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2019

2019 (8)

Wednesday, 16 October 2019 23:53

Happy 50th Anniversary!

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Fifty years ago today is when it happened. Movies have immortalized it. George Burns talked about it as one of his miracles in “Oh, God!” Dennis Quaid communicates with his son by talking about the seemingly miraculous occurrences during the ’69 World Series in “Frequency.” Cleon Jones going to one knee is shown multiple times in “Men in Black 3.” The sitcom “Everybody Loves Raymond” had a number of “69 Mets as guests on an episode when Tug McGraw, in typical “Tug McGraw” fashion tells Ray Romano “Take a hike Barone!”

October 16, 1969 seems like so long ago but it also feels like it just happened.

Saturday, 21 September 2019 16:47

Playoff Spot or Bust?

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The Yankees have clinched the division title and have eclipsed the 100-win mark. Good for them. Congratulations. What they have done is amazing this season considering everything they have had to endure. They have survived serious, long-term injuries to key personnel. And regardless of who went down, there was someone to step in.

General Manager Brian Cashman has really done a fantastic job of keeping the team’s resources at maximum capacity, making some great moves to acquire players who played vital roles and made an impact. And with a mere 10 days to go in this season, you have to look at the Mets and wonder why this team couldn’t do the same.

Going into the last 10 games, the last seven of them at home, the Mets still have a chance to capture a wild card berth. They are not out of it. Not mathematically. But common sense dictates that the Mets can’t complete the comeback from an absolutely dreadful first half of the season and finish it off with a playoff spot of their own. And why do I think that? Because for one thing, the very asset that the Mets have that the Yankees DON’T have, is a starting pitching staff, and that staff has been good, sometimes great, but for the most part, inconsistent. And when you dig yourself the kind of hole the Mets dug themselves the first half of the season, you leave yourself no room for error.

 

Wednesday, 21 August 2019 11:04

I'm Back Baby!

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On July 12 the Mets were 11 games under .500 at 40-51, 14 1/2 games out of 1st place and 8 teams to climb over for a wild card berth. Turns out it was their low watermark of the season. Five weeks later...they are 5 games OVER .500 at 65-60, nine games out of 1st place and ONE team in front of them for a wild card spot, two games behind. That's a 16-game swing!

They took care of the teams they NEEDED to put away… and now they are playing the meaningful games they wanted to play. The Mets had Citifield rocking like it hasn’t been since sometime in 2016, stealing two come from behind wins from the Nationals before finally seeing their winning streak come to an end in a way that has come to define the 2019 season. Then they headed to Atlanta to take on the 1st place Braves, and grabbed one of the three games before taking two of three from the lowly Royals in Kansas City. Now they are back home up against the Cleveland Indians who have had the same mid-season resurgence as the Mets.

Tuesday, 16 July 2019 02:05

What's There To Believe With These Mets?

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In a season where the Mets are celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the 1969 Miracle Mets, management is actually asking the fans to think more in the line with the 1973 “Ya Gotta Believe” Mets. The problem is that the Mets of 2019 do not resemble either of those teams.

It’s so easy to point to the bullpen as the problem. However, the Mets bullpen is actually not in any more of a state of dysfunction than any other team this year, except for the Yankees. Every team is having bullpen problems. The horrible state of the bullpen is AN issue but not THE issue.

Although the 1973 team was handicapped by injuries to just about every key player on the team and was in last place in August, the reason there was hope for that team was that once the team was again at full strength, the pitching rich team was exceptionally strong up the middle with Jerry Grote behind the plate, Bud Harrelson at short, Felix Millan at second base, and Don Hahn in centerfield. This year’s team falls far short of being strong up the middle, important especially when you build your team around your starting pitching.

Saturday, 11 May 2019 17:13

Just Keep Running 'Em Out There!

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For the second year in a row, the Mets started out looking like they were going to take the league by storm. Instead, they look overmatched everywhere they go.

