Lets GO, Mets

Lets GO, Mets

By Dan Radzicki

We have a saying in this house- Knicks gonna Knick. It means that the Knicks will always find a way to lose. They’re losing is so powerful that they turned ten time champion Phil Jackson into a pathetic unemployed loser in a matter of weeks.

Good calls.

You can easily make the connection with the New York Mets. It’s totally fair to say that the Mets are gonna Met. Because the Mets find a way to grasp defeat from the jaws of victory.

Look at the last three times the Mets were worth a shit.

In 2000 the Mets were handily defeated by a New York Yankees team full of future Hall of Famers, all stars, and a steroid fueled fuckface. The best player in the game at that time, Alex Rodriguez, expressed his desire to come play for the Mets. That move would have given the Mets two Hall of Fame monster hitters in the heart of their lineup. So what did they do?

Mets gonna Met. They did nothing.

A few years later the Mets retooled under General Manager Omar Minaya and added a distinct Latin flavor to their roster. Carlos Delgado, Carlos Beltran, and Pedro Martinez made Queens a well paid home. They also added 100 year old Orlando Hernandez and 117 year old Julio Franco to the team, along with any player with a Spanish surname (Looking at you, American born Xavier Nady). And that team’s major highlight? A caught looking strike three to end their season.

Must have been a tough play.

And the next season? The epic September collapse where Tom Glavine showed that he was truly an Atlanta Brave with that final start. Also? That game began the era of wasting David Wright’s career.

The Mets languished from that 2007 season all the way to a miracle post season run in 2015 where some rare in season trades bolstered a lineup and a bench. A fine, young pitching staff with tons of promise and some timely hitting from playoff hero Daniel Murphy propelled the Mets to the World Series. Where they promptly lost the series in five games.

In the process they lost Murphy to a division rival and never replaced his bat, then watched as their star pitcher blew his arm out. So there’s that. They did return to the playoffs the next year…for one game.

It’s not like the Mets don’t spend money. They have a TV network and a beautiful stadium that see millions of fans arrive or watch at home annually. And it’s not like the Mets have the lowest payroll in baseball. They don’t. They were 9th in baseball last year, and were almost 10% higher than the next tier of team salaries.

No, it seems where the Mets make bad decisions stems from one place, which affects a few others. Their owners- the Wilpon’s- are fuck ups.

Fuck ups.

Not financially. There, they’ve done great. They avoided being held accountable throughout the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme, where they made fantastic returns on their investments as other people went broke in the scam, then allegedly did not suffer any financial losses after. They sold a chunk of team ownership to raise personal capital, and watched the team gain value in the process. They have a TV network that is part of a cable package, so they get monthly revenues from commercials and subscribers, although Frontier Communications did end their broadcast relationship with SNY this fall due to their “excessive carriage rates.” And unlike every other New York area sports channel, they have no other New York based sports tenant to pay to air.

And with those resources? The Wipons make horrible decisions.

Mets fans can list off the failed free agents and veteran trades the team has made like it’s a Dishonor Roll. Some of those were surprises. Who saw Roberto Alomar falling apart so quickly? Who thought Mike Piazza was going to resign with the Mets? But there’s a whole lot of Mo Vaughns, Bobby Bonillas, Jason Bays, Jeremy Burnitzes and Mel Rojases going on. A Mets trade for a major contributor is rare- consider the trade of Cy Young award winner knuchleballer R.A. Dickey for a catching prospect that they expected to be a star- Travis DeArnold. If the Blue Jays didn’t throw in level A ball pitcher Noah Syndergaard, that trade would have been awful as well. 

What a chunk…er, chump.

Why are the Mets so bad at assessing talent? Here’s an idea: Look at the amount of scouts the Mets reportedly use (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Major_League_Baseball_scouts_by_team). The Mets have 78 scouts. That’s way more than a lot of teams. Teams like the Colorado Rockies or the Seattle Mariners or the famously cheap Oakland A’s.

Some teams have just about the same amount of scouts- the San Francisco Giants and the Pittsburgh Pirates. The shitty Pirates have a similar org chart. That can’t be good. But the Giants have been successful for decades, so we have to call into account the quality of Mets scouts.

