Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Failing The Crash Test

People have wondered why, with the Phillies still within sight of the Mets in the N.L. East with plenty of time to go in the season, I can't just enjoy the ride.

It's because the Mets clubhouse shop doesn't sell Brooklyn Dodgers throwback edition crash helmets.

Believe me, there's nothing I want more than to be positive, and look at the glass as being half full (of good strong Vodka of course.) But if you still think this season can be salvaged, and you're entitled to think that way, ask yourself: What have you seen from this team, not the struggles of the Phillies or the Marlins' bullpen or the Braves, but from the New York Mets, that tell you that this is a team that has a legitimate shot at winning this division? Where's the evidence on the field?

Because here's reality: The fourth inning on Tuesday, where Johan Santana walked the pitcher, Fernando Martinez dug up a divot in center field the size of Bobby Bonilla's severance paycheck while letting an easy fly ball drop, Dan Warthen gets kicked out of the game for jawing with Jim Wolf, and Ryan Braun's two run double turned into a three-run double when Omir Santos couldn't catch a relay throw, and turned into a four-run double when Johan Santana threw a ball to Grayslake, IL, would have been the most disgusting inning of the season for most teams.

For the Mets, it barely cracks the top ten.

Yet, it might be the inning that drives the final stake in the heart of the season.

Nah, that's not true.

Tomorrow, when Yovani Gallardo pitches to a lineup that isn't going to have David Wright and Gary Sheffield ... that'll be the last straw. But what difference does it make at this point? The lineup that did have Wright and Sheffield couldn't beat Mike Burns.

Mike Burns!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

No wonder Wright looked like he was about to cry in the post-game interview.

The next question that you have to ask yourself is whether you believe Omar Minaya can fix this. And think of this: What exactly has Minaya done in-season to significantly help the club?

His biggest splash came when he traded Xavier Nady for Oliver Perez and Roberto Hernandez. And that was out of desperation. He also traded for Luis Castillo. That's it.

At this point, any moves Minaya can make would be putting duct tape on a life raft. The ship be sinking, folks. Minaya had a chance to address this in the offseason, when instead of gathering all of baseball's "change of scenery" guys or "low-risk/high reward" guys, maybe he could have gotten some true major leagues here. In fact, Minaya's chance to address this came on Day One of his tenure here, when he could have done more to build a real farm system instead of stocking Norfolk, New Orleans, and Buffalo with the likes of Elmer Dessens, Casey Fossum, Jose Lima, Brian Lawrence, Jose Offerman, Gerald Williams, Julio Franco, Chan Ho Park, Freddy Garcia, Dae Sung Koo, Ken Takahashi, Miguel Cairo, Brian Daubach, Kaz Ishii, Eli Marrero, Ricky Ledee, Moises Alou, Chip Ambres, Emil Brown, Wily Mo Pena, Bobby Kielty, Raul Casanova, Ramon Martinez, Brandon Knight, Brady Clark, Trot Nixon, Andy Phillips, Abraham Nunez, Tony Armas, Chris Aguila ...

But now? There's nothing Minaya can do except wait for the injured to come back, and there are no guarantees there. There's nothing Snoop can do. Oh he's trying. He had a "family talk" with the Mets after the loss. But Ozzie Guillen once said that good teams win games, while bad teams have meetings. The Mets are a bad team, plain and simple. And all the jargon and gangsta-speak and Dennis Greene impersonations and saying you need players one night and saying "my team is on the field" the next night does nothing but rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic. The ride is over. The ship has hit the iceberg. And all that's left to do is watch the carnage while floating away in the life raft. Don't worry, you'll hit shore on or around October 3rd.

Want positive? The Cyclones are 9-2.

Stroke Of Midnight

J.J. Hardy
doubled to left.

R. Braun singled to center,
J.J. Hardy to third

M. Cameron singled to left

F. Catalanotto singled to right,
M. Cameron to third

J. Kendall singled to shortstop,
M. Cameron scored,
F. Catalanotto to second

J.J. Hardy homered to deep left center

P. Fielder singled to right

F. Catalanotto doubled to right center

J. Kendall singled to center,
F. Catalanotto to third

B. Looper singled to left,
F. Catalanotto scored,
J. Kendall to second

J.J. Hardy singled to left,
B. Looper to third,
C. Counsell to second

Yes, it was Big Ben up in this Milwaukee hizzy. But before Fernando Nieve's clock could strike midnight as we all thought it might one day, Snoop Manuel came to the rescue after the 11th "bong" hit and saved him. Nieve's fifteen minutes haven't expired quite yet. However, this season is due to expire sooner than expected. What with Nieve beginning his transformation into a pumpkin, Carlos Beltran going to a microfracture expert, and Argenis Reyes batting leadoff, it's just a matter of time. Falling below .500 is only the first step towards becoming a "below average team".

And here's how you know the worst is yet to come: When Luis Castillo drops a pop-up by trying to catch it with one hand, the Mets lose and become a national joke. But when Casey McGehee drops a pop-up by trying to catch it with one hand, he atones by hitting a grand slam off a team who's offense is so putrid, they give Chien-Ming Wang his first win of the season and Braden Looper his first win in a month on back to back nights.

But hey, they came back in the ninth to close the gap to 27. They're resilient.

Everybody is hurt, there are no chips to trade for important pieces, and there's only so much that Snoop can do. And there's nothing for you to do as fans but sit idly by and witness the foundation burning to the ground. So why not sit back, enjoy the show, and roast some marshmallows. Because when life gives you lemons, you cook them.

Or something like that.

Monday, June 29, 2009

A Cherry On Top Of The Worst Subway Sundae Ever

There are a couple of blogger standbys that I could resort too. But as I type this, I'm not sure which one fits better. I go back and forth between:
  • Proclaiming the 2009 season to be over, done, kaput, or ...
  • Proclaiming that the New York Mets should volunteer for contraction and cease operations.
They both sound like decent options.

Consider if you will: I wrote a post not so long ago coming up with some too funny to be true scenarios on how much worse losses can get this season. If I had come up with Frankie Rodriguez walking Derek Jeter to get to Mariano Rivera (after throwing Derek Jeter a hittable pitch to lead off the at-bat), and then walking Mariano Rivera for his first career RBI, I would bet that none of you would have thought that was more remotely plausible than any of the others on that list.

Yet, here we are, left to pick up the pieces while we sit at our keyboards trying to make sense of another 21st century laughingstock moment for this franchise.

In the big picture, Frankie walking Rivera (and if I have to hear Jon Miller call him "The Great Rivera" one more f-ing time, I'm going to stab my eyes and ears until I'm bleeding all over both the hardwood floors and the Tuscany tiles) with the bases loaded had nothing to do with the eventual outcome of the ballgame. But in the bigger picture, gee ... how about not walking a guy with two lifetime at-bats in fourteen years with the bases loaded? How about that??? How about losing a ball game without walking Mariano Rivera on national television? Am I asking for a lot? I'm not even asking for a win, I just want to be able to be able to leave my apartment without having to wear a paper bag over my head!!!

I mean, for crying out loud, Derek Jeter is smirking at the plate!!! Everyone in the dugout is trying not to bust a gut laughing. This is a moment that's a big joke to everyone wearing gray. And Frankie goes out and turns the joke right around on the Mets, as usual. I mean, how hard is Brian Bruney laughing right now? How hard are the Yankees laughing right now? They go into their off day as the happiest team in baseball, the sun shining on their world as usual. The Mets, meanwhile, get to take a plane ride to Milwaukee to begin their own personal death march towards another disastrous end of the season. And the only thing left for Frankie to do is to whip off that mask and expose to the world that he's merely Armando Benitez in disguise.

