Mets memorabilia

With the dog days of summer upon us – and the state of the current team leaving much to be desired – we decided to do a special “Mets Memorabilia” episode of our podcast. JonnyIce literally grabbed some of his line-up cards and nameplates at random, and boy did we have fun going down memory lane. Among the highlights:

  • A Cliff Floyd nameplate. Cliff is one of our favorite Mets and we will definitely do a Cliffy episode sometime soon. We couldn’t be happier for him that he caught the final out of the NL East clincher.
  • A Marlins – Rays line-up card. Talk about a random collectable. But hey, Jose Reyes’ name is in the line-up, proving that there’s always a Mets connection.
  • A ’92 line-up card featuring Howard Johnson playing CF and leading off. Come on’ Mets fans, how many of you remember HoJo leading off? I actually remember him playing CF and if I remember right, used to spend his time coloring his brown glove, black…. Yup, ’92 was a long season…
  • And additional nameplates where we re-live the brief Mets careers of Vic Black and Scott Erickson.

This is just a sample of items we discussed in this episode. I can already see us discussing additional memorabilia in the near future!

Question for readers: What’s your favorite Mets memorabilia that you own?

This day in Mets history: July 28

Saw a lot of tweets this morning on some notable trades and moments that took place on on this day in recent Mets history, so I thought I’d jot down a couple of quick memories. Away we go…

Hey Bubba!

Real Mets Legends noted on this day in 2000 the Mets acquired Bubba Trammell and Rick White for Paul Wilson and Jason Tyner. Happy 21st birthday to this move… lets drink to it. Why? Well, for starters JonnyIce and I were at Shea Stadium when we learned the trade happened via a scoreboard note. Imagine learning about a trade without Twitter? What a time to be alive.

It was a Friday night vs. the Cardinals, just weeks away from leaving home for my freshman year of college. I remember getting Andy (or Alan?) Benes’ autograph during the pre-game warm-ups. Bonus points because I got Jonny-boy to join me field level, which if you heard our first episode, you know is a big deal! This game was also memorable because in the middle innings, while sitting in our Loge seats at Shea Stadium, the pipe above us start leaking a row behind us. A facilities guy came with a ladder to fix the leak…in the middle of the game. To think, it would be only another 9 years before the Mets started playing in a new stadium. Ah, Shea…. we miss and love you.

Anyhow, while it was a relatively minor move in the grand scheme of things, Bubba and Rick did play a key role in the team’s march to the 2000 World Series, which we talk about here.

Welcome to the Stro Show

On this day in 2019, the Mets acquired Marcus Stroman. I have to admit, reading the news flash on my phone in the driveway after a day at Watch Hill, was uh…. stunning. I mean, to that point in the season, the Mets were – to use a wrestling term – tweeners. They traded away Jason Vargas earlier, so it made you think they were sellers at the deadline. And then they went off and reeled in a big fish. I was equally stunned because I just saw Anthony Kay pitch a few days earlier in Hartford vs. the Yard Goats, and he was lights out… talk about being bummed about losing a prospect.

It’s been a good – if not uneven – ride for Marcus as a Met. What I’ll remember most so far about Marcus, is being at his first game at CitiField vs. the Nationals. Talk about electric… and I am sure we all remember how that game ended…

Going back, back, to Ca…New York?

On this day in 2015, the Mets acquired Tyler Clippard. Tyler made his MLB debut with the Yankees in…Queens. This trade marked his return to New York and in many ways, I think it’s an underrated move when you think of the trades – and non-trades – that led the Mets to the World Series. Hear his thoughts about going to the postseason in ’15 below:

A streak is broken

Not a trade, but on this date in 1993, Anthony Young finally got a W. Anthony passed away much too soon, and it’s sad to think that the streak is his claim to fame, but I for one enjoy seeing this clip over and over again. And how about hearing Gary Carter on the broadcast for the Florida Marlins?

I remember watching this game while visiting family in Florida, which is why I remember hearing Gary Carter on-air. Ten-year-old me definitely jumped around in the living room when Eddie Murray’s shot went to the wall. Good times… good times.

ARRRGH: Mets Heartbreaks vs. PIT

Last night’s loss to the Pirates is still hard to believe. Especially after thinking about Sunday’s similarly blown lead to this lowly team. I haven’t even had a chance to connect with JonnyIce, who was there adding to his on-the-road experiences. But after two cups of Sunday morning coffee, the rationale side of me says the city of Pittsburgh just owns the Mets.

