Jun 02

Johan Santana Thundered For Mets Before Rains Came

It poured last night, and even if that smudge on the left field line was rubbed out, nothing could wash away what Johan Santana did in throwing the first no-hitter in Mets’ history.

After 8,020 games, and the likes of Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, Nolan Ryan, Dwight Gooden and David Cone throwing magic for them the previous 50 years, Santana just missed throwing the Mets’ 36th one hitter.

SANTANA: Waving to crowd (AP)

We know the numbers because the no-hit streak became a part of franchise lore, to be announced nearly every day after the opponent’s first hit. It will be interesting to hear how the Cardinals’ first hit today will be broadcast.

Who knows, maybe the Mets will throw a few more in the coming years, but there is nothing like the first. Jon Niese, R.A. Dickey and John Maine came close in recent seasons, but it was special because it was Santana, who showed extraordinary focus against the National League’s premier offense and overcame the tendency to wander and shift into cruise control with an 8-0 lead.

He was aided by an umpire’s blown call – the streak would be alive today with instant replay – but for one night baseball karma was with the Mets, the way it was during the Summer of 69 and on that crisp October night when Mookie Wilson’s grounder snaked up the first base line and scooted underneath Bill Buckner’s glove.

Perhaps karma was with the Mets because after so many snake bites and near misses – many with Santana on the mound – they deserved to have one to go their way. Logically, it isn’t supposed to work that way in sports, but the Mets always defied logic, just as Santana’s comeback from serious surgery came against conventional medical wisdom.

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Oct 11

Riggleman to interview tomorrow; Mets could lose Backman.

Real good piece by Andy Martino of The Daily News on the Mets interviewing former Washington Nationals manager Jim Riggleman tomorrow for the bench coach job.

RIGGLEMAN: To interview with Mets.

Martino wrote of Riggleman calling the Mets’ Willie Harris – a former player of his with the Nationals – after he and wife Trey lost their daughter early in the pregnancy. Riggleman contacted Harris to offer support and council, shortly after he resigned as manager when the Nationals wouldn’t pick up his option.

It was an emotional and stressful time for Riggleman, yet he offered support to somebody else. The story humanizes Riggleman and showed compassion. As a bench coach, he will spend more time one-on-one with a player than Terry Collins. What Riggleman did was demonstrate the qualities of communication and understanding, essential for that position.

As a former manager, Riggleman doesn’t have to be trained for this job. Wally Backman, however, needs to be groomed.

I was for Backman getting the chance to be bench coach last year and work under Collins, but the Mets wouldn’t give him the opportunity. Not taking that chance might cost them as Backman could be offered the bench job under Davey Johnson with the Nationals.

It seems as if the Mets are just dancing with Backman, much as they did with Mookie Wilson. If the Mets truly want Backman to stay they would have immediately offered him the Triple-A job when Buffalo manager Tim Teufel was promoted to third base coach.

General manager Sandy Alderson said Backman is not a candidate for the major league staff, and given that, why shouldn’t the second baseman of the 1986 championship team look to better his position elsewhere? Working under Johnson would be ideal.

Although Backman interviewed for the Mets’ managerial position last year, it was to placate an uneasy fan base clamoring for change after Jerry Manuel’s disastrous tenure. Clearly, it was a token interview, and not moving him up the ladder indicates the organization has reservations.

And, if offered the job in Washington, Backman should have no reservations about leaving.

 

Apr 01

April 1.10: Better late than never.

What the Mets should have done last year they’ll do Opening Day, and that is to honor their past by unveiling a Mets Hall of Fame. Gates open at 10:40 a.m.

“The Mets Hall of Fame & Museum honors the greatest players and greatest events in our history,” said Dave Howard, Executive Vice President, Business Operations, New York Mets, in a statement released by the club. “The museum connects generations of fans to the moments they cherish and reflects our ongoing commitment to celebrate our heritage and history at Citi Field.”

The Hall will feature significant artifacts, interactive exhibits, videos and photographic imagery, recognizing the unforgettable plays and players that are their 48-year history.

The exhibit will include plaques honoring the members of the Mets Hall of Fame, the 1969 and 1986 World Series Championship trophies, and memorabilia on loan from Mets greats, such as Tom Seaver’s 1969 Cy Young Award and Keith Hernandez’s 1987 Gold Glove Award. Also, there will be the Mookie Wilson ball Game 6 of the 1986 World Series.

On loan from the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum are ball used in the first play at Shea Stadium, Tommie Agee’s glove from the 1969 World Series and the ball Tom Seaver threw to Mike Piazza for the ceremonial first pitch to open Citi Field.

ON A SIDE NOTE: Please read the post from yesterday, Murphy Down, and tell me who you’d rather see at first base until Daniel Murphy is back. Do you want the veteran MIke Jacobs or the prospect Ike Davis?

Feb 26

Feb. 26.10: Loose threads.

Sorry, but my internet was down until recently. Let me catch you up on some of what’s going in spring training.

* Not pleased with their bullpen and not wanting to burn out Pedro Feliciano, the Mets are searching for another lefty reliever. Toward that end, the Mets made an offer to free-agent Joe Beimel, the former Dodger. Beimel will take some of the load off Feliciano and give more depth to the pen.

* Jennry Mejia was wild during batting practice. The scouting reports on him are that he’s got a strong arm and throws hard, but doesn’t always know where it’s going. Mejia is a prospect worth watching – on the minor league level this season. They would be rushing him if they kept him on the major league level this season.

* The Mets will hold an intrasquad game Monday at Tradition Field. Nelson Figueroa will get the start against the Braves Tuesday when the exhibition schedule begins.

Jan 19

Jan. 19.10: The Mets Hall of Fame.

STRAWBERRY: Leads four into Mets' Hall.

STRAWBERRY: Leads four into Mets' Hall.

The Mets will announce today that Darryl Strawberry, Dwight Gooden, Davey Johnson and Frank Cashen will be inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame. All good choices, all deserving.

Cashen was the architect, Johnson the manager and Strawberry and Gooden the hitting and pitching faces from the 1986 team.

Do you agree with the choices? I, for one, am glad to see the Mets honoring their past. There will be a Hall of Fame and team museum in the Rotunda in what used to be the team store.

Strawberry, Gooden, Johnson and Cashen join Keith Hernandez, Gary Carter and Mookie Wilson from the 1986 Mets in the team’s Hall of Fame.

In other news:

* Jeff Francoeur avoided salary arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $5 million contract. The Mets and Francoeur aren’t done as they are considering a contract extension. The Mets traditionally avoid arbitration and continue talking with Pedro Feliciano, Sean Green and Angel Pagan.

* NESN.com reported the Red Sox and Jason Bay agreed to a four-year, $60 million extension last June, but it fell through when a MRI showed problems with both knees. The Mets signed Bay to a four-year, $66 million contract with a vesting fifth-year option. Does that give the impression the Mets were truly bidding against themselves?

* Carlos Delgado is batting .280 in winter ball with one extra base hit and two RBI in eight games. Reports are he’s still sluggish running. But, with Carlos Beltran out, there’s need for left-handed power and that enhances the chances of him being re-signed.