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(The alternate title to this post was “VARGAS TO OVERUSED MEME: DROP DEAD.”)

Not that I have much of a readership, but I figured I should let the nine of you know that I’m about done here; no more Mets blogging—or much of any style of blogging, really—for me.  In a rambling list, I’ll explain why, but basically…

…I write all the time:

—My degree is in screenwriting, and I’ve been working since 2003 on an idea for a television show.  I’m fool enough to have decided to write the whole thing before peddling it. Mostly I took that on to get the idea out, but besides which it’s served as a self-imposed graduate school: five pages on the way to work, five pages on the way back, four days a week, forty weeks a year, for the past four years.  I broke for a year to work on other scripts, and I still do.  I must put out 200 ~ 225 pages a month, and that’s just A LOT.

—Not only do I write screenplays on the side, but I’ve horribly neglected a comedy side project on and off for the past three years.  It’s at  Since early 2010, I’ve been trying to get something going to create an independent pipeline of material, and it’s been absurdly difficult to do so.  This has sapped a bit of my motivation, really.  I think I’ll keep on, but I’m not completely sure I will.  Which makes the guy who spent hours on the college radio station (which had maybe seven total listeners in three years) really sad.

—Not only do I write a lot, and think about writing a lot of comedy and feel bad for not writing it all the time, but I write poetry.  BAD poetry, that nevertheless indulges my need to repeatedly alliterate the “s” sound.  So stupid are these stanzas that I post them under an assumed name.  Won’t even tell you what it is.  But if you’re a fan of language, and you write, I suggest writing poetry.  It’s a morning stretch or yawn: something involuntary that will make you feel fresher if you let it happen, and stulted if you don’t.  Blogging felt like that for me, too.  But I’ve neglected the brevity and simplicity of verse for the ponderous complications of an extended post.  Like I’ve been trying to recreate the plot of Inception writ-baseball.  Fuck that.

—Not only do I write a lot, and think about the comedy and try to write the poetry, but I also indulge some visual arts itch I’ve got, and ostensibly I actually do that for money.  Not a LOT of money, mind you, but some, and I could have more if I spent my time wisely and spruced up a portfolio I haven’t even published yet. It, too, sits on cinder blocks at  I can’t even remember how to log into it, and my old design PC with the saved login page kicked the bucket some months ago.  If I’m ever to upgrade from this used MacBook to something a little more stylish, with a bit more horsepower, I’ll have to start actually taking the jobs I’ve been offered.

—Not only do I do all of this stuff, but I do it with a unique perspective.  When I blog about anything, I fear I am not covering a unique perspective.  That’s important to me.  Color me dickish, but I prefer feeling exceptional.

…and I’m bored/irritated with what I read:

—I mean no disrespect to those who have promoted the scant material I’ve published or engage me in conversation for the sole fact that I once posted regularly, but man, can blogging act like an echo chamber.  I’m kinda done with it.

I’ve started and stopped eight different posts on how I still have no clue how to mate an interest with observation to a marked disinterest in saying absolutely nothing of value beyond, “Well, sample size is a bitch.”  I won’t finish them because I still don’t have a clue.  The last attempt, started yesterday, came upon hearing some sad relationship news about two friends.  I thought they were in it for the long haul, though I could always see a problem or two that might derail them.

It went from that to Bobby Fischer (tangentially, of course) to a throwing-open of the doors to doubt and observation.  I was going to go from the existence of a table to the existence of the Mets, and then I ran out of steam and fell asleep.  Two-thirty in the morning is no time to be pontificating about quantum mechanics, especially without a degree anywhere near mathematics.

I want to care about sample sizes.  I want to care about statistics that reduce observation bias.  I really, REALLY do.  Thing is, I want to watch baseball more.  And I like sleep, and I need to write on what I need to write about.

