Bio: I cover the Brooklyn Nets, the St. John's Red Storm men's basketball team, and the Brooklyn Cyclones. I support the Fort Hamilton Tigers football team, a 3-time city champion. I am a graduate of Fort Hamilton High School (2003) and Brooklyn College (2008).
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By Lloyd Carroll of the Queens Chronicle – BrooklynFans.com Contributor
The timing of the Mets’ clinching the National League East title, coming a few days after the passing of Yogi Berra, started me thinking about the similarities between this Mets club and the 1973 “Ya Gotta Believe” Mets that Berra managed that came within one game of winning the World Series that year. The fact that they lost Game 7 to the Oakland Athletics, a far superior team, has unfortunately relegated that team to a more obscure status than they deserve.
In 1973 the National League East was a rather weak division, with four of the six teams, including the Mets bunched around the .500 mark, with the Amazins prevailing on the last day of the season. It can easily be argued that today’s NL East is even worse as three of the five teams: the Phillies, the Braves, and the Marlins having records far below the break-even mark while the Washington Nationals have hovered at just above it for most of the season. The Mets smartly took advantage of the situation.
Taking nothing away from what the Mets have accomplished so far, the key to them being NL East champs was the utter self-immolation of the Washington Nationals. Mets television play-by-play voice and Flushing native Gary Cohen even conceded this point during Saturday’s telecast.
I can’t remember a baseball with such a high payroll and so much talent squandering things to such a horrifying level. It’s one thing to just play poorly; it’s another to have such a toxic chemistry that teammates openly can’t stand each other.
On Sunday, the day after the Mets beat the Reds to clinch their division title, Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon verbally chastised and then threw punches at teammate, and probably National League MVP, Bryce Harper. Harper had let it be known to the media on Wednesday night following the Nats’ second straight loss to the Baltimore Orioles that basically finished off their chances of catching the Mets, that he wasn’t happy that Papelbon had brazenly hit Orioles slugger Manny Machado with a fastball in the ninth inning. Machado had hit a two-run homer two innings earlier that gave the Orioles a lead that they would not relinquish. Harper griped that he would probably get plunked with a fastball the following day.
Getting back to Yogi, I had the honor of meeting him numerous times but I don’t have any special tales to tell. I was always impressed by how accessible he was and how he always seemed to enjoy meeting his public. I never saw him turn down an autograph request.
My favorite Yogi story was about his devotion to his late wife Carmen. Baseball players have a reputation for having fun on road trips. When someone asked Yogi if he ever fantasized about having an extramarital affair, he quickly replied, “Why go out for hamburger when I have steak at home?”
All good things must end. The Jets, who looked so impressive in their first two games, quickly fell behind to the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday 24-0 before scoring a touchdown right before halftime. It’s to their credit that they fought back to make the final score a respectable-sounding 24-17 but the truth is that they were never in the game.
With the Jets trailing 17-0 wide receiver Brandon Marshall caught a pass from QB Ryan Fitzpatrick and then tried to lateral it to a teammate who was not prepared for Marshall’s improvisation. The end result was a fumble which the Eagles recovered. They would go onto score a touchdown a few plays later.
Marshall proved to be a good sport about his bonehead decision after the game. “That may be the worst play in NFL history!” he declared. Brandon, I think you have some competition in that regard. Just ask Giants fans.
By Lolita B. - BrooklynFans.com Photographer – @LolitaLens - Showcase pic – Indiana’s Tamika Catchings takes it to the hoop
The Indiana Fever upset the New York Liberty in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals at Madison Square Garden, 66-51.
Marissa Coleman led Indiana with 15 points on 5-for-11 from the field, all of which came from behind the arc. Tamika Catchings had 14 points on 5-11 shooting, with four rebounds and two assists. Erlana Larkins had 12 points (5-6 FG), eight rebounds, four assists, and three steals.