Mariano Rivera!!! He's about as useful a hitter as Dan Warthen is when he stands in the batters' box in the bullpen to simulate a live hitter! Dammit!

And one thing I don't want to hear until the Mets reel off seven in a row is how resilient this team is. Everybody wanted to drink the Kool-Aid after the Mets won the first game after Carlos Beltran went down ... and maybe because we've all been so desperate to see some resilience in this team that to see the Mets win without the bulk of their production was cause for celebration. Well guess what? Taking three of four from the Cardinals is a distant memory. But I'm sure that if the Mets go and win on Monday, we'll hear all this chatter from Snoop Manuel about how resilient this team is and how they're able to bounce back from tough losses.

Great! Then they'll lose two more to Milwaukee ... forcing the whole resiliency cycle to start again. So Snoop, how about laying off bragging about how the team is resilient until they actually get some distance between themselves and .500, the Braves, and the Marlins, whaddaya say? And while we're at it, how about letting go of the hallucination that Fernando Tatis can actually bunt? How about that?

And about that whole "shorthanded" thing? Sorry, marginal major leaguers should be able to get through an inning without kicking the ball around as if it had metal spikes laced with acid on them. And decent major leaguers should be able to handle a guy who comes into a game with an 0-6 record and an ERA of 11.60.

Eleven. Point. Sixty.

Oh, the Mets are shorthanded, boo-hoo. I was willing to go with that against CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett. Against Chien-Ming Wang? No, you're going to have to do better than that. I mean, David Wright's a legitimate major leaguer, right? Right. A bonafide major leaguer who leads the N.L. in hitting, and couldn't get a freakin' hit during this whole freakin' series. Not one!

So yeah, I don't want to hear anything about shorthanded, resiliency, nor do I even want to hear anybody tell me "But Metstradamus ... Ya Gotta Believe". Because let's get one thing straight: After Ryan Church misses third base with the winning run, Luis Castillo drops the final out of a game, and BB-Rod walks Mariano Rivera with the bases loaded in the same season, the statute of limitations on my obligation to believe has officially run out. And I don't gotta do a damn thing except pay taxes and die.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

One Hit Wonder

When the highlight of a Yankees/Mets game is Keith Hernandez giving SNY viewers a riveting on-screen instructional of the intricacies of the cough button, that's when you have problems.

The Yankees defeated the Mets 5-0.

The SNY cough buttons defeated the Mets 3-0.

Where two hits at least could have been rubbed together to start a fire, the Mets couldn't even accomplish that, as they only had one all game. In fact, when Alex Cora struck out on a wicked A.J. Burnett (or has he dropped the periods and become AJ like his friend CC Sabathia) curveball in the first, the thought "well, let's get 'em tomorrow" escaped my lips. Seriously. (I'm impressed that it was Cora who got the only hit.) That's when I was told to have some optimism. You know the one thing that's worse than the Mets lineup right now? That's right, optimism.

Consider: Not only are Yankee fans able to get the best seats, but they're knocking pop-ups out of David Wright's glove in the stands. Not that it helped them (Robinson Cano struck out), but their baseball IQ rates higher than that of the Mets on the field. Now seriously, what the hell is that?

The worst part: Who can I really blame? Seriously? I'm going to pick on Jerry Manuel for batting Argenis Reyes second? Dumb? Yes. Difference making? Would putting Argenis in the eight hole or on the bench or in Buffalo have been the difference between zero runs and six ... or even one? For that matter, am I going to blame Argenis Reyes for being a .200 hitter? Man, that's like blaming a fish for being bad at breathing out of water, or Shaquille O'Neal for being tall, or Dennis Cook for having a temper. It's just who they are.

Frustratingly, blaming people would be akin to taking candy from multiple babies. It's just pointless. Burnett was on against a lineup where Brian Schneider had the best statistical chance to hit him. What exactly did we expect? At full strength, perhaps you can overcome a spotty performance by Tim Redding. When Argenis Reyes is batting second, well ...

Now if Monday's game recap contains the words "Chien-Ming Wang rediscovered his Cy Young form ..." then it's time to complain.


Speaking of complaining, Mark DeRosa went to the Cardinals for Chris Perez and a player to be named. Indians fans seem to be fairly confident that this player will be pretty good.

Mets fans will probably wonder if DeRosa was on Omar Minaya's radar. Considering what the Indians got, the asking price for Omar probably would have included one Mr. Robert Parnell. Is that a chance you would have taken?

Saturday, June 27, 2009

So This Is What Baseball In Hell Is Like

An ominous sign? Gee, ya think?

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Mo Zone: Specializing In Spreading Self-Doubt Among N.L. Right Fielders

This is Ryan Ludwick.

Obviously, Ryan Ludwick has a lot on his mind in this shot. But what's foremost in his mind? Fernando Tatis' RBI single falling in front of him? Bobbling Nick Evans' eventual game winning two run double soon afterwards?

Or could it have been the constant heckling from the fans in the right field stands?

Maybe none of the above. But I'm not so sure. Let's just say I've never seen a right fielder run so fast after the third out of every inning.

Okay, okay. So he probably always does that. Tell the truth, I rarely study the post inning speed of opposing right fielders. But Ryan Ludwick being filled with self-doubt about his own abilities upon listening to the gentle advice of the fans in right field (part of the largest crowd in Citi Field history of which I was a part of, I might add) makes for a much better, and much more interesting blog post, so that's how I choose to interpret it. So there.

(I'll say this: If Ludwick blasted one of Frankie's offerings into the left field seats after being heckled all game, I would still be at the park mapping out a cool, dry spot on the Promenade to jump off because that pretty much would have been it. I'd like to think that the heckles played a part in Ludwick not driving one off the Acela Club, but that's just me.)

One thing the fans in right field did prove is that Luis Castillo knows what it takes to play in New York. As the game got started, somebody in the Mo Zone yelled an encouraging word to Luis, who promptly turned around and acknowledged the fan with a quick wave. Now who could blame Castillo if he wants to stay away from fans as much as possible. But there's two ways to handle an incident like Castillo's. And the path that Luis has chosen is the right path. From not ducking interviews to laughing at mock standing ovations for using two hands to thanking a fan for a yelp of encouragement, that's how you handle being an athlete in New York.

(That, by the way, is an observation first brought up by my baseball companion today, who was nice enough to rub off his good Citi Field mojo over my awful new park smell, as I was 0-4 before today. Thank you, kind sir.)

Yeah, I might call Castillo "Gloves of Steel" or "Glove of Gold, Brain of Steel", every once in a while. But if there's a guy that I secretly hope is the one to get the winning hit to clinch a division title, it's Castillo.

Of course, I also secretly hope that he doesn't have an MRI scheduled for Monday. Which reminds me, first 100 fans on Sunday night get free MRI's, so get there early.

Enjoy this image of the last pitch of the game, made possible by Johan Santana finding his game after walking Chris Carpenter, a sweet Fernando Martinez catch, and Frankie Rodriguez being just a few notches over Aaron Heilman ... at least as far as Yadier Molina was concerned.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Tinker Toys

It's obvious as the nose on Snoop Manuel's face that as long as Fernando Nieve keeps pitching like this, he has to stay in the rotation. Isn't it?

Isn't it???

Well, maybe not. After all, Daniel Murphy has had nine hits in his last seven games before being benched against a righty on Wednesday night so Nick Evans could get into the lineup, and that 6-4-Tatis can stay there. Maybe Murphy came to Snoop asking for a breather. Maybe his last game being an 0-fer showed Snoop that Murphy needed a day of rest. But by that logic, everyone except Luis Castillo and Jeremy Reed needed to be benched after Jo-El Pineiro's two hitter.

