Archives for posts with tag: John Maine

Hard not to get excited about a guy caught on national television yelling at Mike Scoscia. 

I’ve watched this video at least four times, and I’d embed it, except MLB.com doesn’t quite have their finger on the pulse of the nation.

“This is mine!  Are you s***ting me?  This is mine!  Scosc’…” [walks off mound, undefinable muttering and cursing].

It doesn’t quite have the outer space, Bo Diddley poetry of “I’m a man!” but I could feel the crush/man-crush** spreading across all strata of Met fandom.

Sure enough, Matt Cerrone of Metsblog addressed the potential Mets love, and caught Ed Leyro of Mets Merized Online backing it up with stats (see the Metsblog post, top third).  Kranepool Society’s on it, too. 

Here’s the Cot’s spreadsheet which includes John Lackey’s due this year; this is the general Cot’s page on the Angels (Lackey’s near-ish the top).  John Lackey’s Baseball-Reference page (sponsored by “Ricky”), and, because I think he’d be a good place to start my advanced stats training, his page on Fan Graphs.

This is what I get: the Mets kinda missed the boat, but word is he wants to play in Texas, anyway.  His bread and butter are named fastball and curveball, and that seems to be rehabilitating the man somewhat, as there’s a hiccup in his 2008 stats. 

Wikipedia has no answer for that hiccup (I’m a fan of Wikipedia), but I’ll keep looking.  Anyone who knows, feel free to give me an email shout.  The entry does mention he got tossed after his first two pitches OF THE SEASON this year.  Why?  Read here, by Lyle Spencer, on the Angels’ MLB website.  Video’s great, too.

See, now? I could’ve had two John Lackey video embeds in one post.  Damn it.

If the man would want to pitch anywhere where fastballs that become fly balls go to die, it’d be Citi Field.  I say this, of course, having only scratched the surface of his stats and having only watched him for two hours and change, commercials excluded. 

A guy entering the midlife of his career might enjoy the protection that Johan Santana provides in the rotation.  That’s what I get from Cerrone’s comments on the man.  Careful there, though, as you now have that third-hand.  That’s how the Spanish-American War got started.

No, it isn’t.

His money years should’ve been ’05, ’06, and certainly ’07, when he went 19-9, and pitched a healthy two hundred twenty-four innings.  If he did “take a discount,” that’s on him. (I’m not trying to kiss Cerrone’s ring over and over; I’m just lazy and in the middle of rushing through breakfast at 1:30p.)  No team should pay crazy money to a guy who, a year ago, was four full wins above replacement below his high.  I don’t care how he bounced back in ’09 or what he shouts to Mr. “Big-Machines-And-Cool-Dials-And-Stuff.-Like-An-Oil-Refinery,-Or-Hydro-Electric-Plant.”  (I will kiss John Swartzwelder’s ring, though.)

I hate to keep beating the same drum, over and over and over again… that’s not true; in this particular case, I enjoy it.  But if the Mets had any shot at giving Lackey what he wanted, it split last year. 

In other words, I know where $31 million of that supposed $80 million could’ve come from.  Don’t know what I’m talking about?  Here’s Randy Wolf for 2009 on a one-year, $5 million deal.  Here’s Fauxhawk in 2009, at $12 million for the first year of his three year contract.

You’d have to be out of your gourd to roll out a 2010 pitching rotation of:

  • Johan Santana: $21 million;
  • John Lackey: $16 million;
  • Oliver Perez: $12 million;
  • either Mike Pelfrey (free agent) or John Maine (arbitration year): $7 million’s a complete guess; Fauxhawk got $6.5 million in arbitration in 2008;
  • the Willets Point Mystery Bucket (5% curveballs, 5% stolen car parts, 90% chum): estimate unknowable

plus a closer (Frankie Rodriguez) for a little over $12 million. 

For those counting, that’s $45 million, confirmed, committed to pitching; add the pie-in-the-sky Lackey and Pelfrey/Maine numbers and that goes to $68 million.

