Thursday, August 29, 2013

Joey's Soapbox: We Need A Screaming Ojeda Bobblehead!

The Mets just completed a homestand in which there were plenty of giveaways.  Over the last week and a half, they gave away three bobbleheads, a set of coasters, sunglasses, Marlon Byrd, John Buck and Matt Harvey’s depressing diagnosis.  But let’s not talk about the Dark Knight, the Word and Bentley’s dad.  Instead, let’s focus on the bobbleheads.

On Friday, a select number of fans received a Jay Horwitz bobblehead.  That was followed by a Tom Seaver bobblehead on Sunday and a Gary, Keith & Ron bobblehead on Tuesday.  Since last year, a number of players from the 1986 World Series champion Mets have received their own bobblehead.  (Earlier this year, Doc Gooden was immortalized in plastic and springs.)  But there is one member of that team I’d like to see in bobblehead form who hasn’t received that honor yet.

I’m Joey Beartran and I’m about to get on my soapbox to talk to you about it.

I've got plenty of bobbleheads, but there's one I don't have that I really want.

We’ve seen this former left-handed starting pitcher rant about everything in the SNY studio after a Mets loss.  He tells it like it is and embodies the spirit of the ’86 team by not caring if you think he’s being too harsh or critical about the current team’s performance.  On Twitter, his post-game diatribes have affectionately earned the hashtag #ScreamingOjedaLive.  That’s right, Mets fans.  I’m talking about the one and only Bob Ojeda.

I would give anything to have a Screaming Ojeda bobblehead (or an S.O.B. for short).  After Ojeda held me for his Wikipedia photo shoot (click here to see me on his Wikipedia page), it would be fitting if I could hold an S.O.B. of my own.

Admit it.  You enjoy watching Bobby O’s head go all over the place as he morphs Incredible Hulk-style before the SNY cameras after a poorly played game.  Now imagine if you could go from watching Bobby O’s screaming head on your TV to playing with your very own screaming Bob O. head at home.  That S.O.B. would be so much fun!

So let’s spread the word to get the Mets to create a Screaming Ojeda bobblehead for a giveaway.  Perhaps we can get Randy Medina of The Apple to come up with a photo of a prototype.  After all, his creations get ripped off all the time so that might be the quickest way to make the S.O.B. a reality.  We can even give the S.O.B. four fingers on its pitching hand as an homage to the infamous hedge clipping incident that ended Ojeda’s 1988 season prematurely.  As my sometimes-colleague on Studious Metsimus (The Coop) would say, “hey Bobby O, gimme a high-four!”

Say it loud and say it proud!  I want my S.O.B.!  It’s a giveaway no Mets fan would want to be without.

                            Oh well.  If I can't have his bobblehead, I guess I'll just have to settle for the real Bobby O.                            (Photo by Sharon Chapman)


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Tom Seaver And Eleven-Run Games

Today was Tom Seaver Bobblehead Day at Citi Field and the Mets "honored" the best pitcher in franchise history by allowing 11 runs to the Detroit Tigers.  If Seaver had been around to witness the shellacking, he'd be rolling in his vineyard.

That being said, I thought it would be interesting to conduct some research on whether or not the Mets ever allowed as many as 11 runs in a game started by Seaver himself.  And my research showed that even having "The Franchise" on the mound didn't stop five teams from lighting up the Mets.

On Opening Day in 1969, the Mets welcomed the Montreal Expos to Shea Stadium for their first-ever game.  Seaver was not sharp in his season-opening appearance, allowing four runs (two earned) in five innings.  He also gave up the first six hits and three walks in Expos history.  Although the Mets scored ten runs against five Montreal pitchers, New York's bullpen couldn't prevent the new franchise from crossing the plate several times.  The Expos scored seven runs against Cal Koonce, Al Jackson and Ron Taylor.  A four-run ninth inning rally by the Mets got them close, but it wasn't enough to prevent the Expos' first-ever victory, an 11-10 decision over the Mets.

Three years later, on June 24, 1972, Seaver had one of the worst starts of his career, allowing seven runs and 13 base runners (10 hits, 3 walks) in only four innings.  The Mets were shut out by the St. Louis Cardinals, 11-0.  Fortunately, Seaver didn't allow the effort to linger in his mind, as he took a no-hitter into the ninth inning just ten days later.  Seaver didn't get the no-hitter, allowing a one-out single to the Padres' Leron Lee, but he showed that the game against the Cardinals was just a fluke.

Or was it?

