it could’ve been worse?

September 22, 2008

Yes, it could have. The Mets could’ve been swept in Atlanta. In fact, they really should have been, if not for the heroics of one Daniel “Jesus” Murphy on Friday, atoning for the sins of his teammates’ lousy (some would say “faggy,” oh how clever, sometimes I love other Mets fans) defense in the previous half-inning by doubling in the go ahead runs, leading to the inevitable FIRST! (and only!) Mets win in Atlanta this season. Because they then shit the bed in the following two games, in the most excruciating, dull, predictable of ways.

Why they should’ve been swept, reason #1: mediocre starting pitching. Oliver Perez danced in and out of trouble all night on Friday, furthering our love/hate relationship. There are very few who are as electric as Ollie is when he’s on, and as frustrating when he’s not. He’s got all the talent in the world, except between the ears (somehow this reminds me of a critique my music teacher gave me, saying I was really gifted but entirely lazy). On Saturday, Pedro Martinez had his requisite first inning troubles (three first-inning runs this time!) before settling in, and Mike Pelfrey did a pretty good Pedro impersonation by looking wild and uncomfortable for much of Sunday, until resembling the dominating pitcher he was in August (almost a matter of too little, too late).

Why they should’ve been swept, reason #2: the bullpen. But that’s almost a given at this point. Rather, the bullpen was great on Friday (even Heilman had a big strikeout!) and Saturday, so of course on Sunday (with a lead!) something had to give, and boy did they give. This group is a regular collective Santy Claus. But it’s easy to pick on retarded kittens, when a lot of the weekend’s blame should go to the supposed big cats.

Why they should’ve been swept, reason #3: the offense. Sure, the offense came through on Friday, thanks to Daniel Murphy, who was downright awful in the following two games, but it’s okay; just about everyone was awful in the following two games. When your only two runs on Saturday are driven in by YOUR PITCHER, something’s wrong. When you’re nursing a slim 4-2 lead knowing that Aaron Heilman and Scott Schoeneweis are in your bullpen, you need to score more runs. Especially with the opportunities given in the sixth and seventh innings. When the first two batters in an inning walk, then you have to lay down the bunt, Pelfrey! And not swing at the first pitches, Reyes and Murphy! And the next inning, Wright and Delgado single only to see Beltran pop up and Church ground out into a double play. Wee. That right there was the game, forget about the bullpen. Because now you just expect the bullpen to give up a few runs (two-run lead? NOT ENOUGH!). But especially seeing Delgado hit that two-run homer in the ninth, you would’ve liked to have seen at least one of those runners on base with no out in the sixth and seventh actually score. Yes. That would’ve been nice.

***

Congratulations to the Chicago Cubs for clinching the NL Central Division title. I texted my friend Michael to congratulate him, and he responded that he was “pretty much drunk right now.” Then this followed:

“I just realized i love the post season because you finally get shirtless heroes.”

Which, I mean, obviously. But, um…are there hot Cubs?! Oh, right:


it’s nice that they’re so supportive of each other

August 11, 2008

L-R: Mets bullpen members Duaner Sanchez, Joe Smith, Pedro Feliciano, Aaron Heilman, and Scott Schoeneweis embrace after giving up a 5-1 lead in an eventual loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Awww, how cute.


the mets are the worldwide leader in disappointing wins

August 7, 2008

How many disappointing wins have the Mets had this year? 6? 12? It feels like every time Santana has a no decision it’s a disappointing win, because Santana almost always pitches a seven-inning, two-run game and the offense is underwhelming and the bullpen blows it. Oh it happened again today? WHADDAYAKNOW.

Thank God for David Wright, coming up with the walk-off homer. Thank God Jerry didn’t sit him after yesterday’s boners (not the good kind). And thank God the Mets were able to fend off the AAA Padres. With a bunch of young kids from AA Binghamton (on Sesame Street Day at Shea, no less!) providing many of the non-Santana pre-ninth inning highlights.

Have I said enough that I’m in love with Daniel Murphy? I’m in love with him. There, I said it. Feels good.

Now Duaner and Scott, you owe Johan a steak.

