Just a quick update here to tell you something all of us already know: The Brett Baty thing was a thing, and it couldn’t have gone better. He wore No. 22 which I also had associated with him because as noted in the comments below by Gene (and confirmed by Matt), he wore 22 in Binghamton and knew also that finding him assigned 2 in Syracuse seemed unusual to me, but only because I didn’t know how recently he’d been assigned there but it was much less that I thought. I also knew he was considered something like Wright but seemed to have been surprised then to find he batted lefthanded. I can adjust for that a little and say he also resembles a young Robin Ventura.
The other thing I’ll mention here is that I’m old and decrepit enough to have a specific memory that Benny Ayala became the first Met ever to hit a home run in his first at-bat and that means I actually have been alive and paying attention to all five.
|Aug. 27, 1974
|Solo HR 2nd inning off LHP Tom Wilson at Shea. Mets 4, Astros 2
|Ayala was traded to St. Louis on March 30, 1977 for a minor league infielder Dog Clarey, a day after it was revealed that GM Joe McDonald had been driving while intoxicated when his car collided with a bus a few days earlier. McDonald said he hadn’t been drinking prior to the accident but had drinks the night before. He said he was out to pick blueberries to put on breakfast cereal when the accident occurred the following morning.
|September 13, 1983
|Solo HR, 2nd inning off RHP Tony Ghelfi at Veterans Stadium. Mets 5, Phillies 1
|The pitcher who surrendered Fitzgerald’s mighty blast, Tony Ghelfi, never pitched in another MLB game. It was only his third appearance in one.
|April 6, 2004
|Solo HR, top of the 1st off RHP Russ Ortiz at Turner Field. Mets 7, Braves 2
|Matsui knew how to enter a room. Not only was his first hit a home run, his first pitch he saw he put over the fence. He’d twice more hit a home run on opening day, including in 2005 (2-run HR off ex-Met Paul Wilson of the Reds) and the following year, an inside-the-park home run off Jake Peavy in Petco Park.
|Aug. 21, 2005
|Pinch-hit for Juan Padilla, 3-run HR, bottom of the 5th, off Esteban Loiaza at Shea. Nationals 7, Mets 4
|Jacobs’ home run saved his place on the roster and he would hit .310/.375/.710//1.085 through the end of the year. He’d later be a key piece in the Carlos Delgado trade.
|Aug. 17, 2022
|2-run HR, top of the 2nd off Jake Odorizzi at Truist Park. Mets 9, Braves 7
|Baty was a 12th-overall pick. His parents and sister had driven from Texas to be in the park and were on camera as he hit it. Be on the lookout for a MLB “Enjoy The Show” commercial like they made from this one.
1.Kevin Mitchell, 1984
2. Mark Carreon, 1987-89
3. Bill Pecota, 1992
4. Eli Marrero, 2016
Oddly, I remember only two of them: Carreon (whom I liked-who didn’t?) and Marrero (who I remember, because he was all we had to show for all the energy wasted in the entire Kaz Matsui Saga). Mitchell was only that September, and me, I’d just moved away from radio range, had no TV, the internet didn’t exist, and there were 18-22 year-old girls everywhere I looked: I had just started college. And Pecota. Still out of the local TV market, plus a) sour on Jeff Torborg’s Mets before it was cool and so, b) more of a Mets fan with a paper bag on my head then.
So if the reports are accurate maligned former prodigy Jose Reyes could be rejoining the Mets as soon as today. While I’d naturally prefer my guys not to be coming off disciplinary suspensions, and I would hope his equity not put undue pressure on teammates, I can see where the prospect of a proven speedy contact hitter who can play multiple infield positions at a bargain price could help the team. I would hope also that just like Lenny Randle in 1977, the club is sensible enough to keep Reyes on a short behavioral leash while allowing him to do himself the favor of re-establishing a derailed career. If he can play, it’s all good.
No shortage of speculation as to his uniform number is out there, but I cannot see where it is fair or appropriate for Travis d’Arnaud to put aside a personally selected No. 7 to make room for Reyes, particularly with Reyes’ shady recent legal tangles and especially considering the way he left the club in
2009 (2011, thx, Dave). He was right go, don’t get me wrong, but he took off for Miami as though he were stealing second base.
Question is what then? Back in 2003, when Reyes was a but a Met puppy, the Mets (idiotically, it turned out) signed the Japanese free agent Kaz Matsui to a contract. Matsui wore 7 in Japan and some bright people suggested then they creatively solve the issue by giving Matsui 77. They didn’t. Things would have been different, I tell you.
