May 11

Willie Mays became a Met on this date.

He was supposed to be a Giant forever, but on this day in 1972, San Francisco traded Willie Mays to the Mets for future trivia question answer, pitcher Charlie Williams, and $50,000.

MAYS: Playing stickball is how some will always remember him.

The trade was full circle for Mays, who returned to the city where he began his Hall of Fame 21 years before.

Mays showed few glimpses of greatness with the Mets. They were scarce and he looked old in the 1973 World Series. Still, he was still Willie Mays and he carried an aura about him. He was an electric player, in the field, on the bases and at-bat. And, even in those last games there was always the hope he’d provide one more memory.

Mays did not have the longevity in New York as Mickey Mantle, Duke Snider or Joe DiMaggio, but will always be linked to the city, and as they talk of his catch off Vic Wertz in the 1954 World Series in the Polo Grounds against Cleveland, they also speak of him playing stickball with kids in the streets.

Mays finished with 660 home runs, but missed nearly two years at the beginning of his career to serve in the military. Had he played those seasons, there’s no telling how close he would have come to Babe Ruth. The numbers were staggering regardless as he played in that wind tunnel known as Candlestick Park. (For the record, Mays hit .298 with 39 homers and 106 RBI lifetime against the Mets).

Much to my regret, I never saw Mays play in person. I saw Mantle, Hank Aaron, Frank Robinson and Roberto Clemente from his era, but never Mays. Television never did him justice. I do know, however, had I had that opportunity, I wouldn’t have taken my eyes off him the entire game.

He was that special a player. I hope you’ll share your special memories of Mays with me.


May 10

Mets Chat Room: Pelfrey goes against Rockies.

Mike Pelfrey goes tonight against Colorado, a team he’s enjoyed a good amount of success against. Pelfrey is 5-2 with a 2.91 ERA lifetime against Colorado, where he is 2-1 with a 3.24 ERA.

Pelfrey gives the Mets a legitimate chance to win, but he needs some support, and that means Jason Bay and David Wright. Both, when hot, have the capability of carrying a ream for a week or two, but neither has proven to get hot with power for any extended period.

And, if there’s any park where you can get the power going is Coors Field.

To talk during tonight’s game, click onto the Mets Chat icon to your left.

 

May 10

Interesting talk, but Bay is staying.

I had to chuckle this afternoon when I tuned into the talk show and heard the announcer say it was time to trade Jason Bay, that a change of scenery would do him good.

BAY: At intro press conference. In happier times.

How could it not?

 

Citi Field might be too expansive for Bay, and sure there’s the New York pressure, and playing somewhere else just might turn around his career. But, it is wishful thinking.

Bay isn’t going anywhere, at least not for a few years, anyway.

Only somebody with deep pocket would be willing to take the balance of Bay’s $66 million contract off the Mets’ hands, but nobody wants to do the Wilpons any favors.

The Red Sox backed off their initial offer to back because of concerns over his knees and shoulder, and whether they would hold up over the course of the contract.

So far, those haven’t been an issue like Bay’s concussion and oblique, but they are still out there. What is on everybody’s radar is Bay’s monstrous contract, a full no-trade clause, and lack of production, notably a dramatic drop in power.

Sure, Bay might benefit from going elsewhere, and no doubt the Mets would like to get out from under his contract, but he’s not going anywhere.

Just wishful thinking.

May 10

Mets have a few bright spots along the way.

The Mets wasted another Chris Capuano outing last night, but on the bright spot they has a good outing to waste. Capuano has been up-and-down this spring, but he’s had a several starts suggest he was worth the gamble.

And, before Chris Young was injured, he had his moments, too. Ditto, Pedro Beatto.

The 2011 season hasn’t been totally void of positive developments. Ike Davis has been fun to watch, Jose Thole will continue to improve,  Carlos Beltran has stayed healthy and, despite for some concentration lapses, Jose Reyes has had a good season.

You can make statistics read anything you’d like, but the 15-20 Mets have lost 11 games this season by two or fewer runs. Improvement in the RISP category and they could be a .500 team or better. It’s not that inconceivable to believe.

In every team’s development from bad to decent to good, there are steps and one of them is learning how to win the close games. Yes, they’ve won a few, but the 11 they have lost can be, and should be gnawing to them.

Hopefully, these defeats are bothering them, making them angry and more determined to concentrate and focus when the games are close. That’s why I pointed out the other day about Reyes. Sure, they won that game, but there have been others they lost where he and others fell out of focus.

The Mets are having some good things happen this year, and their losing the close games should be looked upon as a learning experience. When Sandy Alderson is considering how close the Mets are to reaching contending status, this is something he should evaluate closely.

This is not a contending team, but it isn’t one that should be blown up, either.