Former Mets on the 2014 Hall of Fame ballot

Will this year be yet another shut out for the Hall by the Baseball Writers Association of America, or will some of the hardline stances get soften a bit, which may result in some of the log jam that had been created getting cleared a bit?

Either way, it should be another interesting session to see how the voting will go.  This year, there are eight former Mets on the ballot.  This is Mike Piazza’s second year on the ballot, having gotten 57.8% of the vote a year ago.

Piazza is joined by seven others, all making their debuts on a Hall of Fame ballot;

Moises Alou:  Put together a pretty solid, if often injured 17-year career.  Made several trips to the All-Star Game, and even has a World Series ring with the 1997 Florida Marlins.  Nice player, but not a Hall of Famer.

Armando BenitezArmando Benitez:  Dominant closer during his prime for sure, but his prime was very short, and while the closer position and Hall of Fame candidacy is still an evolving process, it is still hard to justify Benitez’ case.  Even taking into account his performances in big spots as a Met, a case could be made for Benitez, but most likely it would be done years down the road by a veterans committee type of setup.

Tom Glavine:  Expect Glavine and Greg Maddux to be easy first ballot inductees.  While an easy argument can be made against Glavine due to ERA and stats away from Atlanta, it will be hard for voters (again assuming they’ve lessened the stance against “steroid era” players) to look past the 300 wins and two Cy Young Awards.

Jeff Kent:  Makes a strong case to be in greatest second basemen conversations.  Was the 2000 MVP, multiple-time All-Star and is very high in offensive categories for his position.  In any other time he’d probably would get in on the first try; but considering Craig Biggio seems to have been hit with backlash due to being Ken Caminiti’s teammate, not to mention a very unfriendly attitude towards the press, it is conceivable that Kent waits at least a year.

Paul Lo Duca:  Hard to justify his placement on the ballot.  Nice career with four All-Star Game selections, but clearly someone who will be hard pressed to get a vote or two mustered for.

Hideo Nomo:  Had a Mark Fydrich/Fernando Valenzuela type start to his career, but settled into a more journeyman type of pitcher.  Hard to see Nomo get much support beyond a pity vote or two.

Kenny Rogers:  Kind of amazing that the guy lasted for 20 seasons.  Had some good years, including four All-Star selections, the last of which coming as a 41 year old with the Tigers in 2006.  But his career was just a decent one, and not one of sheer dominance.  He’ll get consideration, but not much.

Per usual, being voted by 75% of the voters will result in an election, and a minimum of 5% will guarantee that the player will remain on the ballot next year.  The results will be announced on January 8th.

Mets All-Star history: The 1980s

Picking up on a series started back in the summer on the decade-by-decade look at Met All-Star history.

1980
7/8 Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles
NL 4-AL 2

The Mets started what would be their most successful decade still mired in the late 1970s haze, though things would soon turn the corner. In any event, 1980 would see yet another All-Star Game appearance by catcher John Stearns, the only Met rep, who would enter the game in the 4th, replacing Johnny Bench and grounded out in his lone at-bat.

1981
8/9 Cleveland Stadium, Cleveland
NL 5-AL 4

The All-Star Game was the first game to be held after the end of the 1981 strike, and future Met Gary Carter would be the MVP. However Mets third baseman Joel Youngblood would be the lone Met representative, pinch-hitting for Fernando Valenzuela in the 2nd. Youngblood popped out, and former, and future, Met Tom Seaver replaced him in the lineup.

1982
7/13 Olympic Stadium, Montreal
NL 4-AL 1

Stearns would make his final appearance, and again as the lone Met rep, in 1982. He would get into the game in the top of the ninth, replacing Tony Pena behind the plate, and would not get a plate appearance.

1983
7/6 Comiskey Park, Chicago
AL 13-NL 3

Closer Jesse Orosco was in midst of his finest season, and would make the All-Star Game as the lone Met rep. Orosco would come on in the 7th to replace Pascual Perez who had given up 3 runs in the inning, and would strike out Ben Oglivie to end the frame. Lee Smith would start the 8th for the NL.

1984
7/10 Candlestick Park, San Francisco
NL 7-AL 2

For the first time in quite a while the Mets would send more than a couple of players to an All-Star Game. Darryl Strawberry would make the first of many starts as a fan-voted outfielder, while Keith Hernandez, Dwight Gooden and Orosco would be added by manager Paul Owens. While Gary Carter would earn his second MVP award, Gooden was the pitching star of the game. In the top of the 5th Gooden came in and struck out the side, continuing a run of six consecutive strikeouts by NL pitchers starting with Fernando Valenzuela in the 4th. Gooden also pitched the 6th and allowed just one hit in his outing. Strawberry would go 1-2, Hernandez struck out in his lone at-bat and Orosco did not enter the game.

1985
7/16 Metrodome, Minneapolis
NL 6-AL 1

After quite a run as an All-Star catcher for the Expos, Carter was selected by the fans to the All-Star Game in his first season as a Met, Strawberry would also join The Kid as an All-Star starter. However Carter was scratched due to a knee injury. Strawberry would go 1-2 with a walk and hit-by-pitch and score two runs on his night. Gooden and Ron Darling were also selected, Darling as a last minute addition for Joaquin Andujar. Neither pitcher was used, Gooden’s excuse was that he pitched two days prior to the game and therefore unavailable to pitch in the game.

1986
July 15th Astrodome, Houston
AL 3-NL 2

Magic MetsIn midst of the most dominating season in Met history, the team would send five players to the Mid-Summer Classic in Houston. Strawberry and Carter, this time Carter was able to play, and Hernandez were all elected starters by the fans, and skipper Whitey Herzog selected Gooden and Sid Fernandez to the pitching staff, as well as adding Davey Johnson to his coaching staff. This time Gooden couldn’t avoid pitching, as he was tabbed the NL starter by Herzog, however Gooden would give up two runs in his three innings of work, and get the loss. Fernandez would also get into the game in the 8th, and while pitching an inning of scoreless relief, walked the first two batters, but then struck out the next three, including Jim Rice and Don Mattingly, to wiggle out of the inning. Hitting-wise, Strawberry would get the lone hit by the three Met starters.

1987
7/14 Oakland-Coliseum, Oakland
NL 2-NL 0 (13 innings)

Johnson was the skipper of the 1987 NL Squad, but only chose two of his Mets, Hernandez and Fernandez to join fan-voted starters Carter and Strawberry. Carter walked in his lone plate appearance, Strawberry went 0-2 and Hernandez would go 1-2 in his final All-Star Game appearance. Fernandez would earn the save in the bottom of the 13th after the NL took a 2-0 lead in the top half, walking one and striking out one.

