This should come as no surprise to most since Johan Santana wont be back until June from his surgery.
I posted a few of my immediate thoughts on last nights Opening Day victory in my other post “And Away We Go.” I wanted to take a few more minutes and go over a few things that I missed after having thought the game over and over.
Thumbs up to Jerry Manuel for calling that suicide squeeze in the 6th inning. I love the call. We had already gone up a few runs and the message sent was that we wouldn’t be content with anything. We will always be aggressive to score more runs. I cannot tell you have refreshing an aggressive baseball move like this was to watch. I hope this type of baseball is the norm, not an exception. The Mets need to dictate their own destiny, not sit back and wait to see what happens.
As I mentioned in my other post I really loved the Mets approach at the plate. I don’t know if this is a product of Howard Johnson or not but they seemed to be very disciplined at the plate against recent nemesis Josh Johnson. Making him come to them rather then chasing bad pitches was really effective. They waited for their pitch and they hit it well when it came. Forcing a pitcher like Johnson to throw a lot of pitches is the smart way to go in my opinion. Like above I hope this proves to be the norm rather then a blip. This approach seems to work just fine for clubs like the Yankees and the Red Sox.
This may seem silly but I love anecdotes like this. The fans at Citi Field actually boo’d the medical staff when they were introduced. I think this is hilarious. Did they deserve that? Probably not. But this is just so funny to me that I had to give it a mention. It shows that despite being a beaten down mass of annually heartbroken fans, we still retain our sense of humor as Mets fans.
This isn’t going to just be a fluff post. I have to mention how out of place and bad the placing of Mike Jacobs in the cleanup spot looked. Yes it was only one game. And yes I understand it’s to balance the lineup out a bit, but I think it’s the wrong move. I think the way to go is to have Jason Bay in the 4 spot. I’d even rather see Frenchy in the 5 spot and then Jacobs. Jacobs strikes out way too much and is to all-or-nothing to be a productive cleanup hitter in my opinion.
All in all it was a great day to be a Mets fan. Now the real fun begins as we start to get an idea where we stand with our entire pitching staff. We heard all the excuses all spring training about “working on other pitches” and “wind driven home runs” and all other sorts of nonsense. None of that matters any more. It’s for real now and their job is to go out there and perform. Our season hinges on it.
What an awesome Opening Day. After a disaster of a season in 2009 it was very nice to get off to a good start by winning the game. How they won the game was an added bonus. Here is a quick run down on my thoughts after watching the game. I will go into more depth later.
Johan Santana wasn’t at the top of his game, yet as he always seems to do, he gritted himself through it and pitched a great game.
David Wrights bomb in the first inning was such a lift for everyone in Mets-land. The added irony that it was an opposite field homerun was not lost on me. Lets hope that this is a sign of great things to come. I don’t care if David hits 30+ homeruns, I just want to see him back to swatting the ball into the alleys with authority.
The ability they showed to take advantage of the Marlins mistakes and to tack on insurance runs was so refreshing. It was so frustrating last year with the teams habit of putting up a few runs early and then just going turtle and trying to hang on for the win as the opponent chipped away.
Most of all I was most impressed with how the Mets seemed to approach their at bats as a team. Each guy seemed to have a game-plan and took a lot of pitches and forced Johnson to come to them. Johnson had thrown 60 pitches by the end of the 3rd inning. This is definitely something I would like to see continue into the future. Disciplined hitting can help a team in so many ways, and the Mets have enough professional hitters that it’s something they should be able to do.
Kudos to the Mets for having Darryl Strawberry throw out the first pitch. As a kid that fell in love with the Mets because of those 80’s teams it made the day extra special. Here’s to embracing more of the Mets contemporary history!
Opening Day is always a great day in it’s own right, but getting the victory makes it even more special. I had a great time watching the game with my 14 month old son. He didn’t really get what was going on, but he had his Mets gear on and had a lot of fun “going crazy” when Wright hit his homerun.
Tomorrow I plan to sit down and catch the Yankee opener against the Sox. I am one of the people that thinks it’s pretty dumb to kick off the season by having the Yankees and Red Sox play each other. Opening Day is special enough, it has plenty of juice, why take a game that everyone looks forward to and basically waste it by having it on Openin Day? Strange indeed. I’d rather see their first matchup like a month into the season when they have had a bit of time to settle their lineups out. We would see better baseball and better games. But that’s just me, and I am a proponent of good baseball, and not primarily motivated by money as the MLB is.
