Didn't get a chance to post anything today and won't have a chance tomorrow, because I'll be with the family at the Acela Club for Mom's birthday. Here's hoping for a rubber-game win.
But in the meantime, check out this awesome color shot of the Mets at the Polo Grounds on Metsphotos.com. Gorgeous.
And why don't we start calling Citi Polo Grounds V? It's big enough, isn't it?
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Another night, another no-hitter.
This time it was Matt Garza, finally putting the Rays on the right side of zero-hit history after four instances of being held without a hit -- three of them in the past year. Tampa Bay is the first team to experience both sides of a no-hitter in the same season since the Expos, Orioles and White Sox of 1991, the second successive year of a record seven no-hitters. The Rays are also the first club since the 1917 White Sox and Browns to be involved in three in the same season; incredibly, those two clubs both did it, against one another -- two no-nos for the Browns over the White Sox and one for Chicago over St. Louis.
The five no-hitters at this date in the season is the most since 1990, the first year of seven, when five were in the books by June 29, the day Dave Stewart and Fernando Valenzuela each pitched one. And that reminded me of this project:
That's a collage I made sometime during the 1990-91 offseason, using the two-page spread from (I believe) Beckett Baseball Card Monthly (hence the reference to a 660-card set) as the inspiration. The drawings are mine, with Nolan Ryan's taken from the game itself, after which his teammates carried him off the field.
Though the seven no-hitters have stood out in my mind this year as the record, until I went looking for this drawing, I'd forgotten that, at the time, 1990 actually saw nine no-hitters. Down there on the left are Andy Hawkins and Melido Perez, who were each credited with no-hitters that were later rescinded. Hawkins, of course, no-hit the White Sox in Chicago on July 1, but lost, 4-0, after a four-run eighth filled with walks and errors. And just 11 days later, Perez held the Yankees without a hit in a complete-game, 8-0 win at Yankee Stadium -- in a game called after six innings because of rain. The Yankees starter and losing pitcher? Hawkins, again. But after a 1991 rule change that required pitchers to throw at least nine innings to qualify for a no-hitter, Hawkins' and Perez's games were stricken from the records.
Here are close-ups of the rest of the individual drawings:
Mark Langston and Mike Witt, April 11. Angels 1, Mariners 0.
Randy Johnson, June 2. Mariners 2, Tigers 0.
Nolan Ryan, June 11. Rangers 5, A's 0.
Terry Mulholland, August 15. Phillies 6, Giants 0.
Dave Stieb, September 2. Blue Jays 3, Indians 0.
I particularly remember Stieb's happening because it's my birthday and we were at that day's Mets-Giants game at Shea Stadium -- where the teams combined for 20 hits. Either they announced it at Shea or we heard about it on the radio on the way home. I used to say I was at the ballpark the day Stieb threw his no-hitter. Not the same ballpark, but a Major League ballpark.
Monday, July 26, 2010
My wife has been on a nostalgia kick lately (not sure if I was any influence there) and has been going through all her old copies of Sassy magazine. I'm willing to bet that few, if any, readers of this blog are familiar with that publication beyond the name, even if you had a teen-aged sister growing up. (Apologies to any women reading this, but if you are, you haven't made yourselves known.)
Anyway, she brought me the May 1992 issue with Bobby Bonilla on the "What He Said" page:
And here is a closer crop to better read the text:
I like the "already legendary" description. Perhaps that meant he was the other half of the duo featuring the already legendary Barry Bonds.
So I've done the math (and the editing -- Bonilla scored 102 runs in 1991, his last season in Pittsburgh, and drove in 100, which is the actual statistic they wanted for this blurb), and $500 per RBI in 1991 would've netted $50,000 from Bobby Bo. In '92, when he delivered just 70 RBIs, he gave $35,000 to Bronx schools. Still a notable donation, but not quite what Sassy, the Bronx schools or Mets fans had in mind.
Oh, and if you haven't heard, the Mets will be paying Bonilla through 2035. I do hope the schools got their money up front.
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Ike Davis' 14th home run last night marked the most by a Mets rookie since David Wright hit 14 during his rookie year in 2004, when he also was an in-season callup. Wright hit his 14 in 69 games (283 plate appearances), Davis needed 84 games (344 PAs). The current corners of the Mets infield now rank third in rookie-year home runs in team history.
Ahead of the pair is Ron Swoboda's 19 long balls in 1965 and the best hitter developed by the Mets until Wright came along, Darryl Strawberry, who hit 26 in 1983. At Davis' current rate of one homer every 24.7 plate appearances and estimating 245 more PAs this season (based on his 115 in May and 110 in June), he could have about 10 more left in him, putting him at 24.
Whether he hits more or less depends on the adjustments he makes as pitchers become even more familiar with him and his endurance as he plays past Labor Day for the first time in his career. But the home run rate is right on his combined numbers from St. Lucie and Binghamton in 2009: his 20 homers in 488 PAs was one every 24.4 at-bats. (In his 42 PAs at Triple-A Buffalo to start 2010, he hit two, or one every 21 PAs.) I left out his 2008 pro debut in Brooklyn, when he went homerless in 239 PAs, because that was no doubt an aberration as he adjusted to professional ball after being drafted that June out of Arizona State. And if you want the high end of his ability, perhaps what he did at Double-A last summer is an indication: He hit 13 homers in 233 PAs, or one every 17.9 trips to the dish.
Here are the best home run totals (10+) by Mets rookies, courtesy Baseball-Reference: