Thursday, February 28, 2008

No, I Haven't Abandoned Ship

No, I'm not out for two weeks with a strained elbow.

No, I'm not hurting from head to toe.

No, I'm not searching for the magic scripture that will cement my status as "the blogger to beat".

Because how can I be the blogger to beat when the very thought of getting on an airplane occupies my mind to the point where I can't even center a post around a simple "Orlando Hernandez is old" joke. Right now, I'm the blogging equivalent of Rob Deer ... I can't seem to be able to put the bat on the ball. All because I've gotta ride on an airplane. I don't have a phobia or anything, I just plain don't like it very much ... especially those take-offs.

And I've got two trips this month!

But here's the good news: The first airplane ride, which is later today, is a good ol' fashioned spring training trip, culminating in a Sunday jaunt to see the beloved Mets take on the Dodgers in Vero Beach. And most likely, I'll have the trusty laptop with me. So at the very least, they'll be pictures galore to check back and check out (that is, if I still can't think of anything worth while to say.)

Enjoy. And if you're in Vero on Sunday, and you see a guy in a ratty looking Mets hat, say hello.

Bon Voyage.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Can I Get the "Tommy John Surgery" Pendant In White Gold?

Ambiorix Burgos apparently carries $270,000 worth of jewelry with him ... because you never know when those Zsa Zsa Gabor Appreciation Society functions are going to pop up.

Monday, February 18, 2008

And Tell Jimmy Rollins He's Ugly Too!

"So, this year, tell Jimmy Rollins we are the team to beat." -Carlos Beltran, February 16th
So we're stealing quotes now. Wasn't enough we steal "Who Let The Dogs Out" and "Sweet Caroline". Now we're stealing guarantees.

If you know me at all, you'll know that I applaud this. Good for Carlos Beltran. Enough blandness and vanilla wafer quotes. Go for the throat. Now he's the lightning rod, and you know that he's gotta know that even an off-handed quote to a bunch of reporters would make it's way towards the headlines ... because that's what quotes like that do. So good for him in his attempts to be a vocal leader.

Just so long as Carlos knows that now, to back up that quote, he's gotta be Superman this season. And as you know, there's only one Superman.

All right, I guess there's two now.

Friday, February 15, 2008

It's The Testicles, Stupid!

Scott Schoeneweis is absolutely right.
Schoeneweis had met with people from the Commissioner's Office in December to discuss an ESPN report alleging he had violated the collective bargaining agreement by using steroids. The office determined it had insufficient evidence of a violation to warrant discipline.

Schoeneweis said the Mets and other clubs he had played for were aware of his use, which was tied to his treatment of testicular cancer.

"I was just trying to get to normal, not above normal. It's all well-documented," Schoeneweis said.

But he lamented: "The retraction [explanation from the league] wasn't as glorified [as the original report] ... It's the era we live in."
It's true. For all the media coverage of steroids, cheating, and the like, where's the equal coverage when one of the damned is either exonerated, or presents a note from his doctor? And since I mentioned the report, the least I can do is mention the retraction. Now go strike out some lefties.


It recently came to my attention that the Seattle Mariners' new slogan which appears on their website header is "Mojo Risin'", which if you remember was the Mets rallying cry back in 1999 when Robin Ventura would play the Doors song after victories that season.

If you remember back in '06 (I think), the Blue Jays used "You Gotta Believe" as their rallying cry, which was Tug McGraw's 1973 cry that grew to legendary proportions. That was out and out robbery, and the Mariners' marketing scheme seems to be the same thing.

But not really. Here's my question: You Gotta Believe aside (because that's not really an example of over the top marketing), who would want to steal a marketing idea from the Mets? Remember Our Team Our Time? Or even better, does anyone remember "Who Let The Dogs Out" during the 2000 playoffs? Do you remember that the Mets stole that gem from the Giants after the Giants used that song all season, and then the Mets beat them in the playoffs and then stole the marketing theme to the point that they actually had the Baha Men play the song at Shea Stadium before a game?

Even Mojo Risin', if you think about it, and as cool as the song is and how it didn't come so much from a boardroom as it did from a lockerroom, came from a song called "L.A. Woman"? New York Mets theme song: Los Angeles Woman. There was always something a tad incongruous about that.

So if Seattle is robbing from an old dusty Mets slogan, they probably could find a better shack to steal from.


And a quick word on the dog and pony show that was the Roger Clemens vs. Brian McNamee hearings:

Can't we just put the two on some remote island so that Johnny Fairplay, Rupert, and Bobby Jon can judge the two of them in Tribal Council? I mean, wouldn't it have been great if instead of Henry Waxman, the proceedings were moderated by Jeff Probst? And after the questioning was over, all the politicians write "Roger" or "Brian" on a sheet of parchment and then faced the camera to explain their decision, and then Probst tallies the votes? At least this way, we can find a sure fire winner and loser in this, because we may never find out who's lying and who's lying less. My way, we have a winner, and the loser goes to jail for perjury!

And for the winner, well we can just leave him on the island too.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Anna Phanatic

Looks like Anna Benson has a new outfit for next year's Christmas party:

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Good News And Bad News

First the good news:

Not only have the Mets announced that the iconic Home Run Apple will make the trip from Shea to Shining Shea for the '09 season, they have announced that they have signed former Dodger Olmedo Saenz in hopes that he will be that right-handed pop off the bench.

Now the bad news:

The Mets planned a joint announcement to take place in center field with Saenz posing next to the giant apple. Saenz, who can best be described as "pleasingly plump", thought the apple was a real apple ... and ate it.

New Met Olmedo Saenz celebrates a big hit as a Dodger (with former Met Jeff Kent looking happy for his teammates as usual)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Oh, The Angst!

Sometimes, a picture says 1,000 words. But who needs pictures when words themselves will do the trick?

The Mets signed Tony Armas Jr. today, presumably to fill out the roster in New Orleans. Hooray! Insurance. The following was the headline from the Atlanta Journal Constitution:

"Big-Spending Mets Add Another Arm"

What? The Mets traded for Carlos Zambrano? Barry Zito? Warren Spahn? No? Tony Armas Jr.? The Mets spent ten million on Tony Armas Junior? Wait! There's more...
"If added to the 40-man roster, Armas would get a one-year contract paying $1 million while in the majors and $90,000 in the minors. He also could make $350,000 in performance bonuses if used as a reliever and $650,000 based on innings, starting with 130."
So the most that the Mets are going to spend on this cat is $2,000,000? And they're the Big Spending Mets?

Because you know that headline wasn't written ... in Atlanta ... with good connotation. Add a snarky tone to "Big-Spending Mets Add Another Arm" and I think you've got the message that was intended. You see, "Big-Spending Mets Add Another Arm" really means: "Stupid Lousy Mets Go Sign Somebody Else Even Though They Already Have Johan Santana Because They're Big Greedy Donald Trump Loving New York Jackasses!"

Let the angst begin.

But seriously, the Mets did go and sign Tony Armas Jr., he of the 52-65 record and all of the unfortunate injuries. But when you consider that the Orioles went and re-signed our old friend Steve Trachsel to compete for a rotation spot after trading him last August, I ask you: on which side is the grass greener, exactly?

For once, it might not be the on the other side.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Tagged (Yet Somehow Safe)

I have to admit, I generally hate these things.

I mean, they were cool the first 10,000 times. But I went through a span of six weeks where ... hand to God ... I got one of these per day. I have a hard time believing that people care that much about my life to know what flavor potato chips I like to eat on Wednesdays.

(Kettle Brand Honey Dijon, if you must know.)

Those that have been with me since the beginning may remember that I was tagged with one of these before ... and all I did was whine and moan my way through it.

But a blogger I not only respect and admire, but whom I've had a strange mind meld thing going with on more than one occasion, Toasty Joe, has tagged me to reveal things that you may not know about me. But first, I'm going to refresh your memory on the ten things I know about Toasty, and reply with facts about me that relate to Toasty's fine facts:
  • (1) Toasty hates mustard and rye bread and will never consume either one of them under any circumstances. Conversely, Toasty loves eggnog. See if you can guess Toasty's religion. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.
Um, Santeria? (Google it.)

  • (2) Toasty tends to choke up during the end of "Apollo 13."
But Toasty doesn't completely understand why he does this ... until now. You see, Metstradamus' first date with his future and current wife was spent in a movie theatre watching Apollo 13. So when he watches it, he feels my joy. See? It's that mind meld thing again.

  • (3) Toasty is incredibly snobby about his ability to play the guitar. Thus, his aversion to "Guitar Hero." Learn to play a real guitar, for cryin' out loud.
I learned to play a real guitar ... took lessons in fourth and fifth grade. I can play basic chords with a guitar and wouldn't completely embarass myself. And I proudly say I own Guitar Heros two and three (and I have more fun playing "Carry On My Wayward Son" on the game than I do most things in life).

Here's the thing about Jodi Applegate: If you watch enough local news shows, you'll notice that most of the female anchors have the same hairstyle. It's like there's a store off of Bleeker St. called "Anchor Hair" that sells them in bulk. I, for one, applaud Jodi for not falling prey, or for at least resisting the Anchor Hair Syndrome for so long. What's it going to take to stop the spread of AHS? A foundation, perhaps?

  • (5) Toasty requires an aisle seat in both movie theaters and airplanes. (Bonus fact: Toasty is 6'4").
My first flight was to Toronto. Sat by the window. Landing back in NYC in a lightning storm on the back end of that trip swore me off window seats for a while. (I could swear I saw Anthony Young on the wing of the plane). It took a few flights but I'm back to being comfortable by the window.

(By the way ... the next time I'll be on an airplane? Spring Training, baby!)

  • (6) Toasty has never seen a single episode of "Lost," "Heroes," or "24." Not a one.
Just when you thought he would be the only one on earth who could say that, now you have two. As Tony Kornheiser said: "Get these slob losers off the island already! How many seasons can they be stuck there without their hair growing? Put all the people on Lost in Canada."

  • (7) When Toasty was in 6th grade, a classmate once tricked him into sitting down on the pointy end of a pencil, leaving him with a painful mark on his, er, "hip." That classmate is now married to Toasty's first cousin.
When Metstradamus was in 5th grade, his teacher brushed his hair in such a matter that made his head look like a mushroom. This happened, of course, on picture day. Thanks a lot. That teacher isn't married to anybody in Metstradamus' family (to the best of his knowledge).

All affected pictures have been burned, before you ask.

  • (8) Toasty has been to Costa Rica and Colombia, but has never set foot in Mexico.
Metstradamus is Toasty's negative on this one ... been to Mexico, but never to Costa Rica and Colombia. Random Mexico fact: There's a Johnny Rockets in Cozumel.

  • (9) Toasty is related (by marriage) to Barbra Streisand. Pretty closely, too.
Metstradamus has seen the South Park episode where Barbra Streisand turned into Mecha-Streisand ... and where Robert Smith (of The Cure, not of the Vikings) saved the day. Loved it.

  • (10) Toasty thinks "Eyes Wide Shut" is an underappreciated-masterpiece and that "Titanic" sucked monkey balls.
Metstradamus thought that "Anchorman" was an underappreciated masterpiece, and couldn't get through thirty minutes of "The Silence of the Lambs".

No, really. Not 30 minutes. Anthony Hopkins is a great actor, but I wanted to put my head in an oven after listen to Hannibal Lechter mumble endlessly. You eat people. Why am I caring about anything you have to say? Freak. What this says about me? You can come to your own conclusions.

