Thursday, January 31, 2008
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
The Mets got one hell of a hitter to plug into the 9 hole, huh? It's been quite a while since I thought this picture was appropriate. But here it is:
Huddled around our monitors for the whole winter, we now can now joyously commence recycling the Santana saga breathlessly. Of course as Jaap warns, this is the Mets we're talking about, so anything's possible and until it's official we shouldn't get too exuberant.
Of course to blow the deal at this stage would be something like, oh, I dunno, blowing a huge fucking lead over the Phillies in a late-season tailspin, an historic collapse, the likes of which has been rarely duplicated in the history of baseball.
Even taking that into account, it is hard to come up with much to write that isn't just "holy funking whoopdie wow!" in so many words. As Mets fans walk, Yo-han in hand, towards the promised land, the rest of the world dissects this trade and the outlook is not good for the Twins. Personally, I have seen how hard it is to get even value for a superstar, let alone one who has contractual leverage. And I think Gomez is going to be one hell of a player, though I admit he is looking a little Escobar-y in the morning light. If the Twins, no slouches in the player development game, allow him to develop properly, I think they have a talented youngster on their hands who brings real electricity to the ball park. Really, he's got charisma. Also, the Twins have never done me any wrong. I'm at peace with the whole thing.
Back to lolling my eyes over JS's stats. Sweet lord.
"Mmm. Tastes like I'm getting more AAA seasoning!"
Today, our glass is definitely half-full rather than the usual half-empty. You will almost never see pitchers of this stature hit the open market. And trading for them, well. Omar reportedly came close to landing Oswalt a few years back. Almost. The rotation is now chock full of awesomeness, perhaps taking the pressure off of the Pelf of the future. We got some light's out youngsters anchoring the offense, and some future stars in the middle of the rotation where they belong, sometimes aided by a few WHA's (When Healthy Awesomes). We got an interesting story to watch in right. We got a dirty Sanchez seemingly almost ready to be honored again. We got us some Marlon and Endy off the bench when miracles are in order. I am farting sunshine.
As the media searches for a storyline, Metsfans' feelings will take a bit more of a beating. The Klap, for instance, wants to make this another sloppy seconds thing. Perhaps the Beltran saga fit, but the narrative that "the Mets have the Spanks to thank" rings false as hell. It's like another movie featuring an screenwriter with writer's block. I wouldn't say this trade was inevitable, not in a world where the Angels, they who put the Los Angeles in Anaheim, exist to swoop in on unsuspecting GMs and snatch their prey. No.
But the structure of the trade market just happened to work in the Mets' favor. No one in their right mind could actually afford to pony up the cash for an extension, leaving the Mets, Sawx, and Spanks. The Sawx didn't "need" YoHands. Arguably, the baseball gods could not allow Boston to obtain Santana. And the Yankers, who honestly could've used him, have run up against fiscal reality. Ca$hman wants to put his chips on cheap young pitchers and who can blame him, his team loaded as it is with expensive, aging, 'roided out superstars and other future Congressional testifiers?
Sure, our boys still have to play the games and all. And grow a heart. But chances look better than ever that the rats at Shea will enjoy one last World Series before they have to pack up their cheese and move to Citifield.
Now, if the Mets could just pry Scott K*zmir away from the Rays.
No matter where you are, things are slower in Palm Beach:
Poll: The New York Mets have reached an agreement to acquire Johan Santana from Minnesota, but the Mets must agree to a contract extension by 5 p.m. Friday. Will they get it done in time?
Or just dumber.
C.C. Sabathia thinks Johan is the best leftie in the league: "I think I'm not far behind, but I don't think you'll ever get me to say that I'm the best lefty in baseball," Sabathia said.
Ouch, John Donovan, Ouch!
Johan Santana's impending trade to the Mets will be, when and if it's consummated later this week with a contract extension, the rarest of baseball swaps, one that completely and immediately transforms a team and the balance of power in the league. Let's face it: The Mets, without Santana, are just another NL East schlub. They are a bunch of chuckers without an ace, a collection of hitters who cease to hit at the most inopportune times, all marched around by a sometimes stone-mugged manager who presided last year over one of the most embarrassing nosedives in baseball history.
