What they’re saying about the passing of Gary Carter


Gary Carter passed away this afternoon at the age of 57 following a fight with brain cancer. Here’s some reaction from around a baseball world in mourning.

Mets chairman & CEO Fred Wilpon, president Saul Katz and COO Jeff Wilpon: “On behalf of everyone at the Mets, we extend our deepest and heartfelt condolences to Gary’s family — his wife Sandy, daughters Christy and Kimmy and son D.J.  His nickname ‘The Kid’ captured how Gary approached life. He did everything with enthusiasm and with gusto on and off the field. His smile was infectious. He guided our young pitching staff to the World Series title in 1986 and he devoted an equal amount of time and energy raising awareness for a multitude of charities and community causes.  He was a Hall of Famer in everything he did.”

MLB commissioner Bud Selig: Driven by a remarkable enthusiasm for the game, Gary Carter became one of the elite catchers of all-time,” said Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig. “‘The Kid’ was an 11-time All-Star and a durable, consistent slugger for the Montreal Expos and the New York Mets, and he ranks among the most beloved players in the history of both of those franchises. Like all baseball fans, I will always remember his leadership for the ’86 Mets and his pivotal role in one of the greatest World Series ever played. On behalf of Major League Baseball, I extend my deepest condolences to Gary’s wife, Sandy; their daughters, Christy and Kimmie; their son, D.J.; their grandchildren; his friends and his many fans.”

Former Mets manager Davey Johnson, via Adam Rubin of ESPN New York: “Gary was a one-man scouting system. What people didn’t know was that he kept an individual book on every batter in the National League. He was the ideal catcher for our young pitching staff.”

Former Mets teammate Darryl Strawberry, during an interview on WFAN: “I wish I could have lived my life like Gary Carter. He was a true man.”

Former Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda: “Rest in peace Gary Carter. Gary played for me and was a Hall of Famer on and off the field. I respected and loved him.”

Former Mets teammate Howard Johnson, via Andy Martino of the New York Daily News: “It’s a sad day for his family, and for us. The way things happened with Gary this year, it is tough to take it all in. Kid was so incredibly strong. There is not much you can do at this point, other than pray for the family.”

Former Mets teammate Dwight Gooden: “My batterymate, my friend, I am so blessed to have played with & can call Gary my friend he meant a lot to me on & off the field with the way he battled his fight to the end gives me a lot of strength & faith to battle mine, we will always be connected at the hip RIP my brother.”

Former Mets teammate Ron Darling, via MetsBlog: ”The baseball world lost one of its gladiators today, and I have lost a friend.  Gary Carter was everything you wanted in a sports hero: a great talent, a great competitor, a great family man, and a great friend.  To know Gary was to care deeply for him, and I am deeply saddened.  All my thoughts and prayers are with his wife Sandy and their children.”

Former Mets teammate Bob Ojeda, via MetsBlog: “We are all very saddened to hear of Gary’s passing. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this difficult time. He was not only a Hall of Fame ballplayer, but also a Hall of Fame man as well. He is gone too soon for us to understand. May he rest in peace.”

Former Mets teammate Wally Backman, via Andy Martino of the New York Daily News: “He was a big brother figure to a lot of us. He was one of our leaders.”

Hall of Famer Johnny Bench: “I am so sad! The Kid has left us. I started calling him Kid the first time I met him. He was admired and loved. Thank you for our past.”

Mets third baseman David Wright, via David Lennon of New York Newsday: “If you strive to be half the player and half the person Gary Carter was, you’ll be all right.”

Former Expos teammate Steve Rogers, via the Associated Press: “Learning of Gary’s passing feels as if I just lost a family member. Gary and I grew up together in the game, and during our time with the Expos we were as close as brothers, if not closer. Gary was a champion. He was a `gamer’ in every sense of the word – on the field and in life. He made everyone else around him better, and he made me a better pitcher.”

Hall of Famer Tom Seaver, via the Associated Press: “Nobody loved the game of baseball more than Gary Carter. Nobody enjoyed playing the game of baseball more than Gary Carter. He wore his heart on his sleeve every inning he played.”

The Yankees were booed last night. Did they deserve it?