Candice Wiggins led the Liberty with 15 points on 5-for-10 from the field, 3-for-6 on threes, two rebounds, and two assists. Tina Charles had 13 points (6-16 FG) and 10 rebounds.
By Jason Schott – BrooklynFans.com Reporter / Assignment Editor - @JESchott19
The New York Islanders can officially call Brooklyn home, and they ushered in the Barclays Center era with a 3-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday night.
The Islanders announced they were moving from Long Island to Brooklyn on October 24, 2012. This was about a week before the Nets opened their first season at Barclays Center.
In an instant, so Brooklyn went from not having a team for 55 years, from when the Dodgers left in 1957, to calling two professional teams their own.
The announcement of the move to Brooklyn changed the Islanders’ fortunes as well. They were in the process of building a nice roster while also knowing, eventually, they would get their long-awaited new arena.
The Islanders have made the playoffs two of the past three seasons. Last year was a season to remember as they won 47 games and had 101 points, while challenging the Rangers for the Atlantic division title. They are still in search of playoff glory, as they lost in the first round to the Washington Capitals in seven games.
This could be a big year, as they are ready to become one of the elite teams in the National Hockey League, boasting a very explosive roster.
They are led by John Tavares, who had a team-leading 86 points last season, with 38 goals and 48 assists; Kyle Okposo, who had 51 points; and Anders Lee, who had 25 goals last season. Their defense is also one of the best, with Nick Leddy and Johnny Boychuk, and Jaroslav Halak in net.
Tavares said on Monday night of the Islanders finally calling Brooklyn home, “The first few times we played here, it was hard to really, certainly understand how. you know, without the locker room and all that, we just bused in here for games and whatnot, so, but today, when you go through, coming in here in the morning, getting to see the new locker room and getting comfortable with everything, your surroundings and just kind of routine throughout the day, it’s definitely different. It’s great, it’s a beautiful facility, the locker room’s incredible, and the kind of stuff that we’re really looking forward to.”
The games Tavares was referencing were the preseason games the past two seasons against the Devils, in which they played in front of packed houses in Brooklyn.
Islanders Head Coach Jack Capuano, entering his fifth full season at the helm, said of the Barclays Center ice, “I thought it was good, I thought they did a good job, even at the pregame skate this morning, it was good for us.”
Capuano said of the Islanders getting used to their new routines on game days, as they basically are spending all day in the arena, “Well, that’s why we’re playing the games here and everybody’s gonna go through the routine. It’s a little bit different, obviously, for support staff, for players, for coaches, but it’s something that we have to adjust to and, you know, it’s a great building, it’s a great setup for our guys, so I’m sure that we’ll figure it out.”
On Monday night, the Islanders’ first goal showed what kind of team they are. Cal Clutterbuck stole the puck at center ice with just under two minutes left in the first period. The Islanders took it deep into Flyers territory, and Samuel Morin took a penalty with 1:18 on the clock, giving the Islanders a power play.
The Islanders cashed in, as Josh Bailey, from the right corner boards, sent it to Lee, who found Tavares for the Islanders’ first goal in Brooklyn with 56 seconds left in the opening period.
Lee got a goal of his own on another Islanders power play 3:25 into the second period, and he was set up by Tavares and Marek Zidlicky.
In the third period, Islander newcomer Kirill Petrov scored, on a set up from Johnny Boychuk and Mikhail Grabovsky, with 6:51 left in the second period to make it 3-0.
The Islanders brought in Petrov, a 25-year-old left wing, from Kazan of the KHL in Russia.
Capuano said of Petrov, “I thought he did well. The thing for me with him tonight is he played the body and he played physical. When you’ve got that size, he utilized it. I thought the young guys played well tonight, him in particular.”
The Flyers got goals from Taylor Leier with 51 seconds left in the second period, and Brayden Schenn 1:33 into the third.
