Monday, September 29, 2008

Being a Mets Lifer

I've heard more people remark today than ever before how glad they are that they aren't a Mets fan. Now today is not the optimal day to be one, and the scars from the past two seasons will not quickly heal. But aren't there worse things to be?

You could be a Pirates fan, a Rangers fan, a Royals fan, an Orioles fan, a Nationals fan (if there is such a thing) or a Mariners fan and have no hope of contending in the next decade.

You could be a Braves fan, an A's fan, a Giants fan, or a Padres fan and see that your team was once a power and is now in a rebuilding cycle that could take several seasons.

You could be a Cubs fan and not have won anything in the last century. You could be a Phillies fan and be a fan of the most losingest franchise in all of sports. You could be a Yankees fan and finally realize that money can't solve all your problems. You could be a Cardinals fan and realize that having the best player in baseball doesn't guarantee you a spot in the playoffs every year.

You could be an Astros fan and realize that Miguel Tejada isn't the player he used to be. You could be a Blue Jays fan and realize no matter how hard you try Halladay can't pitch every day.

Each team's fan base has its pros and cons. It just seems that the Mets fan base has had more to suffer through and in more dramatic fashion that any other team of late. And that might be true, but if you're a Mets Lifer this is nothing new.

Highs and lows are our specialty. We've had the high of 1986 only to be followed by the demise of Doc Gooden and Darryl Strawberry in the years to follow. We had the hope of Generation K followed by the reality that they just weren't that good. We signed big name players like Frank Viola, Brett Saberhagen, Roberto Alomar, Bobby Bonilla, Mo Vaugh, Jeromy Burnitz, and the list goes on, only to see that they were not the players they once were.

We had an MVP season from Kevin McReynolds only to find out that he could really care less. We traded Lenny Dysktra for Juan Samuel only to have Dykstra become the NL MVP.

The list continues, but we remained faithful. Isn't that what a Mets Lifer is all about?

I bet you can name at least 5 people that started calling themselves "Yankee fans" around 1996. I can think of at least ten. And I bet you know at least 2 or 3 people who have become Red Sox fans starting around 2004. Now how many Mets fans do you know that are fair weather fans? That's right, you don't know any. Why? Because to be a Mets Lifer, you're in this for the long haul. A losing season, an utter and total collapse followed by another collapse isn't enough to sway your loyalty. You're invested in this team through thick and thin.

Sure we'll take our lumps this week and for the next few weeks. The word "collapse" will be used again and again as we approach the new season, but in a few months something is going to happen. You're going to be back. You'll be looking at tickets to Citi Field. You'll be playing general manager. You'll start adjusting the lineup card. You'll start yelling at Mike Francesa when he talks about trading Jose Reyes.

It's a vicious cycle folks. I speak from experience. It's what a Mets Lifer does. It's a badge of honor some days, it's a burden on other days. But it's what we are so come to grips with it.

Blown Opportunity for Shea

from guest blogger, Siroty:

The Mets opened Shea Stadium known as the “loveable losers.” As a Mets Lifer, today I only put quotes around “losers.” Not because of the way the season ended. We could have predicted the bullpen would blow it. The Mets are “losers” because of the way they planned and carried off one of the worst ceremonies in the history of sports.

Love or hate Shea, it is a place where many of us first saw Major League Baseball. We remember driving in, passing Yankee Stadium, inching in traffic past LaGuardia knowing Shea would suddenly appear with its blue and orange squares or “The Magic is Back” banner visible from afar. As kids, we practically pulled our parents up the ramps so that we could see that burst of green and the scoreboard first visible from the concourse. And if you were lucky enough, you got to go to batting helmet day. Wow!

For me, I saw Tom’s Seaver near no-hitter. I still hate Leron Lee! I tried to change my birthday by a day so I could share Bud Harrelson’s birthday of June 6. I proudly wore my Tom Seaver jersey and my camp nickname was “Seaver.” Those were the seeds of memories. Then in adulthood we enjoyed more games, both live and in person, and we learned more about the game, the players, coaches, announcers. Shea became part of us and for some of us we were able to share this passion with our our kids.

So how the Mets close our memories. Like “Losers!” If you were to plan an event just days after Yankee Stadium closed, wouldn’t you bust your butt to have your ceremony come close to it? You couldn’t match the names or the events of Yankee Stadium, but you could sure try on the presentation.

So what do the Mets do to close their stadium?
  1. Hold it after the final blown game, 30 minutes after Gary Cohen was forced to “throw it” from the press box to Maz in the parking lot! Classy! Maz was THE Mets. It’s like Michael Kay “throwing it” to Roy White at the Yankee Stadium bat. Not in a million years. And that is not even bashing the Mets for holding the ceremony after the game. Duke basketball holds Senior Day after their last home game. Maybe Coach K is a special assistant to the owners.
  2. Then, from Maz in the parking lot, its back to Howie Rose who apparently is NOT ON THE FIELD. Who planned this?
  3. Then, with the field lined with police and security and have seemingly hundreds milling about home plate, Howie starts by introducing longtime employees, Tommie Agee’s family, Bob Murphy’s wife and Ralph Kiner. Nice start. Except the event planners have them walk from behind home plate, along the stands behind all of the people milling about behind home plates to a chair in front of the Mets dugout. Invisible. Oh, the love of being a Mets VIP!
  4. Now here come the players. First those who couldn’t be here. OK. But where was Ray Knight and how could he not be there? Bobby Valentine? How about those who passed away? We couldn’t have spared a moment of silence for those Mets?
  5. Then the players we all have memories of. Howie introduces them with a short and eloquent into and they come in from either bullpen and disappear behind the wall of cops. Why not have them walk straight from the outfield to their designated position along the infield so we could really see them, cheer them one last time and let the memories flood our minds. Must have been because the outfield was reserved for cardboard displays no one could see. Who planned this?
  6. The jerseys for each era was a nice touch, but did anyone ask for measurements of chest and waist sizes and then maybe add an inch or two. To say some of the jerseys were ill-fitting was an understatement. Who planned this?
  7. Then they made Howie rush through the intros. My goodness, Mets heroes at Shea for one final time and all we can get is a minute or two of cheers? “Welcome Back Doc Gooden!” OK. Now onto the next guy. Drugs or no drugs, I have the right to fondly remember those days of Ks. This was MY stadium. MY memories. Why the rush? Who planned this?
  8. Then let’s have each player touch home plate. Nice touch. Except couldn’t the organizers have allowed Howie to introduce each player again as he moved to the plate? One last ovation. And what about the pitchers? Guess Shea didn’t have a mound! And where did all of the players go after touching home plate?
  9. Piazza and Seaver leaving together was AWESOME. Couldn’t the other players gone out that same way before the final two to a thunderous ovation with Seaver and Piazza last?
And if you didn’t think the ceremony was important, ask Hernandez and Darling. They were caught up in the same emotion we all were. Like the place, hate the place. It’s our Shea. Our memories. The Mets failed miserably.

Stay or Go?

It's time to play everyone's favorite Mets game: Stay or Go? It's simple really. You determine which player should stay and which player should go. Don't worry about contracts, free agency, etc. It's a blood-letting day so just go with whatever that angry voice inside your head is thinking.

Here we go:
Wright - stay
Reyes - stay
Beltran - stay
Santana - are you kidding me? stay
Maine - stay
Delgado - not sure yet, for now stay
Perez - hmmm, stay for now
Schneider - stay
Church - stay for now
Murphy - love this kid, stay
Pedro - go
Heilman - hahahahaha, go. Go now.
Schoeneweis - see above
Argenis Reyes - stay
Ramon Martinez - I guess you have to give him another shot. stay.
Pelfrey - stay
Castro - stay
Castillo - I'll drive him to the airport. Go.
Feliciano - go
Sanchez - go, right now
Parnell - stay
Stokes - stay
Ayala - bye bye
Evans - back to the minors, go
Tatis - tough one, stay for now
Chavez - as bad as he is at the plate, he's vital in the field. Stay.
Jerry Manuel - for his press conferences alone, stay.
Luis Aguayo - this dude's a serious liability, go.
Marlon Anderson - please retire, go.
Jon Niese - stay
Brandon Knight - go
Nelson Figueroa - go
Omar Minaya - if you get K-Rod, you can stay
Easley - tough luck kid, go
Angel Pagan - who?

