Trick or treat.
Wow, that's an...uh, interesting get-up. Who are you supposed to be?
Can't you tell by my obvious shoulder injury?
No sir I don't.
I'm Braden Looper.
Ooooooohhh, that's a genius costume...I should have known you were dressing up as the former Mets closer.
No no, I'm actually Braden Looper.
Oh. (Long pause). Well, you want some candy.
Actually, I'd like a job. My option was declined. Can you get me a closer's gig?
Well I'm a soothsayer, not a general manager. Hey, who's that trotting circles around you?
Oh that's my buddy. He's dressed as Joe Randa. Part of the costume.
Oh. Well...you think that's going to help get you a job?
No, but I figured at least it could get me some candy or a warm meal. I'm hungry.
I see. Well, I don't think I can help you, but hey, if you see the kid dressed as Theo Epstein driving up the block, why don't you hook up with him and make a big super costume. I hear he's looking for a job too.
You mean the guy carrying the two babies?
Those are no babies...those are his kids dressed as Manny Ramirez and Doug Mientkiewicz.
OK, I'll see if I can find them. Thank you sir.
Thank you. And here, here's a pack of Life Savers.
Monday, October 31, 2005
Sunday, October 30, 2005
Another sign that the lords of baseball are turning their own warriors against them, further punishing them for trashing a plane in 1986, the Braves have named former Met closer and full-time prankster Roger McDowell as their pitching coach, replacing Rockin' Leo Mazzone.
So who sets the first hotfoot of the 2006 season, Roger McDowell, or Ugueth Urbina?
Meanwhile, you won't hear the golden tones of Ted Robinson or Dave O'Brien anytime soon, unless you're a tennis fan or prefer watching your baseball on ESPN. Robinson and O'Brien have been let go as Mets announcers, as the team prefers announcers who are available for 100% of the team's games, rather than 95%.
O'Brien was offered the Mets full time gig, but turned it down in favor of ESPN, to work a more ecclectic selection of events, and stay at home more.
So that's two very good announcers leaving, while the spectre of Fran Healy looms larger and larger every minute. Now there's someone who's available for 100% of Met games. In any event, now that the Mets are exploring other options, it might be time for Met fans to explore some options of their own...
Saturday, October 29, 2005
- He tells you what a great teammate Johnny Bench was.
- Talks about that night in Chicago where he scored four touchdowns in one game.
- Confuses his stolen identites and shows you pictures of his wife, Heidi Klum.
- Spells "Mientkiewicz" correctly.
- Tells you his season ending collision was with Rigo Beltran.
- Relays stories of the good old days when he helped defeat the Braves.
- Thinks Minute Maid Park is in Florida.
- Talks to you about his jealousy regarding his brother, Kirk.
- Tells you he never strikes out.
- Is upset that Miguel Cairo never got the chance to sing lead as a member of Menudo.
- Professes the need for the Mets to go out and get a solid number two starter...behind Dwight Gooden.
- Signs his prescription with a heart that dots the "i".
Remember, that man you're shooting up with Benadryl may not be a major leaguer.
Thursday, October 27, 2005
...to Bobby Valentine, Matt Franco, and to Benny Agbayani (and I guess to Satoru Komiyama even though he stunk here in New York) for completing a sweep of their own for the Chiba Lotte Marines against the Hanshin Tigers early Monday morning. Agbo and Franco each hit a HR in the series.
...to Houston Astro fans, for ending all controversy by proving once and for all that roof closed or roof open, that they wouldn't have made one bit of difference. Because when it counted, when presented with the opportunity to get in the way of a foul ball in the stands, backed off and let Juan Uribe go David Wright on you...in Game Four of the World Series! Nice job clutch city.
...and to Bruce Chen, the first annual winner of the Onion inspired "Todd Zeile Award".
He actually finished in a first place tie with Mike Stanton. But I used my position as webmaster to cast the deciding vote...and I would vote for the cockroaches under my sink over anything regarding Mike Stanton.
I know that probably doesn't make Bruce Chen feel too special, but hey Bruce, you won. Enjoy it.
Bruce Chen is a great choice...and thanks to the fan that reminded me of him to make him a late add. In sixteen seasons, the award's namesake has had 615 teammates. In half that time, Bruce Chen has had 438 teammates already. Chen started his career with the Atlanta Braves, which makes his journey all the more amazing since it distinguishes him as one of the few pitchers that Leo Mazzone couldn't transform into a superstar. He has since pitched for the Phillies, then the Mets in 2001...the Mets, Expos AND the Reds in 2002 alone...the Astros and Red Sox in 2003, and the Orioles in the last two seasons. This season, Leo Mazzone gets another crack at him after joining the Orioles as their pitching coach.
Those of us who carried the banner of the orange and blue knew that there was one more game to go.
And that mostly forgotten game took place 19 years ago today.
Now this of course was years before the legend of "Red Sox Nation" was born...and I bring that up because of the rain that fell soon after Game Six that pushed the deciding game back to Monday, which gave the Red Sox their best chance to bounce back from their tenth inning collapse on Saturday. It was the rainstorm that almost gave Bruce Hurst back his MVP award that he lost down the right field line on Saturday night. It was the rainstorm that allowed Hurst one more shot at the Mets.
And if that had happened in 2005, it would have been hailed by Red Sox Nation as a sign from the Almighty that the Red Sox were destined to beat the Mets. God wanted to make up for playing his cruel joke on Bill Buckner, so he rained out the Mets and their arrogant fans on Sunday, they would claim, because surely God wouldn't want the Red Sox to endure Bill Buckner and Dennis Boyd on back to back nights.
Those who do remember that there was a seventh game probably think that the Red Sox had no chance anyway and were simply rolled over by the Met machine in Game 7.
We know better.
Because Bruce Hurst was steamrolling towards that MVP award...for the second time in the series. He was given three runs and he romped through five innings while he looked to make Bill Buckner a distant memory.
