Jun 02

Johan Santana Thundered For Mets Before Rains Came

It poured last night, and even if that smudge on the left field line was rubbed out, nothing could wash away what Johan Santana did in throwing the first no-hitter in Mets’ history.

After 8,020 games, and the likes of Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, Nolan Ryan, Dwight Gooden and David Cone throwing magic for them the previous 50 years, Santana just missed throwing the Mets’ 36th one hitter.

SANTANA: Waving to crowd (AP)

We know the numbers because the no-hit streak became a part of franchise lore, to be announced nearly every day after the opponent’s first hit. It will be interesting to hear how the Cardinals’ first hit today will be broadcast.

Who knows, maybe the Mets will throw a few more in the coming years, but there is nothing like the first. Jon Niese, R.A. Dickey and John Maine came close in recent seasons, but it was special because it was Santana, who showed extraordinary focus against the National League’s premier offense and overcame the tendency to wander and shift into cruise control with an 8-0 lead.

He was aided by an umpire’s blown call – the streak would be alive today with instant replay – but for one night baseball karma was with the Mets, the way it was during the Summer of 69 and on that crisp October night when Mookie Wilson’s grounder snaked up the first base line and scooted underneath Bill Buckner’s glove.

Perhaps karma was with the Mets because after so many snake bites and near misses – many with Santana on the mound – they deserved to have one to go their way. Logically, it isn’t supposed to work that way in sports, but the Mets always defied logic, just as Santana’s comeback from serious surgery came against conventional medical wisdom.

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May 01

New Poll: Mets Player Of Month For April

David Wright’s ability to regain his status as an offensive threat is why I chose him as the Mets’ April Player of the Month.

There are other viable candidates, such as Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Johan Santana. Please vote and tell us your thoughts on the Mets Player of the Month for April.

ON DECK: Is this it for Pelfrey as a Met?

Apr 24

How Will You Remember Jose Reyes?

We all glanced at the schedule when it came out to see when Jose Reyes would return to New York with the Marlins. David Wright says he misses his friend, but remembers the dynamic Reyes from a different perspective than we do.

REYES: Sitting alone after leaving his last Mets game (AP).

I’ll always remember Reyes as a dynamic player with an electric smile, but also prone to moodiness, injuries and taking plays off. Such as not covering second base in a late-season game against Washington which led to a big inning and another loss during the Mets’ historic 2007 collapse.

Reyes returns tonight and I wonder what the reaction will be. I doubt it will be as warm as the one Shea Stadium gave Mike Piazza when he returned as a San Diego Padre in 2006. There will be cheers, but I can’t see there being overwhelming affection.

While Wright says he wants to remain and retire with the Mets, Reyes never said anything like that last summer. I always got the feeling Reyes already had one foot out the door. Of course, the Mets never did, or said, anything to indicate they wanted to keep him.

Maybe that’s the feeling Reyes had when he bunted for a base hit and took himself out of the game to preserve his batting title in the season finale. That’s his last moment with the Mets, and not a classy way to say goodbye. It reminded me how LeBron James left the court in his last game with the Cavaliers. Both looked like they couldn’t get out of town fast enough.

I don’t like that it is, but taking himself out to preserve his title will be my enduring image of Reyes as a Met. That, and hardly running in the second half. Clearly, the injury prone Reyes wanted to protect his fragile hamstrings and not damage his stock in the free-agent market. That was selfish and disrespectful to his teammates and fans. Your remembrances might be different.

Anybody who understood what was going on with the Mets last year knew Reyes was gone. The team was in financial distress – still is – and wasn’t about to give Reyes a $100-plus million contract. With his recent injury history to his legs and declining base stealing totals, the Mets couldn’t afford to go six or seven years with him. As a rebuilding team, they couldn’t risk sinking that much money or years into a player who already had shown signs of breaking down.

That wouldn’t  be good business.

The Mets always treated Reyes well and gave him a long-term deal early in his career (2006) when they weren’t obligated. They could have played the system and lowballed him. Reyes grew up poor, was a new father, and insecure about his money. The Mets helped him; it was an investment in the future.

Years later, Reyes had no intention of leaving money on the table. He knew the Mets wouldn’t be the highest bidder. He was probably checking the real estate listings in Miami last August.

“It’s sad what has happened there.” Reyes said. “I loved New York. I loved playing for the Mets and I loved the fans, but there was no way it was going to work our for me to stay.”

Well, there was. He never told the Mets what it would have taken to keep him and had no intention of giving a home team discount.

It was a business decision – by both parties.

Reyes is a sensitive guy. Always has been. When he said he couldn’t wait to come back, you can take that a number of ways. And, you wouldn’t be wrong to think it is to stick it to the Mets.

 

Apr 09

Can Pelfrey Maintain Roll For Mets?

One of baseball’s most popular cliches is pitching is contagious, both good and bad. Tonight against Washington, Mike Pelfrey, who struggled during spring training  will attempt to follow up the Mets’ strong showing from its rotation in his first appearance of the season.

PELFREY: What's he thinking?

The Mets have been here before with Pelfrey, and your guess is as good as anybody as to how he’ll come of the game. Eventually, however, Pelfrey must confront his demeans and pitch like he’s supposed to.

For the second straight season I’ve listed Pelfrey as the one key Met, who if he turned it around could take the next step to stardom. We’ve waited for several years for Pelfrey to turn it around. It’s time for him.

 

 

 

Jan 24

Back again …. on booing Reyes.

With my father’s passing and several health issues, it has been a slow start to 2012. Trying to get it going again. It is hard to believe spring training is only a few weeks away.

REYES: Gazing toward Miami?

There’s more than a few things on my mind these days beginning with a couple of notes, beginning with a few things I read on metsblog.com this morning.

I believe Matt Cerrone does a very good job at what he does and his numbers support it success. But, something on his blog about Jose Reyes bugged me this morning. There was a graphic asking whether you would boo Reyes, and overwhelmingly the response was no.

Such an outcry tells me the majority of the Mets’ fan base didn’t like Reyes leaving or how the team handled the whole thing. But, with the offseason slow and unproductive for the Mets, the graphic was ill-timed. Matt should run it when the Marlins come into town.

Another thing that bugged me a little was the BBWAA voting Reyes the Good Guy Award. There’s no disputing in one-on-ones with the media Reyes was always cordial and pleasant. I enjoyed him immensely.

But, a little perspective here.

Last summer, Reyes continually dodged questions about his pertaining free-agency. But, what bothered me most was pulling himself out of his last game as a Met to protect his batting title. That set so wrong with me and a lot of others. There’s no good-guy there.

Once Reyes went back into that dugout, he moved on from the Mets – and you. It’s about time you did the same.

Reyes was a good player here, but he’s gone. He’ll spend more years with the Marlins, and maybe other teams after that, then he did with the Mets. There were good years here, but also unproductive years sapped by injury.

Will his career be defined by his seasons with the Mets? I don’t know. But, I do know it is time to get over him.