Archives for posts with tag: Florida Marlins

I’ve stated repeatedly that when the game stops being fun to watch, one should stop watching the game. 

I took my own advice Friday night through Sunday, and missed the Mets comeback against the Marlins, John Maine & Co.’s implosion, and Misch’s complete game.  I don’t feel bad about that, considering I was ready to tear my house apart Friday night.

(And as to the questions regarding my last post: I was certainly not advocating any action be taken, least of all dismissing of management.  In fact, I was merely making a reference to a humorous and fictional account of arson. 

There; I’m glad that’s cleared up.)

I slept with my time off; tried out the new bed.  I stared out the window and felt the sweet kiss of not watching a frustrating team.  I had a dream about the Mets, sure–but who doesn’t dream about the Mets?–and when I awoke it was dark out.  The series was over; the Marlins had been officially eliminated from NL East contention, and I felt a happy twinge of schadenfreude. 

Better still, they’ve got six games left and are five off the pace for the wild card.  Colorado, Atlanta, and San Francisco would each have to take a powder to let Florida in.  The Marlins might take out one of those teams, but I don’t see them leapfrogging all three. 

More joy at misfortune.  Mind you–I spent some of my weekend reinforcing the leg of my desk chair, after slamming it into the floor a little bit.

There’s the right kind of passion and there’s the wrong kind of passion.  Going C. Zambrano on the furniture is the wrong kind of passion, especially since I don’t make a dime off it.  Evidence suggests the only thing that comes of getting so aggravated is the chance to miss complete game shut-outs by guys you definitely don’t want to see hanging around next year.

I would much rather be rooting for a fine finish than hoping against hope that Tim Redding doesn’t turn it on and thus pretend at being a viable option for 2010.  It’s a crummy feeling.  Didn’t think entertainment could do that to me.  I hate this product like it’s my job.

Anyway, something to work on in the offseason. 

Speaking of the end of the season, I’ll cement my Mets heresy by taking my hat off to the Yankees for clinching a division title.  No crosstown hatred as a general rule here at Sec. 528–only irritation at individual acts of idiocy and/or Brian Bruney-ness.  Someone this weekend asked via email where my rooting interests lay for the playoffs; I’ll dig my own grave a little more when all the spots are locked.

I hope all can tell that I’m a bit deflated here.  I will try and perk up for the morning, and see what my psychosis can dig up in terms of fun topics.

**For those who want to vote on what my off-season profile pic will be, check out the rules and options here and email your choice to omniality [at] gmail [dot] com.

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The Mets are now allowed to leave Miami (W; 10-3).

I took a peek at ESPN’s Gamecast during the bottom of the ninth inning, and had a Chuck-like mental flash. 

So I took a screen cap, and as I’m no longer the MLBlogs featured blogger (thanks for the ten-day hit, MLB Advanced Media; someone let me know if a guy I know named Mark B., who may work for your division or MLB straight-up, managed to see it), I no longer feel completely obliged to push baseball media with the MLB imprimatur.

This picture is the control; look for thick red outlines for the intended focus on subsequent shots.  All images are thumbnails–you can get to slightly larger ones by clicking on them:

01.jpgOnward!

02.JPG10-3?  You spoil us, line-up.

03.JPG

In an odd confluence of fate and sheer circumstance, this is the defensive line-up I would expect on the field during the bottom of the ninth, a day game after a night game, with the score exactly the way it is and the Mets and Marlins season records reversed.

04.JPGRemarkably, however, this was your line-up throughout the day, with every Met managing two hits…

05.JPG…except for Anderson Hernandez… who had THREE.  With an RBI and a walk.

For today, Mr. Hernandez, I’m sorry I occasionally mistake you for Argenis Reyes.

06.JPGIt occurs to me that I cannot recall a single Tim Redding at-bat.  With his .053 batting average, it’s clear I’m not missing much.  However, for the uninitiated (and to break this up a bit):

Teflon Tim.jpgHa!

07.JPGYou’re a professional baseballer, for Chrissakes.  Don’t smile like you’re four.

08.JPGIt’s a rare day when Sean Green is called on to rescue Pedro Feliciano, but it’s also a rare day when every man in the Mets line-up records more than one hit.  So it’s a very rare day.

09.JPGMy actual thought, hand to God: “Huh.  Brian Stokes.  Thought he was on the DL.”

