Mike Hampton

Jeff Wilpon Says Goodbye To New York Mets As Fans Say Good Riddance

According to reports, Jeff Wilpon has a Zoom call to say goodbye to New York Mets employees. Other reports confirmed he will not be seeking a role with the Steve Cohen led Mets even with his team holding onto a small minority ownership.

While he says goodbye, Mets fans say good riddance.

Everything that is wrong with the Mets is in large part due to him, and with him gone, he know stories will soon leak out about how he was even worse than what we already knew.

We already know they failed to capitalize on two pennants. In 2000, it was letting Mike Hampton walk, refusing to sign Alex Rodriguez, and then following that up with actually signing Kevin Appier and Steve Trachsel.

In 2015, it was not re-signing Daniel Murphy. Also, if not for a miracle, they would’ve replaced Yoenis Cespedes with Alejandro De Aza.

There was forcing players like Pedro Martinez to pitch through injuries which everyone said should’ve shut down his season, and there was the attempts to try to prevent Carlos Beltran from getting career saving knee surgery.

There was not just signing Jose Reyes, but also holding him out as a role model. Better yet, around the same time, Ed Kranepool needed a kidney transplant only for pettiness to stop the Mets from initially reaching out to help (thankfully they eventually did).

Speaking of Mets greats, there is still no Tom Seaver statue at Citi Field, and now Tom Terrific is gone. Even when the Wilpons did think to finally act, they did it when Seaver had dementia and couldn’t enjoy the honors.

There was firing an unwed pregnant woman and really so much more. With actions like this, not only did Jeff Wilpon fail as a person in charge of building a winner, he disgraced the Mets organization.

Speaking of disgrace, the way the Mets got rid of people was deplorable. No one was allowed to keep their dignity. Willie Randolph was fired one game into a west coast trip and after the Mets won. Instead admitting they didn’t want to pay them fair value Justin Turner had his professionalism questioned and Wilmer Flores was said to have an arthritic condition he didn’t have.

Hopefully, Jeff Wilpon will be afforded the very same treatment he gave others when they left the Mets. It would only be fitting, and it would give Mets fans more reason to celebrate his being gone.

2000 Game Recap: Hampton Goes The Distance

When you have a tired and beleaguered bullpen, and your team has had to go to the whip to pull out some games, what you desperately need is for a starting pitcher to step up and get you innings. Mike Hampton did more than that in going the distance for the second time this season.

In fact, it was a complete game shut out where he set a season high with nine strikeouts.

After the fifth inning, Hampton would not allow another hit, and he would limit the Pirates to just five hits total. With him pitching this way, the win was assured. The question was just how badly the Mets would beat the Pirates. It was a rout.

The game winning RBI was a Jay Payton RBI single in the second scoring Robin Ventura, who had led off the inning with a double off Kris Benson. It would stay close through five-and-a-half until the Mets offense battered a tiring Benson.

In the sixth, the Mets loaded the bases with no outs. Ventura would walk to force home the first run, and Todd Zeile would hit a sacrifice fly to increase the Mets lead to 3-0. The Mets then put the game away in the seventh.

Joe McEwing led off the inning with a single, and he went to third on a Melvin Mora single. Mora then stole second, and he would come home to score with McEwing on a Derek Bell RBI single. The Mets weren’t done there. Edgardo Alfonzo and Mike Piazza hit back-to-back doubles to increase the Mets lead to 7-0. It was 8-0 after a Ventura RBI single.

Mora would cap off the Mets scoring with a solo homer in the eighth. That was the capper for a great game from Mora. He was 4-for-5 with three runs, a double, homer, RBI, and a stolen base. If not for Hampton going to the distance, he would have been the star of the game.

Game Notes: With Hampton complaining about the city traffic, there are some who are concerned about the Mets chances to re-sign him. Mora seems to be winning the shortstop job. He has a five game hitting streak, and he is hitting .281 this month.

Editor’s Note: With there being no games to begin the season, this site will follow the 2000 season and post recaps as if those games happened in real time. If nothing else, it is better to remember this pennant winning season and revisit some of the overlooked games than it is to dwell on the complete lack of baseball.

