Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Jacket Talk

Sometimes, it's hard to recognize a great blogging moment when it hits you in the head. However, this moment for me is a slam dunk, as I am honored to be sitting here talking to Rick Peterson, the pitching coach of the New York Mets. Rick, welcome to my little blog.

RP: Thank you. Discussing baseball with you is like being in a ferris wheel while wearing electrical clamps on my earlobes.

MD: Uh, I'm not sure that's a compliment but okay.

RP: It's about as much of a compliment as being lathered in Carmex.

MD: Aaaaaaall riiiiiiiight then. Rick, everyone says that the pitching staff is undermanned with a couple of forty-plus guys at the top. What is your response to that?

RP: That's a very good question. If you take all the abacus beads in Europe and you put them in a big sack, you still have to go out and pitch, right?

MD: Umm, that's an interesting analogy. Any idea what that means?

RP: It means that age ain't nothing but a number.

MD: does?

RP: Of course.

MD: All right I'll take your word for it. Speaking of age, Mike Pelfrey could be special even at a young age this season. What do you see in Pelfrey so far?

RP: You know people have to be careful with pitchers like Pelfrey. Fans always want to see TV dinners when it takes time to put together a gourmet meal.

MD: So is Mike Pelfrey a TV dinner or a gourmet meal?

RP: Teaching Mike Pelfrey is like Jane Goodall and the chimps, you have to be patient.

MD: I'm not touching that with a ten foot bamboo stick. You recently did some extra work with John Maine. What did you tell him?

RP: I told him that he has to be careful not to put ketchup on his ice cream.

MD: Is that another one of your motivational metaphors?

RP: No, kid puts Heinz 57 on Butterscotch. He's weird.

MD: Well, it doesn't matter as long as he can solidify the middle of the rotation, right?

RP: The rain with Maine falls mainly in low lying areas.

MD: What??!?

RP: Yeah, that's how the crops grow. John Maine has to make the crops grow this season.

MD: Are you by chance, hungry?

RP: Like a polar bear in Albuquerque.

MD: Never mind. Rick, are you pleased with Chan Ho Park's work so far?

RP: Chan Ho Park is working hard, but he's an enigma.

MD: Kind of like your analogies?

RP: Watching Chan Ho Park pitch is like watching those commercials for live Christian rock CD's, and they're showing shots of the crowd and there's that one really cute girl dancing in the audience that you want to have impure thoughts about. But she's like religious and stuff so you know that you're probably going to hell if you think about her in that way, but you can't help it because all you want to do is, um...all you want to do is, how should I put it...

MD: You want to put ketchup on her ice cream?

RP: What? That doesn't make sense. What was your question again?

MD: Chan Ho Park. What's the deal?

RP: Chan Ho Park is the Sidney Moncrief of Major League baseball.

MD: You have a lot of sayings. Is there one that you could take back?

RP: Oh, I see. I know what you want me to say. You want me to get into the whole "I can fix him in ten minutes" thing. Well it was a misunderstanding. Jeff Wilpon asked if I can throw together a bowl of Minute Rice for him, and I told him that truly great rice takes more than a minute. You need the right spices, the right consistency, and that I was going to fix it for him, but I was going to need at least ten minutes. Because, you see, quality is the hallmark of success and not quantity. Why have Minute Rice or TV dinners when you can have turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, more stuffing, and chocolate cream pie for dessert? And that's the message that I'm sending to our pitching staff. Go for the stuffing gentlemen...go for the stuffing.

MD: Wow, that's powerful. But with all this talk about food, how are you not 350 pounds?

RP: A pilate a day keeps the turk away.

MD: Good point. Well Rick, thank you for your time. And I speak for all Met fans when I say...well, frankly I'm quite scared to say anything at this point, but thank you.

RP: Go for the stuffing, 'Damus.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Truth Will Find You...Brett Myers!

So Brett Myers hates the Mets.

