Saturday, January 31, 2004

Paint by(passing) numbers

After a brief but impassioned stint as a Yankees writer, I’ve decided it’s time to return to the real world. Can you blame me, though, for just once wanting to jot down some thoughts on a real baseball story instead of succumbing to the hair-trigger apoplectic fits and penchant for self-deprecating comedy that are the hallmarks of Mets fandom? If I didn’t take the occasional holiday, my admittedly vast well of rage would eventually sputter out, leaving me scrabbling at the bottom of the content barrel – in other words, recycling Big K’s material.

(Q: What do you call it when someone cuts Mo Vaughn in the McDonald’s line?
A: A suicide squeeze! Yeah! Stay with me! Next week: Mets Madlibs!)

Even with that refreshing vacation, I’m finding it tougher than usual to join most Mets bloggers in preaching a crusade against Duquette for his mortal sins of trading Cerda and signing Spencer and Zeile. I’m going to do something absolutely crazy and revolutionary here, and analyze the moves without using statistics as my primary arbiter.

Trading Jaime Cerda to the Royals for Steve Sputnik or whatever: This move bothered me, but only slightly. I enjoyed watching Cerda’s fine pitching cut through the doldrums near the end of our 2002 season. He was young and good – two things the rest of our team was not – so after that year’s miserable effort moseyed on down to its final level of Hell, I filed away Cerda’s development along with Tom Glavine’s retirement as “Mets Events I’m Anticipating Eagerly”. I don’t really know what happened to him last year, but whether it was an injury aggravated by Benitez sobbing a little too dramatically on his shoulder or simply bad (read: typical) luck, he was wholly ineffective. This means I’m still rooting for him and would’ve been happy to see him recapture his skill with the Mets, but also that I can’t really complain about him being traded.

As for the pitcher we got for him, apparently he’s some former minor league pitcher of the year. While I think that’s about as accurate a predictor of future stardom as being voted most likely to succeed in grade school, I think he’s worth a shot. You can never have too much pitching, right? (And that’s another reason I don’t mind Cerda going, incidentally; don’t we have a surplus of bullpen quality arms waiting in the wings? Are relievers really all that difficult to replace?)

Saving Shane Spencer’s Career: No problems with this signing at all. We’ve known for a while that Spencer was a likely platoon candidate with his fellow ex-Yankee Garcia in right. Aside from that, all I know about Spencer is what little I picked up while he was with the Bombers. I remember reading about his tremendous power, and then of course how he never panned out as a regular. Maybe he just needs the right opportunity; I hope he makes the team. Hopefully Spring Training will reveal a bit more of his demeanor.

Funding Todd Zeile’s Retirement: I liked Zeile when he was last with us and just slightly younger. I can’t imagine him being a very effective starter for us, but thankfully barring a catastrophic two on two pickup b-ball game between Phillips/Piazza and Wilson/Wigginton, we won’t have to find out. Why not sign a guy that everyone gets along with and who can play decent defense at two defensively-challenged positions for the club? What’s a million dollars or so to Jazzy Jeff Wilpon? Right, about like a hundred bucks for you or me. Plus, he’s a tangible link to a time when the Mets did not suck, and seeing him on the bench will hopefully allow broadcasters to reference that time and help us forget the past two years ever happened.

My dear Brothers and Sisters: Don't worry about all of these garbage-time bit part deals. Make like one of Kyle’s favorite romance novel heroines and clutch your pessimism to your bosom, if you must. Sob, if you have to. But realize that things could be a lot worse. We could have Garth Brooks stealing at bats from Mike Glavine in Spring Training, and that, my friends, would never do. Enjoy baseball while you still can (until the regular season starts, for Mets fans) and take a break every so often from poring over your spreadsheets to appreciate the finer things in the game. If Metropolitan Mike isn’t a credible enough fellow, and he shouldn’t be after referring to himself in the third person, take it from Mr. Schilling and his legion of Sox crazies over at SOSH. Here’s one of Curt’s posts about a former teammate and friend of his who probably isn’t showing up on any lists of MVP candidates, but sounds like a fellow worth watching and rooting for nonetheless.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Witty Titles are more Mike's thing

Huh, that's weird, the programming director hadn't informed me that yesterday was going to be a "very special" episode of East Coast Agony. I must've missed the memo, sorry Mike.

So I've been thinking a lot. About our management situation. I try not to, because I already have high blood pressure, but it just kind of happens. Now, don't get me wrong, I would have refused to watch a single game Grady was managing. Even though the Red Sox are my only real distraction from the smoking train derailment that is my life, there is absolutely no way I would've been able to watch that man sitting in our dugout.

So the Sox needed a new manager, preferably one who wouldn't have the mannerisms and IQ of a paramecium. Now I don't know anything about the other candidates for the job that didn't end up getting hired, I'm far too lazy to look up any info about them. Please feel free to check out a Sox blog that isn't a crime against humanity for any useful comparisons. I don't know if we got the "best" guy or not.

I DO feel like writing about how much Terry Francona worries me, however. And before everyone starts in with that "Sox fans are never happy with anything" spiel, I'll have you know that despite the fact Grady was hired DURING spring training in 2002, I never worried about him. He was a total unknown, but the team was good enough that they would make any vaguely comptenent man able to manage them. I gave him the benefit of the doubt. He made me pay dearly for it in the end, but I didn't say a bad word about him.

Anyways, back to Francona. What do we know about him?

* He's 44
* He ran the '97-00 Phillies into the ground, compiling a woeful 285-363 record. He never won more than 77 games and was eventually canned.
* We hired him because we were 75% impressed with him, and 25% for Schilling
* He was Michael Jordan's coach in AA Birmingham for the White Sox
* He promptly fired 80% of our coaching staff so he could give the jobs to friends

That's it. Also he's been described as a "'player's manager' for his breezy, personal style and willingness to allow veteran stars to police themselves." This is just wonderful news for me to hear, he's carefree and easygoing. Certainly that description doesn't conjure images of OUR PREVIOUS MANAGER WHO WAS FIRED FOR BEING TOO LOOSE AND CAREFREE. Apparently he even let the verteran players pick their own off days. I can only imagine how good this'll play out
Francona: So Manny, when's a good day off for you? June 16th?
Manny: Actually I was hoping the 20th
Francona: Oh, uh, we play the Yankees that day
Manny: I know but there's an Anime convention that day. Either give me the day off or I'll just claim I have Bubonic Plague and go anyways, but that way I'll bring Erick Almonte with me.
Francona: about you Pedro? When works for you?
Pedro: July
Francona: July what?
Pedro: The whole month
Francona: What?
Pedro: July is too hot. I won't pitch. If you argue with me it's because you hate Dominicans and are racist. Now give me 25 million dollars.

So we have a manager who is going to likely be soft with our players, has not shown the slightest trace of ability to manage a major league team, and hired mostly as a PR stunt. Just...awesome.

In other news, the Sox have signed Reynaldo Garcia, a relief pitcher unconditionally released by the Rangers. He has a career ERAIP of 1.25, which is a statistic I just made up which stands for Earned Run Average per Inning Pitched. It's a low number that some people might mistakenly think is his real ERA, so maybe I won't get made fun of as much. I like that he gave up exactly 18 runs in 18 innings last year, which made his real ERA insanely easy to calculate. He also gave up 6 homers and had a K/BB ratio of 1:1. I'm through being even slightly rational, I officially hate Reynaldo Garcia. I know nothing about him other than his limited stats in pro baseball but I still despise him with a fiery passion. I can only hope something or someone seriously injures him before he is ever able to step onto the mound during an actual game. I honestly think Theo has figured out who I am and is testing me. He already built the "real" team, now it's just a big game of chicken between he and I where he sees just how ridiculous his waiver claims/fringe signings can get before I mail him a ticking package.

There's also some questions about which of our studly second basemen will be starting. Pokey Reese or Mark Bellhorn were both equally terrible last year, Pokey was better defensively and Bellhorn didn't hideously injury himself and miss the entire season. It was a toss up.

Bellhorn has 2002 going for him, when he hit 27 homers and had a .258/.374/.512 line. Unfortunately Bellhorn also has "the rest of his career" going against him, where he's hit .208/.320/.306.

Reese's last decent year was '99. He spent most of last year nursing a torn thumb ligament, and before the injury was looking about as comfortable at the plate as Michael J. Fox would without a batting helmet facing Randy Johnson. He's guaranteed to be starting every one of D-Lowe's games, at least. Additionally, if I were a betting man, I'd say he'll be the starting second baseman every day, just because he's great defensively and, again, we can afford to lose a little offensive punch.

Lastly, special shouts out to Petitio and HighandInside, two female readers who've staked their own claim in the arid, bitter wasteland that is Internet Baseball Writing. I guess I shouldn't jump to such hasty conclusions about the demograpghics of our readership, I said we have no female readers and now I know we have at least two, which is actually like 40% of all the regular readers here. I KNOW there's no high-powered business executives who would like to offer me a job based soley on my ability to make Mo Vaughn Jokes who read this, though.

Speaking of Mo, good luck with the rest of your life. Thanks for waiting till you left Boston to suck.

Tearing up for Boone

Winter is coming to the Northeast in a big way today, but that isn't what has Yankee fans feeling an icy draft. Who would've thought that with all the aging mercenaries George has hired, whose injury histories pile as high as their commendations, the first to fall would be a vibrant, young, likable player? Make no mistake about it: Aaron Boone's absence hurts the Yankees much more than his performance at the plate last season would suggest. And I’m not referring to the high quality YES Network programming (Tonight: CenterStage followed by Best of CenterStage and wrapping up with the Emmy Award winning Yankeeography: CenterStage) they’ll have to cancel to afford an Eric Chavez and Mike Lowell platoon. I’m talking about sheer likability here. Each free agent signing, each million poured into the mold, speaks simultaneously to the inevitability of a Yankee pennant and the likelihood that fewer New Yorkers than ever will be moved by it.