2000 Game Recap: Hampton’s Gritty Performance Spoiled

Look, Armando Benitez was going to blow a save sooner or later. With how dominant he has been on this recent stretch, you knew it was going to happen sooner or later. He’s allowed these hiccups, but ultimately, he’s not the biggest reason the Mets lost this game. Far from it.

The Mets seemed like they were primed to crush the Phillies. In the first, Edgardo Alfonzo hit a two out single against Paul Byrd, and then Mike Piazza hit a two run homer giving the Mets a 2-0 lead. After that homer, the Mets did nothing.

Byrd came into this game with a 7.86 ERA, and he had allowed 4+ runs in five of his nine starts. In two of his last four starts, he allowed 6+. However, today, after allowing that two run homer to Piazza, the Mets would muster just four more hits and one walk over the ensuing five innings.

That included a blown opportunity in the sixth. Robin Ventura hit a two out single putting runners at the corners with two outs, but Todd Zeile was unable to capitalize on the opportunity as he grounded out to end the inning.

Still, the Mets would have the lead as Mike Hampton, who finally pitched without a rain delay, was brilliant. Through the first six innings, he shut out the Phillies limiting them to two hits. Now, that doesn’t mean the Phillies didn’t get their chances. They certainly did with Hampton walking six batters.

That meant he needed to do a few Houdini acts. In the first, he walked two batters, but he got around that by picking Ron Gant off first and getting Mike Lieberthal to hit into an inning ending double play. Again, in the third, Hampton walked two, and he would retire Lieberthal to end the jam. It would not be until the seventh when the Phillies got to Hampton.

In the seventh, the Phillies rally started with Kevin Sefcik and Alex Arias leading off the inning with back-to-back singles. After Desi Relaford sacrificed them over, Doug Glanville pulled the Phillies to within 2-1 by hitting a sacrifice fly. Hampton got out of the inning retiring Gant.

After John Franco pitched a scoreless eighth, Benitez took the mound looking to record his 17th save of the season and extend his scoreless inning streak past 17.0 innings. That all ended when Pat Burrell led off the top of the ninth with a solo homer.

Benitez got out of that inning without allowing another base runner, but he would not be so lucky in the 10th. After the Mets went down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the ninth, Glanville led off the inning with a double. Benitez seemed to shake it off striking out the next two batters. That’s when Liebererthal, who had failed twice earlier in the game, came through with an RBI single to give the Phillies their first lead in the game.

After the Mets went down 1-2-3 in the 10th, they would suffer a very frustrating 3-2 loss. The Phillies just had Benitez’s number today, but at the end of the day, you really have to pin this on a Mets offense who could not score any runs over nine innings against a very suspect Phillies pitching staff.

Game Notes: Curt Schilling said he would be willing to accept a trade to either the Mets or the Yankees.

Editor’s Note: With there being no games to begin the season, this site will follow the 2000 season and post recaps as if those games happened in real time. If nothing else, it is better to remember this pennant winning season and revisit some of the overlooked games than it is to dwell on the complete lack of baseball.

2000 Game Recap: Rick Reed Is Back On Track

Well, after beating the Brewers nine times in a row, the Mets finally lost one to the Brew Crew yesterday. Today, Rick Reed would make sure that was not going to happen again.

The Brewers did get to Reed in the first when Ronnie Belliard homered to lead-off the top of the first. The Brewers wouldn’t get to Reed again until the sixth, but by that point, the Mets had a substantial lead due to a big fourth inning from the Mets offense.

Up until that point, Jason Bere had only allowed a hit to the opposing pitcher, Reed. The second time through the order was a much different situation with Bere as he could not get the first four batters he faced out. Matt Franco and Edgardo Alfonzo singled in front of a Mike Piazza RBI double tying the score 1-1.

After Robin Ventura was intentionally walked, Jay Payton hit a go-ahead sacrifice fly. Then, Kurt Abbott had the big blow with a three run homer increasing the Mets lead to 5-1. That was a huge hit for Abbott. It was almost a week ago his error helped cost the Mets the game. Since that time, he has played sparingly, but this is his second big extra base hit in that time frame.