—I don’t begrudge those who write a lot of shrugging after analysis.  I find what I choose to read very entertaining, and on the occasions wherein those I like to read stray too far into tired schtick, I accept it.  Even Aaron Sorkin dropped a clunker of a West Wing episode every now and again.  But I’d rather just be a reader than a writer of the material, and yet I have felt compelled to respond to the overuse of “who knows?” as both a way to try and get it to stop, and to try and find material for a quick post.

And that LAST part is a shitty way to go about expressing oneself creatively.  I don’t want to spend what precious time I have allotted to thinking about a blog post trying to find something that makes me angry.  Lord—there’s enough to be angry about in life without looking for things just to mouth off.  That’s John Montone Land.  And I HATE John Montone.

(This is worthy of a slight digression: John Montone “works” for 1010 WINS news radio in New York. Usually he seeks quotes from people on the street about this or the other, and exposes how little people think when a microphone’s in their face [or perhaps how little they think in general], and signs off within a minute.  He’s a color analyst on the loose.  But he’s abysmal when getting reaction on a story announced by the anchor, worthless during his “Mouth Off To Montone” bits, and even worse when covering a Subway Series.

I blame 1010 WINS management for trying to report on some stories without actually reporting them, and NPR for being too slow to the point for my showers, and 880 for CONSTANTLY getting the weather report wrong, leaving me to suffer 1010 WINS in the first place.  But mostly I blame Montone.  Anyone with an iota more talent or a smidge more conscience would’ve left such a job long ago, perhaps to shovel manure uphill.)

Actually, that Montone digression allows for a more seamless transition to this:

—I DO begrudge those who repeatedly berate the people who are working and not the work.  John Montone is in and out in under a minute, and thus is worthy of the same amount of bashing.  If the man ever tried to interview me in the street, I’d tell him how I feel about him in PG-rated but no uncertain terms, and move on.  I’d feel no need to indulge in an attack.  I read too much of that, too, and want to respond.

And it feels like it’d be the same as trying to wrestle away two unknown toddlers from a fight in the supermarket.  They’re not your kids, but they’re engaged in this nonsense, when what they should be doing is playing.  So you pry them apart, and they both run to their moms and yell and scream, and their moms look disapprovingly on you, and you don’t have a leg to stand on, because they weren’t your kids to pry apart anyway.

Man, we’ve lost touch with civilty and common sense.  And my simile doesn’t even cut it anymore.  We’re anonymous enough online to beat the ever-loving SHIT out of each other, and say things we wouldn’t say to someone’s face; we’re quick to declare an invasion of space and privacy if common sense is shoved before us in person.  I’m guilty of it, too.  I’ve no business listening to my iPod as loud as I do.  But don’t you touch me gently on the shoulder to ask me to turn it down.

This is getting away from me.  My specific point is on some guy whose stuff I’ve never read but whose tweets I see mentioned.  Apparently, this guy sucks.  From the tweets (Lord) that I’ve read, his opinions blow.  That’s fine.  But he’s also a big guy, and that’s been used as a means of deriding him. 

And that’s poor.  Too poor to even suggest in jest that we use another meme and #BlameBeltran for it.  I’m not saying I don’t want to blog anymore because people make fun of this guy for being fat, but I don’t think it’s right.  And it just reminds me of how much is wrong with all of this.

…and I’m wrong for this kind of thing on my own.

I can’t do it as often as I want, and I certainly can’t do it if, whenever I sit down to write something, I’m distracted by vitriol I didn’t engender or am actively spewing.  I’ve got too much going on to feel guilty about not writing about how bizarrely irritated I feel.  Too many layers of nonsense, there. 

And I can’t do this small.  I’d want to be a MetsBlog or a FAFIF or a TedQuarters if this were the thing I most wanted to do.  But I don’t have the access, or the time to weave colorful narratives, or the same love of embarrassing pictures of Cole Hamels and sandwiches. 

(A hearty love for sandwiches, don’t get me wrong. I once made the Best Sandwich Ever, and its name is, in fact, Best Sandwich Ever. Just not a dedicated passion for me, the sandwich.  Scotch, maybe.  But awhile ago.)

