Thursday, July 31, 2008

Things to Do on the Off Day

The trading deadline has come and past and nada. Nothing. Diddly. Squat. Zilch. The Mets are going to take their chances on the waiver wire or else just stand pat with the team as is. Start praying now for our bullpen.

But the Mets are off tonight, so instead of dwelling on the Mets inability to make a deal here are some things you should check out this evening:
  1. Go outside - It's hot. It's humid. Go work up a sweat instead of sitting on the couch all night.
  2. Then visit Starbucks and try out their new Banana Chocolate Frappucino. Tastes like you're drinking a banana split with chocolate ice cream.
  3. Pick up Shea Goodbye on DVD. Great video to watch. Brings back some memories.
  4. Stay up to watch Burn Notice on USA. Great show. Great cast. Very cool show. Plus they always blow up a ton of stuff.
Go forth and relax. You'll need all your nerves ready for tomorrow night when Pedro returns.

Mets Trade Rumors: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Here's a quick recap of Mets trade rumors so far today:

The Good
-Manny Ramirez will not be heading to the Marlins or the Phillies (ahh).
-There have been no significant moves within the NL East.

The Bad
The A's have taken Huston Street off the trade market.
There's not a single bit of reliable news that the Mets are even remotely close to getting some bullpen help.

The Ugly
The Mariners have supposedly asked for some combo of Jon Niese, Fernando Martinez, and Robert Parnell in order for the Mets to get Raul Ibanez. That's just ridiculous.

Omar has very few hours left to put something together. I will officially crown Omar "king of all moves" if he can get something done tonight that brings in some help and also allows us to get rid of any combination of Luis Castillo, Scott Schoenweiss, and Marlon Anderson. That would be magical.

Hold tight Mets Lifers. It looks like the Mets might be taking their chances on the waiver wire.

This Blog is a Broken Record

I'm almost tired of saying it, but it needs to be said again, especially today.

The Mets need to get bullpen help. The Mets need to get bullpen help. The Mets need to get bullpen help.

The drama surrounding Manny Ramirez, the Yankees pickup of Pudge Rodriguez, and the thoughts of Matt Holliday need to be ignored. Focus Omar. This team needs bullpen help.

Mike Pelfrey got rocked last night by the Marlins. I haven't seen batters crush the ball off him like that in quite some time. But guess what? The Mets showed some fight and thanks to Damion "I Only Hit Late Game Crucial Home Runs" Easley, they were able to cut the lead to 5-4.

The only problem was Carlos Muniz and Joe Smith were untrusted with keeping the game close. Did I mention the Mets need bullpen help? Two runs later the Mets are down three heading into the ninth where they were able to scratch out another run, but the comeback fell short.

The Mets need bullpen help. If the Mets go get another starting pitcher I won't complain, but it would be idiotic of them at this point to leave the bullpen as is. August and September will be very, very long months if Carlos Muniz, Joe Smith, and Scott Blowenweiss are relied upon to get outs in the 6th and 7th innings of a pennant race.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Mets Trade Rumors; Jarrod Washburn

Now the rumor mill is really churning. Buster Olney of ESPN.com just posted the idea that the Mets might be interested in Mariners' pitcher, Jarrod Washburn, and how it might be the right fit for the Mets.

Washburn has been linked in trade rumors to the Yankees and other teams, but this is the first I've heard of him being linked to the Mets. To me, this doesn't make much sense. Now Washburn is a solid 4 or 5 starter, but his stat line is unimpressive (+4 ERA, 67 K's in 110+ innings, etc.).

I guess the idea would be that Washburn could add some depth to the rotation with John Maine's current status up in the air and the fact that you don't know how long Pedro Martinez can stay healthy. I wouldn't want to give up any major prospects for Washburn, but I'd throw Marlon Anderson at the M's if they'd take him.

Right now I'm hoping the Mets are focused on the bullpen. You can't have too much pitching, but I'm not crazy about Jarrod Washburn.

To read Buster Olney's commentary, click here.

Welcome to Bizarro World

Carlos Delgado is leading the team in home runs.
Aaron Heilmna is the most reliable relief pitcher after Billy Wagner.
A has been baseball player, named Fernando Tatis, can't get out.
Oliver Perez appears to be sane (except when he's up to bat).

Where are we? Welcome to the bizarro world that is the Mets season. What you thought you could count on is no longer. Up is down. Left is right. Dark is day. It's craziness and it makes for great baseball.

Carlos Delgado came through yet again last night with a huge home run that gave the Mets the lead for good over the Marlins. Delgado's swing looks so much better, but I wonder if his resurgence has to do with his eyesight. I have trouble believing that Delgado fixed his dismal performance at the plate by just being more patient. I wonder if he got his eyes checked or had laser eye surgery or something because he is seeing the ball a whole lot better.

Oliver Perez looked totally in control last night and ever since Rick Peterson left the ballclub Perez looks like a new man. Last night Reyes went 3 for 5, but didn't score a run. Even when Reyes doesn't score, but hits well, the Mets win.

Anyone else think last night that you would really, really like to have Marlins reliever Matt Lindstrom in the Mets bullpen? Yeah, me too.

Big Mike Pelfrey goes tonight. Another series win is what the Mets need to maintain their lead over the Phils and set the Marlins back another game.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Pardon the Interpretation

Good afternoon, everybody. I’m Michael Wilbon.

Thanks for tuning in for this very special Mets roundtable edition of PTI. Today, we are joined by Bryan and Dave, who are here from Mets Lifer, as well as Brad from Bugs & Cranks, who is phoning in from a trip to an apparently monochrome zoo. We will also be joined later by a guy who claims he’s been doing internet posts about the Mets since the team’s inception, a good 35 years before the concept of blogging even existed.

Thanks for joining us, guys. How are you all doing?

Bryan: Doing great, Mike. How’s the ticker?

Wilbon: Ummm, not bad.

Dave: Where’s Woody Paige?

Wilbon: Wrong show. Brad, are you there?

Brad: [static] I’m standing next to a camel. It smells like a retirement home during a blackout. But, you should see the size of –

Wilbon: –moving right along, I thank you all for coming to this special Mets edition of PTI. Since the beginning of the season, the New York Mets have taken fans on a roller coaster ride, hovering around .500 most of the first half, firing the beleaguered Willie Randolph in a strange fashion and making a turnaround that some are calling the biggest surprise of the 2008 season.

Brad: Dude, this thing just spit on my Dippin’ Dots!

Wilbon: Let’s start with the resurgence of much-maligned first baseman Carlos Delgado. What’s your take on the comeback, and his importance for the Mets now, and in the future?

Bryan: Last month, I would have personally piggy-backed this guy to Puerto Rico if it meant not seeing him in a Mets uniform ever again. Today, I want to pick him up and HUG the graying bastard. It is no coincidence that the Mets are hot during Delgado’s hitting spree. Tatis has been a flat out super hero, but you’d have to be a backalley crack addict to think he’ll sustain this level of play.

Wilbon: Nice visual. Dave, 30 seconds - go.

Dave: For much of the spring, Carlos Delgado was my personal piƱata. He was the easy target and I thought he was headed to his next career in Just for Men commercials. I still think it’s sad that a former pitcher, Rick Ankiel, has better power numbers (22 homers, .547 SLG) than anyone in the Mets lineup, but without Delgado’s recent production the Mets would be still be floating in the .500 sea of mediocrity.

Brad: The Lifers are spot on. I’ve been as guilty as anyone of trashing Delgado this year, even going so far as to say they should release him and take a run at Richie Sexson — and yes, I drink a lot. Do I think he’ll keep it up all summer? No. But his newfound ability to take pitches the other way is making a lot of teams reconsider the shift.

Wilbon: Okay, let’s discuss the upcoming trade deadline. With so many prospects being shipped off to Minnesota for Johan Santana, what are the Mets’ chances of making an impact move come the deadline?

Dave: I have some great moves for the Mets to make, but the only catch is that other teams have to agree to them.

Wilbon: That’s usually how it works, Dave.

