Jun 17

Out of the ashes.

No matter how you slice a baseball season, a team figures to win 60 games and lose 60 games regardless. The remaining 42 determines the success or failure of that season.

Some losses, of course, hurt more than others and last night’s 9-8 balk-off heartbreaker in 10 innings could be one of those games if the Mets cave into the negative expectations thought of them coming out of spring training.

CARRASCO: Balks in the winning run.

However, I don’t look at sweeping the Braves in Atlanta as much a sign of progress as I do how they bounce back from last night.

It was clear R.A. Dickey was off his game and for much of the night it appeared they would simply go down at the hands of Chipper Jones – the real owner of the Mets. However, Jason Bay got a couple of hits and drove in a run and Scott Hairston tied the game with a homer.

All of a sudden, we were looking at a new Mets team, one of grit and fight. Amazingly, the Mets were going to sweep, but Francisco Rodriguez coughed up the lead, and well, you know the rest.

To lose on D.J. Carrasco’s balk was one of those things you never saw coming, yet something not surprising with how things have gone the past few years. Right, typical Mets.

OK, what next?

They could either look at last night as devastating, and now that they are below .500 again, slide into obscurity and take the summer with them. Or, they could demonstrate the resiliency they’ve shown the past three weeks and regroup.

Baseball teams aren’t often fueled by emotions as teams in football and basketball, but the Mets have an opportunity as they come home to feed off the anger and disappointment from last night and continue their building. The season is far from over, but for the Mets the season will be defined by the next six weeks.

If they stumble, management could pull the plug and begin the fire sale. In the back of our minds, that’s something we’ve anticipated all along. Even now, with Jose Reyes playing so well, half the fan base is waiting for him to be traded.

However, should they recover and play well, this team could stay intact and try to make a run at a wild card. No, there doesn’t figure to be any serious acquisitions because of the Wilpon’s legal and financial issues, but there could be enough tinkering to make this an interesting, enjoyable and unexpected summer.

 

Jun 17

Today in Mets History: Marvelous Marv.

Maybe it isn’t so odd this occurred the day after the Mets lost on a balk in the tenth inning, a disappointing end to what was a good road trip that dropped them below .500 once again.

MARVELOUS MARV

 

On this date in 1962 – the year when the Mets seemed to have invented the word `amazing,’ – it was all about Marvelous Marv Throneberry, who personified those early teams.

Throneberry appeared to hit a two-run triple against the Cubs in the Polo Grounds, but was called out for failing to touch second base. When manager Casey Stengel raced out of the dugout to argue the call, first base coach Cookie Lavagetto stopped him and said, “Don’t argue, Case. He missed first base, too.’’

How can that not make you chuckle?

There were a lot of great stories about the 1962 Mets, several of them involving Throneberry.

Throneberry played for the Yankees, Kansas City Athletics and Orioles before playing the first two seasons in Mets’ history.

He was demoted to the minor leagues in 1963 and replaced by Ed Kranepool. He retired after that season as a .237 hitter with 53 homers and 170 RBI.

THRONEBERRY CAREER NUMBERS

There was a gentleness about Throneberry, who maintained a sense of humor. Many years after retiring, Throneberry appeared in the Miller Lite ads that featured sporting legends.

THRONEBERRY COMMERCIAL

WARNING: If you click on to this you might spend an hour watching the other links to commercials.

Throneberry passed away at age 60 in 1994.

Jun 16

Sandy Alderson speaks, but what is he really saying?

ALDERSON: What's he really saying?

As usual, there’s a lot of issues floating around the Mets, and general manager Sandy Alderson touched on several this morning on WFAN.

Not all his comments can be interpreted in the positive, and for the most park he spoke in GM-speak, which means more smoke than fire and nothing definitive.

Among the issues:

Jose Reyes: Alderson recognized the year Reyes is having, but said he doesn’t know if the shortstop intends to test free agency and hasn’t determined the parameters of a contract offer.

This seems incomprehensible. First of all, How can Alderson not plan on Reyes testing the market? He can’t be naïve enough to believe the player will take what the Mets offer in the offseason without testing the market. The only way he won’t is if he commits to the Mets now and he certainly won’t without a contract offer.

For an offer to be made, Alderson has to have limits and I can’t see how an opening offer hasn’t already been determined, even with the Wilpon’s financial troubles. The Mets must know the price keeps rising the better Reyes performs and they need to make a decision now on whether they want to keep him.

Reyes has played well enough, and long enough, so far for that decision to be made. If the Mets are waiting to see if he’ll make it through the year healthy, then they seriously risk losing him. The longer this drags on, the odds get longer on him staying with the Mets.

As far as trading him, Alderson won’t tip his hand, but must realize that with how well the team is playing he risks the fans losing interest if the Mets deal Reyes.

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Jun 16

Today in Mets History: Dave Mlicki’s greatest game.

Dave Mlicki didn’t have a great major league career, going 66-80, but will forever be the answer to a trivia question as on this date in 1997, he threw a nine-hitter to beat the Yankees, 6-0, in the first interleague game.

MLICKI: Forever a trivia question answer.

The Mets and Yankees each had 37-30 records at the time Mlicki outdueled Andy Pettitte.

It definitely was one of those “can’t top this moments,’’ a major leaguer will have in his career.

“My World Series for me,’’ Mlicki once said. “One of my great memories. … I knew it was a big game when I did it and it’s amazing that it’s meant so much to so many people.’’

Mlicki was a non-descript Met then, hardly recognizable, and frequently tells the story of eating breakfast the next morning at a diner and hearing people talk of the game on not know he was sitting at the next table.

Born in Cleveland, Mlicki pitched for his hometown Indians (1992-93), the Mets (1995-98), Los Angeles Dodgers (1998-99), Detroit (1999-2001) and Houston 2001-02).

Mlicki failed to catch on with the Milwaukee Brewers in spring training of 2003 and retired.

MLICKI’s CAREER NUMBERS

BOX SCORE

 

Jun 15

Hot Gee and Reyes lead Mets tonight.

The Mets feature two of the National League’s hottest players in tonight’s game at Atlanta in Dillon Gee and Jose Reyes.

Gee is attempting to beat the Braves for the third time and become the first Mets starter since Dwight Gooden in 1988 to win his first eight starts.

GEE: Going for eighth straight win.

Gee has already beaten Jair Jurrjens and Tommy Hanson, giving up just one run in 12.2 innings.

Despite his success, Gee is taking nothing for granted.

“There’s definitely still a lot of work to be done,’’ said Gee. “I don’t want to look into (the streak) too much. I definitely feel like I’m gaining more confidence every time out. But it’s hard work here, and I have to keep working to maintain where I’m at and gain a little better, too.’’

Also blistering is Jose Reyes, who leads the majors with a .346 average. Over the last 18 games, Reyes has sizzled with a .438 average, five triples, two homers and 12 RBI with 21 runs scored.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen anybody sustain it the way he has for three and a half, four weeks,’’ manager Terry Collins said.