Monday, August 30, 2004

Marlins 6, Mets 4 (60-70)

This game was typical Mets. Mike Piazza comes back from injury and homers. Al Leiter pitches well, but leaves down 3-1. The Mets battle back to take the lead. And then the bullpen gives the game right back. It's the kind of loss that makes you wish the season would just end already.

Piazza looked good. I know I'm way too optimistic usually, but he was swinging the bat with the authority he used to swing with. It resulted in an opposite-field home run in his second at-bat. He looked refreshed. Seriously. Please believe me. The Mets have to figure out a way to get Piazza appropriate rest throughout the year, and I think he'll have a few more good years still in him. OK, well, at least one more good year.

After Leiter gave up a 2-run home run to Miguel Cabrera to make it a 3-1 game in favor of the Marlins in the top of the sixth, the Mets came back to take a 4-3 lead. David Wright hit one of his best home runs of the year, shooting one straight out towards center field, with the ball just clearing the ball in right-center. So that tied the game at 3, then the next batter, Jason Phillips, homered into the left-field bullpen, putting the Mets up 4-3, and giving Leiter the chance to get a win.

That was too good to be true, though, as the Mets promptly handed the lead back, and then some. Heath Bell was the culprit out of the bullpen. Not much to say about this. As far as I'm concerned, the bottom of the sixth was the last thing worth remembering from this game. To add insult to injury, Armando Benitez came in to get the save in the 9th.

Oh wait - more good news. Kris Benson will miss his next start. Soreness in his arm/shoulder...I forget. Those deadline deals sure are looking good! I meant to write this yesterday, but I forgot. Benson gave up 8 runs (5 ER) against the Dodgers Sunday. He's only had 1 and a half (out of 5 or so total) acceptable starts for the Mets since the trade. And those other starts haven't just been bad - he's been getting rocked! And he's playing for a contract. Imagine if he wasn't a free agent at the end of the year. At least he's not driving his price up. I'll leave it on that positive note.

Check out Preview Week at as we get ready for the Jets season!!
Before I continue with "Preview Week", I must note this: I'm watching the Cowboys-Titans right now on Monday Night Football, and Vinny Testaverde is making Bill Parcells look like a genius. He's throwing like crazy, and he looks good. Either that, or the Titans defense has been horrible. One or the other, I haven't been watching that long. But it seems like Testaverde and Keyshawn Johnson have the same chemistry they had with the Jets. I do, though, expect Testaverde to throw an interception any second. OK - on with Preview Week.


The Jets defense was one of the biggest reasons for last year's 6-10 record. Because of that, there have been a lot of changes, and I think that most of them, if not all, make this Jets defense better than last year's.

Most notable gone are LB's Mo Lewis and Marvin Jones. Most notably added are LB Eric Barton, CB David Barrett, and S Reggie Tongue, along with first round draft pick LB Jonathan Vilma. Also likely to make an impact this season are rookie S Erik Coleman, and rookie CB Derrick Strait.

Everyone is stressing the fact that the defense is faster and younger this year. That's a big factor, but when you combine it with the fact that new defensive coordinator Donnie Henderson employs a very aggressive strategy, it becomes even more of a factor. He threw all kinds of looks at the Giants last Friday, and that was in a preseason game. So I have a feeling he has a bunch more tricks up his sleeve that he's waiting for the regular season to unveil. The past few years, the Jets would give up huge chunks of yardage under Ted Cottrell, before tightening up closer to their goal line. I think the days of opponents marching up and down the field on the Jets 'D' are over.

The D-line is a huge factor this year. Shaun Ellis, Dewayne Robertson, Jason Ferguson, and John Abraham should be the starters. Ellis had the huge year last year, Robertson had a bad rookie season, Ferguson's a solid veteran, and Abraham is coming off a disappointing season, but is going to be a big factor this year (it should also be noted Ellis and Abraham are playing for contracts this year). The Jets plan to use Abraham as a sometime-lineman, sometime-linebacker, as he'll sometimes drop back into coverage. That should be fun to watch, and I think it is a good fit for Abraham. Robertson needs to bounce back with a good year - if not, he'll be labeled a bust, and that'll be tough for him to shake the rest of his career. I have a feeling Ellis is going to have another good year, and I think the Jets are more interested at this point in re-signing Ellis than they are Abraham.

The starting linebackers will most likely be Barton, Sam Cowart in the middle, and Victor Hobson. Vilma is the next in line, and could steal a lot of playing time from Cowart, but I'm pretty sure the Jets will be starting Cowart come September 12th. This is a very improved unit - I think Hobson's going to have a great career, for whatever that's worth. He and Vilma should be playing side-by-side for a long time, and Barton's only 26 years old. I'm looking forward to seeing him play, because I don't know too much about him.

Another player I don't know much about is Barrett. He is a part of the revamped secondary, which is another area the Jets have gone to great lengths to improve. Barrett is slated at one corner, and Donnie Abraham is the other. I think Abraham is hurt, though, and won't be ready by opening Ray Mickens will be the starter in his place. Right behind Mickens is Strait, who will see a lot of work in dime action, and I don't think the coaches need to much of an excuse to put Strait into the starting lineup. I think they've been impressed, and like him a lot. Another rookie they like a lot is Coleman, and I think at this point, Coleman is the starter at strong safety over new acquisition Reggie Tongue. Tongue has been disappointing, and has been hurt on and off during training camp, and Coleman has been very impressive so far. The other safety is Jon McGraw, who was never really the same last year after he got hurt in the season opener in Washington. I think McGraw is going to be very good, if he can stay healthy. I look forward to seeing him get a full year of playing time.

As I segue from defense into special teams, I will also note that on Monday the Jets cut LB Quincy Stewart, and punter Brian Simjanovski. Stewart had 15 tackles for the Jets on special teams last season, and I have a feeling he was cut now so he can try to hook on with another team before the pre-season is over. The Jets just don't have room for him on the roster. Simjanovski was signed because starting punter Toby Gowin hasn't been 100-percent healthy during training camp. With the cutdown deadlines approaching, the Jets didn't need him. They can probably always re-sign him if they need another kicker - Simjanovski had already been cut once by the Jets during training camp. Anyway, the revolving door at punter continues for the Jets with Gowin this year. He's been with the Cowboys, and replaces Dan Stryszinski. As long as he can boot the ball I'm fine with Gowin. Doug Brien returns as the placekicker, and he's solid. He had one bad situation last year, in the regular season against the Giants, when he didn't get on the field in time to kick a field goal. Brien's a solid kicker, and I think the Jets have solved their mental lapses, so I don't see those types of situations repeating themselves this year.

As for kick returns, Jonathan Carter will handle kickoffs, and Santana Moss handles punts. This should be exciting. Carter showed what he could do last year, and Moss is one of the best punt returners in the NFL. Field position should not be a problem for the Jets in 2004.

Tomorrow we'll preview the offense.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Welcome to preview week here at

We begin preview week with a review of Friday night's Jets-Giants preseason game. Chad Pennington was OK - but he made it through the game healthy, which is all anyone should care about. He might not even play in the preseason finale on Friday - which is a good thing. Curtis Martin had a heavy workload, I think 12 carries for 50 yards. He says he's ready for the regular season, and feels better than he did last year.

But I think the most important development from Friday's preseason game was the way the defense came out feeling about itself. After a couple of questionable outings in which they didn't prove they were a much better defensive unit than they were last year, the D broke out on Friday. They killed Eli Manning, forcing turnovers and pressuring him into mistakes. (That bodes well for the first game of the season, when they play Carson Palmer, who'll be making his first NFL start...but I digress.) But the biggest thing was new defensive coordinator Donnie Henderson's game plan. He blitzed everyone, from every angle. That's something the Jets haven't been doing much of in recent years, and it would be fun to watch in the regular season.

So the Jets won 2 out of their first 3 preseason games, and finish the preseason on Friday against Philadelphia. Don't expect to see many of the starters play, and if they do play, don't expect to see much of them. After that, the Patriots and Colts start the season on Thursday, September 9th, and the rest of the NFL gets started on Sunday the 12th - the Jets host the Bengals.

If you feel like the 12th's never going to come, I'll help you through it. First, a breakdown of the Jets - we'll do that all this week. Then next week, we'll get into our regular routine for the season. I'll break out that schedule next week. For this week, here's what you can expect:

Tuesday: Focus on Jets' defense/special teams
Wednesday: Focus on Jets' offense
Thursday: Jets season preview/thoughts on season/mail
Friday: Rest of the NFL preview

Don't forget the mail aspect on Thursday - that's when I'll respond to your e-mailed thoughts, questions, and comments. Send your e-mails by Wednesday to We've already gotten some mail - keep it coming!

Dodgers 10, Mets 2 (60-69)

If you're still reading, thanks for sticking with me. There's not much left for the Mets this season but to play the role of spoilers. That starts with a series against the Marlins beginning Monday. The Marlins are about five games back of the wild card. The Mets can pretty much knock them out of the race in the next couple of weeks.

It seems unlikely these days that the Mets would beat anyone...but Mike Piazza should be back soon during this series with the Marlins, and Kaz Matsui should be back by the end of the week. So, if nothing else, we'll get a look at whether or not Piazza is washed up in the final weeks of the season, and we'll also get a look at whether or not the Mets have been lying to us and Matsui finishes the season at second base. (I have a feeling they mean it when they say he won't play second this year, because of what happened with Joe McEwing on a take-out slide at the second base bag. But Kaz Matsui will be at second base next year, and Jose Reyes, if he is ever healthy, will be the shortstop.)

It was a busy weekend for the Mets. First, they dealt with the Astros again. The Mets traded Dan Wheeler to Houston for a minor league outfielder named Adam Seuss (insert your Dr. Seuss Who joke here). The Mets probably made the deal to bolster the minor leagues, but I like Wheeler. The most frustrating part about Wheeler's game was that everytime he came in with men on base, he let them score. But I think he was valuable as a long reliever/spot starter. Hopefully Seuss makes it to the majors, or can be used in another trade at some point. (An ironic addition to this story - when the Astros added Wheeler, they sent David Weathers, who they acquired from the Mets for Richard Hidalgo, to the minors.)

Also this weekend, the Mets signed Cuban pitcher Alay Soler. This is a deal that's been talked about since spring training. Soler is said to be 24 years old, but who the heck knows if that's true. If it is, that's a nice young pitcher the Mets got. On the other hand...we've been mis-led by the Mets international scouting staff before....(some shortstop named Kazuo).

Finally, maybe this will settle down Mets fans for a bit...or at least me. Scott Kazmir pitched again on Sunday, and pitched much more reasonably for a person making his second major league start. Kazmir gave up five earned runs in 3 innings in getting a no-decision against Oakland. His major league ERA is now somewhere around 5.62. But he's still 1-0. And Victor Zambrano is still on the DL.

(Don't forget about We're up and running - check it out!!)

Friday, August 27, 2004

I spent Tuesday afternoon at Jets training camp. I have to admit, the team didn't look extremely sharp. They almost seemed to be going through the motions, anxious to get practice overwith. The big news of the day was that the Jets had signed Quincy Carter to a one-year deal. He was there, working with the coaches, and stayed after practice to throw a few extra passes. I'm sure this was not the most intense Jets practice of training camp...but I haven't seen any others, so I have nothing to compare it to. Let's just say if the Jets are practicing like this everyday, it's going to be a long season. I have a feeling, though, this was just a tired team (who had the morning off), anxious to get to their third preseason game, and looking forward to the end of training camp. I'm anxious for the regular season - I'm sure these guys are too.

