Archives for posts with tag: Luis Castillo

I’ve little to say about yesterday’s loss, except that I didn’t see the thing at all.  I missed Frankie Rodriguez giving up the grand slam, and much like Luis Castillo’s dropped pop-up at Yankee Stadium (“The Play,” I’ve been calling it, for no other reason than I enjoy definite articles and initial caps), I don’t know that I ever want to see it.

I’ll vacillate, I’m sure.  No one who buys a ticket to a Mets game this late in the season doesn’t wonder if he must complete the circle of masochism by exposing himself to all sorts of baseball horror, like Jimmy Fallon’s character in Fever Pitch, sealing himself off in his apartment and watching tape of the end of Game 6 over and over again. 

“…behind the bag, and it gets through Buckner!” 

But for now, I’m excusing myself.  It’s in the past.

Jose Reyes has a torn hamstring, which completes that particular circle and starts a new one.  Won’t be verbally tearing anyone a new anything based on this news; I stated yesterday that we as fans need to start asking the right kind of pointed questions if we want to see changes made with this team.  I’ve no earthly idea what the right kind of question is re: Jose Reyes, and I don’t think I’ll work too hard to think about it today.  Again, excusing myself.

The Times sent Ben Shpigel to cover Jerry Manuel and someone there–whether Shpigel, his editor, or a merciful web tech–gave it the frame of Tuesday’s loss, not yesterday’s.  So they’re ignoring it, too.  Not shirking their responsibility, as they have repeatedly over the past few weeks, but ignoring what is too much pain.  With sardonic humor that makes me want to lie down and take a nap, too: check out the graphic.  “Finally, a Lead In the N.L. East.”  You can’t see it, but I’m making a rude gesture with my finger.

And yes, sure, fine, the Mets gave Mariano Rivera the pitching rubber from his five hundredth save, and I’m coming quickly to the belief that this will become the talking point on ownership ineptitude.  But for my money, the man can take whatever pitching rubbers the Mets want to give them, as long as the Mets learn to beat tough opponents and stomp on turkeys.

It’s the man’s 500th save; the Mets put the Yankees in the position of making it happen, and the game’s long since done.  Let’s not condemn people for trying to be good sports; let’s be smarter, healthier, and more productive with our ire.  Or let’s dump it entirely and go play some ultimate frisbee before it gets too cold out.

Truly, the only problem I have with the USA Today article, besides it being a product of USA Today, is the Pettitte quote:

“You guys haven’t changed from Day 1. Y’all deserve it,” Pettitte said.
“Obviously, we are so proud of y’all. It has been a privilege and an
honor to play alongside of y’all.”

He should’ve said, “Y’all haven’t changed from Day 1,” and cemented his legacy.

Smarter, healthier, more productive: this is my off-season mantra.  I refuse to be, figuratively or in practice, the guy who sits in his room and watches tape of awful play in garbage time, or gets hot and bothered about people doing things which are generally nice. 

There are a whole host of things to batter the Mets for.  Allowing that loss yesterday is something to take to the players.  Jose Reyes’s hamstring is something to take to the trainers, the doctors, and the front office. 

The stuff about the Times is something to take to the Times.  And the pitching rubber thing is something to let go.

Time to seize the day.

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Gary Cohen called this loss to the Nationals “a head-scratcher.”  I don’t think so, Gary. 

Twice the Mets loaded the bases with nobody out, and nothing came of it.  Anderson Hernandez’s and Luis Castillo’s brains squelched so hard in the bottom of the eighth I heard it on my BlackBerry. 

Why the BlackBerry, you ask?  Because I’m in full Sean Green Evasion mode, and once Jerry Manuel came to retrieve Pedro Feliciano, I switched over to the Yankees game until my phone told me it was safe to return.

So a full inability to capitalize on prime run-scoring opportunities, some hideous errors, the usual blend of swinging at high fastballs (Chowdah) and junk down and outside (everyone else), and an amazing grab by Elijah Dukes to seal it.  That’s not a head-scratcher.  Head-bower, headbanger, head-shaker: all, certainly.  But not a head-scratcher.

