The media and book tour for MOOKIE: Life, Baseball and the '86 Mets continues on April 30 with Mookie's live appearance on Boomer and Carton on WFAN at 9 AM and ending with a 7:30 PM book signing at Bookends at 211 East Ridgewood Ave in Ridgewood, NJ.
Today is the official book release date for MOOKIE: Life, Baseball and the '86 Mets! Book signings will kick off today at the Barnes and Noble at Citi Corp (160 E 54th Street at 3rd Ave) at 12:30 PM and at the Barnes and Noble in Queens (176-60 Union Tpke, Fresh Meadows).
Mookie Wilson will be a guest this evening on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart." The show airs at 11 PM EST.
Great article in today's New York Post by Mike Puma on the upcoming book, MOOKIE: Life, Baseball, and the '86 Mets
By Mike Puma
Mookie Wilson isn’t feeling loved by the Mets.
The 1986 World Series hero, who still serves as a club ambassador, writes in his soon-to-be released autobiography that he has been stripped of responsibilities for the Mets and is owed an explanation for his firing from the coaching staff following the 2011 season.
“It’s sad to admit this, but I have basically become a hood ornament for the Mets,” Wilson writes in “Mookie: Life, Baseball and the ’86 Mets” (Penguin Group USA). “I have no decision-making role at all in my job description. I would have liked an explanation as to why I was moved from first base coach to the ambassadorship, but none was ever given.
“I feel that I deserve to hear just some words to justify the actions of an organization that I have honored and promoted every day of my nearly thirty-year existence in it.”
Wilson was dumped as part of a coaching shake-up after manager Terry Collins’ first season, in which bench coach Ken Oberkfell and bullpen coach Jon Debus were also replaced. Third-base coach Chip Hale left the staff to become Oakland’s bench coach.
“I understand that jobs come and go in the baseball business, but sometimes management loses sight of how these moves play with people’s lives,” Wilson writes. “When you have no stability and don’t know what you’re doing from one year to the next, it’s very difficult to do anything. One year you’re making $100,000, the next year just $40,000. Where’s the reasoning? How can people live under those circumstances?
“For as difficult as it is, I don’t think it really bothers team management, and that troubles me. I don’t care about not having a job. If they fire me because they have a better replacement, that’s fine. But when no information is given as to why a move is made, it’s much worse than getting an explanation I might disagree with. They just dictated my career as a player and a coach and it wasn’t right.”
The Mets were aware Wilson’s book is forthcoming and issued a statement after The Post told a team spokesman about some of the excerpts.
“We are pleased that Mookie accepted our offer to rejoin the organization in 2012 and continue with us in spring training and during the season as a roving instructor and Club Ambassador,” the statement said.
Wilson’s unhappiness with the organization didn’t prevent him from appearing at spring training this year, and he continues to accept a paycheck from the club — a decision that perplexes some of his longtime friends.
Wilson writes that Collins — who picked him for the coaching staff before the 2011 season — told him his firing wasn’t the manager’s decision. The move came one year into general manager Sandy Alderson’s regime.
“It was a strange season coaching under that new regime,” Wilson writes. “I felt like I was watching the deterioration of the Mets organization. They seemed to have no identity.
“My concern was that the character of the players they were looking for superseded the talent they brought to the table. Character on a team is important, but you’ve got to have the horses to win.”
When reached by The Post on Thursday, Wilson said he wasn’t concerned about making such comments in his book while still employed by the Mets.
“I figured it wasn’t that flattering, but I don’t think the language was that strong,” Wilson told The Post. “I didn’t want to do something and write something that is not truthful. I’m trying to be honest with myself and my situation.”
Wilson said he still plans to be at Citi Field next month in an upcoming scheduled appearance as a Mets ambassador. In that role, he greets fans and signs autographs.
In the book, Wilson also chronicles his playing career for the Mets in the 1980s. It was Wilson’s grounder through Bill Buckner’s legs in the 10th inning of Game 6 of the 1986 World Series that completed an improbable comeback victory against the Red Sox. The Mets won Game 7, for the most recent World Series championship in franchise history.
According to Wilson, members of that team can forget about having positions of authority within the current organization.
“The Mets have shied away from that iconic club because they don’t want the current one exposed to that hard-partying culture which, while well-documented, has also been somewhat exaggerated at times,” Wilson writes.
“The guys from that championship team are older and more mature now and can warn the current Mets about some of the pitfalls of fame.”
Wilson also reveals that Gary Carter, who died of brain cancer in February 2012, never wanted Keith Hernandez to be named team captain. Hernandez wrote the forward for Wilson’s book.
“Gary Carter let it be known he felt that Keith was unfit to play the role of captain,” Wilson writes. “Perhaps to appease Carter, the Mets made him co-captain of the team [in 1988].”
Wilson also blames team brass in the 1980s for mishandling Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry, both of whom never reached their full potential in part because of drug and alcohol addictions.
“They were both young and had tremendous talent,” Wilson writes. “The team did not protect them as well as they probably could have.”
