Long Day At The Park For The Mets

NEW YORK – There were perhaps less than 1,000 fans in the seats at Citi Field Wednesday afternoon when New York Mets starting pitcher Jonathan Niese threw the first pitch to Milwaukee Brewers leadoff hitter Rickie Weeks at 4:10pm. It was a rare twin bill of baseball in New York City courtesy of a Monday evening rain out that required two games.

Even if the games meant nothing towards post season implications, they had to be played. The Mets are finishing up another dismal campaign, third in the NL east, and the Brewers sitting fourth in the NL central also playing out the string and ready to pack their bags for the winter

Because net receipts from the gate and concessions are so important to the teams, the schedule must be played out. Even if there is a rain out the makeup game gets on the schedule if agreed by the teams this late in the season. With concession stands closed in the upper decks at Citi Field, and the noticeable empty seats it was time to play ball.

When the first pitch was thrown, and for a good part of the first game, fans in the stands and media in the press box could hear sounds of the game. A crack of the bat, fastball in the catcher’s mitt, and even players on the field heard saying “got it” or “go to first.”

“Rather play one game because as a player you are used to preparing for one,” said the Mets Chris Carter.  He would single and drive in two runs in the Mets two-run third inning of the first game. Those in the slim crowd could be heard, as the Mets started to cut the deficit after Niese surrendered six runs in the Milwaukee top of the inning.

That was one perspective of a long afternoon that went into the late evening in Flushing Queens.  The Mets would lose the first game of the double dip, 8-7. Niese (9-10) would throw 2.2 innings, on 10 hits and six runs, The Mets would battle back scoring five more runs in the fourth.

So what about those loyal fans who have once again witnessed another losing season at Citi Field? Carter, a first year Met loves their loyalty. “I love New York fans,” he said. “They’re tough, they know what to expect. I really appreciate the fans. As a player you block out the fact that there is nobody in the stands,” he said.

David Wright would hit a two-run homer in that fourth, his 28th and third game in a row with a homer, done four other times in his career and now the fifth time he has 100 or more ruins batted in, But he failed to connect in the nightcap when the Mets could not score runs, could only get 5 hits in a 3-1 second game loss.

It was not the 13 hits they had in the first game. Starter R.A. Dickey concluded a successful first season in New York. A surprise who was signed after spring training, Dickey (11-8) was talking about coming back next season. The 35-year old right hander has earned a role to start with a knuckleball that has revived his career.

“Feel I have a lot to offer and age is no consequence,” commented Dickey who gave up six hits in seven innings. “Priority number one was the ability and consistency to throw strikes.” The fans saw what Dickey offered and many times showed their appreciation.

It was a storybook season for a pitcher who got a role when Oliver Perez and John Maine left the rotation, “I feel this is what I can offer over the next five or six years of my career,” said Dickey who certainly can hang around more with a knuckleball that has consistency.

“What impressed me the most was his consistency,” said Mets manager Jerry Manuel who may not be making a decision about Dickey’s role with every expectation that Sunday will be his last game at the helm. “Every time he took the ball, he gave us a chance to win.”

When the first game was over, about 7:40pm, Manuel had used eight pitchers which tied a franchise record for a nine inning game.  The supposed 28,284 in attendance, more about tickets sold, than who showed, made as much noise as they could as the Mets staged another comeback in the eighth inning that once again failed short.

And when the second game began, a half hour later at 8:16PM, many of those empty seats were still visible and another Mets player Carlos Beltran was shut down for the final four games.  Beltran would say the mild inflammation in his surgically repaired right knee would require what the doctor ordered,

“I’m happy, actually the knee’s better, I’m happy for that part” said Beltran who was having a strong September which provided optimism for next season, that is, if the Mets don’t decide to trade him in what would be the final year of a $119 million dollar contract.

“The part that I’m not happy about is just that I wanted to finish the season playing but by the recommendation by the doctor they don’t want me to play.”

Ninth inning of game two and the Mets have one last chance to make this worthwhile in another meaningless game.  The “Cowbell Man” Ed Bison was doing his usual thing in a now almost desolate Citi Field, urging fans for one last push. You would think those doing the chanting were in a late season pennant race with their team.

