Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Rarest of the Rare

This article came to me via El Guapo on Facebook this morning, and it seems so fitting that I had to share it with the rest of you. I think it might save all of us quite a bit of headache and misery if this particular play were truly a reality.

But what I'm not sure about is why the article features a photo of stone-handed Dan Uggla? If Francoeur had hit his line drive at him, he likely would have either dropped it or missed it completely. My guess is that The Onion couldn't find a photo of Hanley Ramirez in time. Or, perhaps, the play was of the 4-6-4-6-4-6-4-6...variety.

Rare Centuple Play Ends Mets Season [The Onion]

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

What Game?

I know that there was a game between the Mets and the Phillies on Monday afternoon, because I was there. But for the life of me, I just can't seem to remember it.

There were people, and some balls flying around, and some of them were caught, and some of them were dropped, and there was some cheering, but I don't recall doing too much of that. There were a lot of people in red, sitting in packs throughout the stadium, like some bizarre, loathsome game of connect-the-dots. These people in red seemed to be doing most of the cheering. The people in blue, that is to say my people, just sort of sat there and stared.

Was it a dream? Or was it simply that this game was indistinguishable from the other games I'd attended on this most disastrous homestand, where the Mets appeared sunk before they even had a turn at bat.

Trouble was abound early. The stadium was only marginally full for a Monday afternoon game. I, being who I am, had taken off from work and gone with a colleague who was attending her first baseball game in 4 years. We arrived in our seats just in time to see Parnell plunk Shane Victorino. "I hope it hurt!" I yelled. This must have angered the Baseball Karma Gods because two batters later, Victorino was stealing 2nd and going to 3rd when Santos sailed his throw into Center Field, and scoring another batter later when Ryan Howard launched the first of his two moonshots. 3-0 Phillies and the Mets were basically cooked before they even came to the plate.

The rest of the game was pretty academic. Chase Utley and Gary Sheffield both kicked the ball around a little bit, the Philly fans were loud and proud, the Mets fans were quiet and not proud. A game happened. I saw it, I suppose, but for what it's worth, it's not worth talking about. The best I could come up with was that it was better than being at work.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Spectacular Failure

So if it wasn't enough for the Mets to have found new and inventive ways to lose games, or get their own players injured, or have injured players mysteriously become even more injured over the course of the season, now, the Mets are conjuring up ways to lose ballgames that haven't been done in over 80 years.

I suppose, as with so many other disastrous things that have happened to the Mets this season, you could see it coming. The situation was rife for such a play. Much like the Mets other Most Glaring Failure this season. Playing their closest rival, and the team that has dogged them for the past three seasons. Playing out the string, and trying to salvage some kind of pride. A wild game that saw the Mets fall behind 6-0 and peck and scrape and claw and somehow make a game of it. A game that saw the first inside-the-park HR in Citi Field history. And, of course, the perfect storm for the perfect play, 2 on, 0 out and the runners in motion.

Should Francoeur's line drive have been a few inches higher, and over Bruntlett's glove, then the move to send both runners looks genius. In fact Francoeur hit the ball well enough that had it been past Bruntlett, it likely would have shot into the gap for a tying hit. But, such as the Mets have had no luck this season, and no breaks, and whatever the absolute worst thing that could happen has happened, that's just what happened. The line drive was low, it went right into Bruntlett's glove as he ran to cover 2nd, and managed to pick off both Castillo from 2nd and a befuddled Murphy coming from 1st, and, thus, another Brilliant 2009 Mets moment.

It's not enough to simply lose anymore. The Mets now make their losses look spectacular.

Friday, August 21, 2009

How The End Always Is

I suppose it makes sense that my personal best (or should that be personal worst) 5th consecutive loss was that of an utterly frustrating variety. Though the Mets were in the game the entire way, and even had a chance to win it in their last at bat had Murphy not swung at a sucker pitch for the game's final out, you just knew that this was how it was going to turn out.