Here's a little of what we saw on Tuesday (Click on the picture to make it bigger, then click "back" on the browser to get back to this page):

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Originally uploaded by Johnnyjets.
Former Jet Mark Gastineau made an appearance at camp Tuesday, checking out practice from the sideline. He was allowed inside the fence. I was not.

Originally uploaded by Johnnyjets.
A good sight: After practice, Jets rookie linebackers Jonathan Vima (l.) and Darrell McClover (r.) put in extra time running wind sprints. The two were teammates at the University of Miami.

Vilma's going to be awesome. McClover - I don't know, but he's got a good work ethic.

Originally uploaded by Johnnyjets.
A good sight: After practice, Jets rookie linebackers Jonathan Vima (l.) and Darrell McClover (r.) put in extra time running wind sprints. The two were teammates at the University of Miami.

Vilma's going to be awesome. McClover - I don't know, but he's got a good work ethic.

Originally uploaded by Johnnyjets.
Here's a sight that'll get you ready for the season: The Jets first team offense on the field.

The Jets have until next Wednesday to sign Chad Pennington to a long-term deal, or else negotiations have to wait until the end of the season. The Jets NEED to take care of that by next week.

Originally uploaded by Johnnyjets.
Herman Edwards (standing) going over to talk to brand-new Jets backup Quarterback, Quincy Carter(sitting and stretching on the right).

Edwards is all about Carter getting a second chance. I really think this is a good move for the Jets, if Carter has his head on straight. More on that in the season preview, coming next week.

Originally uploaded by Johnnyjets.
That's Ken-Yon Rambo in the foreground, stretching with the rest of the team. This picture was only put in so you can check out his hair.

Originally uploaded by Johnnyjets.
Jets receivers working on a drill. From left, Justin McCareins, Jonathan Carter, Santana Moss, Ken-Yon Rambo, Jerricho Cotchery, and Terrence Stubbs. (I think #9, Matt Dominguez, is hidden behind Cotchery, but he's not making the team anyway.)
I think Moss has been missing a lot of practices thus far, but he practiced at full speed Tuesday and wasn't holding back. I'm sure he'll be ready to go by the regular season.
Noticeably absent - Wayne Chrebet. He's been bothered by injuries all pre-season.

Padres 10, Mets 3 (59-67)

Well, if you're gonna get swept, you might as well get SWEPT. Boy, did things go downhill in a hurry. Sunday afternoon, the Mets had a chance to get right back in the thick of the wild card race. Here it is Thursday, and the Mets haven't had a sniff of a win since.

10-3. What an embarrassment. There was one good thing that came out of the past two games, at least. The Mets put David Wright into the three hole. So he's getting the experience hitting third. That'll help for next year. Wright went 0-for-2 Thursday afternoon, but he did walk twice. He is a great 2-strike hitter, just FYI.

Danny Garcia is a good little player. I don't think he should be a starter in the majors, but he is an excellent utility guy - he should definitely start next season at the Major League level.

I heard an excellent point on WFAN the other afternoon. Someone (I think it was Mike Francesa) made the point, what is the Mets training staff doing?!!? Why is it that everytime a Mets player gets hurt, he's out forever? It's a good point. And just the fact that Jose Reyes can't stay healthy is exhibit A. Cliff Floyd doesn't count because he couldn't stay healthy before he came to the Mets. Mike Piazza gets more fragile every year, but he's also getting old fast. But the point is well taken by these people know what they're doing when it comes to treating injuries? Perhaps the Mets trainers are the same guys that scout Japanese shortstops. Just a thought. it is...the big debut!! I urge you all to switch over to for the first day of the Jets page (for real today). And keep coming back to the Mets site - we have lots more to come - post-season predictions, awards predictions, and more on the Mets!! Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Padres something, Mets something less (insert crappy record here)

Blah blah blah blah blah blah Mets. Blah blah blah blah blah blah future Hall of Famer David Wright. No one blah blah blah blah for the mailbag. So blah blah blah blah blah blah.

Blah blah blah blah season blah blah blah blah over. Blah blah injuries, blah blah blah blah unbelievable.

Blah blah signed outfielder Brian Buchanan. That should really blah blah blah blah blah blah like a hole in the head.

In other news, the softball team played potentially its last game of the season. It was very likely the last game for me on the team. We came into the game 8-2, and were playing a team that had beaten us earlier in the season (I missed that game due to school - but had heard that the opposing team was very unsportsmanlike - they really crushed us, apparently). Anyway, we jumped out to a 12-2 lead, then held on for a 12-10 win. Did I mention this team was also undefeated before this game? I forgot. And they didn't take the loss easily. What a bunch of sore losers. My goodness. I don't know that I'm going to play in this league next year - I just didn't enjoy it the way I should have. But it felt good to beat this team, even though they were sore about it.

Well, it's time for the big debut (it actually existed for about six months...but now's when it gets updated regularly). Switch over there, but also tune back in for the mets blah-g. We'll start to address the down-the-road issues here. And we'll still take your mail........if there is any.

Padres 3, Mets 1 (59-65)

Due to my being on assignment for the Jets site, I did not see Tuesday night's Mets game. I didn't miss much.

I wonder if anyone even still reads this space, since NO ONE HAS E-MAILED ME YET FOR THIS WEEK'S MAILBAG!!! That's OK. I'll postpone it one more day if you have something urgent to say. Otherwise, we'll bag it for the week.

After my "on assignment" for the Jets (which will probably get posted for Thursday, so stay tuned for that), I took in a Huey Lewis and the News concert in Westbury, New York. It was awesome! The first time I saw him, and it was great - I'm going to try to go again. Just outstanding. He played all the songs you'd hope he'd play, and they were all great. So that's why I didn't watch the Mets. And also because they are frustrating, and not very good. Scott Kazmir is 1-0. With a 0.00 ERA. Victor Zambrano is hurt. But football season's a-comin', and I have now attended a Huey Lewis and the News concert.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Padres 9, Mets 4 (59-64)

Aaron Heilman: 3-and-2-thirds IP, 4 earned runs, 8 hits, 3 walks, 1 K, gets the loss for the Mets.

