Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Time to Shut Niese Down

A couple weeks ago, Jerry Manuel was asked how he felt about capping the workload this season for Jon Niese. His answer was thoughtful:
“They kind of have to kind to convince me,” Manuel said. “Because I believe a guy should learn how to pitch. The more he gets out there, the better pitcher he’s going to become for you.”

“Because if you’ve got a guy pitching well, and you’re trying to win games, then that puts some shackles on you,” Manuel said. “That’s tough. What if a guy’s throwing a no-hitter?”

“I don’t have any problems with the dialogue or what have you,” he said. “If the majority feels that [he should be limited], and proves that this is going to make something better for whatever, I don’t see a problem with that.” Source: NJ.com

I happen to still like Manuel, and that was a reasonable argument made at a time when it made sense. A dialogue is good, and you might want to use your instinct and senses in addition to looking at a strict numerical pattern - especially considering Niese has hurled around 180 innings in a season before (in 2008).

Monday, August 30, 2010

Dickey and Thole Are WAY Cooler Than Batman And Robin!

Game 3/The Rubber Game: Mets 5 Astros 1
R.A. Dickey vs Bud Norris
The best duo ever are no longer Batman and Robin in my mind. Dickey and Thole are way awesomer!

--Reyes is still out and most likely will not be playing in the upcoming series that starts tonight against Atlanta, boo!
--Luis Hernandez was in the lineup!
--There was no Rihanna at bat music playing and the Mets won. I think my theory is holding up!
--There was a Jay Bay sighting. Roger who was at the game saw Jay Bay as he was leaving the players parking lot. Jay Bay was sucking on a lolly and wearing shades. Sadly he did not capture this amazingness on camera. Blasphemy I say!

And well now let me get to the action.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Can We Blame Rihanna For This Horrible 2010 Metsies Season!?!

Game 2: Astros 4 Mets 1
Myers vs Santana

So after last night's horrible loss I have officially entered reality and am throwing in the towel. I no longer have these visions of grandeur for the NY Metropolitans. I get it now, they are done. I got the message loud and clear. The only thing I and other fans can hope for at this point is for the Metsies to maybe be spoilers. If they could ruin Philadelphia's playoff dreams that would be magnificent! If they could just win a lot of their 33 or so remaining games even though they are of no meaning at all that would be splendid.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The David Wright Lincoln MKS Blooper Reels!

So after last night's delightful Metsies victory I was inspired this morning to film my version of the David Wright "The game has officially been changed" Lincoln MKS commercial that airs all the time on SNY during the Mets games. Irving is playing the role of David Wright and well just watch and see the madness ensue! Enjoy!

It Feels Oh So Good To Say "Big Pelf Gets win #13!"

Game 1: Mets 2 Astros 1
Big Pelf vs Nelson Figueroa

-Reyes out with the ohhhhh-blique blues, ugh.
-Luis Castillo and his two different sized legs are now getting the playing time he wanted, oye.
-There was a Jay Bay sighting...in the dugout!
-Keith Hernandez was back in the booth!

The last time Nelson Figueroa was at Citi Field, it was 2009 and he was a Metsie and he pitched a 4 hit shutout. But oh how things have changed! Last night Figueroa pitched quite good yet again but well now he's an Astro and well his efforts were indeed no match for those of Big Pelf. Over the last 5 games Pelf has returned to that dominant possible all star we grew to love early on in the season and that's been splendid. I'm so happy to not have to see Dan Warthen come to the mound to calm a confused, irate and just out of control Pelfrey down! But besides Pelf pitching a gem this game really came down to Figueroa walking a lot of Mets because honestly the NY Metropolitan offense was just non-existent. They only had 3 hits on the night but oh it was just enough to help them eke out this victorino against Houston. Ok so let's do this recap, it's been a while since I wrote one up, I hope I still have the magic touch and well then it's time for some Keith and Gary booth shenanigans! Here we go!

Friday, August 27, 2010

I Am Just About Ready To Throw In The Towel...

Game 3/The Blique Blues: Marlins 11 Mets 4

Jose Reyes is out! Damn right oblique yet again has to ruin everything.

So in today's video installment Irving and I (and oh it's not just my voice this time, oh I'm in the flesh, be prepared) discuss last night's debacle, yep the game and well we are interrupted half way through by a park worker named Louisa. My Dad was filming for me this time around and well he took it upon himself to include Louisa in this film and honestly I think it was a brilliant move. Although this vid goes from a Mets venting session to just some impromptu madness it might just be the right medicine for any Mets fan like myself who has the "O-Blique Blues."

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Call The Mets Jerry Seinfeld Because They Are Just Even Steven...

Game 2: Marlins 5 Mets 4

Alex Sanabia vs Pat Misch

So I'm back...and I have created another video of me and Irving discussing the Metsies. I'm still trying to figure out the right formula for these videos. Of course the best thing would be for the Mets to just win but other than that I can't stop making them a bit too long. Also my Dad has told me to avoid being on camera and that the focus has to be on Irving. So yep it's just my voice and well a lot of Irving. Here we go!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Bon Voyage, Barajas... Josh Thole, Here Are The Keys

It's been a good run, Rod! Well-liked by all accounts by all the Mets, Barajas was just shipped off to Los Angeles in a straight up waiver claim.

There was much hand-wringing in Mets circles about the Mets promoting Barajas and carrying three catchers. Obviously, with the Mets out of the race, educated Mets fans would all prefer Josh Thole be doing the bulk of the catching duties as an audition for next year. At the time, I said:
This arrangement might last a week at most, as Blanco or Barajas might get flipped through a waiver trade. It’s not worth all the wringing of hands and “wah wah same old Mets” attitude. It’s bad enough that the product on the field is pedestrian… we don’t need to wallow in things that mean nothing. If I’m wrong and this arrangement lasts the season and Thole loses playing time, then I’ll complain. A lot.
In any event, it looks like we, once again, are getting what we asked for.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Bobby Parnell Has Suddenly Become Very Important

Bobby Parnell was very impressive last night. As Gary Cohen noted during the broadcast, Parnell threw over a dozen pitches at 100 mph or faster, as well as a couple at 102. I didn't see it, but the NY Times claims that he threw a pitch at 103 as well.

Putting aside the issue of whether the gun was fast (it was), Parnell was throwing some serious heat last night. The fastball was darting and tailing, and the slider was a wipeout pitch. If Parnell can continue to pitch like that, he is going to be very very good. Very.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Giving Credit Where Credit is Due

I'm not a huge Bob Klapisch fan, but this is pretty funny. In December of 2008, shortly after the Mets signed K-Rod, Klapisch published an article at ESPN with the following title:

Mets' image won't be helped by K-Rod

Granted, he was talking about K-Rod's celebrating and histrionics, but still, it is somewhat prophetic.

Monday, August 16, 2010

K-Rod Injured ... Mets Get Lucky?

Ok team, let's put a positive spin on this one.

K-Rod getting injured while beating up an old man is obviously a fiasco and embarrassing and ridiculous. The whole situation stinks. But in doing so, K-Rod may have hurt his chances of getting his 2012 contract option to vest. Here are the details, as per Cot's Contracts:

2012:$17.5M option ($3.5M buyout)

2012 option becomes guaranteed with:
55 games finished in 2011, and
100 games finished in 2010-11, and
doctors declare Rodriguez healthy after 2011
K-Rod has finished 46 games this year. Setting aside, for a moment, whether or not the Mets will be able to void the contract based on his inappropriate conduct in the clubhouse and resulting injury -- the Mets may be able to wiggle out of the option nonetheless.

In the last five seasons before this one, K-Rod has finished 56 games or more every single time: 58, 58, 56, 69, 66. He needs to finish 56 games next year to have his option vest. It'll be interesting to watch.

Talk About Mismanagement

I don't know why Michael Baron is writing for Metsblog because, seriously, this guy has all the answers! He is seriously like way more smart than anyone in the Mets ownership, or the management, or their confidants, friends, wives, husbands, sisters, brothers, or dogs. Take a look at how simply he explains everything to us!!
But here we are, in August, 2010, and not only have the Mets become irrelevant once again, but the fans AND the media continue to talk about the past, and harp on the past as well.

It’s not either the media’s or the fans’ fault, as the Mets themselves have not given anyone a reason to forget about what has happened – to the contrary, we continue to get beaten up by the losing, and the distractions, and the bad attitudes – all of which seem to stem from Beltran’s strikeout almost four years ago and serve as constant reminders of what this organization has been through and put us through over recent years.

The simple fact is this – it’s up to the Mets, and ONLY the Mets to make the past the past. Right now, the past is very much a part of the present, ranging from their productivity on the field, to their collective attitudes in the front office, dugout and clubhouse. The only cure for that is to not rely on history and to not rely on hope for success, because those two elements are haunting them and killing them at this very hour, as McCarron clearly points out.

The Mets have to find a way to re-discover what made this franchise so promising in 2005 and 2006, and bring in the necessary people to restore that promise – whether it’s a manager, General Manager, coach or player, or all of those combined. And even if they do that, I don’t think it stops there – it’s a change in team building philosophy from the depths of the minor leagues all the way to Citi Field, developing a plan for success, and applying that plan to each and every employee they hire into the organization, and ultimately just put the pedal to the metal and win.

Until the Mets acknowledge this problem and stick those two parts together, the past will always be attached to the present.
Like duh! See everbody?! It's not that the Mets suck, it's their attitudes!! It's not that the other teams SCORES MORE RUNS THAN US MOST OF THE TIME. Let's just fix those attitudes.

