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2021 New York Mets season thread


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1 hour ago, NJDevs4978 said:

Anyway the ESPN four part series on the ‘86 Mets is tonight and tomorrow. I’m sure it’ll be entertaining but I wonder how much we actually find out that’s new and not already highly suspected at least.

Yeah I'll watch but I'm pretty sure it's all been told (Jeff Perlman's "The Bad Guys Won" recycled many of the well-known tales of the 1986 Mets).  Just like Whitey Ford said when asked yet again about the days when he, Mick, Billy and others would paint the town every last shade of red...basically said all of the stories had already been told a million times, and he had nothing new to add.  

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3 hours ago, MB3 said:

Did you play baseball? That's not how any of this works, lol. Oftentimes a tip is only visible from one angle. Acknowledging the tip, making the connection, and swinging all before a 94 mph fastball hits the glove behind you isn't a real thing. 

And "how do we know the Yankees don't have something more elaborate set up" is just a silly question. How do we know the Mets aren't cheating? How do we know the Rays aren't all weird robots created in the fish tank at Tropicana field. How do we know the Red Sox don't use buzzer butt-plugs to identify when a runner is stealing second?

They were in Citi field, is a good start (unless you think the Yankees wired every ballpark in baseball, including a stadium they only see three times a year?). The best example, I'll call "exhibit duh": the Yankees, after four consecutive seasons of a top-3 offense, are ~10th (out of 15) in the AL in total offense this year. Behind juggernauts like the Detroit Tigers and the Minnesota Twins. They strike out the 4th most. They have a team .236 batting average. They're bottom-five in RBIs. Dead fvcking last in doubles. Bottom 3 in slugging. They are a flat out garbage bin offense this year.

If the Yankees actually did start cheating this year... ya know, they should probably stop.

I don't think the Yankees whistling to signal pitches (if that's what they were even doing) is that big of a deal...if a guy's tipping his pitches, then of course you're going to tell your teammates, and even try to do it in real time.  As long as the Yankees weren't using any video or other tech to steal signs or anything like that, I can't get on them.  And Walker's been bad enough in his last 10 starts (7.38 ERA and an ungodly 17 HRs allowed in his last 50 IP) that you can't help but wonder if a LOT of other teams have noticed that he's tipping his pitches, but were simply more subtle in exploiting it.   

That being said, cheating doesn't always lead to the intended ("positive") results.  There's 'roiders who still weren't all that much better once they went on the juice.  Jimmy Johnson admitted that he used to have people trying to pick up the opposition's signaling of plays, but abandoned it simply because he didn't really think it was helping him all that much.  So though I'm not accusing the Yankees of cheating here, I will say that some teams who are trying to cheat simply aren't benefitting from it...but obviously doesn't mean that they're not guilty by virtue of suckage.  

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Comparing it to other sports is sort of disingenuous. There have been two major cheating scandals in baseball; the 2017 Astros and 2018 Red Sox. Both teams saw an entire roster worth of career seasons (many that never got repeated afterwards). 

The Yankees don’t have a single player having a career year; and you can argue that the only two players on the team playing at their talent level this season are Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton — still well below their career best numbers. 

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Just now, MB3 said:

Comparing it to other sports is sort of disingenuous. There have been two major cheating scandals in baseball; the 2017 Astros and 2018 Red Sox. Both teams saw an entire roster worth of career seasons (many that never got repeated afterwards). 

The Yankees don’t have a single player having a career year; and you can argue that the only two players on the team playing at their talent level this season are Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton — still well below their career best numbers. 

And I said right in my post that I don't think the Yankees themselves are cheating, and am not trying to imply that they were.  I was making the point that players and teams sometimes cheat without it paying off...meaning that a player or team not producing (in other cases, not the 2021 Yankees) doesn't mean there's absolutely zero chance of shenanigans happening.

As far as cheating scandals in MLB go, you're forgetting about the 1951 Giants too, when they were apparently using a telescope from behind CF, then relaying the signals via buzzer back to the dugout.  This started on July 20...the team went 51-18 from that point on (after starting 47-41).  Of course the "how"s regarding how this was done came out way after the fact.  And like I said, you had a HELL of a lot of players 'roiding up at one point (some guys are still getting caught even now).    