Dave: I suppose. Honestly, I’m not sold on Matt Holliday. The fact that we were talking about how great it would have been to get Xavier Nady is just mind boggling given the fact that we had him two seasons ago and nobody really cared. I actually wouldn’t mind a deal for Ken Griffey, Jr. if it didn’t involve top prospects. He’s struggling and aging, but I think a pennant race could revitalize his swing.

Bryan: No question, the Mets need to take care of their needs in the corner outfield positions. If Church remains a non-factor, then they have to get someone – Ibanez, Bay, (Holliday is a stoner’s dream). I would not trade F-Mart for either, so Omar will have to be creative. One outfielder I’d like them to target is Randy Winn. He’s a solid fielder, hits .300 with RISP and would be a perfect #2 hitter – which could be just as valuable as a power bat. Not sure what he would cost – could be a salary dump for the Giants so maybe two mid-level prospects?

Brad: Give me a break, guys! We’ve donated enough talent for player rentals in the past. Everyone keeps saying that they can’t win with Tatis and Easley, but no one gave those guys the memo. Whoa — some kid just threw a bagel at this giant penguin. And it’s ticked.

Wilbon: That’s exciting, Brad. Last week, the Mets’ bullpen got a scare with Billy Wagner’s arm, and subsequently gave up six runs in a disasterous ninth against the Phillies. Who picks up the slack in the bullpen, if Wagner is out?

Dave: Any closer the Mets put out there is destined to hurt us. It’s a curse. I think we’d have to go with a platoon. I like Duaner Sanchez, but I feel like he’s one notch below a reliable stopper. I can’t even believe I’m saying this, but Aaron Heilman might be our next best option. He’s been throwing some serious gas lately and when you mix that with his changeup that’s a nasty combination to adjust to in the ninth inning.
Just because it’s totally outrageous and is guaranteed to never happen, how hilarious would it be to trot out El Duque in the 9th inning. Nothing like a high leg kick and an eephus pitch to mess with opponent bats for 3 outs.

Wilbon: That’s positively insane.

Dave: Thank you.

Bryan: D-U-A-N-E-R! Very simple. Problem here is that you weaken the middle relief. Heilman scares the bejeezus out of me so while Sanchez can fit right in, this could be a problem for us, in spite of Wagner’s perfect replications of the works of John Franco and Armando Benitez.

There is some word that the Mets are interested in Huston Street, whom I would like to have, but we all know he will come with a hefty price tag. Having said that, he would be perfect to take the closer role from Wagner after he vomits from the pressure in September.

Brad: Wagner is fine. The bullpen issues run a little deeper than closer, no? Feliciano, Sanchez and Muniz show more personalities than a late night chat with Herschel Walker and Margot Kidder. I think Heilman is the heir apparent to the closer job, but he takes his lumps too.

Wilbon: Interesting. Anything to report at the zoo?

Brad: No, why do you ask?

Wilbon: Alrighty then. We’re still waiting for that long time Mets fan to chime in. In the meantime, following an offseason where the Mets committed a large sum of cash to often injured second baseman, Luis Castillo, the replacements have come in and seemingly tripled the production out of that position. Who gets the job when Castillo returns?

Bryan: All my talk about acquiring a #2 hitter should tip you off that I have zero faith in Luis “Get the Gimp” Castillo. Does anyone really care if this guy returns or not? Nope. Damion Easley has been doing a fine job, and he’s a consummate professional. Easley could be a nice #2 hitter. He’s patient, he’s seasoned, doesn’t get rattled in big spots, and he mashes lefties. In fact, I’d bat him second now, and push Chavez to 7th.

Dave: Luis Castillo is still on the Mets? I thought we sent him away with Willie Randolph. Man, am I glad we have him locked up for another 3 seasons. So-o-o-o-o worth it. I’d platoon A. Reyes and Easley unless someone can name one thing special Luis Castillo brings to this team. I know you can’t.

Brad: Damion Easley, no question. Of course, the other Reyes is making a nice name for himself. But compared to Castillo, anyone looks good. Easley wins, and the Mets shop this offseason.

Wilbon: Getting back to prospects. All Mets trade talk begins and ends with F-Mart. Is Fernando Martinez the real deal, or is he worth dealing now for more proven talent?

Brad: I think a seagull just disemboweled on my hoodie. Someone hold my pretzel…
Wilbon: Brad, please watch the language, this is a family show.

Brad: Yeah, well my family just got treated like a park statue by one of those flying rats. I need a minute. Bryan, you go…

Bryan: I’d only trade F-Mart in a deal for Holliday. I’d be tempted to do this straight up for Bay, but not sure. Bay is a good player and would immediately upgrade this lineup. With him, the Mets would be (dare I say), NL East favorites. And I think he has another year on his contract so he’s not just a rental.

Dave: Um, does the name Scott Kazmir ring a bell? How’d that work out for us? I think trading F-Mart is too much of a risk for the Mets. I think Bryan has a bit of a man crush on Holliday, but I think Jason Bay returning to the Mets organization would be the second coming of Jeromy Burnitz. You can mark my words on that.

Brad: Okay, I’m back. Sorry ’bout the outburst. The Mets should not only keep F-Mart, but promote him the instant we get a concrete verdict on Church’s health. He’s a legit hitter, and even if he’s not the stud everyone predicts, he’s going to be productive.

Wilbon: One month later: Where did Willie go wrong?

Dave: Einstein defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” If that is not the ultimate definition of Willie Randolph’s managing, I don’t know what is. He was hoping — praying even — that something would turn this club around. He messed with the lineup every chance he could. Young talented players were forced to take a backseat to struggling veterans. Randolph went to the same well too many times and ended up drowning in it. I was a huge fan of Randolph coming to the Mets, and I was an even huger fan of seeing him leave.

Brad: “Huger” isn’t a word.

Dave: Look it up, monkey boy.

Brad: Can we please stay focused? Willie went wrong the instant he handed over control of his team to a weak cast of bench coaches. By the end, he had zero credibility in the clubhouse, and even less with upper management. Perception trumps reality, and even if I’m 100% wrong about Willie’s management abilities, the internal and external perception of Willie’s weakness more than justified his termination.

Bryan: It wasn’t the botched double switch in his second game as manager, nor was it his love affair with Guillermo Mota. Randolph went wrong in 2005, when he yanked Mike Piazza after the 7th inning in his last game as a Met. He was due to hit in the 8th. Fans didn’t even realize Mike was out of the game b/c he pulled him between innings.

Wilbon: Guys, we’re wrapping this up soon. Who on the Mets is the team MVP thus far?

Dave: This is tough. You look at the team and you want to say David Wright. His numbers are great, but I just don’t get the feeling that he’s the MVP yet. I’m going with Jose Reyes. He’s gone from batting in the .240’s to an average over .300. His OBP and OPS are higher than they’ve ever been in his career, and there’s no denying when he gets on base, the Mets win games. All that and the guy is the first in MLB history to have 10 homers, 10 triples, 20 doubles and 30 stolen bases before the All Star break.

Bryan: I agree. Any time someone does something that no one has ever done in the history of the game – as Reyes had at the All Star break – he has to be team MVP. His fielding has been a concern for sure, but let’s face it, Reyes is an offensive animal. Love him (and I do!) or hate him (fat head and the mad puppy) or fight him (Keith Hernandez), this guy is the catalyst. Bottom line: If he doesn’t produce, the Mets can’t win.

Brad: My MVP is Johan Santana. His mediocre record is irrelevant, since he was robbed of no less than 8 wins by a weak bullpen and no run support. He almost always leaves you with a chance to win, something that can’t be said about any of his colleagues in the rotation. I still expect him to have 17-19 wins by the time this whole shebang is over.

Wilbon: Okay guys. Looks like our mystery caller missed the show, but he did send a text message to our producers — “U GTA BLVE” — Hopefully we’ll get to talk to him next time. I’d like to thank our panelists, Bryan and Dave from Mets Lifer, as well as Brad from Bugs & Cranks.

Bryan: Thanks, guys.

Dave: Always a pleasure, Mike.

Brad: Thanks Mike. Are you related to Fred Wilpon?
Wilbon: Join us next week, when we’ll be discussing the state of the Yankees with George Steinbrenner, his nurse, and his sock puppet. Take care everybody!

