Thursday, May 7, 2009

Let's Give This Thing Another Go...

For any of you that were kind enough to visit this blog in the past, I realize that I completely dropped the ball on updating it, or really having it function in any way, shape or form. The job I've been at for the past year demanded a lot of time, too much time, really, to justify extensive blogging, and I just let it drop off.

That said, in the next month or so, I'll be moving back up to NY, and returning to school, so I figure now's as good a time as any to get going again. Come back!!!

Enough about my life...
This is not Mets-related, but today, one of my favorite players of all time had his name added to the ever-growing list of steroid users (or PED's, call it what you will). For all of his shortcomings in the past, his questionable motives, his fake injuries, etc., I've always loved Manny. The AL team that I love (though I have a harder time with them these days, mostly based on the demeanor of the run of the mill Red Sox fan) came into it's own with his arrival, and won 2 world series with him at the helm of the batting order, and boy was it ever fun. He really was like a little kid; he would whine and do things that just drove you over the edge, but then he'd come back, give a goofy smile, and you'd forgive him just like that. Plus, he'd hit deadly pitches 500 ft to the opposite field on 0-2 counts. I agreed last year that it was time for him to go from Boston, but I enjoyed his antics in LA, and while I'm not a fan of the Dodgers, they're among the few teams that I don't call my own that I can tolerate, and root for at times, based on Brooklyn, Strawberry, LaSorda, Manny, and most of all, Scully. I had come to accept his spot in LA, and barring a head-to-head clash with the Mets, I'd root for him there. I was, for the record, among the 99.9% of Met fans desperate to see him signed this offseason, and somewhat angry with Bernie Madoff for hurting that cause.

And now, he's joined the club.

My initial phases of reaction were similar to how I've felt about most of the big name players who have been exposed that I didn't already dislike, i.e., Clemens, Bonds: Surprise, spiked with a twinge of subconscious excitement over a huge new story. Doubt. Belief. Complete denial, and investigation into whatever excuses were given; in this case, the whole possibility that he was merely using some other form of Viagra to keep Manny being Horny was the cop-out. Doubt again, and then acceptance. That, for me anyhow, has been the usual steroid allegations cycle, but in this case, there is a great deal of gloom that has followed that stage of acceptance. Now this era truly is tainted, at least to a great extent. If you stacked up 20 names that defined the 90's and early 2000's, Ramirez, Clemens, Rodriguez, Sheffield, McGwire, Sosa, Tejada, Giambi, Pettitte, Bonds, Canseco and others yet unnamed are all on that list. I'll be stupid and hold out on Piazza, as that is still unproven. What do you do with all this? What can you say? They're falling like comets.

I have no idea, really, what with the records, the wins, the history, but one thing is crystal clear to me, and I never thought 5 years ago that I would say this:

Jose Canseco was right, and he may have saved baseball. All the names he has indicated keep bleeding out, and while I initially thought it was snakish of him to name names, I see his point: no one listened to any complaints about steroid use until A) he brought the media attention to it, and B) he named big names. You can say, "steroids are a problem" and a couple folks may turn they heads and nod in agreement, but when you say, "Roger Clemens used steroids", everyone listens, and they talk about it. Then the media talks some more, then Bud Selig's head becomes slightly less engorged in his rear end, then congress jumps on it, then all of a sudden you have (somewhat) comprehensive testing in baseball, and the sport emerges from a cloak of suspicion into a more or less cleaned-up state. Manny positive or not, his suspension only reinforces that there ain't too many folks getting away with this s**t anymore.

Maybe Jose Canseco is a jerk, maybe not, but you can't call him a liar or a crook anymore, and all of his screaming may have brought our game back to its truest form.

The New York Mets, on the other hand, seem to be on the way up, for a change, and as we speak, they have a 1-0 lead in a 2 game series against Philly, just swept the impossible Braves, and are leading the 2nd game of that Philly series 5-1, behind 3 home runs in the park that doesn't allow them, one each by perhaps the most prominent members of the recently much-maligned "core", Beltran, Wright and Reyes. Maybe Omar calling the boys out lit a fire?

Who cares? They look good, let's keep it up.

Monday, June 23, 2008


The weekend series in Colorado was nice, there's no denying that, and overall the Mets as a team are playing a more inspired, motivated brand of baseball since the regime change some 7 days ago.

But right now, the Mets trail baseball's worst team, record-wise, 5-0 in the 5th inning with their ace on the hill.

