Archives for the month of: September, 2009

A hodgepodge: work is murder today and I’m typing this between bites of a chicken salad sandwich.  I think I’d be typing while eating a chicken salad sandwich even if I made money doing this–in fact, odds are sky-high that I would–but I’d also be hustling to get new information, too: do interviews, crunch stats.  As it stands, all you’ll get from me right now is snark.  Hastily drafted snark.

This from ESPN, on a game between the Colorado Rockies and the St. Louis Cardinals, which caught my eye because the writer employs the term “The Catch,” which is taken, thank you very much:

And at the very least, already taken, already.

In short, Clint Barmes caught a ball, or he didn’t.  But this is what Ryan Spilborghs had to say:

“It was a good play, that’s all it was,” he said. “It doesn’t really matter because the play’s over.”

But did he see the ball hit the ground?

“It’s more fun not to say whether I did or I didn’t,” Spilborghs retorted.

No, jerk-weed, it’s not.  I absolutely guarantee you that if Skip Schumaker hoses you like that to cost you a game, with the Rockies fighting for their playoff lives, you’re screaming bloody murder.  If you’re telling the press that it’s fun not to say whether it did or didn’t, then you’re getting a minor thrill out of an obfuscation of the game.  Not classy. 

Barmes’s language implies he’s trying to be honest without casting doubt on his team’s standing.  What last came out of your mouth doesn’t help him do that.  In fact, it makes me think you’re in need of a Cubs fan beer shower.

There: I’ve gone from Endy Chavez to Clint Barmes to Ryan Spilborghs to Shane Victorino in one sitting.  Checkmate.

I sound irritated not just because I’ve been concatenating in Excel like a fiend all morning, but because I see the writing on the off-season wall and it makes me wish I could unilaterally define blog topics.  I’d be a lot more specific than all this business today about Jerry Manuel.

We can only define Jerry Manuel’s job performance based on the available data, and I don’t even have a full idea of what that data set is, really. 

  1. Is there some organization keeping track of when he gives Luis Castillo the bunt sign and when he doesn’t?  When he asks for a hit-and-run?  These are actual–not rhetorical–questions.  If there is indeed a database for it, send the link over to omniality [at] gmail [dot] com.
  2. You can look at the starting line-ups day in and day out.  Ryan Church was MIA until he was gone.  Nick Evans has always been MIA.  Reasons for this are inscrutable, as given.
  3. Management of starters, relievers, and pinch-hitters during games has left little to be desired with me.  At this point, I’m quite accurately prognosticating various levels of defeat as his decisions are made, and at the hands of those decisions.  I don’t work in baseball.  I’m not psychic.  I should not be able to do that.
  4. Additionally, communication is atrocious on injury.  This is not solely Mr. Manuel’s province; I’ve been yelling about this on and off since I started this bad boy.  The injuries are not the issue; telling people what the hell’s going on is the issue.  But he shares the blame for the communication snafus by adding to the noise instead of displaying that he’s trying to get to the bottom of it.  Honestly, now: your star shortstop was danced about for months.  That makes you look like a man out of touch, not one who plays things close to the vest.

I can take reasons 3 and 4 and make a case for letting him go.  But I’m not a fan of reasoning that’s not air-tight (as much as the writing on this blog may point to the converse being true), and much like one can say, “You can’t fire Jerry Manuel after a year of a decimated line-up,” one can also say, “You can’t fire Jerry Manuel because Daniel Murphy can’t execute a hit-and-run, or because Sean Green is all thumbs.”  Quite true.

I’m of a mind, therefore, to not bother with the question at all, as I have no control over whether or not the man is retained, and my reasons for wanting him shipped off seem to boil down to “I can tell you how your Sophie’s Choice will blow up in your face, and why can’t you shoot straight with me about the guys who’ve left you with that choice to begin with?”

But everyone is bothering with the question, so let’s speak to it reasonably.  I believe “should he stay or should he go?” is short-sighted.  But IF he stays or if he goes, what could he do better?  I suggest that question.

I get the similarity, suggesting that the man who seeks teachable moments in defeat seek his own teachable moments, but that doesn’t make the need any less dire.  He can absolutely demand a reasonable communications strategy from all parties with a hand in his players’ availability, or else decry its lack.  Done right, that’s a guy I can get behind. 

