Saturday, April 08, 2006

The Lineup That Never Was

I speculated earlier that with LoDuca out of the lineup today, we might have seen Beltran in the two hole, but according to the game preview page on ESPN, the lineup announced was actually as follows:

Reyes SS
Woodward 2B
Beltran CF
Delgado 1B
Wright 3B
Nady RF
Castro C
Diaz LF
Glavine P

The game was rained out anyway, but so much for that idea...

Washed Out

The Mets and Marlins game was postponed due to rain today. I was confused there for a while. I knew there was a rain delay, but then from the other room I heard Gary and Keith going through the lineup. I was settling in to watch the game, when I saw Steve Trachsel warming up. Then I realized I was watching an "encore" presentation of last night's game because today's game was rained out. There will be a doubleheader on July 8th to make up today's game, and today's starters, Glavine and Willis, will likely start tomorrow. I hope this doesn't change the matchup for Wednesday's game!

If you need to get your Mets fix, you can check out David Wright's blog. In his first post, Wright commends Omar for acquiring, specifically, Carlos Delgado, Billy Wagner, Paul Lo Duca, Xavier Nady, Duaner Sanchez and Julio Franco. Conspicuously absent from that list is Jorge Julio. Hmmm....

Day Game After A (Nice) Night Game

Last night the Yankees lost, and the Braves beat up on a Bonds-less Giants team.

Even though the Mets have been knocking the cover off the ball, Willie is going to tease with the lineup today a bit. LoDuca and Floyd will get the afternoon off, with Castro and Diaz seeing some action. Could today be the day where we finally see Beltran, New York's new favorite son, in the two-hole? Personally, I usually do not care about how lineups are constructed but my fellow bloggers have me convinced on this one. Beltran batting second just makes sense. Like it or not, most players do have different mindsets depending on where they bat. Beltran just seems to be more of a two-spot hitter. He's very into the fundamentals of baseball- moving runners over and all that. I guess we'll see.

I'm very excited about my trip to D.C. this week. Willie confirmed that Pedro will be on the hill Wednesday night to face the Nationals and Jose Guillen. I'll be there in person, and I'm expecting a fireworks-filled game!

Friday, April 07, 2006

Mets Vs. Marlins - In Game Notes

There's a huge Dunkin Donuts sign on the left field wall, with the tagline "America Runs On Dunkin'" I am assuming this is supposed to be some kind of baseball reference, but it is
absolutely terrible, in my opinion. Everytime I see it, I think that their coffee will give me the runs or something.
Transplanted Mets Fan Note: I really, really miss Dunkin Donuts coffee. Down here, Krispy Kreme reigns supreme, and I find their coffee (and their doughnuts) far inferior to Dunkin'. People think I'm nuts, but...


Mike Jacobs hit an absolute BOMB to deep right. I couldn't even tell where it landed. It's sad that we had to trade him away, but I'm still thrilled we have Delgado. So far, they both have hit two home runs on the season.

Up To The Minute Trade Comparison (4/7/2006 8:38 PM):
Jacobs 3 for 14, 1BB, 2HR, 4RBI
Delgado 3 for 12, 2BB, 2HR, 3RBI


Steve Trachsel hit the 10,000th double in Mets history, driving in Xavier Nady. Find me a more esoteric stat than that! Reyes drove Trachsel in to give the Mets a 4-1 lead.


David Wright CRUSHED a homerun to left, over the new Champion Mortgage sign. I have been studying the Mets sponsors, trying to figure out who will pony up the big bucks for the naming rights to the new Mets stadium. I guess Champion Field would be pretty good.

We got a close up of the old apple coming out of the hat to celebrate Wright's homer. Boy, that thing looks beat up. I do hope they refurbish it or rebuild it or do something with the concept to carry on the tradition in the new park. The Brewers' mascot got a new slide when they got their new park, didn't they?

UPDATE: Just took a look at the digital renderings of the new park over at MetsGeek. If you look real closely at this image, in centerfield you can just barely make out an apple coming out of a hat in straightaway center. Cool.

Back to back RBI's from Delgado and Wright. 7-1 Mets. Yeah, this team can hit. No pressure on AHern whatsoever! Just don't lose that glove, kid.


