Thursday, June 15, 2006

Undertaking, Turning Tables, And Picking A Fight

"We’re playing well, but this is a series we need to go into and just bury them. I mean, if we can come in here and win two of three, or even sweep them, we can move nine, ten games up in the loss column and that's huge…we can put them in the freezer and hopefully bury them by the end of the series." -Paul Lo Duca, before this series began.
Paul Lo Duca...undertaker.

Not only are he and his team making good on their freezing and burying service by taking the first two from their closest competitor, but they're doing it in a way that this franchise isn't accustomed to historically...they're doing it with their bats, as they've done all road trip. Tonight's 9-3 victory is only one of a long line of beatdowns that the Mets have wrought against the National League. And that brings me to my useless point of the night.

See, I knew the needle was coming. It was only a matter of time after my Yankee-free week came to an end as this guy returned from his vacation. And it was certainly just a matter of time after three newspapers proclaimed the Mets as new owners of New York City:

"You know, if the Mets played in the American League..." -Darth Marc
He didn't even have to finish. I knew where he was going. American League...superior league...blah blah blah. Been there, heard that, bought the DVD.

But here's what makes the Mets so mind boggling: They're basically an American League team. And it a reversing of the tables if you will...because in 1996, a certain American League team started winning their string of World Series (two of which tainted by HGH using Jason Grimsley, he he) by playing...(gasp)...National League baseball, beating our league at our own game. Now, the Mets are beating teams by acquiring the horses to play their game.

But to be an American League team nowadays means to spend your entire salary base on your starters and very little on bench players which are hardly used anyway because of the designated hitter rule. National League teams, meanwhile, actually have to think about their bench because all nine fielders come up to bat...you know, real baseball. It's funny to me that fans of the American League love to yell about how much better they are because they won all these all-star games, yet never acknowledging that it's because they play by a different set of rules and strategies to do it.

Look at the Mets of 2005 as a perfect example. Spectacular bench? Absolutely. But Miguel Cairo was their number two hitter. And no offense, but there was no offense.

But now look at the Mets of 2006. Look at the Mets of tonight: Reyes, Lo Duca, Beltran, Delgado, Wright, Valentin, Chavez, and Milledge. Is there an easy out 1-8 in that lineup? Can't be, because everyone of those players got himself at least one knock tonight. The lightest hitter is Endy Chavez, and he's hitting .296. Can you call Lastings Milledge an easy out?

And two outfielders are hurt! Reyes, Lo Duca, Beltran, Delgado, Wright, Cliff Floyd, Xavier Nady, Valentin...is an American League lineup. And it might be the best overall lineup in Mets history...just on the obvious fact that there are no Bud Harrlesons or Al Weises or Rafael Santanas around for opposing pitchers to take deep breaths. Obviously the pitcher is the pitcher, there's nothing that can be done about that short of adapting the DH rule in the National League (and say, isn't Tom Glavine hitting .273?). And the Mets have the added advantage of still having a strong bench, with Julio Franco, Chris Woodward, Chavez, Milledge, and Eli Marrero's versatility as well.

If the Mets make the World Series this year (as more and more of "Around The Horn" nation is starting to believe), there will be no Adam Everetts, Chris Burkes, and Brad Ausmuses to give A.L. team X a breather as they gave to the White Sox last season, nor will Mike Matheny and Ray Lankford be kicking around as the Red Sox kicked around in 2004. The Mets are built to play A.L. ball, with a little small ball at the top of the order just for fun.

***

And while I've got Darthy Cakes' blood boiling, I have to make this observation from the minute-thirty highlight clip of the Yankees game tonight:

Is it me, or does Jorge Posada make it a point to whine and cry about everything? I mean every time there's a beanball exchange with the pinstripers, whether it involves him or not, there's Jorge Posada either whining at the opposing pitcher from the batters box, from the dugout, or from the interview room after the game. Can you shut up already? Nobody cares about you, nobody cares about hitting you, nobody cares about your steroid laced ears. Shut up.

And do you find it funny that, as Randy Johnson picked the batter to get revenge on (actually, forced to pick a better to get revenge on by Posada's public display of "how dare you hit me, I'm a Yankee dammit!"), he skipped cleanup hitter Victor Martinez to hit Eddie Perez...who went deep twice against the Big Onion in the same game last season. My my, how very Clemens of you.

I'll stop now, I'm just picking a fight at this point.

***

P.S. What exactly is in Darren Oliver's Cheerios this year?

P.P.S. Aren't you glad that Lastings Milledge learned his lesson about keeping his head down and running his ass off on a fly ball with two outs during a 9-3 victory, and not during Game one of the World Series...like some people we aren't going to mention here?

16 comments:

G-Fafif said...