He can work on avoiding the maze of “this situation” and “that player” and “in this instance” he gets into when speaking about awful in-game decisions.  That won’t stop the awful in-game decisions, necessarily; yet still I find that when I voice an error, I’m less likely to commit it later.

I don’t know what he can do about fan pressure to give a player a start besides starting him, or telling us all to shut the hell up.  I’m fine with either.

And maybe send someone in there to keep track of when he’s giving the green light to steal a base.  Put that guy in the room with a sabermetrician and make some magic.  I’m absolutely convinced a sabermetrician could shadow me for a week and tell me how best to lose five pounds, get two hours more sleep per night, and avoid screaming children on the subway (these are not necessarily mutually exclusive goals, or an admixture of ends and means).  In short, they’re sorcerers, and that’s awesome.  One of my goals this season is to fully comprehend PECOTA, or die trying.

Working smarter and working harder should be his goal; even without quantitative analysis we can say there’s room for improvement.  But our job, as fans of the Mets and fans of the game, should be to ask smart questions as often as possible.  We shouldn’t lose our passion, but we should make that passion useful.

We describe ourselves often as some of the game’s smartest fans.  But if we enter this off-season asking the same tired things of the same old people, or clamoring for change for the sole reason that novelty will trick us into firm belief of our team’s ability, then we’re merely loud and opinionated.

Game’s started.  Let’s go Mets.

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Many thanks to those who posted links to this list and are directly responsible for 95% of the traffic to this blog over the past month: Ted Berg of SNY and TedQuarters, Joe Budd of Amazin’ Avenue, and Matt Cerrone of MetsBlog

Stay classy, gentlemen, just like this guy right here:

17 Oct 1999:  John Olerud #5 of the New York Mets watches the ball as he hits a home run during the NLCS game four against the Atlanta Braves at Shea Stadium in Flushing, New York. The Mets defeated the Braves 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Al Bello  /Allsport

1. John Olerud lives life one day at a time.

2. John Olerud always tips twenty percent, and always gives one hundred percent.

3.
Smoked turkey is too fancy for John Olerud.  He’ll just have a
half-pound of the regular, at whatever thickness the slicer’s set to. 
Thanks.

4. John Olerud overpaid his taxes between the years 2002 and 2004.

5. John Olerud was kind and compassionate when urging Mr. Met to enter rehab for his Pepsi addiction.

6.
The trash at the Olerud house is put out the morning of pick-up, and
not the night before, so as not to obstruct the sidewalk for
pedestrians.

7. John Olerud has a pleasant singing voice.

8. John Olerud knows what time it is.  He also knows what time it isn’t.

9. If you’ve forgotten a birthday, don’t worry: John Olerud remembers.

10. John Olerud appreciates the complicated-yet-always-warm family dynamic portrayed in the ’80’s sitcom Family Ties.

11. John Olerud folds his socks.

12. Back in 1992, John Olerud had a white wine spritzer.

13. John Olerud loves his mother.

14.
John Olerud dabs off the excess oil on his pizza slices with a couple
of napkins.  He’s not shy–he’ll do the same for yours too, if you want.

15. John Olerud finds hilarious the fact that you think he has an evil, mustache-twirling twin named “Spencer.”

16. John Olerud holds the record for most puppies donated to loving, caring homes.

17. John Olerud was once featured on Hollywood Squares.  He was in the lower left corner, after trading with attention-starved Andy Dick for center.

18. John Olerud also loves his father.

19.
John Olerud didn’t beat his brain aneurysm; he had a frank and reasoned
discussion with the ailment, and it was mutually decided that it would
not trouble him further.

20. John Olerud collects bird houses.

21. John Olerud loves Seattle, but never got that whole “grunge” thing.  Flannels are meant to be functional, not fashionable.

