Monday, October 30, 2006

Know Your Team And Know Your Sport: End Of Season Quiz

1. The name of the faith healer that David Wright mistakenly shot a commercial for is:

  • a) Creflo Dollar
  • b) Jae Rock Lee
  • c) Jae Weong Seo
  • d) Hanley Ramirez

2. Kris and Anna Benson are:

  • a) married
  • b) divorced
  • c) separated
  • d) procreating in a major league parking lot near you

3. The name of the song that the Mets attempted to market as their theme song was called:

  • a) "Our Team, Our Time"
  • b) "Your Team, Your Time"
  • c) "Lima's Team, Lima Time"
  • d) "Toxic"

4. In 2006, Mets announcer Keith Hernandez:

  • a) said that women don't belong in the dugout
  • b) admitted that he may drink heavily on occasion
  • c) revealed that he likes Hellman's light mayonnaise on hamburgers
  • d) all of the above

5. Darryl Strawberry almost did not attend the 1986 celebration because:

  • a) He was gassed from attending Yankee old timers day just months earlier
  • b) The Mets wouldn't pay him for services previously rendered in full
  • c) He was afraid they would make him stand in the "Strawberry Patch" in right field and that he would sink to the core of the earth
  • d) He still held a grudge over photo day towards Hernandez

6. The name of the drunk driver who ended Filthy Sanchez's season is:

  • a) Cecil Cooper
  • b) Cecil Wiggins
  • c) Alan Wiggins
  • d) Mel Gibson

7. Who is the 80's performer who wrote a song and appeared in a commercial for the Atlanta Braves?

  • a) Grandmaster Flash
  • b) Debbie Gibson
  • c) MC Hammer
  • d) Mel Gibson

8. Spell the first name of the former Met named Gonzalez:

  • a) Jeremy
  • b) Jeremi
  • c) Geremi
  • d) Dicky

9. What caused Billy Wagner to blow a save against the Yankees?

  • a) Couldn't concentrate with a four run lead
  • b) Distracted by the aura of Derek Jeter
  • c) Distracted by the odor of Derek Jeter
  • d) Busy holding a press conference bashing the Phillies

10. How old was Julio Franco at the start of the season?

  • a) 47
  • b) 48
  • c) 46
  • d) He's so old he's carbon dated

11. Who replaced Leo Mazzone as the pitching coach for the Atlanta Braves?

  • a) Randy Myers
  • b) Jesse Orosco
  • c) Roger McDowell
  • d) Doug Sisk

12. On average, how many runs of support did Steve Trachsel get per game?

  • a) 5.6
  • b) 7.3
  • c) 9.1
  • d) Not enough to change the channel

13. How did Pedro Martinez hurt himself?

  • a) Slicing his arm while cutting a sleeve off of his undershirt
  • b) Slipping on the floor while cutting a sleeve off of his undershirt
  • c) Cutting off the tip of his finger in a gardening accident
  • d) Strained a ligament in his finger while choking Braden Looper

14. What is Heath Bell's dog's name?

  • a) Petey
  • b) Screwball
  • c) Slider
  • d) Norfolk

15. Who did Metstradamus run into at the Amtrak station in Philadelphia?

  • a) John Olerud
  • b) Dave Kingman
  • c) Rico Brogna
  • d) Carlos Delgado

16. Why did Victor Zambrano run off of the mound in April at Shea Stadium?

  • a) He injured his elbow
  • b) A roach crawled up his leg
  • c) He was haunted by the ghost of Jim Fregosi even though Fregosi's still alive
  • d) Petey chased him away with his red whiffle bat

17. Why did Pedro Martinez cry upon his September return in Pittsburgh?

  • a) He could only go three innings
  • b) He re-injured his calf
  • c) He found out his Tamagotchi died
  • d) He found out that Jay Horowitz forgot to tape the previous week's run of "General Hospital"

18. What did Pete Rose apologize for on inscriptions on baseballs?

  • a) Betting on baseball
  • b) Shoving Dave Pallone
  • c) Starting a brawl with Bud Harrelson
  • d) His haircut

19. What is a "fandini"?

  • a) A drink
  • b) An air conditioner
  • c) A magician
  • d) The best the Mets could come up with as a "Fan Appreciation" giveaway

20. What did the "baseball experts" predict for the Mets in the postseason?

  • a) A World Series victory
  • b) A close loss in the World Series
  • c) Humiliation and destruction
  • d) The Mets would have their postseason berth revoked by Bud Selig

21. What was Tommy Lasorda's tag line in his "Get down off the tree and watch the World Series" campaign?

  • a) Get on the bus, Gus
  • b) It's your duty, Judy
  • c) Get out of the tub, Cub
  • d) Hey Lyons, where's my wallet?

22. According to Steve Lyons, why did Lou Piniella steal his wallet?

  • a) Because the Devil Rays didn't put any money they saved from their payroll into his contract
  • b) Because he's Hispanic
  • c) Because Marco Scutaro bet him he couldn't do it
  • d) Because he secretly has a crush on Lyons' wife and was jonesing for pictures

23. What was on Kenny Rogers' hand during the first inning of Game 2 of the World Series?

  • a) Dirt
  • b) Pine Tar
  • c) Flaxseed Oil
  • d) Magglio Ordonez' hair gel

24. David Eckstein is:

  • a) the shortstop for the Cardinals
  • b) the World Series Most Valuable Player
  • c) short
  • d) watching Kris and Anna Benson procreate in Eckstein's new yellow Corvette

25. Which Met surgery did NOT happen during the off season?

  • a) Carlos Delgado/right wrist (carpal tunnel)
  • b) Paul Lo Duca/left thumb (ligament tear)
  • c) Chris Woodward/left shoulder (torn labrum)
  • d) Aaron Heilman/right arm (tennis elbow)
  • e) Carlos Beltran/left shoulder (bat surgically removed)

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Was There A Game Eight That I Didn't Know About?

Dear New York Mets,

Oh, don't act like you're above reading this blog. I know you are. In fact, I know you have spies and snipers parked outside my apartment ready to end my life if I make too sensitive a joke about your front office, the chicken fingers at the concession stands, or your practice of sending 80 year old ushers to the upper deck.

So I know you're reading. And I have one request.

Can you please take down the flash animation on your website that tells us that the Mets are this year's National League Champions, and encourages us to go out and buy our Mets World Series gear for 2006?

Because when I click on it, it tells me that the products are "temporarily out of stock".

Gee, I wonder why. Maybe it was that small detail about us not getting to the World Series?

The knife is already in my back. Please stop twisting it.



(Editor's note: finally, the "Mets World Series" gear advertisement comes down in favor of their "outlet selection".)

Friday, October 27, 2006

Not Bad For The So-Called AAAA League, Eh?

Fly proud, eagle. You done well.

One more extra base hit, and that eagle flies in New York.


Some twentieth anniversary this turned out to be.

Divine Plan?

Are you there, God? It's me, Metstradamus.

Twenty years ago tonight, the Mets won their last World Series championship thanks in part to Mets icon Mookie Wilson and his ground ball though the legs of Bill Buckner.

Twenty years to the day later, I commemorate that moment by posting a picture of Mookie Wilson in a damn St. Louis Cardinals wool hat during Game 4 of the 2006 World Series.


Why am I being punished? What did I ever do to you? Did you really need to pour salt in my gaping wound? I understand that you have a divine plan, but no divine plan should ever include Mookie Wilson wearing a blood red wool Cardinal hat twenty years to the day that Jesse Orosco threw his mitt to you as a sacrifice to your so-called "divine plan".

