Tuesday, October 30, 2007
The layoff definitely hurt the Rockies' hitting...but it didn't help that they were facing Josh Beckett early on also. Their pitching was pretty bad.
The Series was so quick that I didn't even have a chance to offer a bet to one of my co-bloggers...either the Southern Bureau or Dave in Brighton, who are both Red Sox fans...or even The Wife. Maybe we can still work something out, since I'll admit that I would have lost whatever we bet.
I could have let the Southern Bureau cash in on his bet in person, too. How's this for an impulsive move? The Southern Bureau came north Tuesday for the Red Sox championship parade. That's awesome. I had to be with the Baby, so I couldn't meet up with him, but I admire his move from afar. Great work, Southern Bureau. (Dave in Brighton also attended said parade, but who are we kidding...he's from Brighton. It would be news if he didn't go.)
I need to weigh in on a few other things that have been making news lately:
I agree that it was in poor taste that the announcement that A-Rod was opting out of his contract came during the World Series. But the media made way too big a deal out of it...they could have let it sit until after the World Series - they chose to play it up. Also, I would have bet money that the Yankees were waiting for a couple of hours until after the World Series ended (and the Red Sox won) to try to steal some headlines by naming their new manager. Perhaps they waited a day after they saw how A-Rod got slammed by not waiting with his news. It just seemed like a Yankees way to steal headlines - and trust me, as a Mets fan, I know the Yankees are a well-oiled machine when it comes to grabbing headlines away from their rivals.
Also, I hate to even bring this up, but this occurred to me, and I think it needs to be mentioned. Jose Reyes was not himself the last couple of months of the season. You hate to think it, but I'm sure the front office was wondering what was up. Now the best shortstop in the game is available. The Mets have to be in the conversation, since they're one of only a handful of teams in the majors who can afford Rodriguez. Do the Mets think about trading Jose Reyes for some stud pitchers somewhere, while his value is at its peak, and then sign Rodriguez? I am not in any way endorsing this move - I just thought it might have some fragment of the way the Mets' front office might be thinking.
Something needs to be shaken up after last season's collapse...do the Mets do something this dramatic? I think that I hope they don't...but I'm not really sure how I feel. The ending to last season...and then the impending steroid report results....it all has me a bit bothered, and I'm not sure I'll know how I really feel about baseball and the Mets until spring training rolls around. And I don't know that I'll care very much if Alex Rodriguez is a Met and Jose Reyes isn't. But I won't know until this stuff actually happens.
One last thing - a lot of Red Sox fans I know are saying they absolutely do NOT want Alex Rodriguez on their team. They're throwing around words like "cancer". I don't know if A-Rod is that big of a clubhouse cancer - how can he be? He's just not that big of a personality. I just think he's selfish...and that probably doesn't endear him to teammates...but I don't think he tears teams apart. I think he just folds in tough situations, and ends up letting his team down at key moments.
So Joe Torre is out in New York, Joe Girardi is in, and Joe Torre is now in in Los Angeles, and Grady Little is out. And Don Mattingly is following Torre to L.A. The two guys that got the worst out of these deals are two guys I like a lot. I like Grady Little. I don't know why, I just do. And I think he got a raw deal in Boston. But that's ancient history. Too bad it didn't work out for him in L.A....who knows if he'll ever find success as a manager. (Meanwhile, I was about to write about what a great job Terry Francona has done with the Red Sox since succeeding Little, but Bob Ryan beat me to it with a great article in Tuesday's Boston Globe. So I won't waste my time.)
Then there's Don Mattingly. I always liked Mattingly. For a long time, I was a Yankees and Mets fan - I harbored no ill will towards the Yankees at all. People always said, "How could you like both New York teams?" They never played one another, so I thought it was easy to like them both. They both represented my city. But then Don Mattingly got old fast. And the Yankees showed him the door. I can't remember the details of his departure as I write this, but one day Don Mattingly was a Yankee, the next he wasn't even invited back to spring training, if I remember correctly. So now, another unceremonious departure later, I just feel bad for the man. He's a Yankee...and I don't think they treated him right twice. That's why I stopped rooting for the Yankees...just in time for their great run of World Series titles. But I guess it's a good thing that happened - because otherwise I would have been quite confused in the 2000 Subway Series (don't worry...I would have rooted for the Mets).
