Friday, March 31, 2006


To put in in terms that I can handle, all I have to do as I write this Friday night, is go to sleep three more times, and then the last time I wake up, it will be Opening Day for the Mets. I can handle that...I think. Only 2 more sleeps until Opening Day for baseball, with the White Sox and Indians. I'll take it.

The starting lineup for the Mets is still a little undecided. Willie Randolph says he has about five or six ideas that he will juggle through the season, but Opening Day is very likely to look something like this:

1. THE GREATEST BALLPLAYER WHO EVER LIVED, Jose Reyes: I expect this, statistically to be his best season yet. I think he'll beat last year's league-leading stolen base total (60), because I think he'll be on base that much more. He will be THE most fun player to watch across the majors this season. Last year was the year for David Wright to be discovered, this year, as his OBP increases, people will start jumping onto the Jose Reyes bandwagon.

2. Paul LoDuca: I think LoDuca will be batting second Opening Day. Anderson Hernandez's bat isn't good enough yet to hit here - but it's a possibility later on. I bet the production out of LoDuca and Ramon Castro compares to the league-leading offensive production at the catching position of Castro and Mike Piazza last year.

3. Carlos Beltran*: While I do expect a bounceback year from Beltran*, I don't think he will be the best number three hitter on the team. Randolph seems happy to keep batting Beltran* third, but he's going to be great out of the 2-hole. Also, the way the lineup is set up now, it really pushes Wright down in the order - I'd love for Beltran* to be 2, with Wright 3.

4. Carlos Delgado: Here begins the right-left-right-left balance of the Mets lineup. They'll be tough for opposing managers to strategize against. Delgado should be solid - hopefully he stays healthy.

5. Future Hall of Famer David Wright: The coming-out party is complete, now it's time to maintain the level of productivity he set last year. On career homer number 41 and counting.....

6. Cliff Floyd: Don't expect the fast start Floyd got off to last year. But also don't expect the slide he went through later in the season. Floyd was tired from carrying the team all year. He doesn't have to do that anymore, and his offensive numbers will be more consistent throughout the year.

7. Xavier Nady: I talked recently about how Nady had been slumping, leading the Mets to consider keeping Victor Diaz on the team. They still haven't made a decision about Diaz, but Nady finished the spring strong, and will be the starting right fielder. I don't really know what to expect out of Nady. Truth be told, I'm not expecting much, so if he hits well, consider it a bonus for me.

8. Anderson Hernandez: The second baseman isn't expected to do much at the plate. Kaz Matsui will be playing once he's healthy to try to increase his trade value, then the Mets will try to unload him and hand Hernandez the job.

1. Pedro Martinez*: Let's not kid ourselves. Tom Glavine is getting the Opening Day start, but Pedro Martinez* is the number one pitcher. The toe won't be a problem. Pedro*'s 3 runs in four innings in his last spring start won't be a problem. Cy Young might be a possibility.

2. Tom Glavine: He's 40. This is his last hurrah. I expect a game effort. I'd say 13-15 wins, 8 losses, and a 3.5-ish ERA. Good enough to help the Mets to the playoffs.

3. Steve Trachsel: I've always said Trachsel has to prove to me he can win when the pressure's on in New York. It still hasn't happened - lately he hasn't been healthy when the pressure's on in New York. Hopefully the health issue is resolved. Let's see if the good pitching thing is resolved.

4. Victor Zambrano: This is the year we'll see whether the work with Rick Peterson is paying off. Otherwise, it was a bad trade.

5. Brian Bannister: Son of Floyd. Not sure what to expect out of him. He earned the starting position with a great spring. That didn't cut it for the likes of Tyler Yates. I like rooting for Mets rookies, and I would love for Bannister to succeed. I just hope he doesn't go back to Norfolk in May with a 5.00 ERA, forcing Aaron Heilman to become a starter.

Some positions to be determined here, but the definites seem to be Ramon Castro, Jose Valentin, Endy Chavez, Chris Woodward and Julio Franco. The big thing with these guys is versatility - Valentin, Chavez, and Woodward can play lots of positions. Victor Diaz is still a question mark, depending on the number of relievers the Mets keep.

Billy Wagner is the closer. Most reliable closer (hopefully) the Mets have had in years. Aaron Heilman, if he continues like he pitched in relief last year, should get the lead to Wagner, and can pitch more than one inning. The rest of the bullpen looks like: Jorge Julio, Duaner Sanchez, and right-handed specialist Chad Bradford. The Mets may keep another lefty, and I think they're still trying to decide if it's Pedro Feliciano or Darren Oliver.

My prediction: 95-67, good enough for the Mets to win the East...then the World Series.

BEAT THE STREAK!: The wife found 'Beat The Streak' had the create-a-league link up, so we now have a league. Here's the info - League Name: JohnnyMets League password: 06mets
Sign up, click here to get there. I promise it'll be fun.

ONE MORE METS NOTE: Somehow, Mitch Wylie wasn't picked up by anyone else, and he accepted an assignment to Norfolk. We'll keep an eye on him at Triple-A, and see how he progresses. This is the Rule 5 guy who impressed this spring.

The next write-up could very well be the first recap of the season on Monday! Enjoy the first games of the season!

Thursday, March 30, 2006


That's what I'm doing after missing a day of big news. The Mets announced on Tuesday that Brian Bannister would indeed be the fifth starter, meaning Aaron Heilman will be pitching out of the bullpen. This means a lot of things.
  • First and foremost, Heilman is in the role he didn't want, and Bannister got the job Heilman felt he earned. Heilman, though, says he wants to be a part of the team, because he knows this team could be special, and he's willing to do this for the team. Willie Randolph says the whole point of this decision is that it makes the team better. Another note is that Heilman and Bannister have developed a friendship this spring, which has tempered Bannister's enthusiasm for being named the starter, and probably makes this a slightly easier pill to swallow for Heilman.
  • This does make the team better. The Mets are counting on Heilman to be the primary bridge from the starter to Billy Wagner. Think Mariano Rivera to John Wetteland...or, a slight downgrade from that.
  • Heilman pitches very well against lefties. That means the Mets, when they break camp, could possibly carry one less lefty in the 'pen. The Mets have a strange situation because they have Chad Bradford, a specialist brought in to face only righthanders. So when there is a lefty that Bradford would have to face, chances are he's coming he's almost a waste of a pitcher's spot. Darren Oliver and Pedro Feliciano are the favorites to make the team from the left side (although I have my doubts about Oliver - he might very well have had some impressive springs in recent years, which might explain some of his sorry Major League seasons the past few years - not counting last year, when he wasn't in the majors).

All in all, I think the Mets are a better team. And I think they really want to appease Heilman...just not this year. I think in 2007, Heilman will graduate to number three starter, or thereabouts. But this year, in the hunt for the World Series, Heilman will be strengthening the bullpen.

SI PICKS: Got the 'Sports Illustrated' baseball preview edition today, and I haven't had much of a chance to go through it yet, but I did see that they pick the Mets to be a wild card, but bow out of the playoffs in the first round (losing to the Cardinals - no way). They pick the White Sox to beat the Cardinals in the World Series. It's fashionable to pick the White Sox this year (see my picks), but I'm having second thoughts. They've had a bad spring, and I'm reading bad things about Bobby Jenks. But they have a deep rotation, and that could take them far. I'm standing by my pick of the White Sox losing to the Mets in the World Series, but consider this paragraph the White Sox disclaimer.

TROUBLE IN PARADISE: The Bensons are breaking up. I've been seeing on some other blogs that Anna Benson has filed for divorce from Kris. I hope I'm not spreading a false rumor here, but it isn't a stretch. I feel kind of bad for Kris Benson in all of this. He seems like a fairly normal guy. He has three kids, and a wife who, let's say, makes life a little difficult. And she's filing for divorce from him. I bet he gets the kids.

BEAT THE STREAK: My pick for Sunday night (in case I don't get to write again this weekend) is Grady Sizemore. All he needs to do is get a hit to get me off on the right foot. I forgot if I've already mentioned this, but keep an eye on the Phillies Opening Day - Jimmy Rollins is taking a 36-game-hitting streak into this season.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Busy week at the ol' House sponsored by DirecTV (which still doesn't have a deal with SNY, and which is also using one of its own broadcasters to blog for it, so I think I'm out...and I never even sent a letter), so this will be a couple of bulleted updates.