My point is this: It's June ... late June. Everyone's on the DL. This whole Snoop notion of getting everybody at-bats has to be thrown out the window. There's no better chance to get players at-bats who need them to stay sharp. Gary Sheffield's knee is barking now? Guess what ... time for Ryan Church (3-for-4 with a long double to left which would have been out at Shea) to play every day and be in the middle of the order and not force-feed Sheffield back into the lineup. There isn't going to be a better opportunity to get Murphy in a groove and find out if he can do this every day than from now until the All-Star break. And if Nick Evans is going to go gangbusters as he did all over Brad Thompson on Monday, then let's put the kid in left field and find out if he can play and keep Fernando Tatis nailed to the bench if he's going to keep hitting into double plays.

It seems so obvious when it comes to using a hot pitcher like Nieve, why isn't it that obvious when it comes to hitters? The best players left have to play, and the lineup tinkering should be shelved.

There ... now that that's off my chest, hey, the Mets won 11-0! Awesome.

To reiterate, it was on the strength of another great outing from Fernando Nieve. And you thought I wasted a post on somebody who wasn't going to make the major league roster ... HA!

Well, I expected Nieve to be a disaster, so what the hell do I know? I'm just a dumb blogger, and I'm sorry. And if Nieve does this ten more times, I will apologize ten more times.
"I was thinking too much when I was with the Astros. The first time it was when (Roger) Clemens signed. Now, I just think about doing my job." -Fernando Nieve
So it's Clemens' fault. Figures. Screw you, Roger.

No similar salutation for Adam Wainwright, who admitted after this video that he still loves us Met fans. Well that's nice, but don't patronize me. The one thing that would have made 11-0 even better would have been if it was off Wainwright.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Superman: Son Of Jo-El

I don't get it ... do the Mets orbit around a different colored sun that turns Jo-El Pineiro into a super hero?

That has to be the explanation. Oh you remember Jo-El as the guy who helped wreck the Mets season in 2007. And he was back at it again earlier this season. But Tuesday night was the topper as Pineiro hurled a two hit shutout and had as many hits at the plate as he gave up from the mound.

To reiterate: Joel Pineiro.

Not Bob Gibson ...

not Luis Tiant ...

not even Wade Boggs.

No, we talkin' 'bout Jo-El Pineiro ... who's obviously a combination of all three when he faces the Mets. Against everyone else, he's 1-8 in his last nine. Clark Kent for the rest of the National League, Jo-El of Krypton against the Mets. Of course.

In fact, Pineiro's hitting exploits had more of an effect on this game than he'll ever imagine. Snoop Manuel, obviously buoyed by the offensive exploits of Jo-El, decided he'd go one better: He called a hit and run with Livan Hernandez at the plate.

Now I know that this isn't your typical Mets/Cardinals rivalry ... it used to be that the Mets were the power hitting team and the Cardinals were the "go-go" team. That's what made that rivalry great because it wasn't just a battle between two hated rivals, it was a clash of baseball philosophies. And it feels weird to root for the team that has to be creative on offense, yet with all of the Mets' injuries, that's the world we live in.

That said, a hit and run with Livan Hernandez??? Has Snoop finally lost his ever-loving mind???

All right, so there weren't that many opportunities to do this tonight with Dizzy Dean on the mound, but inside a glass box marked "break in case of emergency" deep in the bowels of Citi Field, there lies a list of people decreed by baseball who should never be holding a bat during a hit and run. On this list:
  • Chris Davis (because the Rangers' first baseman has the highest swing and miss rate in the league, and is single handedly ruining not one, but three of my fantasy teams)
  • Pete Rose (because he's sixty-eight years old)
  • My niece (because she's eight)
  • Livan Hernandez
  • Jose Offerman (because we know what he has tried to do with a bat)
Predictably, the result was a disaster, much like the rest of this game ... and every game that Jo-El of Krypton pitches against this team of nine Jimmy Olsens and zero General Zods.


This may be a little late in getting to you, but if you feel like drowning your sorrows in steak, you can do so and help a good cause at the same time: Ron Darling and Bobby Ojeda will be at Gallagher's Steak House at 228 W. 52nd St. (between B'way and 8th) for a benefit for Urban Dove to assist New York City’s At-Risk Youth. Call 212-245-5336 for a last minute reservation, or tell your friends. And if there's none left when you call ... well, blame me.


Maybe to change the Mets luck, they can play this little ditty as the team hits the field at home:

I'll take it in lieu of Sweet Caroline.

Monday, June 22, 2009


Well, it's official. With the news that Carlos Beltran is now on the disabled list, joining his friends Jose Reyes and Carlos Delgado, the offense will be more of a 19th century offense. It was a simpler time where home runs came at a premium due to the fact that everyone was smaller and, as seen from the photo above, there were no walls.

Citi Field has walls but you have to take the 7 Train to Main Street to get to them.

The Mets, with their 16 home runs in Monday's lineup, have become the 1885 New York Giants. That team's entire roster had 16 home runs all season. Six came from their catcher, Buck Ewing, which puts him on par with our current slugger Brian Schneider. You see, old time baseball depended more on base hits, speed, and fundamentals ... which makes you wonder how the '885 Giants went 85-27 with a second baseman whose OPS was .399 (and you thought Wilson Valdez had no stick.)

Of course, the '885 Giants also had Mickey Welch and Tim Keefe, who threw 492 and 400 innings that season. So let's just say if Bobby Parnell continues to slide, then Johan Santana and Livan Hernandez had better not make any plans on their off days.

We now know this 19th Century blueprint to be the plan all along, as rather than add bats, the Mets are getting rid of bats at the rate of lightning. Wily Mo Pena? Javier Valentin? Bobby Kielty? Who needs 'em anyway! The Bisons can go 24-43 without those guys just as easily as they did with them. No, the Mets want to party like it's 1885 and grow handlebar mustaches and have their baseball cards sponsored by Allen & Ginter cigarettes.

And at this point, why not? Omar Minaya has had plenty of chances to go get the likes of Adam Dunn or Aubrey Huff to play in their outfield. But at this point, why trade for Dunn? So that his protection in the lineup can be Luis Castillo? It's like being protected by the immortal Dude Esterbrook.

(Editor's note: We interrupt this blog so that the blogger can pat himself on the back for working in a Dude Esterbrook reference. I trust this will not be the last time that "Dude" will appear in this space.)

And with other GM's sure to ask for the world knowing that Omar Minaya is desperate to upgrade the club with major league pieces, why bother now? Why dip in to the lower levels of the minors to come up with the Reese Havens' and the Ike Davis' of the world to trade for Dunn?

Oh that's right, because the Bisons are 24-43 and the Binghamton Mets are 26-42 ... that's why.

I've said it before: if the Mets can't get through this stretch of tough games with or without their guns then it's a lost season anyway. There's no guarantee trading for Adam Dunn tomorrow is going to fill all these holes and cure everything that ails them in the next two weeks. The opportunity to trade for a big bopper is gone with Beltran now. The window has closed and that bird has flown so far away that he's circling Canada with the rest of the geese. It's over. The next opportunity to make a trade that will bring a big piece in without destroying what's left of the farm system will come after Beltran and Reyes, and maybe Delgado come back. Then you trade from strength and give up less to get what you need. So for now, the best course of action is to return to a simpler time and try to take down a fighter jet with a rock.

