Sunday, July 31, 2005


Mets 9, Astros 4 (NYM: 53-52, 8 GB; HOU: 57-48 - Wild Card Leader)

From June 30, 2005,

"Despite the ups and downs so far this season (and there really have been a bunch), the Mets are at .500 through June. They went 11-13 in April, 15-13 in May, and finished June 13-13. The Mets have 27 games in July, so a 13-loss month would leave them at 53-52 heading into August. I'd take it. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. I just find it interesting that the Mets have lost 13 games in each month so far...if they're going to catch the Nationals, they're going to have to have a better-than-one-game-over-.500 July. I'm not starting to believe in Washington, they've just jumped out to a big enough lead that if they start struggling right now, the Mets still need to play very good ball to catch them."

Well, here we are. Another month, another 13 losses. In July, that means 14 wins, but a wasted, wasted opportunity at the end of the month. The Mets lose two out of three in Colorado and then three out of four in Houston. They are now 3 games behind Washington, which is better than where they were at the end of June....but Washington is now in second place, 5 games behind the Braves! That leaves the Mets in last place in the NL East, 8 games out. And the Braves aren't going to collapse like the Nationals did.

So a month ago I said I'd take the Mets 53-52 at this point. I'd even say I would have taken it at the All-Star break, when the Mets headed into the break losers of two out of three in Pittsburgh. But not now. I think they should have been 55-50 right now, at least, after the way they ended their last homestand. Now it's an uphill battle. The Mets host Milwaukee, and the Brewers are playing very well right now. Then the Cubs come to town, and first of all, the Mets struggle against Chicago, and second of all, the Cubs are a desperate team, which makes them dangerous. After that it's a West Coast trip, which is baaad news. The Mets couldn't even handle a middle-of-the-country trip...and they're not a very good road team, apparently. So a West Coast trip doesn't bode well.

Here's a positive. The Mets won on Sunday, 9-4. They pounded out 17 hits, one a home run by Cliff Floyd. Maybe the offense will get going now, although if it didn't get going in Colorado and Houston, it's unlikely.

Now, more negative. The Mets did nothing to improve themselves at the trade deadline. Yes, having Manny Ramirez would have been a big headache, and I would have hated to see Aaron Heilman go. But, man, would I have loved to see Mike Cameron go. And I'd be willing to put up with the Ramirez headaches to have his bat in the lineup instead of Cameron. It would have been an awful trade for the Red Sox, smart move by them not making it. I almost think Red Sox management let out wind of the Manny trade to see how Red Sox Nation really felt about trading him. I think after the boos Friday night, they wanted to see how the fans really felt, so they got the deal going, leaked the deal, got the response they wanted which was, that's an awful deal, showed fans they couldn't really get the value for Ramirez that would make people happy, and then pulled back out of the deal. I think that's how it went down, but enough about the Sox. I guess there wasn't much out there for the Mets to do - they needed to improve first base, and nothing was available at a reasonable price.

I think if the Mets get off to a strong start in August, a deal will be made within a week. If they start losing against Milwaukee and Chicago, see ya next year. Unless they start trading away guys (I'm talking waiver deals here, by the way), not important guys, but guys like Cameron, to build up the farm system some more. I'm also glad they haven't gotten rid of Lastings Milledge. He's good, and he has a great name.

Monday's an off-day, then it's Mets-Brewers Tuesday night. Hopefully the wins start coming again.

ELTRAN*'S: HOLD THE PHONE!! A multi-hit game for Carlos Beltran*!! Talk about an awful road trip - he was booed every time he moved in Houston, and he stunk it up in Colorado (maybe anticipating a rough reception in Houston). He'd better not expect a warm welcome in New York either.
18-66 (.273 AVG.), 2 HR, 11 RBI, 7 Runs, 3 SB

WRIGHT WATCH: The one positive through this past week has been David Wright's assault on the Mets record books. Another double on out Bernard Gilkey.



THE KID'S KIDS: No games on Sunday. I didn't see the Hall of Fame Inductions in their entirety, but I'm sure Hall of Famer Gary Carter was in Cooperstown. His Gulf Coast Mets are now 22-10, good for a 6-game lead. We're entering the final month of the season - that six-game lead is looking pretty good. I'll let you know what the playoff picture is when I find out if there even are playoffs at that level.

Thursday, July 28, 2005


Astros 3, Mets 2 (HOU: 55-47; NYM: 52-50, 6 GB)

This is not good. I'm mad. The Mets are wasting chances. They had their shot at the division lead, and they blew it. They had a huge chance to make up ground, and they ended up falling further back. And they wasted a great outing by Pedro Martinez* on Thursday night in the game they needed to win against Houston. None of these next three games is going to be easy - they needed to win with Pedro* on the mound.

The Mets dropped two out of three in Colorado - just awful. Granted, the Rockies have played a lot better at home than on the road - but that's not going to stop the Phillies from taking two games this weekend - probably even three or four. The Mets blew it there. Now they have four games in Houston - the Astros have the best record at home in the league.

Thursday night's game was very frustrating. The home plate umpire - I'm not sure who it was - had the tiniest strike zone I've ever seen. It worked both ways, the Mets were getting calls that should have been strikes called balls too, but the umpire forced Pedro* to throw a lot more pitches than he should have had to. In all, he threw 117, and left after 8 innings, with 8 strikeouts. He left a 2-2 tie, Roberto Hernandez pitched the ninth, and gave up a single, sac bunt, and then a gapper to score the winning run.

The problem is, it never should have gotten to that point. The Astros started Zeke Astacio (picture a guy named Zeke....that's exactly what this pitcher looked like. Seriously. He looked like a Zeke.) The Mets loaded the bases against Zeke with no one out in the first. They scored A run. One run. They had the chance to blow the game open early, and didn't. It cost them. Mike Piazza had a good day at the plate, David Wright had a good defensive game, but they both couldn't come through in that first inning. Cliff Floyd, at least, had a sacrifice fly, scoring Jose Reyes (it wasn't even a deep sac fly, the only reason the Mets got that first run was THE GREATEST BALLPLAYER WHO EVER LIVED'S SPEED). Miguel Cairo was the one who took advantage of the short left-field porch to give the Mets a 2-1 lead with a solo homer later on. Piazza, Wright, and Cameron better hit some homers in Houston before the weekend's through.

Pedro* didn't get hit hard. He gave up the two runs, one on a solo homer, then the second on a squeeze bunt by Brad Ausmus.

The Mets need to get the bats going. Carlos Beltran* is becoming a serious problem. I'm starting to think it's a little psychological. I think he knows people are expecting him to have a huge second half, and he's feeling as much pressure as he did to start the season. Just a thought. Cliff Floyd has cooled way much so that he's probably not even going to finish in the top 15 of the Greatest Seasons Ever By A Met. Mike Cameron (I alluded to this earlier in the week) is the least clutch hitter of all time. I wrote that, I think, on Monday. Tuesday night, he struck out with the bases loaded in the seventh inning in Colorado, with the Mets down by a couple, then made the last out with Jose Reyes on second base and the Mets trailing by one in the ninth. That was part of a 4-strikeout night, by the way. Just can't perform in the clutch. He's the last person I want up with the game on the line.

Jose Reyes and David Wright are playing out of their minds right now. Wright has a 15-game hitting streak, Reyes an 11-gamer. They're setting the tables, but no one's finishing the job. I think it's time to throw Cameron down in the six-slot in the batting order, put a decently-performing Mike Piazza back at number five, and put David Wright second. I think Wright's a lot like Michael Young in Texas - and the two slot works well for Young.

Something's gotta happen. The Mets have to start winning games they should be winning. I'm starting to wonder if they even deserve the high expectations I have of them right now. The San Diego Padres team they swept last week is clearly not good - they've lost 9 out of 10, and I think they're now a game below .500 (but still in first place). The Mets need a first baseman. Marlon Anderson is a great pinch-hitter. He is a good infielder. He is a bad first baseman. Jose Offerman is worse. Chris Woodward isn't a lot better. Make up your mind about Doug Mientkiewicz - either use him for his defense and hope he improves on offense, or make a trade. We can't go on with this disaster at first.

I need to go to bed. I'm very upset right now. But I have a couple of other things to mention. One is that I have decided I hate 9:05 pm start times. It only happens, I think, in Colorado. It's too in-between. With the West Coast 10:05 start times, you know what you're getting - a late game. It's 7 o'clock out West. With the 9, they fool you into thinking it's a little early, because it's earlier than 10, but man, those games go late. And they take you (me) out of your (my) game-watching rhythm. Sometimes I forgot to change it back to the Mets when I'd switch around during commercials. Just a very tough thing to get used to. So perhaps that's why I haven't seen a lot of Rockies games this year (or perhaps it's because they friggin' SUCK). But all that said, I have to say, they have a great broadcast team. I really enjoyed watching the Mets-Rockies games on the Rockies feed. Drew Goodman and George Frazier. They were outstanding. I'm going to try watching them some more. They were amusing, but not goofy, they knew their was very refreshing.

That's it for tonight. I'm dreading Sunday. Kaz Ishii versus Roy Oswalt. The Mets need another strong outing from Kris Benson Friday night, because we all know he's not going to get a lot of run support.

ELTRAN*'S: 0-for-4 on Thursday, in his return to Houston. He was booed all night. He'd better not expect a much nicer reception at Shea, unless things turn around.
14-55 (.255 AVG.), 2 HR, 10 RBI, 5 Runs, 1 SB

WRIGHT WATCH: 15-game hitting streak includes another double on Wednesday night.

THE KID'S KIDS: I don't know when the record improved, but the Gulf Coast Mets are now 20-9, 5 games up in the division. It looks like they got rained out again on Thursday...but I'm not sure.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005


Tuesday night's game is in progress as I write this, and things aren't going well at the moment. Kaz Ishii + Coors Field = Trouble for the Mets.

I did want to post something, though, before bed, and there's an e-mail, so I'll get to that.

"Dear JohnnyMets,

Thank you for the reminder that this week marked David Wright's first
year in the majors. According to, his 162-game doubles total
is 41. I'm afraid it doesn't bode well for a happy ending to the
recently reborn Wright Watch.

My question this week has to do with Tom Glavine. He picked up a win
over the struggling Padres this week, to even his record at 7-7. He's
got a 4.62 ERA in 115 IP this season, and 51 Ks against 46 BBs.

In his 2-and-a-half years as a Met, he is 27-35, a .435 winning
percentage, compared to his carrer mark of .602 (269-178). Against the
Braves, through whom the Mets must go to make the playoffs/WS, he is
1-8 with a 7.85 ERA in 55 IP.

The three-year deal signed in 2002 was worth $35M, with a 4th year
option worth $7.5M based on IP. It's option year is based on a
complicated formula, but basically he needs to throw 200 IP this year
or 600 over the life of the deal. He's close to hitting those marks,
but may fall a bit short.

I was wondering if you think Glavine was a good signing. Please base
on your answer on statistics and value, not the fact that you're a
shameless Mets apologist.

Love your show,
Dave in Brighton"

OK, Dave. At least this "shameless Mets apologist" knows when to use an apostrophe in "its" (fourth graf) and can spell "career" (third graf). I'll chalk it up to an absurd lack of sleep around the time this e-mail was written. Also - I'm apalled at the negativity towards the David Wright doubles record.