Then, we have to discover whatever it was that made us successful in 2005 and 2006, and just DO IT AGAIN. Why didn't we think of that? Why didn't the Mets just repeat the formula of those successful seasons? We must be SO DUMB. To think, all this time, the Mets brass had no interest in putting those parts together, and instead chose to be stupid and suck!


Sarcasm aside, is this for real? I don't know whether I should just ignore it or feel insulted that - of all the really good, insightful research and writing that there is online - this is the stuff which is considered content on the most widely read baseball blog in the universe.

According to their counter, Metsblog had EIGHTY THOUSAND VISITORS YESTERDAY. Eighty thousand. To put it in perspective, that's the approximate attendance of 2.5 actual real life Mets games. The influence that Metsblog wields among the fanbase is enormous.

Do you think it's a coincidence that Mets fans over the last five years have become a caricature of themselves? That everyone, both baseball fans and otherwise, see the Mets as a snake-bitten, whiny, neurotic, dysfunctional, second-rate organization? The content of the official sanctioned home of the Mets would indicate as much.

Listen, I think everyone has as much right as anyone else to write, to be read, to get feedback, and to contribute to an interesting discussion on the team that we all collectively enjoy to watch play baseball. But the above linked article is just ... the opinion of one dude. It amounts to nothing more than speculation from a source with exactly as much credibility as any nice guy you might meet in a bar or who might call into WFAN at 3 in the morning.

With sites out there like Amazin Avenue, Metstradamus, Hot Foot, and otherwise, all churning out excellent insightful content day after day -- why is the above article the one which gets posted in a place of such influence?

And what is that impact of it as far as local and national media -- is it that far out to think it might even affect the team directly? Remember, one link to an article about the Mets payroll scenario for 2011 seems to have resulted in an avalanche of articles in the last few days about the future.

What responsibility does Metsblog have, knowing the breadth of its readership, to ensure that its own content doesn't make matters worse? Should it report the news in an unbiased fashion like a media outlet? Should it function as a wholly-owned subsidiary of SNY and perhaps paint a rosier picture? Does it as an entity owe anything to anyone at all?

UPDATE: August 16th, 1:20PM:

Based on some reader response, I just want to be clear here: I don't hate Metsblog. I actually like Metsblog. I think it's a great source of information, I think Matt works very hard on it, and I think they do a great service by linking to things that people might not otherwise see. I think they do a good job and that Matt in particular does his best to educate himself as he goes along.

With that said, I stand by what I wrote above. Metsblog is great, but it occupies a very interesting and unique niche -- it's a very widely read blog. Is it as influential as I think it is? Does it have a responsibility to report fairly and accurately as opposed to with an angle? Does it have a responsibility to provide quality content rather than speculation?

By all accounts, Michael Baron is a good guy. I love his pictures. I know he's a fan. I just find myself wondering whether content like the above-linked post belongs in such a prominent place in media.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

There Was No Luck Of The Irish For The Metsies On Green Cap Night...

Green Cap Night!
Game 2: Phillies 4 Mets 0
Halladay vs Misch

So again I decided to film this recap. I've been lazy lately and well typing up a game, especially a losing effort by the Mets is not something I just have had oomph to go and do. Also I'm going to Spain later today so really that's been on my mind. But I still felt I had to go out with a bang before leaving the country and deserting my fellow Metsies fans. So I hope I succeed in my attempts to leave you folks wanting more. I return from Espana on August 22nd so by then hopefully the Mets will have clobbered the Astros and the Pirates. It could happen. Probably not but I'll stay optimistic it will.

But back to yesterday's game. In this installment of my home-made films I'm back with my 87 year old buddy Irving and we dish about Misch's 2010 debut as a Metsie, K-Rod's apology, David Wright's bobbles and bungles and well Irving gets distracted a lot. He really does. Just take a look and ENJOY!

Big Pelf vs Kyle Kendrick tonight on ESPN! Could the Metsies somehow take this rubber game and well give Pelf ample run support!!??? And will I be able to find any scores for Mets games while in Spain!? Sheesh I better be able to. Withdrawal from the Mets is going to be some feat for me, oh it is!

Have a great night and a fabulous week folks! Until we meet again on the blogosphere...

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Utley, Howard-less Phillies Are No Match For The Dickster And Los Mets!

Fiesta Latina!
Game 1: Los Mets 1 Phillies 0

Dickey vs Hamels

Metsies/Phillies Game Notes:

The Mets now have finally won back to back games (it only took 43 games to do this) and my Vitamin Water strike is officially over. After the game I finished my Vitamin Water that was in my fridge. Sip sip sip gulp gulp sip sip gulp!

The Phils this season have gone 0-4 at Citi Field and have yet to score a run!

Utley and Howard are still out but Victorino was back in the lineup for the Phillies.

Jason Bay had told Frenchy he's feeling better!

Luis Castillo wants out of Queens. I guess he got the memo finally that us NY-ers don't like two different sized legged men!

And really was I the only one who didn't know Frenchy calls R.A. "Dickster?" I find this fantastical.

So last night's game was AMAZIN' and it proved that K-Rod maybe should have gone to jail like 115 games ago. Who would have thunk something like K-Rod attacking the elderly in front of children would possibly be that factor that could propel the Mets to get on a winning streak. Obviously I don't want to get ahead of things and now it's only a 2 game victorino streak but still these Mets are looking good! They are allowing me to stay optimistic a little longer and I appreciate that a lot! So with this recap I honestly wanted to do it after the game but I was exhausted so I decided let me film this one. I'm on a videotaping kick lately. I was going to be running at the park anyways and that's where I see my 87 year old buddy Irving. So I said what the hell we'll make a vid and hopefully my running attire on camera will not frighten the masses. And to be honest my 87 year old buddy Irving is like my muse. I'm like Woody Allen and he's like my Diane Keaton or Scarlett Johansson or Mia Farrow, you get where I'm going with this. So in this video me and Irving discuss the game and well we both love DICKEY so it's a love fest all around. Btw there are some freakish wind sounds during this video. It's sort of weird but whatcha gonna do!

Ok here we go!

Btw Fiberama you know the company Fiberama that is always advertised on SNY that has been servicing the neighborhood for like 460000 years came to my Grandma's house this past Thursday. It worked out smashingly. And as the lady says at the end of the commercial "You'll be PLEASED." My Grandma is in fact pleased!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A Must-Win Month

I don't typically subscribe to the idea of the "must-win game" - I've always seen it as a made-up creation by sportswriters eager to sell a newspaper. How can one game, particularly early in the season, be must win? Would it be nice in some cases to win a statement game in May? Yes. Would it make the road easier to beat a division rival and stay within 4 GB in June? Sure. But the bottom line is those "must-win" games, you can survive losing... so by definition, they aren't what people claim them to be.

However, the Mets are staring down a couple series right now which will make-or-break their season, if it is not already broken. The Mets - a depressing 9.0 games off the pace in the NL East - have one last desparate chance to make a run at the division. If so, here is how it will go:

Next up, three games at home against the Philadelphia Phillies. The Phillies are 5.5 games ahead of the Mets today -- but if the Mets sweep the series, at home, that lead will shrink to 2.5 games. If the Mets sweep, they'll be 60-57.

The next 13 games are as follows: at Houston, at Pittsburgh, vs Florida, vs Houston. The best of these teams, the Marlins, are at .500, while Houston and Pittsburgh are arguably the two worst teams in the National League.

If the Mets can go into Houston and win three of four, and win the series in Pittsburgh -- not a huge task, considering their futility -- they will not only make up ground in the East, but they will finally have won a series against a National League team on the road, something which they have not done this year.

If the Mets go 9-4 in these games, they will be 69-61 when they travel to Turner Field in Atlanta on August 30th.

It's a lot to ask the Mets to sweep a series, but not so much at home, where they've been great. It's a lot to ask the Mets to win on the road, but not so much against teams with 65 (Houston) and 74 (Pittsburgh) losses.

The Braves currently sit at 66-48, and have just lost Chipper Jones for the season. If they go .500 over their next 16 games, which includes 4 against the Dodgers and 3 in Colorado without an off day, they will be 74-56 on August 30th.

If the Mets are only 5 games behind the Braves, going into Atlanta for a four game series, destiny in their own hands -- will you Believe?

"The Only Thing K-Rod Will Be Closing Today Is A Jail Cell Door"--My Dad

So I figured I'd switch things up today and as David Wright would say as he does every time he opens the window of his Lincoln MKS, "The Game has officially been changed." Yep I'm changing my format of my recaps just for today. I couldn't type up a recap about this horrible no good very bad game last night but I decided I would make some videos today. About a couple days ago I started a web series called "Two Octogenarians At The Park." It stars two octogenarians, my buddies Irving and Joe and they randomly zing each other. Irving is 87 and he is possibly the coolest person on the planet and Joe is 80 and he wears super high socks. I always hang out with these guys after my morning runs at the park. IN the videos I've posted me and my buddy Irving (there's no Joe in these videos) dish about last night's game and well the whole K-Rod getting arrested business. I hope this is a special treat for you folks. I hope my voice doesn't annoy you guys too much! Enjoy! And my Dad is in the first video but he didn't want to be on camera so you will just hear his voice from time to time. Here we go! Could Gary, Keith and Ron have some competition, hmmmmmmm??!!

