Sports Beat “Wright’s injury hamstrings Mets”

Mets fans emitted a collective groan last Friday seeing David Wright writhe in pain after running hard to first base in the tenth inning of yet another extra inning game for the Amazin’s. The immediate diagnosis was that Wright had a suffered a pulled hamstring in his right leg.

Unlike in past years when Mets management would delay putting players on the disabled list in the hopes of some overnight miraculous recovery which never happened, Wright was immediately placed on the 15-day disabled list. The immediate consensus however was that he would not be playing again until early September.

You can’t blame the Mets for being cautious with their superstar. Although he is younger than Derek Jeter, the team does not want to risk having their captain try to return to duty only to watch him reinjure himself the way the Yankees captain did. Unlike the Yankees, the Mets have no shot at playing in the post-season so it makes total sense for Mets executives to be ultra conservative when it comes to handling their best player who earns $20 million annually.

The silver lining about Wright’s injury is that it opened up a roster spot for outfielder and Whitestone native Mike Baxter who was unfairly sent down to the Mets’ Las Vegas AAA affiliate in June when team executives reached their patience level with struggling first baseman Ike Davis. General manager Sandy Alderson wanted to make it look like he was instituting a team shakeup to lessen the spotlight on Davis’s failure.

Alderson and manager Terry Collins were infatuated with the alleged talents of young outfielder Jordany Valdespin to Baxter’s detriment. While Valdespin did deliver a few clutch pinch hits, he infuriated teammates with his hot-dogging style which included standing at home plate marveling a home run he swatted in the ninth inning. If that wasn’t bad enough, his team was losing 7-1 at the time which is not exactly a great time for showmanship.

The next day, to no one’s surprise, a Pirates pitcher hit him in the back. Jordany publicly sulked because his teammates did not storm the field in his defense and even seemed to back the Pirates’ decision to nail him.

Valdespin was eventually demoted to the Las Vegas 51s. Last week, word came back that he was back to his old tricks as he stood in the batter’s box admiring a home run he swatted against the Sacramento River Cats. The opposing pitcher naturally drilled Valdespin the next time he batted.  This time however he got support as his manager, fiery Wally Backman, led Valdespin’s teammates onto the field for a brawl to show support. Both Valdespin and Backman drew one-game suspensions. The word is that Sandy Alderson wasn’t very happy.

*******

The Time Warner Cable-CBS dispute is the latest battle between a television network and a cable/satellite provider when it comes to carriage rights fees.

Time Warner Cable claims that it shouldn’t have to pay CBS to air its programs because it’s a broadcast network that airs its shows to the public for free. CBS argues that Time Warner Cable pays cable networks such as ESPN $6 per subscriber and that puts it at a disadvantage when negotiating sports rights fees. CBS is still smarting at how ESPN was able to outbid it for US Open rights beginning in 2015.

Time Warner removed CBS-owned stations from its lineup last Friday at 5 PM even though the Tiffany Network was willing to have its shows air over TWC systems while the two sides were negotiating.

Why was Time Warner Cable so eager to pull the plug on CBS? My guess is that TWC executives figured that August is the slowest time in the television industry since primetime shows are generally in repeats and that there are few marquee sports events.

In terms of using a prize fight as an analogy, Time Warner Cable executives were hoping to score an early knockout and have CBS settle on terms favorable to their side. If this dispute is not settled by early next month, CBS will get the upper hand for the middle rounds because it has the rights to National Football League games. They would really be in the driver’s seat if the New York Jets had a decent team but that will not be the case in 2013.

If things were to really drag on through late September it would be a draw because CBS needs distribution for its fall primetime shows to succeed while Time Warner would certainly lose a lot of customers to upstart challenger Verizon Fios if viewers can’t see their old favorites or be denied the opportunity to discover the network’s new shows.

The last time Time Warner Cable customers lost a favorite channel was when the company and MSG Networks could not agree on a deal and the channels that broadcast Knicks, Rangers, Islanders, and Devils games were pulled for 48 days. Both MSG and TWC ran acrimonious ads accusing one another of outrageous greed and negotiating in bad faith. Today Time Warner Cable is a major sponsor at Madison Square Garden. Go figure.

I wonder if former Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Bill Cowher has offered to arbitrate this dispute since he is both an NFL analyst for CBS Sports and a spokesman for Time Warner Cable as is evident from those annoying ubiquitous commercials.

Posted under Aaa Affiliate, Amazin, Collective Groan, David Wright, Derek Jeter, Early September, First Baseman, Hamstrings, Inning Game, Lloyd Carroll, Mike Baxter, Miraculous Recovery, New York Mets, Ninth Inning, Patience Level, Pinch Hits, Sandy Alderson, Showmanship, Top Story, Writhe In Pain

Sports Beat “Wright’s injury hamstrings Mets”

Mets fans emitted a collective groan last Friday seeing David Wright writhe in pain after running hard to first base in the tenth inning of yet another extra inning game for the Amazin’s. The immediate diagnosis was that Wright had a suffered a pulled hamstring in his right leg.

Unlike in past years when Mets management would delay putting players on the disabled list in the hopes of some overnight miraculous recovery which never happened, Wright was immediately placed on the 15-day disabled list. The immediate consensus however was that he would not be playing again until early September.

You can’t blame the Mets for being cautious with their superstar. Although he is younger than Derek Jeter, the team does not want to risk having their captain try to return to duty only to watch him reinjure himself the way the Yankees captain did. Unlike the Yankees, the Mets have no shot at playing in the post-season so it makes total sense for Mets executives to be ultra conservative when it comes to handling their best player who earns $20 million annually.

The silver lining about Wright’s injury is that it opened up a roster spot for outfielder and Whitestone native Mike Baxter who was unfairly sent down to the Mets’ Las Vegas AAA affiliate in June when team executives reached their patience level with struggling first baseman Ike Davis. General manager Sandy Alderson wanted to make it look like he was instituting a team shakeup to lessen the spotlight on Davis’s failure.

Alderson and manager Terry Collins were infatuated with the alleged talents of young outfielder Jordany Valdespin to Baxter’s detriment. While Valdespin did deliver a few clutch pinch hits, he infuriated teammates with his hot-dogging style which included standing at home plate marveling a home run he swatted in the ninth inning. If that wasn’t bad enough, his team was losing 7-1 at the time which is not exactly a great time for showmanship.

