Mets Memorabilia Review: 2013 All-Star Game Program

This time on the Mets Memorabilia review, let’s take a look at the 2013 All-Star Game program from the 2013 All-Star Game at Citi Field.

 

Now this magazine is a far cry from the 1964 one from Shea Stadium, in which the program was probably roughly 60 pages, and sported an illustrated cover of a dynamic batter running to first, along with an illustration of Shea and the Hemisphere from the nearby World’s Fair.

 

Clocking in at 288 pages, and a nice glossy finish on the cover, oh and cover price is a nice $15.  Okay, its not the 1964’s 50 cents, but hey this is something that is worth the cover price.  Though the thing is, back in 1964, that was the only cover you were going to get.  This bad boy?

 

Let’s see…there is the Stadium Edition which is Citi Field and the Robinson Rotunda at night, which you can also get in regular “Special Edition” format, there is David Wright on the Special Limited Edition in front of a Citi Field backdrop, there is also this version of the cover with Mr. Met instead of Wright.  You can also get two versions of a snazzy looking art cover done by Charles Fazzino, one blue bordered and one black bordered.  And finally there are Limited Collector Editions featuring, I’d assume, all 78 selected participants on one cover each (including Wright and Matt Harvey) as well as several Futures game participants though these are usually just sold through the individual teams (i.e. last year you could pick up either the Wright or R.A. Dickey cover at Citi Field during the second half of the season).  OH, and then there is a special commemorative limited cover featuring the All-Star Game MVP Mariano Rivera.

 

WHEW!  And I thought comic book variant covers were bad!

 

Cracking this bad boy open sees that it is a nice blend, per usual for this kind of MLB produced publication, of national stories and local flavor stories.  Up first we get the usual rigamarole of the Commissioner’s letter and brief bios of MLB executives out of the way, followed by broadcast information.  Obviously FOX and ESPN Radio carried the game while contributions all weekend were made by ESPN, MLB International (ex-Met radio guy Gary Thorne was in that booth), and MLB Network.

 

People Magazine’s Tribute For Heroes which was spotlighted during the pre-game ceremonies and Stand Up 2 Cancer get a writeup next, along with other ASG related community outreach and fun activities.  And for some reason the “Top of The Order” section continues with a breakdown of Joey Votto numbers.

 

The guy who threw out the first pitch, Tom Seaver’s ASG exploits gets a page and a half spotlight article.  And there is also a piece on instances of the connection the number 7 has in Met history, from the 7 Train Subway Line, to the uniform number (and when it has been in the ones digit, i.e. Keith Hernandez and Johan Santana) to interesting 7s in Met statistical feats.  This is followed by a one page profile of Harvey, a “getting to know fun Q&A” section with several Twitter handles, including Jay Horwitz’ @Jay_HorwitzPR, a look at Columbia University player Joey Falcone (son of ex-Met Pete Falcone), Mr. Met, Elysian Fields in Hoboken, New Jersey, the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing getting a salute at Fenway Park, and finally some Home Run Derby figures to wrap up the “Top of The Order” section.

 

The first feature is “From Rooks To Kings” which spotlights the young stars of the game.  Interestingly this is followed by “…And They’re Off” which covers the same ground, though this one heavily features Harvey.

 

The release of the movie 42 allows for at the movie and the Jackie Robinson legacy in the next feature piece, and this is followed by an article on why strikeout totals seem to have gone up in recent years.  These pieces are followed by a lighter side piece that examines the…ummmm…unique smells and other bizarre things that come with life on the road.

 

We go back to more serious things with a look at the All-Star Game beginnings in 1933, and back to the lightheartedness with a photo gallery look at the current day facial hair culture in the game!  The gallery does include ex-Met Jose Reyes, and current Met Justin Turner.  The time machine is entered again for a look at the 75th anniversary of Johnny Vander Meer’s back-to-back no-hitters, and this is followed up by a glimpse into the future by spotlighting some young talent that performed in this year’s World Baseball Classic.  And finally, well for this part of the book, the idea of adding more skills competition events alongside the Home Run Derby is put forth in a piece called Skills & Thrills.

 

This is followed by the scorecard section of the book, which features photos of players selected prior to the start of the weekend as players were added due to the Final Man Vote, nagging injuries or pitchers were deemed ineligible after making a start on Sunday.

 

After that section is a neat photo gallery of highlights from the first half.

 

This is followed, first by a map of where you could have found the All-Star Apples throughout the borough of Manhattan (I’ll assume that they’ve been removed by now), and the local team section (also features a nice dosage of local advertizements as opposed to the more national scope ads in the rest of the book).

 

First up is a piece on local New York City attractions.  This is followed by a Q&A feature on Wright, and then a team history article, as well as a look at the 1964 All-Star Game at Shea.

 

Sandy Alderson’s attempt at turning the franchise around is next and that includes a thumbnail spotlight on the Brooklyn Cyclones.  Followed by a look at the Met involvement in the Welcome Back Veterans initiative, a tour of Citi Field, and a Q&A with Met fan and host of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show Jon Stewart.

 

Then it is a spotlight on the 1969 and 1973 seasons, followed by a Where Are They Now piece on members of the 2000 NL Champions; Benny Agbayani, Turk Wendell, Mike Piazza and Robin Ventura.  This is followed by the final piece of the section a look at the Met captains, Hernandez, Gary Carter, John Franco and Wright.

 

And the program closes with an appendix of the scores and thumbnail blurbs of every All-Star Game and several notable All-Star Game records.  With the last page of the book being a piece by ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian on ASG walk-off homers, including the Phillies Johnny Callison’s at Shea in 1964.

 

In all another fine job by MLB, and Professional Sports Publications, and worthy to be picked up.  Well, maybe not all the crazy different variant covers though!

Other All-Star performances from the month

David Wright and Matt Harvey weren’t the only Met organization employees to perform in All-Star Games this month.  There was also the Major League Baseball Futures Game at Citi Field this past Sunday and the Triple-A All-Star Game held Wednesday night.  As well as the Double-A Eastern League’s All-Star Game held back on July 10th.

