Tag Archives: 2011 MLB season

New York Mets Amazing Comeback over Pittsburgh Pirates

NEW YORK–The next time Terry Collins rips into his team he should make sure the next day’s starting pitcher is there. Thursday’s starter, Mike Pelfrey, had long left the ballpark when Collins gave the Mets a motivational tongue-lashing after Wednesday night’s game.

Pelfrey allowed three runs in the first inning, three more in the second, and seven total in his five innings of work. But the Mets’ hitters certainly got the message, overcoming a 7-0 deficit to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 9-8 at Citi Field on a beautiful Thursday afternoon. It tied the second biggest comeback in franchise history.

The first sign of life came on a three-run home run to left field by Carlos Beltran in the third inning, a missile that hit the facade of the second deck. “When you need him, he’s there for you,” Collins said, a truth that many Mets fans often forget. Collins had been asking his three hitter if he wanted a day off, but Beltran told his skipper he felt good. “Guys are out,” he said, referring to David Wright and Ike Davis, among others. “I need to be in there.”

The view from the press box.

Beltran got the Mets started but Ruben Tejada, a 21-year-old who looks 16, collected a huge hit in the four-run seventh. With the bases loaded and two outs, it was Tejada’s single to right that plated two and cut the deficit to 7-5. Two batters later he scored the tying run on a wild pitch. In a bizarre eighth inning, his sac fly gave the Mets the lead.

Mets manager Terry Collins addresses the media.

After the game, reporters surrounded Tejada’s locker. After getting dressed, he stood up to leave. “We’re here to talk to you,” a reporter informed him. “Oh,” said the shy Tejada before returning to his locker to quietly answer questions.

Mike Pelfrey was happy to get off the hook.

It is refreshing to have guys like Tejada on the big league roster. I could see him at shortstop in the near future but I’d rather see him next to Jose Reyes for the next six years or so. For now I’ll enjoy watching Tejada sparkle in the field and continue to improve at the plate. “I think he can be a very good major league hitter,” Collins said.

Carlos Beltran and his stylish Hawaiian shirt

He also said he hoped the win would be something they could feed off, but baseball usually doesn’t work like that. Sure enough, the Mets blew a 3-1 lead in the eighth last night and lost to Atlanta 6-3. The Mets have been outscored 82-33 in the eighth and ninth innings this season. Collins can’t turn this group into a playoff contender, but for one afternoon at least, the Mets gave fans a reason to cheer.

If this were A-Rod wearing an A-Rod shirt, it would be pathetic. With Wright, it’s humorous.

New York Mets Owner Fred Wilpon Blasts Team

A man shares his thoughts about the Mets during an April 20th game against the Houston Astros at Citi Field. The Mets lost, 4-3, to fall to 5-13 on the season, the franchise’s worst start since 1964. It was their ninth loss in their past 10 games and seventh straight home defeat, the unquestioned low point of the season (so far).

The guy calls the Mets “shitty,” said David Wright—who was in an 0-for-19 slump—is a “very good player” but “not a superstar,” and labeled Carlos Beltran an overpaid shell of his former self.

But this was not Tony from Astoria calling WFAN for a late-night rant. This was not an orange-and-blue-clad loudmouth in section 522. This was not even a Post columnist putting an underachieving team in its place in Thursday’s paper. This was Fred Wilpon, the owner of the New York Mets.

It’s easy to see what Wilpon’s intentions were when he agreed to give Jeffrey Toobin of The New Yorker access for a feature on his financial troubles: the public would be impressed by his rags-to-riches story; it would show he did care about the on-field results; he would gain sympathy regarding the Bernie Madoff situation.

On those fronts, the article was a success. But Wilpon revealed too much of his inner fan, ripping the team that just this past weekend had climbed back to .500 by beating the Yankees, a franchise whose deceased former owner made a habit of calling out his players.

(image: discouraged Mr. Met)
I’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of this photo.

That is not to say Wilpon’s comments were out of touch. Many fans would agree with his assessments. Wright is a career .300 hitter capable of 30 home runs and 20 steals, but even if “superstar,” a subjective term, is applied generously it probably excludes the streaky Wright. As I’ve written before, many fans associate Beltran with his Game 7 strikeout, as Wilpon does.

As for Jose Reyes, who Wilpon said has “had everything wrong with him” and therefore won’t be getting a Carl Crawford-esque contract, I have to disagree. Reyes will get a huge contract if he stays healthy this season—it just won’t be from the Mets, apparently.

Will Wilpon’s interview negatively affect the Mets going forward? It can’t help, but anyone who thinks it will make it harder to sign free agents is misinformed (baseball players, 99 percent of the time, care about one thing: money). It’s possible the Mets did lose bargaining power should they explore a trade for Reyes or Beltran, though we’ll likely never know for sure.

The New Yorker article confirmed some of the unflattering beliefs of Mets fans the past few years: Wilpon loves the Dodgers (“All the Dodger stuff [in Citi Field]—that was an error of judgment on my part,” Wilpon said); the Mets are clueless when it comes to media and public relations. But is also portrayed the owner as just another disgruntled fan—albeit a rich one who has more control over the team than he seems to realize.

During that April game against Houston, the Mets trailed by one heading into the ninth when Reyes led off with a single. “I’d have him steal,” Wilpon told Toobin. “We’ve had three blown bunts already tonight. I don’t like bunt here.” Mets manager Terry Collins called for a bunt, which was popped up just in front of the pitcher’s mound and turned into a double play that killed any potential rally.

Like the rest of us watching that game, the Mets owner just wanted to see Reyes steal a base. He knows better than most that he won’t get to see it for much longer.

Mets Yankees Subway Series, Interleague Play No Longer Meaningful

Two years ago, the first article I published on this blog dealt with interleague play and how I thought it had lost its luster. I still feel that way and last night’s crowd at Yankee Stadium supports my theory. I was one of the announced 47,874 fans in attendance, meaning the first Subway Series game of 2011 was not a sellout.

I realize the weather forecast was not great and the pitching matchup—Freddy Garcia vs. R.A. Dickey—didn’t excite the average fan. But it’s still Yankees-Mets on a Friday night. The crowd was late to arrive and didn’t make much noise once they got there. Yankees manager Joe Girardi, who played in the first Subway Series in 1997, called the atmosphere “subdued,” though he admitted that may have been party due to the lack of offense (the Mets won 2-1; the Yanks had four hits).

As I noted in my previous interleague play article, the Subway Series has been just another set of games for the past few years. That first Yanks-Mets matchup (which I also attended) had a playoff feel to it. The thing is, three years into interleague play, in 2000, the New York teams did meet in the real playoffs—the World Series—and all games since have seemed less meaningful because of it.

Yankees outfielder Curtis Granderson suggested to reporters after last night’s game that the Subway Series be limited to one three-game set per season, alternating every year between Citi Field and Yankee Stadium, and I hope MLB listens.

My Yankee fan friend who invited me wouldn’t let me wear Mets gear, but he couldn’t stop me from taking a photo of Carlos Beltran.

On top of the lack of interest (which ticket sales confirm), interleague play is also not fair from a competitive standpoint. The Yankees have been extremely good since the start of interleague play and, given their payroll, stand to be good for the foreseeable future. Yet the Mets have to play them six times a season. The Subway Series and interleague play as a whole have shown there is such a thing as too much of a good thing, so for the second time in three years I’m making my case for a reduction, alteration, or outright elimination of interleague play.