22. Message left for John Rocker at hotel on October 17th, 1999:

“Hey,
John, it’s John, from last night.  Just want to tell you, y’know, no
hard feelings, about the bottom of the eighth, there.  Y’know, it’s
baseball.  Anyway, I know things have been rough for you and I know
it’s a tough town in general, to say nothing of when two big teams are
fighting to get to the Big Show… yeah.  Just wanted to say you should
keep your chin up.  Don’t–don’t let all the name calling get you
down.  It’s just all hot tops and nuts when it should be smiles and
high-fives, y’know?  All right–someone here needs to use the phone. 
Anyway, good luck later.  Good talk; keep truckin’.  It’s John Olerud,
by the way.  Okay.  Bye.”

23. The term “grand slam” doesn’t exist for John Olerud.  He prefers “four-run hit.”

24. John Olerud bought the third Saturn four-door ever made.  Matthew Broderick and Kenny Loggins bought the first two.

25.
John Olerud doesn’t mind being six-foot-five.  He’s just sorry he keeps
inconveniencing those helpful department store clerks trying to help
him find slacks.

26. John Olerud enjoys the game of checkers.

27. John Olerud also knows these can’t all be winners.

28. Bo knows baseball.  Bo knows football.  John Olerud doesn’t claim to be an expert in anything.

29. John Olerud would never violate the sacred trust that is the HOV lane.

30. John Olerud sends Joe McIlvane a Christmas card every holiday season.

31. John Olerud’s fine with boneless Buffalo wings, if everyone else at the table is.

32. John Olerud applauds the platypus for its originality.

33. When he was nine, John Olerud built a tree house all by himself.  It included a laundry room.

34. John Olerud has a normal, everyday sneeze.

35. John Olerud reads his junk mail.  If they took the time to send it, he can take the time to read it.

36. There’s no “i” in “team.”  There’s also no “i” in “John Olerud.”

37. John Olerud needs only about six-point-seven hours of sleep per night.

38. Yes, John Olerud knows who Chuck Norris is.  He doesn’t get why you’re laughing, but he’s glad you’re happy.

39.
John Olerud doesn’t understand why Geico insists on picking on
cavemen.  They were a necessary step in Man’s evolution, and should be
celebrated.

40. The first rule of John Olerud is “You do not talk about John Olerud.”
There is no second rule; he trusts you to get the message the first
time.

41. Yes, John Olerud also knows who Matt Wieters is.  Now he’s really confused.

42. John Olerud is proud of his humility.

43. Boats aren’t for John Olerud.  Boats make waves.

44. If the answer is “John Olerud,” the question is probably, “Won’t anyone help me move this weekend?”

45. When John Olerud gets steamed–REALLY steamed–he could just hit something.

…But he doesn’t.

…And then the moment passes.

46. During Career Day at his son’s elementary school, John Olerud showed the kids how to turn a potato into a battery.

47. John Olerud pees standing up.

48. John Olerud wanted this list sorted into discrete categories, and indexed for reference.

49. Brown sugar on oatmeal?  Heck, John Olerud will try anything once.

50. John Olerud does have
a pulse, but he appreciates the humor of the sentiment.  He would,
however, not mind it if you unhooked him from the EKG machine.

51. During his playing years, John Olerud’s nickname was “John Garrett Olerud.”

52. John Olerud has no comment on blown post-season umpiring calls.  He won’t even grant the premise.

53. After games, John Olerud always insisted on doing his own laundry.  Occasionally, he would also do Edgardo Alfonzo’s.

54. John Olerud avoids using the word “moist,” because it sounds so inappropriate.

55. John Olerud isn’t really afraid of anything.  But spiders do kinda give him the creeps.

56.
Before each game, John Olerud always took some time to himself: a
steaming cup of cocoa, a slice of pound cake, and the “Arts &
Leisure” section.  He recommends this to “anyone looking for ways to,
uh, dominate.”

57. John Olerud enjoys the utility and versatility of the paper clip.

58. John Olerud placed third in the 1994 National Skip-It! Competition.

59. One word: boxers.

60. John Olerud splits a timeshare in Palm Harbor, Florida, with Joseph and Russell Simmons.

61. Like Keith Olbermann, John Olerud has six lumbar vertebrae and thus too much backbone.

62.
When the going gets tough, John Olerud develops a step-by-step action
plan to get going in a smart, straightforward, and efficacious manner.

63. Bobby Bonilla and John Olerud once had to share a hotel room.  Olerud woke up the following morning with a Spanish word scrawled on his forehead in black magic marker.  Bonilla maintains to this day that he was just submitting his breakfast order.

