Monday, September 30, 2019

N.Y. Mets: An Amazin' Finish

From the desk of: HEAD-BUTTING MR. MET

Sunday, September 29, 2019

GAME #162
Braves   6
Mets       7

Takes His Warm-Ups

Steps to the Plate







Sunday, September 29, 2019

N.Y. Giants: The Wayne Gallman Era Begins

From the desk of: DO IT FOR THE DUKE


D.C. Football
New York Giants

So much for protecting and preserving Saquon Barkley.  You can't prevent injury.  It doesn't work.  I just hope Barkley learns the value of occasionally slipping out of bounds.  There's always the next play to consider.

Otherwise the Giants were slowly building up his work load.  They start him in week one with 11 rushes/4 receptions, then 18 rushes/3 receptions in week two.  Saquon was up to 8 rushes/4 receptions when he went down in the second quarter against Tampa.  Week three understandably was the first game in which the Giants failed to gain 100-yards rushing.  However, rookie Daniel Jones saved the day with two touchdowns on the ground and two more via the air.

Reports say Saquon will not require surgery but will nevertheless miss anywhere from four to eight weeks.  Yet the news doesn't seem to dissuade opinions and expectations from changing on a dime.  That's what you get for winning the first game of the post Eli Manning era.  So what now for Daniel Jones, Pat Shurmur, and the suddenly optimistic (1-2) New York Giants?

Quite obviously they need a viable running game.  Poised to make his third ever NFL start, Wayne Gallman stands ready to seize the moment.


He has averaged 4.0 yards per carry through 31 career games.  Meanwhile the Giants offensive line is generating a league best 6.3 yards per rush, according to ESPN.

Perchance to dream ...

Between Gallman and perhaps rookie Jonathan Hilliman it would please me to see them join for 25 to 30 rushing attempts.  Not so much in an effort to beat Washington, but for sake of establishing offensive credibility in the weeks to come.  How else does coach Shurmur expect to keep the opposition honest?  After Sunday, the Giants host Minnesota then travel to New England.  Do you really think Belichick game plans with a sense of mercy in light of Big Blue's rookie quarterback and broken backfield?

Exactly ...

I can't speak for Big Blue's defense.  But I do know the best way of limiting their time on the field is for the offensive line to dominate the line of scrimmage; win time of possession for a change.  Get behind the Hog Mollies and at least try running with power.  If they create daylight Wayne Gallman will find it.  Then Daniel Jones can go about the business of being a good quarterback.  But the Hog Mollies must protect Jones as well.  The offensive line allowed just two sacks and ten QB hits through weeks one and two.  Tampa recorded five sacks and 15 other QB hits!  Shaquil Barrett had four sacks alone.  Meanwhile overly expensive left tackle Nate Solder performed with all the grace and athleticism of a mailbox.  That must change.

It's already week four, a quarter of the way through the season, and the Giants are still searching for identity.  I do not believe in trickery nor reliance on broken plays and QB scrambles.  You can move the pocket only so many times until the situation demands a QB stay put and make a pass.  But when all else fails, the ability to run effectively is a fundamental pigskin necessity.  Washington presents a perfect opponent for putting Dave Gettleman's Hog Mollies to the test.  Let's see how they perform in a run intensive environment.

Please ...

After all, the Giants are in rebuild, right?

N.Y. Mets: Pete Alonso Breaks All-Time Rookie Home Run Record

From the desk of: HEAD-BUTTING MR. MET

Pete Alonso 2017 at Binghamton

Breaks All-Time Rookie Home Run Record

September 22, I write:
Babe Ruth in 1920 becomes the first ever major league baseball player to hit 50 home runs in a season.  The former pitcher of the Boston Red Sox accomplishes the feat in his first season as a member of the New York Yankees.  The Babe ends the season hitting 54 home runs in 458 at-bats.  Of the nearly 20,000 people to ever play major league baseball Mets rookie first baseman Pete Alonso becomes only the 30th ever to join the 50 home run club, one century after Ruth first opened its doors.  The milestone home run comes in his 152nd game, and 560th at-bat of the season.

Eight games later the Flushing Polar Bear is finishing with a flourish.  Pete Alonso hits home run #53 in the third inning of the Mets penultimate game of the 2019 regular season breaking Aaron Judge's single-season record for most home runs by a rookie.  It's his third home run in his last four games, and a season high eleventh time he's gone long this month.
  • MAR/APR: 8 home runs
  • MAY: 10 home runs
  • JUN: 9 home runs
  • JUL: 6 home runs
  • AUG: 8 home runs
  • SEP: 11 home runs
Alonso presently leads the major leagues, and is the lone MLB player this season to date with 50-plus home runs.  Through 160 games and 592 at-bats Alonso is slashing .260/.359/.586/.945, with 30 doubles, 102 runs scored, and 120 runs batted in.  He seems a veritable lock for the National League Rookie of the Year award.  I read in an ESPN News Service article where no rookie since 1900 has won an outright home run title in the big leagues.

The man who wasn't sure he would make the team out of Spring Training is now a record holder.  Pete Alonso is the new measure for rookies and home runs.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

OTD 9/28/1914: Tip Tops Ed Lafitte Turns Back First Place ChiFeds


ChiFeds lead Tip Tops; 3-1
I - CHI 4; BTT 1
II - CHI 7; BTT 6
III - CHI 5; BTT 3
IV - BTT 9; CHI 5

Chicago ChiFeds
Brooklyn Tip Tops

Brooklyn staves off par with their first victory of the series against first place Chicago.
Leading 8-1 through six, starter Ed Lafitte withstands the ChiFeds four run outburst in the eighth to gain his 15 victory of the season with a 2.70 ERA.  He allows five earned runs on eight hits and six walks with eight strikeouts in a complete game effort.

