So congrats to Terry Collins for becoming the Mets longest-tenured manager ever. I never would have predicted that back in 2010 when he was my fifth choice among the so-called “final four” candidates of the incoming Alderson Administration.
I don’t believe he was ever meant to last this long, either. I think they had hoped to have progressed enough by the end of his initial 2-year hitch to pass the torch onto a “win now” skipper but the putridness of the club in 2011 and 2012 actually saved Terry. And once they got good again his charm with the writers (who adore him) and players (who appear not to have tuned him out – yet) kept him going. That and the idea that you can’t whack a World Series manager. I have my disagreements with Terry and more often than I’d like I feel like his team is unprepared, but I don’t think he’s giving away much strategically to the other guy managing most nights and their clubs make mistakes too. Ultimately that’s what matters to me as a watcher of games.
All that said, I think we’re approaching a fairly substantial Changing of the Guard. No, they’re not going to fire Terry but his contract is due at the end of the year, he’s 67 years old, his place in Mets history is assured and he has turned rotten-looking clubs into contenders twice already. Alderson is 69, he’s dealt with a cancer incident, and he’s nearing a point at which he can expect to see at least two of his farm-fresh position players (Rosario and Smith) take on big-league jobs to join the pitching ranks developed or acquired under his watch. (I’d argue for more, to see Cecchini at 2nd and Zimmo! in center, even though I know it’s still early for that). Dan Warthen will be 65 later this year. 9th-String Catcher’s remarks in the below post got me thinking about him and whether he can effect the changes in approach many of his charges seem to need. While I think Warthen would be quickly scooped up were he to be set free, Terry and Sandy, as in the Springsteen songs that use their names, are going to escape this rat-trap town by the end of this LP. And then there’s David Wright.
The Mets’ promotional calendar is full every weekend day but for Saturday, Sept. 9 which is marked “TBD.” My friend who pointed this out to me noted the club took the same strategy a year ago before revealing it would be “Mike Piazza Jersey Retirement Day,” and suggested it could be David Wright Retirement Day. It surely could, but I think that’s only part of it.
Hey look! METS BY THE NUMBERS is here. It has been completely rewritten and re-engineered, including bios and data on more than 300 new players, with more minute details, a complete history of the uniform, new lists, new rankings, new photos, and more than 80 new pages. It’s hefty, and you can tell it’s an actual copy because David Wright appears on the cover instead of Dwight Gooden in the mockup you’ve seen until now. (Gooden instead appears on the spine, a nice touch).
It officially launches tonight with an event at Word Books (126 Franklin St., Brooklyn) where I will discuss the project in conversation with NBC Sports’ D.J. Short and Greg Prince, author of the excellent AMAZIN AGAIN. We will have books for sale and signatures, plus free beer and Crackerjacks, starting at 7 p.m. Please join us! (Word is easy to find, 2 blocks from the Greenpoint Ave. stop on the G).
In Mets news, the club staggered to a disappointing series split in Milwaukee which saw still more of the team suffer aches and pains including manager Terry Collins (ill but thankfully appears OK), Neil Walker (bad back), Michael Conforto (wrist) and Jim Henderson (finger). Logan Verrett made a spot start then was sent down to Las Vegas and replaced by Erik Goeddel, who returned in No. 62. As noted, Kelly Johnson arrived and took over Ty Kelly’s No. 55.
Let’s Go Mets!
I’m on the road and can’t post right away but according to various stuff I’ve seen in space it would appear James Loney will be assigned no. 28 upon his arrival in Met City Tuesday.
The bad news is that it may accompany a disabled list assignment for David Wright, we’ll have to wait and see.
In other unpleasant things we fans need to confront, Noah Syndergaard made a mess of the whole weekend.
No doubt that what Chase Utley did last year was dirty and ought to be outlawed, but it’s also how baseball has been played for 150 years. Ruben Tejada got hurt mainly because Daniel Murphy gave him a terrible throw but also because Tejada made the mistake of turning his back on an incoming runner, especially a known scumbag like Utley.
The Mets avenged the injury by leaving Utley and the Dodgers behind while they went and played the World Series. Sure, Syndergaard’s pitch Saturday meant no harm but throwing it came with risks. What if it hurt someone? What if the home plate umpire happened to be asshole himself? Now you find yourself unable to help while Utley comfortably digs in against an overworked bullpen and things get really out of hand.
For a team that lost a mighty middle-of-the-order slugger to a broken back, had a once-unstoppable pitcher deliver two of the worst outings of his career, had two guys in the lineup looking for their first major-league hits, has a leadoff hitter struggling to hit above .200, saw starters at shortstop and third base need time off for their own aching backs, had its top bench player and starting catcher on the disabled list, and played the first-place team in their division six times, the Mets didn’t do all that bad this week.
