Sunday, May 31, 2009

Gangsta Roulette

Did you have the same feeling I did when you saw the starting lineup today? Did you have the feeling that a lineup with Wilson Valdez, Angel Pagan, and Ramon Martinez vs. Josh Johnson combined with Tim Redding on the hill basically meant that your Saturday of baseball was going to be a complete waste of time? Well guess what? It was.

It's not like the regular lineup ever does anything against Johnson anyway, and players need their rest, so why the heck not? I was more disturbed at the revelation that Snoop Manuel is going to rest Gary Sheffield twice a week to keep him fresh. This means that if you Mapquest the route to the end of the 2009 season, it will inevitably take a left on Moises Alou Ave.

I was also disturbed by the image of David Wright getting ready to pinch hit in the ninth by licking his bat. Besides the fact that it's a disgusting image, I don't want to root for the first franchise in baseball history to put a player on the disabled list with tongue splinters (it will probably be listed as "fragments in the mouth muscle".)

But what I'll take away from this game was Ron Darling glowing about how special this Omir Santos run has been by saying that in five years, you're going to be wondering what the name of that guy was that had the quick start and hit the home run off Papelbon and was on fire for two months. What Darling is saying is that this run which sent Fluff Castro out of town is magical ... and that Santos will be managing a KFC franchise in five years.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Omir Plays The Lion, And The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway

Well, it was nice knowing you, Fluff.

Because really ... with all of the rumors surrounding Ramon Castro, whether it be to Seattle, or Chicago, what's the one ending to Friday's game that would seal his fate?

Of course! An Omir Santos walk-off hit!

Well, that's not entirely accurate, as Santos' place on the Mets was sealed with the dinger off of Jonathan Papelbon. But with Brian Schneider finally back from the disabled list, there was really no use for both Omir and Fluff. So Castro, who is as capable of hitting a big home run as he is pulling his hamstring boarding a plane, will indeed board a plane to Chicago. Coming to the Mets ... well, the Bisons, is pitcher Lance Broadway.

The marketing would write itself if he wasn't assigned to Buffalo ... he should have been named "Anchor" or "HSBC" or "Lake Effect Snow".

Broadway was actually a pretty good prospect with the Sox, once holding the title of third best prospect in the entire system. Where has that gotten him? Buffalo, where the Bisons are 14-32. It ain't easy being a savior, Lance. But you'll have some help as the Bisons will also have 34-year-old Emil Brown (a youth movement for Buffalo) to help as he came in a trade with San Diego. Great, more at-bats Ryan Church will never see. But the fact that Omar Minaya got more than a slice of deep dish pizza for Castro is a plus.

Luckily, things are just a bit better with the big club as they are in Dunn Tire Park (sorry Corporate Charlie ... Coca-Cola Field), where it doesn't matter who the back-up catcher is as long as Mike Pelfrey is throwing the ball the way he did against the Marlins tonight. Pelfrey? Santos? Emil Brown? I might actually sleep well tonight. Hope you will too.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Murphy's Law Of Physics

Here's something I don't like about Citi Field:

It's the one thing that makes me wish I had paid attention in physics class during my senior year of high school.

Seriously ... I completely checked out in that class to the point where my teacher would tell everyone in the class who failed that they would have a chance to get a 65 automatically if they passed the regents exam. Me? I was simply told: you failed. When I asked about passing the regents, teach said "I don't think you'll have to worry about that option."

Well not only did I pass the regents, I got something along the lines of an 85. (I actually visited my high school the next semester to rub it in his face, but he wasn't in that day. He was obviously ducking me. Well how you like me now, teach?!!??!? Yeah, I'm still bitter.)

Daniel Murphy's video reviewed home run, the fourth review in the past five days and the first second one where the original call was reversed, tested my knowledge of physics. Now, if I had paid attention in class, I could come up with a reasonable explanation as to why that call was reversed despite the lack of evidence that the ball hit the Subway sign. But I was busy trading baseball cards and drawing cartoons so that this is the best I can come up with:

Fly balls hit at the trajectory that moves toward an outfield wall don't land on the warning track, bounce straight up, then die. In a driving rainstorm where the umpires are too boneheaded to stop the game in a timely fashion, a ball could hit the warning track and then die. But not bounce straight up. So even though you couldn't see the ball hit the Pepsi Porch facade, the way the ball acted told you that it was a dinger. Had to be.

(Editor's note: More proof that this blogger shouldn't have passed physics, or is just blind. The ball indeed did hit the wall. But that trajectory did change and bounce at an angle that a ball hit that fall shouldn't have bounced. I stand by that this was a home run, and I also stand by that physics is hard and that I should have paid more attention in high school.)