It will be interesting to see how Joe Girardi does in New York after the fiasco in Florida where he clashed with ownership while doing a wonderful job managing a young group. There are elements with this Yankees team that are the same (young players, interfering owners?), but it's a mostly veteran team of which a lot is expected. So that's different.
FINALLY, A PICK: The Yankees-Dodgers is too obvious, with that managerial connection. So the early frontrunner for my World Series prediction for 2008 is Braves-Tigers, following the Edgar Renteria trade.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Sometimes I just get the impression the baseball gods are trying to give us a hint as to what's been pre-determined. Remember this past off-season, where all the talk was of an imminent trade between the Red Sox and Rockies? Todd Helton and Mike Lowell were the major players involved. The trade never happened, obviously, although various reports had it as very, very close to taking place a number of times. Well, if I had told you then that the Red Sox and Rockies would be their respective league's representatives in this year's World Series, I'd be considered a genius, no?
This isn't the first time this sort of thing has happened - that's how I know it's worth trying out. The trick is to pick the right relationship - because if you had said in January that the Reds would be playing the Athletics in the World Series based on the Kirk Saarloos-David Shafer trade, I'd think your reasoning was full of holes. But if you had recognized this pattern in late 1985, after the Mets and Red Sox swapped some players (the key names being Bobby Ojeda and Calvin Schiraldi), you would have guessed correctly the participants in the 1986 World Series.
Sometimes you have to look very closely. Following the 2000 season, Buck Showalter was fired by the Arizona Diamondbacks. The fact was mentioned back then that the last time he was fired by a team, they won the World Series. That team was the New York Yankees. Your 2001 World Series? That's right - Yankees-Diamondbacks.
I'm not saying this is seal-tight, bet-the-house, guaranteed victory. I'm just saying it's worth a shot. So when the Mets pick up a kid in a minor league deal with the Texas Rangers in late November, you'd better believe I'm forming a relationship between those two teams in my mind...and I just might take a closer look at those two teams when my spring training World Series picks roll around.
PEACE IN THE HOUSE SPONSORED BY DIRECTV: The Wife brought up a point the other day that hadn't really crossed my mind - it's a good thing the Mets didn't make the playoffs because if they advanced to the World Series, they'd be playing the Red Sox. And then this wouldn't be a very pleasant place. And she's right.
I hadn't really thought about that, though, because my mind was on other things: Like, I'm kind of glad the Mets didn't advance to the World Series (let alone the playoffs), because if the Mets ended up in the World Series with the Red Sox, that would be another wasted year on the ol' matchups chart. At least one good thing came out of this 2007 season - another box off the grid.
GAME ONE: Two things about Game 1 of the World Series - I can't imagine a better setting for a World Series game than Fenway Park. They should just play every World Series game here, whether or not the Red Sox are involved.
The second is, if Josh Beckett pitches well again in Game 1 of the World Series, start shining up his Hall of Fame plaque. He has at least two more starts in the post-season as of this writing, and if he continues to do what he's done to this point, he is in the conversation of "Best Post-Season Pitchers of All-Time". We'll revisit this, perhaps, as the season ends and we head into the off-season.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Fresh off of me praising him as a former Met done good, Paul Byrd spent the hours before Game 7 of the American League Championship Series denying that he cheated by taking HGH. Byrd insists he didn't cheat - he seems like a fine, upstanding guy, I'll believe him. He really went full-bore in seeming to tell the truth (as far as athletes go), so I'll believe him. It's fine...I've been lied to by sports figures I've cared more about, so I'll deal with this if it turns out he was lying.