And was Tsuyoshi Shinjo in your divine plan too? You remember him, don't you? After all, five years ago, you helped hasten the Mets' descent to the core of the baseball universe by presenting them with Tsuyoshi Shinjo.

Five years later...

...Shinjo ends his career with a Japanese league championship as a member of the Nippon Ham Fighters.

So let's review God: Tsuyoshi Shinjo fights ham, is a cult hero, and he retires on the very top of his game. Meanwhile on this side of the Pacific Ocean, Carlos Delgado attends the World Series as a spectator recovering from carpal tunnel surgery (probably from visiting this blog too often), Mookie Wilson is wearing a Cardinals hat, Satoru Komiyama still stinks, and I'm at home trying to calculate how many blows to the head with a whiffle bat would render me unconscious.

And did I mention the dreams I have been having? You know, the one where I'm playing poker with Mike Scioscia, So Taguchi, Terry Pendleton and Luis Sojo...and I go all in with pocket jacks but everyone else has pocket aces and the flop comes and it's three more aces? Surely you must be trying to tell me that everyone else in baseball has aces while all of ours are either hurt or old. Oh God, you and your symbolism.

Oh, and did I also mention that after I lose all of my money in the dream, Glenn Close comes out of the kitchen wearing her 1993 model Mets uniform and serves everybody boiled rabbit while Mike Piazza and Guillermo Mota are baking a bundt cake.

Yes God, that's a mighty weird dream. But it's no more weird than Mookie Wilson wearing a Cardinals hat!!!

By any chance, does your divine plan include ripping my still beating heart from my chest, rolling it down the streets of Pamplona to be stomped on by drunken tourists and bulls? Because at this moment I would welcome it. It would be less painful. If you had a sympathetic bone in your body, you would consider that course of action and end my pain and suffering once and for all before you do something really hurtful like embroil Gary Cohen in a money laundering scandal and replace him by re-hiring Fran Healy.

Yours in misery,


(No rabbits were harmed in the writing of this post.)

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Substance Abuse

You know, I don't see what the big deal is revolving Kenny Rogers and the "dirt" on his hand.

I can now safely disclose to you without fear of punishment that I myself blogged for the first two months of the '06 season with Bosco on my hand.

Well, it was cold out and I figured as long as the temperature was low enough, I could go to my mouth. What better way to go to your mouth than to enjoy some chocolatey goodness in the process. I certainly never thought that it gave me an unfair advantage in my blogging.

But when FOX sports aired a clip of me blogging with the yet unidentified substance (you may not remember it, it aired during a Rockies game), I had to clean it off.

And lo and behold, Tony La Russa called me and told me to knock off the BS or he would take the next step. He figured the sugar would keep me awake longer and therefore give me an unfair advantage. Below is a side by side of me blogging before and after La Russa's ultimatum:

You may not believe this, but there is a certain acceptable level of cheating when it comes to blogging. In fact, six out of every ten bloggers use some sort of chocolate substance, whether it be Bosco, Hershey, or a Three Musketeers bar melted down into a paste, to help them though their posts. Is that really considered cheating? Is it a performance enhancer?

A that would be cheating. Those who read this blog must have already figured out that I can hardly spell thesaurus much less know how to use one. So where, exactly, is the extra advantage?

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Uncomfortably Numb

"No games today"

That's what it read on my Yahoo! Sports page under MLB.

Boy, is that an understatement.

For there will be no games today, or any other day in October, for the New York Mets.

As you can imagine, I've made myself scarce. The phone rang numerous times, but I couldn't bring myself to answer. Partly because it was hard for me to sleep last night...Partly because my walks outside have been extra long today.

I'll never forget the moments following Game 7 against the Dodgers in 1988, tuning into WFAN and hearing Howie Rose conduct a pseudo psychiatric session to counsel Met fans who have been ready to jump off a tall building after Orel Hershiser shut them out. It was depressing and cathartic at the same time. In this age of blogs, there are a lot more people in a position to play counsel to Met fans who are looking for guidance.

But my general rule of thumb is this: the people who need the most psychiatric help make the lousiest psychiatrists. So that's another reason I didn't answer the phone. I don't have the brainpower to play psychiatrist. So don't expect any great counsel from me...since I can use some of it myself.

Although I'm nowhere near ready to put Game 7 of 2006 into historical perspective (I prefer to wait until enough history has passed). I can certainly say this without a shadow of a doubt:

Thursday night was worse than 1988.

Scioscia, Gibson and Hershiser hereby move aside and stand in awe of Molina, Suppan, and Wainwright in the pantheon of wrenched least my wrenched gut.

There have been a whole lot of comments on the previous post, easily a record for this blog. Many things have been said, including a defacto hate list, and a plan for next season.

It's way too soon to get into that for me. I can't even think about turning the page and thinking about 2007 quite yet. Heck, I can't even put two and two together long enough to provide an organized look back on last season ( really is last season now, isn't it), except to delete the August 23rd walk off victory vs. the Cardinals from my DVR. There was a time where I would use the Carlos Beltran walk-off home run rather than coffee to jump start my day. But now, there's no way that I can watch that without being more bummed out thinking about the Wainwright curveball that turned Beltran's knees into custard.

If you would, please allow me some random unorganized thoughts:

Where did it go wrong: If you put a gun to my head, and asked me to place blame on one player, and no more, as to why the Mets season ended so soon, then the one I would choose would have to be Guillermo Mota. Blame the lack of hitting if you want, but that's more than one player. And I don't want to hear about Billy Wagner, because the pitches he made were the ones he had to make. But I'll go to the top of the mountain and shout this out for the world to hear, repercussions be damned: If Mota doesn't throw the exact same pitch to Scott Spiezio that he had just lined hard foul on the previous pitch, hereby resulting in a game tying triple in Game 2, then instead of writing this, I'm writing about how the Mets can defeat the Tigers and photoshopping a picture of Tom Glavine and Shawn Green as Sigfried and Roy taming baby Tiger cubs. (Trust me, I had it ready. You would have enjoyed it immensely...guaranteed.)

I can't even blame Steve Trachsel. I can't blame him because Jeff Suppan pitched a tight Game 7 the same way he pitched Game 3 with a big lead. Even though Trachsel stunk, I can't say for sure that if Darren Oliver had started that game the result would have changed. (Nevertheless, I still would tie Trachsel up with frayed ropes and push him to Taiwan to pitch in a slow pitch softball league because Game 3 was the most gutless performance that I have ever seen by a Mets starter...and remember, I've seen Mike Scott pitch as a Met so I know gutless.)

Speaking of gutless, let's discuss Braden Looper: One of the reasons I hate Mike Stanton so much, outside of the fact that he was a former Yankee stalwart that pitched horribly as a Met, was that in the midst of celebrating the 2000 World Series victory at Shea Stadium, Stanton noticed Bobby Valentine on the clubhouse television and made it a point to spray the television with champagne. For a player that had no history with Valentine, and for a player that had just won a World freakin' Series, it was a bush league move.

What Looper pulled during the Cardinal celebration, mocking the "Jose Jose Jose" chant (a former teammate of his no less) during the Cardinals celebration, tops Stanton's move. Real gutsy for a player who basically cost his team Game 6 in the most important game he's pitched as a Cardinal. I can't think of how many times I've defended Looper last year through thick and mostly thin...and if you don't believe me you can look it up. And if you can believe this, I even thought about writing, on this space, a piece imploring the Shea faithful to take it relatively easy on Looper here at Shea during the NLCS. I apologize to you...the reader...that the thought ever crossed my mind. I promise that the next time you see the name "Braden Looper" on this site will be as a nomination for the Hall of Hate.

Uncle Cliffy: You've probably seen the last of Cliff Floyd in a Met uniform. I hope it's not the case, but I can't realistically see a scenario where the Mets will pay Cliff the money that he will feel he's worth for what will most likely be part time production. What has impressed me about Cliff Floyd throughout his time here is that time after time after time, Floyd has attempted to play in severe pain when most players would shut it down. He did it throughout his first season here, and he did it throughout these playoffs. I know a pitcher that could learn a little something about guts from Floyd.

Combine that with Floyd's lockerroom presence and you have someone who should be indispensable...but the Mets already have a lockerroom presence named Julio Franco, who at this point I fear would make a much better coach than a player (don't get me wrong, to be good enough to play major league baseball at the age of 48 is incredible...but when the phrase "waste of an at-bat" keeps coming to my mind when he strides to the plate, it's enough food for thought for me). The Mets cannot have two players reduced simply to pinch hitting duty (you're really not going to count the times that Franco has played third base, are you) on their roster next season.

I will put Cliff Floyd up on a list with anybody you mention to me in terms of being the classiest players this franchise has ever known. Anybody. If he does leave, Floyd has left an indelible mark on this franchise for seasons to come. I will continue to be hopeful of Floyd returning to the Mets in 2007, but realistically...

My Two Front Teeth: Add Tom Glavine to the list of players I want to see return in '07. I hope for the Mets' sake that it's not as their ace, even though he performed admirably in that role during the postseason, but I hope that there is a pitcher (or two) on the way that will take the pressure off of Tommy G. When it comes down to a choice between baseball and family, it's never easy. But since 2007 will probably be Glavine's final shot at 300 victories, I hope it's as a New York Met. I hope that Glavine will take into account the fact that the Mets are much closer to the promised land at this point than the Atlanta Braves are...and if I have to personally make the case to Glavine's family then I'm available to do that.

I'll even pay for a lovely floral bouquet.

High definition television?

Private jet?

The experience that Glavine would provide to a progressively younger pitching staff (which may include another young lefthander...perhaps) would be invaluable.

Speaking of Experience: We hope that 2006 is just another stepping stone to the ultimate goal. Outside of the White Sox and the Angels, most teams that capture the largest flag experience playoff heartbreak in seasons past. The Yankees experienced Edgar Martinez in 1995. The Diamondbacks experienced Todd Pratt in 1999 and the Cardinals in 2000. The Red Sox had Aaron Boone in 2003. There's a part of me that thinks that this is exactly what a player like David Wright (who completed his second half slump with a gargantuan tank job in the NLCS), and to a lesser extent, a player like Jose Reyes need in order to teach them just how hard it is to reach the promised land.

We hope that 2006 is the stepping stone of experience that this team needs. But truly, we don't know for sure. We look back and see how the Seattle Mariners put together some excellent seasons yet never reach the World Series. We see the window of opportunity closing for the Houston Astros. We see the Oakland Athletics, who struggled for years and years and years just to finally win the third game of the first round...only to get spanked by the Tigers in the ALCS. As we know all too well, anything can happen.

But what we can bank on is that the Mets don't have a general manager who has extra agendas, or who tears down a team just to prove he can. The Mets have someone who has seemingly turned everything he touched in 2006 to gold. I bet Omar Minaya probably never realized that the Mets would need Oliver Perez to pitch in games 4 and 7 of the 2006 NLCS...but he knew we'd need him someday. And he took a risk that nobody in their right mind would take...certainly not me (although when am I in my right mind anyway?) Omar has struck gold numerous times since he's taken the job, and barring an attempted shotgun lobotomy performed by his N.L. east rivals, I fully expect Minaya to make some more magic happen in the next few months.

Of course that isn't going to stop me from throwing in a few suggestions of my own, but that's for another day and another time.

In the meantime, rest assured that I'll still be here to provide some sporadic musings and prophecies here over the next few weeks, so there'll always be a reason to check back. Also, if you're the kind to quickly turn the page and change the season, visit us at Brooklyn Jet Fan for some thoughts on another team destined to break my heart.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Cruel Irony

I guess this is how a heart breaks.

Ironic, isn't it, that the team that lived on the swords of hitting and relief pitching, died tonight by those very same swords.

It was supposed to be the starting pitching sword that ended us.

It was supposed to be the injuries to Pedro and Orlando that did us in.

Nope, we died by the sword of our strengths.

The team that hit the cover off the ball all year, couldn't manage a hit from inning one until inning nine.

The team that had the best bullpen in the National League, and certainly the deepest bullpen in baseball, lost this game in the late innings to Yadier Molina, who moves up in the pantheon of all-time hateables...just above Terry Pendleton.

And when you die by your strengths, there really isn't much else to say, except to congratulate the St. Louis Cardinals.

Tonight, ladies and gentlemen, is proof that baseball is always ready to provide you with something that you would never expect. Baseball fans after Tuesday generally thought that either the Cardinals would win in six games, or that the Mets would win in seven.

Of course, the other option was our fate.

The game is funny that way.

The game is cruel that way.

No, it's downright sickening.

It's sickening because there's no way the Mets should have lost after this:

But lose they did, in part because immediately following that catch, the Mets couldn't get a hit with the bases loaded and one out.

And that's why you don't depend on destiny. You don't depend on anniversaries, you don't depend on karma, you don't depend on superstitions. Because all of the aforementioned rituals are no substitute for hits.

To be a Met fan is to know and understand that when the chips are down in the last frame of the last game, the Mets will never, ever, go down without a fight. Win or lose, there will never be a one-two-three inning to end a big game. And the Mets did not disappoint in that regard.

But to be a Met fan is to also understand that those ninth inning rallies could always end badly. And that sickening games like the one you saw on Thursday are part of the deal.

Instead of Detroit, the Mets will head straight to the winter caravan. Six years after one big rival celebrates at Shea, the other big rival does the same. And it's another season where the only movement that Shea Stadium sees is right field sinking another foot along with the hearts of many Met fans.

And the only thing rising will be me up a tree as Tommy Lasorda tries to convince me to watch the World Series.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

One More Morning

"In the sky, light is coming, so glad we all have this day
We all want one more morning just to know the night won't stay"
-Steve Winwood

It takes one.

Before you can get two, you need one.

There are no scheduled doubleheaders in the playoffs, so you can't win two games in one day. And you certainly can't win two games at once. So that was the task at hand for the New York Mets today, as we all woke up on Wednesday hoping for one more game.

One more morning.

Honestly folks, I fully intended to stay away from anymore postseason tickets. Considering my 0-5 record in postseason attendance, I wasn't going to seek out any more tickets. After all, I could never forgive myself if I went hard after a ticket for tonight...and had seen the Cardinals celebrate at Shea Stadium. It was bad enough that I witnessed the Yankees spray champagne on our seats...if the Cardinals did the same in my presence I would have probably taken a header off of the upper deck and ended it all.

But then came "The Metmaster".

He came to me with a ticket...and all of a sudden the room turned into the "Creation" painting. The fingers reached out..."Come with me, Metstradamus...My extra ticket is calls out to you for you are not the first choice, but the only choice. You must not fear failure...because tonight, failure is not an option."

And that's when I realized something: As long as I fear jinxing my team, I'll never see a playoff win. Sure, I may be 0-5...but to end a jinx, all it takes is one.

"Lift my eyes to the dawning to see the life start again
Just to see one more morning, just to feel it all begin"

So I took the ticket, and my stomach immediately started in with a few Ozzie Smith backflips for me.