Why should they care about this motley assortment? They haven’t followed most of these players’ careers, and they are smart enough to note the ridiculous payroll that, more than any sentimental pap about pinstripes or destiny, is the only thing holding this bunch together. I’m not saying that sentiment never had a place in the Bronx, just that it’s been crowded out by Gary Sheffield and Flash Gordon and Steinbrenner’s increasingly absurd pronouncements not to “count the Yankees out yet”, as if by some blessed miracle the Schilling signing made them into lovable underdogs again. I wish it had, though; I’d be able to hate the Red Sox with greater efficacy, and feel pissed when the Yankees swept my Mets in the now-regular Subway Series rout instead of just amused.

Aaron Boone didn’t come up with the admired, hated pantheon of Jeter, Rivera and the rest. He is fairly young, though, and he had a few other things going for him. For starters, he was genuinely excited to be playing for the Yankees. Let me give you a good example. My dad and I went to about six games last year, most of them after the trade that brought Boone into town. We usually grab seats along the third base line, so naturally a lot of our attention was focused on the recent acquisition. When the Yankees first take the field, there’s a little tradition that bleacher-dwelling fans carry out, where they yell out the names of the starters and clap as a greeting until the guy acknowledges them somehow. It’s pretty cool, and makes me wonder what it must have been like to root for the Mets in the late 80s as someone who wasn’t more interested in Transformers than baseball. Anyhow, I was curious to see how Boone reacted to this treatment, if he knew “how to be” with the fans. Jeter raised his hand nonchalantly and elicited a roar of approval; he played along, but you could imagine, if you wanted, that it was just part of his routine. Boone made them cheer on for a little while, concentrating on his defense and only responding when he was certain he had a free moment. I liked that, and I liked his response even better: no simple tip of the cap, but a fist thrust into the air. Even the folks in my section responded to it, because we saw somebody who really wanted to put on a show as much as we wanted to see it.

Here’s another example. After his homer sent the Sox to the showers in the ALCS, he was being interviewed as all hell broke loose around him. You might have missed this moment, actually, because it was right about then that Fox decided flipping between the hero and his awkward older brother Bret was a great idea and a real drama-builder. Somewhere in there, though, he tried to sum up what he was feeling, and his silence as he struggled to put it into words made me smile. Finally, grinning himself, he blurted out, “This is...this is stupid.” Lou Gehrig’s speech it was not, but I loved the honest, unscripted feel of it. You can’t help but watch that and smile. I feel the same way about Mariano Rivera collapsing on the mound, overcome by sheer joy, with a blissful smile on his face and his eyes closed. These are Yankees even a Mets fan could root for, in the right moment.

Now he does something that really is stupid, playing basketball to get in shape and messing up his knee. Does he pull a Jeff Kent and claim he was washing his truck when it was obvious that if he was washing his truck, he was doing it while popping wheelies on his motorcycle? No, he calls Yankees brass and fesses up to the whole thing, even though it’ll probably cost him a lot of money. Even though, knowing George, it’ll probably cost him the pinstripes. Doing that would be tantamount to Mo Vaughn issuing an apology to Mets fans that said: “Hey, I’m sorry. I was out of shape and I let myself and you guys down. I’ve already got more money than I will ever need, so I’m going to donate the rest of what I make to charity” – or, at least – “I’m not going to take money I haven’t earned.”

What I’m trying to say is that Boone was a refreshing sort of guy, on a team and in an industry where many of the players are increasingly faceless and stale with self-importance. Sure, you can take a look at his stats and compare them to whomever the Yankees replace him with, and get an indication of his value to the club. What some sabermetricians don’t seem to realize (or, sadly, have allowed themselves to forget) is that there’s no metric out there that can measure giving a damn. With the direction the Yankees have been headed the past couple of years, into Steinbrenner’s hands and out of their fans’ hearts, I’m awful glad I root for the other team in town.

Monday, January 26, 2004

Coming in a strong second

Forgive the lack of updates lately, I spent a large portion of this weekend in a drunken stupor. Seeing Metropolitan's latest update, along with the info from our site traffic monitor, something has become painfully clear.

90% of the people coming to this site for the first time are getting sent by links from other Mets blogs. There is very little concrete evidence to indicate that any Sox fans PERIOD read this site. Heck, I'm not even getting E-Mails from the Prime Minister of Nigeria anymore, Lord Mbutu or whatever his name is must be a Mets fan as well.

Now, I've asked just as many blogs for links as Mike has, I've listed this site as a Sox blog everywhere it's also been listed as a Met's blog, and nothin'. Nada. I can only asssume one of two things:

A) Red Sox Nation, much like The Rest of The Nation, fails to find me either witty or charming
B) Red Sox fans, being from New England, are deeply jaded against and mistrustful of the Internet.

I'm not going to hazard a guess as to which it is, mostly because the likely answer will make me cry like a little girl. However, even though no one reading the sites I'm about to mention appears inclined to follow their links to our humble Blogtropolis, I'd still like to take a moment and blatantly steal Mike's idea for staving off a real update for a few days and mention some of the Blogs and Sox sites I enjoy.

Sons of Sam Horn (Link to the Right, I'm too lazy to link it again. Oh all right, fine, here)

Easily the most die hard, well informed, and popular Sox fan site out there. John W. Henry and Curt Schilling are both regular posters, and the ability to say things like "VORP" and "WinShares" without giggling is required for membership. (Along with an invite from a current member to keep the community free of fluff posters. Believe me, those invites are hard to come by, my weak, pitiful pleas for membership have been fruitless thus far)

Any breaking news, leaks, or signings will almost certainly be posted here first. I call them "insane" over there not in a derisive way, but because this site is honestly more cutting edge than any professional site out there, you don't exactly see the Sox owner posting things on BostonDirtDogs, do you?


Portland Sox Fan

This guy is great, he's been suffering from the same problem as all Sox sites lately (i.e. absolutely nothing new to write about) but he has a simple, no nonsense approach to blogging that I enjoy reading. Not a whole lot of humor, but he gets in his little zingers. A personal fave of mine is his drunken post right after Game 7 of the AlCS, where he explains that he had to take a 6 mile walk immediately afterwards.


Obey Pedro

Another great all-around site, his claim to fame is those unbelievably creepy disembodied heads that float at the top of his page. Sure they give me nightmares, but nightmares are better than those dreams I keep having about my life 10 years from now. I prefer waking up screaming to sobbing, let's put it that way.

I do have to apologize to The Sheriff for unknowingly stealing his "Hola Amigos, been a long time" Jim Anchower schtick a few posts ago, that was a little embarassing. Not embarassing enough to overcome my laziness enough to get rid of it, but it still made me blush a lil'


Fret not, boys and (Girl? Do any girls read this site? Somehow I doubt it) There is SOME real news to report.

Firstly, as I was writing this post, Mike sent me some of the best news I've seen all offseason. How's about that Karma stuff, eh Boonie? Let's go over all the reasons this is awesome.

Firstly, the guy the Yankees gave up their best prospect (Brandon Claussen) for is now officially useless to them for another entire season. Notice I say "another" season, because he was abysmal for the Yankees after coming over from the Reds, hitting .254 with 6 homers and 8 stolen bases in 54 regular season games. (Oh you clever Yankees fans, asking me how he did in the postseason. Ha ha ha ha ha FUCK YOU). So far this trade is looking worse and worse all the time for the Yankees. Apparently they'll try to get some or all of their money back for this contract. I'm sure the MLBPA will be thrilled with that course of action. And even if they win and get the money back, the Yanks have a bigger problem. Guess who the other options for third base are? Drew Henson, or kidnapping a homeless crack addict and handing him a uni and bat. It's really a coin toss as to which one will be more successful, I'd give the slight nod to Henson, unless the homeless guy has a "hot taters and biscuits" performance clause in his contract.

As fun as it is to revel in the further detoriation of the vaunted Yankees Mystique this offseason, how about some actual Red Sox news?

Well, A-Rod got named team captain of the Rangers. That should finally, FINALLY put to rest this monstrous "deal" that was threatening to become reanimated. I might question the logic of making a man who publicly begged to be gotten out of Texas and has shown no leadership skills whatsoever captain, but then again I'm obviously far less intelligent than Tom Hicks. I certainly wouldn't have listened to A-Rod's overtures to sign Chan Ho Park. Can you imagine how silly I'd look now for not signing him now?

Before I start sounding too smug about my beloved team, now would probably be a good time to mention our latest signing. Because in a former life I obviously was a puppy kicker or something, the Sox have officially signed Tony Womack

Why? WHY? Seriously, signings like this aren't funny. Tony Womack SUCKS, dammit. Every single person in the world knows that. I just don't get it, in some large, expensive room, a man who makes more money than I'll see in my lifetime started a conversation that can only have gone something like this

Man: I have a great idea
Other Man: Better than your idea to sign Terry Schumpert?
Man: Oh yeah, this blows that out of the water. Get this, we sign.....
Other man: (drooling, literally on the edge of his seat): Yes? YES???
Man: Tony Womack!
Other Man: Isn't he the guy the Diamondbacks had?
Man: Yeah!
Other Man: Doesn't he have a career OPS of .674?
Man: Yeah!
Other Man: Isn't he 34 years old?
Man: Yep!
Other Man: Didn't he steal 13 bases for the entire season last year, get traded twice, and end the year by having Tommy John surgery?
Man: Yes, yes, and yes! Brilliant Idea, huh?
Theo Epstein: Here is a contract and a bucket full of African diamonds, I want you to make this happen!