So I can see the Mets going that route, maybe. Perhaps, though, presenting Reyes with 77 (or even 07) is too larded with tender forethought to be appropriate for a guy coming off a wife-beating rap. I am coming around to the idea it would be best if Reyes gets a number that sends the message that the Mets aren’t doing Jose Reyes any favors beyond the opportunity to wear a uniform. Any uniform. Give him No. 46. It’ll all be a weird scene anyway.
Lots of speculation too about unoccupied single digits of 1 and 9 but I’m coming around to suspect those might be held out of the rotation with a purpose. Shortstop prospect Amed Rosario is racing up the ladder and bringing No. 1 with him: You may have seen he debuted with Class AA Binghamton just this week and like of all people Jose Reyes, could be a big-league shortstop by the age of 21. I’m less certain of No. 9’s future but suspect we could see Brandon Nimmo wearing it before long.
You probably don’t need much less want a reminder that the Mets are really stinking up the joint out there and giving back darn near all they gained as a result of that magical win streak, if that actually happened at all and wasn’t a figment of our imaginations like a successful sacrifice bunt. Boy do they stink.
The last bit of bad news is Dilson Hererra’s injury: He’s on the DL now and Eric Campbell is on the way back. Why the Mets won’t pull the trigger on Matt Reynolds is a bit puzzling but I think they’re stubbornly committed to doing all they can do to stick with the Flores-at-shortstop plan, even when seemingly better options are out there. At times, it reminds one of 2004 when they committed to — and stuck with — Kaz Matsui at shortstop over Jose Reyes long after it was apparent they could and should have reversed course.
I’m still of the mind that Flores isn’t a bad idea. Leave him be, and he might hit 20 home runs, which is a lot for a shortstop and just might turn out to be a lot for a Met this year. And in a lineup with adequate production elsewhere, it would be especially good but we’re not getting those things right now while David Wright and his 60-year-old body recovers from whatever ails him and Travis d’Arnaud heals a broken finger.
Though you don;t like to see an injury be the case, Hererra it seems could use some more seasoning in the minors anyway, as could Kevin Plawecki.
Have you guys met Noah Syndergaard yet? He’s wearing No. 34.
Tonight the Mets travel to Denver to take on the Rockies and second baseman Kaz Matsui, who missed the first series at Shea this year due to (what else) back spasms.
I just might be a softie but I’ve always felt bad for how poorly things went in New York for Matsui. The organization completely biffed the entire acquisition, unnecessarily installing him at shortstop while they already had a popular, accomplished and exciting incumbent there, then leaving Matsui at short to become a target of fan abuse when it was obvious he lacked the range of the man he displaced. Frequent injuries — a source of frustration for fans and his manager — followed and when it was clear that Jose Valentin was a better bet to serve out the year than Matsui the Mets anxiously shipped him to the Rockies, along with all the money they’d need to pay him, for washed-up reserve Eli Marrero.
Alas, Matsui’s good health has accompanied strong performance this year, as has a switch back to the No. 7 jersey he wore in Japan. (Here the Mets let Matsui have Jose Reyes’ position and batting-order slot but not his jersey). Matsui discusses his number, and other stuff in this interview with MLB.com.
You wore No. 7 in Japan, but it wasn’t available when you came to the U.S. You wore 25 with the Mets and 16 with the Rockies last season — in both cases, the digits added up to seven. Why No. 7?
When I became a professional in Japan, I liked 1, 3, 5 and 7. But 1, 3 and 5 were unavailable. The No. 7 at that point, a guy, Darin Jackson, went back to the U.S., so I told them I wanted his No. 7.
Is wearing your favorite number making you play better?
I don’t know about that. But I like No. 7.
In other Met news, Mike Pelfrey 34 was recalled yesterday, and lost again, when Jorge Sosa 29 hit the disabled list with a hamstring pull. Reports this morning made it seem likely that Oliver Perez 46 would miss a start this week too with back spasms, a scenario likely to result in the return of Jason Vargas 43 from the minors.
The sad Met saga of Kaz Matsui has come to an end. The Mets traded the dislocated second baseman, along with a sack of cash, yesterday to the Colorado Rockies for veteran utilityman Eli Marerro, thus ending one of the more regrettable and confounding stories in recent Met history. Acquired with great fanfare in the 2003-04 offseason, Kaz was presented with the No. 25 jersey and proclaimed “I love New York,” but the city — and his team — didn’t much love him back. An incredibly poor decision in ’04 to use him at shortstop did no favors for him, the Mets or displaced teammate Jose Reyes, and managed to turn the fans, particularly the mook contingent at Shea, against him. Since then he seemed to have frustrated his manager with frequent injuries and subpar hitting, and thoughout appeared unable to overcome a massive cultural and communication gap, yet remained respectful and sportsmanlike until the end and that — along with his opening-day homers — is something we’ll always admire about him. And while we take no pleasure in seeing him go, his most recent struggles, and Jose Valentin’s emphatic claiming of the second base duties, left him a man without a second country and called out for the kind of versatile backupityness that Marerro can provide. Though the Rockies have relagated Kaz to their AAA team in Colorado Springs, we hope he kicks all kinds of butt down there and salvages what he can of a stay in the states more difficult than anyone might have imagined.
