The blog for Mets fans
who like to read

ABOUT US

Jason Fry and Greg Prince
Faith and Fear in Flushing made its debut on Feb. 16, 2005, the brainchild of two longtime friends and lifelong Met fans.

Greg Prince discovered the Mets when he was 6, during the magical summer of 1969. He is a Long Island-based writer, editor and communications consultant. Contact him here.

Jason Fry is a Brooklyn writer whose first memories include his mom leaping up and down cheering for Rusty Staub. Check out his other writing here.

Got something to say? Leave a comment, or email us at faithandfear@gmail.com. (Sorry, but we have no interest in ads, sponsored content or guest posts.)

Need our RSS feed? It's here.

Visit our Facebook page, or drop by the personal pages for Greg and Jason.

Or follow us on Twitter: Here's Greg, and here's Jason.

You Can’t Eject the Past

Adam Hamari, a relative stranger to our ongoing narrative since his arrival as a major league umpire in 2013, is now seared into our consciousness as a) the arbiter who arbitrarily deprived 42,000 ticketholders of the opportunity to watch and cheer Noah Syndergaard, premier starting pitcher for the New York Mets, and b) enabler of the easy-as-pie Los Angeles Dodgers victory that followed on the heels of Thor’s unmerited dismissal.

This is not how we want to get to know anybody better.

Thor threw a mile behind Chase Utley to begin the third inning, never remotely endangering the well-being of an opponent whose well-being is apparently indestructible. It was every bit as symbolic a pitch as the one Jesse Orosco tossed D.J. Carter before Saturday night’s game. It was meant to evoke an indelible image from an iconic autumn in Mets history. In Syndergaard’s case, it was to remind Utley that, hey, we remember you. You took out our shortstop in the 2015 playoffs, you broke his leg, you never served a suspension, your misdeed had yet to be even slightly avenged, so here’s this calling card in case you get any ideas that we forgot who you were. Utley, avatar of old-school right-wayness in the view of those whose fibulas weren’t broken by his 26th-degree assault on second base last October, didn’t require an interpreter. He got the message. By all accounts, he was waiting for it.

It was ball one. Generally you don’t want to see your starter go one-and-oh on anybody to begin an inning, but this was ball one for a good cause, and besides, Thor has fairly immaculate control (he insisted with a face as straight as his hair is long that this one simply got away from him). He could come back from one-and-oh.

No he couldn’t, it turned out, because he wasn’t allowed to. Enter Hamari, the focus of the action, the center of Saturday night in Flushing. That’s who we came to see. Not one of the elite pitchers of the moment at the top of his form. Not a revered group of ballplayers who brought enduring joy to a city. Adam Hamari, tyro with an itchy trigger finger, an attraction to the spotlight and no particular understanding of the sport he is paid to officiate.

Syndergaard? Gone. His manager? Also gone. Roars of approval emanated forth for both Thor and Terry Collins. They did what they had to do, each obliged to uphold the honor of their posts and the rituals of their trade. The skipper we didn’t necessarily need in the dugout. The pitcher we could have used on the mound. The umpire? He was supposed to issue a warning. Everybody knows that, just as Utley knew a pitch like that which Syndergaard unleashed was coming. Pitcher sends message, batter receives message, umpire warns, everybody moves on.

But now we don’t. We grudge and grudge some more. We despise Chase Utley. We despise Adam Hamari. We are robbed continually of resolution (we won the NLDS versus Utley’s Dodgers, but if that took care of everything, why was this still simmering seven-and-a-half months later?). Oh, and we see our Mets spanked, 9-1, as the villain in Dodger blue, facilitated by the villain in umpire blue, blasts two home runs, including a grand slam, off Met relievers in what eventually broke down into bullpen-by-committee batting practice. Logan Verrett couldn’t save us. “The Curly Shuffle” couldn’t save us. Only wisdom behind the plate could have helped, and that was not in abundance.

Perhaps Utley would have homered off Syndergaard. If he had, we would have hated that, too, but it would have been fairly and squarely achieved. Hamari flew into the ointment and smeared his nonsense all over the encounter. Thor was ejected before he had a chance to bat against his opposite number Kenta Maeda, the Dodger pitcher he homered off twice in Los Angeles. Would have been fun to have seen them go at it again. Maeda, incidentally, absorbed a Michael Conforto line drive off his pitching hand in the first inning. He was in obvious discomfort. When he indicated he was fine, we, Mets fans, applauded encouragingly, proving we don’t wish ill on 24 of 25 Dodgers.

