Archives for posts with tag: Jose Reyes

Hey, remember this guy?

reyes photo.jpgYeah, you do. 

No sooner than after I re-sized that image and wondered what was going on with Jose did I come upon this report from Ben Shpigel at The New York Times, and that paired with this makes me wish I could catch the next plane to Florida.  If you don’t believe in click-throughs, this for me is the money callout:

“This is really the first day that I feel like I’ve made a lot of
progress in everything I did on the field,” Reyes said. “Taking ground
balls, very good. Hitting from both sides, very good. When I run now,
I’m able to pick my knee up higher. Before, I felt like I was running
with one leg.”

Con respeto, Jose: I think “running with one leg” is called “hopping.”

Two Boots Pizzeria (now Tavern) down on Grand Street is starting to grow on me.  I met the owner, Phil Hartman, prior to the “Amazin’ Tuesdays” event and the concurrent Mets-Nationals game (L, 4-0), and he seemed like a swell guy.  A swell guy who can push a mean cocktail.  A swell guy who knew from the get that the rumors about Roy Halladay were just that.

A swell guy who sure likes his baseball cards.  They grow on his walls like kudzu.

baseball cards.jpgI question the reasoning behind placing Luis Castillo within the Bob Ojeda/Doug Flynn/Ron Darling trio; I can’t imagine what a conversation between those four would be like. 

Swap out Doug Flynn for Lenny Dykstra, and I think you have the makings of a brawl or an odd stoner comedy.

If you then swap out Ron Darling for Mookie Wilson, you’ve got the cast of Police Academy 9.

Which brings me to this: I tell anyone who’ll listen to me that Doug Flynn was actually Steve Guttenberg in disguise.  No one ever listens.  Ever.  I believe this baseball card confirms my suspicions, and I hereby demand a Senate select committee be organized to investigate the subject. 

Or, at the very least, for someone to listen to my “Doug Flynn Is Steve Guttenberg, Goddamn It” Theory.  It fits.  It ALL fits.

Last night’s event, hosted by the aforementioned Hartman, Faith and Fear in Flushing‘s Greg Prince, and Mets By The Numberss Jon Springer, sported a line-up that held infinitely more interest than the line-up presented by Jerry Manuel for the Mets tussle with the Nats.  Greg Prince read selections from his book and his blog; Jon Springer walked us through Tom Seaver’s (eventual) signing with the Mets; Paul Lukas of Uni Watch had the sadistic thrill of giving us a quiz on Mets uniform history; Matt Silverman (co-author of Shea Good-bye) came bearing costume props.

By comparison, no two Mets got back-to-back hits.  Omir Santos went hitless through three at-bats and six pitches.  Chowdah dropped a decently-easy flyout.  Oliver Perez walked six and hit Nyjer Morgan, and gave up four earned runs, yet in an example of why I should pack my bags and move to Bartlesville, Oklahoma, managed to LOWER his ERA a few ticks (7.99 before the game to 7.68 after).  I mean, I think I just heard my brain make a squelching sound.  That can’t be good.  It just can’t.

phil hartman.jpgMr. Hartman, above, speaking to the crowd which was a bit restive, honestly.  I blame it on a child’s massive birthday party jammed into a few booths in the unseen foreground.  

Mr. Hartman made it known that every Two Boots is a Mets safe harbor.  That’s for your edification; when I need to hide away as a Mets fan, I run out to New Haven, CT.  It’s been my observation that few people there seem to care about baseball.

greg prince reads.jpg

Greg Prince’s first selection prepped the crowd for the rest of the night’s direct baseball experience: some fans, when faced with daunting odds and dispiriting conditions, watch for the simple reason that “there’s no use giving up now.”  
What a statement.  A bizarre oxymoron of a paradox, that when applied to the current Mets season seems to cry out for a force majeure abbreviation of the year: vacant Citi Field hit by meteor; the sudden and utter bankrupting of the Mets holding company, leaving their employees unpaid until such a time as a Kirk Kerkorian-type comes in to mop up the remnants like a slice of white bread on a Thanksgiving dinner plate; a plague of locusts.  Any of these would be unwelcome occurrences.  But certainly spectacular in their uniqueness.  As I’ve said, the Mets in their current state are in Crisis.  But it ain’t Ragnarok.