Making only his fourth start behind the plate catcher Art Watson hits his first home run of the season off Chicago starter Claude Hendrix who is denied his 29th victory of the season.  A former 24-game winner for the Pittsburgh Pirates, the 25-year old Hendrix' record remains at 28-10 with a 1.73 ERA.  Center fielder Al Shaw goes 3 for 5 with a double and two runs batted in.  Al Halt goes 2 for 4 with a triple and run batted in.  And Claude Cooper, Solly Hofman, and Tex Wisterzil, also drive in one run apiece.

The Brooklyn Tip Tops improve to 72-70 but remain a distant 8.5 games back of Chicago with twelve games left in the Federal League inaugural season.  Meanwhile the ChiFeds hold a precarious 1.5 game lead over the Indianapolis Hoosiers.

Amazin' Date 9/28/1969: Mets Spin Third Straight Shutout Against Phillies

From the desk of: HEAD-BUTTING MR. MET


Game #160: Sunday, September 28, 1969 - BR
New York Mets @ Philadelphia Phillies
Connie Mack Stadium

Mets pitchers complete a trifecta of sorts registering their third straight shutout over the Philadelphia Phillies en route to a series sweep at Connie Mack Stadium.

Making the start in center field Jim Gosger drives in a run with a double and starter Gary Gentry drives in a another as part of a two run second inning.  Gentry, Nolan Ryan, and Ron Taylor, take care of the rest.  Rookie Gary Gentry finishes the regular season with a winning 13-12 record and 3.45 ERA.  He allows the Phillies just three hits and no walks with five strikeouts through five innings pitched.  Ryan allows just one hit and fans three through three innings in relief of Gentry.  Ron Taylor closes out the game with a scoreless ninth for his 13th save of the season.

In an effort to get his left fielder more at-bats, manager Hodges bats Cleon Jones lead-off to no avail as Jones goes 0 for 3 at the plate.  In fact, Phillies starter Jerry Johnson and reliever Lowell Palmer limit the Mets to just three hits all game.  Wayne Garrett accounts for two.  Otherwise with just two games left, Jones (.340) remains in close contention with Pete Rose and Roberto Clemente for this season's batting title.

The Mets return home for Monday's annual Mayor's Trophy game versus the New York Yankees, the proceeds of which are dedicated to New York City sandlot baseball.  After which the Mets close out the regular season with two games against the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

With Sunday's victory over the San Diego Padres, the Atlanta Braves clinch the N.L. West title.  The first ever National League championship series commences on Saturday, October 4, at Atlanta Stadium.

Long Island Ducks Capture Fourth Straight Liberty Division Flag

From the desk of: THE WEBBED SPIKES NINE

Ducks defeat Rockers; 3-0
I - LID 8; HPR 7
II - LID 8; HPR 1
III - LID 3; HPR 2



There's a reason why in baseball circles they say get to good pitchers early before they get you.  Because once they settle in, you're done.  Those words never rang more true than Friday evening at Bethpage Ballpark.

High Point starter Joe Van Meter enters game three recognized among the Atlantic League's best.  But the Ducks waste little time staking their lead.  With two outs in the bottom of the first, Lew Ford singles through the left side, L.J. Mazzilli doubles to left, and with two runners in scoring position Hector Sanchez clears the bases with a hit to center putting Long Island up by two.  Van Meter then retires the next seven batters until yielding a inconsequential single to Mazzilli in the fourth.  Van Meters then retires another twelve consecutive batters.  After which thing go awry as the Ducks pick up what proves to be the game's decisive run.  With one out in the last half of the eighth Van Meter yields consecutive singles to D'Arby Myers, Rey Fuentes and Vladimir Frias, loading the bases.  Steve Lombardozzi then lofts a sac-fly to right scoring Myers.

Rockers second baseman Michael Russell triples leading off the fifth, and scores on designated hitter  Tyler Ladendorf's ground ball to first.  In the top half of the ninth Ducks reliever Cody Mincey surrenders a crowd quieting lead-off home run to left fielder Quincy Latimore cutting High Point's deficit to one.  But Mincey regroups to retire the next three batters, striking out Tyler Ladendorf to end the game and earn the save.  Long Island starter Seth Simmons pitches masterfully, allowing one earned run on just two hits and two walks with nine strikeouts through seven innings for the victory.  He faces 27 batters and throws 109 pitches with 72 going for strikes. 

The victory gives the Long Island Ducks their fourth straight Liberty Division championship.

So far it's been a very happy 20th anniversary season!  Now it's on to the championship series.

Friday, September 27, 2019

PIGSKIN 2019: Week Four

Week Four

Week Two
Week Three

Week Three Record: 4-10
Overall Record:  18-24
Schmear of the Week: 1-2
Bagels in the Basket: -9

1st and Ten
  • How 'bout that Daniel Jones starting debut.
  • Bill Belichick doesn't need analytics.  What do these people not understand?
  • Jets catch their first break of the season: a week four bye.
  • Derek Barnett's hit on Packers Jamaal Williams is _____ .
  • Rex Ryan trolling Baker Mayfield ... LOL!!
2nd and Long
  • The NFL has always maintained a 20-game business model.  When the season was 14-games long they played six exhibitions.  And yes, when the schedule was 12 games they played eight exhibitions.  Owners have been chipping away ever since.  The USFL played 18 game seasons.  The NFL eliminated full contact practice (as I once knew it) so might as well water down the rest of the product with camp leading right into week one.  I swear the NFL is their own worst enemy.
  • Giants two weeks away from return of Golden Tate.
No Gain
  • Jalen Ramsey vs. Jacksonville (congratulations on the birth of his 2nd child, though).
  • Watching Jerry Jones build up to a dramatic downfall is fun.
  • No surgery for Saquon Barkley.
  • "Danny Dimes" nickname is stupid.
  • Of course AB's agent says he still wants to play.  That Drew Rosenhaus is a funny cat.
  • I don't know what Pass Interference is anymore, either!


