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29 April, 2011

Why I Love the Mets, Part 2

by Tom McConville

A Knight at the Fights

Sorry, I couldn't resist the title. Which was probably the same one the New York Post used the morning after the epic Mets/Reds throw down in 1986. Just to set the stage. The Mets were down 3-1 with two on and two outs in the ninth. Keith Hernandez hit a routine fly ball out to Dave Parker who proceeded to drop the ball. This error led to the Mets tying the score and sending the game into extra innings.

In the bottom of the tenth, Jesse Orosco gave up a single to then player/manager Pete Rose, who took himself out for a pitch runner. A then 24 year old speedster named Eric Davis. Davis then stole second. And then, a few pitches later took off for third. This is what happened next.

The Mets went on to win the game in the 14th, 6-3. Aside from the brawl, the extra innings also featured Jesse Orosco and Roger McDowell alternating between the outfield and pitcher's mound. As well as Gary Carter playing third as Knight's replacement.

Now, I'm not condoning the brawl. In fact, I completely agree with Tim McCarver's idea that if two guys want to go at it on the diamond, make it more like a hockey fight. Anyone else who jumps in is automatically fined and suspended.

What I love about this was the fact that the '86 were a bunch of tough dudes who took absolute no crap from anyone. We're they a bunch of arrogant bullies? Yep. Did they back up their reputation? Absolutely. Something the New York NL'ers have not done in a long, long time.

28 April, 2011

The Year of 25 years Ago Part 3

by Gus Ramsey

   25 years ago, around this time, the Mets served notice to the rest of the National League that they meant business. They ripped off wins in 18 of 19 games and set the tone for the remainder of the '86 season. The highlight of this stretch came April 24-27 when the Amazins went into St. Louis and swept 4 games from the defending NL champ, and Mets nemesis, Cardinals. The first game was the most dramatic. Trailing 4-2 heading into the 9th, George Foster lead off the inning with a double and one out later Howard Johnson came to the plate against Cards closer Todd Worrell. As Tim McCarver called it, "2 and 2 to Johnson...The Mets need a long ball... and they might have it! That ball is out of here and this game is tied!" HoJo turned on the Worell fastball and took it deep into the St. Louis night. Tied at 4, Whitey Hertzog left Worrell in to bat in the 9th and pitch in the 10th. It didn't work out as Foster singled with 2 outs to score Backman and the Mets won 5-4.
The Boys of Spring (and summer and fall)
   Game 2 was a good old fashioned beat down as Doc Gooden threw a 5-hit shutout, Ray Knight hit two homers, Raffy Santana had 3 hits and the Mets rolled 9-0.
   Game 3 was the NBC Game of the Week. The Mets offense picked up where it left off with 4 runs in the 1st inning. That was enough for Sid Fernandez who went 8, struck out 10 and only allowed 2 hits. The defense sealed it with a beauty of a 4-6-3 DP started by Backman. He made a diving stop of a 1-hop smash up the middle, flipped it to Santana who relayed it to Hernandez to get the batter, Terry Pendleton, who did the rarely seen feet-first slide into first base. The Mets held on, 4-3,  and their win streak had reached 8.
   Game 4 was a matchup of former Red Sox teammates, John Tudor and Bob Ojeda. Ojeda was brought to the Mets to balance the rotation with another lefty, and, more specifically, attack a Cardinals lineup that featured speed and 5 switch-hitting regulars.  Ojeda went the distance, giving up 9 hits and 2 homers but quelled a potential 1st inning rally. After giving up a run and having runners on 1st and 3rd, Ojeda  got the final two outs with no more runs scoring. Kevin Mitchell (leading off and playing SS, by the way) and Tim Teuful provided the offense, both taking Tudor deep.
   When the 18-1 run was over, so was the NL East. The Mets were 20-4. They had punched the Cardinals right in the nose and never looked back. It was a breathtaking stretch of baseball. In 14 of those games the Mets held their opponent to 3 runs or fewer. The starting pitching was awesome. Their lines looked like this
Doc Gooden:    4-0, 35 IP, 27 H, 6 BB, 27 K, 3 R, 0.51 ERA
Bob Ojeda:       4-0, 31 IP, 25 H, 6 BB, 17 K, 6 R, 1.45 ERA
Sid Fernandez:  4-0, 28.3 IP, 14 H, 13 BB, 25 K, 6 R, 1.91 ERA
Ron Darling:     3-0, 30.3 IP, 22 H, 15 BB, 18 K, 13 R, 3.26 ERA

Closer Jesse Orosco pitched in 8 games, saving 5 and didn't allow a run in 10.3 innings

 On offense, Wally Backman played in 10 of the 19 games, hit .432 and scored 10 runs. Keith Hernandez hit .338 with 24 hits over that stretch. He scored 14 runs, drove in 11 and walked 12 times. Darryl Strawberry had 20 hits, 6 of them long balls, while driving in 19. The team hit .291 and scored 105 runs, which is 5.5 a game.
  By this time 25 years ago the expectation of a Mets win every day was intoxicating. In April of 1986 the Mets sucked in their fans, blew away their their competition and set sail on a season of domination.


by Gus Ramsey
  For whatever reason, I've always been fascinated with counting the number of steps an outfielder takes when making a long, running catch. It started with the Tommy Agee catches in the '69 World Series which I watched repeatedly on home movies rented from the local library when I was a kid.
  While this study is not exactly the same, it's a very cool look done by ESPN stats folks on hang time, distance covered and all that goes into great catches and near misses.  

