Archives for posts with tag: Alex Cora

Chowdah tore a ligament in his thumb on that catch yesterday.  Shades of Alex Cora.

Pat Misch has left the scene in exchange for Ken “The Executioner” Takahashi.

Johan Santana will miss tomorrow’s start because something’s up with his pitching elbow.  Where did I see this information? Everygoddamnedwhere, damn it.

21st century mural.jpgYou realize that now every one of the players visible on the above Nikon photo montage has SOMETHING wrong with them, yes?

At least Angel Pagan is a one-man pinball wizard versus the Phillies defense.  Jesus.

I’ve decided to build my own line-up.  I figure watching this group play ball until the first weekend in October would be just as–if not more–entertaining than what we’ll likely see.

SS: Jon Cryer.
1B: Madlib.
2B: Osbert (Snarf) from Thundercats.
3B: MacGyver.  Not Richard Dean Anderson from MacGyver or the guy Richard Dean Anderson played in MacGyver.  The SHOW, as entity.
LF: A 1977 Topps baseball card featuring Texas Rangers outfielder Jeff Burroughs. (For those who take issue, click here.)
CF: The disembodied mole of Carlos Beltran.
RF: Bob Capano. This does not constitute an endorsement of Bob Capano.  I’ve just seen his picture everywhere.
C: …

I will be tomorrow night’s starting pitcher, which means I must be off for the airport.  I throw left-handed.  If I do well, I might be signed to a three-year deal worth $36 million.

At least I hear that’s how that stuff goes.

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THIS guy:

Cora Star-Ledger.jpgGod, I’ve been holding that in all night. 

My thanks to the Newark Star-Ledger for the photo.

There is little to say about last night’s game save that I have no proof that I completely called the sixth inning (but I did), and Andy Green worked a walk in his first Met at-bat (it’s true; I saw it and the papers back me up). 

Discussing the loss of Alex Cora’s grit and passion–I think the cool kids are calling it “grission”–would be more disheartening than discussing the plodding game management and shoddy pitching.  So as the cool kids used to say, I won’t go there.

Except that the Mets have lost Jose Reyes, Alex Cora, and Ramon Martinez to injury this year.  I have a feeling that if Wilson Valdez had even sniffed serviceability, he’d’ve gone down with a sinus infection.  And now I understand why Anderson Hernandez takes big, wild hacks at balls outside the strike zone.  If I had that kind of target on my back, I’d be swinging at pitches even if they’d decided to walk me.

Speaking of intentional walks: I’d like to go on record as stating that I HATE the intentional walk to bring up the pitcher’s spot.

Actually, scratch that.  I feel like making a list:

  • I HATE the intentional walk to bring up the pitcher’s spot;
  • I HATE the intentional walk to bring up a rookie pitcher who’s been out virtually the entire year, and had already matched his highest number of innings pitched;
  • I HATE the intentional walk to bring up the pitcher’s spot with fewer than two outs;
  • I HATE the intentional walk to bring up the pitcher’s spot with fewer than two outs and runners at second and third;
  • I HATE the intentional walk to bring up the pitcher’s spot for a team that’s still in the thick of a hunt for a playoff spot with a chance to break the game open;
  • I HATE the intentional walk to bring up the pitcher’s spot when your team’s 3-1 hole might as well be a 5-1, 6-1, 7-1, 8-1, 9-1, or, hell, 10-1 hole.

The San Francisco Giants’ bench is not as awful as the New York Mets’ bench.  Walk Edgar Renteria to face Nate Schierholtz?  If Jerry Manuel thought Bruce Bochy was going to let Joe Martinez bat with the bases loaded, one out, and a chance to break the game wide-open, he’s out of his mind.

I only bring it up because I generally hate the intentional walk as a tactic, and because, as I said, I called it.  If The Wife were a notary public, I’d’ve jotted the sequence down on my take-out napkin:

  • intentional walk to Renteria;
  • Giants sub Martinez for pinch-hitter;
  • Livan Hernandez attempts to induce the double play; pinch-hitter scores two;
  • Hernandez taken out for Elmer Dessens;
  • Dessens allows an RBI out;
  • Dessens gets out of the inning.

She’d’ve given it a seal; I’d’ve mailed it to myself in the past (I moonlight as a Timecop), and maybe saved myself a bit more grief.  But there comes to be a saturation point with grief, after which one can wring most of it out, but it’s still damp.  And that’s what I am, presently: damp with grief.