If you want something that mildly confused me, I’m going for the digital board that makes up most of the right field wall at Nationals Park.  How is this not a game obstruction?  It’s bright as blazes and they like to run wacky nonsense on it just before the ball’s in play.  Horrible for anyone at the plate with halfway decent peripheral vision.  So it’s a good thing no one there’s expected to hit a ball that’s three-quarters the size of my fist that’s hurtling at ninety-plus miles per hour.

Also irritating for fielders.  Even if the thing isn’t dancing around like an epileptic on Red Bull, if I have to turn to make up distance to the warning track, then flip around to catch the ball on the fly, I’m going to hesitate for a minor second to readjust, so I can pick up that tiny white speck against inky black sky.  Onset glaucoma or no, you’re going to have trouble.

Ugh.  Weak.  Get ’em tomorrow.

Letters.  I get letters. I get half a dozen letters.
 
Letters:

**These have been sanitized and edited, lightly, to keep my head from blowing off. There’s such a thing as a difference between a plural and a possessive, folks. 

If you’d like, email me at omniality [at] gmail [dot] com.
 

“Like your idea about the Mets Museum, but it’s just too small. 200,
300 people? That park holds THOUSANDS. Space is too small and they’ll
never do it. Even if, I could just see them ****ing it up like
everything else.”

 
Think I should work backward here:
 

  • I don’t grant the premise that the Mets **** up everything.

  • They either will or they won’t. I think space is the least of the concerns with the idea. Harder still is the thought that they’d be into putting together the workforce to produce these segments, to say nothing about handing over some editorial control to these guys.

  • Putting this together would appear to require a sea change in the way the ownership and management thinks about the team. It’s hard to put yourself in the position of teaching tool, showing your team’s great plays even if they came in a loss.  That’s before wrangling together all the permissions and partnerships.  That doesn’t mean I don’t think it’s worth it; that just means it’d be hard. Shouldn’t shy away from hard, though.

  • I think the viewing rooms should hold two to three hundred in aggregate. The museum itself (adding the Hall Of Fame stuff to it) could hold a hundred or a couple hundred more. I’ll take a look at the spot I posited again, but that was really just a general suggestion of where to put it, if on the current property.  I don’t think you want it any bigger than four hundred; that becomes a bear to evacuate in case of emergency. Additionally, people should be coming to see the game, not the museum. This should be a novelty.

 
There were a couple of other emails that fell into the same general category.  In fact, two were nearly identical:
 

“They’ll never go for it. Too expensive and Madoff Madeoff-ha-with too much of their $$.”

 
That Madoff/Madeoff thing is getting old. Guy’s in prison; it’s done.
 
But given what could be made on DVD compilations of the sets (“Watch May’s Mets Museum Series from the comfort of your own home! Only $15.99!”), and the uptick in concessions sales you’d see by getting people to the park a couple hours earlier, I think the trade-off is worthwhile.
 
What we’re really talking about is a way to get more people to the park, increase revenue and develop new streams of it, and changing the way people perceive ownership/management when it comes to handling the Mets’ image.
 
I’m not saying it’ll ever happen. I’m just saying it’s more interesting for me to think about than trying to gin up trade ideas. Not that I don’t do that, either. And on that note:
 

“Why don’t you ever talk about what the Mets need for next year? Your guys are in for a world of hurt”

 
Quickly? Left fielder, righty off the bench. Second, third starters. A way to get rid of Fauxhawk’s (Oliver Perez’s) contract. A legitimate first baseman. A quality backup infielder that’s SPEEDY.
 
A time machine for Fernando Tatis. A deal with the devil to lock Luis Castillo into his 2009 form. A cage in which to lock Sean Green whenever he’s been bad. A clue as to what to do with Bobby Parnell.
 
That’s for starters.
 
I think I mention it subtly. I don’t have their ear, and I don’t know diddly about what’s out there save for what I read on ESPN and MLB and various Mets blogs that suggest trade ideas. I’m trying to be original. Last time I ham-handedly thought a big trade was in the offing, I thought the move for Chowdah was the first step to getting Roy Halladay.
 