The next day, to no one’s surprise, a Pirates pitcher hit him in the back. Jordany publicly sulked because his teammates did not storm the field in his defense and even seemed to back the Pirates’ decision to nail him.

Valdespin was eventually demoted to the Las Vegas 51s. Last week, word came back that he was back to his old tricks as he stood in the batter’s box admiring a home run he swatted against the Sacramento River Cats. The opposing pitcher naturally drilled Valdespin the next time he batted.  This time however he got support as his manager, fiery Wally Backman, led Valdespin’s teammates onto the field for a brawl to show support. Both Valdespin and Backman drew one-game suspensions. The word is that Sandy Alderson wasn’t very happy.

*******

The Time Warner Cable-CBS dispute is the latest battle between a television network and a cable/satellite provider when it comes to carriage rights fees.

Time Warner Cable claims that it shouldn’t have to pay CBS to air its programs because it’s a broadcast network that airs its shows to the public for free. CBS argues that Time Warner Cable pays cable networks such as ESPN $6 per subscriber and that puts it at a disadvantage when negotiating sports rights fees. CBS is still smarting at how ESPN was able to outbid it for US Open rights beginning in 2015.

Time Warner removed CBS-owned stations from its lineup last Friday at 5 PM even though the Tiffany Network was willing to have its shows air over TWC systems while the two sides were negotiating.

Why was Time Warner Cable so eager to pull the plug on CBS? My guess is that TWC executives figured that August is the slowest time in the television industry since primetime shows are generally in repeats and that there are few marquee sports events.

In terms of using a prize fight as an analogy, Time Warner Cable executives were hoping to score an early knockout and have CBS settle on terms favorable to their side. If this dispute is not settled by early next month, CBS will get the upper hand for the middle rounds because it has the rights to National Football League games. They would really be in the driver’s seat if the New York Jets had a decent team but that will not be the case in 2013.

If things were to really drag on through late September it would be a draw because CBS needs distribution for its fall primetime shows to succeed while Time Warner would certainly lose a lot of customers to upstart challenger Verizon Fios if viewers can’t see their old favorites or be denied the opportunity to discover the network’s new shows.

The last time Time Warner Cable customers lost a favorite channel was when the company and MSG Networks could not agree on a deal and the channels that broadcast Knicks, Rangers, Islanders, and Devils games were pulled for 48 days. Both MSG and TWC ran acrimonious ads accusing one another of outrageous greed and negotiating in bad faith. Today Time Warner Cable is a major sponsor at Madison Square Garden. Go figure.

I wonder if former Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Bill Cowher has offered to arbitrate this dispute since he is both an NFL analyst for CBS Sports and a spokesman for Time Warner Cable as is evident from those annoying ubiquitous commercials.

Posted under Aaa Affiliate, Amazin, Collective Groan, David Wright, Derek Jeter, Early September, First Baseman, Hamstrings, Inning Game, Lloyd Carroll, Mike Baxter, Miraculous Recovery, New York Mets, Ninth Inning, Patience Level, Pinch Hits, Sandy Alderson, Showmanship, Top Story, Writhe In Pain

This post was written by Lloyd Carroll on August 4, 2013

Tags: , , , , ,

Mets Need To Do Something With Ike

Flushing, NY – Before the season if you said ‘51’ to Ike Davis, he would probably think that’s the number of homers he would have this season.

Come next week, ‘51’ will be the name of his team.

Davis looks terrible at the plate, swinging pitches out of the zone for his first two at bats tonight making him halfway to the Golden Sombrero.  It’s just an example of a player that who it and because the Mets are not performing as a whole, Davis has become public enemy No. 1 at Citi Field with the daily chatter about his woes.

“It’s certainly tough on Ike. At this level, every player puts an added amount of pressure on themselves when they’re the go-to guys,” manager Terry Collins said.  “Now, with all the focus and all the questions, there’s even more pressure on Ike. And that’s why we’ve tried to take a little bit off with the conversation Sandy [Alderson] had last week in Chicago with him, to try to ease his mind a little bit — ‘Hey, look, focus on the game. Don’t focus on the stuff off the field.’ That’s why I took him out of the fourth hole. He’s got enough heat on him, let alone hit in the fourth hole and struggle.”

If he doesn’t perform, Davis will be sent to the minors. It’s just a matter of time. It may even be an indictment on the Mets that he is still starting at first base, because they just don’t have anyone else.

However, that’s not true either according to Collins, who said they do have options. “Have we discussed them? No, because he’s the first baseman still,” Collins explained.  “But you’ve got Lucas, you’ve got Dan Murphy, you’ve got Justin Turner. We’ve got options. But no one has discussed anything about any replacements yet.”

Even with no true replacement, the Mets have to do something. With Ruben Tejada hitting .211 going into tonight’s game, the team has a bottom third of the lineup with what could be considered automatic outs, which isn’t going to help the team win any games. They can get by with Tejada not hitting because of his defense, but need offensive production out of first base, especially streaky lineup the Mets tend to produce.

What about accountability? Collins came in two and a half years ago preaching the players will be held accountable but what kind of message does it send when you trot Davis out there day after day? What kind of message is it sending to the Mets younger players?

Yet, Davis’s play is screaming “Vegas Baby” and unless he has a huge weekend, won’t be facing his Dad’s former team next week.

And if he goes down, then what’s next for Ike?

“I’ve had a few players of Ike’s stature that came back to the minor leagues,” Collins said. “And I used to tell them: Look, you’ve got 24 hours to be unhappy. And, after that, your job is to get back. You have two choices: They’re either going to be right by sending you down or they’re going to be wrong by sending you down. What do you want to do? Now, we’ve got to go to work. Complain, do all the stuff you want to do for 24 hours. And then we’ve got to get back to work.

“Obviously, in this situation, where we’re going to Vegas, it could be that Ike Davis hits five fly balls and hits five home runs. Does that mean he’s ready to come back? I don’t know. If he is sent out, the reports have got to be his swing is more consistent. He’s driving balls to left field, left-center field, staying on the ball better, not swinging at balls out of the strike zone. Those types of things are the reports you want to hear. But in the development of those types of guys, the first thing you have to do is make sure their mind is right. ‘I got off to a bad start. I’ve got to fix it. Let’s go get it fixed and I’ll get back there.’ …

“Sometimes you send them to a place like Vegas, that confidence will come back in a hurry. I’ve seen some guys go down there and hit the ball pretty good and all of a sudden, ‘Boy, I’m ready now.’ … But in Ike’s case, I don’t want, if something should happen and he goes to Vegas, to look up and have him hit a home run tonight and a home run tomorrow and a home run the next day and all of a sudden say, ‘He’s back.’ I think the process is going to be a little longer than that.”