They did cheer for Pedro Feliciano who pitched in both ends of the doubleheader. The lefthander has 91 appearances this season which extended his franchise record that he established the night before.  And they gave Angel Pagan his usual applause when he swiped his 37th base of the season in the first inning of game two, becoming the first Mets outfielder with that many since Rickey Henderson and Roger Cedeno in 1999.

Trevor Hoffman the career saves leader got number 601 for the Brewers and Mets fans went home seeing a double dip loss.  New York, (77-81) needs to win their last four games to avoid their second consecutive losing season. Count four, when including the collapses of 2007, 2008, and of course the injury plagued Mets of 2009.

A long day at the ballpark and there are those loyal Mets fans who are willing to be patient about winning again. And the good thing about it, they have a team that knows they are around to give them support even when ballgames mean nothing in late September.

e-mail Rich Mancuso:  Ring786@aol.com

Posted under Chris Carter, Double Dip, Evening Rain, Fastball, First Game, Game Fans, Late Evening, Leadoff Hitter, Losing Season, Loyal Fans, Makeup Game, Mets New York, Milwaukee Brewers, New York Mets, Niese, Nl Central, Nl East, Starting Pitcher, Top Of The Inning, Top Story, Upper Decks

This post was written by Rich Mancuso on September 30, 2010

Audio: Mets Drop DH

Bob Trainor of Trainor Communications was at Citi Field last night as the Mets dropped a double header to the Brewers

From the AP:

“Dave Bush needed a moment to think about it: One of his best outings of the season or an RBI single off knuckleballer R.A. Dickey?

“I guess today they’re equal,” Bush said. “Without it I wouldn’t get a win.”

Either way, they were both big.

Bush’s run-scoring single in the third inning was all the support he needed because he pitched six-plus innings of three-hit ball. Ryan Braun added a two-run double and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the New York Mets, 3-1, on Wednesday night to complete a doubleheader sweep in New York.”

Jerry Manuel

R.A. Dickey

Jon Niese

Ken Macha

Dave Bush

For More Info contact Bob at TrainorComm@gmail.com.

Posted under Bush Mp3, Contact Bob, Dave Bush, Double Header, Doubleheader Sweep, Ken Macha, Knuckleballer, Milwaukee Brewers, Mp3 Audio, New York Mets, Ryan Braun, Top Story, Trainor, Wednesday Night

This post was written by Bob Trainor on September 30, 2010

Tejada Provides A Much Needed Mets Spark

Ruben Tejada the 20-year old rookie infielder of the New York Mets has been patient realizing his playing time has also been a valuable experience. Back in April he was on the 25 man roster and struggled at the plate.

Patience is a virtue as they say. And for Tejada recalled from Triple-A Buffalo on August 7th, the learning process of being on a big league roster have probably earned him the starting second base job at Citi Field next season.

The roster move back in August came when the Mets released veteran infielder and clubhouse leader Alex Cora. “He helped me a lot, spoke to me about what to expect and how to play the big field,” Tejada said recently about his experience of playing in New York and taking Cora in as a mentor.

Tuesday night at Citi Field in the bottom of the ninth inning, with the Mets trailing the Milwaukee Brewers by two runs, in a game that meant nothing but playing for pride, Tejada got his chance. He hit an inside fastball off   Brewers hard throwing left handed closer John Axford.

The ball went into the left center field gap and Luis Castillo came home with the Mets seventh walk-off win of the season 4-3. Tejada was mobbed at home plate by his teammates after going 3-for-4 The second of his two doubles became the big hit with his two runs batted in.

Mets manager Jerry Manuel has always been an advocate of using Tejada as the every day second baseman which regulated the big contract of Castillo to the bench And when infielder Luis Hernandez broke his foot and ended his season on the prior home stand, the second base job and batting eighth in the lineup was permanent for Tejada.

“It was a matter of him getting some hits to fall for him,” said Manuel about the game wining hit that gave the Mets their first win of the season when trailing after eight innings. “Some things fell in for him tonight, that’s a great confidence boost for him.  He’s trying to establish to himself where he belongs on this level and he did a good job tonight,”

Tejada, who makes his off season home in Veraguas Panama has made it known that the adjustment to the big city has been a patient process, Just like being patient at the plate where he has been struggling to keep his average over .200.

