Keith Hernandez

Mets Old Timer’s Day Lineups And Ideas

It’s been a beef with Mets fans for a while. The Mets now have a rich history, and we want to see that honored. One way we want to see it is Old Timer’s Day.

It’s something the Mets used to have in the early years, but they haven’t had it in the time the Wilpons owned the Mets. Now, according to Steve Cohen himself, that’s going to change.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at what the prospective lineups could look like. This is a completely unscientific sampling utilizing just my opinion on who is popular, who Mets fans want to see back, and who can still play a bit. There are two for each position as there are two teams playing against one another:

MGR Davey Johnson/Bobby Valentine

P Dwight Gooden/John Franco

C Todd Hundley/Mike Piazza

1B Keith Hernandez/John Olerud

2B Tim Teufel/Edgardo Alfonzo

3B Howard Johnson/David Wright

SS Rey Ordonez/Jose Reyes (I don’t want him there, but he’ll be invited)

LF Cliff Floyd/Endy Chavez

CF Mookie Wilson/Carlos Beltran

RF Darryl Strawberry/Curtis Granderson

Of course, this is holding a little too true to the positions these players played in their careers. Due to age and the like, they may move around the diamond. That’s more than alright as we just want to see them again.

Of course, some will understandably opt out of have other commitments. To that end, there are plenty of unnamed options like Al Leiter, Todd Pratt, Carlos Delgado, Jeff Kent, Kevin Elster, Robin Ventura, Kevin Elster, Bernard Gilkey, Lance Johnson, and Benny Agbayani.

For that matter, why not bring Bobby Bonilla. The Mets can have fun with it and hold the game on July 1. Before the game, the Mets could have fun with it and give Bonilla a giant check.

If you think about it, that will finally give Bonilla some of the applause he should’ve gotten as a player, and it will finally put to rest the negative narrative around the day.

The game can also feature the racing stripe jerseys and the black jerseys fans seem to love so much. We can also have cameos from Mets greats from the past like Jerry Koosman who may not be able to play.

Overall, that’s exactly what the Cohen Era is presenting. It’s allowing the Mets and their fans to move forward, enjoy the past, and have some fun.

Mets Should Reunite Gary Cohen And Howie Rose To Deliver Tom Seaver’s Eulogy Today

What makes Mets broadcasts so special is Gary Cohen and Howie Rose grew up Mets fans. They’ve been there since the beginning, and they’re an encyclopedia of Mets knowledge.

To wit, no one knows just how great Tom Seaver was and just how much he meant to Mets fans.

For Mets fans, today is the wake and funeral. We’ve lost Seaver, and we’re turning in more to hear the tributes than we are to see the Mets face the Yankees.

We need Cohen and Rose to deliver the eulogy. They’ll do that in their pre-game introductions. They’ll do it by spinning tale after tale during the games.

They should do so unfettered. No need for Steve Gelbs interjections or for Wayne Randazzo to be able to really provide no perspective on this.

There is a place for Seaver’s former teammates Ron Darling and Keith Hernandez to provide some perspective. Having listened to them through the years, they both respect and revere Seaver much like we all do.

Overall, this is the day we all want to hear from Cohen and Rose. SNY and 880 should find a way to get them in the booth again together and to have them simulcast the game across TV and radio.

Let them deliver Seaver’s eulogy in a way only they can.

Fernando Tatis, Jr. Did Nothing Wrong, Nor Did Ian Gibaut

With the bases loaded, the count 3-0, and the Texas Rangers trailing the San Diego Padres by the score of 10-3 in the eighth inning, Juan Nicasio threw what was essentially a get me over strike. For much of baseball history, no batter would swing at the pitch.

There were and are unwritten rules where you don’t show up your opponent. When the score is this lopsided late in the game, you don’t steal bases, take the extra base, and you certainly don’t swing when up 3-0 in the count. Last night, Fernando Tatis, Jr. swung 3-0 and boy did he connect:

The swing caused some controversy. Tatis’ manager Jayce Tingler spoke about how he didn’t like it calling it a “learning opportunity.” Seeing that, perhaps it should come as no surprise Tatis apologized for it.

When Rangers manager Chris Woodward addressed the “incident,” he said, “I didn’t like it personally. You’re up by seven in the eighth inning. It’s typically not a good time 3-0. It’s kind of the way we were all raised in the game. But … the norms are being challenged.”

Woodward hit it right on the head. There are going to be people who don’t like it. There’s NOTHING wrong with that. In sports and life, there’s always room for sportsmanship and not showing up the opponent or rubbing it in their face.