I actually caught myself wondering a couple of weeks ago who would DH for us down the road should we require a DH (and I don't mean Interleague pitty-pat).

There's the National League. There's the American League. Then there's another league altogether. That's us.

Damn it feel good to be a gangsta.

jabair said...

im not used to this!!
im not used to this!!
im not used to this!!
im not used to this!!
im not used to this!!
im not used to this!!
im not used to this!!
im not used to this!!
im not used to this!!
im not used to this!!

elliot said...

As a long-time Mets fan, every time that they win, I say to myself "Enjoy this, because this just might be the very best point of this entire season". Given that I'm always waiting for the bubble to burst, I have been extremely optimistic about the 2005 Mets since spring training. This team has instilled feelings in Mets fans that have been long dormant.

As for the Mets being an American League team, I disagree. What we have here with our 2005 Mets, sports fans, is a baseball team. Period. A team that plays every aspect of the game. Yes - they can hit homers. But this is not a team that sits back and waits for the three run bomb. This is a team that leads the league in steals. This is a team that plays great defense. This current wonderful tear the Mets are on is driven by defense. The Mets are playing good solid baseball - not so much their opponents. The core of this team - and the future of this team - is built around players who hit, field and run. Not just Jose Reyes, either. David Wright and Carlos Beltran are not "American League" players. May I also take this opportunity to say Lastings Milledge?

Also - this team - this baseball team - has chemistry. You don't see our pitchers glaring at our outfielders after they make an error.

I'm sure enjoying it.

Anonymous said...

i concur with elliot, except for the fact that these are the 2006 mets.

Unser said...

Here's food for thought - is there any non-pitcher on the Mets' roster who has been a dissappointment? I think not. Have we ever been able to say that before?

Even Endy Chavez, a scrub in every sense of the word before the season began, is rocking. What they putting in the water at Shea?

Coop said...

Hey Elliot - I just posted to another blog about this same thing. That while I'm enjoying all this now, I think - better enjoy while it lasts. I think as Mets fans we are conditioned to wait for the other shoe to drop. It's unfortunate but true. I think b/c we might still see achille's heels everywhere on the team, that we are just waiting for *something*.

But like you, I'm totally enjoying this. And as "anonymous" said below you, these *are* the 2006 Mets. I feel such a kinship with this team, they are scrappy, dirty and gotta love the facial hair.

elliot said...

D'oh! 2006 Mets! 2006 Mets!
Thanks. I should have been anonymous.

Ed in Westchester said...

YOu know, I wonder if "The Big Eunich" decided he was done for the night and figured why not throw at this guy so I can go home?
The Yankees are notorious criers when it comes to being buzzed.

"Darth Marc" has nothing to cheer about with his "empire" crumbling so he has to make come up with lame crap like "if the mets were an AL team" to feel better. Tell me darth, what happened the last time the two NY teams faced off? If not for Wagner doing an Armando impersonation, it would have been a sweep. Darth, remember, at the end of ROTJ, Vader died, and the rebellion was victorious.

Ed in Westchester said...

Meanwhile, Phillie fans are jumping off the bandwagon faster than Yankee fans. Beerleaguer.com was hysterical last night.
I wonder, maybe "Country Time" was right last year when he said they could not get the job done.

Toasty Joe said...

Nice post, Metstra. I like the shout-out to Oliver - I gave hiim headline coverage over on my blog this morning.

Ed in Westchester said...

jabair - I'm not either, but it sure is fun!

Metstradamus said...

Elliott,

You are correct. The Mets defensively are much better than your stereotypical A.L. team (especially when Endy Chavez is in there), and they do play small ball when needed. Normally, N.L. teams have to sacrifice that when putting together a great lineup. But the Mets haven't had to...

In fact, Reyes and Chavez just combined on the hit and run to score in the first inning...again!

D. Wright said...

I am Spartacus!

Ryan Dragoon said...

Man, I'm getting giddy about this team. We could do this, this year. Another great thing about this team is that we are built for the future jsut as much as this year and we'll be better next year.

Aqualad said...

Remember the boost Roberto Hernandez gave us last year? Well, the ancient Oliver's been better...and he goes long...and he is left handed (although I'd love to see him pitch against a tough righty, switch gloves and say, in a Spanish accent, "I am not left handed!")

Lightning in a bottle...makes Aaron Small look, well, small...

jdon said...

The Mets brilliantly insert Oliver into games right after the other team's spirit has been broken...most of the time. I have to give him some credit. They swing at fat fastballs early in the count and hit dribblers.
Jimmy Rollins has the worst body language of any hitter in the league. You know when he has quit on a game. Also, re milledge's baseball iq- or lack thereof-2 out? Why are we looking?