From there, the game calmed down until the sixth when the Brewers started the sixth with runners on the corners after Geoff Jenkins and Jeromy Burnitz led off the inning with back-to-back singles. Reed was able to stifle that rally by getting Charlie Hayes to hit into a 5-4-3 double play. A run would score on the play, but the Brewers did no more.

The Mets got that run right back. After Reed reached on a Tyler Houston error, Jason Tyner had the somewhat unusual task of sacrificing the pitcher to scoring position. After Franco singled, Alfonzo hit a sacrifice fly to score Reed to increase the Mets lead back to five runs.

In the seventh, it was clear Reed was at the end of the line. Henry Blanco hit a one out double, and he would score on a Belliard two out triple. Reed was able to get out of the inning, and he had a quality start under this belt. After his struggles post injury, he has now posted consecutive 6+ inning starts allowing three runs. This is exactly the pitcher the Mets need him to be.

As they had done in the top of the seventh, the Mets got that run back. This time it was Ventura hitting an eighth inning lead-off homer against Valerio De Los Santos. After that homer, John Franco and Armando Benitez would pitch consecutive scoreless innings to secure the Mets 7-3 victory.

Game Notes: The players wore wristbands in support of pancreatic cancer research, and the homers by Abbott and Ventura led to $50,000 in donations by an independent sponsor. Mike Hamptonthrew a bullpen and seems set to return for his next start. Bobby Jones is set to make another start in Triple-A.

Editor’s Note: With there being no games to begin the season, this site will follow the 2000 season and post recaps as if those games happened in real time. If nothing else, it is better to remember this pennant winning season and revisit some of the overlooked games than it is to dwell on the complete lack of baseball.

2000 Game Recap: Mets Beat Cubs And Rain

With Mike Hampton only pitching two innings against the Yankees on Sunday before the game was washed out, the Mets opted to bring back their ace on short rest. After Hampton allowed one run in the first inning on an Mark Grace RBI single, the rains came, and once again, Hampton’s day was done.

This would be the first of three rain delays. To put it in perspective, the actual game play was three hours and 40 minutes, but the rain delays were three hours and 23 minutes. All told, this was an over seven hour day at the ballpark.

While the skies had brought the rain, the Mets lineup had brought the thunder hitting four homers in the game. The first of which was a Robin Ventura homer off of Scott Downs to being the second inning. The Mets bats would then go silent until the fourth. At that point, they were down 2-1 with Augie Ojeda hitting a solo homer off of Pat Mahomes.

In the fourth, there were runners at the corners and one out when Benny Agbayani tied the score on a sacrifice fly. That lead would be very short lived. Even though he was not scheduled to pitch today, with the rain delays, the Mets opted to go with Glendon Rusch to start the fourth. Apparently, he was not quite warmed up enough.

Chad Meyers doubled off of him, and Ojeda walked. Both runners moved up on a Daniel Garibay sacrifice bunt. Myers scored off of a Eric Young Sr. sacrifice fly, and Ojeda scored off of a Joe Girardi RBI single. That gave the Cubs a 4-2 lead.

The second of the Mets four homers came in the fifth as Mike Piazza launched a two run homer tying the game at 4-4. The Mets would double their four runs with a big sixth inning.

The inning began with a Jay Payton double. There would be runners on first and second after Todd Pratt reached on a Grace error. Kurt Abbott, who was the goat yesterday, came up big hitting a go-ahead RBI double. Melvin Mora followed with an RBI double of his own. Piazza capped off that rally with an RBI single increasing the Mets lead to 8-4.

With the way this game was going, it was far from over.

After Agbayani homered in the seventh, the Cubs made a comback in the bottom half of the inning. After a Grace double off of Turk Wendell, there were runners on second and third with one out. Sammy Sosa then scored on a Glenallen Hill RBI single. Wendell was almost out of the inning before issuing a two out walk to Gary Matthews to load the bases.

Dennis Cook came on to relieve Wendell to move the switch hitting Ojeda to the right side. Cook struggled in the seventh as he has done much of the season allowing RBI singles to Ojeda and Willie Greene. After Cook walked Eric Young Sr. to re-load the bases, Bobby Valentine brought in John Franco, who retired Girardi to get the Mets out of the inning with a 9-8 lead.