Bring Me Kenny Lofton

The corner outfielder discussion is heating up and now it appears that the Mets are focused on a "significant" corner outfielder like Matt Holliday or Jason Bay. Well, I guess it's good news that they're not focused on insignificant outfielders.

The problem is the Mets aren't going to give up Fernando Martinez or Jon Niese which is what will be required for either of the outfielders mentioned above. As I mentioned in a previous post the Mets should focus on pitching and not worry about a big name bat.

Instead, I say bring me Kenny Lofton. As long as the guy is in decent shape, he's a great asset to have on the team. I was shocked my Matt Cerrone's comments on Metsblog.com this morning when he said this about the Mets bench, "Right now, Marlon Anderson, Nick Evans and Robinson Cancel are acceptable."

No Matt. They're not.

Anderson is pitiful. Evans is in over his head. And Cancel is a refrigerator. The Mets need some bench help, but if you think sticking Fernando Tatis on the bench will help, I think you're mistaken. Tatis is on a role and as soon as you sit him down he's going to start to lose the rythmn he has going. As long as he's performing you keep him in the lineup.

Now if you bring in Kenny Lofton you have a better hitting outfield option than you currently have with Endy Chavez. You get a guy who can give you spot starts or play on a regular basis if Ryan Church remains injured. On top of that Lofton is an experience playoff contender. He's not afraid of the spotlight and is possibly one of the best defensive replacements for the outfield that you can have late in a game.

Let's save our money and prospects to get a big time player in the offseason or use them to enhance our pitching because if you think Pedro Martinez/Scott Schoenweiss/Carlos Muniz/Duaner Sanchez are going to be key assets to this team down the stretch, you need to get your head examined.

It's Obvious. Mets Need Bullpen Help.

Through 7 and a half innings last night the Mets looked like a team that had everything going for them. The Marlins couldn't field the ball. The Mets were getting hits when they needed them, and the pitching was in order.

Then enters the Mets bullpen.

For the second time in the last two weeks the Mets bullpen exploded for 5 runs in half an inning to lose the game. John Maine had to exit early and Carlos Muniz did an ok job of filling in. Sanchez even looked ok. But Joe Smith, Scott Blowenweiss couldn't get a batter out giving up 6 hits and 5 runs between them.

It should now be crystal clear what the Mets need to do before the trading deadline: go get some relief pitching.

I read yesterday that the Tigers are interested in Scott Blowenweiss. Good, call 'em up and hand him over. Outside of Billy Wagner do you know who the most reliable arm in the bullpen is? It's Aaron Heilman, which is incredible considering how Heilman started this year. But outside of Wagner and Heilman, there's no one I would trust to come into the game and get a tough out. Sanchez and Feliciano are good arms to have, but neither of them have proven to be reliable.

Let's go out and get ourselves some bullpen help. If you think about it the last two seasons what has been the downfall of the Mets? It's the pitching. Last year the starting pitching and bullpen couldn't get anyone out in the final week of the season. And ultimately in 2006 it was the bullpen that blew the games against the Cardinals.

The Mets can score runs. They've proven that over the last two weeks. One thing they can't do consistently is stop their opponents from having big innings late in the game. At this point I'd take any reliable pitching that the Mets can get on the market. Between Maine's shoulder and Pedro's nagging injuries, there's no harm in getting an extra arm that can start either, but I think the bullpen should be the top priority.

If you still don't believe, go watch a tape of last Monday's game against the Phillies.

Monday, July 28, 2008

A Refreshing Change of Atmosphere

The Mets are infamous for pulling the trigger on silly trades that bloat the payroll and cause us to lose out on future prospects (a la Mr. Kazmir). It's nice to see that the Mets are now becoming more selective about these trading deadline moves.

The fantastic rumor mill site, MLBTradeRumors.com, had this to say about the Mets current interest in a corner outfielder:

"The Mets find the prospect price too high on players such as Raul Ibanez and Jason Bay. They just don't like Adam Dunn. They don't like Randy Winn's contract or lack of power. And Manny Ramirez is unlikely for numerous reasons."

There was a time when the Mets would have sold their souls for any one of these guys just to prove they were making moves to improve the ballclub. The team is not giving up FMart, Niese, or any other top prospect for mid-level talent that might not stick around past this season.

I tend to think that the Fernando Tatis Express is also playing into their reluctance to pull the trigger. I would like to see the Mets make a move to improve the club. I think a reliever like Huston Street or a right-handed bat off the bench not named Jeff Conine would be great additions.

This team needs to save their young prospects for deals on top talent (see Johan Santana) or mold them to become the future of the team (see David Wright and Jose Reyes). It's a change from the past, but definitely a good one.

Greatest Moments at Shea Stadium

The Mets launched a nostalgic promotion this past week that allows Mets fans from across the country to vote on the greatest moments at Shea Stadium.

The nice thing is they didn't limit you to selecting one of ten moments. They've broken it up into decades and there are about 20 moments in each decade to choose from. The funny part is looking at the greatest moments of the 1990's. This is the most recent dark age for Mets Lifers so I found it humorous that there isn't really a legitimate "greatest moment" on the list until you get to 1999.

For me it will be hard to see any moment beat out Game 6 or Game 7 of the 1986 World Series. Although that's a tough choice in and of itself. What's better, the miracle comeback of game 6 or winning the World Series in game 7?

Yeah, it's tough to beat winning a championship. 22 years of craving another one makes the moment look that much sweeter.

Vote for the greatest Shea Stadium moments here.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

My Name Is Clutch

Fernando Tatis might be what's written on his driver's license, but he's known as Clutch to me.

Tatis has single handedly won at least 7 baseball games for the Mets this year, and this was a guy who was out of baseball and an after thought in this lineup. I can say with confidence that the Mets would not be in first place right now if it weren't for Fernando Tatis.

His 9th inning heroics on Saturday night will be forgotten because the Mets lost, but you can't understate how huge that was coming from your #7 hitter. I know Bryan just posted how the Mets should go out and get Randy Winn, but I'm starting to question whether the Mets need a corner outfielder as badly as we thought?

I say let's ride the Tatis gravy train as far as it will take us. The guy is not on a hot streak. He's been batting over .300 since the beginning of June and more importantly he always seems to come through in the clutch. That, my fellow Mets Lifers, is more important than average, OBP and slugging percentage.

I agree with Bryan that if the Mets can get Randy Winn for a song and a dance, you have to do it. But even if they don't, Fernando Tatis is my starting left fielder for the rest of this season. He's earned it.

And even if he fades a little come the dog days of August, I have a huge amount of confidence that in a September pennant race Fernando Tatis will find a way to make himself a hero once again.

He's Clutch.

Mets Should Get Winn

No, he’s not a big name like Matt Holliday. Nor does he carry a big bat like Adam Dunn or even Xavier Nady. But Randy Winn is a solid player and he does have a robust .348 average with 2 outs and RISP. Plus he’s a savvy veteran and could be a perfect 2 hitter behind Reyes. Don’t underestimate the value of a good 2 hitter. Everyone gets hung up on power, but a professional hitter in the 2nd slot could be a difference maker for the Mets.

I like Endy Chavez, and he’s performed admirably, but he’s too much of a hacker at the plate, and doesn’t hit well in the clutch. His greatest value is as a 4th outfielder. And who could complain about the performance of Super Hero Fernando Tatis? This guy, without question, is one of the biggest keys for this Mets turnaround. Heck, I’m starting to believe more and more that he might just be able to sustain this miraculous run he’s on. If nothing else, the guy is Mr. Clutch. That home run last night? Come on, this guy rules. Love him! TATIS…TATIS…TATIS!

So even if Tatis continues to produce, I still get Winn. Maybe you set up a platoon situation. Winn is certainly versatile. Plus, everyone knows he’s better than Marlon Anderson. A switch hitter, Winn has primarily been hitting 3rd for a weak Giants’ offense. His .294 average with runners in scoring position is better than anyone on the Mets. Perhaps best of all is that he will come cheap as far as players are concerned. In fact, all the Giants will ask for is that the Mets pick up his salary for next year, which is $8.5 million. Apparently, the Mariners are asking too much for Ibanez. I'm not saying Randy Winn is a super star, but if he doesn't cost anything other than cash, Omar has to make this deal.

