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Tag:New York Mets
Posted on: January 15, 2012 8:50 am
Edited on: January 17, 2012 8:25 pm
 

2012 Mets Player Salaries and Contracts

2011 Arbitration Eligible players:
1-SP Mike Pelfrey 2011 $3.925M - signed 1yr @ $5.675M
2-RP Manny Acosta 2011 $414,000 - signed 1yr @ $875,000
3-RP Ramon Ramirez 2011 $1.65M - signed 1 yr @ $2.65M
4-OF Andres Torres 2011 $2.2M - signed 1yr @ $2.7M

LOST:
SS Jose Reyes - signed 6yrs $105M w/ the Marlins
LHP Chris Capuano - signed 2yrs $10M w/ Dodgers
RHP Chris Young - free agent
RHP Jason Isringhausen - free agent
OF Willie Harris - free agent
C Ronny Paulino - free agent
RHP Taylor Buchholz - free agent
RHP Ryota Igarashi - signed a minor league contract w/ the Pirates
1B Nick Evans - signed a minor league contract w/ the Pirates
OF Jason Pridie - - signed a minor league contract w/ the Athletics
OF Fernando Martinez - claimed off waivers by the Astros

ADDED:
RHP Frank Francisco
RHP Jon Rauch
CF Andres Torres - Traded From San Francisco for Angel Pagan
RHP Ramon Ramirez - Traded From San Francisco for Angel Pagan
IF Ronny Cedeno
OF Scott Hairston
Jeremy Hefner - claimed off waivers from the Pirates -  originally drafted by the Mets in 2004 and failed to sign him. Again drafted by the Mets in 2005 and again failed to sign him! After being drafted by the Padres in 2007, he was claimed off waivers by the Pirates before the 2011 season. The Mets finally got their man!!! In 5 minor league seasons Hefner is 46-34 w/ a 3.84 ERA 606 SO and 215 BB over 688 IP WHIP 1.29

*The following were all Signed to Minor League Contracts
RHP Miguel Batista - resigned
SS Sean Kazmar - drafted by the Padres in 2004
RHP Fernando Cabrera - drafted by the Indians in 1999, played 209-10 w/ the Red Sox
RHP Jeff Stevens - drafted by the Reds in 2005, played 2009-11 w/ the Cubs
SS Omar Quintanilla - drafted by the Athletics in 2003, played 2011 w/ the Rangers
C Rob Johnson - drafted by the Mariners in 2004, played 2011 w/ the Padres
LF Mike Baxter - resigned, originally drafted by the Padres in 2005
LHP Chuck James - drafted by the Braves in 2002, played 2011 w/ the Twins
C Lucas May- drafted by the Dodgers in 2003, played 2011 w/ the Diamondbacks and Royals
LHP Garrett Olson - drafted by the Orioles in 2005, played 2011 w/ the Pirates
OF Adam Loewen - drafted by the Orioles in 2002, played 2011 w/ the Blue Jays
OF Vinny Rottino - signed as an undrafted FA by the Brewers in 2003, played 2011 w/ the Marlins
CF Corey Wimberly - drafted by the Rockies in 2005, played 2011 w/ the Pirates
1B Valentino Pascucci - resigned, originally drafted by the Brewers in 1996

Collins’ coaching staff for the 2012:
Bench Coach - Bob Geren
1B Coach - Tom Goodwin
3B Coach - Tim Teufel
Hitting Coach - Dave Hudgens
Pitching Coach - Dan Warthen
Bullpen Coach - Ricky Bones


Starting Rotation:

1- Johan Santana, $24M (signed 6 yr/$137.5M (2008-13)+2014 club option plus full no trade clause~2013=$25.5M~2014=club option @ $25M or $5.5M buyout)
2- R.A. Dickey, $4.25M (?2013=club option w/$300K buyout)
3- Jon Niese, $500,000 (2013-2015=arbitration)
4- Mike Pelfrey, $5.675M (2013=last year of arbitration)
5- Dillon Gee, $500,000 (2013=$500K~2014-2016=arbitration)
Subtotal: $34.75M

Starting Lineup:
1-CF - Andres Torres, $2.7M (2013=last year of arbitration)
2-2B - Daniel Murphy, $500,000 (2013-2015=arbitration)
3-3B - David Wright, $15M (signed 6 yr/$55M (2007-12)+2013 club option~2013=club option @ $16M or $1M buyout)
4-1B - Ike Davis, $500,000 (2013-2015=arbitration)
5-LF - Jason Bay, $16M (signed 4yrs/$66M (2010-2013)+2014 vesting option~2013=$18.6M~014=option on PA @ $14M or $3M buyout)
6-RF - Lucas Duda, $500,000 (2013-2014=$500K~2015-2017=arbitration)
7-C - Josh Thole, $500,000 (2013-2015=arbitration)
8-SS - Ruben Tejada, $500,000 (2013=$500K~2014-2016=arbitration)
Subtotal: $36.25M

Bench:

1-OF - Scott Hairston, $1.1M (signed for 1yr)
2-If - Ronny Cedeno, $1.15M (signed for 1yr)
3-C - Mike Nickeas, $500,000 (2013=$500K~2014-2016=arbitration)
4-IF - Justin Turner, $500,000 (2013=$500K~2014-2016=arbitration)
5A-OF - Mike Baxter, $500,000 (minor league contract)
5B-OF - Adam Loewen, $500,000 (minor league contract)
Subtotal: $4.25M

Bullpen:

1-CL - Frank Francisco, $5.5M (signed 2yrs @ $12M~2013=6.5M)
2- Jon Rauch, $3.5M (signed for 1yr)
3- Tim Byrdak, $1M (signed for 1yr)
4- Ramon Ramirez, $2.65M(last year of arbitration)
5- Manny Acosta, $875,000
6- Bobby Parnell, $500,000 (2013-2015=arbitration)
7- Long man/second left-hander, $500,000
Subtotal: $14M

Others:
D.J. Carrasco, $1.2M (signed 2yrs $2.5M)
Pedro Beato, $500,000 (2013=$500K~2014-2016=arbitration)
Bobby Bonilla will receive 25 equal payments of $1,193,248.20M each July 1 from 2011 to 2035 A total of $29,831,205M

TOTAL: $92.15M
Down from  $132.9 in 2011
Category: MLB
Posted on: August 15, 2009 10:08 am
Edited on: January 22, 2010 12:40 pm
 

Omar Minaya's TRADE HISTORY w/ the New York Mets

Omar Minaya's TRADE HISTORY with the New York Mets .

2010:
01/22/10 Trade
d Brian Stokes to the Angels for Gary Matthews Jr and $20M

2009:
08/25/09 Traded Billy Wagner to the Red Sox for
Chris Carter and Eddie Lora
08/08/09 Traded cash or PTBN to the Cubs for Jason Dubois
08/06/09 Traded Greg Veloz to the Nationals for Anderson Hernandez
07/10/09 Traded Ryan Church to the Braves for Jeff Francoeur
05/30/09 Traded Ramon Castro to the White Sox for Lance Broadway

2008:
12/10/08 Traded Aaron Heilman , Endy Chavez , Jason Vargas, Mike Carp , Ezequiel Carrera and Maikel Cleto to the Mariners for J.J. Putz , Sean Green , and Jeremy Reed .
12/12/08 Traded Scoot Schoeneweis and cash to the Diamondbacks for Conner Roberton
08/17/08 Traded Anderson Hernandez to the Nationals for Luis Ayala
06/13/08 Traded cash to the Diamondbacks for Trot Nixon
02/02/08 Traded Carlos Gomez , Deolis Guerra , Philip Humber and Kevin Mulvey to the Twins for Johan Santana
01/05/08 Traded Corey Coles and Ryan Meyers to the Cubs for Angel Pagan

2007:
11/30/07 Traded Lastings Milledge to the Nationals for Ryan Church and Brian Schneider
11/28/07 Traded cash to the Rays for Brian Stokes
11/20/07 Traded Guillermo Mota to the Brewers for Johnny Estrada
08/20/07 Traded Jose Castro and Sean Henry to the Reds for Jeff Conine
08/17/07 Traded cash or PTBN to the Pirates for Luis Matos
08/06/07 Traded cash or PTBN to the Marlins for Chad Hermanson
07/30/07 Traded Dustin Martin and Drew Butera to the Twins for Luis Castillo

2006:
12/06/06 Traded Brian Bannister to the Royals for Ambiorix Burgos
11/20/06 Traded Henry Owners and Matt Lidnstrom to the Marlins for Adam Bostick and Jason Vargas
11/15/06 Traded Health Bell and Royce Ring to the Padres for Jon Adkins and Ben Johnson
08/30/06 Traded Victor Diaz to the Rangers for Mike Nickeas
08/22/06 Traded Evan Maclane to the Diamondbacks for Shawn Green and cash
08/20/06 Traded cash or PTBN to the Indians for Guillermo Mota
07/31/06 Traded Xavier Nady to the Pirates for Roberto Hernandez and Oliver Perez
07/19/06 Traded Jeff Keppinger to the Royals for Ruben Gotay
06/09/06 Traded Kazuo Matsui and cash to the Rockies for Eli Marrero
05/26/06 Traded Geremi Gonzalez to the Brewers for Mike Adams
05/25/06 Traded Robert Manuel to the Reds for David Williams and cash
05/24/06 Traded Jorge Julio to the Diamondbacks for Orlando Hernandez
01/25/06 Traded Angel Pagan to the Cubs for Cash
01/22/06 Traded Kris Benson to the Orioles for Jorgo Julio and John Maine
01/04/06 Traded Jae Wong Seo and Tim Hamulack to the Dodgers for Duaner Sanchez and Steve Schmoll