THAT… was incorrect.  And speaking of Chowdah:
 

“Like the blog! Good writing. Who the hell is Chowdah?”

 
Chowdah is Jeff Francoeur. Somewhere on this site is a clip from an episode of The Simpsons where Diamond Joe Quimby’s nephew berates a French waiter.
 
“Say it, Frenchy! Say ‘Chowdah’!”
 
And speaking of that:
 

“Ur a moron.”

True, but not for the reasons you may think, and not for anything listed above.

I once tried to get a friend to eat a sandwich that was just two slices of white bread and a huge honkin’ schmear of vegemite.  He said he would but we never got around to arranging a date and time to do this.  So, one lonely night, I decided I would.  And I did. And I nearly died.
 
Yet another shining example of why The Wife should wrap up grad school as soon as possible: I’m liable to kill myself if she’s away much longer.
 
I’m out to the game tonight, to catch the Mets playing the Washington Nationals in what I’m sure will be dubbed “The Blind Leading The Blind Bowl.” Seeing as how my camera is once again responding to external stimuli, but my laptop is now literally held together by duct tape, I can’t promise pictures and a recap right away.

But as the Mets are now only getting the AP and second-stringer treatment from the Times, perhaps everyone’s bar for coverage has been set a little lower.
 
Let’s go Mets!

**Written prior to reports in the local New York papers that allege certain unsavory behaviors undertaken by Mr. Sheffield.  Catch the drama from the Daily News here, Newsday here, and because I was tipped off by Metsblog but find lame the Post‘s assertion that “sources” are viable without explaining if it’s the batboy or the guy guarding the door or what, Mr. Cerrone’s reporting on the Post article here.

Yes, yes, citing second and third-hand sources.  I know, I know.  I don’t do this for a living.

If Gary Sheffield truly asked out of the line-up last night to clear his head, that’s one thing.
 
If he asked out of the line-up in order to show Mets management what they’d be missing, then, well, to quote Chad Ochocinco: child, please.
 
Odd, this business of holding out hope for a reclaimed season and understanding that the hope is based purely on the math.  Got a comment on a previous post saying the Mets should pack it in and plan for 2010, but they’d still have to overcome the daunting injury obstacles facing them in 2009.  Planning for 2010 is difficult when you don’t know what kind of shape your shortstop will be in, after missing most of the year.
 
I will now pile on regarding planning for 2010.  I don’t mean it as a piling on of the commenter at all.  I mean to pile on the sentiment, which is held by many.

Perhaps planning for 2010 means shutting certain players down for the year, even if they’re not injured.  But I get the sense you’d have to break Johan Santana’s kneecaps to keep him out, and even then, the man pitched on a bum knee and three days’ rest last year. If you broke his kneecaps, he’d probably pitch and catch.

Omir Santos is auditioning for a job and Brian Schneider is doing the same. Chowdah’s got nothing better to do but work on his swing. And the Mets paid too much money for Luis Castillo to sit him.  Pelfrey and Perez need to figure their business out on the mound. Same with Bobby Parnell, but with a lot more “aw, shucks,” and a lot less, “listen here.”
 
Really, I’d posit that injury has taken the choice out of the Mets’ hands; they HAVE shut down their best players for the year.
 
(This excludes Carlos Beltran, who is still pushing for a return. As I’ve intimated: sheer idiocy, from my vantage point. Even if they were in the hunt, he should be undergoing whatever procedure/regimen is dictated for his injury, and think about getting healthy. Ye gods, man. Do you do EVERYTHING that mole tells you to?)
 
Planning for 2010 may mean attempting a trade. Which they’re doing. But any trade to bring in a backup at short, or a first baseman for next year, or a catcher, or or or–would be highway robbery at the prices the Mets can pay, or ill-advised at the prices they might be asked to pay. Anyone on waivers is on there because they’re not that good or they’re not now worth the salary they’re drawing. Billy Wagner may be one of the scant few that can bring a player of equal value. We’ll find out soon enough.
 
Planning for 2010 may mean playing the organization’s youth. What youth?
 