Before diving into the Futures Game though, looking at Harvey’s performance on Tuesday, one could have made the case that it was a typical Citi Field start for Harvey;

Some jitters in the first, but Harvey battled through, and finished his night without a run scoring and three Ks.

But the offense pretty much goes ice cold for most of the game while the pen falters in the middle innings, rendering Harvey with the dreaded no-decision.

And to cap it off, the game ends with a bit of a ninth inning tease of the home team pulling it out, but it is not to be.

Well, be that as it may from Tuesday night, future Met stars took the Citi Field stage on Sunday of the All-Star Game weekend.  Las Vegas’ Rafael Montero was the Met representative on the World Team, and Binghamton’s Noah Syndergaard and Savannah’s Brandon Nimmo were the Met prospects on the U.S. Squad

The World would take the win 2-0, and Montero and Syndergaard started for both teams, but neither factored in the decision.  Both kicked off what would be a pitching dominated game with a solid only inning of work, with Montero going perfect, and Syndergaard allowing just one hit, but with one strikeout.  Nimmo would take the collar in his two at-bats on the afternoon.

Moving on to Wednesday night’s Triple A All-Star Game in Reno, Nevada.  Wilmer Flores was the only member of the 51s selected to the game, and did not get into the game.

Also Binghamton’s Allen Dykstra, Josh Rodriguez, Cesar Puello, and Logan Verrett in the Eastern League ASG which was held back on July 10th.  Verrett would give up four hits and two earned runs in his only inning of work and none of the Met position players would get on base.

Parallel Earth: Mets make play for Willie McCovey

Recently an eBay auction for a “unique” collectable caught my attention.  The opening price was only about 4 bucks for an 8×10 mockup of Willie McCovey’s 1968 Topps baseball card.  Only instead of the Giant road greys, Stretch was seen in vintage Met road greys (which is slightly odd considering the photo on the card clearly shows McCovey at Shea Stadium).  Clearly a fun attempt of the seller’s Photoshop skills to make this wistful thinking item, and certainly something that could be a “Card of The Week” candidate!

But that got me wondering; What if there was a parallel Earth where the Mets somehow landed the Giants’ slugger?

Why would the Giants have traded McCovey instead of Orlando Cepeda, whom in reality was shipped to St. Louis for Ray Sadecki?

Why the Mets, and who would the Mets have traded to get McCovey?

And just how would the fortunes of the two franchises have turned out?

First off, reality sees Cepeda coming off a knee injury that cost him most of 1965.  While McCovey and Cepeda, both future Hall of Famers who logged time in at both first and left field for the Giants, were roughly the same age, the Giants figured that McCovey being the better defensive first baseman the logic was to ship the highly popular Cepeda off while he still had value.  So suppose the Giants instead put McCovey on the market instead?  And more importantly to this story, shop him to the Mets.

While Cepeda was traded even up for future Met Sadecki, it would seem only fair that the Mets give an outfielder in return for the Giants’ losing a fixture in left.  So Ron Swoboda would seem like a logical choice.  Okay, so the Giants were looking for pitching though, and Sadecki, 25 at the time, had won 20 games in 1964.  Looking at the Met pitching register from 1965, there isn’t anyone among the youthful players whom you could match up with the 1964 version of Ray Sadecki, though Sadecki does fall off a bit in 1965, not saying that Jack Fisher would have gotten it done, but with the Giants looking for rotation depth, a quick look at the Mets organization in 1965 doesn’t really reveal much either.  I’d guess the 26 year old Gordie Richardson, who spent time both in Triple A Buffalo and New York that season would be a decent enough fit.

So, Swoboda and Richardson for McCovey.

For what it’s worth, and it isn’t that big of a telling sign about what McCovey would have done over the course of an 81 game schedule as McCovey literally played a total of 84 games at Shea Stadium from 1964-1979 (obviously only coming in once per season as a Giant or Padre), but, McCovey did hit .260 and slug .498 at Shea with 16 home runs.  Interestingly enough, it is pretty consistent with the road stats McCovey was putting up in this time period.

So, that would have taken care of the Mets’ need for some raw power and run producing numbers that would pretty much elude them until an actual slugging outfielder from the Giants named Dave Kingman arrived in 1975.

Besides that, how long would McCovey have lasted?  The Mets would start “breaking up the band” roughly around the same time McCovey’s prime years were coming to a close.  We know how Tom Seaver was treated, would McCovey have gotten the same treatment from the partisan commentators in the New York City media, much in the way they, well specifically Dick Young, had influence over Seaver’s eventual demand to be traded?  Or would he have played out the remainder of his Hall of Fame career as a Met?

Some good questions to think on though.

Mets All-Star history: The 1970s

1970
7/14 Riverfront Stadium, Cincinnati
NL 5-AL 4 (12 innings)

Coming off the Mets’ first World Championship, Gil Hodges was the NL skipper, unfortunately I do not have access at this time to see who besides the announced other NL managers that he selected as coaches to round out his staff. Joining him in Cincinnati was Bud Harrelson and Tom Seaver. Seaver was picked to start the All-Star Game, went the first three innings, allowed just one hit and struck out four. Harrelson would come in during the 7th inning, replacing Don Kessinger. Harrelson would go 2-for-3 and score two runs.

1971
7/13 Tiger Stadium, Detroit
AL 6-NL 4

With voting for All-Star Game starters returning to the fans the year before, Harrelson would be the first Met to be elected by the fans. Seaver would once again join Harrelson on the NL Roster. Harrelson would end up going 0-2 before being lifted in the 6th, and Seaver would not appear in the game.

1972
7/25 Atlanta Stadium, Atlanta
NL 4-AL 3 (10 innings)

Seaver was once again chosen for an All-Star Game in 1972. He would be joined by a Met making his first All-Star Game, and a fellow who would be selected for his 23rd All-Star Game. The newbie, Tug McGraw, the other guy, Willie Howard Mays. Due to a nagging injury, Roberto Clemente, one of the elected starters, ending up not starting, and so Mays set a record with his 18th ASG start. Mays played through the first 5 innings, but went 0-2 in the game. McGraw would come out of the pen and pitch two scoreless innings to notch the save, and Seaver again rode the pine.

