Some people say it’s enough, that he should retire — but to a kid growing up with epilepsy, who too often got tired of working day after day for an uncertain reward sometime in the future, watching David Wright come back from injury, each time he did, was just incredible. David Wright is the greatest position player in Mets history, and maybe the greatest guy as well. The day he retires, his plaque in the Mets Hall of Fame should go up, and — this isn’t the question, but I can’t resist — his number should join 31 and 41. I sometimes run into people opposed to this, but I can’t for the life of me understand why. Gods do not answer letters, and David Wright’s number should never again be issued. Sometimes, in baseball, there are things you don’t even have to think about — you just know.

Mets Daddy

Previously, I have written pieces advocating for Edgardo Alfonzo, Al Leiter, Bobby Valentine, and Gary Cohen to be inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame.

Going back through them, one of the things that stood out to me about calling for Cohen’s induction was his being up for the Ford C. Frick Award.  Essentially, the Mets were going to have the situation where Cohen was in the Baseball Hall of Fame, but not the Mets Hall of Fame.  That would certainly have been awkward.

To that end, I believe Carlos Beltran is the most pressing person to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.  With his Hall of Fame career coming to an end, the question is not whether he will go into the Hall of Fame, but what cap he will be wearing when he is inducted.  Looking over his career, that is between the Royals, Mets, and a blank cap.

Given the few Hall of Famers in this team’s history, it would behoove the Mets to attempt to convince Beltran to go into the Hall of Fame wearing the interlocking NY.  To do that, the team would have to heal some old wounds and rebuild some bridges.  A Carlos Beltran Day at Citi Field with his Hall of Fame induction would go a long way to accomplish that.

On a personal note, I never would have contemplated Nelson Doubleday, and that is why I am happy we are doing this Roundtable.  As you can tell, there is great Mets content out there and some original thought.  With that in mind, I encourage you to visit their sites (link is in the parenthesis next to their name).

Mets Blogger Round Table: Our Favorite Hometown Mets

With the Mets signing Todd Frazier, the organization has yet again went out and brought home a local boy to play for the hometown team.  It is something we have seen from the organization throughout their history starting with Ed Kranepool, and it is a new focus we have seen with this organization with them drafting Long Islanders Steven Matz, Justin Dunn, and Anthony Kay.

With the Mets illustrious, and in the case of Bobby Bonilla, infamous hometown players coming home to play for the Mets, in a new feature on Mets Daddy, Mets bloggers have come together to answer the question about who is their favorite hometown Mets players:

Michael Baron (MLB.com)

I’ve actually come to really admire T.J. Rivera. He’s a guy who has had to work very hard every minute of every day to be relevant, and his journey to-date has really been inspiring. He has a positive, workman-like attitude from which a lot of people can learn from in any realm of business and society. He is fearless and likable; that combined with his New York roots make him easy to root for.

There is a village in Michigan named Brooklyn. I know this because the Michigan International Speedway is there, even though the 2010 census claimed the population of Brooklyn, Mich. was 1,206. I’m from the Brooklyn in New York though. It feels like 25 percent of all professional athletes are from Brooklyn (the one in New York), yet I had to make a brief stop at Google (Mountain View, Calif.) to remember Johnny Franco. Of course. I met him at Gil Hodges Lanes once when I was a youth. There is a picture of us that I am pretty sure I lost over the years because I am an awful person. I did bring it once with me to show some friends in high school. One person thought Franco was my father. I thought it was weird she would think I would just walk into school, as a teenager, to show people a picture of me and my father, and she thought it was weird I would bring in an old picture of me with some baseball player, and we were both right to think these things. (But I was more right.)

Past: Tim Teufel

Present T.J. Rivera

Mark Healey (Gotham Baseball)

Lee Mazzilli hands down. When I was a kid growing up in Brooklyn, Maz made his debut in 1976. I was 8 years old. My last name might be Irish, but my mom’s Italian, and so were many of my cousins, so it was pretty cool to have a guy who looked like me (well, sorta) wearing a Mets uniform. I copied his batting stance, wore my sweatbands on my forearms and basically fought every kid who wanted to be Lee Mazzilli when we played wiffle ball.

When he was traded, I was devastated, but when he came back and became a key player for the 1986 Mets, it was a dream come true.