Hey, who doesn't these days?
"I hate the Mets...I want to beat them more than anyone else. What we need to do is make sure none of their fans get in our building. We shouldn't sell tickets to Mets fans."
Now before we all jump down Myers' throat remember, there's a perfectly sound reason for Myers' tirade.

He's Satan.

Think about it for a second: Brett Myers wears 39. 3+9=12. 12+11 (Jimmy Rollins' number), is 23

Brett Myers had 23 at bats in 2002, when Myers had a Donruss rookie card which was card number 23.

In 2003, Brett Myers went 14-9. 14+9=23.

In 2004, when Myers was 23 years old, he had 23 assists in the field.

In 2005, Brett Myers averaged 8.69 K's per nine innings. 8+6+9=23.

Not convinced yet?

Brett Myers pitched on April 23rd of 2006...after which, Myers had season total of 23 and 2/3's innings pitched.

In 2006, Brett Myers assaulted his wife on June...23rd.

Myers pitched on August 23rd of '06. At the end of play that day, Myers' ERA stood at 4.23.

Backtracking: On August 17th of '06 (17+06=23), this Met fan bought a ticket to a Mets/Phillies game just like Myers wouldn't want me to do. I was sold a standing room only ticket to a game Where Carlos Beltran hit a home run...his 23rd road home run of the season.

Carlos Delgado, who wore number 21, hit 2 home runs that day. 21+2=23.

"Myers Marriage Counseling" has 23 letters.

And as you know, the number 2 divided by the number 3 comes out to .666, the number of the devil.

Hence, Brett Myers is Satan.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Right Down Broadway's too easy.

It's like when Craig Kilborn berates his pitcher at the end of "The Benchwarmers" so badly that the pitcher throws the straightest, biggest meatball you've ever big that even the worst of little leaguers (or Jeff McKnight) could hit it.

Well, Orlando Hernandez coming down with a case of arthritis (good lord) is that pitch that's so easy even I could hit it. But it's too easy.

It's like kicking a child...or beating Charles Barkley in a footrace...or finding Paris Hilton in a bar.

There's no challenge in it.

I do have to ask one question though: if it's arthritis, why exactly did he have to be flown to New York? Did the trainers forget to board the equipment trucks to the spring complex? Are there no Duane Reades in Port St. Lucie? Is there a state wide Geritol shortage in Florida?

Well, I guess there would be a scenario where that last question would be a yes.

"Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in people over the age of 65." -wikipedia
But Orlando is 37.
"And I'm Walter Payton." -Billy Crystal, in Running Scared.

For those of you wishing you could be a soothsayer like me, don't. It's a curse.

I told my brother that I was going to the Ranger game on Thursday. His excitement for me was tempered by the fact that I told him that the Rangers would lose 3-2.

Well, I hate being right.

Sometimes, sooth saying stinks.

So you kids out there that think this is glamorous...go get a medical degree and make some money...and cure arthritis in the process.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Good Alomar...For Now

Do you realize that if not for Sandy Alomar Jr., the Yankees might have won five straight titles?

That alone means that Sandy should never have to pay for a drink in the borough of Queens.

The other reason? He's not his brother.

Yeah, Sandy is 40 going on 105. And yeah, he'll have to compete with Ruben Sierra for the Metamucil and the Levitra. Not to mention that at the age of forty, he should know how to spell simple words like Zephyr because that's the uniform he's destined to wear if he plays baseball in 2007. But ten years ago he hit a home run off of Mariano Rivera that kept three straight from being five straight, and that's a good enough reason for me to use a major league minimum salary on him. And it makes his dad happy, which means that Sandy Alomar Sr. isn't going to fall into a deep depression which would cause him to coach third base while drunk and wave Julio Franco home from second base against Austin this signing has already bought the Mets one win this season. See? In Omar we trust.

Besides, bitching about old guys on the Mets is like wearing an earring. Everyone's doing it these days so who's going to notice?


Looking for a degree to complete your education? Looking for that graduate assistant's job to give you an edge in the real world? Have you been sent to detention so many times that no real school will want you within 50 yards of the premises?

Then Flushing University is for you.