Anyway, funny you mention the apologist factor. I know I'm very, very optimistic when it comes to most things Mets, but in late 2002, when the Mets signed Tom Glavine and Cliff Floyd, I was down on both signings. I think I've written that before about Glavine, and I felt he was starting to prove me wrong, and that it was a great signing, a year ago. Of course, last year Glavine was simply better than the year before, which is not saying a whole lot. And this year it's been even worse than the first year. So, no, I don't like the Glavine signing, and I can honestly say I never have.

I remember being in New York when the Mets signed the Glavine deal, and I said to my dad and my sister's boyfriend that this is the type of deal the Mets make where they take a Hall of Famer and turn him into a bust. (Not the statue kind of bust.) In other words, Tom Glavine is the exact reason why Pedro Martinez* and Carlos Beltran* have asterisks this season...and why Beltran still deserves his.

I have no real ability to prove to you that I hated the Glavine deal from day one. But I hope you trust the word.

SECOND HALF: 4 SEASON TOTAL: 26 (tied for sixth in the league) TEAM RECORD: 44

ELTRAN*S: (through Monday's game) 12-42 (.286) 2 HR, 9 RBI, 4 Runs, 1 SB

THE KID'S KIDS: Looks like another rainout for the Gulf Coast Mets - a doubleheader rained out. Still 18-8 on the season, 4 games up.

Monday, July 25, 2005


Mets 6, Dodgers 0 (NYM: 51-47, 3.5 GB; LA: 44-54)

The Mets did exactly what they needed to do coming out of the All-Star break. They had a 10-game homestand, and a chance to make a run, and they did that. After taking two out of three from Los Angeles, the Mets are now three-and-a-half games behind the Braves and Nationals. Of course, it would be a lot better if the Mets had swept the Dodgers, but two out of three is very good - things are moving in the right direction.

The Nationals lost again to the Astros - this time on a three-run homer in the 14th inning. This was the type of game where pitchers were pinch-hitting - the Nationals had used up their bench by the end of the 9th! I love that the feel-good story ended so quickly. I hope it doesn't make me un-American to root against the Nationals, but they're in the Mets' division. The Nationals now play the Braves - so the Mets need to keep winning, and keep pace with one of those teams. (They're both off Monday - that series starts Tuesday.)

As for the Mets, Kris Benson is having one of the best seasons of any pitcher. He's only 7-3 after Sunday's win, but thank goodness the Mets scored him some runs - he's been the hard-luck pitcher of the year. Benson hasn't given up more than 3 runs in his last 6 or so starts, but the Mets haven't been scoring enough runs to get him any wins. He deserved a win on Sunday, and had to shut out the opponent to get it. 8 scoreless for Benson - he's been great.

Mike Piazza was 3-for-3, with 3 RBI. He got the Mets going early with a bomb of a home run in the second inning. He's been moved down in the order, but has taken everything that's happened to him this year very gracefully. He's acknowledged Cliff Floyd is the big bat - and carried the team for much of the first half. He knows David Wright and Jose Reyes are the future, and he's on his way out. But I think he wants one last shot at glory, and realizes this team has the pieces in place...and he might be heating up. That was a great-looking homer he hit on Sunday, and now the Mets are headed to Colorado and Houston, where some hot bats can pad offensive numbers. Piazza always hits well in Colorado - we'll keep an eye on that.

The pitchers probably don't like the upcoming road trip - but the batters have to be salivating. The Mets should handle Colorado. They stink. Then in Houston, the Mets played well last year - beating Roger Clemens in dramatic fashion when I was on my honeymoon - Piazza had a game-winning homer then too, I think. Or a game-tying homer...I think Jason Phillips actually had a big hit too. Anyway, the Astros are a lot better now than when they came to Shea in April- the Mets swept them in their home season-opening series. They just did the Mets a favor, too, by beating the Nationals three out of four. That series will be a test to see how far the Mets have come here - because San Diego isn't great, and the Dodgers aren't even good. The Mets are also not a great road team this year - 32-21 at home, 19-26 on the road. There are some winnable games coming up for the Mets - if they play as well as they have this past week, they'll be OK.

ELTRAN*'S: Beltran* was 2-for-4 on Sunday, so in the 2nd half: 12-38 (.316), 2 HR, 9 RBI, 4 Runs, 1 SB

WRIGHT WATCH: David Wright was 1-for-3 on Sunday - no doubles.
Second Half: 4 Season Total: 26 Team Record: 44

THE KID'S KIDS: No game on Sunday, but the Gulf Coast Mets are 18-8 on the year, 4 games up.

The games in Colorado start at 9pm, and I have a busy week, so there might be in-game updates, or late-afternoon previous day recaps. I'm not quite sure how this will be handled. I apologize for any inconveniences my life my cause.

Friday, July 22, 2005


Dodgers 6, Mets 5 (LA: 44-52; NYM: 49-47, 4.5 GB- pending ATL)

Nobody's going to believe this, but I had a strong feeling the Mets would come back when they were down 6-2 after five and a half innings. Well, maybe you will believe that, since the comeback never fully materialized.

But that's the thing about this Mets lineup - it has the ability to overcome big deficits at any point in the game when the players are swinging the bats well, and they came up just short on Friday night.

I didn't see this game, but followed it on GameCast...but Victor Zambrano didn't have it...and Heath Bell relieved him, giving up one inherited runner, which proved to be the game-winning run. But all six runs were charged to Zambrano - not a good outing, especially with a 4-game winning streak on the line.

So the Mets trailed 6-2 going into the bottom of the sixth. (Doug Mientkiewicz had hit a 2-run homer in the bottom of the fifth - the Mets were actually down 6-0 in the game.) But the top of the lineup was due up in the sixth, and you knew if they could get it going, the Mets had a shot. So THE GREATEST BALLPLAYER WHO EVER LIVED, Jose Reyes, singles, then the least clutch hitter of all time (he cost the Mets later), Mike Cameron, singled, and Carlos Beltran* homered, and suddenly it was 6-5. But the Mets got no closer. But the point is the lineup is potent, and because of that, the Mets aren't out of many games.

Incidentally, ex-Mets killed them in this game. Jeff Kent homered, singled, and doubled, and Jason Phillips had an RBI and run scored.

It really is too bad the Mets couldn't win this, because the Nationals lost again - 14-1. The Dream Ride is over - actually, it's come to a crashing halt. The Braves started at Arizona after this post, so it remains to be seen if the Mets lose ground on them. But the Nationals are sliding. Before their demolition to the Astros, Jose Guillen and a couple of other players took a 300-foot tape measure out to the field at RFK to measure the dimensions of the ballpark. Turns out, the numbers on the wall are shorter than the actual measurements. Guillen says he writes down every shot he hits to the warning track at RFK, and says he should have 29 homers this year. He says it doesn't bother him....but you know it does. Talk about turmoil....and I'm sure we haven't seen the worst yet from Guillen.

I forgot to mention the past few days, and hopefully someone reads this so it doesn't go unnoticed, but the Pirates have a rookie pitcher named Zach Duke who made his debut, I think, on July 7th (right around there, anyway). He won again Thursday night, and has only allowed a couple of earned runs in his 4 or 5 starts, and he's striking out a lot of batters. Keep an eye on him.

ELTRAN*'S: Beltran* went 1-for-4 with that huge homer, so his 2nd half numbers are: 8-31 (.258 BA), 2 HR, 8 RBI, 3 Runs, 0 SB

WRIGHT WATCH: David Wright's 1-for-3 was a double, so: 2ND HALF: 3 SEASON TOTAL: 25 TEAM RECORD: 44

THE KID'S KIDS: The Gulf Coast Mets won, 7-3 over the Dodgers, so they're 17-8, 3 games up.

Thursday, July 21, 2005


Mets 12, Padres 0 (NYM: 49-46, 4.5 GB; SD: 50-46)

The Mets wanted a hot streak, they went out and got themselves on a hot streak. Now they need to keep it up.

Thursday afternoon's game was never in doubt (OK, that's sort of a lie - Kaz Ishii started, so it wasn't a guarantee). But Ishii pitched himself out of a few jams, and the Mets got to San Dieo ace Jake a big way.

You knew it was going to be a good game for the Mets when the first bats to get going were Doug Mientkiewicz and Ramon Castro. Mientkiewicz opened the scoring with a solo homer early on, and Castro added a two-run laser in the fifth. The Mets broke the game open with seven runs in the sixth, including two hits in the inning from future Hall of Famer David Wright.

Wright was celebrating his first year in the majors. He was called up on July 21, 2004, in a game against the Montreal Expos. Wright's numbers over that year - in 161 games he hit about .290, with 28 homers, and 87 RBI. The Mets announcers said those numbers compared very favorably with current (within the past 15 years or so) superstars in the majors - actually ranking Wright fourth statistically, behind Vladimir Guerrero, Mike Piazza, and Nomar Garciaparra. I think all of those guys hit over .300...and Wright's numbers were better than current young stars like Miguel Cabrera.

The Mets not only had a huge sweep against the first-place Padres, but also picked up big ground on the Nationals - now just four-and-a-half games out of first place. The best part about this is that now I'm not the only one who thinks the Mets have a shot at winning the NL East - now the Mets are starting to think that way too. The Nationals lost to Houston Thursday night, and the turmoil continues to build in Washington, D.C. The latest saga involves Livan Hernandez, who said Wednesday night after he lost his start that he was going to have season-ending surgery on his troublesome knee, and said he was mad about something, which he'd fill reporters in on after the season was over. Hernandez came back on Thursday to say that he would NOT shut it down for the year, in an expletive-filled tirade to reporters. He apparently said he was misquoted too. I doubt it, for some reason. The Nationals, by the way, are still trying to talk Barry Larkin out of retirement. And, at the top of their worry list - they are no longer alone in first place - the idle Braves moved into a tie for first with the Nationals' loss.

Hopefully the 12-0 win was a sign that the Mets bats are alive and well - they need to keep up that offense...especially when Kris Benson is pitching. He's been the hard-luck pitcher of the year - pitching very well, but getting no decisions or tough losses. Another good sign out of the Padres series is that Cliff Floyd has gotten hot again - he had cooled off right before and after the All-Star break..but looks good again.

The Dodgers are in New York for a weekend series - with the way the Mets pitching lines up, this too is a very sweepable series.

ELTRAN*'S: Carlos Beltran* was 0-for-3 Thursday, but he did drive in a run with a sacrifice fly. In the 2nd half, he is 7-for-27 (.250-ish) with 1 HR, 5 RBI, 2 runs, and 0 SB.

WRIGHT WATCH: Wright was 2-for-4 on Thursday, with both hits coming in the sixth inning, and one of those hits was an RBI double. SECOND HALF: 2 doubles SEASON: 24 TEAM RECORD: 44

THE KID'S KIDS: The Gulf Coast Mets are now 16-8, losing to the Nationals, 8-6 on Thursday. They still have a 3-game lead in their division.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005


Mets 3, Padres 1, 11 innings (NYM: 47-46, 6.5 GB; SD: 50-44)

I really think things are going to start going the Mets' way here. I know I'm usually optimistic anyway, but there's a few reasons I feel this way moreso now than usual.

