Keith Hernandez

What Exactly Is The Mets Type of Player

Jon Heyman of Fancred reported the Mets are not pursuing Manny Machado because, as one Mets official put it, Machado isn’t “our type of player.”

With the Mets saying isn’t their type of player, the question needs to be asked about what exactly is the Mets type of player. Well, here are a few examples.

Jose Reyes – beat wife until the point she needed to be taken to a local hospital

Bartolo Colon cheated not just the game with a PED suspension, but he cheated on his wife. To top it all off, he didn’t pay sufficient child support for his second family.

Francisco Rodriguez – assaulted the grandfather of his children in three Mets family room at Citi Field

Jenrry Mejia – first ever player to be banned from baseball due to failing three PED tests

Bret Saberhahen set off firecrackers around reporters and shot bleach at them with a water gun

Vince Coleman threw firecrackers at fans which would injure a child

Wally Backman brought back to organization as a minor league manager after he had been fired by the Diamondbacks after domestic “disputes” came to light

This is just a small list which doesn’t include everything Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry did, or Keith Hernandez’s participation in the drug trials.

The overriding point here is the Mets type of person wants is a hot head who beats people weaker than them. To that extent, the Mets could not have given Machado a bigger compliment.

Bright Spots In Lost Mets Seasons

The New York Mets have had a number of down seasons with 2018 being one of them.  There were some bright spots this past season with Jacob deGrom emerging as the best pitcher in baseball being one of them.  This is reminiscent of how many times we have seen different Mets players have great seasons in what has been an otherwise lost season for the franchise.

The last time we saw anything like deGrom’s season happen was R.A. Dickey‘s 2012 season.  While the knuckleballer had been better than expected for a few years, no one could see him winning 20 games let alone beating out Clayton Kershaw, who was still in his prime, for the Cy Young Award.

While it was Dickey who won the Cy Young Award, it was Johan Santana who captured the hearts of Mets fans by pitching the first no-hitter in Mets history.  Special mention needs to go here for Mike Baxter‘s catch.

In 2004, Mike Piazza passed a significant career milestone by hitting his 352nd career homer as a catcher.  With the home run, he passed Carlton Fisk, and he all but cemented his Hall of Fame case by hitting the most home runs as a catcher.

Another Mets catcher who set a home run record was Todd Hundley.  In 1996, his 41 homers would not just match a Mets single season record, but it would also pass Roy Campanella‘s single season record for most homers by a catcher.  That season saw a number of feats including Bernard Gilkey setting the Mets single-season record for doubles and Lance Johnson setting the record for most triples in a season.  Remarkably, all three of these Mets records stand to this day.

On the final game of the 1991 season, which was the Mets first losing season since 1983, David Cone tied the then National League record with 19 strikeouts in a game.  It was a feat which had only been previously met by Mets legend Tom Seaver.

Speaking of that 1983 season, Darryl Strawberry would become the first and to this date only Mets position player to ever win the Rookie of the Year Award.  The 1983 season was also notable because after the Midnight Massacre, Seaver would finally come home to the Mets.

Really, it was that 1983 season which was the beginning of something special with the Mets.  In addition to Strawberry and Seaver, the Mets called-up rookie starter Ron Darling.  Much like how he is joined in the SNY booth now by Keith Hernandez, he was teammates with Hernandez that season because the Mets would make a franchise altering trade to acquire the former MVP.

Really, when you look at 1983, you can see how even a bad year is the building block towards a team building a World Series winning club.  Hopefully, that is what the 2018 season was for the Mets.

You can argue it was the case with deGrom emerging as the best pitcher in baseball, and Zack Wheeler matching him big start for big start in the second half.  Brandon Nimmo had the second highest wRC+ among National League outfielders, and Michael Conforto returned to being Michael Conforto in the second half.  More than that, Amed Rosario seemed to turn the corner while his new double play partner, Jeff McNeil, burst onto the scene.

In the end, when you look at losing seasons like 2018, you can see great things.  More than that, you can see how great things will soon be in store for the Mets.