We didn’t come for blood. We came for baseball. We came for Syndergaard vs. the Dodgers and we came to salute our champions, the 1986 Mets, a unit so strong and so enduring that even at their respective advanced ages, the lot of them were impervious to the rulings of Adam Hamari.

Hey, Hamari: Just try to eject the 1986 World Championship from Citi Field. Go climb the flag pole over Soda Pop Plaza. Shimmy along the Excelsior facade where the postseason emblems hang. Maraud your way through the museum. Spray paint the commemorative bricks. Do your worst, if you can sink any lower than you already did Saturday.

It won’t do you any good. The Mets are still the World Champions of 1986, a status we celebrated with all our heart and soul thirty years after the fact. The fact isn’t going anywhere. I’d like to believe Adam Hamari is taking a hike, but Angel Hernandez — every bit as synonymous with atrocious officiating as the 1986 Mets are with splendid baseball — is inept to the point of corrupt and he’s in his 23rd year on the job.

Good luck getting rid of a dismal umpire. All we can hope for is that Hamari’s insipid decision to rid a baseball game of its star attraction in the third inning doesn’t cost the Mets a playoff spot, the way it could be argued Hernandez’s midseason massive error in judgment cost the 1998 Mets.

Long memories here. 1998 didn’t work out and we readily identify a culprit (Hernandez called an extra-inning slide into home that Bobby Valentine correctly identified as “lousy” and “illegal” good and pure in Atlanta and immeasurably aided and abetted the cause of screwing us over). 1986 worked out gloriously and we continue to rise and applaud the victors when they re-enter our midst. Like the self-policing pitch that should muster no more than a don’t do that again, you have been warned, our reaction to our eternal champions is one of those things you know is coming.

This, unlike what happened in the third inning, did come and it was as delightful as we could have imagined.

“You guys have been around baseball a long time,” Terry said during his pregame press conference to a line of questioning seeking an answer as to what the pearl anniversary of the ’86 champs meant to him and his current edition. His point, proffered as diplomatically as possible, was to say it didn’t have a great deal to do with the present. He got why it was being asked, he labeled the upcoming ceremonies “a deserving night for those guys in ’86” and in general believes “these things are kind of cool,” but as for his players of today, “You could parade the ’86 Mets through our clubhouse” and his charges “would not know ten of ’em.”

That’s just the way it is, I seem to recall Bruce Hornsby mentioning a few hundred times in the same autumn that the ’86 Mets paraded through lower Manhattan and all of us knew all of them. Whippersnapper baseball players play in the present. They always have, respect for elders optional. When I asked one of Collins’s predecessors, Davey Johnson, about his impressions of all the Old Timers Days and commemorations he sat through as a player and manager, mostly he remembered that he and his contemporaries “never thought about being old…but that was just wishful thinking.”

I don’t know if Davey or his charges ever wished they’d be remembered and embraced forever, but if they did, Saturday night was evidence that wishes come true. The 1986 Mets are not and never going anywhere. We won’t let them. The reception we gave them at Citi Field in 2016 was every bit as committed as the one we offered at Shea Stadium in 2006. There is something chemical in the relationship between Mets fans and these particular Mets. 1969 warms the heart. 1986 sets it ablaze. Attribute it to a deeper trove of videotape, a more pronounced air of badassery (Koosman efficiently avenging Agee by plunking Santo notwithstanding), the gaudiness of its characters and its times, those ever sharp racing stripes, its 17-year edge in recency, but there’s a difference. We cherish 1969. We fucking love 1986.

We continued to do so Saturday night. I secured both a press credential and a ticket for the proceedings and deployed each to optimal effect. As a baseball writer, there were some things I wanted to try and learn up close, and it was valuable for me to attend the pregame media availability, which was roughly akin to the out-of-the-cornfield onslaught from Field Of Dreams. That’s how I got to listen to Terry, talk to Davey and chat briefly with a few of the ’86ers. It was a terrific opportunity and I thank the Mets for providing me entree.