I'm eliminating ties/push.  
Favorite/Push equals loss
Underdog/Push equals win
I Have Spoken

Friday Line NYDN

GIANTS -2 1/2 the D.C. Snyders
Warning: Emotional Pick!  Truth be told, I'm not sure whose defense is worse.  The Giants are without Saquon Barkley.  Is Coach Shurmur really gonna have Daniel Jones slinging the pigskin all over the place?  If Evan Engram and Sterling Shepard have anything to say about it, I guess the answer is yes.
WIN; 24-3 Giants

TEXANS -4 Panthers
Not buying into this Panthers/Kyle Allen thing.  J.J. Watt has just two sacks in three games.  It's time for him to go off.  And how about Deshaun Watson carrying his team for a change, huh!?
Loss; 16-10 Panthers

Browns +7 RAVENS
I'm a half-point from going the other way.  Just looking for the Browns to cover.  They can, and should.  Famous last words ... easy to overlook Lamar Jackson.
WIN; 40-25 Browns

CHARGERS -16 Dolphins
Potential career game against jet-lagged Sea Mammals awaits for Philip Rivers.  But notice how the spreads against Miami are narrowing (as if).  Chargers have much more at stake than just a lost game against the Collins Avenue vagrants.  Starting 1-3 in a division with the Chiefs is simply not a good idea.
WIN; 30-10 Chargers

COLTS -6 1/2 Raiders
Indy continues demonstrating they're stronger than people think.  I'm buying into Frank Reich being in calm, cool, control of the Colts.  The Raiders have their moments, but just can't be trusted, much less on the road.
Loss; 31-24 Raiders

Chiefs -6 LIONS
I'm not buying the Lions 2-0 start.  Matthew Stafford is questionable with a bum hip.  I know playing defense makes Kansas City break out in a rash, but, c'mon!
Loss; 34-30 Chiefs

Patriots -7 BILLS
Battle of the undefeated division rivals!  Don't make me laugh.  Buffalo's defense is certainly capable of pressuring Brady up the middle.  But it's time the Bills season take a dramatic turn for the worse.  Wait till you see the analytics Bill Belichick drops on Josh Allen.
Loss; 16-10 Patriots

FALCONS -3 1/2 Titans
Three weeks later, the Titans win over Cleveland looks less impressive.  They played the Colts tough; the Jags not so much.  The Falcons are Jekyll and Hyde, but they did manhandle the Vikes last week.  Look for them to keep it going.
Loss; 24-10 Lions

RAMS -10 Bucs
Over the last 30-minutes of last week's game, Tampa's offense is completely shut down by the Giants, and their defense is likewise utterly outplayed by Daniel Jones.  Yet a kick here and a kick there and they could have won.  Instead they're kicking themselves in the posterior.
Loss; 55-40 Bucs

Seahawks -5 CARDINALS
Despite an 0-2-1 record, the Cardinals are playing representative football.  They're just not winning.  I'll take Russell Wilson versus Kyler Murray, and give Seattle an edge in defense.
WIN; 27-10 Seahawks

BEARS -2 1/2 Vikings
Remember what Green Bay did to Minnesota in week two?  Stick with a very disruptive Chicago Dee-Fence.
WIN; 16-6 Bears

BRONCOS -3 Jaguars
The obligatory three points at home ... Oh, Parody, why have you forsaken us fans?  This game boils down to Joe Flacco vs. Gardner Minshew II ... I mean .. like .. WTF.
Loss; 26-24 Jaguars

Cowboys -2 1/2 SAINTS
The Cowboys spent the last three weeks getting fat on bad teams.  Look for them to gain a few more pounds this weekend.
Loss; 12-10 Saints

Schmear of the Week
Seahawks -5

Good luck, and have a great Football Sunday, everyone!

Post Game:
Week Four Record:  5-8
Overall Record:  23-32
Schmear of the Week:  2-2
Bagels in the Basket:  -9

Amazin' Date 9/27/1969: Tom Seaver Wins 25th Game of Season

From the desk of: HEAD-BUTTING MR. MET

Game #159: Saturday, September 27, 1969 - BR
New York Mets @ Philadelphia Phillies
Connie Mack Stadium

The Mets Amazin' Duo Strike Again

Making his final start of the regular season, Tom Seaver punctuates his candidacy for this year's Cy Young award with a masterful 1-0 performance against the Phillies at Connie Mack Stadium.  This comes on the heels of Jerry Koosman's complete game shutout effort on Friday.  It is Seaver's second shutout in his last three starts and his fifth of the season.  He yields three hits and two walks with four strikeouts en route to his major league leading 25th win of the season against seven losses with a 2.21 ERA, and 208 strikeouts.

Seaver's counterpart also pitches effectively.  Philadelphia's Grant Jackson allows the game's lone run on Bobby Pfeil's two out base hit in the eighth.  Otherwise he allows just five other hits with six strikeouts through eight innings pitched.

Cleon Jones (.343) continues his pursuit of the batting title with two more hits in four at-bats.