My love for the Mets isn’t dampened, nor is my love for spectacle; if there’s a game I enjoy or an event I attend or something very specific I wish to say, I’m sure I’ll find a way to do it.  And if it’s something I want to publish, I’m sure I’ll find a way to get it out there.

I’ll keep this site because it’s an “omniality” joint, and “omniality” has been my internet handle for so long that I’m working on my third logo.  (Add another thing to the “I’m Really Busy” list: search “omniality” on Google and I’m the first thing that comes up—really MUST do something to cash in on that.)  Posts will remain here until Sunday, when I’ll have enough time to compile them and purge them.  From then on, I don’t know what I’ll do with this space, but I’ll do something.

Cheers, again, to those who’ve promoted my work on occasion.  Hope I get to run into the five or six of you and buy you each a pint.  Because just one pint and six straws would be a little cheap.

I’ll leave you with a thing.

Again, we’re all kicking around the Mets because something about the team drives us to do so.  Whether conferred by birthplace or passed on by birthright, those guys deserve our honest, unvarnished opinion of their performance because they themselves are engaged in some foolhardy business: throwing or hitting a ball before an audience of millions, for millions. The love can’t be the love if the threat of loss isn’t there. 

Theirs is a unique job which can’t be reduced to their performance, because their statistical performance stirs something in us that defies statistic, and thus brings us to part with our money and our time to watch them.  And we watch them BECAUSE we want them to do something that defies the stats in the lean years, and defies expectation in a miracle year, and sustains a run of greatness, however improbable that is to do in baseball, in the superlative years.

Their work is our fun.  And we want them to be better than their numbers are, so that we can have MORE fun.  Sport is unlike any other job you just DO.  So we owe them as much honesty as we can give them.  We owe them rallies on the Shea Bridge and t-shirts that harken to the Blitz.  We owe them our catcalls and our haranguing of their rivals.  We owe them our full-throated support of what being a baseball fan is, because without it their work is just work, and they’re anthropomorphized dice.

And we owe each other the room we want and need to get a handle on something that barely makes any damn sense: rooting for twenty-five freaks of nature over twenty-five other freaks of nature.  Without the stats, you couldn’t tell just how spectacular Jose Reyes has been this year, or how fantastic it feels for Jason Bay to make safe contact with a baseball.  And without feeling great or relieved, the stats would merit an eyebrow raise and a question as to whether a data point was collected correctly.

And we owe each other our reasoned, effective discourse.  For the sake of the future of humanity, we all should start getting better at talking to each other, and explaining more effectively why this guy or that woman or those people are out of their damned minds.  We should do it everywhere, but if we practice with sports, and get better at it, we can move on to things like social programs and the scale of tax revenue collected.  Stuff that keeps us healthy and in enough coin to enjoy the sport and the team we love so much.  Less, please, of the, “I don’t like this guy’s opinions, so let’s talk about how fat he is, and pretend that has something to do with why I think his particular impression is wrong.”

All I’m asking is for some honesty, some grace, and some common sense.  Let’s all be as amazing as the guys on the field.

Dillon Gee and the Mets go up against Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers tonight.  I’d wish for some daylight for long-suffering Dodgers fans, but the Mets can do something they’ve never done before if they sweep this four-game set.

And I’m in it for the spectacle. 

Let’s go Mets!

Meet the Mets!  Meet the Mets!
Step right up and beat the Mets!

Bring your players gone to seed;
Guaranteed to have ‘em staked to a lead!

Because the Mets are really droppin’ the ball,
Watchin’ those home runs go over the wall!

East Side, West Side: everybody’s comin’ down
To beat the M-E-T-S Mets
Of New York Town!

Give ‘em some hell
If you’re a fan!
And let ‘em know you’re slumpin’ in the stands!
(Oh, c’mon and)

Meet the Mets! Meet the Mets!
Step right up and beat the Mets!

