Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Strike While The Iron Is Hot

Today's loss sucked but I do believe that the Mets can redeem themselves in a few easy steps. Two of which they do not even entirely control.

A.) Jason Heyward is on the DL for the Braves. Heyward is an exciting young player, and his loss in the lineup will be felt. The Braves are also kind of falling out of favor (though they are in first, they still do not scare me), especially with golden boy Derek Lowe giving his best impression of Steve Trachsel this year.

2.) Chase Utley and Placido Polanco also hit the DL today for the Phillies. While they were both placed on the 15-day DL, Polanco's seems a bit suspect with an inflamed right elbow injury. I'm sure that when the Phils go on a losing streak (and they will), we'll have to hear the woe is me comments from their fanbase about how they have so many injuries. To that, I say "SUCK IT PHILLY."

D.) To capitalize on all these changes in the opponents, it is imperative the Mets get a new pitcher. It appears as though Josh Thole and Wilmer Flores might be "Crown Jewels" in any trade involving a top-tier pitcher, according to several reports.

After the last two nights -- R.A. Dickey was going to come back down to earth eventually but Hisanori Takahashi is better served in the 'pen -- it is evident that the Mets need another top-of-the-line pitcher to back up Mike Pelfrey and Jonathon Niese (yeah, I said it). Rumors of course are saying the Mets are the frontrunners for Cliff Lee.

However, I have to think that Dan Haren would be better suited for the Mets at this point.

If my good friend Howard Megdal weren't already running for GM, I would do a WWCD (What Would Coop Do?) post as GM right now. However, I can still do that, since I am not the GM and not step on Howard's toes since he is still maintaining his campaign (be sure to get out and vote this week too).

Haren is on the right side of 30, and I have to believe the righty would benefit from a change of scenery (read: on a winning team). Not to mention he's been a pitcher most have coveted since his days on the Oakland A's. His stats have been lackluster so far this year (7-6, 4.56 ERA and 1.315 WHIP); however, it seems like the month of May might have cause this aberration. In June, he's got a 2-2 record with a 3.19 ERA and 1.228 WHIP (down significantly from the month prior).

He seems to be a ground ball hitter, but with the defensive line (such a hockey term) backing him up at CitiField, I have to believe that would only benefit him. He doesn't give up many home runs and strikes out on average one batter per inning.

I think that's pretty sick.

It's not that I am totally against getting Cliff Lee. Okay, maybe I am. No seriously, I'm sure Clifton is a wonderful guy once you get to know him. I do know that Danny Haren would fit in nicely with the team, he's under contract till 2012 (with a 2013 option) and well, I've coveted him. Isn't that enough? He also won't cost that much in prospects and is certainly more reliable than the two schmoes we have at the back of the rotation.

Dickey and Takahashi have sufficed for now. But now it is time to strike while the iron is hot. Our two major rivals in the division have lost key components, and it will be nice to see how they bounce back from losing major offensive parts to their lineup. However, after losing two straight the Marlins (including Coop's "favorites" Cody F. Ross and Dan "I'm Fucking" Uggla), it is time.

Omar, make your move. *Klang! Kling!* Okay, that's striking while the iron is hot.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

On a Clear Day, You Can See Forever

When I was a kid, I loved going to Mets games at Shea Stadium. My Summer Family is anarrative of my memories as a young fan and the relationships I've formed as a result of being a Mets and baseball fan.

My dad (Mr. E for those of you who know him) used to have a weekend plan back when I was very young, but it was also a treat for me to go to games during the week. I would leave home right after school, hop in Dad's truck and we'd take the drive from the Jersey Shore all the way to Queens.

Some games, my dad would "let me loose" and I'd walk around the stadium. My favorite places to go were the far reaches in the Loge (where we would sit) and look at the landscapes around. Sure, there's not much to look at in the Iron Triangle, but it was something I could call my own.

I don't know why, but that's how I felt when I was sitting in the non-Coop Coop seats in the Excelsior level for Thursday, June 24 against the Detroit Tigers. It was a Thursday evening game, we got to the game just minutes before the start, and I guess I felt like I was transported back to the late-'80s mostly because I didn't have my cell phone with me.

The night started off as a comedy of errors with my phone brain cramp, but then ended on a note of sweet irony when the Mets could not cap a comeback against the Tigers late in the game. Of course, with a huge visible strikeout by David Wright with the bases loaded (as Will would say, WTF, Davey???), it was probably the only time I wanted to be on Twitter since I knew several Mets fans who would be absolutely murdering Dave for striking out in that type of a situation. Morbid curiosity on my part (though truth be told I did see it coming).

So Senor Coop and I got these seats as a compensation for the rain-shortened game against the Braves in April. The Mets gave us the option to trade them in for one of two series -- against the Padres earlier in the month or the Tigers. We choose three games and we got the 24th. However, we thought we'd get comparable tickets to his Sunday plan, which are in the Promenade.

No, the Mets did us right. We got Excelsior level seats with full access to the Acela, Caesar's and Promenade Clubs.

Score.

I'd been to the Caesar's and Promenade Club a few times but never the Acela.

I wasn't sure what to expect, but SC was hungry and we thought maybe we could get a snack at Acela.
Although it reminded me of the old Diamond Club at Shea, they had the grill (which was basically the whole ballpark menu) and the sit-down restaurant, which actually had pretty decent food. I remember the prix-fixe back then was something like $35/person. The Acela is not that bad -- $48/person, but not really what we wanted, especially since I wasn't eating just yet, and SC couldn't eat $48 worth of food if he tried, we just took some pictures and left for the comfort of our seats. Ironically, they our seats were in the same section we sat in during the rain shortened game, when the officials told us to move down to Field and Excelsior.

My favorite part of the Excelsior level are not only the lounge areas (read: air conditioning) but the BAR AREAS. I miss the old Diamond Club, which was so horrifically cheesy (old F-O-C and MSF All-Star Bookie D used to call it the "Bus Depot to Purgatory" which was so true), but it was part of the experience of Shea. They used to serve Mets-themed alcoholic drinks like Boys of Summer or Mets Martinis, which were pretty good for the money. Now it's Absolut Lemonade, Cuervo Margaritas and Bacardi Mojito drinks (notice: all product placements).