But I’m not a baseball writer without being a baseball fan, so when 6:15 rolled around, I exited the press box and made my way to Promenade, just as I might have thirty years before to see the 1986 Mets, except then the highest you could go was called the Upper Deck and the Upper Deck could get way higher than Promenade. The 1986 Mets got you high every day, and I don’t care that there are obvious implications in that phrasing. Once you inhaled the ’86 season, the contact buzz is permanent.

I loved how they presented those Mets this time around. Not so much the enormous World Series trophy or the endless red carpet from center field (tacky enough that they could’ve been lyrics to “Get Metsmerized”). But the order in which our Mets were revealed was brilliant. Instead of counting up from scrubs to stars, emcee Howie Rose told a story. He started with “the architect,” Frank Cashen (represented by his bowtied son Greg) and, after Davey and a nod to coaches and trainers, he transitioned into an April-to-October retelling. Howard Johnson’s signature swing against St. Louis came in the season’s third week, so he was introduced early. Tim Teufel’s grand slam — from when only second basemen we liked homered with the bases loaded — happened in June, thus he walked out a little later. Randy Niemann, generously recalled for a spot start in August (which I watched from Section 46 or thereabouts), emerged in 2016 well after Ron Darling and Keith Hernandez. Dwight Gooden (the division clincher) preceded Danny Heep (World Series DH).

Nobody cued us that this was how they were going to bring the boys out. It was left for us to make sense of the unorthodox batting order. We got it. Terry could have been talking to the entire stadium when he said, “You guys have been around baseball a long time.” This was the epitome of team over individuals, something you don’t have to have been around baseball for all that long to understand is paramount. It doesn’t always add up in the team’s favor. Noah tried doing something for his team (and goodness knows we in Section 516 loved it), but his stab at vigilantism backfired. “I was not big on personal goals,” Davey told me when I asked him about the Mets’ retired numbers lacking a representative from among his accomplished personnel. I guess it was enough that “1986” is amply etched around the ballpark.

Howie kept reading, the champs kept coming and the juice was surely flowing. He brought us to Game Seven: Ray Knight, the go-ahead home run and MVP, home at last; Darryl Strawberry, producer of the insurance run that’s still going; and, because there’s no other way to accurately conclude 1986, Jesse Orosco. Jesse threw the final pitch past Marty Barrett then, just as he threw the ceremonial first pitch Saturday. He should have thrown it to Gary Carter, who clutched the last out of the last (make that most recent) world championship in Mets history, but fate made Gary’s appearance an impossibility. Not that you would have known it based on the group hug we offered his wife Sandy and his son D.J. His old manager was right in that pregame session when he said, “Kid is here as far I’m concerned.”

We felt the spirit. We cheered the pitch Orosco threw to the son of Kid. We also appreciated that as many stretched and loosened 2016 Mets who could be rounded up — led by Collins — paraded out of their dugout to greet the 1986 Mets once Howie introduced them all and they were lined up around the diamond. It’s quite possible the eternal world champs recognized as many as ten of the defending league champs.

“I don’t live in the past,” Davey said to me. Neither does baseball, but its weekend getaways there are something to behold.

View the entire 1986 ceremony here.

37 comments to You Can’t Eject the Past

  • Greg Mitchell

    Disagree fully. It was stupid, weak “message” pitch–reminded me of Estes’ pathetic non-brushback to Clemens. Like that one, the “target” might have laughed, in any case he did not even flinch, more like, “Best you can do?” No wonder he dug in the rest of the game–especially since anyone who did finally throw inside would have gotten tossed. Thor should have just thrown one off the inside corner and backed him away, then kept throwing there, or tighter. At 99 mph that would have shook him up and he could have thrown at least a couple and THEN got a warning, stayed in game, batted, maybe won. Or maybe he would have hit Utley that way (just pitching inside, you know) and the crowd cheered. Fine. But a pathetic and useless heave way behind him? Look at the tape, Utley just smiles and digs in without missing a beat, and relieved that’s all he’ll probably ever have to face.

    Also: there is NO rule that ump has to warn. He has perfect freedom to toss someone if any one pitch or action is viewed as egregious and deliberate. What was most egregious was the weakness of this “retaliation.” And then you get the parade of relievers and the two Utley dingers. Who had last laugh–after not even getting his hair mussed?