Should The Mets Retire Davey Johnson’s Number?

While it is not an official policy, the Mets organization will only retire the numbers of players who enter the Hall of Fame wearing a Mets cap.  That is why the only Mets players who have their numbers retired are Tom Seaver and Mike Piazza.  If the Baseball Hall of Fame honored Gary Carter‘s choice, he would have gone into the Hall of Fame with a Mets cap, and as a result, his number would have been retired as well.

That would have pleased many Mets fans who want to see his number be retired.  More than Carter, Mets fans seem to want to see Keith Hernandez‘s and David Wright‘s numbers retired.  With respect to those two, chances are neither enter the Hall of Fame, and just like Carter, chances are Hernandez is inducted into the Hall of Fame wearing a Cardinals cap.

Much of the Carter and Hernandez push is related to both players being key veterans on the 1986 World Series team.  Oddly enough, the same case has not been made for Davey Johnson.

Back in 1984, Frank Cashen tabbed Johnson to be the Mets manager.  He was entasked with leading a Mets team to not just win a World Series, but really to just win games.  The Mets had not been over .500 since 1976, which was Seaver’s last full season with the Mets.  Seaver was back in 1983 only for the Mets to lose him again.

The winning happened immediately.  Behind Rookie of the Year Dwight Gooden, and a young core which included Darryl Strawberry, Wally Backman, Ron Darling, and Sid Fernandez, the 1984 Mets finished second place in the National League East with a 90-72 record.  This began a string of eight straight seasons where the Mets would finish second or better in the division.  Johnson would oversee six of those seasons.

The 1985 Mets won 98 games, which was then the second most wins the Mets had ever accumulated.  They were that close to winning the division.  Entering 1986, Johnson would declare the Mets were the team to beat, and his team would back him up.  Their 108 wins is the third most ever by a National League team.

When you include the postseason, the 1986 have won more games than any other National League team over the past century.

Yes, this does speak to how great the 1986 Mets were, but it also speaks to Johnson’s managerial abilities.  He was ahead of his time using data and statistics to inform his decisions.  Yes, those 1980s Mets teams were talented, but it was Johnson who got everything out of those talented teams by optimizing his team’s lineups.

This is why Johnson would become the first ever National League manager to have 90+ wins in each of his first five seasons.

He’s also the only Mets manager with two 100 win seasons.  He joins Gil Hodges as only one of two Mets managers to win a World Series, and he was the first Mets manager to go to two different postseasons.

Johnson is the Mets all-time leader in wins and winning percentage.  He is second only to Terry Collins in games managed.  He is second to Bobby Valentine in postseason wins, which is partially a function of Major League Baseball adding an additional postseason round when they added the Wild Card in 1994.

Despite all of these records and his impact on the franchise, Hodges and Casey Stengel remain the only two managers who have had their numbers retired by the Mets.  Given how the standards to retire manager numbers (to the extent there is any) is far lower than for players, it is odd how nearly 30 years after Johnson managed his last game, he has not had his number retired.

His number not being retired may become more of an issue going forward as once again he is a candidate on the Today’s Game ballot for the Hall of Fame.  With his having a better winning percentage than Hall of Famers like Bobby Cox (a manager who also has just one World Series to his credit), and his being only one of two managers in MLB history to lead four separate franchises to to the postseason, there is a real case to be made for Johnson’s induction.

If inducted, he is likely going to enter the Hall of Fame as a member of the Mets.  If so, any and all excuses to not retire his number have gone by the wayside.  Of course, that is unless you are not of the belief Johnson has not done enough to merit having his number retired anyway.

Given how his number has not been retired, it is certainly still up for debate whether it should or should not be retired by the Mets organization.  Going forward, when debates happen,,when taking into account standards already set forth coupled with the impact on the organization, Davey Johnson should probably be first in line when it comes to having his number retired.

