what a lousy day

July 26, 2007

Today’s Mets game started before I even remembered about it. 12:10 rolls around and I get an IM from Joe reminding me. Because of lousy work all I could do was follow it online while checking the pithy commentary over at Mets Geek. A first inning run. Yay. Much mirth and merriment over Ramon Castro attempting to stretch a lead-off hit in the second into a double, and of course he doesn’t, because that man is a beached whale (whom I adore, but nonetheless…watching this guy try to slide is funnier than Woody Allen’s last ten movies combined). Oliver Perez just dealing against his former team, allowing one hit through five innings. Yes yes everything’s great lalalala let’s sweep the lowly Pirates.

Oh but then. But then Ollie reverts back to form, experiencing one of his all-too-familiar meltdowns in the sixth (getting help from some shoddy defense all around, himself included), leading five runs to score. In the next inning, Scott Schoeneweis gets runners on the corners (of course!), so Joe Smith is brought in to try and take care of that mess. Of course, Joe Smith of the past two months–and especially the last week–has not been the Joe Smith of the first two months, and three runs score. Bah. Fast forward to the end of this miserable game and it’s the Pirates who win, 8-4.

And then Joey’s sent down to the minors. It is obviously depressing, considering the 5,635 lewd comments and/or declarations of love (depending on your perspective) I have made about him on this here blog. I have been worried about this for some time–had actual nightmares about it even, the last one coming around the All-Star Break. And as much as it pains me to say it, as much as I will miss watching him pitch, I really do think it’s the best thing for both the team and for Smith. More and more, Joey’s become a bit of a liability (it says something about your performance when even Aaron Heilman starts to surpass you). Many reasons abound: he’s tired, for one. This is a kid who was in college a year ago, played some minor league ball, zoomed through spring training, and made his major league debut in April. The fairy tale had to end some time.

I think in the long run that this is a good thing for Smith. Take some pressure off. Regroup. Get a little rest. Maybe eat some good gumbo and go to a crawfish boil or drink some chicory coffee with beignets. Come back well-rested and ready to show off what made us all fall in love with him in the first place. Think of it as second April. Let’s hope it works out this way. He’s too good to not be on this team.

I need a damn drink.

john maine is a stud

July 25, 2007

…so much so that even Lastings wants a piece. Who wouldn’t?!

Details from the Mets’ 8-4 win over the lowly Pirates are fuzzy as I descended into drunkenness at the JLI and totally son’d Stan and Joe at beer pong, with the aid of Stephen. I do recall sitting next to some dude who cheered when Jason Bay hit a home run off of Maine in the top of the fourth to tie the score at 2-2. I recall shaking my head as he yelled “THAT WAS A MEATBALL” and wondering how the hell I managed to sit next to the only Pirate fan there, and if murder in this case would be justified, and God please can’t Johnny settle down and start pitching like pre-ASG again?

Turns out he did. Hitting a home run helps. But before that: Someone shaped like Paul Lo Duca lifts a ball into left center, and Xavier Nady can’t get to it, meaning Lo Duca Shape has a double?! Then Shawn Green–now nicknamed “the Jewish Apatosaurus” by the delightful smart aleck commenters over at Mets Geek [Ed. note: as started by delightfully smart alecky commenter Future]-singles him in?! More wackiness to ensue: Green moves to second on a wild pitch, and Milledge (who, more and more, is inspiring confidence, especially since Moises Alou is still as fragile as Jose Valentin’s leg bones) singles him in–nice run and slide by the Jewish Apatosaurus! Who says he can’t move? (A: all of us with eyes)

The pièce de résistance of this wacky fourth inning is, of course, Johnny Maine’s first career home run. The bar echoed of “Holy shit!”s and “Oh my God!”s and much booming laughter, and I smiled like an idiot, especially watching the aftermath: Maine’s incredulous/slightly stupified look as he trotted the bases, Milledge’s hug, the goofy smiles by David Wright and Shawn Green and HoJo and everyone else in the dugout (except for Willie Randolph and his trademark “I am slightly bemused by this recent development”), Johnny’s seemingly embarrassed curtain call (some great photographic evidence on Mets Grrl’s flickr). After that, Johnny settled down and took care of business, Milledge added a bomb of his own, Heilman pitched well, and Mota gave up a harmless (but frustrating) 2-run shot in the ninth, because–well, he’s Mota.