  • Dave

    Greg, thanks for getting at least a sliver of my mind off last night’s atrocity. We were there thanks to my wife always knowing the right size and color for birthday gifts. Unfortunately on the long subway ride back, all she could do was keep apologizing for getting me tickets to such a crap game.

    There’s nothing much to add to the obvious observations about the state of the game’s officiating…where in earth is the accountability? Thor is only 23 years old, and yeah, while maybe his knowledge of the 86 Mets is perhaps limited to the 2 who work in the broadcast booth, he knows how the game is played. More than I can say for many of those responsible for officiating the games.

    And let’s not ignore the fact that if your manager is forced to hand over a lineup card with the names Campbell, Rivera and the man I will always know as Whoever Ty Kelly Is, you’re not winning regular season major league games…no matter who hits what for the opponents or how badly an umpire misinterprets his role in the game. OK, we have Cespedes hitting cleanup instead of Mayberry Jr, but when I saw that lineup I asked why Syndergaard wasn’t hitting 6th. Bench counts, Sandy.

    And the 86 Mets never would have stood for that. I was waiting for Ray Knight to come down on the field and get some justice.

  • I love it when you make me look stuff up. Tyro=novice. :) Now back to the article. I should have brought a snack.

  • Dave

    Greg Mitchell – no, there’s no rule requiring a warning. But it’s that very absence of such a rule that makes consistency that much more important. We’ve all seen better, more swiftly delivered retaliation than that pitch, and yes it was very similar to Estes v Clemens…but many of those retaliatory pitches made contact, perhaps right between the shoulder blades, and the pitcher, along with both benches, gets a warning. Joey Bats recently got plunked as payback for nothing more than a bat flip, pitcher got to pitch to the next batter.

  • Greg Mitchell

    I guess my point is–if you’re going to get tossed, make it meaningful! Thor has best control in league, he could have placed the pitch almost anywhere. If then tossed–justly or not–at least he might have terrorized Utley. The one time I would have endorsed “domestic terrorism.”

    • Eric

      The point was to send the message without being thrown out of the game. Now, Utley may have to be hit by a pitch for real with a pitcher suspended and fined.

  • Stephen Kairys

    Consider the following:

    Thor threw a mere 34 pitches last night.
    The Mets are off Thursday.

    He would next start on five days’ rest (Friday, at Miami) after a very low pitch count. Based on his success out of the bullpen in last year’s playoffs, could the Mets use him for an inning or two in one of the games vs. the White Sox?

  • First and foremost as a baseball fan this is a wonderful article, I have bled Dodger Blue for over 40 years, and I hated Utley too until last summer when our top brass thought he would be a good fit. I didn’t want him wearing Blue, he along with Jimmy Rollins had helped break Dodger hearts twice. Now that I’ve had a chance to watch him play as one of my guys I Love Him, but fully appreciate your and all Met fans Hatred of him in a baseball sense.

  • Peter Alan Smith, the Midnight Golfer

    I can’t help feeling that the Mets were humiliated after once again playing nice. That MLB enabled Utley to take a dump on our nice red carpet and publicly laughed at us while we just said “hey that’s not nice!” In my imagination (and that’s all it is) the next pitcher after Noah would have been a fireballer who threw straight at Utley’s face and been ejected. Then bring in our long reliever. But that would not have been nice.

  • skoonix

    Well written piece. But man, what a dumpster fire! I was hoping the Crew Chief could overrule the young pup behind the plate’s trigger finger. The minute Thor was tossed, I got a bad feeling. It was like watching the worst Disney sports movie ever. The hero gets tossed and the villain laughs manically while he hits not one but TWO homers (and a Grand Slam at that!). What really was upsetting was the offense just rolled up and died. No spirit. No fire. At least PH Lagares made sure it wasn’t a shut out but at that point, who cares?

    • Eric

      At least the Nationals, Phillies, and Marlins lost, too.

      If Colon can somehow outduel Kershaw today, they get the game back.

  • Eric

    Worrisome news about Wright. Sore neck. The neck (cervical spine) is part of the spine.

  • Mikey

    Im out of town until monday. So last night in following in yahoo on my phone and see thor only pitched 2 innings. I am thinking oh fuck hes injured! Then i noticed what happened when i looked thor up. Then i saw utley hit a fucking grand slam. I like the idea of retaliation but our best pitcher got the boot. And now its likely we lose 2 of 3. Unless of course colon throws at utley and thor comes out of the pen. That would be storybook

  • Rob E.