But look at the teams with more scouts than the Mets. The Atlanta Braves. The Philadelphia Phillies. The St. Louis Cardinals. The Boston Red Sox. The Los Angeles Dodgers. The Houston Astros. The Cleveland Indians. The Chicago Cubs. The Chicago White Sox. The Detroit Tigers. The Baltimore Orioles. All of these teams have had greater levels of success than the Mets in the Wilpon Era. They all have had faster rebuilds, have had more sustained successes, and almost all of them have won a World Series since 2000.

You may notice a team that didn’t make the list. The New York Yankees. Why? Because their scouting staff is DOUBLE what their same market peers have. Well, not exactly double. Two scouts short of double. 154 versus 78.  

So we know the Mets are short of amateur and professional scouts as compared to more successful organizations. But surely they hire managers and coaches with winning pedigrees, right?

Wrong. The Mets seem to be a landing pad for reclamation projects and first time managers. They’ve had two decent managers over the last 30 years. Davey Johnson and Bobby Valentine. The Mets have had chances to hire managers with pedigrees, as recently as a few days ago when they’ve watched World Series winning Joe Maddon go to the Angels and World Series winning manager Joe Girardi go to the divisional rivals Phillies.

And the Mets? They replaced first time manager Mickey Calloway with first time manager Carlos Beltran. And who hired him? First time general manager Brodie Van Wagenen.

Which in fairness was a turn around from the prior administration or longtime reclamation project and career loser Terry Collins, with retread GM Sandy Alderson. These two teamed up to luck into a postseason based on young pitchers who never had a lineup to supplement their work, and always, ALWAYS a sketchy bullpen.

But look at that stellar, inspiring list of recent Mets managers. You can marvel at:

Mike Cubbage

Art Howe

Dallas Green

Jeff Torborg

Jerry Manual

And you wonder why they lose?

Wally Backman came through the Mets system as a player, then became a manager in various levels before returning as manager in the Mets system. He had a winning record in A ball, AA, and AAA, even managing to win some championships. He had a winning record! But hey, Terry Collins was running a sub 500 team for years, so why change things up?

Even as recently as 2019, a player developed by the Mets and who starred for the Mets- Edgardo Alfonso-  took the A level Brooklyn Cyclones to a league championship. And was fired for it. You read that right. What the actual fuck is this organization doing? Alfonso was a Met in the last era in which the team was consistently good, and past of what some called the greatest infield ever. Fired for winning. This is the GM Mets fans get.

W
What shit.

And this is the GM Mets fans deserve. Why? Because Mets fans are stupid. They line up each year to put 2,000,000 asses (literally and figuratively) in the seats of an admittedly beautiful ballpark. And then they take off their shirts and have the Mets organization shit on their collective chests like a high octane German shizer film. They pay their monthly cable bills and don’t ask the providers to remove the stain from their drawers. They buy t-shirts and jerseys and pay $40 to park under a train track or on the side of a highway because…they’re fucking stupid. Why? Because they don’t ask for better.

You know thaty the divisional rival Atlanta Braves have already begun signing free agents? They took former Giants closer lefthanded All Star Will Smith off of the market well before the Mets made reservations for the Winter Meetings. Mets fans will say Smith isn’t good. If he was in the Mets bullpen last year? They make the playoffs.

Let me be the first person the make this point and argument. If the Islanders arena progresses at Belmont, the Mets should move there as well. Not the indoor arena. That’d be silly. No, instead of ANOTHER shopping mall, build a baseball stadium. And maybe….shhhh….a small casino in the proposed and yet unbuilt hotel. Imagine a horse track, an indoor sports arena, an outdoor sports arena, a hotel, a casino, and two train stations- one coming from Long Island and one from Queens – all within walking distance of each other? And near their fanbase? That’d sound…smart. So that’s fucked.

Instead the fans have accepted the existence of chop shops and grey mud puddles for generations.

So to Mets fans- stop it. What you’re doing is the equivalent of Magic Johnson buying billboards in support of spreading AIDS. Cancel your TV packages. You don’t need them. Just buy channels you want and stream Mets games. Stop paying for failure.

Business as usual.

