Mets, Charlie Samuels Gambling Saga

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You would have thought the big news this week for the Mets were the interviews for the open managerial position to replace Jerry Manuel. Instead, the news got particularly ugly when well-liked clubhouse manager Charlie Samuels was implicated in an illegal sports gambling ring. Apparently, Samuels was caught on wiretaps with a mob-run gambling organization.

Samuels has been with the Mets for more than 30 years. It’s hard to believe that anyone with such a good job would jeopardize it by getting involved in an illegal sports gambling ring. I have to assume that Samuels is a gambling addict and couldn’t stop himself. It’s really sad that he would hit rock bottom and it looks like he’s going to lose his job over this.

Of course, most of us don’t know Samuels. But Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling bring his name up frequently on SNY broadcasts. They talk about him with such affection. It sounds like he’s a universally liked figure among Mets and former Mets players.

The news in the media is that Samuels admitted gambling on baseball to an MLB investigator. That’s something the Mets just can’t have in the locker room. I don’t think there’s any way Samuels can keep his job of that’s the case. I’m sure the authorities will be working hard to make a splash by getting Samuels to admit that he took bets from players on the team too. Hopefully, that isn’t the next scandal to hit the news.

Here’s a rundown of the news about Samuels:

  • The Mets suspended Samuels last week indefinitely without pay
  • Samuels admitted to an MLB investigator that he has bet on baseball games
  • It came out that K-Rod started living with Samuels after he was suspended for fighting with his girlfriends’ father
  • Samuels reportedly gave comped seats for Mets games to organized crime figures
  • Samuels may have misappropriated Mets funds for short periods of time before paying the accounts back
  • Jeff Francoeur gave Samuels a $50,000 gratuity before he was traded to the Rangers

Mets 1986 Shadow

FLUSHING, NY - OCTOBER 27:  The New York Mets celebrate after winning game 7 of the 1986 World Series against the Boston Red Sox at Shea Stadium on October 27, 1986 in Flushing, New York. The Mets won the series 4-3.  (Photo by T.G. Higgins/Getty Images) a terrible roadtrip the ’86 Mets, who seem to cast a bigger shadow each season, were outspoken again. This time the whistle blower was Bobby Ojeda. “Bobby O” was once a far cry from the lighthearted commentator you can watch on the SNY pre/post game. In 1986, the former Red Sox starter was a rough around the edges pitcher and arguably the best of a staff of aces. One of his teammates joined the nudging when Darryl Strawberry, for the second time this year, had something to say about the latest installment of disappointing baseball. The last team to win a championship in Queens has been consistently vocal about the Mets’ clubs and their shortcomings. The arrogant and noisy ’86ers won with their ability to talk and back it up on the field. Their brash , no nonsense, say what I want attitude has continued to show up years since they have retired. It must be said however, that there is something about their blunt and impulsive action that still inspires New Yorkers. The shadow only grows with Jerry Manuel’s Mets skidding and Wally Backman hit and running teams to death with the Brooklyn Cyclones. Here are some verbal lashings from the ’86 Champs directed at Mets’ clubs.

Keith Hernandez – 2002

Dubbed by The Seattle Times as “Keith Hernandez VS Mike Piazza” the two traded verbal blows when the disappointing club looked asleep at the wheel. Hernandez, who’s job it was and is still to analyze, might have gone overboard with his quote “The club has no heart; The Mets quit a long time ago. Bobby Valentine could’ve chewed this team out in June when this stuff started creeping in”. Piazza, angered by the comment, shot back with “He’s just trying to make a name at our expense” he continued to add “like he’s a judge of character, who quit or didn’t quit?” Keith stood by his comments but admitted he could have found a better way to put it. Continue reading “Mets 1986 Shadow”

Mets-SNY Gary, Keith, and Ron Voted MLB 2nd Best

Flickr image courtesy of slgckgc

Gary Cohen along with ex-Mets Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling form one of the best broadcast teams in Major League Baseball. Their stellar commentary earned them the #2 spot on GQ’s list of the best and worst television broadcast teams in the MLB. The team was second to only Vin Scully, the ageless solo act for the Dodgers’ broadcast. You can see the rankings for yourself here.

I really feel that only true Met fans understand the worth of these guys in the booth. Gary’s outstanding play-by-play combined with Keith and Ronny’s in-depth knowledge of the game make for 9 innings of enthralling baseball discussion night in and night out.

In my mind, Gary, Keith, and Ron cannot be considered “homers,” although their connection with the team is evident through their commentary. I think it’s safe to say that the three are all Met fans at heart but they honor their profession by calling it like they see it, something that several broadcast teams (cough cough, YES Network, cough) fail to do. Although their discussions may stray from the focus of the game at times, they always keep it interesting. Whether it’s Keith explaining his criteria for a good steak, Ron delving into different world cultures, or Gary talking about how horrible a head first slide into first base is three innings after it happens, our guys captivate baseball minds that are tuning in. I’m almost hesitant to attend games because I won’t get to listen to them (that is a lie, Citi Field is like my church).