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Kinda hard to believe (mostly because he's been inconsistent and prone to maddening moments...he's also had some "fatten up" games that have blown up his numbers), but I'm pretty sure we can all live with the Lindor that's put up these numbers since 5/29:

64 GP (61 GS), 261 PA, 225 AB, .262 BA, .353 OB%, .511 SLG% (.864 OPS), 45 R, 14 HR, 43 RBI, 29 BB, 48 K (pretty good ratio these days)

Of course, due to the inconsistency and occasional WTF moment, his numbers don't FEEL quite as good as they look...and when you add in that 18 of his RBI came in four games, that can help it feel like he hasn't been as productive as his overall numbers suggest.  But still, I'll happily take these rate numbers over a 550 AB season.  

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Another gut wrenching loss. And of course winning run on 3rd, 1 out...and Lindor hits into a double play (one which if the roles were reversed the Mets would've booted the ball into the mezzanine)

one run lead in the 8th. Naturally that means Familia needs to give up a walk and immediate home run. If it's not one gutless choker (Diaz) it's always the other (Familia)

But after that performance vs the Yankess Lindor had to get that run in, and he turned into David Wright.

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Meh, the 2021 Mets are what they are.  They're 12 games under .500 since starting 35-25.  There's just no reason to believe in them anymore.

Apparently Cohen and my boy Alderson are going to pick a baseball ops president (or whatever they want to call the title) together.  Why Sandy has ANY say in hires with his track record here is beyond baffling.  As long as he manages to hire the right guy (either Theo or Beane) and gets the fvck outta the way, I'll live with it.

Saw both episodes 1 and 2 of Once Upon a Time in Queens last night (yep, I'd rather watch that than the 2021 edition), and it is really well done.  Much of the first episode is dedicated to the early history of the Mets, the rough beginnings, the 1969 WS Championship, how much it hurt to see Tom Seaver dealt in 1977 (about a month before the blackout riots in NYC, which was obviously a mess at the time even before that), how the Mets had been a trainwreck for years...and then the team's sold to Doubleday, Cashen comes aboard and slowly starts bringing in the pieces that would be lead to the 86 juggernaut.  

I really like the way they've structured the shows so far...in some cases, they show a clip of a given player coming out on to the field, from a clip of the World Series intros on TV, then delve into that player's history, with clips from the player himself (where possible obviously...Gary Carter is no longer with us).  Though the shows are not necessarily presenting THAT much that's new to hardcore Mets fans who know just about everything there is to know about the 86 team, they're doing it in a highly entertaining way.  What's funny is even now, you can tell that though Keith very much respected Carter's abilities on the field (for the most part...more on that in a bit), Gary's gee-whiz God-squad personality just grated on Keith in a huge way...and when you hear clips of Gary talking, you can easily see why he'd rub a lot of ballplayers the wrong way.  Though Carter was a leader of sorts, it's pretty clear that Keith was tops in a lot of ways...Sid Fernandez mentioned that Gary would come to the mound to talk strategy, then as he was walking back to the plate, Keith would simply say "Screw that, just throw your fastball" or something that would completely contradict what Carter said...Sid admittedly that he deferred to Keith, who he saw as the real leader of the team.  And on a side note re:  Keith, I'm sorry, that guy should be in the Hall of Fame...he was a beast on the field (one of the best defensive first basemen ever...10 Gold Gloves) and even if he didn't hit a ton of home runs, he was a hell of a hitter (.296 lifetime, and his slash was .301/.391/.445 through the 1987 season), and as clutch as they come.  He was dynamic and dominating, regardless of not having massive power numbers for a first baseman.

The one shame about the 86 team is that it's not hard to see why they couldn't go on a true multiple-WS run.  Gary and Keith were already 32, and would start their declines soon after.  There was actually a lot of youth elsewhere on the team, but we know what happened with Doc and Straw...and some of the kids who were supposed to keep this thing going in the years to come (Elster, Jefferies, etc) were disappointments.  And Cashen made some bad moves...Kevin McReynolds was obviously a fine player, but he didn't fit the Mets one bit.  And fiery guys like Backman and Dykstra were dealt for guys who didn't help...Dykstra and McDowell for Juan Samuel was just brutal.    

