Monday, May 22, 2006

It's Fun To Win

I've read a lot of players, ex-players, managers, and bloggers say recently that interleague play has run its course and it's now time to move on. That these regular season Mets vs. Yankees games have lost their luster, especially since the 2000 World Series. Well, folks, I hate to break it to you, but these games aren't going anywhere. Despite the truth that it's unfair for the Mets and Yankees to play an inordinate amount of games against each other compared to the other teams in their division, who may get extra games against the bottom feeders, these games are here to stay because neither George Steinbrenner nor Fred Wilpon will want to give up these guaranteed sell-outs. And do you know why all six games are sold out, with the stadiums filled to Standing Room Only capacity? Because they're fun.

These games are edge-of-the-seat, teeth-clenching, heart-pounding FUN. And yes, while it hurts to lose them even more than it feels good to win them, these mid-summer games are all mid-summer classics and I love it. Except when the Mets lose, of course. Then I hate them.

The real downside of these games for me, is that they are broadcast nationally on FOX and ESPN. Even though as a Transplanted Mets Fan having the games on the national feed makes it easier for me to watch them, I'd much prefer listening to announcers who actually watch the team on a daily basis. The FOX Saturday broadcast was especially excrutiating to watch in this regard. The announcers, Tim McCarver and Joe Buck, were absolutely clueless about what's been going on with the team. They actually criticized the Seo/Sanchez deal during the broadcast! I was sitting, screaming at the set countless times during the game. And this was before Billy Wagner's meltdown.

Sunday on ESPN, while the announcers seemed a bit more knowledgeable, they had me cringing at the horrendous interviews. Joe Morgan's spot with David Wright was pointless, but the in-dougout spot with Willie Randolph was atrocious. Here you have a spot with a manager, in the game following one where a couple questionable decisions led to a loss, and the two clowns in the booth threw him nothing but softballs. Did they ask Willie why he didn't leave Sanchez in to start the ninth? Or why he left Wagner in the game so long even though it was apparent he had no command? Noooooo... These were the type of hard-hitting questions they asked...

"How tough was that loss last night?

"And your rotation isn't where you'd like it to be, right?"

Finally, the last question they asked had a bit of merit. They asked him if Billy Wagner might be used later in the game. Willie said absolutely, which was interesting because Joe Torre said Mariano absolutely wouldn't be, after pitching two consecutive games.

This is the same feeling I get during postseason games. The commentary would be so much more insightful if a local guy was on the broadcast. Gary Cohen for example could have brought so much insight to the broadcast. He at least could have pointed out that the Mets payroll is LOWER than it was last season, and LOWER than it has been in recent seasons which included guys like Mo Vaughn on the team. If I were part of the decision makers at FOX or ESPN, I would make sure to include a local guy in the booth for all postseason games.

Another reason to hate the ESPN game is that it starts just too damn late. Sunday night at 8:10 is just too late to start a game. I barely was able to stay awake for Billy Wagner's ninth-innning save, in the old-school 1986 style uniform.

Transplanted Ex-Met Update:
Edgardo Alfonzo Unemployed
Thanks to Vinny for the link that brings us the news that Fonzie has been released by the Angels. Like Vinny, Alfonzo was my favorite Met during his tenure with the club. A real class act, and a truly selfish soldier. He was never quite the same player after his ridiculous offensive outburst that day in Houston, but many mets fans were sad to see him move on. Hopefully he'll wind up somewhere where he can resurrect his career.

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