To add to the special nature of the night,the National Hockey League picked this game to test out 3-on-3 overtime regardless of the score at the end of regulation, in this case a 3-2 Islanders win.
This was interesting to watch, as there was a lot of open ice and plenty of breakaways. If people think the current 4-on-4 produces plenty of scoring chances, they ain’t seen nothing yet.
The Islanders have two more preseason games at Barclays Center, this Wednesday against the Devils, and next Monday against the Capitals in a playoff rematch. They open the regular season at Barclays Center on October 9th against the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks.
By Lloyd Carroll of the Queens Chronicle – BrooklynFans.com Contributor
On Monday afternoon Mets manager Terry Collins channeled his inner Harry Truman by articulating the frustrations that most Mets fans felt about Matt Harvey being removed halfway through Sunday’s game with the Yankees. The Mets were winning at the time 1-0 but by the time the game ended they were thumped 11-2.
“Was I disturbed about taking Matt Harvey after the fifth inning? You’re damned right I was!” Collins told the press corps during his 4 PM briefing. He then made it clear that the Harvey handling issue is coming from Sandy Alderson who may or may not be taking his cues from Harvey’s agent, Scott Boras.
I asked him if it was just a coincidence that the Mets’ competitors for the NL East crown, the underachieving Washington Nationals, were suddenly winning just as soon as the Mets started slumping, or was it a case of sharks smelling blood in the water and thus upping their game. Collins concurred that teams can get energized from when the scoreboard gives them favorable news. He then added, “We have to win games plain and simple.”
Collins was articulating the frustration that Mets fans had been feeling for nearly a week. The fans’ reaction to Harvey’s early departure might not have been as vociferous as it was had it not been accompanied by a perfect storm of negative news both before and after. Much to the chagrin of Mets fans, the Yankees always seem to get the better of the Mets in pressurized situations and once again they took the rubber game of the Subway Series. The fact that the Mets couldn’t hit their way out of a paper bag and were so inept in the field against their Bronx rivals was an embarrassment.
It also didn’t help that The Nationals’ hot streak, combined with memories of Mets’ September collapses in both 2007 and 2008, certainly helped darken the mood of many of the Flushing faithful.
What is most irritating about the recent Mets slide is not the fact that they dropped a series to the Yankees who are a very good team battling their division title but rather that they lost 4 out of 6 games to the Miami Marlins. The Amazins’ troubles began a week ago Tuesday when Marlins’ pitcher Tom Koehler flushed them with ease by a score of 9-3 and he also hit Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes with a fastball. I am not sure if it’s coincidental but Cespedes, who had become a Mets folk hero since his trade to the team on July 31, went into a deep slump afterwards.
The odds are good that the Mets will clinch the NL East in Cincinnati this weekend but the Phillies’ accounting department will undoubtedly be hoping that things get delayed until next week when the Mets go to Philadelphia since that could mean a ticket revenue windfall for late September midweek games.
Dr. James Andrews, the orthopedist who performed arm surgery on Matt Harvey as well as countless other athletes is profiled in the October issue of Playboy. The article is properly titled “The Most Important Man In Sports.”
It’s still too early to for Giants fans to put up the white flag for the 2015 season but you can’t blame them for feeling really big blue at this point.
Even the most optimistic Giants fan knew that it would be an uphill climb after All-Pro defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul lost his middle finger and part of his thumb stupidly handling fireworks on July 4th. Not surprisingly, the Giants pass rush has been below par although veteran Robert Ayres has played well in the early going.
Of course the difference between victory and defeat generally rests on the shoulders and throwing arm of Eli Manning. In the humiliating opening game, which was unfortunately broadcast on NBC’s “Sunday Night Football,” poor communication and clock mismanagement led to a heartbreaking 27-26 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. A week later, with the Giants up on the Atlanta Falcons 20-10, Eli Manning was sacked by DE Kroy Biermann and fumbled the ball in the red zone. The Falcons quickly marched down the field and score a touchdown to cut the lead to 20-17. You can argue that resulted in a 14-point swing since it sure looked as if the Giants were about to score a touchdown which would have salted the game away.