There’s an image.

I’m not saying I can manage in the major leagues.  I’m saying if I can guess that progression, and know it’ll end badly, and it happens anyway, then Mr. Manuel is not as crafty as I thought he was before the game began.  And I wasn’t high on him before the game began.

Don’t intentionally walk a guy when the next guy up will, more likely than not, be a man whose batting average is thirty points higher, and when the whole team is playing for something.  If this is it, if you believe your season is done, if you’re packing it in, have your tomato can of a starting pitcher GO AFTER EVERY GUY IN THE ORDER.  That’d be “grission” for you.  Ugh.

And now, in a replay of what I was lucky to miss because it happened in another state, the Mets face the Atlanta Braves, and Oliver Perez squares off against Derek Lowe. 

I’ll make it clear in case I haven’t: I have no time for Oliver Perez.  None.  That I’ve paid money for this experience cheeses me off all the more.  I’m setting the over/under on walks tonight at five and taking the over.

I’ll be getting there early, to boot; The Wife has never seen the new park and she and I will be walking all over it.  Bloating from too much beer and box frites today; photos and highlights to come tomorrow.

Let’s go Mets! (Right?  We still say that, cool or not?  “Let’s go Mets”?  Sure.  Let’s go Mets.)

**Word came via comment from Matthew Peaslee over at The Pittsburgh Peas that Section Five Twenty-Eight is the most recent “Featured Blog” on the MLBlogs home page, and to quote a Hungarian friend with short Achilles tendons, that pleases me much.

If you’ve somehow found your way to this pit of misery and despair, please check out Mr. Peaslee’s blog.  As for Mr. Peaslee himself, if he’s reading: I’ve got a short but packed day, but will email you specific thanks and thoughts later.  Cheers.

Some time ago I was given a book to read by a colleague.  The book is titled A Fan’s Notes, and its author, Frederick Exley, does a remarkable job of barely speaking about sport in the two-hundred seventy pages I’ve read thus far.  (I write like a fiend, work a full-time job, and watch baseball.  Time rarely presents itself for reading anything but the paper while cooking or in the W.C.) 

Really, the book is a memoir, detailing the author’s institutionalization during the mid and late ’50s.  Conformity issues.  I don’t imagine being lent the book was meant to send a message of any sort.

When Exley does speak of sport, he speaks of the Frank Gifford New York football Giants.  He speaks of getting far too fired up about them, about clapping grown men repeatedly on the back, on jumping and screaming and praying and slapping his hand on the bar.

That was me yesterday afternoon.  I became the living embodiment (Mistah Exley–he dead) of Frederick Exley.  I was in a safe place to be such a Loopy Lou–Pacific Standard on Fourth Avenue in Brooklyn–but goddamn.  I need to calm down.

Others, however, seemed to feel differently, because I put on quite a show during the top of the ninth:

Alex Cora singled off Manny Acosta.  I clapped hard and whacked my knuckle against my wedding ring, letting out a sharp, “Nnnneeeeowwww!” which amused everyone and no one at once.  Angel Berroa hit for Brian Stokes and sacrificed to get Cora to second.  I stood on the support rungs of my stool and beat the bar with my fist.  Chuckles abounded.  The small crowd there that afternoon had decided it would be best to laugh at me than wait so they could laugh with me.  There is little to laugh about when watching the Mets these days–at least with anything more than gallows humor.

When Pagan ripped that ball past Martin Prado and out to right, I had fully intended to punch the air in excitement. 

However, my face got in the way.

I didn’t stop screaming, “Go, go, go!” though I felt a sharp pain in my cheekbone and my glasses were now nowhere to be found.  Turned out that in the excitement and scoring of the insurance run, I’d punched them off my face with such ferocity that they flew off and behind my head, dropping to the floor behind me and causing one of the lenses to pop out of its half-wire frame.  I also sliced the top of my right index finger.  I could photograph this, but I think I’m going to pass.  Respectfully.

When I gathered myself in time for the next batter–the eyewear being crucial in actually SEEING what’s onscreen–I had a flashback to the old “poking the eyes” bit that the Stooges pulled.  I didn’t think my day would get wackier.  Then Castillo executed the best suicide squeeze I’ve seen in my admittedly limited history of witnessing suicide squeezes.  I can count them on one now scarred hand.