Now, the ten things you may not know about me, but were too apathetic to ask.
  1. Metstradamus once sang lead for a rock band at a high school carnival.
  2. Metstradamus, on the same night that he sang at this carnival, met Tommie Agee and got an autograph, which he still has to this day. Metstradamus also made a fool out of himself describing in great detail, and acting out Agee's two catches from Game 4 of the 1969 World Series when someone had the audacity to ask him "Who's Tommie Agee?"
  3. Metstradamus once took steroids. (Prescribed, of course. And trust me, it did nothing to enhance my bloggging performance ... steroids don't make you smarter. Look through the January 2006 archives and you'll understand.)
  4. Metstradamus once learned the hard way that if you're going to get two hamsters, make sure they're the same gender!!!
  5. Metstradamus got married in Las Vegas (yes, I lived the dream).
  6. Metstradamus was complimented verbally by Bobby Valentine for his entry on Banner Day, 1984 while most entries just got nods (hey, when looking for approval, you latch on to whatever you can).
  7. Metstradamus was once chased by a policeman on Halloween, stupidly thinking he had escaped because the cop wouldn't drive his bike the wrong way on a one way street to catch him (uh ... stupid, he's a cop!)
  8. While in college, Metstradamus went on two seperate double dates with the same guy. Both times, the date of Metstradamus' wound up making out with the other guy ... leaving Metstradamus, in both instances, with "the crazy one" (yes, he's still my friend).
  9. Metstradamus once rode in a Lincoln Town Car with a prominent former New York athlete. Played for three N.Y. franchises, and was recently denied a credential by one of those franchises. I'll let you guys figure that one out. I can't do all the work here.
  10. Maybe you know this one already, but it's worth repeating: Metstradamus once hitched a ride on the back of a pick-up truck across Foxboro to attend a Jets/Patriots game on a Monday night in 1998. This came on the heels of finding out the hotel we were staying at in Providence doubled as a strip joint. Apparently, not only did the strippers dance ($10 surcharge for each stripper you took back to your room ... and no, I'm not kidding on this one), but they washed towels during the daytime hours. And while there was no HBO in the room, the channel that featured the hardcore love-making was free (think Cinemax on Cialis). The lesson here is to always consult your AAA book before you make plans to see a sporting event.
So there you have it. Instead of getting eight facts, you got the bonus plan of 21. Good for blackjack, bad for Paul Gibson's ERA. So who am I tagging to do this?

  • Bobby Valentine
  • Anthony Hopkins
  • Barbra Streisand
  • Jodi Applegate
  • Tony Kornheiser
  • Paul Gibson
  • Jennifer Love Hewitt
  • Vinny Testaverde
We now return you to your regularly scheduled blog.

Friday, February 08, 2008

All Right, I'll Be The First

You saw the collapse last season.

You saw that strange news conference that basically announced that Willie Randolph was not going to be fired, where Willie looked extra lost without the mustache.

You saw Omar Minaya keep up his end of the bargain by acquiring one of the best pitchers in baseball (of course, I'm talking about Brian Stokes.)

So the question must be asked: What happens if the Mets start the season by falling behind the Braves, the Phillies, and even the Nationals by a good amount of games ... then what? When a team on paper as good as the Mets have, assuming that a slow start isn't caused by a key injury or two (or five), what's the quickest way to improve the team?

Do you make a trade? With the bulk of the top minor leaguers gone in the Johan Santana deal, good luck getting an impact player back.

Fire a coach to send a message? Rick Down would like to remind you that they've tried that already.

Raise ticket prices mid-season? Don't tempt the Wilpons.

That leaves one option: Willie Randolph.

He has to know. He's got to know. After last season's news conference, he's gotta know that his job could be on the line ... even if his job shouldn't be on the line. Because if that 3-8 start comes to fruition, somebody in the mainstream media is going to write it (and that someone will no doubt be Wally Matthews). And once that happens, the onslaught will snowball (too many metaphors?) to the point where Willie is going to feel the heat every day even if he never lets you see him sweat.

If that 3-8 start comes to fruition, you could probably read the comments before anybody writes 'em.
  • How could Willie take Santana out in that situation, Omar only paid $137 and a half million for him! He's gotta go!
  • Marlon Anderson to the plate against a lefty when you got Damion Easley sitting on the bench?
  • Willie can't handle a small child much less a bullpen!

You know how I know those comments are coming if the Mets start 3-8? Because the comments would be there if the Mets start 8-3! A slow start combined with, say, Jimmy Rollins reminding everybody why he's the reigning N.L. MVP, and the Willie Randolph watch begins.

So I'll be the first to ask you this (because someone has to): Is Willie Randolph on the hot seat right now ... before the season even begins?

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Spot The Oddity

It's a normal picture from a normal game.

The above picture was taken with my camera in a ballpark far, far away ... at a time long, long ago. Look closely: That's Eric Milton on the hill getting ready to give up a bomb to Jim Thome in the first inning of an eventual 12-5 Cleveland victory. Just your run of the mill blowout, captured by the picture ... just a normal picture.