Oh, there’s also this:

For some reason, American Idol winner David Cook and one of the losers Carly Smithson were in attendance. I don’t know why, but I hope neither sang the national anthem. It would’ve been way yowly.


watching the future

August 4, 2008

With the horrendous 1-5 road trip the Mets just finished, a trip to the DL by John Maine and a possible one to follow for Billy Wagner (following a spectacularly bad performance on Saturday), there’s not much to be excited by in Metville these days, or so you would think judging by the doomsday reports spewing forth by media and fandom alike.

It’s been a terrible week, to be sure, a week that would’ve been tolerable and possibly quite good if only there wasn’t the requisite every-coupla-weeks implosion by the bullpen as well as the firing-on-one-cylinder (and that’s being generous) Mets offense. This team has been a rollercoaster all season, and the highs of the ten-game winning streak (hell, all of July, really) has now ebbed to a current four-game losing streak, including a three in a row to the Astros, a team that is not particularly all that impressive. Back during the doldrums of Willie’s last days, I yearned for some new blood, saying I’d rather see some scrubs and youngsters brought up to play with some hunger and fight than a group of talented multimillionaires play lazily and uninspired. If my team has to lose, I’d rather the former.

It’s the beginning of August, and the Mets are three games behind a Philly team whose lily looks less gilded than it did a year ago (as well as half a game behind the terrifyingly mystifyingly tough Florida Marlins). The Mets have made up ground thanks to some also-rans like Fernando Tatis, the re-emergence of Carlos Delgado, and young guns like Mike Pelfrey living up to their potential. It may seem like an inopportune time, but the increased play of some new blood–Nick Evans, Argenis Reyes, and this weekend’s call ups of Daniel Murphy and Eddie Kunz (studly, the both of them)–provided some excitement for this fan during the weekend, especially considering the way the overall games went. Small pleasures, I know, but Murphy’s Endy impersonation and Kunz working through jitters for a scoreless inning were appreciated not just as additions to this current roster but as an appetizer for what’s to come. I’m not worried about this team simply because of where they stand with two months left, doing much of it with frequent flier miles to the DL, and because, well, if 2008 isn’t meant to be then it isn’t meant to be (and with the way things have gone this season, I wouldn’t be surprised either way). But to see what we may have in store for the future right now (and possibly the near future, as Omar has hinted possible call-ups for Jonathon Niese and Fernando Martinez as well) is a pretty little silver lining, a nice carrot to keep us going, and some other lame metaphor in contrast to an otherwise lousy week of baseball.


amateur improv night at shea!

July 23, 2008

There was a whole lot of impersonation going on last night. First, Carlos Delgado continuing to imitate his old form. Then, Johan Santana begins to look like the dominant pitcher we hoped for and expected when we traded the farm for him. Ramon Castro impersonating an honest-to-God starter, rendering Brian Schneider completely irrelevant (he seems like a nice guy?). Those three had this guy laughing in the aisles.

Not as funny, though, was everything else. Making up for Send ‘Em Sandy’s lack of windmilling as third base coach was Luis Aguayo, sending Endy Chavez home TWICE where he would record the first out of the inning. TWICE. Two times. Those two non-runs, we’d find out, would prove to be important. And considering Billy Wagner’s lack of availability, Duaner Sanchez and Pedro Feliciano (I’ll give Joe Smith a pass, since he got a needed ground ball with which Jose Reyes did absolutely nothing) decided to pretend to be the All Star closer, except they based their impressions on Wagner completely blowing it against the Phillies as opposed to dominating teams like the Reds. And then of course there were the Phillies, resembling the Mets team that scored five runs in the top of the ninth to beat Cincinnati on Friday, or maybe we should more accurately say that that Mets team resembled the Phillies.

That stuff? Not as funny. But more true, somehow.

I don’t recall the last easy game against the Phillies. I don’t remember the last no-doubter; that last game in Philly where they lead 10-1 seemed like one, only then it reverted to form and the Mets held on for a 10-9 win. It always seems like every game is a knock-down drag-out fight, which is fun in its way, but I like crisp wins. Last night seemed like a crisp win. Almost too crisp. Because from the time Johan gave up back-to-back-to-back two-out singles in the first inning through Shane Victorino’s home run, Santana looked dominant, getting quick outs and pop-ups and boring old lazy grounders to third, ho hum. Truly spectacular. And Delgado and Castro’s joint two-run blasts looked like the sufficient offensive production they’d need. But through that whole duration of glorious easy middle innings, a current of dread began to sink me further into my couch.