10.JPGMy second thought was, “An intentional walk, with one out and no one on?  Jerry, you son of a–” …and then I looked at the ball locator directly above.

I’ve got a rash from this intentional walk thing, and it’s beginning to cloud my judgment.  I need to seek counsel.  I shall, I shall.

And finally, some fun with facial hair.  Shouldn’t be too hard to discern.

11.JPGHeh, heh, heh.

Nice win in a walk, gentlemen.  And my thanks to ESPN.

The Ringers are gettin’ feisty on getaway day.

Chowdah is 2-for-4 with two RBIs; Daniel Murphy is 2-for-4 with three RBIs and a run scored.

Score is 8-1, New York over the Florida Marlins, heading into the bottom of the 5th.  Anibal Sanchez is long gone and I suspect Cristhian Martinez won’t be too far behind.

Let’s go Mets!

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.

The Wife was up for the Fourth of July weekend.  We watched dribs and drabs of the Phillies series, in between trips out to the harbor by Shore Road, and to the movies (Public Enemies is a sound purchase to make with your cinema dollars; I had problems with it, but in all, a sound purchase), and to the barbecue grill.

It’s not the sweep which bothered me this weekend.  The Mets loked listless versus the Pirates on a make-up day; I’m not interested in writing another post about how these guys should suck it up and catch pop-ups, nor am I interested in writing another post on “leadership.”  They could’ve shown some offense but didn’t.  They could’ve been seven games out by now but aren’t. 

The Mets don’t see the Phillies again until August 21st.  Moving on.

The red caps bothered me, but not to the extent that I wished temporary and sudden illness on myself.  If this is to be A Thing, I wish the Mets luck next year in playing a team on Memorial or Independence Day that doesn’t regularly wear red.  Washington in May; Philadelphia in July.  And on this note: I saw no recognition of Flag Day.  Then again, there was enough figurative blood spilled at Yankee Stadium on Flag Day.  I’m sure if Johan could trade those nine earned runs for a novelty lid, he would.

(By the way, anyone notice the Jays had red caps, but with Canadian flags as the logo fill?  Way to celebrate Canda Day, fellas; I feel compelled to point out that it fell on Wednesday, but… meh.)

No, what bothered me, to the point that I’ve now come to dread this coming Wednesday, is the news that Oliver Perez will be making his first start off the disabled list that night.  I have a ticket to this game against the L.A. Dodgers.

No.  Please, no.

I’ve taken to licking subway seats.  I’ve threatened men thrice my size with death for walking within ninety feet of me.  I thought about dropping my bowling ball (an orange-and-blue thing I call Little Stevie) on my bare foot.  Then picking it up, and dropping it on my other bare foot.

Because I will go to the game.  I won’t NOT go to the game.  Because I have a ticket, and because I paid money, and because it’s the Mets, I will go to the game.  But knowing I’m going to watch Oliver Perez pitch is really making me reconsider the vaccinations I received as a child.

I am not being hyperbolic.  I am not.  I am not.  I am not.

Buy into whatever hype you must to watch an Oliver Perez start: he wins the big games.  When he’s on, he’s electric.  He’s a lefty and really more fun to watch than John Maine (that nugget comes from a “non-partisan baseball fan” friend, and to this day I don’t get, or care to get, the comparison).  I will not be drinking whatever Kool-Aid you want me to be smoking.  The train has sailed.  Semper crap: Lord save me from Oliver Perez.

Why so vitriolic?  Because I can hold a grudge.

Friday, September 28, 2007.  A friend (Oby) working as an operations manager for a plumbing company calls me and tells me he has three free tickets in Loge, six rows off the pace, behind home plate, for that night’s game against the Florida Marlins.  I took them all, because I’m a Mets fan and I don’t turn down tickets and I have friends who are Mets fans and less fortunate than I.  The call was made at 3 PM; by 5 PM, the other tickets were spoken for and we were all set.  My boss let me leave early, saying, “Go ahead; it’s all hands on deck out there tonight.  Good luck; let’s go Mets!”  He’s been a Yankees fan since the ’50s, but another example of a Yankees fan that doesn’t wish death and destruction on the team in the Senior Circuit.

I head out with Oby, my sister, and a colleague from work.  My colleague was born in Vancouver; this would be his first baseball game.  Shea could’ve levitated with the collective energy of the fans that night.