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Yeah it wasn't so much new information (so far) as it was more background and context.  I didn't quite realize Doc's parents had the Ty Cobbish backstory (allegedly in Cobb's case his mom shot his dad dead though), or that the Keith-Gary rivalry for alpha dog was quite as pronounced as it was.  And yeah the format itself is pretty easy to follow - intersperse a quasi-profile of a player with background stuff in between the profiles.

You do wonder why they had to have so many offbeat personalities with loose ties to NY and not involve Gary/Howie or more than one or two local reporters.  I don't really get the Howard Bryant connection (apart from him working at ESPN) unless he's a NY guy or worked here at the time?  McEnroe is another story, he was actually at his peak and a NY guy when the Mets were having their period of dominance in the mid-80's so he's as relevant as any of the non-player celeb cameos.  Billy Beane's cameos were kind of a fun indulgence admittedly, I didn't realize he was still part of the organization as late as '85 and in the Teufel deal.  The comment about seeing Cashen and it triggering something about wanting to be him was pretty revealing.

They probably have to get into the whole Maz comeback and the ugliness around Foster's exit in the third part tonight since they still have a little ways to go in the '86 regular season. 

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Parts 3 and 4 were pretty good…obviously lots of time spent on the NLCS and World Series.  Plenty of great behind-the-scenes footage and alternate camera angles of various events.  I watched a TON of those games back in 86 (I was 16), and it was a lot of fun to relive those days.  Mets were a damned good team, and came SO close to coming up empty in the postseason.

Well-done epilogue as well, re:  Cashen’s sudden desire to tear down what he’d worked so hard to build.  Guess he had his reasons.

The 2021 team is dead to me.  All I gotta say is if Lindor and Baez are somehow supposed to be the dual leaders of this team going forward, this franchise is fvcked.  

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Almost felt bad for Foster showing up to Game 6 in business clothes, reminded me of Robbie Ftorek in his plain white shirt watching the Devils in the 2000 playoffs after Lou fired him.

I’m sure some of Cashen’s tear down was Fred influenced, we know he wanted choirboys and to be cheap though I’m sure his own ego was a part of it too, pretty fvcking ruthless to basically tell Knight to take a hike the day of the parade less than a week after the WSMVP. In spite of the way it ended here I think Cashen’s whole career deserves serious HOF consideration.

Mitchell constantly talking about swag was my favorite meme. I never realized Ojeda was in such dire condition during the playoffs assuming it’s not some self indulgent exaggeration after the fact lol.

Lenny’s genuine indignance over Carter being the first one to go and Keith never really getting the post retirement rapprochement with his dad just added poignance to the already sad epilogue at the end. But still a fun watch even with that.

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One side note, regarding Once Upon A Time In Queens…for some reason, they mentioned Calvin Schiraldi as the Mets’ primary fifth starter in 1985, but he wasn’t (made only four starts), and only made 10 appearances that season (he was largely terrible).  The real fifth starter to emerge that year was Rick Aguilera…and Ojeda was more brought in as a potential upgrade over Ed Lynch.  But shows like this often get a couple of things wrong.

Re:  Schiraldi, you can tell the perception that he’s soft really gets to him, even now.  But I’ve read plenty that his Met teammates thought of him as this annoying dweeb who was just easily beaten and didn’t fit in.  Supposedly they loved seeing him on the mound during the World Series.

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Re:  Ojeda, that was legit…he wound up missing much of 1987 due to ulnar nerve damage in his pitching elbow.  Gotta think what he went through in 1986 was related.

And yeah, lots of emotion from a number of players…really was a shame that they didn’t get a second shot in 1987 relatively intact…but you had Gooden’s drug suspension, Carter’s decline beginning…even if Knight and Mitchell had stuck around, who knows what would’ve happened?

There was a lefty reliever who came with McReynolds, who was even more wrong for New York…a guy named Gene Walter.  I remember him because he was that classic awkward lefty, and because in his first appearance, he walked the bases loaded on 12 pitches, then blew up.  Total disaster here.

EDIT:  the bases loaded game was actually his sixth as a Met (had to look it up), and he was a little better than I remember….he just missed so much time due to injury, and was only here a couple of seasons.

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11 minutes ago, Colorado Rockies 1976 said:

One side note, regarding Once Upon A Time In Queens…for some reason, they mentioned Calvin Schiraldi as the Mets’ primary fifth starter in 1985, but he wasn’t (made only four starts), and only made 10 appearances that season (he was largely terrible).  The real fifth starter to emerge that year was Rick Aguilera…and Ojeda was more brought in as a potential upgrade over Ed Lynch.  But shows like this often get a couple of things wrong.