Star after star gonna turn black and blue;
there’s not a [bleep] [bleep] [bleep]ing thing that Terry can do—

Because the Mets are really droppin’ the ball;
#PraiseBeltran and #Turner, but that’s really all—

East Side, West Side: the chumps, the jokers, and the clowns
Have come to beat the M-E-T-S Mets
Of New York Town…

Of New…

All right.  As suggested, I will read this before getting more bent out of shape.  But I think I’ll have the same attitude after as before.

Mid-read reactions below, as I have them:

  • “Mookie” is a nickname, not his first name.  The man was born William Hayward Wilson.
  • I’m four pages in and don’t find this article terribly fascinating at all.  He (Fred Wilpon) was poor; he blew out his arm; he made his bones in real estate with a longtime friend; he bought the Mets.  Commendable.  Quite commendable.  Not fascinating.
  • To those who say Beltran didn’t check his swing in Game Six:  I don’t even have my glasses on, and it would’ve been a strike regardless, but it looks like a bit of a check swing to me.  I’m going to presume Wilpon has the memory burned well enough to know there was an offer there. And no, that doesn’t make Carlos Beltran any less magnificent, but how ‘bout we give that particular point a rest right now?
  • (Update: I watched the video; a bat waggle, but no change in bat axis, really.  My bad.  I’ll leave the above as evidence that I can make a mistake and own up to it without devolving into pathos.)
  • There are plenty more awful moments to draw upon as evidence of the Mets’ poor play than Luis Castillo’s dropped pop-up, but I guess that’s the road Toobin’s about to go down. 
  • (By the way: still haven’t seen it [the dropped pop-up].  I blogged about this a few days after it happened, but I missed the game while spending time with my then-wife, heard the result over the radio that night, and after spending a weekend deep in some episodes of Lost, had too busy a week at work to watch much TV at all.  Since then, I’ve missed every occasional replay.  I’m actually rather proud of myself that I’ve never seen it, despite once screaming so loud at Castillo to use both hands to catch a ball that he gave me a dirty look.  Castillo, David Wright, Gregor Blanco: the only three baseball players ever to give me the time of day on the field. …Have I ever told the Gregor Blanco story in print?)
  • Thank God Wilpon’s said to Omar Minaya, “Omar, you’re full of shit.”  Thank God someone said it to his face.
  • Beltran IS sixty-five to seventy percent of what he was.  He’s still awesome, but he’s still sixty-five to seventy percent of what he was.  There is nothing wrong with this statement, nor anything wrong with the sentiment behind it.
  • Bernie Madoff sounds like a jackass.  Unless I blocked out all memory of a trial, I’m going to guess he’s admitted his guilt, which is why he’s in jail in the first place.  “…[I]t’s really tragic, and I feel terrible about everything he’s going through.”  Fuck you, buddy.  Every other two words out of your mouth should be “I’m sorry.”  In reference to anyone or anything.  Bilk investors out of billions?  Betray the trust of friends?  Take the last scoop of mashed potatoes?  “I’m sorry.”
  • God, I just read the next Madoff paragraph.  What an ASS.
  • Though no doubt selective to color the arc Toobin is crafting, the paragraphs on Irving Picard and his team make that guy sound like an ass, too.
  • And it ends on a bunt and a fly-out.  Of course.

Done reading.  My reaction’s the same.  I don’t give a damn about the Madoff stuff because Bernie Madoff isn’t hindering Josh Thole’s ability to get the ball out of the infield or Jason Bay’s ability to drive in runs.  I care about the Mets and a great many people in New York care about the Mets, and understand that Madoff has nothing to do with the on-field performance.

Matthew Artus for Amazin’ Avenue wraps up his coverage by stating:

” In context or not, these words are Fred Wilpon’s own. Please recall that they were uttered in the context of the Wilpons’ survival — a case that Toobin describes succinctly by saying:

…to salvage his reputation and his fortune, Wilpon must prove that he was a dupe rather than a crook.

Try to remember that distinction as you become tempted to label the Wilpons as idiots for letting this happen.”

Idiots?  Maybe not.  Short-sighted?  Certainly.

