Archives for posts with tag: Citi Field

The Fates are conspiring to keep me from ever sitting in the cushy field level seats at Citi.

About a month or so ago I caught wind of a game between the New York Sentinels and the Las Vegas Locos of the UFL (they’re not even getting an instructional link) to be held at Citi Field.  Turned out some of the cheapest seats were where baseball seats its celebrities. 

This made sense, as the good seats for any football game are at the 50-yard line; the club seats would naturally be near an end zone.

So I literally cashed in some change, deposited it, and bought myself a ticket.  Done and done.  See you November 4th, in a coat, scarf, fleece and, hopefully, a ridiculously expensive cup of hot chocolate from the bar mere steps behind me.

But today: TWIST!

October 22, 2009
 
Dear Mets Season Ticket/Plan Holder or UFL Ticket Purchaser:
 
Thank you for your recent purchase of tickets for the UFL game originally scheduled to be played at Citi Field.  The UFL has announced that the game – the November 4th game between the NY Sentinels and Las Vegas Locos – has been moved from Citi Field to Hofstra University.
 
YOUR TICKETS NEED NOT BE RETURNED.  YOU WILL RECEIVE AN AUTOMATIC REFUND.
 
THE PRICE OF THE TICKETS AND ANY FEES WILL BE AUTOMATICALLY REFUNDED TO THE CREDIT CARD USED TO MAKE THE PURCHASE.
 
To view the UFL’s recent press release please click this link. http://www.ufl-football.com [link removed for passive-aggressive reason found above–ed.]
 
Thank you again for your support of the Mets.  If you require further information or assistance, please contact us at 718-507-TIXX.  We also encourage you to visit Mets.com regularly for up-to-date Citi Field information.
 
Sincerely,
William Ianniciello
Vice President, Ticket Sales and Services

Thanks much, Billy.  I’m blowing the thirty bucks on a night out with The Wife when she’s up for her birthday next week (Halloween, if you can believe it).  South Brooklyn Pizza, here we come.

By the way, the ONLY ways I go see a New York Sentinels game:

  • if Citi Field is the venue;

  • if Lawrence Taylor and Joe Namath come out of retirement, and both are starting wideouts.

If the second comes to pass, I’ll go anywhere to see it happen.

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“Their season is over.”

“It’s not over.”

“What are you talking about?  They’re out of it.”

“They’re not out of it.”

“Paul, they’re out of it.”

“They haven’t been mathematically eliminated.”

“…Yes, that’s true…

deserted stands.jpg…they haven’t been mathematically eliminated.”

Whether due to the weather or the emptiness of the ball park or the fact that I rode home alone the whole way–7 train to N train to R train–I felt pretty damned surly all last night and into the wee hours today.  My usual Mets batterymate was also not in attendance.  So the balance was shifted towards Yankee fans, with his seat taken by the girlfriend of the third member of our usual party.

It’s either too early or I’m too disinterested in rehashing the thought to make that clear.  Suffice it to say I sat next to two people who could give a damn about the game, and so I felt like a third wheel most of the time.  I didn’t know one could spend $300 on six months’ worth of a fan experience and still feel like a third wheel.

Maybe I just needed a second set of ribs.

deserted shake shack.jpgI walked up to the Blue Smoke counter and ordered, and so was in and out of the center field concourse within two minutes.  This is dangerous; if Mets games are to be this poorly-attended from here on out, I’ll need to do my damnedest to fill up before the game and stick to the beer, which is considerably less expensive.  Speaking of:

t-shirts 01.jpgThat’s the one that just makes me look like a goob’.  THIS one:

t-shirts 02.jpgShould please The Wife no end.

“Please to note”: I don’t know any of their names.  I’m not even kidding.  I have no clue.  We’re all dressed alike; we all enjoy beer.  That’s all I need to know, really.

They have a Facebook page.  I don’t have a Facebook anything, so I can’t check this.

Last night’s game against the Marlins (L; 4-2) leaves five or six nails left for the coffin, depending on your perspective; either you nail the coffin in five and bury, or you seal the coffin with the sixth and burial is incidental.

What’s been running through my head, though, besides wild ideas of how the Mets can save themselves from a losing season (think their competition turning into reverse vampires that can’t play night games and thus have to forfeit), is some light calculus on just what kind of record makes, generally, a playoff-bound team.

Example of what I mean:

  • in one hundred sixty-two (162) games,
  • a team can alternate wins and losses for seventy-six (76) games,
  • earning them a record of 38-38,
  • then run off a ten-game winning streak,
  • earning them a record of 48-38,
  • then return to alternating wins and losses for seventy-six games,
  • coming out of the season with a record of 86-76.

The 2008 Mets had a ten-game winning streak and ended with a record of 89-73.  Look where that got them.

