Monday, May 31, 2004

How much do I hate you, Derek Lowe? Let me count the ways.

Record: 31-20

Derek Lowe has lost me. I will never, ever again support this man. I don't care if he makes his next 20 starts without giving up a single run, breezes through the playoffs, and ends the ALCS by flattening half the Yankees by running them down like animals in the bullpen cart. I refuse to let this man ruin either of my teams anymore. That's right, I said "teams", because the man is also on my fantasy team and has singlehandedly cost me 11 points and dropped me from 1st to 5th. Here's a quick D-Lowe Q&A for you:

  • Q: Who has the highest ERA in major league baseball among qualifying starters?
    A: Yep! Derek Lowe and his 6.84 ERA beats absolutely every human who pitches and probably beats quite a few pitching machines too, especially the one Cesar Crespo uses. Another way to think of this is that Derek Lowe literally gives up three times as many runs in 9 innings as Curt Schilling does.

  • Q: Which does Derek Lowe have more of, strikeouts or walks?
    A: Surprise! Derek Lowe has 25 walks and 21 strikeouts. Derek Lowe also grew up in Dearborn, MI and his family still lives there and has very little to no police protection. Trivia is fun!

  • Q: With all those walks, and with the league as a whole batting .336 against him, I bet he leads the league in WHIP too!
    A: Well, that's not really a question, but you're absolutely right, not a man who starts gives up more walks and hits per inning pitched than Derek "Stop paying me like a reliever, I give up twice as many runs as any reliever does" Lowe does.

  • Q: Is Derek Lowe a whiney, petulant, ineffective pitching monstrosity that I should spend the rest of my life attempting to hunt down and murder so that the team can collect insurance money on him and sign a more valuable pitcher, such as perhaps Rolando Arrojo or just start paying Jason Varitek to toss the ball up in the air so the hitter can swing at it?
    A: That might be a somewhat harsh solution, as we'd get the money if someone simply shattered his shoulder with a hot coal poker. But you're thinking, I like that.

  • I'm a little wary to be posting this right now, as I'm exceptionally angry and last time I mocked a pitcher (Lenny Dinardo) I received angry mail from his mother telling me he read what I wrote and it made him cry. And I've sworn off Derek Lowe before, his 2001 season produced an ulcer the size of a quarter in my stomach. But this is it. He can perhaps regain his ability, but he'll probably never stop saying stuff like this
    "I'm at a loss for words. It's been a two-month
    stretch where I've put myself in a lot of bad situations as far as
    baserunners. When that many guys get on base, ... it snowballs."

    Saturday, May 29, 2004

    Walk On, Walk Off

    Marlins 3, Mets 2
    Record: 23-25, 5.5 games back

    Mike Lowell's walk-off blast courtesy Braden Looper capped off a miserable game in which all the agonizing plotlines, lately subsumed by an inspiring run of good health and good play, bubbled to the surface. To wit:

    Jae Seo is not a viable option. I've been waiting for him to rediscover the terrific command that made him one last year, but I've given up. I don't know if it's a crack in his nail or his confidence that's caused him to forsake the strike zone, but I was utterly dismayed to see him attempting to add a 300 MPH fastball to his admittedly thin repertoire. The Mets defense, which by the way is awful, helped him out to the tune of four double plays turned, and limited Art Howe's postgame reaction to his line [6.0IP 5H 2ER 5BB 2K] to a soft sigh.

    Alright gang, I've got a question for you. Exactly when did Joe McEwing and Mike Cameron switch bodies?

    I've been telling myself that it's just my luck to have tuned into the supposedly rare games in which Cameron has played poorly in center. Today he slammed himself into Cliff Floyd as if the other man had wiped snot on his favorite throwback jersey (on a ball that was caught cleanly by Floyd), and later stumbled out of the way of a drive into the gap. After the collision, viewers were treated to numerous shots of Cameron tugging on his shoulder and getting his fingers taped together, while Cornelius was nowhere to be seen. I like what I've heard of Mike, so here's hoping we see his infectious smile and easy manner return with his stroke.

    But if it doesn't, and his play in center continues to be hampered by injury (I've got my fingers taped, er, crossed), we're going to have a great time this fall debating the biggest free agent bust of the young Duquette era. I'm willing to let Kaz Matsui's offense slide, on account of his coming to a new country where the baseball is a little better and the team names aren't as embarrassing (Washington Hamfighters, anyone? Pork, get it? Right? Oh, OK.) It's his defense that bothers me. I'm behind the curve on this one (who'd have thought Kaz and I would have something in common!); Eric Simon over at Sabermets had the scoop on Reyes taking back his old position. That'd make me happy, were I convinced Reyes would be taking the field at all this season.

    Lastly, Looper's been great for us, but I wish he hadn't given headline writers so much to work with by failing when Benitez was superb the previous night. If it were up to me, I'd bypass the obvious Lowell Knocks Mets for a Loop and try Mets Braden Another Hairy Situation. Thankfully such responsibility weighs on more capable shoulders.

    Kyle's 34th blog posting spectacular!!!!!!

    Record: 30-18

    What's up folks? Everyone have a nice week without my posts ruining their lives? Awesome! Sorry for the delay, but we here at ECA have a surprise coming up soon, and it's not the same kind Mike gave to those middle school girls outside the playground that landed him in jail for 3 months.

    "But Kyle!!" both of my fans are screaming "What happened with that mean old Aaron Gleeman?!" Well I'm glad you asked. Not a day after I posted regarding our young Master Gleeman's attacks on us and on decent blog posting in general, he wrote back to me
    Thanks for signing up for our mailing list! You've heard about these pills on TV, in the news, and online and have probably asked yourself, "Do they really work?" The answer is YES! IGF2 is a powerful erection enhancing product that will create erections so strong and full that over time your penis will actually grow as a direct result! If you would like a more satisfying sex life then IGF2 is for you!
    Whoops! Wrong letter! Not that I ever received that letter. MOVING ALONG
    Hi Big K -

    I just came across your blog entry from today, with a little something about me near the end, and while you have deduced that you're the guy I'm talking about, I'm sorry to say that there isn't actually a guy I was talking about.

