Archives for posts with tag: Mets

Preparations for making myself look like a fool:

profilewright2.jpg…go quite slowly.  Even the photo shoot date is in jeopardy, as November 1st is not only the day after Halloween, but the day of the New York City Marathon, and the day The Wife returns to North Carolina after birthday celebrations.

So I may have to push this one, ladies and gents.  But trust me when I say you don’t want to see me in ANY kind of tank top.

I did mention that each of my “under construction” profile pictures held a short sports story, and now that the fourth one is up (and probably makes little sense), allow me to catch up while I wait, yet again, on the phone with Time Warner Cable.

That was Memorial Day, 2006.  My friend Nora came down from Boston.  We drank way too much over the course of the weekend.  A former roommate’s friend came to visit as well, and that previous night/that morning had enthusiastically hooked up with a hipster who “assumed the G train just went everywhere.”  He wasn’t kidding.

Anyway, that’s over in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, where the G train now stops, due to long-term construction.  The pitch I threw was low and outside.

This was taken shortly following the 2006 Mermaid Parade.

I’m fine with the razing of Coney Island.  The people who work there are far too obnoxious, or else will land on their feet elsewhere.  I’ve lived in Brooklyn my entire life (save for college), and I’ll tell you that anything holding any sort of historic or cultural relevance, Cyclone/Cyclones excluded, was destroyed decades ago.

And the Nathan’s.  The Nathan’s and the parachute drops are national treasures.

Nevertheless, I’m disappointed the mini golf course is gone.  While I can get mini golf in some fine places, I can’t get boardwalk, Nathan’s, beer, and mini golf all in one place, and all just a twenty minute train ride from my home.  (If memory serves, I was 2 under par.)

And finally:


This is me at a wedding in South Carolina, on August 27th (also 2006; good lord).  The Wife and I ran down that late morning, attended the wedding, attended the reception, slept four hours, then got on a plane back to New York.  I got to work at noon, and later that day got in trouble for cheering the Mets’ six-run third inning on the Phillies. 

The attitude at work re: baseball would change not long after that, to something a lot more friendly.

The Mets ended the day thirty-one games over .500.

And three years and change later, Time Warner has hung up on me.  ********.

**Way to censor yet again, MLBlogs robot.  Presume, folks, that I’ve just questioned the legitimacy of Time Warner’s parentage.

Greg Prince over at Faith And Fear In Flushing marks the anniversary of Mets ’86, which occurred twelve days after the anniversary of Mets ’69.  Somewhere around here I’ve got the start of a none-too-positive “Twelve Days Of Metsmas” song; I’ll refrain from finishing it.  Last time I came up with a Mets song parody, I mailed it to a friend in hopes of executing some reverse karma.  Then most of the team went down with injuries and fourth place was clinched shortly before a playoff berth in the NL East.  YOU do the work this time.

**

Slim, slim pickins when it comes to Mets baseball news.  I was emailed an article by a friend who’s not a baseball fan, asking who I’ll be rooting for.  I sent back my posts on the WWTwo.  Got to thinking about other teams that are making news this week, in one form or another.  Padres hired a new GM: Jed “Don’t Call Me Steny” Hoyer.  Indians hired a new manager: Manny “At Least I Do My Homework” Acta. 

Hell, even Mark McGwire’s pulling a Cardinals paycheck again.  (Everyone say it with me: dingers!) 

Really, in these stories there’s barely even a segue into Metsville.  These guys are all retreads in one way or another.  Jed Hoyer worked for the Red Sox.  Manny Acta (who yes, was a coach for the Mets, but so long ago the neurons have gathered dust) tried really hard with the Washington Nationals.  Mark McGwire’s going the HoJo route. 

There’s a bit of an incestuous quality to baseball, necessitated by history and difficulty, and an odd kind of pride and haught that excludes, on the whole, those who might seek to make a lateral move into the job market.  To wit: the Padres weren’t about to hire a floor manager from Goldman Sachs to be their GM. 

Players are bought from other clubs, signed as free agents, or traded.  But there’s absolutely no guarantee that the second baseman on the Tuscaloosa Barn Rats was the straw that stirred the drink, and will stir your team’s drink.  John Lackey’s past performance is not indicative of his future results.  I don’t care how much he declares something is his.  I suppose my point is: nobody knows nothin’. 