1973
7/24 Royals Stadium, Kansas City
NL 7-AL 1

The iconic Willie Mays would be selected for his 24th, ironic, and final All-Star Game in 1973. While not starting one last time, he did pinch hit for Willie Stargell in the 8th, striking out in his final ASG at-bat. Seaver would also be selected to the game, this time he would see action, coming in to pitch a scoreless, and hitless 8th inning.

1974
7/23 Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh
NL 7-AL 2

Due to getting fired following the 1964 Yankee defeat in the World Series, Yogi Berra did not manage in the 1965 All-Star Game, now the skipper of the 1973 NL Champions, Berra had his opportunity, and he brought along Bob Miller, Rube Walker and Joe Pignatano to round out his coaching staff. Also Tom McKenna was selected as the NL trainer (my records for medical and clubhouse appointments, as well as the ASG manager’s brining members of his team’s coaching staff to round out his ASG staff prior to the 2000s is a bit spotty). The players chosen to go to Pittsburgh with Berra were Jerry Grote and Jon Matlack. Grote would replace Johnny Bench in the top of the 9th, and would not get a plate appearance, while Matlack pitch a scoreless 6th inning.

1975
7/15 County Stadium, Milwaukee
NL 6-AL 3

After a one year absence, Seaver returned to the All-Star Game, and Matlack earned his second selection. Perhaps a bit rusty, Seaver would not put in a terrific performance, coming on in the 6th; Seaver gave up 3 runs on 2 hits and allowing the AL to tie the game at 3. Matlack would come on in the next inning, and would hold the fort for the next two innings. Allowing no more scoring and only 2 hits and striking out 4, and thanks to the NL grabbing the lead in the top of the 9th, Matlack would earn the victory, and a share of the MVP trophy with the Cubs’ Bill Madlock.

1976
7/13 Veterans Stadium, Philadelphia
NL 7-AL 1

The nation was in midst of its bicentennial, and the NL was celebrating its centennial, and no better spot to do both than in Philadelphia. Seaver would be selected for the All-Star Game as a Met for the final time, and Matlack would be making his final trip to the Mid-Summer’s Classic. They would be joined by Dave Kingman, who was elected as a starting outfielder. Kingman started in right field, and would go 0-2 with one strikeout. Seaver would revert back to form after 1975’s disaster with two innings of work, giving up a run on 2 hits, and 1 strikeout. Matlack would not enter the game.

1977
7/19 Yankee Stadium, New York
NL 7-AL 5

Due to the game being held in New York City, Willie Mays, representing the Mets as he was a part of Joe Torre’s coaching staff, was trotted out to be the NL’s Honorary Captain. Also Met coaching staff member Denny Somers was brought in as part of the NL’s extended coaching staff. The lone Met player representative was John Stearns who would come in to catch the bottom of the 9th. Obviously representing the Reds, Seaver was selected for the NL’s pitching staff, and pitched 2 innings, giving up 4 hits and 3 runs (2 earned), walked 1 and struck out 2.

1978
7/11 San Diego Stadium, San Diego
NL 7-AL 3

Pat Zachry was named the lone Met representative, and he would not appear in the game.

1979
7/17 Kingdome, Seattle
NL 7-AL 6

This would represent the first time the Mets would have an All-Star Game representative be a replacement for a previously selected All-Star. Stearns was tabbed to replace Bench, who oddly enough was replacing Ted Simmons! Stearns would wind up not getting into the game. However, the Met originally supposed to be the only Met on the roster, Lee Mazzilli would get into the game. And what an appearance Maz would make. Pinch-hitting for Gary Matthews in the 8th, Mazzilli homered off of Jim Kern to tie the game at 6-6. He would stay in the game in center field, and would draw a walk in the 8th that would bring home the winning run in the top of the 9th off of the Yankees’ Ron Guidry.

Mets All-Star history: The 1960’s

 

With the All Star Game coming to Citi Field, it might be fun to run down Mets in All Star Game history.  First up the 1960s.

1962:

Game 1 7/10 DC Stadium, Washington, DC

NL 3-AL1

The Mets’ first representatives for an All Star Game were centerfielder Richie Ashburn as a reserve outfielder, and skipper Casey Stengel on NL manager Fred Hutchinson‘s coaching staff.  MLB was still under the brief two All Star Games per summer experiment, in fact this would be the final year of the run.  So, in the first game, Ashburn rode the pine.

Game 2 7/30 Wrigley Field, Chicago

AL 9-NL 4

Stengel was not on the the staff in the second game, in favor of the Mets’ fellow 1962 expansion franchise, the Houston Astros’ Harry Craft.  This time, Ashburn would appear in the game.  Pinch hitting, in the 7th inning for, interestingly enough, Astro pitcher Turk Farrell.  Ashburn would get on with a single to left, and would score later in the inning, though making the game 7-2 AL.

1963

7/9 Municipal Stadium, Cleveland

NL 5 AL 3

The lone Met player representative was once again a multiple time All-Star centertfielder, this time it was Duke Snider and again in a reserve role.  The legendary former Dodger would pinch hit for the then current Dodger left fielder, and future Met, Tommie Davis.  Snider would strike out, but did go out to left for the bottom of the ninth, becoming the first Met to take the field in an All Star Game.

1964

7/7 Shea Stadium, New York

NL 7-AL 4

The brand new Shea would see its only All Star Game in 1964, and Met manager Casey Stengel was again picked to be on the NL’s manager’s, Walt Alston this time, staff.  And for the first time the Mets enjoyed an All Star starter with Ron Hunt as the starting secondbaseman.  Hunt, batting 8th, would go 1 for 3, single in the third, with a walk and a strikeout before being pinch hit for in the bottom of the ninth.

1965

7/13

Metropolitan Stadium, Minneapolis

NL 6-AL 5

Ed Kranepool would be the Met representative for the 1965 game, and he would not appear in the game.