    The "New York Mets blog with 20 readers" is not an actual blog, but an example of the hundreds of team-based blogs out there that I either don't read or am not aware of. I just picked a semi-random team, which ended up being the Mets mostly due to their large amount of blog coverage (I see from your links alone that there are more than a dozen). Anyway, not that it'll stop you from bashing me, but I just thought I'd chime in.

    I don't remember if we had some sort of issue in the past, but I can see that you guys aren't particularly fond of me, my writing, or my "'Please pay me to write 70,000 word posts about how much of an internet celebrity I am'" paypal buttons," but your ire here is misguided.

    If you just don't like the way I do things, that's cool. If it is something more specific than that and you feel like addressing it outside of your blog, let me know.

    See ya,

    PS - I live upstairs during the summer, not in the basement, and we don't have a cat (so no litter box).
    Okay, so maybe I leapt to some hasty conclusions. Aaron's an okay guy, I got no particular beef with him. Although that "If you feel like discussing it outside of your blog, let me know" crack sounds a lot like a invitation to rumble, if you ask me. You wanna go, buddy? I'll mess you up.

    I kid, I kid. Aaron buddy, you're all right in my book. Cosette's still a hack, though.

    Let's check in with a few of my personal fave Sox players:

  • Manny Ramirez: Manny's not hitting for a great average lately, only .278 over the past 7 days, but he's got three homers and every single one was CLOCKED. That first one he hit over The Monster landed in our house and broke a lamp, which of course I got blamed for.

  • Nomar: Nomar's taking his sweet-ass time coming back from a sore Achilles. Prior's going to make it back before he does at this point. Arn Tellem, Nomar's agent, recently sent out another press release talking about how Nomar wants to stay here and he thinks it'll happen. Maybe the Dodgers don't want to shell out a multi-year deal until they see you actually play well for a year? Transparent agent-speak. I hate it.

  • Derek Lowe: My fantasy team's ERA lives in constant fear of Boy Wonder, and for good reason. Even at home, the man looks simply awful. And his "Oh it was a mechanical problem, I fixed it!" crap, combined with 2 dollars, would buy you a cup of cheap coffee at Starbucks. How smart must Scott Boras look now for rejecting a 3 year, 24 million dollar deal?

  • Pedro "Good Enough" Martinez gave up 4 earned runs in 7 innings tonight, getting the win thanks to a convenient Grand Salami from David Ortiz. 9 k's was nice, but he gave up two more homers that were absolutely tomahawked 88 MPH fastballs. That's 9 homers given up by the man who gave up 7 last year. TROUBLE.

  • Kevin "Youks" Youkillis:
  • The people saying that Youks is going to pull a Wade Boggs and steal the third base job away from Mueller are crazy, but the kid is walking and hitting for a fairly high average, which makes Mueller's loss to Arthroscopic "Old People's" knee surgery a little easier to bear. Still no power from him, however.

    Speaking of David Ortiz, which I did about three paragraphs ago so this isn't a real smooth transition, anyone worrying about clubhouse chemistry or whether the big guy is really as nice as he seems should give this a look-see. That place is still the love-fest it used to be, it's just not as obvious with Fatso trying desperately to get the phrase "Cowboy Up!" taken seriously or his horrifying karaoke video seen.

    It's easy to have great chemistry when you've won 8 of the past 10 though. The team's firing on all cylinders still, here's hoping it keeps up for a long time.

    Thursday, May 27, 2004

    Duke's a Hazard? has a story up on our favorite convalescent slugger, Legion Commander Cornelius Cliff Floyd. It's nice to see the Mets' health woes splitting some virtual ink with the Amazin's recent success, but that isn't what caught my eye.

    Here's a quote from the Duke, with much respect to Floyd:

    "We did a study this past winter," says Jim Duquette, the Mets' general manager, "and I think we averaged two more runs a game when he was playing."
    Thank goodness we hired a sabermetrician to really dip deep into the untapped well of statistical analysis in baseball. I'll bet you Neyer and James combined wouldn't have thought to look at something so obscure.

    Don't get me wrong, I love Jim. Some of the things he says make me wonder, though, if my high regard for our current GM has a little too much to do with my complete lack of respect for his shades-wearing, smarmy predecessor.

    Wednesday, May 26, 2004

    How to Watch Baseball for Six Dollars

    With the phrase "meaningful games" threatening to replace "weapons of mass destruction" in the national lexicon, I hopped on the delightfully crowded Flushing Local and enjoyed my first taste of Shea this past weekend. No, I didn't get to see Preacher Tom converting more unbelievers ("Praise the Lord," mutters the skeptic in me, bitterly) with his one-hit proselytization on, yes, Sunday. Saturday was my game, and with Yates on the hill, I wasn't expecting what we got -- a classic, albeit one overshadowed by an even greater game right around the corner.

    If you haven't yet been to Shea this year, allow me to offer some advice:

    1) Do not balk at the ticket prices. One luxury of following a team that has recently embodied futility is the ease with which we Mets fans are able to "move down", magically transforming a $12 Upper Reserved seat into a $43 Field Box ticket. Actually, we can be more economical than that. I believe this only applies when you're purchasing online via , so when you click on "Buy Tickets" and a new window pops up detailing the price levels of the various sections, you'll see that Mezzanine Reserved, Upper Box, Upper Reserved, and Upper Reserved Without Alcohol all have little asterisks appended. While it would be just like the Wilpons to thusly signify that those sections haven't been cleaned for several seasons, what it really means is that those sections qualify for a Wendy's Two For One deal (some sort of LIRR deal is available, but since I'm from Westchester and hence deserving of life, I can't fill you in on the specifics). You don't even have to buy ten pounds of Wendy's awesome chicken nuggets to qualify, which is a shame: just select the number of tickets, hit next, and the price is cut in half. $12 seats are pretty good, but $6 for a ballgame can't be beat.