Stop with season tickets. Stop with t shirts. Stop paying to watch games. I can tell you what will happen.

The team will lose money. Then they will lose value. Then someone with money will come in recognizing the bargain to own a mass market team at a bargain price and do what new owners always do- use the savings to reinvest in their product. That way if they sell it’s a quick flip. And if they stay it’s a fortune down the road. And will the present owners reinvest in this team to make it a winner?

No. The Mets presently have enough parts to just need a few more pieces to be short term solid. What pieces? A competent front office, an experienced manager, experienced coaches with winning records, a few key free agents, a few solid drafts, and an owner willing to spend. Just look at their take on analytics, which is growing in all sports.

Are you at all shocked?

This plan doesn’t work for everyone, but it’s worked for the Yankees, Dodgers, Cardinals, Cubs, Red Sox, Astros, Marlins, Giants, and Tigers. Clearly it didn’t work for the teams that never invested.

Like the Mets.

So, which side of the fence do you want to be on? Perpetual pissing your own money away to a rich guy with a losing team for more of the same? Or maybe a sense of satisfaction from not the usual “almost successful” season?

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments. Or smash your head into the wall as you order your Mets Christmas gifts. Unlike what the team owners do at this time of year.

Stars Come Out to Support Derek Jeter At His 23rd Annual Foundation Gala

Stars Come Out to Support Derek Jeter At His 23rd Annual Foundation Gala

Keith Allison / Flickr

By Rob Lep

Derek Jeter is sports royalty. A New York sports icon. Mt. Rushmore. A five-time World Series champion with the New York Yankees and captain from 2003-14.

At Cipriani Wall Street in downtown Manhattan, decked out with a red carpet — athletes and celebrities came out to support Jeter and this amazing cause.

At the top of the list, New York sports legends like John Starks, John Franco, Larry Johnson, Ken Daneyko, etc.

From the Turn 2 website: “The star-studded gala celebrated Turn 2 and its work to make a positive difference in the lives of young people. The event raised more than $1 million for the Foundation’s programs that foster academic achievement, healthy lifestyles, positive behavior, social change and leadership development.

“It’s been a long time from when we started,” Jeter said. “I don’t think we could ever have sat down and say it would grow to how big it is now. It’s something my entire family is so proud of.

Keith Allison / Flickr

“It’s good to have a bond with someone like him,” Starks said. “Who has done it the right way throughout his career and right now…Derek and I are good friends. Just a class individual on and off the court.”

John Franco spent 15 seasons in Flushing with the Metropolitans. He’s a four-time All-Star and the team’s all-time franchise leader in saves. On December 6, 1989, at the age of 29, he was traded with Don Brown to the Mets for Randy Myers and Kip Gross.

Franco and Jeter developed their relationship during their careers while playing in New York at the same time.

“I’m here to support Derek and he does a tremendous job with his foundation. When Derek Jeter calls, hey ‘why not’ I’m a local guy and when a local guy does a fundraiser, it’s good to give back.”

He led the league in saves for the 1988, 1990, and 1994 seasons. He reached the postseason for the first time in 1999 and the World Series in 2000.

Not to worry, the NHL was well represented too. Ken Daneyko is a former NHL player who played his entire career with the New Jersey Devils and currently serves as an analyst for the team on MSG Networks.

“Events like this,” Danyeko said. “The great Derek Jeter who I have a lot of respect for and have known a little bit playing in close proximity in the New York-New Jersey metro area. Try to give back a little bit that you can… always fun to catch up with him. He’s a class act.”

For Yankees and Astros it was a tale of two cities

For Yankees and Astros it was a tale of two cities

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times” describes one of the most quoted literary lines ever written. Such was the case in the 2019 ALCS.

Fans of Major League Baseball had the matchup they anticipated. Both the Yankees and Astros dominated the American League from the first pitch this season. MLB executives dreamed of another exciting seven-game classic as they had witnessed in 2017.

Both teams did not display the offensive talent that saw each of them finish in the top three in runs and OPS during the regular season. Houston hit just .179 for the series, while the Yankees had four regulars bat under .150. After combining to average 11.5 runs a game during the regular season, they scored 7.1 in the ALCS.

