Category Archives: David Wright

AS THE GAME TURNS……

Just when it looked like the Royals had their gears in synced motion and their lineup was ready to quiet the raucous crowd at City Field with one of those keep the line moving rallies that has become their signature in this year’s Playoffs, the game turned on a dime in the second inning when a call at third base was overturned by replay.

The play (shown here in this MLB video) occurred when David Wright took a throw from left fielder Michael Conforto and the runner, 635818530669234576-USATSI-8892351Alex Gordon, was called safe on a very close play putting runners on first and third with one run in and nobody out.. However, Wright immediately raised his hand signalling to the dugout and Terry Collins pleading for a replay. Collins acknowledged his Captain and Gordon was ruled out by the replay umpire – resulting in runners on first and second with one out. Not necessarily a game turner but the play certainly swung the momentum back to the Mets and they never looked back from there. Continue reading

WORLD SERIES MATCHUP – METS VS ROYALS

Oops, the Toronto vs Kansas City series hasn’t even concluded yet. But, believe me it’s over. At home, there is no way the Royals lose two straight, even images-1with David Price (who has not exactly been Mr. Reliable in playoffs no matter where he has pitched) starting tonight for the Blue Jays.

So let’s get on with it. And let’s start with the probability that this will be a very entertaining World Series. On the one hand, you have the Royals with last year’s experience to build on facing the Mets with maybe one or two exceptions I can’t think of playing on Center Stage in baseball’s Fall Classic. for the first time.

Last year, the Royals met Mr. Bumgartner and the Giants. No doubt, “Bum” tore the Royals up. This year, they’ll be facing not one – but four prominent image (1)starters the Mets throw out there – each with 97-100 mph fastballs along with a litany of polished and tantalizing breaking balls. Plus, the Mets have that guy Familia (did anyone know his name in April) who appeared out of nowhere and continues to dominate.

On the Royals side, you have the patient and clutch presence of guys like 1412412471000-USATSI-8122795Eric Hosmer (left) and Alex Gordon (below) who “get it done”. Meanwhile, “something” appears to be wrong with Johnny Cueto and he and the Royalsalex-gordon-kansas-city-royals_20150901-e1441203607921 need to figure that out soon. But, to counterstrike their deference to the Mets in starting pitching, they have the knockout punch of a bullpen if the game is close.

And therein lies the key. The Mets were able to never let the Cubs even reach the door, much less enter it. The Royals however are a different brand right now. They do come back with a string of singles and doubles when they have fallen behind.images-38 Thus, the question is really how far the Mets starters can go into the game to prevent such an attack in the middle innings. In this regard,New York Mets Spring Training at their Minor League practice facility located within Tradition Field in Florida the whole question of innings pitched  to date (and it’s getting way up there) raises its ugly head again for the Mets. How far do you let these young arms go?

In sum, we are not only going to be entertained by this Series, but we will be talking about it throughout the Hot Stove season. If I were a betting man, I’d stay away from this one. Meanwhile, we can just sit back and enjoy it as baseball fans.

A BASEBALL LIFE – THE JOURNEY OF TERRY COLLINS

When Terry Collins walked across the field at the conclusion of  last night’s contest to shake handsimages-17 with Dodgers manager Don  Mattingly, (right)Don-Mattingly he had just completed his 1680 th game as a major league manager. The final chapter of a man’s baseball life had been written and you could just sense the relief and gratification that only comes from a long uphill climb that led his team (or family as he calls them) to victory and a chance to compete for a spot in this year’s World Series.

In the 1970’s, Terry Collins was a minor league shortstop playing first in the Pirates organization and then later with the Dodgers. He never had a major league at bat. However, a turning point in his career came when Peter O’Malley, then the owner of the Dodgers offered him a chance to manage. 

Back then, the Dodgers were not the mega corporation they are today and O’Malleyimg19808750 (left) emphasized the family culture that surrounded his teams. For example, when the Dodgers won the World Series in 1988, he took not only the team but virtually the entire staff, including the groundskeepers, to Hawaii for a vacation. At the time, Collins was on another assignment for the Dodgers. When he returned home, he was welcomed with a trip to Italy replacing the one he missed for his entire family. Terry Collins never forgot the way the Dodgers treated him. More importantly, he picked up on those values and voice as the manager of the New York Mets stressing the nature of team building and family. 

