Saturday, September 03, 2005

Mr. Zero Chance

(Editor's note: the following probably should have been written after some time to cool down. But what fun would that be?)

For Carlos Beltran, all would have been forgiven with one swing of the bat against Todd Jones. Tying run on second, winning run on first...all of the past transgressions of April-August can be wiped out with one mighty stroke of his one hundred and nineteen million dollar stick.

Instead Carlos, cruelly, as you meekly ground to first base to seal a 5-4 Marlins win, you remind us what it means to be Met fans. You remind us the money does not buy happiness unless you take residence in the Bronx.

You remind us that there is more than one way to lose a ball game.

You remind us that hope is for those of us in Queens that are of mind, body and soul free of the emotional scars of Jim Fregosi...of Bobby Bonilla...of Kenny Rogers...and of Shane Spencer.

Hope is for Astros fans.

I've been told that I've been too easy on Carlos Beltran...that I've made excuses for him...that he deserves more of the hammer than I've laid down on him thus far. I've responded thusly: wake me up when the calendar hits September...when the money is on the line...when the spotlight of the Met universe shines on him. Then, we will see, what is there to be said.

Well it's September, Metstraskiltskin has awoken. And I say this:

Carlos Beltran, you are mental mush.

You, not Shingo Takatsu, are Mr. Zero.

You are Eric Lindros without most of the concussions.

You are George Foster without the Ray-Bans.

You are...a New York Met.

But don't go thinking that you're special...oh no. You think you're the first to waste rallies by Miguel Cairo? You think you're the first to collect a Wilpon paycheck with a ski mask and a gun? You think you're the first to rip our hearts out of our chests, stomp all over them, roll over them with a street sweeper, allow fireants to gain their sustenance from them, scoop up the remains, pour them into a cup, spread it on luncheon meat and make us eat it while forcing us to sit through a book club meeting with James Lipton and Carrot Top? No, you're not the first. You won't be the last. And that's why with whatever heart I have left I will hold your every wasted opportunity to the fire and boo you with the fury of 119 million alpha males at a sportscar convention until you get a clutch hit and shut me up.

You say you'll be here for six more years, Carlos? Good. So will I.


I looked up the english translation for Shingo Takatsu. Oddly enough, Shingo Takatsu in English means Billy Taylor.

And you know what Billy Taylor means.

That's right, another loss.

Yes, the wheels on the bus go round and round as they detach themselves from the bus and roll down I-95. And watch the Mets bandwagon flip over the divider as Miguel Cabrera takes some slop from Steve Nash's evil twin and smacks it like a flipper sending a pinball to the double bonus.

I knew there was a reason that a first place team...a first place team that has lapped the field mind you...would designate their closer for assignment.

Then again the Mets take fliers on closers released by last place teams so what do they care?


Remember it isn't over until the fat lady sings.

Well, no fat ladies cleared waivers...but I have it on good authority that Mo Vaughn just popped a cheeseburger flavored lozenge, and is warming up his vocal chords by humming "love that chicken from Popeye's."


Anonymous said...

Ha ha ha! Thanks for making "rooting" for this "team" "fun."

Kyle in Newport News said...

On the bright side, Superman came out of the phone booth early in tonight's game.

Metstradamus said...

Yes he did. I had hoped that it would have been enough. If Beltran is going to keep whiffing in the clutch, it makes it all the more imperitave that Cliff becomes a monster.

erik love said...

The 2-3-4 hitter's for the Marlins are


2-3-4 for the Mets


Nuff Said......

Mets Beast said...

Hey Metstradamus... I just created a blog and I just wanted to know if you could help me get it started... Thanks.

Kyle in Newport News said...

Managing seems to have two components: in-game, managing the players as chess pieces; and out-of-game, managing the players as people. I've read about Randolph's positive influence on Reyes's development and the clubhouse environment. I've read an awful lot about how important his calm is, how he keeps things "in perspective" after losses and shields his players from the morale-shredding New York media. If all I've read is true, then Randolph is a very good out-of-game manager. But that's an impossible thing to gauge watching him in the dugout, just as it's impossible to verify pitchers' praise of Piazza as a catcher who calls a great game. In the dugout, in terms of persona, I don't know that he's very distinguishable from Art Howe, who was the King of Calm. But I don't remember being so angry at in-game (and pitching rotation) decisions on such a consistent basis during the Howe era. "Gape at Willie's illogic" is a way of life among Mets fans these days, and I just don't remember the same frustration going on with Howe, but I acknowledge that perhaps that frustration just got buried under all the other kinds of frustration. So I'm asking you, someone who has studied the Mets for far longer and with far keener an eye than I: Was Art Howe a better in-game manager than Willie Randolph? The question smells of heresy, but for the life of me at this moment I can't imagine any answer but yes. That scares me as a Mets fan because, while Torre has been catching heat from Steinbrenner all season for overachieving with a broken down team, I have not heard word one from Wilpon about Randolph's (and Omar's?) consistent underachieving with a very good team. Everyone's calm... someone needs to be standing on the top step of the dugout and screaming.