1966

7/12

Busch Stadium, St. Louis

NL 2-AL 1

Ron Hunt became the first Met to be a multiple time All Star, as he was selected as a backup secondbaseman.  Hunt would replace Jim Lefebvre in the sixth, but would ground out in his only at bat in the seventh.

1967

7/12

Anaheim Stadium, Anaheim

NL 2-AL 1 (15 innings)

One of the all-time legends would make his All Star debut in 1967, Tom Seaver, in midst of his  NL Rookie of The Year season.  The NL took the lead in the top of the fifteenth inning on the strength of a Tony Perez solo homer, and Seaver was brought in for the bottom half.  And Seaver shut the door on the victory, allowing only a Carl Yastrzemski walk.

1968

7/9

Astrodome, Houston

NL 1-AL 0

1968 would see the Mets send more than one player to the game for the first time.  Jerry Grote would be picked by the players, coaches and managers to start the game behind the plate, and Jerry Koosman and Seaver were named to the pitching staff.  Grote played the first five innings but would go 0-2 with a strikeout.  Seaver came in in the seventh, and only allowed two hits and struck out 5.  And Koosman struck out Yastrzemski to end the game.

1969

RFK Stadium Washington, DC

NL 9-AL 3

Once again the Mets sent a trio of players to the game.  This time Seaver and Koosman were joined by Cleon Jones, who was selected as a starting outfielder.  Jones would go 2-4 and scored 2 runs, and Koosman would give up only one hit, and had one strikeout in his 1 and 2/3rds innings of work while Seaver would not get into the game.

David Wright and 3,000 hits

Earlier in the month, David Wright recorded his 1,500th career hit.  The hit naturally extended his All-Time Met hit record and puts him halfway to the vaunted 3,000 hit plateau.

One can argue that the club, currently standing at 28 and including some of the game’s biggest and most iconic names, is still one of the most prestigious statistical club in sports today, though with Rafael Palmerio on the outside looking in of the baseball Hall of Fame because of actual steroid implication, and Craig Biggio on the outside looking in of the Hall on guilt by association charges and of course the All-Time Hit King Pete Rose‘s tarnished image the “automatic induction” label isn’t with the plateau, for the moment anyway.  Besides, for what its worth while Palmerio and Biggio became the first two club members not to get elected on their first years of eligibility (Rose never officially got onto a ballot) since that became a “thing” following 1962’s induction of Bob Feller and Jackie Robinson, a few members of the club wound up waiting some time before enshrinement.  Regardless though, it still is a pretty nifty club to be a part of.  But, the question is, will the Mets’ Hit King obtain membership?

First, a look at the active hit leaders shows that Wright is 30th (FWIW, Jose Reyes is right behind his 1,513 with exactly 1,500 hits as an interesting tidbit) among active leaders and is among the youngest at 30 years of age.  This is also Wright’s 10th season, so while one can see, barring injury Wright hanging around for another 10 seasons or more, the chances of him getting to 3,000 do seem a bit slim.

Now, consider that the average age of the members of the 3,000 hit club at the time of their 3,000th hit is 39, with only 8 being 37 or younger;

First is the top 5 of the club, all with 3,500 or more total hits

Pete Rose at 37

Ty Cobb at 34

Hank Aaron at 36

Stan Musial at 37

Tris Speaker at 37

The the current active leader, and 11th all time with 3,304, who hasn’t played yet in 2013, Derek Jeter at 37

Robin Yount at 36 who is at 18th all time with 3,142

And finally Roberto Clemente who was 37 when he got his 3,000th and final hit. 

Which means as prestigious as the club is, it is still a marathon to get to, and it is telling that only Eddie Collins as a part-time utility guy, Carl Yastrzemski on the strength of the DH rule, and the top 4 guys Rose, Cobb, Aaron and Musial lasted 4 or more seasons beyond the year they notched their 3,000th hit. 

So the milestone can be considered more of a final feather in the cap of a career well done more so than just another rung on the ladder.  Not that a player necessarily should feel like stopping at hit number 3,000 like in that Bernie Mac film, but those in the more upper 3,000s have gotten their 3,000th hit at such a young enough age that piling up the hit totals just meant they had a lot more left in the tank.

Getting back to Wright, considering that continuing at his pace of 183 hits per season over the course of the next 7 years, which will be a year after his current contract runs out, he will be at 2,795 hits and 37 years of age.  One would also have to factor in that his production would be in decline by that point as well.  Especially manning such a demanding position as the Hot Corner, so one would suspect to keep his numbers up, or to stem his decline Wright would probably have to change positions at some point down the road if getting to a milestone like 3,000 means much to him.

And keep in mind that he doesn’t have a 200 hit season under his belt yet.  Something that due to its roundness tends to be factored into measuring the pace a player needs to be in order to get to 3,000, which is a 15 year clip of averaging 200 hits per year, as opposed to the 20 years of averaging 150 hits per season.  Only Yastrzemski, Eddie Murray, Dave Winfeld, Rickey Henderson, and the oldest member of the club to get to 3,000 at 43, and incidentally the first member of the club, Cap Anson have been able to gain membership into the 3,000th Hit Club without a 200 hit season.  And for the most part those players had the luxury of the Designated Hitter rule in the American League, and playing less stressful positions, such as the outfield.

Now, while it would appear that barring a move to a less demanding position that would not only extend his career, but keep his production at roughly the same career average, it looks like Wright will fall short.  Not that its a bad thing at all as iconic Hall of Famers such as Frank Robinson, Rogers Hornsby, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Ted Williams, Jimmie Foxx, Reggie Jackson, Ernie Banks and Joe Morgan never achieved the 3,000 hit plateau.  In fact, while 3,000 is a pretty exclusive club, through June of 2013 only 95 players in baseball history have notched 2,500 or more hits.  So Wright would still be in pretty nifty company even if he records only 1,000 more base hits.

Mets memorabilia review: 2013 program volume 52 #2

This time on Memorabilia Review we will take a peek at the second program put out by the Mets for the 2013 season.