Re:  Schiraldi, you can tell the perception that he’s soft really gets to him, even now.  But I’ve read plenty that his Met teammates thought of him as this annoying dweeb who was just easily beaten and didn’t fit in.  Supposedly they loved seeing him on the mound during the World Series.

The irony is most of what I remember from ‘85 and ‘86 came from reading Keith’s If At First journal/book from those two seasons. I actually still have my old paper copy as ratty as it is, kind of want to either get a better print version or a digital one but it’s out of print afaik.

From the book I did actually know some of Keith’s dad issues, the whole story of him being in the clubhouse during the WS rally and stuff like that (though hearing him regret doing that was new). All I remember reading about Schiraldi as a Met was him getting tattooed in the ‘85 26-7 loss to the Phillies.

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SI ran a story about Keith’s very complicated relationship with his father (think it was in 86 or 87).  Yeah lots of dad issues there for sure.  

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And while Keith can get old man yelling at the clouds about the modern game it’s still a pretty worthwhile point that arguably the biggest AB of the season outside of the tenth inning of the WS was the Dykstra PH triple off Knepper. And considering Davey was actually an early proponent of what became analytics he still knew enough to know you gotta go on feel too. Ironic timing to be reminded of this days after Rojas pinch hit Mazieka instead of JDD because of handedness.

The doc also reminded me why I’ll always stan for Davey. Yeah his laissez faire attitude towards the team’s off field escapades probably didn’t help anyone in the long run, but for the ‘84-86 period he was the right guy at the right time, and even after that he’d always win 90 games a year wherever he was but that wound up being his only WS too.

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Yeah Davey was 100% the right guy for those 84-86 teams…I do think he eventually became a bit of a fat cat though.  But there’s blame to go around for sure…starting with Cashen making a LOT of iffy deals, once the Mets had reached the top of the mountain.  What’s kinda funny is that due to the Mets taking definitive steps in 84, 85, and 86, just how god-awful the Foster signing really was gets overlooked.  It was an expensive signing for that time.  Perlman’s book goes into some detail about Foster’s time with the Mets…the only real friend he had was Ray Knight, who said that Foster was often misunderstood.  But the rest of his Met last teammates couldn’t wait to see him go.

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13 hours ago, Colorado Rockies 1976 said:

Re:  Ojeda, that was legit…he wound up missing much of 1987 due to ulnar nerve damage in his pitching elbow.  Gotta think what he went through in 1986 was related.

And yeah, lots of emotion from a number of players…really was a shame that they didn’t get a second shot in 1987 relatively intact…but you had Gooden’s drug suspension, Carter’s decline beginning…even if Knight and Mitchell had stuck around, who knows what would’ve happened?

There was a lefty reliever who came with McReynolds, who was even more wrong for New York…a guy named Gene Walter.  I remember him because he was that classic awkward lefty, and because in his first appearance, he walked the bases loaded on 12 pitches, then blew up.  Total disaster here.

EDIT:  the bases loaded game was actually his sixth as a Met (had to look it up), and he was a little better than I remember….he just missed so much time due to injury, and was only here a couple of seasons.

And they still fought back and had the Cards on the ropes in 87...until Terry Pendleton hit it out and buried the Mets that season. Because we were still in the 86 afterglow that moment often gets overlooked as historical Met heartbreaks, but it was pretty bad

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‘87 also gets overlooked because of the Scoscia HR in ‘88 though you could actually make a better argument the Mets win in ‘87 if they make the playoffs (the Giants really would have beat the Mets? The 85 win Twins and their fake crowd noise - please) than in ‘88 against the A’s if they get past the Dodgers 

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26 minutes ago, '7' said:

And they still fought back and had the Cards on the ropes in 87...until Terry Pendleton hit it out and buried the Mets that season. Because we were still in the 86 afterglow that moment often gets overlooked as historical Met heartbreaks, but it was pretty bad

Yeah when you think about what that 87 team went through, it was kinda miraculous that they got as close as they did.  You had 12 pitchers that were used as starters, with only one of them managing to start more than 30+ games (Darling).  Only two other starters managed 25 or more starts (Doc and Fernandez).  Guys like John Mitchell, Terry Leach, and a very raw David Cone all made 13 or more starts that year...and Leach of all people really did a hell of a job for a while (though the metrics suggest he enjoyed some very good fortune in pulling that off).