Burkhardt a Rising Star

Those of you who read this site know that Dave and I are big fans of the work that Kevin Burkhardt does on SNY. Simply put, he's quickly becoming one of the best broadcasters in the biz, and his future looks bright.

Check out this article on Burkhardt from Neil Best at Newsday.

The Mets should lock him up for a long time; either doing what he's doing now, or as a replacement for Wayne Hagin on the radio broadcast. This is New York, and we need to have the best talent. Kevin Burkardt, is the next star in baseball broadcasting.

Umpires Blow Game for Mets

And so it wasn’t meant to be. On a night where we saw the Mets roll out yet another spare part from the junk yard, it was Albert Poo Holes’ picture perfect swing, 5 hours after the first pitch, that ultimately did us in.

I’m not going to get too crazy over this one; after all, I was already putting it in the loss column when Brandon Knight was announced as the emergency starter, replacing Pedro Martinez who left the team to be with his family in the DR after the passing of his father.

But, we could have, actually, should have won this game. Sure we left a hundred men on base and were like 1-50 with RISP, but if it weren’t for two blown calls by the umpires in extra innings, we definitely would have come up with another dramatic, come from behind victory, and that is what annoys me.

In the bottom of the 10th, after Reyes led of with another hit, Chavez laid down a bunt that the pitcher hurled to second, gunning out Reyes. Now, I admit, Chavez needs to do a better job there, but if the ump opened his eyes, he would have seen that the ball was actually bobbled and out of the glove when Reyes slid in. So instead of having 1st and 2nd with no outs and D. Wright at the plate, we had one out and a man on first. Big difference. Especially when Wright singled to left, that would have scored Reyes from second.

Then, in the 12th, the fist base umpire inexplicably called Chavez out on an infield hit, when it was clear he was safe. This prompted Manuel to come out and argue the call. That call was even worse than the previous. Of course, what happens next? Jiminez, the Cardinals pitcher, walked the next 3 guys, but survived when he got Super Hero Tatis to ground back to him to end the threat. Do the math, infield single, 3 straight walks, and the game is over.

So while I can live with this loss, it’s still a tough pill to swallow knowing we should have won. We need a strong outing from Johann today, especially since the bull pen was overextended last night in 14 innings. A win today, and we’ll take another series.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Mike Pelfrey Is Albert Pujols' Daddy

That's right Albert Pujols. Mike Pelfrey owns you.

Pujols struck out twice against Pelfrey last night (and once against Joe Smith) in route to an 0 for 5 evening.
Pelfrey was throwing heat right past the best hitter in the NL and made him look foolish a couple of times. The best was a first pitch slider that buckled Pujols' knees and then landed on the corner for a strike. Pelfrey just looks more and more confident out there and it's really enjoyable to watch.

Carlos Delgado continues his hot streak at the plate with his 20th homer of the season. It's like the cleanup spot is his very own fountain of youth.

And then to top the night off Argenis Reyes hits his first major league home run. I'm starting to really like this kid. I think he's one of those guys that will have one good season and then when you try and bring him back the next year it's like he forgot how to play. Let's ride him while he can play.

U.S. Olympian, Brandon Knight, takes his one shot at the big leagues this season tonight. I'm looking forward to a gold medal performance. Ok, I apologize for that, but it was just too easy.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Things I Hate About Shea Stadium

There's a lot of love going around for Shea Stadium. We've got documentaries, articles, books, etc. Believe me I'll miss Shea's memories and we'll shell out some more love for Shea in the coming months, but let's be honest. Shea Stadium is possibly the worst professional sports stadium on the planet.

Here are a number of things I hate about Shea Stadium and can't wait for Citi Field to open:
  1. The bathrooms
  2. The worst choice of concessions
  3. Those neon baseball figures hanging on the outside
  4. The fact that you can't see half the field if you sit under the overhang on the Mezzanine level
  5. The filthy "seat wipes" the ushers use that date back to the opening of the park in 1964
  6. The cheesy retired number decals that hang over the left field fence. They look like oversized "Colorforms" from my days in 2nd grade. Can't we honor our heroes in a better way?
  7. The "Everybody clap your hands" song that plays incessantly throughout the game
  8. Parking underneath the highway
  9. The bathrooms
I'm sure there's more things that no one will miss so feel free to add to the list.

Mets Trade Market News

It must be the end of July because every player, except for Derek Jeter, is being discussed in a possible trade to the Mets.

Just a few of the name being bantered about include the usual suspects of Xavier Nady & Matt Holliday, some familiar faces like Barry Bonds and Raul Ibanez, and then some new names being tossed around like Brian Giles and Casey Blake.

The price points for Nady and Holliday are becoming too high for the Mets to enter the arena. It's basically your top 3 prospects and a guaranteed every day player for either of these outfielders.

I think the Mets are banking on the fact that Ryan Church will be able to return to form and aren't necessarily thinking they need that super powered bat to bolster the lineup. That's not necessarily the way they should be thinking, but I can see where they're coming from.

The Casey Blake and Brian Giles options are decent. Both are experienced players who've played in the playoffs before and know the ins and outs of a pennant race. But neither guy is an instaneous bolster to this ballclub. Plus I'm not sure how much I'd want to give up for either of these guys. Maybe Marlon Anderson? I wish.

One name that is not being discussed, which is surprising to me, is Kenny Lofton. Is Lofton laying tile somewhere right now? What's he doing? Why isn't he being talked about? The guy's been on more playoff teams than anyone this decade. Sure he's 40+ but we know he's an experienced hitter, a very good fielding outfielder, and he's got the mental toughness to handle a pennant race.

Now Lofton is not the answer to the Mets problems, but I think he's a viable option if the Mets are seriously looking at Blake or Giles. And Lofton can probably be gotten for less.

By the way, are Blake and Giles really an upgrade from Tatis at the plate? Tatis is batting over .340 since the beginning of June.

This Team Has Heart

And sometimes they wear it on their sleeves. Check out this great pic from the AP of David Wright as he scored the winning run yesterday against the Phillies. Love it.

I Like My Jose Reyes Dancing

I came across a truly disgusting account of broadcasting last night when I happened to catch the guys on SNY's Loudmouths discussing this topic. During Wednesday night's game, when Jose Reyes hit his game winning 3-run home run he rounded the bases with his had in the air and pionted to the sky when he hit home plate.

The antics prompted the Phillies broadcaster and former reliever Larry Andersen to say on the air, “Somebody ought to put one in his neck.” Which he soon followed up with, "He acts like he just won the World Series."

For any professional broadcaster to say that someone needs to "put one in his neck" is just uncalled for. Show some professionalism and keep your home team emotions to yourself. Also, did this guy not see Shane Victorino's multitude of celebrations the night before? Did he suggest someone ought to put one in his neck? No, because no one would be able to with that silly double-eared helmet on his noggin.

Much has been made of Reyes' celebrations and I'm hear to tell you that I like my Jose Reyes dancing. Why? Because if Reyes is dancing, it means the Mets are winning. Let Reyes dance this team into a pennant race. As long as his production is up, he can do every jig in his repertoire.

Come on folks, this is New York sports. We crave our hot shots and showboats. This is the home of the Babe calling his shot, Reggie taking bows in right field, the Mark Jackson shimmy shake, the land of the curtain calls, Patrick Ewing jumping on scorer's tables, and Clyde Frazier's wardrobe.

Embrace the showboater. Love him. Let him be.

Jose Reyes is our young superstar in the making, and he is leading this team into first place. That makes me feel like doing a little routine on the top step of the dugout too.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Is It Time to Bat Carlos Beltran Second?

The Mets have a bunch of holes they need to fill to make a run to the playoffs. We all know we need a corner outfielder, some relief pitching, but one issue we also need to deal with is who's batting #2 in the order.

Luis Castillo, at one time, was the perfect #2 hitter in the lineup. I think we all realize those days are over. Argenis Reyes is a nice fit for a few games, but not a guy you want hitting there in a pennant race in September. Ryan Church started off the season in that spot, but has since been moved to more of a power position as a #5 hitter.

