Jun 03

Today in Mets History: A small, yet a big step.

Great journeys begin with small steps and the Mets took on this day in 1969 when Ed Kranepool homered twice to back Tom Seaver to a 5-2 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

It was the Mets’ sixth straight victory and it gave them a 24-23 record to pull them over .500 at the latest point in the season in club history.

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I grew up in Cleveland, but had family in New York that we visited every summer. This was about the time I started paying attention to the Mets watching them on Channel 9.

I used to love watching Ralph, Murph and Lindsey Nelson.

The TV coverage of the Indians at the time was horrible, but these guys made it fun to watch the games, and when they started winning it was even better.

 

Jun 02

Mets rally to win; don’t go overboard on Collins’ speech.

The easy thing to do would be credit this afternoon’s startling comeback on Terry Collins’ blistering rant last night.

Maybe Collins shamed them somewhat, but it didn’t seem that way from the outset when Mike Pelfrey gave it up early. I think falling behind 7-0 had more to do with sparking the Mets than anything Collins said last night.

When you’re a professional athlete, sometimes it takes being pushed around to catch your attention, and that’s what happened today. Maybe for one day at least, enough was enough.

Pelfrey did nothing yesterday to prove he’s a No. 1 starter, but Carlos Beltran showed his mettle with a three-run homer hit early enough in the game to make a comeback a realistic thought.

After their early hole, the Mets played an aggressive, sound game, something they should be doing all the time. That was the essence of Collins’ message in the first place.

It’s an oversimplification to say Collins going off carried the Mets. If it was that easy, he’d rail all the time. In baseball, where they play 162 games, results are rarely attained by yelling.

Maybe the Mets were just due today. Maybe it was playing the Pirates, a team as Willie Harris said, “is not much better than them.’’

The Mets have had games like this before, but weren’t able to build on them. This weekend it’s the Braves coming in and we’ll see if the Mets are able to feed off today or just burp and regress.

Jun 02

Collins rant rings hollow.

It was humorous and a little sad to listen to Terry Collins’ post-game rant last night in the wake of another seventh-inning meltdown. He sounded desperate and out of control, much how his team is playing.

First, he praised the Pirates’ Andrew McCutchen for his hustle and hard play and said that’s how his team should be playing, then stopped short and said effort isn’t the issue.

Well, is it or not?

COLLINS: Where's that smile now?

He said his team played hard, but lacked execution. Passion, but poor performance … kind of like his speech.

Collins railing in front of the Mets logo wasn’t quite Patton in front of the American flag. You remember … Americans love a winner.

The problem is his Mets aren’t winners.

They are losing again and the problems are many beginning most recently and significantly with the bullpen, which imploded again. Over the last ten games the pen has given up 32 earned runs.

Last night a strong performance by Chris Capuano was wasted. Last night also featured several defensive lapses, two from Willie Harris, and the Mets’ first homer in 11 games.

Poor pitching, defense and no power won’t win you many games.

Clearly peeved, Collins ran over the same litany of issues that have burned and burdened the Mets for years. Lack of timely hitting; giving away too many at-bats; that no one player is to blame, that this is a team thing; not making the right pitch at the right time.

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Jun 02

Willie Harris …. zip it.

HARRIS: Tone it down.

Just who is Willie Harris to call out anybody or any team, let alone the one who just beat him?

“No disrespect, but the Pirates aren’t much better than we are right now,’’ Harris said after last night’s meltdown.

That’s total disrespect and such a quote should nail down for him “Idiot of the Week Award.’’

The Mets’ late-inning collapse was again attributable to the bullpen, and Harris’ shoddy defense. First, in not getting to a ball and second not knowing where the bag was which failed to get a force, and, well you know the rest.

Maybe Harris was trying to be positive, but he’s not helping his team by calling out the Pirates, who play the Mets this afternoon and next week in Pittsburgh.

When you’re playing bad, just own up to it and don’t give the other team any ammunition. A team such as the Pirates, which has been losing for the better part of two decades, takes its motivation where it can and Harris just gave them a little more.

 

NEXT UP: Collins’ rant.

Jun 02

Today in Mets History: A win over Juan Marichal.

Juan Marichal was awesome to watch with that high leg kick and fall-off-the-table breaking ball.  He always fell short of Sandy Koufax in notoriety during that era, but was an ace nonetheless, on a par with Bob Gibson and Don Drysdale.

MARICHAL: Dominance with a kick,

For the most part, Marichal had his way with the Mets, going 26-8 with a 2.13 ERA. That dominance included nine shutouts and 26 complete games.

Marichal also struck out 241 Mets while walking just 44.

However, on this day in 1971, the Mets beat him 5-2 in San Francisco.

The Mets got three hits from Bud Harrelson and two each from Tommie Agee, Art Shamsky, Ed Kranepool and Duffy Dyer.

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