This issue is Volume 52, Issue #2, cover price is $5.  It is the second of five different issues that the Mets are scheduled to produce in 2013 (April 1st, May 20th, June 28th, August 6th and September 15th), and it is a Professional Sports Publication production and only 160 pages. Matt Harvey follows up his Sports Illustrated cover with a nice image of him about to fire a ball to the plate against a white background, with Citi Field also in the background.  The caption is, THE REAL DEAL and as the programs will for the rest of the season, the 2013 ASG logo, Citi Field Logo’s and Mets.com logo are all emblazoned on the cover.

Feature articles are on Matt Harvey, which is also the bi-lingual article of the issue, Daniel Murphy‘s, at the time, being secure at second base, and Marlon Byrd.

The usual departments are represented;

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

The Around The Bases capsule previews of upcoming homestand opponents.  This issue looks at the Reds, Braves, Yankees (no special Subway Series cover variant this year, as there hasn’t been since 2009), Marlins, Cardinals, and Cubs.  As well as Rookie Watch spotlights on the Marlins’ Jose Fernandez, and the Reds’ Tony Cingrani.  And there is also a page about the 2013 Citi Field Summer Concert Series that will be happening after several games this summer.  Mets and social media, followed by a promo piece for the All Star Game voting which lists several Twitter hashtags to use to promote voting for several Mets.

Next is the Harvey feature which goes into Harvey’s amazing start to the season, and the awards and attention he has received.

This is followed by a one page look at the Bark In The Park, bring your dogs to the stadium promotion.

Throughout the book are scattered full page action shots under the banner “Mets All-Stars of the 1970s.”  Represented are Dave Kingman, Jon Matlack, Willie Mays, Tug McGraw, and Tom Seaver.

The Marlon Byrd feature is next, and it is followed by a one page story previewing the June 2nd soccer match between Israel and Honduras, and then one on the Autism Awareness Day promotional event at Citi Field.

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

Up next is the Murphy feature.  While not as bad as the year Roberto Alomar was on the cover of a program that hit Shea’s stands the day after he was shipped out, but it is kind of funny to see an outdated feature article before the issue finishes its on stands run!

Next up is a one page piece on the Spartan Race that was held at Citi on April 13th, and a page on the launching of David Wright’s community program that currently honors those who went above and beyond to help out in the wake of Hurricane Sandy called The Wright Thing.

Following that are pieces on the Stitch N’ Pitch event, All-Star Game concessions,

Prospect Profile is the next regular department, and this issue looks at Aderlin Rodriguez.

Met merchandise gets a one page look, specifically Father’s Day appropriate gifts.  Met Social Media Night also gets a brief writeup, 2013’s Banner Day is also given a one-page spotlight as well.  Following that are the Specialty of The House look at Catch of The Day’s fish tacos and All-Star Alumni Profile catching up (no pun intended) with John Stearns.

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

This time on Memorabilia Review we will take a peek at the first program put out by the Mets for the 2013 season.

This issue is Volume 52, Issue #1, cover price is $5.  First of 5 different issues that the Mets are scheduled to produce in 2013 (April 1st, May 20th, June 28th, August 6th and September 15th), and, as it has been for quite some time now, it is a Professional Sports Publication production and clocks in at 168 pages.  Pretty stormy background on the cover with David Wright swinging away on the cover.  This marks Wright’s 11th time on the cover, which ties him with Al Leiter for the second most times appearing on the Mets game program cover.

The caption simply says, CAPTAIN WRIGHT but it has a Twitter hashtag underneath, #VOTEWRIGHTNOW which is the Met official “hashtag” to promote All Star Game voting, specifically David Wright.  Speaking of the All Star Game, the 2013 ASG logo, Citi Field Logo’s and Mets.com logo are all emblazoned on the cover.

Feature articles are on the history of Met All Stars, which is this issue’s bi-lingual piece and includes a run down of the schedule for All Star Week in July, David Wright’s ascension to team captain, Bobby Parnell taking over the closer role, and a look at newly acquired catchers John Buck and Travis d’Arnaud.

The usual departments are represented;

The 2013 schedule, and ticket info.

The Around The Bases capsule previews of upcoming homestand opponents.  This issue looks at the Padres, Marlins, Nationals, Dodgers, Phillies, White Sox, and Pirates.  As well as Rookie Watch spotlights on Jedd Gyorko of the Padres, and Phillippe Aumonte of the Phillies.  And there is also a page about the Mets and social media, which lists several Twitter feeds for fans to follow, as well as several player feeds.  And finally, a two-page piece advertizing the Cirque Du Soleil performances in Citi Field’s parking lot from this Spring.

This is followed by a 4-page Big Picture piece previewing the season.  This is followed by a promo piece for the All Star Game voting, followed by one on Howie Rose’s new book, appropriatley titled Put It In The Book! and a look at the Master Chefs at Citi Field.

Throughout the book are scattered full page action shots under the banner “Mets All-Stars of the 1960s.”  Represented are Jerry Grote, Ron Hunt, Cleon Jones, Jerry Koosman, and Duke Snider.

The David Wright feature is followed by a brief writeup on the Metropolitan Lacrosse Classic that was held at Citi Field in March.

The scorecard, once again is the same for the entire length of the homestands the issue covers, follows the Parnell feature, and features a Mr. Met poster.  The catching corps feature follows the scorecard.

The next regular department is In The Community, and it spotlights Mets chipping in with the Sandy relief efforts, the annual holiday party and food drive, blood drives and Student Athlete Leadership Conference Series.

This is followed by a 5-page look back at the 1973 National League Champions, written by Marty Noble for the program of this past January’s New York Chapter of the BBWAA’s annual dinner.

Prospect Profile is the next regular department, and Noah Syndergaard, acquired in the offseason R.A. Dickey trade, gets the capsule profile treatment.

Met merchandise gets a one page look, specifically the new for 2013 alternative game cap and blue home and away uniforms.  2012’s Banner Day is also given a one-page spotlight as well.  And following that is a one-page catching up feature called All-Star Alumni Profile.  This issue looks at the first Met to start an All-Star Game, Ron Hunt.

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.

