Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Perfect Set

All right, in Omar I trust again.

The only question now is this: Do I trust the Wilpons?


Forget next week's primaries. January 29th, 2008 will go down as a truly Super Tuesday, as the Mets have gotten their man. Finally, an ace pitcher in Johan Santana, acquired at the cut rate price of Carlos Gomez, Phil Humber, Kevin Mulvey, and Deolis Guerra. Look Ma, no Fernando Martinez!

Let me recite to you what a friend of mine (a frequent visitor to the comment section) said to me about the trade:
"What I am most happy about the trade is that for once the Mets did not bid against themselves. The 4 guys they put on the table stayed on the table. Omar did not panic even with the wolves baying at him to make a deal at any price. He wanted to keep Martinez and was succesful. When everyone laughed that the Mets offer was ridiculously puny compared to the Sox and Stinkees, he held his hand. He really played this one very well. Now Freddie Coupons has to pony up the dough."
I can't say it better myself, so I'm not going to try. Omar knew exactly what he was doing ... he wasn't going to bid against himself when the Red Sox and Yankee offers kept falling like the stock market. I admit, despite the fact that Omar's strategy was clear, I would have caved and thrown in the extra prospect to make sure the deal got done. But that's why Omar's the GM and I'm doing what I'm doing.

Now, you could say that it isn't really a stroke of genius to do what Omar did ... holding fast to a group of four prospects that fails to include the best one of all. Look, it really was the perfect storm that this happened. Yes, the Yankees and Red Sox got into a fit of restraint that helped the situation. But of course, the Yankee-lovin' media is running with this notion that the only reason the Mets were able to make this happen was because the Yankees let it happen ... again, we owe our lives to Big Brother From The Bronx. Had nothing to do with Johan wanting to come to Queens ... nah.

So let's calm down.

But whatever you believe, Omar did get the job done. Now all that is left is for the Wilpons to "pony up the dough" and put the spike in the sand on Omar's perfect set-up. When Misty May puts up a set, chances are that Kerri Walsh doesn't miss. All the Wilpons have to do is put this spike in the ground so that Johan Santana can come to Queens and strike out the likes of Misty May's husband. The sides, as of this moment, are far apart. But even Buster Olney says that the chances of this falling apart are "remote". So I'm going to resist the urge to be a curmudgeon and sleep well tonight ... knowing that by five o'clock tomorrow it will all be official, and Johan will be fitted in orange and blue.

It will be official, right?

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Delivering The Good News (With Onion Rings)

(Metstradamus hears a knock at the door, waking him from a sound sleep:)

MD: Hello?

OM: Hey, it's me. Can I come in?

MD: Sure.

(Metstradamus lets in a certain GM of the New York Mets)

MD: Dude, it's like, 3AM.

OM: I know, I know. Here, I brought White Castles.

MD: Ooh, ooh, the kind I like? Cheeseburgers with no pickles?

OM: And just a touch of ketchup. Nobody knows their fans better than me. I even got two sacks of onion rings.

MD: You're awesome.

OM: Save that for when I give you the news.

MD: What news? Are you bringing back the winter caravan? Are you bringing back Jose Lima? Oh wait, I know ... you bought Brian Schneider a Hitaway!

OM: Better.

MD: Well I hope so. It's three o'clock in the freakin' morning.

OM: I got him.

MD: Who?

OM: You know who.

MD: Wait ... no!

OM: Yes.


OM: Yes!

MD: I don't freakin' believe you!!!

OM: Dude, it's true. I got the paperwork right here.

MD: Holy sh ... wait. The Twinkies gutted the farm, didn't they?

OM: Gomez, Mulvey, Guerra, and Humber.

MD: No (puts onion rings on a White Castle cheeseburger and shoves it in his mouth).

OM: Yes.

MD: How in the name of Lee Guetterman did you pull that off?

OM: In Omar we trust, right?

MD: Oh yeah, baby! You truly are awesome. What a freakin' night ... you bring me Johan Santana ... you bring me White Castles and didn't forget the sack o' rings ...