But Sid Fernandez pitched the greatest 2 and 1/3 innings in Met history after he replaced an ineffective Ron Darling, striking out four of those seven batters, keeping the Mets close for a three run rally off of Hurst in th sixth.
Then Calvin Schiraldi entered the 3-3 game in the seventh.
You would have thought Red Sox manager John McNamara had learned by then.
Schiraldi claimed that the perception that he was a deer in the headlights...that he had a scared look in his eye, was in his words: "bull s**t". Obviously, Calvin never saw the tape of that game. Deers laugh at how scared Calvin looked as Ray Knight strode to the plate amidst a backdrop of "Caaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaal-viiiiiiiiiiiiiin."
"High fly ball into deep left field, back goes Rice at the waaaaaaaaall...
As Ray Knight gave the Mets their first lead of the game, and the last lead they would ever need, Vin Scully did what all of his contemporaries should learn to do: he shut up. He let the insaneness of the crowd wash over you as Sinatra's "New York, New York" blared on the sound system. Ray Knight's fist pump was the exclamation point of the series. It was the first home run of the World Series by a home player. What better time?
And thank goodness that nobody back in 1986 was insane enough to come up with an idea which involved giving home field advantage in the World Series to the team whose league won that year's All Star game. Or else Game 7 would have been at Fenway Park...and Rich Gedman's place on that Sports Illustrated cover might have been much more prominent.
At that moment, the game was kaput. Sure, the teams traded four runs, and Strawberry hit a home run at the very moment that Joe Garagiola wondered aloud: "Whatever happened to Oil Can Boyd", (a home run off of Al Nipper by the way...one that Strawberry took about 15 minutes to round the bases on which caused a 1987 spring training altercation between Strawberry and Nipper) and the last run of the 1986 season was driven in by none other than Jesse Orosco (I know you forgot that), but Ray Knight ended the World Series, and got himself on the cover of Sports Illustrated (and wound up on the Baltimore Orioles over a contract negotiation which had a gap between the two parties of about $25,000; which should be proof enough that the SI jinx is no joke).
Just as the White Sox are celebrating at this moment...celebrating their seven game series win which was compacted into a four game sweep, the Mets would celebrate nineteen years ago today...two days after the general population thinks that World Series ended.
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
The survivors find a whole new group on the island...
"We were stranded by a plane crash. How were you stranded?"
"Lack of clutch hitting."
Will the new castaways be vanquished? Or will they find a way to survive on the island? Find out tonight, on an all new "Astros Lost". On FOX.
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
Leandro Aragoncillo (Google him.)
And now, Doug Mientkiewicz.
The evidence...from the Star Tribune:
"I don't why they would pick up my option, but if they do, I might quit...I'm serious. I don't want to be back there...I always thought Minnesota was a great place to play. After a year with the Mets, an organization that doesn't have a clue, I know that for sure."There's every chance that Mientkiewicz might be right. This organization might not have a clue. They certainly didn't have a clue before October of 2004. (Don't say you weren't warned.)
And it speaks to a bigger problem that the Mets have had over the early part of this decade, and still hovers right now: The Mets are still in a mode where they have to overpay to get great players. The Yankees can advertise that they are the Yankees and that they're in the playoffs every season. The Cubs can advertise their rabid fan base and Wrigley Field. The Red Sox can also advertise their ballpark and their fan base. The Twins can't overpay to get players, but they have an organizational plan where players will take less money to stay there rather than take less money to leaver wherever they are to go there. The Braves can also boast an organization in perfect array.
The Mets? Until they can consistently show a commitment to winning and a solid organizational plan, they have to overpay for free agents and hope that they work out...which 99% of them haven't.
Now in Mientkiewicz's case, you most certainly can chalk it up to sour grapes because he hit a buck nothing over a good portion of the season. But he was contrite about it early in the season. So something must have changed at some point in terms of communication to change his mind on the Mets. Either that, or he saved his venom for now, after he knows that he's gone. But I hate to break this to all of you, but the Mets still, even after an 83 win season, might be an organization that doesn not have a clue. This off-season will tell us more.
But let's not lose sight of the most important aspect of the departure of Minky:
It means that of all things, a quote might be the final straw for the removal of the Doug Mientkiewicz quotebook from this website.
I may have to replace it with my second idea: "Steve Trachsel's Recipe du Jour"
In case this is the last time, here for posterity, are the rest of the quotes:
"Even when you strike out you're in the middle of controversy."--to A.J. Pierzynski, basically telling him he struck out.
"I knew it was going to happen, as soon as we fell out of the race. This ain't my first rodeo."--on mistaking Mike Jacobs for cattle.
"I feel a little quicker."--on his theory that haircuts, not proper conditioning, will increase your foot speed.
"David Wright never should put clippers in his hands again."--basically calling David Wright a homicidal maniac.
"He totally better take me (to the ESPY's) because if that's not the play of the year, I'll protest. He better not have a girlfriend by then."--professing his love for David Wright (and his barehanded catch).
"I'm sick to my stomach about it...I told them that if they sent me down, I'm not coming back."--on a potential rehab assignment, obviously believing someone in Port St. Lucie has a contract out on his head.
“We’re trying to win games here...Would I like to be in there every day? Yeah, of course. Everybody would. But that’s why it’s called a team and not the New York Mientkiewiczs."--realizing that Mientkiewiczs would be too long for the front of the uniform, although M-E-T-S is in the name.
"He misinterpreted what I said. But I should have been thrown out before that."--on getting thrown out of a game in Colorado
"When you haven't been on base twice since spring training, you should have fresh legs."--on slumps and physical fitness
"The only bad thing that happened is that I didn't get thrown out a window when the tire blew. I told them, 'You guys are nuts. See what happens when you ride with me? You're lucky it didn't flip and do like six cartwheels.'" -- on the minivan he was riding in blowing a tire in Atlanta, with Heath Bell in the car.
