Friday, May 31, 2013

An Interesting Fact About The Mets And Season Series Sweeps

On Thursday night, the Mets completed a season sweep of the Yankees, taking their second consecutive affair at Yankee Stadium after claiming two wins at Citi Field.

It's quite rare for the Mets to sweep a season series from anyone.  It's almost as rare for them to take all but one game from a team over an entire campaign.  Here is a list of all the season series in which the Mets missed going undefeated against a particular team by one game, followed by the much shorter list of those teams who failed to defeat the Mets even once in a single season.  Please note that only those season series in which the Mets played their opponent at home and on the road are being considered.  That eliminates teams that played only one series against the Mets over an entire season.

One-Loss Season Series (min. one home series, one road series)

1969: San Diego Padres (11-1)
1986: Pittsburgh Pirates (17-1)
1988: Los Angeles Dodgers (10-1)
1994: Chicago Cubs (4-1)
1998: Milwaukee Brewers (8-1)
2002: Chicago Cubs (5-1)
2002: Milwaukee Brewers (5-1)
2004: Colorado Rockies (5-1)
2005: Arizona Diamondbacks (6-1)
2006: Arizona Diamondbacks (6-1)
2006: Colorado Rockies (5-1)
2008: San Francisco Giants (5-1)
2009: Houston Astros (5-1)
2010: Pittsburgh Pirates (6-1)

Undefeated Season Series (min. one home series, one road series)

2013: New York Yankees (4-0)

See anything interesting with those lists?  Of course you did.  Over their first 51 seasons, the Mets had never swept a season series from any team when the season series included games at home and on the road.  Never.  Until now.

The Mets' four-game party versus the Yankees this week represents the first time in franchise history that they won every home game and every road game against a particular team in a single season.  First.  Time.  Ever.

Prior to the 2013 season, the Mets came within one game of sweeping a season series against a team 14 times, most recently in 2010 when they took six of seven from the Pirates.  But now they have their first season sweep of more than three games.  And it came at the expense of their crosstown rivals, the New York Yankees.

It's always difficult to win both ends of a doubleheader.  It's even harder to win every game against an opponent over an entire season.  Leave it to the Mets to finally accomplish this rare feat against that other New York team.  Taking out the brooms never felt sweeter.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Song Parody: Ike Can't See Clearly Now

Ike Davis can't do many things right now.  He can't make contact with the ball, striking out 59 times in less than 160 at-bats.  He also can't get anyone at Citi Field to stop booing him, except when they cheer sarcastically when he hits a foul ball.

The Mets' first baseman used to do many things well.  He could hit for power.  He could drive in runs.  He could play solid defense.  But right now, the only thing he can do is prepare for a potential demotion to AAA-Las Vegas if his misfortune on the field continues.

Is Ike Davis not the player we thought he was?  Has the Valley Fever permanently taken away his ability to hit?  Did all those tumbles into the dugout in pursuit of fly balls give him an undiagnosed concussion?  Maybe the photo of his unit behind R.A. Dickey last year caused shrinkage to his career?

No one can say why Ike Davis can't do anything right anymore.  But maybe I know the reason.  Maybe it's in his vision, or lack of it.  In 1972, Johnny Nash hit the top of the Billboard charts with his song, "I Can See Clearly Now".  That song has since been covered by many artists who claim to have newfound clarity when it comes to their vision.  Unfortunately, Ike Davis is not one of them.  After all, according to my parody of the Johnny Nash song, "Ike Can't See Clearly Now".

Ike can’t see clearly now, his swing is gone
Ike can’t see all the pitches coming his way
Gotta be hard and weighing on his mind
It’s gonna be a strike (out), strike (out)
Same every day

I think Ike can’t hit it out, his power’s gone
All of his confidence has disappeared
He's in the majors, what’s he stayin’ for?
For another strike (out), strike (out)
Sombrero today

Look at the mound, we’re counting on you, Ike
Look straight ahead, here comes the third strike

Ike can’t see clearly now, his talent’s gone
Ike can’t see all the pitches coming his way
Gotta be hard to punch out all the time
The next time you strike (out), strike (out)
It’s Triple-A!


Song Parody: Turner Pie

On Tuesday night at Citi Field, the Mets scored two runs off Mariano Rivera in the bottom of the ninth to walk off with an unexpected victory.  The winning run was driven in by Lucas Duda, who sacrficed his bat for the decisive RBI single.

As has become custom for the Mets following a walk-off victory at Citi Field, Duda became Soupy Sales after the win, taking not one, but two pies to the face courtesy of Ruben Tejada and the pie-father himself, Justin Turner.

Justin Turner has made it clear to his teammates that if they are responsible for a thrilling walk-off victory, a congratulatory pie in the face is warranted.  On that note, I think a parody based on a song by late '80/early '90s hair band, Warrant, is in order. (See what I did there?)

In 1990, Warrant used several baseball references in their top ten smash, "Cherry Pie".  Now it's Justin Turner who is smashing pies on the faces of his fellow baseball players.  Ladies and gentle-Mets, here is my own smash hit inspired by Justin Turner's literal smash hits.  This song parody is called "Turner Pie".

Here’s my Turner pie
Cool Whip for walk-offs
Right into your eyes
Tastes so good
Even Burkhardt would try
Sweet Turner pie

Swingin’ for the Pepsi Porch
Swingin’ till it’s gone
Swingin’ for a walk-off
Sendin’ everybody home
Swingin’ toward left field
Swingin’ toward right
If I see a good fastball
I’ll swing all night, yeah

Swingin’ till I make it boom
Swingin’ cause I’m itchin’
Most pitchers don’t
‘Cause they’re too busy pitchin’
Pitch it in there
‘Cause I want to see your heater
But you mixed in a hanger
That’s uglier than Jeter

I scream, you scream
We all scream harder
Don’t even run
From the Mets’ pie-father

Here’s my Turner pie
Cool Whip for walk-offs
Right into your eyes
Tastes so good
Even Burkhardt would try
Sweet Turner pie (oh yeah)
Here’s my Turner pie
Smothered on your face
In your eyes
Looks so good
When it’s on SNY
Sweet Turner pie

Swingin’ (not a bunt)
Swingin’ (it went far)
Swingin’ for a place
That is out of the yard
Ain’t got a strikeout
Ain’t got a free pass
But I’ll get that Cool Whip
If I drive ‘em in last

I scream, you scream
We all scream harder
Don’t even run
From the Mets’ pie-father

Here’s my Turner pie
Cool Whip for walk-offs
Right into your eyes
Tastes so good
Even Burkhardt would try
Sweet Turner pie (oh yeah)
Here’s a Turner pie
Smothered on your face
In your eyes
Looks so good
When it’s on SNY
Sweet Turner pie

Swing it!
Walk-off run!
Swing it!

