Saturday, June 30, 2007

Who Was That Playing First Base for the Mets?

Weird thing happened yesterday. No, besides the Mets actually sweeping a double header. There was some dude playing first base for the Mets.

You know who I'm talking about? That guy who went 3 for 4 in the first game and had another hit or two in the second game. I think he had a homer, a single, a double, and a few RBIs for the entire day. I know I've seen him before somewhere. Who do you think it was?

THAT was Carlos Delgado?

No, couldn't have been. He was hitting to all fields and showed some pop in his bat. He was even patient on a few pitches down and in.

There's no way that was Delgado. You sure?

By no means is Carlos Delgado back after one or two decent games. But it was nice to have that pop in his bat show up against the Phillies. Let's hope a few more games at Citizens Bank Park and then a couple at Coors Field can awake the sleeping (more like comatose) bat of Carlos Delgado.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Maine Masterful as Mets Sweep Double Dip

John Maine, you're going to the All-Star Game! What a beautiful game Maine pitched tonight, against a very good hitting team in tiny ballpark. You now get the feeling - confidence - the Mets are going to win every time Maine goes out there. He has been so good all year and the Mets go on to sweep a double-header from the Phils.

The Mets bats got the job done today as well. Homers by Delgado and Reyes in the first game, Beltran with two shots of his own in the second. Easley added a two run jack to provide some breathing room for Maine, who won his 9th game of the season. The offense looked like the offense of old as they worked the pitchers all day. Cole Hammels threw 111 pitches through 5 innings. Wagner was lights out to save the 1st and came on to close out a nerve-racking 9th in the second game.
How funny was the bubble gum cup on Ramon Castro's hat, placed perferctly by David Wright? Good to see the comraderie is still there.

Kudos to Phillies right fielder, Bourn, who made two great catches, including a miraculous grab robbing Beltran of extra bases and two RBI.

The Mets are back!

Phillies Need To Be Shut Up

I am currently vacationing at the Jersey Shore which is unfortunately very close to Phillies nation. The neighbors to my right are Phillie fans. The neighbors to the left are Phillies fans.

I'm surrounded.

The worst part is these Phillies fans are extremely vocal. We all know that Jimmy Rollins declared them the team to beat, but the fans are more vocal than the players. And they're in second place. Not first.

Sure the Phillies are on a hot streak and they pulled off a big win last night thanks to Utley's homers with one of them coming on a 3-0 pitch (why don't the Mets ever swing at those meatballs?). They're on a roll and they need to be stopped.

All I ask is for 3 wins to shut up the fans, to shut up Rollins, and to give me some breathing room atop the NL East.

The only good thing about being surrounded by Phillies fans is that when the Mets win, I want to run into them.

If we lose, I don't want to see them.

Division in Mets Clubhouse?

What a difference a year makes. Last season at this time, the Mets all but had the NL East wrapped up as they mashed their way though the National League. Team chemistry was at an all-time high for this organization. Never before had the Mets assembled such a good bunch of guys who all got along. Jose Valentin said it was the most fun he had ever had playing for an organization. Carlos Delgado, who just a season earlier turned down the opportunity to play for the Mets and went to the Marlins, expressed the same sentiment.

Well the Mets aren’t playing as well as they did last year, and now there’s word that there is some division in the Mets clubhouse, particularly when it comes time to speak with the media. In an article in the Daily News by Peter Botte, Paul Lo Duca calls out some Latino players on the team to step up and speak to the media. "I'll do this (interview), but you need to start talking to other players," an irate Lo Duca said, "It's the same three or four people every day. Nobody else wants to talk. Some of these guys have to start talking. They speak English, believe me."

After Lo Duca’s blow up, a reporter asked Delgado to comment (not specifically about what Loduca had said), but he ‘politely declined.’ Beltran, however, offered to be interviewed.

I am not too sure what to make of this situation but I hope it gets resolved soon. I guess I never really thought about it before but it does seem like all post game comments come from David Wright, Paul Loduca, and Billy Wagner although Reyes does some as well. But you rarely hear anything out of Delgado. For someone who is so well-respected by his teammates, and by those around the league, he’s got to do a better job at being a leader. Which is really the big picture here; it’s not so much who’s taking time to talk to the media but who is taking on that leadership role? David Wright, while easing nicely into that role, is still too young and inexperienced. Beltran makes $18 million a year. He needs to be more involved, take the pressure off some of these guys as well.

I guess what bothers me the most about this is that it went public. While I like Loduca’s fire and desire to win, I think he should have handled this internally. I’m sure today he’ll wake up and agree. At the least, it should have been brought up with Willie so that he can talk to his players and take care of it. That’s what his role is. You can bet Randolph will be disappointed with his guys today. Let’s hope he nips it in the bud and we roll the Phils.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Top 20 Moments in 20 Years on WFAN

If you’re like me, an avid listener of the FAN, today is a show you’ll undoubtedly appreciate. Mike and the Mad Dog are counting down the top 20 sports moments in 20 years of WFAN, as voted by the fans. Some of those moments include the Mark Messier trade, Buster Douglas knocking out Mike Tyson and Cal Ripken breaking Lou Gerigh’s consecutive games played record. Throughout the day, they have been interviewing some of the athletes involved in those moments.

Great Mets moments include Robin Ventura’s “Grand Single”, Endy Chavez’s catch as well as a few with Mike Piazza, including the Clemens bat throwing incident in the World Series, and the trade from Florida, which was voted #10.

During the show, Mike and the Mad Dog talked to Piazza about some of those moments. One of the funnier anecdotes he shared was when he was on the plane flying to New York from Florida, after getting traded, a guy sitting next to him was telling him how he was going to the Mets game to see some new player they picked up in a trade. He told Mike that apparently the Mets just picked up some big catcher and that his wife had gotten tickets to the game. Mike told the guy, “I’ll be there,” and the guy said, “You’re going to the game too?” and Mike replied, “Yeah, I’m pretty sure I’ll be playing in it.”


A Win Tonight is Essential for the New York Mets

It may not feel like it, but tonight's win is extremely important for the New York Mets. First of all it's always good to win at home before heading out on the road, but this road trip is different than most. It's 11 straight games without a break in 3 different areas of the country. It's probably the toughest road trip of the season so getting an extra win at home is essential.

Secondly, the Mets are notoriously awful with doubleheaders. I can't remember the last time we swept a doubleheader. The fact that it comes against an NL East rival team like the Phillies who are hanging on to their hold of second place in the standings.

Finally, the Mets feed off of momentum. When we were losing games, we kept losing games. When we're winning games it becomes contagious. The Mets lost a heartbreaker on Tuesday night, but we were able to bounce back with a win. The Mets lineup and our starting pitchers need that momentum as they hit the road for what will feel like an eternity.

We need El Duque to buckle down, work that changeup and give us 7 to 8 innings of solid pitching. Plus the bats need to wake up in time for a trip to Citizens Bank park.

This game will give us some insight on what's to come on the Mets road trip.

Milledge for Buehrle?

According the news coming out of Chicago, the White Sox are negotiating a new deal with Mark Buehrle somewhere in the range of $48 million over 4 years, seemingly taking him off the market.

Assuming there aren’t any big name relievers available, I would have to seriously think about trading Milledge straight up for Buehrle, which, according to most reports could get the deal done. Some may disagree, and I never like trading young prospects, but here’s why: Milledge does not have spot on this team. Sean Green has been solid and with the emergence of Carlos Gomez (great catch last night), the Mets have no place for him to play. And if Alou and Chavez come back, he’ll never have a shot. Therefore, he has to be traded. Plus, his value just isn’t as high as it once was – he didn’t play well last year, had issues in the clubhouse, and has a ton of baggage - the time to move him is now.

While Buerhle isn’t an Ace in the mold of a Roy Oswwalt or Carlos Zambrnao, he is a solid #2 guy – at worst, #3. And he eats innings, indicating that he always gives his team a chance to win. Factor in a change in leagues, from the American to the National, and you immediately upgrade what is an already solid starting rotation. Of course, the move would mean having to put someone in the pen and the likely candidate would be Jorge Sosa, who has pitched there before. Essentially, you improve the team in two areas with one trade…for a guy who is not going to play on this team. Make the deal.

Bullpen Biggest Need for Mets

In the Daily News this morning, Bill Madden does a great job cuing up the Mets’ biggest need: The bullpen.

As I posted last week (A Call to Arms), Omar has to get at least one, if not two more arms in the pen if the Mets are going to be serious contenders in October. Games are won and lost in those critical late innings when each pitch is important. Would you feel comfortable with guys like Sele, Schowenweis, even Mota, coming out to pitch in a tie game, or with a one run lead?

To read Madden’s article, click here.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Mets Not as Good as Last Year's Team

The reason why the Mets are not as good as they were last year is very simple. The big guns are just not producing the same way. "Rip City" where are you?

