Dec 08

Hart for Maine? No deals ….

Omar Minaya admits the Mets are talking trade, and one interesting rumor surfaced late last night. Milwaukee, with outfielder Corey Hart coming to the Mets for pitcher John Maine. Makes for interesting winter meetings reading on Day One of the winter meetings, but that’s all it is.

The Mets are so thin at starting pitching, and with John Maine pitching well enough at the end of last season to ease concerns about his health, there’s no way they are dealing him at this stage. Bats are always easier to acquire than power arms and there’s an upside to Maine.

I wouldn’t make this deal for that reason. How about you?

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.”

Sep 23

This Day in Baseball History ….

Looking back

Looking back

Do you remember Armando Benitez?

Of course you do. How could anybody forget the pitcher with the million dollar arm and ten cent heart and brain? A nickel for both.

On this day in 2001, Benitez, pitching for the Mets, gave up three runs to the Braves in the ninth inning, with two coming of Brian Jordan homer. Jordan would later homer in the 11th inning as Atlanta won, 5-4.

I had pleasure of covering Benitez twice, first with the Orioles and then with the Yankees.

BENITEZ: Heat, but no fire.

BENITEZ: Heat, but no fire.


Was talking to one of the Oriole catchers one day about Benitez, and he told me he didn’t think he’d ever become a great closer because, “he doesn’t really want the ball.” When things were well, Benitez was dominant, but he would unravel at the slightest thing, whether it be bloop hit, an error or not getting an ump’s call.

Sure enough, once Benitez would blow a save, two or three more would follow.

My favorite Benitez story isn’t from 1998 when he plunked Tino Martinez after giving up a homer to incite a brawl, but several years earlier and it wasn’t even game related.

The Orioles were in Milwaukee at the end of the season and this was the rookie hazing day when the veterans would take their clothes and make them wear things from consignment and thrift shops. Could be women’s clothes. Could be anything.

It is supposed to be a bonding gesture, kind of like in a fraternity.

Benitez was having none if it and held up the Orioles team bus for 45 minutes. It got to where Rafael Palmeiro had to get off the bus and persuade him to get with the program. Benitez wouldn’t and ended up wearing his uniform pants with his dress shirt.

The next day, we were talking about it with manager Ray Miller, who gave us this song-and-dance about Benitez being so sensitive because he was a Latin player. Miller then asked me what I would have done. I told him, “Benitez has a credit card and I would have left without him and told him to make his own way to the next city.”

Jul 02

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #78; not excited.

OK … the Mets won yesterday at Milwaukee. So what? I’m not going to get excited about one win after a month of playing terribly.

Tim Redding (1-3, 6.35 ERA) has given up five homers in the last 17 2/3 innings pitched.

Luis Castillo, 2B
Alex Cora, SS
Dave Wright, 3B
Gary Sheffield, RF
Fernando Tatis, LF
Ryan Church, CF
Nick Evans, 1B
Omir Santos, C
Tim Redding, RP

Jun 29

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #75; it’s not getting any easier.

CHAT ROOM

CHAT ROOM

After being swept by the Yankees the Mets are in Milwaukee tonight to begin a series against the Brewers. It won’t get any easier.

And, it is going to stay rough for a long time because Jose Reyes and Carlos Delgado aren’t back any time soon, and Carlos Beltran could be out a little longer. They simply don’t have any chips to deal.

It’s up to the people here now, and they aren’t getting it done.