Archive for the ‘ Former Mets ’ Category

Ike Davis and the Void Left Behind

Mike Piazza. Carlos Beltran. Aaron Heilman. Oliver Perez. Carlos Beltran. Jason Bay. Ike Davis.

Yes, Carlos Beltran is on this list twice. Yes, these players have absolutely nothing in common with each other on the surface.

But when Ike Davis got traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Zack Thornton and a player to be named later, he left a void within the DeMattia family and it took a couple of days for the devastation to kick in. In our house, we get together and calmly discuss who the team sad sack is.

The sad sack orginated back in 2005 with Mike Piazza. Don’t get me wrong; I love Mike Piazza as much as the next person, but in the last year of his Mets career, it seemed like he went up for each plate appearance with this angry/depressed look on his face. 2005 was a rough year, with new management and a new front office, so the sad sack was a fun way for us to get all of our frustrations out. The New Mets turned out to be a lot like the Old Mets. A. Lot.

I guess it was 2006 when Carlos Beltran made his comments about being 80-85% from coming back from God knows what injury. Beltran had the same angry/depressed look that Piazza had had the year before and not only did he become the next sad sack, but he also earned a new nickname, Mr. 85%. It was 2006. It was the best team we had fielded in a long time. I’m just going to leave it at that.

Somewhere in between the Unspeakable Event of 2006 and the Unspeakable Event of 2008, the sad sack evolved from the guy who looked the most depressed at the plate to the guy who was just, plain and simple, the worst player on the team. 2007 was supposed to be our year and so was 2008 (and so was 2009 for that matter). The sad sack turned into the scapegoat. It was easy to blame Aaron Heilman, Carlos Beltran, and Oliver Perez, especially after Perez got a 3-year/$36 million extension from Omar Minaya.

After Heilman was traded to Seattle in 2008 and Perez was released in 2011, the sad sack baton went back to Beltran. He was easy to blame. To this day, Mets Twitter has a “blame Beltran” hashtag and I am guilty of using it. But on July 28, 2011, Beltran was traded to the Giants for Zack Wheeler. And the search for a new sad sack commenced.

Enter Jason Bay. Bay signed a 4-year/$66 million contract on December 29, 2009. Bay played in only 95 games for the Mets in 2010 due to a concussion, sustained in a game against the Dodgers when he ran into a fenced wall and his head jerked back. Bay stayed off the radar, but the DeMattia family still had Beltran. Bay’s 2011 campaign started with another stint on the DL, but he still managed to play in 123 games. During his injury-plagued Mets tenure, Jason Bay never had a batting average over .260, including a dismal .165 in 2012. He did, however, hit his 200th career home run with the team and was only the third Canadian player to do so, behind Larry Walker and Matt Stairs.

On November 7, 2012, the Mets and Jason Bay agreed to terminate their contract a year early. Instead of pulling a Bobby Bonilla, the Mets paid Jason Bay $16 million to play for the Seattle Mariners. Enter Ike Davis. In 2010, we all liked Ike. He hit home runs. He flipped into the dugout to make catches. In 2011, he was limited to 36 games because of an ankle injury that was originally supposed to sideline him for one game. We watched Davis’ power numbers go down over the course of the next two years, and his angry face started to appear more often. People, myself included, actually started to boo Ike Davis. My brother, however, did purchase his jersey. But then again, my brother also has a Justin Turner shirt. I try not to judge him.

We all know how this spring went down. Davis and Lucas Duda were supposed to battle for the first base job. Then they both got hurt, in typical Mets fashion. However, Ike Davis was still my sad sack, even if he had to be it from the bench. Then Pittsburgh needed a left-handed bat and Davis got traded. I listened to Adele. A lot. Like on repeat. The last time I listened to Adele that much was when Matt Harvey announced he was getting Tommy John surgery.