And who's to say it can't happen? Who's to say that Daniel Murphy isn't going to get hot? He hit one of those futuristic 20th Century crazes known as the home run on Monday so who knows? And who's to say that Fernando Martinez isn't going to have a much better second stint in New York than first stint? With the pressure off now that the focus will be much more on who isn't there than who is there, why can't Martinez go under the radar a bit and start contributing? The Mets got themselves a big win on Monday with the 19th Century lineup, why can't they tread water with it for now? Heck, every time I predict doom anyway it never happens so why not?

And why can't Elmer Dessens be a beacon of light to a depleted bullpen?

Okay, that last sentence was proof positive that you can pull a hamstring simply by being overly optimistic. I hope your retinas weren't strained reading that.

But seriously, what more can the Mets do at this point except roll the dice and see if they can roll a seven? If their 19th Century singles offense can keep going as it did on Monday, great. If not, then there will be plenty of blame heaped on Omar's doorstep as something probably should have been done long ago anyway.

(Editor's note: It figures I would pick Dude Esterbrook out of the air. As it turns out, and I swear I didn't realize this until halfway through this blog post, that Esterbrook threw himself off a train on his way to a mental hospital and killed himself at the age of 43. Fitting because while Dude also played for the defunct New York Metropolitans in addition to the Giants, the current incarnation of the New York Metropolitans is slowly driving me to a similar fate.)

(Editor's Update: Want proof of my impending insanity? Jose Reyes was in a car accident on Monday. Seriously. The good news is he's fine, and there's no truth to the rumor that Cecil Wiggins was driving the fire truck that rear ended the car carrying Reyes and Ray Ramirez.)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Looks Like Bob Is Throwing Them Hard ... And Straight

In a world where nothing is ever as it seems, you can count on three things to be certain in life:

You will die.

You will pay taxes or go to jail avoiding them.

Pat Burrell will play a part in your demise.

And when Bobby Parnell is in the midst of a patch as rough as this, you can be sure that Burrell will be there to take advantage. Oh, he could be wearing a different uniform. He could have a goatee that makes him look like Richard Karn. He could be visiting your new ballpark instead of the old one that he liked to haunt for so long. But it doesn't matter ... because when you root for the Mets, you have no choice but to experience two of life's certainties rolled into one: Death by Burrell.

Burrell merely started the rally off of the slumping Parnell that B.J. Upton and Evan Longoria finished off in the seventh. But you knew he would be involved in some capacity. Parnell just proved the theory that pitches may be fast, but the straight ones go faster towards the wall.

And before we go all "oh great, the offense finally delivered and the pitching falls apart", let's remember that one run was scored on a wild pitch, one run was scored on a base hit by Mike Pelfrey, one run was scored on a fielder's choice by Gary Sheffield, and another three run dinger by Babe Schneider. Yeah, the runs count ... but how many of them were legit? How long is the public supposed to depend on wild pitches and base hits by pitchers and Schneider pretending he's some sort of slugger?

Did you realize, as I didn't until today, that Mets catchers have driven in more runs than any other group of catchers in the league? Seriously? Do they get, like, the William M. Jennings trophy for that? Oh, there's no award for that? Let's invent one:

"The Ron Hodges Trophy."

More telling is that the Mets have gotten more RBI from the catcher position than any other position. What that tells, and who it tells of, I don't know. But it can't be good. So how's about Omar Minaya work the phones and get an honest to goodness run producer before the Phillies realize they're not as bad as they've been this week. Just an idea.

(Editor's note: You know what will happen now, right? Omar will try to acquire Burrell ... and the next sound you'll hear will be Metstradamus banging his head against the wall.)

Don't Go In There!

You know what's sad? Sad is when David Wright swings at an 0-1 changeup in the dirt, and FOX's friend Tim McCarver is telling us that he's going to get the exact same pitch at 0-2 (in between raindrops and declarations of love from Greta Van Susteren to Brett Favre, of course.) And here we are in front of our televisions knowing deep in the recesses of our hearts that the result is going to be the same ... that Wright is going to swing what he thinks is an oar but is actually a baseball bat at a changeup in the dirt, or off the dirt and up ... as it were.

Heck, even when the at-bat started you probably had a twinge of resignation in the pit of your stomach, giving in to the notion that David Wright, good as he is, isn't very good in the clutch, or at least as good as we'd like him or need him to be. It's like you're watching a horror flick from the 70's and you, your date, and everyone else in the theater knows that the cheerleader shouldn't enter the room with the bloody door knob. But in goes the cheerleader with everything going for her and before you know it, she's shish kebob with a sis-boom-bah.

David Wright has everything going for him too. He's rich, handsome, and as said to me today, he has a "Nintendo batting average." But he offered at a one-hop changeup at 0-1 as the tying run in the ninth. And when you do that, you might as well be wearing a letterman jacket looking around saying "Hello ... is anybody here ..." as J.P. Howell comes out with the hockey mask and the machete.

But hey, you can't blame him. After all, "clutch hit" sounds a lot like "cricket" when you say them really fast. Besides, where was the rest of the lineup? When 21 of the final 22 hitters go down without so much as a hint of concern, kinda makes you wonder if the team was trying to beat the Hamptons traffic.

At least Johan Santana was healthy enough to lose ... betcha he's hoping for an MRI right about now.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

It's A Real Hit

Brian Schneider hit a three run home run on Friday.

Do I really have to say that?

You would be right to expect that Schneider's robust home run production would drop significantly in 2009. After all, the pitcher who Schneider has hit the most home runs off became his teammate this season.

That would be Tim Redding. And that home run total off him would be the robust number of 2.

"I'm not saying that."

So who knew that Schneider would blast one off Andy Sonnanstine in the second inning on Friday ... and to the deepest part of the longest baseball cave east of San Diego? I sure as heck didn't. And really, what does this say about Sonnanstine?

"I'm not saying that either."

Did you ever think you would hear this sentence: "Led by Brian Schneider and Fernando Nieve, the Mets closed to within two games of the Philadelphia Phillies for first place." Really? You saw this coming? Well, you might want to take that bottled water you're holding and douse your crotch ... for your pants are on fire.

Or if you prefer to keep your water to drink, then just wait until Saturday's game, which is forecasted to have an 80% chance of rain, so just walk outside with your blazing pants. And watch as Johan Santana hopes for an extra day off for his blister to heal and for his velocity to return so that we all stop panicking. Yeah, like a great outing from Johan will seriously prevent Mets fans from panicking.

Maybe if Fernando Martinez finds his stroke in Buffalo, if Nick Evans ate enough carrots while in Binghamton to combat his apparent night blindness (0 hits in Buffalo during night games), and Brian Schneider can hit .280 we'll stop with the panicking.

"That's it, I'm not doing this."

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Yeah, I Think The Mets Can Trade For Aubrey Huff Now

So what if he occasionally drops a pop-up.

Big deal if he's more and more a DH every day.

And who cares if sometimes he blasts the city he plays for.

He giveth, but he taketh twice as much away. That's good enough for me. And let's get Matt Wieters in the deal too (get off the drugs, blogger.)

And it's a shame too. Because while there's no good time to blow a save, and there's no good time to blow your first save of the season*** (I don't count Pisarcik: The Sequel). But this was an especially bad time for Frankie to blow a save considering that the Orioles, as tough a division as they may be in, are the one losing team the Mets face for practically the rest of the month. And they lost an opportunity to not only take two of three from this subpar yet improving team, but to gain ground on the Phillies, who lost three straight to the Blue Jays (and when the Jays return to Toronto, that's like 3.39 wins with the exchange rate).

