I'm done with the most difficult part of the end-of-school stuff, and although it is still busy, I should be able to write more often. I'm also back from a Memorial Day weekend trip to Washington, D.C., and I have a lot to write about that. So I'll spend most of the rest of the week writing about the Nationals, unless the Mets pull a total 180 and fire Willie Randolph. I'll address that situation within this bi-weekly analysis:
MOST IMPRESSIVE: It's too bad when I have to spend more time thinking about the impressive feats of the past two weeks than the disappointments - because there have been more of the latter than the former. As a result, this space gets a big N/A. Lots of negatives, nothing impressive.
BIGGEST SURPRISE: Still not positive - Thought the Mets were past their difficulties with Atlanta, and in Atlanta. But a 4-game sweep to start the week was a surprise, and took away anything good the Mets took by winning 2-out-of-2 in the Bronx.
LEAST IMPRESSIVE: How about the fundamentals? I've never seen so many people get picked off the basepaths on a team. Carlos Beltran doubled off third to end a game (against Washington, I think) after a line drive by Carlos Delgado to first. Jose Reyes getting picked off the bases three times in a little more than a week. David Wright getting doubled off first last week against Atlanta. It's disgusting. And in Washington on Sunday, in the game I went to, Lastings Milledge was on second base, and tried to go to third on a grounder to short. He was thrown out easily. A guy in front of me started cursing the team's discipline. Sadly, I thought it was typical of a Mets farmhand.
BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT: Willie Randolph. The above story shows that it's not all Randolph - because maybe there are some fundamentals missing at the minor league level. But you're starting to realize as a Mets fan that maybe Randolph is not the guy for this group of guys. I don't know who is (I don't know that I would want to see Gary Carter get thrown into that mess, but I sure would be excited if he was), but whoever it was would probably think twice before they bring up race. Now, I'm not going to pretend to think it's a perfect world and that everyone is treated equally, because I'm sure Randolph has faced situations where he's been treated differently because of the color of his skin. And by differently I mean awfully. But I think when it comes to managing (or coaching) in New York, it doesn't matter what color your skin is - it matters if you win or lose. And for the past year, he's lost more than he has won. So bring up Herman Edwards and Isiah Thomas all you want, just note that the common denominator, past skin color, is that they lost (one much more than the other). And make sure you also bring up Dallas Green, Jeff Torborg, Bobby Valentine (who did a lot of winning that was overshadowed by losing), and Art Howe when you talk about being treated badly. They all were. Because they all lost. The only difference is the Mets didn't own a television station at the time.
MOST IMPRESSIVE: I have a soft spot in my heart for Jon Lester. Part of it is because his story is a good one, and The Wife and I were part of his comeback, when it was announced upon our arrival in Cleveland that he was starting the game we were going to - his first game back from his cancer battle. He also hasn't done anything to turn me off of him, as so many other ballplayers have done. But his no-hitter last Monday outshines his losing effort Sunday as the best thing that happened in baseball the past two weeks. Plus, he's on my fantasy team.
BIGGEST SURPRISE: The Marlins and Rays still get mentioned here, because they're both in first place. But I'm going to stick with the Red Sox once more and say the effectiveness of Bartolo Colon was pretty surprising. It was against the Royals (see below), and tonight is against Seattle, so you can argue that he hasn't been tested yet, but I'm buying into what people are saying, that he's got a bit of a hunger (no pun intended) to prove himself again, and the fact that he's not that far removed from being dominant.
LEAST IMPRESSIVE: The Kansas City Royals are back to being unimpressive. They just completed an 0-7 week, and lost again today, so they're on an 8-game losing streak. From mediocrity to much less than mediocre...all in a little more than a week.
BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT: I mentioned Andruw Jones and the horrible season he's having. Now he's having surgery and will be out for a while - 4 weeks, I think. He continues to stink it up.
Check back the rest of the week - you might think you dialed up johnnynats.blogspot.com, but you'll be in the right place. I'll just be telling you about Washington, D.C. and Nationals Park.