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.


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.


Jun 25

Today in Mets’ History: Sid stars for ’86 powerhouse.

While the 1969 Mets gathered steam and rolled late in the second half, the 1986 team steamrolled the National League from start to finish as that team dominated as manager Davey Johnson projected.

FERNANDEZ: Had great stuff.

On this date in 1986, Sid Fernandez and Roger McDowell combined to stuff the Montreal Expos, 5-2, at Shea Stadium.

While Doc Gooden was the headliner, the 86 staff was solid with Ron Darling, Bob Ojeda, Fernandez and Rick Aguilera.

All but Aguilera made at least 30 starts with over 200 innings pitched. There were no 20-game winners on that staff, but six pitchers all won in double digits, including McDowell, who was 14-9 in relief with 22 saves and 128 innings pitched.

Fernandez was 16-6 that season, and all indications were he was going to be a special pitcher. In many ways, Fernandez personified the Mets from that era in that he had loads of talent, but never developed into a big winner.

Fernandez never won more than the 16 games that season and finished his career in 1997 at 114-96 in 15 years with the Mets, Dodgers, Orioles, Phillies and Astros.






Jun 15

Complaining about field helps Mets.

The Mets whining about the field last night might have been the turning point in the game. After Jose Reyes slipped leading off first, the Mets complained the field was too soggy and asked the umpires to have the grounds crew apply a drying agent.

REYES: Scoring in the first.

Reyes promptly stole second and scored, which turned out to be a big play as the Mets won by one run.

Although this worked out for the Mets, I don’t really like it. So the Braves watered down the infield to slow down Reyes. Get over it. It’s gamesmanship and teams have always tailored their field to their own advantage.

Wear the metal spikes Jose and move on. To complain makes the Mets look like whiners.

Teams have forever let the grass grow in the infield to slow down ground balls, sloped the baselines to help their bunters and watered down the infield to slow the opposition.


Ron Darling made an interesting comment when he said are they going to next make them cut the grass.

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Nov 24

Que Keith ….

Word is the SNY has reached a deal in principle with Keith Hernandez on a new contract. I obviously haven’t heard them all, but I find it difficult to imagine a better group than Hernandez, Gary Cohen and Ron Darling.

HERNANDEZ: He's coming back. That's great.

HERNANDEZ: He's coming back. That's great.

They provide insight with humor. Of the three, Hernandez comes across as the least polished and at times a bit spacy … but that’s his delight. Yeah, I don’t mind hearing about Hernandez’s travel plans and Cohen busting his chops by saying, “it’s all about you, isn’t it?”

Hernandez is witty and honest and pulls no punches. He’s not afraid to rip the home team, and this year they needed it for sure. That’s honesty and it is rare from team announcers.

What’s best about them is they don’t come across as blatant homers like you get from the team across town. We’re not stupid. We know what we’re watching, and Hernandez doesn’t come across as patronizing or condescending.

Oct 01

Today in Baseball History …. Straw clocks one.

Cards-Mets defined intense.

Cards-Mets defined intense.

Throughout their history, the Mets have had a series of rivalries, but there was something special in their duel with the St. Louis Cardinals during the 1980s.

On this day in 1985, the teams began a three-game series at Busch Stadium, with the Mets winning the first game, 1-0 in 11 innings on Darryl Strawberry’s monstrous homer off Ken Dayley that broke light bulbs on the scoreboard.

STRAWBERRY: Stirred the drink.

STRAWBERRY: Stirred the drink.

Ron Darling and John Tudor each pitched 10 scoreless innings.

“I get goose bumps when I come back to this stadium and remember the rivalry,’’ Darling said. “I was sitting on the bench and had a good view of that monster shot Darryl hit. I think that in all my career, that was the most excited I’ve ever seen a clubhouse after a game. Guys were crying and hugging and laughing.”

The Cardinals would win that season, but the Mets rolled in 1986.

Strawberry was catalyst of those Mets teams during the 1980s. He is among the few players who made everybody stop and watch when he came to the plate because of his awesome power potential. Few guys have had that ability to make a stadium gasp with one swing, and Strawberry was one of them.