Wednesday, April 30, 2008


A disappointing month for the Mets. After a 1-0 March, the Mets were barely over .500 in April. The numbers:

.256 avg. (16th in majors)
16 HR (26th in majors)
3.64 ERA (4th in majors)

I have to admit, I'm pretty shocked the Mets' team ERA ranks them fourth in the Majors. I guess the pitching has been pretty good (the starters, at least)...and I don't know if that counts the 13-1 disaster on Thursday that ended the month. But with the offense the Mets have, the other numbers are too mediocre, and downright unacceptable.

Moises Alou will be back this weekend. Brian Schneider is out of the hospital - when he comes back, they'll have the starting lineup they are supposed to have. They need to break away in May.

Justin from NYC weighed in on the uninspiring play of the Mets (via e-mail...not sure what Justin has against comments on the blog):

"its not just the Mets who are uninspiring. I haven't been interested in a Yankee game yet this season. I don't know what it is. Maybe its the Giants hangover. Maybe its the fact that the Knicks meant nothing for so long that my sports fan muscles atrophied."

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


With the Rangers just having tied their playoff game with the Pittsburgh Penguins at 1, I called Steve in NYC to talk hockey. Soon after, the Rangers were down, 3-1, and the conversation turned decidedly sour. Some lowlights:

I didn't really know about this until I saw an article on-line today - apparently, the Mets fans got pretty pumped after Carlos Delgado hit his second home run of the day on Sunday, and cheered louder and louder, but he didn't come out for a curtain call. And I guess, with the rainout on Monday, and nothing else to talk about, Mets fans took Delgado to task for "snubbing" them.

Steve and I are 100% on Delgado's side here. "There are moments, and there are moments," said Delgado. "A solo homer in the 7th inning is not a moment." He's right. It wasn't a game-changing home run. Meanwhile, it was one of three on the year for Delgado. Mets fans need to get a clue. Or I need to get to Shea to show people what to cheer for and how to do it.

One other cheering thing that we talked about - the fact that Mets fans booed Johan Santana during his first start. Don't boo him in his first home game. Idiots. I'm sensing some restlessness tonight, too - Santana just gave up a homer to Jason Bay - following up a leadoff homer by Nate McLouth (having an awesome start to the year, by the way) - and if he gives up anything else, I'm sensing some boos. Get a grip Mets fans - Santana gives up homers. If the offense would get it in gear, two solo homers wouldn't be the end of the world. Boo some of the offensive players until they get it going.

This was another topic of conversation - and I've been meaning to bring this up. Steve said Mets fans should save their boos for Randolph, because he's doing a terrible job. I can't disagree. It's occurred to me for a while that if things keep going this way for the Mets, they need to shake things up. Maybe it's the manager's job that goes. I'm going out on this limb - if the Mets are not in first place by the end of May, they should fire Willie Randolph. That might get things going.

Steve is upset about the Mets - even more upset about the way the Mets are playing than maybe the Rangers possibly going down 3 games to none. I said I wish I was that upset about the Mets. The problem for me is that they're uninspiring, and they look uninspired. It's just not getting me excited. Maybe that's Randolph's fault - maybe they need someone to fire them up. But we expected great things this year. Great things haven't started happening yet. I feel like I should be more upset about that than I am. They're not making me stand up and give a care.

Monday, April 28, 2008


As I hinted at a couple of weeks ago, I'm still re-working this idea - and more changes might be coming - but here are my bi-weekly thoughts - some good and bad from the Mets, and some good and bad from around the Majors. Again, more changes could be on the way...and this week has a decided bullpen theme, as far as the Mets are concerned, based on some of my thoughts last week. (User-friendly instructions - Happy Mr. Met is for the good Mets news, Sad Mr. Met is for the upsetting Mets news, and the happy and sad MLB logos are for the good and bad MLB news, respectively.)

MOST IMPRESSIVE: Believe it or not, the bullpen hasn't been all bad. When the Mets have been able to get him the ball in save situations, Billy Wagner has been lights-out. He's one of the best in the game right now. I fully expect something will go wrong with him at some point - he'll become unreliable, he'll choke when it counts down the stretch, or he'll get hurt - but for now, he's impressive.

BIGGEST SURPRISE: Not a total surprise, since we have seen what he is capable of, but I guess the fact that he's come back from his injury to pitch so well makes it a surprise. Duaner Sanchez looks like he did in 2006 before he got hurt- which is high praise. The Mets could use some more players who look like they did in 2006.
LEAST IMPRESSIVE: There may have been some overreaction by blanketing the whole bullpen as bad last week. Therefore, I can't put the entire bullpen in this spot (Joe Smith, Wagner, Sanchez, Pedro Feliciano, and, believe it or not, Scott Schoeneweis, have all been good-to-better-than-good). But I'll single out Jorge Sosa for now, since he's partners in crime with Aaron Heilman in giving up the big hit at the wrong time.

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT: We've talked about it already, but Aaron Heilman has been in a severe downward spiral the past season and a half or so. He's nowhere near as dominant as he used to be. Perhaps dominant is the wrong word- let's go with "effective". But because he has set the bar high in the past, he qualifies as a disappointment. Last week, Ron Darling said it looks like some hitters in the National League are just sitting on Heilman's change up, and then rocketing it out of the park. I think he's right.

