Thursday, August 04, 2005

"We Are What We Are"

There was a familiar refrain from 2000-2004 in the New York Rangers lockerroom, where captain Mark Messier would stride towards reporters after yet another tough Ranger loss with a stone face trying to hide the fact that he's extremely pissed off. And as he searched for words to mask the words he really wanted to say about yet another bunch of misfits who refuse to resemble a team with any passion, this phrase would repeatedly come up:

"We are what we are."

Don't get me wrong...I'm not comparing the 2005 New York Mets to any of those Ranger fiascos. But when I do think of this year's Mets, that's the phrase that comes to my mind. The Mets are what they are...a .500 outfit. Tonight proved it.

Is there a good reason why a team with this lineup and Pedro Martinez to boot should be hovering around .500? No. They're frustrating, but that's what they do. Only the Mets can follow a great win such as the one on Tuesday night with Pedro on the mound the next day and still find a way to take two steps back after taking two steps forward. But that's what the Mets are built for.

The players who have gotten them this far can't possibly do it all season. Is it really fair to expect 40 year old Roberto Hernandez to pitch on back to back humid nights and not give up a home run to Brewer monster Carlos Lee? What can you do?

And about Braden Looper: He was beaten by a chopper to third, a swinging bunt, a liner to second, a walk, and a grounder up the middle. He wasn't hit hard, and he's another pitcher who had to pitch on back to back nights in the steamy heat. And when you walk the fine line as Looper does, unfortunately this happens. At least this wasn't a high profile national television giving life to your mortal enemies blown save. It was the Brewers.

The one thing I'll say about Braden Looper is this: Experts thought that Looper didn't have the psyche to make it in New York. He has proven the opposite to be true. Looper has been nothing but forthright to the media whenever he has run into problems. Others who have preceded him have handled adversity much much worse (Armando, I'm talking to you). Looper has gotten a win in a World Series (against the Yankees no less), and has proven to be a team guy when he hit J.D. Closser last season after he broke Joe McEwing's leg. So if it seems that I'm giving Looper too much slack, that's the reason why.

I was more frustrated with Carlos Beltran. I don't know if I have a problem with Beltran swinging at the first pitch...but I know that these grounders to the right side are getting ridiculous. I know that it's unrealistic to expect, say, a .363 average...but when the numbers 3-6-3 signify all the double plays you ground into, well that's a problem. And the boos grow louder.

***

I disagree with the Mets announcers (I know, what a surprise). With one out in the top of the ninth and a runner on second, pinch runner Trent Durrington attempted a steal of third to set up the sac fly. He was out by a significant amount, and the Mets should have been out of it. Fran Healy and co. thought it was a bad play. I thought it was smart. Conventional wisdom says you don't make the first or third out at third base. Durrington's out was the second out. Yes, you had Brady Clark coming up with two outs...but with Durrington on third you give yourself two chances to score and not only one. And here's what the Mets announcers failed to mention (probably because they were being nice): With Mike Piazza behind the plate, your odds of stealing go up dramatically. Piazza made the throw...so tip your hat.

***

Piazza made the news before the game with the revelation that he was hitting seventh tonight right behind Mike Cameron. Cameron seems to be a more natural six hole hitter than a two hole hitter (even though he did have some success hitting to the right side before his trade deadline troubles), so it's not too strange a move. Of course, Piazza responded by hitting a home run tonight.

With Doug Mientkiewicz hitting so well nowadays, might Piazza be dropped to eighth before the season is out? Don't be silly. But don't be surprised if Minky is moved up to the second spot in the order...especially if he gets to the head shaving threshold of .250 in the next couple of days. (And if he keeps throwing cut blocks like the one on the Brewers' Rickie Weeks in the ninth, could Minky's next spot be blocking fullback for the Jets?)

***

According to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, the Twins tried to turn Kyle Lohse, J.C. Romero and Bret Boone into Alfonso Soriano.

You mean the same Bret Boone that was released by the Twins? I know Romero is a good middle reliever, but come on. I hope the Rangers weren't even thinking about this offer after trying to get the entire Binghamton Mets franchise for Soriano. This proves my theory about the "not the Mets" discount.

3 comments:

a2d said...

For your poll, you should add "Willie Randolph". He'd be the runaway winner.

Rob said...

What a2d said. Willie Randolph is a goddamned moron.

Metstradamus said...

I do have an issue with Willie regarding this afternoon's Brewer loss. It's not what you might think. Stay tuned...