Archives for posts with tag: Chicago Cubs

Pat Misch, Brian Stokes, and the Mets could’ve used an act of God today.

Misch, in his first start replacing… I’m guessing Perez… yeah… Perez… pitched a game more efficient than most we’ve seen this year.  Seven innings.  Ninety-eight pitches, sixty-six for strikes.  Six hits, one earned run, two put-outs, two walks.  The bottom of the eighth inning started with a one-run lead for New York.

Remarkably–and I pointed this out in the preceding post–Ted Lilly pitched seven and a third on ninety-eight pitches, sixty-seven of those for strikes, giving up two earned runs on six hits with the same number of put-outs and walks.

Let that sink in for a bit.  Go to the ESPN Box Score if you’d like a deeper breakdown of the pitching performances.

So two teams, mediocre at best, managed to present pitchers who produced fairly identical results.  Lilly got the worst of it.  But this one could’ve been watched again in the off-season.

Now: that act of God.

Any nut who’s found the time to read Veeck As In Wreck: The Autobiography Of Bill Veeck, or has hung about their basbeall-obsessed grandfathers, fathers, or trivia-obsessed friends knows the story of Bill Veeck’s adventures in game tampering.

Since I know it’s in the autobiography (I wanted to get it right and, lo and behold, most of the book’s text is on Google Books) we’ll call the story true enough: Veeck–at that time owner of the minor league Milwaukee Brewers, sees his team on the ropes against the rival Indianapolis Indians during a night game, with weather rolling in.  Veeck sends a signal to a house electrician, who blows out the control box rather handily.  According to American Association rules at the time, the game would be replayed.

The next day, Kenesaw Mountain Landis, commissioner of baseball, calls Veeck into his Chicago office.  Veeck comes in from Milwaukee and is asked, point blank: “So? What happened?”

Veeck replies, “I dunno.  Act of God or something.”

Landis takes in a breath, and ends the conversation simply: “There will be no more acts of God in Milwaukee this season.”

I could see Jerry Manuel sending Sandy Alomar off to come back into Wrigley done up as the Fan Man, landing somewhere between Milton Bradley and those mean folks in the bleachers  (I kid; if it turns out he’s right about the abuse, that’s awful).  

Or Pat Misch himself, determined to make his own luck, absconding with every baseball in the greater Chicago area and starting the Great Rawhide Fire of 20-aught-9.

Or equipment manager Charlie Samuels sending the defense out dressed in identical Cubs uniforms.  Rule One of Combat: blend in.

What I couldn’t see was Brian Stokes imploding.  A deep double, a flyout to move the runner over, a single to drive the runner in.  A walk.  A three-run homer.  Brian Stokes threw nineteen fairly ineffective pitches.  Pretty much leave it at that (L; 5-2).

Plenty of force majeure sending insurance rates skyrocketing in Flushing; at least Pat Misch’s ERA ticked down.

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Marty Noble writes about the Mets statement re: Jose Reyes, first word of which was circulated through the AP.

Zoe Rice of Pick Me Up Some Mets! reported–via Metsblog comment page–that today’s pre-game show announced a possible recovery time: spring training 2010.

(I’m not linking to the article with the comment because it’s in the middle of the page, and there’s a lot of rumor and innuendo and backbiting ahead of it and after it.  Nuts to that.)

I really want to get hot and bothered about all this.  But I can’t.  Cut the man open, take out the tendon, and put it on ice in case he develops an elbow problem later in his career.  I’ve got chicken drumsticks that have been in my freezer for more than two years.  They’re not freezer-burned.  Trust me, the tendon will keep.

Eww.

Meanwhile, the Mets and Cubs are playing a tidy little game in the land that masquerades as New York whenever Sam Raimi needs to explain an R train running aboveground.  They’ve just completed seven out in Wrigley.

After six full, Ted Lilly had thrown 81 pitches, 55 for strikes.  Misch had thrown 79, with the same number for strikes.

After seven full, the count was (I believe):

Misch: 98 pitches, 66 strikes
Lilly: 89 pitches, 63 strikes

Misch has walked two, one more than Lilly.  Otherwise the lines look much the same.

So he walked six and gave up the same number of hits, yet struck out seven, yet YET escaped with one run.  And the Mets avoided the sweep against the Diamondbacks (W; 6-4).  That’s supposed to be positive?

He threw 5 1/3 innings and 111 pitches.  Sean Green, for all the good he’d do the next day, threw 19.  Feliciano 17.  Stokes 13. 

You know what that’s like, telling me Oliver Perez was not terrible?  That’s like telling me the unemployment rate ticked down slightly in July and wholly ignoring the fact that the rate does not reflect the number of people who’ve given up looking for work

Yes, I’m on his case.  But I’m on his case because I don’t think he’s a good pitcher, and using this start to tell me (middle of page) the man relishes pitching with men on base (doghouse, Omir Santos–doghouse) and that he’s showing signs of, if not greatness, then at least usability, ticks me off.

Bad contract.  BAD.

And while I’m on the subject of Sean Green, an open letter to the man:

Paul Vargas
Section Five Twenty-Eight
http://omniality.mlblogs.com

August 13, 2009

Sean Green
New York Metropolitans Baseball Club @ Citi Field
Roosevelt Avenue
Flushing, NY 11368-1699

Dear Mr. Green,

STOP.  HITTING.  BATTERS.