Don't Lose Sight of the Problem

Yes, the Mets offense is less than clutch. Yes, the Mets have had their share of starting pitching issues. However, let's not lose sight of the real problem: the bullpen.

You can pick 1 of 29 games this year that the bullpen blew and say "If we just won that one game, things would have been different." And you know what? You'd be right.

The Mets inability to score runs this past week will take center stage on talk radio and TV, but the point is that the Mets bullpen blew 29 saves this year. That's right 29. All it would have taken is for two of those opportunities not to have been blown and you're talking about an entirely different season.

Schoeneweiss? Gone. Feliciano? Hasta la vista. Heilman? Adios. Sanchez? What time's your flight? Ayala? Nice to know ya.

I keep Parnell, Stokes and even Smith because they're young guys who have a chance to improve. Then I go out and rebuild that bullpen.

The real key is getting a closer this offseason. I pronounce Monday, September 29th the official Go Get K-Rod day. If the Mets don't get K-Rod, Omar Minaya's contract should be ripped up. Anyone who says the Mets should not pay K-Rod whatever he wants deserves to be taken out back and beaten. Why?

Look at what Santana did this weekend, forget that, what he did all season. He's a gamer and he's worth the money. K-Rod has 60+ saves this year. That's right. 60+ saves. You want to tell me that's not what the Mets need? You crazy.

So ignore the talk about the Mets needed to shake up the "core players." Turn a deaf ear to talk of trading Beltran or getting rid of Reyes. Those are the idiots talking. It's bullpen, bullpen, bullpen.

Bring me K-Rod.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Long September

And it's easy to believe, maybe next year will be better than the last. Or maybe not. Goodbye Shea. It's a shame you had to go like this.

Unparalleled Anxiety

So I'm headed to the game today and I am as nervous as I have ever been as a fan. The butterflies are already floating around but I am fired up. This is what we live for. 

I can remember being at that game in '99 against the Pirates, when we were in the exact same situation today. The place was jacked up, anticipating our first playoff appearance in 11 seasons. Sure enough, we won 1-0 on a wild pitch, and we beat the Reds the next night in a one game playoff. 

But today, my anxiety is at an all time high simply because of all the pressure this team is under. Plus, this has been the most grueling season I have ever experienced. The ups and down, big wins and brutal losses, the injuries, down by 7 1/2 games, up by 3 1/2 in September, it's been one heck of a ride and it all comes down to today (and maybe tomorrow but first things first). All I know is that Shea will be rocking today and my wife and I will be right there with all of those crazed Lifers. 

Say your prayers, cross your fingers and May the Force be With Us! 

Superman Returns

Did you have any doubt that Johan Santana would come through? Nope, me neither. He's our Superman. He's Mr. Clutch. He's Mr. Dominant. And he's worth every penny.

I will say that last pitch to Cody Ross made my heart stop beating for about 2 seconds, but good ol' Endy Chavez was there for the catch.

So today it's Oliver Perez. He stepped up in Game 7 of the NLCS and I expect him to do the same today. The Mets have to win because Cheeseburger Cheeseburger Sabathia is pitching for the Brew crew which is a guaranteed win.

Let's Go Mets!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

At Least Santana is a Competitor

Everyone's talking about Johan Santana pitching on 3 days rest, and how this can be a risky move since he just came off a 125 pitch game. I'm sorry, but has anyone been watching these losers? Of course he has to pitch, and of course he was the one who demanded to take the ball. Why? Because he has guts. He has heart. Because he competes, which is more than I could say about the other guys on this team. I'm not even sure how he's going to do today, but I do know one thing: He is not going to whimp out like the rest of these little girls have. At least when I watch the game today, I'll be watching someone I can actually be proud of.

This Team Makes Me Appreciate Mike Piazza

Last night when they revealed the top 3 moments in Shea Stadium history, I found myself caught up in the moment when they showed Mike Piazza's inspiring home run back in September of 2001.

Later on Piazza joined Gary, Keith, and Ron in the booth to talk baseball and Shea memories when Keith Hernandez remarked that he'd never seen a player with as many clutch home runs as Piazza.


How badly do you wish we had a Piazza on this team? Although Piazza had his struggles there were countless times when he stepped up to the plate late in a game that you just knew something was going to happen. Now with which player on this current team do you get that feeling? That's right. None of them.


I remember the 1999 NLCS series against the Braves where Piazza was just horrendously struggling at the plate. But then in the 8th inning of game 6, Piazza came through when the Mets needed it most, nailing a home run to tie the game. Of course Kenny Rogers came in and ruined the Mets chances the next inning, but the point is even when Piazza seemed lost at the plate he delivered in that clutch moment time and time again.


Appreciate Mike Piazza for what he did for this club, and let's hope and pray that someday we'll get that kind of player again.

Show Me Some Pride You Scared Bunch of Little Girls

The Marlins have nothing to play for except for pride and the fact that they want to destroy the Mets for personal reasons.

The Mets have everything to play for, but are playing like a bunch of school girls. You want to play four-square, that's fine but you've got all of November to do it. This is crunch time and you guys are acting like a group of spineless, one-celled organisms.

Do you enjoy having the media in your face talking collapse every day? Do you like getting booed at your home field because you can't do diddly squat? Do you like being the laughing stock of baseball? If you do than by all means keep it up, you're doing a fine job.

But if you hate the fact that history is repeating itself, suck it up and play with some pride. So you might not make the playoffs this year. So you screwed up the final month of the season. You can still play with some heart for the fans, for New York, and for yourselves.

This is the final weekend at Shea when Mets fans from across the country are making their pilgrimage back to Queens to say farewell. All the Met greats are going to be there, but I'm here to let you know that right now none of you will be included in that group in the future.

Show the fans, the city and this stadium some respect and win these next two games regardless of what the Brewers do. Play with some pride for crying out loud. You look like a bunch of nancies out there. It's a wonder you won 80+ games.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Choke II Almost Complete

I'd like to thank the Mets for showing up tonight and really putting on a strong effort, only going down 6-1 to the Marlins. I mean, really, it was only a 5 run difference so there is a silver lining folks. 

Wow...are you kidding me? As incredible last as night's game was, they inexplicably come out tonight and lay an egg - which, really is the Mets' way when you come to think of it. 

Is anyone surprised with the way this game ended up? The Marlins, who of course despise the Mets, and take great pleasure in knocking them out of it, thrive off this type of atmosphere, while the Mets, true to form, puke all over the pressure and willingly get throttled. Sure, this club has been resilient, bouncing back from bad losses but the big problem is, they lose more than they win when it's counted most. Do you realize that not only do the Braves and Phillies own us, but the Marlins do as well? 2 straight seasons they're going to kill our hopes and our team just stands there like scared little men, and accepts it.
 
Much has been made about the Brewers going in the tank losing 15 of 19 in September, but everyone failed to realize that no one, no team in sports, let alone baseball, collapses better than the Mets. Everyone has a chance when they're chasing the Mets down the stretch. And so the Brewers, deserving all the credit in the world, have reeled off 5 straight victories during crunch time, unlike our beloved Mets who are just about finished polishing off their second straight September choke job. 

So once again, thank you NY Mets. This has been a fun, exciting ride, believe you me. Can't wait to see how you follow this one up next year, especially in September. That'll be triple the fun. 
  

ESPN Diamond Trax Searches MLB Intro Songs

One of the more interesting looks into a player's personality is what song he chooses for his intro music to the plate or coming in from the bullpen.

ESPN.com has launched a new section of their site called Diamond Trax which lets you search by team and player to see what their current intro music is. The list is not exhaustive but they do a great job giving you the songs for the more popular players on each team.

For the Mets, they have Wright, Reyes, Beltran, Delgado, among others. I've been enamored with the music Brian Schneider chooses because I think it's in total conflict to my stereotype of what kind of person he is. When I looked him up on the site I had to laugh at the diversity in his choices which includes Wyclef Jean, Baby Bash, and then oddly enough, Phil Collins.