At Flushing University (or F.U. for those of you who think syllables are pesky), you will receive one-on-one instruction from some of the best professors that the Mets world has to offer. They will challenge you, they will push you, and most of all they will make sure that you enter the real world as a prepared, well rounded Mets fan.

And if all you're looking for is an easy "A", then this guy is a pushover...students can basically do what they want in his classroom and he rarely gives homework (so that he doesn't have to waste time grading it). He gives class on Fridays, which should be your first clue that it's an easy "A"...who signs up for hard classes on Fridays anyway?

So Flushing University has something for everyone. Best of all, it only costs a click on your web browser. So visit them for a full Mets curriculum today.

And don't run in the hallways.


I gotta wonder...what's the big deal with this, anyway?

After all, it's just Britney being Manny.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Between The Lines

You might have received a letter from Omar Minaya, welcoming you to the 2007 season. A nice gesture, but it seemed a little too filtered.

Luckily, the crack staff are experts at understanding the deeper meaning behind mere words. Here's what Omar was really trying to say...

"Dear Mets Fans:

Our quest for a championship begins this week as pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training. All of us at the Mets are determined to build upon last year's success - an MLB-best 97 wins and the National League East title."

(We'd better. If we don't at least start off to a 35-5 start and make the World Series in '07, some heads are going to roll. I'm not talking about Omar we trust, right? I'm not even talking about Willie's. Heck, I like Willie. But we've got guys coming in complaining about parking spaces that are going to make easy targets if we start out slow. Hey you know how these things start...the Mets are 2-3 and the headlines read "What's Wrong With The Mets"? All of a sudden, a player is in a slump and Lo Duca has to come out to the press to day "Hey, stop booing Shawn Gree...I mean, stop booing player X." We're determined to win the N.L. East by pounding the Phillies every chance we get and show Jimmy Rollins who's boss. We're determined also to keep winning in Turner Field, expose the Marlins lack of experience and...oh come on, it's the freakin' Nationals. They let go of me when they were the Expos and look what happened.)

"We like our blend of young talent, veterans, power, speed, and athleticism as we head into what will be a competitive camp. Carlos Delgado, David Wright, Jose Reyes, and Paul Lo Duca anchor our star-studded infield with Carlos Beltran, Shawn Green, and Moises Alou in the outfield. We think that these guys and those coming off the bench playing as a team combine for one of the most potent, dynamic, and exciting lineups in baseball."

(We're gonna score some runs. Freddy Garcia and Adam Eaton in Citizens Bank Park? Where do we sign up?)

"We feel we have more quality arms and depth on our staff than we have had in many, many years going into Spring Training. Proven winners Tom Glavine and Orlando Hernandez lead the starters. After showing a lot during the playoffs last year, we have good reason to believe that John Maine and Oliver Perez can continue to contribute for us this year. We feel that homegrown Mike Pelfrey and Philip Humber are legitimate big league prospects who will compete for a spot with Chan Ho Park, Jorge Sosa, Aaron Sele, Alay Soler, and Jason Vargas. The addition of Ambiorix Burgos and Scott Schoeneweis strengthens our N.L.- leading bullpen. We expect even more quality performances from Aaron Heilman, Pedro Feliciano, and Duaner Sanchez to set up closer Billy Wagner."

( we didn't get Barry Zito, and we didn't trade for an ace. So what? All right so I can't type that with a straight face, but how would you think of me if I took $127 million of your hard earned money and gave it to one guy...a guy who comes to spring training and changes his delivery causing his pitching coach to say "uh-oh". Uh oh? Rick Peterson would never say "Uh oh!" He might compare a wheat field to a night club or something similar that makes no sense, but he would at least sound like he knew what he was talking about. Then Zito yells at reporters that they blew the whole changed delivery story out of proportion...gee, how would that have flown in New York? Huh? Huh??? Jason Vargas and Aaron Sele don't sound so bad anymore, do they?)

"Manager Willie Randolph's leadership has created the most unique clubhouse and team environment in all of baseball. We expect the team to continue to thrive under his guidance."