That led grew to 10-8 when Agbayani hit his second homer of the game in the top of the ninth. That was more than enough of a cushion for Armando Benitez who mowed down the Cubs in the bottom of the ninth earning his 16th save of the season with Rusch earning the win in relief.

This was a very long game which was made even longer by the rain delays. Still, the Mets fought through the sloppiness which accompanies games like this. That makes the flight out of Chicago a little easier than it would have been otherwise.

Game Notes: One of the reasons Hampton left the game was he is dealing with a strained groin. Edgardo Alfonzo was given the day off with a stiff back. The Mets are rumored to be in on Sosa and Juan Gonzalez, but according to rumors, they are not willing to part with top prospects Alex Escobar or Grant Roberts. Bobby Jones went down to Triple-A Norfolk to work on things.

Editor’s Note: With there being no games to begin the season, this site will follow the 2000 season and post recaps as if those games happened in real time. If nothing else, it is better to remember this pennant winning season and revisit some of the overlooked games than it is to dwell on the complete lack of baseball.

2000 Game Recap: Mets Leave In Mike Hampton Too Long

Like with his last start, Mike Hampton had to square off against another great pitcher. Last time, it was Kevin Brown. This time, it was Mike Mussina. Again, Hampton pitched well, but he would be out-pitched by the other team’s ace.

The shame of it was the Mets actually led this game 2-0. Those two runs came in a second inning two out rally started by a Melvin Mora bunt single. After that, Hampton singled himself. That set the stage for the recently called up Jason Tyner to have his first big moment.

Tyner would hit an RBI single giving the Mets a 1-0 lead. After that, Mussina would uncharacteristically lose command of the strike zone walking Derek Bell and Edgardo Alfonzo to force home a run. After that Mussina was Mussina again shutting down the Mets offense for the rest of his six innings.

With respect to Hampton, he had his lead, but he would not be able to hold onto it. The first crack came in the third. Rich Amaral would hit a one out single and steal a base, and he would take third on a Jeff Conine fly out. That put him in position to score on an Albert Belle RBI single.

Entering the seventh, Hampton still had a 2-1 lead, and he had thrown 99 pitches. At that point, he had retired nine of the last 10 batters he had faced. Given how he was rolling and how the Mets bullpen had taken a hit yesterday, you can certainly understand why he was out there for the seventh. After all, he is the team’s ace, and he has been pitching like it of late.

The Mets lead evaporated when B.J. Surhoff led off the seventh with a homer off of Hampton. At that point, it seemed like Hampton was tiring and had lost it. Mark Lewis followed the Surhoff homer with a single, but he would not get into scoring position as Hampton was quick to pounce on a Mussina sacrifice bunt attempt to nail Lewis.

While Hampton got Lewis, he could not get Mike Bordick. The Orioles shortstop who is having an uncharacteristically good year at the plate delivered the go-ahead RBI single to give the Orioles 3-2 lead. After Hampton struck out Conine, Bell got to Hampton again hitting an RBI double to increase the Orioles lead to 4-2.

It was a much better start for Hampton than the four earned over 6.2 innings would indicate. Fact of the matter is, he went a little too long in the game, and it cost him and the Mets. The main takeaway you want to take from Hampton in this start was in back-to-back starts he went against another true ace, and he put the Mets in a position to win. That is all you can ask from your ace.

In terms of the Mets offense, they were beat by a great pitcher in Mussina. It happens. You just lament the missed opportunity here and hope they put it behind them as they try to win tomorrow.

Game Notes: Rick Reed will make his scheduled start after skipping his last one due to an oblique injury. Ryan McGuire was sent down to make room for Tyner. Tyner had a memorable debut with the RBI single as well as an infield single. On the day, he was 2-for-3 with a sac bunt and an RBI.

Editor’s Note: With there being no games to begin the season, this site will follow the 2000 season and post recaps as if those games happened in real time. If nothing else, it is better to remember this pennant winning season and revisit some of the overlooked games than it is to dwell on the complete lack of baseball.

2000 Game Recap: Mets Lose Game And Potentially Piazza

If you want to look for positives from this game, they were there. While he had departed the game on the short side of the ledger, Mike Hampton continued his stretch of good pitching allowing three runs (two earned) over seven innings. The Mets also fought to get back into this game.

