Tag Archives: mike piazza

Biazarro World

14 Mar

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By Jim Walters

Remember when Elaine entered bizarro world in that classic Seinfeld episode. Her new friends were complete opposites from her regular crew of Jerry, George and Kramer.

Imagine if this season for the Mets is bizarro world and everything goes right. Here’s one man’s guess of what that would  look like.

  • Jose Reyes is out for only two weeks instead of 8 and he is playing short at Citi Field on April 5th. He proves to be innocent of the hgh questions, but a certain third baseman of the Bronx can’t say the same.
  • Carlos Beltran is in centerfield by the end of April, but fans will miss the tag team efforts of Angel Pagan and Gary Matthews Jr, who held down the fort. Beltran comes back and does for the Mets what A-Rod did for the Yankees upon his May return last year. He also reveals that his mole gives him his mojo.
  • Johan Santana wins 20 games, the Cy Young and beats Roy Halladay in the three head to head match-ups this season.
  • Daniel Murphy proves Omar right, hitting .305 with 20 home runs and 95 RBIs. He also manages to play a decent first base. Keith Hernandez reminds us that he’s responsible.
  • Benjie Molina pulls a hamstring in week three and Rod Barajas hits 20 home runs and bats .260.
  • David Wright returns to his old form, hitting 30 home runs, 120 RBIs and bats .310. Wright wins the first MVP for New York.
  • Jason Bay hits 35 home runs, bats .280 and drives in 120 runs. His legs prove to be fine as Peter Gammons offers a public apology. Unfortunately its on the MLB network and no one sees it.
  • John Maine and Mike Pelfrey each win 15 games. Oliver Perez, well, not even in bizarro world is he very good.
  • Jenrry Mejia and Francisco Rodriguez become the best 1-2 punch, making most games feel like a 7-inning game.
  • Luis Castillo doesn’t drop any pop-ups.
  • Jerry Manuel doesn’t have to foolishly say he expects any of his players to be back in a week.
  • Omar Minaya gets to lead press conferences again.
  • Citi Field lowers ticket prices so families can go to a game and not miss a mortgage payment.
  • Mets retire Mike Piazza’s number.
  • Mets win the division, go on to get revenge against the Cardinals and beat the Yankees in the World Series.
  • Mets don’t mention Phillies in their championship celebration.
  • And finally, kids throughout the city trade in their Yankees jerseys for “Don’t Mess with the Johan” t-shirts.

A guy could dream….

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2000 Mets Salary and Bonilla’s Pay Days

11 Mar

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By Jim Walters

As we celebrate the 10 year anniversary of the 2000 National League Champion New York Mets, today we look at their payroll, and realize how times have changed.We also realize how one bad contract can burn a franchise for a generation.

In 2000, the Mets had only one player who made more than $9 million, with Mike Piazza earning a little over $12 million. Currently, the Mets have seven players who fit in this category.

Al Leiter ranked tops in salary for pitchers, earning $7.75 million. The second highest paid pitcher was Mike Hampton earning $5.75 million before cashing in the following year with the Rockies, which was of course secondary to the fine school system that only Colorado could offer.

The outfield on Opening Day cost the  2000 Mets approximately $14.5 million with Darryl Hamilton in center, Rickey Henderson in left and Derek Bell in right.  This year, the healthy outfield of Jason Bay, Carlos Beltran and Jeff Francoeur will earn a combined $ 34 million, a difference of $20 million.  With Beltran out and Pagan in, the combined outfield will still cost more that it did in 2000, with the three earning $16.5 milion.

While the days of Bobby Valentine and Mike Piazza are long gone, the financial arrangements of 2000 still effects this team. Bobby Bonilla, the disgruntled outfielder who was made the highest paid player by the Mets in 1991, was set to make $5.9 million in the year 2000. Tired of his attitude and poor play, New York released the outfielder, ending his second tenure in Flushing. Instead of paying Bonilla the $5.9 they owed him, the genius in the Mets hierarchy decided to defer his pay with interest.

The payment plan kicks in  next year,  July 1, 2011, as the Mets will pay Bonilla $1,193,248.20 every year until 2035. To give this some greater perspective, David Wright will be 51 when Bonilla receives his last paycheck from the Mets.

While Mets fans can scratch their heads over the contracts of Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo, the financial agreements between Mets ownership and Bobby Bonilla takes the cake.

To read more about the 2000 Mets salary, visit Baseball Almanac.  To read more about this year’s Mets and their payroll, visit CBS sports.

A Look Back at the 2000 Mets

10 Mar

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By Jim Walters

Ten years ago, the New York Mets entered Spring Training confident after a remarkable run in the 1999 postseason. Led by Bobby Valentine, Mike Piazza and Al Leiter, the Mets added Mike Hampton to solidify the rotation, bringing high hopes to Port St. Lucie.

During the offseason, New York bid farewell to John Olerud but welcomed fan favorite Todd Zeile to play first. Derek Bell also joined the team, quickly capturing the hearts of the New York fans with an Opening Day at Shea home run.

New York won 94 games that year, finishing with the Wild Card and their first pennant in 14 years.. Their rotation featured Hampton, Leiter, Rick Reed, Bobby Jones and Glendon Rusch. Their bullpen included Armando Benitez, John Franco, Rick White, Turk Wendell, Dennis Cook and Pat Mahomes.

It feels like yesterday when the Mets rallied from 8-1 down in the bottom of the 8th at Shea Stadium against the rival Atlanta Braves. With John Rocker sidelined and the crowd packed for the post-game fireworks show, the Mets mounted one of the more remarkable comebacks in team history, scoring 10 runs, capped by a Mike Piazza laser off the retired numbers in left field.

Who could forget the Roger Clemens- Mike Piazza rivalry that started with the beaning of Piazza in July and ended with Clemens throwing a piece of  Piazza’s broken bat at the Mets catcher in the World Series. It was a bizarre rivalry that has been debated ever since. Was Clemens using illegal substances that caused the rage and should have Piazza stormed the mound remain “what ifs” that have been debated for a decade.

The year 2000 also brought us the Benny Agbayani home run to kick off the season in game two against the Chicago Cubs in Japan. Agbayani went full circle, hitting another late-inning blast six months later to give the Mets the pivotal game three win against the San Francisco Giants in the NLCS.

It has been ten years since the Mets brought the National League pennant to New York. While the years since have been frustrating and more recently heartbreaking, the 2000 Mets were a feisty team that was easy to root for.

While the season ended in disappointment as the Yankees celebrated their 26th World Championship on the field of Shea, it was a special year for the Mets and their faithful fans.