As for my Metsies I am worried I wont be able to see the game live being a day game. If I can’t it’s gonna be really hard to go into radio silence at work so that I can watch it pseudo-live when I get home with my son. I will be dying to know but I think it will be worth waiting to watch it with my little man. It’s a tradition I hope to continue as he grows, and starting hopefully next year actually go to the game. It’s one of those things you think about doing when you have kids, pretty cool that I am actually there getting to do it.
Opening Day is a special day and one I look forward to every year. It’s obviously always better when they win, but it’s just a cool feeling. It’s one of those days in the year you feel immensely proud to be American. Sure baseball has it’s faults and it’s issues, but it’s our game, and it’s a game we’ve been playing and watching since we can remember. It wipes itself clean and starts anew each and every year. To be a red blooded American, baseball is deeply ingrained in the fabric of your life. I like a particular quote from “Field of Dreams” that summarizes what I mean:
People will come Ray. The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it’s a part of our past, Ray. It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again. Oh… people will come Ray. People will most definitely come.
It’s such a cool quote. I love that movie.
As Mets fans lets just enjoy Opening Day. Forget what ever drama of the week the Mets are currently embroiled in. Forget all the question marks. Who cares when Beltran and Reyes will be back , for one day. Just enjoy the game, and for those of you lucky enough to actually be at the game, just soak it in, it’s an awesome day!
When I was six years old, the first ever Met jersey I ever owned had Dykstra’s number 4 on the back of it. You probably would have also found me chewing a huge load of Big League Chew. Lenny was lefty and if you have read any of my blogs, you can notice that all of my favorite players were lefty (Keith, Straw and Nails.) You would have also found me sliding outside to get my jersey dirty just like Lenny was wearing it.
Lenny was drafted by the Mets in 1981 and would be a minor league superstar by 1983 where he recorded 105 stolen bases in the Carolina League. As the MVP in 1983, he awesome batted .358, had 107 walks and struck out under 40 times. Lenny came up in 1985 and gave the team the energy it needed as he filled in for a injured Mookie Wilson. Slated to start 1986 in a platoon with Mookie, Dykstra again saw himself in the starting lineup as Mookie suffered a spring training eye injury. Lenny’s play along with Mookie’s return caused the Mets to release George Foster.
With Lenny enjoying full-time starting time, Lenny hit 2 of the biggest homers in Mets history by blasting a game winning homer in game 3 vs Houston, which Murph’s call is still so classic. Down 2-0 in the series, Lenny blasted a homer to lead off game 3 and get the Mets righted and on their way to the Series title. Lenny would consistently help the Mets with his “tough as nails” play and be a huge fan favorite. Lenny would again be clutch in the playoffs as he batted .429 vs. LA in the playoffs.
Then it happened, the Mets looked to change up their team, Carter and Mex were declining and the rumors were abound that Darryl would head to the west coast as his free agency came closer. One of the worst days, I can remember in Met history they traded Lenny and Roger McDowell to Philly for Juan Samuel. Samuel would go on to do nothing in blue and orange and the combo of Nails and McDowell would be key contributors for Philly’s 1993 NL Champions. Lenny would also make 3 all-star teams for the Phils. Injuries however, would derail his career and he would be retired before the age of 35 as he retired in 1996.
Lenny like other Mets we know and love has suffered some setbacks off the field. At one point, he has hailed a successful business man but now has filed bankruptcy and been hailed at a financial loser. It would be nice if like other Met greats, was brought back into the fold as a coach. Lenny’s nails approach could definitely fire some people up, maybe one day he can get back together with fellow Wild Boy, Wally Backman. Wherever he goes, I wish him the best and thank him for helping us win in ’86.
A rough Tuesday in Met Land has deterred some people about the 2010 and those people at this point people have every right to be disgruntled. However, I am going to remain positive until we get to Opening Day which is only 5 days a way now. With that being said, I am back from vacation and ready to countdown with you loyal readers once again.
Today, with 5 days left lets talk about the “Franchise”, David Wright. It seems like David Wright is still a baby but he is not, he should be entering his prime as he is now 27 years old. Not long ago it feels, David was a 21 year old rookie who’s promise looked so good that it forced the Mets to deal fan favorite Ty Wigginton.
David grew up with a ton of talent around him as he grew up in Norfolk, Virginia. As the story goes, David used to go watch the Norfolk Tides as he dad worked games as an officer, which drew him to becoming a Mets fan. I think it does not get cooler then one of our top players being born and bred a Met fan. David was drafted in 2001 in the supplemental draft. The Mets actually acquired the pick they used on David when Mike Hampton signed with the Rockies.