OM: And I have one more thing for you too.

MD: What else could you possibly give me that would make this night even more special?

OM: This: (Omar Minaya flips Metstradamus the bird and starts singing the theme to Maude, while injecting his own name as the primary subject).

MD: What the hell is wrong with you?

OM: That's for all the crap you blogged about me when I traded Lastings Milledge. Omar this, Omar that, I don't trust Omar, bla bla bla. You don't think I read that? You don't think I read how you turned your back on me?

MD: Oh, you're still mad about that? Look dude, I was ticked! I was emotional! For crying out loud you guys blew a seven game lead with 17 games to play ... how the hell do you expect me to react when you trade a talented yet misunderstood outfielder for a .220 hitting catcher and Ryan Church?

OM: Dude, you were dogging me like I was some sort of schlub off the street ... like I was a common hot dog vendor ... like I was Al Harazin!

MD: Oh, come on. Don't you think you're being a tad overdramatic?

OM: Screw that. I try to shore up the bullpen and what do you do? You make jokes about arm casts and afterschool specials. You didn't trust me. And now that I've gotten you your ace, you're all happy and you're all like "oh Omar, you're the best" and "oh Omar you're so awesome" and like "oh Omar, sell me a seven pack". Yet you snicker behind my back and make fun of my smaller acquisitions while not seeing the big picture. Well, screw you. I've had it with you sitting in front of your laptop assuming that there's going to be a disaster at every turn. I brought you Petey. I brought you Carlos Beltran. AND I GOT YOU JOHAN SANTANA YOU PETULANT BLOGGER B*TCH! (Omar flips Metstradamus the double bird and laughs like Cesar Romero).

MD: Omar! Watch your f***ing language!!!

OM: You don't deserve Johan Santana. Maybe I'll just tell the Wilpons to be a little extra hard during contract negotiations during the next few days so he'll go back to Minnesota en route to Boston or The Bronx. Would you like that?

MD: You take that back!!!

OM: Make me!!!

MD: Just wait until ... until ... YOU LACED THESE WHITE CASTLES!!! (Metstradamus runs to the bathroom)

OM: Um no, that's just what they do. But you got what you deserved anyway! HA! (Omar leaves in a huff with an evil laugh ... Metstradamus emerges from the bathroom seconds later).

MD: Wait! Omar!!! Come back!!! (Metstradamus opens the door to find Omar waiting for the elevator in the hallway with an evil grin on his face).

OM: Which seven-pack would you like?

MD: Santana pack?

OM: I'll see if I can invent one. You know I spoil you.

MD: Thanks dude. And thanks for the White Castles.

OM: Anytime. See you at Shea?

MD: You bet.

(And ... scene.)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Let's Throw Ricardo Rincon Against The Wall And See If He Sticks

Actually, throwing Ricardo Rincon against the wall would be a really, really, bad idea. You see, Rincon is a tad fragile.
"The 37-year-old Rincon spent the early part of last season with the San Francisco Giants' Triple-A affiliate in Fresno, appearing in seven games before he suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.

The left-handed specialist pitched briefly with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2006 before undergoing surgery to repair a torn labrum and rotator cuff in his left shoulder.

Rincon's most recent full season in the big leagues was 2005, when he appeared in 67 games with the Oakland A's and recorded a 1-1 record and 4.34 earned run average in 67 games."
But in the Mets' philosophy of throwing various items against the wall to see if they stick, the Mets have signed the left handed reliever. With Billy Wagner, Pedro Feliciano, and Scott Schoeneweis lying around, Rincon will probably be shutting down guys in the eighth inning at New Orleans. But you never know. Maybe he'll stick to the wall if you throw him against it ... although gently placing him against the wall might be a better idea.


Unfortunately for Met fans, the world will have to endure the fresh hell that is LeBron James' new sneaker. With a navy blue color and pinstripes, it's an homage to the New York Yankees. There is hope though, as a yet unidentified NBA star has a sneaker in development which will be a tribute to the New York Mets ... and it'll hit the market at a cheap price.

The problem is that the sneaker falls apart after five and a half months.