Of course, I opted for the DonQ "Home Rum Punch" which is sort of like a hurricane. It was only $2 more than a draft beer. A problem I've had with the mixed drinks, take for example the Absolut Lemonade is that there is more "fruit" or "lemonade" than the "Absolut" or "Rum" or whatever. I don't know, perhaps you are better off with a gin and tonic or something.

The best part of having the mixed drinks right next to your seats is that there's no alcohol abuse. Meaning: you can bring the drinks over to your seats without worrying about people knocking into you or spilling your drink, since you do not have far to walk. In my handy dandy cup holder, I kept my rum punch. One thing I did notice when I went back to CitiField over the weekend is that the rum stand down by World's Fare Market is there is no rum punch on the menu. I believe it's only pina coladas. That's fine but I am no coconut fan, so you'll never get me to buy one of those drinks. Also, I am not even that big of a rummy but I'll tell you what. I would buy the rum punch if it were offered there, just sayin'.

Okay so no more talk about me being a lush and back to the game. As I mentioned earlier, our seats were pretty good.
The Coop season seats are located in the outfield reserved, which are on the same level as the field seats, but you pay probably half the price you would for the seats closer to the infield. Not to mention, I have always thought that the Excelsior level, as Greg from Faith and Fear in Flushing likes to call it the "logezzanine" area, are the most overpriced seats in the park. Save the Left Field Landing and perhaps the Pepsi Porch, you are not getting much bang for your buck except for maybe the club access. However, for a fraction of the cost, you can sit in the outfield reserved and still get club access. It's a bit head-scratching to me. I truly feel like we got these "comped" tickets because they just wanted hineys in them, not necessarily that they wanted us to experience them as ticker plan holders.

One of the biggest drawbacks to these seats though are if you are sitting in the back rows, you have no view of the lineup. The scoreboard is obstructed as well. I know, we are not there to see the CitiVision or the scoreboard, but for someone like Mr. E who likes to keep score, this is a major drawback for me ever wanting to upgrade to this level.

Of course, I probably never will. It's the principle. Of course, I just kept watching the game, which was, I have to admit, a very good view.

It's not a universal view of the field like you can get from the Promenade in the surrounding infield areas, but if you like to chill and watch a game, you can't beat these. Though this was a night game, I can see the allure to these seats. You are out of the sun, the lounges are right there, and there are stores to go into. Take for instance...this one.

I had to chuckle a bit when I saw the outside sign, since Daniel Murphy and Carlos Beltran are still on photo. I should probably also mention that all Daniel Murphy merchandise is discounted and some of Beltran's items are as well, at least in the Mets Clubhouse store by Bryant Park.

Meh, whatever. Anyway, you can see that I am not talking much about the game but rather my experiences at the game. I figured that is more interesting, since the game itself didn't turn out like we would have liked it. I know, the Mets will win some games, they will lose some games. Believing in "home field advantage" though, you'd think I'd get to see a lot more wins. Instead in the two road games I attended, they won (hey, can't complain), but home I've seen way too many losses for my liking. Sure, winning series are just as if not more important than sweeps, since you can't possibly sweep every series in a season. But can't they just sweep one little series when I am in attendance?

I digress. I can't complain about losing one game out of three to the Detroit Tigers, who are a VERY good team. I can't expect Hisanori Takahashi to be dominant in every start (or at the very least, put them in a position to win). I guess I can glean some satisfaction that they could come back late in a game after being put in a hole (but don't get me starter on Johan Santana's start on Saturday).

The game itself might not have been interesting, yet I had some interesting things happen while I was in the seats.

For one, the Pepsi T-Shirt Launch landed, well, right at us during the game. Joey Beatran technically caught it, but since the shirt is much too big, he let me have it.

At one point, I decided to try and find an ever-elusive Jon Niese shirt for my friend Senor Solly out on the West Coast. I didn't find much in that respect, but how can we have tons of Barajas shirts, Davis shirts and no Niese. Hell, there was even a BOBBY PARNELL shirt available, and he was literally pitching his first game back in 2010 that night. Don't get me wrong -- I have no problem with there being those choices there. However, Niese has been our show-stopper all season. I'm sure some fans would like the opportunity to purchase one at the Mets stores on site.

I also found a cutie little Mets shirt wearing polar bear, that I bought for my husband. See, because the Mets failed to get runners in at one point, I became a major bitch about it. Buying this little guy made it up to him.
We named him Ike. I wanted something Arctic-sounding, and we tend to name them after players and Ike could kind of look like "Ice." I thought of naming him Iggy, but I kept coming back to Ike. Now, it's Klondike Bear, which sounds more Arctic-like. Joey doesn't look all too happy about him being there. However, when he found out that he only likes cold drinks and cold food (think iced tea, iced coffee, cold soda and ice cream), Joey could handle his new sibling since they didn't have to share food.

The game itself was a loss, but the night wasn't, I suppose. Another perk of sitting in the Excelsior is that we had "VIP" access, which didn't mean much except we got to choose the special access entrance we wanted. I had gone through the Hodges entrance a little while back for the CitiField tour and a game I had attended in a luxury box (I haven't shared it here yet though). So we chose none other than the Franchise himself, the Seaver entrance.

My thoughts going into the entrance would be I'd flash my ticket around like Wayne and Garth do to get backstage at Alice Cooper's show, I'd get on an elevator. And that's pretty much it. I'm glad that I took the time to view the landscape there because the Mets did Tom Seaver right. Like the Mets Hall of Fame/Museum, I was blown away by the homage paid to George.


No one says "New York Mets" more than George Thomas Seaver. Once again, after seeing this display of affection and admiration for our own, I had to once again feel proud to be a Mets fan. Now I wonder what kind of homage they'd pay Mike Piazza. I have to hope they get that one right too. Since you heard it here first, he'll be in the HOF as a Met. Then, as Mr. E says, it will be more of a man-crush thing going on with Seaver and Piazza. Maybe they can get rid of the Stengel VIP Entrance. Eh, who knows, it's much too soon to discuss this

I've seen much of CitiField and save the Pepsi Porch, I've sat in as many sections I feel that I could have in order to find my happy place here. Once upon a time, I was a wee young Coop, and I'd go to Shea Stadium to night games with my dad, which were a rare treat but a treat nonetheless. And I'd swear that on a clear night, you could see forever. You could see Queens, you could see Long Island, and I would see the bright lights of the big city beckoning me.