Seriously, just shoot me now. One game with Tony Womack at shortstop is yet another lost chance to prove that people in wheelchairs with brain damage can outperform some current major leaguers.

Nothing else to report, but let me assure you that as SOON as we announce that we traded Nomar to the Mets for Mike Bascik, making room for Womack and completing our grand offseason coup, I will be here to complain about it.

Saturday, January 24, 2004

Catch the agony

The weekend has arrived, but the blogosphere does not take a holiday. There are no holidays in the blogosphere. The same cannot be said for various other online news sources. Once Friday afternoon rolls around, ESPN tells its staffers to stop what they’re doing and relax, even if they’re in the middle of producing yet another vital Top 100 Everything Ever in Sport list. That pisses me off, because while I never enjoy those silly lists, I’m just bonkers about non-traditional collectives like “Sport” and “Coin”. Page 2 has gone down the tubes, ESPN -- it used to be interesting and even a little funny. Where have you gone, Bill Simmons? I turn my lonely eyes to your weekly ESPN The Magazine 800-word column and can hardly read it through the tears. Three times a week, you used to write. Now you work for a show that in all honesty I’d rather read you write about than actually watch, and your posting on ESPN has slowed more than ours will after May rolls around and we come to our senses. Bill, I implore you: save us from Shanoff and this strange Hollywood Jock guy. Team up with Wiley and make the world a better place, which it will be if there is one less Hot/Not chart produced every week.

But while we wait for a sign of the Sports Guy’s return to prominence (could a venture into blogging, however brief, be the ticket?), at least we’ve got blog posts to keep us busy on the weekends of the offseason’s offseason. I’d like to show you some of my recent favorites, because let’s face it: in a couple of years, all we’re going to be doing is posting about how posting makes us feel, using the word blog entirely too often, and directing our ennui-ridden visitors to check out a self-indulgent skein of site references so we don’t have to come up with original content that day. I’m just getting a jump on the ball.

(By the way, I know that most of you have found us through one of these sites – except if you’re the guy who typed in "ben cherington picture" and found us, more power to you – but I’m writing this because maybe for some irrational reason like a purpose in life or a family who loves you, you haven’t checked out all the worthy links on our sidebar.)

My first stop is always Baseball Musings by Dave Pinto, who in my limited but nonetheless relevant view is the Vito Corleone of the blogscape. He posts several times a day when baseball news permits, directing the lesser denizens of his crime fami – ok, that’s stretching the metaphor too thin, but he always provides great links to whatever is going on. He’s also funny, which counts a lot with me:
The union proved with the veto of the A-Rod deal that they won't let the CBA be violated, and my bet is they will see a sign and trade as a clear violation of the CBA, and stiff I-Rod, too. (That would leave a month to stiff E-Rod, O-Rod, U-Rod and Sometimes Y-Rod.)

He’s also done a lot of work on a probabilistic model of defensive range which I think is cool. Here’s the link to his defense-related columns, where after scrolling down a little you’ll find tables charting the performances of fielders at all positions this past year, and further down, a little more information about the model itself. That’s worth a good ten minutes or so, at least long enough to compare Roger Cedeno to Mike Cameron. (I told you, this guy can make you laugh.)


As Stuart Scott might say, in a way that is not annoying at all, if ya don’t know who Eddie Kranepool was, now ya know. I figured anyone referencing such an ancient figure in the Mets early pantheon must be a pretty sharp customer, and in my mind Steve Keane of The Eddie Kranepool Society fits that bill. I check him out for his timely, frequent posts on the latest Mets’ bungles, as well as down to earth, shot from the hip analyses of other important baseball stories. Like this wickedly barbed remark aimed for the reliable Roger Clemens:
And Roger please spare us the bullshit Ward Cleaver act, “My boys gave me an Astros hat so I knew they wanted me to play again” Please. You still wanted to pitch. You wanted to be an Olympian and that bubble had burst. Your best buddy joined the team that plays in the area you call home, after being dissed by your former team so you went into “we’ll show them mode” then you thought about sharing a hot shower with Andy Pettitte again and you were sold.

Ouch. Just, ouch. Check this guy out, he’s got a million of those.


Eric of SaberMets is another of my mainstays. He puts together well-written, detailed posts covering Mets issues from all angles, and as the name suggests, supports them with the appropriate statistics. Also, while his dapper Movable Type site looks very professional, don’t think for a minute that he’s above cracking wise about stupid, stupid baseball players. For instance, in this look at Grant Roberts’ chance of cracking the Mets’ rotation in 2004, he jabs:
The Mets are giving him another shot at starting, and Roberts is reportedly very excited about this opportunity. After all, as a starter, he'd be able to smoke pot four out of every five days and not have to worry about pitching in a game. Woo-hoo!

Anyone who shares my love of poking fun at Roberts, and additionally gets our site more hits than old Grant enjoys daily, is a must-read in my book. Also a nod for being the only one I saw to mock the Mets’ 2004 slogan of “Catch the Energy!”.


A quick, but no less impressed shout-out goes to “k d” from Flushing Local for being the only Mets writer in recent days to make me laugh outwardly instead of just in my vapid, empty head. Here’s the sarcasm what done it, from his/her/its post announcing the impending Zeile signing:
As part of their movement towards youth, speed and defense, the Mets have signed 38 year old corner man Todd Zeile. Zeile will replace the now-retired Jay Bell as Designated Veteran on the Mets 25-man roster.

Although two months older, a couple of steps slower and noticeably less agile in the field than Bell, the Mets are confident Zeile will mesh well with their youth movement. Apparently, the idea is to make the players on the team who actually are young, fast and good defenders appear even more fearsome to opponents when observed next to Zeile during pre-game warmups.

Zeile is also expected to spend time with his good friend Mike Piazza, teaching him the myriad intricacies of playing first base, as well as providing tips on how to make the most of his own slowness and clumsiness with the glove.


And finally -- until the next day I have little to say, at least -- another recent favorite of mine is Metsblog, who, with honorable mention to Always Amazin', seems to get more scoops than Mo Vaughn at an, er...when he visits a...(Wow. I didn’t think it would happen yet, but I appear to have just run out of Mo Vaughn jokes. Sorry.) At any rate, Metsblog is always good for a unique take (really) on the Mets’ moves, well-written and beautifully showcased in what is without doubt the finest-looking Mets site around. The most ingenious part of their blog is their weekly-updated chart of fans’ confidence in the Mets. The votes range from 1-10. Here's a practical idea of what the range means:

[1] – My barber, once a diehard fan, now an embittered shadow of his former lively self. He took clippers to his passion for the orange and blue after the strike-shortened season in ’94. Since then my haircuts have been torturous blocks of silence occasionally broken by me saying “so, gonna break down and watch some Mets this week?” and then my invariable squeal as he jabs me with something sharp. I bleed, he bleeds, my hair keeps growing, and the cycle begins anew with familiar yet uncomfortable regularity. Maybe Reyes can do something about this. I doubt it.

[4.3] – The average rating as of this posting. These would be well-educated, informed fans who have been following the Mets for a number of years and are cautiously optimistic if they are optimistic at all. I would lump myself in with them except that my 4.x would come from the average of a vote of 8 (after we signed Kaz) and a vote of 1 (after we lost Guerrero). My confidence this year vacillates like a hanged man in a stiff breeze.

[10] – This lofty vote is reserved for the sugary sweet spun-sugar-on-a-stick optimist who firmly believes that Piazza and Floyd will stay out of the infirmary, that Cameron is so fast he’ll be inducing the infield fly rule, and that Glavine’s problem is QuesTec and a mound angle, instead of Father Time and an unwillingness to face the worst decision of his life absent a petulant sneer and an omnipresent whine. I don’t think these fans are aware of the Internet yet, actually, so we can probably eliminate votes of 10 as products of the same bot that sends me Nigerian banking propositions.

Whatever you choose, I think it’s pretty obvious we’ve got the most well-informed or pessimistic fan presence online. Three cheers for the blogosphere; we must be playing a part in that.

Number of times I used the word blog in some form: 10
Number of times I considered ending it all: 8. If that seems low, just turn it on its side. I couldn’t find the symbol for infinity.

Thursday, January 22, 2004


Oh you've GOT to be fucking kidding me. I refuse to say another word about this, I don't care if it goes through or not, who's mad, who's hurt, who's getting their knob polished to make this deal go through, I just don't care. This deal destroyed an entire month of my life where I did nothing but sit in front of the computer constantly hitting the "refresh" button on SOSH looking for updates. I hate you, baseball.

For the less astute/tall of the people who write here, I'd like to remind you that Pokey Reese was acquired to help close up the gaping, yawning hole that existed on the right side of our infield last year, considering two of our pitchers (Kim and Lowe) are extreme groundball pitchers. Reese was a decent signing, teams that score over 900 runs can afford a glove man at second base. Team that come in second to last in their league in runs scored (you beat the Dodgers, YAYYYYY) should probably stick to signing guys like Vlad Guerrero.

Looks like Ortiz and the Sox exchanged arbitration numbers, Ortiz wants 5 million, we were willing shell out 4.25. I say pay him the 5 million, he's worth it for the year. However, signing the big guy to a multi-year contract would be a bad, bad idea. He's had some serious injury problems in his past with Minnesota, and signing big fat first basemen to long contracts has proven to be an unwise decision for some teams. Not going to name names though, I'm better than that.