We are just six days away from the start of the Mookie Wilson media and book signing tour. The most recently updated schedule is as follows (Hope to see as many of you come as possible to one of the events):
April 29 12:30 PM
Barnes & Noble Citi Corp
160 E 54th Street @ 3rd Ave.
New York, NY 10022
Barnes & Noble Queens
176-60 Union Turnpike
Fresh Meadows, NY 11366
April 30, 7:00 PM
211 East Ridgewood Ave
Ridgewood, NJ 07450
May 1, 7:00 PM
The Bookmark Shoppe
8415 3rd Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11209
May 2, 7:00 PM
313 New York Ave
Huntington, NY 11743 (Long Island)
May 3, 5:00 PM
179 Maplewood Avenue
Maplewood, NJ 07040
Special Book Signing and Question And Answer Event With Mookie Wilson
May 5, 6-8 PM
Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center
@ Montclair State University
8 Yogi Berra Dr.
Little Falls, NJ 07424
Over the last fifteen years, the Yankees have acquired some highly-touted pitchers from Japan--remember Hideki Irabu--that couldn't exactly mirror the greatness they had in their home country. At last, however, the Yankees appear to have such an ace in Masahiro Tanaka.
Although just three games into his Yankee career, Tanaka has 28 strikeouts in just 22 innings, a staggering ratio even for the best strikeout pitchers the major leagues has seen in recent memory. If it continues, the Yankees may have made their greatest free agent acquisition ever. After all, Tanka is just 25 years old and could be their number one starter for the next decade.
If you think I'm getting ahead of myself, consider this. He was 24-0 in Japan last year and pitched to a 2.30 in over 1,300 innings across his seven year career. He throws an unhittable splitter that comes into the batter looking like a fastball and then drops off the table. Watching this guy pitch so far, he makes hitters look like little leaguers. And because he does so effortlessly, Tanaka could become one of those throwback pitchers that can lead the league with complete game victories and make a mockery over what is foolishlessly defined as a quality start (6 innings, 3 earned runs).
Personally, I'm not a big fan of the four hour game that parades in one middle reliever after another. Tanaka is the anti-LaRussa in this regard, appearing disappointed if manager Joe Girardi takes him out of a game.
Tanaka leads a formidable Yankee pitching staff that will make fans forget about some of the age (Jeter, Texiera, Ichiro, Soriano, Roberts, Beltran, etc), weakened offense, and subpar infield defense. You could make the case that CC Sabathia is their fourth best starter this year, a very encouraging thought for the Yankees, a team more accustomed to being Bombers than Hurlers.
The Milwaukee Brewers won their ninth straight game today. Their best player, Ryan Braun, highlighted a big week with three homeruns and a circus catch in a game against Philadelphia a few days ago. And yet, instead of lauding the Brewers' star on a tremendous game, commentators and writers alike questioned whether Braun was on PEDs again.
Not long ago, Braun was on his way to baseball immortality, one could fairly presume, before getting busted for using performance enhancing drugs. And in the process, he tossed his reputation into the trash heap when bringing down a working-stiff drug tester, falsely accusing him of tampering with his specimen sample.
So now every time Braun has a big game, fans and media alike will subtlely, or not so subtlely, bring up the possibility, as remote as that might be now, that the Brewers' slugger is cheating again.
The Toronto Blue Jays also had a good week and currently sit atop the American League Eastern Division. And their most productive player thus far, outfielder Melky Cabrera, hit homers in four straight games. Of course, Melky has his own history of PED use, getting busted two seasons ago while with the San Francisco Giants. Last year, in his first season in Toronto, his numbers dropped like a rock, and he hit just three homeruns in 372 at-bats. He has already topped his total of dingers from last season in just 55 at-bats.
Talk around baseball reverberated around whether Melky was juicing again as well. And while it is improbable that Cabrera would be stupid enough to be back on PEDs, as a second violation would pretty much finish off his career, speculation abounds.
And this is a huge problem for baseball, even as Commissioner Bud Selig, now in the last year of his tenure, is doing victory laps over his own perceived conquering of the Steroid Era. It's an issue because baseball is still a "game of shadows," with fans still unable to embrace a player's, any player's, hot streak without a little voice in their head wondering aloud if what they are seeing is truly worth believing.
As usual, I had sports radio on in the car while running a few errands today. I mostly listen to WFAN here in New York, but switch over to ESPN during the former's seemingly endless commercial breaks. So after one game played by each home team--with 161 more to go--many New York baseball fans have packed it in.
Let's start with Mets' fans. Granted, the loss of Bobby Parnell--their closer who blew the opening game--for what may be months or even the season, is a tough break. But please, he was never exactly the second coming of Dennis Eckersely. And Jose Valverde--who not that long ago was one of the premier relievers in baseball with Detroit--looked great in relief. Maybe he can resume his closer role with Parnell gone and do a better job.
Plus, the Mets scored 7 runs! Seven! And they knocked Stephen Strasburg out of the game.
The Mets are also a story for 2015 anyway. While they may see some success this year, the future looks much brighter once Matt Harvey comes back and they make those inevitable deals to bring in a shortstop and a first baseman.
So chin up Mets' fans. Everything gets magnified on opening day. If Monday's loss happened in mid-June, no one would notice.
And that brings us to the Yankees. It's true, the Westwood Gardners' team I played for when I was a 9 year old would have looked better than the Bombers in the early innings last night. And CC Sabathia made the dreadful 2014 Houston Astros look like the 1975 Cincinnati Reds. But it's one game.
Even if they continue to have subpar defense and CC fails to regain ace status, they have very strong starting pitching, a solid bullpen, and a lineup that is going to score five runs a game by accident. I'd be shocked if they lose again tonight.
Remember the '78 Yankees? They started the season something like 2-9 and lost to the then horrific Blue Jays a bunch of games. As I recall, things worked out just fine for that team.
Erik's thoughts on current events in baseball