Nov 05

About Last Night: Reflections on Mets vs. Yankees.

The Yankees are better than the Mets, I won’t insult you to suggest otherwise. But, that doesn’t mean the gap can’t close.

The Mets, when healthy, have talent, but truth be told probably more unrealized potential. When it comes to their abilities, they are an uncashed check.

Yes, yes, I know … the Yankees have the whole check book, but that’s not the point.
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Nov 04

Game 6: Where history is made.

Game 6 is more than a count of what has been played, more than a bookmark to the World Series. Game 6 has its own mystique. The most dramatic World Series usually go seven games, but it can’t get there without a Game 6.

Fisk's homer.

Fisk's homer.


One way or another, it ends after Game 7, which takes away part of the suspense. However, there’s a sense of urgency, of desperation, for the team behind entering Game 6.

It is why many of baseball’s most dramatic moments are born to that game. I’ve chosen five, with the criteria being I saw the game and it produced a seventh game.

One of baseball’s most enduring images, and perhaps its greatest game, came in the 1975 World Series on Carlton Fisk’s game-ending homer in the 12th inning as Boston beat Cincinnati, 7-6. Fisk’s homer was made possible by Bernie Carbo’s three-run, two-strike, pinch-hit game-tying homer in the eighth inning.

Fisk’s moment just delayed what Red Sox fans would call the inevitable, as Boston lost Game 7 at Fenway Park.

Buckner a picture of dejection.

Buckner a picture of dejection.


Another moment etched in time is the ball that got by by Bill Buckner in the 1986 World Series. Down to their last out, the Mets rallied for three runs to beat Boston, 6-5, with the game-winner coming on Mookie Wilson’s dribbler through Buckner’s legs.

The Mets went on to win Game 7, and overcame a three-run deficit to do it.

That game was made possible because the Mets prevailed against Houston over 16 innings in Game 6 of the NLCS. Keith Hernandez called it a crucial victory as it kept the Mets from facing Mike Scott, who beat them in Games 1 and 4.

This year’s playoffs have been marred by terrible umpiring, but one of the game’s most infamous calls came in the eighth inning of Game 6 of the 1985 World Series that might have kept St. Louis from winning. Facing elimination and down 1-0 going into the ninth inning, umpire Don Denkinger ruled Kansas City’s Jorge Orta safe at first on a play in which he was clearly out.

The Royals went on to win that game, 2-1, then rout the Cardinals, 11-0, in Game 7.

The Call.

The Call.


In Game 6 of the 1991 World Series, Minnesota’s Kirby Puckett’s 11th inning homer off Charlie Leibrandt kept the Twins alive, 4-3. They would win Game 7 on Jack Morris’ ten-inning shutout. single run, four games decided in the final at-bat and three games going into extra innings.

Often forgotten, perhaps because the game wasn’t decided on a game-ending hit, Anaheim rallied from five runs down in the seventh inning to beat San Francisco, 6-5. The Angels scored three in the seventh and three in the eighth to win, then won Game 7.

Another came in the 1971 World Series, when the Orioles, facing elimination, beat Pittsburgh, 3-2, in 10 innings on Brooks Robinson’s sacrifice fly.

I invite you to reflect on these moments and any other you might have about Game 6 in the World Series.

Nov 03

Hamels: What was he really saying?

I’ll be honest, there are some in the media who take a quote and run with it without dissecting what was really said. There’s more to a quote than just words. There is context, and that must be part of the equation.

HAMELS: Has had better times.

HAMELS: Has had better times.


The media likes Cole Hamels because he’s a good quote. He says what’s on his mind without always using a filter. Nobody will ever forget his Mets as “chokers,” comment last winter on WFAN.

After he was ripped in Game 3, Hamels went on a radio show and spoke of his miserable season. Last year’s World Series MVP isn’t having it so good these days and it’s not a given he will start a possible Game 7, despite it being his turn.

Hamels was 10-11 this season, and is 0-1 with a 7.58 ERA in four starts in the playoffs. The Yankees got him for five runs in Game 3.

It was obvious to me what his meaning was when he said: “I can’t wait for it to end. It’s been mentally draining. At year’s end, you just can’t wait for a fresh start.”

However, Hamels will look at this season through a different set of glasses if he pitches, and wins, Game 7. I don’t see how anybody, including his teammate Brett Myers, could think he was saying he didn’t want the ball one more time.

I can’t imagine anybody believing Hamels saying he was quitting.

After all this, I would think Manuel would want to start Hamels, who would take to the mound with anger and added incentive.

Nov 03

About Last Night: We have a Series.

There’s a chance I could get my wish and this thing will go seven games. Those that know me understand that the only rooting interest I have is for a playoff round go seven games.

UTLEY: Two more bombs last night.

UTLEY: Two more bombs last night.


Last night was about the resiliency of the Phillies which was something the Mets have seen the last three seasons. With the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, a play here or there the other way and the Phillies could have won already as they held leads in the games they lost.

The Yankees got to Cliff Lee for five runs, but it took them until the eighth to do it. We could see him again in Game 7 as a reliever, as that is his throw day. Lee has thrown well north of 200 innings this season and maybe they are catching up to him. The Phillies won because he pitched deep into the game to keep the Yankees out of their bullpen.

Last night, we also saw Chase Utley, who I’ve said several times throughout the season that he’s one of the top position players in the game. If I were starting a team, Albert Pujols would be my first choice and Utley probably my second. Maybe A-Rod.

I’m looking forward to Game 6, which is often the most intense of the playoff games because of the sense of urgency. The key tomorrow night will be Andy Pettitte, who has pitched well this postseason, but not well over his career on three days rest.

Joe Girardi gambled by going with a three-man rotation. It could still work out for the Yankees, but Burnett was hammered and Pettitte has a losing record on three days.

Nov 01

Is there a real option in left?

The two most intriguing left-field names are Jason Bay and Matt Holliday, and I’m not high of the Mets getting either. Less desirous names are Vernon Wells and Milton Bradley. Both would be a mistake.

Amid reports Boston is offering Bay $60 million over four years, one would think he’ll stay with the Red Sox. Holliday would want more, and with Albert Pujols saying he wants to remain with the Cardinals, that is contingent on being surrounded with support. That Holliday is gone from St. Louis could be a premature assumption.

F-MART: Is it time for him?

F-MART: Is it time for him?


Wells is a bad idea considering his numbers are in decline and he has five years remaining on his contract for $98.5 million. If the Mets are willing to spend that much, I’d go for Holliday, but that’s too rich for my blood.

Bradley’s contract calls for two years and $21.5 million, which would be reasonable if he weren’t such a head case and clubhouse cancer. There’s a

Tampa Bay’s Carl Crawford and Pat Burrell, and the Angels’ Gary Matthews Jr. remain options. I’m on board for exploring Crawford, but I’m also beginning to wonder if giving the position to Fernando Martinez would be reasonable.

BRADLEY: Just say no.

BRADLEY: Just say no.


Reportedly, he’s not ready, but why not push the envelope with him? Say give him until the All-Star break and see where he is? Could that really hurt him?

Yes, the Mets have been accused of rushing players, and Mike Pelfrey and Lastings Milledge are two examples. But, if the Mets don’t seriously upgrade their rotation they aren’t going anywhere anyway.

So, maybe it is time for them to see what they have in Martinez?