Friday, July 14, 2006

Old Times

"Steve Trachsel worked slowly and the Cubs lost. Must have seemed like old times for longtime faithful at Wrigley Field."
For whoever wrote that...you win, my friend. I can't think of a better way to kick off blogging for half number two.

Because no statement truly crystallizes the good times the Mets are experiencing and the depths of despair that the Cubs are going through. Now I don't want to start a big riff on the Cubbies here, but you know how to tell how bad they are? Just look at the mild mannered Greg Maddux start barking at anyone who will listen about the botched double play in the 4th inning that Xavier Nady may or may not have been in the baseline for. Nady's take out slide forced Ronny Cedeno to throw an inning ending double play into the dugout and enabled two runs to score on the play. But telling is that instead of barking at the umpire, Maddux stayed near the mound and grumbled endlessly. Is this behavior consistent with the normally unflappable Greg Maddux...the Greg Maddux that spent many a season as an Atlanta Brave taking his surgical scalpel of a splitter and dissecting the Mets year in and year out? And a more important question is: Is this behavior consistent with someone who wants to continue drawing paychecks at his current place of business? Something tells me that Jim Hendry isn't going to have to twist Maddux's pitching arm too much to get him to accept a trade to a contender.

You know how else to tell how bad the Cubs are? How about the little kid pointing to where Chris Woodward's triple hit...a placement which should have made it a home run? Is this kid being raised the right way? Is this kid being raised to play fair and be honest? Or is this kid being raised to be a true Cubs fan..."let the visitors get all the runs they want, if there's a bottom of the ninth, we can all drink more beer!"

And then there's Steve Trachsel. He may drive you nuts...all right, he drives me nuts. But how ironic is it that the pitcher that was basically banished from the rotation after throwing a one-hitter last season...the pitcher who was labeled as starter number five behind a rookie and a disaster earlier this season...the pitcher that gets lost on everybody's radar behind two hall of famers is the one that's on the seven game win streak? Can you explain it? I sure as heck can't.

It certainly hasn't been too pretty, but at this point even if the Mets acquire a frontline starter such as a Livan Hernandez or a Jason Schmidt, can you argue that Steve Trachsel doesn't deserve playoff starts? Before you answer that, remember that what Trachsel has brought to the Mets during this streak, 6 innings, 2 or 3 runs, 3 or 4 walks, is basically the best you can expect to get in the playoffs. And the opposition during this streak has included legitimate playoff contenders such as the Reds, Yankees, and Blue Jays. How can you tell him no?

Just bring a bucket of Tums to the game...and share with your friends.

***

Can somebody explain to me why, during SNY's top ten plays of the first half for the Mets, play number 2 (or group of plays) were Aaron Rowand's face plant and Coco Crisp's crusher against the Mets?

Two?

And while we're at it, why are Matt Yallof and Ron Darling discussing Randy Johnson and tonight's Yankees/White Sox game during the first five minutes of the Mets pre-game show...the Mets pre-game show?

I understand that SNY isn't the propaganda machine that other team-owned stations are, but I give up trying to explain how this station seems willing to pull a hamstring to try to show how neutral they are. Even when they pull a hamstring they take great care to pull Rickey Henderson's hamstring because he played with both the Mets and the Yankees.

Really. I give up.

***

Here's another television thing that creeps me out: Chip Caray and Skip Caray in the same booth during Braves telecasts. Why? Because of Chip Caray quotes such as this:

"In 2003 Piazza threw out 28% of would be base stealers. This year Dad, throwing out 9% of base stealers.
I'll never get used to a grown man calling his broadcast partner "Dad".

That being said, I have to say that I am a touch disappointed that Braves games will no longer be on TBS nationally after this season...only because it's good to see a 10PM Braves/Padres game on a Friday night when there's nothing else on. It's the mortal enemy, but it's still a sporting event. And it's a good way to get out of watching programming on TLC or something equally domestic. Besides, how else am I going to notice Skip Caray ramping up the inflection and the volume of his announcing voice in hopes of remaining in the TBS broadcast booth for national games?