Mr. Prince would read a few more times in the interstices–and for those unfamiliar with his ability to paint a picture with words, I highly recommend his blog and his book–but as the evening wore on it saw the arrival of other faces:

jon springer speaks.jpgJon Springer’s treatise on Tom Seaver’s Mets Eightfold Path was quite thorough.  I was halfway through a slice of pizza and so I had to look it up myself later.  But what YOU can do is either write to Mr. Springer through his website (he seems like an approachable fellow); visit Tom Seaver’s Wikipedia page, or pick up Mets By The Numbers or Peter Golenbock’s Amazin’: The Miraculous History Of New York’s Most Beloved Baseball Team.  

However, if you’re going to drill through Wikipedia’s sources and pick up the Golenbock book, pick it up in a library.  Why?  Here.  Getting Tom Seaver’s full name INCORRECT is INEXCUSABLE.  And if your editor made the change, what are you doing not catching something like that?
Lord.  Anyway, any way you can get this story without me making a hash of a retread on a shingle. Essentially, it’s a wonder how the Mets’ most legendary pitcher and one of the premiere pitchers of the game came to them literally through luck of multiple draws.

springer and lukas.jpgSpringer then introduced Paul Lukas, of Uni Watch, who proceeded to hand out sheets of paper.  Quiz time.

Now, I went to Bennington College, and Bennington regularly cranks out professionals who break into a flop sweat whenever quizzes, tests, or full-on exams are in the offing.  The school is home to the narrative evaluation, which is hell on anyone who decides they’ve had enough lack of structure and splits for a school with, you know, grades.

So I can’t stand quizzes.  I let paper pass me by and listened.  My guess is I could’ve answered five or six of the questions, based not on observation but inference and intuition.

Observation: no Met has worn number 98.  Not that I’ve seen, anyway.
Inference and intuition: I don’t recall well the second verse of “Meet The Mets,” but I figure “All the fans are true to the orange and blue” is a lyric, while “when they suit up to play, the other team runs away” is more than likely not.  Teams are not often in the habit of running away from the Mets.
You can find the quiz at Mr. Lukas’s blog here.  He will post answers tomorrow, but tonight you can see the winners there.
lukas's stirrups.jpg
And hell, while I’m linking to every other webpage in existence, read thoughts from one of the winners over at the blog Mets Police.
…Almost makes me wonder if the Mets have a higher ratio of blogging fans to fans who don’t blog than any other sub-.500 club.
(By the by, I spoke with Mr. Lukas at the end of the event, and he was kind enough to pose with his ’70s era Mets stirrups, which you can see on your right, there.  I’m just about done with society if stirrups make any sort of pop-culture comeback (were they ever in? My sister seems to think so), but I’m all for team pride, however it manifests itself.
Besides which, he seemed to accept my reasoning for wearing black Mets paraphrenalia, i.e. I’m a messy eater.  So there’s that.  General fealty paid to a man whose attention to detail simultaneously awes and deflates me.  Fantastic.
Speaking of Mets paraphrenalia…)
Matt Silverman wound up the night with an extended passage from his book, co-authored by Keith Hernandez.  Now, I didn’t notice this last night, but in going over my photos from the event, I found something delightfully shocking.  Ready for more pictures?  Are you even answering these questions aloud as you read?  Am I that hard up for comic material?  It never ends.
matt silverman.jpg
Ignore the dude in the lower right-hand corner, who looks as though he’s posing for a freeze frame in the title sequence for Boston Public.  Focus on Matt Silverman’s shirt.
Magnify, and enhance!
matt silverman's shirt.jpg
Yes.  Matt Silverman owns a Mets tropical leisure shirt.  And to boot, it looks as though it’s been worn lovingly over the course of several years; unless they come like that.
Mr. Silverman cemented his legend of cool when, upon quoting Keith Hernandez’s recollection of shooting his epic episode of Seinfeld, he pulled out the coup de grace:
matt as keith.jpg
Keith Hernandez mustache.  Brilliant.
I haven’t read Shea Goodbye, but I have an interminable Sunday at Newark Airport ahead of me, and I’m done with A Fan’s Notes, which, again, has very little to do with sports and nothing to do with Mets baseball, having been written before the Mets had ever put together a winning season.  I think it’s up next.
All in all, though, a great time, despite the fact that I am now 0-4 at Mets events outside the confines of a ball park.  The next event is scheduled for late August, and I imagine I’ll be there.  The September event is to be held on my birthday, and I can’t say as I’ll be in any decent shape to attend.  However, if that night’s honored guests should include any former Met, or Steve Guttenberg, I’ll be there, too.
But you, dear reader, have no excuse.  Unless you live outside the Greater New York metropolitan area.  Or you’re not necessarily a Mets fan.  Or you’re in jail, or visiting your sick grandmother, or have an insanely hot date planned that night.
In those instances and those instances ALONE, missing these events is acceptable.