26 April, 2011

Why I Love the Mets, Part 1

by Tom McConville

Yeah, the team is down this year. Even with their 4 game winning streak, there seems to be a sense of dread with Met fans that this could indeed be a very long year.

So I started thinking about all the reasons why I love this team so much. Instead of running off at the mouth, I figured I would show you my reasons why this team means a lot to me. Here is Part 1 of my season long list.

1. Banner Day -  any Met fan worth his or her salt knew that sometime in the middle of the summer,  when a doubleheader would be played at Shea, the real action would occur in between games. Thousands of fans would march on the field with their homemade banners - or placards as Casey Stengel called them - showing the people in the stands and the television audience their allegiance to the Mets. Or, potentially, how far they could get away with something potentially obscene. Here's a clip of Banner Day '84. Please note Ralph Kiner's appreciation of the Goonies banner, as well as a message to Rusty Staub the director of the telecast wisely decided would be better served if it was shot at far range.

18 April, 2011

Uniformity or Bad Form?

I asked on Twitter what people thought of the NBA crowds wearing the same colored shirts at all the games recently. It was a fairly divisive topic. Here is what you had to say.


@ oddly erotic.

 John Stemple 

Looks like a cult about to commit mass suicide >>> @? of the day. What do you think of NBA crowds all wearing same colored shirts?
 Hector Santos 

@ same looking crowds feels like a cult. Waiting for kool-aid to be handed out.
 Matt McDevitt 

@ gives me a migraine
 lee fine 

@ It's stupid. I suspect Miami did it to hide the empty seats.
 Ryan McCarthy 

@ i like it except oklahoma's blue looked strange with the nuggets wearing light blue on the court

@ I think the NBA crowds are great...I prefer my crowds to be conformity driven for the sake of the team...
 Evan Streusand 

@ it's overdone. looks cool on tv though

 Jeremy Kerensky 

@ Makes it an event to crowd, but can look goofy on TV. "White Out" terrible though. Use a team color.
 Aaron Starr 

@ I like it..looks like playoff basketball
 mark coale 

@ it was better when hockey crowds did it first,. :>
 Glen Zariczny 

Love it. Enhances the atmosphere RT @: ? of the day. What do you think of NBA home crowds all wearing same colored shirts?
 Joe Hoffmann 

@ Dont think it affects the game, but is impressive nonetheless

@ Lame lame lame...

 Greg Wood 

It's s#$% and needs to stop! RT @ ? of the day. What do you think of NBA home crowds all wearing same colored shirts?

@ too easy, fans just get shirts when they enter, its not like they bring them from home

 Anish Shroff 

Death of American individuality? RT @ ? of the day. What do you think of NBA home crowds all wearing same colored shirts?
 Daniel Carpio 

Douchery RT @: ? of the day. What do you think of NBA home crowds all wearing same colored shirts?
 Patrick Shay 

@ Great rip off of hockey arenas.
 adam h 

@ love it
 Patrick Neville 

@ Shows NBA trying to create a college atmosphere. Tries to include as them "Sixth Man" even if they aren't actively cheering.
 Tim Irwin 

@ False Enthusiasm is the worst thing about the NBA. Just like the constant noise from the speakers.
 Tom Binning 

@ it works for the Thunder, the blue looks awesome. But the Heat's white isn't what I associate with that team, better: Black/red
 Brian Hadad 

@ I'd tell you, but I don't want David Stern to fine me 100K.
 David Van Hofwegen 

@ love it when the heat do, love it when the penguins do it, loved it when the kings did it
 Andy Critchell 

@ I love it. It is a cool look.
 jon schroeder 

@ It loses its luster. Penn State's special white out is way cooler.
 Rich Grisham 

@ Lame. Even worse is the OKC crowd standing til the first basket. Talk about non-original copycat stuff. Bush league.
 Ryan Scott 

@ But then, yesterday OKC crowd was wearing blue. And so were the visiting Denver Nuggets.
 Ryan Scott 

@ I think it's good if the shirt is uhm... a color. Whiteouts are for hockey arenas where fans actually make noise.
 Patrick Ghidossi 

@ I like it, seems to enhance the noise level for whatever reason.
 Ryan Severance 

@ Tacky. Amateur.

@ I love it if they are also into the game. What I don't love? Noise making props. So awful.
 Jason Shannon 

@ Dumb when they're given to you with your ticket... if everyone can commit themselves to it w/o handout its impressive
 Connor Schone 

@ not sure of it's actual effect, but it looks fantastic on tv!
 J. Keller 

@ HORRENDOUS. And it's ten times worse if the shirts are white. That's designed to hide empty seats. It's bush league.

@ lame. that's for college
 Jeff Siegel 

@ It's really cool, to me. It always seems to get the crowd more into the game as well.