As Acosta prepared for David Wright, I muttered a barely audible, “Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk.”

**

Speaking of David Wright: the Braves seemed to have it all worked out for him yesterday.  Walk the poor *bugger.  Here’s how that strategy panned out (ordered by plate appearance):

  1. top of first, two out, 0-0: intentionally walked; Chowdah grounds out.
  2. top of fourth, no one out, 0-0: strikeout.  Given that he led off the inning, it was an acceptable deviation from the plan.
  3. top of sixth, one out, Castillo on second, 0-0: intentionally walked.  Chowdah reaches on an infield single to load the bases.  Jeremy Reed walks (unintentionally), scoring the lead run.  Wright would then score on a Santos sacrifice.
  4. top of eighth, no one out, 2-0: Wright singles, then steals.  Nothing really comes of the inning; he’s stranded at third.
  5. top of ninth, two out, Murphy on second after a walk and a steal: intentionally walked.  Chowdah would then get Murphy in on an RBI-single.

I don’t believe the strategy of intentionally walking David Wright, even given the state of the team at present, will bear much fruit.  Or, if it’s to be done, perhaps best to do so only if there are outs and no one on.

The Mets may be bloodied and bruised, and jokes abound about their not-ready-for-prime time players.  But don’t treat them like they absolutely don’t know what they’re doing.

**

Sheffield left Friday with a cramp.  Now it’s a tweaked hamstring.  Sure it is.

*I had a different “b” word in place there, but apparently the MLB censor drones believe it unfit for mass consumption.  Very well.  Lame.  But very well.

Busy day at the races; I shall have to be typically verbose when I get my sorry butt back home tonight (which will be through bitter rainstorms and the compulsory Friday night trip to see my parents).

An additional treat will be photos and words regarding the Frank Messina reading at Foley’s NY, of which I spoke yesterday.  Good time, good fun.  Later.

For now, something to hold you over.

Here’s the thing I came away with during last night’s game against the Atlanta Braves (L, 5-3).  We spoke about it, the event attendees and I, as it happened.

Top of the seventh.  Score tied, and remarkably so given that all three of the Mets’ patchwork outfield got steady work from Oliver Perez. (His walk count lowered from seven nine days ago to four last night.  Follow that?)  Righty Manny Acosta relieves Derek Lowe for the Braves. (Derek got jobbed by his infield and an odd strike zone last night.  Rare that this is the case, but the high-and-tight zone seemed to benefit Ollie.  But I was watching from a ways away, and drinking; I wonder what excuse I’d make were I a real reporter.)

Brian Schneider grounds out.  He was hitless last night, with a couple walks (one intentional).

One now must pinch-hit for Oliver Perez, who’d just gone over the magic number of pitches for anyone, and who wriggled out of a jam to end the sixth.  Who do you go to?

The Mets’ bench last night, excluding any Livan Hernandez pinch-hitting shenanigans, included:

  • Jeremy Reed (lefty batting .292 going into last night);
  • Angel Berroa (righty batting .136 going into last night);
  • Omir Santos (righty batting .268 going into last night); and
  • Fernando Tatis (righty batting .247 going into last night, and who once hit two grand slams in an inning).

There are thirteen pitchers currently on the Mets active roster.  With good reason.

Tatis popped out to second and we were all grateful that he could only possibly ground into a double play.

So everywhere we could look to find fault, we could not.  Without a viable fourth starter, and a fifth starter by committee, the Mets need to carry an extra arm or two.  Given the tie score late, one must save their strongest offensive weapons in case of emergency. 

The thought must’ve been: “Tatis gets on base.  Pagan’s been swinging well and Castillo’s got a hitting streak going.  We could eke out a run then slam the brakes on Atlanta.”

Except Tatis popped out, leaving no margin for error by Castillo, who was the weakest part of that equation.

The bench is less than exciting these days.  As for the relief corps, Feliciano walked the first guy he faced in the lower half of the frame and, well, if you were watching or not, you can figure out the rest.

It was a perfectly okay and understandable substitution, but if someone were to ask me next year or the year after or the year after how bad the injuries that befell the 2009 Mets hurt the team, this will be my anecdote.  It was a tidy little baseball game that ended badly.

