Thursday, October 30, 2008


I hope the Mets were watching the Phillies celebrate last night.

I hope they were hoping for another Tampa Bay comeback, so that it made it all the more upsetting when Brad Lidge got the final out.

I hope they stayed tuned to the trophy presentation.

And I hope they were thinking, "That could just as easily be us."

It's not them because something is lacking with the Mets right now. You want to talk about a Phillies drought? Well, their drought is now 0 years, after they erased a 28-year deficit. And the Mets are going on 23 years without a championship. And I'm pretty ticked off about it.

The problem, as I see it, is that I don't think many of the Mets are as mad. And there are a lot of things the Mets need to do this off-season to put themselves in the position the Phillies see themselves in right now.

You may be surprised at some of the suggestions I make this off-season. Or you may not - because one of my suggestions is similar to the drum I was beating last off-season.

So that's still to come. For now, 2 thoughts on the Phillies' championship:

1) I don't know that Mets fans will ever see as dominant a performance as Brad Lidge submitted for the Phillies in 2008. We came close with Armando Benitez in the 2000 regular season, but he was never a big game pitcher, and we knew it wouldn't continue into the post-season. Closer has never been a position of strength for the Mets - once they shore that up, perhaps their championship drought will end. (And maybe they have the answer already in their organization. Again, a topic for another day.)

2) Phillies fans are indeed classless. I didn't really think they were living up to their reputation as awful fans lately - they were into the championship run. Then the Phillies brass accepted the trophy from Bud Selig, and congratulated the Tampa Bay Rays on their great season.....and the fans booed. Horrible. They lose like losers, and now they win like losers. Way to go, Philly fans.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


And you thought Week 8 was over. Another squeaker for the Jets in Week 8 - more exciting than it should have been. But we addressed that already earlier this week. So straight to the recap:

BEST GAME OF WEEK 8: The Jets-Chiefs game, sadly, might have been the best...or at least the best ending - it wasn't a well-played game. Giants-Steelers was good, but I don't think it was as good as it could have been. Maybe because it was so defensive.

BEST PERFORMANCE OF WEEK 8: I think the nod might go to none other than Chad Pennington. I didn't think the Dolphins would pull it out against the Bills, but they did, mostly thanks to Pennington's 314-yard, 1 touchdown performance.

WORST PERFORMANCE OF WEEK 8: Not that anyone's really expecting much out of them, but the Bengals were a disaster last week against Houston.

BEST GAME IN WEEK 9: A pretty good slate - Jets-Bills, Giants-Cowboys, Patriots-Colts, and Green Bay at undefeated Tennessee.

BEST PERFORMANCE PREDICTED IN WEEK 9: My mouth is watering for Atlanta's Michael Turner. An easy 153 yards and 2 TD's vs. Oakland.

-Last Week: I came pretty close with this one (and just realized I'm picking on Oakland a second week in a row - let's call it revenge for the Jets' loss to them) - I said Baltimore would smoke 'em, 44-13. It was 29-10.

Monday, October 27, 2008


Got a text from the Southern Bureau during the Jets game Sunday, while communicating about Wilmington, North Carolina's own Connor Barth - kicker for the Kansas City Chiefs. It read:

"Watched the first half. Brett Favre must be frustrating to watch."

And the Southern Bureau is right. He is frustrating to watch. But I came into this season eyes wide open on Brett Favre.

I knew that last year was more exception than rule from Favre. I knew that he throws a lot of interceptions. I knew that the bad sometimes outweighs the good. But in the past two weeks, he has put the Jets in position to lose, then led them back to a chance to win (one resulted in a loss, one in a win). (And of course, the problem here is that both games should have been easy wins.) So it's been a whole lot of the bad mixed with the good....which is what I expected, having watched a considerable amount of Favre with Green Bay.

But I've watched Favre much closer this year than I have in the past, because of the uniform he's currently wearing, and I've noticed a couple of things that I'd like to share here:

1) Regardless of the fact that Favre might be hurt, resulting in these subpar performances the past couple of weeks, I've noticed this - after Favre takes a big hit or looks like he might have been hurt in some way, the next pass or two that he throws are absolutely rifled.

I mean, he rears back and throws them about 100-mph. Almost to prove that he's not hurt - even if he clearly is. No one can possibly catch these throws - often thrown inaccurately. But there's that.

2) Favre is not seeing the field well. I don't know why it is - but he's throwing passes that are right to defenders. A couple of times the past few games I'll give him a pass because a receiver fell down, but a couple of times he's thrown to defenders and been picked off, a couple of times the defender dropped the ball.

3) Favre forces way too many throws into spots that he has no business throwing to. He either needs to take more sacks (he's getting hit anyway - it's not like he's doing it to avoid the hits) or throw more balls away and save some face.

