Saturday, June 10, 2006

The Metsui Era Is Over

I was able to listen to the last four innings of last night's Mets-Diamondbacks game on WFAN as we drove from Charlotte to Greensboro lat elast night, after the Tom Petty concert. I was really tired so Tom McCarthy and Ed Coleman, and did a nice job of keeping me awake and out of the ditches of I-85. I missed the first seven runs scored by the Mets, but I did hear the second homeruns for both Carlos's, and the Diamondback's rally's that tried to insist that this game would be a contest and not a rout. It was a nice effort, but the Mets prevailed...

I read on Metsblog yesterday about a rumored Matsui for Eli Marrero deal, but this morning I learned it was true. The Mets sent 4.5 million smackers to the Rockies along with Kaz to unload him, er, I mean... land Marrero. Boy that Marrero is some player for the Mets to spend 4.5 million and trade the seven-time Japanese All-Star to get him. Look for Marrero to be designated for assignment as soon as Nady comes off the DL.

Friday, June 09, 2006

The Duque Is In!

Man, what a performance last night by El Duque and the Mets. Seven runs for the offense; nine innings for a complete game by Orlando Hernandez. I tried my darndest to stay awake for the whole thing but I was fortunate enough to have my eyes opened during the early offense outburst as well as the final half inning when the game came to a close.

Kind of funny that last week the rotation was shifted around so that El Duque wouldn't have to face his old club so fast. What a wasted opportunity! Every game he starts from here on out should be against an old club. Make sure he's slotted for the Yankees series!

I'm headed to Charlotte tonight to see Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers perform. There's an outside chance that WFAN will come in on the radio on the way home, but it's not likely.

Lets Go Mets!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Rock Me Like A Hurricane

My mom lives in Florida but wants to move because she is freaked out by the threat of hurricanes. I live in North Carolina and am exhausted by all the talk about the Carolina Hurricanes that's going around. I used to love going to Rangers games at the Garden, but that experience completely transcends the sport of hockey. I personally couldn't care less about hockey on e way or the other, but what bothers me about all the Hurricanes hysteria is that it makes me wonder why there's no MLB team in my new home state of North Carolina. If this state can support a HOCKEY team of all things, surely a baseball team would get plenty of support.

There might be more minor league teams in this state than any other, for one thing, and a team that was placed in Charlotte would garner support of the whole South. Right now the Braves are the de facto team of the South, but really Atlanta has become a city of transplants and Georgians who want to leave the "Southern roots" behind. But putting a team between the Carolinas, just like the Panthers of the NFL could be a real success if marketed correctly. Just like people travel from all over to see the Cardinals, as the team of America's heartland, the Carolina MLB team could do the same for this region. The Marlins should move here and remain in the NL East so I could see 8 to 9 Mets games a year, just an hour and a half away. It would be really funny if they moved to land-locked Charlotte but left their name the Marlins, too.


Last night's win was great. I've been real hard on Tom Glavine since he joined the orange and blue, but I was real happy for him to get a win on a night he kind of pitched like crap. Take two of three from the Dodgers, knock around Transplanted Ex-Met Jae Seo, and get another breakout performance from Lastings Milledge - what more could a guy ask for? Besides for the game to start before 10 PM, of course.

So tonight we roll into Arizona. When the Mets faced the D-Backs at home they played a tough, gritty series that the Mets won. Now it's the Diamondbacks who get the home field advantage. There will be no walk-off wins for the Mets this series, but we'll count on the arms of El Duque, Trachsel and Alay Soler, and maybe some hGH.

The thing with this Jason Grimsley fiasco that has me confused, is that the little I know about this stuff is that its merits are dubious. I used to work for a vitamin company that peddled these spray bottles that you would spray into your mouth and supposedly get anti-age benefits. You would supposedly get the same benefits as injections. Well, these spray bottles didn't turn back the age of time, and I haven't seen anything that tells me the injectable stuff works either.

Really, the media is flipping out over this controversy and I'm not even sure what the hubub is about. If these knuckleheads are stupid enough to inject friggin growth hormones into themselves, I don't think this is really in the category of "cheating." This goes into the category of turning yourself into a human guinea pig with a plethora of possible side effects for benefits that are dubious at best. Maybe I'm naive or uneducated, but sports need to realize this isn't about records. Baseball needs to find away to test for this crap so to protect these dumb jocks from shortening their lifespans. Dummies.

I really don't know how I would feel if I found out a guy like David Wright was taking some injectible performance enhancement. I think the whole thing is so distracting from the game itself, which is really the greatest sport in the world to me. I can't stand Barry Bonds because he's a prick and because I feel like I was robbed of seeing what kind of career numbers he could have produced without the juice, but I don't spend much time thinking about it. I wish I could spend even less time on the matter.

Transplanted Ex-Mets Update - Izzy is Dizzy.

Ahh, Generation K, where have you gone? Jason Isringhausen has been benched by Tony LaRussa after blowing two out of his last three save opportunities. Izzy has 18 saves on the season, and four blown save opportunities.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Transplanted Ex-Met Update - Guess Who's Back?