This brings up another television related question: If ESPN loses out on the last portion of the new baseball contract, what happens to a show like "Baseball Tonight"? There have been some complaints about putting playoff baseball on TBS, because nobody watches TBS for other shows. I don't really buy that, because baseball fans will watch baseball if it's on...well...TLC. And TBS gets a decent amount of clearance in homes. But what it will probably mean is that not only can't TBS provide as many baseball games as ESPN's entire family of networks can, TBS isn't going to provide a show like "Baseball Tonight" or other alternative baseball programming.

And that would be a shame. Because for as many times as I've voiced displeasure with something John Kruk says (and let's face it, when don't I voice displeasure...I'm cranky!) B.T. to me is unequivocally the best type of programming ESPN provides, and I hope that it isn't going to go away merely because the network loses it's rights. I can't imagine it would go away, and I'm not comparing baseball with hockey, but "NHL 2-Night", another great show with John Buccigross at the helm, went the way of the dinosaur when ESPN gave up its hockey package. The show was cut back well before that anyway. And I realize that hockey isn't nearly as big as baseball is here in the States, but it does make you think how much ESPN would cut back alternative programming like BT if it loses the rights to MLB games? Think about how much more often "NFL Live" has been on the air in the off-season after ESPN merely traded up its Sunday night package of games for the Monday night package.

It scares me that instead of BT, we'll have "Family Supper Hour" with the Carays to watch instead. "Hey look who's coming for dinner! It's Pete Van Weiren!!! Why don't you grab yourself some gravy and tell us if the Mariners are going to trade for some pitching."

Hey, I may disagree with John Kruk sometimes, but if it's a choice between getting my baseball from Kruk, and getting my baseball from Jeanne Zelasko, I will invite Kruk into my house any day of the week (I just have to hide my Labatt Blues.)

7 comments:

John Kruk said...

Don't worry 'Damus, I've always been a Rheingold man myself.

jdon said...

now hold on there, Baba.....this is Steve Trachsel we are talking about. Mr. Two outs nobody on--hey-where-did-those-3-runs-come-from- Steve Trachsel. He hasn't exactly been pitching lights out. Barely goes 6 innings. And chances are the team won't score 7 runs for him in the playoffs. and while we are on the subject of pitching, please, no Pillsbury- Dough-Boy Hernandez. Do the Mets need still another pitcher with an 85 MPH "heater"? I would rather stick Pelfrey in there. By the way--welcome back.

sheadenizen said...

"Front line starter Livan Hernandez." Metstra, I think you hit the Labatt's before you wrote this. Just say No, Omar!

Rob said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Major_League_Baseball_Television_Contracts

"ESPN had previously renewed its contract with MLB, continuing its coverage of the Sunday night Game of the Week as well as Monday, Wednesday and Friday games."

ESPN isn't losing its coverage of games. All its losing in this is first round playoff coverage. I'm under the impression that now there'll be two national games (one in the afternoon on TBS and one in the evening with ESPN Sunday Night Baseball). FOX as well will add 6 more Saturdays of coverage, so it'll probably start in April or May instead of June now.

But yeah, ESPN's contract is ironclad and worth alot of money. All they did was lose a little bit, but they are far from losing baseball altogether. Far from it. FOX/TBS sharing rights is like FOX/NBC sharing them in the mid-90's, ESPN still was carrying baseball even though they had no stake in the playoffs.

warmsox said...

I heard something on 1050 ESPN Radio a few weeks ago about how even during the offseason the NFL coverage draws better ratings than MLB coverage on ESPN.

So that in the next year they are paring back their MLB coverage and are going to increase NFL coverage, even during periods where nothing is happening in the NFL.

ESPN is going to be come the Red Sox/Yankees/NFL channel and not cover anything else I guess.

Metstradamus said...

jdon, thank you. And yeah, Trachsel scares me too.

Denizen, Frontline is a relative term...compared to say, Jose Lima.

Rob, many thanks for the clarification. That is somewhat of a relief.

Warmsox, that wouldn't surprise me at all.

jabair said...

i hate fox sports