Wednesday, July 2, 2008

3 Out in The Loss Column with 79 Games to Go

With 79 games remaining in the 2008 regular season, the Mets are still fighting themselves - both on the field and in the clubhouse. But as their less than stellar play has continued, the Phillies have gotten worse. The Marlins are finally coming back to Earth, and the Braves are being overcome by their myriad of injuries (some expected and some not).

Injuries are not an excuse. With or without their starting outfielders, a member of their starting rotation and their setup man, the Mets should still be several games better than they are. As of now, they aren't. Save for their miserable 2 game funk against Seattle, the Mets have either won or split each one of their series over the last 2 1/2 weeks. As I've already noted, injuries aren't an excuse. The team should've been able to withstand the offensive dropoff by relying on their starters. But Oliver Perez hasn't been reliable, and Pedro Martinez was tipping his changeup the last few games. With those two right, things should begin to fall into place.

The return of Ryan Church has given the team immediate benefits. Believe it or not, Moises Alou is slated to come back this weekend at Philadelphia (he homered last night in a rehab game). IF, and this is a huge IF Moises Alou gets off the plane unscathed in Philadelphia, doesn't slip in the shower, and doesn't pull a hammy putting his pants on, this team will be whole for the first time all year come this Friday.

Remember this: When the season began, Alou was out. Duaner was still rehabbing, and Pedro was lost almost immediately. Castro was out. Beltran was coming off knee surgery. By the time Duaner came back, Alou was gone again (and Pedro was still out). When Pedro came back, Church was out and then Alou got hurt again. When Church came back, it came out that Pedro had been tipping his pitches - meaning he had only been back in name, not presence. Come this Friday in Philadelphia - when the Mets are hopefully somewhere between 1 and 3 games back in the loss column, the whole team will be together for the first time this season.

Instead of running out a lineup that consists of a corner outfield that includes some combination of Nick Evans, Marlon Anderson, Damion Easley, Andy Phillips and Endy Chavz (still love you Endy), the outfield will be Alou, Beltran and Church. We all screamed because of the Mets' offensive inconsistencies, but no one could've really expected a team with a 5 through 9 that was like swiss cheese to become an offensive juggernaut.

The much maligned bullpen looks to be something more than average. Billy Wagner had a rough week, but has otherwise been as dominant as ever. Duaner Sanchez has shaken off the rust, has his ERA in the 3's, and is again filthy in the 8th inning. Joe Smith has so far avoided a swoon. Pedro Feliciano still walks too many for my liking, but is death to lefties. Aaron Heilman even looks like a productive member of the pen again.

Say what you want about Johan Santana, but the man has an ERA that's sitting at 3.00. As has been repeated here ad nauseum, he is a notorious second half pitcher. One would think that he's starting to get used to the team and the city, and that he's beginning to learn the tendencies of NL hitters and the NL style. Watch for him to be utter filth in the second half. John Maine needs to last longer in games, but is right around where we expected him to be. Mike Pelfrey is progressing (lowering his WHIP and BAA each month), and has become more of a sure thing with each start. Oliver Perez has revamped his delivery, and Pedro will hopefully stop tipping his change.

The season to this point has felt like a climb up a mountain that keeps coming apart, causing the team to lose its footing way too often. There haven't been enough comebacks. There haven't been enough moments that make you jump up and scream out of pure joy. Instead, there has been lots of head-shaking and a great deal of disbelieving half smirks borne out of witnessing one more thing go wrong. Whether it's been a freak injury or a terrible call, a lazy play or a bad hop. Whether it's been a first pitch pop out with the bases loaded, a four pitch walk to the lead off hitter or an inexcusable mental mistake - it's been something.

The thing about Mets fans, is that we're all die-hards. You won't find a Met fan casually watching a game or not being able to name most of the 1991 roster. You won't see us wearing ill fitting hats, sitting in Shea staring off into space while the rest of the stadium is standing up. Sometimes being a fan of this team is destructive. A loss ruins your mood for a few hours, a bad loss ruins your mood for the rest of the night, and a devastating loss ruins your mood right up until first pitch the next night. This isn't healthy, but neither are our other assorted vices.

The next 6 games are huge. I'll be heading down to Philadeplhia on the 5th after shaking off my July 4th hangover, and I hope to roll into the ballpark with the Mets having a chance to tie the Phillies in the loss column or snatch 1st place from them altogether. There are 2 more games against St. Louis and their annoying overachieving team, before the return of Alou and the Independence Day stampede into Philadelphia. For the first time in 2008, the team should be whole on Friday. There should be 40% Mets fans in Philadelphia for this set. Those of you who are thinking about coming down, stop thinking and buy tickets. Come join us as we attempt to take back the Division that belongs to us.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Tonight was special. In the bottom of the 5th when Oliver Perez started melting down, I changed the channel because it was too brutal to watch. I expected to turn back and see the Mets down 5 or 6 to 3. But the Angels had only plated 3 runs. Ollie had melted down, but he hadn't completely evaporated like that silver dude at the end of Terminator 2.

Back in 2005, I attended the Marlon Anderson/Cliff Floyd game against the Angels at Shea. For those who don't remember, Marlon hit an inside the parker off K-Rod to tie up it, before the Mets fell behind again. In the next half inning, Cliffy had 2 strikes on him before hitting a walkoff. It was the greatest Mets game I ever attended in person. That game was in the back of my mind as the Mets' bullpen kept the Angels off the board through the bottom of the 8th. Frankie Rodriguez is a freak of nature, but I sensed that the Mets had a chance.

