Game No. 2 of Subway Series is a Near Duplicate of Game No. 1, Mets Win, 2-1

Flushing, NY—Game #2 of the Subway Series on Tuesday night was delayed for 1 hour and 31 minutes by heavy showers, but there was never an intention to postpone the contest.

A phalanx of camera operators was gathered behind home plate to capture the ceremonial first pitch. Mariano Rivera, the premier closer in baseball history, was being honored on the occasion of his final game at Citi Field by tossing the ball to John Franco, the finest closer in Mets history.

Pitching continued to be in the spotlight when the regular season game began. Starters Hiroki Kuroda and Matt Harvey have, thus far, been the aces of their staffs. The possibility of a perfect game or a no-hitter by either hurler was eliminated early in the game.

The second Met batter in the game, Daniel Murphy, singled to right. The hit was the 24th in his previous 60 at bats, .400, for the hot hitting infielder. Yankee shortstop Reid Brigniac led off the third with a single to right, his first hit as a Yankee.

Although the pitching of the two starters was not perfect, it is only fair to state it was excellent. In a replica of the game of the night before, neither team scored during the first five frames.

As also took place on the night before, the Yankees scored their only run of the game in the top of the sixth. Another similarity was that both run scoring rallies were begun by a base hit by Brett Gardner. On Wednesday, Gardner singled and went to second on an error by rightfielder Marlon Byrd. A single by Lyle Overbay drove Gardner across the plate. Of the hit by Overbay, Mets manager Terry Collins remarked, “He [Harvey] made a mistake and it cost him.” After the game, Harvey agreed, “as soon as I let it go, I wanted to take it back.”

Although both starting pitchers pitched well enough to earn the win, they were not involved in the decision. Kuroda pitched seven innings, allowed no runs, walked no batters, gave up only four singles and fanned seven. Harvey, Kuroda’s junior by 14 years, pitched equally well. He yielded six hits, all singles, fanned 10 and did not issue a base on balls, but did give up one run in the sixth.

This season, the 24 year-old has compiled superlative stats, 5-0 won/loss mark, 1.85 ERA, opponents’ batting average of 1.72, 9.7 strikeouts per 9 innings. Smiling, Collins commented, “He’s really going to be fun to watch in the years to come.”

The outcome was determined in a strikingly similar manner to the game the day before. On Wednesday, the victim was not reliever David Robertson but surprisingly was the seemingly prefect closer Mariano Rivera. With a 1-0 lead in the ninth and Rivera going for his 19th consecutive save of the season, ran into trouble. In only nine pitches, Daniel Murphy, David Wright and Lucas Duda got consecutive hits to score two runs. Rivera admitted, “It did happen quick.” The humble baseball great took the responsibility, “There’s no excuse. Kuroda pitched an excellent game. For me to do that is unacceptable.”

The final two games of this year’s Subway Series now shift to Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. Two righties will face off on Wednesday night. David Phelps (3-2) will start for the Yanks against winless Jeremy Hefner (0-5) for the Mets.



Posted under Batters, Camera Operators, Daniel Murphy, Final Game, John Franco, Mariano Rivera, New York Mets, Phalanx, Staffs, Subway Series, Top Story, Yankee Shortstop

Shame On MLB For Denying The Mets

The look on John Franco’s face pretty much told the whole story.

The lifelong New Yorker and former Met, just had disgust on his face when asked about Major League Baseball’s decision of not letting the Mets wear their first responders hats during the game.

“It’s up to you guys to say something about it,” he said to the media, knowing that’s the only way his opinion will be heard.

Ok, so let’s say something.

Shame on MLB for denying the Mets a chance to honor the first responders on 9/11 in a way of their choosing. And the lame excuse of uniformity by MLB VP Joe Torre just doesn’t cut it.

”Certainly it’s not a lack of respect,” Torre said. ”We just felt all the major leagues are honoring the same way with the American flag on the uniform and the cap. This is a unanimity thing.”

Oh come on, Joe. Say it ain’t so.

Seeing the Mets out there wearing the first responder caps allows all baseball fans to harken back to the days following the attacks. It reminds us of how we all felt during those weeks and then how the Mets defied baseball back then and wore those caps for the rest of the 2001 season.

But this is a different Met club. Unlike their counterparts from 10 years-ago, these Mets are generally younger players, who are pretty much happy to be in the big leagues. Manager Terry Collins is a company man, unlike Bobby Valentine, who had a certain rebellious side to say the least.