Click on Part Deux to hear the rest!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Relative Definitions of Success

Hypothetical question for Mets fans out there.

Say Fernando Martinez were called up next year in, say, May of 2011.

Say that, hypothetically, Fernando Martinez were able to play pretty good defense in a corner outfield position. Let's put him at an UZR/150 of +8, which is pretty good.

At the dish, Martinez posts a line which I think people might call "meh." Let's put Martinez at a .250/.325/.435 slash line with 15 home runs, 54 RBI, and 96 strikeouts.

Would you call that season a success? A disappointment? Somewhere in between?

I think most fans would consider that a let-down, but I would consider it the exact season that Ike Davis is having this year. Look for yourself. Here at Fonzie Forever, we pride ourselves on being forward-thinking, so we're heading this off at the pass in advance.

Ike Davis is having a pretty decent year. He's 23 years old. Fernando Martinez is a year and a half younger. Let's hope he gets as fair a shake as Ike.

Why Thank You Jim Tracy!

Game 1: Mets 1 Rockies 0

"I had sucked since June 25th...BUT I'm back" Big Pelf VS "I have 17 wins and NOW 3 LOSSES" Ubaldo Jimenez

Jimenez might be having the worst day ever!

So as day 4 of my Vitamin Water strike until the Mets win 2 games in a row is coming to a close it has become apparent after this game that Jim Tracy wants me to drink Vitamin Water again. Big Pelf wants me to drink Vitamin Water again. Takahashi wants me to drink Vitamin Water again. K-Rod wants me to drink Vitamin Water again. David Wright not so much. Could David snap out of this funk? You think out of all people he would want me to buy Vitamin Water! I heard thanks to my strike Vitamin Water stock is plummeting. Okay that's most likely untrue but it would be kind of funny. Well funny to those not owning Vitamin Water stock!

Honestly I really feel the Rockies manager Jim Tracy is the MVP of this game. Although Big Pelf was back to his old amazing 2010 ways, and Takahashi looked like he might be the new permanent 8th inning man and well K-Rod was a champ in the 9th if it wasn't for Tracy's interesting move in the bottom of the 7th I don't know if the Mets could have won this game. I don't know if they would have ever scored a run! Let me explain.

Pelfrey had pitched 7 strong wonderful scoreless innings tonight. His pitch count was a new career high, 122 pitches! He gave up only 4 hits, he struck out 4 Rockies, and yeah he looked like he might be back to the Pelf that should have made the all-star team! The Pelf that was our ace for so much of this season when Santana was struggling. But although Pelf was dynamite it still came down to the bottom of the 7th and Jim Tracy's interesting managerial move. Hot tub time machine time, to the 7th inning!

It all started with a lead off walk! Ubaldo Jimenez in the bottom of the 7th walked Chris Carter on just 4 pitches. Then Frenchy came in to pinch run for The Animal. I must admit as much as I wanted to see Jeff in this game I do love watching Carter run. I just enjoy watching everything Carter does. He's just that unique and well a freak at the plate, on the field and especially in the dugout! He needs his own show like NOW. Then Josh Thole proved to be clutch once again. He doubled! And Gary Cohen got to say my favorite NY LIFE saying in the whole wide world "Josh safe at 2nd base. Safe and secure NY Life." I honestly love when Gary does that. I actually say it with him. I do a pretty dead on impression! But enough about me and Cohen let's get back to Josh and the Metsies! Thole hasn't had that many extra base hits so far this season but this one was huge! Frenchy advanced to third on Josh's double and well it was up to Ruben to score some runs or a run and well lessen the pressure that would be on Beltran who was on the on deck circle. Yep Beltran was going to pinch hit in the pitcher's spot! For some reason I didn't see that coming. I forgot Manuel could pinch hit Carlos. Oh silly me. And oh silly Ruben. On a 3-2 count Ruben Sandwich sadly struck out! And well this is now the Jim Tracy managerial move I just don't get. He had Jimenez intentionally walk Beltran to load the bases with 1 out for Reyes. Doesn't Tracy know Carlos has been struggling and well probably would have been an easy out for Ubaldo! Chances are he would have struck out. I mean he could have had a double but really he's in such a frustrated, no good very bad funk that my money would have been on him being an automatic 2nd out in this inning. In fact this was the second weird Tracy move of the night. Hot tub time machine time again! In the bottom of the 6th with 2 outs and men on 2nd and 3rd Tracy had Jimenez intentionally walk Wright to face Davis with the bases loaded. Doesn't he know Wright just strikes out like it's his job lately? Don't the Rockies read up on the Mets? Well this Jim Tracy move proved to be the right one for Davis struck out but still I didn't get it. However during the 7th inning his interesting move was just stupid! YAY! Reyes with Frenchy on at 3rd and Thole on at 2nd and well Beltran on at 1st didn't ground into an inning ending double play like Tracy had wanted but instead Jose Jose Jose hit a long sac fly and Frenchy scored and yep the Mets took a 1-0 lead over Jimenez and Colorado! Martinez then struck out to end the inning but thanks to well Jim Tracy the Mets looked like maybe oh maybe they could win this one and well beat Jimenez!

Takahashi pitched the top of the 8th and thanks to an amazing diving catch that Martinez made in left the GOOD TAKA pitched a 1,2,3 stress-free 8th inning! And F-Mart had just switched to left field because Frenchy entered the game and well it just seemed everything was working for the Metsies tonight. I like when this happens. And well folks we know these times are few and far between!

Although the Rockies reliever Beimel gave up a 2 out walk to Davis in the bottom of the 8th, Tracy brought in Betancourt to face Francouer and sadly Jeff struck out and the inning was over! Ugh I wanted an insurance run so badly.

But now it was time for K-Rod to get his 25th save and well to not eff up Pelf's almost possible 11th win. Victory was so close! And well K-Rod pitched a drama mama-free top of the 9th! Ok it wasn't completely drama-less. Carlos Gonzalez led off the inning with what looked like a base hit but nope Isaac Benjamin Davis made a great stop, he looked like a magician out there, he spun around, he did 5 cartwheels, ok he didn't do any cartwheels but yeah he showed off that he is a future gold glover and just like that there was 1 out. Then Frankie struck out the dude whose name I love saying TROY TULOWITZKI! And then I got worried. Hawpe was up and well the count was 3-2 and well if anything is consistent about the Mets lately it's their rampant 2 out walks! But nope K-Rod told me "Stop worrying kiddo, you'll drink some Vitamin Water in due time" and Hawpe grounded out to Tejada and the Mets won a game. Pelf finally has win #11. It's a MIRACLE!

Btw Jason Giambi is still available.

Really I don't know what else to say besides I never expected this game to turn out the way it did and well it was splendid! I love to be pleasantly surprised! Could this be the start to well a big run by the Mets? Could they maybe play .700 ball and get themselves closer and closer to looking like a team in the hunt for a playoff spot? I think it's possible. Ask me tomorrow I might be not so delusional and well giddy. But hopefully Niese will be as great as he was in his last start and if the Mets can actually win tomorrow that would mean I could drink a Vitamin Water once again and well live another day as a Mets fan who believes her team is not a dead duck just YET! I love getting to be in my fantasy world for another day. Thanks Jim Tracy for that!

Ownership v. Management and the #averagejob

Okay Will Davidian, I'll take the bait.

In a post yesterday afternoon, I lambasted the Mets for the terrible situation they have put us in by having $110 million committed to only seven players (or depending on your source, around $112 million to eight). I criticized them for lacking a plan. And finally, I questioned whether the Mets will ever win with the current ownership.

Then, and in a footnote mind you, I mentioned that I thought that Minaya and Manuel are "doing at least an average job." Erm. Well, Mr. Davidian then spent the night poking fun at the phrase via twitter. Since I'm an old fart or something, I needed to get this news from Roger via email:
Nick Evans started Game 162 of 2008. He started three games in September/October of 2009. #averagejob #15org

The manager called a player soft after he suffered a concussion breaking up a double play. #averagejob #15org

Elmer Dessens is getting paid $1M to be terrible. Thanks Omar? @FonzieForever

Mets lost two game on a West Coast trip with Oliver Perez on the mound. K-Rod was unused in either game. #averagejob #15org
Okay, har har, well played. And don't get me wrong - I actually do find these kinds of things amusing. I find it interesting that Mets fans have such a unique community here among the blogs/twitter, etc... in fact, unique not only in terms of media used, but also by team. Mets fans dominate talk radio here in the city, and it seems that they occupy a unique space here on the internet as well -- it is our curse.

That said, I am going to try and defend the statement. There are three points:

1. When I say average, I do not mean the strict arithmetic mean. I don't think anyone does. If I had said "okay" or "decent" the statement would have provided way less material... but I said average.

2. They may well have been average, even by that definition. Could Omar and Jerry have been the 15th best team? I think you could make the argument. Have you watched other teams?

Managers for different clubs make absolutely terrible moves all the time. Just watch out of town games - I promise you, your hatred for Manuel will decrease immediately. In addition, there has been more ink spilled on the uselessness of managers tactical decisions than I feel comfortable talking about. It's just not a worthwhile topic of conversation unless you're at an absolute extreme - and I like that this team likes to play for Jerry.

The job done by Omar Minaya looks even rosier by comparison. Every team is saddled with bad contracts, sometimes several. Take a look at this list by Sky Andrecheck in Sports Illustrated from December of 2009: Vernon Wells, Alfonso Soriano, Barry Zito, Carlos Silva, Kyle Lohse, Oliver Perez, Gary Matthews Jr. ($23 million owed by Angels), Aaron Rowand, Juan Pierre, Milton Bradley.

