Posts Tagged ‘1986 Mets’

1986 to 2010: Confidence and Determination to Caution and Trepidation

March 28, 2010

Before the start of the 1986 Mets season, then manager Davy Johnson stood in front of all his players in the clubhouse and confidently proclaimed that this would be without a doubt the year in which the New York Mets would go all the way to the World Series and win it.

Coming off of two very successfully seasons in ’84 and ’85 that virtually put the Mets back on the baseball map, fans were also beginning to see the maturation of their farm system in pitcher Dwight Gooden and slugger Darryl Strawberry emerge right before their eyes. Why wouldn’t Johnson feel compelled to profess that his ball club was the best in the business?

Eager to prove the naysayers wrong that the Mets weren’t just a bunch of overfed, immature, downright scum, they fulfilled their manager’s prophecy in dramatic fashion no less and won the whole goddamn thing.

Fast forward to this upcoming season and to present-day Mets manager, Jerry Manuel, who has also made some of his own personal predictions although none as bold as his fiery predecessor’s. Manuel, who will be starting the 2010 season under the veneer of a lame-duck year, stood in front of his players and demanded at the very least fundamental baseball. Instead of using words like achievement and redemption, Manuel spoke in terms of prevention and recovery.

With a large majority of his players returning from the disabled list, Manuel is proceeding with caution. Like any good manager, Manuel would rather have his starting shortstop Jose Reyes available for the duration of the season rather than push him for Opening Day and place his overall status in jeopardy.

Looking back on the 1986 season, the Mets had Dwight Gooden’s dominating pitching, Keith Hernandez’ consistent play both defensively and at the plate, and a lethal combination of power and speed in a young Darryl Strawberry. The Mets along with their manager, Davy Johnson, were ready for greatness.

As for Manuel, with the 2010 season on its way, the focus will be on staying healthy and deciding which reliever will be coming out of his bullpen to set up for his closer.

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Book Review: The Bad Guys Won; Jeff Pearlman

January 5, 2009

bad-guys-won

What better way to pass the time during these winter months than sitting in your favorite chair indulging yourself with a book. Better yet, how about a book that features passion, desire, true grit, a little tomfoolery, and the New York Mets. Former Sports Illustrated baseball writer Jeff Pearlman gives that and more with The Bad Guys Won, an off-beat chronicle of the entire 1986 Mets baseball season.

Pearlman’s take on the unforgettable season provides first-hand knowledge of the on-the field, off-the field excitement and administers his own wit and sarcasm to formulate dead-on character profiles of each member affiliated with the lovable, Scum Bunch. Even through a cloud of drugs and alcohol, Keith, Darryl, Doc, Mookie, Nails, Ron, and the rest of the gang clinch the NL East in convincing fashion by winning 108 regular season games.

In 1986, GM Frank Cashen orchestrated his most unique roster of ball players this side of the Whitestone Expressway. That group of guys brought along their rough and tumbles style to the sport’s biggest stage and went on to acquire baseball’s ultimate prize. By taking the divisional series in the middle of the night from Mike “scuff’” and the rest of the Houston Astros and pulling off the “improbable” to capture a World Series ring from the highly-respected Boston Red Sox, the Mets defied convention and revealed a tough competitiveness that is unmatched by any New York Mets team. The book nears its conclusion with a last minute jaunt by Keith Hernandez who was forced to hop over a metal fence near City Hall just barely making the start of the commemorative ticker-tape parade in honor of the Mets down Broadway.

Whether it’s Mets manager Davey Johnson’s proclamation that his team’s pedigree is the class of the division, or an after-hours romp which leads to four New York Mets being bailed out of a Texas jail, this New York Times Bestseller should be included in any loyal Mets fan’s bookshelf.

Harper Collins
287 pages