Archives for posts with tag: Chowdah

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.

**Written prior to reports in the local New York papers that allege certain unsavory behaviors undertaken by Mr. Sheffield.  Catch the drama from the Daily News here, Newsday here, and because I was tipped off by Metsblog but find lame the Post‘s assertion that “sources” are viable without explaining if it’s the batboy or the guy guarding the door or what, Mr. Cerrone’s reporting on the Post article here.

Yes, yes, citing second and third-hand sources.  I know, I know.  I don’t do this for a living.

If Gary Sheffield truly asked out of the line-up last night to clear his head, that’s one thing.
 
If he asked out of the line-up in order to show Mets management what they’d be missing, then, well, to quote Chad Ochocinco: child, please.
 
Odd, this business of holding out hope for a reclaimed season and understanding that the hope is based purely on the math.  Got a comment on a previous post saying the Mets should pack it in and plan for 2010, but they’d still have to overcome the daunting injury obstacles facing them in 2009.  Planning for 2010 is difficult when you don’t know what kind of shape your shortstop will be in, after missing most of the year.
 
I will now pile on regarding planning for 2010.  I don’t mean it as a piling on of the commenter at all.  I mean to pile on the sentiment, which is held by many.

Perhaps planning for 2010 means shutting certain players down for the year, even if they’re not injured.  But I get the sense you’d have to break Johan Santana’s kneecaps to keep him out, and even then, the man pitched on a bum knee and three days’ rest last year. If you broke his kneecaps, he’d probably pitch and catch.

Omir Santos is auditioning for a job and Brian Schneider is doing the same. Chowdah’s got nothing better to do but work on his swing. And the Mets paid too much money for Luis Castillo to sit him.  Pelfrey and Perez need to figure their business out on the mound. Same with Bobby Parnell, but with a lot more “aw, shucks,” and a lot less, “listen here.”
 
Really, I’d posit that injury has taken the choice out of the Mets’ hands; they HAVE shut down their best players for the year.
 
(This excludes Carlos Beltran, who is still pushing for a return. As I’ve intimated: sheer idiocy, from my vantage point. Even if they were in the hunt, he should be undergoing whatever procedure/regimen is dictated for his injury, and think about getting healthy. Ye gods, man. Do you do EVERYTHING that mole tells you to?)
 
Planning for 2010 may mean attempting a trade. Which they’re doing. But any trade to bring in a backup at short, or a first baseman for next year, or a catcher, or or or–would be highway robbery at the prices the Mets can pay, or ill-advised at the prices they might be asked to pay. Anyone on waivers is on there because they’re not that good or they’re not now worth the salary they’re drawing. Billy Wagner may be one of the scant few that can bring a player of equal value. We’ll find out soon enough.
 
Planning for 2010 may mean playing the organization’s youth. What youth?
 
I’ll be a little less glib, for the sake of killing time on the train now CRAWLING into Canal Street (I write these posts on my phone most days): anyone at triple-A lighting things up would be up. Injury has warranted the call-up of players who were closest to lighting things up. Fernando Martinez is at home, resting comfortably. One could call up a player from double-A, but one could also sign one of the kids heading to Williamsport; I hear the Little League World Series is all about the parties and not about the work, anyway.
 
No, sirs, the Mets are over a barrel and are doing, essentially, what they should be doing. Everyone who should be playing is playing. That they haven’t completely cratered is a testament to the talent on the field, such as it is.
 
Planning for 2010 means more for the fan than the team at this stage. I’m on record as saying that, even without baseball, there are still things like lemonade and barbecues and sunsets. If the team on the field is not worth watching to you, don’t watch. There are precious few days of warmth and beauty to justify spending your time on something that’s only going to prove an aggravation.  They don’t watch in Washington all the time.
 
Maybe Gary Sheffield’s thinking along those lines. Difference is, if he’s on the team, he has to be in uniform unless he’s injured. I suppose the fact that he didn’t go out there last night and tear his Achilles on a ladybug, or a napkin that drifted in from the left field landing, is a testament to his character. As a nod to that strength of person, I will not start a Gary Sheffield Hangnail Watch.
 
But man, either play or fake the hangnail to get out. Don’t be an abscess. That’s not cool.

“And where the hell were you?”
“Sorry, T; the highway was jammed with broken heroes on a last-chance power drive.”
“What, are you a comedian now?”

