Ron Darling

GKR Once Again Prove They’re Best Booth In Baseball

When Michael Conforto leaned over the strike zone in on a pitch by Anthony Bass. The end result was a hit by pitch forcing Luis Guillorme home with the game winning run.

There’s no mincing words here. Home Plate Umpire Ron Kulpa blew the call, and he would later admit it. While Kulpa blew it, Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez, and Ron Darling immediately knew it was a blown call, and they said Conforto should’ve been out.

As you can hear, they said a lot more than just that. First and foremost, we heard Cohen knew the rules cold, and he knew it wasn’t getting overturned.

Both Keith and Ron spoke about how that should’ve been called an out, and Darling took it a step further to point out it’s ridiculous replay can’t overturn this call.

Keep in mind, this is the Mets, not the Marlins telecast. GKR wanted it called correctly because they’re honest about what they see. They’re honest even when it comes to a player in Conforto they really like and respect.

Now, this should be the norm, but we all know it isn’t. What we got there, what we always get from GKR, was an honest assessment of what transpired. These are three people who love the game, and it always shows.

Mets fans are lucky to have GKR as is all of baseball. They don’t rely on shtick, and they’re not embarrassing homers. Rather, these are three people who are honest about what they see on the field no matter how much they all love the Mets.

Jordan Yamamoto For Governor

Among the many issues people have with Governor Andrew Cuomo, he did the unthinkable. He wore a Mets/Yankees face mask while avowing to be a fan of both teams.

Not even the great Carmelo Anthony could pull this off without ridicule. While it’s debatable whether a Mets/Yankees rivalry truly exists, we can say you cannot be a fab of both teams, and there is no wearing gear with both teams on it.

It’s a mortal sin of New York fandom. While Cuomo, who has spent nearly his entire life in New York doesn’t get it, new Mets pitcher Jordan Yamamoto does.

Heading into this past offseason, no one could’ve reasonably expected Yamamoto would be the leader need we need, but here he is. Unlike Cuomo, he gets it.

And it’s high time the Mets had a Hawaiian leading the way. When it was Ron Darling and Sid Fernandez, the Mets won the 1986 World Series and 1988 NL East title.

When it was Benny Agbayani, the Mets went to consecutive postseasons for the first time in team history capturing the 1999 Wild Card and 2000 pennant.

So who better to lead New York than Yamamoto? After all, he implicitly understands fandom in New York, and he is well poised to help the Mets capture their third World Series.

Noah Syndergaard, Jeurys Familia Poised To Make Mets History

Tom Seaver did something unique in New York Mets history. When he took the field for player introductions before Game 1 of the 1986 World Series, he became the first pitcher to stand on the field for three separate Mets postseason games.

Of course, Seaver was wearing a Boston Red Sox uniform, and he never did pitch in that series. To date, no Mets pitcher has pitched in three separate postseasons for the Mets . . . yet.

Back in 2015, Noah Syndergaard and Jeurys Familia were big pieces of a Mets pitching staff which not only led the team to the postseason but also a pennant. They’d join Addison Reed as the only members of that 2015 staff to pitch in the ensuing postseason when the Mets lost the Wild Card Game.

That trio joined a number of the 1999-2000 Mets pitchers to pitch in consecutive postseason. That list included Armando Benitez, Dennis Cook, John Franco, Al Leiter, Rick Reed, and Turk Wendell.

They are just part of a group of Mets pitchers to pitch in multiple postseasons. The other pitchers in that group are Rick Aguilera, Ron Darling, Sid Fernandez, Dwight Gooden, Jerry Koosman, Roger McDowell, Tug McGraw, and Seaver.

That’s a total of 17 pitchers who have appeared in two postseasons for the Mets. However, none have appeared in three.

If Syndergaard can return from Tommy John, and Familia can stay healthy and productive, they’re going to get that chance because this is an excellent Mets team. This is a team which should get there, and maybe this time Syndergaard and Familia can celebrate a World Series.

After that, with both being pending free agents, the question will be whether they’ll get the opportunity to get to pitch in a fourth postseason. Time will tell.

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.

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.

Best Mets Of All Time: No. 50 Sid Fernandez

Sid Fernandez, or as Mets fans came to know and love him, El Sid, had become a beloved left-handed pitcher who had a sneaky fastball which just seemed to rise after he released it. With that sneaky delivery, on any particular day, you could see a gem from him with fans hanging S from the rafters, and when those days came, it was pure magic.

For Fernandez, he had come to the Mets in 1984, and with so many promising young arms, he really had to prove himself. Prove himself he would, and better yet, he would have one of the most important outings in team history.

Fernandez didn’t make the Opening Day rotation out of the 1984 or 1985 seasons. However, when he got called up each season, he stuck, and he would prove he belonged. In 1984, he had a respectable 102 ERA+. In 1985, he would lead the league with a 9.5 K/9. Finally, in 1986, Fernandez would make the Opening Day rotation.