1988
7/12 Riverfront Stadium, Cincinnati
AL 2-NL 1

Strawberry and Carter were once again fan-voted starters, Carter though for the final time. Gooden would again start the game for the NL, and again would be saddled with the loss, after giving up a run in his three innings of work. David Cone was the other Met rep, and he would strike out one in his lone scoreless inning of work in the 5th. Carter would get a hit in three at-bats in his final All-Star Game, and Strawberry went 1-for-4.

1989
7/11 Anaheim Stadium, Anaheim
AL 5-NL 3

The Mets would wind up the decade with a unique set of All-Star representatives. Strawberry was once again selected an NL starting outfielder by the fans, but would be a scratch due to a toe injury. While at third base, legendary Phillie Mike Schimdt would be elected the starter for his final time, Schmidt had announced his retirement back in May and declined to perform even if voted as the starter, though he did attend the game and do the introductions. He would be replaced on the roster, and in the starting lineup, by Howard Johnson. Johnson would drive in former Met Kevin Mitchell with the game’s first run in the first, but it would be his lone hit in three at-bats.

A history of Mets McFarlane toys

In early October, it was revealed that in next spring’s McFarlane Toys SportsPicks MLB Series 2 lineups, that the Mets will be featured twice, though not in the base set.

Look for legend Rickey Henderson to be in a Met cap version (regular version will be as an Athletic), and Matt Harvey will make his debut as a big hunk of articulated plastic, and will be a Collector Club exclusive.  McFarlane has been creating baseball action figures now for over a decade since taking over the MLB and MLBPA licenses from Hasbro’s Starting Lineup line, so it might be some fun to check out the Met representations through the years:

2002 Mike Piazza 1Mike Piazza checks in first in the very first wave of the MLB Series in 2002.  Piazza was seen swinging away in the Mets road black uniform.  There is also a chase version of the figure in a home snow white uniform with a blue and black cap.  Also in that first set were Albert Pujols, Ichiro Suzuki, Ivan Rodriguez, Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson, Shawn Green and Sammy Sosa.

Roberto Alomar would be the next Met, appearing in the third series, also released in 2002.  The second baseman is seen diving in the infield for a ball.  He was also in the Mets’ road greys, but you could also find a chase version in his home snow white uniform, with the black and blue cap.

The next time a Met figure would be released was Piazza in the 2004 3-Inch MLB Baseball Series 2 set.  Packaged with the Cubs’ Kerry Wood, the Li’l Mikey is the same pose and uniform as the original one, only with the Shea Stadium 40th Anniversary patch in place of the 2002’s team 40th Anniversary patch.

2004 also saw the debut of McFarlane’s Cooperstown Collection, and Tom Seaver was in the first wave.  Seaver was shown in pre-release motion, complete with his knee scrapping along the mound.  It was also again seen in a Met road uniform, though this one was the classic 1970s look.  Willie Mays was in the second wave in 2005, as a Giant of course, but he had a chase figure that was in his Met road greys.

2005 would see Piazza get his second figure in the main set, the 11th one.  This time he was seen in his home black uniform blocking the plate.  The figure’s chase edition would be Piazza in his road greys.

Later that summer, Carlos Beltran and Tom Glavine was part of Series 12’s lineup.  Beltran’s pose was of the center fielder running in to scoop up a sinking line drive, and in the Mets home black uniform.  Glavine’s pose was about to hurl a pitch in his black road jersey.  Beltran had a snow white uniform, black and blue cap chase variant.

Pedro Martinez was included in 2005’s 3-inch third series.  Martinez was depicted as he was about to release another fastball while wearing the Mets black home uniform.  The same mold was used for his appearance in the 13th main wave later that year, dubbed “Extended Edition.”

Beltran’s pose, and paint job, from his main series figure was used for his appearance in 2006’s fourth wave of the 3-inch figures.  Billy Wagner would also be in the same set, in the Mets’ snow white uniform, black and blue cap and appearing reading to fire a pitch away.

Carlos Delgado shows up in the 15th wave of the regular series in 2006.  Like the original Piazza, Delgado is seen in the last stages of swinging away, though in the Mets snow white uniform and black and blue helmet combo.

2006 would also see a David Wright figure debut.  In 3-inch form, Wright is seen as if he was on the on-deck circle in his Met pinstripe uniform and an all blue helmet.  This figure was actually an exclusive that was sold at Shea Stadium and Mets.com.

The 3-inch figures would see their 5th wave in 2007, and Martinez was one of the figures.  McFarlane used the same figure from the third wave, though this time in the snow white uniform and black and blue cap.

Wagner would be seen in the main series’ 17th wave that spring.  His figure is in the same pose as his mini figure, though sporting the Mets’ pinstripe uniform and blue cap.  Wright would also make his min series debut in the 18th wave that year.  Seen bare-handing a grounder and wearing the pinstripe uniform with a blue cap.  Martinez would get a second figure as a Met in the 19th wave, also decked out in pinstripes and a blue cap, though in his pointing skyward motion walking off the mound.

The Shea Stadium exclusive Wright figure would be followed up in 2007 with a 3-inch Jose Reyes, seen laying down a bunt in the snow white uniform and black and blue helmet.

The Wright exclusive would be used, with a repaint to reflect the Mets black home combo, in 2008’s 3-Inch series 6.

Reyes would make his main series debut in 2008’s 22nd main set wave.  This time in a pose that looks like he is pouncing out of a lead and is about to steal a base.  He is also decked out in the pinstripe uniform with a blue helmet.  Reyes also would have a chase figure which has black wristbands, instead of the blue on the regular figure.  Research also finds that there is a rare version of the figure with both a blue and black wrist band as well.

Early in 2008 saw the release of a special Met 3-Pack featuring repaints of the Delgado, Wright and second Martinez figures, all were sporting the home black uniform combo.

2009 would see Johan Santana in the 24th wave of the main series.  Santana is seen in a follow through pose and in the black home uniform combo.  Santana’s chase jersey would be his road greys.  Series 25 would see a repaint of the Reyes figure, in the home black uniform combo.

In 2010 the 3-inch line was discontinued in favor of a new 4-inch line that would feature more articulation points for multiple poses called Playmakers.  Wright would have two figures in the line’s first assortment, both would be Wright in his black home garb; one is Wright as a batter, and the other is Wright as a fielder.

2011’s Cooperstown’s 8th series would see a Nolan Ryan figure decked out in vintage Met pinstripes.  The figure shows The Express in leg kick motion.

The second Playmakers wave would see Johan Santana, decked out in his home black uniform.

And finally, 2011 would see a new Wright figure in the main series’ 28th wave.  Wright is decked out in pinstripes and a blue helmet, and is seen connecting with a pitch.

Mets Memorabilia Review: 2013 Program Vol. 52, Issue 5

Mets Magazine Vol 52 (2013) No 5This time on Memorabilia Review we will take a peek at the fifth, and final, program put out by the Mets for the 2013 season.