In all, another solid outing by the Met program crew.  Say what you will about the team, and the ballpark itself, the Mets have been producing quality game day publications for quite a long while, and 2013 is more of that same.

Did Mets fans just witness the highlight of the season?

So, the Mets swept the Yankees for the first time in their regular season history. Sill kind of hard to believe that conceivably the biggest wins of the season came before June started, but that the way it seems.

What? Oh, yes there is what happened 40 summers ago, but that was due to a lot of early injuries, and slumps to key offensive players, and the strength of some darn good pitchers, including one of the all-time great all-time greats, keeping the Mets up with the rest of the pack. Teams like that, and more contemporary ones that had great postseason success despite squeaking into the postseason with a barely .500 record, such as the 2006 Cardinals (sorry, had to remind you), and the 1987 Twins did have star power on their roster, and some good grade pitching.

Matt Harvey has been solid, and while the Yankees have made the rest of the staff look like the 1973 crew, that is kind of the point. The Yankees are pretty much throwing a AAAA lineup out there, so eventually a team will of an outlier of a series played against them. Not to mention Ike Davis is still batting .160, John Buck seems to have gotten back to Earth, the outfield is still in flux, and Ruben Tejada is about to hit the DL.

Not to mention the schedule is going to be rough coming up. Yes there are six games against Miami coming up, but there are fourteen games next month against the three teams ahead of the Mets in the standings; Braves for a four game set (including a double header) in Atlanta, which is then followed by a three game weekend set in Philadelphia, and six games against the Nationals, hitting up Washington after the upcoming Miami series, and closing out the month with the Nats at Citi Field.

In between there is a homestand featuring the Cardinals and Cubs. Okay, the Cubs have the same amount of wins as the Mets and one more loss, but the Cardinals are leading the Central. And interestingly, the backend of the roadtrip that starts with Atlanta and Philadelphia includes a two game set on the South Side of Chicago to play the White Sox, and a one game “series” as it will against the Rockies to make up for the April 17th postponement.

Quite a road to haul in the first month of the summer, while it is doubtful the Mets will completely fall apart, and have a historically bad month (i.e. count the win total on one hand), but it is the type of stretch that can provide a cold splash of reality after a quick bright spot in a dreadfully mediocre season.

That’s not to say one shouldn’t be joyous over sweeping The Evil Empire, it is always nice to hold something over the cross-town rivals, even if they have a certain World Series to throw back at you. But a four game sweep in late May of an other wise seven games under .500 season should not be used as an indicator for a possible turnaround.

Mets Sports Illustrated covers throughout the years

In honor of Matt Harvey being the regional cover boy of Sports Illustrated last week, it might be a fun trip into the TARDIS/Delorean/hot tub/time travel device of your choice…or even SI’s online archives, and chronicle Met covers through the years.

We start off with March 5th, 1962 and a rather dour Casey Stengel in a Met cap, jacket and road grey graces the cover.  Perhaps knowing how the rest of the Mets’ debut year will go!  The cover indicates that it is SI’s Spring Training/preview issue.

Then it is off to another Spring Training preview issue, that of 1964 and March 2nd to be exact.  The banner reads “The Baseball Battle For New York” and features Casey alongside rookie Yankee skipper, Lawrence Peter “Yogi Berra.”

The next time a Met graces the cover is Ron Swoboda on May 6th, 1968.  Headline is The Movin’ Mets for an article on the crop of youngsters on the Met roster at the time.

Rod Gaspar backs into the cover on October 20th, 1969, which spotlighted Oriole third baseman Brooks Robinson for the World Series coverage issue.  1969 would also see the only Met representation for SI’s Athlete of the Year, and Tom Seaver graces the cover for that issue, December 22nd.

It is The Mets Against The World on the week of April 17th, 1970 as a photo insert of Jerry Koosman is surrounded by caps of all of the other teams.

Perhaps foreshadowing their NLCS tussle in 1973, a disgruntled Pete Rose looks up as Bud Harrelson is in a pivoting motion on the cover for September 7th.  On September 28th, you’d have to flip the cover page over to see the Cub’s Leo Durocher and Gil Hodges, along with main cover subject, Pirates manager Danny Murtaugh as the NL East race was heating up.

June 21st, 1971 also describes hot pennant race action with Jerry Grote gracing the cover.

Willie Mays’ grand return to New York is celebrated on the May 22nd, 1972 issue with a punny caption, The Amaysing Mets.

1973’s World Series coverage issue, October 22nd, 1973 features Bert Campaneris scampering out of the way of a John Milner tag.

The consecutive year string would be snapped with 1974, but Tom Seaver would join Jim Palmer on the cover for a nice side-by-side look at the best hurlers of the day on the July 21st, 1975 issue.  That would be all of the Mets’ 1970s appearances, but if you wanted to be technical about it, Pete Rose’s NL record hit streak is spotlighted on the August 7th, 1978 cover.  It is Rose batting at Shea, and you can make out Ron Hodges (by the uniform number #42) sitting in the Met dugout.

Speaking of Tom Terrific, his return to the Mets is celebrated on the next proper Met SI cover, that of April 18th, 1983.  By the way, for the Seaver completest out there, he does grace a couple of covers as a Red through his years of exile in Cincinnati.

A little more than a year later, April 23rd, 1984 to be exact, Darryl Strawberry graces the cover as The Straw That Stirs The Mets.

The hot NL East race between the Cubs and Mets, as well as the NL Cy Young race, is spotlighted on the cover of the September 24th issue featuring rookie phenom Dwight Gooden alongside the Cubs’ Rick Sutcliffe.

Doc would go on to grace the Baseball ’85 issue, April 15th, 1985.  And he followed that up by gracing the cover of the September 2nd issue in celebration of notching his 20th win of the season.

You might be considered slightly more OCD or Met completest if you pick up the September 28th, 1985 issue with Ozzie Smith on the cover than you would getting the aforementioned 1978 Rose issue.  It’s the Wizard running towards first at Shea, but the fellows in the Met dugout are too blurred to make out. (Oddly enough the issue of June 6th of 1995 is the same thing with Matt Williams of the Giants swinging away at Shea, but with Met personnel too blurred or blocked out to tell whom they are)

1986 was a great summer for the Mets, and the August 25th cover spotlighted Ron Darling in an article looking at the greatness of that year’s pitching staff.