You knew when you got to the stadium, got your Tacos (which were once again the highlight of the evening, "Orgasmically good" might be the best way to put it), sat in your seat and looked at the Mets lineup that, even with Santana pitching, the Mets were doomed. After Luis Castillo in the #2 spot, it was all downhill from there. Daniel Murphy, who appears to have been stuck with a .248 average since May, was 3rd. Cory Sullivan, birthday boy or not, was hitting 5th (this before I knew that Sheffield asked out of the lineup over a contract spat, oddly, this is the first known issue he's created this season). Brian Schneider and his .187 BA hitting 7th. The eminently unexciting Anderson Hernandez 8th. The lineup basically read like Johan Santana and his band of Merry Men. They loaded the bases in the 1st, Tatis grounded out, and that pretty much set the tone for the rest of the night.

Santana was admirable, no doubt. Efficient as well. But for a little bit of bad luck (a better throw by Pagan on Infante's Sac Fly in the 3rd might have got Church at home) and one bad pitch (McCann's moon shot in the 4th), Santana was his normal self. But, oh, that lineup just couldn't do anything against Kenshin Kawakami, no matter how much he tried to let the Mets back into the game. Other that one instance in the 3rd where Tatis' line drive was hauled in on a brilliantly timed leap by Infante, you never really had the sense that the Mets were going to mount a serious threat.

The crowd, as it has been most of the season, was in positive spirits, in spite of the general hopelessness the team seems to exude. Looking for some sort of light, we got it in the 8th. Santana was removed from the game, and you could see a rather familiar looking lefty throwing in the bullpen. And once that bullpen door swung open and the first few notes of "Enter Sandman" began to play, the crowd was suddenly energized. After a constant string of injuries and players dropping on an alarming basis, here, finally, was someone actually coming back on schedule. Here was Wagner, making his familiar Alpaca-like stride in from the bullpen, coming in, and throwing surprising heat, 94-95-even touching 96MPH. He struck out his first batter, Curly McHanrahan, with relative ease. Larry swung on a 3-0 pitch and popped out. And with a flourish, Wagner finished by slipping his tradmark slider by McCann. The crowd was up. The crowd was energized. Could Wagner's appearance energize the Mets as well, and spur them on to a comeback victory?

No. Of course not. They got a little closer, thanks to erratic Mike Gonzalez, an error from Larry and a pinch single from Omir Santos. But with the tying runs on base and 2 outs in both the 8th and the 9th, the Mets went down predictably meekly. Just like you figured they would. Just like they have all season. There's nobody who can step up and rip that walkoff 2-run HR now. You just have to close your eyes, hope for the best and not be too surprised when you get the worst.

3 games remain on my 15 game plan. I've been to 11 of the first 12 and watched the Mets post a miserable 4-7 record in those 11 games (they of course won the game I missed). Add in the one random game against the Yankees and my record for the season is 4-8. Is it any wonder why I feel so defeated watching this team?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

I Shoulda Been There!

Last season, I wrote about my kind of game and how it generally ends up going somewhere between 12 and 14 innings.

This year, my kind of game seems to have been the hopeless blowout that you can sense from the outset. I've already been to two of them this season, and a third that was probably worse than the final score would indicate.

By all rights, I should have been at last night's game as well.

I was out a little later than usual and when I briefly checked the score on my phone, it was 3-0 Atlanta in the 2nd. This didn't bode well, but considering how Tuesday night's game turned out, you couldn't be too sure. By time I got home and put the game on TV, Atlanta was scoring more runs and the score was 11-1. I realized that whatever I'd missed wasn't worth watching anyway.

I have tickets to tonight's game, and a matchup of Johan Santana vs. Kenshin Kawakami (you know, the great Kenshin Kawakami). The Braves will probably win this game 3-1 or something to that effect. In reality, I probably should have had tickets to last night's game, which would have fit in very well with the kind of games I've been attending this season. Who knows, the Mets might actually win tonight. My personal losing streak currently stands at 4 games. I haven't seen the Mets win a game since June 25th. This current losing streak ties my personal worst, originally set back in August/September of 2005. It would be fitting, I suppose, for this particular Mets team to break that streak and hand my my 5th loss in a row. But with Santana on the mound and the horrible, embarrassing blowout last night, I hope it doesn't come to that.

Besides, my next game is Monday afternoon vs. Philadelphia, with Parnell probably making the recovery start after last night. A loss tonight and 4 could become 6 very quickly.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Do What Now?