Just the other day I was talking to a co-worker who doesn't watch baseball about my favorite managers in baseball. I do a lot of this type of thing in Greensboro. There are a few guys who watch the national pastime, but most folks are way more into college basketball. This doesn't stop me from talking baseball on and on as if people cared, of course. Such is teh life of a transplanted Mets fan in the South.

ANYWAY, I was talking about how my favorite manager of all time is Bobby Valentine. I think he's a genius in the dugout as far as strategy goes. Jon Heyman and I are Valentine disciples. With that being said, Bobby V really did deserve to be fired when he was let go. He had completely lost control of that clubhouse, and even though Keith Hernandez had to apologize for saying so, the team really did quit on Bobby. But Sheve Phillips should have been given the axe simultaneously.

I continued my one-sided conversation about Mets managers with my co-worker (it's kind of like posting to this blogsite now that I think of it), and told him that I really think Willie Randolph has turned out to be a terrific manager. Besides the fact that he handles the media nonsense well, he seems to truly get the respect from his players. You hear very little griping from his players. The occassional bitching you hear from guys like Trachsel or Billy Wagner quickly dissipate. Speaking of Billy Wagner, I think it's phenomonal the way Willie has used Sandman. He's not afraid to bring him in in a tie situation, and didn't feel the need to bring him in Monday night even though it was a "save situation," just for the sake of boosting Wags's stats. Awesome. The game was in hand, Bradford had things under control, and was given the chance to close out the win. Awesome. There should be a lot more of this in baseball if you ask me. The closer is supposedly the best pitcher in the bullpen. Shouldn't he be used for the toughest situations late in games, regardless of the potential for a save. Isn't the stat of team "WIN" the purpose, not player "Save"?

I didn't go into the whole save situation talk (my co-workers eyes would have completely glassed over), but then he asked me about Davey Johnson. Davey Johnson! Wow. My opinion on Davey is that he was a great player's manager - great for a veteran clubhouse because he knows how to keep guys loose (too loose), but he's not much a stratgist. I think even more than Mike Soscia, Davey Johnson is the reason the Mets faltered so poorly in the 1988 playoffs. If it weren't for the resiliance of the amped up players, they might not have won it all in 1986 either. Davey won division championships twice each with the Mets and Reds, and once with the Orioles, but 1986 was the only year he won an LCS (though he did win a divisional series in '97).

Well, Transplanted Ex-Met Manager Davey Johnson is back. The Washington Nationals hired him as a "special consultant" to general manager Jim Bowden. I don't know about you, but this sure sounds like the first step to the replacement of Frank Robinson. Very weird. Are they going to bring back those Rolaids commercials? Or maybe Pro-Activ can sign him up to an endorsement deal?

Hilarious Bumper Sticker Of The Day:
A Bad Day Of Fishing Beats A Good Day At Work

I would rather do just about anything than fish, but the "classic" bumper sticker/T-shirt is the inspiration for my philosphy last night:

A Good Night Of Sleep Beats a Bad Loss To The Dodgers

Last night, while I worked on the new banner (what do you think?), I listened to the first few innings of last night's loss on Gameday Audio. It was just long enough to hear Pedro give up a two run homer to Nomar, Cliff Floyd get carried off the field, and learn that Reyes was out with a wrist injury. I was really tired at that point, and although the score was tied 2-2, for some reason I felt an "omen" telling me it was okay to miss this one in favor of some sleep.

Good choice!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

A Different Kind Of Mets

No walk-offs, no drama, no rain delays... Mets win 4-1. Kind of ironic that the Mets didn't bring their flair for the dramatic to Hollywood, in front of all the stars and agents who, if they had watched previous Mets games, might have incited a bidding war for the screenplay rights to the '06 Mets. Instead, the Mets just showed off their ability to win easy. I guess the laid back California lifestyle got to them already. Alay Soler threw seven strong innings and gave the Mets hope that their rotation is at least stabilized.

This is the kind of jet lag I want. Think about it. The Mets played an altogether different kind of game yesterday. The weather was hot and sunny instead of rainy and dreary. The starter, not named Glavine or Martinez, pitched seven innings and won. The bullpen was only needed for six outs, and it took only two members of the 'pen to do it. The score after six, 4-1, was the same when the game ended. Just nine innings overall! Wow.

And, the Braves lost their fifth straight, falling seven games out, making us wonder what the deficit will be at the end of July when the Mets travel to Turner Field. The Phillies won and remain 4.5 games back. By the way, that 4.5 games stands as the widest lead in baseball right now. Feelin' pretty pretty pretty pretty good.

Transplanted Ex Mets Update:

Preston Wilson
broke up Carlos Zambrano's no-hit bid with one out in the eighth inning in Houston. The Cubs won the game 8-0, led by Zambrano's pitching, and his hitting as well. Zambrano knocked a three run homer in the second inning.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

All Losses Stink, But Some Don't Stink That Badly

I really thought the Mets would win this game. I thought I knew they would win. I have a feeling most of the Mets themselves felt like they were going to win, just like the huge Sunday afternoon crowd was sure a win was coming, especially when Lastings Friggin' Milledge hit a homerun to tie the game in the 10th inning off Armando Benitez.

