Saturday, June 30, 2007

True Colors In The Hood

"My life fades. The vision dims. All that remains are memories. I remember a time of chaos. Ruined dreams. This wasted land. But most of all, I remember The Road Warrior. The man we called 'Metstradamus'". -Narrator from Mad Max 2 (with some blogging license at the end)
I have returned.

And I bring you the head of J.D. Durbin!

All right, maybe it was more like a Phillies mini-helmet which I ate my ice cream out of. Still, as the Empire State Building appeared on the horizon as I rolled back on New Jersey Transit, I felt like one of those warriors from Mad Max or something, holding up my symbol of victory in proxy of young Mr. Durbin's head. An offer to the gods of the New York Skyline, as if the city told me upon leaving: "If you don't bring back a win, don't come home."

Thankfully, now at 4-0 on the road, I've always been able to come home.

It was an interesting day to say the least, starting out with a smooth ride on NJT to meet my ride (in spite of my floundering inability to find the track at Penn Station, and find my way off the train...wondering why the doors aren't opening even though there's no platform). Then the rest of the way listening to Paul Lo Duca gripe about the media on the car ride. (Why is everything interpreted in the most damning possible context? And why hasn't Lo Duca figured out by now that the best way to keep the media off his back is to not bring up anything about "speaking English" in a lockerroom famously known for its Latin players...although this is the first time I've ever heard someone get tagged as racist for saying that someone can speak English.)

Then, a bad exit choice by us, and some terrible directions from a couple of gas station attendants who looked at us like we had three heads when we mentioned the Walt Whitman bridge put us in downtown Philly, forcing us to take Broad St. to the complex. Now for those who have never been to Philadelphia, stay away from Broad Street! The traffic lights may be the most disjointed in the country, taking the "flow" out of "flow of traffic". (And take Exit 3, not Exit 4.) But we still got there on time and in our seats for the 1:30 start, which was better than my last trip, when I didn't even have a seat, and got there late.

(Food note: Last year, it was the cheesesteaks that lured me to Philly. This year, the attraction for me, thanks to Mets Grrl, were the crab fries. Highly recommended.)

I loved the Philly fans today, constantly reminding us through the Mets early game offensive run that "hey, you know you're doing this off of a single A pitcher, right? Wait until the nightcap when you face Cole Hamels!" (Oh, much more on him later.) For the record, yes we were quite aware of who your pitcher was. And at the end of play today, he's still employed by your team. So we are not the ones hanging our heads in shame for being able to hit him. Thank you, drive through.

There was one guy sitting next to me who saved his most fervent Met bashing for when I wasn't sitting in my seat. Yeah, that's manly. I mean, he had ample opportunity to kill us when the Mets were trotting out Guillermo Mota and Aaron Heilman, who are about as useful as a bag of plastic hammers right about now. (Flippin' Heilman...0-2 count on a .202 hitter and he lets Pat Burrell hang around until he gets a pitch he can serve up to center field to make it a 6-5 game. Way to go, clutch!)

Thankfully, there was Billy Wagner (with no Burrell at the plate) to finish things off and send us home happy...if not swiftly. Damn, the traffic coming out of the Bank is simply atrocious, as one lane of traffic was allowed to pass while the rest of us were made to crawl along. It was like coming home from a Jets game! We were moving so slow that...and I can't be sure of this...I could have sworn that I saw a couple attempt to get busy in the back of their SUV while waiting for the second game to start.

Heck I was even able to leave the car in traffic to ask a policeman about the easiest way to get to the elusive Walt Whitman bridge, when a kid then comes up to me in my Pedro Martinez jersey and warns me "man, don't wear that jersey in the hood." What? Your fans can't heckle me to my face and I can't wear my jersey in your hood? I'll tell you what, if I wear my Brian Leetch jersey to a Flyers game, then I'll worry (and wear armor underneath...because, as you know, we must protect this house). Until then...

Silly me thinking I could get back to New York in time to watch the second game (I blame the traffic, but I also blame Charlie Manuel's waste of time at the beginning of the game, checking Orlando Hernandez's cap for pine tar or chocolate or whatever Manuel was searching for). Instead, I stepped into my hood just as the second game ended, with only time enough to watch highlights, which included Cole Hamels not only throwing 3,287 pitches in three innings (oh yeah, wait until you face Cole Hamels indeed), but throwing behind Jose Reyes on a 3-0 count after thinly veiled threats to go after Paul Lo Duca.

Here's another fact about Cole Hamels that you may not know: Do you know what you get when you take Cole Hamels, take about 15 mph off his fastball, and add about 15 points to his IQ, do you know who you get?

You get Shawn Estes!

Yes, we haven't forgiven Estes for missing Roger Clemens' girth in retaliation for Mike Piazza. But Cole Hamels, who talks like he's been in the league for 100 years, was so dumb that in his lame attempt to send a message on a 3-0 pitch to Jose Reyes behind his back, that it went all the way to the backstop allowing the run to score. Not even Shawn Estes pulled off a Merkle like that! Way to go Cole. And shame on that umpiring crew for saving Hamels' bush league hide for immediately issuing warnings, ending any chance that John Maine would send another "fact" Hamels' way (not that Maine would have retaliated but still.) I initially thought from the radio broadcast that Hamels had been wild all game so this was just a by product of that. But after seeing it with my own eyes? There's no way there wasn't purpose to that pitch. No way. I'm not sure I can be convinced otherwise on this.

"YOU! You can RUN, but you can't HIDE!" -Vernon Wells (not that Vernon Wells) from Mad Max 2

Your day is coming.


Anonymous said...