Parallel Shoes

The way that New York Rangers defenseman Marek Malik has been booed out of the Garden this season, the prevailing thought in my head lately has been that Malik has become Guillermo Mota on skates.

With Endy Chavez's new two-year contract secured, a similar link has made itself evident: Chavez is Sean Avery in cleats.

You may say that Sean Avery has never had a catch like Endy Chavez had. Others may say that Endy Chavez has never had a catch like Sean Avery had. The similarities don't end there. The Rangers were 21-6-6 after acquiring the sandpaper game of Avery, and were 12-5-1 with Avery in the lineup before he was injured around the start of 2008. The Mets, meanwhile, were 45-26 in '07 with Chavez in the game at some point. Without? 43-48. Both do the little things that help their team win, yet both have battled injuries lately that have limited their effectiveness.

But just as the Rangers are a different team without Avery in the lineup, it was painfully obvious that the Mets were a different team without the late inning defensive heroics, the basepath speed, and the occasional 3-for-4 of Endy Chavez. So even though Chavez has received a deal with as many years as injured hamstrings, I'm sure you'll agree that Endy Chavez in the fold is necessary, even at the risk of having to deal with chronically debilitated hamstrings which possibly (maybe even realistically) could mean that Chavez may never be quite the same player again.

Now if we can get Endy to do some push-ups at home plate after hitting a home run, then the similarities would be creepy. Though I sincerely doubt that Endy Chavez will ever be the most hated man in baseball as Avery is in his sport. Besides, the Mets are already the most hated team in baseball ... but that's just in Hanley Ramirez's house.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Wherever You Go, There You Are

There are a lot of theories as to what happened to Jose Reyes down the stretch last season. One of them surrounds Jose Valentin being injured, therefore not being around to impart his wisdom to Reyes, much like Mike Brady would impart to his son Greg when he thought he could drop out of high school to pitch for the Dodgers. Well, what happened when Mike Brady wasn't around to mentor Greg in the final episode?

That's correct, Greg wound up with orange hair. This doesn't happen with Mike in the picture. Just like Jose Reyes doesn't go into a two month funk if Jose Valentin is around. To that end, the Mets have brought back Jose Valentin ... the Mets' Mike Brady.

"Because alone, we can only move buckets. But if we work together, we can drain rivers."

I don't know what is more insane, Jose Valentin being back on the Mets to be a constant reminder to Jose Reyes to eat his veggies and not swing at fertilizer in the dirt hereby becoming the highest profile baby-sitter in America, or Shingo Takatsu being back in the league.

It took Takatsu two years to get back to the majors, which is about how long it takes for one of his pitches to reach home plate (or that Miguel Cabrera double to stop rolling).

Friday, January 18, 2008

Little Mac Hangs Up His Little Macs

You've probably heard by now of the official retirement of Joe McEwing, known for being one of the positive influences in the career of David Wright, and for being all-around good guy. I knew more than one Met fan had an obsessive man-crush on McEwing.

Others know McEwing as the Randy Johnson killer, but in his career, Little Mac only hit .250 against Big Unit. Do you know (without looking it up like I did), which two pitchers McEwing have the highest batting average against with a 20 at-bat minimum? The answer will shock you.


Thanks to all that voted in the "What do Metstradamus and Gene Simmons have in common poll." It's now an appropriate time to answer the question. Here were your choices:

  • Both were thrown out of the same Ontario bar for refusing to drink. It only received 20 votes, but with Simmons a noted non-drinker, and me having been in a Toronto bar once in my life, it could have happened. But the closest I came to ever getting thrown out of said bar was when I ordered a Labatt's and pronounced it wrong. (For future reference: if you're ever in a bar with me, buying me a Labatt's will make you a friend for life.) The waitress, who was a Shannen Doherty lookalike gave me hell for it all night (or maybe it was Shannen Doherty ... 1998 seemed to be a down year for her).

