Saturday, April 29, 2006
It will not be hard for me to remember this game - this game will be ingrained in my memory - even though I was unable to watch a single inning. I did hear the last nine outs of the game on Gameday Audio, but I was not able to watch the telecast even though it was on SNY, I have SNY, and I was home last night. No, I was not able to watch the game, but I will remember this game, as it happened on the night that I fell from the attic, through the ceiling, of my house.
Early Friday morning I was awoken by a strange sound. My wife and I figured out it was coming from the attic - it sounded like a small animal, like a mouse. So Friday evening, after work, we went up through the crawl space to investigate - we just wanted to see if there was any sign of the critter, and then we'd just set a simple trap as long as there didn't seem to be any issues that required a professional. It was our first time up in the attic since buying the house a year ago. I don't have a lot of experience with attics, and my only frame of reference is my mom's old house on Long Island, which could accomodate some storage, as plywood planks were installed so boxes, etc. could be stored up there. I guess I thought all houses had this. Despite my wife's warning that there were very specific places up there where I should be stepping...
I indeed misstepped and came through the sheet rock, creating a very large hole in our ceiling, and causing a tremendous amount of insulation to fall onto the floor and stairs below. Luckily I was able to react quickly enough to hold onto a beam and not break my neck or something, but it was quite a mess.
Lesson learned: listen to your wife, leave home inspections to professionals, and never, ever, miss a Mets game.
Friday, April 28, 2006
Iriki has been suspended for a test performed during Spring Training, so this is a major league suspension, with Iriki becoming the first player punished with the new, harsher penalties, as well as becoming the first Japanese player suspended for a positive steroid test at the major-league level.
Check out the whole posting here.
Anyway, back to 2001. Like I said, my future wife and I were having a grand old time taking pictures of Bobby Valentione and Mike Piazza, et al, when suddenly my date was called over by a group of Japanese people who had a video camera and a microphone. They were apparently with some Japanese television station, and they were covering the event because of the heralded arrival of Tsuyoshi Shinjo. They wanted to interview her about what she thought of the Mets new acquisition. She had nothing to say about Shinjyo of course, but they didn't want to hear from me, so I told her to tell the cameras she liked Shinjyo because he played "with a lot of flair." It became a bit of a running joke with us for awhile.
Well, Shinjyo's been out of Major League Baseball for a couple years now, and just decided to announce he's retiring from baseball altogether, but apparently he is still trying to show off his "flair."
The enormously popular outfielder is already apparently being swamped with offers for work once he's finished playing.... it seems likely that his baseball uniform won't be the only garments Shinjo plans to shed... Shinjo's thinking about releasing a collection of nude photos... there's also talk of Shinjo and his wife doing a nude shot together.
Good lord. Big Props to Ryan McConnell at Always Amazin' for finding this hilarious news tidbit.
Meanwhile, the Mets' other DL candidate, Brain Bannister is recovering from his grade one hamstring strain and is hopeful about making his next start on Tuesday at home against Washington. However, if he needs to miss one start, the Mets are likely to have Darren Oliver make the start. It's odd that they have said outright that Aaron Heilman won't make a start, but will consider using Oliver. If Bannister has to miss at least a second start, the Mets will put him on the DL and bring up a pitcher from AAA. The most likely candidate is John Maine, who is already on the 40 man roster.
Speaking of the 40 man roster, Jose Valentin's days on that roster may be numbered. The Mets signed left-handed outfielder Michael Tucker to a minor league contract Wednesday, and with Valentín hitting .095 in 21 at-bats, the Mets need a better left-handed option off the bench. Tucker hit .239 with five home runs and 36 RBIs last year for the Giants and Phillies, and was released by the Washington Nationals on March 30 after failing to make the club out of Spring Training. I'm not sure how I feel about signing a guy who couldn't make teh Nationals' roster, but anything would be better than Valentin.
Thursday, April 27, 2006
According to the last "20/20 flash" Brian Bannister has been diagnosed with a "grade one strained hamstring," is listed as day to day, and might make his next start.
According to Intellihealth, a grade one strain means that "only a few muscle fibers are stretched or torn, so the muscle is mildly tender and painful, but muscle strength is normal."
Alfonzo was traded to the Angels from the Giants during the offseason, and feels he hasn't been given enough playing time.
"I came here because they told me I could compete for the third base job. I thought I would get a regular chance to play. If I had seen the situation like this, or seen what it was, I would have stayed. I just want to get playing time. This is the last year of my contract, and I don't think there is any chance for me to get a fair contract next year if I don't play this year. ... I'm trying to be ready for anything either here or someplace else."