“Dominance,” at least of a division as currently woeful as the NL East, would be a record of 96-66.  Which would be like:

  • staring down the barrel of 162 games,
  • alternating wins and losses for 44 games (22-22),
  • breaking off a ten-game winning streak (32-22),
  • alternating again for 44 games (54-44),
  • managing another ten game winning streak (64-44),
  • alternating AGAIN for 44 games (86-66),
  • then wrapping up with a final ten-gamer (96-66).

My point with all this nonsense?  Baseball is MUCH harder than it looks. 

Take a ball most people can fit decently within the palm of their hand. 

Try and hit it with a wooden bat as it’s hurled at you really fast. 

Then, if you hit it, try and make it three hundred sixty feet back to where you started, without anyone taking that ball and tagging you with it, which is entirely possible unless you manage to whack that thing safely out of bounds, which, if you ask Angel Pagan after last night, must take something like nine offerings to Ba’al and a carton of smokes to whomever decides where the fences should be.

Now get nine guys together who can do this over the course of three hours, almost every day, for six months.

Make sure they don’t get hurt, or if they do, that you have someone good enough to replace them.

And do it well enough to win as much as you lose, except for those instances wherein you play a team so bad or so not on their game that you can manage to steal a few.  Have as many of those instances as you possibly can.

Do all this well enough to do it over again when it starts to get really cold, except with more scrutiny, increased pressure to perform, and absurdly late start times (because it’s SO important to cater to people who would gladly watch at 7p or are upset that you’re preempting their programming anyway).

And do this with the expectation that, win or lose, if you got this far you’d better come back better, faster, and stronger, else some numbskull–raising my hand here–will label you forever a bum, who has no business doing any of the above.

I’m not saying it’s not worth it; I’m not saying these guys don’t get paid to do just this job.  I’m just saying, like one stops to really notice a bed of tulips on the first warm afternoon or really appreciates sleeping in their bed after a long day of work or really gets how good a perfectly charred burger tastes, it’s REALLY hard.

And that Carlos Beltran worked hard to get back to this life, in the face of not-yet-mathematically-impossible odds…

beltran in the lineup.jpg…that earns some REAL appreciation from me.

Even if he did go 1-for-4 with a strikeout.

betran prepping.jpgbeltran timing.jpg

beltran citi at the plate.jpg
Pictures of David Wright’s hitlessness are unavailable, due to the author’s desire not to screw up this stiff-upper-lip thing he’s got going on.  Hell, I’ve even got a sarcastic shot of Brian Stokes’s winning “Pitcher Of The Month,” but I’m not even in the mood.

I’m in the mood to watch Josh Thole stalk away from the plate in slow-motion after tagging out Dan Uggla.  I could watch that plenty.

Speaking of Uggla: in front of us last night sat a couple who seemed fairly even-tempered, until it was learned that the duo’s better half was combining her rabid hatred of Dan Uggla (which I enjoyed and stoked) with surreptitiously scrap-booking a Mets Program Guide and furiously doodling on a green-and-black Marlins cap (which I guess was promotional).

Now, Dan Uggla’s crimes against the National League are the stuff of legend: three errors, three strikeouts and a ground-into-double-play during an All-Star Game that the NL could’ve won if he’d’ve gotten his head together.  But it was as if she’d left an evil spirit after her departure.  The air felt colder in that seat.

Or, to quote and summarize from my friends, who were closer to her: “Yo, that girl was bats*** CRAZY.”  Fair enough.

I’ve little else to say, so I’ll leave with this:

a new board.jpg…which is the Mets Out-Of-Town Scoreboard.  Usually there’s some ad on the far left.  Last time I was there, it was an ad for MLB Network.  However:

a new board enhanced.jpgI believe this is the last of the game-action screens to go up.  Either that, or they’re planning for the next time a team scores twenty runs and the general board is not up to the task.  Either way, if it’s to someone’s benefit, I’m for it.

Next game for me is September 18th; I may try and stick a visit to the Bronx somewhere between that and October 2nd, versus the Astros, but I’ve been trying like hell to get out to Chicago all year, and if it’s between the Miracle Mile and River Avenue, I’m picking the Miracle Mile.

Adios, adieu, and away.

Like Lastings Milledge to a ball park, I was later than I thought I’d be to Two Boots Tavern yesterday; unlike Lastings Milledge, I have no shards of face to lose or save.  Besides, I had an important software pickup to make.  And then, an important barge to drink beer on while staring out onto the Hudson (note two separate links there).
 
And to the cyclist in the salmon-pink shirt who thought I cut him off crossing Twelfth Avenue, two things: your responsibility at that crosswalk is to yield to me; also, you came out of nowhere.
 