I may not exactly have found my happy place at CitiField, not entirely because I do like my new home a lot. But I did feel like I could see forever on Thursday, June 24. The past, the present and the future of the team.

I have to admit, I kinda got giddy with anticipation.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Weighing in on Cliff Lee

Am I the only Mets fan alive who thinks Cliff Lee is overrated? Well, I know at least one other fan who thinks that, but it screams of nepotism if I use him as my backup.

Any time I hear potential "trades" from Monday Morning GMs starting with either Jon Niese or Ike Davis, I just have to laugh. I hope if Omar Minaya gets an offer like that, he laughs too (I know Howard Megdal, future Mets GM who will hire me as his assistant, would as well).

After all, the children are our future, as Randy Watson would say, and since Jon Niese has done better WAY better than expected this season (and I think he's going to be infinitely better as time goes on) and Ike Davis is the rug that ties the room together, that move would be silly not to mention incredibly premature.

It would be a hard sell but I think if the Mets were to hypotethetically be frontrunners for him, start with Fernando Martinez. Like I said, it would be a hard sell simply because the dude is injury-prone. Maybe Kirk Nieuwenhuis (I hope I spelled his name cause I aint looking it up right now), MAYBE. But we'll need a OF for the future. And I would choose Nieuwenhuis over F-Mart anyday. Though I did name the Shea Bridge after him.

Anyway, back to the whole Cliff Lee thing. I cannot be the only who thinks he overrated or that the Mets don't need him. He would be nice. I'd like to have him on the team. The last thing they need to do right now is be shortsighted for a half-year rental to have him go someplace else. Here's an idea: let another team make a stupid-ass move like that other than the Mets. The Twins, for example. They have a shitload of prospects and can afford to do something stupid. Hey, no skin off our nose if he leaves after half a season. Give us our draft picks*.
*pending arbitration, which I'm sure they'd offer

Any deal involving Angel Pagan too is just crazy talk. The dude has been our MVP, I don't care who you are or what you think. I plan on writing a piece on Carlos Beltran and Angel Pagan soon, but it more involves keeping Pagan in the lineup every day. Think what you want about my thoughts on Beltran.

Now, I mentioned above that I believe Clifton Phifer Lee (yes, that is his real name) is "overrated." On the surface, his numbers are impressive. Lifetime, 96-55, 3.86 ERA and 1.274 WHIP. For a dude who has pitched most of his years in the American League, that sounds pretty dang good, right? He's a Cy Young Award winner but two years ago. In the AL. Save 2007, he's pitched over 200 innings each season. He started this season injured too, but has rebounded to have impressive stats with Seattle, 6-3, 2.39 ERA and 0.912 WHIP.

That's not overrated Coop. That is pretty fucking good!

Well of course it is. I am not saying that Cliff Lee is "overrated" in the sense that everyone thinks he's great but is just a shade above mediocre (that would be Jake Peavy). I am saying he's overrated because of what he will eventually be paid as a lefty starter who is in his walk year (you know the best numbers come up in walk years). I think he is injury-prone and his arm will fall off at one point, especially in a long-term deal you know he will get. Let someone else overpay for him in prospects right now. I'd also be curious to see how a long-term deal gets worked out after this season.

Did I mention that he will not negotiate an extension even in the event of a trade? Hell, the Phillies traded his ass because they knew he wouldn't negotiate an extension and wanted to maximize their value for him while they still had him (and got Roy Halladay as an added bonus). This was after two trips in a row to the World Series!!

So Cliff Lee is basically saying, yeah trade me, but expect me to bolt my new team once the season is over. We all know how that works out. We are out prospects and money and whatever else. Oh and we need to refill that spot in the rotation still. I understand why he's doing it. Still doesn't take away from the fact that it's a dick move.

Not happenin'.

I always say that too much pitching is never a problem. When he's a half-year rental, it is. And last I checked, save Hisanori Takahashi's hiccups every now and then, the Mets are far from having problematic pitching.

They rank 4th in NL ERA with 3.74, 7th in Ks with 518, their WHIP might be high-ish but their K/9 is impressive with 7.2.

We don't need no stinkin' Lee. We'll be fine without him. In 2010, that is.

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What a game!

Tonight, Edwin Jackson from the Arizona Diamondbacks pitched his first career no-hitter against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Two things are amazing out of this event.

One is that Jackson threw 149 pitches to complete the game. Nolan Ryan must be so proud.

Second is that the Rays are a legitimate AL East contender. And this is the SECOND TIME this season they've been no hit, and third time in less than a calendar year. Remember, Mark Buehrle threw one against them in 2009. Did I mention two of those "no hitters" were "perfect games?" Yes, Dallas Braden's "Suck it A-Rod" match du parfait was against the Rays as well.

Another thing of note is that the Oakland A's are a significantly below-.500 team this season and the D-Backs are in dead last this season.

And the Rays are still good.

I tweeted earlier that I felt bad for Jackson though. His best game ever, and it was in front of 150 fans who were probably all Yankees-transplants (it was at Tropicana Field).

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Megdal for GM primaries begin on Monday, June 28 at Amazin Avenue and New York Baseball Digest. Stand up and be counted! Polls close on July 2.

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Be sure to visit F-O-C John Delcos' Mets Report during games for live chats. Tell him The Coop sent ya!

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Don't know what else to say except Lets Go Mets. Nice win against the Twinnies tonight.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Pass It On

Howard Megdal wants a better existence for Mets fans, and for his baby daughter to experience a lifetime of happiness as a Mets fan. This is what we will get from a passionate fan who knows his Mets history, and someone who cares deeply about his association as a Mets fan.

Sign up for the Megdal For GM Channel on YouTube, and pass it on!

Grassroots efforts start by word of mouth. Tell your mom, tell your pop, tell your friend, tell Mr. Met! But most of all, start following his ads. It's good stuff.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Crowburgers

At the beginning of the season, DyHrdMet and I were discussing the potential of the Mets. You see, he and I had been to spring training (me to camp, he to exhibition games). His quotes were pretty damning. From "this pitching staff scares the shit out of me" (who wasn't?) but most of all, "I only see a 75-win team here" (his thoughts, and I agreed with him).