    Edit: Upon enjoying a spicy chicken sandwich this evening, I stumbled upon an advertisement for the Wendy's 2 for 1 deal...which only lasts through May, and has sadly run its course. But hey, it was a great deal, and everything else applies.

    2) After you've called your Yankees fan friends and laughed at the absurd amount of money they paid to get into their game, pass up the Field Box seats for an inning or two and enjoy the upper deck. You'll be able to sit wherever you want, which means you'll have a great view of the field and of the evening sky, which is usually a truly remarkable blue thanks to (I assume) the marriage of jet fuel and the miasma of losing.

    3) While you're up learning about the inner workings of the atmosphere, make sure you hit up the Italian sausage stand. Look, Shea can be compared to one of Kyle's girlfriends -- not too pretty, not too clean, doesn't smell nice, a little lonely, a little awkward, and you usually have to drink a few beers to enjoy her company. What does that have to do with Italian sausage at Shea? Thankfully, nothing. They're just good, and you should buy one.

    4) Speaking of beer, and this goes for any stadium -- stick to cousin brewski in the paper cups. Beer in plastic bottles is strongly redolent of a flower-strewn meadow, and while this might offset some of the unsavory odors a regular Shea visitor is familiar with, I'd rather drink deep of landfill runoff than struggle through another of those abominations.

    5) When the ability to read the lips of passing airplane pilots loses its novelty, which is invariably, exercise your right as a diehard fan and get yourself a better seat. Treck down the winding ramps to whatever level suits your fancy and find an entrance that isn't manned by an usher in a bright yellow jacket. Walk with the impossible confidence of Roger Cedeno to a sufficient group of seats (you will find one, sadly), and enjoy the rest of the game.

    Take advantage of the system while you can, for as our team's winning ways continue, and the Wilpons get ready to blow the future on a .500 season, you can be sure the team batting average won't be the only thing on the rise.

    Saturday, May 22, 2004

    All is right in Beantown

    Record 25-17

    Well it's been a little too long since I last updated about MY team, because my last posts reads as being very angry. I sometimes lose patience with my beloved Sox, in the same way that a cute little puppy that manages to not go to the bathroom inside the house 59.5% of the time (that's the Sox winning percentage, if this analogy is lost on some of you) occasionally not only craps in the house, but somehow manages to do it in a way that scars your soul.

    The stuff that was bugging me last time is now fading into distant memory. Lenny Dinardo, a man who I may have lost my temper with and possibly even lashed out at, is now cruising along with a 3.00 ERA. When I think of Dinardo now, instead of thinking "CRUSH! KILL! DESTROY!" immediately, the words "Bill Pulsipher" come to mind. They're similar guys, good lefty junkballing Mets prospects who did what every other good Mets prospect does and became useless and inefficient and ended up on the Red Sox. He'll cruise for awhile but once Nomar and Trot come back I don't think he'll still be with us. If we have to give him back to the Mets because he goes to the minors, that's fine and dandy with me, I'll be waving goodbye to him with my whole hand rather than one finger.

    Other stuff: Cesar Crespo has found his playing time diminishing faster than Mike's wallet at a male strip show, and the pitching is starting to stabilize again. The team no longer looks slothful and disinterested on the field, and Damon even made a semi-spectacular catch in today's 11-5 crushing of the Jays. Manny's starting to get his power stroke back, even if he did manage to strike out 4 times again yesterday. And why the hell was Judge Judy in the booth today with Sean and Jerry? Ben Affleck was bad enough, but at least he's knowledgeable. Judy just sat there and talked about her backbreaking workload where she works every other week, and only a few days out of that week. Do I care, Judge Judy? You're old and what's worse, you're one of those horrible old people who've decided that the reason they've been allowed to live this long is to make sure everyone else around them is as miserable as possible. Please, nobody wants to see your wrinkled face during a Sox game. Stick to deciding which Jerry Springer reject you think is more deserving of the 500 dollars owed from back when they were lending each other money because they loved each other.

    David Ortiz got signed to a 2 year/12.5 million dollar contract today, with a TEAM option for the third year. That's huge, not too many years at all, and it's totally up to us whether he comes back or not after two. I wouldn't say Poppy took a huge hometown discount to sign with us, seeing as how he can only play in the AL and 28 year old DHs aren't apt to get a lot of long term deals, but he probably could have done better (money-wise, without the Green Monster to pepper with that swing I doubt his numbers would even stay the same) somewhere else.

    After the Sox hopefully win and maybe even sweep the series with the Jays, we have a 9 game stretch against Seattle, Anaheim, and Oakland (with a Baltimore make up game thrown in to make sure there will be at least one very angry post here that week). After that grueling series, we can start realistically looking at the return of Trot and Nomar. Maybe.

    So as I was perusing some other blogs today I saw something interesting. Aaron Gleeman, he of the 70,000 word long post and "Please pay me to write 70,000 word posts about how much of an internet celebrity I am" paypal buttons on his site, apparently has taken offense to some of the things Metropolitan has had to say about him. Usually I myself leave Aaron alone, as I'm usually too busy making light of Sox blogger and audiophile Ed Cosette to make any observations about our good buddy Aaron and his Pulitzer-caliber writings.

    I can see why Aaron might be in a snappy mood lately. Sounds like the poor guy has been under a lot of stress
    Now, I am on the internet, reading stuff, more than most would think humanly possible. In fact, I am going to admit right now that I am actually addicted to my computer.