And when Dan Le Batard mentioned on Wednesday's PTI that he was going to watch "Armageddon" on the tube tonight...I thought "Gee, I might watch the same thing tonight...only live."

At that point, Jack Clark started taking some batting practice hacks took a sledgehammer in my belly.

Thank goodness for blogger nation...they were there in full force tonight and I was fortunate to grab some positive energy from them as they met by the Subway Sandwich stand in right field. Where else but the Subway stand would you want to meet, among others, a guy whose writes a blog called "Yes Joe, It's Toasted"?

You can't make this stuff up, people.

But there they were. Toasty (with his artistic department in tow), Mets Grrl, Zoe Rice, Hotfoot, and the Brooklyn Met Fan were all there, along with the incomparable Matt Cerrone wearing the very jersey that the Mets were 36-3 while he was wearing it in attendance. Now that's some positive energy.

We even ran into a blog groupie.

No, seriously! He came up to us and asked if we were..."um, bloggers?", with these wide eyes like he was going to ask us all for our autographs or something.

I have to admit, it kind of made me feel like a bit of a star until he asked who I was. When I told him that I was Metstradamus, he said: "Oh...I've heard of you. I don't really read you." (Who said winning hearts and minds was easy?)

He had his own positive energy going on. He might have gotten it from a bottle in his mom's liquor cabinet while she wasn't looking, but hey...I remember my first beer too.

So with my newfound positivity I went to my seat to join forces with the Metmaster, who could have used some positive energy himself as he shelled out $40 dollars for a parking space rather than park halfway to Montauk. We sat directly in front of two Cardinal of which was decked in the powder blue Willie McGee model. Great for heckling, bad for being in the way of some flying beer later on.

Of course, John Maine gets into trouble immediately, loading the bases in the first with two men out. The inning would have been worse if not for getting that freakin' midget leadoff hitter David Eckstein (I mean that with admiration and respect David), to ground to third to lead off the game. But after two singles and a hit batsman, Scott Rolen (who is currently embroiled in a hissy fit with his manager), had a chance with the bases loaded. The whole ballgame could have rode on this first inning at bat, especially with an impressionalbe rookie on the mound..

Maine got Rolen to fly to right to end the inning and 56,000 strong exhaled.

"One more day, one more memory, one more link in the chain
We all want one more morning just to feel it all again"
It takes one.

In this case, one batter. One batter to go deep to right field and put the Mets on the scoreboard. The atmosphere went from pensive to festive with one swing of Jose Reyes' mighty stick. So festive, in fact, that I got hit with beer about six innings before I had expected to be hit with beer.

As I am a soothsayer, I let loose with one of my gut predictions before the game. Well, it wasn't really a prediction...more of an admission that for some reason, the name Shawn Green was rattling around in my head. Couldn't figure out why. That is, until the RBI single in the fourth to go up 2-0.

John Maine, meanwhile? Dealin'! Rollin' along, he was...throwing the strikes he saved himself from throwing in Game 2. Maine wound up going 5 and 1/3, which is probably 2 and 1/3 more innings than most outsiders (and some insiders) hoped and/or thought he would go. It's worth bringing this up again:
"The Mets, let's face it, aren't going to win any pitchers' duels. That would require them to have pitchers who actually can shut a team down." -John Donovan,

For clarification, those five innings + one third that John Maine chucked were scoreless.

Tony LaRussa is a genius. I'm sure he'd tell you that if you asked him.

But if he was so much of a genius, you wouldn't think that he would entrust a still close game to Braden Looper, would you?

Boos greeted our former closer in the seventh as lefty Jose Valentin...the same kind of lefty that Braden Looper can't get out...bunts into an out. Then Endy Chavez smacks a Looper pitch into a hard out. But just when you thought Braden was going to come into his former house and shut his former teammates down, Michael Tucker pinch hit a single in front of a diving Soul Patch Spiezio.


Tucker then stole second.


Jose Reyes then hit an infield single.


Reyes then stole second.


Paulie Lo Duca then drove both runs home with a single past Looper that spun him around like he was Charlie Brown, giving the Mets a comfortable (or what should have been a comfortable) 4-0 lead.

The chants only got louder from there. Braden never had a chance.

I always suspected that the Mets bandwagon grew exponentially with their success this season. But I never...ever...suspected this:

Wow. Freddy Sez. At Shea. With a pro-Mets sign at that...wandering around Shea Stadium.

Was this a sign of things to come?

When Billy Wagner entered Game 6 and started getting smacked around again, I thought maybe it was a sign. And then I got really nervous. So nervous that the thought of walking the tiny So Taguchi with first base open and two outs in the ninth actually entered my mind. That's silly, right?



Because once again, So Taguchi played the role of "Thorn in Billy Wagner's Side" by smacking a double to left field. Hopefully it isn't going to be a leading role, but listed just under "Key Grip" in the credits of this NLCS. The next batter...the diminutive Eckstein, came up as the tying run. Could he actually go deep off Wagner and tie this game? Could my postseason jinx rear it's ugly head in the most unbelievable of fashions?

Thankfully, not quite.

"Why does a game that we so thoroughly dominated all of a sudden feel like a stay of execution?" -The Metmaster
I don't know Metmaster, and I don't want to know. What I do know is that this series is tied. And because you and I joined forces and combined our powers, my postseason win total now stands at one...and it takes one to kill a jinx. If we can slay that dragon, then all obstacles are possible to overcome...including the obstacle that the Mets will face Thursday night. It is possible even if the only way to combat that obstacle is to trot out "The Million Pitcher March", which the Mets will have to do.

In the arms we were born in, in the arms that will take us home
We all want one more morning, then we'll take the night to come
We have one more morning. And that, my friends, is all it takes.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Simple Life

If there are any of you Met fans left out there who aren't alcoholics, you might want to consider traveling down that path.

It really is a shock that Tuesday's game ended with a 4-2 score, because Jeff Kellogg's strike zone was the exact opposite of Tim Welke's strike zone in Game 1. Starters Jeff Weaver and Tom Glavine had to hit the heads of pins to get strikes. The scoreboard operator should have been a lot busier. But hitters on both sides were helping the pitchers out by taking bad hacks. Preston Wilson and Albert Pujols certainly took some strange swings at balls that were way out of the strike zone in the first inning when David Eckstein set the table with a base hit.

Of course, both Pujols (home run in the fourth one pitch after what should have been strike three), and Wilson (put the Cards ahead to stay in the fifth...not the best karma when Mookie's stepson beats the Mets) took better swings off of Glavine later on.

Jeff Weaver got squeezed much the same by Kellogg throughout the game, but he too was helped by Met hitters, such as Jose Reyes and David Wright, who swung wildly at bad pitches. Weaver, however, only gave up the one big hit to Jose Valentin in the fourth inning. Of course, that rally immediately preceded the Cardinal rally in the bottom of the inning, continuing their nasty habit of responding to Met runs with runs of their own.

Somehow, Kellogg's strike zone expanded in the seventh for the Cardinal bullpen, as Josh Kinney and Adam Wainright were getting calls that Weaver wasn't getting...officially making Game 5 the most frustrating of the series as the Mets couldn't capitalize with two runners in scoring position and one out in the eighth. And that was pretty much your ball game in a nutshell.

Well it's really simple now, isn't it?

Down 2 games to 3.

Two games left.

Both at Shea.

Do (win them both) or die (dead).

It's that simple.