This issue is Volume 52, Issue #5, cover price is $5.  It is the fourth of 5 different issues that the Mets produced in 2013 (April 1st, May 20th, July 19thth, August 6nd and September 9th), and it is a Professional Sports Publication production and 192 pages.  Jon Niese for the third time, and Dillon Gee for the second time grace the cover, which is captioned Back On The Hill, or El Aegreso Al Monticulo as this is the annual half English/half Spanish issue.

Along with the cover features on Gee and Niese, the feature articles are on Wilmer Flores, Juan Lagares and Eric Young, Jr.

The usual departments are represented;

First up is a special introduction that describes the reasoning of this special bi-lingual issue of the publication.

The 2013 schedule, truncated to be the final month of the season, and ticket info.

The Around The Bases capsule previews of upcoming homestand opponents.  This issue looks at the Nationals, Marlins, Giants and Brewers.  As well as Rookie Watch spotlight on the Nationals’ Anthony Rendon, and the Marlins’ Christian Yelich.  This is followed by a four page spotlight on Mike Piazza Hall of Fame Day on September 29th which lists various moments in Piazza’s Met career.  The Gee feature follows this up.

Throughout the book are scattered full page action shots under the banner “Mets All-Stars of the 2000s.”  Represented are Tom Glavine, Al Leiter, Pedro Martinez, Mike Piazza, and Billy Wagner.

Following the Glavine page is a two page spotlight of the Spanish broadcast team of Nestpr Rosario, Juan Alicea and Max Perez Jimenez.  The Niese feature comes after it.

Next up is the In The Community department, followed by a look at the Citi Field Sleepover that was held during the summer.

The Flores feature follows those spotlights, and that is followed by a spotlight on the 2013 Entry Draft

Up next is the scorecard, once again is the same for the entire length of the homestands the issue covers.  Zack Wheeler is the poster boy of this issue.

Following the scorecard, is the Lagares feature, and after it is a one page spotlight on Hooves On First night, which celebrates the American Wild Horse and raises awareness to their mistreatment.  This is followed by spotlights on Travis d’Arnaud‘s debut, and the annual Fiesta Latina night.  And those are followed by the Young feature.

The next spotlight is the Prospect Profile, on Michael Fulmer, followed by one on Taiwanese Heritage Day.  Merchandise gets a spotlight as well, with a half off sale on All Star Game merchandise, and a look towards the 2013 holiday season.  Next up is the Specialty of The House, which is for a Goya Marinated Pork Burrito.  And Edgardo Alfonzo is featured in the Catching Up With feature.

Then you get the usual Kids Pages, Citi Field information, and the On The Air headshots of the broadcast crews to wrap up the book.

Definitely worth the 5 buck cover price!  By the way, for information on how to purchase the programs without going to Citi Field, the information is listed on the Mets’ website at http://newyork.mets.mlb.com/nym/ballpark/information/index.jsp?content=guide#guide_m

“METS MAGAZINE WITH SCORECARD

Sold at all merchandise locations within Citi Field for $5. It may also be purchased by writing to: Mets Magazine, c/o New York Mets, Citi Field, Flushing, NY 11368-1699. Please add $1 for postage and handling – payment should be made by check made out to Mets Publications or money order.

Coffee is for closers: A look at Mets Save leaders

With the retirement of arguably the greatest closer in baseball history, it might be fun to go through 50 years of Met history and determine candidates for the greatest closer in team history.  Now, determining some of the early years is difficult, especially since the role didn’t really start to take the official form that it has today until the very late 1960s, but with the Games Finished stat in Baseball-Reference.com’s team pages, it is one way of pinpointing exactly whom to consider for that season.  Also B-R has a notation of a “closer” role as the team leader in Games Finished as well as Saves, as well as other factors including Games Played and Innings if it seems that there was a usual “closer” that season (well that would be a good guess as to how Bob Miller in 1974 and Anthony Young in 1992 are credited with that designation on the B-R pges).

The first two big time closers, in the sense of the word closer, are the two from the 1969-1973 era, Ron Taylor and Tug McGraw.  Taylor was B-R’s Met closer for the majority of his Met career, 1967-1970, and he did establish the Met record for saves in 1969 (first year the statistic became an official MLB stat) with 13.  And while his 28 career saves currently puts him 14th all-time on the Mets’ saves list (which incidentally since his last Met game was in 1971, would say a lot about Met bullpen issues through the years and the evolving role of a closer in general) he still is a fondly thought of stalwart of the 1969 Met pitching staff.

Tug McGrawDue to various factors (injuries, ineffectiveness, usually coming in as a middle relief guy, etc.), Tug McGraw gets B-R’s closer designation for just 1972 and 1973.  But his 85 career saves is still good for 5th in franchise history, and with 228 McGraw ranks 4th on the Games Finished list.  Also McGraw was a workhorse of the staffs he was on, as well as an inspirational leader, especially with his Ya Gotta Believe rallying cry in 1973.  His induction into the Mets Hall of Fame and high rankings on various All-Time Met lists, including 26th on the 50th Anniversary list, do very well to justify someone putting him in the conversation of greatest closer in team history.

Following the beloved McGraw would be a tall order, and it would be over a decade before another Met reliever would top his 27 saves in 1972 (and even his second best 25 in 1973).  And during the stretch between the trade of McGraw to the Phillies in 1975 and the emergence of Jesse Orosco in 1983, the closer label usually went to Skip Lockwood (1976-1979) and Neil Allen (1980-1982).  Oddly enough the two of them rank 9th (65) and 10th (69) respectively on the all-time Met saves list.  Lockwood’s success as a Met relief ace during the dark times of the late 1970s would garner him inclusion in balloting for both the Mets 40th Anniversary team, and 50th Anniversary team as a righty reliever.  Likewise Allen from the left hand side of the rubber.  While forever a part of Met lore for being traded for Keith Hernandez (as well as serving up Gary Carter’s first Met homerun), Allen was a dependable go-to guy at the end of games during the early 1980s.

With the dawn of the franchise’s rebirth in the mid-1980s, Jesse Orosco, Roger McDowell and Randy Myers emerge as the next big set of closers in Met history.  Orosco would be a two time All-Star and establish new team high in saves in a single season with 30 in 1984, McDowell with team with Orosco for a classic innings eating duo from 1985 through 1987, including being considered the closer of the 1986 champions according to Baseball-Reference.  And after Orosco’s final season, Myers gave the Mets an explosive ace out of the pen to be a solid tandem with McDowell for the 1988 National League East champions.  Myers’ 56 saves as a Met puts him 11th all-time, McDowell’s 84 places him 6th, and Orosco’s 107 ranks him 3rd all-time.  All three were candidates on both the 40th and 50th Anniversary teams with McDowell picking up the win both times as the All-Time Mets Right Handed Reliever, and both Orosco (25th) and McDowell (39th) made the 50 Greatest Mets list.