The Sopranos, “Long-Term Parking”

 
Lots of injury seen yesterday:

  • Martin Prado comes out of the game with a headache;
  • Oliver Perez tweaks his knee on a cover attempt at first;
  • Derek Lowe gets hit on his glove hand trying to cover a hit up the middle;
  • Anderson Hernandez goes down trying to cover second;
  • Larry Jones goes hitless and hurts his pride;
  • Jerry Manuel discusses the mess that was Ryan Church’s 2008 concussion and, as my junior high band teacher used to say, steps on his joint;
  • Ryan Church does less than Larry Jones, and hurts his team’s playoff chances;
  • someone (I’ve no idea who) slips on the slick rotunda floor and is taken to an ambulance on a stretcher.

 
Each of these points should be addressed before moving forward. I choose to do so in reverse order.
 
First: that floor in the Jackie Robinson Rotunda is a menace. It’s lovely and eye-catching and leads the fan to inserts detailing Mr. Robinson’s nine core values, but it’s slippery when DRY. And last night saw two sure signs of the Apocalypse: the current Mets line-up notching ten hits against the $60 million man, and a resultant flash thunderstorm. There was an easy quarter-inch of rain on the ground and no sign of decent drainage.  Put that on the list for off-season adjustments. 

Also add the completion of whatever this:

construction.jpg…is supposed to be, far west of the bullpen gate. (For orientation purposes, the window on the far right looks out onto the parking lot behind center field and, across the water, LaGuardia Airport.)  Restaurant with thirty-foot ceilings? Mets museum? What up?
 
Next: Ryan Church had three ground-outs last night before striking out to end the game, leaving him 0-for-4 on the night.

I’m in the camp that believes Ryan Church’s concussions were handled poorly by the Mets–and I’ll get to my thinking in a moment–but in the Land of Put Up Or Shut Up (which is just across the border from Bring It, Turkey and shares a river with Yo Mama), Chachi was a beggar.  Shame. He was afforded rounds of  applause for each at bat.  Had his output matched Chowdah’s and had the Mets still come out with the win, I’d’ve been cool with it.
 
Next: I don’t think Jerry Manuel had a leg to stand on in discussing the dueling concussion experiences of Ryan Church and David Wright. Hell, Mr. Manuel, Chachi had TWO of them, and in both instances he was playing hard, and in one, he was playing hard during SPRING TRAINING.
 
A man who plays like that is going to want to go out there until he can’t anymore. It’s management’s job to protect him. But Chachi’s situation was less complex than the chest-thumping war cries between man and other man.  He’d suffered TWO CONCUSSIONS within three months.  If you sprain your ankle twice in three months, you take it easier.  If your right fielder knocks around his BRAIN twice in three months, you put the man on the DL.

I can’t believe I’ll pick a mild pun off the rack, but guys: it wasn’t like it was brain surgery.  It’s common sense.  Don’t listen to what the man says.  He’s not Superman.  His body slid, semi-conscious, past second base after hitting Yunel Escobar’s knee.  I was watching as it happened and I grabbed my OWN head.

Furthermore, what does bringing all this up AGAIN get you but more aggravation and a series of day-job writers thinking your organization is rife with either incompetence or bullheadedness, from the trainers to the management to the press office?  It’s the communications equivalent of intentionally walking a batter to get to the pitcher’s spot: you’ve only bought yourself more trouble.

Next: I’m awed and humbled that the derisive “Laaaaarry! Laaaaarry!” chant made it across the alley.  This is the first Mets-Braves game I’ve been to all year, and hearing it made me feel truly, TRULY at home.  No louder was it than when Omir Santos grounded to third on a fielder’s choice, and Jones bobbled it or couldn’t get a grip on it or was doing Chowdah a favor or what, and the ninth run scored.

I didn’t get a shot of it, but it appeared Larry gave a defeated shrug at the end of the play.  Delightful.

He and Church were 0-for-8 on the night.  That’s about as historic as a ten-hit Met inning, considering the team’s status at present.

Next: Anderson Hernandez.

anderson hernandez injury.jpg
I’d just gotten through talking about how Jose Reyes, Ramon Martinez, and Alex Cora were on the DL, and how it would behoove Anderson Hernandez to watch himself.  And down he went.