With 1 out, Reyes swung at some offspeed stuff in the dirt, but was still able to Ray Knight one over the second baseman's head and advance to 2nd on a pitch in the dirt. Then Wright came through. Then Easley gave us a moment right out of early 2007, before all the negativity started to set in. As Wagner trotted it and proceeded to set down the Angels in order, I kept muttering to myself: "Come on Billy, please God (and I don't even go to Church), one more, please."

When Torii Hunter swung through strike 3 for the 3rd out, I screamed and started clapping like a maniac. I then sat back for a second before uttering one word...


I didn't say it because I was thinking of the Mets' nickname. It just came out. It came out because that's exactly what this win was, and I said it because I still feel that it is exactly what this season can be.

Ollie bent, but didn't completely break.

Reyes responded to Manuel, in a big way.

The bullpen was lights out.

Jose hung in there in the 9th.

David brought him in.

Damion sent us home.

Along the way, David Wright made an absolutely ridiculous barehanded play on a soft chopper up the line, followed by an off balance throw to nab Kendrick to lead off the 9th.

Earlier today on WFAN, Chris "Mad Dog" Russo was bellowing to all who could hear that Shea Stadium would be empty in a few weeks. That if the Mets didn't turn it around (and he kept repeating that they were soft, had no fight), Shea would be a ghost town. I just smiled while he was saying it, smiled as the rest of the media kept taking shits all over the Mets all day.

After the biggest win of the year, the Mets now sit FOUR games behind the Phillies in the loss column. Through this storm, they took 2 out of 3 from the Texas Rangers, who had the best offense in basball. They went to Anaheim, and took 2 out of 3 from the Angels, who lead their Division. The joy of tonight can go straight to hell in the thin air of Colorado, but I don't think it will. For the first time this season, I'm not waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Axe Has Fallen & The Willie Will Not Rise

I just happened to go to sleep last night with SNY still on. When my dual alarm clocks shook me awake at exactly 6:30 this morning, I instinctively sat up and started to stare at the TV. Out from the paid programming popped Steve Overmyer with breaking news. He was saying that Willie Randolph - along with Peterson and Nieto - had been fired. Was I still dreaming? If so, what a dream! I reached for my phone and saw a new text message. It had come at 5:16 AM and stated "Bye bye Willie...randolph has been fired..."

I was definitely awake. This had definitely gone down. Like everyone else, I was pretty surprised by the timing (both the time of night and that it had happened after a win). My time getting ready for work was spent thinking about this. I had a strong dislike for Willie Randolph the Manager dating back to when he was hired, but I also respected Willie Randolph the man. I wanted him to get fired, and I'm ecstatic that he did, but I do feel bad for him. I genuinely feel bad for the man.

There are other people involved in this who I don't feel bad for at all - the New York media, and some clowns at ESPN. To them, the way the Mets handled this is another sign of their ineptitude, their lack of class, their disregard for human decency. But the media doesn't really give a damn about Randolph the man, they give a damn that the timing of his firing made it impossible for them to get their stories in before deadline. We keep hearing "Oh my God, it was 3AM!!" It wasn't, it was actually 12 AM. We keep hearing "How thoughtless, they did this after that flight to the coast." Whatever.

No matter how the Mets did this, the media would've found a way to bash it. I bet, though, that if the Mets had announced this right after the game (around 1AM New York time), we wouldn't be seeing nearly as much vitriol as we are right now. Why? Because the NY media would've had their 2nd grade reading level drivel typed and printed for the morning papers.

If the Mets had fired Randolph after last season, the New York media's refrain would've been that he was made the scapegoat, the players failed him. The firing was unjust.

If the Mets had fired Randolph after the meeting around Memorial Day, they would've been bashed for not giving him time to turn it around.

If the Mets had fired Randolph on Sunday, they would've been lambasted as anti-dad because it was father's day.

If the Mets had fired Randolph right after the game, they would've been ridiculed for not giving him any time to gather himself before facing the media.

It was the New York media who said that this situation was eating at Randolph, and distracting the players. It was the New York media WHO SAID YESTERDAY that the Mets should either make an immediate decision or come out and announce that Randolph was being given the rest of the season. Well, they made that immediate decision and now all this. To borrow from John Lennon, it's as if the Wilpons have come out and declared that the Mets are more popular than Jesus.

What has really happened here? A millionaire who was given a chance to manage his favorite team has been fired. He had to make a trip to the west coast for the news, but one can argue that it was better for him. Would he have been happier if this happened at Shea, which would've meant an immediate release to the wolves? Did he want it to happen in New York so the media could follow him and surround his home? I don't think he did.

Willie Randolph is a genuinely nice man. He cared, he has impeccable character. Unfortunately, he was never very good at managing. He was never very good at dealing with the media. While he was under the microscope, he made some unfortunate remarks that accused people around the Mets of being racist (The Mets are racist, the same team that is naming their rotunda after Jackie Robinson). I don't know how I missed that one. He accused SNY of making him into his own star of "The Real World: Flushing," by only filming him when he was lifeless or angry. Did I mention he was never very good at managing? It was time for him to go. Again, the timing wasn't the greatest, but what is a good time to get fired? When is it ever fun?