(Willie Randolph is a guy who managed Jose Offerman, Kaz Matsui, and Jose Lima. AND NOBODY DIED IN THE PROCESS! How many managers do you know that could pull that off? Not many. So I swear if I hear one more freakin' complaint about how Willie uses the bullpen, we're throwing down.)

(I mean it.)

(Don't test me.)

"Our entire organization is excited about the upcoming season. The abrupt conclusion to last season makes us even more driven in our goal of winning a World Championship for the greatest fans in sports. We thank you for your loyal support and look forward to seeing you back at Shea for more thrills, fun, and celebrations."

(Yadier Molina. F#%&ing d*&^it!)

(Well then. Fresh start, shall we?)

Omar Minaya Executive VP of Baseball Operations & General Manager
New York Mets"

(Peace out. Love, O.)

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Hope Springs Eternal

You regulars should know me well enough by now to know that I'm not one to start waxing poetic about the appearance of pitchers and catchers today.

You have probably heard a lot over the last few days about how spring training represents the onset of hope and beginnings...about how everybody starts out 0-0 and, at least temporarily, is a playoff contender.

I, on the other hand, would probably tell you that pitchers and catchers reporting is just day one on a road that for 29 out of 30 teams will have a brick wall at the end. I for one don't like those odds.

(And I especially don't like those odds if Pedro is hanging out with guys who are linked to steroids and hypodermic needles. No pun intended but...ouch!)

The following is a fact: There is no more hope today than there was on October 20th, 2006.

Now don't take that to mean that there is no such thing as hope, or that hope is overrated...not at all. But there is no more hope today than there was the day after the most painful strikeout in Mets history.

I'll prove it with a true story.

There's a young boy that lives with his father in a Manhattan loft that had plenty of room for a kid to hit a sponge ball off a tee to his doting father, waiting with the glove that came with the tee ball set to catch his son's screaming line drives. Each morning, before the father could set up the equipment, the young son was already waiting with bat in hand to take some morning BP before nursery school. All this young boy would do was swing, swing and swing some more. One hundred...two hundred swings while his father would play the field. This went on for months.

Then came October 19th. The father let the young boy stay up as late as he could to watch Game 7 between the Mets and the Cardinals. Try as he might, the boy couldn't make it through the whole game, but one of the last things he saw was Endy Chavez's catch.

The boy woke up the next morning wondering who won. When told that the Cardinals had won and the Mets wouldn't be playing baseball anymore, the boy wondered aloud to his father "was it because I fell asleep?"

The father had decided not to set up the baseball equipment that morning, figuring that the son wouldn't be in the mood to take BP upon hearing that the Mets season was over. But wouldn't you know it, there he was taking the equipment out of the closet and setting up just as it was any other morning. Setting up the tee just where it always was, with ball on top. Then he got out his trusted bat...

and handed it to his father.

The young boy, with his last memory of the 2006 season being Endy Chavez's catch...and knowing full well that he would not see his beloved Mets play again in 2006...put on his plastic glove and took the field for the first time ever, perhaps hoping one day to make a catch like that during morning BP in a Manhattan loft. That, my friends, is as hopeful as any set of pitchers and any set of catchers taking a field in Port St. Lucie.

Play ball.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The X (Met) Files

It all seems a little too convenient, doesn't it?

It's February 12th and all of a sudden Kris Benson is out for the season with a torn rotator cuff?

I mean, call me a conspiracy theorist, but it's too strange a coincidence when a pitcher gets diagnosed with a torn rotator cuff in February after he was already diagnosed with a bum elbow last August, giving the Orioles plenty of time to poke around the arm and find something, which they don't find until now.

Sure you can chalk it up to "The Oriole Way", which lately has signaled incompetence...but with a former teammate still looking for a job the same week as training camp, and all of a sudden there's an "injury"? And it's just wee bit too convenient that Steve Trachsel is just ready to step in and play the good soldier with a $3 million contract to pitch for the O's in 2007?

All that, plus Anna Benson is nowhere to be found, and I'm not supposed to believe that foul play was involved?