The first is that things in the division are starting to break their way. The Nationals are not playing like a first place team. They're playing like a team that has been exposed, and is desperately trying to cover up. Evidence - they're panicking. They made a good move getting Preston Wilson, but on Tuesday night, Cristian Guzman and Vinny Castilla were both taken out of the starting lineup (Castilla for injury reasons, Guzman for performance reasons). And now ESPN is reporting that Jim Bowden, the Nationals' GM, is trying to talk Barry Larkin out of retirement and into shortstop for Washington. That just reeks of desperation. The Nationals did win on Tuesday, but things aren't looking great for them right now.

Now the reasons the Mets actually control. Before Tuesday's game, the Mets were talking about how they needed to go on a streak. They've had enough of the .500 stuff, and want to go on a winning streak. The biggest talker was Cliff Floyd, and he put his bat where his mouth is on Tuesday night.

It didn't look good early. Kris Benson again pitched great, and again was left with a no-decision. Benson only surrendered a Khalil Greene solo homer, and five hits, in seven innings. It was 1-0 Padres into the fifth - and the Mets were being no-hit. But Cliff Floyd put an end to that with a bomb off Brian Lawrence to tie it at 1. (It's not like Lawrence was overpowering - the Mets tagged a few balls, but Dave Roberts had an excellent defensive game in center.) The game stayed tied into the 11th - and the Mets left a lot of men on base. They had plenty of chances to win this game.

As ineffective as the offense was, though, the bullpen was great. Dae-Sung Koo, Roberto Hernandez, and Braden Looper shut down San Diego the rest of the way. (I missed this game - I was at work, following it on GameCast, and Looper pitched two great innings. I'm kind of glad I didn't see them, though, because he makes me so nervous.) In the bottom of the 11th, after a David Wright flyout, Mike Piazza singled. Chris Woodward pinch hit for Looper, and homered to left, and the Mets had a 3-1 win.

This is a big win, because San Diego is a first place team. The Mets have to feel good about it, and hopefully it carries over into Tuesday's game...and hopefully Tom Glavine pitches as well on Tuesday as he did in his last start.

Another note from this game - David Wright batted fifth, and Mike Piazza hit sixth. Willie Randolph got angry with reporters who asked him about it - but he's getting closer to putting Wright where he belongs. The numbers support Randolph's decision. It's the first time Piazza has hit sixth since May of 1993.

ELTRAN*'S: After an 0-4 Tuesday night (when he had a couple of chances to win the game for the Mets) Carlos Beltran* is 6-20 (.300) in the second half, with 0 HR, 2 RBI, 1 Run, and 0 SB.

WRIGHT WATCH: Continuing the quest for the team doubles record, future Hall of Famer David Wright was 2-5, with a double. So, in the 2ND HALF: 1 SEASON TOTAL: 23 TEAM RECORD: 44

THE KID'S KIDS: The Gulf Coast Mets won again, 6-2, improving to 15-7 on the year, 3 games up in their division.

Monday, July 18, 2005


I told you recently that I had to clear out my bookcase in New York, since my mom and dad are going to be doing some work on their house. As a result, I've been forced to go through some of my old Mets programs, and I very often kept score when I was younger (I still do occasionally). I have decided that for each Mets off day for the rest of the summer, I will pull one of these programs from its new residence on a shelf in the basement of the House Sponsored by DirecTV and share its contents with you. Sometimes this will be a random selection, sometimes it will be intentional. Today's selection was not random.

On July 28, 1993, the Mets were in the midst of what was quite possibly the worst season by any professional team in any sport. But that didn't deter me from going to Shea Stadium. No, I wasn't fazed at all that year - I have a ton of scorebooks from 1993. I should actually go through them and see what the Mets' win total was in games I attended. They went 59-103 that I saw a few wins, it would make up a big percentage of their wins that year. Anyway, I remember July 28, 1993 as a pleasant night for a game, possibly it rained earlier in the evening. I think it was more of a cool night than a hot, oppressive July night.

Bret Saberhagen started this game for the Mets, against Jack Armstrong of the Florida Marlins. (That would be the expansion Florida Marlins, incidentally.) Neither starter would factor in the decision.

The Mets took a 1-0 lead in the first inning - Joe Orsulak, the starting left fielder, hit a solo homer. In the fourth, the Mets tacked on another, to make it 2-0. Jeromy Burnitz led the inning off with a single, then after flyouts by Jeff Kent and Todd Hundley, Burnitz made it to third on a wild pitch. Tim Bogar brought home Burnitz with an RBI single.

The Marlins struck in the sixth, against Sabes. Chuck Carr led off with a single, and then Bret Barberie hit a 2-run homer to tie the game at 2. In the 7th, the Mets took the lead on a Ryan Thompson solo homer, but the Marlins got the run back in the top of the eighth, still against Saberhagen. Barberie singled with one out, then after a Jeff Conine strikeout, Gary Sheffield singled. Orestes Destrade then doubled home Barberie, but Sheffield was gunned down at home. According to my scorecard, right fielder Burnitz threw to second baseman Kent, and the tag was put on by Hundley.

So the game stayed tied into the ninth. As the Mets often did in that year, they brought in Anthony Young to preserve the tie game. As Anthony Young did often that year (and the previous year), he gave the other team the lead. Benito Santiago singled. Darrell Whitmore laid down a sac bunt, which was bungled by Hundley somehow. Walt Weiss then had an infield single, loading the bases. Young induced a 5-2-3 (that's Bobby Bonilla to Todd Hundley to Eddie Murray) double play from a young Edgar Renteria, but then Chuck Carr had an infield hit to give the Marlins a 4-3 lead in the bottom of the ninth.

You must remember that to this point, Anthony Young was making nearly nightly appearances, as the Mets tried to get him a win. He had lost 27 decisions in a row!!! The 27 decisions spanned from mid-1992 to July, 1993. Now, keep in mind, in between these 27 losses Young also saved a bunch of games, and did hold some leads. But the majority of the time, he threw an ill-advised slider and gave up a homer, and ended up on the losing end of games. But a lot of the time also Young was the victim of hard luck. Take July 28, 1993 for example. Not one ball outside of Santiago's leadoff single left the infield (if my scorecard is accurate, which I believe it is). An error and a couple of infield hits led to the Marlins' lead. That reminds me - there were a bunch of unearned runs involved in his losing streak as well.

Anyway, the Mets trailed 4-3, going into the bottom of the ninth, but there was still a feeling of excitement (for me, anyway, because I really liked Anthony Young, and a Mets comeback would mean a win). Jeff McKnight (the most ordinary man I've ever seen put on a Major League baseball uniform - he will always hold a place in my heart because he made me believe I could play in the majors) led the inning off, pinch-hitting for Bogar, with a single. Dave Gallagher, who I will never like because he wore Hall of Famer Gary Carter's Number 8, sacrificed McKnight to second. Ryan Thompson had an RBI single to tie the game, so at least Young wouldn't get another loss at this point. But Shea was rocking when Orsulak flew out, and then Eddie Murray stepped to the plate. He lined one into the right field corner, if I remember right. Bryan Harvey was the Marlins pitcher, and he was a righty, so Murray would have been batting lefty, and he pulled it, so it must have went into the right field corner. Thompson booked around the bases, and scored the winning run! The Mets won, 5-4, and made a winner out of Anthony Young. He went 1-16 that year.

I was so excited that when we got home, I taped SportsChannel's rebroadcast of the game in the middle of the night. I still have that tape - I think it is among the stuff I have yet to remove from my bedroom in New York. I don't know why I always liked Anthony Young. I think it was because when the Mets were filled with such blatant idiots, like Vince Coleman, Bret Saberhagen, Bobby Bonilla, and Eddie Murray, Young would constantly lose and face the press, and take it like a man. I have since heard he wasn't the nicest guy, but he never showed it. I even met him once. He made an appearance at the Mets Clubhouse Store on Steinway Street in Astoria (since burned down, sadly), and he signed autographs and took pictures. The guy in front of me told him, "You've got to stop throwing that slider. Guys are killing it." If Anthony Young was ever going to act like a jerk in public, that was the time, but he just smiled at the guy. I wished him luck...and I'm pretty sure this was before the streak was over. It was a thrilling win for the Mets, and I want to watch the video of that game just so I can re-live it.

Back to 2005: The Washington Nationals are falling apart. The Mets are now six-and-a-half out after the Nationals lost, 5-4, to the Colorado Rockies (one of the worst teams in baseball, by the way). The go-ahead run came with the game tied 4-4 in the top of the ninth, when Vinny Castilla misplayed an easy grounder at third base. In the bottom of the ninth, the normally calm Jose Vidro got bent out of shape over two called strikes during his at-bat. After being called out on strikes, Vidro slammed his helmet to the ground and yelled at the umpire. He was thrown out of the game. I think Vidro's actions were a little microcosmic of the Nationals and their season and where it's heading.

THE KID'S KIDS: Good managing by Hall of Famer Gary Carter. The Mets bounced back from the 4-game losing streak with a 6-0 win over the Marlins. They are now 14-7, two games up on the Nationals.

Sunday, July 17, 2005


Mets 8, Braves 1 (NYM: 46-46, 7 GB; ATL: 52-41)

For the 23rd different time this season, the Mets are at .500. They split the second-half-opening series with the Braves, 2-2. I'm trying to decide whether or not this is disappointing. The Mets struggle against the Braves. So I'm thinking a split is pretty good - it sure is better than losing 3 out of 4, which past Mets teams might have done this series against Atlanta. However, after the way the Mets won the first game of the series, with Mike Piazza's dramatic homer, I think I expected more. Especially considering two of the Braves pitchers, Tim Hudson and Mike Hampton, were making their first starts off the DL.

I didn't have a chance to say anything on Saturday night about Saturday's game. This was Hudson's first start back, and he shut the Mets out for six innings. The worst thing about the game was that he only threw 62 pitches over those six innings. I think he had something absurd like 16 pitches in 4 innings. The Mets had to make Hudson work more in his first start back. He cruised.

The good news is, the Mets didn't let Hampton (public enemy number two in my book, following Kenny Rogers) cruise. They got to him early....and often. THE GREATEST BALLPLAYER WHO EVER LIVED, Jose Reyes, led off the game with a single, went to third on a Mike Cameron single, then scored on a Carlos Beltran* groundout. Reyes was then involved in the run scoring in the second as well, when the Mets got 4 runs, knocking Hampton out of the game. The big blow was an opposite field home run by Cameron which looked like a line drive, but just carried and carried.

The five runs were more than enough for Pedro Martinez* (whose asterisk remains only for superstitious reasons...he no longer deserves the mark....Beltran*, on the other hand, does). Martinez* went six innings, giving up just two hits - no runs - and striking out five. Pedro* threw just 61 pitches over his six innings. His record is now 11-3 and his ERA is 2.60. I was hoping he'd pitch like this, but, man, even me, the most optimistic of fans, didn't expect this.

