Apr 07

Mets Matters: Players Get Rings

The Mets received their 2015 NL Championship rings this afternoon in a low profile ceremony at Citi Field.

Mike Cuddyer came to New York at David Wright‘s invitation – the team should have made the offer – and the club flew up Zack Wheeler and Josh Edgin from Port St. Lucie.

Wright told reporters: “All of us will wear that proudly. But at the same time, it’s time to move on. After we get the rings, it’s officially last year. We need to start worrying about this year. So, I think, it’s a nice cherry on the top.
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“Obviously, we could spend all day reflecting on the success that we had last year and the run and how much fun we had on the baseball field. But I think the flip side of that is it gives you a little motivation. That second-place ring is not what anybody in here wants. It’s that’s first-place ring. So I think it reminds you that you’re still working for that.”

DeGROM STILL IN LINE TO START

Jacob deGrom is still on for starting Friday’s home opener against Philadelphia because his wife, Stacey, still hasn’t delivered.

The baby was due Tuesday when the Mets were in Kansas City.

If deGrom makes it, it will be his second straight home-opener start. He will be followed by Bartolo Colon, Matt Harvey, and Steven Matz Monday against Miami.

If deGrom returns to Florida, Colon will start.

PIAZZA’S DAD WANTS JERSEY

Mike Piazza’s father, Vince, told The York Post his family might buy back the jersey at auction and will donate it to the Hall of Fame.

“My God, it’s not right what is going on here,’’ Vince Piazza said. “That thing belongs in the Hall of Fame. It belongs to all the fans of baseball. That home run was so important, not only for New York, but for the entire country.

“When Mike hit that home run, it lit the whole city up again. The city was dark, and that turned the lights on again. It’s a historic home run, and I know how much it means to Mike.’’

Too bad the Mets didn’t when they let it get away.

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Apr 07

Mets Made Huge Mistake With Piazza Jersey

When you hear of things like this with the Mets, what immediately comes to mind is: How the hell could happen in the first place?

The jersey Mike Piazza wore during the first game back after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks is up for auction, and not by the team. Ten days later, Piazza authored one of the most dramatic events in franchise history that night with game-winning home run that beat the Atlanta Braves.

PIAZZA: Post 9-11 history. (AP)

PIAZZA: Post 9-11 history. (AP)

That jersey, which should have immediately been offered to the Baseball Hall of Fame, or at least placed in the Mets’ trophy case, somehow found its way to a memorabilia collector.

The jersey is now available – for a hefty price, of course – as it will be put up for auction, April 30, by Goldin Auctions.

We all know the Mets have been under financial duress in recent years, but I refuse to believe Chief Operating Officer Jeff Wilpon sold it on his own, but the confirmed the jersey being sold.

“We made a mistake in selling the jersey, and Jeff called Mike to express our regret in so doing,” reported The New York Post.

However, that admission doesn’t get the jersey back and Piazza isn’t pleased.

“I’m very disappointed with the situation regarding my game jersey from Sept. 21, 2001,” Piazza told The Post. “I’ve expressed my feelings to [chief operating officer] Jeff [Wilpon] and the Mets. And while it never should have left Citi Field, they have assured me that contact with the seller has been made and they are making a concerted effort to get the jersey back.

“I’m hopeful that an agreement can be reached and we can give back to the fans and all New Yorkers a piece of that evening that was more than just a game.”

If nothing else, Piazza should buy it back himself and donate the jersey to the Hall of Fame and write it off his taxes.

The Mets have long been accused of not honoring their history and this is another example. Citi Field should have been designed with a team museum in its confines, but that only happened after the first year when there was an outcry from Mets’ fans about the franchise forgetting its history.

It should be noted Mets owner Fred Wilpon grew up a Brooklyn Dodgers’ fan and the front of Citi Field resembles Ebbets Field and the Jackie Robinson Rotunda was part of the original design while a Mets museum wasn’t.

The Mets have to make this right by buying back the jersey. It will cost them a lot of money, but it is the right thing to do. When they get it back, it must go to either, Piazza, the Hall of Fame, or the Mets Museum.

That’s the only way to make it right.

ON DECK:  Mets Matters: Mets Notebook

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Apr 07

This Day In Mets’ History: Gooden Makes Debut

On this date in 1984, it began for Dwight Gooden who gave up one run in five innings to beat Houston, 3-2, in his major league debut at 19.