Meet The Mets Fan: MMO’s Tim Ryder

The Mets Fan

My name is Tim Ryder. I’m a writer for MMO, a contributor at Call to the Pen, and have been published at Hardball Times/Fangraphs, as well as Good Fundies. I formerly wrote for Friars on Base, a San Diego Padres site.

Personally, I’m 34. I was born October 12 at Booth Memorial in Flushing, which probably sealed my fate. I’m married to a wonderful woman named Heather and I have two lovely daughters, Kayla, 13, and Lily, 8.

How You Became a Mets Fan

I became a Mets fan at birth for the most part. Being born in 1983, I don’t remember ’86 and only vaguely recall ’88. My first real Mets memory is that 1989 team with the championship core still intact. I do remember hysterically sobbing on my kitchen floor after finding out Keith Hernandez and Gary Carter were released in November of that year. A precursor for my relationship with this team, I guess.

Favorite Mets Player

Excellent question. My favorite Met of all-time is probably David Wright. Pedro Martinez and Johan Santana are right up there, as are Mike Piazza, John Franco, geez, I could literally go on forever. Next question.

Favorite Moment in Mets History

Johan’s no-hitter. I sat with my dad at the kitchen table and watched that game from first pitch to last. My dad passed away in 2015, so it’s definitely emerged as “the one” for me. And no, I don’t care that Carlos Beltran‘s foul ball was actually fair. Plus, even with replay, it still would have been foul (can’t review a ball that bounces in front of the base ump).

Message to Mets Fans

Keep voicing your displeasure with the way this organization is run. Send tweets. Send letters (126 Roosevelt Ave, Flushing, NY).

Keep putting pressure on the Wilpons to run this team properly. They’ve become tone-deaf to our passion, as well as our desperation. We’ve been loyal through the best and, mostly, the worst of times and we deserve the same respect in return.

deGrom Can’t Beat Giants, Umpire, and His Catcher

With each start he makes, it becomes readily apparent if Jacob deGrom wins the Cy Young this season, he is going to do so with the lowest win total ever compiled by a starting pitcher.  Looking at his stats, you really have no idea how he could be just 8-8.  However, if you watched yesterday’s game, you know exactly why his record is that poor.

To no one’s surprise, deGrom began the game matching zeros with Madison Bumgarner in the first two innings.  However, the Giants would break through in the third.

After Steven Duggar earned a leadoff walk, he would steal second.  Devin Mesoraco would get out of his croutch slower than an old man reaching for a walker, and he would make a lollipop throw to second Travis d’Arnaud thought was bad.  Duggar found himself on third after a Joe Panik groundout, and he would score when Mesoraco just missed a pitch, which would go back to the backstop.

Now, Home Plate Umpire Tony Randazzo was horrendous on the day, but despite Mesoraco’s complaints otherwise, Evan Longoria did not foul tip that ball.  No, Mesoraco, who is showing himself to be a really poor catcher, flat out missed it.  Mesoraco also failed to frame any number of pitches which would aid Randazzo in being a horrendous umpire.

The key call came in the fourth inning.  With two outs and a runner on, deGrom threw an 0-2 pitch which led everyone in the ballpark to believe Nick Hundley just struck out looking:

Perhaps because he was frustrated, deGrom would walk Hundley, and then he would allow an RBI double to Bumgarner.  At that point, it was 2-0 Giants, and with Bumgarner pitching, there was little to no hope the Mets would win this one.

Overall, this was an off-day for deGrom as he needed 108 pitches to get through six innings, and he would have a season high four walks.  Of course, these struggles are indicative of just how great deGrom has been all season.  In fact, a struggling deGrom limited the Giants to two runs (one earned) on four hits while he striking out 10.

As good as he was, Bumgarner was more dominant against a Mets lineup which featured Jeff McNeil batting sixth and Michael Conforto batting eighth.

The Mets would not even threaten Bumgarner until the fourth.  There were two and two out, and McNeil hit a hard liner, but it was right at Panik.