WYLIE RELEASED: The Mets got rid of Rule 5 project Mitch Wylie. This hasn't gotten a lot of play yet, I happened to catch it on the transaction wire. Wylie needed to make the 25-man roster for the entire season, or else be returned to the team from which he came - the Giants. Though he impressed the Mets, I guess he wasn't going to be a valuable roster addition, so he is gone. Now I think he has to pass through waivers, and the Giants can take him back...I'm not sure how that works exactly. But with the press Wylie got early on, he'll probably latch on with someone. I'll try to keep track and give periodic updates on his season.

BONDS: The latest from Barry Bonds is that his life has been shattered by these latest allegations. Big whoop. What I really wanted to write about Bonds, though, is that he treats the media like a cancer that he wants to avoid his entire career (moreso in recent seasons, it seems), and then when he has a reality show to promote, or wants to appear like a victim, he uses the media to his advantage. And they let him. I don't like it.

KC - "WE DON'T NEED TO BUY A VOWEL": The Kansas City Royals continued to bolster their roster with really long last names. After an off-season in which they acquired Doug Mientkiewicz and Mark Grudzielanek (on the same day, no less!), the Royals claimed Tony Graffanino off waivers from the Red Sox. The good news, per my request, the Mets didn't get Graffanino, thereby further muddying the second base chase.

A WARNING: I am noticing some nasty postings on my comments sections. I'll give it one more day, and if these appear again, I'll get rid of the comments. And people can just e-mail me, like we always have, and we'll be fine.

FUN & GAMES: finally has 'Beat The Streak' up and running, but there doesn't seem to be an option to create a "league". If that appears later on, I'll surely create one and invite you all to join, but if it doesn't, I still encourage you to play, and keep me up to date on your progress. I'll update you daily on my picks - starting Sunday night!! We'll use the honor system.

FINALLY...: Because the Phillies don't scare me, I have no problem putting their promotional ploys on this site. Leading up to Opening Day, they are pushing Phillies PR around the city of Philadelphia. It's called "Paint The Town Red", because red is a team color. So as part of the promotion, the team painted the Philly Phanatic red. I don't know if this is a permanent change. But here it is:

Monday, March 27, 2006


Word out of Mets camp just gets more and more encouraging, with the Mets' opener one week away. I mentioned that Pedro Martinez* pitched three scoreless innings in his spring debut, and his teammates all say he looked great. Pedro* himself says the toe didn't bother him at all. He said with his new shoe he felt very comfortable, and he didn't even think twice about his toe. He says if it felt like this all season, he could go with no problems at all. Awesome news.

POSADA: The news out of Yankees camp is that Jorge Posada doesn't expect to miss Opening Day, after breaking his nose about a week ago. I forgot to mention this when it happened...and frequent readers know I don't care much for Posada's catching skills. He broke his nose while playing catch with a teammate. He's a catcher, ladies and gentlemen. And I think he's one of the worst defensive catchers in baseball. No one drops more pitches. And, apparently, it's a good thing he usually wears a face mask.

That's all I have for today. I really could have done a lot better with that Posada thing. There are rumors in Port St. Lucie that Victor Diaz is going to make the club - meaning the Mets would carry one less pitcher...meaning Aaron Heilman will most likely be in the bullpen...meaning the Mets wouldn't have to carry as many lefthanders in the pen as they were originally thinking (because Heilman pitches well against lefty batters). Lots of things to discuss when the final roster is decided.

Sunday, March 26, 2006


Pedro Martinez* made his first spring start on Sunday, and the results were more than encouraging. Pedro* went three scoreless innings against the Orioles, striking out 2, and Victor Zambrano finished the shutout with six scoreless innings. Hence, the Mets-Fan-O-Meter is in good shape. I realize the Fan-O-Meter did not look good at all in the upper right corner of the page, so the Fan-O-Meter will probably appear next to the daily posting, and I will work on something else for the upper right, where the Mets logo is now. One last note on Pedro* - it looks now like he will be the starting pitcher in the third game of the season, with Zambrano going in game 2.

HEILMAN/BANNISTER: There are reports that the Mets have made up their mind to have Brian Bannister be the fifth starter, and Aaron Heilman resume his out-of-the-bullpen role from last year. That's fine with me, because I think Heilman was great in relief, and will continue to be great in relief, and it's probably best for the team. I just hope Heilman doesn't get mad and let it affect his performance, because he has pitched well enough this spring (as has Bannister) to earn a starting spot.

2ND BASE: With the second base job appearing to be Anderson Hernandez's now that Kaz Matsui is not available in the early part of the season, I just hope the Mets don't go after Tony Graffanino. Graffanino was put on waivers by the Red Sox. The Mets don't need to muddy up that second base position hunt any further with an outsider - they have plenty to choose from between Hernandez and Jeff Keppinger.

WAGNER: Billy Wagner is back to throwing a baseball, and the stiffness in his finger is going away, as expected. He should be OK by the start of the season.

One week until Opening Day. This is going to be a very busy week for me, but I'll try to give a season preview when the roster decisions are all made.

Saturday, March 25, 2006


Huge mail delivery today - and quite a surprise. My brother sent me a Mets DVD collection featuring all 7 games of the 1986 World Series, in their entirety. It also includes the entire 16-inning Game 6 of the 1986 NLCS against the Houston Astros, along with an extras DVD that has the locker room celebration, trophy presentations, parade, and more. My wife received this type of collection last summer for her birthday, featuring the 2004 ALCS and World Series (in case you don't know her, she is a Red Sox fan), and all I could think about was how badly I wanted there to be a Mets-type collection. And I guess now there is. And I couldn't be happier.

NEW FEATURE: The Mets Fan-O-Meter is being developed, and there is a "Good" and a "Bad" meter made. Here they are:

If things are going well for the Mets, you will see Hall of Famer Gary Carter right after catching the last out of the 1986 World Series, and the meter will point the Mets in the direction of the 2006 World Series.

A bad string for the Mets will show a sad Mr. Met, and indicate that there is "trouble".

Over the next couple of days, you will see these appearing on the top right of the page - I'm just testing them out, seeing how they look, as we head towards Opening Day.

I'm gonna go watch my DVD now.

Thursday, March 23, 2006


I guess Pedro* miscalculated his intention to miss the World Baseball Classic. His toe injury was enough to keep him out of that tournament, but he upset his Mets schedule. His schedule right now is such that he won't be on target for Opening Day - but he will most likely pitch game 2 of the Mets' season against the Nationals. No big deal. In Pedro*'s words, the "old goat" who's locker is next to his is going to get the Opening Day start instead. That would be Tom Glavine. And it's comments like that that make you like Pedro*, even if you didn't like him before he became a Met.

NEW POOL: So my new baseball pool idea is official. It's set up like a football survivor pool, in that you only can pick a team once, then you can't use them again the rest of the season. But there's no elimination. You pick a team, and the week goes from Sunday - Saturday, and you get that team's record for the week. Cumulative winning percentage for the season determines the winner, with possible bonuses for an undefeated week or the best month of the season. It should be fun - if you're not Dave in Brighton, Justin in New York, or head of the Southern Bureau, Kevin in Wilmington, (or my wife), let me know if you want in. E-mail

10 DAYS AWAY: Opening Day is just 10 days away...and that means Beat the Streak is just 10 days away - keep your eyes peeled for that entry - I'll create a "League" soon.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

IN DEFENSE OF MY PICKS (see bracket below)

A very quiet day in Mets camp, so it's a perfect day to tell you why I picked the teams to finish the way I did.

I'm not going to talk about the Mets, because their season preview is still to come. But I do believe they will win the NL East, finally surpassing the Braves, and advance to (and win) the World Series. Because that's the type of year I want.

The Braves aren't going to totally fall out of it, though. They're going to get the Wild Card - and I really don't think there will be much drama in the Wild Card chase. I'm not buying many teams out West, and in the Central, I don't see Houston doing as well as last year, and no one else will be very close to the Braves. And...say it with me now....the Phillies don't scare me. Another disappointing year in Philadelphia.