Nevertheless, Two Boots was arrived at and Two Boots was had.  Below, your hosts.
 
jason fry and greg prince.jpgThat’s Jason Fry on the left and Greg Prince on the right, of Faith And Fear In Flushing.  Also in attendance were Caryn Rose of Metsgrrl and Dana Brand of the eponymous Mets fan blog.  Also in attendance, via satellite, were the New York Mets and the Florida Marlins (and repeated shots of the Marlins projected new home, which looks fine if a bit stout); some attendees; beer; the Larry Tate pizza.
 
Those who are unaware, take note: the Larry Tate is spinach, tomato, and mozzarella on a white (ricotta) pie.
 
As Greg Prince read his recent post about the friendly hazing/rousing welcome Andy Green received from the remaining dozens of Mets fans at Citi Field immediately PW (Post Wright), I noticed to my limp amusement that the SNY update zipper–that little doodad at the bottom of the screen showing sports scores–has a sponsor. Yesterday, its sponsor was the Rums Of Puerto Rico.
 
I’d only had two beers at the time, but when something like that grabs my attention, sober or some number of sheets to the wind, I tend to paint all things with the same brush.  So the piece Mr. Fry read, covering an almost-endless, anguished search for a Rich Sauveur card, was sponsored by Topps.  (The photo is mid-rant.)
 
jason fry.jpgMs. Rose’s piece, like much of her great work detailing games and her experience as a game-going fan, would’ve been sponsored by the Mets Fan Local 162, if such an entity indeed existed.
 
caryn rose reads.jpgAnd Mr. Brand’s piece (near as I can tell, it’s not on his site, so buy the book already) was sponsored by Citi, seeing as how they were somewhat responsible for one of the biggest laughs of the night.
 
dana brand reads.jpgHe read of his experience at Shea during the last game there (from his new book; go here to pre-order), and of the numbers ceremony at center field, which ended when Mr. Met pulled down the last numbered card to reveal the Citi logo; he should’ve reacted “like Mr. Bill from Saturday Night Live” when the crowd remaining pelted him with boos.
 
I’ll take his word for it. I couldn’t get tickets to the last game so I hunkered down with a good friend (an Indians fan) and her sister (an Indians/Mets fan) at Mercury Bar in Hell’s Kitchen–there was some good juice left in that place then–and minutes after the end of the game we found ourselves at Rudy’s down the street. Good juice in that place, always.
 
In fact, that experience crystallized for me my current phase of Mets fandom: we split a pitcher of Rudy’s finest, and whereas I’d spent late September 2007 alone and charmless, I spent late September 2008 flush with new marriage and new jobness.  There was all the desire in the world to add another pitcher to the pile and yet, we didn’t, coming to the conclusion that this would be the day we each exercised some self control in the face of maddening loss.  We were adults.
 
So they went home. I went home. Folded laundry, I think. Watched some football, I know. Put baseball in a drawer for a couple days, then came back when my head was clearer.
 
Of course, as I was thinking about all this last night, in the flash of a matter of moments, I caught on the Two Boots flat screen this representation of the current state of my head:
 
paul's head feels like this.jpgClarity is relative based on your proximity to, or length of time away from, an anthropomorphic sponge.  That image brought to you by Nickelodeon.  

Johan’s done for 2009; J.J. Putz is done for 2009 and fairly gone afterward; Billy Wagner’s gone. Even he who throws three straight balls to Pedro Martinez and is taken out mid-count is in New York for an MRI. So the Mets pitching roster is brought to you by the Hospital For Special Surgery and Bob Arum’s Top Rank, Inc., which is no doubt working hard to secure rights to Wagner-Papelbon I: The Melee At Fenway.
 
When Bobby Parnell is a starter this late in the season, and he’s arrived because Jon Niese can do a split but he can only do it once, you wind up with Sean Green on the mound.  Green tried real hard to give the game completely away, too.  Last night’s episode of Sean, You Almost Hit A Coupla Guys And No, Sean, Omir Santos Is Not Set Up Nine Feet Off The Plate was sponsored by Tums and whatever keeps me from performing the matter-energy conversion needed to transport myself to wherever he is and shake him like a Bond martini.

That was a long sentence with a couple of genre cues dropped in there.  Thanks for hanging in.

Gary Sheffield needs some Icy-Hot and any Met batting in the late innings of a losing game always appears to need some Red Bull.  Reading about Omar Minaya’s press conference as I rode the subway over the Manhattan Bridge made it clear to me some brand of ginkgo biloba should be stocked in the front offices.  C’mon.  You don’t remember what was up with your star acquisition back in March and April?  Are you mad, man?

The game was over in under three hours (L, 2-1).  Never blessedly; perhaps, though, for the best.