    Still, despite my spending approximately 23.5 hours per day surfing the web, IMing and e-mailing (this is barely an exaggeration, as anyone who has me on their buddy list can attest to), I am but one man, whereas you are an entire group of people.
    That kind of dedication to doing things like carefully rating every blog linked to on your site by comparing it arbitrarily to a point in time for a Major Leaguer's career must leave precious little time for things like taking out the garbage and cleaning out the litter box, which means his Mom must be yelling at him almost daily inquiring when he's going to move out of the damn basement. That'd make anyone cranky. However he went on to write this
    It's really a beautiful thing, because I get the feeling that there are a number of you who are honestly happy and excited to see my name in lights. And it goes beyond "big time" mentions like It extends to all the hundreds of blogs and minor websites out there. Having you guys around to keep track of those for me is even better, because while I read Jayson Stark, odds are that I am not familiar with the New York Mets blog that gets 20 readers per day and has been bashing me for a week straight.
    Using my incredible skills of logic and reasoning, I have decided that he's in fact referring to THIS humble little blog. While I'm honored that he took the space away from ranting for several paragraphs about how popular he is, I think a few things need to get cleared up

  • This isn't a Mets blog, it's a Sox/Mets blog that only Mets fans read

  • We don't get a mere 20 hits a day, it's more like 100, or even 150 on good days when I have enough time to endlessly refresh the page myself in hopes of bringing some meaning to my life by making the little number at the bottom bigger. We're not the Jack Nicholson of Blogs like you, Aaron, but come on, give us our due dude.

  • Although I appreciate your enlightening description of the difference between "you" being only "one man" and "everyone else" being "a group of people" (makes sense!), I'm just asking for you to stick to legitimate criticims of our site. There's plenty.

    (P.S. Sorry for the harsh words, Judge Judy. You're just doing your job, I know that.)

    Thursday, May 20, 2004

    More Mets Madness

    Hiya folks! Don't start jumping for joy just yet, as this is not your loveable effeminate Metropolitan Mike, but Kyle, writing because Mike is apparently too busy screwing on toothpaste tube caps or trying to break the world record for consecutive hours spent jump roping or whatever the hell he does when he's not blogging.

    So let's see, a post about the Mets, how hard can this be? Okay, first step...their record, that's right.

    Record: 19-22

    Whoa, that's weird, the number on the right is bigger than the one on the left! As a Sox fan I'm not used to seeing this odd arrangement of wins and losses, but apparently it doesn't phase Mike or other Mets fans because I see them do it all the time. As bad as that record is, it'd be a lot worse if it wasn't for the renewed energy and hustle the Mets have been playing with, or whatever other pseudo-reasoning Mets fans would like to explain their recent 10-7 run with that's not "luck". To be fair, those ten wins came against teams like Houston, St. Louis, Milwaukee (don't laugh, they're still at .500) and the Diamondbacks. So the Mets are, I'll grudgingly admit, playing decent baseball against some solid opponents. For example, today's 11-4 loss to the Cardinals can be attributed to the man who said this a day or so ago after having not pitched since May 13th.
    I just needed a couple of days of rest," he said May 20. "The last time I pitched, I needed 45 pitches to get loose. For me to go out less than 100 percent and possibly cost us a game, I just needed a couple of days. It was one of those cases of avoiding something before it happens. You go as far as you can go and then you say, 'I need a couple of days.'
    Yes Mets fans, that's David Weathers talking about having a dead arm. So after having a nice 7 day rest, how'd he fare in his first game? 2/3 of an inning pitched, 5 hits, one walk, 6 runs, and one bleacher reacher. (that's Mike's cute little phrase for a home run, he says it all the time. Use it in your writing, man! Anyone who'd make fun of you for talking like that isn't a true friend.) Only 3 of those runs were earned, thanks to some fine defensive play by Mike Piazza, Kaz Matsui, and Todd Zeille, but that's still not a good appearance regardless. How does Mets Nation feel about David Weathers? Do you guys hate him or what? If he played for the Sox the cops would find his body floating in the Charles River tommorow.

    Also, Jae Seo had another pretty shaky start, which is too bad because last summer when I spent my days curled up on the couch in New York watching Mets games and vainly wishing I would just die, I saw a lot of Jae Seo and really liked him. What's wrong with him this year? At least he got his first major league RBI by being made of flesh and bone instead of, say, water vapor, when Jason Marquis hit him with a pitch with the bases loaded.

    All right, what else does Mike usually write about... I would have to assume he's pissed about Al Leiter going on the DL with generic creakiness, however they're saying right now it's only a 15 day thing and he'll be back as soon as he's eligible. Leiter's another guy I kind of like, I like how instead of a power pitcher he's always described as "the closest thing to a power pitcher the Mets have"

    I'm sure Mike would yell at me or at least cry if I didn't mention that the Mets have been playing some very good defensive baseball occasionally, highlighted by Karim Garcia's incredible leap to take away a home run today. Cliffy Boy Floyd also put in a very nice assist today after running all the way back to the wall to take away a double from Scott Rolen. I'm sure that fine defensive play will translate into at least 2 or 3 games in the "W" column at the end of the year, possibly saving you guys from a 100 loss season.

    Oh, that's right, Jim Duquette bashing, Mike's pretty into that. Today while I was watching the game briefly I saw an interview with him in the booth where he had a few things to say regarding the Mets playoff chances
    We just feel that if we're still in the hunt in late June or July like we are now, if there's an impact player or two to be had that will help this team, we'll do everything we can to pick them up
    I'm not saying being 3.5 games out is a death sentence, Jimmy, especially since no one has really run away with anything yet, but surely you're not saying you'll ditch the rebuilding plan halfway into the season?
    I'd say right now we're kind of doing a combination of playing to win now and planning for down the road
    What the hell? How do you do both? You either rebuild or you go for it all, dude! If you do both of them half-assed then you'll end up like the, um, what's that team that's been the worst in the NL for the past few years...oh yeah, the Mets! Never mind.