Monday, June 16, 2008

Whew...Thank You God

20 seconds ago, it looked like Billy Wagner was on his way to another epic meltdown. I had gone from reclined, to sitting up, to standing. When that rocket came off G. Anderson's bat, I thought it was about to shoot the gap. It breezed into Jose Reyes' glove, and he stepped on 2nd base for the game ending double play. I dropped to a knee on my hardwood floor and punched it 3 times (2 rights and a left, 1st time I've ever punched a floor), before laying flat on the ground and exhaling. Oh, to be a Mets fan.....

InGame Thought: Feliciano? Really?

It's the Bottom of the 7th inning. The Mets have just broken the game open by plating 5 in the top of the inning. Pelfrey struggles a bit, and leaves with the Mets up 8 to 4, and with runners on 1st and 2nd with no one out. In from the bullpen trots Pedro Feliciano.

Really, Willie, really?

The fact that Pedro Feliciano pitched TWICE yesterday should've been the only thing that mattered. There's no way he should've even been warming up. Even if you're showing complete disregard for the well being of the player AND the team, the move made little sense. Pedro Feliciano has had lots of trouble against the 1st batter he faces. That continued. Pedro Feliciano is a lefty specialist, but was brought in to face two switch hitters who are better from the right side.

Because of this, I'm pacing back and forth during a 2 run game in the 8th inning instead of relaxing. Willie's bullpen moves continue to be damning at worst, perplexing at best. Ever since he was hired in 2005, this facet of his managing style has been the easiest to pick apart. Let's hope this one doesn't come back to haunt us.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

5 Out in the Loss Column with 94 to Go

It's strange that a weekend where the Mets took 2 out of 3 from the team with the best offense in baseball felt like a disaster. Friday night was a reprieve, Saturday was a washout and Sunday was a blur. Through it all, the Mets took 2 out of 3, and are now 3-2 since Marlon Anderson mapped out their path to the Playoffs. All I wanted Sunday was a reason to be excited for Monday, and Pedro Martinez and Robinson Cancel gave me one. The Robsinson Cancel who I was about to bash mercilessly if he had gone down swinging or looking during his pinch hit at bat.

With 94 games left in the Mets' 2008 regular season, they sit 5 losses behind the Philadelphia Phillies. It's quite daunting if you look up at the standings and realize that the Mets would have to sweep the California Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in order for them to crawl back above the .500 mark. But while the Mets are facing the Angels, the Phillies will be playing host to the Red Sox. If the Mets keep winning series, and if the Phillies' offense doesn't put up 14 runs a game, things will quickly start to get a lot tighter in the NL East.

Lost in the madness of Billy Wagner's meltdowns and Willie Randolph's job security has been the outstanding work of the Mets' starting pitchers. Johan Santana, who had been bashed by journalists and fans alike for not striking out 27 per game, has his ERA down to 2.85. Oliver Perez looks like he's slowly turning into a human being who can control himself. Mike Pelfrey has been a revelation. Pedro Martinez has had 1 brilliant start, 1 good one and 1 average one since coming off the disabled list, but one would think the best is yet to come from him. John Maine has been the only blip on the radar screen, and his ERA is still only 3.87.

The Mets are without Ryan Church because of freak concussions, and they're without Moises Alou because he's been neglecting to soak his legs when he urinates on himself for strength. Billy Wagner just went through one of the worst stretches of his career. David Wright just went through one of the worst slumps of his career, and you've gotta figure that the rest of Major League Baseball has filled their quota of June web gems against the Mets.

With all the crap that has gone down recently, the Mets sit just FIVE GAMES behind the Phillies in the loss column. After this week, the Mets will be done with their west coast trips. After this week, they will have hopefully shaved another couple of games off of the Phillies' lead. Like I've said many times, this team has it in them to start ripping the opposition apart. They need to take care of business on the road before coming back to Church, who will be ready to preach once they step off the plane on June 23rd.

Friday, June 13, 2008

I Wonder How They Feel

By guest blogger Jeff D....

During this roller coaster ride known as the 2008 New York Mets regular season, the lows have been devastating and the highs not nearly high enough. Some times I have felt let down, other times I felt hope and optimism. But there have also been times when I've felt betrayed. I am a Mets fan who lives and dies with my team. I know there are many like me who scream at the TV, who question Willie's moves, and who curse Omar for bringing in older, injury prone former All- Stars. We are also the fans who derive the most enjoyment from a win. I know when an extra inning game is won in dramatic fashion, it is not only a sense of enjoyment I get from my team winning - it's like a complete release of pressure, like I know that I can go home and sleep well now that the team has won.

I have been thinking about how much this team affects my life, how individuals that rely on each other to get a common goal accomplished affects me, and yet not one of them know my name, or that I even exist. Then, I think about how some of them must feel. What goes through Billy Wagner's head when he gives up the tying run in the 9th? What does Joe Smith think about knowing he gave away half of the lead the inning before? How does Damion Easley feel about not covering the bag on a possible force out? What does David Wright feel when he gets robbed of a game winning hit? What do the players feel? Any athlete, in any major league team sport will tell you that they feel a responsibilty to their coaches, teammates and fans. When a player makes, or does not make a play that changes the outcome of a game, what do they think when they see the faces of their teammates? How does it feel when your fans turn on you?