Franchise lore has it Gooden was so amped up for his start he had to jump a fence to get into a locked Astrodome.

GOODEN: Made debut  this day in 1984. (Getty)

GOODEN: Made debut this day in 1984. (Getty)

Gooden was a four-time All-Star during his 16-year career, but not after his fifth season.

Gooden finished his first season 17-9 with a 2.60 ERA over 31 starts. He worked 218 innings and was the Rookie of the Year by virtue of leading the league in strikeouts (276), WHIP (1.073) and strikeouts per nine innings (11.4).

The following season was Gooden’s best as he won the Cy Young Award and finished fourth in the MVP voting by going 24-4 (his only 20-win season) with a league-leading 1.53 ERA. He also lead the league in innings (276.2) and strikeouts (268).

While Gooden had some good seasons, his problem with drugs denied him of the greatness many projected.

Gooden left the Mets after a 3-4 record in 1994, his third straight losing season. After sitting out the 1995 season with a drug suspension, Gooden went on to play for the Yankees (he pitched a no-hitter for them in 1996), Cleveland, Houston, Tampa Bay and a second stint in the Bronx in 2000, which was his final season.

Gooden was 157-85 with a 3.10 ERA in 11 seasons with the Mets.

While Gooden will always be regarded as an iconic Met, the organization has never been inclined to retire his number.

ON DECK:  Piazza jersey fiasco.

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Apr 06

Mets Matters: DeGrom Still Waiting On Baby

The Jacob deGrom family is still awaiting the birth of the couple’s first child, which puts the starter of Friday’s home opener in flux.

mets-matters logoThe current plan is for deGrom to start against the Phillies, but if wife Stacey goes into labor, he could be on a flight to Florida. Well, at least he’ll be close to the airport.

If deGrom doesn’t start, Steven Matz is expected to get the start, although manager Terry Collins did not rule out Bartolo Colon. If deGrom does pitch Friday, Colon would start Saturday, Matt Harvey on Sunday and Matz Monday against Miami.

WALKER WINS BELT: The Mets have a tradition of awarding the star of every victory a wrestling-style championship belt. The season’s first winner is second baseman Neil Walker because of his game-winning two-run homer Tuesday in Kansas City.

“I’ve heard a lot about it –  the mystique of it that comes along,” Walker told reporters. “That was a really cool moment to get it [Tuesday]. But I don’t know if I completely deserve it. You saw what Noah [Syndergaard] did today. I think we’ll split it.”

 

Apr 06

Don’t Write Off Wright

A player with intense pride and a driving work ethic can’t be dismissed, which is what was being done to the Mets’ David Wright after his 0-for-4 night in the season opener. One of those at-bats was when he was caught looking in the ninth inning.

Wright also looked sluggish in the field, both moving in the field and his throwing.

WRIGHT: A lot to smile about Tuesday. (AP)

WRIGHT: A lot to smile about Tuesday. (AP)

Not surprisingly, there were numerous columns and radio commentaries about Wright being washed up, done in by his balky back which limited him to 10 spring training games and 29 at-bats. Wright said he didn’t care about the criticism, understanding it comes with the territory.

I’ve covered Wright for ten years and know how hard he works and how the criticism can sting. He works as hard as any athlete I’ve covered, and that includes Cal Ripken. When he’s hurting and can’t play as well as he would like it eats at him.

Last year was brutal.

Wright looked so much better in Tuesday’s 2-0 victory in Kansas City. He looked fluid in the field, and at the plate walked twice, singled and stole two bases. He said he felt much better and played the game on instincts.

“It feels good to just kind of play ‘reactionary,’ ” Wright told reporters. “That’s the goal – to just go out there and play the way I’ve always played. … The biggest thing for me is I want to play the game instinctively. I don’t want to think about [the back]. It helps to know I can get up and go hard. I can’t tell you how much fun this is.”

Manager Terry Collins said the steals were all instinct, that Wright understands a pitcher’s delivery time to the plate and how the infielders are positioned as well as the game situation. Above all, the steals told him Wright is feeling better, or at least he felt good against the Royals.

“If he was hurting, he wouldn’t have even tried,” Collins said. “It would have killed him to slide.”

It didn’t kill Wright Tuesday and the more days like that the better for him and the Mets. We can always hope.

ON DECK: Mets Matters: Notebook 

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