Heading into the eighth inning, the Mets could get nothing done against Kevin Brown. Brown was his typical dominant self, and if not for an Edgardo Alfonzo homer in the first, the Mets would not have scored a run. In fact, Alfonzo, Robin Ventura, and Hampton were the only to get a hit off of Brown over his six innings.

Entering the eighth, the Mets were down 3-1, which meant they were in the game. Soon, it would be tied. Kurt Abbott led off the inning with a homer off of Alan Mills. After Matt Franco drew a pinch hit walk, and Melvin Mora singled, the Dodgers brought in Matt Herges.

Alfonzo ripped a ball to deep right off of Herges scoring Jon Nunnally, who had pinch ran for Franco. With Mora holding to see if Shawn Green made the play, he could only get to third. That was the part of the Mets bad luck in the inning. Up next was Todd Pratt.

Pratt was in the game because in the sixth, Gary Sheffield‘s typical violent follow-through on his swing hit Mike Piazza in the head. The catcher had blood gushing, and he was removed from the game with his needing to get cleaned up and his likely suffering a concussion.

With Piazza suffering that concussion and coming out of the game, it meant Pratt was up in the eighth. Pratt ripped a ball to short which looked liked it short hopped Kevin Elster. Instead, it was ruled a catch. With Elster having been ruled to catch it, he easily got Mora who had already left third base. That ended an inning where the Mets could’ve taken the lead.

The Mets got their chance again in the ninth. After Ventura and Todd Zeile led off the inning with back-to-back singles, Benny Agbayani, Abbott, and Jay Payton failed to drive them home. Those two missed chances would cost the Mets dearly.

In the ninth, Turk Wendell just didn’t have it. He hung a few to Eric Karros, who couldn’t take advantage. Instead, Karros struck out. Wendell wouldn’t have the same luck with Elster who hit a walk-off homer giving the Dodgers the 4-3 win.

When it comes to this game, the much larger concern is the loss of Piazza than it is the loss of the game. Piazza has once again proved he is not just the best catcher in the game, but really one of the absolute best in the game. We’ve see the Mets can trust Pratt to help them get by, but they are going to need Piazza to go where they want to go this year.

Game Notes: The Mets ended this three city, two time zone road tripe with a 5-4 record. That’s much better than their first west coast trip where they went 5-7 in the trip that had stops in Colorado, San Francisco, Florida, and Pittsburgh.

Editor’s Note: With there being no games to begin the season, this site will follow the 2000 season and post recaps as if those games happened in real time. If nothing else, it is better to remember this pennant winning season and revisit some of the overlooked games than it is to dwell on the complete lack of baseball.

2000 Game Recap: Hampton Aces Cardinals Test

The Mets have a bit of a litmus test right now. They are flying halfway across the country after losing two out of three to a bad Padres team. Now, they are facing a red hot Cardinals team who has won five in a row and six of their last seven. If this is a test, they have passed the first part.

The Mets jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first as Pat Hentgen got wild. After allowing a two out double to Edgardo Alfonzo, he walked three straight. When he walked Todd Zeile, he forced home a run giving the Mets an early 1-0 lead.

For a while that seemed like it was all the support Mike Hampton was going to need. Something has clicked for Hampton over the past month, and he seems more comfortable on the mound. Mostly, he looks like the ace the Mets thought they were getting. Today was yet another ace-like performance.

Hampton would pitch deep into the game lasting eight innings. Over those eight innings, Hampton would allow just two earned on nine hits and two walks while striking out five. While Jim Edmonds got to him with a solo homer in the fifth, one of the key things Hampton did do was keep Mark McGwire in the park.

In addition to shutting down the Cardinals offense, Hampton would help his own cause. In the fourth, Benny Agbayani led off the inning with a single, and he would steal second. That led to a very interesting decision by the Mets with Rey Ordonez bunting over Agbayani for Hampton. It seemed to work as Hampton drove Agbayani home with a sacrifice fly.

Still, after four, the game was tied 2-2. The Hentgen who was wild in the first had settled down, and he had parted the game with a no decision after allowing two runs over six. The Cardinals bullpen would not be as lucky.