I have been involved in recreational sports league with my friends, and I know to a much lesser extent how terrible it feels when you let down the people who are counting on you. At that level we get over it in a relatively short amount of time. I know that grounding into a double play to end the game won't be on the front page of the paper the next morning. I know that when the game ends there won't be any reporters waiting to ask me what went through my head during the pitch sequence. I won't be bashed on the radio and TV for the next two days. When the game ends, I throw my bat and get pissed. My friends tell me that we'll get them next game, and we head off to drink beer.

I know people will say that I don't get paid millions of dollars to play. Well, they would be right, I actually pay someone else to play a game. But just because the players get paid millions, it doesn't mean that they're not human. These men are not machines. They feel the pain of losing, they feel the responsibilty to the other players and they hurt when they let their team down. People have been saying that the Mets don't care, that they're just going through the motions and collecting a check. I disagree. I think that they are just mentally broken down. I think that the pressure of performing on the heels of last year's collapse has completely worn them out.

Willie will say that the players don't feel that last year has carried over, but this is just a Manager protecting his players. You can see the batters pressing at the plate, you can see the pitchers overthrowing, and you can see the fielders trying to be too fine on every play. It is almost like they feel that each game is Game 7 of the World Series. The pressure is starting to mount, and the season is not that young anymore. This is the time when the fanbase needs to get behind this team and help them get that good feeling back. I don't know what it will take for the team to capture that good feeling and take off, but I know that they're capable of it. They need to believe that it's possible. That starts tonight.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

This is Like a Nightmare

This post is in red to signify how much my blood is boiling and to describe what I'm seeing. I was at the game last night, sick seats, about 10 rows up between home and 1st base. Pelfrey was becoming something before my eyes, the team looked great, and then Wagner came in and the walls came crashing down. I felt like slamming my head against the bars that separate the boxes on the field level. I felt like screaming. I sat there for the 10th, 11th, 12th, and jumped up like a lunatic and let out a roar when Beltran's rocket drilled the bottom of the scoreboard and the Mets won. They had dodged a bullet. They had faced defeat and gotten back up.

I was certain the Mets were going to win today. Before the game, I was having a back and forth with some Johan Santana detractors, explaining just how good he's been so far and claiming that he'd be great today. He was great. It was his best start as a Met by far. Being at work, I listened to some of it during lunch, followed the rest on gamecast. When the Mets expanded the lead to 4-0, one of my friends (another die hard) called me. I was so confident in the win that when he told me Reyes had just doubled, I wasn't even excited. There was nothing left to be excited or worried about - the Mets had this one.

There was a brief scare when Beltran lost a ball in the sun, Smith came out and Schoeneweis came in to run a 3 ball count to the go ahead run. But he got out of it. During the bottom of the 8th, I spoke to another one of my die hard Mets fan friends, and I was lamenting the fact that Wagner was going right back out there. He assured me that he'd be lights out today, for Wagner would be too pissed off about last night to blow this one. I sat down at my desk, and saw a 1-2 count turn into a leadoff walk. I got up, walked out and put my radio on. I stood in the hallway as a runner on 1st base became runners on 1st and 2nd. Wagner got a 2 strike count, then gave up a double. It was now 4-3 Mets. I still thought he'd get out of it, even though I was cursing him. When I heard Howie Rose exclaim that a ball had been hit to Reyes with one out, I was praying that the relay would be in time. It wasn't. I sank - and then it got worse.

This sucks, I figured, what the hell is wrong with Wagner? He just blew Santana's best start as a Met. He just took all the energy out of Shea, again. He just deflated all of his teammates for the 2nd time in 20 hours. Screw that, though, because Reyes just reached to open the 9th. We'll win this one like last night. With Reyes on 2nd and 1 out, another one of my die hard Mets fan friends called me. He was walking to his car and didn't want to miss a second, so I gave him the play by play. When I heard the crack of the ball off of Wright's bat, I thought the game was over. The fans were screaming like it was, but it wasn't. When I heard the crack of the ball off of Easley's bat, I thought the game was over, but it wasn't. Fast forward to the top of the 10th - a missed strike 3 call, a sac fly and the Mets were dead.

I felt the same way I did last year when Wagner blew the 4th game in Philly around Labor Day. I could barely stand, let alone walk. An hour earlier, I was convinced that the game was over. I couldn't wait to get home to watch the replay. To watch Johan being absolutely filthy. I was ready to hang out and soak it all up. The Mets were gaining some steam, the Phillies were going to lose again. We were going to be 4 back in the loss column. And then Wagner happened. And then Augie Ojeda robbed David Wright of the game winner. And now I'm stunned, and disgusted, and furious. And there's nothing I can do about it but wait for tomorrow's game. This fandom is like the plague, and I can't do anything to shake it.

Monday, June 9, 2008

How Fickle Are We?

Four days ago, the Mets were on a roll. They had won 7 out of 9 games - some in thrilling come from behind fashion - and they were 2 losses back of the Phillies. The Mets were sizzling, they had heart. The Mets were back! Then the sky fell. Schoeneweis had a bad inning Thursday night, threw a bad pitch, and the Mets lost by a run. On Friday, David Wright hit a rocket that would've been out of any other ballpark in baseball, a miraculous catch was made and the Mets lost by a run. Oliver Perez pitched well on Saturday, but Feliciano didn't and the Mets lost by a run. Billy Wagner struck Tony Clark out on Sunday with an unhittable fastball on the inside black, and the Mets w- oops, Laz Diaz forgot to call that pitch a strike, the next pitch landed 20 feet over the wall beyond Beltran's outstretched glove and the Mets lost again. Did I mention that the Phillies happened to win 4 in a row?

