Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Who was the winning pitcher in the Mets' last World Series game victory -- a 4-2 decision at Shea Stadium in Game 3 of the 2000 Series, over the New York Yankees?
The correct answer is c) John Franco
The other options…
a) Rick Reed
The big right-hander from West Virginia was once famously described by former Mets’ broadcaster Tim McCarver as “the poor man’s Greg Maddux.” In Game 3 of the 2000 World Series, Reed, who started the game, seemed to be channeling the prime years of a guy in the Yankees’ dugout, ex-Met Doc Gooden. Reed fanned eight in six innings and most importantly, allowed just two runs, to keep the Mets in the game.
b) Armando Benitez
The mere mention of his name breaks the hearts of Mets fans everywhere. During the regular season, he was lights out with his trademark heater, establishing a Mets single-season record of 41 saves. But during the post-season, with everything on the line, Benitez was a liability. His 2000 post-season was doomed by his first appearance, when he allowed a game-tying home run to the Giants’ J.T. Snow in Game 2 of the National League Division Series. In Game 1 of the 2000 World Series, it was Benitez’s inability to preserve a 3-2 9th inning Mets lead that led to an extra inning loss. Still, Benitez saved Game 3, allowing one hit in a scoreless 9th Inning.
d) Dennis Cook
He was an emotionally-charged lefty relief specialist who helped form one of the best Mets’ bullpens in both 1999 and 2000. Cook appeared in Game 3, but was lifted after issuing a walk to start the 8th Inning. Franco picked him up, getting the next Yankees’ hitter to ground into a double play.
Check back later today for another Daily Mets Quiz.
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have today announced in a press release, their signing of free-agent closer Brian Fuentes to a two-year contract, with a club option for a third year. ESPN'S Buster Olney reports the deal is worth $8.5 million in 2009, $9 million in 2010 and a vesting option for $9 million in 2011. Fuentes, who is 33, converted 30 saves in 34 chances in 2008 and has 115 career saves in 139 chances.
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Blame it on the alignment of the stars or some other phenomenon, but in their first three World Series appearances, in Game 3 in each of those series, the Mets' leadoff hitter in those games each hit solo homers -- Tommie Agee in 1969, Wayne Garrett in 1973 and Lenny Dykstra in 1986. But Game 3 of the 2000 World Series was different.
Which Met led off the game and what did he do?
The correct answer is d) Timo Perez struck out swinging.
Perez – a rookie sensation the Mets plucked from obscurity – went ice cold against the Yankees in the 2000 World Series. After torching the Cardinals in five National League Championship Series games by collecting seven hits, scoring eight runs and stealing two bases, Perez went just 2-for-16 in the World Series. The biggest run Perez scored was one he should have, but didn’t. Mets fans will never forget Perez’s getting nailed at home plate in Game 1 after Todd Zeile’s drive appeared to have left the yard but instead ricocheted off the top of the left field wall. The other options...
a) Lenny Harris flied out, deep to right
Sorry. After Harris provided much-needed spark both off the bench and on the bases in 2000, he went 0-for-4 in that year's World Series. All of his official at-bats came in dreadful Game 2, the Roger-Clemens-threw-a-bat-shard-at-Mike-Piazza-and-the-Mets-didn't-retaliate-game. Harris would later say, of the Mets' non-response: "We should've thrown some hands."
b) Timo Perez bunted for a base hit
Would've been a great idea, given Perez's speed, but difficult to execute against the starting pitcher...breaking ball and change of speed master Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez.
c) Benny Agbayani doubled to left-center
Agbayani actually hit leadoff off Game 5, when then-Manager Bobby Valentine was desperate to shake up the Mets' moribund offense. Agbayani saved the double to left center when the Mets most needed it -- the bottom of the 8th inning of Game 3 -- and drove home Todd Zeile with the go-ahead run in a 2-2 tie. The Mets would win 4-2, their only victory in the Series, which broke a long Yankees' winning streak of World Series games and handed a loss to Hernandez.
As quickly as word spread Monday afternoon, it was doused by late evening. A Major League Baseball source told mlb.com last night the Mets had once approached the Dodgers about trading second-baseman Luis Castillo to them, but only superficially. "It's not going to happen," the source said.
Monday, December 29, 2008
From the now THAT would be something file...ESPN's Buster Olney is reporting the Mets and Dodgers are mulling over trading bad contracts: the Mets would unload second-baseman Luis Castillo on L.A. while the Dodgers would dump Andruw Jones on the Mets.
Olney writes that the Mets, if they acquire Jones, might use him in right field, where Ryan Church currently plays. Hypothetically, Church could then be traded for starting or relief pitching help. Read more here, by clicking this link: espn.com
Meanwhile, the Boston Globe continues to report that the Mets may be interested in signing free agent catcher Jason Varitek, who free agent pitchers Derek Lowe and Pedro Martinez have always raved about, when they threw to him in Boston.
Tommie Agee did it in 1969, Wayne Garrett did it in 1973 and Lenny Dykstra went deep in 1986.
Today's question is:
Who was the Mets leadoff hitter in Game 3 of the 2000 World Series and what did he do?
The correct answer is c) Mike Stanton
The other choices…
a) Roger McDowell, now the Atlanta Braves’ pitching coach, was a key member in the Mets 1980s resurgence, beginning with his rookie year in 1985. That year, when the Mets narrowly missed winning the National League East title, McDowell notched 17 saves. In the World Series Championship season in 1986, McDowell earned 14 wins and 22 saves. He turned in an unforgettable five shutout innings in relief in the epic Game 6 of the 1986 National League Championship Series and was the winning pitcher in Game 7 of the 1986 World Series.
b) Aaron Heilman, now a Seattle Mariner, appeared in a career-high 81 games in the ill-fated Collapse season of 2007.
d) Tug McGraw
The lasting image of the late left-handed closer is his dance on the old Veterans Stadium mound in 1980 as a Phillie, after shutting down the Kansas City Royals to seal a World Series Championship. But Mets fans will always remember his inspirational battle cry, “Ya Gotta Believe!” that helped the Mets come out of nowhere to win the 1973 National League crown. That year, McGraw appeared in 60 games, the most single-season appearances he ever logged as a Met, going 5-6 and saving 25 games.
Another Daily Mets Quiz will be posted later today, right here.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Last season, reliever Pedro Feliciano established a new Mets’ single-season record with 86 appearances. Whose record did he break?
That’s the year the Mets hit .286 as a team and had five regulars all hit above .300., with a sixth batting .298. The five players above .500 were: Rickey Henderson at .315, Roger Cedeno at .313, Edgardo Alfonzo at .304, Mike Piazza at .303 and Robin Ventura at .301. John Olerud, who still holds the Mets’ single-season record for highest batting average at .354, hit .298 in 1999, while drawing a club-record 125 walks. That year, one of the most exciting in club history, saw three Mets – Piazza, Ventura and Alfonzo – drive in more than 100 runs, with Olerud narrowly missing the mark with 96. Light-hitting shortstop Rey Ordonez hit a full-season career high .258 and knocked in a career-best 60 runs. Even the new guys acquired at the July 31 trading deadline literally got into the swing of things. Outfielder Darryl Hamilton hit .339 and utility guy Shawon Dunston hit .344. Bench men Benny Agbayani hit .286 and Todd Pratt hit .293.
In the year that will be forever known to Mets fans as The Collapse, the Mets batted .282. In a half-season, outfielder Moises Alou batted .341 and set a new club record with a 30-game hitting streak. David Wright had a monster year, hitting .325
The year the Mets last won a World Series Championship, they hit .263 as a team. Keith Hernandez led the way with a .310 mark, with eventual World Series Most Valuable Player, third-baseman Ray Knight behind him at .298 and outfielder Lenny Dykstra hitting .295.
Though the Mets finished just four games from rock bottom in the National League East that year, the team could hit – it posted a collective .270 average. Outfielders Bernard Gilkey and Lance Johnson enjoyed career years. Gilkey swatted 30 homers, a still-standing club record 44 doubles and tied the existing record for RBI in a single year with 117. Johnson was an offensive juggernaut, batting .333, establishing still-standing club records for triples in a single year, with 21 and hits, with 227.
Saturday, December 27, 2008
The correct answer is c) Ghana
Mets’ General Manager Omar Minaya visited Ghana with other Major League Baseball officials in 2007 and helped put on a clinic in that country – sub-Saharan Africa’s first to win independence from European colonization, in 1956. It may take a while for baseball to catch on there, as Ghanaians are soccer-crazy, as evidenced by their support of the national Black Stars team, which reached the 2006 World Cup quarterfinals.
The other choices...
No Nigerian has yet reached the Major Leagues. The Milwaukee Brewers signed two Nigerian-born amateur baseball players in 2002, pitcher Augustine Ozorede and catcher, Gbenga Olayemi. Ozorede though, was killed in a car accident in Nigeria weeks before he was to participate in Spring Training. Olayemi played just 24 games with the Brewers’ Arizona League team in 2003, batting .170.
Two years ago, this republic – founded by 19th century repatriated African-Americans – was the first African country to elect a female head of state, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Thomas Tapeh, a Liberian-born athlete, played earlier this decade in the National Football League. No one from this country has yet to make it in the Major Leagues.
c) Burkina Faso
Its name in English means “the land of upright men.” Every other year, this country’s capital Ougadougou (wah-gah-doh-GOO) plays host to FESPACO, the world’s largest festival of African-made films. But baseball has perhaps only been played there by American Peace Corps volunteers.
Friday, December 26, 2008
Here’s the question: Which west African country in 2007 did Mets’ General Manager Omar Minaya visit (a scene from it is captured in the picture below), with a delegation of other Major League Baseball officials, to organize a series of baseball clinics with Little League-age players?