There’s no strategy that helps Wilpon with Picard’s case that includes sounding like a bastard when reviewing his players.  There isn’t.  I’m no Oliver Wendell Holmes but I know the woe-is-me approach, and one thing (the on-field performance of the Mets) has to have something to do with the other (the Fleecing of the Wilpon Millions) for it to work. 

I’m certain trustee Irving Picard only cares about Jose Reyes re-signing with the Mets if it demonstrates access to capital heretofore unrecognized—which can’t possibly be; that guy sounds like Walter Skinner, Gary from Gary’s Olde Towne Tavern, and Dean Ed Rooney rolled into one.  Either Wilpon knows that, and his comments weren’t to help him sound like a dupe, or he doesn’t know that, and they are (which would be sad), or he’s grasping for an out.  Which would be sad and not a little disturbing.

I don’t think one thing has to do with the other, in Wilpon’s mind.  I think he was genuinely frustrated, and saying things which he truly felt.  And they’re not necessarily untrue. 

Reyes may not get Carl Crawford money.  He might, but he has had a history of injury that is such that, if he hadn’t been injured he’d have greater earning potential.  How marginal that history or how much greater that earning potential will always be anyone’s guess, as there’ll be no way to quantify that.

Beltran is not the player he was.  Thirty home runs, one hundred RBIs in a season—those days may be behind him.  He might be on a pace to approach that this year; gone is the time such production is expected.  But seventy percent of Carlos Beltran is still better than one hundred percent of most other major league outfielders.  He has earned his contract by most rational measures, and several irrational ones.  But he is NOT the player he was.  The player he was had cartilage in his knees.  The man is not Superman, and it’s healthy to acknowledge that.

David Wright isn’t a superstar, by modern measures.  He is an excellent player, and certainly my favorite.  (I can tell my favorites, by the way, when I let them off the hook for sub-par play; I do this with Wright all the time, and it drives me up the wall that I do.)  David Wright will be a superstar when David Wright helps to win a World Series.  Which will happen.  Until then, he is an excellent player.

He could also become a superstar if he ever breaks the single-season home run record, wins the Triple Crown, bats over .400 for a season, or breaks DiMaggio’s hitting streak.  In baseball, you become a superstar by being absurdly superlative, or being a crucial part of a championship team.  But I don’t much care for superstars one way or the other, and if I were a betting man (on anything besides low-stakes poker), I’d wager most Mets fans just want a championship season or three.

Ike Davis… well, he said nothing to dispute about Ike.  Smooth sailing, buddy; hope to see you soon!

“Shitty team.”  Back then (late April)?  Yeah.  Right now?  Maybe.  If they remain unhealthy?  Sure.  If they don’t?  Who can say.

So he’s genuinely frustrated, and said things he truly felt, to a reporter while on the record.  That’s short-sighted.

The team isn’t performing as well as it might.  Press outlets are not as fair as they might be toward the team, its players, its fans, or its owners.  Fans of rival teams show extreme disdain and, at times, pity.  Some fans with outlets to express their feelings are over-damning, or contortionists, or apologists.  Lord.

It’s a shit deal at times to be the guy in charge and NOT be able to say what’s on your mind, but if you’re the guy in charge, that’s the deal you took.  You don’t get to blow off steam to a reporter.  That ONLY.  MAKES THINGS.  WORSE.

If Wilpon’s deciding to double-down on the histrionics of media coverage to kill the story, then he’s misguided in his approach, as one can generally only do so if the target of one’s ire is empirically better than you stated, or if one is on their way out anyway.  Neither appears to be the case.  This is thus just more soup.  The only way this has possibly helped is by deflecting any discussion of the implosion yesterday against the Yankees.

Still, as a fan I’d rather argue about poor play than daffy ownership.  Now I have to do both, or engage in neither. 

And talking baseball is important to me.  It’s important to people who spend time and money supporting a franchise.  I shouldn’t have to defend against the weakness of my team’s owner, when the difference between showing that weakness and not was simply shutting his mouth.