Jose Reyes
2006 (thru June 27)
.297, 8 homers, 10 triples, 19 doubles, 34 stolen bases, 36 RBI, 67 runs

.317, 3 homers, 8 triples, 16 doubles, 38 stolen bases, 36 RBI, 53 runs

Carlos Beltran
2006 (thru June 27)
.291, 21 homers, 60 RBI, 57 runs

.271, 10 homers, 44 RBI, 40 runs

David Wright

2006 (thru June 27, 2007)
332, 18 homers, 64 RBI, 19 doubles, 50 runs

.285, 13 homers, 42 RBI, 18 doubles, 42 runs, 16SBs

Carlos Delgado
2006 (thru June 27)
.262, 21 homers, 54 RBI, 46 runs

.225, 11 homers, 42 RBI, 35 runs

Schoenweis Has Value

In an attempt to increase the number of home runs hit at the annual Home Run Derby contest, Major League Baseball has asked Scott Schoenweis to serve up his entire repertoire of meaty pitches to the contestants. Citing his uncanny ability to give up runs every time he’s in the game, MLB feels Schoenweis is the perfect choice to throw the gopher ball. “We’ve just been really impressed by Schoenweis’ knack for giving up runs” said a league official, “and since this is an exhibition where fans want to see home runs, he is the best candidate for the job.”

Tom Glavine Needs Pedro Martinez

Bob Klapisch has written an interesting piece on Tom Glavine's march to 300 wins and how Pedro Martinez's return to the Mets will help Glavine's efforts.

It's an interesting take and Klapisch is one of those writers I always enjoy reading. The only issue he doesn't hit on is the fact that the Mets in general need Pedro more than Glavine does. Rumor has it Schoeneweis will move to the starting rotation if Pedro Martinez does not come back.

I'm sorry that was a disgusting joke, and I apologize.

Click here for the article.

Mets Bats Need to Wake Up

I’m still steaming about the game last night. As far as I’m concerned, the game tonight can’t start soon enough. I expect an all out barrage.

It will be inexcusable if the Mets do not win tonight. Period! Anthony Reyes (doing his best impersonation of another Anthony – Anthony Young) is 0-9 with a 6.64 ERA. If there was a game that should be a lock for a “W” tonight is the night.

It’s pathetic enough that we can’t score any runs against these St. Louis pitchers (what were their names again?) but if we fail to produce runs off a guy like Reyes, who we clubbed in Game 4 of the NLCS last year, then Omar needs to seriously reexamine this lineup and make offense his #1 priority for a trade.

Reyes Stays Humble While Becoming the Best

Great article in this morning's USAToday which features the speedy shortstop for the New York Mets, our own Jose Reyes. The article talks about his demeanor and attitude as much as his performance and it's refreshing to have that type of player in New York.

I don't know about you, but just watching Reyes bounce around on the field and in the dugout makes me want to grab my glove and go play some baseball.

Click here for the full article.

Someone Please Designate Scott Schoeneweis for Assignment

Q. What do tongue depressors, cold pasta and Scott Schoeneweis have in common?

A. They all make me gag.

Do you just cringe during a close game when you hear Gary Cohen say that Willie Randolph is going to the bullpen to bring in Scott Schoeneweis? Does he not see what everyone else sees?

Look at his stats this year:
IP = 27.2
Hits = 30
K = 13
BB = 20
ERA = 5.86

This is a guy with a career ERA of over 5. I know we're desperate for bullpen help and we don't have a long reliever, but right now anybody is better than Schoeneweis. Where's Chad Bradford and Darren Oliver when you need them?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Cards 5 Mets 3

Well that had to be one of the more frustrating games I've watched in while. The Mets had so many chances to win this game, it just drives you crazy they didn't come out on top. I really can't believe we didn't win that game.

Hopefully, the only positve we can take out of this is that Randolph should finally realize that Scott Blow-enweis is terrible. All Mets fans knew as soon as he was coming in the game to pitch the 11th, it was over. This guy is horrible! I don't know how many more times Willie can put him in, in close games, before he finally realizes he flat out stinks. The only time he should be on the mound is during batting practice. He actually let up a home run to a guy who had only 6 home runs in 4 minor league seasons. 6 in 4 seasons! Are you kidding me? Disgusting! Omar, please get some new blood in the pen.

Jose Valentin, who had a clutch 2 out, game tying double in the 9th, inexplicably made two bone-headed errors that allowed runs to score on each (although, one was ruled a hit, not sure how). Just horrendous.

The more I start to think about this team, the more I'm starting to think we need to trade for a big bat. This team is just not getting the job done and it is quickly becoming a concern. Delgado is completely insignificant right now and should be dropped in the order. And can someone tell me why David Wright was swiging at an 2-0 pitch, leading off, down by two in the 11th?


Mets Baseball at its Best

The picture says it all. (from

A Plead to Omar Minaya: No White Sox Please

Adam Rubin of the Daily News wrote an article this morning talking about Omar Minaya preparing for the White Sox's Fire Sale. Too which I reply, "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"

This has Victor Zambrano for Scott Kazmir written all over it. Whether you want Buerhle or Contreras, neither are the stellar pitcher the Mets would hold onto for years to come. Why would you give up a Pelfrey, Humber, or even Milledge for starters who can't be counted on for years to come?

How soon we forget Contreras pitching for the Yankees. Ahem, choke much?

Right now the starting pitching looks to be back on track. John Maine and Oliver Perez are pitching well. Glavine will be less than stellar, but fine for the playoffs. El Duque looks to be back to his old form.

That leaves Jorge Sosa, who pitched wonderfully last night, but I realize he's not the guy you want to rely on for clutch wins. Pedro Martinez should be back after the All Star break and if he jumps back into the rotation we really don't need another starter right now.

If Omar can land a Dontrelle Willis, Carlos Zambrano, or Roy Oswalt, then by all means do it. These are young guys who can be relied on for the next 5 years. Don't give up potential All Star prospects, for aging pitching just to help us over the next 3 months.

It's not worth it.

Mets Officially Out of their Slump

If there was any doubt that the Mets were not quite yet out if their recent losing slump, Sean Green’s colossal walk-off blast last night should have erased it. After just missing a home run that went foul, Green lowered the boom on a 3-2 pitch from reliever Russ Springer in the bottom of the 11th inning and struck a massive shot off the middle of the scoreboard in right center, giving the Mets their 4th straight victory.

It was the second time in the game that the Mets hit a home run after pulling one foul. In the 3rd inning, Carlos Gomez, after roping one down the left field line for a foul ball, hit a shot three pitches later that landed high into the left center field bleachers. At the time, it gave the Mets an early one run lead.

While the bats struggled all night, Reyes, Beltran, Wright and Delgado went 0-15, the Mets got superb pitching from Jorge Sosa, who continues to do a fine job as the 5th starter. The bullpen also came up big, throwing 5 scoreless innings. They had to work out of a tight jam in the 7th, when the Cardinals had men on second and third with no outs. Joe Smith allowed the first 2 men to reach base, then got the next 2 men out before handing the ball over to Pedro Felicano. After intentionally walking Pujols to load the bases, Feliciano got Spezio to bounce one back to him to end the inning. Wagner came on and pitched two perfect innings before Heilman pitched the 11th for the victory.

Nice win fellas. Keep it going.

Shawn Green, That's More Like It!

Shawn Green is affectionately known as "Gumby" in my house. He's possibly the skinniest guy over 6 feet tall that I have ever seen. But he still has some pop in his bat.

Green has been relegated to batting seventh in the Mets lineup and proved that he deserves to move up in the order last night. In the bottom of the 11th Green smacked a 400+ feet home run off the scoreboard in right field for a spectacular walk off win.

The only thing better than Green's home was seeing Jose Reyes dance in giddy pleasure at home plate waiting for Green to arrive so he could pounce on him.

These were the types of games last year that you just knew we were going to win. Somehow, someway we were going to pull it out. This is what winning feels like. And I like it.

The Mets play 2 full weeks of baseball before the All Star break and this is the time of the year where we can separate ourselves from the pack. Let's take care of business fellas.

And Shawn Green. It's nice to have a guy with 300+ homers batting 7th in the lineup.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Payback: Round 2

I will never forget Game 7 of the NLCS, the energy, drama and ultimately the heartbreaking end to what was a tremendously exciting Mets season. I will also never forget the St. Louis Cardinals players, celebrating their victory in the confines of our own building, mocking the original (for Baseball that is) Jose-Jose-Jose chant that has become a staple at Shea.