I’ll be a little less glib, for the sake of killing time on the train now CRAWLING into Canal Street (I write these posts on my phone most days): anyone at triple-A lighting things up would be up. Injury has warranted the call-up of players who were closest to lighting things up. Fernando Martinez is at home, resting comfortably. One could call up a player from double-A, but one could also sign one of the kids heading to Williamsport; I hear the Little League World Series is all about the parties and not about the work, anyway.
 
No, sirs, the Mets are over a barrel and are doing, essentially, what they should be doing. Everyone who should be playing is playing. That they haven’t completely cratered is a testament to the talent on the field, such as it is.
 
Planning for 2010 means more for the fan than the team at this stage. I’m on record as saying that, even without baseball, there are still things like lemonade and barbecues and sunsets. If the team on the field is not worth watching to you, don’t watch. There are precious few days of warmth and beauty to justify spending your time on something that’s only going to prove an aggravation.  They don’t watch in Washington all the time.
 
Maybe Gary Sheffield’s thinking along those lines. Difference is, if he’s on the team, he has to be in uniform unless he’s injured. I suppose the fact that he didn’t go out there last night and tear his Achilles on a ladybug, or a napkin that drifted in from the left field landing, is a testament to his character. As a nod to that strength of person, I will not start a Gary Sheffield Hangnail Watch.
 
But man, either play or fake the hangnail to get out. Don’t be an abscess. That’s not cool.

Specifically, the one Eric Simon of Amazin’ Avenue points out as being the sum of the Mets’ starting line-up against the Diamondbacks last night (L; 6-2):

Cory Sullivan, CF
Luis Castillo, 2B
Fernando Tatis, 3B
Daniel Murphy, 1B
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Jeremy Reed, LF
Alex Cora, SS
Brian Schneider, C
Livan Hernandez, P

The Opening Day 2009 regular position players there are Luis Castillo and Brian Schneider.  That’s it.

Allow me to play to type, and quote The Simpsons.  Specifically, the Season Three episode “Homer At The Bat”:

Mr. Burns: “The only way we can lose is if our nine ringers befall nine separate misfortunes.  But that will never happen.  Three misfortunes?  That’s possible.  Seven misfortunes?  There’s an outside chance.  But NINE misfortunes?  I’d like to see that.”

Methinks Darryl Strawberry could’ve taken Max Scherzer to school last night.  Though maybe this happened last night:

Mr. Manuel: “Francoeur!  Hit a home run!”
Chowdah: “Okay, skip!”
::Crack of bat.  Roar of crowd.::
Mr. Manuel: “Heh… I TOLD him to do that.”
Sandy Alomar: “Brilliant stratagem, sir.”

So it’s come to this: picturing the Mets as a cartoon’s bad-news company softball team.

Time to get the morning pressure in my eyeball checked.  Exciting.  Mets play at 3:40p today, and we the fans get a sorely-needed off day Thursday.

Let’s go Mets, in whatever compound form they choose to take.

*Note: Watch the commentary on that Simpsons episode, and you’ll learn that Roger Clemens is just as much a jerk to people making a semi-sophisticated cartoon as he is to people who question what he’s doing with syringes in his possession.  That Strawberry is the goody two-shoes of the team… oh, man. 

Thing about a doctor’s orders to “relax” is that one can never be quite sure what form relaxing should take.  There are certain red lines:

  • don’t do anything which would make you want to jump up and down, angrily;
  • don’t do anything which would make you want to put your fist in anything (in anger; settle, children, settle);
  • don’t do anything which would lead to a headache.

Thus I’ve been without significant word from the Mets since Tuesday, when, among other things, Luis Castillo forgot how to put one foot in front of the other and sprained his ankle.  How to keep track?

Check the word on my Mets BlackBerry widget.  Loss, brake, honk.  Loss, brake, honk.  Honk, honk, punch.  Gas, gas, gas.

Occasionally catch a glimpse while stationed at a bar, “relaxing” after a bleak, monochromatic film.  Erase that relaxation by losing a game of pool, then getting schooled in darts, then discussing the finer points of web marketing and audience share.