On the other hand, baseball is definitively evolving. Players are throwing out the unwritten rule book. There’s definitely merit to it.

Look at it this way, Tatis’ homer helps his case for MVP discussions. It also helps him for a future arbitration cases and salary discussions. Understand the point here. It’s not that one single PA affects it, but rather all of these PA accumulated.

As a Mets fan, we have heard Keith Hernandez comment on several occasions about these purportedly garbage time at-bats. As he’s said, you don’t just give away these at-bats. From his old school perspective, it could be the difference between hitting .300 and reaching 200 hits or falling short.

Almost assuredly, Hernandez would not be a fan of Tatis swinging 3-0. However, even with his old school mindset, you don’t just give away at-bats. That has an impact on your season and career. You’re a professional hitter facing a professional pitcher. You go up there, and you try.

That’s also part of the unwritten rules. The batter isn’t up there to just give up. Another part of the unwritten rules is the Rangers are still going to try and comeback to win that game no matter how unlikely.

That last part is why Tatis swinging is justified. The Rangers didn’t give up. Sure, if it was a position player pitching, we could see swinging 3-0 as beyond the pale. Still, these are Tatis’ numbers and MVP voters and arbitrators aren’t going to tally unwritten rule points to factor into their determinations.

So yes, for a multitude of reasons, Tatis was justified in swinging. By the same token, there’s no problem with the Rangers feeling like they were shown up. That goes double when for over 100 years things like swinging 3-0 just wasn’t done.

That’s why there was no issue with Ian Gibaut relieving Nicasio after the grand slam and throwing one behind Manny Machado:

It’s important to note Gibaut did it the right way. He kept the pitch low and towards Machado’s backside. It wasn’t towards the head or hands.

Gibaut went up there, and he stuck up for his teammate. He properly delivered the message to the Padres to knock it off. They found what Tatis did wasn’t acceptable.

Machado understood. He assuredly wasn’t happy, but he didn’t escalate the situation. The umpires did what they needed to do to make sure the situation didn’t escalate from there. Gibaut then did the right thing by moving on and pitching normally to Tatis.

There are going to be many who didn’t like what Gibaut did. To that, there’s still room in this game for having your teammate’s back, and there’s room for delivering messages. Notably, by getting it out of the way, it was addressed and no issues should fester.

Ultimately, we should all be able to admit Tatis did absolutely nothing wrong while also saying Gibaut did nothing wrong. Both can be true, and honestly, baseball is better if we can admit this.

It’s great if we have a sport where talent like Tatis can shine, and we have the ability to have one teammate stick up for another (in the right way). To a certain extent, this is what Woodward was hinting at in his statement. Essentially, he said, I don’t like it, we don’t have to like it, but things are different.

Really, when you break it down, only one person was absolutely in the wrong here – Tingler. He needed to have Tatis’ and Machado’s backs. He needed to say my players compete, and don’t throw at my players. He didn’t, and that’s plain wrong.

Overall, other than Tingler, who embarrassed himself, no one should have a problem with anything that happened. Tatis’ grand slam was great, and the Rangers response was fine. That’s baseball.

Yo! Mets Baseball Is Back

The last we saw the Mets Dominic Smith was hitting a walk-off extra inning homer against the Braves. So much has happened since then, including but not limited to a pandemic. About nine months later, the Mets and Braves were back squaring off at Citi Field.

With this matchup it seemed like the Mets picked up where they left off. That was the case with Jacob deGrom who pitched like his Cy Young self.

deGrom began the game just throwing 100 MPH with ease. The Braves just could not put up much of a fight against him. Even when Marcell Ozuna, a good MLB hitter, got up 3-0 in the count, deGrom still dispatched him with ease.

Overall, deGrom was limited to just five innings because it’s the first start after the revamp of the season. He’d allow just one hit and one walk while striking out eight. Of course, with this being deGrom, he had a no decision.

Part of the reason was Mike Soroka started for the Braves. Soroka emerged as a future ace in his rookie year last year. Soroka was good . . . and lucky.

In the first two innings, the Mets got the lead-off hitter on only for the runner to be erased on a double play. Ender Inciarte robbed both J.D. Davis and Jeff McNeil of potential RBI extra base hits. There was also a bad McNeil base running gaffe.

While the Mets offense was getting shut down, the combination of deGrom and Seth Lugo was doing the same to the Braves.

