The NY Sports Day Interview: Gary Carter

Editors Note: This interview was conducted on August 4, 2004 and NYSD is reprinting it after the passing of Gary Carter today.

Back in 1989, I was a freshman in college and went to an early April game at Shea Stadium. After New York lost to the Phillies, my buddies and I waited by the player’s entrance for the Mets to come out. Car after car sped out of the lot – Darryl Strawberry almost hit someone – but we waited. Finally, when it looked like there was no one left and we were going to leave, a car stopped and Gary Carter rolled down the window. He signed autographs and answered some questions for the faithful who waited.

I mentioned that story to Carter after I interviewed him last week at Keyspan Park. He smiled and said, “It seems that those times haven’t changed. I was outside for 20 minutes earlier tonight doing the same thing.”

That is what the Hall of Famer is about. He is a man who gets it. Besides the stellar numbers, the Kid takes care of his many fans, which many players do not these days. The former catcher didn’t have to do this interview, but he did and it gave me a great thrill to interview one of my favorite players from my youth. So here is the NY Sports Day interview with Gary Carter as we discuss his time with the Mets, Montreal and his future in managing.

NY Sports Day: Are you going to be managing Brooklyn next season?

Gary Carter: I don’t know that. The reason is that it was asked me if would I be possibly available. But that doesn’t mean that’s where it’s going to be for next year. (The Mets) are just trying to get all their ducks in a row and they will make the decision. They know that I am interested in managing and it’s going to be somewhere. I just can’t say exactly where.

NYSD: So when you start managing, what skipper in your past will you style your managerial style after?

GC: I think everybody has their own style. I like Dusty Baker and all the managers I played for were all instrumental in providing an opportunity for myself. The biggest thing is that each one was different. Gene Mauch was a hard-nosed disciplinarian. Bob Kehoe, my minor league manager, was a great guy and was wonderful. He was a different type of manager than Mauch was. Each guy I learned different things from.

To be a manager, there is a lot that goes on because you are handling 25 guys and 25 different personalities. I think it’s also important to surround yourself with very good coaches. This organization has a bunch to choose from. I don’t know who they would want to be with me or whatever. My whole purpose is to help the organization to win. That is really what the bottom line is. If it eventually works out to be at the Major League level, the game has changed.

All I would want from any player is to go out and play hard; keep it fun; try to be enthusiastic and make it so that each game is a new game. You try to avoid the slumps and tough times, but a lot has to do with the makeup of the team. I think the manager has a lot to do with the make-up of the team. You want to create some discipline, but you also want to be able to create a winning atmosphere. Keep everybody up. That is very difficult for 162 games or down in the minor leagues it’s 140 games. It is basically a situation that day in and day out, you want to stay on top of things and keep all the players inspired. I think that is really the biggest part for the manager. And then you have attending to the press, the fans and everybody else. If you got a good pitching coach, you allow your pitching coach to handle the pitchers. If you have a good hitting instructor and all the other coaches – there is about six coaches on the Major League level – and you allow them to do their jobs. If they do their jobs, it makes it a lot more easier on the manager.

NYSD: Back when you were playing with the Mets, can you give me your top five moments?

GC: First of all would be winning the ‘86 World Series. Second one would be my very first game in a Met uniform and hitting a walk off home run against the Cardinals and Neil Allen. I would also have to say that ‘88 was also a very special year. Unfortunately losing out to the Dodgers who went on to win the World Series. That was another year we should have won, but ‘88 was a great year. I would have to say my last at-bat at Shea Stadium where I got a double off John Franco when he was with the Reds. I got a standing ovation because there was speculation that I would probably be gone at the end of the year. And probably my return to Shea honoring me for being inducted into the Hall of Fame- that coinciding being inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame.

NYSD: When you started the rally in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series. What was going through your mind at that particular at-bat?

GC: What was going through my mind was that I didn’t want to be a trivia question – that’s kidding. I didn’t want to make the last out and I always maintained the theory – it’s not over ‘til it’s over. I just went up there with the feeling of confidence and doing the best I possibly could and I was able to come through. Then Kevin Mitchell followed and then Ray Knight. Before you know it the ball went through Buckner’s legs and we had won Game 6. To me, I just go up there and remember my career. It was never a grind. It was an enjoyment. It’s amazing to think 18 years and how quickly it passed. I just went up there and said there was no way we should lose this World Series. I did everything to keep us alive.

NYSD: In the ‘86 playoffs you won Game 5 off Charlie Kerfeld. You were in a really bad slump. Did you do anything different in that at-bat compared to the rest of the series?

