After stinking up Citi Field for most of the second half of the season with a paltry four wins there from mid-July through mid-September, the Mets finally showed some life at home by winning six of their last seven games. Granted, they were playing two free-falling teams, the Pirates and the Marlins, but the Mets were in no position to be choosy.
In addition to the wins, two major milestones occurred at Citi Field last week.
Third baseman David Wright became the Mets’ all-time career hits leader, moving past Ed Kranepool when he collected his 1,419th against the Pirates Sept. 26. Congratulations to David, but for a sense of how offensively inept the Mets have been in their 50 years, note that Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter has more career hits than Kranepool and Wright combined.
That kind of futility, coupled with Mets ownership’s parsimonious ways, has given Wright pause about spending his whole career here. Unless he signs a contract extension during the off-season, David will be a free agent after the 2013 campaign. He told ESPN Mets beat writer Adam Rubin that he is concerned about the team’s direction (or lack of it). He added that he didn’t care for the way the Mets jettisoned shortstop Jose Reyes after he won the batting title in 2011 by refusing to make him an offer once he became a free agent.
RA Dickey made the Flushing faithful happy last Thursday when he became the first Mets pitcher to win 20 games since Frank Viola in 1990. Dickey is a contender for the Cy Young Award but will have to battle it out with the Nationals’ Gio Gonzalez, who had won 21 games going into the last few days of the season. Dickey’s accomplishment is far more amazing, since he did it for a lousy team, whereas Gonzalez’s Nationals are one of the best in baseball.
Shannon Forde has been with Mets PR from the time she was attending St. John’s University some 20 years ago. She’s liked and respected by everyone in the media — and given the characters in the press box, that is really saying something. Shannon learned last month that she has Stage 4 breast cancer. Her colleagues and friends are trying to raise funds on her behalf. There will be a benefit dinner at the Westmount Country Club in Woodland Park, NJ on Nov. 1, at which a number of past Mets will appear.
Tax-deductible contributions can be made to the Daniel P. Ryan Foundation, a 501(c)3 group. Please write “Shannon Forde” in the memo section of your check and send it to: Daniel P. Ryan Foundation, PO Box 3145, Point Pleasant NJ 08742. For more information, visit hopeshinesforshannon.com.
I was impressed with CBS’s new Thursday night 10 p.m. drama, “Elementary,” which stars Johnny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes and Lucy Liu, as Dr. Joan Watson in modern-day New York City. The show’s writers worked in the fact that Liu, a Jackson Heights native, is a huge Mets fan. In the two-minute finale of the series opener, Joan is cheering madly for the Mets, wearing the team’s cap, while explaining baseball to a bored Sherlock. Holmes quickly predicts how the game will end, and sure enough every word he says comes true as their ninth inning rally falls short and they lose to the Reds 3-2.
The Jets were annihilated 34-0 by the San Francisco 49ers last Sunday, and the truth is the score should have been worse. The Jets’ anemic offense was helped at least three times by Niners penalties that occurred on third downs, helping to extend New York drives.
The 49ers are one of the NFL’s elite teams, far more talented than Gang Green. Jets Head Coach Rex Ryan, and all the players I spoke with in the locker room following the debacle, refused to admit that the team from the Bay Area was superior and merely conceded that the Niners executed on the field better that day.
At the post-game press conference, Jets QB Mark Sanchez, who was atrocious, kept repeating his mantra about the need to improve each week. He also urged the media and Jets fans to keep a sense of perspective about how it was only one game, and that they’re still on top in the AFC East.
The one bit of good news was that cornerback Kyle Wilson filled in admirably for Darrelle Revis, who is lost for the rest of the season with an ACL tear in his left knee.
Former Knicks Hall of Fame guard and current MSG team announcer Walt “Clyde” Frazier was one of the many sports celebrities to lend support to the recent Buoniconti Fund Dinner to Cure Paralysis, an event held annually. Frazier opened a restaurant, Clyde’s Wine & Dine, not far from Madison Square Garden at 485 10 Ave. at 37th Street. “People are more conscious about eating healthy, and that’s why I have fresh salmon, grilled chicken and plenty of tasty salads on the menu,” he told me. Frazier also assured me that he is not just lending his name to the restaurant, and is in fact there every day.
Former Rangers great Brian Leetch was also on hand at the Buoniconti Fund Dinner, and he was less than sanguine about a quick resolution of the National Hockey League lockout. “The owners figure that they can recoup any losses from a new collective bargaining agreement that would undoubtedly be very favorable to them if they can bring the players’ association to its knees. That’s what happened seven years ago,” Leetch said glumly.