Obviously, the three umps that went to look at the video understood physics, and made the correct call. Of course, if there were seats where that Mo's Zone quirk is, it wouldn't have been an issue.

Physics are an important component of life and baseball. Umpires understand this better than they understand a strike zone. And they understand this better than me.

Adam Dunn understands physics ... he was explaining the Murphy home run to his teammates in the dugout after the play. He also understands enough physics to understand that force x distance = a home run long enough to avoid replay and hit a damn bridge (off Johan Santana no less). Like Rick Vaughn says: "You hit it, you name it." I think Dunn can name the bridge after himself now (which would work well if the Mets sign him for the 2011 season.)

But Daniel Murphy's physics are the law at this moment with his five rbi's which led to a 7-4 Mets win. Murph is doing his best to make sure that when Nick Johnson leaves town tonight with the Nationals, he doesn't come back too soon. A few more games like tonight and it'll be mission accomplished. Now that he's more comfy at first base, don't be surprised if these kind of games creep up more often.

Oh, and about finding a new nickname for Fernando Martinez: No nicknames until you run out pop-ups and break this organization's penchant for bonehead plays. Is that a deal?

Author! Author!

It was noted during a recent Mets game that somebody was writing a book about the bizarre game that took place on July 4th of '85. Surely you remember it as the 19 inning debacle that ended near 4AM down in Atlanta.

If I were to write a book about a particular baseball game, I might choose Livan Hernandez's complete game from Monday night.


First off, all the really good and important games are probably taken by established (good) writers. Second, there were so many layers to this seemingly run of the mill 6-1 victory that it fascinated my warped mind. It's like an onion that only makes you cry if you're a Nationals fan. For example: You might have been all jazzed up about the debut of one Fernando Martinez. But I was greeted by the news that the Mets had traded for Wilson Valdez! OMG! Wilson Valdez!!! I've gotta get on the horn and call 718-507-TIXX! Our savior is here! Wilson Valdez!!!

Then I asked, who the hell is Wilson Valdez?

A healthy shortstop? Good enough. I'll take it and be excited about it.

Of course, the news wasn't so much that we have Valdez and Martinez, but that Jose Reyes and Ryan Church actually made their way to the disabled list. Omar Minaya doing right by the roster is a huge twist in the plot, and a breath of fresh air for Snoop Manuel. And ... Wilson Valdez! The cynic in you might say that your hopes for a new shortstop were low (a decent fielding .200 hitter in the majors) and that they weren't even met (a decent fielding .110 hitter in AAA). But a shortstop who doesn't have an issue with a bum calf or a torn thumb or a freaking hernia is at a premium here these days. So, I choose to be excited for Wilson Valdez.

But I'm burying the lead here ... which is the debut of Fernando Martinez, who went 0 for 3 with an RBI fielders choice on Monday. Certainly an inauspicious beginning for the jewel of the minor leagues. But his first major league RBI is nothing to sneeze at. (I will say this: We've gotta find a halfway decent nickname for this guy. Putting aside the increasingly lazy way we come up with nicknames these days: First initial of first name, first part of last name, like A-Rod, "F-Mart" sounds like an obscene grocery store. "Welcome to F-Mart ... Where You Can Go F&*k Yourself!")

It is strange that in a game that a great hitting prospect makes his debut, a pitcher gets his first major league hit. But Craig Stammen's single ended in a putout of home, so Stammen might be the first player to get his first ever hit and not get to keep the ball. Seriously, how often does this happen?

Furthermore, how often is there a game where beanballs are traded (Jason Bergmann hits Fernando Tatis after Gary Sheffield's game deciding home run during a case of wildness, and Livan hits Justin Maxwell in what may or may not have been retaliation), and noted hothead Julian Tavarez isn't involved? And he was in the game not long after that? Now seriously, how often does that happen?

Of course, the focus would be Livan and his complete game which is the very reason the Mets got him ... to give a breather to the bullpen every now and again. He's done it two straight ... with a seven inning effort against L.A., and the CG on Monday night. Put that against the backdrop of Ryan Zimmerman's on-base streak, which was at 43 games before he ran into Livan (another layer for the book). Now put that against the backdrop of Oliver Perez. At the same time Hernandez was chugging along, Oliver was showing the fans of Buffalo what they've been missing with the big club ... namely: 5 walks in four and a third innings against the likes of Pablo Ozuna.

Instead, the Mets got Hernandez's 127 pitch outing, and the revelation after the game that he's a thinker. The thoughts that went through his head pitching against the Nationals lineup is enough for a book all on it's own.