And, uh...hmm. I had thought there was enough interesting stuff going on to merit a posting. Life's funny like that sometimes, huh?

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Fantasy and (biomechanical) science fiction

With February right around the corner and my team allegedly interested in Shane Spencer, I’ve done the logical thing and turned my attention away from real baseball and started poking around the Web in search of a place to host this year’s fantasy league. If you’ve got any suggestions, by the way, feel free to drop me a line. Just make sure you don’t click on “Big K” over on the sidebar – he’s the Sox guy, so if you write to him about Rey Ordonez he’ll probably get confused and respond with a rant about Pokey Reese or some other virtually identical ballplayer.

Anyway, if you’ve indulged in any fantasy baseball recently, you’ve probably come across members of my new favorite profession – fantasy baseball guru. In case you haven’t, here’s the gist. On otherwise reputable baseball news sites, certain lucky gentlemen share space with real sportswriters and ostensibly get paid American currency to break down always-complicated box scores and take a stab at predicting which players will play well. They’re the ones who write hundreds of words on John Flaherty’s power potential and argue passionately about whether Carl Crawford’s stolen base total trumps Felix Heredia’s strikeouts per nine innings. Did I mention they get paid to dwell on these things? I cannot stress that enough.

As theirs is obviously the best job ever, rivaled only by “usher at any major league park except Shea” and perhaps “major league baseball player”, the mere knowledge of its existence has me salivating over my chances of landing it, without benefiting from some Glavine family style nepotism. I think I could handle whatever rigorous battery of tests they’d run me through. In fact, I’m damn near certain they’d be fools to question my fitness to make predictions so irrelevant to human existence they’re not just about a game, they’re about a game about a game. Seriously, what job requirements are we looking at here? Qualified applicants will follow baseball regularly. Familiarity with whole numbers a plus. I’m telling you, I could do this.

But enough talk about this under-hyped profession; it’s time to provide some examples of these able craftsmen at work:

In this column for, Jason Grey points out some ‘early sleepers and snoozers’. He places our own Mike Cameron in the former category, and has this to say about him:

Cameron is a different hitter outside of Safeco (.278 on the road, .228 at home the last three years), It would not shock me to see him in the top 10 in MVP voting in the National League this year.

Jason “Bastion of Equanimity” Grey also admitted that he would not be shocked by the Devil Rays taking the AL East, the Tigers sporting two twenty game winners, or dry-humping the third rail. Cameron even that close to an MVP award? Not only would he have to have a great season, the rest of the Mets would have to be really terrible...oh. Well, regardless, that prediction embodies the free-wheeling, fun-loving spirit of the fantasy baseball guru, whose reputation relies upon ferreting out possibilities that aren’t immediately obvious, even if it means those possibilities are also impossible.

(I’d be doing Mr. Grey a disservice if I didn’t also note that right below his designation of Cameron as a sleeper he slotted Heilman in as someone to watch, citing Dr. Rick Peterson’s influence. While his confidence in Cameron borders on the absurd, I wholeheartedly support his faith in Biomechanical Science Laboratories, and will do so until I am certain our pitching coach’s nanobots have been purged from my sector.)

Now that you’ve gotten a taste of this line of work, I’d like to introduce you to the preeminent fantasy baseball gurus of our time. Ladies and mostly gentlemen, I give you the prototype: The Sportingnews Fantasy Source Experts.

How do I know that they’re experts? Well, if you look closely at the author’s picture to the left of the article’s first paragraph, you’ll note that the word “EXPERT” appears beneath his stylish mug. In fact, the word “EXPERT” appears beneath the photos of all the fantasy source writers, suggesting a level of competence in the fledgling industry unmatched by any other organization. For comparison’s sake, just think: if the Mets were manned by 100% EXPERTs, they’d be sending to the plate a lineup of, oh, I don’t know, nine Vladimir Guerreros instead of zero.

Unfortunately this particular guru, Brendan Roberts, must have been having just such a fantasy baseball wet dream when he declared that factoring in offseason additions, “[c]ombined with returnees Cliff Floyd and Mike Piazza and youngsters Jose Reyes, Jason Phillips and Ty Wigginton, this Mets lineup could be pretty devastating.” Devastating how, exactly? Are we talking devastating in terms of the 2003 Red Sox lineup’s ability to smash the ball, or devastating like their best pitcher breaking down to lose game seven of the ALCS within scent of the Series?

I’m not sure, and to be honest, I don’t know if Brendan Roberts is either. But that’s not important! Who cares if the Mets realistically project to be a lackluster offensive ballclub? If there’s a chance – and during the offseason, there’s always a chance – that the Mets’ bats could in some way be described as devastating, then we can count on fantasy gurus to step out on a limb and forecast it thusly. For real dollars. It’s their job, after all. I can only pray that one day it will be mine.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Charcoal's on a roll

Hola Amigos, I know it's been a long time since I rapped at ya, but I been in it up to my eyeballs lately, ya know?

Nah, not really. The Sox, much like Mike with my cousin Clyde, have finished early and left everyone unsatisfied. Nothing new in FA land to report, except for the signing of a token lefty reliever in Nick Beirbodt. Also Big Willy Style Scotty Boy (Scott Williamson, to the layperson) has been re-signed for an undisclosed amount. I like that move, as long as he doesn't bitch and moan about setting up for Foulke.

Trot Nixon (sometimes called Trot-Rod by insanely cool people such as myself) is also on the verge of signing a 3 year deal for around 7 million per, which would be a huge hometown discount. Nixon's something of an enigma. He's still basically a glorified platoon player, seeing as how this last season he hit .220 against lefties and is really past the age where he can be expected to learn how. But he still is nearing the point where a .280 average, 25 homers, and 90 RBIs can be expected every year. That's worth more than what we're going to pay him, depressed market or not. He used to be my favorite player, I was a big Trot Nixon fan back in 2000 when no one noticed he had the second highest batting average on the team after Nomar. He knocked a cup of beer off the side of the fence after not getting to a fly ball one time though, and call me a loser but that bothered me. A Fenway beer costs like 7 bucks, you asshole. He didn't even buy the guy a new one. What kind of guy would do that? A guy who's not MY favorite anymore, that's who!

Something that did kind of catch my eye has been the multiple reports of the Yankees having interest in our good friend John "Charcoal" Burkett. Okay, okay, that article's mostly about him bowling 300's or buying MLB extra innings with the 5 million we paid him last year or some crap, but he DOES mention the Yankees wanting to talk to him, and several reputable sources other than the friendly bum who lives in our dumpster have reported the same interest.

I for one would just like to say that I'm all for the decrepit old man signing with 'em. First of all, it takes any of their five starters out of the rotation and into the bullpen, and replaces it with a 40 year old arm that can barely throw 85 MPH anymore (I'm not joking, he once threw 86 MPH at the letters and it got crushed for a home run. Jerry Remy said "Burkett tried to dial it up and climb the ladder there, either that or he hung a curveball. I can't tell anymore." God bless the man and his ridiculous mustache). Also, we'd be sure to get him at least twice, and the only thing that makes me more excited than the prospect of the Sox all getting a few turns at Burkett is the thought of all the Sox getting a few turns at Burkett while I get a lap dance.

Thank Goodness Nomar's not holding over any irrational anger over that whole "blatantly trying to stick you in Chicago so we could get a 15% upgrade in offense at shortstop" thing. Frankly I don't think anyone boning Mia Hamm has much right to complain about his lot in life regardless, but it's nice to see he's fully committed to having a monster season in 2004 that will thoroughly overprice him so he can go to the Tigers and lose 110 games with them for 18 million a year before he gives up and gains 175 pounds and gets traded to the Mets for Mike Piazza, three sacks of magic beans, and a kick in the nuts.

Guess who's no longer out of a job? That's right, Living hero to Short Bus passengers around the world Grady Little has been hired by the clearly drunken Cubs as one of their minor league scouting directors. He'll now be responsible for burying dead hookers the rookies got a little too rough with, and evaluating minor leaguers included in any trades (Hey Cubbies, better take it with a grain of salt if he says a starting pitcher will be good for 8 innings every time out, huh? Hahahaha WHY WON'T I DIE)

Just wanted to take a second and give a shout-out to all the great blogs who've linked to us and gotten us FAR more traffic than this site really deserves. Without you guys we'd just be another Top of The Ninth Red Sox blog (which we recently passed in terms of site hits), and no I'm not bitter that they never got back to me when I asked them to check out our site, why do you ask?

Monday, January 19, 2004

Robbed of my usual Zeile

Lately I’ve been rather lax in my duty to poke fun at millionaires. After inconsiderable reflection (you know, like what the Wilpons engaged in before thumbing their noses at the second best young player in the game), I’ve determined two reasons for my recent lassitude. The first is that we’ve undoubtedly entered the lean winter of the offseason, as signaled each year by some poor sap offering Rey Ordonez money to do whatever it is he does now that he can’t hit or play defense. Like the groundhog seeing his shadow, Ordonez getting paid presages a long spell of tedium for baseball fans in which only bit part players will get signed to minor league deals. I’d rather have the six more weeks of winter, personally, but since I don’t have the influence with baseball executives that I deserve, we all have to take what we’re getting and act like we like it. That said, pardon me for not devoting a thousand words or so to Todd Zeile’s heroic homecoming. Maybe someone else can dig a story out of it; I don’t really care.