So. Lackey was a great story; is a great story.  The man, by some measures, appears to be a beast.  I will be waving bye-bye to him, however, and content myself with the memory of last night, laughing so hard through a sneeze that I thought I was having a heart attack.

**Are “man-crushes” confined to men?  I take “man-crush” to mean someone you’re completely engrossed in, but not interested in canoodling with.  This is opposed to a regular crush, which is interchangeable and adds the canoodling.  I’m sure John Lackey’s a stand-up guy, but I doubt he can make pesto like my wife.

Advertisements

As it’s been a slow news day and I’ve been on hold for the past thirty minutes, occasionally having to enter the same ten-digit code to ensure I keep my place in line, allow me to conduct a little more business.

Readers voted to select my off-season profile pic; the choices were presented here.  If you don’t like clicking, this was the winner:

profilewright2.jpg…with me standing in for David Wright.  I was hopeful the winner would be one of the Santana photos, or even the one where John Maine looks like he’s just about to, or has just finished, passing a kidney stone.  Let the record show that I don’t rig my own votes.

I gave myself until November 1 to reproduce the shot as best I can, and I stand by that; work is underway, including the effort to find a suitable (or suitably hilarious) stand-in for Jose Reyes.

In the interim, however, I needed a shot of myself that didn’t include the “I’m Calling It Shea” shirt, which as I’ve stated is a fine message for 2009 but not for any part after the 2009 season.  I’ve put together a series of vaguely sports-related shots to stand in, each with their own funny–and blessedly short–story.

The first one you see on the page (below “About Me”) was taken at Bennington College, sometime around March 17th, 2005, when I visited a friend for his birthday.  The time was roughly one-thirty in the morning; some time later, I found myself wandering around the campus, kicking a rock like a soccer ball. 

To this day, I am unsure as to whether I broke a couple of toes in the process.  It was cold.  My foot hurt the next morning.  A LOT.  I never went to the hospital.

The hat belonged to my friend’s now ex-girlfriend.

Success!  I’m being transferred to the next available representative.  Cable-speed internet access, here we come!

crowd sky.jpgThe thing about The Wife attending grad school in the South is that whenever she comes up for a week-long break, weekday mornings are a bear. This may be too saccharine for a blog about the Mets, but I find it exceedingly difficult to WANT to get out of bed and go to work, and do all the things that take place via muscle memory on any given Monday.

Difficult, too, is the day after the end of Baseball I Truly Care About. They’ve been rough the past couple of years. This one’s worse, somehow, despite the profound lack of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. I want to throw on jeans and a t-shirt, get some people together, and play some ball (by the by, the David Wright GQ photo won in Steelers-like fashion, surviving a late surge from Santana’s soulful warm-up shot, in the battle for off-season profile pic).
 
This year, with the end of the season occurring one week later and her vacation one week earlier, I’ve been hit with a double-barrel shot of I Don’t Wanna Go.  But go I do, riding on the local train as I type to vision loss on a tiny screen.
 
I think I’d be happier if I were on my way to Citi Field; I’d also be happier if The Wife were done with grad school and she were somehow gainfully employed in marine matters up here, up North. Today is a red-letter day in “dang.”
 
There are bright spots in memory. Yesterday was gorgeous.
 baseball sky.jpgI can’t recall the last beautiful day I spent at the park, and that’s partly a function of all the night games I managed to go to this year, and partly a function of the awful weather that the city’s been saddled with.
 