I like the Cardinals to come out of the Central, mostly because every year I kind of overlook them, but they're always solid. Also, they have a beautiful new ballpark this year, and that'll work to their advantage, so they'll win the division.

I'm big on the Dodgers this year. First of all, that division is awful. They will beat up on the rest of the teams in the West. I think Nomar Garciaparra is Comeback Player of the Year. I think Derek Lowe pitches a lot better this year (his head wasn't in the game last year, he admits - and he is the biggest headcase in the league). And I am a big believer that Grady Little got screwed in Boston, and now with another chance to manage, does very well. I think the Dodgers might just quietly finish with the best record in the National League.

In the AL, I'll start out West. I had a hard time picking between the A's and Angels, because the A's are close to having built another young, winning team. I went with the Angels because they are a veteran team who have been there before. Next year for Oakland.

It's this year for Cleveland. After coming so close last year, they pick up this year's Wild Card, finishing second to the Chicago White Sox. The Sox came out of nowhere (in my mind) last year, and won everything - they haven't changed much. If anything, they've improved their clubhouse demeanor without Frank Thomas, and have a chance to get to the World Series again this year.

With the Indians taking the wild card, it's down to the Red Sox and Yankees in the East. I don't think the Blue Jays are there quite yet, fighting for the division title, but I think they'll do enough damage to cost one of the big teams a shot at the playoffs - and this year, I think that will be the Yankees. I like Shawn Chacon, and I think Randy Johnson will have a good year, but I think there will be injuries on the Yankees this year, and I expect the Red Sox to be good this year - good enough to make the playoffs, anyway. They'll bow out in the first round, as will the Angels.

It'll be the Dodgers and Mets advancing in the NL, and the Mets will beat the White Sox in 5 games in the World Series. Oh, how I hope this comes true.

NATS ARE DOOMED: I didn't mention the Washington Nationals above - that's because they're not worth mentioning. On Wednesday, Alfonso Soriano played the outfield, after refusing to do so the day before. I think with that kind of attitude, and with the likes of Jose Guillen and Livan Hernandez in the clubhouse, the Nationals are going to have a summer full of disharmony.

*BOOF*: There's someone in the Twins' minor league system we're going to have to keep an eye on. I was looking through the transactions the other day, and saw the Twins had reassigned pitcher Boof Bonser. What a name. We'll watch him and keep you posted - and definitely let you know if he gets called up.

THE OTHER SHOE: Some of the steroids fallout is starting to happen. More releases from "Game of Shadows", the book that "outed" Barry Bonds, now point the finger at Gary Sheffield as having knowingly obtained steroids from Bonds' trainer, Greg Anderson. I'm not going to like some of the other names that I feel are going to be coming out....

Tuesday, March 21, 2006


Well, something was bound to happen, because things were going a little too well. Billy Wagner has a problem with the middle finger on his left (throwing) hand. He's been ordered to shut down for a while, in the hope that it will go away. It's a tendon irritation or something complicated like that. Wagner doesn't seem to think it's a big deal right now....but what I don't think Wagner realizes is that he is now a Met. A high-priced Met. And sometimes little things turn into big things. So hopefully this is nothing, and it goes away quickly. Otherwise, Billy Wagner isn't available early in the season, and things get a little dicey for the Mets' championship hopes. I'll step up the worrying if Wagner's not back in a week.

RICKEY TALKS: Rickey Henderson apparently held court with the Mets' speedsters (and some catchers) to give base-stealing tips. He also gave tips on getting on base, something the Mets need THE GREATEST BALLPLAYER WHO EVER LIVED, Jose Reyes, to improve at. It can't hurt that he's learning from Henderson. As long as he just learns the baseball skills - not all the baggage that goes along with them.

'86 METS ROUNDUP: This is just great - on Opening Day, Jesse Orosco will throw out the ceremonial first Hall of Famer Gary Carter, re-creating the last pitch of the 1986 season. It's going to be the kickoff to the season-long 20th anniversary of the 1986 Championship. I love it. I wish I could be there. I also hope Orosco and Carter don't try any re-enacting the celebration silliness - that would ruin the moment. I've been waiting 20 years for a 1986 Mets reunion - for it to come in a year where the Mets can recapture a definitely might be worth the wait.

PICKS FOR 2006 (It rhymes):

I'll go into these picks more in-depth as the week progresses - but I feel really good about the Mets this year. Obviously. And I think the White Sox, if they did it last year, can make the World Series again this year - but this year, they'll have to face the Mets. Also note that there are no Yankees in this bracket - I just think there's only room for one team out of the AL East this year...and later this week, I'll tell you why it's the Red Sox.

Monday, March 20, 2006


Opening Day, April 3, is now less than two weeks away. Still lots of question marks - either Pedro Martinez* or Tom Glavine could make that Opening Day start, with a decision not likely for another week and a half. Former shortstop Anderson Hernandez might be the starting second baseman, but who knows with that position. And there's an interesting battle brewing at the bottom of the rotation. Both Brian Bannister and Aaron Heilman have been lights out this spring. Bannister says he came into spring training expecting to be in the minors, and is just happy to be able to show what he's got. Heilman is fighting to get back in the rotation, after being absolutely awesome out of the bullpen last year. Heilman will be the fifth starter - I'm sure of that. But Bannister will be right behind him. This is good news and bad news. It's good, because all of a sudden, the Mets have a little more depth in the pitching staff than we all thought when Jae Seo and Kris Benson were traded. It's bad because we might not see Bannister until someone gets hurt this year, and with Martinez*, Glavine, Trachsel, and Zambrano, I'm going to bet that one of those guys spends some time on the DL.

NEW LOOK: I forgot to mention this the other day, but as part of the new look of, there will be a METS-FAN-O-METER. The METS-FAN-O-METER will appear in the top right corner of your page, under the "About Me" part, and will chronicle how Mets fans feel about the team on a daily basis (and by Mets fans, I mean, me). For now, there's the picture of Glavine and Benson, on a trial run, and because they look so much alike.

PROMISES, PROMISES: Yesterday I said I'd be posting my picks for the year. That will come later this week. I also promised a couple of pictures in earlier they are:

From a week or so ago, the ESPN The Magazine with "Franchise Player" David Wright on the cover. But also promised, in that same writing (the blog, not the magazine) a look at the world's newest Mets fan - due September 30th:

Sunday, March 19, 2006

The annual frustration that is Sunday night after the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament. I'm having one of my worst years ever. (Did anyone except me, notice, by the way, that during the Bradley-Pittsburgh game, the CBS score on the bottom right of the screen read: "Brad Pitt"?)

MATSUI: Kaz Matsui's spring training push for the second base job took a big hit since the last time I wrote - he sprained his knee during a game last Thursday, and will be out three weeks - and will definitely not play Opening Day. The biggest problem this presents is that the Mets can't shop Matsui - because the ultimate solution to their $8 million problem at second base is that the Mets will trade him.

It also means the Mets' Opening Day lineup will look something like this (as I continue to work on the newest feature on - good pictures):
Anderson Hernandez is the favorite to now start at second base Opening Day, leaving the right field spot as the only one still up in the air (although Xavier Nady looks to have the advantage right now over Victor Diaz).

WBC: The WBC Championship is Monday night, with Cuba playing Japan. The good news about that is that the Mets have all their key players from the WBC back in camp, with two weeks to go until the regular season begins.

I hear some people saying it's shocking that the first WBC doesn't have the Americans in the final four. I can't say I'm shocked - the way they were playing, the set-up of the thing, with the U.S. really not even having time to play together (and coming off a winter where a lot of them didn't touch a baseball), and the quality of the other teams indicated to me pretty early on that the U.S. was going to have a tough road. I love the fact that Roger Clemens gets the loss in the deciding game, too, against Mexico.

How many Cubans do you think will try to defect after the game on Monday night? I think the over/under has to be set at 1.5. Even with Castro's son posing as a team doctor to prevent such things.

SNY: Perhaps I'm wise not to hitch my star to the SNY wagon (or it's a good thing I was too lazy to ever give them a call). The station debuted on Thursday night, and there have been lots of errors - from blackouts to dropped ads. I'm sure things will get ironed out - but we're talking about a New York City television station - not something on the third floor of Boston University's College of Communication. Let's get it together guys.

