Oct 13

Lunch break ….

This Day in Baseball History

This Day in Baseball History

A little slow out of the gate this morning. I’m sure you’ve all had your morning coffee, so let’s call this a lunch break.

The LCS hasn’t started for either league, but on this date in 1960, Pittsburgh Hall of Famer Bill Mazeroski ended the World Series with a dramatic home run to lead off the ninth against Ralph Terry and beat the Yankees, 10-9.

Despite the score, which meant a lot of hitters, it was the only World Series game in the 20th Century without a strikeout. One of the most interesting numbers from that game were that the Yankees outscored Pittsburgh, 52 to 27, in losing in seven games.

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They Said It

They Said It

Former Mets reliever Billy Wagner is considering retirement instead of attempting to pitch one more season and pursue 400 saves.

Said Wagner: “I don’t plan on talking to nobody. … I’ve got nothing else to [accomplish].”

In what could be Wagner’s final appearance, he gave up two runs in two-thirds of an inning in Boston’s Game 3 loss to the Angels. Wagner, 38, returned this season from Tommy John surgery. He is 15 saves shy of 400, a milestone he always said he wanted to reach.

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BY THE NUMBERS

224: Homers hit by Philadelphia to lead the National League.

Oct 12

Something with your morning coffee ….

This Day in Baseball History

This Day in Baseball History

For those thinking the Mets had plummeted back to Earth after their Game 1 loss to Baltimore in the 1969 World Series, those thoughts were dashed on this day in Game 2.

Jerry Koosman and Ron Taylor combined on a two-hitter‚ and Al Weis drove in the game-winner with a ninth-inning single off Dave McNally to give the Mets a 2-1 victory over the Orioles and even the World Series at a game apiece.

The Mets would run the table on the Orioles, winning three straight at Shea Stadium to win the Series. Koosman was also the winning pitcher in Game 5.

Does anybody remember that game or have anything they’d like to share about the 1969 Mets?

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They Said It

They Said It

After entering the postseason on an 0-for-27 playoff slide with runners in scoring position dating back to Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS, the Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez is on the October tear he always was supposed to be on with game-tying homers in both Game 2 and 3 in the ALDS with Minnesota.

Said Rodriguez: “I knew that I couldn’t change all the 0-for-4s, 0-for-5s and all the guys I left on base. I’m content right now, both on and off the field.”

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BY THE NUMBERS

Rodriguez’s numbers in three-game sweep of the Twins in the ALDS: Five-for-11, two homers and six RBI.

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ON TAP FOR TODAY

Game 4 of the Rockies-Phillies NLDS is for tonight at 6 p.m.

Oct 08

Something with your morning coffee ….

This Day in Baseball History

This Day in Baseball History

Now, here’s something everybody should remember. In a playoff game at Shea in 1973, Rusty Staub homered twice in the Mets’ 9-2 rout of Cincinnati, but that got lost in the dust around second base.

Pete Rose, who played with the temperament of a boiling teakettle, slid hard into second base and came up swinging at Mets shortstop Bud Harrelson in a classic playoff moment.

The Mets would win that series and go on to lose to Oakland in the World Series.

Growing up in Ohio, Rose was always one of my favorite players, but even so I never saw the reason for him to go after Harrelson. But, you had to admire Harrelson, who despite being outweighed by over twenty pounds, held his own in the brawl.

I’m sure you guys have some thoughts on that day.

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They Said It

They Said It

Not a power hitter, Derek Jeter hit his 18th postseason homer last night to tie Mickey Mantle and Reggie Jackson on the all-time list as the Yankees beat the Twins, 7-2, in Game 1 of the ALDS. A point of clarification, however, Mantle hit all of his in the World Series, a record that should never be broken.

I covered Jeter from 1998-2005, and learned to appreciate his ability to perform under pressure. No question, Alex Rodriguez has more pronounced baseball skills, but if he had Jeter’s composure under the gun there’s no determining what he would produce.

Jeter is a very special player, one who’ll, if he stays healthy, get 3,000 hits and go into the Hall of Fame. Even if he didn’t play another inning, he’s already in Cooperstown.

Last night was another October moment for him, and he had the park buzzing.

Said Jeter: “It felt just like the old place. We couldn’t have drawn it up any better for us.”

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BY THE NUMBERS

$1.5 billion: Cost of the new Yankee Stadium

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.