Hopefully, the book I eventually do write will be better than the piece of unmitigated crap I just pitched to America. But speaking of pitches, I pitch to you some post game analysis from yours truly tomorrow on NY Sportstalk Live between 9-11 on Wednesday night (most likely soon after the ball game). It's like a bonus blog.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Suspending Your Belief

Here's a pet peeve of mine: When a story on the news is teased with "you're not going to believe this". Happens all the time, and it kills me every time. On Monday night, it was Kirk Gimenez's turn to use the ultimate tease, as in: "News about Carlos Beltran's knee that you will not believe."

Usually when someone on television says: "You're not going to believe what ... or where ... or why", the information usually turns out to be quite ordinary and can only hit "limp" on the "Unbelievable" scale. Here a tip for you news teasers: Unless Carlos Beltran's knee is:
  • a member of the Taliban
  • selling military secrets to New Zealand, or
  • dating Lauren Conrad
chances are I would probably believe it.

Turns out the news was that Beltran's knee, which was already sore, was going to be the subject of a Tuesday MRI. Why wouldn't I believe that? With all of the Mets that have been a part of the M*A*S*H unit this season, of course I'd believe it. Nothing surprises me anymore with any injuries whatsoever. The only surprise would be if the MRI showed a tear or a snap caused by stress, or perhaps gremlins, and the Mets actually did the prudent thing and put him on the disabled list. I think Omar Minaya wants to see if Snoop Manuel can win a game with seven players. That would be a tough trick ... even against the Nationals.

The tougher trick would be to win against the Nationals with the bullpen unable to find the plate with a GPS device. But turn that trick they did, with the help of some more video replay goodness on Gary Sheffield's deciding three run HR (see kids, technology is your friend.) The bullpen gave six free passes in the final three innings, including three by Bobby Parnell. But they slogged through and helped preserve John Maine's nice outing (six innings, four hits, three walks, one run).

On Tuesday, it's Livan Hernandez against his old team. Will he continue his halfway decent season? Will he implode? Will the game be played under playground rules, where all the fielders are on the left side of the field except for the first baseman due to all the Mets injuries?

Chances are, whatever happens, you're going to believe it.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Job Opening

Rey: Taxi!

(Shags cab and enters)

Cabbie: Where to?

Rey: Shea Stadium.

Cabbie: Umm, you know that place don't exist no more.

Rey: Huh?

Cabbie: Yeah, they tore that down, the Mets don't play there no more.

Rey: Then take me to wherever the heck they play.

Cabbie: Umm, you know they're on the road right now.

Rey: I know ... I also no they have no more shortstops left. So I figured I have a chance to play.

Cabbie: Oh yeah, and what's your credentials?

Rey: Are you kidding, I was part of the greatest infield ever!

Cabbie: Please. Where was that, Franklin High? Now the '99 Mets, that was the greatest infield ever.

Rey: I know! I was on that infield!

Cabbie: Yeah right. Who do you think you are, Rey Ordonez?

Rey: Yeah! I'm Rey Ordonez.

Cabbie: Well hello Rey! I'm John Olerud. Let me put on my batting helmet. Heh heh heh.

Rey: No, I'm serious!

Cabbie: Okay, you're Rey Ordonez. Whatever. Look, it's going to take more than one loss to get the Mets to let a guy off the street ... oh, sorry, "former world class athlete" to play shortstop

Rey: Look, I can still catch the ball. I can't hit, but I never could hit. But the Mets lost not only the game but like ... eight shortstops to injury. It's time to come back and be a Met again.

Cabbie: Please.

Rey: Just leave me off right here, in front of the rotunda.

Cabbie: I hope you get the job.

Rey: Thanks (pays and leaves).

Cabbie: He don't tip like no major leaguer.

(Rey rushes to the offices, but finds out he's too late to re-claim his job.)


Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Doctor Is In

As you know, Mike Pelfrey recently saw a sports psychologist to work out an issue he's been having with balks. Unfortunately, the Wilpons' recent problems with the Bernie Madoff scandal have priced them out of a lot of the really good sports psychologists. Thus Pelfrey's options were limited going into Saturday night's start against the Red Sox. Here now, in total breach of doctor-patient confidentiality, is that session between Pelfrey and the best sports psychologist that the Wilpons' money can buy:

Pelfrey caught up with Lucy after the game ...

Later ...

*Lucy appears courtesy of Charles Schulz, and courtesy of a big Mets win. Tipperary, however, is still a long ways away.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Looking Through Crazy Eyes

"I learned one thing -- I don't show my emotions. But believe me, when I'm there, I let everybody know I'm there by throwing the ball. Not by making faces." -Johan Santana
And by telling Kevin Youkilis to get his ass to first base.

Santana took all of the intangible arguments about grit that everyone has been grasping at yet coming up with nothing but air, and helped us put it in a capsule ... allowing you, me, the baseball viewing public, and even Steve Phillips, to reach out and grab it. To touch it, taste it, and hang it on the wall like a Fathead.