I started cackling this morning at the graphic, and had TBF going "What? "what is it?"
"i'm going"
then it was his turn to cackle.

metra, honey: one of the prime attractions of going to anything in philly in that complex is its PROXIMITY TO THE WALT WHITMAN BRIDGE!

:) :)

That said, we often comment how moronic it is that you can't just take I-95 straight down into Philly and what happened to you on the way down happened to me the first time I went to philly...

...which was to see springsteen on the darkness tour! before there was google maps and the internet!

glad you enjoyed the crab fries. they have them in DC, too. basically, it's just french fries with bay seasoning. they're still yum-my.

we're going to put our car flag on for the ride down to philly. ;->

Anonymous said...

i am reminded it was not the darkness tour, but rather the river tour. doesn't matter, i'm still old.


Krup said...

delicious recap (mmmm, crab fries). next time on the road, you should "drive that tanka" to the game.

Anonymous said...

I have a dream.
I dream Cole Hamels is on the mound at Shea in late September.
I dream the Sillies are 12 1/2 games back of the 1st Place Mets, but in 2nd Place. Jim-my Rol-lins still says he's on the team to beat to the press.
I dream Hamels survives the 1st 2 innings and comes to bat.
I dream a lowly Mets callup with a 105 mph fastball is called out of the bullpen.
I dream Willie signals: "OK."
The ball is released at full velocity and hits Hamels in the mouth.
It [the ball] travels down his esophogous into his gut, giving the
Sillies' starter a bigger Adam's apple than Ann Coulter.
And that'll prevent the Sillies' #1
from talking about how moral he is.

Seriously, Hamels threw at Reyes' head. The Mets cannot let him get away with it under any conditions. If they do, they are not men.

Anonymous said...

Hey Metstradamus! Getting back from a Jets game is easy work!! :D (GROAN)


Ceetar said...

Crab Fries, I partook in them too. At Chickee Petes between games. Beer towers too. woo!

good stuff, and better games.

Unknown said...

Any post that combines the Mets and Mad Max is worthy of praise. By the way, I'm at the Jersey Shore surrounded by obnoxiously outspoken Phillies fans. It was great to walk on the beach with my Mets t-shirt and hat and just smirk at all the sun burned Phillies fans.

Unknown said...

I'm just going to admit something. I don't have as much problems with Aaron Heilman as others. He gives up too many HRs and he's probably not good enough to be a setup man (maybe a 7th inning man or just a plain middle reliever).

But I don't think he's as bad as say Guillermo Mota and Scott Schoeneweis. I really dislike pitchers like Mota (and sort of, Jorge Julio, etc) who either dominate or are awful. Guys that make careers out of having a fastball. I still think the resigning of Mota was a dumb move.

And frankly, I don't care about Schoeneweis being injured. If he's injured, Willie shouldn't use him in friggin 35 games, which I'm pretty sure rivals how many games the closer has been in.

Anyways, John Maine is my favorite pitcher on the team and its a cryin' shame that his fantastic performance is being overshadowed by this Cole Hamels nonsense.

Grant it, I was watching the Phillies' broadcast on MLB.TV but it sure didn't look like Hamels was going after Reyes (and why would he, there was a runner on third with a 0-0 score and he'd be putting on the best baserunner in the league).

I mean, think about it, if he was doing this, why wouldn't he have, I don't know, hit Paul Lo Duca himself or at least hit somebody to start an inning with nobody on?

And I don't get everybody (including Matt today on Metsblog) wanting retalitation for Maine getting hit too which was obviously an excuse-me hit by pitch from Geoff Geary.

But yeah, enough already about Cole Hamels being the greatest villain of all time. I'm okay with hating Pat Burrell because he sucks and his "Mets killer" persona will always be overblown. But c'mon, Hamels is just a good pitcher that was ticked off because Lo Duca showed him up one night (and he did). Just like Kuo showed up Maine.

Anonymous said...

see, that's where i think you're wrong metstradamus. i think john maine would have retaliated for sure. i mean think about it...who the hell wants to get hit by one of john maine's fastball on a good night?!

i picked up this transcript from an insider:

Hamels: oh man, i am such a pussy. i dont think i can face the media after saying so much shit about them mets

Rollins: dont worry about it babycakes, we're doing fine

Hamels: i was so scared and i think i peed a little in my pants

Rollins: oh yeah, that turns me on. well if you're a pussy then lets go out for a night in town!

Hamels: you're so sexy, i want to lick your ass


it gets i'll stop here

Crazy said...

I understand what you're saying about the Philly fans, but I live in Philly, and that guy's right... seriously, don't wear that jersey anywhere outside the tourist-friendly parts of Philadelphia. Like, you don't understand how they are about their team. It's another world.

The Metmaster said...

Metstradamus and The Metmaster sitting side by side is powerful gree-gree.(Cajun voodoo term). All in all it was a pretty benign setting at the Bank for Mets fans yesterday. We estimated that yesterday afternoon's crowd was perhaps 30% Mets fans. It had to be more today. If you were listening to the game on radio and didn't know better you would swear the Mets were the home team. Wish I could have delivered you home sooner Metstra. Metmaster Jr. feels better today. Damn those cheese steaks!

Anonymous said...

you know, that's bs. we went to have breakfast today at the oregon diner. the OREGON DINER! and tbf yanks off his hat (that he wore in by accident) and our jerseys are in the car, and we're glad they seat us in a booth towards the back. but as we're waiting to pay, a whole group of about eight guys walks up, who sat in the front, full mets colors.

i don't know that i'd go to down christian st. in a reyes jersey but i think phillies fans are not as tough as we're giving them dcredit for.