GC: No and I didn’t think I did anything different that entire series. It was just one of those things. Facing a guy like Mike Scott, who was tough as nails and cheating his ass off, I couldn’t hit him. They had a couple of other good pitchers. Nolan Ryan. Bob Knepper was throwing good. The relievers were outstanding. It was one of those series. When they walked Keith Hernandez to pitch to me, I got a little bit of vengeance by being able to come back and drive the ball up the middle.

NYSD: When you were in Montreal, what was your favorite moment being a Montreal Expo?

GC: There were a lot of great moments. When we won the second half (in 1981) and clinched it at Shea Stadium, knowing we were going to the playoffs for the first time playing the Phillies. Also the ‘81 All-Star game, when I chosen by the fans. I got my first starting role. That’s an individual thing. There is nothing better when you win. I remember us being in a pennant race in ‘79 and ‘80. To me that’s what it was all about. When we finally got to the playoffs; played the Phillies – beat them – and then lost it to the Dodgers, it was frustrating. Montreal gave me my opportunity. My very first game was against the Mets. I remember my first hit was off Jon Matlack and my second hit was off Tom Seaver. Everything else was golden after that. Once you get to the Big Leagues, that’s everybody’s dream and once it happens you want it to continue. You want it to continue forever. Sometimes all good things come to an end.

It ended in ‘92 for me, but that’s why am anxious to get back in the game full time. I love it. I have a great passion for it and would love to see the kids of today be successful.

NYSD: What was your reaction when you got the call from Jack O’Connell from the Hall of Fame?

GC: Overwhelmed, thrilled, relieved, all of the above. It was six-year wait and finally ended on a good note. I called all my family member and the first one was my father. Unfortunately 18 days later he passed away. At least he knew I was in. My father was my coach and he played both roles after my mom passed away. I was just glad it happened when it did.

NYSD: Do you think that one day your No. 8 will be retired by the Mets?

GC: I don’t know that. I say we may have to win another championship or two. We’ll see.

NYSD: You seemed like a natural for the broadcast booth and you were one after you retired. Why did you stop?

GC: Well, I just didn’t get fulfillment out of it, like I do with coaching. I love working with the players. It seems like they are very receptive of it. I love to see the progress and I love to see a lot of things. The broadcasting was only going to be a temporary thing. I did four years with the Marlins and three years with the Expos. I really wanted to see if that was what I wanted to do, but I didn’t get the enjoyment of coming to the ballpark and strapping the uniform on.

The (other) reason I also did it was my family. It gave me the opportunity to coach my daughter in high school. It also allowed me to stay at home and I didn’t have to move my family. Now I have been out of the game 12 years. I have been fulfilled the last four years as a roving catching instructor and I enjoy it immensely. My kids have grown now. I have been to their weddings. I have been at all their graduations. I saw my daughter play at Florida State and all those things. Now, it’s time to move on.

NYSD: How are your knees? Are you having another operation?

GC: Nine times and I am having my left knee done August 12th and my ankle. I tore a ligament in my ankle July 4th. I am having my right knee replaced. Other than that they are doing wonderful. (smiles).

NYSD: Gary, thank you very much. It’s been a thrill.

 

Posted under August 4, Autographs, Brooklyn, Buddies, Darryl Strawberry, Ducks In A Row, Dusty Baker, Freshman, Gc, Interview One, Keyspan, Managerial Style, Mets, New York Mets, Nysd, Phillies, Shea Stadium, Top Story

This post was written by Joe McDonald on February 17, 2012

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See Your Four Aces And Raise You A Joker

You know we have endless material to write daily articles on the dysfunction and demise of the Mets. I fully planned to take advantage of this not only because of the abundance of low hanging fruit but also the way it fits in so nicely with my years of frustration with this team.

However, while I will continue to call a spade a spade, call out unspeakable wrongs, do a fair amount of second guessing  when obviously called for and the like – I have decided to attempt to buy  into some of the things the triumvirate are trying to accomplish.

I stick to my guns regarding not attending the games, not supporting SNY network, basically hitting the Wilpons in the pocketbook until they sell  to somebody  that will go all in to commit to a winner year after year . We deserve no less than that and would not be wrong in demanding it after 50 years.

I am not naïve enough to not know that a fan is a fan. Any real fan, especially a Met fan knows you can’t stop watching. You can’t stop rooting and hoping. It’s part of who you are. It is a lifetime commitment and can’t be turned on and off like a faucet. I have MLB Extra Innings. I declined SNY.  I watch them on ESPN and FOX when they are on. I think I do my part fulfilling my need to watch while limiting any benefits to the Wilpons.