Have I mentioned how much I love the SNY promos? I feel bad for TV Head guy, who just gets abused wherever he goes. Except at home, where he has two hot girlfriends. Heh, heh... Too funny. I want to hire whoever did the spots...


Jorge Julio's second outing of the year isn't going well, even with a 9-1 lead... two infield hits, a strikeout and a walk to load the bases with one down. Julio rears back and strikes out Cabrera to make it two down. Mike Jacobs drives in two with a single but Nady stops the bleeding by nailing Hermida at third base. 9-3 Mets. I know Peterson hasn't really got his claws into this kid yet, but if Peterson can convert this guy from being Armando Jr it will be an all-out miracle.


Oliver comes in and shuts the door with a 1-2-3 ninth. Final 9-3 Mets. Trachsel gets his first win of the year, Hernandez gets his first hit, and Beltran survived the day after the curtain call fisaco.

Schmuck and his Lap Dog

Went home for lunch and caught a bit of Mike and The Mad Dog on the YES network. They gave a lot of praise to Pedro and the Mets for their grittiness, and then piled an even bigger amount of praise for Eddie Coleman for his play-by-play work on the WFAN Mets broadcasts. They implied that Mets brass doesn't like Coleman, and that's why he doesn't get more work in as a Mets announcer. Then they both laughed like hyenas at SNY in general, saying that the station was a joke at this point, including the SportsNite announcers. I guess they feel YES Network is producing Emmy-worthy material or something. Never mind the fact that YES has been nearly universally criticized for a severe Yankees propaganda-leaning slant.

Give the kids at SNY a chance - they've been on air for about three seconds so far. Sheesh! It's nice to be on top, boys, huh? Hate to see what would happen if your ratings started to tumble a bit...

More Good News For Transplanted Mets Fans - Dish Network on board for SNY

Dish Network subscribers will get to see Mets games and SNY's very funny promo spots. Unlike with YES, Dish Network has come to an agreement and will start showing the channel on Channel 438 tonight.

Subscribers to SusCom still don't have access to the channel though.

Who Is Ryan Zimmerman, Indeed!

Introducing the TransplantedMetsFan curse. Yesterday I all but annointed Ryan Zimmerman as rookie of the year and listed him among the all time great Mets killers, and last night he went 0 for 5, including four strikeouts. Stay tuned for my next posting, titled Who is Barry Bonds?

I understand why Beltran didn't want to come out and give a curtain call to the fickle fans in attendance last night, but he should have realized how many cameras there were at Shea and just waved. Nobody has ever won a battle with Mets fans, and he should just take it. I don't agree with most times a guy gets booed by his own fans, the exception being when a guy's performance transcends suckiness. When Al Leiter says he has trouble staying motivated, when Rey Ordonez calls Mets fans stupid, or when Bonilla is... well, Bonilla, then the booing is justified. As I mentioned previously, my biggest issue with Beltran has been what appears to be a lack of tenacity. Bunting at innapropriate times and whining about having no friends is worse than his lack of power numbers.

It was a fun game to watch last night. Besides all the offense, it was a little amusing to have four Nationals players get hit by pitches and even more get brushed back, but the first Met to get plunked causes the Nationals pitcher and Frank Robinson to get ejected. It's a nice change of pace for things to go in the Mets favor. Keith Hernandez said last night in the broadcast that he likes this team. This could be a fun season!

By the way, Kris Benson pitched well in his debut for the Orioles last night, allowing two runs on four hits over seven innings, but got the loss anyway as the O's were shut down by Mark Hendrickson, who threw a complete game shutout.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

The Mets New Stadium

Jeff Wilpon introduced plans for the future home of the Mets today, with details like wider seats with more legroom, sit-down restaurants, pitcher-friendly dimensions, and an Ebbetts Field inspired exterior. Naming rights are up for bid, but parts of the stadium have already been named, such as the Ebbets Club behind the plate, Coogan's Landing beyond the leftfield fence, the "East Side" stands in rightfield, and "The Orchard" picnic area in centerfield. All the digital images you could ever want are here.

