Friday, July 31, 2009

Little of Column A, Little of Column B...

So I suppose if you hung around Citi Field for the first ever "Doubleheader" in Citi Field History, you saw a little bit of everything from the Mets. First of all, you had to pay twice, since it's pretty safe to assume that there was no way a somewhat-full box office could have been passed up from Wednesday's rainout. Therefore, "Doubleheader" can no longer be referred to as a Doubleheader since it's no longer a true Doubleheader. It's my favorite, the Day-Night Doubleheader, which we may as well just save ourselves time by referring to it as a "Doubleheader."

In the opener, the Mets continued to play well, actually backing Santana with some runs (which mostly came of the dink and dunk variety) while Santana did what he does best and mowed down the Colorados in short order. This was their 5th win in a row and was actually starting to permeate some halfway good vibes around the team. That faint glimmer of hope in the corner of the Mets fans eyes was starting to show itself. It was sort of like that 10-game winning streak last year that kind of came out of nowhere.

So, of course, the Mets went out in the nightcap and didn't hit. Streak gone, good vibes gone, despite a good outing from Niese. Then again, given the way this season has gone, the Mets were way overdue for a stinker.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Well, Very Well

So, apparently, the more ridiculous things seem to get with this team, the more they seem to win games. Last night, Mike Pelfrey and company put down their 4th in a row against the Colorados, while Jeff Wilpon finally felt his team was a sufficient enough laughingstock that he needed to open his mouth and say something.

I don't get this team at all. If they keep winning, maybe Omar Minaya should just keep doing stupid things.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Descent From Grace

The Mets won their third game in a row last night, a feat which seems sort of secondary when you consider the absolute quagmire that the team has found itself in after the events of yesterday afternoon.

I found myself in my office yesterday afternoon actually listening to Omar Minaya's press conference. This shouldn't have even necessitated a Press Conference, let alone a stupid "Flushing Flash" mass e-mail to everyone. What the hell do any of us care about Tony Bernazard? You investigated, and you fired him. Nothing more needed to be said. Which is why once Omar said anything in that Press Conference beyond "We fired Tony Bernazard," I knew that he was in a lot of trouble. I would say that, basically, all Omar accomplished was digging a hole at the podium he was sitting at, jumping in it, and burying himself.

I've certainly been critical of the way the media in New York handles certain things, and you're certainly entitled to think that any newspaper columnist has some sort of agenda. Hell, even I've got an agenda, and I'm just writing a dopey blog. But there are times and places to talk about people's specific agendas, and in front of an audience with flash bulbs popping, microphones in your face and the guy who you're slinging accusations at in the crowd, that's not the best place to start slinging mud.

I find myself often asking who, exactly, is driving this Mets bus. Because the more this team makes misguided decisions and stupid mistakes, the more I think there's nobody at the wheel, and there's nobody who wants to take control. It's amazing that it took this particular incident, an out-and-out horrendous, flaming embarrassment for Jeff Wilpon to get up and say something, or at least appear conscious. I know he won't hold his own press conference because the idiot media will just ask him "How much did Madoff take you for?" but at some point, you have to take control of things. It was bad enough slogging through last season and the way things ended. This year, there's stadium that everyone seems to hate (which I guarantee wouldn't be the case if the team were winning), the Medical Staff appearing to be comprised of a group of Semi-educated mongoloids, the Assistant GM running amok, and now the GM opening his mouth and picking a direct fight with the fourth estate. When did this organization turn itself from a team on the rise into a complete and utter joke again? Things weren't supposed to turn out this way.

We go from being one inning from the World Series, to blowing a 7 game lead in the last 2 weeks of the season, to getting eliminated from the playoffs in the last game ever at our beloved old Stadium, to this? God, how the mighty have fallen.

It shouldn't be this particular incident that gets Omar Minaya canned for good. It's no stretch to say that the Media will turn on him completely. It should be the progression of that last paragraph. . 3 years ago, you would have thought we'd be running around with a couple of World Series trophies by now. Nope. Instead, that trophy is in the hands of our most bitter rival. Us? We're eating hamburgers and watching our team slog through while our GM seems hell bent on blaming everyone else for the problems that he's managed to create by not taking any kind of control. Well then. If he won't do it, it's time for one of the Wilpon boys to wake up. Take a look around Citi Field in September when there's 20,000 or less in the stands per game.