It's the Mets seventh straight win and their 22nd of September against just seven losses.  They improve to 98-61 (.616) and increase their division lead over the Cubs to eight games with three left to play.

  • NATIONAL LEAGUE WEST: The Atlanta Braves win their eighth in a row.  They hold a 2.5 game lead ahead of the San Francisco Giants with three games left to play.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

L.I. Ducks Sweep First Two Road Games at High Point

From the desk of: THE WEBBED SPIKES NINE

Ducks lead Rockers; 2-0
I - LID 8; HPR 7
II - LID 8; HPR 1

High Point Rockers
Long Island Ducks


Unlike Tuesday's harrowing experience, the Long Island Ducks have an easier time handling the Rockers on Wednesday, rolling to an 8-1 victory and completing a two game road sweep at BB&T Point.  The series now shifts 600 miles away to Bethpage Ballpark on Long Island where the Ducks beginning Friday will have three chances to win one game and punch a fourth straight ticket to the Atlantic League championship series.

A hit by Richie Shaffer leading off the second, a one-out hit by Myles Schroder, and a throwing error by Ducks catcher Hector Sanchez lead to High Point's first (unearned) run of the game.  It would also be High Point's last.  Long Island starter Vin Mazzaro faces 30 batters, throwing 109 pitches with 68 going for strikes.  He allows no earned runs on just two hits and four walks with ten strikeouts in a brilliant eight inning winning performance.  Reliever Brian Matusz pitches a scoreless ninth inning to close out Long Island's second straight victory on the road.

L.J. Mazzilli is 2 for 5 with a home run and two runs batted in.  The ageless Lew Ford goes 3 for 5 with a double and to runs batted in.  Steve Lombardozzi triples in four at-bats, and rounds out a trio of Ducks with two runs batted.  Rey Fuentes and Dan Fields each drive in a run apiece.

N.Y. Mets: The Great Jerry Koosman To Receive Long Overdue Tribute

From the desk of: HEAD-BUTTING MR. MET


With Tuesday's announcement begins the long overdue recognition and commemoration of one of the greatest and most beloved pitchers to ever don Flushing's orange and blue.  The New York Mets will be retiring Jerry Koosman's #36 in a ceremony planned for next season.

Where it concerns my preteen years and baseball heroes, Jerry Koosman, Rusty Staub, and Tug McGraw are my Mets Rushmore of Three.  It's rather impossible for me to differentiate one from the other, and I refuse to include a fourth.

But, Mike, what about Tom Seaver?

What about him ... he was a god to me ... I worshiped him.  He and Koosman formed one of the game's most formidable one-two punches of their era.  But The Franchise inspired in me a somewhat different emotion than did the aforementioned three.  With Seaver it was more a matter of respect, watching with great amazement and admiration as he went about his craft, and understanding that I was witnessing greatness.  He was elite, and therefore I made an unconscious differentiation.  Like most, if not all fans, I was greatly angered when the Mets traded him.  But I didn't love him the way a kid loves his dog.  When the Mets traded Staub and McGraw I felt nothing but sadness and pain.  They traded away two of my three best friends.  By the time it came for setting Koosman free the Mets were a badly deteriorated club.  Therefore I was relieved and happy for Koosman, but at the same time saddened again to see him go.

That being said I just can't bring myself to place a fourth Met on my Rushmore for fear of leaving someone out.  And so Seaver leads my best of the rest list.  He along with John Milner, John Stearns, and Keith Hernandez, David Wright, and, you get the picture ...

With great certainty I say the methodical deconstruction of the 1969/1973 Mets initiated in the mid-1970's effectively cost Jerry Koosman a golden opportunity for bettering his Hall of Fame credentials as he was one of the last of the Amazin's to be let go.  In 1976  Koosman posts a 21-10 record with 2.69 ERA.  Seaver gets traded the following summer and Koosman is left behind to lose 35 games over the next two seasons pitching for a last place club.  In 1979, his first season with the Minnesota  Twins, 36-year old Jerry Koosman posts a 20-13 record with an American League grade 3.38 ERA.

He wins 147 games in a Mets uniform, but none bigger than game five of the 1969 World Series against the Orioles at Shea Stadium.  However, his 1976 campaign is one of my grandest memories as a young Mets fan.  He never won the Rookie of the Year or a Cy Young award, but forever earned a place in my heart.

Today, I'm very, very happy for Jerry Koosman, a great, great New York Met.

Amazin' Date 9/26/1969: Koosman Whitewashes Phillies at Connie Mack Stadium

From the desk of: HEADBUTTING MR. MET

Game #158: Friday, September 26, 1969 - BR
New York Mets @ Philadelphia Phillies
Connie Mack Stadium

Jerry Koosman Hurls Seventh Shutout of Season

The National League East champs open their final road trip of the season at Philadelphia.  Making his 31st start of the season, Jerry Koosman wins his fifth straight decision, and tosses his third shutout in his last four starts.  He allows just four hits and two walks with seven strikeouts in a complete game whitewashing of the Phillies at Connie Mack Stadium.  Its his seventh shutout of the season.  Jerry    Koosman improves to 17-9 with a 2.21 RA.

The Mets inflict all their damage against Phillies starter Woodie Fryman who allows five runs, four earned, on six hits and three walks with four strikeouts through five innings pitched.  In the first inning Donn Clendenon hits his third home run in his last two games giving the Mets an instant 2-0 lead.  Duffy Dyer doubles and comes around to score in the second.  In the fifth Amos Otis and Bobby Pfeil each drive in a run apiece en route to a 5-0 Mets victory.

It's the Mets sixth straight win and their 97th of the season.  Four games remain on the schedule.

