Monday, June 29, 2015

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>LETS GO MATZ!!!

 I'll only do the LETS GO MATZ thing this one time. I swear. Don't start throwing stuff at me.


Long Island native pitching prospect Steven Matz arrived yesterday in the most irregular way. 
First off, his scheduled major league debut was to be at 1:10pm. Due to the suspended game on Saturday his start time was delayed. And nobody knew how long it would be delayed because when Matt Harvey's start the day before was cut short by rain the score was tied at 1-1.

When he returned home after Saturday's suspended game, Matz spent his evening sanding the bat that Las Vegas teammate Matt Reynolds gave him to use. (You might remember Reynolds from spring training>. Why we haven't seen him up yet is a mystery to me.)

It turned out the pick-up game, which was stopped for rain going into the seventh, didn't even start on time. The delayed game was delayed an additional 21 minutes, so it resumed after 1:30pm.The Mets finally won in walk-off fashion in the 13th, thanks to Joey Votto getting all fumble fingered.


So Steven Matz finally took the mound a little after 4:30 in the afternoon. While watching the end of the first game my thoughts turned to Matz. I thought that it was most unfortunate that he should have to make his first appearance on such an unorganized day. Even the weather didn't want to cooperate. And keep in mind that Matz had arrived at the stadium around 10:30am.


When Reds lead off batter Brandon Phillips smacked the 5th pitch of the game out of the park (although just barely) for a home run I though,"Oh, no! We're doomed". But Matz didn't think that. He was unfazed. "I just thought, you know what, I just got my first batter out of the way and now it's time to go to work," Matz would say after the game. 

 And all he did was go on to pitch 7.2/3 innings, limit Cincinnati to 2 runs on 5 hits, and win his first big league ballgame. Matz pitching was superb aside from the two long balls he surrendered. I witnessed a wicked curve ball and a nice fastball that sweeps through the strike zone.

But that's not what everyone's gonna be talking about around the water cooler today. Because Matz did more. Matz made history.

 After the lead off homer Matz settled down. You could see he was amped. Some of his fastballs were flying up,up and away out of the zone. But he harnessed his stuff and showed he was ready to be a major league pitcher. And a major league batter.


In the Mets second Darrell Cecilani started it off by trickling a grounder up the middle, an easy play that Reds shortstop Eugenio Suarez (who had just a horrendous series in the field for the Reds) booted and Cecil was on at first. Two productive outs got Cecil to third for Eric Campbell, who Cincinnati decided to walk intentionally to get to the pitcher, Matz. Sound baseball strategy one would think. Except when stuff happens in baseball. And stuff happened.
Matz's family and friends in attendance.

The lanky Metropolitan pitched lefty but batted righty. As he strode up to the dish I noticed that he wore no batting gloves. Tough guy, huh?

Matz first hit, a 2 run double.
Matz amazed me and you and his family and everyone by slugging a long drive that kept on curling away from Red center fielder Billy Hamilton. It dropped beyond his reach and both Ceciliani and Campbell scored. In his first major league at-bat Matz had given himself a 2-1 lead, clearing the bases with a stand up double! Amazin'!

HA! Hamilton sucks.

So right off the bat Steven Matz made Metropolitan history. He became the first Mets pitcher to drive in two runs in his first major league at-bat. But he wasn't done. 

Next time up, he singled. In the bottom of the sixth, Matz stepped in with the bases loaded and a 3-2 lead. He smacked a single into left  for 2 more RBI's! When it was all over  Matz went 3-for-3 with a double and four RBI.

Matz became the first player -- pitcher or otherwise -- in franchise history to drive home four runs in his debut, and the first Mets pitcher to do it in any game since Dwight Gooden in 1990. He was the first pitcher to have three hits in his debut since Jason Jennings did it for the Rockies in 2001.
He is the first pitcher EVER to have three hits and four RBIs in his first Major League game (11th player overall).



This shouldn't be a surprise. Matz batted .304 with three RBIs in 25 plate appearances at Triple-A Las Vegas before his call-up Sunday. Yet it was. It was historically amazin'.

Matz second hit, a single to left.

Matz's third hit, a single that knocked in two more.

So we have Plawecki, Synderguaard, and now Matz mfc FUTURE STAR cards, all released for their MLB debuts.
Should I retro make one for Harvey and Wheeler? For Travis?


After the amazin' game Matz said, "Jacob deGrom told me, 'Now you're a big leaguer, you let up a couple home runs, you got a couple strikeouts, got a couple hits. You did it all today.'"


I haven't named a fan of the month in over a month. Months even. But I saw a great fan at this game. I don't know if he's a fan of the Mets or just his grandson, but no matter. Grampa Matz is awarded MFC Mets Fan Of The Month for June.

"Holy Shit!"



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This entry of the 2015 Season Set Met cards have been done up in rainbow colors to commemorate the Supreme Court's legalization of gay marriage this week.

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An update on David Wright:
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 Coming Soon: A salute to Chico Escuela and Saturday Night Live, 1978.


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And , oh yea, I lied. 
LETS GO MATZ! LETS GO MATZ! LETS GO MATZ!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

>>>>>>>In Memory-RIP Darryl Hamilton

There are no words.