Tonight’s line-up, as posted by David Lennon of Newsday:

Angel Pagan – CF

Luis Castillo – 2B

David Wright – 3B
Gary Sheffield – LF

Jeff Francoeur – RF
Daniel Murphy – 1B
Alex Cora – SS
Brian Schneider – C

Oliver Perez – SP

Essentially the same line-up three games in a row.  No kidding.

This hasn’t happened in I don’t know how long, and that’s only remarkable in that we’d seen the Mets in the same level of decrepitude for about three weeks prior to Angel Pagan’s return.

So that begs the question: was Jerry Manuel hoping Fernando Martinez or Fernando Tatis would get hot, enough to warrant Cora’s leading off?  Does Angel Pagan represent the understudy linchpin the Mets so sorely need to be AAAA as opposed to merely AAA or, dare I say, AA?

Has Chowdah so reliably picked up the mantle of the five-hole? With the same efficacy that Ryan Church so stupendously dropped it? (Or was not really given a chance to?)

The answer, to all these questions, is a qualified “Yes.”  That’s probably all we’d get if we were allowed to interview Jerry pre-game, and since I’m about done with my last fifteen-minute break, that’s all you’ll get from me.

Let’s go Mets!  Pray for Perez’s competence; I’ll pray for my sanity.

*Note: went for a sit-down lunch today and happened to catch ESPN’s top ten MLB plays of the first half.  Number One on that list?

Believe.

From ESPN’s recap of last night’s game against the Cincinnati Reds (W, 4-0):

Pedro Feliciano worked the eighth and Francisco Rodriguez finished the six-hitter.

Don’t call it a six-hitter.  This is exactly what I was talking about last week.  Calling it a six-hitter sounds dumb.  There were three pitchers.  C’mon. 

Beyond that, I’m resolved in calling Jeff Francoeur “Chowdah.”  Why?  Here:

http://www.hulu.com/edp/http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Ehulu%2Ecom%2F/embed/VK0pcn0rqvDyuN3F3fO8CA

Today’s line-up facing the Milwaukee Brewers, as reported by David Lennon of Newsday:

Argenis Reyes – SS
Daniel Murphy – 1B
David Wright – 3B
Gary Sheffield – LF
Ryan Church – RF
Fernando Martinez – CF
Brian Schneider – C
Luis Castillo – 2B
Fernando Nieve – SP

This was yesterday’s line-up (vs. Yankees; L, 4-2):

Daniel Murphy – 1B
Alex Cora – 2B
David Wright – 3B
Gary Sheffield – LF
Fernando Tatis – RF
Fernando Martinez – CF
Brian Schneider – C
Luis Castillo – 2B
Livan Hernandez – P

And the night before last’s (vs. Yankees; L, 5-0):

Alex Cora – SS
Argenis Reyes – 2B
David Wright – 3B
Ryan Church – RF
Gary Sheffield – LF
Daniel Murphy – 1B
Jeremy Reed – CF
Brian Schneider – C
Tim Redding – SP

And the night before that, this was the order (vs. Yankees; L, 9-1):

Luis Castillo – 2B
Alex Cora – SS
David Wright – 3B
Gary Sheffield – LF
Fernando Tatis – RF
Ryan Church – CF
Nick Evans – 1B
Omir Santos – C
Mike Pelfrey – SP

I don’t know that I have a point here.  I’m sure I will after tonight’s game.  You may feel free to draw your own conclusions.

Actually, that’s a lie.  I do have a point.  I’d just prefer not to breathe life into it until after tonight’s game.

Tonight’s starting line-up, as reported by David Lennon on his Newsday Mets blog:

Castillo – 2b
Cora – ss
Wright – 3b
Sheffield – lf
Tatis – rf
Church – cf
Evans – 1b
Santos – c
Pelfrey – sp

I guess the big deal, besides Ryan Church in center, is that Alex Cora’s been batting lead-off since Ty Cobb was chomping on baby-safe Havanas, and he’s now in the two-hole, moving Luis Castillo up.  Remember when Luis was batting eighth?  What a strange world we live in.

Cora’s 0 for 11 with a walk in the last three games, missing the jump-jive that was Wednesday’s win, and being a no-show in Carpenter’s near-clinic.  I don’t think he’s faultable for Pineiro’s or Carpenter’s dominance; I just suppose Jerry Manuel was tired of seeing no one on and one out.

Should be interesting, this Sheffield-batting-cleanup-after-cortisone, playing-that-tall-left-field-wall-on-inflamed-bursa-sac business.  I can hear Ken Singleton now, extoling the virtues of the DH.

