May 23, 2017

SNY Mets Pre & Post Game Host: Gary Apple (2006-2017)

Gary Apple was born in Troy, New York & is a graduate of Syracuse University.

He began his sports work in the late 1980's for a CBS station in St. Louis & covered the University of Missouri basketball. He moved on to the West Coast working in Los Angeles from 1990-1995 as a sportscaster on both KTLA & KTTV. He also worked on the nationally broadcast Prime Sports' Press Box.

Apple came to New York in the late nineties as the WCBS TV covering sports for seven years. In 2003 he received praise by the NY State Broadcast Association for best sportscast. Apple would also serve as the Jets pre season side line reporter, a host for CBS Sports Desk & made appearances on the CBS Early Show.

In upstate NY he won an Associated Press Award for Best Sports reporting.  Apple also worked as an NBA TV studio host, reported for ESPN's Baseball Tonight & as an anchor for the MSG Network.

He arrived at SNY in 2006, doing Sports Nite highlight show & in 2010 he won an Emmy Award for the Sports Note special on Lebron James. He took over as the Mets pre game host in 2014, working with 1986 World Champion Mets pitcher; Bobby Ojeda.

He is currently the pre game & post game host of Mets games working with former Mets pitcher; Nelson Figueroa & 2000 NL Champion Met Todd Zeile, as the analyst.

Gary also was done play by play in Mets Spring Training games. He also hosts the network's college basketball pre-game, half-time and post-game shows - including for the eight-time national champion UConn Women's basketball program.

May 21, 2017

Remembering Mets History: (2013) Mets Enjoy Their First Inter League Subway Series Sweep

Monday May 27th 2013: The Memorial Day subway series began at Citi Field, this year's version starting for the first time on a Monday, rather than on a weekend series. Through the years the subway series thing has died down & fans have become a lot less interested than they once were. Proof being the back to back two game series during the week.

In the first game of the matchup; Mets manager Terry Collins sent Jonathon Niese to the mound against Philip Hughes in front of 32,000 at Citi Field.

Both pitchers pitched well, holding each other scoreless through five innings, scattering a few harmless hits along the way. In the top of the 6th Bret Gardner, tripled down the left field line & scored on a Jayson Nix base hit. In the home 7th, Mets Captain David Wright took things into his own hands, blasting a long HR to left center field.

In the bottom of the 8th pinch hitter Jordany Valdespin, drew a walk & advanced on a passed ball from pitcher Dave Robertson. Ruben Tejada then chopped a grounder to second, Mike Baxter attempted to score, running on contact & was nailed out at home.

With two out, Daniel Murphy, who had been robbed of a HR in the 6th inning, when Bret Gardner caught the ball off the top of the fence, came through. He singled to center field, scoring Valdespin who ended up being the game winning run.

In the 9th Bobby Parnell struck out David Adams, but then walked Ichiro Suzuki putting the tying run on base. Parnell who is developing into a fine closer, struck out Lyle Overbay & got Travis Hafner to pop out fr the last out. Mets up one game to none.

Tuesday May 28th 2013: In the second game at Citi Field, the Mets Fred Wilpon let Mariano Rivera throw out the ceremonial first pitch to former Mets reliever John Franco. Call me a bad sport, buy giving an honor like that to a long time rival is not something I support. 

A crowd of 31,877 filled up Citi Field. There was a lot of excitement around the park, because the latest Mets star pitcher Matt Harvey was taking the mound. Harvey came into the game at 5-0 with a 1.93 ERA (third in the NL) & 74 strike outs (second in the NL).

Harvey did not disappoint, he struck out eight through the first six innings & allowed just one hit. In the 8th inning, he took a line drive to the back, picked up the ball through to first & waved off the trainers. He was fine, taking charge & inspiring his team, in their final at bat. 

During the game former Mets All Star pitcher; Dwight Gooden sat in the stands, updating Harvey's K count on twitter- as usual.

After rolling along, in the 6th inning; Bret Gardner singled to right field, on the play he advanced to second as Marlon Byrd booted the ball. With two out, Lyle Overbay blasted a shot through the middle behind Harvey, scoring the first run of the game. In the bottom of the inning, Ruben Tejada was picked off second base in a close call. Manager Terry Collins got into a heated argument with umpire Adrian Johnson & was ejected from the game.

On the A.L. New York's team side, pitcher Hiroki Kuroda was also rolling along; allowing just four hits through seven innings with seven strike outs.

In the 9th inning, Mariano Rivera came to the mound to try to close it out. He had everyone thinking it was going to be a done deal, since he had not blown a save yet all season. But it was not meant to be, for tonight he would not get one Mets batter out & would leave the mound with his first loss of the year. In his career, the second highest ERA he had allowed to any team had been to the New York Mets.

Daniel Murphy, the hero of last night's game, led off with a ground rule double to left field. Captain David Wright, another hero of last night's game, took charge tying up the game with a single to center. Mr. Rivera's head spun around as he still had not recorded an out. Then Lucas Duda, came through with a line drive into short right field, that dropped in for the hit, Wright motored around third scoring the winning run as the Mets fans went wild.

Duda had his second walk off winning hit of his career & Rivera had his third walk off loss to the Mets. The winning pitcher was Scott Rice who went to 3-3 after pitching a scoreless 9th inning.

Matt Harevy although he got no decision, he kept himself at 5-0, as he had pitched eight inning, allowing one run on six hits while striking out ten batters. It was an exciting night for the Mets & their fans. Mets sweep at home, up two games to none.

Wednesday May 29th 2013: The series switched across town to the Bronx, as 43,000 fans came out for Wednesday nights matchup of Jeremy Hefner (0-5) looking for his first win, against David Phelps (3-2).

Before the game, Manager Terry Collins called Ike Davis & Ruben Tejada into his office for a private closed door meeting.

The two players, who are key members of the Mets infield have been struggling mightily. Davis was batting .160 with just 4 HRs & a previous 1-42 slump, striking out 18 times.

Tejada was hitting .209 & was making mental errors on defense, which was normally his strong point. The players were both told, that if their play didn't pick up, they would be headed for the minor leagues.

Quotes: Terry Collins said: "We're 50 games into it, All the kinks should be out by now. There are guys that play very well when they're comfortable, and maybe there's those guys who play even more aggressively when they're standing on the edge, We'll find out."

The Mets first inning, certainly was an exciting one, fresh off the sweep at Citi the Mets continued; Tejada responded with a lead off base hit then Daniel Murphy doubled to bring in the first run. David Wright walked & with one out John Buck singled to right field bringing in Murphy. Rick Ankiel drew a walk loading the bases. Marlon Byrd hit a double play ball to third base, but Jason Nix booted the ball & Wright scored.

Next; Ike Davis responded to his managers meeting with a base hit to left center scoring Buck & Ankiel, making it 5-0. It was the first of Ike's two hits on the night. Phelps was knocked out of the first inning, taking the loss. The Mets sent ten men to the plate, scoring five runs on four hits two walks & a costly error.

Hefner went on to his first win of the year, going six innings allowing three runs on nine hits with five strike outs.

In the top of the 3rd, Marlon Byrd added a solo HR. In the 4th Lucas Duda, one of the previous nights heroes, doubled, scoring David Wright & Mike Baxter ,making it 8-0. Rick Ankiel added a 9th inning RBI base hit topping off the 9-4 Mets win. Latroy Hawkins closed out the game- Mets up three games to none.

In that 9th inning, Ruben Tejada injured himself going after a pop fly & sliding out of Lucas Duda's way. He was placed on the DL, hoping the rest will get him back on track when healthy.

Thursday: The Mets were excited looking for a series sweep as the AL New York team was trying to salvage a game. Dillon Gee (2-6) was coming off a personal two game loss streak & entered with an ERA over six.

Gee's place in the rotation is also in jeopardy, as Zack Wheeler is getting ready to be brought up from the minors, very soon. Justin Turner, playing first base tonight, as Ike Davis got the night off, led off with a double but the Mets failed to score off Vidal Nuno.

In the 2nd, Lucas Duda drew a lead off walk & Marlon Byrd blasted a HR to left field in the second deck, putting the Mets up 2-0. It was Byrd's second HR in two nights, number six on the year.

Gee served up a HR in the bottom of the inning, but it was the only run he would allow, the only run the AL New York team would get as well. Gee was fantastic stealing the show, he pitched into the 8th inning allowing just four hits striking out twelve, earning the win, leading the Mets to the series sweep.

In the 8th inning, the Mets added an insurance run, as Omar Quintanilla (filling in for the injured Tejada) walked, advancing to second on a fielder's choice. With two outs, David Wright was walked & John Buck followed with another RBI base hit. It was just a dribbler down third base, but enough for his his team leading 35th RBI of the year (6th most in the NL). Buck greeted Joba Chamberlin who had just come back from the DL, with that hit.

The Mets Scott Rice, who has been pitching better each day, held down the cross town rivals, as Bobby Parnell closed the door for his ninth save & twentieth game finished on the year (4th in the league).

It was the first time the Mets swept the entire subway series in interleague play; Mets four games- cross town rivals none.

Quotes: Manager Terry Collins: The hardest thing I've done is try to keep these guys positive. It wasn't about changing stances or shuffling bullpens. It was about trying to keep the guys in the clubhouse positive. Everybody goes through some bad times. You've got to work your way out of it."

May 18, 2017

Remembering Heroic MLB Umpiring Supervisor: Steve Palermo (1949-2017)

Stephen Michael Palermo was born October 9, 1949 in Worcester, Massachusetts. Palermo attended Worcester State College and enrolled in the Umpire Development Program in 1972. It took him only five years to get to the major league level. He was one of the first A.L. Umpires to not use the large outside chest protector that the N.L. umps had stopped using years before. A.L. umps hired prior to 1977 were grand fathered in & were not required to use the inside chest protectors.

Palermo was the third base umpire who signaled “fair ball” when Bucky Dent hit his famous HR during the 1978 A.L. East playoff game at Fenway Park. His father a Red Sox fan told him why couldn't you call it foul. Palermo said because it was like 20 feet fair. His dad, a true fan, responded "so".

He would go on to umpire in the 1980, 1982 & 1989 ALCS, as well as the 1981 ALDS. He covered first base for the 1986 All Star Game held at the Houston Astrodome. His only World Series was in 1983 when the Baltimore Orioles defeated the Philadelphia Phillies in five games. That same season he worked behind the plate for Dave Righetti’s no hitter in New York. In 1991 the Sporting News ranked him Number one for overall performance of an umpire.

Tragedy: In July of 1991, Palermo was eating dinner at an Egyptian Restaurant in Dallas,with friends after a Texas Rangers game. He & five other men went to help two waitresses who were getting mugged & beaten in the parking lot. He & another man chased one of the suspects trying to apprehend him. The other suspects who had driven away came back & fired into the scuffle. A bullet hit Palermo going right through him.

Quotes: “It hit me, belt high, and tore a path through my body. And then instantly, I was paralyzed. I just kind of melted into the pavement. I knew right away that oh boy, this is serious.”

He suffered a gunshot wound to his spinal cord which paralyzed him instantly from the waist down. He was told he would never walk again. After three months of determination & rehab was able to walk with a cane & leg brace. He was honored by MLB & threw out the ceremonial first pitch of the 1991 World Series.

Honors: In 1994, he won the Arthur Ashe Courage Award. In 2003, he began serving as the Honorary Chairman of Assurant Employee Benefits' WillReturn Council. The Award is given to individuals who overcome disabilities.

In 2005 he served as honorary commissioner for the Tee Ball game at the White House in which children with physical disabilities participated.

In 2000, Palermo was hired as an MLB supervisor of umpires, working in that position until his death. Palermo served as a liaison between MLB & the Major League umpires as well. 

He also worked as a motivational speaker, telling how he overcame his disabilities. 

He & his wife Debbie lived in the beautiful suburb of Overland Park, Kansas just outside Kansas City, Missouri.

Passing: Palermo passed away from lung cancer on May 15th, 2017, he was 67.

May 11, 2017

Former Mets Remember Yogi Berra Upon His Passing (1925-2015)

On September 22nd 2015 Yogi Berra passed away at his home in New Jersey, he was 90 years old. 

Yogi certainly lived a good life, a better one than most will ever know. Through it all he stayed humble & maintained a dry sense of humor. These qualities made him loved. Berra had a rich history with the Mets & upon his passing many Mets old & new remembered him fondly. 

In 1973 Yogi Berra led the Mets to an NL Eastern Title with an Amazing September stretch run. In the NLCS they beat the Mighty Cincinnati Reds & then went to a seventh game of the World Series but fell one game short of the Worlds Championship, losing to the Oakland A's club who won three straight titles. The 1973 Mets are maybe the most beloved Mets team for centerfieldmaz.

The Mets had a moment of silence for Yogi Berra before their game at Citi Field. The club issued the following statement. "Yogi Berra was a baseball legend who played a key part in our history.

He was kind, compassionate and always found a way to make people laugh. With us he was a player, coach and managed the 1973 'Ya Gotta Believe' team to the National League pennant. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family."

Mets Hall of Famer Tom Seaver: "They threw away the mold in regards to Yogi.He was one of a kind. He loved the game.

As a manager, he never tried to complicate things. He let his players play. He respected what you did on the field. He was an utter delight to be around."

Ed Kranepool whose locker was next to Berra’s at Shea Stadium for nearly a decade said: "He wasn’t scientific, but he had a wealth of knowledge. It was like with Casey Stengel, the things he said may have sounded strange, but when you thought about them, they made a lot of sense. And he wasn’t a disciplinarian. If you did your job, he let you do your job. You can’t replace him it’s the end of an era.”

I think they were looking for publicity,” Kranepool said. “He got two hits one game, but he realized he couldn’t do it anymore. Yogi wasn’t one to embarrass anyone and he also wasn’t someone to be embarrassed, so that was it.”

Jerry Koosman: “When Gil Hodges died, It was a hard thing to deal with. It wasn’t like we could stop and mourn for a year. We had to play. Yogi took over and gave us a sense of quiet and confidence that we could keep going. He was the best person for the job.”

Rusty Staub on the 1973 Mets pennant run: “It was a tremendous comeback. Yogi was a great guy to play for, a great person, period. It was the most exciting six weeks of my career."

"The Pope might be the only man more loved than Yogi, he did so much good for so many people in the world." Every time I think of Yogi, I have a smile on my face. That's the effect he had on people."

Current Met Curtis Granderson upon first meeting Berra: "First thing that popped up to me is, 'Wow, this is Yogi Berra. All the championships that he has and all the accolades, he still came up to me and introduced himself to me. Made me know that he was approachable, that I could come and talk to him at any time.

Mets manager Terry Collins said: One of the great legacies of the game, one of the most tremendous people. In my time with Houston I got to know Yogi. He had great relationships with Matt Galante and Craig Biggio. He would come in the clubhouse a lot"

"As I've been reading about today, everything they say is true. Wonderful man. Tremendous player. The game is not as good as it once was today."

May 8, 2017

Remembering Mets History (2010) The First Mets Walk Off HR At Citi Field

Friday May 7th, 2010: This was the second season the Mets were playing at Citi Field & tonight's game would mark the Mets first walk off HR win at the new ball park.

Jerry Manuel's Mets (16-13) hosted Bruce Bochy's San Francisco Giants (17-11). The Mets would finish fourth in 2010 as another poor era in Mets history was underway, the Giants went on to surprise everyone winning that years World Series. 

Starting Lineups

This game would be highlighted by the Mets catcher, Rod Barajas & big offensive evening. Barajas, a Mets 12 year veteran at the time, came to the Mets via free agency. He started out the season, shocking everyone by putting up huge slugging numbers. Up to this point in the season he already had seven HRs with a pair of multi HR games in April, while playing in just 23 games. 

In the 1st inning, the Mets went ahead 1-0 on Jason Bay's solo HR. In the 2nd, Ike Davis hit one his two HRs on the night, a solo shot to make it 2-0.

Next the hot hitting Barajas, followed with another solo shot, his eighth HR of the year putting New York ahead 2-1.

In the home 4th, Davis followed with his second HR giving the Mets a 4-3 lead.

The Giants battled back, scoring two runs in the 5th inning, highlighted by an Aaron Rowand double. In the 9th, Mets troubled closer Frankie Rodriguez (K-Rod) surrendered a pinch hit HR to John Bowker tying the game. It looked like another blown save & bad Mets loss for 2010.

But in the bottom of the 9th, with Sergio Romo on the mound, Ike Davis drew a one out walk. Then the man of the hour, Rod Barajas stepped in & hit the first Mets walk off HR at Citi Field, giving the Mets an exciting 6-4 win.