I'm not gonna sit here and sweat the fact that they're losing to the Mariners; that is what it is, any team can lose to any other team, and will do so frequently over the course of a long season, but the issue is Johan Santana, who is looking a lot shakier than someone deserving the moniker "best pitcher in baseball" should look.

Santana, coming into tonight's game in which he and the Mets are now trailing 5-1, is 7-5, while the team is 9-6 in games he has started. That ain't dominant, and while I don't generally give much credence to a pitcher's win-loss totals, much of that being based on luck, a pitcher of his supposed caliber should be winning more games, period.

His ERA is respectable at 3.04, his WHIP not terrible, due to the low number of walks he issues, at 1.21.

On the flipside, he is allowing nearly a hit per inning, and has just given up his 14th HR of the season, a Grand Slam hit by Felix Hernandez on the first pitch he saw, which oh by the way was the first home run a Mariners pitcher has ever hit. That number of home runs surrendered is good for 9th in the NL, and all but one of the pitchers above him in that category pitch in Philly, Cincinnati, Colorado or Houston. In case that doesn't mean anything to you, those 4 cities' baseball teams play home games in ballparks only slightly larger than the bed on my pickup truck.

I understand his pattern in the past, and am hopeful that it will follow this season as well: he generally comes out of the gate sluggishly, and then goes on an absolute tear for the rest of the season, particularly midsummer. Thing is, the season is nearly, incredibly, half over, and now's about the time that that absolute tear should get going. I though that Keith (or Ron, I'm not 100% sure who said it) nailed it on the head during tonight's broadcast when he talked about the time for theatre; tonight was supposed to be the night that Johan's dominance reared its head, but not quite.

I'm not gonna call for Johan's head here. I don't think he doesn't care, and I don't care how much money he makes. I'm sure anyone would happily accept that contract.

Nor am I gonna start questioning the deal to acquire him. Anyone, anytime, anywhere, makes that deal, end of story.

But if this team has a run in them, he needs to go out and be that guy, that's all there is to it, and Saturday against the Yankees would be a hell of a time to get on a roll.

Hey, if this were fantasy baseball, the Mets would be winning, the runs being unearned.

Now let's go beat the piss out of the Starbucks Mermen the rest of this series.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Dan Warthen is My Hero.

Continuing on the headline for my last post, things are, simply put, surreal.

Dan Warthen is our pitching coach. There isn't a single picture of Dan Warthen on the internet, not that I could find, nor does he have a Wikipedia entry. And there he was, in the dugout 2 nights in a row, walking out to the mound and saying something to a couple of pitchers. Whether it was, "work him offspeed on the outer edge" or "hi, I'm Dan, your pitching coach", I'm not sure, but hey. I swear that for whatever reason, my buddy and I laughed hysterically for about 10 straight minutes when SNY kept cutting to him in the dugout, partially because he's a little funny looking, and partially from being punchdrunk by the sudden disappearance of familiarity, replaced with a couple old people.

And where is HoJo in all of this? I swear I haven't heard his named uttered, not once, while meanwhile the entire coaching staff has been uprooted, via firing, promotion of demotion. I haven't seen him, either. Is he hiding?

Wednesday night was iffy, but Wednesday day was iffy, and it just followed. Lackey pitched well, Johan didn't, it is what it is, but they win, and win so improbably I still don't really buy it, on Thursday: a late-inning comeback?! Against K-Rod??!! It truly was a nice win, for a team that has been woefully lacking in comebacks of any sort. Walking into the 9th, while I cursed myself for losing sleep to watch another west coast loss, the Met offense had to face a closer who hadn't blown a save in 25 attempts, whose slider doesn't deserve to be called a slider because it transcends sliding, the same Met offense that has negated my need for a barber, and they got to him, tie ballgame! Then I start thinking, of course, they do this, and they blow it, perfect. But Damion Easley, Mr. 2 Legit 2 Quit himself, steps up and yaks one. I can't believe it.

Oliver Perez needs to invest in some kind of a "get out of inning free" card.

Great to see David Wright start to come around, and can we stop bashing Delgado yet, who has quietly been in '06 form for a little while now?