Also can’t recall the last time Alex Anthony, the Mets’ P.A. announcer, had to tell me about a pitching accomplishment.

fig pitch 01.jpgfig pitch 02.jpgfig pitch 03.jpg1010 WINS’s sportscaster called it this way at 7:45a: “Mets end their season with a sweep of the Astros, winning 4-0 on a good start by Nelson Figueroa.”
 
fig pitch 04.jpgIn fact, Figueroa threw the first complete game shutout in Citi Field history, a fact that would’ve explained away my surprise at seeing him come up to bat in the bottom of the eighth. I just kept looking at the pitch count and thinking, “He’s thrown for a million years and that arm hasn’t quit yet. If he gets lucky in the ninth, I doubt he goes much past 120.” He threw 113 pitches to dispatch with the Astros.
 
fig dugout.jpgYesterday’s game was also a demonstration of the style of play the park “was built for”: hits in the gaps; speed on the base paths.  Hassling pitchers.  In the bottom of the fourth with Beltran on third, Jeremy Reed walked on ten pitches; Josh Thole grabbed his single to score the run on nine. 

thole bat 01.jpgthole bat 02.jpgthole bat 03.jpgthole bat 04.jpgthole bat 05.jpgthole bat 06.jpgThat’s nineteen pitches over the course of two batters, accounting for nearly twenty-five percent of Wilton Lopez’s final total on the day.  Good work.  More next year, please.

Still would’ve enjoyed it if Pagan had hit for the cycle.  Regardless, a masterful effort offensively and defensively for the man.
 
In the past two years, Pagan and Figueroa have shown themselves to be two good soldiers. In the afterglow of a great effort, a win on the last day of the season, and a jolt of immediate nostalgia for this ragtag group of intergalactic rebels–which, given the season record, one could call criminally psychotic–I had Pagan penciled in as the opening day left fielder, and Figueroa as the fifth starter.
 
Then I woke up.

thole crouch.jpgThese guys–a lot of the guys on the Mets–are good soldiers. But the good soldiers have to be the last line of defense on any game in which the elite squad’s either put the game away or have been put away themselves.

last line.jpgPagan and Figueroa are not a foundation on which to build. 

Neither are Thole or Murphy or Santos or Parnell, or Misch or Evans.  Not yet, at the very, very least.

Neither are Maine or Pelfrey or Chowdah, as much as it pains me to say about Maine and Pelfrey, and as much of a soft spot I have now for the right fielder.

They’re who you use to clear wate
r out of the foundation when all you can do is wait for the morning, when the river’s receded.  How’s THAT for an overextended metaphor?
 
Truly, the next Mets team that comes to Flushing with championship aspirations must be a team that can soundly batter, not merely play good and close. All Mets starters should be eminently capable of throwing complete game shut-outs. I want a threat for the cycle at least once a homestand.  I want 30/30 seasons from my center fielder, third baseman, AND shortstop.
 
I want my wife to finish grad school and move back to New York. I want to work for/around/in/about baseball.  I want to write screenplays. I want a nutritious breakfast.
 
end of year crowd.jpgAny and everything is possible, save for a Mets no-hitter; I was convinced I’d see that this season as karmic recompense for the siege on the team’s health, and was denied it.  Today the Mets begin working on getting me what I want. The cruel fact of life is that, in order to get what I want, I have to get up and go to work. Gotta be a good soldier.
 
fan sign.jpgI like my job; I like the people there. But it sure isn’t baseball.
 
**
 
Section Five Twenty-Eight won’t shut down for the post- or off-season; there will certainly be fewer photos, but I’m certain that without necessarily having to apply the artifice of baseball to my random pandemic twiddlepoopings, the posts will be fluid reads.
 
That said, I do watch as much as I can of the post-season. I said I wouldn’t declare those loyalties until the teams were decided, and Minnesota has made it impossible for me to do that today. I’ll definitely be watching their game on Tuesday, as well as watching/reading/listening to any developments on the Mets front.
 
I imagine that much of my Mets commentary in the fall and winter months will be focused on dissecting the dissection of various team moves; I’m hot on this “we should be responsible fans” kick. If you’re new here I strongly urge you to visit the folks I’ve linked to in the blog roll on the right; I find that together they present a fine and balanced picture, easily understood and always fun to debate.
 