Lugo mowed down the Braves in the sixth, but he’d have to come up big in the seventh. Ozuna hit it sharp to left. With a better defender, it might’ve been a single, but the Mets don’t care about defense.

After his one out double, Ozuna took third when Wilson Ramos, who had not caught in a week due to his attending to personal issues, whiffed on a pitch.

The Mets brought the infield in, and we saw one of the most unique plays you’ll ever see. Matt Adams, who was recently released by the Mets, was the Braves DH. He hit a sharp grounder to the right side. McNeil, who flipped from third to second with the shift, fielded the ball and walked it to first for the extremely rare five unassisted at first.

After that unique play, Lugo struck out Austin Riley to get out of the jam. That put Lugo in line for the win in the event the Mets could score at least one run.

Enter Yoenis Cespedes.

Cespedes was back after double heel surgery and a wild boar attack. He was inserted in the lineup as the first ever DH Mets DH in a game between two NL teams. After a pop out and ground out against Soroka, he faced Chris Martin.

Right there, the Mets were up 1-0 with a homer we honestly would’ve expected from Cespedes years ago. These were the moments he thrived, and at least today, he seemed primed to be that player again.

What’s fascinating is Cespedes became the first ever DH to record a hit, homer, and RBI in a game between two NL teams. Believe it or not, he has now homered in three straight games.

The Mets pitching, which was excellent, made that 1-0 lead hold up. Justin Wilson worked around a lead-off single in the eighth to pitch a scoreless inning.

Edwin Diaz issued a one out walk to Freddie Freeman in the ninth. In case you had fear this was going to be the same Diaz who imploded all of last year, he’d quash those concerns by striking out Ozuna and Adams on seven pitches to end the game.

The Mets pitching was phenomenal in this win. They combined to shut out the Braves allowing just three hits and two walks while striking out 15. The Braves had no chance today.

When the Mets pitching is at this level, they don’t need much. Last year, they don’t get that run. This year, they have Cespedes. That may be all they need.

Game Notes: The Mets won their first challenge of the season when McNeil was incorrectly ruled out when stretching a single to a double. The play caused Keith Hernandez to quip about the umpire, “Get an eye chart!” Matt Adams made MLB history by being the first DH to have a PA in a game between two NL teams. The Mets wore Black Lives Matter shirts (before the game but did not kneel for the anthem.

Pete Alonso and Brandon Nimmo wore “Love Thy Neighbor” shirts instead of the Black Lives Matter shirts.

Mets Fan Favorite Tournament: Final Four

After going through each of their brackets, all of the top seeds advanced to the Final Four. Instead of having individual match-ups to create a championship game, instead we’re going to have all four top seeds battle it out at the same time.

(1) Tom Seaver – Seaver is dubbed The Franchise for taking the team from a losing franchise to World Series winners. He holds nearly every pitching record in team history, and he is considered to be, if not the greatest, among the greatest right-handed pitchers in Major League history. He was the first Mets player to have his number retired, and he was the first Mets player to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. To date, he is the starting pitcher with the highest percent of the vote.

(1) Keith Hernandez – His trade to the Mets was widely credited with bringing the Mets to prominence. Won a team record five Gold Gloves at first base further cementing reputation as best defensive first baseman of all-time. Member of the 1986 World Series team who famously threatened Jesse Orosco and Gary Carter not to throw another fastball to Kevin Bass. Was named the first captain in team history. Has become part of the iconic and loved GKR on SNY broadcasts.

(1) Mike Piazza – greatest offensive catcher in Major League history who decided to wear a Mets cap on his Hall of Fame plaque. Second player to have his number retired by the Mets. Hit a number of big homers for the franchise including one capping off the 10 run inning against the Braves and the one post 9/11. Mets all-time leader in slugging and second in OPS. All over the single season and career top 10 offensive categories. Took those late 90s Mets teams over the top. Caught final pitch at Shea Stadium and first pitch at Citi Field.

(1) David Wright – The franchise leader in nearly every offensive category and is widely considered to be the best position player in franchise history. Only homegrown Met to be named team captain. Dubbed Captain America for his exploits in the World Baseball Classic. Once named by Bill James as the perfect baseball player. Seven time All-Star, two time Gold Glove winner, and two time Silver Slugger. Hit the first Mets homer in Citi Field, and he hit the first ever World Series homer in Citi Field. Had perhaps the most emotional good-bye game we have ever seen a player in sports history ever have. A lifetime Met who had a hand in helping ensure Jacob deGrom does the same.