Well, maybe Davis is an Elvis fan. Viva Las Vegas.

Posted under Bats, First Baseman, Fourth Hole, Homers, Joe Mcdonald, Mets, New York Mets, Pitches, Public Enemy, Public Enemy No 1, Sandy Alderson, Struggle, Tejada, Top Story, Wit

Sports Beat “A strange roll of the dice”

When word leaked out last week that the Mets were hoping to be part of a syndicate to build a casino in Willets Point in a plan presented to Mayor Bloomberg in 2011, my immediate reaction was “What the hell were these guys thinking?”

Two years ago, the Mets were in the midst of the fallout from the Bernie Madoff scandal. Madoff Securities victims’ trustee Irving Picard had his sights set on collecting hundreds of millions from Mets ownership as restitution. The team’s cash flow, not to mention its image, were, and in many ways still are, in deep trouble. It was the epitome of chutzpah on the Mets’ part to expect any governmental authority to grant them permission to build a casino.

Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig must have felt betrayed when he heard the news that Mets CEO Fred Wilpon had desires of becoming the Steve Wynn of Flushing. Selig has long been one of Wilpon’s strongest allies even during the darkest days of the Madoff scandal. He gave the Mets the 2013 All-Star Game as a token of that friendship.

Selig, like all of his predecessors, has viewed the gaming industry as an anathema. His refusal to consider reinstating Pete Rose for betting on baseball is a clear example.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has long been a proponent for allowing bettors to place wagers on sporting events and has vowed to use the court system make that happen. If Christie were to prevail, then all casinos would be able to have sports books. Currently, you can only make a wager on college and professional sports in Nevada. It would be obviously embarrassing for Bud if an MLB team owner was connected to a casino where patrons could bet on America’s pastime.

What might make sense for a racetrack doesn’t for baseball. Having a casino a stone’s throw away from a baseball stadium is clearly at odds with the sport’s wholesome family image that Major League Baseball has cultivated for well over a century.

Mets first baseman Ike Davis, Yankees ace CC Sabathia, and Yankees relief pitcher David Phelps were among the honorees at the 33rd annual Thurman Munson Dinner which benefits AHRC, a non-profit organization that helps the lives of the mentally disabled of all ages.

Davis laughingly apologized to the press for the miserable first two months of the 2012 season where he batted .150. He had missed a good chunk of the 2011 season with an ankle injury and his bad luck continued in 2012 when the Arizona resident contracted Valley Fever. He said that he did not take any special precautions during this off-season and claimed that his body would not now have immunity against the disease in the future.

Former Knicks point guard and current CBS/Turner/YES basketball analyst Greg Anthony was also an award recipient at the dinner named in honor of the former Yankees captain who was killed in the prime of life in a private plane crash in 1979.

Greg has always been vocal about being an African-American Republican and lamented about the state that the party is in. “I am a centrist and we need to move to the center. The party has been taken over by TV and radio talk show hosts who are entertainers and should not be setting policy.”

He is not giving up on the GOP regaining its footing however. “It’s like in sports. If you keep losing then you are going to fire those who are in charge,” Anthony added.

Giants defensive end Justin Tuck was of the NFL stars chosen by the USA Network for its “Characters Unite” documentary and public service ads. Tuck discusses how he was bullied while trying to succeed in school as a youngster.

Former USA Network president and Hollis native Bonnie Hammer just received a big promotion as she was named president of Comcast’s entire cable television portfolio. Among those who will be reporting to her are Oxygen Network chief Jason Klarman who grew up in Rego Park.

Actor Peter Facinelli, who grew up in Howard Beach and graduated from St. Francis Prep in Fresh Meadows, was among those who caught the Nautica Fall 2013 Fashion preview at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. Nautica is celebrating its 30th anniversary and is one of the few male clothing brands to have a runway show at Lincoln Center.

Joe Flacco, the Baltimore Ravens Super Bowl-winning quarterback was on hand for the Tommy Hilfiger presentation at Fashion Week. It wasn’t that long ago that professional male athletes would never be seen at a Fashion Week event but that has dramatically changed over the years. Two years ago American Express brought in Rangers rookie Brian Boyle and his then Knicks counterpart, Landry Fields, to their Fashion Week skybox to mingle with clients and media. Amar’e Stoudemire, urbane Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist, and former Rangers enforcer Sean Avery have made numerous appearances on the famed front row over the years.

This is the time of the year when many travel officials from foreign countries meet with journalists to help promote their summer tourism. Last week  French tourism officials were promoting the centennial of the Tour de France and they admitted that it’s an awkward sell to the American public given the performance enhancement drug culture of the sport in the 21st century as exemplified by former Tour champs Lance Armstrong and Floyd Landis. They wisely however played up their beautiful countryside and famous cuisine and wines .

Thailand has seen a remarkable growth in tourism thanks to an unlikely source, the film “The Hangover Two” that was shot there. A Thailand tourism official rightfully pointed out that Thai boxing, with its mixture of fisticuffs and thrusting leg kicks, is what mixed martial arts leagues such as Ultimate Fighting Championship have based their incredibly popular sport.

Last week’s “Saturday Night Live” hosted by Justin Bieber was a nice return to form. The show opened with a brilliant spoof of the NFL on CBS team and the difficult time that they had ad-libbing during the third quarter power outage at the Super Bowl. Kenan Thompson, Jay Pharaoh, Tim Robinson, and Jason Sudeikis truly nailed James Brown, Shannon Sharpe, Bill Cowher, and Dan Marino respectively.

The Super Bowl of track & field, the Millrose Games, will take place at the Armory in Washington Heights. The highlight, as per tradition, will be the Wanamaker Mile.

In this high tech age board games are surprisingly not considered passe judging by what I saw at Toy Fair held at the Javits Center on Sunday. Techno-Source’s NFL Rush and Fremont Die’s NFL Game Day use dice and cards as a way of simulating a pro football game. Logos from all 32 NFL teams are included in both games. Fremont Die also showcased its oversized metal wastebaskets from every pro league except the NBA.