Let’s go Mets in 2010!

mr met.jpg

So after fifteen games of screaming for Section Five Twenty-Eight, and chugging more beers than should be anatomically possible, Mets security chose the top of the eighth on Friday to have a conversation about Big Man’s antics, and the top of the ninth–with the score 7-1, mind you, to try and remove him from the premises.
 
You gotta be kidding me.
 
Fortunately, Big Man’s either a silver-tongued devil or the crew came to its senses, because he was allowed to stay. 

end of plan.jpg
They may have assumed that leaving him to witness Sean Green’s performance would be punishment enough, but to everyone’s abject shock, Green pitched a 1-2-3 ninth.
 
walk off.jpgCongratulations, Sean, you’ve graduated. Way to pitch to contact against a swing-happy basement-dwelling team that’s not your own.  Now kindly leave the stage, and never come back, you miserable… So and so. You miserable so-and-so.

the blase family.jpg

Friday night felt like the last day of school, from the slap-happy vendors, to the single folks with roving eyes, to those in the stands taking last pictures with their plan mates. If for no reason than this kind of camaraderie, there’s logic behind re-upping for next year. 
 
citi end of game.jpgRegardless (or “regahdless,” as it came out of my mouth late), there’s got to be hope for the next season of Mets baseball. If Chowdah can learn to pick up the ball better out of the glove, and Murphy can find a solid stroke, and some protection can be found for Wright and Beltran in the line-up, then the Mets will only have pitching and defense to worry about.
 
My hat’s off to John Maine, who pitched seven very solid innings in front of a crowd of dozens. I am truly excited for today, and Lord, was I not excited for Friday night.
 
Let’s go Mets!

I’m now officially on the hook for two games of the three-game set against the Astros, on the last weekend of the season.

Here went my thinking: I was there for the first game played.  I was there for the Mets exhibition games, there for the Sunday workout following–under extraordinary circumstances: I had gone to the game Saturday, spent about six hours at a bar with friends, stayed up all night at a friend’s apartment listening to Radiohead and Bonnie “Prince” Billy, then rode out to Flushing once daylight was firmly secured.  Somehow between the Saturday game and my third hour at the park, I’d procured a turkey club in a diner take-out tin.  I have no recollection of how it came to be in my bag.

Indeed, The Wife will be in town starting Friday as well.  I skipped out on Parnell’s start against the Giants, about a month ago, to collect her from the airport.  Reasonably, I should be skipping out on this Friday’s tilt, as there is beyond nothing to play for against Houston, but it’s the last game with my two buddies, one a Yankees fan who is doubtful about re-upping; the other a Mets fan who won’t re-up unless the organization “shows [him] something” in the off-season.  Paraphrasing lightly: “I don’t think I wanna plunk down another three hundred dollars for suckitude and an inability to see balls hit down the left field line.”

So I can’t miss Friday’s game, especially since it seems John Maine and Wandy Rodriguez are going to swap teams for the day:

matchup.jpgI kid, Cerrone.  I kid because I love.  …Actually, given a choice between Rodriguez and Maine this season, I think I’m picking Rodriguez.

And The Wife has a good record at Mets games.  Provided the potential win doesn’t come with a blitzkrieg thunderstorm (…blitzkrieg thunderstorm?…) on Sunday afternoon, I think I’ll be quite pleased.

I’ve got to go to the last game there this season.  I absolutely must.  The ship is going down, having taken on far too many runners left stranded (see last night vs. Washington: L; 2-1) to stay afloat.  I boarded at Southampton, and have been dressed in my best; I’m prepared to go down that way. 

I don’t know what it says about my mentality that I’d buy a ticket to this Titanic metaphor for the missus; rest assured should the game get out of hand, I’ll tell her to save herself.

My Mets thoughts are consumed by the kind of thinking that’s making friends balk at buying into another season set of tickets.  What if they aren’t good next year?  What if the injuries sustained re-emerge?  Santana’s knee, Santana’s elbow.  John Maine’s shoulder.  Frankie Rodriguez’s back.  Jose Reyes’s legs.  David Wright’s cojones (or, as a Hungarian friend with short tendons likes to say: “cuh-Jones”).  I wonder if the MLBlog filter will pick up on either.

Make no mistake: we’re staring into a potential abyss here.  We shouldn’t be afraid of the abyss: baseball’s still fun; hope resides around every corner.  Technically, a team could open the season with eighty-one straight losses, follow that with an eighty-one game winning streak, and enter the record books with a not-impossible chance of making the playoffs. 

It’s the business side of things which futz with my head; if the tickets were free I’d be there every day.  But this is what one arrives at after six months of tickets and transit and beer and heatlamp chicken-and-fries baskets: it’s a lot of money.  And a lot of money spent watching a bad team hurts more than a lot of money watching a good team.

So along with controlling my profound dissatisfaction for certain relief pitchers and the decisions which lead them to holding the ball in pressure situations, I must spend the winter months squaring the circle on how much is too much to spend on the Mets.  Surely twenty dollars–the price I paid for two tickets in the Promenade level, roughly behind home plate, for the last game of the season, service rip and delivery rip (you EMAILED them to me) included–is not too much. 

And maybe a magical turkey club with cold, gummy fries will show up in my bag this time, too.

I developed a coping mechanism for Sean Green, by the way: when he showed up to pitch last night, I changed the channel and monitored my BlackBerry for general signs that the inning was over.  When it was, I flipped back.  I’m afraid I can’t apply that same method for the whole of the team.  Might as well stop breathing, while I’m at it.

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.

This was not Pat Misch’s night.

One and a third innings pitched.  Eight runs, all earned, on seven hits, and three of those hits home runs.  Forty-two pitches, and six of those to Adam LaRoche, who struck out.

I don’t know why I want to subtract those, but I do. 

So seven hits in thirty-six pitches.  Eight runs on thirty-six pitches, which means he gave up, on average, one run every four and a half throws to the plate.

For all the talk of Pat Misch being “Tom Glavine-like,” it’s important to point out that Glavine was somewhat of a punk until 1991.  Misch has pitched about 140 innings.  Glavine pitched many more than that at the end of his first four seasons. (Click here for the summed stat line on Glavine, 1987-1990.  I know it’s off to compare the two this way, but hopefully you take this to mean I don’t think they should be compared.)

I don’t know if it’s going to work out for the guy; I hope it does.  I think, though, that with the Sword of Damocles dangling over homeboy’s career, it’d behoove him to work things out at least a LITTLE, and quickly.

Lots of guys are gunning to carry the dirty laundry that’s owned by the guy who carries Santana’s dirty laundry.  And if things are really working out, one would hope that Mike Pelfrey, John Maine, Jon Niese, Bobby Parnell, and, what the hell, Nelson Figueroa are working to fill that laundry carrier’s laundry carrier position.

Your advantage, Pat Misch and underperformers, can’t just be that you’re cheap.

The game has started out in Flushing, but I’m in the middle of waiting for some nonsense to wrap up at work.  So while I do, allow me to conduct a bit of business:

The Mets’ inaugural season at Citi Field is coming to a close and with it any lasting joy in wearing the “I’m Calling It Shea” T-shirt as a sign of impish protest.  While I love it both as a quality clothing item, its somewhat esoteric message, and its ability to make me instant friends with people at bars, I’ve come to think that announcing that via my profile pic in 2010 would be like making Kanye-storming-the-stage jokes sometime after the next forty-eight hours.

(My favorite one of those was, “Yo, Ernie Anastos, I’m really happy for ya, and I’ma let you finish, but Bill O’Reilly had one of the best F-bomb drops of all time!” …A local New York anchor dropped the F-bomb.  Search “Ernie Anastos chicken”; you’ll find it.)

I need a new profile pic–at least for the off-season–and it came to me while reading about various votes for Mets MVP that I should try for some similar audience participation.  Not for Mets MVP; I think that’s a bit silly this season, though I respect a desire for continuity by those who’ve been at it awhile.

