Friday, February 17, 2012
It's been almost 24 hours since I found out Gary Carter passed away from complications from Brain Cancer. I found out while driving home from work at about 6 PM. I was shocked... not so much because I didn't know he was sick (I had been half expecting it since it was revealed he had brain cancer last year)... but more so because it hit home in a way that very few celeberties deaths have ever hit me.
Gary wasn't my favorite baseball player... hell he wasn't even my favorite Mets' catcher (Hi Mike Piazza) ... but Gary held a special place in my heart due to the fact he was the first real SUPERSTAR to go to the Mets in their rise from basement dwellers of the late 70s and early 80s. I know that is strange to hear from me, since my favorite baseball player of all time is Keith Hernandez who was traded from the Cardinals to the Mets in 1983, but Keith's star was a little dimmed at the time and he didn't have the "SUPERSTAR!!!!" tag on him like Gary did in 1984.
I still remember getting the paper the day after the trade. I was fourteen years old and was a rabid Mets fan. Back in '84 there was no 24 HR sports radio or internet and I was not the type to watch the news at night, so I didn't even know about the trade until Newsday came the next day. I was totally taken aback. I had watched Carter win the 1984 All-Star Game MVP award with his home run and it never occured to me he could be a Met. I liked Hubie Brooks (who went to the Expos along with Mike Fitzgerald, Herm Winning ham and Floyd Youmans) a lot and thought he was going to be a great player, but to get Carter... wow.
I remember certain moments from Carter's career like they were yesterday. Of course two of the largest were his first game as a Met (the 19th inning homerun off of Cardinals closer Neil Allen) and his rally-starting at-bat with two outs in the 10th inning of Game Six of the '86 World Series (which overshadowed the almost equally as important Game Four Carter performace when he hit 2 home runs over the Green Monster).
There isn't much more I can say about Gary Carter than what has been said in the last 24 hours. He was a great baseball player, as well as a great role model. He was a great big boyscout on a team that partied hard in the '86 Mets. He was a family man who played the game right and led life right. I remember hearing how Carter was a guy the other teams hated, but once he was on YOUR team, everyone though he was great.
As a Mets fan, I obviously don't have a lot of great winning memories to pull out of the hat... so of course 1986 is highest on the charts. Carter was a huge... HUGE part of that. I remember sitting on the edge of my couch, watching the 10th inning of Game Six an dafter Hernandez made out, I was totally deflated. I kicked the tv off and stormed out of the room. But only seconds later I stormed back in and turned the TV back on. I didn't want to see them lose, but I couldn't stay away. I paced back and forth, in an aggressive stride as Carter battled and get on base with a solid hit. I paced back and forth for the rest of the inning and when it was over I exploded in a way I have rarely been able to explode. The joy I felt was incredible... and it wouldn't have been there is not for Gary's great at-bat and hit to start it all.
Gary's passing is something else to me. It's the death of a small part of my childhood. That sounds dramatic... maybe in an Emo way... but Gary, along with Mex, Doc, Straw, Nails, Mookie, El Sid, Darling and the rest was a huge part of my childhood. Especially in 1985 and 1986. I averaged watching about 145 games a year. Missed very few. Went to a few games a year but mostly watched on Sportschannel (HBO) and on Channel Nine. It was a great part of it... watching those games and learning so much about baseball... about life. The ups and downs of the game are like the ups and downs of real life... in were you have to learn to handle them both correctly and get balance between the two. Never be too up... never get too down.
Gary was a huge part of that. I'm miss him for a lot of reasons.
Rest in Peace Kid.
Wednesday, February 1, 2012
I may be alone in this... but not only do I think the Marlins will likely NOT contend... I don't think they are a better team than the Mets are.
This isn't to say the Mets are better than the Marlins. This is to say that they are fairly even teams with some things that could push either team above the other. And to count ONE as a playoff contender and not the other is pretty unfair.
So I'll be breaking down the two teams and looking at some of what we could expect. Let's take a little look at some of the comparisons.
NY METS: Ike Davis
MIAMI MARLINS: Gabby Sanchez
So we have two young players who have both shown some promise here. Davis has a VERY solid rookie season and if he can hit like he did in the 36 games he played last year (.302/.383/.543) then he's an All-Star candidate. He's also an excellent glove at first. Sanchez is a decent
NY METS: Daniel Murphy
MIAMI MARLINS: Omar Infante
Murphy won't hit for much power and he does need to up his walk total,but as he's shown over the last three seasons, when he's healthy... he hits. He's more than capable of batting .325 rather easily. His defense isn't too good... he fields fine but turning double plays and making the pivit is an adventure every time. It couyld be worse. He could field like Dan Uggla. He needs to improve on this. Infante
NY METS: Ruben Tejada
MIAMI MARLINS: Jose Reyes
Wow it was weird typing that. Yeah, I'm not going to do anything stupid like comparing these two. Reyes is one of the best shortstops in baseball and when he's fully healthy is one of the most dynamic players period. If he's healthy this season (and you do have to say "if". Let's face it, there HAS to be some concern considering his history the last few years) then he should put up solid numbers and create his usual havoc on the basepaths. Tejada posted a .360 OBP in 2011 and isn't likely to hit much, but should be capable of getting on base at a fairly decent clip. Remember, he's only 21 years old. He doesn't have any power, but his glove is fantastic and he could very well turn out to be one of the best defensive shortstops in baseball. Reyes is no slouch with the glove himself and is better than average as a defender. I think the Mets could do worse at shortstop and should be in fairly decent hands... but he's not even half of what Reyes is.
NY METS: David Wright
MIAMI MARLINS: Hanley Ramirez
David Wright had a lousy 2011. Amazingly, Hanley Ramirez might have had a worse one. The major difference? Ramirez is playing a position he doesn't want to play and is also a fairly large malcontent on his team. His attitude stinks. He's a whiner and a dogger. He's going to be over shadowed bt Jose Reyes and he knows it and it bothers him. He's also a defensive liability. Wright, is a stand up guy and a hard worker. His attitude is tremendous. He's pretty much the unquestioned leader of his team. He's got a good glove, but a lousy arm. I expect both to have seasons much closer to what we'd expect. There's also a chance both could find themselves on other teams before the season is out. I give Wright the edge here for two reasons... he won't be a blight on his own team and he won't be a guy who slips into dog-it mode when he's not interested.
NY METS: Josh Thole
MIAMI MARLINS: John Buck
Neither catcher is anything special. Both has shown small samples of some power, but not consistantly. Both have decent gloves and call decent games. The only reason I give Thole the nod here is because his
NY METS: Andres Torres
MIAMI MARLINS: Emilio Bonifacio
NY METS: Lucas Duda
MIAMI MARLINS: Mike Stanton
I think Duda is going to be a soild bat for the Mets in 2012. He has power enough to project for 28/30 home ruins over the course of an entire season. His defense isn't great though. He's not a disaster, but he's not going to impress much with his glove either. Mike Stanton is... well... he's likely to be a legit MVP candidate. If he can continue on the trend he's been on he last two years, then he's going to be a feared bat. His batting average is going to be a little low (think .262 or so) and his strike outs are a bit of a concern. With 166 of them last year and 123 in only 396 at-bats the year before, you'd like to see him try and lower that total. Overall though, he's liely the new Adam Dunn. I can see him hitting 40 home runs. Duda is going to be good. Stanton already is and might be great.
NY METS: Jason Bay
MIAMI MARLINS: Logan Morrison
Not that Morrison is anything major to write home about, but Bay needs to show he remembers how to play baseball before we can trust him at all. No real way to defend him right now.