Big League Stew did a similar list, but this time took the ten worst contracts of the decade. You will see not a single Met contract on that list. Add familiar names like Chan Ho Park and Mike Hampton, and you'll think the Castillo deal meaningless by comparison.

Heck, Minaya barely makes MLB Trade Rumors' list of 10 Worst Free Agent Signings of this past offseason. That list includes the likes of Matt Holliday, Jason Kendall, Jason Marquis, Mark DeRosa, etc. Alex Cora cracks the list at #10, but at $2 million, who cares?

I say this while keeping as objective as possible. Only a casual perusal of the Fonzie archives from this past offseason will show my absolute frustration with the team's moves. But I'm realistic -- Omar has been okay, minus one fatal flaw.

3. The lack of a plan and forced bad free agent signings, I suspect, originate from Mets ownership. This is as close to speculation as you'll probably ever find on this site, but it's a feeling that I just can't shake. Many have complained that the Mets moves over the last two years have been the direct result of the Wilpons' losses in the Madoff scandal, and evidence of that fact is getting harder and harder to refute.

I resisted this insinuation -- always believing that the Mets would sustain themselves through ticket sales and the like -- but the bottom line is that Omar wasn't able to make any kind of move in June when the Mets were in it, and he made one huge boneheaded signing in the offseason, in December when season ticket sales were flagging. A blog entry over at forbes.com does a good job of summarizing the argument for me:
Baseball’s worst owner? Always tough to say, given how subjective the arguments can be. But the Mets’ Fred Wilpon is certainly making a good run at it.

* * *

Wilpon’s general manager, Omar Minaya, makes the big splash every winter (Pedro Martinez, Johan Santana, Frankie Rodriguez, and now Jason Bay) only to find disappointment by the following October. Minaya’s predecessor, Steve Phillips, did the same thing, trying to transition an aging 2000 World Series team on the fly by picking up the washed up Mo Vaughan, Roberto Alomar and Pedro Astacio. Result: four straight seasons finishing third or lower. Both Phillips and Minaya have taken a lot of heat from local fans and press. But who did each work for? Wilpon, under whom the Mets are 639-655 since he wrested full control from former partner Nelson Doubleday in 2002.

* * *

But that one step back that’s usually required to move two steps forward is one that Wilpon has never been willing to take. The Mets have become a franchise with a handful of stars supported by a soft underbelly...
One look at the Mets moves from the last couple of years shows that the Mets are willing to make one big addition as the last year's big addition comes off the books. They get to maintain the status quo in terms of payroll while being able to tout a new addition to the team.

Welcome to the team, Carlos Beltran? No mention of the goodbye to Mike Piazza.
Nice to see you, Francisco Rodriguez? You'll be replacing Billy Wagner.
Thank you for joining us, Jason Bay! You'll be batting fifth, because we're parting ways with Carlos Delgado.

There is no way this doesn't come from the ownership. There is no way that you go out and sign Jason Bay to a mega-contract yet choose not to part with a young prospect at the deadline for help for the playoff push if you are "going for it". For that matter, there is no way you look at the team as it was constituted last offseason and truly believe that Jason Bay is going to make the difference on the field. And what of the things that Minaya can control? Excellent drafts and a plentiful farm system. R.A. Dickey. Hisanori Takahashi. Trading for Santana.

The problem is that the Mets exist in perpetual limbo. They had a good run from 2006-2008, but so much of that was just luck -- we managed to develop two of the best players in the league, and two players who may end up as the two best Mets hitters of all time, at the exact same time. They supplemented a core of free agent stars.

Now, David Wright and Jose Reyes are becoming expensive. Jason Bay's contract is back loaded. The window of opportunity to capitalize on their youth is passed, and Johan Santana isn't getting any younger.

I'm not saying the Mets can never win, I'm just saying that they can't win so long as the current ownership continues to require Minaya to make a ticket-selling "splash" each offseason and then ties his hands otherwise. In light of all this, I think Minaya has been doing an average job.-

Monday, August 09, 2010

The Mets Salary Catastrophe

Adam Rubin over at ESPN New York had a great blog today outlining the morass which is the Mets current salary structure.
The 2011 commitments:

Santana $22.5 million
Carlos Beltran $18.5 million
Jason Bay $16 million
David Wright $14 million
Oliver Perez $12 million
Francisco Rodriguez $11.5 million
Reyes $11 million
Luis Castillo $6 million
Ryota Igarashi $1.75 million
16 players at major league minimum: $6.4 million

Total: $119.65 million
Hat tip to Metsblog for the link. To continue our horn-tooting, we at Fonzie Forever pointed this situation out in almost identical terms back in February:
The Mets contract commitments in 2011 are horrific:

Santana: $22.5
Beltran: $20.071
Bay: $18.125
Wright: $14.25
Perez: $12.0
K-Rod: $12.167
Reyes: $11.0 club option

I'll save you some calculator time. That is $110 MILLION committed to just seven players.
Awful, ain't it? I'm not sure exactly where Rubin got his numbers from, and there are different numbers floating around all over the place, depending on whether you go to Cot's, or USA Today, or elsewhere, but I got my numbers here.

Here's the reason why this sucks - aside from the obvious, being that Jason Bay and Oliver Perez are owed more than $30 million dollars. There seems to be no plan. Are we building with youth around a core of stars? Are we adding payroll next year? Decreasing payroll? Did we enter 2010 with serious plans of winning this year?

I get more and more fed up with it every day. This started out as a hobby for writing about baseball, but as each day passes it becomes more and more apparent that the Mets might actively need someone (or someones... ahem Amazin Avenue) to expose how foolish Mets ownership has been. They've been awful, and I'm starting to have my doubts that the Mets will ever win with the current ownership[1].

Ownership clearly has the goal of hanging around the fringes of the race every year. Playing meaningful games in September. Adding a piece to get the fans excited enough to sell tickets each season.

Is that good enough for you?


[1] Notice I did not say management... for the record, I still think that Minaya and Manuel are doing at least an average job.

Reese Havens Out for Year?

This is not new news, but I was made aware of it for the first time today.
INJURY UPDATE: Most recent word out of the Mets is that Reese Havens is not doing well with the oblique he re-strained in late June and may miss the rest of 2010. Awful news. via Amazin Avenue

What a bummer that is! Havens was having an incredible season, when healthy, and making strides to validate my pre-season claim that Havens was a better prospect than Ike Davis. Havens was hitting .338/.400/.662 for Binghamton with 6 home runs in only 18 games.

Unfortunately, the injury bug strikes again. According to Mack's Mets:
Most of the Mets brass drools over Havens’ talent, but bristle at his propensity to getting injured. He also heals slower than F-Mart. The Mets have quietly shut him down for the rest of this season.
Ah well, better luck next year Reese.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Fonzie Forever Retrospective - Jason Bay

Sometimes it sucks to be right. This is one of those times. In December of 2009, before the Mets signed Bay, I thought the question of whether Bay should be offered a big contract boiled down to one simple question:
Is this the guy we want to occupy 10% of our payroll with? Is this the kind of player we want to shape the rest of our roster around? Is he a cornerstone for the next Mets World Series team? I don't think so.
The answer then, was no. The answer today is HELL no.

The New, Younger Mets Are Just No Match For The Victorino, Utley, Howard-less Phils

The Rubber Game: Phillies 6 Mets 5

Roy Halladay vs R.A. Dickey

The Mets have now played 41 straight games without getting back to back wins.

My Vitamin Water strike continues...I will not drink another Vitamin Water until the Mets finally win back to back games!

The Phillie Phanatic was dressed up as Lady Gaga in that scary as hell red outfit for this game! It was awesome. Take a look:

I am the kind of person who gets very excited for things. When I look forward to something I'm just on a high like no other. And usually in life when a person gets excited for something to happen like I do there is a good chance you will be disappointed. This doesn't always happen though. This past Wednesday I saw the bands "Arcade Fire" and "Spoon" at MSG and that was a concert that well I was stoked for, I had been dying to see these two bands for a while now and well it lived up to every expectation I had and more. Then there was the time everyone and their grandmother hyped up the Bill Murray movie "Lost In Translation" and when I saw it on DVD I was so not impressed. I think my exact words were something like "Ehh that's it?! That was kind of boring." So yeah all that positive buzz about that film and my enthusiasm to see it ultimately led me to be disappointed.

And well today's game sadly was another "Lost In Translation" experience for me! In this Mets rotation I look forward to Dickey's starts even more than I look forward to Santana's starts. So yeah that's saying a lot because I love watching Santana pitch. And honestly I thought today was going to be Dickey's day to shine just like Santana did yesterday. I even thought he would shine so bright that he would defeat Halladay and the Phillies. Yes I'm a silly optimist. Yes I'm naive. Yes I have to stop living on some fantasy planet. Everyone knows this by now. I know this. The Phillie Phanatic even knows this.

This morning after I was done with my run at the park I ended up talking to my Dad and some other Mets fans. At the park where I run you get a lot of Yankees fans and well you get some Mets fans who try to hold their heads up high even after the worst Metsies losses. I enjoy these people. Basically I will talk to pretty much anyone about the Mets. So I chatted with this group of men and well I had said "If the Mets can score early in this game, get at Halladay right away, even take a 2-0 lead, the way Dickey has been pitching this game can be a victorino for the Metsies." And well my Dad wasn't having that optimism and he instead said "Dickey is due to have a bad start." And why does it have to be that father knows best!? There could have been a show called "Daughter Knows Best?!"