Now, everything the Mets did right during the previous 9 games has been forgotten. They had heart then, but are now bums who don't give a shit. I won't sit here and try to deny that this team is underachieving. I won't sit here and say that I'm not shaken by what's going on. But this is far from a season ending catastrophe. The Mets are 6 games back in the loss column with 100 games to play. It sure seems like there's lots of season left. There are reasons for hope and reasons for despair. There are reasons to smile and reasons to want to slam your head through a wall.

The problem here, is that this team and season are being viewed like 162 mini championship games. These games aren't all life altering, they're not all Division deciders. However, due to how the Mets finished last year and the expectations after landing Santana, every loss is a disaster - no matter what has transpired around the team the day or week before. No one wants to mention that the Mets played the entire weekend without 2 of their best hitters (Ryan Church and Moises Alou). No one wants to bring up the fact that with a couple of breaks either way, the Mets could've won 2 or all of these games against San Diego. All they want to talk about is that the team has no heart, the season is over. They want to know the best way to smuggle dynamite into Shea so we can destory the Stadium early - since the team obviously has no shot to come back from 6 games in the loss column with 100 games to play. Just like the Phillies had no shot to come back from being 7 games down in the loss column with 17 to play. There's no shot.

Mets fans have been changing their minds more often lately than a high school girl who's pondering whether or not she should give up her virginity. And they've been crying and moaning like little spoiled Yankee fans, who sit at stadiums in pink hats and pink shirts in seats that are paid for by a corporation, or by daddy. They've been making delcarations and then taking them back ever since December:


In December, the Mets fans said that our farm system was barren, we couldn't possibly land Johan. In January, we were going to blow the extension and lose him. In February, we were going to the World Series. Johan was the savior. In April, Johan gave up too many homers. In early May, he gave up 2 runs to the Braves and was labeled a choker. In late May, he dominated the Dodgers for his 7th win and was dazzling. He was about to start dismantling the NL singlehandedly. He gave up 1 earned run this weekend, and he's a chocker again. Right?


He's a bum, let's boo him on Opening Day. It's mid-April and he's turning it around, but let's not anoint him yet. By early May, the cheers had returned. In early June he had a few bad outings. He's a bum again. Huge bum. Waste of life.


In April, he's simply over-rated. What a joke, he's the 4th best SS in OUR DIVISION FOR CRYING OUT LOUD! In early June - Wow, have you seen Reyes lately? He's on pace for career highs in homers and RBI's, and his average is close to .300. How can we let Hanley get voted to the All Star Game over Jose? Let's do something!!

.......What's the point here?

Mets fans need to stop all the knee-jerking. In the case of a few, let them keep having the knee-jerk reactions. Hopefully, they'll kick themselves in the face and shut up. Maybe this team just needs to get Church and Alou back before they turn it on. Maybe a team with a front four of Johan, Pedro, Maine and Perez is too good to keep losing so often. Maybe Pedro will get hurt and Perez will continue to change arm angles and alternate between great and awful. Maybe the ground will melt and Shea Stadium will sink into the abyss before tomorrow night's game against the Diamondbacks.

The Mets have shown the ability to come from behind late, look like worldbeaters.
The Mets have shown the ability to play like absolute trash.

I refuse to believe this is a .500 team - there's simply too much talent here. Maybe I'll be proven wrong, and maybe I won't. But the fans need to relax. Put the pitchfork down, open a beer and watch the season evolve. We know the Mets are capable of anything, so why write them off so early?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Actually Looking Like a Real Team

...By guest blogger Jeff D...

I attended last night's game with the hope that Santana would step up and dominate a game for us when we were down. What surprised me was not Santana's performance, but the performance of the rest of the team. As soon as the line up was announced I started to feel a little better. Willie Randolph actually MANAGED. He inserted a righty loaded line up against a young, left handed, power pitcher. Normally, we wouldn't expect this from our manager. But not only was it insightful, it also paid off. All five runs batted in came from right-handed bench players. Easley had a nice piece of situational hitting to drive in the first run with a sacrifice fly. Fernando Tatis and Ramon Castro both had 2 runs batted in.

I must also give credit where it is due and commend Luis Castillo for a nice stop up the middle (nabbing the lead runner in what could have turned into a big inning for the Marlins). Although he still looks like a mess at the plate, it was a great stop and a huge out. Reyes started the Mets off early with a double to lead off the game, which extended his 12 game hitting streak and his streak of 27 straight games on base. Beltran made a terrific catch on a ball that may have changed the whole complexion of the game if it had dropped, but he still seems to be pressing at the plate - even in favorable counts.

All in all, the team played well. Aside from Reyes' gaffe and Johan's brief bout with wildness, it was a crisp performance. Johan pitched well even though he was behind in the count most of the time, coming up with a big strike out of Uggla to end the
seventh, after two wild pitches and an error by Reyes. He also
contributed offensively with a double, his 4th of the year - wow.
When we turned it over to the pen, it was like a flashback to
2006. Sanchez came in and did a great job, getting the last out on a K with a filthy change in his scoreless eighth. In the 9th, Wagner came in and was lights out -striking out two.

This was the definition of a team win. The bench players contributed with timely hits, and players who still aren't performing at the plate didn't bring those struggles out with them on defense. Aside from Beltran's nice catch and Castillo's diving stop, nothing was spectacular. It was a well played game from start to finish by a team that is more than capable of putting that exact same product on the field every night. One would hope that the team realizes this too. It's time for them to start hitting their stride and it's time to put together a nice streak. If the Mets can do that, the bitter taste from these early season struggles will be gone in a flash.


