It's Subway Series time again between the cross town rivals the New York Mets vs. New York Yankees. Don't everyone rush to post comments all at once here. Two games have already been played at the bandbox in the Bronx known as the "new" Yankee Stadium with two more to go at Citi Field tonight and tomorrow. The luster has slowly come off this series since inter-league play began, and I for one am glad they cut the number of these games between the two teams down. The Mets offense has scored over twenty runs against a beat up Yankee pitching staff the last two nights. Before this series started, the Mets offense this season was about as exciting as watching a determined little caterpillar ascend it's way up a tall cornstalk. In real time. The Mets starting pitching has fared horribly the last two nights with Bartolo Colon and Zack Wheeler pitching just about as badly as it gets in the first two games. But the Mets put on their hitting shoes for a change in the new Yankee Stadium to climb back to .500. The Mets Curtis Granderson took full advantage of his old stomping grounds as he hit two home runs over the short right field porch as he did so often in the recent past as a Yankee. I wish all four of the games in this series could be played in the Bronx instead of cavernous Citi Field in Queens where long fly balls often go to die.
It was great to take two in the Bronx, but tonight at their home park the Mets may indeed hit the wall offensively with the Yanks starting their undefeated phenom Masahiro Tanaka. Tanaka has been nothing short of brilliant this year for the Yankees and he's been the savior of their starting pitching staff so far. With their shopworn former ace C.C. Sabathia now joining Michael Pineda and Ivan Nova on the disabled list, the Yankees will place much of the load of staying out of losing streaks onto Tanaka and the veteran Hiroki Kuroda. The Yankees are struggling right now through injuries to both their pitching staff and their offense. Mark Texiera, Carlos Beltran, and Ichiro are hurt, but they still have a dangerous starting lineup as it is. GM Brian Cashman will no doubt be looking to fill the holes as best he can not far down the road. The Yankees spent a half a billion dollars this winter on mostly veteran players to win now. Cashman will have his work cut out in making the right moves to help bolster up a sagging rotation which at the start of the season looked like a strong suit for the Yankees. "You can never have enough pitching."
The Tigers sweep the Orioles and continue to be even better than expected. This may be the best Tigers start since the 35-5 1984 team. Who would have thought that Victor Martinez would be ahead in some stats over Miggy at this point of the year?
RIP, Don Zimmer. He wore a lot of hats in his half-century baseball career but for me he became an iconic part of the Yankee dynasty by being Torre's right-hand on the bench (the image of him wearing an army helmet after getting hit by a foul ball in the dugout remains a priceless memory)
Sorry to hear about the passing of Don Zimmer at age 83. "Popeye" was the nickname everyone knew. He had several others over the decades including "Zip", "Zim", and "Sarge". He had over 60 years in the game as a player, manager, and trusted consultant. As the years go by we are losing many of the great characters of the game from the 50's 60's and 70's and Don Zimmer was certainly one of them. He was an original New York Met for about a month early in 1962. One of the first of a long line of revolving door third baseman in the clubs history that has finally ended with David Wright as a fixture for more than a decade at the position. When I was in high school I had friends who were die hard Boston Red Sox fans that absolutely hated him as a manager. Around the table in the library during some down time with the box scores spread out on the table they would go on and on about this move or that.
The Red Sox under Zimmer went on that year to blow a big lead over the Yankees in the divisional standings which eventually led to a one game playoff which then led to Yankee shortstop Bucky Dent being "gifted" forever by Boston fans with a new middle name that began with an "F" and ended with an "n". You need not be a brightest in the batch contestant on "Wheel of Fortune" to figure that one out. But "Popeye" must have done something right because he held a managerial position for four different organizations over about a 13 year span. Teams sought him out over the years and he would always have a job somewhere in the game if he wanted one until the day he died. He became a beloved figure. Baseball was his life and he lived doing what he loved. We should all be so lucky. RIP.
Well, since last I commented on the woeful Mets hitting situation the bullpen has been revamped a bit with Vic Black and Josh Edgin being brought up from AAA Las Vegas with Jennry Mejia being moved to closer. Mejia was getting beat up as a starter in the middle innings and this move makes sense as he has had his best showings out of the pen in the past where he can air it out without overthinking and pacing himself as he did as a starter. Mejia has looked very good so far in the closing role. Kyle Farnsworth and Jose Valverde have mercifully been released. Why Alderson brought those two aboard in the first place still boggles my mind. Both of those guys best years are long behind them and both were mediocre at best and were blocking younger pitchers from Vegas getting elevated to the big club to show what they can or cannot do. If the Mets are going to lose this year, and they are losing big time because they can't hit, better to get the younger pitchers up here now and get them some time in the middle innings instead of pussy footing around with a couple of 40 year old retreads clogging up the roster who can't get outs anymore.