Glimpse at the back page of tabloid sports sections Squint to see if there happens to be some diagonally-applied Mets-Orange banner across the corner of a full-color photo of Yankee bliss at Boston’s expense. (“Yankee bliss” is not stated with a dash, dollop, or deluge of bitterness; in other remarks, that Okajima guy looks about four years old.)  Determine if banner is positive or negative.  Excise all memory of squinting, so ophthalmologist doesn’t give YOU the stink-eye.

There was little real peace, even when getting word while at a sparsely-attended yet quite fun house party late Saturday night.  The party wrecked all chance of decent sleep that night; against further orders, I took down a twenty-ounce bottle of soda and was wired.

Yes.  I’m that guy.  Beer, liquor, greasy foods, sure.  Caffeine?  Rarely.  Very rarely.

So it came to pass that after a fitful sleep led me to sticky Sunday sun, and The Wife’s desire to have me find some sort of sewer grate or manhole cover or some kind of something with a striped bass on it (for a presentation she’s working on down in North Carolina), and a few episodes of Californication, I found the couch and a blissful nap.

When I came to–one wakes in the fall, rises in the winter, stirs in the spring, but comes to in the summer–the double vision and haloing were, essentially, gone.  Not being one to allow grass to grow under his feet, I switched on the Mets game taking place in San Diego.

Johan was there.  Luis was there.  It was like I’d hit the pause button on Tuesday’s 6th inning, and resumed on Sunday, in a different park, state, and time zone.  Johan went eight, again.  Frankie Rodriguez came in, again.  The Mets were done, again (this time, W; 5-1).

The double-vision and the haloing are still gone and tonight, Pelfrey gets the start against current low-level pain-in-the-neck Doug Davis.  I don’t get a chance to extort a clean bill of health until Wednesday, so my watching is incumbent upon how infuriating the group performance is.

If nothing else, I’m annoyed at the Mets for presenting such a Catch-22: watch them play; perhaps not see well at all for awhile.  Don’t watch them play; see all too clearly that other people care more about pool and darts and the Yankees and shots of something called Cynar than the Mets, and wonder just what is wrong with them.

All that said, I’m skipping my Friday game.  The Wife flies into New York (and LaGuardia, for Christ’s sake) at 6:30p Friday night.  Big bags which say, “Take us home,” and not, “Run into Manhattan, leave us at the office, then pick us up after the game.”  Should’ve planned better.  Hell, should just live in Queens.

I have not flat-out made some of these statements, though I may have made insinuations, “jokes,” or the like.  Here we go, in no particular order:

  1. Chowdah makes a poor addition to the Mets: he’s been with the club for fewer than twenty-one days and has 16 RBI.  He’s been no-hit three times in those fifteen games, all gut-wrenching, hat-eating losses for the team as a whole.
  2. Cory Sullivan is less interesting than Cuby & the Blizzards: he is slightly more interesting than Cuby & the Blizzards.  I would have to pay for Cuby & the Blizzards entertainment.  Cory Sullivan’s salary is listed as $0.  Yes, I’m employing some fuzzy math.  But let’s see Cuby connect for a triple against Juan Rincon.
  3. It’s hard to hit triples off Juan Rincon: this one’s brand-new.  But the guy’s got a 6.20 ERA.  I’m trying to square myself on the fly, here.
  4. Luis Castillo is a creature of ill-repute: the man’s just doubled-up on fatherhood, and he’s headed to the park for Game Two of the doubleheader.  That along with his gaudy OBP makes him okay.  Not $24-million-over-four-years-okay, but okay.  I’m sorry I threatened to run to the field and assault you for showing bunt this past Memorial Day.
  5. Tim Redding is Teflon: this is just housekeeping; he hasn’t been Teflon in some time (Ian Stewart double-plays to keep the shutout intact notwithstanding).
  6. David Wright should not bat third: I’m not so much wrong about this as the line-up’s been good enough to provide some protection, thus making the point moot.  The team is running on several cylinders at present.  Daniel Murphy remains a semi-beast.  Luis Castillo is, as mentioned, not a horrible man.  And given that Chowdah looks and smiles a bit like David Wright and is hitting in the five-hole, maybe pitchers are just confusing the two.
  7. The Mets should look into acquiring Doug Davis: I don’t recall if I made mention of this on the blog, or to people within shouting distance.  But Mr. Davis hasn’t been any great shakes, and his salary leaves a bit to be desired given what seems to be dangling out there now.
  8. And 9. And 10. The Mets bench cannot afford to be so short as to only hold four players, let alone three: According to Jerry Manuel, Livan Hernandez took batting practice yesterday just in case he’d be called on to pinch-hit.  Why the hell not?