"My wife dropped this on me last night: she said, 'You are a good player; hopefully someday you'll show these people you can play. You're a much better player than this. I'm tired of watching this.' It kind of hits home when your significant other says that."--on the secret to a healthy marriage
"You can't scoreboard-watch in June or you'll lose your mind."--on mental health
"All I ever heard was I got brought here for defense, and it’s kind of hard to help the team defensively if I’m not playing. The offense is struggling. Someone has to take the heat. I guess it’s me."--on the spectre of Brian Daubach
"His stuff is disgusting."--on Victor Zambrano
"I thought I was hitting ninth today."--on being dropped to eighth in the batting order during a prolonged slump
"A guy tonight screamed, 'Mientkiewicz, you suck.' I had to turn around and agree with him. I said, 'You're absolutely right, sir. I feel I owe you. I should pay you the admission you paid.'"
--on heckler etiquette
"A healthy one without my brain, how about that?"--on his preference regarding the gender of his future child
"Put 'I suck' with a big picture of my face on it."--on his slump
"You play somebody that many times, you're bound to have something happen. I think you've seen more guys getting hit, more guys having trouble because of the fact you see somebody so many times. There's a reason probably why marriages fail so much, because you see each other so much."--on whether 19 games a year is too much between division rivals.
"When you have your fourth and fifth guys out of the lineup, it's hard. Then you end up with Doug Mientkiewicz as your cleanup guy."--Mets manager Willie Randolph, on Doug Mientkiewicz and his career .405 SLG hitting cleanup
Monday, October 24, 2005
"When I snap my fingers, you will be...Armando Benitez!"Except that the hypnotist never provided the key word to make him Brad Lidge again.
All right all right, I'm kidding.
He actually thinks he's Braden Looper.
Can you tell I was the opening act for the hypnotist? I have to find better gigs.
Seriously, a quick word on Brad Lidge...he's fine. Give the Podsednik adventure some credit for looking fastball, and hitting it. You want to get on Brad Lidge for giving Albert Pujols a pitch to hit in Game five, that's fine. But how many times have you sat in Shea Stadium with a fastball pitcher on the mound and a slap hitter at the plate and thought (aloud or otherwise) "throw him a fastball...this guy ain't Babe Ruth!"
If you can't challenge Scott Podsednik with one out and nobody on and a 2-1 count, then who can you challenge? The last thing you want to do is walk him...and he didn't miss those first two pitches by a whole lot. So let's not lay it all on Brad Lidge.
But just to be safe, I would steer clear of anybody claiming to be a hypnotist.
Sunday, October 23, 2005
The powers that be at major league baseball aren't that clueless as to eliminate pre-game introductions. Well, maybe they are, but the players were introduced last night. But after FOX's bloated half hour pre-game show, otherwise entitled "Let's Pretend Jeanne Zelasko is a Journalist as she Tugs at your Heartstrings for Thirty Minutes", Jose Contreras is warming up at just a shade after eight o'clock.
Great, the game starts relatively on time. But at the cost of the pre-game intros?
I mean, am I old (hypothetical question, don't answer that) or are the pre-game intros a staple of the World Series? Isn't the point to introduce the two champions to the world, who may not know who they are? Couldn't we have sacrificed some of Kevin Kennedy blah blah blahs for some tradition?
Or have FOX's consultants told them that pre-game introductions don't bring in the right demographics?
I've been meaning to complain about this all season:
Who started this wacko policy that requires a player on each 25 man roster to be assigned the task of removing another player's batting helmet when he enters the dugout after scoring a run?
Aren't there bat boys for this? And speaking of clubhouse assistants, do their tips go down as they have more and more of their duties taken away by players like Doug Mientkiewicz?
Have the bat boys become too busy writing books that players need to take on some of their duties?
Or do the bat boys need to unionize?
Sometimes, karma takes a nap for five years...
But when it wakes up, it's a bitch. Right, Roger?
Saturday, October 22, 2005
Agbayani, playing right field, went three for four with two RBI's including his first home run of the series for the Bobby Valentine managed Marines, just before the game was called. Matt Franco went 1 for 4 for Chiba Lotte.
One thing I learned in trying to follow this series: don't try to read the game log straight from the Marines website. Something is definitely lost in the translation. Here, for example, is the log from the bottom of the first inning:
(The Tigers pitcher * Ikawa)Racketeer? Promontory? Death?
1st Nishioka swing wide three swing. 1 death
2nd now to the river left stand solo home run of the series 1st number! 1 death. 1-0 To 3rd luck inlet left line 2 based hits! 1 death 2 base
4th sub low third racketeer. 2 deaths 2 base
5th village promontory swing wide three swing. Change
Wow, I didn't know the game was so violent in Japan.
By the way...since the game was called right after Benny's dinger due to fog, does that count as a walk off home run?
It wouldn't be the first...
He was afraid that if Crosby was a bust, he would be second guessed forever. Better someone else have to make that tough call. If he dropped to say, fifth, then it wouldn't be such a leap to draft him. But first? Now that's a tough call for someone who hasn't played a game in the NHL.
Luckily for him, Crosby has nine points in his first seven games, so it's "so far, so good." But it could go the other way if Crosby hits a wall at some point.
If you've read this far, you're probably wondering "how the hell are you going to tie this in with something involving the Mets?" Either that, or you're thinking "I hate hockey! Screw you Metstradamus...screw you and your damn hockey!!!"
(Wouldn't be the first time.)
The Mets are now in the position not to have to worry about being second guessed. The one option that everyone had banked on going in to the offseason is no longer available. Manny Ramirez, he of the 10 and 5 status, has basically said "I ain't going to no Mets."
With the prospects that the Mets would no doubt have to give up in a deal for Manny, and with Manny's advancing age, and with Manny's "quirks", a deal for Ramirez would have every chance of exploding in Omar Minaya's face. Yeah, everyone including myself was wrong about Pedro Martinez...but Pedro at least was a free agent, the price in prospects was basically nil. Manny would require Anderson Hernandez...or Lastings Milledge...or both. And that would be just to start. All that for a player who's numbers are sure to drop to more normal levels after moving to Shea Stadium.
So unlike the Sidney Crosby dilemma, this is a decision the Mets will not have to make, and they still have the whole winter to figure out plan B.