(And speaking of the Phillies, don't you find it interesting that Raul Ibanez was placed on the DL out of nowhere? He apparently played the whole season with a groin strain, but when it got too much he got put on the DL. Notice there were no conflicting reports, no "he said, he said", no being stuck in that "day-to-day" limbo for three months while the team is shorthanded and no throwing away of young relievers to keep players on the bench who are hurt ... there is only ... the DL, and that's that.)

It's also a shame because Sean Green is slowly proving to the Mets why he was an important throw-in for the J.J. Putz deal (or at this point, is it Putz who was the throw-in for the Sean Green deal). He got the Mets out of an eighth inning jam by inducing more weakly hit grounders (one of which ending with a great Luis Castillo play ... see, he can field) and all I kept thinking is that Sean Green was once saddled with the Curse of Aaron Heilman because of a bad number choice. And even though he only wore it for one or two spring games (only one, I think), he still had to go through a down period before he could truly shake it. I mean, how many chickens and goats and pigs had to be sacrificed* before the Curse of Heilman was completely lifted? And how many times were there no live chickens around to be sacrificed forcing Livan Hernandez to pull a Pedro Cerrano and go get some KFC? And how many times did the KFC say "oh, we only have Kentucky Grilled Chicken**" left, throwing yet another wrench in Green's emergence from said curse?

A valiant effort by Green simply laid to waste.

And now the A.L. Champs come to town with their manager already complaining about Citi Field ticket prices. Just another thing the Mets do to fire their opposition up. Take a number, sir.

*No chickens were harmed in the writing of this blog post.

**Blogger not compensated by Kentucky Fried Chicken.

*** Brian Bruney had no comment.

A Dark Chi In Johan's Knee

We take you to the locker room following the Mets 6-4 loss to the Orioles ...

RP: Psst. Johan. Johan!

JS: Rick? Rick Peterson? What are you doing in the laundry basket?

RP: I snuck in before the game.

JS: How did nobody catch you?

RP: I hid in Tim Redding's beard.

JS: No wonder he struggled tonight. Were you in his beard during the Red Sox game too?

RP: No but a machete, three kittens, and the Patriots practice squad were in there. Threw off his whole delivery.

JS: Why are you here?

RP: Johan, I have to warn you of impending doom. Your knee is completely messed up.

JS: How do you know this?

RP: Trust me Johan, I know about these things. I read some books on Eastern philosophy, and something is telling me that your knee isn't right. It's like I'm feeling some sort of tingling sensation.

JS: Are you Spiderman?

RP: My sense is telling me that your drop in velocity is attributed to an entire family of groundhogs living in your knee, slowly gnawing away at your ligaments.

JS: Listen Spiderman, if there were groundhogs living in my knee, the trainers would have found them.

RP: You trust these trainers? They told Ryan that his concussion was a dizzy spell. They told Carlos that his bum hip was just a bruise due to too much time playing the EA Active for Wii. And they also told Ramon Martinez that his hernia was indigestion and prescribed him Pepto Bismol.

JS: So what should I do?

RP: We need to go in the back and participate in some vedic chanting right away!

JS: I'm not chanting with you. I need to listen to 70's and 80's music on my iPod.

RP: Johan, you don't understand ... you need to be one with a higher power and will the groundhogs out of your knee.

JS: I like groundhogs, they're cute.

RP: Remember, "If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle."

JS: Is that why I lost to the Yankees? Or was it my knee? I'm confused.

RP: "To see the world in a grain of sand, and heaven in a wild flower, to hold infinity in the palm of the hand, and eternity in an hour."

JS: That fourth inning on Sunday was an eternity.

RP: "An unguarded minute has an accident in it."

JS: Okay Spidey listen, that last quote isn't Eastern Philosophy. It's Hall and Oates. My knee is fine and you're not my pitching coach anymore.

RP: Dammit Johan I'm a doctor not a pitching coach!

JS: You're not a doctor either ... and you're barely a philosopher.

RP: Damn!

JS: Umm, Ray? Mike? Omar? Can you help me here? Spiderman's trying to get me and I'm trying to listen to my iPod.

RR: All right Rick, let's go. Johan's knee is fine.

RP: No! You have to listen to me!!! There's a dark chi in Johan's knee!!! It must be exorcised!

OM: Rick, you were fired a year ago. Remember?

RP: I remember! Tuscany tiles bla bla bla but listen!!!

JS: (puts on iPod) "An unguarded minute ...WATCH OUT ... has an accident in it"

MH: Let's go Rick.

RP: No! NO!!! You have to listen to me!!! Bring me Perez!!! I CAN FIX HIM IN TEN MINUTES!!!!!

JS: "I'm a maaaaaaaaaaaan, yes I aaaaaaaam and I caaaaaaaan't help but love you so! No no no!"

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Shoe, Meet Other Foot ... Other Foot, Shoe

Nice to see the other team make errors to give the Mets some free runs.

And that includes Aubrey Huff, who thought he was Braylon Edwards trying to catch a pop-up in the seventh inning which allowed the go-ahead runs to score in a 6-4 Mets win over the Orioles. I guess since the Mets have been linked to Huff's name in potential trade talks, Aubrey wanted to show that he belongs in Flushing.

Yeah sure, let's trade for him. He'd fit right in.

But no fear ... if Huff does come to the Mets and does something like that, we now know that David Wright will yell at him in the dugout, like he did with Mike Pelfrey tonight after Pelfrey was pulled from the game for losing his stuff in the sixth ... and it was stuff that was no-hit quality in the first three innings. See, Sugar Pants is more than just a pretty face ... he's a leader too.

You know what David Wright is not? A doctor. And neither is former pitching coach Rick Peterson, though he wants to play one on TV. Well, Johan Santana thinks Peterson should stick to his day job.
"How did he know that my knee hurts? That's the question that I have. You guys tell me -- how did he find that out? Because it is crazy. Not even the trainers know. Not even me. I didn't know my knee hurts."
Oh that's right, Peterson doesn't have a day job. In fact, he hasn't had a day job in exactly one year, at least as a pitching guru. (And speaking of anniversaries, June 16th of '08 was Mike Pelfrey's first win in about two months, which was followed by the firing of Peterson and Willie Randolph. June 16th of '09 was Pelfrey's first win in a little over a month ... and although Snoop Manuel isn't in any trouble that we know of, Manny Acta is. All together now ... ooooooooooooh"). Aww ... Happy anniversary, Willie and Rick. Sorry I forgot to send cards. But for you, Rick, I'll light a candle at 3:11 AM in remembrance of the hardwood floor that you helped lay down ... right before it was ripped up with the rest of Shea.

You know what, I feel like some Rick Peterson nostalgia on this one year anniversary:
"I don’t really want to answer questions. I just want to say that I came here five years ago, and Fred and Jeff [Wilpon] gave me a wonderful opportunity. I left Oakland to come here to be with my kids on the East Coast and it’s been wonderful. I appreciated the opportunity and they welcomed me into their home and the home is going through renovation. Sometimes you have to make changes when things don’t go that well, and I’m part of that change. I totally understand that. I grew up in the baseball business, and I’m the hardwood floor that’s getting ripped out and they’re going to bring in the Tuscany tile.

And it will be great. My heart and soul is with every pitcher that I've dealt with here. They’ll always be in my heart and soul. It’s that kind of relationship. I’m sad for that. But I’m also happy for them. There’s a lot of guys on the right track that I hope they stay on the right track. And there’s a lot of guys that are off the track that I hope Dan Warthen can get them back on track.

This is a team that’s underachieved and I think it will get back on track.