Diamond Trax also links you to iTunes so you can listen to cuts of each song and buy them if you want. Great job ESPN. It's about time someone thought of this.

Check out ESPN.com Diamond Trax here.

Why Rain this Weekend Should Be Welcomed

I might be the biggest disbeliever in the Mets ability to sweep doubleheaders. History has proven to me that the Mets are unlikely to win both games of a doubleheader.

But I'm telling you that a double header on Sunday is just what the doctor ordered.

Friday's game looks to be a definite wash, which would force a doubleheader on Saturday. Now the key is for the skies to continue to open up on Saturday and force the doubleheader to be moved to Sunday.

That would be a huge benefit to the Mets. You see the Mets are stupidly preparing to send Nelson Figueroa or Brandon Knight out to pitch on Saturday. Basically two hacks are being sent to the mound to determine our playoff chances. By raining out Friday and Saturday, the Mets now have the ability to pitch Mike Pelfrey in game one on extra rest, and then throw Johan Santana in game 2 on normal rest.

A Pelfrey/Santana doubleheader lineup is the best situation for the Mets and allows them to have their top 2 pitchers throw in the most significant games of the season. Then on Monday you can pitch Oliver Perez or whoever is available to close out the season.

The other advantage is that the delay allows the Mets to see what unfolds with the Brewers and Phillies. The Mets will have full knowledge of what they need to do to make the playoffs.

Although I'm usually a guy who hates doubleheaders and likes to play the games as they're written on the schedule, I think a rain out on Friday and Saturday is exactly what the Mets need.

Unlikely Heroes

Go ahead and try to write a list of the Mets ulikely heroes this year and you'll find it surprising just how many there are. From Tatis to Murphy to Evans to Pelfrey, the list is unreal when you think about the perception of these players back in April.

There are two more names to add to the list: Robinson Cancel and Ramon Martinez.

Believe I didn't want to see these guys start last night let alone be up in the 8th inning in a clutch situation. But that's the difference between Jerry Manuel and most managers. He goes with the guys who are swinging the bat well.

Martinez off of his first hit as a Met on Wednesday night came through huge on Thursday. I was screaming for Manuel to pinch hit for him. Martinez is a righty and he was facing a righty on the mound. It made no sense that this inexperienced guy be left in, but boy did it ever pay off.

And Cancel (a.k.a. The Refrigerator) came up with the most timely hit of the night. Unreal.

David Wright might be in the running for MVP and be batting over .340 in September, but these two no-name guys proved to be more clutch than even our beloved superstar.

Rain, Rincon and Redemption

Last night was more than likely my last visit to Shea Stadium. My dad got tickets Wednesday morning and by the time Wednesday at 11 p.m. rolled around I didn't feel like going. Then I saw the weather forecast and I really didn't feel like going.

But as a Mets Lifer, we go to games rain or shine in good times and in bad. Unfortunately Pedro Martinez was starting whom I have no confidence in and he didn't let me down because he gave up a 2 run bomb in the first inning.

The rain started to fall and even though the Mets tied up the game there was this sense that the Mets were going to fold again. But Pedro looked to be in control after the first few innings, and when he exited in the 7th inning everyone in the stadium was up on their feet for a standing ovation. Pedro deserved it.

And then came Ricardo Rincon. One pitch. One stinkin' pitch and Rincon gave up a 3 run blast to the hottest hitter on the planet last night, some guy named Hoffenhoofer or whatever. I've been to games before and heard booing. I think Armando Benitez and Aaron Heilman are tied for the worst boos I've ever heard, but last night Rincon topped them all. You could just feel the anger and venom from the Shea faithful at having to watch this BLOWpen screw up another chance at victory. It was nasty, but not undeserved.

Then came the slide. I'm not sure how Ryan Church accomplished it, but it doesn't matter. He was safe and there was opportunity for redemption in the form of Carlos Beltran.

Shea erupted with a mixed concoction of relief and euphoria as the Mets were able to exorcise the demons of Wednesday night and keep themselves in the playoff chase. I love it when you're walking out of Shea after a game and the fans are still chanting "Let's go Mets!"

Whether or not the Mets are successful this weekend, I have to say that the last game I saw at Shea may have been the best one yet.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

HUGE WIN!

Well, that was easy...

Un-freakin'-believeable! That, Mets Lifers, was 
H-U-G-E! Just when you thought this team was dead (raising my hand), they picked themselves off the mat once again and fought their way to one of the more improbable victories this team has had. There wasn't a Lifer alive who thought they would pull this game out, especially after going down by 3 in the 7th. But somehow, by some miracle, they got the job done and find themselves still tied with the Brewers with 3 games to play. 

I'm not really sure how many more of these games I can take. I seriously tried to remain calm early in this game. I had almost a resigned feeling after last night's embarrassment. I didn't even feel excited when Church tied it up at 3. I just knew we'd give it back. So I held my emotions in check all the way until Ramon Martinez (love this guy!) came to the plate in the 8th, down by 2. Then, I was sucked right back in again...yelling at Jerry on the TV for leaving Martinez in to hit. "Noooo.....why are you leaving him in there???" 

From then on, my chest was burning, heart was pumping and I was loving this game and team all over again! For some crazy reason, I live for these games. More often than not, we are let down, hearts ripped out, and we all know how this team has a knack for that, but it's games like these that keep me coming back. I can never get it out of me. The swing of emotions from last night's devastating loss to tonight's exhilarating victory reminded me of mine and Dave's first posts to this site more than 18 months ago. 
 

Glutton for Punishment

I know I'm asking for it, but I'm headed to Shea Stadium for the game tonight. I'm still hurt from last night's loss. I have zero confidence in Pedro Martinez (can you imagine saying that 7 years ago?). And it's cold, going to rain, and the game will probably be delayed.

But it's my last trip to Shea Stadium, for better or worse. I'm wearing my Tom Seaver jersey, hoping that Tom's spirit will inhabit Pedro (or the bullpen) for just one night. So if you see a guy with a Tom Seaver jersey praying for a win in the Loge section, it's me.

For better or worse, although it's more likely worse, lets' go Mets.

Carlos Voltron

This article from the Onion has been the bright spot in an otherwise very dark day. The article is entitled Struggling Mets Combine Forces to form Carlos Voltron, and in the doom and gloom days of September it's good to laugh every once in a while.

The best part is the closing paragraph which reads:
"Meanwhile, defending a comfortable 600-0 lead in the top of ninth, the Mets decided to rest up Carlos Voltron by moving him to the outfield and replacing him with reliever Aaron Heilman, who lost the lead and eventually the game after giving up 618 runs to close the inning."

Funny, but with a hint of realism. Check it out by clicking here.

Don't Pitch Garbage on Saturday

I'm sorry Jerry Manuel, but on this topic you're dead wrong. Manuel went on WFAN yesterday talking to Mike Francesa about who the potential starter will be on Saturday. Manuel said he will not use Johan Santana on short rest.

That's almost the dumbest thing I've heard all year.

I understand why Manuel is saying this. The plan is to use Santana on Sunday for the last game of the season, but unless something providential happens I think the Mets need to win Saturday's game first before they worry about Sunday.

There is no reason not to pitch Santana on short rest. Do you honestly think Santana will say no he can't pitch? Of course not. Look at how the Brewers are using C.C. Sabathia. You don't think we can do the same with Santana? He's got the whole winter to rest.

The Mets have to win Saturday's game. They have to win all their games at this point. If you send out Figueroa or Niese or Stokes, you're basically settling for second best when you've got filet mignon sitting their in the fridge. You can't pitch garbage in one of the most crucial games of the season. Haven't we already learned our lesson from Niese's last outing. The kid may be great some day, but he's not ready for prime time yet.

Pitch Santana on short rest on Saturday and then all hands on deck for Sunday. I'm telling you if you don't win these next few games it won't matter who you pitch on Sunday because we'll be out of it by then.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Metsblog.com and the Butterfly Effect

The butterfly effect (or sometimes referred to as chaos theory) is a phrase that refers to the effectual relationships between two seemingly unrelated events.The theory goes that if a butterfly flaps its wings in Japan, it may cause a tsunami in the Phillipines.

