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Blame Rhame

Bill Menzel/Latino Sports

Last week started as well as you can ask for the New York Mets as they won the first two games of their three-game series with the Philadelphia Phillies. The Mets were enjoying a rare laugher in the second game as they were winning 9-0. Manager Mickey Callaway figured that this was as good an opportunity as any to bring in reliever Jacob Rhame, who is one of a number of Mets pitchers who shuttles between the parent team and their AAA affiliate, the Syracuse Mets.

Jacob Rhame possesses a blazing fastball. Unfortunately he also has yet to show any control of it. In a lot of ways he reminds one of Charlie Sheen’s Ricky “Wild Thing” Vaughn character from those “Major League” movies. He even wears the requisite glasses.

Rhame quickly got two outs in the ninth inning when Phillies slugger Rhys Hoskins stepped to the plate. Instead of keeping the ball down on him Rhame threw a couple of high hard ones that intentionally or not buzzed around his scalp. Mets announces were not reticent in criticizing him for waking the Phillies up before the series had concluded.

Their sense of foreboding proved to be correct as the Phillies came to play the next night as they beat the listless Mets 6-0. Adding insult to injury was the fact that Rhys Hoskins hit a two-run home run took his sweet time rounding the bases. Even the most ardent Mets fans couldn’t take issue with him over that.

If the season goes south for the Mets this will be considered a major turning point. Rhame received a two-game suspension from Major League Baseball and he quickly filed an appeal. Some waggish Mets fans on social media were imploring MLB officials to make it longer.

Mets manager wanted Jacob deGrom to start in the worst way on Friday night against the Milwaukee Brewers and that’s exactly what he got as the 2019 Cy Young award winner surrendered five runs in four innings.

To his credit, deGrom did not blame the nearly three-hour rain delay for his troubles but rather his inability to execute pitches. Still you have to wonder why Callaway was so hellbent on pitching deGrom on a cold and wet night when he was coming off the injured list after resting a sore elbow.

Seth Lugo, who has excelled in the past as a starter, told me before the game that he never turns down a starting opportunity even on short notice and was willing to do so again on Friday night had the Mets manager asked him.

On a happier note, former Mets first baseman Ed Kranepool, whose kidney issues have been well-documented over the last two years, has found a compatible donor for a kidney transplant that will take place in Stony Brook on May 7.

Ed Kranepool was an integral member of the 1969 Miracle Mets. Veteran New York sportswriter Wayne Coffey has written a book commemorating the 50th anniversary of that remarkable season for the Amazin’ Mets aptly titled “They Said That It Couldn’t Be Done” (Crown Archetype).

Coffey recollects practically every single detail involving the Mets’ dramatic series with their then chief National League East division rivals, the Chicago Cubs, as well as the often-overlooked National League Championship Series with the Atlanta Braves, and of course the World Series against the Baltimore Orioles. He also recalls the down moments of that magical season such as when the Houston Astros swept the Mets in a doubleheader at Shea Stadium as they scored 10 runs in one inning in the first game and 11 runs in one inning in the second.

1969 is a year that stands out in history for reasons other than baseball of course and Coffey nicely weaves the Woodstock Festival, the first lunar landing, and New York City mayor John V. Lindsay’s tempestuous re-election campaign into his narrative.

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