Tom Seaver

Taijuan Walker Setting Stage To Be Mets Fan Favorite

New York Mets fans really love their players. That goes double for those players who implicitly get it on some level. Those players become fan favorites.

It’s not necessarily limited to the David Wrights and Mike Piazzas of the world. We’ve seen it with Wilmer Flores with his crying on the field and walk-off hits. Curtis Granderson was as good and decent a man who ever donned a Mets uniform.

The key with most of these fan favorites is they let the fans know they’re loved and appreciated. On some level, the player just gets in. With respect to that, we’re seeing some of that already with Taijuan Walker.

Already, we have seen Walker give a nod to the late, great Tom Seaver, a pitcher who will forever be in Mets fans hearts, by apparently celebrating his new contract with GTS wine:

Walker has also already engaged the fans. In his career, Walker has worn both 00 and 99. Apparently, he’s heavily considering both, and on that front, he’s invited Mets fans feedback:

What’s important is none of this appears phony. It’s does genuinely seem to be who he is. After all, he recently posted videos of him dunking and his attempting to dunk.

All told, Walker is already doing all the right things to show fans he gets it. He doesn’t just want to wear a Mets uniform. He wants to be a part of the fabric of the organization. Fans will notice and love him for it.

Don’t be surprised if Mets fans suddenly adore Walker. That will go double if he builds off a strong 2020 season to be a key cog in a rotation which carries the Mets to the World Series.

Simply Amazin – Don’t Freak Out

I had the privilege of appearing on the Simply Amazin’ podcast with the great Tim Ryder. During the podcast, names discussed include but are not limited to Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Marcus Stroman, Carlos Carrasco, Rick Porcello, Francisco Lindor, J.D. Davis, Carlos Beltran, Bobby Valentine, David Wright, Bobby Thompson, Ralph Branca, Alex Cora, Luis Guillorme, Dominic Smith, Brandon Nimmo, Michael Conforto, Jeff McNeil, Jonathan Villar, James McCann, J.T. Realmuto, James Paxton, Trevor Rosenthal, Aaron Loup, Mike Piazza, Gil Hodges, Tom Seaver, Lucas Duda, Wilmer Flores, Jose Martinez, Alex Gonzalez, James Loney, Moises Alou, John Olerud, Davey Johnson, Pete Alonso, Wilson Ramos, David Peterson, Joey Lucchesi, Jordan Yamamoto, Corey Oswalt, Luis Rojas, Jeremy Hefner, Jim Eisenreich, Alex Fernandez, Robert Gsellman, Seth Lugo, Darryl Strawberry, Albert Almora, and more

Please take a listen.

Mets Should Retire Davey Johnson’s Number

With the scare of Davey Johnson being sick in the hospital with COVID19, the Mets were in danger of losing their second franchise great in less than a year. Tom Seaver will never be around to see his statue, but Johnson could be around to see his number retired.

The Mets standards for retiring numbers is all over the place. Casey Stengel was the first for, well, it wasn’t his performance as manager. That’s for sure.

Then, it was Gil Hodges. His number was posthumously retired a little more than a year after his tragic death. His guiding the Miracle Mets certainly factored into this decision.

After that, for the longest time, only Hall of Famers had their number retired. Yes, Seaver’s number was retired before his induction, but his induction was a fait accompli. For his part, Mike Piazza had to wait for his induction.

Things have changed with Jerry Koosman now getting his number retired. With that happening, it’s hard to ascertain where the line now is. Wherever it is, one thing should be clear – Davey Johnson should have his number retired.

Johnson is arguably the best manager in Mets history. In fact, in the 59 year history of the Mets, he remains the only manager to win two division titles. That’s a record which will stand for at least two more years.

That’s not the only records Johnson has. He’s the only manager to have never finished below second place. His .588 winning percentage still rates first. The same for his 595 wins.

He’s the only Mets manager to have five consecutive 90+ win seasons.He’s the only manager to have multiple 100 win seasons.

