Saturday, July 31, 2010

Keep Fucking That Chicken

Well the trading deadline has come and gone and to no one's surprise, much less this blogger, the Mets have stood pat. They are in essence saying, "These are the guys we are going to battle with. Like it or not, they have each other's backs in the trenches." It must be comforting for David Wright to know that Oliver Perez (a dude who is so into it for himself) has his back in war. If that's the case, I hope DW carries his own Vaseline.

I digress. Look, the Mets are not so COMPLETELY out of it that a trade was warranted. As I mentioned yesterday, I am not so much upset that the Mets didn't get Oswalt (personally, I've always thought he was too overpriced to the extent that even the Astros didn't get a hometown discount for him or anything), but again, that they didn't even try to drive up the asking price. HELLO! The Phillies are your direct competitor and they have strengthened their pitching staff, where Cole Hamels is now a third starter. Oswalt might not exactly help us, but he wouldn't have hurt. I guess my point is, if the Phillies are going to "overpay" in talent, at least let them lose their top prospect in Domonic Brown. Why are Reese Havens/Kirk Nieuwenhuis/Jenrry Mejia all of a sudden untouchable? Havens, although injury prone, once upon a time had a higher ceiling than Ike Davis, who has been our savior so far this year with his infectious grooves.

Meanwhile back at camp, the Cubs have shut the door on 2010 and traded Ryan Theriot and Ted Lilly to the Dodgers. The Braves and the Phillies have both visibly improved their teams. Jake Westbrook is a Cardinal. Yankees got Kerry Wood, Lance Berkman and Austin Kearns for just a cup of coffee. Why? Cause they can.

So some Tweeters are asking, rhetorically of course, "Who would you have traded? Who would have made the Mets an immediately better team? It takes more than one guy..." Etc, etc. Well, here's my philosophy. I do think that the Mets have a good team ON PAPER and should be winning more games than they are. But they are NOT and losing to lesser teams like the Diamondbacks who gave up on their season well before the trade deadline.

Some of my ideas included: Why are Nieuwenhuis/Havens/Mejia so untouchable? Well, Mejia I can justify keeping around but let's face it: We all know the Mets will fuck up his development somehow or another. We all know Pagan should have been on the trading block had Bay not gone on the DL. Look, coulda woulda shoulda.

Fact is, the Mets are asked for the sky from other teams because they know they are stupid enough to take it. Should I applaud them for not going for it? Well, maybe. But then I remember that the Mets were the only teams dumb enough to offer guaranteed money/years for Luis Castillo, Pedro Martinez and Oliver Perez. Oh and how did that ethos happen? Because the Mets had reacted too strongly and traded away Scott Kazmir and severely undervalued their own talent.

So all I can say is, to those of us happy that we stood pat, keep drinking that Kool-Aid, keep fucking that chicken. Because at the end of the day, we'll have punch, we'll have a weird chicken disease. But Oliver Perez has our back because the Mets say he does.

Um, Lets go Mets. Bring on the post-trade deadline games!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Frustrated, Inc.

Once again, my team has failed me. Has failed us. I shouldn't be surprised but sometimes it seems what should be obvious to them clearly is not, but those of us see it coming 13,000,000 miles away. If there are that many miles that exist, like, anywhere.

In case you did not hear, the Phillies have pulled off a coup and have obtained Roy Oswalt, certainly a great pitcher, for J.A. Happ but some other middle-of-the-road prospects (not named Domonic Brown, who is making waves in Philly right now due to Shane Victorino's injury). Now, I've said before, but surprisingly the Mets problem has not been pitching but timely hitting and well, hitting and driving in runs in general. So I can see taking a pass on Oswalt. Even a Phillies fan friend of mine (who is one of the rare types who has been a fan since before 2007 and is level headed) suggested that he was not excited about Oswalt because he is an injury waiting to happen.

The Mets would never come out and say that, mainly for a few reasons. Here's my beef: I'm not upset about losing out on Oswalt. The Mets allowed him to not only go within the division but to direct rivals the Phillies. THAT'S what pisses me off.

I don't care what anyone says right now or ever: the Braves, geographically, could never be direct rivals (just NL East rivals since we are in the same division). During those years of Braves dominance, I always kind of felt like the Mets were suffering from LBS: Little Brother Syndrome. Aka "Why are you guys always picking on me?????"

The Phillies have kicked our ass the last three years and everyone knows it. The Mets know it, the Phillies, Jon Miller knows it (although he still annoys us with his overexaggeration of Carlos Beltran's name on broadcasts). When the Johan Santana sweepstakes occurred in the offseason leading to 2008, the Red Sox and Yankees were in it for "vanity" reasons, meaning, they were trying to keep him from the other. Well, the schematic worked (of course, I can't complain when the Mets were the victors of that infighting). But at least the vanity part was there to keep him off a division rival.

Looking back, I shouldn't cry over spilled milk, since I do believe overall Johan Santana is a better pitcher over Roy Oswalt, so I'm certainly not comparing the two. In fact, I wouldn't shed a tear if Oswalt went to, I don't know, say the Angels or Rangers or something. To a division rival though not to mention the hated Phillies. And J.A. Happ was the crown jewel in that deal, not Domonic Brown. If the Mets were asked to part with Jon Niese, I agree he is pretty untouchable right now. But I guarantee this non-move has more to do with Omar Minaya once again overvaluing his prospects, where the rigeur du jour is to sell your prospects at their absolute lowest value. This is what angers me.

Don't get me wrong: I did a piece on the prospects who were dealt in the Johan Santana trade. Save Carlos Gomez scoring the winning run in Minnesota against the Tigers last year in the Wild Card tie-breaker, none of those prospects have been particularly impactful. So it was obvious that Tony Bernazard and Minaya were snake-oil peddlers when it counted. But again, I ask, how can you let Roy Oswalt go to a division rival for basically nothing?