Swingin’ for the Shea Bridge
Swingin’ so we score
Swingin’ so hard
We’re not takin’ ball four
In walks Duda
Standin’ six-foot-fo’
He said “I ain’t ‘fraid to swing
At that Yankee named Mo.”

Here’s my Turner pie
Cool Whip for walk-offs
Right into your eyes
Tastes so good
Even Burkhardt would try
Sweet Turner pie (oh yeah)
Here’s my Turner pie
Smothered on your face
In your eyes
Looks so good
When it’s on SNY
Sweet Turner pie
Sweet Turner pie!

Swing it!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Bears On Film: 42

Hi, everyone!  We're Joey and Iggy Beartran, your fav'rit Studious Metsimus film critics.  In today's edition of Bears On Film, we'd like to give you our thoughts on the movie "42", starring Chadwick Boseman as Jackie Robinson and Harrison Ford as Branch Rickey.

What can we say about this film that hasn't already been said?  (And it's been said by pretty much everyone, considering we're reviewing the film six weeks after it was released.)  The film tells the story of Jackie Robinson, the first African-American player in the major leagues, focusing on the three-year period from 1945 - when Brooklyn Dodgers' executive Branch Rickey got the idea to sign an African-American player - to 1947, when Robinson led the Dodgers to the National League pennant.

In the film's opening scene, Rickey (played beautifully by Harrison Ford) explains his intention to sign a man of color, saying that "money isn't black or white - it's green."  Rickey chooses to sign Robinson over his other Negro League contemporaries because he's young, college-educated, and has experience playing with white teammates from his time on the UCLA baseball team.  But Robinson's academic and baseball education in California wasn't enough to prepare him for the education in bigotry and hatred he would receive as a member of the Dodgers organization.

Chadwick Boseman embodied the spirit of Jackie Robinson in the film.  He was a fighter who wasn't afraid to stand up for himself and his beliefs (as evidenced by a scene in which he told a white gas station attendant that his team would find another service station if he wasn't allowed to use the bathroom) and he was also a devout family man who loved his young bride, Rachel (brilliantly portrayed by Nicole Beharie) and their newborn son, Jackie Jr.

The love shared by Jackie and Rachel Robinson rivaled their love to fight for what was right.

Both Boseman and Beharie were excellent in their roles, with Boseman perfectly conveying the struggles of being a black player in a white sport and Beharie showing her devotion to her husband and his dream of succeeding under difficult conditions.  And what difficult conditions they were!

Robinson had to deal with opposing players (and several of his own teammates) who didn't want him on the field.  Opposing managers also weren't keen on the idea of facing a black opponent.  Phillies manager Ben Chapman (played with villainous accuracy by Alan Tudyk) was the worst offender of them all.  His repeated use of the "n-word" and other vile epithets whenever Robinson stepped up to the plate did what no other man could do.  It nearly broke Robinson.

But in one memorable scene (though not one that was exactly factual), Branch Rickey finds Robinson in the tunnel behind the Dodgers dugout after Robinson had broken his bat into pieces following a racist tirade by Chapman.  Rickey tries to convince a distraught and nearly broken Robinson to return to the game because he's better than those who try to bring him down.  Robinson, still shaken, ponders the situation before informing Rickey that he'll need a new bat.

Robinson did return to the game and before long, he returned the National League pennant to Brooklyn, a place it had rarely been in team history.  On the way to the pennant, the viewer got to see iconic moments from the 1947 season.  From Robinson's major league debut to Pee Wee Reese famously putting his arm around the shoulder of his first baseman at Cincinnati's Crosley Field, the film stayed close to true events and showed the extreme difficulties of being ostracized by an ignorant society.

Iggy and I re-enact the scene between Pee Wee Reese and Jackie Robinson.

On personal notes, both Iggy and I loved seeing the old, defunct ballparks in the film.  From Ebbets Field (and the Abe Stark sign on the outfield wall) to the Polo Grounds (with the Longines Clock in center field), it was a delight to see parks we were too young to see in person.  Also delightful were the performances of Andre Holland as Pittsburgh Courier reporter Wendell Smith, Christopher Meloni as suspended Dodger manager Leo Durocher (as a long-time fan of Law & Order: SVU, Iggy was quite fond on his performance) and John C. McGinley, who was "foist-rate" as Dodger broadcaster Red Barber.

But of course, as Mets fans, we can't finish our review without mentioning the performance of 11-year-old Dusan Brown.  The young Master Brown played the role of a child who was in awe of Jackie Robinson and couldn't wait to see him play in person, which he did when he attended a spring training game in Florida with his mother.  In his first at-bat, Robinson walked on four pitches, then promptly stole second and third.  The pitcher (who, like many other players at the time, was not in favor of Robinson sharing a field with him) got so rattled by Robinson's antics on the bases, he dropped the ball on the mound, allowing Robinson to score on a balk.

In one of the film's funniest lines, Master Brown explained to his mother that the pitcher "was discombobulated" by Robinson's baserunning wizardry.  Long-time Mets fans should not be surprised by the 11-year-old's use of the polysyllabic word, as he grew up to become "The Glider" on the 1969 World Series champion New York Mets.  And of course, in addition to being the team's third baseman in their miraculous season, Ed Charles was the team's poet laureate, crafting numerous rhyming couplets in his days with the team.  So it would be safe to say that "discombobulated" was a word that a future poet laureate would be familiar with as a middle-schooler.

Glad to see that Dusan Brown was not "discombobulated" as he portrayed a young Ed Charles.

In summary, "42" was a wonderful tribute to the man who broke baseball's color barrier in 1947.  The film was clearly a labor of love by writer/director Brian Helgeland and accurately captured what it was like to live in a world where tolerance and acceptance of people of color were still new concepts.

Baseball fans will certainly enjoy the on-field scenes featuring the Brooklyn Dodgers in action.  But fans of American history (and Robinson's life is quite an important part of the history of our country) will truly appreciate the film for its portrayal of a real American hero.  We can't think of anything to complain about this film (although Iggy wishes the film would have shown the iconic moment when Jackie Robinson stood in front of the Dodgers clubhouse wearing his Montreal Royals jersey), and as a result, we gladly give "42" two paws up.

"42" is a film no true baseball fan should miss.  Heck, it's a film no true American should miss.  It's a grand slam in every sense of the word.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Our Ike Davis May Not Even Be The Best Ike Davis

Ike Davis is as confused about the title of this post as he is with a bat in his hands.

