Amidst a terrible roadtrip the ’86 Mets, who seem to cast a bigger shadow each season, were outspoken again. This time the whistle blower was Bobby Ojeda. “Bobby O” was once a far cry from the lighthearted commentator you can watch on the SNY pre/post game. In 1986, the former Red Sox starter was a rough around the edges pitcher and arguably the best of a staff of aces. One of his teammates joined the nudging when Darryl Strawberry, for the second time this year, had something to say about the latest installment of disappointing baseball. The last team to win a championship in Queens has been consistently vocal about the Mets’ clubs and their shortcomings. The arrogant and noisy ’86ers won with their ability to talk and back it up on the field. Their brash , no nonsense, say what I want attitude has continued to show up years since they have retired. It must be said however, that there is something about their blunt and impulsive action that still inspires New Yorkers. The shadow only grows with Jerry Manuel’s Mets skidding and Wally Backman hit and running teams to death with the Brooklyn Cyclones. Here are some verbal lashings from the ’86 Champs directed at Mets’ clubs.
Keith Hernandez – 2002
Dubbed by The Seattle Times as “Keith Hernandez VS Mike Piazza” the two traded verbal blows when the disappointing club looked asleep at the wheel. Hernandez, who’s job it was and is still to analyze, might have gone overboard with his quote “The club has no heart; The Mets quit a long time ago. Bobby Valentine could’ve chewed this team out in June when this stuff started creeping in”. Piazza, angered by the comment, shot back with “He’s just trying to make a name at our expense” he continued to add “like he’s a judge of character, who quit or didn’t quit?” Keith stood by his comments but admitted he could have found a better way to put it. Continue reading “Mets 1986 Shadow”
Rod Barajas can hit the ball out of Citi Field. So can Ike Davis. Citi Field does not seem to intimidate the new guys.
David Wright on the other hand has struggled to find his power stoke since leaving Shea Stadium behind. Last year we chalked up some of his power loss to playing in the World Classic and some to Citi Field. This year there are no excuses and I don’t think his power struggles are over just yet.
Although Wright will easily top last years home run totals, many fans I have spoken with seem to think Citi Field has gotten into his head. Wright hit 4 of his 7 homers on the last 6 game road trip but he’s still going to have to find a way to hit homers at home.
Of course, I’m also worried about Wright’s strikeouts. He’s on a pace to strikeout over 200 times this year. With 14 strikeouts in the last 7 games I tend to think maybe David should have his eyes checked because he’s not seeing the ball correctly. Continue reading “CitiFieldaphobia – Who Fears Hitting at Citifield?”
If you missed the pre-game of last night’s Mets-Phillies game, you missed a very well done celebration of the Mets first World Series championship- The Miracle Mets. A couple of things stood out for me about the celebration:
- The Mets organization does a great job with these events like they did with the final game at Shea and the 25th anniversary of the ’86 World Series champs
- It was fantastic to see Nolan Ryan back in New York with a Mets uniform on; the pitching they had on that team was off the charts
Related to point number 1, how can the Mets get these events right that celebrate their team’s history yet get their new stadium so wrong? It doesn’t make sense to me. Just when I think that the organization is completely out of touch with their fan base, they do something like this so well. I guess there’s still hope for them yet.
I want to add a couple of links on the ’69 celebration:
- Remembering Shea has some good comments about watching the celebration last night
- Ken Belson of the NY Times writes about how Mets fans got a brief reprieve last night from a season of injuries, incompetence, and all-around sloppy play when they saw the ’69 team take the field
- ESPN has a good report including that Jerry Manuel played with Bud Harrelson and Jerry Grote briefly in a Senior League in Florida
- Keith Olbermann, the Baseball Nerd, writes about his attendance at the event last night
- Image by epc via Flickr
Demolishing Shea Stadium and building Citi Field was certainly unwelcome for some Mets fans. It marked a changing of the guard for the franchise and maybe even a sense for some of us that we would be left behind in history as fans of the “old” Mets that played at the “old” stadium. But I have to admit that before this season, I was really looking forward to going to Citi Field.
