April 21st, 2006
TWO OUT MADNESS!
TWO OUT MADNESS!
Mets Score Big Runs Against Padres in Eighth, for a 4.0 TOM rating.
Mets Score Big Runs Against Padres in Eighth, for a 4.0 TOM rating.
I was recently at a college soft ball game and the home team was behind. There were two out and a runner at first and an attractive softball mom called out, “Let’s have a little two out madness here!” Everyone laughed. Everyone knew what that meant, those amazing two out rallies that go on and on…until someone blows it by making an out.
When Mets fans hear the words “Two Out Madness” the fabled Bill Buckner game should come to mind. Sixth game of the series in ’86, the bottom of the tenth, Sox winning 5-3. Red Sox pitcher Calvin Schiraldi retired the first two Mets. Then came the ultimate in “two-out madness.” Three Mets singled, driving in one run, and driving out Schiraldi. Bob Stanley came in and got two strikes on Mookie Wilson, then a wild pitch let in the tying run. Then Mookie hit a lazy grounder towards first towards All Star first baseman Bill Buckner. The ball traveled inexplicably through his legs, and the winning run raced across the plate. That, my friends is “two out madness.” The Mets went on to win that World Series.
Five different run-related plays after two outs (such as with the Buckner inning) is considered a lot. Sometimes two out madness only consists of three or even two run-related plays, but it also depends on the dramatics involved when determining its rating on the TOM (Two Out Madness) Index. The Buckner inning scores a 6.5 on the TOM scale because there were five plays, (5 points) plus one extra point for the fact that there were two strikes as well as two outs, (add .5) that the Buckner error was totally unexpected, (he still doesn’t remember what happened, add .5) and that it scored the winning run of the game (add .5).
In a late night west coast game against the Padres on Wednesday, April 21st, the Mets had an exciting come from behind victory. The Mets had been trailing the entire game in spite of an inside the park home run by Kaz Matsui on his first at bat of the season. (Wait a minute, that sounds familiar? He’s done that every year he’s played as a Met.) The score was 2 to 1 Padres, and Mike Piazza was grinning in the Padredugout. Willie Randolph looked rather glum, looking down the barrel of his third consecutive loss.
In the bottom of the 7th there was a brilliant double play to end the inning, sparked by the glove genius of David Wright, and I said, “Now they’re going to come back and win!” And they did. In fact, in the top of the eighth, former Com-padre Xavier Nady led off with a double off Linebrink. Kaz Matsui grounded out, then 47 year old Franco, pinch hitting for Duaner Sanchez, hit a home run over the right field wall. He became the oldest man to ever hit a home run in the major leagues. Reyes singled to right field, and then stole second. Lo Duca advanced Reyes with a sac fly, and that second out set the stage for some old-time two out madness. Endy Chavez drove Reyes in with a two-out squeeze bunt single. Then Carlos Delgado blasted a two run homer to right center. David Wright walked and stole second, then Cliff Floyd knocked Wright in with an RBI single to center, still with two outs. It was a six run inning, converting a 2-1 loss into a 7-2 victory, and though not all the runs were scored after two out, it was a scruffy come-from-behind inning with four run-related plays after two outs that did honor to the spirit of the 86 World Champion Mets. It clearly ranks as a 4.0 on the TOM scale. We’ll take it.
I will try to report back to Amazine readers if I find any more incidents of “two out madness” during the coming season, along with my TOM scoring. It’s one of the most exciting sights in baseball.
April 25th, Now I Know How Painful It Must Be to be a Yankee FanThe Mets have been on top now for the entire season, and everyone wants to eat our lunch. This responsibility we have of staying in first keeps me up at night. Glavine blew the game on Monday, and suddenly we do not have the best record in baseball any more, and I feel like doodoo. This pain I feel must be the pain that a Yankee fan feels when the New York Yankees fall out of first place after being on top for two or three months. Being a fan of a winning team will take some practice. As a young man, I grew up in a struggling Senators’ household near our nation’s capitol and my baseball poverty forced me to develop certain cheering defects that have now been determined to be caused by malnutrition of the confetti and tickertape variety.