And with that win they've won a couple series in a row, and have improved to 6-2 against the AL, which regardless of what people were saying about the NL catching up, is clearly still the superior league. Point is, the New York Mets can hang with the best teams in the game when they play their best baseball. Nights like 5 of the last 8 nights reinforce my confidence in that statement, and maybe, just maybe, they're starting to play their best. Is it Jerry Manuel and co? I don't know; maybe they broke out of their hole on Sunday and Willie or no Willie they'll be hot from here on out, or maybe they won't, Willie or no Willie.

I've seen/heard/read a lot of initial similar reactions to the new regime. Seems like a lot of folks want to anoint Jerry Manuel as the savior after one extra-inning win, which is really indicative of how starved we've been, but let's give this thing some time before we judge it one way or another. They're good, and he might be good. If he is good, then there's a chance those characters can get it together and make a run yet. ('03 Marlins, Torbor fired, McKeon comes in, anyone?)

Out to Denver, where thankfully it's only June, not Rocktober.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


My assumption is that no one is reading this, seeing as I've completely s**t the bed as far as blogging goes for a couple of months now. To be fair, I've been relocated from my home in NY down the chop-country, ATL, GA, started a new job packed full of hours, and moved into a new house with an infant, so getting the time to write can be tough, even though I've kept watching all of the games, no matter what.

That being said, I've been waiting for the right moment to kick things off again, and I just can't keep my mouth shut about this, so let the floodgates open, I shall blog again.

To tell you the truth, I may be in the minority, but I really didn't want to see Willie go, and I find the whole thing to be rather sad. Perhaps it's sentimentality rather than reason speaking, but to me this was Willie's team, and that feeling has only been intensified with him now suddenly gone, something I found out about, by the way, at about 6:45am as I pulled into work with a phone call from my father in NY. Having gone to bed with a 4-3 Met lead in the 5th, I almost assumed they would blow it, the way things have been going, and when I woke up and checked the boxscore on my phone I was very pleased, and got a little wave of optimism. Then the phone call, and all day all I could think was, damn.

To me, Willie Randolph represents the man at the helm of the ship when this franchise rocketed back to relevance in a way unseen since the '80's, and I'm not forgetting 1999-2000. The way he guided that team in '05 and '06 was really perfect, he was the right man for the job, and a bad finish to 2007 plus a third of '08 isn't enough to cancel that out. The core of the great '06 team is still here, and more than anything, all of us Met fans really just want that team back, or something like it. That was his team. This feels like his team. I just don't think he deserved to get the boot mid-season.

Plus, I genuinely like him, and if you saw the brief initial interview with Willie as he left the hotel in Anaheim, I don't know how you could call it anything but downright heartbreaking.

Maybe this just feels like the end of an era that once seemed like an empire that would never die; Willie, David, Jose, Pedro, Wags and the Carloses looked like a sure dynasty, and while many of the members of that list may yet see glory, it is now set in stone that things will never happen they way we thought and hoped they would. Jerry Manuel may go on to win us a bundle of championships, and I'm sure that would be as sweet as anything, but for now, things are just off; we were naive in '06 to think that it would all just keep going, the way sports are today, and this is reality. It's the day you and your highschool sweetheart realize you're both going to college.

And I don't want to get in to whether Willie motivated Reyes enough, whether he double-switched appropriately, or any of that. I just feel how I do.

But anyway...
In spite of all that, I'm not quite on board with every sportswriter and their respective mothers with the perception that the Mets handled the whole thing in a "gutless", "classless", "cruel" or "amateur" way. The list could go on, and they're dumping it all on. Initially I thought about it that way, but I actually bought Omar's logic in the press conference, particularly because he seemed very sincere. I can see how he would want him out at the very instant the decision is made for a variety of reason: the risk of leaks, which Omar pounded home a lot, the risk of a manager who nows he's done managing a game, and really, I can see the problem with the mere idea of allowing someone who you've resolved to fire to manage a ballgame. Did the whole thing drag out a bit too publicly over the last couple of weeks? Yes. But to be fair, Omar seemed to take his shots for that, and it is New York. If the thing had been approached the same way in Atlanta, no one would have blinked an eye, which is why it's tough to compare organizations in that way.

I though Omar was pretty darn direct today, and I give him credit for it. I don't think it was all handled splendidly, and obviously I don't agree with the decision at its base, but I'm not gonna linger on the 3:15et/12:15pt am issue.