Even in this time of uncommon monotony, the Mets have provided me with something to write about. As you’ve likely read, we apparently either snuck a peek at Guerrero’s medical records without a note from the nurse’s office, or Duquette completely fabricated any knowledge about Vlad’s back so as to provide his bosses with a legitimate reason to do a very stupid thing.

And that brings me to my other reason for not writing. I enjoy cracking wise about idiot players as much as the next guy (in fact, probably a lot more than the next guy, because it takes a certain combination of obsession, passion, and lameness to write a blog which thankfully most people don’t have), but I’d rather not be compelled to frequently malign ownership and management. Not only are they easy targets as rich, old, and (importantly) slack-muscled men who presumably have more to do with their time than type “roger clemens overweight” into Google and somehow get to this site, but I’ve really been trying to suspend cynicism and trust that they know what they’re doing. That’s just plain difficult to do when they get caught looking like amateurs.

So I’m going to pass on the commentary for a little bit unless something interesting or at least not depressing comes up. The five of you who aren’t Kyle’s relatives (what’s up, Cousin Clyde? How’s the tooth?) might want to check out the Mets blogs on our sidebar if you haven’t already, as well as Pinto’s wonderful Baseball Musings blog. They always seem to have something to say, and even if they use a lot of numbers and acronyms that you don’t understand, take comfort in the fact that I couldn’t calculate a DIPS if the fate of the world and Sidney Ponson rested on my shoulders, and the only way I could get them off would be to calculate a DIPS. It is DIPS, right? I didn’t just make that up, did I?

Thursday, January 15, 2004

We're in trouble

Oh, go read a Bible. The Sox will always make me swear, you'd have more luck hanging out at a WNBA game and patiently waiting for someone to actually be able to do a slam dunk. Sorry girls, someone had to say it.

Since it seems like the major team wheelings and dealings are done in my division, I think I'd better make my fearless predictions.

(Assuming the O's get I-Rod)

1. Yankees
2. Red Sox
3. Toronto
4. Baltimore
5. Tampa Bay

Pretty gutsy predictions, huh? Sure, this is the same way things have turned out since 1998, but, well, all right fine it's not gutsy. Happy?

Baltimore is sooooo much better now. Unfortunately for them, so are the Sox, Yankees, and Blue Jays. I honestly feel the AL East is going to become the new AL west. Even a .500 record won't guarantee third place. Put it this way, here was every team's weakness last season:

Yankees: Bullpen and Rotation
Solution: Tom Gordon, Javier Vasquez, Kevin Brown

Red Sox: Closer, rotation
Solution: Curt Schilling, Keith Foulke

Blue Jays: Pitching
Solution: Miguel Batista, Ted Lily, Bruce Chen (haha, just kidding! Good luck with him, guys!)

Baltimore: Starting Pitching, offense
Solutions: Signing fatso (Ponson) again, every decent hitting FA in the world

Sidney Ponson and his 1 winning season, lousy career strikeout totals, and bad injury history ain't going to be enough to kick Baltimore up into third, and the only way they'll get second place is if Boston and New York are swallowed up by the angry sea.

I do think the Orioles have gone in the right direction so far. Last year they were 10th in the AL with 743 runs scored. Their offensive problems have been solved by signing Tejada, Lopez, and Palmeiro.

So, why the hell are they still signing position players? News Flash guys: Lopez AND Pudge are not neccessary. Personally, I'd have gone hard for Pudge and considered Lopez a desperate last resort, leaving 8-10 million a year for, you know, someone who can pitch. Baltimore's pitching situation was just as bleak, they came in tenth in the AL for ERA too. Their entire offseason's worth of pitching signings?


Not gonna cut it, my crabcake consuming compadres. The Orioles don't move out of fourth place until they get a stud starting pitcher. End of story.

Of course, having said that, the Jays and O's are probably still going to combine to take away 8-10 cheap wins that we've been taking for granted every year. This is compounded by my fear that even 95 wins isn't going to win the Wild Card this year, not with the Angels bulking up. So 95 wins is going to be both much tougher to attain and far less valuable than it was.

What does that mean? Here's a real prediction: The Red Sox either win the division, or don't go to the playoffs. Simple as that. I can only hope the Yankees, which are better than they were last year (on paper) get hit by the injuries they are begging for (Tony Clark, Kevin Brown, Flash) and stumble badly. They're really old and have 4 DH candidates, so maybe we'll get lucky.

Mets to sign first DH

My latest wish now that Guerrero is gone, second only to a patient yet waning hope that Kyle will one day write a post without dropping an f-bomb, is for the Mets’ yawning chasm in right field to be filled. Apparently it has been granted, as this article has the Duke plugging stocky Karim Garcia into that hole.

I like the fellow, his pending trial notwithstanding. In fact, his pugilistic tendencies likely contribute to my admiration. After all, it would be nice to know that if some visiting fan or attendant scuffled with Scott Strickland over the glare from his absurd gold chain, or hid Franco’s walker while he was taking his pills, we’d have a guy in our corner who just wouldn’t stand for that kind of treatment. A fellow who, let it be noted, would in fact vault a fence and beat the piss out of said assailant. You think Timo would do something like that? In all fairness, in Timo’s case I think the question would be if he could do it. Cedeno, however, is another story. At the first sign of adversity I would fully expect Roger the Dodger to find the wheels he left in Detroit, motor off, and get caught doing 200 in a 35.

(Incidentally, isn’t it great that he gets speeding tickets while with the Mets? If I were Tim McCarver, I’d belabor their karmic significance relative to his recent failures on the basepaths, and make a joke about how bringing him to Flushing should also count as a moving violation. That’s ten points! you would say, if you were Joe Buck, and then we would high-five on camera and extol the virtues of Sprint PCS phones while using them to vote on the method of our summary executions. You know, in an ideal world. End my pain, gentlemen.)

In addition to his usefulness as a bodyguard against bullies like Clemens and the sniveling Guillermo Mota, Garcia can actually hit. He crushes right-handed pitching really well, and southpaws not at all. Taking a quick look at the projected rotations of our NL East competition, there don’t seem to be too many imposing lefties: Horacio Ramirez and Mike Hampton in Atlanta don’t scare me, Florida’s goofy Dontrelle Willis is a wait-and-see, there’s nobody up in Montreal, and Randy Wolf and Eric Milton in Philly. Well, those last two could be a bit of trouble, especially Wolf. Could be worse. I guess I wouldn’t mind slotting Timo in when Garcia would otherwise be humiliating himself. All in all, I like adding a player with Garcia’s pop and thuggishness, as I feel you shouldn’t underestimate the 2004 Mets’ need for a bruiser who can dissuade mockery with the threat of physical retribution. If he hits some home runs and doesn’t drop the ball too often, I’ll consider it a bonus.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Bad News Day

What a horrible turn of events over the past few days.

First of all, when the only sport you really follow is baseball, the offseason is just a terrible time. It's cold and empty and the Mets are contenders. Just bad all around. The only thing pitiful nerds like me have to look forward to is endless anaylisis of the stuff that happened last year. Stuff like scouting reports being published (a BIG day), and of course ESPN's Hot Stove Heaters Index. A team by team discussion of what went right, what went wrong, and why the hell are the Devil Rays still a major league team?

So what the hell is this garbage???? Do I care what Bud's legacy will be? Does ANYONE care when there will be an openly gay Major Leaguer? I want to read about what went wrong with the Angels rotation last year, dammit! ESPN is far and away the best resource for baseball news out there, but seriously guys, that sucks. You're copping out big time.

And of course what kind of Sox fan would I be without weighing in on the Roger Clemens debacle? My thoughts on this can be summed up in three simple words. Fuck Roger Clemens. He now has NO fans left. He burned the Sox by getting fat and horrible during his "twilight" years with us (speaking of that, screw you too, Dan Duquette). He burned Toronto by ditching them after two years and talking trash about how Toronto would never win a World Series anytime soon and that's what he wanted to do. (Okay, he might've had a point, but he could've been a little nicer about it) And now the Yankees have gotten the extended middle digit from Clemens as well, and I'm sure they're just as happy about it.

And I'm not really counting on Clemens becoming a Houston legend for the one year he'll be there, because A) He's going to suck B) He has all kinds of clauses in his contract about not having to travel with the team so he can hang out with the fam. So, then, why the hell did he ever come back? He's already got the ring. He was already a legendary figure with the most prolific sports franchise on the planet. He's probably not having much trouble paying the gas bill these days. So why'd you do it Roger? I guess maybe you really are just a great big phoney. Have fun combining for a double digit ERA with Pettite, asshole.

Monday, January 12, 2004

When you wish Wilpon a star

While Kyle continues to dig under couch cushions in search of ways he can rip his awesome team, I’ve done my part by searching for reasons to bash Mets ownership for letting Guerrero go. This time, however, I think the Wilpons followed the sage advice of the Spike Lee joint (which, incidentally, they have never, ever seen – say word, Jeff) and did the right thing. They made a very good offer which in all likelihood Vlad would never have accepted, and while the attempt got our hopes up, the letdown was tempered by the knowledge that they would conditionally loosen their purse strings. So kudos to Duke, Fred, Jeff, and whatever ridiculous committee of really old current Mets had a vote on this one. Consider my confidence in the plan bolstered.

...but still, Anaheim? The Angels? I’m mystified. He has to pass the physical, though, and that’s no cakewalk. If I were their owner, I’d only sign Vlad if he can do pushups while Bartolo Colon sits on him and the scrappy David Eckstein bangs ThunderStix together and dances a jig down his spinal column. It’s a good thing that team doesn’t have any other significant injury-related questions coming into 2004, too. Best of luck, Angels.


