Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Mets in the All-Star game? Typically a mid-summer bummer

The 1986 NL team was stacked with Mets, but it didn't turn out well.

I love the All-Star game. I dare say it’s my favorite game of the year to watch.

It’s awesome to see all those great players in one place, and my favorite part is when the players are introduced. It’s especially fun to see our Mets representatives get their due.

But the sad truth is that Mets players tend not to do especially well in this national spotlight.
Of we’ve had some spots of success.

Jon Matlack was the winning pitcher and co-MVP of the 1975 game. Lee Mazzilli had a big home run in the 1979 game. Tug McGraw won the 1972 game, and Sid Fernandez claimed a save in 1987. Dwight Gooden striking out the side as a rookie will be an all-time memory.

But it goes downhill in a hurry.

The 1986 game in Houston was supposed to be a celebration, and our four starters took the field in fancy white spikes. But Doc took the loss, Keith Hernandez was 0-4 and Gary Carter was 0-3.

Only Darryl Strawberry, with 1 hit in 2 at-bats, and Sid Fernandez, with a 3-strikeout inning, allowed us to leave the Astrodome with out heads held sort of high. Almost, becase the MVP was a pre-bat-chucking Bat Chucker, haunting us even then!

The 2003 game at New Comiskey Park was a complete disaster, and our player didn’t even make it into the game. Armando Benitez, who probably would have been voted least-popular Met that year by fans, was somehow tapped to be our sole representative, making it pretty rough to cheer.

How much did we dislike Armando at that point? It was his last appearance as a Met – shipped to the Yankees, of all teams, for a trio of stiffs named Jason Anderson, Anderson Garcia and Ryan “Anderson” Bicondoa.

Mike Piazza appeared in six games as a Met, hitting a horrible .154 over those games. Sadly, that uncharacteristic weak stick is among the leaders of our multiple-game players.

Carter won an All-Star game MVP while on the Expos, but hit .143 in his three appearances as a Met. Still, that’s better than Keith Hernandez’ .125 in three games.

Jerry Grote was hitless in his two games, and Edgardo Alfonzo was hitless in two at-bats in 2000.

Slugger Todd Hundley? Not in 1996, when it was 0-1 in his one game. He was named to another team, but was hurt.

Dave Kingman and Willie Mays have very little in common, other than that they were both hitless as Mets in All-Star Games.

Even our hero, Tom Seaver, fell short of his studly standards in the last two of his six appearances as a Met. He gave up three runs in the 1975 game, though he was redeemed by teammate Matlack.

But before you bail on the Mid-Summer Classic, here are some positive things. David Cone, Bobby Jones, John Franco, Tom Glavine and Frank Viola pitched shutout innings t innings.

Lance Johnson was a surprise starter in 1996 and ended up playing almost the entire game, getting three hits in four at-bats, including a double.

Cleon Jones made the most of his one game, getting 2 hits in 4 at-bats in 1969.

Bud Harrelson, our light-hitting shortstop, pounded a robust .400 over the 1970 and 1971 games.

I was optimistic that out six players named to this year’s team would help the Mets redeem the short-comings of the past. Then Pedro’s hip went sore, Jose Reyes got spiked and Glavine pitched on Sunday.

Maybe David Wright’s impressive performance in the Home Run Derby is a sign of good things to come. And I’m pretty sure he won’t go Benitez and end up on the Yankees by the end of the week.

1 comment:

Bob said...

Cleon Jones was the first player I found growing up who shared the same baseball traits as I do: throws left, but bats right.

Tommy Underwood did so later.

It appears to be a more "popular" trait these days, but I was hard-pressed for role models in that department as a boy. With Jones being a Met, it wasn't much of a role model. ;)