Therefore, it is incumbent upon this Mets team to continue to apply the beating they so thoroughly delivered to the Cardinals at the start of the season when they swept them in St. Louis. Revenge is sweet and until we get our chance to crush them in the post season, these regular season games will have to suffice. And I hope Willie and boys put forth a relentless attack. I want to see an all out assault starting with Reyes and Gomez tearing up the base paths, ripping bags left and right, scoring runs at will. I want to see Beltran, Wright and Delgado hit lasers into the Cardinals dugout (I mean out of Shea). I want to see Glavine, Perez and El Duque dominate and see a renewed Wagner shut down this got-old-quickly team.

It is time to put the nail in the coffin and extinguish the ’07 Cardinals season. And it all starts tonight. Let the beatings commence!

Jose Reyes is the Right Shortstop for the All Star Game

Anyone who watched Saturday's FOX game of the week (Yanks vs. Giants) may have heard Thom Brennaman make possibly the most idiotic statement of the year. He was going down the list of NL starters for the All Star game and got to Jose Reyes at shortstop to which he remarked, "Jose Reyes does not deserve to be the starter; that should be J.J. Hardy." He went on to claim that J.J. Hard is the NL MVP this year.

I about lost it. Thankfully, Joe Girardi defended Reyes and said he disagreed with Thom Brennaman and Jose Reyes deserved to start the All Star Game. Still it irks me that Jose Reyes is getting no respect from announcers like Thom Brennaman after putting up staggering numbers through the first half of the season.

But I could be biased as I tend to dislike every announcer on FOX baseball games. That means you Tim McCarver.

Thankfully, Rob Neyer saw this game and defended Jose Reyes publicly in his blog for Neyer writes:

"One thing that drives me crazy about writers and broadcasters is how they'll get something stuck in their head, and you're not getting it out of there with a titanium sledgehammer. Yes, there was a moment when J.J. Hardy looked like the National League's most valuable player. That moment was approximately May 25, when Hardy was batting .360 and (I believe) led the NL with 15 homers. That was then. Now, he's not anything like the most valuable player. He's not even the most valuable shortstop."

Well said, Mr. Neyer. For Rob Neyer's full post, click here. (ESPN insider)

Trade Talk Heating Up

According to a report in the Star Ledger, the Mets and White Sox have been discussing deals about Mark Burhle and Jose Contreras. An unidentified team official indicated the Mets would prefer Contreras over Burhle.

I'm not opposed to either of these guys as long as they don't give up any of their prospects for them. And as I stated before, I'm more inclined to strengthen the bull pen rather than getting a starter. Unless of course, those names include Oswalt, Zambrano and Willis.

Paul Lo Duca is the Mets Version of Sonny Corleone

Paul Lo Duca lost it on Saturday night. As I was sitting on my couch I was actually enjoying what unfolded. I had to explain to my wife that when a catcher argues a ball or strike, he's not just upset that he had a strike called against him, but he's arguing on behalf of his pitcher as well.

Now Lo Duca did a little more than argue after he was tossed, but that's what happens when you mess with the Mets family.

As I watched Lo Duca's tirade, I said this is our version of Sonny Corleone. Now if you don't know who Sonny Corleone is you need to stop reading this right now, drive to your local Blockbuster, and rent The Godfather, Part I. For those of us who do know Sonny, Lo Duca has the same bravado, dedication to his work, and love for his family that the eldest Corleone had.

If there's anyone I would "go to the mattresses" with on the Mets, it's Paul Lo Duca. He's not the biggest guy, but if you need him, he's there. 110%. He plays injured. He takes the blame when things aren't going right. He looks after the Mets version of Micheal Corleone, David Wright.

We just gotta keep Lo Duca away from toll booths.

Willie Randolph may have been upset with Lo Duca's performance, but I say it's just Sonny being Sonny. I love the fire Lo Duca. Don't ever lose it.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

I Feel Good!

...Like I knew that I would!

Great weekend for the Mets as they swept the A's and added to their 1st place lead. You could not have asked for anything more if you're a Mets fan.

With this losing streak behind us, it is now time to take over and attain our rightful place as the National League's best team. And time for some vengence, as St. Louis comes back to Shea for the first time since beating the Mets in Game 7 of the NLCS last year.

Carlos Gomez is the Fastest Man in the Majors

You might think the title is a bit of a hyperbole, but I assure you it's not. During Sunday's Mets game, Carlos Gomez legged out a bunt base hit like I have never seen before. I mean I know he's fast, but what happened next was unreal.

The SNY crew timed Gomez from the batter's box to first base. Ralph Kiner remarked that the record for going home to first was 3.3 seconds and that was by a left handed batter.

Gomez was clocked at just over 3.4. And he bats right handed. And, as Gary Cohen noted, he looked backwards twice on his way to first base.

I had heard people say he's faster than Jose Reyes, but sometimes it's all hype. This is proof.

3.4 seconds to first base. I can't even type "3.4 seconds to first base" in 3.4 seconds. Can't wait for Carlos Gomez to develop and have him and Jose Reyes atop the Mets lineup for years to come.

Don't Disrespect David Wright

I was shocked tonight when the Oakland A's intentionally walked Carlos Beltran in the bottom of the ninth with Ramon Castro on second base as the winning run.

First of all they haven't been watching Beltran swing the bat lately in clutch situations. Don't they know just throw him an Adam Wainwright curve and he's helpless?

But if you put that aside, it wasn't Carlos Delgado batting behind Beltran. It was the rock of this Mets lineup, David Wright. Sure he's young, but let's not be disrespectful.

Nothing hurts a slugger's pride more than the guy in front of him getting intentionally walked in a clutch situation. David Wright did what he does best. He slapped the ball to the opposite field with the outfield set up deep.

Ball game.

This kid is our franchise (along with Jose Reyes). How dare you not think the New York boy scout, David Wright, wouldn't come through for a team that has struggled to win a series since Memorial Day.

I guess it's just further proof that David Wright is ready and willing to put this team on his shoulders and drag them into the postseason.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

The Lost Art of First Inning Bunting

Jose Reyes did something in last night's Mets' win that I hadn't seen in a while. He bunted on the first pitch for a base hit.

What a concept! We have the fastest man in the league batting leadoff so why not bunt in the 1st inning every once in a while. Sure Reyes has some pop, but I like the idea of getting him on in the 1st inning. Then let him steal second, third, and why not home?

Just like the New York Giants need to throw to Jeremy Shockey early to get him psyched and the team's energy pumping, the Mets need that Reyes spark early.

The results last night were pretty evident. The Mets scored early, often and the stage was set for a good game.

Let's hope we can see some more of this in the next few games to hopefully get this team on a different kind of streak.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Mets 9 A's 1

The Mets had the total package on display tonight. Glavine was flawless. Beltran and Green hit bombs. Reyes was Reyes. And behind some stellar defensive play, the Mets cruised to a 9-1 victory over the Oakland A’s to take the first of three games.

It was nice to see Tom Glavine get back to form as he pitched a beautiful game for his 296th win. He also had two hits including a double and 2 RBI. It was great to see Jose Reyes having some fun shadow boxing in the dugout while Beltran, Gotay and Sosa looked on. It’s been a while since we’ve seen this kind of banter and it was a welcomed sight.

I guess the only negative of the night was Randolph pulling Glavine in the 9th after allowing a hit on his first pitch. I guess he wanted to get him a standing ovation as he walked off the mound, but the crowd wasn’t too pleased. They wanted a complete game.

Be that as it may, it was a nice all-around victory. Let’s get another one tomorrow to make it two in a row for the first time in three eeks.

Mets, Rumors & What If's

It's time for the baseball rumor mill to heat. Let's take a look at some rumors and what if scenarios surrounding the New York Mets.

read more | digg story

Rumors and ‘What Ifs’

It’s that time of year again! Time when the rumor mills heat up and spread like wildfire, fueling the interest of baseball fans everywhere. For the next 5 weeks, you will become familiar with names like Burhle, Willis, Oswalt, Gagne, Lidge, Dunn and Dye. Their names will be linked to any number of deals, many of them rarely coming to fruition.

And that’s exactly what makes this time of year so much fun. We love having those imaginative, hypothetical discussions about new players coming to our favorite team. Just last week, Dave (Mets Lifer contributor) and I were talking about the Mets getting Ichiro from Seattle. Imagine…Reyes and Ichiro hitting 1-2 in the lineup. Are you kidding me?

Even in cities like Cincinatti, where the Reds are sinking into oblivion, fans are anxious to see if trades involving Griffey and Dunn just might inject new hope to a struggling franchise. Read the email below from a Reds fan in Cincinatti, sent to us by a Mets Lifer. It’s a little long but the passion is priceless and Mets Lifers can certainly relate.