SPEAKING OF WHICH....: Congratulations to the Boston University men's hockey team, champions of Hockey East, after a 2-1 overtime win over Boston College Saturday night. This is a fun team to watch - hopefully the Mets aren't the only champs I'm watching this year...the NCAA Hockey Tournament gets underway Friday - I'll keep you posted on BU.

ON A LEITER NOTE: Al Leiter announced his retirement on Sunday. He was one of my favorite Mets to watch - ever. He'll also have one of the most successful broadcasting careers by a former player ever. More than the third-man-in-the-booth-for-big-games role he's been filling on FOX the past few years. I wonder if he'll do national broadcasts on an ESPN or FOX station, or do local team stuff.

'86 METS ROUNDUP: Some distressing news - Dwight Gooden was arrested again on drug charges. Very sad. I doubt we'll be seeing him at the big August reunion. Also, a couple of interesting notes about 1986 World Series rings, both involving Hurricane Katrina. Barry Lyons, backup catcher on that team, lost his ring when his home was destroyed in the hurricane. Keith Hernandez told a story that he was having some work done on the ring, to give part of it to his new wife, and it was sent to a jeweler in New Orleans around the time of the hurricane. The jeweler was evacuating, and walked out of his shop, and Hernandez said the man went back in because he remembered the ring was in a safe - and got the ring. Hernandez said the man was a Cardinals fan, and liked him, otherwise he may not have the ring.

Coming this week: My predictions for the 2006 season...standings-wise, anyway.

Friday, March 17, 2006

With the NCAA tournament going on, the blog really suffers. But it occurred to me recently that one thing I will really miss (besides the 10 wins) about Kris Benson is the cutaways to the Mets dugout of Benson sitting next to his look-alike, Tom Glavine. So here's a picture, to illustrate my point. (Incidentally, something that, thanks to Dave from Brighton, will be happening a lot more around here now...the pictures, that is.)

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


OK, maybe terrific is a little too much to describe Pedro Martinez*'s day, but it makes for a good pun. And I wanted to be the first to use it.

Pedro* threw 61 pitches on Wednesday, and everything went well. He faced batters, and is on target to start throwing in a game soon. The Mets haven't ruled out Opening Day yet, but it's less likely Pedro* will miss more than a day or two at the beginning of the year.

METS 8, NATIONALS 5: The Mets won their spring training game on Wednesday over the Nationals. Aaron Heilman pitched four scoreless innings, giving up just three hits. I am excited about Heilman in the starting rotation. I liked him out of the bullpen last year, but I'm really starting to think Heilman has a chance to be one of the most valuable Mets this year. And he's pitching really well this spring, for what that's worth.

BONDS: I don't know how I feel about this whole Bonds thing. I do NOT like Barry Bonds - that's first of all. Never have - even when he was a Pirate. I do not feel bad for him that all of this stuff is coming out. I do question the motivation here, though. These writers are writing a book about steroid use in baseball, basically. It just so happens their target is someone who probably has shunned them multiple times through his career in San Francisco. I wonder if baseball players were all nice, accomodating guys who all cheated, would all this stuff still come out?

When it comes down to it, I'm glad the book was written. I want to be able to return to the days when a 50-homer season was legit, and special. I want suspicion to be cast on Bonds everytime he steps on a baseball field. I want suspicion cast on other players who suddenly bulked up the past 10+ years....even though I know I'm not going to like hearing who some of those players are. I just wonder what the true motivation was for this book, "Game of Shadows", in which the stories about Bonds all came out. What's good for baseball, or revenge by a couple of sportswriters?

NCAA: I'm so psyched for Thursday's start to the NCAA tournament. I wasn't happy with the way my bracket turned out, but who knows - it's not like I do well every other year, when I'm happy with my bracket. So maybe this is the year. I have Duke, Villanova, North Carolina, and Gonzaga as my final four - we'll see. Big upsets the first couple of days include San Diego State over Indiana. Just so I'm on the record. UNC-Wilmington should also beat George Washington. And I took Northern Iowa over Georgetown - I don't know why.

SNY LAUNCH: Forgot to mention that while I was in New York last weekend, I walked past the new SNY studios with Justin from NYC. It seems like it'll be a nice setup, with an open studio wrapping around the corner facing the street. (I wish I knew I was going to be there, I would have dropped off my letter of intent to be the official blogging partner of SNY.) Thursday, March 16th, is the launch of SNY. Still no word on whether or not DirecTV will air SNY - it doesn't look like it will happen by the time of the launch...unfortunately. So I won't be able to watch it's first minutes on the air....but you know I'll be watching the minute DirecTV picks it up.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


I'm still not worried about Pedro Martinez*. Tom Glavine's schedule has been shifted in case he has to make the Opening Day start, which does worry me a little bit, more on that in a minute. But I'm not worried about Pedro*. He will pitch the first week of the season, even if it's not Opening Day. I just think Pedro* had an out from the WBC, and pushed it a little too far, not realizing he might not be ready for Opening Day of the Mets' season. Pedro* will pitch to batters soon, and maybe in a game following that. He's behind schedule, but he'll be OK.

Tom Glavine, though, worries me a bit. He got rocked in his spring training start Monday. Not a huge concern, but a little one. He wasn't crazy about shifting his schedule to accomodate the Mets, in case of problems with The Toe. But he did it, reluctantly. And now I think it's in his head a little bit. I think Tom Glavine is a great pitcher, but I don't think Tom Glavine adjusts to changes very well. This is what I've come up with. It took Glavine about a year and a half to pitch well in New York - the first major change in his life in 16 years. Then this week it comes out, in John Scheurholz's new book, that Glavine regretted agreeing to a free agent deal with the Mets, and the day before he was supposed to sign it, went to Schuerholz, asking what he should do. Glavine doesn't deny the story, he just says he wished he was asked permission for it to appear in the book. So that supports my thought a bit.

Now Glavine is being asked to change his schedule, something he doesn't want to do. At all. And the early returns, 4 runs in 4 innings, are not great. Just something to watch for. Hopefully Glavine will adjust.

MATSUI: I haven't heard much about Kaz Matsui in the New York papers. Could be because he's actually doing well, and we only hear the negative. He had three singles and three RBI on Monday, and drove in two runs with a hit in the Mets' 11-4 win on Tuesday.

EMBARRASSING: Driving back from New York on Sunday morning, I was able to listen to Ed Randall's "Talking Baseball" on WFAN, which is always a good listen. But there was a very unusual (for his show) and uncomfortable (for any show) moment.

Randall had (and this shows the respect most ballplayers have for Ed Randall) former players call into his show after arriving in Minnesota for Kirby Puckett's funeral. Don Baylor and Gary Gaetti called in after their planes landed. Baylor was first, and it was a little awkward, but nothing very noticeable, when Randall asked him about Game 6, and what it was like when Kirby Puckett told the team he was going to carry them on his back to win that game. Baylor, I guess, spun the question around to mean Game 6 of the 1987 World Series, in which he was a teammate of Puckett's, and in which Puckett went 4-for-4. (And until this moment, I didn't realize Puckett was 4-for-4 in that game - it's Game 6 of the 1991 World Series Puckett is remembered for...and I think Randall was asking about, as you'll see below...and in 1991, Baylor was no longer a baseball player.) So I guess the Baylor situation wasn't that uncomfortable....but.....

When Gary Gaetti came on, Randall asked him the same question, to describe the scene before and during Game 6, then what it was like to watch Puckett go out there and play a great game, with the catch and the homer. Gaetti's response was, "Ed, I hate to tell you this...but when he made that catch, and hit that home run, that was 1991. I wasn't on that team." (Gaetti left the Twins after the 1990 season - he was a teammate on the 1987 championship team.) Randall, after about 3 seconds of silence (a lot on the radio), said to Gaetti, "But Puckett was really a genuine person, on and off the field, wasn't he?" It was very awkward. But let me stress here, this wasn't a case of an ignorant reporter - it was just an uncomfortable moment for a quality broadcaster who made a mistake.