Alas, it was not to be. Pedro Feliciano unfortunately could not hold off the Giants in the 12th inning, and a couple singles, a couple bunts and one error were enough to score a run and ultimately beat the Mets 7-6.

However, even though they lost, the Mets gave their fans quite a show. In addition to Milledge's blast in the 10th, the rookie also had a big hit in the 6th, when he hit a two-run double to break a 1-1 tie. David Wright hit two homeruns in the game, the second of which tied the game 4-4 in the 8th. Also gone to waste was a strong effort by Steve Trachsel, who went seven innings and allowed just a single run. He left the game with a 3-1 lead, but the bullpen, usually a strength of the team, was simply not effective today. Dirty Sanchez allowed three runs to score in the eighth, Heilman allowed two runs in the 10th, and Feliciano, after a perfect 11th, allowed the game winning hits in the 12th. As bright spots in the midst of the meltdown, Chad Bradford rescued Sanchez in the eighth, recording the final out in the inning, and Billy Wagner pitched a perfect ninth inning.

Mets fans can't get too down today, as we got a real glimpse of our future, as Milledge really shined. His first three major-league RBI's, all three of them huge, one day after scoring his first major league run, a game winner. He also made a sweet catch in the field, and pissed off the opposition by high-fiving fans after his game-tying homer. Gotta love the exuberance. Luckily for him the Mets don't play San Francisco again this season or else Lastings could count on his first hit-by-pitch as well. He sure looks like a superstar in the making. Maybe we can believe the hype after all?

Oh boy, Xavier Nady cannot be happy.

Mets Split A Two-Fer; Pick Up A Game

The Mets played a doubleheader of the old school variety - Patrons pay for the price of one game but get to see two. The only problem was that the weather was awful and by the end of the second game, which ended at around 11:30, the crowd at Shea resembled the size of those that used to show up at Olympic Stadium.

El Duque pitched well enough to lose the opener - and did - allowing five runs and eight hits over six innings in the 6-4 loss to the Giants. Tom Glavine started the second game and pitched well enough to win - but got a no-decision - as the Mets won in the extra-inning, walk-off fashion that's become almost routine.

Some bloggers will write today about the Billy Wagner vs. Barry Bonds rematch. Others about Armando Benitez thwarting a Mets comeback, or leaving in El Duque too long. I choose to use Transplanted Ex-Met Jose Vizcaino's efforts as a focal point. Vizcaino homered in the nightcap, and some lucky fan got to keep that ball as a souvenir. I would like to present now, in honor of Jose Vizcaiano, the heirarchy of celebration for retrieved MLB baseballs:

1. (the ultimate) - Of course, Catching a homerun ball by the home team. No matter the score, this is what it's all about.

2. Catching a homerun by the opposing team - this causes a bit of a quandry because your fellow fans are likely to encourage you to throw it back. They are idiots. Don't do this.

3. CATCHING a foul ball. Bonus for if it's a screamer, or you don't use a glove. By the way, if you bring a glove to a game, and you're over 13 years old, and you're not in homerun territory on a night when one of the players might hit an historic homerun, you're a geek.

4. Reaching over the railing and picking up a foul ball that is on the field. I am talking about a "dead" ball of course. If you interfere with the game by touching a live ball you should be ejected from the park and then forced to allow Moises Alou to pee on your hands.

5. PICKING UP a ball hit into the stands. I find it comical when a person will bend over, pick up a ball that happened to bounce under his chair, and holds it triumphantly up as if he's accomplished something. Sit down.

6. Having a ball tossed to you from a player on the field. This actually happened to me when I was about 19 by Jose Vizcaino. This is why, even though he had a big hit for the Yankees against the Mets in the WS, I can never truly hate him.

7. Grabbing a ball that was tossed by a player from the field, intended for the kid next to you. I attended a Red Sox/Angels game at Fenway a few years back, and showed up early to catch practice. Kevin Appier tosssed a ball into the stands, aimed at one of the kids, and it went right to me instead. Since I am not a heartless prick, I of course handed the ball to the kid Insane Ape was trying to through to. Of course it didn't hurt that I already had my Vizcaino-tossed game ball. Nice throw, Appier. So glad we signed you instead of Mike Hampton.

DEAD LAST - Anything close to the activities undertaken by the SNY 2,000 baseball guy to retrieve a ball doesn't even rank on this list. This is a guy who has ammassed 2,000 baseballs by running around Shea Stadium like a lunatic and begging players for baseballs. He would get much more cool points if he had just bought the damn baseballs. Who the hell cares? To me, 1,999 of those balls could have gone to some kid instead. Hey chump, save yourself some dignity and donate the balls to the local little league.

So there you have it. Thanks for the memories Jose.

Meanwhile, the Braves got swept in their doubleheader by the Diamondbacks and are now six games behind the Mets, while the Philles fell to the Dodgers to fall to 5.5 games back. Today at 1:10 (hopefully), Little Stevie Trachsel pitches the rubber game against Matt Morris (3-6). I'm blacked out with the game on Channel 11, so it's a Gameday Audio afternoon for me. Lets Go Mets!