Franklin Sports will be entering the costume market with its helmet & jersey collection which will make you look like a player for your favorite NFL team. The helmet though is a plastic replica with a warning label on the helmet that it is not meant for actual game use. The company is expecting it to be a big Halloween sales mover for them.

Coconut water has certainly become the hot sports drink. For the past few years O.N.E, Zico and Vita Coco have dominated the market. Last year Knicks star Carmelo Anthony became a major investor in a company called Power Coco. A Chicago Blackhawks trainer has now come up with Coco 5 named after the five types of electrolytes his drink replenishes. In terms of taste, Coco 5 is by far the best of the bunch.

Way before there were sports bars, New York steakhouses were the gathering places to watch a game or a fight with the guys while enjoying an upscale meal. Toots Shor’s is long gone; Ben Benson’s closed their doors last year, and there are reports that Gallagher’s is hanging by a thread. It was therefore reassuring that the Old Homestead in Chelsea is still going strong. Last week they celebrated the 60th anniversary of their bovine statue mascot, Annabelle, being located above its entrance with a block party. Free hamburgers, birthday cake, and Yoo Hoo were dispensed to all who celebrated with Annabelle.

Posted under Baseball Stadium, Bettors, Chutzpah, Commissioner Bud Selig, Darkest Days, Deep Trouble, First Baseman, Fred Wilpon, Governmental Authority, Jersey Governor, Lloyd Carroll, Major League Baseball, Mayor Bloomberg, Might Make Sense, New York Mets, Roll Of The Dice, Steve Wynn, Top Story, Wholesome Family

Davis Finishes Mets-Astros NL Chapter with a Bang (… and with Another)

Given the state of this year’s major league baseball standings, Sunday’s late-August meeting between the then-fourth-place New York Mets and the MLB-worst-Houston Astros at Citi Field obviously lacked the drama produced by the same two franchises during their extremely memorable 1986 National League Championship Series, but it nonetheless provided an exciting finish as the NL chapter of the all-time Mets-Astros series came to a close.

In an otherwise uneventful game involving a pair of clubs simply playing out the string, a late Houston rally, a nice play by New York to nab a runner at the plate, and two blasts over the right field wall by first baseman Ike Davis provided recollections of some thrilling moments when a lot more was once at stake – for one last time – with the Mets and Astros as NL opponents, prior to Houston becoming a member of the American League’s western division next year.

Neither the of the largely punch-less offenses – the Astros, the statistically lightest-hitting team in the majors, nor the Mets, who had been mired in their worst offensive stretch in three decades – could hit their way out of a paper bag, making a pair of non-descript, young starters – Houston’s Lucas Harrell (in his fourth season, but basically a rookie in terms of big league experience) and New York’s rookie Jeremy Hefner – look like a classic re-match of former aces Mike Scott and Dwight Gooden (who opposed each other in a classic Game 1 pitching duel in the 1986 NLCS, with Scott and the Astros edging the Mets, 1-0).

Harrell (seven innings, two hits, one run, seven strikeouts, two walks) and Hefner (eight-plus innings, five hits, one run, seven strikeouts, two walks) kept their respective non-threatening opposing lineups in check throughout a rapidly-paced contest that – because of the deficiency of offensive production – through eight innings, was on pace to finish in an unheard of (by today’s standards) two hours or less, and which still completed in a very tidy 2 hours and 19 minutes, even with a 24-minute ninth inning.

Five innings after Davis’ first home run of the afternoon – a crushing drive in the bottom of the fourth inning, just below Citi Field’s Pepsi Porch, and well into the upper deck in right field – gave the Mets a 1-0 lead that stood up until the final inning, the Astros tied the game on a run-scoring double by second baseman Marwin Gonzalez, who smacked a liner toward the left field corner.

Gonzalez’s hit glanced off of the glove of left fielder Lucas Duda, who was returning to the majors from a short stint in the minor leagues, where he was converted from a right fielder. That play forced an exit – to a standing ovation from many of the 25,071 fans in attendance (myself included) – for Hefner, who was bidding for the first shutout and first complete game of his career.

It appeared that the Astros would instead take their first lead three batters later however, when right fielder Ben Francisco singled against closer Bobby Parnell to left field, in front of Duda, until the Mets’ third-year outfielder redeemed himself with a good throw that allowed newly acquired catcher Kelly Shoppach just enough time to make a nice play of his own.

Shoppach blocked home plate with his left leg and applied a game-saving tag on Gonzalez, who was trying to score from second base. Gonzalez argued the call (which was a correct one) and was promptly tossed from the game by home plate umpire David Rackley.

That set the stage for Davis, who got just enough of a pitch from reliever Wilton Lopez to send a fly ball barely over the right field fence and just past the glove of a leaping Francisco for Davis’ second home run of the game and a walk-off 2-1 win for New York – the same score the Mets beat the Astros by, in 12 innings, in Game 5 of the 1986 NLCS at Shea Stadium, just steps from where Davis and New York beat Houston in an NL contest for the final time.

Just as in that Game 5 victory, the Mets won despite mustering a mere four hits and being outhit by the Astros, but none were bigger than the two home runs from Davis, who did a jumping spin before landing on home plate, where he was mobbed by his teammates.

The win meant little for the Mets in the big picture of the 2012 season, especially when contrasted against those exhilarating October victories against the Astros 26 years earlier.

Instead of paving a way toward their first World Series title since 1986, New York simply avoided suffering what would have been their worst embarrassment of this season – a possible second home loss in three games to MLB’s most futile team, on the heels of getting swept in a four-game series at home by Colorado, the NL’s third-worst team.

And that, during a disappointing second-half swoon which has already caused New York’s season to slip away after an overachieving first half that had the Mets surprisingly in postseason contention by the all-star break, after setting a MLB offseason record for shedding payroll.

Due to those circumstances, Davis’ heroics could hardly be compared to that of ex-Met Lenny Dykstra’s ninth-inning, two-run, homer off of the Astros’ Dave Smith, inside of what is now the Citi Field parking lot, to rally the Mets to a dramatic 6-5 win and a 2-1 series lead in the 1986 NLCS.

Nor was the importance of New York’s last NL win over Houston anything like one of the greatest games in the Mets’ 51-season history – their 1986 NLCS-clinching victory in Game 6 (which led to their remarkable rally to a World Series title against the Boston Red Sox), when New York erased a 3-0 ninth-inning deficit in Houston before hanging on for a rousing 7-6 victory in a then-postseason record 16 innings (ironically, Houston broke that mark with a 2005 divisional series win in 18 innings, over the Atlanta Braves, by the same score, in a win that helped the Astros reach the only World Series in their history).

