It's Mets For Me: Off-Beat, Tangentially Relevant Mets Ruminations

Off Base Since 2005! Mets commentary from the counter-intuitive to the unintuitive and all the intuitives in between. ** "Through the use of humor and gross inaccuracy...a certain truth can be gained." Rob Perri ** (pester me or follow me @itsmetsforme on twitter)

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Randolph Throws Hat in the Ring for Orange County Flyers

In a startling development, Willie Randolph, having received a reprieve from his bosses concerning his immanent firing, turned the tables on Mets management and fans by accepting a job in the independent Golden Baseball league.

Sources say Randolph will take over the manager position of the Orange County Flyers of the independent Golden Baseball League, a post formerly occupied by Gary Carter ex-Met catcher and Hall of Fame member. This is latest development in a month long controversy surrounding Randolph's job status which has spawned managerial meetings, media firestorms, and jokey novelty columns by paid sportswriters.

Sources are pointing to Randolph's openly defiant use of his bullpen to lose a close game to the LA Dodgers last night. Randolph's last official move as Met manager was seen by many as a poke in the eye for Sterling Enterprises, the ownership group of the Mets. Seemingly defying all common sense, Randolph brought known total disaster Aaron Heilman into a tight game. A tight game was precisely the type of game that Heilman had consistently failed in, prompting discussions that he'd be traded or sent to the minors. After Randolph's insertion, Heilman displayed the form that has prompted his career to go into the shitter. It was not until Randolph announced his resignation was it apparant that Randolph was sending a message in going to the goat of the Mets bullpen, not just mismanaging. He clarified this message to our source after the game:

"I figured why wait til I get s---canned...? I think true fans will realize it wasn't just a blown call by the umps that lost that game, it was my insertion of Heilman. And why would I do such a thing? I'm not stupid.
I figured, let's get down there [to Orange County], meet my new players, and get into a nice little rhythm. Let Carter have this f--- job.
I've been hearing it for weeks, took all the blame for this crappy team, heard all the talk of replacing me-- Gary Carter, Bobby Valentine, Morgan &%$# Freeman. Well that's it. I'm out of here. The fans, media and ownership can kiss my black ass. That Yankee job will be opening up soon anyhow."


Friday, May 30, 2008

Mets Keep the Change: Bad Penny Turns Up Again

The times, they are a changin'. Winning winning winning. I counted, and the Mets have now won a remarkable three games in a row.

But the revenge will only be sweet for me if it's sweep, since I had to endure the drubbing LA laid on us at Dodgers Stadium in person. The Dodgies are in the middle of a Met, er a slump. And B(r)ad Penny is the opposite of a Mets stopper, the guy is a freakin' enabler.

Mets RMLV* Claudio Vargas had a bad stretch in the 5th inning, and then in the 6th the ump started squeezing him a bit so his nibbling became obvious. I guess Willie's leaving of Vargas in to face the music in the 6th is reflective of his lack of confidence in his pen to bring the much-needed hammer down, or his interest in getting more than 80 or so pitches out of the Vargas boy. Feliciano came in with 2 down in the 6th and departed soonthereafter in a haze of inefficiency.

The Mets introduced a host of new strategies tonight: competent, game-changing defense (Brian Schneider blocking a mean plate), adding on of insurance runs when the opposition threatens, and the scoring of runs in 6 run clumps. They are playing exciting baseball now. Or they're winning. Whatever.

Since his maniacal hug of Ferdando Tatis last night, Willie looks happier and happier by the inning: removing Scott Schoeneweis never looked so fun!

How can the Mets keep trotting out Delgado and continue to roll? Mojo-wise, I'm thinking the way forward is to call up Stash, and have him don the orange jacket Jay Horwitz has been sporting to keep the evil spirits away. It might look like this:

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*Random Minor League Veteran

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Morgan Freeman for Manager Campaign

Whilest you prepare yourself, dear reader, to see if the Mets moMETum can carry over into the the weekend set with Joe Torre's Bums, allow me to run something up the flagpole and see who salutes.

I think I've found the next manager of the Metropolitans. Everyone wants Willie fired, but few have put forth candidates who are up to the job.

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Freeman has a few ideas for fixing the Mets.

Morgan Freeman
has the presence. He has the wisdom. He has the visibility. He'll give dynamite press conferences. As a minority candidate, he'll appeal to the Wilpons. He knows the rule book and is unafraid to level fines. And, he can be pretty stupid when he wants to be.
'Nuff Said!
Check out this video and see if you don't agree with me.

Tipped off here, I swiped this video from here.

As the video documents, left field has always been a problem spot for the Mets, even when Danny Heep (featured in the video) roamed Flushing's verdant grasses.

Fernando Proves It's Better to Look Good than to Be Good

Dahlings...From one Fernando to another: Fernando Tatis, I got to tell you something and I don't say this to everyone... you... look... mahvelous!!

After Duanar Sanchez "wanted to make it more exciting" by spoiling an otherwise promising appearance in the 12th by giving up a truly Amazega home run, who thought that Endy, Wright, Beltan and Tatis would step up and take charge? After losing all 24 games they trailed going into the 9th this year, like some kind of bizzaro 2006 Mets? Not me, that's who.

But there it was, a game winning, come from behind, walk off double smacked by Tatis. And it felt a whole lot more like winning than just managing not to lose.

The Mets are still mired in 4th place and haven't hit .500 land yet. But if the Mets are starting to feel like losers even if they look good for one night, they can turn to Fernando for advice: Don't be a Shnock, it's not how you feel, it's how you look!!

Let's Crazy Go Nuts!

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Mets win with ETC. line-up

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Last night was an odd night for Mets fans.

The manager managed (or at least sent the righthanded rejects in to relieve the regular clowns).
The stopper stopped.
The set up man set up.
The closer closed.

All those happy, unfamiliar chemicals making their way around our brains were no doubt due to Johan's ballsy K of Uggla in the 5th, Castillo's spear of that deadly shot up the middle in the 7th, Dirty's vintage 8th, Big Mouth Billy's clean 9th.