    I despise Utley, but the problem here isn’t Utley, it’s MLB. What he did to Tejada was bad, but that happens. What doesn’t happen is that the umpires give him back a base he never touched in a playoff game. What doesn’t happen is Joe Torre’s embarrassing bungled press conference trying to defend the indefensible. What doesn’t happen is a star getting thrown out of a game for NOT hitting a guy with a pitch that even if it did hit him, wouldn’t have caused any injury (a guy with pinpoint control, by the way…if he wanted to hit him, he would have been hit). Even Utley had no problem with that.

    We got the last laugh…we knocked them out of the playoffs. Still, this is the point of the wrestling match where the good guy just grabs the chair and bashes Utley over the head, balancing the scales of justice, sending the fans home happy, and giving baseball’s inconsistent Deputy Droopalong-ish law enforcement the giant middle finger it deserves.

    • Rudin

      Utley, not coincidentally a veteran white player, has been anointed as a man who Plays The Game The Right Way™ (regardless of whether playing the game the right way entails breaking an opposing players leg on an illegal slide in a playoff game). In all likelihood, this was communicated to the umpires sub rosa prior to the game by High Office of PTGTRW™,Joe Torre. This has his wrinkled fingerprints all over it, as evidenced by his pathetic press conference performance last fall, and his subsequent revocation of Utley’s suspension.

    • ljcmets

      I echo this, wholeheartedly. This whole situation, going back to the NLDS, was only marginally about Utley. I don’ know if it was a dirty slide – only Utley knows if he had intent to maim – but it was certainly a vicious one, and although we’ll never know for sure, it may have impacted the outcome of the World Series (e.g., does Wright cut in front of a more polished Tejada, instead of Flores, or does Tejada make that throw to first? ) Last night wasn’t about Utley, either, nor Syndergaard, nor Collins. It was entirely about the umpiring.

      After the “incident,” I wrote a very long comment (I looked it up; it was posted October 12 if anyone wants to relive that mess) detailing the myriad ways I thought the umps and MLB had created a tense, even dangerous situation, and noted seven mistakes AFTER the initial incident when the situation could have been corrected or at least neutralized, but which were either never considered, or in some cases, actually rejected or overturned. (Spilt milk and all that, but Tejada’s career, which was dependent upon his defense, may be over because of the injuries he sustained. ) Last night proved that MLB didn’t learn anything over the winter. To continue my litany of WTF’s from my earlier comment:

      Mistake Number Eight: Not warning the managers and benches prior to the start of the series on Friday. How would it have hurt in any way?

      Mistake Number Nine: Putting a young, inexperienced umpire (I have read reports, although I don’t know their authenticity, that he was a last-minute call-up from the minors) on the umpiring crew, let alone behind the plate. If that crew was short a man, rearrange some things and get your best umpires on the field for a marquee series that features the two largest markets in the country and the best pitching in the league, and two nationally televised games. What were they thinking? (And here I have to stop and say that Hamari made several other calls that were at least questionable, including the ball down the line that definitely kicked up chalk, and some very iffy calls on balls and strikes).

      Mistake Number Nine: Not warning the managers and benches after Syndergaard threw behind Utley. I don’t know how this would have worked, because of course, the second Hamari’s hand went up to throw Noah out of the game, the other umpires had to close ranks. But at the very least the crew chief could have consulted with Hamari and perhaps a way would have been found to save face while still keeping Syndergaard on the mound.

      Mistake Number Ten: I don’t know exactly who to charge with this one, but MLB, in the way they handled the game and the controversy, didn’t have a sense of the occasion. Not only was this game nationally televised and featuring two of the star attractions in the league right now, but its prelude was a tribute to the 1986 Mets. (I was wondering where some of them were while Noah and Terry were being tossed; I counted at least a half-dozen – Knight, Bachman, Dykstra, Mitchell, even Davey Johnson and especially the original Mr. I-won’t-tolerate-dirty-slides Buddy Harrelson, and I know there are others, who would have leaped out of the dugout and administered prairie justice to Utley at some point). The ballpark was a sellout, everyone was amped up and the umpires should have had a clear plan ahead of time as to how they were going to handle any questionable pitches to Utley, or anything else that looked like “revenge.” Again, I fault the crew chief, whoever he may be, for not sitting down with his colleagues and working out a plan along the lines of, “OK fellas, if anyone on the Mets throws at Utley, we call time and consult one another as to how to handle it. We don’t want to react with a hair-trigger here, or it will just make the situation worse.” If Hamari had just a split second to think, and consult with the other umpires, cooler, calmer heads might have prevailed.

