Sep 10

What Is Mets’ 2015 Black Cat Moment?

It wasn’t hard to figure out the omen that turned out to be the Mets “Black Cat Game” in 1969 when a black cat came out of nowhere in Shea Stadium to walk in front the dugout of the fading Chicago Cubs. There was nothing subtle about it. Nothing.

FLORES: They are now tears of joy. (AP)

FLORES: They are now tears of joy. (AP)

However, what is this year’s “Black Cat” moment? I’ve got a few contenders in mine, beginning with the night of July 29 when the Mets’ trade for outfielder Carlos Gomez for Wilmer Flores fell through and the Mets’ shortstop cried on the way to his position.

“It was a tough night,” outfielder Michael Cuddyer recalled. “Bizarre is a good way to put it.”

Bizarre? Flores received an ovation prior to a late-inning at-bat that he couldn’t comprehend until he got back to the dugout.

“I heard I had gotten traded,” Flores said. “And, I got very emotional.”

BLACK CAT: The moment defined 1969.

BLACK CAT: The moment defined 1969.

The Mets looked clumsy that night, but turned it around and acquired Yoenis Cespedes two days later. Trades are mostly build on hope, and that’s what the Cespedes deal was all about. Manager Terry Collins sensed that right away: “This guy was a legitimate run producer. He is an impact player.”

That night, Flores homered in extra innings to give the Mets a victory over the Nationals, and they would go on for three-game sweep of the series and wipe away years of pent up frustration in the process.

The Mets were on their way.

Cespedes lit a fire under their dormant offense, with the signature moment the night of Aug. 24, when David Wright homered in his first swing after four-and-a-half months on the disabled list. It was definitely was a “things will be all right” moment. They hit eight that night.

Three days later, the Mets had one of those “I don’t believe it” moments when the Phillies’ Jeff Francoeur ripped a ball off reliever Carlos Torres‘ foot that bounced to first baseman Daniel Murphy who made a backhanded, no-look flip to the pitcher.

Also tipping the “WOW” meter was Bartolo Colon‘s behind-the-back flip to first last weekend in Miami. Then, there was that crazy inning Tuesday night in Washington.

Does anybody else have a moment that could end up defining this season?

Jul 14

DeGrom Provides Mets All-Star Memory

Jacob deGrom didn’t pitch long, but long enough to show why teams would salivate for the chance to get him if the Mets were to put him on the market.

DEGROM: Gives us a memory. (AP)

DEGROM: Gives us a memory. (AP)

The 2014 NL Rookie of the Year struck out the side in the fifth inning, and needed only ten pitches to do it.

Overpowering is too tame a word. He was nasty. He was filthy. He was special. He was so good that Madison Bumgarner, who is pretty special himself, waited on him when he returned to the dugout with a drink of water.

“He’s a nice guy,’’ the typically understated deGrom said of Bumgarner during a between-innings interview.

DeGrom also said, “I remember being nervous running out there, but not much else.’’

Even so, he gave Mets’ fans a memory that will rank among the franchise’s best in All-Star history as he joined Dwight Gooden as the only Amazin’ to strike out the side (in 1984).

The others on that list are:

2013: Matt Harvey throwing two scoreless innings at Citi Field.

2012: R.A. Dickey tossing a scoreless inning.

2010: David Wright getting two hits and a stolen base.

2006: David Wright homering.

1979: Lee Mazzilli hitting a pinch-hit homer in the eighth to tie the game and drawing a bases-loaded walk in the ninth to drive in the game winner.

1968: Jerry Koosman striking out Carl Yastrzemski to end game.

1967: Tom Seaver earning the save in a 15-inning game.

1964: Ron Hunt became the first Met selected and collected a single in his first at-bat in the game played at Shea Stadium.


Jun 28

Matz Makes It All Right For One Day

Quality start doesn’t even begin to describe what Steven Matz gave the Mets today at Citi Field in his major league debut. His pitching, power and poise highlighted a 7-2 victory over Cincinnati. He also broke up a double play and started one after fielding a hard comebacker to the mound.

