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No Country For Old Mets

The Academy would like to pause for a moment to remember those Mets who have left us in the past year…

Chan Ho Park, 2007

…Park was unlucky in the third, but that wasn’t bad luck in the fourth. That was nearly 900 feet of bad pitches redirected so quickly and violently by Amezaga and Ramirez that everyone in our part of the mezzanine knew where they were headed before they cleared the infield.

—May 1, 2007

Jon Adkins, 2007

…[T]he removal of Jon Adkins from the roster to accommodate an emergency catcher seemed to throw the entire bullpen into turmoil.

—August 1, 2007

Lino Urdaneta, 2007

We hung around just to see Lino Urdaneta reduce his ERA to finity, even though that looked perilous for a moment as a hop ate up David Wright and his doofy-looking zebra shoes — and during the inning I thought Urdaneta might be hyperventilating to the point of having a heart attack, which would have been a terrible way of proving that yes, he could have a worse outing that that long-ago day against the Kansas City Royals.

—May 7, 2007

Jeff Conine, 2007

With a large lead, Willie pulled him and the camera caught Ollie sitting down, collecting his thoughts when Jeff Conine walked over and shook his hand. Jeff Conine? Jeff Conine who’d been a Met for about a month? Jeff Conine who contributed virtually nothing to this pennant drive? Jeff Conine who was about to retire no matter what the Mets did during his abbreviated tenure here? Yeah, Jeff Conine. I wondered if Oliver Perez and Jeff Conine had done more than nod at each other since Conine joined the Mets. But there he was, being very much a veteran toward a younger player. I liked that. I really liked that. I suppose I liked Conine, too, though I never got much of a look at him as a Met. Nobody did.

—October 18, 2007

Sandy Alomar, Jr., 2007

Sandy Alomar, Jr. lined out hard to second. Didn’t realize until the scoreboard mentioned it that this was Alomar’s Shea debut. As a Met? No, ever. I just looked it up…and I see that in a Major League career that stretches back to 1988, he had played against the Mets only once, in three Interleague games in 2002 at Jacobs Field.

—August 24, 2007

David Newhan, 2007

When David Newhan placed a ball just beyond the firm grasp of Aaron Rowand last night, it was stunning to see him wind up on second because nobody runs like that anymore…

—June 6, 2007

Ricky Ledee, 2006-2007

…Ricky Ledee…was designated for assignment even after his clutch leftfield defense in the seventeenth inning made Saturday night his best game as a Met. All of Ricky Ledee’s other games as a Met are tied for second.

—July 8, 2007

Chip Ambres, 2007

Should these Mets use this 4-3 road trip, this 7-4 stretch since the break, as a launching pad for further momentum, to build a more impenetrable divisional margin, to ride to another Eastern title, to ascend Mount Olympus as planned but pre-empted a year ago, then this game was totally magic — the Chip Ambres Game, we’ll call it; he walks in and suddenly he’s a hero.

—July 23, 2007

Brian Lawrence, 2007

Brian Lawrence: 29 innings, 43 hits, 6.83 ERA. Good night, funny man.

—September 18, 2007

Dave Williams, 2006-2007

…Dave Williams came up from Norfolk, donned No. 32 and effectively channeled Rick Anderson…

—August 20, 2006

Mike DiFelice, 2005-2007

…Scott Olsen coaxed a third strike past DiFelice. “GODDAMNIT DIFELICE!” I bellowed. Oh well. Kind of hard to break habits formed over 149 games.

—September 20, 2006

Aaron Sele, 2007

Entering Sunday, Aaron Sele had made 32 appearances as a Met and the Mets were 9-23 when he pitched. So you don’t think it was all a coincidence, Aaron Sele held a 5.29 ERA for 2007 from the beginning of the season to September 17 — six games earlier, which was the last time Randolph saw fit to use him. It’s been a year plainly worthy of Kenny “Squeak” Scolari, BASEketball‘s resident luckless nebbish. Except that after running through six relievers in five innings, Willie was down to his whaddayagonnado? corps, and Sele was the best of that lot. For the first time, in the 155th game of the season, Aaron Sele did what he had to do.