Instead, I’m going to see if we can’t all speak to my lesser angels of grand delusion, and open up a vote on which Mets star I should try emulating in an off-season pic.

Here’s how this will work: 

  • I’m going to put up two photos each of Johan Santana, John Maine, Daniel Murphy, and David Wright.

  • You email me at omniality [at] gmail [dot] com and tell me which one you like.  

  • I will work between the end of the Mets regular season and November 1 to reproduce the image with me in the starring role (some will be easier than others).  Why those four?  I can make my hair do what’s required for those four.

  • Unless I’m taken to task or sued or ripped apart by wolves or whatever, the image will stay up until the 2010 season begins. 

There.  Isn’t that more fun than choosing between a shut-down Johan Santana, an achy John Maine, an ineffective Daniel Murphy, or a concussed David Wright?

Never mind.

Onward!

**Photos found through Google Image Search, all third-hand.  If there is a deep need for credit on one or more photos, I’ll be more than happy to kill myself trying to find the originals.

Santana A:

profilesantana1.jpgSantana B:

profilesantana2.jpg
Maine A:

profilemaine1.jpgMaine B:

profilemaine2.jpgMurphy A:

profilemurphy1.jpgMurphy B:

profilemurphy2.jpgWright A:

profilewright1.jpgWright B (he’s the one on the left):

profilewright2.jpg
There you are.  Voting is open through October 4th.  Send your choice to omniality [at] gmail [dot] com.

Let’s go Mets!

Labor Day is nearing its end.  Time to get back to work.

coney island.jpg

There’s a large part of Coney Island that can be called a hole, and that’s being charitable.  When my mother would take My Sister and I out to Astroland Park on too-warm summer weekdays, my father out working, I would try my best to enjoy it, but even then there was a seediness I could not abide.  The water in the flume ride reeked of oil; the bumper cars squealed and shrieked.  I couldn’t escape the feeling that the adults around were having a lot more fun than I was.  Maybe not so for my mother, who toted us about.  But the wacky ones on the dilapidated boardwalk: sure.
the dock.jpg
These days, there’s a patina of theme park on all the elements that make Coney Island a disagreeable, damned place. Feel the grime in the air as you use a restroom!  Chuckle at the locals, surly to the point of assault!  Wander through the urban desert which lies just beyond Surf Avenue!  And live to tell the tale!
This crystallized for me on Friday.  And it felt good to feel right about what opinion I’d formulated while being splattered with gear grease from the Cyclone.  The place is a dump.  Let people keep their homes, and don’t wreck the view of the ocean.  Besides that, take it down.  Raze it.  Salt the earth so nothing so obscene grows again.
Don’t know why I’m so belligerent about it; I had fun doing what I’d set out to do: drink beer, eat hot dogs, watch sailboats, and cheer on Carlos Beltran.  I guess I’m still not over that Jerry Koosman thing.  Ugh.  
I want to put my fist through a door every time I think about it.
No, I’m not drunk.  Last I was drunk, I was at a bar on the Lower East Side, watching a fifth NYU co-ed try to stay on a mechanical bull.  Add that place to the list of what should be scrubbed from history.  (By the by: there, no one knew who the hell Jerry Koosman was, either.  Pay your taxes, kids.)
All right, enough.  Carlos.