I'm sure you're looking at the title of this post, scratching your head and wondering what the fudge I'm talking about.  Well, the Ike Davis currently playing for the Mets is not the first player named Ike Davis to suit up for a major league team.  And with the way the 21st century Ike Davis is playing, the 20th century Ike Davis might soon be the better of the two Ikes.

Isaac Marion Davis (better known as Ike Davis) was a shortstop who played all or parts of three seasons for the Washington Senators and Chicago White Sox from 1919 to 1925.  The 20th century Ike Davis only compiled 732 plate appearances in the big leagues, but despite his lack of power (no home runs) and low batting average (.235), he found other ways to help his team win.

After Ike Davis Version 1.0 played in eight games for the 1919 Senators and ten games for the 1924 White Sox, he was named the Pale Hose's starting shortstop in 1925.  In his only year as a full-time player, 20th century Ike reached base 213 times in 146 games, collecting 135 hits, drawing 71 bases on balls and absorbing seven HBPs.  Old Man Davis also scored 105 runs in 1925, ripped 31 doubles and nine triples, and picked up 40 sacrifice hits while stealing 19 bases.

If you look at the American League leaderboard for 1925, you will find Davis' name everywhere.  He finished in the league's top ten in plate appearances (8th), runs scored (8th), walks (10th), stolen bases (4th), hit by pitch (8th) and sacrifice hits (2nd).  He wasn't just a good handler of the bat.  He also finished in the league's top ten in various defensive categories.  Davis had 472 assists at shortstop (2nd in the A.L.), made 313 putouts at short (3rd) and led the league with 97 double plays turned.  (He also committed a league-high 53 errors, but have you seen the gloves used by players back in the day?)

The first Ike never played in the majors again after 1925, and played his last game in the minors in 1928.  He then settled in Tucson, Arizona, where he lived until he passed away in 1984, three years before Isaac Benjamin Davis was born.

Ike B. Davis has played all or parts of four seasons for the New York Mets from 2010 to 2013.  After a promising rookie season in which he hit .271 with 19 homers and 71 RBI, Ike II got off to a wonderful start in 2011, batting .302 with seven homers and 25 RBI in 36 games before a fluke on-field injury cut his season short.

Since returning from his injury in 2012, Ike Davis Version 2.0 has been a shadow of his former self.  Although he did hit 32 homers and drove in 90 runs in 2012, Davis batted only .227 and struck out 141 times in 519 at-bats.  He's been even worse in 2013, managing a .143 batting average with four homers, nine RBI and 53 whiffs in 147 at-bats.  Combining his 2012 and 2013 seasons, Old Man (Before His Time) Davis has batted .209 with a .291 on-base percentage, striking out 194 times in 666 at-bats, while collecting only 139 hits.

The current Ike Davis has rarely appeared in the league's top ten in any offensive or defensive category.  He was the National League's fifth-leading home run hitter in 2012 and finished in the league's top ten in double plays turned by a first baseman in 2010 (2nd in the N.L.) and 2012 (4th), but that's pretty much it.

Ike Davis the First had a great season in 1925 but did not play in the majors after his one phenomenal campaign.  Ike Davis the Second has never had a great year by today's standards and is currently in the midst of a historically bad season.

It wouldn't take much for a player to have a better overall career than Isaac Marion Davis.  After all, he only played one full season in the majors and small snippets of two others.  But Isaac Benjamin Davis is on his way to becoming the second-best Ike Davis in major league history.  His current batting average over four seasons (.240) is getting dangerously close to his predecessor's .235 career mark.  And both players now have .324 lifetime on-base percentages.

Prior to the 2012 campaign, the Mets expected Ike Davis to be one of the offensive leaders on the team.  But not only has he failed to become that leader, he might not even be the best Ike Davis in history.  With every strikeout and defensive gaffe, 21st century Ike continues to close the gap between the Davises.  And if he doesn't watch out, the Mets' Ike Davis might just close out his stay in the majors almost as fast as 20th century Ike did.

The Convenience of Rain Before A Nationally Televised Game

On Friday night, the Mets and Braves were about to start the ninth inning of a 5-5 game when the drizzle failed to fizzle.  The downpour caused the umpires to call for the grounds crew to put the tarp on the field, where it remained until the game was suspended just before midnight.

There would be no fireworks at 4am, no Keith Hernandez making six outs and still hitting for the cycle (although Ike Davis was making a bid for six strikeouts) and no Rick Camp exhumation for an unlikely homer in the 18th inning.

No, that was in 1985.  The 2013 umpires are a tad more reasonable (except for Angel Hernandez) and they decided to resume the game on Saturday at 6:10pm, approximately one hour before the regularly scheduled game at 7:15pm.

Why was a suspended game the best case scenario for Papa Smirk and Little Jeffy Wilpon?  It's all about the national TV audience.

The conveniently-timed suspended game is sure to turn the Wilpons' frowns upside down.

Tonight's regularly scheduled game was picked up by FOX.  The Mets have other games on the FOX Saturday schedule this year, but this was to be the only night game aired by the network.  It's also the only Saturday night game scheduled at Citi Field this year.

According to, any fan who was in attendance at Friday's suspended game can exchange their ticket stubs for both the conclusion of the game and the regularly scheduled game (seats subject to availability).  They are also entitled to the John Franco bobblehead giveaway and the post-game pyrotechnics display, which was originally set to go off last night before the rains served as a natural extinguisher.

Putting two and two together (no, we're not adding Ike Davis' daily strikeout totals there), that means fans who went to last night's game and fans with tickets to tonight's game have the right to occupy seats at Citi Field tonight.  So the ballpark is going to be more packed tonight than it would usually be, especially with the dozens of fans who are sure to brave the elements once again.

Hmmm, I wonder if the Mets' decision to allow fans from the first game to stay for the second game has anything to do with those national TV cameras that will also be in attendance covering the game for the FOX network?  I mean, it would surely make the team look really good for the national TV audience to see more fannies in the seats, don't ya think?

Rainouts are never a good thing for the players, umpires and fans.  But suspended games can be wonderful for a team's image.  And the timing of last night's called game and tonight's resumption has everyone involved saying "how convenient".  Maybe that'll wipe the smirk off Fred Wilpon's face once and for all.

Live from New York, It's Saturday Night (at Citi Field)!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Ballapeño's Bullpen: Ike Davis Commits A Brain Peo

¡Hola, señoras y señores!  This is Ballapeño Pepe Sanchez Gomez del Chapulín Colorado, although you might know me by the one-word moniker Ballapeño.  I’m like Cher, Madonna, Prince and Cantinflas, only younger and more handsome (although Cantinflas did beat me in the sense of humor department).