With McDowell’s trade to Philadelphia mid-way through the 1989 season, it looked like Myers would be the Met closer for years to come, but he would be traded that offseason for the guy who would be the Met closer for years to come!  John Franco’s 8 times as “closer” according to B-R’s designations would be the most of any Met, and Franco’s time as a Met lends credence to him being among the top Met relievers of all-time.  This would include being only the second reliever in the Mets Hall of Fame, inclusion on both the 40th and 50th Team ballots, and ranking 14th on the 50 Greatest Mets list.  Statistically Franco is all over the Met career top ten lists including ERA (6th with 3.10), Adjusted ERA (3rd with 132), Adjusted Pitching Wins (8th with 7.4), Games Pitched (1st with 695), Games Finished (1st with 484), and of course the all-time Met leader with 276 saves.  As well as 5 30 save seasons and 7 20 save seasons, both being the most of any Met.  He may have been a more pedestrian closer, and not as lights out as others, but Franco does belong in that conversation of all-time Met closers.

The next Met closer would be Franco’s replacement, the much maligned Armando Benitez from 1999-2003.  Met fans may bristle based on his postseason and big spot regular season performances, but Benitez does hold the Mets single season saves record with 43 in 2001, and holds the second place number with 41 in 2000.  Including his final partial season in Flushing, Benitez never had a season with less than 21 saves and his Met total of 160 is good to be second behind Franco all-time.  Of course other factors lead him to be a reviled Met, but his Met performance did lead him to be included on both the 40th and 50th Anniversary team ballots for a right handed reliever.

Like Benitez and Franco, the Mets would continue the trend of picking up closers whom had success with other teams over the rest of the 2000s and early 2010s.  Braden Looper was brought in from Miami and had two straight 20 save seasons for a Met total of 57, which places him 10th all-time.  Then Billy Wagner was brought in, just in time for the National League East winning 2006 season, and would record the third 40 save season a Met has had with an even 40.  Arm issues would lead to a decline in Wagner’s numbers and so he was traded in August of 2009, incidentally though Wagner’s 101 saves as a Met is good for 4th on the all-time list.  Due to Wagner’s injury troubles that would cause him to miss most of 2009, the Mets picked up Francisco Rodriguez, whom was coming off setting the MLB single season saves record the year before with 62.  He’d notch 35 saves in his first season as a Met; and finish his three year tour of duty with 83 which is good for 7th on the Met all-time rankings.

So, that is pretty much the list of Mets you’d probably be able to have a decent conversation about for greatest closer in team history and the second tier of that grouping.  Currently Bobby Parnell is putting up a decent case to enter the conversation, if he’s still with the club knowing how transient a closer’s life can be.  But he currently has 36 career saves, which has him 12th all-time and 21 saves away from entering the top ten.

So while the Mets may not have had too many all-time great closers (or as the case might be, either too late (Mike Marshall) or too early (Jeff Reardon), the list of Met closers probably could stack up against most other franchises’ top of the line bullpen corps.  And it’s a whole other conversation once non-closers get thrown into the mix!

Mets TV homes through the years

WOR TVAs a follow up companion piece to a recent one on the radio flagship homes of Mets baseball, this one will discuss the TV homes, though a much quicker look than the radio one.  Although several different changes to the same station, both over-the-air and cable wise are interesting for those who like to follow such histories of local television.

First off is the iconic WOR, Channel 9 in New York, well Secaucus, NJ to be exact but covering the New York market.  These days it is owned 20th Century Fox and is part of the MyNetworkTV affiliate system.

But from 1962-1998, and that included several different call letter changes, it was the home of Mets baseball.  Due to various legal issues with the FCC for the better part of the mid-1970s through the mid-1980s, the station was sold to MCA/Universal, and the callsign was changed to WWOR, which it technically still is today despite several secondary names that have bigger branding, in 1988.

While this was all going on, the cable TV revolution was well underway.  And operating out of Long Island, Cablevision, with a partner in NBC, would launch SportsChannel in 1979 as the first regional sports network.  Starting in 1980, the New York version would be the cable home to both the Mets and Yankees.  The Yankees would leave for MSG in 1989, but the Mets pretty much rode out the network’s existence, right up to the creation of SNY in 2006.

That would include Cablevision partnering with Liberty Sports and Fox Sports to rebrand the regional network Fox Sports in 1998, and the New York affiliate would be called Fox Sports New York.

It would also be called Fox Sports Net New York in 2000, and finally FSN New York in 2005, before being rebranded as MSG+ based on Cablevision pretty much divesting themselves of the original network back to Fox and Comcast to concentrate on the Madison Square Garden properties.

And of course, the Mets, following the lead of other sports franchises, launched their own sports cable network, SportsNet New York starting in the 2006 season.

Okay, so going back to the over the air history.  We left off with WOR changing callsign to WWOR in 1988.  It would remain that way until 1994, when its parent company, now BHC Communications banded with Paramount Pictures to create United Paramount Network.  UPN, along with The WB that started around the same time, was to be challengers to the big 4 over-the-air national networks (NBC, CBS, ABC and FOX), and the now rebranded UPN9 was the flagship station.  The Mets would stay on UPN through the 1998 season, with WPIX, ironically the long-time Yankee TV home, picking up the rights.

Now, the Mets have been with WPIX, Channel 11, since 1998, but the name of the station has changed just about as often as Channel 9 has had during the same time frame!  WPIX was part of their owner’s Tribune Corporation’s partner Time Warner’s developing WB Network that would launch January of 1995.  So while the Mets were on WPIX Channel 11, the branding of the station that would broadcast their games in 1999 was WB11.

In 2006, CBS, now controlling Paramount’s TV division, and Time Warner effectively ended both The WB and UPN by creating The CW Network.  Tribune signed a 10 year deal with the network to have most of its affiliates to have their programing, but the network does not have ownership interest in the station.  So since 2006, the Mets over-the-air station has been CW11, and also since 2008 the localness of the station is now PIX11, to be said as in “I’m taking pics.”

And so now let’s conclude this look at Mets broadcast partners with a look at the denizens of the Met television booth, now of course bearing the name of Ralph Kiner;

Over The Air
1962-1978 Ralph Kiner, Bob Murphy, Lindsey Nelson
1979-1981 Ralph Kiner, Bob Murphy, Steve Albert
1982           Ralph Kiner, Lorn Brown
1983-1985 Ralph Kiner, Tim McCarver, Steve Zabriske
1986-1988 Ralph Kiner, Tim McCarver, Steve Zabriske, Rusty Staub
1989           Ralph Kiner, Tim McCarver, Steve Zabriskle
1990-1993 Ralph Kiner, Tim McCarver
1994-1998 Ralph Kiner, Tim McCarver, Gary Thorne
1999-2001 Gary Thorne, Tom Seaver, Keith Hernandez
2002           Gary Thorne, Tom Seaver
2003-2005 Dave O’Brien, Tom Seaver, Keith Hernandez, Ralph Kiner
2006-Present Same as SNY’s Cable broadcast crew.