The stadium will hold 12,000 fewer fans than Shea Stadium, so if you thought landing Opening Day tix this yeart was tough, 'fuggheddaboutit' in 2009. You can bet, though, that the ticket prices for the new place will be set so that Mr. Wilpon and co. aren't losing out on income on these dates, and especially not with a new 7,200 sq. ft souvenir store!

Who Is Ryan Zimmerman?

Ryan Zimmerman is the latest in the long line of Met killers - Pat Burrell, Brian Jordan, Chipper Jones, and now you can add the Nationals rookie third baseman to the list. Zimmerman crushed a Billy Wagner pitch that was up an in, up and over the left field wall. So who is this kid, and where did he come from anyway?

Zimmerman is a 21 year old who last year was pitching for the University of Virginia and is now starting for the Nats and is already being compared to Scott Rolen. He was the first round draft pick of the Washington Nationals after winning a gold medal for Team USA in the FISU II World University Games. He played in 20 games in 2005 for the Nationals, hitting .397 with 10 doubles in 58 at bats. In four games against the Mets last year, he went 7 for 14, including 3 doubles.

Besides his offense, the righthander is also expected to perform stellar defense, with his overall talent making him an early favorite to win this year's Rookie Of The Year award, along with Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder and Florida outfielder Jeremy Hermida.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Wagner is not Looper; Julio is not Benitez. Right?

Oofah. The first five innings of tonights games were beautiful. Bannister had a no-hitter going, Nady continued his hot hitting, and Delgado hit his first BOMB as a Met. The next five innings, aside from AHerns webgem, were nothing but ugly. Uggh-ly. Hey, it's a marathon, not a sprint, right?

On Booing Carlos Beltran

I was in attendance Monday afternoon, and heard the boos that rained down on Carlos Beltran during the game, and have been surprised at the coverage it's recieved in the media the last two days. You would think it had been bedlam at Shea, with fans were throwing projectiles at the guy or something. Honestly, it wasn't that bad. But the fans, many of whom who were in attendance that day were drunk frat-types anyway, have a genuine gripe against this guy, despite what has been written.

Yes, it was only game one, and his injury probably contributed to his sub-par performance last year. We should give this guy at least a month or two to show us how he can play. However, the sentiment towards him is more than just about his batting average, and it's more than just about 2005. Fans have a right to be frustrated by seeing a guy who's supposed to be an RBI guy bunt with no outs and a runner in scoring position, as he did in a spring traing game this year. Also, when we read in the paper the morning of Opening Day that 2005 was no fun for him because he had no friends on the team, we have legitimate reason to question his makeup. I do think the real Mets fans will be patient and wait to see how he plays, but I also think the frustration with the guy is understandable.

Maybe we'll start to see the "real Beltran" soon, the five tool player who hits for average and hits for power, and just plain hits, but nevertheless my prediction for tonights game is this: with "amateur day" over, and the real fans settling in for the game, we'll hear a lot less booing tonight, unless he does something dumb.

Seo Almost Blows It

Jae Seo was one of the Mets better pitchers the second half of last year, and many Mets fans were upset to see Omar Minaya trade him away to L.A. for reliever Duaner Sanchez instead of giving him a chance to compete for a slot in this years rotation.

Jae Seo is now the fifth starter for the Dodgers, but he got into his first game of 2006 last night coming out of the bullpen because LA doesn't need a fifth starter for the first week of the season. Brad Penny had staked the Dodgers to a 5-1 lead over the Braves after five innings when he handed the ball over to Seo in the sixth. Seo started off well but almost blew the game, allowing three runs in three innings, including a two run homer by Adam LaRoche in the eighth. Baez helped the Dodgers hang on though, getting the save in the ninth inning, and the Dodgers beat the Braves 5-4. Smoltz starts the season 0-1, getting tagged for five earned runs in five innings.

The Mets' magic number is 161.

The Weather Outside Is Delightful

My fellow Mets fans back in New York are suffering through a snowstorm today, but I'm walking around outside without a jacket down here in Greensboro. Yes, I remember why I moved.

SNY on DirecTV Today!

My home computer has been acting funny lately, as it seems the power fan is dying. It makes an annoying noise as it spins, so I keep the computer turned off as much as possible. The problem right now though, is that I need to keep the computer on so that my TiVo, which recieves updates from my wireless network, will be updated today when SNY joins the DirecTV lineup. I'm really looking forward to checking out Brian Bannister pitch tonight on the Mets TV network, complete with commentary by Gary Cohen and Keith Hernandez, on Channel 625. Lets Go Mets!