  • Mets Record: 97-61
  • N.L. East: 7 Games Up

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

N.Y. Giants: Daniel Jones Unleashed

From the desk of: DO IT FOR THE DUKE


Giants   32
Bucs      31


Once upon a time 49ers head coach George Seifert couldn't wait to jettison surefire hall of famer Joe Montana in favor of Steve Young - just like Patriots head coach Bill Belichick couldn't wait to eject Drew Bledsoe in favor of Tom Brady; just like Green Bay's Mike McCarthy couldn't wait to rid himself of Brett Favre in favor of Aaron Rogers; and just like Tom Coughlin decided to move away from Kurt Warner in favor of his highly touted rookie.  Every one of the aforementioned quarterbacks played in at least one Super Bowl.  Which is to say this is how football generally works.  Its nothing personal.  In like manner Pat Shurmur decides after week two it's time to lower the curtain on Eli Manning's illustrious career as starting quarterback of the New York Giants.

Very unlike the Ben McAdoo/Jerry Reese/John Mara triumvirate's ill conceived plan to bench Eli in favor of Geno Smith, Pat Shurmur moves forward with apparent autonomy, but more importantly a qualified replacement.  With his rookie under center, head coach Put Shurmur's playbook also changes.  Even though the Tampa Bay Buccaneers do much to scuttle their own efforts, Dave Gettleman's and Shurmur's first round draft selection brilliantly leads the Giants to their first victory of the season.

And just like that, the Daniel Jones era begins ...

Down 28-10 at the half, the Giants put up 22 second-half points en route to a stunning 32-31 victory at Tampa.  Jones is 23 of 36 (64%) for 336 yards.  He connects for touchdowns with Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram who both exceed 100-yards receiving.  Rookie Darius Slayton is not far behind with 82 yards on just three receptions.  But after eight rushing attempts, Saquon Barkley is forced out of the game with a high ankle sprain.  Naturally, Daniel Jones rushes for two touchdowns.

We all know not every game will be like this.  But it's a helluva damn good start.  Jones did fumble twice, and the Giants really should have lost.  However, Sunday was the most fun I've had watching Big Blue football since the end of the 2011 season.

Now the Giants just need to take care of him.  The offensive line allowed just two total sacks and ten QB hits through weeks one and two.  Tampa records five sacks and 15 other QB hits!  Shaquil Barrett has four sacks alone.  High priced left tackle Nate Solder performs with all the athleticism of a mailbox.

OTD 9/25/1914: Victory Over Brooklyn Tip Tops Lifts Chicago Into First Place


ChiFeds lead Tip Tops; 1-0
I - CHI 4; BTT 1

Chicago ChiFeds
Brooklyn Tip Tops


There's a new leader atop the Federal League standings.  Chicago's victory over Brooklyn on Friday coupled with the Hoosiers defeat at Pittsburgh gives Joe Tinker's ChiFeds a one game advantage over Indianapolis.
Tip Tops starter Mordecai Brown pitches well in Friday's series opener at Washington Park, just not well enough, or perhaps not as well as his opponent Rankin Johnson.  The ChiFeds starter limits Brooklyn to one earned run on five scattered hits and two walks with ten strikeouts in a complete game winning effort.  Chicago jumps out to a 1-0 lead in the second.  Brooklyn draws even in the third on George Anderson's run batted in.  But the ChiFeds pull away late en route to a 4-1 victory.  Mordecai allows all four runs on eleven hits and one walk with five strikeouts through nine innings.  Shortstop/manager Joe Tinker is 1 for 4 with a run scored.  Center fielder Dutch Zwilling is 3 for 4 with a double, home run, and two runs batted in.

With a change in competition, the Tip Tops are now 7.5 games behind the first place ChiFeds with 15 games left to play.  Chicago has 12 games left to play.

L.I. Ducks: Flock Win Wild Playoff Opener at High Point

From the desk of: THE WEBBED SPIKES NINE

Ducks lead Rockers; 1-0
I - LID 8; HPR 7

Game Two
Long Island Ducks
High Point Rockers
A Ballpark 600 Miles Away

Bringing a small measure of irony to the series, John Brownell, Long Island's celebrated all-time pitching leader, makes the start for High Point in their first ever Atlantic League playoff game.  He is opposed by present Ducks ace Darin Downs.

High drama makes an early arrival at the ballpark and settles in for a lively night.  With two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the first Darin Downs strikes outs right fielder Jared Mitchell ending the Rockers threat.  After hitting into consecutive inning ending double plays, the Ducks break through in the top of the third with four runs on three hits and four walks, highlighted by consecutive triples from David Washington and Vladimir Frias, and a two run scoring Steve Lombardozzi double to deep center.  The Ducks tack on a run in the top of the sixth when L.J. Mazzilli draws a one out walk and eventually scores on Deibinson Romero's sac-fly to left giving Long Island a 5-0 lead.  In the bottom half of the frame Rockers designated hitter Quincy Latimore spoils Darin Downs shutout bid with a long solo home run over the center field fence.

John Brownell's night ends upon surrendering Long Island's sixth and seventh runs of the evening.  All seven runs are earned on six hits and eight walks with only two strikeouts through 6.1 innings pitched.  Dusty Isaacs closes out the frame in relief of Brownell.

With a runner on first in the bottom of the seventh manager Wally Backman turns to his bullpen.  Darin Downs walks off on the winning side of a 7-1 lead.  However, relievers Joe Iorio and Myles Smith join together in yielding five earned runs on three hits and three walks as High Point ties the game at seven before the inning is through.