Here are some memorable (or not so memorable) moments in the Steel City.

Celebration on Ice: 2006 Clinchers

The beloved 2006 Mets had a chance to clinch the National League East division with a road win over a three-game series vs. the lowly 60-87 Pirates. Unfortunately, the champagne was on ice for all three games as the Mets got swept. Pedro Martinez, Aaron Heilman and John Maine (aka, “The Habitual Liar“) all took losses over this stretch. The upside? The Mets got to clinch the division at home the next day against the Marlins. I still get pumped hearing Gary Cohen’s call when Cliff Floyd catches the final out.

Heilman’s Choke: August 16, 2007

Poor Aaron Heilman will sadly forever be remembered for giving up a home run to Yadir Molina in Game 7 of the 2006 NLDS. What folks forget is that he was usually a reliable 7th or 8th inning set-up man out of the pen. However, on this night, he took the loss giving up three unearned runs in the 8th, caping off the 49-69 Pirates’ stunning comeback. The Mets led 5-0 and 7-3 at points during the game. In some ways, the loss foreshadowed what was to come in the month of September. We won’t talk about that though.

Not All-Wright

Call it the All Star Game Home Run Derby curse. After making the finals of the 2006 Home Run Derby contest and hitting a homer in his first all star game at bat, David Wright would experience a power drought in the second half of the season that year. Wright finished the year with 26 HRs, but only 5 came after his experience in Pittsburgh. Thanks a lot PNC Park.

Taken for a Loop: July 8, 2005

I’ll take back what I wrote earlier about Aaron Heilman. On this Friday evening, the Mets entered the bottom of the 9th up 5-1 against the Pirates. Starting pitcher Victor Zambrano had probably his best start of his Mets career, going 8 innings, allowing 1 run on 5 hits. Enter Heilman, who gave up 3 over 2/3rds of an IP. Closer Braden Looper, who we’ve talked about previously, couldn’t clean up the jam inherited, allowing the game to go extra innings. In the 10th, Looper gave a walk-off single to Humberto Cota (?!?!?!), allowing the Pirates to complete the comeback and improve their record to a stellar 38-47. Damn you PNC Park.

2015 Sweep

It’s well-chronicled the 2015 Mets of the first half were not an offensive juggernaut. Look no further than this May three-game series where the Mets were outscored 21-4. That’s not a typo. In fairness, the Pirates did have Gerrit Cole and A.J. Burnett start games in that series. The counterpoint of course is the Mets line-up in the finale, where they had John Mayberry Jr. and Darrell Ceciliani. Also not a typo.

Conclusion

Writing this post was somewhat therapeutic. It doesn’t make last night any easier to accept, but there’s overwhelming evidence that shows PNC Park is the Mets shop of horrors and in no way a barometer for the Mets outlook the remainder of the year. Heck, maybe I’ll even buy the line-up card from this loss someday. As hard as it is… we’ll just have to keep the faith, as we always do. Now let’s go get swept… I mean, Let’s Go Mets!

Amazin’ Mets All-Star Memories

With the second half of the season about to start, we decided to walk down memory lane and re-visit memorable Mets moments in the All Star game. In our latest podcast episode, we run down a list that of moments shared by an Amazin’ Avenue article, as well as our own personal memories. We also spent some time replaying Pete Alonso‘s second straight HR Derby victory.

deGrom’s Dominance

In our opinion, there’s no better All Star memory than Jacob deGrom‘s 10-pitch, 3K performance in 2015. After this outing, we should have asked ourselves: Is Jacob deGrom a video game? But we didn’t. Perhaps the craziest thing about this performance is the commentary, which six years later, is so fitting. Well played Joe Buck, well played…

“Hi, I am Jacob deGrom and I have the chance, with my stuff, to dominate baseball for years to come.”

Joe Buck on future two (maybe three)-time Cy Young Award Winner Jacob deGrom

Dickey’s Debut

We were surprised that R.A. Dickey‘s 2012 All Star appearance didn’t make the list of memorable moments. Ok, so the performance itself wasn’t very memorable (1 IP, 1 H, 1K), but the magic surrounding his unlikely run to a 20-game, Cy Young Award season was. In fact, many thought Dickey should start that year’s All Star game, but the honor was given to Matt Cain of the Giants. The same Matt Cain who drilled David Wright in the head. Talk about adding salt to the wound.

