Monday, May 22, 2006

Episode III: Revenge Of The Closer

"Stuff it!"

Stuff it...said Rick Vaughn to Johnny the bitter Indians fan in Major League II (played marvelously and eerily auto-biographical by Randy Quaid), as he entered the game for the first time all season as his old self, causing Johnny to proclaim that the Mild Thing is dead, and the Wild Thing is back.

Now I'm sure that Billy Wagner didn't tell a fan to "stuff it" on his way from the bullpen down the right field line tonight...but Country Time's "stuff" did all the talking he needed on the mound. It wasn't 1-2-3. We've learned bitterly through the years that no Met closer ever is, or ever will be, 1-2-3 (I suspect the Mets have had closers that had trouble merely counting that high). But the Mild Thing that entered the game on Saturday, the one that couldn't find the plate and walked the dual immortals Melky Cabrera and Kelly Stinnett, is dead.

The Wild Thing is indeed...back.

And guess what, he isn't going to be perfect, and he may very well have one more meltdown or two left in him this season (let's hope for just one), but tonight proved that he's willing to come back the next day and not let the bad days bleed with the present days on the calendar. Billy Wagner's Saturday outing was being referred to in our tabloids as having the worst traits of John Franco, Armando Benitez, and Braden Looper combined (I would agree, and throw in the 1987 version of Jesse Orosco for good measure). If someone compared you to those three, how would you react? If it were me, mind as well talk about my mother. That's how offended I would be. How would you respond?

Tonight, we found out how Country Time responds...simply by saying "Stuff it!"


The cynic in me keeps waiting for the outing...the big, important outing...that Tom Glavine forgets how to pitch and remembers that he's not a Brave anymore.

Seven hits and four walks in six innings tonight could have spelled out that this would be that outing. Yet Tom Glavine was one makeable play away (and one wind-blown double) from keeping the Yankees off the scoreboard.

The Metstradamus curse is about to rear its ugly head again...but I think we're looking at your 2006 National League All-Star starting pitcher.


Back to Saturday for a brief second:

The loquacious Jaap Stijl suggested that I put together a list of the greatest sports writers of all time. As much as I think about it, it's such a tough list for me to put together because my minds change on these guys from day to day depending on what they write.

Take for example New York Post scribe Mike Vaccaro. I generally like his writing style, and even as he writes about the Yankees I don't want to perform peristolsis as I read him. But today, he annoys me.
"There are times when the Yankees simply like to remind you they are the Yankees, and that goes for everyone: Mets fans, cynics, small-market apologists, skeptics who see their doom lurking around every corner. There are times when they still make you shake your head, even when it seems all the walls are collapsing around them."
I love that there are "small market apologists", but there's never any Yankee apologists. There are only The Yankees. Even the FOX Saturday pre-game show (the program Metstradamus loves to hate), showed Friday's highlights of the Mets victory without mentioning a single Met name. It was "Here's Randy Johnson getting's Mariano getting hit...and the Yankees lose 7-6." I feel sorry for any blind person watching that show wondering who got the winning hit!
"The Yankees have been doing this for a long, long time. They knew what was at stake. They knew the ramifications of going down meekly in the ninth inning."
Only a Yankee apologist can turn Billy Wagner not being able to find the strike zone into Yankee legends Melky Cabrera and Kelly Stinnett having done this for "a long, long time". Or into Jason Giambi, Alex Rodriguez, and Robinson Cano...three Yankees who have never been on any of the championship teams...having done this for "a long, long time." Only Bernie Williams, of the batters Wagner faced on Saturday, has done this for a long long time...and I doubt his eons of championship experience helped him get hit in the middle of the thigh.

I realize it's not something I should get all worked up about...but then I turn the page and I find a full page article on how great Scott Kazmir is...also written by Vaccaro.

Scott Kazmir's pitching performances...including today' all that needs to be spoken. I don't need you, Mike Vaccaro, rubbing salt in my wound...thanks. (Vaccaro's new book: "Why Scott Kazmir Will Be a Yankee One Day" hits bookshelves in a nightmare near you.)


Somewhere, at a World Series in the not so distant future, is a blown save for the ages. As long as he's pitching against the Mets and not for the Mets...I'm not worried.


Anonymous said...

I was thinking of you when Jeannie Zelasko managed to do Friday's highlight w/o mentioning David Wright's name. Hilarious.