But the real reason I'm addressing it is the fact that during his diatribe, Byrd threw in a plug for his book...and when Paul Byrd is writing a book, I think you need as many plugs as you can get, no matter what the circumstances. Here's what he said (I lifted the transcript from this link, so thanks to them for that):
I've also made comments, and this is things that I've talked about. I have a book coming out next year. This is not a promo for my book. But I do talk about this in the book, where I have had temptations to cheat. I have been asked by people, by pitching coaches, here's how you scuff a ball, here's how you put saliva on a ball, and I talk about that in the book. I also talked about the fact that I was prescribed a hormone, that I did inject it and I did have the temptation to take more of it than what was prescribed so my fastball would reach into the 90s on a consistent basis.
It sounded awkward - I don't know if it reads awkward as well. I just found it humorous while listening to him talk on Sunday.
POSSIBLE TITLES FOR PAUL BYRD'S BOOK:
Please Read My Book: The Story of Paul Byrd
(If he gets arrested) - I Know Why The Caged Paul Byrd Sings
(if he gets arrested for shooting a heckler) - How To Kill Someone Mocking Byrd
ON A RELATED NOTE: I'm not going to delve into areas that I'm not an expert in, because there's a lot of legality involved in this, and I don't know enough about the entire situation here...but the fact that George Mitchell has an association with the Red Sox, and this Paul Byrd thing broke the day of Game 7, seems awfully suspicious. It's almost like the Red Sox said, "You want to have our star pitcher's ex-girlfriend sing the National Anthem before he pitches at your place? Fine. We've got something to throw at you at our place..."
This steroids report, by the way, when it is released, which could be anywhere within the next couple of months, will be huge. And I don't know what my future as a baseball fan will be like when these names come out. There will be a lot of disappointment on my part.
WHY THE INDIANS LOST: If you read my previous posts, in which I predicted Fausto Carmona would win Game 6 for Cleveland, but wouldn't have bet money on it, I think there's something you should know. I think the Carmona prediction was with my heart, because I was sort of pulling for the Indians, like I've been pulling for the Rockies. But my head was saying, "You dope. The Red Sox are going to win these next two games at Fenway - there's no way the Indians will win." And I think the 'wouldn't bet anything on it' was my subconscious popping in with its two cents. So I think that's how you need to read into my predictions - I just can't make a sensible prediction.
That said, here's why the Indians lost: If you ever wanted to see what a team full of Jose Reyeses looks like, it was the Indians in Games 5, 6, and 7. You know how when Reyes presses (which for some reason he has been doing since August...had been, I should say), he pops everything up? That's what every batter in Cleveland's lineup was doing. Cleveland will be back in the future, because they're so young, and they should go far, because their star pitchers ought to pitch better in the big games. So they'll learn from the pressing they did this year, and I think they have a legit shot at winning in the next couple of years.
PREDICTION: With the World Series starting Wednesday night, I'll say this: The Rockies haven't really been intimidated by anyone this season - remember how they killed the Mets and Yankees back when both teams were playing good ball during the regular season? So I don't think they'll be intimidated by the Red Sox, or by the big stage. And I think this series will go 6 or 7 games. And though my head is saying the Red Sox win this (since they have home field in Games 6 and 7), I'm taking the Rockies, let's say in 6. It's hard for me to pick against the team I endorsed the day the playoffs started...and deep down (or actually, not very deep down...it's right out there on the surface) I'm a National League guy.
Understand, though, some of the people who I'm closest with in this world are Red Sox fans, so for them, I wouldn't mind seeing the Red Sox win. But, to quote Justin from NYC, when it comes down to it, with the Mets not involved, I "nothing" this World Series.
Friday, October 19, 2007
First of all, I don't envy the guy who has to do this sort of thing - tread lightly, my friend, because there are some mad fans out there...who might immediately rip this letter up. Click the image if you need it bigger to read it. But I love how formulaic this is...
"Thanks for your support. We are as disappointed as you are that things didn't work out. We're working to improve....but don't forget that we have an exciting new stadium coming in just a year! And please give us some money for next year, too!"