Less than three months after his horrible outing against St. Louis, Seaver had the worst performance of his career, allowing more runs (eight) than he recorded outs (seven).  In addition to the eight runs allowed to the Chicago Cubs, Seaver gave up six hits and walked five batters in just 2⅓ innings.  The Mets lost to the Cubbies, 18-5 on September 16, 1972.  The eight earned runs allowed by Seaver were the most he ever allowed as a Met.  The 18 runs scored against the Mets were also the most ever allowed in a game started by Tom Seaver.

On May 21, 1975, Seaver's defense let him down.  Although The Franchise allowed seven runs to the Cincinnati Reds in 4⅔ innings, only three of them were earned.  An error by the usually steady Felix Millan led to four unearned runs in the fifth inning, turning a 3-3 tie into a 7-3 deficit.  The Reds scored four more runs against the Mets' bullpen en route to an 11-4 victory.

Finally, on August 7, 1976, Seaver allowed five runs in the fifth inning to the Pittsburgh Pirates, turning a 1-0 Mets lead into a 5-1 deficit.  The Mets chipped away at the Bucs' lead, scoring single runs in the sixth and seventh innings, but relievers Ken Sanders and Bob Myrick combined to give up seven runs in the seventh and eighth innings, turning the game into a 12-3 laugher.

In 11½ seasons with the Mets, Tom Seaver made a franchise-record 395 starts.  In only five of those 395 starts, the Mets allowed 11 or more runs.  On Sunday, when the Mets were giving away Tom Seaver bobbleheads, Dillon Gee and five relief pitchers combined to allow 11 runs to the Tigers in an 11-3 loss to Detroit.  

Tom Seaver surely wouldn't have been happy with the way the Mets (especially their bullpen) pitched today.  But as great as he was, on a handful of occasions, Mets fans weren't happy with the way Seaver and his relief corps pitched.  Eleven wasn't heaven for the Mets on Sunday.  And in five forgetful games, it was hell for "The Franchise" and his teammates as well.

Decisions, Decisions: Mets Starting Pitchers Aren't Getting Them

No-decisions.  Starting pitchers for the Mets are getting quite used to them in 2013.  As of this writing, Dillon Gee leads the team with 17 decisions, followed by Matt Harvey with only 14.  A total of 11 pitchers have started games for the Mets this year, combining to record 49 no-decisions.

Assuming he doesn't start racking up no-decisions over the last five weeks of the season, Gee appears to be the only starter with a realistic shot of recording 20 decisions in 2013.  Because of Matt Harvey's innings limit, he will probably not make enough starts to have a chance of making it to 20 decisions (and that's assuming he doesn't continue to pile up the NDs).  Jeremy Hefner, who is third on the team with 12 decisions, is out for the season, thereby freezing his decision total at an even dozen.

Excluding the strike seasons of 1981, 1994 and 1995, there has never been a season in franchise history in which no starting pitcher earned 20 decisions.  But two teams came close.  In 1982, Mike Scott led the club in decisions with exactly 20, going 7-13 for the last place Mets.  Of course, that was also the year manager George Bamberger decided to use all of his starters out of the bullpen as well.

No starting pitcher made more than 24 starts for the Mets in 1982, as Charlie Puleo (24 starts, 12 relief appearances), Pete Falcone (23 starts, 17 relief appearances), Mike Scott (22 starts, 15 relief appearances), Craig Swan (21 starts, 16 relief appearances), Randy Jones (20 starts, 8 relief appearances), Pat Zachry (16 starts, 20 relief appearances) and Ed Lynch (12 starts, 31 relief appearances) were all used by Bamberger in every possible way, including save opportunities.  Of the seven pitchers listed above, only Randy Jones failed to earn a save.

The only other team in Mets history to have only one starting pitcher record 20 decisions in a non-strike-shortened season was the 1980 squad.  Like Scott two years later, Ray Burris went 7-13 for the 1980 Mets.  But unlike Scott and his fellow moundsmen, all of Burris' 29 appearances in 1980 came as a starting pitcher.

For the record, Bobby Jones led the 1994 Mets with only 19 decisions, but that season came to an abrupt end in mid-August due to a players' strike.  In each of the other two strike-shortened seasons (1981, 1995), one Met did reach 20 decisions.  Pat Zachry went 7-14 for the 1981 club, while Bobby Jones finished 10-10 for the 1995 squad.

With 49 no-decisions through games of August 24, the 2013 Mets are poised to crack the top ten for most no-decisions for a starting staff in team history.  Below is the current top ten.