…watching ESPN news was on the tv in the corner with no volume. They kept showing a highlight film of Griffey and underneath the scroll said “Griffey to Cubs?” with the question mark bolded.
What a dream it would be to dump him and his salary. He and Sweet Lou would have a quick love fest there and Wrigley will sell out all summer. Then Junior will pull a muscle when tying his cleats and that will be the end. I’m being too harsh on him, but he’s not a leader. He’s a follower and when you’re in a small market like this and making that much $$, you need to buck up and become the franchise and the role model for the rookies and youngsters. For being one of the greatest ever, he didn’t take command of the clubhouse when he arrived here in 2000 and he never has since. He’s like a little school boy and it never resonated with him that when you do 20 commercials and are called one of the 50 best ever, you have to take everything to the next level including stretching and lifting during the off season.

That’s why even with all Pete’s off field problems, this has always been a Pete Rose town. He would be mayor today if he announced today that he was going to run. He had a simple model--Bust it 100% with hard slides and diving for balls, tell the press that you love the game and you love the organization, get it out there so we can read that on every road trip he tells the youngsters how to act on and off the field, and make it be known that everything you do is to make sure 25 of your teammates are wearing a championship ring within a few years. That’s all he did and this town ate it up. I’m not even sure it was all genuine but he was the only advertising piece the Reds had to use for 20 years. Griffey is 11 months younger than I am, so he grew up with the Big Red Machine just as I did. That’s why I’ve had such a problem with him. He saw this, yet did none of it.

Think that fan wants Griffey out of Cincy? I remember not too long ago, the Mets almost had Junior. If he had accepted the trade, Seattle would have gotten Armando Benitez and Roger Cedeno (true story) in return, but Griffey didn’t want to play in New York and so the deal was nixed.

Some rumors do indeed work out. I remember when Piazza was available from Florida and everyone started to think the Mets were prime candidates to land him. And everyone knew how big this was, what this would do for the team, the organization. But the Mets’ brass, clueless as they were at that time, seemed disinterested. And as Mets Lifers, we just knew it was too good to be true and all we could do was imagine…OR…flood the phone lines at WFAN and literally beg Wilpon and Phillips to get him. Miraculously, it worked. That trade will go down as one of the most important deals in team history, if not the most important. Piazza single-handedly brought this franchise back from the abyss.

If you have a favorite trade rumor post your feedback here. For now, I’m going with Ichiro in right field, batting behind Reyes. He is a free agent at the end of the year and just might be available.

Around the Horn: Willie gets Wilpon’s Support

Amazing what 2 ½ weeks can do. It seems like ages ago the Mets were dominating the National League and were well on their way to another post season run. But with this current losing streak, many questions abound. Is Delgado done? Will Beltran turn it around? Can Glavine return to his ’06 form? Even Willie Randolph, the guy who finished second to Joe Giradi for the Manager of Year Award last year, is getting grilled.

But in an article in the Daily News, Fred Wilpon, while at a fund-raising event yesterday, answered any doubt about Randolph by giving a resounding show of support for his manager.

"I can tell you the best thing I've seen is how Willie has handled (the recent slump)," said Wilpon. "The experience he had all those years in the Bronx, it's time well spent for him. Watching him handle it now, it's great."

To read the rest of the article by Christian Red, click here.

Where Art Thou, O Lastings Milledge?

Oh Lastings, my lastings. Where for art thou my Lastings Milledge?

This was your year. With all the injuries in the outfield this was your chance to make us believe the hype. Now a freak injury has left you trapped in Triple A, and made the Mets resort to using Ricky Ledee (tear).

The other thing is we could have traded you last year when your stock was high. At the very least Barry Zito would have been a Met. Who knows, we could (i.e. should) have packaged you and Heilman to Florida for a man named, Dontrelle Willis.

Will we ever see the real Lastings Milledge? Will he be the player we thought him to be? Carlos Gomez appears to be our new favorite prospect, but I do wonder if we'll see Lasting Milledge play another game at Shea Stadium.

The crazy thing is if you were a nice kid no one would be talking about trading you.

Get better soon so we can trade you for some pitching.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

A Call to Arms

Trade season is upon us and early reports indicate that the Mets are focusing their attention on starting pitching, which is never really a bad thing. But unless it’s an Oswalt or a Zambrano (Carlos), I’d much rather see Omar go after some quality arms to rescue a very suspect bullpen.

More than anything else, they need to improve their middle relief. You have to assume the offense will get back to normal. And the starting pitching, while not great, is certainly serviceable, especially with Pedro on slate to comeback early August. But the area that concerns me the most are those guys coming out to pitch in the 6th, 7th and 8th innings. With the exception of Joe Smith & Feliciano, I don’t feel confident in any one of the guys they’re throwing out there. And it’s been a big reason why they are in this skid.

Your bullpen is supposed to do two things: 1). keep you close in ballgames to allow you a come back, and 2). lock down a game you are leading. This is what made them so devastating last year. They’re bullpen was flat out dominant. Games are won and lost in the bullpen now more than ever before. Teams can overcome starting pitching flaws with a good offense, but you’ll be hard pressed to overcome a bad bullpen, especially in the post season. And right now, the Mets bullpen is awful. That is why it is imperative for Omar to go out and get at least two quality arms in that pen. If he doesn’t, the Mets are in trouble.

Worst Mets Pitchers Ever

On Friday night I'll be taking my wife to her second major league baseball game ever. Her first one was the night the Mets clinched the pennant last year. When I told her that Glavine was pitching, she groaned and remarked on how horrible he is.

Now this is a person who just started watching baseball this year. I tried to explain how historically Glavine is a hall of fame pitcher. He just can't do anything right lately. This got me thinking about all the horrible pitchers the Mets have had over the last 20 years and I was amazed at the mental list I was making. So here are my top 5 worst Mets pitchers ever. Feel free to add to it.

5. Armando Benitez - a.k.a. Mr. Choke
4. Don Aase - Mrs. Choke
3. Jose Lima - Proved how awful he was in just 2 starts
2. Bill Pulsipher - This is more of the disappointment in what could have been.
1. Anthony Young - Congrats! You're in the hall of fame for losing 20 straight games AND you weren't on the 1962 Mets.

If Bobby Bonilla was a pitcher it would have been a close call for #1.

"Bring Bobby V Back"

The throes of a losing streak almost inevitably conjure up some of the best recommendations on how to improve the team. And Mets fans haven’t disappointed. I’ve heard someone say, ‘Sit Beltran, put Gomez in Center, play Ben Johnson in left’ (absolutely); And another, ‘trade Milledge for Roy Oswalt’ (simple enough). Some have even called for the return of Bobby Valentine. My favorite came from a caller on WFAN the other night. “I know what the Mets need to do…they need to bring Bobby Valentine back, this team needs a spark and Bobby Valentine can do that.” (brilliant!).

Bring Bobby V. back. Sure, I miss going to those Saturday afternoon games in July when Alfonzo, Olerud and Piazza were all getting the day off, and Jay Payton batted third, Benny Agbayani hit cleanup. This decision was so absurd you wonder if Valentine was just doing it so the beat reporters would write about his quirky style of managing. I also miss the days when Bobby V, sitting in the dugout, would disguise himself in sunglasses and a fake mustache. Those were good times.

Look, Bobby Valentine was a decent manager, a good strategist and did bring us to a World Series, but let’s be honest, he’s not better than Willie Randolph. If he was, then why isn’t he managing in the Major Leagues now, rather than being idolized (true story) in Japan?

Say what you want about Randolph, the guy is a leader. He commands respect from his players and they love him. Take a look at Pedro Martinez. A perennial club house cancer in Boston, Martinez comes to NY and is one of the best guys around. Can you question some of his in-game decision making? Of course, but you can do that with every manager. Heck, one move I was really annoyed with and to this day still makes no sense to me, was when he removed Mike Piazza in his last game as a Met, in between innings when he was due to bat in the bottom half of the inning. Fans at the game didn’t even realize there was a new catcher behind the plate.

Still, the Mets are much better with him than without him. I truly believe this organization, with Omar’s guidance, is building a tradition here. The foundation is in place and Randolph is the quintessential building block.

That Milledege for Oswalt deal sounds pretty good.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Thank You Note from a Mets Fan to the Red Sox

Dear Boston Red Sox,

Let me start by saying how thankful I am to your franchise. You have given me so many great memories that I feel like I should be an honorary Red Sox fan in some way.

Where do I start? I guess it's obvious. Thanks so much for Bill Buckner. My childhood was filled with joy thanks to your first baseman. I can remember reinacting that Game 6 play in my backyard on many a summer day while imitating Bob Murphy's "Get's By Buckner! Get's By Bucker!" It was the culminating moment of my childhood baseball memories. It can never be replaced and I owe you for that.

Also, you have caused some wonderful angst within Yankee nation. And as a Mets Lifer there's really no way of measuring how much that is worth. Coming back from being down 3-0 to beat the Yankees in 2004. Priceless.

You gave us Pedro, the ultimate villain in Roger Clemens, and now thanks to Big Papi ever walk off home run must culminate with the helmet toss before reaching home plate.

And yet you continue to give.