MOST IMPRESSIVE: I haven't commented on him yet, because it hasn't come up, and I usually don't just throw around praise for the Braves, but Chipper Jones is off to an incredible start. I'm noticing it because he's on my fantasy team, but more than that, he's hitting well north of .400 and is on base almost every other inning. He also has been clutch. And it's not just against the Mets.

BIGGEST SURPRISE: The Florida Marlins are still in first place at this point of the season. Is that a surprise? You bet.

LEAST IMPRESSIVE: I mentioned it last week, but the Texas Rangers have been dreadful. They're challenging the Nationals for the "worst team in baseball" title. The Red Sox series did more harm than good, obviously, but they really weren't doing anything this year anyway.

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT: I'm not sure if the Yankees qualify here as a team yet - they're right around .500, and they've been quiet, but not terribly disappointing. I would guess they'll be like that all year - I didn't have them making the playoffs in Girardi's first year anyway. But moreso than the Yankees as a team is second baseman Robinson Cano, who is hitting below the Mendoza line in this first month. This is an observation, unlike Chipper Jones, that I am attributing directly to my fantasy team. I need him to turn it around - and he'll certainly help New York as well when he does. Cano is a career .244 hitter in April (that includes this year), but he has never had a month this bad.

THIS JUST IN: Speaking of disappointments, I just saw on ESPN as breaking news that the Giants are going to move Barry Zito to the bullpen. Ouch.

Saturday, April 26, 2008


One of the coolest things happening in this final year at Shea Stadium is the "Shea Countdown", where each night at a Mets home game, a number is taken down, counting down to the final game at Shea.

The taking down of the number is done by someone with a connection to the Mets/Shea Stadium. For instance, already this year members of the Shea family and old Mets teams have taken down the number. It's purely a photo op, but I like that sort of thing. The Mets and Shea Stadium don't have the greatest history in sports, but it brings back some nice memories.

Monday night, the Mets will honor the Jets, for the years (19) they shared Shea. During that time, both teams won championships in the calendar year of 1969. On Monday, in a total "Try to get people to come to a Pirates game" publicity stunt, members of the Jets (from way back to the final years at Shea - Don Maynard, Joe Klecko, Wesley Walker) will be around the stadium, and involved in ceremonies and such. Joe Namath isn't being advertised, but I wouldn't be surprised if he's the one trotted out to take down the number.

And that brings us back to the "Countdown". I wonder if it will get really special down towards the last bunch of home games. Like at number 31, will John Franco and Mike Piazza be brought back? Will other famous Mets get their numbers - Keith Hernandez at 17, Ron Darling at 12, Gary Carter at 8? Who will do it the last night? And, hopefully, come post-season time, will there be a new countdown, or will the Mets just put that to rest?

I like this sort of thing. I especially like Monday night, where the Mets and Jets will be together - a friend of my brother's said to me, jokingly, "Billy Joel is also singing the national anthem, and Boston University alumni get in for free." He's exaggerating, but it really does come close to a dream night catered just to me.

Thursday, April 24, 2008


It's time to let it out - the Mets bullpen is a mess. It's worse than a mess. It's the mess a mess leaves behind. It's so bad you would think Isiah Thomas had a hand in it. And if you're going to point fingers, you can start with Aaron Heilman.

The Mets have a huge problem right now. The Nationals...the worst team in baseball...took the Mets' bullpen behind the woodshed tonight.

This has been the pattern recently. The starting rotation hasn't been excellent, but they've been good. The numbers have been decent - most of the time giving up 3 runs, sometimes 4. But the Mets, especially lately, have been losing games by giving up 7 runs to the other team...or 8, or 10. Hang that on the bullpen.

A solution needs to be reached. A solution better than moving Aaron Heilman (4 homers allowed in 13 innings pitched, including a grand slam to light-hitting Felipe Lopez on Thursday night) up to the 6th inning instead of the 8th. He killed the Mets on Thursday with his sixth inning performance....usually he saves his Mets-killing until the 8th. So moving him around doesn't seem to be helping.

This is why I'm such a believer in trading Angel Pagan for some relief help. Pagan has already gotten into a slump (he's no .400 hitter, but at least people would overpay for him after his hot start), but his value remains high right now. And Moises Alou will be back within a week. Chances are he'll get hurt again this year, but right now the Mets need relief help. I know, who doesn't. And who's out there? I don't know. But the Mets need to do something, before it gets any worse.

E-MAIL: Steve in NYC commented on this very subject, among other things, with a response to a posting earlier this week:

"I am shocked that you think Reyes will not end his career as a Met. I don't see who the Mets would ever trade him for (especially, if not for Santana). I think the Mets need both Reyes and Wright on the team for the next decade and if Reyes plays his style of ball (including the dancing and handshakes), the Mets will give him a big contract before he gets to free agency. Who will give him more money than the Mets anyway? The important thing is if the Mets win, one would think that he would want to stay with the team he came up, grew up and became a champion with.

That being said, the Mets need to get their act together. I am the first to admit that I am a very pessimistic fan, but, after winning 5 straight and heading in the [W]right direction, the lose 3 straight, in the fashion they lost is ridiculous, no matter the time of the season. Sunday's loss to the Phils hurt the most because they showed a lot of fight by coming back, but Feliciano giving up the home run, opposite field just sucked!!

