Thursday, August 03, 2006

Target Practice?

When next we find Pedro Martinez on an off day, he will most likely have that red wiffle bat in his hands. Will he be using that bat to beat over the heads of his bullpen? And will Aaron Heilman be deserving of that beating?

Petey hasn't been treated very well by his bullpen in the past, especially in '05 when the likes of Braden Looper and Dae Sung Koo having roles that were too important for them. This season, now that Heilman has a role that might be way too important for him, it might be starting all over again for Martinez. It's a shame, because in his second start back from injury (the second start is the one that worries trainers after coming back from a prolonged injury) he looked outstanding while soft tossing the Marlins to death.

Not only was Pedro's start wasted, but the flu ridden Julio Franco had to run all the way to third base after Jeremy Hermida let Egg Whites' single go all the way to the wall for a two base error. Now Julio Franco is of average to slow speed to begin with...but Julio Franco with a flu runs like Pitfall Harry in quicksand. And watching Franco stand on third with that pained "get me outta here" look on his face reminded me of Joe Montana sitting on the bench after Leonard Marshall blindsided him in the playoffs looking like he was going to hurl. And that three base debacle was important as Jose Reyes drove him home with a groundout to tie the game at one.

But on comes Aaron Heilman to walk the park and Miguel Cabrera to crush the Mets spirit again like he did in the All-Star game by not diving (notice Cabrera dove today for a grounder? Thanks a lot). This brings up a question with Aaron Heilman: Most of Heilman's good outings last season came when there was nothing on the line. When given big spots, he declined. This season, he was good in bigger spots until after the first Yankees series. But now, forced into the role of eighth inning guy, Heilman has had two good outings and one awful one. So here's the question: Will Aaron Heilman eventually become the new Doug Sisk? Heilman has gone from trade bait to having a more important role than he had. And it's really a shock that he's still here but certain circumstances dictated that. But will the Shea faithful take it out on Heilman if he doesn't come through as we took it out on Sisk from 1985-1987? While I can't imagine a player being treated as horribly as Sisk was treated back in the mid-80's, Mets fans who attend games this season may see Heilman as the player who will turn out to jeopardize the Mets chances in the postseason. I for one, fairly or not, don't like his chances.

***

Jose Reyes was locked up today for four years.

***

So Darryl Strawberry has chosen not to be at the 1986 championship reunion...after decking himself out in full Yankee regalia for old timers day to play the part of Joe Pepitone's clubhouse kid.

While there is a growing part of me that thinks I should probably wait until Strawberry divulges his reasons I have to ask a question to Mets fans: how many times is Darryl Strawberry going to betray our fan base?

First it was 1988-1990, when all Strawberry talked about was how much he wanted to play in Los Angeles with the Dodgers before finally going there.

Then, he admits during a recent interview that his obsession with the Dodgers and subsequent move there was the greatest regret in his baseball career.

Now, he shuns the organization where he spent his greatest years...and the team which won the only World Series of its era by not showing up to the only 20th anniversary the 1986 Mets will ever have...in favor of honoring a franchise for which he was the 10,483rd greatest player in their history, by showing up to a yearly event where all of the really good players are too old to pick up a glove much less play.

All right. New Metstradamus rule: If you're going to tell me that the Mets don't honor their history by retiring enough numbers, you are no longer allowed to use Strawberry as an example. It's bad enough that Strawberry played with the Yankees. It's bad enough he acquired three rings with them as a bench scrub. But now we can only assume that he valued his time with them more than he valued his time in Queens...even after years away from the game and so called reflection.

And if that's the case, 18 should never go up on the wall...ever.

I don't get it. Is Straw still afraid that Wally Backman is going to kick his ass?

Does this make Darryl a "true Yankee"?

Is he still afraid that Keith Hernandez is going to kick his ass?

Does Darryl get a Yankeeography now?

Is Straw concerned that Kevin Mitchell is going to lure him back into a world of drugs and animal abuse?

Does he owe some outstanding vigs to members of the groundscrew?

Will Strawberry now get a job on YES as Nancy Newman's make up guru?

What's next, Bobby Ojeda isn't going to show up because George Steinbrenner has promised him a plaque in monument park for his three innings of work in a Yankee uniform in that special season of 1994?

***

I don't care what the entire world may say. But I love these uniforms.

***
So two friends are riding down a city block when the driver blows a red light and the passenger is horrified. "What the hell are you doing?" said the passenger. The driver, calm, replies "Don't worry, my brother does this all the time".