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.

Alternate verses as titles included:

Roses are red,

Violets are blue;

The Mets lost 11-0 last night.

Goddamn it.

And:

There once was a Met from Nantucket,

who slipped in the shower and was placed on the 60-day DL.

And:

Let us go then, you and I,

where the diamond is spread out against the sky,

like an athlete prostrate upon the trainer’s table…

That last one comes courtesy of T.S. Eliot, a poet of great renown and a whack job late in life. But that’s what happens when you write Cats.  But what happens when you helm a team that can only score three runs over nine innings then only manages two hits the following night?  I don’t know the answer to that question.  Stop asking me.

Chowdah At Foley's.jpg

This was part of the scene on Thursday at Foley’s NY, where Frank Messina, the “Mets Poet” and author of Full Count: The Book Of Mets Poetry, regaled the back room with some verse, delivered in the best Beat tradition, just before the game against Atlanta.
(Links to various characters in this story will follow at the end of this post.  To your left is Chowdah, speaking to Kevin Burkhardt prior to the game’s start.)
I’m fairly new to the art of showing up with camera and note-taking capacity; as I’m not covering a session of the General Assembly or the death of an elected official or even a community board meeting, I find it best to show up, act respectful and casual, and go with the flow.  For a reason unknown to me, I ratchet up my deference whenever I walk into an Irish bar.  I might as well be in dress uniform.
I don’t get it; I’m not generally disrespectful in any other public setting, so it’s not like I’m bringing my game up to par.  But most places will elicit from me a “Thanks, friend,” or an, “I’m fine; how’re YOU doin’, guy?”
But in an Irish bar, I become a halfway-timid collection of curt head-nods, “sirs” and “ma’ams” and “thank-you-most-kindlys.” Stranger still to be this way at Foley’s, which is what ESPN’s set and costume warehouse would look like if the world were suffering under the heel of a massive conspiracy called Organized Sport, arranged and executed by all manner of media.  
Foley’s owner, Shaun Clancy, greeted me and introduced me to Mr. Messina, who made sure I was where he was told the action was going to be.  Before long I was drinking a beer and chowing down on the David Wright Sandwich.  (I recommend it if you like buffalo sauce and bleu cheese dressing.  Otherwise, stay away.)
Frank Messina Reads.jpg
Mr. Messina read perhaps five or six installments.  Most notable was a poem titled “Psycho Chick,” which tells the story of a woman less interested in the game she’s brought to by her date than with causing trouble for the man, in the name of fun.  I’ve never been on the Kiss Cam, but if I were, I’d like it to be without the stigma of having “METS SUCK” written on my forehead in lipstick.
Mr. Messina read to the delight and, on occasion, participation of those there, and afterwards, stuck around for the game, at one point inviting me to join his group.  You can see part of that group seated at the table with the gentleman in the white Mets jersey.  It was a fine way to spend a Thursday evening and eventual Mets loss.  
Howard Johnson Baseball Card.jpg
I sat at the Howard Johnson table, thinking perhaps this would bring some free-swinging mojo to the team.  Sadly, I have no mojo to impart.  Such is the way this season’s going.  In fact, about a block away from the bar I tripped on what I have to think was a rat, and messed up my shoe in the landing or messed up my foot.  Either way, I’m wearing Sperry Top-Siders until further notice, as the thought of walking with any arch support sends shockwaves through my sole.
My thanks to Mr. Messina for his hospitality and gregariousness.  It’s not necessarily uncommon to find such a person or group of persons in New York; what disarms time and again is just how similar our experiences can be, even in a town as large as this.
Additionally, Mr. Messina, my thanks for your patience as I told the story of last year’s Caribbean Night at Shea–a story I always start off by saying, “Let me tell you about the most obnoxious I’ve ever been at a baseball game.”  I’m sure at some point in the lean off-season months I’ll need material, so I’ll save that story for then.  But Thursday night left me eventually so comfortable that I could relate a tale of utter awfulness to a near-complete stranger.  A great little recharge for a guy who sometimes gets so bogged down in the details he neglects to consider the masses he passes daily.
**
They say Sheffield has a cramp.  I believe nothing that comes from the trainer’s room these days.  Nothing.  Day in and out I’ll watch the boys go to war with whomever they have, but in the interstices?  Dead to me.  That whole training crew.  Even if it isn’t their fault.
And that blanket statement will serve as a nice eventual segue to my other point, which I’ll make in a bit. 
I believe it is acceptable to indict a crew for perceived ineptitude.  The stories of J.J. Putz and Carlos Beltran and Jose Reyes unfolded like a coffee drip in zero-G.  Those daily updates before their respective shut-downs were sins of omission.  
No, Ray Ramirez isn’t running out to talk to the press every day; that’s not his job.  But if he or anyone on his team are watching this train wreck unfold and not looking within to discover a larger problem, then they’re deluding themselves.  If they are and find their words being distorted by the front o
ffice, they have an obligation to speak up independent of that office, to save their hides.  The Mets are not the Mafia; speaking truth to power will not earn you cement shoes and a trip to the Hudson.  At the worst it’ll earn you a dismissal and a clear conscience, and a subsequent consultation with a civil attorney.
A not-insignificant percentage of this roster has gone down to injury, yet that is not what sticks in my craw.  Injuries happen.  Even a raft of injuries such as what we’ve seen unfold.  The communication of the NATURE of such injuries is what’s GODAWFUL, and plenty fixable.  Damage is being done due to poor internal judgment of the timbre of the wail outside the gates.  It is not noble at this point to hold to the party line and watch that line shift day in and day out.  I’ve quit jobs because management couldn’t communicate effectively its dire straits; both times I was right to have done so.  Both firms are in fairly deep trouble now.
There is a perception held by Mets fans that the training crew is incompetent and the PR team works as a disinformation machine, and that perception does not serve the fans or the club.  If someone in there cares about what they’re doing and can explain what’s going on, they should get out and speak up, and damn the consequences.  Even if what’s going on is nothing save examinations which initially reveal one thing, then later reveal another, and indecisiveness as to handle the situation.  At this point, the silence is what’s deafening.
If you can’t fix the team, fix yourself and be honest about it, and you’ll fix the fans.  Else seek a merge with the Nationals.  They, too, have come to a point where individual troubles have mounted to become a desperate reality, and can’t seem to get out of their own way for the sake of rational, reasoned, professional operation.
Ergo segue:
**
While waiting for Mr. Messina to begin reading, I took out the BlackBerry and read Marty Noble’s mailbag segment on the Mets.com website.  Something I read there continues to bother me.  Link at the end of the post, but here’s what’s pertinent:

One of the comments at the end of one your stories said you’re a Yankees fan. Is that true? How can you be a Yankees fan and write about the Mets?