At first, we couldn’t really pinpoint one player. There were multiple group texts and three way conversations that ended in three different answers. For a while, we considered Curtis Granderson, but even when he struggles, he’s always so nice and personable with the fans. My dad considered Wheeler. I nominated Ruben Tejada. When the Mets send someone to AAA specifically to learn your position, you automatically become the front runner for team sad sack.

I hope this trade works out the way Sandy Alderson hoped. I hope the reports about the PTBNL are correct and it’s a top player from the 2013 draft. But more importantly, is Thornton ready to pitch in the bullpen yet?

Moving on from Game 162

metsfanWe all remember it. 2007. The year the Mets had a seven game lead with 17 left to play. Without bringing up any harsh memories, let’s just say that by the time I got to a TV for Game 162, the Mets were doomed. It was one of the greatest collapses in baseball history, if not the greatest. And then we watched it happen again in 2008. But I digress.

Tom Glavine, who started Game 162, allowed seven runs and failed to get out of the first inning. Earlier this week, after his Hall of Fame election, Glavine has come out and said that he wished his haters would move on from that one start.

“I wish that people could get past that a little bit and look at some of the other good things that I did, but I understand that there’s still some anger from some people out there,” Glavine said.

Glavine went 61-56 with a 3.97 ERA in his five seasons with the Mets. He won his 300th game with the Mets, on the road at Wrigley Field. Yet, some of the haters on Twitter and Instagram accused him of not being a true Met and being a mole for the Braves.

The thing about Glavine is that he’s a scapegoat. He’s a face we can point to and say, “And THAT’S why we didn’t make the playoffs.”

It doesn’t matter if David Wright wasn’t hitting well in the final 17 games of 2007 or if the bullpen blew one too many games. We all point to Glavine as the main reason the Mets collapsed.

The same thing happened to Carlos Beltran. It doesn’t matter that Guillermo Mota gave up a three-run triple to Scott Spezio in Game 2 that cost the Mets the game. It doesn’t matter that Aaron Heilman invalidated the greatest catch ever by giving up the game-winning home run to Yadier Molina. What people point to is Beltran striking out with the bases loaded to end the game. Sure, the #blamebeltran hashtag has become a fun thing for Twitter, but people still hate Beltran for striking out, and Beltran remains bitter about his time with the organization.

Glavine and Beltran are just two of the names in the Mets Scapegoat Hall of Fame, but unfortunately for Glavine, moving on from Game 162 is easier said than done. Since 2007, fans have endured another collapse, a year where the whole roster was injured, two years of purely bad baseball and at least two years of fielding a AAA team (and David Wright). The Mets haven’t had a record above .500 since 2008 and have been through three managers in the last seven years. Basically, they’ve made us question why we are still Mets fans more times than we can count.

The scar is still there from the missed opportunity that the Mets had in 2007. It was supposed to be the year we vindicated ourselves. Instead, it was the beginning of a donward spiral.

The good news for Glavine is that the Red Sox fans eventually forgave Bill Buckner for the passed ball; it only took them 18 years and their first World Series title in 86 years.

 

Piazza Misses Hall of Fame Election

Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux and Frank Thomas were elected into this year’s Hall of Fame class. Craig Biggio missed the Hall by 0.2% of the vote. Thanks, Ken Gurnick.

Mike Piazza missed the ballot in his second year of eligibility, garnering only 62.2% of the 75% needed to be elected to Cooperstown. Piazza’s total, however, was up roughly 5% from last year. In 2013, Piazza had 57.8% of the vote in his first year of eligibility.

Piazza’s 396 home runs as a catcher (he has 427 total career home runs) are the most by a catcher in baseball history. He had a .308 career average with a .377 OBP and a .922 OPS in 16 seasons from 1992 to 2007.

In eight seasons with the Mets, he played 872 games to the tune of a .296 average, good enough for the Mets Hall of Fame. His 220 home runs as a Met are third all time in franchise history.

I’m upset about Piazza not getting elected, but I knew it was going to be a tough road with Glavine, Maddux and Thomas on the ballot.