In any case, back to  current events. A .500 road trip against division opponents who were expected to beat us like drums is not all that bad of a start. The vaunted Phillies were lucky to even win the second game of the series, and thus the series. Each team dominated one game. It is somewhat obvious that the best we have at least in theory is a joker to put up against their 4 aces. That is if you insist on labeling Big Pelf an ace, and therefore forcing us to reclassify him as a joker. Niese went against their Ace of Spades and if Wright  came through early, and Niese being as young as he  is, could  have worked with a lead and got on a bit of a confidence, momentum building roll the 11-0 game might have been a very different story. Sometimes the score really does not reflect the game. Our 7-1 victory over Hamels was just as dominating.

One thing they have to stop doing is labeling everything. What is the purpose of calling Pelfrey your ace until Santana gets back? Just let him pitch, let him learn to change speeds, get an out pitch and see what happens. Otherwise start looking into what we can get for him. But no need to put him front and center with almost no upside and a strong chance for failure and embarrassment to both the player and the organization. Pagan should be a good centerfielder. Talking him up as the natural with a rifle arm AND a guy that is going to hit 300 with 25HRS and 100 RBI will bury him in expectations and undue pressure. I have seen him surrounding balls in center, very weak throws to third and home and as could have been expected his hitting is still a bit off so far this season.

David Wright being anointed our fearless leader and savior. Why? He is a very good third baseman. He failed numerous times with 2 and 3  men on base during the Phillies series. He came through once. As we all know if he came through 2 out of 6 times he is an all star. 1 out of  6 is a failure. What is a very thin line comes across as miles apart between a winner and a loser – because of expectations and because of necessity due to the lack of more viable options. Don’t label him and let’s see 1 or 2 other guys pick him up in those situations and before we know it he may come though consistently 3 out of 8 times. Hall of  Fame numbers.

Harris and Hairston are exactly what they are. They will never sustain hitting at a high level  if they play too much. Once a week fill ins and pinch hitting.  You want to develop people ,work in Duda, Evans, Murphy.

We have Flores, van Dekker, Havens, Vaughn, Familia, Mejia, Harvey,Holt , Valdespin, Tejada,  Niewenhaus, and of course Fernando. We have prospects.  Develop them. Develop some  of them to free  up existing players  as trade bait. Package some of them to get  studs back to play with  some of the  existing star players if that works better.  Lose the tunnelvision. Cast a wide net. As much as I love Ike Davis there is no way the  Wilpons even think about  Pujols if he ever was available – based on the fact that we are already set at first.  I think the Yankees had 3 first baseman set when Texiara  became available.

Not sure about the triumvirate’s current philosophy but I know they were never scared to sell high or trade stars for studs. Moneyball or just no money being the driving force or whatever, they all made some nice moves over the years.

Posted under 4 Aces, Ace Of Spades, Demise, Division Opponents, Faucet, Four Aces, Joker, Lifetime Commitment, Low Hanging Fruit, Mets, Mlb Extra Innings, New York Mets, Niese, Phillies, Pocketbook, Road Trip, Second Game, Second Guessing, Spade, Top Story, Triumvirate

This post was written by Frank Salamone on April 8, 2011

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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

Audio: Another Mets Shutout

Bob Trainor of Trainor Communications offers these soundbites from the Mets 1-0 win by R.A Dickey over the Phillies.

R.A Dickey

Mike Hessman

Carlos Beltran

Charlie Manuel

Cole Hamels

Brian Schneider

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

Posted under Brain, Brian Schneider, Carlos Beltran, Charle, Charlie Manuel, Cole Hamels, Contact Bob, Fri, Game, Mets, Mike Hessman, Mp3 Audio, New York Mets, Phillies, Shutout, Soundbites, Top Story, Trainor

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

Pelfrey Was Off In Loss

Mike Pelfrey and Phil Hughes both 9-1 coming into Saturday’s game at Yankee Stadium have been nothing but spectacular for the Mets and Yankees. The Mets winners of eight straight games, and the Yankees, losers of their last three were hoping for something special from their premiere pitchers.

But Jose Reyes of the Mets connected on the second pitch of the game, a home run to right field off Hughes, The Yankees would even things up in their half of the first on a ground ball double play hit by Mark Teixeira.  In the end though, Hughes was better and Pelfrey struggled.  The Yankees would take game two of the Subway Series in the Bronx 5-3.