Cable
1980           Art Shamsky, Bob Goldsholl
1981           Ralph Kiner, Bob Murphy, Steve Albert, Art Shamsky
1982           Ralph Kiner, Lorn Brown
1983           Ralph Kiner, Tim McCarver, Bud Harrelson
1984-1985 Ralph Kiner, Tim McCarver, Fran Healy
1986-1988 Ralph Kiner, Tim McCarver, Fran Healy, Rusty Staub
1989-1995 Ralph Kiner, Fran Healy, Rusty Staub
1996-2001 Howie Rose, Fran Healy, Ralph Kiner, Matt Loughlin
2002-2005 Howie Rose, Fran Healy, Ralph Kiner, Matt Loughlin, Ted Robinson, Keith Hernandez
2006           Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez, Ron Darling, Ralph Kiner, Chris Cotter
2007-2013 Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez, Ron Darling, Ralph Kiner, Kevin Burkhardt

 

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Mets radio homes through the years

Car radioWith the end of the Mets’ partnership with WFAN this week, it might be fun to crank up the old history machine, and take a stroll through radio flagship stations of the past.

We begin with a place that could very well be the next radio home, 77 WABC of all places.  In the very early stages of their Top 40 history of 1962-1963, most of their pieces of their heyday were in place; Dan Ingram, Scott Muni, Cousin Brucie Morrow, and Bob Lewis, but they probably weren’t hitting the zeitgeist of New York City radio just yet, a little help from a certain English phenomena that would reach the states in the next year would help matters in that regard!

The Mets would then be shuttled down the dial to 1050 WHN from 1964-1966.  At this stage the former WMGM, and former home of both the Dodgers and Yankees, was going through a bit of a transition during the heyday of Top 40 radio in New York City.  It was also during this stretch that Marv Albert would get his start, doing scores after the Met broadcast had concluded.

The next stop is WJRZ, 970 from 1967-1971.  The place where you would have heard the radio broadcasts of the Miracle Mets.  Currently a talk station, WNYM (hey…maybe that’d be a good landing spot), back in this time the station was the New York market’s first country station, something the Mets would become quite well acquainted with in the next couple of decades!  Also the station’s Bob Brown would be the host of a proto Mets Extra with shows both before and after games, which featured call-in shows and contests.

The Mets moved back to WHN, now doing contemporary country (think Johnny Cash, The Outlaws, Merle Haggard and other chart toppers with a twist of Jackson Browne, Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Allman Brothers, and other 1970s Southern and California rock sounds) from 1972-1974.  This was just at the start of WHN’s rise to being one of the most listened to country stations in history.  It also gave a nice appropriateness for the marketing slogan, “This is Mets Country.”

The Mets would be on the road again though (bit of a Willie Nelson pun there) by 1975, when they’d be on WNEW 1130 from 1975-1977.  Currently WBBR and the New York home of Bloomberg Radio, the station, not to be confused with the iconic FM station, had an adult contemporary format during this time.  As well as being the longtime home of Giants football.

The Mets would wrap up the decade, and spend the first few years of the 1980s at WMCA 570, 1978-1982.  By this point the station was nearly a decade in on its Dial-Log Radio format, after being one of WABC’s chief Top 40 rock rivals during the 1960s.  Sports wise, WMCA may be best known as the station that gave New York its first taste of John Sterling as a radio host and broadcaster for the New York Nets and New York Islanders.  Also the New York Yankees were at the station around the same time as well, probably one of the very rare times, or the only time, a station had multiple local baseball rights.

The Mets returned to WHN in 1983 as the station was beginning to get caught up in the changing times of AM radio.  Most of the classic music stations had pretty much given the format up to the better sounding quality of FM, and Talk Radio was quickly rising.  So on July 1st, 1987, at 3 pm Ray Price’s “For The Good Times” closed it out and Suzyn Waldman would be the first voice heard on 1050 WFAN, the nation’s first all-sports talk radio station.  Due to this being right at the start of the conglomeration era, where one group controlled several different stations, WFAN would move up the dial to 660 on October 7th 1988.  This of course, would be the Mets home until The Fan made 101.9, WFAN-FM its main hub on the radio dial on November 1st, 2012.

For a quick aside, the Mets have been providing Spanish Radio broadcasts going back to the beginning as well, which probably doesn’t count towards a listing of Mets flagship stations, but it does get listed in the Mets media guide and broadcasters have even included a Ford Frick Award winner (Bob Murphy and Lindsey Nelson aren’t the only radio voices representing the Mets!)

Flagship Stations: WHOM 1480 1962-1974

VENE International Network 1975-19810
WBNX 1380 1982
WKDM 1380 1983-1986
WJIT 1480 1987-1989
WSKQ 620 1990-1996
WADO 1280 1997-2009
WQBU 92.7 2010-2012
ESPN Deportes 1050 2013

Crews: 1962-1973 Miguel Angel Torres, Salomon Volpe
1974-1981 Juan Vene, Jose Valdivielso, Buck Canel (Ford Frick Award winner in 1985)
1982           Juan Vene, Juan Alicea
1983-1986 Oscar Polo, Juan Alicea, Max Perez Jimenez
1987-1989 Billy Berroa, Armando Talavera, Juan Alicea
1990-1993 Billy Berroa, Renato Morffi, Armando Talavera, Juan Alicea
1994-1995 Juan Alicea, Renato Morffi
1996-2004 Juan Alicea, Billy Berroa
2005           Juan Alicea, Billy Berroa, Max Perez Jimenez
2006           Juan Alicea, Billy Berroa
2007           Juan Alicea, Billy Berroa, Max Perez Jimenez
2008-2011 Juan Alicea, Max Perez Jimenez
2012-         Juan Alicea, Max Perez Jimenez, Nelson Rosario

One interesting wrinkle in the Mets changing flagships will be announcers.  While good money can be put down on the 2014 regular game announcers being Howie Rose and Josh Lewin again, it does leave WFAN employee Ed Coleman in the lurch as the Mets Extra host.  Oh, no doubt WFAN will install Coleman as part of the Yankee team, but it will mean a new host for the pre and post-game show, the first time the Mets have needed a new regular host of that show since 1996.