That's B for "Blessing in disguise".
Friday, October 21, 2005
"In the spirit of Mr. Zeile, this award celebrates a player's commitment to the sport, his outstanding attendance, and the embodiment of the game's most important qualities: taking the field, giving it your all, and making new friends."Now the article goes on to say that this seasons recipients must have performed in 60% of his teams games, basically giving everyone in the majors this fictional award.
But what if this was a real award? Who would be eligible?
- Paul Quantrill: Started with the Yankees in 2005, then made a stop in San Diego where he saw the Padres almost tank the season...luckily for them they released him and he sabotaged the Marlins' hopes for a playoff berth. In the 50 games that Quantrill has pitched in, his teams' record is 13-37.
- Mike Stanton: Released from the Yankees the same day as Quantrill, then proceeded to jinx the Washington Nationals as he joined them just in time for their collapse, then was traded to the World Champion Boston Red Sox as he oversaw their being swept by the White Sox.
- Roberto Hernandez: Certainly has fallen under the heading of "making new friends". His successful 2005 campaign with the Mets is the seventh franchise he has pitched for.
- Tony Clark: The very tall first baseman has played for five franchises in the past five seasons. With Conor Jackson on the horizon, 2006 might see Clark in a new home.
- Shawn Estes: Estes has Clark beat...since 2001 Estes has pitched with the Giants, Mets, Reds, Cubs, Rockies, and Diamondbacks.
- Reggie Sanders: 2005 was the first season that Reggie has played with the same team as he did in the previous season. Since 1998, Reggie has played with the Reds, the Padres, the Braves, the Diamondbacks, the Giants, the Pirates, and St. Louis. That's a lot of friends.
- Eric Byrnes: Byrnes was wheeled from a pennant winner to a doormat, then wheeled to what everyone thought was a contender, but turned out to be a bigger doorman than the first doormat. Expect 2006 to see Byrnes with his fourth team since the spring of 2005.
- Ricky Bottalico: Once a can't miss prospect with the Phillies, since '98 Ricky has pitched for the Phillies, the Cards, the Royals, the Phillies again, the Diamondbacks, the Mets, and the Brewers last season.
- Rick Helling: Helling has also been well traveled, pitching for the Rangers, Marlins, the Rangers again, the Diamondbacks, the Orioles, the Marlins again, and the Brewers last year. He gets the sentimental vote for having also pitched in the minors for a lot of those franchises, and having to endure a half a bat impaling his arm while in the minors.
- Bruce Chen*: A late add thanks to someone who is paying attention. Chen has found a bit of stability with the Orioles the last two seasons, but before that has played with Atlanta, Philly, the Mets, Expos, Reds, Astros and Red Sox between 1998 and 2003. Maybe Leo Mazzone can make him...wait, he had him in 1998. Never mind.
*If you voted before the Bruce Chen add as eight or nine of you did, then please vote again.
Thursday, October 20, 2005
I have to say as I type the words it's extremely weird to imagine that these two particular teams are playing in the fall classic. Strange.
Not a bad thing, just strange. I'm sure it's just as strange for White Sox fans and Astros fans to wake up this morning and realize that their team is playing in the World Series. I know it was bizarre for me when I woke up 19 years ago today and thought "Oh my goodness, the Mets are in the World Series!"
But now that we know the participants, it's time to break it down and pick a winner. But this is me we're talking about...so be forewarned that this isn't going to be your typical World Series preview:
Former Mets: The White Sox have Timo Perez, who helped cost the Mets a victory in the 2000 World Series, and Carl Everett, who became a hothead upon leaving the Mets. The Astros have Jose Vizcaino, who as a Met was beloved, and Dan Wheeler, who was on the mound to close out the NLCS. The Astros also employed John Franco at one point this season before they released him (how must he be feeling right about now?) and Scott Strickland is in their system.
Former Yankees: The White Sox employ Orlando Hernandez, who the Mets defeated for his only career postseason loss, Chris Widger and Jose Contreras. The Astros have Vizcaino, who as a Yankee defeated the Mets in game one in 2000 with a walk off, Andy Pettitte, and Roger Clemens. The 'Stros also have former Yankees Russ Springer and Charles Gipson.
Edge: White Sox, not even close.
Sentimental Stories: For the Astros, it's Craig Biggio (20 seasons) and Jeff Bagwell (16 seasons) who not only have waited forever to play in a World Series, but somewhere in the back of their minds they must have had a thought for former teammate Darryl Kile, especially after getting to the World Series in St. Louis, where Kile pitched his final game. For the White Sox, it's Jermaine Dye, who might have gone to the World Series except for the fact that he broke his leg on a foul ball in the 2001 ALDS against the Yankees.
Edge: Big one to the Astros
Movies: "Eight Men Out" for the Chisox, "Bad News Bears in Breaking Training" for the Astros.
Edge: White Sox
What Yankee fans think: This one says that the White Sox will defeat anyone in the N.L.
Bars: Astros: "Cooter's". White Sox: I thought all of Chicago was one big drinking establishment.
Edge: White Sox
Old Uniforms: White Sox: Collared uniforms and shorts. Astros: Rainbow Brite.
Edge: There can be no winners.
Dynasties: White Sox: Jerry Reinsdorf oversaw the Chicago Bulls double 3-peats. Astros: The late John McMullen owned the New Jersey Devils during their three Stanley Cups in 9 seasons.
Edge: White Sox, although it would be fun to see Scott Stevens lay an open ice hit on Scottie Pippen.
Cubs fans: We know they are fuming that the White Sox are in the World Series (they're even trying some reverse psychology), but at one point last season, a couple of Cubs fans had the bright idea to try to bring a billy goat into Minute Maid Park, knowing they would be turned away...they were, and these guys thought that the curse of the billy goat had been transferred to the 'Stros. Now that they are in the series, Cubs fans are basically screwed all the way around.
Edge: White Sox
The Final Verdict: Game Six of the 1986 World Series was started by Roger Clemens. Clemens might very well start Games one, four, and seven of the 2005 World Series. That gives Metstradamus a clear rooting interest in this one.