64.
There exists a Bizzaro John Olerud.  He’s a journeyman relief pitcher,
and closed out the year with the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers.

65. John Olerud’s actually always found a pretty broad line between Love and Hate.

66.
In the past, John Olerud has been involved in several real-life dramas
seemingly pulled from the pages of an action-thriller screenplay. 
Once, he was trapped in an L.A. high-rise with a group of European
thieves pulling a high-stakes con and robbery.  He called the police
and informed them of the ruse in short order. 

All hostages
were released without incident.  The criminals are awaiting trial. 
John Olerud has since declined to ride in limousines driven by young
men named Argyle.

67. John Olerud can grow facial hair.  He just prefers not to.

68.
Someone once called John Olerud “the alpha and omega.” He replied, “I’d
rather be known as the Mu and the Nu.”  They didn’t get it.  [Hell, I
wrote it, and even I don’t get it.]

69. John Olerud invented toe socks.

70. John Olerud’s never had a cavity.  Separately: two years ago his dentist suffered a nervous breakdown.

71. John Olerud once experimented with putting his pants on both legs at
the same time.  It wasn’t for him.  He’s since returned to the
“one-leg-at-a-time” method.

72. Message left on Derek Jeter’s voice mail the morning of October 18th, 2004:

“Hey,
Derek, it’s John Olerud.  Been playing first base for the Yankees for a
while this year.  Listen, I know it’s kind of a shame that I hurt my
foot during Game Three, and Game Four wasn’t so hot.  But Tony’s gonna
get it done.  I’m… yeah, I’m actually pretty confident in Clark.  I
mean, I was no great shakes in Game Three.  And if he somehow doesn’t
get it done or Dougie doesn’t get it done, I’m sure Alex and Jorge and
Gary’ll provide some pop for you.  Anyway, no way that Game Four
business happens again.  With the batting and the fielding and the
pitching the team’s got, it’s golden.  Anyway, I know it’s three games
to one, but I don’t wanna count my chickens.  Here’s just hoping Game
Five’s a good one, right?

“Oh, heck: by the way, I didn’t see
Tom or Mariano at the hotel before I left.  Tell them I ran into
Esteban, and he’s looking not so hot, so they gotta lock it down.  Just
have a bad feeling; if it goes into extra innings, don’t count on him. 
Okay?  All right.  See you later.  It’s John Olerud, by the way. 
Okay.  Bye.”

73. John Olerud fills his car with mid-test gasoline.

74. John Olerud is an avid songwriter, publishing under the pseudonym Michael Bolton.

75. John Olerud is man enough to cry.

76. John Olerud never used pine tar on his bat. He preferred to hit “au naturel.”

77. John Olerud maintains that the best defense not only consists of a good offense, but also a sparkling defense.

78. For John Olerud, honesty is not the best policy.  It’s the ONLY policy.

79. John Olerud never hangs a picture without first sinking an anchor for safety.

80. The following textiles have not, nor will ever be, “with” John Olerud: burlap, denim, lace, silk, satin, or leather.

81.
John Olerud is a fierce competitor, but is glad he was never an Aztec
warrior.  Those guys drank the blood of their enemies, for Pete’s sake.

82. John Olerud has never told a “yo momma” joke.

83. John Olerud finds the capitalization rules of the German language straightforward and easy to comprehend.

84. Every night, John Olerud polishes his sneakers to a high shine.

85. For John Olerud, baseball is ninety percent mental; the other ten percent is physical.

86. John Olerud has never had “bed head.”

87. No, John Olerud knows exactly what you mean by “that thing with the
cherry stem.”  He’ll thank you not to do it, especially in this diner,
where there are families present.

88. John Olerud had his Achilles’ heel surgically removed in April, 1992.

89. John Olerud never check-raises; that’s bush league.  

90.
There are no skeletons in John Olerud’s closet; only things he keeps in
there are shirts, slacks, suits, and a replica Fonzie jacket someone
gave him as a joke for his thirtieth birthday.   