The roster is constructed poorly no matter how you look at it. The complaint following the last game in Milwaukee was that there was no lefty on the bench to pinch hit late in the game. That’s because the Mets are too left handed in their starting lineup to begin with. They have too many infielders and not enough outfielders.

Their best fielding (and hitting) second baseman is playing left field. Their best fielding first baseman was relegated to the minor leagues because he can’t effectively play left field. Their star shortstop is a fielding nightmare and even I could get him out as long as I threw a breaking pitch a foot off the outside corner of the plate. The star catcher who came in to make us try to forget how bad Travis d’Arnaud has been hasn’t hit much at all and is brutal behind the plate, actually making d’Arnaud seem somewhat functional. Todd Frazier, who I never considered an everyday player, is proving that he is not an everyday player. He swings for the fences on every pitch. Speaking of swing for the fences on every pitch - the apparent success that the Mets experienced by hitting the ball to the opposite field and putting the ball in play has…suddenly…disappeared. Once again, every hitter - with the exception of Jeff McNeil - clearly appears to be swinging for the fences again. I guess Chili Davis’ advice was only good for a few games.

Saturday, 11 May 2019 16:26

Baseball Like It Ought To Be?

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The game has obviously changed. I never thought of baseball as a dangerous game. I thought of football as a dangerous game, but not baseball. I learned how to take out a second baseman to break up a double play in Little League. I learned how to barrel into a catcher if he had the ball and was blocking the plate. And I learned that I was going to GET BARRELED INTO if I was blocking the plate when I was catching. I got some of the eight broken noses I suffered over the years that way.

There are things that were just a part of baseball. There are things that were not in the rule book. It was just understood. It was the “code.” One thing I was always good at was stealing signs. It helped that I had a photographic memory. But I paid attention while everyone else was jerking around. I didn’t have to guess what pitch was coming when I was hitting, I often knew what was coming. And, no, I didn’t always peek back at the catcher, I wouldn’t do that. I picked up on the odd habits and, perhaps, tics that a pitcher might have that would give away what he was about to do. In fact, if a batter peeked back at MY signs, he got buzzed behind the ear on a throw back to my battery mate.

It happens every spring. The Mets strength is what? Let’s hear it…their pitching. Well, the pitching has been unimpressive, to say the least. Even Jacob deGrom has looked “human.”

The bullpen has been just brutal.

The keys to the bullpen were supposed to be the bridges to the closer – Robert Gsellman, Seth Lugo, and Jeurys Familia. They have all been shaky at best. And Edwin Diaz, although he hasn’t blown any saves…yet…he is not exactly “lights out” either. His reputation in Seattle was to produce heart palpitations during most of his outings even during his stellar 2018 season.

The one thing you used to be able to count on was that Mets pitchers wouldn’t issue many walks. Now they are walking the ballpark. The starting staff that was supposed to be the most talented in baseball is not really looking all that great.

Thursday, 28 March 2019 02:06

It's Time Again For "Let's Go Mets!"

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Opening Day is finally here. Baseball is back. It was a long winter after a disappointing season. But although there wasn’t a major overhaul, no fire sale, it was an interesting off-season to say the least. How it plays out now will be interesting and, hopefully, fun.

Before we get underway, it seems like a good time to take a look at a number of issues addressed since the conclusion of the 2018 season.

 

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About New York Mets Mania

Alan Karmin is an award-winning journalist and author. He was born in Brooklyn, New York and spent most of his life growing up in the New Jersey suburbs. Alan's family were avid Brooklyn Dodgers fans and when the Dodgers moved west, the Mets became the team to root for. The Mets have always been a true focal point, Alan even wrote a term paper in high school to analyze what was wrong with the Mets. While at the University of Miami, Alan honed his craft covering the, gulp, Yankees during spring trainings in Fort Lauderdale for a local NBC affiliate, as well as the Associated Press and UPI. He broadcasted baseball games for the University of Miami, and spring training games for the Baltimore Orioles and Montreal Expos. New York Mets Mania is a forum for Alan to write about his favorite team and for baseball fans to chime in and provide their thoughts and ideas about New York's Amazin' Mets.