A couple of interesting events over the weekend. If you missed Saturday's posting, Doug Mientkiewicz is back. He played in Friday night's game. The Mets, when they activated Mientkiewicz, also brought up Juan Padilla. In turn, they demoted Brian Daubach and Royce Ring. Daubach I don't care about (hopefully Jose Offerman follows suit soon - although he had another RBI pinch hit on Sunday), but Ring I find curious. He was one of the Mets' better relievers, especially being lefty. My thought here is that Ring is going back to Norfolk to close out games, and the Mets might shop Braden Looper, to see what they can get for him. If they end up trading Looper, I wouldn't be surprised to see Ring brought back as the closer. Just a thought. If it happens, I think that would be good. If it doesn't happen, I have no idea why they sent Ring down.

More good news, Milwaukee kicked Washington's butt this weekend, so the Mets are just 7 games out. The slide begins....

Florida is now tied with the Mets at the bottom of the NL East, Philly is a game and a half ahead. The Mets are five and a half back of Atlanta (wild card leaders).

I knew Al Leiter would be picked up by someone - but I didn't think it would be so soon...or by the Yankees. There was part of me hoping he'd come back to the Mets and pitch like he did on Sunday night, but I didn't think Leiter would come back to New York, considering his comments about the city (WFAN, Mike and the Mad Dog in particular) in the off-season. I wonder how that will play out now that he's with the Yanks.

A couple of new features for the rest of the season. ELTRAN*'S 2ND HALF will track Carlos Beltran*'s second half (it's the second half of his name), and the WRIGHT WATCH is back...this time tracking David Wright's quest for the team record in doubles. It's a longshot, but it's worth watching.

ELTRAN*'S 2ND HALF: 6-16 (.375 BA) 0 HR, 2 RBI, 1 RUN, 0 SB

WRIGHT WATCH: 2nd Half: 0 doubles Season Total: 22 Team Record: 44

THE KID'S KIDS: This is where Hall of Famer Gary Carter is going to have to come through as a manager. The Gulf Coast Mets are suffering a four-game losing streak, dropping their record to 13-7. They're still in first place, but from 13-3 to 13-7 is a big drop. Sunday's are off days, so there was a (probably) much-needed day off. They'll try to find their winning ways again Monday, which, incidentally, is an off-day for the Major Legaue Mets.

Friday, July 15, 2005


Braves 2, Mets 1 (ATL: 51-40; NYM 45-45, 7 GB)

If I had the capability to put pictures up along with my headlines, there'd be a picture of THE GREATEST BALLPLAYER WHO EVER LIVED, Jose Reyes, next to that one. Because they go hand in hand, no pun intended.

Also, while we're on the subject of headlines, the Mets will not lose a game in the standings (the division standings, anyway), because the Nationals just lost on a Mike Stanton balk with a man on third in the tenth inning. The headlines in Milwaukee will probably read "Balk Off". Or they would if I was in charge.

I need to make this Mets write-up quick, because first of all, I need to get up early tomorrow, and secondly, no one reads on the weekends anyway, so I don't want to waste my "A" material.

Future Hall of Famer David Wright put the Mets on the board with a solo homer, career homer number 28, in the second inning. Tom Glavine actually pitched really, really well against the Braves, and left with the score 1-1 through 7. Roberto Hernandez took over in the 8th, having not given up a run since May 25th, covering 17 appearances. You just know after the announcers say that that he's going to give up a run. He did, but almost got out of a jam. The run scored on a hot shot up the middle, which gave Reyes an in-between hop, and bounced off a finger on his right hand. Reyes had to get the finger taped up, but he stayed in the game, and the Braves did no further damage. Tough way to give up a run, though.

It stayed 2-1 into the 9th, and the Mets had their big guns coming up. Cliff Floyd led off with a single up the middle. Then Mike Piazza hit a ball hard, but it was right to the second baseman, playing him perfectly up the middle. Double play, which is too bad. I think the homer the night before gave Piazza some confidence in that spot. He swung the bat well Friday night. David Wright then ended the game with a flyout to deep right field. He just missed a homer. So we have to hope for three out of four for the Mets this weekend. A split would be just OK.

Victor Zambrano goes Saturday against Tim Hudson, and Pedro Martinez* goes Sunday against Mike Hampton. Both Braves pitchers are probables...and are both coming off the DL to make the starts.

An update on Carlos Beltran*'s second half - he went 0-for-4, a night after going 4-for-4.

THE KID'S KIDS: Rain messed with Doug Mientkiewicz (2-for-3) and the rest of the Gulf Coast Mets again, shortening the first game of a doubleheader with the Dodgers to 6-and-a-half innings, and raining out the second game. Too bad that means the first game was official - the Dodgers beat the Mets 2-1. Weird box score here. The Mets' starter, Riggan, pitched an inning and struck out the side, then Harrington gave up just one hit, but the 2 runs, and the Mets lost. The Mets are now 13-5, still 3-and-a-half games up.

Thursday, July 14, 2005


Mets 6, Braves 3 (NYM: 45-44, 7 GB; ATL: 50-39)

In the past couple of days I've been talking about the Mets recapturing some of that old Mets' magic. Thursday night's game against the Atlanta Braves sure felt like some of the games during the post-season runs of 1999 and 2000, and it was definitely a great way to start the second half of the season.

Kris Benson got the start against Horacio Ramirez - and I have yet to hear exactly why he started instead of the scheduled starter, Tom Glavine. Benson pitched great, and Ramirez pitched well, but more on him in a minute. Benson struck out 7, while giving up 3 runs (2 earned) in 7 innings. I missed how the run was unearned - the run scored on an Adam LaRoche homer - but Benson really pitched well. To be honest, I wasn't sure from the start why Benson wasn't pitching the first game out of the break. I'd much rather him than Glavine, especially given Glavine's past performances against Atlanta.

Future Hall of Famer David Wright was the absolute star of this game. He came in 6-for-8 career against Horacio Ramirez. He added two solo bombs (career home runs number 26 and 27) to that total. A gold star goes to Carlos Beltran* - who got his strong second half off to a strong start with a 4-for-4 performance in a big game. I'm starting to believe the Mets WILL make a playoff run. Here's when you know things are going good. Jose Offerman is not good. He's not. He should not be in the majors. But the Mets trailed 3-2, there was a runner on second base, and Offerman pinch hit for Benson. He singles to left - he always gets a pinch hit lately in clutch situations, and he ties the game.

Then Mike Piazza. All-Star Mike Piazza. He comes up after an unintentional walk to Cliff Floyd and a double by Beltran*. With two on and one out, Piazza flashed back to Mets-Braves 1999/2000/2001 and hit an opposite field homer. He crushed it. Piazza hasn't shown opposite field power like this all year. It's too early to say whether or not Piazza is going to turn it around in the second half, but man did that homer look good.

The Mets did it in the field too. In the fifth inning, Floyd went head over heels into the left-field front row seats in foul territory to snare a pop-up. That was a great catch, drawing MVP chants from the crowd. Then in the eighth inning, after an unsuccessful great play by THE GREATEST BALLPLAYER WHO EVER LIVED, Jose Reyes, (trying to get a runner at third where Wright just missed the tag), the Braves tried a squeeze with one out. The ball was popped into the air, Wright made a diving headlong catch, and then was able to walk back to third base to double up the runner.

I know I'm kind of rambling here, but I'm really excited. The Mets pulled off a great win, when they needed to. Maybe this is what it takes to turn things around against the Braves. To top it off, Washington lost to Milwaukee, so the Mets moved to 7 games out of first (they're also now 4-and-a-half out of the wild card). Philadelphia crushed Florida, so Philly stays a half-game in front of the Mets, and the Mets are even with Florida. Things are not good with the Marlins - they designated Al Leiter for assignment. He is probably going to come out of someone's bullpen before the year is out.

Actually, lots of moving and shaking in the NL East. The Nationals traded for Preston Wilson (who promptly hit a homer in his first game with the team) and also got Mike Stanton. I think Washington is going to slide far and fast. The Mets might have to worry about Philadelphia, but, as I've stated before, the Phillies do not scare me. Might as well give the division to the Mets now. I'm excited. Big weekend ahead. Let's Go Mets.

THE KID'S KIDS: In 15 innings, the Nationals beat the Mets, 5-4. Sounds like it was a good one. I wish they'd televise these games - these kids sound like they'd be fun to watch. 13-4 on the season right now.

P.S. - NESN has started showing the Southwest "ding" commercial I wrote about two days ago.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Considering it's the quietest day in sports, I sure have a lot to get to. First, as promised, the statistical piece I've been working on:


In the Mets’ 43-year history, their best hitters have either been right-handed or switch-hitting batters. It’s rare that a left-handed batter wearing a Mets uniform has put up solid numbers over a full season.

But what we are witnessing so far this season from Cliff Floyd could be the best offensive season ever for a Mets left-handed hitter, if not any Mets hitter. What follows is a list of the top seasons I could find for what I believe to be the best left-handed hitters to ever wear a Mets uniform (the fact that Mo Vaughn makes this list shows how thin that area really is), then right-handed hitters, then switch hitters. Since Cliff Floyd is a power hitter, who can steal a couple of bases, steals are included, and only comparable batters are included (for example – you aren’t going to find seasons like Buddy Harrelson’s or Lenny Dykstra’s listed here – just players who hit a lot of homers – which, relative to Mets history, would be more than 25 or so…and in some cases, less):


Jeromy Burnitz, 2003: 65 games, 64-234 (.274 AVG./.344 OBP./.581 SLG.) 18 HR, 45 RBI, 1 SB, 38 RUNS (Traded mid-season to the Los Angeles Dodgers)

Ed Kranepool, 1971: 122 games, 118-421 (.280 AVG./.340 OBP./.447 SLG.) 14 HR, 58 RBI, 0 SB, 61 RUNS (Kranepool had a season where he hit 16 homers, but this was his best overall year)

Keith Hernandez, 1986: 149 games, 171-551 (.310 AVG./.413 OBP./.446 SLG.) 13 HR, 83 RBI, 2 SB, 94 RUNS (1986 was not Hernandez’s biggest power year, but his best stats year)

John Olerud, 1997-1999: About 159 games, 524-1662 (.315 AVG./.425 OBP./.495 SLG.) 21 HR, 97 RBI, 1.6 SB, 96 RUNS (These are three-year averages, since Olerud put up excellent, consistent numbers his three years with the Mets – the batting average, on-base-percentage, and slugging averages are all approximate).