—September 23, 2007

Guillermo Mota, 2006-2007

Yes, there are Mets on this year’s roster I have no use for…master run-allower Guillermo Mota come(s) to mind.

—August 15, 2007

Philip Humber, 2006-2007

If he comes through and helps us gather in the monster pot that’s been lingering on the National League East table a little too long, then we will have reason to believe we have a keeper on our hands. If he doesn’t, Philip Humber’s long-term future will be pretty low on my worry list.

—September 26, 2007

Carlos Gomez, 2007

Could it be? Holy cow, it is — it’s Carlos Gomez! That’s when I began to feel lucky — Gomez is one of those prospects whose debut I would have dropped everything that could be reasonably dropped to see, and I hadn’t had to drop a thing.

—May 14, 2007

Julio Franco, 2006-2007

Even the intangibles, the stuff you can feel is going to backfire, never came back to haunt. You know those voices you hear in your head? The ones that recap the game with lines like “…in the loss, Julio Franco became the oldest man to…”? That voice was silenced. Julio Franco became the oldest man to homer, oldest man to homer into a pool, oldest man to homer and steal in the same game, oldest man to homer off the oldest pitcher to give up a homer to the oldest man ever to homer…and the Mets won.

—May 5, 2007

Shawn Green, 2006-2007

…[O]n the way out, after Wagner buried (for a night) the ghost of Taguchi, after Heilman found St. Louisians he could steamroll and after Mr. Green put a decisive dent both the score and the scoreboard, there was an extra edge to the walkoff happiness around me.

—June 26, 2007

Lastings Milledge, 2006-2007

I’m reading a pretty good book called A Great Day in Cooperstown about how the Hall of Fame came to be and the festive occasion its opening was. All the immortals who were still alive in 1939 — Walter Johnson, Cy Young, Tris Speaker, a recently retired Babe Ruth — came to Upstate New York and caused quite the commotion. I wondered what it must have been like to have witnessed modern baseball in its formative years, to have seen these players create the game as we know it, to possibly bump into one of them on Main Street when they showed up to get enshrined. It must have been tremendous, I decided, but it’s all right that I wasn’t there then because if I had been, I wouldn’t be around now. And if I weren’t around now, I wouldn’t be seeing Lastings Milledge in his formative years recreating the game we will know in the 21st century. That’s how far gone I am over this kid who’s been a Met for a week and change.

—June 8, 2006

Paul Lo Duca, 2006-2007

I would not want to be on the same baseball field as Paul Lo Duca when he loses his temper, but from a safe distance in the stands it’s immensely entertaining — he literally looks like a cartoon character, with his eyes bulging and his eyebrows reduced to perfect downward slashes that wouldn’t look out of place on an emoticon. Tossing his gear wasn’t enough, of course — the shin guards had to follow, along with the chest protector, which I’m surprised he didn’t rip apart with his teeth or light on fire after it got hung up on the dugout railing. What actually happened with Marvin Hudson? I dunno, but it is not a contradiction to say that I love Lo Duca and also bet it was his fault.

—June 24, 2007

T#m Gl@v!ne, 2003-2007

He did win those two playoff games, did make those two All-Star teams, did not unleash firecrackers in the Dodger Stadium parking lot. There are worse villains in Met Hell. That’s who the Sixth, Seventh, Eighth and Ninth Circles are reserved for. T#m Gl@v!ne will now and forever be ensconced in the One-Third Circle of Met Hell. We might have assigned him a few circles lower, but he proved on September 30 that one-third is as deep as he goes when it really counts.

—November 23, 2007

Don’t forget to send us your ideas for the Shea Stadium Final Season Countdown. Details here [1].