…The DH is one of the most awful moves ever made in sport, by the way.  Just awful.  IF nine players show up for defense, those same nine players should show up for offense.

Sabathia had two homers and 7 RBI last year, in his time in Cleveland and Milwaukee.  51 ABs.  But can he run the bases like Chien-Ming Wang?

Fernando Tatis best get on the stick today, with authority.  There’s something about this game that feels iffy.  Then again, I just devoured a Good Humor Toasted Almond Ice Cream bar in under a minute.  That could be the source.

*Speaking of sources, thanks again to CBS Sports’ MLB Players Page.   

I watched the game last night against the St. Louis Cardinals (W, 6-4) in stages.  The first stage: Upper East Side of Manhattan, where I took notes in my head and quickly forgot them upon watching a plate of fried calamari get confiscated for… what?  Why take the plate away?  There was still food there; I was still eating it.  There was no signal.  I don’t care what you say.

Unbelievable.

The second stage, Brooklyn.  Pacific Standard on Fourth Avenue.  The MOST delicious microbrews.  I took full advantage.  And here now, are the full extent of the notes I took, unedited:

Different Stokes to move the world
Double paly on Pujols
How does castillo beat out that infield hit?
Guy Keith was demo-ing on was Schumaker
Dennys reyes can’t handle Fmart’s bunt
Yadier Molina has farty pants

I suppose he does have farty pants.  Let’s go down the line:

  • I feel like I watched Brian Stokes set up Albert Pujols in slow-motion.  It was satisfying turning to a fellow viewer, sitting to my left, and saying, “Double play.  Coming right now.”  And, sure enough.  Thanks for buying the pint, whoever the hell you are.
  • Hopefully I didn’t say actually say to her, “Double paly on Pujols.”  That would’ve been unfortunate.
  • I don’t know how Castillo beat out that throw for an infield hit.  I also don’t know how Omir Santos went 4 for 4, and I literally don’t know how Daniel Murphy hit that home run.  I was on the subway at that point, hustling to Brooklyn; as yet I’ve not watched the replay. (INSTANT UPDATE: he got a good turn on himself and powered through what appeared to be an unhealthy curve from Todd Wellemeyer.  Nice.)
  • I don’t quite know whether Keith was talking about Skip Schumaker, or Brendan Ryan, or Rick Ankiel, or what.  But I believe his pants were corduroy.  Anyone watching the game on SNY knows what I’m talking about.  The only thing more hilarious than seeing Keith Hernandez out of his chair in demo mode during a broadcast is how serious Ron Darling and Gary Cohen seemed to take it.  Ron was especially close to the danger zone.
  • I do know that Dennys Reyes didn’t look in any shape last night to handle a bunt, and sure enough he didn’t.  Can’t give Fernando Martinez a hit to help his average, but it helped the team, and that was enough.
  • I’ve already commented on Yadier Molina.

Think about the heartburn going into the bottom of the eighth, and think about how the bottom half of the line-up (though with these players, is there a bottom half of the line-up anymore?) manufactured a run:

Luis Castillo: infield single.

Fernando Martinez in for Stokes: bunt between Dennys Reyes and Yadier Molina.

Alex Cora: single up the middle on Dennys Reyes.  No extension on Reyes’s part to catch it because he can’t leave his feet; Cora safe; Luis Castillo scores.  Yadier Molina goes nanners.

The digital zoom on the camera catching the money end of the third base line had Castillo safe.  Molina catches it, Castillo geeks out, and grabs the plate as Molina tries to apply the tag.  It was close, but Castillo was in.

The run gives Frankie Rodriguez wiggle room against the middle of the Cardinals’ order.  Now, the middle of the Cardinals’ order isn’t exactly setting the world on fire, but today’s Mets aren’t sure things when it comes to putting out fires.  There was nothing more poetic, by the way, than yesterday’s crash on the RFK Bridge involving trainer Ray Ramirez, Jose Reyes, and a fire truck.  On the day that Carlos Beltran goes on the DL. 

I love a metaphor as much as the next guy, but c’mon.

I guess until Tim Redding loses a game, I can keep calling him Teflon Tim.  Dear Tim Redding: don’t lose any games.  We need them.  Love, Paul.  P.S.: Don’t call me.  Your facial hair is frightening.