I would love to read some of your comments about Heilman and what to do with him and how long Willie should keep using him in big spots. How many homeruns is he going to give up in the 8th inning. You may have to start a watch for that this season and see if he breaks any records. Anyway, hopefully they will turn it around against the AAA Washington Nationals and continue through the weekend. I will be there routing them on this Saturday. LETS GO METS!!

Also, a few Ranger comments on the block wouldn't hurt, since they are a lot more exciting than anything coming out of Jets camp. Keep it in mind. This could be their year."

I am excited for the Rangers - I should get them on TV here in the first few games as well.

As for the Reyes thing, I just think he'll explore free agency at some point - I think that's where his personality differs from Wright. While Wright would be happy here forever, I think Reyes would bounce around later (much later) on. And I think the Mets would be OK with one leaving if they had the other stick around (it's so rare to have a Bagwell-Biggio situation where two guys spend their entire careers with one team like that - at the pro level, let alone coming up solely through their system).

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


I could have been part of a World Series preview tonight, and I thought it was important that I let you know.

The preview I am talking about did not involve the "Red" team versus the "Gray" team of the Boston Softball League (or the BSCC, I think), of which Dave in Brighton and Mrs. Dave in Brighton are team members. (Although I thank them for thinking of me as a fill-in. I like to think that even though I played pretty poorly I helped the team win because they didn't have to forfeit. The recap - Mrs. Dave in Brighton pitched brilliantly, overcame my two errors, and the 'Gray' team won.)

The preview I was privy to was a Mets-Red Sox preview. And it didn't involve the teams on the field - it involved their battle over the airwaves.

On the way back home from the game, which took me through about 63 Massachusetts towns (I still don't understand Massachusetts geography), I tuned into the Mets, on SportsRadio 660am - WFAN, of course. And fighting the Mets' reception was the Red Sox game, which tonight was on 680am, WRKO. Uh-oh, I thought. No chance of getting the Mets tonight.

Mid at-bat the reception would switch from one game to the next. This was quite different from when the Red Sox were on their flagship - 850am. But I held fast to WFAN, and caught most of an inning of the Mets-Nationals game.

In the end, the Mets pulled through. Clear as a bell from a certain point until I got home. It really was the underdog pulling through when things looked the bleakest.

I don't think the Mets would be outmatched by that much in October, if the baseball gods allowed a 1986 rematch. But it's nice to know that if they were, they would stand a chance.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


The Mets need more of the Jose Reyes on the left, and less of the one on the right. And not just because the one on the left has just scored a big run against the Phillies (and perhaps is about to dance...more on that in a minute) and the one on the right has just committed a costly error that directly led to a 5-run inning.

No, it's because the one on the left defines the Mets in good times, while the one on the right defines them in bad times. I'm realizing more and more that as Jose Reyes goes, so go the Mets.

The Mets had three straight national broadcasts over the weekend - Saturday on Fox against the Phillies, Sunday night in Philadelphia on ESPN, and then on Monday in Chicago back on ESPN. I didn't hear much about this on Monday night, but it certainly was talked about plenty on Saturday and Sunday. Apparently, Carlos Beltran had a conversation with Reyes about being his joyful self, dancing in the dugout, instead of trying to be a serious ballplayer (to sum it up). Basically, Reyes needs to loosen up a bit.

And I think I agree. The Mets are fun to watch when Reyes is yukking it up in the dugout. Other teams don't like it? Fine. Just go out and beat them and shut them up.

A few years ago, I never thought I'd be so torn on Jose Reyes. I would have thought I'd always be 100% in his corner. But we're coming off an off-season where I wouldn't have minded seeing him traded (for the right price - Johan Santana, specifically). And now I'm turned around again, thinking Omar Minaya showed great patience and loyalty by holding on to Reyes (and still getting Santana...what a deal that was!). And I have a lot of opinions here.

I don't think Jose Reyes will end his career as a Met. I think David Wright will. Something tells me that down the road, Wright will be given an opportunity to finish out his career in New York, while Reyes will either explore free agency and move somewhere else or be used in a trade down the line. And the Mets will be fine with Wright - you can't ask for a better ballplayer to wear your uniform. That said - David Wright doesn't set up the Mets for success the way Jose Reyes does.

For some reason, the Mets feed off Reyes in a way they don't with Wright. Perhaps it's because for Wright to hit a 2-run homer, for example, he needs Reyes on base ahead of him. Perhaps it's because Reyes can keep the team light in a way that Wright can't. Whatever it is, Jose Reyes' attitude is more important to the team than anyone else's, and September bore that out a little.

And I think that's why Rickey Henderson's influence was so negative. Because Reyes' dancing and celebrating in the dugout (by the way - it's not like he's showing up the other team - he's celebrating with teammates in the dugout with dances and special handshakes - I don't take that as a slight to another team) was not at the expense of his performance in the game. It was part of his game. When he stopped hustling on the field (for whatever reason, this happened when Henderson was coaching), and his performance suffered, he looked less like a joy-filled player and more like a guy who was celebrating individual accomplishments, and less like a team player. In other words, like someone who didn't care about team performance...because, fans like me thought, how could he possibly be happy at a time when the team is doing so poorly (a la last September)?