Michael Mayer (MMO & MMN)

Being from Maine, my favorite hometown Met would be Mike Bordick. He played his High School ball and College baseball in Maine before signing with the Oakland A’s in 1986. Few players with Maine ties end up in the big leagues so at the time I was excited that the Mets traded for him in 2000. My dad, brother and I drove down to New York for his first game with the Mets. We got to see him hit a home run in his first at-bat as a Met. Unfortunately, Bordick struggled offensively for the Mets including a bat postseason in the Mets run to the World Series loss to the Yankees. Just a few years after that I met Mike’s dad who was a local umpire and got to know him as player and coach.

Metstradamus (Metstradamus Blog)

Ed Glynn, because he sold hot dogs at Shea Stadium as a kid.

Based on localness, I’d have to go with Brooklyn’s own Lee Mazzilli, who I don’t think would have thrived anywhere else.  Connecticut HS star Rico Brogna and Al Leiter from NJ round out the tri-state circle for me.

Shoutout to Frank Viola of nearby East Meadow for bringing the LI accent.

And tip of the cap to Ed Kranepool, who showed us the Bronx long before Bobby Bo.

James Schapiro (Shea Bridge Report)

It’s an interesting question, because we’ve got lots of players right now who could qualify as favorites, who have deeply ingrained ties to the Mets besides where they were born. We’ve got lots of players who are not hometown but are home-grown — deGrom, Conforto, Familia, Flores, Reyes (kind of). Travis d’Arnaud has been with a million different teams and was born in California, but he did idolize Mike Piazza growing up. And of course, David Wright grew up a Mets fan because his hometown team was the Norfolk Tides. But much as we all love those guys, they’re not hometown players. There are four hometown guys on our 40-man roster: Matz, Harvey, Frazier, and T.J. Rivera. Frazier hasn’t played a game as a Met yet, and T.J. Rivera, while he’s had his great moments, isn’t a favorite yet. So, it comes down to Matz and Harvey. Matz gets bonus points right away for being from Long Island. If you come from the spiritual home of Mets fandom, and pitch into the eighth inning in your debut while going 3/3 with four RBIs, it’s hard not to become a fan favorite. But nevertheless, I’m going with Matt Harvey. It’s no secret that the Dark Knight hasn’t been a star lately. But his first three seasons in the bigs are enough to make him my clear choice. When Harvey debuted in the summer of 2012, I was away at camp; we were seniors, so we had a TV in our cabin, but we weren’t watching the game. I followed the ESPN Bottom Line that entire night and shouted results to the one other Mets fan in the group each time they came up: “seven strikeouts in three innings…eight through four…ten through five!” I saw those results come in, and literally right in that moment, I felt myself fill with hope, for the first time in a long time, that one day we would be good again. Then, of course, there was 2013 Harvey, who is still the best pitcher I’ve ever seen. I wore my Harvey shirt every day he took the mound that year, and every game, I was convinced, until proven otherwise, that he would throw a perfect game. He got out hopes up a few times, too, even though he could never quite finish it. I was at the game, the night after we’d all learned that Harvey would need Tommy John surgery. “Why does this always happen to us?” the ticket taker asked me. He was genuinely distressed, even angry. “I just don’t get it.” I didn’t have an answer, and I didn’t know then that Harvey would never again pitch as well as we all hoped to see every time out, so I just said “I don’t know,” then I went to my seat and watched us lose 2-1 to the Phillies, which somehow seemed fitting.

Mets Daddy

Ultimately, the answer for me comes down to Harvey or Leiter as I will remember both of them for their respective Game 5 performances which ultimately fell short.  In the end, you knew each was a competitor ready, willing, and able to give whatever they had when they stepped on the mound.

While I believe Leiter should be in the Mets Hall of Fame, and I will always appreciate his 1999 play-in game complete game two hit shut-out, my favorite local Met is Harvey.  When he stepped on the mound in 2013, he not only gave the Mets a bona fide ace, he gave us Mets fans hope.  He then delivered on that hope by helping pitch that 2015 Mets team to a pennant.  If not for Terry Collins, that would have been a World Series title.

Before signing off, I do want to mention Brogna (first autograph) and Bud Anderson (Little League) even if Anderson doesn’t quite count as he was a minor leaguer for the Mets.

Overall, I want to thank the various writers for coming onto the site to participate in what I hope will become a weekly round table.  Please return the favor by visiting their sites (link is in the parenthesis next to their name).