ANOTHER BALLPLAYER CALLER: Incidentally, Jeff Bagwell also called into Randall's show, and it was a very good interview. Bagwell talked about his situation in Houston this year, and he was very candid. First of all, Bagwell is definitely one of the good guys in sports. I like listening to/watching his interviews, because he always comes across very well. He talked about being traded from the Red Sox back when he was in the minors, and said Butch Hobson told him. Bagwell walked into the clubhouse, Hobson had hung up the phone, and was throwing stuff around, and told Bagwell he was pissed because Bagwell had just been traded. Bagwell also said, with the situation the Red Sox were in then, he would have traded himself for Larry Anderson, too. He also says Larry Anderson apparently has a good sense of humor about being part of one of the worst trades ever, telling Bagwell whenever he's in a slump, you'd better pick it up, or else people are going to forget who I am. I thought that was funny.

Anyway, the big news out of this interview came when Randall asked Bagwell if he feels disrespected (the Astros don't want Bagwell to play this year, because if he's too hurt to play, the Astros get back by insurance 15 of 17 million dollars owed to Bagwell) by the team he's played for his whole Major League career. He hesitated for a long time before answering the question, then said he understands the business side of baseball a lot better now than he ever did. He still doesn't have a lot of hard feelings towards the organization.

Bagwell says he feels pretty good at this we'll see what happens over the rest of spring training. And hopefully this is the last Astros report for a while...why does it feel like I'm always writing about the Astros?

BONDS: My schedule's been a little jammed, and I realize I haven't had my say in the Barry Bonds deal - so hopefully I'll get around to that later in the week.

Thursday, March 09, 2006


Not that it matters, but the Mets lost to the Astros. I wish I could come up with something better to put as a headline certain days, but there's not much to write about other than the spring training games. Nothing worth mentioning out of this game.

FLOYD'S HEALTH: Apparently Kirby Puckett's death was a wake-up call for Cliff Floyd. Floyd's father suffered from kidney problems as a young man, so Floyd is getting his kidneys checked out. I don't think there are any immediate concerns, but Floyd says kidney problems are such that you could have a problem and not know about it far in advance. Floyd says he hopes others follow his lead and have any potential problems checked out.

MORE ON WYLIE: The day after I write about Rule 5 pick Mitch Wylie, the Mets' website has a feature on him....hmmm. I got a couple of things wrong - well, just one thing wrong, and a couple of more facts to add to the story. The wrong thing is that I said as a Rule 5 draftee, Wylie would have to stay on the Mets' 40-man's actually the 25-man roster, so he'd have to break camp with the team. Unless he mysteriously comes up with an injury around final cut time, ends up on the DL, and that injury lingers until there's an open bullpen spot or September call-up time. The other info is that Wylie started out in the Chicago White Sox organization and then went to the Giants. At one point, Wylie was 15-4 in AA with the White Sox. He pitched OK in AAA with the Giants last year. He's 28 years old.

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: Here's what I'm doing for fantasy baseball this year. First of all, my friends and I (basically, the entire readership of this site) are doing a 4-team league, using only players from the American League East and National League East. The categories are different too:
Offensive: RBI, SB, K, AVG.
Pitching: Saves, Walks, K, ERA
There are 6 total positive categories, and 2 negatives (Walks for pitchers, K's for hitters). It should be a fun league, and it should be interesting. One of the players thinks he has a "blockbuster" strategy - he will use just one pitcher, in one game, all year, and try to win all of the offensive categories, plus ERA. I'm not worried.

Secondly, the same four are also doing a "Favorite Teams" fantasy league, with a bunch of statistical categories. We draft our favorite teams (I have all of the Mets, obviously), and see which is the best fantasy team. It's the Mets, Yankees, Red Sox, and White Sox. I'll keep you posted on the progress of that.

I'm not doing any serious NL and AL fantasy teams this year...I'm taking a year away from that. I'll see if I miss it, and if I need to get back to it next year. I certainly haven't missed all the usual prep work I put into the draft, which is usually this time of year. I am, though, working on some sort of baseball pool, similar to a season-long NFL pool, with weekly, or monthly, payouts. I'll let you know if I come up with anything.

Finally, here's where you get invited to play along with me. Probably my favorite of all of these baseball fantasy games is "Beat The Streak" on You pick baseball players everyday, and all you have to do is pick who you think will get a hit (it can be the same person everyday, if you wish). The goal is to beat Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak. There are also prizes for 30, 40, and 50-game streaks, I think. I usually just play by myself, but this year, I'm inviting all of my readers, and whoever else wants to join a league, to play against each other. The person with the longest streak at the end of the year wins a hat. (If such a thing exists by then....boy, I really hope I win - I should be the one to get the only hat in existence.) It's a really fun game, and I get addicted to it every year. Unfortunately, I think my longest hitting streak is only about 15 games. I will let you know as soon as I set up a Beat The Streak League. It's awesome for nights the Mets aren't playing too - it really gives you something to root for in the other games you're watching.

BLAH BLOGS: The New York Daily News has an awful thing going online - a blog between a man and a woman, one being a Mets fan and one being a Yankees fan. They just insult each other and write crappy things. Seeing that, I realize I MUST become the official blogging partner of SNY - they need me and I need them. Still no e-mail link on their website, though - looks like regular mail is the way to go. (Also, still no word on DirecTV in the Massachusetts area....I guess I'll have to settle for Mets games, not necessarily Mets programming.)

I'm taking the weekend off - I'll be back possibly Sunday, possibly Monday.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006


The Mets, one day after beating the Astros, 7-1, beat the Indians 7-1 on Wednesday. Not much of note from that game. More importantly, Pedro Martinez* had a good session throwing off some kind of mound - we'll see what the papers say tomorrow, but I think they're going to have to back off the "not making his Opening Day start" talk.

WBC ROUNDUP: I like watching these WBC baseball games - a real good one between Panama and Cuba when I got home from work today - I found myself rooting for Panama, perhaps because they were behind, perhaps because I dislike Cuba. Panama tied it in the 9th, but Cuba held on to win in extra innings.

While that game was ending, Canada built a big lead on the U.S., and the U.S. almost came back, but ended up losing 8-6. Now my worst-case scenario comes true - Roger Clemens pitches for a team I'm rooting for, in a clutch I have to root for him to come up lame or to get rocked early, then have the U.S. come back. Or maybe I just root against the U.S., so I can say it was Clemens' fault they lost.

What's all this Chase Field talk? The U.S. has been practicing/playing their games at Chase Field in Arizona. Is it Chase Field at Bank One Ballpark, or has Chase taken over Bank One, and there is no longer a BOB?

One last WBC note - Italy has a player named Mark Saccomano. I'm not sure if he's affiliated with a Major League team, but I think that's hilarious - and any 'Seinfeld' fan would probably think so too. I wonder if it's Bob's brother.

PROSPECT NOTE: The info on this guy is thin, so I haven't been able to dig up much on him - but watch out for Mitch Wylie. He's a pitcher who the Mets picked up in the Rule 5 draft out of the San Francisco Giants' organization. People have been raving about his stuff early on in spring training, including Ramon Castro, who caught him and started asking reporters about him. The Rule 5 rules mean that Wylie would have to stay on the Mets' 40-man roster or be given back to the Giants, so he might be making some Major League appearances - I'll keep you posted when I find out more about him.

Coming Tomorrow: Barring any big developments, Thursday I will deliver the promised fantasy baseball preview - meaning previewing what I have going on in the fantasy baseball department this coming year. Some interesting stuff - including an invite for you, the reader. So please check back!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006


I think Pedro Martinez* is going to make his Opening Day start. I really do. It's too early right now to start shifting the rotation so that Tom Glavine can be available on Opening Day. (The big story in the papers Tuesday.) Glavine says it's 50-50 that he will be switched into the Opening Day start, and he sounds like he'll be mad if it ends up upsetting his schedule. I think I'll start panicking next week, if Pedro* gets off his schedule (he's supposed to go two innings on Monday, I think, which is the big milestone to watch for), but for now, this is a media-contrived controversy, because with the WBC, there is really not a whole lot going on at Mets camp.