Tell me you don’t feel that way.  As a Mets fan, tell me you don’t wish he’d just stayed quiet.  @omniality, on Twitter.  Go for it.

Fred Wilpon came from next-to-nothing and now owns my favorite team in sport.  That required fortitude and luck and a sharpness few people have.  That toughness and serendipity and skill failed him here.  Which is a damn shame.  It implies he had more good fortune than acumen or strength to begin with.

If I’m to take a look at this article from the lens of a rags-to-riches story, then I feel sorry for a man who neither needs nor desires my pity.  Those thoughts, and others along those lines, are borderline insulting to his life’s work and presumed ethos.  But I don’t know many dupes who wouldn’t be offended by their gullibility if you presented them with it.  I know I usually am, but I don’t respond by tossing my self-respect; that invites an introspective paradox of which I want no part.

So, I’ll park this with the other media missteps, and allow myself my reaction, if that’s all right.

::ahem:: Good Lord, man.  Toobin must’ve had a notepad or digital recorder, or something.  Next time, keep your mouth SHUT.

Goddamn it.

Godfuckingdamn it.

HOLY shit, goddamn it.

David Wright has a stress fracture in his lower fucking back, and Willie Harris is playing third base tonight.  And it’s cold out, and it’s raining, and it will rain for the rest of the week, and… and…

EVERYBODY FUCKING PANIC. Take two minutes out of your life and panic RIGHT NOW.

You ever fracture your back?  I’ve broken a rib.  That shit HURTS.  Imagine what fracturing YOUR FUCKING BACK feels like.

What the hell’s going on in the back, anyway?  Spinal cord, discs.  Someone very close to me has been suffering general lower back pain for a few weeks now, and it looks like it hurts like a bitch.  And he FRACTURED his back?

Fuck.  Fuck fuck fuckity fuck fuck.  FUCK.


As that took about two minutes to draft, my time to panic is over.  I will now proceed with the rest of my day as though the third baseman on my favorite baseball team didn’t just fracture HIS FUCKING BACK.  Because as we all know, we’re each of us one fractured back and seven to ten days’ worth of rest from NOT being on a pace to strike out 172 times this year.

Yes, I know.  I’m all over the place on this post.  Leave me alone.  David Wright fractured HIS FUCKING BACK.

I really wanted to write a long post about Carlos Beltran tonight. Had it all mapped out, with a fairy tale artifice: the Mets as a struggling village of well-meaning folk; the Rockies as marauders.

Then it got me thinking of that Japanese story about the bear that terrorized a village, and their salvation lying in the skill of a grizzled drunk hunter, who’d tangled with the bear before. Yellow Fang? Something.

But truth be told, it’s late, and I’m too tired to engage in crafting conceit. It’s the first week in ages that I’ve spent entirely at the office. I’ve had a brutal stiff neck that has yet to respond to heat, and I can’t get a massage for dumb yet important reasons. And an event which took place earlier in the week makes me want to hunt down a certain clueless driver in western Massachusetts with a baseball bat, and show him what a ground-rule double means in South Brooklyn.

So no. Let’s keep this simple and effective:

Carlos Beltran hit three home runs today. In doing so, he tied Mike Piazza for second on the Mets’ all-time multi-HR game list with 17, needing five more to catch Darryl Strawberry (though Beltran will never hit nine against Shelbyville). He carried the Mets to a series win against a team that swept them at home, which if I recall was the start of bad feeling this season. It’s when I started feeling shitty, anyway.

Carlos Beltran hit three home runs against the Colorado Rockies, shutting up a pain in the ass heckler in the seventh and a half-full stadium in the ninth. Carlos Beltran of the bad knees and generous, if wholly earned, contract. Carlos Beltran hit three 2-run bombs, to left, right, and center, from both sides of the plate.

Carlos Fucking Beltran.

And then he skinned Dinger, the Rockies mascot, wore his hide through the Denver rain to the highest spot in the city, and decried the hubris that led to the construction of a ballpark so close to the heavens.