About five minutes later, at a busier intersection, the driver blows another red light. This time, three or four cars swerve to avoid an accident. Once again, the passenger is horrified. "Would you stop that!!!" he yells. The driver, unflappable, says "Oh quit your worrying. My brother does this all the time.

Ten minutes after that, the car gets to a green light. And the driver stops at the intersection.

"Why are you stopping at the green light?"

"My brother might be driving today."
That, my friends, is an old joke. But it's the logic used by Tien Mao, calling Filthy Sanchez his idiot of the month on the Gothamist website.

Now I'm the same guy that joked that the Mets have millionaires that insist on riding taxis even after Tom Glavine's accident. But according to Tien, drunk driving is acceptable yet being hungry is not...especially when you make millions of dollars since you could be ordering room service instead.

I see.

Well, now that I've learned that, I would like to call Eli Marrero my "idiot of the day" for waking up this morning with a stiff neck thus getting himself removed from the lineup tonight. Hey Eli! You're a major league ballplayer! How dare you risk getting a stiff neck by sleeping with air conditioning the night before facing Dontrelle Willis!!! YOU'RE A FREAKING MILLIONAIRE! HIRE FIVE OR SIX WOMEN TO WAVE TOWELS, FAN YOU AND BLOW COOL YET COMFORTABLE AIR ON YOUR NECK WHILE YOU SLEEP!

Thanks, Tien, for enlightening me. I'm now going to drink a fifth a vodka and take a drive in Soho looking for some irresponsible rich folk on a late night Samosa run...or maybe I'll just get the eighteen wheeler out of the garage and plow into a late night taco stand or an after hours cigar bar. That'll teach those rich guys not to leave their houses. Idiots!

24 comments:

Jaap said...

One would hope that we got Hernandez as insurance for the coming Heilman meltdown. I don't think Willie will keep putting Heilman in the set up role if he keeps blowing it so I don't think the Shea faithful will give Heilman a "Sisking" - he won't be out there enough to merit it. On the other hand, a demoralised Heilman will only make the Mets bullpen that much weaker.

Devon said...

Ive been reading you for a while now Metstra and this is the best i've seen. Can't stop laughing. Anyone who blames Duaner is brain dead.

elliot said...

Great column, Metstra. You got me to go over to the Gothamist and read Tien's writing. It's not only stupid, but is also racist. Tien says:
Note to Jose Reyes and Pedro Martinez: if you have cravings like your fellow Dominican, please don't go on a futile late-night search in a city you don't live in.
<
I mean, come on. When I look at Pedro, I see a great, crafty veteran pitcher. When I look at Jose, I see the future of the Mets, and a player of unlimited potential. When I look at Duaner, I see the Mets closer of the future (which may come sooner than I had hoped for). Tien apparently sees a bunch of wacky Dominicans.

This is seriously bad. Please don't quote this nitwit any more.

Whitney said...

I second all of this.

We already hold our athletes up to a significantly higher standard than ourselves -- "you're getting paid millions, you're not allowed to _____." To fully protect our players to certain folks' satisfaction, we'd have to have them hermetically sealed in a chamber receiving their food through an I/V from post-game to BP. Call this event dumb luck and a tragedy, and let's stop wagging our finger at the victim.

Mike V said...

The Mets should retire Carter's and Hernandez's numbers. I also think an argument can be made to retire #45, in honor of McGraw and Franco. But Darryl and Doc's? Nope. Too much negative energy there.

Ed in Westchester said...

Straw is dead to me. He is close to being a write in for the next Hate of Fame. Go back to working for George you ungrateful bastard.

As for that idiot Tien - sounds like Russo. Yeah, lets blame the victim. Moron.

Heilman pitched for the third day in a row. Plus, he pitched over the weekend. Cut him a little slack, he has been doing better of late (until last night). He should not have been in there last night, he is now useless until Sunday more than likely, since Saturday is a day game.

Intertesting Castro is hurting the same time Fidel is ailing.

Anonymous said...

For what it's worth, as "8th inning guy" since Duaner's injury, Heilman had two good games in a row, not one. He protected a 1 run lead two nights in a row with a perfect inning. And then last night's failure. Way too early to put him and Sisk in the same sentence.

beezermess said...