It seemed as if the Mets may finally break through and get deGrom off the hook in the seventh.  Todd Frazier led off the inning with a homer making him the first ever Met to homer off Bumgarner at Citi Field.  Jose Bautista would get hit by a pitch, and McNeil would single.  The rally would sputter as Kevin Plawecki, who had come on for an injured Mesoarco in the sixth, hit into a 6-4-3 double play.

That brought up Conforto.  He battled back from 1-2 to draw a full count in a nine pitch at-bat.  On the ninth pitch, Bumgarner beat Conforto inside with a well placed fastball to end the rally. Given how Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez, and Ron Darling were harping on the false narrative Bumgarner ruined Conforto’s 2016 season, we should see more of the same for any poor play Conforto makes the rest of the year.

In the bottom of the ninth, the Mets had a chance to rally back from 3-1 against Tony Watson, who they had already gotten to in the series.  The only problem was Tony Randazzo wasn’t going to have any of it.

It appeared Wilmer Flores drew a four pitch walk to start the ninth.  Instead, Randazzo called an obvious ball a strike.  Flores then went the other way as he has been doing so well lately only to line it directly at Panik.  Like with deGrom earlier in the game, Flores had some choice remarks for Randazzo, who, again, was terrible.

The game would come down to McNeil, who both Randazzo and the third base umpire ruled did not check his swing leading the Mets and perhaps more importantly deGrom to a loss.  Looking at this game, you really see just how much deGrom has working against him as he tries to win games.  Ultimately, if he does not win the Cy Young, there should be a line of people offering apologies.  On that line, we should see Mesoraco and Randazzo.

Game Notes: Dominic Smith sat against Bumgarner the day after hitting a home run.  The Mets are now 19-41 in games Mesoraco has played.

Trivia Friday: All-Time Hit By Pitch Leaders

With Keith Hernandez weighing in on the Jose Urena/Ronald Acuna situation, we have rekindled the old school versus new school thinking.  Certainly, there is the impression that throwing and hitting batters is an old and outdated way of thinking, but do the numbers and stats really prove that out.  As a way to test that out, we could look at the all-time leaders in that category.

Can you name the pitchers who have hit the most batters in the modern era?  Good luck!


Walter Johnson Randy Johnson Eddie Plank Tim Wakefield Joe McGinnity Charlie Hough Jim Bunning Roger Clemens Nolan Ryan Vic Willis Cy Young

Jose Urena Was Wrong, Keith Hernandez Wasn’t

Last night, Jose Urena channeled his inner Roger Clemens and instead of buzzing a player off the plate or hitting him in the butt, he threw his hardest first pitch of the season directly at Ronald Acuna.  Put simply, it was as dirty and dangerous as a play as there is in baseball.

Hidden beneath what Urena did, there lies a hard-nosed old-school baseball philosophy which harkens back to intimidating pitchers like Bob Gibson and Pedro Martinez.  Don’t let a batter get too comfortable in the batter’s box, especially a red hot hitter like Acuna.

With respect to Acuna, he is hitting .339/.433/.714 with three doubles, six homers, and 17 RBI against the Marlins this season.  He had three straight games with a leadoff homer.  In a different day and age, getting plunked or brushed off the plate might’ve been expected.  That philosophy was clumsily explained by Hernandez during yesterday’s telecast:

Again, Hernandez is explaining an old school philosophy where if you are hitting bombs and leaning over the plate, the pitcher’s duty is to bust a batter in and make them uncomfortable. And as he explained, when you do hit someone, you hit them in the “fanny” as Keith likes to call it.

The ultimate issue here is people creating a divide that doesn’t need to exist between an old-school philosophy and the modern game.  After all, Noah Syndergaard threw a pitch up and somewhat in to Alcides Escobar, who was having a great postseason, on the first pitch of Game 3 of the 2015 World Series.

Looking at Syndergaard, some of that old school philosophy is alive and well in younger players.  It is important to note when Syndergaard has utilized that old school philosophy of throwing inside or retaliating, he has done it the right way.  He has thrown it up but not near the head.  He threw a fastball behind Chase Utley, but not close enough for that fastball to actually make contact with Utley.

Of course, in the case of Syndergaard, he has always had terrific control, so when he does these things, you can trust him in sending that message even if there still exists a possibility he could miss.

That said, what Syndergaard has done is not what Urena did.  Urena stepped to the mound not just to make a batter uncomfortable.  He went to the mound with an intent to injure.  That’s what you are doing when you throw a 98 MPH fastball right at someone in a spot where he cannot possibly get out of the way.

There is no defending Urena’s actions, but there is defending the mindset where you make batters uncomfortable at the plate.  That’s part of a mindset.  There’s just a right way and a wrong way to do it.  As Keith noted, the right way is to brush the batter back or hit him in the fanny.  That’s not remotely close to what Urena did, and that’s why he’s entirely in the wrong.

 

Meet The Mets Fan: Jerseylicious’ Anthony Lombardi

The Mets Fan

My name is Anthony Lombardi. I’m a Hairstylist and salon owner from NJ. I was also featured on the reality show Jerseylicious.

How You Became a Mets Fan

My father is a Mets fan and that’s pretty much how I became one. Same way my 9 yr old son is a Mets fan.

Favorite Mets Player

I have different favorite players from different periods of my life. As a young kid it was Lee Mazzilli. During our golden years it was Keith Hernandez. In my 20’s, Mike Piazza and currently Michael Conforto. All time I’d have to say Piazza.

Favorite Moment in Mets History

Winning the World Series. Followed by taking my son to his 1st Mets game with my dad.

Message to Mets Fans

My message would be. Stay loyal. And root for the name on the front of the Jersey not the back. Also never believe the Wilpons.

Calm Down on the Callaway Criticism

In yesterday’s 5-4 loss in 10 innings to the Atlanta Braves, people had a field day criticizing manager Mickey Callaway for the perceived errors the first time manager made.  Of course, all these criticisms first ignored how the Mets lost because the Braves at that much better, especially over this injury ravaged Mets team.  Moreover, the perceived errors were not really errors in and of themselves:

Error No.1 – The Starting Lineup

Considering how when he had the appearance of autonomy, Callaway buried Jose Reyes on the bench, we can see he lost some of his control, especially after Reyes complained publicly through the press.  Overall, Reyes is in the lineup because ownership wants him there (and fans won’t boo him like he deserves).  As for Brandon Nimmo, he’s been scuffling lately, and he could probably use a day off.

Error No. 2 – Going Too Long with Oswalt

Entering the seventh inning yesterday, Corey Oswalt was dealing.  At that point, he had allowed just one earned on five hits with no walks and four strikeouts.  He was only at 75 pitches, and he had just made fairly quick work of the Braves in the sixth inning.  It was the bottom of the lineup, and he was due up second.

Considering how well he was pitching, how well he has pitched, and this being a period to evaluate players, the mistake would have been pulling Oswalt.  He should have started that inning.  It’s just unfortunate he gave up the two run homer to Ender Inciarte to lose the lead.

Error No. 3 – Double Switching Nimmo into the Game

Looking at the Mets bench, the player you most wanted up in the bottom of the seventh was Nimmo.  If you are going to burn a bench player, you might as well move the pitcher’s spot as far away as possible to at least give yourself the chance to let Paul Sewald pitch more than just the end of the seventh.

Ultimately, do we really care if it mean Austin Jackson and not Jose Bautista came out of that game?  Sure, Jackson is hitting better, but it’s Bautista who you are showcasing in the hopes he snaps out of this funk and once again becomes a trade piece.

Error No. 4 – Not Waiting for the Pinch Hitter to be Announced

Before criticizing Callaway on this one, ask yourself one key question: Who would you rather face?  Ryan Flaherty, a career .218/.288/.350 hitter or Adam Duvall, a former All Star with two 30 home run seasons under his belt?  If you have a brain cell remaining, it’s Flaherty every single day of the week.