Reyes would connect again in the third after Henry Blanco the ninth man in the order walked. It was the sixth multihomer game for Reyes, his fifth homer of the season that was almost hit in the same spot as the first one. The ball was flying out of the ballpark at Yankee Stadium on a sunny and warm afternoon, but Pelfrey could not keep the Yankees quiet, a team that struggled to score runs the past few games.

“I didn’t have a fastball today,” admitted Pelfrey (9-2) who let the leadoff hitter reach base in five of his seven innings pitched. He allowed five runs the most since allowing six to the Phillies on May 1. “I ended up getting behind guys,” he said. “They gave me a lead, I just couldn’t hold it. We’re playing well. I just feel bad.”

Mets manager Jerry Manuel has seen the development of Pelfrey, who has become one of the premier pitchers in the National League. And he realizes that sometimes he is still young and prone to mistakes.

“I think that he’s been elevating a few of his pitches,” said Manuel. “He is still a young pitcher who over the course of a season and in his career will hit small bumps. He just has to look back on them and get better.”

A reason the Mets have been playing well is because of Reyes and number two hitter Angel Pagan. Also the Mets starting pitching coming into the game was 18-3 with a 2.49 ERA over their last 29 games dating back to May 17. Pagan went 2-for-3 with a walk, single and double extending his hitting streak to eight games, batting .352

Reyes, 2-for-4 extended his hitting streak to 11 games and is batting .438 in that stretch, and with his day has now hit safely in 10 straight road games at the Yankees. “Some stadiums you feel comfortable hitting, I feel comfortable here,” said Reyes about his streak at the old and new stadiums in the Bronx.

“I feel at home,” said Reyes with a smile about once again being comfortable in the leadoff spot.  Mets batters though, after the Reyes one-out home run in the third, had just three hits and two walks

The Mets had a few opportunities against Hughes but failed to capitalize. As hot as they have been, there was still that confidence they could get to Joba Chamberlain and Mariano Rivera who pitched the eighth and ninth innings to close the door

Rivera got his 16th save of the season when he got Ike Davis swinging, Jason Bay on a ground out to second and Chris Carter on a ground out in the ninth “He throws hard and can challenge you,” said the rookie Davis about Rivera.

As for the missed opportunities, the Mets leaving runners on second base in the sixth with Hughes on the mound, and in the eighth Manuel said, “Their guy (Hughes) made some good pitches at the right time or was able to get a double-play or pop up when he needed to,”

e-mail Rich Mancuso: Ring786@aol.com

Posted under Double Play, Fastball, Fifth Homer, Henry Blanco, Jose Reyes, Leadoff Hitter, Losers, Mark Teixeira, Mets, Mike Pelfrey, New York Mets, Pagan, Phil Hughes, Phillies, Pitchers, Pitches, Straight Games, Subway Series, Top Story, Warm Afternoon, Yankee Stadium, Young Pitcher

This post was written by Rich Mancuso on June 20, 2010

Audio: Mets Complete Blank Sweep

Bob Trainor of Trainor Communications offers these soundbites from yesterday’s complete dismantling of the Phillies at Citi Field

Jose Reyes

Mike Pelfrey

Jeff Francoeur

Charlie Manuel

Cole Hamels

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

Posted under Charlie Manuel, Citi, Contact Bob, Jose Reyes, Mets, Mp3 Audio, New York Mets, Phillies, Soundbites, Top Story, Trainor

Audio: Another Shutout By The Mets

Bob Trainor of Trainor Communications offers these soundbites from yesterday’s Mets 5-0 win over the Phillies

Jose Reyes

Rod Barajas

Charlie Manuel

Shane Victorino

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

Posted under Charlie Manuel, Contact Bob, Jose Reyes, Mets, Mp3 Audio, New York Mets, Phillies, Rod Barajas, Shane, Shutout, Soundbites, Top Story, Trainor

Audio: Dickey Knuckles Over Phils

Bob Trainor of Trainor Communications offers these soundbites from yesterday’s 8-0 Met drubbing of the Phils at Citi Field

RA Dickey

Rod Barajas

Jason Bay

Jeff Francoeur

Charlie Manuel

Ryan Howard

Jamie Moyer

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

Posted under Charle, Charlie Manuel, Contact Bob, Drubbing, Elbow Injury, Fastballs, Jamie Moyer, Jason Bay, Knuckleball Pitcher, Knuckles, Lf, Mets, New York Mets, Phillies, Ra Dickey, Rf, Rod Barajas, Ryan Howard, Soundbites, Sprinkling, Top Story, Trainor