Of the players that got elected, it’s the first time that the BBWAA elected three first-year eligible players together since Robin Yount, Nolan Ryan and George Brett were elected. Maddux and Glavine also go into the Hall along with their fomer manager Bobby Cox, who was selected by the Expansion Era Committee last month, along with Joe Torre and Tony LaRussa.

Maddux and Glavine represent the only first-ballot pitchers to be elected together since Christy Mathewson and Walter Johnson were elected together in the Hall’s inaugural class.

Maddux appeared on 97.2% of the ballots, falling short of Tom Seaver’s all-time mark of 98.84% in 1992. Former Met Glavine appeared on 91.9% of the ballots, while Thomas finished at 83.7%.

Of the players that played in the steroid era, Piazza was the only one to gain momentum. Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds actually lost support on the ballot at 35.4% and 34.7%, respectively. Sammy Sosa saw his percentage fall to 7.2, which is barely enough to remain on the ballot. A player needs 5% of the vote to stay on the ballot for a maximum of 15 years.

The induction ceremony for the 2014 Hall of Fame class will be held on July 27 in Cooperstown.

UPDATE at 2:51 PM: The organization has released a statement to their Facebook page: “On behalf of the organization and our fans, Mike is a true Hall of Famer,” said Mets COO Jeff Wilpon. “We proudly display his plaque in the Mets Hall of Fame, and we’re hopeful that he’ll soon have one hanging in Cooperstown.”

Mike Piazza and the Hall of Fame

piazza1Someone is getting inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame this year.

After players were shut out of the 2013 class, the 2014 class has some big names including Mike Piazza.

With 21.6% of the vote in, Piazza still falls short, appearing on 71.5% of the ballots. A player needs 75% of the vote to be elected to the Hall of Fame. In 2013′s shutout, Piazza had garnered 57.8% of the vote. Whoever voted for Aaron Sele remains my baseball hero to this day.

I think Mets fans, in particular, are anxious to see Piazza get elected; Tom Seaver remains the only Mets representative in the Hall of Fame. Piazza has openly desired in numerous interviews and his book, Longshot, his desire to be inducted in the Hall of Fame as a Met.

And why shouldn’t he be? He holds the record for most home runs hit by a catcher. He’s a 10-time Silver Slugger winer and appeared in 12 All Star games. From 1998-2005, Mike Piazza was the Mets.

I think the only thing that might prevent Piazza from being a Hall of Famer this year is a heavily loaded 2014 class. So far, Greg Maddux appears on every ballot reported and Tom Glavine appeared on 91.7% of the ballots reported. I’m looking forward to seeing the results of this particular ballot, because the players on this ballot are the ones that came out of the steroid era mostly unscathed. The last few ballots have always intrigued me because of that.

Whether it be this year, next year, or the year after that, I look forward to seeing Mike Piazza inducted into the Hall of Fame. And I look forward to seeing him inducted as a Met.

Ducks Sign Armando Benitez

Armando Benitez has returned to New York.

Newsday reports that the Atlantic League’s Long Island Ducks signed a deal with former beleaguered Mets pitcher Armando Benitez. Benitez is expected to make his debut with the team this weekend.

“He wants to make his comeback to the big leagues, and he’s had experience in this ballpark pitching for the opposition,” Ducks president/GM Michael Pfaff said. “He always liked what he saw with the Ducks.”

During his 15-year major league career, Benitez played for the Orioles, Yankees, Mariners, Marlind, Giants, and Blue Jays. Benitez previously pitched in the Atlantic League with the Newark Bears in 2009 and 2010.

Of course, we Mets fans remember Benitez not for the numerous games he did save, but the few big ones that he did not. Like Game 1 of the 2000 World Series.

I remember being the happiest person when Benitez was traded to the Yankees in 2003. Then he did good for them and he got traded to the Mariners nine days later.

Best of luck to Armando in his endeavor with the Long Island Ducks. Hopefully the fans are kind.

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 781 other followers