This year you have beaten the Braves for us on multiple occasions while the Mets have tried to find a way out of this slump. The Red Sox have allowed us to maintain our position in first place of the NL East of which we are grateful.

You can expect a lovely basket from 1-800-FLOWERS to arrive at Fenway Park later this week to show you just how thankful I am (I hope you like petunias!). Keep up the excellent work and I look forward to a potential meeting in October.

A Very Thankful Mets Lifer

SI Poll: Hardest Throwing Pitchers

Sports Illustrated recently polled 464 Major League Baseball players on who is the hardest throwing pitcher in the game. Billy Wagner was voted second behind Joel Zumaya, RHP of the Detroit Tigers. For the complete list, click here.

Sosa Hits #600

Playing against his former team, the Chicago Cubs, Sammy Sosa hit his 600th home run tonight becoming just the 5th player to hit the milestone. Sosa sits in good company behind Aaron, Bonds, Ruth and Mays. Question is, does anyone really care?

Mets Lose Again

Well it’s starting to become an all too familiar sight. Mets lose another series, making it six in a row. Seems like old times (i.e. 2002-2004) as they’re now only six games above .500

Oliver Perez got the start tonight and did not pitch well, allowing 4 runs, 5 walks in 5+ innings, including a 2 out, 2 run homer to Tori Hunter in the to give the Twins 3-2 lead on the 5th.

The relief came on and was anything but, allowing 3 more runs in the 6th to extend the lead 6-2. From there it was lights out as the sleep-walking lineup of the Mets went down quietly. The only positive of the evening was Carlos Beltran who ripped 3 hits. Other than that, it was another lack luster performance.Fortunately for the Mets, the Phillies and Braves continue to lose as well.

National League teams can't come soon enough.

Gammons Believes Buehrle will end up with Mets

On The Michael Kay Show, Peter Gammons reiterated his belief that Mark Buehrle will be traded to the Mets. Gammons went on to say that Lastings Milledge will be the prime candidate to be dealt and felt that should be enough to get the deal done. He said anything more would be giving up too much, but if the Mets did trade someone else in a package deal, Omar might ask for a hard throwing reliever in return.

Gammons does think Mets will come out of this slump and will compete for a World Series title.

Blowout or Heartbreaker?

That is the question. After losing 2 of the last 3 games by scores of 9-0 and 8-2, something strange happened. I actually slept better than I have in the last than 2 weeks. Why? Because these games were over quickly and the Mets never really had a shot. Which begs the question: Would you rather the Mets lose a close game, or get hammered?

For me, I’d have to choose the latter. And here’s why: If the Mets get beat up early and suffer a big defeat, I don’t have to torture myself thinking about every single play that went wrong, or that they failed to execute. ‘If only Beltran didn’t swing at the first pitch to end the game with the bases loaded’...‘If only Wagner threw a slider down and in to an undisciplined Burrell, not a fastball in his wheelhouse’ or ‘If only Delgado had gotten one hit out of the hundred chances with men on they would have won’

You get the point. Heartbreaking losses are called heartbreaking for a reason; because they crush you. You think about them over and over, replaying parts of the game in your head, saying things like, ‘If only Timo Perez ran, the series would have been much different.’ But when they get blown out, micro-analysis (aka mental torture) is irrelevant. There’s nothing to obsess about, no single play would have made a difference anyway. You accept defeat and move on. Sleep well.

I was lucky enough (or not, depending on how you look at it) to have been at Game 7 last year. Many will remember it as a baseball classic. People will say, ‘You got to see one of the best Game 7’s’ ‘You saw Endy’s catch!’ Hogwash! Truth of the matter is that game still haunts me. We had so many chances to win and we flat out blew it. To this day, I have only seen one highlight of that called strike three and that was by accident (he should have swung). Had the Mets gotten thumped in that final game, I would have been ticked, but it certainly would have been less painful. Just give credit to the Cardinals and be done with it. Instead, it becomes one of the biggest wounds MetsLifers carry with them.

A “W” is a “W” and a loss is a loss. And no matter how you lose, it still counts as an “L” in the loss column. For die-hards, it’s just easier to deal with. Accept defeat and move on. Sleep well.

(Endy’s catch is the single greatest post-season catch in baseball history)

Carlos Gomez Makes Mets Future Bright

It's easy to get down about the Mets right now. We haven't won a series since Paris Hilton was thrown in jail. And it feels like nothing can go right.

But I have seen hope, and it's name is Carlos Gomez.

I have to admit that I was one of the major critics of Gomez when he first came up. He swung at everything. He was swinging out of his shoes on every pitch. He was making bad decisions in the field. He didn't know the meaning of a cutoff man. And the list goes on.

However, over the past week and a half Carlos Gomez has shown us something that is an invaluable trait in any ballplayer. He learns from his mistakes.

The kid is starting to take pitches. He even walked twice in a game last week. He's bunting for base hits, stealing bases, and returning to the fundamentals.

Gomez tracked down a flyball down the left field line yesterday that I thought was a guaranteed double. Yet he glided over there and caught the ball in stride. The kid is a gazelle.

He's got great potential and I'd like to see Willie keep him up the rest of the season even when Moises Alou & Endy Chavez come off the DL. Why? He's the perfect pinch runner and he needs more at bats to help his development speed along.

I think Carlos Gomez is improving at a faster rate than Jose Reyes did when he first came up. Don't get me wrong. Gomez is nowhere near the ballplayer we need him to be, but I like what I'm seeing that gives me hope for the future of the ball club.

Keep working hard Gomez. Great things are ahead. And he's the only man on the planet faster than Jose Reyes.

The Mets Run Out of Runs

I posted yesterday that Mets tend to score runs when they don't need to. What I also failed to point out is that historically, the day after the Mets win big by scoring a ton of runs the next day they almost always forget how to score.

I'd like to see Gary Cohen run this stat on an SNY telecast to see what the Mets record is the day after they win by 5 or more runs. I'm betting over the last 40+ years we are well under .500.

Now that's not to say the Mets didn't hit the ball last night. In the first few innings it seemed like everyone was hitting rockets, but either right at people or just to the warning track. If the Mets played at Citizens Bank Park they would have had a couple of homers, but the confines of Shea don't allow that.

Also, we all knew Jorge Sosa had to come back down to earth. Did you see the stat of his ERA in losses? His ERA is over 10 in games when he loses, but under 2 in games he wins. It's like he has multiple personality disorder.

Santana threw under 100 pitches in a complete game shutout. None of the Mets staff can make it through the 6th without throwing 100 pitches.

We need to win a series to get some morale in the clubhouse. Thankfully Oliver Perez is pitching. Who thought that statement would ever be uttered?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Bob Costas Singing Meet the Mets

This is too good not to share. Came across this video of Bob Costas singing the classic "Meet the Mets" song on some show he hosted. Gets me in the mood for some baseball!


Santana of Another Kind

With Johan Santana pitching at Shea tonight, Met fans will no doubt be reminded (wink) of another Santana who once roamed the same territory Jose Reyes currently occupies; the enigmatic, Rafael Santana.

Wearing #3 for the Mets, Rafael was a key player on the 1986 World Series Championship team. Known mainly for his slick fielding, Rafael was a mainstay in the #8 spot. Night after night, when Davey Johnson filled out that lineup card, you knew Rafael would be penciled in just ahead of the pitcher. Hitting .218, with one HR (no doubt a torrid blast) and 28 RBI, Santana was intentionally walked 12 times, tying him for 10th that season.

While I don’t have any dramatic memories of Santana doing anything spectacular, ala Lenny, Mookie, Keith or Strawberry, I do recall a shocking excerpt from Jeff Pearlman’s hilariously entertaining book, “The Bad Guys Won!”

In it, Ed Hearn, backup catcher for the ’86 Mets, tells a ‘warm, fuzzy’ story about how a passed out Santana, fully exposed, urinated all over himself and on the back of Hearn’s seat. “Eight out of ten guys would have drilled him,” Hearn said, “I was nice enough to straighten him up in his seat.”

What’s your favorite memory of Rafael Santana? Share them here in the “comments” section.

What song best explains the current state of the Mets?

A post from The LoHud Mets blog asks, what song best describes the state of the Mets right now. Check out the comments section to see the responses. Some very funny and original suggestions.

Check it out here.

Mets Score Runs When They Don't Need To

Fantastic game last night. Maine pitched well and went deep into the game for the first time in a long time. Reyes continued his excellent all round play. We even had a Carlos Delgado sighting with his 11th home run of the season. Even Ricky Ledee got a home run. Welcome back from the dead, Ricky!

It was a much needed win as much as it was a morale booster.

But here's my concern. The Mets always seem to score a lot of runs when they don't need to.

With the Mets up 4-1 in the 8th, the lineup unleashed for another four runs with most of the coming with two outs. However, it's easy to play loose and swing freely when you're already up three runs with one inning to go.