Well, barring any monumental collapse (say, losing 20 in a row at some point), we are on a pace to winning at the very least 80 games. In the meantime, we've both been eating crow (mostly from Senor Solly, who I think is just doing it to bust our proverbial chops). In the meantime, with all the jokes about Cleveland Indians, the Mets and the movie Major League, DyHrdMet and I said we'd both eat a big shitburger.

Shitburgers. Eating crow. Another term for that is "admitting one's mistakes." While the Mets have had a hot hot winning streak that ended yesterday, the thing is, I still feel like there is a margin of not only improvement, but a massive amount of crow eating that needs to take place before I am totally comfortable with giving my backing for this season.

I'm going to come right out and say it: Jenrry Mejia doing mop-up work is NOT the answer in the 'pen. The Mets are notoriously once again driving a rookie into the ground by putting their needs first and not the development and nurturing the rookie will need in the long-term. This team has been lucky to the extent that R.A. Dickey and Hisanori Takahashi has worked out well in the starting rotation, not to mention that whole addition-by-subtraction thing by having John Maine on the DL and Oliver Perez, well, sent to the Puppy Farm.

How great would it have been to have Mejia in the minors when Maine and Perez were no longer "available" to pitch, and have him at the ready? I like Takahashi, but I still feel like his talents were better suited in the 'pen. Once the league starts figuring him out, we are in trouble. (Dickey I'm not concerned with yet because for some reason, major league hitting has not figured out knuckleballers)

The Mets have been incredibly lucky in the fact that the bullpen hasn't been make or break...yet. We all know it's shortsighted to think that this will go on "forever." No, there will come a time (oh, say, August or September) where we will see them blow leads and falter in the stretch. That will not be Jenrry Mejia's fault, in fact, I doubt he will even part of that. Since he's been relegated to doing "mop-up" work at this point, the chances of him coming into a tight game is slim and none, and Mr. Slim is out of town.

No, Jenrry Mejia's talents are not being leveraged in the 'pen, and my fear is he is not only too "green" to be pitching in the majors in any role at this point without seasoning and stretching out in the minors, the Mets are in turn running Mejia into the ground at 20 years old.

I know his stats suggest he is not being hurt by this treatment (for a reliever, he's "okay" with an 0-2 record, 3.38 ERA) but his WHIP is abnormally high (1.650) for a guy who is supposed to have such filthy stuff. For a young kid with nasty stuff, it's clear out of the 'pen he is walking FAR too many batters. He is NOT ready for the big show.

Let's be fair. Mejia is ONLY on the team to make Omar Minaya and Jerry Manuel look good as "lame ducks." Right now the team can afford to right this wrong since they've been playing over their heads, and send Mejia back to the minors. He will only maximize HIS talents if they right this wrong.

Yet, if there is one thing that "scares the shit out of me,"as DyHrdMet once said about the starting rotation, it's Jerry Manuel's running the 'pen into the ground on a consistent basis.

Back to Jerry Manuel. The reason I gave such a rambling intro to the whole sending back Mejia to the minors argument is this: yesterday, an article hit the wires that Manuel was addressing John Maine's rehab in the minors. While Manuel praised the efforts of Takahashi from Friday night against the Yankees, when asked if he would move Taka back to the 'pen once Maine returned (supposed to be in the week, initially, I believed), the answer was no. However, when asked if Maine would go to the 'pen, Manuel said no.

As a friend of mine said, Manuel basically said "Maine would be pitching in the off-day."

Okay. Now, John Maine has been testing my patience in the rotation. For a guy who has had numerous rehab assignments and never had a true "out" pitch, he never seemed to want to take the extra step to better himself. Even in rehab, his pitch counts are extremely high in early innings. Wouldn't the better question, since we know John Maine can handle not only major league hitters but we also know he's good for about five innings. Wouldn't that be better out of the bullpen?

Yes, I know Maine would prefer to be a starter. But Maine needs to put his big boy pants on and do what's best for the team. If he wants to pitch in the majors again, he has to understand that pitchers with similar stuff (aka Takahashi) is not only being effective but finishing the job Maine never seemed to do.

Of course, Manuel hates Maine for some reason. Maine is a Jerry's Shit-List Kid, as I like to call them. Manuel is unprofessional. It's bad enough he cannot hide his disgust for Maine in public view, but to say outright, he has no place on this team to the press isn't cool.

Maine cares. I'm sure if you sat him down with Minaya or Ricco or whoever, said, you need to do this, it's what's best for the team, he'll be reasonable about it. Of course, he may ask for a trade. So be it.

Here's my thinking. Ship Mejia's ass out of town and bring Maine up when he is ready (of course, news comes out today that Maine will be re-evaluated and that Mejia might be sent back to the minors. Have they been inside my head or reading my Tweets?). Hat tip to Metsblog for suggesting that if Maine goes back on the DL, the Mets can put off doing what they want with him. If he's not, they'd have no choice but to release him.

Doing this will right two wrongs. Maine should be in the 'pen, plain and simple. He also has a heart and cares about his performance, we all see this. The Mejia experiment just needs to be done, period.

Another wrong that needs to be righted? Release Oliver Perez.

Here's my thinking. John Maine, I feel, can be effective out of the 'pen. Perhaps as a long-man, but whatever. He can be and that's my point. Oliver Perez is effective NOWHERE. Not as a starter, not as a long-man, not as a reliever. I'd go so far as to say not as a human being, but that's mean. He managed to get an agent who believed he was worth $12mm/year, so that's impressive. He doesn't have the goods to back that up.

Of course, the Mets will fail to do the right thing here because it's a money issue. They will never admit to being wrong by giving Perez that contract and eating all that dough. Or crow.

The answer to me is simple. Let Maine work his stuff out in the minors, then tell him, work out of the 'pen, or else. Send Mejia back down. And release Perez.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Press Mute

I'm one of the rare people in America.

I hated the show Seinfeld.

Hate is a very strong word, and understand that I don't like to use it. But "dislike it very much" doesn't really cut my feelings for it. I wanted to punch Elaine. And why was that Kramer guy so funny? I would rather hear nails on a chalkboard than listen to George (or as he would say it, "Jawdge").