4) And this one might be the most important - for every time they show the stat that Favre has 35 (or something like that - my brain zones out the stat every time they show it on the screen these days) 4th quarter game-tying or go-ahead drives, I think even more telling is the one that came on NBC during the Chargers game a month or so ago:

I don't remember exactly what it was, but it was something to the effect of 'Favre has never led a team back from a 14-point or more halftime deficit'. Isn't that something? Probably because of 1, 2, and 3 above - he starts throwing too wildly and things go the other team's way.

As though the past two weeks weren't bad enough - that stat is not much of a sign of pleasant things to come.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


I hate to toot my own horn, but if no one else is going to do it, I'm going to have to - I called both the ALCS and NLCS exactly right. I also didn't do so poorly calling the Division Series. Of course, I've had my share of pretty poor picks on more than one occasion, which is maybe what makes these picks all the more impressive. But I do pick a bit more rationally when the Mets aren't if you want the right call on the 2008 World Series, you've certainly come to the right place.

I start with a baseball analogy for you -


You read that out as (for those of you far removed from the SAT): The Phillies are to the Rays what the Dodgers were to the Phillies. In other words, this won't be much of a contest for Tampa Bay.

I told you earlier this week I'm actually rooting for the Phillies - so this isn't the mad ranting of an angry, bitter, jealous, vengeful Mets fan. (Though I'm also not saying I'm not that.) It's just the way I see these teams matching up.

I saw the Phillies' pitchers as being better than the Dodgers' pitchers. Tampa Bay's are better than the Phillies.

The Phillies had a better lineup than the Dodgers as well...much better. Though Philadelphia has the better lineup than Tampa Bay in this series, the Rays' lineup is a notch or two above what the Dodgers were.

Add that together, and it comes out to a fairly easy series for the Rays. The Phillies probably have the edge at the end of games from the bullpen, and that's maybe why I'll give them two wins, but it's a shaky second win. I just don't think the Phillies will take many leads late into the games. (And if David Price is closing games out like he did Game 7 of the ALCS, the edge in the bullpen area might swing back to Tampa.)

I know the Phillies have a potent offense. But two things here - 1) They've been streaky this year. And they've been really hot all post-season (even in the closing days of the regular season). I sense they'll cool off a bit. And a big reason for that cooling off is 2) Pitching wins championships. It's just a fact - the good pitching will beat the good hitting. And Tampa Bay has that.

So it's Tampa Bay in six. Enjoy the final days of the baseball season.

Monday, October 20, 2008


The Jets would obviously be one of the most disappointing performance of the week, but since I care so much about them, they get a whole separate dressing-down.

I didn't write it, I guess because I was sidetracked by baseball, but if you had spoken to me over the weekend, you would have heard trepidation in my voice when I spoke about the Jets going to Oakland. Nothing good ever happens to the Jets in Oakland. So even though the Raiders are terrible and secretly I thought the Jets would rebound from the subpar outing against Cincinnati and blow their doors off, in the back of my mind I thought they might lose.

But that doesn't make the fact that they lost any more acceptable.

Brett Favre had a horrendous day. And even though to help my fantasy team I wanted him to keep throwing, I thought it was a horrendous decision to have him keep throwing when Thomas Jones was just having his way with the Raiders defense. The fact that the Jets couldn't score more than a touchdown on the Raiders is horrible.

It's even more horrible for the Raiders that the Jets were able to force overtime. The Jets had no business being in that game in the fourth quarter. The fact that they were able to force OT was a minor miracle. And I guess that's what Brett Favre brings to you - because even though the Jets wouldn't have been in that position were it not for Brett Favre (any other quarterback on Sunday leads the Jets to a blowout win), I'm not sure there are many QB's in that last minute situation who get the Jets to a game-tying field goal.

Bottom line on this Jets game - when I'm thinking, "You know, a tie in this situation is actually going to look pretty good, all things considered", just before the Raiders kick a game-winning field's just not a good Jets Sunday.

The Jets are making things very hard on themselves as far as the playoffs go. Their only route, after losses to the Chargers and the Raiders, might now be through a division title, and they fell two games behind Buffalo on Sunday. Here's how hard they've made things - they probably have to sweep the rest of their division games (2 vs. Buffalo, 1 more each against Miami and New England), at least, to have a shot.

BEST GAME OF WEEK 7: Not many good ones, to be honest. I guess for entertainment value it could have been the shootout between the Bears and the Vikings, which the Bears won, 48-41.

BEST PERFORMANCE OF WEEK 7: I'm thinking Steven Jackson of the Rams. He led the team's offensive charge, with 160 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns, in the 34-14 upset over the Cowboys.

WORST PERFORMANCE OF WEEK 7: The Cowboys. The only loss of the week worse than the Jets' - and the Jets' was pretty bad.