Which brings us to this year. Reyes took last September pretty personally. And I think he looked himself in the mirror and decided the celebrating had to go. But I think it's a big part of his game, and other parts of his game suffered because he was thinking about that, plus last year too much. Now Reyes needs to find a balance between his celebrating and taking the game seriously - because both are important to him and the team. So thank you, Carlos Beltran, for having that conversation with Reyes. It just might make this season very enjoyable to watch. Have fun out there, Jose Reyes!

WRIGHT WATCH: Monday night was significant because for the first time since Thursday, David Wright didn't double. Time to check in on his chase for the all-time lead:




P.S.: Good thing the Mets only played two games in Chicago (and don't face the Cubs again until the end of September). That was an ugly series. And it was not a very flattering two games for the bullpen. Or, to put it more bluntly, the bullpen was downright awful.

Monday, April 21, 2008


I should have written more this weekend, but I guess since it was the start of vacation, I took advantage of it. But I can't not comment on the great week the Mets had last week, so I'll start with that:

Sure, it would have been nice had the Mets swept the Phillies and won on Sunday night. But even in losing, they sent the Phillies a message, I think. The way the Mets and Phillies were playing each other at the end of last year, had the Phillies gone up 4-0 like they did Sunday night, the game would have been over. The fact that the Mets came back to tie Sunday night's game at 4, before losing 5-4, was a good sign, I think. And the Mets had created some pad for themselves, so a loss wasn't the worst thing, by winning five games in a row leading up to Sunday night.

Again, a sweep would have been great...but the positive thing to come out of that weekend series in Philadelphia is that the Phillies don't scare me (again - after scaring me for a couple of months last year).

MEANWHILE: When the Texas Rangers look back on the disappointment that will turn out to be the 2008 season, all they need to look back at is this four-game series in Boston as to where everything fell apart. It didn't fall apart for them so much as it came together for the Red Sox - but it certainly was at the Rangers' expense.

Boston bookended the four-game series with two whoopings - an 11-3 win on Friday, and an 8-3 win on Monday. It was the two middle games that did the most damage, though:

In innings 1-7 of both games, the Rangers trailed for only a half-inning. Then in both games, in the 8th, the Red Sox torched the Rangers bullpen and ended up winning.

Yes, the Red Sox are the better team, and should have won the games...but the way they won them will kill the Rangers' season.

One more thing about the Sox - I didn't see the Kyle Farnsworth incident last week, where he threw behind Manny Ramirez's head, but allow me this comment...not even on the pitch, really. But kind of related. Of all the years to throw behind Ramirez, this seems like an odd choice - sure, he's been beating teams with his bat, but he hasn't been showboating. I haven't ever seen Ramirez run as fast as he's run around the bases this year (instead of home run trots, started off by watching every second of the ball's flight). Then there was a pure hustle triple a couple of weeks ago. He's playing hard. And to top it off - when asked about the Farnsworth suspension, he was quite coherent, actually saying something to the effect of, "He's just doing his job." What have the Red Sox done with Ramirez?

Thursday, April 17, 2008


First of all, I can't believe how little publicity this has gotten...or maybe I'm just out of the loop (it is a busy time of the school year). But I had a Barnes & Noble gift card with about $30 left on it, so The Wife and I went to the bookstore tonight. I figured I'd get some kind of sports book that I had meant to get for a while, but hadn't. So I'm walking down the aisle with The Baby (one-and-a-half-year-old, actually), mostly just keeping her from ripping all kinds of books from the shelves, and I come across "Still A Kid At Heart: My Life in Baseball and Beyond", by Hall of Famer Gary Carter and Phil Pepe!

I'm psyched. I've been reading "John Adams", but I'm obviously going to have to put that book aside temporarily while I tear through the Carter book. And this book must be brand-new - it mentions his new managing job, and is copyrighted 2008...and I can't find a clean image of it on the computer to show you.

I hesitated a half-a-second before buying the book, thinking maybe this was just the same book I already have about Carter ("The Gamer", his second book), with an extra chapter...but the blurb talks about the book being about Carter's playing career and beyond.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that Carter has done a lot since leaving his playing career behind. He started off as a broadcaster with the Florida Marlins, then was a coach, and a minor league manager. Of course, there was also the election to the Hall of Fame.

I can't wait to start the book - I'll have a full review when I'm done - with school vacation week next week, I'm sure it won't be long.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


It's rare that football takes the lead on the blog during baseball season, but the release of the season schedule is one of those rare instances. The 2008 NFL schedule is out, and we have dates for the Jets' 2008 season - a season that will be heavy on the mileage (click on the picture to see a bigger version...the graphics department here at would appreciate everyone enjoying the hard work they put into this map):

I've mentioned before that in the 2008 season the Jets will play the NFC West, which usually bodes well for them. That's speculation, though. The fact is, a schedule against the NFC West adds two west coast trips (especially considering the Jets travel to San Francisco and Seattle, as opposed to just St. Louis) to a schedule where they already go to Oakland and San Diego. Here's a breakdown of the season:

The Jets open on September 7th in Miami to play the Dolphins. Their home opener is the following Sunday against the Patriots. That's a game I would go to....unfortunately, the new baby is due the next day. I wonder if I can pull that off. The Jets have a Monday nighter on the 22nd against the Chargers, then are home for the Cardinals on the 28th.

Week 5, the first weekend in October, is the Jets' bye week. Then they host the Bengals on the 12th, go to Oakland on the 19th, and host Herman Edwards and the Chiefs on the 26th.

