Sep 14

Mets’ 2012 schedule

It’s always fun to look at next year’s schedule, especially with this one all but gone.

The Mets open at home against Atlanta and Washington.

Their interleague opponents are Toronto (on the road in May, which seems odd), the Yankees (first at the Stadium in June then at Citi Field in July), at Tampa Bay and home to Baltimore.

Playing Toronto in May is awkward, as is having two road series to Philadelphia by May 10. Also quirky is a Cubs-Dodgers road trip in June, and three series against the Marlins the last month of the season (and first three days of October).

 

METS 2012 SCHEDULE

April

5, 7, 8 vs. Atlanta

9, 10, 11 vs. Washington

13, 14, 15 at Philadelphia

16, 17, 18 at Atlanta

20, 21, 22, 23 vs. San Francisco

24, 25, 26 vs. Florida

27, 28, 29 at Colorado

30 at Houston

May

1, 2 at Houston

4, 5, 6 vs. Arizona

7, 8, 9 at Philadelphia

11, 12, 13 at Florida

14, 15 vs. Milwaukee

16, 17 vs. Cincinnati

18, 19, 20 at Toronto

21, 22, 23 at Pittsburgh

24, 25, 26, 27 vs. San Diego

28, 29, 30 vs. Philadelphia

June

1, 2, 3, 4 vs. St. Louis

5, 6, 7, at Washington

8, 9, 10 at Yankees

12, 13, 14 at Tampa Bay

15, 16, 17 vs. Cincinnati

18, 19, 20 vs. Baltimore

22, 23, 24 vs. Yankees

25, 26, 27 at Chicago (NL)

28, 29, 30 at Los Angeles (NL)

July

1 at Los Angeles (NL)

3, 4, 5 vs. Philadelphia

6, 7, 8 vs. Chicago (NL)

13, 14, 15 at Atlanta

17, 18, 19 at Washington

20, 21, 22 vs. Los Angeles (NL)

23, 24, 25 vs. Washington

26, 27, 28, 29 at Arizona

30, 31 at San Francisco

August

1, 2 at San Francisco

3, 4, 5 at San Diego

7, 8, 9 vs. Florida

10, 11, 12 vs. Atlanta

14, 15, 16 at Cincinnati

17, 18, 19 at Washington

20, 21, 22,23 vs. Colorado

24, 25, 26 vs. Houston

28, 29, 30 at Philadelphia

31 at Florida

September

1, 2 at Florida

3, 4, 5 at St. Louis

7, 8, 9 vs. Atlanta

10, 11, 12 vs. Washington

14, 15, 16 at Milwaukee

17, 18, 19 vs. Philadelphia

21, 22, 23 vs. Florida

24, 25, 26, 27 vs. Pittsburgh

28, 29, 30 at Atlanta

October

1, 2, 3 at Florida

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.

 

Sep 10

Today in Mets’ History: “Look who’s in first place.”

The scoreboard said it all: “Look who’s in first place.’’ From trailing Chicago by ten games on Aug. 13, the Mets made it all the way back, plus one, after a doubleheader sweep of the Montreal Expos, 3-2 in 12 innings in the opener and 7-1 in the second game, coupled with the Cubs losing to Philadelphia.

Jim McAndrew gave up two runs on four hits in 11 innings in the first game and Ken Boswell drove in the game-winner with a single in the 12th innings off Bill Stoneman.

It was all Nolan Ryan in the second game as he gave up a run on three hits.

Imagine that, three pitchers worked 21 innings that day for the Mets.

FIRST GAME

SECOND GAME

 

Sep 09

Today in Mets’ History: The Black Cat Game

Throughout the Summer of `69, Chicago Cubs third baseman Ron Santo celebrated each victory by clicking his heels in the air.

He clicked them often as the Cubs built a seemingly insurmountable 10-game lead by Aug. 13. However, he wouldn’t be clicking them on this day, although superstition would be the headliner.

That lead was cut to a half-game on this date as Tom Seaver, backed by homers from Donn Clendenon and Art Shamsky, beat Ferguson Jenkins and the Cubs, 7-1, in what will forever be known as “The Black Cat Game.’’

The black cat symbolized the Cubs' fall.

While the Cubs were batting, a black cat walked behind the on-deck circle where Santo was standing.

“(The cat) kept walking around their on-deck circle,’’ said Ed Kranepool in a phone interview. “The crowd kept yelling and cheering, and the cat just stayed there.’’

No, the cat wasn’t planned.

“We had a lot of cats (at Shea) because we had a lot of rats there,’’ Kranepool said.

From Aug. 14, the Mets sizzled at 39-11 while the Cubs went 21-29 during that stretch, including  8-17 in September. The Mets were 23-7 in September.

The cat is a nice story and a great piece of Mets’ lore. From the Chicago perspective, perhaps Leo Durocher burned out his team – which only played day games at home – by running out the same lineup every day. Five Cubs played in at least 150 games and two more played over 130.

Still, 92 wins for the year isn’t bad.

However, the Mets’ pitching was brilliant with 13 shutouts in August and September.

“We were playing great baseball,’’ Kranepool said. “When we came home from the West Coast (where they went 6-4) we were playing our best baseball of the season.

“The lead went from ten to six, then it kept going down.’’

BOX SCORE

The victory was the Mets’ 82nd, which assured them of their first winning season.  It was also their fourth in the midst of a stretch where they won 10 straight and 13 of 14 games to go up by 3 ½ games.

 

Sep 08

Wouldn’t mind seeing Izzy back.

Jason Isringhausen told ESPN he’d like to pitch next year, and I’m all for giving him a one-year deal. Nothing longer. Isringhausen pitched well enough to warrant attention from teams looking for a veteran presence in the bullpen, but I don’t see anybody, the Mets included, signing him strictly as a closer.

IZZY: A case for bringing him back.

However, he showed the capability of getting the job done when he had to. Isringhausen saved seven games after Francisco Rodriguez was traded, and overall showed his fastball still has some life with 44 strikeouts in 46 innings.

The Mets are hoping Bobby Parnell will win the job, but he’s far from a certainty. There’s nobody else that jumps out, either. I don’t believe Isringhausen has enough left in the tank to be a fulltime closer, but he’s a great influence to have in what figures to be a young, and likely, inexperienced bullpen, next season. Parnell could do a lot worse than having Isringhausen around as his mentor. So could most everybody else in what has arguably been one of the Mets’ signature weaknesses this season.

The Mets exceeded expectations this year and should take another step in 2012. Isringhausen could get some attention from contenders, but his biggest influence still could come in Flushing. I am all for giving young guys a shot, but I’m against cutting loose veterans who still have something to offer. It’s not as if the Mets’ bullpen is loaded with fireballing, young arms with pinpoint control.

The bullpen can be a chatty place, and relief pitching is one position on a team most ripe for a younger player soaking up information regarding pitch selection, location, how to work to various hitters, and to retain one’s composure.

The man must know something with 300 career saves. Conversely, Parnell doesn’t even have 180 career innings pitched.