BEST GAME IN WEEK 8: I like Buffalo-Miami, and San Diego-New Orleans (in London) would be intriguing if those two teams weren't so hard to figure out...but Giants-Steelers is the marquee matchup. It's a 4 o'clock game...and should be a good one.

BEST PERFORMANCE PREDICTED IN WEEK 8: Oakland, full of false confidence after winning a game they had no business winning against the Jets, heads to Baltimore. The Ravens are coming back home off a good road win in Miami. Doesn't matter what the spread is, take the Ravens. Baltimore 44, Raiders 13.
-Last Week: I said Brandon Jacobs would have 117 yards and 3 touchdowns. I was off by a TD and 48 yards. He had 69 yards on 17 carries, with just 2 touchdowns. I still classify this one as "pretty close".

Sunday, October 19, 2008


It took me a while to finally decide which bandwagon to hop onto this post-season. While I still love none of the teams involved, I'm going to root for the Philadelphia Phillies in the World Series.

The reason it took me so long to make that decision is I just discovered how it serves me well to root for them - so there's totally a selfish thing going on here.

The Mets clearly aren't responding to any intrinsic motivation season in and season out. So it's time to work some external motivation. What better way to get them motivated then to have to go out and face the World Series champions 18 times in 2009?

That's it. Plain and simple. If the Phillies are waving a World Series champion banner and talking it up next year, maybe it'll light a fire under the Mets.

Of course, just because I'm rooting for Philadelphia doesn't mean they'll win the World Series. They won't. I'll have my World Series pick on Tuesday.

UPDATE ON THE ALCS: OK, so I was wrong on Saturday when I thought the Rays would clinch the ALCS in Game 6. It's still hard to see the Red Sox losing a Game 7, but my original prediction was Rays in 7, so why should I stray from that? I still thought the Rays were pretty loose on Saturday night - I expect they'll be OK Sunday night.

Saturday, October 18, 2008


I haven't been following the ALCS as closely as I would have liked to. I forget if I mentioned this already, but it's probably a good thing for me the Mets didn't make the playoffs...I'd either:
1) Not be able to watch past the third inning,
2) Be way too tired to function during the day, or
3) Be dead, what with all the parenting and working and baseball watching I'd have to do.

I throw that in about the NLCS to make it very clear that I saw none of the Red Sox' dramatic comeback in Game 5. My thought process when I shut the downstairs TV and went up to fall asleep in front of the bedroom TV (while lying in bed, rather than sleeping on the couch) was that I would either wake up during the Rays' celebration (I saw until 7-0) or see what the final score was in the morning.

The Wife got up with the Baby for a feeding, and said to me, "The Red Sox tied it." I thought I was dreaming. When she whispered, "The Red Sox won," I was really confused. I had to see highlights in the morning to convince myself.

Nevertheless, I think I was probably more bothered by the extension of the ALCS to Game 6 than the Rays were. They were going home anyway, their reaction was probably, "Well, I guess we'll win it on Saturday night."

I know it's impossible to count the Red Sox out, when you look at the ALCS deficits they've overcome in recent years (heck, stretch it back to 1986 - their last World Series before '04 - even then they overcame a 3-1 deficit), but this year feels different.

I get the impression the Rays just don't get intimidated. And I think Joe Maddon has a lot to do with their mindset. They could have been crushed by Game 1. They could have been disheartened when the Red Sox kept coming back on them in Game 2. But in both cases they rebounded pretty well. They took the first two at Fenway and darn near swept the Sox in their own park.

Coming home to Tampa just means they'll win it in front of their own crowd. And close out the Red Sox. Because these Rays are a better team than the Cleveland Indians of last they'll do what that team couldn't.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


My last post on last weekend's trip to New York (that one had legs, huh?). The Jets and Giants are getting a new stadium, too. Construction is well underway right next to Giants Stadium (that's why the parking is trouble, and why Dad and I took public transportation to the Jets game on Sunday). And since I'm obsessed with the building and opening of new sports facilities, this was right up my alley. I snapped some pictures.

But first, this disclaimer. The Jets are playing this up as something to the effect of (and I'm quoting, though it's not a direct quote, but it's the same idea) "Finally, after all these years, the Jets will have a home of their own." There's just so much wrong with that.

First of all, I don't think it's a good idea to tout that you've never had a home of your own. It's a huge black eye for the franchise - let's just keep it a secret.

Secondly, sorry, no, the Jets are not getting a home of their own. They are sharing a home with the Giants. That ruins the whole "of their own" premise, because, you see, they're sharing it with someone else.