For Giants fans are looking for a ray of hope, wide receiver Victor Cruz should be back very shortly. Eli having two quality receivers to throw to, Odell Beckham, Jr., and of course, Cruz should help running back Shane Vereen pick up a lot of rushing yards.
Speaking of Odell, check out his humorous Lenovo ad with comedian JB Smoove about creating humorous names for your fantasy football team on YouTube.
The news for Jets fans is a lot more sanguine following the Jets’ surprisingly strong performance in Indianapolis Monday night. They outplayed the favored Colts in all facets in their 20-7 win. QB Ryan Fitzpatrick was a master at using up the clock while keeping drives alive with smart play-calling. For the second straight week the Jets defense was able to produce five turnovers. Last year it was the opposing teams that won the interception/fumble battles.
Hall of Fame pitcher John Smoltz was at Citi Field for the first game of the recent Subway Series since the MLB Network had broadcasting rights for it. Smoltz feels that with starting pitchers being carefully monitored for pitch and innings more of a burden will fall on relief pitchers. The result will be that more of them will need Tommy John surgery in the near future.
Yankees lefty Chris Capuano has had a rough 2015 and it started when he pulled a leg muscle covering first base during a spring training game. Capuano is one of the most congenial and intelligent athletes you’ll ever meet (he graduated Duke University with a degree in economics) and he knows that at age 37 the odds are that his big league career is probably coming to an end. He told me that at least one television network has approached him about a career in broadcasting but that he is seriously thinking about going for his MBA degree full-time. My guess is that Capuano will be a Major League Baseball team executive in a few years.
Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Marcus Stroman, who grew up in Suffolk County, suffered a leg injury that sidelined him for most of the season although he has returned to action. Stroman took advantage of his unexpected downtime and returned to Capuano’s alma mater, Duke, to finish the requirements for his bachelor’s degree. “I can’t understand why any athlete would go to Duke without intending to finish,” Marcus told me.
Former Knicks star Bernard King is working on his autobiography that he expects will hit bookstores next fall.
The Islanders traded one of their most popular players, winger Michael Grabner to the Toronto Maple Leafs for a number of minor leaguers. Grabner unfortunately was hurt for a good part of the last two seasons.
The New York Daily News made news recently by laying off a number of big names in their sports department. Allegedly Mike Lupica was let go but his contract runs until the end of the year and I have a feeling that a deal will be cut. News owner Mort Zuckerman likes him a lot even though I doubt that there is anyone who has said in the last decade, “Did you read what Mike Lupica wrote today?”
Although saving dollars was the intent, the News improved its Sundaynational baseball column by having the knowledgeable John Harper replace Hall of Fame hack Bill Madden, a guy who always showed his readers that he had a firm grasp of the obvious. He also had a vendetta against Alex Rodriguez who he claimed would never play for the Yankees again after he was suspended last year for PED use. I always thought of Madden as the poor man’s Dick Young except that he did not possess his wit.
The biggest loser, aside from those who lost their jobs from the Daily News’s austerity actions, was the Athletics department at St. John’s University. Roger Rubin, who did a terrific job covering Red Storm basketball, was not spared the ax even though he had a beat as opposed to niche sports columnists as Hank Gola, Wayne Coffey, and Filip Bondy, who also lost their positions despite being very talented writers. The SJU sports information department should be grateful that Brooklyn Fans does a spectacular job covering Red Storm hoops.
The way things are going there will be a pair of empty chairs on SNY’s 5 PMsports talk show, “Daily News Live.”
Equestrian sports are part of the Olympics so it makes sense that there should be some horse riding competitions that the public could watch. Last week the Rolex Central Park Horse Show made its debut. It would be nice if this becomes an annual event here.
