The Mets' Forgotten First Half

The first half of the season featured events that most Mets fans will remember long after 2012. Johan Santana's no-hitter. R.A. Dickey's back-to-back one-hitters. Mike Baxter's brilliant catch to preserve Johan's no-no. Maybe some of us will cherish Scott Hairston hitting for the cycle. In between these major stories there were a boatload of smaller goings-on. Many of them were quickly forgotten, as fresher items popped up and stole all the attention. This list is meant to recall some happenings which may have slipped your mind as the focus turns toward a magical second half playoff run. Heck, I had to peruse the archives to come up with most of these. The first one cheats a little bit and goes back to spring training.

Terry Collins's beef with Ruben Tejada

Tejada showed up to spring training on time. This was a sin in the eyes of Collins, who had urged Tejada to arrive early and publicly griped about his failure to do so. It needlessly put 22-year-old Tejada in the spotlight and should have been kept behind closed doors. This was not Collins's finest hour.

It was a big story for a few days but was quickly forgotten after Collins and Tejada met to patch things up. Luckily, Amazin' Avenue was able to snag a copy of the transcript of the meeting.

David Wright's injuries

After putting up MVP-caliber numbers in the first half, Wright's March and April injury issues are a distant memory. If you'll recall, he suffered an oblique tweak in spring training which worried some that he might miss Opening Day. It didn't, but it did keep him out of exhibition game action until the last week in March. Not exactly the start everyone was hoping for following his injury-plagued 2011 season.

Wright shook it off and started the regular season on fire, going 7-for-12 with a home run and four walks through four games. Alas, he fractured his pinky finger diving back into first base during game number four. Same old Mets injury curse, right? Wrong. Wright missed just three games and has laid waste to opposing pitchers ever since. A big thank you goes out to the Silly Putty-looking thing that Wright squeezes in the dugout to treat his pinky injury.

Jeremy Hefner's home run

Hefner was king-for-a-day on May 29, 2012. He pitched six strong innings in a 6-3 victory over the Phillies and socked a solo home run off Joe Blanton. The homer traveled 354 feet down the left field line and gave the Mets a 4-2 lead in the fourth inning. Twenty-six other Mets pitchers have hit a home run, with Santana in August 2010 the most recent before Hefner. Here is video of the home run, which occurred while checking in with Kevin:

Hef's 1.667 OPS leads the Mets this season (minimum five plate appearances). He also has a strong chance of being the answer to an SNY trivia question in the future.

David Wright's dugout beef with Terry Collins

Remember this? No? Maybe this image will jog your memory:

Angrydavid__medium

Near the end of an 8-0 loss to the Brewers in mid-May, D.J. Carrasco drilled Ryan Braun with a pitch after allowing a home run to Rickie Weeks. Collins removed Wright from the game, fearing retaliation against his star player. Wright took exception with the decision and proceeded to give Collins the business right there in the dugout for all to see.

It looked ugly for a few minutes but in reality it was just a case of a competitive athlete getting riled up in the moment. Collins was simply protecting his guy, a guy only a few weeks removed from a couple of injuries. It's tough to fault either one and judging by Wright's postgame comments that night there were no hard feelings:

"[W]hether I agree with it or disagree with it, I respect him. I've loved playing for him, the short amount of time we've had together, and I got all the respect in the world for Terry specifically."

Rob Johnson on the mound

Position player Rob Johnson ventured where Desi Relaford and Derek Bell have gone before by pitching in a blowout loss. He did it in May in the eighth inning of a 14-5 loss to the Blue Jays. And you know what? He fared pretty well, sending down the Blue Jays one-two-three with a strikeout to finish things off. Johnson threw ten pitches -- seven for strikes -- and topped out at 87 mph. His self-proclaimed repertoire included a fastball, cutter, and curveball. Maybe he can mentor Manny Acosta at Triple-A Buffalo.

Thank you to Jeff Sullivan at Baseball Nation for the idea. Go read his post as well, which covers the forgotten first half for all of MLB. Item #2 on his list really made me say "whoa, I forgot about that!"

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