I wanted to be so right today and well I was right that the Mets would attack Halladay early on. And they did this. In the top of the first Reyes led off with a double. His 22nd double of the season! Then Pagan bloop singled, Reyes scored and the Metsies took a 1-0 lead over the Phillies. I was thinking that I was like Nostradamus or something at this point. Boy was I in for a reality check. Then during Beltran's at bat Pagan stole 2nd but sadly Beltran popped up and there was now 1 out. Then during Wright's at bat Crazy Horse stole 3rd but sadly Wright struck out. BUT Isaac Benjamin Davis who had a 5 game hitting streak on the line going into this game was up. And well Ike wanted to make me think I was even cooler than Nostradamus. Ike got an infield hit! This ball he hit knocked Halladay's glove off of Roy's hand and well the glove traveled all the way to the outfield. It was ridiculous and well I was loving this first inning! Pagan scored, Ike extended his hitting streak to 6 games and the Mets were up 2-0 in the first just like I had predicted. Fernando Martinez then lined out to end this inning, ugh.

I'm happy Martinez is with the squad and all but really I am not happy he will be sharing so much playing time with Frenchy in right. I know Frenchy sucks a lot of the time but his arm and the way he has been hitting the ball over the last couple of games is reason enough for me to have allowed him to be in the lineup today. I would have sat Beltran but my name is not Jerry Manuel although Danielle does rhyme with Manuel. Now I will be super sarcastic just in case you can't tell. I mean of course it makes sense to NOT play the one guy who might be on a hot streak now. The one man who has been the Mets offense in their last two wins against the Phils and the Braves. The only person who could score a run for the Mets against the Phils yesterday. Of course BENCH him. It makes so much sense! NOT!

So as of now I felt like a genius because the Mets had this early lead and well I was in for a rude awakening. Although Dickey pitched a 1,2,3 1st inning he definitely was off. There was something up with that knuckleball. He was relying on his fast ball way too much and well the Phillies looked like they were onto the secret of cracking THE DICKEY CODE and oh they figured him out all right in the bottom of the 2nd and then the bottom of the 3rd, ugh ugh ugh! After Dickey had retired the first 4 Phillies (these 4 outs were all ground ball outs) he faced Jayson Werth with one out in the bottom of the 2nd and that bearded Werth solo homered. The Phils now cut the Mets lead to 2-1. I wasn't feeling like such a smarty pants Nostradamus anymore. Then the youngin Domonic Brown (who is another super impressive NL rookie) lined out to right. I was thinking the Mets would get out of this inning now. But nope Dickey walked Brian Schneider. Oh I hate these Metsies two out walks. It's so rampant lately! But Valdez thankfully grounded out and well I didn't feel so stupid about my prediction for this game just yet. Only a bit stupid.

But in the bottom of the 3rd I became the biggest schmuck on the planet. I was so off about this game! Paul Rudd as a result is scheduled to take me to another dinner for idiots tonight! After Dickey retired Halladay the shit hit the fan. Oh it did. Rollins doubled. Then Polanco grounded a ball to Reyes, Reyes bobbled that sucker and there was no play for him to make. And lately when Jose Jose Jose makes an error it ends up leading to a horrible no good very bad inning with tons and tons of scoring. And yep this inning lived up to that reputation! With men on 1st and 2nd and 1 out Gload who is Keith Hernandez's #1 fan (well I'll fight him for that title) rbi singled. Rollins beat Martinez's throw to the plate and the game was now tied 2-2. Now the hot hot hot Ibanez was up with men on 1st and 3rd and still 1 out. Ibanez had a 15 game hitting streak on the line going into this game. A league leading 15 game hitting streak and well he extended that streak to 16 games. He hit a 3 run homer and this game was getting out of hand. Maybe if it wasn't Halladay on the mound a 5-2 Phils lead over the Mets wouldn't immediately send Mets fans to shut off their tvs or well to break them. I actually did neither and I continued to watch this nightmare. Then Werth was up and he doubled. Thankfully Brown lined out to Wright for the 2nd time this game and all Dickey had to do to get out of this inning was get Schneider out. This should have been easy but nope Brian got a 2 out single and the Phils took a 6-2 lead over the Mets. Then Valdez singled. And then Halladay even got on base. Roy hit a ground ball right at Dickey, R.A. threw to Ike but Davis couldn't scoop the ball and Roy had an infield hit and the bases were loaded for Rollins. But by some amazing miracle Rollins flew out and this inning was over. Sadly this also meant Dickey was out of the game. But because he pitched so few innings there is a chance he might start Tuesday against Ubaldo Jimenez and the Colorado Rockies. We will find out in due time if it's R.A. or Big Pelf on the mound this Tuesday night! But back to this game, sheesh I'm jumping ahead of myself here.

The Mets added another run in the top of the 6th. After Reyes led off with his 23rd double of the season Pagan rbi doubled and the Mets were chipping away at the Phils lead. This was now only a 3 run ball game, 6-3. But Beltran and Wright both struck out and Davis grounded out and Pagan remained stranded at 2nd.

After this inning where the Metsies left Pagan to well melt in the sun they didn't give up just yet! Thanks to the new young blood in the lineup the Mets rallied in the top of the 7th. Martinez led off with a single then Thole doubled and Tejada grounded out but Fernando scored and Thole advanced to 3rd. The Mets were now down just 6-4 to the Phils and men were on 1st and 3rd with one out for the pinch hitting THE ANIMAL Carter! And Chris delivered big time. Carter who Ron said has lost 15 lbs since being called up by the Metsies rbi doubled! Thole scored and now this was a one run game, 6-5! And Halladay then even walked Reyes to put men on 1st and 2nd with still just one out for Pagan. But ugh Angel flew out. And then Beltran struck out yet again, Carlos' 3rd straight K, and the rally was over. Beltran and Wright in this game accounted for 6 of Halladay's 10 K's on the afternoon.

Thanks to a bullpen combination of Valdes, Takahashi, Feliciano and Acosta who did not give up any runs the Mets were still in this game in the top of the 9th. They were still down 6-5 and well Brad Lidge was struggling right from the start. He gave up a lead off single to Thole. Then Tejada hit a double play ball but since the hit and run play was on the only play to make was at 1st and Thole was safe at 2nd with 1 out and Carter was now up. Ron was pretty sure he was going to hit a rocket out of Citizens Bank Park. But Ron like myself is no Nostradamus. Carter grounded out and it was up to Reyes to score Thole who was now at 3rd. And Reyes sadly flew out to Werth and the game was over and the Mets yet again could not win back to back games.

The Mets haven't won back to back games since June 23rd! They also haven't won a road series against an NL team all season long. And the next opportunity they'll get to do that will be against Houston and Pittsburgh. But first the Metsies face the Colorado Rockies and the Phillies at Citi Field before they get to go on the road again. Oh the road, you are so evil.

And before I end this one let's just look at some booth shenanigans:

After the camera man got the 1500th shot of a Philly Cheesesteak sandwich during this series Keith said "Oh goodness...ROLAIDS!" He also just kept going "Ohhhh, grunt grunt, ohhhh." I imagine he's not allowed to eat one of these delicious sandwiches on that diet of his. Poor dude! I would totally be on board for him to cheat on his diet after this game!

As I mentioned before Gload is a huge fan of Keith's. I believe it was Gary who told Keith Gload idolized him growing up in Long Island. And Keith just acted like of course he did, who didn't! Who doesn't still!

Keith also showed off his use of clever puns. He created this saying. "Dickey is a competitor. He doesn't knuckle under." Haha he said knuckle about the knuckleballer! And yeah right after he said this the horrible 3rd inning occurred so yeah maybe Keith is the scapegoat for this game! He put the kibosh on!

After Gary and Ron mentioned that Dan Warthen is pretty sure he figured out what Pelf's problems on the mound have been due to, Keith said something about "Western Union" and then he remarked "OH send me a limo." Yeah this confused me.

Then Kevin Burkhardt shared a story with the booth and us fans about Valdes. It turns out Raul tried to escape Cuba 5 times before he was successful. And 4 of those times he was arrested. Obviously these Metsies current struggles are nothing too hard for him to deal with. Keith remarked "He was living under tyranny!"

When Luis Castillo pinch hit in this game in the top of the 5th, he of course struck out. This led the booth to muse about what the Metsies will do with Castillo. Will they try to get rid of him now or this off season since they are pretty much set on letting Tejada play pretty much every day from this point on. And Keith said, "Last season no one wanted him. It will be no different this time around, right?" Yep Castillo (and his two different sized legs) is that last kid to be picked in a game of dodgeball!

And Keith lastly shared his father's mantra with us fans. It goes "Trust your hands."

Well the Mets have off tomorrow and "Tuesday is a new day," yeah this mantra of mine is so not working anymore. Maybe I should learn some more of Papa Hernandez's mantras to spice up these recaps!

I'm just going to stay positive because it's my nature and well I'm going to pretend the Mets are still in the hunt for a playoff spot. That there is even a good chance they can win the next two series against the Rockies and the Phils at Citi Field. That Pelf if he does get the start against Jimenez on Tuesday will pitch a gem. Yes I will pretend this all might happen. I'm gonna believe for just a little longer the Mets still have one long winning streak in them. Oh I am.