Johan went up against the player who has been brought up a lot lately as a shining example of grit and intangibles, Kevin Youkilis. He hit Youk's elbow (which was pretty much directly over the plate at that point), and then barked at him as he took his time getting to first base and making a show about it (maybe Johan was just telling him to cowboy up.) Santana, after giving us a just a hint of a crazy look in his eye, then used his anger in the best way he knows how: striking out Jason Bay to end the inning.

And it was then that I think we all figured it out. Not only do we wish that Santana could pitch every day, but we wish that his presence and leadership and that crazy look could be on display more than once every fifth day. We wish that attitude in our everyday stars. It's not necessary all the time, but at certain points when it's needed, you wish it could creep out of David Wright, Carlos Beltran, or Jose Reyes. And there's nothing wrong with that ... there's just something wrong with wanting them traded for the sole reason that they don't have it.

Keith put it eloquently during the next inning (only slightly more eloquently than Dennis Eckersley described the action on NESN): You wish Santana was an everyday player. My first thought was "boy that's so true." My second thought was "put him at shortstop, Ramon Martinez is awful." Immediately after that, Martinez threw the ball into right field putting runners on first and third. On this, what I consider to be somewhat of a family blog, I will not type my third thought.

But again, Johan found another notch (he's got more notches than Wilt Chamberlain had on his headboard ... oh, sorry ... family blog) and got out of that jam too. Considering the opponent, and considering the state of the Mets coming into this game, tonight's win against the Red Sox was done on the back of Santana's best start of the season. Yes, there was some important contribution from the bottom of a lineup which, when it was released, had me wondering whether Santana would be the first pitcher in the history of the major leagues to pitch a perfect game and lose. But Santana didn't have to be perfect. In many ways, he was better than that.

Now if he could only play the field. Anywhere. Center for Carlos Beltran and his sore knee ... Right for Ryan Church and his sore hamstring ... Shortstop for Martinez and his sore glove ... it doesn't matter at this point.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

More Cortisone For Everyone

Ron Darling said tonight that with cortisone, you feel a numbness for about two days.

After getting swept by a Mannyless Dodger team, I think we can all use a little of that action.

How about more for J.J. Putz who, even though the first round of cortisone gave him his zip back, still can't get him a hold when it was sorely needed.

Or maybe more for Jose Reyes, who left the game after aggravating his calf injury. Now who knows how long he'll be out.

Or some for the new shortstop, Ramon Martinez ... because he couldn't do any worse playing while numb.

The one good thing to come out of Wednesday night's broom job was Daniel Murphy's initial first base foray, in which he looked more Keith than Kingman with a couple of sparklers in the field. Makes you wonder what took the braintrust so long to figure this one out. Now all Murph needs to do is start hitting like Keith and ...

and the Mets will still need a shortstop.

But at least the Mets and their fans will get one thing they need tomorrow: a day off.


Lisa from Subway Squawkers was kind enough to bring me more insanity from Steve Phillips as he tries to defend his stance on Carlos Beltran:
"While Beltran does have talent, I just don't see him as a winning player. Even after my comments on Sunday night, Beltran let a fly ball drop in between himself and Angel Pagan in the Dodger game."
Why let the fact that Pagan didn't have the good sense to get out of the way of the center fielder calling him off six times get in the way of validating Phillips' point, right?
"I see him putting up numbers but not making plays to win games. I would take Torii Hunter, Grady Sizemore, Curtis Granderson, and Nate McLouth over Beltran, and use the financial difference to improve the team in other ways. Beltran isn't a $17 million dollar a year player. He just doesn't have the kind of impact for that kind of money."
He's right, Carlos Beltran isn't a $17 million a year player. He's an $18.5 million a year player. Torii Hunter, so you know, is an $18 million a year player, with one more season on his contract than Beltran. Congratulations Steve, you saved -$16,500,000 on that one. Ponzi schemes have more financial security.
"Many people think that Alex Rodriguez is the best player in the game, but he's never won anything. I look at Beltran in a similar fashion as Rodriguez--a great talent that just doesn't seem to have what it takes to win championships. Maybe the Mets can keep him and add pieces to the core around him and still win. But when you're dealing with a budget and the screams of immediacy in New York, I'm not sure the Mets can wait to piece it together around him."
Why not? The Mets waited to piece it together around Tsuyoshi Shinjo? Yes! Let's get Shinjo back! S-H-IN-J-O and Shinjo was his NAME-O!!!!! YES!!!!!! SHINJO MAKES PLAYS TO WIN GAMES!!!!!!

Oh, and so does Steve Reed. Remember him?

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to put on my sunglasses, as the trophies from all those championships that Hunter, Sizemore, Granderson, and McLouth have won are starting to blind me.


