Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Rexy Beast

If you live in Chicago (and seeing that it's the Cubs that are playing our Mets, you just might), think about how you felt every week during the last two football seasons seeing Lovie Smith come to the podium week after week and sing the same song and dance the same dance over and over again after another three interception game by quarterback Rex Grossman:

Rex is our guy.

Rex is our guy.

Rex is out guy.
I think that Aaron Heilman might turn out to be baseball's Rex Grossman ... if he's not already. Because you can just see Willie "Lovie" Randolph over the next few weeks hammer it into the media's heads:
Aaron's my guy.

Aaron's my guy.

Aaron's my guy.
Blame Monday night's eighth inning on Jose Reyes' error that led off the inning for Heilman all you want. Constantly, constantly, Heilman responds to adverse situations by pitching with that sourpuss on his face and serving up meatballs like Rex Grossman throws up ducks. How many times is Jose Reyes going to make an error to put a pitcher in a bind? How many times does he ask a pitcher to pick him up like that? So what does "Rex" Heilman do? He hits Aramis Ramirez and gives up a single to Kosuke Fukudome to load the bases with nobody out. And before you go giving him credit for almost getting out of the jam by striking out Mark DeRosa and getting Geovany Soto to pop-up, he didn't have to get himself in to that position in the first place. It reminds me of this classic sketch from The Honeymooners:
"How 'bout that time we were playing softball and you got hit in the head with a bat? Who got a cab and took you to the hospital? I did. Who come up and saw you every day? I did. Who brought you cigarettes and candy? I did!"

"Who hit me in the head with the bat? You did!"
Hey, who got two outs with the bases loaded? Heilman did. But who loaded the bases in the first place? Heilman did. Reyes' error wasn't one of laziness or hot dogginess. He got his glove down, the ball came up. Fine. Pick up your teammate, and get out a guy who's 150 pounds soaking wet (Ronny Cedeno) for crying out loud. Because if you don't, there's Filthy Sanchez coming up right behind you putting up good outing after good outing coming off a 21 month layoff, and going after that eighth inning job that he held before the car crash. The cries get louder for Filthy, which will no doubt prompt the following from Lov, er ... Willie:
Aaron's my guy.

Aaron's my guy.

Aaron's my guy.
By the way, good thing ESPN wasn't the only option for Mets viewing in New York tonight. People outside our fair city didn't have SNY as a choice, so they got to hear Steve Phillips laud Carlos Zambrano as being "a craftsman" when the umpire gives him a strike that's inches off the plate ... yet at the same time calling John Maine "lucky" when he got the same generous strike zone ... this information coming from a source outside the city.

I made the mistake of trying to convince the source that Phillips wasn't letting his previous employment by the Mets affecting his judgement, it was met by my source yelling "shut up and agree with me! SHUT UP AND AGREE WITH ME!" It was the first time in all my years with this person that he had ever ... ever ... yelled at me. This, my friends, is what Steve Phillips does to people. And it's what Aaron Heilman does to people too ... heck, these days Aaron Heilman is driving people to want to punch kittens!

(Hide your kittens.)

But on a good note, (and this ties into the whole Rex Grossman theme), for those who were watching on SNY, you found out along with me that Colts tight end Dallas Clark, who was on the winning end of that Super Bowl that Rex Grossman was in, is a big Mets fan. Clark, who grew up in Iowa, attached himself to the Mets while growing up in Cubs and Twins country. And he came to tonight's game in his David Wright jersey amongst all of the Cubs faithful.

Of course, when you're as big and strong as Dallas Clark, you could probably wear a suit of honey in a bear cage and get away with it. But the crack staff and I would like to applaud Dallas for being his own person and not following the crowd. And Dallas, if you're ever in New York, you're more than welcome to join me at Shea to take in nine innings.

I'll even offer to pay for the ticket ... that is, as long as you promise not to bring up that game in Indianapolis where you torched the Jets for five catches and 100 yards while I was catching flak from Colts fans in my Jets jersey. (See, I know about wearing my colors in enemy territory too.)


Anonymous said...


[sorry for yelling.]

rob karter said...

Good Morning John, long time in talking to ya.

Really enjoyed your piece this morning, probably because of your target...Heilman.

He's definitely having a hard time right now and from what I can see is that the majority of the pitches he is throwing is the tailing fastball and changeup, which is fine.

The biggest difference from now and when he was (or is) successfull is that tho his pitches still have movement, they're on a level plane (not the one us mortals fly around in. :) ).

Combine that with not being as sharp with his accuracy (getting to much plate) and you get what we are seeing now...a recipe for disaster, imo.

Rob Karter

Unser said...

Can I add the Cubs' victory song to the hate list? Really lame.

The Zoner said...

Heilman made Ronny Cedeno look like a polished hitter. That's tough to do.

The Cubs' victory song is mint!

whozgotnext said...

Love the poll. Reminds me of Colbert... "GW Bush, great president, or our greatest president?"

Umm, yeah. changing out a hot, hot hitter and sticking a guy hitting .215 back in the 2-hole is pure genius. Cuz, you know, it's more valuable to get Castillo a steady diet of fastballs than it is to get Church good pitches. Cuz, you know, that Castillo guy, he just punishes fastballs. But hey, maybe he'll make some productive outs, so what do I know?

I know this is ancient history, but I really and truly believe that this org made a big mistake when they decided that there was absolutely nothing that would make them give Heilman a shot as a starter. I don't think that the guy ever really adjusted mentally to coming in out of the pen. Now, that may say a lot about Heilman, but still, you gotta use the assets you have, and there were certainly opportunities for them to give him some starts over the past two years. I think that Heilman, as good as his stuff is, will always be a meltdown waiting to happen in the 'pen.

Meanwhile, let's hear it for Sanchez. Good for him (and for us) for how nicely he's coming back. Now, if we can keep Willie from throwing him out there 70 times this season and destroying his re-built shoulder, along with his confidence, that will be an accomplishment.

upstate met fan said...