With Roger Clemens ditching retirement faster than the Red Sox got rid of Pokey Reese the first time they acquired him, it’s shaping up to be a rough week for baseball in New York. Thank goodness we’ve got the first clash in the “Battle of Two Matsuis” to take our minds off the fact that no one outside of Japan wants to play in the city. Combatants, ready yourselves! Which Matsui had the courage and willpower to take the MOST HONORABLE PICTURE IN TIMES SQUARE HOLDING A BAT AT ARM'S LENGTH WHILE GRINNING AWKWARDLY AT A HOOKER OFF-CAMERA?

Did Hideki triumph? Or was it Kaz?

Always remember: Forgiving the unrepentant is like drawing pictures on water.

Sunday, January 11, 2004

Eskimo Up!!!

Rather than respond to my cohort's latest thinly veiled attempts at slander, I'm going to be the bigger man and focus on more important issues.

I am, of course, speaking of our glorious coup against the hated Yankees, stealing their minor league catcher Michel Hernandez. For the Yankees AAA minor league team Columbus, Hernandez hit .280 with 14 doubles, 4 homers, and 30 RBI in 89 games. He also had a .379 on-base percentage. Wow, what a steal for us, huh?

Just a few caveats. His career stats include a .257 BA, 11 HR, .327 SLG %, and a career OPS of .645. Ladies and gentlemen, that would embarass Greg Vaughn.

Well, he slugged .372 last year, so he's on the way up at least! Hmm, a slugging % lower than his on-base percentage though? Well, at least he's consistently been doing this, right? Oh, no, wait, he totally sucked until 2002. Oh, and he's injury prone. And he's "25", which really should probably be multiplied by 1.3 because those are Cuban years. Well, at least we don't already have an extremely patient hitter with almost no power, right? Ohhhh wait, that Youkilis guy. Well dammit, someone in the organization better have a good explanation for this.

Ah, a Boston Globe article detailing the transaction! This'll be calming.

Hernandez, a 25-year-old Cuban defector, will fill a need by providing the Sox a third catcher in spring training who has experience working with big league pitchers. Ben Cherington, the team's director of player development, said Hernandez will give the Sox insurance during the exhibition season in case of injuries to Jason Varitek or Doug Mirabelli.

"We feel like we need six catchers in the major league camp, and we only had five," Cherington said. "And no one had big league experience other than Jason and Doug."

Oh sweet! So that's why we picked him up, because 5 catchers in either AAA or the big club simply isn't enough. And of course for his EXTENSIVE major league experience (5 games, 4 ABs, one hit)

All right so wait a sec, it's just a waiver claim, right? Those almost never pan out anyways. I have only one overwhelming problem with it. Waiver claims we make aways kill us. Most guys you scrounge up in another team's dumpster, they never see the light of an MLB stadium and don't really hurt you. Sox waiver claims seem to be quasi-cursed.

Some recent Sox waiver claims include Tony Clark, Brandon Lyon, Jason Sheil, and Ricardo Rodriguez. Rodriguez was thankfully jettisoned into the vacuum of space/the independant leagues before he ever got up to us. Brandon Lyon blew three crucial leads for us in the regular season and ever since was useless to us. Jason Sheil ended his extended major league call up with a 7 ERA. Tony Clark gave me diabetes. The list goes on and on. Every single waiver claim we make ends up damaging the team far more than it should ever be able to, I tell you.

I have nothing but the utmost respect for the people currently running this team, they haven't let me down yet. But seriously, this guy was a useless pickup. I can only pray he won't survive spring training with us, we have FOUR major league ready catchers (Varitek, Mirabelli, Schoppach, Andre Dominique) Theo's just showing off by getting another high on base guy. Well woo hoo for you Theo, and in case you didn't notice, Rickey Henderson had better overall stats last year than this kid.

Does this argument make sense? Of course not. Should this posting exist? Almost certainly no. But I want to go on record saying that I was against this latest waiver-wire pickup from day one, and when Hernandez lines into a triple play to cost us the division title and a playoff spot at the end of September, well, I told you all so.

The only cool thing about this whole trade is that the Yankees now seem bereft of catching talent in their minor league system (AND their major league one ahhahah ZING!). Anyways, good luck Hernandez, maybe you can tell us how to hit a Mike Mussina knuckle-curve.

If you're wondering about title, during the Pat's recent 17-14 win over the Titans I saw more than a few New England wits holding up signs saying that. Those signs might also explain the slightly unfocused nature of this posting as I was forced to immediately wash out my brain with carbolic acid after seeing them.

Saturday, January 10, 2004

Edging closer to Spring Calibration

Eric Simon of Sabermets clued me in to this, which I read while drowsing in Guerrero limbo with the rest of Mets Nation. (Somehow that doesn’t sound right. Mets...Kingdom? Is that lame? That’s lame.) At first glance it may seem little more than a mini camp update, reporting exciting stories from lovely St. Lucie, FL, like pitching guru Rick Peterson teaching Grant Roberts crucial, universally applicable fundamentals like how to follow through and also how not to humiliate anyone ever associated with you by passing out from bong hits. There are also some wonderful pictures of our prospects – judging by their terrified expressions, fully cognizant of their chances as speedy outfielders with no power – juxtaposed with shots of Vance Wilson and Joe McEwing, cool customers, veterans of the war that is the game that is also the childhood pastime of baseball.

All this is worth a look, of course, especially if you’ve got nothing better to do than write scathing, uninformed blog posts rehashing jokes so old Steinbrenner is giving them 2 years, $6 million (you mean to tell me Mo Vaughn is fat? And you swear Piazza likes what?). But if you’re living a more meaningful life – and let’s face it, who isn’t? – I’ve extracted the truly remarkable information in the article, which touches on something I’ve been interested in for some time: how Peterson is going to be handling our young pitchers, the essence of the franchise’s future.

The players are responding enthusiastically to Peterson's system with all reports and feedback from the players so far being universally positive. Peterson continued to work with Met pitchers on a one-on-one basis, spending lengthy sessions today with both Roberts and Wheeler.

Ok, so far so good. Of course, it’s only been a couple of days, but I like that he’s giving them individual attention this early and that everyone seems to be happy. Could be worse.

Both players appreciated the personal attention from Peterson and the blend of eastern philosophy, active visualization, and biomechanical science.

Wait, hold on. Eastern philosophy and active visualization? The only thing that calls to mind is the Zen-like indifference on Roberto Alomar’s face as he actively visualized yet another reachable ground ball trickling into the outfield. Biomechanical science sounds promising enough, though. If it were just biomechanics, I’d be worried, but I figure biomechanical science must be a more rigorous discipline.

Roberts said he was excited about the possibility of visiting Peterson's lab in Birmingham and was "looking forward to it." He then mumbled something about “no choice” and “the implant” as his eyes glazed over into a flat unblinking stare.

Ok, right, so the last line isn’t true, but the stuff about Dr. Peterson’s Biomechanical Science Laboratory is gospel. Oh, baseball. First on base percentage, and now this. I hardly know you anymore. Here’s hoping Peterson’s kooky new age pitching advice and ginseng tablets will see our young arms through the perilous fight, so that they can one day be called veterans or at least stop smiling like they’re afraid major league sluggers or Mo Vaughn will eat them for breakfast. (See, I get it – he’s overweight! From eating. Oh, you card!)

Thursday, January 08, 2004

Mike's throwing down the gauntlet early

All right Mike, you asshole, let's get a few things straight:

I most certainly DID kick that dog. It's a small dog too, he went a good three feet before crashing into a chair or something. Don't worry though, animal lovers, I felt reeeeeal bad afterwards, almost as bad as I felt when I cut the whiskers off my cat's face when I was 6.

Also, in response to some of your specific comments, WHAT Guerrero farce? Perhaps you missed my devastatingly logical appraisal of why you guys will never, ever get him. You don't need to wait to hear the word on whether you get him or not, the answer is already "no". You're delusional, my friend, Guerrero is going to sign with Baltimore, because I've obviously been a bad person in former lives and that's just one of my many punishments for it.

I think it's time to make something perfectly clear. Mike is a bitter, vindictive little girl whose team fosters such feelings of inadequacy that he feels forced to take out his frustrations on me and my poor team (who, by the way, I sure wish would DO something, so I can write about something other than how much the Mets suck). Just because your AAA 1/2 squad was 4 lucky wins ahead of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in terms of team record is no reason to attack ME, buddy. I can't be held responsible for the 17 million you paid Mo Vaughn while he was off hiding in alleys from you guys and having disgusting lard-wiches named after him.

You folks are going to have to forgive Mike and his occasional nonsensical Sox bashing, as I am learning to do. I forget sometimes just how embarassing it is to follow a team like the Mets. It must be worse because his team was recently in the World Series, and the most lasting memory from it is Mike Piazza managing a weak screaming of "You're sleeping on the couch tonight!!" to Roger Clemens after HAVING A BAT THROWN AT HIM. Thank God you guys had Shawn Estes teach Clemens a lesson the year after by floating a fastball 3 feet behind him.

Hey, at least you guys aren't paying Roger Cedeno 10 million next year!

One man's agony is another man's "Go NY(a)!"

First off, I’d like to ask for a moment of silence in memory of Big K’s dignity. And on an unrelated note, if any of our friends from the Animal Liberation Front (aka ALF) happen to be killing time between drive-by trimmings here at the blog, Kyle was just making a funny when he said he kicked his dog after the Sox lost. Honest. And while I’ve got your attention, may I suggest changing your organization’s name so that its acronym doesn’t immediately call to mind a famous TV space alien that eats cats? Just, you know, a thought.