  • They were both refused an autograph by Dave Kingman. 22 votes. To the best of my knowledge, Dave Kingman hasn't so much as met Gene Simmons let alone refuse an autograph for him. And I never had the displeasure of having been screwed over by Kingman for an autograph. Now Pedro Guerrero ... that's another story for another time.

  • Metstradamus once dated the daughter of a woman that Gene Simmons dated twenty years earlier. This received 37 votes. How cool a story would that have been?

  • Both have received B-12 shots from Brian McNamee. The 47 of you who voted for this option are just plain silly.

  • Both attended the same high school AND junior high school. For the 45 people that voted for this (most of which were friends and family I'm sure), give yourselves a round of applause.

You might be missing the Australian Open for the simple fact that live action begins at 11PM on most nights. But it's an appropriate time to bust out a very special "Separated at Birth":

That would be John Maine on the left. His twin is Novak Djokovic, a U.S. Open finalist last year. When he's not busy looking like Maine, Djokovic also does a mean impression of Maria Sharapova.


I have a solution to this Johan Santana mess: If Omar can't trade for him, just tie Santana by his ankles and put a Met jersey on him.


Trivia answer: Joe McEwing's most successful groups of at-bats came against Tom Glavine (.348 in 23 at-bats) and, oddly enough, Greg Maddux (.318 in 22 at-bats). McEwing will now be a coach for the Charlotte Knights, a role that we all knew would probably come.

Monday, January 14, 2008

What Do You Want In Your Athletes (You Know, Besides Steroids, HGH, And All That Good Stuff)?

I aim this latest philosophical question to you Met fans out there who also happen to be fans of the New York Football Giants ... the same New York Football Giants that took the Dallas Cowboys by the woodshed on Sunday. I aim this specifically at you because I think the answer Met fans who aren't necessarily Giants fans would be fairly obvious. But anybody that wants to delve into this for themselves is welcome to do so.

The Giants playoff victory over the Cowboys, combined with ... and I'm quoting one of my Cowboy fan friends here: "that human billboard Terrell Owens reduced to a sobbing loon" after the game, has basically given Giant fans carte-blanche to torture the Cowboys and their fans for life. Owens has basically taken the magic sword of Grayskull and handed it to He-Man for all eternity. Big Blue fans "have the power" now and for the foreseeable future, and are most likely giggling like schoolgirls watching T.O. on You Tube. And I'm not here to tell you that you shouldn't be giggling ... trust me.

But let me ask you the following hypothetical question (although if you want to make your answer public you're more than welcome to do so): What do you want out of your athletes?

Would you rather have this:

Or would you rather have this:
“I’m not devastated. I’m disappointed, but devastation is for much greater things in life. I’m disappointed, obviously, in the way I wanted to pitch. I can’t say there is much more I would have done differently.”
Of course you remember that as Tom Glavine's parting shot to New York before he packed his bag and left down before he could be ridden out on a bleepin' rail.

So do you want your athletes to genuinely care, but show their "sensitive man of the nineties" side in the process, opening themselves up to criticism by sports tabloid shows? Or do you want your athletes to be as robotic as the pitching machines they sometimes emulate when they give up seven runs in a third of an inning? For you guys that are taking glee out of Owens and his boo-hooing, juxtapose that alongside the feeling you felt when Glavine showed all of the emotion and fire of a wet noodle on the final day of September, 2007 ... during and after the biggest game of his Met career.

The answer, to me, is an easy one. But what you think, especially what you Met/Giant fans think, holds more weight.

"We need more Don Cardwells in the world" -Junie Michael
Unfortunately, we now have one less.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Is Johan Santana The Next Herschel Walker?

Okay, so I might be a tad bit pre-occupied with Johan Santana. I've tried to fight it, but it's no use. Hence, you get two Santana-related musings in the span of 48 hours.

I know what scares you. I know why you're reluctant to gut the farm for Santana. I know what is making you guys and gals tick on this particular issue:

You're scared that Fernando Martinez is going to become the next Emmitt Smith, and that Johan Santana is going to be the next Herschel Walker.