I wear this bracelet because I’m very in tune with Eastern philosophy and universal law. This is faith. This is compassion, equanimity, and love. And in Eastern writing, they write in symbols and the symbol for problem and crisis they also use for opportunity. I've been given a great opportunity here, and once I walk out that door, I’ll seek my next opportunity. I walk out in peace and I wish everybody else here the best – Jerry Manuel, Omar Minaya, Fred and Jeff.

And hopefully the Tuscany tile will do a lot better than the hardwood floor. Thank you so much."
-Rick Peterson, June 17, 2008
Just so you know Rick, the Tuscany tile is working out just fine. Except half the team is on the DL after slipping on it.

Monday, June 15, 2009

It Can Get Worse: Let Us Count The Ways

You're probably thinking that it couldn't get any worse after losing 15-0 to the New York Yankees.

Just like you thought that there was no way it could get worse after Luis Castillo's dropped pop-up.

And I'm sure you thought that the Mets couldn't possibly top Ryan Church missing third base and all the errors in the bottom of that inning for sheer comedy.

Well, as I'm sure you've learned, it can always get worse. And for the New York Mets, it most assuredly will get worse. Join me in staring down the crystal ball to find out just how it will get worse, as we look ahead to ten losses that will shape the Mets season:

Sunday, June 28: The Mets enter the ninth inning with a 13-0 lead against the Yankees, yet Snoop Manuel brings in Frankie Rodriguez to get some work in. Against a Yankees lineup which rested their stars for the latter half of the game, he gives up 14 runs including a two run HR by Brian Bruney, who came in the game for Nick Swisher who blew out his arm while pitching. The Mets lose 14-13.

Sunday, July 12: Frankie gets Jay Bruce to pop up with the bases loaded and the Mets up by two. But as Luis Castillo settles under it and puts two hands up, Jose Reyes is so happy for him that he tackles Castillo in celebration. One problem: Reyes mobbed him before the ball came down. Three runs scored after the ball drops as the Mets lose 6-5. The play is ruled a grand slam single.

Sunday, July 26: With every member of the Mets pitching staff having incarcerated by the Houston P.D. the night before, the Mets force Brian Stokes into action to pitch a complete game. After throwing 147 pitches, 127 of which for strikes, the Mets lose 2-1 to the Astros when Stokes throws a double play ball over the screen behind home plate with the bases loaded. Manuel vows to put Stokes in non-pressure situations going forward.

Monday, July 27: Todd Helton hits a screaming line drive to Gary Sheffield for the final out of the game ... and he catches it with two hands. But the umpires go to instant replay to find that the ball was hit so hard that a stitch from the baseball flew off the ball and flew towards the stands, barely grazing the Subway sign forcing the umpires to rule the play a two run homer, giving the Rockies their 42nd straight win.

Thursday, August 6: Ryan Church blasts a grand slam with two outs in the ninth against closer Heath Bell to give the Mets a 6-3 lead. However, Church is called out as he missed second base. Not only did the four runs come off the board, the official scorer takes away the remaining two runs because upon video review, Church actually had the audacity to miss every single base, and the Mets lose 3-0.

Monday, August 24: After not pitching for the previous 27 games, Brian Stokes comes in a tight situation: down by a run in the ninth, bases loaded, and Chase Utley at the plate with one out. Stokes goes 3-0 on Utley, after which Manuel visits the mound to have a heated discussion with Stokes. The next pitch is grounded back to Stokes, who holds on to the ball and doesn't throw it anywhere ... all the while staring back at Manuel in the dugout. As teammates try to pry the ball loose from Stokes, all four runs score as the Mets go on to lose 15-4. Stokes is released soon after the game and the Mets pick up Aaron Heilman off waivers.

Friday, August 28: Johan Santana is one out away from pitching the first no-hitter in Mets history at Wrigley Field when the first pitch he throws to the final batter dips under 90 mph. An ambulance immediately comes on the field to take Santana away for an MRI. "Now?" Santana asks ... "Yes, now" say the doctors. The ambulance, packed with every other Mets pitcher but one, drives Santana away. The one healthy pitcher left, Heilman, gives up back to back homers to Tuffy Rhodes and Pumpsie Green as the Mets lose 2-1.

Friday, September 4th: With the Mets down 4-3 and a runner on third base in the bottom of the 12th, Carlos Beltran drives a long one out home run headed towards the Pepsi Porch. But at that moment a fan, dissatisfied with his fish sandwich from the "Catch of the Day" stand for some reason, throws the remaining portion of the sandwich towards the field. The sandwich hits the ball, which changes direction and falls into the glove of Milton Bradley for the second out. Bradley then fires a strike to third base to double off Jose Reyes, who scored without tagging up and was already in the shower. Mets lose 4-3.

Friday, September 18th: The Mets lose 2-1 to the Washington Nationals, after they've traded Adam Dunn, Joe Beimel, Ryan Zimmerman, Julian Tavarez, John Lannan, Cristian Guzman, Nick Johnson, Anderson Hernandez, Elijah Dukes, Austin Kearns, and Joel Hanrahan for middling prospects. All of Steven Strasburg's 27 outs came via the strikeout in his major league debut as the Nationals lineup consists of Jesus Flores, Willie Harris, the four guys who dress in the President suits, and Screech the Mascot. The guy in the Teddy Roosevelt suit hits two home runs off of Oliver Perez and also wins his first mascot race between innings.

Sunday, October 4th: The Mets, incredibly, are tied for the wild card lead with the San Francisco Giants with one game left to go. Oliver Perez starts for the Mets, and he squares off with Mike Hampton. Perez actually pitches a good game, going six innings and giving up three runs before giving way to the bullpen. Hampton was better, going eight and 2/3's only giving up two runs. But he got himself into a sticky situation loading the bases with David Wright at the plate. The Astros brought in Hampton's 14-year-old son Gage to face Wright, and Gage strikes him out to end the game, and eventually end the Mets' season as the Giants defeated the Padres later that day.

When asked how he picked up on the subtleties of pitching to major league hitters so quickly by the New York media, Gage credited a solid Colorado education.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

No Luck For The Irish

And the day started so promisingly too.

But even after Frankie Rodriguez went all Braveheart on Brian Bruney (which might not have been the right thing to do but to me better than than being the "nice guys" the Mets are famous for being, so it's something I wholeheartedly endorse ... and how ironic was it that Mike Pelfrey played peacemaker), the Mets followed up by being taken out by the woodshed by the Yankees. Once again, the Mets inability to get one stupid hit with the bases loaded and nobody out in the third proved to be their downfall while they were down 4-0.

Well that, and the nine other runs that Santana gave up with his lower than normal velocity. Just tell me when the MRI's coming ... because that has to be next, right?

But the Mets fans are even turning on each other. I saw a guy during the game walking on the street wearing a Wright jersey when the score was 13-0 and I told him "hey, don't turn on the highlights and save yourself some grief". Thinking I was a Yankee fan he tells me "Keep walking pal". To be fair, I was wearing a Notre Dame jersey so he probably thought from that wardrobe choice that I must have been a Yankee fan. I explained to him that I was a Met fan and that I was trying to warn him. Then he yelled "F**k Notre Dame!"

(For the record, I could give a crap about Notre Dame in either direction ... my only connection to the Irish is that my father was Irish. But I won the jersey in a raffle yesterday, so I wore it today as if it was the leg lamp from A Christmas Story. It's a major award, so I wore it. Won it at "Blogs with Balls 1.0" by the way, so thanks guys for a great event and for the free jersey ... and can't wait for the sequel in Vegas so I can lose the rest of my money. You'll be happy to know that my major award has already almost caused an international incident.)