This is what you fucking get when you let the inmates run the asylum, Jeffy.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Rickey Henderson Time!

Instead of continuing to rant about the varied negativity surrounding the Mets, I'd like to take a moment to salute Rickey Henderson on his Hall of Fame induction (Jim Rice deserves a nod as well, however he never played for the Mets and was also not nearly as interesting as Rickey).

We at The Ballclub always remember Rickey fondly for his contributions to the 1999 Mets. Clubhouse card games aside, Rickey was a major reason the Mets were able to perform as well as they did that season. Beyond his performance on the field, which included a team leading .315 BA, 12 HRs and 42 RBIs, Rickey's influence on other players was evident. I'm fully convinced that Roger Cedeno was as good a player as he was that year because of playing with Rickey. Despite being 40 years old and having 20 years in the Major Leagues, Henderson still had plenty left in the tank, and even kept some in reserve for the postseason, where, in the NLDS against Arizona, he hit .400, stole 6 bases and generally made the DBack pitchers nuts for 4 games.

We tip our hat to Rickey Henderson, who amazingly did not refer to himself in the 3rd person in his Hall of Fame acceptance speech. But if there was ever a moment to pull out the "Rickey Henderson Time" quote, yesterday would have been the day.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Put To Bed

I thought about writing something last night after I got home from rehearsal at approximately 12:23am, and after a few shots of rum with a fellow cast member in the back of the Theater following the conclusion of the night's happenings, and I thought better of it. In a saltier mood, I might have done something like challenge the team to a fight, which it appears is standard protocol within the Mets organization.

I'd like to say that there is some sort of interesting happening going on with this team, or if nothing else, that there's something interesting to write about this team, but let's face it. I didn't see the game and even if I'd had the poor fortune of watching or listening to it, there wouldn't be anything noteworthy to say, no new angle or spin to put on any of this particular disaster of a season. Oliver Perez went out, walked a bunch of guys, looked confused, chewed on his shirt, walked some more guys, the Mets got a bunch of singles that were subsequently followed by pop outs to the shortstop, and a lot of Mets ended up standing around first base for most of the evening. Oh, and Gary, Keith and Ron probably talked about how John Lannan is from Long Beach or Freeport or Merrick or whatever South Shore town he comes from. Howie Rose probably mentioned it too, because, hey, there needs to be some sort of human interest angle with this team, right? Is that a pretty accurate description? It probably is, though, again, since I didn't actually see the game and all I know is the final score, I can't actually verify this as truth.

But, in reality, what the hell does it matter?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Happy Days!

I guess the Washington Nationals can make any team laugh and smile and goof around for a day. Even the Mets.

After spending an afternoon in the office talking with my infamous co-worker about how the Mets could very well go into Washington and get swept, a conversation which featured him bellowing at me several times, "YEAH, BUT WASHINGTON CAN HIT! THEY CAN HIT, GUY! THE METS CAN'T HIT!" it was the Mets coming out and doing the hitting, at least for two innings, and that two innings' worth was enough to offset the Nationals being the Nationals and losing to a guy who hadn't made it through the 4th inning in either of his last two starts.

That's not to say that the Nationals didn't challenge the Mets. But if there was any team that was more than capable of out-Metsing the Mets, it would have to be the Nationals, wouldn't it. The situation seemed rife for another typical Mets performance. You had the pitcher, J.D. Martin (not to be confused with Jahine Martin of the Dodgers), making his Major League Debut. Usually when a guy makes his Major League debut against the Mets, he ends up throwing 7 innings and allowing anywhere between 0 and 2 runs. But the Mets knocked him around early, and he departed for another guy who made his Major League Debut against the Mets, Former Yankee Great Tyler Clippard, who made the Mets look as good as they did against him in his ML Debut way back when.

But the Mets pitchers managed to do enough. Though it seemed like the Nationals had men on base in just about every inning, and Livan was doing just barely enough to hang on to the lead, the Nats, try as they might, just couldn't get that big hit. I felt the pain of the 372 Nationals fans in attendance last night. Really, I did. We've been watching the Mets play like that for at least 2 months now and it's not an enjoyable kind of baseball.

