Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Monday, April 9, 2012
From The New York Times
Enjoy it. Brag about it. Dine out on it.
It won’t last. It never does.
This is about the way it is right now, and for Mets fans it’s undiluted sweetness, a blip of rapture to relish while it lasts, even if for only a day.
After Monday night’s game, the Mets were still undefeated. First place, the envy of baseball. The fact that we’re only talking 4-0 is just nitpicking. Another 90 or so wins and they’re a lock for the playoffs. The World Series will be simply a formality.
But what makes it sweetest of all is that the vile Yankees are struggling. Their victory against Baltimore Monday night was their first, with the prospect of few to come. And Bernie Madoff didn’t steal any of their money. They didn’t lose Jose Reyes to oranges and Florida sunshine.
“It’s a new beginning,” declared Jodi Darowitsch, 46, a teacher and fierce Mets fan from Glendale, Queens, who doesn’t dismiss three games against the Braves as insufficient evidence to validate the start of a dynasty.
Think about it. On Sunday, Jon Niese dusted batter after batter and took a no-hitter into the seventh inning. These Mets — they’re good!
Shopping on Monday at the Queens Center Mall with her son and his friend, Ms. Darowitsch wore a Mets necklace. She carried in her wallet a treasured autographed baseball card of Keith Hernandez, the former Mets first baseman.
“This is their year,” she insisted.
Yes, Mets fans need not hang their heads or admit to Mets allegiance only after dark in deserted Queens alleyways.
Neil Abramson, 50, a workers’ compensation lawyer, grew up in Queens and enlisted as a Mets fan in 1969, the year they first won the World Series. He thought he had bonded with an elite team that would reward him with limitless joy.
Even as he learned what he had actually gotten himself into, he rooted unswervingly for the Mets. He possesses what he imagines is the biggest collection of Mr. Met bobblehead dolls — about 30 varieties, including a Mrs. Met from a minor league squad. He has two seats from Shea Stadium.
As befits any genuine Mets fan, he hates the Yankees “with a burning passion.”
“It’s heaven,” Mr. Abramson said of the unblemished start to the season. “I just hope it lasts longer than the eight days of Passover.”
What he doesn’t want is a return to normalcy, where, as he put it: “I’m back watching the Mets with the sound off so I can do something useful. And then you pick your head up now and then to see how much they’re losing by.”
The opposite starts of the Mets and Yankees dominated caller talk on WFAN Monday morning. Mark Chernoff, the radio station’s operations manager, said: “We were trying to figure out what was the bigger story, the Mets’ winning or the Yankees’ losing. At first, it was the Yankees’ losing three, but by the end it was the Mets’ winning three.”
He said Yankee fans presumably were aware that their team could drop the first three and still win 114 games, as it did in 1998. The Mets have reached the century mark three times, topping out at 108 wins in 1986.
Yet their fans can dream hard.
Jesse Mancuso, 25, a security guard at Rockefeller Center who lives in Middle Village, Queens, owes his name to the Mets. He was named after Jesse Orosco, the Mets’ relief pitcher whose strikeout sealed the 1986 World Series championship.
Mr. Mancuso was buying an Ike Davis jersey at Modell’s in the Queens Center Mall. Most shoppers were checking out Knicks memorabilia, but what did they know? “Hopefully they keep it up,” Mr. Mancuso said. “You gotta believe.”
Good times for the Mets and bad times for the Yankees have intersected before. The same beginnings occurred in 1973 (when the Mets went to the World Series with 82 wins and the Yankees finished below .500) and 1985 (when the Mets took 98 games and the Yankees 97). If there is anything to divine from this history, the Mets will win more games this year than the Yankees.
Several hours before Monday’s game, some fans were gathered outside Citi Field hunting for player autographs. Among them was Ralph Pietromonaco, 47, a season-ticket holder from Williamsburg, Va., who shows up once a month for games. The last four digits of his phone number, he pointed out, are 6387, the associated letters spelling METS.