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

What Being A Fan Means

I turned last night's game off in the 7th inning, and every 5 minutes I felt like a crackhead fighting the urge to flip it back on. I didn't flip it back on until the Bottom of the 9th. I watched Endy Chavez ground out and turned it right back off. It's true that this season is going terribly wrong. It's true that most of the venom being displayed by the fans isn't misguided. And it's true that last night I looked around my house and felt like getting up and smashing each piece of Mets memorabilia I own. Their play is making me sick, the manager looks like he's sick, but I'm a fan. A die-hard fan. And so are the rest of you.

When the Mets lost last night, I had no intention of going to the game tonight. But when I woke up, it was a new day. Santana is on the mound. It's 10 bucks to sit in the bleachers, and pretty cheap to sit in the upper deck. I want to go, I really do. I'm sure there are lots of other fans who are feeling dejected, fans who have no desire to go. We can't become like them. We need to go tonight. We need to attempt to infuse some positive energy into a ship that looks like it's sinking. It's a nice May day, which will turn into a nice night for a game.

Watching this season has felt like a second job, felt less fun than any season I've watched - ever. Let's get back to enjoying baseball. Let's go tonight, grab a dog and a beer and cheer on our team. Let's sit directly behind Nick Evans and encourage the kid. Let's stand and cheer instead of sitting on our hands or booing. Let's go out to the ballgame tonight.

Monday, May 26, 2008

InGame Thought: Why Willie, Why?

The Mets are slowly driving me insane. Every loss ruins my mood, and then my day or night. They're making me fight with my girlfriend. They're making me physically ill. Tonight, they're currently losing 6-3, and it's of the vomit inducing variety. They're making errors, failing to hit with runners in scoring position, not breaking in on balls hit by the Marlins. Nick Evans hits a ball 409 feet, and it gets caught. Brian Schneider KNOCKS MIKE JACOBS OVER with a grounder, and he records an out. The Marlins scored their first 2 runs on broken bat doubles, and their next 3 on a blooper that should've been caught. The combination really is vomit inducing.

With all that said, the person who epitomizes this nonsense is Luis Castillo. How many days, weeks or months will it take for Willie Randolph to realize that he is not the number 2 hitter? He wasn't the number 2 hitter at the beginning of the year. Randolph replaced him with Church, the Mets won 5 games in a row, and Randolph then went ahead and put him right back there (and watched the Mets go on a losing streak). I understand that Church and Alou are out right now, but Castillo should still not be anywhere near the 2 hole. Put Endy Chavez there. Put Nick Evans there. Put anyone there. Just not Luis Castillo.

All the man does is KILL RALLIES. He kills them early in the game, and he kills them late in the game. He kills them by popping out, striking out and by grounding into so many double plays that my head is starting to spin.

The Mets had a rally going on Saturday night in Colorado, and Castillo promptly hit into a double play.

The Mets had something going yesterday in Colorado, and Castillo slapped the ball right at the pitcher - who started the double play.

The Mets had a chance 10 minutes ago, with runners on 1st and 2nd, and Castillo slapped into ANOTHER double play.

A couple of games before that, the Mets had a chance with the bases loaded, and Castillo couldn't even put the ball in play and bring a run home.

So I ask again, why the hell is he still hitting 2nd?

He can't hit the ball into the outfield.

He can't get runners in from 3rd with less than 2 outs.

He hits into double plays more often than anyone on the roster.

He's lost his speed.

Why, Willie, Why?

His presence is crippling this team every single day. How long will it take for a change to be made? At this rate, fans will be projectile vomiting onto the field before, during and after each one of his atrocious slap-happy at bats.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Observations from a Debacle

I haven't posted in a while due to a host of idiotic reasons, so I thought the best way to get back into the swing of things would be to do this:

Below are thoughts that went through my head (and that I subsequently jotted down), while watching the Mets against the Braves tonight. Instead of having the sound on the TV - and subjecting myself to Tomahawk Chop chants after infield hits with 2 outs in the 2nd inning - I instead listened to 3 beatles albums as I took the game in. I started with Please Please Me, then went to Beatles For Sale, and closed with Revolver. By the time I was done (and the Mets were done), I felt like eating a bag of mushrooms and running around the neighborhood. But I digress...

Top of the 1st-

-I realize that even 1st pitch strikes to Reyes in the top of the 1st inning perturb me.

Top of the 2nd-

- Luis Castillo batting 8th means having two 9 spots with horrendous hitting pitchers back to back (cue ass out strike out by Castillo with runners on 2nd and 3rd). Awesome timing. Castillo is starting to remind me of Al Leiter, but with less power.

Bottom of the 2nd-

-Carlos Delgado is like Roger Dorn, without the golfing skills and hot wife. "What do you want me to do, dive for it?" Mind you, I thought about this when a grounder wasn't even hit near him. Just the sight of him is enough to conjure up these thoughts.

-I've never seen Mike Pelfrey get this many swings and misses - ever. His fastball is consistently in the mid 90's with great location.

-Gregor Blanco (who just K'd looking), should stop arguing and instead go ask his parents where the last letter of his name went.

-Luis Castillo has no bat, diminishing range, and is now lolipopping his throws to 1st base. Not cool....