I agree with retiring #17 for Hernandez and #8 for Carter and I have been saying that for years....
Even though I am not happy with Strawberry not coming to Shea to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the 1986 championship, I kind of understand why...
Now let's not call me a Yankee fan...but I will say that once Strawberry left the Mets to go "home", Mets management...especially in 1990's, never tried to "reconcile" with him and even as he and fellow "drugmate" Dwight Gooden fell again and again into the depths of drug addiction, they never really tried to help. It was almost like they were shunned by the team that drafted them and nurtured them. The Mets, at that time, were in deep crap with all the Bobby Bonilla, Vince Coleman and Bret Saberhagen bull that was happening...
All of a sudden, here comes the devil himself, George Steinbrenner...extending an olive branch and giving these two players that were instrumental in winning the World Series a chance to redeem themselves in the biggest stage in the world. Though I hate what Steinbrenner has done in the past, the fact that he gave them chance after chance after chance to redeem themselves deserves some credit. Don't take it out on Strawberry because he won three cheap rings in the late 90's....don't take it out on Gooden that he pitched a no-hitter for them in 1996...Some of the blame for their demise can be pointed at the Mets and I for one have no problem admitting that the Mets contributed to their issues. All Steinbrenner and the Yankees tried to do was to help them, either by signing them to a contract or offering a job in the organization....have the Mets tried that....?
Even though Heilman blew it last night, the Mets had some chances and were robbed defensively all night...they still took 2 out of 3 and now play Chase Utley's Phillies...prediction:
Utley's streak ends at 37
Mets win 2 out of 3....

Metstradamus said...

Beezermess,

Straw has been an instructor at Mets camp the last couple of years or so. So there shouldn't be any lingering bitterness as far as I'm concerned.

Before that, what else could they have done? They weren't going to reconcile with him while he was still playing, which was practically up until 1999, and soon after that they did try to bring him back. And after Straw bitched and moaned about going to LA while he was still a Met for three years, why should Mets management go out of their way to reconcile with HIM? Should have been the other way around in my humble opinion.

But the bottom line is that something like this has nothing to do with management...this has to do with Met fans. Yankee fans could care less about Darryl Strawberry being at an old timers day. Strawberry at the 20th anniversary of the only World Championship you and I have ever been alive for means a whole lot more...and he won't be there. And that sucks.

Metstradamus said...

Re: Heilman, my fault. I missed Tuesday's game.

Unser said...

The number that should be retired is 36. . . no, not for Ed Lynch, but for the great Jerry Koosman.

Metstradamus said...

Unser, I agree whole heartedly! (And I've only seen him pitch with the Twins...barely.)

beezermess said...

Ok...understand your point, even though I still don't agree...
Yeah it sucks that Straw will not be there...but at least he has an opportunity to want to go, unlike Gooden who is in prison with his son...and what about Ray Knight? Is he carrying Nancy's golf clubs?

The next number that should be retired is of the first draft pick ever to play for the Mets and play his entire career in Flushing, #7, Steady Eddie Kranepool....

Unser said...

The Mets seem to be reluctant to retire numbers, unlike, say, the Astros who've retired Larry Dierker's, Jimmy Wynn's, Mike Scott's and Jose Cruz's numbers . . decent players, but are they really worthy of this honor?

Koose was great for so many years - could have reached at least 250 wins if he didn't play for those horrible Met teams in the 70s. And he was clutch (better than Seaver) in the post season. Plus, he started the first game I went to in 1975 when I was 5 years old - doesn't that count for anything?

I could see retiring 17 and 8 too. Someone from those 80s teams should be recognized.

Metstradamus said...

All true Unser. I actually blogged about this...

http://metstradamus.blogspot.com/2005/05/by-numbers.html

...in the days when nobody visited. The problem is that Koosman didn't pitch in the 90's when the media explosion was prevelant and everyone discussed and dissected everything to death.

Unser said...

Re: your 2005 blog - well put. The White Sox retiring Baines' 3 is silly, as is the Devil Rays retiring Wade Boggs' 12 - bizarre.

And Piazza's 31 is an absolute MUST.

beezermess said...

Unser.....

Why is Piazza's number a "must" for retirement....? He put up better numbers with the LA Dodgers than he did with the Mets....he has 3 good years here...1999 through 2001. He will always be remembered as the best offensive catcher in Mets history, but by no means does he deserve to have his number retired...
If that is the case, then he waits on line behind Jerry Grote and Gary Carter...

Shea Gadfly said...

I say retire #1, Mookie, a good Met then and now...

They can't retire #17, that's Lima's number!

Shea Gadfly said...

5. Joe DiMaggio (He beat his wife, and he was a Yankee. That's why there will be a small part of me who is rooting for Chase Utley.)

Don't ever side with the Philthies, Metstra. It's bad whodo. Just to make up for it, I'm going to drive down south and beat his wife. What? He won't be the first Philthy wife to catch a beat down this summer.