“He was as good as advertised,’’ manager Terry Collins said. “He was ready for this. It was time. … He was ready to show he belonged.’’

MATZ: Shines in debut. (AP)

MATZ: Shines in debut. (AP)

Matz was making his major league debut five years removed from Tommy John surgery; after the Mets toyed with the decision to bring him up; and, after more than a three-hour delay so the Mets could finish a 2-1 victory over the Reds in a completion of suspension game.

“The more time I had, the more the anxiety went away,’’ said Matz, a sign of his composure.

His composure also surfaced when his first pitch of the game was something out of “Bull Durham,’’ a fastball to the backstop. On his fifth pitch, Tony Phillips hit a replay-reviewed homer.

Matz set the Reds down in order in the second and then, using Las Vegas teammate Matt Reynolds’ bat, ripped a two-run double. He would later hit a hit-and-run single and two-run single.

All the while, he toyed with the Reds on the mound, giving up two runs – Todd Frazier also hit a solo homer – on five hits with three walks and six strikeouts in 7.2 innings.

Matz went further in his debut than Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Zack Wheeler went in theirs.

While Harvey grew up rooting for the Yankees, Matz’s childhood passion growing up on Long Island was the Mets and spent many nights at Shea Stadium. Of course, the Mets want to play on that emotional attachment and as the team struggled through the past month there was a growing groundswell for his promotion. And, for the Mets, it was to attract more than the 130 family and friend he could sometimes hear from the stands.

There’s speculation the Mets promoted Matz to divert frustrated their fan base from their recent plunge in the NL East standings and a woeful offensive slide. That’s for another day, as this one was to enjoy a glimpse into a promising future.

However, while it was gray at Citi Field, there was a glimmer of sunlight, and he wore No. 32.

May 22

Here’s Your Chance To Meet Dwight Gooden

Every time Matt Harvey goes to the mound for the Mets, he does so with Dwight Gooden and Tom Seaver-sized expectations. However, he has a long way to go to match the buzz Doc Gooden brought to the Mets, and New York City, during the 1980s.

GOODEN: Meet Doc next week.

GOODEN: Meet Doc next week.

With an electric, sizzling fastball and biting breaking ball, posting a “K’’ after each Gooden strikeout became a ritual at Shea Stadium. It was a must-see event at Shea Stadium whenever Gooden started, and a Mets’ victory became expected and he usually delivered.

We knew Gooden was different when he struck out 276 hitters in just 218 innings while posting a 17-9 record with a 2.60 ERA in his 1984 rookie season. However, the following year different morphed into special when he posted the unreal numbers of 24-4 with a 1.53 ERA and 16 complete games spanning 276.2 innings. He struck out 268 that year and walked only 69.

In 1986, he was 17-6, but made the National League All-Star team for the third straight season (he made it four times), but helped deliver a World Series title to the Mets.

Those were exciting times in New York, and you can relive them with Gooden next Thursday, May 28, from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m., at Resorts World Casino. General admission is $40 for the event, which includes a Q & A session. A VIP ticket for $100 will entitle you to a meet-and-greet with Gooden where you can obtain autographs.

Regardless of your ticket purchase, you will have a chance to win Mets memorabilia.

New York Mets Report will be feature Gooden next week in an exclusive interview.


May 19

Hey Mets Fans, Who Are You Rooting For Tonight?

I don’t know how many times I’ve been to Shea Stadium and Citi Field and heard the chant, “Yankees Suck.” And this was when the Yankees were 3,000 miles away on the West Coast.

I’ve spoken to a lot of Mets fans who tell me their favorite teams are the Mets and whoever is playing the Yankees. That being said, Mets fans, who are you pulling for tonight, the Yankees or Washington Nationals?

Honesty, there can only be one answer for the true Mets fan.