Undeterred, Deibinson Romero leading off the top of the eighth deposits reliever Sam Runion's fifth offering of the at-bat over the left field wall for an 8-7 Ducks lead.  Manager Wally Backman then hands off to Cody Mincey in the eighth who retires the side in order.  In the top of the ninth, the Ducks hit into their fifth game ending double-play of the game.  Cody Mincey closes out High Point in the ninth for the save.

Darin Downs faces 26 batters, while throwing 104 pitches with 67 (64%) going for strikes, but does not figure in the decision.  Rob Rogers earns the victory for his work in the seventh inning. Steve Lombardozzi, L.J. Mazzilli, and Deibinson Romero all drive in two runs apiece.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Amazin' Date 9/24/1969: New York Mets Clinch N.L. East Pennant

From the desk of: HEAD-BUTTING MR. MET

Game #157: Wednesday, September 24, 1969 - BR
St. Louis Cardinals @ New York Mets
Shea Stadium


"Goodbye, Leo, we hate to see you go!"

... the anthem of New York's summer.

Despite Chicago's afternoon victory over Montreal at Wrigley Field, the Cubs no longer are a matter of concern to the Amazin' Mets whom defeat the St. Louis Cardinals Wednesday evening to clinch the first ever National League East pennant before a raucous crowd at Shea Stadium.

Donn Clendenon gets the party started straightaway in the first inning with a long three run home run to right/center off Cardinals starter Steve Carlton.  After Ron Swoboda follows with a base on balls, Ed Charles connects on New York's second home run of the inning knocking Steve Carlton outta the box.  

Pandemonium ...

With one out in the fifth Donn Clendenon goes the other way for his second home run of the night giving the Mets a 6-0 lead and ultimate margin of victory.

Bedlam ...

Rookie Gary Gentry winds up with the great fortune of hurling the Mets division clincher.  Making his 33rd start of the season, Gentry allows the St. Louis Cardinals just four scattered hits and two walks with five strikeouts in a brilliant complete game shutout performance.  With one out and runners on first and second in the top of the ninth, Gil Hodges sticks with his man.  Gentry rewards his manager by inducing Joe Torre into a game ending 6-4-3 double play.

"... ground ball to short, this could be it.  There's one; there's two; the game is over.  At 9:07 on Sept. 24th the Mets have won the Eastern Division of the National League ... Look at that scene!"  -  Lindsey Nelson

Fans instantly pour on to the field in wild elation as New York's triumphant heroes scatter towards the safety of their locker room.

"I knew I got it all.  I didn't think there was any ball park in the world that would hold that one.  I knew it was gone."  -  Donn Clendenon on his first inning home run.   

The game marks New York's fifth straight win, and their 20th of the month against just seven losses.

  • METS RECORD: 96-61 (.611)
  • Clinch National League East Division Title
  • Six Game Lead Over Chicago Cubs

YouTube: Game Highlights; Clubhouse Celebration

Long Island Ducks 2019 Liberty Division Series Preview

From the desk of: THE WEBBED SPIKES NINE

I - @ H.P.
II - @ H.P
III - @ L.I.
*IV- @ L.I.
*V - @ L.I.

BB&T Point

John Brownell, long time Ducks great, faces his former team as a 
member of the High Point Rockers in Game One at North Carolina.  
He will be opposed by Long Island's Darin Downs.

Distance between Bethpage Ballpark and BB&T Point: 604 miles

  • OVERALL RECORD: 85-54 (.611)
  • First and Second Half Champs; Seeking 4th Straight Liberty Division Crown.
  • Season Series vs. High Point: 8-11
  • Runs Scored vs. High Point: 59

  • 2B-L.J. Mazzilli: 460 AB (.293/.351/.435) 26 doubles; 13 HR; 74 RBI
  • 1B-David Washington: 346 AB (.237/.334/.488) 18 doubles; 23 HR; 60 RBI
  • C-Hector Sanchez: 352 AB (.273/.307/.406) 20 doubles; 9 HR; 58 RBI
  • 3B-Deibinson Romero: 246 AB (.268/.322/.463) 15 doubles; 11 HR; 46 RBI

  • SP-Joe Iorio: 6-3 record w/ 3.09 ERA; 128.1 innings; 92 strikeouts; 1.22 WHiP
  • SP-Darin Downs: 2.63 ERA; 109.2 innings; 85 hits; 140 strikeouts; 1.09 WHiP
  • SP/RP-Brandon Beachy: 6-0 record w/ 2.85 ERA; 41.0 innings; 38 strikeouts; 1.22 WHiP
  • RP-Cody Mincy: 7-1 record w/ 2.53 ERA; 67.2 innings; 96 strikeouts; 5 saves; 1.18 WHiP

  • OVERALL RECORD: 74-66 (.528)
  • Inaugural Season; Wild Card
  • Season Series vs. Long Island: 11-8
  • Runs Scored vs. Long Island: 94

  • SS-Hector Gomez: 464 AB (.291/.329/.453) 35 doubles; 12 HR; 76 RBI
  • OF-Quincy Latimore: 402 AB (.264/.346/.485) 24 doubles; 21 HR; 72 RBI
  • 1B-Richie Shaffer: 353 AB (.235/.346/.510) 16 doubles; 27 HR; 72 RBI
  • 1B-Stephen Cardullo: 511 AB (.266/.375/.477) 36 doubles; 22 HR; 70 RBI

