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.”

Game 2 is going to be the poster child for pace of play arguments this winter

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 26:  Zach McAllister #34 of the Cleveland Indians is relieved by manager Terry Francona during the fifth inning against the Chicago Cubs in Game Two of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on October 26, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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In August, it was reported that Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred would like to implement pitch clocks, like those in use in the minor leagues for the past two seasons, to improve the pace-of-play at the major league level. You can bet that last night’s Game 2 will the lead argument he uses against those who would oppose the move.

The game was moved up an hour in order to get it in before an impending storm. By the time the rain finally started falling the game had been going on for three hours and thirty-three minutes. It should’ve been over before the first drop fell, but in all it lasted four hours and four minutes. It ended in, thankfully, only a light rain. The longest nine-inning game in postseason history happened a mere two weeks ago, when the Dodgers and Nationals played a four hour and thirty two minutes. There thirteen pitchers were used. Last night ten pitchers were used. Either way, the postseason games are dragging on even for those of us who don’t mind devoting four+ hours of our night to baseball. It is likely putting off more casual fans just tuning in for the Fall Classic.

It’s not all just dawdling, however. Yes, the pitchers worked slowly and a lot of pitching changes took place, but strikeouts, walks and the lack of balls in play contribute to longer games as well. We saw this both last night and in Game 1, which was no brisk affair despite each starting pitcher looking sharp and not working terribly slowly. Twenty-four strikeouts on Tuesday night had a lot to do with that. Last night featured 20 strikeouts and thirteen — thirteen! — walks. It’s not just that the games are taking forever; the very thing causing them to drag feature baseball’s least-kinetic forms of excitement.

But no matter what the cause for the slower play was — and here it was a combination of laboring pitchers, the lack of balls in play and, of course, the longer commercial breaks in the World Series — Manfred is likely to hold Game 2 up as Exhibit A in his efforts to push through some rules changes to improve game pace and game time. So far, the centerpiece of those efforts is the pitch clock, which has proven to be successful and pretty non-controversial in the minor leagues. It would not surprise me one bit if, at this year’s Winter Meetings in Washington, a rule change in that regard is widely discussed.

Kyle Schwarber is the feel-good story of the 2016 postseason

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 26:  Kyle Schwarber #12 of the Chicago Cubs reacts after hitting an RBI single to score Ben Zobrist #18 (not pictured) during the fifth inning against the Cleveland Indians in Game Two of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on October 26, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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Most baseball fans and even the Cubs had resigned themselves to most likely not seeing Kyle Schwarber in game action until spring training next year after he suffered a gruesome knee injury in a collision with teammate Dexter Fowler back in early April. Schwarber suffered a fully-torn ACL and LCL in his left leg.

To the surprise of everyone, including manager Joe Maddon, Schwarber was cleared by doctors to play if the Cubs wanted to put him on the World Series roster. So they did. And, boy, are they glad they did it. In preparation, Schwarber saw over 1,000 pitches from machines and pitchers in the Arizona Fall League.

Schwarber essentially crammed for the final exam and unlike most students who do it, it has panned out well thus far. No one was expecting him to look outstanding against Indians ace Corey Kluber in Game 1, but in his first at-bat — his first in the majors since suffering the injury in April — Schwarber worked a 3-1 count before eventually being retired on strikes. Schwarber came back up in the fourth and drilled a Kluber sinker to right field for a two-out double.

In the seventh inning, facing one of the American League’s two scariest left-handed relievers in Andrew Miller, Schwarber worked a full count before drawing a walk. During the regular season, Miller walked exactly one lefty batter. Schwarber made it two. Schwarber would face Miller again in the eighth, going ahead 2-1 before ultimately striking out. He finished 1-for-3 with a walk and a double in the Cubs’ 6-0 loss. Considering the circumstances, that’s amazing.

Schwarber continued his great approach in Game 2 in what turned out to be a 5-1 victory. He struck out against Trevor Bauer in the first inning, but returned to the batter’s box in the third inning and singled up the middle to knock in the Cubs’ second run. Schwarber made it 3-0 in the fifth when he singled up the middle again, this time off of Bryan Shaw, to make it 3-0. Facing Danny Salazar in the sixth, Schwarber drew a four-pitch walk to put runners on first and second base with two outs. Finally, he struck out against Dan Otero in his eighth-inning at-bat, finishing the evening 2-for-4 with a pair of RBI singles and a walk.

But now, as the Cubs return to Chicago for World Series Games 3, 4, and 5 at Wrigley Field, they have to contest with National League rules, a.k.a. no DH. Will Maddon risk Schwarber’s subpar defense to put his dangerous bat in the lineup? Even if Schwarber is not put in the starting lineup, he can at least serve as a dangerous bat off the bench late in the game when the Indians send out their trio of relievers in Shaw, Miller, and closer Cody Allen. At any rate, what Schwarber has done already in the first two games of the World Series is mighty impressive.