It was Barajas 9th HR up that point in the season. He would hit just three more in the next three months before having his contract purchased by the Los Angeles Dodgers on August 22nd, 1010.

May 7, 2017

Matt Harvey Suspended For Three Games As Mets Get Sut Out By Marlins

Matt Harvey apparently showed up for his start on Sunday morning, but found out he had been suspended by the team for three games. Harvey left the ball park & Adam Wilk was brought up from AAA to make a surprise start. Terry Collins said arrangements started to get rolling yesterday in anticipation of the decision. Wilk was greeted by two Giancarlo Stanton HRs & a 7-0 Mets loss to the Marlins. This a day after a sex doll was publicly seen in Kevin Plawecki's locker.

An unnamed source has stated that there was a mix up with the ball club & the pitcher. It seems Harvey had played a round of golf Saturday morning & then went home suffering from an apparent migraine. The Mets say Harvey violated team rules & his no show at Saturdays night game, as well as other possible issues, stemming from as far back as last year, led to the three day suspension.

Harvey had been struggling on the mound in 2017, after a losing record last year. Many fans & media were already getting frustrated with him & this certainly will not help. Matt now needs to step up, shut up & pitch like he has done in what now seems like a long time ago. Sources say he's already filed a grievance.

Quotes- Manager Terry Collins: "There are things that go on that you deal with every day that make the job difficult, but you know it comes with the territory. This is one of those. … In order to control things, you've sometimes got to make tough decisions.

“The game is about the game itself and when you take away that preparation and that factor that these guys have been playing very, very well and all of a sudden there is something thrown in the mix that no one in that room has any control over, yeah, it takes a little steam away. I don’t think there’s any doubt all of a sudden there was something that guys lost that focus a little bit. It certainly didn’t help us.”

"This was a team thing, and therefore it's going to remain with the team. I think they're all behind us. They're all behind the decision. In the long conversations I've had afterward, they said we've got to move forward and we've got to move forward fast."

Jose Reyes: "We have to understand we're employees. We have to come do the job every day. We're counting on him. He's a big piece of the ball club and where we need to go. It's kind of disappointing because we feel like we stand together as a team. The team puts rules in Spring Training and everybody in here knows what the rules are. When you miss that, that's not acceptable."

Neil Walker: 'We've all been a part of situations where guys break team rules and they serve the consequences. In every occasion I've been a part of, a guy comes back and has learned his lesson. We'll move on. Matt will be accepted back in here with open arms."

May 2, 2017

Remembering Mets History (2015): Matt Harvey Beats Nationals To Get To 5-0

The return of Matt Harvey after Tommy John surgery had certainly been a successful one. He got his  first win on April 9th, beating the Nationals with six shut out innings. On April 14th he beat the Phillies in a 6-5 win at Citi Field.

On April 19th, he allowed four runs but still earned a win over the Miami Marlins to get to 3-0. Then on April 25th, he starred in the early season subway series beating the A.L. New York team, pitching into the 9th inning allowing just two runs with seven strike outs.

Friday May 1st 2015: 33,178 fans came out to Citi Field to see Terry Collins first place Mets (16-8) take on Matt Williams Washington Nationals (10-14).

The Nats were the favorites in the NL East & considered the Mets main rivals they were already off to a slow start, a sign of things to come. Tonight the Mets continued to send an early message.

The Nats sent Matt Scherzer (1-2) to the mound, their high priced free agent from Detroit who was also off to a slow start. He would face Matt Harvey (4-0) off to a terrific start.

Starting Lineups

Harvey would allow a base runner in every inning of this game but no one got past second base. He exited after seven innings allowing no runs on five hits, one walk & three strike outs. Alex Torres finished out the 7th inning & Jeurys Familia earned his 10th save.

The Mets provided the scoring as Michael Cuddyer started it with a solo HR in the 4th inning. In the home 8th Juan Lagares & Lucas Duda reached with singles off reliever Matt Thorton. New Matt pitcher Blake Treined then walked Cuddyer to load the bases. Then Daniel Murphy cleared the bases with a double to deep left center field.

The Mets won it 4-0 & held their biggest early season lead on first place at 4 1/2 games. Matt Harvey was now at 5-0 with a 2.41 ERA.