It was about at this point during the game that, aside from derisive tomahawk chops and exhortations for the free-swinging to stop in the later innings, I decided to keep my fool mouth shut.

(For the record, I also called Adam LaRoche’s solo home run.  The Wife can confirm that one, too. 

Listen, I don’t report these things because I’m an ego-maniacal train wreck.  I report these things because I find them scary.  Though as my seatmate Mike reminded me, “Calling a home run off Oliver Perez is like calling the sun’s rise in the East tomorrow morning.”  Fair enough.

By the way, have you seen The Wife?  Here she is:

the field.jpg

That’s her head on the left.)

Next: Derek Lowe.

derek lowe injury.jpg

Someone shouted “Rub some dirt on it!” 

Probably would’ve helped, but here’s the video as captured by SNY, and the quote as caught by ESPN:

“That had nothing to do with it,” Lowe said, referring to his pinkie. “I was under every single ball flat.”

Very well, Mr. Lowe.  You had a crappy night and your defense up the middle left a bit to be desired.  I thank you for adding ten hits in an inning to my list of Mets History Witnessed, which includes Santana’s One Hundredth Win and Sheffield’s Five Hundredth Homer.  Cheers.

Next: Oliver Perez.

perez card.jpgC’mon, guy.  Do you HAVE to look so goofy?  Shouldn’t your hands be folded on a desk with a large vinyl reproduction of a library-scape hanging behind you?  Perhaps with “2009” in white-on-black hanging upper left?  Criminy.

To be fair, he walked only one ba
tter, and struck out four, and the Matt Diaz pitch looked from above to be a mistake, and I claim responsibility for the LaRoche home run.  My question, really, is whether he was pulled after 78 pitches because of the tweak his knee got in the fourth inning, or because runners were starting to get on again as of said fourth.

I’m guessing a bit of Column A and a bit of Column B.

I will get off his case only enough to say he hustled to cover first, and he had me beat on the number of walks he issued.  Whether his stuff was better than the Braves’ or whether the Braves were godawful… hell, how subjective IS this sport, anyway?

Here’s how subjective, both in amount and true nature: I was all ready to take a look at Derek Lowe’s record and Oliver Perez’s record, set them side by side, with no-decisions factored, and figure out just where the truth lay on who would be the better Met.  But the Braves have not had NEARLY the spades of injury trouble the Mets have had.  They’ve not had the same schedule.  Hell, from what I see on his game log, he’s made each of his starts.  Perez hasn’t.  How do you reasonably compare the two without major question?

The only anecdotal way I know is this: from what I’ve seen, Derek Lowe throws first-pitch strikes.  Oliver Perez oftentimes does not.  It has been my experience that pitchers who throw first-pitch strikes get into less trouble, and last longer in games, than those who do not.  Those who do not leave us with men named Elmer Dessens, and the ridiculous tactic of berating said Elmers for the purpose of reverse-psychology-derived gains.

That’s all I’ve got.

Lastly: Martin Prado–what’s going on with Martin Prado?  I haven’t checked that had because, well, it’s Martin Prado and I care about Martin Prado just about as well as I can throw Martin Prado, which is to say not all that much.  I care in that he’s a fellow human being and I don’t wish him any particular harm, but no one on the internet-box can tell me what his deal is with these headaches.  Anyone know?  Swine flu?  The bends?  Restaurant?  Mets museum?  What up?

Yes, lots of injury last night.  Lots of potential for injury.  We ran like hell for the Chernobyl-style stairwells from the Promenade overhang; we shoved past rubberneckers on the stairs in the rotunda; we ran like hell from the rotunda to the subway entrance, which was a SEAL-type operation in an of itself (I got to tell someone I “broke left” when running the after-action report). 

leaving citi.jpgYou know it’s bad when the best I can do for my post-victory photo of the park is a runaway shot from the 7 Super-Express, above.

Hell, Big Man was in rare form and got a T-shirt for his ad-hoc mascot trouble:

section 528 t-shirt.jpgAs I’ve said in the past: great for branding.  Keep that liver running, my friend.

But a tremendous afternoon and evening at the park.  I’m almost sad I can’t head out tonight, but I’m bloody exhausted, and I think I hurt my shoulder, having run full-bore into a man wearing a “Texas Longhorns” T-shirt while trying for cover.  He did indeed apologize.

