David Wright was in full salvage mode yesterday, both from a team and individual perspective, After a blazing first half in which he carried the Mets, he’s fallen off dramatically and with his fall so has his team.
There have been numerous times during the Mets’ dreadful second half when they could have turned things around, but failed.
WRIGHT: A frustrating second half. (AP)
Now mathematically eliminated and after being ripped publicly by their manager, the Mets now have one more opportunity to wash out the foul taste in their mouths created by going from eight games over .500 to 14 games below.
I’ve mentioned several times how the Mets have a chance to become next year’s Orioles, who won 11 of their last 16 games last season and rode that momentum into 2012.
Wright noticed, too.
“It’d be nice to finish on a strong note,’’ Wright said. “You look at, for example, what the Orioles did, they finished strong last year and it kind of carried over into this year. It’d be nice to do that. And I think there’s a lot of individuals that want to finish strong and we as a team and an organization would like to finish strong.’’
You can get dizzy trying to figure out the various formulas for revenue sharing and the luxury tax, but some things are givens. There will always be some teams willing to spend because the objective is to win.
There will also be some teams not willing to spend and find comfort in using their small market status to free load off the big spenders because they are still making money. Pittsburgh and Kansas City have been notorious for using their revenue sharing income not to reinvest in players but to pay their electric bill.
I’m tired of hearing about small market – which should really read small revenue market teams – not fielding competitive teams because of the market they play in. It is inexcusable for a team such as the Pirates to have 20 straight losing seasons. How can the Orioles have 14 losing years playing in a gem of a ballpark like Camden Yards? Seems incomprehensible.
How Bud Selig can allow this is beyond reason. Also crazy is penalizing teams that go over the limit to take away draft choices. It stands to reason that a team having fewer draft picks will compensate with more spending in trying to build.
I’ve never been for revenue sharing because it promotes free loading, but the system is not likely to go away. If they are insistent on such a system, the receiving teams should be required to spend a designated percentage on player salaries. And, while we’re at it, there should be a minimum amount a team MUST spend on payroll.
Jesse Orosco had one of those days relievers only dream about on this date in 1983 when he beat the Pirates in both ends of a doubleheader, winning the first game in 12 innings, 7-6, and the nightcap, 1-0, also in 12 innings.
OROSCO: Iconic image.
Orosco, who pitched for the Mets, Dodgers (twice), Indians, Brewers, Orioles, Cardinals, Padres, Yankees and Twins (those last three teams all in the 2003 season), appeared in a major league record 1,252 games.
Orosco is the subject of one of the most enduring World Series photographs when he tossed his glove into the air after striking out Marty Barrett for the final out of the 1986 Series.
Championship teams find a way to win and that’s the way it was for the 1986 Mets, a team loaded with stars and role players.
STRAWBERRY: Clutch in 86.
The Mets won with power and pitching, speed and defense. They were fundamentally sound, and played with grit and guile, but always with a confidence that they knew they were going to win.
On this date in 1986, they defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates, 6-5, at Shea Stadium. Dwight Gooden gave up three runs on three hits, but didn’t coast because he walked five. Mookie Wilson and Keith Hernandez homered of Rick Reuschel, but the Mets needed Darryl Strawberry’s RBI single off Pat Clements in the ninth inning for the game-winner.
After Pittsburgh tied the game with two runs off Jesse Orosco in the ninth, the Mets turned to small ball. Wilson singled with one out, advanced to second on a grounder, then after an intentional walk to Hernandez – the Pirates, like most teams then, feared Mex in the clutch – Strawberry delivered.
And, Strawberry did it frequently. Of his 93 RBI, 19 came in the seventh inning or later when the score was tied or the Mets were ahead or behind by a run. He drove in 28 total when the game was tied at any time.
The Mets finally recognized the 1986 team this weekend. I’m bad, too. I should have had more on that dynamic team, also. I’ll rectify that beginning today.
DANNY HEEP: Remember him?
The 1986 Mets mauled opponents. They dominated. The steamrolled them. Such as on this date in Pittsburgh with a 10-4 rout that featured 15 hits.
The first four hitters in the order, Mookie Wilson, Wally Backman, Darryl Strawberry and Danny Heep went a combined 9-for-18 with seven runs scored.
The Mets hit only three homers that day – Rick Aguilera, Strawberry and Wilson – to move 20 gaves (35-15) over .500.
Gary Carter and Keith Hernandez were off that day.
Aguilera started and lasted 4.1 innings, and Roger McDowell worked 3.2 innings of relief to earn the victory.
On a side note, Barry Bonds went 0-for-5 for the Pirates.