Speaking of salt in the wound, in the podcast, I talked about my only memory of this particular game was the food poisoning received while on a business trip in San Diego. Stay away from the turkey burger folks, stay away…

Harvey Day at CitiField

The energy surrounding Matt Harvey‘s start in the 2013 All Star game was uncanny. The photos that appeared in my recent memories captures that excitement. As does his performance. The irony of beaning a Yankee in the first inning! And how about my excitement with those cufflinks?!

Honorable mentions

  • The list goes on and on about Mets in All Star Games. Thinking about our teenage years, there was the game which went extra innings, yet lone Met rep Bret Saberhagen still didn’t get a chance to pitch. Does he still get paid for that?
  • There’s the year Lance Johnson played the whole All Star game and racked up three hits. His signing in the ‘95-’96 offseason is one of the best and probably underrated free agent signings in Mets history.
  • Not talked about nearly enough, how about Bobby Jones’ ’97 All Star appearance? Everyone (rightfully) talks about his 2000 NLDS masterpiece, but not enough credit is given to his ’97 first half. Up to the ASG, he went 12-5 with a 3.08 ERA, to earn his first and only All Star appearance. By the way, he struck out Mark McGwire and Ken Griffey Jr. in that game….

Episode 25: Amazin’ All Star Memories

Listen below to our latest episode where we talk about these moments in Mets All Star history, along with many other moments that occur wayyyyyy before we were born. But they’re still very impactful moments in our beloved team’s history!

Photo: Mets-Pirates Line-up Card (Sept. 26, 1991)

As the Mets get ready to take on the Pittsburgh Pirates in a doubleheader later today, it’s only fitting that JonnyIce happened to receive his latest eBay find: A game used line-up card from Game 2 of the Mets-Pirates doubleheader in 1991!

If you ever needed a historical record of how bland (awful?) the ’91 season was, check out this order. David Wright‘s agent Keith Miller leading off, followed by Gary Templeton?! Chris Donnels and a very young Todd Hundley?! By the way, did anyone notice Chris’ name misspelled on the card???

Looking at the Pirates, how about Bobby Bonilla having a day on the bench with the rest of the Killer B’s?! And THE Lloyd McClendon of epic ejection fame batting clean-up?!

For the Record

For those wondering, the Mets won the nightcap 2-1, after losing Game 1 4-3 in 15 innings. Future Met Roger Mason took the loss.

And the ’91 Mets finished the season 20.5 games behind the division lead. The highlight? David Cone‘s season-ending CG with 19Ks on 141 pitches. To quote Mel Allen “How about that?!”

Walk-off Memories: Mets vs. Brewers

The first place Mets start a three-game series against the red-hot, Central division-leading Milwaukee Brewers tonight. While the Mets lead the all-time series 78-69, these two franchises have produced some very memorable moments on and off-the-field.

From Mike Piazza‘s first game to Robin Ventura‘s ‘Grand’ Day to Wilmer Flores’ tears … you get the point. Thinking about it more, I realized when these two teams meet, there’s usually some fun walk-off moments.

Here’s a quick list of some of the memorable walk-offs, in no particular order:

David Wright’s Final Walk Off

May 21, 2016, would be the last walk-off hit in David Wright‘s career. Hindsight is always 20/20, but man, do I wish I appreciated this hit more. By the way, the Mets starter was Jacob deGrom. His line: 5 IP, 4 ER, 3 BBs. It’s weird to think of a non-video game performance from deGOAT! Anyhow, enjoy the clip of The Captain’s last walk-off from this rainy Saturday game.

Wilmer Walks it Off…Again

In a previous episode, we talked about the coldest game Jon and I ever went to. My red ski pants got us on TV when Brandon Nimmo hit a home run just under our Pepsi Porch seats. But more important, Wilmer’s third walk-off HR sent us home happy. Thank goodness too because I am not sure we could have handled an extra inning game in those temps!

Braun Ends it After 18 Innings

A game that nearly ended on Cinco de Mayo, Ryan Braun capped off a six-hit game by hitting a walk-off, two-run single in the 18th inning. In retrospect, this game was symbolic of the 2019 Mets season…. constantly coming back, keeping you on the edge of your seat, only to get kicked in the can in the end. To be honest, I totally forgot about this game… At 5 hours, 22 mins, the game fell well short of the 20-inning, 6 hour and 53 minute marathon against the Cardinals back in 2010. If only we had Mike Pelfrey closing the game instead of Chris Flexen.