2005:
12/05/05 Traded Gaby Hernandez and Dante Brinkley to the Marlins for Paul Lo Duca
11/28/05 Traded Cash to the Pirates for Tike Redman
11/24/05 Traded Mike Jacobs , Yusmeiro Petit and Grant Posmas to the Marlins for Carlos Delgado and Cash
11/18/05 Traded Mike Cameron to the Padres for Xzvier Nady
05/20/05 Traded Jed Hansen to the Giants for Cash
04/02/05 Traded Matt Ginter to the Tigers for Steve Colyer
04/01/05 Traded Andy Dominique to the Blue Jays for Cash
03/31/05 Traded Pat Mahomes to the Dodgers for Cash pr PTBN
03/28/05 Traded Cash to the Mariners for Benji Gil
03/24/05 Traded Cash to the Indians for Fernando Lunar
03/20/05 Traded Jason Phillips to the Dodgers for Kazuhisa Ishii
01/27/05 Traded Ian Bladergroen to the Red Sox for Doug Mientkiewicz and Cash
01/05/05 Traded Vance Wilson to the Tigers for Anderson Hernandez

2004:
12/03/04 traded Mike Stanton to the Yankees for Feliz Heredia




Category: MLB
Posted on: April 26, 2009 11:07 am
Edited on: November 6, 2009 6:57 pm
 

New York Mets Player Salaries and Contracts

The Making of the 2010 Mets
Starting eight:

  1. C -
  2. 1B -
  3. 2B - Luis Castillo signed 4 yr/$25M (2008-11) ~~ 2008 :$6.25M 2009: $6.25M 2010 :$6.25M 2011 :$6.25M
  4. 3B - David Wright signed 6 yr/$55M (2007-12)+2013 club option ~~ 2007 :$1M 2008 :$5M 2009: $7.75M 2010 :$10.25M 2011 :$14.25M 2012 :$15.25M 2013 : club option @ $16M or $1M buyout
  5. SS - Jose B. Reyes signed 4 yr/$23.25M (2007-10)+2011 club option ~~ 2007 :$2.5M 2008 :$4M 2009: $6.125M 2010 :$9.375M 2011 :club option @ $11M or $500K buyout
  6. LF - Daniel Murphy signed 1 yr/$0.401M (2009) ~~ 2009: $401K 2010: $400K 2011: $400K 2012 :arbitration  2013 :arbitration 2014 :arbitration
  7. CF - Carlos Beltran signed 7 yr/$119M (2005-11) plus full no trade clause ~~ 2005 :$10M 2006 :$12M 2007 :$12M 2008 :$18.5M 2009: $18.5M 2010 :$18.5M 2011 :$18.5M
  8. RF - Jeff Francoeur signed 1 yr/$3.375M(2009) ~~ 2009: $3.375M 2010: arbitration 2011: arbitration

Starting Rotation:

  1. SP1 - Johan Santana signed 6 yr/$137.5M (2008-13)+2014 club option plus full no trade clause ~~ 20 08 :$19M 2009 :$20M 2010 :$21M 2011 :$22.5M 2012 :$24M 2013 :$25.5M, 2014 : club option @ $25M or $5.5M buyout
  2. SP2 - Oliver Perez signed 3 yr/$36M (2009-11) ~~ 2009: $12M; 2010: $12M; 2011: $12M
  3. SP3 - John Maine signed 1 yr/$2.6M (2009) ~~ 2009: $2.6M 2010 :arbitration 2011 :arbitration
  4. SP4 - Mike Pelfrey signed 4 yr/$5.25M (2006-09) ~~ 2006 :$512,500K 2007 :$512,500K 2008 :$1,987,500M 2009: $2,237,500 2010: $500K 2011 :arbitration 2012 :arbitration  2013 :arbitration
  5. SP5 - 