In the middle of a down 2004 for the Mets, they needed something to get some attention and sell some seats, so they paired up their prized possessions when they brought up David Wright to play along side Jose Reyes. David came up in July and batted .293 with 14 homers and 40 RBI in 69 games. David definitely turned heads and Met fans had to be excited with the prospects of having Wright and Reyes together for along time. In his first full season in 2005, David batted .306 with 27 home runs, 99 runs, 102 RBI, 42 doubles, and 17 stolen bases. He was now not only with Reyes but the team showed improvement with free agent signings Pedro Martinez and Carlos Beltran.
As 2006 approached and the Mets picked up more free agents in Carlos Delgado, Paul LoDuca and Billy Wagner, the Mets were looked at as a team that could finally knock off the Braves. Wright had a great season in the middle of that line up with a .311 batting average, 26 homers and 114 RBI’s. David alongside 5 of his teammates would make the All-Star team and in DWright fashion homered in his first All-Star at bat. The Mets would fall short in ’06 but the future for David looked brighter then ever.
2007 would see David join the exclusive 30-30 club, while batting a career high .325 but again the Mets fell short, David struggled early in ’08 but would get his numbers close to his averaged by time the season ended. David and Jose as well, sometimes were believed to be over played by their managers as they both played around 160 games in these years and wore down which may have been part of the Mets late season collapses. David also is sometimes said to work too hard or puts too much pressure on himself. I love that he cares a lot but we need David to step up to the challenges and do his best when the pressure is on.
In ’09 David was said to change his approach and struggled throughout the season as teammate after teammate went down with injury. David got off to a good start average wise but definitely could not find his power throughout the season. It will be interesting to see in the 2nd year of CitiField how David will take his approach. From spring training it appears he is going to go for the power that make him a 30+ guy in ’07 and ’08. I hope he just goes with what he is most comfortable with, I cannot stand when they try to change these guys when they are successful, it just makes no sense to me.
As we get close to 2010, one thing all Met fans can agree on is that we David Wright more then ever, on the field and by grabbing the bull by the horns and taking a leadership role on this club, he is not a kid any more and needs to make this his team or else we are in for trouble for the years to come.
With just 12 days ’til Spring training, I wanted to profile someone who I am still getting to know, so I picked Frenchie over Ron Darling (who I love) but felt Frenchie would be the best choice for this piece.
I was on the LIRR to CitiField last summer, when my mom called me to tell me the Mets had traded Ryan Church. I liked Church, even picked up his tee shirt, I thought he was getting a raw deal from the Mets (insert likeness to Murph comment here.) I figured we probably got a middle reliever or some player to be named later. The Mets seemed desperate to rid themselves of Ryan Church, however I was pleasantly surprised to here we stole Met killer Jeff Francoeur from the ATL. Okay, so Jeff wasn’t having a great year for the Bravos, the trade essentially was trading one headache for another. However, for the Mets, Jeff would be the aspirin that was needed for the Mets and Met fan during the ’09 season.
Jeff not only was rejuvenated coming to NY but he also rejuvenated a depressed and injured clubhouse and fan base. Jeff brought his passion for the game, his tireless work ethic and his glowing personality to Queens. Jeff played hurt, got dirty and gave everything he had to the Mets in the second half of ’09. Jeff not protected in the order still preceded to hit .311 with 10 homers and 41 RBI’s in 75 games with the Metsies. The fact that he almost led the club in homers and only played half a season should be a big reason Met fans can get excited about their offense this season. Having, Frenchie and Bay to protect Wright and Beltran is going to be huge this season. I know that very quickly, I have gone from hating Jeff Francoeur to absolutely loving him. He is a player that could fit in the 1986 Mets and I know you Met fan out there would love more gritty and tough “Wild Boyz” on the club.
It wasn’t too long ago we heard about the next Chipper Jones who was going to come take the Bravos into the future. His name, Jeff Francoeur. In his rookie season, he posted very similar numbers to those of his ’09 Mets half season. Batting .300 with 14 homers and 45 RBI in 70 games, had to get Brave fans excited and Met fans nervous about this new Met killer. As a matter of fact, Frenchie hit a 3 run homer in his first ever game. Even though Jeff only played 70 games, he still was voted 3rd in Rookie of the Year voting. Frenchie put up good numbers in his first two seasons, hitting .260 with 29 homers and 103 RBI’s in ’06 and .293, 19, 105 in ’07.
Francoeur’s average slumped in ’08, where he was unhappily sent to the minors. This may have been the move that started the ball in motion for Jeff to end up a Met. Jeff’s .239 average put together with his .250,5, 35 in ’09 pushed Atlanta to the boiling point and in my opinion the terrible move of giving up on Jeff. Of course, as I mentioned earlier, Jeff was acquired by the Mets and flourished in Queens.