November opens up, on the 2nd, with a trip to Buffalo to take on the Bills, then home for the Rams on the 9th. The Jets play a Thursday night game on the 13th against the Patriots, in New England - their first Thursday night game (not counting Thanksgiving afternoon last year). November 23rd is at Tennessee, the first back-to-back road games of the schedule, and then on the 30th the Jets host Denver.

The Jets make their second trip to the Bay Area on December 7th to play the 49ers, then host Buffalo on the 14th, before jetting off to Seattle on the 21st, and then closing out their season at home against Miami on the 21st.

The only back-to-back home games are split up by the bye week - so at least the Jets don't go on the road again between September 23rd and October 18th. But they more than make up for that with the thousands of miles they'll travel over the course of the schedule. Most everyone else in the division has to deal with the same thing, though, so it's not an excuse (the Patriots' schedule, at first glance, looks worse). Hopefully some of those late games will be worth watching, though, because last season caused fans to lose interest by mid-October.

42: Good for all the Mets for wearing number 42 on Jackie Robinson night. It's a great way of raising awareness by Major League Baseball...and there's really no excuse for a player NOT to wear number 42.

Monday, April 14, 2008


I think I've figured out a way to while away the off-days. This might become a regular feature - I might give an update on these topics, in regard to the Mets and baseball in general, every two weeks or so. Since I just thought of it, no graphics today...but I'll try to dress it up in the future:


Most Impressive: The reason I wanted to give an assessment, two weeks into the season, is because of Ryan Church's arm. That's by far been the most impressive thing about the Mets so far (slim pickings after the underwhelming 5-6 start). I could have mentioned Church for a number of reasons - he's hitting, period...but he's also hitting lefties - but teams have already stopped taking the extra base and challenging him in right field.

Least Impressive: Jose Reyes has had an awful start. He's just hitting .205, with a .238 OBP, and tack on a hamstring injury, to boot. He should be back playing soon, and I guess I'd rather he slump now than in September, but with the way he finished last year, Reyes needs to start playing better soon.

Biggest Surprise: I'd be lying if I said I expected this kind of start from Angel Pagan. Pagan leads the team with a .385 batting average, and is tied for the team lead with 10 RBI. I thought he might be a good addition to the bench when the Mets acquired him in the off-season, but now that he's the regular left fielder (in for the injured Moises Alou), he's been so good it raises the question - what will the Mets do when Alou comes back? I can't decide if I'd rather see them keep playing Pagan, or turn around and trade him while his value is sky-high and get some bullpen help in return (and while I have a limited attachment to him).

Biggest Disappointment: Pedro Martinez*'s injury is the biggest disappointment so far. I expected him to have some sort of injury mid-year, and miss a little bit of time, but to get hurt the way he did, so early in the year, it was a huge disappointment. It will only be OK if Martinez* returns relatively soon (on the timetable they set), and is healthy and effective straight through the post-season.


Most Impressive: Are you aware of what Brian Bannister has been doing for Kansas City? (There are actually a few Royals starters putting up some great numbers, but I like Bannister, so I'll focus on him.) Bannister is 3-0, with a 0.86 ERA. In 21 innings, he's struck out 13 and given up just 10 hits, while walking 5 against Detroit, the Yankees, and Minnesota. It's not surprising, based on what he did all of last year, but it sure is impressive.

Least Impressive: C.C. Sabathia has been terrible. He's 0-2 in three starts, with an 11.57 ERA. 13 K's and 9 walks in 14 innings - and he's given up 24 hits. (He's given up four more earned runs than he's had innings pitched.) I could have also gone with Andruw Jones here, too - but he had a bad season last year, so he hasn't impressed me in a long while.

Biggest Surprise: How about the hot start by the Florida Marlins, and though they've cooled lately, the Kansas City Royals (both are 7-5). Neither one will last, but it certainly surprises me that the team leading the NL East this deep into the season would be the Marlins. (The Pirates are also 6-6 - .500 would be a big deal for them.)

Biggest Disappointment: By far it's the Detroit Tigers. What a bust. They're not going to recover - I'm making that bold prediction right now, with them standing at 2-10. Don't you feel like we should have seen this coming? I kind of do.

I realize I must be missing a team or someone somewhere. I also realize that these categories are sort of close (is there much of a difference between "least impressive" and "biggest disappointment"? In my mind right now there is a subtle difference, but I may feel differently in two weeks.). I'll re-evaluate over the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, put your thoughts, if you have any differing ones, or even if you agree, in the comments.

Sunday, April 13, 2008


The title of this post describes not just the first two weeks of the Mets season, but Sunday's game in particular. The Mets jumped out to a 6-2 lead, only to see it turn into a 9-7 loss. (Wasting David Wright's 100th career homer, seen at left, and the Mets finally getting to Jeff Suppan, who usually kills them.) The starter in such a game was, fittingly, Oliver Perez. But he wasn't even in the top 2 of most inconsistent figures in the game. I want to focus on those two:

1) Ed Montague: The Brewers tied a record with 5 double plays in this game - 2 of which were aided by first base umpire Montague. He called out Ryan Church at first on a bang-bang play in the fifth inning, when the game was tied 6-6. It happens, I was OK with it. But then in the seventh, with the Mets rallying to try to tie, he called out Brian Schneider on the same play. You think Montague would have felt like he owed the Mets a call in that situation. Replays both times showed the calls were wrong.

