Gus Ramsey Talks Mets' Fandom and the state of Mets' Baseball
I was lucky enough to conduct an e-mail interview one of Bill's various guests in Gus Ramsey. Gus was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to talk about his New York Mets fandom, something he did that not many other people got a chance to do and of course, the state of the current Mets team.
PH: How did you get into following the New York Mets?
GR: My Mets fandom was passed down to me from my dad. He was a Brooklyn Dodgers fan and became a Mets fan after the Dodgers took off for LA and the Mets were born in '62.
He had a friend whose dad was a minority owner of the team and in '73 we went to a bunch of games sitting right next to the dugout. I was at the NLCS clincher in '73.
There was also a day when we went to a game (me, the two dads and the other dad's son) and we had our pictures taken on the field with a lot of the players. We even took one with Yogi Berra in his managers office.
As a 6-year old it wasn't too hard to fall in love with the team under those circumstances. I remember watching the '73 World Series and being very upset when they lost to the A's. Our neighbors were big A's fans and my dad made us go to their house and congratulate them. That was a tough pill to swallow for a 6-year old.
PH: Growing up, who was your favorite player on the Mets? Why?
GR: I loved John Milner. I just thought he was cool. He had a sweet swing and wore wrist bands. Everyone loved Tom Seaver so you kind of had to have another guy and Milner was mine.
PH: Over 25 years ago, you did something that only Mets fans would dream about and that's catching the legendary Tom Seaver. Tell us about how that opportunity came about for you and what you learned from it?
GR: Wow, that would take a lot of time so it's probably just easier to direct people to my blog when I wrote about it.
The biggest thing I learned is just how proud Tom Seaver was of his craft and even when the end of the line was basically there, he was determined to do everything correctly. If he was going to come back, he was going to go all in.
Pitching was an art form for him and even on that day in my front yard he wasn't just throwing paint against the wall, he was mastering his stroke and trying to lay the foundation for his next masterpiece.
PH: Now onto the present Mets. Give us a few reasons why the team was so disappointing this past season.
GR: I wouldn't say they were disappointing. I think they were exactly what most Mets fans thought they would be.
I had them at 74 wins, they won 75. They had one legitimate bat in their lineup, David Wright, and he got some support from Byrd and Murphy, but it was not an offense capable of carrying the team.
Matt Harvey was an amazing story and he'll be missed a great deal next season. The regression of Ike Davis and Lucas Duda killed them. They were probably hoping those two would combine for 50 homers and 180 RBI. They got 24 HRs and 66 RBI out of them.
Ruben Tejada also went from SS of the future to SS of the Las Vegas AAA team. To top it off, they had the 2nd most walk-off losses in baseball.
The saving grace is they won all 4 against the Yankees, so in that regard 2013 was a great success!
PH: What does the organization need to do to rectify these disappointments?
GR: The offense is the biggest area of concern and they did attempt to rectify it with the additions of Granderson and Chris Young. I'm not overly excited about those acquisitions as both guys are low average, high strikeout guys. In theory their lineup could be E Young, Murphy, Wright, Granderson, D'Arnaud, Duda, Lagares (or Young), Tejada, which could be decent.
I think they could have gotten a Chris Young player in a deal for Ike Davis, so giving him 7 million didn't make much sense to me. I will say that last year when the Red Sox spent the money that they had cleared with the trade with the Dodgers I thought "That's why they cleared all that money? So they could spend 125 million on Victorino, Napoli, Dempster, Gomes, Ross, Drew and Uehara?" But it worked out for them.
So while roughly 90 million on Colon, Granderson and Young doesn't sound like prudent shopping, maybe it'll work out.