    That's all for me, folks, pray that Mike decides to come back to the blogging world sometime soon, or I'll have to keep doing this. And, just to further perpetuate this entry as one of Mike's, here's a very somber image of Mike Piazza looking out into the sunset.

    Or checking out the opposing pitcher's ass. Yeah, that's more likely actually.

    Friday, May 14, 2004

    lol omg wtf

    Dude, fuck this team. Today's game against the Devil Jays (look at their damn uniforms and blame me for writing that) showcased a lot that's wrong with my team that is currently 14-14 in non-Yankees games and has lost 9 of its last 14 games.

    Numero Uno: Terry Francona has run out of mulligans with me. I hate this man. 6th inning, one run game, and guess who comes sauntering out of the bullpen? Why it's New York Mets castoff and almost certain puppy-kicker Lenny Dinardo. On what planet does this move make sense? Schilling struggled but technically kept us in the game, and Francona went to the pitcher that ranks slightly above Mendoza and slightly below a bent tee-ball stand in effectiveness.
    Terry Francona: You hurt, Schill?
    Schilling: Nah, my ankle is taped up tighter than the mouth of that hooker Metropolitan Mike keeps in his closet, and I'm walking the bases loaded before getting saved by a crap DP, but I'm fine
    Francona: I still think you're out, you've thrown 104 pitches to labor through 5 innings. Hit the shower and wait for me
    Schilling: Awwwww Skip!
    Schilling: Maaaaan...
    Francona: I hate baseball. Put in Mark Malaska to turn this game into a travesty.
    Dave Wallace: Still going for that record of consecutive horribly scarring appearances by a worthless waiver pickup, eh? Don't you think it's a little early?
    Francona: Good point. BRING ME LENNY DINARDO
    Dinardo: *looks up for Mayor McCheese Mcdonald's coloring book* Huh? Me throw ball again?
    But we can't blame Francona or Dinardo entirely for tonight's Mets-esque meltdown. Every single pitcher we trotted out gave up at least one run. Looking on the bright side though, at least Embree didn't give up an EARNED run in his whopping 1/3 innings worth of work, due to some incredible defensive wizardry.

    Are the Sox the worst defensive team in baseall? I think they very well might be. Johnny Damon and Dinardo got the only official errors, however the Manny-Bellhorn-Crespo debacle that I will try the rest of my life to forget was probably the best display of heart and hustle ever. NOT! (Can you sense the frustration? That was sarcasm there! I'm never sarcastic!)

    Hey SPEAKING of Cesar Crespo, want to see his numbers thus far this season? 50 ABs with a .191 AVG AND a .191 On-base%. That's right folks, in 50 plate appearances the bastard hasn't managed to work a single walk, or even get hit by a pitch. Does getting hit by a pitch count towards on-base%? Even if it doesn't, I'd still love to see the little man get his skull caved in, even if he's carried out to first on a stretcher and stranded by Dave McCarty striking out behind him. Add that to his muscular .255 slugging% and you get a .447 OPS hitting machine. Or 50 at bats worth of wasted plate appearances, you know, whatever.

    Something is horribly, horribly wrong with this team. Last year people used to compare them to a beer leauge softball team. And it was an apt comparison in some ways, the laid-back attitude, ridiculous 13-9 victories, and Kevin Millar all fit the description to a "t". However lately we're actually PLAYING like one lately, and that's not so cool. No desire or balls to the wall mentality to be seen here, and at least those things won us a few dramatic games last year. (Did I just say "balls to the wall?" I did. What is this team doing to me) I swear, I can only watch Millar roaming right field like a confused dinosaur or Gabe Kapler weakly tap out to the shortstop 5 times a game because he's both starting the game somehow and not cutting down on his goddamn swing with 2 strikes so many times before I jump ship and become a Mariners fan. You think I've never considered it? I envy any team that doesn't make you vomit so hard your shoelaces come out of your mouth every time your SS is introduced. It's like when Mo would ask Curly to pick a finger behind his back; pick either Crespo or Pokey and you're still going to get poked in the eyes really fucking hard.

    Wednesday, May 12, 2004

    Riske business

    Record: 20-13

    First, excuse the title. David Riske is currently protecting a 6-2 lead the loser Indians somehow got over my beloved Sox. I'm willing to bet a large amount of money that no one has made that joke about his name yet.

    I'm heartened to see Mike ignored his obvious lack of talent and writing ability and kept the Blog in good order whilst I was in Ithaca (read: enemy territory) visiting some good friends. Mike would have been in attendance but A) We hate each other and B)it conflicted with the local comic book shop's newest shipment of Magic cards. According to our metropolitan friend: "Just TRY finding a mint condition Song of Ethereal Mana Rejuvenation card if you're not one of the first five people in line, I dare ya!" I'll take his word for it, considering his advice usually consists of things like "God I'm lonely" or just sobbing for three hours straight.

    I avoided watching the Sox for most of the week because I was already in a good mood and all the Sox could really do is spoil it for me. I apparently stopped watching just in time for them to go on a 4 game winning streak, immediately following a 5 game losing streak and a 6 game winning streak. Streaks like that are indicative of a streak offense. And, why, lo and behold, our offense personifies "streaky". Actually I believe Peter Gammons called it "eratic" but then again Gammons also called Craig Biggio the game's 11th best player ever, so perhaps the big guy has merely reached Rickey Henderson levels of insanity.

    How about that Pokey Reese, huh? Ever seen one of those spit takes in the cartoons or movies? I did one of those after seeing a quick ESPN ticker update saying Pokey had a 2 HR night a few nights ago. I later learned that one of them was of the inside the park variety, and both were of the "looming contract with Satan" variety, but it's nice to see the little guy showing some pop and hitting the ball well. Now if he could just hit the ball on the ground and get a few cheap infield hits and steal some bases, like we goddamn pay him to, I could be happy.