WFAN Online (soon!)

Being a transplanted Mets fan is about to get easier. Sad to say, but since I moved to North Carolina, one of the hardest things has been to be without WFAN. Not only did I listen to most Mets games on the radio, but I also counted on WFAN to bring me the latest sports news, first. Most of the hosts were very baseball-centric, even if more than a few of them were morons. ESPN radio has been streaming for a long time now, but Yankees shill Michael Kay is even more difficult to listen to than Mike and The Mad Dog.

I have heard rumors for a long time that WFAN would start streaming their broadcasts over the Internet, but until now I hadn't seen that published anywhere. Well Matt Cerrone over at
Metsblog says the time for Mike Francesca's daily idiotic comments to reach my computer is about to come, and WFAN will start streaming soon. Now the whole world will get to hear him and his little doggie complain about Billy Wagner "co-opting" Mariano Rivera's trademark entrance song.

I wish this was happening today, because I'd love to hear his reaction when a caller brings up today's Daily News article that states not only did Billy Wagner start using the song two years earlier than Mariano, but that Metallica's manager is a certified Mets fan and season ticket holder who told the Mets they could dangle the opportunity to get on stage with the band as part of their recruitment package to the then-free agent. Conversely, Mr. Rivera is a Christian music fan who doesn't even listen to the band and couldn't care less what song he comes into field with.

Mariano didn't get the chance to use his 'signature' tune last night anyway, as our old buddy Marco Scutaro drove in the winning run for the A's in the 9th inning last night, sending the Yankees to their first defeat of the season.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

So, How Are The Ex-Mets Doing?

Another day to be glad I'm away from New York Sports Radio. WFAN's Meathead and the Angry Puppy apparently spent all aftrenoon yesterday harping on the Mets and Billy Wagner for playing "Enter Sandman" when he entered the game. Mike feels it was so "lame" for the Mets and Wagner to "co-opt" something "that's a huge Yankee Stadium thing," something that is "part of New York Baseball." They felt that since Billy's on his third team he "has no recognition with that song." Never mind the fact that he's used that entrance song since playing with the Astros and when Billy signed with the Mets, the Phillies' website ran a story with the headline: "Exit Sandman"

I know Mike might be just trying to tweak Mets fans, but for him to spend any amount of time on this is completely ridiculous. This is supposed to be a sports talk show? Did they spend this much time on the subject when Paul "Mr Wonderful" Ordorf stole Hulk Hogan's entrance song in the WWF? I think the Mets should play the song even louder next time if it annoys Franny so much. I think he's the only one who cares.

That's enough on that subject. Let's take a look at how some players of note around the league performed in their respective openers. Of course we pretty much want anyone who used to be a Met fail miserably once they're no longer wearing the orange and blue, with a few notable exceptions: We're thrilled that Michael Piazza homered in his first at-bat as a Padre, helping his new team beat Bonds and The Giants. Said Mike,

"I really got great extension on the ball and I was like, `Man, if that doesn't go out, I might have to consider hanging it up,"

Congrats Mikey. Is retirement really still on your mind? Meanwhile, Mike's teammate Mike Cameron started the season on the DL.

Scott Kazmir got banged around by the Orioles, allowing six earned runs over four innings, but we'll have to wait to see how Zambrano does in his first start Sunday. This will be the year to compare these guys. Mets are going for it this year, and they made that trade for quality innings to come sooner instead of later. If Zambrano outperforms Kazmir this year and the Mets win, the infamous trade will be defendable. Speaking of the Orioles, Kris Benson might not be getting divorced, after all. Whatever. I'm just eager to see how Jorge Julio does in New York, and how Benson and Jae Seo pitch away from NY.

On the flip side, the pitcher-most-likely-to-be-a-future-Met-based-on-his-relatiuonship-with-Rick-Peterson, Barry Zito also got knocked around yesterday, giving up seven runs in two innings in an Opening Day loss to the Yankees.