Thirdly, I have come to grips with the fact that I root for a team from New Jersey. It's a shame, really, that the Jets couldn't get a Manhattan stadium - that would have rocked. Instead, they will play forever in the Meadowlands. And I'm OK with that, I guess. They've moved their practice facility from Hofstra University on Long Island to New Jersey, and they'll play their home games forever in New Jersey. What can you do? I'm in too deep to turn back now - I'll deal.
So, as you can see below, the stadium is being built right next to the old one. We enter Gate D for my dad's seats (that's the view from those seats above - I don't know if I ever showed that before - so I threw it in there). Gate B is right next to the construction site, so I walked over there and took this picure:

No work was being done on the stadium on Sunday, but there was activity around the site. Here's a look inside at where the field would be:
Finally, part of the deal in that area was the development of some theme park with year-round skiing. It will be called Xanadu, if I remember correctly. This has to be it - because I think that's the indoor ski jump. Weird.
Some other day I'll comment on the PSL's and such. For now, I'll just enjoy the cool concept of another new stadium.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Well, I got my last look at Shea Stadium this past weekend.

Monday night at midnight marked 15 days since the Mets' season ended (too early...but I've told that tale). To the best of my knowledge, that's when Shea goes from being privately owned to being property of the wrecking crew. So any day now I keep expecting to hear news about Shea Stadium being torn down.

It's kind of sad.
What you should notice in the picture above, besides the fact that I'm not really watching the road, I guess, is that the "S" from "Shea" is missing. I don't know if they took down all of the letters or not later in the day, but it seems odd someone would just take the "S" as a souvenir without the rest of the words.
Of course, the positive part is that Citi Field looks awesome. Coming into New York, headed towards the city on the Whitestone Expressway, is the best sightline of the new stadium. Especially at night - the Citi Field sign is all lit up already. It looks great (above is the sign in the daytime, which looks less great. Use your imagination). Enjoy these pictures, courtesy of The Wife, who was the safer option taking pictures, being in the passenger seat and all.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Weird week of NFL action, wasn't it? Lots of upsets and near-upsets. After the way Sunday went, I kind of sensed the Browns might pull it off on Monday night. But without having put any money where my mouth is on that one, I have no proof. So we'll move on:

BEST GAME OF WEEK SIX: By far the Cardinals-Cowboys game, which is the first time (I think) the game I called would be the best was actually the best. I missed the first half of this game because of how long it took to get back from the Jets game, but I heard from a couple of different sources that it was intense right from the beginning. The Cardinals just beat up the Cowboys (final tally: the star quarterback, the starting punter, and the second-string running back/kick returner, among other injuries), and pulled out a huge win. All told, as bad as the Jets' losses to the Chargers and Patriots are looking right now, the win against the Cardinals is looking pretty impressive.

BEST PERFORMANCE OF WEEK SIX: The Colts looked like the Colts again, and in particular, Peyton Manning had a typical day. Manning was 19-28 for 271 yards and 3 touchdowns, as the Colts blew out the Ravens 31-3.

WORST PERFORMANCE OF WEEK SIX: I've already mentioned the disappointing week Brett Favre had, and the same could be said of the Vikings (Adrian Peterson in particular) and Bears (the Vikings barely got by the Lions, the Bears lost to Atlanta). But the Redskins laid the biggest egg. A week after being declared by everyone an up-and-comer in the tough NFC East, the Redskins showed why they're the team people are picking in that division to NOT make the playoffs. They gave the Rams their first win of the season, 19-17 St. Louis. (Similarly, the Panthers got crushed by the Buccaneers just when people were buying into them. I still think Carolina will win their division.)

BEST GAME IN WEEK SEVEN: I like a few on the schedule - Indy at Green Bay, Monday night's Pats-Broncos matchup, and New Orleans-Carolina. But the big matchup, I think, is San Diego at Buffalo. Big measuring stick game for each team, what with the Bills 4-1 (coming off the loss to Arizona) and the Chargers coming off their win against New England, unpredictable all season. The Bills' starting quarterback, Trent Edwards, has a concussion, so they might have to go with J.P. Losman - but they're home, and the way the Chargers have played defense this season, Losman would probably be OK. An interesting AFC matchup, with potentially huge ramifications for the Jets.

BEST PERFORMANCE PREDICTED IN WEEK SEVEN: Going on kind of a hunch here, I'm thinking the Giants bounce back huge against the 49ers at home next week. I think they'll be led by Brandon Jacobs, who will have 3 touchdowns on the ground, and maybe 117 rushing yards.
-Last Week: I said Jason Campbell would bounce back from a mediocre stat week to have 298 yards passing with 2 touchdowns by air, one on the ground. He threw for 208 yards in the Redskins' disappointing loss, and had 0 touchdowns.

Monday, October 13, 2008


A good win for the Jets on Sunday, beating the Bengals, 26-14. It was a good win, because by all rights, they should have lost that game. Brett Favre had a horrendous game, fumbling on the Jets' first possession, which the Bengals defense returned for a touchdown. He went on to throw two more interceptions inside the five-yard line that cost the Jets scores.