And whether I think his predecessor should be gone or not, I really liked Jerry Manuel in his portion of the press conference, and apparently, based on what I've read in the various online forums, most Met fans agree with me. I thought he seemed very intelligent, very personable, and most impressively very smooth and comfortable in what was a very uncomfortable situation. His resume isn't incredible, but neither was Joe Torre's, or Terry Francona's. Who knows?

I do agree that if you're gonna bag Willie, someone with a different angle had better come in, but I don't see the whole Manuel is just Willie version 2.0 thing. Why? Because he's a nice, calm, black guy? (And trust me, I'm not playing any race card, I'd be the last person on earth to get PC on you) That's silly; Jerry Manuel struck me as having a very different presence from Willie Randolph, and from what he said, he has a different approach to the subtleties of managing a baseball team.

To sum it all up, I moved 1000 miles away form home, I'm sorry I dissapeared from the blog, I'm sorry Willie's gone, I hope I'm wrong about that, I don't think Omar's evil, I like Manuel even though I wanted Willie to stay, and I hope I'm right about him.

Now go beat the Angels. Let's Go Mets. Geez.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Felt Like '06...


I haven't heard the postgame responses form tonight on the radio, or read them on the internet, and I don't really care how the fickle mood of the conspiracy theorist Met fans who behave like Yankee fans has been swayed one way or the other, but I can tell you plain and simple: that was the kind of game that just made you feel really good.

It not only made you feel good, but it put a lot of things in perspective after what in my mind was one of the single greatest days of fan overreaction in the history of sports. Maybe some of that negativity coming from the fans trickled in to the clubhouse, or was already present, and lit a fire under them, but that's not my feeling. My feeling is that this is a really good team that's going to amass a hefty sum of wins, and this was one of them, as the 6 losses were 6 of the 60-70 some games any 90-100 win team will lose.

So much for Reyes being done, huh? My expectation was that the slump would ease its way out, possibly beginning with a nice 2-4 game with a SB, and then maybe a 1-4 with a double and an RBI, but the leadoff man, after 2 1/2 days off, returned with quite a bang, going 4-5. Reyes singled, doubled and tripled in succession, and the whole park smelled cycle, but alas hit #4 was a mere single again. All of his hits were hard, and all of them were well-timed. Bravo, Jose. It's just impossible to convey, or rather, to put into words what the effect on this entire team is when Reyes is on his game. All that tension, all of the bad taste that you have in your mouth through collapses and slow starts, it's all gone. When Reyes is on, it just feels like everything's going to be OK.

Not to short David Wright, who homered in his 3rd consecutive game, barely clearing the fence in right center (right center? left center? my memory is escaping me...), doubled twice, and drove in 5 runs,
5 runs. Not a bad night to have David Wright on 4 different fantasy teams. The Captain apparent is now back to .300, and has knocked in a total of 15 runs, tying him with Mark Reynolds for the NL lead.

Beltran knocked one in. Pagan kept his hitting going. Church looked good in the 2-spot, where he was inserted today, notching 1 hit, 1 BB, scoring 2 runs, and successfully bunting Reyes to 3rd in the bottom of the 1st. I haven't seen any signs of late that Luis Castillo is capable of such tasks. Brian Schneider was unimpressive with the bat against his old squad, but looked great gunning Milledge on a caught stealing at 3rd.

Speaking of the Great Lastings Milledge, I liked him when he was here, and I still like him. I wore my custom #44 "Stings" Jersey from last year today, and I'll wear it tomorrow. You can count me out of the Milledge Boo-Birds. To me, he's an exciting player with a ton of potential which he may or may not fulfill, and all of his alleged off-the-field issues were totally overblown. In contrast with the DUI's, assault charges, weapons charges, domestic abuse, tax fraud, and steroid usage that is rampant in all of sports, I was never too offended by Lastings choosing to give high-fives to some fans and recording a rap album. I wasn't, and still aren't gonna listen to it, and probably disagree with some of its content, but that doesn;t influence my interpretation of Lastings Milledge the outfielder too much. I'll cheer for him tomorrow.

Duca, on the other hand, who didn't play today but should be in the lineup for DC tomorrow...
That's really tough, and I may just have to sit it out, not boo or cheer. The guy was a favorite of mine, but was not only
on the Mitchell Report, he was very prominently featured, and probably introduced a good number of other players to the juice. He also wrote checks to buy drugs, which is just dumb as all hell. Come on, Paulie.
But I loved him, really did, as much as any ballplayer...
Gonna have to sit down and be silent.

