Jun 16

Today in Mets History: Dave Mlicki’s greatest game.

Dave Mlicki didn’t have a great major league career, going 66-80, but will forever be the answer to a trivia question as on this date in 1997, he threw a nine-hitter to beat the Yankees, 6-0, in the first interleague game.

MLICKI: Forever a trivia question answer.

The Mets and Yankees each had 37-30 records at the time Mlicki outdueled Andy Pettitte.

It definitely was one of those “can’t top this moments,’’ a major leaguer will have in his career.

“My World Series for me,’’ Mlicki once said. “One of my great memories. … I knew it was a big game when I did it and it’s amazing that it’s meant so much to so many people.’’

Mlicki was a non-descript Met then, hardly recognizable, and frequently tells the story of eating breakfast the next morning at a diner and hearing people talk of the game on not know he was sitting at the next table.

Born in Cleveland, Mlicki pitched for his hometown Indians (1992-93), the Mets (1995-98), Los Angeles Dodgers (1998-99), Detroit (1999-2001) and Houston 2001-02).

Mlicki failed to catch on with the Milwaukee Brewers in spring training of 2003 and retired.

MLICKI’s CAREER NUMBERS

BOX SCORE

 

Sep 30

Bitter to the end ….

Last night’s doubleheader loss to the Milwaukee Brewers just about said it all about the 2010 Mets. On the day after an emotional, come-from-behind ninth-inning victory, the Mets responded with the poorest of efforts. In the first game Jon Niese hit a wall, showing he has more work to do, and the makeshift bullpen couldn’t hold down the Brewers.

The Mets rallied, but it fell short.

In the nightcap, as he has all year, RA Dickey gave the Mets a chance to win, but the offense went into hiding.

Oh, during the festivities, the Mets learned Carlos Beltran’s right knee is sore and he’ll be shut down for the remainder of the season. Beltran being hurt again only adds to the growing list of questions for the offseason.

The Mets play Milwaukee tonight, then close the season with three games against the Washington Nationals. They must run the table to finish .500.

Sep 28

Reflections of Willie

With the Milwaukee Brewers in town, and Jerry Manuel presumably in his last week as Mets manager, it is not surprising the attention being placed on Willie Randolph and the inevitable comparisons to his successor.

RANDOLPH: Looking back.

I covered Randolph in 2006 until 2008 when he was unceremoniously fired, and found him to be knowledgeable but sometimes too thin skinned. I won’t use the word paranoid because I’m not a psychiatrist and believe that’s too harsh and unfair an assessment.

I attributed Randolph’s demeanor to it being his first job and his inability to let go of being passed by for other opportunities.

And, to be fair, Randolph had reason to be cautious as the Mets presented him with several untenable obstacles. Willie spoke highly of Omar Minaya the other day, but part of that was being a gentleman. Fact is, there was an uneasy tension between Randolph and the front office caused in large part by the constant undermining presence of Tony Bernazard, who literally was a management spy and who fed information to players that caused a gap in the clubhouse.

Minaya was at fault for letting that situation develop and not pulling in the reigns on Bernazard. Eventually, Bernazard did himself in and his reputation has kept him from landing another baseball job.

That Carlos Delgado sabotaged Randolph’s relationship with the Latin players, and it was allowed to happen by the front office, was distasteful and really despicable. Delgado’s presence undoubtedly hampered Randolph’s relationship with Jose Reyes to name one. It was information fed by Bernazard to Delgado that damaged whatever relationship the player could have with his manager.

The Mets came within one hit of reaching the World Series in 2006, then collapsed in 2007. The collapse that summer was historic, but traceable to the front office not addressing the needs of starting pitching and not bringing back the bullpen that was a strength of the 2006 team. The collapse would have happened sooner, and perhaps not been as dramatic, if not for the strong start that spring.

The bullpen was again a problem in 2008, but the Mets hung around until the final weekend. There was another collapse that year, but not as dramatic. The team hung around long enough for the interim tag to be removed from Manuel.

The Mets have addressed needs piecemeal, from Johan Santana to Francisco Rodriguez to Jason Bay, but never gave Randolph a full deck after 2006. The feeling was that they came close and to take the next step with essentially the same team. Hoping for improvement is not the same as adding the proper pieces to improve.

Gradually, by sticking with Pedro Martinez and Orlando Hernandez too long, by not rebuilding the bullpen after Duaner Sanchez’s injury described in his EMR (electronic medical record) as a  fractured coracoid bone in the shoulder, by misjudging the progress made by Oliver Perez and John Maine after 2007, by hamstringing the bench with the likes of Julio Franco, poor contracts given Perez, Franco and Moises Alou, and numerous injuries, the window has slammed shut on the Mets and it doesn?t matter who is manager.

Had Randolph stayed, he couldn’t navigate through this mess, and Manuel has proven to be less capable. Let’s face it, today’s Mets are a house of cards. Their record will be better this year, but in some respects the team overachieved because of RA Dickey and Hisanori Takahashi, and Mike Pelfrey’s step forward.

With the payroll as it is, the injury to Santana and questions in the pitching staff, and the health issues of Carlos Beltran and Bay, this team could go south again next year.

Randolph deserves another chance to manage in the major leagues, but bringing him back isn’t the best idea. Been there, done that. Just like with Bobby Valentine.

Randolph has his faults as does Manuel, but the fact is this front office will be going on its fifth manager in ten years next season, a sure sign that the instability that comes from up top.

May 30

Mets Chat Room: Avoiding the sweep edition plus other questions.

GAME #51 at Brewers

Can you believe it?

After starting the week in scintillating fashion with a three-game shutout sweep of the Phillies, the Mets are in danger today of being swept by the Milwaukee Brewers.

Here’s something to mull over: The Brewers had won only six home games this season, and could have half that with a victory today.

It has been a disappointing first two games, with Jerry Manuel pulling Johan Santana after eight scoreless innings Friday and Fernando Nieve spitting the bit yesterday, turning his start into nothing more than a long relief appearance.

It was infuriating to learn Manuel didn’t consult Santana on how he was feeling before yanking him. What a disrespectful thing to do to the ace of your staff.

Continue reading

Oct 20

The Jacket finds a closet in Milwaukee.

Former Mets pitching coach Rick Peterson – known as The Jacket to readers of this blog – was given a two-year contract by the Milwaukee Brewers, where he becomes part of the staff that includes Willie Randolph.

Evidently, if there was a rift between Peterson and Randolph, there is no more as Willie had to have been asked for a reference.

THE JACKET: Rejoins Willie in Milwaukee.

THE JACKET: Rejoins Willie in Milwaukee.


“When I walked out of the interview, I was so pleasantly surprised and excited,” said Peterson, who has a unique coaching style steeped in biomechanics.

Peterson was axed along with Randolph during the 2008 season. Peterson helped some members of the Mets staff, notably John Maine and Mike Pelfrey to a degree, but is known for the development of Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder and Barry Zito while with Oakland.

Said Brewers GM Doug Melvin: “Rick brings a number of years of experience as a pitching coach and an extensive background in the study of motion analysis. He is a high-energy individual and a forward thinker with a comprehensive program of motivation and instruction that is in tune with our current pitching philosophy.”