No doubt, last night was a bittersweet moment for a man who beat the parents who raised him (so to speak). To a man, the Mets reflect the character of their leader in the dugout. But, this didn’t happen overnight. Actually, it began before the first game of the season when Sandy Alderson, images-28the Mets General Manager, stunned the Mets fanbase by declaring that the Mets would win 90 games this year. With a team of young talent, Collins tried to downplay the whole thing while the media pressured him every day. But inside the clubhouse, Collins was already building the structure of his team – one that would accent a quiet confidence.

Well, we know the end result. The Mets did, in fact, win 90 games. But it was Collins’s leadership that brought them together and through images-9the tough times – like losing their captain David Wright (right) for several months, as well as Lucas Duda – their only bona fide power hitter until Cespedes came along. And then of course,images-23 there was the ongoing saga of Matt The Brat Harvey who on more than one occasion caused a disruption off the field as well as in the clubhouse. Collins, known for having a temper, never lost it. More importantly, he never lost his players.

His is one of those stories you only find in baseball. One thousand six hundred and eighty games – and finally he is a winner.


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THE PROVERBIAL “LIGHTNING IN A BOTTLE” – YEONIS CESPEDES

Except for trades involving big name players where you pretty much know what you are getting like a David Price or Cole Hamels, every general manager’s dream is to catch the proverbial lightning in a bottle with that one player who’s flying  under the radar and becomes the last ingredient needed to complete your recipe for a championship season.

More often than not however, these rentals as they are called backfire because they are looking forward to the big paycheck coming in free agency and their credentials have already been established. One exception to that occurred in 2008 when the Cleveland Indians help a closeoutimages-49 sale shipping C C Sabathia  (right) to the Milwaukee Brewers  for four prospects (none of whom made it to the Majors) just before the all star break. In 17 starts for the Brewers, Sabathia went 11-2 with a 2.48 ERA. The Brewers flopped in the Division Series with the Phillies but the injection of Sabathia propelled them to a level they could not have reached before his acquisition.

When Sandy Alderson pulled off the trade for Yeonis Cespedes, he was in what many might call a desperation mode. At the time, the Mets were last in runs scoredimages-122 and in dire need of at least one more big bat. images-134David Wright had not yet returned to the lineup and there was no timetable for him to do so. And beyond that, Cespedes carried some heavy baggage from his tenure with the Red Sox who’s coaches hated him to a man. His reputation for dogging it in the outfield was well earned and known, as was his reputation for hot dogging it when he hit a home run. So, this was not projected to be a slam dunk for the Mets and the prevailing thinking at the moment was that he could tilt a very fragile team (at the time) the wrong way.

Except for one thing………..as it is playing out Alderson and the Mets have hit the jackpot……In spades.images-55 Yes, Wright is back and contributing. Yes Michael Conforto is performing at a mature level contributing with both his bat and glove. And yes, the additions of Jose Uribe and Ryan Franklin have helped both on and off the field. But the story is really only about Cespedes.

The numbers speak for themselves. In 37 games, he’s driven in 39 runs with 15 home runs while batting .313. Together with the 34 runs he’s scored for the Mets, this means he is personally responsible for adding TWO RUNS a game to the team as a whole This is more than a bolt of lightning – it’s a freakin’ earthquake.

As for the baggage and bravado (see photo above) we will have to see how that plays out. But remember, this is a relatively young man who emigrated from Cuba, images-37became a instant millionaire, and was thrust into a culture he did not know, much less understand.  In Cuba’s brand of baseball, bravado and “showboating” if you will is not only commonplace – it’s encouraged and enjoyed by fans. Thus, unless he has a defect in his personality we can expect to see this side of the man and ballplayer subside as he assimilates further into our culture.

Obviously, the question the Mets have to answer is whether or not they pursue Cespedes in the free agent market this Winter. If his streak continues and the Mets play well into the playoffs, or even snag a title, the pressure will be heavy to sign him to a long term deal. Then the question becomes even more intriguing……….is Cespedes another Bobby Bonilla (who the Mets will continue to pay more than $1 million a year until 2037)………..or will he be of the David Wright variety…….quiet and dependable when not injured?

In any event, the Mets and their fans should only enjoy this incredible ride they are on with Cespedes carrying the team. The rest (as they say) will take care of itself.