Reaction: Fernando Martinez and Ruben Tejada Called Up

Anyone know why this is? I could see it being spun in one of two ways. Either a) the Mets need an infusion of youth and energy and blah blah blah to make a run at the pennant, or b) the Mets are throwing in the towel. Obviously, the Mets will say option A -- but is it true? It may well be that they believe having Martinez and Tejada around will make them a better team than having Castillo/Cora/Feliciano see time.

Regardless of the motivation behind the move, I am not very optimistic about this. I love seeing Tejada out there at second, and honestly don't care his offensive deficiencies so long as he can hit north of .220 or so - but to me, this is all about Fernando.

You'll find few Fernando Martinez boosters bigger than me. But in my mind, he's taken a big step back this year. I only wanted to see Fernando Martinez back up with the big club again in one of two scenarios: either he's up because he's the best option we have and we are making a playoff run, OR he's up for good. This strikes me as neither. Does bringing up Fernando to platoon with Francoeur help anything (aside from creating a platoon we can call Franc-nando? Fer-coeur? Frartinez!)?

By most objective measures, Fernando has not taken a step forward from his performance in Triple-A last season. He batting a paltry .261/.326/.470 on the season, he's missed time due to injury, and his strikeout-to-walk ratio is just as bad as it was last year. Yes, he's been very hot lately at Buffalo, posting a line of .324/.425/.588 with five walks over his last ten games, but isn't that the kind of hot streak you are supposed to BUILD on, rather than extinguish right away?

I wish I could expound on this further, but I have to say generally that I am not impressed with the move. I wish Fernando would have been left in Triple-A to ride out this streak. Now, he's been promoted to the majors to platoon (albeit the long side of the platoon) and face Roy Halladay and Ubaldo Jimenez in his first two starts.

Hopefully he continues his hot hitting (he was hitting to the tune of an 832 OPS versus RH for the season) but for the most part, I'm confused.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

As Kevin Burkhardt Said, "Nice To Win One Of Those Johan Starts For A Change."

Game 2: Mets 1 Phillies 0

Johan Santana vs Cole Hamels

Well this game was a must win for the Mets. They knew this. I knew this. Every Metsies fan knew this. Even the Phillie Phanatic knew this.

So let's get to the game!

At one point it looked like Santana might pitch a no-hitter. But nope after 5 2/3 innings Santana gave up a single to Polanco.

Then it looked like Santana and Hamels might just not give up any runs. I was ready for a 20 inning game. But nope Frenchy decided to take matters into his own hands. Jeff Francouer led off in the top of the 7th with an opposite field solo homer and boy oh boy even though he's not hitting really when he does get his hits they sure are important. The Mets took a 1-0 lead over the Phillies, YAY! Sorry Cole Hamels, NOT!

BUT then in the bottom of the 8th it looked like Santana might get another no-decision. Jerry actually let Johan start the 8th! Unfortunately Santana appeared to no longer have his stuff. He gave up back to back singles to Rollins and Ibanez. But miraculously Polanco then laid down a sucky bunt, Santana threw to 3rd, Rollins was OUT and there were now men on 1st and 2nd for the new Mets killer in the Phillies lineup Mr. Sweeney. Manuel decided to take Santana out of the game and he said "Double switch time!!" K-Rod goggles came in to attempt to get the 5 out save, Frenchy was out, and Fernando Martinez was in in right field. K-Rod got Sweeney to hit a soft line drive to Isaac Benjamin Davis. Major sigh of relief time, 2 outs! But ugh drama was coming. Frankie then walked the bearded Jayson Werth to load the bases for the pinch hitter Ross Gload.

So now it looked like Santana's great pitched game might become a moot point and he would end up being a big fat loser! But nope on a 3-2 count K-Rod goggles threw a curve ball, Gload grounded the ball to Tejada, Ruben made the throw to Davis, it was low but Ike made the catch and the inning was over! Danger averted! But K-Rod still had to get 3 more outs, ugh ugh ugh. Why are Mets wins never easy?!

The first batter Frankie faced in the bottom of the 9th was Carlos Ruiz. And he struck Carlos out! Then Valdez lined out (a broken bat line out) to Ruben Sandwich and there were 2 outs in the 9th! Tejada was making great plays tonight, youth and two same sized legs really do make a difference! Next up for K-Rod was the Phillies youngin Dominic Brown. And strike 3 was called on Brown and the Mets won their first 1-0, 9 inning game of the season! Btw If they had lost this one I don't think even I could avoid facing the reality that the season would truly be over. And boy oh boy am I glad I get to be in denial for another day! I love living in fantasy land!

Oh and here are Santana's awesome stats:

7 1/3IP, 5 hits, 0R, 0ER, 3BB, 6K, 102 total pitches thrown

And now to one booth shenanigan! Keith was missing from the booth tonight so Gary and Ron were kind of boring and well Kevin was Kevin, here we go:

In the top of the 4th during Angel Pagan's at bat Kevin Burkhardt had a little "Crazy Horse" tale to tell Gary, Ron and well us fans about. Kevin reported that Pagan loves spear fishing. He goes spear fishing (in the off season) for 4-5 hours a day and whatever he ends up catching his wifey makes for dinner! Burkhardt added that Angel owns a spear gun to well catch these fish with I guess that's how this sport works. Kevin then added that this is such a powerful spear gun that it could even catch a shark. I'd like to see that! This whole story then led Kevin to make a sort of funny joke, "Angel's into 'Shark Week.'" Yeah I laughed. I admit that. And then Ron attempted to make a funny too. He said he goes fishing. But he fishes at "Whole Foods." Hardy har har because that's where he buys all his fish. So Ron is a "Whole Foods" man. Not a "D'agostino's" man??!! Not a "Trader Joe's" man?!! Whoa what a revelation by Ron!

Okay let's get back to issues that don't involve spear fishing!

SO even with this incredible Metsies victorino my Vitamin Water strike that I reported about earlier continues! In the words of Gandhi, "Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will. The NY Metropolitans I dare you to win 2 games in a row."

Tomorrow Dickey faces off against Roy Halladay and well I am very excited for this match-up. I hope the Metsies can finally win two games in a row! I can't even remember when they last did that. I just want them to allow us Mets fans to be somewhat optimistic that the season isn't over just YET. I want the additions of Martinez and Tejada to really make a difference! I just want to not have to throw in the towel! What can I say I enjoy believing in the Mets!

Let's win the rubber game tomorrow! Let's turn this terrible second half around!

Why Hello there Tejada and Martinez!

So according to MLB.com it is now official. I have all the answers I had been dying to know. The Mets are much faster in revealing their super duper surprise plot twists than well "LOST" ever was. I didn't even have to wait for the DVD to see the special never before aired footage!

The Mets made the following moves today:
1. They cut Alex Cora
2. They optioned Jesus Feliciano to Triple-A Buffalo
3. And lastly they are recalling prospects Ruben Tejada and Fernando Martinez

Will these moves ignite a fire in the Mets and well their bats tonight? I sure hope so! We will find out in due time.

And now to some Facebook comments that were made by fellow Metsies fans in regards to this MLB.com update, here we go:


"famous words from Joe Benigno......OH THE PAIN!!!!!"


"Mets cut Minaya and Manuel, recall Bobby Valentine and Davey Johnson"

"Hire Wally bachman"

"How about that dead weight in the bullpen - Perez......."

"Now hire Cora to be the manager."

"Wow. It's like poking a drunk with a stick. No, even that would cause more movement."

"I want an investigation into whether there is a conspiracy to destroy the Mets, Rangers and Knicks"

Dear Omar Minaya, Why Are You Trying To Create The Sequel To "LOST?!?!" Stop Being J. J. Abrams And Give Us Answers!

So I thought I would share with all of you that I have decided that I will be going on a Vitamin Water strike until David Wright helps to get the NY Metropolitans back on track. I imagine in these dark times this is exactly what Gandhi would do. I guess I'd end the strike if they could just get back to back wins at this point.

But in all seriousness I am very intrigued by what is going on with the Metsies. I was reading up on our beloved squad this morning and well something very interesting is happening.

These are the facts according to the NY Post:

1- Fernando Martinez and Ruben Sandwich (Tejada) were late scratches from last night's starting lineup for Triple A-Buffalo.
2- According to an industry source, the Metsies placed Jesus Feliciano, Crash Davis (Hessman), Ollie Ollie and Luis Castillo on trade waivers this past Thursday and those waivers expire this coming Monday.

So now this is like an episode of "LOST" or something. I totally went WHAT WHAT WHAT as I read this and well I want answers like NOW! Minaya is being all withholding of information and he won't discuss what this means so yeah he sucks as usual. I take it to mean this. And well I could be wrong. Perhaps the Mets are calling up Tejada and Martinez to maybe spark our Metsies lineup like young Isaac Benjamin Davis did in mid April or well they are going to be traded. And if it's the latter who is still available to get in this trade?! If they were going to be traded (and I don't want them to be) well at least the Mets should have acquired an Oswalt or a Lily in the process, right?! At this point it makes no sense to ship them off for like who, a Carlos Zambrano?! Yep I would not like that at all. My real hope is that Minaya is just finally going to suck up his pride and well get rid of Ollie and Luis for whatever he can get. I'm at the point where I just don't care if they are super stars for another team. I imagine a pitching coach like St Louis' Dave Duncan could make Ollie into a 20 game winner and you know what I would deal with that. I wouldn't be all bitter about it. I just want him gone. And well Castillo I think everyone knows from things I've written that I am not a fan and I would take Ruben at second base any day over this two different sized leg freak. So I really hope during tonight's game Kevin Burkhardt has some update for us fans because I want to know what is going on!