In fact, his 1986 Mets are one of the best teams of all-time. In fact, since World War II, no National League team has won more games than that Mets team won that season. As we all know, the Mets won the World Series that year.

With that, he joined Grote as only one of two Mets managers to win a World Series.

The way Johnson did it was truly unique. He was one of the first managers noted for what we now deem an analytical approach. Before games, he used to scour over computer printouts to not only try to maximize his lineup, but also to try to find an edge. As his record indicates, he was very successful.

He also was unique in that he was not always beholden to veterans. In fact, one of the reasons the Mets were so successful early on is Johnson went with the talented Mets core. That included his pushing Frank Cashen to call Dwight Gooden up for the 1984 season.

That was a very bold decision which helped deliver the Mets a World Series title three years later.

Johnson did his part getting the most out of those young Mets on the field. Although, there will forever be the question if his laidback style managing personal lives had a negative impact. To be fair, it’s hard to pin substance abuse issues on just a manager. That’s an unfair criticism.

Overall, Johnson wasn’t just the winningest manager in Mets history, he’s also a revolutionary figure in the game. He’s as important a figure in team history, and in many ways, he’s the best manager in Mets history.

Really, it’s hard to imagine anyone can do what he did. The winning. Changing the way the game is managed. All of it. And that is exactly why the Mets should retire his number.

Path Clear For Francisco Lindor To Become Best Mets Shortstop

With all due respect to Bud Harrelson and Rey Ordoñez, Jose Reyes is easily the best shortstop in Mets history. He’s the franchise leader in triples and stolen bases, and his name is scattered across the top ten rankings in team history.

Looking at WAR, he’s well ahead of the other shortstops, and he’s the 10th best player in Mets history. While it may take time to catch him, Francisco Lindor is well poised to surpass Reyes’ 27.9 WAR with the Mets.

Aside from the shortened 2020 season, Lindor is a player who never had below a 4.0 WAR. In fact, Lindor has never been below a 5.0 WAR when he’s been on the Opening Day roster in a 162 game season.

Keep in mind, that’s before Lindor even entered his prime. As he entered his prime, Lindor has been a 40+ double and 30+ homer player. That is in addition to playing Gold Glove caliber defense.

Assuming he holds true to that 5.0+ WAR level player, it’ll take Lindor approximately five seasons to surpass Reyes’ 27.9 WAR. At Lindor’s 30+ homer pace, he’ll surpass Reyes’ record for homers by a shortstop within four seasons.

That’s incredible to think. As a player, Reyes was one of the most exciting and dynamic players to ever wear the Mets uniform. He was a four time All-Star and to date the only Mets player to win a batting title.

The fact it could take Lindor approximately five seasons to surpass what Reyes did in 12 speaks to how phenomenal of a baseball player he is. In getting Lindor, the Mets are getting a future Hall of Famer. They are quite possibly getting the best player not named Tom Seaver or Mike Piazza to ever don a Mets uniform.

That’s the level of player Lindor is. If the Mets agree to an extension with him, Lindor should become the greatest shortstop in team history. He may also very well become the next Mets Hall of Famer, and we could see his 12 hanging next to Seaver’s 41 and Piazza’s 31.

The path is clear for Lindor to accomplish this and much more in a Mets uniform. The only thing standing in the way is a contract extension.

Mets 20 Best Moments In 2020

The year 2020 was hard on us all, but there were some truly outstanding and unexpected uplifting moments scattered throughout the year. In no particular order here were some of the best moments for the New York Mets in 2020:

1. Steve Cohen purchases the Mets ending the Wilpons reign.

2. Dominic Smith finds his voice and that next level in his game.

3. Michael Conforto emerged as a real leader and showed he’s the star we all hoped he’d be.

4. While not winning the Cy Young, Jacob deGrom continued to prove he’s the best pitcher in the game.

5. Yoenis Cespedes gave us one last thrill with an Opening Day game winning homer.

6. Edwin Diaz returned to his dominant form.

7. Amed Rosario hit a walk-off homer at Yankee Stadium to beat the New York Yankees.

8. David Peterson and Andres Gimenez made the jump from Double-A and had strong rookie seasons.

9. Mets were once again allowed to wear the first responders caps.

10. Sandy Alderson returned restoring credibility to the franchise and was given the opportunity to win a World Series with the Mets.