As you may or may not remember, my dad had a Tuesday-Friday night plan last season. I have no idea at this point whether or not he'll have something again next year (although this letter was sent on the 15th, and they want a decision by the 26th as to whether or not you want to put your playoff deposit towards tickets for next year or get a refund...so he'd better decide fast)...but I think the timing is pretty bad on the Mets' part to try to convince him to come back. "Hey - it's World Series time! The Mets aren't involved - remember!? Pay us for next year."
I really didn't get a chance to take advantage of my dad's tickets last year - my brother and sister were able to attend a few games, and my dad even made it to multiple games, which is rare, but I only made it to one. I don't know if it's worth my dad getting tickets again. Sadly, my strongest interest in Shea Stadium next year may be the Billy Joel concert that's rumored to be taking place there right before they tear it down.
MY TWO CENTS ON THE ALCS: First of all, I wrote the other day about Jake Westbrook...remember in July, the family and I went to Ohio for our stadium trips, and we saw an ALCS preview - Red Sox and Indians in Jacobs Field. Westbrook started the game we saw in Cleveland - and got rocked. He gave up four runs before getting an out. (That was the game Jon Lester returned from cancer.) Anyway, just thought that might help illustrate how bad, or at least streaky, Westbrook was during the regular season, and how late it continued - that was the third week in July.
I have no idea what Fausto Carmona's career-high for innings pitched in a season is, but I'm guessing he's never gone this deep into a season. A few years back he was a reliever, and now that he's starting for the first time, he has to be getting tired. He was starting to fade down the stretch of the regular season, before bouncing back and having a good September. His arm has to be getting tired at this point. That said, I do think the Indians will win Game 6 of the ALCS....but that's just my opinion. I really wouldn't bet anything valuable on it...I just think Carmona will step up with a trip to the World Series on the line. And then the Indians will play the Rockies in the first World Series to have a game postponed by snow.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
a) They have never been to the World Series before, so it's a new matchup, and I get to mark up another column on the "World Series Matchups" chart.
b) I wanted them to be the National League participant in the World Series.
c) As I wrote in my last posting, they're an easy team to root for.
The last part about that, the fact that the Rockies are easy to root for, is a bit strange. I hate the Broncos, and I hate seeing them succeed. Yet here I am rooting for the Rockies. Their fans are probably the same...and if the Broncos were winning, it would kill me to see Broncos fans happy. But now, I'm rooting along with some of those same people, because we have the Rockies in common. Strange. Also, it kind of irks me that no one, even in Colorado, paid attention to the Rockies, and now suddenly everyone is going to be on that bandwagon. Until they're not good again. (Except the way the Rockies are going, that won't be for a very long time.) I guess it's better than the Diamondbacks, who couldn't even sell out...at least the fans at Coors Field were into the games.
My first instinct was to say the 8-day layoff was going to hurt the Rockies, a la the Detroit Tigers last year. But now I'm thinking it won't matter. They're a good ball club. Yes, they're hot, and they've played nearly every day for the past month (including their one-game playoff the day after the season ended). But there was a layoff (albeit a lesser one, but still a layoff) between the Division Series and the LCS, and now they're just going through another one leading up to the World Series. I liked what I heard Clint Hurdle say...something to the effect of, "It beats the alternative...losing a few games." That's for sure. Good luck in the World Series, Colorado.
MEANWHILE, IN THE ALCS: If I'm a Red Sox fan, I'm rooting like crazy for a rainout Tuesday night. (We're about 10 minutes from FOX coverage...so 29 minutes or so from the schedule first pitch...as I write this, and I hear that it's pouring in Cleveland.) I just have an issue with resting such an important game on a knuckleball. On the other hand, I don't know that I would have wanted to bring back Josh Beckett on short rest - that has ruined other careers. Plus, it's not that desperate a situation. I have a different standard for bringing a pitcher back in an LCS versus the World Series...unless you're facing elimination. Then all rules go out the window. Anyway, rain certainly helps the Red Sox, so if I'm a Red Sox fan, #1, it wouldn't hurt to have a bonus night where you didn't have to stay up until the wee hours on a worknight, and #2, you get Beckett on regular rest, and don't have to depend on the knuckleball.