“Only heroes may venture so high,” he announced in a booming baritone that shook the very souls of men and made women quiver. “Only heroes. And they must first ask permission.”

Somewhere, his toy poodles sleep soundly. I shall do the same.

This snippet of Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple has been rolling around in my head today…

Oscar: Well they were mine, damn it. I have feet and they make prints. What do you want me to do, climb across the cabinets?

Felix: No! I want you to walk on the floor!

Oscar: I appreciate that; I really do.

They’re arguing, but they aren’t really listening to each other there.  It’s all about their volume and tone.

The baseball season is sixteen games old and while the Mets are performing (forgive me) the way most people expected them to perform, those who are inclined toward rationality and clarity of thought are preaching patience, while pointing out—correctly—that the “most people” referenced herein aren’t necessarily rational or clear minded.

Perhaps it’s because I’ve discovered my favorite daily writers, and they are in fact fairly rational, that I’ve missed most of the drumbeat of Mets negativity.  I regularly suppress the angst of my father, himself a Mets fan, when I read negative commentary, and try my best to do the same while actually watching games.  This is not so easy.  I’m the first-born son of a man who couldn’t even bring himself to cheer Kevin Mitchell tying Game 6 in ‘86.  A formative memory; I was barely four years old. 

(He cheered the winning run—another formative memory.  They’re all lumped in there.)

I do see most of this ping-ponging on Twitter, which I don’t yet take seriously, much like I don’t take Facebook seriously and, hell, much like I don’t take Tumblr seriously.  I’m not one for expressing cogent thoughts in one hundred forty characters.  I’m one for expressing dismay at David Gregory and swearing in one hundred forty characters.  Facebook’s for reposting Times articles and Survivor’s “Eye Of The Tiger” music video.  Don’t ask me what Tumblr’s for; I keep thinking I’m going to break it with this blog “relaunch.” 

But the ping-ponging does make me curious: when is it okay to take the temperature of the season?

That question isn’t rhetorical.  In the face of my slight readership, I ask honestly.  Ten percent of games in the books is not the right time?  Fine; I believe that.  You couldn’t ask me to project budget performance based on ten percent of a fiscal year.  You could ask me a quarter of the way through the year, though I would equivocate like a motherfucker.  “I don’t know what big-ticket items remain to be purchased; I can’t predict what precisely will happen if revenues fall.”  That’s the crux of the work done on budgets, and the work done to reporting against them: analysis of the past to develop plans for the future.  I’ve little desire to equivocate like a motherfucker when it comes to my one of my leisure activities, though. 

Y’know, I occasionally enjoy assembling model airplanes.  No one sees them because they all SUCK.  In fact, I throw them out after hiding them for a week.  “What grown man hides a crappy model airplane they built?” is what I ask myself.  But the Mets will continue playing. I will succumb to the lure of a Corsair F4U-4. I will crap the bed in building it.  The Mets have crapped the bed in playing.  And twenty-five grown men on the active roster can’t hide their crappy model airplane.  They either get better, or they don’t. 

The reason I bother to ask at all when the right time for analysis will be is that I can see myself growing frustrated at equivocation.  Equivocation isn’t such a bad thing, but regular, repeated equivocation will sound as hollow as regular, repeated negativity.  It’s like saying a word over and over again aloud.  It loses all meaning.

Postage.  Postage.  Postage.  Postage.  Postage.  Postage.  Postage.  Postage.

(For you Simpsons fans, pretend I just wrote “Jiminy Jillickers.”  For my friend Nora, pretend it was “rice pilaf.”)

This kind of annihilation of real meaning has the potential to seep into analysis within a game.  It has for me, already.  David Wright struck out twice against Tommy Hanson?  Doesn’t necessarily mean he will when he’s next up to bat.  Jose Reyes scorching the ball?  He may come down to earth before the game is out.