Then there’s the owners indebtedness to MLB. Back in 2001, Nelson Doubleday could just write a check to cover any losses and the Wilpons were still on the Madoff gravy train.

Now, everything has changed.

MLB, though, should have recognized a Met tradition and allowed the club to play an otherwise meaningless game with the hats. Yesterday was a day of honor, but the league made it a day of shame.

Maybe next year, MLB will realize the error of their ways and realize the other slippery slope out there. By not allowing this, it slowly takes away the remembrance of baseballs role in the aftermath.

And that’s the real shame. The NFL allowed sideline coaches and players a chance to wear those hats. MLB should have done the same.

Posted under American Flag, Baseball Fans, Bobby Valentine, Company Man, Disgust, First Responder, Gravy Train, Harken, Indebtedness, John Franco, Lack Of Respect, Lame Excuse, Major League Baseball, Meaningless Game, Nelson Doubleday, New York Mets, Rebellious Side, Slippery Slope, Top Story, Unanimity

This post was written by Joe McDonald on September 12, 2011

Tags: ,

Ten Years Later, 9/11 Remembered at Citi Field

Flushing, NY -The lilting strains of a clear female voice singing “God Bless America” was heard throughout Citi Field as scenes of players on many major league teams standing at attention were shown on the big screens in the ballpark. As the film came to a close, chants of “U.S.A.” emanated from all corners of the stadium. Thus, began the special Remembrance Ceremony at Citi Field on the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attack.

The devastation in lower Manhattan caused by the hijacked planes that were crashed into two towers of the World Trade Center ten years ago were the next scenes on the giant screen that jarred the eyes and the minds of those watching.

As the horrifying pictures were shown, the sound of pipes and drums were heard as a corps of uniformed musicians marched onto the field. Following the pipes and drums were a color guard. Representatives of each of New York City’s uniformed services, the First Responders, marched onto the field in time to the stirring music. The families of Tuesday’s Children carried a huge American flag into the outfield,

Ballplayers of the past and present joined the procession. Heading the lines of march were returning members of the 2001 Mets, John Franco, a native New Yorker, and Mike Piazza, whose winning home run on September 21, 2001 ignited Shea Stadium and let the world know the United States of America would not be destroyed, physically or emotionally. A large contingent of current Mets and Cubs joined Tuesday’s Children to help them hold and then unfurl the 300’ by 100’ American flag. Joining Franco and Piazza were other members of the 2001 Mets, Edgardo Alfonzo, Joe McEwing, Steve Trachsel, Robin Ventura and Todd Zeile. Other Mets alumni in the procession were Rusty Staub, Matt Franco and John Olerud.

With the processions ringing the field, lights within the stadium were dimmed and those on the field and in the stands were asked to light the electronic candles they were given. At that point, Marc Anthony, another New York City native, gave an emotional rendition of the national anthem, as he did at the first sports event that place in New York City after the national tragedy on September 21  at Shea.

The procession of important personages then marched off the field to end the moving and dignified remembrance ceremony.

The ceremony was especially meaningful to many in the stands as the Mets distributed complimentary tickets to New York City First Responders and their families and to members of the United States military to attend the ceremony and game.

Several of the former Mets shared their thoughts and their emotions with reporters during the game. Piazza shared his thoughts of a decade ago, “It’s definitely painful thinking and reflecting about that weekend. That week changed my life. It made me realize how important family and love is.” Of his own role, he commented, “It’s very humbling. I’m very blessed to have come through that situation. We know who the real heroes in life are, the First Responders. They ran into buildings knowing they would never come out.”

John Franco, born in Staten Island, has recently moved several blocks from Ground Zero.  Of his new neighborhood, he reported, “It’s just amazing how it’s all just come together, how it’s rebuilding.” Franco gave credit for leadership to then Mets manager Bobby Valentine, who was in the stadium broadcasting for ESPN, “This is the guy you want to be in a foxhole with. He led us not only on the field, but off the field. He was relentless. We just followed him.” Of praise for the team’s efforts during that period, he remarked, “We were a little band aid on a big wound.”

Posted under Color Guard, Edgardo Alfonzo, Electronic Candles, Giant Screen, Horrifying Pictures, Joe Mcewing, John Franco, John Olerud, Matt Franco, Mike Piazza, Native New Yorker, New York Mets, Pipes And Drums, Remembrance Ceremony, Robin Ventura, Rusty Staub, Shea Stadium, Steve Trachsel, Tenth Anniversary, Todd Zeile, Top Story

This post was written by Howard Goldin on September 12, 2011