**

Some things I came away with: I grow more convinced that deep-seated Yankees hatred is generational, like what I hear when talking to someone who grew up w
atching the Brooklyn Dodgers.  I just don’t know anyone in my age group in New York who hates the Yankees with the passion those older than I do. 

As I’ve said, I have no beef with anyone’s beef.  But I’m on about something else here.  I won’t quote anybody (because my eyes were fixed on the game after the readings, and I’m no reporter), nor will I name names of those I heard discussing a seemingly unrelated issue.  However, there was the question last night, and it’s relevant with just over a month left and the Mets pitching rotation Swiss cheese: why do Mets fans stay?  Why do they stay and watch, after Art Howe, and after 2006, 2007, 2008, and soon, 2009?  Why, after the blunders and miscommunication, after the obstructed views and the paltry giveaways and the Draconian, dunderheaded security policies?  Why, after the Aflac this and the Lincoln Mercury that and the Rums of Puerto Rico and Geico and Citi and Just For Men?

I suppose that’s four questions, at least.   But all the same theme.  The answer given last night was, essentially, who knows? 

I guess that’s fine, and if I write that, you know I don’t fully buy it. 

When I lie awake at night, thoughts are rarely about the Mets, as I don’t work for them or base my livelihood on their ability.  When they win big or lose bad, my thoughts may stray.  When they’re in the playoff hunt, sometimes I’ll do the sort of mathematical gymnastics that always put me to sleep when I’m horizontal.  They’re the Mets.  I don’t analyze my need to breathe and I don’t analyze my need to eat.  I try hard not to analyze my need to have fun, or why I have fun doing what it is I do.

Milton Green: “Jack, we’re having a catch!”
Jack Donaghy: “Don’t ruin it, Milton.”
Milton Green: “Just like father and son!”
Jack Donaghy: “Did you hear what I said?”

My answer is not “who knows,” but “who cares?” 

Your answer may vary.  And that’s okay.  It’s okay for us to have different reasons for doing what we do.  We’re each of us our own special flower, and most of us residing in the concrete-and-steel, garbage-soaked, noise-polluted halls of 2009 Mets fandom city of New York.  We have, each of us, our own stories about how we came here, what we need to get out of this, what would trigger our eject button.  And, holy crap, do we have opinions. 

Keep David Wright out for the rest of the year.  Let him play. 

Put Carlos Beltran in a straitjacket.  He could still run in one and catch fly balls with his teeth–I say let him. 

Let K cards be taped to the electronic zipper board (this wail brought to you by Utz).  But they’re covering the Wise Potato Chips ad (this retort brought to you by Wise).

Barring the creation of some Mets fan union, which would send a representative to the table for discussion and a vote on any and all decisions affecting Sterling Mets, LP, I don’t see Metsdom keeping a unified voice on anything past, “Yay! They’re winning!” or “Damn, they’re losing!”  That’s New York for you.

And yes, that can represent any number of other cities and towns as well, but having spent extended time in a few towns and cities, I can say with reasonable surety that New York does it with a special sort of schizophrenia.

This is the place where people will bemoan the lack of police presence when they’re mugged with one side of their mouth and bemoan the “Disney-fication” of Times Square with the other.

By extension, this is a place where, currently, registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans by five-to-one, yet a staunchly Republican mayor was elected twice.

Bringing it back to baseball matters, this is a place where people will say, over and over, “I’m done watching the Mets; I’m done going to the games: they treat their fans horribly and their management is a wreck…” and yet, they’re there. 

They’re there mixed in with kids who are maybe going to their first game or couples sharing their first game together.  Mixed in with die-hards who buy the special non-media guide scoring book.  Mixed in with visitors from other cities.  Mixed in with those who just need to get away please for the love of God. 

A blind family has tickets on the Friday plan; I see them all the time walking up the steps to Section 530.  At the other end of my row, there’s an older gentleman who’s been sporting jean shorts since the weather got warmer.  Keeps to himself, barely claps, but watches the field intently.  There’s Big Man.  There’s the group three or four rows up who’ve made T-shirts worrying more about beer than the performance on the field.

Some who cry for escape actually manage some level of backbone and split, and that’s their prerogative.  I think the best of that lot are those who don’t think themselves missionaries, come to spread the good word of Life Without Baseball. 

But if they want to, they’re within their rights.  That’s New York.  As long as you don’t break a law or force me to break a law (which is against the law in itself), you can do whatever damn fool thing you want: boycott, desert, hang in when it’s ludicrous, whine about the beer koozie you didn’t get, or push real hard for a refund when you realize your view must pierce alternating layers of Plexiglas and steel railing.  Again, with justifiable beef or not, you may also try and rally others to your cause.