91. John Olerud asked that his third Gold Glove instead be dipped in less-ostentatious bronze.

92. Whenever asked to find a needle in a haystack, John Olerud breaks out his case of magnets.

93. John Olerud dots his “i”s with a baseball.

94. John Olerud eats his Pez with a fork.

95. John Olerud decorates his home for all major federal holidays, including Presidents Day.

96. Yes, John Olerud agrees: Greedo shoots first.  (If you say so.)

97.
John Olerud has never gone off half-cocked, fully-cocked, or any such
position on that scale.  This is like mentioning the thing with the
cherry stem, and he’s starting to get peeved.

98. John Olerud
never cancels without calling first to explain his situation, and offer
a rain check for a specific date and time.

99. John Olerud would never take a victory lap.  Victory is its own lap.

100.
John Olerud often sleeps the sleep of the satisfied.  Then there’s the
occasional Burrito Night, when he sleeps the sleep of the dyspeptic.

101. John Olerud hopes you’ve had a good time.  Now get the hell off his lawn.

Gary Cohen called this loss to the Nationals “a head-scratcher.”  I don’t think so, Gary. 

Twice the Mets loaded the bases with nobody out, and nothing came of it.  Anderson Hernandez’s and Luis Castillo’s brains squelched so hard in the bottom of the eighth I heard it on my BlackBerry. 

Why the BlackBerry, you ask?  Because I’m in full Sean Green Evasion mode, and once Jerry Manuel came to retrieve Pedro Feliciano, I switched over to the Yankees game until my phone told me it was safe to return.

So a full inability to capitalize on prime run-scoring opportunities, some hideous errors, the usual blend of swinging at high fastballs (Chowdah) and junk down and outside (everyone else), and an amazing grab by Elijah Dukes to seal it.  That’s not a head-scratcher.  Head-bower, headbanger, head-shaker: all, certainly.  But not a head-scratcher.

If you want something that mildly confused me, I’m going for the digital board that makes up most of the right field wall at Nationals Park.  How is this not a game obstruction?  It’s bright as blazes and they like to run wacky nonsense on it just before the ball’s in play.  Horrible for anyone at the plate with halfway decent peripheral vision.  So it’s a good thing no one there’s expected to hit a ball that’s three-quarters the size of my fist that’s hurtling at ninety-plus miles per hour.

Also irritating for fielders.  Even if the thing isn’t dancing around like an epileptic on Red Bull, if I have to turn to make up distance to the warning track, then flip around to catch the ball on the fly, I’m going to hesitate for a minor second to readjust, so I can pick up that tiny white speck against inky black sky.  Onset glaucoma or no, you’re going to have trouble.

Ugh.  Weak.  Get ’em tomorrow.

While clicking around during my lunch hour, I found evidence–hideous, hideous evidence–of Nick Evans’s existence. 

I don’t know who “saubrey02” is, but between The ‘Ropolitans and 24 Hours From Suicide, it’s been determined that Nick Evans will wear anything to prove he’s a part of the team.  See the photo set here.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

For more dress-up fun, vote on what my off-season profile pic will be. Check out the rules and options here and email your choice to omniality [at] gmail [dot] com.  No write-ins (i.e. Bobby Parnell in braids) allowed.

I’m now officially on the hook for two games of the three-game set against the Astros, on the last weekend of the season.

Here went my thinking: I was there for the first game played.  I was there for the Mets exhibition games, there for the Sunday workout following–under extraordinary circumstances: I had gone to the game Saturday, spent about six hours at a bar with friends, stayed up all night at a friend’s apartment listening to Radiohead and Bonnie “Prince” Billy, then rode out to Flushing once daylight was firmly secured.  Somehow between the Saturday game and my third hour at the park, I’d procured a turkey club in a diner take-out tin.  I have no recollection of how it came to be in my bag.

Indeed, The Wife will be in town starting Friday as well.  I skipped out on Parnell’s start against the Giants, about a month ago, to collect her from the airport.  Reasonably, I should be skipping out on this Friday’s tilt, as there is beyond nothing to play for against Houston, but it’s the last game with my two buddies, one a Yankees fan who is doubtful about re-upping; the other a Mets fan who won’t re-up unless the organization “shows [him] something” in the off-season.  Paraphrasing lightly: “I don’t think I wanna plunk down another three hundred dollars for suckitude and an inability to see balls hit down the left field line.”