Certainly, the Mets’ rivalries with teams like the Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies and others have also far outweighed the intensity of what they shared with the Astros in the 26 years since.

Still, it was an exciting conclusion to a Mets-Astros NL era that included more than 600 games since the teams each joined the majors (the Astros, initially as the Colt .45’s) in 1962.

While they will meet again in interleague play, the Astros took the all-time NL series, 308-258, with the Mets going 150-132 at home (including 8-4 at Citi Field) against Houston.

What is remembered most over that time though, is that lone playoff matchup between the teams in 1986, and in another lost season for both clubs, the way the final Mets-Astros meeting as NL foes was decided, rekindled thoughts of the historic playoff magic that occurred in a pair of well-remembered NL ballparks – Shea Stadium in Queens, and the famed Astrodome in Houston.

Yet, as with the Mets and Astros moving on to new home stadiums since then, their series with each other will now similarly forge ahead with the teams continuing play in opposite leagues. If they can each turn things around in the coming years and once again meet in the postseason, they would do something they couldn’t do even as long-time NL opponents in 1986 or in any other year thus far – meet in a World Series.

Posted under Baseball Standings, Blasts, Classic Game, Dwight Gooden, First Baseman, Game 1, Houston Astros, Late August, League Championship Series, Major League Baseball, National League Championship Series, New York Mets, Offensive Production, Three Decades, Top Story

This post was written by Jon Wagner on August 31, 2012

Tags: , , ,

Davis Finishes Mets-Astros NL Chapter with a Bang (… and with Another)

Given the state of this year’s major league baseball standings, Sunday’s late-August meeting between the then-fourth-place New York Mets and the MLB-worst-Houston Astros at Citi Field obviously lacked the drama produced by the same two franchises during their extremely memorable 1986 National League Championship Series, but it nonetheless provided an exciting finish as the NL chapter of the all-time Mets-Astros series came to a close.

In an otherwise uneventful game involving a pair of clubs simply playing out the string, a late Houston rally, a nice play by New York to nab a runner at the plate, and two blasts over the right field wall by first baseman Ike Davis provided recollections of some thrilling moments when a lot more was once at stake – for one last time – with the Mets and Astros as NL opponents, prior to Houston becoming a member of the American League’s western division next year.

Neither the of the largely punch-less offenses – the Astros, the statistically lightest-hitting team in the majors, nor the Mets, who had been mired in their worst offensive stretch in three decades – could hit their way out of a paper bag, making a pair of non-descript, young starters – Houston’s Lucas Harrell (in his fourth season, but basically a rookie in terms of big league experience) and New York’s rookie Jeremy Hefner – look like a classic re-match of former aces Mike Scott and Dwight Gooden (who opposed each other in a classic Game 1 pitching duel in the 1986 NLCS, with Scott and the Astros edging the Mets, 1-0).

Harrell (seven innings, two hits, one run, seven strikeouts, two walks) and Hefner (eight-plus innings, five hits, one run, seven strikeouts, two walks) kept their respective non-threatening opposing lineups in check throughout a rapidly-paced contest that – because of the deficiency of offensive production – through eight innings, was on pace to finish in an unheard of (by today’s standards) two hours or less, and which still completed in a very tidy 2 hours and 19 minutes, even with a 24-minute ninth inning.

Five innings after Davis’ first home run of the afternoon – a crushing drive in the bottom of the fourth inning, just below Citi Field’s Pepsi Porch, and well into the upper deck in right field – gave the Mets a 1-0 lead that stood up until the final inning, the Astros tied the game on a run-scoring double by second baseman Marwin Gonzalez, who smacked a liner toward the left field corner.

Gonzalez’s hit glanced off of the glove of left fielder Lucas Duda, who was returning to the majors from a short stint in the minor leagues, where he was converted from a right fielder. That play forced an exit – to a standing ovation from many of the 25,071 fans in attendance (myself included) – for Hefner, who was bidding for the first shutout and first complete game of his career.

It appeared that the Astros would instead take their first lead three batters later however, when right fielder Ben Francisco singled against closer Bobby Parnell to left field, in front of Duda, until the Mets’ third-year outfielder redeemed himself with a good throw that allowed newly acquired catcher Kelly Shoppach just enough time to make a nice play of his own.

Shoppach blocked home plate with his left leg and applied a game-saving tag on Gonzalez, who was trying to score from second base. Gonzalez argued the call (which was a correct one) and was promptly tossed from the game by home plate umpire David Rackley.

That set the stage for Davis, who got just enough of a pitch from reliever Wilton Lopez to send a fly ball barely over the right field fence and just past the glove of a leaping Francisco for Davis’ second home run of the game and a walk-off 2-1 win for New York – the same score the Mets beat the Astros by, in 12 innings, in Game 5 of the 1986 NLCS at Shea Stadium, just steps from where Davis and New York beat Houston in an NL contest for the final time.

Just as in that Game 5 victory, the Mets won despite mustering a mere four hits and being outhit by the Astros, but none were bigger than the two home runs from Davis, who did a jumping spin before landing on home plate, where he was mobbed by his teammates.

The win meant little for the Mets in the big picture of the 2012 season, especially when contrasted against those exhilarating October victories against the Astros 26 years earlier.

Instead of paving a way toward their first World Series title since 1986, New York simply avoided suffering what would have been their worst embarrassment of this season – a possible second home loss in three games to MLB’s most futile team, on the heels of getting swept in a four-game series at home by Colorado, the NL’s third-worst team.

And that, during a disappointing second-half swoon which has already caused New York’s season to slip away after an overachieving first half that had the Mets surprisingly in postseason contention by the all-star break, after setting a MLB offseason record for shedding payroll.

Due to those circumstances, Davis’ heroics could hardly be compared to that of ex-Met Lenny Dykstra’s ninth-inning, two-run, homer off of the Astros’ Dave Smith, inside of what is now the Citi Field parking lot, to rally the Mets to a dramatic 6-5 win and a 2-1 series lead in the 1986 NLCS.