Or better yet, how does a GM allow Dan Haren, exactly a pitcher who would fit in with the rotation and would pitch well at CitiField, to go for next to nothing? The Diamondbacks GM was using scare tactics to see who would jump...then the Angels came in and said, "Hey, I'll give you a couple bags of balls and we take Haren's contract." "OK, I'll take it!"

The least the Mets could have done is drive up the asking price for Oswalt so that the Phillies would have to part with more. I mean, is that too much to ask?

Apparently, yes, because now stories are coming out about how the Mets operate. While top flight free agents such as Matt Holliday and Derek Lowe walk over a matter of years, the Mets go for "poor man's" versions of Jason Bay and Oliver Perez (okay, the super-duper welfare version). I didn't complain at first because I thought contract locks are a bit stupid. However, when Joe D. mentioned on MetsMerized Online the other day that the Mets go for the lesser-wanted candidates so they won't get into a bidding war (just with themselves, as evidenced with Perez-idente) just to make fans believe they are committed to a winning team, well, it's counterintuitive. The Mets, as we can see, are NOT committed to winning, they are committed to this smoke-and-mirrors operation of running a team and most of all, allow a direct competitor to get away with trading little or next-to-nothing for a top-flight candidate, that is commitment all right: commitment to getting yourself committed to an insane asylum.

Fans have asked me outright why I still go to games, why I'm still so passionate, and I still follow the team on the road if I am disappointed as much. I shouldn't have to explain my "fandom" to people who either don't know me personally or follow my writing and/or Tweets, but I will say this: a day with bad baseball is better than no baseball at all. When the World Series is over, when it's fall going into winter, I'll have wished I had gone to as many games as possible. As Bart Giamatti once so eloquently said, this game is designed to break your heart. And the Mets are no different. I am a Mets fan first, but baseball fan second.

The incompetence of the front office though pisses me off to no end. I dislike Soul Asylum, but their song Misery, the line that stands out is "Frustrated Incorporated."

That's how I feel about the Mets front office right now. They frustrate me. They simply don't "get it." And what "it" means is: they are not committed to winning, they are not committed to being competitive. They just need to be "committed."

Monday, July 26, 2010

Period of Schmadjustment

One of the conversation topics I had with Senor Solly and the hubby while in San Francisco is this...it's more of a question, really.

Why is it when the Mets get a big chip free agent, he takes a year to "get adjusted" to the New York team, media and fans? Yet, any other team who signs a free agent seems to pay off in dividends (barring, say Barry Zito in recent memory...yet including someone like, I don't know, Billy Wagner, who is the Braves bullpen savior this year. He's lights out for them and for us he did shit when it mattered).

Adjustment, schmadjustment. My theory is, they are a bunch of pussy prima donnas who are looking for excuses. And we all know what excuses can be like - I'll give you a hint: everyone has one and they ALL stink.

Of course, you know I am referring to Jason Bay. When talking about it, I realized that I, too, was guilty of giving him a pass. Back in April, he had a slow start. Believe it or not, I actually blamed Carlos Beltran. Well, indirectly of course. I thought that without Carlos Beltran's protective bat in the lineup, Bay had to get accustomed to not only getting on base but still drive in runs, which was different from what he was used to. He could still be a powerful hitter, but I don't believe he has ever had a scrappy style on the base paths.

However, as time went on, I realized that I bought into the whole notion of a period of adjustment. Carlos Beltran is easily the prototype of this common excuse we make for players who do not do well in their first year. When he came over in 2005, it was evident after a time that he was indeed paid for his performance in the 2004 postseason and was overvalued for being a very good (not great) player. Of course, his performance in 2006 leading up to his injury in 2009 made us almost forget about his first bad year.

In fact, in recent memory, the only former Met who came over on a big free agent signing who actually did well in his first year but faltered in later years of it was Pedro Martinez. Of course, we can look to Bobby Bonilla as a big ticket free agent who never really amounted to anything in his years with the Mets, barring still being paid by the Mets (which as I stated previously is not as bad as it seemed).

My point is, I don't think Jason Bay is a bad player. I think he is a good, nee VERY good, ballplayer who is smart and a gamer. I think he would have complemented Carlos Beltran in the outfield and in the lineup very well had Beltran been available and not lost due to the injury this year. I also have to believe that though he is streaky historically, he cannot possibly be as bad as we see.

Yet we are all guilty of letting these biases come in and have us judge the players as being "human," there is a "period of adjustment" coming into New York. Why is it that every other team doesn't allow for that excuse yet the Mets and their fans (myself included) do?

If they can't handle the pressure in New York, then don't come here. Of course, we are the only people dumb enough to pay them. Any mediocre player can point to Oliver Perez's albatross of a contract (not to mention Luis Castillo's whose contract pales in comparison) and say - the Mets will pay me. So not only have we set the bar on mediocre talent (which is an oxymoron), we give them a pass for not performing to their highest abilities.

I know Senor Solly, uh, dislikes Jason Bay quite a bit. I have to believe he is not that bad, but unfortunately we have to wait. The Mets have made a period of adjustment a necessity to coming to this team, that they are allowed and conditioned to not perform or simply underperform and underachieve.

This only comes from the top and the excuses must stop. Adjustment, schmadjustment.

Just win some fucking ballgames.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

People in Motion

"All across the nation such a strange vibration...People in motion. There's a whole generation with a new explanation...people in motion, people in motion." - Scott McKenzie, San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Some Flowers In Your Hair)Prior this series, I had such high hopes.

I believed the Mets might have been victims of circumstance. That a pre-All Star Break slide was just circumstantial. That they could have easily won a few games. They were in a funk. Carlos Beltran would cure all.

And then came the series in San Francisco.