In today’s edition of Ballapeño’s Bullpen, I will discuss Ike Davis.  This season, he has been throwing many peos at the plate and now his particularly pungent play has extended to his defense.  For those of you who don’t know what a peo is, let’s just say it’s something that stinks and makes people want to run for the exits, just like fanaticos de los Mets have been doing whenever Ike Davis has been guilty of throwing a peo or two during a game.  And he saved the greatest peo of all for Wednesday’s matinee against los Rojos de Cincinnati.

Wednesday was Cinco de Matt-o at Citi Field, meaning it was the fifth day since Señor Matt Harvey’s last appearance.  Señor Harvey did not have his best stuff on Wednesday against a team that was muy póderoso.  He was removed from the game with one out in the seventh inning and the game tied at dos.  However, reliever Scott Rice inherited two of Señor Harvey’s baserunners when he was brought into the game.  Needless to say, against a powerful lineup like Cincinnati’s, Señor Arroz turned into a real pollo.   By the time the seventh inning was over, los Mets were down, 4-2.  Nueva York did come back to tie the game in the bottom of the seventh.  (Of course, Ike Davis was not part of the rally.  If he was, the inning would have ended before the tying run got a chance to cross el plato.)  The game remained tied until the ninth inning, when Ike Davis threw a killer peo.

With one out and runners at the corners, Brandon Phillips hit a bouncing ball near the bag at first.  Señor Davis, who was standing near the foul line, assumed the ball was going to go foul and did not make an attempt to field it.  Clearly, Señor Davis must have graduated with honors from the Timo Pérez School of Assumptions (for all you muchachos out there who don’t know anything about this school, just Google “Timo Pérez 2000 World Series Game 1” and you will receive una educación you will never forget).  Naturally, the ball stayed fair while Señor Davis’ reputation as a legitimate major leaguer went foul.  The brain peo allowed the go-ahead run to score and set off a chain of events that would lead to a 7-4 defeat to los Rojos.

That's the look of a man who just committed a major brain peo.
(Photo by Howard Simmons/New York Daily News)

There are peos and then there are PEOS.  Ike Davis has thrown many PEOS at the plate this year, striking out with men everywhere almost as much as Elaine Benes did on Seinfeld.  But on Wednesday, Señor Davis threw the most pungent peo of them all.  He made an incorrect assumption at first base which led directly to a disheartening defeat.

When most players are on the field, they’re constantly using their brains to make wise decisions in the event a ball is hit in their general vicinity.  But nothing wise came out of Ike Davis’ brain on Wednesday in the ninth inning.  Something else came out instead.  And Mets fans in attendance were forced to endure the stink his brain peo left at Citi Field.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Our Savior Has Arrived!

On Sunday, Bobby Parnell notched his sixth save of the season, recording the final three outs of the Mets' 4-3 victory over the Cubs.  With the save, Parnell now has 20 in his six-year career with the Mets.  Now that may not seem like much, but it does give Parnell a special title.

Tell me, my fellow Mets fans.  Do you know which homegrown Met has the most saves in team history?  That would be Tug McGraw, who had 86 saves in a Mets uniform.  (Jesse Orosco, who had 107 saves in Flushing, made his major league debut with the Mets, but was originally drafted by the Minnesota Twins and made his professional debut in their minor league system.)

McGraw is followed by Roger McDowell (84 saves), Neil Allen (69 saves), Randy Myers (56 saves), Doug Sisk (33 saves), Bob Apodaca (26 saves), Danny Frisella (24 saves) and Parnell.

Did you notice that all of the homegrown relievers ahead of Parnell pitched for the Mets exclusively in the '60s, '70s and '80s?  When Randy Myers was traded for John Franco after the 1989 season, that began a nearly quarter century stretch in which the Mets went with closers whom they traded for or signed as free agents.

First it was John Franco (acquired from Cincinnati).  Then it was Armando Benitez (acquired from Baltimore).  Benitez was followed by Braden Looper (free agent signing), Billy Wagner (free agent signing), Francisco Rodriguez (free agent signing) and Frank Francisco (yup, another free agent signing).  During that 20-plus year stretch, homegrown pitchers were used to close games primarily when the incumbent closer needed a day of rest or was on the disabled list.

So since the departure of Randy Myers following the 1989 campaign, which homegrown pitchers have registered the most saves for the Mets?  Here is the top three list:

  • Bobby Parnell (20 saves)
  • Anthony Young (18 saves)
  • Aaron Heilman (9 saves)

The only homegrown pitchers to record at least ten career saves for the Mets since Randy Myers' last season in New York are Anthony Young and Bobby Parnell.  Young is also the only homegrown closer since 1990 to record an individual season of more than seven saves when he saved 15 games in 1992 - the same year he began his major league-record 27-game losing streak.

Bobby Parnell has been given the closer duties by manager Terry Collins.  He is the first homegrown pitcher since 1989 to earn that responsibility out of spring training.  And he is now the team's all-time saves leader for homegrown pitchers since that year.

The Mets have not developed many closers over the past quarter century, choosing to bring in closers from other teams.  Bobby Parnell is finally getting a chance to become the next Tug McGraw, Roger McDowell or Randy Myers.  If he succeeds, he stands to join those pitchers as the best homegrown closers in franchise history.

Our ninth inning savior has finally arrived!  And his name is Bobby Parnell.  It sure is nice to see a familiar face on the mound in the ninth inning instead of a recruit from another team.

This is a scene that very few homegrown closers have been able to repeat.

If At First You Don't Succeed, Try Again In The Minors

There has been much talk and speculation recently about the possible demotion of Ike Davis to the minors.  Such discussion is certainly warranted considering Davis' performance over the first 40 games of the season.

The Mets' struggling first baseman is hitting .156 with four homers and nine RBI.  His on-base percentage is an unhealthy .238 and his .259 slugging percentage is lower than what his batting average should be.  His 2013 numbers through 40 games are very similar to what he put up last year at the same juncture (.160/.220/.298, five homers, 14 RBI).

Clearly, Ike Davis needs a change of scenery to have any hope of salvaging his season.  A demotion to AAA-Las Vegas might not be the answer, as the altitude at Cashman Field and other Pacific Coast League ballparks might give him a false sense of confidence if he hits well there like most other hitters do.  After all, hitting a few thousand feet above sea level is not the same as hitting a few thousand millimeters above Flushing Bay.