Nonetheless, it's better when it happens to another team than when it happens to your team. So I'll take the victory, however meager and stupid it may be. Hooray, hooray.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Ho Hum

If it wasn't bad enough knowing that the Mets were a bad team destined to plod their way through the string this season, there's no solace in the realization that the Mets are flat-out boring. There's no particular enjoyment in watching this team play, at least on TV.

I'm back in rehearsals for my Summer show so, as per usual, most of these games are sort of lost on me, which, as a recycled comment, isn't a particularly bad thing, but I did get to see a brief snippet of Saturday's game and of Sunday's game as well (Friday's game can be thrown down the toilet with the rest of them). Saturday, I put the game on in the top of the 9th, saw the Mets were ahead 2-1 and knew two things. 1, Santana obviously pitched and 2, the Mets offense did their best to ensure that he still might not win. What happened kind of shocked me. The Mets did something that it seems like they haven't done in weeks, and scored a few runs and put the game away. They looked fundamentally sound and did some good things like move up runners and Castillo even laid down a picture perfect suicide squeeze. The Mets finished off what was probably their best looking game in a month and a half, and I didn't even blink. I wasn't convinced. I don't think anyone was.

Sunday night, they proved everyone right. I put the game on in the 5th inning, I think. I'm not sure just what inning it was, all I know is that I was mystified to see Tim Redding pitching and wondered if Livan Hernandez was injured and didn't start. This, alone, should give you an idea of how on the ball I was. I had no idea who the hell was even starting! I was wondering about Livan and had basically forgotten Fernando Nieve even existed, and at this point I suppose it's just as well, given the competence of the Mets' training staff. But at any rate, it was 2-1 Braves when I turned the game on, and within a matter of minutes it was 7-1 Braves, and we all know that if there's one thing the Mets have proved themselves completely incapable of doing, it's coming back from a deficit.

So, out of Atlanta, where I was pretty sure they'd get swept, and into Washington, where they come in looking no better than a Nationals team that is a horrendous mess. There's no guarantee that the Mets are going to win any games in Washington. I don't know a single Mets fan that would be surprised if the Mets got swept. Man, things are bad right now.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Rested and Rejuvenated

It's good to see the Mets come back from the All-Star Break looking so well-rested and raring to go. After all, there's still some camps out there that believe the Mets are going to come back with a vengeance and make a spirited run towards the Postseason.

I don't see it. And I didn't have to see the game to figure that out. All I needed to know was that the Mets were opening their 2nd half with authority by sending Oliver Perez to the mound.

Folks, let's face it. We're fucked.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Maybe It's Not Just Us...

I didn't see very much of the All-Star game last night. I was busy most of the evening and by time I turned the game on, it was already the 9th inning and Francisco Rodriguez was in, preparing to inflict some hurt on some AL Batters. Then, they flashed to Mariano Rivera in the AL Bullpen, and I immediately became rather nauseous.

What I missed, apparently, was the National League pretty much putting forth a performance that was worthy of the Mets. They plated 3 runs on 4 hits in the 2nd inning, a rally sparked by our own David Wright, and managed to get only 1 hit the rest of the game.

I know that the MO in this game is that pitching tends to dominate, but there are, every so often, some random outbursts of power, like when the AL ripped Clemens for 6 runs in the 1st inning in 2004 (which may or may not have been the result of his batterymate Mike Piazza tipping batters, but that's another story for another time). Not so much this time around. It's no great shock that I root for the NL in this game every year. I think I watched my first All-Star Game in 1987, and the NL won that one, even though I was long asleep before the game ended. The American League has won every other game since then, except for a random 3-year period in the mid-90s. That's a rather long and excessive string of dominance (and yes, I am aware that the NL had won 11 in a row at one point in the 70s.), and one that has now drawn out over 13 years. It seems like the AL has the answer every single time, whether they're beating the NL off the field, or squeaking one out, like they did last night.

But now it's done and by tomorrow most people won't even remember who was in the All-Star game. Hell, I don't even know who was in the game, for the most part. Time to reload and re-energize for the 2nd half.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Halftime!