Or is it?

Can you spot the oddity in the photo?

Give you a hint: You will most likely never see it again. And you would hope to never, ever, see it a Shea Stadium or Citi Field, unless we're talking Game 7 of the World Series ... and even then I'm not sure I'd want to see it.

(And no, nowhere in this picture is Pedro Martinez involved in a cockfight so that's not the answer ... though I would hope to never, ever see Petey holding a cock at Shea Stadium or Citi Field. If I did, I would be highly disturbed. Oh stop it ... you know what I meant. Get your collective mind out of the gutter!)

First to answer it correctly wins ... well, nothing. Except the respect and admiration of your commenting peers.

And we have a winner: "Thou Art Hail Johan" first nailed it as Johan indeed pitched from out of the bullpen that night, and Andrew V. from The 'Ropolitans actually quoted from the scoreboard sign verbatim four minutes later. For the record, Johan did indeed enter the game out of the 'pen on September 13th, 2002, and pitched two and a third innings of scoreless baseball. Of course, he had to clean up after the mess made by Eric Milton, who gave up not only the bomb to Thome (which was hit on the very pitch Milton was setting up for), but a bomb to the immortal Karim Garcia en route to nine runs in one and two third innings. The Indians went on to victory 12-5.

On the same night that I was taking pictures in Cleveland, the Mets lost in Montreal, 11-8 to the Expos. Montreal rode the two hits and three runs from some tiny center fielder named Endy to victory. I wasn't blogging back in 2002, so let me say this: Damn you John Thomson! (In retrospect.)

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

The Transformation

"Imagine if Scarlett Johansson rode past you in a limousine, rolled down her window, stuck out her head and blew a kiss at you? And you proceeded to spend two years looking out your window hoping that she would roll by again, but this time stopping and actually exiting the limo and coming up to you and kissing you like you've never been kissed before?

Because this is going to be the lives of Mets fans for the next two seasons, thanks to the St. Paul Pioneer Press. We're going to wait around Shea Stadium hoping for Johan Santana's limo to stop...hoping for Johan Santana to exit the limo in a hard hat to pound some nails into the new Citi Field, then going into the ol' barn to spin the first, second and third no-hitters in Mets history before coming up to us, autographing our freshly minted "SANTANA 57" alternate black jerseys before grabbing our cheeks, pulling us in, and kissing us like we've never been kissed before."

-Me, One year minus two days ago today.

I'm not sure if I just got kissed by Johan or Johansson, but I think I need a cigarette.

Because with one change of uniform, here's what Johan has done: Without Johan Santana, the Mets filing into Port St. Lucie for spring training 2008 would have been reminiscent of the really popular girl who went to the big party and got drunk and puked on the shoes of the big man on campus...and then tried to go to school the next day like nothing happened...but then she's walking through the hallways, all of the other students are by their lockers pairing up to whisper things to one another like "oh look, there's the drunk" or "I can't believe she would show her face here again", or "Oh my God, I think she still has vomit in her hair."

Or if it was a text message it would have been: OMG, VIHH! <:@o

But now, with Johan, the Mets coming into spring training is going to be more like watching the geeky kid stroll into high school on the Monday after figuring out how to sneak into the visitors lockerroom before the homecoming game, and load up the jockstrap of the opposing quarterback with Atomic Balm. The kid is still a geek, but people line up and clap rythmically for him, because he pulled off something amazing.

That, my friends, is the Johan Santana effect. You saw it in action today.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Sweating The Small Stuff

All right, all right. So Johan Santana is finally, officially a Met (get your jerseys to commemorate the occasion) and we can all relax for the 12 days until pitchers and catchers report. Right?

Well the roster seems to be set ... if you look at the depth chart (which will eventually be updated with Johan's name in place of Jason Vargas), everybody seems to have a purpose from the bench players (between Marlon Anderson, Endy Chavez, Fluff Castro and Damion Easley, all the positions should be covered) and the bullpen, there doesn't seem to be a wasted spot available, as there was when the Mets had Julio Franco, his .112 batting average and his timely knack for hitting into those clutch double plays. But 13 pitchers seem to be a bit much, especially if Orlando Hernandez is going to be the fifth starter instead of Mike Pelfrey, and the Mets decide to send Pelfrey down instead of making him sit around collecting dust bunnies in the bullpen. Then it would be time for that extra bench guy. So who's it gonna be?