Sending Davis to AA-Binghamton might be the medicine needed to cure his ills at the plate, since his offensive numbers would not be inflated there as they would be in Las Vegas.  And if the Mets need an example to prove to them that sending a struggling first baseman to the minors could be just what the doctor ordered, they can flip through the pages of their own history books and find a similar case that occurred over forty years ago.

Ladies and gentle-Mets, I give to you the case of one Edward Emil Kranepool.

A little minor league seasoning made Eddie steady at the plate.

In 1970, veteran first baseman Ed Kranepool got off to a start that would even have Ike Davis shaking his head.  Through his first 26 games, Kranepool was hitting .118 with no homers and one RBI.  The New York native was barely getting any playing time and as a result, his offensive production was suffering.  In late June, the Mets sent Kranepool down to AAA-Tidewater, where the 25-year-old flourished.

Playing in 47 games with the Tides, Kranepool hit .310 with eight doubles, three triples, seven homers and 45 RBI.  By mid-August, the Mets were convinced that Kranepool's time in the minors was going to help him produce at the major league level, so they promoted him back to the big club.  However, the platoon of Donn Clendenon and Art Shamsky at first base relegated Kranepool to pinch-hitting duties, but when he did get a chance to hit, he performed well, batting .308 with a .357 on-base percentage in 14 plate appearances.

By the start of the 1971 campaign, Kranepool had won back his job as the lefty-hitting component of the first base platoon with Donn Clendenon.  Kranepool responded by putting up career highs in many offensive categories.  Although he only had 467 plate appearances in 1971 - he had already completed three seasons in which he reached 500 plate appearances - Kranepool set new career marks in RBI (58), runs scored (61), batting average (.280), on-base percentage (.340) and slugging percentage (.447).  He also recorded his second 20-double campaign and launched 14 home runs, while becoming one of the toughest hitters to strike out in the National League (33 strikeouts in 467 plate appearances).

Kranepool's success was not limited to the 1971 season.  In 1972, the first baseman and part-time outfielder batted .269 and contributed 24 extra-base hits in 327 at-bats.  After a subpar 1973 campaign, Kranepool rebounded to hit .300 in 1974 and a career-high .323 in 1975.

Although Kranepool was now in his 30s and a veteran of 14 seasons in the big leagues, he continued to hit in 1976 and 1977, combining to hit .287 with 34 doubles, 20 homers and 89 RBI in 696 at-bats over the two seasons, all while maintaining his excellent ability to make contact (58 strikeouts in 764 plate appearances).

From the time he made his major league debut in 1962 to his career-changing demotion in 1970, Kranepool hit .246 with a .300 on-base percentage, .358 slugging percentage and a .658 OPS (on-base plus slugging).  He produced 188 extra-base hits in 2,917 at-bats (an average of 15.5 AB/XBH) and walked 227 times while striking out on 361 occasions.  After he was promoted back to the Mets in August 1970, Kranepool was a changed man.

Beginning with his first game back on August 14, 1970 and lasting through the end of the 1977 season, Kranepool hit .284 with a .340 on-base percentage, .407 slugging percentage and a .747 OPS.  Kranepool collected 168 extra-base hits in 2,270 at-bats (an average of 13.5 AB/XBH) and drew 205 walks while striking only 189 times.

Kranepool's demotion turned him into a hitter who drove the ball more often - on average, it took him two fewer at-bats to collect an extra-base hit - and forced pitchers to throw him strikes, as evidenced by his 16 more walks than strikeouts following his demotion after striking out nearly twice per every free pass prior to his time at Tidewater.

So what's the point of this Ed Kranepool history lesson?  Simply stated, if at first you don't succeed, try again in the minors.  It worked for the 25-year-old Kranepool when he was shipped off to Tidewater.  It can work for the 26-year-old Ike Davis as well, but only if he is sent to Binghamton instead of Las Vegas.

Ike Davis has never been a good contact hitter, striking out 356 times in 1,306 career at-bats.  But he did hit for a decent batting average prior to the 2012 season (Davis hit a combined .271 in 2010 and 2011) and his .357 on-base percentage and .817 OPS were better than average in his first two seasons with the Mets.

Perhaps if Ike Davis closes his eyes, he won't be able to see his lofty strikeout totals.

The Mets have a history of getting good performances from their veteran players after sending them on an unexpected trip to the minors.  Steve Trachsel was a completely different pitcher after his demotion in 2001.  Trachsel was 1-6 with an 8.24 ERA before being sent down to AAA-Norfolk.  He was 10-7 with a 3.35 ERA after he was recalled from the minors.  Trachsel's resurgence came just one year after the Mets sent veteran right-hander Bobby Jones to Norfolk after he posted a 16.20 ERA in his first three starts of the 2000 campaign.  Upon his return to the major leagues, Jones posted an 11-5 record with a more respectable 4.56 ERA.  He also threw a complete-game one-hit shutout to clinch the National League Division Series for the Mets against the Giants.

Of course, those were pitchers who fared well after their time in the minors.  But the Mets have also seen hitters do well after a short stint in the minors.  And one particular hitter who learned greatly from his time away from the parent club was Ed Kranepool.

All the Mets have to do is dust off the team's history books and look at what happened when they sent Kranepool to the minors in 1970.  The first baseman came back from his minor league stint and turned into one of the steadiest hitters in the lineup for years following his demotion.  The same thing can happen to the Mets' current first baseman if the team isn't afraid to send Ike Davis to Binghamton.

Ed Kranepool wasn't succeeding at first in 1970, so the Mets gave him a little minor league seasoning to inject some life back into his career.  The Mets must try that formula again in 2013 to help Ike Davis get back to the level he fell from after suffering a season-ending injury in 2011.  The recipe for success is right there.  The Mets just have to be willing to try it again.

A special tip of my Mets cap must go to my fav'rit Gal For All Seasons for bringing up the topic of Ed Kranepool while discussing Ike Davis' problems at the plate.  Her timely recollection helped inspire the piece you just finished reading.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

A Different Kind of Jinx

Photo by David Banks/USA TODAY Sports

Matt Harvey was on the cover of this week's Sports Illustrated.  As anyone who knows anyone about sports, this "honor" is usually associated with a jinx, conveniently known as the Sports Illustrated Cover Jinx.  If you are unfamiliar with this jinx, here are a few examples.