So I ask the question, is it time for Carlos Beltran to bat second? I think it might be.

Carlos Delgado has gotten new contacts, found the fountain youth, or finally bought Fred McGriff's intructional baseball tapes and turned his season around. He's actually batting cleanup now which is almost impossible to think about, but if his performance continues to remain strong he's a legitimate cleanup hitter.

We all know Reyes will leadoff, and we don't want to move David Wright from the 3 spot. Now Beltran has been batting 5th the last few games, but I think that's too far down in the order for him. Plus if the Mets pickup a corner outfielder and if Church returns to the lineup either of those options will probably bat 5th.

Beltran could be the perfect #2 hitter for the Mets. He's got power. He's got speed. Whether you like it or not, he can lay down a bunt. If Beltran is batting second, he's an experienced enough hitter to take some pitches to allow Reyes a chance to steal a base. He also draws a ton of walks. Not to mention he's a doubles machine which could allow for some early RBI chances if Reyes is on first base and has the ability to score from there.

Also, Beltran should see a lot more fastballs in that position, especially if Reyes is on base, and he won't be pitched around to get to David Wright. Plus it would give Beltran more opportunities to steal a base, which I think he doesn't do nearly as much as he should.

If memory serves correctly I believe Beltran batted second for the Astros in their playoff run a few years back when Beltran looked like Roy Hobbs from The Natural.

Beltran is not a guy who gets affected by being moved around in the lineup so I think it's worth testing out. I'm confident that his OBP and RBI numbers would see a spike if he moved up in the order. A first four lineup of Reyes, Beltran, Wright, and a hot Delgado is a pitcher's nightmare, and it gives the Mets a better chance to ge those much needed early runs.

An Unlikely First Place

I never thought we'd be in this position this year. Not after the April and May this team had.

But here we are in sole possession of first place. And who were the heroes of the game? Carlos Delgado and Oliver Perez. Two guys who's inconsistency and failures earlier in the season drove many a Mets Lifer insane.

Oliver Perez continues to show that he's a gamer. 12 strikeouts across 8+ innings and he didn't walk a single batter. The only walk of the game was an intentional one to Pat Burrell. Carlos Delgado who was 2 for 10 in this series got the one hit the Mets needed in the bottom of the 8th driving in Robinson Cancel and David Wright.

Although Perez will get much of the accolades, how cool under pressure was Aaron Heilman? He comes in with the bases loaded and calmly puts Jayson Werth to bed. Wagner might be sharing the "Sandman" intro in the near future.

Now I fully realize we're only 1 game up in the standings. This is hardly a reason to celebrate, but it's a nice feeling. The fact that the Mets are in this position after Tuesday's debacle makes it even sweeter.

Shea

I just read this article (while streaming the game vs. the Phils) from Phil Taylor of SI about his affinity for Shea Stadium. I've definitely been enjoying all of these stories coming out about our beloved stadium and this one from Taylor is a must read.

Excerpt:

"We've had some times, the two of us (Taylor and Shea). They were not always good times, but they were valuable times, necessary times. I never walked out of Shea Stadium without feeling a little bit tougher, a little bit more like a New Yorker."

By the way, if you haven't had the chance to watch "Shea Goodbye: 45 Years of Amazin'" do yourself a favor and get it. Any Mets Lifer should have this in their video library. I guarantee you, you will be moved by it.

Pesky Little Victorino

I love this quote from Jerry Manuel after last night's game. He was talking about Billy Wagner's pitching performance, but it was his comments about my new least favorite Philly, Shane Victorino, that caught my attention.

" He did an outstanding job…He got that little pesky Victorino out finally.  That little rascal, I’ll tell ya, he some little player.  But, umm, that was good to see, see Billy come in and do the job like that."

"Pesky Victorino". Perfect description. "Little rascal." Even better.

Maybe it's the double-eared helmet that makes me loathe him so. He kind of reminds me of Fievel from An American Tale now that I think of it.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A Must Win Was Won

Hey, all's forgiven. At least for 12 more hours.

The Mets impressed me tonight. Their performance wasn't so exceptional, but it was the fact that they overcame the collapse last night and all the media hype that surrounded it to get a big win against their NL East nemesis.Yes, in my mind, the Phillies have surpassed the Braves as our division nemesis.

The Mets scored enough runs to put themselves in a position to win. Jose Reyes continues to impress. Big time home run on a pitch up in the zone. The amazing thing was his swing was totally level. Usually Reyes likes to throw an uppercut swing at you, but he kept his bat level and crushed it.

Who knew the bullpen could hold a three run lead like it was a walk in the park? Schoenweiss, Smith, and our much beloved prodigal son, Billy Wagner, all pitched without any drama or troubles.

And wasn't it great to see Marlon Anderson in left field again? Who wouldn't want a left fielder batting .203?

The play of the night may have been Billy Wagner beating Shane "I'm Really Annyoing" Victorino to the first base bag. I honestly thought Wagner would have given him an elbow to the face if necessary to get that out. I wouldn't have blamed him if he did.

Rubber game tomorrow. A series win would be big for the Mets psyche, especially after Tuesday's debacle.

Giuseppe Franco Sighting

This is too priceless not to share. Recently MetsBlog.com creator, Matt Cerrone, went on vacation to California and happened to run into SNY commercial celebrity, Giuseppe Franco.

If you've ever watched a Mets game on SNY, you know Franco for his Procede promos for balding men. I love the fact that there's actually a person who will tout that he's friends with Gary Busey as a good thing. Or that any guy will admit he does Gary Busey hair.

In any case, check out Cerrone's encounter with Giuseppe Franco in this Metsblog post.

And if you don't have a clue what commercial I'm referring to, you can watch it here.

Hi, My Name is Luis Aguayo

Hello. My name is Luis Aguayo. You don't know me? I'm the third base coach for the New York Mets (thanks Jerry!). I'd post a picture of myself, but none exist on the entire Internet. Can you believe that? I can.

I'm just your average third base coach. I like to spit. I like to stand outside doing nothing. And I absolutely love the sunflower seeds. They're so tasty and crunchy at the same time. Plus they allow me to have an excuse to do the other thing I absolutely love, spit!

One of my other hobbies is getting Endy Chavez thrown out at home plate. Oh, it's so funny watching little Endy run around the bases. He's reminds me of Speedy Gonzalez, who I love almost as much as spitting.

When I see Endy flying around second, it just makes me want to see him embarrass himself by making an out at the plate. He's so cute with his skinny little arms chugging back and forth. I just love to watch him get thrown out.

In fact I did it last night, twice! Oh what a wonderful evening. I could hardly write about it in my diary because I was just smiling from ear to ear as I thought about sending Endy around third while Jimmy Rollins' rocket arm was waiting to gun him down like Bambi's momma.

The only person I enjoy sending to home plate more than Endy Chavez is Ramon Castro. Oh that bucket head huffs and puffs around the bag and I send him home just for the fun of it.

So now you know me. I'm Luis Aguayo and I love to watch Endy Chavez get thrown out at home plate. It's almost as fun as spitting. And that's my job.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Masters of Choke

We are the Mets and we are the Masters of Choke. 

Tonight, we witnessed one of the worst defeats in regular season history for this organization. And there have been some awful ones let me tell you. 

This loss will be so devastating that we will look back on the 2008 season and point to this game as the turning point in the season. Sure we're only 1 game out with 60+ to play, but I guarantee you, the Mets will fail to make the playoffs. Why? Because we have mastered the art of the choke job. When you can't close out a 3 run lead in the last inning of a game that will put you in sole position of first place - not too mention put an enormous amount of doubt into the heads of your bitter rival - you are what is commonly referred to as Chokers. Period. This game is going to do wonders for the Phillies psyche. Thank you bullpen for making it all happen. 

Can you believe they threw up on that game? I mean, really. The Phillies had no business winning that game. Yet somehow, our beloved NY Mets found another creative way to shred the hearts of Mets Lifers everywhere. I know other organizations have suffered more than the Mets and have endured more heartache, but that's only because this team hasn't been around as long as the others. We haven't as many opportunities to blow chunks of cheese but we're sure taking advantage of the chances we get don't we? Ladies and gentlemen, we are quickly becoming the Pre-2004 Boston Red Sox, the Chicago Cubs. We are the new Masters of Choke and that, Mets Lifers, is a very scary thought. I'm not sure how many more of these mind-numbing defeats I can take.      