Yes, we are still in first, and this is a good thing, and we even have a good lead, but I’m looking over our collective Metropolitan shoulders at the central divisions, and thinking, “Gee, we’re going to have to face those guys sooner or later, and everyone’s going to expect miracles. Can we do it?”
After the Glavine loss (6-2) the Mets win loss record sunk to 12 and 7. Tuesday’s game was a night game and not recorded in the paper, but here are the interleague standings, based on reported games to date. It doesn’t look so good for the Mets. Whereas last year, the National League East was statistically the best division in history since the creation of divisional play, this year it’s the rise of the Central Division in both leagues that it taking the spotlight away from the Mets and Red Sox, the only two eastern teams above .600.
Chicago WS 13 – 6 .684
Houston Astros 13 – 6 .684
Cincin Reds 14 – 7 .667
Boston RS 13 – 7 .650
St. Louis Cards 13 – 7 .650
NY Mets 12 – 7 .632
Chicago Cubs 12 – 7 .632
Detroit T 12 – 8 .600
Now I’m thinking, if the Mets go to the Midwest and play these supersized teams and fall below .600, I’m going to need therapy, just like Yankee fans do when they lose to the Blue Jays, or worse, the Devil Rays. Never mind that last year the Mets never played above .600, but this is a different year, and expectations are high. On Tuesday, I heard them booing Zambrano, and I thought to myself, “We’re not in Kansas City any more, Toto! In fact, Meet Me In St. Looie!”
IN PURSUIT OF THE AMAZING RMI:
Calculating The Runs-Margin Index; Plus a Running Tally of Game Scores and Totals for the 2006 Mets
Copyright c Evan Pritchard for Amazine
One of the most underappreciated of the many zany esoteric stats that we idolize at Amazine is the runs-margin index. This is the gap between the runs you knock in and the runs the hapless bums on the other teams manage to eek out during the course of the season. It imprecisely takes into account ERAs, RBIs, batting average, and errors in the field and balances them out. In a single game, the team with a positive runs-margin index is generally referred to as “the winner,” but having a high positive runs-margin index over a season indicates a team with lots of depth and a well rounded offense and defense. These are the teams that are most likely to win in the post season and go on to win the World Series.
We challenge any of those dudes in those fancy pants baseball statistics archives sites to tally all the runs margins indexes in baseball history since 1903 and compare the World Series winners against all other teams. I think if they are man (or woman) enough to face this challenge, (and get back to us by email) they will find that in fact RMI leaders generally win in October. If you look at a given
New York baseball team, say the Yankees, I predict that the years they won the series were years in which they dominated in the RMI department all season. In this article I will attempt to keep a running tab on all Mets game scores and runs totals on both sides.
baseball team, say the Yankees, I predict that the years they won the series were years in which they dominated in the RMI department all season. In this article I will attempt to keep a running tab on all Mets game scores and runs totals on both sides.
So far this year’s Mets team has one of the highest positive runs-margin indexes since those totals began to be tallied, about five minutes ago. But then, it has been an unusual year. The Mets have been near the top of the majors in batting average (.310 at this writing, highest in the majors) fielding (27 errors, 7th in the majors) home runs, rbis, ERA, and other important stats like winning (10-2). Needless to say, this season will have its ups and downs, but its great to have such a nice head start. In fact, a result of this unusually good RMI, the Mets now have raced to a five game lead in fewer games (12) than any team in history. In early March the Mets were batting .310 in spring training, and I predicted that they would keep that up for a while. As of this writing, they are still batting .310, twelve games into the season. According to my research, a team that leads in batting average does not usually win the World Series, certainly less than half the time. In fact the 1969 Mets had one of the lowest team batting averages, but that was an exception. You generally have to be above average in this stat department to go all the way. But runs-margin index, that’s something else. The Mets have reasons to dream of Disney World this October. They are leading the league in RMI.
As of this writing the Mets have scored 72 runs in 12 games, an average of 6 runs per game. At the same time they have allowed only 44 runs to score against them, an average of 3.666 runs every game. So they are beating the National League 72 to 44, in a sense. This is a good thing. It means that they are scoring 1.636364 times more runs than the their opponents.