I only watched the show like three times in my life, mostly because I was living at home and my mom loved it. Yet each time I watched it, I wanted to throw the TV out the window.

However, going back to the whole "nails on a chalkboard" thing, the one thing I didn't get was Jerry Seinfeld. Yeah, I get it, as a stand up comedian, he's pretty balls on. But as an actor? You have to be fucking kidding me.

But to hear him speak for three innings, potentially more, during Wednesday's broadcast is enough to make my ears bleed. Seriously? I know, he's doing what every Mets fan dude in the universe would love to do -- call a Mets game with the best in the biz -- but he wouldn't have been able to do unless he was really connected.

As it turns out, I wasn't planning to go to the game, but may have two tickets to it. If ever there were an incentive for me to not watch a game at home, this would be it.

So if anyone is interested in going to a game with a really cool chick, let me know.

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Hey everyone, I've mentioned it before, I'll mention it again. Get thee to John Delcos Mets Report's website (facebook fan page here). The former Mets beat writer still has insightful analysis on the team and has in-game chats. This would be a great place for some shyte-talking, especially this weekend with the Subway Series.

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Nothing else to say except LGM/YGB.

Sacrificing the Live Chicken

"She's living in sin with a safety pin. She's goin'...CLEVELAND ROCKS! CLEVELAND ROCKS!" - Ian Hunter, "Cleveland Rocks"

Well, folks, we did it. We discussed prior to rolling into Baltimore that two out of three would not do it. Nope. To prove to me this team was legit, they would need to sweep the Orioles into oblivion.

So that happens. Cool. Then we head to Cleveland. The Indians are a pretty awful team as well, but eh, I was okay with winning two out of three. They certainly are not as bad as the Orioles, but the Indians are not a good team.

The Mets this week rolled into Cleveland to the lake like that barge Randy Newman sang about in Major League's opening credits, taking all three from the Indians.

This surprised the heck out of me. How many times this season have the Mets looked awesome at home, to looking like the Keystone Kops on the road? Or worse, Pedro Cerrano trying to hit a curveball in training camp? They made it look easy, but let's keep it together here. These were the teams with the worst records in their respective divisions. It's good that the Mets rolled over them both, but let's not get too far ahead of ourselves.

It's easy to though.

Now what? Considering that Remembering Shea's DyHrdMet told me at the beginning of the season that he thought this was a "75-game" winning team, and I told Senor Solly to take the under on that, well...it looks like DyHrdMet and I are eating a big shitburger on that one (although I am pretty sure Solly did agree with me).

Even so, the season is a marathon, not a sprint. So I am upping that ante to 85 now.

The Yankees also rolled over tonight for the Phillies tonight. Which could be good and bad.

Good in the sense that...hey, we're heading to the Bronx now. Maybe taking all three games isn't that much of a stretch. The Yank-these just lost two in a row to the Phillies (which leads me to the second part...), so perhaps we can carry that losing momentum over them.

Bad in the sense that...the Phillies are creeping up behind us. Well, the Phillies are 3.5 games out of first. And 3 games behind us. But they just won two in a row against the Yankees. Why didn't the Yankees bother to show up? Are they giving the Phillies a reach-around for winning the World Series against them last year?

This weekend is the first place Braves are facing a VERY good Rays team. The Phillies are facing a very solid Twins team. I know the Mets can TOTALLY take the Braves. But dang, we don't face those two teams (Braves and the Phillies) again till August. The Twins, however, we will see next weekend, bringing to a close Interleague play for 2010. Thank goodness.

I'm still hopeful. I'm hopeful the Mets can still pull off a massive winning streak. We will have to take into consideration though that these wins were against the respective worst teams in their divisions.

These upcoming three series will be the true test, boys and girls. Whether they can beat the class of the American League (right now, Yankees are tied for first in AL East, Twins are first in AL Central and Tigers are a very close second in the same division), they need to keep bringing out the big guns.

You know what? I'll gladly bring the chicken for the Mets to sacrifice before tomorrow night's game (and if it puts a hex on the Yankees doing it in their visitor's clubhouse, more power to them) to continue the progress though.

All I know is I gotta prepare myself for that shitburger now.

I'm heating up the Foreman grill as we speak.

***************************************************************
Here's a fun fact: The Mets are 18-5 since May 22, which is the best record in baseball. Also, since starting out 4-8, the Mets are 34-20. It also seems like addition by subtraction (e.g. Oliver Perez and John Maine) and addition by addition (Ike Davis) has contributed to this hot streak.

Where's that live chicken again???

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Three Times is a Charm City

I've been to many games at Camden Yards in my lifetime (including Cal Ripken's last game and number retirement ceremony in 2001). Baltimore is a nice quick day trip from up here. I can take the city in small doses, and I like to end my day or evening by going to either an afternoon game before catching dinner or evening game before heading home.

With as many games as I've attended there, as big of a Mets fans I am, as many "road" stadiums I try to visit (with or without the Mets actually playing a game against the home team), I have never been able to sync my schedule with the Baltimore Orioles when the Mets are in town.

Last year, when they had a three-game series in the middle of the week down in Charm City, I figured I'd just resigned myself to not seeing the Mets play there again for many years.

Not so fast there, Scooter. As soon as I saw the Mets were making the trip not only to Baltimore again this season but on a weekend, I had to go. It was the first time for me seeing my team ever at Camden Yards.

Baltimore may not be the nicest city. It may not be the cleanest or the flashiest or most comfortable (the summers there are BRUTALLY humid and this is coming from someone who LOVES humidity), there may not be a ton to do outside of the Harbor and Fells Point areas, but I can tell you one thing. It is a GREAT place to catch a baseball game and an overall enjoyable experience as a fan. I always said I love watching games where I had no vested interest in the teams and could just enjoy the "art" of baseball. Well, I had a vested interest this time, but no Cal Ripken to root for (who is my all-time favorite player). So let's play ball!

First, I have to say I was truly amazed by the pure amounts of Mets fans who made the trip down there. I don't know if it's because perhaps being in the DC-metropolitan area, or that it's approximately three hours outside of the NY metropolitan area, but it seemed like Baltimore was THE PLACE to be this weekend for Mets fans.

