Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Balk Balk! Like The Chicken You Are!

The real Carlos Delgado is back. The one we all know and love.

The real Armando Benitez is also back. The one we all know and hate.

Combine the two, and you have a recipe for a sweet night. And oh, how sweet it is.

Sometimes, karma lies dormant for a while. We had all hoped for this the minute Armando left the Mets...hoped for the Mets to have his number from the start. Instead, he went 12-for-12 in save opportunities against the Flushing Nine in 2004, and we all wondered what the Mets did to deserve that.

Oh that's right, they hired Art Howe, signed Shane Spencer and Karim Garcia instead of Vladimir Guerrero, and traded Scott Kazmir for Victor Zambrano. Now I remember.

But that bit of karma has been in someone's hip pocket for a long time, just waiting for the right time to be played. And between Lastings Milledge, and a gaggle of walks, it has indeed been well played over the past couple of seasons. But if there was a quintessential way to defeat the man we affectionately call "Blow-nitez", two balks and a walk-off bomb by Diesel was it. Especially after Armando threw his infield under the bus after a recent game against the Rockies:

"I'm doing my job, I got three groundballs and what happened?" Benitez asked. "We had an opportunity to win the game. How many times we got somebody on base and nobody moved him? Somebody had to pay and the person that paid was me. He hit a good pitch, a slider away, and a sinker."
Amazing that when it's someone else's fault, our friend Benitez is willing to expound to reporters afterwards. Not like when he was here right?

Oh, here's Armando's pearl of wisdom tonight...after he had nobody to blame but himself:

"I lost the game."
Yes, you most certainly did. Here's what Omar Vizquel should have said afterwards:

"I'm doing my job, I dive and rob Julio Franco of the game winning hit in the ninth, and Kevin Frandsen makes a great play on the barehand stab of my flip and what happened?" Vizquel asked. "We had an opportunity to win the game. How many times we got somebody on base and nobody balked him all the way home in the first eleven innings? Somebody had to pay and the person that paid was me."
Maybe Vizquel can put that in his next book whenever he decides he wants to piss off another teammate.

Tonight, for the first time since his departure, I can truly say I'll miss Armando Benitez when he leaves Shea Stadium. I'll miss his karma.


Speaking of members of the Hall of Hate, I had high hopes for one of them today, as Mike Francesa started out the "Mike and the Mad Dog" show at Shea Stadium by warning about revisionist history regarding Roger Clemens, and how people are making him out to be this savior after making his appearance in the owner's box at Yankee Stadium announcing his comeback. And how Clemens has never been a savior in his Yankee history, only a mercenary.

Loved it. Francesa was making sense.

Then, inevitably of course, he blew it.

Somehow, of course, he and his partner Russo called Met fans hypocrites for booing Barry Bonds and holding protests while cheering Guillermo Mota.

To clarify, Mr. Francesa, a group of fans at Boycott Barry organized the protests with the blindfolds. Somehow, Francesa associated this with "the Met fan" as Francesa liked to refer to us as repeatedly, as our protest. It wasn't our protest. The fans in the park on Tuesday played along (as evidenced by the crowd being somewhat subdued until Bonds came to the plate in the tenth), but it certainly wasn't organized by Mets fans. But hey, why let a little research get in the way of painting "the Met fan" with a broad brush.

And by the way, if you gentlemen are going to get on "the Met fan" for cheering Guillermo Mota upon his return (and if you see the small sample on my current poll question, it's basically split down the middle between cheers and boos...although I'm surprised more people didn't click the chicken and beer option), then "let's be fair", as you like to say Chris, and get "the Giant fan" for cheering Barry Bonds the way they do. Why not get on them, even though Giants fans actually have good reason to love him, because steroids or not, he saved your franchise from being moved to Tampa Bay in the early nineties.

Go ahead Chris, be fair.

Oh who am I kidding, this is a guy who's good friend Mike North got a shot at the Imus time slot on Tuesday morning, and according to someone who actually heard his show this morning, responded by calling the Mets "red-headed stepchildren". In reasoning that only proves that he's Russo's friend, since the Yankees got all the coverage in the morning newspaper, while the Mets got none, "nobody cares about the Mets."