An Abomination

Somewhere, right now, Johan Santana is talking to his agent trying to find a way to get out of this contract. And I can't say I blame him.

Santana came through giving up only 2 runs through 8 innings. Unfortunately, they play 9 innings.

Hey Duaner Sanchez. You're fired as closer. Forever. That's right. Until the world is turned into dust and no living soul walks the face of this planet, you will never be the Mets closer again. Talk about choke job.

This is a backbreaker folks. You went from 3 outs to feeling really good to just pain beyond all imagination. The play in the field was horrid. So much for Endy Chavez being the defensive specialist. Reyes botched a potential out. Feliciano had a tailor made double play ball that resulted in only one.

Why did it take so long to bring in Heilman? I get you're trying to play the righty/lefty game, but as soon as Sanchez folded faster than a Gap employee, you gotta go to your next best pitcher in the pen to stop the bleeding.

This may have been the worst 9th inning I've ever seen. I kept getting flashbacks of that magical 8th inning the Mets had against the Braves back when Piazza played and we scored like 9 runs in an inning. Only this time it was happening to us.

This will be very hard to come back from. Be prepared for plenty of mentions of the collapse tomorrow. Be prepared for Billy Wagner's absence to be bantered about. But worst of all be prepared for another loss tomorrow. The Mets are notorious for their inability to come back quickly from the brink.

Good luck John Maine. Hope you have a no hitter in you.

Closer? We Don't Need No Stinking Closer.

The M.A.S.H. unit known as the New York Mets just got hit with another wounded player this week. Billy Wagner will have an MRI this morning and was diagnosed with inflamation in the shoulder. The team says it is unlikely that Wagner will be available against the Phillies.

I'm torn. Do I cry or rejoice?

While Wagner is arguably one of the top 5 closers in the National League, I'm not too disappointed to see him unavaiable against the Phillies. Why? Do you remember his performance against them just 10 days ago? A certain Jayson Worth home run? A 10-1 lead that got nervously close at 10-9 and almost became a loss?

Wagner has a propensity for the dramatic in big situations. The hype surrounding this series is big and these games are meaningfuly ones as we head into the dog days of August. I can easily see Wagner leaving his fastball over too much of the plate in a tight game.

Losing Wagner for an extended period of time would be seriously damaging to the Mets, but having him out for a series against the Phillies isn't that horrible.

Johan Santana will just have to pitch a complete game shutout. 3 days in a row.

2008 Mets Top Prospects

The always informative TopProspectAlert.com just released their updated mid-season list of the top prospects in the Mets farm system.

We all know #1 is Fernando Martinez, the prize jewel of the Mets farm system, but the rest of the top 10 is a mix of unknowns and once heard. The big surprise to me is that pitching prospect Eddie Kunz, who started the season as the #2 prospect dropped to #7, and was replaced in the 2 spot by little known pitcher Ike Davis.

Evan young Nick Evans cracked the top 10 after his call up this season. Check out the top 10 list and other information on the Mets farm system by visiting TopProspectAlert.com.

Mets vs Phillies Preview on Baseball Tonight

Saw the Baseball Tonight crew discuss the upcoming showdown with the Phillies last night. Here's their take on the battle for first:

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Fight for First Place

Tomorrow, it begins. The fight for first place.

There was Ali/Frazier, Tom/Jerry, Lakers/Celtics, Rocky/Drago, Superman/Lex Luthor, Trump/Rosie, Cruise/Shields, Favre/Packers, A-Rod/Mrs. A-Rod, and now Mets/Phillies.

While the Mets have won 11 of their last 13 games, the Phillies have been struggling to win back to back series against the likes of the Diamondbacks and Marlines. Neither team has gotten great performances from their starting pitching since the All Star break, but the Phillies are struggling for help in their bullpen while the Mets are seeing some improvement.

A lot will be made of this series starting on Tuesday night. Sure it's a battle for first place, but even if one team gets swept, the other team will only be 3 games out as their worst possible scenario. The season is far from over regardless of the outcome.

The Mets need this series more than the Phillies because it's on their home turf where they got swept by Philadelphia late last season and have struggled to win meaningful games. The Mets took 3 out of 4 from the Phillies to start their 10 game win streak, but need to prove the run wasn't a fluke and this team is here to stay.

If the Mets got swept, it would be devastating to the fan base even though the team would still be in pretty good position, all things considered. But taking even 2 out of 3 would be a big spark for this club and help alleviate some of that lingering anxiety that Mets fans still harbor from last September.

Baseball fever has gotten me and I'm looking forward to enjoying this series. Of course the only way I'll enjoy it is if the Mets win so here's to sweeping the Phillies.

Link: The Rebirth of Carlos Delgado

It's a mystery wrapped in an enigma. That is Carlos Delgado.

Our friend, Brad, over at Bugs and Cranks knows the real reasons why Carlos Delgado is turning his season around. He's gone from villain to despot to pivotal bat in the lineup. And of course Brad's got the inside scoop and relays it in his cunning and witty ways.

Check it out here.

Be Thankful for Our Broadcasters

I know that we rip on the snooze quality of Wayne Hagin's WFAN broadcasts, but honestly we have some of the best broadcasting teams working for the Mets. Over the weekend I was down at the Jersey shore and listened to parts of the Mets games via XM radio which forces you to listen to the home team's broadcast.

The Reds radio announcers are possibly some of the worst in the business. First off they alternate between two one man teams. So there's no banter, no commentary, just one guy making the calls. There were at least a dozen times I thought XM lost its signal on because there was nothing but dead air coming through the speakers for 30 seconds at a time. All this on top of the fact that you couldn't tell if a guy just hit a home run or into fielder's choice because the inflexion in the announcer's voice was the same for 9 straight painful innings.

Now Hagin is easily the weaker broadcaster on the radio, but the Reds guys make Hagin look like the Vin Scully of radio.

Of course, our SNY team of Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling are a Mets Lifer's dream broadcasting team, but even industry people applaud the way they call a game. Their unbiased and unabased in their commentary and that's what makes them great.

Even Kevin Burkhardt is a great asset to the SNY team. For a young sideline reporter he asks tough questions in the post game interviews and does a great job in the mid-game cutaway segments. Newsday is even following around Kevin to do special piece on him in the upcoming weeks. In fact today our own Kevin Burkhardt speaking at a local sports broadcasting camp run by Bruce Beck and Ian Eagle, talking to kids about the in's and out's of broadcasting. Who knows maybe he's even speaking to one of his future replacements?

So don't take what we have for granted. We easily have the best broadcasting team in New York and I'm sure we outshine much of the other MLB teams as well. Enjoy what we have while it lasts.

And if you're in Cincinnati, don't operate heavy machinery and listen to the Reds game.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

You Knew This Was Coming

As a Mets Lifer you had to see this series with the Reds coming. You knew the 10 game win streak was too good to be true and this team would come back to earth in blazing fashion.

Sure the Mets won the first game extending their winning streak to ten games. And sure the Mets won the last game in extra innings to split the series.

But the key here is the overall product the Mets put out on the field, and it was far from the quality we saw during the first 9 games of this streak.

In the series with the Reds, the Mets did the exact opposite of everything they did in that stretch leading to the All Star break. This weekend we saw poor starting pitching, bad bullpen support, absolutely no timely hitting with runners in scoring position, and bad play in the field.

In my opinion, we were lucky to escape Cincinnati with a series split, and by some strange sort of luck we're also tied for first place.

And so we the Phillies come to town on Tuesday in the biggest series of the year. I hope the Mets put out a different product on the field against the Phils than they did against the Reds. Otherwise we may find ourselves 3 games back comes Thursday night.

And please do not play Marlon Anderson in left field ever again.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Where is the real John Maine?

Well all good things must come to an end.So the Mets lost.So they snapped their longest streak of the century.