Top of the 3rd-

-Leadoff single for Jose (is uppercut Reyes gone)?

-Before I could even come up with something to say after the Mets took a 1-0 lead, Beltran grounded into a 4-6-3 DP.

Bottom of the 3rd-

-Pelfrey is being an animal (as he K's Infante for the 1st out).

-And just as Pelfrey is dropping heat on the Braves, there goes Moises Alou to drop heat in the clubhouse. Lovely.

-At this point with all the various ailments, freak concussions, diarrhea in the middle of games, sick parents....I wouldn't be surprised if Jose Reyes dropped his glove, unzipped his skin and Gene Shalit popped out.

-Thanks for the double clutch Luis. Way to earn that money! Luis Castillo, wow.

-Right after Luis Castillo fails to end the inning, there goes a rocket over Endy's head. It is now Luis Castillo/Braves 2, Mets 1.

-The curse of the in-game diarrhea...Marlon Anderson with the awful misplay, Luis Castillo/Braves 3, Mets 1. Just what in the hell was Marlon Anderson doing?

Top of the 4th-

I've made it through Please Please Me and Beatles For Sale, and am immersed in Revolver. For the record, "Love You To" by George Harrison started before the Mets came to bat in the Top of the 4th, and ended after they had already made 3 outs. The song is 2 minutes and 52 seconds long.

Now going with the "Love You To" theme, a musical interlude.....

................"Each Mets at bat goes so fast, I turn around it's passed"...................

Bottom of the 4th-

-There goes a blooper right over Luis Castillo's head for a single. No attempt to dive or stretch. If it was legal, I'd kidnap him and chain him to a parking meter.

Top of the 5th-

-I can't hear the Giuseppe Franco commercial, and it's breaking my heart.

-Mark Tex slides and backhands Pelfrey's sharp grounder and records the out. It's nice watching a 1st baseman that tries.

-Reyes has been on base all 3 times, and the Mets have 1 run. Bad combo.

Bottom of the 5th-

-4 to 1 Braves as Chipper takes Pelfrey out to dead center to open the inning. I'm starting to lose my mind.

-Here's a grounder down the RF line, and an error by Endy Chavez. I am without speech.

....And with that, the in-game blogging is over. If the Mets come back to win, we can all read this and laugh about how bleak the situation was. Does anyone really expect that to happen?

Monday, May 12, 2008

InGame Thought - Why Burn Duaner?

The Nats are up 10 to 3. They took advantage of errors, walks and hit batsmen early on and took advantage of Jorge Sosa's ineptitude in the top of the 6th. Jorge Sosa is the long man, the mop up man, a horrendous excuse for a pitcher - all of those aptly describe him. At this point the game is pretty much done. The smart move would've been to double switch Sosa into the game (removing Alou for Chavez) in order for Sosa to mop this game up. We know Willie Randolph isn't smart, though, but after he failed to double switch he still had one other way to keep Sosa in and rest the other guys in the pen.

After Sosa was torched, he simply could've let him hit with one out in the bottom of the 6th and the Mets down by 7 runs. Instead, he elected to pull him for a pinch hitter and proceeded to put Duaner Sanchez into a game that is out of reach. Why? The move is puzzling, especially with the recent doubleheader and the doubleheader the Mets have coming up next Monday in Atlanta. Why does Willie Randolph refuse to double switch, and why does he burn his better relievers in games that aren't close? How many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie roll pop? We may never know....

Digging Through Selective Journalism (Santana Edition)

I came home yesterday from playing ball, sat down with my sandwich from the deli and opened the Sunday Daily News. There was all the usual nonsense, magazines and of course shooting from the Lip by Mike Lupica. Then I happened upon an article.......... by John Harper and stopped to read it. It began:

On a day when he didn't have much brilliance, Johan Santana showed just enough toughness to get by, thanks largely to signs of life from Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado. And since toughness is what the Mets seem to need most these days, maybe that's more important than throwing a gem.
Then again, in the long run this team is going to need more than six innings a start out of its ace to even think about going to a World Series. And so, much like the enigmatic Mets themselves, it's hard to know just what to make of Santana in his new digs so far.
Is he the $139 million savior, as touted, for a team in search of a killer instinct, or something less?

After reading the opening, I paused. The first paragraph didn't bother me nearly as much as the second (we all know that negativity and being critical sells more than anything else). But the second paragraph basically lumps Santana's season so far in with the Mets' - and the Mets' season has been slightly better than Mediocre. Santana has been almost in line with his career averages, and considering that Santana is a notoriously slow starter (with a career April ERA above 4.00), is now really the time for this type of article?

The article continues:

So far Santana has been good, not great. He's 4-2 and the Mets have blown a couple of potential wins for him, but in his last three starts he has gone six, six, and 5-2/3 innings, respectively, largely because of high pitch counts.

The part that gets me is the "last 3 starts" angle. Has it gotten to the point where we question the productivity of arguably the best pitcher in baseball who happens to be in a new league, playing for a team in the largest city in the world, in front of fans who booed him in his first start at home, on such a miniscule sample size? Seems to me that we have. Harper of course failed to note that over his first 5 starts, Santana went 7 innings four times and 6.2 innings once. He failed to note what I already alluded to - the fact that Santana is a notoriously slow starter. But why let perspective and facts get in the way of a story?

