Saturday, October 21, 2006

Uncomfortably Numb

"No games today"

That's what it read on my Yahoo! Sports page under MLB.

Boy, is that an understatement.

For there will be no games today, or any other day in October, for the New York Mets.

As you can imagine, I've made myself scarce. The phone rang numerous times, but I couldn't bring myself to answer. Partly because it was hard for me to sleep last night...Partly because my walks outside have been extra long today.

I'll never forget the moments following Game 7 against the Dodgers in 1988, tuning into WFAN and hearing Howie Rose conduct a pseudo psychiatric session to counsel Met fans who have been ready to jump off a tall building after Orel Hershiser shut them out. It was depressing and cathartic at the same time. In this age of blogs, there are a lot more people in a position to play counsel to Met fans who are looking for guidance.

But my general rule of thumb is this: the people who need the most psychiatric help make the lousiest psychiatrists. So that's another reason I didn't answer the phone. I don't have the brainpower to play psychiatrist. So don't expect any great counsel from me...since I can use some of it myself.

Although I'm nowhere near ready to put Game 7 of 2006 into historical perspective (I prefer to wait until enough history has passed). I can certainly say this without a shadow of a doubt:

Thursday night was worse than 1988.

Scioscia, Gibson and Hershiser hereby move aside and stand in awe of Molina, Suppan, and Wainwright in the pantheon of wrenched guts...at least my wrenched gut.

There have been a whole lot of comments on the previous post, easily a record for this blog. Many things have been said, including a defacto hate list, and a plan for next season.

It's way too soon to get into that for me. I can't even think about turning the page and thinking about 2007 quite yet. Heck, I can't even put two and two together long enough to provide an organized look back on last season (yikes...it really is last season now, isn't it), except to delete the August 23rd walk off victory vs. the Cardinals from my DVR. There was a time where I would use the Carlos Beltran walk-off home run rather than coffee to jump start my day. But now, there's no way that I can watch that without being more bummed out thinking about the Wainwright curveball that turned Beltran's knees into custard.

If you would, please allow me some random unorganized thoughts:

Where did it go wrong: If you put a gun to my head, and asked me to place blame on one player, and no more, as to why the Mets season ended so soon, then the one I would choose would have to be Guillermo Mota. Blame the lack of hitting if you want, but that's more than one player. And I don't want to hear about Billy Wagner, because the pitches he made were the ones he had to make. But I'll go to the top of the mountain and shout this out for the world to hear, repercussions be damned: If Mota doesn't throw the exact same pitch to Scott Spiezio that he had just lined hard foul on the previous pitch, hereby resulting in a game tying triple in Game 2, then instead of writing this, I'm writing about how the Mets can defeat the Tigers and photoshopping a picture of Tom Glavine and Shawn Green as Sigfried and Roy taming baby Tiger cubs. (Trust me, I had it ready. You would have enjoyed it immensely...guaranteed.)

I can't even blame Steve Trachsel. I can't blame him because Jeff Suppan pitched a tight Game 7 the same way he pitched Game 3 with a big lead. Even though Trachsel stunk, I can't say for sure that if Darren Oliver had started that game the result would have changed. (Nevertheless, I still would tie Trachsel up with frayed ropes and push him to Taiwan to pitch in a slow pitch softball league because Game 3 was the most gutless performance that I have ever seen by a Mets starter...and remember, I've seen Mike Scott pitch as a Met so I know gutless.)

Speaking of gutless, let's discuss Braden Looper: One of the reasons I hate Mike Stanton so much, outside of the fact that he was a former Yankee stalwart that pitched horribly as a Met, was that in the midst of celebrating the 2000 World Series victory at Shea Stadium, Stanton noticed Bobby Valentine on the clubhouse television and made it a point to spray the television with champagne. For a player that had no history with Valentine, and for a player that had just won a World freakin' Series, it was a bush league move.

What Looper pulled during the Cardinal celebration, mocking the "Jose Jose Jose" chant (a former teammate of his no less) during the Cardinals celebration, tops Stanton's move. Real gutsy for a player who basically cost his team Game 6 in the most important game he's pitched as a Cardinal. I can't think of how many times I've defended Looper last year through thick and mostly thin...and if you don't believe me you can look it up. And if you can believe this, I even thought about writing, on this space, a piece imploring the Shea faithful to take it relatively easy on Looper here at Shea during the NLCS. I apologize to you...the reader...that the thought ever crossed my mind. I promise that the next time you see the name "Braden Looper" on this site will be as a nomination for the Hall of Hate.