Keith and Ron are such valuable assets from a fan standpoint because their baseball knowledge is really through the roof. Obviously both were staples of the ’86 Mets, and were winning players throughout their careers. Keith revolutionized the position he played and was an MVP. Ron possesses intellect pertaining to the mound that matches his Ivy League diploma.

As a fan base we are privileged to have these guys in our ear during most Met broadcasts. I consider them a part of Mets baseball and hope they remain a team for years to come.

Video: Keith Hernandez Sleeping During Mets Game

You’ve probably already heard that Ken Griffey, Jr. missed an opportunity to pinch hit because he was asleep in the locker room. Apparently, it’s turned into an epidemic. The video below was shot of Keith Hernandez asleep between innings of last Saturday’s game on WPIX against the Giants. At least you can tell that he’s doing a good job with the Just For Men while his head is down on the desk.

Jose Reyes Goes Down – Call FEMA!

NEW YORK - MAY 11:  Jose Reyes #7 of the New Y...

But seriously, as much as I hate to lose Jose Reyes for any amount of time I don’t think losing Reyes is a game changer. As good as he is, I think the Mets will do fine with Alex Cora at the bottom of their lineup. Can you say Rafael Santana?

In ’84 Rafael Santana was the backup shortstop for the Mets. In ’85 he was promoted to starting shortstop, and then in ’86 the Mets won it all with a shortstop that batted .218, 1 HR, 28 RBI’s and led the team with 12 intentional walks. He was a solid defensive shortstop, not a Gold Glove by any means. Fundamentally sound.

Also remember Kevin Elster was the backup shortstop who batted .167, 0 hr’s, 0 RBI’s in ’86. He was a better defensive player than Santana and was such a smooth fielder. A pleasure to watch on the field but an automatic out at the plate.

Continue reading “Jose Reyes Goes Down – Call FEMA!”

Mets Links: Angel Pagan, Mike Jacobs, Daniel Murphy

New York Mets Angel Pagan reaches first base in the second inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Citi Field in New York

Now that we’re only eight days from pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training, there’s starting to be some action in the news over the last few days. Unfortunately, none of the news involves the Mets signing a #2 or #3 starter, a first baseman that can hit, or a legitimate big league catcher. That being said, here’s the latest news:

  • Angel Pagan worked out a deal with the Mets to avoid arbitration. He’ll be back on a one-year/$1.45 million contract. That’s a 152% raise over his 2009 salary. Pagan wanted $1.8 million and the Mets were offering $1.275 million before they agreed on $1.45 million.
  • It looks like Mike Jacobs is coming back to the Mets on a one-year minor league contract. I’m not sure what the Mets expect from Jacobs other than a first baseman that can play a little for the fans of Triple-A Buffalo. Clearly, Ike Davis is the first baseman of the future. But Jacobs offers a little protection against another horrific season by Daniel Murphy.
  • Keith Hernandez is in Florida teaching Daniel Murphy how to play first base. Frankly, I think someone needs to teach Murphy how to hit and do it with power if he wants to stick at first base.
  • The Mets are lowering the center field wall from 16 feet to 8 feet. I thought the Mets brain trust liked having a pitcher’s park? If anything, they should have lowered the wall in left field if they wanted to have an impact on home runs.
  • Mookie Wilson is coming back as a minor league outfield and base running coach. I always like when they find a job for former players. Good job bringing Mook back.
  • Joel Sherman has a plan to save the Mets in 2010. He’s been on the Mets pretty badly over the last few days. You have to wonder what his motivation is. Did someone turn down an interview with him?

Mets Finally Make Citi Field Their Own

Shea Stadium / Citi Field
Image by epc via Flickr

Demolishing Shea Stadium and building Citi Field was certainly unwelcome for some Mets fans. It marked a changing of the guard for the franchise and maybe even a sense for some of us that we would be left behind in history as fans of the “old” Mets that played at the “old” stadium. But I have to admit that before this season, I was really looking forward to going to Citi Field.

The surprise set in when we realized that Citi Field wasn’t really about the Mets, it was all about the Brooklyn Dodgers and Jackie Robinson. Sure, Robinson is an individual worthy of all the recognition that he gets, and more than we know. But there was something glaring missing from the new stadium… The Mets history!!! In building this new $800 million project, the Mets forgot that the Mets were going to be playing there and that they’ve had some history of their own. Continue reading “Mets Finally Make Citi Field Their Own”