That stated, let’s play a game.

Use Cot’s Baseball Contracts list of 2010’s free agents, and see if you can spot desirable free agents in the consensus fields of need. 

What the hell do I mean by that?  I mean that consensus seems to be that the Mets need some combination of one or all: first baseman; left fielder; catcher; pitcher.  Go to the free agent list, and see if you can spot guys you like. 

This’ll be tons easier than trying to target a player for trade, as consensus also seems to be that the Mets don’t have much to trade, and what they do have they should hang on to.  Besides, rabid trade talk is the stuff of winter, and we’re not quite there yet.

Keep your list, and we’ll run through them all, Colbert Report “Better Know A…” style.  Management reserves the right to Bobby V. his homework if a person on any of the lists is a laughable option (Matt Stairs, for example, will be the Mets starting first baseman over my dead and violated body).  But the homework that I DO do should help when the time comes to put one’s hand on the hot stove.  Because no one likes second-degree burns.

We’ll start next Monday. Should give me enough time to come up with more Matt Stairs jokes.

Somewhere around the seventh or eighth inning of the interminably long game at Yankee Stadium, a weekend of working and drinking and football and poker caught up with me, and I started nodding off.  Probably didn’t help that I took down a cheeseburger not twenty minutes before; probably didn’t help that I’d taken two pills to ease some unprecedented and unwelcome pain in my right leg–which in itself was the result of sitting on wooden chairs for something like fourteen hours over two days.

None of these things helped, but the drowsy sleep on my couch, while maintaining minor verticality… sweet.  I love the unintended nap.  Hell, the Saturday afternoon baseball game was made for the unintended nap, unless you’re at the game itself.

Having a DVR has killed the anxiety I used to feel over doing this, too.  And boy, howdy, anxiety.  I love television like I want it to be my job.  I’d feel so bad in the days before DVR and Hulu and iTunes, having napped through something I’d looked forward to watching all week.  DVR mitigates much of that sadness.

Tonight, as I met the physiological perfect storm, I tried to stay awake despite the poor baseball being played by the likes of Scott Kazmir and others not necessarily named Scott Kazmir.  I figured I had one more good Vladimir Guerrero joke rattling in my head, and it needed out.  But I couldn’t, so I didn’t, and I went from a close-up of a pitcher boot-quaking to a melee on the mound, and put two and two together there, excused myself to my roommates, and went to bed.

I may have mumbled some wonderment at that awful steel roll-down gate in Yankee Stadium, left of center field.  For all of Citi Field’s faults, bullpen tarps inclusive, it doesn’t have a gate just begging for Kuma Moose or Neck Face or Fray to come and “graffito-tag.”  It’s just an eyesore on television.

I didn’t need to rewind to see how they’d wound it up.  I’m not that desperate to watch a Yankee game.  A bit conversely, let it be known that while I’ve recently compared the New York Yankees to Stalinist Russia, I have no seething, boiling hatred for the Yankees, and am on record on this many times over.

I slept for about five hours, and woke up thirsty and annoyed at being awake.  I enjoy sleep, especially after a good weekend, and especially aware that this upcoming week will be a bear, and committing to deejay a Halloween party means my upcoming weekend will mean the death of sleep then, too.  You should be able to tell that this post is not the most hip or polished; the stones are rolling out in no particular order.  I’m here for something more than simple boredom, but in complete honesty, boredom is not a weak motivator for this post.

As the Series match-up is set, let me mention again my rooting preference, for the sake of neatness.  Find it here.  I’ll also make something like an apology, in fact, to Jason Fry over at Faith And Fear In Flushing, who wrote the post that essentially inspired mine.  I don’t apologize for feeling as strongly as I do, certainly.  But big old bold italicized type, and intimating a connection with appeasers to the most heinous regime in modern history? Probably not cool.  That’s the unfortunate business of Godwin’s Law, and while employing it made me laugh and all that, there’s a line somewhere no one should want to think about treading.  So mea culpa, mea culpa, turn three times and spit.