Uncle Cliffy: You've probably seen the last of Cliff Floyd in a Met uniform. I hope it's not the case, but I can't realistically see a scenario where the Mets will pay Cliff the money that he will feel he's worth for what will most likely be part time production. What has impressed me about Cliff Floyd throughout his time here is that time after time after time, Floyd has attempted to play in severe pain when most players would shut it down. He did it throughout his first season here, and he did it throughout these playoffs. I know a pitcher that could learn a little something about guts from Floyd.

Combine that with Floyd's lockerroom presence and you have someone who should be indispensable...but the Mets already have a lockerroom presence named Julio Franco, who at this point I fear would make a much better coach than a player (don't get me wrong, to be good enough to play major league baseball at the age of 48 is incredible...but when the phrase "waste of an at-bat" keeps coming to my mind when he strides to the plate, it's enough food for thought for me). The Mets cannot have two players reduced simply to pinch hitting duty (you're really not going to count the times that Franco has played third base, are you) on their roster next season.

I will put Cliff Floyd up on a list with anybody you mention to me in terms of being the classiest players this franchise has ever known. Anybody. If he does leave, Floyd has left an indelible mark on this franchise for seasons to come. I will continue to be hopeful of Floyd returning to the Mets in 2007, but realistically...

My Two Front Teeth: Add Tom Glavine to the list of players I want to see return in '07. I hope for the Mets' sake that it's not as their ace, even though he performed admirably in that role during the postseason, but I hope that there is a pitcher (or two) on the way that will take the pressure off of Tommy G. When it comes down to a choice between baseball and family, it's never easy. But since 2007 will probably be Glavine's final shot at 300 victories, I hope it's as a New York Met. I hope that Glavine will take into account the fact that the Mets are much closer to the promised land at this point than the Atlanta Braves are...and if I have to personally make the case to Glavine's family then I'm available to do that.

I'll even pay for a lovely floral bouquet.

High definition television?

Private jet?

The experience that Glavine would provide to a progressively younger pitching staff (which may include another young lefthander...perhaps) would be invaluable.

Speaking of Experience: We hope that 2006 is just another stepping stone to the ultimate goal. Outside of the White Sox and the Angels, most teams that capture the largest flag experience playoff heartbreak in seasons past. The Yankees experienced Edgar Martinez in 1995. The Diamondbacks experienced Todd Pratt in 1999 and the Cardinals in 2000. The Red Sox had Aaron Boone in 2003. There's a part of me that thinks that this is exactly what a player like David Wright (who completed his second half slump with a gargantuan tank job in the NLCS), and to a lesser extent, a player like Jose Reyes need in order to teach them just how hard it is to reach the promised land.

We hope that 2006 is the stepping stone of experience that this team needs. But truly, we don't know for sure. We look back and see how the Seattle Mariners put together some excellent seasons yet never reach the World Series. We see the window of opportunity closing for the Houston Astros. We see the Oakland Athletics, who struggled for years and years and years just to finally win the third game of the first round...only to get spanked by the Tigers in the ALCS. As we know all too well, anything can happen.

But what we can bank on is that the Mets don't have a general manager who has extra agendas, or who tears down a team just to prove he can. The Mets have someone who has seemingly turned everything he touched in 2006 to gold. I bet Omar Minaya probably never realized that the Mets would need Oliver Perez to pitch in games 4 and 7 of the 2006 NLCS...but he knew we'd need him someday. And he took a risk that nobody in their right mind would take...certainly not me (although when am I in my right mind anyway?) Omar has struck gold numerous times since he's taken the job, and barring an attempted shotgun lobotomy performed by his N.L. east rivals, I fully expect Minaya to make some more magic happen in the next few months.

Of course that isn't going to stop me from throwing in a few suggestions of my own, but that's for another day and another time.

In the meantime, rest assured that I'll still be here to provide some sporadic musings and prophecies here over the next few weeks, so there'll always be a reason to check back. Also, if you're the kind to quickly turn the page and change the season, visit us at Brooklyn Jet Fan for some thoughts on another team destined to break my heart.

29 comments:

jabair said...

thanx for the good times, i still respect you in the morning

Jaap said...

Well done this season, Metstra. Can't say as I'm looking forward to the spring just yet, but like the Mets, your posts have kept me inspired all season long.

fred said...

A job well done, Metstra. I don't say that because you're family, I say it because it's an empirical fact.

And thanks for reposting the Jets site.

J
E
T
S

Jets!
Jets!
Jets!

jabair said...

i need a MOURNING AFTER pill...

Anonymous said...

IS THERE ANY WAY TO MAKE 'LEAVING YOUR COMMENT' on 'Musings' UNAVAILABLE TO DARTH MARC? Or would that be unAmerican? Or better yet, send a high electrical current through his keyboard when he tries to write!

jabair said...

just ignore the prick, he just wants attention.

Unser said...

The move that's haunted me for the past 24+ hours was pinch hitting Cliff Floyd in the 9th. With 2 on and nobody out, down by two, we didn't need a home run. Willie acted as if there were 2 out, or they were down by 3. Plus, Cliff only had 2 at bats the entire series - did anyone really think he was going to crank one? Kirk Gibson moments happen only once in a lifetime. He should sent up Woodward or Hernandez to bunt, and leave the season in the hands of the two best contact hitters on the team - Reyes and Lo Duca. And Reyes hit that ball on the screws in the 9th . . . right at Edmonds. Bastards.

That said, overall I was impressed with Willie's managerial moves.

Not sure I'd put this on the level of 1988. The '88 Mets were completely healthy - the '06 Mets played without their two best starting pitchers and their starting left fielder.

We'll be back.

ronhunt said...

Metstra' I don't write often but because I have been with these guys since 1962 at the Polo Grounds I wanted to say a couple of things. One, you'll get used to it. The excitement, the depression, the anger, the acceptance are all part of being a Mets "Fan"atic. Two, this has been the most enjoyable of seasons (yes that includes our '69 and '86 seasons) The young players, the surprises, the expectations and the chemistry were unbelieveable. And you, Mr. Metstradamus, contributed by keeping us all entertained and informed. I look forward every morning to your posts for their insight and humor. You do a fantastic job. How you do it, why you do it, when you do it......I don't care. Just keep doing it. We'll get'em next year.

Vicki said...

I only started reading mid year, when I found a few blogs, and yours is one that I check everyday.

All of your points are valid, and I agree. Most of all, about Tom Glavine, I think it would be great to have him here next year, and retire as a Met.

Keith Hernandez nailed Wright's slump back in August, and spoke to Wright about it, who said there was no slump. I think with experience, he'll realize that if someone like Hernandez talks to you, maybe take some advice. You're 23, you might not know it all.

Anyway, a good season, and like the previous commenter said, sometimes it's tough being a Mets fan. We'll always be there, though.

Have a good off season, and I am already planning my trip to Port St Lucie for spring training.

MetsfaninTX said...

Metstra - allow me to join the
long list of thankful daily readers
from both yesterday and today.

You are right, I would have loved
to see a photo of tigers being
tamed by a photoshop version of
Green and Glavine.

Many times I cannot decide which
is better, your tremendous writing
ability or your endless parade of
witty and perfectly timed photo
links.

You have become a daily stop in my
search for up to the minute Mets
information and insight. You will
continue to be this as the hot
stove heats up.

Thank you for all that you do.

Sincerely,

A life long Mets fan in Austin TX.

jabair said...

im still not feeling any better

Anonymous said...

Metsra, one request if you have access to the Mets front office: RALLY TOWELS, NEVER AGAIN. I hated it from the moment the FOX cameras came on. We're not the Midwest (no offense to my midwestern brethern).

It's a wonder that no one took that image of 50K+ fans holding up WHITE towels, and didn't work the photoshopping.

One big giant surrender.

pkstudios said...

Keep up the great work, Metsradamus - this is one of my favorite sites.

As for Cliff - I got the feeling Willie felt for the moment like he was playing with house money, like he knew it was going to be a long shot for Cliff to come back next year, like he knew Cliff had been working his ass off to get back in the lineup or to help out however he could, and like he knew that when the season started the real goal this year was just to get to the playoffs, not to be in position to win the world series. It was like Willie had been patiently waiting for a spot to put Cliff in, and this was it - back to the stubborn Willie who batted Wright 7th last year - he wasn't going to pull Cliff back after Endy's hit. I get the argument for the bunt - I also get the argument for not - it's a game of probabilities in either case. Willie was in position to roll the dice, and maybe that wasn't the best call, but if LaRussa can be a genius because Yadayada can hit a homer off of Heilman, then Willie can be one if Cliff had worked out a walk just as well.

I look forward to your analysis of the off-season moves to come, and to an even better year in 07. Thanks again for everything.

Anonymous said...