In that 1986 season, Fernandez was terrific matching Dwight Gooden with a team high 200 strikeouts. He would also be named an All-Star for the first time in his career. His best start of that season, and possibly his career was his July 11, 1986 start against the Braves. In that two-hit shut out, he would strike out nine batters.

While he had won a career high 16 games,  10+ strikeout games, shutouts, and was an All-Star, they all pale in comparison to what Fernandez did in the postseason.

After being a hard luck loser against the scuff-marking Mike Scott in Game 4 of the NLCS, Fernandez was moved to the bullpen in the World Series as Davey Johnson opted to go with just three starters. This led to Fernandez making three relief appearances in the World Series, which included a 2.1 inning stint in Game 7.

After the Mets epic comeback in Game 6, there was a rainout which allowed the Red Sox to turn to Bruce Hurst, who would’ve been the World Series MVP, instead of Oil Can Boyd. Making matters worse for the Mets, Ron Darling didn’t have it lasting just 3.2 innings with the Mets falling behind 3-0.

Fernandez entered with a runner on second and two outs. After walking Wade Boggs, he got Marty Barrett to fly out to end the inning. Fernandez completely subdued the Red Sox offense. In the bottom of the sixth, Lee Mazzilli pinch hit for him and would start the game tying rally. Ultimately, Fernandez earned a no decision, but more importantly, he would earn a World Series ring.

Fernandez would find himself an All-Star again in 1987. In making consecutive All-Star teams, he joined Gooden as the only multiple-time All Stars from that World Series rotation. Moreover, in terms of Mets history, Fernandez, Jerry Koosman, and Jon Matlack are the only left-handed Mets starters to make consecutive All-Star appearances. In his last All-Star appearance, Fernandez would earn the save.

Fernandez was again an important part of the Mets NL East winning club in 1988. During that season, Fernandez led the league in H/9 for the second time in his career. As a matter of fact, Fernandez has the third best career H/9 mark in Major League history trailing just Nolan Ryan, Clayton Kershaw, and Sandy Koufax. Sadly, he didn’t pitch well in his one start on over-extended rest, and the Mets lost that series in seven losing the NLCS for the first time in team history.

The 1989 season saw Fernandez have his second best season in a Mets uniform by ERA+ (115). That was despite his starting the season in the bullpen with the team due to the emergence of David Cone. Despite that, he was the best pitcher in the rotation leading the team in ERA+, strikeouts, wins, and winning percentage. He’d also have one of the best starts of his career ruined. His 16 strikeout effort went up in flames as Lonnie Smith hit a walk-off homer. Speaking of homers, never a slouch at the plate, Fernandez would hit his first and only career homer.

From there, the Mets great run was nearing its end, and Fernandez was starting to have some injuries pile up. He would deal with a broken wrist and some knee issues. While the Worst Team Money Could Buy was an epic disappointment, Fernandez was one of the few who did his job well. In that 1992 season, he was the best pitcher on the team with a 129 ERA+ going 14-11 with a 2.73 ERA, 1.067 WHIP, and an 8.1 K/9.

His Mets career was over after the 1993 season, a season where he suffered another knee injury. In total, he was the sixth ever Mets pitcher by WAR with the fifth most wins in team history falling two short of 100. He is also ranked third in WHIP and second in H/9 (again trailing Ryan).

He rates well in terms of strikeouts with the eighth best K/9 and the fourth most strikeouts. Really, Fernandez is all over the Mets all-time leaderboards including having the ninth best WPA. Through it all, Fernandez is certainly one of the best starters in team history, one of the most important, and very clearly, the best Mets player to ever wear the number 50.

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

 

Amazin Bracket: (1) Keith Hernandez vs. (8) Ron Darling

(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.

(8) Ron Darling – Won 99 games as a member of the Mets. Was top five in Rookie of the Year and Cy Young voting. One time All-Star and Gold Glover. Had a 1.53 ERA in the 1986 World Series winning a pivotal Game 4. Only pitcher in Mets history to start multiple Game 7s. After his playing career was over returned to the Mets organization as a member of the famed GKR booth in SNY broadcasts.

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Best Mets Of All-Time: No. 48 Jacob deGrom

Jacob deGrom has only pitched six years with the Mets organization, and in that time, he ranks fourth all-time in WAR among pitchers with a 33.3 WAR. To put that in perspective, the three pitchers ranked ahead of him had longer Mets careers, and only Tom Seaver had a higher WAR over his first six seasons.

That is what deGrom has accomplished so far in his Mets career. He has been pitching so great, he has accomplished things only Seaver has done not just in Mets history, but Major League history. With deGrom, we may very well be watching a Hall of Fame career.

When deGrom won the 2019 Cy Young, at the time, he joined Seaver as the only pitcher in Major League history to win the Rookie of the Year Award and two Cy Youngs. Moments later, he was joined by Justin Verlander, who will one day be a Hall of Famer. With deGrom winning consecutive Cy Youngs, he is the only pitcher to win a Rookie of the Year and consecutive Cy Youngs.