This Yankee hatred from Mets fans is a growing concern to me.  I’ve been close to violating a personal guideline, which at this early hour I’ll ham-fistedly define as, “Don’t argue against another person’s hatred.”  I get hate and on the proper occasion it can be useful, even as a catalyst for catharsis.  What’s prevented me from violating that guideline is the unofficial survey I’ve been running, whose data shows that Yankee hatred in Mets fans is breaking down along generational lines.  If your first generalized baseball memories are of late eighties Met dominance, you probably care less about the comings and goings of a team in a different league that plays by different rules.  You’d much rather glare and shout obscenities at noxious Braves fans, back when they were all snorts and brimstone, and not hiding in caves or whatever they’re doing now.  If you’re older, your chances of reviling the New York Baseball Highlanders more than holes in the ozone layer, wet socks, and Crystal Pepsi are probably higher.

Again, this is a purely unofficial survey; your mileage may vary.  I don’t root for hate, but I understand it and where it might come from, even though in most cases I don’t share it.

I want to stress my opinion here, though, and while I’ve apologized in one respect, I don’t want that to take the force out of my argument: there’s no sense rooting for the legitimization of a noxious fan base, especially if you believe another noxious fan base already exists and enjoys tormenting you.  There should be no reveling if the Phillies are swept out of the Series; there should be hard, direct conversations of what tools a great many of their fans are, and some effort made to come to an understanding.  There needn’t be love, but a cessation of outright hostilities is certainly called for.  I’d like to go to a Mets-Phillies game at Citi Field unmolested.  I’d like the extended fixation on how Mets players conduct their celebrations to stop.  Other things.  It’s late enough in the night that it’s early now, and you’ve certainly got your own list.

Justify rooting for the Phillies all you want: National League; Yankees beat us when, money spent hand over fist (despite the Mets having quite large hands and fists themselves).  John Sterling, for all his annoying hucksterism, never suggested a Met take “one in the neck.  If you need a reason besides that and Jimmy Rollins praising Johan Santana out one side of his mouth during their World Series celebration, I have more, but they won’t help you anyway.  Somewhere someone hurt you more, hurt you deeply.  This is fine if this is your motivation.

But you keep that.  Friends and I are gaming this out over the course of years to come, and the picture looks quite bleak when considering dual hegemonies: a local media darling to the north, and a smash-mouth gross team to the south; these taking different tacks and riding roughshod over Flushing.  These friends and I are not in favor of that.  One must be stopped, and the smash-mouthers to the south are more vocal, more seethingly creepy with their hate, when they hate, and that goes beyond baseball.  We’ll be rooting for them to be stopped.

Here’s something I’ll suggest as less of a thought experiment and more as a, “Hey, why not go ahead and do it, and tell me how it goes”: if you read this and are still convinced I don’t know my *** from a hole in the ground, get yourself a round trip Amtrak ticket to 30th Street Station in Philly, hail a cab there to Ninth and South Streets, find yourself a bar, and hunker down for one of the games.  Don’t forget your Mets cap.

**Related note: Mets fans who still do root for the Phillies are still real Mets fans, and stil real baseball fans.  I may consider them woefully, atrociously misguided, but they’re still fans.

I read a lot of Mets blogs, as I spend about an hour and a half on the phone each day waiting to be taken off hold for one thing or another.  There’s a sentiment broadcast on many that Mets fans who root for the Yankees are not real baseball fans, or not real Mets fans.  I mean this with all the head-shaking sarcasm I can muster
:

Oh, please.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No, it isn’t.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My God, what a day.

**UPDATE: As always, deep thanks to Ted Berg of SNY and TedQuarters, and Joe Budd of Amazin’ Avenue for the link propers.  And no way!  I broke the Cerrone Barrier

Hell, I may have a beer with lunch!

Click here for numbers 1-25. Click here for numbers 26-50. 

NEW: Click here for numbers 76-101.

This week, numbers 51-75:

51. During his playing years, John Olerud’s nickname was “John Garrett Olerud.”

52. John Olerud has no comment on blown post-season umpiring calls.  He won’t even grant the premise.

53. After games, John Olerud always insisted on doing his own laundry.  Occasionally, he would also do Edgardo Alfonzo’s.

54. John Olerud avoids using the word “moist,” because it sounds so inappropriate.

55. John Olerud isn’t really afraid of anything.  But spiders do kinda give him the creeps.

56. Before each game, John Olerud always took some time to himself: a steaming cup of cocoa, a slice of pound cake, and the “Arts & Leisure” section.  He recommends this to “anyone looking for ways to, uh, dominate.”