But it's not time to panic, kids. Winning two in a row at home to take a series in seven games has been done before. And if there's a team that has the talent to do it...if there's a team that has the teamwork to make the dream work, it's the 2006 New York Mets. But if you need hard evidence, let's review some recent history:
  • These very Cardinals did it in the 2004 NLCS.
  • The Angels did it to the Giants in the 2002 Series.
  • The Arizona Diamondbacks did it to the Yankees in the '01 Series (and did it in part with a 15 run slaughter in game 6).
  • The Braves did it to the Cardinals in 1996...and they had to win the last three games of that series.

And if you go back further, you'll see the Twins of 1991, the Twins of 1987, and a certain team that also had to come home to face an ace in Game 6.

So if you've got lucky socks, wear 'em.

If you have a ritual, don't deviate from it.

If you drink, have an extra one.

If you don't drink, start.

And if you have a ticket, remember:

  • Yell. Yell again. Then, yell some more.
  • If you're not sure, err on the side of yell.
  • And don't wait for the scoreboard to tell you to do so.
  • You have all winter to sleep.


Monday, October 16, 2006

Rainy Issues

Tom Glavine gets his wish.

We have yet another rainout, pushing Game 5 back to Tuesday evening, and letting Glavine go on normal rest not only tomorrow, but if the Mets get that far...normal rest for Game 2 of the World Series.

So let's discuss some things, shall we?

The Philadelphia Phillies used this off day to make a move to ensure that their team will be more ready for battle in 2007.

They hired Art Howe.

No no no no no...don't laugh. This is a shrewd move by the Phightin' Phils...after all, they're going to need somebody to be that calming influence on the bench when Ryan Howard becomes filled with self doubt after the Phillies fans turn on him after grounding to the left side with a runner on second base on a night where he had already hit four home runs. Who's going to be on the bench to let Howard know that everything is going to be all right as long as he battles?

Who's going to provide the pre-game brownies?

And who's going to be there during that inevitable day where Charlie Manuel, Davy Lopes, Jimy Williams, Pat Gillick, Chase Utley, Greg Luzinski, Harry Kalas, Pete Rose, Donovan McNabb, and Bernie Parent all get ejected for arguing balls and strikes? They'll need that excess managerial savvy that only Art Howe can provide...because who else would know to play the infield in while down by seven, to prevent that all important eight run lead?

Of course, someone is going to have to wake him up first.


Oddly enough, Art Howe gets hired the same day his Oakland successor, Ken Macha, gets the boot. Howe was quoted as saying that it was a shame, because Macha really battled.


Speaking of battling, turns out that Albert Pujols, who strained an oblique earlier this season, has been battling a bum hamstring. Tony La Russa hopes that it doesn't affect So Taguchi's power stroke.


"The Mets, let's face it, aren't going to win any pitchers' duels. That would require them to have pitchers who actually can shut a team down." -Sports Illustrated's John Donovan
Um, was Mr. Donovan notating the weekly minutes of a Sons of Satoru Komiyama Society convention during Game 1?


The crack staff really did it this time.

They have uncovered some photos of some old...old...old Met baseball, from when I was not yet a year young. I thought it would be fun to use this unscheduled off day to share them with you:

This is how you know it's an old game...the upper deck seats are like that "sea green" color from your old box of Crayola crayons.

If you look closely at the scoreboard (the old scoreboard, I may add), you'll see that the Pirates come to town on September 24th, 25th, and 26th. Using that, along with the linescore, as a clue, the crack staff has deduced that this is from a game against the Dodgers on August 29th, 1971 (thanks to the good folks at Retrosheet). Tug McGraw got the victory on a walk-off single by Tommie Agee (and correcting my earlier mistake, you can read about it at Mets Walkoffs). Not a bad bit of detective work considering these pictures were taken with an instamatic camera. You know how else you know this game is old? Check out the trivia question on the scoreboard above, and see the answer below (hint, click the picture itself):

Active pitcher...Hoyt Wilhelm.

I'm old.

Momentum, Thy Name Is Carlos Delgado


It's supposed to be the next day's starting pitcher.

So they say.

But it didn't quite matter who was on the hill for the Mets on Sunday night. Because if the Mets' lineup didn't produce against Anthony Reyes, they were done.



Game 4 of the NLCS was going to show us what the Mets were made of, one way or the other. For Game 3 introduced the Mets to adversity. Would the Mets let adversity come and pick their pocket?

No. Instead, they took adversity, slugged him in the mouth, did a bar slide straight out the window, spit on him, then laughed in his face.

And it was Carlos Delgado doing the leg work.

Oh the whole Mets lineup, from top to bottom, produced on Sunday. David Wright got his first hit of the series, a solo HR. Jose Valentin broke out of his slump with a game icing three run triple. Carlos Beltran had two solo HR's tonight, the first one putting the Mets on the board at a time when the Cardinals were threatening to blow the Mets out of the water again. But it's Carlos Delgado who is having a playoff series for the ages. Delgado hit another three run HR, his third dinger of the series, in the fifth inning to give the Mets a 5-2 lead. Then, in the sixth, he came up with a 2 run ground rule double to give him five straight runs batted in, and spark the big six run sixth off of the Cardinals bullpen.

When someone has never experienced the playoffs during a long career, it's impossible to tell how they're going to perform on the big stage. The Mets are lucky that the players that got them to the dance are still dancing once they get to the big ballroom for the first time. Carlos Delgado is exhibit A, and at no other time during the season was a big performance needed as much as it was on Sunday. Boy did they get some big performances.

All of a sudden, this series is tied at two apiece...and things look a lot better right now than they did 24 long hours ago.

As for Ollie Perez, no he wasn't spectacular. But he gave the Mets a chance to win which is all anyone would ever ask of him. If Ollie Perez was a mediocre NFL quarterback, then one would say that he "managed the game". For example: if Perez doesn't get Juan Encarnacion to ground into the inning ending double play in the first (and in the process save Delgado's error makin' bacon), then who knows how this game goes. But Perez got the outs that were absolutely required of him, and earned himself some widespread respect in the process, along with perhaps a potential Game 7 start.

In other words, Oliver Perez "managed the game" opposed to Steve Trachsel who was baseball's equivalent of Ryan Leaf on Saturday.

I still don't understand why Dave Williams isn't on the roster...maybe he threw small puppies off of a building or something...but Perez has certainly made Omar Minaya look pretty damn smart (well, smarter than we already think he is) for trading Xavier Nady away.

Willie Randolph told us that the Mets were as loose as ever after Game 3, and that they were going to approach this game the way they did any other game. I have to admit that I had my doubts. But when Darren Oliver was on the radio before the game talking about how he was going to bust on Chad Bradford in the bullpen, that was clue number one that maybe Willie wasn't just dishing the spin (or is that spinning the dish?) And when you saw the Mets in the dugout during the game, and especially during their six run sixth, they were their old selves...laughing and cavorting...and maybe throwing a little singing as well.

So I guess momentum's name is now Tom Glavine...on short rest. But we all know the truth. The truth is that momentum is tomorrow's starting lineup.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Spitting The Bit

You are defined by what you do in the postseason.

You are defined by what you do when the chips are down.

You are defined by what you do when you're needed the most.

Webster's wouldn't be able to define Steve's a family dictionary.

Saturday night was as close to a must win for the Mets as you could get without it being Sunday. Dare I say it was that way for both the Mets and the Cardinals. Jeff Suppan took the mound to try to make sure that the Cardinals don't go into a must-win scenario with Anthony Reyes on the hill. Steve Trachsel, on the other hand, took the mound to prevent Oliver Perez from being the Mets' savior from a 1-3 hole.

What story did Jeff Suppan write? Why, it was a masterpiece of eight scoreless innings.

