Amazins Have Chance To Bury Bombers

Another day, another shutout by the Mets, who now have crawled back to one game under .500 before the Subway Series this weekend.

And what a great time to find their game as the club may be catching the Yankees at just the right time this year.

For those who have been under a rock or at least try to ignore what is happening north of the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge, the Yankees are a team in turmoil. Sure they won last night, but that came on the heels of a seven out of eight skid, which saw the Bombers throw their icons under the bus.

First Jorge Posada asked out of the lineup last Saturday after getting dropped to ninth in the batting order. After sitting out for a couple of days, he played on Tuesday in Tampa, but still is in Joe Girardi’s doghouse. His average is still on the Interstate at .179.

Then Derek Jeter irked Yankee officials by daring to defend his friend, instead of toting the company line and his got into the Yankee brass’s crosshairs.

Well, at least Mariano Rivera kept quiet over the past week, and there is no truth to the rumor Reggie Jackson was flown in for a tongue lashing, just for good measure.

And all of this turmoil, losing, and Bronx Zooery up there at the House that Jeter Built may be a good thing for the Mets, as the Amazins are playing their best ball of the year without the services of Ike Davis and David Wright, and relying on – of all things – strong starting pitching and solid relief.

Add to that a few rookies that just don’t know any better and things seems nice in Queens.

“We got to get to .500 and that’s all we are thinking about right now,” said pitcher Jason Irsinghausen, who was on the Mets back in 1998 and 1999 when the Subway Series was in its infancy. “It’s a May series. It’s just another baseball game for all of us. It’s nice to go to Yankee Stadium, though.”

A sweep by the Mets would be even nicer as the Yankees could be pushed over the edge. With R.A. Dickey, Chris Capuano, and Mike Pelfrey going for the Mets against Freddy Garcia, A.J. Burnett, and Ian Nova, the pitching matchup is there.

Add to that Jose Reyes being Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran playing for a contract and Frankie Rodriguez pitching like there’s $17 million dollars on the line, you have to at least give the Mets a better than average chance.

Imagine what would happen if the pass the hat Mets sweep the mighty Yankees. Posada would probably be released. Players would be demoted. Derek Jeter would be dropped down in the lineup and maybe a coach or two would get whacked.

Although George Steinbrenner is no longer with us, over the last week, we have seen the Bronx Zoo alive and well on 161st Street.

And the Mets will get a chance to make a statement. For a team so desperate to sell tickets and so e desperate to remain relevant, this is their weekend to get back in the good graces of their disillusioned fan base and maybe change the tide of New York Baseball for both teams.

Two shutouts against the Nationals were a nice start, but now this is their chance to shine.

Posted under Baseball Game, Bombers, David Wright, Derek Jeter, Doghouse, Good Measure, Infancy, Joe Girardi, Joe Mcdonald, Jorge Posada, Kennedy Bridge, Last Saturday, Mariano Rivera, New York Mets, Reggie Jackson, Robert F Kennedy, Rookies, Shutout, Subway Series, Top Story, Yankee Brass, Yankee Stadium

This post was written by Joe McDonald on May 19, 2011

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Baseball Reacts To The Death of Bin Laden

PHILADELPHIA – There was the chant from the 45,000 fans, Sunday night at Citizens Bank Ballpark in Philadelphia. They repeated “U-S-A! U-S-A!, as the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies continued to play a baseball game on a Sunday evening in early May. The game on national television, ESPN, at this point in the season meant more for the Mets who were trying to snap another brief but significant three-game losing streak.

We got word in the press box, through the technology of social media, and the on the press box televisions, that Osama bin Laden had been killed as the Mets were at bat in the top of the ninth inning. Fans checked their phones, and media in the press box went to the CNN and Fox News web sites to verify what was going on.

It was that type of night in Philadelphia, and another memorable one for the Mets as it pertained to the events of September 11, 2001.  “Probably a night I will never forget,” said Mets’ pitcher Chris Young who was back in the training room after pitching seven strong innings.

“I got chills hearing that crowd,” he said, as once again, baseball and the New York Mets were a part of history. “It’s a historic night and a great victory for the United States,” said Young. He wasn’t on the Mets team, neither were any members of the current roster when baseball returned at Shea Stadium 10 days later after the attacks of September 11.

However, as news reverberated around the stadium, and into the ears of the players, coaches, and manager, the events of that night of September 21, 2001 were recalled. Once again baseball was being played but the events taking place were more important.  The Mets and Phillies, rivals in the National league east, just like the Mets and Braves in that game when baseball returned 10 years ago, were no longer rivals.

“This is a good win for us and obviously a huge win for America tonight,” said Mets manager Terry Collins in his post- game press conference with the media. Collins did not immediately talk about the game. The Mets would win in 14-innings, maybe not as dramatic to the Mike Piazza home run at Shea Stadium that beat the Braves that night, when baseball became the healing process for New York City and all of America.

Collins heard the chants. “You almost want to stop the game,” he said. “You almost want to just stop the game and have that girl come and sing another beautiful rendition of ‘God Bless America,’” he said. But the game did not stop. And up in the press box, the media continued to monitor how it all unfolded.

They, too, got caught up in what was now more than reporting about a baseball game. It was news again, historic, as America finally got retribution and took down the most sought after mass murderer of this era. Baseball was still being played but those who lost their lives in New York City, Washington D.C. and in Pennsylvania, the brave military and uniform service personnel, and all who have been a part of this mission, they, were the story this evening.

Baseball was being played as scheduled. The military mission to end this 10-year hunt of searching, capturing, or killing bin Laden on the same night was a coincidence. And the Mets happened to be around this story again, the New York impact where the events of September 11, 2001 were mostly captured.

This was no longer going to be a night when the Mets snapped their latest losing streak and not a story about the Mets avoiding a three-game sweep by the first place Phillies. It was about America, and all the victims, and heroes of that tragic day of September 11, 2001.

And when David Wright of the Mets scored on a double hit by Ronnie Paulino in the top of the 14th inning, for the go- ahead run, there probably weren’t that many still tuned into the game on ESPN. They were watching the network news feeds and determining where do we go from here?  Are the threats against America over?

Probably not we were saying up in the press box. We will still have to be scanned before going into the ballpark, and be conscious of threats to our security. The implications will always be a part of our lives due to that tragic day of 10-years ago.

And for one night again, baseball was a part of the story. Except this time we were not the victims and America stayed strong. Some of us at times wonder why at the ballpark, in particular every seventh inning stretch at Yankee Stadium, do we stand and sing the words, “God Bless America?”

It won’t be questioned again next week at Yankee Stadium, or this week at Citi Field. Baseball was significant for America 10-years ago and again Sunday night May 1, 2011. We cheered what was going on the playing field and more so for those who help keep us protected.

Most of all, we never forget the victims of September 11, 2011.

Email Rich Mancuso: Ring786@aol.com

 

Posted under Baseball Game, Chills, Citizens Bank Ballpark, Cnn, Fox News, Game Losing Streak, Game Press, Mets Team, National League East, National Television, New York Mets, Ninth Inning, Philadelphia Phillies, Phillies Baseball, Rich Mancuso, September 11 2001, Shea Stadium, Top Story

This post was written by Rich Mancuso on May 2, 2011

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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