“We’ve got just as good a team as anyone else, but everyone talked bad about us because of the Madoff thing,” he said. “But we have the pieces together.”
Still, all Mets fans can’t be expected to blot out the unrelenting, merciless betrayals.
Mark Evans, 28, a security guard who lives in the LeFrak City development in Queens, had his Mets cap on as he walked to the post office. It has been two years since he attended a Mets game, but taking in a game is on his to-do list for this year. “The Mets always do good in the beginning of the season,” he said. “But by the end they mess up.”
Posted by Sam Smith at 10:30 PM
From The New York Post
Daniel Murphy singled home the winning run in the ninth inning and the undefeated New York Mets took advantage of a throwing error by reliever Henry Rodriguez to beat the Washington Nationals 4-3 on Monday night.
Kirk Nieuwenhuis hit his first major league homer for the Mets, who are 4-0 for the first time since 2007. Coming off a surprising three-game sweep of Atlanta to start the season, New York rallied from a three-run deficit before a crowd of 23,970.
Several fans left Citi Field chanting "Undefeated! Undefeated!"
The Mets received another excellent effort from a retooled bullpen that ranked 28th in the majors last season with a 4.33 ERA. Miguel Batista got out of trouble in the sixth, Ramon Ramirez escaped a seventh-inning jam with a double-play ball and Jon Rauch (1-0) worked two hitless innings for his first win with New York.
Posted by Sam Smith at 10:29 PM
Posted by Sam Smith at 10:42 AM
Sunday, April 8, 2012
Saturday, April 7, 2012
Lucas Duda hits pair of home runs, David Wright adds another and NY Mets stay perfect with 4-2 win over Atlanta Braves
Henry Aaron. Moises Alou. Lucas Duda. When Jerry Manuel, leaning back in the dugout before a game in 2010, strung that trio of names together, all those assembled erupted in laughter. Ok, Jerry. Lucas What?
No, the soon-to-be-outgoing manager insisted. Only three hitters make a particular sound during batting practice, their bats producing a thunder unique to them: One home run king, one longtime master of the craft, and the young Dude. After Duda's two-home run game on Saturday, which pushed the Mets over Atlanta 4-2, Manuel's comparison remained highly hyperbolic. But you know what? The old guy wasn't quite as crazy as he sounded.
Yes, other Mets made meaningful contributions in the team's second straight win to begin the season. David Wright homered in the first for his second of the year, R.A. Dickey allowed just two runs in six innings, and Sandy Alderson's renovated bullpen again dominated the later frames.
New closer Frank Francisco, after allowing two runners to reach base, struck out Matt Diaz to earn his second save in as many games. But this game belonged to the Dude, and was decided by his power.
When Mets officials gushed last winter about the ballpark's redesign, intended to neutralize what plated as an extreme pitchers' park since it opened in 2009, they mentioned the potential impact on Wright, Jason Bay and Duda.
If the third name seemed lower-profile than the others, its inclusion made clear how highly the club had come to regard its 26-year-old right fielder. A seventh-round draft choice in 2007, the Dude had always shown power - but scouts were unsure if he would ever become a complete hitter.
Through three minor league seasons, Duda did not distinguish himself as a prospect - until 2010, when he mashed 23 combined home runs in Double-A and Triple-A, and landed in the major leagues by the end of the summer. On Saturday, Duda's power unfastened what had been a tight game. Wright's homer in the first gave Dickey and early lead, and Duda supplemented that with his shot to center in the fourth that was the first homer to result from Citi Field's revised dimensions.
In that inning, though, the Mets failed inflict further pain on Atlanta starter Jair Jurrjens. Ostensibly the Braves' no. 2 starter, Jurrjens - known for a plethora of both talent and injuries - offered a fastball that peaked in the high-80s m.p.h and peaked at about 89 m.p.h. But the Mets did not maul him, stranding three runners in the fourth. The consequences were immediate; with two outs in the fifth, Dickey walked Michael Bourn and allowed a two-run homer to Martin Prado: Tie ballgame, but the Mets snatched back the lead in the bottom half of the inning, when Josh Thole singled in Ike Davis.