Your success or failure may change things or not.  But full participation or full agreement is never assured.  I’m quite certain I’ve heard from a few people who thought Vince Coleman’s firecracker stunt was funny.

You know all this.  I’ve said all this, in one form or another, repeatedly in the short life of this blog. 

What you need to remember, readers, is the following: just because you don’t agree with someone out there doesn’t make you wrong, and just because you choose when and where to engage doesn’t make you a bad or lazy person.

This is New York.  The Mets are New York.  Feel privileged to be a part of it.

I will now take a Craftsman-brand hatchet to my soapbox.

Took the morning off, and now have just about forty minutes left before I have to head out.  

Fortunately, I spent about eight hours at the ball park yesterday and managed to grab some interesting photos that have little to do with the true joys of last night.  
So, yeah.  Flickr can go take a bath; here are shots from yesterday afternoon’s batting practice. Fred Wilpon, Omar Minaya, and Billy Wagner make an appearance at the end:
daniel murphy.jpg
I’m Daniel Murphy, and I stand in the infield with my arms slightly akimbo.
mike pelfrey.jpg
Mike Pelfrey walks on stilts.
pedro feliciano.jpg
Absence of a mole confirms this is, in fact, Pedro Feliciano and not Carlos Beltran.
jerry manuel.jpg
This is ALSO not Carlos Beltran.
And now, the Wilpon series:
fred wilpon.jpg
fred wilpon signs.jpg
fred wilpon waves.jpg
wilpon and wagner.jpg
wilpon minaya and wagner.jpg
wagner and minaya.jpg
wilpon and minaya.jpg
More to come on last night’s game, which started with polka music and only got more bizarre from there.

I got called out, recently, for wearing my black Mets jersey.

“They’re no expansion team!  Where’s your pride?”

Must’ve left it in my other pocket.

I do own a black Mets jersey–the home alternate, which reads “Mets” on the front–and I wear it sometimes.  Always to ball games, with the black cap that I’ve whirled around so often in celebration of a run scored for the home team that it’s starting to buckle.  And underneath the jersey, my “I’m Calling It Shea” T-shirt which I ordered in late April yet arrived late May, taking the slow boat to Bay Ridge.  (I kid; there was a run on production.  It was well worth the wait.)

More on the jersey: it has the Shea patch on it; there’s no name or number on the back.  When The Wife got it for me as a Christmas gift, I was still unsure of what player to pick. 

I’ve seen people wear black with “Seaver” on the back.  Incorrect.  Incorrect, too, is the one black “Ryan” jersey I’ve seen, with the number 30.  I can’t believe one’s allowed to order such things.  Perhaps their wearer’s names were, respectively, Seaver and Ryan, but somehow I doubt it.

I’d considered a “Shea” with the number 08 on it, but while I must’ve gone to a couple dozen games at Shea (there were some very lean years in the Vargas household), I never felt like I owned the place: my best memory was a game I caught in the Mezzanine, sometime during my senior year of high school, and fearing the upper deck would collapse on me when chants began for Benny Agbayani. 

“AG-BA-YA-NI!” ::clap, clap, clap clap clap:: “AG-BA-YA-NI!” ::stomp, stomp, stomp stomp stomp:: 

I think he got a hit.  I don’t think the fear would be so terribly ingrained if cheers and foot-stomping hadn’t come, and that because of a hit with some impact on the game.  I’m somewhat ashamed for my fear, I admit.  Nothing to be done now; place be gone, yo.

I strongly considered getting “Franco,” 45, with perhaps the “C.”  These, I was told, were unavailable.  Perhaps for the best.

So the back remains blank.  I wear a black Mets home alt jersey from the last season at Shea Stadium.  This does not bother me.  The Wife, an alert and astute woman as ever there was, figured I wanted a jersey for going to ball games, where ketchup from hot dogs and grease from sausage-and-pepper sandwiches are attracted to me like bees to ball girls.  Rightfully, she thought black would better hide the stains of beer and pity and triumph and whatever coats the seats of the Coney Island-bound N train at night, as it leaves Queensboro Plaza.  NB: I’m told “it’s sweat and nothing else.”  Okay, buddy.

I have little excuse for the cap except to say that black goes with most things, until it’s faded.  Then it goes with almost nothing, but you’re committed.  But that’s my retort to the guy walking past me on Shore Road: my wife got it for me.  I eat like a five year-old.  You’re not wearing it.  Go about your business.

However, the Mets are a currently team full of rookies and super-rookies, and tired veterans past their prime, with a couple of superstar names doing the best they can.  They’re playing under-.500 ball in a brand-new ball park sagging under the weight of garish advertisements, and dripping with the sarcasm of fans who denote an appalling lack of history represented within its confines.  The park, in fact, is named after a bank.  I posit that this is about as close to an expansion team as I hope the Mets ever get.  Besides, to be truly authentic I’d have to wear a wool pinstriped Mets jersey.  I’m not wearing a wool pinstriped Mets jersey.

