Shea memory…my day in the dugout, not… August 21 Game Thread

another Shea memory, prompted by Ububba’s thread…

sometime in the late seventies Davey Johnson, technically, worked for me…he was retired as a player and not yet a ML manager but it was obviously coming…he liked to dabble in Florida real estate – had a motel in town called the Second Sack – had gotten a real estate license and needed a brokerage to place it with…I had a small office and was happy to oblige…on one condition …

When he got his first Manager’s job in the Majors he would let me spend one game in the dugout, that was the deal…fantasy would be fulfilled…up to about that time memory says there was no formal policing of any dugout ban – it was possible or i wouldn’t have asked (maybe Ted Turner’s famous day in charge played a role in that ban eventually coming in)…

some years later I presented myself at the Players Entrance at Shea and asked for the Manager, Mr. Johnson, giving my name, requesting a dugout ‘pass’ and wondered if he would remember me…he did…sorry, dugout not allowed these days was the predictable message back from him but he did arrange a seat for me on the favored thrones behind home plate which in those days were reserved for player’s family/friends…

en route to my seat i met two ‘names’ – wow! (you will note by now i was/am a total baseball groupie, albeit a male one) Ron Darling, in his physical prime, some years after his famous college pitching showdown with Frankie ‘Sweet Music’ Viola, the subject of a long article in the New Yorker… I couldn’t get over how big he was, how strong he looked – i was tall and rail thin, i felt dwarfed next to him – the shoulders, the chest, handshake, massive…way way pre PED, surely, he was immense…

the other person i was introduced to was Bobby Thomson, the shot heard around the world…we soon discovered we shared the same birthplace, Glasgow…he was charming, softly mannered, smartly dressed, the perfect gentleman…i wondered then as i still do now what it must feel like to know you will be remembered forever for something you accomplished…

the Players Wives section held one last surprise…Ray Knight was then playing third for the Mets and, yes, that surely had to be his wife two rows up – she was famous too, in her own right…dominating the LPGA tour for many years, decades before the current Asiatic invasion…Nancy Lopez was not a shrinking violet, physically, she hit the ball a mile and she snacked constantly throughout the game as if wishing to live up to her reputation…

that was my special day at the ballpark and my last visit to Shea…i miss it, i find the corporate blandness of the Madoff Mets anonymous by comparison. Happy Days!

166 thoughts on “Shea memory…my day in the dugout, not… August 21 Game Thread”

  1. Simmons’ base running is not good, but I can’t criticize that one. It took an amazingly perfect off balance throw to get him.

  2. Is this how the Braves are going to look against good pitching in the playoffs?? Me oh my I can’t bear to watch us play the Mets.

  3. Silver lining, if you have to get hit flush in the face, the side of the jaw might be the least unlucky spot.

  4. It maybe clipped the helmet, but yeah hit pretty flesh in the back of the jaw. He was clearly conscious though a bit dazed going down, but he seemed to be talking without pain so hopefully nothing is broken in terms of the jaw. But he also looked like he was spitting some blood. I wouldn’t be surprised if it broke a tooth or something.

  5. If it makes you feel any better, Niese clearly feels bad about it. He’s been pitching like crap since it happened.

  6. Pinch hitting Gosselin instead of Gattis or McCann? I guess it doesn’t matter, since they’re walking him anyway.

  7. @36, Nah. If it was intentional, yeah, maybe you’d have a point. But not in this case.

    I guess Janish feels better about his ability to put a bunt in fair play than he does just driving a ball to the outfield for a sac fly?

  8. If I were running the show, you hit one of my best players in the face, someone is getting drilled. Accident or not. This is the big leagues, you shouldn’t hit guys in the face.

    Heyward going to the hospital for xrays. Was hit in the cheek.

  9. I don’t buy this “it was not on purpose stuff.” I don’t think he was trying to hit him in the head, but we are talking about a guy who was pretty consistant all day.

    There should be a plunking.

  10. Or, this is the big leagues, where we don’t hit people who clearly didn’t mean to do anything just because it’s what they would’ve done in 1955.