So with that in mind I have come to a conclusion: The Mets have Metsblog.com to thank for their current downward spiral into oblivion.

You see Metsblog.com is an extremely popular blog about the Mets. Chances are if you're reading this right now, you've probably already been on Metsblog.com at some point today. The fact is Metsblog.com is not only one of the most popular New York sports blogs, but one of the most popular sports blogs nationally.

Is it coincidence that over the last 3 years Metsblog.com has made great strides in popularity and website traffic and the Mets continue to struggle in the clutch? Is there a relationship between Geico's sponsorship of Metsblog.com and the fact that it is now officially a part of the SNY network and the continued collapse of the Mets in September?

Could it not be a possibility that the more comments Metsblog.com gets on their daily posts is causing more problems in the Mets bullpen and forcing Ryan Church into a drunken stupor of strikeouts night after night?

It's something to think about. Or it could just be that Jobu put a curse on this team. Or that Omar Minaya sold his soul to the devil for a new 4 year contract.

There has to be some explanation because no team can choke this much year after year on their own accord. They've got to be getting help from somewhere. I think Metsblog.com has some soul searching they need to do.

Knockout Punch

Done. Finished. Over. Last night was the knockout punch. This team can't come back from that. Leadoff triple from a rookie in the bottom of the 9th and you can't score? Please. Just disgusting. The bullpen can't hold a glass of water, and no one except for Daniel Murphy and Carlos Delgado can hit in the clutch. I'm done. I can't take it. This is just beyond pitiful.

You could feel hope just escape from Shea. Bases loaded in the bottom of the 9th and the crowd was dead silent because they knew what was going to happen. Another blown game. Another devastating loss. The Mets can only get up off the mat so many times before it's officially a knockout.

Consider this a TKO.

I'd Like a No Thank You Portion of Luis Castillo

My parents used to tell me that when I went over someone's house to eat and they were serving something I didn't like I should just take a "no thank you" portion, meaning just a little bit so as not to appear rude.

I'm ready for the Mets to start taking a no thank you portion of Luis Castillo.

I understand we're paying him big bucks and he's a veteran, but enough is enough. Put him in the game when we need a sac bunt or to pinch hit leading off the inning, but otherwise I want to see Argenis Reyes or Daniel Murphy at second base.

Reyes was in a groove at the plate when he was able to play everyday. Since he's been relegated to the bench, Reyes has struggled at the plate which is to be expected from a young player.

The big question is why isn't Daniel Murphy given a chance at second. Hmmm. He's batting over .300. He's as clutch, if not clutcher than anyone in the Mets lineup. He's currently playing OUT OF POSITION! Why wouldn't we stick him at second and get his bat in the lineup. Then you could platoon Endy Chavez and Nick Evans in left.

I understand that Manuel wants to limit Murphy's at bats against left-handed pitchers, but he's going to have to face them at some time. And right now I'll take Murphy facing a lefty over Castillo facing anyone.

In any case, Castillo is not that stellar a fielder or batter to warrant his playing every day. Get him out.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

King Johan

He's the 20 million dollar man for a reason. He's our very own life support. He's our slump saviour. He's the blood stopper. He's King Johan Santana.

Santana threw a career high 125 pitches en route to a 6-2 victory over the Cubs striking out 10 through his 8 innings of work. Santana gave up his usual early runs, but settled in quickly and was able to calm himself as the home plate umpire decided to change his strike zone from inning to inning.

Not to be overlooked are the clutch performances from our young studs, Reyes & Wright. Jose Reyes notched his 200th hit of the season with a triple to knock in 3 runs in the 6th. David Wright is now 10 for 20 over his last 5 games, and took advantage of a two out situation to knock in 2 big runs. Wright is coming on strong to close the season and it's such a relief to see him swinging the bat like this.

But tonight was Johan Santana's night. Every single player, every single fan, and every single media outlet was talking about how Santana would come through with a victory. And he did not disappoint. In fact, the Phillies even lost, but the Brewers got a miracle win.

We're back to 1.5 games. Another game tomorrow. One at a time, my friends. One victory at a time. But if we need a victory come Sunday, I fully expect Johan Santana to be willing to go out there with the same result.

Are the Mets the 2006 Cardinals?

Talk about coming full circle. I had the epiphany this afternoon the the 2008 Mets are quite possibly the Cardinals of '06. If you remember the Cardinals had a decent lead in the division that year and basically limped their way into the playoffs by being fortunate enough to have the teams beneath lose just enough games that final week to allow the Cards to squeak in.

The Cardinals that year also had some bullpen issues that forced them to use a starting pitcher, Carlos Beltran's favorite Adam Wainwright, as a closer. The Cards also got production from some unlikely sources, like Yadier Molina, and a young infielder named Eckstein became the catalyst for the club.

There are a lot of similarities between the Mets of '08 and the Cards of '06. The biggest difference is the Mets haven't made the playoffs yet. Yet. That's a big word for only having three letters.

But if they do make the playoffs, you never know what could happen. But you gotta get there.

Starters in the Bullpen

Matt Cerrone at MetsBlog.com brought up an intriguing thought this morning about starters coming out of the bullpen. Jerry Manuel remarked that he was not opposed to bringing starters out of the bullpen on their designated throw days to potentially pitch an inning or two.

Cerrone brought up the fact that if the Mets are willing to do this, and today is Pelfrey's throw day, why not have Pelfrey pitch the first inning and then bring in Santana to pitch the final 8 innings?

Now I'm sure there's a reason that this wouldn't work, but I'm not sure what it is. Having never been a major league pitcher I'm sure there's a different psyche involved coming into a game rather than starting it, but I think this point has merit.

If Pelfrey can throw 20 pitches and then Santana can come in a finish it out, why wouldn't the Mets want to do this? Santana is notorious for giving up first inning run (and home runs) so why not let him come in a pitch the second inning on? He'd still get the win, but it buys the Mets an extra inning without having to turn to the bullpen?

I'm sure there's an explanation for why a team wouldn't do this, but at this point it'd have to be pretty convincing to make me think otherwise.

DRAINED

As a Mets Lifer, I am drained watching these games. They're taking the life out of me one inning at a time. But if these games are draining for me imagine what it's like for the everyday players.

Think about it. Before a single pitch is thrown every batter in the Mets lineup knows that they've got to score 7-10 runs to guarantee a victory. And even that's not a guarantee. In the back of their minds they know that no lead is safe and that every inning they've got to keep adding more runs.

The hitters are pressing. They're tight. They're over anxious. They're off their game. Case in point is Luis Castillo who never strikes out and never swings at the first pitch, but he did both of them last night. Of course Castillo shouldn't even be playing right now if you ask me, but that's a whole different story.

The starting pitchers are drained too. They've got to throw no-hit, shutout baseball from here on out just to give themselves the chance to win.

I can't imagine the mood in the clubhouse today. I can't believe how painful it must be for Jerry Manuel to walk out to the mound knowing the next guy he brings in has an 80% chance of blowing this game wide open.

This season has been draining, and this last week may just suck the rest of the life out of Mets fans and their players.

Make It Stop

Monday, September 22, 2008

Man Am I Glad I Watched Heroes

Monday night was the season premiere of the NBC show Heroes which I happen to love. I was watching the Mets game up until the 4th inning and then my eyes drifted over to channel 4 to catch up on one of my favorite shows.

Immediately I was hooked and I started tracking the game on my computer.

Boy was I ever glad I didn't sit and watch that debacle. Even through MLB Gameday the Mets game was painful. A grand slam by the pitcher? How does that happen twice in a year to one team? But the bullpen came in to let up just as many runs as Niese did.

And of course the Phillies manage to shutdown the Braves. The Braves had a man on 3rd with no outs in the 8th inning, but the Phillies were able to get out of the inning without giving up a run. I can't even fathom that happening to the Mets.

The NL East is done. Pack it up. It's Wild Card or bust right now and the Mets are one loss away from busting it yet again.

In the last week of the season with the pennant on the line and the team in a freefall the Mets send out an inexperienced pitcher to decide their fate only to have that pitcher fall flat on his face. You know that pitcher's name? It's Philip Humber. Oh wait, that was last year. Guess the Mets didn't learn from their mistakes. You think we would have learned by now.

