Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Zack Wheeler Makes MLB Debut Today

From the desk of:   HEAD-BUTTING MR. MET

NEW YORK METS - The Newest Hero Off The Mets Assembly System Is Ready For His Debut.

In a Mets fantasy, I like to think that perhaps by design and taking into consideration what has made this organization successful in the past, that we are getting back to our roots by grooming a steady supply of pitchers.  I'd like to think there is a renaissance under way, with quality pitching being groomed in Savannah, Port. St. Lucie, and Binghamton.

What started circa 1967 - a concerted effort to develop pitching under then Mets director of player development, Joe McDonald, with Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, Nolan Ryan, Gary Gentry, and Tug McGraw, etc., continued even through the lean (1977-1983) years.  For a long stretch, there were no dynamic duo or trio.  But there did come along starting pitchers like Craig Swan, Mike Scott and Ed Lynch who earned our respect.  Joe McDonald stayed on for one more season after Doubleday and Wilpon assumed ownership of the team.  Before departing, McDonald groomed one last cache of relief pitchers, among them, Neil Allen, Jesse Orosco, and Jeff Reardon.

In the ensuing era, the days of Dwight Gooden, Ron Darling, Bobby Ojeda and Sid Fernandez barrelled into town like four bulls through a china shop.  While Darling and Sid were acquired as minor leaguers in trades, Doc, Roger McDowell, Jesse, Rick Aguilera, etc...., were home grown pitchers.  As much championship success and trophies the former wealth of home grown pitchers once afforded the Mets, twice, the failure of Generation-K in the 1990's should stand as a stark reminder as to how wrong things can go even with the best laid rebuilding plans.  I find no fault with former GM Joe McIlvaine, his failed rebuilding effort, or with Generation-K.  That plan just flat out fell apart, but at the same time, the minor league affiliates were still fully functional and producing quality players.  Under Steve Phillips, the Mets utilized some farm talent and remnants of the McIlvaine era, and parlayed them into a 2000 National League pennant.  The former GM did it with carpetbaggers on the mound, and almost pulled it off.  But there in lies the rub.  Under former General Manager Steve Phillips, the Mets minor league mass production line came to a grinding halt.  David Wright, Jose Reyes, and on the hill, Scott Kazmir were the last products to roll off the assembly line after thirty plus years of output.

For those who never experienced the thrill, I enjoyed watching Tom Seaver and Jerry Koosman in the midst of their forming a dynamic duo. In fact, along with Jon Matlack, I'm appreciative of the fact I witnessed the three form a tremendous trio through the 1976 season.

For the 2000 season, the Mets imported a semi-dynamic duo in the form of Al Leiter and Mike Hampton, that almost got them through another championship run.  An examination of the 2006 starting rotation however, would grow upon this article like a weed, so I'll pass, and not digress.  But if I include David Cone and Frank Viola here, with the carpetbaggers, a disconnect becomes evident, if not more than a coincidence.  If you look at the championship seasons of 1969 (1973) and 1986 (1988), the starting rotations and bullpens were primarily built from within - 2000 and 2006, not so much.

Today's double-header featuring Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler is a very special event.  In a rare stroke of scheduling luck, the two will join forces on Tuesday, and attempt to defeat the first place Atlanta Braves.  What Mets fans fantasize most, is the pair launching to become the next dynamic duo, and re-establishing the Mets legacy as a pitching power.  For those of you belonging to a younger generation, I want you to pay very close attention to tomorrows double-header in Atlanta.

But contain yourselves, or you'll miss it.


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