What is fascinating about that is no one really expected any of this from him.

When deGrom was first called up to the majors, he was expected to eventually move to the bullpen with Rafael Montero being the mainstay in the rotation. Seeing his Major League debut against the Yankees, it was soon clear the Mets had a truly special pitcher who could one day be an ace.

In his debut, he take the loss despite allowing the Yankees to one run over seven innings. That lack of run support would become a theme in his career. What made deGrom special was he would build on it. Perhaps the highlight of that rookie season was his setting a Major League record by striking out eight batters to start the game.

He finished that season with a flourish striking out 26 batters over his final two starts. That was an indication of what was to come in 2015.

While it was Bartolo Colon who got the Opening Day start, and Matt Harvey receiving all the hype, it was deGrom who was the true ace of that 2015 staff.  In fact, deGrom would be the only All-Star, and he would introduce himself to the baseball world striking out the side on just 10 pitches.

In that season, deGrom would finish seventh in Cy Young voting, but when it came to the postseason, there would be no better pitcher in the postseason. That was apparent when he completely and utterly dominated the Dodgers in Game 1 of the NLDS striking out 13 Dodgers en route to a win.

As dominant as he was in Game 1, he was that gritty in Game 5. In that game, deGrom joined Jon Matlack and Ron Darling as the only Mets pitchers to start a winner-take-all game. In that game, deGrom’s only 1-2-3 inning wa the sixth, but he would get through that game with the lead as the Mets would win the game and the series.

With deGrom winning two games in that series, he became the first ever Mets right-handed starter to win two games in a postseason series. With his victory in Game 3 of the NLCS, he would become the first Mets starter to win three games in a single postseason. In that postseason, deGrom was 3-1 with a 2.88 ERA, 1.160 WHIP, and a 10.4 K/9.

We briefly saw deGrom build upon that in 2016, and if not for his stepping aside for his teammate Colon, he would have been an All-Star again. Unfortunately, it was a very difficult season with deGrom as his newborn son dealt with health issues (thankfully, he was alright), and he would need season ending ulnar nerve transposition surgery.

In 2017, he proved he was healthy setting a career record with 15 wins and setting what was a then career best with 201.1 innings, 239 strikeouts, and a 10.4 K/9. Once he proved he could survive the rigors of a full season again, he was primed to become the best pitcher in all of baseball.

Simply put, deGrom’s 2018 season was one of the best in Major League history. In terms of just the numbers, he was 10-9 with a 1.70 ERA, 0.912 WHIP, and an 11.2 K/9. That year, he led the majors in ERA, HR/9, ERA+, and FIP. He was so great he would even have the most staunch traditionalists reevaluate the importance of wins in determining just how great a pitcher is.

It’s nearly impossible to pick a top moment from that season as deGrom was that dominant all season long, and in that season he would record his 1,000 career strikeout. He would get to that mark before any other pitcher in Mets history. Again, we see deGrom is edging into Seaver territory.

In that entire 2018 season, deGrom allowed more than two earned only six times with his allowing more than three just once. In contrast, he allowed zero runs nine times and one or fewer 21 times. He would start a streak of 30 straight starts allowing three runs or fewer, which is an MLB record. He also tied Bob Gibson‘s MLB record of 26 consecutive quality starts.

In 2019, deGrom was not nearly as great as he was in 2018. After all, no one could. However, he was still more than good enough to win another Cy Young, and yet again, he would set Major League records. On August 24, 2019, deGrom became the first ever Major Leaguer to have two games where he struck out 13+ and hit a homer:

This is all part of deGrom becoming an all-time great Met and Major League pitcher. In terms of the Mets, deGrom has the fourth best WAR among pitchers, and after one good full season, he should move to third all-time. He is currently second in ERA, and he is first in WHIP, K/9, and ERA+.

He is already all over the Mets top 10 pitching records, and he is primed to secure himself in the ensuing years as the clear second best pitcher in team history if he isn’t already. That makes him an easy choice as the best Mets player to ever wear the number 48.

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

Miracle Bracket: Sweet 16

It should come as no surprise the top three seeds, Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, and Cleon Jones advanced easily. There was a mild upset with Ed Kranepool over Bud Harrelson. Overall, it looks like Seaver is primed to go to the Elite 8 with Koosman and Jones having an interesting match-up.

The Amazin Bracket will kick off tomorrow with fans getting to choose their favorite between Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling facing off in the GKR gauntlet.

Simulated Recap: GKR Are Back

We can talk about Jeff McNeil homering in the game while he popped into the telecast. We can talk about Marcus Stroman helping his own cause in picking up the win, or the Edwin Diaz driving you crazy in the save opportunity.

Really, that’s not the biggest deal from tonight. No, it was Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez, and Ron Darling calling this simulated game. It was about getting to hear this again: