Sunday, September 30, 2007

Your Postseason Has Come...

...but your team isn't going to be there.

How's this for next season's slogan: "The 2008 Mets...We'll Try Not to F**k Things Up This Season."

Thanks a lot Mets...for nothing. Absolutely nothing.

More later. Lots more.

All In

So, baseball gods...I see you've called my bluff.

I asked for a reason for belief. You saw that with a one hitter, raised me a benches clearing brawl as an extra sign of life...and a Phillies loss to the Nationals.

Do I call? Do I fold? Do I raise?

I'm all in, baby.

Here I go, baseball gods...all my chips are at the center of the table and I've got acey deucey going up against your jack-six. Let's turn over those cards.

Show me an ace on the ace as in Tommy Glavine.

Show me a deuce on the in two wins by the Nationals.

You give me that, there's no need for the in the river crossed by going over the Walt Whitman bridge for a one game playoff with the Phillies.

You're surprised? You're surprised that I'm all in? Why? Do you think I'm scared of you? You think I'm scared because two weeks ago I had a chip pile a mile high, and now I'm down to a handful? Well maybe as the days grew by I was discouraged...but I've pretty much lost everything. There's nothing more to lose at this point. And as you know, it's dangerous to deal cards to someone who's got nothing to lose.

Am I blinking? Not really. In fact I'm staring you baseball gods down without so much as batting an eyelash. Because really, what if I lose? What if you get three sixes and wipe me out? What do I have to be afraid of? Making you guys mad? Feeling your wrath? What more can you do to me that hasn't already been done to me?

Karma? Should I be afraid of baseball karma? Karma's a bitch, you say? Yes, I've said it too. And you know what?

F**k Karma!

What the f**k has Karma gotten me over the last two weeks? I'll tell you what it's gotten me...f***ing grief, that's what! Hell I've practically left the Yankees and Yankee fans alone this season and what has it gotten me? They've made a miraculous comeback from the dead, every rookie they have has a Yankeeography, and they're tearing down the bat at Yankee Stadium to make room for the gold plated statue of Joba Chamberlain for the fans to meet by. Make that the backdrop to my team's collapse, and you want to tell me that Karma plays this game of baseball fair? You want to tell me that Karma doesn't have aces up it's sleeve to use against me, like it did in '87? In '99? In 2000? In 2001? Game seven last year? Where exactly is the reward I get from Karma for not messing with it?

F**k Karma!!! I'm staring Karma down just like I'm staring you down, baseball gods. And if the city of Philadelphia wants to get in on the staredown then bring it on, boys and girls. I know you want nothing better than to knock us down, and I know you're beating down the doors to the castle waiting to come in and bury us once and for all. I know you're there and I'm waiting for you with my chips at the center of the table.

And Mets fans, I'm staring you down too. I'm staring you down because I want you all in with me. I want you in if you've believed all season. I want you in if you gave up somewhere along the way. I want you in if you've said that this is the last straw with this team. I want you in because I've done all three. I've felt it all. I've been to hell and back. I was at the Pendleton game. I was at the Scioscia game. I was at Game Five in 2000. Whatever you've seen, I've seen it.

Whatever you've felt, I've felt it.

Whatever you've done, I've done it.

Whatever you've thrown against the wall in anger, I've broken the wall with it.

Whatever the Mets have done to your heart, I've taken medicine for it.

And even after all that...even after Mike Stanton, Kenny Rogers, Brian Jordan, Art Howe, Terry Pendleton, Bobby Bonilla, Vince Coleman, Armando Benitez, Larry Jones, Willie Harris, Jimmy Rollins, and the rest of the rogues gallery of Mets criminals, I'm still willing to put everything on the line knowing that this team we're banking on could fold their hand and come up with the game that's going to make every bad moment in this franchise history seem like a ticker tape parade in comparison.

I know it. I embrace it. And I refuse to fear it anymore. Because according to the rest of the world, we're mongrels. They want us dead and buried once and for all.

Are you really going to turn in your cards and fold after that?

Not me.

As for you baseball gods, you're trying to get a bad beat on me, and I say bring it. There's two cards to turn over on Sunday. Maybe one card on Monday. I'm ready for whatever happens. They say never bet money that you're afraid to lose, and it's high time to stop being afraid. Here's my ace, here's my deuce. You beat it, you win. Remember that you don't have all my money yet...and a wise man once said that if you don't have my money then you are mine.

So, baseball gods...let's play some cards.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Where's David Chase With The Black Screen When You Need Him?

Steve Perry just called me.

He says I should stop believing now.

Can anybody else give me a valid reason to believe? Because nobody who wears a Mets uniform and gets paid for it has given me any.

Do you realize that the Mets' collapse has been so swift, and so severe, that they may not even make it to the last day of the season without getting eliminated? The time for being stunned is over. If you have tickets for the weekend games, don't be afraid to let this organization know how you feel...whether it be one way, or the other.

Thursday, September 27, 2007


"Someone's dreams will come true. Why can't they be yours?" -Mega Millions television commercial
Because I'm a Mets fan, that's why.

Joel Pineiro? Three hits? Really?

Let's review, kids:
  • The Mets can't win with their spiritual leader on the mound.
  • The Phillies beat Tim Hudson and John Smoltz in back to back games. That had never happened before to Hudson and Smoltz.
  • The seven game lead is all gone.
  • Marlon Anderson is gone for tomorrow's game.
  • And speaking of tomorrow's game, and things that rhyme with Marlon, the Marlins have just swept the Cubs, and they come in to Shea Stadium hot.
  • The f***ing Marlins!!!
I don't want to give up yet. I've invested too much time and effort rooting for this increasingly historical (and not in a good way) baseball outfit not to get in the bunker for the final three games. But my positive outlook hasn't worked thus far. And that's why I'm ready to do the following:

Hope? Not for me. We're done. I'll pray I'm proven wrong. It will be futile. Any team that lets a first inning error by their second baseman, and a journeyman pitcher who was picked up off the scrap heap by a team that's out of the money dictate their night is exhibiting the classic signs of a team that is playing nervous, scared, whatever you want to call it. I'll go so far to say that if you used the C-word in this instance, you wouldn't be wrong. And any fan base that sings the "Jose Jose Jose" like it was a funeral march knows exactly what's going on.

My only hope is that the construction on Citi Field is accelerated. Because Shea Stadium might very well be burned down to the ground on Monday.

(Editor's note: Ten minutes after this loss, the Mets e-mail me and tell me that I wasn't chosen for the postseason ticket drawing. Nice of the club to cheer me up with a joke.)

Sneak Peek

The 2007 Mets DVD is being released after the season. Here's a preview:

"The 2007 Mets: Your Collapse Has Come", in stores soon. Don't miss out.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

More Than You Will Know

Here's to you, Philip Humber.

A borough turns it's lonely eyes to you.

Whoo, whoo, whoo.

Phil, surely you have been given the tools to make your first start in the major leagues a success as you had the advantage of being in the dugout while Pedro Martinez was holding court for the better part of two innings. It was interrupted, of course, by the crowd's outburst at seeing the final score from Philadelphia flash on the screen. It really was amusing seeing your group, which included yourself, John Maine, and Mike Pelfrey sponge as much knowledge as they can from Petey. But it is you who gets to use that knowledge first.

You sure as hell need it to stop this latest horrific slide which, while only two games long, has seen the lowest scoring team in the National League score 23 runs in two games, which was one too many to accommodate our grand but short comeback in the ninth. And guess who gets to face Embezzlement Row next? That's right, you.

Just pretend it's Stanford or Hawaii, and you'll be fine.


Was it me, or was Tuesday night the first time that Gary Cohen and Keith Hernandez approached ripping Willie Randolph?

No, I don't think it was a conscious effort by them to do so, but Willie made some curious moves in the seventh which saw the Nationals score two important tack on runs. First, he had Scott Schoeneweis warm up with two or three right handers coming up, but not a righty along with him while Carlos Muniz was pitching his second inning in relief and walking the park home.

"The have two mounds out there, right?"
Never has so much been said by saying so little.

Again, I'm not implying that the announcers are going after the manager here, but that, combined with Willie not bringing in Schoeneweis to face Brian Schneider after warming him up for practically the whole inning only to see Schneider whack a two run single off of Jorge Sosa, brought about the Gary and Keith underlining the fact that Willie's decisions that inning were a bit bizarre. And for the announcers to highlight it like that is a little bit out of character for them. I wonder if the growing discontent among fans and bloggers, along with the increased buzz by the mainstream media has made the SNY guys just a little bit more aware of Randolph's moves and methods, and more inclined to discuss them?

And if that is the case, then it's a first class lesson in why bloggers not named Metstradamus are important...and influential. (Bloggers who are named Metstradamus are just plain annoying.)


What was once this:

Is now a concept so foreign I can't even find a picture for it. Mets...rooting for Braves. Mets fans doing the chop...and not in derision.

It's a phenomenon sweeping the country as the Braves play spoiler. This was from Wrigley:

Black is up. East is white. And I'm not sure I can handle it.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Look No Further For There Is A Bright Side

It's important not to panic after tonight's 13-4 defeat at the hands of the Washington Nationals. Here's why:

First off, Carlos Beltran didn't hurt any more knees. No, he doesn't have a third knee...but he could have hurt somebody else's knee. (Don't think that's possible? You just don't know this franchise.)

Second, and most important, we know that the Nationals aren't going to lie down and play dead in their last few games...which will come in handy later in the week when they go to Philadelphia.

Boys and girls, Monday night was not a surprise to me. Partly because I understand that this team is trying to kill me. But partly because I fully expect the Nationals, with Pelfrey and Phil Humber starting games this series, to win two out of three. That's correct, I said it. The Nats are going to wind up taking two games this series.

But cheer up, because after they leave town, the Mets are going to run the table. And if they don't, they should be ashamed of themselves. The Cardinals come in for a make-up game on Thursday night, after a flight in from Milwaukee, and then they'll have to fly out to Pittsburgh after the game. If that doesn't reek of a throwaway game for the Cardinals, who will most likely be out of it by then if they're not already, I don't know what does.

And speaking of throwing stuff away, the Marlins come to town for the last three. Amazing games featuring Met meltdowns last Thursday and Sunday aside, the Mets have no business losing to the Florida Marlins. Not this season (some would say not ever, but that's another discussion.) I believe from the depths of my heart that the Marlins have run out of late inning runs.

So if my calculations are correct, then that's 5-1 the rest of the way. Five wins match our magic number, right?

Let's say I'm wrong, and the Mets go, say, 4-2. That would mean the Phillies would have to run the table just to get a playoff game in their backyard. Now, be honest...even the most pessimistic of pessimists: Do you see the Phillies running the table against the Braves and Nationals? Neither of those teams is going to lay down for them, just as the Nationals aren't laying down for the Mets right now. Even if the Mets do the unthinkable and go 3-3, the Phillies can't lose more than once if they want that playoff game.

Now if the Mets go 2-4, then I don't think I even want to be in the playoffs anyway.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Heaven's Waiting Room

(Metstradamus wakes up in a white room...with lots of chairs, and a perfect view of the clouds and sunbursts.)

MD: What the heck am I doing here? (Looks around) Hey, they've got the current issue of Sports Illustrated. That's a plus.

(Someone enters through the door.)

MD: Hello? What is this place?

Second person: Oh, you're in heaven.

MD: Heaven? Wait...I'm dead?

SP: Well, this isn't exactly heaven. You're in heaven's waiting room.

MD: Waiting room? There's a line?

SP: Not really. You're the only one here, right?

MD: Oh boy. I don't want to die. How did this happen?

SP: Hey, I'm not God, I can't answer everything. What was the last thing you remember?

MD: Well, I was in my friend's car coming home from the Jets game, and he put the end of the Mets game on the radio for me even though he's a Yankee fan.

SP: Wow, he may actually make it up here. Go on.

MD: So the Mets were winning 6-3 against the Marlins when I left the game, but by the time we got to the car it was already 6-5. And I started to feel my chest thumping.

SP: Oh, I see where this is going.

MD: And then the bottom of the ninth came, and Billy Wagner came in to save the game...except that his back had been a little creaky, so he gave up a dinger to Dan Uggla. Then I started to feel faint.

SP: Do you remember anything after that?

MD: Yeah...the third out that Paul Lo Duca dropped to put the winning run on base. After that, the next thing I remember is opening my eyes and being in this room.

SP: Did you feel anything right after that dropped third strike?

MD: You know, I felt like I had enough. Yup, I had enough of these late inning disasters. I felt really faint.

SP: Oh're not dead.

MD: No? Well why am I in a waiting room with a signed picture of St. Peter on the wall?

SP: Well first off, I got the signed St. Peter picture on eBay. But to answer your question my good man, through the course of a baseball season there always comes a time when a fan decides to, how do you say, "check out". They give up. They can't take the drama anymore and go into a baseball coma.

MD: With all due respect, I think you've lost your mind. I've never heard of a baseball coma. Every time I get frustrated, I never end up in a room like this. I just throw something against the wall. I must have had a heart attack!

SP: No, it's baseball coma. Very rarely does a baseball coma involve someone actually losing consciousness. Usually it just involves wandering around the house for 24 hours without sleeping, eating or talking. It doesn't usually happen in a car. You're obviously a rare case. Let me see here, I'm looking through your file...hmmm. It says here you blog about the Mets, right?

MD: That's right.

SP: And you were just at the Jets game, right?

MD: Yeah. They beat Miami, 31-28.

SP: Yeah, but it says here that the game shouldn't have been that close. It was 31-13 with about ten minutes left, yet you almost lost.

MD: Uh-huh...

SP: Yeah, think about it. You're watching a Miami team come back against your New York team, and you're already worried. And meanwhile, you're other New York team is in Miami trying to give this game away. You go to your car, you turn on the radio, and Aaron Heilman is starting to give that lead away. Then Billy Wagner gives up a home run, and that's it. You are obviously undergoing a severe case of "I can't take this anymore." Heck, I don't know if I could take it either.

MD: So I'm fine?

SP: You're gonna be. I just need to double check your paperwork here...oh yes. Here you go. It says here in your file, and I quote, "He has a lot more torture to go in his life...including a particularly bad stretch between now and the beginning of November."

MD: What does that mean?

SP: It means you ain't getting off that easy.

MD: But the beginning of November is the end of the World Series. Am I going to suffer all the way up until Game 7 of the World Series when the Mets win? Am I going to suffer up until Game 7, and they lose? Are the Mets going to miss the playoffs all together and every Yankee fan in the world laughs at me non-stop until the beginning of November when they have their ticker tape parade? Dammit, what else does that file say?

SP: Dude, I can't tell you everything. They'll put me in purgatory!

MD: Well can you at least tell me what's happening down on earth with today's game?

SP: Go ahead and turn it on.

MD: You get WPIX up here?

SP: Metstradamus, this is Heaven. We get everything up here...even Versus.

MD: Wow, this really is heaven. All right let's see, one, one...Aaron Sele's on the mound in a save situation?

SP: Hey, we're winning.

MD: Yeah, but Sele's in the game with a one run lead. We're finished!

SP: Now 'Damus, you're not getting back to earth with that attitude.

MD: But sir, this bullpen is hilariously bad.

SP: Now I don't want to hear any of this. Heaven is a place of faith and if you can't take even a sliver of faith back down to earth then your life will be filled with misery and pain, even through the good times.

MD: Oh, kinda like Jeff Kent?

SP: Yeah, like that.

MD: I guess I see your point.

SP: There you go. Now look up at the screen...what do you see?

MD: I see Scott Schoeneweis on the mound. I see a grounder to first. And I see the Mets win.

SP: Yes.

MD: Scott Schoeneweis. Aaron Sele. Joe Smith. They were all castoffs, and today, when the big boys imploded, these guys were lights out. Hey, I don't understand...

SP: If you truly understood baseball, could you really enjoy it?

MD: I suppose.

SP: Well, look down's time for you to go back. You've got a lot to do.

MD: Oh yeah. I'm waking up. I guess I'll be okay. Hey, somebody's trying to help revive me by sticking a big needle in my chest. Who is that?

SP: Oh, that's Hugh Laurie.

MD: The guy from that show? He really does that stuff in real life?

SP: Metstradamus, you already know too much.

MD: Yeah, I know I'm not going to get a World Series ticket because he's going to be sitting in the front row. He probably doesn't even care about baseball.

SP: Yeah, but he's saving your life so I wouldn't bitch too much.

MD: Hey, I never got your name.

SP: Just call me Anulfo.

MD: Thanks...hey Anulfo, you said "we're" winning. Were you a Mets fan?

SP: Let's just say I was a friend of the program.

MD: How friendly?

SP: Remember 1977?

MD: Not really.

SP: Nobody does anymore. That's all right, you know too much anyway. You'll have the answers all in due time. I will say this: October 23rd, 2017...

MD: Yeah?

SP: It'll be around 11:37 PM...

MD: Yeah? Yeah???

SP: Just remember to duck. I can't say anymore.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

1.5 Fast 1.5 Furious

"Hey Willie...did I lose him yet?"

"No Ollie, he's still right behind us."

"That finish line can't get here fast enough, skip."

Saturday, September 22, 2007


It was fun watching a game where somebody else made all the errors, wasn't it?

Well, maybe it wasn't so much fun, but Pedro Martinez got it done, especially in the third inning when he had the bases loaded and one out and somehow escaped. It really was an important game in that respect. If the Marlins had beaten the Mets with their spiritual leader on the mound, then who do you turn to? No wonder they conjured up 5 runs in the two innings after that.

Amazingly, none of the Mets runs were earned as Miguel Cabrera refuses to dive, and Mike his quest for a gold glove...played with a glove made of solid gold. The Mets rode Pedro's gutty performance and Moises Alou's club record 25 game hit streak to a rain shortened 8-4 five inning win over the Marlins, as the skies opened up and poured down on Miami, thankfully ending the game before the Marlins got to the Mets depleted bullpen. Thanks to that rainstorm, the Mets stayed 1 1/2 games ahead of Philadelphia. The only hope now for the Mets is that Carlos Beltran's foray into the wall which forced him out of action isn't going to keep him out that long.

Ironically, after the rain shortened game, a had an unusually vivid dream after I fell asleep about an hour after the game ended with no hope of involved Guillermo Mota. I dreamt that the game actually did resume and Willie Randolph had Mota in for two innings. I tried to escape, but that stadium is so big...and every time I found an exit and walked through it, I ended up on the mozzarepa line. But Mota was getting outs! And then Willie actually put Mota in for a second inning, and he got everybody out. It was at that point, I knew I was dreaming because Mota never lasts two innings...and Randolph wouldn't be stupid enough to do that again, right?

But then, in the dream, Fredi Gonzalez was stupid enough to double switch Cabrera out of the game. And Carlos Delgado hit a home run to center field which conked me in the head and then I woke up...or so I thought. I dreamt then that I woke up on the couch in a cold sweat, and it was already the next morning so I flipped open the paper to see the boxscore of the Mets win...and the boxscore said "Schoeneweis (SV, 1)". Panicking, I flipped on the television for highlights, and I saw Willie...and he was mad! He was mad apparently because Carlos Gomez, get this, tried to steal third base with two outs! I mean, now I really knew I was dreaming because he sure as hell wouldn't have done that after Jose Reyes made the same mistake two weeks ago.

And I also know it was a dream because Willie never gets mad, right? So I tried to run out of my apartment, and kept running...and running...and running...until I saw third base in the distance so I rounded it even though Sandy Alomar was giving me the stop sign...and here I come home to try to bowl over Miguel Olivo. Only it wasn't Miguel was Britney Spears! So I ran faster and tried to put her in the third row but she gave me the sweep tag and I flew all the way into the upper deck.

When I landed there...Timo Perez was wearing a World Series ring yelling at me for not running hard all the way from my apartment. And on my other side I saw Shakira dancing with Jimmy Rollins in the aisle. I was briefly distracted by the merry go round they brought on the field where Moises Alou was riding it with Hubie Brooks and Mike Piazza. Mota was then brushed back by a pitch, and then he chased Piazza around the field. And then all of a sudden, I noticed I was wearing a cast on my leg from landing so hard in the upper deck...and Carlos Beltran was wearing a matching cast because he was out for the season!!!

Then I really did wake up. And I wrote this post. Damn, I gotta stop eating jalapenos before going to bed.

Friday, September 21, 2007

A Sledgehammer To The Solar Plexus

How much more are we supposed to take?

A thirty foot roller up the third base line wasn't enough, was it...

An interference call wasn't enough, was it...

An 11-10 loss in the ninth wasn't enough, was it...
A misplayed pop-up by a back-up catcher wasn't enough, was it...

A misplayed fly ball into center field wasn't enough, was it...

Guillermo Mota wasn't enough, was it...

Ten errors in two days wasn't enough, was it...

Yadier Molina, Terry Pendleton, Kevin Elster picking up black cats, Armando Benitez, Mike Scioscia, Tom Seaver for Doug Flynn, firecrackers, bleach, Mel Rojas, Don Aase, Larry Jones, Brian Jordan, Art Howe, Adam Wainwright, Jimmy Qualls...they're not enough, are they...

What else can you do to our hearts, minds, and souls this season?

Maybe as the Mets are headed to Dolphin Stadium tomorrow, Cecil Wiggins can finish the job.

Maybe Wiggins was the one that threw that baseball at Aaron Heilman from the stands (and through all of the horror, Heilman was a major bright spot...not even I could have blamed him if he had spit the bit after being hit by a projectile from the stands...I don't trust him, but I give him a boat load of credit tonight.) Or maybe Wiggins had something to do with Country Time's back spasms, which kept him out of the game and wound up sealing our fate for Thursday night...and maybe our season.

You know what, bring up last year's Tigers all you want. Bring up last year's Cardinals all you want. I can't imagine that either of those teams experienced any loss last year like any loss the Mets have had this year. Either of those teams ever score four runs in the top of the ninth, only to have their "B" list bullpen give it all back in the bottom half of the frame, then lose it in the tenth.

And I doubt that this happened after their first baseman proclaimed their team to be the best in the league.

I doubt either of those teams had a right fielder that hits his second baseman in the nuts with an errant throw, then gets himself tossed, and probably suspended for a few games, because he felt that late in a game that may decided the division was the perfect time to work through his anger issues with Jim Joyce.

And I doubt that Jim Leyland or Tony La Russa responded to any of those losses with:

"We'll get 'em tomorrow."
We'll get 'em tomorrow?

I don't know if there's a right thing to say after a game like that. But "we'll get 'em tomorrow?" Really? That's what your uncle told you after you struck out to end a little league game. This, however, is the major leagues...and that's not what I need to hear. I trust that the speech to the players was a little bit least I hope.

We'll get 'em tomorrow? You know what I'm getting tomorrow? Therapy. I need it...thanks to your team stabbing me in my heart. Again. It's all I can do to keep from jumping off a tall building into jagged concrete...twice.

(Editor's note: If you must blow the lead completely, please make it relatively painless from here on out.)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

When Winning Turns Into A Win

So often, it's a little thing that makes me think.

Tonight, it happened while I was in my travels...passing by the television at Metstradamus HQ noticing the score was 1-0 New York. I let out some emotion at that point: "Whoo hoo, we're winning! It's a Christmas miracle!"

Responded an astute observer in close proximity: "We're always winning."

It's true. The Mets are always winning. Every time you look up at the television, they're winning. 1-0, 8-4, 7-2, 3-1, always. Always winning.

They just don't win.

It's how they hook you...get you to hang around until the end. They suck you in by winning. Then yank the win from your clutches by pulling something stupid. And worst of all, they do it while you sleep.

The Mets season has become something like a Freddy Kruger movie. Matt Cerrone goes to sleep and dreams he's falling from the sky with spoons in his chute. Greg Prince takes a nap and John Maine falls from a four run lead. Even I went to sleep a couple of weeks ago and had a clear vision of Moises Alou...and he did something stupid. I'm not quite sure what it was, but it was dumb (and two weeks later he drops a fly ball in the sun against the Phillies.)

It gives new meaning to the term "don't sleep on the Mets." Sleep on them, and you just might never wake up.

I'm not normally scared to take a nap with a five run lead. Not no more. Not after what's transpired. Toothpicks pry open my eyes until the final out. I sure as heck don't want to fall asleep while the Mets are winning...only to wake up to the horrifying shrieks of the Mets not leaving the park with an actual win.

Thankfully, and finally, the Mets were winning...and then they won. Imagine that. A win. It's safe to sleep, because Alou was far from stupid on Wednesday. And while you're at it, you can get your heads out of the oven and come down off those bridges. Get down from those trees, and put the cyanide formulas away too, for the magic number is finally down to single digits...thanks to Yadier Molina (shudder).

But keep those bridges and toxins at the ready.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Quads Match The Collars

Instead of a players only team meeting, maybe the gang should have had a seance to try to conjure up some ghosts from 1986 to give them some luck.

Actually, I thought they already took care of that in the ninth inning tonight, when three straight hits with two outs in the ninth all of a sudden looked very eerie, and very familiar. Let's just say that if Chad Cordero had thrown a wild pitch at Ruben Gotay's feet, I would have dusted off my Ouija Board.

But Gotay struck out to end the game. There are no ghosts resurrected from 1986. Keith Hernandez's chair at RFK Stadium had no more hits in it. And Gene Mauch is playing craps in heaven, rolling seven after seven while yelling "Let it ride! Let it ride!"

I wonder if anyone inside that clubhouse during that players' only meeting realizes how close they are to the brink of in the worst historical regular season collapse this side of the California Angels. Nobody has ever been seven or more games up past September 12th and been overtaken. However, our team is doing a really good job of trying to execute this trick.

(Editor's note: If the trick is turned, then 1964 would no longer be Baseball's Most Memorable Collapse, now would it? That would mean that somebody would have to write the story of Baseball's New Most Memorable Collapse. The author of this blog would like to volunteer his services to you publishers out there.)

Do they realize what they're doing to us? Think about it for a second. Think about all the firepower contained in the lineup of the team we root for...yet we're reduced to depending on the offensive production of Miguel Cairo.

Oh, you remember Miguel Cairo don't you? Once, he was the bane of the Mets existence when he wore your uniform in 2005. Now, he's the third place hitter on a team that regularly decides to bat their pitcher eighth. And now we're hoping that Cairo has a four hit day so that the Mets can stay 2 and 1/2 games in first place.

That's pathetic, but that's what our troops have reduced us to by giving up 47 runs to the worst hitting team in the National know, part of that "easy" schedule we were "lucky" enough to draw these past two weeks. Don't they know nothing comes easy? Nothing comes easy to the team that has one pitcher in a boot, another pitcher in need of a boot, a third pitcher designated for assignment, and a fourth pitcher who was designated as the latest pitcher to blow a four run lead.

Oh yeah, and a 40-year-old left fielder with a tight match everybody else's tight collars. Joy.

So what's tomorrow's meeting going to cover?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Monday, September 17, 2007

What A Joke!

So there's this kid, right? He's in divorce court, stuck in the middle of an intense custody battle between his parents. After hours upon hours and days upon days, the judge finally asks the child his preferences.

"Do you want to stay with your mother" asks the judge...

"No", the kid says, "my mom hits me."

"So you want to stay with your father" the judge presumes.

"No", repeats the kid, "my dad hits me."

"Is there anyone that you would prefer to stay with" the judge asks.

The kid ponders the question for a moment, and finally responds: "I want to stay with Guillermo Mota...he can't hit an outside corner to save his life."


I guess the Cialis that Guillermo Mota took to offset the effects of those steroids wound up straightening out his fastball instead.


How do you keep Guillermo Mota in his house at night? Paint a strike zone in front of the welcome mat. He'll never even come close to it.


Here's another joke for you: Why can't the Mets beat Philadelphia?

I don't know. But I know why Guillermo Mota can't beat Philadelphia.

Because he can't beat an egg much less a major league baseball team!

Why oh why must this experiment continue? Why? Finally...FINALLY, a Met gets a clutch hit against Adam Eaton to tie the game and give the Mets some life against their new nemesis, the Phillies. So who gets entrusted with this new life in the sixth inning?

Why it's Guillermo Mota...murderer of new life.

That sixth inning wasn't baseball. That was a snuff film. Because all that is decent died. Jorge Sosa wasn't much better. But my goodness, MacGyver can only do so much with a straw, a rubber band, and a paper clip. You give those things to a Met reliever now a days he'll poke his eye out.

How many walks was it? Ten? Eleven? Fifty-eight? Ollie Perez certainly picked a fine time to pretend it was April with six walks of his own. But for crying out loud, only two of his five runs were earned. I know it's always sunny in Philadelphia, but was it that sunny that Moises Alou could go and drop an easy fly ball?

And Jose Reyes should really consider discontinuing his pregame ritual of dipping his hands in the industrial size can of "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter." (And if he refuses to do that, he should at least stop wiping his hands on Luis Castillo halfway through the game.)

And what was wrong with this guy:

That's Kevin Mulvey in the suit. He's the minor league pitcher of the year. He had a uniform. Why couldn't he pitch? OK, so maybe he didn't have the right uniform pattern, but damn...seeing Guillermo Mota emerge from the bullpen is like craving blood and seeing a string of garlic. I'd rather see Kevin Mulvey...or Kevin Kobel...or my cat come out of the bullpen. Where have you gone, Ed Glynn?

Could that be it? Could Mota have just simply switched drugs?

(Editor's note, in no way am I insinuating that Guillermo Mota smokes dope. It is merely a metaphor for my secret desire to smoke dope and forget that the past weekend ever happened. However, taking drugs do not make your problems go away, kids. Creative, gutsy, and necessary roster moves, however, do. Hint...hint?)

Saturday, September 15, 2007

A Letter Writing Campaign

Dear Metropolitan Transit Authority,

You suck.

Here's why:

Is there any reason why you find it necessary to perform track work in Queens on weekends where there is Met baseball? Sure, the seven train works...hooray. But you do realize that there are Mets fans that live near other train lines, no?

Take, for example, the R train...which was shut down today towards Roosevelt Ave. a transfer point for the all-important seven train. In itself, it may be no big deal. But when you make plans to meet someone at a certain train stop, then your plans have to change, then you can't get in contact because, oh I don't know, cell phones don't work underground, then there's a problem.

Because of you, Metropolitan Transit Authority, I lost a human being today. At this hour, I don't know where he is.

I would hope that he was smart enough to go home so that he could have at least enjoyed the game from the comfort of his living room, where he could have watched Willie Randolph morph into Mike Cubbage, and leave a lefthanded reliever in the game for his second inning of work to face a right handed batter, then give up a game tying home run to him. I would hope he actually made it home to see that. However, thanks to you, I'm not sure.

And because I took so much time looking for this person that you made missing, I am the only person in the history of Queens to leave at 11:45 AM for a 1PM start, and get to the game in the bottom of the second inning. As such, I did not receive my reversible bucket hat...only available to the first 25,000 fans. As far as I'm concerned you, the Metropolitan Transit Authority, owe me one bucket hat.

So once again, I give you this free advice: Track work in Queens when the Mets are on the road...track work in the Bronx when the other team is on the road. Simple, right? Or do we have to get the union heads in the office to discuss it. Hey, maybe you can strike over it! Because that was fun. I would like to use the privately owned bus companies to get to work as I did in December of 2005.

Oh wait, I can't. You bought them all!

I eagerly await my Mets bucket hat, the one that you owe me, in the mail. No need for you to take down my information, I'll be the one holding my breath by my mailbox. I will not be hard to spot.


(All this talk of bucket hats reminds Metstradamus that he needs to type one more complaint letter.)
Dear New York Mets Marketing Department,

What ever happened to the days where giveaway days gave something away to everyone that had a ticket, and not just the first XX,XXX amount of fans through the gates, ensuring that more fans will come to the ballpark early and, with nothing to do, will buy more of your mediocre food and overpriced souvenirs with one extra hour in the ballpark?

Are those days dead and buried forever? If so, please tell me so I can set my clock two hours ahead until the end of time. Of course, if I keep setting my clock ahead, the end of time will come sooner than expected. Which is sad, really...because it's that many less games that I will get a chance to attend and enjoy for six innings (plus an hour before the game to make sure I get my bucket hat), before our all-star caliber center fielder will inevitably morph into Jerry Morales at a key moment in the game, ensuring a loss to the Phillies for the 732nd straight time.

I would think that with all of the success that your club has enjoyed recently that you could scrounge up enough for an extra 25,000-30,000 reversible bucket hats. And before you go blaming the sponsor for that, keep in mind that the sponsor happens to be Gulf. Have you seen the price of oil lately? I think they've made enough money to manufacture extra bucket hats.

Realize this, at this very moment, there is a Phillies fan with a Mets bucket hat that is rightfully mine. That Phillies fan is probably burning it in effigy. I hope you can live with that on your conscience.

And Lord help me if I see even one reversible bucket hat sponsored by Gulf for sale on your website.

Thank you, Mets Marketing Department, for reminding me that there are days that I just shouldn't get out of bed.

Losingly yours,


Cheat Codes And Bourbon

It's almost as if whenever the Phillies play the Mets lately, they use some sort of Playstation cheat code to pull ahead at the end. But it's not the usual cheat. Because not even a video game has the kind of cheats that the Phillies have been employing lately. To the best of my knowledge, there's no "interference cheat" in these games. There's no "pitch through a foot injury" cheat.

And there's certainly no "get their catcher thrown out of the game so that his replacement can drop a foul ball to set up a sacrifice bunt which is thrown into center field..." cheat.

Which buttons on the controller do you have to push to activate that cheat? Is it the X, O, X, O, L1, L2, L1, L2, R3, Hokey Pokey buttons?

If anybody out there has an Philadelphia hex breaker that involves a twig, a back order copy of Baseball America, and a pint of bourbon, I suggest you use it before Saturday's game. And don't forget to hit that hokey pokey button and turn yourself around.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Nine Up: Seven Up

Wonder what people must be thinking now...I mean, those people who took glee in pointing out that the Mets couldn't beat the Braves this season?

4-8 from April-August.

5-1 in September.

Nine up. The entire season with the Braves is a it never happened. Except it did happen. It happened when it counted the most, in September. 5-1.

And now, with the Phillies somehow pulling the rare feat of turning a triple play in a 12-0 loss, the Mets are seven games up on the Phillies. You know what Philly? Sweep the Mets again. Go ahead. It'll barely make a dent. And besides, you'll give it back the following week when Lincoln High is on the schedule.

(Editor's note: The author of this blog would not like a sweep.)

I'm in such a philanthropic mood tonight that I'm not even going to kill Guillermo Mota for coughing up John Maine's well earned lead tonight in the top of the eighth. It's really sad when I lower my standards to the point where Mota giving up a lead with a seeing eye single instead of a grand slam counts as progress to me, but that's exactly what I've done. Besides, everyone in that bullpen contributed to the Braves tying the game. Mota, Aaron Heilman, Pedro Feliciano, Skip Lockwood, Dick Tidrow, Alejandro Pena, Jeff Musselman...everyone.

(Editor's note: The author of this blog is not philanthropic enough to want to see Guillermo Mota anywhere near a pressure situation in October.)

But Shawn Green took deposited a hanging slider into the outfield to drive home Carlos Beltran, and the Braves have been rocked to sleep.

The bed for the Phillies is waiting for them this weekend. All that's left is for the Mets to tuck them in.

Rock-a-bye Philly on the tree top...
When the wind blows, Shea Stadium will rock.
When Pat's bat breaks, the Phillies will fall...
And down will come Jimmy, Eaton, and all.

We hope.

Remember Our Heroes...Forget The Game

The ceremonies before Tuesday night's game remind us all that we should never forget the events of 9/11/2001, nor the heroes that emerged that day. For most of us, we don't need ceremonies to remind us.

But feel free to forget all of the actual baseball you saw after those ceremonies. (Not that there was much actual baseball that occurred.)