11. Marcus Stroman accepted the qualifying offer to return to the Mets.

12. Players like Trevor May and James McCann were excited about the new era in Queens and wanted to be a part of it.

13. Pete Alonso proved his rookie year was no fluke putting himself on what would’ve been a 42 home run pace.

14. Although in a circuitous route, Luis Rojas got the manager job he earned and did enough to earn at least a second season at the helm.

15. Luis Guillorme was great with the glove and better than we ever anticipated he’d be at the plate.

16. Brandon Nimmo proved his neck problems were no more while remaining an on-base machine.

17. Rick Porcello got to live out his dream by pitching for the same Mets team he loved as a kid.

18. The 1986 Mets were dubbed the best team ever.

19. Alonso honored the greatest Met ever by hitting a walk-off homer the first game the Mets played after Tom Seaver passed.

20. It was only 60 games and the Mets finished in last place, but we got to see Mets baseball. For at least those 3+ hours a day, we felt normal.

If you’re reading this now, chances are you went through a lot this year. The good news is you’re reading this meaning you’ve survived the year and can have hope for a better 2021.

God willing, that 2021 will be our best year ever, and we will see a Mets World Series title.

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.

Henrik Lundqvist, Long May He Reign

When you look through sports in New York, the legends always win. No, we’re not talking about beloved players like David Wright. We’re talking true legends.

Every Yankees legend has a ring. Tom Seaver won with the 1969 Mets. The famed Knicks teams have two. LT has two, and even Namath and the Jets have one. The Islanders have their dynasty.

After 54 years, Leetch and the Rangers got his as well in one that may have to last a lifetime.

It’s funny. For it being the world’s most famous arena, it just seems to come up short over the last 25+ years in delivering titles with all-time great players. First, Patrick Ewing. Now, Henrik Lundqvist.

Lundqvist could be the best Ranger of all-time. He might be the best hockey player in New York history. He’s definitively the best player to ever leave New York without a title.

That’s what happens when the Rangers officially buy out his contract later today. It is a decision which hurts, but in the end, it’s the right decision for all involved. Hopefully, everyone feels respected in the process.

The Rangers just couldn’t get it quite right. They had a legendary goaltender who was the driving force behind the Rangers going to the Conference Finals in three out of four years.

Maybe with a fair whistle, he and the Rangers have a Cup, but sadly, it didn’t happen. From there, the team had just one more run in them.

At the moment, the Stanley Cup, a living championship trophy, is incomplete without Lundqvist’s name etched onto it. Maybe Lundqvist goes somewhere next year, and he accomplishes what Ray Bourque and Dominic Hasek did before him.

Even if he doesn’t, it doesn’t change how great he is. For all the talk about his not winning a Stanley Cup, people conveniently forget he led Sweden to Olympic Gold in 2006. On the highest stage with the best players in the world, Lundqvist reigned.

And he still reigns because he’s not just a Rangers legend, or a hockey legend. He’s a New York legend.

Babe Ruth was the Sultan. Henrik Lundqvist is the King. He has been and always will be.

We will miss Lundqvist in a Rangers sweater between the pipes because he’s the best to ever do it. We look forward for his 30 hanging from the Garden rafters, and and we look to see what he does next.

Before all that, Rangers fans everywhere thank you. The past 15 years were among the best in Rangers history and that had come on the heels of the worst period in Rangers history.

You were responsible for that, and we loved you for it. Thank you.

-30-

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Earn Disappointing Split With Phillies

The New York Mets had an opportunity to make some headway in the postseason race with a four game series against the Phillies. They had their chance, but instead, they could only muster a split.

