Archives for posts with tag: Fernando Nieve

Those asterisks are my own. 

Anyone see 28 Days Later?  Anyone?  Anyone?

Bike messenger wakes from a coma to find London and, indeed, most of England, taken over by fast-moving zombie-like creatures.  If you saw I Am Legend, you saw the conceit yanked to an unfortunate computer-generated extreme; this Danny Boyle movie of which I speak does proper service to fear.  Though it was a shame to see the German Shepherd succumb in Will Smith’s vehicle (they are not two movies with the same plot; just similar-ish symptoms to a vague disease).

The problem I have with both films is I find it hard to believe that anyone THAT sick can move THAT fast, regardless if they have issues with ultraviolet light.  When I see guys go down, they move fairly slow.  Sometimes, they need carts to help them out.  Not intimidating.

The list of currently disabled Mets (or, if you prefer, Mets with disabilities):

  • John Maine
  • J.J. Putz
  • Billy Wagner
  • Carlos Delgado
  • Ramon Martinez
  • Jose Reyes
  • Carlos Beltran
  • Fernando Martinez

Add to that Gary Sheffield, who is day-to-day, and Fernando Nieve, who will be day-to-day, then placed on the DL once they find enough change to load up the MRI machine and stick him in there.

I’ve already excoriated the Mets front office with playing fast and loose with either their facts or their process of information gathering or their responsibility to level with the fans.  At this point, the training staff will need to book a crew from the HBO documentary set and give them unfettered, twenty-four hour access to the training room, the Hospital For Special Surgery, and any vehichle used to transport injured Mets across our local bridges and highways.

When David Wright wakes up from his daily coma, though, he doesn’t find terminally-ill position players given superhuman strength through dint of their virus.  Even if he did, I don’t believe Jerry Manuel to have the talent to persuade crazed neo-zombies to properly settle under a pop-up and catch with two hands. 

Luis Castillo has that going for him: he’s better than a neo-zombie.  But I kid Castillo, whose hitting streak is still alive.  Double-digits or bust, Luis. …Wait.  No.  No bust.  Do not bust.  Far too much busting lately.

So no open review of the Mets training staff is going to help the guys on the field.  But as no help seems to be imminent for the guys on the field, I do not withdraw my demand to get something of the sort.  The real hard work for the Mets is keeping confidence for this year in the face of long odds so that more confidence is not lost in the fan base next year.

I will gladly sit in cushy field level seats, don’t get me wrong; if fan confidence takes a nosedive then I expect I’ll be able to buy tickets for sixty bucks and take in the game within earshot of David Wright.  But if the fan base deserts, there may be scant money to get players in the house that will bring fans back that will give the Mets a chance at the postseason that will bring fans back the year after.  See what I’m saying?  Of course you do.

So aside from still trying to make a run this year–and as I’ve lived through a team losing a seven-game lead with seventeen to play, I’m not discounting such a run in the opposite direction or even interested in calling the hypothetical a miracle–the Mets have a responsibility to weigh actions to make next year a better one.  This is a tough thing to do.  But not impossible.

However, that job’s being botched by injuries and the treatment of injuries.  It seems even David, our bike messenger awakened to find a horror shop of pain and abject misery, has settled on injuries and plowing through those injuries as this year’s story.  Jerry Manuel’s joking out of turn about it (find it on Metsblog here and the Daily News here and… well, where have you been?) cements the point.  This is the story.

Mets, your job: control the story.  At this point in D.C. politics, an injury czar would’ve been appointed.

It may be that, as declared by frantic writing on the church wall, “the end is extremely ******* nigh,” and it may be that the only thing to do is to survive and plot and plan for escape.  But this movie’s gettin’ real dull without the cavalry.  Let’s just hope the season doesn’t follow 28 Days Later too closely.  I’d hate to think that Omar Minaya has Carlos Beltran chained up somewhere.

Given Beltran’s angry despondence over his knee, though, it may be wise for him to be so chained, for Mr. Minaya’s protection.

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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.

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.

Mets defeat the St. Louis Cardinals 11-0.

I suppose this was possible because it wasn’t technically a rubber game.

My thanks, too, to the TBRays, for the victory over the Phillies.

How ’bout that Fernando Nieve, at 3-0?

More when I’m not basking in the glow of an authentic blowout.

Doom, meet Gloom.  Gloom, this is Doom.

Carlos Beltran has been put on the DL with that bone bruise business he felt last month.  He’d said it was painful yesterday as he ran about the base paths and in the field.  This according to MLB.com.

… .

I suppose it’s a good thing that Brian Schneider’s unloaded a couple home runs recently.  Let’s, uh, see if he can keep that going against the Cardinals.

Buh.

The problem with being a finesse team is that you typically need dominant pitching to stay in the game long enough to eke out runs.  But I’ve pointed this out before–the Mets’ starting rotation is:

  1. Johan Santana
  2. Mike Pelfrey
  3. Tim Redding
  4. Livan Hernandez
  5. Fernando Nieve

I repeat:

… .

Fernando Tatis will need to be more patient.  Gary Sheffield will need to pick his spots.  David Wright, at this point, must go fifty for his next fifty.  No pressure.

I’m heartened by Daniel Murphy’s picking up steam.  Word is Angel Pagan will be back at some point soon.  But this line-up’s lying in a burned-out basement, hoping for replacements.  And there are no real viable options out on the block.

So we will no doubt be watching some very interesting or very heartbreaking baseball as we work to the All-Star break.  Here’s hoping the rest of the NL East’s competition is as deadly to them as pursuing a physical activity for the purpose of earning a salary appears to be for the 2009 New York Mets.

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.