Starting Pitchers With Most Decisions
Ray Burris (20), Mark Bomback (18)
Craig Swan (27), Pete Falcone (20)
Nino Espinosa (26), Jerry Koosman (18)
Mike Pelfrey (24), Johan Santana (23)
Tom Glavine (25), Steve Trachsel (25)
Sid Fernandez (25), Dwight Gooden (23)
Mike Hampton (25), Al Leiter (24)
Bobby Jones (24), Rick Reed (22)
Mike Pelfrey (24), Johan Santana/R.A. Dickey (20)
Rick Reed (27), Al Leiter (23)

The Mets have 35 games left before the curtain falls on the 2013 season.  If the starting pitchers fail to earn decisions in just nine of them, they will have recorded more no-decisions than every team in club annals but the 1980 squad.  And 17 no-decisions (or slightly less than half of the remaining games) will make this year's starting pitchers tops when it comes to not finding Ws or Ls next to their names in the morning paper.  Also, if Dillon Gee earns just two more decisions this year, it will make the 2013 Mets the first team in the 52-year history of the club not to have a starting pitcher with 20 decisions (not including strike-shortened seasons).

No-decisions are a result of many things.  Sometimes they occur because starting pitchers don't go as deep into games as they used to, allowing for a reliever to vulture a victory or ten.  Bullpens also aren't as good as they used to be, causing starting pitchers to reach for antacid tablets every time a potential "W" turns into an "ND".  And occasionally a faulty offense doesn't give a starting pitcher much run support, causing him to leave a 2-2 game, 1-1 game, or scoreless pitching duel for a pinch-hitter.

This year's team is a victim of all three.  Matt Harvey has pitched well enough to be among the league leaders in wins.  But a dozen no-decisions say otherwise.  Dillon Gee has been brilliant since his start against the Yankees on May 30.  But even a 2.27 ERA since that date hasn't been able to prevent Gee from earning six no-decisions in his last 11 starts.

Decisions, decisions.  This year's starting pitchers are struggling to earn them.  And their drought is threatening to shatter team records in that department.  That will most certainly happen if the NDs don't end soon.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Song Parody: "Been Caught Stealing" (My Blog Post)

Photo by Suzanne Bird/QMI Agency

If you've been following us on Facebook and Twitter (and if you haven't, it won't be held against you ... much), you may have noticed a little problem we had recently with someone who thought one of our recent blog posts was so interesting, he had to copy and paste it onto another site as his own work.

The "author" in question is Luis Tejeda, and the piece he wrote as his own was one originally posted here on Studious Metsimus (and later brought over to Mets Merized Online by yours truly).  For the record, the owner of the site Tejeda "wrote" the blog for, MLB Nation, did take the piece down after they were notified by our Gal For All Seasons of the purloined post.  (We'd also like to thank Greg Prince, of Faith and Fear in Flushing fame, for notifying us about the plagiarizing pilferer.)  In addition, all of Tejeda's posts have been removed from the site, as a quick Google search let us know.

Yes, we received an apology from MLB Nation, but we just had to get in the last (non-plagiarized) word.  And what better way to do it than with a song parody.

In 1990, Jane's Addiction put out an album called "Ritual De Lo Habitual", that featured the song "Been Caught Stealing".   If that's not a perfect song to parody for this situation, then we don't know what is.  For the record, the original lyrics to the song were written by Perry Farrell and Eric Avery.  We can't forget to give credit where credit is due, right, Mr. Tejeda?

Here's our version of "Been Caught Stealing".  The original video is posted underneath our revised lyrics for your viewing pleasure.  Enjoy!

You've been caught stealing
Words you plagiarized
You enjoyed stealing 
Just to further your craft
Well, you're just a piece of crap
When you write something and you don't want to give credit
Just don't write anymore
Just don't write anymore
Hey, I mind
You plagiarized
What's mine - the words are mine!


Yeah, my words you latched to
Didn't think it would hurt
But you're lower than dirt
By you not crediting me
Well, it's you that has no tact
Cause you wrote something and you gave me no credit
Just don't write anymore
Don't write anymore
Hey, I mind
You plagiarized
What's mine - the words are mine!

Just go!

Tejeda's dumb, dumb dummy, dumb, dumb, dumb
Tejeda's dumb, dumb dummy, dumb
Tejeda's dumb, dumb dummy, dumb, dumb, dumb
Tejeda's dumb, dumb dummy, dumb
So, so dumb

MLB Nation
Had a problem
Had a problem named
Luis Tejeda
He's a no good, filthy rat
Cause he stole from me and he gave me no credit
He can't write anymore
Can't write anymore
Hey, I mind
You plagiarized
What's mine, mine, mine, mine
Mine, mine, mine
All mine, all mine
It's mine!