And this little trip through the Met radio broadcasting history will conclude with a quick rundown of the denizens of the Shea Stadium, and now Citi Field Bob Murphy Mets Radio Booth.  A listing that despite numerous flagship changes in the first 25 years remained pretty much consistent.  And while the next 25 or so would see a bevy of changes of secondary booth men and hosts of the pre and postgame shows, it still has been very consistent with the main Voices of New York Mets Baseball:

1962-1978 Bob Murphy, Lindsey Nelson, Ralph Kiner
1979-1980 Bob Murphy, Ralph Kiner, Steve Albert
1981           Bob Murphy, Ralph Kiner, Steve Albert, Art Shamsky
1982-1984 Bob Murphy, Steve LaMar
1985-1988 Bob Murphy, Gary Thorne
1989-1992 Bob Murphy, Gary Cohen
1992-1993 Bob Murphy, Gary Cohen, Todd Kalas
1994-1995 Bob Murphy, Gary Cohen, Howie Rose
1996-2001 Bob Murphy, Gary Cohen, Ed Coleman
2002           Bob Murphy, Gary Cohen, Ed Coleman, Ted Robinson
2003           Bob Murphy, Gary Cohen, Ed Coleman, Ted Robinson, Howie Rose
2004-2005 Gary Cohen, Howie Rose, Ed Coleman
2006-2007 Howie Rose, Tom McCarthy, Ed Coleman
2008-2011 Howie Rose, Wayne Hagin, Ed Coleman
2012-2013 Howie Rose, Josh Lewin, Ed Coleman

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Is this the worst time to be a Mets fan in lean years?

Reading Charlie Hangley’s piece on this season seemingly turning into 1978 before our eyes made me wonder about lean eras in Met history.  Some say this is a bit masochistic of a topic, but the reasons behind the logic of it are worth pondering.  So the case can be made that the “lean eras” since the de Roulet era and first few years of the 1980s are probably the worst in team history, well from a fan of the team perspective anyway.

Yeah, sure the stats probably say that the 1962-1968 and the 1975-1983 Mets fielded some of the worst single season squads in baseball history, attendance in the late 1970s was abysmal, and say what you will about the 1990-1996, 2002-2004 and 2007-present Mets, it seemed that the “darkest before the dawn” period in those years lasted much longer.  But there are plenty of variables around in the last 25 years that were not around in those times that make it seem that a Met fan is worse off today during a struggling period, than they were back in the early 1960s, or late 1970s.

First off, you can actually track this reason down to an exact date.  July 1st, 1987.  WFAN goes live, on the 1050am frequency.  All-sports radio, while granted it was born during the heyday of the 1980s Mets gave rise to more vocal parts of fandom.  And generally fans that spoke the most, in terms of the general rank and file callers, were to lodge complaints.  While WFAN was a few months away from going live, Howie Rose loves to tell about how he was taking callers on the Mets Extra postgame radio show following 1987’s Opening Day, and immediately callers were opining about how the Mets could win with Rafael Santana as the regular shortstop!

This was beyond the simple reading the latest missive from a paper columnist, even the hosts would get in on the act when it came to riling up the fanbase.  And occasionally some would even admit that what they would say as soon as they got on the air would be to simply get the phone lines burning.  Oh they were saying what they felt, but with some added spice to get callers to react to them one way or another.  Perhaps Mad Dog Radio on Sirius/XM should be changed to Mad Troll Radio then!

Speaking of trolls, the next obvious difference is the rise of the internet and social media.  Now any Tom, Dick or Harry can get a free blog, discussion board account, or join a social network site and blather all day about the Mets.  And that includes engage in conversations with other fans, and even members of the media or the teams themselves in manners far less civil than your standard bar room conversations that turn into brawls.  To say nothing about the childish level of discourse one can find in the comment section of articles; and that includes the big outlets such as the local newspapers, radio stations, and cable networks such as ESPN.

The latter of course can be an offshoot of the all-sports radio rise as well.  While ESPN was around before WFAN, the explosion of ESPN as a multi-media empire, which would lead to imitators in all the various mediums, didn’t happen until the late 1980s and into the 1990s.  Now the details of what the Mets did in their most recent game, transaction, latest press conference or whatnot could be accessed faster, and in a number of different ways, and now with instant reaction to what happened.

Of course the explosion of instant access to the news and opinions are one thing, but they do tend to help embolden certain opinions of the state of the franchise in one way or another.  For the vast majority of the internet the Wilpons, as one example, are a favorite whipping boy target, and while there is truth in the vitriol, and at times it is warranted, there comes a point where opinions tend to start becoming fact.  Especially if one starts going off on conspiracy theories based on reading a story or two from writers without much actual evidence.

And that generally is a consequence of this age, where a dominant opinion or a general perception gets turned into a fact.  A good example is the idea of how the Mets can be this bad while playing in New York City, which in and of itself is a perfect illustration of the differences between the futility of the 1970s and today.  This of course is based on the Mets playing in the second biggest organized team league in the country (I’m guessing the futility of local NHL and NBA teams are not subjected to this) and the largest media market in the country.  This would make someone, especially a host of a nationally based show on the radio or TV, or blog, curious as to how the Mets are not perennial contenders for the World Series every year.  Of course this is tied into the renaissance the city has been enjoying over the course of the last 20 plus years.  The market, in terms of being a communications hub, was probably still percentage wise as big as compared to other markets back in the 1970s, but the idea of “how can a team in the “Greatest City In The World” be this bad on a consistent basis” didn’t really start, or couldn’t really start is a better way of phrasing it, until New York City started to reclaim that title.

In some ways that doesn’t quite make sense.  Teams in large markets have had futility eras that have stretched decades, and in Chicago it is now nearly 70 years since the Cubs’ last NL pennant, to say nothing about the 105 since their last World Championship!  And to further illustrate that point, was anyone saying that from 1989-1992 when the Yankees failed to finish with a .500 record and averaged 72 wins?  Of course anyone who believes the premise of having a bad stretch of years while playing in New York City is something you have to try hard to do could come back with “well, the City wasn’t THE CITY then” but it is still a false premise.  Though still, the idea of it as a preconceived notion is one that plaques the Mets since their last championship parade.

This segues nice to the final reason why this is probably the worse time for the Mets to experience years of futility, the Yankees.  Interestingly enough, the Yankees were THE YANKEES from 1976-1981, and their success as a division contender extended through most of the mid-1980s.  But it seems that their success since 1995, and obnoxious fan behavior, has intensified.  The most likely culprits would probably be the aforementioned rises of all-sports radio, television, internet and social media.  Of course the Yankees have earned the attention and boldness of arrogant troll…I mean fans on the air and in cyberspace with; 2000’s .540 clip being the lowest winning percentage that the Yankees have completed a season with since 1992’s .469, 5 World Championships with an additional 2 other appearances in the Fall Classic, and only one season of failing to miss the postseason since 1995.