This season started in somewhat disjointed fashion for the Mets, who had already suffered through a pair of close-but-not-quite-good-enough finishes the previous two seasons. The prevailing thought was that whatever problems had reared their heads, be it character, bullpen or otherwise, had been sufficiently addressed and the Mets would rightly resume their position in October Baseball. If we, as fans, weren't already a bunch of basket cases, we soon would be. That promise, so far, appears to have been nothing but idle talk.

It's not so much the mounting injuries that have been the issue for the Mets thus far, it's a combination of a few issues, some of which don't even pertain to the Mets.
  1. There was no way of knowing that three players who combined to miss less than 10 games in 2008 would miss significant amounts of time in 2009.
  2. There was no solid contingency plan within the organization to compensate for an injury to any of those particular players.
  3. The team's system was not properly stocked with attractive-enough prospects that could be dealt for a replacement to one of the injured regulars.
  4. According to an article by Adam Rubin in today's Daily News, there appears to be a dangerous discrepancy between the doctor-recommended advice given to the Mets and the treatment given to players by the team's medical staff.
  5. The poor play of several divisional rivals has given the Front Office a rather convenient excuse to not do anything, hiding behind the guise of "Hey, we're only 4 games back!" (this excuse becomes less palatable when the Phillies win 9 of 10 and open up a larger lead)
Basically, you can look at it this way: Unless some major changes happen within the coming months, the Mets are screwed well beyond 2009. You can already toss this season down the toilet. The reality is that while the Mets would like us to believe that there's still a shot for them (Primarily for the purpose of filling the seats at Citi Field), they're not going anywhere in 2009, and any move that they make now is going to be so reactionary that there's a good chance it could hurt the Mets beyond this season (Omar seems to be fond of these deals, while the Nady for R. Hernandez/Perez deal, Bannister for Burgos and the Castillo trade weren't terrible moves, they also weren't necessary moves, which is part of his problem). In reality, the Mets should be selling off this year, and rebuilding for 2010. It might not be good for attendance, and it might not be what Freddie, Jeffy and Omar want to do, but for the good of the future of the team, they have to seriously consider sacrificing this season.

That said, let's examine just how bad it's been:

What's gone Right: Sadly, not much.
  1. Citi Field has been as good as advertised, despite lengthy lines at Shake Shack. Food great, Seats good (I have yet to watch from an "obstructed" seat), general look of the ballpark beautiful.
  2. David Wright has finally learned how to hit, even if he slips into idiot mode from time to time. It's come at the cost of his power stroke, which has drawn the ire of a lot of fans, but I think he's better served hitting .340 with 15 HRs than .280 with 35 HRs. This will become evident in the long run.
  3. Daniel Murphy has shown signs of being a decent-fielding 1Bman.
  4. Johan in April.
  5. Francisco Rodriguez (except when he walked Rivera)
What's gone Wrong: Just about everything else.
  1. Injuries to key players, and then injuries to the guys replacing them.
  2. Sudden and inexplicable loss of fundamentals.
  3. Too many games like This One.
  4. Too many games where the Mets not only lose, but embarrass themselves in the process.
  5. Lack of ability to generate much, or sometimes any offense for days at a time.
  6. Inconsistency of pitchers such as Pelfrey and Livan Hernandez.
  7. Oliver Perez.
  8. Daniel Murphy's complete and total inability to play the Outfield.
  9. Fernando Tatis' carriage turning back into a pumpkin.
  10. Days where Jeremy Reed was the #5 hitter in the lineup.
  11. Jerry Manuel's constant chuckling.


Bad contracts, injuries, questionable medical advice and failing farm system have crippled Mets [NY Daily News]

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The New Key Met

My initial response to the Ryan Church/Jeff Francoeur deal was something to the effect of "Huh?" I have to say I didn't expect it coming, or at least not a deal particularly like this. But if this is the kind of deal Omar Minaya is going to make to somehow cosmetically make us think he's conscious, well, so be it.

I understand the logic of the deal, which I assume to be something like, "Here, we'll take your headcase off your hands, but in exchange we'll deal you one of ours and hopefully this'll work out for both of us." That's the only way this deal makes sense to me, because I think that both players more or less cancel each other out.