beltran in the field.jpgbeltran throwing.jpg

beltran to the dugout.jpg
Watching major league players in rehab stints is relatively new to me.  I mentioned in an earlier post that I watched Angel Pagan play last year, but then I considered him a bench player, and quite young.  He’s still grade-A bench player material, and still quite young.  Beltran took it easy.  I didn’t see him sprint, really.  He jogged carefully to the dugout; he jogged carefully to the outfield.  Best thing he did during the game was move a runner over in the first.
beltran hits.jpg
That’s him running out from the box, stage right.  Beltran went 0-for-3 and the Cyclones lost, 8-2, victims of a seven-run seventh and a pre-game collective reading of Dr. Seuss’s Go, Dog. Go! 
I don’t know; that kind of thing would unman me prior to playing an adrenaline-fueled game.
keyspan board.jpg
Those with the means to take in a Cyclones game during their playoff run should do so; it’s a fun park and the team is not half-bad.  I’m slammed with work and the boys out in Flushing, myself, but now that I know they’ve done away with the nutso sound effects following every visitor gaffe (SPROING!!! CLUNK!!!), I no longer have to worry about lapsing into a decibel-heavy Thompson-esque hallucination.  They DID keep the hot dog race.
are those beans.jpg
Brought a colleague from work to the game, who wasn’t paying attention until roughly this moment, and asked, honestly: “Are those supposed to be beans?”
I’d like to point out the Lowell Spinners third baseman, Michael Almanzar, whose expression you can’t see but who must’ve had money on the gig, as his attention is obviously directed at the hot dog runners.  Ketchup was sucking hind Relish until a beat before the end, when somehow it found a burst of speed and took the race.  Fix.
beltran swings.jpg
Word is Beltran will be back for the game on Tuesday against the Marlins.  Same word has John Maine in action on Sunday in Philadelphia.  Roger Rubin (any relation to Adam?) reports Gary Sheffield and Carlos Delgado are probably done for the year.
beltran about to swing.jpg
I’m most concerned about Beltran.  It was fun to have Sheffield while it lasted; it’s sad to think I’ll most likely never see Carlos Delgado in a Mets uniform again.  
Maine is out to sea.  I’ve no idea what to make of shoulder pain, except that I imagine it hurts worse when trying to throw a ball at ninety miles an hour.  It hurt
s when I sleep on mine for nine hours.
Perhaps it’s not about the machismo, this business of Beltran coming back for increasingly irrelevant games in September.  What the press has reported him saying–he’s a baseball player; he has to play because he knows nothing else–may come closer to it.
I wonder if it’s about needing to get that sense of anticipation back, that instinct that doubtless takes over when the pitch is thrown and a millisecond of fear gives way to more milliseconds of action.  That’s what I always considered to be at the core of getting one’s “timing” back.  To an extent, perhaps all that is the same as the reason given: he’s a baseball player.  He has to play if he can play.  The alternative–NOT playing–can be counted on to extend that millisecond of fear.  It must worry a man like hell to have such a livelihood taken away.
So very well, Mr. Beltran.  You want to play baseball? I’ll keep my mouth shut and hope for the best.  Produce, though, man: stand tall in the batter’s box and swing at pitches you can hit.  Do NOT challenge that bone bruise for supremacy; it knows no logic, it seems, and in Citi Field, there be some damned dragons.
**
lounging.jpg
A grab-bag of notes (that image is the view I had from The Frying Pan on Friday; the end of baseball season means new shoes that I don’t have to worry about getting shelled, and I’m excited for that because these are starting to hurt like a mother):
  • David Wright ditched the Rawlings S100. He said it was an uncomfortable fit.  While some may ream him for this, I’m willing to take that at face value.  I watched the guy take hacks with it and it looked like it was sliding every which way.  
The helmet is supposed to make things safer for him; his protective gear rattling around on his melon doesn’t achieve that goal.
No excuse for getting the kinks worked out during the off-season, though.  I expect to see it and laugh all over again during Spring Training.
I miss the ’80s.  If Keith Hernandez had determined the better part of valor was to wear that helmet, and he got razzed hard for it, he’d’ve probably flipped some guys off.  I don’t see David doing that, nice guy that he is.
  • Greg Prince of Faith And Fear In Flushing wrote about the lack of Mets coverage in The New York Times.  His piece mentions Sunday’s paper, in a way that’s almost Fred Exley-esque.  But Mr. Prince, if you’re reading this: they’ve been quite late in posting material to the website, and this has been the case since at least last week.  Usually game recaps post within two hours of a victory.  All last week, they were coming in late morning/early afternoon-ish.  I would leave a comment on your site, but my browsers are wonkifying your comments module.  I would send you an email, but I’m afraid of what else lurks in that inbox.  My BlackBerry’s been blinking at me for days.
  • Speaking of the Faith And Fear folks: there’s another Amazin’ Tuesday event being held on September 15th at the Two Boots on Grand Street in Manhattan.  Though it’s my birthday and I’m winless at Mets events outside Flushing and my own living room and favorite bars, I’ve decided the Fates owe me one, so I will be there.  Jon Springer of Mets By The Numbers (see right blogroll for a link to his site) spilled the beans about who’s going to be there, and confirmation by Mr. Prince has only whetted my appetite.  I think it’s going to be a really fun night run by some quite engaging, and level-headed writers.  Plan to be there, if at all possible.  You are not obliged to say hello to me, or join me for post-game birthday karaoke.
  • Daniel Murphy was a double short of the cycle yesterday against the Cubs (W; 4-2).  He’s got nine home runs this season (eight + one: Subway sign-aided).  He’s committed, focused, and not a horrible embarrassment on the field.  If the Mets are destined to wander in the wilderness for a couple more years, and he maintains a level of competence, there’s no earthly reason to ship the man off.  Keep him within the organization.  At present, he’s at least deserving of a nickname more imaginative than Murph, and what we shout at him from the upper deck would be wildly inappropriate for consistent use.
  • I finished watching the first season of Commander In Chief.  Glad they changed the opening theme, which was bordering on plagiarism.  Shocked at the overuse of firing as plot device.  If the Mackenzie Allen Administration were a ball club, there’d be no NOBs on their uniforms.
  • There are some old posts that need some tweaking.  Less than a handful.  If you’ve found this blog and have been working to catch up, and notice an error, my bad.  They’ll be fixed Thursday night.
  • There’s this continued business of a Mets Hall Of Fame been discussed in and around the intertubes.  I had an idea from way back that, if time permits this week, I will attempt to explain cogently.  I’d planned to write about it in the off-season, but I feel inspired.
  • Nathan’s is delicious.  Mmm… nitrates.
nathan's.jpg
I will be at the park tomorrow for Mets-Marlins.  This game will be a Tim Redding joint, featuring more likely than not the return of Carlos Beltran, and hopefully the purchase of my very own Section Five Twenty-Eight T-shirt, which will be much appreciated, as I never washed my jersey after that last monsoon, and it reeks of urban rain and desperation.
Hope your Labor Day was fun and safe.  Time to kick it into gear for the stretch run.  Yes… the stretch run.
Let’s go Mets!