RIP Mr. Hamilton, 
My thoughts and my heart go out to your children.
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Greg Prince of Faith And Fear In Flushing wrote a great article in tribute.
Read it here>>A Little Bit of Hamilton in My Life

Centerfield Maz gives a nice rundown on Hamilton's career here>>2000 N.L. Champion Mets Utility Player: Darryl Hamilton (1999-2001)

Thursday, June 18, 2015

RIP Nelson Doubleday / Mets keep truckin' / '85 Fleer Ceciliani Rook / '64 Topps Dick Smith

Artwork/Nelson Doubleday by John Pennisi








This post was almost in the can when I heard about the passing of Nelson Doubleday. I still wonder how things would have gone if Mets history went the opposite way, and Doubleday bought out the Wilpons.
 A sad day in New York Metropolitan history. Rest in peace Mr. Doubleday. I liked you.
Great article here about Nelson Doubleday and what he did for the Mets and what the Mets did to him. If you're a Mets fans this is required reading.

The Full Nelson: The Man Who Saved The Mets

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The Mets have been playing some very good baseball lately. Even losses have been exciting. They are a game and a half ahead of the Nats. And some of these wins show me a team that can run with the big boys. 

I think this is the first .gif card for the season set. Flores 11th inning single after Duda's shocking opposite field double for the walk-off win.


One of my favorite card designs is the 1985 Fleer. I had just started collecting baseball cards again and there were 3 major companies now. Topps, Fleer, and Donruss. In 1985 the Fleer design & set was my favorite of all.M.L. prospects. I introduced this Agee/Jones rookie card back in 2013 on Agee's page.

 

I said I would make a Plawecki/Robles rookie card and that slipped my mind. I did make a Plawecki Future Star and I owed Robles a rook, so here it is. Hansel will share a 1985 mfcFLEER M.L. prospects card with Darrell Ceciliani. I know that players from two different teams were portrayed on these cards, but as you can see I'm going all Mets.

 


Robels started out strong in early May and leveled out. He's had 5 holds, a win, a loss and a blown save. He's been used 20 times for 16 total innings walking 7 and striking out 14. He looks like he could be a thoroughbred but that hasn't happen. Yet.

Darrell Ceciliani started out weak (.125 in May) and has been coming on strong (.364 in June). Brings a young Lenny Dykstra to mind. Looks to have good baseball instincts and know how. The kid has some pop too.




 My nickname for Ceciliani is simply Cecil, and I can't think of Cecil without Beany.
This really ages me, lol.


Wouldn't be fair to only make fun of only one of them.


Yea, I know. It's actually spelt Hensel.

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Jason Fry of Faith & Fear In Flushing provided a decent picture of Dick Smith who played for the Mets in the mid 60's. It's not the best quality although it's the best I've run into. 

His original mfc card was one of my most disappointing customs, mainly because the image used was so small. I'm not too thrilled with this one either. Something does not look right.

In both cards the Polo Grounds background was added by me. Which is bad for the most recent. He's in his away uniform! DOH! Lets fix that and maybe work that pic better.






















This card will be added to the 1965 mfc page.

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Credits

Thanks to John Pennisi for his great caricature of Nelson Doubleday. Another forced collaboration.
I do get to work with some great artists this way though. Great work of art Mr. Pennisi.

Photo of Dick Smith provided by Jason Fry.







Friday, June 12, 2015

No-no. NOOOOO0000oooo!


I must introduce this card to the season set. I'm not too thrilled about it, but these things happen. The Mets are still dancing around first place, playing hot potato with the nasty Nats. Can they keep this up? Injured players are starting to return and this should help. David Wright is still a big question mark. New York just got slapped around a bit by San Fran but were able to squeeze in a walk off win to stave off a sweep. 

The Mets will play the Atlanta Braves in a three game series starting tonight at Citi Field. New York needs to slap Atlanta around and build up a few games over Washington.
LETS GO METS!

A card denoting Heston's no hitter against the Mets is entered into the record.



Tuesday, June 2, 2015

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>THOR!!!!!


Three cards have been added to the season set. All deal with Noah Syndergaard's outing on May 27th.
Thor pitched a very impressive 7.1 innings and hit an even more impressive home run.

The day before his father's birthday Noah played not the good son, but the great son. Syndergaard became the first Mets rookie pitcher to ever strike out at least five batters in his first four starts. The Franchise never did that. Doc didn't do it. Not even The Dark Knight.
 Only Thor.


He also went 3 for 3 at the plate, tying a franchise record for hits in a game by a pitcher - matched by Jacob deGrom earlier this month. One of those hits was a massive four bagger to deep center.

Syndrgaard had homered earlier this season out in Triple-A Las Vegas and gave that home run ball to his mom for Mother's Day. After the game Noah said he would give this game ball to his dad, adding with a wide smile: "This one has my dad's name written all over it.''




Lucas Duda had a great game, smacking two dingers. The home runs are starting to come for Lucas. This is going to be the season that really puts him on the map. Last years 30 home runs were just an appetizer. What he's doing vs. lefties is sick. I want to see 100 RBIs from The Lumberjack.




The Mets fell out of first but are trying to haul themselves back in. They are virtually tied with the Washington Nationals for first place, a mere .002 behind in the standings. Thor goes tonight against the San Diego Padres with an opportunity to put New York back in the drivers seat.



There was a buzz about how Matt Harvey reacted to Syndergaards home run. Video of him in the dugout showed he made a face. Many have said he was jealous or some other such garbage. To me he looked surprised AND impressed at the same time.


Look at how Noahs head is right on that ball.