In the first six games they led opponents 37 to 22, in the second six games they led 35 to 22, an unusually consistent tally. So on the average, they outscore the other team by 2.3 runs every day, even when they lose. Confused? Amazed? We hope so!
So without further ado, here is a running tally of Mets scores.
METS SCORES FOR 2006
W Monday, April 3rd
Tuesday April 4th
L Wednesday April 5th,
W Thursday, April 6th,
W Friday April 7th,
Saturday April 8th
W Sunday April 9th
Monday April 10th
W Tuesday April 11th
W Wednesday April 12th
W Thursday, April 13th
W Friday, April 14th
L Saturday, April 15th
W Sunday, April 16th
W Monday, April 17th
12 GAME SUBTOTAL METS 72 OPPONENTS 44
72 to 44
Runs Margin Index Part Two: This is a continuation of the RMI tally from the earlier article.
Tuesday April 18th, Mets 1
Wednesday, April 19th, Mets 1
Thursday April 20th Mets 7
Friday, April 21st Mets 1
Saturday, April 22nd Mets 8
Sunday, April 23rd, Mets 4
Monday, April 24th, Mets 2
Tuesday, April 25th, Mets 4
Wednesday April 26th Mets 9
Thursday April 27th no game
Friday April 28th, Mets 5
Saturday April 29th, Mets1
Sunday, April 30th, Mets 5
Totals: Mets 48 Opponents 44
Thursday June 1st NO GAME
Friday June 2nd Game with Giants postponed
Saturday June 3rd, Mets 4
Sunday June 4th, Mets 6
Monday June 5th, Mets 4
Tuesday June 6th Mets 5
Wednesday June 7th, Mets 9
Thursday June 8th, Mets 1
Friday, June 9th, Mets 10
Saturday June 10th, Mets 5
Sunday June 11th, Mets 15
Monday June 12th, NO GAME
Tuesday June 13th, Mets 9
Wednesday, June 14th, Mets 9
Thursday, June 15th, Mets 9
Friday, June 16th, Mets 3
Saturday, June 17th, Mets 2
2006 Mets Opening Day Demo
2006 Mets Opening Day Demo
Dr. Willie’s Amazing All Star Band Takes Their Solos
Dr. Willie’s Amazing All Star Band Takes Their Solos
Copyright c 2006 Evan Pritchard
Copyright c 2006 Evan Pritchard
The Mets opening day performance ran as smoothly as a demo, but it was all live. It was perhaps the tightest band to take a bow at Shea since the Beatles played there on August 23rd, 1966. It went something like this: “Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to Shea Hall, where the drinks are cold and the music is hot…we’ve flown in top talent from all over the continent, so sit back and relax and treat yourself to some fine jammin’ with Dr. Willie’s Amazing All Star Band.
“First we have ‘Six-good-innings-and-I’m-outta-here’ Tom Glavine. He’s got rhythm and a lot of hits for a guy with a golden arm. Let’s hear two of them today…and watch that solo base run in the fifth inning. Wow! This guy got game!” Take it away Tom!” pt pt pt pt diddiladop bop tchssssss! Watch him go crazy between the first and second ending. (applause) You may have heard his vocals on “I’ve Seen Fire and I’ve Seen Rain.”
“Over on first base—you might have caught him on MiamiVice last season, is Mr. Carlos Delgado; he’s got style on those assists. Show us a double play! Bop bud da doo da bum bum zweep! (applause) And on second base we got that double play counterpoint from Mr. Anderson HerNANdez. Watch as he makes the play of the game to steal a hit away from the Nationals. What dexterity. Take a bow, Andy…” Bom bom bomba bom bee bu ba boo bop bop. (applause)
“Our lead man of course is the swift-as-the-wind Jose Reyes. He can run but he never walks. Watch him on the relay…. bring it on back home, Reyes!” Can you play, “I Want to Be In A-Mer-ree-ka? Dwee dap bop diddila dwee bop!” (applause) Wow, talk about a fast break! He’s got some fancy footwork!