But it is also undeniable that Nick Evans (makes left field interesting), Fernando "Da Plane" Tatis, (2 singles, 2 RBI’s), Ramon "HEAD" Castro (2 for 3, 2 RBI’s), and Damon "I could retire just as" Easley, otherwise known as "The Blueprint" have breathed life into this sad crew of rich, complacent athletes. The Mets "Reject Row", aka ETC (Easley, Tatis, Castro) accounted for ALL the Mets rib eye steaks. Put that in your hat and smoke it.

I watched the game on tape (literally on VCR tape) with hopes of fast-forwarding through the pain quickly but the evil geniuses at SNY foiled my plans by introducing yet another innovation--the Mex cam. Sitting Keith behind the plate and letting him wave his hands and talk was a stroke of genius, even though it took away from the number of unflattering shots of Willie we usually enjoy.

Someone "gets" me.

In the process of continuing his jihad/publicity stunt against "bloggers"Buzz Bissinger has helped me refocus on my core product (swiped from CSTB):

I think most blogs are used to make idiotic comments that they think are funny. To me it shows that they need to do something else with their lives because they have way too much time on their hands.

There is one big difference to what I did on Costas Now and bloggers. I didn’t hide behind anything. I didn’t hide behind some silly email handle or some silly name. I was myself. That was my name. My email is public and that’s a big difference. Blogs should insist that people use their real names. Would they still get the same amount of hits if they are really for change?

Post whatever you want but you gotta use your real name and it’s gotta be verified.

They’ll never do it because it’s a money game, let’s face it. The more posts you get, the more hits you get, the more money you make. That’s not just to entertain us. That’s also to make money.

Deadspin is in it to make money.

Whoa, money? Hiding behind silly names making idiotic comments that I think are funny. How did Buzz get his hands on my business plan? Of course, I draw the line at profiting from my efforts.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

DFA: Digging For Answers

What in the name of Mookie is wrong with this team? And is it fixable?

After suffering through the pointless spectacle of another Willie Randolph show trial, Mets fans thought maybe the baseball gods would send some temporary relief yesterday. But the Mets defense, pitching and offense let them down again. The Mets malaise can be localized to those three problems, and they did do an excellent job with their elaborate handshakes however, so that's something. The mysterious bottom of the 9th inning delay led me to suspect that stadium crew were busy picking up pieces of the falling sky that littered Shea and impeded the Mets from going meekly as scheduled. Mike Pelfrey again proved to me (alone?) that he is not ready to pitch in a big league rotation. Getting the first two outs of the inning, a cause for celebration otherwise, is an occasion for failure for Big Pelf, who comes up small and probably should not be asked to do much more at this stage of his development. He needs to go back down to the minors for seasoning, or to the bull pen where he can be sheltered and gain confidence. The Mets need to nurture this guy because he could be something special in the future, but he just can't get it done right now. Errant Heilman, perhaps ticketed for a tour of the farm, did ok today, and Reyes produced exactly as many runs as he gave away, so I guess that's progress.

The internet culture we all have so foolishly embraced demands that we subject all things to unbelievable levels of unreasonable scrutiny. Although sports bloggers largely escape the empty narcism and vacuous self-promotion of the rest of the blogging classes (mostly because as meatheads, literary pretensions are unavailable to us ), we do have a habit of making wwaaaayyy to much of trivialities. Now faced with a monstrosity, we're just about out of ammo.

Watching teams from slightly less pressure markets, such as the Br*ves and Fish, kick back with some nice relaxing drubbing of the Mets has made me wonder about cosmic connections between large market pressures, 24 hr/day blogging bozos and team performance (of course illiterate Br*ves fans don't face the pressure to express themselves on the internet, not when their sisters keep giving them the come hither look and they got pig wrestling at the fair this year). At least, it's a reminder that Metropolitans face enormous pressure to fix problems that in other towns may get the time to work themselves out naturally under stable, if more competent, management regimes. It is likely that, in ways we can't understand yet, the Mets as an over-blogged major market team are susceptible to wilting under the tremendous, probably unfair karmic pressure. So let's get on with it!

*Carlos Delgado, paid too much to think or play baseball, needs to become Platoon Leader Delgado asap.
*Mike Pelfrey needs to be sent to someplace where he can develop in peace. He's not ready and although the team is desperate, they can lose the fifth starters games just as easily with Vargas after Pedro comes back for his 2008 cameo.
*Luis Castillo is here to stay, and he's not as much of a detriment to the team as most think. Still give him his required rest and slot in a hungry minor leaguer or someone other than Easley or another retread that strikes no fear in Castillo's heart (if he has one). This might let him know he too can lose playing time, test the theory that no major leaguer likes riding the pine. Failing that, perhaps Stash can come up for a last gasp?
*the bench sucks. This might not seem like a priority seeing how bad the regulars suck, but cleaning house is inevitable here.
*the team needs to try "playing within itself" the mantra of less talented athletes. This just isn't a good team, and I see no evidence that they understand this. They expect a lot, but they're just not capable.
*if the firings are going to start, the Jacket needs to be resized for a fishing jacket too. He has been at the center of some awful personnel decisions, and his ego and stature may get in the way of a re-evaluation of the Mets pitching system. He is just as much a symbol of the malaise in my mind as Willie.
*identify some foolish contenders and start shopping Heilman, Wagner, Perez, Pedro and yes Beltran. At least be ready for the trading deadline, knowing if anyone at all will take these guys for prospects.

Marty "Pants" Noble's latest column puts his crabby finger on a few of the issues gives us an occasion for informed analysis/crankery. Here's what we have with our 2008 Mets:

Bad GMing

"Injuries are part of the game, but it is a bigger part when the roster has age. Relying on any one of the three would have made sense. But to depend on all three -- that is, the No. 2 starter in Martinez, a back of the rotation starter in El Duque and a right-handed run-producer in Alou -- to fill regular roles seemed to me to be foolish, particularly with Carlos Delgado having slowed down.

And the re-signing of Luis Castillo -- regardless of the number of years and the amount of money -- has given Randolph a right side of the infield that is significantly less than a contender needs."