The real issue is what is going on with John Maine? He is not the guy we are expecting to see this year.

Maine has to get his act together and fast.Tomorrow is another game.Another chance to win a series against a losing team.As long we keep doing that we will continue to find ourselves in contention.

But the Phillies losing a few would be nice.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Wow. 10 wins.

Santana was awful. The outlook was bleak.

But David Wright was huge. Delgado was clutch. And Tatis was on steroids.

I'm still in shock but I'm at the beach so I have a relaxing day to dwell on those 9th inning heroics.

Could 10 in a row really happen? Oh and by the way we are tied for first.

Mets Have Bad Luck with Closers

Go ahead and list the Mets top closers of the last 20 years. Benitez. Looper. Franco. Sure there were others but these were the "good" ones.

Now we have Billy Wagner, who I thought was going to be a change from the Mets string of bad luck closers, but is now making me doubt.

So why do the Mets have such bad luck with closers? John Franco might be the left-handed save leader, but he was infamous for not being able to get a save without getting runners on base. Armando Benitez turned into Mr. Choke Job every time there was a big spot. And Looper, who knew he was really supposed to be a starting pitcher?

Are the Mets cursed? Do we not have pitching coaches and scouts that can mold bullpen talent? Why can't we have our own Rivera, Hoffman, Eckersley, Isringhausen, oh wait, we had him but we thought he was a starting pitcher. Where's our K-Rod, our Papplebon, our Joe Nathan?

I understand that every closer, even the great ones, will blow saves from time to time. It's inevitable. But it just feels like the Mets always get a guy that blows them in the really, really big spots.

I like Billy Wagner, but I no longer trust him. Please, please, please prove me wrong, Billy.

Gets By Buckner Ringtone

So I'm listening to Boomer & Carton on the way to work and Craig Carton starts talking about how he downloaded the 1986 "Gets by Buckner" ringtone off of Mets.com. The only thing is it's the Vin Scully call from TV not the Bob Murphy call from WFAN. He asked why he couldn't get the Bob Murphy call.

I called up the station and mentioned that since the Mets site is owned by MLB, they are only offerring the official MLB version of the call. The Bob Murphy call was on WFAN, an official team radio station, so MLB uses their official broadcast of the call to sell on their website.

I totally understand Craig Carton's beef with this and as a Mets Lifer of course we want the Bob Murphy call. The Vin Scully call of that play is great, but come on. You can't compete with the Murph.

So I figured it was my duty to all Mets Lifers to offer you an MP3 version of the 1986 Mets "Gets by Buckner" call by Bob Murphy. Craig Carton, if you still want the Bob Murphy version of the ringtone, here it is.

Click here to download the Bob Murphy call of the "Gets By Buckner" play from Game 6 of the 1986 World Series.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Second Half Predictions

It's time to gaze into the Mets Lifer crystal ball and share with you predictions of the Mets second half that are guaranteed to come true:
  1. Moises Alou will not play another game for the New York Mets this year.
  2. Luis Castillo will walk with the limp of a three-legged caribou.
  3. Ryan Church will become a spokesperson for Tylenol.
  4. Billy Wagner will blow a save in a game that really does count.
  5. I will hate Tim McCarver more with each passing morning.
  6. The Mets will wear those silly navy blue hats even though they look stupid.
  7. Matt Wise will be asked for ID upon arriving at Shea Stadium.
  8. Omar Minaya will take 15 minutes to answer one simple question before the trading deadline.
  9. Mike Francesa will recommend the Mets trade Jose Reyes for no good reason.
  10. Chris Russo will moronically agree with #9.
  11. Jerry Maneul will drop kick an umpire if the Mets get another blown home run call against them.
  12. Wayne Hagin will be responsible for an accident on the NJ Parkway because a Mets fan fell asleep while listening to his broadcast.
  13. The names, Matt Holliday and Xavier Nady, will be uttered more times than Marlon Anderson and Scott Schoenweis.
  14. People will continue to lie and claim that they will miss Shea Stadium. (Three words: Shea Stadium bathrooms)
  15. Ron Darling will star in yet another Sovereign Bank commercial where the actor playing the employee will not know whether to pronounce it "Sov-rin" or "Sov-ern" bank.

Congrats to a new Mets Lifer

Our friend Brad over at Bugs and Cranks just became a proud father and posted his first Mets conversation with his brand new daughter. It's laugh out loud funny.

Congrats Brad and welcome back.

Check out his post here.

Hate and Love for the All Star Game

Hate, the long game. Love, the close game. Hate, the teams are made up of many players you'll never hear from again. Love, the pageantry. Hate, the announcers. Love, hearing from the hall of famers. Hate, seeing Billy Wagner blow yet another lead. Love, seeing Billy Wagner not blow one for the Mets. Hate, the funeral dirge music before every commercial break. Love, the fact they didn't use the FOX Sports robot. Hate, having to hear "the final game in Yankee Stadium" every 30 seconds. Love, that I'll never have to hear that again. Hate, Ryan Dempster's delivery. Love, watching Russel Martin play catcher. Hate, the NL losing yet again. Love, that the game required some actual managing. Hate, that A-Rod left the actual stadium early like he had better things to do. Love that guys like Jeter and Wright hung out on the top step with anticipation every inning. Hate, the Naomi Campbell SoBe commercials. Love, The Dark Knight spots. Hate, Dan Uggla's glove (and bat). Love, that the Marlins' All Stars are the worst fielding All Stars ever. Hate, the fact that the NL won't have home field advantage in the World Series. Love, dreaming about the Mets second half chances. Let's get back to some games that really count. See you in Cincinnati.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Willie Randolph in an Insane Asylum

Who could blame Willie Randolph for being institutionalized? I mean the guy was getting hit from every angle this season. His team wasn't performing well. He was getting asked about getting fired every other day. "His guys" were playing like little girls. Then he gets fired in the middle of the night and his bench coach takes over and brings this team back from the dead to within a half game of first place.If that's not enough to drive you insane, I don't know what will. Thanks to the site CommitYourFriend.com to promote the upcoming film, The Dark Knight, we get to take a peek at what Willie Randolph would look like in an insane asylum. Check it out:
Create Your Own
I love these pointless sites, to commit your friend (or maybe one of the Phillies) visit CommitYourFriend.com.

The Irony of Xavier Nady

Xavier Nady is an outfielder that pretty much any contender would covet at this point, especially the Mets.

The Mets desperately need a right-hand hitting bat in the lineup and have a gaping hole in left field. They'd love to get Xavier Nady, but the price is too high to trade for him and the Mets most likely don't have the pieces to do so.

What a difference two years make. In the winter of 2005 the Mets unloaded Mike Cameron on the Padres for a little known guy named Xavier Nady. I remember seeing news of the trade and thinking, "Who in the world is Xavier Nady?"

Nady played admirable for the Mets in 2006 before he was banished to the Pirates in the trade for Roberto Hernandez and Oliver Perez. Now Perez has been a steal for the Mets (sometimes), but when you look at the value Nady is now commanding from potential suitors, it's just another case of the Mets trading away yet another valuable player.

Nady joins the likes of Jason Bay, Jeff Kent, Jason Isringhausen, Scott Kazmir and others who were traded from the Mets only to see their stock skyrocket.

But hindsight is always 20/20.

Chase Utlety Curses NY Fans, Then Loses

Oh, Chase Utley. Didn't you know you were mic'd up?

In case you haven't heard, Chase Utley didn't care for the welcome he received at Yankee Stadium while being introduced at the Home Run Derby last night. The New York fans, the smartest baseball fans in the world, gave Utley a Bronx welcome with a hardy booing.

Chase Utley didn't like it, so he swore at the fans on national television. Utley probably forgot his mic was on (I guess the bulging battery pack clipped to his pants was not reminder enough), and he was probably saying it to joke with the folks next to him, but still the camera was smack in your face. Show some restraint.

Did he honestly think he was going to be welcomed to New York with open arms? Come on. You get paid millions of dollars a year, you're an All Star, you're probably the NL MVP, so I think you should be able to handle some booing. I guess he got his just desserts as Utley finished dead last in the Home Run Derby.