Nor was the importance of New York’s last NL win over Houston anything like one of the greatest games in the Mets’ 51-season history – their 1986 NLCS-clinching victory in Game 6 (which led to their remarkable rally to a World Series title against the Boston Red Sox), when New York erased a 3-0 ninth-inning deficit in Houston before hanging on for a rousing 7-6 victory in a then-postseason record 16 innings (ironically, Houston broke that mark with a 2005 divisional series win in 18 innings, over the Atlanta Braves, by the same score, in a win that helped the Astros reach the only World Series in their history).

Certainly, the Mets’ rivalries with teams like the Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies and others have also far outweighed the intensity of what they shared with the Astros in the 26 years since.

Still, it was an exciting conclusion to a Mets-Astros NL era that included more than 600 games since the teams each joined the majors (the Astros, initially as the Colt .45’s) in 1962.

While they will meet again in interleague play, the Astros took the all-time NL series, 308-258, with the Mets going 150-132 at home (including 8-4 at Citi Field) against Houston.

What is remembered most over that time though, is that lone playoff matchup between the teams in 1986, and in another lost season for both clubs, the way the final Mets-Astros meeting as NL foes was decided, rekindled thoughts of the historic playoff magic that occurred in a pair of well-remembered NL ballparks – Shea Stadium in Queens, and the famed Astrodome in Houston.

Yet, as with the Mets and Astros moving on to new home stadiums since then, their series with each other will now similarly forge ahead with the teams continuing play in opposite leagues. If they can each turn things around in the coming years and once again meet in the postseason, they would do something they couldn’t do even as long-time NL opponents in 1986 or in any other year thus far – meet in a World Series.

Posted under Baseball Standings, Blasts, Classic Game, Dwight Gooden, First Baseman, Game 1, Houston Astros, League Championship Series, League Experience, Major League Baseball, National League Championship Series, New York Mets, Offensive Production, Recollections, Three Decades, Top Story

This post was written by Jon Wagner on August 31, 2012

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Brett Myers and Carlos Lee Make Their Mark in the Astros 4-1 Victory over the Mets

New York – Righty Brett Myers pitched seven shutout innings to lead the Houston Astros (59-70) to a 4-1 victory over the New York Mets (64-65) in Saturday night baseball at Citi Field. First baseman Carlos Lee was all the offense and defense Houston needed to help the Astros take Game Two on a very long road stretch.

Myers (10-7) would toss a milestone in the game as he now has pitched six or more innings in all 27 starts this season. The righty also established a new club record for six plus innings appearances at any point in the season, breaking the previous mark of 26 straight games held by Larry Dierker who accomplished the feat on June 20, 1969 to April 17, 1970. The streak for Myers is the longest to start a season since Curt Schilling had 35 straight appearances of at least six innings in 2002 with Arizona.

“Myers had another outstanding outing and put us in a position to win the game,” Astros manager Brad Mills said after the game. “Throwing the ball like he did was outstanding; what he is doing, what he has done and what he was able to do tonight was outstanding.”

The righty would have this to say of his seven innings, six strikeout performance tonight, “I was just following the plan; I just followed what my catcher (Humberto Quintero) put down. He is a smart catcher and followed the plan well and we work well together.” Myer would continue by saying, “A lot of credit goes to him and pitching coach (Brad Arnsberg) and tonight I just tried to follow my plan and execute my pitches.”

On his milestone he had this to say, “It is not a big deal I just try to go out and give the team the best chance to win, I’m not trying to break any records. If it happens it happens, I am not looking too much into it. I am just trying to go out every six days and do the job again. Anything I can do to go out there and help the team win and help the bullpen as much as possible then that is what I am going to do.”

Houston would get on the board early, jumping all over starter Johan Santana (10-9) getting four hits and plating the first two runs. Carlos Lee and shortstop Tommy Manzella were the two key hits to give the Astros the 2-0 lead.

Carlos Lee would hit a two-run homer in the top of the fifth inning over the left field wall to give the Astros a 4-0 lead. That combined with a ‘web gem’ play in the bottom of the third inning to dive to his right and rob Mets starter Johan Santana of a hit was one of the two crucial defensive plays to lead Houston to a win.

“We beat a tough pitcher tonight,” Lee said of the victory. “It was good to be able to win today and now we need to come out tomorrow and keep the momentum going.” The first baseman would continue to say, “Santana had a rough first inning and we took advantage and anytime you have a lead with Myers going out there you know that he is guaranteed to go seven and pitch well for us.”

For Santana it was a tough loss as he has suffered his third consecutive loss this evening. It is only the fourth time in his career that he has dropped at least four straight decisions and only the second time since the 2004 season.

New York would have plenty of opportunities throughout the game to try to cash in on runs and cut into that lead. Rookie Ike Davis laced a double (23) off the right field wall in the bottom of the fourth inning, but two ground outs ended the Mets hopes.  It had seemed as if throughout the night every time the Mets had a man on base Myers would have an answer to shut the offense down.

“The Mets had a runner on base every inning it seemed,” Myers said. “I just tried to make pitches and wanted them to hit the ball at people. If I executed I figured I would be able to get outs, and it just worked out that way.”

New York had left nine runners on base this evening, while over the last five games they have stranded 46 men on bases. The Mets finally scored the first run in the bottom of the eighth inning as second baseman Luis Castillo started the frame with an infield single. Carlos Beltran would move the runner over on a ground ball that was fielded by relief pitcher Wilton Lopez.

Castillo would eventually score on a David Wright single to right field. It had seemed as if hope and a rally would come for the 33,024 in attendance as Ike Davis would hit a single to right field. Sadly Jeff Francoeur trying to hit a home run struck out swinging to leave the runners on first and second for rookie catcher Josh Thole.  Thole would hit a scorching line drive to speedy outfielder Jason Bourgeois to end the inning.

“Everyone wants to step up and get the big hits,” Wright said after the game. “They want to be the guy that steps up and help us win the game, but sometimes that works against you because you try to do too much instead of getting a hit.” On the offensive struggles as of late, “You can’t label one thing as the reason for our struggles. When you look up and down the lineup you see different things and different guys struggling. We have a lot of our key guys out due to injury; combine that with the young players and the guys that are injured; all of that combined is a huge part of our offensive struggles.”