Metstradamus said...

meet the mets,

Looks like you're off to a great start. The best advice I can give you is to:

do a google search under "HTML goodies", and learn the codes that are in your template. And also...

Be yourself and have fun.

That's really all there is to it. Best of luck in your blogging adventure.

Mets Beast said...

Thanks Metstradamus... by the way, I love your blogs lol... they are funny... I sound like an idiot lol.

Kyle in Newport News said...

Recalling the rosters of years gone by and looking for bright spots, I asked myself, "What happened to Scott Strickland?" I had last seen him sitting on top of the bullpen toward the end of the Diaz-hits-a-homer-off-Latroy-Hawkins-
to-effectively-end-the-Cubs's-season game late last September (I took a photograph, if you could use such a picture... though you seem to be pretty compotent with the camera yourself). I had last seen him pitch during Glavine's first start as a Met, also against the Cubs, on Opening Day 2003, when he was throwing beautiful rosin clouds (a white puff would come up from the ball each time it travelled to the plate).

But where was he now? I went to stats and learned that he had made his first start since 2003 this very evening, for the Houston Astros. 1.0 IP, no runs, no hits, no walks. So there's another roadblock on the Mets' long trip to the postseason -- but also someone else to cheer for if the Mets don't make it. I can't help but wish him well.

Metstradamus said...


Would you believe I wrote this long damn comment to respond to you and now it's gone? I am furious!

Basically, I think that Randolph being a better "people person" than an "in-game" manager isn't a bad thing...especially considering the job that Herman Edwards has done with the Jets basically having the same strengths and weaknesses as Randolph.

It's hard to assess Howe as an in-game manager because he didn't have a lot to work with. Lou Piniella wouldn't have helped that 2003 team, and it would have cost them Reyes.

Howe in 2004 played the infield in down by seven runs in the 8th inning so I have no respect for his in-game managing...and in Randolph's defense, Howe was Mr. Calm until the media started complaining about him...then he started yelling at guys on the bench just to make a point. That proved he had no control.

Randolph shouldn't yell and scream for the sake of it...but I would like to see him flip out to protect his players and when Sandy Alomar was thrown out earlier in the season. Or even in an instance like when Fluff Castro was called out on that RIDICULOUS check swing call. I would have flipped out there...sometimes flipping out during a pennant race can spark a team...especially when the Mets have lost three games in a row.

Randolph has a lot to learn as an "in-game" has cost them some games. But his "out of game" managing of people has been worth more wins than people might think.

Metstradamus said...

Strickland was in the Norfolk to start the season...he had been hurt basically all of 2004. He had a clause in which if he wasn't called up by a certain date he could opt for free agency. Strickland actually extended the deadline by a week but saw that he wasn't going to get called up anytime soon, so he was granted free agency, and ironically he pitched in the minors for the 'stros until tonight. The Mets didn't think he made enough progress to warrant a call up so they let him go.

Strickland had great stuff but obviously couldn't get back to where he was when he was an Expo.

Metstradamus said...

Thank you, meet the mets, for your kind words. I never think that someone who is complimenting me sounds like an idiot.

I am the only idiot around here.

Kyle in Newport News said...

Thanks for the assessments, both the one posted and the one lost, so sorry. I agree that the solution has nothing to do with Randolph yelling from the stoop -- my comment there was just a tip of the cap to Valentine -- but I was thinking about the Castro check swing call tonight. Someone over at Amazin' Avenue commented that Randolph never gets thrown out of games, and said he (or she) might have to ask Metstradamus if Randolph had ever been ejected. UVA's old baseball coach, Dennis Womack, was as mild-mannered as they come, but I saw him give it to an umpire once on what looked to all assembled like a terrible, game-ruining call. That meant so much that I wrote him an e-mail of thanks, and in his reply he acknowledged a coach's responsibility to stick up for his players and his fans, even when he knows nothing tangible will come of the argument. There are so many intangibles, and so I am receptive to your argument that Randolph's "out-of-game" managing is worth more than we know, but arguing with an umpire is a sort of an out-of-game in-game endeavor.

But thanks most of all for assuring me that Art Howe wasn't a master of the on-field.

Metstradamus said...

I completely agree with Dennis Womack's point of view on that one. I would probably consider arguing an "in game" decision, but it does have "out of game" ramifications.

Metstradamus said...

And I don't think Willie has been ejected so far.

Kyle in Newport News said...

But David Wright has!

Metstradamus said...

So have Sandy Alomar Sr., Mike Piazza, and Doug Mientkiewicz.

Darth Marc said...

Kyle writes:

"That scares me as a Mets fan because, while Torre has been catching heat from Steinbrenner all season for overachieving with a broken down team, I have not heard word one from Wilpon about Randolph's (and Omar's?) consistent underachieving with a very good team."