2) Brian Schneider was the second frustrating figure. He had a good game offensively, going 3-for-5 with 3 RBI. But he looked awful behind the plate. There were 3 wild pitches by Mets pitchers, a couple of which may have been passed balls. There were another few that Schneider dropped that didn't roll very far away. I don't think any of these really led to anything's just worth mentioning that Schneider looked horrendous - not like what we have become used to from him. I like Schneider, I think he's been one of the highlights for the Mets in the early-going...but Sunday was a bad day.

I'll single out Schneider and the first base ump - but all of the Mets failed in the clutch after the third inning. The Mets are 0-4 on Saturday and Sunday so far this season - that's not going to lead to many series wins...and that's not a formula for success.

Friday, April 11, 2008


This is one of those rare instances where I have something nice to say about a member of the Red Sox (and it's not just because he's on my fantasy team this year...although he is).

I want to draw your attention to the fact that Kevin Youkilis of the Red Sox is working on a 198-consecutive-games-errorless streak at first base. I think, as of game 2 or 3 of this season, he set the record, and is adding to it each time he plays first base (more on that in a minute).

To me, this is impressive on a number of fronts:

1) First base is, obviously, a high-traffic area. There's a lot that could go wrong - throws from the infield, fielding grounders, pickoff throws, pop-ups in fair or foul territory, throwing the ball all over the diamond, etc.

2) There are a lot of first basemen who have trouble with the above skills. Most common for errors, I would say, are throwing the ball to second to turn the 3-6-3 DP, or, over the course of the season, losing focus for a play or two, and dropping some throws, or letting some get by. That hasn't happened to Youkilis in a long time.

3) This one might be most impressive, and it's what I hinted at above - I said the streak will continue when Youkilis plays first base. The reason that needs to be clarified is because right now, he's filling in for Mike Lowell at third base, since Lowell has been placed on the DL. That's a special first baseman there - how many others around the league have the versatility to pick up and go to the hot corner, without losing much? (Incidentally, the Red Sox don't suffer defensively at first, as the sure-handed Sean Casey steps right in there.)

So Youkilis shores things up at third, and then when Lowell is back, he'll head back over to first. And all the while, he continues to be a hitting/on-base machine (.324 avg., .415 OBP). That's impressive.

Thursday, April 10, 2008


For the first time in a very long time, we'll dig into the e-mail-bag.

I've been sitting on this one from Steve from Queens for a while, and it's sort of newsy right now, so there's really no better time to address it.

This was a forward, and the subject line had to do with the fact that the Mets are having a....less than manly, I for some songs to play in the 8th inning of their games. (I've written before how embarrassing it is that the Mets ripped off the Red Sox with "Sweet Caroline" - see the fifth bullet here.)

Here's the content of the e-mail:

"[Following a derogatory subject line] But we have to do it.

The Mets are having the fans vote on the 8th inning song.

We need to ensure that ******* song from Friends is not the winner.

Send to every Met fan you know."

The choices were (I might be missing some here): "Waitin' on a Sunny Day" by Bruce Springsteen, "Brown-Eyed Girl" by Van Morrison, the aforementioned Neil Diamond song, "Living on a Prayer" by Bon Jovi, "I'll Be There For You", by the people who sang the 'Friends' theme song - Rembrandts, I believe, "I'm a Believer" by the Monkees, and my choice, had I voted, "Movin' Out" by Billy Joel. (I had my own Billy Joel list, you may remember, but that was obviously a waste of time.) Although I would choose Billy Joel, obviously, the Monkees are also a strong candidate, based on the "Ya Gotta Believe" theme through Mets history.

Anyway, apparently some Phillies fans stormed the voting site, and voted in Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up", which actually played during the home opener...and which is actually kind of funny and intelligent, for Phillies fans. So now this song vote isn't over - the Mets will apparently play a bunch of the songs, and pick a winner based on fan reaction. So help me if they end up keeping "Sweet Caroline".

A RESPONSE FROM JUSTIN IN NYC: Justin in NYC, always helpful in all things music-or-media-related (and a great idea guy), weighed in on yesterday's ESPNEWS crawl saga:

"in defense of espnews.. The reason the crawl gets dropped during certain commercials and not other is that different commercial time is sold by different companies. They keep the crawl up during their ad time, but have no control of the signal during ad time sold by your local cable company, or in your case, directv."

I guess that makes sense...but in that case, people advertising on ESPN on any cable system should not have any sort of phone number at the bottom of their ads. They should all be crawl-friendly.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008


I watch an inordinate amount of ESPNEWS. Not so much now, but usually over the summer, with nothing else to do, I'll leave it on for background noise. I like the fact that when there is something happening immediately, like a press conference or whatever, usually I can turn it on and I'll know they won't cut away from it. I also depend on their crawl for all of the scores for my baseball pool.