57. John Olerud enjoys the utility and versatility of the paper clip.

58. John Olerud placed third in the 1994 National Skip-It! Competition.

59. One word: boxers.

60. John Olerud splits a timeshare in Palm Harbor, Florida, with Joseph and Russell Simmons.

61. Like Keith Olbermann, John Olerud has six lumbar vertebrae and thus too much backbone.

62. When the going gets tough, John Olerud develops a step-by-step action plan to get going in a smart, straightforward, and efficacious manner.

63. Bobby Bonilla and John Olerud once had to share a hotel room.  Olerud woke up the following morning with a Spanish word scrawled on his forehead in black magic marker.  Bonilla maintains to this day that he was just submitting his breakfast order.

64. There exists a Bizzaro John Olerud.  He’s a journeyman relief pitcher, and closed out the year with the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers.

65. John Olerud’s actually always found a pretty broad line between Love and Hate.

66. In the past, John Olerud has been involved in several real-life dramas seemingly pulled from the pages of an action-thriller screenplay.  Once, he was trapped in an L.A. high-rise with a group of European thieves pulling a high-stakes con and robbery.  He called the police and informed them of the ruse in short order. 

All hostages were released without incident.  The criminals are awaiting trial.  John Olerud has since declined to ride in limousines driven by young men named Argyle.

67. John Olerud can grow facial hair.  He just prefers not to.

68. Someone once called John Olerud “the alpha and omega.” He replied, “I’d rather be known as the Mu and the Nu.”  They didn’t get it.  [Hell, I wrote it, and even I don’t get it.]

69. John Olerud invented toe socks.

70. John Olerud’s never had a cavity.  Separately: two years ago his dentist suffered a nervous breakdown.

71. John Olerud once experimented with putting his pants on both legs at
the same time.  It wasn’t for him.  He’s since returned to the
“one-leg-at-a-time” method.

72. Message left on Derek Jeter’s voice mail the morning of October 18th, 2004:

“Hey, Derek, it’s John Olerud.  Been playing first base for the Yankees for a while this year.  Listen, I know it’s kind of a shame that I hurt my foot during Game Three, and Game Four wasn’t so hot.  But Tony’s gonna get it done.  I’m… yeah, I’m actually pretty confident in Clark.  I mean, I was no great shakes in Game Three.  And if he somehow doesn’t get it done or Dougie doesn’t get it done, I’m sure Alex and Jorge and Gary’ll provide some pop for you.  Anyway, no way that Game Four business happens again.  With the batting and the fielding and the pitching the team’s got, it’s golden.  Anyway, I know it’s three games to one, but I don’t wanna count my chickens.  Here’s just hoping Game Five’s a good one, right?

“Oh, heck: by the way, I didn’t see Tom or Mariano at the hotel before I left.  Tell them I ran into Esteban, and he’s looking not so hot, so they gotta lock it down.  Just have a bad feeling; if it goes into extra innings, don’t count on him.  Okay?  All right.  See you later.  It’s John Olerud, by the way.  Okay.  Bye.”

73. John Olerud fills his car with mid-test gasoline.

74. John Olerud is an avid songwriter, publishing under the pseudonym Michael Bolton.

75. John Olerud is man enough to cry.

The Fates are conspiring to keep me from ever sitting in the cushy field level seats at Citi.

About a month or so ago I caught wind of a game between the New York Sentinels and the Las Vegas Locos of the UFL (they’re not even getting an instructional link) to be held at Citi Field.  Turned out some of the cheapest seats were where baseball seats its celebrities. 

This made sense, as the good seats for any football game are at the 50-yard line; the club seats would naturally be near an end zone.

So I literally cashed in some change, deposited it, and bought myself a ticket.  Done and done.  See you November 4th, in a coat, scarf, fleece and, hopefully, a ridiculously expensive cup of hot chocolate from the bar mere steps behind me.

But today: TWIST!

October 22, 2009
 
Dear Mets Season Ticket/Plan Holder or UFL Ticket Purchaser:
 
Thank you for your recent purchase of tickets for the UFL game originally scheduled to be played at Citi Field.  The UFL has announced that the game – the November 4th game between the NY Sentinels and Las Vegas Locos – has been moved from Citi Field to Hofstra University.
 
YOUR TICKETS NEED NOT BE RETURNED.  YOU WILL RECEIVE AN AUTOMATIC REFUND.
 