Scott Kazmir: 5 IP, 0 ER, 4 H, 3 BB, 4K, and stands to get the win right now for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays against the Seattle Mariners.

Talk about rubbing salt in a wound. Not only did the Mets look horrible in a game that might have just finished off any chance at a wild card run, but Kazmir makes an impressive major league debut. Kind of gives you a pain in your chest.

The Mets were horrible Monday night. They couldn't touch Jake Peavy. And Heilman is awful. It's bad. Very bad. The only bright spot was from, of course, Future Hall of Famer David Wright, who hit his 6th (of 756 career) home run. Mike Cameron also homered. That was his 27th of the season. He now holds the record for most homers in a season by a Mets centerfielder. Well, bully for him. Why don't you catch a few fly balls? (I'm sorry, I shouldn't have said that. I'm a bit angry right now.)

Cliff Floyd left Monday's game after he got hit in the elbow with a pitch. Well, he didn't leave immediately. He came back out to left field, threw a runner out at the plate, then left the game. He's more fragile than Jose Reyes (no longer the greatest ballplayer who ever lived....unless he proves he can stay healthy. It's a sad day, folks).

So I'm officially writing off the Mets. But I'm not done writing about the Mets. So keep reading. And send some e-mail - Wednesday we'll be looking at some of what you have to say in our weekly mailbag. Make sure you get yours in! We have so many that we might not be able to print them all!! (OK, that's a lie. No one's sent anything. Please, someone e-mail me. Please.)

I'm on assignment for the Jets blog, which will get underway in a big way by the end of this week. So at the very least, the Mets bridged the gap to football season. I'll let you know when to check out the Jets site.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Giants 3, Mets 1 (59-63, 8 GB of Wild Card)

I feel like it's the early part of the season again. The Mets had a chance to pick up some ground in the race, they got a solid pitching outing from an unexpected source, and again their offense came up short.

In case you missed it, Future Hall of Famer David Wright was huge in Saturday's 11-9, 12 inning win. He was 4-for-6, with three doubles. His first of many 4-hit games in the Hall of Fame career. Unfortunately, he experienced a first of not-so-many on Sunday. He came up empty in a huge spot. With runners on first and second in the bottom of the eighth, down 3-1, with two outs, Wright batted against Giants' closer Dustin Hermanson, and struck out swinging. That was it for the Mets. It's a shame, because they could have taken two out of three from the Giants and kept their wild card hopes VERY alive. Now they're just barely alive.

It's also a shame because they wasted a great game by Matt Ginter. Well, a very good game, maybe not great. He gave up a solo homer to Ray Durham leading off the game, then a 2-run shot to Barry Bonds later in the first, and it was looking bad. But he gave up just those three rus in six innings, filling in for the injured Victor Zambrano. A very solid start for Ginter - looking like he did back in May. Mike DeJean pitched in two scoreless relief innings.

Now, I'm giving the Mets this one last shot here. They have four games - at home - against the San Diego Padres. The Mets are 8 games back of the Giants in the wild card race. The Padres are 2-and-a-half games behind the Giants. So they're right there at the top. If the Mets can pick up ground on San Diego, they'll keep themselves in it into September. If not, I'll officially write them off, and turn my attention to the Jets. Monday night, Aaron Heilman should be called up to make a start, so Kris Benson can be kept on his normal rest. (He was moved back a day because of Wednesday's rainout, and Thursday's doubleheader.) If the Mets can win Monday with Heilman, I like their chances with Benson, Al Leiter, Steve Trachsel, and Tom Glavine the rest of the series.

Let's go Mets.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Game 1: Mets 10, Rockies 3; Game 2: Mets 4, Rockies 2 (58-61, 7 GB of wild card)

An interesting thing happened on Thursday night. After the softball game, we went to get pizza and beer at the local bar (more on the softball game later), and the Giants-Panthers NFL Preseason game is on the TV. They do a score update at the bottom of the screen, and underneath the score of game one of the doubleheader, Mets 10, Rockies 3, it says "NYM: 7.5 games back of the wild card." It could be that they just needed a stat to put there, but I think of it as an omen. Especially after the big win in game 2.

Al Leiter pitched very well, but again threw way too many pitches, so he left the game in the sixth inning trailing 2-1. It was 2-1 into the eighth, when Eric Valent, our boy here at, hits a pinch-hit solo homer to tie it. Then, with a 3-2 count and one out, one man on, in the top of the ninth, who else but future Hall of Famer David Wright with the first of what will be many dramatic game-winning homers to give the Mets the 4-2 lead. Mike Stanton pitched an excellent inning and a third to get the win.

The Mets won game one big. 10-3, a typical game in Colorado. The Mets' offense clicked, and Kris Benson pitched very well. And the Mets beat Shawn Estes, who I hold a grudge against. I don't know if the Mets do, but I sure do. Here's why. (I might have written this back when the Mets played the Rockies earlier in the year...if I did, sorry, but it bothers me so much I'm writing it again.) Estes, as you all remember, wussed out of throwing at Roger Clemens in his first at-bat against the Mets at Shea Stadium after he threw the bat at Mike Piazza (it was also the first at-bat after he had thrown at Piazza's head). Estes threw behind Clemens, because he wasn't on the team when Clemens did all this stuff to the Mets, and he didn't want to nail him. (Estes did homer off Clemens, which was good, but I wanted blood.) Anyway, that wasn't so bad.......until, last season, Estes is playing for the Chicago Cubs, it's early in the year, very early in the year, and there's a benches-clearing brawl. Who's out there, swinging away at the opponent, but one Shawn Estes?! He's been with these Cubs for a month and a half, and he's out there fighting for them, but he wouldn't throw one stinking baseball at Roger Clemens to back up his batterymate while he was here in New York??! That makes me so friggin' mad. So thank goodness the Mets beat him up yesterday.