Ouch, Bud Selig, Ouchier!
Umpires are livid that Major League Baseball has sent investigators to their hometowns, asking neighbors a series of questions that include whether the ump belongs to the Ku Klux Klan.
Representatives of the Atlanta organization didn't see what the big fuss was about.
Oh Now it's on.
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
The Mets got their man, and kept F-mart. The plan went down just the way I drew it up in dreamland last night.
Allow me to set the scene, so that we can remember this moment for ever.
The backdrop: a historical collapse followed by mindbogglingly bad trade. A fan base riled up as never before by a never ending stream of bloggery.
The competition: only two of professional sports' most wealthy and successful franchises who have shown year after year that they would compromise good judgment if it meant undermining the other.
The atmosphere: Metsfan-land turned into Johan-isburg. Breath after baited breath. Day after endless day. Month after cold month.
The Mets rotation, by turns old and unproven, turned from question to exclamation mark.
The Mets, subject to confirmation, give up "only" Carlos Gomez and pitchers Phil Humber, Deolis Guerra and Kevin Mulvey. Mets can still shop the F-Mart special.
Omar, in danger of being remembered only as the Milledge Idiot, shows he has more tricks in his bag than just showing up at your house for Thanksgiving with a bag of cash.
Now, most of NY and Mets nation, not to mention all the GMs waiting for this to go down, have to get back to work.
Let's get that 24+1 contract extension done!!
Labels: dreams and rainbows and puppies
Sunday, January 13, 2008
Helping your Metsfans friends through the Winter
Do you have a pal who is a Metsfan? Do they seem a bit distracted at work lately? Snap at you for no reason? Or maybe you found them one day, weeping quietly in a puddle of what can only be their own urine? I want to help you understand your buddy so you can really get to know them, or at least get them to clean up after themselves.
Winter is a rough time for a Metsfan. Not as rough as the actual season, but punishing just the same. You see, we got big dreams. This offseason, I think it is fair to say that, whether it is a creation of the media or our imaginations or both, we Metsfans now have the distinct feeling of Johan Santana or Bust. The papers tell us our team might have the inside track to acquiring the league's best pitcher. We want to believe our GM Omar Minaya is in the champagne room, and now it is just a question of how good a lap dance he will get, and how much he'll tip for the privilege.
If your friend can get entirely past their principled disgust at "giving up the farm," or emotional discomfort at kissing goodbye all the potential of a farm stud that they may (Carlos Gomez) or may not have (F-Mart) actually seen, and soberly assess the lay of the land, then they are a better fan than I. But if I was to have the ability, then my question would be, what are we risking here when we speak of the Great Santana?First, selling the farm can be predicted to handicap the team when it comes to making deals to fill important slots in the near future. Just where are those slots and are they the type of slots most likely to be filled with a midseason desperation trade (not the Mets or Omar's historical specialty by the way)? Fortunately (Wright, Reyes, Belty, mmm Castillo) or unfortunately (Schneinder) the following positions are filled for the foreseeable future: 3rd, ss, 2nd, CF, and catcher. I stick Church, Alou and Delgado in the"unproven (to be around much longer)" category and thus the corner spots and first base are in relative flux. If memory serves, unless age/injury finally catches up with all of them at the same time, the Mets have under contract a servicable bench, which you don't normally trade top prospects for anyhow. With a Santana and without the upper level of minor league starting pitching prospects, I think we'd be fine in the rotation department as long as Omar doesn't mind overpaying for Ollie soon. And relief, though GMs do sometimes wheel top prospects for bullpen guys, is both a problem solvable by tossing cash at it, and a total crap shoot. It says here that the Mets won't really need need top prospects in the near future. Their stars are young, their role players are ancient, and that doesn't look likely to change anytime soon. Omar can deal with any coming crisis on the minors while the Mets and Santana pile up the playoff victories.