To the issue at hand again, all guns clicked last night, Tuesday night, offensively. The leadoff man led-off, the #2 man got him over, the #3 man got 'em in, and the rest of 'em helped. Pelfrey was truly impressive, picthing 7 shutout innings, though not peril-free, and the bullpen was quick and done. Heilman got some boos after issuing a 4-pitch walk in the 8th, but no harm was done, SO STOP BOOING EVERYTHING, MET FANS! ESPECIALLY BEFORE ANY DAMAGE IS DONE! IT'S NOT GONNA HELP WHEN A GUY IS STILL IN THERE TO BOO HIM!

And who pitched the 9th? An indescribably welcome sight in Duaner Sanchez. He gave up one hit, but was locating well and K'd one batter in his one inning of scoreless work. It has to be remembered that he is working his way back to full strength, so if he gives up some hits now and tops off at 92, that isn't necessarily a permanent thing. Anyhow it was great to see him at all, and great to see him have a good inning; you forget just how dominant he was 2 years ago before in between Heilman and Wags.

Mets Win, 6-0. Solid score, no drama. They're the far superior team of the two, and they showed it. I was never worried, just enjoying myself.

Elsewhere, the Braves got blanked by former standout Scott Olsen in Miami, but the Jose Valverde and the 'Stros really blew it for us, giving up 4 runs in the bottom of the 9th in Philly and dropping a game which they led 3-0 going into that inning. That was an annoying score to see updated on the scoreboard. I'm sure Pedro Feliz is very happy with himself. Ugh.

Tomorrow/tonight, whenever it is, Maine will be facing Matt Chico, who is winless on the year, and should remain so.

It will also be my final game at Shea before I have to move to Atlanta, Georgia, (yes, I know. No, I'm not going to become a Braves fan, we've covered this) although certainly not my final game at Shea. They have things called airplanes and I have something called an obsession and something else called season tickets which I am not relinquishing. Gimme a bye for now win, guys.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Gabe the Babe.


When Oliver Perez hits the first batter he faces, you know that nothing good is coming. It's either Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde, and today it was Mr. Hyde. Ollie's line today: 4.1 IP, 8 H, 3 BB, 1 HBP. Yech. The highlight of his day? Backing up an ill-advised errant throw home by Carlos Delgado. Jorge Sosa didn't help him much, giving up 2 runs of his own, but the rest of the pen actually looked very good.

Gabe Kapler has completely forgotten that he is a replacement level player, going 3-4 with a homer, a double and 3 RBI's on the days, bringing his average up to .423 with 4 HR's. Maybe he'll start against righties now, too. Both of these losses to Milwaukee are probably wins without Kapler's timely hits.

So how do you rack up 14 hits and still lose a ballgame? You hit in to double plays in 5 CONSECUTIVE INNINGS. I've never seen anything like that, and to be honest, I was very *ahem* unsure about a couple of those out calls at first, particularly the ones on Church and Schneider, but I haven't seen a highlight, so who knows. To be fair, my seats at Shea aren't far from first base, and are in line with the 1B umpire's view, and they looked safe.

That doesn't, however, mean that there is any excuse for hitting ground balls right at infielders with men on first and less than 2 outs in 5 consecutive innings, and can somebody tell me why Brady Clark was running on contact from 3rd with no one out in the bottom of the 8th? If he holds up there, worst-case scenario is men on 2nd and 3rd with 1 out for David Wright, and after Delgado flied out to end that 8th inning rally, Clark's being thrown out at home proved the dagger for the Mets.

Some other bones to pick, though they didn't end up hurting the Mets in the game:

1. Why did Delgado make that throw home in the 1st? If you don't recall the situation, Carlos caught a pop up in foul territory not far from first, and as usual the runner at 3rd bluffed that he was going. Rather than run the ball in, like any highschool player would do, Delgado flings the ball in to Schneider, and it gets away. If Ollie isn't perfectly positioned to back that ball up, a run scores. It's just another example among many in the early days of this season of something far less than fundamental baseball.

2. What in the world was Willie thinking with his pitching changes today? He brought Scott Schoenweis in to start the 7th, (who for whatever reason I've come to like) and Show got the pinch-hitter Joe Dillon out on 2 pitches. Instead of letting him stay in to face Jason Kendall, who hit .242 last year and has hit 4 home runs in the last 3 seasons, who Ned Yost bats 9th, behind the pitcher, Willie goes and gets Joe Smith. Look, you can like Schoenweis or not, but when you're chasing 3 runs, as they were at the time, how do you go to your 3rd reliever in the 7th inning after the guy you have in there has thrown 2 pitches? If it were Ryan Braun up, maybe, but it was Jason Kendall.