In 1978, Pete Rose appeared on the cover of the magazine.  That week saw the end of his National League-record 44-game hitting streak.  In 1987, Cory Snyder and Joe Carter of the Cleveland Indians graced the cover along with a large Indians logo and the headline, "Indian Uprising".  The team then went on to finish the year with a major league-worst 61-101 record.  More recently, in 2010, Stephen Strasburg was featured on the cover just two months before he was forced to miss the rest of the season and most of the 2011 campaign after undergoing Tommy John surgery.  And who can forget Nelson Cruz of the Texas Rangers appearing on the cover of the October 24, 2011 issue of Sports Illustrated, just a few days before he misplayed David Freese's potential World Series-ending fly ball into a game-tying, two-run triple?

The jinx isn't limited to baseball, as football players, race car drivers, boxers, and countless other athletes have succumbed to the power of the periodical's curse.

Rarely has anyone been able to escape it.  It has also been said that its power is greater than the John Madden video game curse and even the notorious Joey Jinx, which has struck the Mets not once, but on numerous occasions.

That brings us to Matt Harvey, who is this week's Sports Illustrated cover model.  In his first start since gracing the magazine's cover, Harvey appeared unfazed by the jinx.  Not only did he get credit for his first win since April 19, but he also drove in what proved to be the game-winning run in the seventh inning.  Clearly, Matt Harvey has developed some kind of immunity toward the fabled curse.  But in developing that immunity, he seems to have deflected the jinx to all those around him.

Harvey has started nine games for the Mets in 2013, with the team winning seven of those nine starts.  But the Mets have gone on to lose all nine games immediately following his starts.  It's almost as bad in the second game following a Harvey start.  The Mets have won just three of those games this year.  That means the Mets are a combined 3-14 in the two games immediately following a game in which Matt Harvey took the mound.  (Tomorrow's affair will be the second game after Harvey's ninth start and is obviously not yet included in the aforementioned 3-14 record, although it wouldn't be much of a surprise if that number became 3-15 within the next 24 hours.)

The jinx isn't only limited to this season.  In fact, it began with Harvey's first start in the majors last July.  Harvey made ten starts for the Mets at the end of the 2012 campaign.  In the ten games immediately following a Matt Harvey start, the Mets went 3-7.  Let's do a little simple math now, shall we?

Matt Harvey has started 19 games for the Mets in his career.  The Mets have won ten of those 19 games, including seven of nine this year.  New York has also played 19 games after a start by Harvey.  The team has lost 16 of those 19 games.  That's 10-9 (starts by Harvey) vs. 3-16 (starts by the next schlemiel).

Is it possible that Sports Illustrated had this issue planned long before Matt Harvey's major league debut last year and it didn't see the light of day until this past week?  Are they aware Matt Harvey is immune to the cover jinx but is able to deflect the bad mojo associated with it to his fellow starters?

We may have discovered a new strand of the Sports Illustrated Cover Curse, one that doesn't affect the athlete on the cover, but spreads to those around him.  Clearly, Matt Harvey is not down with the SICC-ness.  It's just his fellow moundsmen who continue to be down in the loss column.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Flashback: May 17, 2007 - Rally At The Old Shea Corral

Photo by Lucas Jackson/Reuters

Six years ago today, the Mets were playing the finale of a three-game series against the Chicago Cubs at Shea Stadium.  Because the Mets were about to play their crosstown rivals in the Subway Series the following night, manager Willie Randolph decided to keep most of his regular players on the bench for the Thursday matinee to keep them fresh for their weekend tilt against the Yankees.

Out were Jose Reyes, David Wright and Carlos Beltran.  In were Ruben Gotay, Julio Franco and Endy Chavez.

By the sixth inning, the Cubs had a four-run lead on the Mets behind starting pitcher Juan Guzman.  When the Mets came up to bat in the bottom of the ninth, they were trailing 5-1 and closer Ryan Dempster was summoned by manager Lou Piniella in a non-save situation to record the final three outs.  Dempster never even recorded out No. 2.

Randolph was content to let his big boppers stay on the bench in the ninth, but his replacement corps made him reconsider his original plan by reaching base against Dempster.  First, David Newhan lined a single to center.  Then Carlos Gomez stroked a one-out single of his own.  A walk to pinch-hitter Carlos Beltran loaded the bases for Endy Chavez, who also took ball four.  That made the score 5-2.  With Dempster needing to throw strikes, Ruben Gotay lined an 0-2 pitch to left for an RBI single.  Now the tying run was in scoring position and the winning run was on first.  That was all for the Cubs' closer, as Lou Piniella removed a livid Dempster for the left-handed Scott Eyre.

With the bases loaded and the Mets now trailing 5-3, David Wright came off the bench to pinch-hit for the lefty-swinging Shawn Green.  Prior to the at-bat, Wright had never appeared as a pinch-hitter in 1,776 career plate appearances.  It took one pitch for Wright to have a 1.000 career batting average as a pinch-hitter.  Wright’s RBI single off Eyre closed the deficit to 5-4 and kept the bases loaded for Carlos Delgado - one of the few everyday players who played all nine innings.

After a 2006 season in which Delgado produced 38 HR and 114 RBI, the first baseman underachieved during the first month and a half of 2007.  Entering the day, Delgado was batting .217 with three homers and 19 RBI in 36 games.  But he had always done well against Scott Eyre, collecting three hits and four walks against the southpaw in 11 career plate appearances for a gaudy .636 on-base percentage.  After taking a first-pitch ball from Eyre, Delgado grounded a hard smash that found a hole between first and second, scoring Chavez from third base with the tying run and Gotay from second with the winning run.

Photo by Kathy Willens/Associated Press

Incredibly, the Mets scored five runs in the ninth inning, snatching an improbable 6-5 victory from Lou Piniella and the Cubs.  The win allowed the Mets to go into the Subway Series on a high note, while the Cubs went back to Chicago wondering what went wrong.

This year, neither New York nor Chicago are doing particularly well.  With the Astros now playing in the American League, the Cubs have spent most of the season in Houston’s customary spot - the basement of the National League Central - while the Mets are playing like a team determined to finish in fourth place for the fifth consecutive season.

Today, on the six-year anniversary of their thrilling come-from-behind win against Chicago, the Mets are opening up a three-game series with the Cubs at Wrigley Field.  Only David Wright remains from the team that rallied from a four-run ninth inning deficit on May 17, 2007.  But just because most of the names have changed doesn’t mean the Mets aren’t capable of giving their fans a reason to believe.

Anything can happen on the field on any given day.  Six years ago today, something special did happen on the field at Shea Stadium.  Through sheer willpower and their unwavering desire to win, the Mets pulled off an unlikely victory over the eventual Central division champion Cubs.  It just goes to show that even when all appears lost, there is always a glimmer of hope that the day can end with a happy recap.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

These Mets Are Streaking Like Few Mets Teams Have Streaked Before

With tonight's 4-2 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals, the Mets have suffered six consecutive defeats.  It marks the second time the team has gone through a six-game losing streak in 2013.  How rare is it for the Mets to lose at least six straight games twice before they had played 40 games?  It's only happened three times before, and it hadn't happened in over three decades.