Of course the “little brother” syndrome is over blown.  One would hope the Mets do not base their decisions on what the Yankees are doing, or strive to be like them.  After all, George Steinbrenner was mocked for such “winning the back pages” tactics back when the Mets were out pacing the Yankees in back page headlines.  But it does exist in the media, and it being prevalent does lead to the general idea that things were never this bad, or the gulf between the two organizations was ever this big.

That mentality, especially among radio hosts looking to spark conversation during a long shift, or a blogger looking for page count hits, leads to a favorite bit of angst that is usually fostered upon the Mets and the Met fan base during the most recent years of futility; the idea that the Mets become irrelevant when they stink to the high heavens, usually because the Yankees are so much better and demand more attention being given to them.  This of course gets negated by the simple fact that the person is actually bringing the Mets up!  But there it is nonetheless, the idea that in this market, which also encompasses the Major League teams that play home games in Northern New Jersey and Long Island, and various major collegiate athletic teams that only require an hour or so drive from New York City, that the National League Major League Baseball club would somehow fall below collegiate teams in terms of coverage by the local media when they have years of bad performances.  Just reading that sentence makes one double over in laughter at the absurdity of it.

Oh sure, back in the 1970s the Mets wouldn’t be getting the attention they do today based on the smaller amounts of mediums and outlets, but it is safe to assume that one didn’t quite call attention to how far on the totem pole they thought the Mets should be in terms of giving serious coverage to.  But, the fact that the perception of irrelevance exists, especially in light of how dominant the Yankees have been during the same 20 year stretch, adds to the idea that Met fans have it worse when the Mets have been bad in recent years as opposed to the 1960s and 1970s.

So, while yes, times have been worse in decades past, but in a lot of ways one can say as a Met fan, tough times to seem to be tougher to go through today.

Welcome to Citi Field, Daisuke Matsuzaka

Daisuke MatsuzakaSo, Daisuke Matsuzaka.

You know, on the surface, one can go on, and on about how this is the latest in a very, very, very, very long line of the Mets getting someone, specifically pitchers, whom had somewhat of a name and at pretty much the end of the line.  Names like Warren Spahn, Mickey Lolich, Dean Chance, Mike Marshall, Randy Jones, and Hideo Nomo come readily to mind.  Along with successful-ish versions of the same theme, where the pitcher did give the Mets something, but in the end either went on another team, or faded into the sunset like Bret Saberhagen, Frank Viola, Tom Glavine and Johan Santana

But, on the flip side, this is somewhat different.  Yes it has been years since Matsuzaka has been relevant and has been rocking a near 4 ERA with AAA Columbus before being released this year by the parent Cleveland Indians.  However, with the starting depth hurting in a bad way with Jeremy Hefner facing possible Tommy John surgery and Jenrry Mejia on the shelf with bone spurs in his elbow (and to say nothing about an innings wall shut down or slow down for Zack Wheeler and Matt Harvey, the latter depending on the potential Cy Young race), taking a cheap flyer on someone that has been slightly better than “Proven Crap” at one point in his career (well, in this specific case, clearly one should take many of the names listed in the first paragraph over Dice-K) is probably as good of a transaction you could make.  Especially in a season that looks to be all but done.  Though there is a small cynical thought about this being a way to court the Asian population to come to Citi Field in droves to watch the one time Seibu Lion ace.  Highly doubtful as off handed generally thinking Met attendance has historically not been driven by a singular “must see” player.  Though to be fair, let’s see how Matsuzaka does, maybe if he does put a few good starts together, there will be a bump in attendance for his home games.

Be that as it may though, Matsuzaka’s stats in Columbus do seem to be decent enough to warrant a second crack at the majors, and being in the National League could be a needed change of scenery.  And while it is a pipe dream to suggest he’d find the magic he had for the Red Sox in 2007-2008, it isn’t that unreasonable to expect a little spark out of him.  And if not, well where was the harm?  He isn’t blocking anyone that won’t get called up in a week, and his being on the 40 means the removal of a “Proven Crap” type of player as opposed to a minor league prospect.  So bringing him in really doesn’t harm the Mets in the long run, and if he does have something left, than it turns out to be one of the better scrap heap moves the Mets had made in their history.

*****

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Mets memorabilia review: 2013 program volume 52 #4

Mets Magazine Vol 52 (2013) No 4This time on Memorabilia Review we will take a peek at the fourth program put out by the Mets for the 2013 season.

This issue is Volume 52, Issue #4, cover price is $5.  It is the fourth of 5 different issues that the Mets are scheduled to produce in 2013 (April 1st, May 20th, July 19thth, August 6nd and September 9th), and it is a Professional Sports Publication production and only 160 pages.  “Wheelz Up” is the caption and Zack Wheeler graces his first Mets Magazine cover.

Along with the Wheeler feature, which is also the bi-lingual article of the issue, the only featured pieces is wall-to-wall coverage of the All-Star Game Week festivities.

The usual departments are represented;

The 2013 schedule, truncated to be from August forward of course, and ticket info.

The Around The Bases capsule previews of upcoming homestand opponents.  This issue looks at the Rockies, Braves, Tigers and Phillies.  As well as Rookie Watch spotlight on the Rockies’ Nolan Arenado and the Phillies’ Darin Ruf.  This is followed by a one page spotlight on the announced Mike Piazza Hall of Fame Day on September 29th and a half page piece on an upcoming Fiesta Latina day on August 24th.

Up next is the Wheeler feature which goes into his upbringing and features a photo of Wheeler and Dwight Gooden from Citi Field on July 21st.

This is followed by a quick spotlight on Social Media Day on August 23rd, which will include a free giveaway Jay Horwitz bobblehead.

Throughout the book are scattered full page action shots under the banner “Mets All-Stars of the 1990s.”  Represented are David Cone, Todd Hundley, .Lance Johnson, and Bobby Jones.

Then the wall-to-wall All-Star festivities coverage begins;

There is a nice photo spread of the game itself to kick things off, included are shots of Tom Seaver, Marc Anthony, Terry Collins, Matt Harvey, and David Wright.  The Home Run Derby is next, followed by a look at what the Mets charitable arm was doing during the week.  The Futures Game gets a write up next, and features photos of Noah Syndergaard, Rafael Montero and Brandon Nimmo as they represented the Mets in the game.

The MLB Fan Fest, which was held at the Javits Center gets a spotlight next with a shot at a Met history mural.  Followed by a two-page spread of baseball legends and celebrities having some fun during the softball game.  Included in the photos were Mike Piazza, John Franco, Darryl Strawberry, Rickey Henderson, Boomer Esiason, Kevin James, Miss America Mallory Hagan, Jennie Finch and others.  And the first half of the coverage finishes with a look at the Red Carpet parade treatment along mid-town Manhattan that the All-Stars got on Monday.  Included were pictures of Wright and Harvey, along with a nice Wright themed All-Star Game bus ad on a Gray Line double-decker NYC tour bus.