The well-traveled Marrero is scheduled to arrive for this evening’s game. He has worn Nos. 16, 26 and 11 in previous stops — all taken here. Update: He appeared Sunday June 11 in 32,most recently cashiered by Jeremi Gonzalez (remember him?)
Kaz Matsui 25 made his return as the Anderson Hernandez Experiment ended due to injury, not an inability to hit.
Met fans were wondering again today whether Omar Minaya can be trusted at a swap meet, giving up underappreciated starter Jae Seo 26, along with lefty relieverTim Hamulack 46, in a trade for goggle-wearing Duaner Sanchez and his sidearm-throwing teammate, Steve Schmoll, both righthanded relievers for the Dodgers. We wish the best of luck to Seo, whose frequent bobs between New York and Norfolk resulted in three uniform numbers (he also wore 38 and 40). In case you’re also wondering, Sanchez wore No. 50 and Schmoll No. 40 in Chavez Latrine last season.
The Mets also invited veteran second baseman Bret Boone to camp with a minor league deal. Boone was released twice last year but according to Omar “knows how to win,” and will challenge incumbent Kaz Matsui for a job. Boone most often has worn No. 29.
Catching up with more winter moves, the Mets on Dec. 28 agreed to a one-year deal for freaky underhanded relief pitcher Chad Bradford, a hero of Moneyball and most recently, a patient with the Red Sox team doctors. He wore No. 53 for both teams.
On Dec. 23, former Met outfield prospect Endy Chavez was signed to a one-year deal. Chavez woreNo. 19 with Expo-Nationals and 47 when he was traded to Philadelphia late last year.
The Mets also released maddening lefthander Kaz Ishii 23, and invited journeymen Darren Oliver, Jose Parra and Pedro Feliciano to camp. We last saw Parra and Feliciano in Met uniforms 46 and 55, respectively, in 2004 (unless we vacationed in Japan in 2005).
The Mets today announced they would acquire slugging first baseman
Carlos Delgado and 7 million U.S. Dollars from the Marlins, giving up promising
young hitter Mike Jacobs 27 and alleged phenom pitcher
Yusmeiro Petit in return. That this is a dynamite deal for the Mets should be
obvious: Delgado fills the need for another threatening bat in the lineup
and they didn’t need to cough up Lastings Milledge to get him. This
of course isn’t the first time the Mets have picked up luxury goods on
the cheap in a Marlin liquidation: The 1998 sell-off produced
Dennis Cook 27, Al Leiter 22 and Mike Piazza 31, all key players in the last
respectable Met era.
Considering the strenous attempt to land Delgado last off-season, we expect the Mets will provide Delgado with all the comforts he deems necessary, which means
Kaz Matsui 25 might find a new jersey hanging in his locker this spring
(presuming it says “Mets” on the front, that is). We argued back in ’03
that Matsui should have been issued 77 and would still like to see it.
Speaking of Marlin giveaways, the Mets quietly provided X-Marlin lefty reliever
Matt Perisho with a minor league contract and invite to Spring Training.
Perisho wore 46 with the Marlins last season.
The Mets today welcomed back Steve Trachsel 29, and slotted him in the rotation on Friday. The drama as to who would be sacrificed to make room for him was satisfactorily resolved when washed-up mop-up man Danny Graves 32 was designated for assignment. On Monday, beefy reliever Heath Bell 19 was recalled from Norfolk while Dae Sung Koo 17 was demoted. On Sunday, reserve catcher Mike DeFelice 33 returned to the active roster when the Mets got around to disabling catcher Mike Piazza 31. Meanwhile, a massive three-run homer in his debut turn at bat Sunday appears to have saved a job for Mike Jacobs 27, who’s now your starting first baseman.
MBTN reader Mike from Tennessee points out that Jacobs became the fourth Met to hit a home run in his first Major League at-bat — and that each of them had ascending uni numbers: Benny Ayala 18; Mike Fitzgerald 20; Kaz Matsui 25; and Jacobs 27. This is the kind of useless history MBTN was designed to capture.