A lot of people don't think "homegrowing" talent is a strategy that makes much of a difference. And there are arguments to be made for both sides. But big contracts to free agent stars raise expectations, hamper flexibility, and in the case of pitchers, rarely make business sense. And the Mets are staggering under the expectations and the contracts they have given out like candy really have not paid off. Some successful teams just seem to be able to produce such players, but I daresay the Mets are not one of these teams. The trend around baseball does seem to be favoring locking up young stars to long deals to avoid the black market for Bora$ enabled albatrosses. I'd like to see the Mets put some energy into producing a home grown closer and run producing first baseman.

If things get really bad, unthinkable things start to happen--the trading of Beltran or Wagner or other high-priced pieces--and these desperate moves no longer pay off in an era when contending teams jealously guard their prospects.

where to point the finger: Omar

Lack of Team Spirit: Paycheck Passivity

example: Wagner, Willie, and Wright fueled media controversies

This category is hard to quantify without access to the clubhouse. But besides rumors and media crisis mongering, there does seem to be a problem with the players having bought into the program, committing to the team. I can see how infuriating it would be to watch these dopes fiddle with their unnecessary gadgets and then scurry from the clubhouse. The big topics this season: booing, race, etc. have all in a way concerned the perception that this team takes separate cabs. And taxis have not been kind to the Mets in recent years.

"The Mets appear to be in a state of team depression. They respond to positives, but that response is short-lived. Negatives linger. No manager I know has had an effective remedy for that. It's up to the players to get themselves out of it; put away their cellphones and electronic gadgets, talk to each other and not rush to exits when games are over and showers are done."

where to point the finger: AT&T, Omar, modern baseball, the mirror

Unclutchiness is in the eye of the beholder

example: entire team

This timeless problem is endlessly debated on the internet. It only becomes an issue when the club doesn't win. IF there is such a thing as clutch, this team is not it--no Met fan alive expects the team to mount a comeback when down in the late innings. They seem entirely incapable, and there is no way that the team has not internalized this failure. The fact is, no one is stepping up to make the big play, get the big hit, etc. when it counts. "Clutchiness" is not the only way to win, but it would help to build confidence, which along with video games and marijuana is key to the modern athlete's psyche. Maybe the answer is to put yourself in a position to come up big, give luck a chance to happen, by not giving away outs on the base paths and not giving the other team runs by bungling easy plays.

where to point the finger: the players, the baseball gods

Lack of fundamentals

Example: entire team

This is the part that really gets me.

"A potential double-play ground ball bouncing through the legs of Jose Reyes; Reyes being picked off second base in extra innings; Carlos Beltran not cleanly fielding a base hit and thereby allowing a runner to reach scoring position; Johan Santana crossing up his catcher and throwing a wild pitch to advance a runner to scoring position -- none of those is evidence of managerial malfeasance."

where to point the finger: Willie and his staff, players

Unreachable, undisciplined talents
Example: Oliver Perez, Jose Reyes

"Perez is what he's always been, a pendulum pitcher -- seven shutout innings in one start, four runs in the first of the next. He is absolutely unpredictable, unable to deal with adversity and not adequately disciplined. The discipline is the most unsettling aspect of his performance. He has trouble maintaining the mechanics of his delivery and the location of his release. But he exacerbates those problems occasionally by deliberately throwing from a different arm angle...

Jim Frey, the former Cubs and Royals manager, has a phrase for pitchers such as Perez and Victor Zambrano, pitchers who seduce their managers and/or pitching coaches with isolated quality performances: "The kind of pitcher who gets general managers fired.""

where to point the finger: entire organization, coaches

Soon, the Mets will have to decide whether to cut bait or wait on some of their more frustrating talents. Who knows what the true impact of a pitching coach is, but here you have to ask questions about the Mets guru. We know he has a system, a reputation, and a way with words, but what exactly is Peterson doing to help? Is he doing too little, or is he doing as much as he can? I dunno. Reyes needs a handholder which is one of very few rationales for having Stash rejoin the team. As yesterdays loss to the Fish demonstrates, Reyes is getting on base is no panacea.


Monday, May 26, 2008

SNY Guys Get Head Start Ripping New Manager, "Unconscious" Carter

They can't be Sirius!

It looks like negative camerawork isn't the only weapon in SNY's vicious anti-manager arsenal. There's a report from somewhere or another detailing the on-air chastising of the Kid. Ah, hell, let's quote the entire report:

Keith Hernandez ripped his former New York Mets teammate, Gary Carter, during Sunday's game on New York television station WPIX, calling him "unconscious" in the wake of Carter openly campaigning for the managerial job currently occupied by Willie Randolph.

"I have great respect for Gary as a player," said Hernandez, now a TV analyst. "He's a Hall of Famer. When Johnny Bench left the game, he was the premier catcher in the National League.

"But, that being said, and I've kept quiet for such a long time, but for the people out there listening, just go in the dictionary and look up 'unconscious' and you'll find a picture of Gary Carter.

"I know that's strong, but it just happens too many times and it's just, you're walking around unconscious."

Carter said in a Sirius Satellite Radio interview Friday that he had reached out to the Mets when he learned Randolph's job might be in jeopardy.

He softened those comments Saturday in an interview with WFAN.

Before Hernandez's shot at Carter, play-by-play man Gary Cohen said: "Regardless of what happens, you can't be any more indelicate or graceless than Gary Carter was in saying the things he said about being available to take over the job. I just cannot believe that Carter said what he said."

Unconscious? I know there was no love lost between Mex and the Kid, but I just don't know what the hell Keith is talking about. Even so, I think I agree with him.

Well, I'll be damned, look what i found!

1 a: not knowing or perceiving : not aware b: free from self-awareness
2 a
: not possessing mind or consciousness <unconscious matter> b (1): not marked by conscious thought, sensation, or feeling <unconscious motivation> (2): of or relating to the unconscious c: having lost consciousness unconscious for three days>
: not consciously held or deliberately planned or carried out unconscious bias>

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Let's not talk of the game.