    Bullpen:
  6. Closer - Francisco Rodriguez signed 3 yr/$37M (09-11)+2012 option ~~ 2009: $9,166,667; 2010: $11,167,000; 2011: $11,167,000 2012: club option @ $17.5M or $3.5M buyout 
  7. Setup - J.J. Putz signed 3 yr/$13.1M (2007-09)+2010 club option ~~ 2007 :$2.2M 2008 :$3.4M 2009: $5M 2010 :club option @ $9.1M or $1M buyout
  8. Relief - Pedro Feliciano signed 1 yr/$1.6125M (2009) ~~ 2009: $1,612,500 2010 :arbitration
  9. Relief - Sean Green signed 1 yr/$471K (2009) ~~ 2009 :$471,000 2010 :arbitration 2011 :arbitration  2012 :arbitration
  10. Relief - Brian Stokes signed 1 yr/$409.5K (2009) ~~ 2009 :$409,500 2010 :arbitration   2011 :arbitration 2012 :arbitration  2013 :arbitration
  11. Relief - Bobby Parnell signed 1 yr/$400K (2009) ~~ 2009: $400K 2010: $400K 2011: $400K 2012 :arbitration  2013 :arbitration 2014 :arbitration
  12. Relief - Tim Redding signed 1 yr/$2.25M (2009) ~~ 2009: $2.25M 2010 :arbitration

Bench:

1.C - Omir Santos 1 yr/$400K ~~ 2009: $400K 2010: $400K 2011: $400K 2012 :arbitration  2013 :arbitration 2014 :arbitration
2.INF -
3.INF/LF -
4.OF - Jeremy Reed signed 1 yr/$925K (2009) ~~ 2009: $925K 2010 :arbitration 2011 :arbitration  
5.OF -


Other:


Total Salary:
2010 = $  91,213,000M
2011 = $  86,736,000M
2012 = $  39,250,000M
2013 = $  26,500,000M

Plus Bobby Bonilla will receive 25 equal payments of $1,193,248.20M each July 1 from 2011 to 2035 A total of $29,831,205M

Met Free Agents after the 2009 season:
1.Carlos Delgado
2.Brian Schneider
3.Fernando Tatis
4.Alex Cora
5.Gary Sheffield
6.Ramon Martinez
7.Elmer Dessens
8.J.J. Putz  (has $9.1M 2010 option)
9.Tim Redding (arbitration eligible)
10.Jeff Francoeur (arbitration eligible)
11.John Maine (arbitration eligible)
12.Pedro Feliciano (arbitration eligible)
13.Sean Green (arbitration eligible)
14.Jeremy Reed (arbitration eligible)
15.Brian Stokes (arbitration eligible)
16.Angel Pagan (arbitration eligible)
17.Corey Sullivan (arbitration eligible)


Category: MLB
Posted on: February 5, 2009 6:03 am
 

The Wilpon Era.

Good, not great …And that’s ok with them. The sad truth of the Mets ball club right now is that with these owners, as long as they do enough to keep people coming into Citi Field, they don’t care about winning championships. If we had an owner in the mold of George Steinbrenner, Manny Ramirez would already be a Met. The Mets could make themselves the unquestioned best team in the National League if they were to do one more thing, and that’s signing Manny Ramirez. Unfortunately for Mets fans our beloved owners don’t care about being the best, they just care about being good enough.

It’s hard to call Fred and Jeff Wilpon cheap when the Mets will have the highest payroll in the NL, but it’s easier once you look uptown and see the other New York team spending 70 million more dollars. If you’re a Mets fan it probably made your stomach turn to see Jeff Wilpon blame Omar Minaya for not wanting Manny Ramirez, when you know full well that Minaya would sign Ramirez tomorrow if given the go ahead from Fred and Jeff. If it isn’t a money issue, then we have to question whether or not Minaya actually still has full authority when it comes to baseball related moves, because his affinity for Ramirez has never been a secret.

It is true that the Mets biggest weakness last year was their bullpen, and it has been greatly improved. That cannot be argued. What can be argued is will the offense be as good as it was last year. Last season the Mets offense scored enough runs to win the division, but it took a renaissance of sorts from an aging slugger. If Carlos Delgado reverts back to his 2007 performance the Mets lineup is in for a world of trouble. It’s hard to go into a season with championship aspirations with a questionable platoon in left field and a total black hole at second base. If you compound that with a sub par season from Delgado you could be looking at another disappointing finish. All because the Wilpon’s did not want to spend the extra cash to go for a championship.

There’s a serious offense problem that has spanned two Septembers and if the Mets don’t fix it get ready for more of the same.

I don’t know about the rest of you but the thought that a player the caliber of Manny Ramirez is out there, and the Mets aren’t interested, makes me almost physically ill. It’s pure insanity to think the Mets can’t raise their payroll when they’re going to be making more money than they ever have before. If the Madoff scheme has really cost the Wilpons so much that it becomes a detriment to the on field product they should sell their share in the team or at the very least say so.

If you can afford to make it to Citi Field this season I want you to add up how much money you’ve spent. On your ticket, on your souvenirs, on your beer and your food. Add it all up while you watch Fernando Tatis play left field and Luis Castillo play second base. Add it up while you think about the three superstars the other team in our city signed this off-season. Add it up when you think about the twenty million dollars a year the Wilpons will get from Citi Bank and the money they’ll save on revenue sharing because of the new park. Add it all up and try not to make yourself ill while thinking about what could have been.

Category: MLB
Posted on: October 31, 2008 9:04 am
Edited on: December 11, 2008 6:23 am
 

Time to Start Focusing on Building the 2009 Mets.

2009 commitments:

C - Brian Schneider - $4.9M
C - Ramon Castro - $2.5M
1B - Carlos Delgado - $12M
2B - Luis Castillo - $6M
SS - Jose Reyes - $5.75M
3B - David Wright - $7.5M
IF - Fernando Tatis - $1.7M
IF - Argenis Reyes - $400K
LF - Dan Murphy - $400K
CF - Carlos Beltran - $18.5M
RF - Ryan Church - $2M+
OF - Jeremy Reed - $400K

OF - Marlon Anderson - $1.15M

SP - Johan Santana - $20M
SP - Mike Pelfrey - $1.3125M
SP - John Maine - $450K+
SP - Jon Niese - $400K
SP - Bobby Parnell - $400K

RP - Francisco Rodriguez - $12.3M

RP - J.J. Putz - $5M
RP - Pedro Feliciano - $1.025M+
RP - Duaner Sanchez - $850K+
RP - Brian Stokes - $402K
RP - Sean Green - $400K
RP - Scott Schoeneweis - $3.6M

Other commitments: Billy Wagner - $10.5M

That's around $116MM committed before arbitration raises to Church, Maine, Heilman, Feliciano, and Sanchez. So we'll put the Mets around $110MM after the raises.  They entered 2008 near $138MM, so Omar Minaya could have almost $30MM to spend.

Luxury Tax on team payrolls:

  • 2007 = $148M
  • 2008 = $155M
  • 2009 = $162M
  • 2010 = $170M
  • 2011 = $178M
Don't look for the Wilpons to go over that Luxury Tax!
Note - league minimum = $400,000

2008-09 player who filed for FA: - Teams that lose a Type A free agent receive the top draft pick from the signing team in addition to a supplemental pick. Teams losing a Type B free agent receive a supplemental pick, while the signing team retains its draft choice.

All 12 eligible Mets have now filed for free agency.

  1. Oliver Perez(SP) - Type A FA - offered salary arbitration
  2. Moises Alou (OF) - Type B FA- failed to offered salary arbitration
  3. Luis Ayala (RP) - Type B FA - failed to offered salary arbitration
  4. Tony Armas Jr. (RP)
  5. Damion Easley (2B)
  6. Orlando Hernandez (SP)
  7. Pedro Martinez (SP)
  8. Ramon E. Martinez(2B)
  9. Trot Nixon (OF)
  10. Al Reyes (RP)
  11. Ricardo Rincon (RP)
  12. Matt Wise (RP)

Minor League FA:
RHP: Josmar Carreno (VSL), Nate Field (AAA), Joe Hietpas (AA), Casey Hoorelbeke (AA), Tim Lavigne (AA), Ruddy Lugo (AAA), Ivan Maldonado (AAA), Tim McNab (AAA), Brian Rogers (AA), Jose Sanchez (AA), Jose Santiago (AAA), Sendy Vasquez (Hi A)
LHP: Eude Brito (AAA), Willie Collazo (AAA)
C: Salomon Manriquez (AA), Gustavo Molina (AAA), Salvador Paniagua (AA)
2B: Peter Ramos (AA)
3B: Abraham Nunez (AAA)
SS: Anderson Machado (AAA)
OF: Brian Burgamy (Hi A), Ambiorix Concepcion (AA), Casey Craig (Lo A), Victor Mendez (Hi A), Val Pascucci (AAA), John Rodriguez (AAA)


Assigned to Arizona Fall League: RHP Eddie Kunz, RHP Bobby Parnell, RHP Tobi Stoner, LHP Jason Vargas, 3B Shawn Bowman, OF Daniel Murphy
Assigned to Hawaii Winter Baseball: RHP Junior Guerra, RHP Scott Shaw, RHP Josh Stinson, LHP Roy Merritt, C Jordan Abruzzo, 2B Greg Veloz, SS Ruben Tejada

CLICK HERE for all Winter League stats.