But really, the night belonged to Maine. Hell, he had a better offensive night than Wright, the only Mets starter to go hitless (though he managed an RBI with a sac fly–just one of those nights when everyone produced, I guess). Marty Noble’s report is full of gems, but I’ll leave you with my favorite two:

“He didn’t smile once the whole way around,” Joe Smith said. “Hey, I smiled when I struck out in my one chance. Are you kiddin’? If I hit one out, I would have been doing backflips.”

Oh, Joe. Let’s make babies.


So what would some of his colleagues have to do to surprise Shea Stadium as Maine had? That was a topic of discussion for a few moments on Tuesday night.

Shawn Green pondered the question for a moment.

“For me?” he said. “… Hit a home run.”

I’ve said before that Maine looks like a stork during his at-bats. Maybe I need to rethink his status as Worst-Looking Mets Batter. Hiya, Shawn! [Ed. note: I did make fun of Green in Monday’s post, which in fact was the end of my self-imposed week-long ban on Shawn Green jokes. Phew. That was a long week.]

some rejuvenation in the california sun

July 23, 2007

Funny how my ever-present Southern California nostalgia reared its pretty head concurrently with the Mets’ seven game road trip to San Diego (where I went to school) and Los Angeles (where I grew up). Also some good payback for the earlier nightmarish sweep in L.A. The Mets went 4-3 on this very difficult West Coast sojourn, facing two of the best teams in the NL, and I feel optimistic about this team’s turnaround when you think that those three losses were easily winnable games for the Mets.

Herewith, my lazy haphazard recap of all seven games, most of which I listened to on WFAN till very late at night. Goddam West Coast.

1. Padres d. Mets, 5-1: Good to have Jorge Sosa back, who pitched surprisingly well in his first appearance off the DL. Unfortunately, David Wells pitched just as good and also received some offensive support. Imagine that!

2. Mets d. Padres, 7-0: I mentioned this in the previous post, but it was an absolutely stellar offensive display by the Mets (HoJo workin’ his magic!), stringing together key hits in various innings. Tremendous 2-hit ball by El Duque, who also stole a base and scored a run, and RBIs by some guys we’d forgotten about since April. Even Guillermo Mota pitched well! Nice to beat up on Cy Young candidate Peavy too.

3. Padres d. Mets, 5-4: Ah, this one hurts. Looking to bounce back from his poor outing against Cincinnati (who’da thunk the Reds would win that one?), Johnny Maine once again proves that he is human, getting mildly spanked for four runs in six innings. The Mets then mount a comeback, culminating with a 3-run blast from BB#1 David Wright to tie the game in the top of the eight. Unfortunately BB#2 Joe Smith decides to prove his humanness as well, giving up the go-ahead run in the bottom of the eighth, recording his first major league loss. Poor Joe Smith 😦

4. Mets d. Dodgers, 13-9: This one was a doozy, and had me pacing the room and collapsing on my bed and tossing and turning until 2 AM. I was actually at a movie, and when I got out I checked the Mets score and saw that it was 6-0 in the bottom of the first. I remarked to my friends, “The Mets really want Tommy to get #300 at Shea.” I get home and WHOOPS! The Mets rocked Derek Lowe, but the Dodgers in turn rocked Glavine, who left the game with the bases loaded and no outs in the third inning. Luckily, the Mets kept on hitting and the Aarons managed to minimize the damage, though Mota nearly gave me seven heart attacks in the final two innings. Also: Hello, Marlon Anderson!

