Skip to main content

Giving the New Guy The Ball

The new guy gets the ball on Monday, and I'm obviously psyched for the debut of Johan Santana as a Met, but at the same time, I'm a little cautious. The Mets are 1-5 (with an asterisk) on Opening Days in which they give the new guy the ball.

The last time we gave the new guy the ball was in 2005, and while that opener started well, it didn't end in a positive fashion. Pedro Martinez struck out a dozen in six innings, and fellow new guys Manny Aybar and Dae Sung Koo looked pretty stellar for an inning apiece. But then the holdover came in and screwed everything up by allowing back-to-back homers, including the walk-off to Joe Randa.

The new guy got the ball in 2003 and that game isn't worthy of more than a sentence. Suffice it to say, Tom Glavine set the tone for his entire tenure with the stinkeroo that was a 15-2 loss to the Cubs.

They gave the new guy the ball to kick off 2000, and he couldn't throw it over the plate. Mike Hampton walked nine in five innings, yet somehow allowed only two runs. Wonder if he blamed the school systems in Japan for the 5-3 loss to the Cubs in Tokyo.

They gave the new guy the ball and the loudest standing ovation any Met will likely ever get on Opening Day, back in 1983. But the new guy that day wasn't really new. He was just Tom Terrific, back in his proper attire to throw six shutout innings in a 2-0 Mets win over the Phillies.

The new guy got the ball to kick off 1967, but that's because the kids weren't fully ready to go yet, and though a guy that was 6-6 for the 1966 Pirates wouldn't exactly be most people's first choice to make the season debut, the Mets weren't good enough at the time to be able to call on anyone else. And Don Cardwell was quite respectable for eight innings against his former team, before faltering as Pittsburgh snapped a 3-3 tie with a three-run ninth.

The new guy got the ball in 1962, but that's cheating, since everybody was a new guy that day. Roger Craig lost to the Cardinals, 11-4, but at least there was a new baseball team in town to root for. That's kind of how I'm looking at today. I've got a new team to root for. Last year's slate is wiped clean, so I'll say the same thing I'm sure the fans said back on that April 11 of 46 years ago. Let's Go Mets.
Say Hey, Shea- OK, so I've been struggling all winter long to come up with a concept that I could carry on throughout the season, one that would pay proper tribute to Shea Stadium, maintiainin the spirit of this blog. I think I've found one, though I offer no guarantees that I will follow through with it long-term

Say Hey, Shea will deal with Shea Stadium-related trivia and minutiae(anything goes...if I want to write something basic, like "Most HR at Shea by an Opponent" I will, but be prepared for material more along the lines of "Whom did Shea Stadium peanut vendor Ed Glynn dominate as a pitcher?"). Some days it will be a paragraph tacked on to the end of a blog, a la our (or in place of) "True Metophiles Know..." blurbs. Others, it will be the subject of the blog post itself. And on others, it may turn into a trivia quiz, in the vein of "Our Special Bonds"

For example, here's our "Say Hey, Shea" for Opening Day: The first Opening Day in Shea Stadium history took place in 1965 and there's little that was Metmorable about the 6-1 loss to the Dodgers that April 11th other than it allowed phenom pitcher Jim Bethke to wet his feet with a scoreless inning (three straight groundouts from John Kennedy, Don Drysdale, and Maury Wills). Bethke holds a number of distinctions of pertinence to this blog. He's the youngest pitcher in Mets history to get a win, at 18 years, 161 days, a victory he got in his next outing (April 15), thanks to a walk-off home run by Bobby Klaus. Bethke was the first pitcher in Mets history to complete a "perfect" season, ie: one in which he won games, but did not lose them. Bethke was 2-0 in 1965, his only season in the majors.


Ceetar said…
Well it worked out. I'm taking this as a sign that Johan, and the 2008 Mets are different and better and special and all that.

Popular posts from this blog

Walk-Offs in Movies, TV, and Other Places

Note: I'm leaving this post up through the end of the week, a) because I don't have time to pump out something new and b)because I was hoping to build a really good list of entertainment industry if you're looking for something new, check back on Monday or so... Of course, if there's a major trade or move, I'll adjust and try to post something... In the meantime, click on the "Table of Contents" link as well. It has been updated. SPOILER ALERT: Read at your own risk Caught the ending of "A League of Their Own" on one of the movie channels the other day and it got me to thinking that it would be fun to compile a list of walk-offs from movies, television, and other forms of entertainment. Here's the start, and only the start, as I spent about 30 minutes or so thinking it over Help me fill in the blanks by filling out the comments section. "A League of Their Own"-- Racine beats Rockford for the All-American Girls Profess

The best Mets ejections I know

When you think of the Mets and famous ejections, I'm guessing you first think of the famous Bobby Valentine mustache game, when after Valentine got tossed, he returned to the dugout in disguise. You know it. You love it. I remember being amused when I asked Bobby V about it while we were working on Baseball Tonight, how he simply said "It worked. We won the game." (true) But the Bobby V mustache game of June 9, 1999 is one of many, many memorable Mets ejection stories. And now thanks to Retrosheet and the magic of , we have a convenient means for being able to share them. Ever since Retrosheet's David Smith recently announced that the Retrosheet ejection database was posted online , I've been a kid in a candy store. I've organized the data and done some lookups of media coverage around the games that interested me post. Those newspaper accounts fill in a lot of blanks. Without further ado (and with more work to do), here are some of my findings

Best Games I Know: Phillies (Updated)

  The best wins against the Phillies in Mets history …   May 5, 2022 – Mets 8, Phillies 7 The Mets score 7 runs in the 9 th inning to overcome a 7-1 deficit and win in Philadelphia.   April 29, 2022 – Mets 3, Phillies 0 Tylor Megill and 4 Mets relievers combine on the second no-hitter in franchise history.   September 22, 2016 – Mets 9, Phillies 8 (11) The Mets tie it in the 9 th on a Jose Reyes home run and win it in the 11 th on a 3-run home run by Asdrubal Cabrera.   July 17, 2016 - Mets 5, Phillies 0 Jacob deGrom pitches a one-hitter. Only hit is a single by Zach Eflin in the 5 th inning.   August 24, 2015 – Mets 16, Phillies 7 David Wright homers in his first at-bat in more than 4 months. The Mets hit a team-record 8 home runs.   July 5, 2012 – Mets 6, Phillies 5 The Mets score 2 runs with 2 outs in the bottom of the 9 th to beat Jonathan Papelbon. The winning run scores on David Wright’s bloop down the right field line.   August 13