Sep 13

Hat flap issue; everybody loses.

The fallout from the 9-11 hat flap was disturbing on several levels, beginning with MLB’s inane policy to forbid the Mets and Yankees from wearing them during their games Sunday.

Joe Torre, VP of operations for MLB, said it was a decision to be uniform throughout the sport that day with teams wearing caps with the flag emblem. But, why deny the Mets, Yankees and Nationals, teams hit personally by the tragedy?

No good reason. MLB being MLB, I guess.

That Commissioner Bud Selig is reportedly angry at the Mets for making this public indicates his embarrassment over the issue, and he’s that way because he knew he blew it. How could he, or anybody else with MLB, not forecasted this would have been an issue in New York?

MLB’s offices are in Manhattan. Didn’t anybody stick their head out a window last week to get a feel for things? Why do you think MLB had the Mets and Cubs on that night? Like ESPN, they wanted to country to look in that day at New York. It’s why the Cowboys at the Jets was the NFL prime game.  Get those ratings up, baby.

If the Yankees had been home to Kansas City that night, that would have been the game. If the Giants were home instead of the Jets, they would have been the attraction. This isn’t all that hard to figure out.

Obviously, they weren’t paying attention when the NFL backed down late last week to public opinion on players wearing gloves and shoes in support of 9-11. By the way, coaches and players for the Giants, Redskins, Jets and Cowboys all wore caps honoring first responders on the sidelines.

That this issue was still the focus last night says this is, and always will be, a hot button issue for MLB.

Now, we’re speculating all sorts of things that continue to put the Mets and MLB in a bad light. Did the Mets back down because of their financial issues and the loan they received from MLB? Was this decision made because MLB could market their US flag caps?

Maybe none of those are issues, but it can’t escape speculation.

Lastly, Terry Collins admitted the hat flap was a distraction last night. Tonight, the pregame questions of the players will be centered on was last night really a distraction? So, because of an anal decision by MLB, this  turns into two or three-day story.

Personally, I can’t believe he would have the nerve to pin the loss on that issue as a distraction. As an athlete, they have to disregard such nonsense. Collins was making an excuse.

The Mets lost last night because they couldn’t field or hit the ball and wasted another quality start by RA Dickey.

 

Aug 13

Today in Mets’ History: Leiter throws gem at Giants.

The Mets acquired Al Leiter prior to the 1998 season from the Marlins in Florida’s fire sale after winning the World Series.

He was a big

LEITER: Big-game starter for Mets.

-game starter in seven years with the Mets, going 95-67 with a 3.42 ERA. In a one-game playoff at Cincinnati in 1999, throwing a two-hit shutout, 5-0, to send the Mets to the NLCS against Atlanta.

On this date in 2000, Leiter pitched one of his best games as he struck out 12 to beat the Giants, 2-0. Leiter was an All-Star that season and started Games 1 and 5 in the World Series against the Yankees.

Leiter broke in with the Yankees, and had two stints with them (1987-89 and 2005). He also pitched for Toronto (1989-95), the Marlins (1996-97), the Mets (1998-2004) and briefly returned to the Marlins in 2005 before going back to the Yankees.

Currently a member of the Yankees’ broadcasting team on YES, Leiter has also expressed interest in a political career.

LEITER CAREER

 

Aug 12

Today in Mets’ History: Mays’ finale at Candlestick.

When the consider the event, it was shocking that only 13,000 were in attendance on this day in 1973 at San Francisco.

MAYS: Always popular at Shea.

The Giants beat the Mets, 4-1, in what was Willie Mays’ last appearance as a player in Candlestick Park. Mays went 0-for-4.

Five days later, against Cincinnati’s Don Gullet at Shea Stadium, Mays hit his 660th and final home run of his career.

This was Mays’ last season, and it was a disappointing way to go out, even if he played in the World Series. In 66 games, Mays hit .211 with six homers and 25 RBI.

The Mets traded for Mays in May of 1972 in a public relations coup for the franchise. At the time, the Giants were in financial distress and owner Horace Stoneham couldn’t guarantee a position after retirement.

MAYS CAREER

 

Jul 31

Mets already winners at deadline.

The Mets have already done their heavy lifting for this year’s trade deadline when they unloaded Francisco Rodriguez’s $17.5 million 2012 option and dealt Carlos Beltran to San Francisco for the Giants’ top prospect Zack Wheeler,

Even should Wheeler never make it with the Mets, GM Sandy Alderson has emerged as one of the winners at this summer’s trade market. In ridding themselves of Rodriguez’s option, they’ve gained $14.5 million worth of payroll flexibility (they would have had a $3.5 million buyout had he stayed and not made 55 appearances to finish games.)

That’s not nearly enough to re-sign Jose Reyes, but it does sweeten the pot and offer money for other areas of need, say the bullpen or another starter.

The Mets have additional pieces they could deal a contender, such as Jason Isringhausen, Tim Brydak and Angel Pagan, but it appears they will keep a pat hand for another month and continue with the objective of playing aggressive baseball.

The odds are long for a wild-card, but should the Mets slide further away, they can always deal those chips in a waiver trade. For now, the suspenseful part of their summer is over, they’ve dealt Beltran. The rest of the season is to build on the good feelings they’ve generated for being competitive and savor the victories in the moves they did make.