Oct 09

Something with your morning coffee ….

This Day in Baseball History

This Day in Baseball History

It was a lightning moment, a sudden burst and it was over.

On this day in 1999, with Mike Piazza out with a thumb injury, the Mets got a home run from backup catcher Todd Pratt in the 10th inning for a 4-3 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks. Pratt’s line drive just eluded Arizona center fielder Steve Finley, at the time one the best defensive outfielders in the game.

The Mets went on to the NLCS against the Atlanta, where they fell behind 3-0 on the series but rallied to force a sixth game, which they lost on a bases-loaded walk from Kenny Rogers.

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They Said It

They Said It

One of the interesting story lines in the Yankees-Twins ALDS, is the decision to start backup catcher Jose Molina in Game 2 tonight in New York over Jorge Posada to catch AJ Burnett.

Burnett said he did not lobby manager Joe Girardi to make the switch.

Said Burnett: “It was the manager’s decision, I had no part in it. I’ve thrown good to both. My good games, I’m right. My bad games, it’s not the catcher, it’s me … When I’m good, it doesn’t matter which one is behind the plate.”

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BY THE NUMBERS

3.28: Burnett’s ERA when pitching to Jose Molina in comparison to 4.96 when pitching to Jorge Posada.

Oct 05

Just say no to Bobby V.

One of the most interesting things I’ve read lately in the papers and on the blogs has been the slow drumbeat for the return of Bobby Valentine as Mets manager. All these people who should know better, who blast the Mets for repeating their same mistakes over and over again, are clamoring for them to return to the not-too-distant past in bringing back the flawed Valentine.

Why?

Can you really go home again? Can you reheat a souffle? Can a torn relationship be made whole again? Experience tells me probably not. Valentine had his chance, and in 1999 and 2000 had playoff teams that fizzled out. Yes, they reached the World Series in 2000, but after blowing Game 1, they were essentially done.

VALENTINE: Returning to the past not good for Mets' future.

VALENTINE: Returning to the past not good for Mets' future.


Could Valentine without Steve Phillips work? I doubt it. Valentine is a lightning rod for controversy and in much the degree of Billy Martin, a quick fix. He energizes at first, but then things regress. He does not sustain.

As bad as Jerry Manuel was this year, it must be remembered the team was in first place until injuries sacked the season. We can’t say with certainty the Mets would be in the playoffs had they stayed healthy, but they were headed in that direction.

Manuel definitely has shortcomings, but the season was so hideously fractured by injuries it would have been unfair to not give him another chance. Remember, it wasn’t Manuel’s fault the Mets didn’t have the reserves to bring up from the minor leagues or to make a trade.

Yes, Manuel should have handled some things differently, but the argument can be made many of his mistakes were made because he didn’t have any other options. I’ve not been shy in listing what I didn’t like, but looking at things objectively, I can see his reasoning.

Given the same situation, I don’t believe Valentine would have been any better. I’m not sure anybody could have been any better.

For those wanting Valentine, it must be remembered no championships were won during his tenure, and that reaching the World Series was in large part because they didn’t have to face the Atlanta Braves in the playoffs that season.

From what I remember about the Valentine Era is there was always a controversy. There was always a distraction. Valentine was constantly at odds with somebody, whether it be his general manager, a player or somebody in the media. Valentine liked to play people off of each other and the clubhouse was about taking sides on one issue or another.

Those wanting Valentine either have short and selective memories, an agenda, or don’t know what they are talking about.

In the long run, we’ll need 2010 to see if Manuel is the answer, and odds are he’ll get a short leash because of the impatience that comes from being in New York. But, the Mets have been there and done that with Valentine.

A return to the past would not be good for the Mets’ future.

Oct 05

Thank You Friends ….

I received a note yesterday thanking me for the blog and providing a place to hang out and enjoy the Mets’ games.

The truth is I should be thanking you. This has been the hardest year of my life after being laid off, going through a relationship break-up and coping with death of a cherished pet.

I am grateful for your support.

I am grateful for your support.


I didn’t have a great year at the blog early, as a I mostly went through the motions and mostly posted the Mets Chat Rooms, which is the only interactive live blogging during the games done by any New York sportswriter. I am proud of that and have it on my resume.

During periods of frustration and depression, the blog was something I could count on for several hours to take me out of my doldrums. I thank you guys for that.

At the urging of several of you, I believe I did more writing the last two months and also added little tidbits that were common when I blogged for the newspaper.

It is my pledge to you to keep up the blog, which includes the playoffs and World Series, and comprehensive features and analysis with the Hot Stove League.

I am also talking with someone about design changes and the addition of a football blog. I write, that’s what I do, and the blog is a vehicle I hope to ride into another full time position.

Again, I am grateful for your support, as it drives me.

Thank you, friends.

Oct 02

This Day in Baseball History …. Bucky Clears the Wall.

Yanks beat Sox in playoff game.

Yanks beat Sox in playoff game.

I knew exactly where I was on this day in 1978. I cut classes that day and was in my college apartment where I watched the Yankees complete their overtaking of the Boston Red Sox when Bucky Dent cleared the Green Monster in a one-game playoff at Fenway Park.

What a lot of people forget, is the Yankees not only erased a 14-game deficit, but actually moved ahead of Boston and it was the Red Sox who needed to come back to force the playoff. That only happened on the last day of the season when Cleveland’s Rick Waits beat New York at Yankee Stadium.

Dent’s homer came off Mike Torrez and Ron Guidry won his 25th game of the season. The game ends when Goose Gossage gets Carl Yastrzemski to pop out to third with two on.

Does anybody remember watching that game and what they were feeling that day?

Sep 26

About Last Night ….

For one game, at least, the Mets played the way they promised during spring training as they rallied in the eighth and ninth innings to severely damage the Florida Marlins’ pennant aspirations.

Three players stood out: Tim Redding, Jeff Francoeur and Cory Sullivan.

* Redding has pitched well since joining the Mets’ depleted rotation, good to the point where he should be brought back to compete for the fifth-starter or long-relief role. Of all the throw-ins into the rotation, he has outpitched Bobby Parnell, Nelson Figueroa and Pat Misch. He also has a strong track record against Philly.

* Francoeur has been a joy to watch since coming over from Atlanta. He clearly likes playing in New York and hustles all the time. He should be rewarded with an extension. Given a full season, he could hit 20 to 25 homers next year.

* Sullivan is an absolute professional. Teams need role players such as him and the Mets would be wise to bring him back, as well as Alex Cora.