But the kicker is that the guy waited until he was a half block away entering a cab before yelling this. Great, I try to help a brother out and I encounter the Brian Bruney of Met fans who can't even address the issue with me face to face. Must still be upset about Aaron Heilman.

(But in the future, I'll keep my mouth shut while I'm wearing my "major award.", because no good deed does really go unpunished. Wow. A red letter day all around.)

Nieve Colossal

Baseball really is full of surprises.

Of course, the surprises don't come any greater than what happened to Luis Castillo last night. But to see NYM 6 NYY 2 in the eighth inning, which is when I first caught it, in a game which Fernando Nieve dominated was a huge surprise.

Is it wrong that when I saw that score, that I was wondering how the Mets were going to blow it? More wrong than FOX interviewing Castillo after a game he had next to nothing to do with? Was I watching MLB on FOX, or Oprah?

If you remember, I was the one who decided, in my own snarky, obnoxious way, to make fun of another one of these "low risk/high reward" signings that Omar Minaya likes to treat us with. And here's another reason why I hate, despise that term: Throwing Fernando Nieve against the Yankees wasn't anything that I would call "low risk". Especially after what happened on Friday, that was less "low risk" and more "mission critical". And I had this marked for a loss.

And for the 5,498th time on this blog, I was wrong. I generally like when I'm wrong. That was an especially high risk start by Nieve, and it yielded high reward. Let me be wrong all season ... like I was wrong so far on Gary Sheffield, though the MRI tolls for thee. (Why not? Everyone else has one, what makes Sheffield so special?)

You know who else is wrong? You got it: Brian Bruney. Get a load of this, as Bruney talked about Friday night's disaster:
"Couldn't have happened to a better guy on the mound, either. He's got a tired act. He gets what he deserves, man. I just don't like watching the guy pitch. I think it's embarrassing ... You know what? I learned to play the game a different way, that's all I can say. You won't see me do that, the way he acts, you won't see that. But it doesn't matter. Guy's doing his job, he's had a great career, set the saves record. So it doesn't matter what I think. I'm sure I'm not the only one who thinks that but, again, he doesn't know who I am, so it doesn't matter."
Don't worry Frankie, I'll be glad to fill you in on who Brian Bruney is. Brian Bruney is the guy who got a chance to pitch the ninth inning and close when he was a member of the Diamondbacks in '04 and '05, and let's just say he was less than stellar on multiple occasions. So even if he had a celebratory gesture, he rarely had a chance to use it.

Yeah Brian, I remember you. And from what I remember in Arizona, I didn't like watching you pitch.

And when you throw in the hypocrisy of Bruney playing on the same team as somebody who's own antics have come into question (during moments where said team is behind), then you have the perfect storm of please, if you would, shut up.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Don't Watch A Bad Game Again

Here now is seventeen seconds of exclusive footage from Metstradamus' Subway Series party on Friday, sometime around 10:55 ET:

Some people, some teams, some franchises, are sprinkled with pixie dust from above.

The New York Mets? They're pelted with shards of broken glass from above.

And that is the only excuse I will accept from Luis Castillo as to why he dropped Alex Rodriguez's pop up which should have ended the game in our favor, and not in our misery.

I seriously don't know what to say anymore. Bad enough I root for a team that needs a GPS to run the bases, now this? What can you say about a game that made Ryan Church missing third feel like a World Series parade?

Tell me what I can do.

Go through every bad loss we've had in the last three years? Old hat.

Wish for this whole team to be traded? Omar would probably mess that up.

Threaten to jump off a bridge? Nobody pays attention when I do that anymore. Half of my friends probably wish I'd just do it already.

Take it in stride and just move on to tomorrow's Met game? With Fernando Nieve on the hill? (Nieve, by the way, means "clenched fist", as in the one I wish to punch myself in the face with repeatedly, as opposed to "nueve" which is Spanish for what Nieve's ERA will be after tomorrow's game.)

No, I will turn this into a positive, and provide you with alternative viewing options to tomorrow's, inevitably disastrous Mets game:
  • NBC has motorcycle racing ... the Alli AMA Motocross Series from Mount Morris, PA.
  • Nickolodeon has "The Penguins of Madagascar", not to be confused with the Penguins of Pittsburgh, who might win ten more Stanley Cups before the Mets sniff the playoffs again.
  • Gladiator can be seen on WPIX. Everyone dies in the movie. After Friday night, that qualifies as a "pick me up".
  • NRL rugby can be seen on MSG+. No word on whether Castillo will be looking towards that league for future employment.
  • Steel Magnolias is on Oxygen. It's about six women who's spirits are made of steel ... just like Castillo's glove.
  • Oooh, exciting stuff on MTV: It's a marathon of "I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Outta Here".
It's either that or watch what's on FOX on Saturday: "I'm a Met Fan ... Get Me Outta Here".

Not again.

Friday, June 12, 2009

A Hank Size Hit, Baa!

Maybe the whole Jerod Morris/John Gonzalez thing was all an elaborate rouse to get Raul Ibanez mad enough to smack a Ken Takahashi pitch five miles over the right field fence to break the Mets hearts ... again ... in extra innings.

Nah, considering how much Takahashi missed his target by, Mary Poppins would have hit that pitch over the fence. So mad has nothing to do with it.

But jeez, you couldn't wait until next week to accuse Ibanez of enhancing his performance?

Oh, you wanted serious analysis. Well guess what? Got none. Gotta admit it's tough to ignore the three season trend of the Mets losing all these extra inning games where they have leads and then ... they don't, and attribute it to lack of heart and what not. You sure as hell could say it in '07. Last season was more the bullpen than anything. I can't explain year three. Yeah, blame Takahashi, but a Fernando Tatis sac bunt helped to do them in yesterday, and the lineup card helped to do them in tonight.

But losing two out of three to the Phillies in extra innings at home is a stark reminder that there's still a gap to be closed that seems wider than four games before the Mets can say they're on par with the Phillies. For me, that gap can be closed by getting some injured players back, but most of it can be closed by Omar Minaya and Snoop Manuel. We all know how Minaya can help close the gap. (Whether Minaya knows how to do it is anyone's guess. I guess a good start would have been signing Ibanez, but ... ah forget it. I can't tell you I saw this coming with a straight face either.)

As for Snoop, not for nothing, but isn't it about time we move David Wright (three hits on Thursday) past Gary Sheffield (three hits for the month) in the lineup? No? It's just another managerial decision that would have brought the Mets the fourth run on Thursday, as Wright would have knocked in Beltran in the third and given them the fourth run to prevent extra innings. I mean if you're going to put what is amounting to be an automatic out between Beltran and Wright, then just have the pitcher bat fourth.

Oh, speaking of the pitcher, guess who was put on the disabled list tonight? Thaaaaaat's right, John Maine. Yeah, just a dead arm, right? From the team that once let Mike DeJean pitch with a broken ankle. Different doctors, same misinformation. And on the very day that Orlando Hernandez finds work. Now which over 40 starter who's been out of the league for two years are the Mets going to turn to?


As you may have heard by now, a self described construction foreman has announced that he buried three Phillies jerseys in various spots underneath Citi Field while he was working for Hunt Construction. This of course brings to mind the David Ortiz jersey that was temporarily buried underneath the new Yankee Stadium (didn't seem to help Ortiz until this week).

