- Faith and Fear in Flushing - http://www.faithandfearinflushing.com -

Throw Strikes…Got It

What I've never gotten about the Ishiis, Zambranos and pitchers who

walk too many batters is the idea that they don't know that they're not

supposed to do that. When erstwhile pitching guru George Bamberger

managed the Mets, he repeated over and over to erratic Pete Falcone,

“throw strikes”.

Pete Falcone didn't look him in the eye and respond, “you don't think I know that?”

Let's not let Falcone off the hook. His rap was that he had a

concentration problem on the mound. Huh? What else did he have to think

about up on that hill? Check

out that tomato in the third row…wonder if I can get in on Helmet

Day…were Elliott Maddox and Phil Mankowski making fun of me during

BP?…sure would be even more tranquil here without the

airplanes…shee-it, that's Bob Horner standing there…focus…FOCUS!

Falcone reportedly got religion late in his Mets tenure, laying off

his inability to get pitches over the plate on “God's will”. According

to Howie Rose, one of his frustrated coaches muttered, “ya think The

Good Lord would mind if he threw a strike now and then?”

Two loose ends from 60-41:

1) The play you're thinking of that signaled 1988's demise and,

perhaps, that of the whole glorious era of triumph and unmet

expectations occurred in the bottom of the sixth of Game Four. Kevin McReynolds

doubled (he and Straw homered back-to-back earlier). Gary Carter, for

the second-to-last time in his career, tripled, knocking out old

nemesis John Tudor. The Mets led 4-2. A sac fly, as you indicated,

would've made all the difference in the world. Tim Teufel, almost

certainly gritting his teeth, struck out. Kevin Elster walked. It's

first and third, one out, Gooden due up. Doc has allowed only one hit

since the first. He's also considered competent with the bat. You make

the call.

Leave Doc in? Ouch. He hits into a double play. Gary Carter dies on

third and the first real twinge of discomfort regarding this series

lodges in my gut. John Fricking Shelby awaits.

But Bobby Ojeda and his hedge trimmers were not a good

sign either. There was no time to trade for Kaz Ishii. The Mets had

Gooden, Darling, Fernandez and Cone but missed Ojeda like crazy in the

NLCS. Despite a losing record, he had five shutouts and an ERA under

three in '88 — or despite five shutouts and an ERA under three, he had

a losing record in '88. Talk about remnants of a bygone era, it was a

line out of 1968. Bobby O pulled off the neat trick of being all

business and a wild man simultaneously. Can you imagine four modern

Mets leaving themselves open to a Cooter's situation?

2) Willie Mays doesn't need a historical mulligan. He was

Willie Mays. I take you to Mabel Katz's third-grade classroom on Monday

morning, May 15, 1972, the day after Willie hit that home run to beat

the Giants. Mrs. Katz was probably 50, but she could have been a

hundred for all I knew. She used old-fashioned slang, and this was as

good a time as any to roll out the barrel of clichés for the newest Met.

“Willie,” Mabel Katz proclaimed, “always comes through in a pinch!”

It's too bad the Mets let Willie slip away in retirement to Magowan and San Francisco. Maybe that's what he preferred. He was so

New York's, though. In 1972, it was not up for debate (except, perhaps,

among the players who lost playing time to a 41-year-old living

legend/Payson pet). Fred Wilpon has built a shrine to the Dodgers in

Coney Island. The least he could give the rest of us is No. 24 on the

left field wall. Unless Kelvin Torve is coming back.