It seems rather incongruous, given the historically poor manner in which the Mets offense has sputtered this season, that they would somehow find a way to bust out and set a club record in last night's game, banging out 10 hits in an inning that saw them post 8 runs on the Atlanta Braves.

This is a team that sometimes has trouble getting 10 hits over the span of 3 games, and now they're posting 10 hits in an inning?

Given the fact that, going into the 4th inning last night, the Mets found themselves trailing Atlanta by 4, and this particular inning makes even less sense. Not only did they get 10 hits in an inning, but at the same time they came back from a 4-run deficit to take the lead?

Fittingly, the Mets only scored 1 run the rest of the game. But this inning not only put the Mets ahead, it gave them a comfortable lead over Atlanta and even made a winner out of Oliver Perez, who managed to notch his 3rd of the season in spite of himself.

I only watched the first 2 1/2 or so innings of the game. By the time Adam LaRoche had hit his HR off Perez, I figured it was just going to be another long night. So I walked away and put on the radio, figuring I could just tune out the game and get it over with quick. Instead, I just got a long inning. The long inning that came out of nowhere and shocked the hell out of everyone.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Curse of Mets2Moon

I seem to have absolutely no luck when it comes to the games I have attended this season.

Last night was my 4th loss in a row, and the 4th loss in a row in which the Mets generally looked completely out of sorts. In some cases, it has been over early, even if the Mets plugged away and tried to make things somewhat respectable. Last night was sort of a slow, painful death. Nonetheless, a loss is a loss is a loss, and it seems that I've been witnessing them with frightening regularity this season.

In an effort to change my luck, I tried a few different things on my way upstairs. Rather than taking my now-usual entrance through the Jackie Robinson Rotunda, I walked down to the Right Field gate to go in. There was no line whatsoever, in fact, I was really the only person going in that way at all. This didn't bode particularly well when the guy there inspecting bags decided to do an incredibly thorough job of it, and confiscated a bottle of sunscreen I'd been carrying around with me. But when I walked through the gate, he called me back and ended up giving it back to me, saying he thought it was a hard plastic bottle but it wasn't. Well, fair enough.

Though I was incredibly tempted to go back to the El Verano Taqueria after my prior experience eating there, I decided to try something different. With two more games coming up within the next week, I figured I'd have other chances. I decided to try Blue Smoke, which I hadn't been to before. Though the Menu at Citi Field only offers a small selection of its Manhattan counterpart, I figured it had to be worth a shot. I went for the Chipotle Chicken Wings, which were good, though not quite what I'm used to as far as chicken wings go. The sauce is much more BBQ-ish, rather than the typical wing sauce you might get from other wing places. They are also, as wings go, excessively messy. I would probably go back to Blue Smoke, but I'd probably get something else next time. Overall, it doesn't hold a candle to the tacos.

The crowd was, at best, tepid. The crowd was announced at something in the vicinity of 38,000. With El Guapo busy and my other attempts to get rid of my extra ticket having gone by the wayside, I ended up selling my extra ticket to some poor schlub who was standing at the bottom of the stairs by the Subway with one finger raised in the air. Fortuitous, I suppose, for me, since it meant that I not only didn't have to eat the ticket, but it also paid for my scorecard and my dinner. Inside, the usual suspects were around in my section. The guy from the last game who thought everything was TERRIBLE!!! was not present, which was a delight to my ears, although seeing him again might have brightened up what was an otherwise forgettable night. Instead, I found myself sitting next to a rather annoying couple who were both holding Mets teddy bears. This wasn't so bad in and of itself, but throughout the course of the game, they kept holding up their bears next to each other, talking to each other in annoying, teddy bear voices, and making kissy faces at each other with the bears. Had I been in a surlier mood, I might have sent a text to the dopey Citi Field Fan Hotline number they kept showing, and asked that they be removed. However, the wings from Blue Smoke had left me excessively gassy throughout the night, so perhaps I had the last laugh after all.