Brewers show ‘Hart’ in Walk-Off

This game still hurts. In our ‘On the Road’ episode, I talk about seeing the Mets in Milwaukee back in 2010. In the game, Johan Santana went 8, gave up one 0 runs and still got the no-decision. The bigger crime? Corey Hart‘s walk-off home run off in the 9th.

Closing Thoughts

There’s definitely no shortage of drama when these two teams play. We’ll see what this upcoming series holds. Hopefully, if there is a walk-off, it’s in our favor this time!

Are there Mets-Brewers walk-off games or memories that you have? If so, please do share in the comments.

The Bobby Bonilla Episode

Since it’s July 1, today seems like a good time to talk Bobby Bonilla. Yes, he gets props for his big annual pay day, but no one seems to talk about his upbringing and MLB career. So we decided to dive in on that in this episode. And if you’re looking to better understand the deal, check out this fantastic NPR segment.

Highlights include:

  • Bobby’s choice between being an electrician or a ball player.
  • The legend of Sid Thryft, a scout turned real estate agent turned Pirates GM.
  • His run as a member of the Killer Bs.
  • Becoming the highest paid player in the history of MLB
  • His first Mets tenure, featuring earplugs and the Bobby Bo official scorer rule
  • His 15 seconds of fame on Cal Ripken Day
  • His awful second tenure with the Mets aaaaaaaaaand
  • The deferred contract

See ya! A list of MLB deferred contracts

One thing that is crystal clear though…. Bobby Bonilla Day should be titled Bruce Sutter Day or name your player Day. Check out these deferred contracts (and this Twitter thread by Michael Mayer) which are far more complex and long-term than Bobby’s. Shout-out to Bruce to getting paid $1.12M every year since ’93. The bonus: When he receives his final payout next year, he’ll get a $9.1M lump sum. Find that man’s agent and hire him or her!

Oh, and did you know Bret Saberhagen is still on the Mets payroll?!

Bobby Bonilla July 1 Fun Fact

In our Mets road trip episode, I mentioned seeing seeing the Doc Gooden pitch a complete game and hit a home run in Florida. He also lost the game. Turns out, that game was on… July 1. In case you’re wondering, Bobby Bo went 0-4 that night.

A Happy Ending

Not related to Bobby Bo, but in recording this episode on June 30, we remember the 21st anniversary of Mike Piazza’s three-run home run against the Braves to cap the second largest comeback win in Mets history at the time. We talk about it during the podcast, but see the clip for yourself below. Man, we miss the sounds of Shea!

Listen to the sounds of Shea as Mike Piazza blasts a three-run homer against the Braves on June 30, 2000.

Pedro Martinez vs. Jacob deGrom

Yesterday I had a chance to see Jacob deGrom pitch in-person for the first time since a 2015 home game. As previously noted on our podcast, the weekend home games we typically go to tend to involve our number 4 or 5 in the rotation.

While it wasn’t his most dominant performance, it was still a treat to see the GOAT & ACE on the mound. On the long ride home from CitiField, I was thinking about the last time I can remember a dominant stretch of pitching.

All I could think of was the Pedro Martinez run in ’99 and ’00. As I mentioned in my previous post about deGrom, I am not a stats guy, but I couldn’t help but dive into the numbers. Here’s a comparative look at the numbers.

Pedro 2000 vs. deGrom 2021

We covered how memorable 2000 was for us Mets fans. That said, as a freshman at Quinnipiac – surrounded by a ton of Sox fans for the first time in my life – I gained a new appreciation for Pedro. And the numbers prove it.

Pedro ended ’00 with a stat line of: 18-6, 1.74 ERA, 7CG, 4 SHO, 32 BBs and 284Ks. Here is his stat line through 13 games compared to this year’s bakers dozen for deGrom.

  • Pedro: 9-3, 1.18 ERA, 130K, 19 BB, 56Hs and an opponent BA of .161. He also recorded six double-digit strikeout games. The Red Sox were 9-4 in his starts.
  • deGrom: 7-2, 0.69 ERA, 122Ks, 11 BBs, 30Hs and an opponent BA of .115. deGrom has recorded five double-digit strikeout games. The Mets are 10-3 in his starts.