Released:

 

Signings for 2009:

 

  • Fernando Tatis - 1 yr @ $1.7M
  • Carlos Delgado - Club option exercised @ $12M ($8M paid by the Mets- $4M paid by the Marlins)
  • Francisco Rodriguez - 3yrs $37M
  • LHP Edgar Alfonzo - Signed to a Minor League Contract
  • LHP Adam Bostick - Signed to a Minor League Contract
  • OF Jesus Feliciano- Signed to a Minor League Contract
  • C Rene Rivera - Signed to a Minor League Contract w/ invited to spring training
  • RHP Nelson Figueroa - Signed to a Minor League Contract w/ invited to spring training
  • LHP Adam Bostick - Signed to a Minor League Contract w/ invited to spring training
  • INF/2B Andy Green  - Signed to a Minor League Contract w/ invited to spring training

Trades:

Aaron Heilman, Endy Chavez, Joe Smith and 4 minor leaguers

FOR

J.J. Putz, Sean Green and Jeremy Reed.

Category: MLB
Posted on: September 29, 2008 10:48 am
 

Mets Fail Yet Again!

As a wise man once said, it is déjà vu all over again. But I was still in unbelief as a fan filled with hope that this would be ‘the year’. “How could this be happening again?”  I asked myself.  Almost a year after a gut wrenching collapse of a divisional lead, the Mets are sent packing home before thousands of their own fans at Shea, and millions such as myself watching the game on TV and on the internet. And once again, it is at the hands of the Florida Marlins. This was supposed to have been a game which would have either sent the Mets to a “Play-In” game against the Brewers, or sole possession of the National League wild card.

Once again, Mets fans are left with a long off season of disappointment, anger, shock, as well as increased cynicism. Myriad questions have begun to be asked about the future of Omar Minaya, the Mets General Manager. Should he be fired, or retained. The core players of the team, Jose Reyes, David Wright, and Carlos Beltran, have yet to get the Mets to at least a World Series berth. It all seemed like a beautiful plan just a few short years ago. Fred Wilpon hired Omar Minaya as ‘his last buck’ in his hope of turning the Mets from failure into a World Series champion.  He would tap into the vast talent pool of Caribbean baseball talent, while persuading Beltran, Pedro Martinez, Billy Wagner and other veteran stars to come to Shea and make the Mets a relevant team in baseball once again.

2006 looked like ‘the year’, and then it ended as quickly and painfully as an Adam Wainwright fastball to Carlos Beltran. The lesser St. Louis Cardinals shocked the Mets in the NLCS, and  went on to win the world series against Detroit.  In 2007, From the Phillies camp in Spring Training, Jimmy Rollins took on the role of ‘club prophet’ and declared Philadelphia as ‘the team to beat’.  I as well as others disdained The Phillies shortstop’s prediction as pure nonsense. The Phillies always had talent, but could never put the pieces together. How wrong I was, along with others. It was our Mets who were filled with complacency, and it was they who were watching the Phils go to the Post Season, with Rollins and his teammates gloating,” We told you so”. What was once a 7 game lead in the National league East by the Mets melted away in just a few days.  We as Mets fans were stunned in disbelief.

We waited the days from October frost to the January thaw mending our emotional wounds. We wanted redemption from our Mets. We wanted to silence the media critics, late night comedians, and opposing teams who seemingly delighted in the teams prior two seasons ending with disappointing conclusions.  I was shocked to hear that Johann Santana, one of the premier pitchers of his generation was signed on to give the mets the fearless ace they needed. Surely, 2008 would be “the year”.

2008 started uneven, and then it became rocky. Willie Randolph's tenure as Mets manager ended in dismissal and controversy. It fell upon the shoulders of veteran coach Jerry Manuel to guide this team back from the abyss. It seemed to work. Manuel loosened the team, got it to come together and actually cut the Phillies lead in the National League East. The Mets got back into first place in the division. It was a back and forth tussle with the hated Phillies, but injuries and a very faulty bullpen laid the Mets bare to déjà vu.  The Phils regained the lead never to relinquish it. And once again, on the final weekend of the season, the boisterous Marlins, who delighted  in declaring that they wanted to upset the Mets plans, again, Ended the 2008 season, again. And there was not only Marlin Pitcher Scott Olsen, saying “I told you so”, but Jimmy Rollins, ninety miles south saying, “I told you so...Again”.

Amongst Mets Fans throughout the world, I like to believe that I am in the optimist group. I have only lived thus far through 1 world championship, 2 National League Championships, and a couple of Wild-Card winners. Since October, 1986, there has been a generation or two of Mets fans born into this world. They have felt much of the sting of disappointing finishes and gut wrenching endings. The sense of anger and cynicism among this generation of younger fans is at an all time high. They feel like the child who is about to be given a birthday present from a parent, only to have it snatched away at the very last moment. It is becoming very hard to tell this group of fans to “believe”.

I have seen some very poor Mets teams, but I knew that there was no hope for such poor teams. I wonder right now, what is more disheartening, bad teams, or teams on the brink of excellence and not getting there? As a little child, I remember seeing the Cubs and Red Sox take their fans through despair and anguish. It was those two teams along with their fans, who were at the butt end of jokes by sports-journalists and talk show comedians. I have to admit, that I laughed along with them. Black cats, Billie Goats, the curse of the “bambino”, and late leads squandered due to a home run by a second tier infielder such as Bucky Dent was something reserved for Cubs and Red Sox Fans.

