Mets blog

Welcome to a different New York Mets blog. You’ll find a selection of memorable, unusual, and funny happenings on and off the baseball field. Featuring your favorite Mets players, Mets announcers, and Mets records.

The Matt Harvey Bloody Nose Game

It’s May 7, 2013, and Matt Harvey begins his start at Citi Field against the visiting White Sox with a bloody nose. Looking like a boxer, he ignores it and continues to pitch with blood trickling from his nose.

“I knew something was running, obviously, when I wiped my sleeve and saw it was red it was a telling sign, something else was coming out except for snot. They shoved up as much stuff up there as they could.”

Matt Harvey

Related: Who has the most strikeouts for the Mets?

Harvey will pitch 9 innings, including the first 6.2 perfect, giving up only 1 hit and striking out 12. The only hit he gives up is an Alex Rios infield single. It’s deep in the hole and shortstop Ruben Tejada tries to do a jump-and-throw. But Rios just barely beats the throw. This easily could have been a perfect game. In typical Mets fashion, Harvey still did not get the win.

This is one of those games where Lucas Duda was playing left field for the Mets. Bobby Parnell would get the win, pitching a scoreless tenth. Mike Baxter‘s pinch-hit single scoring Ike Davis for the extra-inning walk-off win.

New York Mets Team Nicknames

The New York Mets have more team nicknames than any other MLB team. Most of the Mets nicknames are endearing, given to them by their fans. But some are derogatory, slapped on by rival fans or even opposing players.

Metropolitans – You don’t hear this nickname too much today. Only WFAN radio personality Steve Somers still refers to the Mets as “The Metropolitans”. It is from the original source of the modern team’s name. Back in the 1800s, there existed a club with the moniker “New York Metropolitans”.

Pond Scum – This derisive Mets nickname started in the 1980s. Its exact origin is debated, but it was used exclusively by Cardinal fans. St. Louis stores even sold “Mets are Pond Scum” t-shirts. At the time, the Mets and Cards were in the same division. They were both great teams and fought for a playoff spot almost every year.

Some say that the Pond Scum nickname originated from a radio disc jockey on KSHE. Either “U Man” John Ullett or JC Cochran. Others point to a letter from St. Louis resident Gary Brown to Late Night host David Letterman commenting on the color of Dave’s eyebrows that ended with “P.S. The Mets are pond scum”. Letterman frequently used the term “pond scum” for people he disliked. That’s why Brown included it in the letter because he knew Letterman used it.

Metsies – An endearing nickname used by Mets fans. Possibly first heard in 1962, when manager Casey Stengel said that even babies love the new Mets, with their first words being “Metsie, Metsie” instead of “MaMa, MaMa”.

Loveable Losers – Referring to the original 1962 Mets when fans were just happy to have National League baseball back in NYC. The team lost 120 games that first year and played horrible baseball. But they still drew large crowds to their games.

Miracle Mets – The Mets team nickname given to the 1969 World Champions when they went from being a perennial last-place team to winning it all.

Amazing Mets – Sometimes shortened to just “The Amazin’s”, this nickname is definitely a Stengel original.

Bad Guys – A mostly derogatory Mets nickname given to the 1986 team. As everyone knows by now that team dominated on the field and raised hell off of it. There was even a book written about the ’86 Mets titled “The Bad Guys Won”.

Related: That shockingly wild 1986 plane ride.

Stems – Mets spelled backward, this one originated from Mets ace Tom Seaver. Welcoming newly acquired Keith Hernandez to the team in June of 1983, Seaver said “Welcome to the Stems”. The team would lose 94 games that year.

Los Mets – Worn on the Mets team uniforms during Hispanic heritage night. This Mets nickname also refers to when Omar Minaya was the team’s general manager. They accumulated a large number of Hispanic players throughout the 2000s.

The Other New York Team – The Mets being the other team in NYC, compared to the much older New York Yankees. Usually used derisively by Yankee fans as a put-down.

LOLMets – A hashtag creation of the internet. This Mets team nickname is attached to tweets and posts depicting something incompetent that Mets ownership or players have done. It became especially prominent with the September 2007 collapse.

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The Miraculous “Ball on the Wall” Play

It’s the afternoon of September 20, 1973, and Willie Mays officially announces his retirement at a press conference held at Shea Stadium. He promises to help the Mets if they make it to the World Series. Events later in the day will overshadow the Mays announcement. Because today the “Ball on the Wall” play happens.