Here's the thing though. As many of the MSFers know, I took a West Coast Road Trip by myself last year. The last time I had been in San Francisco was in 2004, and that was the last time (as well as the first time) I had been at Telecom-Conglomerate-Insert-Name-Here Park (Now AT&T Park, then SBC Park). To tell the full story of my "attachment," if you will, to this stadium, I'll have to bring up my first-cousin-once-removed Mark. He moved to the west coast from the Jerz in 1973. I met him and visited the city for the first time in 1999. It was love at first sight, for both. For years and years, I had heard old war stories of cousin Mark and my dad Mr. E. Let's cut to the chase: they were up to no good most of the time.

I had Mission Burritos. I had seen the Pacific Ocean. I had seen a real west coast sunset. I had ridden a Cable Car.

Mark had shown me my first West Coast stadium, driving in the area that the stadium was located. Since it was the offseason, no games were going on of course. However, I had glimpsed the stadium and that was enough for me. From afar, I could see then that the design was similar to an East Coast favorite of mine, in Camden Yards. It wasn't until 2004 though that I was able revisit the stadium, this time due to an actual game. I thought it was charming, but I had gone with two other non-baseball aficionados. I sat in my seats all night, not that it was a problem. However, I didn't take many pictures and I was pretty non-plussed about the whole situation anyway.

Yet after last season, and I had visited the Southern California stadiums (read that most-Southern Stadium, Disneyland aka California, and Thinking Blue), I realized I needed to get back to AT&T Park. It wasn't because I hadn't been there or wanted to give it a new look. It was because I LOVE San Francisco, and felt the need to compare to what he had here now, in Flushing.

Visiting it again, six years after the fact, more than one game, and seeing how the security and staff treated their fans (like a hindrance, and these were all rent-a-cops who created traffic while trying to cause "traffic control"), I would have to say...I not only like CitiField more (that says a lot, since I'm not 100% in love with it), but I can say if I ever moved to San Francisco (not sayin'), and this was my home stadium (just sayin'), I'll probably spend a lot of time in Oakland Coliseum if I ever want to watch baseball (and this is a stadium I have ZERO desire to visit, like, ever).

Let me 'splain.

The Mets were in town for four games. Since I love San Francisco, the city, I only wanted to do three games, so I wouldn't have to be beholden to each night/afternoon at the waterfront. Hey, I'm a baseball fan...but I do love being a San Franciscan as long as I can pretend to be.

Here's my thing with San Francisco though, as a baseball city: it's second suitor (for those of you who know Mallrats know to what I am referring). Unless you crawled out from under a rock yesterday, you know that the San Francisco Giants were once upon a time the New York Giants. Some of you young whipper snappers may not realize that, especially if you are a Mets fan, because the ownership especially do not like to acknowledge the fact that the Mets are the descendants of Brooklyn Dodgers (blue) and New York Giants (orange).

That said, I have to make an observation.

I was warned prior to my L.A. baseball trip that I would like Dodger Stadium, I'd like the atmosphere, I'd LOVE the baseball and team history. It would be the fans I would not like. Well, I did not have a problem with the fans. In fact, I felt the people I talked to that night last year were knowledgeable and passionate...heck, *I* was the one who left early that night (since I had been at a game at Anaheim at 1 pm earlier in the day). Again, I had no issues with anyone doing the wave, beach balls, etc. The things that other fans had warned me about I did not observe.

I did NOT like San Francisco Giants fans. Every single one of them was fucking obnoxious. EVERY ONE. Loudmouthed. Rude. Zero respect for others. Had to rub it in for every loss. And I mean, why? Clearly, there was respect to be paid if we made a trip (it was obvious we were SO not from there). If we were talking shit the entire game like a Yankees fan perhaps, then bring it on.

Then I realized something as I walked out with Studious Metsimus.

I love a lot of San Francisco Giants players. I love Willie Mays. Heart Juan Marichal. Appreciate Willie McCovey. Despite what you think about Barry Bonds, he *was* one of the greats, even before HGH of course.

The fans though, they are angry. They are unfulfilled.

They have never won a World Championship since moving to the West Coast.

Unlike the Mets, who seem to not embrace the New York Giants part of their history, which is as rich if not more than the Brooklyn Dodgers, the Giants fans have no choice but to relish in the championships that the team who played in the Polo Grounds brought them, many of them, before they were born.

I like that they acknowledge their New York past, but they truly have no choice in the matter. They have fallen quite short on the left coast side.

Then, I pitied them.
I felt bad for them once I realized it, and could almost identify with them (ALMOST) especially with the quote above. All the "Mets suck" (I mean, they can't do any better than that?) comments, all the dirty looks, snide comments about the games, obnoxious cheers...I understood it and I felt bad about them. After all, if I were as unfulfilled as them and had no identity tied to the own city they played in, I might be as angry as they are too.

Plus, I mean, they have to listen to JON MILLER, Bel-TRONs and all, as their hometown announcer. That really has to blow, right?
So bitches...212 area code. Call me when you guys have actually won SOMETHING, kthxbye? Love, the Coop.

All right, now that I'm done getting that off my chest, I will say this: AT&T Park is a lovely park.


I think it has more to do with my attachment to the city of San Francisco for example and not so much the park itself. There are certainly charming areas to it -- McCovey Cove, the palm trees, the cute little seals that pop out of the neon lights in the right field entrance...

Then of course the charming homeless dudes who try to get money to pay for hookers are always a San Francisco treat.


I still feel a little middle-of-the-road on this stadium. I love the atmosphere, love the city, love the history.

Hate the fans. That experience can weigh down an opposing team's visit quite a bit. Perhaps that's why I didn't mind Dodger Stadium when I went last year. Since the Mets were not there, I had no vested in the interest in the outcome.

Guess I gotta go back there too.

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I will be weighing in on this abortion of a road trip tomorrow probably. Until then, please visit my piece over at Metsmerized Online, "Playing not to Lose." I posted it tonight since tomorrow, the whole leadership factor of it may be obsolete.