That’s enough about the jersey.

The Mets start their 10-game post-All Star Break road trip tonight in Atlanta.  Oliver Perez will face off against Derek Lowe, in my absolute worst nightmare. 

Derek Lowe is 8-7 over 19 games started and almost 113 innings pitched.  He’s walked a bit more than half the players he’s struck out (37 BB to 61 Ks), and he’s earning $15 million this year.

Oliver Perez is 2-2 over 6 games started and almost 27 innings pitched.  He’s walked 28.  Struck out 22.  He’s earning $12 million this year.

But he’s a lefty.

…I considered writing a paragraph here about extrapolating Perez’s stats to be comparable to Lowe’s in number of games pitched.  But that would be roundly unscientific; as stats-lite as this site is, I decline to presume borderline-sub-mediocrity as strongly as I decline to presume success.  I can’t predict the lights-out performance from Perez and fold that in there; neither can I swear that we’ll see the same thing start in and start out (though history’s on my side, there).  Do what I was going to do if you want: multiply each number in Ollie’s line by three.  See where it gets you.

As it stands, what stands out are the walks.  Follow the back-of-the-envelope logic here that walks are committed when a pitcher cannot get the ball to the catcher through the strike zone for a looking-or-swinging strike or a foul ball.  The fault for that pitch can either be with the pitcher, the catcher, the batter (especially if he’s Eddie Gaedel, I guess), or the umpire, who couldn’t tell a damned strike if he caught it in bed with his dog.  Where was that one, Blue?

Where was that one, indeed.

Eliminating the catcher from fault, and the batter, who’s a variable anyway, and the ump, who has every idea what a strike is and what a ball is (and leave my dog out of it, thank you very much) we’re left with the pitcher. 

Why is the pitcher at fault?  Does something hurt?  Does he not have the skill with which a professional can usually determine what pitch is appropriate to throw?  Something wrong at home?  What?  Tell us what it is, and we’ll do our best to fix it, by God.  We’re paying you all this money.  Imagine how much more we have invested in the rest of these mugs.

“My knee, Coach.  It’s my knee.  It hurts somewhere in the back, there.  That’s why I can’t make my pitches.”

Fine.  DL it is.  Perez walked seven of those 28 after missing about two months, for rehab.

$36 million over three years (Perez) is a long way from $60 million over four years (Lowe), but two months for seven walks and a victory is a long way, too, from two months and six victories, which is about the number Lowe collected in that span, along with a decent number of innings, saving your perhaps expensive, perhaps rebuilt bullpen. 

There’s a fiduciary myopia, there.

I will no doubt expound on this more tonight, following whatever happens in Atlanta.  I know it will be pouring in New York, both outside and inside Foley’s NY by the Empire State Building.  Frank Messina will be reading some Mets poetry.  As a student of letters, this I gotta see.

Because I’m between items on my agenda this Saturday (the humidity’s calling into question my desire to finally repaint my hallway), I thought I might take time to clean house here, a bit.

Example: I’ve been negligent in responding to comments, which is rude of me.  So, here they are, condensed:

After having the flu the other day, Ryan Church did have a great night last night.

Fernando
Nieve just had a bad night. It is going to happen in a young career, at
least it did not happen against a divisional foe like Philly.

But that is why we play three games series, the Mets just have to buck up and take the other two games.

Should be a great game tonight.

Rays Renegade

That from the owner of Rays Renegade (obviously).  Also, almost two weeks ago.  You can tell because, back then, Ryan Church played for the Mets.

“Pennies make dollars” is what my dad used to tell me, and wins like the one not had in this game are what hurt come late September.  It’s the same as the Phillies winning by 21 runs one night, then losing by one run the next.  The games don’t have to be against a divisional rival to have an impact on the race–and I don’t think Mr. Renegade was implying that–but they matter just as much as saving face and picking up slack a whole game at a time, rather than a half.

And God, is Nieve still kinda crummy.  Carriage, meet pumpkin.  He didn’t embarrass himself last night, but the start he had prior was abysmal.  The thing about Niese–indeed, the thing about the AAAA Mets as a whole this year–is that there seems to be no object lesson in teaching the opposition that they need to press.  With any pitcher not named Santana, the guys in the batter’s box must be thinking, “It’s just a matter of time before I get my pitch to hit.”

That profile photo, Mr. Renegade.  Fantastic.  I’ll need one similar, now.

This comment came the next day, as I tried to will the Mets to a win.  They were two games below .500 then; it only took a week to go five games below.  (That just means they can take them back in a week, too.)  From Susan, at Perfect Pitch:

Good advice. Just hard for them to follow. But here’s hoping!