However, despite all the offensive futility in the series, both teams treated fans to a ninth-inning they will never forget.

YANKEES POSTSEASON FAILURES, HOUSTON SUCCESSES

In one corner stood the Yankees, who fought off Justin Verlander in keeping their season alive in Game 5. Getting back to the Fall Classic is a rite of passage for the Bronx Bombers. At least it was. New York risked failing to appear at least once in a decade if they could not rally to win the series. The last time the Yankees went a full decade without reaching the World Series was 100 years ago during the decade that saw the United States fight in World War I (1910-1919).

New York Yankees, World Series Appearances By Decade

2010-19 0 2000-09 4 1990-99 3 1980-89 1 1970-79 3 1960-69 5 1950-59 8 1940-49 5 1930-39 5 1920-29 6 1910-19 0

Aside from that incredible streak of excellence being at risk, the intimidating influence the Yankees once had on the postseason seems to have expired. Entering Game 6, the Yankees experienced walking off the field losers nine previous times this millennium. Luis Gonzalez floats a ball over Derek Jeter’s head in Game 7 of the 2001 World Series started a trend that no one saw coming.

Mixed in those memories was the biggest postseason collapse in MLB history. Needing just three outs to get to the 2004 World Series and complete a sweep of the hated Red Sox, the unimaginable occurred. Boston tied the game off Mariano Rivera then extended their season with a walk-off HR by David Ortiz. Three days later, they watched Boston celebrate on their home field, becoming the only team in MLB history to blow a 3-0 series lead.

Most Postseason Walk-off Losses, MLB History

Yankees 18 >> Dodgers 12 Red Sox 12 Braves 11 >> Four have ended series (most in MLB history)

In the other corner stood the Astros. The same Astros who previously delivered walk-off postseason wins twice against them (Game 2 of 2019 and 2017 ALCS).

However, facing a two-run deficit entering the ninth-inning, DJ LeMahieu saved their season with an inspiring AB that resulted in a game-tying HR. Undoubtedly, the swagger was back as they took the field for the bottom of the ninth. Surely, momentum was on their side.

The Astros suffered a previous meltdown in the 2005 NLCS (yes, they were in the National League then). One-out away from reaching their first World Series, Brad Lidge surrendered a 3-run HR to Albert Pujols to push the series back to St. Louis. However, the Astros finished the Cardinals off in Game 6 to pick up their closer.

Jose Altuve experienced scoring a walk-off run in the 2017 ALCS. As he approached the plate, he knew he could pick up his closer. He stared out at Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman. In his previous 31 postseason appearances, Chapman only allowed one HR. Despite allowing one of the most significant HR in World Series history, allowing Cleveland to tie Game 7, he had allowed just one run in his 13 postseason appearances since.

Altuve delivered the Astros 10th walk-off win in postseason history. No other MLB team except the Yankees 23 has reached double-digits. On the flip side, it was the Yankees 18th postseason walk-off loss.

For Altuve and the Astros, it was the best of times, while for Chapman and the Yankees, it was the worst of times.

Yankees Look To Continue Domination of Twins

Yankees Look To Continue Domination of Twins

As the MLB Wild Card games take place this week, it gives us a chance to look back at a historic regular season.

For the first time in MLB history, four teams finished the regular season with 100 or more victories. Two of those teams will face each other in the American League Division Series as the Twins travel to Yankee Stadium on Friday.

The Twins and Yankees mark the second time in MLB postseason history that a pair of 100-win teams faced each other in the LDS. Last season, the 1 Yankees (100 wins) lost to the Red Sox (108 wins).

YANKEES OWN MINNESOTA

After losing Game 1 of the 2003 ALDS, the Yankees have won 13 of their last 14 postseason games against the Twins. Overall, their 13-2 record against the Twins is the second-best postseason winning percentage for one team over another. Only the Cardinals, who are 9-1 against the Padres in the postseason, have a higher win percentage against another team.

The Yankees’ dominance against the Twins doesn’t just apply to the postseason. Going back to the 2002 season, the Twins are 37-100 (.270 win percentage) against the Yankees (postseason included) That is the lowest win percentage for one team against any opponent in the same league over that span.

