Sunday, July 17, 2016

N.Y. Mets: Wally still trying to hit jackpot in Las Vegas



NEW YORK METS: Fans still hoping Wally Backman will one day manage in Flushing.

Long suspected by fans, and reinforced by Darryl Stawberry's recent appearances on SNY-TV, and most notably on ESPN's Doc and Darryl 30 for 30 episode, Fred Wilpon isn't necessarily the problem in so far as the organization's relationship with many former members of the 1986 Mets.

Fred Wilpon certainly pissed off Tom Seaver over the years, but his fondness for the '86 Mets is actually well known.  Instead, Mets' COO Jeff Wilpon is widely assumed to be the root cause for most strained relationships with their former players, particularly members of the 1986 era Mets, and all else for that matter.

That's why during Saturday night's game between the visiting Las Vegas 51s and host Iowa Cubs, Wally Backman perhaps reinforced why he'll likely never become manager of the New York Mets.

In the bottom of the 6th inning with the 51s leading 7-5, Las Vegas reliever Jeff Walters was called for a balk.  When Walters protested Wally Backman naturally raced out of the dugout to protect his pitcher (as well he should), but escalated matters by tapping back into his inner Peanuts days (not rated PG!) - directing some good old school vitriol at home plate ump Blade Felix and first base ump Thomas Newsome.

Of course, Wally Backman earned his 6th ejection of the season the old fashioned way - making sure to cover up home plate with dirt prior to exiting the field.

Despite the masses of Mets fans in Wally Backman's corner yearning for him to be named Mets manager, Jeff Wilpon will likely never allow that to happen.

What a shame too.  The man battles demons, but possesses a brilliant baseball mind, and whose desire to win is relentless ... like Pete Rose and Billy Martin once were.  As players, then as managers, all they (Rose, Martin, Backman) ever wanted to do was beat you - every inning, every game, every day, until the schedule tapped out.

That's a unique personality at work, a baseball lifer, a die hard, but quite often not so soft and cuddly, much less agreeable with anyone outside his locker room.

Sadly, in the age of replay challenges, diva umpiring, Joe Torre's medieval baseball council, runaway media sensationalism, social media contrarians, and the PC plague, I sense hiring Wally Backman to manage the Mets would go over like a fart in a spacesuit ... or not.

My passion for baseball was born in the 70s ... clearly a different era.

Travis Taijeron has left the building..

Fresh off homering in the AAA All-Star game, Las Vegas 51s outfielder/DH Travis Taijeron connected again Saturday against the Iowa Cubs, this time leaving the ball park.  That's right - Travis Taijeron's home run left Principal Park (home of the Iowa Cubs).

Travis, 27, is now slashing .305/.388/.566 through 86 games and 318 at-bats this season.  Here's how he ranks against the Pacific Coast League's offensive leaders:
  • Doubles - #1
  • Total Bases - #2
  • RBI - #3
  • OPS - #4
  • Runs Scored - #5
  • Home Runs - tied #6

Shooting Craps...

The devolving Rafael Montero was demoted to Binghamton last week.

After pitching in all of seven games in 2015 due to arm soreness, this season was supposed to be his big comeback - bigger, better, and stronger than ever.

That hasn't happened...

Instead, Montero, posted a 4-6 record, with an alarming 7.20 ERA and 1.888 WHiP over 16 starts for the Las Vegas 51s.  He allowed 111 hits and 40 walks in 80 innings pitched, with 68 strikeouts.

He has now made 50 starts over parts of four seasons with Las Vegas, in which he owns a 16-14 record with a 4.60 ERA and 1.4555 WHiP, with 233 strikeouts over 256.1 innings pitched.

Montero, 25, earned a no-decision in his first start with the BMets.  He allowed one earned run on four hits and two walks through six innings pitched, with five strikeouts.

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