“I feel great and hit the ball hard to the left fielder and won the game,’ he said after what hopefully will be many more of his walk off wins for the Mets. On the situation, he said, “I think I’m looking for my count and hit the ball to center field to tie the game.”

It was more than a game tying hit. It became the game winning hit that gave the Mets a good start to their final seven games of the season at home. “I want to finish up strong, we want to finish strong,” he said.

The three hits tied a career high that were achieved against the Pirates on September 14th. Back on September 5th, Tejada also became the second Met this season that had a five RBI game. “I saw the ball good that day,” he said and the wind was also blowing out that day at Wrigley Field.

“It’s been a great experience for me I’m learning a lot, it’s good,” commented Tejada. He will pack his bags after the final game Sunday and return home to be with his mother and members of his family, and then possibly play winter ball in Venezuela.

Something the Mets hope for is the continued development of their youngsters.  The future at Citi Field revolves around players like Tejada, and draft picks such as Ike Davis, Lucas Duda and pitcher Dillon Gee.

And as Tejada says, “I hope to be a part of that future.” A game wining hit and continued patience certainly have almost assured a welcome mat for Tejada at Citi Field next April as their starting second baseman.

e-mail Rich Mancuso: Ring786@aol.com

Posted under Alex Cora, August 7, Clubhouse, Fastball, Gap, Luis Castillo, Luis Hernandez, Man Roster, Mentor, Milwaukee Brewers, New York Mets, Ninth Inning, Patience Is A Virtue, Playing Time, Roster Move, Ruben, Second Baseman, Teammates, Top Story, Tuesday Night, Veteran Infielder

This post was written by Rich Mancuso on September 29, 2010

Audio: Mets Postgame 9/17

Bob Trainor of Trainor Communications offers These Soundbites from Friday’s Mets Loss.

Bobby Cox

Tommy Hansen

Jon Niese

Angel Pagan

Bobby Cox

Posted under Angel, Bobby Cox, Cox1, Jonathan, Mets, Mp3 Audio, New York Mets, Pagan, Soundbites, Tommy Hansen, Trainor

This post was written by Bob Trainor on September 18, 2010

A Storm is Coming

NEW YORK – It got dark and ominous as the usual bus ride approached Main Street in Flushing for the trip to Citi Field. We were warned to be careful as this unexpected storm hit this part of New York City. Never been in the battle of such a vicious storm as this was, and it certainly appeared to be a tornado.

Garbage bins went to the other corner, so did the newspaper bins. Wind swept rains gusting like a 100- mph fastball coming to the plate. A bolt of low level lightning and the steeple of historic St. Michaels Church came down. Parts leveled, thankfully on a vacant city bus and parts of the structure blown on Main Street adjacent to stores in that busy business district area of Flushing.

This was going to be another form of reporting and not about a baseball game in Flushing with all of the police activity and closed roads. Rather the carnage left behind from an unexpected storm that in all probability will be diagnosed as a level-1 tornado was going to be the story. Forget about the final game of a four-game series between the New York Mets and last place Pittsburgh Pirates.

The only way to the ballpark, with the 7 train effected with loss of power, a walk down Roosevelt Avenue. Commuters finding an alternative to get home walked past Citi Field under the 7 line to nearby Corona and other neighborhoods in the vicinity of Citi Field.

The ballpark had power. That was noticeable as the lights from Citi Field were clearly visible as we walked down Roosevelt Avenue and made detours around the carnage of downed trees and wind swept broken fences. Destination Citi Field and it looked like a ghost town.

As it was, those who braved the elements witnessed the storm from sheltered areas in the ballpark. There weren’t many in the ballpark when the first pitch, amazingly was thrown at 7:20pm. Only a 12-minute rain delay, because there is a good drainage system at Citi Field and an amazing grounds crew.

“You could not see from here to there,” said veteran reporter Bob Trainor who watched the event unfold from his press box seat where, he of course had the windows closed. “But it was frightening,” he said in the press dining room that also was effected as many members of the media who take the 7 train did not arrive until the sixth inning.

Grace the cashier had to leave because a tree fell in front of her home in nearby Flushing. Maureen the hostess made her phone calls to make sure everything was safe and sound at her home across the river in Bergen County New Jersey.

