Mom's going to get a nice present when I add in the $60 I would have blown on a ticket to today's debacle.
The Mets have done a great job coming back from early holes. Today was no exception as Jose Reyes erased an early 0-3 hole with a dinger to right field (all of a sudden Len Dykstra, and his extra 20 pounds of muscle going into spring training in 1988 pops into my head.)
But late inning bullpen help and late inning timely hitting has always saved the Mets during their latest winning streak. Today? Not so fast my friend. Pedro Feliciano was tagged in the seventh by Chase Utley (gee, not Pat Burrell?) and the Mets lineup couldn't generate anything off Arthur Rhodes and Flash Gordon in the late stages. So that's that, Mets lose 5-3...and they settle for a series win and not a series sweep going into the Romper Room of baseball, Florida.
Jeremi Gonzalez basically had the same numbers today against the Phillies as Alay Soler had last night. Three runs...six innings. And Jeremi was not the reason the Mets lost today. Jeremi, bad start and all...did exactly what teams need their fifth starter to do.
But thinking long haul, there wasn't going to be a place for Gonzalez on this team when Bannister returned, or when Hernandez debuted (which will be Sunday in Florida). If it was a choice between Gonzalez or Heath Bell to the minors, with the other remaining in the bullpen, it would have been nice to have Gonzalez as a long reliever...except that having a guy who's ERA is 3.billion in his first innings of work doesn't really spell effective long guy. And with "The Free Heath Bell Movement" hanging in there for 2.2 innings of long work today (length that I didn't think The Movement was capable of...maybe he's on "Baseball Cialis" or something), well that sealed poor Jeremi's fate, hence he was designated for assignment (which is the official term for "get out!") after the game today.
Speaking of The Movement, how does this trade for journeyman starter Dave Williams affect Bell's status with the club? With Gonzalez's DFA, you would think Bell might actually be safe. But considering that The Movement hasn't been able to stick with the big club up to this point, I'm starting to figure that it's never going to happen.
Which is sad, because one of the first things I learned on the new Mets Channel was that Heath Bell had a dog named "Slider". And when players are promoted, demoted and traded, it's always the dogs that suffer. I fear that a trade is in The Movement's future, when poor Slider is going to have to be uprooted and forced to acclimate to a new environment. Whatever happens, I wish Heath luck. And for Slider, nothing but the best...woof woof.
(As for Williams, those hoping that the trade Omar Minaya all but promised was going to be a big one were sorely disappointed...not to mention surprised that it was a starter and not a reliever. But he does supply depth in addition to pushing Jose Lima En Vivo further down the depth chart. Williams is the guy that was traded to the Reds for Sean Casey. This time, he was traded for some guy named Robert Manuel. How the mighty have fallen...actually, was Dave Williams ever mighty? And if you're not mighty, how far can you really fall?)
Speaking of dogs...
I admit I was curious as to the play by play stylings of Messrs Francesa and Russo today...so I did something that I almost never do: I had the radio on while watching the game on television. Not that I listened to them the whole way, as I still had the TV guys sound up most of the game. With the radio at least seven seconds ahead of the television, that's not something I can do for nine innings. So I'm not the guy who's going to give you a fair assessment of the job they did. But here's what I noticed:
- Every ten seconds, The Diet Coke King and The Ritalin Billboard felt the need to remind their listeners...made up of 99% Met fans which is not what they're used to...that the Phillies needed this game. No! You don't say!!! I think Mike and Dog needed the Phillies to win this game more than anything.
- Every once in a while, they would slip into afternoon drive time mode and forget that there was a game going on, going into their riffs about how great Chase Utley is, oh yeah, and about how the Phillies needed this game.
- The best moment of their broadcast was Ron Darling's (I think it was Darling) impression of Francesa on SNY: "Hey dooooooooowg! Hey dooooooooowg!" Priceless.
- The next to last pitch of the game was described as a "LINE DRIIIIIIVE...FOOOOOOUL, down the first base line!!!" by Dog. In fact, Beltran hit a screamer about 50 rows into the first base stands, which is nowhere near the first base line. A picture may be worth 1,000 words, but Dog's words are worth very little. By the way, did I mention that the Phillies needed this game?
But the absolute best part about having Mike and the Mad Dog calling the Mets game today was hearing the rant provided by a friend of mine during the game. Mario, a native New Yorker, now resides in Orange County...Angels country. So he got himself an XM radio so he can get his Mets fix. But when he turned on the satellite radio, he got Mike and the Dog. Believe it or not, it was the first that he heard about their Mets radio appearance.
So he called me. And for twenty minutes, I heard one of the better rants that I ever heard...even went so far as to tell me that not only is he going to write a nasty note to WFAN, but he might go so far as to create his own blog for the sole purpose of writing about his hatred for Francesa and Russo.
But that's not the best part. After twenty minutes of this rant, I get this from Mario:
"Oh by the way, I'm engaged."TWENTY MINUTES INTO THE CONVERSATION!
Does hatred for Mike and Dog know no bounds? I think not. But they did raise $40,000 for various charities, so it only goes to show that hate can build bridges. Good job.
Speaking of charities...shouldn't you help?
You can tell Paul Lo Duca was a Met fan growing up.
After Jose Reyes' home run today, Lo Duca dragged a bunt for a base hit...victimizing an unsuspecting deep infield. It's the second time that Lo Duca has followed up a home run with a drag bunt lately.
It's something that Gary Carter did on a regular basis...check the tape from the 1988 playoffs for proof. After Darryl Strawberry and Kevin McReynolds went deep against Dodger pitcher John Tudor (yes, Dodger pitcher John Tudor), Carter tried to catch the Dodgers napping at a wild ballpark with a bunt. (He popped it up). Carter did this quite frequently.
I wonder if this is where Duke got this from...