      Given this track record, I am actually expecting Mistake Number Eleven, a suspension of Syndergaard, any day now, and will be pleasantly surprised if it doesn’t happen. Of course that will be appealed, offering even more chances for MLB and Torre to continue to make a bad situation worse. (This thing will have more appeals than Deflategate at some point, and I have to say that MLB is giving Roger Goodell a run for his money in bad judgment).

      I too would like to see Utley held accountable for that play way back in October. After the grand-slam, he looked as smug and arrogant as anyone I have ever seen play baseball. He may be a great family man, contribute to charity, and rescue stray animals, he may be a great teammate, but he has assassins’ eyes,and frankly he looked a little scary to me. I shudder to think what may happen tonight. I too love the revenge fantasy of Bartolo plunking Utley to lead off the game and then bringing Noah in for relief, but if that were to happen, I am not sure we wouldn’t have a bases-clearing brawl or worse. Kershaw has pinpoint control, and if any of his pitches stray near the Mets batters, he must be thrown out, but I don’t think the umps will ever do it, leading to G-d knows what after that. It won’t be forgotten until some form of rough justice is administered to Utley, be it plunking him, sliding into him and taking him out, or humiliating him in some other way. I’d settle for Colon keeping Utley off the bases, which might give us a fighting chance to win the series, and the next time we might have to worry about this situation would be October, if fate should intervene.

      • Rob E.

        It’s really the lack of common sense and the lack of consistency that gets me. You’ve already rewarded the dirty slide and gone to ridiculous lengths to defend it, and by doing that, you’re condoning the “old-tyme” baseball everyone talks about. Fine. Now you have a pitcher that plays within those rules you’ve established — and he could have easily hit him or threw high and tight — and you go all hair-trigger on him. One of the biggest names in baseball, in a national game, on a celebratory day, doing something both teams expected in as civil a way as possible to throw at someone.

        It was a BAD call in the playoff game. Baseball should have just said so, but no, they had to “defend” the bad call (and that press conference WILL be a stain on Torre’s career). Yesterday was also a BAD call. At some point MLB has to step up and say “We screwed up.” Just pick ONE screw-up and apologize for it! Instead they’ve turned it into a classic Ric Flair angle. Baseball’s utter stupidity has eclipsed Utley’s villainy.

      • ljcmets

        I see I got so worked up I forgot how to count….so the coming suspension of Syndergaard will make the mistakes an Even Dirty Dozen (ugh).

  • JerseyJack

    What’s the Mets record after these reunion or special ceremonies? Last night was horrible. And, Of course , there was the disaster of a game after the Shea Closing in ’07 …..

    • Thinking back…and depends on your threshold for big events being big…

      2016, 30th Ann’y of 1986: Loss
      2013, Piazza HoF Day: Win
      2012, Franco HoF Night: Win
      2010, Doc, Darryl, Frank, Davey HoF Day: Loss
      2009, 40th Ann’y of 1969: Loss
      2008, Shea Goodbye: Loss
      2007, Gl@v!ne 300th: Win
      2007, Ralph Kiner Night: Win
      2006, 20th Ann’y of 1986: Win
      2004: Mike Piazza C HR Record: Win
      2003: Bob Murphy Night: Loss
      2003: Carter Cooperstown HOF Night: Loss
      2003: 30th Ann’y of 1973: Win
      2002: Agee HoF Day: Loss
      2002: Mets 40th Ann’y: Loss
      2001: Carter Mets HOF Day: Loss
      2000: Ten Greatest Moments: Win
      1999: 30th Ann’y of 1969: Win
      1997: Hernandez HOF Day: Win
      1997: Jackie Robinson Night: Win
      1996: Wilson HOF Day: Win
      1994: 25th Ann’y of 1969: Loss
      1993: McGraw HOF Day: Win
      1993: 20th Ann’y of 1973: Loss
      1992: Mets 30th Ann’y: Loss
      1992: Seaver Cooperstown HOF Night: Win (and rain)

      That’s as far back as I can remember without having to grope around (I don’t know what date Jerry Grote was inducted into team HOF in 1992, for example). This also doesn’t include that period when the Mets were honoring the likes of Ted Williams, Hank Aaron and Sammy Sosa, though I think they were 1-2.