THE PRICE OF THE TICKETS AND ANY FEES WILL BE AUTOMATICALLY REFUNDED TO THE CREDIT CARD USED TO MAKE THE PURCHASE.
 
To view the UFL’s recent press release please click this link. http://www.ufl-football.com [link removed for passive-aggressive reason found above–ed.]
 
Thank you again for your support of the Mets.  If you require further information or assistance, please contact us at 718-507-TIXX.  We also encourage you to visit Mets.com regularly for up-to-date Citi Field information.
 
Sincerely,
William Ianniciello
Vice President, Ticket Sales and Services

Thanks much, Billy.  I’m blowing the thirty bucks on a night out with The Wife when she’s up for her birthday next week (Halloween, if you can believe it).  South Brooklyn Pizza, here we come.

By the way, the ONLY ways I go see a New York Sentinels game:

  • if Citi Field is the venue;

  • if Lawrence Taylor and Joe Namath come out of retirement, and both are starting wideouts.

If the second comes to pass, I’ll go anywhere to see it happen.

I’ve caught whatever’s been going around the city, and my body feels like utter garbage. So while my immune system fights The Good Fight, I figure I should concentrate my ire over being ill, and engage in some lousy, over-the-top, and perhaps offensive analogizing.
 
Strap yourselves in.
 
It was about eighty years ago when the world, on the heels of a wild decade of speculative prosperity, finally succumbed to the true fiscal reality. Markets were houses built without foundations; budgets balanced on the backs of imagined earners imploded, and with them entire governments. A blanket of shame and sadness draped civilization, and the only heads peeking out of the covers were those who feared there might never come another morning.
 
Somewhere in Europe, a nation stirred, driven by a man whose rage and bigotry was only matched by his gripping oratory; he drove millions, battered and abused by decades of poor gambits and failed Old World conceits, to abandon their sense and decency. Together they began fomenting a heinous culture of hatred.
 
To the north and east, a frozen empire unto itself simmered with its own conceits of single-minded glory, erecting monuments to a man and a movement we now know, and then knew, to be unsustainable. Knew to be suffocating to liberty and the true nature of Man.  Cut off by river and mountain and bitter cold, the empire lay tantalizingly close but showed itself an impossible prize again and again. Megalomaniacs through the centuries had tried, and failed.  Now, it watched the goings-on in the West with a wary eye. Would they be called upon to marshal their forces again? Would the madman who sought to lead THEM stop at no expense of blood or treasure to defend their home?
 
They knew the answer those days like their forebears did most recently decades ago: yes.  A proud to others yes, but to those listening, a weary yes. Time’s a tide that washes in the refuse and pulls away the sand, and the shore ages and soon is no more.  This most recent experiment on the national stage would prove unsustainable. But for now, for the present: yes. If they come here, they will be buried.
 
Western Europe felt the immediacy.  They saw lunacy; evil like none before. It seemed unreal, given the drawn pain and terror they’d undergone just recently, in a war that showed all that just when things could not get worse, they would. How, they wondered, could it come to this again?
 
Sick with worry and in no condition to mount a fight, they sought detente. We will negotiate, they said in Munich. We will acknowledge the wrongs done to you, and seek a peace we can all live with.
 
“We need breathing room!” they cried.
 
Those living closest to the madness quaked at the thought of such appeasement. Others were determined to deal for the safety of the world. They met, they talked. They concurred that to end the proclamations of destiny, and death and destruction for all who stood in their way, a sacrifice would have to be made.
 
Tomorrow would be different, they said. We might prevail under the old paradigm of empires and republican unions. We might also find ourselves at the dawn of an age where sovereignty is not challenged by the stronger to the north or south of us, but controlled within our people’s borders and no further.  They were not concerned with the shape of form of tomorrow, or when tomorrow would ever come.  They knew today was unsustainable. There was no fight in today; no fight left.
 
They proved to be wrong on every level.
 
Hate in this growing Western European empire was generational, and systemic. Acquiescing to their demands only fed their belief that fight made right, and invasion and outward aggression would get them all they wanted. Never mind the pain. Never mind the lack of reason. They wanted now, and they’d wanted it for years, and there were no words of caution. Indeed, propaganda led them to believe that they were fighting the good fight. That those interested in their own success were in fact desecrating their birthright, and the true way to attain it.
 