Rusty Staub, 1975: 155 games, 162-574 (.282 AVG./.371 OBP./.448 SLG.) 19 HR, 105 RBI, 2 SB, 93 RUNS

Darryl Strawberry, 1987: 154 games, 151-532 (.284 AVG./.398 OBP./.583 SLG.) 39 HR, 104 RBI, 36 SB, 108 RUNS (252 career homers as a Met from 1983-1990 leads the all-time Mets homer category, also leads in RBI – he had the same HR total in 1988, but wasn’t as good everywhere else)

Mo Vaughn, 2002: 139 games, 126-487 (.259 AVG./.349 OBP./.456 SLG.) 26 HR, 72 RBI, 0 SB, 67 RUNS

Robin Ventura, 1999: 161 games, 177-588 (.301 AVG./.379 OBP./.529 SLG.) 32 HR, 120 RBI, 1 SB, 88 RUNS (As far as I can remember, Ventura had incredible numbers at the All Star break, and then faded big-time in the second half)


Mike Piazza, 1999: 141 games, 162-534 (.303 AVG./.361 OBP/.575 SLG.) 40 HR, 124 RBI, 2 SB, 100 RUNS

Tommie Agee, 1970: 153 games, 182-636 (.286 AVG./.344 OBP./.469 SLG.) 24 HR, 75 RBI, 31 SB, 107 RUNS

Edgardo Alfonzo, 1999: 158 games, 191-628 (.304 AVG./385 OBP./.502 SLG.) 27 HR, 108 RBI, 9 SB, 123 RUNS

Gary Carter, 1985: 149 games, 156-555 (.281 AVG./.365 OBP./.488 SLG.) 32 HR, 100 RBI, 1 SB, 83 RUNS

Bernard Gilkey, 1996: 153 games, 181-571 (.317 AVG./.393 OBP./.562 SLG.) 30 HR, 117 RBI, 17 SB, 108 RUNS


Howard Johnson, 1989: 153 games, 164-571 (.287 AVG./.369 OBP./.559 SLG.) 36 HR, 101 RBI, 41 SB, 104 RUNS

Todd Hundley, 1996: 153 games, 140-540 (.259 AVG./.356 OBP./.550 SLG.) 41 HR, 112 RBI, 1 SB, 85 RUNS

These are, for the most part, the greatest offensive seasons by individual Mets in the team’s history. Yes, power is stressed, but the overall stats are pretty good too – for example, Edgardo Alfonzo in 1999 scored a team-record 123 runs to go with his 27 homers and 108 RBI. And not all huge power seasons are included. A guy like Dave Kingman, for example, isn’t included, because while he may have hit more than 30 homers, he didn’t do much else at the plate.

So now let’s look at Cliff Floyd so far this season:

Cliff Floyd, 2005: 80 games, 86-300 (.287 AVG./.360 OBP./.543 SLG.) 22 HR, 55 RBI, 7 SB, 51 RUNS

Floyd missed about 8 games with an injury, so the numbers could be even better – and he has tailed off a bit lately. If he keeps up the pace he’s on now, though, he will challenge Hundley’s Mets record of 41 homers in a season, and become just the third Met to reach the 40-homer plateau. It’s almost embarrassing to print these numbers…the Mets have not had a very good history offensively.

So as far as comparisons go, right away we can throw out Vaughn, Kranepool, and Agee, because Floyd’s All-Star break numbers nearly match what those guys did in full seasons. If the Mets were sellers as the trading deadline approached, they could get more for Floyd than they did for Burnitz – who had very comparable numbers in just 45 games before he was traded a couple of years ago.

Floyd will definitely finish ahead of Hernandez’s ’86 season, barring injury. Hernandez was a very good offensive player, but Floyd should be able to best Hernandez’s best season (as a Met).

Staub and Alfonzo had similar seasons in that they didn’t hit an outrageous number of homers (though Alfonzo’s 27 was a high number), but they were very, very productive. Floyd probably won’t get to Alfonzo’s club-record 123 runs, but he’s already almost surpassed the homer total.

Olerud didn’t have one outstanding season, but he was so consistent. So he beats out Floyd if you compare Mets careers, but Floyd is on his way to a better individual season.

That leaves, in descending order, the greatest offensive seasons in Mets history:

Mike Piazza, 1999
Darryl Strawberry, 1987
Howard Johnson, 1989
Bernard Gilkey, 1996
Todd Hundley, 1996
Robin Ventura, 1999
Gary Carter, 1985

Hall of Famer Carter had a great season for 1985 – but it wouldn’t be as great these days. Floyd will probably better Carter, especially since he can steal a few bases and he’ll probably score more runs. But Carter’s in the Hall.

Ventura tailed so much in 1999 that we probably could have had this discussion about his 1999 season at that year’s All Star break (and we could have included Alfonzo, Piazza, and Olerud – and the list of greatest Mets seasons would have been a lot thinner) and said that Ventura was having the greatest Mets season ever. If I remember correctly, he had unbelievable numbers at the break, and slumped a lot over the last part of the season – if I remember right, he was lucky to finish with a batting average over .300. So if Floyd tails off, the comparisons to lefty-hitting Ventura will be appropriate – otherwise, I think Floyd moves ahead of Ventura. (But Ventura did hit one of the most dramatic home runs in Mets post-season history, with the grand slam single against the Braves in the NLCS. I’d love to see Floyd in a position to try to match that.)

Hundley had a great season, and the team-record homers merits a high rank on the list. But he only hit .259, and Floyd should score more runs than Hundley, while giving that home run record a run for its money. Gilkey goes higher than Hundley because while Hundley hit more homers that year, Gilkey was better everywhere else – including a team-record 44 doubles. I don’t know that Floyd will beat the average, runs, and RBI totals of Gilkey, but he will be close enough that hitting more homers will put him ahead of Gilkey on the list. (Incidentally – Floyd isn’t anywhere near Gilkey’s doubles total – but future Hall of Famer David Wright has 22 doubles at the break – it’ll be worth watching to see if he gets near Gilkey’s total.)

HoJo and Strawberry were so similar stats-wise because of the fact that they stole so many bases. Both were 40-40 threats. Strawberry gets the nod ahead of HoJo because of the then-record home run total. But it’s very close between the two.

And Mike Piazza gets the all-time best season because he did what Hundley did, and then some. Piazza hit 40 homers, only the second Met to do so, and he drove in 124 runs and scored another 100. To top it all off, he hit .303, all while catching. That’s tough – another position, and who knows how many homers he would have hit. And while I didn’t factor defense in with everyone, it merits consideration here. (Floyd, by the way, is having a great defensive season – for him, anyway. He had that one awful play that cost the Mets Friday night’s game in Pittsburgh, but his defense has been very good.)

So if Floyd sets a team-record for home runs, I think he zooms to the top of this list…because the RBI and run totals, I’m sure, will increase along with the homers. If he fizzles out, it would have to be a bad second half for him to fall off this list completely – 30 homers would still put him in the Carter range. An average second half would throw Floyd somewhere around where Gilkey is on the list…a very good season, but not the best. Of course, the most important thing about a huge second half by Floyd (coupled with the ever-hopeful huge second half from Carlos Beltran*) would be the fact that it helps propel the Mets to a post-season berth.

Now, a check of the mail bag finds an e-mail from Dave:

"Dear JohnnyMets,

An All-Star roundup for you.

--What did you think of A-Rod's white shoes? According to the Daily News, he did it as a shout out to Keith Hernandez. Gary Carter also used to wear white shoes during the ASG.

--Terry Francona wears No. 47. This is notable because I've never seen him before without that Belichick-wannabe warmup jacket, even when its 95 and humid at Fenway.

--Kenny Rogers. I'll set, you spike. Do those 2 ER count against his season stats?

--And now an open ended question... How has the NY media treated Pedro's all star snub? Is he still in the honeymoon period? I accurately predicted he would skip (see the JMBSDC Feb. 24 mailbag), but I also said he would have stopped talking to the press by now. And just for bookkeeping purposes, I'm 1-3 on predictions this year, since I said picked June 11th for the Ken Griffey Jr season-ending-injury date. (Same mailbag, you can look it up).


Wow. Dave crediting himself for his accurate predictions. I'm not much on following up on my predictions - I just like to throw them out there willy nilly and if I'm right, and I remember that I predicted it, then I'll try to get some kind of credit (i.e. - Mets go 74-and-0 in the second half, cruising to a World Series win!!! - I'll remember that in October. And I do remember that I picked Houston to make the playoffs - their recent run is making me look good.). Anyway, good for Dave for following up on himself.

Let's take this one-by-one. I did not notice A-Rod's white shoes. Interesting parallel there, with Hernandez/Carter and the white shoes. I don't know what to make of that.

Funny you should mention Francona and his jersey number. As he came out when he was introduced, I said to the wife, "Hmm. Francona's wearing number 47 tonight. I wonder who he gave up his number to for the game." I didn't even realize that this was his everyday number until you mentioned it...and I now realize I never knew what number he wore. And it's because he's always wearing that didn't even occur to me. Thanks for piecing that together.

All I have to say about the Kenny Rogers situation (and which I forgot to mention yesterday) is that Kevin Kennedy has to get off the Kenny Rogers bandwagon. You're looking more and more like a fool, Kevin...Rogers isn't the victim here.

Finally, the New York media seems to forget that Pedro* does this every year. They seem to think the Mets organization convinced Pedro* not to go, because he pitched on Sunday. If that's the case, then it was because Pedro* himself brought it up. You're right - he was never going to the Game - even before the season started. But the New York media is so caught up in the fact that they're getting along with Martinez*, I think, that it's all goodies and gumdrops between the Pedro* can do no wrong right now. As far as I'm concerned, he should have gone, honor the selection like everyone else....but let's move on.

THE KID'S KIDS: It looks like rain struck Florida again - Still 12-3, atop the division. I don't know what color Gary Carter's shoes were.

Coming tomorrow: Back to baseball!! Atlanta vs. the Mets in New York. Hopefully I'll be able to watch the game on TBS at work.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

American League 7, National League 5

Well, that's a shame. When the Mets make their Amazin' run to the post-season, this All Star Game loss is really going to sting, costing them home field advantage in the World Series. Not that Mike Piazza or Carlos Beltran* did much to help their own cause. Beltran* went 1-for-3, as he gets ready for the big second-half surge...and Piazza went 0-for-2.

I've been thinking a lot about the Mets' second half (what else is the All-Star break for...oh, yeah - reflecting on the first half as well), and I've been thinking that they sure can make a run. And it'll start right off the bat - Atlanta is at Shea for four games beginning Thursday. So the Mets can make a run at the wild card right out of the gate, and I still believe they will have a shot at the division before all is said and done.

I've also been spending a lot of time going through some of my old Mets programs and scorecards (my mom is making me clean out my bookcase in New York), and I've been reminiscing about that old Mets' magic. I would love for another exciting September-October...I'm getting psyched for football season, but that can change easily, with a little Mets magic.

Let's talk about Pittsburgh. First of all, I didn't have a chance to write last weekend, but the Mets blew a huge opportunity. Not only did they blow Friday and Saturday's games, but the Nationals, Braves, and Marlins were all losing, so the Mets lost a chance to pick up some valuable ground (as it stands, they are only eight games back, and have the distinction of being the last place team in the only division since divisional play began in 1969 to have all of its teams at .500 or above at the All Star Break). Secondly, the Mets flat out blew Friday and Saturday's games...but I don't want to live in the past. (An interesting note about the bars in Pittsburgh - we went out to eat on Friday night, and none of the bars we passed had the Pirates games on, and when I asked the restaurant if they could switch on Fox Sports for the Pirates, they told me they didn't have the channel. So I was forced to follow the scores on ESPN2 - during bowling!! Of course, we left the restaurant, and the Mets were leading 5-1 - I didn't know there were 2 out in the ninth though! - and when we got out of the cab at our hotel, fireworks were going off at the I knew something wasn't right.)