White Sox in seven games.
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
Okay, maybe not the World Series, but he's in a baseball championship series.
It's Bobby Valentine!
Valentine has led the perennial doormat Chiba Lotte Marines to Pacific League's version of the World Series, after defeating the Softbank Hawks 3-2 in game 5 of the semifinals. Valentine's crew now faces the Hanshin Tigers. By rule, Pacific League teams can only employ one American player with a DUI record, and Hanshin has 2000 World Champion New York Yankee and 2004 released in the middle of the season New York Met Shane Spencer. Valentine will counter with former Mets such as Benny Agbayani, Matt Franco, and Satoru Komiyama, widely regarded as the Japanese Mike Maddux.
I hope that you realize that this may be the closest thing Met fans will get to a Subway Series rematch.
If that is the case, then Lets Go Met...uh, Marines!!!
Game one is on Saturday.
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
He also wouldn't be on a list of players you would think would be busted for steroids.
But alas, it is so.
Mets reliever Felix Heredia has received the obligatory ten day suspension for steroid use.
If those ten days are relegated to the days where Heredia is on a major league roster and not on the disabled list, then he should be ready to pitch in time for the 2011 season at his current pace.
Game 5, two outs, two strikes on David Eckstein. What word sequence leaves my mouth at this very moment?
"Donnie Moore anyone?"
Base hit to Eckstein.
"Donnie Moore anyone?" Once again.
Ball four to Jim Edmonds.
"Donnie Moore...anyone?!?" More forcefully the third time around.
A Brad Lidge slider goes over the train tracks, courtesy of Albert Pujols, who with one swing has reached back across nineteen years to give a high five to Dave Henderson.
It's 1986 all over again, as playoff games just get more bizarre by the minute.
Now, by no means that I'm insinuating that Brad Lidge is going to follow the Donnie Moore path to the afterlife...but Brad Lidge has become Moore...Calvin Schiraldi...Bob Stanley...and Al Nipper all rolled into one with a single pitch, and Andy Pettitte mouthing the words echoed by all of Houston:
"Oh my God".
(By the way, does that count as using the Lord's name in vain by Mr. Power for Living? I think he's going to hell!)
So the 2005 theatre of the ridiculous continues, after a two day intermission.
Monday, October 17, 2005
Apparently not, since the Astros are back to the same spot where they ended last season: within one game of the World Series...without Carlos Beltran.
So do we really need Houston manager Phil Garner (who when asked by Metstradamus how he was enjoying Los Angeles in 1988 after being traded to the Dodgers replied "well...it's there.") to rub it in by saying this:
"I didn't necessarily think it was a big loss...One of my things that I feel is, if you put so much of your capital in any one player, it's going to hurt you...So I think it might have been a little bit of a blessing. I applaud our owner for going the extra mile and trying to make that happen, but I think it probably was a blessing in disguise...We didn't miss a beat...That's not to say that Carlos Beltran is not a great player; he is. But I don't think our club has suffered. I think we have actually become a better ballclub because of it."One more win, and the Astros will be a better ballclub.
Thanks for the reminder regarding why I'm pulling for St. Louis, Phil.
Sunday, October 16, 2005
From October 16th, 1969
NEW YORK-The Mets entered the promised land today after seven years of wandering through the wilderness of baseball. In a tumultuous game before a record crowd of 57,397 in Shea Stadium (which was more than their entire home attendance for the 1995 season), they defeated the Baltimore Orioles, 5-3, for their fourth straight victory of the 66th World Series and in five games captured the championship of a sport that had long ranked them as comical losers.
They did it with a full and final dose of the magic that had spiced their unthinkable climb from ninth place in the National League-100-to-1 shots who scraped and scrounged their way to the pinnacle as the waifs of the major leagues. At 3:17 o'clock on a cool and often sunny afternoon (wait, games actually ended at 3:17 PM?), their impossible dream came true when Cleon Jones caught a fly ball hit by Dave Johnson (you know him as "Davey") to left field. And they immediately touched off one of the great, riotous scenes in sports history, as thousands of persons swarmed from their seats and tore up the patch of ground where the Mets had made history (and no doubt smoked that patch of ground seeing as if it was 1969).
It was 10 days after they had won the National League pennant in a three-game sweep of the Atlanta Braves (the Mets last sweep against the Atlanta Braves...EVER!) It was 22 days after they had won the Eastern title of the league over the Chicago Cubs. It was eight years after they had started business under Casey Stengel as the lovable losers of all sports. They reached the top, moreover, in the best and most farfetched manner of Met baseball. They spotted the Orioles three runs in the third inning when Dave McNally and Frank Robinson hit home runs off Jerry Koosman. (Robinson was later quoted as saying that he hated Mike Scioscia, yet he didn't even know who Mike Scioscia was!) But then they stormed back with two runs in the sixth inning on a home run by Donn Clendenon, another in the seventh by Al Weis and two more in the eighth on two doubles and two errors.
The deciding run was batted home by Ron Swoboda, who joined the Met mystique in 1965 when the team was losing 112 games and was finishing last for the fourth straight time. But, like most of the Mets' victories in their year to remember, the decision was a collective achievement by the youngest team in baseball (the last time that "Mets" and "youngest team in baseball" would ever appear in the same story), under Manager Gil Hodges-who had suffered a heart attack a year ago after the Mets "surged" into ninth place.
With the kind of jubilation it reserves for its special heroes, New York went pleasantly mad when the Mets won. From the sleek skyscrapers of Wall Street, where a spontaneous tickertape blizzard greeted the victory (stock brokers with nothing to do but waste time? I don't believe it), to the undistinguished bars of a hundred neighborhoods, where the toasts were in draft beer, the shouted cry was: "We're No. 1!" (whereas the cry today would be "Yankees Suck!") Teachers suspended classes because their transistor- equipped students were not paying attention anyway; bosses closed offices early for the same reason, and even policemen shrugged happily as they despaired of keeping order in the streets.