It's all well and good that this happened against Cincinnati, because the Jets won 26-14. Had it been any other team, the Jets would have lost 37-26. (Their defense wasn't great, and the offensive line was pretty terrible, with the amount of times Favre was pressured.) Had the Jets done what they should have on Sunday, they would have won at least 40-7. But they won, 26-14, and a win's a win. So that's that. They just need to look sharper in future weeks.

I'm here to revisit with you, though, the dopes in my section at Giants Stadium. You may remember that this put a damper on my last Jets game experience - please re-read the link to refresh your memory. We're talking about some of the same characters, but this time I have pictures.

The paper airplane guys featured prominently in Sunday's action. I'm saving them until last because there's a long story attached.

Let's start here...I forget if I ever mentioned it, but if I haven't it's time for a reminder. The Jets give the visiting team tickets about three sections to the left of mine. So in the drunken upper deck that's like a festering ground for fights. No different on Sunday - though things were pretty tame as far as fights. This picture was taken before the game, during warmups, so there's only a few Bengals fans, but they're there. The other thing that's notable is the girls in the front rows of this picture are all wearing Ryan Fitzpatrick jerseys, so I can only believe they must be family. Because who else has a Ryan Fitzpatrick jersey?
Item number 2: Fireman Ed jumped the shark when he started appearing in NFL commercials and stuff. But that stuff only happened when they started putting him on the big scoreboard at Giants Stadium. When I was growing up, it was cool that this guy got the whole stadium to cheer. Now any dope can do it.
Item number 3: Case in point - this is our section's "any dope". This guy (the one up front, with the "Sec. 337" jersey), for about the past 20 years, tries to lead our section in the "J-E-T-S" chant. I say he tries, rather than he does, because less than 50% of the people respond. Here's another thing - he blows a friggin' whistle any time he wants people's attention. No one should be allowed to bring a whistle into an NFL game - he blows it at inappropriate times too, like right before the ball is snapped.
Item number 4: The Jets now have cheerleaders. Notable because the weather was warm and they were dressed like cheerleaders you might see in San Diego or somewhere. I've only seen them live once before and it was in the middle of winter. They never show the Jets cheerleaders on TV, though, I wonder why that is.

Item number 5: I don't have pictures of this - after the Jets score, they shoot off fireworks at Giants Stadium. Here's why I don't have pictures - you can't really see fireworks in the daytime. I know that. The Jets don't seem to know that. So after the Jets score, there's just a huge 'boom'. I say only use fireworks during night games.

Item number 6: OK. Now the paper airplanes. So you can see in the picture below, I circled the middle-aged man's stack of white paper that he brought from home to make paper airplanes out of (click the picture to see it better):
They get to the game, and right away start with the airplanes. A guy one section over goes up to them, asks them pretty politely to stop. He says, "I once got hit in the eye with a paper airplane, I'd appreciate it if you stopped doing that." They pretty much laugh at him and curse at him. It was a nice effort by the guy trying to get them to stop, but it was sort of made laughable by the fact that while he was talking to the dopes throwing the planes, tons of airplanes are flying around the stadium, because everyone does it.

It would have been nice if it ended there, but it didn't. The old guys (paper airplane throwers) cursed at the dude (person who tried to stop them). The dude called them children - "What are you, 7?" They cursed back and forth. The rest of the game they pretty much ignored each other, and the old guys continued to throw planes.

Until the final five minutes, when the old guys decided to leave. One of them gets up, and wags his middle finger in the face of the other guy, who responds by (ironically, I thought) throwing a piece of paper at the guy. A couple of people stepped in to make sure there wasn't a fight. Then, and this was infuriating, the old guys pointed out the dude to security. Thankfully security did the right thing and didn't take the dude out, but the old guys got booed out of the section. Just horrible, though, that this is the type of thing that sticks with me after the game.
Item number 7: Finally, above is the bus lineup outside the stadium....or at least, about 10% of the line. My dad and I took the subway to Manhattan, then the express bus from Port Authority to the stadium, to avoid the mess coming out of the parking lot. It was pretty good going to the game - 1 hr., 15 mins. door-to-door. Going home, we spent 45 minutes just in line, waiting for the bus, before the bus and subway rides themselves (bad traffic in the Lincoln Tunnel skews the bus ride numbers). Total travel time, 2 hrs., 25 minutes.

Could've been worse, I guess. The Jets could have lost.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


For the first time in a long time (maybe two years...actually I think I was at the playoff clincher against the Raiders in 2006), I was able to build a trip to New York around a Jets game. Lots of new mixed in with my trip to Giants Stadium today:

1) After much thought, I'm pretty sure I've never seen Brett Favre in person.