“Playing cleanup, Mr. Clean himself, David Wright. Hit a solo homer for us, Dave…” dweeee BOP! And look at him go! Ain’t he amazin’?” What’s that, the Third Man Theme? (applause)
“In left field, Mr. “No-Name” Xavier Nady, the man whose better than you think he is. Show us your 4-4-4 groove, baby! Way to go! Its 4-4 time!” Tidili tidily toppalabopala bing bang zjing ptsssssssssss. (applause) He’s batting a thousand.”
“And of course, the man you’ve know for all these years, bone man Carlos Beltran. Watch him do those sliding catches and steals. Get down Carlos. Give us some hot salsa! Hweedee bop doowah bwa bwa bwa dup!” (applause)
“Cliff Floyd in the sixth position, show us your stuff. Badaba bip bop do wah diddy.” (applause) Let’s see that dramatic ending again on the videotape. “And he’s OUT AT SECOND. GAME OVER! METS WIN!”
“And standing in for ourstanding vocalist Mike Piazza is newcomer Paul LoDUCA! Nice bit of acting there Paul. Can you pull rabbits out of hats too? Let’s hear some applause for Mr. Paul Lo DUCA! (applause) He drove in the first run of the season, and gave us a wonderful rendition of “When the Swan Dive Comes To Soriano.”
On Middle Relief is Aaron Heilman. Give us two dramatic intermezzos Aaron! A couple of suspended chords on that geetar…Dweep dweep doowaah,…ddrrmmm ddrmm, and now the tonic, right down the middle. Chucka chucka chuckala boom bam bish!” All right baby! Now sit down!”
“And last but not least, the Big Bouncer, Billy Wagner. Give that guy three straight strikes, one under the chin, one to the chest, and one to the belly! Way to punch him out, Billy!” (applause) And we’re outta here. Let’s hear one more happy recap, guys!”
“There you have it, ladies and gents, Dr. Willie’s Amazing All Stars, for your dining and dancing pleasure. Let’s give them a hand!”
What a well-orchestrated opening day demo! Let’s hope they can keep it up during those long concert tours.
Yanks and Red Sox, The (Other) Eternal Rivalry
Copyright c 2006 by Evan Pritchard
It’s Opening Day and this season already promises to provide another duel-to-the-death struggle for first place in the AL East between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox. We all know about the “curse,” and that the Red Sox rarely get into the World Series and if they do, they rarely win. But does that mean the Yankees are the better team in all respects? Don’t be so sure. This of course is of great interest to Mets fans who sometimes have to face the winner of this little bakeoff in the World Series. Regionally, the Mets geographic fan base overlaps with both Red Sox and Yankees’ fan base, so the rivalry is naturally a three way contest, but the Mets come into the fray rather late in this 90-year-long melee. Last year, the Yankees and Sox had met six times by April 14th. This year they won’t meet until May 1st, at Fenway. Their last games together will be in Yankee Stadium on September 15th through 17th, barring a tie-breaker at the end of the season. The Yankees snatched ARod away from
Boston before he was even signed a year ago, and now have snatched Johnny Damon, the star of the Red Sox victorious 2004 World Series as well. Needless to say, the rivalry is not going to disappear any time soon.
before he was even signed a year ago, and now have snatched Johnny Damon, the star of the Red Sox victorious 2004 World Series as well. Needless to say, the rivalry is not going to disappear any time soon.
In the Beginning
It’s a long and heated story. The American League started in 1901 and
Boston had a team, sometimes called “The Pilgrims,” but
New York did not. The American League, (founded under Joe Cronin’s father, also Joe Cronin,) had licensed a team called the New York Yankees in 1900 but they didn’t get to play due to resistance from the Giants of the National League (in many ways the forerunners of the Mets). In 1903, the New York Highlanders became
New York ’s first official
AL team, playing in
Hilltop Park , and the roots of rivalry were born. The Pilgrims played in the first World Series that year. (That was before the curse, in fact they won five of the first fifteen World Series, and were the most successful club in baseball for 20 years) In 1904 the Highlanders finished 1 ½ games behind the newly renamed Boston Red Sox in a tight pennant race. The Highlanders became the Yankees in 1913. Yankee Stadium opened in 1923, April 18th, and of course the visiting team was the Boston Red Sox. The Yanks won, but the first hit at the new park was by
Boston ’s George Burns, and the first error in the stadium was by the man who made it all possible, former Red Sox Babe Ruth, a dropped fly ball in the 5th.
had a team, sometimes called “The Pilgrims,” but
did not. The American League, (founded under Joe Cronin’s father, also Joe Cronin,) had licensed a team called the New York Yankees in 1900 but they didn’t get to play due to resistance from the Giants of the National League (in many ways the forerunners of the Mets). In 1903, the New York Highlanders became
’s first official
team, playing in
, and the roots of rivalry were born. The Pilgrims played in the first World Series that year. (That was before the curse, in fact they won five of the first fifteen World Series, and were the most successful club in baseball for 20 years) In 1904 the Highlanders finished 1 ½ games behind the newly renamed Boston Red Sox in a tight pennant race. The Highlanders became the Yankees in 1913. Yankee Stadium opened in 1923, April 18th, and of course the visiting team was the Boston Red Sox. The Yanks won, but the first hit at the new park was by
’s George Burns, and the first error in the stadium was by the man who made it all possible, former Red Sox Babe Ruth, a dropped fly ball in the 5th.
The depth of this rivalry is almost endless. Note that of the twelve no-hitters ever pitched at Yankee Stadium, three were in games against the Red Sox; that by
Boston ’s Cy Young on June 30th, 1908, that by Yankees (and Native America’s) “Super Chief” Allie Reynolds, on September 28th 1951, and that by Yanks’ Dave Righetti on July 4th, 1983. Another, of course was by former and future
Boston pitcher David Wells.
’s Cy Young on June 30th, 1908, that by Yankees (and Native America’s) “Super Chief” Allie Reynolds, on September 28th 1951, and that by Yanks’ Dave Righetti on July 4th, 1983. Another, of course was by former and future
pitcher David Wells.
The largest home game crowd in Yankee stadium history took place on May 16th, 1947, a game in which a wild crowd of, get this—74,747 fans attended. Of course, it was against
One thing about the Yankees and Red Sox that has always been fascinating, is that for many years, both teams have always had a Hall of Fame slugger in their lineups. This is not only a curious fact and accomplishment, it also adds juice to the legendary quality of their rivalry.
The Red Sox had the great Tris Speaker from 1907 to 1915, sporting a remarkable lifetime batting average of .345. (Slightly better than Ruth in that deparment). Ruth joined the team in 1914 but didn’t see a lot of action that year. Their big year as teammates was 1915. Speaker was traded away in 1916, and as everyone knows, Ruth was traded to the Yankees after the 1919 season, and the Red Sox were left without a Hall of Fame slugger during the remaining years of Ruth’s career as a Yankee. The rivalry was rekindled again in 1935 when Ruth left the Yankees (he came back to
Boston to play for the Braves) and Joe Cronin, Jr. joined the Red Sox. By 1938 it was a tight race again.
to play for the Braves) and Joe Cronin, Jr. joined the Red Sox. By 1938 it was a tight race again.
The Classic Years
Cronin played for the Red Sox from 1935 until 1945 and compiled a .301 lifetime average, bringing the team back to some of its former glory. Ted Williams joined the Red Sox in 1939 and, except for military service, played until 1960, compiling a .344 lifetime average, a fraction of a point lower than Tris Speaker’s and two points higher than Ruth’s. Carl Yaztremski took over left field in 1961 and played until 1983. In the dead ball era, “Yaz” still compiled a .285 lifetime average. Wade Boggs, who had a .333 lifetime average, played for
Boston from 1982 to 1992. So with only four “batting kings,” Cronin, Williams, Yaztremski and Boggs, one can link Red Sox history with the Great Hall at Cooperstown from 1935 to 1992, an unbroken string of 57 years.
from 1982 to 1992. So with only four “batting kings,” Cronin, Williams, Yaztremski and Boggs, one can link Red Sox history with the Great Hall at Cooperstown from 1935 to 1992, an unbroken string of 57 years.
The Yankees can make a similar claim, linking their lineup to the Hall of Fame from 1916 to 1968, a period of 52 years, with only four home run kings: Frank “Home Run” Baker, 1916 to 1922; Lou Gehrig 1923 to 1939; Joe DiMaggio from 1936 to 1951; and Mickey Mantle from 1951 to 1968. Ruth did not need to be a Yankee for them to span that number of years with greatness, but he certainly made it interesting.
Ever since the Yankees acquired Frank “HomeRun” Baker in 1916, they have always had a Hall of Fame slugger somewhere in the lineup. Baker had a lifetime batting average of .307. The Red Sox traded Ruth to the Yankees in 1920 and Baker and Ruth were in the same lineup for three years. Baker left after the 1922 season, and Ruth remained through 1934, on his way to a .342 lifetime batting average. 1935 was the one year between 1920 and 1951 that neither Ruth nor DiMaggio were Yankees, however Lou Gehrig, with a lifetime batting average(.340) just .02 short of Ruth’s was in peak shape that year. Joe DiMaggio played for the Yanks from 1939 to 1951 with a lifetime average of .325. Mickey Mantle overlapped one year with DiMaggio in 1951, and batted .298 lifetime, retiring in 1968. According to “One Hundred Years, The New York Yankees,” when you adjust for league batting average, Mantle would have hit .314, DiMaggio would have hit about .318, Ruth would have hit .324 and Gehrig would have hit .322, not that different.
The batting title rivalries between the Yanks and Sox, though often overlooked, are very interesting. Joe Cronin versus Joe DiMaggio (1935 to 1945) Ted Williams versus Joe DiMaggio (1939 to 1951); Ted Williams versus Mickey Mantle (1951 to 1960); Yaztremski versus Mantle (1960 to 1968). These players were competing against each other for the
AL batting title year after year, a part of the story not to be overlooked.
batting title year after year, a part of the story not to be overlooked.
Rivalry in the Post Sixties
The Yankees’ Hall of Fame slugger tradition continued after Mantle, as follows: Thurmon Munson from 1969 to 1979 (.292); Reggie Jackson from 1977 to 1981, (.262 lifetime) Don Mattingly from 1982 to 1995 (.307 lifetime) and Derek Jeter from 1995 to the present. In other words, from 1969 to 2006, a period of 37 years, the Yankees can be linked to greatness (and probable Hall of Fame status) with only 4 additional players. In other words, over a period of 90 years, the Yankees can be linked to the Hall of Fame with only eight players, whose names and dates read like a true dynasty.
After Boggs, like Ruth, left the Red Sox and went to the Yankees in 1993, it was a little harder to find that link to the Hall of Fame. But Mo Vaughn was a great player for the Sox from 1991 to 1996 who batted .295 lifetime and hit a lot of homers for
Boston . Nomar Garciaparra came to the Red Sox in 1996 and played with the team until 2004, with a .320 lifetime batting average. Manny Ramirez was traded to Boston in 2001, and has been a Red Sox man ever since, with stats that echo those of outfielder Babe Ruth himself, a shoe-in for the Hall of Fame as long as he doesn’t do anything silly. Oh, that could never happen!
. Nomar Garciaparra came to the Red Sox in 1996 and played with the team until 2004, with a .320 lifetime batting average. Manny Ramirez was traded to Boston in 2001, and has been a Red Sox man ever since, with stats that echo those of outfielder Babe Ruth himself, a shoe-in for the Hall of Fame as long as he doesn’t do anything silly. Oh, that could never happen!
Of course both teams have had more than their share of Hall of Famers in addition to these two “royal lineages.” But these sixteen larger-than-life hitters are central figures in our national baseball legacy, perhaps in part because of the rivalry in which they played a part. This year, as we watch Manny Ramirez compete for the AL batting title against Alex Rodriguez, (when we’re not paying attention to Mets stars Delgado, Wright, Reyes, and Beltran as they vie for the NL batting title) we can smile and enjoy a tradition that has been with us for most of the hundred-plus years since the birth of modern baseball.
In our next installment, we will compare
New York team batting averages over the last 103 years since the Highlanders and Pilgrims first went on the offensive at the top of the American League. It will be a tight race, to be sure.
team batting averages over the last 103 years since the Highlanders and Pilgrims first went on the offensive at the top of the American League. It will be a tight race, to be sure.