Fonzie was a class act for the Mets, and was my favorite player when he was in New York, but I think the 32 year old needs to come to the realization that his value as an everyday player may have passed. He hasn't hit .300 since leaving New York after the 2002 season, and is far removed from 1999, when he had 108 RBI and hit 27 homeruns.
In 8 games this season, Alfonzo is hitting just .158 without an extra base hit in 19 AB's.
Thursday, April 27th: OFF
Friday, April 28th (ATL): Pedro Martinez
Saturday, April 29th (ATL): Tom Glavine
Sunday, April 20 (ATL): Steve Trachsel
Monday, May 1 (WAS): Zambrano
Tuesday, May 2 (WAS): ??
Wednesday, May 3 (PIT): Pedro
Thursday, May 4 (PIT): Glavine
Friday, May 5 (ATL): Trachsel
Saturday, May 6 (ATL): Zambrano
Sunday, May 7 (ATL): ??
So, obviously this weekend's series against Atlanta is mui importante. We send our three best pitchers to the hill, and if we can somehow sweep the Braves, that would help out a lot because putting a healthy dose of distance between New York and Atlanta would take some pressure would off the following weekend's series vs. the Braves, when we send Zambrano and whoever the Mets come up with for two of those games.
Personally, I think the Mets should give John Maine a shot at a start, if for no other reason than to maybe help save face on the Benson trade. For all of the success Jorge Julio has had in in his last few appearances, Willie obviously didn't feel comfortable bringing him into last night's tight game. John Maine threw seven innings yesterday, only giving up one run on five hits, in a win for the AAA Tides. Maine is already on the 40 man roster so no one would have to clear waivers to make the move. As I've said previously though, I don't see what the downside is of putting Jose Valentin and his .095 average on the waiver wire to see if any other suckers, I mean teams, want him. I wonder if the Mets passed over Jose Lima for the start, he would think it was Lima Time to move on to another club. Lima said during Spring Training that if he didn't make the club he would refuse an assignment to the minors. He obviously relented on that, but I don't know if he'd stick around after getting passed over for Maine. Not that it would be a great loss. He, his 6.00 ERA, and Valentin can all head to Japan for all I care.
Ty Wigginton had two hits and two RBI's for the Devil Rays last night in a 4-2 victory over the Yankees. There's a nice write up on him in the Daily News today.
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Fortunately, Ned was invited to a surprise party.
Unfortunately, the party was a thousand miles away.
Fortunately, a friend loaned Ned an airplane.
Unfortunately, the motor exploded.
Fortunately, there was a parachute in the airplane.
Unfortunately, there was a hole in the parachute.
Today's game reminded me of this book. So, with apologies to author Remy Charlip, here's my recap of this afternoon's Mets/Giants game:
Fortunately, today's game started at 3:35 ET so I was able to listen at work and not stay up all night.
Unfortunately, the game lasted over four hours long so I missed a bit on my commute home and also my wife wanted me to do chores around the house when I got home so I had to keep running in and out of the room to watch the game.
Fortunately, rookie Brian Bannister started the game for the Mets, coming into the game with a 2-0 record.
Unfortunately, he was inconsistent again, allowing three runs on seven hits and two walks over five innings.
Fortunately, he helped his own cause with the bat, socking two doubles and earning two RBI's and a run scored.
Unfortunately, he strained his hamstring scoring that run, and may be out for awhile.
Fortunately, Bannister left the game with a 4-3 lead, handing the game over to a bullpen with the best ERA in baseball.
Unfortunately, Aaron Heilman allowed the tying run to score in the second inning he pitched.
Fortunately, in the eighth inning, the Mets broke the tie, exploding for three runs, including a two run single by Julio Franco, setting up a save situation for Billy Wagner in the ninth.
Unfortunately, Omar Vizquel hit a leadoff single.
Fortunately, Wagner struck out the next two batters.
Unfortunately, the hot-hitting Moises Alou came up to bat.
Fortunately, he hit an easy grounder to David Wright.
Unfortunately, Wright threw the ball away, allowing Alou to get all the way to second, scoring Vizquel, and sending Barry Bonds up to bat as the tying run.
Fortunately, Billy Wagner brought the heat today, throwing 99 mph.
Unfortunately, Barry Bonds connected on that 99 mph pitch, and hit a tying homerun that sent the game into extra innings.
Fortunately, pitching the 10th for the Giants was Armando Friggin' Benitez, a guy who's known to implode in big spots, and spots which aren't save situations.
Unfortunately, even though the Mets loaded the bases against Benitez they were unable to score.
Fortunately, Chad Bradford and Darren Oliver also got the job done in the 10th, stranding the winning run at second.