Monday, October 15, 2007
*Grady Sizemore seems like he just belongs in the post-season, doesn't he?
*I like rooting for the Rockies. For one thing, they always win. For another, they're just a likeable team. I've always sort of liked Todd Helton, too, so it's nice to see him having post-season success.
*Believe it or not, I'm going to come to the defense of Manny Ramirez here. I still wouldn't want him on my team, but I'm going to defend him. After he hit that walk-off home run against the Angels in the ALDS, I heard some Red Sox fans (some, not all, some) say something to the effect of, "it's about time, he hasn't been clutch at all." I asked for clarification...and heard back, "when you look at what Ortiz has done....". I'm sorry. First of all, Manny Ramirez was MVP of the 2004 World Series - he doesn't make an out in the post-season. Secondly, he hits behind Ortiz, and in a lot of game-winning situations, he's left on-deck because of how well Ortiz performs in those situations. So there are a couple of things to defend him. I still don't want him on my team.
*It's weird that Jake Westbrook is the #3 starter for a team this deep in the playoffs. He's really had an up and down year. I had him a couple of times on the fantasy team that involves players from outside the East divisions, and I had him for 57.2 innings, where he went 1-4, with an ERA of 4.99. Overall, he was 6-9 with a 4.32 ERA. Most of the time I owned him was earlier in the season, and he had a good second half (5-5 with a 3.44 ERA after the All Star break)....and he was injured for part of the first half. But he's one of those guys who just surprises you come the money games after pitching so poorly for so long.
Friday, October 12, 2007
The Rockies manager is one of a few people coaching teams still alive in the playoffs who used to play on the Mets...and seeing him during the Division Series reminded me to write about them. Hurdle only played for the Mets in three seasons - but I remember him very well. Very strange. He's just one of those guys who stands out in my memory...probably because he falls into the "Barry Lyons" category - guys who backed up Hall of Famer Gary Carter with the Mets.
Anyway, joining Hurdle are a couple of others:
Dave Magadan, Boston Red Sox Hitting Coach: Magadan was a sweet-swinging first and third baseman with the Mets. Nephew of Lou Piniella. Started at first base the night the Mets clinched the 1986 National League East title, only to be lifted in the ninth inning for a flu-ridden Keith Hernandez, who got to be on the field for the celebration.
Bob Apodaca, Colorado Rockies Pitching Coach: Apodaca pitched for the Mets in the 1970's, and was the Mets' pitching coach in the late '90's, when the Mets had some success.
Worth noting: The Arizona Diamondbacks' coaches under Bob Melvin are almost all guys who have played not too long ago. It used to be that my dad would tell me about the days when the coaches played...now I'm reminding him about the careers these guys had. I guess that's one way to tell that I'm getting old. Another is looking at some of the birth dates of the players.
HAVE YOUR SAY: Vote in the new poll at the right - Who do you think will win the World Series this year?
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
BOSTON RED SOX
There are no players on the Red Sox who used to play for the Mets. This surprises me. Should it? I feel like with all the player turnover in the majors, there should be a former Met on every team. Might be an interesting experiment to find out how many rosters don't have former Mets on them.
Paul Byrd - I really liked Byrd when he was a Met (during the lean years of 1995 and 1996). He pitched pretty well with them...then became a Brave. And it was all over for me, as far as Paul Byrd was concerned.
Kaz Matsui - It's no secret in this space that I've always liked Kaz Matsui. I always thought he was a tremendously clutch hitter. He just couldn't perform in New York...and the Rockies are reaping all the benefits.
Tony Clark - Same role, different team.
I'm pretty surprised how few former Mets there are in this final four. But they're all pretty east former Mets to root for, to be honest.
ONE MORE THING: Apropros of pretty much nothing, other than to draw attention to it...Rafael Betancourt is having an amazing year. I had no idea until Monday night, when he came in to pitch the eighth inning for the Indians against the Yankees, and had a pretty dominant 1-2-3 inning. Among his numbers: a 1.57 ERA, 80 strikeouts, and just 9 walks. The other numbers, which are not in my head right now, were just as impressive.