      • Ken K. in NJ

        You knew all this from Memory?? To paraphrase The Onion: Holy F*cking Shit!

        Your recall is always impressive, but this is of another dimension.

        Take that, Howie and Gary.

  • Bob

    Thank you for posting the entire ceremony from yesterday for 86 Champs. Here in LA, stuck with Time Warner cable & FOX tv coverage–ugh..
    Tears streaming while I watched Mookie,Keith,Doc, Straw & the others…
    In 1986, watching WS Game 6 in my apt In North Hollywood, I recall I did not move from where I was sitting thru the entire bottom 10th inning…till Mookie did his magic..
    Now last night–
    Odin is NOT pleased–the fecal sample known as the Utley may get hit by a bolt of lightening walking on Sunset Blvd here–ya’ ever know..
    Met fan from Polo Grounds–Let’s Go Mets!

  • Jacobs27

    Umpire and MLB injustice/incompetence notwithstanding, I think Thor blew an opportunity. I’m all for a symbolic gesture, but this one really back-fired. As Greg Mitchell has been saying, rather than throwing behind Utley, Syndergaard could have pitched aggressively inside. Made him uncomfortable and then used that to his advantage to make him look bad when he brings the hammer down. (Assuming this crazy ump wouldn’t have just tossed him for that, too.)

    But hindsight, hindsight.

    Let’s go Mets!

  • Paul from Brooklyn

    No Duda,no Wright and Thor got tossed in the 3rd.What ever happened to “warning” the pitcher? There was a questionable pitch toward aMet in the 7th inning.We even saw it from up in section 519.Two reviewed calls against the Amazin’s last night as well.
    Let’s go Bartolo!

  • Harvey Poris

    The Mets, sporting starters Campbell, Kelly, Rivera/Plawecki, with Cespedes looking like he is going into a funk, are starting to resemble last year’s bunch before the acquisitions. Add to this, the bullpen coming down to earth and Harvey’s travails and there is trouble in Panic City. Next two games (Kershaw and Sale) look like shutout losses.

    By the way, the parade of nagging, long-lasting injuries to Flores, Duda, D’Arnauld once again raise questions about the Mets training regime.

    • Dennis

      Or maybe there is nothing wrong with the Mets training regime and those players are simply injury prone?

  • I blame Torre. Atlanta, St. Louis, Yankees & Dodgers. What’s the one blemish on his career? The Mets. The Mets exist as a reminder to Torre that he hung on too long as a player and was only a “genius” of a manager when piloting a team full of millionaires. My guess is Torre ordered that greenhorn ump to toss Thor if he threw a pitch within the same hemisphere as Utley. Why? To spoil the celebration of the team that, in winning it all, made him look bad in comparison. Do I really think Torre is that petty? Absolutely. Never forget it was Torre who refused the Mets request to honor first responders with special caps on the tenth anniversary of 9/11. Why, Joe, why? Afraid some real heroes might get some attention? Add to that his just dismissing the proposed token suspension of Utley for deliberately breaking his opponent’s leg with a dirty effing slide and its pretty clear that Torre has no respect for either the Mets or the game. The feeling’s mutual, Joe. You, sir, are a stain on the history of the blue and orange–one that just refuses to go away. Please, just go away.

    BTW, FWIW, that shot down the rightfield line by Walker was fair. It kicked up chalk. Another bad call against the Mets. I understand the incompetent anti-Mets home plate umpire missing it, but I have no idea why the announcers couldn’t or refused to see the chalk fly.

  • Steve D

    I was one of the 42,000 deprived…and I was even deprived of seeing the offending pitch, as I had stepped out for ice cream.

    The Mets totally botched this. You waited this long to send a message, you can pick a better spot than the third inning with your ace on the mound. Then don’t throw so far behind him that a) you don’t even hit him and b) it is obvious what you are doing. Utley hitting two home runs after is heaping insult to injury. The umpire threw him out based on Noah’s pure stupidity.