— Allen S., Jersey City, N.J.

Some place in the past five years, I said or wrote that I was a Yankees fan as a kid. That was true and remains true. I still am a fan of the Yankees of the 1950s and early ’60s. But the “Lone Ranger” was my favorite show then, too. Some things change.

But you don’t have to be a fan of the team you cover. Indeed, you shouldn’t be. Objectivity is critical and impossible if you’re rooting. I’m a fan of good baseball and games with good, writable angles. And yes, a fan of the Mickey Mantle-Whitey Ford-Yogi Berra Yankees. And I have Lone Ranger DVD’s.

No, you don’t have to be a fan of the team you cover.  Objectivity is critical.  Right on those scores.

However, I disagree with Mr. Noble’s statement that one shouldn’t be a fan of the team one covers, and that objectivity is impossible if you’re rooting.  In fact, I disagree vigorously with that.
Rather, one should be a good enough reporter to set personal differences or common interests aside to tell the story objectively.  If you’re a fan; if you’re not a fan.  Humans DO have that capacity.  It doesn’t stop at reporting; it doesn’t stop at one’s profession.
The Wife used to work the butcher counter at Whole Foods.  The Wife’s a strict vegetarian.
A colleague went upstate this past weekend to marry a good friend to a woman who, by all accounts, is a MAJOR harpy.
If I attended a Braves game versus the Cardinals (I have problems with characters on both teams), and the Cardinals had led 11-0 going into the eighth, but the Braves roared back and won the game 12-11 (legitimately; not by Yadier Molina catching Mackey Sasser Syndrome or something), I’d be stoked to have been witness to such a feat.  There’s no joy in the Cardinals’ misfortune there.
If the Mets spit the bit during a game with playoff implications, it is possible to still love the Mets and speak evenly about how they so unabashedly screwed several pooches, a goat, and Acts Three and Four of Rush’s “By Tor & The Snow Dog.”
I’ve stated publicly and on this blog that I’m no Yankees-hater.  Were I around when the Dodgers played in Brooklyn, I’d probably be a Dodgers fan, but how can one not admire the Yankee teams of Mantle and Ford and Berra, before and after the Dodgers split?  
Dislike people who are soundly reported to be of poor character.  Find suspect those whose reputations are on the line yet seem to do nothing to repair them.  Be sure they answer to you in some way, whether through investment or inseparable proximity, or whatever you choose.  But I find it lazy to use one’s job as a reason not to engage in the same reality of interest and passion that most the rest of us share.
I feel as though I should extend this to a discussion of relativism.  We’ll see if I’m still annoyed later.  For now, I think I’ve at least started to make my point.
Let’s go Mets!
*Here come the links.  PLACES, everyone!

Frank Messina’s website is here.  You can buy his book from Amazon.com by going here.  Pick it up, and seek Frank out; he’s a great guy.

Foley’s NY is on 18 West 33rd Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, and you can see/read more about the place by going here.  If you enjoy a pint and have mild and undiagnosed Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (as I do), you’ll be hard-pressed to find such a busily decorated place in the city.  They’ve got a life-sized cutout of Don Zimmer by the urinals, for chrissakes.  Good thing it’s laminated.

Marty Noble’s Inbox article for Mets.com, from July 16, 2009, can be found here.

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.

Yes.  Latin this early in the morning, after significant pop culture events conspire to make late-night YouTube hounds of us all. 

There’s no real good video for “Human Nature.”  My friend–of the baseball-learning the other evening–prefers “Man In The Mirror.”  To each their own.