Regards,
Paul Vargas

enclosures: one (1) photo of me, shaking my fist angrily.
cc: Omar Minaya, General Manager
Jerry Manuel, Manager
Nelson Figueroa

**

Separately: Section Five Twenty-Eight endorses loud booing, heckling, and other non-physical forms of abuse at people who roundly deserve it.  Shane Victorino?  Roundly deserving.  Throwing an elbow at a player while deeming yourself and your team as the vaunted overlords of taste and class makes you deserving of my invectives.  Hell, you could just be there and the opposition, and deserving of a li’l sumthin’.  See: Gregor Blanco, 2008.

But should I ever be within shouting distance of Victorino (he’s not getting a Mister), he’s getting the deluxe treatment.  ‘Cause he’s a no-account whiner on top of his dirty tricks and vindictive showboating and general attention-paid-to-anything-but-baseball-so-the-spotlight-is-on-him-as-often-as-possible.  Boo, Shane Victorino.  Boo.

No, trolls, I am not discounting skills.  Plenty of wastes of time have remarkable skills.  Karl Rove is a genius, for example.

Knowing, as I’m sure readers do, where this is going, I should say that while I condone certain violent acts when appropriate, and enjoy petty vandalism when the results are not permanent or costly to reverse (this excludes grafitti and scratchitti), I don’t know that I condone Victorino’s beer shower.

You can see it, if you haven’t (I watched it live at a bar and nearly choked on my grilled chicken sandwich) by clicking here.  I suffered for that link, by the way: that level of red, applied to Phillies or not, burns the crap out of my corneas.

I don’t condone it because it makes the Cubbies look bad, and I bear no animus toward the Cubbies; I don’t condone it because it looks cheap in the face of an eleven-run deficit; I don’t condone it because it’s a waste of beer. 

To paraphrase Chris Rock: if you are one of the fortunate few on this earth to get your hands on a beer, drink the s**t out of it.

All that said, you gotta admit that from that angle, past the ball-catch on the wall, and with such an oddly-shaped projectile: it was one hell of a shot.**

Way to file the complaint, by the way, Shane-o.  “We’ll get the guy”?  Slow down, McGruff.  Chicago PD will get the guy.

**For the record, I’ve been doused with beer, whiskey, pillow feathers, and shaving cream.  I’ve also been sprayed with a fire extinguisher, been shoved down a flight of stairs (that was in good humor), and swung into a concrete wall, suffering a light concussion (that too, with best intentions).  In all occasions, I was able to find at least one aspect of my behavior I could’ve changed that would have kept me dry and/or uninjured.

I spent the weekend on my couch, a trash can by my side and Gatorade and Ritz crackers at the ready.

But at least I wasn’t at Citi Field.

To tread the line between A Great Deal of Information and Too Much Information, I’ll say that somewhere along the way during Friday night’s game versus the Yankees (L, 9-1), I got whacked with something less-than-good.  My constitution was built by U.S. Steel, but lately it’s been knocked on its heels.  I was no match for a one-two punch of what I believe was an unfortunately undercooked and undeserved green pepper and some stressing news, reporting of which to the masses would certainly cross that aforementioned line.  (It’s not even my news to report; but let’s have good vibes for people who should hopefully get better soon.)

I made it through CC Sabathia’s loss of his no-hitter (praise be to Sheffield), and through an unfortunate bout of foot-in-mouth disease, yelling at a friend for his revealed distaste for people who throw balls back onto the field.

(And let’s get a little basebally here: yes, I know the Cubs fans do that.  But unless the Cubs trademarked it and unless and until it’s banned by Major League Baseball, let people do what they want to do. 

I’m not throwing away a caught ball, but I’ve never caught a ball and I would like to catch a ball.  Others may not care.  It’s their business if they want to throw it back or not.  And just because they do it regularly out in Wrigley Field doesn’t mean Old Man Wrigley made Kenesaw Mountain Landis swear that they’d only do it at Wrigley Field. 

On top of which–and I’d hate to get on the bad side of Cubs fans, whom I dig a great deal–the Cubs haven’t won anything since 1908.  Rather than take this as reason for their deserving of undiluted tradition, I take this as reason for them NOT being deserving of undiluted tradition.

It’s not obnoxious, like playing Neil Diamond during the middle of the eighth inning.  It’s an expression of distaste for the fact that the opposing team has just scored a run or four.  Throw it back if you want.  Just don’t hit any of our outfielders.

There.  Now, had I presented my argument that way, rather than feverishly ranted for ninety seconds, then bellowed in a half-empty stadium that the Cubs could go do something anatomically improbable,  I could have avoided feeling guilty for the rest of the game, and similarly avoided the apology.  I was not a well man.)

I slept about thirty hours this weekend, and it was delightful in hindsight, though waking up soaked through was less-so.  I don’t blame the guy at the sausage stand.  I blame myself.

But I slept, and did not do my duty and watch the balance of the series.  So I missed A.J. Burnett’s ridiculousness and Chien-Ming Wang getting off the schneid.  I went to my default food-poisoned comfort viewing: Six Feet Under and WWII documentaries.  You can’t blame a man who’s on the mend for skipping the Jon Miller And Joe Morgan Show in favor of sleep that doesn’t lead to dreams of Nate Fisher leading the charge through the Ardennes.  I don’t think you can, anyway.

I am now up and about and of middling health.  The Mets are at .500, and two and a half games behind the Phillies.  Both mine and the Mets’ situations are reminiscent of last week at about this time.

I have video of the maelstrom which overtook Citi Field and delayed the game on Friday.  If I deem it worthy, I will post it.  Looked cool on my camera, anyway.