Thus begins my discussion - our hotel was right across the 6th Street Bridge from the ballpark - that's the bridge that's right over the center field wall if you've ever seen PNC Park on TV. (The bridge is also known as the Roberto Clemente Bridge.) So that's why we could see the fireworks Friday night. Unfortunately, the hotel left something to be desired - booking us (4 people) a room with just one bed. We worked it out- to the tune of a different room and a complimentary breakfast. Pittsburgh the city didn't offer much more than the hotel (but at least we got a free breakfast from the hotel). We walked to Heinz Field, which looks nice, and that was about it for the walking tour of Pittsburgh. James Taylor was playing Pittsburgh, I guess - because we walked by him on the street and saw his tour bus.

The game on Saturday night, obviously, stunk. But PNC Park is beautiful. I rank it behind Minute Maid Park on my favorites list right now. Minute Maid has more to offer as a ballpark (baseball field, stuff displayed in the concourses), but PNC Park looks great - I love the bridges in the background. Just love them. The place was packed - a lot of New Yorkers made the trip - and I have to admit, since the Pirates were beating the heck out of the Mets, the atmosphere was pretty good in the ballpark. The Clemente bridge is closed to vehicle traffic before and after games, so that lends to a nice pre-and-post-game atmosphere too - people pouring out into the streets.

I had a hot dog at the game, which was horrible. I wish I tried some different food - the hot dog was brutal. I've never had a worse ballpark dog - it was rubbery. That's how I'd describe it. I saw batting practice - almost caught a Mike Piazza homer - my sister's boyfriend ended up chasing down a Pirates' player's home run shot in BP. We went right up behind the Mets' dugout during pre-game stretches. It was nice, but the Pirates have a lot - A LOT - of history, and it wasn't really on display throughout the stadium. I would have liked to see more of that. For example - the Diamondbacks display jerseys and World Series memorabilia all over Bank One Ballpark - and they've been around less than a decade! I think the Pirates can do more showing off around the park...unless I missed it.

Overall, the ballpark was worth the trip to Pittsburgh - but it's a loooooong ride. When I go back to see Heinz, I'm flying.

THE KID'S KIDS: WOW. What a team down there in Port St. Lucie. Hall of Famer Gary Carter's Gulf Coast Mets scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth to beat the Gulf Coast Marlins 3-2, improving to 12-3. Talk about your Mets magic.

Monday, July 11, 2005


Enough of Chris Berman already. Who still enjoys his schtick? It seems his ESPN exposure is increasing proportionally with my increasing dislike of him. I don't know whether or not the majority of people feel this way...but I do know I'm not the only one. Anyway, that's my only comment on the Home Run Derby.

Tonight, I'm going to keep things light. Tuesday I'll talk about PNC Park in Pittsburgh, and then Thursday we'll delve into some statistics (lots of statistics), but tonight I'm going to take a light approach to baseball. And more specifically, commercials during baseball games.

I spend a lot of time watching baseball. As a result, I see a lot of commercials. A lot of the commercials bug me, but there are some good ones out there. What follows are some of my favorites, and also some of my least favorites. (This is one of them water cooler articles - this'll have all three of you buzzing tomorrow about which commercials are good, which are bad, and which ones I left out. If you feel strongly one way or the other, e-mail me.)

MILLER LITE: You gotta start with the beer commercials - there are a couple of Miller Lite ones that I really like these days. The first is the commercial where it's raining, and the people think it's raining beer....until they walk into the bar that's serving Miller Lite. I like that one..."IT'S RAINING BEEEEEER!!"

I also like the Miller Lite commercial where the slogan is THE TRUTH HURTS. It's the one where the lady tells her son that "Mr. (whoever) is actually your real father." And the son says, "Right on, dad. Welcome aboard." Then he loses it when Mr. (whoever) tells him Miller Lite tastes better than Bud Light. Just entertaining.

CAPITAL ONE: The new Capital One adds are very good - showing the pillagers out of work, because so many people are using Capital One cards. The pillagers need to find new jobs, so they become barbers, hot dog vendors, dog walkers, etc. Very funny. There are actually a couple of these commercials out there now, one funnier than the it actually keeps you watching to see if there's something in it you might have missed before.

CAR COMMERCIALS WITH THE EMPLOYEE DISCOUNT: These commercials bother the heck out of me. The GMC one is the one that ticks me off the most right now, where they have all the different people who work in different capacities for the company telling us they're "happy that we can share in the discount that they've gotten all along." Where do they get off!?!? How generous of it was their friggin' decision to give us the "Employee Discount". And the fact that this idea was started by one car company, then so blatantly ripped off by every other car company in existence is just wrong to me. I know imitation is the sincerest form of flattery...but this is flat-out shameless. And why can't they offer this employee discount price all the time? As an aside, the ad campaign must be working...because car sales are apparently at an all-time high for this time of year, and the employee discount is being credited for that. Shows what I know - I'm going to go back to charging Miller Lite on my Capital One credit card now.

There is an awesome SOUTHWEST AIRLINES commercial out there now which I've only seen during Orioles games and a couple of Nationals broadcasts...and I can't wait to see it during national broadcasts...or at least Mets or Red Sox games. Maybe it already has - maybe I just haven't seen it. It advertises Southwest's new "ding" service, where your computer gives a Southwest Airlines "ding" when a new, cheap airfare is being e-mailed to you. In it, a guy is talking to another guy a few cubicles away from his desk, and you hear the ding. He goes barreling over the cubicles to get to his desk. It's laugh-out-loud funny. Really. By the way, I'm alone a lot of the time when I watch these games. Can you tell?

FOX SPORTS NET has a good baseball ad for all of its teams (for example, in New York it's the Mets, in Milwaukee, the Brewers, in California, there are separate commercials for the A's, Giants, Dodgers, etc.). It's the "We're all in this together" theme - where a chain of fans is involved either in stealing signs or throwing a home run ball back onto the field. I like the stealing the signs one better, if only because it's more realistic.

And finally, XM SATELLITE RADIO's rivals, "Why Can't We Be Friends" commercial. From the beginning of the season I've loved this commercial...I hope it lasts to the end of the season. Because it's played a lot. I like when the longer version comes on...I just don't understand why they used a Phillies fan with the Mets fan.

That's about all I have for the commercials. Seriously - let me know if I missed one that you really like.

THE KID'S KIDS: With a 5-3 win over the Gulf Coast Marlins, the Gulf Coast Mets are now 11-3 on the season, with a 4 game lead in their division. Might be time to bring Hall of Famer Gary Carter up to the majors.

Coming tomorrow: Mike Piazza and Carlos Beltran* in the All-Star Game, plus takes Pittsburgh!

Thursday, July 07, 2005


Mets 3, Nationals 2, 11 innings (NYM: 43-42, 8 GB; WAS: 51-34)

The Mets are on their way. They did exactly what they needed to do this week, taking three out of four games from the Nationals, in Washington, bouncing back nicely from the disappointing weekend against Florida. The only thing better would have been a Mets sweep - and that darn near happened. The Mets also got help from Pittsburgh, who beat Philadelphia on Thursday, dropping the Phillies to .500 and into last place in the NL East. (Not that I'm afraid of a matter of fact, the Phillies don't scare me.)

But let's get back to Washington. The Mets took an early 1-0 lead, after THE GREATEST BALLPLAYER WHO EVER LIVED, Jose Reyes, walked to lead off the game (by Gary Cohen's unofficial count on the radio, it was only the second time this has happened all season), stole second, took third on a Mike Cameron sacrifice bunt, and then scored on a Carlos Beltran groundout. Talk about manufacturing a run! Jose Vidro gave the Nationals a 2-1 lead in the 3rd with a 2-run double, but the Mets tied it later on a Mike Piazza RBI double. Piazza was swinging the bat well Thursday - the Mets need more of that.

So the game stayed tied for a while. Kris Benson pitched very well - getting himself out of a couple of jams, most notably, with the bases loaded in the fifth, getting Carlos Baerga to ground back to him to end the inning. Roberto Hernandez pitched the eighth, scoreless. Heath Bell did a great job in the 9th and 10th, and ended up getting the win. Braden Looper was once again VERY good in the bottom of the 11th - dare I say I am starting to gain confidence in him? This was a big series, and he picked up three big saves.

If you missed the top of the 11th, you'd better turn on ESPNEWS and check out the highlight. Crazy. With Carlos Beltran* on second and Cliff Floyd on first, and one out, Mike Piazza lifts a pop-up just out of the reach of Jose Vidro beyond second. It rolls to Jose Guillen, who barehands it, guns it home, and just misses Beltran* at home with the go-ahead run. The ball bounces in front of catcher Brian Schneider, but he picks it up, and nails Piazza, who tried to take second on the throw home. Piazza's out, but that's not all. Shortstop Jamey Carroll then catches Cliff Floyd coming home for the third out of the inning. With the Mets taking the lead, and then ending the inning on the same play, Looper had no time to get warm, so Heath Bell comes back out to take his warmups, and then after the warmups, Randolph subbed in Looper. Frank Robinson didn't like it - he argued...but I'm sure he would have done the same thing.

I like the fact that the Mets were aggressive on the bases in the top of the 11th - I wouldn't call any of those plays a bad baserunning play (much easier for me to say since the Mets won the game). But the Mets also won Wednesday spite of some horrid baserunning. The Mets should have had a HUGE fifth inning (I think it was the fifth), but Ramon Castro got caught off first base after he had a big RBI hit, and then Marlon Anderson (who has otherwise been friggin' brilliant) got doubled off second base on a fly ball to right field. Those were bad baserunning mistakes - the Thursday baserunning were aggressive, at least. Although I will say Mike Piazza shouldn't be trying for any extra bases ever. He's lost more than a step the past couple of years - he is S-L-O-----W.

Marlon Anderson, it should be noted, finished this series 8-14. I believe that computes to somewhere in the .550 range. And he looks better being a fake first baseman than Jose Offerman ever will.

Pedro Martinez* will not be going to the All Star Game, claiming short rest (he's starting on Sunday). Whatever. Probably better for the Mets season...I agree with Peter Gammons, who said that Pedro*'s loyalty is to the Mets, and he's got to stay healthy. My only problem with it is that this is Pedro*...doing what he wants to do. He doesn't want to go to the All Star Game, so he doesn't go.

The Pedro thing probably breaks Dave from Brighton's heart - he wanted to see Pedro* face his former Red Sox teammates. Speaking of Dave - here's an e-mail:

"Dear JohnnyMets,

The series with the Nationals and a comment by Fox Saturday broadcaster Sean McDonough (Boston misses you Sean, if you're reading) prompted this question.

The Nationals have scored 340 runs, fewest in the NL. They have allowed 340. The Mets have scored 364 runs. They have allowed 358.

The Nationals are even, but 51-32. The Mets are +6 but 41-42. What gives?