For those of you not so football savvy let me take you back to a more innocent time in America's history. The Dallas Cowboys had one excellent, established NFL caliber player, along with a couple of promising rookies you might have heard of named Troy Aikman and Michael Irvin. But there wasn't enough top quality talent to get them more than the three wins they got in 1998, nor the one win they would get in 1989. So the Cowboys took their one, excellent, established NFL player named Herschel Walker, and traded him along with four draft picks (one of which would become Jake Reed) to the Minnesota Vikings (figures that Minnesota would be involved in this vignette). The Vikes, who some thought to be one player away after just missing the Super Bowl in 1988, thought that Walker was that player. So they traded, get this: five NFL players and eight draft picks.

(And you thought five minor leaguers was a lot.)

The epilogue is that one of those draft picks turned into Hall of Famer, all-time rushing leader, and Dancing With The Stars champ Emmitt Smith. Other draft picks obtained in the trade were used as bait to acquire other picks used to draft CB Darren Woodson, and NT Russell Maryland. Smith, Woodson, and Maryland combined with Aikman and Irvin to help the Cowboys to three Super Bowl titles in the nineties.

Walker, meanwhile, was far from the specimen that the Vikings had hoped he would be. When Herschel was with the USFL's New Jersey Generals, he was a beast. I saw him at a trade show at the Javits center where he was signing autographs and the guy had a neck the size of a tree trunk. I couldn't for the life of me figure out how this guy got tackled. With the Generals and the Cowboys (not to mention his time in Georgia, where he should have won two Heisman Trophies instead of one) many people tried to tackle him ... most failed miserably.

But by the time he got to the Vikings, the perfect storm of failure hit. Walker got a little older. All those broken tackles added some tread on his tires. And part of it was Walker being misused by Vikings coach Jerry Burns. Walker had become the most physically imposing and the most expensive third down back in the history of the NFL (think Santana as the eighth inning guy.) Walker went on to be a bobsledder on the 1992 Olympic team, and now he sells chicken wings to pizza shops, bowling alleys, and casinos. No, really!

But you're worried that by trading the plethora of future stars that are being talked about in this deal, that the Mets are going to turn the Minnesota Twins into the Dallas Cowboys, and that Johan Santana is going to sell chicken products to country clubs by the time the sheen has worn off Citi Field.

And you're scared that Minnesota being involved signals some sort of passing of the torch of bad lopsided trades, much the same way as the Phillies passed the curse of Gene Mauch to the Mets last September.

Of course. Because the last time the Mets made a five-for-one deal, it was also with Minnesota. That was a deal that sent Rick Aguilera and Kevin Tapani to the Twins for what was basically one fantastic season and two mediocre ones from Frank Viola. Aguilera went on to become the best closer in Twins history (with apologies to Firpo Marberry ... not to be confused with Stephon Marbury).

But what of the other players in that trade? David West was touted as being Steve Carlton with more hop on his fastball. How did that work out?

Jack Savage had awesome minor league stats with the Dodgers, and was part of the Jesse Orosco trade before he moved on to the Twins. Perhaps he was a more highly touted product than he should have been because of his awesome name, but his minor league stats did make people drool. Savage is most famous for being the subject of a short lived NBC television series.

Oh sorry, Jack Savage now resides in Louisville.

And Tim Drummond somehow found time for a baseball career in between Neil Young and Eric Clapton concerts.

Point being this: The trade that's being discussed by us (if not necessarily by the Mets), which is Martinez, Carlos Gomez, Deolis Guerra, Kevin Mulvey, and Phil Humber, is steep. It's top heavy with Martinez, and it's deep at the back-end. But let's face it: It's very rare that a five-for-one trade manifests itself into even three players hitting it big in the majors. Fernando Martinez could indeed be Emmitt Smith.

Or ... he could be Alex Escobar.

Alex Escobar, for those of you ten and under (or those who just picked up the sport last week), was Fernando Martinez before Martinez was cool. He was traded in another large player deal ... the one for lousy punk Robby Alomar. That trade could have been a disaster too, and on the Mets' end it sure was, as Alomar turned out to be one of the most disappointing players ever to put on a Mets uniform. But Alex Escobar, for all of his "tools", never turned into that player that was going to make the Mets really regret that trade.