So I can’t miss Friday’s game, especially since it seems John Maine and Wandy Rodriguez are going to swap teams for the day:

matchup.jpgI kid, Cerrone.  I kid because I love.  …Actually, given a choice between Rodriguez and Maine this season, I think I’m picking Rodriguez.

And The Wife has a good record at Mets games.  Provided the potential win doesn’t come with a blitzkrieg thunderstorm (…blitzkrieg thunderstorm?…) on Sunday afternoon, I think I’ll be quite pleased.

I’ve got to go to the last game there this season.  I absolutely must.  The ship is going down, having taken on far too many runners left stranded (see last night vs. Washington: L; 2-1) to stay afloat.  I boarded at Southampton, and have been dressed in my best; I’m prepared to go down that way. 

I don’t know what it says about my mentality that I’d buy a ticket to this Titanic metaphor for the missus; rest assured should the game get out of hand, I’ll tell her to save herself.

My Mets thoughts are consumed by the kind of thinking that’s making friends balk at buying into another season set of tickets.  What if they aren’t good next year?  What if the injuries sustained re-emerge?  Santana’s knee, Santana’s elbow.  John Maine’s shoulder.  Frankie Rodriguez’s back.  Jose Reyes’s legs.  David Wright’s cojones (or, as a Hungarian friend with short tendons likes to say: “cuh-Jones”).  I wonder if the MLBlog filter will pick up on either.

Make no mistake: we’re staring into a potential abyss here.  We shouldn’t be afraid of the abyss: baseball’s still fun; hope resides around every corner.  Technically, a team could open the season with eighty-one straight losses, follow that with an eighty-one game winning streak, and enter the record books with a not-impossible chance of making the playoffs. 

It’s the business side of things which futz with my head; if the tickets were free I’d be there every day.  But this is what one arrives at after six months of tickets and transit and beer and heatlamp chicken-and-fries baskets: it’s a lot of money.  And a lot of money spent watching a bad team hurts more than a lot of money watching a good team.

So along with controlling my profound dissatisfaction for certain relief pitchers and the decisions which lead them to holding the ball in pressure situations, I must spend the winter months squaring the circle on how much is too much to spend on the Mets.  Surely twenty dollars–the price I paid for two tickets in the Promenade level, roughly behind home plate, for the last game of the season, service rip and delivery rip (you EMAILED them to me) included–is not too much. 

And maybe a magical turkey club with cold, gummy fries will show up in my bag this time, too.

I developed a coping mechanism for Sean Green, by the way: when he showed up to pitch last night, I changed the channel and monitored my BlackBerry for general signs that the inning was over.  When it was, I flipped back.  I’m afraid I can’t apply that same method for the whole of the team.  Might as well stop breathing, while I’m at it.

Amusing:

I’m sure most Mets fans who troll the internet for some small speck of daylight have already seen Adam Rubin’s coverage of this year’s rookie hazing.  If you haven’t, click here.  Omir Santos is waaay too excited to be dressed up as the Boy Wonder.

Additionally, check out Jay Horwitz’s expression behind the tall-walking, stiff-upper-lip-having Ken Takahashi:

takahashi.JPGI’d be confused, too, Mr. Horwitz.

Now then: I point you to a snippet of Marty Noble’s coverage of yesterday’s game against the Marlins (W; 4-0). 

“Bobby Parnell was dressed as Goldilocks, though there is no record of
her having worn a beard and shades. Lance Broadway was a nurse. Josh
Thole wore long ears that stood erect; he was a Playboy bunny. Nick
Evans was Minnie Mouse — round ears, white polka dots on red and his
own street shoes
. Tobi Stoner was a maid. Forty-year-old rookie Ken
Takahasi was a snake charmer with a boa. And Omir Santos was Robin…”

Emphasis mine.  Click here for the full read.

Now find the read from Rubin on who’s pictured in the hazing shot (it’s in the comments):

“left
to right, it’s Lance Broadway [check], Bobby Parnell [check], Tobi Stoner [check], physical
therapist John Zajac [extra], Daniel Murphy [extra], Josh Thole [check], with Omir Santos [check] in
front.”