I have two more posts coming up on my trip to San Francisco, one the "people" factor, and one on the K-Rod blown Santana save. Fun stuff I witness, right? Where's the toilet paper???

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Second-Half Itch

Yes, folks, I realize it's been a week since I last posted, and I also acknowledge that I need to post on my trip to the left coast to see the Mets start their second half with a whimper (along with the triumphant return of Carlos Beltran who looked good at the plate but not-so-hot in the field). Patience, my dear minions. I am still going through the many photos of two cameras, and trying to frame out my posts.

In the meantime, you get to hear me bitch. I guess you can see that some things just don't change, especially after a relaxing week in my favorite city ever, San Francisco.

The Mets went on a 2-4 home stand right before the break, have embarked upon a 1-4 road trip* (*and counting) on the west coast...not to mention have fallen short so far in the month of July with a 5-10 record* (*also "and counting"). Ouch.

Well, as the saying goes, a team never is as good as they look on a winning streak, or as bad as they look on a losing streak. Of course the Mets look like world beaters when winning and absolutely horrific on losing streaks.

Take for example last Thursday's and Friday's games against the Giants. Now, the Giants have a fly-ass pitching staff, and with Tim Lincecum starting the first game after the break, it looked like the Mets would have to fight back. However, the Mets have historically been able to handle Lincecum, and our ace in the hole was Carlos Beltran returning after a season-long injury.

Now if I were to tell you that Jon Niese and R.A. Dickey's respective ERAs would go down, but still had a collective 0-2 record in the games they pitched you'd think I was lying, right? Wrong. But can you get upset about losing a game to Lincecum? No. You can get upset however at losing a game against Matt Cain.

Who I'm really upset about though is Mike Pelfrey. What the hell happened to him? I can understand "dead arm" issues but after watching his pitiful performance against the Diamondbacks (whom I'd like to point out are in last place in the NL West) it's clear to me that he's second guessing himself, just like last season. So what gives? According to an article linked out on Metsblog, the consensus from the team is "Mike throw your fastball." That says it all. He needs a shrink, but for brevity sake I say let him just win a game and regain his confidence.

After all, we were ready to throw Johan Santana under the bus for a crappy first half. He's pitched his balls off (uh, pun intended). I know there is "First Half Johan" and "Second Half Santana" but the fact is, his first half was not as indicative as historically told. Not to mention, his differential in the second half was also very slight, meaning there is a difference but I didn't think it was as great as one would believe. Anyway, I'm saying let's give Mike a chance to work his shit out. Not that we have much of a choice. But he will come around I believe.

Next is the offense. Back to the games after All-Star break, losing two in a row 1-0. WTF? When Jose Reyes returned, it took a while for the team to adjust to him back in the lineup, not to mention it also took a while for him to adjust himself back to playing every day. Once he took off, it was like a house-afire. That said, Carlos Beltran looked good at the plate...pitiful on the field. As an example, when I was at Saturday's game in San Francisco, there were two easy plays I personally thought he kind of dogged. Then I thought, well, I can't judge (since you know, I don't get paid to play). But several tweeters I followed not to mention my game partner both said Angel Pagan, had he been playing CF, would have gotten to them easily. Fair point, since I did agree but again though my harsh-on-Carlos gene was coming out to play.

So what do those defensive plays have to do with the offense. Well, it goes to show the whole chemistry thing is not overrated or a myth. However, this is the time for the Mets to make a pont and win some fucking ballgames. I said in June, right before going on the road against two bad teams, the Orioles and the Indians, that nothing less than a sweep against the O's and nothing less than two wins would suffice in those series. Well they swept both series, making a strong statement that they would beat up on the weaker teams. They need to now turn it up and beat on the Diamondbacks to make a statement in their own National League.

I don't want to jump yet. It's discouraging to come back from a hopeful first-half and subsequent All-Star Break to this. It feels like eons since the break, which we all agreed the Mets could use and would need. Now it's time to grab the bull by the balls and kick some ass on the road. Or this season will get short, quickly.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Welcome to the All-Star Shyte Show

Everyone who knows the Coop knows she is a huge baseball fan. I am a Mets fan first, baseball fan second (Rangers hockey fan thirds and Jets fourth, in case you were wondering).

Although I am a huge baseball fan, I can't say I am a fan of the All-Star Game. This has been a more recent development, I would say I stopped caring about it when Bud Selig made it "count" by making World Series home field advantage contingent upon which league won the game. I understand that it was in "response" to a year when there was a play for a tie. However, call me crazy, I find that kind of "exhibition" more interesting than say having an every day player put himself out for a game that might not even impact how his team fares in October.

Meaning, only eight teams could potentially be impacted by the whole home field advantage thing. Meaning, every team needs to be represented in the All-Star Game. Meaning a guy on the Houston Astros has to play hard just because someone on the Cardinals (a division rival) might need it to have 1/4 of a chance to make the National League the home field team in the World Series. When you know the dude on the Astros will be golfing.

Now, don't get me wrong. I am all for playing hard in the All-Star Game. After all, some of the best games I remember watching as a game were low-scoring efforts. Meaning, they were more dependent on pitching duels and players actually being proactive in wanting to win. I have no issue with a player who wants to play hard and represent his league and make them "proud."

Making the players "have" to care, that's not something I'm cool with.

Case and point: 2006 All-Star Game. Although I said I stopped caring for it earlier in the decade (possibly the only one I watched beginning to end was in 2001, just to see my hero Cal Ripken Jr. play his last ASG, and to see him win the MVP too). The 2006 All-Star Game had many Mets representing. So of course I had to watch. I was thrilled when Carlos Beltran showed some aggressiveness, to the point where it looked like his ASG MVP was in the bag.

Enter Miguel "Fat Boy" Cabrera and Trevor Hoffman in the 9th inning. When Cabrera "Dorn'd" a ball that should have by all accounts been an easy play, of course Hoffman gets rattled and blows the save. Michael Young becomes the American League hero, and Beltran is all but an after-thought.