Cripes; I KNOW.  I watch this game to be entertained.  Not to be reminded how random life is.  I’m experiencing a particularly fantastic reminder of same, that has me relentlessly positive these days.  Forgive me if I don’t actively seek the patient middle.

In the end, I suppose I’m feathering the nest here for when I feel the need to come down on somebody hard.  I feel I’m allowed to do so as long as I don’t spin it into dogma (unless and until someone becomes another Oliver Perez, but I’ll never let that kind of thing go).  And I do respect statistical analysis and the pitfalls of small sample size.  In fact, I respect it so much, I’m concerned for the time I decide these guys are going somewhere or not; I don’t want to be lumped in with all the Negative Nellies or Positive Petes in the Mets Commentary Echo Chamber. 

I think I’ll know the difference between a good model airplane and an abortion of one.  I’m not saying I can tell with this one yet, but, you know, you really can tell before you finish, and generally well before.  And then after that, it’s all over but the yelling.


I wondered indirectly via Twitter yesterday when a Mets starting pitcher had last put together back-to-back 1-2-3 innings.  Including Dillon Gee doing it yesterday in the 4th and 5th against Atlanta, they’ve done it six times:

Game One: Pelfrey, in the 2nd and 3rd against Florida.

Game Two: Niese, in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th (Florida, again).

Game Four: Young, in the 2nd and 3rd against Philadelphia.

Game Nine: Young, again, in the 3rd and 4th, then the 6th and 7th against the Nationals.

Game Thirteen: Capuano, in the 4th and the 5th against the Rockies.

Why did I check?  Ron Darling had mentioned something about Tommy Hanson’s elevated pitch count owing, at least in part, to his tendency to be a strikeout pitcher and thus requiring at least three pitches per batter to record an out.  Mix in some balls and fouls, and your minimum number of 54 pitches in six very quality innings rises, naturally. 

So why does it matter?  I figure a Mets starting pitcher who can wipe out an order in short order can save a bullpen some work, and get an offense back to the plate.

Not that it necessarily matters, or that such a “morale boost” is quantifiable.

But I ignored relief pitchers who could come in for consecutive quick innings (only Games 8 and 15); I ignored quick innings after a single or a homer or a walk; I didn’t get to the heart of the matter, which might be pitch count, or flyball-to-groundball ratio; I didn’t take into consideration that maybe a pitcher could throw 150 pitches in a game—hell, they did it years ago; though they were facing different competition…

Annihilation of meaning.  Or maybe call it statistical relativism.  This is not a negative.  It’s how we deal with the questions we ask and the answers such investigation produces that defines us as having any cache.  I remain concerned that Mets starting pitching can’t put together outs in bunches.  The Mets make outs in bunches and they’re 5-11.  If making outs in bunches reduces the number of chances to score, then doing the same to the opposing team should reduce their number of chances.

Before too long, I will want to ask questions that inure me to much of the relativism but keep me entertained.  This will require a somewhat different vantage point on the whole enterprise.  But this is fine; I’ve been looking for a way to work the phrase “perturbation analysis” into a post.

A little word salad for you this morning, courtesy the Mets’ loss last night, Terry Collins, and MetsBlog (for the transcript).

Also, Wordle.

(The following is based on gut reaction, and NOT on in-depth analysis. Not at all.)

Willie Harris is a goddamned double agent for the Nationals. “Loses a ball in the lights.” “Bogeys an at-bat with the bases loaded.” “Dives for a ball playable on a hop.”

So what if each result is understandable in isolation? The preponderance of evidence suggests he’s trying to sabotage the 2011 Mets, just like he did from the outside in years past. It’s the oldest gambit in the book.

As far as I’m concerned, it goes: Hitler, Pol Pot, Harris.

The guy sitting next to me on the 7 train, a Rockies fan, is reading over my shoulder, and grinning. Laugh it up, guy. Carlos Gonzales may get hurt, and this may be you someday.

Screw this. I’m going home and having a soak in the tub.

José starting us off…

Back at Citi Field. Misty out, and a little misty-eyed. Let’s go Mets!