As far as the game goes, I wasn't quite sure I was watching a game. Things happened, runs scored, the Mets got guys thrown out all over the place, and it seemed like every time they got a good shot in, someone like Pablo Sandoval or Edgar Renteria was making an amazing catch. Tim Redding appeared in the 8th, which is noteworthy because I'm pretty sure that Tim Redding has pitched in every game I've been to this season. This isn't a good thing, not for me, or for Tim Redding. His appearance only hastened the departure of the crowd. I think the only excitement the crowd was able to muster was in the bottom of the 9th, for Andy Green's first Met at bat. His walk was subsequently followed by Cory Sullivan hitting into what I believe was the Mets 8th Double Play of the night, which ended the game and sent me shooting down the stairs and onto the 7 Express. At least when these games are hopeless blowouts, my exit becomes much easier, even if I'm just running for a train that's going to sit around for 10 minutes before going anywhere.

Did I mention I have tickets to two more games on this homestand? Because I do. And the way things have gone when I've been at games this season, this doesn't bode well for the Mets. Or me.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Carnage Continues

I guess this season wouldn't have been complete without some sort of horrendous injury to David Wright. It was as though he was walking a tightrope out there, and when there was word of a leg injury last week, all I could think was "Just say it's fine. Stay away from the trainers." He managed that well enough, but Fate intervened on Saturday in the form of a Matt Cain fastball to the head. And there went the one guy worth showing up for in the Mets lineup. Wisely, the Mets have learned from the error of their ways and just put Wright on the DL outright after spending a night in the hospital. This way he can just stay home, sit in the dark and watch the game instead of forcing himself out there and letting Ray "Cortizone Shot" Ramirez get another crack at him. Let him sit as long as he needs to. Neither he, nor any of the rest of the All-Star team that is the Mets DL list is going to save their hide this season.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Taco Stand Rapper

I believe the 11-game homestand that the Mets have opening tonight is their longest such homestand of the season. I know that this begins the period of the season where the games on my Weekday Plan run together with an alarming frequency. In the span of 7 days from August 17-24, I have tickets for 3 games. The only other time during the season where my games ran this close was in Late April/Early May, when I had 3 games in the span of 2 weeks from April 28 - May 12.

Things were a lot more optimistic for the Mets back then.

I have, in the past, had tickets to games that I'd been tempted to just eat and screw it because I just didn't feel like going to watch the team play, but I'd never actually done so. And I highly doubt I would do such a thing now, although some of the tickets may go to waste simply because I can't find anyone to go with me (El Guapo generally has first dibs, but I think his patience with the team has worn even thinner than mine, plus his aptitude to attend games close together is not what it was back in our salad days). We shall see. The three games are Monday, the 17th, Thursday, the 20th and Monday, the 24th, an afternoon game against the Phillies that should just be a rollicking good time. After the way the last Mets/Phillies game I attended worked out, I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to this one. The only upshot will be that I'll be able to skip work to go to the game.

There needs to be another selling point to games at Citi Field, at least to detract from the attention that can or will be paid to the mess that's on the field. I know that there has been a sudden, shocking move to offer discounted tickets to certain games, and the team is hyping up some promotions and giveaways (none of which, by the way, were offered at any of the games on the Weekday plan). There's the food, although it seems like everyone is only interested in Shake Shack, leaving many of the other food stands empty (this isn't necessarily a bad thing, I've talked about my Taqueria experience, and I think Blue Smoke is next on my list). But after that, what else is there? It's clearly no longer cool to just say, "Hey, let's go to the Mets game," I know this because I haven't been able to find suitable company for my next 3 games. I need a better selling point.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

*Yawn*...We Won?

I was kind of surprised when I got home yesterday and turned on SNY while I was making dinner. I wasn't necessarily surprised that Bob Ojeda and Jerry McTalkinghead were talking about how the Mets won, I was surprised because I forgot that they were playing an afternoon game. It's gotten so bad that I'm now blanking on entire ballgames.

I guess the years of the Mets rampaging into Arizona and walloping the DBacks is done with, at least for the current era. The Mets haven't looked good in months, and in this past week, they've somehow managed to look even worse. My co-worker insists that they're the worst team in Baseball, worse than San Diego, Arizona (two teams that won 5 of 7 from them) or even Washington. He wondered what their record was since July 1st, and seemed certain that they were worse than any other team in the Majors. Oddly, though, the Mets were only 12-14 in July, (which means that THEY'RE NOT SO BAD! SEE? ONLY 2 GAMES UNDER .500!!!) which is a lot better than you'd think they would have been. It was the 9-18 record in June that really did them in. But when the Mets have seasons like this, at least as far as what history would tell us, it's in August when they really fall apart, like their 8-20 in 1996 or 6-21 in 2002. Right now, the Mets stand at 3-8, coming home for a 11-game homestand that could have a rather funereal air to it (and for which I'll be in attendance at 3 games).