A related situation happened in game two of the doubleheader Thursday night. Joe McEwing took a beating in the game. He had at least three Colorado runners take him out hard at second base, and after the third runner, J.D. Closser, slid into him, McEwing didn't get up. He had to be helped off the field. I don't know if he'll be back at all this season. We'll see. But anyway, Braden Looper faces Closser in the eighth inning, and he drills him good. It was a tie game at the time, and Looper put the potential winning run on first base, and got ejected at the same time, but that's good teammating. Way to go Braden! Especially considering Stanton pitched awesome in relief of Looper, and the Mets won the game. If they had lost, I might have been a little pissed.

As for Future Hall of Famer David Wright, he was 5-for-10 in the doubleheader, 2-for-6 in the first game, 3-for-4 in the nightcap. The homer was Wright's 5th (en route to at least 755), and the RBI's brought his total to 15. Piazza, Jose Reyes, and Matsui might be on the DL, but maybe Wright could be the spark to lead this team to the playoffs, or at least keep things rolling until those guys get healthy. (And now that McEwing is hurt, we need one of those middle infielders back soon.) Also on the injury front, Victor Zambrano was placed on the DL Thursday with the elbow problem. I think Matt Ginter will pitch in his place on Sunday.

Would you believe the Mets are now tied with the Phillies in the standings? The Astros trailed 7-2 late in the game on Thursday, and came back to beat Philly 12-10. So the Mets picked up a game and a half on the Phillies. The Mets can pick up some more ground in the wild card race this weekend. They trail the Giants by seven games, and they have three games in San Francisco this weekend. Steve Trachsel goes Friday night, and Tom Glavine returns from his car accident on Saturday afternoon.

As promised, the softball game. So we won big, behind the pitching of my wife! That's right. She played in her first game of the season, and took the mound no less. (She usually keeps score, but we need two women on each team, and she had to be an emergency fill-in). So she pitches two innings, giving up just two runs, catching a pop-up, and recording a strikeout. She got the win. As for the third baseman, he played better. I think just one error in Thursday night's game. So I think there are just 2 games left in the season (don't expect another appearance by the wife). We're 8-2, and I would say we are definitely in the top 3 of the league. Too bad we'll never know, since there is no playoff system.

Let's go Mets!

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

The Mets and Rockies got rained out on Wednesday night. They'll play a doubleheader on Thursday, and the Mets need to win both games, to take 2 out of 3. Then it's the HUGE weekend series against the Giants, with HUGE wild card implications.

So with the lack of a Mets game to write about, it's time to revisit the softball team, which I haven't written about for a long time. So we won again last night. The record is now 7-2. It must be noted that the third baseman flubbed a grounder, dropped a pop-up, and threw a ball away in the 19-5 win. He used to be flawless, making great plays, no errors at all. But now he's making all these errors, and doesn't know what to do. So he thinks maybe writing about it on his website and exposing his soul to the world might inspire him to play better defense in Thursday night's game. He'll keep you posted.

So, as promised, time to check the e-mail bag. Kevin, from Wilmington, again checks in with this:

"An off topic question...but it looks like the Mets best chances for a World Series might only happen in Cyber-World. So with the release of Madden Football....the question should be asked, why hasn't a great baseball video game been made?? MVP Baseball is ok...but its not something I stay up all night playing. The additional baseball video game ever?? Tony LaRussa baseball?? MVP Baseball?? RBI Baseball?? Triple Play?? Do you have a hidden gem?? I'll hang up and listen. "

Well, Kevin, first of all, let's not write off the non-video game Mets yet. If they sweep Thursday's doubleheader.....anyway, this is something I've wondered quite often in my loser existence. Finally, EA Sports has come up with a passable baseball video game, which took entirely too long. MVP Baseball is a huge improvement over its predecessor, Triple Play Baseball. At least in MVP, you can make a double switch without the game freezing up. I'm big on stats, and you can't do much better stats-wise than what MVP offers. I actually like MVP a lot. But you're right. It's not Madden. And Madden just keeps getting better, year after year. It makes you wonder why baseball can't keep up with the advances football has made. I wonder if the baseball game is harder to make because there are many more stats and such. Anyway, as for the best all-time...I liked RBI because it was the first one to differentiate stadiums. I remember it being the first video game to have the fountains at Kauffman Stadium. And Bases Loaded was a great game, for Nintendo. And I could always be Gary Carter, or just 8 on the New York (N) in Major League Baseball, for Nintendo, which, looking back, was probably the first MLB licensed game. But MVP is the best, just because of the evolution of the game. (For the record, the new Madden is great.)

We're a little light on the e-mails today. But one final word on the Mets. Victor Zambrano was in New York today, I think, for tests on his elbow. He left Tuesday night's game in the second inning after throwing a pitch. This is a problem. Apparently his elbow never felt 100 percent even after the trade from the Devil Rays. The Mets training staff really should have checked that situation out more before giving up a big-time prospect for damaged goods. They did run tests, but obviously, it wasn't definitive enough. Not good.

Kris Benson and Al Leiter go for the Mets in Thursday's doubleheader.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Sorry folks. I'm not feeling so good - I think I need to go to bed. We'll do mail Thursday. That gives you an extra day to send your mail:

Monday, August 16, 2004

The Mets had Monday night off. They are 56-60, 10 games behind the Braves in the NL East.

I knew Randy Johnson was going to kick the Mets' butts on Sunday. The Mets usually play well against Johnson, but I just had a feeling that he would want to show New Yorkers (and the Yankees in particular) what he had left, and what could have been on their team. Oh well. 2 out of 3 in consecutive series for the Mets isn't bad. Now they go to Colorado, definitely a beatable team.