Thank god this was a win after the Saturday disaster.

Incidentally, if you're a sportswriting connoisseur there's a book called "Red Smith on Baseball" that's worth a look. the Tom Boswell collections are pretty good too, but the Smith book has this column, one of the best pieces of deadline writing ever.

jabair said...

AGAINST THE WIND!!! Hitting Homeruns against the wind!!!

Im humming that song as I watch the back to back homeruns again and again online....

living in the bay area, i get to listen to jon miller quite a bit doing giants games during the week and i gotta give it to him.. he is a pretty good announcer...

joe morgan, however, sux ass... i bet he has a glass of jeters man juice instead of wine with his dinner everynight.. if i didnt know he used to play with the reds, i would have guessed he was a former SKANK!!!

and all this talk of barden wagner not having adreniline flowing.. etc..

@ $11 million a year, you better get that adreniline flowing on a drop of a hat b!tch..

elliot said...

Jabair - you are right on about Morgan. How can Joe Freaking Morgan morph into such a clueless dweeb? In one example, last night, just as he opined that there's no way a breaking ball could be thrown, a slider was thrown, and the batter struck out.

One thing that wasn't mentioned about last night's Triumph Of Good Over Evil was just how pathetic the $250 million man was. How many batters did A-Rod strand? Let's call him GIDP-Rod. Seriously - does anyone know the record for stranding base runners? Was GIDP-Rod close? Whey the analysts talk about "The Yankees" stranding so many runners and failing to get that timely hit, most of that is on A-Rod.

Question - is it a done deal that Soler gets a start? This is another case of the New Mets making the right decision. They cut their losses with Lima Time, they didn't panic and bring up Pelfrey when he wasn't ready, they didn't make an awful trade, and they didn't offer Roger Clemens a contract. Soler is the way to go. Nothing is guaranteed, but this is the right move. Nice to see Mets management getting it right. I'm looking forward to watching him pitch.

j m said...

I'm thinking that the biggest surprise of the weekend is finding out that anyone ever actually watched Major League II.

j m said...

If I'm Billy Buckner, I learn to pitch with my legs taped together. I'm just saying.

Mets Guy in Michigan said...

Awesome, Metstra.

The Yankee-hacks dive me nuts. I love how when Matsui got hurt, there were stories about how the Yankees should get Bobby Abreau to take his space -- as if the Phillies are obligated to hand over their All-Star outfielder just because the Yankees are lacking for a couple months.

And you just know that had we pulled off a sweep, all the stories would have been about how it was less of a victory for the Mets because the Yanks are a little dinged up.

And finally, Wright's homer was amazing.

iamSINATRA said...

Hey, Metstradamus...I have a new user name now. It's been awhile.

Just wanted to put my two cents in on last night's game.

I wasn't sure what pissed me off more:

1-Sanchez's performance (and Wagner forcing me to sh!t in my pants before peacefully falling asleep)

2-The fact that ESPN obnoxiously paraded Kazmir's stats IN MY FACE.

Probably the second.

Hey, did any of you catch what happened in the 9th inning? While Wagner was getting out of his self created jam and redeeming himself....PEDRO PULLED ON HIS EARS AGAIN TO MIMIC POSADA. The commentators didn't acknowledge it(or just didn't know about his little taunt). It was great. They went from a shot of Pedro pulling on his ears to Posada approaching Torre. Enough material to write a book about yet Joe Morgan and Ben Franklin ignored it.

Metstradamus said...

I caught that...I didn't realize that he was busting on Posada but I was impressed at who relaxed Petey was in the ninth. That provided laughs for me.

Metstradamus said...

jm, I'll do you one better...I've seen Major League III!

Mets Guy in Michigan said...

One more thing....damn, the Mets looked good in the traditional uniforms with the blue caps! I'df love to see that look more often.

Metstradamus said...

Yes, yes, yes! Why is it that the blue caps with the pinstripes have turned into some sort of Sunday/ESPN uniform? That's our uniform, and the gray togs are our uniform. Everything else is a gimmick.

jabair said...

Ben Franklin.. LOL!!!!!!!

didnt realize pedro was imitating posada...

youre right about the SKANKIE apologetics coming to the rescue... SKANKS being all dinged up and all... who the hell isnt dinged up??? 40% of our rotation is dinged up pretty bad, but do you see us making excuses???