    I can't mention Reese without talking about his 2B counterpart Mark Bellhorn. He's got 3 homers and a few clutch hits, but he's also striking out a ton and is on pace for a mere 142 walks now. It was only a matter of time before opposing pitchers said "Waiiiiit a second, if we throw him strikes he always strikes out or flies out to the warning track! Every single goddamn time! Look, he did it again! Awesome!!!" but it's still sad to see him falling so far off Barry's pace. 3 homers is only on pace for 15, too, which isn't too many. Where's that "6 pack of pop" he has in his bat, huh HUH??!!?

    I look away for a few days and suddenly Kevin Millar has his average at .290? When the heck did THAT happen? Luckily Fatso is still only on pace for 10 homers and a whopping 40 RBIs, so don't go jumping to any crazy conclusions like "Kevin Millar is a satisfactor baseball player". Also Bill Mueller has shown beyond a doubt he can only hit in the 8 hole, nowhere else, and he's actually NOT the worst defensive third baseman since Lou Merloni. Over time our team is beginning to show its true form: Highly paid and maybe just BARELY good enough to win 95 games, squeak into the playoffs, then sputter and die like any of the 7 cars I've owned. Here's looking forward to it!

    Not much else to report over here from Red Sox Nation. Team's currently fighting the Indians in the bottom of the ninth but are still down 6-3. Oh and Johnny Damon is selling his hair to charity. God I love this team.

    Tuesday, May 11, 2004

    More Quacks than Aflac

    Met fans, I've got great news. Our Amazin's have found a cure for Reyes.

    The Mets are considering sending Reyes, their 20-year-old Dominican star, to Chew, who has already developed a strategy to handle Reyes's recurring hamstring problems. Without examining Reyes, Chew said he is 85 percent certain that he could have Reyes healed in three to four weeks and back on the field in no more than six weeks.

    "I have followed his case and formulated a plan in my mind," Chew, who believes he needs two sessions a week with Reyes for three weeks, said. "I am confident that I can fix him. I really want to work with José Reyes and the Mets."
    Wow, that sounds really swell! This guy hasn't even been allowed to see Reyes, and he's already formulating plans in his mind. The Mets medical staff has had daily access to Reyes for years, and I'll bet they never thought to formulate a plan to treat his hamstring problems.

    How is Chew going to heal our "star"?

    To help Reyes's hamstring, Chew would use a series of deep-tissue release techniques - including but not limited to deep-tissue massage - which could break down scar tissue and heal adhesions.
    Well, thank goodness the deep-tissue release techniques are not confined solely to deep-tissue massage! I mean, there are so many other deep-tissue release techniques unrelated to massaging the tissue that it would be a crime to limit the healing.

    But then again, all of this deep-tissue release sounds pretty intensive. There's always the chance that it could affect Reyes' ginger hamstring negatively.

    Chew insists that he would not lay a finger on the hamstring, working instead on other body parts that could correspond to the hamstring. Asked what body parts, Chew said, ''That's secret."
    Hallelujah, praise the lord! I was so worried Chew would actually be dealing with the hamstring itself.

    How does our team embarrass itself (and by association, us) with such ease and frequency?

    I guess we're at the point where anything is worth trying, but I'm not really sure how we got here. Can't we get a real doctor to take a look at the future of the franchise, instead of some former bodybuilding champion -- sorry, he's also a licensed physical therapist -- who "uses no equipment other than his hands"? This offseason, ownership was gravely concerned with the injury risks of various free agent targets, and limited the length of the contracts they did deign to offer because they were fearful they might be signing the next Mo Vaughn. I've got no problem with that; it can be viewed as a step forward, albeit one taken after looking both ways about fifty times while wearing blinders. Is management's next revolutionary approach the hiring of a competent medical staff to further reduce the risk of injuries?

    I hope so. Until then, we've got Doctor Touch-Touch.

    Sunday, May 09, 2004

    Believing is not an option

    In between plugs for obscure orchestral rock groups and Broadway shows, Mike Lupica, sports columnist for the Daily News and anyone with a dollar, had this to say about the Mets malaise:

    Imagine the sympathy vote the Yankees would get from the Yankee media if they were down three position players the way the Mets are right now.
    He's spot on, isn't he? We've been missing Floyd, our second best hitter, Reyes, poised on the brink of stardom, and Wigginton, who is, well, balls-to-the-wall (I wish I could say something better about the fellow, I really do). There's an air of continued failure about the team -- the ugly sister of the Bombers' Aura and Mystique, perhaps; we'll call our muse Catastrophe -- a prevailing opinion that this year it's the same old Mets, that nothing's changing, and as fans we've got nothing for which to hope. Catastrophe's melancholy muttering, like Kyle's daily affirmation that his life will turn around or the Sox will win it all, has just enough truth in it to justify all the misery-laden writing of a thousand Mets blogs (coincidentally, a number I'm confident we'll reach before season's end). While there are reasons to think nothing is changing, the two recent games ending with a Met hero mobbed and joyously smacked have me thinking along a different track. As optimism is similar to embarrassing stories about Kyle's romantic pursuits -- far better when shared -- I thought I'd provide you with a few solid reasons for my current contentment:

    1) Like Lupica said, we're down three starting positional players. Our lineups have looked horrendous. A number of talking heads (Brandon Tierney of 1050 is the latest culprit) have been belittling our Amazin's for being beaten by underwhelming opponents this year, as if that were indicative of the direction this team is heading. Naysayers, Eric Valent and Joe McEwing are seeing regular time. Valent would be in the minors anywhere else, and McEwing would be handed the utility role he deserves if he were given a job at all. These are not the Mets of 2005 and beyond, or even the Mets of June, 2004 -- these are the Mets of Right Now, which is an admittedly desperate time, but one which will not last forever. Floyd will return. Reyes will, god-willing, get his problems under control after seeing a damned specialist, and -- ok, maybe I'm not quite ready to speak about Jose in an optimistic tone. But he'll be back. Wigginton is back, and judging by his early performance which includes a clutch two-run single in today's game, he'll hit as well as he's able, which is a damn sight better than the AAAA replacements available to the Mets right now. This is not the team we invested with quiet hopes in the offseason, but a pale shadow of that group. Any win against major league clubs comes as a welcome surprise at this point, and most any game we lose because of anemic hitting is worth swearing over, maybe, but not destroying furniture.

