Sep 18, 2019

Remembering Mets History: (2016) Look Who's No.1 (In the Wild Card Race)

Sunday September 18th 2016: Terry Collins Mets (80-69) went into this game looking for a sweep of the Minnesota Twins, who were to avoid a 100 loss season. This game was a squeaker, but the Mets pulled it out with a 3-2 win in front of 28,926 at Citi Field.

It's been a crazy injury plaque season for the Mets & to have this team in the playoff hunt atop the wild card race is Amazing itself. Today saw Lucas Duda make a return to action after four months & Juan Lagares make an appearance after missing almost a month of time himself.

T.J. River Blasts a HR
Another almost unknown pitcher took the mound today and keep the running joke of "who's the new guy pitching for the Mets today? It doesn't matter they won again"! Or "Who's playing in the Mets infield today? It doesn't matter they won again. So who would be today's heroes? It doesn't matter they won again!

Quotes: Terry Collins- "Put it this way: I think winning's contagious. When things are going good, guys want to be a part of it."

These Mets have now won three straight, eleven of their last fourteen and going further back on this excellent run, twenty of their last twenty seven.

Terry Collins used six pitchers today with Gabriel Ynoa making his first career start allowing just one run in 4.1 innings while striking out an impressive eight. Out of the pen it was, Josh Edgin, Eric Goddel, Josh Smoker, Fernando Salas & then Jerry Blevins earned his second save.

In the 1st inning, it was the forgotten Michael Conforto delivering a two run single scoring Alejandro DeAza & T.J. Rivera who continues his hot hitting. In the 3rd, Rivera hit his second HR of the year a solo shot that ended up being the game winning run.

With the San Francisco Giants losing to the St. Louis Cardinals again the Mets are now atop the wild card race for the first time this season.

Note: Yoenis Cespedes was removed from the game after feeling dizzy but is expected to be ok."Cespedes came up and said he just got sick in the runway and his legs were getting a little weak, he was getting a little dizzy, so I took him out," Terry Collins said."

Sep 16, 2019

Remembering The Cars- Rick Ocasek (1944-2019)

Just a few days after the passing of Eddie Money, the Rock world lost Ric Ocasek of the Cars. He was found dead at his E. 19th St. New York, Gramercy Park Town house by his ex wife supermodel, Paulina Porizkova. It appears he died of natural causes. Ocasek will be remembered for his rock star image of a very eccentric, tall, skinny, jet black hair & his trademark sunglasses.

Richard Theodore Ocasek was born March 23rd, 1944 in Baltimore, Maryland. He grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, becoming influenced by Buddy Holly at age 13. He would eventually quit college to peruse a music career.

In 1965 he met Benjamin Orr, the two would become life long friends & share a 23 year musical relationship. By the early seventies they relocated to Boston, playing as an acoustic duo.
They met up with Greg Hawkes & worked with him, although he would be the last member to join the Cars. Hawkes was vital to the Cars sound, with his use of synthesizers & keyboards, becoming known to push the limits of the instruments technology. Ocasek & Orr then recruited Eliot Easton (guitarist) & David Robinson (drums) & the rest is history. 

Their band became known as the Cars.The name was perfect, it was simple, meant nothing, was not related to any era or style of music. Ocasek liked the idea that alphabetically "C" would be up in the front of record store bins. Ocasek became the main song writer for the Cars, writing almost all the bands material. He played mostly rhythm guitar & shared the lead vocals with Benjamin Orr.

In Boston, he became friends with DJ Maxanne Sartori. She began playing the Cars demos of "My Best Friends Girl" & "Just What I Needed". The response was huge & led to the band signing with Electra Records. They were sent to England to record with Queen producer, Roy Thomas Baker in (Beatles) George Martin's AIR Studios.

The Cars debut album was released in June 1978, and was one of the biggest things on the radio that summer. It peaked on the charts at #18 & remained charted for over two 1/2 years.

Just about every song from the first Cars album was a hit on rock radio. "Just What I Needed" (#27) "My Best Friends Girl" (#35) & "Good Times Roll" (#41) all made the Top Forty charts. "You're All I've Got Tonight", "Bye Bye Love" & "Moving In Stereo" all got big airplay.

Of course, that song would be forever immortalized as it was featured in the movie, "Fast Times At Ridgemont High, where Judge Reinhold fantasizes about Phoebe Cates in the famous swimming pool slow motion scene. (here's the clean TV version):

The Cars were one of the biggest groups during the New Wave music scene of the late seventies / early eighties. New Wave's biggest bands included, The Police, Blondie, Elvis Costello, The Clash, Talking Heads, the Knack & others. The Cars have sold over 23 million records, had 13 top forty hits & five top ten albums.

The Cars second album, "Candy-O" made it to #3 on the billboard chars. The songs "Let's Go" (#14) & "It's All I Can Do" (#41) both made the charts, with "Dangerous Type", "Candy-O" & "Double Life" all getting radio airplay.

Trivia: The album cover featured a girl spread out on a Ferrari, designed by Playboy & Esquire artist, Alberto Vargas. Vargas famous for his drawings of pin up  girls from the 1940's- 1960's. He was 80 years old & retired at the time, but took the job anyway. The model who posed for Vargas, was Candy Moore, famous for playing Lucile Ball's daughter on the Lucy Show. She briefly dated Cars drummer, David Robinson.

In 1980 the Cars released "Panorama" (#5) & in 1981 "Shake It Up" (#9) which was more commercial with the hits  "Shake It Up" (#4) & "Since Your Gone" (#24).

In 1982, Ocasek did his first solo album, many of the tracks had him playing all the instruments. In 1984 the Cars regrouped with legendary producer, Jeff 'Mutt" Lange , (Def Leppard, Foreigner,  AC/DC, Lady Ga Ga, Nickelback, Boomtown Rats, Britney Spears & his one time wife Shania Twain). They released "Heartbeat City" (#3)

The album had big hits with "You Might Think" (#7), "Magic" (#12) "Why Cant I Have You" (#33)& the classic "Drive" (#3). 

It was during the filming of the music video "Drive" that Ocasek met 18 year old model/actress Paulina Porizkova,. At the time he was still married to his second wife Suzanne, who he wed in 1971. The two were soon divorced & Ocasek married Porizkova in 1989.

They remained together until 2017, separating amicably. They lived in a $13 million town house in the Gramercy Park area of Manhattan on E. 19th St.

The Cars were also successful on MTV in the music videos era. In 1985 they would play at Live Aid, in the USA at Philadelphia. A fine performance that this writer attended!

Ocasek released another solo album in 1986, "This Side of Paradise" which featured the hit single "Emotion In Motion". The Cars regrouped in 1987 & released what was to be their last album, "Door to Door" which was not too successful, in the now changed music scene. 

In 1988 the band chose to break up & Ocasek & Orr soon lost touch. The rumors of a reunion in the nineties never happened. Sadly, Benjamin Orr died in 2000 from pancreatic cancer, he was just 53.

Ocasek did release seven solo albums in his career, made cameo appearances in the late eighties films, "Hairspray" & "Made In Heaven". He also wrote a book of poetry in 1993 & always had a hobby of making photo collages, drawings & mixed media art. 

During his time with the Cars, he also became
a reputable producer & would go on to produce many younger bands albums (Weezer, No Doubt, Bebe Buell, Black 47, Romeo Void, Bad Religion, the Cribs Nada Surf & more).

In 1998 he did a short solo tour but he did not like to tour any longer. That same year Hawkes & Easton did a Cars mini reunion which Ocasek did not participate in.

 In 2010 he did participate in a Cars reunion with a new album & a ten city tour. No further projects ever came to life. In 2016 Ocasek oversaw a remastering of the groups music.

Rick Ocasek was married three times & had six sons., two with each wife. He was 75 years old. Rock on Rick!!

Sep 14, 2019

Remembering Rocker Eddie Money

 The Irish Catholic, Edward Joseph Mahoney was born March 21st, 1949 in Brooklyn, New York. He would grow up on Long Island & become a New York City Police trainee in the NYPD, like his father. But after just two years, he left the NYPD, moved to Berkley, California & became Eddie Money.

After playing the San Francisco club circuit, he finally got a record deal with help from non other than, Bill Graham in the middle seventies. By the late seventies, he became a regular on rock & roll radio with the hits "Baby Hold On" "Two Tickets to Paradise".

By the early eighties he was a star, his hits continued as did his successful music videos. "I Think I'm In Love" followed by the great hard rock classic "Shakin".

The video featured Apollonia, who would soon be famous with Price's band in Puple Rain. She replaced Vanity, Nicky Sixx of Motley Crues ex girlfriend, but that's another story.

The record company hid the actual lyrics of "Shakin" a cover up for years. After the line 'She was doing 80 & she slammed on the brakes. Got so high we had to pull to the side".

The lyrics were originally meant to say "We did some shaking till the middle of the night"

But Money recently came clean & said we were right, the words we thought we heard all these years were slipped in. "Her t*ts were shakin till the middle of the night".
Quotes: Eddie Money:" Nobody noticed it & my manager, Bill Graham was so pissed off & me, because he said it could have been a top 5 hit". But when I talk to people, they go 'I loved it when you said that! Wow!"