I know that driving in runs with runners in scoring position is always a necessity no matter part of the game it is, but I want to see this kind of offensive explosion when we REALLY need it.

When are we going to see this hitting when we're down two runs in the 7th? Or how about we're up 2-1 in the 8th and can use some insurance runs for our wonderful bullpen?

When that starts happening, that's when I'll know we're out of this funk we're in.

But I'll take a win any way I can get it.

Around the Horn: Willie Not Happy with Beltran's Chatter

Seems fans are not the only ones disappointed with Carlos Beltran. According to multiple reports, Willie Randolph, not happy with his star centerfielder for continually opening his mouth up about his 'sore quad' pulled Beltran aside during batting practice to talk to him about it.

David Lennon of Newsday writes: Randolph was mystified yesterday by another round of questioning about Beltran's quad and further annoyed by media accounts indicating he didn't know of his status. Quote from Willie "I don't see it as an issue," Randolph said. "Somebody suggested that we're not on the same page. Maybe a little bit at times, but so what? What about [Jose] Valentin? He looks restricted. He has a big brace on his knee ... From what I know, [Beltran] has been feeling the soreness in his leg since spring training."

In the Daily News, Vic Ziegel pens his own piece on the subject, quoting Willie saying, "I don't see where it's an issue." The manager will admit it's sore but that's as far as he goes.

In other words, Willie 'stelling him to shut up and play.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Quote of the Day

Comes from a caller (Lisa) on WFAN's, Mike & the Mad Dog Show: Someone needs to give Beltran some cheeze for that 'whine'

Mets 8 Twins 1

Finally some runs! After smacking 15 hits for 8 runs, the Mets get a "W". Carlos Delgado busted out with a home run, Carlos Beltran hit the ball real hard and had a rope double, Reyes had 3 hits. The big key tonight were the 2 out, RBI hits that were virtually non-exisistant over the last two weeks. Those 2-out hits were the signature of the team last year and it was nice to see them back to form tonight.

John Maine, now 7-4, was impressive once again, throwing 7 shut out innings to lower his ERA to 2.90. Both Maine and Perez should be considered for the All-Star game as they can easily have 10 victories a piece.

Surprise! Mets Still in First Place!

I've lost track of how many series we've lost in a row. We haven't won back to back games in what feels like a month. We were just demoralized by the Yankees.

And guess what?

The Mets are still in 1st place! Unreal. Usually losing streaks like this find the Mets 8 games back, but we are still three games up on the Phillies in the loss column. Some how that translates to being up 1.5 games in the standings.

But even with this tumultuous slide we are on, we are still atop the NL East standings.

We won't be there for long if this keeps up. Let's hope a return to Shea is just what the doctor ordered.

Where is Delgado's Fire?

Carlos Delgado looks like Frodo about halfway through Return of the King. You know, Frodo's at the point where he knows he needs to keep on going, but the ring is just too much to bare. Sam Gamgee has to drag him up Mount Doom, and it appears they have come all this way just for Frodo to fall apart.

Yup, that's Delgado. Sam Gamgee is, of course, David Wright, the only Met carrying any load at this point. The problem with this analogy is Frodo ultimately succeeds. Delgado's not looking like he's doing anything successful anytime soon.

Carlos Delgado has lost his fire. Did you see how fast he wanted to get off the field in the 9th inning last night against Mike Myers? Myers third strike barely reached home plate before Deglado was on his way to the dugout. He wanted to go run and hide.

Where have the fist pumps gone after a good play at first base or a clutch double play? Where is the menacing stare he puts on when he's up with runners in scoring position? Why is he swinging with such an uppercut that it looks like he's using a pitching wedge instead of a baseball bat?

Carlos Delgado needs an enema. So do the Mets at this point. But I know if Delgado turns it around so will the ball club. A .225 average is not going to cut it. I'd rather see Green at first base if this keeps up.

Come on Carlos. Get your groove back. . .and make it quick.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

What the Mets Lineup Should Be

Willie Randolph is earning his paycheck with the amount of lineup changes he goes through. However, I think he's fiddling around way too much and needs to stick with a lineup for a few weeks. In this MetsLifer's opinion, here's what it should look like and why:

1. Jose Reyes - no brainer

2. Paul Lo Duca - Willie is struggling to find a #2 hitter. Didn't we have a pretty good one last year? Hmmm. Lo Duca has found his swing again so stick him back at the top.

3. Carlos Beltran - He's struggling, but this is where he'll get his groove back.

4. David Wright - He's carrying the team at this point. He's our best RBI man. He'll be here for the next 10 years so get him comfortable.

5. Shawn Green - Green is slow coming back from his foot injury and Wright might get some intentional walks with Green behind him. That's ok. Wright has been stealing bases and Green is one of those guys that nothing gets to him. I like him as a steady #5.

6. Carlos Delgado - He's lost out there. Stick him down in the order. This is the spot where he started to turn things around. Keep him here until he goes 25 for 40 with 8 home runs and 15 RBI's.

7. Jose Valentin - Need him at #7 for some extra pop at the bottom of the order.

8. Carlos Gomez - Batting Gomez before the pitcher is the best thing you can do for this kid. He'll get a couple of intentional walks which should let him run free on the base paths, which is just what we want him to do.

9. Pitcher - duh.

Where are the Kansas City Royals when you need them?

Another game against the Yankees tonight. The Twin and A's come into town next week. It's like the 2006 playoffs at Shea Stadium this week.

When are the Mets going to get a break in their interleague schedule? I can't remember the last time we got to play the Royals at Shea. Oh that's right, because we never have! Or the Devil Rays. Or the Orioles. Or any team that absolutely stinks.

Now I'm not anti-interleague play. I do think we play too many interleague games, but I'm one of those people that likes the chance to beat the Yankees a couple of games every year. But with this many playoff teams playing the Mets, we need to incorporate an NCAA Football strength of schedule statistic to even things out.

That's still no excuse for the way we've been playing. Delgado looks like a cross between Cliff Floyd & Mo Vaughn. Beltran has lost any fire in his belly. Willie Randolph has changed the lineup card so many times you think he was managing the Yankees starting rotation.

But we need to catch a break somewhere. Let's hope tonight's the night.

Biggest Game of the Season Tonight

Having been steamrolled yesterday by a potent Yankees lineup, the Mets find themselves in a must win situation tonight in order to feel good about themselves, and feel like they’re making their way out of this losing trend. By taking two out of three from their red-hot cross-town rivals, and subsequently, the season series, the Mets’ confidence would be injected with a much-needed boost as they head into another round of Interleage play against the Twins and A’s. Plus, it will keep the Braves and Phillies at arm’s length in the NL East.

Other than Oliver Perez, who has clearly asserted himself as the best big game pitcher on the squad, I wouldn’t want any other guy than El Duque on the hill in a game as important as this one. For years, Hernandez has proven to be a big game pitcher, never concerned with the pressure. He thrives in these spots and I expect nothing less tonight.

The Mest will have their hands full as they will be opposed by Chien-Ming Wang, who has pitched well of late. And with the core part of the Mets lineup struggling, it will be critical for El Duque to contain the offensive juggernaut of the Yanks.

Quote of the Day

“I don’t feel frustrated, because I am doing my best.” By Carlos Beltran.

Really? You’re not frustrated? Interesting, because this mini, potentially season-changing collapse is pissing me off. My frustration was boiling over yesterday after watching you foul out feebly on the first pitch to end the game. Especially after seeing a 21 year old kid battle his way to a hit off the greatest closer of all-time. Especially watching the ultra-passionate, super-charged and team MVP Jose Reyes work a tough AB into a RBI hit. Then you step in the box; one pitch, game over. I’m really glad you don’t feel frustrated.

I’m not sure what aggravates me more: That he’s looking like the 2005 version of Carlo Beltran or that he openly admits to not being frustrated.

Look, I wanted Beltran here in the worst way when he was a free agent. I thought he was exactly what this team needed, a superstar centerfielder just entering his prime. I even wrote in to Metsblog when Matt Cerrone was putting a petition together to recruit him here. And so I can deal with the slumping, the thoughtless ABs, but it really steams me as a fan, a MetsLifer, when someone isn’t emotionally connected to the game. I really don’t want to hear ‘I don’t feel frustrated’ during these down times.

It makes me question why then, should I be so passionate about it? If he doesn’t care, why should I? Why go to the games, contribute to his salary if he’s indifferent about whether they win or lose. Maybe that’s why he was telling everybody he wasn’t affected by his infamous, season-ending strikeout last year against St. Louis. Maybe that’s why he’s loafing after balls in the outfield. Maybe that’s why he’s not on second base after a dropped pop up in the outfield – down by one run in the last inning. He just doesn’t care. Try asking Jose Reyes is he feels frustrated. You think he would respond the same? ‘Course not, and he’s playing well. Take a look at Willie Randolph’s face, think he’s not frustrated? Listen to talk radio, read the blogs. Think Mets fans aren’t frustrated?

