Jul 08

Today in Mets’ History: 1969 Miracle takes form as fate hits Cubs outfielder.

One of my favorite baseball books was “The Year the Mets Lost Last Place,’’ a diary of a three-series stretch in July of 1969 when the Mets played two series with the Chicago Cubs and one with the Montreal Expos.

YOUNG: Fate finds obscure Cubs outfielder.

Dick Schaap was the author and book took the form of timeline, nearly to the minute, of those games.

One of those games came on this date in 1969 when the Mets beat the Cubs, 4-3, on the strength of Cleon Jones’ two-run double to support the strong pitching of Jerry Koosman. Jones’ double tied the game, and Ed Kranepool’s single off Ferguson Jenkins was the game-winner.

However, the emotional spin of this game centered around non-descript Cubs outfielder Don Young, who misplayed two balls to set up the Mets’ three-run ninth-inning rally. Balls get misplayed, that’s part of the game, but the twist came when Cubs star third baseman Ron Santo viciously blasted Young, first to his face in the clubhouse, and then to the media.

The next day, Santo called a press conference and apologized to Young, who played his last major league game in October of that year. He played sparingly the next two seasons and retired.

The Mets pulled within 4 ½ games of the Cubs with the victory and it was clear 1969 was shaping into a remarkable season.

BOX SCORE

 

Aug 30

Reyes still ailing ….

Once again Jose Reyes’ right oblique is hurting, with word he probably won’t be available until Thursday or Friday. Tough news considering the Mets need a sweep of their four-game series against Atlanta to retain even the remotest hopes.

It would be an unforgettable miracle if this team went on a run and reached the playoffs. But, this is a purely forgettable team without a hint of playing much better than they have for the past two months.

Jul 31

Mets Chat Room; Playing out the string.

Game #104 vs. Diamondbacks.

Well, another trade deadline has come and gone without your Mets doing anything substantial. Wait, I meant, without doing anything at all. I have no problem with the organization wanting to protect its prospects. I can’t get on Omar Minaya for that.

As a general manager, his job is to protect the franchise, and that’s what he did when he said no to those vultures wanting Ike Davis, or Jonathan Niese, or Josh Thole, or Jenrry Mejia.

What I can find fault with is ownership not moving in the offseason to address its pitching needs. I didn’t like it at the time, and I’ll repeat: Their priority last winter was pitching and not Jason Bay.

With what Bay has given them, it isn’t out of line to wonder if his contract will fall in the same bin as that of Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo. It might be too early to jump to that conclusion, but I’ll bet I’m not the only one to wonder.

What the Mets have done today and for the last month as they floundered was choose their future over their present. They have told us they do not think they are good enough to win this season without a miracle finish.

They were further behind with less time remaining in 1969, but won. Mathematically, it is still possible. But, I’m not counting on any miracles this time around.

Hell, they haven’t been able to beat Arizona. How can we expect them to run the table?

Jul 27

Wishing and hoping ….

The trade deadline is four days away and the Mets aren’t linked to anybody. Not anybody good enough to turn things around. They have even passed on the opportunity to make a symbolic splash by shaking up their coaching staff. And, of course, they’ve passed on several chances to make what would have been an impact decision by cutting Oliver Perez.

The Mets have done nothing to help their team, and did nothing last offseason to address their biggest need, which is pitching. Instead, the Mets have remained stagnant and they are what they are, which is barely a .500 team.

They are reduced to hoping things will jump start for the same tired cast of mediocre characters. They are hoping players who have shown little ability to sustain over time will sudden do so and perform at an All-Star level. That’s Beltran, Bay, Wright and Reyes – the core four.

They are hoping for the offense to kick it in gear. They are hoping Mike Pelfrey will regain his form from the first two months. They are hoping the bullpen can get outs and they won’t have to use Perez. They are hoping to win with 24 players.

They are hoping what hasn’t worked will suddenly work. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

The Mets are hoping for a miracle … and won’t get one.