Post hoc, ergo propter hoc.  After this, therefore because.  Id est (i.e.) gibberish.  But good gibberish.  Gibberish we live with on a daily basis.  I had socks.  You came over.  You left.  Socks are no longer where they were.  Never mind an enterprising soul put them in the wash; you took my socks!

In sport, interesting: the Mets were losing and listless.  Bring up Nick Evans.  Nick Evans drives in the coffin runs of the last two victories over the Cardinals (yesterday’s game: W, 3-2).  The reason the Mets were losing and listless was they didn’t have Nick “The Executioner” Evans.

I like Nick Evans and I love that bat stroke he’s got.  I also remember last year’s Colorado series where he came up and was an RBI-doubles machine, then fell off the proverbial cliff.  Back then, the reason why the Mets were losing and listless was the presence in the line-up of Nick “the Black Hole” Evans.

The Mets could be a lot better if Fernando Tatis wasn’t playing, hitting into double plays.  And then a blooper before Ryan Ludwick, and some decent stuff the night before.

Chris Carpenter takes a no-hitter into the fourth.  Ralph Kiner comes into the booth, and talks about Carpenter’s no-hitter, my roommate says.  Sure enough; no-hitter gone.  Mets with life.  (UPDATE: Brooklyn Met Fan appears to love him some Ralph Kiner.)

I love baseball, but at what I believe is the halfway point in my 2009 Citi Field Splurge Pack, causality is starting to wear me a bit thin.  It makes me want to walk into the park tonight and spout all sorts of nonsense about Pelfrey’s prowess and Sabathia’s lack thereof. 

(If I happen to see him, I will demand that Danny Meyer start pumping some distracting Blue Smoke aroma towards the field earlier than the fourth or fifth inning. …That’s a half-joke about Sabathia being a big guy.)

I’m excited for tonight’s game, as I always am, but I’m already sanguine about a letdown and in that, am anticipating a let down.  They took three of four from the Cardinals and lose to the Yankees.  The reason why they lost to the Yankees was that they took three of four from the Cardinals, and any sub-reason you’d like to assign.  No.  Gibberish.

They’ll lose to the Yankees because they won three of four against the Cardinals–the lesser known *** hoc ergo propter hoc, but the stock in trade of pessimists.  No.  Backwards gibberish.

(UPDATE: MLBlogs Network, I’m trying to keep a PG blog yet I’m citing Latinate phrases.  Is there REALLY a need to censor the Latin?  Can’t we find a censor that will accept contextual conditionals? 

Ugh.

Go here and read what I meant to have displayed.  Giggle like a pre-teen if you must.)

The latter softens the coming blow and the former takes the rest of the sting out of it.  The Mets are not invincible.  They weren’t in any year they played games in October.  But on this Friday morning, post hoc and *** hoc (…Lord, give me the strength…) seem to be defying the laws of physics: negative plus negative does not equal more negative, does not equal zilch.  Negative plus negative equals positive.  Hell. The Mets can take this game.  They can take the series.  They can go on a ten-game winning streak, and play Delgado and J. Reyes off the bench when they come back.  Exciting thoughts.

I have no real clue.  I’m trying to remember if I called Wilson Valdez “Wilmer” the other night.  I know my prospects but I only sort of remember my Joe Cool DFAs.  I haven’t done laundry and my “I’m Calling It Shea” T-shirt could’ve benefited from the Peter Venkman Ghostbusters II treatment: a couple hours hanging outside the window, and it’s fine.  Why am I wearing it?

Because I’m avoiding the object lessons of logical fallacies, as explained by smarmy damned Latin.  It’s come to this.  When I start pulling out my eyelashes and making wishes on them, you’ll know I’ve gone Stratosphere.

Mets vs. Yankees.  Pelfrey vs. Sabathia.  Bring on the voodoo dolls and the gypsy curses.