Baseball's landscape is littered with guys that had all the tools in the world but amounted to nothing in the major leagues. It's proven fact. Escobar isn't going to be the first, and he isn't going to be the last. Yusmeiro Petit, once a top notch Mets prospect who was traded for Carlos Delgado, and Gaby Hernandez, who was traded for Paul Lo Duca, have both found it significantly tougher after moving on to higher levels. Petit hasn't set the world on fire after a 9-3 season at Binghamton, and it's been rough sledding for Hernandez after pitching a no-hitter at Hagerstown.

Unless you're talking about the number one prospect on your system for, say, a 29-year-old mediocre pitcher with arm trouble, prospects are tricky to figure out. And if that deal involving said number one prospect for mediocre damaged goods is scaring you, just understand that Johan Santana is not Victor Zambrano. If that deal is scaring the Mets front office, then they need to grow a set.

Now if the Mets are merely holding back so as not to bid against themselves in terms of prospects ... if indeed the two-headed albatross known as the Yankees and Red Sox are out ... then the Mets are playing it very smart. But if that strategy results in the Mets getting too cute for their own good, allowing either dragon head to re-enter the bidding, that's not so good. Maybe five is a bit much. But if it's such a deep offer, then perhaps holding back a pitching prospect like Mulvey or Guerra instead of insisting on keeping one of the outfielders would be just as smart a play as keeping Martinez or Gomez. And that might be the trick in getting a deal like that done.

And remember, we're not talking Victor Zambrano. We're not talking Frank Viola. And we're not even talking Herschel Walker. We're talking one of the best pitchers of our generation. Because of that, I'm willing to keep an open mind in terms of who, and how many, go the other way.

As long as Willie doesn't employ Johan as a third-down slot receiver ...

Friday, January 11, 2008

Is It Over Yet?

No, really ... can I leave my house without fear of any Johan Santana fallout falling straight on the top of my head?

Twenty-four hours ago, there was lots of talk that the Mets had grabbed the lead in the Johan sweepstakes, with the (not so) mere inclusion of Fernando Martinez being the only barrier between Santana and a black and orange alternate uniform. I'll admit that I let myself get excited ... only a little bit, despite the fact that I swore I wouldn't let that happen. But you know it's January, and I have little else to do besides daydream ... so can you blame me for having impure left-handed thoughts?

But as you have probably figured out by now, the Mets have bowed out of the Santana derby at this time ... refusing to put Fernando Martinez in a deal. The Mets here, to me, are trying to have their cake and eat it too. The reasoning is sound. With the Yankees bowing out just a day earlier, and nobody having heard from the Red Sox in a month and a half, the Mets are trying not to overbid against themselves and are probably thinking "wait a minute, if nobody else is in, then why are we trying to outbid them by a larger margin than we have to in terms of players?

But here's the other side of it: The Yankees may say they're out. But are they every really out? Are the Red Sox still lurking around somewhere? So to putter around and try to scale back the offer, or force the Twins hand into taking an offer without Martinez (or Reyes), might be a dangerous strategy. Of course the highly cynical view would be to say that the Mets now have their excuse for not making a deal ... that they can come out and say that "hey, we've made our pitch, and we'll let Martinez be a deal breaker, exhale, and go about the business of selling out Shea for 2008 and Citi Field for 2009 while trotting out an okay team.

My gut is telling me that the cynical view isn't in play here. My gut tells me that the Mets interest in Santana, at this point, is legitimate, and that the brass is merely trying to be smart and keep the price down.

Then again, my gut was telling me "miniature hot dogs" too last night. And what did I get for listening to my gut? Indigestion. So take it for what it's worth.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Stranger Than Fiction?

Forgive me, for it's so infrequent that I step out of character and break through the "fourth wall" as it were. But I might be in need of a serious mental evaluation.

It started when I went to sleep last night and all of a sudden I'm in a park. It was a park in the mold of say, Flushing Meadow Park, but it was just your basic non-descript park with lots of grass. Who's the first person I see walking in front of me?