Also, as I was doing my lookover of the rosters for the former Mets, I noticed there are quite a few former Red Sox among the final four (and a whole team of current Red Sox!). Most noticeably, Trot Nixon back in Boston as a member of the Tribe, with everything on the line. Also...how about Nixon owning Roger Clemens?! He homered off him again Sunday. I only know how dominant he is against Clemens because I always used to pick him in 'Beat the Streak' when the Red Sox played the Yankees and Clemens was pitching...but he's still got it. I missed the homer live - but I hope TBS played up how great Nixon's numbers are against Clemens.
Monday, October 08, 2007
By Mike Lupica
I've been a casual Mike Lupica fan for a bunch of years. As a teen, I was a big fan - even though I prefer the Daily News sports, my 1994 Rangers Stanley Cup Championship saved newspapers are Newsday, because I asked my parents to switch so that I could continue to read Mike Lupica. (He has since come back to the Daily News.)
Anyway, as he became more of a talking head, as so many writers do, he started to wear on me a little...and also as the Yankees won more and more, his Yankee fandom shone through, and that started to wear thin on me.
Regardless, I still read his columns occasionally...I'm by no means a diehard fan, but I think he's a fine writer.
Now, onto the book. I was taken by surprise when I saw a Mike Lupica book on the Scholastic book order I had at school. I had worked up some classroom points (you earn points as a teacher by the books the kids order), so I decided to get the book to see how it was. (Little did I know he had already written a book about basketball.) This was about a year and a half ago. I finally read the book last week...and I really liked it.
It's a story about a little leaguer from the Bronx who gets caught in a Danny Almonte situation...but he's the correct age. It takes place in the shadows of Yankee Stadium, and it's a feel-good little league story. I've been meaning to read it for a long time just because I wanted to put it in my classroom library, and I wanted to read it before I did, just so I knew what the content was. I never expected it would be good enough that I would write a review, but here we are.
The book was good throughout, but the ending was what I thought made it great. A really nice story. I know only adults are reading this, but if you're looking for a quick, enjoyable baseball read, I recommend you pick this up from the library. (I've spent most of the past three or four years reading children's books - there are a ton of good ones out there...so it's not as embarrassing as you might think.)
ROCKIES, DIAMONDBACKS, RED SOX ADVANCE: I expect the Indians will beat the Yankees Monday night as well. That would clinch for me a new matchup in the World Series.
Also, the segment that AIG sponsors is called 'Then and Now'. Waiting for it to pop up in the National League games was torture. It never showed up. Then Sunday, switching back and forth between football and the American League games, I saw both the one in the Angels-Red Sox game and the Yankees-Indians game (by the way - how about a sense of urgency, Angels? If I had just landed on planet Earth and watched that game, I would have thought it was a regular season game that meant nothing. The Angels did not look like a team facing elimination. I know you don't want to be too tense...but come on.). Rod Carew was featured, and I forget who they highlighted in the other game. But I'm thinking that maybe it was only sponsored for the ALDS, not the NLDS. Either way, the ones on Sunday were a little more dressed up than the previous ones. Thanks for reading the blog, TBS!
Saturday, October 06, 2007
I haven't been watching a ton of the playoffs, but I've caught this thing a couple of times. Graig Nettles: Enjoys babysitting his grandchildren and making charity appearances. Fred Lynn: Makes charity appearances.
You'd think either they would seek out the former players who are doing great things, or once they saw the responses they were getting from participating players, they would have tried to dress it up a little more.
(I can kind of imagine a former player sitting there, filling out the questionnaire sent by TBS/AIG.
Questionnaire: What have you been doing since your baseball career ended?
Former Player: Cursing out the current players for making millions.
Questionnaire: What do you do in your spare time?
Former Player: Charging as much money as I can for autographs. By the way, are you paying me for this?
This turns into "Makes charity appearances in his spare time" on the air.)