So Ryan Church is taking at bats and saying things like this:

"I could feel like this and hit, that's fine. I just don't want to be like this in the outfield. I could hurt myself or somebody else.

"When I make a quick movement, I just stop and go 'Woo.' I don't want to be out there trying to track a fly ball. Next time I go out there, I'm going out with a football helmet, with a New York emblem on the side."

So he can't stand in right field without going "Woo" and the Mets apparently feel ok putting this guy in the way of a 95 mph fastball. What next from the Mets medical staff, teach Jose Reyes how to run? The Mets are letting their malaise distract them from taking proper care of their concussed employees. And I'm not talking about Keith.


Also, let's not speak of the game.


Can you match the picture on the left with the face? It's not too hard, but then neither is realizing that championships are not won with brittle, declining has beens doting a line up, fixing a criminally deficient bullpen in the off-season, or planning a contingency upon the predictable loss of 2/5's of your oft-injured rotation. image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
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Saturday, May 24, 2008

Mets Get off the Schneid

Nick Evans. Nick Evans. Nick Evans.

"Good way to have a debut," said an uplifted Willie Randolph. "That's what you need. Young kid comes up, steps up and give us a little energy. He did a great, great, great job of coming in and picking us up, along with Vargas, who was outstanding, too. Get us off the schneid for a little while."

I didn't get to see this game, thanks to Faux Network and Bud Selig, but it must have been exciting to see some young players spark the team. Why didn't anyone think of that before?

If you think you've been aggravated lately, gain some perspective and see how long you can listen to this. These guys are out of control.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Gary Carter, At Least, Enjoys Last Night's Mets Game

The Mets are running out of ways to lose. Of course, I said that during the September to Dismember, and time ran out before the losing did.

"I could be in New York tomorrow, if necessary, because if there's anything at the major league level I can leave this job." Carter added: "The comments that David Wright made saying that, you know, there's no spark, there's no fire - if anything I would love to bring that to the table because you know me, guys, I love the game, have a great passion for it and you know my enthusiasm."

All sorts of shit went down before the game, with Minaya paying a visit and the Kid bizarrely working on his audition tape. Minaya said nothing about the flawed construction of this team or what he plans to do about it.

But good news, because David Wright notices a change:

"Guys are starting to take it personally," he said. "Guys are getting genuinely upset that we're losing. That's a good sign. We got embarrassed in Atlanta. I saw this look that we've got to take this out on somebody, and hopefully that's the Colorado Rockies."


So, how did the Mets "take it out" on the cRockies?

The highlights: Ollie turned in another performance that will make it more surreal when Boras demands the moon at contract time...Marlon Anderson, who shouldn't really be playing so much, tweaks a hammy to join the rest of elderly on the DL...Wagner blows a save in the 9th, by grooving a first pitch fastball to a guy who spent the evening swinging at such pitches...Jose Reyes, head up his ass as usual, inexcusably gets picked off second in the 10th for THE NIGHTLY BASERUNNING BLUNDER...David Wright (1 for 6) boots another one at key 10th inning spot...South Mouth, sent out to collect the inevitable loss, is ambushed by the cRockies who go the Mets one better by running themselves out of a win...Delgado somehow makes it to 3rd in the 11th, and ...up comes all hit no field catcher Brian Schneider...who meekly strikes out...Dirty Sanchez, hitting the 90s on the gun, gets through the 11th. No one wants this game...Why is Church, who got his belfry rung, still coming into games?...Errant Hellman in the game. Poor guy, it figures Willie'd call on him to take the collar.


Besides axing Randolph, which seems only to be a matter of time, what is to be done? The team has tried right-mindedly to minimize Aaron Heilman's exposure, but there is nowhere to hide him--they were counting on him and he is a total failure. As for position players (to replace Pagan, Alou, Church, Anderson and whoever else they lose in Colorado), call up anyone that wants to play, Val Pascucci, anyone, I don't care. Someone has to let these complacent veterans they can be replaced. I know there ain't much left but there has to be more than Raul Cassanova. Church needs to be rested; this team can lose without him, it's not worth jeopardizing his health permanently. Stash may very well make it back from whatever the hell injury he had, and while he too is elderly, he may balance the team out, especially if stories about his positive influence on dopey Reyes are true. If Pedro can make it back, the Pelfry should be moved to the pen or down to AAA preferably. As for the farm, if the Mets chintz around on the draft this year, they are sending another untimely message (Jesus! Flores!) to a revolting fan base that the current management team can't handle the operation. This team may be cursed, so it won't hurt to hire an exorcist.


On a lighter note. Whose cat is this?


Thursday, May 22, 2008

"F**ing Shocker"

The 2008 Mets have zoomed past Art Howe's clowns and are starting to compare negatively with the 1992 edition--the Worst Team Money Could Buy-- at least those guys were a team. You could fire Willie, rehire him, and then fire him again and it wouldn't make a bit of difference to these unlucky, complacent, elderly, highly remunerated jokers. At this rate, the Wilpons might consider booking the Ice Capades, Harlem Globetrotters to play Citifield, because ain't no one paying to see these chumps. Other than that, I refuse to put more effort into blogging about a team then that team expends playing a child's game for millions upon millions of dollars. That is all.

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Willie, Wankers and the Losing Factory*

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Ah, those were the days!

Today's fiasco was a real Stomach Turner. But I think I learned something about the 2008 Mets.

The first game was torturous, making me rage uncontrollably, like a graduate of Tampa's Hillsborough High School. Within the first three innings, the weekend triumphs against the last-place, Arod-less Spankers were entirely forgotten. The Mets were back to playing like pulseless zombies. It took me all day, but no media shitstorm was going to distract me from making a startling discovery.

This team is just no good.

Earlier, when I was still in denial, I thought the day game was lost when someone switched the QuestTek machine off and the chUmps were free to give Toothless Tom a strike zone like it was the late 90s.