And I just have to say that Bobby Parnell is really irking me. After last night's game all he had to say to the press was "I sucked. I really messed up, I didn't have my stuff and I just know I can do better." Some crap like that. Instead what did he say, "I felt I made some good pitches. I hope to come out there today and get them again. I hope the phone rings and they ask for me in a one-run ball game." First off what good pitches did he throw, I recall him giving up 4 straight singles so yeah what is Bobby smoking? And I don't want him coming into any 1 run game ever again. Especially not today. I'm kind of just like at the point where I say screw pitch counts, let's let the starting rotation if they are in a groove get to 130 pitches. Jerry just has to stop thinking that he needs to give these guys a pitch count leash so to speak. The Mets need to win games and at this point that's letting the starters pitch into the 8th inning. Then if they show signs of being all tired he can bring in Parnell, Dessens, Feliciano, Acosta, whatever his flavor of the week is. Really if the Mets are going to turn this season around somehow it all starts with letting the Metsies ride on their great starting pitching performances coattails.

So I hope we find out tonight what exactly Minaya is sneakily doing and well I just want the Mets to win. I can go a long time without drinking Vitamin Water but really my world is a better place when I do drink it and well when the Mets get victorinos!

Have a great day folks and I just so wish we will all be on a high after tonight's game and not left in a low like no other from last night's 8th inning debacle. Oye.

Friday, August 06, 2010

At Least We Can't Blame This One On K-Rod...

Game 1: Phillies 7 Mets 5

Jon Niese vs Joe Blanton

So I was probably the only person on the planet who was still semi-optimistic that the Mets could go on a winning streak and fight for a playoff spot. I thought they just might start that winning streak tonight in Philadelphia. I know looking at these last two sentences I've just typed even I can admit I am a foolish silly dreamer who really needs to get her head out of the clouds. And for much of this game I really thought this believing in the Mets thing I just can't stop doing was going to pay off. Jonathon Niese struggled in this one early on but by the bottom of the 8th the Mets were up 2-1. He pitched a Santana kind of a game. Niese gave up a 2 out rbi double to Polanco in the first inning and although he later in this same inning walked Ben Francisco to load the bases for Carlos Ruiz he somehow struck Carlos out and well this scary inning was over and the Phillies were only up 1-0 over the Metsies.

And then the Mets tied this game up in the top of the 3rd. Frenchy led off with a single. Then Castillo for some stupid reason sac bunted so Jeff would be on 2nd with 1 out for Niese. I know Jon is a pretty decent hitter for a pitcher but seriously what are the Mets thinking having Luis bunt in this situation! It just didn't make sense to me. Niese then grounded out and it was up to Jose Jose Jose to tie this game on up and he did! Reyes singled, Frenchy scored and well it was a 1-1 game and I was just happy as can be. I guess it's a problem that I'm just satisfied lately when the Mets can score a run to tie a game up. That's what it has come to.

Then in the top of the 4th after Wright and Davis hit back to back 1 out singles Josh Thole was back to his old clutch hitting ways and he singled. Wright scored and the Mets had the lead, 2-1.

But all good things come to an end lately when watching these games.

After Niese had pitched the 7th and it was still a 2-1 ball game I was pretty certain Jerry would keep Jon in for the 8th. At this point in the Metsies season every game is so crucial that well why take a chance with the bullpen. I mean I figured Manuel would let Niese face the first batter, Sweeney, and well if he gave up a hit or walked him then Jerry would bring in Bobby Parnell. Pitch count smitch smount, Niese was grooving BUT Manuel just had to be a dope and send in Parnell to face Sweeney right from the start. And the 4 day rested Parnell just crushed all my hopes of the Mets possible winning streak and well just a win tonight. It's kind of painful to really recap this part of the game, there were just too many hits in this inning from this Utley, Howard and Victorino-less lineup to discuss without well me wanting to break my keyboard, so I'll just say Parnell, Feliciano and then Acosta combined to give up 6 runs in this bottom of the 8th to the Phillies. After 8 innings in the books the Phils were up 7-2 over the Mets.

The Mets have broken my heart many times this season but this one wow I'm just crushed right now.

And in the top of the 9th I figured the Mets would be retired immediately. And well I was wrong again. After Wright struck out to lead off the inning with "not a bang" Davis singled. Thole then popped up but Frenchy got the luckiest infield single I've ever seen. As a result the pitcher Baez was taken out of the game and Romero was brought in to face the pinch hitter Mike Hessman with 2 outs and Ike and Jeff on 1st and 2nd. And Crash Davis homered! This was a very pleasant surprise. So the game was now 7-5 and quite possibly the Mets could un-break my heart. But nope that didn't happen. The other Manuel brought in the Phils closer Lidge to face the pinch hitter who was going to be Henry Blanco but Jerry Manuel instead opted to go with Jesus Feliciano and well Jesus struck out and the game was over and my heart remained broken.

But at least we can't blame K-Rod for this one, right?!

And really I don't even have much fun booth shenanigans to even cheer myself up or you fellow fans with. Gary, Keith and Ron just didn't supply that much funny. I think during these times it's hard to do that. But I did jot down some things they said. Here we go:

Keith at one point said "What do announcers know anyway?" Well I'll tell you what they know. They know to let Jon Niese pitch the 8th inning. Yep Keith was totally on board with my managerial moves!

Ron said "MUMBO JUMBO." That was funny. I would have liked to hear that multiple times. Particularly if he said that in the bottom of the 8th I might have been able to laugh and well not stare horrifyingly at my tv.

After Jose made a great play Gary said, "Reyes makes the ACCURATE throw." You know it's just that bad when Mr. Cohen has to emphasize that Reyes didn't make two errors in this game and instead was very accurate with his throws to Davis.

Keith I don't remember why said "Different strokes for different folks." That was amazin'!

The camera man got a shot of a father and son playing "rock, paper, scissor says shoot" and well that led Gary to reveal that there are actual "rock, paper scissor" tournaments in well Vegas. I didn't know this. And Keith and Ron were stunned too.

And as a result of this booth action I came up with the following:

On "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon" there's this segment that is done weekly called "remix the clips" where "The Roots" very own Questlove remixes funny clips from the news or random tv shows that the Fallon staff has selected. I would have liked to do this with Ron's "mumbo jumbo," Keith's "different strokes for different folks" bit and well Gary saying "rock, paper, scissor." That might have been a good distraction for the bottom of the 8th!

Well I'll say this and sound stupid but here it goes tomorrow is a new day. Santana is on the mound and maybe just maybe the Mets will give him some run support because Cole Hamels will SUCK (yes I'm sounding all delusional again) and Santana will just pitch a gem of a game. I mean if the Mets somehow could take these next two games I'll gladly jump back into fantasy-land and well think a big winning streak is possible. But this requires the Mets to beat both Hamels and Halladay. But if any two pitchers on the Metsies can challenge Hamels and Halladay it's Santana and Dickey. So let's go Mets. Somehow make us fans BELIEVE that this isn't an endless summer of misery. It would be so nice to believe.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Who is Mike Pelfrey?

Metsblog had an entry today asking the above question, and I can understand their frustration. Many Mets fans are confused about Pelf, not knowing who he really is as a pitcher:
Is he the guy who was 9–1 with a 2.39 ERA in his first 14 starts of the season?

Or, is he the guy who is 2–6 with a 7.98 ERA in his last eight starts?

I don’t know the answer. I do know he’s getting roughly the same level of strikes he was getting in the start of the season. However, the opposition is hitting more line drives and less ground balls, and more of those line drives are falling in for hits, compared to the start of the year.

So, it would seem he is making more ‘mistakes,’ be it with command or location… and when he does, he’s paying for it.
Sadly, I think the answer is simpler than people make it out to be.

According to fangraphs, Pelfrey has been almost identially the same pitcher over the last three seasons. His xFIP, by season:

2008: 4.49
2009: 4.52
2010: 4.50

Why am I looking at xFIP? And what is it? According to Matthew Carruth of Fangraphs:
One of the more difficult puzzles to crack has been evaluating pitchers due to how entangled their performance is with that of their defenders. Accepting the move from ERA to Fielding Independent Pitching is probably the single biggest step one can take on the right path of separating the two, and Simmons has made that leap.

Home Runs allowed, an important input to the FIP formula, are not as skill-based as had been thought throughout history. ... xFIP exists to correct those home run rates. It is simply the FIP formula with an expected home run rate based on fly
ball totals, rather than actual home run rate.

xFIP is just a slightly more advanced form of FIP, which is an improvement on ERA because it corrects for luck and the influence of defense, and evaluates pitchers solely on things they can control.

According to FIP and xFIP, Pelfrey has been basically the same pitcher for the last three seasons, with flucutations based somewhat, if not mostly, on random variation. For a guy who allows so many balls to be put in play, this is to be expected.

Is he as good as he was early this year? Is he as bad as he has been recently? Probably neither. A realistic view of the numbers shoudl have indicated all along that his early season improvement was an outlier.

For what it is worth, I believe that part of Pelfrey's early success this year can be attributed to his additional confidence and the addition of the splitter. Because of this, I don't think he's necessarily a 4.50 xFIP pitcher permanently. He's still young, and will improve and learn, but he's certainly way closer to a 4.50 pitcher than a 3.00 pitcher right now.