Everybody who’s mentioned got a photo.  We even got some extras thrown in for good measure (John Zajac?).  What we don’t have is any confirmation that Nick Evans was dressed up as Minnie Mouse.

I’m thoroughly uninterested in seeing Nick Evans in cartoon mouse drag, but you have to admit it’s funny. First, the man can’t seem to buy a plate appearance, and now even cross-dressing and aping a completely different species can’t get him a humiliating photo. 

Perhaps the Mets sent him down to Triple-A Orlando and purchased Goofy’s contract.

I’ve stated repeatedly that when the game stops being fun to watch, one should stop watching the game. 

I took my own advice Friday night through Sunday, and missed the Mets comeback against the Marlins, John Maine & Co.’s implosion, and Misch’s complete game.  I don’t feel bad about that, considering I was ready to tear my house apart Friday night.

(And as to the questions regarding my last post: I was certainly not advocating any action be taken, least of all dismissing of management.  In fact, I was merely making a reference to a humorous and fictional account of arson. 

There; I’m glad that’s cleared up.)

I slept with my time off; tried out the new bed.  I stared out the window and felt the sweet kiss of not watching a frustrating team.  I had a dream about the Mets, sure–but who doesn’t dream about the Mets?–and when I awoke it was dark out.  The series was over; the Marlins had been officially eliminated from NL East contention, and I felt a happy twinge of schadenfreude. 

Better still, they’ve got six games left and are five off the pace for the wild card.  Colorado, Atlanta, and San Francisco would each have to take a powder to let Florida in.  The Marlins might take out one of those teams, but I don’t see them leapfrogging all three. 

More joy at misfortune.  Mind you–I spent some of my weekend reinforcing the leg of my desk chair, after slamming it into the floor a little bit.

There’s the right kind of passion and there’s the wrong kind of passion.  Going C. Zambrano on the furniture is the wrong kind of passion, especially since I don’t make a dime off it.  Evidence suggests the only thing that comes of getting so aggravated is the chance to miss complete game shut-outs by guys you definitely don’t want to see hanging around next year.

I would much rather be rooting for a fine finish than hoping against hope that Tim Redding doesn’t turn it on and thus pretend at being a viable option for 2010.  It’s a crummy feeling.  Didn’t think entertainment could do that to me.  I hate this product like it’s my job.

Anyway, something to work on in the offseason. 

Speaking of the end of the season, I’ll cement my Mets heresy by taking my hat off to the Yankees for clinching a division title.  No crosstown hatred as a general rule here at Sec. 528–only irritation at individual acts of idiocy and/or Brian Bruney-ness.  Someone this weekend asked via email where my rooting interests lay for the playoffs; I’ll dig my own grave a little more when all the spots are locked.

I hope all can tell that I’m a bit deflated here.  I will try and perk up for the morning, and see what my psychosis can dig up in terms of fun topics.

**For those who want to vote on what my off-season profile pic will be, check out the rules and options here and email your choice to omniality [at] gmail [dot] com.

Readers of this blog should know that I enjoy TV like I enjoy complex carbohydrates.  It soothes me, it entertains me.  I hope to make a living writing for it someday soon.

So I reach for it whenever I need to be re-grounded.  Tonight, as I hope the seventh inning of tonight’s game against the Marlins has finally ended, I need re-grounding badly.

I have no words for Sean Green, or Jerry Manuel and his decision to take out Pedro Feliciano FOR Sean Green, except the following, which I’ve borrowed from a 30 Rock episode. 

“I could feel that it was time. Time for a new beginning. And I knew
that this was possible only through a cleansing fire. It would all have
to burn. The [batting helmets], the [line-up cards]: all of it would dance
in the warm mouth of my fire. And a new, better, wonderful me would
rise from the ashes like a phoenix.  Behold: the splendor of my beginning!”

This is all you’re getting tonight; I’m so angry I nearly demolished my desk chair.

Instead, I’m going to bed.  I’m a man in my late twenties on a clear Friday night and I’m going to bed. 

Fire.  Cleansing fire.

Cheers to the Times for publishing something that’s a) a decent read, and b) vaguely about the Mets.

