Feb 22

Mets Should Dig Into Their History For Instructors

I was thrilled to hear today the Mets invited Mike Piazza to spring training to be a guest instructor. I only hope being inducted into the Hall of Fame isn’t the only reason for the gesture. Frankly, it is something they should be doing every spring – and not just with Piazza.

PIAZZA: To visit spring training.

PIAZZA: To visit spring training.

When I covered the Yankees, their spring training resembled an Old Timers Day with Yogi Berra, Don Mattingly, Rich Gossage, Whitey Ford, Graig Nettles and Reggie Jackson. It should be the same way with the Mets.

There’s nobody better than Tom Seaver to discuss pitching with this rotation. If not him then Jerry Koosman or Jon Matlack. And, hasn’t all been forgiven with Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry?

Jerry Grote, Bud Harrelson, Mookie Wilson, Ed Kranepool, Ray Knight, Ron Hunt and Ron Swoboda are all historic Mets with something to bring to the table. Of course, I’d like to see Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling be more active.

Not only can they impart their baseball knowledge, but also what it was like to play for the Mets in a different era. It’s organizational pride and it shouldn’t be forgotten.

Sep 02

Today in Mets’ History: It all comes together on the Coast.

It was one of those games where everything clicked in all departments.

Keith Hernandez (5-for-5), Gary Carter (3-for-5) and Darryl Strawberry (2-for-5) went a combined 10-for-15 with seven runs scored and seven RBI in a 12-4 rout at San Diego on this date in 1985.

The Mets lashed 18 hits, including homers from Ray Knight and Hernandez to back Sid Fernandez’s complete-game effort.

With the victory, the Mets closed within one game of St. Louis in the NL East.

 

Jul 04

Today in Mets’ History: A wild one in Atlanta.

This game was like one of those car wrecks you seen on the highway. A rubberneck game, because once you started watching you couldn’t take your eyes off it.

And, you watched until 3:55 in the morning. Just in time to go out for breakfast, or, if you were in Atlanta on this day in 1985, you called the police because you thought your neighborhood near Fulton County Stadium was being attacked.

GORMAN: The game he'll never forget.

In arguably one of the most fascinating games in club history, and one of the wildest of all time, the Mets outlasted the Braves, 16-13, in 19 innings, a July 4 game featuring two rain delays; Keith Hernandez hitting for the cycle; seven players getting at least nine at-bat; the Braves tying the game twice in extra innings; Mets reliever Tom Gorman working six innings; and following the game a fireworks display that prompted a flood of emergency calls to the Atlanta police.

It all began with an all-day rain that delayed the game, and another one followed that forced Davey Johnson to pull Dwight Gooden from the game and replace him with Roger McDowell.

The early part of the game was non-descript as the Mets held, then blew a 7-4 lead behind Jesse Orosco, who gave up four runs in the eighth inning.

The Mets tied the game in the ninth on Lenny Dykstra’s RBI single scored Howard Johnson, who entered the game as a pinch-hitter and singled. Johnson would go on and have the unbelievable line of going 3-for-5 with four runs scored.

Johnson homered with a man on to give the Mets a two-run lead in the 13th inning, but the Braves rallied in the bottom of the inning on Terry Harper’s two-run homer off Tom Gorman.

The game continued to crawl into the late night, and five innings later the Mets scored again on pitcher Rick Camp’s throwing error. However, with the Braves down to their final out, Camp homered to tie the game.

VIDEO OF CAMP’S HOMER

The Mets finally got to Camp with five runs in the 19th inning, on run-scoring hits from Ray Knight, Danny Heep and Wally Backman. The win went to Gorman.

Ron Darling worked the 19th to close out the game, and the fireworks began at 4:01 a.m.

BOX SCORE THAT WOULDN’T END

 

Jul 03

Today in Mets’ History: Mets, Straw, outlast Astros.

Resiliency was one of the best descriptors of the 1986 Mets. They dominated with an attitude that they were never beaten.

STRAWBERRY: Big in the clutch in 86.

On this day against future playoff opponent Houston, the Mets overcame two two-run deficits to beat the Astros, 6-5, in 10 innings.

Down 2-0 with Ron Darling pitching, the Mets tied the game, 3-3, in the fifth inning on Darryl Strawberry’s two-run homer off Jim Deshaies.

Houston regained the lead, 5-3, in the 10th against Jesse Orosco on Phil Garner’s two-run homer, but the Mets came back with three on Strawberry’s two-run, game-tying homer and Ray Knight’s game-winner off Frank DiPino.

BOX SCORE

Strawberry was such a clutch player that season, driving in 24 runs with two outs and runners in scoring position and 60 runs with the game within two runs either way.

 

Feb 04

Feb. 4.10: What swagger?

I’ve read in several places where the Mets need a swagger. Sounds nice. Would be a good thing. Where do you get it?

It’s not like there’s a market that sells the stuff. All players have confidence, otherwise they can’t be a professional athlete. But, only a few have that bubbling cockiness, that swagger, that Darryl Strawberry and Ray Knight and Keith Hernandez had with the 86 Mets.

These Mets don’t have an abundance of players with that quality. And, what brings that quality to the surface collectively is winning.

We know the Mets, as a team, don’t have a swagger, and they won’t until they win. It’s great to hear Strawberry talking about the Mets needing a swagger, but it’s all moot until they win.