Without the enormous strike zone given to his opposition, the Maine was sunk. The way I saw it, home plate douche bag Bill Miller preposterously gave no close calls to the Mets and John Maine, while gifting Glavine with apparently any pitch anywhere. And sure, no one thinks twice when Errant Hellman comes in and the ball goes out, but it says here that 2-2 pitch to Brian McCann, the one immediately before the 2 run home run that put the game out of reach if it wasn't already, was a flat out strike three. That doesn't mean that Hellman doesn't suck, for he surely sucks mightily.

A total bullshit check swing against Brian Schneider, I think, in the 8th convinced me that the fix was in, and made me wonder if the Mets shouldn't have petitioned Bud Selig for a change in venue for the night cap. Before I blacked out from the rage, I was pissed at the SNY guys for not stating the obvious.

Well, when I came to, rest my worried head, the umps played no role in the Mets evening dismemberment--that was grade A Metropolitan suck all the way. There were also no Willies to blame, just crappy players, and now we've lost our only performer to his second concussion of the season to the signature play of the day, a double play to end the game which I could barely hear over the glee of the inbred Br*ves announcing team.

So you've probably figured this out already, but here it is spelled out. My old, working theory was that this was a uninspiring team playing below their abilities, and it would only be a matter of time til something clicked--talent, pride, something. But now I realize this discouraging team is playing at their talent level. They are just not that good, and they're certainly not better than the Br*ves. Outside of fearsome starters like Jorge Campillo, the Br*ves, always superior organizationally, are put together much better—a young core, a real bullpen, and no reliance on aging bench bozos, etc. The Br*ves get rid of players just at the moment they're going into a steep decline (Andruw Jwones, and well Tom Glavine), the Mets get players just as the roller coaster is leaving the station (Tom Glavine, Pedro, Beltran?, Delgado, Alomar, Moo, blah blah). The Br*ves bring up their young players (or bring them out of the backwoods) and patiently let them mature into Met killers. The Mets, with few exceptions, screw with their young players heads, overhype them, set them up to fail, and then ship them out of town for pennies on the dollar. So all that winning, you know the winning that would save Willie's job, spare us continued media nonsense, justify landing this generation's best pitcher, that winning? Don't hold yer breath. This is not JUST the SportSouth homer induced rage talking either, though I can’t deny that's a factor. It’s realism, and it is only sad that it has taken me this long after Pedro's season altering injury to realize it.


Listless, virtual forfeit of a double header at Turner, partially broadcast by the local hicks, losing to meatballer Tom Glavine= one grade lower...I'm PISSED!

The 2008 Metfan Sanity Scale: Where are you?
not as happy as I could be

not thrilled




fed up



reciting rosary


Lo Duca

"where's Mota?"


gone to safe place

danger to others

lose control of bodily functions

wake up with blood on hands and no memory

danger to myself

move to cabin to facilitate rage

new Royals fan


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Mike Piazza prepares to hit the relay man on a throw to second base.

When I heard that Mike Piazza made an announcement today, I worried that it was some further information about his sexuality, and I didn't think I could take it during a stomach Turner. Phew, it turns out that Mike just hung up the tools of ignorance for the last time today, officially retiring and setting the Mets up for the final indignity of his career--the possible decision to send him into the Hall of Fame with a Dodgers cap on. During SNY's on air discussion, I noticed Keith got a shot in at the Kid, calling Mike "unquestionably the greatest Met catcher" a highly debatable claim since Mike never won anything whatsoever for the Mets, basically leading them through the desert. But he was our Met hero for many years when the team just wasn't good enough, so here's to you and your Playmate, Mike, may you ride off happily ever after into the land of dudes (and I mean that in a cool SoCal, relaxing way, not implying that Alicia is a beard). May you finally answer that question that has always been bothering you: Where's Mota?

Cruel as usual, Marty "Pants" Noble's article on Mike reminds us in passing of the days when the Mets had an offense, or even one guy, that could touch of a rally for a win:

Of course, it wasn't only mistakes that Piazza significantly re-routed. He hit pitchers' best stuff over buildings. Or, on other occasions, he hit line drives that threatened the well-being of outfield walls, not to mention outfielders. It was one of those which Piazza hit off Mulholland in 2000 that the pitcher said was sure to deny him REM sleep.
He had thrown Piazza "not a bad pitch" in the bottom of the eighth inning of the Mets-Braves game on June 30. That the home run delivered the final three runs in a 10-run rally, producing an 11-8 Mets victory, was enough to fill the memories of anyone who witnessed or cared about the game's outcomes.

*title stolen from Cver

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Sunday, May 18, 2008

Mets Spank Yanks 13-2, that's right 13-2, to Semi-Sweep

It was a victory Mets Nation deserved, prevailing against great obstacles. The Mets overcame ChUmpire Bob Davidson on the field, while fans overcame ESPN himbo's Jon and Joe, their Yankee homerdom (Jon revealed he spent the pregame hanging out in the Spanks clubhouse, and actually offered to buy the team during the broadcast!), and general stupidity (Morgan's 9th inning claim that Reyes and STD had to be able to dance--like a fullback??). Offensively, it was Reyes, Wright and Alou producing like the blue(and orange) print says they do, and there was no separating Church from Plate.

Davidson made one of the worst calls in recent memory, reversing Mike Reilly's correct call of a fair ball off the foul pole, apparently at the special request of Super Terrific Derek and Johnny Traitor. It was so egregious an error, even the boneheads in the booth could tell this was a screw job. I watched the game under protest and shall record the final score as 13-2. The whole sordid affair was made doubly tragic by the robbing of Carlos Delgado, a guy who really can use every HR and RBI he gets. Bring on the Br*ves!!

ESPN considering these gentlemen to take over Sunday night baseball

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Saturday, May 17, 2008

Mets Win NYC Gagging Rights for the Day

Met fan contemplates the Subway Series.
(pics swiped from this hilarious site)

Emma at Eephus Pitch couldn't have described this season's Subway Series any better: "Resistible Force vs. Movable Object." When the mediocre Mets meet the last place Spankers, someone has to lose. Unless Bud Selig is involved, there are no ties in baseball. The sad-sack Mets managed to eek out a W from the tail-spinning, Arod-less Spankers. Bragging rights have given way to gagging rights.