And rightfully so. Until this series, the Mets had not won a road series since July 2009. Forget sweeping. this team just needed to win. We already know the Mets believe in Home Field Advantage. To be legit, they need to start winning on the road. And what better way to start winning with the worst team in the AL East, the Orioles.

Maybe it was the authentic "Lets go Mets" chants. Maybe it was all the blue and orange in the stands. Maybe it was the big bright white letters of the GO BIG PELF shirts on Sunday.

All I know is that the Mets treated Camden Yards like their home, and I've considered Camden Yards like a home-away-from-home for me as a fan. So the fact they swept and continued their home winning progress on the road was a huge thing.

Doing it in front of so many fans who made the trip was just a bonus.

I'm sure many of my dear readers have been to Flushing in April or a cold night in the spring, or in the fall. You freeze your parts off, male or female. The summers, to me anyway, are not as bad, because the breeze from the Bay keeps the air circulating, so it's hot, but manageable. It depends on who you are, I guess, because I love hot weather. One reason I can only take Baltimore in small doses is because the humidity. My goodness, the humidity. It's a dirty word there. You'd think in a harbor area the air would be cooler at least. Nope. On a hot day, the air does not circulate and if you were a dog, you would be panting to keep cool. When we checked into our hotel room, I tweeted (@Coopz22) that I never loved air conditioning more than I loved it at that moment. See, I had worn jeans on the bus trip down, and since our room wasn't ready for occupying yet, I couldn't change till we returned after lunch.

Lunch was closer to the stadium, so we stopped by to get pictures there.
That was the last time of the weekend where I did not have my hair up or wore long pants. Shorts all the way. Yay!

Saturday night was supposed to be a big Tweet-up Meet-up type of thing. When you make the trip to Baltimore for a game (which I highly recommend) more than likely you will use the Eutaw Street entrance. There's nothing really like it at Citi Field, but it's kind of like scanning your ticket on the street then continuing with a neighborhood walk. Over there though is an open plaza with bleacher seats, food stands, beer and most importantly Boog's BBQ, named after a Baltimorean legend, Boog Powell. That's as much of a landmark at Camden Yards as anything.

I've been going to Camden Yards for years, but have never taken part in their BBQ delights there. It's odd but every time I go there, it seems like I just ate or just not hungry enough to have a meal (not to mention, I think the last two times I was there, I was eating vegetarian, so BBQ pulled pork was not on my menu). I have to make it a point to try it next time though.

The idea seemed easy enough. However, I found out on the way down that several fans' plans fell through, and one of them who actually did make it had to keep moving around simply because the area was so crowded (it was, no blaming them not to mention the oppressive heat). So the hype machine left us with four people -- myself, the hubs, CoreyNYC and his wife Em! So we were able to get one picture. But it was so uncomfortably hot, we didn't stay that long anyway.

On to our seats. For the Saturday game, we had seats on the third base side (between David and Jason, to be exact). Our views were pretty good.


Prior to the game was Ravens Appreciation Night, and we were given Ravens-colored Orioles caps on the way into the stadium. The Ravens mascot (uh, a raven) made an appearance, and Metsgrrl even pointed out that the Ravens mascot was named "Poe." How did I not know this? If I haven't already declared my allegiance to the J-E-T-S, I'd totally stake my tell tale heart with the Ravens.

One thing that surprised me in the Charm City though was the fact that although the city is in general cheaper than New York City, there is not really a "home town discount" at Camden Yards. The 16 oz beers were on course with what we'd pay at CitiField, and the best "bargain" I guess if you can call it that is the 24 oz can of beer for $10. But still when I think about what I spent on that, it was quite a lot. I noticed for Sunday though, when I participated in it, was that the draft beer was $6.25. I guess that was a bargain. Sort of.

I did get several texts while inside the stadium and the game settling in, but the most welcome one was from CrazyMetGirl Tracy who suggested we come up to the Club Level -- unlike the Mets' Excelsior Level, the Club Level is open to all, just not the seats. The best attraction? AIR CONDITIONING. (You can see by the happy faces that we were cool as cukes)

The Club Level, as its name suggests, houses different air conditioned (Oh I never loved air conditioning more than I did this weekend) lounges, but most importantly the Retired Numbers Lounge...
Where my favorite number of my favorite player of all-time, Cal Ripken Jr. is honored (along with Eddie Murray and Brooks Robinson, to name a few).

Only if you want to get to the seats do the ushers check your tickets. Even then, though, I was able to sneak in a row that was empty because I knew members of my family were there, including the famous Jay the Dawg (aka SassDawg). This trip turned out to be a last hoo-rah for Sass since he is moving to Upstate New York in a few weeks to start school.



Even with K-Rod on the mound, the team managed to not make things interesting in the 9th and we won, yeah! Takin' care of business, for sure!

Then onto Sunday, which was the get-away day for all teams, including me. The Studious Metsimus team and I took the Boltbus down. Now, if you remember my grumblings last year going to the series in D.C., I basically said I would commit hari kari before taking one again. Well, when I got hold of their dollar fares going down there, I figured...what the heck. Try and try again. It wasn't as bad as it was last time, but I guess the 1/2 hour less road trip meant there was no rest stop on the way down. Which sucked on the way back, hitting traffic and being cooped in that bus the entire time. Anyway, I had the idea that maybe we could get on standby if the game ended early enough. Well the game did end on the early side, but we still made our regularly scheduled departure basically because to buses to Baltimore/New York are booked solid.

I digress. Anyway, Sunday was another one of those brutally humid and hot days, with thunderstorms threatening. Funny thing was, it started to drizzle at one point and it was a welcome relief from the weather. UGH.

Bear Man and I had a humongous breakfast at the buffet at the Cafe Promenade - it's a bit pricey, but it's in a hotel. I dream about this buffet when I am not there, it is THAT good. So by the time the game rolled around, we still were not hungry. And even when we returned home that night, we STILL were not hungry!

But Sunday I had to make it a point to get Joey Beartran and myself a funnel cake, to report back to someone who kept telling me to try one. They were apparently the "best." I am not a big funnel cake fan, but it was good -- not enough to make me want one again, but glad I tried it nonetheless.