I wasn't so much upset about the National League losing home field advantage in the World Series, and hey tough breaks for Beltran, he's a big boy I'm sure he can handle it. However, Cabrera's team wasn't even sniffing the playoffs that year. Hoffman had more on the line, since his team actually made the playoffs. But I stopped caring when guys like Lance Berkman from the Astros was joking around in the press, when asked about whether he plays harder because National League home field is on the line, he made some kind of comment that "Oh I'm sure I won't lose any sleep if we lose."

Tell me again why this game "counts" for "ANYTHING?" I don't even get jazzed about the Home Run Derby, simply because it seems to ruin the swing of most players who participate.

The only thing I would remotely want to watch is Ubaldo Jimenez pitch, and even that, meh. He'll only pitch, what two innings, three innings tops? I really want to see Angel Stadium though, but hey, I can visit Anaheim anytime.

Not to mention the abject nepotism played by the "Managers," clearly the NL and AL reps from the Series last season. Charlie Manuel is a dick head to the nth degree, we all know this, but saying that Ryan Howard, a mediocre first baseman at best who is a dime-a-dozen represents while other more deserving players are not going. Then again, why should they? Maybe Howard will play harder since his team actually has a chance of making the playoffs.

I feel like a bad baseball fan for not caring or watching. Since I am going to be on the west coast this week, perhaps I will watch it tomorrow night. After all, my better half likes to view it. As long as I'm somewhere I can drink beer maybe I can tolerate it. Otherwise...why bother?

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Stand proud, be loud Mets fans! Megdal for GM has two new primaries this week, at Amazin Avenue and Faith and Fear in Flushing. Whether you agree or not with his campaign, voting is the most important thing to do here. You can also hear Megdal and Mets poobah Marty Noble speak tonight at Amazin Monday at Two Boots Tavern. Unfortunately, I cannot make it, but tell 'em Coop sent ya if you make it.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Less than Ted

So the crowburger barbecue hoe down is put off (for now...). The Coop would like to mention that she was the only one in the blogosphere, Twitterverse and just about anywhere else in the galaxy who was skeptical about a Lee-to-Yankees deal all but being "done." Of course, I was working up my appetite for some cheesecrow, but when I found out that I was the only one who hadn't jumped off the Pulaski Skyway, I celebrated with some nachos and a concrete from Shake Shack.

Moving right along, I still believe and will believe that Cliff Lee, as good as he may be, would not be the push over the proverbial cliff that the Mets need to win-at-all-costs this year. In fact, Lee would make them a "win-now" team, and who wants that? Sacrificing the future for a momentary glimpse of glory, well, there are no guarantees, one, and two, how has that worked out for the Mets in the past? Well, it hasn't.

Now, the real question remains from Mets fans is this...who do the Mets go after now? I agree, if we are to be legitimate contenders in the NL East and/or Wild Card, Omar Minaya NEEDS to execute a trade. Perhaps a starter who can eat innings or someone who won't only contribute this season but to seasons afterwards, long-term and short-term.

And by "he" I mean anyone not named Ted Lilly.

At least if the Mets had managed to trade for Cliff Lee (I agree that the prospects probably weren't as enticing as that Smoak kid, but when the asking price "starts" with Ike Davis, then I agree the asking price was a tad too high), I could have suffered in silence with the best of them.

Ted Lilly, aka "why?" What does he have that the Mets absolutely need right now? On the flip side, what do the Mets have that the Cubs think they can pull the wool over our eyes and get long-term for a short-term trade of Lilly?

Fact: Lilly would be a half-year rental. He is only under contract till end of 2010. So why would the Mets, thinking now AND later, be remotely interested in making a trade that would make them suffer long-term? (Is there any word that Lilly would be willing to negotiate an extension? Probably not)

Fact: Lilly is not...that...good. The dude is as old as me (read: not young), pitched for the Expos for crying out loud, and I guess not...that...good is a bit of an exaggeration. Or is it? He's OKAY at best.

Fact: Now the asking price is Josh Thole. After losing two straight to the Braves, two straight series at home, the WORST thing to do is a panic move. And let's just say that I believe we could get a lot more for Josh Thole than Ted Lilly.

Need I remind you all that the Mets are NEVER good at making a "panic move." Luckily for us, Omar Minaya tends not to make them. Fairly enough, though, he makes NO moves at the deadline.

If this team is as good as they want us to think they are, they need to make a move. However, a Thole-for-Lilly deal is potentially worse than a Davis-plus-other-prospects-for-Lee would ever be. Why? BECAUSE HE'S NOT THAT GOOD!!!

As evidenced by today's loss, the Mets problem isn't the pitching. Hopefully, when Beltran returns, there will be a short "learning curve" and the hitting will be fine. Or will it? Fact is, the Mets biggest problem right now is the hitting and not pitching.

Jason Bay hits into a 6-4-3 Double Bay, becoming our higher paid version of Fernando Tatis. David Wright isn't doing his job. Jose Reyes won't be playing in the All-Star Game and is also slumping. Angel Pagan is our MVP but that's not saying much. Don't get me started on that waste named Jeff Francoeur. But hey guess what!??? Alex Cora is on pace to hit the amount of innings for his vesting option!!!!

The Mets, if they truly wish to improve themselves, will have to get another bat for the lineup. Trading Thole or Havens or any other prospect for Ted Lilly won't change the fact that they will be less than Ted without another bat in the lineup.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Last Dead Mouse

I don't know about you guys...but I'm not buying this whole Cliff Lee-close-to-going-to-Yankees business. Just the timing is so suspect. Most Mets fans are throwing Omar Minaya under the bus but the fact it, I cannot blame Minaya for not making a deal or holding his cards close to his chest regarding a deal like this.