2) My dad and I are going to take the express bus from Port Authority to the stadium. Usually we drive, but we hear it's a terrible mess with the construction of the new stadium going on. So we'll give this a shot.

3) I've never seen the Jets wear anything other than green (they're going with the blue and gold Titans uniforms again today).

4) Rarely have I attended an October game in shorts. Closest I can remember was a late September game (I want to say September 29, but I could be making that up, and I think it was in 1994, when the Jets were also wearing throwbacks, but the green-and-white kind) against the Chicago Bears. It was a Sunday night game, it was hot, and I think the Bears won, 19-7 or some such score. The highlight was Johnny Johnson ripped off a 90-yard run for the Jets, but ran out of gas and was tackled inside the 10-yard line, so he didn't score.

I'll recap the game on Monday, along with the rest of the NFL recaps. I'll also give an update this week on the new stadium progress, as well as what Citi Field is looking like these days.

Thursday, October 09, 2008


Time for me to put a wrap on the 2008 Mets season. I feel a twinge of responsibility for the Mets missing the playoffs, but only a microscopic twinge, since the Mets are the ones who did this two years in a row. I have had this blog ready since the Friday before the season ended - it was meant to celebrate a playoff appearance. Now, it will kind of wrap up the season (since I put so much work into it, I don't want it to go to waste - I don't even know if it will work anymore).

But this goes in the same category as TBS and FOX and airing ads for playoff baseball with the Mets in them all September long. I knew as soon as I saw those that the Mets were in trouble. So they take a bigger share of jinxing responsibility than I do. After all, I didn't do any jinxing a year ago, and the Mets ended up in the same spot. And to answer the question posed throughout the rest of this post, "How far we've come?" the answer when it comes to the Mets is "Not very." Which is why I'm frustrated at the re-signing of Omar Minaya. But that's another story for another day. Here's the post:

It's been about a year since Matchbox Twenty released their greatest hits album, featuring the new single (along with five other excellent new songs), "How Far We've Come". One year later, I still can't get enough of that song. And all year I've been waiting for someone to use it in a video montage, recapping someone's great year. Football season came and went...nothing. Hockey and basketball....nothing. College seasons....nothing. NASCAR used it as they were celebrating some sort of anniversary this year, but it was used on opening day at the Daytona 500, and never heard from again. And it's PERFECT for a retrospective. So I'm not going to waste any more time. I don't have the video capabilities, but I think the end of the Mets' season deserves the montage treatment. Italics are song lyrics, regular print is the video you should imagine seeing. Enjoy (and download the song while you're at it.):

(Drums start...then guitars)
Show Mets players dancing in the dugouts, running out to positions
Waking up at the start of the end of the world
But it's feeling just like every other morning before
Clips from Opening Day - including countdown of days left at Shea Stadium
Now I wonder what my life is gonna mean if it's gone
Aerials of Shea

The cars are moving like a half-a-mile-an-hour and I
Started staring at the passengers and waving goodbye
Carlos Delgado curtain call
Can you tell me what was ever really special
about me all this time
Johan Santana highlight reel

I believe the world is burning to the ground
Oh well, I guess we're gonna find out
Let's see how far we've come
Let's see how far we've come
I believe it all is coming to an end
Oh well, I guess we're gonna pretend
Let's see how far we've come
Let's see how far we've come

I think it turned ten o'clock but I don't really know
And I can't remember caring for an hour or so
Started crying and I couldn't stop myself
I started running but there's nowhere to run to
Montage of Willie Randolph, tearful 'press conference', headlines from the firing

I sat down on the street, took a look at myself
Iso shot of Jerry Manuel in the dugout, then Jose Reyes challenging him on the field on the first day
Said where you going man you know the world is headed for hell Say your goodbyes if you got someone you can say goodbye to
Bullpen Struggles Montage (this might take a while - through the chorus)

I believe the world is burning to the ground
Oh well, I guess we're gonna find out
Let's see how far we've come (Right now)
Let's see how far we've come
I believe it all is coming to an end
Oh well, I guess we're gonna pretend
Let's see how far we've come (Ah, yeah)
Let's see how far we've come

(Music - Show the Mets turning their season around - highlighted by some Carlos Delgado homers, with Gary Cohen voiceover - "Outta Here")
Home Run montage - Delgado, Beltran, Wright, Reyes, Tatis, the Apple coming out of the hat
It's gone, gone
Baby it's all gone
There's no one on the corner and there's no one at home
It was cool, cool
It was just all cool
Now it's over for me
And it's over for you.

It's gone, gone
Baby it's all gone
There's no one on the corner and there's no one at home
It was cool, cool
It was just all cool
Now it's over for me
And it's over for you....