Some might say I’m being too harsh but when a player makes a statement like that, he opens himself up to all kinds of criticism. How can we not question his desire? All we can expect as fans is that you play hard and that you want to win. If that expectation is compromised or in doubt, then so too should our financial contributions.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Wally's World?

The indelible image will be forever etched in my memory. Wally Backman and Lenny Dykstra jumping, skipping and spinning around the basepaths in Game 3 of the 1986 NLCS when Dykstra hit a dramatic walk off home run to beat the Astros. I was jumping in similar fashion right along with them, from my living room.

21 years later, Wally Backman is being captured on film for a different reason. Managing the South Georgia Peanuts, an independent minor league team, Backman will be the subject of a reality show by documentary filmaker, John Fitzgerald.

To read more, check out Jack Curry's piece in The New York Times.

The Curse of 300

The Mets should trade Tom Glavine for a player to be named later. You think I'm kidding?

After a gem from Oliver Perez the Mets received. . . .hmmmmmm. . . . a pretty ordinary outing from Tom Glavine. Really, what are we to expect from the future hall of famer at this point in his career?

Going for the 300th win is always tough. I remember Clemens went a month or two without a win before finally notching his 300th win. It felt like 4 months before Gary Carter hit his 300th home run. The problem with any great milestone is the mental toll it takes. Anyone who says they're not thinking about it is lying. And it's obviously effecting Glavine.

But Glavine's career with the Mets is done. Does anyone expect him to enter the Hall as a Met? Does he ever act like he really wants to be here? Is there really any loyalty that requires us to hold on to him?

If there isn't a signficant change in his performance over the next month, I'd want Omar Minaya to trade him & Aaron Heilman to Atlanta for Rafael Soriano. The Braves could use another starting pitcher and John Smoltz would be thrilled to have his buddy back. Plus the Mets need some bullpen help.

I'd be happy to face Glavine in the playoffs.

But for now, I'm pulling for you Tom. I hope you can turn this around and make a liar out of me. I really do.

Buehrle, Lidge to Mets?

According to the Newark Star Ledger, the Mets have expressed interest in both Mark Buehrle and Brad Lidge.

I wouldn't mind either of them. We need help in the pen, and could always use another arm in the rotation.

Yanks 11 Mets 8

So much for the good feeling I had this morning. Momentum is only as good as your next day’s starting pitcher and Tom Glavine brought it to a screeching halt this afternoon. Allowing 7 runs in 4 innings, including two HRs, one to A-Rod, the other to Jeter, Glavine looked downright awful.

While we did put some runs on the board, (thank you Jose Reyes), the Mets continued their season-long pattern of leaving men on base. I think the Mets left 65 guys on base. Carlos Beltran was the biggest culprit, fouling out to end the game on Rivera’s first pitch after the Mets rallied to within 3. Someone ask Beltran why he swung at the first pitch when Rivera was on the ropes, with 30+ pitches in the inning. If these guys don’t start producing, Delgado & Beltran, the Mets are going nowhere. And if Minaya doesn’t pick up some help for this bullpen, we will have a hard time repeating as NL East Champs. Instead of Sanchez, Bradford and Oliver, we have Schoenweis, Sele, & Mota. Everytime they come in the game, they let a run or two, making it difficult to stay in games or come back, like today.

If it weren’t for Jose Reyes improvising runs, where would the Mets be?

Who was that playing left field last night?

Did you see that? Some guy I've never seen before was playing left field for the Mets last night against the Yankees.

What's that?

THAT was Carlos Gomez? No way.

Carlos Gomez finally played one solid all-round game for the Mets. He looked like a young Vince Coleman out there. Making a great catch in the field to turn it into a huge double play. He bunted a couple of times, stole a few bases, and scored what turned out to be the winning run of the game.

I can see Gomez being a Vince Coleman type player for the Mets, but Mets fans shouldn't get too excited just yet. It will be another year or two until he fully develops. Gomez also look like Reyes did at the plate just 3 years ago. Remember Reyes used to swing at everything and looked like he was trying to hit a grand slam every time up? That's what Gomez is doing now.

The good news is we all see how Reyes matured and developed. I'm excited to see that happen to Gomez.

Just think of the two at the top of the Mets lineup for the next 10 years. Ooh, goosebumps.

Around the Horn: Pubs Giving Gomez Some Props

It's media day for Carlos Gomez. Reading the pubs this morning and much attention has been given to the 21 year old, 'Plan C' outfielder. Gomez, who has looked overmatched since being called up, made a senasational play in left field, had two bunt base hits, stole his sixth base in seven attempts and scored a run.

For the growing legion of Carlos Gomez fans, here are some stories of the day.

See Daily News article on how the kid drove Clemens 'batty.'

Also, Bob Klapisch pens a piece on the 'multi-tasking', Gomez, who said after the game, "Now we're going to wake up."

Wallace Matthews, of Newsday, writes, 'Gomez humilated Clemens'

And for some great shots of the two speedsters, Reyes & Gomez, check out the NY Times.

This guy has blazing speed. If he can start putting together some decent, more consistent ABs, he and Reyes can cause a lot of havoc for opposing pitchers.

Oliver Perez is a Gamer

Oliver Perez is my kind of pitcher. He shows emotion on the mound. He's the first to high five one of his teammates after they make a great play. But best of all he knows which games need to be won.

Let me ask you this. If there was a must-win game this year, who would you want on the mound? I've lost all confidenc in Glavine's ability to win in the clutch. You could argue El Duque, but I would want Oliver Perez.

Look at who has pitched when the Mets beat the Braves. 2 of our pitiful 3 wins against the Braves are thanks to Oliver Perez. He's pitched well against the Yankees, and to shutout the streaking Yankees while going up against the Rocker, Roger Clemens, proves he has mental toughness to handle these situations. The most encouraging thing was when he was walking batters he was missing low in the zone which prevented him from getting lit up for home runs. Thank you Rick Peterson.

Sure he will give up 8 runs in 3 innings during one of his starts this year, but after last year's Game 7 of the NLCS and what I've seen this year Oliver Perez is in my mind the right pitcher for big games.

P.S. He does have a knack for getting some unbelievable plays out of his outfielders (i.e. Gomez, Endy, etc.)

Mets Back on Track?

I feel good this moring. Last night, obviously, was a huge win. We snapped our losing streak, we took the first game of the series against the hated Yanks, and we picked up a game on the surging Phillies. (Braves won, however). And while the offense continued to struggle, there was something about that game that leads me to beleive the Mets are going to get out of this funk.

No coincidence that Reyes jump started the team last night. Going 3 for 3, with 3 SBs and a moon -shot off the facade of the upper deck, Jose's complete offesnive package was on display. I expect him to start dominating again. Oliver Perez continues to have a fine season, having beaten the Yanks for a second time this year. Perez is coming up big this season: 5 of his seven wins are against the Yanks and the Braves.

I believe the Mets will play loose today, and that tightness and sloppy play will be exorcised. There's something about it, a feeling I have, that tells me they will carry this little momentum into another good run. Get one of the next two games, win the series, and get back to Shea where we will begin taking our rightful place as the National League's best team.

Around the Horn: Delgado's Struggles Continues

Following up on Dave's post yesterday, the always insighful Bob Klapisch of The North Jersey Record examines why Carlos Delgado appears to have gotten old quickly. In the article, Klapisch writes that Delgado's tirade with home plate umpire after his 3rd strikeout of the night is a clear sign that his season-long slump - or rapid decline in skills - is starting to get to him. A scout is quoted, saying of Delgado: 'He looks more tentative than I ever remember seeing him. He's guessing a lot.'

Let's hope he snaps out this soon. We need his bat.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Mets Defeat Yanks 2-0

On a masterful pitching performance by Oliver Perez (7-5) the Mets defeated Roger Clemens and the Yankees 2-0 to snap their 5 game losing skid. Jose Reyes provided a long-overdue jolt of electricty as he went 3-3 with a home run, 3 stolen bases and 2 RBI.

Perez, who dropped his ERA to 2.91, threw 7 1/3 scoreless inning, shutting down an Yankees offense that averaged 7.1 runs per game during their 9 game winning streak. He worked his way out of trouble in the middle innings but bounced back and finised strong before being lifted in the 8th innning with one out. He was helped out by Carlos Gomez who made a fine catch against the left field fence and doubled up Matsui to end a 4th inning trheat.

The Mets offense didn't produce much again and Carlos Delgado struck out 4 times, but they have to feel good about themselves taking the first game of the series.