    2) People have also been speaking about the Mets' bench as being a major weakness. Again, the "bench" that we're seeing now are the dregs of the dregs; most of our real bench is plugged into the starting lineup. We've seen that Shane Spencer and Karim Garcia can hit, even outside of the platoon they were hired to man. Once Floyd returns, one of them will anchor our reserves. Danny Garcia has impressed me by being a bit better with the bat than he was last year, which means that he has been able to place a bat in contact with a baseball, and then to aim that baseball with some velocity in fair territory. Even Joe McEwing has shown improvement by employing a "diminished leg kick", which to clarify is his new batting technique and not a Chun-Li move executed by furiously tapping "A" while pressing down. Best of all, of course, is Todd Zeile's resurgence in his eightieth year of professional baseball. My apologies, Todd: I thought you were done. Speaking of which:

    3) Our ancient pitching staff has been one of the best in baseball, various and well-documented bullpen collapses notwithstanding. We're stuck with Glavine for another year at least, so it's good to see him living up to his billing as staff ace. Leiter has been great; hopefully he'll be able to repeat his performance in his last start, in which he kept his walks down and pitched late into the game. Trachsel is resuming his form as a solid, dependable third starter. What all this means is that I can watch games now and actually expect to win simply because one of those three is starting. Jae Seo is back in the rotation, and even if he's chipped a nail again, I think Mike Piazza can probably quote him Anderson Bourell's manicure fee. Yates has struggled, but who cares? He was a young unknown, and the organization gave him a shot to see what he can do. Ditto Grant Roberts. At least we're promoting some of our young guns when they show they deserve it, and allowing the fans to watch a good game by starting the decent older fellows when they haven't. The Mets don't need a complete overhaul, and so far they're toeing the line fairly well.

    4) Some of our relievers aren't compeletely terrible, and may yet be spun for good young players later in the year. Stanton, in particular has bounced back and pitched nicely recently, and I have hopes that David Weathers will do the same. Moreno and Wheeler haven't been half bad, either. The big surprise is just how effective Looper has been. He's no Mariano Rivera, but thus far he's no Armando Benitez either. (Let's set aside the latter's success down in Florida for the moment, because we all know he's no longer capable of pitching like that in New York. One rare case in which I really think the atmosphere can drastically affect a player's performance.) If nothing else, perhaps we can entertain the thought that the front office has learned from Billy Beane's treatment of the closer role and would be willing to part with Looper for prospects later as well. If not, then we can look forward to a reasonable amount of confidence in save situations, something many Mets fans have nearly forgotten.

    5) The Braves are not very good. In the absence of rational hopes of postseason play, I've dialed my expectations down to just performing better than our unlikeable, amoral foemen down in Atlanta, the dung heap of sweetly rotting Southern gentility. Andruw Jones is hitting .254! Does not that bring you joy? Chipper Jones has barely played this year! Larry, I would weep but for the certainty that you are even now tarnishing your already black as night marriage vows with another toothless Hooters wench, and whatever family whose hearts you're breaking this time are probably taking care of you on that end.

    All is not lost -- all isn't even close to being lost -- so I'm keeping the faith with a little joy to temper the agony. I'd write off Catastrophe use Schilling's line about "Aura and Mystique" being "just a couple of dancers", but I've already mentioned Chipper's wife. No need to pile on; it is Mothers' Day, after all.

    Plenty of good stuff going on in the Mets blogosphere lately.

    Eric Simon of Sabermets is threatening to become a Sox fan; find out what would make him wish to join a group so desperate Kyle is already a card-carrying member.

    Yankees, Mets, and the Rest has a nice new design. (I'm working on ours, without a sense of style or urgency; preview to come.) Here Vinny champions Ken Griffey, Jr., an old favorite of mine, against Bonds, an irritable, ungrateful bastard.

    Norm of the Shea Hot Corner documented and Tivo'd an amusing Mets moment I'm mad I missed. Any chance you can put that up for us somehow? Anyone? Mike Cameron is hysterical.

    Kaley of Flushing Local continues what I believe is a 300-post streak of either making me laugh or think with this look at the state of our lineup. It features our bald, fist-pumping captain exclaiming, "Oh, piffle!", which is reason enough to click here.

    When Kyle was in high school, he spent most of the five years trying to get his dog drunk and writing romantic novels entirely in the second person, which he'd read aloud to truckers who had the misfortune to fall within range of the CB radio he made out of parts scrounged from the junk yard clubhouse that was his home.

    Jeremy Heit, meanwhile, writes about the Mets, and well. He's solved the "Veteran Conspiracy" we all knew existed but were too afraid to cover.

    Steve Keane of The Eddie Kranepool Society delivers as usual, and like Karim Garcia, he doesn't pull any punches.

    There are many more, of course. Check the sidebar, and have a happy Mother's Day. (Will that make up for my harassment of Chipper Jones? Time will tell.)

    Thursday, May 06, 2004

    No Agony Tonight

    Mets 2, Giants 1
    Record: 13-15, 3 GB

    I don't know where to start.

    With Leiter hurling his hundred plus pitches, only this time through a cool, easy eight, and making sure Bonds is thinking he should've taken another day off and who would've thought I couldn't take a vacation against the Mets? Maybe. He's the starter, after all. The one with the best ERA in the National League.