I believe the world is burning to the ground
Oh well, I guess we're gonna find out
The rest of the song is covered with video of the Mets clinching the playoff spot and celebrating
Let's see how far we've come (Ah yeah)
Let's see how far we've come
I believe it all is coming to an end
Oh well, I guess we're gonna pretend
Let's see how far we've come (Ah yeah)
Let's see how far we've come

Let's see how far we've come
Let's see how far we've come
Let's see how far we've come
Let's see how far we've come
Let's see how far we've come
Let's see how far we've come
Let's see how far we've come

Wednesday, October 08, 2008


I nailed a couple of those LDS series. I had the Rays in 4, and the Phillies in 4 (though that series wasn't as tough as I thought it would be). I had the correct number of games in the Dodgers-Cubs series, but I don't think that's a major loss, because did anyone think the Dodgers would sweep the Cubs? And I messed up on the Red Sox...but I'm picking against them again. Here we go:

I can't believe the freakin' Phillies are going to the World Series. But here we are.

I just don't think the Dodgers match up well enough with Philadelphia. (Although, of course, I didn't think they matched up too well with the Cubs, either.)

Manny Ramirez will have a huge series - he'll eat up Citizens Bank Park - but overall the Phillies have better pitching, and when you get to this point of the season, that's what it's all about.

I'm cautious about Brad Lidge - yes, he had an extraordinary regular season, and he has shown zero indication that he is getting tired or will be any less automatic in the post-season....but this is still the guy who disaster befell this time of year in 2005. I just don't think that goes away.

Still, the Phillies survive. They do better than survive. Phillies in five.

The ALCS is going to be where you get the bang for your buck. I hope I'm not building up this series too much - but I think it will be great.

Again, I don't love that I'm picking against Boston - they have shown time and time again that they know how to win in October...but I just didn't see it happening for them this year, and I'm having a hard time picturing them repeating as champions. (Not quite as hard a time as Tampa Bay winning it all...but there is no other option.)

That reasoning is lame, but there is some evidence to support my cause:

The Rays always give the Red Sox fits. Even when they were awful, they played the Red Sox tooth and nail (what does that mean?) and even when they were beaten it wasn't an easy win for Boston. They continued to play the Sox tough this year, when they were good, and won the season series, 10-8.

Home field was huge throughout the year between these two teams as well, and the Rays earned home field advantage, and that could be the difference. (I think I saw, and am too lazy to look it up and make sure I'm right, that the home team in the series won 15 of the 18 head-to-head games this year. That might be an indication of how this ALCS goes.)

The magical ride for Tampa continues. Rays in seven.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008


Here's where I stand through one round of the playoffs:

First of all, I think this is going to be a fantastic ALCS. I think it will have everything you want in a playoff series - it will be intense, it will be dramatic, it will be good baseball. The Red Sox and Rays are very familiar with one another - this will be just like Yankees-Red Sox of 2003 or 2004. There will probably be a brawl, and I think it might go 7 games. But I'll make my picks tomorrow.

The NLCS does nothing for me. I made a list of matchups that intrigued me before the playoffs started - that will never appear because many of the matchups included the Mets. But the Rays-Red Sox was one of the matchups. Dodgers-Phillies was not.

As for the playoffs as a whole, I'm not too thrilled. I have no one who I feel very attached to, and no one I want to tie my cart to. I liked the Twins, I thought I might be interested in rooting for the Cubs...but now I'm left with teams that I can't really see myself pulling too strongly for.

Here are the strikes against them - it's pretty obvious, I think, in the National League - I hold grudges in sports, and the Dodgers represent 1988...a disappointing year for the Mets. I also don't much care for Manny Ramirez...which you may have picked up over the years. The Phillies are the Phillies. If they go to the World Series (very likely), I'll be pretty angry about it.

In the AL, I've written before that though I like certain players on the Rays, overall I think they're a bunch of punks. And I bet that shows through during this ALCS. But I have to root for them for this simple reason - in 1915, the Red Sox played Philadelphia in the World Series. In 1916, they played the Dodgers. And Tampa Bay has never played either team in the World Series. So I think it's pretty clear what I need to happen.

I'll have my picks tomorrow.

Monday, October 06, 2008


A bye week for the Jets, which meant I was able to give less than 100% focus to more than just the usual 2 to 3 games (that's the kind of respect I show the Jets):

BEST GAME OF WEEK 5: I really enjoyed watching the Miami Dolphins beat the San Diego Chargers, 17-10. It's looking more and more like the Jets were lucky to beat Miami in Week 1, and their loss to San Diego is just going to kill them come playoff time. The Dolphins were very good, and Chad Pennington was typical Pennington. His arm looked strong enough, and he didn't make any mistakes. A great game for him, and a great win for Miami. And there's something really screwy going on when I'm rooting wholeheartedly for the Miami Dolphins - I don't think I hate an NFL franchise more. There's the power of Pennington for you.