After five years New York Fashion Week left Lincoln Center for various parts of the city. What hasn’t changed is the number of consumer goods manufacturers from all walks of life that try to create buzz. At the GBK Suite, King Features introduced an energy drink that featured the likeness of 1920s cartoon sex symbol Betty Boop while Pilot Pen showed off a dress designed by Nicholas K that was comprised exclusively of Frixion Clicker pen parts. Carmex introduced its latest lines of flavored lip balms. Fashion Week has also become big for the spirts industry. Maven Cocktails debuted its line of ready-to-drink bottles of vodka infused red and white wines.
TV Guide is getting some much needed competition from Entertainment Weekly when it comes to glossy magazine coverage about the new television season. EW does a nice job not only reporting on new shows but on returning ones as well.
By Lolita B. - @LolitaLens – BrooklynFans.com Photographer - Showcase pic – Epiphanny Prince dodges Mystics defense
The New York Liberty lost a heartbreaker in double overtime, 86-83, to the Washington Mystics in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinals series.
Washington was led by Ivory Natta, who had 15 points on 4-9 from the field, with all four of her baskets coming from behind the arc, 3 assists, and 2 rebounds. Emma Meeserman had 13 points (6-12 FG) and 10 rebounds, while Stefanie Dolson also had 13 points (5-10 FG) and 9 rebounds.
The Liberty were led by Epiphanny Prince, who had 16 points on 11-for-16 from the field, 3-5 from behind the arc, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists. Tina Charles had 22 points on 10-for-27 from the field, with 8 rebounds and 5 assists.
By Lloyd Carroll of the Queens Chronicle – BrooklynFans.com Contributor
The 2015 US Open will undoubtedly best be remembered for the fact that Serena Williams (pictured above) lost in the women’s semi-finals last Friday to unseeded Roberta Vinci from Italy in one of the greatest upsets in sports history. Vinci then lost in the final the next day to countryman Flavia Pennetta who announced her retirement following the greatest victory of her career.
This was the first US Open in which ESPN had the exclusive domestic television broadcast rights. For the past 46 years CBS broadcast all of the big matches. You have to believe that thoughts of harakiri must have crossed the minds of ESPN executives after Serena lost. Had Williams made it into the finals it would have been a ratings bonanza because she was going for one of tennis’s rarest feats–winning all four legs of the Grand Slam (Wimbledon, and the Australian, French, and US Opens) in the same calendar year.
Last Tuesday more people watched the quarterfinal showdown between Venus and Serena Williams on ESPN in the New York area than either the Mets-Nationals on SNY or the Yankees-Orioles on YES even though both of our local teams were fighting for their respective division titles.
At least ESPN honchos could console themselves knowing that they got the men’s final that they most wanted when Roger Federer met Novak Djokovic. Novak prevailed in four sets Sunday.
As per custom, there wasn’t much of an American presence on the men’s side but there was some minute progress. Last year there wasn’t an American male left standing after the sixth day. This year both John Isner and Donald Young made it to Labor Day (Day 8) before getting bounced.
Although he never won a Grand Slam event, James Blake, who retired two years ago, remains one of the most popular American tennis players of all-time. Blake grew up in Westchester, attended Harvard, and as he frequently made clear at many a post-match press conference at the US Open, is a big Mets fan.
It was a major embarrassment for New York when Blake, who was waiting in front of the Grand Hyatt New York for a car to take him to the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, was manhandled by an NYPD officer in a case of mistaken identity for an alleged cyberspace crime.
It was a great idea on the part of the United States Tennis Association to host a free day last Thursday so that more people could experience the US Open and fill the seats for the usually sparse doubles matches at Louis Armstrong Stadium as well as the various side courts. One suggestion that I would make to the USTA is to switch Queens Day, in which performers from our borough get to show off their talents, from the week of the qualifiers to the Thursday before the Open wraps up.