As a third straight season of gut wrenching endings concludes, however, I have to admit, that I find myself looking back to 1986, when the Mets were filled with swagger, Pitching, Power, and grit. They knew they would win, and they did.  It seemed like 1986 was the last year in which this team, and it’s fans knew that nothing was “impossible”.

Maybe it’s just my imagination after another frustrating season of great hopes and last game letdowns. But I now ask myself, have the New York Mets now become the new Cubs or Red Sox of this era?  The Sox have won two world championships over the last five seasons, while the Cubs are on their way to a second straight postseason. Now, it seems, strange things, sad things, and incredibly inexplicable things happen to the Mets. For me, I feel like taking a break from all things sports right now. I know ESPN will be churning out moments of Mets missteps, while Conan O’Brien and other late night comedians will find the amazins as  new joke fodder for their TV shows .

I hope the Wilpon Braintrust can figure out a way to break past not only the problem of pitching relief, but the wounded collective soul of this team and fandom have suffered since the ball went past Buckner’s legs
Category: MLB
Posted on: September 26, 2008 12:23 am
 

Ya Gotta Believe!!

One hundred and sixty-two games. That’s a lot of baseball.

Yet the previous 159 matter about as much as the empty promises we hear every offseason.

For the Mets, this is now a three game season. In these three games, they can win the division, the wild card, or simply go home early for the second consecutive year, wondering how so many of those afore-mentioned 162 were graciously handed to opponents like candy on Halloween.

Fans will lament the bullpen, crying for the heads of Heilman and Feliciano and Sanchez with insatiable bloodlust. They will forget about clutch efforts by Delgado and Beltran, and focus squarely on the absences of Alou, Church and a regular second baseman. They will express their distrust of management and second guess the entire team strategy.

Then these conversations will switch from “can’t believe“s to “shoulda been“s. We will hear about how Johan Santana would have won 24-30 games if not for the leaky bullpen. And how Carlos Delgado would have hit 61 homers if not for the evil svengali ways of Willie Randolph.

In the end, no amount of talking will justify another season lost.

If the Mets don’t make the playoffs (or even if they do) anyone who considers him/herself a true Mets fan should be proud of this team. As a fan, you have the right to criticize, the right to boo, and even the right to hang your head in complete and utter disappointment — things I do on a regular basis around here. But you don’t have the right to abandon them when things get bad. This is supposed to be your team, folks. Now is the time for you to stop booing, start cheering, and shut the eff up about “coulda,” “shoulda,” and “woulda.”

You should stand tall now, and cheer even louder for a team that:

  1. lost its starting left fielder just minutes into the season, and all the RBI production that came with him.
  2. lost its best hitter to a second concussion after a hard-nosed slide into second
  3. had starters that left the team in a position to win nearly every night, despite injuries and endless bullpen woes
  4. had big hitters endure some of the worst slumps of their careers, always going on to the field despite not being at 100% health
  5. turned journeymen infielders into everyday outfielders, and revitalized the careers of two men who hadn’t seen regular play in years
  6. stayed in or around the top of the division despite all of the above.

The truth of the matter is, if Philly wins this division, it will not be as much about their good fortune, as much as it will be about the Mets’ injuries and weaknesses finally catching up to them. Given the sheer number of games missed by important players, Philly should have run away from the pack months ago. But they didn’t, and here we are at the end of the line, and the Mets are still right in the mix.

And for that, we should all cheer, regardless of the outcome this weekend.

Am I guilty of criticizing? Absolutely. Likewise, I’ve made premature judgments about players (read: Pelfrey, Delgado, et al) before they had time to shine. I’m trying to make heads or tails of this team through a blog. I’m human, and I’m often wrong.

But one thing no one can accuse me of is giving up on this team. Even when I write the epitaph for the 2008 New York Mets, expressing my sadness and frustrations like the rest of us, I will still be writing it as a fan. Because despite some rantings and ravings, I never stopped believing.

And I never will.

So, to the fairweathers who poured out of Shea during what could be its final week, cursing the names of David Wright, Luis Castillo, Oliver Perez and Luis Ayala last evening — make up your minds. You’re not obligated to stand behind a team that fought adversity all year and yet is still playing meaningful baseball. But you should be. You’re either in or you’re out.

But don’t waste anyone’s time by pretending.

Category: MLB
Posted on: September 11, 2008 8:40 am
 

Remembering 9/11

The following is a recap of the Mets’ first post-September 11 home game, played ten days following the events of that fateful morning.