The official scorer Howie Karpin drove in from Manhattan, battled the gridlock and just made it for the first pitch. Yours truly reviewed the scary ride to Flushing eating the usual and satisfactory Citi Food press meal. And as the first pitch was thrown, there were about 1,000 hearty souls in their seats ready to watch a baseball game.

The upper decks were closed and, later the Mets rewarded those loyal fans to another game to one of the September 27-30 games against the Milwaukee Brewers. Because they got the game in as rain continued to fall, though not as vicious and ominous as the storm that passed.
Later credit Mets management for updating fans about travel conditions that shut down service on most parts of the Long Island Rail Road and an advisory that the 7 line resumed service. Fans felt more at ease, and also pleased about their team even if the sweep was against the worst team in baseball.

“It was unusual playing before so few fans and they are loyal to come out in weather like that,” said third base coach Chip Hale when the night was over. Another Mets win, 6-2 that put them over the .500 mark. A four- game sweep over Pittsburgh and the Mets first over the Pirates since June 19-22 1997

A night to remember this trip to Citi Field, a safe and sound ride home on the usual 7 train ride with Mets radio voice Wayne Hagin who compared the storm to the many he has witnessed in Chicago and the Midwest.

THE GAME AND NOTES:  Mile Pelfrey became the 10th Mets right hander in franchise history to win 15 games in a season and improved to 10-0 at Citi Field…. Rookie Lucas Duda snapped a 0-23 streak with a fourth inning two-run double and also double din the sixth inning for the first multi-hit game of his career…

Angel Pagan finished with three hits and drove in two runs, also extended his career high in steals with 34. He also picked up his ninth outfield assist when he as involved in an 8-4-3 double play in the fourth inning. The assists tied him for second in the National League after making a sliding catch in center that was nearly impossible.

“I am used to playing center field,” he said as Pagan has been used in right and left this season. “I couldn’t believe I made that catch.” He added the catch was done with his eyes closed and was glad it kept John Bowker from getting a triple which kept Pelfrey out of a jam…

Mets manager Jerry Manuel got his laugh of the night that was needed also from the small contingent of media members in his post game conference. When asked if Pagan was in the plans as a starting outfielder next season: “Sure would like to make that decision,” said the embattled Manuel who in al probability will not be making that decision next season…

Manuel also said that he and his team look forward to competing against the Atlanta Braves who are battling first place Philadelphia.  Atlanta comes to Citi Field for a three-game series that begins Friday evening. “We are playing the best baseball in a while even if it was against the Pirates. We will male them suffer a little and there will be that intensity,” he added about the Mets-Braves rivalry…

Pirates remained winless, 0-7 at Citi Field… Their rookie third baseman, Pedro Akvarez of the Dominican Republic and New York got his first hit in the series, a double, and scored a run as many in the slim crowd were friends, from his alma mater Horace Mann Academy in the Bronx.

“It was good coming home,” he said. “I am optimistic about the opportunity to be playing regularly. A graduate of Vanderbilt University, Alvarez was a fan of the Boston Red Sox and attributed his success to the family atmosphere and competitive spirit of other ballplayers from the Dominican Republic.

“We went through our adversity and made our sacrifices,” said Alvarez who is batting ,233 with 11 home runs and 43 RBI… The Mets have decided to shut down rookie pitcher Jenrry Mejia. Lifted after 2.1 innings Wednesday night, Mejia had an MRI that revealed rhomboid strain of the right shoulder blade….

e-mail Rich Mancuso: Ring786@aol.com

Posted under Baseball Game, Bus Ride, Business District, City Bus, Drainage System, Fastball, Final Game, Game Series, Garbage Bins, Ghost Town, Minute Rain Delay, New York Mets, Pittsburgh Pirates, Police Activity, St Michaels Church, Steeple, Top Story, Trainor, Unexpected Storm, Veteran Reporter, Vicious Storm

This post was written by Rich Mancuso on September 17, 2010

Audio: Mets Win In Extras

Bob Trainor of Trainor Communications was in the clubhouse for yesterday’s Mets 1-0 11 inning  win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Dillon Gee

Ike Davis

Andrew McCutchen

John Russell

For More Info contact Bob at TrainorComm@gmail.com.