The surprise set in when we realized that Citi Field wasn’t really about the Mets, it was all about the Brooklyn Dodgers and Jackie Robinson. Sure, Robinson is an individual worthy of all the recognition that he gets, and more than we know. But there was something glaring missing from the new stadium… The Mets history!!! In building this new $800 million project, the Mets forgot that the Mets were going to be playing there and that they’ve had some history of their own. Continue reading “Mets Finally Make Citi Field Their Own”
The folks at Maple Street Press were kind enough to send me a copy of the Mets season preview magazine from Maple Street Press (MPS). The magazine is 128 pages packed with Mets information to get you fired up for this season.
Before I get too deep into this I’ll tell you that this is not a paid advertisement from Maple Street Press. The magazine costs $12.99 and can be purchased at many newsstands and book stores in the New York area. You can also purchase a copy from their website at Maple Street Press. Also if you read this post to the end, you’ll see that MPS sent me two copies to give away to readers of The Mets Report.
Here are my thoughts on the magazine. For a Mets fan, it’s great to read a detailed season preview that’s more than just a couple of cursory pages about the team like the national preview magazines that cover every team. This covers everything from the last couple of disastrous seasons to historical teams and a lot of information about Shea Stadium and Citi Field.
The highlights of the magazine are:
- “New Home, Old Worries: Can The Mets Change Their Stripes at Citi Field?” by Greg Spira and Matt Silverman- This introduction to the magazine sets the stage for the 2009 season with all of the information about offseason trades and free agent signings. This is a great way to kick off the magazine. Very strong writing and coverage of the team. The one oddity of the article is that the authors specifically mention that the Mets have a new $800 million revenue stream called Citi Field yet are keeping their payroll at the same level it was a year ago. There’s absolutely no mention of the Bernard Madoff scandal that reportedly bilked the Mets owners out of several hundred million dollars. That was one of the biggest stories of the offseason and there’s not one word in the article about it?
- “There Are Some Words: The ’69 Teams Turns 40, But It Never Gets Old” by Greg W. Prince- In my mind, Prince is the most creative, talented writer covering the Mets today. Hands down. MPS did a great job of securing Greg to write an article for the magazine. I would’ve been disappointed if he wasn’t represented here. As always, Prince turns in a well written and unique description of a topic that we’ve read and talked about for 40 years. Not many writers can cover a story that’s been covered so completely with a unique take on it.
The lowlights of the magazine are:
- “Keys to the Citi: New Home Promises A Whole New Ballgame” by Tara Krieger- Unfortunately, Krieger turns in a very pedestrian story about Citi Field. Maybe it’s me, and I’ve already read too much about the new stadium and seen too many pictures. But I really didn’t get anything out of this article that I didn’t already know. I think that the hardcore Mets fan would want more than we get here.
- “Seconds Anyone? The Susan Lucci Playoffs” by Howard Megdal- This article was disappointing because Megdal is a pretty good writer. The concept of this article pitting historical Mets teams against each other in some sort of contrived playoff was poor. Honestly, I was bored after about four paragraphs. You can skip this part of the magazine and won’t be missing anything.
Overall, I recommend the magazine for purchase despite the lowlights described above. Remember that this is 128 pages packed with Mets information. The Krieger and Megdal articles only account for about 10 pages, so the success rate is really high. Reading about Doc Gooden’s outstanding early career brought back some great memories for me of his starts being must-see TV.
Lastly, as I mentioned earlier in this post I have two copies to give away this week to readers. Watch the site for a contest that will be starting tomorrow.
I love the work that Ben Shipgel does for the New York Times. This week he’s been covering the Mets from Port St. Lucie and doing a tremendous job of it. I particularly like a profile that he wrote for yesterday’s NYT on Mets catching prospect Josh Thole.
Thole is the most advanced catching prospect that the Mets have right now. His development is ahead of 19 year-old fast track catcher Francisco Peña. Both of these guys could be moving up quickly when Brian Schneider and Ramon Castro (presumably) leave the Mets in free agency after this season. I really don’t see the Mets making a play to bring either back unless it’s for a one-year contract. There have been plenty of rumors that the Mets were trying to unload Ramon Castro during the offseason unsuccessfully.
So we can plan on seeing some new blood behind the plate next season. I know that 2009 hasn’t even started yet. But it’s always good to see what kind of talent that the Mets have in the pipeline.
Give this column from Shipgel a read at the NY Times site.
You can see the last piece of Shea Stadium coming down in this video from Yahoo:
Shea Stadium Final Demolition
The video was taken on February 18, 2009 at 11:25am. So long Shea…