Now facing Livan Hernandez in the sixth, the Mets again put two runners in scoring position with two outs, and again failed to pad their lead. This time, Davis struck out looking on a close pitch low and away. Davis barked at home plate umpire Eric Cooper, but the score remained 3-2 - until Duda's bat helped to increase the lead.
Posted by Sam Smith at 3:29 PM
Thursday, April 5, 2012
1. The walls are now blue, instead of black, in honor of the teams colors.2. The food has gotten much better. Read about the new food and best places to eat here.
3. It's now not ridiculously impossible for players to hit home runs, as the walls have been moved in. Read more about this here.
4. There are more seats/more places to sit closer to the action. The more seats, the louder the stadium.
5. Even more murals honor the greats who have played for the Mets. And, there is a tribute to Gary Carter in Center Field now.
Posted by Sam Smith at 3:21 PM
Johan Santana throws five scoreless innings, David Wright drives in game-winning win run in NY Mets’ 1-0 win over Braves
For all of the talk of Opening Day optimism, for all of the inspiration they hope to draw from honoring former star Gary Carter this season and for all of the reconfigurations made to their home park, the true significance of the Mets' first game of the 2012 season largely revolved around one person.
Johan Santana made his first start in nearly 19 months on Thursday, and the Mets could not have expected more from their erstwhile ace in his long-awaited comeback from shoulder surgery in September of 2010.
Santana didn't factor in the decision in the Mets' 1-0 win over the Braves at reshaped Citi Field, but the returning lefty had enough of a fastball - consistently in the upper 80s - to uplift a fan base in tossing 84 pitches over five shutout innings, allowing two hits and two walks while striking out five.
PHOTOS: METS WIN OPENER AGAINST BRAVES, 1-0
PHOTOS: METS WIN OPENER AGAINST BRAVES, 1-0
Of course, the news wasn't all favorable for the Mets, as new centerfielder Andres Torres pulled up on Tyler Pastornicky's one-out triple in the seventh, aggravating the left-calf injury that sidelined him late in spring training.
David Wright went 2-for-3 with a walk and drove in the lone run for the Mets with an RBI single off Braves starter Tommy Hanson in the sixth.
Ramon Ramirez, acquired with Torres from San Francisco for Angel Pagan, threw 1 1/3 of the four scoreless innings of relief by the Mets revamped bullpen.
Lefty specialist Tim Byrdak struck out both batters he faced after Pastornicky's triple in the seventh, newcomer Jon Rauch worked a 1-2-3 eighth and imported closer Frank Francisco pitched a perfect ninth to complete the five-man shutout and notch his first save with the Mets.
During pre-game introductions, Jason Bay (0-for-3) and Mike Pelfrey heard the loudest boos, while Santana received the liveliest ovation as he warmed in the bullpen. The Mets also honored Carter, the Hall of Famer and '80s Mets catcher who died in February from brain cancer, with his family unveiling a "Kid 8" logo along the new blue outfield wall in left-center.
Terry Collins projected a pitch count of "85-to-95" for Santana, who allowed just a one-out single in the first to Martin Prado on 58 pitches over the first four innings.
But the two-time Cy Young winner labored after recording his third straight strikeout with a whiff of Freddie Freeman to open a 26-pitch fifth. Matt Diaz ripped a one-out double to right-center and Santana issued two out walks to Pastornicky and Hanson to load the bases.
But after falling into his third straight full count, the lefty retired Michael Bourn on a comebacker to end the threat, leaving to the customary sounds of Santana's "Smooth" and a standing ovation from the home crowd.
Hanson matched zeroes with Santana through five, but he walked Torres to open the sixth and Daniel Murphy followed with a single to right, his second hit. Wright then pulled a run-scoring single to left, and Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez pulled Hanson for righty Kris Medlen, who retired Ike Davis, Bay and Lucas Duda to avoid further damage.
Posted by Sam Smith at 1:24 PM