Posted under Andrew Mccutchen, Clubhouse, Contact Bob, Dillon, John Russell, Mets, Mp3 Audio, New York Mets, Pittsburgh Pirates, Thole, Top Story, Trainor

This post was written by Bob Trainor on September 14, 2010

Audio: Mets Win One

Bob Trainor of Trainor Communications was in the clubhouse for yesterday’s Mets 4-3 win over the Philadelphia Phillies. Mike Pelfrey and Ike Davis shined for New York as they look to play out the schedule with a little respect.

Mike Pelfrey

Ike Davis

Charlie Manuel

Kyle Kendrick

For More Info contact Bob at TrainorComm@gmail.com.

Posted under Charlie Manuel, Clubhouse, Contact Bob, Kyle Kendrick, Little Respect, Mets, Mike Pelfrey, Mp3 Audio, New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies, Top Story, Trainor

This post was written by Bob Trainor on September 12, 2010

Clijsters Greatness Begins With Other Majors

FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – If she was a football team, she would be the 49ers of the 1980s and in basketball, she would be the Celtics of the 1960s.

If she was a baseball team, she would be the Yankees of the 1950s.

But Kim Clijsters is a tennis player, and a good one, especially on the hard courts in Flushing Meadows, the surface she loves the most. And after tonight, she became a dynasty with her third US Open with a dismantling of Vera Zvonareva, 6-2 6-1, in the shortest Women’s Final since they started keeping time back in 1980 and the most lopsided final since 1976, when Chris Everett took out Evonne Goolagong, 6-3 6-0 in Forest Hills.

The match was so lopsided that the capacity crowd was trying to egg on Zvonareva just to get their money’s worth.

But the world’s favorite working mom would have none of that as she wanted to get revenge of her Quarterfinal loss at Wimbledon by Zvonareva keeping her shutout of the other three majors.

“I knew getting into the match which things were that I didn’t do well in the matches I lost,” Clijsters said. “Obviously the one at Wimbledon was, to me one of the most disappointing losses that I’ve dealt with so far in my career.”

The reason why Clijsters was so disappointed back in July was that Wimbledon was her chance to make everyone believe she was more than just a hard court specialist. Winning the US Open every year is nice and the $2.2 million payday she received will pay for young Jada’s college tuition, but to be considered one of the greats, she needs to claim the crown elsewhere, be it in Melbourne, Paris, or London.

“I mean, they all motivate you in a different way, obviously,” she said.  “Tactic‑wise you always have to adjust a little bit to each and every single one of them.

“But I think the one where I’ve felt I can do better than I have is obviously at the Australian Open.  Similar surface.  They’ve gone away from I think the Rebound Ace in the last couple years.  So I’ve always enjoyed playing there.  That’s obviously a Grand Slam I want to do well.  I want to do well in all of them, of course.

“But, um, again, you have the two European Grand Slams, which, you know, obviously Wimbledon is the one where, you know, I’m close to because I have the connection with my dad there because he enjoyed it there.  I always want to do well there, as well.

“The French Open, yeah, feels like playing in Belgium because we have so many Belgian people supporting us.  We have the history of a lot of past Belgians who have won there.  They all have a different impact on the way you feel and a positive impact, and I think that’s something I want to use when I go back there next year.”

It’s funny, though, Clijsters also has a connection with each of the Grand Slams. Australia adopted her calling the Belgian “Aussie Kim” because of her engagement to Lleyton Hewitt. Wimbledon and Roland Garros love her because she is a Belgian and almost an adoptive daughter.

And she is loved here in New York, because she is a part time New Jersey resident, as her husband Brian Lynch hails from the Garden State.

Yet, she’s only found championships by the Unisphere, because the hard courts excel her skills raising her record to 21-0 in her last three Opens.

“The surface has always been one of my favorite surfaces to play on,” Clijsters said. “I also like the blue courts, which, you know, make it a lot easier for me to see on.

“But I’ve always ‑‑ not just here in New York, but I’ve always had a very good run on the American hard courts, even when I was younger, you know, the whole US Open Series, Stanford, San Diego, LA, those kind of tournaments.