Wilpons Pettiness Going Too Far

If not for an excellent and much needed post from Faith and Fear in Flushing, I probably would’ve forgotten about Ed Kranepool.

For those like myself who had forgotten, the Mets first real phenom is in trouble. He has two failing kidneys, and he needs a transplant. To keep paying his extensive medical bills, he has undertaken selling his personal memorabilia.

To be fair, as noted in a Newsday column, Kranepool did not notify the Mets of his illness. Why would he with their strained relationship.

The strain in their relationship goes back to when the Wilpons were desperately trying to hold onto the Mets. As reported by the New York Daily News:

According to Horwitz’s account, Kranepool was critical of the Met owners selling off chunks of the team in an effort to raise funds in the wake of the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme the Wilpons were tied up in, saying to Jeff: “I hear you are selling shares in your team. I don’t want shares. I want to buy the whole team so I can run it better than you and your father.”

It’s an account Kranepool denies, but it doesn’t matter. Mostly, it doesn’t matter because it’s likely what the Wilpons believe to be true.

If it wasn’t this, it must’ve been something else because there is obviously some personal animosity between the Wilpons and Kranepool. Why else would the Wilpons fail to at least contact Kranepool in the more than half a year subsequent to discovering he was gravely ill?

This isn’t to say the Wilpons owe Kranepool anything. There is no obligation to pay his medical bills. There’s no obligation to do anything even with the Wilpons owning a team and television network that could be put to use to help Kranepool.

For example, recently, the Mets held a blood drive where donors received a pair of tickets to a 2018 Mets game:

No, the Mets aren’t obligated to do anything for Kranepool. However, just because they aren’t obligated to do anything, it doesn’t mean they shouldn’t.

A man is gravely ill, and the Wilpons haven’t even reached out to him. While running drives to search for a donor or even using time on your airwaves has a cost, it doesn’t cost the Wilpons anything to check in on Kranepool. The fact they don’t even do that is sadly telling.Whatever the perceived slights and bad blood, it’s time for all to put them aside. It’s time to see what everyone can do for Kranepool.

Matz Picks Up A Grandy Win

Another Steven Matz start and another seven innings. Since coming off the Disabled List, Matz has pitched seven innings in three of his four starts. Tonight might’ve been the best start of the lot. 

Matz pitched seven shut out innings befuddling the Marlins. No Marlins player would even make it to third base.  He pitched mainly to contact, weak contact, which permitted him to once again go deep in the game. Over the seven innings, he needed just 110 pitches. 

His final line was seven innings, six hits, no runs, one walk, and four strikeouts. 

And Matz would get the win in this game with some help of some veterans looking to boost their trade value. 

Curtis Granderson was great just like he’s been all June. In fact, he’s been among the top three hitters in the majors during the Month of June. 

To start the game, Granderson battled back from a 1-2 count to draw a nine pitch walk against Marlins starter Jeff LockeAsdrubal Cabrera followed with a home run:

He’s been much better since moving to second base. 

The rally continued with a Jay Bruce single and a Travis d’Arnaud two out walk. In what might’ve been his best game of the season Jose Reyes delivered with an RBI single making it 3-1. 

Overall, Reyes was 3-4 with a double and an RBI. With his seventh inning single, he passed Ed Kranepool for second on the Mets all-time hit list. 

The Mets offense would go silent from there until the Marlins brought Dustin McGowan into the game. d’Arnaud got it started with an RBI single, and he’d go to third on the aforementioned Reyes single. If that ball does not hit McGowan, Reyes has an RBI. 

That RBI would go to T.J. Rivera with his RBI groundout. It appeared to be a sure fire double play ball, but at the last second, it took a strange hop on Marlins shortstop JT Riddle

After a Matz sacrifice bunt, the Marlins brought in the left-handed Justin Nicolino to face Granderson. Granderson responded by hitting a bomb:

This was the third straight game Granderson hit a home run. 

The Mets would build on this 6-0 lead in the eighth. Brandon Nimmo continued his terrific work as a pinch hitter delivering a two out RBI single giving the Mets an 8-0 lead. That’s a lead not even this Mets bullpen could blow. 

Mets are back on track for at least one day, and they look to take the series tomorrow. 

Game Notes: Robert Gsellman was put on the DL, and Matt Reynolds was called-up to take his place on the roster. Reynolds came on for defense for Cabrera in the eighth.