Trachsel, meanwhile, penned HBO's newest baseball special to be voiced over by Liev Schreiber. It's called "One Inning From Hell".

The documentary ends with Trachsel walking off the mound as a Met for the final time, with a dissolve to him signing a multi-year deal with the Kansas City Royals.

For those of you (and you know who you are) who constantly ask me "Why doesn't Steve Trachsel get any respect?" Game 3 was your answer. Tonight was Steve Trachsel's first real chance at some playoff pressure. What does he do? Well, he gives up yet another 2 run triple by Soul Patch Spiezio, and a home run by the opposing pitcher. Five hits, five walks, five thousand remote controls that have flown across the room and cracked their television monitors...all in one inning. As far as I am concerned, Trachsel is done as a New York Met. I'm done defending him. He gets the benefit of the doubt no more.

And that's win or lose. If the Mets go to Game 7, guess who I'm handing the ball to. I'm handing it to the guy that showed a little heart and a little guts tonight, Darren Oliver. Oliver was rumored to go in Game 5, but now Willie Randolph doesn't have that option anymore thanks to..."One Inning From Hell".

If the Mets get to the 2006 World Series to take on the Tigers...a scenario that I hate to say is seriously in doubt at this hour...then it's "Dave Williams, come on down" in one room, and Tom Berenger as Bear Bryant handing the Malfunction Boy his bus ticket back home in another.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

J Is For Me

Row U.

One row from the top.

Two rows from the north pole.

If Row U was a shore excursion on a cruise, it would be denoted in the catalog with the man carrying the walking stick.

But that's where I was for Game 2 of the 2006 NLCS. I had to send my heckles through messenger service.

But hey, I could at least laugh at the poor bastards sitting in Row V. Now those were some far away seats.

One thing about sitting that high up is that sometimes you can see certain things that would normally go unnoticed from a lower vantage point.

You know what I noticed?

A letter "J", denoted in dirt, written in the grass behind the mound.

"J". What on earth could that have signified?

J for in Maine?

Makes sense, he was, after all, tonight's starter. But if the J was for him, it didn't work very well as Maine gave up four runs in four innings...all on just two hits, but five walks. Perhaps there should have been a strike zone drawn instead of a letter "J".

Could "J" have been for Jack? As in the two jacks that Carlos Delgado had tonight that should have been enough?


By the end of the game I figured it out.

After Guillermo Mota imploded after getting the first two outs in the seventh, and then found it necessary to throw the same pitch to Scott Spiezio that he had just fouled off hard and have him tie the game...

After all those two strike pitches by Met relievers that Cardinal hitters kept fouling off and fouling off and fouling doubt prompting about 13,000 cutaways of Met fans biting their fingernails (luckily, cameras don't reach high enough to hit Row U)...

After Carlos Beltran hit into a double play in the eighth inning which inexplicably and completely killed one hundred percent of the buzz in the much so that you could actually make out every note of "Enter Sandman" from the Shea Stadium sound system (yes, the Shea Stadium sound system)...

After Billy Wagner picked the absolute worst time to give up a home run to a guy who's 146 pounds after taking a swim while wearing a fleece outfit (followed by a revelation as to who were the real Met fans, and who were the ones just along for the ride, as the latter left Shea like rats off a sinking ship with the Mets only down by one run)...and then go ahead and lose his mind completely by giving up four runs for the first time all season long...

After the Mets lost a golden opportunity to tag a loss on Chris Carpenter, who was moved up in the rotation by "The Genius" Tony La Russa...only to give up 5 runs in five innings...

It hit me. "J" is for me.

I'm a postseason Jinx.

It kills me to hear seemingly every single Met fan I know tell me great stories about "Oh, I was there for Buckner...Oh I sat in the bleachers for the grand slam single...Oh I was behind the plate for Todd Pratt's home run...Oh I was in the dugout for the Swoboda catch..."

What do I come back with?

I was in the upper deck freezing my extremities off to see the Scioscia HR.

I was in the same spot 12 hours later to see the Mets spit the bit again to the Dodgers.

I was in the mezzanine for to see John Rocker get a save against the Mets in '99.

I saw the Yankees celebrate a World Championship at Shea.

And now, I go up to Row U to see Scott Spiezio and So Taguchi...SO TAGUCHI...give the Mets their first postseason loss of 2006!

I'm 0-5 in the playoffs.

The "J" is for me...the Jinx.

I'm the Armando Benitez of Met fans...I can't get it done when it counts the most.

Sure, I could have blamed the four fans in row S who kept switching seats after every foul ball by Taguchi to find the right combination...instead finding the combination of death.

But hey, they tried, unlike me who stayed in my assigned seat the entire game.

I could blame the guy that wore a Mets jersey that read "KAZMIR 26" that sat a few rows in front of me. Because bad trades are bad trades, and grudges are grudges. But when your team is in the playoffs, you would think the grudge would be put away for the month.

But I can't...because he's probably not 0-5 at playoff games.

I, on the other hand, am.

Wear it like a scarlet freakin' number.

So before anyone asks me:
  • I have no remaining games at Shea in 2006.
  • I have no tickets to games in St. Louis.
  • I have no World Series tickets in Detroit.
  • I will no longer fancy thoughts of buying World Series tickets on the Tigers ticket exchange.
  • I may even consider turning down any and all offers to attend further Mets playoff games...even if the ticket is free.

Yes, it's come to that. For the good of my team, I have to Bartmanize myself and disappear. I'm parking myself by the computer where I will remain for the rest of the playoffs. I have no choice.

Because the "J" stands for me and my futility.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Left Foot Right Foot

I was warned.
"And Jeff Weaver pitches the game of his life...a two hit shut out to give the Cardinals a one game lead in the NLCS." -Yankee fan attempt to scare Metstradamus
I kept saying no. No way it would happen. Jeff Weaver is not...I repeat not coming into Shea Stadium and making the Mets lineup into his personal lapdogs. I refused to believe it. No, no...not at Shea.

But damn it if that Kenny Rogers gem against the Yankees gave me freakin chills down my spine...because that game is the measuring stick now. If Rogers can shut out the Yankees, then anything is possible, right?

No. I steadfastly refused to believe it. In fact, I basically went out and guaranteed that there would be no "game of Jeff Weaver's life" at Shea for Game One of the NLCS.

So sure I was that I didn't even feel any tension by enjoying a birthday present by being at the Rangers game tonight while keeping one eye on the scoreboard...even though I had designs on watching the game later on in full.

0-0 in the first.
0-0 in the second.
0-0 in the third.

Oh damn.

0-0 in the fourth.
0-0 in the fifth.

As Sidney Crosby's centering feed went off of Aaron Ward's skate and into the net with 3.3 seconds left to doom the Rangers, I looked up and saw that the NLCS was still scoreless in the fifth. Joe Buck's voice started creeping in my head about what a performance Jeff Weaver was having at Shea Stadium. So not only did I miscalculate how slow a game this would be...figuring I'd be home in time for the fourth inning (if it weren't for Tim Welke and his throwback strike zone, maybe I would have) seemed that I completely miscalculated Jeff Weaver.

"What a performance by Jeff Weaver!" -Joe Buck, completely infiltrating my imagination.
So here I go on the E train wondering why I'm being myself and my horrific imagination. Damn it, Jeff Weaver is going medieval on the Mets and I'm going to get home just in time to see the Cardinals steal this damn game.

DVR is such a great enabled me to come home and watch the entire game from the beginning if I had wanted to. But already having known that the score was 0-0 in the fifth, why put myself through that torture? So here I go hitting that FF button and scrolling through and scrolling through and fast and all and first inning second inning third inning fourth inning fifth inning sixth inning one out two out base hit...