With the baseball season well underway, I've been watching ESPNEWS more lately. I don't usually watch for highlights, though I catch a lot of what I miss flipping from game to game while they show the highlights while I'm looking for my scores. It gives me what I need without ever having to watch SportsCenter, which I haven't enjoyed since I was 15. So I knew this change was coming - it didn't blindside me - but I didn't think it was necessary - a big format change that falls under the "If it wasn't broke, why did you fix it?" category.
I didn't think there was anything wrong with ESPNEWS when it was the orangey screen (on the left). They showed the scores I needed, and they had the appropriate content on the air. I don't have an HDTV, so the fact that it wasn't available in high definition didn't bother me. Now, the screen is heavy on the blue (on the right), there are more crowded graphics, but it still gives me the scores I need, so I don't mind that much.

What bothers me is that in doing this drastic change, ESPN took something that didn't have many flaws, and made it worse (the graphics they put on there - the face of the person who the news on the crawl is about, or the logo of the team, for example - make it a very busy screen), and didn't fix the flaws that did exist. Here's what I mean:

1) I hate it that ESPNEWS has this great crawl, but airs commercials that require the crawl to be dropped (Looking your way, Bowflex). Everytime a score I need is nearing, I go into my chant: 'Don't drop the crawl, don't drop the crawl'. I shouldn't have to do that. The information should stay on my screen...and they should either show commercials that don't require the crawl to be dropped, or keep the crawl up, commercials be darned. (And, yes, I'm aware that they probably think I'll stay around to watch my score the next time around - I do - therefore, watching more of their content. And furthermore, the commercials are the ones paying the money. But I don't care.)

2) There's no rhyme or reason to the scores right now. They'll show NCAAM, then NBA, then NHL, then NCAAM, then NASCAR, then GOLF, then NCAAM, NBA, and NHL again all before the MLB comes up. I don't get it. Don't use me as a pawn to see all this other stuff - give me my friggin' scores. I don't need to see men's basketball three times before I find out how the Padres-Giants game turned out.

3) This is one of the most frustrating things. ESPNEWS was notorious enough for calling something "Breaking News" if it happened at 10am, keeping the news on the bottom right-hand side of the screen for hours, and at 10pm still having it labeled "Breaking News". Now, it's even worse - it takes up the bottom part of the screen as "Breaking News". Another case of breaking something that wasn't broken in the first pun intended.

I'm still watching, but it's tough - I have a feeling I'm going to have to solely rely on the SportCast Wireless Scoreboard soon enough for my baseball scores.

ONE MORE ESPN RANT WHILE I'M AT IT: Versus isn't completely innocent in this one, either, just to get that out there first. I was eagerly anticipating the NHL Playoffs beginning tonight, until I found out that the Ottawa-Pittsburgh game was on Versus. That means I needed to rely on DirecTV not blacking out MSG, where I was hoping to watch the Rangers-Devils series. Unfortunately, it was blacked out once 7pm hit. Now I have to figure out who to call and complain to - DirecTV, the NHL, or Versus. Because this is an instance that deserves a phone call or a letter. What other friggin' league blacks viewers out of their post-season? The most ridiculous thing I've ever seen. I need to rely on Versus!?! to show me the Rangers?!?! And now I have to make a phone call....I don't even like ordering a pizza on the phone. Stupid NHL. And I blame ESPN for not renewing its NHL contract - where I'd have more options - there's no such thing as Versus2. Not that I hold grudges or anything.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008


It's really too bad the Mets couldn't beat the Phillies on Tuesday in their final home opener at Shea Stadium. But I'm not too upset about it, because this picture is friggin' awesome, and I can't wait until next year already:I can't wait to go to that stadium.

And, all right, I'll be honest, it bothers me a little that the Mets lost. There's something a little upsetting about the fact that this was the home opener, a big game, against a team that beat out the Mets for the division title last year...and the Mets still lost.

I didn't see any of the game, so I can't comment on whether or not there was a lack of fire or desire or anything, but it seems like the Mets would have done anything they could to avoid losing this game. They didn't.

I guess Oliver Perez pitched well...but he only lasted 5-and-two-thirds innings, which means Scott Schoeneweis had to come into the game. He gave up 3 runs, only one of which was earned (apparently Carlos Delgado had a costly error). But I don't care what he gives up - earned or unearned - he loaded the bases, and hit a batter in the process - he is the most worthless reliever in baseball right now.

The Mets need to take 2 of the remaining 3 against Philadelphia and send a message. Then they have to beat Milwaukee this weekend (I made a mistake yesterday - I said the Mets were playing the Braves over the weekend - I don't know what I was thinking about - they play the Braves in a couple of weekends.).

I'm all for a more balanced season - I'm OK with the Mets not jumping out to a huge lead in the division right away in early April, so long as they're on top in September....but being in last place, losing three in a row - this has to stop.

WRIGHT WATCH: You knew it had to come back in some form, right? The new Wright Watch, after his fourth double of the season in the home opener, will focus on the all-time doubles it will continue for a number of years. I'm going to see if I can format this so that it will automatically update somehow whenever David Wright doubles. I'll let you know how that goes (I have no idea how to do that - I'm just imagining that would be cool).

2008 SEASON: 4

(Worth noting, by the way, is that Carlos Beltran already has 7 doubles this year.)

A NOTE ON YESTERDAY'S POSTING: I forgot to mention this when I was panning the "New York Magazine" article on the Mets. It lost credibility with me because the writer/editor didn't know how to refer to a bullpen. It alternated bull pen (two words) with (hyphenated) bull-pen. It's neither. It's a bullpen.