Second, some knowledgable readers point out that the Mets are cursed and Mr. Santana could slip off the Shea mound on opening day and be lost for the season. If your friend has been a Metsfan for any length of time, they no doubt are shadowed by a vaguely cursed feeling. The shadow of risk will put any vaguely cursed person a bit on edge, so please excuse your friend at least a couple of unprovoked outbursts that seem wildly out sync with reality. Is acquiring Santana really risky? Well, I think Ballcrank sums it up nicely:
Santana's a high-risk proposition because he is a pitcher, but he's probably the least risky bet of any pitcher in the game.
This risk seems worth taking and what's more, we feel like we deserve it. Mets fans, already enjoying the privilages and dellusions of following a big market team, are increasingly egged on by the 24 hr blog cycle to covet the very best the MLB market has to offer. And the fact that the Mets have evolved from a bumbling-major-league-punchline-heartbreaker into a bumbling-perrenial-contender-heartstomper doesn't ease the pain of two consecutive years of unholy exits from the race to be world champs. Money is money, and with the (at least) 20% ticket price gouging already announced for next year, Metsfans can be forgiven for feeling like they already paid for this.The teams that win the World Series aren't always the ones that land the off-season's biggest fish. But sometimest they are. In closing, here's a few simple facts to help the uninitiated understand what their Metsfans pals are going through right now. We are zealots: unsatisfied by a dearth of postseason sucesses, and primed by capital-of-the-world media overload we are a blog crazy sports community whipping each other into more and more ridiculous levels of frenzy. The Mets haven't had the kind of real #1, dominant, heart-racing, spine-chilling hurler in their prime that makes any rotation look like a winner since we all pretended that grunting traitor Al L**ter was such a guy. Give us some candy.
Labels: athletic supporter
Saturday, January 12, 2008
Obsessing about Santana, Abscessing about Roger
According to some leaking lawyer, McNamee had told investigators that Clemens developed an abscess on his buttocks around the time that McNamee said he was giving him steroid injections during the 1998 season. Now that his actual posterior is in for some analysis, I almost feel sorry for the guy...
I feel blessed however, that I don't know what an ass abscess is. Methinks journalists are getting a little punchy from the story. From the NY Times (bold added):
Whatever McNamee did or did not tell Mitchell about an abscess, it is now likely to become part of the back and forth between the sides.
Meanwhile, the NY tabloid writers and our own Matthew Cerrone are whipping up the Mets masses on a daily basis. The Mets seem to have a good shot. All I know is one cold morning we are going to wake up to some earth-shattering news:
1) Mets will not get Santana, and the Yanks, NL East team, or Sawx will get him
2) Mets will not get Santana, because the Twins hold on to him, resigning him to longterm deal
3) Mets will not get Santana, and some surprise, but harmless non-competitor will get him
4) Mets will get Santana but at the price of the entire upper level of their farm system
5) Mets will not get Santana, because the Twins hold on to him for a year (Mets will get crack at free agency, but 2008 hopes are diminished)
6) Mets will get Santana at a reasonable price (i.e. no Gomez or Martinez). Love and Happiness will reign.
I have tried to rank the possibilities pretty much according to ascending levels of awesomeness. Perhaps 4 and 5 could be reversed according to taste. We all hope to hold on to F Mart. And even though Gomez has yet to prove he can hit at the major league level, you have to love the flashes of brilliance, energy and potential he showed us last year.
Monday, January 07, 2008
Metastrophe 2007: Low Blows
Item: Roger Clemens enmeshed in Roidgerpolooza:
"If I have these needles and these steroids and all these drugs, where did I get 'em?" he said. "Where is the person out there [who] gave 'em to me? Please, please come forward."
I think I know who got him his supply.
1.Add more fun to your life - do things you enjoy and enjoy what you do. A little vitamin B-12 injected in the right place can help ease the soreness when you have a little too much fun.
2.Get enough sleep and rest - your body must recharge and discharge tension. Demand that your contract include half a season of rest, which is also convenient for urine testing issues.