A bare chested Darryl Strawberry graces the October 6th Baseball Playoff Preview issue.

The World Series is spotlighted on both the October 27th, and November 3rd issues.  Jim Rice scores as Gary Carter awaits the throw on the former, and Ray Knight touching home after his Game 7 clinching home run is on the latter.

Baseball salaries are discussed in the April 20th, 1987 issue, and Gary Carter and Gene Walter are among the 40 or so headshots on the cover.

New York City baseball is spotlighted on the July 13th cover with separate pictures of Darryl Strawberry, indicating the feuding going on in the Met locker room, and Don Mattingly, indicating the Yankees surge that summer.

Almost a year later, July 11th, 1988 to be exact, Strawberry is the solo cover star.

The apparent doom for wooden bats is the cover story for the July 24th, 1989 issue, which has Gregg Jefferies splintering a bat.

The Mets briefly turned around their 1990 bad start during the summer, and so the July 9th issue featured Darryl Strawberry batting, with Howard Johnson on deck with The Amazin’ Mess (crossed out) Mets.

By March 23rd of 1993, both hard living and injuries were taking their toll on the right arm of Dwight Gooden.  And so the caption of Gooden’s cover article read What’s Up Doc?-Even Dwight Gooden doesn’t know how much stuff he has left.

John Cangelosi backs onto the May 23rd, 1994 cover, as he is about to be pummeled by ex-Met and current Brave Charlie O’Brien, with Terry Pendleton coming into the fray.  The cover spotlighted the recent rash of bench clearing brawls in baseball that spring.

The February 27th 1995 issue shows Darryl Strawberry and Dwight Gooden in better times as the article inside chronicles their respective falls from grace.

The story was about his May 15th, 1998 trade to the Florida Marlins and final days as a Dodger, and he is featured on the cover in his Dodger gear (can sort of tell by the font of 31 on his helmet), but since the cover date of May 25th was a few days after his trade from Florida to the Mets, Mike Piazza becomes next Met to grace an SI cover.

Was John Olerud at first, Edgardo Alfonzo at second, Robin Ventura at third and Rey Ordonez at short the best infield ever?  That question is posed on the September 6th 1999 issue.

Mike Piazza as a Met proper graces the August 21st, 2000 cover.

Piazza is also on the November 1st cover behind a scoring Derek Jeter on the World Series issue.

As part of SI’s 50th anniversary, the November 10th, 2003 issue featured a collage of random covers from all the years.  The Stengel/Berra one from 1964 is among them.

The Mets returned to prominence with the 2006 NL East champions, and they got spotlighted with the July 17th issue that featured Carlos Beltran, David Wright, Paul Lo Duca, Carlos Delgado and Jose Reyes on the cover.

A little less than year later, June 18th, 2007 to be exact, a poised group shots of Mets were given the cover treatment.  This time, Orlando Hernandez, Omar Minaya, Oliver Perez, Willie Randolph, Endy Chavez and John Maine were the cover subjects.  This cover is also part of a montage of the year in covers on the December 31st year end issue cover.

It looked like the Mets landed themselves a true ace that they seemed to lack during the epic collapse of September of 2007 in the winter of 2008, and so Johan Santana graced the February 25th, 2008 cover.

Special regional specific versions of covers have dominated Sports Illustrated over the last 10 years or so, and as part of the April 6th 2009 Baseball Preview issue, David Wright was in the insert on the Northeast region copy as SI had predicted the Mets to win the World Series.

And finally, on July 17th of 2009, Tom Seaver and Nolan Ryan were the cover subjects of SI’s annual Where Are They Now issue.  The cover is a nice black & white photo of the two in their Met glory days.

All of that of course leading to Matt Harvey’s cover shot on May 14th, 2013!

Thoughts on rigging the All-Star voting to force change

A few weeks ago, a Met blogger put forward a case for Met fans to vote Collin Cowgill for the 2013 All-Star Game because his name will be on the ballot for the duration of the voting period. This despite Cowgill being demoted to Triple A on May 3rd, after 19 games and a .157 batting average.

The reasoning is simple, to once again prove to The Powers That Be that fan voting for the All-Star Game, especially in the age of internet voting, is a flawed process that needs to go. Especially in light of Pablo Sandoval‘s victory in the fan voting to start last season’s All-Star Game as the National League’s third-baseman ahead of David Wright.

While the process is flawed, and the idea of internet ballot stuffing, as well as the marketing wizards at MLB having players whom ordinarily would have no business even MAKING the squad, let alone be voted as starters be “hyped” for fans to vote for them via social media (now the pushes come with Twitter hashtags #AnnoyingAsHell) and in-between innings pushes at the ballpark is a good start to a case for change, this is an example of two wrongs not making a right (no pun intended).

True, seeing Collin Cowgill’s name among the NL Outfield vote leaders could be one way of causing change. However, in the past the All-Star Game has seen Mike Schmidt retire on May 29th while in midst of a decline started the previous year, still garner enough votes to be selected as the All-Star Game starter. As well as many situations to mention where a player has been on the shelf for months, time enough for someone to overtake them (as opposed to having a commanding lead with a handful of weeks to spare and being put on the DL), and yet somehow they’ve managed to be selected by the fans (and the aforementioned blogger has suggested voting Jose Reyes for AL Shortstop, whether this is meant for screwing the system, voting for an ex-Met, ensuring Jeter is not elected the starter or a combo of all three is not known). But there are several reasons this is a flawed way of messing with the process.

First, it is unknown how many people in the general mass audience know about this, but in recent years MLB HAS been trying to resolve popularity contest issues by having the players vote as well. With the winners, or player runner-up getting selected if both votes are the same. It still can be seen as a popularity contest, but at least it is giving the peers a chance to vote as well. It also greatly reduces the chance for a manager to stack the bench and pitching staff (players vote for a good portion of starters and relievers) of his “guys.”