By the way, how on earth did Josh Hamilton lose this thing?

Now Utley did apologize this morning so I guess it's water under the bridge. Just don't expect him to get a standing ovation tonight when the starting lineups are announced.

Even so, I hope he hits a home run tonight because the NL desperately needs to win one of these things.

Mets First Half Report Card

It's mid-term time for baseball so it's time to dish out some grades. Now instead of going through each player and giving them the customary A, B, C, D, or F, we're categorizing them into 3 levels: high honor, honor roll, & summer school. Here it is:

High Honor Roll
The most obvious selection to the high honor is Mike Pelfrey. I can't say enough about this kid's performances over the last two months and I'm almost scared to because I don't want to jinx him, but just imagine where the Mets would be if we traded him for Santana?

Ryan Church is on the high honor roll because when he played this season he was arguable the best hitter in the lineup. I like this guy's attitude, his work ethic and he's got a rocket for an arm. I desperately hope he comes back full strength because he might just be the corner outfielder we're hoping to trade for.

I'm also going to put Jose Reyes & David Wright on the high honor roll. Now these guys haven't been perfect and both have struggled mightily this first half, but look at their production. Wright is batting .288 with 17 homers and 70 RBI. Reyes is batting over .300 with 10 triples, 10 homers, 20 doubles and 30 stolen bases. That's high honor roll numbers, but we expect even more from them both in the second half.

Honor Roll
Johan Santana makes the honor roll. He almost made high honors, but you can't put a guy on the high honor roll who gives up the first grand slam to an AL pitcher since the Hoover administration. Still Santana has pitched really well, but been lacking run support. I expect another 9 wins from Santana in the second half.

Aaron Heilman was headed for summer school until he started doing some extra credit and has amazingly turned his season around. I was ready to bury this guy or ship him to Japan for Benny Agbayani. That's why I'm not a GM. Heilman looks really good, but he still needs to prove this is not a fluke by keeping up his performance level in the second half.

Lastly, the Super Subs make the honor roll. The Super Subs include the likes of Damion Easley, Fernando Tatis, and Ramon Castro. It seems that every time these guys are called upon they come up big. None of these guys are true starters, but each of them has had their valuable moments in the first half and won big games solely on the basis of their bats. Without them the Mets would still be under .500.

Honorable mentions for honor roll: Carlos Delgado (I can't put him in summer school based on his hitting the last few weeks, but I really, really wanted to)

Summer School
By show of hands, who misses Luis Castillo? What are the Mets missing when he's out of the lineup? A limp? That's pretty much it.

Carlos Beltran needs a little summer tutoring. Sure he's been hitting for power of late, but the guy is not consistently performing. His average is down. His RBI production is down. I expect the Carlos Beltran of 2007 every year, but it seems like he's off every other year. The Mets need Beltran to get 35 homers and 125 RBI to make a run in September.

Other summer school notables: Marlon Anderson (he's done), Moises Alou (he's done), Pedro Martinez (he's done)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Mike Pelfrey Speaks the Truth

After last night's game, Peter Gammons interviewed Mike Pelfrey about his recent winning ways and how he feels more comfortable on the mound.

The really interesting part of this interview is when Gammons asks Pelfrey what Jerry Manuel means to this team. Pelfrey does a fantastic job of keeping things politically correct while also expressing how much better this ballclub feels under Jerry Manuel.

Check out the clip below.

Jose Reyes is Having an All Star Season

Jose Reyes is not on the All Star team, but he should be.

During last night's game on ESPN they posted a stat that shocked me. Jose Reyes is the first player in major league history to have 10 home runs, 10 triples, 20 doubles, and 30 stolen bases before the All Star break.

The first in MLB history.

I had no idea Reyes had 10 triples already. Some players don't get 10 triples in a lifetime (i.e. Ramon Castro). Reyes has improved his average to be the only plus .300 starter on the team. His OBP and OPS are at career high levels.

But because Reyes started out slow and has had some on the field issues, he's not getting the credit he deserves. For the first time in my entire life, I actually agreed with one of Joe Morgan's comments during last night's game. When talking about some of Reyes on-field antics like the throwing of his glove and having a fit when he didn't want to get taken out of a game Morgan said, "The Mets should just leave Reyes alone."

I agree. Too much is made of Reyes. I love the fact that he was upset with himself after making an error. I love his energy in the dugout. Do I think it was a little babyish of to have a tantrum on the first base line when Manuel pulled him from the game? Absolutely, but he came right back and apologized and was over it minutes later.

I hate the constant Reyes trade talk that we hear when the Mets get in trouble. This guy is the catalyst for this team. The Mets have a .750 win percentage when Reyes scores in the first inning. There's no arguing what this guy means to this team.

I'm anxious to see if Reyes can continue to improve in the second half of the season. This should be the last All Star Game he misses for quite some time.

Number Nine in Primetime

In my estimation, Big Mike Pelfrey is officially a legitimate starter.

Pelfrey went 8 innings giving up no runs, walking no one and striking out 5. His fastball was nasty last night and he was throwing it up in the zone just begging Colorado sluggers to try and touch it. His sinker was on target as well.

I loved it when the Shea crowd starting chanting "Let's Go Pelfrey" in the bottom of the 8th when he was in a bit of a tough spot. The crowd got him pumped and he was able to finish out the inning and complete a fantastic run of 9 straight wins.

Carlos Beltran & Carlos Delgado both homered making it the 9th straight game that the Mets have hit a home run. The long ball is helping fuel this winning streak, but the Mets are doing the small things right too.

It's a shame that the All Star break had to arrive. I have a sense that this team would keep on rolling if they were playing every day. We'll see what happens Thursday night if the days off helps or hurts this team's streak.

Either way I would have never guessed this team had a 9 game win streak in them. Sometimes a change will do you good.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Is Aaron Heilman on Steroids?

Aaron Heilman might be juicing, but I don't care. The guy looks like he's the second coming of Dennis Eckersley out there the last month that it's hard to believe this is the Aaron Heilman of May.

Oh yeah, the Mets just won their 8th in a row, but I'm not sure which is more surprising, the Mets win streak or Aaron Heilman's renaissance.

Could Heilman, like Oliver Perez, feel more comfortable with Warthen & Manuel than he did with Peterson and Randolph? Maybe. Whatever his change is let's just keep it rolling.

Heilman is throwing harder and with more control than I've seen since he first came up with the ballclub. Confidence has to be playing a part in all this, but at this point I have more confidence in Heilman right now than I do in Sanchez or Wagner.

Wow, I've come a long way in the past 2 months.

Big Mike Pelfrey takes the mound tonight with the chance to give the Mets their 9th win in a row. This winning this is great. It makes baseball so much more enjoyable.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Lucky 7 in a Row

Damion Easley was due. I couldn't remember the last time he hit a home run when he stepped up to the plate in the 8th. We might as well call him Damion "Clutch" Easley.

How you feelin' Luis Castillo? Take your time. We're ok with out "The Hobbler."

Easley's late inning heroics capped off an unreal pitching performance by all the Mets pitchers. Oliver Perez only gave up 3 hits and 1 run, but walked half the lineup. Still you have to be pleased with Perez's progress these last few starts. He looks like the Perez of last year. Think he's happy to see Rick Peterson go?

But the hat tip of the night goes to Aaron Heilman, who I fully expected to implode yet again. But he didn't. He comes in walks a batter to load the bases and then strikes out the next two guys to get out of a jam. Plus did you see him hit 97 mph on the gun? He's like a new man.

There's a matinee this afternoon to see about making it 8 straight. Too bad the Phillies keep winning.

Friday, July 11, 2008

David Wright is an All Star

Of course as Mets Lifers we already knew that, but MLB finally got its act together and word has it that David Wright will replace Alfonso Soriano on the NL All Star team.
Congrats David Wright. Well deserved.

All Star Game Snooze Fest

Our friends over at Long Island Mets Fan put together a hilarious post about what he expects from the All Star Game.

It's nice to see someone else shares a disdain for the FOX baseball broadcasting team and their fawning over all things Yankee and Cardinals. Without no Wright and no Reyes, I'm not sure I'l watch past the third inning.

Check out their post here.