“I’ve always had a pretty good record going there.  I have a natural instinct of just adapting really well to, you know, the hard courts, which doesn’t come that easily for me when I go on different surfaces.”

Now, though, the 27 year-old needs to raise her game if she wants to be considered one of the greats. In the next year, Clijsters needs to she can win one of the other three Grand Slams. She said she wants to play through the Olympics in 2012, but after that it’s up in the air. Jada will be going to school and her priorities will change.

The clock is ticking and as with all dynasties they will come to an end someday.

Posted under Australian Open, Baseball Team, Capacity Crowd, Celtics, Chris Everett, College Tuition, Evonne Goolagong, Football Team, Forest Hills, Jada, Joe Mcdonald, Keeping Time, Kim Clijsters, New York Mets, Rebound Ace, S College, Shutout, Single One, Tennis Player, Top Story, Vera Zvonareva, Wimbledon, Working Mom

This post was written by Joe McDonald on September 12, 2010

Mets To Play Out String Without Johan

New York – Johan Santana is done again in September. It does not matter for the New York Mets now. They started to play out the string a month ago as their playoff chances continued to fade for one reason or another.

But once again, Santana, the ace will not finish the season. The two-time CY Young Award winner has been shut down after an MRI exam result showed a torn antenor on the front and bottom of his pitching shoulder. It was last September 1st when he was shut down to remove bone chips from his left elbow.

“I just hope to recover and hope this will be the end of it,” he said prior to the Mets 8-4 loss to the first place Phillies at Citi Field Friday night. “Get everything fixed,” he would say.  But this was not what the Mets envisioned when GM Omar Minaya signed him to a six-year $137.5 million dollar contract.

It is baseball, the aspects of injuries and a definite risk when signing players to the long term and lucrative deal. However there is that definite opinion that the Mets organization is beset with a hex and not a miracle. All based of course on a recurring string of injuries, last season and now.

Santana again, Jose Reyes more than once, John Maine shut down, and of course the concussion symptoms that may or may not have ended the season for Jason Bay.

In the case of Santana, blame medical personnel of the Mets organization? Perhaps, or it is the case of a pitcher who had thrown too many innings in Minnesota before coming to New York. Whatever the reason, Santana is done and the Mets once again move on to next year.

“I feel he will fulfill those next three years,” said Minaya about the contract. He observed Santana speaking to the media at the pre game press conference.  Again it is another dismal September for Minaya, the Mets and their fans at Citi Field.” Hopefully, we’ll have him back sooner than later,” said Minaya.

Santana will have surgery soon and hopes to recover by January. That may be pushing the button. He will get a second opinion from famed orthopedist Dr. James Andrews.  But we should have known that there was more trouble for the Mets ace when he was lifted after five innings in Atlanta last week because of stiffness.

The Mets said later it was a strained pectoral muscle and Santana would be listed as day-to-day.  Sounds familiar? Have we not heard and seen this before from Mets brass when it comes to the extent of an injury, more so to one of their high profiled players?

So in September again the Mets will show off their home grown talent on the field, and on the mound. In place of Santana is Dillon Gee who made his Major League debut down in Washington D.C. this week and flirted with a no-hitter.

Rookie pitcher Jenrry Mejia (0-4) failed once again to get his first Major League win Friday evening. He remains in the rotation, for the remainder of the string in the stretch of September. A lot to learn and minimal pressure without a pennant race to be concerned about.

Mets manager Jerry Manuel said he has no other options now that Santana has thrown his last pitch in 2010. “At this point we’ll see how he does,” he said about Mejia who observed there needs to be adjustments made when he faces a lineup the second time around.

And for the Mets, adjustments once again in September as they plan for next year with or without Santana on the mound.

e-mail Rich Mancuso: Ring786@aol.com

Posted under Antenor, Bone Chips, Citi, Concussion Symptoms, Cy Young, Cy Young Award, Cy Young Award Winner, Dollar Contract, Exam Result, Game Press, Jason Bay, Johan Santana, Jose Reyes, Last September, Lucrative Deal, Mri Exam, New York Mets, Omar Minaya, Phillies, Playoff Chances, Top Story

This post was written by Rich Mancuso on September 11, 2010