Lets Go Mets!

Metstradamus said...

gadfly,

I know, I know. It's a fine line. But I would like to see a player, whether it's Utley or someone else, make all of the Yankee reverential pundits that say that DiMaggio's streak is unbreakable eat their words once and for all.

And Beezermess,

What Piazza did with the Dodgers is totally and completely irrelevant in any conversation about whether the Mets should retire his number. The only thing that matters is what Piazza meant to the Mets on and off the field, so "he had better numbers with the Dodgers" means absolutely nothing.

Now I agree that Carter's 8 should be up on the wall...he's a hall of famer who spent his only World Series with the Mets, like Piazza will be. And I'm a Carter guy. But here are the two big differences:

Piazza's best Mets years were 1999-2001, Carter's best years were 1985-1987. If you take the other seasons, 2002-2005 for Piazza, 1988-1989 for Carter, the seasons for Piazza were decent. Carter's off seasons were awful. In fact Carter was booed frequently during those seasons, especially 1989. (You may not have noticed selling all those ice cream cups during the 40 degree weather at Shea, but trust me I was paying attention.)By the end of '88 Carter was dropped to sixth in the lineup...whereas Piazza wasn't dropped until the last days of '05.

The other big difference is that Carter was one of many stars on those teams. During Piazza's seasons, which player or players even approached Piazza's stature? He was THE face of the Mets...and as such he cultivated a special relationship with Mets fans which to me make it automatic that his number should be retired.

So we review: Piazza's relationship with Met fans I think was stronger than Carter's relationship was because Piazza was THE man here, and Piazza's Met numbers were significantly better than Carter's numbers. So that's why 31 is a slam dunk while 8 is not. But I think both should be up there, along with Koosman's 36.

Metstradamus said...

"To fully protect our players to certain folks' satisfaction, we'd have to have them hermetically sealed in a chamber receiving their food through an I/V from post-game to BP."

Whitney, you're right. I only endorse that thinking when it comes to Chad Pennington. ;)

Shea Gadfly said...

You're a Jets fan too!!! Don't tell me but if you are a Nets fan I might have to divorce my wife & start acting like Arod! Just joshing but it's too soon to even talk J-E-T-S especially since the coach says he is only one of four possible QB's.

Plus baseball is THE game like Piazza is THE Mets...I also think Davey Johnson's number should be retired since he was definitely the most successful manager in Mets history. There was a seven-eight year period where he had the team in play every year. And if he had the wild card, the Mets would have won a whole lot more playoff games. They would have probably made the playoffs in 84,85,87,89, & in 1990.

Metstradamus said...

gadfly,

That's interesting...that's the first time I've heard anyone mention number 5 for the wall. It's a valid argument.

I'm not as huge an NBA fan as I once was (and certainly not in comparison to the other three major sports) but I actually root for the Celtics. I do like the Nets though. I have always been a Jason Kidd fan from way back in his California days.

I started off a Celtics fan as they were always on TV and I really loved watching Larry Bird play (I was a Dr. J fan too if you can believe that). I rooted for the Knicks for a while when Pitino got there because I thought I should root for the local team (and I liked Pitino), but they soured on me for a few reasons:

Traded Xavier McDaniel

Patrick Ewing went all Mark Messier and started making guarantees all over the place (I think he was 0 for 11) and then when they lost there were always a bunch of excuses...always everyone else's fault but their own.

For a team that could only get by the Bulls when Jordan wasn't there (and on the strength of Hue Hollins), they certainly acted like they were three time champs. And when they couldn't beat the Bulls, then it was time to create "rivalry-lite" with the Heat, which I thought was a cheap impersonation of Knicks/Bulls (which wasn't a rivalry) or even Knicks/Pacers (which was fairly even but Reggie's heroics always overshadowed the times the Knicks won).

The last straw was the Starks for Sprewell trade...they lost me forever after that. I decided to return to the team of my youth and root for the Celtics, especially when Pitino came back.

So that's my long NBA story.

Unser said...

I'm with MD and Gadfly. Piazza was the best hitter the Mets ever had. It's not even close. Also, I think you can add 1998 (the year he was traded to NY) as a great year for Mike - he hit .328 overall (.348 as a Met), 32 HRs (23 as a Met), and 111 RBIs (76 as a Met). 2002 (.280, 33HRs, 98 RBIs) also qualifies as a pretty good year.

Plus, he's going into the HOF as a Met. How could they not retire his number?