So Smith finishes the 7th, giving up 1 unearned run because David Wright can't throw a baseball (even though Delgado got the error officially) and Feliciano comes in to pitch the 7th. Feliciano retires Fielder, and whaddaya know, that's it for Pedro. Wilie wants Heilman after Feliciano has faced 1 batter. Was he tired? Doubtful, as he had only pitched 2 innings all year. Heilman comes in, and the pitcher's spot is due to leadoff the bottom of the inning, so Willie double-switches in Brady Clark, when anyone in their right mind knew that a righty would be coming in to pitch the 8th for Milwaukee; the Brewers have burned their only lefty RP. As it happened Clark got a hit, but I always want Marlon Anderson facing a righty over Clark. So now we're in the 8th inning, and Willie has just used his 5th relief pitcher, now chasing 2 runs, and his hot-hitting 6 hitter in right field, Church, is out of the game for the pitcher's spot.

That all to me just reeked of horrible mismanagement, and while it didn't eventually hurt us today, other than having Anderson bat instead of Church in the 9th, those kind of moves will lose you games. Mind you, I've never been a Willie hater, but I have questioned his ability to handle pitching changes and double switches.

On a brighter note, congrats to David Wright on his 100th career home run in the 1st inning today, his 2nd in as many at-bats.

Off day tomorrow, and we can only hope to beat up on the Nats, hopefully with Reyes back and Duaner Sanchez on board, and come out of this homestand over .500.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Johan Gets the Sheets Pulled Out From Underneath Him


Maybe it shoulda rained...

Johan Santana is a hell of a pitcher, make no mistake, but it looks like his propensity to give up the longball isn't out of his system. It really comes with the territory with a pitcher who lives on a changeup: when the change doesn't fool a hitter it can be hit very, very far, and Gabe Kapler knew it was coming in the 7th inning. Funny to think a guy who was managing the Greenville Drive last year can take Santana deep.

To put it in perspective, Johan has a career ERA just over 4 in April and May, and his second half ERA is under 3. He does come from a country that hugs the equator, so one could understand how pitching in NY for the first time in April, hot as it may seem to us, could be initially discomforting. Point is, he'll be fine, and I
can't believe that I heard boos as he left the game today. Come on.

Sheets was iffy in the 1st, giving up two runs, but he was simply untouchable after that all the way up until David Wright took him out to left field too little too late.

I felt hopeful when Eric Gagne came in, cuz if anyone can pull a Benitez these days, it's him, but he was very efficient, getting the Mets 1-2-3 in the 9th.

Ollie pitches tomorrow against our old friend Jeff Suppan; initial word is that Reyes will not play, though his MRI was negative.

Manny Ramirez just doubled in two runs off of Moose to give Boston a 3-2 lead in the 6th. Hold on, fellas. Let's go Sox.

The Tigers can't win a game, nearly being no-hit by GAVIN FLOYD, and eventually losing 7-0, dropping to 2-9 on the year.

Smoltz looks as if there never was an injury, as he gave up only 1 run over 6, dropping his ERA to 0.82 in a 10-2 Braves W over the Nats. Jeff Francoeur went 3-5 and hit 2 homers. He has caught fire.

Philly plays later, pitting Cole Hamels against the Cubbies and Ted Lilly at CBP. Hopefully the lefty shuts the Philly big boys down.

Let's Go Mets.

How to Solve your Corner Outfield Woes: Go to Church and Seek the Help of Angels


Boy, has it ever been a while since we had a win streak...

My baseball week started on a very sour note, after waiting all April to see the Mets in person, I finally drove out to Turner Field, as I happened to be in Atlanta, last Friday, and what did we get? A rainout. Oh well, I thought, we'll get 'em on Saturday and Sunday. Not so much. 2 swings by Kelly Johnson and Mark Teixeira and it's Tomahawk Chops galore.