Towards the conclusion of his article, Harper alluded to Santana's velocity, even using the famous unnamed scout to back up his claims:

That changeup is what has made Santana one of the best pitchers in baseball, and it seems he needs it more than ever now that his fastball is usually in the 90-92 mph range, as opposed to 93-95 a couple of years ago.
"He hit 93 once today," said a National League scout at Shea, "but I had him around 90-91 on average, which is down a little from its peak. He still has a good fastball, and he's always needed his changeup to be one to dominate. He just has a little less margin for error now."

Let's look at the end of that 2nd line where it says "now that his fastball is usually in the 90-92 mph range." Harper bounces off of that line into the one by the scout to give off the impression that from now until his career ends, Santana's fastball will sit around 90-91, which is both inaccurate and reckless. If Santana had lost the ability to consistently throw 93-95, one would think that a couple of other news outlets might've picked up on that.

Either way, we've reached the point where it's safe to question and criticize a pitcher who's on pace to go 17-9 with 222 K's, a BAA of .226 and a 1.11 WHIP, and claim that after 1 so-so start in early May that he's lost the life on his fastball.

I can't wait to see the articles that pop up after Billy Wagner allows his first earned run of the year.....

Friday, May 9, 2008

Mets Fans

As we wait around to see when/if this game will be played tonight, and continuing with the theme of die-hard fan pride, here's something I wrote to pass the time......

Being a Mets fan in New York means you’re in the minority whether you’re white or black, male or female.
Being a Mets fan will cause heartache.
Being a Mets fan is a test of ones will.
To be a Mets fan is to have eternal hope, whatever the circumstances.
Being a Mets fan will drain you mentally, physically, and emotionally.
If a purple stadium is your thing, the Mets are the team for you.
If you don’t mind broken seats with bird shit on them, you bleed ORANGE and BLUE and love Shea too.
Being a Mets fan is an act of defiance.
Mets fans are the ones that know New York is a National League Town that’s currently tripping on Acid.
If your Grandfather was a Brooklyn Dodgers fan who converted to the Mets after they left, you’re a Mets fan.
Mets fans believe in miracles but know how to cope with disasters.
If you’re a Mets fan, the Tomahawk Chop makes you feel like throwing up.
If you’re a Mets fan, you can do without the Irish tenor Ronan Tynan singing during the 7th inning stretch.
Mets fans would much rather hear Take Me Out To The Ballgame.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

The Worst 17-15 Start in History

Jose Reyes is being compared to Rey Ordonez. Aaron Heilman is getting the Guillermo Mota treatment. Johan Santana was booed off the field by a small chorus of imbeciles after his first Shea Stadium start. If you were a Mets fan who missed the first 32 games of the season, came home today and put on WFAN (and heard the critiquing of the team) you would've probably assumed that the Mets were something like 12-20. You would think that the team is suffering from afflictions that cannot be cured. You'd be wrong.

Let's examine two main points that have been regurgitated during this fan/media freak out and take a few things into consideration:

1. The Mets' offense is putrid: It's true that the Mets are near the bottom of the NL in most of the major offensive categories, but it's also true that they have played the least amount of games -32- in the Majors (every other team has played between 33 and 36). We also need to take into account the fact that aside from the opening 6 game road trip and the recent 6 game swing through Arizona and L.A., the Mets have played all of their games in cold weather cities (including at home in one of the worst pitchers ballparks in baseball). Let's also realize that the Mets have caught nearly every teams' top 2 pitchers so far this season. The Mets were without Moises Alou until recently, Carlos Beltran has done virtually nothing so far, and Jose Reyes has been maddeningly inconsistent. Still, the team is somehow 17-15. If you think that Beltran is a .220 hitter, that Jose Reyes has peaked at 24, and that David Wright will hit .265 this year, maybe you're right to be worried about the offense. Something tells me, though, that those guys will hit.

2. The fans have turned on the team: I've been to 5 games so far this year, and I will admit that I've never seen this much vitriol this early in the season. What's important to note, though, is that most of said vitriol has been coming out of the mouths of casual fans. If you want to take the pulse of the fanbase, go to sites like or or read what Cerrone and his cronies have to say over at Metsblog. You can't usually take an accurate pulse of this team's fanbase by observing the behavior of casual fans at Shea Stadium. If you see a guy booing at Shea that looks like he belongs in Yankee Stadium corporate seats (hint: he'll be wearing a belt bag circa 1989, sitting with his wife whose skin looks like it's sliding off of her skeleton, and he'll be the guy that remains in his seat instead of standing to cheer when the Mets are scoring) pay him no mind. Since the 2006 season began, I've seen an influx of these types at Shea. They're at the game to pass judgment and have knee-jerk reactions. They boo, turn to who they're with, and then laugh at the scene they're causing. These people aren't die-hards, and they're not speaking for all of us. If you want to see the team's die-hards and get a gist of how they feel, head out to Shea on a Tuesday night against the Nats (where there's a 2 hour rain delay) and observe the fans that are left after that delay. Those are the die-hards. And die-hards don't boo Ace's who are making their first start at Shea, they don't boo relievers before they've thrown a pitch (unless it's Mota or Armando Benitez) and they don't boo Carlos Beltran for grounding out to 2nd base. Idiots do. If you're one of those idiots, stay home.

Let's all take a deep breath. Willie Randolph's lack of knowledge is beyond repair, but the Mets of 2008 can win in spite of him. Give them a chance to heat up with the weather.


Ramon Castro is coming back and he's bringing his mascot sized head with him.