In the seventh, Mark Thompson lost the strike zone after retiring the first two batters. He’d then walk Derek Bell, Alfonzo, and Mike Piazza. Tony La Russa went to the bullpen to bring in the lefty Mike Mohler to face Robin Ventura. The move did not work as Ventura hit an RBI single scoring Bell and Alfonzo giving the Mets a 4-2 lead.

It was Ventura again giving the Mets a cushion in the ninth. After Alfonzo doubled and Piazza singled off Heathcliff Slocumb to start the inning, Ventura drove in Alfonzo with a sacrifice fly. The Mets would strand Piazza on the base paths, but fortuantely, that did not matter as Armando Benitez continued his terrific streak by recording the save.

This win harkens back to the Diamondbacks series where the Mets beat another first place team. With these wins, we see the Mets getting terrific production from their top player with key plays from role players like Agbayani. With Benitez shutting the door on the back-end the Mets are in a very good place right now.

Game Notes: Bobby Valentine swore after the game Ordonez was bunting for a base hit. This was a key point of contention as Ordonez and Valentine have been feuding lately over Ordonez’s poor hitting. This has become a key issue with Melvin Mora getting closer to coming off the DL.

Editor’s Note: With there being no games to begin the season, this site will follow the 2000 season and post recaps as if those games happened in real time. If nothing else, it is better to remember this pennant winning season and revisit some of the overlooked games than it is to dwell on the complete lack of baseball.

Bobby Bonilla Was A Better Met Than You Remember

If you ask people about Bobby Bonilla‘s time with the Mets, there is nothing but negativity associated with his tenure. There is the annual consternation over his deferred payments. His last ever act as a member of the team was playing cards in the clubhouse with Rickey Henderson as Kenny Rogers walked Andruw Jones. He wore earplugs to drown out the booing, and generally speaking, he was cantankerous.

Truth be told, Bonilla was not well suited to playing in New York either when he was a 29 year old or when he was a 36 year old. However, sometimes we over-focus on negatives like this to overlook the positives.

Bonilla signing with the Mets was supposed to usher in a new era of Mets baseball. A team who never truly forayed into free agency made the highly coveted Bonilla the highest paid player in the game. Bonilla, who grew up a Mets fan, was coming home to play for his favorite team. At least on the first day he wore a Mets uniform, it seemed like this marriage was going to go great.

On Opening Day, Bonilla hit two homers against the hated Cardinals helping the Mets win 4-2. It was exactly what fans expected from him and that team. However, things quickly unraveled for that Mets team who would be dubbed The Worst Team Money Could Buy. From there things went bad, and they went bad quickly.

Bonilla slumped mightly in May while the Mets. Even when he picked it back up in June, a Mets team who was well in contention fell completely apart. With Bonilla having an awful May and his being the highest paid player in the game, he faced the brunt of the criticism. Unlike Carlos Beltran who went from maligned in 2005 to superstar in 2006, Bonilla never quite recovered.

Part of the reason is the Mets were plain bad. To that end, it’s not his fault the Mets plan was ill conceived. Howard Johnson was not an outfielder. Other players like Eddie Murray and Willie Randolph were over 35. Bret Saberhagen and John Franco were injured. Anthony Young was in the middle of his MLB record losing streak. The bigger issue is Bonilla handled it poorly, and then he was terrible at the end of the year hitting just .196 over the final two months of the season.

While stats like this weren’t used regularly in 1992, the 1.2 WAR was the worst he had since his rookie year. The 121 wRC+ was his worst since his second year in the league. Bonilla and that 1992 Mets team was a huge disappointment, and Bonilla’s image never quite recovered.

What gets lost in the criticism is Bonilla did rebound. From 1993 – 1995, he averaged a 3.1 WAR, and he was a 138 OPS+ hitter. He hit .296/.371/.537 while averaging 27 homers and 84 RBI over that stretch. He would make two All-Star teams, and Bonilla proved to be a bit of a team player willingly moving to third base for stretches when Johnson was injured.