I can't say I went into the game with a positive mindset. Even though the Mets have a winning record and are in the thick of the NL East race, Mets fans are currently having their tailgate parties out on the ledge. As usual the so-called MLB "Extra Innings" declined to carry this game although Faux Network didn't even feign interest, and they didn't call their national customers to apologize. And listening to the YES broadcast was so painful, you can understand why Paul Simon bought tickets to the game to avoid listening to the mindless prattle.

When Super Terrific Derek (STD) took Johan Santana yard right off the bat, so to speak, I started to make the move from "fed up" to "disgusted."* I mean, the Mets can get the best pitcher in baseball, overcome adversity, call meetings, feign unity, but still Jeter or Larry will be there to deflate them. The Mets looked to be in more trouble than Nelson Figueroa is with Jenny Finch.

Mindless base running is a key indicator of the problems Mets have keeping their heads in the game, committing personally to help this team win. After another "senor moment"-- the second inning pick off of Moises Alou--I started the shift from rooting for the Mets to just rooting against the Yankees. I'm not proud of this, but it's easier on my heart.

Then the semi-remarkable happened. The ball started to bounce in favor of the Flushing Folks and the Mets overcame the built-in baseball god Spankee biases. Brian Schneider revives his reputation as a defensive catcher by blocking the plate from notorious pansy Johnny Traitor, not enough to make us forget about the Jesus becoming a phenom for about $10 million less in DC, but it was the kind of heartbreaking play the Spanks usually use to stomp us.

The Spanks were up to their old baseball god manipulating tricks, but even these didn't work. Bottom of the sixth, the second base ump Alfonso Marquez makes a safe call followed by an out call on STD as the Captain heroically tried to stretch a single into a double. Problem was, STD never even touched the bag. How could he be safe without occupying the bag? Did Jeter call time out as he slid into the bag? The only things that can explain Marquez' initial default safe call are ineptitude or the Steinbrenner checks he cashes to feed his secret gambling habit. Either way, Marquez should be disciplined and ridiculed.

But are we Mets fans overreacting?

You knew it had to happen, as Santana tired in the 8th, the Mouth from the South got the call to pin down the 4 out save, something squarely within his job description. Would the poetic injustice continue? Eighth inning so far so good. Joe Girrardia brings in the super hyped Joba and Buntran smacks a triple--could this be the Mets day? With a key chance to tack on some runs in the top of the ninth--a man on third and one out--Alou struck out looking on a pitch that looked outside (YES demurred to show us the overhead camera view) to bring up Delgadoh! And wouldn't you know it, Carlost got the job done, wacking Joba's offering down the first base line to plate Beltran. Then in the ninth, after letting two guys on and bringing the tying run to the plate, Wags struck out the immortal Morgan Ensberg on six pitches and evil was turned away once again.

The Mets 13 hit attack was paced by (gasp!) the top and middle of the line up. The ball bounced their way. Tonight we can party like its 2006. Bottom line, the Mets got the win they needed badly, and I can back away from the ledge a bit.

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Will a Subway Sweep be enough to save the Mets season?

*(can you locate yourself on this helpful scale?)

The 2008 Metfan Sanity Scale
not as happy as I could be
not thrilled
fed up
reciting rosary
Lo Duca
gone to safe place
danger to others
lose control of bodily functions
wake up with blood on hands and no memory
danger to myself
move to cabin to facilitate rage
new Royals fan

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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Willie Wears Welcome, Regular Rooters Realize Rudolph Revoltin'

The Washington Nationals ruminate over how easy it is to beat the Mets.

Even in good times, the climate we Mets fans operate in is best described as hysterical, not in the ha-ha way but in the pull the children in-doors, out-of-proportion with reality way. Right now, after another demoralizing loss against the last place gNats, Mets skipper Willie Randolph best travel only at night and avoid open roads, because the bloggers are headed to the barricades with torches. It has gotten so bad that my suggestion of the ritual sacrifice of Rick Down has not been taken up by any serious observer. The trigger for the recent organization of internet posses targeting Willie for dismissal, as could have been predicted, is the usage of one Aaron "Poopeyface" Heilman, he of game 7 of the 2006 NLCS. In the eyes of Metsfan observers who have yet to claw said eyes out, having received a passable start from retread Claudio Vargas, Randolph maliciously squandered this gift by bringing in shell-shocked Errant Hellman to put the game out of the reach of the Mets awful-fence. Added to the fun, the Mets showed neither fire nor discipline in the proper measure. Under Willie's watch, older player Moises Alou (with the games he has missed in his career, it is arguable to call Alou a "veteran") made the decision to take his hot, healthy bat out of the line-up over a strike call. Is this the discipline and experience Omar Minaya had in mind when he infused the roster with the elderly? Instead of building on Maine's Message and Vargas' Valour, Willie blew it out his ass. And Mets fans have had enough.

Let's look at how a successful team manages its games with Nationals. The first place Marlins (payroll $20 million) have treated the Nats like a cellar dwelling resource, a bottom-dwelling bank, beating them 8 out of 9 times. Take 8 games off of the Marlins 23-17 record and see where they are in the standings. How have the Mets handled Warden Acta and the D.C. Offenders? A less dominating 5 and 3. Emotionally, having suffered a couple of blowouts at the Nats' hands, the team doesn't view the Nats with any swagger whatsoever--it's the Nats chanting in the dugout--and in most matchups so far, doesn't look superior to the Washington club. To win the NL East, the Mets need to beat teams like this soundly. Instead they find ways to lose.

What the Mets are missing. (note energy and fun, note high-five, note player available in trade for Lastings Milledge at one point)


Monday, May 12, 2008

At last!!

The quest for certainty has been man's preoccupation since at least Descartes. Reflecting upon the visit of the last place Nationals to Shea, whereupon the band of misfits easily walloped our local boys and presumptive contenders, we can now say two things with all the confidence in the world.