In 1981, the Mets were 4-4 after nine games (one game ended in a tie).  Immediately after that rare tie, the Mets embarked on a seven-game losing streak to fall to 4-11.  By May 9, the Mets were already 8-15 and eight games out of first place.  They then proceeded to lose their next nine contests to fall to 8-24.  Fortunately, the mid-season strike and subsequent unlikely pursuit of the second half division title made most people forget about the putrid first half of the season.

Sixteen years prior, the team went through two separate six-game losing streaks.  After a decent (for them) 6-7 start in 1965, the Mets dropped six in a row to fall to 6-13.  Immediately after their first six-game losing streak, the Mets won seven of their next 11 games, only to lose another six straight to drop to 13-23.  The Mets would go on to lose 112 games that year, meaning they had plenty more long losing streaks during the season.

And then there are the 1962 Mets.  The team with the all-time worst record in the modern era also became the first Mets team to suffer two losing streaks of at least six games within the first 40 games of the season.  The expansion Mets lost their first nine games of the season, but then went 12-10 over their next 22 games.  The success was short-lived, as the Mets followed up their better-than-medicore 22-game stretch with a still-standing club record 17-game losing streak.  Since the first nine games of the skein occured within the first 40 games of the season, the 1962 Mets became the first team to endure multiple six-game losing streaks in the first quarter of the season.

The Mets have rarely had more than one six-game losing streak in the first 40 games of a season.  They accomplished that futile feat three times in the franchise's first 20 seasons, but had not suffered the indignity over the last 32 years.  That is now a thing of the past, as the 2013 Mets have just lost six straight games for the second time this season.

During the franchise's first few seasons, the Mets were known as lovable losers.  But there's nothing lovable about losing in 2013.  Long losing streaks will tend to take the love out of any fan base.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

DJ Joey B Presents: A Scott Atchison Top Ten List

What's up, Mets fans?  It's time for our latest countdown.  Today, I'm spinning a special playlist for you.  You see, everyone's favorite AARP member, Scott Atchison, has been placed on the disabled list with bone spurs in his elbow.  He has been replaced on the active roster by Collin McHugh, a pitcher young enough to be his son. 

That's what the Mets want you to believe.  But this DJ knows better.

It's no secret that Scott Atchison has not been pitching well this year.  And after I reveal my special top ten list, it'll also be no secret what the real reasons are for the Mets reserving a room for Captain Graybeard at the DL Hotel.  Let's boogie!

Top Ten Reasons Why Scott Atchison Was Really Replaced On The 25-Man Roster:

10.  Julio Franco was upset that Atchison was about to pass him as the oldest player to ever don a Mets uniform.

9.  The Mets were afraid that the Geritol in Atchison’s locker would cause him to test positive for PEDs.

8.  Shaun Marcum felt uncomfortable that reporters were mistakenly calling him Scott Atchison.

"Hello, SNY viewers.  Please don't call me Scott Atchison.  I'm Shaun Marcum."

7.  There was no money in the budget for a Scooter to transport Atchison from the bullpen to the mound.

6.  Justin Turner was afraid he’d knock out Atchison’s dentures if Atchison ever did anything pie-worthy.

5.  Fred Wilpon found out that Atchison was the one stealing signs at the Polo Grounds when Bobby Thomson hit the Shot Heard ‘Round The World to take the pennant from his beloved Brooklyn Dodgers.

4.  When Jay Horwitz butt-dialed Scott Atchison, Atchison responded by saying he didn’t accept collect calls.

Scott Atchison doesn't accept collect calls?  He is a pitied fool.

3.  The Mets did not want turmoil in the clubhouse after Matt Harvey took offense to Atchison calling him a young whippersnapper.

2.  Atchison was taking up too much space on team flights by insisting on carrying his Betamax and 8-track tape players on every road trip. 

… and the No. 1 reason why Scott Atchison was really replaced on the 25-man roster is …

1.  Betty White kept calling the clubhouse asking when Atchison was getting off work. 

 "Scott!  Oh, Scott!  Don't you walk away from me!  I can hear your creaking joints all the way over here!"

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Real Reason Why Angel Hernandez Blew The Home Run Call

On Wednesday night, infielder Adam Rosales of the Oakland Athletics hit what appeared to be a dramatic game-tying homer off Cleveland Indians' closer Chris Perez with two outs in the ninth inning.  But the long drive was ruled a double by the umpires, and after a quick check of instant replay, the call was upheld.

There was only one problem.  Instant replay clearly showed that the ball was indeed a home run, striking a metal railing above the yellow line at the top of the left field wall.  But even with a set of electronic eyes in the replay room, the umps still got it wrong.  And who was the crew chief that was probably watching Law & Order: SVU instead of the actual home run replay?  None other than longtime Mets' nemesis Angel Hernandez.

But even though Oakland manager Bob Melvin might not forgive Hernandez for his egregious call, we at the Studious Metsimus staff do.  After all, we know that Hernandez is still mourning the loss of his umpiring mentor.

In November 2010, the great comedic actor, opera singer and umpire Leslie Nielsen passed away at the age of 84.  The versatile thespian was influential to many comedians for his deadpan delivery on screen, but his work in the first "Naked Gun" film was a little too influential to an enemy of Mets fans (and now A's fans, as well).

For years, Mets fans have had a hate/hate relationship with umpire Angel Hernandez.   His strike zone has been wider than CC Sabathia's waistline whenever the Mets are batting.   He has also developed a rare form of temporary blindness that has resulted in numerous calls at the plate going against the Mets, as Mike Piazza (circa 1998) and Paul Lo Duca (circa 2006) can attest.

Whenever Angel Hernandez has been on the field for a Mets game, bad calls have always followed.  Therefore, it should come as no surprise to Mets fans that he has based his entire style of calling games on the umpiring work of Leslie Nielsen.  Don't believe me?   Take a look at this video clip, which Hernandez accidentally left behind the last time he umpired a game at Citi Field.

When John Franco went ballistic on Hernandez after his blown call at home plate gave the Braves a crucial victory over the Mets in 1998, that was Leslie Nielsen's influence.  Similarly, when Paul Lo Duca spiked the ball at home plate after another poor call by Hernandez during a game in 2006, it was right after the arbiter had viewed his favorite film (or as he liked to call it, his umpiring instructional video).

