Five Former All-Stars You Forgot Played for the Chicago Cubs in the 2000s (Yahoo! Contributor Network)

COMMENTARY | When there are 25-plus players circulating in and out of a team each and every season, a fan can be forgiven for forgetting a certain player.

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This post was written by Yahoo! Sports - MLB - New York Mets News on August 21, 2013

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Closing Time: Eric Chavez turns back the clock; Adam LaRoche springs forward (Roto Arcade)

It’s a casual Friday. All bullets, all the time.
• The Arizona at Miami game got out of hand quickly, as the Snakes posted six runs in the first three innings and turned the game into a rout. Paul Goldschmidt clocked a couple of homers, because that’s what Goldschmidts do, and I’d like to burn every nice thing I said about Kevin Slowey this spring.
But let’s try to find an actionable item here. Say hello to Arizona’s cleanup man, Eric Chavez .
The veteran lefty swinger filled the box score nicely, with three singles and a homer over five trips. Chavez knocked in two runs and is slashing .337/.398/.584 on the year. He’s still a useful player at age 35, worthy of a fantasy audit.
A decade ago, the Chavez story was much different. He was one of the superstars on the Oakland juggernaut of the early 2000s, one of the players Moneyball more or less ignored so we could all learn to appreciate Scott Hatteberg . Chavez offered a nifty mix of power and patience, and he also bagged six Gold Gloves in a row. Durability wasn’t an issue back then, as Chavez logged 151 games or more in five of six seasons.
Alas, the wave broke in Chavez’s late 20s, when his body began to betray him. He missed a month of time in 2006 and things got progressively worse; from 2007-2010, he never played in more than 90 games. A career on a possible Hall of Fame trajectory quickly spiraled out of control.

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The Buck Stops Here

The Mets used to be the masters of the motto.

All the way back to the 1980s, they came up with some catchy phrases to highlight the season.

They had “The Magic is Back” and “Baseball Like It Oughta Be” to name a few.

In 2013, though, the motto seems to be lost or at least it’s not the in your face like in past years, however if the Mets do decide to come up with one, they may want to look back to the days of Harry Truman for some inspiration.

“Give ‘Em Hell Harvey!” could be one every five days. But that leaves about 125 games to come up with another.

So while the Mets wait for d’Arnaud, they may just say, “The Buck Stops Here.”

John Buck is making his mark on Mets pitchers. His experience and ability to work with Mets pitchers have been felt over the first week of the season. All four starters pitched well, and they all credit Buck for his ability to keep their heads in the game.

He’s unbelievable. I had good catchers in my day,” said tonight’s Mets hard luck starter Jeremy Hefner. “Not to take away anything from (Josh) Thole or (Mike) Nickeas last year, JB has been around the game. He played with those guys last year. I leaned on him tonight. But the way he brings confidence and brings the best out of you. It’s refreshing.

Buck said he learned this art form from Brad Ausmus and Paul Bako  back in the early 2000s. And over the years he learned pitchers, know which ones need the silence and which ones need a good kick in the behind.

“He recognized each pitchers personality and adapted to them,” Hefner said. “He would push buttons when necessary.”

“I had good mentors,” Buck said, “who showed me what the red flags were and how to get the most out of them.”

And Hefner got his kick in the butt in the second inning tonight after giving up his only run – a homer to Greg Dobbs.

But that’s Buck’s specialty. Sure he has some power, but he won’t remind anyone of Mike Piazza. Instead, the Mets have a professional backstop, whose job is to get this young set of arms on the right course, something Buck seems to be very happy in doing.

“Younger guys have a little more teaching involved,” Buck said. “But the young guys we have, it’s more sticking to game plans. It’s not a mentoring type group, instead these are guys who belong here and it’s getting them to stick to the game plan. Obviously, I think they are in that level.”

One guy Buck really clicked with is Matt Harvey, who Buck sees as someone who would click with anyone catching him.

“He’s got good stuff,” Buck said. “So he’s got a lot of weapons when calling a game. It’s obviously why he is so effective.”

Sure it looks like a marriage made in heaven, but we all know Buck is not long for the Mets. He is a stop-gap until Travis d’Arnaud comes up and a few more stinkers by the bullpen like tonight, it may be sooner, rather than later.

However until that happens, the Mets starters, will be very happy to have their final word come from their veteran catcher.

The Buck truly stops there.

Posted under Art Form, Backo, Brad Ausmus, Catchy Phrases, Good Kick, Hard Luck, Harry Truman, Joe Mcdonald, Josh Thole, Kick In The Butt, Mentors, Mets, Mike Piazza, New York Mets, Paul Bako, Pitchers, Top Story