  11. What possible motive could he have? Being “consistent all day,” however one measures that, does not preclude the possibility of one getting away, nor is it proof of intent.

    Keep in mind that plunking one of theirs might get another Brave hit if they take offense to being targeted for an accident. What good reason is there to subject another Brave to potential injury (much less the guy you want hit, who did nothing)? It’s not going to change the likelihood of future accidental HBPs from Niese or anyone else. There’s simply no logic to it other than blood lust.

  12. It’s not about logic. It’s about “don’t hit my guys in the face”. We should’ve drilled Niese on his next at bat. Sends the message that you might want to be careful when you pitch inside to our guys…and that message might actually lead to hits/runs down the road for us.

  13. Anytime Janish is in the lineup, it’s pretty weak. He is approaching Corky Miller territory with his bat. Maybe we should call him ANHH – Another No Hit Hamster.

  14. I think the supreme retaliation, if there’s any required, will be them watching us in October.

  15. BJ Upton looks like he should be out of baseball…and we have him for like 12 more years. Sigh.

  16. @55

    I don’t have to proove anything. He missed his target by two feet. That is a lot in the big leagues.

    I just think we should hit someone. I don’t buy that it was obviously not intentional.

  17. @52, If there was evidence that Niese (or the Mets staff) pitch dangerously up and in as a matter of habit, then I think there’d be a case to be made for that. Otherwise, accidents really do happen, and to exact justice against every one of them is counterproductive micromanaging. I’d imagine for any pitcher hitting a batter in that manner, they feel terrible and rattled about it. If the idea is to get them to stop doing that kind of thing, I think that impression has already been made

  18. I grow sick of this ridiculous game of grab ass. If I’m the manager, I’m forbidding my players from ever intentionally throwing at anyone. And if I think they have, there’d be hell to pay. The whole thing is stupid. Win the game on the field… . Or, you know, intentionally allow the winning run on-base. Whatever.

  19. @62, I don’t give a damn what’s more just or civilized. I want the other team to be afraid to pitch inside to my guys.

  20. I don’t want to put the wining run on base right now. But next time we play them, I would like to see “one get away” It shouldn’t be in the head or 98 mph, but someone should get hit.

    It’s not going to be that bad. They are big boys. It is how the game has been played for 150 years.

    There is a time and place for it. IMO this is one.

  21. Neise so obviously didn’t intend to hit him it’s absurd to discuss it. The guy was completely falling apart as soon as the pitch left his hand and he saw it’s flight.

  22. Looks like we got our middle INF backup glove.

    Braves have claimed INF Elliot Johnson off waivers from KC Royals. He will wear uniform #30 & will join the club tomorrow in St. Louis.

    Johnson, 29, batted .179/.218/.241 in 173 plate appearances for the Royals this season after coming over as the player to be named later in the James Shields-Wil Myers blockbuster. He’s a career .212/.267/.313 hitter in 704 plate appearances who is a defensive standout at second base but below average at shortstop, according to Ultimate Zone Rating.

  23. Wow, we haven’t gotten any of these low pitches called strikes today. What did we do to this ump?

  24. What are we going to do with another infielder that can’t hit? It’s all part of the plan to make us beg for Uggla’s return and feel bad for crapping on him.

  25. The world is not awash in high-quality infielders available on waiver deals for a team with the best record in their league. You take what you can get and see how it works. He can’t be worse than Janish offensively.

  26. We already have one Janish. We don’t need another one. I can’t believe they are going to put this guy on the roster. Who goes out? Ayala? Someone to the DL?

  27. You don’t retaliate for a guy trying to pitch inside and having it get away. If you did, Julio Teheran would get hit every at bat. He tried to break off a curve inside. It got away and that’s terrible, but it’s part of the game. Save the bloodlust for actual bloodlust worthy events.

  28. @87, oh yeah I forgot about Gosselin. Don’t need him either. We’ve got Janish – who we also don’t need except for a few more games until Uggla is activated. Wren is just doing stuff to be seen as doing stuff.