All last night's game accomplished was to put a hint of doubt in the minds of Mets the last two weeks, Orlando Hernandez has sandwich a foot injury with two pieces of soggy bread...a collapse against Philadelphia in the coupe de grace of their now meaningless sweep, and an eight run disaster against the Braves. Hernandez has been the Mets' biggest money pitcher this season, but let's face it: he's old. And he's liable to get a lot older at any time. Is this that time? It isn't as if the Mets don't have the luxury of being able to plug John Maine back into the postseason rotation (assuming you believe that Maine is indeed the odd man out when October starts) if Hernandez continues to falter in his next few starts. It wouldn't be an overreaction to think about putting Hernandez in the 'pen after two bad's just a reflection of the good problem the Mets have in having five solid pitchers to choose from.

Besides, we know from his White Sox days in 2005 that Hernandez would be useful out of the bullpen. And we know from this season that at the very least, he could be a good pinch runner in the playoffs. After all, he has two stolen bases this season, which is two more than Tim Hudson has. Maybe if Tim Hudson was a better baserunner, he wouldn't have gotten picked off second base on Monday. And maybe if Tim Hudson wouldn't have gotten picked off second base on Monday, he wouldn't be whining and hiding behind the imaginary unwritten rule of pitchers not picking off pitchers.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Changing The Minds Of Pretenders

"Ba de ya - say do you remember
Ba de ya - dancing in september
Ba de ya - never was a cloudy day"

-Maurice White, Charles Stepney & Verdine White
The Mets are 8-1 in September. And even that one loss was marked by a temperature of 105 and great seats.

Nope, hasn't been a cloudy day yet.

There were no clouds on Monday, a night where there were supposed to be thunderstorms. Instead, there was only thunder from the bat of David Wright, whose batting average against Tim Hudson was a whopping .226 going into tonight's game. But the emergence of Sugar Pants from the cocoon of "young player" and into the beautiful plumage of "team leader" is littered with small steps, like home runs off of not only Altanta pitchers, but good Atlanta pitchers like Hudson (tonight) and John Smoltz (last week). Wright has always been good. But the lessons learned from guys like Joe McEwing, Cliff Floyd and Carlos Delgado have been taken to heart...and good is slowly becoming great. Sure, Delgado is going to be out longer than expected, but he has passed the torch of leadership to a guy that people have been hoping would take it all along. I don't think anyone's getting that torch back.

Oliver Perez also was ringing in the key that our souls were singing with seven strong innings, blemished only by Brian McCann's two run HR in the seventh. Aaron Heilman (trust and Billy Wagner slammed the door with help from a sliding catch by Carlos Beltran for out 27, putting the Braves 9 & 1/2 back of first place.

It's a chop free September. Only blue talk and love.


For your reference...

How to make a comeback:

How not to make a comeback:

Remember, NyQuil and the VMA's do not mix.

Tasty Gravy

When not working on his new theory of relativity, his healing powers, and his mission to build a better mousetrap, Pedro Martinez is pitching. And he's signing autographs. And he's giving curtain calls.

Beating the Astros and stranding more runners than the S.S. Minnow only gives the Mets a taste of the things Petey can provide. Remember folks, this is gravy. All of it. None of us counted on Pedro Martinez to come back at all this season. So to see him do what he's doing only enhances the taste of the season. There's plenty to go around as a main course. But having Pedro walk a highwire for five innings and come out unscathed, somehow goes down smooth and easy.

One wonders how this is going to play out in October, when there will be five pitchers dancing around until the music stops for four, and maybe even three available starting pitcher chairs available for the postseason. Pedro could very well have one of those seats. Or, he could keep dancing around the bullpen and come in for those pressure situations as the veteran safety net for guys like John Maine and Oliver Perez. If he's only going to go five innings the rest of his starts, that may be the best role for him for 2007. Who knows. At least he'll have a role, which is more than the Mets could have ever hoped for last October.

(Editor's note: for those who were in the bathroom washing their daughter's hands during Petey's 3,000th career K, here's the moment frozen for you. If you weren't in the bathroom, then why not relive it one more time anyway...)

Saturday, September 08, 2007

A Matter Of Trust

So many of you seemingly had issues with my bullpen advisory system, namely the fact that I had Scott Schoeneweis at yellow and Aaron Heilman at orange.

I know where you're coming from...really I do. I never claimed to think that you all should agree with everything I say. Most things, but not everything...

All right, you should probably do better to dismiss the bulk of what I say. But my point is this: If I was going to do a backwards header off the top of a piano or something, and I had to depend on Aaron Heilman to keep my head from cracking open on the cold hard floor, I just can't do it. It just seems that every time I put my blind faith in him, he gives up a home run to Adrian Gonzalez...or base hits to Adam LaRoche and Jason Bay...or military secrets to Peru.

Logic tells me I should trust. Aaron Heilman has a 2.14 ERA, 11 holds, and a WHIP of 1.10 since the all-star break (thanks to my friends at Flushing University for presenting the valid points), and that's with the two meltdowns against the Bucs and Padres. But since when has logic played into irrational fears? Is there a such thing as a logical phobia?

So in that spirit, I give praise to Aaron Heilman for being there to catch me with a superb effort in the eighth inning to preserve a victory for the nearly perfect Tom Glavine against Houston this afternoon. Not that I completely trusted him...I never did take that fallback of faith. But it would behoove me to at least acknowledge the good if I'm going to explode at the bad. I also acknowledge that when Aaron Heilman does leave for what he thinks are greener pastures (i.e. a starting gig), I will wish him luck and shake his hand (if he lets me).

But that doesn't mean I completely trust my skull, my military secrets, or my plastic cup collection in him. Yet.

P.S. The Phillies are manipulating their pitching rotation to make sure that Adam Eaton (5-0 against the Mets lifetime, and something like 3-95 against the rest of the league) pitches against the Mets at Shea Stadium next weekend. The Dodgers tried that because they thought Eric Stults, who had ten minutes of major league service, was a Met killer. The Mets pounded Stults that day.

So just remember, Charlie Manuel, that it's not nice to fool with Mother Nature (or Father Alomar.)

Hardcore Insanity

What some people refer to as "hardcore", others refer to as "insane".

When I broached the idea of seeing four major league baseball games in a span of 48 hours, with about 14 hours of driving inter-dispersed among the 48 hours, I sat on the fence...teetering back and forth about whether this was the act of a couple of hardcore baseball fans, or whether it was the final step towards the looney bin.

So was all the effort worth it? Was it hardcore? Was it insane? (Warning: what you are about to read is an epic...split up into digestible parts, but epic nonetheless. Not epic as in good...just long. Be prepared.)

Game One: Quadruple "A"

My brother warned me that the Great American Ballpark was a really nice minor league ballpark, kind of like those players that dominate AAA ball, but can't quite climb the Mendoza line in the majors. I can't go quite that far in assessing the Reds' home, but there is definitely a minor league feel to the park. It's intimate, it has fireworks, and it's It's easy for a camera to spot a Mets fan in the crowd, as black and orange seem to clash with all the red seats, the red shirts, and the blood spilled by Reds fans as...

All right, maybe not quite that red. But as you can tell from the picture above, there were plenty of Mets fans at GAB on Tuesday night. And the boys at Faith and Fear in Flushing would be happy to know that one of those Met fans was sporting the now classic number shirt seen in many cities around the world, and now in Ohio...though I wasn't fast enough to grab a picture of the guy, you guys will just have to trust me that he was there.

We spent the first three innings in the Riverfront Club, which is basically fancy food, real plates, and free beer. What's better than that? (If you go, try the cream of shallot). How about the kid waiter who watched Paul Lo Duca's first home run with us, not batting an eye when we clapped politely?