The Yankees defeated the Twins in the ALDS in 2003, 2004, 2009 and 2010, sweeping the Twins in 2009 and 2010. In each of their first three postseason meetings, the Yankees owned the home-field advantage in defeating the Twins. In 2010, the Twins finished with the best record in the American League before the Yankees swept them out of the postseason.

The Twins record at Yankees Stadium is bad enough (lost 15 of last 17 including 2017 Wild Card), but even going back to Minnesota isn’t much of a consolation (Twins have lost 10 straight postseason games at home and are 0-7 against the Yankees).

TWINS COULD SET POSTSEASON FUTILITY RECORD

Minnesota has not won a postseason game since Game 2 of the 2004 ALDS, a span of 13 games. The Twins losing spell matches the Boston Red Sox for the longest in postseason history. Boston’s streak stretched from Game 6 of the 1986 World Series to Game 1 of the 1998 ALDS.

YANKEES POSTSEASON REGULARS IN WILD CARD ERA

The Yankees’ achievements in the Wild Card era are incredible. They will be making their 21st postseason appearance in the 25 years since MLB introduced the Wild Card. Their five World Championships are the most in this era.

Most Postseason Appearances; Wild Card Era

TeamsApp.World Series
Titles
*Yankees 21 5
*Braves16 1
*Cardinals14 2
*2019 Postseason teams

In their previous 20 postseason appearances, the Yankees combined to win 23 series. That is seven more than the next closest team, the Cardinals, who have won 16. The Red Sox (15) and the Giants (11) are the only other teams to win more than 10.

The New York Yankees Are One of Baseball’s Biggest Surprises

The New York Yankees Are One of Baseball’s Biggest Surprises

The New York Yankees have been turning everybody’s heads this season 360 degrees, or completely around.  Despite the staggering injuries to the majority of their star players such as Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, along with Luis Severino and Dellin Betances, the Yankees have been able to exceed expectations and have managed to stay well above .500 for most of the season.  Not to mention, they are in first place in the American League East Division by two full games over the Tampa Bay Rays and 5.5 games up on the defending archrival Boston Red Sox.

The Yankees are 30-17 and imagine that when they get the majority of their elite players/starters back, they will be even better and more dangerous/powerful than where they are now.  The Yanks are 13 games over .500 and the main reason for their success without their starters has been their depth.  Role players such as Gio Urshela, Cameron Maybin and the newly acquired Kendrys Morales have all stepped up and delivered on a night-to-night basis with clutch hits and home runs that have allowed the Yankees to go on an impressive run from mid-April through May. 

The Yankees have three wins this year when trailing in the eighth inning or later this season, which speaks volumes about this team that you can never count them out in any game, in any deficit; they can strike at any time.  Gary Sanchez and Gleyber Torres have a combined 15 home runs against Orioles pitching this season, while the Bombers are 8-2 versus the Orioles this season.

We aren’t even at the All-star break or through the first half of the 2019 season yet and it is simply amazing to see the sheer dominance and consistency of this Yankees team against the Orioles not only this year but for most of this decade.  The Yankees also have the 4th-best pitching staff in the American League, devoid of ace Luis Severino and the “Big Maple” James Paxton in the starting rotation. 

Daniel Correa of The World Wide Sports Radio Network produced this article.            

Is April the Greatest Month for Sports?

Is April the Greatest Month for Sports?

By Chris Klimaszewski

            Here’s why April is the greatest month in sports. I know there is no NFL in the month of April, but look at all the other sports going on. First off, right from the start of April, it’s Opening Day for baseball. Second, the first Sunday in April, the Road to Wrestlemania has finally. Then the exact next day after Wresltemania, you have the March Madness finals. After that, the following weekend will be The Masters. Then, while all that’s going on, you’ll have the NBA and NHL going on throughout April. Finally, at the end of the month, you’ll have your taste of the NFL season with the NFL Draft. Plus, how could I forget, all the UFC fights that’ll happen.

            Think about it. This is a month we’ll see Mike Trout, Rory McIlroy, Seth Rollins, Zion Williamson, Sidney Crosbey, and Roger Goodell getting boo’d, in action all in this one month. You literally couldn’t ask for anything better. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait for April.