Think about it for a second if you will: Steve Trachsel gets divorced at the end of the season, Kris and Anna briefly split up in the middle of the season, and now all of a sudden it's February and Trachsel just kind of shows up in Baltimore to take Benson's spot in the Orioles rotation (and perhaps Benson's woman as well?) All that's left is for a lawyer to step up to a podium and announce that the late J. Howard Marshall is Steve Trachsel's father.

It's just too freakin' bizarre...and I haven't even delved into the fact that noooooooow MLB decides to give playoff teams until the first day of the playoff series to change their roster after the Mets lose a chance to replace Anderson Hernandez with Dave Williams...the same Dave Williams who coincidentally came down with an injury of his own which will keep him off a mound until May or June. Hmmmmmmm...

The truth is out there.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

History In The Making

There was a time when losing streaks were simply relegated to expansion teams like the 1962 Mets who, among other losing streaks, lost a season high 17 in a row.

But nowadays, even storied franchises like the Boston Celtics aren't immune...the team who has won more NBA titles than any other, has a losing streak of 17 and counting.

Who's streak was more painful? You be the judge:

The Mets streak started on May 21st with a 3-2 loss which dropped their record to 12-20. The Celtics streak started on January 7th as they entered play that night with a record of 12-20.

The Mets lost 17 games by a combined 56 runs, an average of just over three runs a game. The Celtics have lost 17 games by a combined 150 points, just short of nine points a game...with the NBA's three point shot, that's about right.

The 1962 Mets had a pitcher named Vinegar. The Celtics wish they had vinegar to cover the stench that permeates the T (no D) Banknorth Garden.

The Mets were managed by Casey Stengel, who was 71 years old and frequently made no sense. The Celtics are managed by Doc Rivers, who can't lean on the excuse of old age for his senility.

The average age of the 1962 Mets was, amazingly, only 29.1 years old. The 2007 Boston Celtics have only two players over the age of 29, and considering those two players are Theo Ratliff (who's played a total of two games this season), and Michael Olowokandi (who has allegedly played 19 games but someone is going to have to prove that to me), I would hardly count them as "players".

The 1962 Mets had Harry Chiti, who was once traded for himself. The 2007 Boston Celtics have Sebastian Telfair. Telfair was traded to Boston in exchange for Raef LaFrentz, who's departure from Boston has incredibly not made the Celtics any better.

During the streak, Frank Howard drove in eight runs in six games against the Mets. Dwight Howard dropped 18 points and 12 rebounds in one game against Boston.

The Celtics' streak will most land them the phenom Greg Oden in the 2006 draft.

There was no MLB draft in 1963. Back then, a 17 game losing streak only got you the proverbial set of steak knives.

The Mets had a Throneberry. The Celtics have a Scalabrine.

The Mets had plenty of players with World Series experience on the '62 team...Richie Ashburn, Gil Hodges, Roger Craig, Gus Bell, and even Don Zimmer, among others, all played in World Series in their careers.

The Celtics...have Brian Scalabrine.

The Mets streak has been over for almost 45 years. The Celtics streak, as long as Doc Rivers and former Blue Jay Danny Ainge are given a votes of confidence, could last for another 45 years.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Sexiest Rumor Alive

"If I want to be teased, I'll date" -The unidentified lover
The Mets know from failed courtships.

For example, Omar Minaya had a long one with Manny Ramirez. It spawned so many crazy rumors that the courtship was reminiscent of dating one of those women who recite Black Sabbath lyrics while slicing pagan stars into their forearms. When it was over, there was a little disappointment, but also a sense of relief that she didn't kill you in your sleep.