    How about with Art? When Art Howe gets fired up -- leaps from the dugout bench, uncorks a haymaking uppercut fist pump -- you know the game has to be a classic. That's exactly what he did after Weathers sailed a breaking ball across the outside black against Pedro Feliz on a full count with the bases loaded. Is there a better feeling -- and here I'm talking to Red Sox fans, primarily, because I know you know this one -- but is there a better feeling than watching a shaky bullpen put itself in a terrible position, only to escape by the narrowest of margins?

    The answer, of course, is sure there is, there are plenty better, but a game-winning homer by your team's best hitter to turn that escape into a victory is right up there. I don't know the proper way to tackle such a storybook performance, the kind of game that gives your team a mulligan for the rest of the week, but damn, did Piazza know how to end it.

    Wednesday, May 05, 2004

    Do They Make Bonds' Arm Guards for Hamstrings?

    Driving home from work the other day, I tuned the radio to 1050 ESPN and caught the tail end of a debate on the "Wally and the Keeg" show about whether or not the Mets should pitch to Barry Bonds. As far as I could tell, the main argument for pitching to him had something to do with "pride", "competitive spirit", and "cojones". This did not surprise me, given the source (we all know that if there were an arbiter for pride and cojones in this merciless world of ours, it would be named either Wally or "The Keeg" and have a radio show), and indeed the entire discussion charted a predictable course, including its thrilling and highly original conclusion:

    Wally (I am assuming this was Wally although it may very well have been "The Keeg"): Ok, so what about the argument that walking Bonds gives the Mets the best chance of winning?

    "The Keeg": ...well, seriously, what do the Mets care about winning?

    Wally: Ha ha ha, I know, I was just about to say that!

    "The Keeg": Ha ha, you know, we're way cooler than Mike and the Mad Dog.

    Wally: Totally bro. I feel you.
    As it turned out, the game held more surprises than that high-five worthy reparte. Bonds rolled out of bed yesterday and noticed he had a slight head cold (where the adjective slight is obviously referring to the severity of his illness and not the size of his gargantuan block). He didn't play, and Wilpon didn't downgrade the game to a Sheet Rock Value price as would befit a game played against the godawful Giants without their only legitimate namesake. At least the Mets didn't disappoint, rocking Brett Tomko or whoever pitched for the Giants and is uninteresting enough I might confuse him with Tomko.

    And what do you know -- looking at the standings, we're four Trachsel starts and Marlins Tommy Johns from leading the division. And we've almost scored more runs than we've allowed. When you're rooting for the team who's slogan should really be "Expect the Expected", it's the little things that get you through.

    Tuesday, May 04, 2004

    So it's been a little while

    Record: 15-10 (Worse than the Texas Goddamn Rangers)
    I know it's been awhile. I've tried writing a post every day for the past 3-4 days now and everytime I start off with a humorous joke about how the current state of affairs in Red Sox Nation probably wouldn't really convince a jury it was okay for me to send Nomar and Trot death threats if they didn't suit up and start playing, but then I'd just start crying.

    So I'm starting fresh. Screw the sweep of the Yankees. Screw the Rangers (seriously.) Screw not hitting, screw Pedro's big mouth, and, well, just screw it in general. Right now I'm watching Derek Lowe serve up 87 MPH meatballs to the suddenly talented Indians whilst the Sox furiously and uselessly hack at every single baseball that comes near them. You can see the sweat on Ortiz's face as the catcher throws the ball back to the pitcher, as if he's thinking "What? They're pitching backwards now? Those devils! SWING YOU FOOL IT'S GETTING FURTHER AWAY SOON YOU WON'T BE ABLE TO REACH IT NOOOOOOOO POPPY IT'S A TRICK DON'T SWING" Sure the Red Sox couldn't hit a ball hard if their life depended on it, but then again, neither could my intramural whiffleball team. There's a similarity in how our teams are playing now, right down the relative competence of their manager.

    So why blog about this? Mike cries when I swear and I don't think I can describe the Sox's last 4 games without resorting to an F-bomb at least every other word. There are FAR more reputable and well written blogs over on the right hand side of this site if you want to get a fair and balanced retelling of Boston's recent games.

    How about we talk about some of the more interesting commercials that are shown lately? Remember my ranting and ravings about the Curt Schilling Dunkin Donuts commercials? Well those things are shining bastions of creativity and effectiveness compared to some of the companies that're advertising lately. How about the commercials, where a buck toothed little girl or evil gnome or something demands "take me fishing, because my wedding will be sooner than you think". Or even better, the shot of the old, shriveled shell of a man who bemoans "take me fishing, because I booooyyyyy". Fishing's not what you need, old timer, you need that rejuvenation machine that Victor gets hooked up to in that movie Underworld.

    Not a fan of sci-fi vampire movies, huh folks? Well SCREW YOU, some people got a kick out of that joke. How about I talk about baseball events that don't have anything to do with our play on the field, but rather our much vaunted and mystical "Clubhouse Chemistry". Like Pedro's inane babbling about breaking off contract talks with the Red Sox. Anyone else notice that our team has become a black hole of misery, negativity, and futile dreams of scoring since he had that little pow-wow with the media? Kind of like Mike, except that's been a description of him since Pedro was 10 years old. (Ba-ZING!!! SOMEBODY STOP ME!!!)

    So seriously, what is there to blog about? An entry thanking God we're not the Mets? Then I'd be just like every other non-Mets blog out there. An entry where I complain about Schilling's arm angle and mention how Varitek can't seem to lay off the high heat? I'll let you fine readers in a little secret: I'm an idiot, and probably don't know more about baseball than other bloggers that update more often than once every two weeks. Entries like that are fun, but only when the Sox are doing well and people overlook my commentary as the pseudo-analytical babbling it truly is.

    So I'll be writing again, probably when the Sox win a damn game. Which won't be tonight, congrats to Pokey and Mueller for making consecutive erros against the Cleveland Powerhouse. Godammit.