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Showing posts from September 11, 2005

The Emmy for Best Walk-Off goes to...

The memories of the 1992 Mets season are ones best forgotten. That year is a story of bad, ill-timed decisions with no sense of logic, history, or appropriate behavior. I'm not even talking about the squad itself. I'm referencing what that took place in the Simon residence on August 30, 1992. The Mets were playing the Reds that evening on "Sunday Night Baseball." The Flushing 9 were a hot team at the moment, having won six straight, though they were languishing at an ugly 60-67, while the Reds were in second place, five games back of the lead in the NL West. My dad tends to lose patience when his teams are sub .500 and facing a double-digit deficit after the All-Star Break and since he has been watching baseball for 50+ years, I guess that's understandable. August 30 wasn't just any night. It was the night of the Emmy Awards, those given to the best television performers of the day. I was reminded of this because this year's Emmys are being awarded on Sund

Jerry and the Mets

"You can't win. You can't beat me. That's why I'm here and you're there. Because I'm a winner. I'll always be a winner and you'll always be a loser." I harken back to television again, since it's Emmy weekend and reference a line from an episode of the best written television show of all-time, Seinfeld (aptly titled "The Revenge"), because it was one of the first things I thought of after the Braves swept the Mets out of Atlanta, effectively ending the Summer of False Hope. Watching some of the camera shots of the Braves in the ninth and 10th inning of the series finale, you almost got the impression that some of the players were mocking the Mets, laughing like George Costanza's boss, Mr. Levitan when George tried to slip back into work after quitting in anger a week before. It was pretty evident that the 1995 season wasn't going to be worth the wait for the New York Mets, particularly the way Opening Day ended, with Dante

Minutiae Break: Cake for the Knee

I can remember several occasions when, as a little boy, I fell in the playground and scraped my knees. The pain usually stung and lingered for a few days and the reminders of what happened came in the form of scabs and scars, both physical and mental. Mets fans are probably feeling like that little boy who scraped his knees, based on the recent occurrences combining a long road trip, some bad fortune and a dash of incompetent play. We tried to remedy the wounds with stories from a quarter-century ago but I don't know if those did the trick. Band-aids can cover up the wounds, but there's always the temptation to pull them off too soon, before the healing is completed. The best cure I know for scraped knees came from Grandma Sophie, played so well by Marion Ross on the television show "Brooklyn Bridge." When Sophie's young grandson, Nathaniel Silver, scrapes his knees while playing ball in the street, she comes quick to the rescue, with some yummy desserts. Nathanie

The Summer of False Hope Lives

Things were going so swimmingly in the week that was one of glory for the 1980 New York Mets (see the previous two entries) that they even made a trade to bolster their lineup, sending a minor leaguer to the White Sox for outfielder Claudell Washington. It was a good move at a good time, considering the Mets were in one of their hottest streaks in four years, as Frank Cashen sent a message to the Flushing Faithful that the team would try to improve itself. Washington wasn't a superstar by any means, but it was unusual to see the Mets make a nothing-for-something kind of trade. So it was with 11 wins in 17 games that the Mets went into their June 11 game with the Los Angeles Dodgers, one day after rallying from a 4-0 deficit to win. They had confidence, and they had their ace on the mound, starting pitcher Craig Swan, whose ERA entering the game was 2.27. The Mets seized a 2-0 lead against Jerry Reuss, unusual because scoring first in this run of success was a rarity. That was all t

The Summer of False Hope Continues

New York Times writers are very picky when it comes to choosing words, so when the three-year embargo was finally lifted, allowing the words "rousing" and Mets to be used in the same sentence, it must have caught the attention of a lot of readers picking up their Sunday editions on June 8, 1980. This was in reference to the story of the game the day before, a nationally televised contest on a Saturday afternoon at Shea against the defending champion Pittsburgh Pirates. After winning in walk-off fashion on Thursday, the Mets carried that momentum into a nice victory on Friday, a 9-4 triumph featuring an eight-run second inning against Bert Blyleven and a long shutout relief stint from Tom Hausman. The Pirates had drubbed them by the combined tally of 18-3 in their prior two meetings, so this was a nice way to turn the tables. Saturday, the Mets started John Pacella, whose major-league tenure is best known for his pitching motion, which caused his cap to fly off on every follow

The Summer of False Hope Begins

I have been disparaged by some of my colleagues, family members and friends over the past three months, because I had the gall (John Gall?) to refer to this year's Mets tease as "The Summer of False Hope" (SOFH to some). The term was not meant in a derogatory fashion but rather what could serve as the title for the 2005 highlight film, were there to be one. Admit that your hopes were raised by some of these wins. Cliff Floyd's walk-off home run on June 11 probably sucked in a few fans and the four-game sweep in Arizona put a lot of those folks into a euphoric state that preceded the cliff-falling road trip through Florida, Atlanta, and St. Louis. Sure, it's not over yet (was it an omen that upon flipping to a radio station after one loss, I heard the lyrics "Don't stop....believing"?), but barring an unlikely run (16-3, 17-2?) in these last 19 games, it's likely the 2005 season will end in disappointing fashion. This is not the first time that M