They were also wrong about the fight left in the spirit.  Those who found the aggressors’ punishment baffling could have fought–WOULD have fought–if the world had come together and defended against a tyranny that was unlike they’d ever seen before. Technology made the aggressors seem relentless, but they were not unstoppable. There were allies available. There was spirit. There was no need to declare ownership of a gleaming new civilization, which would endure forever. “Just please, don’t let them take our homes.”
 
But their homes were taken, and this new evil undertook the fastest and most terrifying campaign of expansion in human history. They did it in an ugly, brutal way.  They broke the peace that had been crafted to appease, and war happened despite the best laid plans of those who preached containment.  Then the growing empire sought to succeed where others had failed, and set their sights on the brutal world to the East.

Over the course of a few months, they had succeeded by great measure; while fighting raged in the rest of the world and glimmers of hope shone through the misery, massive armies convinced of their brilliance sought the supremacy demanded by their leaders, each mad themselves.

Then came winter.

Then came winter, and the empire of decades and centuries, of snow and domination at the cost of their humanity, defeated the army whose hatred was so relatively new, yet so chilling that it nearly consumed the world.

The next spring and summer would see a continuing series of reverses for the Western Empire, and eventually, after much rebuilding and much sacrifice, those who truly fought The Good Fight overcame the burning will of a people seemingly determined to leave their actions ruled from Hell.

Yes, then the fight turned to dismantling that empire in the East.  Yes, it took decades of sacrifice and near-nihilistic brinkmanship.  Yes: would that the fight were between their armies and those perhaps more deserving.  I might be swayed then.

But the writing is now on the wall.  To those who preach this… bizarre… kind of appeasement–indeed, some of these people are near-strangers but have my utmost respect, nevertheless–I’m compelled to ask:

Are you out of your MIND?! 

It’s NOT the summer of ’63!

It’s the winter of ’42! 

We can’t understand!  Nothing you’ve said has MADE us understand!  They’ve assaulted us physically!  They’ve taunted us verbally!  They’ve made clear their bigotry (the comments are charming), have recommended violence (“Someone should put one in his neck”) and have cheered violence (April 18, 2008).

You think I’m kidding about this?  I’ll even link to the Post, which I swore I’d never do.  Here.  Read it.  Read here.  They made me think a bad thought about Harry Kalas.  To hell with them.

You don’t cheer on a team blitzkrieging their way to a presumptive empire.  Then you’ve got two to deal with.  Simplest. 
Math.  Ever.

The Mets are our band of brothers.  In the last battle of the year, the opponents are those who’ve done our brothers terrible harm, and those who we’ve seen once (2000) when it truly, truly mattered.

I’m bundling up.  I don’t care that it’s seventy degrees outside.  Next week, winter’s coming.

Let’s go Yankees. 

Next year, after the guns are silent, begins rehabilitation.

Took five minutes out of a lunch hour I didn’t use to check my email for this blog. 

A bunch of messages about Steve Phillips.

This is separate from my personal email, wherein I have about twenty messages from a few friends who’ve gone back and forth.

The personal emails don’t solicit my opinion.  The blog emails do.

I have an opinion; I’m not sharing it.  Guy’s got a wife and kids, and a load of headaches right now.  I’m not a practicing Catholic, but my gut tells me something along the lines of “it’s not your business.”  So, as it’s not my business, I’ll be keeping my mouth shut on this public forum, and declining offers to respond from those who’ve found me through said forum.

So apologies to those who have asked questions.  However, some of you seem to be Phillies fans who are trying to rub my nose in… something.  He was the Mets’ GM about a bajillion years ago.  The apology does not extend to you.

Seems like old times in Milwaukee for Rick Peterson, who joins up with Ken Macha and Willie Randolph again as the Brewers’ presumptive pitching coach.  Article from Corey Brock here, through the Brewers’ MLB site.