New York hopes to take Game Three of this series, which will take place on Sunday at 1:10 p.m. Houston will send out starter Bud Norris (6-7, 5.03 ERA) to take on the knuckleball of R.A. Dickey (8-5, 2.64 ERA)

Posted under Brad Arnsberg, Bullpen, Carlos Lee, Curt Schilling, First Baseman, Houston Astros, Humberto Quintero, Larry Dierker, Mets Baseball, Mets New York, New York Mets, Night Baseball, Pitches, Pitching Coach, Road Stretch, Shutout, Six Days, Straight Appearances, Straight Games, Strikeout, Top Story

This post was written by Stacy Rae Podelski on August 29, 2010

Fortunate Fifth leads Reds to 8-6 Victory over Mets

New York – A fortunate fifth inning led to six runs as the Cincinnati Reds (48-36) defeated the New York Mets (46-37) by the score of 8-6 at Citi Field on Friday Night. As the umpires reversed a foul tip strikeout of Scott Rolen to a hit by a pitch, which plated one of the crucial runs in that fortunate top of the fifth inning.

The Reds continued their hot hitting tonight as first baseman Joey Votto, who is making a bid to get into the 2010 All-Star game as a part of the Final Vote process happening now, hit two home runs, and one double while also working a walk to help his cause in the voting process. Extra base hits by Corky Miller and tonight’s starting pitcher Travis Wood were all a part of the Reds victory in Queens. The Reds did all of this against starter Mike Pelfrey (10-3) tonight is going to be a part of the maturation process, as he will have to learn from tonight’s tough loss as he went four and two-thirds innings, gave up nine hits and seven runs.

“He will grow and become a better pitcher because of tonight’s game and the lessons that he will learn,” Manuel said of his starter. “We ran into a hot team offensively tonight and Mike probably didn’t have some of the pitches he had early. I think he is pitching very well and in the end I think he will be fine.”

On pyrotechnics night it didn’t take Votto long to provide Cincinnati with his own display as in the first inning he lifted a ball into the home run apple well to score the first run for the Reds. The Mets fought back in the bottom of the inning as singles by David Wright, Ike Davis and Jason Bay tied the score at one.

The two teams would remain tied until the fifth inning as back-to-back singles by Brandon Phillips and Orlando Cabrera would set the stage for Votto, who would work the walk and pass the baton to Rolen. This was when fortune smiled down on the Reds as it had seemed that Rolen struck out on a foul tip. The All-Star third baseman protested to the umpire that he was hit in the arm, as well as Reds manager Dusty Baker. The umpires gathered near the pitching mound after the strike out call was made to get the call correct, and actually reversed the call to a hit by a pitch which plated the first run in that inning.

Mets manager Jerry Manuel speed out of the dugout to protest the call passionately and was ejected by second base umpire Dan Iassogna. It had seemed that after Manuel’s pyrotechnic display that Pelfrey had calmed down and proceeded to get the next two outs. Pelfrey was not out of trouble as the bases were loaded still for Drew Stubbs who laced a single to center field which would plate two more runs. Corky Miller ripped a double (2) to right field, which would plate two more runs giving the Reds the 6-1 lead. Pitcher Travis Wood scorched a triple (1) to center field and gave Cincinnati the 7-1 lead. Relief pitcher Raul Valdez came in and got a ground ball to end the inning.

“The second base umpire admitted that he saw the ball hit the batter, which from the angel that I had I refuse to believe. I believe what he saw was a reaction to the batter-not what really happened which was wrong.” He continued by saying, “maybe the home plate umpire missed the call and that is part of the game, but I don’t know if you can make it right by saying you saw something you didn’t see. I know that the powers that control the team will write letters from whoever is in charge for an explanation. Essentially we would like to make sure things like this don’t happen on a regular basis. Everyone is going to make mistakes. These guys are good umpires and you want them to do the right thing, and in the end I just think that they just got caught up in the emotion of it all.”

Angel Pagan would provide pyrotechnics of his own as the Mets responded back in the bottom of the fifth inning, as the center fielder hit a home run (5) to left field to start cutting into the lead. David Wright lifted a ball to the center field wall for a triple (2) to set the stage for Ike Davis. Davis would lay down a bunt that could not be handled by Wood. That error would not only plate another run but continue the offensive momentum for the Mets. Later in the inning Jeff Francoeur would work a walk to place runners on first and second for Rod Barajas who hit a single to left field, which scored the fourth Met run. Alex Cora would plate two more runs by hitting a double (5) to center field, while also cutting the Reds lead to 7-6.

“It was good to see the team fight like that,” Manuel said of the way his team responded. “That is one of the characteristics we talk about is how we want the team tonight and tonight they did just that.”

Relief pitcher Fernando Nieve was called in to keep the game close things started out well as Orlando Cabrera lifted a fly ball out to center field. Joey Votto struck for his second home run (21) on a 1-0 pitch to make the score 8-6 for the Reds.  Votto who reached the 20 home run plateau in the first inning became the second player in the National League to accomplish the feat this season. Nieve got into a good groove for the rest of the evening getting two more fly ball outs, while striking out three batters in the top of the eighth inning.

For the 36.764 the top of the ninth inning started out rocky as Votto laced a double (14) to left field. But Jeff Francoeur lifted everyone up after catching a Scott Rolen fly ball, the right fielder was able to gun down Votto, who was thrown out at third base by the strong throw. A ground ball by the Reds ended that inning and set the stage for the Mets in the bottom half. Reds closer Francisco Cordero (S, 23) came in and shut down any hopes the fans may have had and secured the victory for the Reds.

These two teams will square off again tomorrow as Johan Santana (5-5, 3.41 ERA) takes the mound for the Mets. The Reds have not decided who will take the hill but it should be an interesting game two as these two teams will go at it again with a 7:10 p.m. start time.

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Injury update: Utility man Fernando Tatis was placed on the disabled list today with a right shoulder AC joint sprain. The return of Jose Reyes can come as soon as tomorrow. “Reyes is ready but can only bat right handed.” Manuel said both before and after today’s game.

This story originally posted on www.latinosports.com

Posted under Bottom Of The Inning, Brandon Phillips, Cincinnati Reds, Corky Miller, David Wright, Fifth Inning, First Baseman, Foul Tip, Hot Team, Jason Bay, Joey Votto, Maturation Process, Mets New York, Mike Pelfrey, New York Mets, Orlando Cabrera, Scott Rolen, Seven Runs, Star Third Baseman, Top Story, Travis Wood

This post was written by Stacy Rae Podelski on July 6, 2010

Ike Having Time of His Life

New York – Ike Davis ran out of the visiting clubhouse at Yankee Stadium on before the game on Saturday. He was quickly reminded he had a very important task to do.

“Got it done,” he proudly would say afterward.