**

Oliver Perez pitched in Port St. Luice yesterday.  Against the Charlotte Stone Crabs.

Here’s the recap.

I would review, but… no.  Just… no.

CHARLOTTE.  STONE.  CRABS. 

I’m 0 for 2 in Mets events that I view away from home, yet away from Citi Field. 

David Wright is 0 for 9 with an RBI in that span, but he gets paid to go to these things (ball games). 

I just spend money at local establishments.

Going Home.jpgAs stated in the previous post, Metstock was yesterday: food, fun, and fans at Two Boots Pizzeria on Grand Street.  I’d already been to every other Two Boots Pizzeria in New York City, so this was a double treat for me.  I can get fired up about pizza. 

For my money, the best pizza around is at Peppino’s on Third Avenue and Seventy-Seventh Street in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, but in that case I’m a homer, and I appreciate a great neighborhood place.  They actually LOWERED their prices recently, in the wake of the Great Recession.  Who does that?!

…Apparently Phil Rizzuto called; he wants his tangents back.

Fearless Leader.jpgBordering the windows at Two Boots are amazing paintings of New York sports heroes.  This one, of Keith Hernandez, I found quite inspiring.  Later, I’d feel a near-irrepressible urge to fly a Zero into Camden Yards.  But that would have been an inappropriate reaction to the events in the bottom of the ninth inning (L, 5-4), and chances are the Mets will need Aubrey Huff sooner rather than later.

Hubie Doobie Doo.jpgThat poster (behind Pick Me Up Some Mets! blogger Zoe Rice’s head) is amazing, and further example of how this particular Two Boots caters to the clientele.  I will someday come back here and offer them $5,000 for this work of Hubie Brooks art.  They will reject me out of hand.  I will be disappointed.

Readers.jpgReaders at the event were Jon Springer of Mets By The Numbers, Greg Prince of Faith And Fear In Flushing, and Skyhorse editor Mark Weinstein filling in for Stanley Cohen, author of A Magic Summer.

Gratuitous link.

If you read back on the blog, you can probably piece together that I was sentient and ambulatory during the Mets ’86 World Championship, but not so much that I could ever put down recollections of that time or even of the kind Greg Prince has of 1969.  Being a fan of the Mets, as I’ve stated before, is like eating to me.  I don’t remember the dinner I had in late October when I was four.  I’m sure I enjoyed it.  Inductive reasoning would suggest it was pizza; my dad loves it.  But we’re back at pizza again.  I should just fly a fighter jet into myself, and call it a day.

Jon Springer Speaks.jpgMy point is, I sat and drank Brooklyn Lager and marveled at the descriptions of jubilant chaos, after Mr. Springer regaled us with the story of Jeff McKnight, who now has become my favorite goateed Met, if only for the glasses which he wears in his publicity photo (visit Mets By The Numbers and find the “McKnightmare” link at top).  I also ate pizza (why so spicy, Two Boots?  Why?) and watched a game unfold.  It’s heartening to be with a group of fans who will listen as an event goes on in their presence, but will also clap and cheer as an event is televised before them.  Made me wish the Ziegfeld was packed with these folks instead of traffic-beaters the other night, but maybe they understood too well what I spoke about a few days ago: baseball’s played outside.  A stadium or stadium-like atmosphere cannot be replicated in a movie theater; instead one’s options are either to sit in a bar-like place (like the Two Boots on Grand) or at home, or at the damned ball park.  Very well.  I’m sufficiently down on my luck with regard to the Ziggy and gatherings with strangers that I might cut the bar out altogether, and stick with home or Second Home.

But this was fun.

We watched the game and moaned at the Orioles scoring.  We cheered the Mets scoring, as Alex Cora did twice, including this play (after which it got LOUD):

Cora Beats The Tag.jpgThat hazy representation is somewhat purposeful; I don’t want to land on the wrong side of MLB’s or SNY’s boilerplate.  Suffice it to say that’s Alex Cora weaving ’round Matt Wieters, who dropped the off-target Howitzer throw from right.

Greg Prince Reads.jpgHere’s something, and I don’t want to get on the wrong side of anyone’s Ornery or Glance Askance (God, I should’ve been beaten up more in junior high): Mr. Prince (featured, left) has an admittedly funny chapter devoted to Yankees fans, and it’s not complimentary.

