Monday Morning, May 20, 2002

by Sharon Chapman

The Mets are back in the zone - the Eastern time zone, that is. They finish their road trip with a three game set in Philadelphia starting tomorrow, and then return to Shea to face the Marlins this weekend.

Surgery for the Captain - After consulting with physicians, friends, family members, and former teammates, John Franco elected to undergo "Tommy John" surgery on his injured left elbow last Wednesday. The operation was performed in Los Angeles last Wednesday by Anaheim Angels medical director Dr. Lewis Yocum and assisted by Dr. Frank Jobe, who originated the procedure, and Mets team physician Dr. Andrew Rokito. Franco traveled to San Diego with the Mets and will remain with the team for the season. Best of luck to the team captain on a very speedy recovery and rehab!

Roster Changes - Last Monday, reliever Kane Davis was placed on the disabled list due to a strained lower back. Mark Corey was called up from AAA Norfolk to take his place on the roster.

The versatile John Valentin suffered a partial tear of his right rotator cuff in last Monday's game and was placed on the 15 day disabled list on Wednesday. San Diego native Ty Wigginton replaced Valentin on the roster, just one day before the Mets headed south for a four game series against the Padres. Not only did Wiggington make his major league debut Thursday in his home town, but so did Alex Palaez of the Padres, who was a senior at the same high school when Wiggington was a junior!

One Good Turn Deserves Another - With the bullpen on the brink of exhaustion after two consecutive 13 inning games, Pedro Astacio gave them a much needed break by pitching a complete game last Tuesday, a 2-hit shutout. Not to be outdone, the next night Jeff D'Amico did the same thing!

This is the first time that the Mets had back-to-back shutouts since Bret Saberhagen and David Cone did it in April 1992! It was also the first time that the Mets had back-to-back shutouts with two or fewer hits since Gary Gentry and Tom Seaver tossed one-hitters in May 1970, unless you count the games by Bobby Ojeda and Dwight Gooden in April 1988, but Gooden's two-hitter was called on account of the weather after six innings.

Mike's Milestone - Going into Friday's game, Mike Piazza was three RBIs shy of having 1,000 for his career. He got that, and one for good measure, with a grand slam that night!

Super Versatile Joe! - With his start at third base Saturday night, Joe McEwing has started games at seven different positions this season - everything but pitcher and catcher! That's the most in the majors so far this season.

Things That Go Bump In The Night! - Last Tuesday, on the way back to the team hotel after the game against the Dodgers, the Mets' team bus was sideswiped on the Santa Monica Freeway by a black Monte Carlo. The car was totaled, while the bus was barely scratched. Fortunately, nobody was injured in the accident, and after an hour the Mets were back on their way to the hotel.

A Special Honor - Prior to Thursday's game, Bobby Valentine was given the honor of swearing in Petty Officer First Class Michelle Ward on the field as she enlisted for another four-year hitch. Ward, a 10-year naval officer and a second cousin of Jerry Koosman requested that Valentine give her the oath for reenlisting, which is allowed when there is a commanding officer present. Valentine quipped, "It's like the skipper of a ship can perform a marriage. Well, I'm the skipper."

Sprucing Up Shea - With plans for a new stadium for the Mets on hold for the moment, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has committed over $4 million for cosmetic repairs to Shea.

More For a Good Cause - At the start of the season, Al Leiter announced that he would donate $1,000 for each of his victories to the Twin Towers Fund. Last week, JPMorgan Chase announced that it will match Leiter and also donate $1,000 for each of his victories to the fund.

Seaver Helping Ballplayers of Tomorrow Today - Hall of Fame Mets pitcher Tom Seaver was elected as a Little League Foundation trustee last week. The foundation was established to stabilize and insure Little League's future, protect its ideals and extend its benefits. Congratulations to Seaver on this honor and good luck with the endeavor.

Home Plate Cookin' - If you plan to visit Bobby V's Sports Bar and Restaurant, make sure you check out www.bobbyvs.com before you go. Currently under promotions you can print out a coupon good for one free autographed item with the purchase of an entree, in addition to coupons for a free beer and a free appetizer!

Additionally, the next Fan Appreciation Nights at Bobby V's are May 31st and June 1st, complete with door prizes, raffle prizes and drink specials.

Hello Mets Kitty - As reported in the April 20th Monday Morning Mets column, the Sanrio company has released MLB Hello Kitty dolls in Japan. Intrigued by the concept, I ordered the player / cheerleader keyring set from a seller on eBay. Hopefully Sanrio will decide to release the dolls on U.S. shores sometime soon, since they would certainly appeal to Mets fans and Hello Kitty collectors as well.

Quote of the Week - Steve Trachsel - "If a double play is a pitcher's best friend, I don't know what a triple play is. A sexy mistress?"

Happy Anniversary Wishes - To Kevin, my husband of 19 years as of tomorrow. Thank you for being there to grow up with me through some interesting times, and for always taking me out to the ballgame.

Monday Morning, 05/13/2002

Monday Morning, 05/06/2002

Monday Morning, 04/29/2002

Special Feature: Baseball as America

Monday Morning, 04/22/2002

Monday Morning, 04/15/2002

Monday Morning, 04/08/2002

Monday Morning, 04/01/2002

Monday Morning, 03/25/2002

Special Feature: Talkin' Baseball with Terry Cashman

Monday Morning, 03/18/2002

Monday Morning, 03/11/2002

Monday Morning, 03/04/2002

Monday Morning, 02/25/2002

Monday Morning, 02/18/2002

February 2002

January 2002

Unless otherwise stated, these stories have been extracted from reports on www.nydailynews.com, www.nypost.com, www.nytimes.com, www.njo.com, www.newsday.com, www.bergenrecord.com, AP , and www.mets.com reports.