Note that I’ve been wrong about these things thus far.  I could be proven right.  But I’d love to be proven wrong about my negatives and right about my positives.  I’d be the happiest wrong guy in New York.

Game Two starts in a little under three hours.  Your line-up, as reported by Metsblog (sorry, Mr. Cerrone, for cribbing off your paper; I’m in a pinch and can’t find it elsewhere):

Angel Pagan, CF
Luis Castillo, 2B
David Wright, 3B
Jeff Francouer, RF
Fernando Tatis, LF
Daniel Murphy, 1B
Angel Berroa, SS
Omir Santos, C
Jon Niese, SP

I’ll be sleeping off this headache after the game, then at tomorrow’s game against the Diamondbacks. 

Let’s go Mets!

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.

Some time ago I was given a book to read by a colleague.  The book is titled A Fan’s Notes, and its author, Frederick Exley, does a remarkable job of barely speaking about sport in the two-hundred seventy pages I’ve read thus far.  (I write like a fiend, work a full-time job, and watch baseball.  Time rarely presents itself for reading anything but the paper while cooking or in the W.C.) 

Really, the book is a memoir, detailing the author’s institutionalization during the mid and late ’50s.  Conformity issues.  I don’t imagine being lent the book was meant to send a message of any sort.

When Exley does speak of sport, he speaks of the Frank Gifford New York football Giants.  He speaks of getting far too fired up about them, about clapping grown men repeatedly on the back, on jumping and screaming and praying and slapping his hand on the bar.

That was me yesterday afternoon.  I became the living embodiment (Mistah Exley–he dead) of Frederick Exley.  I was in a safe place to be such a Loopy Lou–Pacific Standard on Fourth Avenue in Brooklyn–but goddamn.  I need to calm down.

Others, however, seemed to feel differently, because I put on quite a show during the top of the ninth:

Alex Cora singled off Manny Acosta.  I clapped hard and whacked my knuckle against my wedding ring, letting out a sharp, “Nnnneeeeowwww!” which amused everyone and no one at once.  Angel Berroa hit for Brian Stokes and sacrificed to get Cora to second.  I stood on the support rungs of my stool and beat the bar with my fist.  Chuckles abounded.  The small crowd there that afternoon had decided it would be best to laugh at me than wait so they could laugh with me.  There is little to laugh about when watching the Mets these days–at least with anything more than gallows humor.

When Pagan ripped that ball past Martin Prado and out to right, I had fully intended to punch the air in excitement. 

However, my face got in the way.

I didn’t stop screaming, “Go, go, go!” though I felt a sharp pain in my cheekbone and my glasses were now nowhere to be found.  Turned out that in the excitement and scoring of the insurance run, I’d punched them off my face with such ferocity that they flew off and behind my head, dropping to the floor behind me and causing one of the lenses to pop out of its half-wire frame.  I also sliced the top of my right index finger.  I could photograph this, but I think I’m going to pass.  Respectfully.

When I gathered myself in time for the next batter–the eyewear being crucial in actually SEEING what’s onscreen–I had a flashback to the old “poking the eyes” bit that the Stooges pulled.  I didn’t think my day would get wackier.  Then Castillo executed the best suicide squeeze I’ve seen in my admittedly limited history of witnessing suicide squeezes.  I can count them on one now scarred hand.

As Acosta prepared for David Wright, I muttered a barely audible, “Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk.”