  29. Terry Collins has a profound wish to get thrown out of this game, apparently. This is one of the sillier belated arguments ever.

    EDIT: Apparently Daniel Murphy got thrown out after the home run. Now the Collins argument makes more sense.

  30. Chris Johnson, your quixotic pursuit of the batting title didn’t endear you to me very much. But crushing the Mets? You are definitely moving into the periphery of my favorite Braves.

  31. @90

    This is my last comment on the subject.

    I don’t care if guys get hit. But when your stud gets hit in the head, I think it is okay that someone else gets hit.

  32. Wow, did you guys hear what Tom Hart just said about those Mets’ fans behind the Braves’ dugout? Apparently they were cheering Hayward getting hit and yelling for the Mets to hit other guys. That’s sick.

  33. Regression saved me from my moment of despair.

    @106, you’d better take a look at that Avilan standing ovation again – fans are’t a particularly moral bunch, regardless of their rooting interest.

  34. Classless Mets fans? How odd.

    (Now how many Braves fans cheered Bryce Harper getting hit twice last week?)

  35. I don’t think quite so many would’ve been cheering on Friday if Harper had been hit in the face, but point taken.

  36. @106

    That’s typical Mets fan behavior, based on my experiences at Shea Stadium back in the day. Disgusting cretins. It’s why my purest hatred is reserved for the Mets above all.

  37. Just watched Heyward’s HBP. Gosh, that could have been much worse if it didn’t catch a little bit of the ear flag. I hope he’s ok.

    I also don’t think Niese at all did it intentionally. He seemed to be visibly bothered by hitting him, and the announcers said he tried to go to home plate to be closer to him.

    As for Simmons getting thrown out at second, that’s a play I hope our players try to push most of the time. It took a perfect throw from a fairly weak-armed left fielder, and that’s exactly what happened. I hope that doesn’t discourage Simmons from continuing to push the envelope.

  38. Oh, and Johnson’s HR call was a bust by Caray. If the man has a redeeming factor in his announcing, it’s his home run calls, and he was asleep at the wheel on that one. I did like Johnson “shushing” someone in the stands as the went back to the dugout. I would love to think that was to a Mets fan that was heckling him during the game, but that’s pure speculation.

  39. @118—He was shushing the fans that were cheering Hayward getting hit. At least, that’s what Tom Hart said.

  40. @107 I, for one, draw a moral line between cheering after seeing a guy is clearly fine, and after seeing a guy on the ground in pain after being hit in the head. But maybe I’m just attempting to rationalize so as to avoid being lumped into the same group as loathsome Mets fans.

  41. Heyward staying behind at the hospital with Jeff Porter, apparently. Update not expected until later.

  42. That’s a really think line, Grst. If the pitch is intentional and not belt I’d like to think I’d not cheer it. I don’t mind high and tight to get them off the plate, but intentional bean balls are out of bounds regardless of the laundry (unless it’s a pitcher who’s intentionally beaned your guy I guess.)

  43. I never understood the pseudo-macho line of thinking about hitting the other players because it’s “protecting our teammates” and earning respect. Always seemed like a complete load.

  44. Tom Hart said something about the type of hospital JHey to was a good sign. So there’s that. I can’t copy his Twitter post over

  45. @123 Whose talking about intention? I wouldn’t cheer for the circumstance you described either (well, I don’t think I would in any circumstance, but I might giggle at a Harper plunking if I were there), but that’s not what I was responding to. We’re talking about fan reactions after someone gets plunked unintentionally (since the contrast was made specifically between Heyward today and Avilan re: Harper). I don’t think it’s that big a stretch to have different expectation for accepted behavior depending on whether the guy is hurt or all is good. Perhaps you disagree, which is fine, and I wasn’t wedded to the position to begin with, but maybe try to keep it on point.