1. Jacob deGrom AGAIN established he’s the best pitcher in baseball by striking out 12 Phillies over seven.

2. deGrom and Zack Wheeler would’ve been the best 1-2 punch in baseball, but unfortunately, Brodie Van Wagenen is a terrible GM.

3. If the Mets had the starting pitching, they’d easily be the top team in the division. It’s weird saying that knowing where the Mets have been, and downright hilarious considering Van Wagenen’s preseason declarations.

4. As we continue to see, Seth Lugo can start. That wasn’t really the issue. The issue always was who takes over his role. The answer so far is nobody.

5. Miguel Castro looks like a modern day Mel Rojas or Guillermo Mota.

6. It was past time for Andres Gimenez to take the starting job from Amed Rosario. Now, it’s time to make Rosario the 2021 center fielder.

7. Obtaining Todd Frazier made sense because he gave the Mets the third baseman they didn’t have, and apparently, he was a great presence for this Mets team.

8. The Mets didn’t obtain Frazier for his bat, but maybe they should’ve because Pete Alonso started hitting again using Frazier’s bats.

9. Speaking of hitting again, it’s nice to see Jeff McNeil raking again.

10. Game-in, game-out, Michael Conforto proves the Mets need to extend him.

11. Somehow, someway, Dominic Smith has emerged as the Mets best hitter so far this year, and he’s leading the league in doubles. He wasn’t given an opportunity. He forced it.

12. Luis Guillorme is batting .395, and he plays good to great defense at three different positions. His not being able to crack this starting lineup is another example of why Van Wagenen has to go.

13. J.D. Davis has proven he can’t play in the field. Without the juiced ball, his GB rate is climbing back up to career norms, and his BABIP is dropping. In total, he’s regressing to the mean. Insisting on playing him everyday is holding this team back.

14. The rally yesterday was great, but it doesn’t mean a whole lot when you see the Mets lose in extras.

15. Right now, the only Mets reliever you might be able to trust is Brad Brach, who has been having a very good year. You’d like to see him more, but that may not be possible when his dealing with the after effects of COVID19.

16. To be fair, Edwin Diaz appears to be returning to form. The Mets just need to find a way to prevent those Armando Benitez like blown saves and to have him have fewer of those incidents.

17. The Tom Seaver patch is nice, but it’s perfunctory. It seems Mets fans want more with renaming Citi Field in his honor as a popular one. Personally, I’d like to see the dirt patch be permanent, and/or a 41 permanently on the pitching rubber at Citi Field.

18. It’s funny to think the Toronto Blue Jays are currently the best team in New York. One of the reasons why is Anthony Kay who has a 176 ERA+. The Mets sure could’ve used him this year.

19. We’re counting down the days until the Wilpons are gone. Hopefully, Van Wagenen, who turned a great core and minor league depth into a team four games under .500 f outside looking in on an expanded postseason, follows them out the door.

20. Despite everything, the Mets are just two games out of a postseason spot (five in the loss column). They’re better than the Marlins, Giants, Rockies, and Brewers (or should be). There’s still a chance.

Mets Win Reminder Why We Love This Team

Tom Seaver‘s 41 hung in the dugout, and the Mets players honored Seaver by rubbing dirt on their right knee. Considering the marks Seaver would have on his own knee from his drop and drive style, there really was no better tribute.

As for the game, it wasn’t pretty by any means. There was poor pitching, base running gaffes, and just sloppy play.

Still, the Mets fought in this game. They battled back from deficits of 4-0 and 7-4. They forced extra innings, and it was Pete Alonso up with a runner on second to lead off the inning. He would hit the first Mets walk-off lead-off two run homer.

With that homer, Edwin Diaz picked up a win. The Mets won a needed game. The fans got a much needed win.

It’s been an emotional day in an emotionally draining year. We all needed this one. We needed a reason to cheer. It also helped to have a reminder why we love this team.

As fans, we love these players. They’re resilient. They battle. They don’t give up. They didn’t tonight, and they earned a victory, and in doing so, they won one for Seaver.

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.