But one of the reasons he did slip the dirty word into his song was because he was high. At that point he began a battle with drug addiction, which hurt his career for a few years. He beat his demons & realized (in his words) he didn't need drugs for his quick wit.

In 1986 he teamed up with the original rock & roll bad girl, Ronnie Spector. Spector who also needed a career boost, did the a cameo duet with Money "Take Me Home Tonight". The song & video got massive airplay & hit #4 on the Billboard charts.

Money, an all around nice guy with rock star humor, continued with four more top forty hits into the 1990s. He would continue to tour, do musical soundtracks, appear on television shows & commercials, most notably a GEICO commercial where he sings "Two Tickets". In 2018 he even had a reality show with his family called Real Money.

My favorite TV guest spot was on "the King of Queens" in 2002. Doug has to spend a large amount of money before Carrie finds out, so he & Deacon hire Eddie to come to the house & play live.

He sings "Shakin" as Arthur asks with a dumfounded look on his face, who is this guy?

In a 2018 routine check up he was diagnosed with stage four, esophageal cancer.

He & his wife made the public announcement in the summer of 2019. He had to stop treatments due to heart valve issues, that kept him in the hospital for three months.

Money passed away from these complications on September 13th 2019, he was 70 years old.

Eddie was married to his wife, Laurie for thirty years. They have five children.
Rock on Eddie!!!

Sep 7, 2019

Remembering Mets History: (2015) Mets Bats & Bullpen Beat Nats From Seven Runs Down To Take A Six Game Lead

Tuesday September 8th 2015: After almost a half of week of controversy the Mets former ace Matt Harvey was to take the hill in the biggest games of his career.

 First Harvey's loud mouth egotistical agent talked for him, causing the controversy. He stated Harvey should be limited to 180 innings on the season.

 Then Matt himself spoke out saying his doctor told him to limit himself to 180 innings. After a lot of negative press & Met fans who have been waiting almost a decade to get into the post season, jumping all over him, Harvey took back some of his words. He then wisely said: "I will pitch in the post season!" Even former Mets Cy Young winner Doc Gooden spoke out during Harvey's controversy.

Starting Lineups

 Harvey took the mound in Washington with his first place Mets up five games on the Nationals. It was certainly the biggest game of his career, pennant race wise & a big pressure game for him, hoping he could back up his words from the past weekend. 

But it seems he couldn't do any of the above, he was shelled for seven runs on eight hits in just 5.1 innings. A Yoenis Cespedes error didn't help matters, as the Nats took a big 7-1 lead. 

But the 2015 Mets picked up Harvey, they came back from six runs down & beat the Nationals in their own ball park, getting closer to putting a nail in the Nats coffin for 2015.

With the Mets down 7-1 in the top of the 7th inning, David Wright who had homered earlier, singled to right field. Lucas Duda & Travis d'Arnaud both flied out, then Michael Conforto walked &  Wilmer Flores got a base hit that brought home Wright making it 7-2. 

The Nats then went to their pen again bringing in Felipe Rivero, he walked pinch hitter Juan Uribe to load the bases. Then he walked Curtis Granderson bringing in Conforto making it 7-3 Nats.

The Nats then brought in pitcher; Drew Storen to face the hot Yoenis Cespedes. Cespedes made up for his earlier error, as he came through once again, driving a bases clearing double down the left field line bringing the Mets within a run.

It was his 37th double of the year, and his 34th RBI as a Mets since August 1st. He has been one of the biggest Mets late season signings in the history of the franchise. Earlier in the night Sandy Alderson negotiated a deal that grants the Mets a waiver to bid on Cespedes during the off season, bettering their chances than what was in his previous contract deal.

The Mets continued their dominance over the Nats, Daniel Murphy walked & then all runners advanced on a wild pitch. David Wight also walked & after a coaching visit to the mound Lucas Duda drew a walk to tie the game.

The Mets went to Addison Reed in the bullpen & he did something Matt Harvey couldn't, shutting down the Nats as he struck out Bryce Harper & Ian Desmond to keep the Mets tied at seven.

In the top of the 8th Kirk Nieuwenhuis who had spent the season back & forth to AAA delivered with a pinch hit HR, off Jonathan Papelbon. It proved to be the game winner, as Tyler Clippard & Jeurys Familia closed out the Nats giving the Mets a six game lead in first place in the NL East. 

Sep 5, 2019

Former Mets Pitcher & Member of the 300 Save Club: Jason Isringhausen (1995-1999 / 2011)

Jason Derik Isringhausen -“Izzy” was born September 7, 1972 in Brighton, Illinois. He was drafted by the New York Mets in the 44th round of the 1991 draft.

In the minors he pitched well and by the time he got to the AAA Norfolk Tides he was the Pitcher of the Year in the International League going 9-1 with a .155 ERA. He struck out 75 batters in 87 innings and got the label of “the Mets pitcher of the future”.

He was brought up in July 1995 making his big league debut against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. He went seven innings allowing only two runs and striking out six Cubs but getting no decision. He got his first career win at Shea Stadium two starts later going 8 innings only allowing a run against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Generation K
From August 20th on through the end of the season he was 7-0 allowing 13 earned runs in 45 innings lowering his ERA on the season to 2.81. In four of his last six starts he went at least seven innings allowing more than two runs just once.

He ended the year at 9-2 with 55 strike outs in 88 innings pitched. Along with pitchers Paul Wilson & Bill Pulsipher they were called “Generation K” and suppose to be the Mets future. That never worked out.

In 1996 Izzy suffered a bout with tuberculosis, then had arm trouble, a torn labrum, bone spurs & a pulled a rib cage muscle. After a 2-2 start he lost five straight decisions in the month of May. With all his injuries he only pitched in five games during the final two months of the season. He went 6-14 with a 4.71 ERA, giving more than five runs in 10 of his 27 starts.

He started out in AAA Norfolk again in 1997 and in the first inning of a game against the Toledo Mud Hens he gave up a triple & a HR. He went into the dugout and punched a plastic garbage can, breaking his wrist.

He was out for the next few months, returning to the Mets on August 27th. He went 2-2 in only six starts with a 7.58 ERA on the season. As his personal dramas continued he needed elbow surgery and missed all of 1998.

By 1999 he was 1-3 with an ERA of 6.41 & by the end of July, he was sent to the Oakland A’s along with Greg McMichael for Billy Taylor. Taylor would go 0-1 with an ERA over eight in ten games for the 1998 Mets.

The next season Oakland made him a closer and it finally came together for Izzy. He saved over 30 games two straight seasons and made the 2000 All Star team.

In 2000 he was 6-4 with a 3.78 ERA posting 33 saves in 67 appearances as the A’s won the Western division. 

2000 Post Season: In the ALDS he earned a save in Game #1. The following season he was 4-3 with 34 saves (6th in the AL0 posting a 2.65 ERA & got to another post season. In that years ALDS he earned two saves.

As a free agent in the off season he signed a big contract with the St. Louis Cardinals for 2002. There he saved 32 games in 2002 & 22 games in 2003.

In 2004 he led the NL with 47 saves & games finished with 66. He was 4-2 with a 2.87 ERA as the Cardinals went to the World Series.

2004 Post Season: In the NLCS he saved three games and took a loss against the Houston Astros in Game #5 as Jeff Kent hit a walk off HR.

Izzy would save over 30 games for the next three season posting ERA’s under three twice. After going 1-5 with 12 saves in 2008 he wasn’t resigned and moved on to the Tampa Rays for the 2009 season. He only appeared in nine games before needing Tommy John surgery which ended his season.

He signed a minor league deal with the Cincinnati Reds in July 2010 but did not pitch at the big league level. In February 2011 he signed a deal back with his old New York Mets ballclub.

Izzy made his Mets return at Citi Field on April 11th, 2011 pitching the 7th inning against the Colorado Rockies. Through May 20th he was credited with 11 straight holds out of the bull pen before blowing a save a week later.

On June 2nd he earned his first win of the season & his first Mets win in 13 years. By mid July the Mets parted ways with their closer Frankie Rodriquez and Izzy inherited the role.

He saved five games & earned a victory in the final two weeks of the month. He then took a loss & blew a save to start out August, earning his 299th career save on August 9th against the San Diego Padres.

On August 15th, at San Diego he earned his 300th career save becoming the 22nd pitcher to enter the 300 save club. It would be the last save of his career as well.
He finished the year at 3-2 with six saves & a 4.05 ERA in 53 appearances.

In 2012 he was granted free agency & signed with the L.A. Angels. There he had a good first half, going 3-0 with four holds & a 2.83 ERA through July. 

In August he blew a save & took two other loses, then didn't see much time in September. He made fifty appearances posting a 4.14 ERA going 3-2 for the year.

Izzy was granted free agency at the end of the year. Although there were no takers in resigning him, he denies retiring & is still waiting for a call to come back.

In his 16 year career he made two All Star games, appeared in 724 games going 51-55 with 300 saves (28th all time) finishing up 499 career games (43rd most all time). He struck out 830 batters & walked 437 in 1007 innings.

Retirement: After his pitching days, he has been a coach at Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville, where he resides.

He is married to his wife Lorrie since 1999, they have two children.