The one thing that now really bothers me about the Mets not making the playoffs (yeah...just this one thing) is that I guarantee one of these features would have been about Hall of Famer Gary Carter during a Mets playoff game...but now I'll never know.
Friday, October 05, 2007
I don't know if I ever wrote this before (I searched and couldn't find it...but it rings a bell - I feel like I must have written it somewhere bfore) - but I think Ted Robinson has had considerable facial work done.
While searching, though, I discovered why I didn't like him doing games (I've been so into the Gary Cohen games that I've forgotten my beef with Robinson)...he talked too much. And there was really no chemistry with Fran Healy.
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
Had the play-in game ended in regulation, at a reasonable time, I would have written this then. A family situation in New York postponed the posting another day. But here it is.
I am hereby throwing my support behind the Colorado Rockies to win the World Series.
The Rockies are the anti-Mets. Where the Mets tanked over the final few weeks, the Rockies surged - they won 13 of 14 to force the play-in game, and then won that game. And then they won Game 1 of the post-season against Philadelphia, in Philadelphia. I believe there is another link between the Mets and Rockies, other than the fact that one has disappointed me to the extreme, while the other has impressed the heck out of me: I think it was against the Mets that the Rockies proved their worth and started feeling their oats.
The Mets and Rockies met very early in the season - in April, and the Mets took two out of three, because back then, the Mets were supposed to do that sort of thing. But then, in the beginning of July, with the Rockies 4 games below .500, everything started to click for Colorado. They beat the Mets 6-2, 11-3, and 17-7. I sort of wrote that off as a fluke at the time, but ever since that meeting, I've had half-an-eye on the Rockies, and I haven't been surprised at what they've done....because of that meeting. (Remember, they also swept the Yankees in Colorado, too.)
Since that Mets series, which was right before the All Star break, the Rockies have gone 51-30. (I didn't even realize until right now that it was also the exact halfway point of their season. How about that?) Some people (dad) think teams have to pay their dues before they root for said team to win the World Series. I haven't had this discussion with my dad to see if he thinks the Rockies have paid their dues...but it doesn't matter to me. I don't buy into that too much, anyway (I used to take pride in the fact that the Mets were the quickest expansion team to win a championship - in existence in 1962, winning in 1969...but that's long since past).
But even if I did, I would argue that by virtue of their awful pitching and awful pitcher's park their dues have been paid. And that's why johnnymets.blogspot.com is endorsing the Colorado Rockies as world champions this year (also...whoever they play from the American League would constitute a new matchup).
ANNOUNCERS: I searched a lot for that play-in game on Monday night before I realized it was on TBS. And I was only half-listening to the game when I realized I recognized the announcer's voice...and then it took me an unusually long time to process that it was Don Orsillo, the Red Sox play-by-play television guy. Good for him for getting on the national stage. I think he's gotten to be a very good announcer over the years. Solid. Also, a nice guy - I've met him a couple of times...including when I was working a morning shift just hours after Aaron Boone's home run in 2003. He could have been a jerk that morning and I would have understood - but he was extremely nice. At an ungodly hour. That earns points in my book.
On a down note...I was watching the Red Sox tonight, and though I never got the actual name or the graphic to prove it (again, only half-watching), I could never mistake that voice: Ted Robinson. Guess I can catch up on some TiVo shows during the Red Sox series - I don't want to see/hear Robinson. I'm beyond him.
MUSIC REVIEW: I am a Matchbox Twenty fan, in that I enjoy every single song they've put out that has made it onto the radio. I've never bought one of their albums, even though I've enjoyed everything Justin From NYC shared with me of theirs when we did our radio show together, believe it or not, about a decade ago. Not a protest or anything, just didn't get the albums. Anyway, Tuesday the Matchbox Twenty greatest hits album came out, and I was all over it. "Exile on Mainstream" is awesome - the six new songs are all very, very good, and the other 11 songs are all songs I love. I highly recommend it. It was great company for me on the round trip to New York Tuesday into Wednesday.
