Early winter morning

We’ve finally reached the end of 2012. On both a personal level and for the baseball teams that I follow, it wasn’t really a good year.

I’ve watched my father’s health decline throughout the year. I don’t usually get too personal on here, but my dad’s the one who taught me about baseball and took me to my first games – I can’t really talk about the game or look back on 2012 without thinking of him.

Gary Carter as manager of the Long Island Ducks in 2009 (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

Gary Carter as manager of the Long Island Ducks in 2009 (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

I didn’t know Gary Carter, but his death was a loss for me and many other baseball fans as well as those who did know him personally. Carter was one of the rare few members of the 1986 Mets who tried to do admirable things off the baseball field as well as on it, and he will always be my favorite baseball player.

Moving from the sad to the frustrating, the New York Mets collapsed again after a strong start to the season in 2012. Only the disaster that was the  Miami Marlins saved the Mets from finishing in last place in the National League East. The team’s finances continue to be the most interesting story surrounding the Mets this off-season, and the biggest trade that Sandy Alderson made sent the Mets’ second-best player to Canada for talented prospects who aren’t likely to help before 2014 or later.

Mike Ness pitches for the Newark Bears on Opening Day (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

Mike Ness pitches for the Newark Bears on Opening Day (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

The Newark Bears muddled through another losing season, finishing the year 30 games under .500 and with the lowest attendance in the Can-Am League.

Yep, not really a banner year anywhere.

But even so, there were bright spots. For the Bears, Mike Ness had a magical afternoon on July 11th when he pitched a no-hitter against the eventual league champion team despite a defense that committed six errors behind him.

It took 50 seasons (and a missed call by an umpire), but the Mets finally got their own no-hitter on June 1st.

And if Johan Santana was amazing that night, R.A. Dickey was amazing all season long. Despite an offense that seemed to go days between scoring runs in the second half, Dickey became the Mets’ first 20-game winner since Frank Viola and their first Cy Young Award winner since Dwight Gooden.

R.A. Dickey pitches for the New York Mets on May 27th, 2012 (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

R.A. Dickey pitches for the New York Mets on May 27th, 2012 (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

Dickey’s one-hitter against the Baltimore Orioles on June 18th was the best baseball memory I’ve had at Citi Field. That night, he became the first pitcher in all of baseball to throw back-to-back one-hitters since Dave Stieb did it for the Toronto Blue Jays in 1988.

David Wright (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

David Wright (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

David Wright set new franchise records for RBIs and hits – I was in the ballpark when he set the RBI mark in April. During the off-season, he signed a contract extension that will likely allow him to retire as a Met, so we can watch him extend and set more franchise career records.

Jonathon Niese and Ruben Tejada took steps forward, and Matt Harvey made a positive impression once he was promoted from the minor leagues. And if Ike Davis‘s overall numbers for 2012 aren’t especially pretty, he did finish strong after a terrible start.

And on a personal note again, I’m thankful for the friends I’ve made who I’ve gone to baseball games with, who have helped me with my autograph or baseball card collections, or who’ve just spent time talking baseball with me here, on Twitter or on Facebook.

There’s a quote from a Doctor Who episode that seems like a perfect way to sum up 2012:

The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and bad things…. The good things don’t always soften the bad things, but vice-versa, the bad things don’t necessarily spoil the good things and make them unimportant.

This year’s almost gone, and next year promises another pile of good and bad things for us. Let’s try to enjoy the good ones – such as those magical performances at the ballpark, or times spent watching the game with friends or family – and not let the bad ones spoil the rest.

What stood out for you in 2012? What are you looking forward to in 2013?

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About Paul Hadsall

I'm the former editor of a weekly community newspaper and current contributor to Hot Stove Baseball. I've been a New York Mets fan for most of my life and I've been blogging about them, minor league baseball, baseball cards and autograph collecting since 2007. Contact me at paul@randombaseballstuff.com

4 responses

  1. Will in Central NJ says:

    Hi Paul, best wishes for a better 2013 for you and yours.

    As far as sports, I’d say the highlight for me was the NJ Devils making it all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals, just down the street from the Bears’ Riverfront Stadium. But, even the warm afterglow of that solid run was ruined for me by the still-ongoing NHL lockout.

    Like you, I am a Mets and Newark Bears fan. You hit all the high and low points with those baseball teams. Santana had the first Met no-hitter, yes, but he became ineffective afterward and was shut down. Dickey wins the Cy Young, and is traded. Madoff’s shadow lingers over CitiField.

    Meanwhile, many Bears fans hold their collective breaths to see if the franchise will survive another season. The October gaffe with the bogus Justin Bieber concert at Riverfront Stadium—let’s just say I kinda felt it was too good to be true and I wondered why Ms. Dronet did not see it as the fraud it was. (I have a 12 y.o. daughter–good thing I waited before mentioning anything to her).

    On the autograph front, I thought Ike Davis, Tim Raines, Gary Gaetti (Sugarland) and CJ Nitkowski (Buffalo) were particularly nice and generous with their time signing autographs for me, to name just a few good guys. Looking forward to a better 2013!

    Happy New Year to all!

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    • Paul says:

      Thank you, Will. Happy New Year!

      My sports highlight of 2012 was seeing the Giants win another Super Bowl, but that’s not really on topic for this blog. :-) I do hope that the NHL owners & players can come to some sort of an agreement that salvages what’s left of this hockey season.

      On the autograph front, I’d agree that Gary Gaetti & Tim Raines deserve special mention. Other standouts for me were Jackie Bradley Jr. (Red Sox prospect) and Darin Ruf (Reading Phillies).

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  2. Paul, First off, I’m sorry to hear about your father. My own dad is 72 and has had cancer in the past, so every time I get a call from my mom, I expect bad news. So far, we’ve been lucky.
    As for the Mets, what can you say? Once a Mets fan, always a Mets fan. I hate to watch them flounder so much, but they’ve been through worse periods (1977-83, for example.)
    I like the sentiments you express in this post, and I hope 2013 is kind to your and yours.
    Happy New Year,
    Bill

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