Here's the deal folks. As bad as things have seemed recently, the Mets are six and a half games back of the wild card. They trail the Cubs, Padres, and Giants, who are in a three-way tie for first, the Phillies and Marlins, tied for second, and Houston. The Mets own the season tiebreaker against Houston, and face each team ahead of them in the wild card standings over the next month and a half. So if you're looking for a rooting interest, there it is. The season't not over yet.

Of course, they'll have to get things going without Mike Piazza, Jose Reyes, and Kaz Matsui, who are all on the disabled list. It especially hurts not being able to see Piazza hit in Colorado - that might just cure his slump. But the Mets might have one last run in them - so don't tune out yet. My summer classes are now for the next couple of weeks I'll be detailing the "Final Mets Run of the Season" for you - I'll even try to include weekends.

I'll also be starting to pick up soon. I'll keep you posted on that. Here's a hint at what to expect - I'm even more confident in the Jets' chances this year than I was with the Mets.

Also - Wednesday's the day where we post your e-mails. So drop a line today!!

Let's Go Mets!

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Astros 5, Mets 4 (53-59, 11 GB)

Well, so much for the new plan. The Marlins lost, but the Mets also lost, and the Braves, Phillies, and Expos all won. So the big experiment lasts just one day. We'll have to figure out a new scheme for the Mets to make the playoffs on Thursday.

The Mets really didn't deserve to win Wednesday night. But they almost stole one, which would have been good for a team that hasn't caught many breaks this year. According to form, though, after a wild pitch allowed the Mets to score two runs to tie the game at 4, they went on to lose the game in 10 innings. This, despite the best efforts of future Hall of Famer David Wright, who led off the 10th inning with a single, and advanced to third base before Jason Phillips ended the game by flying out to center field. He can't do it by himself folks...although if anyone was capable of that, it would be David Wright.

Matt Ginter pitched very well against the Astros for the second time this year, filling in for the injured Tom Glavine. He had to leave the game, though, after the long rain delay in the sixth inning.

It should also be noted, The Greatest Ballplayer Who Ever Lived, Jose Reyes, pinch-hit in this game and doubled, before leaving for a pinch runner. Reyes limped off the field. He's gotta stop getting these leg injuries.

Speaking of injuries, Mike Piazza is on the DL with inflammation in his knee. Of course, the knee injury wasn't suffered as a catcher, it was suffered with Piazza at first base. I swear, the Mets have won two World Series in their 42 years of existence, but you want to talk cursed? It's all or nothing with this team. At least the Red Sox contend, the White Sox contend, the Cubs, well, they've contended the past two years. But the Mets...they have a young player (Reyes) who has the biggest upside of anyone in the league (some would argue more than anyone who's ever played the game), and he can't walk without tweaking a hamstring. Then you have the greatest-hitting catcher in the history of the game, who can't even switch positions right to help save his career. Then they go out and grab allegedly one of the best Japanese players out there (Kaz Matsui), and he doesn't know how to field or throw a baseball....not to mention two Hall of Famers (legitimate Hall of Famers - Roberto Alomar and Mo Vaughn) who fall off the face of the Earth when they come to the Mets. I'll keep it at that...but there are plenty more examples. I don't want to throw around any words like "Curse"...but something ain't right.

The Mets and Astros turn right back around and play Thursday afternoon at 12.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Mets 7, Astros 3 (53-58, 10 GB)

OK, new plan. If the Mets win every game from here on out, and everyone else in the NL East loses every game the rest of the way, playoffs, here we come! The Mets beat the Astros Tuesday night at Shea Stadium, and the Braves, Marlins, and Phillies all lost. (The Expos won, but they're so irrelevant, unless they're beating the Mets 19-13.) Anyway, that's what we'll cling to now. I know the season's over, but they're not called the Miracle Mets for nothing. Let's see what they can pull from their rears this year, these Miracle Mets. FYI, the Mets are just 7 and a half games out of the Wild Card, trailing just the Cubs, Padres, Giants, Phillies, Marlins, Astros, Reds, and Brewers. That's like the entire National League.

So, lots of highlights Tuesday night. It was actually a pretty good game to watch, or at least the first hour and 45 minutes was, which was all I got to see. I left the house after the Mets took a 4-3 lead in the 4th. David Wright had a huge game, 2-for-4, with a homer, and 2 RBI. (That's now 4 homers, en route to 755+, and 12 major league RBI for the future Hall of Famer.) Wright drove in the go-ahead run with a sharply hit single up the middle, following up the exact same thing by Mike Cameron one batter before.

Let's just briefly talk about Tom Glavine. As poorly as he pitched last year, 2004 has to be the worst year of this guy's life. First of all, he's pitching great, but can't catch a break because the Mets don't score runs when he's on the mound. He's 8-10, with a 2.92 ERA. That's just wrong. Then, there's what happened to him yesterday. His cab gets into an accident right outside LaGuardia airport, and he goes to the hospital with stitches in his cut lower lip and no more two front teeth. He's out of the hospital right now, but will miss Wednesday night's start. Just a bad year for Glavine. And now the johnnymets connection: For those of you who attended the big johnnymets wedding, you may remember my sister had a cast on her wrist. She broke that wrist in a car accident right outside LaGuardia airport. From what I hear about the Glavine accident, the accidents happened in pretty much the same spot. So I'm basically like Tom Glavine's brother at this point. (FYI, my sister is recovering. The cast is gone now. And she still has her two front teeth.)

Well, it's Wednesday, which means it's time to check the mailbag.

This e-mail comes from someone calling himself Scott, who would be my former roommate who tried to steal $600 from myself and Kevin from Wilmington. But being that I hate the man, I don't believe it's really him. But let's see the e-mail, shall we:
Does it bother you that the future "ace" of the Mets pitching staff has a girl's first name?? Check it out....Kris is short for Kristin!!! I have a girls last name...and I can tell you, its never been a problem for me. I mean...look at my life. I was a success in college, success as a roommate, and now...well, if you only knew what I was up to!! Anyways...girls first name on the ace....bother you?? Scott Salley - parts unknown"

Well, "Scott", it does bother me actually, that Kris is short for Kristin. This is an unbelievable development, folks, which I'm very grateful to "Scott" for pointing out. He refers to the ESPN player page for Kris Benson, and sure enough, that page shows his name as Kristin James Benson. There's no doubt, though, that Benson is all man. He is, after all, married to a former Penthouse model. So I guess Kristin can slide.