I knew about the fifth inning score. Not the sixth inning score. But I breezed through the sixth with such reckless abandon that I could have missed ten runs if I had blinked. But with Carlos Beltran up and Lo Duca on first base and two outs in the sixth, I stopped.

And I hit play.

And my wife is imploring me to just pick the game up live because she cheated and actually knew what the current score was but NO! The same voices in my head that were taunting me with Jeff Weaver told me to watch what Carlos Beltran does. I must watch this at bat as if it was happening right now. I

Maybe it was the image of Carlos Beltran smacking a game winner off of the Cards back in August that made me stop.

Or perhaps it was the fact that Straw was in the house throwing out the first pitch that made me stop...subconsciously hoping that Beltran would hit the same spot on the scoreboard that Darryl once did against Fernando Valenzuela...which was the spot that read "17 1B".

Maybe because so many times before, Jeff Weaver hit the wall at about this time.

Whatever it was, I stopped. And I watched.

"Use the force Metstradamus, use the force." -Steven Spielberg, written at this point in the movie about my life that will be produced in the future.
It was like August. Jeff Weaver tried to come inside, just as Jason Isringhausen tried to come inside. Same result...ten times the importance.

And it did hit the scoreboard...albeit six spots lower in the lineup. They say Straw's heart grew exponentially at that very moment.

And yes, it was time for Jeff Weaver to implode. Carlos hits the scoreboard, Weaver hits the wall. Instead of the "game of Jeff Weaver's life", it was "game of Tom Glavine's life", except for the fact that he's Tom Glavine and it's October so this was just going to be a "game of Tom Glavine's week" type game.

After the Beltran monster, I commenced fast forwarding, and caught up to the present time, ensuring that I wouldn't be sucked into a time warp that would bring me back to 1993 (yes, I worry about these things...DVR is a wondrous technology that I still feel is beyond my comprehension). So the baseball gods did me a favor and made sure I was caught up, with the important moment experienced the correct way. They made sure that I was able to enjoy the rest of the game without fear of the Kenny Rogers effect ruining not only the NLCS, but my birthday as well.

I hope from here on in that the baseball gods move on to something important, like convincing Cliff Floyd that there is a plan for him.

He must be wondering why he all of a sudden can't last past a couple of innings without that achilles imploding on him, while Endy Chavez comes in making diving catches and gets his name chanted and is the cult hero of Shea Stadium. The same gods of baseball that told me to stop the DVR right when Carlos Beltran was ready to remind Jeff Weaver that he's Jeff Weaver, need to visit Cliff.

Tell Cliff that there was a reason that Endy needed to be in the field for Ronnie Belliard's dead duck (Note to Rafael Santana, that's a euphemism. No fowl was harmed during this baseball game) to left. Baseball gods work in mysterious ways...especially when it's going good.

Tell Cliff that the double popping of his left foot, in a roundabout way, helped the Mets get off on the right foot.

..and tell him that his moment is coming. Tell Cliff that all his rehab and all the times that he played through excruciating pain is going to pay off in one mighty swing. Tell Cliff the tale of Kirk Gibson, and tell him that the baseball world is overdue for a Kirk Gibson moment.

Yes, tell Cliff that. Even if you don't really mean it...he probably really needs to hear that right now.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Why Is The Infielder Pitching?

I waited 18 years and change to be present at an NLCS game.

I think I can wait two more days.

As I'm sure you have heard by now, Game 1 of the 2006 NLCS has been postponed by rain. That is bad news for the Mets, as Tony LaRussa now has the option to bring Chris Carpenter on board for Game 2 at Shea instead of having to wait until Game 3 in St. Louis.

But you know something, it's just as well. Frankly, it wouldn't have been quite the same experience to attend Game 1 of the NLCS with a pit in my stomach.

Because nobody deserves the fate that befell Cory Lidle and his flight instructor, Tyler Stanger, today.

The freshest memories we'll have of Cory Lidle are of him trashing Barry Bonds, trashing the Phillies on his way out the door, and defending himself on the Mike and The Mad Dog show to deny that he was trashing Joe Torre.

He somehow became "Cory Lidle: Lightning Rod".

My memories of Cory Lidle has always been the one where he first came up with the Mets and I thought "what the hell is this middle infielder doing pitching for us?"

If you were to imagine Lidle's future by watching him in his rookie season, 'lightning rod" would not have been a term in the forefront of your mind. After all, he looked like an infielder...was about as tall (or as short) as an infielder...had a pitching motion like a guy called in to finish the wrong end of a 25-3 an infielder. But the telling sign was Lidle's number 11. Pitchers don't wear eleven...that's an infielder's number, not a pitcher's number (and certainly not a catcher's number, as the enormity of Fluff Castro's back seems to be on the verge of snapping those two number ones like they were twigs). But here was Cory Lidle...pitching in relief and putting up seven wins and two losses in 1997. Not bad for an infielder, I thought.

Lidle had a future in Flushing, but you can only keep so many players in an expansion Lidle was picked by the Arizona Diamondbacks and off he went to a decent career with a handful of teams, while finally wearing a pitcher's number.

With the transient nature of role players in baseball, Lidle had friends that wound up all over the league. A pall had certainly been cast over both playoff series as Lidle had teammates on all four teams left this season. From Placido Polanco to Barry Zito...from Mark Mulder to Billy Wagner. As such, baseball fans everywhere lose a small piece of themselves...because where else but sports do we refer to guys we don't know by their first names...or nick names...because we feel like we know them? Ultimately, we root for the laundry. But it's times like these that we remember that there are human beings that wear the laundry, and provide stories for the laundry.

Even the pitcher's laundry that has an infielder's number stitched to it.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Back To Work

Woke up Sunday morning. Got myself a cramp.

No, seriously...the morning after the most glorious Saturday that the Mets have known for a while...and maybe the most glorious Saturday that most Met fans have known...ever...I wake up in screaming, blood curdling pain.

But in the middle of the worst cramp I've had...I smiled. Why?

The cramp was in my calf.

All this pain, and I'm happy that my injury resembles the injuries of my favorite baseball team. I guess that's how you know that fandom has gone a wee bit too far...when you start sharing their injuries without actually playing, and you're happy about it.

So even with a bum calf, Sunday was spent basking. I guess all this basking took a little bit longer than I thought, since Monday was also spent basking on my end too. The Mets, meanwhile, got right back to business on Monday. You see players, as far as I know, are really good at putting celebrations behind them and focusing on the task at hand...unlike me. I've gotta admit that I bought myself a time share on cloud nine.

I needed Monday to bask too, since part of basking is seeing people you haven't seen since Friday. Most would expect that I would have really let a certain Yankee fan have it, but the best part about having a blog and being part of the blogging community, is that somebody will ultimately have your back.

"I don't know why I'm even on this track
Y'all...ain't even on my level
I'm going to let my little homies
Ride on yah"
-Tupac Shakur, from "Hit 'em Up"
What impresses me is the patience that Toasty showed...keeping the Darth quotes in the back of his head and waiting for the right point to spring them back. Combine that with the visual aid he used and you have a technically sound blog post with a high level of difficulty. A 9.95.

Good thing I'm not a player...I'd be a prime candidate for a game one letdown. Hopefully, the guys that earn the big time paychecks are slightly more focused than I am. But then again, how could they not be...with the Cliff Floyd achilles situation hanging like a slow moving storm.