I’m not mentioning Alf merely because the lovable scamp was in some truly wonderful commercials with a ballplayer close to my heart, but also because there’s very little point in continuing my offseason roster wrap-up until the Guerrero farce plays itself out. This is not in any way an attempt to avoid writing about our pitching staff, as I’d be more than happy to thumb through yellowed and disintegrating newspaper archives in search of cheering tales from their primes. And while I’d love to comment on Pete Rose, about ten million clever devils beat me to the punch –- “hustle”, as in Charlie Hustle, can indeed be used pejoratively! He “hustled” us, he’s a “hustler” -- run with it guys! I’d really better get cracking before they figure out what Peter is slang for.

Instead, I’d like to accept Kyle’s implicit invitation to rise above the frustration and malaise so embarrassingly prevalent here, and write briefly about a recent baseball moment which filled me with happiness.

I’m speaking, of course, about Aaron Boone’s home run in game seven of the 2003 ALCS.

As a Mets fan, I’m supposed to hate the Yankees. I understand this, accept it, and try to live up to that responsibility as well as I can. As I’ve mentioned before, however, my father’s a huge Bombers fan, so many of the games I went to growing up were in the wrong Borough. And lately, the Yanks have even been doing some very Metsy things, like Ruben Rivera stealing gloves and bats from the clubhouse and Jeff Nelson and Karim Garcia double-teaming some schmuck in that bullpen brawl. Even so, I can only root for the Yanks with a clear conscience against two opponents: the Braves, of course, and the Red Sox. I love the rivalry, I relish the Mets’ place in Sox history, and best of all I love the attitudes of the Sox fans I meet. Despite their franchise’s utter lack of success, they’re always ready to talk crap about your team and kick you while you’re down, because they know that when an Aaron Boone moment comes along they’ll look and act so miserable we won’t be able to take our revenge for fear they will purposefully injure their pets.

So I’ll admit, I yelled and screamed and nearly trashed my friend Pete’s living room jumping around in spastic celebration as Boonie smacked that homer. It left him nearly speechless, which must run in the family because his brother Bret was a silent third wheel in an unfortunate stint in the broadcast booth that series. Too bad it only shut up the Sox fans for a single, blessed week.

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

I don't want to do this

I think it would be remiss of me to enter this season officially without making some effort to make peace with 2003. I'm not real happy about it, but today ESPN showed Aaron Boone's homer (for some ungodly reason) and I kicked my dog pretty hard, so it's become apparent that I'm not completely over this.

Luckily, I seem to be in good company. The wacky, obsessive folks at SOSH (see: Links to Insane People) recently started a thread called "Remembering Game 7". The people posting apparently have done as little to move forward as I have, as almost all their posting profess rage, anger, hate, and bloodlust for our deposed manager lovingly called "Gump" by the people writing about him. Perhaps it's time to chart my own progress through the seven stages of dealing with loss

A numbing paralysis when doubting that we have the resources to handle the change, so loss seems inevitable. This produces fear. Paralysing fear may appear as a free-floating anxiety about life.

I'd say I was in shock for about 3 hours afterward. Normally after a bad Sox loss I scream, throw something at the television (if it was a game against a tough team Dogbert the stuffed dog is often kept nearby just for such an occasion), blame whoever seemed handy at the time, and be done with it. Not after this loss. I merely slowly got up, went to my room, and stared at my computer screen for awhile.

The reaction , "If I ignore this it will go away." Denial may be used creatively for a while when we are too busy to handle the new but if we shelve loss reactions for too long the avoidance takes up mental energy and they begin to make us difficult to live with or prickly, without knowing why.

My denial stage was characterized by me putting up witty away messages such as "Why is everyone so sad? I went to bed in the 7th, we won right?" and "Yeeee haw let's go riot! NEXT STOP FLORIDA!!" It didn't seem like it was possible to lose a game in such a fashion, I was sure someone had merely made a mistake. I mean, the game was WON, and then 10 minutes later it wasn't? Impossible!

The first reaction when we truly recognise risk of loss is the drive to go out into the world and prevent loss . Anger in itself is thus a creative emotion. We all need a little anger to keep our environments organised for healthy living. But we may get problems handling it if we cannot see how to turn our anger to good effect, or once the loss has occurred. Some repress it so that it comes out as depression, some direct it inappropriately at others, some direct it at the person most loved or trusted simply to get it out.

I think I did pretty good in this regard. I didin't get all THAT angry. I spent most of the next day snapping at non-baseball people who asked how things turned out, and I vaguely remember throwing the tray of a friend across the table during lunch because he's made a snide pro-yankees comment. I also burned my picture of David Ortiz dressed in some ridiculous workout uniform he'd worn during a postgame interview. I'd like to say I'm making this up, but....

Guilt is the price we pay for loving - an inevitable result of being bonded and committed. It is the step of questioning , (a) what we could have done to avoid the loss? and (b) what we might have done to have caused it? The drive to ask is irrational. This stage is important to survival as a way we learn. It drives us to reason. Unfortunately these questions come with that horrible sense of wrongdoing, and it is this which can send people on guilt-trips. To focus on the questions might help. The answers are usually simple, but because we do not like the questions we often bounce back to anger instead. The whirlpool of anger and guilt is a common trap in loss reactions.

Guilt? How the fuck am I supposed to feel guilty? The only thing I feel guilty about is not learning how to teleport instantly in the 5 minutes I had to stop Grady Little from blowing the biggest game I've ever had the misfortune of seeing. I skipped this step, it's not my fault Grady Little is an inbred retarded "Aw shucks guess we done losted, huh?" moron. The only aspects I agree with are that the answers to questions like "What could I have done differently?" simply lead back to anger, and somehow the phrase "Guilt is the price we pay for loving" seems poetically Red Sox.

We bargain when our yearning or longing makes us try to restore the loss . When each gambit to do so fails there is another mini-loss reaction with anger and guilt (which can make bargaining a very complicated and prolonged stage for some losses), plus a growing sense of our powerlessness.

I wasn't in much of a position to bargain, seeing how only the Almighty himself is the only person who could change anything. That or possibly Superman, who can apparently fly around the planet quickly enough to reverse its rotation, thereby somehow reversing the flow of time. I don't question that movie's logic because obviously the writers of large budget epic cinema like "Superman" know more than I do. Surely it wasn't just a group of idiots trying to find a cheap fix to solve the "Oops we killed Lois" problem. Anyways, neither God nor Superman were impressed by my pleas.

"Are you there God? It's me, a Sox fan"
"Oh wait, you can't even walk anymore. Never mind"

The true depression of loss is when we recognise our powerlessness over loss. Life becomes meaningless, valueless, hopeless, and we may lose our motivation and sense of worth.

Ahhh yes. Here's where I've been nice and comfortable spending the past few months. Depression is great for a Sox fan because it just feels so comfortable. Just because our default emotion, depression, is a "negative" one, and a Yankees fan's default emotion of "being a cocky smartass piece of shit" is "positive", does that make us worse people? Of course not.

We come to true acceptance of loss when we realise that we are indeed powerless over that particular loss, but that in other areas of life we are still creative and valued . It is a rich, mature state. Sadness over the loss remains, but this is restrained by a wider joy at reconciliation to life. The problem is that many people think they have accepted losses when they are really denying them. We can recognise the difference by what happens when the loss is remembered. In denial, instead of sadness, there will be a recurrence of the harder loss reaction emotions of shock, anger, guilt, longing or depression.

Wow, what a great feeling that paragraph explains. I can only hope someday I get there. The Schilling signing helped a bit, the Pokey Reese signing didn't take away ALL of the positive aspects of Schilling, and dammit, we OWN the Yankees in April-May. Don't you worry about me, folks, I'm gonna be just fine.

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Ya gotta believe, Buster

I was going to follow up my highly objective look at the 2004 roster with some zany observations on the outfield, but thoughts of a Timo Perez/Roger Cedeno platoon, Cameron battling Kaz Matsui for the strikeout record, and Cliff Floyd asking Mo Vaughn for rehab tips made me feel like a pre-Boston Pokey Reese: out of options, miserable in every facet of existence yet hoping against hope that some sucker would hand me a contract -- er, that someone would give me some good news.

Luckily I could count on ESPN The Magazine writer Buster Olney, a man whose very name evokes images of a trustworthy, tough-as-nails reporter or a pitbull. As it is impossible to fathom a baseball executive lying to the face of a man named Buster Olney, I can only assume that my prayers have been answered: the Mets are finally in the Vladimir Guerrero sweepstakes.

If there's a player who can erase the painful memories of Steve Phillips' godawful mismanagement, he's Vlad. Now, I know well enough not to let such a report get my hopes up. Listening to Kyle "cowboy up" his psyche all last season warned me against such naivete. We're not going to get him. Wilpon is not going to spend because he's shell-shocked, partially at his own stupidity. The Orioles can outbid us, and should if they're going to convince their fans there'll be something in Camden Yards to watch other than Miguel Tejada weeping copiously when someone says darn in front of his kids, or Javy Lopez' 'unexpected' regression to mediocrity. Vlad would rather go down to Florida, where the dozens of fans that go to games speak his Spanish instead of French. I repeat, there's no chance in hell of us signing him, and thus no reason to even envision it happening.

All that logic should have stopped me from signing this, but, well, take it from Tug, rest his soul: sometimes, you just gotta believe. And send lots of spam.

Vlad to the Mets: What color is the sky where Wilpon lives?