Why it's Roger Clemens! He's wearing a Craig Sager-like purple suit, and an Arizona Diamondbacks cap. If you're looking for some hidden meaning in that, don't even bother. It gets worse from here anyway.

After walking past Clemens uncomfortably and trying to open up a safe distance from him, I see my wife ... at which point we sit down in front of a big movie screen as if it was Bryant Park. There's now a crowd that's starting to form, and Clemens is now behind us talking to his lawyer about something. So now I'm thinking that my cell phone is going to ring, and Clemens will be on the other end setting up his tape recorder. Instead he starts walking towards everyone shaking everybody's hand as if he's trying to win votes in New Hampshire.

Oh, and did I mention that Clemens was on a pair of stilts while doing this?

That's right. Roger Clemens is wearing a Diamondbacks hat and walking on stilts ... with a big smile on his face. Maybe the stilts signified his "rising above" all of his anger. Or maybe it signified the circus that the whole Roger Clemens fiasco has become. Or hell, maybe it signifies that I'm just a bizarre human being that shouldn't eat so close to bedtime, or read funny stuff like this before going to bed ... yeah, that's it. And Clemens is trying to shake my hand. I'm trying to ignore him like I ignore those guys on the subway who play Christmas songs on their guitar and then ask for money. But Clemens keeps his hand out practically begging for a handshake. So for the greater good, I give Roger one of those dead-fish handshakes to get him to move on ... which in retrospect might have been a bad idea considering how "strong" he is.

But then, here come his kids. And I don't know what his kids look like so these might have been some random kids with him, and they were wearing Texas Longhorn paraphernalia giving me the "hook 'em horns" sign. So I smiled and gave his kids (or the actors playing his kids) the sign right back (at which point I had an actual Texas Longhorn student teach/correct me in the art of the sign. I had a finger signal for him in return but I'm not going to get into that.) I must have made a good impression on the kids because someone told me what a good role model I was to them right before I woke up.

So that's it. This is my life without baseball to watch. I wish I had a punch line to the dream like "and then Mike Piazza showed up with a broken bat foaming at the mouth and knocked Clemens off of his stilts beat him with them and chased Clemens away from the park and we all ate ice cream and lived happily ever after", or "and then came Brian McNamee with a large syringe that he injected Clemens with except that he injected the stilts instead, and then Shawn Estes threw a beach ball at him and missed." But I don't. I have nothing. Nothing except the fact that it's January, and I'm a special brand of disturbed. If anyone can interpret this and give me back my normal dreams which involve the open seas, a warm sun, and an all-you-can-eat buffet, please don't hold back. I need help.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Angel Pagan: A Metaphor For Life

You probably saw the news that the Mets have re-acquired Angel Pagan from the Cubs for two minor leaguers.

Angel Pagan is not only an inaugural Brooklyn Cyclone, but he possesses the greatest name in the history of professional sports. It is a name that represents the constant struggle ... the dichotomy, if you will, that Met fans live with every day.
"In Omar we trust!"

"Fire Omar!"

"Stop with the Omar bashing!"

"Make a trade!"

"Keep the kids!"

"Spend money!"

"Don't be like the Yankees!"
Angel Pagan, you see, represents the inner battle in all of us. Do we awash in the spoils of youth, or do we subscribe to the theory that is it better to be old and wise than young and stupid? Are we penny (Matt) wise? Or are we pound (Mo Vaughn) foolish? Are we angels? Are we pagans? Angel Pagan arrives to show us to embrace both sides our our Met fan being ... embrace the dichotomy, and show love for every side of the argument whether it be optimistic, or pessimistic. And to remember that sometimes, it's okay to be both. It's okay to want everyone fired and want stability at the same time. It's okay to believe in the kids and to want to gut the farm. Sometimes you feel like a nut, and sometimes you don't. And that's ... okay.

So in your travels, when you can't decide whether to throw your support behind Omar's latest trade or Willie's latest double switch, or whether to cover yourself in Crisco and picket outside of Shea Stadium with a blow torch, look to Angel Pagan ... and know that it's okay to find that gray area that's in all of us.