It was also a long flirtation with Barry Zito...longer than just an offseason. Barry Zito was a dance that lasted the better part of 30 months. When it ended, we were all left to pick up the pieces after that long courtship ended badly. In some ways, it was like the geeky high school kid getting his hopes up lusting after the head cheerleader in the shadows for years only to see her predictably date somebody else. There was more disappointment, but there was even a relief when that was over because there were no more illusions and you could get on with your life.
"I thought all along you'd Be the death of me
I met one tonight who wants
What's left of me
I've seen that look before
She'll tear my world apart
I'm working on my next broken heart"
-Brooks and Dunn
Now, thanks to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, the geeky high school kid has found a new cheerleader to lust after with no hopes of a relationship at least until the geeky kid grows up and is C.E.O. of a large financial unit...and maybe not even then. According to the nameless columnist (how dare somebody write and not put their real, never mind), we shouldn't be surprised if the Mets, and not the Yankees, sign Johan Santana after the 2008 season. So what the paper is telling us is that two full seasons before Santana's contract expires, the Mets are the lead horse.

Forgive me if I'm not dancing around the complex lathered up in baby oil with unbridled joy.

Does this newspaper know what it started here in New York? Because I gotta tell you, I'm not sure that this fan base is completely ready and/or willing to start pining over another pitching stud who isn't going to throw a pitch in an M-E-T-S uniform for at least another season and a half, if not longer. You thought Barry Zito was bad? You thought Manny Ramirez was bad? Imagine if Scarlett Johansson rode past you in a limousine, rolled down her window, stuck out her head and blew a kiss at you? And you proceeded to spend two years looking out your window hoping that she would roll by again, but this time stopping and actually exiting the limo and coming up to you and kissing you like you've never been kissed before?

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

Don't tease me. I'm perfectly capable of finding my next broken heart on my own.

(Editor's update: Proving that daydreaming is much, much better than reality, the Mets respond to the Johan Santana rumor the only way they know how, by signing Chan Ho Park to a one year-$3 million deal of course. The rationale is easy: the Mets obviously can't go a season without having a guy who not only gives up home runs, but gives up historic home runs...from Steve Trachsel's grooving of Mark McGwire's 62nd to Park's delivery of Barry Bonds' 71st. With baseball's tougher steroids policy Park should have more success, although that didn't help when Trachsel faced Jeff Suppan in the playoffs. Park will compete for a spot in the Mets rotation, which is great when you consider that the best success Park has had recently was at 2006's World Baseball Uniform Sale and a closer. Terrific. Just terrific.)

Counting The Days

You know what I've been doing over the last few days?

I've been watching the Caribbean World Series hoping that Anderson Hernandez drives in a run with a six run lead for the Dominican Republic.

I've recorded the movie "Dirty Deeds" to see Todd Zeile as Mullet.

I've been calculating the minutes...that a Met would save driving from New York City to Port St. Lucie if that Met would do so in a pair of diapers (143).

It's going to be a long eight days until spring training starts.

Monday, February 05, 2007

No Cigar

"Oh, and P.S., Since Rex Grossman admitted that he didn't really try in that last Bears game against the Packers, and in the process cost me an extra $400, I don't think I would put any of my hate muscles in danger by pulling for the Colts on February 4th to end the Bears' season miserably. However I have no doubt that the Bears will cover the spread just to piss off anyone who would lay the points. Colts 29, Bears 24" -Metstradamus, Friday January 26th, 2007
As I was rooting for the Bears to score that garbage touchdown last night (you've screwed me for the last time, Rex Grossman) to cement my status as a two-sport soothsayer (although it was never documented, I also predicted a Florida/Ohio state matchup in last month's college championship game way back in're just going to have to trust me on that one, kids) I thought it was as good a time as any to revisit my group of predictions for the 2006 baseball season, documented on April 2nd, 2006.

  • The price of fame will be paid. There will be a rumor reported that will revolve around David Wright and a model. Might be true...might not. But the New York Post will be involved.

Using the Metstradamus Stableford Scoring system, I'm giving myself this one. Okay, so instead of David Wright and a model, it was Paul Lo Duca and a Long Island club, but it was the New York Post. Score one for the blogger.

  • There will be an in-season acquisition for the starting rotation. It will not be Barry Zito. It will be somebody cheaper, and on a team that will fall apart during the regular season. This pitcher will come from the Bay Area. (Is that enough of a hint?)