What else? Out of the three starters the Mets had going, I was so certain Big Pelf was going to have a strong game against the weakest team in baseball. However, it was RA Dickey and Hisanori Takahashi who were the sure things this weekend, while Mike Pelfrey had a case of the yips, but still managed a good outing.

We got to the park early on Sunday. Folks started lining up around 11 am to get in the stands.

We were able to get some decent shots of the final moments of BP, with the team running in from the outfield to the clubhouse at the end.



Also some suh-weet photos from behind home plate.

One thing that Bear Man pointed out to me is that we are lucky at CitiField to be able to have the luxury of walking around the open concourses during a game and still be able to watch it. You are still enclosed at Camden Yards, which is one drawback. It's still one of my favorite places to watch a game though.

Our seats were in the "Eutaw Reserve," more commonly known as bleacher seats. I specifically wanted these seats because they were equivalent to what I have at CitiField in Section 138. Only difference? PRICE.

This is where you get the hometown discount when you go to Orioles games folks. In the seats, but not in the concessions.

Here are some of the other views from the stands.

I feel as though I am a close personal friend of Angel Pagan (or as the Orioles announcer would say: "Pah-GAWN") this year, since I see him so often in my seats at CitiField too.

To the left of the seats we had was the standing room only section -- you have to be about 9 feet tall to see the game from there.

Prior to this series, the Mets were not impressive on the road. To me, a sweep was necessary. Two out of three in my eyes would be a failure, if the Mets were going to prove themselves as "legit," they needed to beat upon the weaker teams. Well guess what? We broke out the Swiffers for this series and opened the series in Cleveland with a win as well. With a Braves and Phillies loss last night, this division is getting a little close for comfort. Hot enough for you, boys?

Three wins in Charm City, though. Baltimore may be one of the worst teams in the baseball. To me the Mets proved they can beat up the smaller guys and play to the level of the stronger components, and to me, that's just absolutely charming.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Magic Moments, Subway Series and Megdal for GM

I traveled to the Charm City over the weekend to witness two out of the three wins our Metsies had at Camden Yards. I am crafting a post now, but still going through pictures, so I should have something completed by tomorrow. However, in the meantime, visit other sites for more Mets-related info!

I wrote a remember-when piece for MetsMerized Online commemorating the 30th anniversary of the Steve Henderson walk-off home run, a "magic moment" that gave Mets fans a reason to believe, even just briefly.

Visit Lisa Swan's and Jon Lewin's Subway Squawkers blog for information on how you can win tickets for the upcoming "Subway Series" this weekend. Act quickly, this promotion ends at midnight tonight!

Lastly, Howard Megdal put any rumors to rest, as this morning he officially announced his candidacy for New York Mets General Manager. Visit his Megdal For GM site for continuous updates.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Grass-Roots General Manager Event

We have a very special announcement today on My Summer Family, specifically pertaining to the citizens of Metsopotamia, and our grass-roots efforts to get Sterling Enterprises to do the right thing by us, as fans, as citizens and as voters.

Rallying our voices together gives us a very strong platform. And what is social media (blogging, Tweeting, etc.) if not for bringing Mets minions' voices together as one?

On Monday, June 14, 2010, at 11 a.m. sharp, Howard Megdal, writer for SNY.tv, MLBTradeRumors.com, New York Baseball Digest, and Poet Laureate of Amazin’ Avenue, will reveal his decision concerning an electoral campaign to become the next General Manager of the New York Mets.


This conference will take place on the fourth floor of the Marriott Marquis, 1535 Broadway (at 45th Street).

My Summer Family's The Coop will not be announcing whether she will be Megdal's running mate, since she believes this is a solo platform; however, she will throw her hat into the ring for any potential vice-GM openings Megdal may or may not plan to have once his official announcement is made on Monday morning. *wink, wink*

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

A Night of Young Studs and Future Stars

Anything significant happen in baseball last night?

If you do not Tweet, have no Facebook account, or generally live under a rock, last night's baseball offerings were quite special. Special in the aspect that we may have glimpsed the future and these futures are all viral.

I have never seen a hype machine as, well, "hyped" as the debut of one Stephen Strasburg on the Washington Nationals, and to a lesser extent the Mike Stanton kid (no, not *THAT* Mike Stanton) for the Marlins. (PS think it's funny both Mike Stantons go by their middle name, though I think would have been pretty kick-ass if Little Mike Stanton went by his real name, Giancarlo Cruz-Michael Stanton. Just sayin').

Under a strict pitch count, but didn't really even need it since he was dealing, Strasburg pitched a 7-inning 2 ER start, complete with his piece de resistance of FOURTEEN STRIKEOUTS. Fourteen. If you were following on Twitter, there was a mass Twitter-bation and general ball-washing of this kid, but with good reason. As a baseball fan, whether you like the Nationals or not, this was pretty special. Although I'd like to see him mature more into his role, I know he won't be dominant every time, but pretty close to a sure-thing as we'd expect. Just keep in mind, the last time we saw a rookie phenom hyped up with his break out debut was Kerry Wood, when in just his fifth career start, struck out 20 batters in a game against the Houston Astros.

Where's Wood now? Closing for the Indians, due to an injury-wracked career. Even suffering an injury this year.

Not trying to be a killjoy here, but I think everyone is buying into the hype, and we'll soon see that this kid isn't unflappable. He's human and will make mistakes. That said, I am hoping the Mets don't face him in their series down in DC in July.

Not to be outdone, the other rookie phenom Mike Stanton made his highly anticipated debut with the Marlins last night, going 3-for-5 against the Phillies with two infield singles and scoring two runs.

Of course, these two will be Mets killers in the NL East for years to come.

But what's the hype here really? Our own rookie phenom first baseman Ike Davis had a walk-off home run against the Padres last night, extending the Mets current winning streak to four games.

If you ask me, it doesn't get much better than this. We've glimpsed the future, kids. And these kids are our future.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Off-Day Blues

I really wished yesterday wasn't an off-day. Although I had plenty to do at night (even specifically made plans at night since there was no game), since the Mets had a day off just five days ago, I feel like the spacing issues between days was not well thought out. I mean, who does the scheduling? The CoopDeVilles fantasy team did provide some brief respite. Of course, I forgot to start my one pitching starter who was going yesterday but it didn't make or break me, since I inadvertently had many others who had the day off.

I also believe in momentum and feel like an off day can kill it, especially with these Mets. They kind of remind me of Judd Nelson in The Breakfast Club: "Shhhh-shhhh. You might make it creep back up." The home record and road records are the not-so-big pink elephant in the room. The team knows they rock at home, suck on the road, but can't seem to do anything about it except stay the course. If they could just get a sweep on the road every now and then, or take two out of three, we'd be in first place in the NL East.

Which leads me to my next point to ramble, and that's the competitiveness of the NL East. Are they that good? Or that bad? Separating first and third place in the East are 2.5 games (with the Mets bringing up the rear).

Comparatively speaking, the AL East is separated by four games in the top three. The fourth place team is 4.5 games out, while the fifth place team is pretty much out of the running already in June. Someone pointed out on Twitter the other night that the Yankees and Red Sox could be in first place anywhere else in MLB in any other division.

Conversely, the NL East is still close on the back end, with the fourth and fifth place teams out of first by five and six games, respectively. However, the NL East doesn't even have a Wild Card representative at this point in the season. The NL East is competitive, but not quite because they are "good," it's because they are facing a weak-ish division.

The Phillies have lost two in a row to the Padres, and the Mets are facing the Padres (a team they NEVER seem to beat even when they are bad) at home, which you know they will win. It's funny how confident I am about the Mets at home this year. At this track, they will have something like 70 wins at home, beating their TOTAL record of 2009. They get better on the road, we have a team here, folks.

However, the nagging Mets fan in my head is saying something and I'm trying not to listen. "They'll never keep this rate going." "The bullpen will falter in September." "Jeff Francoeur will forget how to hit." "Carlos Beltran is never coming back." Okay, that last one is dramatic. Like I said, I have a case of the off-day blues. And when I get inside my head, especially about the Mets, it's tough to not write about it.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

This Week In Baseball With The Coop

What a wacky week in baseball we've had, eh?

Good afternoon folks, and welcome to an edition of This Week in Baseball, with your host The Coop. Sponsored by...the Coop.

I doubt we'll have a week like this in a long-ass time, but let's give it a shot.

The week brought us two, count 'em, TWO perfect games (or as they say in French, les matches des parfaits). Roy Halladay gave the Marlins 27 up, 27 down last Saturday. I don't like the team he's on, and I have to admit, I always thought Halladay to be a tad overrated from his days in Toronto. That said, I gotta give him credit where it's due. So hats off to him.

The second perfect game was a bit odd, since it took 28 outs to complete it. Unless you've been living under a rock, Armando Galarraga of the Detroit Tigers pitched a perfect game, only to have a simple ground-out to an infielder be ruled a "safe" call by umpire of the week, Jim Joyce.

TWIB Notes: This call brought out a lot of complex issues such as the use of instant replay or reversed calls or challenges by the manager; however, since those things do not exist in MLB at the moment, I have to say that all parties involved conducted the aftermath in the correct manner.

For one, Joyce himself apologized to Galarraga and the Tigers for botching the call. He knows he made a mistake, and admitted it. The Tigers treated Galarraga as if he conducted the amazing feat on paper, by celebrating it.

The classiest move of all though was Galarraga forgiving Joyce -- hey, to err is human, right? -- as Jimmy Leyland had him bring the lineup card out to Joyce the next day, which brought tears and ovations from the crowd.

That's baseball, folks.

As for Bud Selig, everyone is crying about how rules need to be changed. I think Selig is a know-nothing, do-nothing Commish, but I have to side with him on NOT changing the call and reversing the issue. Probably the only thing he's done somewhat correctly in his tenure as Commander in Chief of MLB.

All that considered...why can't the Mets pitch a no-hitter? Everyone else is doing it, so why can't we?

Moving right along, one of the all-time baseball greats of his time, Ken Griffey, Jr. announced his retirement this week. This is truly a loss but it was his time to step down. Just a few weeks back, it was noted that he slept in the clubhouse as his team was playing a game. His team did the right thing and backed him up on it. However, I think Junior knew his time was up and stepped down before it just got ridiculous. Clearly, his best years were behind him and he wasn't at the top of his game. We all know how hard it is to say goodbye. However, Griffey did it they way he played the game: with class and dignity. (stop by MetsMerized to see Mike Branda's good bye piece to Griffey this week)

What else can I tell ya? Since this is a Mets-focused blog, I do have to bring up the second walk-off grand slam given up by the Mets bullpen in less than a year to Adrian Gonzalez (last year, it was K-Rod giving one up to Everth Cabrera). The Coop can't complain but A-Gon was on her starting fantasy baseball team.

Funny thing is, why is it the Mets load up the bases and can't buy a run, yet the opposition hits grand slams.

Hanley Ramirez also did not hustle out a ground ball in the 9th inning last night against the Mets, causing a tying run to not cross the plate and ending the game. I can't complain, but could you imagine how good Ramirez could be if he DID hustle every now and then?

Shock and awe, I tell ya.

In management changes this week, Juan Samuel was named interim manager of the Baltimore Orioles, replacing Dave Trembley. In a move to jazz up the team, the O's conveniently lost Samuel's first game. Here's to hoping their first win under Samuel's reign won't be when the Mets are in town next weekend. (Which reminds me, there will be a tweet-up/meet-up next weekend by Boog's BBQ on Eutaw Street in the stadium -- be there, or not. Just be there - @Coopz22 for more info)

That said, as Senor Solly asked, how can Samuel have a major league management job, and Wally Backman does not? Well, he did at one point, the D-Backs backed out of the offer, but now Backman is where he rightfully belongs in the Mets organization.

That said, I hope that if Jerry Manuel is fired, the Mets do the right thing and don't automatically promote Bob Melvin (aka Manuel-lite). And complete the right move, and promote Ken Oberkfell once and for all.

I mean, they finally did the right thing, and DL Oliver Perez to make room for Jon Niese, who is starting today. The real question is - is the DL a mental or physical injury?

That said, maybe they are *finally* getting it.

So here's to you, MSFers and This Week in Baseball. Even with the mundane things to occur this week, I can assure you, a week like this won't happen again for a very very long time.

How about that???