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I just saw a headline that read “MLB Celebrating the Greatest of All” in regards to the 2021 Major League Baseball All Star Game. Greatest of all? Come on. You’re kidding me.
I also have read in multiple places where fans, especially Mets fans, are claiming, and complaining, that Pete Alonso will have ruined his swing by participating in the Home Run Derby. Again…you’re kidding me.
As for Alonso, and anyone else who participates in a “home run derby,” it is absolutely absurd to think that someone’s swing will be affected. These players sport a swing that is geared to home run derby every game. Launch angles…exit velocity…linear weights…terms in 1971, 50 years ago, were associated with a NASA spacecraft launch are now the science behind hitting a baseball.
And it was 50 years ago, the 1971 All Star Game, that it truly was an exhibition of some of the “greatest of all” in baseball history. In that game, 21 players that went to that game in Detroit made it to the Hall of Fame.
Okay…stop…it’s ONLY ONE GAME. There are 161 more games to go. But the very first game of the season gives some real insight into what is different…and what is so wrong with baseball today.
I absolutely love the game of baseball because of the thought process. You had to think. You had to position yourself in the field, at the plate, decide which pitch to throw and why. Bring on the computer age. Sure…Davey Johnson was using a computer in the 80’s. But he also went with his gut. Would a computer put a guy like Kevin Mitchell at shortstop? Gil Hodges employed the McCovey shift back in 1969. But if a shift was employed, I recall many times when somebody would simply lay down a bunt…get on base…take what the defense gives you. Whatever happened to all of that? It’s better than striking out, isn’t it?
Jacob deGrom is a true victim in all of this nonsense. He was the least heralded…he really wasn’t heralded at all…among those elite five of Matt Harvey, Steven Matz, Noah Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler and him. In fact…he is the only one of the five left. Syndergaard will hopefully be back from surgery this season and the other three are successfully (for a while anyway) toiling elsewhere.
The Mets have made some disastrous trades over the years. Of course, the trading away of Nolan Ryan ranks up there as one of the worst in Major League history. And there is that one called the Midnight Massacre that has come to define the Mets futility as an organization.
With that in mind, I decided to take a look at the 10 Worst and 10 Best Trades in Mets history. First a look at the 10 Worst Trades made by the Mets:
The best pitching staff in baseball. The best pitching staff the Mets have ever had. The best pitching staff ever assembled. Hmmm. Can’t miss. After years of hope…or rather…hopelessness…it is refreshing to hear such high praise…any kind of praise really…for the Mets. And I can understand why the excitement about the Mets starting rotation is erupting like Mount St. Helen.
But is everyone too quick to adorn this group as the greatest ever assembled? Is the hype truly deserved at this point…or is it premature?
Mets fans have been victimized by the hype before. Remember Generation K? The big three in that group were Paul Wilson, Bill Pulsipher, and Jason Isringhausen. Bobby Jones was also a part of that staff that was supposed to be the greatest staff ever coming together. However, that greatness never materialized. In fact, the only one who had any kind of an effective career was Isringhausen who emerged as a dominant closer for a short time after overcoming numerous arm troubles.
Ken Griffey, Jr. making it to the Hall of Fame is a true feel good story. It seemed he was destined for greatness. He was a kid among men, roaming the clubhouses in the major league parks, hanging around like any son who tags along with his father to the office. He learned a lot while hanging out with some of the greatest who ever played the game. But that kid was a natural, and was the very first pick of the Seattle Mariners in the 1987 draft. And he didn't disappoint. He was a superstar from the very beginning, and played like a kid playing in the sandlots, always playing hard, getting dirty, and having fun.
Mike Piazza making it to the Hall of Fame is also a feel good story. But unlike Griffey, his career ventured on a different path. While Griffey was the Number One pick in the first round of the draft, Piazza was way at the other end, selected in the 62nd round of the 1988 draft by the Los Angeles Dodgers. The 62nd round!
For all of the Mets historians out there...does anyone recall how the 1969 World Series got underway? Bottom of the first inning? Tom Seaver...The Franchise...pitching? Does anyone remember the name "Don Buford?" Any of this remind anyone of anything?
As I recall, Buford was the Orioles leadoff batter and he lofted a Seaver pitch deep to rightfield. Ron Swoboda, not the most graceful of outfielders, backpedalled...backpedalled...and backpedalled...right into the rightfield fence. And the ball just managed to clear the fence for a leadoff home run which set the stage for a Game 1 Orioles win. The truth is, had Swoboda run straight back to the fence, braced himself, and just jumped ever so slightly, he could have caught the ball. Not the easiest play, but one a good rightfielder would have made. And hey, Swoboda more than made up for that in Game 4 with his famous diving catch.