Neither Church or Francoeur are going to save the Mets season at this point. I suppose thinking longer term, Francoeur is the better player, if only because he's 25 (5 years younger than Church), he has some sort of demonstrated record as a full-time player (though not necessarily a good one) and he gives the Mets some sort of decent bat from the right side (though, at this point, any bat that wasn't already on the team is probably an upgrade over the incumbent). On the other side, I was never especially fond of Francoeur, though, let's face it, that was primarily because he played for the Braves and drew a ton of hype during his initial splash in the Major Leagues and his solid seasons afterwards. There's also the whole "Sleeping with the Enemy" factor, which more often than not ends up burning the Mets in the long run (see: Glavine, Tom; Stanton, Mike; Randolph, Willie).

Then, there's Church, who becomes the first Met to be traded during the same season in which I named him a Key Mets player. To this point, Church has posted better numbers than Francoeur, but at the same time, there wasn't any sign that he was going to perform any better than he was. He hadn't gotten hot like he was at the beginning of '08, and it seemed like he was constantly being called out as being hated by Manuel, a problem in the Clubhouse and not a fan of New York. He also didn't help himself with that whole missing 3rd base fiasco. Again, who the hell knows if any of this is true, but I have a feeling that we're going to find out now that he's been traded and the Mets and Braves will play each other next week. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Church has already been in touch with good friend Larry, promising to spill all the Mets signs to the Braves. A common practice, no doubt, but when you have two teams whose fondness for each other can be best compared to, say, Donald Trump and Rosie O'Donnell, these things can escalate.

Braves fans seem to be tearing their hair out. Mets fans are not surprised that Church was dealt, but perhaps odd to hear who's coming in return. I guess this can only work out in the positive for the Mets. After all, things can't get much worse.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Heading for the Exits

Last night's game was a first of sorts for me.

It was the first time I ever seriously considered leaving a game after one batter.

I was pretty ambivalent about going to the game in the first place. If I didn't have the tickets already, I probably wouldn't have gone at all, especially after El Guapo begged out earlier in the day. Essentially stuck with out a posse, I decided to forge ahead anyway, and I seriously wondered if I was doing the right thing. I have these existential crises at games every so often. Sometimes, they come and go with the ebb and flow of a game. Other times, however, they fester and get worse as the game progresses. I knew that the Mets were probably not going to win the game. I rarely, if ever, feel quite as pessimistic as I did last night. But they had won on Wednesday and didn't look particularly impressive in doing so, and the Dodgers really look loaded from top to bottom, particularly within their starting lineup. But, basically, knowing it was probably a waste of time, I went to the game anyway. I had the tickets, and I suppose I didn't have anything particularly better to do with myself for three hours on a Thursday evening. This, I suppose, is why I'm single and only marginally employed at age 30.

Rafael Furcal hits a dying quail on Livan's 2nd pitch of the game. It lands softly in left field for a leadoff double. An older gentleman sitting a section to my right, someone I'd seen before, one of the denizens of Shea's UR1, no doubt, piped up and yelled, "ONCE AGAIN, NO NO HITTER FOR THE METS!" I was seriously tempted to walk over and punch him in the mouth. Right then and there I wanted to stand up and leave. Nothing good was going to happen. Nothing whatsoever. Instead, I stayed. What I witnessed didn't surprise me in the least.

The crowd was taken out of the game by the end of the top of the 1st. People started to leave in the 3rd inning, I imagine, in between the Mets losing 6-1, the weather chilly and the first 3 innings taking about an hour. The game moved along at a crawl most of the way. Livan was getting creamed. The Dodgers hammered every one of his mistakes. Wolfie wasn't particularly good for the Dodgers either. But the Mets, attacking with the ferocity of a bunny rabbit, kept getting men on base and then either hitting into double plays or grounding out to the Shortstop. Wolfie wasn't good. He was just reaping the benefits of pitching against a Double-A lineup.

By the 6th, it was 8-2 and the stadium had about half-emptied out. I still stayed. I still would have prefered to leave. But I never leave early. The reasons why are beyond me. I'd already had my Sausage sandwich before the game. Had I wanted, I probably could have run down to Shake Shack and been on line for 3 minutes. Instead, I opted to move down from my perch in section 518, just to see how things looked from a little lower down. I ended up somewhere in the 400s, where you really feel on top of the action. That made me feel a little better. Then I looked up and somehow Tim Redding had made his way onto the mound. This game couldn't end fast enough.