Well, speak of the devil - if it isn't Kevin from Wilmington. Here's what Kevin writes:

"Johnny.... Big time fan of your site. Keep up the great work. Anyways....I don't want to say "its over"....but "it don't look good" after this weekend's sweep. So....Let's look ahead to next season. With Hidalgo and Benson both free agents...will the Mets keep both or either or neither?? Will they make a run at Carlos Beltran?? What do you see the Mets lineup and rotation as for next season?? I'll hang up and listen. kevin - Wilmington, NC "

Wow. A legitimate e-mail. Well, Kevin, to be honest, I've been so focused on this season that I haven't been looking ahead too much. But next year is promising....and a little unsure. I think the Mets definitely keep Benson. Hidalgo, I'm not so sure about. As Steve from Manhattan points out every time I speak to him, the Mets wouldn't pay for Vlad Guerrero, why would they pay that much money for Hidalgo? It's a good point, but the way Hidalgo is playing for the Mets right now, they would probably hate to let him go. As for Beltran, I don't see that happening. I think everyone's happy with Mike Cameron in center field, especially lately. So here's what I'm seeing for next year:

2B Kaz Matsui
SS Jose Reyes
3B David Wright
1B Mike Piazza
RF Richard Hidalgo
LF Cliff Floyd
CF Mike Cameron
C Jason Phillips
Pitching Rotation: Tom Glavine, Kris Benson, Al Leiter, Steve Trachsel, Victor Zambrano

It's a pretty good-looking rotation, my only worry is that Leiter and Glavine might be having their last good years in 2004. But we'll have more on this in the season preview here on in March. And, yes, I do believe David Wright will be batting third in 2005. Speaking of the future Hall of Famer, Dave from Brighton writes in again:

"With David Wright on track to spend a half season with the MajorLeague club, will he be in the running for Rookie of the Year honors. If not, would he still be eligible next year, even though he'll have a half season of experience under his belt?
While we're on the topic, what would you project for him next year, stats-wise. If he can have a 6 RBI game every day, that would put him on pace for approximately 1,000 RBI. Is this impossible, or just unlikely?"

Dave, Dave, Dave. That's just stupid. Everyone knows 1,000 RBI in a season is just unlikely, especially when we're talking about Wright. As for Rookie of the Year, David Wright is going to have to go gangbusters for the rest of this season in order to add that award to his Hall of Fame resume. The rules, I believe, are a player can't have 130 major league at-bats or 45 games on a major league roster and still be considered a rookie. So Wright's a rookie right now...and won't be in 2005. As for a projection of stats, I would say he's going to be a consistent .300 hitter, 30 homers, and 130 RBI. What else would you expect?

One final note: The Mets are wearing patches on their left sleeves for the rest of the season simply saying "Bob Murphy", written around the outside of the Mets emblem. Very classy. And before Tuesday night's game, the Mets honored Murphy with a video montage - it was very good. Well done by the Mets. And on Wednesday at 2PM at Saint Patrick's Cathedral, there is a public memorial for Murphy. Just FYI.
Sorry for the lack of postings. Lots of final projects. In a week, though, summer classes will be over. Which means summer classes lasted longer than the Mets, who are done. But do not worry - the end of the Mets' season in early August does not mean the end of

I will be working extra hard to bring you the entertainment you deserve through the World Series, which, hard as it may be to accept, will probably not include the Mets. I can't believe it either. Anyway, the fun gets started tomorrow with the Mets mailblog. I won't let you down this week.

Oh, by the way, the Mets open up a three-game series at Shea against the Astros. Let's Go Mets.

Saturday, August 07, 2004

Cardinals 6, Mets 4 (52-56, 9 GB)

Need to win these last two games in Saint Louis...

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Mets 11, Brewers 6 (52-55, 8 GB)

Let me begin with a couple of stat lines.

First, this pitcher's line: 5 1/3 IP, 8 H, 3 BB, 7K, 6 R, 4 ER. Pretty crappy, but good enough for a win by Victor Zambrano. He got a nice little welcome to the Mets gift. Usually the Mets hang new pitchers out to dry by not scoring any runs. But Zambrano is now 1-0 in the National League (despite a 6.75 ERA), mostly because........

......of this stat line: 3-for-5, 2 2B, HR, 2 R, 6 RBI!!!! You know who put those numbers up Thursday afternoon. None other than future Hall of Famer David Wright. If you didn't see Wright's first inning home run, turn on ESPN now, and wait for them to show it. It was a BOMB. This guy's good. His line yesterday looked like something from when he was tearing up Double-A. He's really starting to find his stroke. Watch out Pete Rose and Hank Aaron. Not to mention Tris Speaker. He's the all-time doubles leader. Or should I say, WAS, the all-time doubles leader. After hitting 2 doubles yesterday, 6 of Wright's 15 hits have been doubles. In 13 games, Wright has 6 doubles. Let's just say he plays about 150 games a year (assuming he doesn't break Cal Ripken's consecutive games streak), for 10 years. That averages out to 750 doubles in his career. And we all know Wright will play at least 20 years, if not 30. That means he'll shatter Speaker's record of 792 career doubles. We're watching history here folks.

OK. So the Mets swept the Brewers. I'm very happy about it. But if they could just hit like this against other teams, namely the Braves, it would probably feel a little better. Believe it or not, statistically, the Brewers are not a bad pitching team. They rank tenth in the majors in ERA. So you figure if the Mets could hit their pitching, they could hit others. Maybe the bats are coming around. Hope it isn't too late.