Second, with the amount of various injuries that crop up, and whatnot, the chances of a player that truly deserves to be at the All-Star Game these days of not being selected in one form or another. Nor should it really be that big of a deal with whom starts, which is the reason for this campaign in the first place. Would it have been a nice feather in Wright’s cap last year to be the starter? Sure, but it would be far more greater to see David Wright start his first postseason game since Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS!

And finally, at the end of the day, its still fan interaction. No matter how obnoxious the voting campaigns online and in the stadium for Lucas Duda or Daniel Murphy might be, it still is part of baseball’s effort to get fans involved. So, especially if younger fans are more and more involved in social media, then isn’t something for them worth the odd “wrong choice” here and there. And generally, as in the Sandoval-Wright case, sometimes it is a case of writing a wrong that happened in an earlier case.

Not to mention, it is one thing to rail against a flawed system and cause chaos for the sake of causing chaos, but rather than going for anarchy, why not suggest ways for it to be fixed, besides being done away with entirely.

Mets memorabilia review 2013 yearbook

According to the New York Mets Memorabilia Club’s Checklist, 2013’s edition is the 103rd different Met Yearbook (counting the Spanish editions of 1988-1990, and 1992 as well as all the various editions of the Yearbooks through the years, even “Final Shea Stadium Homestand” and SGA reprints of the 1969 (two actually), 1973 and 1986).

In honor of the 2013 All Star Game at Citi Field, the cover of the 53rd Met annual Yearbook features a collage of all 48 Mets to have been selected to a Major League All Star Game, including recently departed R.A. Dickey, and former Mets still playing Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran, R.A. Dickey, and I’d guess Francisco Rodriguez can be put into that category for the time being.

It is a nice collage, and is an upgrade from the 1973 “Gallery of All Stars” that featured All Star appearances by those on the current (Spring Training) roster. No doubt the sight of Jim Fregosi on that cover as late as October must have been a head scratcher for any fan picking it up!

What is also nice is that the Mets still charge a decent enough price for what is produced, $12 for a heavy stocked paperback of 240 pages. Pretty cheap when you consider the price of a yearbook in Da Bronx is $25!

Nice to see a photo from last year’s Banner Day grace the table of contents as well. Gives one hope that despite the scheduling snafu with the game time acquiescing to ESPN, that the Mets are committed to keeping the rebirth of the tradition going.

The usual up front stuff with photos of front office personnel, manager profile, photos of the coaching staff and player profiles are all there.

Following that there is a couple of fluff pieces on the Met Hall of Fame & Museum, spotlighting this year’s All Star Mets display, the chefs responsible for Citi Field’s top of the line food, cultural diversity days at Citi, including Sergio Vargas performing his post-game concert on Merengue Night, Banner Day, soccer events at Citi Field and last year’s Summer Concert Series.

Johan Santana‘s no-hitter gets a page, as well as Big Shots at Citi Field, whether it is Met Loving Big Shots like Matthew Broderick and Matt Dillon, or people around to toss out the first pitch or for other functions like Dominique Dawes and John Cena. This is followed by the usual fluff giving info on Citi Field and it’s brief history, and Met 2012 community outreach activities.

Next up is the feature, and as per usual in recent years, it is bi-lingual with English on one side of the page, and Spanish on the other. The feature is on Mets All Stars, kicking off by spotlighting the last time the Met franchise hosted the game, 1964 in the midst of Shea Stadium’s inaugural year. It also gives a rundown of what the schedule of events will be for July 12th through the 16th.

A section dedicated to the members of the Mets Hall of Fame is next, spotlighting last year’s inductee, John Franco, followed by the retired numbers, and a listing of the All-Time Met roster. Which leads into thumbnail bios of the Club Ambassadors; Tom Seaver, Rusty Staub, John Franco, newly on board this year Edgardo Alfonzo and Mookie Wilson.

Which leads in nicely to the next section, the Alumni Association in action with community outreach activities in 2012 at Citi Field and throughout the New York City area.

The stats on players profiled in the book’s profile section are up next, followed by a second feature looking back at the 1973 NL Champions. The piece is an article Marty Noble wrote up for this year’s BBWAA New York Chapter’s program for their annual winter awards dinner.

Up next is the usual rundown of the scouting and development department, including the coaching staffs of all of the minor league affiliates. Followed by spotlight thumbnail sketches on 20 prospects.

Nearby Flushing Meadows-Corona Park gets a spotlight in a section titled A Day At The Park, along with the Queens Zoo, Queens Botanical Garden, The Aquatic Center, New York Hall of Science, Queens Museum of Art, and Queens Theater.

The actual Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown gets a feature section, a photo of Seaver’s plaque along with his induction photo are featured.

Next up is the usual photos of the broadcast teams and various Met employees. Followed by same headshot section for the Brooklyn Cyclones, Florida Ops, Sterling Equities, and Metropolitan Hospitality (handles Citi Field’s non baseball events). Next up are the Met training and clubhouse staff, and various Citi Field grounds crew, engineers, plumbers and electricians. And the Behind The Scenes section wraps up with the medical staff.

And Citi Field fan information, and a clear page for “autographs” closes out the book.

Some interesting things about the ads;
Bad timing Award I goes to Generac generators/Home Depot with it’s “Did your little storm knock out the power? Excuse me for not noticing” come-on line. Okay, understandable, but considering Sandy hit last autumn, it might be a bit too soon to run in a publication that is primarily sold in the New York City area!

Bad timing Award II goes to Sesame Place using an image of a mascot sized Elmo getting a kiss from a kid. Okay, it isn’t the actual Elmo, but geez!

The hmmm, interesting coincidence ad award goes to a college prep school in Katonah, NY. It’s come-on slogan? “Bring Your A Game to Harvey.” Wonder if they’ll try to have Matt up there at The Harvey School for some nifty appearance!

Overall, a pretty average publication. Nothing really to complain about, but nothing stands out in terms of it being anything above and beyond the annual Met yearbook. Still, a solid addition to a Met memorabilia collection.