Oh well, I again think, I'll be back in Brooklyn tomorrow and on Tuesday we'll turn it around at Shea. And again, not so much with the second part of that arrangement. To be fair, I'll always be grateful to have been at the last opener at Shea, especially with my father close to his birthday, but on the baseball end of things the game was ugly and the second out #27 was recorded all the baseball Seventh-Day Adventists of the message board and talk radio world stuck their heads out and cried, "the end is near!" I'll admit, while the more rational and optimistic end of me was rife with self-reminders of the insignificance of week 1 records, they were accompanied with some foreboding.

And then the bats went off on Wednesday, led by, of course, Angel Pagan, with a good deal of help from the Philly defense, and Pelfrey gave us one of his better Major League showings. Eric Bruntlett is officially my all-time favorite Philly.

Thursday Maine looked very good, surrendering one run over six, and he had enough help to win it, but Heilman indulged himself in that one nasty habit of his, that is giving up bombs, and there were those phightins, right back in it. In extras the bats looked weak, they looked not so much with the clutch, and you were just waiting for the ball to drop with the bullpen.

As a side note, I understand completely why going in to Thursday night, any Met fan would have been sour on Scott Schoenweis, and why they would have booed him as he exited his prior appearance, but to me it seems counterintuitive to sit at a relatively important baseball game into extra innings and boo your own pitcher coming in in the 11th. I mean you want him to succeed, don't you? Boo him after he fails, or boo him if the situation doesn't matter, but in a tie game in the 11th, with 2 men on and Philly's best hitter at the plate, do you really want to shake Schoenweis' already shaky psyche?
And hey, he got the job done.

But the ball did not drop with the bullpen; the only ball that dropped was a line drive off the bat of the shortstop right in between Werth and Jenkins. Reyes stood at 2nd, and WHO ELSE BUT ANGEL PAGAN, 3 for 5 on the night overall, provided the winning base hit. Who knows if Reyes scored? It counted.

Friday, we had a feel-good story that will be hard to top. Brooklyn's own (And this time the player in question actually grew up here, rather than Paul LoDuca who quickly fled to AZ after birth) Nelson Figueroa pitched his ass off if you don't mind me saying, allowing 2 runs over 6, and the bullpen was nearly perfect behind him, Joe Smith allowing the only baserunner on a walk to Rickie Weeks. Delgado contributed to the runs, as he has been doing, Easley gave us one, even Raul Casanova managed to get away from the ladies for a moment to knock one in. And who roped a key, late RBI single? ANGEL F'IN PAGAN! Mets beat the Brewers, the Brooklyn boy shines, Heilman gives up no bombs, Wagner gets save numero uno, there's the first 3-game win streak of the year.

The bad news? Reyes leaves with a hammy strain, said not to be serious. There are many rumblings that perhaps it's more than they're letting on, but methinks something else might be brewing. What has been the single loudest whine about Reyes since last summer? "Someone needs to give him a good talkin' to!" I think Willie might have done just that. Physically he has looked fine, but his approach has stunk. He had the one highlight scoring the run on Thu. night, but otherwise he has swung early and made no good contact. He just hasn't gotten on base, and it seems to be a bad combination of simultaneous cockiness and subtle lack of confidence. That's a long, presumptuous way of saying he's pressing, and I really believe that with a lead in the game and the bullpen set to go according to the late-inning plan, Willie sat Jose down. I think he did this, and I think he figured that with Santana going on Sunday and some unlikely characters producing well, he could really make a point by giving Jose a day on the bench and a Monday off to think. Why not?

And why not bat Castillo 8th once him and Reyes are back? Let Pagan swing the bat, baby. Moises Alou is a distant memory. Here's to a fine discovery in left field. Right now I want no one else up in the big spot. Well, maybe that guy who plays third.

Tomorrow we get to see our Ace live and in person at Shea, and I can't sleep. Oh by the way, he's facing a pitcher in Ben Sheets who hasn't allowed a run this year in 15 1/3 IP. This is a good game waiting to happen. My hope is that Castillo can play tomorrow so he can bat leadoff with Pagan #2, but that may be unlikely. Pick a lineup, any lineup, if Castillo isn't ready.

One more sad note. I have made a business decision to move right in to the belly of the beast, to the town where a Larry Jones jersey is a common sight. As such, this homestand is my Shea Stadium farewell tour, sort of...
Hell, no I'm not giving up my seasons! My job in Atlanta will be right next to the airport and guess what ballpark's right next to LaGuardia? I could get off work at 5 and still see half of 7:00 game!
I'll miss NY, namely Brooklyn, my hometown and the greatest little big city in the world.

Let's Go Johan.