Brilliant point on the rally towels. At game 6, we used our will and our lungs and our hands and our high-fives. There were 57,000 INDIVIDUALS coming in unison, not 57,000 living ads for DHL. Rainsoaked, like Reyes' smile (laugh and dance after you've won, kid); like Wright's off-field unneeded obsessions(sucking up to the pigs at the NYSE, Viatamin Water, THE DAVID WRIGHT FOUNDATION FOUNDED TEN YEARS TOO EARLY, etc.--kid--you're paid to hit, field, and win, not be another whitebread failure a la Donnie Ballgame); and players who don't laugh on the field with the enemy. NYC baseball--under the shadow of the media and the Yankees--is ONLY about winning. That's the sad truth. I lived and I died with this 2006 team, and they killed a large part of me. I think it's the worse loss I've ever endured as a fan.
I hope Mister Minaya acquires players with will and cojones this offseason. Otherwise, this year just reminds me of Trachsel as a cowardly "My Pet Goat" reader, a Beltran too afraid to protect the plate with 2 strikes, a DiamondVision sepia-tinged Wagner letting the ball get blasted into sepia tones, and a .219 hitter making like another .219 nonentity, Al Weis.
The Mets, despite adversity, were handed the pennant; they LUCKILY avoided a Subway Series--a Shea Stadium with no home-field advantage--and they spat the wet towels back into the fans' faces.
They go back to their million-dollar bank accounts; the fans in the cheepies go back to their roachhole apartments with surrender towels. And 2007?--d'ya all think they'll even make the WC with a tougher Phillies and Marlins team to face 19 times a year? 38 years of watching this team makes me say: "I hope so, but I don't know....Heck, they traded The Franchise over Dick Young's tirades, Grant and Payson's retardation, and $100,000, and lost a decade of fans there."
Am I angry? Yes.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree about the towels as well. I was at every postseason game this year and I felt like the fans won game 6. We energized the pitchers, and frightened the cardinals into making mistakes. I think the towels basiaclly stopped 50 thousand fans from clapping their hands and making more noise. What were we doing, attacking them with light? There was a significant downgrade in the amount of noise made in between game 6 and 7.

Darth Marc said...

I have responded to your attacks...go to my blog if you care....if not then don't

Go Giants!!!!

Unser said...

How could any Mets fan root for the Tigers? Always pull for the National League, especailly when we lost in the NLCS. If we're going to lose, let's lose to the champs.

Re: the Rally Towels. Good point. When I saw them, it reminded me of. . . gulp . . . 1988, when they handed out "K Towels". Didn't quite work then, didn't work now.

jabair said...

cowardly "My Pet Goat" reader.. love the analogy

pat burke said...

Metstra, or John, as Metsblog was happy to point out.

You do a tremendous job. I, like everyone else, are in a state of mourning but wanted to say thank you for making this year even more enjoyable. it was a great ride.

And hey, I actually like the towels in game 7. looked pretty damn cool if you ask me.

gbaked said...

Thanks for the great job with the site this year. You moved up to the coveted "first site i check" spot. Even before my email.

It really hit hard for me when I pulled up espn, basically by habbit... and say a big graphic with the cards and tigers. Would have been nice to see delgado on that photo.

I think for the first time I really believe myself when I say to my Yankee fan friedns, just wait until next year!

* The towels sucked... game 6 was 26 against 25, game 7 was 25 on 25. Thats why you win 96.


THANKS MESTRA!!! LET THE ZITO SWEEPSTAKES BEGIN!!!

Mets Guy in Michigan said...

Excellent, excellent post, Metstra.

Anonymous said...

With all the talk about Zito (and all of the money he's supposedly worth), I guarantee he'll be the Mets A-Rod or Pavano if he doesn't perform every time out.

He stunk in the playoffs, so what's the point of signing him, if he doesn't perform?

Metstradamus said...

The point is that he fills a glaring weakness. The Mets need him. They can't not go after him because he "might" not be worth the money.

If the Mets thought like that, then Beltran, Pedro, and Delgado wouldn't be here...we'd still have a team of Ty Wiggintons and Jason Phillipseses. And we would root for a 78-84 team for the rest of our natural lives. Is this something you really want?

P.S. Zito outdueled Johan Santana in the playoffs. His other start not withstanding, I'd hardly say he "stunk".

Anonymous said...

Hey Darth, why don't you google optomize your blog so you can get more readers.

Anonymous said...

Heilman and Milledge for D-Train.

Anonymous said...

Unless the Marlins GM is working for the Mets (in secret), you'll never see that deal happening.

Why would the Marlins make that deal?

jabair said...

the gambler had dog shit on his hand.

mets grrl said...

comment you forgot for the hate list:

hey mellencamp. someone already wrote 'this land is your land'.

Metstradamus said...

HA! Very sharp Grrl!