I watched the game last night against the St. Louis Cardinals (W, 6-4) in stages.  The first stage: Upper East Side of Manhattan, where I took notes in my head and quickly forgot them upon watching a plate of fried calamari get confiscated for… what?  Why take the plate away?  There was still food there; I was still eating it.  There was no signal.  I don’t care what you say.

Unbelievable.

The second stage, Brooklyn.  Pacific Standard on Fourth Avenue.  The MOST delicious microbrews.  I took full advantage.  And here now, are the full extent of the notes I took, unedited:

Different Stokes to move the world
Double paly on Pujols
How does castillo beat out that infield hit?
Guy Keith was demo-ing on was Schumaker
Dennys reyes can’t handle Fmart’s bunt
Yadier Molina has farty pants

I suppose he does have farty pants.  Let’s go down the line:

  • I feel like I watched Brian Stokes set up Albert Pujols in slow-motion.  It was satisfying turning to a fellow viewer, sitting to my left, and saying, “Double play.  Coming right now.”  And, sure enough.  Thanks for buying the pint, whoever the hell you are.
  • Hopefully I didn’t say actually say to her, “Double paly on Pujols.”  That would’ve been unfortunate.
  • I don’t know how Castillo beat out that throw for an infield hit.  I also don’t know how Omir Santos went 4 for 4, and I literally don’t know how Daniel Murphy hit that home run.  I was on the subway at that point, hustling to Brooklyn; as yet I’ve not watched the replay. (INSTANT UPDATE: he got a good turn on himself and powered through what appeared to be an unhealthy curve from Todd Wellemeyer.  Nice.)
  • I don’t quite know whether Keith was talking about Skip Schumaker, or Brendan Ryan, or Rick Ankiel, or what.  But I believe his pants were corduroy.  Anyone watching the game on SNY knows what I’m talking about.  The only thing more hilarious than seeing Keith Hernandez out of his chair in demo mode during a broadcast is how serious Ron Darling and Gary Cohen seemed to take it.  Ron was especially close to the danger zone.
  • I do know that Dennys Reyes didn’t look in any shape last night to handle a bunt, and sure enough he didn’t.  Can’t give Fernando Martinez a hit to help his average, but it helped the team, and that was enough.
  • I’ve already commented on Yadier Molina.

Think about the heartburn going into the bottom of the eighth, and think about how the bottom half of the line-up (though with these players, is there a bottom half of the line-up anymore?) manufactured a run:

Luis Castillo: infield single.

Fernando Martinez in for Stokes: bunt between Dennys Reyes and Yadier Molina.

Alex Cora: single up the middle on Dennys Reyes.  No extension on Reyes’s part to catch it because he can’t leave his feet; Cora safe; Luis Castillo scores.  Yadier Molina goes nanners.

The digital zoom on the camera catching the money end of the third base line had Castillo safe.  Molina catches it, Castillo geeks out, and grabs the plate as Molina tries to apply the tag.  It was close, but Castillo was in.

The run gives Frankie Rodriguez wiggle room against the middle of the Cardinals’ order.  Now, the middle of the Cardinals’ order isn’t exactly setting the world on fire, but today’s Mets aren’t sure things when it comes to putting out fires.  There was nothing more poetic, by the way, than yesterday’s crash on the RFK Bridge involving trainer Ray Ramirez, Jose Reyes, and a fire truck.  On the day that Carlos Beltran goes on the DL. 

I love a metaphor as much as the next guy, but c’mon.

I guess until Tim Redding loses a game, I can keep calling him Teflon Tim.  Dear Tim Redding: don’t lose any games.  We need them.  Love, Paul.  P.S.: Don’t call me.  Your facial hair is frightening.

**

Oliver Perez pitched in Port St. Luice yesterday.  Against the Charlotte Stone Crabs.

Here’s the recap.

I would review, but… no.  Just… no.

CHARLOTTE.  STONE.  CRABS.