I guess we could clamor for more changes to the roster, but really, what's the use at this point? At least we're spared more September aggravation this year, because there's really not going to be a September worth waiting around for.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Moment of Zen

I really haven't had much to write about here lately, since the team is so bad, and I feel like it's just not worth breaking down a game or complaining about the same problems over and over and over again. It's sort of been an unplanned hiatus around here, I guess. But it's not really a hiatus. I'm still here and I'm still going to games, and I'm sure there will be things to write about. Consider this a contemplative period for the Mets fan. We know the team is sunk, everyone knows the team is sunk, Yankee fans are high and mighty and making fun of us. Philly fans are snickering under their breath (and I'd hate to see what Citi Field looks like when they come into town next weekend...), it's just an all-around bad scene.

I keep thinking about the 1999 Mets, it being their 10th Anniversary and all, and wondering what, exactly, they did 10 years ago. On this date, August 11, 1999, I was, in fact, at the Mets game as they took on the Padres. The game was scheduled for 7:40, but didn't start until close to 9:30 thanks to a lengthy rain delay. Octavio Dotel started for the Mets against Sterling Hitchcock for San Diego. Dotel wasn't good, but the Met bats picked him up (a novel idea) and put the game away with a 6-run 7th inning, highlighted by HRs from Edgardo Alfonzo and Robin Ventura. The 12-5 victory left them a mere 1/2 game out of 1st place.

That cheers me up a little bit, I think.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

No Longer Shocking

You know your team is having a lousy season when you listen to the end of a game and you're thinking about the number of different ways your team can find to screw it up. And, of course, when they inevitably screw it up, it's never quite the way you imagined it.

If that wasn't bad enough, there was another game going on that captured the imagination of just about everyone else in town and ended in a much more scintillating fashion...unless you were a Mets fan.

Good night. Good night all around.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Another Typical Ballgame

It's a little difficult to get too exasperated over last night's game because you could have seen the final outcome a mile away. After Santana gutted out 8 innings and left with a 7-5 lead, after Rodriguez blew the save in the 9th, probably because it seems like he hasn't pitched in weeks, it came down to an extra inning game where the outcome seemed to have been already scripted out.

Start with Brian Stokes on the mound, in what probably should have been a 1-inning effort. Let him get through the inning and take it from there. 1 pitch and Molina is done. But Nooooooooooooooo! Here comes Jerry "By the Book" Manuel to remove him from the game in favor of Pedro Feliciano. Feliciano subsequently gives up a hit to the guy he was brought in to get out, follows that up with another hit, and a walk. By the 2nd hit, I've tuned out the game. I'm waiting for the dagger now. He's coming at some point, you know that. But Feliciano rebounds to strike out Schumaker, and maybe there's a glimmer of hope. Noooooooooo! again! Here comes Mr. Book to take Feliciano out of the game in favor of perhaps the last guy anyone wants to see in a situation like this, Sean Green. He had a chance to let Stokes, who is probably the most underutilized guy he's got, get through the inning, he had a chance to let Feliciano get out of his own jam, but Nooooooooo! He just HAD to go to Green. And he was richly rewarded for his decision. First pitch drills DeRosa on the arm to force in the lead run. And before the Met fan had finished cursing Green's fate, Pujols, as if on cue, drilled a Grand Slam to put the game to bed and, assumedly send 95% of the crowd to the exits.

There are games where the Mets play like idiots and they deserve to lose. Last night, I don't think any of the Mets played like idiots, I think the Manager managed the game like an idiot. And not so much the game as much as the last inning of the game. Seems like we've seen more than our fair share of those games, too. But, again, how exasperated can you get over a game like this? It's more or less a good example of how this season has gone.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


Last night was my 10th game at Citi Field, and the first one where the most adequate description of the game was provided repeatedly by a guy sitting about 5 seats to the right of El Guapo and myself. Primarily in the first two innings of the game, and also sprinkled several times throughout the remaining 7 innings, he let us and just about everyone know his feelings in succinct fashion.