This fact got overlooked on Sunday when the Mets won their 82nd game of the season after yet another one of their heart-stopping come-from-behind winson Sunday in Atlanta. It is understandable that Mets fans minds are on bigger goals such as winning the National League East title but their 10-7 victory on Sunday guaranteed that the Mets would have their first winning season since they moved into Citi Field six years ago.
Former Mets general manager and current Sirius XM Sports air personality Steve Phillips was at Yankee Stadium on Friday. Philadelphia Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro was fired the preceding day and the knock on him was that he signed the team’s core of aging stars: Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, and Ryan Howard to lengthy and expensive contracts that crippled the team in recent years.
I asked Phillips if it’s generally a team’s owner that dictates the big dollar contracts for key players and he quickly concurred. “Absolutely. The problem is that owners frequently forget who ordered that decision when things don’t work out or when a player’s skills decline in the later years of that contract. To the Yankees ownership’s credit, they haven’t blamed (general manager) Brian Cashman when they saddled him with a player that he did not want.”
Phillips chuckled when I quoted what Lee Strasberg’s character Hyman Roth philosophically said in “The Godfather II”: “This is the business that we have chosen.”
The Jets got the Todd Bowles era off to a good start by beating the Cleveland Browns 31-10 on Sunday. Jets QB Ryan Fitzpatrick was able to lead numerous scoring drives and he did not turn the foot ball over.
Another plus for the Jets was that they committed very few penalties. It was clear that Bowles, their new head coach, had his team prepared. As much as I liked Rex Ryan, sloppy play that was characterized by needless penalties, was par for the course with the Jets during much of his six-season tenure.
Before Jets fans get too giddy however it should be pointed out that Gang Green got a big break when Browns QB Josh McCown, who had done a terrific job moving the ball downfield in the first half, had to leave the game before intermission after incurring a concussion. His backup, the controversial Johnny Manziel, did not have a chance to work with the Browns’ first team and that lack of chemistry with the offense was evident throughout the second half when the Jets put the game away.
I have a feeling that a number of Giants may have broken their televisions by hurling things as they watched the G-Men snatch defeat from the jaws of victory against the Dallas Cowboys last Sunday night. The Giants had a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter but a bonehead decision by QB Eli Manning to throw an incomplete play-action pass from the Cowboys’ 1-yard line gave his Dallas counterpart, Tony Romo, a last chance to be the hero and he took advantage.
“The League,” a fun look at a group of friends whose lives are defined by their love of fantasy football, has not gotten the critical acclaim that it should. The show does have a dedicated fan base that watches it on Thursdays at 10 PM on cable network FXX as it has just started its seventh season.
There will be a Queens angle to next Sunday’s Emmy Awards. Woodhaven native Adrien Brody is up for the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries for his portrayal of the legendary magician Harry Houdini in History Channel’s “Houdini.” Harry Houdini himself is buried in Glendale’s Machpelah Cemetery.
By Jason Schott – BrooklynFans.com Reporter / Assignment Editor - @JESchott19
Yoenis Cespedes has been the Mets’ MVP, as his incredible performance since arriving here at the trade deadline is a reason they are primed to run away with the National League East.
There has been debate as to whether he should be in the running for National League MVP despite just playing for the Mets for the final two months of the season.
It has to be noted, and remarkable to think with how this has gone, that the Mets were 52-50 and trailed the Nationals by 3 games when Cespedes was acquired on July 31st. Since then, the Mets are 31-11 and have a commanding 9 1/2 game lead over the Nationals.
He transformed the Mets’ offense from one of the worst in the National League into one of the best. The whole point of a “most valuable player” award is literally who has been indispensable to their teams. Sometimes, players win it based on stats alone, but this is truly a chance to give it to somebody that brought instant success to his team.
One reason against giving Cespedes the National League MVP is the fact that he played in the “other league,” the American League, for the first four months of the season.