"I don't care who you root for, as long as I get paid. I'm actually a Mets fan anyways."

This was quickly followed by the poor kid getting admonished by his boss for not keeping the tables clean.

Then there was the bitter Reds fan sitting at the bar who noticed my Pedro jersey and starts in with the bartender...her rant went something like "blah blah blah blah blah all these Mets fans blah blah blah blah blah blah they're just like Cub fans blah blah blah blah blah blah".

OK then.

Then it was off to our big time seats about 22 rows up from the Reds dugout, and sitting next to a Cincinnati celebrity...namely: Rocco Castellano, a fitness instructor and attitude adjustor who has been on local radio, and is not only good people, but he's actually a Mets fan from New Jersey. Wearing a Pedro Martinez jersey in enemy territory, it was good to have a fitness instructor on my side (because I'm too anemic to defend myself, as you know). As for the attitude adjusting, I wonder if Guillermo Mota has been a recent beneficiary of Rocco's expert teachings. If not, he probably should be.

Definitely make a pilgrimage to the place for no other reason than the fact that you can run to the bathroom and get back to your seat without missing a pitch. You couldn't do that at Shea unless you used an empty cup at your seat. And also, try the deep fried twinkies. Just stay away from that chili/spaghetti mess unless you have had tetanus shots.

We were lucky to be present at the game on the all-important 26th anniversary of Woody Woodward almost being hit by a ten pound sack of flour at Dodger Stadium. And it was another not so great day in Reds history 36 years not only did Lo Duca hit his second dinger of the night, but my brother spent the entire night heckling Adam Dunn. Good times had by all (especially the guy in his fifties who was literally dancing in the street after the game because Orlando Hernandez threw him a baseball and he caught it), as the Mets had their first five game winning streak of the season (you know, I heard that no team ever made the playoffs without a five game winning streak), and my road record ran to 5-0. But as you know, all good things...

Game Two: What's Up Old People?

We knew it was going to be one of those special kinda days when we rode the elevator with Thom Brenneman at Wednesday afternoon's Mets/Reds tilt. Say what you want about Brenneman (and I have), but the guy not only called Boise State's Fiesta Bowl masterpiece, he has now also called Appalachian State's massive upset over Michigan. That's cache, my friends.

We traveled up to the upper deck to find my niece, at the game with her schoolmates...and along the way found a Reds usher clapping wildly for Aaron Harang as he was announced as the Reds' Roberto Clemente award candidate (and seeing how empty the upper deck was that day, we have strong suspicions that the usher was, in reality, Aaron Harang's mom.)

So my brother finds his daughter in the upper deck among her schoolmates (great school system in soon as the class saw us two mooks in our Mets jerseys, the teachers spurred their kids to chant "Let's Go Reds" at us. That's some mighty hospitality there...must be that "midwest polite") and gives her a Mets hat to wear. She then asks her daddy with a big smile on her face: "Are you going to watch the game with me?" My brother...still stinging over the fact that his daughter had him in the bathroom at GAB while Pedro Martinez was striking out his 3,000th career batter on Monday...said "nope, I just came to give you your hat".

That's good parenting.

What he probably wanted to say was that we had much better seats than the class. For reference, here's approximately what row Q gets you at Shea Stadium:

Meanwhile, here's row Q in Cincinnati:

Not bad, eh?

But before we got back to our row Q, I took this picture in the concourse of a painting featuring the Big Red Machine:

You'll notice the former Met in the lower right corner...that's correct, George Foster. I took this picture thinking "oh, here's an opportunity to rip on Foster in my next blog entry for never, ever diving for a fly ball in a Mets uniform".

Wouldn't you know that a few feet to the left of the picture that I was going to segue into a George Foster joke, was George Foster himself? Yes...George Foster was signing autographs for the throngs of people waiting in line to buy his signature on an 8X10 for $25.

Well, actually, it was more like the throng of person waiting for his you know I couldn't let this opportunity go by without getting a picture with the man, and getting a personalized 8X10. George Foster...who once hit a triple in a Mets uniform, but was now wearing a Reds jersey during this session, was taking a picture with little ol' me. That's when this exchange occurred:

GF: Try not to beat up on us too bad today, OK?

MD: You know when the Mets signed you, it was the first step in the Mets
becoming relevant again.

GF: I thought I was the only one who figured that out.

Still confident after all these years.

(Foster would later do an interview on the Diamondvision, and when asked to give a message to the senior citizens on Senior Citizens Day, the 59 year-old Foster's inspirational message was: "What's up old people!")

The game featured temperatures that reached 105, the Mets being shut down by some guy named Tom Shearn, and Joey Votto getting his first major league hit, a bomb off of John Maine (along with the appearance of maybe the greatest name ever for a baseball player: Buck Coats.) And I gotta say: I've never had so much fun at a 7-0 beating in my life. Consider that for the final three innings, we sat here:

This picture was taken right before my conversation with Jose, which was basically me asking Jose if he was enjoying his day off, and Reyes nodding his head and flexing his muscles...telling me he needed to get stronger (probably more mentally than physically, I'd say).

Mets fans had taken over the rows behind the dugout, having a good time talking to their team...but wondering why Moises Alou wouldn't smile at them. Rest assured that Moises isn't a dour guy. He's just afraid that if he smiles, he'll pull a face muscle and be out for three weeks, so he's just thinking of the team in this instance.

A funny thing happened during the ninth inning down 0-7. Mets fans were getting up a "Let's Go Mets" chant. Certainly a far cry from some of the seemingly constant complainin' about the team back here in New York to hear a group of fans blissfully backing the team with the stench of the Phillies series seeming more and more like a distant memory. It was a glorious thing. But it had to be interrupted by a higher calling, which was my brother heckling Mike Stanton:
"Hey Stanton, Prince Fielder called, he wants his pants back!"

No matter that he was closing out a day game doldrum for the Mets, we had to extract our pound of flesh from a Hall of Hate charter member (my only regret was that I couldn't tie a Krispy Kreme to a fishing pole and dangle it in front of Stanton in hopes that he's chase it. Next year.)

Game Three: Free Parking

Here was the challenge of the day...get from Cincinnati to Chicago in four hours, find parking, and get in our seats by 8:05 for our first ever trip to Wrigley Field to see the Cubs and the Dodgers. Who could blame us for thinking we had a not only did we hear on the radio that batting practice was delayed by a thunderstorm, but that the Braves had come back to defeat the Phillies 9-8 after being down 0-5 when we left GAB, keeping the Mets lead at five games. This prompted my brother to call a Phillies fan to rub it in, with me doing the tomahawk chop in the background.

Yes, things were coming together.

The festive atmosphere we anticipated at Wrigley caused me to start singing the Amy Winehouse song "They tried to make me go to rehab but I said 'no, no, no'" for the better part of three hours (my brother probably needed rehab after acquiring that earworm from me). Unfortunately, we missed most of the festive, rehab-free atmosphere of Wrigley as we didn't get to the park until the bottom of the fourth (while missing some guy from Reno 911 throwing out the first pitch).

Then it took two innings to park the car.

Luckily, we ran into a couple leaving the game who my brother subconsciously willed into giving us their parking sticker so that we wouldn't have to find the missing parking attendant and give up upwards of forty dollars to park and watch three innings of we didn't sit down in Wrigley until the bottom of the sixth. (So let this be a lesson to those of you thinking of trying this kind of trip: Cincinnati to Chicago is impossible if you want to see every pitch. Can't be done. Believe me, we tried. Any faster, and we would have had Jackie Gleason and Boss Hog tailing us.)