I like this comment, which appears right now at the top of the section, by “OldSchoolBallNGlove” (all you need is what’s emphasis mine):

Peterson sounds like a really good pitching coach and it seams like he is exactly what we
need, but I wonder why he was fired from the Mets?
Am excited, and I am looking forward to
him working with Parra.
Parra has the stuff, and can be lights out. He definitely will be an ace
if he can keep that bad a** attitude, and not worry so much when there are guys on base.
Hope he can tweak a couple of Gallardo’s pitches too. Gallardo definitely will be an ace too
if he can go deeper into games and keep that curve ball going for him on a regular basis.
I know sometimes he struggles with it, look at how good he is now, now just imagine when
he gets it all figured out as well. I’m willing to bet that he will be an ace really soon. So far
so good guys, we resigned Hoffman, now this guy. Keep up the Great work Mark and Doug!!

Oh, OldSchool, OldSchool, OldSchool.  Why did the Mets fire him? 

Well, why fire anybody, really? 

Some (not necessarily me) say that you could leave the equivalent of three oil drums in the dugout, hastily labeled “MANAGER,” “HITTING COACH,” and “PITCHING COACH,” and come out ahead, as the players at least would be able to vent frustration on these objects, and not the Gatorade machine.  I’ve skipped “BENCH COACH” because four oil drums in the dugout would make space a little tight.  The trainer’s useful, if locked into reality.

I can’t begin to attempt to answer the commenter’s question in an authoritative way.  But for any Brewers fans who’ve come upon this page due to a tag or a small stroke, I’ll try not to make it a complete waste of time.

I checked out on Rick Peterson after returning from Bennington and hearing rumblings of Scott Kazmir’s anticipation of walking papers.  Seemed criminal to me.  Further criminality came in the form of Peterson allegedly declaring he could fix Victor Zambrano in ten minutes.  Zambrano came to the Mets on July 30th, 2004.  Assuming the trade took effect at noon, it’s been about 2,747,410 minutes; I’ve stopped waiting.  Besides, Victor Zambrano is out of baseball anyway, and telling everyone he can find that he’s not related to the Cubs’ Carlos Zambrano, further ruining any possible fun he can provide the general population.

Yes, it’s true.  I’m retiring the joke, along with any Sean Green/Shawn Green/”Special Ed” from Crank Yankers comparisons.  If you ever believed me, then walk right this way: I’ve got a bridge to sell you.

Peterson, by the way, is not alleged to have made claims re: Bartolome Fortunado, who also came over in the Kazmir trade, and pitched all of 21 2/3 innings in 2004 and 2006 (excluding ’05).  Twenty-one hits in those twenty-one innings and change.  This’ll show you the result of his last game.  See?  Everyone knocks Kazmir-for-Zambrano, but the real loogie in the face was Fortunado.

He couldn’t fix Heath Bell, who fell into the Church/Evans Hole in ’06 after a semi-lousy ’05.  I’ll presume nothing of Bell’s potential effectiveness in the NLCS that year; he was nowhere to be found.  The overall point is someone fixed Heath Bell, while not granting the premise that the guy had a problem in the first place.  Look at it this way: if Bell finds himself in 2006 the way he found himself with the Padres after being traded, and Duaner Sanchez gets hurt in that cab accident, do the Mets feel the pressure to trade Xavier Nady to the Pirates for Roberto Hernandez (no relation to Livan or Orlando) and Oliver Perez?

I’m not crowning Xavier Nady.  I’m trying hard to remember what Roberto Hernandez looks like, and expressing my extreme distaste for Oliver Perez.  The overall point is that a butterfly flaps its wings in the Amazon and the Mets get a headcase for two more years and $24 million remaining on his contract.

All of this fixing/not fixing aside, the man was either shell-shocked by his firing or doesn’t have much of an idea how to protect his image.  When he was booted by Omar Minaya on the West Coast in ’08, he had this to say (from the Times archive, way at the bottom):

”Homes go through renovations,” Peterson said. ”I’m the hardwood
floor that’s getting ripped off and they’re going to bring in the
Tuscany tile.”

Peterson, saying he will ”walk out in peace,”
added, ”Hopefully, the Tuscany tile will do a lot better than the
hardwood floor.”

Tuscany tile, hardwood floor.  Really, a matter of preference.  And it reads as/sounds magnanimous, but the guy didn’t do himself any favors. 

Tuscany tile’s a more lavish material.  I would want it in my kitchen; not my current one, because I rent, but the kitchen of whatever future home I own.

He’s been out of baseball for over a year.  One would hope that, should the unfortunate befall him again, he doesn’t make allusions to his being:

  • something you can walk all over;

  • something that’s less agreeable to the owners of a house interested in making an aesthetic renovation.