1. Figuero sucks. And I say this in the nicest possible way. Figgy literally pitched and played his way to designation (for assignment). For good measure, he threw away a key ball to the plate. It was fun having a well-traveled Mets fan pitching for us, but enough is enough. A good back story isn't enough to be a regular feature for a team with playoff aspirations. Every inning before the first pitch, the Nats would trot out to man first and second base to start things off, or at least it seemed that way. If you can't handle the other team's pitcher (O. Perez, 3-3, 2RBI), well. It's a pity Figueroa couldn't harness any anger he might have felt when Elijah Dukes, apparently high on his own supply, led a bizarre little league cheer for fellow socially awkward outfielder Lastings Milledge as he batted.

2. Sosa. Sucks. I don't mean that in quite so gentle a way as with #1. There's nothing else to say on that score.

I don't care if they give a guy named Guiseppe a start, the pitchin needs fixin. Still to be grappled with are the following questions: Did you think they had a shot to come back at 6-3? 10-3? Have they come back from a sizable deficit this season yet? Does this team have a higher gear? At least the Mets are falling behind in one key area. The WNBA finally came up with a slogan dumber than the '07 Mets ("Your season has come"): "Expect Great." What is their target audience, illiterates?

Fire Rick Down.


Sunday, May 11, 2008

"It's Mother's Day today at Shea, so to all you mothers out there, Happy Birthday."

There is no better way to start something, a post, a sermon, a suicide note, whathaveyou, then with a quote or paraphrase from Ralph Kiner.

Not Ralph Kiner but also, nobody's mother.

In honor of mothers everywhere, I present the "Mother of all game recaps."
First game. It was all about the Carlos. The Mets pitching was nothing to write home about. They won handily.

Second game. Keith was very vocal, expressing his love for Metsblog and Xavier Nady. Most interestingly, as revealed in the SNY broadcast's Ask the Booth feature, Keith says as a player he never read a book during the downtime between double headers, because it would ruin his focus, presumably on the baseball. Unlike Budweiser and cigarettes.

The Muncher started the second game in typical fashion (high pitches, no ability to put hitters away) except he HAD NO MOUTHPIECE!! Why did no one notice he had no 'piece? He just doesn't seem to know how to pitch yet. We should ease up on Pelf since it is only his third season in professional ball, and by the third inning, he had settled down enough to record a 1-2-3 inning. By the fourth, of course, Pelf had thrown 400 pitches, though throughout the game he was a victim of dinks dropping in between the infield and outfield.

Although they've scored 24 runs in their last two outings, the Mets awfulfense is still not picking up runs when it can which, I'm told, is the key to winning at the baseball game. With bases loaded in the second inning after a gift error from the Reds, newly activated HEAD! struck out embarrassingly. Third inning, Wright comes up with Reyes on third and 1 out against human joke Bronson Arroyo and ex-Met hero Keppenger can't handle the ball at short. Kep must've been livid after that bobble, since he probably hates the Mets franchise as much as some Met fan boys love him; of course he was in the middle of a 5 for 5 night. Then Wright was inexplicably gunned down at the plate on a Beltran double to the wall, after bearing down on the Reds plate-blocking catcher with all the grit of a princess on the way to the ball.

Later after the game got out of hand, and long after I had turned my attentions to the NBA playoffs/napping, Willie trots out Billy "I don't do non-save situations" Wagner for some walking, dueling Wright and Delgado errors, followed by some gatorade cooler abuse. If the guy doesn't want to come in in non-save situations at this point in his tenure with the Mets, then I really don't see the point of "getting him some work" since he almost always sucks in these situations, added to the new possibility that he'll hurt himself punching a cooler.

One step forward, one step back. How they gonna catch the Marlins (in terms of world series, the most successful franchise in the NL East by the way) by treading a couple games over .500?

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Willie: "I'm no genius. I'm just trying to lead my club."

Is there a Vast Media Conspiracy Directed at Willie?

Willie Randolph is getting it from all sides--even his brother is taxing the poor guy (click link for title quote too). I've never been a big fan, but in this post I advance the thesis that it is possible the hog piling on Willie has gotten out of control. Bloggers would probably reject the idea that they are being led by the nose by the "old" media, but it seems clear that the media is nurturing stories where none yet exist. And far more respectable bloggers than I are calling for heads to roll.

Willie was not fired for last season's collapse, but now it seems that the team's mediocre start is leading people to see the malaise as cumulative. There are even reports that Willie is about to be evaluated. Dan Graziano thinks Willie needs to learn to manage a bunch of losers:

But unfortunately for Randolph, his players are soft. His players are the types who don't raise their games in big spots, who do take at-bats off. His players coast through long stretches of the season, assuming their talent will carry them through without any extra effort or emotion on their part. His players are not self-motivators, and they are a group that might respond well to being scared every now and then.

Willie is shrugging most it off, but draws the line at the claim that he has lost his players:

Randolph was dismayed last week that closer Billy Wagner criticized the team, preferring him to have done it behind closed doors.
Randolph said: "I'm as close to my players and my players respect me as much as any team I've ever been around.
"That's dangerous when you start saying things that you don't know about, just because you're searching for things to talk about. That's very, very dangerous. If it's true that's one thing, but if it's not ... ."

Meanwhile, all the sudden the greatest active managers in Mets history are getting some serious play in the press. Davey Johnson is getting some love. The Daily News ran a great interview with Johnson where he reminisces about the 80s Mets clubs he managed to glory or near glory.

At 65, Johnson says the big leagues have burned him out ...
Lookin' good now, eh?
Meanwhile Bobby V has a freakin' documentary devoted to him (linkage appropriated from CSTB) and the column inches to go with it. So what gives media? Did the invitation to Willie's birthday party get lost in the mail? What are the viable options? Bobby V., with his "progressive and creative baseball mind and his Veeckian flair for showmanship," was banished to the land of the rising sun and he isn't coming walking through that door folks.

