The New York Mets finished up with a disappointing 40 -50 record going into the much needed All-Star Game break for them.
The Mets finished up 3-5 on their last homestand as they dropped 2 out of 3 to both of their National League East division rivals, the Atlanta Braves, and the Philadelphia Phillies while splitting their two games with the New York Yankees to start July. The Mets beneficiaries of the Yankees’ jet lag from them having played a pair of games against the Boston Red Sox in London the previous weekend as it helped the Amazin’s beat the Bronx Bombers 4-2 last Tuesday night. The Yankees got their sea legs back the next night as they beat the Mets 5-1.
What made the homestand disturbing however was that the Mets bullpen kept up their season-long habit of turning winnable games into gut-wrenching losses.
Two weeks ago in Chicago normally affable and upbeat Mets manager, Mickey Callaway cursed out Newsday beat reporter Tim Healey following yet another disastrous relief effort by closer Edwin Diaz.
Last Friday night Diaz struck again as he imploded in the ninth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies as the Mets wasted yet another gem from their All-Star ace, Jacob deGrom. One key reason why the Mets have stunk over the last two years is that the Mets have only won 16 of the last 46 games that Jacob deGrom has started and deGrom bears little culpability for that stat.
NY Post Mets beat writer Mike Puma wrote that the team’s unflappable general manager Brodie Van Wagenen, who was also Jacob deGrom’s agent before taking on his current Mets role, exploded following the Friday night debacle. According to Puma, Van Wagenen met in a conference room with Mickey Callaway and his coaches immediately following the game and lashed into them in a manner reminiscent to what Alec Baldwin’s character, Blake, did to the poor real estate salesmen in the 1992 classic film, “Glengarry Glen Ross.” Van Wagenen then threw a chair against the wall as a way of punctuating his displeasure.
Van Wagenen may have been releasing some inward anger. He knows that he’s responsible for the Mets re-signing reliever Jeurys Familia who has been awful this year and giving 35-year old infielder Jed Lawrie a two-year, $20 million deal but who hasn’t played an inning this year because of injuries. The less said about his signature move, the trade for second baseman Robinson Cano and closer manque Edwin Diaz, the better.
Ironically, Van Wagenen’s temper tantrum may score points with Mets fans because it shows passion. His predecessor, Sandy Alderson, would never have done that nor would have spent half a game sitting in the bleachers with members of the 7 Line as he did during the first game of the Subway Series.
The aforementioned Mike Puma told me that he’d be publishing his annual Mets mid-term report cards in this Thursday’s New York Post. I expect that we’ll see a lot of “D” and “F” grades.
Mets second baseman Jeff McNeil, who has been one of the few 2019 bright spots for the Mets spent part of his July 4th at Coney Island serving as a judge at the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest where he got a VIP seat to watch Joey Chestnut win his 12th yellow mustard belt.
Joey Chestnut consumed 71 hot dogs, which while not a record, was still 21 better than runner-up Darron Breeden. Chestnut needs better competition. Matt Stonie, who dethroned him in a big upset in 2015, finished with 43 hot dogs. Major League Eating officials need to either get Takeru Kobayashi to return to the fold or get Carmen Cincotti, who pushed Chestnut hard in 2017 to come out of retirement. Cincotti possesses a degree in biomechanical engineering, so it’s probable that he has moved on with his life.
President Trump showed class and rare restraint by congratulating the United States National Women’s Team after they knocked off the Netherlands in the Women’s World Cup Final by a score of 2-0. One of the team’s star players, Megan Rapinoe, made no secret of her dislike for him and stated that she would not visit the White House if her team were invited.
If you are looking to get away but don’t want to travel too far, the Jersey Shore makes for an ideal quick getaway. Try to catch a Lakewood BlueClaws game, the Phillies’ South Atlantic League affiliate, who play at beautiful First Energy Park. The ticket prices are very reasonable, and it’s great family fun. My recommendation is to stay at the Radisson Hotel Freehold which is a thirty-minute drive to Lakewood, the Jersey Shore town of Bradley Beach, and Great Adventure in Jackson.
O/ZYFest, which is trying to emulate Austin, Texas’s annual March pop culture South x Southwest Festival, will take place the weekend of July 20 and 21 in Central Park. Among the hosts, this year will be former Yankee’s third baseman Alex Rodriguez and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.
Reading MAD Magazine, with its genial satire of popular culture and politics, was an integral part of the adolescence of many baby boomers. Times change and today’s adolescents clearly did not revere MAD the way my generation did so it wasn’t surprising to learn that MAD will stop publishing new issues effective this fall. Nonetheless, it was sad news to hear.