3. Express your feelings - - unexpressed emotions are the seeds of stress, pain and illness. Be sure to express them to a hopelessly comprimised softball tele-journalist living off the fumes of his productive years. Also, for pain lidocaine does the trick.4.Laugh often - laughter is a great tension breaker and it enhances the immune system.
5.Exercise - regular exercise is a great way to relieve tension, increase energy and improve your mood; find an activity you like and do it often. Or juice up to the extent you have a third ear coming out of your forehead. Then you can be pulling tractors with your teeth.
6.Love more - learn to use things and to love people, instead of the other way around. Roger really has to work at this one...his son Koby still resents having his head thrown at during a minor league tune up.
7.Eliminate self-pity - you may get sympathy for a while, but soon you will get avoided. Even ESPN will stop kissing your needle pocked ass.
8.Develop meaningful relationships - it is important to have good friends in whom you can confide and find support; it is also important to be a true friend. Careful though, buddies like Andy Pettite and Brian McNamee can be more trouble than they're worth.
9.Alter behaviors and attitudes - when ideas or views are not serving you well - change them - learn to respond to situations, not react; compromise. And always file your law suits pre-emptively.
10. Learn relaxation techniques - meditation, yoga, tai-chi... experience inner peace. Inner peace handy for thwarting lie detector tests as well.
When this is all over, Clemens would be lucky to get a new contract offer, even from his family.
But this, folks, is not even my low blow of the day...
Low blow of the day
Could Major League Baseball stand to benefit from a little Drunk History?
Sunday, January 06, 2008
Metastrophe 2007: Met's Two-Timers, Clemens Rump Roast
Here's a little letter in today's New York Times; don't know if this has gotten the attention it should have, but it is sure to enhance your 60 Minutes viewing experience.
Second Opinion on Clemens
To the Sports Editor:
Re “Clemens Says Trainer Gave Him Injections,” Jan. 4: Roger Clemens’s claim that he received injections of vitamin B12 and lidocaine should probably be viewed as damaging to his credibility. Lidocaine is a local anesthetic and not a systemic pain reliever, like acetaminophen, with bodywide effects. If given as an injection in someone’s rear end, for example, the likelihood of it having any effect on knee pain, as he contends, is practically zero.
Andrew M. Luks, M.D.
So hmm, let's see. Clemens, for some reason, needed a local anesthetic shot in his butt to ease its soreness. Dare we ask how this involves Andy Pettite's (pocket) rocket?
Angel's in the outfield!
How should we rank the return of Angel Pagan, the minor-leaguey 1999 Mets draft pick who will return to the Mets system in 2008, in the list of all time Mets comebacks? Here's the list of two-timing Mets I can remember off the top of my head. I'm sure some of you can remember some others. I leave Omar off the list for reasons of etiquette. Pagan doesn't slot in at all, actually, but it's a fun exercise for a rainy Sunday.
1) Bobby Bonillia
Perhaps the most stunning re-acquisition in recent memory, Booby Boo-nillia rewarded the Mets when they reacquired him in 1999 after an absolutely disastrous tour of duty in '91 with general suckiness, a feud with Bobby V and a lasting legacy of NLCS card-playing and an eternal contract obligation.
2) Roger Cedeno
Worst baseball instincts I have ever seen. Took routes to fly balls reminiscent of Jeffy from Family Circus. Kinda surprising he could even find second base, but find it he did, at least in '99. So the Mets brought him back and even considered playing him in CF. Made Tom Glavine nearly break his eyebrows in an effort at eyerolling. Once called "a fat man's Juan Pierre."
3) Rickey Henderson--well, we're never sure what is going on inside Rickey's mind, but though admittedly the Mets resigned him as a coach HE may have been pretending to be a player. I scratched my head about Omar bringing in the ultimate "me" guy to have a day-to-day presence on the club (was I wrong?) but ultimately resigned myself to enjoy the comedic possibilities. Some fans celebrate Rickey's impact on Jose Reyes in 2007, and others think it was to blame for Jose's very decline. Rickey makes the list because he probably doesn't realize he's been with the Mets twice.