Look at the big picture: Lee is a half-year rental. I could give a rat's ass about "draft picks" next year. Of course the Mariners aren't in it to win anything this year. That's all fine and dandy. What i do know is this: what does Jack Zduriencik have to lose asking for a king's ransom in top prospects?

And we all know the true reason why the Yankees are even being thrown around right now: TO DRIVE UP VALUE. Gee whillakers, if y'all can't see that, then I have this here bridge I'd like to sell ya.

Now I am not a Yankees fan, I think I make that very evident. Don't like the way they conduct business, the way they've ruined baseball by raising the bar of "value." Before I get all "Coop, A-Rod didn't sign with the Yankees for $252 mm, it was the RANGERS" comments from you, please tell me that the Yankees way of running their baseball operations DON'T cause people like Scott Boras to inflate the value of their athletes, and get dudes like Hicks to pay up, sucka.

Now, when I look at the standings in the AL East, it's a three team race, with the Yanks, Rays and Sox. Will getting Cliff Lee REALLY help them run away with the division? I think it makes them marginally better...but not to the extent of giving up a future catcher (Jesus Montero). I mean, what happens after Jorge Posada retires? Will the Yankees make an offer to Victor Martinez to blow him out of the water?

Keep in mind, last season, I had my Yankee fan friends swearing up and down that Mussina and Giambi and others coming off the books in 2009 was going to clear up space on the payroll. I scoffed because I thought they'd get Sabathia, maybe Teixeira, and Burnett was a dark horse candidate. Well guess what? They peaked last year, getting all three, winning the World Series... adding Cliff Lee, whether or not he costs prospects and not that much in dollars yet...Especially Cliff Lee in a little league park?

I just...I just don't buy it. When I said the timing was "suspect," how ironic that the Yankees are in Seattle. OF COURSE the GMs are "in talks." They may as well, right, since everyone is in the same room?

If anything, I believe these "reports" ('cause that is all they are) are to light a fire under the arse of Bill Smith, GM of the Twins, to get a deal cooking.

This is what I believe. Of course, I know that Senor Solly and DyHrdMet are firing up the grill, getting their crowburgers out of the freezer for me...but hear me out.

I don't believe Lee will go to the Yankees. Seriously how many times have we been through this scenario? Heck, even Johan Santana was "close to a deal with the Yankees" before surprising everyone (including us) by going to the Mets. Why was that? TO GET MORE BANG FOR THE JOHAN BUCK. Substitute "Cliff Lee" for "Johan" and it's the same damn thing.

I never believed the Mets were in the running (Solly and Jason - I do like cheese with my crowburger) for Lee. Again, how many times are New York teams used in the media to drive up the value of the trade? It's not just baseball: it's every sport.

Now wherever Lee goes to -- Minnesota Twins, New York Yankees, assistant road secretary to the Phoenix Coyotes -- we can FINALLY concentrate on real deals that will REALLY help the Mets, not just this season, but long-term. Again, I could give a rat's ass about getting draft picks for Lee if we were to trade for him. So then we're out of major league-ready talent AND a few years away for these picks to make some kind of impact? Keep dreaming.

I want Haren. I'd almost rather have Oswalt, although I've said before that I am concerned about his injury history and age. Lilly is good, but again. he is a half-year rental. If I'm the GM, I want someone who can help us NOW AND LATER. What a novel concept! Cliff Lee can suck my left nut. If I had them. Just sayin'.

I can say one thing about Zduriencik it's this: he sure knows how to work the press. The New York media needs something else to feed on since their "savior" LeBronx (yes that was intentional) won't be playing in New York next season.

Ice to an eskimo. Last dead mouse. It's all a way of driving up value.

And if the Yankees end up getting him...will it really matter?

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Balls: Two

Johan Santana took the mound tonight and said, "Fuck you, Jobu. I do it myself."

What that meant was: no run support? No problem! He hits a home run. Technically, if Game-winning RBIs still were a valid statistic, he'd have had it, since they technically were in the lead from that point forward.

Haven't had a win in awhile? No issue! He'll just pitch a complete game. And not give up a run either.

Threw 97 pitches last outing? No worries! He made sure to go 100+ pitches tonight.

Any rumblings about a dead arm? His rehab from surgery isn't going well? He made sure to put an exclamation point in lieu of those question marks tonight.

No blown saves. Almost a "Bay-stillo" (stolen from someone on Twitter - please identify yourself so I can give you credit!) moment in the 9th.

Jerry Manuel running the bullpen into the ground? No need for that, General Jerry. Johan tells him to go back into the dugout. This is MY game.

Still, walked away with a win that was needed after an ugly loss last night. And it was well under three hours to boot!

Mr. E sent me a text after the game. "1 man show! He just told manuel 2 go back 2 dugout. How cool is that?" You have to understand, Mr. E came from a different era, where pitchers went 15 innings in order to preserve a shutout and give your team the best chance to win (I have to hear about his Al Jackson 15-inning loss when he had a shutout going almost the entire time).

I responded: "Cojones."

And he said: "Balls, 2."

Yup. You guys wonder where I get my Mets-titude from - well there it is, boys and girls.

Nights like tonight where complete game shut outs from the dude who is our "ace" bring me back to not just a simpler time, it also makes me happy to be alive.

Johan told everyone with his performance tonight that rumors of his demise are greatly exaggerated.

I have a feeling he is back.

Watch out.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Megdal for GM: The Race Continues

Rock the vote! For Megdal that is.

F-O-C, local writer and published author and passionate Mets fan Howard Megdal ran a successful primary last week, capturing well over 60% of the votes at both New York Baseball Digest and Amazin' Avenue.

This is a victory for everyone in Metsopotamia. The fact is, in line with Presidential primaries, Megdal caught a larger percentage of the vote than Ronald Reagan, LBJ or Dick Nixon in their respective campaigns. This is, in no short term, amazin'!