On a serious, sad note, many condolences to Scott Schoeneweis and his family. Keep them in your prayers tonight.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


First, the good news: The Mets at least bounced back with a little fight after Monday night's brutal loss ... which is very much unlike the last time they needed to bounce back from a bad loss.

The bad news? Of course they still lost.

I was looking more beyond the result, which was sealed by Casey Blake and his gargantuan, yet gritty beard (gee, maybe if Carlos Beltran grew a beard that was a gritty as Casey Blake's beard, then Steve Phillips would think that Beltran was the perfect ballplayer). I was looking to see what the lineup looked like tonight. If Ryan Church had a seat on the bench, then it would have been likely that he had seen his last game as a New York Met.

But he was in the lineup tonight, and batting fifth no less. But once our SNY friends explained that Gary Sheffield was feeling a little under the weather, I can't conclude whether Church got the vote of confidence from Snoop Manuel, or there was just no other choice but to play Church. After all, if Ramon Martinez is getting playing time straight off the plane, things must really be bad (unless of course, Ramon is Snoop's latest man crush.)

Of course, both Snoop and Ryan say that there's no doghouse.

"I don't have a rift with anyone on the team ... I don't know why people think I have a deal with Ryan Church -- I really don't. I don't have a problem with Ryan. Not at all. I like to egg him on and mess with him a little bit like I do with everybody, but I love to see Ryan every day. He comes to the park every day early. I love to see Ryan Church." -Snoop
"You want somebody on you. You take it as a positive thing. His door is always open. He's one of those guys, he's approachable if you ever have something wrong. That's the thing -- I don't read too much into this stuff. People are yelling stuff in the stands -- 'doghouse!' -- that kind of thing. But they're not here, they're not around me, seeing what the relationship is." -Ryan
Well, that would normally convince me. Except that Ryan Church's doghouse was just featured on MTV Cribs.

If you'd like to hear my recap of the MTV Cribs episode featuring Ryan Church's doghouse, please do join us here on Wednesday for Sportstalk NY Live between 9:00-11:00 PM, where I will provide keen insight for about ten minutes (that's all the b.s. I can muster in a whole week).

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Because after Ryan Church misses third base on the go-ahead run in the 11th, and two errors in the bottom of the frame (one of which came on the double play ball that would have unbelievably gotten the game to the 12th) gives the Dodgers the game, what the hell else is there to do but laugh ... out ... loud?

I really hate f*&#ing baseball sometimes. I really do.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Grit, It's Not Just For Kissin' Anymore

While watching the Mets on ESPN might be about as frustrating as watching Oliver Perez pitch, it reminds me how thankful I am that Steve Phillips is no longer the Mets GM.

I have to admit I missed the first part of his diatribe during Sunday night's loss to Matt Cain and the Giants, but basically it ended something like this (paraphrasing):

"If the Mets lose again this season, they have to think about breaking up the core. I believe David Wright is part of the solution, and I believe Jose Reyes is part of the solution. If I were the GM of the Mets, I'd take a look at the $17 million contract of Carlos Beltran."
Okay, for those of you who became fans in 2006, let me give you a lesson in recent history. You see, Steve Phillips was the GM of the Mets. And while he was the GM of the Mets, he allegedly offered Jose Reyes to Cleveland for Robby Alomar, and also allegedly offered David Wright to Toronto for Jose Cruz Jr. So of course he would think about trading Beltran. He couldn't trade the other two when he had the chance.

But yeah, Phillips would trade Beltran for Mo Vaughn because his 1.066 OPS is "part of the problem". But why? (Again, paraphrasing from Sunday Night Baseball):

"I just think this team needs more grit."
YES! GRIT! I have Carlos Beltran, I'll trade it for five of what you call ... Eckstein. Yes, let's do that.

If somebody can come up with a good reason to dip into the core, I'm all ears. I've heard multiple people tell me that maybe the solution is to trade Reyes. I'm not ready to agree with that, but I've heard semi-decent reasons ... at least better reasons than "this team needs more grit." Beltran may have his issues, but lack of grit isn't one of them. I take you back to a September night in Houston where Carlos Beltran risked life and limb to save a meaningless game by crashing into the wall and leading with his knees. Prudent? Probably not. But gritty? If David Eckstein had done it he would have been nominated for seventeen ESPY's.

Let's review, trading stars for the intangible idea of "grit" for the sole reason of being gritty without a real, honest plan (like trading a sulking Nomar for defense in the form of Orlando Cabrera and Doug Mientkiewicz, because I know someone will bring that up) is ... stupid. You get grit to complement your stars, not instead of them.

Grit without great is bread crust. I can't live on bread crust.