METS BEAT THE ASTROS, 7-1: Notable from this game - Kaz Matsui had two hits, including a 2-run triple. He broke his 0-for-9 start to spring training (0-for-12 if you count the Puerto Rico exhibition game). I'm telling you, though - I'd be surprised if the triple gets much play in the New York papers - they're going to play up the 0-for-9/12 streak more. There was no mention of Matsui's good at-bat, where he moved the runner up, against Puerto Rico - just the fact that he was 0-for-3.

DELGADO FALLS: So apparently, Carlos Delgado took a backwards tumble off a dais on Monday during a Puerto Rican press conference for the WBC. Come on, why have I not seen video of this? Mets star risking injury or not, anytime someone falls off a dais, I need to see that. Thankfully, Delgado was not hurt.

USA: The U.S. WBC team shut out Mexico 2-0 in their first game. It was fun to watch some baseball - even if Chipper Jones was a major contributor to the win.

MORE ON KIRBY: A dip into the mailbag for another reader's take on Kirby Puckett, who died Monday of a stroke at age 44:

"i can not help but respond to what you wrote about kirby puckett. You say most people will remember him for 1991 and for the sexual abuse allegations.
In my opinion, it is absoloutely neccesary to mention the allegations.
That SI article was shocking when it came out, not just because of the one allegation, which he was ultimately legally cleared from.. but because it was apparently a pattern of behavior.
When his wife divorced him, she sited sexual and physical abuse.. and he had the lovely habit of whipping it out in mall parking lots in front of strangers. and he was kirby puckett.. the most famous man in the state. Imagine that scene. a lady gets out of her car because she needs to get something at sears, and she sees kirby puckett, and for a split second she thinks "oh my god, kirby puckett.. i can't wait to tell my husband and sons. he's their hero".. but suddenly her thoughts change to, "why is he showing me his weiner?" How does she go home and talk to her kids and her husband?

Basically for the last two days, all i have heard about is what a great guy he was because he was short and fat and single handedly won a world series. That's all true (though i don't neccesarily think he was such a shoo in for the hall of fame).. but i have heard some ridiculous statements. Even my hero peter gammons spoke about him as if baseball talent and a smile is all that rates... and harold reynolds made the most ridiculous statement i have ever heard in my life.. "if anyone can beat this, its kirby puckett". So, clearly he went to the same medical school as bill frist (check that out.. a political tie in. dave will get it, kev will not). But that statement is inherrently retarded. because he ran fat despite being a fatty... beating a stroke should be no problem? that's just dumb.

thank you for listening,

Justin, thanks for weighing in on the Puckett situation. I was starting to regret what I had written, because everyone - everyone - speaks so glowingly about Puckett, and it's just a footnote that he had all of these allegations against him. Until I read his obituary in the paper today, I barely heard about the allegations. So I was starting to feel like I was disrespecting the dead in some way. But you're right - there was a pattern and a history of this type of behavior. And mix in a frustrating end to a career that was the only thing Puckett ever really knew, a weight problem spiraling out of control, it's hard for me to imagine Puckett had a peaceful final few years....nor was he the "perfect/great/honorable" person everyone is making him out to be. A tragic figure? Yes. A hero? No way.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Exciting day today for the family. We bought the 'ESPN The Magazine' with the picture of David Wright on the cover. We also got our first look at the baby in an ultrasound. Maybe someday soon I'll post that picture on this site. I'll probably also try to post the picture of the baby.

The Mets beat the Indians, 6-3. Cliff Floyd hit a homer, and Tom Glavine pitched three innings of one-run ball. The game was on ESPN, but I forgot to set the TiVo. Hope there wasn't anything important said that I missed.

PUCKETT: Sadly, Kirby Puckett died today at age 44. He was forced to retire early from baseball because of blindness in his eye, after contracting glaucoma, and then he put on lots of weight, and suffered a stroke yesterday. Puckett is, apparently, still a god in Minnesota...but I think outside of Minnesota he will be remembered for two things: His role in the 1991 World Series, and the accusations of sexual harrassment against him a few years ago (he was cleared). Sadly, I think that's what he'll be remembered for - not that he was a Hall of Famer.

BABY NAMES: The Wife compiled this list and sent it to the mailbag - seems fitting to publish it on the day we got our ultrasound picture. (Keep in mind the Wife roots for the Red Sox, in addition to the well as the Patriots):


Our consensus favorite: Mookie.

Sunday, March 05, 2006


The Mets were clobbered twice on Sunday, leaving me with plenty to write about. I'll start with the game I didn't see - the Mets lost to the Dodgers 16-2. Cuban defector Alay Soler was among the pitchers who were rocked.

In the game that was on ESPN, the Mets lost to the Puerto Rico World Baseball Classic team, 6-1. Not quite a clobbering, especially considering the fact that half the game was Mets minor leaguers, but the big hits for Puerto Rico came off Billy Wagner. (I'm chalking it up to the fact that he doesn't have his best stuff in early March - I'm not worried.)

I'll go in bullet format, with talking points from the game:
  • Lastings Milledge led off and played center field for the Mets (since Carlos Beltran* was playing for Puerto Rico), and he played pretty well. It was good to get a look at him - he moved to left later in the game, and made a nice hustle catch on a sinking liner (he dived when he didn't have to, but it was still a very nice play)
  • Carlos Delgado didn't play (for Puerto Rico) - he has a sore elbow. Jose Oquendo expects Delgado to be OK for Tuesday's WBC game, Delgado told ESPN's Duke Castiglione he might not be able to play in the WBC at all.
  • I was going to save this for later, but I've already mentioned Castiglione, so here goes. I'm already biased against Castiglione because he's the son of a broadcaster. Since broadcasting was a tough profession for me to crack, I feel like 'sons of broadcasters' had better earn their spots. Joe Buck has earned my respect, few others have. Duke Castiglione is wearing real thin. He'd better just report, and report well - too many times he's trying to be buddy-buddy during interviews, or acting with a schtick - just do the reports, Duke. If I have to watch you because of some favor to the Castiglione with some (and I stress some, not a lot of) talent, you'd better just do the job the way it's supposed to be done. And why is Castiglione getting so many Mets assignments? I feel like I see him all the time on Mets ESPN games. Castiglione did the game with Brian Kenny on play-by-play and Steve Phillips doing color. Phillips is good - I like listening to him in radio guest spots, and he offers some good front office insight in the booth. Kenny needs to stick to the Hot List. I'm not a fan of his play-by-play. I don't know what the broadcasting sightlines are at Tradition Field - but Kenny missed a lot of stuff during the game - it was very distracting for me. I think this team is doing the WBC games from Puerto Rico the next week or so. I might not watch those...or I will to see if Brian Kenny can do better (Believe it or not, I do kind of like Brian Kenny....or at least, I prefer him over some other ESPN personalities.)
  • Back to the game - Castiglione interviewed Pedro Martinez* during the game. Pedro* said his toe was sore, but that's "to be expected". Lately, the big deal in the New York papers has been whether Pedro* will be ready for Opening Day. They're playing this up way too early - I think he'll be OK. We'll leave it at that for now. Anyway, Pedro*'s take: "If nothing goes wrong, I expect to be ready for Opening Day." On the Mets chances in 2006: "If the team stays healthy, and it starts with me, we're gonna be a hard team to beat." On unseating the Braves atop the NL East: "Winning the division is not that important. Whoever is fresh in the finals - whoever's in good health and ready to play is who's gonna win it.....winning the division isn't important." I was surprised by that comment - I know the Mets can still make the playoffs as a wild card, but you can't go into the season with the mindset that second place is OK. Win it all, men. Pedro* is a good interview, though.
  • Kenny and Phillips interviewed Willie Randolph, and Randolph addressed the 2B controversy: "It's an open competition - I really feel, though, that Kaz might step up and take the job."
  • During that interview, Matsui made a nice backhand play up the middle, and the throw to first to make an out. In the bottom half of the inning, after a leadoff double by Milledge, Matsui grounded out to the right side to move Milledge to third, before David Wright squibbed a single between first and second to score the run. I thought it was a good day for Matsui.
  • One more thing about ESPN - they had huge issues with their chyron operator (the person who controls the words that come on the screen), specifically in the age department. When showing Pedro*'s age during his interview, they listed him as age: 340. Also, Matsui was listed as age 20 (instead of 30. Pedro*, obviously, is 34.) I guess it's spring training for everyone.
  • One more interview - this one was Omar Minaya in the booth. He was a little more aggressive than Pedro*, when it comes to the division: "The team is better - We expect to give the Braves a hell of a run." When asked about the starting pitching, he said the Mets have "good starting pitching", but he's "always thinking of things" when it comes to making a move.
  • The Mets have a very young kid that played shortstop at the end of this game - Jose Coronado - I think he is 17. He showed he has a gun, making two good plays in the seventh inning. One he went into the hole at short, planted himself, and fired to first. The other play was a chopper over the head of the pitcher, and he charged it nice and made the play at first. He also singled later on.
  • Finally, I mentioned last week that the Mets are one of about three teams wearing a new aerodynamic helmet with air holes, which offer more protection. They look sleek. I like them. I'm trying to place where I have seen helmets like this before - either in college baseball or women's softball. Nice looking though. I think the Angels are one of the other teams wearing them.