Do the fans know that much more than Mets management not to make this error twice?

By the way, if you wasted your Monday night on the Mets, head over to NBC.com to catch up on Heroes.

Want to Get Depressed?

Ah, this little tidbit from Jayson Stark of ESPN.com is like a ray of sunshine. . .if I were a vampire. Here's what Mr. Stark had to say: 

“If all games ended after six innings, those NL East standings would look a whole lot different. If games were six innings, the Mets would be leading this division by 11½ games...Thanks to the best closer in baseball this year, Brad Lidge, the Phillies are 75-0 when they lead after eight innings.”

Thanks Mr. Stark. I feel the urge to put my head through a wall.

1 1/2 Games

With 7 games left in the regular season, 1 1/2 games is the key to the Mets fate. The Mets are 1 1/2 games behind the Phillies for the NL East. The Mets are 1 1/2 games ahead of the Brewers for the wild card.

Welcome to a painstaking final week of the season.

In my estimation, the Mets will have to go 7-0 and the Phillies will have to go 4-2 in order for the Mets to win the NL East. Now I don't know which is more unlikely that the Mets won't lose a game this week or that the Phillies will lose 2 games.

The Mets chances are better for the Wild Card where the struggling Brewers are almost as inconsistent as the Mets of late.

At this point, I'm with Bryan when he said that he doesn't care how the Mets get in the playoffs as long as they get in. I couldn't agree more. The real key to this week is being able to win that extra game the Mets have to play. Their competition have 6 games remaining where the Mets have 7.

I've been asked this morning if I'm nervous, anxious, and even depressed about the current Mets state. My reply is that my emotion is more anger than anything else. I haven't given up hope yet, but that's just one Aaron Heilman appearance from changing.

This is a week for the Mets to win back their faithful fans. A week for David Wright to prove that he's not our version of A-Rod. A week for Delgado to cement his status as the NL MVP. A week for Carlos Beltran to make everyone remember what he did in the '04 playoffs. A week for one bullpen pitcher to take silence the critics.

One week. One and a half games. Or it could end up just as one big disappointment.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Just Once!

Just once. Can this BLOWpen, for one freakin' time, just close out a game? I have never in all my years watching baseball seen such a collection of bad pitchers. Just terrible, sucky pitchers. The more I watch this team, the more remarkable it is that they are so close to a post season birth. 

Unfortunately, this could be the deathblow for them. They have 7 games left against very good teams and a very shaky 1 1/2 game lead in the wild card. Plus, it is impossible for them to win any game that's close simply because of the amateurs in that pen. That puts a lot of pressure on the offense to score on every single opportunity they get. 

I have a bad feeling about this one, a very bad feeling. All I want is to get in the playoffs. At this point, I don't care about the NL East. Just get in. We'll get crunched if we do, (all post season games are close, therefore, it will be impossible to win) but please, just get in.  

Atlanta Massacre

"They just need to score more runs" remarked Gary Cohen during Sunday's awful 8th inning.

No Gary. I beg to differ. They need to get better pitching from their bullpen.

The problem is that solution is unlikely to happen. But that is still no excuse to continue to blow game after game like this. How many times have we seen the Mets be up heading into the 8th inning only to lose the game?

And the Mets bullpen doesn't just let up the tying run or a run to take a one run lead. No, they make sure they give up enough runs so that a comeback is highly unlikely. And just to add salt to the wounds, Delgado hits a 2-run home run in the 9th inning just to prove just how pitiful it is that the Mets bullpen can't just blow a lead that have to obliterate it.

This loss hurts. The Brewers won and the Phillies just feel like they're never going to lose again for the rest of the season. This was one of those rare games in Atlanta where the Mets were in total control. How many devastating losses can one team have in a season? This feels like the 30th loss like this. I may be exaggerating, but I think I'm pretty close.

No game is ever easy. No lead is ever safe. No pain is too great for this bullpen to inflict.

Seesaw September

Welcome to Seesaw September. It's a fantastic time of year for those of you who enjoy the high of victory one day and the despair of defeat the next. The chance to be in first place on Saturday and find yourself back in second place on Sunday.

It appears that the final week of the season will be a back and forth battle to the very end. I don't know about you, but I want to win the NL East. The wild card is like a consolation prize even though it would potentially get us in the playoffs. I feel the need to win the pennant to overcome the demons of last year, and to stick it to the Phillies.

The problem is Johan Santana can't pitch every day. Oh yeah and our bullpen stinks.

Today's game at Turner Field is bigger than one might think. The Mets need to continue to show the ability to bounce back after losses, both at the plate and on the mound. The Phillies seem to rebound rather nicely from losses and in this rollercoaster month we need to outmatch them at every step.

I don't think the Marlins are going to lose to the Phillies twice in a row. So if the Mets want to take back first place, they absolutely need a win today. And tomorrow. And the next day. And the day after that too.

One week left. One week to silence the critics. One week to win the pennant.

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Murph

There are so many ways one could describe Daniel Murphy. You could start with he's young, a rookie, inexperienced, out of position, unaccomplished, and wet behind the ears.

But after a little over 1 month, yes it's only been 1 month, of watching this kid play the descriptors have drastically changed. The words clutch, unshakeable, patient, timely, hard-nosed, fundamental, smart base runner, gutsy, intelligent, motivated, dedicated, hungry, not horribly unattractive, team player, unlimited potential and determined are the terms I would use to describe him.

Daniel Murphy is proving himself to be a valuable asset on this Mets team. He's no Timo Perez who came on hot late in 2000 only to turn out to be a bust. And I want to believe Murphy is the antithesis of Greg Jefferies. Jeffries was overly hyped and never quite lived up the potential the Mets thought he had. Murphy on the other hand came in unheralded and has let his actions do the talking.

Even Jerry Manuel sees how valuable he is to this team. In fact he commented before the game that if Murphy had even the slightest bit of experience playing right field, he would be starting instead of Ryan Church.

The Murph seems to get a 3-2 count every time up. He knows when to go to the opposite field and when to try and pull the ball. After Delgado, the super Beltran and the streaking Reyes, Murphy is the guy I want up in a clutch situation. Not David Wright at this point.

Here's a guy who's played the infield all his life and has to make his debut in the big leagues playing a position he's never played. Not only his doing an adequate job in the field, but he's also batting over .300.

And he's brought the Mets back into first place in the NL East. The Murph is for real.

Sharing the Pain

As Mets Lifers, we've learned for the most part to cope with the pain and suffering that comes with following the New York Mets.

But this year, many a baseball acquaintance has felt a little bit of what it's like to be a Mets Lifer. Here's a comment I received this morning from a Pittsburgh Pirate fan:
"Dude, I'm not a Mets Fan, but I may have to start taking some medication if I keep watching highlights of their bullpen."

Here's another one from an Oakland A's fan:
"I feel for you man. These games cut you to the core."

And one from a baseball fan with no real team affiliation:
"If I were a Mets fan, I'd be on suicide watch every time Aaron Heilman enters the game."

I have an inbox full of quasi-condolence cards from baseball fans who are now starting to realize what a burden it is to be a Mets Lifer.

But in the end, we don't want your pity. We just want victories.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Let There Be Light

It's time to turn the lights back on at Mets Lifer. Not because beating the Nationals twice in a row is any type of major accomplishment that shines hope on our season, but rather because we're going to need every ray of hope that we can muster heading into Atlanta this weekend.

The Braves laid down for the Phillies this week, probably because they wanted to save themselves for the series against the Mets. You think I'm being paranoid? Maybe, but I know that this Braves team loves to stick it to the Mets.

The one thing we have going for us tomorrow is Oliver Perez. Perez may not be able to beat the Astros or Nationals, but he always shows up against the Braves.

We're heading into Mordor with our season hanging in the balance. You want to see what this team is made of, and this series will make it crystal clear. I'd love to see us go into Atlanta and take two out of three, but a sweep would be miraculous.

Is it too late to say, ya gotta believe?