As much as everyone likes pictures, it’s been my experience that more still enjoy lists. 

Not necessarily of things one is responsible for getting done (because who enjoys responsibility, especially when they’re doing what they’d rather not?) but of things that fall under some other–any other–topic. 

In fact, I can put together a list of five random list topics:

  • “Things I Wish I’d Said To My Third-Grade Teacher” 
  • “People I’d Shake Vigorously If Given The Chance”
  • “Best Ways To Avoid Drinking That Goop They Give You Before An Endoscopy”
  • “Bad Songs Heard Blaring From A Souped-Up El Camino”
  • “Words That End In &^!”

There will be plenty of Mets lists to go around at the end of the 2009 season.  I’d like to think that at least some of them will be useful to the front office.  I will make my own, I’m sure, though now is not the time: the team is still technically alive and deserves our continued attention, devotion, and respect.  If there is a corpse to pick over in October, this site will do so with the greatest of care. 

(Similarly, you don’t read here any squawking about how bad the Nationals were in ’09.  Season’s just not over yet.  Also, this is a Mets blog.)

I have, however, taken fifteen minutes out of my lunch hour to solidify my plans for Labor Day weekend, and in so doing believe I have a proper and appropriate list:

“Things Which Seemed Like A Good Idea On Wednesday, September 2”

Gratuitous link.

These are the kinds of plans made when one’s spouse is so far away that good sense can’t possibly prevail.