But three innings in Wrigley was more than enough for one night (and in my mind, it still counts as two games in one day...pretty cool.) Night games in Wrigley, even if consumed in a small dose, are an event. What more could you want from a baseball game than an electric crowd, a beer, and national television?

How about not having a pillar in front of your seat?

No wonder I was able to get these tickets so easily online. No matter, because I scored my Derrek Lee bobblehead doll (which upon entering my apartment, immediately leaped from the box and hit a home run off of my Heath Bell bobblehead doll) thanks to our Chicago mole who was actually there early enough to be one of the first 10,000 fans to enter the park (don't worry, for his efforts I paid for his ticket...I'm a compassionate one).

The Cubs won in a laugher, which meant we were lucky (?) enough to hear the Go Cubs Go song that the team has adopted as a theme song. Here are the lyrics:

They're singing ...Go, Cubs, go
Go, Cubs, go
Hey, Chicago, what do you say
The Cubs are gonna win today.
Go, Cubs, go
Go, Cubs, go
They tried to make me go to rehab, I said: Go Cubs Go
Oh, sorry...I got my earworms mixed up.

After the game featured the only Wrigley reference to my Mets hat (the infamous travel hat, by the way) which came from a vendor who was selling a t-shirt on Waveland which referred to the sexual preference of the St. Louis Cardinals. He spots my Met hat and says:

"You must hate the Cardinals as much as we do."

Which was met by three simple words that came out of my mouth: "Yadier...f***ing...Molina".

In one respect, brothers in arms.

Game Four: One With...

Now Wrigley Field was great. But I did have a couple of complaints. The one Cub souvenir that I really wanted was a Cliff Floyd shirt. I figured that going into a Cubs shop across the street from the Field and seeing t-shirts immortalizing the likes of Matt Murton, Carlos Marmol, and Ronny Cedeno would up my chances of finding a Cubs shirt featuring a Chicago native. But alas, my efforts to find a "Floyd 15" shirt was futile. And as much as I love Cliff, I wasn't dropping a buck-sixty on an official "Floyd 15" jersey.

My other complaint were the bathrooms. Call me crazy, but relieving myself in a community sink isn't my idea of fun. (If you've been there, you know what I mean.)

But no Cliff Floyd tee, hijinks in the bathroom, and the lack of opportunity to boo the resting Jeff Kent for a second straight day were made up for by the hot dogs. Guys and gals, do yourselves a favor. Go to the hot dog stand and order a "one with". Just trust us.

And then, after Andre Ethier broke the Cubs hearts with a three run home run off of Ryan Dempster in the ninth (apparently, the Mets aren't the only team that has Dempster's number), it was time to end our trip, and take the long trip home. So was it worth it? Was driving and riding all these miles to see four ball games in 48 hours worth the effort?

Damn straight.

So I guess my vote is for hardcore.

But you know, we passed by Indianapolis on the way back home from Wrigley on Thursday night. We could have caught a quarter of the NFL opener on our way back to Cincinnati.

Hey, what do you think...we're insane?

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Happiness Is A Warm Pitcher

Your ace has come.

We've waited so long for that special spark to return to the Mets. "Not the same team as last year", they say. "Passionless", they say. "They're not having fun", they say.

Pedro Martinez changes all that.

Pedro can make 'em dance and laugh and play all he wants. The true test will come in the days and weeks to come when Petey finds out whether he can do this long haul. The first test is out of the way. Now all he needs to do is deliver start after start after start. He isn't going to be counted on to be the Petey of old, nor should he be. But with Orlando Hernandez gone for a start, it's going to be doubly important that the ace be there consistently. Just keep the Mets in the game.

I'm going to try to resist the urge to believe that Pedro's mere presence is going to pick up the team like a magic elixir. As much as I want to believe that, and as much as there's evidence that it could be true, I'm not willing to put that much pressure on Pedro. Besides, it's going to take more than ten runs in one start to convince me. If the Mets can't consistently put runs on the scoresheet, I'm not willing to believe that it'll be because Petey's jokes aren't as funny as they used to be. But sometimes people respond to the weirdest mental crutch. Perhaps there is a good feeling that is permeating through the lockerroom now that Pedro has returned. And whether he shows it in the dugout with a dance, or shows it after covering first base with a fist pump, he's doing it however he can. So there's no more excuses for the rest of the team.

Your spiritual leader has come.

Don't waste him.

Meanwhile, I'm now officially on break until Friday...more so, you're the ones that get the break from me...enjoy. I, meanwhile, am off to attempt a rare feat: four baseball games attended in 48 hours. How do I do this, you ask? Tuesday night: Mets at Reds. Wednesday afternoon: Mets at Reds. Wednesday night: after what is hopefully less than a five hour drive, it's off to Wrigley Field for Dodgers at Cubs. Then it's a Thursday Dodgers/Cubs matinee before the long drive back to Cincinnati on Thursday night in preparation for a Friday morning flight home. The goal is to be in the stadium from first pitch to final out.

Until then, I'm not going to leave you guys with no direction or guidance while I'm gone. So while I'm out, I advise you all to print out the following, cut it out, and keep it in your wallet or purse for quick reference. Remember, be prepared while I'm gone.

(All praise due to the origins of this color coded system, The Sox Machine, where you can visit the original work of art here. I'm sure even our new friends at the Machine would agree that a bullpen advisory system is sorely needed at Shea, for the mental well being of our fans. Thank you.)

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Met Whisperer

Baseball would make me cry if I wasn't laughing so hard.

I myself am still getting over the fact that a guy who shut the Mets down in Citizens Bank Shoebox goes to Florida and can't get an out.

And now, I'm faced with baseball's latest joke: a team that suffered three of the most heartbreaking losses in a row...ever...goes into the stadium where seasons go to die with the division hanging in the balance...and throw in everybody and their mother burying them.

And they sweep the Atlanta Braves. (At least someone's season was buried. For once, it wasn't the one from Flushing.)

Oh, and they do so with an 0-7 rookie pitching the middle game. (Insert rim shot here.)

Speaking of which (and I realize this is a day late but...), memo to Jeff Francoeur: shut up and take your base. Pelfrey didn't mean to hit you. And honestly, I wish he did mean it. Nothing personal Jeff, you were just in the way. But the Mets are too nice, and who better than a 0-7 rookie to act like the bad guy, even if it was unintentional. In other words, the Mets need to make like Cesar (Don't call me Felix) Millan and reassert their dominance. And if that means urinating around the mound like the dogs on Cesar's show, then so be it.

The Mets urinated all over Turner Field this weekend, and in the process, reasserted their dominance in the N.L. East.

It just goes to show you how funny baseball really is. After four games in Philadelphia, did anybody see this coming? Anybody? Beating Tim Hudson and John Smoltz? Anyone?

By the same token, with this new wave of emotion hitting us, does anybody see a disaster happening in Cincinnati? With Pedro Martinez returning to us tomorrow, I betcha don't see it coming. Hey, all I'm saying is not to be surprised with whatever happens on Labor Day. Five innings, 1 run, seven K's? Don't be surprised. Two innings, six runs, one strikeout? Don't be surprised...or else the joke's on you.