The Mets are a game and a half behind the first-place Pirates when the teams play that Thursday night at Shea Stadium. The Mets’ Jerry Koosman and Pittsburgh’s Jim Rooker start the game. After nine innings the teams are tied 3-3. The game is headed to extra innings.

Ray Sadecki starts the tenth inning for the Mets. He pitches well through the twelfth inning. Nine Pirates come up and nine Pirates go down, five on strikeouts. Meanwhile, Bucs relievers Jim McKee and Luke Walker keep the Mets scoreless too.

Related: The 2006 NLDS double play at home plate play.

In the top of the thirteenth, Sadecki allows a single to Richie Zisk with one out. Manny Sanguillen makes the second out of the inning when he flies out to right field. Then the “Ball on the Wall” miracle occurs.

Pirates rookie Dave Augustine hits a fly ball to deep left that bounces off the plank at the very top of the eight-foot outfield wall. The ball bounces straight up into the air, seems to hang there, and then falls right into Cleon Jones’ glove.

Jones wheels and throws to the cut-off man Wayne Garrett. Normally Garrett is at third base, but he had moved to shortstop in the late innings as a replacement for Bud Harrelson. Meanwhile, the go-ahead run is rounding third base and heading home. Garrett turns and relays the ball to catcher Ron Hodges, crouched at the plate, who catches it cleanly and tags a sliding Zisk to end the inning. It becomes forever known as the “Ball on the Wall” play.

”Believe it or not, I had it in line all along, I thought it would hit the wall. Luckily, Garrett was at short. If Harrelson had been there, he would have taken the relay much further in the outfield and we would never have gotten Zisk.”

Cleon Jones

In the bottom of the thirteenth John Milner and Ken Boswell, both walk to start the inning. Don Hahn is up next and pops out on a bunt attempt. But then Hodges singles to left, scoring Milner with the winning run! The Mets win the game 4-3 and are only a half-game from first place.

The Rowdy 1973 NLCS Brawl

October 8th, 1973: It was a Monday afternoon playoff game at Shea Stadium. Mets shortstop Bud Harrelson and Pete Rose of the Reds get into a brawl at second base during the fifth inning of NLCS Game 3.

The Big Red Machine went 99-63 during the regular season and were the heavy favorite in the championship series. The Mets were in last place for most of the season. Until they went on a 19-8 stretch in September. They squeaked into the playoffs with an 82-79 record.

Related: 1973 World Series – Mets argue after Harrelson out at home.

The teams split the first two games of the series in Cincinnati. Mets starter Jon Matlack pitched a two-hit 5-0 shutout in the second game. Harrelson was quoted after the game as saying the Reds all look like him – a .236 career hitter with no power. The Reds were not amused.

The Mets are leading 9-2 in the fifth inning of Game 3, with Rose on first base. Joe Morgan grounds to the first baseman John Milner. Rose slides hard at second base, unsuccessfully trying to break up the double play. Harrelson objects to what he feels was a high slide, telling Rose it was a cheap shot. Rose disagrees and the fight is on.

Pete Rose outweighs Bud Harrelson by about 35 lbs. Mets rookie third baseman Wayne Garrett quickly comes over and manages to shove Rose off of Harrelson. Then the reinforcements arrive from both dugouts.

The Mets starting pitcher for the game, Jerry Koosman, runs onto the field first. Johnny Bench eventually grabs a hold of Rose and pulls him out of the scrum.

Then another fight breaks out in the outfield involving Mets pitcher Buzz Capra and Reds reliever Pedro Borbon. When order is semi-restored, Borbon picks up a cap and puts it onto his head. He doesn’t know that it’s a Mets cap. When someone tells him, he rips the cap off and takes a bite out of it!

Since it’s a playoff game, the umpires don’t eject anyone. The next inning when Pete Rose takes his spot in left field, angry Mets fans shower him with debris. When a whiskey bottle sails past Rose’s head, Reds manager Sparky Anderson pulls him and the rest of the team off the field.

Related: The miraculous ball on the wall play.

League President Chub Feeney and the umpires ask the Mets to settle down the crowd or the game could be forfeited. So Tom Seaver, Willie Mays, Rusty Staub, Cleon Jones, and manager Yogi Berra walkout to left field and ask the fans to stop. They do and play resumes. The Mets go on to win the game and the series.

The Rusty Staub Outfield Switcheroo

On April 28, 1985 the Mets and Pirates got into an 18 inning marathon. It’s memorable for Mets pinch-hitter deluxe, Rusty Staub, switching between playing right field and left field depending on which batter is at the plate. In the game box score, you’ll see this unusual entry: Rusty Staub RF-LF-RF.