But the worst part of all of this is not that Phillips suggested this ... and not that he suggested this for dopey reasons. No, the worst part is that Joe Morgan subsequently disagreed with Phillips about Beltran, and I was rooting for Morgan. I was on the same side as Joe Morgan in an argument ... and I'm not sure that's a shame I can ever recover from. My IQ fell so far south at that point that I wanted to slit my own wrists but was so incapacitated that I tried to do it with my cell phone.

But then Morgan said that when a pitcher doesn't strike out batters, a lot of contact is made. Then I felt much better.

I'll never forgive you for this, Steve Phillips.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Johan (And Ryan) Plus Nine

"Excuse me David, but this thing you just did ... step on the plate ... what's that called again? Forgive me, it's been so long since I've seen one of you guys do that".

"Excuse me Mr. Catcher, this thing I just threw ... what's that called again? Forgive me, it's been so long since I ..."

"You mean a scoreless inning?"

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Smiley Smile

Welcome to the baseball season, David Wright.

Take your coat off, stay a while. And please, save a seat next to you for Jose Reyes whenever he decides he wants to stroll on by.

Friday night's 8-6 comeback win was, by far, the best win of the season. Considering what the pitching matchup was, this really should have been a gimme for the Giants as Tim Lincecum looked nasty at times as he matched up with Livan Hernandez. Livan, it should be noted, gave up bombs to Fred Lewis and Randy Winn which foretold a bad night. Fred Lewis hitting bombs isn't a good sign. (Come soon, Tim Redding.) Neither is bad umpiring, as the Mets endured some horrid calls from Dana Demuth at third which cost them two runs in the first (happy now, Larry?) and Doug Eddings' moving strike zone which caused not one but two managers to get the gate (now that's gangsta.)

But the Mets got to Lincecum in the sixth for two runs and finished him off in the seventh. It's always a good thing when you get Lincecum out and the Giants bullpen in, and Wright took advantage with a three run game tying double which signals not so much a turning point for Wright, but perhaps the return to the apex at the expense of the Giants, and especially Brian Wilson, who is channeling his inner-Armando for this series with two straight losses, including tonight's throwing error which brought in the winner for the Mets.

As for the rest of the team, maybe everybody being out with injury has had a built in "kick in the pants" effect for the remaining warm bodies. Sure, they could still use some reinforcements, which could be coming in the form of recent signees Javier Valentin (I didn't even realize he was out of the league ... maybe if Reyes gets confused and thinks it's his former mentor Jose Valentin he'll shape up) and Tom Martin (I'm glad he's back ... I didn't want his last experience as a Met to be this.) But sometimes the actual effect of injuries is the opposite of what you'd expect.

I don't know how long it'll last ... for example, I don't know how many times Jeremy Reed is going to get two hits while starting at first base with a glove that isn't broken in (he was supposed to get one from Nick Johnson for Friday ... but he conveniently "forgot".) But if this is really the "jelling" that some think it is, I'll take it for as long as I can get it (sounds like I have an addiction, no?)

And speaking of unhealthy addictions, let's play our favorite rehab game: "Where's Oliver?"

It was a relaxing day of rehab for Oliver Perez as he went fishing with his rehabbing friend, Billy Wagner. They had a successful day at the lake, but the problems started when it was time to cook. Perez was in charge of preparing the meal, and after a few minutes of becoming frustrated while attempting to gut and cook the catch, Perez just gave up and threw the entire fish in the microwave, set it to two minutes, and gave up.

Wagner ate the fish and went to the hospital after becoming violently ill. Instead of blowing the save, Wagner was tagged with blown chunks. Big f***ing shocker.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Our Crumbling House

So with J.J. Putz developing a bone spur and fixing to be out for a couple of games, and Carlos Delgado perhaps being out anywhere from this weekend to ... forever, this is going to really test Omar Minaya's ability to put together a 25-man roster.

So who's scared?

When Delgado was day-to-day, I was against putting Daniel Murphy at first base. If you're going to have Murph play there all season, then give him every opportunity to learn the position. But if we're talking months for Delgado? Then by all means put Murphy at first, Tatis in left, Church in right, and have Sheffield as your bench pop (not your cleanup hitter/regular left fielder as he seems to be now ... seems that someone is thinking it's 1999, and not 2009.)

But whatever you do the fact remains, this team is thin. Delgado is out with his bone spur in his hip (can we put him on the DL already), Putz is out with a bone spur (at least now there's a reason for his struggles) and even Reyes missed Thursday's game with a bone spur he developed in his brain on Wednesday. The Mets call it a "tight calf", but come on, that could be another created injury which is code for "we're benching you because of a foggy brain but we're not going to embarrass you" (with the discovery of new injuries left and right, I think we're talking Nobel Prize in inventive medicine for the training staff.)