Masahiro Tanaka

The boos came raining down from the Yankee Stadium faithful last night. They started when Brett Gardner grounded out in the eighth inning. More came later. A lot of it was, no doubt, based on Gardner’s disappointing performance late in the season. A lot of it was because, around that time, it seemed like the Yankees had zero shot whatsoever to mount a comeback. Which, in fact, they didn’t. A lot of it was pent-up frustration, I assume, from a late season skid which saw the Yankees lose their lead in the AL East and wind up in the Wild Card Game in the first place.

Anyone who buys a ticket has a right to boo. Especially when they buy a ticket as expensive as Yankees tickets are. It’s obviously understandable to be disappointed when your team loses. Especially when your team is eliminated like the Yankees were. And last night’s game was particularly deflating, with that 3-0 Astros lead feeling more like 10-0 given how things were going.

But isn’t booing something more than a mere manifestation of disappointment? Isn’t a step beyond? Booing isn’t saying “I’m sad.” It’s saying “you suck!” It’s not saying “I’m disappointed,” it’s saying “you should be ashamed of yourselves!” And with all respect to Yankees fans, the 2015 Yankees have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of.

This was a club expected to miss the playoffs, full stop. Maybe some people allowed for an if-everything-breaks-right flight of fancy, but hardly anyone expected them to play meaningful games late in the year, let alone a playoff game. They were too old. Too injured. There weren’t enough young reinforcements to fill the gaps. Some even went so far as to claim that they were about to spend years in the wilderness.

But then A-Rod broke out of the gate strong. And Michael Pineda had a really nice first couple of months. And Mark Teixeira put up numbers that wouldn’t have been out of place for him several years ago. The bullpen did what it was supposed to do and more, Masahiro Tanaka held together somehow and, eventually, a couple of young players like Greg Bird and Luis Severino came in to reinforce things. The not-going-anywhere Yankees were contenders. And they led the division for a good while. Of course they stumbled late. And of course they lost last night, but by just about any reasonable measure, this was a good team — better than expected — and, unlike a lot of Yankees teams in the past, was pretty darn enjoyable to watch.

Then the boos. I just can’t see how this Yankees team deserved that.

I realize a lot of people in the media have duped a lot of people into thinking that a team with a high payroll is supposed to be dominant. And I realize George Steinbrenner duped a whole lot of people into thinking that anything less than a World Series championship for the New York Yankees is failure. But that’s rhetoric and branding, not reason. In the real world where baseball players play baseball games World Series titles are rare, even for the Yankees. At the end of the season all but one of 30 teams are either at home for the playoffs or went home after suffering a gut-wrenching playoff loss. The Yankees are the most dominant franchise in the history of American professional sports yet they still have finished their year without a title over 75% of the time.

With that as a given, fans are left to judge their team’s performance based on its talent, its health, its heart, its entertainment value and the strength of the opposition which ultimately vanquished it. The Yankees weren’t nearly as talented as many, yet made the playoffs anyway. They were a walking hospital ward, let limped on. They never quit and never got pulled down into the sort of muck a lot of New York teams find themselves in when things start to go sideways. And, ultimately, they were simply beat by a better team. By any reasonable measure the 2015 Yankees were a good story, a successful enterprise, a resilient bunch and no small amount of fun.

It’s OK to be sad that it ended as it did. But that doesn’t deserve to be booed. Not by a long shot.

Collin McHugh will start Game 1 of the ALDS for the Astros

Collin McHugh Astros
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After using ace left-hander Dallas Keuchel to get past the Yankees in the Wild Card game the Astros will turn to right-hander Collin McHugh in Game 1 of the ALDS versus the Royals.

McHugh had an up-and-down year, posting a 3.89 ERA compared to his 2.73 mark last season, but thanks to good teammate support he had a 19-7 record and his 171/53 K/BB ratio in 204 innings was solid. He was particularly good down the stretch, posting a 2.89 ERA and 69/20 K/BB ratio in 72 innings after August 1.

McHugh will match up against Royals right-hander Yordano Ventura in Game 1. Houston hasn’t named a starter for Game 2 yet, while Kansas City is going with Johnny Cueto. And then the Game 3 matchup figures to be Dallas Keuchel versus Edinson Volquez.