5. Mets d. Dodgers, 4-1: This one was a pitcher’s duel through and through, with Ollie and Brett Tomko each giving up one early run (Nomar Garciaparra home run and David Wright RBI single, respectively) until their bullpens took over. The Mets immediately jumped on Roberto Hernandez as Jose Reyes scored on a throwing error (God bless lousy Dodgers defense!), then Beltran hit a 2-run shot to put the game easily out of reach. Oh, and Jose Valentin breaks his leg. Of course. Everyone thinks, “Too bad, but yay for Gotay!” Let’s see about that one, huh?

6. Dodgers d. Mets, 8-6: This one also hurts. The Mets jumped to an early 4-0 lead against Brad Penny (why are they so good against Cy Young candidates but make novices and journeymen look like Nolan Ryan?) and Jorge Sosa seemed to be cruising up until that disastrous 5-run fourth, after which he was pulled. Oh, Sosa, what a meltdown. I instantly remembered that game he pitched in Atlanta, where everything was going fine until all hell broke loose. Still, it was only a 6-4 game, and Beltran would hit another two-run homer in the eighth. Oh, but the Dodgers’ sixth inning. I wish we could pretend that it never happened. Worst Show Ever loads the bases with one out (of course he does! DUH!), and Joe Smith is brought in. Joey then gets a perfect double-play ball out of Russell Martin. Davey throws it to Gotay at second and I think, “Good job, Joe Smith,” and how good that would be for his psyche considering what happened in SD only GOTAY THROWS IT AWAY OH NOES TWO RUNS SCORE. Smith gets the next guy out, but as it cuts to commercial you can see him cursing at himself as he walks off the mound. Poor Joe Smith 😦

7. Mets d. Dodgers, 5-4: Rafael Furcal starts off the bottom of the first by homering off El Duque, and I shake my head. James Loney gets an RBI double in the bottom of the fourth, and I go “GAHHHHH.” The Mets come back to tie in the sixth with RBIs from Milledge and Davey, and I pump my fist while going “Let’s keep this tight.” El Duque then gives the lead right back with a 2-run shot to Nomar. Hey Nomar, you’re playing for the Dodgers in 2007, not late 90s Red Sox, okay? I mean damn.

And then: more bad Dodgers defense! After getting a run in the eighth, Delgado gets an infield single (really?!), and is lifted for pinch-runner Marlon Anderson Anderson Hernandez, who moves to second on a wild pitch by Broxton. Lo Duca grounds out (of course), moving Anderson Hernandez to third. Shawn Green lofts a ball into shallow right and Matt Kemp I guess decided to do some kind of Shawn Green tribute, as he completely let the thing drop. I don’t know? It seems impossible that it fell, but fall it did, allowing Anderson Hernandez to score the tying run.

Extra innings capers! As it went on, I thought to myself, “The Mets win these.” Apparently the Dodgers–entering this one at 6-2 in extras–do too. Gulp. The Mets jumped in the top of the 10th after Reyes grounded out. Milledge singled, Beltran singled. Wright grounds to third but beats the double play with some nice hustle to first. Chip Ambres (yeah!) is the hero with a single past a diving Nomar–pretty much the only ball to get past Nomar yesterday–scoring Anderson Hernandez (yes I got confused! What’s with last names as first names? Honestly).

This being L.A. and all, the Mets decided to make it even more dramatic/slapsticky, depending on what you prefer. Billy Wagner comes in, and I think this shit is over finally and I can go get some dinner. He then walks Juan Pierre. Gulp. He manages to pick him off, then throws to Green, who had taken over first after Delgado was pulled. Green was all, “Pffft, why settle for Matt Kemp’s tribute when you can see the real thing?” and drops the ball. Pierre safe at second. Gah. Wags gets Martin to K, Kent with an IBB. Kemp, in his quest to make me love him, strikes out as well. Wags then throws a wild pitch to Nomar, negating the DP possibility as Pierre advances to third and Kent to second. Wags then freezes Nomar. Game over. Thank God.