BEST PERFORMANCE OF WEEK 5: Kudos to the Arizona Cardinals. You want to talk about a bounceback win - after getting embarrassed by the Jets (while still putting up 35 points themselves) they showed they can hang with the AFC East by beating the Bills handily. That's a good win, especially when you consider.....

WORST PERFORMANCE OF WEEK 5: ...the Seattle Seahawks absolutely laid an egg in their game against the Giants. I mean, the Giants look better than I think most of us expected - but they crushed Seattle. The Seahawks are supposed to be the best team out of that division....I think they've shown they are not, and the Cardinals, flaws and all, might be.

BEST GAME IN WEEK 6: How about another measuring stick for those aforementioned Arizona Cardinals? The Cardinals play the Cowboys in Arizona. Arizona is coming off a huge win, the Cowboys are coming off a disappointing performance at home against Cincinnati.

BEST PERFORMANCE PREDICTED IN WEEK 6: Following a week where he threw for just 176 yards and no scores, I think Jason Campbell bounces back pretty good for Washington against St. Louis. Campbell is putting together a nice little season for himself, and Week 5 was more the aberration than the norm. That was some win for Washington, by the way, beating Philadelphia. They'll crush the Rams next week to go to 5-1, behind 298 yards from Campbell, with 3 TD's (one rushing).
-Last Week: I said Matt Forte would have a big game. Chicago had itself a big game, beating Detroit 34-7, but Forte had just 36 yards on 15 carries. He did catch 4 passes for 25 yards, with a touchdown receiving and rushing, but that's not really close to the 145 yards I predicted...though I did call for 2 TD's. This was my worst prediction of the season so far.

Sunday, October 05, 2008


A pretty poor showing by the NL Central teams in the NL playoffs.

But they got in, leading to the ultimate question: Which is better - a quick first-round exit from the playoffs or not making the playoffs at all?

I still think it's better to make the playoffs - at least you get to put up a banner.

But still - the Mets have to be kicking themselves, right? They have to know that if they had just gotten in, it would have been them knocking off the Cubs in the first round instead of the Dodgers.

At least, I hope they're thinking that.

Maybe they're too busy setting themselves up for more disappointment next year by re-upping two of the people responsible for not preventing a second-consecutive slide out of the playoffs.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008


Since I'm so good at making baseball predictions, I figure I have to pick these series. Here's what I think:


Boston Red Sox versus Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

It's very hard to pick against the Red Sox. They continue to win, year after year, and when they get into the playoffs, they go deep into the playoffs. But I feel like this year is going to catch up to them.

The Sox have had all kinds of injuries this year, which they've survived, but things keep cropping up - like this Josh Beckett injury. And I also feel like Daisuke Matsuzaka is going to run out of luck. He's been the worst "good" pitcher this year that I've ever seen. He pitches incredibly with runners on base - but he's allowed way too many baserunners this season. I think that'll catch up with him in the post-season - you just don't get away with that at this point in the year. This isn't here nor there, but I also worry about Jonathan Papelbon. He's had a history of breaking down at the end of seasons - and he didn't really have an extended time off this year, as he's had the past couple of years. He didn't look as effective late in September, and I wonder if he'll be hittable in the post-season.

The Angels have had a very good season, and although I can see them folding, especially against the Red Sox in round one, I'm picking them to advance. Angels in five

Chicago White Sox versus Tampa Bay Rays

The White Sox are going to enter this series tired. They've had a crazy week - losing their lead in the Central by getting swept by the Twins, then rebounding, winning their must-win makeup game Monday, then the one-game playoff Tuesday. But I would have picked the Rays even without all of that going on.

The Rays have something special going on - I wouldn't be surprised if they make it to the World Series. But we'll start small - their starting pitching is better than the White Sox'. That's about all they're going to need to get through this series.

I'm going Rays in four.


Los Angeles Dodgers versus Chicago Cubs

I'm starting to believe the Cubs hype - at least for them to win the National League. They have a good team, they were able to clinch early enough that they could be all lined up and rested for the playoffs, and they drew the Dodgers in round one.

With the Mets not standing in their way, I might as well root for the Cubs to break their 100-year drought. I'm not committed yet - I'll have to see how I feel watching the games - but they're certainly going to start out on the right track.

Manny Ramirez won't be able to do all of this by himself. Cubs in three.

Milwaukee Brewers versus Philadelphia Phillies

CC Sabathia can't pitch every game of this series, and that will cook the Brewers. The Phillies should have been better than they were this season - they were very inconsistent.

I think they're better than the Brewers, but now that the Brewers are in, I wonder if there's some pressure off of them. They might push the Phillies farther than the Phillies would like to be pushed in this round.

I think the Phillies survive, but it's going to be a lot rougher against Milwaukee than they expect. Phillies in a very tough four games, avoiding Sabathia in Game 5