I Love the Brewers Bullpen

http://mlb.mlb.com/images/2007/05/30/ZaasBA6q.jpg
Wow. The Brewers bullpen is just as bad as the Mets. Who thought that there could be two totally unreliable bullpens in the National League, but lo and behold there are!

The Brewers were up 6-2 with 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th, and ended up losing 7-6 in extra innings.

Sound familiar? I know. It's creepy.

The crack squad of Guillermo Mota and Eric Gagne are as formidable as Scott Blowenweiss and Aaron Heilman. The crazy part is both the Brewers and the Mets are competing for a playoff spot. Imagine the situation both of these teams would be in if they had a half decent bullpen.

Could the Brewers be the 2008 version of the 2007 Mets? Possibly. In any case I'm officially scoreboard watching as much as I'm following the Mets. Sometimes it's just less painful.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Bats Awaken, Bullpen Still Slumbers

It's a good thing the Mets scored 9 runs. They needed every single one of them. Everybody, except for David Wright who went 0 for 5, seemed to find their stroke against the Nats. Well, it's about stinkin' time!

Unfortunately the Mets pitching was as bad as the Nationals. Brandon Knight gave us a pretty good performance, but the bullpen (surprise!) felt the need to make it a closer game than it should have been.

Man, can we ever get a night off? Every single game is just full of agida.

The important thing is the Mets got a victory to stop this losing streak. The bad news is the Phillies kept rolling and the Brewers figured out a way to win a ball game for a change.

Back to David Wright for a second, he looks seriously angry with himself and I think he's taking this personally. Every single out he's slamming his helmet, his bat, or just looking disgusted about the way he's performing. And you know what? I love it. It shows the kid has heart. He cares. He's sufferring with every loss even if he feeds the media with positive quotes and Switzerland-like commentary.

But he's got to take some of the pressure off himself. Wright got support tonight from his fellow power bats in Beltran and Delgado. Just relax at the plate, go the opposite way, and stop trying to hit home runs every time up and he'll be just fine.

Well it looks like Bryan's call to arms worked. It's got me psyched. It got the Mets to score some runs. Let's hope this lasts longer than 24 hours.

MEMO to the NY METS

Are you actually going to do this again? Are you seriously going to whimp out for a second straight year and forever be known as the definitive choke artists in all of sports? Are you really going to allow yourselves to be the signature punch line for years to come?

Please, for the love of God, do not go down without a fight again, like last year. Stand up like men, stand up for your organization, for your fans, for yourselves and put forth an admirable effort. If you lose out to the Phillies by a game but go on a 9-3 run, then tip your cap to them, but please, for crying out loud, do not go down like this for a second straight season. It is downright humiliating for your fans – who are ridiculously loyal by the way - to have to endure this kind of embarrassment again. How many more times do I have to hear that obnoxious Phillies fan call up WFAN and talk about how you are a sorry bunch of chokers, and how Greg Dobbs and Shane Victorino are more clutch than David Wright and Carlos Beltran? If you are not sure how to play hard, with energy, with absolute conviction that you’re going to will yourselves to win, than please, watch those Fightin’ Phillies play. Maybe you will learn something from them. Because when the chips are down, and their backs are against the wall, those guys go for it and with a vengeance. They thrive off it. Those are the times when they shine, when they rise up from the carnage like gladiators and unleash a barrage of clutch hits and crucial saves. Down 7-4 in the 7th inning with 12 games left? Bam! No problem, they’re coming right at ya and shoving it down your throats. Losing 7-0 in the 5th? That’s nothing…they storm right back and steal the game, ripping your guts out in the process. Down by 3 in the 9th? Piece of cake. They patiently and methodically stage a rally and before you know it, your 3 run lead turns to a 3 run deficit, leaving you bewildered yet again and your fan base in another pile of puke.

If it sounds like I’m jealous, I am. I am so jealous that the hated Phillies, perennial losers in the sport, fight tooth and nail and never give up; that they never wilt under pressure and actually feed off it like it’s oxygen. You guys on the other hand, react to pressure as if it’s kryptonite.

So how much longer are you going to allow this team to whoop your meek buts into sissy mush? When is it enough for you? When does humiliation – of historical proportion mind you - finally get to you and make you do something about it?

I beg of you, pick yourselves off the mat and grab a big ‘ole serving of pride and determination on your way up. Dig deep down within your souls and come out swinging. You have 12 games left to do something about it. Are you going to rise to the occasion or are you going to bend over again and say ‘thank you Phillies, may we have another?’

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Tatis Out

As if the Mets health wasn't bad enough as it is, it appears the Mets may lose Fernando Tatis who left Tuesday's game with a separated shoulder.

So the Mets lost one of the main infielders playing the outfield for them. Yup, that's right.


The question will be whether Jerry Manuel gives Endy Chavez a shot or goes with the Evans/Murphy platoon. I like Murphy a lot, but Nick Evans has me worried a bit. I think Endy and Evans are about the same at the plate these days, but at least Endy gives you a solid glove. The only issue is that Endy is a lefty and Evans at least gives you a right-handed bat in the lineup.


If Tatis is done for the season, that's a major blow to the Mets as he's been one of the few clutch hitters this season with men in scoring position. It would be a shame to see his amazing comeback season end abruptly like this.

Turn Out the Lights

The Mets bats are asleep. The bullpen is as dismal as they come. And this three game losing streak has brought on the dark days of September.

So at Mets Lifer, we're turning out the lights until this team can give us a spark and light a fire in this ballclub. The Mets need to give us a reason to believe. Show us a sign. Give us some light at the end of the tunnel.

Hey, How About that Wild Card?

Wow, the Mets took the lead in the wild card race on Tuesday. That's about the only positive thing that you can say.

While the Phillies continue to scrap, claw and slap their way to victory, the Mets conversely shrivel, shrink and scare themselves into yet another loss at the hands of that stellar pitching staff known as the Washington Nationals.

David Wright made a comment after the game that as a competitor "this is fun." Oh really? Striking out with runners on base when your team needs you in the clutch is fun? Getting outdueled by the worst team in the league is fun? Watching your archnemesis continue to win while you wilt is fun? If that's fun than sign me up for an eye gauging because that must be a reall ball.

Oh yeah and now that we're in second place for the first time in over a month and need a win about as desperately as we ever have, let's throw Brandon Knight out on the mound to win that crucial game. That sounds like a really stellar idea.

Hey Milwaukee Brewers fans, we feel ya.

Masters of Choke Back for an Encore

The Masters of Choke are back again. No runs against the worst team in baseball. That's all I have to say. Anymore questions about whether or not this team is choking then look no further than their scared approach to hitting tonight. 

Stick a fork in the softies. It's over. 

Sign That Best Represents the Mets Bullpen

This is so appropriate for the Mets bullpen. kill-you-and-hurt-the-whole-time

Stupidest Statement of the Year

Newsday is reporting that the Mets will not go after K-Rod (a.k.a. Francisco Rodriguez) in the offseason, but instead look at more "creative ways" to fill their need for a closer.

Sure. Why would you want to sign the most reliable bullpen arm in all of baseball? Who wants a guy that can save 40+ games a year? Why would you want to lock up a young, powerful pitcher to help bolster the worst bullpen on the face of the earth?

This is idiotic and whoever was Ken Davidoff's source from within the Mets organizations should be fired. Immediately. Pack up your things and go find Willie Randolph.

If the Mets organization thinks they have a better option for a closer than K-Rod, the Mets need a psychologist on staff.

Desi Relaford for Closer

The people of Mets Lifer nominate Desi Relaford as the new closer for the New York Mets. No not the guy married to Lucille Ball. The dude who used to play second base. Wore his cap real low.

Desi Relaford pitched for the Mets in one game back in 2001 and was clocked at over 90 mph. Relaford has a lifetime era of 4.18 which is better than what the current Mets relievers are doing this year. Heilman, Figeuroa, Sanchez, Muniz, and Pedro all have a worse ERA just to name a few.

I wanted to get Todd Zeile, but he's too busy making movies. So it looks like Desi Relaford is our only hope. I can see it now. He enters the game up 4-2 and gives up a 3 run home run to lose the game. Oh wait, that's Luis Ayala.