As for me, I’m scheduled for a side session on Friday.

David Waldstein of The New York Times writes about the new Rawlings S100 batting helmet.

Article here.

Review and video on helmet here (buy it, too, if you want).

Ridiculousness in quote pulled, here:

“No, I am absolutely not wearing that,” Mets right fielder Jeff Francoeur said with a laugh after seeing a
prototype, as if he were being asked to put a pumpkin on his head. “I
could care less what they say, I’m not wearing it. There’s got to be a
way to have a more protective helmet without all that padding. It’s
brutal. We’re going to look like a bunch of clowns out there.”

That’s settin’ an example for the kids, Chowdah.  Nice job.

Other nincompoops quoted include Nomar Garciaparra (who probably doesn’t have to worry about balls coming at his head for TOO much longer, anyway) and, to a lesser extent, Mark Texeira.  At least Texeira isn’t in print complaining about the style factor.

All slight insults aside, why are you balking at a piece of equipment that has the potential to save your life?  What sense does that make?  You make so much damned money.  Why not give yourself the best chance to live to enjoy it?

Frustrating.

The only one that came off sounding intelligent–who’s NOT home with a bad concussion–is David Wright:

“If it provides more protection, then I’m all for it,” said Mets third baseman David Wright, who last week dodged a Brad Thompson fastball traveling on a
frightening vector for his head. “I’m not worried about style or
looking good out there. I’m worried about keeping my melon protected.”

However, points off for using the word “melon.”

Specifically, the one Eric Simon of Amazin’ Avenue points out as being the sum of the Mets’ starting line-up against the Diamondbacks last night (L; 6-2):

Cory Sullivan, CF
Luis Castillo, 2B
Fernando Tatis, 3B
Daniel Murphy, 1B
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Jeremy Reed, LF
Alex Cora, SS
Brian Schneider, C
Livan Hernandez, P

The Opening Day 2009 regular position players there are Luis Castillo and Brian Schneider.  That’s it.

Allow me to play to type, and quote The Simpsons.  Specifically, the Season Three episode “Homer At The Bat”:

Mr. Burns: “The only way we can lose is if our nine ringers befall nine separate misfortunes.  But that will never happen.  Three misfortunes?  That’s possible.  Seven misfortunes?  There’s an outside chance.  But NINE misfortunes?  I’d like to see that.”

Methinks Darryl Strawberry could’ve taken Max Scherzer to school last night.  Though maybe this happened last night:

Mr. Manuel: “Francoeur!  Hit a home run!”
Chowdah: “Okay, skip!”
::Crack of bat.  Roar of crowd.::
Mr. Manuel: “Heh… I TOLD him to do that.”
Sandy Alomar: “Brilliant stratagem, sir.”

So it’s come to this: picturing the Mets as a cartoon’s bad-news company softball team.

Time to get the morning pressure in my eyeball checked.  Exciting.  Mets play at 3:40p today, and we the fans get a sorely-needed off day Thursday.

Let’s go Mets, in whatever compound form they choose to take.

*Note: Watch the commentary on that Simpsons episode, and you’ll learn that Roger Clemens is just as much a jerk to people making a semi-sophisticated cartoon as he is to people who question what he’s doing with syringes in his possession.  That Strawberry is the goody two-shoes of the team… oh, man. 

I have not flat-out made some of these statements, though I may have made insinuations, “jokes,” or the like.  Here we go, in no particular order:

  1. Chowdah makes a poor addition to the Mets: he’s been with the club for fewer than twenty-one days and has 16 RBI.  He’s been no-hit three times in those fifteen games, all gut-wrenching, hat-eating losses for the team as a whole.
  2. Cory Sullivan is less interesting than Cuby & the Blizzards: he is slightly more interesting than Cuby & the Blizzards.  I would have to pay for Cuby & the Blizzards entertainment.  Cory Sullivan’s salary is listed as $0.  Yes, I’m employing some fuzzy math.  But let’s see Cuby connect for a triple against Juan Rincon.
  3. It’s hard to hit triples off Juan Rincon: this one’s brand-new.  But the guy’s got a 6.20 ERA.  I’m trying to square myself on the fly, here.
  4. Luis Castillo is a creature of ill-repute: the man’s just doubled-up on fatherhood, and he’s headed to the park for Game Two of the doubleheader.  That along with his gaudy OBP makes him okay.  Not $24-million-over-four-years-okay, but okay.  I’m sorry I threatened to run to the field and assault you for showing bunt this past Memorial Day.
  5. Tim Redding is Teflon: this is just housekeeping; he hasn’t been Teflon in some time (Ian Stewart double-plays to keep the shutout intact notwithstanding).
  6. David Wright should not bat third: I’m not so much wrong about this as the line-up’s been good enough to provide some protection, thus making the point moot.  The team is running on several cylinders at present.  Daniel Murphy remains a semi-beast.  Luis Castillo is, as mentioned, not a horrible man.  And given that Chowdah looks and smiles a bit like David Wright and is hitting in the five-hole, maybe pitchers are just confusing the two.
  7. The Mets should look into acquiring Doug Davis: I don’t recall if I made mention of this on the blog, or to people within shouting distance.  But Mr. Davis hasn’t been any great shakes, and his salary leaves a bit to be desired given what seems to be dangling out there now.
  8. And 9. And 10. The Mets bench cannot afford to be so short as to only hold four players, let alone three: According to Jerry Manuel, Livan Hernandez took batting practice yesterday just in case he’d be called on to pinch-hit.  Why the hell not?

Note that I’ve been wrong about these things thus far.  I could be proven right.  But I’d love to be proven wrong about my negatives and right about my positives.  I’d be the happiest wrong guy in New York.

Game Two starts in a little under three hours.  Your line-up, as reported by Metsblog (sorry, Mr. Cerrone, for cribbing off your paper; I’m in a pinch and can’t find it elsewhere):

Angel Pagan, CF
Luis Castillo, 2B
David Wright, 3B
Jeff Francouer, RF
Fernando Tatis, LF
Daniel Murphy, 1B
Angel Berroa, SS
Omir Santos, C
Jon Niese, SP

I’ll be sleeping off this headache after the game, then at tomorrow’s game against the Diamondbacks. 

Let’s go Mets!

These are the thoughts I have when the Mets are rained out and the Yankees are playing under a dome.

I’ve been gone for awhile.  I cannot be blamed.  I worked nine straight days.  Sure, this was the view from my hotel room for the last two:
beach.jpg
But by no means was it all fun and games.  Those who may know me may know I enjoy a bit of a tune-up when the workday ends.  The proceedings made need for a bottle of Scotch.  I usually abstain from any liquor I can’t see through during summer months.  I made an exception, and a serious dent was put in the thing as I watched the only ball game available to me: Dodgers-Cardinals (on Monday, STL over LAD 6-1).
So if the three of you who read were torn up over the lack of material, know that I was torn up as well.  Mets game via BlackBerry.  Reading up on the Minaya-Bernazard-Rubin nonsense while riding NJ Transit back to civilization.  Falling asleep just after the blown call that had Castillo safe on Tuesday (against Colorado; W 4-0).  Painting my hallway today–TODAY, of all days, where the heat and humidity drenched me repeatedly.  Good thing it’s just latex paint.
At any rate.  Back.  Stretch run.  Sparkle, sparkle.  I geared up for the Mets game but switched it over to the Yankees game after the rain-out for a number of reasons:
  • I was starved for baseball that bore ANY connection to New York.
  • I’d already watched The Ruins, which a friend DEMANDED I DVR and watch.  Wrong call, Sheriff.  Movie was well-done, but lame.  I take my horror schlocky with two sugars.
  • It was raining hard, so going out was not an option.  It’s still raining.  Going out is absolutely not an option.
  • There was almost nothing else on.  The exception was KVC: Komodo Vs. Cobra, co-starring a pre-Tell Me You Love Me Michelle Borth.  But I missed this being on until the near-end.
  • I’d read on the Post‘s website that the Rays might trade Carl Crawford and Scott Kazmir.
I start salivating when I start thinking about competent left fielders.  It’s been far too long for the Mets.  Carl Crawford was 2-for-4 tonight, notching a triple off Brian Bruney and scoring from there on Evan Longoria’s home run in the ninth.
As for Kazmir… well, Maine doesn’t look like he’s long for this season.  You should know how I feel about Perez.  Kazmir’s still young and his performance in ’09 will dim the salary lights a little.  Santana-Kazmir-Pelfrey-Niese-Perez.  I can live with that.   A bit lefty-dominated, but that can be solved by jettisoning Oliver Perez.
I’m just sayin’.
But competent fielding and hitting in left?  Delightful.  Forgive me if I don’t want to bet the farm on Cory Sullivan.  Or Gary Sheffield.  Don’t hurt yourself trying to remember the last full-time Mets left fielder.  Christ, Trot Nixon played outfield for the Mets last year.  That’s not a joke.
Counting on Carlos Beltran, who, according to reports filtered through Metsblog is working out despite the bone bruise on his mole knee not being healed, seems chancy to me.  Chowdah has thus far proven himself.  I have been saying my mea culpas and will shout them if he becomes the beast he was in a past life.  But counting on that, and Sullivan, and a not-quite-100% Beltran to patrol center at Citi Field, and trying to make a run for it, is asking for trouble.  Nick Evans was the Mets’ starting left fielder during the last game of the 2008 season.  Endy Chavez replaced him, for defense.
The last good guy out there was Moises Alou, and he wasn’t even legitimately good.  Just lightning-in-a-bottle, astound-you-with-that-batting-stance good.  Crawford-Beltran-Chowdah, with Pagan off the bench, makes me feel a hell of a lot better.
One hopes the symptoms of foot-in-mouth include remorse, humility, and visible shakes yet exclude inability-to-get-on-the-horn, and Omar Minaya can do just that and get a guy.  Crawford isn’t the best left fielder in the world, but he’s a damn sight better than what’s out there right now.
No offense, Mr. Sullivan.  I want you to know, however, sir, that the following “Cory”/”Corey”s have more interesting Wikipedia pages:
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try and prove me wrong.  I will gladly add berating you to my list of venal sins if you show me up.