Thankfully, the Mets were able to survive Bobby Parnell's shaky foray into the eighth inning (albeit while being dinked and dunked), and Sheffield was able to survive stealing third base (seriously, he's old ... every stolen base could be his last act in baseball) with three runs in the ninth and a 7-4 win against the Giants. I don't know what lucky shamrock Carlos Beltran is carrying, but once again he stole third in more ways than one setting up the go ahead run in the ninth (Larry Jones is currently petitioning the league office for more competent baseball gods), driven in by David Wright who, apparently, just needed to get away from New York for a while as he not only drove in the winner but stole four bases.

Good catches by both announcers tonight. Gary Cohen, for noting that the Mets set a team record for most steals in a game without Reyes. And by Keith Hernandez who, while discussing a mutual sponsor of the Mets and Giants noted: "Speaking of sponsors, Fran Healy was the catcher in that old Willie Mays highlight."

Thank you Keith, for reminding us how much Fran Healy loved sponsors, and how amazing it is that I didn't throw paperweights through the television set while Healy was pitching Cheez Doodles and Optimo Cigars for all those years.

Hey, where's Oliver?

Seems that rehab took a sad turn as Oliver Perez was eliminated from American Idol on Thursday night.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A Living Dance Upon Dead Minds

So it's the bottom of the seventh on Wednesday afternoon, one man out, Jose Reyes on second, and Luis Castillo grounds one in the hole at short. Reyes tries to take third base on the play.

Jose Reyes ... of all people ... should know better than to try something that dumb. Reyes has made that play on baserunners tens of hundreds of times. Besides, you learn this in little league, that you don't advance when the play's in front of you. So why on Earth would Jose do this? I mean, people wonder why we get frustrated with the Mets. All the talent in the world, but sorry ... this team has a low baseball IQ. Has had a low baseball IQ for a while.

And it's starting to rub off on the fans. Look, I know it was a weekday afternoon game and there's a lot of kids in the crowd. And I'm not blaming the kids. But in the eighth inning, immediately after Kelly Johnson put the Braves in the lead off of J.J. Putz, what's the first thing that happens in the crowd? You guessed it ... an attempt from left field to do the wave.

Are you kidding me? "Hey, we just got our hearts ripped out. Let's do the wave!" C'mon. How can we expect our team to play smart when our camp counselors are teaching young fans bad habits like the wave? This must stop, now.


Ask yourself this, when was the last time you were watching a Mets game and thought "wow, that's a heady play", and the subject wasn't Alex Cora?

But is it stupidity? Or is it something else?

You know how a pitcher throws 98, and he solely relies on that, even when 98 becomes 92? His coaches constantly hammer him to change speeds and play smart, but he still wants to blow everyone away?

Now Reyes is fast. Hasn't lost a step like our fictional pitcher. But does Reyes think he can beat everything out just because he's fast? Does he think, "Aah, if Yunel gets it I'm still fast enough to beat it out or discourage a throw"? If that's the case, that's carelessness and it's a lack of attention to detail. Escobar's a good shortstop, but it's not like you've got Fluff Castro running ... it was Luis Castillo. It would have been a near impossible play to get Castillo from the hole if Reyes had held. And then if he would have wanted to advance after the throw (like he's done), fine.

Instead, Reyes gave Escobar the Get Out of Jail Free card because of a combination of arrogance, and a lack of brainpower. And this is why the Mets can't get out of their own way. In games like Wednesday's game, where it goes back and forth and is decided in extra innings, it's little things like a stupid baserunning play and other mistakes that you can avoid by merely thinking that can cost you five or six games which, near the top of the N.L. East, is all it takes.

(Not to mention the physical errors, such as David Wright jumping out of the way of a ground ball that went through his legs. How does this happen, exactly?)


And speaking of "How does this happen", I missed Gary Sheffield's game tying home run in the eighth. Why? I was buying ice cream. Okay, it happens.

Now, check the helmet that I bought the ice cream in:

If you said "Hey wait a minute, that's an interlocking NY painted over the Final Season at Shea logo", give yourself a big round of applause. Then laugh.

Then cry.

Seriously? A paint job over a plastic cup? Was it sponsored by Spongetech? I give up. Instead of harping on that, let's see how rehab is going and play "Where's Oliver?"

Today, Perez found a good way to stay in shape as he landed a part in the local production of "Billy Elliot the Musical." His habit of leaping over the foul line made him a natural fit for the part. Unfortunately, on the very leap you see above, Perez aggravated his patella tendon and will miss an additional two weeks.


Oh and a word of advice to Snoop Manuel since the team is on its way to the west coast: If the phone should happen to ring at 3AM, and you didn't order room service ... just let it ring.