Key to that were terrific starting performances from Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz, a bullpen that got-er-done when needed, a bounceback from Bartolo Colon (also dealing with back stiffness) and just enough good luck to make it all sitck, recording an underwhelming sweep of Milwaukee and a series win in Washington this week following a harrowing series loss at home the week before — its fourth straight series loss.
Along the way we were were re-introduced Classic Daniel Murphy, whose iron glove in Wednesday’s game loomed very large when it was all over.
And so the 2016 Mets head into Memorial Day weekend with a wobbly kind of momentum. Regardless of how underwhelming Los Angeles looked the last time we saw them — how could a team with that kind of financial power wind up relying so heavily on clowns like Kike Hernadez and Justin Turner? — the Mets are going to need to continue to do everything they possibly can right until they unravel what’s ailing Granderson, and d’Arnaud and Duda heal, Conforto and Plawecki’s slump ease, and Harvey stops being such a momentum killer.
What can you say about David Wright? He’s quite obviously not David Wright anymore, his strikeouts, especially looking, are way up, but the guy is winning us some games.
Let’s hope we see Flores return to active duty — and first base — on Friday as the ’86ers return to town.
Hi, I don’t want to interfere with the pennant race so I’ll be quick here and acknowledge the return of Dario Alvarez to the big club. Alvarez maintains the same No. 68 he wore last time around and the distinction of being the only man ever to wear that number for the Mets (he’s also the only Dario, and the only Alvarez, in club history. What a trailblazer!). Best wishes for a speedy recovery to Lucas Duda whom I suspect must have been hurting all year and for all I know may have contracted spinal stenosis while sharing a weight-lifting bench with David Wright.
Also this weekend came word the Mets had dealt for our old friend Eric Young Jr., presumably in anticipation of requiring a Dave Roberts kinda stolen base sometime in September or October. You figure that’ll invite a controversy come September when Kevin Plawecki presumably returns, he inherited Young’s old No. 22 once EYJ was nontendered last season by the Mets.
We hope some additional visibility into this explosive issue in the days to come but would suggest not for the first time this season that the sheer volume of issued jerseys out there increases the likelihood a guy like Young, should he get the call, is looking at the possibility of wearing 0 — or 71.
Half a season gone by and the Mets have been fun to watch, buoyed by outstanding performances by Royally Screwed All-Star Reserves David Wright and R.A. Dickey and a kind of gutsy character that’s resulted in exciting baseball and lots of satisfying wins. In a lot of ways, the Mets are surprising people not because they’ve gotten so much better (though they have, a little) but that the league has come back to them. Clubs like Philadelphia and Miami (LOL and LOL) are exhibiting the kinds of struggles the Mets did in recent years and few clubs in the NL look so good that they could run away from the rest, so I think there’s a little reason to believe the Mets can’t hang around for a while (I think, in fact, lots of teams will hang around for a while). It’s just that kind of year.
My concerns are with their weak right-handed hitting, their poor defense and their lack of pitching depth (in that order). It will take a trade or a miracle comeback from Jason Bay to fix the first issue and continued health and some good luck to fix pitching concerns (I don’t think we have to go nuts trading for some other team’s closer, but bolstering the ready supply of good arms never hurt anyone). It’s the D that I can’t see improving (unless you involve Daniel Murphy and/or Lucas Duda in a trade for that right-handed slugger) and then who knows. But I’d suspect the D will continue to be an issue, so I’m keeping my expectations modest: Let’s hope we can hang around, avoid another big dropoff like we’ve had in so many recent second halves, and see where it gets us. If we can add a bat or an armn, let’s do that too. It’s been fun so far.
Speaking of David Wright, his home run July 3 “not only moved him past Howard Johnson into third place in the Mets’ record books, it also moved uniform #5 past #18 for home runs hit. Number 5 now trails only #20 in home runs.” This from sharp-eyed MBTN reader Shorty in the comments section. Sure enough, it checks out: Wright’s dinger was the 378th by a player who wears No. 5, surpassing 18, which hasn’t had a home run since Moises Alou in 2007 (thanks for nothing again, Jeremy Reed). Only No. 20, with 388 home runs, has produced more but with that uni currently unassigned it looks like Wright (197 HRs wearing 5) and company (John Olerud is next with 63) can overtake the all-time lead later this year. Re-sign this guy!
Getting caught up with the recent roster moves, the Mets designated Justin Hampson and recalled Jordany Valdespin July 4, then swapped out Jeremy Hefner for a healthy-at-last Pedro Beato July 5. Beato was gone so long I forgot what number he wore, but can tell you now it’s still 27. Hampson was later reassigned to Buffalo along with Chris Schwinden, who bounced on the waiver wire to the Indians to the Yankees and back to the Mets.
Once again the Mets have completely screwed up a golden opportunity to do the right thing by their fans, caving in to pressure from the Commissioner’s office to eschew wearing the city service agency hats honoring the 9/11 rescuers and victims and instead wearing league-approved gear adorned with a flag, as if that were even in the least bit appropriate given the alternative.