It's Time to Go Off

Look out people. Here comes the rage.

Why, why, why is Pedro Martinez so worthless these days? The hall of famer was totally outmatched by John Lannan. No, not John Lennon, John Lannan. Are you kidding me? Lannan looked like he was inhabited by the spirit of Nolan Ryan last night. Why can't the Mets hit off of lifelong horrible pitchers? Brad Lidge isn't a problem, but guys like Lannan are untouchable.

Pedro Martinez has become the worst pitcher in the Mets rotation. How far we've fallen. Check that. He's the second to worst guy behind whoever the Mets put in the 5th spot of the rotation. Is this deja vu? Do we not remember how Philip Humber had to fill in the last week of the season and ended up losing a crucial game for us? Why can't we pitch someone on short rest? This is the pennant were after here. Doesn't matter how much your pitchers get if they're not pitching in October? It's obvious the Mets can beat the Nationals very easily so why on earth would we want to risk losing another game by starting a spot start pitcher like Brandon Knight? He didn't even win a gold medal!

Back to Pedro. The hall of famer gives up a crucial 2-run single to the worst hitter on the worst team in all of baseball who just happens to ex-Met, Anderson Hernandez. Hernandez couldn't connect on a foul ball while with the Mets, but somehow Pedro turns him into Pete Rose.

This is going down to the last game of the season. I can feel it, and it doesn't feel easy. Why does the bullpen have to be riskier than Russian roulette? Why can't we get a decent performance from one person out there? Why on earth does Luis Castillo still have a job? Why is this happening again? Why? Why? Why?

Because we're Mets fans. And this is what they do. Go buy yourself some Rolaids. You're going to need them.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Deja Vu

Here we go again Mets Lifers. Be prepared because you can see it all coming back. You can see it in their eyes. It's called fear. They all know it's coming. And you know who else knows? The Fightin' Phillies know. They know they have the confidence to take this division and the Mets know they don't have any. And once again, our hearts will be ripped out and humiliation will be all over us and this organization for yet another whole season. 

The Mets are done, mark my words. Too early to call them out? I don't think so. We've seen this movie before and we know how it ends. Seriously, does any Mets fan have faith in this club to actually win this thing? All I can say is be prepared because it's going to sting that much more this year. Each game remaining will be a slow tortuous grind. Trust me. They're done! 

It's Time to Root for the Braves

I know the thought of it is painful, but it's time to root for the Braves. It seems unholy as cheering for the Cowboys or Eagles, but believe me it's necessary.

The Phillies play the Braves 6 times over the next two weeks inbetween series with the Marlins and Nationals. The Braves could hold the Mets playoff chances in the palm of their hand, or they could roll over like the Brewers did this past weekend.

The haunting part about the remaining schedule for the Mets is that they have to make one last trip to Turner Field. That is the one place on earth where Mets hope goes to die. Okay, there are two places: Turner Field & the bullpen.

The remaining schedule for the Mets is not easy. There's a 7 game road trip to Washington & Atlanta. Then it's home against the Cubs for 4 games and you close out the season with the 3 against the Marlins at Shea.

14 games, no off days. In my mind, the Mets need to go 11-3 in order to win the pennant. I'll give them a loss in Atlanta, a loss to the Cubs, and a loss to the Marlins.  I think the Phillies are on a hot streak and will close out their remaining 12 games by going, 10-2. That would give the Mets a one-game lead to win the division.

It's going down to the wire folks. The Mets need to keep winning games. A sweep of the Nationals is a must.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Mets Lifer is now on Twitter

For those of you that don't know what Twitter is, watch this highly informative and entertaining video.

For those of you that do know, you can now follow Mets Lifer on Twitter as well by visiting twitter.com/metslifer. This is a new foray so we'll be testing it out, but at the very least I do think we have a pretty sweet design for our Twitter page.

They'll be constant updates as we head down the final stretch of the season. If for any reason you aren't getting Twitter updates and don't see any new blog posts for an extended period of time it's because the Mets bullpen has driven Bryan and I to the brink and we've finally decided we've had enough.

Nothing like a series with the Washington Nationals to provide hope.

Check out our new Twitter page here.

BLOWpen Strikes Again

The Mets have done such a good job at handling the pressure so far in September even with all the chatter surrounding last year's collapse. In fact, they've been so resilient, that the only reminder of any such demise this year lies really within the amount of people covering the games and the number of questions about it.

Oh, yeah, actually, there is one dark, ominous factor looming from last year and that is...ladies and gentlemen?...(drum roll)...the BLOWpen! Yes, of course, the infamous BLOWpen.
Folks, there is nothing worse for a team than a bad bullpen and man, do the Mets have an awful one. For the second straight year, the Mets' season will come down to whether or not their BLOWpen can hang on. Everyone else is stepping up and doing anything they can to help get this team into the post season. Carlos Delgado? Check. Carlos Beltran? Check. David Wright? Check. Johann Santana? Check. Mike Pelfrey? Check? Ollie Perez? Check. Mets BLOWpen? "X".

I swear these kinds of losses are ripping me up. I can only imagine what it must be like to walk around in that clubhouse as a member of that BLOWpen. If I'm a beat writer covering this team, I'm observing that vibe - the interaction, if any - and writing about that. Players will say all the right things, but you know deep down, it's killing them. It seems like any loss the Mets have, it's because of this BLOWpen. Today was the 27th BLOWN save of the year, holding true to their name, BLOWpen.

Sure, as Dave wrote below, everyone will talk about missed opportunities to tack on runs, and no doubt, it hurts. Jerry Manuel obsesses on this, it seems, after every game. Fact is, he knows it and every other baseball fan on the planet knows it, the BLOWpen just cannot get the job done. Period! That's why there is such an emphasis on this club to score any chance they get. Unfortunately, that's not the way baseball works. If teams get a hit JUST 4 times out of ten with RISP, those teams would be making history. Hitters get out 72% of the time, even less with runners on. The law of averages will tell you that pitchers win the battle more often than not. Unless, of course, you're the NY Mets' BLOWpen. Then, everybody gets a hit.

If Brewers can get just one game tonight, the Mets will have a 3 game lead in the loss column, which is huge. And while the BLOWpen continues to lose the battles, there's still a chance for the real gamers on this club - Murphy, Tatis, Church and of course, the guys mentioned before -to win the war.

Only time will tell...May the force be with us.

Implode

Kids are back in school. Weather is getting a little less humid. It must be time to implode.

Luis Ayala ruined a beautiful afternoon by giving up a 3 run home run in the top of the 9th inning to ultimately give the Braves a win and deal the Mets a crushing loss as the Phillies came back to win their game.

I'm sure we'll hear talk tomorrow about how the Mets batters didn't add on additional runs and that's why they lost, but I say that's a bunch of bologna. Sure additional runs would be nice, but when you have a 4-2 lead in the top of the 9th inning against a weak hitting team you should be able to close it out.

But this is the curse of the Mets BLOWpen. Or should I say curse the Mets BLOWpen? Either way it's another disaster that will leave the lingering feeling of the 2007 collapse on the shoulders of every Mets player, manager and fan for another week.

There are no guarantees with this team. No lead is too great. No team is too horrible. The Mets bullpen will find a way to implode. There are now 14 games left and only a one game lead.

Buckle your seat belts. This is guaranteed to be a bumpy ride.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Niese is Nice

Proving yet again that this year isn't last year, the Mets bounced back from a bitter defeat in Game 1 and defeated the Braves in game 2 to take the nightcap behind an absolutely stellar performance by rookie, Johnathan Niese. 
Niese, who got roughed up in Milwaukee in his major league debut 10 days ago, pitched 8 scoreless innings to notch his first major league victory and it could not have come at a better time.  This was another one of those big games for the Mets as they blew the first game with their ace Johan Santana on the mound. Coupled with the Phillies win, the second game was a crucial one and the rookie did not disappoint. 

There are all kinds of reasons why the Mets continue to shed the demons - as Jerry Manuel likes to say - from last season, and tonight was no exception. Tonight, Niese pitched a gem. Last year, Philip Humber spit the bit. And with Beltran and Wright starting to go off again, this team will be tough to beat down the stretch. Although, it definitely won't be without it's share of heart pounders...which...of course, is the Mets' way. 