It seems like the Phillies are always coming back. It always seems like the Mets have a lead, or are tied, and the Phillies somehow are able to wake up late (in the game or season), their backs to the wall, and break out for the win. Usually it’s Wagner who blows it. This time we can look at Sanchez and Feliciano. I know everyone today is going to jump on Wagner for being unavailable, which is fairly understandable considering this fanbase’s love of expletives and hyperbole, but deal with the fact that his shoulder wasn’t up to snuff and he needed a day (and again, he always blows it against the Phillies anyway…see what I did there?!). Deal with what you’ve got. Funnily, I felt queasy with the decision to pitch Sanchez. I know it makes sense, considering he’s your set-up man, but as Howie Rose said last night, there’s a difference between pitching the eighth inning and pitching in a save situation. I would have rather seen Smith, who’d thrown two and a third scoreless against this very team two weeks ago, gone out for the ninth, matchups be damned. Because not only did he get some lefties out last time, but part of closer is not just stuff, but gumption. That kid has ice water in his veins. Sanchez, considering how soon he’s been thrust into these situations after being away for so long, maybe doesn’t have it yet. And let’s not talk about Feliciano. I’ve gone on record as saying he’s been shaky all season, and last night was just another example.

It wouldn’t be a Mets-Phillies game without trauma and drama. Last night’s impersonations attempted a bit of comedy, but I didn’t feel too much like laughing at the end of it.


is there such a thing as a fun loss?

June 16, 2008

‘Cos I witnessed one yesterday. Hey, if the Mets can have a disappointing win (see: last Wednesday), why not a fun loss?

My friend Sean (who ranks high in my hypothetical list of Boys Who Would Make My Romantic Life Easy If Only They Were Gay) came to visit from Canada and we headed to Shea to watch the Mets battle the Rangers. He jokingly said that he’d root for the Rangers only because his mother is from Texas.

It was my first game at Shea this season where the starting pitcher wasn’t Mike Pelfrey. It was John Maine this time, and I excitedly donned my brand new John Maine t-shirt, hoping that I’d witness a good performance and a satisfying win.

Oh haha, it’s the 2008 Mets.

In all fairness, John Maine looked pretty solid all day. Certainly a lot more solid than the bullpen: Feliciano, Smith, and Schoeneweis really blew this shit. Though Heilman pitched a scoreless inning (not without some agita, of course!) and from the upper deck box I yelled “OH MY GOD A RELIEVER DIDN’T ALLOW A RUN? AND IT WAS HEILMAN?!?!?!” which got a nice laugh. In fact, the entire upper deck was quite fun yesterday, especially as the Mets were failing to hit yet again; some fools kept attempting to start the wave, and would boo when it died.

And then something magical happened: the Mets started to hit. And score runs. Sean and I fashioned our rally caps before the bottom of the eighth started, and were stunned to see it work. Would’ve been better if Send ‘Em Sandy hadn’t decided that Brian Schneider could beat out a shallow pop fly to end the inning. Would’ve been better if Delgado hadn’t grounded into a double play to start the ninth. But considering I’ve come to terms with the utter mediocrity of this team, I stood up and cheered with the dwindling crowd that stuck it out, cheering this team in a manner I’d forgotten was possible. Because it seemed inspired. Possibly due to the power of lowered expectations, but still. Somehow, for those final two innings, baseball felt fun again. And any little thing that this team can do to allow me to cheer like that, I’ll accept. There’s so much negativity surrounding this team, this organization, this fanbase, these Mets blogs. And with all valid reason, of course. But amid all the Fire Willie/Fire Peterson/Fire HoJo/Cut Delgado/You Fucked Up The Church Situation/This Team Sucks brouhaha, yesterday I felt that I could sacrifice all expectation for this team in order to cheer on the little things, like stringing together some hits, some late rallies, and pitchers getting out of their own mess (Heilman only). And I feel like that’ll be enough, that being a baseball fan is enough, and anything more–whether it be winning the NL East, winning the Wild Card, winning the World Series, or finishing the year above .500)–will be pretty much gravy.

Also, I don’t know how many times I screamed “TROT!!!!!!!” and/or came up with some terrible TROT!!!!!! puns yesterday, but I’m sure it’s some number higher than Luis Castillo’s RBI total.