  • RP-Ryan Kelly: 3.75 ERA; 24.0 innings; 24 strikeouts; 13 saves
  • RP-Ashur Tolliver: 8-1 record w/ 2.94 ERA; 49.0 innings; 38 strikeouts; 1.12 WHiP
  • SP/RP-Edwin Carl: 3.35 ERA; 94.0 innings; 87 strikeouts; 1.41 WHiP
  • SP-Joe Van Meter: 10-6 record w/ 2.30 ERA; 144.2 innings; 131 strikeouts; 0.96 WHiP


  • ERA:  High Point #1; Long Island #2
  • WHiP:  High Point #1; Long Island #2
  • HR Allowed:  High Point #4; Long Island #5
  • Strikeouts:  Long Island #1; High Point #3
  • Saves:  Long Island #1; High Point #6
  • ShO:  Long Island #1; High Point #4
  • Runs:  High Point #4; Long Island #5
  • Home Runs:  High Point #2; Long Island #4
  • OPS:  High Point #3; Long Island #5
  • Total Bases:  High Point #2; Long Island #4
  • Stolen Bases:  Long Island #3; High Point #6

Freedom Division Series 
Sugar Land Skeeters vs. York Revolution


OTD 9/24/1914: Brooklyn Tip Tops Welcome Joe Tinker's Chicago ChiFeds to Washington Park


Tip Tops defeat Packers; 4-2
I - BTT 6; KCP 2
II - BTT 12; KCP 6
III - KCP 11; BTT 3
IV - KCP 9; BTT 8
V - BTT 3; KCP 2

Chicago ChiFeds
Brooklyn Tip Tops

Brooklyn rebounds from Wednesday's disheartening 9-8 loss with a much needed victory in Thursday's series finale against the Packers.  The Tips Tops take the series against Kansas City four games against two, and creep 6.5 games back of the Hoosiers.
Kansas City opens the scoring on shortstop Johnny Rawlings hit in the fourth.  But the Tip Tops respond with singles runs in the bottom half of the fourth, fifth and sixth innings.  Al Halt is 2 for 3 with a double and run batted in.  Steve Evans lifts his average to .357 on 2 for 4 with his 92nd run batted in of the season.  Jim Delahanty accounts for the Tip Tops third run batted in.  Starter Bill Chappelle allows the one earned run on on just four hits and three walks with two strikeouts through 5.1 innings pitched for the victory.  However, an increasingly desperate Bill Bradley summons usual starter Ed Lafitte from the bullpen.  Lafitte obliges his manager allowing one unearned run on just one hit and no walks with four strikeouts through the games final 3.2 innings.

Now it's onward to Chicago where Joe Tinker's ChiFeds have moved within one game of first place Indianapolis.  There's yet hope for these Tip Tops.


Monday, September 23, 2019

Amazin' Date 9/23/1969: Mets Clinch Tie for N.L. East Division Title

From the desk of: HEAD-BUTTING MR. MET

Game #156: Tuesday, September 23, 1969 - BR
St. Louis Cardinals @ New York Mets
Shea Stadium

Bud Harrelson Drives Home Game Winning Run Off Bob Gibson in 11th Inning at Shea

With Tuesday's victory over St. Louis, the New York Mets increase their division lead to six games over the Cubs with six games left in the season, assuring themselves of at least a tie for the N.L. East pennant.  Meanwhile fading Chicago loses to the Expos at Wrigley Field.  It's their 15th loss in their last 21 games.

Jim McAndrew and Tug McGraw duel Bob Gibson for eleven innings.  The Mets open the scoring in the third on Wayne Garrett's run batted in.  Ken Boswell's error in the fourth contributes to a pair of unearned St. Louis runs in the fifth.  But the Mets tie the game at two on Art Shamsky's base hit scoring Tommie Agee in the eighth.

Into extra innings they go.  Bob Gibson stays in the game to pitch a scoreless tenth.  Tug McGraw retires the Cardinals in order in the top of the eleventh inning.  With one out in the bottom half of the frame, Ron Swoboda and Jerry Grote each reach on consecutive singles.  Buddy Harrelson then slaps a third straight single against Gibson scoring Swoboda from second base.

Jim McAndrew allows no earned runs on nine hits and no walks with three strikeouts.  Tug Mcgraw earns his ninth victory of the season in relief of McAndrew, allowing just three hits through four scoreless innings.

It's the Mets fourth straight victory and their 19th of September against just seven losses.

  • Mets Record: 95-61 (.609)
  • N.L. East: Clinch Tie for First Place
  • Magic Number: ONE

Another Meaningful Metsian Podcast in September

From the desk of: HEAD-BUTTING MR. MET

My turn to host ...

with SAM, RICH, and MIKE

Show Date: 9/22/2019
eighty-one minutes

The Week Ahead ~ The Wild Card
Success ~ What Went Right ~ THE SEASON ~ What Went Wrong ~ Failure
!The Bullpen! ~ Annual May/June Swoon ~ Offensive Blackouts ~ !The Bullpen!
On Mickey Callaway's Employment ~ Grading Brodie's Rookie Season
Brodie's People vs. Sandy's People
Revisionist History ~ ROBINSON CANO/EDWIN DIAZ TRADE ~ Hindsight
Jay Bruce ~ Anthony Swarzak ~ Prospects
Free Agent Zack Wheeler ~ Trading Noah Syndergaard
JD Davis ~ Amed Rosario ~ Brandon Nimmo ~ Wilson Ramos
Casey Stengel ~ Mets Logo ~ Grading the Season
and so much more...!

N.Y. Jets: Gase Gets Obligatory Ugly Loss at Foxboro Out of the Way


It Just Got Worse

New York Jets               14
New England Patriots  30

Mayday!  Mayday!!