By 1985, 41-year-old Rusty Staub is reduced to being a bench player. Once a star right fielder, Staub hasn’t played the outfield in almost 2 years. He’s a master pinch-hitter now. But early in the season the Mets and Pirates get into a marathon extra-inning affair at Shea Stadium.

Related: The Rowdy 1973 NLCS Brawl.

Manager Davey Johnson runs out of players in the 12th inning and is forced to play the slow running Staub in the outfield. But he attempts to limit the chances that Rusty will have to actually field a ball.

Johnson switches Staub between left and right field, alternating with Clint Hurdle, depending on the batter. If the hitter is a lefty, Staub moves over to play left field. If the hitter is a righty, Staub moves over to play right field.

In the top of the 18th inning, with the potential winning run on second base, righty-hitting Pirates pitcher Rick Rhoden hits a lazy fly ball down the right-field line. With the entire stadium holding its collective breath, Staub runs over and makes a shoestring catch below his knees!

Related: Benny Agbayani forgets number of outs.

Rusty Staub wasn’t one of the most popular Mets in team history for no reason. “That was as fast as I could run” Staub told the NY Daily News. The Mets went on to win the game in 18 innings, 5-4. Rusty Staub retired after the 1985 season, just missing out on winning the World Series by one year.

Review of Tom Seaver: A Terrific Life

I just finished reading Tom Seaver: A Terrific Life by Bill Madden. It was a throughly enjoyable book. As a life long Mets fan, I spent my childhood watching Tom Seaver pitch. Much of the book covers familiar ground in Mets history. But it was all brought to life again with Madden’s frequent use of quotations, both historical and contemporary.

You find out what was said on the field and in the dugout during those iconic moments like the near perfect game, those magical ‘69 September games, and of course the celebration after the Miracle Mets won the World Series.

I most enjoyed the small personal details, like how a live bat flew into the Seaver home the night before he won his 300th game. Or the mouse race Tom organized in the hotel hallway while he was still in high school. There’s even the story of how Seaver got his nickname “The Franchise”. The last chapter, depicting his final health battle with dementia, was sad but enlightening.

If you’re a Mets fan like me, you’ll enjoy Tom Seaver: A Terrific Life by Bill Madden.

Who Grounded into the Most Double Plays on the Mets?

With one swing of the bat, a player can be a hero or hear the fan’s boos. Game momentum changes when a batter grounds into a double play (GIDP). Which Mets player has been a rally killer most often? Who grounded into the most double plays on the Mets?

Most Grounded into Double Plays in a Season

Mets PlayerYearGIDP
Mike Piazza199927
Cleon Jones
Mike Piazza
1970
2002
26
Steve Henderson
Eddie Murray
1978
1993
24
Frank Thomas196323
John Olerud
Joe Torre
1999
1975
22

Mike Piazza grounded into the most double plays in a Mets season. In 1999 Piazza grounded into 27 double plays which also led the National League. In 593 plate appearances, the Mets catcher hit .303 with 40 home runs and 124 RBIs.

Mike  Piazza hitting

An interesting fact about Joe Torre. In 1975 when he hit into 22 double plays, there was one game that Torre grounded into 4 double plays! On July 21st against Houston, he went 0-4 in a 6-2 Mets loss. The Mets second baseman, Felix Millian, went 4-4 batting ahead of Torre in the lineup. After the game, Torre laughingly blamed Millian. Saying if Felix hadn’t gotten on base so much he wouldn’t have grounded into the 4 double plays!

Related: All of the Mets triple plays.

Most Grounded into Double Plays in History

Mets PlayerCareer GIDP
David Wright152
Ed Kranepool138
Mike Piazza132
Jerry Grote121
Cleon Jones107
Rey Ordonez89
Daniel Murphy86
Rusty Staub82
John Stearns80
Keith Hernandez
Felix Millian
72

David Wright grounded into the most double plays in New York Mets franchise history. Wright hit into 152 double plays in his 14-year career with the Mets. It’s not a surprise since Wright had the most at-bats in Mets history and batted third or fourth most of his career.

David  Wright batting

Related: David Wright’s net worth is a surprise.

Most of the names on the list are not surprising. They’re either long-time Mets or catchers, who are notoriously slow runners. Daniel Murphy and Rey Ordonez are exceptions. But if you think about it, both were hackers – always swinging. Also, there were usually runners on base when they came up to bat.