Broken down team?????

Yes, the Yankees have a patchwork pitching rotation, but to describe the Mets as very good and the Yankees as broken down is borderline delusional.

I'll give you the edge in pitching rotation. No question, you've been more consistent. Although outside of Pedro (who's wearing down like he always does this time of year)and Benson, you're hardly world-beaters.

But if you compare our lineups, there is only one person who would start for the Yankees on the Mets right now. Carlos Beltran. And only because of his defense. His stats are only slightly better than Bernie's. But Bernie can't play the field everyday and Beltran is still a superior fielder with a plus arm. And in the clutch, I'd still take Bernie over Beltran.

After that it's not even close. Godzilla kicks Superman's ass. Look at Matsui's numbers and look at Floyd's. Plus he's hitting over .300 vs lefties. Floyd takes a seat most times when a good southpaw is on the mound. Regardless of what Mike Lupica thinks, Wright and Reyes have a long way before they can mentioned in the same conversation as A-Rod and Jeter. A-Rod has a shot at his second MVP while Jeter is putting very Jeter-like numbers. Plus, he's upped his OBP by taking more walks. Sheffield is better than anyone you put in right. Cano is better than either Matsui or Cairo. And Giambi is back(insert steroid joke here).

As awful as Posada has been, I'll still take him over Castro or Piazza.

Our bullpen is better than yours as well. Gordon or Sturtze could close for your team. Rivera is a god.

Yes, Joe has had to work more with less this year. But before you start calling your team "very good" for the sake of blasting Willie's managing skills and calling a team that is vastly superior to yours "broken down". Make sure you have your facts straight.

Bottom line is this about the Mets. And this is something that I said to your fearless leader Metstradamus and several other Mets fans before the season began...the way that they're constituted, they're a 80 plus win team if they stay healthy. Maybe 85-87 if they go on a streak. Nothing more. They need another bat and bullpen arm if they want to contend with the big dogs. Willie's doing exactly what a first year manager should do with a team like that. I don't watch enough Mets games to judge Willie's in-game managing. So I honestly don't know how many games were blown by his moves. But I know that the team he has is an average to above average team, not a pennant contender.

Maybe in a few years, Willie will be able to do what Bobby Cox has done. But Omar Minaya and his scouts have to become John Schuerholz for that to happen. You can only play the guys the GM puts on the field for you. If you want to kill Willie, fine. But kill Omar too, because he signed some of these stiffs. It's not Willie blowing eight run leads.

I know Yankee hating is en-vogue in these parts. And we deserve it. Yes we split the season series. Yes, you won your first series in the Bronx. But before you annoint your team to a status they don't deserve...Make sure you don't do it at the expense of a team that is clearly better than yours.

To quote Donovan McNabb "Keep my name out of your mouth."

And before I get the million responses about being an arrogant Yankee fan jackass(which I freely admit to being), tell me which part of what just I wrote is false?

"Search your feelings...for you know I what I said to be true."

"I am your father...."

Kyle in Newport News said...

Darth Marc,

Well, you caught me with my pants down something awful. Nothing you said about the Yankees is false, as far as I can tell. Hitting stats for the Yankees are very impressive, everyone knows the relief by name, and the starting pitching is coming along with Chacon, Small and Wang.

I really don't know enough about the Yankees to bring them, even tangentially, into a posting. I based my comment primarily on a rant I heard from a national sports radio personality who, in another rant later on in the show, revealed himself to be ignorant in issues of race, class, and gender; I don't know why I took his word on the Yankees.

That said, I still believe the Mets are a very good team this year. They have lost many games they shouldn't have, due in part to Willie Randolph (see Zambrano over Trachsel, Miguel Cairo), and, yes, in part to Omar Minaya (see the Kaz Ishii experiment; see how Jae Seo isn't exactly "new"). That said, they've also lost a good many games in disastrous fashion because the team simply has highly fallible components; you're right, Randolph isn't blowing the 8th-inning leads.

But I never said the Mets were a better-constituted team than the Yankees. They're not. That's not to say we couldn't win a best of seven against you, but you're definitely going to finish the season with more wins, hands down.

And Koo was out at home.

Anonymous said...

metstra, i thought piniella was going to cost us heilman, not reyes. because there is no way that randy winn and reyes are even remotely comparable.

Darth Marc said...

Be careful with listening to radio guys...most of them are idiots. Since Yankee-bashing is so cool now with these talkies...far beneath them to let the facts get in the way of a good rant. If you want to listen to someone, guys like Metstradamus and these other bloggers are the way to go. While they are my mortal enemies and it's my job to destroy them...I will say this....They know their stuff. They love their team and the game. And they'll give credit where credit is due.

Kudos on finally bashing Beltran, Metstra-infidel....I knew you had it in you!

Koo was out at home.

Metstradamus said...

Kudos from Darth Marc?

Why do I feel faint?