"Some people still might not believe in us," said Jones, "but then, some people still think the world is flat" (Wait, the world isn't flat?)
Friday, October 14, 2005
But then I thought, if he does go nuts, then the Mets would have to pay through the nose to get him. So I kind of didn't want that to happen. I wound up choosing Brian Giles (out of the playoffs) and Jason Marquis (in the bullpen). But deep down in my heart (and because he's the guy I wanted), I knew who it would be.
And now the guy who would never be able to wear a one and a four in any combination if he came to Queens, keeps ringing that cash register with every swing of the bat.
Hat trick. Three home runs and counting for Paul Konerko this postseason after his first inning blast against the Angels during tonight's Game 3.
It's tough to tell what the Wilpons are doing right now. Salivating? Or choking? Is Paul Konerko pricing himself out of Shea? If Konerko is going to command Manny Money (and wouldn't that be a great promotion at Shea next season..."Manny Money") because of his performance this posteason, then I would think that the Mets, calling everything else equal, would just go after Manny. Of course, all things aren't equal...Manny is four years older and would cost prospects, while Konerko is 30 and would only cost cash. But there's no telling what the Wilpons and Omar Minaya are thinking.
Mr. Met is a television star.
The reward on this weeks version of the Donald Trump show "The Apprentice" was a chance to take batting practice and hang out with Mr. Met and some members of the New York Mets. The brief clip (obviously filmed earlier in the season), featured Doug Mientkiewicz, David Wright, and of course, the mascot with the big baseball head.
There was no sign of Trump favorite Kaz Matsui.
The episode re-airs on CNBC all week. Check your local listings.
The good news is that there's no ten game road trip in September that is going to kill them. If the Mets are to wilt in September, they're going to have to try reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeally hard to do so.
The bad news is that there's no sign of the Colorado Rockies at Shea for the last weekend of the season to help them out. Two 0-0 six ends on the road, with three against the Native American Racial Slurs in Atlanta, and three against the Washington Nationals at RFK Stadium.
The road trips in the nine/ten game variety seem to be out of the way by the first weekend in July. The Mets have Philly, Milwaukee, and St. Louis from May 9th-18th...the Dodgers, Snakes and Phillies from June 5th-June 15th, and then Toronto, Boston, and Satan's Bronx Minions from June 23rd-July 2nd. After that, the road trips seem to last no more than a week.
The opener is a Monday afternoon game at home on April third against the Nationals. Kaz Matsui appreciation day, otherwise known as the home closer, will oddly enough take place on a Monday night, September 25th, again versus the Nationals.
The Yanks come to town May 19th, 20th, and 21st. The Orioles hit Shea on June 16th, 17th and 18th, but the Mets miss the Devil Rays. Considering the Rays might be better than the Orioles next season (Jim Duquette is interviewing for that O's job in a related story), that might not be a bad thing.
Talk about progress coming to a screeching halt, Lastings Milledge is day to day in the Grand Canyon with a bruised heel.
Quick, call off the Manny trade!
Thursday, October 13, 2005
Billy Wagner is currently huddling with the Phillies to hammer out a new contract before Wagner is freed to negotiate with any team. But here is the real breaking news:
Wagner's agent's name is Bean Stringfellow.
Isn't he the main character in a British children's book somewhere?
Game 1: Pierzynski misses a sign on a hit and run and is throwing out stealing second to play a part in blowing the game.
Game 2: Pierzynski reaches first on one of the most bizarre posteason plays...ever.
Can we see the Zapruder angle on this please?
For those who didn't see it, Pierzynski, with two outs in the ninth on a 1-1 play, strikes out on a 3-2 pitch. Angels catcher Josh Paul, who caught the ball very close to the ground, chucked the ball to the mound as the game was going to the tenth inning. Pierzynski, taking a chance, ran to first hoping the umps would call that the pitch hit the dirt. Amazingly the umps called just that, even though the home plate ump (Doug Eddings) called strike, then clenched his right fist to call "out", which is what Mike Scioscia and the Angels were mad about.
Wouldn't you know it, Pierzynski was pinch run for by Pablo Ozuna who stole second, then Joe Crede banged one off the wall to win Game 2 for the White Sox.
The crew on "Baseball Tonight", most notably John Kruk, pointed out that Paul didn't play out the sequence and got burned for it. And while that may be a slightly harsh assessment, isn't it ironic that the perpetrator of the World Series play that we are all going to be reminded of because of this...was in the building wearing a White Sox uniform?
I'm sure you remember.
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
Here's the latest thing that kills me:
FOX, who helped in the destruction of hockey with their glow puck, and is slowly killing baseball with their endless cutaways of people in the stands looking like they need FEMA to come to their rescue, has decided, for ratings purposes of course, that both LCS games tonight are going to be played at the same time.
And on one hand, while it's great for the L.A. Angels who need some sleep after their cross country and back jaunt, it's bad for me.
I just saw Kanye West on television...he said that baseball doesn't care about Metstradamus. It surprises me that it took him that long to figure it out.
It kills me that baseball has to have an all star game decide who gets home field advantage for the World Series in July because they can't be flexible for their hotel reservations. And that the ALCS had to absolutely start on Tuesday and the NLCS had to absolutely start on Wednesday causing the Angels to hop around like globetrotters (not that it hurt them), but baseball can decide at the last minute to put two games on at the same time after they figure out what's the best way to get ratings.
I could be watching baseball at this very minute. Instead, I'm stuck with "Police Academy 7, Mission to Moscow".
The sad part is, there's probably a way to do this to make it fair, but it's going to involve shortening the season to 154 games, which will never ever happen. Once the monster gets fed a certain amount, said monster will never take smaller portions (there is no atkins diet for monsters). The all star break should be a week long to allow for off days. The season should end on a Wednesday or Thursday, playoffs start on Saturday, then you could throw in an off day so that nobody has to fly across country 4 times in 48 hours giving guys like Jarrod Washburn strep throat. Then maybe, not every game has to be played at the same time.