Bonilla’s true breakout season with the Mets came in 1995. He was mashing the ball hitting .325/.385/.599 (151 OPS+) when he was traded to the Baltimore Orioles. Really, this is what the Mets envisioned they were going to get with him. It just took a longer period of adjustment for him to get there.

Overall, in the first stint of his Mets career, Bonilla hit .277/.361/.505 with a 130 wRC+ amassing a 9.7 WAR. That was not that bad, and to a certain extent, on the field, you could say he lived up to the contract. No, he did not live up to expectations, but to be fair, he was never surrounded with the talent to help him do that.

When you look at his entire Mets career, he ranks as the fifth best Mets RF by WAR. The four players ahead of him played more games with the Mets. Among players with at least 500 games played, he is the Mets second best hitting right fielder, and he is tied for sixth as the best Mets hitter of all-time.

At least on the field, that is not a player worth as much derision as he receives. No, on the field he was good but not great Mets player. On the field, he did nothing to deserve scorn.

Off the field is a whole other matter. His adversarial nature with the press did nothing to help him. Mets fans are never going to forgive him playing poker while they were crushed by the ending of Game 6. No one is saying you should.

Rather, the suggestion here is Bonilla be remembered for being the good player he actually was. If you want, you can also opt to remember him a little more warmly as his accepting the buyout led to the Mets having the money to obtain Mike Hampton in a trade. That helped the Mets get a pennant, and when Hampton left for Colorado, the Mets used that compensatory pick to draft David Wright.

All told, the Mets were far better off having Bonilla as a part of the Mets organization as you may have realized.

2000 Game Recap: Mets Nearly Blow Eight Run Lead

The rain caused this game to be delayed three-and-a-half hours, and for a while it seemed like the Mets had completely washed out the Arizona Diamondbacks. With a five run fourth, this game had seemed all but over. It wasn’t.

In that fourth, the Mets built upon a 1-0 lead from a Derek Bell RBI single the previous inning. In the fourth, starting with Benny Agbayani, the Mets hit four straight singles with Mike Hampton delivering a two RBI single. A Joe McEwing grounder ate up Jay Bell driving home another run. The final run of the inning came on an Edgardo Alfonzo sacrifice fly.

When Alfonzo homered in the seventh, the Mets had an 8-0 lead. This should have been as easy as it gets.

For a while it was, Hampton continued his stretch of terrific pitching shutting out the Diamondbacks over six innings. After Dennis Cook pitched a scoreless seventh, Bobby Valentine began pulling his regulars. Mark Johnson replaced Todd Zeile at first. Todd Pratt took over for Piazza behind the plate. Jon Nunnally came in for Bell. Kurt Abbott came in for Alfonzo.

At the time, it seemed like the smart move. There was a rain delay, and this presented an opportunity to get the regulars some rest. Little did we know, but the game would soon get away from the Mets.

It began with Pat Mahomes injuring his ankle. In the eighth, he’d walk Luis Gonzalez before surrendering a two run homer to Greg Colbrunn. At that point, it was still just 8-2, and the game was heading into the ninth. That was the type of lead you expect even Rich Rodriguez to hold. That proved to almost be wrong.

Former Met Bernard Gilkey singled to start the inning, and he scored on a Travis Lee double. After a Dan Klassen walk, Hanley Frias grounded into a double play. Any hopes that was going to be the end of the jam ended with a Tony Womack RBI single.

With the Diamondbacks now within 8-4, and Damian Miller singling, Valentine went to John Franco. Franco was not immediately relief allowing three straight singles allowing three more runs to score. Suddenly, it was 8-7, and the Diamondbacks had the tying run at third.

Valentine went deeper into his bullpen he probably never thought he would have in this game, and he went to Armando Benitez. When Benitez struck out Erubiel Durazo, he earned the save in a game the Mets led 8-0 as the eighth inning began.

Game Notes: This is the first time the Mets have won three in a row since April 25. Robin Ventura was held out of the lineup with a sore hamstring, but he was brought into the game for defense on the final out.

Editor’s Note: With there being no games to begin the season, this site will follow the 2000 season and post recaps as if those games happened in real time. If nothing else, it is better to remember this pennant winning season and revisit some of the overlooked games than it is to dwell on the complete lack of baseball.