Saturday, April 07, 2007

Speaking of Ancient History...

Friday night's Braves/Mets tilt was the most anticipated game between 3-0 teams in the National League since...well, since the last time 3-0 or better teams played each other in the N.L. which, believe it or not, was the April 24th, 1894 game between the Boston Beaneaters and the Baltimore Orioles.

The Orioles faced many of the same question marks as the Mets in terms of starting pitching, going into the '94 season with a staff who's rotation only had one pitcher over .500 in '93 (Sadie McMahon). But they started the '94 season much like the Mets have this season, winning their three games by scores of 8-3, 12-6, and 4-3. But still nobody believed in them. Consider what a Boston Globe columnist wrote about the Baltimore Orioles pitching staff back in March of 1894:
"Why bully, these Orioles have no pitching. Tony Mullane? He's old. The rest of these chums are too young. Baseball is all about the future...and my sources tell me there will be a team soon called the New York Highlanders which will be playing a better brand of baseball than these National League bums. Bully!" -Sebastian Verducci, Esq.
The Beaneaters had just gotten done with a sweep of their own over the Brooklyn Grooms...who's shortstop, Tommy Corcoran, had said during one of his January medicine ball workouts that the Grooms were the best team on paper in the National League. So this was going to be a great matchup between the Orioles and Beaneaters.

Except that the Orioles made the much anticipated game an annihilation, a 15-3 victory on April 24th over the Beaneaters that started their dominance of the National League in 1894, finishing with a league best 89-39 record behind 25 wins from Sadie McMahon, and a mid-season trade which brought none other than Kid Gleason to the Orioles. His 15-5 record gave the Orioles the National League pennant. (But you probably know him best by the character played by John Mahoney in Eight Men Out.)

One hundred and thirteen years later, here were the Boston Beaneaters again in the next meeting of 3-0 National League teams...except this time, they're the Atlanta Braves. The Baltimore Orioles? You guessed it, they were defunct by the turn of the century. But in their place is a team who once beat a team called the Orioles in a World Series...and just like the 1894 Orioles, their starting pitching was much maligned.

"The tone in the Mets' camp has been similarly unsettled, largely because of a starting rotation that has nothing but question marks behind Tom Glavine. Orlando Hernandez went to camp assured of a job but has been horrible. The other spots seem likely to go to John Maine, Oliver Perez and either Aaron Sele or rookie Mike Pelfrey, who has been the one bright spot." -Phil Rogers, Chicago Tribune

Like the defunct Orioles, the Mets made minced meat out of the Beaneaters, this time by a score of 11-1. Jose Reyes had two triples and four RBI's, and Oliver Perez, of the much maligned starting rotation, pitched seven strong innings with six K's and zero walks. The only thing defunct regarding the Mets in six years will be Shea Stadium. Is a pennant in their future as it was for the Orioles? Who knows. But watch those Brooklyn Grooms. I hear they're the best team on paper.

(A special thank you to Gary Cohen, for providing that interesting nugget about the last time 3-0 National League teams played each other...thus providing me with tonight's material. It's your world Gary, we're just squirrels trying to find a nut...and decipher what Keith is talking about.)


Sean said...

Yet another abysmal pitching performance for the Mets! Where's Barry Zito when we need 'im?

Anonymous said...

how about that foul ball that larry let drop in front of him? hahaha

Mike said...

Nice stuff, Metstra. Although I think the writers of the day referred to the game as "Base Ball."

As to last night's "baseball" game, all I can say is Wow.


Unser said...

This one is a Hall of Famer. Funny post MD.

Anyone catch Joe Smith losing track of the innings at the end of the game? After the third out in the ninth inning, Smith starting jogging toward the dugout, as if it were the eighth. Castro was left hanging for a few seconds at the mound, waiting to shake Smith's hand. This must be addressed in a Kangaroo Court.

The Metmaster said...

Wasn't El Duque on that Orioles squad?
Yeah, we suck all right. Why, oh why didn't we sign Trachsel??!!

I never thought much of Carter as president, but I have a new found respect for the guy after seeing him sitting in that refrigerator until the bitter end.

Fredster said...

Another jewel in the Metstradamus crown of glory. You continue to inspire wonder in why you're not the next Mike Lupica or Steve Somers (cuz I know you, and you have a face for radio)!

And, poo ... I missed last night's game!

Mookie McFly said...

I liked this quote after the game:

"If you're gonna get beat, you might as well get the snot knocked out of you," Francoeur said

I don't know Jeff, I'd rather just lose than get the snot beat out of me.

If we get 14-15 starts from Ollie like we did last night I think we may never see anywhere but first place from this moment on...Even Cox, the old coot, had to give him credit.

"That's about as good as I've ever seen him, I think," Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "A lot of strikes, good movement. We didn't have him in much trouble at all."

I think he's right. I don't even think Perez looked this good in game 7 last year.

Lets Go Mets!

Ed in Westchester said...

It's early, I know, but I'm all a twitter over the possibilities for this season.

ajsmith said...

Brilliant. Just brilliant.

What a terrific post. Baseball as historical constant, and the present moment as both a part of, and testament to, that century-long journey.

Makes me appreciate all the more the 35 years of highs and lows, following this game and this team, that have been as markers along the path of my time here.

Thanks for this, and for your continued great work here. Your words and this blog are an honorable and welcome contribution to this long and storied shared excursion.

Coop said...

Ed - "a twitter" *snicker*

Toasty Joe said...

Nice one, Metstra. Bully for you.