At this point, the team had already played a number of road games since the tragedy, but baseball had yet to return to New York City. No one in the tri-state area was anywhere close to the point of healing, yet Mike Piazza and the Mets gave an appreciative home crowd something to take their minds off of reality.

And though the Mets were close to elimination from the division race, I made sure I procured a seat to what would surely be an emotional evening at Shea.

My trip to Shea on 9/21 wasn’t baseball fandom, it was catharsis.

The evening began with a nearly full Shea Stadium making as little noise as possible. A pre-game tribute to the heroes of 9/11 had been showing on the aging, but venerable DiamondVision in left center. By the time I stepped off an eerily solemn 7 train and made way to my seat, a gathering of New York’s Finest and Bravest were already leaving the field to a warm, but not raucous ovation — the likes of which were not typical of Shea fans.

Notables in the crowd included Diana Ross, Liza Minnelli, and lifelong Yankee fan, former NYC mayor Rudy Giuliani. However, despite Minnelli’s rousing “New York, New York” during the seventh inning stretch, the celebrity presence seemed awkward and unnecessary for a night that clearly had nothing to do with showmanship. Those in attendance seemed to disagree, as every time one of their faces appeared on the screen, riotous applause burst from the seats.

The usually hated Braves also were greeted warmly by the faithful, with only Chipper Jones being subject to any sort of acrimony. And even the chants of “Larry” seemed to die completely once he made his second trip to the plate. I remember getting considerably more choked up during these moments than during the actual tributes, solely because they reminded me that no matter how poorly the rest of the world perceives New York and its fans, we were well-aware of baseball’s importance as escapism.

It was a game - one we perhaps take too seriously at times - but in the end, just a game.

Once actual play was underway, things began to feel normal - a luxury most New Yorkers hadn’t enjoyed in some time. We were quickly reminded that the Mets, despite a season of struggles, were only five games back of these Atlanta Braves following a taut 10 of 11 winning streak. Mike Piazza was clearly absorbing the emotion of the evening, having already sent two doubles rattling around Shea’s cavernous outfield.

With each moment things began to settle into the comforts of normalcy, we were reminded of just how different the world had become. The NYPD and FDNY had made their way from the field back to seats behind the home dugout, which prompted a standing ovation from nearly everyone in attendance. I am proud to say that to this day, police officers and firefighters receive very similar treatment at all NY team home games. And rightfully so.

But for every moment like that, there were also the more cruel reminders of the new society we lived in. I remember seeing someone being chastised for leaving a bag under a seat while walking to the restroom. Security guards were present at every entrance, and were very active in needling “questionable” fans in attendance. Current world headlines often replaced scoreboard highlights between innings. And perhaps most damaging of all, each time a plane took off from nearby LaGuardia Airport, fans could simply not help themselves from looking skyward with nervous anticipation.

Yes, I was one of those fans.

For all the good that a night of baseball was doing, it was clear that the outside world wasn’t going away, no matter how much we wanted it to do just that. Then Mike Piazza stepped up once last time.

In the eighth inning, with the Mets down 2-1, and the fans’ enthusiasm rapidly waning, Piazza hit the defining shot of his career. A fastball by Steve Karsay, left right in Piazza’s wheelhouse, promptly found its way over the center field fence, giving the Mets a 3-2 lead which would hold up as the game-winning RBI.

Piazza tried his damnedest to maintain his composure as he rounded the bases, but the fans weren’t as controlled. Despite the thinning attendance, the cheers were as loud as I’ve ever experienced in my 34 years. It was as if 41,000 people, after two weeks of holding their breath, finally allowed themselves to exhale.

Having just witnessed one of the most dramatic sports moments in history, I high-tailed it back to the 7 train, awaiting a long ride back to upstate NY.

Entering the subway platform, I had my shoulder bag checked twice, and had to wait a considerable amount of time while security carefully filtered the revelers on to each car. But nothing was wiping the smile from my face that night. I had my moment of catharsis.

I exhaled.

What’s ironic is that it took an amazing, but ultimately superficial, feat of sports heroics to make the actual heroics of the FDNY and NYPD seem real. Once the joy from the game finished washing over me, and the 7 train approached the Queensboro Plaza tunnel, I took one last look at the downtown New York City skyline, and noticed what was missing.

September 11 was all too real. I finally realized this. But for the first time in two weeks, I also realized that it was okay to smile. It was okay to cheer. It was perfectly okay to start living again.

On Friday, September 21, 2001, ESPN’s John Anderson wrote the following:

“There’s no telling how far Mike Piazza’s eighth-inning game-winning home run against the Braves flew on Friday … because how do you measure the healing power of a swing?
Category: MLB
 
 
 
 
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