Unfortunately, the game headed to the 11th inning, and the Mets have not done well in long games lately.
Fortunately, Chris Woodward and Jose Reyes both drove in runs, giving the Mets a two run lead.
Unfortunately, the only reliever left in the bullpen was Jorge Julio.
Fortunately, Randolph decided to let Oliver hit for himself in the 11th so he could stay in the game for the bottom half of the inning to protect the two run lead.
Unfortunately, Alou and Bonds both came to bat in the bottom of the 11th.
Fortunately, Oliver pitched a perfect inning and the Mets won the game 9-7, as well as the series against San Francisco!!
So, there you have it. Bannister's out and the Mets will have to scramble to come up with a starter for his next turn in the rotation, at the very least. But the Mets are in good shape overall as they head to Atlanta. The Mets have an off day tomorrow before taking on the Braves, who lost today and are now five games back, for a big three game set. Lets Go Mets!
Jae Seo was awful in his most recent start for the Dodgers, giving up 5 runs in 3.2 innings on sunday, raising his ERA to 7.64 on the season. During last night's Mets broadcast, Keith Hernandez speculated that, after a full turn through the league, hitters have figured out Seo's approach by now and have simply made the adjustment.
Braden Looper pitched a scoreless inning for the Cardinals last night, in a 6-3 victory over the Pirates. Loop has allowed seven hits and two walks, while striking out five, in 10 innings of work this season. He has a 1.74 ERA, with one Hold and one Blown Save this season. If I'm reading his stats correctly, he's allowed two out of three inherited runners to score this season. Meanwhile, his 'pen mate Jason Isringhausen has overcome some early-season struggles to convert his last three save opportunities, including one last night.
Kris Benson (2-2, 3.70 ERA) is on the hill against the Blue Jays in Toronto tomorrow.
I'm so proud of Trachsel for going after Bonds. So what if he hit a solo homerun? One run - big deal. Better than the asinine approach of intentionally walking Bonds to get to Alou, who is by far the Giant's best hitter this year. Besides, I'm on board with Greg at Faith and Fear in Flushing, who says that Mets fans should root for Bonds to overtake Babe Ruth on the all time homerun list. After all, he argues, Ruth is a friggin' Yankee, and how sweet would it be for THE Yankee to be pushed down in the record book by a surly, juiced, jackass like Bonds?
Anyway, back to Trachsel - after giving up #710 to Bonds in the second inning, Trachsel reared back in the fourth and struck the SOB out. After all was said and done, Bonds homer was the only run Trachsel allowed over six innings before handing the ball over to the bullpen.
Sanchez was a bit of a weasel in the seventh, "unintentionally" walking Bonds, but when Billy Wagner came on in the ninth he challenged Bonds with a first-pitch 97 mph fastball. Bonds couldn't hit that pitch, and eventually the big guy flied out to center to end the ballgame.
On the offensive side, Cliff Floyd's bat woke up in time to tell San Francisco that tonight, AT&SBC Bell Park was the Mets home, by hitting a splash-down home run deep in Kevin McReynold's Cove. (heh, heh...)
Defensively, Nady, LoDuca, Trachsel, Chavez, and even Matsui looked like gold glovers in the field. Break up the Mets! Wagner got save #5, Trachsel got win #2, and the Mets move to 4 games over the Braves, who lost to the Brewers.
The headlines say that Bonds made Willie Randolph look smart by hitting his homerun last night, but I couldn't disagree more. Much better to win the game and lose to Bonds, than to pitch around Bonds and lose the game. If Willie felt vindicated when Bonds hit #710, I say he's missing the point.
Don't forget, today's a day game - 3:35 PM. Brian Bannister vs. Matt Morris - a good day to listen to MLB.com Gameday Audio at work.
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
Keith also said that San Francisco is the most beautiful city in the country. I only reprint this because I got a lot of hits these past two days from people searching for Keith Hernandez's comments, so I guess all of a sudden everyone cares about his opinions on everything.
Keith Hernandez is an expert on baseball because he played a long time and was quite excellent at his craft. However, that doesn't mean his opinions on anything else are worth caring about. We do this with celebrities all the time. For example, I always find myself seeing quotes from actors and actresses about all kinds of other topics such as dieting, politics, and parenting. I'm not insinuating that just because someone is an actor they can't be experts on other things, but maybe we should all stop worrying about what famous people say, period. Keith Hernandez made a stupid and sexist comment and should be called to task for it, but a day later should be enough time for us all to get over it.
By the way, the history of the California state flag can be found here.
Minaya did mention one obstacle, however, and that is finding a spot for Milledge on the 40-man roster. By promoting him a little sooner than expected, the Mets would need to bump another player to make room for Milledge, and that could mean losing someone on waivers.