The bullpen has been better recently but the hitting with men in scoring position stinks to high heaven. It's a struggle to watch this team strand runners on base night in and night out like clockwork. Only David Wright and Daniel Murphy have hit somewhat consistantly since the season started. Another bum move by Alderson was signing the one year wonder Chris Young to a 7 million one year deal with the guarantee of playing time. Word was Young worked out with the great Rod Carew on his hitting mechanics in the off season to try to get himself straightened out. The results are in. He looks like the same lost hitter he was in Oakland last season. Young has never been the same since his time as a prospect in Arizona and it's yet another case of the Mets having to suck up another bad contract. Luckily for them they only committed to one year and can move on once the season is over.
For me, his epic battle against the Yankees slugger Reggie Jackson to end Game 2 of the 1978 World Series is one of the sports television events of the era that is forever etched in my memory.
Bob Welch was only a young rookie that year. He would go on to have some superb years with the Oakland A's. Ron Darling who at one time pitched with Welch on the A's staff had some nice memories of him and discussed it on tonight's Mets vs. Brewers broadcast.
Classic battle in major league baseball history. Sadly there are always some people who die this way, Pretty young, nothing really wrong with them and their heart gives out. Happen to my mother's doctor years ago.We should always appreciate every day God has given us, no one is promise tomorrow. PAUL BLAIR at first base left us recently as well. We all got to go sometime, Make the most out of life. it's a gift.
Mets GM Sandy Alderson and manager Terry Collins had a past connection to Welch. Alderson of course during his years as one of the mentors of Billy Beane and the "Moneyball" concept as the former GM in Oakland. Collins was running the LA Dodgers farm system a decade ago and brought Bob Welch in as an instructor to work with the young pitchers. It was a job he seemed to enjoy. Collins had nothing but utmost respect for Welch and was broken up upon hearing the news of his death. If you look at the history of the Dodgers organization over at least the last 40 years you'll clearly notice the boatload of good young pitchers that originally came up through their farm system. Bob Welch was one of them.
Welch had well documented personal issues off the field, but he got his life in order and had a remarkable career (17 years 211 wins) and a Cy Young Award in 1990 when he won 27 games. Ask any young pitcher coming up today if he'd like to have that kind of success when he was done. Welch hung on and got a handle on his personal life and career. He survived and thrived and seemed to have so much more to give. I think that's one of the reasons why his sudden death at age 57 hit so many people hard.
The Tigers continue to be unable to pitch or hit, with the exceptions of Miggy and VMart. Those two can hit almost anything anytime. I have decided to ignore the Detroit kittens until they find their inner Tiger again.
Hearing that BOB WELCH had a lot of personal problems off the field does open some interesting thoughts. Sure we all know there are many factors in why some people die young or die old and one can't put a answer sometimes in stone.But it does possibly put him in another category as far as the tragedy of his death at 57.
Congratulations to Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken Jr on their official entrance into the baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown NY earlier today.
The above post and photos were mine from July 30, 2007 on this thread. It seems like yesterday that we were discussing both Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken Jr who were inducted in the Hall together at Cooperstown that year. Now Gwynn is gone from cancer at 54. He thought he had it beat, but sadly it returned. "Mr. Padre". A real gentleman. One of the greatest pure hitters of his generation in a 20 year career as a San Diego Padre that began in 1982. Over 3100 hits, .338 career batting average, 8 total batting titles, and a 15 time All Star. I saw a lot of National League baseball during the years he played and he was a joy to watch. A true professional hitter who although he did not hit for power was dangerous and always into every at bat thinking along with the pitchers he faced. He came prepared. And he beat a good many of them. Sad news today. RIP
Frank Cashen was the steady experienced baseball man who was responsible in large part for bringing the New York Mets back to respectability in the mid to late 1980's. The Mets were just coming out of a dark tunnel and into the light under a new ownership group. The years of mismanagement by the Lorinda de Roulet family and the miser M. Donald Grant were over, and the page was finally, mercifully, turned. I'll never forget the day Cashen made the trade with St. Louis for perennial Gold Glover and former MVP Keith Hernandez. Later, he added future Hall of Fame catcher Gary Carter. The wheels started to turn. That was just the start of hand picking other veterans ('86 WS MVP Ray Knight) that had a winning attitude who became big influences on the talented youngsters ripening in the farm system that would eventually lead to the Mets 1986 World Championship. The Mets owned New York sports in those years. It was fun again to be a Mets fan. Frank Cashen was not only a top notch baseball man, he was a decent and honorable man as well. He'll be missed.
Mets broadcasters Gary Cohen and Keith Hernandez talked a bit about Frank Cashen before the game the other night upon hearing the news of his death. The affection felt for the man by Hernandez was obvious. As he went on towards the end of his story he choked up. I'm sure many other Mets fans did as well. I'm one of them.