"YER TERRIBLE!!!" was his opinion. For what it's worth, he was right.

This isn't to say that El Guapo or I were somehow encouraged by the specter of a Dan Haren/Nelson Figueroa pitching matchup. But we thought that Nelson Figueroa would take the mound and at least perform at some sort of competitive level. Sadly, this was not the case. Basically, we witnessed the career of Nelson Figueroa die. I don't think there's any other way you could put it. Words like pitiful come to mind, but I think that about sums it up. After 4 pitches, Arizona led 1-0. Mark Reynolds and Miguel Montero hit Home Runs so far that it looked like the ball had been set on a tee. One inning later, Reynolds tagged another rocket. Figueroa wasn't just not fooling anyone. This was an absolute embarrassment. It was TERRIBLE!!! The DBacks just beat him so mercilessly it was like they knew what was coming. Every bit of contact was a solid shot. And after 53 pitches, the 6 runs and 10 hits told the story. And thus, we figured, it was time to sit back, wait for the beer guy to come around and hope that the Mets just took their hacks and got us out of there quick. The guy down the row was right, this game was TERRIBLE!!! So TERRIBLE!!! that I suggested we make it into a drinking game. Take a drink whenever this guy said something was TERRIBLE!!! El Guapo was skeptical. It had every opportunity to be a bad idea.

Oddly, though, the Mets sort of got themselves back into the game. They plated a run in the 3rd on an Angel Pagan triple, though he was stranded at 3rd by Luis Castillo, who put forth an at-bat that was TERRIBLE!!! and David Wright did the same. In the 5th, they struck quickly and quietly, and really out of nowhere. Cora and Santos started things off and following a Pagan walk, Castillo atoned with a 2-run single and Wright followed with an RBI single of his own. And here was Sheffield, who, with one good shot could actually give the Mets the lead. And Sheffield hit a good shot, but unfortunately, it was right at Reynolds, who went around the horn for a DP that killed the rally, more or less killed the Mets chances and was TERRIBLE!!!

I guess you can commend the Mets bullpen, which did an outstanding job of mopping up Figueroa's mess. Redding, Parnell, Feliciano and Stokes got through the rest of the game only allowing 3 hits to the DBacks and allowing the Mets to chip away enough to make the game somewhat respectable. But as has been the case all too often for the Mets, they get that rally-killing DP and never really recover. Murphy hit a HR in the 6th to cut the deficit to 6-5. Sheffield doubled in the 8th, but got no further. Francoeur swung at the first pitch and grounded out to end the inning, which prompted the gentleman to the right to scream and yell, but not use the one adjective that properly described the situation: TERRIBLE!!!

At least the game was quick. I hadn't been out to Citi Field in almost a month, but I see that the promotional staff has been hard at work thinking up insipid new things. One such thing was a karaoke contest, which featured two girls truly butchering an Alicia Keys song. Both such performances were properly described as TERRIBLE!!! by our friend to the right. Later in the game, when the voting results were revealed, he immediately dismissed the outcome as TERRIBLE!!! But all things considered, it was only TERRIBLE!!! enough to get us through 2 beers each.

However, there was one thing that made it all better. El Guapo and I were discussing food options while riding out to the game. He had mentioned that he had tried Blue Smoke at his last trip and said it was pretty good. He wanted to try the El Verano Taqueria. I've gone on record as saying I'm not much of a taco person, but I was willing to give it a try (Jason at Faith and Fear also gave it high marks). And I'm quite glad I did. Shake Shack is good, but this place is a hidden gem. I went for the Combo Taco Platter, which features a Chicken taco, a Pork taco and a Beef taco for $9.50. It looks small, but it's surprisingly substantial. All I'll say is DAMN! That's some good eatins' right there. The masses can wait on line at Shake Shack all they want. I'll go for the tacos. I'm convinced and converted. It's kind of a sad commentary on the team, but the tacos were by far and away the highlight of the evening. Good enough that El Guapo and I deemed the evening satisfactory.

The food better be good. That's sort of all you can look forward to now, because the team is TERRIBLE!!!