My tactic? Laughter:

http://perfectpitch.mlblogs.com/archives/2009/07/fowl_play.html

I’m Section 314, by the way…most every single game. Say hello anytime!

Susan

I gave Susan a shout-out when the Mets won, saying we’d done it together.  However, for those trolling for hard luck writing who’ve stumbled onto this Mets blog and don’t know much about Citi Field, here’s something: those with seats in the 500s can’t really go down to see people in the 300s.  Trust me, I’ve tried.  You get a hard time from the ushers who think you’re trying to work a seat upgrade.  It’s more politely handled at Citi Field than it was at Shea, but it’s firm.

So, Susan, I’m sorry I haven’t stopped by.  I try to be a gregarious guy; I try to make strangers friends, because it’s one of the few natural thrills in modern comfortable life.  But I can’t get there from here.  Come by 528 anytime; no one cares if you stop by up there.  Row 6, right across from the start of 529.  

This one from Dillon, of Living The Baseball Life:

Injuries have been the biggest reason for the Mets’ non-success this
season. And yesterday Johan didn’t get a bunch of calls that he should
have gotten.
-Dillon

Amen, and no kidding, Dillon.  Since then, the Mets have lost Fernando Martinez to knee swelling, so the injury bug is spreading to the replacements.  I get the sense that David Wright’s pride is wounded, as well.

As for being a Yankee fan in Beantown… woof.  And I like Boston a lot; I’ve made good money there and have some good friends who still live in the area.  My favorite bar named after a writer (Charles Bukowski) is there, too.  But I can’t imagine not even really being able to see games.  Last time I checked, the cheapest seat for a game at Fenway was more than my total beer consumption on a Flushing night (and that’s not an inconsiderable amount of cabbage).  Perhaps you do better than I.  Good luck to you, sir.

This from mrmetnoel@optonline.net, on Tuesday’s day off:

That was a great article I enjoyed reading it & I agree some Mets gave up way to early still got 80 games left. LETS GO METS

I don’t think there’s necessarily a give-up with players; I meant that there was no game played that day, and that’s why they didn’t lose.  Thanks for the comment.  Let’s hope they don’t give up.

This from birdland of Birdland Blog:

hhahah, you have a very nice blog here. Sorry that the Mets are not in
first this year though. Who knows? Maybe they could make a push and win
the East? Maybe! My blog is birdland blog if you wanna comment! 🙂
-O’s birdland blog

Thanks for the kudos on the blog.  I don’t think we’re yet at the point of desperation.  Certainly they need to get on a good run and hope the Phillies and the Marlins and the Braves run short of steam, and both things happening are quite possible.  However, they both need to happen at once.

**

If the Mets offense can give the opposing pitching reason to be cautious, that’ll go a long way towards re-establishing parity in match-ups.  But veterans can’t catch up to the pitch they know they could hit, and rookies and super-rookies are too impatient to wait for them.  Prime-time stars are left hanging.

This is the long-term result of injuries.  It wasn’t by design.  It wasn’t on purpose.  But it’s what’s happening.  For all the back and forth on whether the trade for Francoeur was bad or good, we’re not addressing the fact that the team approach is incorrect at present.  Strong pitching, yes.  Flaweless defense, yes.  But offense: sit in there and work counts.  Make those games four hours long.  Tire them out on the other side.  Learn what’s coming from the pitcher and how the defense is going to play you in various situations.

If that program is sound, then I don’t know that getting Francoeur is going to help it.  I don’t know that getting young for the sake of getting young is reason enough to make a trade.  If the knock on Omar Minaya is that he prefers older players over younger players, then shouldn’t we be doubly grateful that he didn’t bring in another Hispanic player?  I mean, while we’re perpetuating myths and stereotypes…

Let’s see if bringing back that old chestnut stirs some conversation.

…The opposition may not yet be able to ascribe a narrative to your line-up, in part because they don’t have to: they can pick you off one at a time.  But you, Mets bats, need the team narrative.  Like when Jose Reyes would get on base, steal second, get bunted over (for better or horribly worse) by Luis Castillo, and Carlos Beltran would get him in with an opposite field double.  Then David Wright gets Carlos in with an RBI single.

It’s at this point that Delgado would hit a home run.  But, y’know.  Anyway, that was nice reliving those days.

Fellas, you need a story.  You need to write your movie.  The injuries are Act One.  The swoon is Act Two.  The rise is Act Three.  Work counts to get on base or extend the game and knock the opposing pitcher out.  Once you know that story and can tell it well, the opposition will try and upend that story.  The only way I can see to defending against a team that consistently works at-bats is to throw heat past the rookies and crafty stuff against the veterans.  And the rookies will hit the speed balls while the veterans smack that garbage around the field.