Well there was an in-season acquisition for the starting rotation. And it wasn't Barry Zito. And he was on a team that fell apart during the regular season. It was not however, the pitcher I was thinking of. If anyone has ever confused Jason Schmidt and Oliver Perez for one another while they were walking down the street together, then I can give myself this one. Otherwise...

  • I have to admit I've been intrigued by the prediction of one "the Metmaster", who sees in his own crystal ball that it will indeed be Victor Zambrano who will pitch the first Met no-hitter in history. I have to say that for a rookie, his ability to combine his knowledge of Met history with a heaping dose of irony makes him an up and coming soothsayer. Makes me proud. My prediction is, the prediction of this "the Metmaster" doesn't have a cow's chance in McDonald's.

Ding ding ding ding! (All right, that was too easy. That's like predicting that Lindsay Lohan would go to a party in 2006.)

  • Pedro in 2006: 17-9, 3.52 ERA, 199 K's. Will be ever so slightly off in April.

Wrong on all counts...April was Pedro's best month, unfortunately.

The Marlins were scrappy, winning 8 out of 19 games, but I get this one wrong.
  • Same premise: I see lack of success against Milwaukee, Houston, and Los Angeles.
In a tribute to just how impressive the Mets' 2006 season was, they didn't lose a single series to anybody in the National League (the Orioles went 2-1 and the Red Sox swept the Mets in a three game series in Fenway.) The closest team to win a season series against the Mets was actually the Brewers who, along with the Cubs, Giants and Yankees, went 3-3 vs. the Mets. I get 1/3 of this one right.

  • Jose Reyes will double his walk total.
Coming within one walk invokes the "close enough" rule.
  • Kris Benson will not, I repeat, will not finish the season with the Orioles.
And I never, ever, took steroids...period.
  • I'm not sure whether it will be because of the disabled list, or flat out retirement, but I predict that Mike Piazza will not play in his scheduled return to Shea Stadium in early August.
Piazza apparently got so pissed off at this prediction that he specifically waited until I was in the building to go yard...twice!
  • Tom Glavine against the Braves in 2006? Undefeated.
A 2-1 loss to Tim Hudson squashed that one before it ever got started.
  • I fearlessly predict that there will be a Jerry Seinfeld guest appearance in the Mets announce booth sometime in 2006.
  • All right, that last one was a gimme...he's in the Mets booth every year. I just wanted to make sure I get at least one right.

And yet, I got that one wrong.

  • My Mets walk off special: First one of the season...would you believe, Endy Chavez?

It was actually the eighth walk-off of the season. Again: with the Metstradamus Stableford Scoring System, I get this one right.

  • Kaz Matsui? We're stuck with him...all season. Sometime in the ensuing offseason, there will be reports of a missing 1986 World Championship ring.

Credit to Omar Minaya for finding a, trade partner to unload Matsui and prove me wrong. No word on the whereabouts of that 1986 ring.

  • Braden Looper will have more saves against the Mets in 2006 than Armando Benitez.

The final tally was: Benitez 1, Looper 0.

  • In the tradition of "The Curly Shuffle", "L.A. Woman", and "Who Let The Dogs Out", the Mets will once again adopt a song for the 2006 stretch run. The song will be not only be lame, it will be cheesy.

Oh boy...did I nail this one or what?

  • Carlos Delgado in 2006: 35 HR, 107 RBI, .289 AVG., 134 K's.

Final tally: 38 HR, 114 RBI, .265 AVG., 120 K's, and one chance meeting in Philadelphia. Again, we invoke the "close enough" rule.

  • I see it necessary for Filthy Sanchez to get five filthy saves this season.

I should have seen it necessary for Sanchez to order room service in Miami.

  • Brian Bannister: 6-7, 4.52 ERA in 2006. He'll flirt with a no hitter for say...4 and 1/3 innings.

Five and 1/3, thank you, and in his first start no less. Bannister's season was cut short by a baserunning injury, and months later, he's traded. Bannister has already found time to be pictured in his new hat, poor bastard.