The Value Of The Chateau Bow-Wow

If Ryan Church is doing something behind the scenes that has him in Snoop Manuel's Dogg House like ... say, burning Snoop's library of Nancy Drew mysteries, then far be it from me to scream about it. All I know is that he's the one losing at-bats so that Gary Sheffield, Jeremy Reed, and Fernando Tatis can all get at-bats. And that, along with the litany of things that have been said about Church, and the fact that Wily Mo Pena, Rob Mackowiak, and John Cangelosi seem to have a better chance of getting at-bats than Church, tells me that he's in some sort of disfavor. Actions speak louder than words, and Ryan Church on the bench against a right-hander while Carlos Delgado is on the cliff contemplating a dive into the disabled list, speaks volumes. I would think that in the same way we're all worried about keeping Sheffield sharp with at-bats, I would think that Church would have a better chance getting out of his current slump with regular at-bats. But nobody pays me to think.

I only ask this: If you're going to trade him, which is more apparent with each passing day, can we not wait until his value is such that the best you can get back for him is the third season of The Sopranos on used DVD, a half eaten tuna fish sandwich, and Roberto Hernandez? The Mets seem to be experts at selling low. Let's not have that happen this time 'round. Okay?

In other news, the Mets won on Tuesday in the tenth after tying the game in the ninth off Mike Gonzalez. Maybe Gonzalez will stop rocking like he's Ed Norton doing the hucklebuckle. And many thanks to Jeff Bennett for his spot on impression of Sean Green's impression of Kenny Rogers. It made the kids laugh. All that were missing were the balloon animals.

Speaking of animals, how is Oliver Perez's rehab going?

Oh, there he is. Dog races are the order of the day. Bored with attending basketball games, Oliver Perez decided to mentor Golden Earring and entered him in some races in Florida. He monitored the dog's diet and made sure his mechanics were always pointed forward. The result:

Good news, as the coaching that Golden Earring received from Oliver paid off with a blue ribbon. The bad news? Well, without the coaching of Dan Warthen, Perez put back on the pounds he had lost after the World Baseball Classic.

Where will Oliver wind up tomorrow during his "rehab"? I can't wait to find out.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

You Get What You Pay For

It's not so much that Derek Lowe beat the Mets on Monday. Oh no, because I resigned myself to the fact that somehow he was going to outduel Johan Santana.

But it's more the fact that while Derek Lowe was beating the Mets on Monday, the guy who the Mets chose over him wasn't on the mound getting blown out opposite Lowe, or on the bench waiting for his next turn ... but was in Florida watching basketball. (I didn't know that the patella tendinitis access seating was so low. Maybe I could fake an injury and get those seats.)

The only thing that shocks me in this whole scenario is that Perez wasn't the one who got run over by Big Baby Davis.

So those of you who are sick of the juxtaposition of Lowe and Perez, you shouldn't read the papers tomorrow. You probably shouldn't read the blogs. And you definitely shouldn't have read the previous three paragraphs. (There's a warning that does you little good.)

All I know is that the Mets played hardball with Lowe because they knew that Perez was an available backup option, due to the fact that no other team had shown any interest in Oliver Perez. So Lowe called the Mets bluff and took the fourth year from Atlanta and the Mets signed Perez. The Mets probably felt fortunate that nobody else showed any interest in Perez. Shouldn't they have wondered why that was the case?

Well, the Mets saved $24 million on that one. Good for them. Too bad the other $36 million could have been better spent on cigarettes, or given to orphans, or set on fire. In fact, it would have been better served being set on fire with a cigarette by an orphan.

But it was more than that which beat the Mets tonight. Forget about lack of run support ... since the Mets were facing Lowe we should have known runs would be at a premium. But how about a lack of defense? How can Santana lose two games already this season where he doesn't give up an earned run? Teams usually make more errors behind pitchers who don't keep their fielders on their toes by throwing a lot of balls out of the strike zone like, say, Oliver Perez. But does Johan Santana really deserve that treatment?

And let's not also forget Snoop leaving Pedro Feliciano in to face Matt "I hit .323 against lefties in my career" Diaz (that's pronounced DIE!!!-az). See, he could have had Brian Stokes in there against DIE!!!-az, but I guess Stokes has been typecast as the guy who can only play the part of the pitcher who comes in to clean up after the mansion has already been broken into. Stokes must now know how Mark Hamill felt.

The good news, as usual, is that there's another game tonight. Though it probably won't be the one Oliver Perez is at. You never know where you'll find him tomorrow ...

Monday, May 11, 2009


Just an ironic point, but don't you find it strange that there are more reminders of Shea Stadium in Larry Jones' house than there are in the Mets' house?

Here's hoping that hitting at his new home away from home, Citi Field, doesn't give Larry a reason to name his daughter "Shake Shack Jones"


Forgive me as I relive the Mets sweep of the Pirates by completely destroying the comic book genre:

Special thanks to the animators at Be Funky.