Davis wasn’t doing anything Met related here, actually he was doing a more important assignment, leaving tickets for his dad Ron who was in for Father’s Day.

“He probably would have gone back to Arizona,” Ike would laugh.

Well, there was no Joe DiMaggio-like incident that day and like everything else Davis has been doing this year, he has doing it well. The freshman first baseman has been a godsend for his club, as he has fit very nicely into the middle of the Met lineup.

In the year of the rookie, where young players like Stephen Strasburg, Jason Heywood, Austin Jackson, and Brennan Boesch have taken all the headlines, Davis has quietly become one of the leading rookies in baseball.

“I don’t think I am under the radar,” Davis said. “I am just here trying to help my club win.”

After starting out sixth in the lineup, manager Jerry Manuel moved Davis to the cleanup position. Although he has tailed off from hot start, the 23 year-old is second in among rookies in home runs with eight while his .268 batting average is fourth in the freshman rankings.

And Davis is doing it in the field as well with tremendous defense at first base, including three over the railing catches into the dugout at Citi Field.

More importantly, Davis was there when the Mets needed him last night, going 3-6 with three RBI and one run scored in the Mets 14-6 win over Jackson, Boesch and the Detroit Tigers.

“We played hard today and found some holes,” Davis said. “We were patient at the plate and we were keying on pitches.”

Davis seems to be having a lot of fun with these Mets. His attitude is contagious, smiling out there, while the club looked for an identity, especially at home.

He has become a fan favorite with chants of “We like Ike” coming down from the Citi Field rafters even when he wasn’t at the plate.

“It’s great to play here,” he said. “It’s good to be able to sleep in our own beds and we are real comfortable playing on this field and seeing this hitting background.”

It’s a comfort his dad had with the Yankees back from 1978 to 1982. But now Ron is a full Met fan as his No. 1 player is staring with the club.

And yes, Dad was able to see the Mets lose to his Yankees this weekend, but more importantly, Davis was able to go fishing off City Island with his father on Monday’s off-day.

“I caught three stripers,” he said.

It’s a good thing he left the tickets.

Posted under Batting Average, Brennan Boesch, Chants, Cleanup Position, Clubhouse, Detroit Tigers, Dugout, First Baseman, Freshman, Godsend, Having Time, Holes, Home Runs, Joe Dimaggio, Joe Mcdonald, Mets, New York Mets, Pitches, Railing, Rbi, Rookies, Strasburg, Top Story, Yankee Stadium

This post was written by Joe McDonald on June 23, 2010

One Bad Inning Dooms Santana

New York -Prior to the rubber game of their three game series in the Bronx Sunday against the Yankees, New York Mets manager Jerry Manuel was asked about his starting pitcher Johan Santana.  Is this the typical first half of the season for Santana, 5-3 and a 3.13 earned run average?

“That’s just his history,” commented Manuel “Just hoping it’s the same thing,” he said when asked about the usual strong second half that comes from his ace.   Santana still has about four more starts before the All-Star break next month after losing to the Yankees Sunday. The damage was giving up his third grand slam of the season to Mark Teixeira. That gave the Yankees their four runs and taking two of three from the Mets at Yankee Stadium.

“He’s a guy I’m never concerned with, said Manuel.  However the Santana fastball has seemed to have lost some speed. Teixeira off a 1-1 pitch hit a low fastball to left clocked at 89. It may have not cleared the wall at Citi Field.

The ball kept going to left and bounced off the wall into the stands, a typical Yankee Stadium home run. The home run by Teixeira, his 12th of the season gave the Yankees the 4-0 lead. It was the Yankees seventh grand slam hit this season, the seventh given up by the Mets pitching staff.

“In this ballpark it’s a home run,” said Manuel. In defense of Santana Manuel added, “In out ballpark, it’s a different story.” But it was still a home run and it goes in the books. An inning that started with a Derek Jeter single, an infield hit, and the bunt by Nick Swisher that Santana and first baseman Ike Davis could not handle.

Those plays happen sometimes to Santana, who has allowed four runs in his last three outings, “We have a routine play, one we were not able to make it,” he said about the play at first that was followed by the Teixeira slam.

“I stayed focused after the home run and was able to throw my fastball,” added Santana who has allowed 17 earned runs in 16.2 innings pitched in three career starts , and a 1-2 record in games at Yankee Stadium.

If the Mets were going to send a message, or provide some dominance to this inter league subway series, the one to cement that was Santana.  With the exception of that home run Santana was able to hold the Yankees to eight hits, striking out three.

“He’s historically been a second half pitcher,” said Manuel “I think he’s starting to gear up for that and, not that he’s not trying but that’s been his history. But I’ll take what he’s been giving us. A few bloop hits and then he gives up a fly ball that ends up going out here because of the ballpark, I still see a guy who competes,”

For now Manuel will count on his ace to close out the first half with a strong finish.  Maybe it is the rubber game of a series that also hindered Santana, because the Mets are now 2-8 in those situations this season.

“When all is said and done, however, if you would have told me that we’d go 7-2 on this nine game road trip, I’d take it,” said Manuel when asked about coming into the Yankee series with a 6-0 trip and then Mike Pelfrey and Santana losing the last two games.

Manuel said putting that into perspective, he was satisfied. But the Mets can never be satisfied unless Santana gives them a solid outing.

ADDED NOTE: After the game the Mets optioned 20-year old right hander Jenrry Mejia to Double A Binghampton to prepare him as a starter and recalled right hander Bobby Parnell from Triple A Buffalo. Mejia threw a scoreless sinning of relief Sunday and it is obvious now that the Mets want to groom him as a starter.

“We felt that his development and progression kind of leveled off,” said Manuel about the move. “But to get him to the next level he needs to pitch on a regular basis.”

Added general manager Omar Minaya, “The only way he’s going to get better is to throw more.  We just feel we have to stretch him out a little bit more.”  Minaya also added it was something planned and Mejia was enthusiastic about the opportunity to pitch more that would help with his development.

e-mail Rich Mancuso: Ring786@aol.com

Posted under Ace, All Star, Bunt, Derek Jeter, Different Story, Dooms, Fastball, First Baseman, Game Series, Grand Slam, Johan Santana, Mark Teixeira, New York Mets, Nick Swisher, Pitch, Play One, Rubber Game, Starting Pitcher, Top Story, Yankee Stadium, Yankees New York

This post was written by Rich Mancuso on June 21, 2010