  46. @125 If you assume the only motivation is machismo, then sure. But there’s a logic to demonstrating repercussions for aggressive beaning. Namely, that pitchers will be less likely to hit someone deliberately (for whatever offense) if they think someone on their team, or better yet themselves if they are in the NL, will get hit back. It’s not testable or verifiable that I know of, but it’s a reasonable position.

    Of course, this logic only makes since if the initial hit was on purpose. I doubt you’re going to get a guy to rethink pitching inside, and the occasional accidental beaning that comes with it, by hitting his guys back. It’s too important to being a successful pitcher.

  47. Quien es mas macho? Es una pregunta dificil, pera una pregunta muy importante. Mucho mas importante que ganar la Serie Mundial.

  48. Troy and Abed in the mor-ning!

    Clearly, what MLB needs is a Stand Your Ground rule. I’m already on the horn to Unca Bud.

  49. @122- That was probably me. My point wasn’t that people didn’t watch (they did), but that it was completely apropos of nothing in the long run. Oregon’s next game was getting dumptrucked by LSU in the next season opener, and Auburn turned into the worst athletic program in the SEC. The game, in the long run, was nothing but a historical oddity.

  50. I don’t think of myself as bloodthirsty, but I think I’m with Smitty on this one. If I’m in a car accident and it’s my fault, there is a price to be paid depending on the severity of the damages that occurred. I didn’t mean it to happen, but it did, and penalties may apply.

    If you hit one of their guys after an accidental beaning, its not retaliation exactly, its just a penalty that has to be paid. There should be consequences. Maybe not today, but someday.

  51. @136 If you are responsible for a car accident that causes damage or harm to property or persons, you will be arrested. Then you will be given a trial. Then, if convicted, you will pay a penalty decided on by some combination of law, judge, and jury. This is known as due process of law, and it has been a feature of our culture’s jurisprudence for almost 1000 years in various forms.

    What you are not allowed to do, if you are the aggrieved party, is take the law into your own hands and exact a measure of retribution you feel appropriate by causing damage to the property or person of the one responsible. That is called vigilantism. The rule of law was developed in part to prevent it, because it is in no one’s best interest to have people running around like outlaws taking their beefs out on each other.

    Sports are like a microcosm of that system, only they should in theory be even less complicated. In baseball there are at least four people on the field whose job it is to play the role of police and judge; the four of them together can comprise a jury of sorts. There is a book of rules, and it’s finite and quite clear on almost every possible situation. Even where it is not, the job of deciding what justice is and what debt must be paid by miscreants, if any, is the responsibility of those four people and them alone. No other person on the field is empowered to usurp that power and take matters into their own, unregulated hands.

    We follow these rules because they enable our society, and our sport, to function without dissolving into chaos and violence. Who you’re “with” on this one has no bearing on those facts. Again with as much respect as I can muster on such a ludicrous topic, any stance other than the one I’ve outlined above is quite literally immoral, illegal, and forbidden. Actions taken in defiance of the law and the rule book, on the baseball field as in your own workplace, will get you suspended, fined, fired, jailed, and more.

    That is what the word “society” means. You don’t get to opt out just because your personal sense of honor or masculinity is offended. If your kid pulls that crap on mine on the playground, I’m bringing the cops in, and they’re not going to accept those things as an excuse.

    I’m sorry, but this is one of those very, very few topics on which disagreement with the facts outlined above is simply and objectively wrong. No one’s feelings have a thing to do with it.

  52. @mlbbowman: Heyward fractured his right jaw when he was hit by the pitch this afternoon. Likely out 4-6 weeks. #Braves

  53. The Mets have took out Hudson and Heyward. Sportsmanship be damned, I’ve got a case of the red ass right now.

  54. ironic that he who has been termed ‘glass’ here on several occasions should suffer an injury so easily provable…

  55. My analogy is imperfect, and you have taken it farther than intended. The prescribed penalty by the rules for this infraction is batter takes a base, regardless of damages incurred. I submit that if that were the only real penalty, there would be a lot more struck batters. The penalties that are outside the rulebook can help to sometimes maintain order in a way that the rules alone cannot.

  56. I guess that’s about as bad as it can get without seeing Jason rubbed out for the entire season. Here’s hoping 4-6 weeks is on the high end and that he’ll make a quicker recovery, get back into game shape before the playoffs, and do some damage. In the meantime, we will surely miss his bat, glove, and spirit.

  57. Its better then a concussion which I was really worried about, Bones heal, brains don’t.

  58. @144, yep, the Mr. Glass thing is an unfortunate coincidence here.

    @137, That’s an ultimate truth, ain’t it?

  59. @138, 145, Kirk’s analogy is imperfect indeed: unlike the hypothetical car accident, baseball doesn’t take place in an overly legalistic environment. If it did, there’d be assault charges filed every time there was an on-field brawl. When is the last time that ever happened, if ever?

    Professional sports is, for better or worse, not like society in this manner, which is what makes the premise that Hotspur uses to take the moral high ground from which he rhetorically bullies those of us who think differently so absurd and self-serving. I like that you’re a Braves fan, Hotspur, and I love the way you write about the team and the sport, except for this particular brand of sanctimony that borders on the hysterical. I’m sorry, but this *is* one of those very, very abundant topics on which the facts you outlined above is simply and objectively up for debate.

    If you have an issue with this, please don’t take it up with me. The closest I’ve gotten to the major leagues is tenth grade high school ball, which I quit for drama. (There’s your hyper-masculinity for ya.) There’s a critical mass of players today and back through the decades that have played within these unwritten rules. Take it up with them. Why not start with the bloodthirsty Greg Maddux? Mazzone was just talking about a time that Maddux hit a guy something like a year after the incident that inspired his wrath. There’s your bloodthirsty villain right there. And he’s not alone. Far from it.

    I’m not on the “Hit Niese” bandwagon, but I’m surely not in the camp that thinks purpose pitching is some evil, subhuman act of barbarism. Indeed, when done well it’s part of an unwritten code of self policing that is responsible for much of the amity on the field we currently enjoy. Sometimes the bullies, wannabe bullies, and flagrant violators of game integrity need to be given a taste of their own medicine in ways that the bureaucracy of league rules can’t deliver. I refuse to accept the premise that a purpose pitch to the rear end is evidence of some runaway descent into nihilism. Give me a break.

  60. Our seasoned is ruined…hitting Niese square in the back won’t undo that, but it would’ve made me feel better.

  61. He won’t play for between 4 and 6 weeks, and there’s nowhere to rehab where he can face live quality pitching. We’ll have to win the division series without Heyward.

  62. We won when Heyward was hitting .150. We need Dan, Schafer, BJ, and Gattis to pick up the slack.

  63. @145 Retaliation for an opposing pitcher hitting your guy should be limited to situations in which that pitcher did so intentionally (or at least was very recklessly pitching inside). Whether a pitcher did something ‘wrong’ in hitting a batter should be measured by intent, not outcome. It certainly looked like Niese had no intention whatsoever to hit Heyward; therefore, he did nothing worthy of retribution. It’s just a horrible accident (like Eric Young breaking Huddy’s ankle).

  64. He can rehab in the majors for the last week of the season. It’s obviously not ideal, but if the timetable’s 4-6 weeks, he’ll be back for the Division Series. It’s not like in the middle of the season where they’ll be like, “Eh, let’s give it an extra week just to be sure.” It could actually be much worse. We’ve already got the division locked up, and had this happened in September, he would’ve missed some of the playoffs.

  65. If he’s out 6 weeks he’ll literally be going from not playing for a month and a half to batting leadoff in the playoffs. Our chances of winning that first series just took a very real hit. Yes we can win regardless, but this is a big deal.

  66. 159- Jason still knows how to walk and his glove is his greatest asset. We will be fine. He may be back by Mid September.

  67. Bowman is reporting that Heyward is returning to Atlanta to have surgery tomorrow. Based on his past patterns of returning from injury, I’d be shocked if he made it back by the division series. What do guys do who are coming back from injury in September? Not rehab?

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