Pedro ’99 vs. deGrom 2021

The 1999 version of Pedro was ungodly. He finished the year 23-4 with a 2.07 ERA. Throughout the season he had five CGs, while striking out 313 and only walking 37 batters across the season. A comparison at his first 13 games compared to deGrom looks like this:

  • Pedro: 11-2, 2.16 ERA, 143Ks, 20 BBs, 76Hs and an opponent BA of .214. Pedro also recorded nine double-digit strikeout games.
  • deGrom: 7-2, 0.69 ERA, 122Ks, 11 BBs, 30Hs and an opponent BA of .115. deGrom has recorded five double-digit strikeout games. The Mets are 10-3 in his starts.

Closing Thoughts

To this point, Pedro’s 2000 season is the better compare statistically. Of course, there are other factors in play such as PEDs, different baseballs, etc. However, it goes without saying that we’re watching something incredibly special with Jacob. And that’s something, we’re grateful for. Let’s go Mets!

Jacob deGrom warming up before the first inning of his start agains the Philadelphia Phillies on June 26, 2021.

Episode 23: The Mets Birthday Edition

The birthday segment of our podcast tends to get the most feedback from listeners. So, we decided to do a full episode on this week’s Mets birthdays. Players covered include:

Jacob deGrom celebrated a birthday this week, but we were too busy playing video games as Jacob to do too much research on his career. It’s OK though because as JonnyIce said, there will be an epic six-part Jacob episode somewhere in the future.

Episode 26: Mets Memorabilia (Take 2) Behind the Bag

Listeners have spoken…our previous upload of this episode cut off at 24 mins…not sure why. So we're uploading this bad boy again. Tune in and listen to our discussion on Mets memorabilia!
  1. Episode 26: Mets Memorabilia (Take 2)
  2. Episode 25: Amazin' All-Star Memories
  3. Episode 24: Bobby Bonilla
  4. Episode 23: Which Mets Have a Birthday?
  5. Episode 22: Our Return to CitiField

Doc Gooden’s Birthday Blooper

During this episode we also talk about the week that was in Mets land. Speaking of which, did anyone catch this blooper on SNY where a fan wearing a Doc Gooden jersey lost his balance? Yes, we’re children for laughing at this… but only because “Doc” got right up to continue with his FaceTime call or live stream!

Nomar gets his ring

Oh and in this episode we get on the topic of Nomar and wondering if he got a ring from the Red Sox. In this writing, we can confirm he did!

Is Jacob deGrom a Video Game?

This morning I played Game 1 of the World Series in MLB The Show ’19 with Jacob deGrom on the mound. His final stat line? 9 IP, 0ER, 2H, 0 BBs and 17Ks. His stats through this season’s playoffs? 3-0, 0.84 ERA, with 44Ks over 21.1 IP and a WHIP of 0.38.

So it got me thinking, is Jacob really a video game?

– Me while pouring Coffee this morning

Full disclosure: I am not a stats guy – and generally speaking, not a gamer – so please take this post with a grain of salt. That said, here are his stats over the three seasons I’ve played (Yes, the COVID pandemic left me with lots of time to play this game. Had to get my baseball fix somehow).

MLB The Show ’19 Stats

  • 2021: 22-5, 2.48 ERA, 278 Ks, 33 BBs, 0.92 WHIP
  • 2020: 17-10, 3.74 ERA, 287 Ks, 41 BBs, 1.07 WHIP
  • 2019: 25-4, 1.92 ERA, 332 Ks, 37 BBs, 0.77 WHIP
  • Cy Young Award winner in 2019 and 2021.
  • Note for the ’20 season, I simulated most of the season because, well, I just wanted to get to the trading deadline and offseason. Sorry Jacob for screwing you out of a 3rd Cy Young Award!

deGrom’s Stats ’19 – ’21

The Verdict

The jury is still out. Members of the Palm Beach Cardinals can vouch that he’s real. Whatever the verdict, I think we can all agree we’re watching generational excellence. And that’s a OK with me. What do you think?

Listen to our next podcast episode or follow us

The next Behind the Bag podcast will drop early next week. We’ll be sure to touch on this video game debate as we recognize June birthdays (hint: Jacob is one of them). Also be sure to follow us on Twitter, where we engage with our Mets family!

Is Jacob deGrom a video game? Hard to tell with this stat line.