Friday, September 12, 2008

Phillies 2008 NL East Champions Already?

This is bulletin board materials folks. Oh man, this would have me psyched to play tonight.

Apparently you can order this ludicrous shirt online here.

17 to Play

Did you wake up this morning and feel this eery sense that there was something wrong with today? Well, if you did there's good reason for it. Today is officially the day where there are 17 games left to play.

As I'm sure you remember this is the day last year that officially marked the Mets demise. As neurotic and anxious a Mets Lifer as I am, I'm feeling ok about today. You see I honestly believe this team is different than last year. There's a different attitude, a different vibe, and a different sense of confidence in this team.

The lineup is made up of mostly the same players, but one addition and one subtraction has made the difference. The addition is obvious. It's Johan Santana. Every 5th day we have a starting pitcher who will go out there and give us 7+ innings of competitive baseball. He's the guy we were missing last year when Tom Glavine hung us out to dry on the last game of the season. Santana is giving us a Cy Young worthy performance every time he steps on the mound, and is a man able to stop a losing skid in just 9 innings.

The subtraction is also obvious. It's Willie Randolph. No more "my guys" and "we'll laugh about this" type of attitude. Instead we have a straight shooter in Jerry Manuel who appears to have been the steady, calming hand this Mets team needed. He's manager of the year. Lock it up.

So with 17 games to play, I'm feeling much better about a dismal 3 game lead than I did last year with a 7 game lead. Is it crazy to think that? Probably, but that's life as a Mets Lifer.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Maybe the Mets Don't Go As Reyes Goes?

The mantra for the past 3 seasons has been that when Reyes plays well, the Mets win. That's hard to argue with, but lately Reyes hasn't been playing well and the Mets are still winning.

Reyes is batting under .200 since the beginning of September and before the Nationals series he was batting .042 in his last 7 games. That's beyond atrocious, but in that same stretch the Mets had only lost 2 games.

Jose Reyes was supposed to be taking a new approach to his gameday rituals that was going to help him avoid the September slump that occurred a year ago. Maybe he should try something else.

I think the key to getting Reyes back on track is the forgotten art of the first inning bunt. When's the last time Reyes bunted in the first inning? It doesn't happen anymore. He fakes the bunt every once in a while, but why shouldn't Reyes get up there and lay one down every once in a while?

His swing has become much more of an uppercut and every ball he makes contact with ends up in the air. Even the most negligent Mets fan knows that Reyes needs to keep the ball on the ground to exploit his speed on the basepaths.

He's not taking as many pitches either. Reyes was stellar in July because he was walking a ton. A little more patience at the plate could help him turn things around.

Either way the Mets are winning in spite of Reyes' skid. That's a great sign, but don't be fooled into thinking the Mets don't need Reyes to be on fire. Winning games become a whole lot simpler when your leadoff man is getting on base and causing havoc.

Imagine this: Reyes, Wright, Delgado & Beltran all on the top of their game at the same time. Oooh baby.

Remembering 9/11

I was going to write a post on how still 8 years later I remember the impact that baseball, and specifically the New York Mets, had after the attacks of September 11th, but Brad over at Bugs & Cranks has done the work for me.

I remember reading this write up last year at about this time and even as I read it again today I think it's one of the best commentaries on that emotional game the Mets played on September 21, 2001.

Brad's closing statement sums it up the best when he writes, "September 11 was all too real. I finally realized this. But for the first time in two weeks, I also realized that it was okay to smile. It was okay to cheer. It was perfectly okay to start living again."

It's definitely worth a read, and even if you've read it before, you should read it again and never forget those feelings we all experienced just 7 years ago.


Click here to read the full article on Bugs & Cranks.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Don't Look Now, But Here Comes David Wright

It's only a two game series, and yes I know it's against the Nationals, but David Wright is starting to turn around.

In the series against Washington, Wright went 6 for 8 with 4 RBI and 4 runs scored. The key stat is that he's starting to come through with runners in scoring position and late in games.

On Monday night, Wright sparked the late inning comeback by leading off the 8th inning with a single. On Tuesday, Wright was in the mix again in pretty much every inning the Mets scored. And his home run in the 8th was huge.

With a 1-run lead, Wright came up with a runner on base and gave Luis Ayala the extra cushion he (and the team) needed to put the game in the books.

I posted two weeks about the fact that David Wright has historically been a big performer in September. We all remember how he carried this team last year in September and was the only guy producing. So he's a little late this year, but he does look more comfortable at the plate and is starting to take the ball up the middle which is always a good sign for a hitter.

Add that to a white hot Delgado and a surging Carlos Beltran, and you have arguably the most potent middle of the lineup in the NL.

Not to mention the fact that David Wright can take the Gold Glove home right now. We missed you David Wright. It's good to have the real you back in time for the home stretch.

Big Mike Pelf: No I Won't Back Down

Big Mike Pelfrey has been stellar this season. In his performance against the Nationals on Wednesday, Pelfrey added to his aura by not backing down from Elijah Dukes.

In the 4th inning, Pelfrey lost control of fastball that tailed inside to Dukes. The pitch was no where near hitting him in the head and was purely a pitch that took off inside. Because Dukes hit a home run his last time up, and the fact that he's a certifiably psychotic loose cannon, he thought Pelfrey was going after him.

Dukes started yapping and made a move towards the pitchers mound. So what's a guy by the name of Big Mike Pelfrey do? He starts walking toward the psycho and jawwing right back.

That's right. No, I won't back down.

I liked Pelfrey before, but I love him even more. It was great to see this young guy not take the yapping and attitude he was getting from the ex-con Dukes, and Pelfrey wasn't afraid of what might happen next.

And of course the New York Mets faithful were backing Pelfrey all the way while giving it to Dukes in his following at bats. In the past two seasons I've always said that I'd go into a fight with the Mets because they had Paul Lo Duca who has that crazy fight potential. Now, I'm sticking with Big Mike Pelf as my strong man, not to mention the refrigerator, Robinson Cancel, might be able to scrap a bit too.

Death, Taxes and No Easy Wins

These are the three things Mets Lifers can count on. I have officially added my cardiologist to my speed dial at least through the end of September.
While these games are nerve racking and painful, they are exciting at the same time. This is pennant race baseball, and you have to step back sometimes and enjoy the ride. This last game against the Nationals had everything. There were hits, home runs, potential fights, argued calls, more home runs. comebacks, bad pitching, more comebacks, fantastic fielding, and horrendous fielding.

This game had everything, but the most important thing is that it ended with a Mets win. Couple that with a Phillies loss and you get a 3.5 game lead in the NL East.

The great thing about the way this team is playing right now is that it doesn't matter which facet of the team is underperforming because another facet picks up the slack. When the starting pitching falters, the bullpen holds. When the bullpen crumbles, the offense scores more runs.

It's a vicious cycle, but I'll ride it to a pennant if I have to.

Farewell Billy Wagner

Billy Wagner gave a heart breaking press conference last night to talk about his injury and the fact that he'd not only miss all of this year, but probably next year as well. Wagner was brought to tears when he talked about his 10 year old son, Will, telling him that he wasn't ready for his season to be over. That just kills me too.

I think what also got to Wagner's emotions is the fact that he realizes his time in a New York Mets uniform is probably over too. Wagner is 38 and will be almost 40 by the time he's ready to pitch again. His contract is up at the end of next year and the feeling is the Mets will be shopping for a closer in the offseason (bring me K-Rod!).

Billy Wagner has always been a stand-up guy who will answer whatever question you throw at him with a sometimes painfully honest response. While Wagner has blown his share of games, for the most part he has been the most reliable closer the Mets have seen in the past decade.

The thing that makes me feel for Wagner even more is the fact that I know he agonizes over every pitch the Mets throw. He desperately wants to be on this team and help it win a World Series. It's going to kill him to be on the sidelines and that's the type of guy you want on your team.

I hope Wagner can recover from this and be able to pitch again if that's what he desires. We wish you a speedy recovery Billy. Mets Lifers everywhere wish you were in that bullpen in some capacity for this final stretch.