Major League Baseball should consider giving ONE MVP award. Why should a player be punished because he happened to play in a different league and then was the most game-changing player in the other?
There is interleague play every day of the year, so the idea of “leagues” is antiquated at this point. It really was since they did away with separate umpires and league presidents. They even removed”National League” and “American League” from the baseballs themselves and replaced them with “Major League Baseball” and a stamp of the MLB logo and the Commissioner’s signature.
Naturally, teams in one league don’t see the other league much, like teams don’t see the other conference much in the other sports. Of the three other main sports, the National Football League most mirrors this situation because there is an American and National Football Conference, but they do not have separate MVPs. There is the single NFL MVP award.
Cespedes’ numbers with the Tigers and Mets are certainly MVP-worthy, as he is hitting .298 with 35 home runs and 103 RBI. Cespedes is hitting .309 (54-175) with 17 home runs, 42 RBI, 36 runs scored, 10 doubles, and three triples in his 41 games with the Mets through Monday.
This is a historic season for Cespedes, as he is only the second player since 1920 to switch teams mid-season and record at least 15 home runs and 40 RBI within his first 40 games playing for the new team. Hank Sauer was the first to do so when he has 15 home runs and 47 RBI in his first 40 games with Cubs in 1949. Cespedes is also the first player with at least 28 extra-base hits within his first 40 games with a new team after having played for another team that season.
The impact Cespedes has had on the Mets can be seen in the numbers from July 25th, when they brought up Michael Conforto and traded for Juan Uribe. Since then, the Mets are 33-13 and lead the league in many categories. They lead the majors in runs scored with 283, home runs with 79, a .490 slugging percentage, and tied for the major-league lead in doubles with 110.
Since August 1st, his first day with the Mets, he is tied for second in the majors in home runs with 16 and is first in the National League in RBI with 41 and in slugging percentage at .680.
Cespedes is having a September to remember. Since the 1st of the month, Cespedes leads the majors in RBI with 18, is tied for the league lead in both runs, with 15, and home runs with 8, and is second in slugging percentage with a mark of 1.000. Cespedes hit home runs in eight of his last 12 games through Sunday.
Cespedes was named the National League Player of the Week from September 7th through 13th, when the Mets swept a three-game series in Washington and a four-game series in Atlanta. Cespedes hit .345 with four home runs (NL lead) and 12 RBI (MLB lead) for the week, with a .897 slugging percentage.
Mets Manager Terry Collins said of Cespedes on the road trip, “Well, I’ve been really lucky because I’ve seen some guys first-hand. The only guy I can even compare it to closely would be when Barry Bonds would go on a run, or in 1994, when Jeff Bagwell was doing similar stuff. You haven’t seen what this guy was doing on the road, every time we needed him to step up, he stepped up. He hit a double with nobody on to get an inning started, and Grandy (Curtis Granderson) would draw a base on balls and he’d hit a two-run homer – if we needed production, he did it. He was hitting balls out of the ballparks. The other day, he hit one off Edwin Jackson, he hit it off the end of the bat and it kept going. You shook your head, I mean, the other day after he hit the home run off Jackson, Matt Harvey walked over to me and says ‘it’s time to move him to the next league,’ just to tell you how the other players look at him. He’s a special talent.” Harvey was referencing a comment Collins made about how great Cespedes has been.
Collins said of Cespedes being able to play in big spots, “There are special guys, and I just mentioned two of them (Bonds and Bagwell) when they’re on the big stage. You could talk about all those guys that will end up in the Hall of Fame that, when they’re asked to come through, they come through. He’s one of those guys, it just seems like he rises to the occasion when you need him, and both sides of the ball, too, I mean, this guy’s made some tremendous plays defensively, good baserunner. We’re fortunate that he’s here and we got him hot at the right time.”
Cespedes, of course, rewarded the home fans on Monday night, as he hit his 35th home run of the year in the third inning and was serenaded with “M-V-P” as he rounded the bases.