Well, Callaway checked to make sure Duvall wasn’t announced, and he went with Sewald over Jerry Blevins, who was warming, to enter the game.  By doing that, Callaway helped pressure Brian Snitker to put up the far worse hitter.

Seriously, how is that a bad thing?

As for the narrative spewed on SNY, it’s false.  Just completely false.

This is the National League.  A manager is not going to burn two hitters in a tie game in the seventh inning.  You don’t have that luxury.  Knowing that, Callaway was proactive and got the matchup he wanted.  Really, Mets fans should be happy he had the foresight to say he wanted to face Flaherty over Duvall.

And with Callaway, we know this is a strategy he likes to utilize.  After all, this is not the first time he has done it, and with this happening two times, we can expect to see this happen again.  That’s a good thing.

As an aside, let’s remember the thoughts each of the people criticizing Callaway have had:

Maybe we should pump the brakes on taking what this group says as gospel and look for them more for entertainment.

Also, it should be noted, doing it that way allowed Callaway let Sewald face the pinch hitter an Ronald Acuna before going to Blevins for the left-handed Ozzie Albies, Freddie Freeman, and Nick Markakis.

Error No. 5 – Double Switching McNeil out of the Game

The Jeff McNeil decision is a little tricky.  On the one hand, you want him to get as many reps as he possibly can in the field and at the plate.  Yes, his turn in the lineup did come up in the ninth, but it was really unlikely to happen.  To that extent, double switching him out to get some length from Seth Lugo did make sense on paper.

Of course, the real anger here was Reyes stayed in the lineup.  That’s understandable, but remember this is a player being not just forced on the manager, but also into the lineup.  Reyes’ strangehold is such the Mets are challenging plays where he is clearly out because Reyes demands it:

Summation

During the game, Callaway showed he was a guy who was balancing both playing the guys he is told to play while trying to develop young players and winning games.  It’s unfortunate Oswalt couldn’t get an out in the seventh, and it’s a shame Tyler Bashlor gave up the game winning homer in the 10th.

When it comes to Bashlor, there’s your areas of criticism.  Callaway is still feeling his way through bullpen management, and even now, he’s still leaning on veteran arms like Lugo over ones like Bashlor.

As for the other decisions?  Give him credit for being willing to buck trends and try to dictate match-ups he wants.  Allow him to grow on the job and learn from his mistakes, but admit this wasn’t one of them.  Overall, remember the level of interference he has.

Ultimately, remember this is a guy who gets his guys to play.  In this three game set, the Mets went toe-to-toe with a much better Braves team, and they nearly took the series.  Give credit where it is due.

More importantly, don’t distract from the real problem with the Mets – ownership is not spending and is putting an inferior product on the field.

Game Notes: Once again, Luis Guillorme did not get into the game.  Part of the reason being is the Mets have said they do not see him as more than a pinch hitter or late inning replacement.  Instead, Reyes played the whole game while Todd Frazier, who originally did not start because he was just coming off the disabled list, came on late shifting Reyes to second.

Mets Game As Pointless As Keith Reading The Media Guide

The Mets had Jose Reyes at third base, Ty Kelly in left field, and Drew Gagnon on the mound. Put another way, this was going to be a completely pointless game for a Mets team 16 games under .500.

Here’s how pointless this 7-3 game was – Keith Hernandez was reading passages from the Mets media guide about the Mets Hall of Famers.

The best thing from this game was Amed Rosario going 3-4 with two runs, two triples, and an RBI. What’s shocking is both triples were to left.

Tyler Bashlor allowed just one run on three hits in 2.1 innings.

P.J. Conlon pitched two scoreless while striking out three.

Dominic Smith singled in his only at-bat.

Perhaps most important, Wilmer Flores made an impressive play in the field.

With the score already 5-0, Scott Kingery popped up to shallow right. Flores made an over the shoulder catch and threw home to nail Carlos Santana to double him up.

It was a terrific play in a lost game in a lost season. Flores still cares. Be very careful before you trade him.

Game Notes: Mets are 0-13-2 in their last 15 series.