Possibly the Funniest Injury Note Ever

Sorry Vernon Wells, but this is too funny not to share. Here's an injury note from KFFL:

Cathal Kelly, of the Toronto Star, reports Toronto Blue Jays OF Vernon Wells (groin) took a ball off his groin after a foul tip bounced off home plate and hit him (what are the chances?) Tuesday, June 12. Wells needed a few seconds to recover but stayed in the game (he's a gamer!). He was out of the starting lineup Wednesday, June 13.

Feel better soon Vernon.

Clemens, Newton, Scientists and Madmen…

It is possible but unlikely that Roger Clemens’ name has ever been written or uttered in the same sentence as that of the brilliant, Sir Isaac Newton, one of the world’s founding fathers of physics, mathematics and philosophy. Roger is more likely to be tied to Scientists of an entirely different nature, like those from the wonderful labs of BALCO. (I’m just saying).

Anyway, on my drive into work this morning, I couldn’t help but think of Newton’s Laws of Motion (as I often do) and how they used to be on regular display when Mike Piazza would reduce Clemens to nothing more than a Little League pitcher. For those of you who do not remember Newton’s Laws of Motion, I present to you a refresher:

1. An object in motion will remain in motion unless acted upon by a net force (Piazza’s Homers off Clemens still circle the universe).

2. Force equals mass multiplied by acceleration (Piazza’s Homers off Clemens were missile-like blasts, hard to see with the naked eye).

3. To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. (Piazza’s regular moon-shot home runs turn Clemens into a juice-induced (I’m just saying), sore-losing madman and eventually beans him in the head, and throws a bat at him (when pitching baseballs is a lost cause, why not try something different, right?).

If only we could bring Piazza back for tonight’s game, bring a little old school flava to the Bronx. Maybe O (Omar) could trade an injured Milledge to Billy Beane and the A’s for one day, since he likes him so much, and let him run along the right field stands slapping high-fives with the fans, or just let him bust out some lyrics from his new CD in the clubhouse for the team.

And while we’re on the subject of Laws, the law of averages will tell you that the Mets are due for a victory and the Yanks are due for a loss. It’s time to get back on track tonight and stick it one more time to the over-paid, over-hyped, Rocket.

Is Carlos Delgado Turning into Cliff Floyd?

Let's take a look at some quick statistics:
Batting Avg = .224
HR = 10
RBI = 39
OBP = .293
Walks/Plate Appearance = .077
AB/HR = 24.5

Now if I asked you last year who on the Mets is most likely to have this stat line, I would bet that 75% of you would say Cliff Floyd. Unfortunately, this is what Delgado has done so far this year. He's well off his career average in every category. Although, he has hit 10 homers which puts him on pace for about 30.

Cliff Floyd was at one time a feared hitter. Injuries turned him into a mediocre player at best, but Delgado hasn't had a series of injuries to set him back. But Delgado needs to get his act together before he becomes the next Uncle Cliffy.

Delgado is falling for the same tricks that Floyd did. He's become a sucker for any pitch low and inside because he's trying to turn on it to hit it into next week. Delgado is struggling to hit the ball the other way with power. I give him credit that he's trying to hit to the opposite field, but often times he's left with a ball that can barely reach the outfield.

After last year's NLCS, I became a true Delgado believer, but this year I feel cheated. There was such hope that if we got back to the playoffs Delgado would the "the man" the Mets needed to win a championship.

Right now I just hope he can keep his average above the Mendoza line.

I'm pulling for you Delgado. Read some of your notebook. Get that swagger back. I miss seeing you and Reyes do your little jive at the top of the dugout steps after big hits.

No better time to do it than against the Yankees. Let's go Mets.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Gut Check Time

Ok, MetsLifers, it’s time for that proverbial gut check. Time to pick yourself off the mat and shrug off the carnage. Right now, we’re reeling. We’re angry, we’re embarrassed. We’re questioning whether this team will win another game. The truth is, these are the times that define a true Mets fan. We are there through thick and thin. For the younger generation out there; this is just a natural part of your evolution into a MetsLifer.

For all of those experienced Lifers out there; you know we’ve been down this path many times before. Exhibit A: 1999, Mets up by 4 games in the wild card race with 10 to play, we suddenly can’t win a game, losing 7 in a row and we find ourselves 2 back of the Red with 3 to go. Miraculously, we tie it up and defeat the Reds in a one game playoff on a beautiful pitching performance by Al Leiter.

Exhibit B: Late May, 2000, we were on pace to lose 99 games. We went to the World Series that year…And with far less talent than this team.

The point is, don’t give up. Don’t lose the faith. We are down, but certainly not out. This is a good Mets team. We’re still in first place with a lot of games left. Get a good night’s sleep and get right back out there tomorrow night and pull for your NY Mets!

No Love for Eddie Murray

The Dodgers just pummeled the Mets by scoring 18 runs and knocking 31 hits in route to a series sweep. So what's a team to do? Fire your hitting coach.

Poor Eddie Murray. The ex-Met is now in need of a job. The Mets are in need of some hitting.


I'd love to see Eddie Murray on the Mets staff, but only if he is required to wear a batting helmet with the regular hat still on underneath it. Then it would be like the old days.

Don't worry Eddie, you'll get back on your feet. Good luck.

The Pros Need to Grow Up.

As you probably know from last night's game, Brad Penny got aggravated with Shawn Green last night as he claims Green was stealing signs when he was on second base a few innings earlier.

Couple this with the moaning and groaning about A-Rod yelling "Ha!" in the Toronto's 3rd baseman's ear while running to third base, and we are seeing an awful lot of whining from these pros.

These are classic school yard techniques. Just because you're in the pros you think you're above them? What's the matter? You can't catch a pop fly because someone is yelling? Grow up, this isn't golf.

And as far as stealing signs is concerned, if it's that upsetting just throw a fastball high & tight the next time the guy comes up. Don't be a baby and whine about it after you just struck him out. Shouldn't that be enough vengeance.

If guys and girls on my company's softball team can deal with heckling during a rec league softball game, I think you millionaires can deal with some playground tricks.

By the way, major props to Shawn Green for stealing signs last night. At least he was making an effort to help turn the Mets bats around.

The Mets are LOST

Somewhere last week the Mets found their way onto Oceanic flight 815 and have ended up on the island from LOST. Nothing is right. Adversaries seem unsurmountable. The players are disoriented.

Something is not right with the Mets. It's like this team was transplanted back to the lineup from 1992.

The sad part is help is not on the horizon. The Yanks, Twins, & A's await us. So as we journey through this uncertainty that is the Mets season so far, I thought it only fitting that we look at how our cast of characters would translate onto LOST.

David Wright is Jack Shepherd: The only person with anything going for them is David Wright. He's our leader. We need him to guide us. But he's got to get some help from somewhere.

Julio Franco is Hurley: Hurley is the character everyone likes because they feel sorry for him. He's nice to have around, but doesn't really add anything. Sounds a lot like Julio. Instead of a weight problem, Julio has an age problem and it's almost as noticeable as Hurley's waistline. Sorry Hurley/Franco. It's time to go.

Paul Lo Duca is Sawyer: The resident bad boy is willing to stand up for himself and his teammates, but every now and then shows a sensitive side. Like Sawyer, I think Lo Duca needs strangle somebody to get his issues worked out, but I don't see it happening anytime soon.

Carlos Gomez is Jin: Jin is the only non-English speaking person on the island and is constantly lost with what's going on around him. That's pretty much what Gomez looks like at the plate, although I'm confident even Jin could draw a walk before Gomez.

NL East are The Others: That's a no brainer. Every time we think we've got them out of the way, they pop up to show us they're still around.

Alou is Walt: What happened to Walt? Why does he only pop up every once in a while? What's wrong with Alou? Is he can show up one day looking 10 years older?

Willie Randolph is John Locke: Willie is constantly struggling to find out what to do with this lineup just like Locke is constantly struggling to find the meaning of the island. Willie will try anything. He'll even bat Shawn Green 2nd! He'll bring up Ricky Ledee! These are desperate times. Willie needs to go kill a boar with his bare hands or something to get this team motivated.

Take a day off and let's bring our bats with us to the Bronx!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Top 7th - Dodgers 6 Mets 1

And the debacle continues. Need to vent before I try to go to sleep. West Coast games kill me. Be that as it may, the Mets look totally clueless. It's hard to imagine that the season has turned so quickly like this but they have nothing in the tank right now. Zero.

Quick In-GameRecap: 2 Men left at second base in the first 4 innings. Valentin just missed HR by two feet. Beltran just misses robbing a HR. Sosa forgets to cover first, eventually allowing 2 runs to score. Reyes hits one off Penny's leg, bounces over to Abraeu who throws him out. 6th inning, three more runs score with two outs, which makes it 5 runs allowed with 2 out for the game. It's embarrassing.

Yanks are going to hammer them this weekend. Buckle up, because it ain't gonna be fun.