Jun 29

Mets On Upswing Again; Chris Young Stars

I know I became doubtful after the first two games at Wrigley Field. Please forgive me. I promise I won’t doubt the Mets again. At least, until the next time. The Mets have been up-and-down all year, and last night was more of the same.

Another upswing.

They got another good outing from Chris Young, which probably reinforces the notion we’ve seen the last of Mike Pelfrey. David Wright remained hot, and Bobby Parnell blew away the Dodgers in the ninth.

With R.A. Dickey and Johan Santana going the next two games, one must like their chances of winning this series. Then again, both Dickey and Santana were roughed up in their previous starts.

I don’t know what Young’s future is with the Mets. If he remains healthy, he should be brought back because this isn’t a deep staff and the younger pitchers can learn from him. I suggest it might be easier to learn from Young than the unconventional Dickey.

As far as Pelfrey is concerned, he’s fallen into ”the too-injured-too unproductive-and-too pricey” category. He’s too young to just cast off, but the dollars will dictate it in the end.

 

Jun 27

Mets Terry Collins Angry At Team

If last night’s postgame media session with Mets manager Terry Collins was animated, you could’ve seen the steam coming from his ears and his face getting fire engine red. Collins was clearly angry, and when asked about the lousy umpiring, said they didn’t leave all those men on base.

True enough.

After Monday’s throwaway game, you would’ve thought the Mets would have stormed Wrigley Field and taken no prisoners. Nope. They responded with ugly baseball. Bad pitching all around, no clutch hitting, hesitant baserunning and porous defense. They brain cramped their way through nine innings.

What the Mets accomplished last night was to make us think for the first time they were morphing into “the same old Mets.”

Say it ain’t so.

 

Jun 25

Mets Visit Charming Wrigley Field

The Mets will attempt to lick their wounds from losing two of three to the Yankees when they open a three-game series tonight at Wrigley Field, still a charm after all these years.

Built in 1912, the same year as Fenway Park, Wrigley Field remains a captivating place. It’s not an easy venue for a writer to work, but that’s our problem. It’s also not a comfortable place for players with small clubhouses and a cramped dugout.

For the visitors to get to the dugout, they must walk down a couple of flights of stairs and then weave their way through several halls (you could call them tunnels), the last two usually stank and wet.

But, the old time charm is what makes it worthwhile. The ivy on the brick walls, the rooftop seats across the street (a windfall for the building owners and the Cubs), the manually operated scoreboard in center field. All that takes us to a different time.

When you look past the center field bleachers you can see downtown Chicago. But, in that park you’ve escaped the hustle of today to a quieter, gentler time.

The seating for the fans is cramped and often obstructed, but Wrigley Field is still a tradition baseball and the Cubs are not willing to sacrifice. It’s been said in most years if you traded the Cubs roster for the White Sox roster there likely wouldn’t be a dramatic shift in attendance or fan support, because the real star is Wrigley Field.

(This year the Sox are significantly better, so that theory might not apply. But, we’re talking years when the teams have roughly the same record).

The fans are closer to the field than most parks (Fenway is the same), which generates a different feel and ambience. It’s like you’re a part of something. When a 10-year old can actually exchange a hello from a player during the game, that’s special.

In a concession to today’s economic realities of television advertising, the Cubs are playing more night games than ever. Although it has been decades since their last World Series appearance (they last came close in 2003 and would have made it had it not been for Steve Bartman), they have had playoff teams so it’s not an impossible concept.

Even without the luxury boxes other teams deem vital for their survival, the Cubs plod along. Once owned by the chewing gum company and later the syndicate that owns the Chicago Tribune, and now owned by the family trust of billionaire Joe Ricketts, the money is there to spend if they truly wanted.

They don’t jump into the deep end of the salary pool because the main attraction is an ancient stadium that is always filled, so what incentive do the Cubs have to spend more?

They build it and the people came, and they are still coming.

 

Jul 15

Today in Mets’ History: Weis, Gentry beat Cubs.

When the Mets surged into relevance in 1969, the impetus was bookend series against the Chicago Cubs in July.

On this date at Wrigley Field, Al Weis hit a three-run homer in the fourth and Ken Boswell homered in the fifth to back Gary Gentry’s solid pitching to give the Mets a 5-4 victory.

Gentry, the third starter on the staff behind Tom Seaver and Jerry Koosman, gave up four runs in 7.2 innings. Ron Taylor closed the game for the save.

BOX SCORE

AL WEIS CAREER

 

May 26

Today in Mets History: Funny anecdote in rout of Cubs.

Good morning folks. Anything that makes one laugh out loud is something to share. Such is the case with this note. There are a lot of funny nuggets in Mets lore, but this one is a gem.

On this date in 1964, the Mets scored a then club record 19 runs in a 19-1 rout of the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

As the story goes, a fan called a New York newspaper and asked, “How did the Mets do today?’’

He was told they scored 19 runs.

After a pause, the fan asked, “Did they win?’’

Actually, in reading about those days, its plausible to think it happened.

It would have been interesting to follow them as an expansion team. If anybody has any early-year stories, please share.