All in all, a pretty good West Coast jaunt for just about everybody. Except Joe Smith, I guess (and possibly Sosa). Hey Joe, I should’ve given you the names of some nice spots to check out in San Diego and L.A.! At least you could’ve had some fun while playing a prominent part in two of the three losses. That second one wasn’t your fault, though! Aw, baby. It’s okay, I’m here.

general baseballery because i am too tired (damn 10:05 EDT starts)

July 18, 2007

Last night the Mets played exactly the kind of exhilarating, winning ball they showed for the first two months, shutting down the Padres 7-0. Hurray! Taking down Jake Peavy! Excellent two-hit ball by El Duque. He even singled and…stole a base? Buh?! Hits with RISP! By…Beltran? Delgado? Valentin? Lo Duca? QUADRUPLE BUH?!

To top it all off, the Braves had dropped two straight to…the Reds? The same Reds that the Mets beat up on? The same Reds I thought would get clobbered by the Braves, as the Mets went to the West Coast to face two of the best teams in the NL? Okay. I guess the Braves just want absolutely no part in taking over the lead in the NL East. And now they’ve gone and signed Julio Franco. Boy, I hope the next Mets-Braves series features many tight ballgames where Franco is brought in for a two-out pinch-hit with the tying or go-ahead runner at third only to ground out to short.

Finally, don’t look now but the Yankees have won 9 or their last 12, 8 games behind the Red Sox, who have lost 6 of their last 9, leading to this:

Anderson: I swear to God, Boston’s lead will be down to like four by the end of July.
me: you bosox fans sure are self-loathing and underconfident when you’re not being boorish, douchey, and loud
Anderson: Hi, I don’t believe we’ve met. I’m Massachusetts. And you?
me: smiley optimistic california! lalallalalalala it’s so PRETTY TODAY

I wish I were in San Diego right now. Guh.

you mean you DON’T like balls flying in your face?

July 18, 2007

Not so tough now, huh Anastasia Rodionova? Who? Yeah, I dunno.

Some strange shit going on in Ohio lately. There’s this unfortunate piece of business, and now the off-the-radar Western & Southern Financial Group Women’s Open in Cincinnati (awful name) has experienced a bit of controversy as, in the midst of an apparently heated third round match, Rodionova was defaulted after hitting a ball in the direction of fans of her opponent, Angelique Kerber. You mean someone named Angelique Kerber has fans? You mean people were actually watching a match between the 73rd and 78th-ranked players in the world? Huh. I really hope this is some grand Cincinnati scheme to get the tournament some headlines after Serena Williams pulled out because she lost her thumb and calves at Wimbledon.

On the one hand, I find it deplorable behavior by a supposed professional athlete. On the other hand, I am quite amused. On the third hand (birth defect, shhh), I say: why not? Pretty badass move. Also: people named Anastasia tend to be jerks, so whatever.
As penance for Ms. Rodionova’s raging bitchitude, I propose the following possible solutions by the WTA (the $5,000 fine isn’t enough, though I bet that’s half of Rodionova’s yearly earnings right there):

  • Rodionova has to stand in the middle of a circle of Kerber fans equipped with a ball and racquet (must supply own).
  • Rodionova has to comb the lawns of Wimbledon in search of Serena Williams’ calves and thumb, then get beat the fuck up by Serena.
  • Rodionova must be locked in a room with nothing but the sound of Maria Sharapova’s screaming for 24 hours or until deafness sets in, whichever comes first.
  • Rodionova must be locked in a room with nothing but the sound of Dick Enberg calling her “delicious” for 24 hours or until her ovaries fall out, whichever comes first.
  • Rodionova must take lessons from John McEnroe on how to properly throw a tantrum without crying like a little bitch afterwards.

Incidentally, my favorite bit of wordplay in weeks.