Jose Valentin: Familiarality with the organization, plus a soothing effect on Jose Reyes (like Pepto Bismol, I guess) are big pros. Injuries, and the fact that he plays positions that are already taken care of by Easley and Anderson are a negative. Maybe he should rub some Pepto on his joints. Odds: 3-1

Kenny Lofton: The fact that he's been on a playoff team every season from 1995-2007 (minus '05) is a plus. Negatives? Well none of those teams have won the whole thing, and lately he's presided over a 3-1 series lead against the Marlins (Steve Bartman), a 3-0 series lead over the Red Sox (we know how that went), and a 3-1 series lead over the Red Sox (Boston is Kenny's kryptonite, obviously). Not that Lofton had much to do with those collapses ... in fact, Lofton had a very good personal playoff run last season (at least against the Yankees, he only hit .222 against Boston). But if Kenny was graded on mojo and karma, he'd be in existential summer school. Odds: 15-1

Kevin Mench: Now we're talking, right? Righty pop off the bench is a plus. Mench has a career .465 slugging percentage, and 84 K's per 600 AB's isn't horrible. But here's what is horrible: Mench would probably be a pinch hitter on a lot of occasions to try to either break games open, or get the Mets back in the game with one swing. Check out Mench's numbers as a pinch hitter: Peeeeeeeeeee-yoooooooooooooou! Career: 51 PA's and 47 AB's: one lonely HR and a batting average of .106 ... that's not only on the interstate, that's an interstate you'd only find on those kind of roads in Pennsylvania that you drive on in the dead of night and think "I wonder if this is that kind of road where the aliens hang out and beam people up from." Odds: 25-1

Bobby Kielty: Kielty hit a huge home run for the Red Sox in their clinching World Series game against Colorado, and if Ryan Church turns out to be a disaster, Kielty could be that right-handed platoon player that helps save the offense. Ironically, Santana's trade to the Mets would end any hopes of Kielty going back to Boston unless they traded Coco Crisp in a separate trade. Best part about Kielty is that he's a career .281 pinch hitter. Downside: His overall stats are nothing spectacular. And he has big, bright, orange hair. Imagine Sideshow Bob as a Met. Is this a future you want for your children? Odds: 35-1

Chris Shelton: Now here's a guy worth taking a look at. Shelton is currently a member of the Rangers organization, but not on the 40 man roster after Texas acquired pitcher Kazuo Fukumori. You remember Shelton as the guy who hit 2,000 (10) HR's for the Detroit Tigers in April of 2006 and he was everybody's superstud of the year, and the world made him the most popular fantasy pick-up in the free world on May 1st of that year. So if Shelton was up with the Mets in April of '08 he could do some serious damage. The problem is that the season doesn't end on May 1st, and Shelton played his way into the minors for all of 2007, where he only hit 14 HR's for Toledo. Not Arlington, Seattle, or even Florida ... Toledo. Besides, he would probably cost a minor leaguer in return, and I'm not sure we have any more of those after getting Santana. Odds: 45-1

Barry Bonds: Now there's some pop off the bench. Downside: Would there be room in the lockerroom for that big reclining chair? Odds: 2,000,000-1

Disclaimer: The reader of this blog assumes all risks occurring prior to, during, or after the blog entry including specifically (but not exclusively), the danger of having your computer ruined by spitting your cheerios with milk on to your keyboard after reading the name "Barry Bonds" in reference to the possibility of becoming a New York Met. The reader agrees that The Musings and Prophecies of Metstradamus, Major League Baseball, it's respective owners, officers and employees, the participating clubs and their respective officers, players, employees and agents are expressly released by the holder form claims arising from such causes.

Friday, February 01, 2008

It Took A 13th Hour, But ...

It's over, pending a physical. Johan Santana is a Met.

Now if he fails the physical ...

(I'm kidding.)


They're going on until 7PM, according to ESPNEWS. Extension? Good sign.