Before we throw our heads back to bay for blood we should stop to consider a few questions. Do we really want Willie to start flipping burgers (see below) instead of toasting subs? We're being primed for a serious shakeup at the managerial level, but is chaos and a voyage into the unknown what's best for this team? If the Mets are under-inspired, then any manager firing would have to be timed perfectly to motivate unless we want to kiss this season goodbye. And the Wilpons are no lock to show good timing or discretion when it comes to selecting new management. It says here, if Willie was going to be fired, the time to sack Willie would have been after the collapse, not while the team is in the middle of an identity crisis and could probably go either way. I'm not saying that Omar should stand pat, or that I think Willie is the ideal manager, but I am saying that constant flux is not a hallmark of solid organizations. Finding a good plan and sticking to it is what we wanted Omar to do in the first place, remember?


Friday, May 09, 2008

QuesTek for Your Baseball Library: Meet the Mets 2008

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I have long planned to bring a modicum of respectability to this blog by engaging in informative, thought-provoking reviews of every book ever written about the Mets or baseball. While I now have quite a collection of baseball books, nary a peep has been heard from me. The original launch date of this fabulous feature was going to be this past off-season, but between the bipolar lows of the collapse and highs of the Santana landing, I never got it off the ground. Also, I set my standards too high. I read books for a living. So, unlike the daily content of this blog, I'd have to think through and edit what I wrote about the books I reviewed, seeing as the authors or editors most likely put some effort into them, and it would be unfair to treat them with the dismissive and jocular tones I treat the rest of reality with (let's face it, reality deserves it). Plus, maybe they'd get mad. Anyhow, in the future I plan to evaluate books inside and outside of the baseball literary cannon for quality and Mets content, as well as bring to your attention more obscure baseball related writings when possible. Like QuesTek, these entries will strive to be impartial if fallible, sometimes a pain in the ass, but ultimately provide a baseline for your decision to tear yourself away from the TV and pick up a damn book. Of course, also like Questek, I hope to piss off Tom Glavine at every opportunity.

Meet the Mets 2008: An Annual Guide to New York Mets Baseball. Edited by Matthew Silverman and Greg Spira. Maple Street Press.

Why start here? (other than the book was sent to me gratis?) Meet the Mets is the kind of book that, though it could be enjoyed on the beach late in the summer, for full effect should be read before, or in the early stages of the season. Since it's kind of time sensitive, I thought I'd weigh in and give you my opinion as to whether this is worth buying. Better late than never.

These type of annuals, often published to make a quick buck by some obscure publishing house's editorial board that has equal expertise in the fields of auto racing, marijuana, and recipes, are often filled with shoddy content, shitty photos, and dated, forgettable analysis. They are normally disappointing both because of the lack of care put into their design, and the real time alternatives available on the interwebs. The editors of Meet the Mets have avoided these pitfalls, producing a spunky little number chock full of useful, mostly illuminating pieces. And I don't throw around the phrase chock full without reflection. The best move, for my money, was to spice up the 22 or so features with a historical feel: vintage photographs and articles on seasons past give the volume heft that would be missing if it was entirely devoted to the club's recent travails, capsule team reviews, and future predictions. The guide seems to have started production a bit earlier than the completion of the Santana saga, so the editors should be commended for pulling off relevancy in the midst of ground-shaking change. The annual is divided into three sections--2008 Mets, the farm system, and Mets history--that don't quite capture the content, but that's a minor quibble to aim at such a nice package. The 112 pages are glossy and without advertising. And whoopie, you'll find familiar names from high-quality Mets blogs on the table of contents.

There is plenty of unique content here to set Meet the Mets apart. In honor of Shea's final season, there are several articles that deal with Shea's legacy and look ahead to Citifield's impact, architecturally and otherwise. Tara Kriegler's article and the accompanying photos put Citifield in context nicely. Vince Gennaro's piece on the economics of qualifying for the playoffs, broadcasting, and opening a new stadium is thought provoking, particularly how the dynamics of Citifield debt will lead to a situation where the post-2009 clubs "can no longer afford to lose."

Most helpful, psychologically speaking, are the handful of articles devoted to a retrospective on "the collapse." Reading these, I realized how thoroughly I had repressed all memories of September; I remember only the unreality of the event, not the details. With the help of articles like Greg Prince's "Rouges Gallery," which reminds us of the villains and their crimes, I can face my demons and let the healing begin. I always remembered why I hate Ronnie Belliard, but now I recognize why the utterance of the name "Greg Dobbs" makes me clench my fists. Metswalkoffs anonymously contributes a nice little encapsulation of their blog's content. Perhaps less useful a couple months into the season are the articles assessing the 2008 Mets and their competitors (current 1st place St Louis Cardinals "unlikely to be a factor"), yet these are thoughtful and competently presented too.

In sum, I'd recommend picking this up for the beach or a long commute--it's only 13 bucks anyway. The content has been selected with care, obviously the work of experienced, loving fans. If you need evidence, I will only say that there is Ralph Kiner content. There are standard questions I intend to answer for every book I review, such as "would I buy this if it wasn't sent to me for free/loaned to me?" I might have overlooked it on the newsstand, but after reading it, yes, I would. I look forward to next season's edition, where the editors will face the challenge of duplicating their success without the "benefit" of a monumental collapses (cross fingers) or Shea's final season, perhaps scoring some more interviews and continuing to exploit bloggerland for articles.

Verdict: 4 out of 5 Mookies

You can visit the book publisher's hype here. The book is available on NY area newsstands, pharmacies, supermarkets, and if that fails, online.


Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Who are you and what have you done with my team?

"All the Met wins on the road against Los Angeles this year have come at Dodger stadium."
--Ralph Kiner

A crappy photo essay

These days, the Dodgers look to history to find some heroes.

It was just this kind of day for Dodgers fans.

Has anyone seen Angel Pagan?

He's ok!

The perfect day?

Having the park all to myself by the 7th.

The smug fat bastard that ruined Maine's party.

The Jacket pays a visit.

A Mets pitcher goes 8 and then some? Who was that guy?

What is this strange ritual?

I wasn't as blue today as I was the last two nights.

BallHype: hype it up!


This blog is meant completely and entirely in jest, unless you count the angst, and is not meant to offend anyone, unless you are a Br*ves fan. It's not affiliated with Sterling, the Mets, common sense, good taste, or anything really.