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Biggest Mets Takeaways From Exhibition Games Against the Yankees

The Mets were bludgeoned by the Yankees over the two game exhibition set by the combined score of 15-3. The key word there was exhibition.

Neither of these two games counted, and they had all the weight and importance of a Spring Training game. That’s because it was Summer Camp, which was really Spring Training Part Deux.

Really, when you break it down, almost none of what happened the past two games matters. That’s even if you want to get bent out of shape about the Yankees homering off of Corey Oswalt, Drew Smith, and Chasen Shreve, i.e. bullpen bubble guys.

That’s not to say there weren’t some important takeaways. There absolutely were. It’s just the final score of home run barrage weren’t close to them.

The biggest takeaway was Yoenis Cespedes was able to play consecutive days, and he looked good running. He also only played three innings in left meaning he’s not quite in a spot to play the outfield just yet. Put another way, on a team of DHs, he’s the Mets DH.

Jed Lowrie still isn’t really playing, and the Mets have no idea when he can play. Basically, it’s 2019 all over again. To a certain extent, in this topsy turvy COVID19 world, it’s nice having some consistency.

It appears with Wilson Ramos missing these two games to attend to an undisclosed family matter and Rene Rivera being added to the 40 man roster, Tomas Nido might be the Mets Opening Day catcher. Somewhere the rehabbing Noah Syndergaard must be ripping his hair out.

On the topic of Opening Day, Jacob deGrom had a good bullpen session, and he appears set to go.

In that Opening Day lineup, all indications are Robinson Cano will start the year batting third . . . again. Of course, this once again means this wasn’t a Mickey Callaway decision, but rather a Brodie Van Wagenen one. That is, unless, you believe Luis Rojas independently reached the same decision, and Van Wagenen isn’t still trying to prop up his former client he used Jarred Kelenic to obtain.

More than any of this, it’s great having baseball back with Gary, Keith, and Ron calling games. Let’s all just cherish this, hope everyone stays safe, and the Mets got the work in they needed to start their path towards winning the 2020 World Series.

Amazin Bracket Final: (1) Keith Hernandez vs. (3) Darryl Strawberry

(1) Keith Hernandez – His trade to the Mets was widely credited with bringing the Mets to prominence. Won a team record five Gold Gloves at first base further cementing reputation as best defensive first baseman of all-time. Member of the 1986 World Series team who famously threatened Jesse Orosco and Gary Carter not to throw another fastball to Kevin Bass. Was named the first captain in team history. Has become part of the iconic and loved GKR on SNY broadcasts.

(3) Darryl Strawberry – Mets all-time leader in home runs and wRC+ among those players who have played at least 500 games played. First Mets position player to win Rookie of the Year. Hit key homers in NLCS, and he still has not completed his home run trot from Game 7 of the World Series. Second Mets player to have a 30/30 season. Did things we never saw a baseball player ever do like hitting the roof in Olympic Stadium. In the top 10 in nearly every career and rookie category in Mets history. Could potentially be the best position player in Mets history.

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Mojo Rising Bracket: (1) Mike Piazza vs. (4) John Olerud

(1) Mike Piazza – greatest offensive catcher in Major League history who decided to wear a Mets cap on his Hall of Fame plaque. Second player to have his number retired by the Mets. Hit a number of big homers for the franchise including one capping off the 10 run inning against the Braves and the one post 9/11. Mets all-time leader in slugging and second in OPS. All over the single season and career top 10 offensive categories. Took those late 90s Mets teams over the top. Caught final pitch at Shea Stadium and first pitch at Citi Field.

(5) John Olerud – Had the Keith Hernandez like effect where is acquisition was what helped turned the franchise around. His .354 batting average in 1998 is the Mets single season record, and his .315 career average is the best in Mets history. That 1998 season stands as the best season a Mets first baseman has ever had. Holds the Mets first and second best single season records for OBP and is Mets all-time OBP leader. By OPS+ second best hitter in Mets history. Name littered all over single season and career top 10 lists. Hit RBI single off John Rocker in Game 4 of NLCS. First baseman for greatest defensive infield in team history.

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Best Mets Of All Time: No. 66 Josh Edgin

The 2010 draft was one of the best in Mets history. It was not only because it brought the team future superstars like Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom, but also because it developed useful Major League players. One of those players was 30th round draft pick Josh Edgin.

Edgin would first get called up to the majors in 2012, and he would be given the chance to develop as a LOOGY on a rebuilding Mets team. Something seemed to click for him in August when he began to put together a streak of 16 appearances without allowing an earned run. During that season, he seemed to establish himself as a part of the future of the Mets bullpen.