[1] Also worth noting, we first discussed Pelfrey, xFIP and tRA back in December right here on Fonzie Forever:

The thing about Mike Pelfrey that confuses me, is why everyone expects him to be good. He's never shown us anything. His best stretch ever was in 2006 in AA, when he posted a 2.71 ERA. The next year, in AAA, he was getting hit around at a 4.01 ERA and 1.35 WHIP pace. There was room for growth, but as a 23-year-old, he didn't have the makings of an ace.

I was glad when [Pelfrey] broke through in 2008, but I wasn't really expecting it. The truth is, he was a little lucky in 2008 and a little unlucky in 2009. His tRA (a metric which is available on fangraphs and is explained here) has his tRA as 4.49 in '08 and 4.52 in '09. And all things considered -- like, with what we saw with our naked eyes -- Pelfrey was very much the same guy. The real difference between that year and this one was that more hits made it through the infield and less guys got stranded on base - his fastball was the same speed, he walked and struck out about exactly the same number of batters.

I see Pelfrey's luck turning again this year, at least back to average.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

A Prospect, Redemption, and Reality

Imagine with me, if you will, a young hotshot baseball prospect.

He came up with his hometown organization, a bright prospect with a bright future. A hero among the locals. He scorched his way into the baseball consciousness by hitting .359 with 10 home runs and an OPS of 1049 in his first month and a half.

Then, he struggled to finish that year. The next year, he did okay, but worse - in fact, he was below average. The next year, he struggled again. His fourth year in the majors, he seemed to have hit rock bottom - he posted a 653 OPS and an abysmal .294 OBP. His power was gone. He made no strides in his plate discipline. He did nothing to capitalize on his promise.

As Gary Cohen Screamed To The High Heavens, "Jeff Francouer Back In Atlanta STUNS Billy Wagner!"

Game 2: Mets 3 Braves 2

Dickey vs Lowe

So this game was going to have either 2 outcomes. I was going to throw in the towel and accept reality that the Mets season was over or well I was going to get to be an optimistic schmuck for at least one more day. And what do you know I get to stay a delusional Metsies fan! This can all change tomorrow but for now I'm savoring this victory like no other.

So now let's get to a quick recap of this magnificence and then it will be time for some Keith action in the booth! Giddy up!

In the bottom of the 2nd with 1 out R.A. Dickey beaned Gonzalez. Ankiel then singled and Melky Cabrera was up. Melky grounded into what looked like it was going to be a double play but nope it was just a force out at 2nd. Luis Castillo was not to blame on this one! Reyes didn't at all try to get Cabrera out at first, he didn't even attempt a throw and yep that meant the Braves would take advantage of this lapse in Metsies defense. Gonzalez scored on this not-a-double-play and the Braves took a 1-0 lead over the Mets.

But Jose is all about the redemption song business. He loves Bob Marley! In the top of the 3rd Castillo led off with a bunt single. I know Castillo didn't suck tonight! I'm still in shock over this! He must have been reading all of our angry blog posts about him on Fonzie! Dickey then sac bunted Luis on over to 2nd and well it was Jose's time to redeem himself! Reyes rbi doubled, Castillo and his two different sized legs scored and the Metsies and Braves were now tied 1-1.

And this game stayed 1-1 until the bottom of the 6th. Dickey's knuckleball was dancing most of the night but after Gary Cohen commented on how much of a groove R.A. was in at this point, the kibosh was on and yep Dickey gave up a lead off single to Gonzalez. Then the force out was made at 2nd on Ankiel's grounder but Melky had to well be special. He wanted to score all the Braves runs tonight. Sheesh former Yankees are SO annoying. Melky tripled, Ankiel scored and ugh the Braves regained the lead over the Metsies, 2-1.

R.A was done after this inning and his numbers tonight were fantastic yet again. Here are the Dickey-licious stats:
6IP 5H 2R 2ER 4BB 2K 103 total pitches thrown

And Dickey didn't have to worry about picking up a loss tonight because the Mets were all about showing they had OOMPH and major fight in this game. In the top of the 7th Kyle Farnsworth was the new pitcher on the mound. The Braves just got him (and Ankiel) from Kansas City and well he sucked. Yay to the Mets not acquiring Kyle like it was rumored in that rumor mill thingy last week! On just 4 pitches Farnsworth gave up a lead off walk to Frenchy. Yes this did happen, yes on 4 pitches, yes yes Jeff doesn't always swing at everything and anything! Castillo then sac bunted, and Jeff was in scoring position for the pinch hitting THE ANIMAL CARTER. And well Chris was super duper clutch. The Animal singled, Jeff scored and oh this game was tied yet again, 2-2!

Pedro Feliciano got into some trouble in the bottom of the 7th but that former Bravo Manny Acosta knows all about stopping the bleeding! With Jones and McCann on 1st and 2nd and 1 out Manuel made that good old call to the bullpen and he brought in Acosta. Perpetual sucking Pedro was out! Bobby Cox had the "my knees suck" Troy Glaus pinch hit and well Acosta got Glaus to ground into a double play. It was splendid! And well it was kind of painful to watch Glaus attempt to run to 1st but oh well I'll live! Acosta pitched a scoreless 8th too and it was up to the Metsies in the top of the 9th to get their 15th come from behind win of the season!

Billy Wagner came in to pitch in the top of the 9th and well he was the Billy we remember! Frenchy was up and I just felt he was finally going to well not have just 1 hit in his last 23 at bats. He was going to have 2 hits in his last 24 at bats! And yep my woman's intuition was on! Jeff solo homered, his 10th homer of the season and the Mets now had the lead, 3-2. WHOA! The joy that was seen in the Metsies dugout after this homer was amazing. It's been so long since us fans have witnessed happiness in the dugout and it almost brought me to tears. Okay that's a lie but it was a pleasure to see! And for the record when Jeff homered I screamed so loud I'm pretty sure my neighbors might have thought there was an intruder in my house! And possibly fans at Turner Field even heard me! Okay that's another lie, my screaming can't compete with tomahawk chopping noises.

So now in the bottom of the 9th it was time for K-Rod goggles to shut the Braves down. And he did just that! I mean there was no drama at all. It was AMAZIN'! Infante and Heyward both grounded out and well there were 2 outs and it was up to Chipper to do something. And LARRRRRRRRRY sucked! He flew out and the ball game was over! Mets win, Mets win and well they are back to being 6 1/2 games behind not-so-HOTLANTA!

Ok now let's get to the Keith Hernandez business. Hmm what did he say tonight!? Here we go:

Mickey Mantle is his idol!

He was never a fan of Fulton County Stadium. It had a terrible infield.

He said "WIGWAM!" And well I wanted him to say it like 57 more times but nope he didn't.

Keith said it was "smoking" in Hotlanta today! He was sweating non-stop at the mall.

He liked R.A.'s demeanor on the mound.

He showed off some geographical knowledge. "Tennessee is a bordering state of Georgia." From Atlanta he said it takes about an hour and a 1/2 to get to Chattanooga. Do I know if this is true? NOPE. Keith is terrible at math so 1 1/2 hours can really mean 2 days or like a week.

He said Burkhardt was very inquisitive tonight. He also said this inquisitive nature is why Kevin gets paid the big bucks.

Keith said Isaac Benjamin Davis looks so much like the D-Backs Adam LaRoche. This is odd because I have been saying this to my Dad since well the D-Backs swept the Metsies in Arizona. Especially now that Isaac is without the beard. And really why did he shave? Did Frenchy tell him to? If so big mistake. Davis struck out for the 93rd time tonight. I imagine the sans beard thing had something to do with that. Okay I know it didn't but he has to get that beard back immediately! It's a integral part of the team!

So in tomorrow's rubber game it's up to well Big Pelf to pitch a gem or for the Mets to score so many runs that it doesn't matter if the BAD MIKE is at Turner Field. I really have no idea what to expect from Pelf but I'm gonna be an optimistic schmuck and well I believe the Mets can win tomorrow. Let's go METS!

Monday, August 02, 2010

As Gary Cohen Remarked, "Turner Field, A Place Where The Mets Have Had Their Most Shocking Failures."

Game 1: Braves 4 Mets 1

Hudson vs Santana

Of course when Gary made this comment about Turner Field during the telecast right before the top of the 1st I was the schmuck who thought he was being prematurely pessimistic but nope I was wrong and he was just being a very logical realist. A sage in fact. Turner Field will always be an evil place for the Mets to visit during important moments in their seasons. And well this game was over after the bottom of the first inning. When the Mets are down 3-0 lately there is no hope for a victorino and yep that's how things played out once again. They had plenty of opportunities to get some runs on the board but nope Beltran's rbi double in the top of the 5th was the lone run for the Metsies.

The Schmuck Is On Me...

So instead of sitting through that horrible no good very bad Mets game yesterday I saw "Dinner For Schmucks." I give it like 3 stars. So this movie is silly, juvenile and very unrealistic but I rather enjoyed it. I have reservations recommending it just because I don’t know how many people want to spend $12.50 to see it. Yep that’s how much my ticket had cost, yikes. But I will say if you love Rudd, Carell, Clement and Galifianakis like I do chances are you will like this movie. Galifianakis at one point in the film says the following to Carell's character Barry, "Tell me I can eat your pudding." I’m not spoiling what that's about but it's hysterical.