A roommate of mine (while The Wife’s in extended grad school mode, I keep the house stocked with rent-paying professionals) lived a good portion of his life in a part of West Virginia which is on the extreme fringes of commuting distance from D.C.  He is aware of the Nationals’ existence.

I work for an organization which has an office in the District of Columbia.  I also enjoy giant foam representations of our monument-worthy presidents.  I hear they’ve taken on Beatle-like significance: Washington is John; Lincoln Paul; Jefferson George.  Roosevelt is Ringo.

As the eighth inning began, we mused on the possibility of going down to see a game.

Me: My God. It’s deserted out there.
Roommate: Truth.
Me: I wonder how much tickets are.
Roommate: It’s a new ball park.  But I wonder if they’d care if you bought seats in the nosebleeds and moved down.
Me: I’d think they’d want to do that for safety’s sake.  Cut the security squad down, but keep everyone together.  It’s not safe to wander the upper deck of Nationals Park alone at night.

There, but for the grace of God, go the New York Mets.

No sooner did our conversation devolve into serious derision of the Nationals and their plight did Nick Johnson drop a single into left, bringing the tying run to the plate in the form of Adam Dunn.  Shut me up but quick.

However, Daniel Murphy hit to both sides of the field today.  He scored runs.  Hell, he even made an error, just to keep things interesting and Mets-like.  And with Dunn at the plate and Feliciano on the mound, he was the key to turning a 3-6-1 double play. 

Daniel Murphy: beast.  Daydream of cheap field level seats in a different ball park: untainted.  Sean Green threw seven pitches to rid the Mets of Cristian Guzman and, most importantly, Ronnie Belliard on third.  I’m almost willing to let Sean Green out of the doghouse (see walking-in of run in May, while I watch, on vacation, via jacuzzi).

Frankie Rodriguez closed it out, but not before Chowdah hit his first Mets home run to rob the man of his save opportunity.  I think Frankie’s just glad to be getting regular work.

Tickets are not severely discounted, but they’re not bad.  We’ll see.

Tomorrow sees the arrival of the first Amazin’ Tuesday, hosted by Two Boots of Grand Street and Faith And Fear In Flushing/Mets By The Numbers.  Details here.  I will be there, with full knowledge that I am now 0-3 at organized Mets events not held in a ball park.

Reverse the curse!

Lord, I’m tired.  If any readers are interested in attending, I will be the exhausted-looking chap with the David Wright T-shirt and the lager in his hands.  But Paul Lukas of Uni Watch will be there.  That goatee he’s got means he’s a fun guy.

Let’s go Mets!

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.

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.