Unfortunately, Edgin would have to wait another year to do that as he would deal with the typical ups-and-downs of a young reliever in the bullpen, and he would deal with a stress fracture in his rib in 2013. Finally, in 2014, he got his chance, and he was one of the best relievers on that Mets team, and quite possibly, one of the best LOOGYs in all of baseball.

Over 47 appearances, Edgin was 1-0 with a 1.32 ERA, 0.915 WHIP, a 9.2 K/9, and a 4.67 K/BB. He limited left-handed batters to a paltry .189/.217/.323 batting line. In the rare occasions he had to face a right-handed batter, he more than held his own limiting them to a .219 batting average.

Edgin would last the full season even with inflammation in his elbow, which was originally diagnosed as bone spurs. In the ensuing Spring Training, Edgin had to shut it down as he needed Tommy John surgery. As a result, he would miss out on the Mets pennant run. As is typically the case, Edgin had a long rehabilitation road, and he would not appear again in the Majors until August 2016.

Fourteen of Edgin’s 16 appearances were scoreless. Between that and his being out of options, Edgin was set to be a part of the 2017 Opening Day roster. In the time he was up with the team, Edgin put together good numbers including a 114 ERA+. On April 28, 2017, he probably had his Mets career highlight.

With one out and the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth, Edgin was summoned to pitch to Bryce Harper. Edgin induced Harper to hit into a game ending 1-2-3 double play to preserve the Mets 7-5 lead and earn his second Major League save.

Unfortunately, he would hit the disabled list again in July, and at that point, his Mets career was effectively over. He finished his Mets career with the 22nd most appearances among relievers, and his 2014 season was one of the best seasons a Mets LOOGY ever had. He was a success story for a 30th round draft pick, and he is the best Mets player to ever wear the number 66.

Previous

1.Mookie Wilson
2.Mackey Sasser
3. Curtis Granderson
4. Lenny Dykstra
5. David Wright
6. Wally Backman
7. Jose Reyes
8. Gary Carter

9. Todd Hundley
10. Rey Ordonez
11. Wayne Garrett
12. John Stearns

13. Edgardo Alfonzo
14. Gil Hodges
15. Carlos Beltran

16. Dwight Gooden
17. Keith Hernandez
18. Darryl Strawberry

19. Bob Ojeda
20. Howard Johnson
21. Cleon Jones
22. Al Leiter
23. Bernard Gilkey
24. Art Shamsky

25. Pedro Feliciano
26. Terry Leach
27. Jeurys Familia
28. Daniel Murphy

29. Frank Viola
30. Michael Conforto
31. Mike Piazza

32. Jon Matlack
33. Matt Harvey

34. Noah Syndergaard
35. Rick Reed
36. Jerry Koosman
37. Casey Stengel
38. Skip Lockwood
39. Gary Gentry
40. Bartolo Colon
41. Tom Seaver

42. Ron Taylor
43. R.A. Dickey
44. David Cone
45. Tug McGraw

46. Oliver Perez
47. Jesse Orosco
48. Jacob deGrom
49. Armando Benitez
50. Sid Fernandez
51. Rick White
52. Yoenis Cespedes
53. Chad Bradford
54. T.J. Rivera
55. Orel Hershiser
56. Andres Torres
57. Johan Santana
58. Jenrry Mejia
59. Fernando Salas
60. Scott Schoeneweis
61. Dana Eveland
62. Drew Smith
63. Tim Peterson

64. Elmer Dessens
65. Robert Gsellman

Amazin Bracket: (1) Keith Hernandez vs. (4) Gary Carter

(1) Keith Hernandez – His trade to the Mets was widely credited with bringing the Mets to prominence. Won a team record five Gold Gloves at first base further cementing reputation as best defensive first baseman of all-time. Member of the 1986 World Series team who famously threatened Jesse Orosco and Gary Carter not to throw another fastball to Kevin Bass. Was named the first captain in team history. Has become part of the iconic and loved GKR on SNY broadcasts.

(4) Gary Carter – Made his impact on the team immediately hitting a walk-off homer on Opening Day 1985. His 1985 season still ranks as the best ever by a Mets catcher (by WAR). Mentored young staff to get them to their full potential which led to the 1986 World Series and 1988 division title. Had a walk-off hit in the 1986 NLCS as well as two homers in the 1986 World Series. Will forever be known for getting the Game 6 rally started. If it was up to him would have entered the Hall of Fame wearing a Mets cap.

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