ESPN just put up a headline about the Mets being "in the Vlad Guerrero Picture". Let's go over all the reasons why this is pure, unadulterated insanity

#1: Baltimore offered 5 years, 65 million a year. The Mets have offered "far less". And in case anyone out there believes the tripe about Guerrero not caring just about the money, his counter offer was for 7 years, 105 million. The Mets already splurged on two big FA signings and can't afford to get into a bidding war with Baltimore and their evil, tainted money.

#2. The NY Mets are, well, the NY Mets. It's not so much that the chances of the Mets going to the postseason any time soon are roughly the same as Debra Messing showing up at my door naked (they are), it's that Guerrero's not one who enjoys the spotlight. There's two ways to play in the spotlight in NY. Either the Yankees way, which is classy, dignified, and successfully stressful, or the Mets way, which is dissapearing titanic first basemen and players giving each other illegal haircuts stressful. Guerrero would get eaten alive by the fans, the media, and the attitude in NY, and he and his agent have gotta be aware of it.

#3. The Mets don't need lineup help. They need pitching. Their lineup has already been described as "potentially devastating" by a beat writer admittedly most likely on crack and heroin at the time of writing it, but the thing keeping the Mets back from semi-respectability is a young, stud pitcher. They need a frontline starter who's not on the wrong side of 30 to really make a difference. Vlad will score a lot of runs, but then again so does A-Rod. Just not for us. I'm not fucking bitter.

It's not like I'm against this happening. Firstly, when one of those herniated disks blows out of Vlad's back like a shotgun shell and kills Tim Welke, I'll be the first one to laugh. And anything to keep the goofy bastard out of Baltimore, with just Lopez and Tejada the Orioles really aren't going to be that great.

So Mike, please, enjoy this latest wet dream. The Mets landing Vlad Guerrero will happen at about the same time Roger Clemens admits he got fat and lazy in Boston and deserved to be booted to Toronto, and then gives me a signed baseball made out of solid platinum for no apparent reason.

Monday, January 05, 2004

Big K is here to say that Big K is here to stay

Despite my partner in crime's pitiful wailings for some approximation of sanity, the nickname Big K is stickin' around for awhile, mostly because the title of a post agreeing to stop using it wouldn't rhyme as delightfully well as this one's does.

I definitely dig your appraisal of your team though, Mike. Remind me to get rid of everything in my first post that doesn't deal with the offense and I'll promise to talk about the "other aspects" of my team "later", wink wink. Oh and congrats to the Sox for re-signing Daubauch. We've raised the bar in the "sign the worst backup 1st baseman realistically possible" contest, Georgie! Fuck you!

.500 ain't nothin but a number

It’s a shame I waited until the new year to write my expectations for the Mets in 2004, as I’m finding it difficult to overcome the hope currently buoying my heart, a long-suffering organ made heavy by the black pudding-like sludge my brain excreted after watching not one but two Glavines embarrass the orange and blue in ’03. It isn’t easy to be objective about the team you love when the forward thinking spirit of the season meets the absurd offseason alternate reality in which the Mets contend for more than my utter destruction.

Thankfully, the recent Braden Looper signing provided a welcome redirection back into reality. It wasn’t a bad move, and is even a little intriguing when you consider the subplot of his trading places with Benitez, yet I don’t see it having much impact on my enjoyment of the refashioned Amazins unless Looper ends up getting arrested drag-racing Cedeno down the West Side Highway. The signing is a microcosm of the Mets’ moves this winter: we’ve ‘followed a plan’, ‘filled some holes’, ‘improved the club’, yet done relatively little to make realistic on the field expectations for 2004 palatable. It’s a good thing there are other reasons to follow a ballclub, isn’t it? (You feel me, Detroit? I feel you. Uh, dawg.) With that in mind, and my new year’s resolution of avoiding sports talk cliches like saying one thing is a microcosm of another broken, here are my thoughts on some Flushing plotlines I'm looking forward to:

C – 1b: Mike Piazza’s got to polish off that home run record for catchers quickly so we can crown him one of the best ever, retire his number, buy him a Hummer, and do whatever else we need to so he can focus his full attention on the second most crucial position shift for the Mets this season. His attempt at first base can go either way, I think – he can eke out a legitimate defensive season there (that, by the way, is the best case scenario), or he can bomb like Hiroshima and have us longing for the surprising diction and smooth vocal stylings of Tony Clark. All I want to see is a good effort on his part. He’d be going from one of the toughest defensive positions to one of the easiest, and while he doesn’t look very athletic, the whole point of the shift is that he doesn’t have to be – if he can’t even try, what kind of superstar is he? On the positive side, him stretching to scoop a throw at first is probably the only way I’d be able to stomach another horrific groin tear. Also, despite Fran Healy’s half-sincere exclamations about Mo Vaughn’s “soft hands” (does that even mean anything?), I doubt Mike will be worse. He’s one of my favorites on the team; here’s hoping that the fans are the only things pulling for him this year.

Jason Phillips is one of the more likable kids the Mets thrust into roles way over their heads last year. I like that he can hit the ball hard, that he wears goofy glasses, and that he is easily one of the slowest people in the New York sports scene since Yankee Luis “Speed Demon” Sojo. He seems like a good guy, which coming from a fan means that he smiles often, is occasionally enthusiastic yet not a hot dog, and doesn’t refer to himself in the third person in post-game interviews. I also read that in college he dedicated a season or something to an old high-school teammate who’d fallen into a coma. Good kid to have around, and again, he can hit. I’m also looking forward to his catching defense and the ridiculous ballerina-style splits he’d throw down at first to catch the invariably off-target throws our AAA infield fired his way.

2b: Jose Reyes is the man, period. The other writer on this site, a fellow I refuse to refer to in type as “Big K” (yet just did) can vouch for my girlish squeal when our shortst— er, second baseman of the future floated a barely-made-it grand slam over the left field wall early into his tour of duty last year. He’s a particularly exciting player for a few reasons, not least of which being that he’s been hyped by the organization slightly more than those gorge-raising “construction cone orange” BP jerseys. He’s supposed to have Rey Ordonez’ glovework, and a dynamite flame-throwing bazooka for an arm. I could care less about the latest defense-computing metric that’s been proposed this week by a Bill James understudy – none of the ones I’ve seen so far have the ability to compute the unadulterated enjoyment brought on by a slick fielder making a ridiculous play and then casually gunning down a baserunner. He’s got that skill, and that charisma (which I would call cockiness, if he played for the Yanks). I’m not worried about him moving to second, as I think he’ll be just as exciting there. I just hope he can hit; Ordonez was only as good as his last Web Gem.

3b: Ty Wigginton’s got a great baseball name, and his style of play lives up to it. Of course, we’ve all heard too much from the announcing crew about his “balls to the wall” mentality, as they were probably trying to get more mileage out of a phrase robbed of semantic currency by its facility in describing what happened when Tom Glavine was on the hill. I loved watching him blast catchers full-on while trying to score runs that in the grand scheme of the season meant nothing. He’s a tough young guy, and I’m probably pulling more for him to succeed than anybody else.

SS: I really liked Shinjo, and at the risk of sounding like an ethnocentric uninformed American who can’t tell two Japanese ballplayers apart, Kaz Matsui seems like he’ll be bringing back some of the flair his awesomely wristbanded predecessor took back to Japan. I was lucky enough to sit through his 15-minute completely irrational introductory press conference, in which he cracked some jokes and said “I love New York” and almost erased Mayor Bloomburg’s self-serving impersonation of a Mets fan from my memory. I like that he doesn’t want to be called Little Matsui, yet I’m unabashedly in favor of setting him up on the scales opposite Hideki. Steinbrenner enjoys clean-cut, homogenized, class-act Yankees (as if a retarded deodorant commercial and a quick buzz with a Norelco can erase the wild, fun-loving image and facial hair Jason Giambi cultivated in Oakland), and I think that the Boss’ will subsumed Hideki’s personality. Needless to say, I doubt Kaz will find similar restraints in Queens, where I fully expect his eccentricities and flashiness to entertain even in a season as horrific as the last. We’re the Mets, for crying out loud! We cut hair during games, we smoke pot and pass the hell out, we flip off fans, and best of all we lose ninety-five freaking games – but at least, you know, we’ve got great personality. And unlike all of Kyle's dates, in this instance that really does count for something. In fact, I'm banking on this.

Ok, I’ll write about the rest of the team soon, like when we have one. (Just kidding, Mike Cameron! I feel you! Ugh.)

Friday, January 02, 2004

Thoughts from First Night 2004 while standing in a subway station at 12:04 AM

Spent New Year's Eve in Boston. I'd prefer not to go into details over what we did or didn't do, because it's really depressing, but I went with Metropolitan Mike and some other people who don't write for this fine publication and we almost went to Fenway to go see it. Really, we were this close to going to see it, but we ended up sitting on a marble bench for an hour instead.
Even from the outside, Fenway is historical and fun to see. It's old and crumbly and even on the street side, the Green Monster is a joy to behold. It's crazy to think that behind that foot or so of concrete, people like Ted Williams and Carl Yazstremski played on the grass years and years ago.

The thing about being in Boston for New Years that made it kind of/sort of baseball related is while in Faneuil Hall, I heard large crowds of people spontaneously erupt into cheers of "Yankees Suck!". In the middle of January, right after First Night, with NO reason whatsoever to do so, people start chanting it. Hearing those wonderful words put to rest any lingering demons from last year. Now that a bunch of random fans can scream that phrase without feeling self-concious, that means Red Sox Nation is about as "over" last year as is ever going to happen. It'll never totally go away, in 15 years I'll tell my kids about 2003 in the same way my Dad told me about 1986. It was equally agonizing.

God I hate the Yankees.