Well, now is probably as good a time as any to admit to you that before I started this blog, I too worked for Hunt Construction while it was working on the Citizens Bank Park project, and I left some items underneath the Phillies' stadium. Here's just a partial list:
  • 25 Mets jerseys (5 pinstriped, 5 gray, 5 white, 5 black, and 5 of those pink ones that the girls like to wear
  • A Ty Wigginton t-shirt
  • A hat signed by Timo Perez
  • A set of used jockstraps worn by Jason Phillips
  • Certificates of authenticity for each jockstrap worn by Jason Phillips
  • Mustache clippings from Jeff Kent
  • A home run ball off the bat of Raul Gonzalez (only five of which exist in the whole world)
  • The deck of cards used by Bobby Bonilla and Rickey Henderson
  • An empty jar of peanut butter signed by Tony Tarasco
  • Bake McBride
No, seriously. Bake McBride is buried underneath Citizens Bank Park. Here's an exclusive photo:

I've also equipped each item with a tracking device which enables me to spot exactly where each item was buried. Using exclusive infrared technology I've mapped out the exact spots in the ballpark where you can find these items:

McBride actually moves around through the built in crawlspaces under the park, where he acquires sustenance from leftover cheesesteaks dropped through a pipe behind the Tony Luke's stand.

Needless to say, my efforts were fruitless. Maybe I should have used memorabilia from a higher grade of player. Oh well, you can dig if you want.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Punk'd? More Like Park'd

The Mets lost this game well before the Chase Utley home run.

They lost this game because sixteen hits could only bring home four runs.

They lost Wednesday's game when Dan Iassogna called Carlos Beltran out on the double play that should have scored the fifth run as Beltran was clearly safe. Funny how there was a recent conversation about how bad the umpiring has been this year, and it was awful again tonight on many counts ... most which benefited the Mets, but that call was key (forgive me if I start scoffing every time an umpire starts complaining about instant replay ... seriously, I'm starting to not care if baseball games go ten hours each just so we can have replay review every single damn play ... either that or we need to invent "Umpbots"). And even if that call was right, you knew that it would be a key point in the game since the Mets had one chance to blow Cole Hamels out and he didn't do it.

They really lost this game in the seventh, when Snoop decided to call a sac bunt with a guy at the plate who hadn't had a sac bunt in seven years. Fernando Tatis has some pop, no? Well, not when he's called to bunt, giving away your sixth hitter. And with a successful sacrifice (another, most likely terrible call), you give away your seventh hitter as Ryan Church was intentionally walked to set up Omir Santos ... meaning that hitters six and seven were wasted, leaving the bulk of the work to be done by hitters eight and nine. I know Snoop loves Omir but man, that wasn't quite gangsta.

But they really, really, really lost the game because of their inability to score a damn run off Chan Ho Park. Ryan Church had him 3-0 and let two meatballs zip right on by him like they were old men in vans wearing trench coats asking him if he wanted candy. Then on 3-2 he swings at slop in the dirt. I've grown a small affinity for Church, as he's become the red-headed step child of the organization. But if that at-bat was any more putrid I'd have to close my windows and throw towels under the doors.

So let's review the rubber game of the series: Tim Redding on the mound, which has recently resulted in poundings by the Red Sox and Marlins, a spent bullpen with Frankie having been burned for two innings on Wednesday. I guess that J.J. Putz will have to close tomorrow we should be prepared for the "give up" lineup on Thursday, resting guys for the Yankee series.
  • SS Valdez
  • 2B Cora
  • 1B Murphy
  • 3B Hebner
  • LF Martinez
  • CF Reed
  • RF Emil Brown
  • C Alberto Castillo
  • P Redding
With Carlos Muniz as the only guy available out of the bullpen. (But seriously, they're probably going to have to pound Moyer like chop meat again to have any sort of chance.)

And I'm mildly disappointed that Pelfrey didn't drill Hamels after the "choke" comments (but kudos to Alex Cora for going up the middle hard on him). He made up for it though by telling Utley and Shane Victorino to shove it. I'll take any moral victory I can get.

Did I mention ... Chan Ho Park???!?!?!?!??? For crying out loud.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Coors Light

Citi Field ... Launching pad?

It's almost as if David Wright entered the clubhouse sheepishly and asked the ballpark for forgiveness after word got out that its feelings were hurt.
"No no, Citi ... you really ARE a nice park." -David Wright
Forgiveness came in the form of a first inning home run for Wright, and you knew it would be a nutty night. In fact, there were seven home runs at Citi tonight, or ... one more than Wright, Ryan Church, and Jose Reyes have had all season. Church also added to his total by almost breaking the apple into millions and millions of pieces (which would have been immediately sold by Steiner Sports online for $150 each ... an extra hundred if Church signs the fiberglass shard).

Of course, the park got some revenge by letting the Phillies have four of the home runs, which was wrought with "don't mess with Mother Nature" moments. But all those homers got Johan Santana all jacked up that he wanted to get in on the act. Now he's a pitcher so all he could muster was a double. But heck, it tied the game and set up Church's eventual game winner, so nobody's quibbling here. Well, except for Johan ... who has a touch of the crazies these days.
"I’m a man. I’m a man," Manuel remembered his ace telling him. "What he means by that, I don’t know."
Great, he's finally snapped after a year and a half of this franchise. While everyone else gets hurt physically, Johan is imagining he's Steve Winwood.

And speaking of crazies, what the hell was Shane Victorino staring down after the game? Did anyone else catch him stare down the field from the dugout? Who or what was he looking at? Or was he taking notes on which Mets were celebrating too much so that Jimmy Rollins can lecture the media on what behavior is acceptable on a baseball field? (No ... you shush.)

Jeez, just have a seat in the clubhouse, Shane. (The nice, new luxurious visitor's clubhouse.)

Oh, and while I'm on the subject, how exactly did Carlos Beltran get tagged with the "no class" label while Cole Hamels basically got off without a slap on the wrist for his "choker" comments? I ask this because hey, guess who's pitching tomorrow ...

Line drives up the middle are good, fundamental baseball. Just sayin'.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Nice Park

So wait, you mean Larry Jones isn't going to name his next child Blue Smoke Jones?

"It is the biggest park that I have ever played in in my life. It is a huge ballpark to center and right center and right field. You know, I actually feel sort of sorry for some of the guys out there because their power numbers are really going to take a hit; guys like David Wright , [Carlos] Beltran, [Carlos] Delgado. The days of them hitting 35, 40 homers -- they're over. I juiced the ball just right of center field as hard as the good Lord can let me hit a ball, and it hit midways up the center-field wall for a double," he said. "And every time there was a long fly out or a double that hit off the wall or something, David Wright would run by me and go, 'Nice park.'" -L. Jones
So this was the reason for the 800 foot valley in right field ... the Wilpons wanted to be sure to build a park that Jones couldn't kill them in. Ah, I see.


Any chance signability issues will cause Stephen Strasburg to drop to the 72nd slot? Yeah, I picked a bad season to hold a draft party. Oh well, more submarine sandwich and potato salad for me.


Hey, the WNBA season starts tomorrow, so you may already know this. But in case you don't:
The Phoenix Mercury have sold the naming rights on their uniforms to identity theft services company LifeLock Inc. — cementing what is believed to be the most lucrative sponsorship deal in the WNBA and opening the door for sports franchises to tap into a traditionally taboo revenue stream.

The Mercury name, pictured front and center on the uniform, will be replaced with the LifeLock insignia. A small Mercury patch will be stitched on the upper left portion of the uniform, across from an Adidas symbol on the right.
This is it ... the beginning of the end. And after the Bernie Madoff scandal, the Mercury may have given the Wilpons an idea:

Another reason not to slide: Dirt obstructs the view of potential sales. At least the jersey's not black..