  • Daniel Hall

    Last night’s charade will stay in my head for a long, long time. I shut it off and went to bed in the seventh, not after the cockroach hit the slam, but the inning after that, when Ken Rosendwarf came on about how the cockroach was every Dodgers’ favorite team mate. Too much. Way too much. Just-short-of-internal-bleeding-too-much.

    I don’t even know what I am most mad about. Well, the cockroach, sure. But in second place might be Syndergaard. What ever was that pitch going to achieve!? I wasn’t advocating for the Mets beaning the cockroach, but if they do anything with him, then at least give him a nice welt on the butt, so he can’t sit for a week. What Syndergaard did, was never going to achieve anything. The cockroach is too high up the ***hole scale to be fazed by a pitch two feet behind him. I doubt he’s human after all. At best, that’s a free ball, and worst, Syndergaard gets run by a blind bat that flew against a window too often, and indeed, as things always go, the Mets got the worst end – the WORST end – for it.

    That is also the next horrendous umpiring decision (and we have already had another one in the Sunday game with the next illegal slide by one of the L.A. Beach Bums that wasn’t called), which is something that’s haunting the Mets for a while now.

    Dodgers. I look up and down their lineup and can’t find anybody I wouldn’t want to punch in the face. Except Turner. The Mets never should have dumped Justin Turner, but I … just … can’t anymore……..

    Meanwhile the Age of Campbell goes on and on. This lineup would embarrass a miracle league team! Granted, everybody knows that the Mets are old and brittle, and injuries hit other teams as well, but come on, Campbell? Really? Isn’t there anybody else they could plug into first base while Duda gets reassembled?

    Even Terry thought to himself yesterday, oh shit, we’re done, I better get run and do something nice with my time while we get humped.

    At least Familia didn’t pitch in the ninth…

  • sturock

    Agreed. I just don’t care about Utley. Why throw at him? The Mets won that series, the Dodgers didn’t. And Tejada’s not even on the team anymore. But the ump’s call was terrible.

    Since when did the Dodgers turn into the 98-01 Yankees? This series feels like one of those ill-fated interleague meetings, where nothing goes right for the Mets.

  • sturock

    PS Many thousands of people paid good money (Citi Field tickets and parking are not cheap) to see the Mets and Syndergaard play last night. Why aren’t the umps sensitive to this? How is policing baseball players’ behavior more important than considering fans’ time, money, and enjoyment? Maybe MLB should be thinking about that.

  • APV

    That ump might need to go back to Triple A for a while. Did Terry shove him though? I know he bumped him but thought there was a push too. That could be the difference between a 2-game suspension and 30.

    As for Joe Torre he should be fired. I saw the comment about his bias against the Mets. For me it’s more his pro-Dodgers stance. That is all I have to say about last night.

  • Wonderful essay, as always. However, maybe I’m in the minority (probably), but as much as I love the 1986 Mets, I adore the 1969 Mets just a bit more. I didn’t like baseball, had no interest in it, until a day in September 1969 when my father took my younger sister (she liked baseball) to a game. I watched it that evening just to see if they would be caught on camera during the game. I watched with curiosity, and somehow ended up getting caught in the euphoria, the joy, of something special happening. I knew the Mets were traditionally a bad team, a last place team. I had heard the boys in school talking about the Mets. But that night, the Mets made baseball interesting. They also clinched the pennant. I watched every game I could after that, and after the Mets became champs, I read all the books written about the Amazin’ Mets. The ’69 team made me a baseball fan. If not for them, I wouldn’t have been watching and loving the ’86 team, and I wouldn’t have been there Saturday night to watch the ’86 team receive the applause they so rightly deserve. The ’69 team will always be number one in my heart.

    As for the game, no way should Syndergaard have been tossed. What a joke that umpire is.

  • Collin

    Yikes… Behind him like Clemens? Lame. I saw the entire Clemens Affair live, so it was kind of disappointing to see we still haven’t figured out retaliation.
    One missing highlight from the reply above… Piazza homering after 9/11.
    Familia… Shades of Armando?

  • rich porricelli

    Syndergaard now my favorite Met… He would have fit in beautifully on the 86′ team ..