Monday the Mets are on ESPN again - this time at 1 against the Cleveland Indians. Tom Glavine and Jose Lima are among the scheduled pitchers.

Saturday, March 04, 2006


The Mets split their first two spring training games with the Cardinals. Saturday, they played the Nationals, and for what it's worth, Aaron Heilman, Brian Bannister, Chad Bradford, and Duaner Sanchez all pitched effectively (I think, according to the pitching schedule). Mike Venafro, who I like to watch, but I'm not sure will make the Major League team, (he's formerly of the Oakland A's) gave up three runs in the sixth....again, I think.

The eventful news from Friday night's game is that Steve Schmoll blew an 8-7 lead in the 9th inning - as the Mets lost 11-8. Good thing we now have Billy Wagner.

I imagine, since Wagner didn't pitch Saturday, we'll probably see him on Sunday in the ESPN-televised game against the Puerto Rican WBC team. Although, now that I've written that, he could be pitching in the other split squad game, meaning we wouldn't see him.

The other thing from spring training is that it seems if Kaz Matsui makes an error or doesn't get a hit, it's a big deal. If he does OK, it's not worth mentioning. I know Matsui is making a lot of money, and he hasn't performed well yet - but I really hope he wins the job, and plays well. He's got a lot going against him right now...I want to see him do well. Incidentally, I never mentioned how the Bret Boone retirement affects Matsui - it doesn't guarantee him a job, that's for sure. Anderson Hernandez (who had three hits and three runs on Saturday) is getting a real shot, and Jeff Keppinger has been cleared by doctors to start playing again. So it's still wide open.

2 NOTES FROM 'WALDENBOOKS': I was out shopping with the wife on Friday night, and we stopped into Waldenbooks. As I am wont to do, I went straight to the sports section. I saw a prospects report, and picked that up to read - I think it was from Baseball America. A couple of things caught my interest. No surprise that Lastings Milledge was rated the best prospect in the Mets' system - but I didn't realize he has a sketchy past - accusations of sexual misconduct in high school. Apparently he's been a model citizen in the Mets' organization, so that's good news. And I know Cliff Floyd has set a good example when they've been together in spring training situations, so that's good. I was a bit surprised that 2B Anderson Hernandez was only the fifth-highest ranked prospect in the organization. He's apparently all-glove, no-hit...which was pretty much the case during his 1-for-18 September call-up last year. Finally, I went to the Orioles page to look up John Maine, the prospect the Mets got in the Kris Benson trade. He wasn't ranked very high in their organization, and his numbers haven't been great in a couple of years at the Major League level. Here's the thing I'm haning my hat on with Maine, though - he now gets to work with Rick Peterson. I have yet to see Peterson fail (we'll see what Victor Zambrano looks like this year), and maybe Maine lives up to his potential by working with Peterson this spring.

The other note from Waldenbooks is that they are selling a coffe table-type book on the history of the World Series. It's basically a photo book, with pictures from every World Series. (For some reason, though, the most recent World Series have only a couple of pictures, as opposed to 10 or so from the others. Not sure why.) It's on clearance for about 15 bucks - even though it includes last year's World Series. Here's my problems with books like this, though. They're full of errors. As I usually do with books like this, I turned to the 1986 World Series page, and in one of the captions it says something like, "Mookie Wilson dodges wild pitch....he would later hit the game-winning single that forced Game 7." Game-winning single?!?!?!?! The whole premise of that World Series is that Bill Buckner made an ERROR!!!!!! My problem with books like that is if I can find an error on the one page I looked carefully at - how many other pages in the book have mistakes?! There is another case like this - a big Baseball Encyclopedia-like book, which I don't remember what it's called...but I'll find out. It noted year-by-year, day-by-day events in baseball. I looked at the October 25, 1986 entry, and it said something like the error by Buckner came in the bottom of the 9th inning (it was really the 10th). So factual errors like that in these big ol' books make me believe the authors are trying to make a quick buck, without getting all of their facts straight.

PLUG FOR NO REASON: I'm not too big on giving other people plugs, because there's no way they would ever link to my site, but I think I may have found the Saint Louis Cardinals fan version of me. I was going through some other blogs, and came across a Cardinals one: (I'm not making it a link - you're going to have to go through the effort of putting it in your browser if you're going to check it out.) Apparently the guy is in downtown Saint Louis, because he has pictures from his window of the new stadium - it actually looks great. Worth a trip to Saint Louis (like I wasn't going to go anyway...). He loses a bit of credibility, though, with that lineup for Saturday's game - he doesn't know who Kit Pellow is? Did he not see a Colorado Rockies game at all last year? I thought Cardinals fans were supposed to be knowledgeble about baseball. (Upon further review - Pellow was with the Rockies in 2004 - in the Mariners organization last year. My bad. But he still should have heard of him.)

That's all for today - tomorrow I'll update after the game on ESPN.

Thursday, March 02, 2006


The Mets opened their Grapefruit League exhibition season Thursday afternoon with a 12-7 win over the Cardinals. I know the games don't count, and I'll get real tired of them real soon, but it's nice to see actual scores of actual baseball games.

Supposedly at this point, the pitchers are supposed to be ahead of the hitters. Rare was the pitcher ahead of the hitter in this game. Steve Trachsel pitched poorly, Billy Wagner pitched well. The good news out of this game was Xavier Nady's four hits, with 6 RBI, including a grand slam. Carlos Delgado was 3-for-3.


"Dear JohnnyMets,

Just a quick email to say 'JohnnyMets called it.' Pedro pulled out of the World Baseball Classic. I guess the toe just proved too much.

Dave in Brighton"

Thanks Dave...although I'm not really sure I called it. I really thought Pedro* would pitch in the World Baseball Classic at some point. Turns out, the Dominicans didn't want to waste a roster spot on Pedro*, if he wasn't going to be available until possibly the final round, and it would have wasted Pedro*'s spring for the Mets. I didn't realize this, but Major League teams aren't allowed to use a guy in spring training if he's on a WBC roster (which I guess makes sense in all cases except for a guy who is somewhat injured like Martinez*). I'm cool with this whole thing, though, because now Pedro* can focus on the regular season, and get ready for the games that count, as far as I'm concerned.

DARREN DAULTON: Yesterday I promised more from Darren here it is. Turns out, the date he mentioned as the end of the world, as I'm sure you've heard somewhere by now, is the end of the Mayan calendar. But I already mentioned all of that - the new development is that yesterday I heard Daulton on Dan Patrick's show on ESPN Radio. Nearly all of the callers I heard at the end of the show called to support Daulton and tell him how brave he was to come forward with something like this, because he was subjecting himself to ridicule. Well, he sure is. I'm not buying it. I'm willing to take the risk that there will be egg on my face when the world ends in 2012.

SCHEDULING STUFF: I just discovered that Sunday afternoon, the Mets' split-squad game against the Puerto Rican WBC team (featuring Carloses Beltran* and Delgado) will be on ESPN. Monday's game will be too (against Cleveland), but I'll be working...maybe I'll TiVo that. Also, it seems I do not have ESPN Deportes, so hopefully a lot of these games in North America for the WBC will be on regular ESPN and ESPN2 so I can watch them.

