Thursday, October 05, 2017

Mets finished fourth in division.

At the beginning of this season I facetiously posted here that the Mets were in first place in their division. This was after one game , when all teams were either 1-0 (the Mets, along with the Nationals, who would go on to win the NL East, and the Phillies, who would be the last place division finishers) or 0-1. The Mets would finish the season in fourth place in the East, the worst they've done in several years. Two years ago they won the National League Pennant, but lost the World Series to the Royals. In 2016 they tied with the Giants for the wild card, but lost the one game playoff.

Going into this season, the consensus was that the Mets were serious contenders, along with the Nats. What happened? In a word, injuries. All of the vaunted starting rotation except de Grom went onto the DL at one time or another, along with important relievers. Pitching took the worst of it, but hitting, fielding, and catching were also affected.

Why? I've ventured a reply here. Is it true that injuries had a greater effect on the Mets than on other teams? According to this site they were more affected by injuries than any other MLB team during the 2017 season. Can they do better next year? They'll have a new manager, some new players, and maybe some of their present starters, both on the mound and the field, will be gone. Others may return to top form and manage to avoid injury. There are too many unknowns to try to make a prediction.

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Tom Petty, 1950-2017.

The worlds of jazz, country, and rock music have lost many great performers this year -- in chronological order I've noted here the deaths of Al Jarreau, Chuck Berry, J. Geils, Gregg Allman, and Glen Campbell -- but I've yet to see an outpouring of grief on Facebook as tsunami-like as that following the death yesterday of Tom Petty. This, I think, is testimony to Petty's musical charisma as well as his adaptability over many years, not to changing fashions in rock but to new styles he created. It's also, sadly, testimony to his death at the age of 66, when he was still near the peak of his game.

I first heard him sometime in the late 1970s on WNEW-FM, the then AOR station that ended and began most of my days. I'm pretty sure the first song of his I heard -- at least the first I remember -- was "Listen to Her Heart":

I love the song for its triumphantly defiant lyrics and for its Byrds-like jangling guitars. The clip above is from a concert in Tom's home town, Gainesville, Florida, in 2006. Despite the passage of almost thirty years and some band personnel changes, the song is done just as it was recorded.

Tom had a long and fruitful musical association with Stevie Nicks, as exemplified by the clip below, from the same 2006 tour, of them doing "Stop Dragging My Heart Around":

I remember reading, years ago, that when Stevie met Tom's then wife Jane and asked her how they had met, Jane said, "I met Tom at the age of seventeen." Stevie mistook Jane's North Florida Cracker rendition of "age" for "edge," and it inspired this song:

So long, Tom, and thanks for all the songs.