First a tip of the cap to the defense and special teams for generating a touchdown each and making this a somewhat more digestible 16-point game.  At least they covered the spread, right?

Otherwise the Jets allow four touchdowns, and the Patriots run the ball far more effectively than their 68 rushing yards may lead people to believe.  The Jets manage just one sack and only four other QB hits during an unfavorable 34:14 minutes of field time.

As for the other side of the ball, you can be aghast at what you saw Sunday but by no means should you be taken aback.

Who didn't see this coming?

Third string Luke Falk is under duress all day.  He goes 12/22 for 98 yards, with one INT.  New England sacks him five times, and get in another ten QB hits.  The Patriots also limit Le'Veon Bell to a mere 35 yards rushing on 18 carries, while Braxton Berrios leads the Jets with only 29 yards receiving.  The Jets generate an inconsequential 105 total yards and average an amateurish 2.2 yards per play.  They achieve six first downs all game, and are 0-12 on third down conversions.

Adam Gase's bruised, beaten, and embattled Jets begin the season with three straight losses.

On to the City of Brotherly Love ...

Sunday, September 22, 2019

N.Y. Mets: Pete Alonso Joins The 50 Home Run Club

From the desk of: HEAD-BUTTING MR. MET


Babe Ruth in 1920 becomes the first ever major league baseball player to hit 50 home runs in a season.  The former pitcher of the Boston Red Sox accomplishes the feat in his first season as a member of the New York Yankees.  The Babe ends the season hitting 54 home runs in 458 at-bats.  Of the nearly 20,000 people to ever play major league baseball Mets rookie first baseman Pete Alonso becomes only the 30th ever to join the 50 home run club, one century after Ruth first opened its doors.  The milestone home run comes in his 152nd game, and 560th at-bat of the season.

In their 58 year history Pete Alonso becomes the first ever New York Met to have his name listed among members of the 50 home run club.  He breaks Dave Kingman's club record for most home runs before the all-star game, then goes on to win the 2019 Home Run Derby.  Alonso continues onward to shatter with remarkable haste Darryl Strawberry's club record for most home runs in a season by a Mets rookie.  After which he breaks the National League record for home runs by a rookie set by L.A. Dodger Cody Bellinger.  Pete is presently in the midst of setting the Mets single-season home run record formerly shared by Todd Hundley and Carlos Beltran.  On Friday he becomes only the second ever major league rookie to hit 50 home runs in a season.  Alonso now has eight games remaining in the season with which to tie and break Aaron Judge's MLB record of 52 home runs by a rookie.

  • 2016 - slashes .321/.382/.587/.969, with 5 home runs and 21 RBI in 109 at-bats at BROOKLYN!
  • 2018 - leads all minor leagues with 36 home runs and 119 RBI during split season at (AA)- Binghamton and (AAA)-Las Vegas.

  • 1996 - Todd Hundley (41)
  • 1999 - Mike Piazza (40)
  • 2006 - Carlos Beltran (41)
  • 2019 - Pete Alonso - TBD

Pete Alonso (115) needs ten more RBI in order to break Mike Piazza's (124) club record.

Go Polar Bear!



Amazin' Date 9/22/1969: Victory Over Cards Reduces Mets Magic Number to Three

From the desk of: HEAD-BUTTING MR. MET


Game #155: Monday, September 22, 1969 - BR
St. Louis Cardinals @ New York Mets
Shea Stadium


The Mets welcome St. Louis to Shea Stadium where they defeat the Cardinals 3-1 and reduce their magic number to clinch the N.L. East flag to three games.  Tom Seaver limits the Redbirds to just one late run in the eighth on four total hits and no walks with four strikeouts through nine complete innings for his 24th victory of the season against seven losses with a 2.28 ERA.  Seaver also helps himself out at the plate with his sixth run batted in of the season.  Tommie Agee and Art Shamsky drive in a run apiece for a 3-1 Mets victory.  Art Shamsky has 18 hits and ten runs batted in over his last 18 games.  The Cubs were idle, and so the Mets increase their lead to five games over Chicago with seven left to play.
  • Mets Record: 94-61
  • N.L. East: 1st Place; 5 Games Up
  • Magic Number: 3

OTD 9/22/1914: Tom Seaton Masterpiece Keeps Brooklyn Tip Tops Hopes Alive


Tip Tops lead Packers; 3-1
I - BTT 6; KCP 2
II - BTT 12; KCP 6
III - KCP 11; BTT 3
IV - BTT 1; KCP 0

Kansas City Packers
Brooklyn Tip Tops

Are we to believe there still yet exists a glimmer of hope for Brooklyn?  Apparently that's what this resilient Tip Tops club is selling the Washington Park faithful after surviving Monday's 11-3 slaughter to outlast Kansas City in game four and gain a three games to one advantage in the series.

With only 19 games left in the season starter Tom Seaton keeps manager Bradley's fading dream of capturing a pennant alive with a masterful 1-0 whitewashing of the Packers Tuesday afternoon at Washington Park.  Third baseman Tex Wisterzil drives in the lone run of the game in the second inning.  Brooklyn's hurler takes care of the rest.  Tom Seaton allows no runs on just six hits and one walk with six strikeouts in a complete game shutout performance for his 23rd victory of the season against twelve loses with a 2.98 ERA.  Kansas City's Nick Culllop warrants a tip of the cap for allowing just one earned run on five hits and no walks with three strikeouts through eight innings pitched.

While the Tip Tops improve to 70-66 and get back within seven games of first place, the Indianapolis Hoosiers have been methodically reduced to a precarious half-game lead over Joe Tinker's Chicago ChiFeds.