4) Dave Kingman--Known as a difficult asshat, Kingman's two tours of Met duty (1975-1977, 1981-1983) punctuated a career marked by sending dead rats to reporters and hitting tremendous homeruns. One Met teammate noted he had "the personality of a tree stump."
5.) Jeromy Burnitz-- A Met farm system product who made the big club in 1993-94, struggled mightily upon returning in 2002-03 when the only notable accomplishments were having a surname that rhymed with "Can't Hitz" and managing NOT to critically wound any old ladies with his umpteen bats thrown into the stands. Since he was a pretty nice guy and not a bad defender, I would say his day-in-day out futility at the plate was one of the hardest things I've had to endure in my years as a Mets fan.
6.) Marlon Anderson--or "Super" Marlon. Middlename "Ordell." Pinch-hitter extraordinaire. Brings joy to Mets fans in 2005 and 2007 and hopefully beyond. The only reason I still believe in "clutchiness." And I will always cherish his inside-the-parker on Saturday June 11, 2005 against the Angels.
Thursday, January 03, 2008
I Thought it Was Lidocaine!
As for sports:
...announcers were urged to drop "throw under the bus" when assigning blame to a player. "It is a call for the media to start issuing a thesaurus to everyone in front of a camera," a contributor said.
I personally don't see any need to retire "throw under the bus." It is a colorful metaphor that best captures the blame and betrayal of sports in certain situations. However there are other more noxious phrases.
We all know that there are now stats to adjust the measurement of a player's performance to control for the dimensions and characteristics of the park; smaller parks will make fly balls into homeruns, etc. That is the impetus, I would argue, behind the popularity of this phrase. There were days when this viral plague seemed to be in every other posting or chat. It drives me crazy. The Phillies, indeed, do play in a "bandbox," but if the implication was that their players were actually not performing as well as their statistics reported because they were "park-aided" well, I submit to you that they performed plenty well. Let's never speak of this again.
Anyone have some others?
Look who's talking
Carlos Delgado has started to talk to the media, but not about what I want to know.
NEW YORK - Mets first baseman Carlos Delgado said his fractured left hand has healed and he will begin swinging the bat next week.
"It's back to where it was before the injury,'' said Delgado this afternoon in a conference call from Puerto Rico. "I will be coming to spring training in good shape.''
Delgado sustained the injury when hit by a pitch in the season finale.
First of all, this injury had nothing to do with his performance last year. Second, I am less than enthused to hear that it is "back to where it was before the injury"--not good enough. Thirdly, I want to hear if he and his wife have hired a nanny for that baby that apparently knocked Carlos off his grove. And whatever happened to Carlos' pitcher diary?
I've said this 100 times: Delgado
According to the New York Times:
Roger Clemens said in an interview for '60 Minutes' that the accusation that he ever used banned substances is 'ridiculous.' Wallace asked, 'Swear?' Clemens said, 'Swear.'
Really? But why didn't Mike Wallace go that extra step of professional journalism and make Clemens double-dog swear? I mean, that's when I'd be really convinced. My initial reaction to Clemens' obvious strategy of winnowing it down to a he-said, he-said senario with plausible deniability is how easy it is to get caught doing something in the current media climate. Lindsay Lohan steps on a dance floor on New Years Eve with a bottle of booze and I know about it. But also how easy it is to lie and stonewall about doing something to a population conditioned by the Clinton and Bush years. We just kind of expect it.
This Just In: Santana Not Yet Dealt
Is that Rusty Staub?
The Mets' Baby New Year...Someone needs a diaper changing!
Other than entering Year Two of the Santana Sweepstakes, there is little going on. The Wilpons are taking money baths. Perhaps Omar is playing Jenga somewhere. And I suppose Derek Jeter is working on his taxes. The recent spate of columnists selecting the Mets as their off-season whipping boys only serves to underline both how exaggerated expectations are in New York and how Omar probably deserves the criticism.
ClearWind: N at 0 mph
Maybe it's too damn cold for the Twinkies to deal.