Angel Hernandez has been working with a heavy heart since the end of the 2010 campaign, when his mentor and inspiration passed away.  Most teams honor those who have died by wearing black patches or armbands on their uniforms, such as the "Kid 8" patches the Mets wore in 2012 to honor Gary Carter.

Hernandez has also worn black to honor the late Leslie Nielsen, but he has been wearing it in a way that is not only appropriate in cold weather cities (like Cleveland last night), but has allowed him to come up with new excuses for missing critical calls against the Mets and other big league teams (see photo below).

Yes, that really is Angel Hernandez under all that black.

Leslie Nielsen starred in countless films over his long career.  His passing in November 2010 has been mourned by millions of fans worldwide.  But one fan has been taking it just a little harder than most.

Nearly thirty months ago, Leslie Nielsen passed away at the age of 84.  This Mets blogger has missed him for his comedic acting ability and impeccable timing, but surely Angel Hernandez has missed him for quite a bit more (even if he just called you Shirley).

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Matt Harvey Is A Bloody Good Pitcher

Matt Harvey has been fantastic this year.  Entering tonight's action against the Chicago White Sox, Harvey was 4-0 with a 1.56 ERA, allowing 21 hits in 40⅓ innings.  Harvey also had struck out 46 batters while walking only 12.

How good has Harvey been through his first 16 major league starts?  One stat says it all.  Harvey has a .267 career batting average as a hitter, while opposing hitters have a .182 batting average against him.  In fact, Harvey has held batters to a meager .265 on-base percentage through 16 career stats.  That means Harvey has a better chance of collecting a hit as a batter than opposing batters have of reaching base against Harvey.

Yeah, he's that good.  In fact, you might say Harvey has been bloody good since making his major league debut last July.  And now we have photographic evidence to back up this claim.

Matt Harvey, the Mets' sanguine starter.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines the word sanguine as blood red and bloodthirsty.  It also means confident and optimistic.

Matt Harvey is truly the Mets' sanguine starter, in every sense of the word.  And opposing hitters are becoming his prey.  It's good to know that every fifth day (or eighth, if rainouts continue to have their way with the Mets' rotation), the Mets can send out a bloody good pitcher to the mound.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Ballapeño's Bullpen: A Quick Anniversary Note To My Colleagues

Hola, everyone!  This is your favorite stuffed pepper, Ballapeño Pepe Sanchez Gomez del Chapulín Colorado, but you may call me Ballapeño.

Today is Cinco de Mayo, a day that is celebrated by stuffed peppers all over the world.  It is also becoming quite popular among Mets fans because it gives them the opportunity to drink for a reason other than to forget the latest meltdown by the bullpen.

But the main reason for this note is not to talk about the failures of the Mets' relevistas this year.  As Dikembe Mutombo would say, "not today".  Today is about wishing my colleagues at this site a very felíz aniversario.  It was three years ago today that Señor Ed Leyro and Señora Taryn Cooper (she was just a señorita back then) decided to take the plunge and tie the knot.  Three years later, that knot has become more unbreakable than it has ever been.

On the day they said "si, si, si" to each other, the Mets lost their game to the Cincinnati Reds, 5-4, in ten innings.  They lost when relevista Pedro Feliciano allowed a home run to the first batter he faced in the tenth, Orlando Cabrera.  Señor y Señora then drank muchas margaritas to celebrate their marriage and to forget the Mets' latest walk-off loss (they had una dozena such losses that year).

Since then, the Mets have given them two wonderful anniversary presents, defeating the Giants, 5-2, in 2011 and taking out the Diamondbacks last year by the final score of 4-3.  I believe the adult beverages we consumed after those games were far more celebratory.  (I don't remember.  I was told that I passed out after two tequila shots.  I claim I went on siesta for the rest of the day.)

Today, the Mets play los Bravos de Atlanta at Turner Field.  It is the first time the Mets have been on the road on Cinco de Mayo since the day Señor y Señora got married.  The last two years, the Mets have made sure they had a happy anniversary.  This year, they might need stellar work from the bullpen to avoid another walk-off loss like the one they had in Cincinnati on May 5, 2010.

I will drink to a Mets victory should los Mets defeat los Bravos.  I will also gladly offer a toast to Señor y Señora on the date of their third anniversary.  I just hope I don't have mas bebidas with them to try to forget a difficult defeat.

¡Felícidades to all on Cinco de Mayo and a happy anniversary to Señor y Señora!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

May The 4th Be With You: The Mets Who Powered Up In New York

Just because Bernard Gilkey witnessed different Star Wars in this photo, the force was still with him as a Met.

Today is May 4, otherwise known as Star Wars Day to those who believe in the force.  (May the 4th be with you - get it?)  In honor of the special day, I decided to do some research on the Mets players who hit with more power after they came to New York.

Shea Stadium and Citi Field have never been confused with smaller, bandbox parks.  As a result, home run hitters have never been plentiful in Flushing.  But some have come to New York and thrived as home run hitters in parks that were never conducive to such displays of power.

Let's look at the ten players who unexpectedly gave the home run apple a workout after they came to New York, comparing their home run output before they called Flushing home to what they produced after they became Mets.

in NY
in NY
in NY
 B. Gilkey
 D. Clendenon
 K. Hernandez
 B. Bonilla
 H. Johnson
 M. Cameron
 R. Ventura
 T. Agee
 C. Floyd
 C. Beltran

As you can see, only three players had a difference of 10.0 of better.  What does that mean in regular English for those of you who don't speak stats?  It means that Bernard Gilkey, Donn Clendenon and Keith Hernandez needed 10 fewer at-bats to homer as Mets as they did when they were with their old teams.

Gilkey homered every 26 at-bats as a Met, while it took him 41 at-bats on average to homer as a Cardinal.  Clendenon collected over 30 at-bats for every homer he hit before calling Shea home, but once he came to New York, he circled the bases every 19.1 at-bats.  Even Keith Hernandez, who never had a 20-homer season in the majors, found New York to his liking when it came to hitting home runs.  Hernandez homered once every 50 at-bats in St. Louis, but it took him fewer than 40 at-bats on average to jack one out in New York.

Much has been made of the power outage suffered by Jason Bay after coming to New York.  Bay averaged 30 homers per season during his first six full seasons in the majors, but managed a total of 26 homers in his three years as a Met.  But not much has been said about the players who displayed more power after reporting for duty in Flushing.

The force was with players like Bernard Gilkey, Donn Clendenon and Keith Hernandez after they were acquired by the Mets.  And once they arrived in New York, they hit the ball with more force then they ever had for their previous teams.