Monday, October 01, 2007
There's plenty of blame to go around - and you really have to look no further than Jose Reyes' .197 average in September...or, of course, Tom Glavine's implosion on Sunday. (Or for that matter, his last three starts, in which the Mets were 0-3, he had an ERA of 16.55, and gave up 25 hits in 10 and a third innings against the Nationals once and the Marlins twice.) (By the way, I know it sounds like I'm scapegoating...but that's because that's exactly what I'm doing. It's not my fault that the Mets lost this division lead.) I don't put a huge amount of blame on Willie Randolph, but he factors more towards 'guilty' on the blame scale than 'not guilty'. Rick Peterson tilts the scale big time. Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado are somewhere in the middle - but their seeming indifference is unsettling.
The people in the clear, as far as I'm concerned, are David Wright, who carried this team as much as one person possibly could (and for the second time in his career finished with 42 doubles, two off the team record), John Maine, who had an outstanding first half, and a decent enough second half, and came up huge in a situation where almost everyone else came up short, Moises Alou, who I'm shocked I'm ending the season speaking positively about, Luis Castillo, who always gave 100% (and the man to his right on the infield could learn a thing or two about that), and Lastings Milledge, whose maturity, as I've mentioned before, was notable this season. He appeared to be a good teammate also. I've also got to say this - I've had about enough of Billy Wagner's mouth - search for his comments to a magazine (I know -real sketchy details here) - either the New York Times Magazine, or the New Yorker. He burned bridges on his way out of Philadelphia, and he's not going to be making any friends in New York with comments like that (although they were about Rick Peterson, who should be on their way out).
I hate to sound like my dad, master conspiracy theorist, but I have a couple of thoughts on why the Mets didn't seal the deal:
One is a total, absolute conjecture - I think that in a few weeks, we're going to hear about huge off-the-field issues with this team. I don't know whether they'll be personal problems, or in-house fighting - but this was a team with a bunch of individuals - not a team atmosphere like last year. That could have been because most of the last part of the season was surrounded by so many losses, but it appeared that there was never unity. There were whispers that Julio Franco was to blame early on, but it seemed to continue when he was gone. It's hard to imagine huge personal issues going unnoticed in New York, after what happened last year with Paul LoDuca, but I think there might have been a couple of things that were under the radar that affected everyone's play. Or maybe a bunch of Mets got wind that they're significantly involved in the steroids mess.
Two, not totally unrelated to my first theory - Remember the first day back from the All Star Break, the Mets released Julio Franco and fired Rick Down, then hired Rickey Henderson? At the All Star Break, the Mets were 48-39. Since then, 40-35. It's not much of a difference, but the Mets just played differently, and looked less inspired. They were more prone to long losing streaks, longer stretches of uninspired ball. At least it seemed that way. If my dad would have mentioned this, I would have laughed, or gotten angry. But I think his thinking is rubbing off on me - what kind of a coach could a guy like Henderson, who dogged it a lot, be? He probably affected the outlook Jose Reyes had on the game...or maybe the team rebelled after Franco was released. Or maybe Howard Johnson is not a good coach. I don't know. I'm grasping at straws here. But I'm just throwing those couple of things out there.
I hate that the 2007 Mets will always come up now when collapses are brought up. It's probably how Yankees fans feel about the 2004 post-season...and the 3-0 series lead. And I hate that there will be events that will make this season stand out - Tom Glavine's 300th win, Moises Alou setting a team record for hitting streak with 30. I hate that the Mets still haven't won back-to-back division titles. I hate that Jimmy Rollins turned out to be right.
What now? Well, for one, I'll be rooting against the Phillies. I can't root for a quicker exit from the post-season (some say root for the team that beat you, so you can say you were beaten by the best. I say misery loves company.). I like the play-in game that's happening as I write this - I'm going to go watch that. And then I'll just root for new matchups - that's why I like the Diamondbacks, Padres, and Rockies all possibly coming out of the National League. I'll try to update a couple of times during the post-season. Or maybe pretty often - who knows? I do know that the other part of yesterday, the Jets' loss to Buffalo, signaled the fact that I won't have much interest in football season this year.