Signed,Dave in Brighton"

First of all, hate to call you out in front of both of my readers, but it was ESPN Holiday Baseball Special broadcaster Sean McDonough (he was doing the Fourth of July game) who brought this up. (Who, incidentally, was way off his game on Monday doing the Mets game - probably because of the lack of air conditioning in his booth. I'll give him the benefit of that doubt - because he's better than he was Monday. Just saying. Sorry if I offended you, Sean - in case you're reading this.) But you're right - it's mind-boggling that number. Bill James and Rob Neyer, I'm sure, have addressed this abnormality, and if they haven't, they should. And if I've learned anything from those sabermetric types, it's that this thing will even itself out...and if for no other reason, that's why I believe the Nationals will soon be coming back to the rest of the pack.

Another note about the Nationals - the Mets 3-2 win ends a streak of about 12 consecutive wins in one-run games by the Nats. The Mets took away a lot of the Nationals' mystique this week.

And finally, I know I take a lot of shots at broadcasters on this site - I just want to show I'm not 100% anti-all-broadcasters. Howie Rose and Gary Cohen sure do paint a picture when you listen to them. Much better than any other team's broadcasters that I've listened to on the radio for extended periods of time...they make car rides to New York on days when the Mets have day games awesome. It's like I'm watching the game.

The Mets need to take at least two out of three in Pittsburgh - a sweep would be 100 times better. will be there. Approximate arrival time in Pittsburgh - 5-ish. wants to go to a certain restaurant she heard about in Pittsburgh - this might be happening Friday night, then I'll watch Friday's game. Saturday is the game we'll be in attendance. Sunday is a lot of driving - hope to be back in New York before Sunday's game is over...then it's the long ride back to the House sponsored by DirecTV. Don't expect a posting on Sunday night. I've been working on a couple of stories for the All-Star break - maybe instead of writing about the All-Star Game on Tuesday night, I'll write about PNC Park. I am declaring it my favorite before even going (Houston's park is my former favorite), just because I love those bridges over the center field wall.

THE KID'S KIDS: This is not a typo - the Gulf Coast Mets beat the Gulf Coast Nationals 20-6. Record is now 9-3. Boy can Hall of Famer Gary Carter manage. For my 16th birthday, Gary Carter sent me an autographed picture (somehow my mother arranged it.) For my 27th, he gets me a 20-6 win. Nice job, Gary. But a 21-6 win would have totaled my age....still, I appreciate the effort. Incidentally, it looks like the Mets have the Nationals' number this year on all levels of baseball.


Mets 5, Nationals 3 (NYM: 42-42, 9 GB; WAS: 51-33)

The Mets picked up a huge win on Wednesday night, unfortunately, I couldn't stay awake to watch the end of it....hence, the rare morning posting.

I had to write something, though, because of the stats I just picked up on Aaron Heilman. Here's what happened Wednesday night - the Mets took a 4-3 lead over the Nationals in the top of the sixth inning, finally coming through with the bases loaded (it could have been a HUGE inning, but Marlon Anderson and Ramon Castro made some horrible baserunning decisions). Then in the bottom of the sixth, Tom Glavine let the Nationals load the bases, and with two outs, gave way to Heilman. Heilman got the ground ball out, en route to 2-and-a-third hitless innings in relief. Aaron Heilman has inherited 17 runners this season, and has only allowed 2 to score. I think that's an awesome stat.

Braden Looper pitched another perfect ninth - although I'm sure it couldn't have been as easy as it sounds...glad I wasn't awake to see that.

The Mets are in position to win the series - and would become the first team to take a series from the Nationals in Washington since late April. That would be big - I'll have another posting Thursday night from New York, en route to a weekend in Pittsburgh.

THE KID'S KIDS: Hall of Famer Gary Carter's Gulf Coast Mets keep on winning, beating the Nationals Wednesday, 6-4. The record is now 8-3.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005


Nationals 3, Mets 2 (WAS: 51-32; NYM: 41-42, 10 GB)

Oops. I made a mistake in yesterday's posting, saying the Mets were sending Pedro Martinez* against the Nationals' best pitcher in Livan Hernandez on Tuesday night. Well, it was actually Esteban Loaiza, not Hernandez...but it might as well have been Cy Friggin' Young. The Mets couldn't get anything going against Loazia until it was too late.

The worst thing about it was I couldn't watch, because I was at work, and following it on GameCast I couldn't tell if the 2 9th inning runs the Mets got were an exciting, legitimate threat, or just afterthoughts. If nothing else, it proves Chad Cordero (who got his 30th save) can be scored on...and it shows that the Mets don't quit. I think.

The good news out of this game: there are still 2 more against Washington, so the Mets can still take 3 out of 4. The bad news is that Pedro* took the loss - they needed him to get them a win in this series.

THE KID'S KIDS: Revenge for the Marlins - after a 10-5 Mets win Monday, the Marlins struck back with a 15-5 win. Hall of Famer Gary Carter's career managerial record is now 7-3, 2 and a half games in front of the Marlins.

Monday, July 04, 2005

WASHINGTON, ISHII (it sounds like D.C.)

Mets 5, Nationals 2 (NYM: 41-41, 9 GB; WAS: 50-32)

The Mets should be embarrassed that they didn't take two out of three from the Marlins this weekend, and they should be especially embarrassed about their performance on Saturday. They played uninspired baseball on Saturday, and it carried over into Sunday, when the deck was already stacked against them with Dontrelle Willis starting for the Marlins.

That said, the Mets should be very proud about their performance on Monday against Washington. This game was very boring. The Nationals pitchers took forever to throw a pitch, and the weather was (reportedly) unbearably hot. Top that off with the Nationals coming off an emotional win in extra innings on Sunday against the Cubs, with the Mets coming off their lackluster weekend, and the Nationals take an early 2-0 lead on Kaz Ishii. Sounds like the game's over, right?

Willie Randolph shook things up on the Fourth. He led off with Mike Cameron, hit Carlos Beltran* second, and slid THE GREATEST BALLPLAYER WHO EVER LIVED, Jose Reyes, all the way down to the 7th spot in the order. The players responded. The Mets drew even at 2-2 in the seventh inning - Future Hall Of Famer David Wright delivered a big double to knock John Patterson out of the game, and sending Marlon Anderson to third. Reyes singled, bringing home Anderson, and was on third base when Cameron came up. Cameron broke a bat, and singled to center, tying the game.

Then in the top of the ninth, it was Reyes, ironically, setting up the big inning. He grounded a ball up the middle that Junior Spivey got to, but had no chance to throw out Reyes streaking down the line. Then Reyes stole second (it's moments like these why he is THE GREATEST BALLPLAYER WHO EVER LIVED). Jose Offerman, my nemesis, pinch hit, and actually did something right (I feel dirty writing bad things about Offerman...I feel....Shaughnessy-ish). Offerman singled past the shortstop, Reyes blazed in from second, and Offerman took second on the throw. Then Mike Cameron doubled home Offerman, and Carlos Beltran* brought home Cameron with a single, answering my prayers for insurance runs for Braden Looper.

Looper pitched a pretty good ninth. This win was huge for the Mets. After they finally strung together a few hits, it was like nothing could go wrong - you got the feeling that the Mets are about to start a big streak. I hope so, anyway. Three out of four is a must against Washington for the Mets to get back into the divisional race - a sweep would be outstanding. The good news is, the weakest link was strong today, with Kaz Ishii pitching five-and-a-third innings of five hit, two run ball. He didn't factor in the decision, but he was very good. Pedro Martinez* pitches on Tuesday, against the best the Nationals have to offer, Livan Hernandez. That should be a good one - too bad I'll be at work, only able to follow it on GameCast. But I'll do a write-up, that I can promise.

I watched another very exciting (actually, just an exciting game - not another one, because the Mets game wasn't exciting except for the top of the seventh and the top of the ninth innings) game Monday night - the Marlins and the Brewers. I started watching when it was 2-1 Marlins late, then saw the Brewers scratch out another run late in the game. 2-2, top of the ninth, Brewers have a runner on third, they ground it to shortstop. Alex Gonzalez makes a great play going to his right to snare the hard grounder. He gets up, throws a strike to Paul LoDuca, and Trent Durrington should be nailed at the plate. But Durrington slides, feet-first, and knocks the ball clean out of LoDuca's glove. The Brewers go on to beat the Marlins 3-2, earning Ben Sheets a win - he pitched a gem. Oh by the way, the last out of the game was a great sliding play by Rickie Weeks, fielding a ground ball in the hole at second, then getting the out at first.

But what I wanted to point out was the Brewers' hustle. First of all, Durrington pinch runs for the catcher, who got a hit, then steals second, so he can be bunted to third by Ben Sheets on a sacrifice. Then, he's off when the grounder is hit, and even though Gonzalez makes a great play, and has Durrington nailed at the plate, Durrington doesn't give up - he goes into the plate like he knows he's going to be safe. So you have players like Durrington, hard-nosed hustlers - and by the way, this is a category where you find players like Jose Reyes and David Wright, and then you have guys like Beltran* who don't run out pop-ups. At spring training, Beltran* would hold tutoring sessions with Reyes. I think they need to reverse roles. Reyes might have trouble getting on base lately, but when he's on base, the Mets are darn near guaranteed a run - except when Beltran* is messing things up on him.

The All-Star teams are set (barring injuries and/or dropouts), and Pedro Martinez* was selected to go as a pitcher, joining starters Mike Piazza and Carlos Beltran*. Piazza we've talked about - good for him - this is probably the last time he'll go. Beltran* is a joke - Cliff Floyd deserves to be the first Mets outfielder to go to the All-Star Game since 1989. Pedro* still might not go - he is pitching the Sunday before the All-Star Game, and Mets management might not want to risk Pedro* getting hurt (as astutely pointed out by Dave from Brighton in this very space late last week), so he might not go. But then again, there's a part of Mets' management who want Pedro* representing the Mets in Detroit. So we'll see what happens there. Either way, he's the one part of the Mets' contingent who has earned his spot since Day 1 this season.

THE KID'S KIDS: After a 10-5 win over the Marlins on Monday, Hall of Famer Gary Carter's Gulf Coast League Mets lead their division by three games with a 7-2 record.

Saturday, July 02, 2005


Marlins 7, Mets 3
(FLA: 41-37; NYM: 40-40, 9 GB)

Jose Offerman looks awful at first base. This is what I came away from Saturday's game thinking. Just awful. On a play early in the game, Offerman went to field a throw from across the diamond, and he had the wrong foot on the bag, so he was limiting his stretch. The runner was safe. Then, when the Marlins scored 4 runs in the sixth inning to take the 5-3 lead that would prove to be more than enough for the win, Offerman dropped what should have been an inning-ending double play, instead allowing the inning to continue and the Marlins to score two runs. It should have been 3-3, and Offerman should have scooped the ball, but he dropped it, and the Marlins took a 4-3, then later a 5-3 lead. Jeff Torborg (more on him in a minute) and Kenny Albert talked about how the ball was low and in the dirt, and you can't really blame Offerman, but yes you can. He should have had it.

This was just a very frustrating game to watch, and Offerman by no means deserves all of the blame. Most of it, maybe, but not all of it. Save some for Carlos Beltran******. Unreal. Beltran* pops a ball up to first in the third inning, and is mad at himself, so HE DOESN'T RUN TO FIRST. Carlos Delgado makes a really, really smart play, lets the ball drop, then turns a 3-6-3 double play. I defended Beltran* yesterday. I won't defend him again until he starts putting up some solid numbers. This isn't the first time this year he's dogged it - I remember another time earlier this season. He's making a heck of a lot of money - for him to not run anything out is a disgrace. The announcers (again, more on them later) said Beltran* made up for the mistake by blasting a 2-run double to right in the fifth, giving the Mets a 3-1 lead - but I'm not bought that easily. I hope other Mets fans aren't either.

