The Mets went 34-33 in the second half of the season and finished strong in September. There is hope for 2015. Among the big storylines of the second half were Travis d'Arnaud's post-Vegas rebirth, Jacob deGrom pitching like an ace, and Lucas Duda continuing to make everyone forget Ike Davis. Mixed in with these major storylines were some minor happenings. This post recalls moments from the second half that may have slipped your mind.
La Russa vs Alderson
Tony La Russa and Sandy Alderson won a World Series together with the Oakland Athletics in 1989. However, after La Russa alleged that he once went to Alderson with concerns about possible steroid use by A's players, it appears that there is some friction between the two. At the Baseball Hall of Fame in July, La Russa had this to say:
"I knew our programs in Oakland were 100% clean," said La Russa, who managed the A's from 1986-1995. "But we had our suspicions - guys hitting stronger but not working out. I went to Sandy and ownership about this. And they told me flat off, ‘Right of privacy. It's a collective bargaining issue.' "
Alderson denied this, saying that he had "no recollection whatsoever of any such conversation." And that's where the story ended. It's not the first time steroids and Alderson's tenure as A's GM have been discussed since he was hired as Mets GM.
Citi Field stars in Sharknado 2
The cult movie series produced by the Syfy channel visited Citi Field, as Ian Ziering, Tara Reid, and the rest of the C-list cast shared the screen with the Mets' home. Richard Kind, of Spin City and Curb Your Enthusiasm fame, made an extended cameo in the Citi Field sequence as a fictional ex-Mets player. He really knocked it out of the park:
Jon Niese questions Mets fans' loyalty
It's never a good idea for a millionaire pro athlete to complain about poor stadium attendance. Unfortunately, that's exactly what Jon Niese did over the All-Star break, in an interview with ESPN New York:
When it was pointed out to him that Mets fans have stuck with their team through a lot of bad times, Niese questioned the sentiment.
"How can you say that?" Niese said. "We are not filling the stadium. Where are the Mets fans when we are down-and-out? They were here in '06 and '07 when we were really good, but we have struggled and they are not coming to the stadium."
I like Niese and want to root for him, but that's poor. Tickets, parking, and food aren't cheap at Citi Field, and most fans aren't pulling in $5 million a year. Unless you catch a Mets fan keying your car or heckling your family in the stands, best to just smile and say "our fans are great" whenever the topic comes up.
Travis d'Arnaud to left field?
Speculation about a player taking up a new position is always a fallback idea for a baseball writer on deadline. Think Jason Bay moving to center field. Or Justin Turner learning the outfield. The latest example was a Daily News report, supported by some Terry Collins remarks, that Travis d'Arnaud might move from catcher to left field. The main reason for the move would be d'Arnaud's concussion history, with the potential emergence of catcher prospect Kevin Plawecki another consideration. While d'Arnaud's multiple concussions are a concern, a move to a corner outfield position would devastate his value. He's the 2015 Mets' Opening Day starter at catcher, and ideally he'll also be the 2016-2025 Mets' Opening Day catcher.
Noah Syndergaard feeds a lion
Self-explanatory. Maybe use your non-pitching hand next time, Noah:
Jeff Wilpon lawsuit
The lawsuit filed against the Mets by a former employee piled on an already ugly year for professional sports team owners. Leigh Castergine was fired from her job as head of Mets marketing and ticket sales in August. She later sued the organization for allegedly terminating her for being pregnant and unmarried. Jeff Wilpon was singled out in the lawsuit as being particularly hostile to Castergine. From the text of the suit:
"[Jeff Wilpon] frequently humiliated Castergine in front of others by, among other things, pretending to see if she had an engagement ring on her finger and openly stating in a meeting of the Team's all-male senior executives that he is ‘morally opposed' to Castergine ‘having this baby without being married."
That's... pretty ugly. Nothing further has been reported about the lawsuit since the story first broke, but I'm sure any developments will be followed closely by both the media and disgruntled Mets fans.
Related: Nate Gismot's post, "Jeff Wilpon, Leigh Castergine, and rooting for the Mets."
Mets logo shenanigans
On a slow September day, some eagle-eyed Twitter sleuths noticed that the Mets' Facebook and Twitter accounts were using an edited version of the team logo. The United Nations building that appears on the right side of the skyline was replaced by the Citigroup Center. Check out this graphic from SportsLogos.net for a visual of the alteration:
After some speculation that perhaps the Mets were quietly updating their logo, it was confirmed that the official logo had not changed. This one gets my vote for least important Mets news item of the second half, even less important than Sharknado.
Matt Harvey shows RE2PECT
This post wouldn't be complete without a Matt Harvey moment. In the first half, he tweeted a picture of himself giving the middle finger. In the second half, he celebrated his boyhood idol, Derek Jeter, by attending #2's final game at Yankee Stadium. From Harvey's Instagram account:
Whatever. I think we all wish Harvey grew up as a Mets fan instead of a Yankees fan, but what can you do?
Check out my similar post from the All-Star break, "The Mets' forgotten first half."