  • The grand win total for the Mets? Well seeing as if I picked them for the division, it will have to be fairly high. Last season, we went with 83. This year with the improved bullpen and the juiced up (that's not funny) hitting, we'll go with...91.

Yes, I understand that this prediction paints me as the pessimist that I am since the Mets wound up winning 97. But rooting for the Mets has taught me to keep my expectations low and be pleasantly surprised, rather than enter a season with hubris and have my heart ripped out and shown to me by some light hitting shortstop that becomes Babe Ruth against Mets pitching. You too will learn one day, young Jedi.

Oh yes, you'll learn.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

This Year Is Here

I'm resistant to change.

I like old things such as ripped jeans, ripped furniture, cookie sheets with thirty layers of grease...for example.

In a contradiction of those terms, ever since last season's loss I've been ready to cast 2006 aside and go forth on to 2007 with extreme prejudice. But until January first the calendar wouldn't let me. And even after the calendar changed, I still felt 2006 dragging me backwards as if I was tuna swimming upstream.

"The Mets are gonna be good this year." -Mets fan, on January 29th, 12:25 PM
With one innocuous quote, 2006 was over...last year. A distant memory. Or as a friend of mine would say: "nobody remembers". I wouldn't go quite that far, but 2007 officially became "this year" with one simple remark. Heck I got so excited at the fact that "this year" is upon us that I immediately put on some shorts, broke out my baseball glove, and ran around Central Park looking for a game of catch. Heartwarming, right?

Six hours later, I was sitting in a hospital bed with a massive case of frostbite from being stupid enough to wear shorts in sub-freezing weather.

Stupid, right? But hey, one can be forgiven for a touch of spring fever with the temperature at a balmy 29, I say. Besides, 2007 is all about out with the old and in with...Ruben Sierra?

I guess I can hold on to my ripped jeans for one more season.


Speaking of ripped jeans, you know what strikes me on the eve of Super Bowl XLI? And trust me, this is no knock on the NFL, the New York Giants, football fans, or George Carlin. But as 2006 started, it seemed that you couldn't get through a day of spring training without realizing that '06 was the 20th anniversary of a World Champion team. As the Mets were entering that season with somewhat high aspirations, the parallels between '86 and '06 were almost surreal...well, outside of the bar fights and the like (Paul Lo Duca's marital woes only count as a controversy because with 10,000 more media outlets, everything is a controversy). There were former Mets celebrating everywhere...heck even Strawberry made a couple of appearances in between money arguments. With every turn of the line-up card it seems there were reminders of Lenny, Kid, and Mookie...even when the Mets were eliminated, Mookie was omnipresent.

The New York Giants entered the 2006 season with higher championship hopes than even the Mets did while celebrating a 20th anniversary of their own World Championship, yet you would have never known it by watching the Giants this season. I mean, where was Phil McConkey? Where was Carl Banks? Wasn't the immortal Lee Rouson at a card signing somewhere?

"In baseball, during the game, in the stands, there's kind of a picnic feeling; emotions may run high or low, but there's not too much unpleasantness.
In football, during the game in the stands, you can be sure that at least twenty-seven times you're capable of taking the life of a fellow human being."
-George Carlin
I guess the NFL, even with only one game a week for 16 weeks, has no time for silly things like nostalgia, memories, ripped jeans, and even Ruben Sierra. Too bad. The '06 Giants could have used some nostalgia to mask Tiki Barber's career aspirations, Michael Strahan's amazing ability to yell at a reporter and then nine weeks later play one on TV, Jeremy Shockey's attempted coach killing and successful dropped passes, and the team's near complete collapse from a 6-2 record.

Of course, nostalgia isn't always needed. 2007, for example, is the 20th anniversary of such momentous events as Dwight Gooden's very first drug rehabilitation, the lopsided Al Pedrique for Bill Almon trade, Keith Hernandez shaving his mustache, Tom Edens' major league debut, and Terry Pendleton's season killing home run.

As much as it would make a momentous reunion ceremony, I'll opt for the present, ripped jeans or not.