So rock the vote again
! This week, we will see some primaries run on Metsgrrl and Mets Minor League Blog. In other related news, if Megdal is voted in, he has tapped Toby Hyde of MMLB to run his minor league operations. Outside of Tony Bernazard (heh heh, that's a little joke), Hyde is one of the most educated on Mets minor league prospects.

Hopefully, Megdal will ask Coop to be his right-hand man, er, woman. But I'll take it as it comes. It's an honor to be part of this grassroots campaign, highlighting "logic, transparency and passion."

PS Also come out for an unprecedented Amazin' Monday, hosted by Greg from FAFIF and Jon from MBTN, where Megdal will be speaking to his constituents on July 12 at Two Boots Tavern in Grand Central. Tell them all "hello" as I will not be able to attend.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

The Washington Post

I would like to say that this weekend was the first weekend I've spent in our Nation's Capital coinciding with said nation's birthday. However, it was not, and while the circumstances were quite different, the theme remains the same.

It should have been a fun one. I was in a festive mood most of the day.

But to do so, I have to bring you back to a non-baseball related story. In fact, it has nothing to do with baseball at all. It has to do with the reason I dislike fireworks, I've never taken to D.C., and toilet paper. It will tie together, I promise.

Back in 1996, the parents of my boyfriend (who to this day remains a very good friend of mine) at the time moved to a suburb smack dab in the middle of Baltimore and Washington called Crofton. We were futzing around thinking what to do on 4th of July. Up to that point, I wouldn't have called myself a huge fireworks fan, but I thought maybe finally we'd see the Macy's spectacular.

His idea? Let's help my parents unpack and then go to D.C. to see the fireworks. Up to then, I had only been to D.C. a few times, but each time the visits were rushed and I never got the full "tourist" effect of it. No White House (except driving past it), no Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, National Mall, Smithsonian, nothin'.

What a fabulous idea! Spending the Nation's Birthday in the Nation's Capital.

This holiday, of course, I found that the best laid plans, etc etc. You know the drill.

We wake up and in the brand new, recently constructed house, there was no hot water. Zee-roh. So we couldn't take showers. His father was one of those guys like, "I gotta see it to believe it." Since he had hot water in the morning, he figured we were all crazy. Then his mother realized that the sprinkler system was hooked up to the hot water heater. Oops. So by the time we were able to get our act together it was early afternoon. Not terribly late, but again, on a holiday in the Nation's Capital, we wanted to get a head-start on the day.

His brother agreed to tag along, and as we left the house, said ex-boyfriend asked his parents if they wanted to go. We had planned on taking the Metro in from Landover, but we still needed to get there (I don't remember it being all that far). They agreed to come as well. Okay, I guess. My philosophy was the more the merrier.

As we were heading to the train, his mother suggested we stop at the nearest Sears, to schedule a dishwasher delivery. What, you couldn't have done that earlier? Or call them? So we go the other way around to schedule this...Okay, fine, so we do that. Then it's off to the train.

The train itself wasn't that bad. By the time we got there, everything was shutting down, the few things that were open. The museums, etc. Not to worry, I figured we are there for the fireworks right? They go off in about four hours at that point.

Since I'd never been there, I told him that I wanted to go up the hill to the Washington Monument. Again, remember I had never been there. His dad starts freaking out. What happened? Well, he had to go the bathroom and the port-a-potties were in the different direction. So...do you need help wiping or something? Get over it -- we'll meet you down there in an hour.

Of course, again, best plans mislaid, etc etc. We start walking up the hill to find that...the Monument was closed because of no air conditioning. Well, that sucks. At that point I said, well, we might as well join Pops in the bathroom line since by the time he's done (I mean, there were a lot of people there), I'd probably have to go.

I don't mean to sound bitchy or ungrateful, but I was pretty pissed off. Boyfriend and I were planning on doing the fireworks, I had actually been looking forward to it, and now his folks (whom I normally loved hanging out with) were being complete wet blankets (um, no pun intended, due to the bathroom trip).

Wet blanket indeed. I pick the port-a-potty that had NO toilet paper. Zee-roh again. What now? I have to DRIP DRY??? This day from the minute we woke up to the grass being watered with the hot-water heater, to us making several pit stops because we wanted to be generous and ask his folks to join us, to missing the museums, to no AC in the Washington Monument, to no TP in the john was a complete clusterfuck. What next?

Ice cream.

Okay, so boyfriend could see my patience was being tested thin. So he suggested we hit a truck. I got my usual Firecracker Pop (the red, white and blue icy thing -- apropos, right?). As we all got our wares, I forgot about the late start, I forgot about the museums, heck I even forgot I had to do the shake as I left the pot.

Then it happened.

Mom, who was known as a "general" in the family, said, "Okay, let's go home now." Now, since we all took the same car, we had no choice but to leave together. I turned to boyfriend, who looked mortified, and said, "but...I thought we were..." Then his mom says, "I have some steaks, so we can cook dinner when we get home."

Now, I'd never been in D.C., but I figured...this is the nation's Capita, right? There are PLENTY of places for us to dine, right? So I said, "Well, can't we just eat here?" Apparently, you can't question Mom, when everyone (including stoic Pops) says, "NO!" rather emphatically.

So let's reCoop here: I go down to the D.C. area specifically to see the fireworks. I was held up by stuff out of my control, then by stuff that could be controlled, went to D.C., didn't see anything in D.C. except a port-a-potty that HAD NO FUCKING TOILET PAPER, got ice cream, but then only stayed about a total 30 minutes.

So why did I rehash that story? Well, I often like to tell it because I have to explain myself why I don't like fireworks. It wasn't just then though but I never have. I remember being a kid and freaking out at the annual 4th of July celebration in town, and my mom having to take me home. This trip was a concerted effort to get me to like fireworks, but also to let me see why people love D.C. so much.

Much like Chap called her feelings on her years in Boston, I hated it on sight.