See?  It’s that easy.  Why am I not a manager?

**

David Wright should bat third only in emergencies.  This situation is a crisis.  It’s not an emergency.

Troubles rank in the following order, from least to most dire:

Issue
Problem
Emergency
Crisis
Ragnarok

Crises are prolonged emergency situations.  Problems are solvable in situ; Ragnarok is the destruction of the Gods. Which I guess means that, should we get to Ragnarok, the Wilpons will have to do battle with the evil Norse wolf Fenrir and Jormungand; think they traded those two for Shawn Green.  

Think about it: Ragnarok is to be preceded by three winters with no summers.  I’d say 2007 and 2008 qualify as winters of the nuclear variety.  And it’s pretty cold out in Flushing these days.

I can’t count how many line-ups Jerry Manuel has presented but I’m sure the number rivals the number of games won, if not games played.  But this lefty-righty nonsense has got to stop; these hitters have no margin for error on the bench, and need to learn to hit pitches from right handers and left handers.  Regularity will breed familiarity.  Familiarity is important, as the alternative–mixing and matching on a day-by-day basis–is obviously not working.

David Wright hitting third in a line-up does not give him the opportunity to produce, given the poor hitting usually placed ahead of him.  And look at the man: he desperately wants to produce.  He feels better when he does.  He feels looser.

I don’t have an answer as to how the line-up should be constructed beyond this, because we’ve not seen a consistent line-up, especially since the loss of Beltran.  Can Daniel Murphy be a great hitter in the two-hole?  How do we know?  He doesn’t hit in that position every day.  Can Gary Sheffield be trusted to hit doubles while in the three-hole?  I doubt it, but who’s to say he won’t instead hit a homer?

David Wright needs not the protection of power hitters ahead of him and behind, but the ego boost of contributing to the team offensively and defensively.  Captains need to feel useful.

A typing machine today… I really meant to post this one on Saturday, but you know the story.

The Mets play in a park that is literally devoid of an exclamation point.

If you go to Citi Field, and stare at its “Citi Vision,” you’ll note the aesthetes were smart enough to spice up some of the garish advertising with a clear, concise “LET’S GO METS” at the top.

 

lets go mets.JPGBut that’s all.  Not “LET’S GO METS!!!” (which would have killed me for the two superfluous exclamation points) or “LET’S GO METS!” (much better) or “LET’S GO METS!” (fine).

LET’S GO METS

reads like

BUTTER
SAUSAGE
DISHWASHING DETERGENT

or

MARK
PLEASE REVIEW AND MAKE NOTES
PAM

or

STOP GET TICKET

…which threw me in my youth.  Everyone was stopping.  Weren’t tickets bad?  Shouldn’t we be GOING to AVOID TICKET?

I’m not a fan of the name “Citi Field,” but they (the Mets) signed a contract with Citi, and that’s that.  This stuff about taxpayers’ money doesn’t wash.  I know from budgets; yes you can look at it as being all in one pool; no, they don’t sign a contract in 2006 for $400 million over twenty years and NOT project where the money would come from.  Projections based on revenue wrong?  Sure.  That happens.  Adjust and move on.  There’s plenty to be mad at Citi about without picking on $20 million a year in “excess spending.”

But all the nonsense did spark an email discussion with ticket plan friends about what the park would be renamed, in the event that all hell broke loose and Citi split. 

The favorite was “Metropolis,” until it was pointed out that Metropolis is glass and steel, not brick and iron.  The name was modified to “Metropolis Park,” and lost its luster.

“Iron Triangle” was next on the list; an homage to the chop shops next door.

I bought an “I’m Calling It Shea” t-shirt from No Mas, and I call the park Shea more often than not, out of habit I’m in no rush to break.  But Citi Field is less a stadium and more a ball park; to call it “Shea Stadium II” would be weird; to call it “Shea Field” would seem like a demotion; there’s an aural dissonance with “Shea Park.”

Frankly, I’m surprised they went with “Citi Field,” given what else rhymes with “Citi” and the exact nature of the Art Howe era.

If Citi ever imploded as a company, the Mets could make a ten-degree turn and start calling the place “City Field.”  I have a friend from New Hampshire who seems to know next-to-nothing about baseball, and believed for months that “City Field” was its true name.  Negative.

I have little to offer by way of foolproof suggestion; I think it would be wrong to memorialize anyone living (Seaver Field) or double-dip on anyone who’s passed (Robinson Park).  Aside from MetLife, I can’t think of a decent corporate sponsor, and besides, we’re trying to get away from that sort of thing.

Not really looking to open this whole can of worms again, though, really.  What I’d really like is for that sign to read:

LET’S GO METS!

…and in a non-sellout font.