But baseball doesn't care about Jarrod Washburn.
And baseball doesn't care about Metstradamus.
Six Mets are currently getting some extra swings in the Arizona Fall League with the Grand Canyon Rafters...outfielder Lastings Milledge, catcher Andy Wilson, infielder Chase Lambin, and pitchers Matt Lindstrom, Jeremy Hill, and Evan MacLane are playing for the AFL franchise, which is shared with prospects of the Marlins, Twins, Rangers, and Yankees.
Mets and Yankees playing together?
Black is up? East is white? Dogs and cats in the same household?
Well here is how your Mets are doing:
- Milledge has 6 hits in 18 at bats including a dinger and 2 doubles. He's driven in four runs while batting mainly second and once at leadoff in the batting order. Milledge went 3 for 5 with 3 RBI's in a 7-4 win over Mesa.
- Lambin is batting .286 with a homer and three RBI's, all of which he had on the eighth in a 16-8 loss to Phoenix. He's generally been hitting towards the bottom of the order.
- Andy Wilson, a late replacement for Mike Jacobs, has played sparingly and is only one for four.
- Matt Lindstrom, he of the 95 mph fastball, gave up four hits, four runs, and three walks in a third of an inning in that 16-8 loss to Phoenix on the eighth.
- Jeremy Hill was the winner for the Rafters last night out of the bullpen pitching two near perfect innings while the score was 4-2...the Rafters won 8-2.
- Evan Maclane has a healthy ERA of 31.50 in two innings so far this season, both pitched while starting against Phoenix on the 8th...he gave up 7 runs in those two innings.
The link to follow the Rafters is can be found in the sidebar.
Prophecy: Kaz Ishii will not finish the season in the Mets rotation. In fact, he will not finish the season on the Mets roster.
Result: Ishii was on the roster to end the season but not in the rotation. He was even sent down to Norfolk at one point so I think it should count.
Prophecy: Mike Piazza will finish the season on the Mets roster, but will be dropped in the batting order. It will be Piazza who goes to Willie Randolph to ask him to do so, and take the pressure off of his manager.
Result: Another one I got half right, because I think it was actually Randolph's decision.
Prophecy: Benito Santiago will wear a uniform that says "Mets" before 2005 is over.
Result: He was released before he could come up. Someone decided that Mike DiFelice was one bench warmer too many.
Prophecy: Mike Pelfrey will not be signed before the end of the season.
Result: Ding ding ding ding! (He's not even close.)
Prophecy: My "Crossing Over" special. I see a trade. First baseman. Health issues. It will be a name that hasn't been mentioned before. There will be a major contract re-negotiation to make this deal reality. I see this trade happening well before the deadline, perhaps immediately after the Braves series. But I see the Mets going into a quick losing streak immediately after this trade happens.
Result: I was thinking Thome. There was no Thome trade. There was no trade. Just the long losing streak.
Prophecy: There will be a trade involving a utility player. Woodward, Anderson, or Cairo. There will not be any room for all of them.
Result: I have to stop eating spicy food before I soothsay.
Prophecy: Someone other than me will spell Mientkiewicz correctly.
Prophecy: The word "tightness" will be associated with Pedro Martinez.
Result: Various ailments, yes. Tightness, no.
Prophecy: Carlos Beltran's final stats: 24 HR's, 84 RBI's, 19 steals, .275 average, 93 runs.
Result: 16 HR's, 78 RBI's, 17 steals, .266 average, 83 runs. Not quite.
Prophecy: The Mets' bullpen still has one major collapse left this season...they'll blow a lead of at least six.
Result: Thankfully, they won that game.
Prophecy: There are nine games left with the Washington Nationals. One of those games will see a "W" next to the name of Stanton. Metstradamus will be swimming with hate, so don't forget to read this blog when that happens.
Result: There's one I'm glad I got wrong (although he came close).
Prophecy: Speaking of Stanton, the Nats sealed their fate by signing him...the Braves will win the N.L. East. Pencil the Nats in for the wild card though.
Result: Another one that's half correct.
Prophecy: One more Nat note, playing the part of Luis Aguayo will be Wil Cordero.
Result: The Mets actually signed Wil Cordero. Shouldn't that count?
Prophecy: I'll go with 83 wins. If it doesn't happen, blame my brother, who thinks he inherited the soothsayer gene.
Result: Aah, but it did happen, so I take full credit. HA!
By my count (including the halves I gave myself to pad the stats), that's 6 out of 14. That's a .429 average.
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
Jonah Freedman has calculated that our beloved New York Mets have spent more money since their last title (or since 1977, the year player salaries were first calculated) on player salaries than any other team in baseball.
Since Jesse Orosco struck out Marty Barrett, the Wilpons have spent one billion dollars to pay players to not win a title.
I thought that was just on Bobby Bonilla.
Of course, you can make statistics do many things, including tell you that spending one billion in 19 years is somehow more egregious than spending three quarters that amount in only one quarter the time frame. But hey, why ruin a joke at the Mets "expense" with a silly thing like perspective, right Jonah?
The hostage siege is over. The New York Yankees have given up their stranglehold on major league baseball by succumbing to authorities and to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim by a score of 5-3.
Baseball fans everywhere, especially in New York, are relieved, as baseball is no longer held hostage by the likes of Derek Jeter and Jeanne Zelasko. No longer will the people of New York be subject to Joe Torre's virtual gun to the head proclamations that the season was the toughest and most adversity filled season of them all, even with the fact that there were seasons where players and coaches had cancer and players mothers died and fathers died, yet this season, the one with the $200 million payroll and the 58 losses to Tampa Bay was the toughest.
The ALCS will contain a maximum of seven baseball games, instead of another Yankees and Red Sox re-enactment of World War III, and Steven Spielberg produced openings on FOX declaring that this is the war to end all wars. There will be no revenge of the Sith, no emperor Palpatine references, no sword fights, no bullpen security guards fighting with drunks and players, no cutaways of fans with their heads buried in their hands, no HBO documentaries, no Mel Gibson speeches, no "Who's Your Daddy" chants, and no blood shed.