See, the reason I am telling this story is because all I kept thinking as Frankie Rodriguez blew what should have been an elementary save after not only a fabulous R.A. Dickey start but a start where heralded phenom Stephen Strasburg clearly did not have his best stuff working for him.
If the Mets lost to the Nationals and it was Strasburg's doing, hey, at least we'd have been able to justify it.

The game took much longer than it should have. A 4:10 pm start and we made it out of the parking lot at 8 pm, we were staying in Wilmington, Delaware (since I drove all the way down, I thought staying in a half-way point would be easier since I had to return the rental car earlier the next day), and my GPS died so we had to make a pit stop at a rest stop in order to charge it.

What's the point? Can't you see the parallels?

It was a shitty game and a shitty day and the only thing missing was the toilet paper.

Kind of like my trip in 1996.

Friday, July 02, 2010

On the Road Again...

Yes, the Mets are on the road this weekend. And I will be joining them. Only for a day though. See, Senor Coop and I had a crazy idea to follow the Mets to D.C. this weekend. I try to avoid I-95 like the clap on a holiday weekend. But this one seemed right for some reason. It's a 4 pm game, so there's less pressure for us to make it down by 1 pm.

Getting a method to get down there was tough though. I would venture to say ALL rental car agencies on the island of Manhattan are completely sold out. So what does Coop do? She looks at the local airports and got a good deal via Hotwire at LaGuardia.

I guess what they say is true. Will, way, etc, etc.

Then staying overnight in Delaware, only to come back before the 24-hour span. I am going to be EXHAUSTED. But worth it, I hope. We get to see Strasburg. Senor Coop gets to see another park he would not have.

That's not all. See, besides having season tickets, we are traveling quite a bit for this team this year. Baltimore, D.C., San Francisco, Philadelphia, and *potentially* Pittsburgh. I've never been to PNC Park. I've been to the other four. Hubby will be a "virgin" at all these stadiums.

I often think I'm crazy. I love the beach. I love the summer time. I love warm and sunny weather. I prefer it over cold weather any day of the week including Sundays. I appreciate air conditioning. Don't get me wrong. Like Southern California weather is something I wouldn't mind experiencing year-round.

I could be spending my time and my dinero on time shares in the Hamptons or the Jersey Shore. Yet, each year, Sterling Mets get my money, and I manage to take my show on the road as well.

Priorities, I guess.

In the meantime, though, I am enjoying this season. Quite a bit, actually. Taking it as it comes, and it's quite lovely after what we went through as fans in 2009.

If you remember, I was not a fan of Nationals Park. But Hubby hadn't been there yet. We had nothing else to do but smile this weekend. So why not?

As a friend mentioned earlier, we hope to see a good performance by Strasburg, but overshadowed by a Mets win.

Happy 4th of July everyone!

Thursday, July 01, 2010

So Long, San Juan

So the Mets and Marlins just finished their pilot series in San Juan, Puerto Rico, last night. I don't know how I felt about it, the series, being played there and all. Maybe I would have felt better if the Mets had home field. But what the hell do I know?

I think what bothers me most is that the Marlins always seem to beat us when we really need to win. Okay, fine, maybe these games weren't "must win" games, but nothing makes me giddier than beating on the Marlins. Well, except for maybe beating on the Phillies. I truly HATE with a passion certain Marlins, especially Cody F. Ross and Dan "Fucking" Uggla. Oh wait. Maybe his middle name is also "F." I just call him "Fuggla" though. And I don't even call Shane Victorino the middle initial "F." Though I should.

I digress. While I think it was tres cool (or perhaps I should say "muy") to have something like this, as I kept telling Senor Coop that we are SO GOING next year if they do it again, the schedule was pretty unforgiving to the Mets especially. The Marlins get today off, and yet they have a shorter trip to Miami than the Mets did, who traveled back up the east coast to our nation's capital.

The Mets lost two out of three. I really feel like they should have won two out of three. Should I be so nitpicky? Hells belles yes!!! I was watching Tuesday night's game at an establishment, and I truly thought someone slipped a roofie in my one beer to see Frankie Rodriguez pitching in the 8th inning. Eighth inning. The game wasn't tied, I know, but still, the Marlins were clearly breaking down and he shoulda been spared. Lo and behold, the Mets *did* tie it up. I love me some Pedro Feliciano but he is not bullet proof. Chances are, Frankie gets a little shaky at times but I would have believed he would have kept the game tied. We'll never know, but I felt like once again Jerry Manuel was writing the Manuel of "Stuff I pulled out of my ass: Fucking with the bullpen against a division rival." Conceding the game = not cool, Jerry. Not cool at all.

Do I need to remind everyone about how we feel about the Marlins? Okay, I won't insult your intelligence. But FUGGLA killing us once again with the go-ahead run on base? I know his lifetime BA against the Mets isn't all the dramatic (.225) but according to Baseball Reference, he has 15 doubles and 15 HRs against the Mets lifetime. He sucks offensively by the way. I guess the good part is, he seems to hit those doubles and home runs when they count against another rival: the Braves (his BA is a lot better against them, .286, with 22 HRs and 22 doubles).

There are bigger fish to fry (get it?? FISH to fry??? Ah, what do you know from funny), but pitch underhanded to Daniel Cooley Uggla from now on. Yes, that is his middle name. And he can kiss mine too. My "cooley." I'm telling you, I slay me, folks.

What else? Well, I think it's a tad unfair, although still on the East Coast, that the Marlins really have no repercussions of playing the series, with their day off and all. Especially with the delayed game yesterday, the Mets got a late start and are probably operating with a bit of fatigue.

This series in DC is pretty critical. I predict three out of four for the Mets though. Why not a sweep? Well, I am a realist. Because Saturday they are facing Strasburg. AT BEST I am hoping for a 1-0 game. And that the Mets actually get a hit. Please? After all, SC and I will be in attendance.

So until next year, San Juan, we shall meet again. Will the Mets even play their next year? I'm confused.

That's all for now, folks. Later.