Mike Cameron sure is smoking the ball. And the Mets seem to have figured out how to hit with the bases loaded. Mike Piazza is still slumping pretty bad, so that's very worrisome. Sadly, I almost prefer to see the Mets 1,2, 6, 7, 8 hitters to the 3, 4, 5 hitters lately. offense, Kaz, but has anyone missed Matsui these last few games? I still feel he's one of the best clutch hitters on the team - if not THE best - but THE GREATEST BALLPLAYER WHO EVER LIVED Jose Reyes just looks so much better at shortstop.

So neither Zambrano or Kris Benson have been too impressive in their Mets debuts. I hope that means they'll only get better for the rest of the season. But who knows, this is the Mets we're talking about. But I think Zambrano was very, very nervous before this start. So maybe it's the best possible thing that he was given a 6-0 lead, almost blew it, and then held on to get a win. Maybe now he thinks he'll only get better, and he'll be more relaxed when he pitches at Shea. I'm reaching folks, but we need these guys to perform lights out, or else it's lights out on the season.

This weekend will be yet another test for the Mets. It's the Mets at Saint Louis. Here's a refresher on how the Mets did in their last series with the Cardinals. A 5-4 win, come-from-behind, when the Mets scored 2 in the bottom of the ninth to beat Jason Isringhausen. The Mets followed that up with a 1-0 loss, and then had one of their worst games of the season on a Thursday afternoon, getting pummeled 11-4. Just an ugly game. So the Mets lost 2 out of 3, but they held their own against a very good team. Now we'll see if they can beat a very good team 2 out of three. Because the Mets can't afford to lose another series the rest of the season. The pitching matchups for this series look phenomenal:

Friday: Tom Glavine vs. Matt Morris
Saturday: Kris Benson vs. Woody Williams
Sunday: Al Leiter vs. Jason Marquis

Let's Go Mets.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Mets 6, Brewers 5 (51-55, 8 GB)

First of all, a big apology. This is no way to start a new feature on this site, by promising your e-mails on Wednesday and not delivering. On the other hand, it still is Wednesday as I write this, so it's not really like I lied. Next week, though, I will have the mailblog ready by Wednesday morning, to keep consistent with your regular reading schedules.

I hope everyone remembered to watch my brother's show Wednesday night. If you watched it, you missed the Mets tying the game at 3, but you could have switched over immediately afterwards and seen the Mets take the lead. I hope you watched it, that show is more funny every time I watch it.

Damn the Mets. Everytime I want to write them off, they come back and look fairly impressive. Now they're scoring runs...if they keep this up, with the great pitching we expect from the staff, they might have one more run in them. Damn the Mets. Damn me for thinking so damn positively.

Let's check out the mail, because the first e-mail illustrates my above point about the Mets' "one more run" this season:

Kathryn in Watertown writes, "I've been looking at the Braves' record and the Mets' record. Let's say that the Braves win half of their games for the rest of the year. They'll finish out at 87-75. That means the Mets will have to win nearly 2/3 of their remaining games to finish ahead of the Braves. (If they win 2 out of 3 they'll end up at 89-73). So my question is, do you think this is possible or did the Mets screw themselves out of another year this past weekend?"

Well, Kathryn, the Mets sure didn't help themselves any by being swept by the Braves this past weekend. And I think it's asking an awful lot for the Braves to win only half their games the rest of the way. But that's what we, as Mets fans, have to hope for. And to be honest, 2 out of every three is not a stretch for the Mets, depending on how Victor Zambrano pitches on Thursday afternoon. I believe we've already seen Kris Benson's worst start (on Saturday against Atlanta), and Tom Glavine is not likely to pitch as poorly as he did on Sunday. Al Leiter has been awesome, and Steve Trachsel has strung together a few pretty good outings in a row. So if the pitching keeps them in games, starting with Zambrano's first start in a Mets uniform on Thursday, who knows what the Mets are capable of.

Here's another e-mail, this one from Dave, in Brighton, "Longtime reader firsttime writer.
10 GB. At what point do you fire up"

Well, Dave, will be frequently updated during training camp, and I will direct your attention there through this site as I write about the Jets. But the deficit's 8 games. So we can't give up hope on the Mets just yet. Thanks for the plug on

Here's another e-mail I received, which I believe to be a ruse: "Nice blog, man. Thanks for the kind words. Keep it up!

TGBWEL, of course, stands for THE GREATEST BALLPLAYER WHO EVER LIVED, and the name on the e-mail was Jose Reyes. But I think someone, namely Kathryn from Watertown, is playing a cruel, cruel joke on me.

OK. This is a regular weekly event, so if you want to share your thoughts, drop me a line,

Just a note on Bob Murphy, who died Tuesday of lung cancer. Murphy could also be known as TGBWEL - THE GREATEST BROADCASTER WHO EVER LIVED. There was nothing like sitting by a radio on a summer day/night, listening to Murphy broadcast the Mets. He may have lost a bit over the years, but just hearing his voice was reassuring, even when the Mets sucked. I don't really know how to express how good he was. If you're a Mets fan, you know. If you didn't grow up listening to Bob Murphy call the Mets, I don't know how to express what you missed. But I'll try. Imagine listening to a baseball game, and having the perfect picture of the game painted for you. And imagine not even thinking about who was describing the game to you. I hope that begins to give you an idea of what made Bob Murphy so great.

Monday, August 02, 2004

I need the night off from writing about the Mets. The season's just about over. These trades are looking pretty crappy right now, considering the sweep by the Braves. I was psyched going into the weekend, assuming the Mets would have won 2, maybe 3, least ONE. Now I'm disappointed. More on that for the rest of the season.

Just some reminders, though. First of all, Wednesday night at 10pm, on AMC, my brother's show airs again. "Into Character" is the name of the show...enjoy it - it's great.

And don't forget to weigh in on the Mets - Share the misery - Wednesday we'll put some e-mails on the site.