And in typical Met fashion, actors in the drama regardless of their actual degree of blame are scurrying from the scene, leaving those of us who actually care what happened as unsatisfied as ever. R.A. Dickey contends “they” (who?) confiscated the hats worn in pre-game ceremonies; David Wright says they didn’t. Josh Thole says the team was threatened with a fine; Joe Torre says they weren’t. The Wilpons say nothing.
I suppose I can guess what happened. Bud Selig was overly concerned about bruising the brand and ego of his official apparel provider, and as a result leaned on his debtor/friends, the Wilpons, to toe the line, which they did, never giving a second thought that by doing so they whizzed all over the tradition of their very organization, completely misread fan sentiment, and left anyone and everyone to hang out to dry, just as they did with their stupid stadium, the uniform, the Walter Read flap and dozens of other small crimes against love for this team.
The MLB Draft begins tonight at 6 p.m., and thanks to Brian Cashman’s fetish for abused lefthanders, the Mets have the 44th pick as well as the 13th (the first one they earned on merit). I don’t pretend to have any idea who the Mets will wind up with — the so-called “experts” appear not to either — but purely for rooting purposes there’s a UConn outfielder named George Springer I have my eye on. I’m just as excited to see who the 44th pick will be: Such so-called “compensation” selections have netted the Mets guys including Bobby Jones (No. 36 overall in 1991, compensation for Darryl Strawberry) and David Wright (38th pick 2001 draft, compensation for Mike Hampton).
My friend Alex G., who previously blogged about the Mets at Bleeding Orange and Blue, is now looking at this kinda stuff at a new site, Legends of Tomorrow. Check it out!
Enjoyed a cool early-summer night at Big Shea Sunday, watching almost too comfortably through the middle innings until Manny Acosta and his new No. 46 jersey made things uncomfortable. Mets bloggers at the Daily Stache are destined for a similarly dicey negotiation when their Best-Mets-By-Uniform-Number countup reaches its 46th inning. When Oliver Perez is the right answer, it’s time to reevaluate the questions.
Always a bummer when one of your key guys breaks his back, but what’s Jason Bay’s excuse? His failure to put the ball in play last night loomed large in a revolting 2-1 extra inning home loss to the Marlins last night that was followed by the announcement that two additional culprits — noodle-batted reserve infielder Chin-lung Hu, and hopeless relief hack Ryota Igarashi — would be headed to Class AAA Buffalo. I know it’s impossible and counterproductive, but I’d send Bay there with them just to punish him. In a bus.
Recalled to take the places of Hu and Igarshi are Ruben Tejada and Pedro Beato, respectively. Tejada was with the Mets last season assigned No. 11; Beato will retake the No. 27 he wore earlier this year.
As for David Wright, he has a broken back requiring at least a few weeks of rest. Met officials say it’s likely he’ll hit the disabled list today and be replaced on the roster by perpetual tourist Nick Evans and his trusty No. 6 jersey.
Bonus for the first commenter to recognize the obscure headline reference!
Who said the Mets didn’t accomplish something this year?
While fans licked their wounds, Jeff Wilpon slandered other teams’ medical staffs and the writers commissioned sculptures of Derek Jeter, not one but two round-number milestones in Met history were toppled in the same week, and nobody even noticed.
Congratulations to Carlos Beltran and David Wright. Your acts of tepid batsmanship as the season ground to a forgettable close resulted in the 3,000th all-time Mets hit for each of your respective uniform numbers. And your pursuit of this glory in the season’s final week made for a thrilling down-to-the-wire chase that went similarly unremarked upon.
Beltran reached the magic number Sept. 25 in Florida, when his single off Ricky Nolasco marked the 3,000th all-time safety for the No. 15 jersey. Three nights later in Washington, Wright rapped a double to right field off Ross Detwiler, marking hit No. 3000 for the No. 5s.
Wright then proceeded to out-hit his teammate 6-to-5 over the final four games, leaving No. 5 ahead of 15 by a single hit, 3,006-3,005.
Wright, who already is the Mets’ all-time leading No. 5, made good strides to tighten the overall race while Beltran was limited to 100 hits and Jose Reyes, representing the leader, No. 7, added only 41 hits the total in ’09. Also notable: Luis Castillo in No. 1 outhits the combination of Ramon Castro, Argenis Reyes and Anderson Hernandez in No. 11 to overtake fourth place.
Top Numbers by Hits, through 2009:
No. Hits Leader
7 3,441 Kranepool (1,252)
5 3,006 Wright (983)
15 3,005 Grote (994)
1 2,743 Wilson (1,112)
11 2,739 Garrett (667)
4 2,587 Dykstra (469)
12 2,542 Stearns (636)
9 2,519 Hundley (590)
17 2,509 Hernandez (939)