Apparently Rico Brogna’s been hiding out at Wesleyan University, teaching the kids how to run at sixty in a forty zone, football-wise.  And like the guy who says, “Fixing a car’s just like making love to a woman,” (I know no one who says that), he’s going to book this experience to a job as a major league manager someday.  Read the article here.

That’s a bit glib; apparently he’s been connected with the Arizona Diamondbacks this year.  Additionally, volunteering to show kids how to keep their feet under them as they bust out of the flat, regardless of whether or not you do it by shouting semi-coherent phrases like:

“Just keep running it with speed…”

is quite admirable.  I sure as hell wouldn’t volunteer to do a damn thing at Wesleyan.  Yes: I’m turning my nose up at Wesleyan.

I suppose some of the management techniques can carry over.  A major league manager shouldn’t be responsible for teaching the young ones how to swing at a baseball, so I presume Brogna will have no opportunity to teach them instead how to receive a snap from center or throw spirals in from right field.

Good on him; I hope he does well.  It’s certainly less orthodox than Gary Carter’s plan to manage a team not named the Ducks one day. But if it works, have a ball, baby.

Hey, Rico: remember 1996?  Some solid first baseman names that year.  Say ’em aloud, with force and vigor:

Rico Brogna!

Butch Huskey!

Roberto Petagine!

Crap.  Now I’ve made myself sad.

This’ll be a short one; I burned most of my time this morning watching ABC’s Flash Forward, mainly because I had quite a similar idea I put pen to paper on about six years ago.  Not that I enjoy dumping on ABC, but man, am I glad I was convinced not to pursue it. 

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a television show that’s turned me off completely before its first commercial break.  Premise is fine… -ish, but within ten minutes you’ve got me questioning whether your two lead actors are supposed to be British or doing a horrible job of getting rid of their accents; you’ve shown me a vision of one of those cliched “big case” boards, complete with red strings tied every which way, and crime scene photos, and scrawled notes underlined desperately; you’ve played the “kid says something creepy” card.

Worst of all, you’ve firmly placed Kenny Rogers’ and Dolly Parton’s “Islands In The Stream” in my head.  And on a Friday, that thing ain’t goin’ nowhere.

And what was Seth MacFarlane doing there?  I know he’s a big Star Trek fan and perhaps he’s tight with Brannon Braga (who worked on Star Trek variations for years with diminishing returns), but come on; did he lose a bet?

Enough.

Eight fleshed out emails worth speaking to, six of which are notes of appreciation for the blog.  I thank you all kindly.

This one, about 2010:

“What do you think about Zambrano for #2 pitcher?”

I’ll put it as plainly as I can: one Zambrano was enough. 

One Hernandez brother was enough, too, though if somehow they could have taken the best from El Duque and the best from Livan Hernandez, and melded the leftovers together–now THAT would’ve been a sight.  Tubby guy with a high leg kick; slap a uniform and a giant foam baseball head on him, and you’re golden.

Perhaps Carlos Zambrano is the Michael to Victor’s Fredo, but the point is to get a front-line pitcher with some staying power.  Fire in the belly doesn’t erase two trips to the disabled list and a suspension this year.  Something’s been up with him for awhile, and the team doesn’t need another headcase.

I know that’s not a statistical analysis, and I know I’ve argued for the entertainment value of the whackadoo in the past.  Sometimes you go with your gut, and thank God you’re not in the business of making roster moves.

And this, which is surprisingly the only email vote about the off-season profile pic that wasn’t just “Murphy A” or “Santana B”; remarkable considering the number of wise-guys I know to be out there:

“Obviously [y]ou need to use the GQ shot of Wright.”

Lots of people want this one, though I think some of the votes are gags: I got a cluster of them, poorly-worded and profane (“f***in Wright with the bat”), around the same time my visit tracking account showed a blitz of traffic from a college out West.  I miss college.

The next highest vote-getter is Santana A, and he’s a distant second.

I’m down with the high-tops and the hair gel, but as I’ve told most of you already, the search is on for someone to stand in as Jose Reyes.  We don’t need anyone exact, or even close; if a septugenarian is willing to dud up as the Mets starting shortstop, I think it’d be hilarious.

**For those who want to vote on what my off-season profile pic will be, check out the rules and options here and email your choice to omniality [at] gmail [dot] com.