My favorite two quotes of the night (with translations):
"We'd like to thank Joe Torre for speaking to us between innings. He certainly doesn't have to do this but it's nice of him to do so.-Joe Buck (paraphrased) after Joe Torre's interview between innings."Translation:
"We'd like to thank Joe Torre for speaking to us between innings. The Yankees were the only team that wouldn't talk to us between innings last season because they think they're too good to accomodate the media because they're the New York Yankees...even though we put them on in prime time every chance we get and schedule every Red Sock/Yankee game in prime time on national television and rearrange the whole playoff schedule to feature them. We're greatful for the fact that the Yankees have finally given something back to television after television has given them everything."And then this:
"I guess this is going to be the lowest rated ALCS ever."-Yankee fan, after the game 5 loss.Translated, that means:
"I'm going to watch Lifetime TV the rest of October because I only watch baseball when the Yankees play because I'm a spoiled and petulant Yankee fan."
Monday, October 10, 2005
A few Padres expect catcher Ramon Hernandez to sign a huge deal with the Mets.Nice to know Hernandez has five or six agents to deal with. That just may make Fred Wilpon's head explode!
There's also news on Brian Giles, but it doesn't involve the Mets...yet:
The Red Sox signaled they could be a suitor if right fielder Brian Giles enters free agency next month. Persons close to Giles expect to hear from the Cardinals, who might lose right fielder Larry Walker to retirement. The A's pursued Giles when he was in Pittsburgh and employ one of Giles' closest friends, catcher Jason Kendall.Looks like Omar's going to have to get creative.
Well, not to all of you.
I will say this...Sunday's eighteen inning classic is a matter of all the Braves' success working against them. If the Braves had won a couple of more World Series in the last 14 full seasons...or even if the Braves had spent the last couple of seasons in the second division where the Mets have languished the last few seasons, 2005, and the 18 inning game that ended 2005, would be looked upon as a heroic effort by the vanquished. After all the turnover they've had, the fact that they hung in for 9 innings after a horrible collapse (OK, so maybe Kyle Farnsworth isn't the best option for the eighth inning at Shea next year) would have been a badge of honor for a team that had 17 rookies play important roles for them at one point or another, including one that pitched a scoreless 17th inning.
Instead, this is just another in a long line of first round defeats for the hated Braves, and Braves fans one and all, are now concentrating 100% on Georgia football.
Except for one...
Now I don't make it a habit of attacking other blogs, and take the following in the spirit that it is intended...but my senses have been so mortally offended over the past couple of weeks that I feel I must say something. You see, Darth Marc, noted Yankee fan and Star Wars geek, has a link on his blog to Peaches Kingdom...as lists her as a "Friend of the Yankee Empire", even though she grew up a Braves fan who has put together such poetic words about her beloved Braves as this:
Today the Braves clinched their 14th straight division title. And what's great is I remember that first one like it was yesterday. I was just a little girl, but I remember sitting there with my father and crying because I was so happy. They had seriously gone from worst to first. And you know what? I must admit that after getting home tonight and signing onto the internet to find these pictures, I got teary eyed again. So much has changed since 1991, but so much is the same. You still get just as excited...So many people lost hope this season, but the Braves refused to. I just think this is so special. And I couldn't be prouder of them.But...this same supposed "Braves fan" apparently moved to New York recently, and not only adopted the Yankees (I'm not dumb enough to expect her to adopt the Mets), but is apparently their number one fan. How can she not be, when the same person who made the above words dance off the computer screen, also was the author of this:
Now I'm going to concentrate on the Yankees win. They have won nine out of their last 10! How amazing is that? They know it's crunch time. They know what they have to do. And they are doing it. They want to beat the freaking Sux as much as we all want them to. I was telling Tonya and Karen a few days ago that after that Red Sox game I went to, I feel my love for the Yankees intensified so much. I seriously love these boys. When Boston lost tonight and the Yankees sailed right into first, I was ecstatic, texting away. I bought a Sheff shirt today and I can't wait to wear it with pride Friday night at Yankee Stadium. And you know what? He's no longer the guy I love because he's my former Brave...he's my Yankee.
What?Now don't get me wrong. As a person, I don't know her from Adam. I'm sure she's very nice.
But as a baseball fan...and let me direct this at you personally Peaches...I hate your guts.
Don't take it personally.
I mean, rooting for the Yankees and the Braves is like rooting for the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Motor Vehicles. She's the fan equivalent of Annie Savoy, who romanced both Nuke Laloosh and Crash Davis. How can someone have such emotional baseball fan moments in relation to two teams? And not just any two baseball teams...the baseball version of Romulus and Remus! Can you pick one, please???
To me, you can be a die hard fan of one team who adopts a bandwagon to jump on during the playoffs when your team bites the big one (like mine does every season), or even have a team in another league that you kind of root for when your real team stinks. But there's a difference between that, and being the number one fan of the two most sucessful franchises in baseball, and alternates between crying tears of joy for both of those teams and referring to players on both teams by their cute little nicknames.
You see Peaches, if it was up to me, there would be a picture of you at every major league stadium with the words "Do Not Admit" under your face.
Lucky for you, I don't make policy.
Now the last thing I want to hear is "oh, cut her some slack, she's a girl". Wrong!!! First off, there are plenty of guys that pull this garbage too so this has nothing to do with the fact that she's a she. They're all guilty. Second, if girls jaunt into the foray of being die-hard baseball fans, they should follow the basic unwritten rules of being a fan just like everyone else. She gets no slack for being a girl, just as she should get no less credit than anyone else as a baseball fan because she's a girl. She should, however, get less credit than everyone else because she's a bandwagon jumper. Devoted as she may be, but still a bandwagon jumper...and maybe a highly devoted bandwagon jumper is the worst kind.
But seriously Peaches, I'm terribly sorry that your Braves lost a heartbreaker and got eliminated.
(wait for it...)
(wait for it...)
Guess you'll have to go home and put your Yankee stuff on!