(You'll have to forgive me if I get slightly sentimental over one Cliff Floyd. Sure, it's not a dire situation to have Endy Chavez in the game instead of Floyd if need be. But if there was a player on this team that I would want to have the quintessential meaningful hit to put the Mets in the World Series, it would be Floyd.)

But everything else going seems to be humming along en route to game one. Tom Glavine hasn't heard anything pop in the last 24 hours, Jose Lima is nowhere near Shea Stadium, and Paul Lo Duca is picking fights with reporters:

Q. There's such a sense now that the American League is better than the National League, you're aware of that, I'm sure.
PAUL LO DUCA: I didn't know that. Go ahead. (Laughter.)
Q. This is sort of like the second place championship.
PAUL LO DUCA: Where did you hear that from? Your own assessment?
Q. No, it's not my own assessment.
PAUL LO DUCA: Where did you hear it from then?
Q. I follow baseball.
PAUL LO DUCA: Who is all of baseball?
Q. I said I follow baseball.
PAUL LO DUCA: You follow baseball, so you're saying the American League is better than the National League?
Q. I cover a National League team, I don't know.
PAUL LO DUCA: So you're saying the American League is better than the National League.
Q. I'm not saying the American League is better than the National League.
PAUL LO DUCA: Is he saying the American League is better than the National League? They obviously were, they were better overall in the interleague if you want to go there, but it's all washed out so we need to go play. We're not concerned with what happens on the American League side. We're concerned with what happens here.
Isn't Lo Duca like a latter day Ray Schalk...or at least what they portrayed Schalk to be in Eight Men Out? I picture Lo Duca talking to reporters in the hallway while passing around a medicine ball...while smacking around divorce lawyers with his spare hand.

When it comes to the Cardinals, two people scare me.

You can guess one of them fairly easily.

With the lack of support that Albert Pujols has surrounding him in the lineup (made more obvious by the hurt that Scott Rolen is feeling right now), there's no reason to throw anything to him that's in his area code, let alone the strike zone.

First base open? Ball four.

Second base open? Ball four.

Bases empty and nobody out? Ball four.

7-6 Mets in the top of the ninth with the bases loaded, two men out and the bottom of the order due up for the Mets in the bottom of the ninth?

Ball four. Hey, 7-7 is better than 10-7, right? Trust the lineup.

The other guy that scares me might scare...well, just me.

But has anyone noticed during the Cardinals' victory over the Padres how tough Tyler Johnson was out of the pen. The lefty had a big break in his curveball that carried him to 2 and two thirds of shutout baseball with six strikeouts against San Diego...while pitching in all four games.

Y'all saw how the Dodgers were affected by the loss of Joe Beimel to an unfortunate injury suffered in his "hotel room". I'm sure you also have noticed the Mets recent struggles against lefthanded pitching. If the games are close, Johnson could be a sneakily large factor against New York. Perhaps there's an evite we could send to the young lefthander?

Notice that I left one Chris Carpenter off the list. Chris Carpenter doesn't scare me because unfortunately for St. Louis, Carpenter isn't going to be in a position to scare anyone...he will only pitch in two of the games (unless he summons the spirit of Orel Hershiser and tries to close out a game or two, which begs the question: "How does Orel Hershiser analyze a game if he has no spirit?) and the Cards will have to take this to seven games to see him the second time. Pujols and Johnson, to me, are higher on the list.

And that bodes well for the Mets, especially getting to see Jeff Weaver tomorrow for game one. Only the newly minted "Kenny Rogers Factor" plants a little bit of doubt in my mind that Weaver is going to get hit hard Wednesday night. Once that happens, Chris Carpenter isn't going to be there to pick up the slack and get that all-important split at Shea. So if you're a Met fan do you know what you're rooting for? You're rooting for no rainout on Thursday. Only a rainout on Thursday can push Carpenter up to game 2 and you don't want that. I don't want that. Nobody wants that.

The only rain the Mets want is another champagne shower that will send them to the World Series.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Living For This

Hit it, kid...

Hey Tommy Lasorda! Why are you hiding? So your Dodgers got knocked out of the playoffs. Big deal.

So you made a fool of yourself trying to wave on the Dodger crowd. Big deal.

What are you going to do Tommy, hide in the treehouse for the rest of the playoffs?

Sure, you're a Dodger fan. But you're a baseball fan! October is the time to be with others, and to share your linguini and clam sauce with others.

C'mon Tommy, it's baseball!

Awwww, poor Jeanne Zelasko. Why the tears? Because your schoolgirl crush is out of the playoffs? Because you can no longer nestle his picture over your shoulder during pre-game shows? Because he'll be home dripping tears on his MVP award and you'll have to soldier on without him?

Big deal.

Sure, you have a Derek Jeter obsession. And sure, your network thought it necessary to decorate the set today with pictures of Babe Ruth, who's dead, and Sandy Koufax, who hasn't pitched in forty years...and probably jinxed their teams once and for all. And sure, your executives may be crying along with you because your beloved shortstop and Team Toxicity has been ousted from the playoffs by a team that lost one thousand games in 2002 and 2003. But you love baseball! October is for finding other players to stalk...and finding other old pictures to hang on your set.

Buck up Jeanne, it's baseball!

Oh now Krukker, no need to leap off the Sears tower. Why? Because you picked the Dodgers to win every damn game? Because every bit of analysis that you've congealed not only doubted the Mets, but was wrong? Because Lasorda bogarted all of the meatballs at the Bristol buffet table?

Big deal!

Sure, all of your analysis is wrong. But's baseball! When life deals you a lemon, talk about Albert Pujols' intangibles! Talk about how Trevor Hoffman is an unhittable future hall of famer. Talk about how Cliff Floyd's stretched achilles is the latest death blow to the New York Mets playoff chances. Heck, talk about how you still think the Dodgers can win this series! At this rate, nobody is taking anything you're saying seriously anymore anyway.

C'mon you beer swilling tobacco chewing animal, it's baseball!

Now Tommy, you were making such good progress. Why don't you come out from behind the bar?

So your organization provided the Mets with half of their roster. Big deal.

So that Paul Lo Duca/Guillermo Mota for Brad Penny trade bit your Dodgers in the butt two years later in the span of four days. Big deal.

So Shawn Green swung the bat tonight like it was the strongman mallet at the carnival for the exclusive purpose of shoving it down the throat of his former organization.

Big deal.

Tommy! Don't you live for this? Don't you love baseball?

Because baseball. I live for this.

Don't tell me you're hiding too, George.

Don't tell me that you're going to drive that golf cart off of a cliff, Mr. Steinbrenner.

So you spent $200 million dollars for one playoff win. Big deal.

So you had $15 million dollar players at every position except second base. Big deal.

So your manager entrusted the fates of former a bunch of former all-stars on a right arm that hasn't delivered a playoff victory in 11 starts, and he showed the world how desperate he was when he batted the 2005 Most Valuable Player eighth in the lineup.

Big f***ing deal!

Besides, what do you have to be scared of? Certainly, you're not scared of facing the Mets. And why should you be? You're going to win it all, right? You said so back in spring training. So why should you be worried? Why should you hide behind your golf cart? Why should you be worried about facing the Mets in the Subway Series? Turns out you were right all along anyway.

Because you're not going to face them!

Come on, Big Stein! It's f***ing baseball! October is for sitting around the table with three of your closest friends, and perhaps a media member or two, and watch some baseball! Come on Steinbrenner! You live for this!

I sure as hell live for this!!!


So get your fat asses...TO THE TV!!! And let's watch the New York Mets go get that SUBWAY SERIES!!!

(In fact, the subway expansion has more than one new stop...don't want to discount anyone, right?)