Yeah, that sounds like a real problem. I just took a look at the 40 man roster. Wouldn't it be a real travesty if we lost Jose Valentin to the waiver wire?
Glavine lost the game (and screwed up my Fantasy League stats), but fortunately the Braves fell to Milwaukee, keeping them three back of the Mets. Meanwhile, Philadelphia beat Colorado to move within 3 and a half.
Monday, April 24, 2006
'Champion Field' wouldn't be so awful, now would it?
But apparently things won't blow over as quickly as SNY hoped. ESPN has an interview with Kelly Calabrese on their website now, and SNY has issued a statement about the matter through MetsBlog.
According to ESPN's column,
Hernandez said Sunday that he was sorry if he offended anyone. He also said that baseball's rulebook allowed only the head trainer and assistant trainer in the dugout.
Okay, Keith, now you're just copping out. I heard the broadcast, and your statement had nothing to do with how many trainers were allowed in the dugout. You specifically said during the game that you were kidding about the "women belong in the kitchen" line but that you felt "very strongly" that baseball "is a man's game." If you feel so strongly about it then own up to it and don't cop out and try and act like you were worried about the Padres following some technicality in the rulebook. You made a sexist comment, period. Everyone's allowed to make a stupid comment, but you need to be "a man" and admit what you said.
By the way, ESPN and Raissman's column both say the trainer's name is Kelly Calabrese, but the Padres website lists her as Kelly McCord. Either way, if she's a qualified professional I don't see why it matters what gender she is. I agree with her comments that Hernandez should use his forum to encourage kids to pursue jobs in baseball, whatever their gender.
You know, if Doug hadn't gone around blabbing that he had the ball and that he was gonna sell it to finance his kid's college tuition in the first place, maybe he'd have gotten to keep the damn thing.
Sunday, April 23, 2006
Zambrano got the loss today, giving up five runs and seven hits in four innings, as the Mets fall 7-4 to San Diego. The death blow was a grand slam on a hanging curveball for Brian Giles, and the Mets split the four game set with San Diego. Transplanted ex-Met Mike Cameron went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts and two walks.
The Mets now head to San Francisco for a series with the Giants. The Mets should make Zambrano drive separately, and give him the wrong directions or something. Lets Go Mets.
Banks/Insurance (6): Comerica Park (Detroit), Ameriquest Field in Arlington (Texas), Citizens Bank Park (Philadelphia), Bank One Ballpark (Arizona), Safeco Field (Seattle), Great American Ballpark (Cincinnati) - Telecommunications/Computers (4): U.S Cellular Field (Chicago), Rogers Centre (Toronto), AT&T Park (San Francisco), McAfee Coliseum (Oakland) - Food/Beverage (6): Wrigley Field (Chicago), Tropicana Field (Tampa), Minute Maid Park (Houston), Miller Park (Milwaukee), Coors Field (Colorado), Busch Stadium (St. Louis) - Team Owner (3): Jacobs Field (Cleveland), Turner Field (Atlanta), Kauffman Stadium (Kansas City) - Retail Store (1): PETCO Park (San Diego) - Politicians (2): Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome (Minnesota), RFK Stadium (Washington, D.C.) - Eponymous (4): Oriole Park, Yankee Stadium, Angel Stadium, Dodger Stadium - Neighborhood (1): Fenway Park (Boston) - Completely Insulting(1): Dolphins Stadium (Florida)
In Newsday today, Jon Heyman reports that in Spring Training, the Marlins offered Dontrelle Willis in a trade for David Wright. Not only did Omar quickly reject the offer, but the Mets have recently have had discussions with Wright's agent about locking him up with a long-term contract extension, even though Wright's not eligible for free agency until 2010.
Also in Newsday, David Lennon implies that based on the MRI that showed no structural damage to Beltran's hamstring, Willie Randolph thinks Beltran should be playing, but that Beltran himself thinks he should be on teh DL because he's "not close to 100%." In last night's SNY broadcast, Keith Hernandez was sympathetic to Carlos's situation, saying when he himself tore his hamstring in 1988 it was the first injury he'd had in his career, and that he came back to soon and retore it.
In the Daily News, Adam Rubin has a write-up on how impressive Lastings Milledge has been at AAA this season. Through Friday, he had a .396 average and had reached base in 11 straight plate appearances.
The New York Post's Mark Hale says that Anderson Hernandez begins rehabbing his bulging disc injury today in Florida.
Mets vs. Padres Game 4 today at 4:05 ET. I'll be listening on MLB.com. Mike Piazza will probably have the day off, but Mike Cameron will face his old ballclub as he's finally activated from the DL.