The Mets really dug themselves a hole by starting off just 44-40 (and 10.5 games back)...losing 6 out of 7 to the Cards in April also set a bad tone early.  The Mets went on a nice tear for a while (40-21 from 7/9 - 9/16), but 10.5 games is so much to make up...they just couldn't stay hot enough for long enough.  They went 8-9 over their final 17 games...simply couldn't sustain that good run.  

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19 minutes ago, NJDevs4978 said:

‘87 also gets overlooked because of the Scoscia HR in ‘88 though you could actually make a better argument the Mets win in ‘87 if they make the playoffs (the Giants really would have beat the Mets? The 85 win Twins and their fake crowd noise - please) than in ‘88 against the A’s if they get past the Dodgers 

Those 80's and early 90s A's teams had a 90s Braves feel to them. Goliaths, consistent, tons of talent and intimidating...but if you pop them in the mouth early on they wilt and die. That Gibson home run wrecked them. Great teams pick themselves off the mat especially so early on in a series...they never really did well in terms of responding to adversity. They either steamroll you (like they did with the 89 Giants) or they just go down meekly.

Teams like the 1990 Reds and 88 Dodgers were poison for them...so you could also make a case the cocky east coast 88 Mets could've brought the best out of Oakland where all the spotlight would've been on us. Less pressure on them

I kind of get the feel the Mets, with just a few slight slight bounces of the ball, could've absolutely legitimately won 3 consecutive WS back then. Granted they got incredibly lucky when they needed to in 86, though that team was historically good, they were unbelievably unlucky in 87 and 88. Even 1990 that team was very close to passing the Pirates in mid to late Septs and winning the NL East

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1 minute ago, '7' said:

Those 80's and early 90s A's teams had a 90s Braves feel to them. Goliaths, consistent, tons of talent and intimidating...but if you pop them in the mouth early on they wilt and die. That Gibson home run wrecked them. Great teams pick themselves off the mat especially so early on in a series...they never really did well in terms of responding to adversity. They either steamroll you (like they did with the 89 Giants) or they just go down meekly

I kind of get the feel the Mets, with just a few slight slight bounces of the ball, could've absolutely legitimately won 3 consecutive WS back then. Granted they got incredibly lucky when they needed to in 86, though that team was historically good, they were unbelievably unlucky in 87 and 88. Even 1990 that team was very close to passing the Pirates in mid to late Septs and winning the NL East

Those Mets did come up short a lot, really...they only made the playoffs twice, and only reached the World Series the one time.

I had forgotten what a really rotten start the 1990 Mets had gotten off to...just 21-26 (Davey got fired at 20-22), and then they went absolutely nuts for a while under Bud Harrelson...won 27 out of their next 32 games, and were back in business.  Eventually they were 61-41 and were a game up, but only won half of their remaining games...and two five-game losing streaks in September really killed them (they went from being a 1/2 game out to 3 1/2 games out each time).  Then came 1991...they fell completely apart around midseason, after starting 53-38 (they would lose an insane 23 out of 27 games, seemingly out of nowhere, though the signs were there that a "correction" of sorts was coming), and that was the end of being relevant for a while.  

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The 89 team really wasn't anything special...they were basically a .500 team through the end of July (53-50), had one big burst in August (going 15-4 for one stretch), and went 8-3 in their last 11 games of the year (effectively garbage time) to make their season look better than it really was.  And Viola (clearly a blockbuster acquisition) just seemed kinda meh...look at his numbers as a Met and they weren't bad by any stretch, but something just seemed missing.  Even when he won 20 games and had a terrific 1990, something just never felt right with him.  Felt very much like he was just passing through, especially when he mailed it in during the last half of 1991 (he could not have cared less...he wasn't even trying).  

The 85 team was really friggin' good (that version of Carter was the best the Mets would get, really), but the Cards were just that little bit better.  And one problem at times with the post-86 teams is that they carried themselves like they were the best, but it was other teams finishing ahead of them and doing it quietly.  The 87, 89, and 90 teams really had a way of not getting done when they absolutely had to.  They didn't carry themselves like they were soft, but in ways they kinda were.

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