I'm determined not to screw up this year on Opening Day. The Mets open up Monday, April 3, against Washington, at 1pm. I'm going to try to avoid human contact, TiVo the game (last year I had to rely on the old-fashioned VCR), and not set the TV to ESPNEWS before I watch the game on delay. See last year's April blog entry to see how I messed up on Opening Day. The good news about this year is that I have a shorter commute to watch the game.

SNY UPDATE: I don't want to have to write a letter to SNY, but there is no e-mail contact on their website (which is up and running), and I really want to be the official blogging partner of the station. Also, it doesn't appear that I have SNY on my DirecTV least yet. This won't affect my ability to watch the Mets games, because I'll still get them through the baseball package - but I do want to watch all of the Mets programming (and Jets programming) the station will feature when it's not showing baseball.

This was a fast week. TGIF. I'll be updating all weekend - especially postgame Sunday. Also coming within the next week - the promised fantasy baseball updates (maybe that will be within the next couple of weeks) and some insight from the wife about our newest addition, coming World Series time. The newest addition is coming World Series time - the insight from the wife is coming in the next week. Think baby names, a la Shea Jones, offspring of Chipper.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006


Leading off, good news leading up to the World Baseball Classic - Billy Wagner is not participating. Wagner withdrew from the WBC on Wednesday, saying he didn't think he'd be effective enough this early on. He says he's not a good pitcher in March, and didn't want to bring down the U.S. team. I'm glad he won't be suffering a season-ending injury during the WBC, but part of me was hoping Wagner got that "bad pitching early on" out of the way in the tournament, and was ready to go by the time the Mets' season started.

Secondly, 2B Bret Boone retired Wednesday, saying he just didn't have the motivation to play anymore. Boone's numbers have fallen off dramatically the past couple of seasons...just saying....I don't think he was going to give the Mets those types of huge numbers this year. Actually, I'm willing to bet he wouldn't produce anything close to those numbers. And he was probably thinking the same thing.

Lastly (in my opening remarks, anyway), one day of Barry Bonds dressed like a woman for 'Giants Idol' was amusing. Day Two, on Wednesday, was borderling disturbing. Also, take note, ESPN - Pedro Gomez isn't suited to doing anything that isn't remotely serious. He looked pained trying to smile in his stand-up (on-camera piece) in his 'Giants Idol' report from Arizona.

IN OTHER 'BALLPLAYERS I DISLIKE' NEWS: Roger Clemens is pitching for Team USA in the WBC. With the Astros the past couple of years, and now with the U.S., I've decided I am tired of rooting for the team Clemens plays for, while rooting against him. I don't want to root for him to pitch poorly, get knocked out in the second inning, and then root for the Astros/Americans to come back and win. So despite my like of the Astros (in other words, they're a team I usually don't mind rooting for), I will root for no further Astros success until Roger Clemens is no longer on that team....unless they call up his son Koby. And speaking of Koby....are you kidding me that he homered off his dad the other day? And then Clemens brushes him back? Yeah, how long have they been planning that media coup? For 18 years, probably.

AND NOW TO 'BALLPLAYERS I LIKE': Al Leiter is entering the rotation of Team USA - replacing C.C. Sabathia, who withdrew from the team along with Wagner. That'll be fun to watch - I like rooting for Leiter still.

HE'S NUMBER ONE: The talk out of the Atlanta Braves' camp on Tuesday was that Tim Hudson will be the team's Opening Day starter, taking over the number one role from John Smoltz. Smoltz said he's fine with it - he's just happy to be starting and healthy entering the year. You may remember Smoltz' arm almost fell off at the end of last year's playoffs. (Hopefully the Mets will give Smoltz plenty of time to rest this year, with a nice October off.) Meanwhile, I was surprised to read that Hudson will be the Braves' sixth Opening Day starting pitcher in the past six years. I thought there'd been more stability there recently.

COMMENTS ON THE 'COMMENTS': It's only fitting that Kevin would be the first to comment - he's done so much for this site out of the Southern Bureau (also, the publicity he has given the site is unmatched - both on the web and over the airwaves). More on him later. As for The Wife, I'm anticipating many a comment from her, and yes, I do feel very bad for Mrs. Wilk. But this is a Mets site, darn it, not a 'Scrubs' blog.

AS PROMISED, MORE FROM KEVIN/MAILBAG/'86 METS ROUNDUP: Three topics in one shot here - first, the e-mail:


You going to see this movie??

Before you get all excited - watch the trailer. I think its a Red Sox love story. Ugh.

JMDBSDC Southern Chief."

Well, I watched the trailer. If you're going to do the same, I recommend you treat yourself to the "Large Trailer". Why would you choose the small one, that's what I want to know. Go ahead - check it out....I'll wait.........

As you might expect, I have lots of thoughts on this movie. First of all, it's a brilliant concept. I love the idea - "What were you doing that night?" It's great. But I think it's all wrong here. First of all, the game seems to serve as something of a backdrop (I have no basis for this, but that's what it seems like to me), and I feel like it would be torture for me to see the movie (which, of course, I'm probably going to do anyway). I think I'll be sitting there with my antennae up looking for any clues as to what it was really like to be a Red Sox fan at that moment - or looking for factual errors....or trying to re-live that night. It's an obsession for me. So I think I will be disappointed. But I have to check it out anyway.

Next, if you explore that site (how long did it take you to even figure out where the links were? I dragged my mouse across the screen about ten times before I realized those words on the newspaper were the links...but that's just me. I thought it was a big screen that was just promoting the "Where Were You?" contest.), you'll see that you can read other people's submissions about where they were. This is another obsession of mine - I like hearing about the champagne and T-shirts being hurried away from the Red Sox clubhouse after the Mets tied it up....Keith Hernandez in the clubhouse after making the second out....Ron Darling's yet-to-be-told on story about that night.

I skimmed through the stories about where people were, and I came across one that particularly struck my fancy - a guy who was a freshman at BU, from New York, living in Warren Towers (a dorm at Boston University where I and every one of my readers has lived...unless my readership increases dramatically soon), surrounded by Red Sox fans (both true blue and wannabe). He has a good story going, and answers my question about what it would be like had the Mets been any good when I was in college in Boston...but he loses me when he insists that Ray Knight was on third base after the wild pitch to Mookie Wilson. The wild pitch advanced Knight to second, not third, and he scored when the ball went through Buckner's legs. Now, the other fact that disappoints me about this guy is that he insists that Wilson would have beaten Buckner to the bag (which I agree with) had Buckner caught the ball. But he says that would have won the game for the Mets. All that ensures is that Knight would have gone to third, and Wilson would have been at first for, I think, Howard Johnson. So at best HoJo wins the game - at worst it's extra innings. I hope that guy doesn't win the contest - because he needs to get his facts straight.

Speaking of getting facts straight - I have a very poor long-term memory, unfortunately. I know people who can remember things from when they were 2 or 3 years old. I have trouble remembering much about when I was younger. So, sadly, I'm not sure where I was the night of Game 6. Chances are, I was at home, or at my friend Steven's house. I know we watched some of the World Series at Steven's. I feel like those were Games 1 and 2, though. Either way, I need to talk to my dad and try to remember about the night of Game 6. I can't believe this hasn't come up before - but I DON'T know where I was. I sure do remember the game, though - perhaps all of my future watchings of Game 6, on ESPN Classic and on tape, etc. - have diminished my original memory of the event. But that's probably a topic for the day I appear on Dr. Phil, with my wife and future child - as to why my obsession with the '86 Mets makes me an awful husband/father.

Oh - one more thing about that movie - seeing Bebe Neuwirth in the movie would probably also confuse me, because while the guy Michael Keaton plays is cheating on his wife with Neuwirth, I'm going to be thinking that Neuwirth is cheating on Frasier. Because if that movie is taking place in '86, she's Lilith, darn it.

I need to go to bed - it's too late for a school night - but coming tomorrow, I'm going to try to touch on Wednesday's Dan Patrick Show on ESPN Radio, on which I heard Dan talk to Darren Daulton for a little bit. And callers came to Daulton's defense!