Jeff seems like a man’s man, he’s a guy I can see myself drinking a beer with while discussing women. He loves college football and playing golf. He seems to be a jokester and tries his best to keep the clubhouse loose. I really hope that Jeff can keep up the good work with the Mets and get back to that .290’s, 20+, 90 RBI a year for the next bunch of years. Let’s not forget to mention Jeff’s arm and outfield prowess, which is huge in CitiField. I think this just may be the year that Jeff Francoeur shows his promise and becomes one of the best outfielders in the National League.
My birthday is September 17th so as I became a Met fan, I was quickly drawn to Keith Hernandez. Add being left handed and that I have the same name as a hall of fame first baseman and I quickly patterned my game as good Ol’ Mex. Keith was a coach on the field, whether he was positioning infielders or telling Straw to keep his shoulder tucked in from second base. Keith made plays on bunts that are totally extinct in baseball today.
I recently covered Mex on a blog stating that is number 17 should be retired which you can find here. If you read that article you will be a good history of what Keith did in his career with the Mets. I won’t repeat myself but to finish this article up I will throw some odds and ends in about Keith’s career.
Keith didn’t play baseball his senior year of high school due to a disagreement with his coach. Despite this Keith was still drafted after a quick stint as San Mateo Community College. He was selected in the 42nd round of the 1971 draft. No one could someone have seen a near Hall of Fame career coming from him then. Keith got off to a slow start in the minors but eventually got hot with a .351 average and got the call to St. Louis, where he debuted in 1974 in his hometown of San Francisco, California. Keith also got sent down as he struggled to his major league pitching but eventually caught on.
Keith wore 37 in St. Louis and 17 with the Mets because he wanted his number to have a 7 to honor Mickey Mantle. Keith won the 1979 NL MVP when posting a .344 average. Keith eventually wore out his welcome with Whitey Herzog and got his wish when he was traded to the Mets and took the youngsters under his wings to capture the 1986 title.
After an injury plagued 1989 season the Mets moved on and let both Keith and Carter walk. As Keith has since admitted, he was finished and should have retired. However, at the time Keith wanted to play and moved to Cleveland for the 1990 season where he only played 45 games before retiring.
Here is also a little treat for all you Keith fans out there: Seinfeld Clip.
Lastly, the best treat for all of us is we get to see Keith daily on SNY broadcasts, he was a hell of a player but is just so entertaining as a person, regardless if he is educating us about the game or just making us laugh. Keith is one of a kind and is a true Met legend.
If your like me as each day passes you get more and more pumped up for opening day. It’s such a great day of the year, and this year will be extra special for me. I plan to watch the first game with my 13 month old son. Sure he has already been there with me for last years opening day, but he wasn’t able to give high-fives or cheer with me. I have spent the last 12 months teaching him these skills! It’s gonna be awesome!
I don’t really need to get any more pumped up for the season, but this video I found over at On The Black did a pretty good job of getting the blood pumping:
Opening Day is just 20 days away, I thought a good way to countdown these days would be to profile someone with that number each day until the big day. With twenty days remaining, the #20 that first comes to mind is former 3rd baseman and current hitting coach Howard “HoJo” “Haji” Johnson.
HoJo was credited with turning around Jeff Francoeur’s season last year. He is also considered a second father to David Wright which makes me feel despite rumor’s last season it would take something huge for “Haji” to get fired. We also have heard that Murph and Wright spent time with HoJo over the winter to work on hitting and for some good ole’ male bonding time.
I think sometimes we forget about how great of a player HoJo was. This guy was Mr. 30-30 and before David Wright was easily the best third baseman in Met history. I think a lot of people including myself focus their memories of the 80’s/90’s Mets on Doc, Darryl, Mex and the kid but HoJo was the one guy that stayed after those 80’s teams and was the heart and soul of this team until his departure after the 1993 season.
HoJo’s top two seasons were his 30-30 years in 1987 and 1989. In 1987, his first full time year, he hit 36 homers, with 99 RBI’s and 32 steals. In 1989, HoJo hit 36 bombs with 101 RBI’s and 41 steals. HoJo was a two-time all star, two-time Silver Slugger and two-time World Series champ.
It is great that HoJo is still in the Mets organization and to know how he feels about the Mets, one go no further then the Shea Goodbye Ceremony, where a distraught HoJo was crying on the field after the Mets loss to the Fish.
There you go my all-favorite number 20, Howard Johnson, let the countdown to Opening Day continue!!!