And then this happened.

I was an Ollie supporter when the game started.  I was an Ollie supporter after the first inning.  He rewarded my support with a 1-2-3 second inning.

Then the third inning.

A single to Byung-Hyun Kim (the pitcher).  A Hanley Ramirez double.  Hits Dan Uggla with a pitch to load the bases.  Gets the force-out on Jeremy Hermida; Kim is out at the plate.  One out, bases still loaded.  Miguel Cabrera strikes out.  Two out; bases still loaded.

He hits Cody Ross with a pitch.  A run scores.  He hits Mike Jacobs with a pitch.  A run scores.  Matt Treanor, by the grace of Hickox, is called out on strikes.  4-1, Marlins.

Oliver Perez jogs off the mound, and hops over the first base line to the dugout.

Carlos Beltran got the Mets back into fighting shape with a two-run homer in the bottom half of the inning.  Marlins 4, Mets 3.

Then the fourth inning.  Two out and no one on in the top of the fourth inning, to be precise.

Hanley Ramirez singles; Dan Uggla singles but the throw moves them to second and third.  He walks Jeremy Hermida.  Miguel Cabrera then hits an RBI single that plates two.  That ends Ollie’s night; he hops over the foul line on his way back to the dugout.

Six earned runs.  Three HBPs.  Two walks.  A home run.  Garbage.

I’ve since seen Oliver Perez pitch a 3-1 gem against the Yankees.  I’ve also seen him pitch horribly for Mexico in the World Baseball Classic, and seen him get rocked by the Red Sox in the second exhibition game at Citi Field.  I’ve also read about his less-than-stellar performance against the CHARLOTTE STONE CRABS (caps intended).  But I was done with Oliver Perez on September 28, 2007. 

I screamed bloody murder when he won his arbitration case.  The remains of a shredded pillow–rended when he got his three-year deal–have long been carted away.  Yes, all for September 28, 2007, though he’s committed quite a few baseball-centric atrocities since.

That was a big game; he is not a big game pitcher.  There is no Good Ollie or Bad Ollie; there’s just Ollie, a broken clock that’s right twice a day but wrong the other 86,398 times.

I don’t hate Oliver Perez; I have a deep-seated, intense, burning dislike for Oliver Perez as a baseball player.

I used to work at a public school, and one of the many things I learned as an administrator is how to spot b.s. artists.  They have some talent and always a klatch of people pulling for him.  But when faced with difficulty, they’ll let the occasion slide away rather than rise to it.  Their core is consumed not with the desire to be excellent, but the desire to survive a situation they can’t believe they’ve found themselves in.  I struggle with this myself, honestly.

I’ve struck this pose, and this pose, and this pose.  (While I’ve also struck this pose, I’ve never done it wearing such a snazzy jacket.  Kudos, Johan.  Kudos.)

So don’t b.s. a b.s.er.  That man goes out onto the mound with the pitching minder’s equivalent of the Marine Corps Band whispering in his ear, a crowd of people who’ve seen him squander goodwill through lack of focus and conditioning, and a team that NEEDS him to be a competent mid-level starter.  And he wants out.  I can tell he wants out.  Every painfull
y incompetent dissembling post-game interview tells me he wants out.

When he wins, he doesn’t want out.  Of course not.  Winning feels good.

But there is a disconnect between the desire to win and the desire to generate the consistent ability to win.  And boy, do I wish I just happened to be projecting, and this was all in my head.  But no.  I know from b.s. artists.  I don’t like to pay money to see b.s. artists.

However, I have.  Therefore, I will.  I will not be doing what I usually do when I go to games.  I’m not writing the season off and I’m not hoping for a loss, but I’m going under fan protest.  Given the abject horror that was September 28, 2007, and the maddening inability to play to potential since, my conscience should allow me to skip this one. 

I wish the Mets employed priests and set them up in confessionals on the Queensboro Plaza 7 train platform.  “Bless me, Father, for I shall sin by walking downstairs and heading back home.  I simply can’t go to a game and drink enough beer to forget who’s on the mound.”

If someone can send this to Oliver Perez and point me in the direction of the man if he’s angry enough to take me out, please do so.  I really don’t want to go to this game, and will take a punch to avoid it.  But with my luck, the one time he’ll MEAN to hit someone, he’ll miss.