 

Up next is the scorecard, once again is the same for the entire length of the homestands the issue covers.  Daniel Murphy is the poster boy of this issue.

Following the scorecard, the All-Star Game retrospectives concludes with a look at the All-Star Game pre-game celebration that featured live performances, mascots hanging around and all sorts of fun.

Met merchandise gets a one page look, Following that are the Specialty of The House look at the special Meatball Hero that was created for the All-Star Game menu and All-Star Alumni Profile catching up with Frank Viola.

Then you get the usual Kids Pages, Citi Field information, and the On The Air headshots of the broadcast crews to wrap up the book.

Definitely worth the 5 buck cover price!  By the way, for information on how to purchase the programs without going to Citi Field, the information is listed on the Mets’ website at http://newyork.mets.mlb.com/nym/ballpark/information/index.jsp?content=guide#guide_m

“METS MAGAZINE WITH SCORECARD

Sold at all merchandise locations within Citi Field for $5. It may also be purchased by writing to: Mets Magazine, c/o New York Mets, Citi Field, Flushing, NY 11368-1699. Please add $1 for postage and handling – payment should be made by check made out to Mets Publications or money order.”

Mets memorabilia review: 2013 program volume 52 #3

Mets Magazine Vol 52 (2013) No 3This time on Memorabilia Review we will take a peek at the third program put out by the Mets for the 2013 season.

This issue is Volume 52, Issue #3, cover price is $5.  It is the third of 5 different issues that the Mets are scheduled to produce in 2013 (April 1st, May 20th, July 19thth, August 2nd and September 9th), and it is a Professional Sports Publication production and only 176 pages.  Closer Bobby Parnell gets the cover shot, with the cover caption “Bringing The Heat.”

Feature articles are on Parnell, which is also the bi-lingual article of the issue, LaTroy Hawkins, and a look at Jeremy Hefner‘s reaching out to his fellow Okies after this summer’s rash of tornadoes.

The usual departments are represented;

The 2013 schedule, truncated to be from mid July forward of course, and ticket info.

The Around The Bases capsule previews of upcoming homestand opponents.  This issue looks at the Phillies and Braves.  As well as Rookie Watch spotlight on the Braves’ Julio Teheran  And there is also a page about the 2013 Citi Field Summer Concert Series that will be happening after several games this summer.

Next up is the Parnell feature, which spends a lot of time on Parnell’s charity work.

Throughout the book are scattered full page action shots under the banner “Mets All-Stars of the 1980s.”  Represented are Gary Carter, Ron Darling, Dwight Gooden, Keith Hernandez, and Darryl Strawberry.

The Hawkins feature is next, and it is followed by a one page look at celebs seen at Citi, and a three page advertisement article for the coming Brooklyn Cyclone season.

Up next is the scorecard, once again is the same for the entire length of the homestands the issue covers, and features a Matt Harvey poster.

Next up is a one page piece on the Electric Daisy Carnival that was held in Citi Field’s parking lot on May 17th-18th.  This is followed by the Hefner piece, which is followed by a couple of paragraphs on Star Wars Night at Citi on July 21st.

Following that are pieces on the “Super Tuesday” double header in Atlanta on June 18th when Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler took the mound for the Mets, the return of the “Mrs. Met” mascot, an In The Community look at National Grid’s Amazin’ Calls which looks like the Met version of Make A Wish, and the Mets Volunteer Challenge.

Prospect Profile is the next regular department, and this issue looks at Kevin Plawecki.

Met merchandise gets a one page look, followed by a look at the annual Weather Education Day featuring Mr. G of PIX11.  Following that are the Specialty of The House look at Batter Up Chicken by Tribeca Grill and All-Star Alumni Profile catching up with Jesse Orosco.

Then you get the usual Kids Pages, Citi Field information, and the On The Air headshots of the broadcast crews to wrap up the book.

Definitely worth the 5 buck cover price!  By the way, for information on how to purchase the programs without going to Citi Field, the information is listed on the Mets’ website at http://newyork.mets.mlb.com/nym/ballpark/information/index.jsp?content=guide#guide_m

“METS MAGAZINE WITH SCORECARD

Sold at all merchandise locations within Citi Field for $5. It may also be purchased by writing to: Mets Magazine, c/o New York Mets, Citi Field, Flushing, NY 11368-1699. Please add $1 for postage and handling – payment should be made by check made out to Mets Publications or money order.”

Gearing up for another winter of discontent

Wait ’till next year.  That is a phrase usually associated with the Brooklyn Dodgers of a certain era.  An era when they were frequent National League champions, or constantly competing for the top spot in the NL at the very least as they were for the better part of their final 16 years in Brooklyn.  Simply put, the Brooklyn faithful could set their September and October schedules months in advance around the Dodgers being in meaningful September games, and eventually the World Series.

 

Somehow this phrase has been co-opted to be used by franchises with recent dismal or mediocre performances but with a glimmer of hope around the corner.  The thing is, usually there are reasons behind the hope beyond young stars blossoming and surprising performances from players previously considered AAAA quality or worse ballplayers, and that is why this offseason needs to be a strong one for the Met front office.

 

Right now, since no non-waiver deadline moves were made, needs to be a time of player, and even manager, evaluation.  Decisions as to who should stay or go should be made in the next few months.  While some have probably been made already there are decisions that probably should be considered.

 

For example, is Ike Davis playing out his final months as a Met?  And if so, what value could he bring in an offseason move?  Ditto Marlon Byrd, as it is kind of surprising that he still has a locker in the home clubhouse at Citi Field.  Is it time for yet another overhaul of the bullpen?  Though we know how that works out sometimes with the crew brought in during the 2008-2009 offseason!  So maybe keep Bobby Parnell as an “in the mix guy” perhaps?  But other wise, it is time to bring in a better set of veteran relievers/spot starters.

 

Of course that brings up the 800 pound gorilla in the room, which incidentally is also something that is hampering the outfield corps as well considering Sandy Alderson’s statements about the production value of the outfield this past month, and possibly explains why deals weren’t made this week.  What exactly can the Mets afford to do this winter?  In past years “big splashes for the sake of making big splashes” have failed miserably, especially when it appeared the Mets were bidding against themselves several times; or when it seemed that the Mets were aiming to overspend for the best in a weak crop.  But there is the question of can the Mets even make drastic roster overhauls that don’t include promoting from within?

 

And the case of evaluation for Terry Collins and a possible replacement is also something that needs to be done as well.  One would probably consider that Collins is a lame duck skipper, but do the Mets promote from within?  Or wait to see what shakes down from managerial overhauls this offseason?  Does Collins even return?

 

A lot of various questions need to be addressed in the coming months by Alderson and his staff, if Met fans can be able to use “wait ’till next year” in proper context.