That’s just good business sense.

Anyway, good luck to the Brewers and best of luck to Rick Peterson.  I’d been holding out some hope that there’d be some sort of pseudo-reality TV series on MLB Network, involving Rick Peterson and Rickey Henderson driving around the country in a van, chasing ghosts or judging local beauty competitions, or something like that.  The dream continues.

**And hey, speaking of good business sense, check out what the Brewers’ assistant GM is doing.  Will gladly take references to the Mets running something even vaguely similar on here or at omniality [at] gmail [dot] com.

Reflections upon last night’s games are unavailable, as I was online all night searching StubHub for NONEXISTENT, COMPLETELY IMPOSSIBLE 2009 METS PLAYOFF TICKETS.  Most irritating email I’ve received all week.

Thin ice, StubHub.  Thin.  Ice.

Got a comment from “daled@optonline.net” that I didn’t see until today:

A new comment has been posted on your blog Section Five Twenty-Eight, on entry #1252431 (One Hundred And One Things You Didn’t Know About John Olerud: Part One).
 
You’re an idiot
 
Commenter name: daled@optonline.net
Commenter email address: daled@optonline.net
Commenter URL:
Commenter IP address: 69.123.221.94

Now, Dale from Oceanside, NY–ran a search on the IP address–is correct.  I am an idiot.  I’ve known for some time.  As a matter of fact, I declared as much to my fellow college seniors during our graduation dinner.  “I will graduate Bennington College in five days, secure in the knowledge that I am an idiot.”  There’s tape of this.

I figure part of what led Dale to call me an idiot is all this list-making, and while I won’t stop making the list (unless the Mets or John Olerud give me a call, but really, I feel it’s quite complimentary), I will refrain from listing the reasons why I’m an idiot.

What I will do is offer the same explanation I offered those at Bennington: I’m an idiot because I don’t know much about much.  I know how to write a screenplay; I’ve got that locked down.  I know how to perform various administrative tasks, ranging from the mundane to the complex and intricate. 

Contrary to popular belief, I know when to keep my mouth shut.  Some who know me well might disagree strongly.  Reality is I speak up in those moments when waiting will just be too tedious.

Your blogger knows how to play the flute and the harmonica.  He also knows the lyrics to hundreds of songs, including Foreigner’s “Cold As Ice.”

But there’s a whole world I don’t know about and can’t access.  Sabermetrics?  No dice.  I really want to understand it, though.  I have no idea what got into Hideki Kuroda last night, and I sort of don’t want to know–whatever he’s got, I don’t wanna catch.  I read and watched the saga of Jose Reyes, and I feel like an idiot because while I think I know what went on, I can’t say for certain.

This is becoming a list, and I promised I wouldn’t start listing.  Let’s just leave it at I don’t know much about much.

The beauty, as I explained to my fellow morons five and a half years ago, is that we can rely on each other to solve our idiocy.  While I still don’t want to know much about Kuroda and whatever his problem is, I can speak with others and come to an understanding of why one doctor said Reyes tore a tendon and another doctor said it was just the effect of a rough night of voodoo.  I can certainly seek out reference material drafted by bright, incisive minds, and come to understand how UZR is computed.

Note that I said “solve our idiocy.”  For as much as I’m an idiot, I’ll put dollars to doughnuts on the probability that Dale from Oceanside is a Class-A Fool as well.  The difference between us is some nuanced level of self-control–see comment left with little supporting data.  Perhaps it’s more incomplete or short-sighted than dumb to leave such a criticism without defending it, but this is a blog whose mission is to make me feel better, not provide much at all in the way of probing analysis.  Really, my point here is: why split hairs?

I don’t know what I can teach others about baseball besides the rules and some anecdotal history.  I’m compelled, in a search for more pervasive idiocy, to take a look at some of the things I’ve advocated: a Mets video program to coexist with a museum; the hiring of a sharp, savvy communications director to be the public face of the business; the nixing of sponsored fan giveaways in exchange for sponsored reductions in ticket prices.  I imagine this’ll happen during the off-season as well.

I’m still flummoxed by Kuroda, really.  How do you… well.  They can’t all be winners.  But stating that is, in part, what led to my being called an idiot in the first place.

Kudos, Dale.  Keep callin’ ’em as you see ’em.