By: Jordan Silver

A Letter to Casey Stengel

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Blogger, Jordan Silver, has taken ill so his column will completed by a guest writer.

Dear Casey:

It has been fifty-four years since you first became the Mets’ manager. Your initial action was to pick Hobie Landrith with the first pick of the 1961 expansion draft. Despite his .233 career batting average (along with his 34 home runs and 203 RBIS), you felt a catcher was needed because “You have to have a catcher because if you don’t, you’re likely to have all passed balls.” Hobie didn’t even last that whole season having been traded to Baltimore mid-year (and then retiring following the 1963 season). This summer the Mets will see one of their great catchers, Mike Piazza, join you in the Hall of Fame – wearing a Mets hat (only the second player to feature the orange interlocking NY).

Despite a lot of growing pains, your “Metsies” have matured. They enter the 2016 season with a record of 4,128 wins against 4,480 losses. That .480 win percentage isn’t too bad considering they lost 100 or more games six times including all four years you managed them. In those early years, they enjoyed the status of loveable losers. Errors didn’t seem so bad. Triple plays were laughed off. Even in that first season your little team that could gave it their all. They even play in a “field”; no longer a stadium (how many times could we hear, “Shea was a dump, but it was our dump.”)

This season, for only the fifth time in their history, they will take the field as defending National League champions. Last season, despite a core of young pitching phenoms, they were left for dead. They took the field with no offense, a porous bullpen and their best player and team captain spent the majority of the season on the disabled list with spinal stenosis. Following a series of deadline trades and their starting catcher getting healthy, they took over the city and country’s imagination with a run towards the post season. They blew through the Dodgers (despite a dirty slide by Met Killer and former Phillie Chase Utley). They swept the Cubs who were hoping to end their 108 year World Series drought. Then they went up against a gritty, hungry Kansas City Royals team (having lost in the World Series the previous year) that never said quit; never struck out and exposed the handful of Mets’ deficiencies. Even with that loss, ace, Matt Harvey, refused to come out of the game in the ninth inning of the deciding game. Yes, they lost, but that type of “put it on my shoulders” attitude and leadership was reminiscent of your champion Yankees teams.

Oooooh. Sorry for bringing up the “Y” word. Somehow after that whole pitching choice thing during the 1960 World Series, you’re better remembered as the Mets manager despite all of the success you had with that team from the Bronx. I guess cute and folksy translates better to teams that lose 100 games annually than those expected to win the pennant every year.

Since 1975, when you went to that great dugout in the sky, your team has been to the playoffs a total of six times winning a world series in 1986. Twice they went as the wild card (baseball’s consolation prize) and even lost to that Bronx team in 2000. Your beloved number 37 remains immortalized on the left field wall. This summer it will be joined by Piazza’s 31 when it’s retired – only the third player to be so honored. And, in 2012, Johan Santana (despite a questionable hit by Carlos Beltran that would have been overturned upon managerial challenge – more on that another time) pitched the first and only no-hitter in team history.

As the season prepares to launch, the Mets have checkmarks next to almost every part of their to-do list for the offseason. A gold glove centerfielder is their first man off the bench and, with the exception of their middle inning relievers, look even stronger than last year. We just have to hope that there is no omen that will put the whammy on them like that black cat back in 1969 (those poor Cubs).
Well, Perfessor, I could go on forever, but I’m due as the guest of honor at a pig roast.

All the best,

Yoenis’ 4-H Hog


Lifelong Mets fan, Jordan Silver has been a journalist and marketing and multimedia consultant for over twenty years. He has produced documentaries and television productions both nationally and internationally. Aside from his own blog which observes politics and modern culture, he has been published in the Miami Herald, ABCNews.com and various other publications. His company, Ag Media Solutions, Inc. (www.agmediasolutions.com), represents several boutique firms as their outsourced marketing department. In addition, his line of shirts, Mondo Monster Wear (www.mondomonsterwear.com), features designs that are parodies of sports and pop culture. He is a great fan of Howie Rose and can be found most warm days on his hammock listening to the radio broadcast with his family.

About Jordan Silver

Jordan Silver has been a journalist and marketing/multimedia consultant for over twenty years. He has produced documentaries and television productions both nationally and internationally. Aside from his own blog which observes politics and modern culture, he has been published in the Miami Herald, ABCNews.com and various other publications. His company Ag Media Solutions, Inc. (www.agmediasolutions.com) represents several boutique firms and religious organizations as their outsourced marketing department. In addition, his apparel line, Mondo Monster Wear (www.mondomonsterwear.com), features designs that parody sports and pop culture. He enjoys wine, cooking, golf, vintage movies and researching history and politics. In addition, he shares his love of the Mets, NY Giants, NY Rangers and music (The Beatles, RUSH and 80s Heavy Metal) with his two children. He lives on Long Island and can be found most summer weekend days on the beach or boat with his girlfriend and their blended families. Rookie lefthander, Steven Matz is donating to Angela’s House with every strikeout he throws. Purchases of this shirt will also result in donations to this vital charity. Click here: http://www.mondomonsterwear.com/products/mets-aces

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