CLASSY?: By now I'm sure you're aware that the Red Sox included Bill Buckner in their Opening Day banner-raising celebration. (He hooked in a sort-of-curve for a strike when he threw out the first pitch.)

It is not the fault of the Red Sox that Buckner hasn't been back in this type of situation - I think he's been invited, but has declined mostly. It's because of the fans, and the treatment he was afraid he would receive.

So it was nice that he received a standing ovation on Tuesday...but it's about 20 years too late. Red Sox fans should have forgiven and forgotten long ago. Take it from me, like I did with Tom Glavine and his season-ending performance last year. Or Armando Benitez and Game 1 of the 2000 World Series. Or Kenny Rogers and the 1999 NLCS. Or Kevin McReynolds in 1988. Or Art Howe.........

BIRTHDAY WISHES: Happy Birthday (in no particular order) to Dave in Brighton, Dave in Miami (a once-in-a-blue-moon-when-there's-a-really-good-post-and-the-Southern-Bureau-tells-him-he-should-read reader), and Hall of Famer Gary Carter. April 8th is a busy one.

Due to the birthday relevance, I'll update Carter - the Orange County Flyers' first game is May 23rd. The Flyers are also promoting the heck out of having a Hall of Famer as their manager. They're doing a Gary Carter bobblehead giveaway. I need to find my way out there for it. When's the giveaway for number 8? Why, 8/8/08, of course!

Monday, April 07, 2008


The Mets are 2-3, after a disappointing weekend in Atlanta. Too early to draw any conclusions. We'll re-evaluate after the Mets take on the Phillies and the Braves at Shea this week.

In the meantime, I read an article in New York Magazine this week about the Mets. I actually read it Sunday night, and I think it was a week old. I wouldn't go searching the internet for it.

The part about it that bothers me is that on the cover, it advertises an article on the "Post-Choke Mets". That makes you think the article will be about the Mets' approach to the season, no? Well, the article is another story, literally. The first sentence talks about last September's collapse, and the rest of the article is about the pitching rotation, with Rick Peterson as the central figure, shedding light on the Johan Santana acquisition.

The picture here is probably the best part of the whole article - not sure why I like it so much, but I do like it.

The article is all about the pitchers' personalities, and how they might do in the coming season. So just two games in, it was already dated, after Pedro Martinez's* injury.
There's nothing in there you didn't already know. Some of Peterson's approach to coaching pitching is interesting - there's a bit about the psychology of a pitcher.

Overall, I say skip it - which is a good thing, because I guess the new one is already out, and this one is old news.

Thursday, April 03, 2008


For what it's worth - I got the media guide and a pocket Mets schedule today from my Mom. (She's in for the weekend...and I probably won't write again until Sunday.)

So this is the pocket schedule at left. No surprise that it's David Wright and Jose Reyes on the cover - they are the young stars. And then there's Shea Stadium, in its last year.

But the big acquisition was Johan Santana. Is it surprising that he's not there? And how about this - are the Mets being artistic?

What's Santana's number? 57. With Wright on the left, and Reyes on the right, aren't they forming a 5-7? Just something to think about for the weekend while you're not reading my blog.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008


I'm not easily influenced...but Opening Day, and teams' performances on the first couple of days of the season, leave quite an impression on me. I've been thinking about this all day, and why, even though I know the season is a long one and that these games can't be very indicative of the entire season, I draw impressions of teams from their first couple of days.

This is what I've come up with: I think it's because these are the only games in the standings, and the only stats to go by right now, that they take up some sort of permanence in my brain. So here's where my mind is at right now:

-The Tigers are a huge bust.

-The Royals are awesome!! (The same thought I had the year they beat the Red Sox pretty bad on Opening Day...was that last year?)

-The Pirates have also turned the corner. Good for them.

-I love it - the Braves are going to have a rough year! I'm so glad I was wrong about thinking they were going to be good this year - they can't even beat Washington and Pittsburgh!

-Now I guess, though, we'll have to watch out for the Nationals - they're shaping up to be quite a threat.

So you see what I'm dealing with. I need the next couple of weeks to go by quickly, so my mind can return to a somewhat normal state.

FROM DAY-TO-DAY TO WEEK-TO-WEEK: That's the current status of Pedro Martinez*. He's out 4-to-6 weeks with the strained hamstring. Forget everything I've said about Oliver Perez and John Maine matching up against everyone else's third and fourth starters...they're back to being a 2 and a 3. But I still like the Mets' chances this year.

ONE LESS THING TO WORRY ABOUT: Ryan Church just hit a homer. Off a lefty. I think he'll be just fine.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008


Well, that didn't take long. The Mets are going to be dealing with their first adverse situation of the 2008 season.

Pedro Martinez* left his start in the fourth inning Tuesday night against the Marlins with what is being called right now a strained left hamstring. The Mets say he is day-to-day right now....there will be more information tomorrow.

Obviously, this is a blow to the team. As much as Johan Santana was a boost to the pitching staff, it all depended on the fact that a healthy Pedro* was the number two starter.
His health is not looking too good right now.

I'm not going to overreact - the guys on SNY are saying there's no way, with the way Pedro* walked off the mound, that he won't be placed on the DL. I guess for me it's a matter of how long he's out, and whether or not he can come back and have this be the only time he misses all season. I guess we'll get a clearer idea on Wednesday.

At least it wasn't the shoulder.