**

Speaking of David Wright: the Braves seemed to have it all worked out for him yesterday.  Walk the poor *bugger.  Here’s how that strategy panned out (ordered by plate appearance):

  1. top of first, two out, 0-0: intentionally walked; Chowdah grounds out.
  2. top of fourth, no one out, 0-0: strikeout.  Given that he led off the inning, it was an acceptable deviation from the plan.
  3. top of sixth, one out, Castillo on second, 0-0: intentionally walked.  Chowdah reaches on an infield single to load the bases.  Jeremy Reed walks (unintentionally), scoring the lead run.  Wright would then score on a Santos sacrifice.
  4. top of eighth, no one out, 2-0: Wright singles, then steals.  Nothing really comes of the inning; he’s stranded at third.
  5. top of ninth, two out, Murphy on second after a walk and a steal: intentionally walked.  Chowdah would then get Murphy in on an RBI-single.

I don’t believe the strategy of intentionally walking David Wright, even given the state of the team at present, will bear much fruit.  Or, if it’s to be done, perhaps best to do so only if there are outs and no one on.

The Mets may be bloodied and bruised, and jokes abound about their not-ready-for-prime time players.  But don’t treat them like they absolutely don’t know what they’re doing.

**

Sheffield left Friday with a cramp.  Now it’s a tweaked hamstring.  Sure it is.

*I had a different “b” word in place there, but apparently the MLB censor drones believe it unfit for mass consumption.  Very well.  Lame.  But very well.

Busy day at the races; I shall have to be typically verbose when I get my sorry butt back home tonight (which will be through bitter rainstorms and the compulsory Friday night trip to see my parents).

An additional treat will be photos and words regarding the Frank Messina reading at Foley’s NY, of which I spoke yesterday.  Good time, good fun.  Later.

For now, something to hold you over.

Here’s the thing I came away with during last night’s game against the Atlanta Braves (L, 5-3).  We spoke about it, the event attendees and I, as it happened.

Top of the seventh.  Score tied, and remarkably so given that all three of the Mets’ patchwork outfield got steady work from Oliver Perez. (His walk count lowered from seven nine days ago to four last night.  Follow that?)  Righty Manny Acosta relieves Derek Lowe for the Braves. (Derek got jobbed by his infield and an odd strike zone last night.  Rare that this is the case, but the high-and-tight zone seemed to benefit Ollie.  But I was watching from a ways away, and drinking; I wonder what excuse I’d make were I a real reporter.)

Brian Schneider grounds out.  He was hitless last night, with a couple walks (one intentional).

One now must pinch-hit for Oliver Perez, who’d just gone over the magic number of pitches for anyone, and who wriggled out of a jam to end the sixth.  Who do you go to?

The Mets’ bench last night, excluding any Livan Hernandez pinch-hitting shenanigans, included:

  • Jeremy Reed (lefty batting .292 going into last night);
  • Angel Berroa (righty batting .136 going into last night);
  • Omir Santos (righty batting .268 going into last night); and
  • Fernando Tatis (righty batting .247 going into last night, and who once hit two grand slams in an inning).

There are thirteen pitchers currently on the Mets active roster.  With good reason.

Tatis popped out to second and we were all grateful that he could only possibly ground into a double play.

So everywhere we could look to find fault, we could not.  Without a viable fourth starter, and a fifth starter by committee, the Mets need to carry an extra arm or two.  Given the tie score late, one must save their strongest offensive weapons in case of emergency. 

The thought must’ve been: “Tatis gets on base.  Pagan’s been swinging well and Castillo’s got a hitting streak going.  We could eke out a run then slam the brakes on Atlanta.”

Except Tatis popped out, leaving no margin for error by Castillo, who was the weakest part of that equation.

The bench is less than exciting these days.  As for the relief corps, Feliciano walked the first guy he faced in the lower half of the frame and, well, if you were watching or not, you can figure out the rest.

It was a perfectly okay and understandable substitution, but if someone were to ask me next year or the year after or the year after how bad the injuries that befell the 2009 Mets hurt the team, this will be my anecdote.  It was a tidy little baseball game that ended badly.