I know, I shouldn't care what any of these people say or do, but I can't help myself. Watching these guys are like a drug, or a relationship that's a bad idea but somehow you can't break free from. Besides, restraint is no fun...for me, or for you.


Jaap said...

December 1, 1998

"We feel this is a trade that strengthens us in two areas," said Mets General Manager Steve Phillips in making the announcement. "Armando Benitez is a hard thrower who will add a new look to our bullpen. He will be an excellent set up man for John Franco and will be able to close on days when John can not."

Anonymous said...

im impressed jaap...

Anonymous said...

Plate umpire and crew chief Randy March was more expansive about both balks, which Giants general manager Brian Sabean studied on replays after the game.

"The first balk, he started his whole body motion, then stopped. I think he didn't like the sign he got," noted Sabean. "Once the body stops, unless you step off the rubber, you've got to continue. The second balk ... It was a way big-time flinch. Obviously, Reyes startled [Benitez] and he buckled his knees."

Anonymous said...

Great game, from start to finish.

I hate to say this but last night, deep down, I actually felt sorry for Benitez.

Anyone concerned that Reyes may get thrown at one of these days? That hex thing he and Gotay were doing from the bench at Ortiz - that may have pissed somebody off. Hope I'm wrong.

And this Mike North guy? Horrible. A little too Chicago for me. Morning radio now officially sucks.

And I happened to hear Francesca sat that, if the Yankees make it to the playoffs, they'll be tough because they will have worked hard for it . . . Umm Mike, take some of your own and advice, and get to .500 before you start talking about the playoffs.

Ceetar said...

Hex thing? What hex thing? I wasn't paying a lot of attention and was doing other things. What were they doing? Whatever it was it sounds awesome.

As for Mike and the Maddog, I've reached the conclusion, whether it's from money, elitism, or just age, they're out of touch with the regular fan, and the regular day to day stuff. The more I learn about the Mets and baseball and going to the games, the more I realize they don't know that much about it.

As Howie Rose said, this is the policy in baseball, he's not banned for life. Mota's back, fulfilled his punishment, etc. I definitely don't want to cheer him right off, but if he starts pitching well then I will. Personally I don't boo Bonds either, except situationally.

Oh, and they had that whole if the Yankees made it conversation about hot teams in the playoffs. chris though they'd be burned out if they did make it. Mike cited St. Louis when he said they'd be energizeed, but what he's forgetting is St. Louis was playing crappy in Sept when they got hot in the playoffs, if the Yankees are slumping in Sept, even if they win from now till then, they're done.

The Metmaster said...

Yesterday Francessa said it would take 95 wins in the AL to make the playoffs. If that is indeed true, the Yankees will have to go 74-38 (.660) to reach that mark. A pretty huge hole to dig out of.
I am not a Francessa fan, but it was refreshing to hear him downplaying this Clemens "Messiah" bolderdash. The Yankees were well on the way to dynasty by the time Clemens showed up, ringless. The perception is that the Yankees became a winner only when Roger Dodger signed on. Francessa pointed out that those Yankee teams would have won without Clemens, and he is absolutely correct.
Both Francessa and The Village Idiot both hammered Howie Rose on what they see as the Mets' hypocrisy for signing Mota to a 2-year deal when they knew he was a cheater, while Met fans boo Bonds. Rose was right on the button when he said you can not compare the two situations. Mota is a serviceable reliever. Nothing great, he got the job done last year. Bonds is zeroing in on one of the most beloved, and historic records in all of sports. It is not the same. Mota cheated, admitted his mistake and paid the price. There were half a dozen teams interested in signing him this off season. Let's not fool ourselves. If Mota remained unsigned, and with the current state of the Yankees bullpen, they would be first on line today to talk with him about a contract.

Anonymous said...

So I basically clear my calendar and do all my daddy and house-husband duties around the announcement that Giants v. Mets will be aired on the Deuce.

Instead, I get the Red Sox v. Indians.


It's a National League market ... shouldn't they air a National League game? No one here give a rat's patootie about Cleveland! Heck, they barely care about the Reds for cryin' out loud!

Such is life in Cincinnati.