I have Yankees fan friends, and Mr. Prince does, certainly, and we all do because they’re everywhere and nearly unavoidable.  (Sarah Palin can see Russia from her house, but can she see the South Bronx?  Does she see David Letterman waving from the box seats?  He’s giving you the finger, Sarah, and ninety-nine point nine percent of me is sure you deserve it, with an oh-point-one percent margin of error.)

Many Yankees fans, including my friends–from time to time–are obnoxious.  It does stem from undeserved entitlement; it does speak poorly of the organization, which could perhaps get off its high horse about history and tradition and realize that the schtick, like its last World Series title, is getting old.

But I got the sense that the prevailing attitude last night was to hate the Yankees because they’re the Yankees and that’s just that.  They’ve won championships and feel entitled and Willie Randolph was a drip and that stadium of theirs can just go take a bath and how dare they take David Cone and have him accomplish THAT and oh-for-the-love-of-God-please-make-it-stop.  I am not of the camp that hates the Yankees success as much as he revels in their failures.&
nbsp; My Yankees friends are not like that regarding the Mets, and I have to dismiss any such feeling as a generational thing or misguided adoration of the game.  With respect.

Had the Mets won tonight’s game against Baltimore AND the Yankees had lost, I’d’ve texted my friend currently working up at Tanglewood.  “3-0? To the Nats? Wha’ happen’, Boli didn’t kick in yet?” And he’d’ve probably texted back. “Quiet, son. Remember 15-0, vs. Johan.”  This is rivalry.  When the Yankees are playing the Chicago White Sox, I could give a damn unless someone on the Yankees makes a miraculous play.  I’ll cheer that.  I’m a fan of baseball.  I’m a fan of the baseball I watch in front of me.  (By the way, cannot STAND scoreboard watchers at Mets games who erupt into a “YANKEES SUCK!” cheer when they see the Blue Jays are giving them a thumping.  My response is reflexive at this point: “THEY’RE NOT HERE!”  Atrocious.)

And I’m a fan of New York City.  If New York stands at the top of the baseball world, then the world makes sense.  If the series were between the Padres and the Yankees, I’m rooting for the Yankees.  Not obnoxiously, not with my Mets cap or jersey on.  But I’m at a bar for one of those games, and I’m rooting for the home team.  My opinion is valid, and if you think it misguided, feel free to try and convince me otherwise.  But I loves me gloating rights over another, lesser city (and they’re all lesser cities).  I loves me a parade. La-di-da-di, we like to party. 

Now, if what floats your boat is specifically hating on the Yankees, that’s fine.  I enjoy talking smack about Premio sausage patties (as opposed to the links, which are top notch).  I can lay into Uwe Boll with glee.  I don’t particularly enjoy three-drawer lateral filing cabinets: they’re too tall to make a seat and too short to be useful on any reasonable scale.  But if it’s Yankees hatred because they’re not the Mets and they’re crowding you with their obnoxiousness, chill out.  They’re due for a slide into terminal mediocrity, and the town will clear of the knuckleheads.  Fear not.

Chat With Fans.jpgFans stayed until the game was over, which was heartening.  The place was more crowded than this during the reading, but I suspect this was because there were a number of Skyhorse employees who had come to show their support of the house.  Commendable.  But Pearly McNecklaceson who was sitting beside me and jabbering about how cool it is to be in charge of interns, was it necessary to thwack me with your knock-off bag at EVERY opportunity?  I was wrong: it should be you that gets the fighter jet to the face.

Skyhorse Editor.jpgAll in all, a great time.  Fun to see people, whose words I’d been reading, reading their words.  I was tickled by Ms. Rice’s covering of her eyes as Frankie R. loaded the bases.  Something my sister would do.  And as I left the loss and proceeded down the–I’m sorry–AWFUL-smelling Grand Street, my switch flipped and I was in prep-for-Citi mode (will be in attendance tonight for Fernando Nieve’s tilt against the Toronto Blue Jays). (Update: I must’ve been high when I wrote this, and never mind the fact that I don’t smoke: they played the Rays.)

“Great,” I thought to myself.  “More birds.”  (Update: I probably cared more about getting the joke out than getting the team right.)  Perhaps I felt better recalling that this is still interleague and Andy Sonnanstine would have to bat.  He’s 2-for-8 so far this year.  That HAS to be his high-water mark.

*The only link I didn’t supply is one that I have in the past, to CBS Sports’ MLB Players Page.