Kris Benson started this game for the Mets, he was 6-2 coming in. He had never before in his career been 4 games over .500. He has yet to get to 5-over. I always talk about Steve Trachsel never pitching (and possibly never pitching well) in big-game scenarios, and how I worry about that. I don't think it is an issue with Benson. And after Saturday, I still don't think it's a problem. Benson pitched very well in this game, and ran into trouble in the aforementioned sixth inning. He got out of that inning with the score still 3-3, as far as I'm concerned. He got done what he needed to do - his defense let him down. Good outing for Benson.

Royce Ring and Danny Graves let the game get out of hand in the 9th, making it the 7-3 final.

Jeff Torborg should be fired. He is brutal. Every other word out of his mouth is about how he managed the Marlins in 2003, and set the table for them to win the championship. And he's full of excuses about why the Marlins fired him (he had so many guys on the disabled list that year) and why he wasn't successful with the Mets (when Willie Randolph broke his hand in 1993, he was one of 15 surgeries - which is why the Mets didn't play well that year). How about the fact that no one respected you Jeff? And no one still does. He also had the nerve to criticize the ring he got from the Marlins in 2003. Are you kidding?! You don't even deserve a ring - if Jeff Torborg had still been managing the Marlins in 2003, they wouldn't have made the playoffs - let alone win the World Series. I know I'm overly critical of announcers, but Jeff Torborg was brutal Saturday.

The friggin' Nationals won again Sunday, so the Mets, at .500, are now 9 games back. This is getting kind of ridiculous. The Mets are just three and a half games back of the Braves for the wild card, FYI.

The only good thing coming out of Saturday was Cliff Floyd "hosting" 'This Week In Baseball', which means he was involved in a lengthy interview, which was pretty good. But I'm still bothered by the fact that he "really worked hard getting ready for this season", and "it's fun coming to the ballpark, and it makes you want to play your best" - why isn't he working hard getting ready for every season, and why isn't he playing hard all the time. That really upsets me. Also, it was great to hear Dontrelle Willis talk (I'm not going to say Jeanne Zelasko had a great interview with Willis, because she was bad, but he was good) during the pre-game. I like Willis a lot - he's very genuine, and fun to watch talk about baseball - he really enjoys himself when he plays.

I have an e-mail that I'm going to answer before I go:

"Dear JohnnyMets,

A few more All Star game items...

*This time it counts. Don't you think they should change the slogan,
borrowing a page from the I Know What You Did Last Summer sequel, and
make it This time it still counts. Or It's counting again this time.
Or Please please watch this time?

*Pedro. I hope Pedro forgoes his annual Dominican holiday and pitches
(starts?) for the NL All Stars later this month. I really want to see
him face Manny or Ortiz or both. In fact, I would be fascinated to see
how he'd fare against the Sox, though I'm not sure when NL East faces
the AL East again in interleague. But here's my question: As a Mets
fan, wouldn't you rather see Pedro get some time off? Dude threw 217
innings last year and 186 in '03, plus the postseason in both those
years, which probably brings the total for the last 2 years to 440 or
something like that. That's a lot of pitches.

*HR Derby: This time it's jingoistic. Which do you find more
entertaining --- the annual HR Derby or the All Star game itself?


Dave in Brighton"

I have a big problem with "This time it counts". That implies it never counted before. It did, it counted last year. I agree with you. How about, "This time, LaRussa thinks he has a shot at controlling his fate, but this year he's actually going to lose in the first round of the playoffs."

I'm not sure when the AL East faces the NL East, but can you imagine the Boston media when Pedro* comes back to Boston (or Boston goes to Shea). I won't even watch the news that whole month leading up to it. But the Easts should face each other some time during Pedro*'s contract. MLB screwed it up somehow that the divisions don't rotate fairly from year to year, so even though it's been a while since the Mets faced the Red Sox, I don't think it's happening in either of the next two years. I want to say 2008 for some reason. But I could be wrong. As for Pedro* pitching in the All-Star Game, he's not going to be going all out, I don't think....and one inning couldn't hurt....could it? (Frantically searching for some wood to knock on.)

And lastly, I missed the Home Run Derby in 1999, when it was at Fenway Park, because I was working back in New York. Because everyone I knew was here for that, and it was the "greatest Home Run Derby ever", I feel like watching the rest of them will only be anti-climactic. So I don't really watch the Home Run Derby anymore, but I still do enjoy watching the Game. Don't get me wrong - if the Derby is on, I'll watch it, I just don't get excited about it. The game I get a little bit excited about.

THE KID'S KIDS: The Gulf Coast Dodgers beat the Gulf Coast Mets, 12-1. The Mets could only manage 2 hits. 5-2 on the season now.

Friday, July 01, 2005


Mets 7, Marlins 6 (NYM: 40-39, 8 GB; FLA: 40-37)

This was one exciting game. Fireworks night at Shea - packed house, Tom Glavine vs. A.J. Burnett, fat Tony Gwynn throwing out the first pitch...35-minute rain delay.

Here are a couple of sidelines to the action - some of which I had no idea about:
-Luis Castillo entered the game with a 28-game hitting streak at Shea Stadium - the longest ever at Shea. The streak began in September of 2001, and continues today: Castillo was 3-for-5.
-Carlos Delgado owns Tom Glavine - he entered the game 10-for-14 lifetime against Glavine - that's a .714 average. He went 0-for-3 on Friday night.

The Mets and Marlins are developing a nice little rivalry. First of all, they're very competitive. The Mets have come out on top 7 out of 10 games so far this year against Florida, but they've been close games, for the most part. I also remember the first time they met this year, there were some words exchanged when Al Leiter hit Cliff Floyd with a pitch - there were a bunch of hit batters on Friday night - including a couple that I thought were intentional:

-In the 5th, when A.J. Burnett started to lose his head (more on that later), he had a runner on third - I think he plunked Floyd intentionally (in the knee, no less), so Floyd wouldn't hit him.

-In the 6th, with Aaron Heilman squaring around to bunt, Nate Bump threw right at Heilman's head. I'm not saying that was very intentional....but keep in mind Heilman did throw a one-hitter at Florida in April.

-In the 8th, Heilman threw one under Paul LoDuca's chin. Fran Healy said there was no way that was intentional...but I think Heilman was exacting some revenge on the opposing catcher.

OK. Now let's look at the game. The Marlins took a 1-0 lead, the Mets took a 2-1 lead, then Glavine handed those 2 runs right back in the top of the fifth, making it 3-2 Marlins. In the bottom of the fifth, the Mets broke things open...for a little while.

Mike Lowell made two throwing errors on three plays (sandwiched around a sacrifice bunt). That set up an RBI double by Mike Cameron, tying the game at 3. A.J. Burnett looked like he was getting rattled, mostly by the errors, then he uncorked a wild pitch. THE GREATEST BALLPLAYER WHO EVER LIVED, Jose Reyes ran from third, and a slid head first into home. His hand just got under the tag by Burnett, and Burnett was very upset with the home plate umpire's call. He went on to hit Floyd, then walked future Hall of Famer David Wright, forcing in a run. That was all for Burnett, and the Marlins bullpen held the score at Mets 5, Marlins 3, until Mike Cameron's solo homer in the 7th.

It was the top of the eighth that the Mets blew it. Heilman couldn't get a batter, leaving with a runner on 2nd, and allowing 2 runs, making it 6-5. Roberto Hernandez got a sac fly, then a strikeout, and almost escaped the inning, but gave up a dribbler up the middle that got the tying run home. A nice outing by Hernandez - he deserved to pick up the win.

The win became his when Marlon Anderson led off the bottom of the eighth with a double over Juan Pierre's head. After a Ramon Castro sac bunt, Chris Woodward singled to center to make it 7-6 Mets. Braden Looper gave up a leadoff double to Carlos Delgado, but got Alex Gonzalez to line to Anderson (whose performance merited headlines on this site...although there were many heroes in this game) to end the game.

Very exciting stuff. A couple of excellent points by Keith Hernandez tonight - first of all, after TGBWEL, Jose Reyes, flew out in the eighth, Hernandez said if Reyes starts to line the ball, he will raise his average by about 40 points. "The fly ball is a big out for him," says Keith. He's right. Also, Hernandez pointed out that the Marlins have good averages hitting with runners in scoring position, but they can't get that clutch hit in the late innings of this one.

On to other matters: The All-Star Game. I'm not sure where I saw this, I think it may have been the Daily News, but Pedro Martinez* now says he would love to represent the Mets in the game. Apparently, which I missed, Pedro* had said he might not accept an invitation to play in the game, but has since thought better of it...he now says based on the investment Omar Minaya and the Mets made in him, he feels he needs to go, if Tony LaRussa names him to the team. This is just a sign of things to come from Pedro* in future years. I guarantee, if we're lucky enough to have Martinez* representing the Mets in the All-Star Game in the future, there will be a year where he doesn't go, or opts out of playing, or something he pulled while he was with the Red Sox.

Carlos Beltran*, meanwhile, will be voted in by the fans, so he'll definitely be there. I am not as down on Beltran* as I might seem, saying he hasn't given us what we've expected. While this is true, I think he's going to start coming on strong. First of all, people say he's a big second-half player. That would be good, if true. Secondly, he wasn't playing at 100% until this past week...and he's showing that by running the bases now. Beltran* stole two bases on Thursday, and another Friday night. He's running well, and feels confident his legs are 100%.

Which leads me to another point - the Mets are so exciting to watch on the basepaths. They gave the Marlins a bit of their own medicine Friday night - the Marlins always run on Mike Piazza (who had the night off), because he can't throw them out, so the Mets ran like crazy on Paul LoDuca, who is struggling with his arm. Beltran* and future Hall of Famer Wright stole bases Friday. And the Mets have been very aggressive on the basepaths lately - they lead the NL in stolen bases.

My arch-nemesis, Kenny Rogers, got a 20-game suspension for his actions on Wednesday. I am happy with the suspension, but he's appealing, and some games will probably get knocked off. I need to clear a couple of things up, though. I said Rogers threw a fit after a bad outing, when he broke his pinky finger. He actually threw a fit because he was pulled from an outing where he was doing well, and that's when he broke the finger (on his non-pitching hand). He actually had the bad outing his time out before that, getting roughed up by the Angels. That led to speculation that he was missing his next start not because of a broken pinky finger on his non-throwing hand, but because he didn't want to face the Angels again and have them affect his statistics negatively (lending more credence to my 1999 NLCS belief). I don't know if this negative speculation fueled Rogers' cameraman attack...but it probably didn't help.

THE KID'S KIDS: The name of the CARTER COUNT has changed, because I like this name better. The best information I could glean from the web tonight is that the Gulf Coast Mets got rained out again. Every other score is out there except Mets-Dodgers. So it looks like The Kid's Kids are still 5-1.