Speaking of the Yankees, Gary Sheffield is quitting chewing tobacco. This morning, someone on Fox Sports Radio's morning show was reminded of what happened to Pete Harnisch when he tried doing the same thing. Is Prozac on the banned substances list?

More Opening Day Reflections

As is tradition, the Mets opened on a Monday and have a Tuesday off day. I don't know what the players are doing today, but us fans have a day to bask in the afterglow of an Opening Day win. I thought I'd comment on a few more things my friends and I observed at the park yesterday.

The Parking Lot: First of all, $13.00 for parking! I know it goes up every year and I shouldn't really be surprised, but the parking lot itself hasn't changed, so why does the price go up? What a windfall of cash this parking racket must be. How can they really want people to take the train when they are making so much money on the parking. We always park in the lot across the street, under the train trestle, and this year was no different. Missing was the five-dollar-hats-and-shirt- guy. Did he retire? Get transplanted perhaps? I also was surprised to not see any ticket scalpers. Maybe there were really none to be had. Later we were told that the attendance was the largest in Mets Opening Day history. I wish the NL would go back to the good old days, and publish actual attendance, instead of just tickets sold. That made guessing the attendance a lot more fun, and just felt more honest.

Opening Day Ceremonies: The word of the day for the pre-game festivities was 'anticlimactic'. Now, I'm sure it's a real treat for the kids from Copaigue to do their marching band thing on the field of Shea Stadium, but as a fan, it is really boring. Could they at least play some familiar tunes? Having DHL deliver the balls to the mound was just shameful. But more disappointing was the singing of the national anthem by the cast of Walk The Line (is that really a show?) followed by an ultra lame 'pyrotechnics display' and a pathetic military flyover. We were promised jets, but these four planes arrived about three minutes late and moved slower than the Goodyear blimp. C'mon! Get the crowd fired up over here. Jesse Orosco also disappointed. I know his knees are bad but he could have at least thrown the glove up the air. Luckily, the team was better equipped to fire up the crowd. What a pair of ovations for Pedro and David Wright!

Omar must've been feeling good about himself with Nady and LoDuca having great days, but of course Steve Phillips also felt good when Mike Bordick and Bubba Trammell had excellent first games as well. But it was a good day all around, and to cap it all off, leaving tea park we spotted something I haven't seen at Shea in ten years, easy. A guy selling hot pretzels out of a shopping cart. This may not be the most sanitary way to sell bread, but honestly there is no tastier, hotter pretzel than one roasted and sold out of a shopping cart converted into a barbecue. Aramark should take a look at these guys and learn their secret, because tea cold soggy pretzels inside the building are pathetic compared to these gems. Viva La Shopping Cart! Estoy Contento!

Monday, April 03, 2006

What A Game!

It was great to be back in New York this weekend. H&H Bagels, Pizza from Angelo's, and reading the New York sports sections in newspapers I can hold in my hand, instead of on a computer screen.

I caught my first glimpse of SNY this weekend, at my buddy's house, and saw Mets Weekly featuring the authors of Metsblog, Kranepool, MetsGeek and Faith and Fear in Flushing. It is so cool that the Mets have their own channel. And thankfully they announced today an agreement with DirecTV so I'll be able to watch Game 2!

But for today's game we sat in the Upper Deck, section 25. We had a nice view of the action. The crowd was very intese today, the most intense I can remember for a season opener. I was a bit embarrassed by some of my fellow "Mets fans," though, as the extra indulgence of overpriced beer brought out more than a few fights as well as randomly fired epithets and insults. My friend, who has a son approaching his first birthday, was questioning how soon he should bring his kid to a game. I mean, it wasn't everyone, but the loudmouths were in mid-season form. Big props to the dude in the concourse who refused to fight this punk who promised to knock him out before the inning was over.

But enough about the negatives. This team looks really stacked! I'll let other bloggers squabble about the lineup order, 1-7 looks really good however they are placed. Obviously Hernandez still has some learning to do and hopefully it doesn't take too long that Matsui has a shot of winning his job back. Heilman was iffy, saved by an excellent play by Reyes. And Wagner was great, even if he didn't bring the high heat as advertised.

I went straight from Shea to LaGuardia, and am already back in N.C. I can't wait for Wednesday, and the next time I see these Mets in person - April 12 in D.C. Lets Go Mets!