If Wayne Gretzky Can Be Traded...

This came in to the L.A. Times mailbag:
"Any chance the Angels can go after David Wright? I know he's almost untouchable, but the Mets need pitching, and we have it, as well as a lot of good young players. Wayne Gretzky was thought to be untouchable with the Edmonton Oilers, so why not go after Wright?"
My quick answer to that is that the murder rate for New York City is down to a 40-year low. If David Wright were to be traded, it would send the violent crime rate in another direction. Probably not murder, but imagine a Mets front office member, a bottle of Tabasco sauce, a mortar and pestle, and a branding iron. Conservatively, there would probably be 'bout 2,000 accomplices to that crime.

But the real point here is that, if I'm not imagining anything, David Wright just got compared to Wayne Gretzky. That should tell you something about what they think of Wright somewhere other than New York. For even David Wright, that's some high praise. Hopefully, the comparisons between Wright and Gretzky end with both being excellent at their sport, and will never share the distinction of being traded at the height of their careers in trades that make people drop their jaws to the floor.

But will there be a day where Fred (or Jeff) Wilpon becomes the next Peter Pocklington, and trades perhaps the best third baseman in Mets history for Jimmy Carson and Martin Gelinas (or Bartolo Colon and Hideo Nomo)? Will we see, one day, David Wright wiping tears at a podium muttering "I promised Jose I wouldn't do this?"

Seriously: assuming that Wright continues the path of production he's on now, and considering what you know about the history of this Mets franchise (there was a time when trading Tom Seaver was unthinkable), the history of the Wilpons, and the unpredictable nature of sports, do you see a day where David Wright wears another uniform? And I'm not talking about Wright playing for the Las Vegas Marlins when he's 39 and is hoping for one last grab at glory ... I'm talking about David Wright in his prime say, 31 or 32, right around that unrestricted free agent age, holding up another uniform at a podium? I know what your preference would be. But what do you think? Via the comment option, the forum is now yours.

Keep in mind: "If Wayne Gretzky can be traded ..."

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Mets Already 0-1 In '08

I wasn't hopeful about The Celebrity Apprentice. Frankly I thought the show, which had lost steam after the bizarre season in Los Angeles and not being on the air in practically a full year, had no chance.

But with the dearth of programming on right now, and with nothing to do until Rangers vs. Canucks at 10:00, we gave tonight's premiere a whirl. And I have to say that this soothsayer was very pleasantly surprised. I mean, we're not talking about television that's going to make you reflect on your life, but in a "Celebrity Fit Club" kinda way, it works.

(Editor's Note: If you do plan on watching the show online or if you DVR'd the show, I'm not going to reveal which celebrity was fired, but there is a ... SPOILER ALERT BELOW!!!)

The teams, divided into men vs. women, had to sell hot dogs for their first task ... the team that made the most money won the match. The women's team, finally coming to their senses near the end, decided to use their celebrity to sell hot dogs and bottles of water for $5,000 a pop. Olympic softballer Jennie Finch just happened to have in her cell phone the phone number of a certain Mets third baseman to help out.

David Wright, as if he was wearing a cape and using his x-ray vision, bought out the hot dog cart near the end of the challenge and started passing out free hot dogs to help Jennie Finch lead her team to certain victory.

Umm, except for one thing: The Men's team already had Finch and Wright beat by about $40,000.

So April hasn't even arrived and the Mets are already 0-1 in 2008. So since September 12th, the Mets blew a seven game lead, had a terrible off-season, and their best player couldn't even lead a Celebrity Apprentice team to victory. This winter just keeps getting better and better. (Next month, see Ruben Gotay lose to Mario Lopez in the first round of "Danny Bonaduce's Celebrity Checkers".)

But at least we learned that David Wright is a charitable lad who's in Jennie Finch's Five. For that, we can be thankful.

Update: Thanks to a valiant reader, here's the clip:

(Editor's note: The Mets are now 0-2 all time in Apprentice episodes.)