By the 9th, I'd say there were fewer than 10,000 people left in the stadium. I'm still there. I'm still not sure why. It was about 10:20 and I'd been looking forward to the train ride out of there since about 7:12. I was plotting my escape. It was virtually empty around me, I wasn't going to bother with a ramp tonight. The stairs were right there. The game ended, and I struck, dashing down the stairs and onto the Subway with a ferocity. A trip that, on a crowded night can take up to 20 minutes was accomplished in exactly 7 minutes, and I was on that express. Of course, it sat there for about 5 minutes before I was moving, but at least I'd managed to make it through the game.

What the hell is the matter with me?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Accidental Victory

I don't know if the Mets won last night's game out of any sort of skill or means of outplaying their opponent, rather it seems as though they may have won by accident, or by some cosmic alignment of stars and planets, because it certainly took some means of divine intervention to will the Mets on to victory.

Let's start with last night's starting pitcher. Oliver Perez hadn't pitched in the Majors in 2 months, following a lengthy DL stint for general suckitude. Our hopes were not high for his return. I predicted that he would give up 6 runs on 4 hits and 10 walks by the 3rd inning and that would be the end of that. Not that his numbers were anything noteworthy, but Perez did manage to get himself through 5 excruciating innings in which he only gave up 2 runs on 4 hits, but, in typical Oliver Perez fashion walked 7. Somehow, he won.

The Mets hadn't scored a run since Saturday and hadn't had an extra-base hit since Friday. These particular streaks don't last forever, but they both fell within the first two innings last night, first when Daniel Murphy doubled over the head of a befuddled Manny Ramirez, who clearly does not understand the intricacies of the Citi Field Left Field area, and plated a run when Luis Castillo barely beat out an infield hit, scoring Jeremy Reed. But the Mets didn't stop there. They even had an extended rally in the 3rd inning, scoring 3 runs to give them a bit of a cushion, and plated a 5th run in the 5th. Predictably, they also didn't get another hit after the 5th inning.

Then, there was the Murphy play, which I suppose has already cemented its place in Mets lore as "The Murphy Play," one of those plays where your supposedly defensively challenged 1Bman somehow makes a play that defies all logic. I heard it on the radio first, and when the normally milquetoast Wayne Hagin raised his voice to a near-squeal in his description, I figured something good had just happened. After examining the replay online later in the evening, I still don't know how Murphy managed to grab the ball and blindly fling it behind his back on target to Parnell in a singular motion. This, I suppose, is why athletes are athletes and why I'm sitting on my ass writing a dopey blog that nobody reads.

But I digress. When these sort of plays actually end up going in your team's favor, chances are they're going to win the game. No matter how many different ways they try to screw it up. Call it an accident, call it whatever. But whatever it was, it went the Mets way for once.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Broken Offense

It appears the Mets have been using the remaining shard in Sheffield's hand as their bat for the past week or so. Or at least that's how they're making it appear.

These particular performances now the norm around here, I think it's become more frustrating knowing how bad the rest of the division has been around us. Not so much because of the "if we were healthy..." argument, but because the Mets remain merely 4.5 games out of 1st place. The problem is that this is a 4.5 game deficit that's pretty much impossible for the Mets to make up. It would have been a lot easier had Philadelphia and Atlanta played better baseball and just buried the Mets in late May or mid-June. Playing out the string is a whole lot easier to swallow when you're 10 games back instead of under 5. But in reality, that's what the Mets are doing. And there's no relief in sight from this. Beltran remains weeks away, Reyes appears to be months off and Delgado will be back in time for his contract to expire. So, what's there to do now?

Maybe it's time to start going to games and watching them from other parts of the Stadium. Maybe I should just go down to Shake Shack in the 2nd inning. Just hang out in the World's Fare Market and eat cookies all night. Get drunk in the Promenade Club. Tack a $50 dinner onto my expenses for the night at the Acela Club. The Mets e-mails no longer advertise the opponent or the team's play, now it's advertising, "Be a part of the Citi Field Fun!" The fun now lies in the attractions in the ballpark, no longer in watching the team on the field.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Met Meltdown

I've returned from my vacation in Cleveland, where the closest I got to seeing a Mets game was seeing the highlights on SportsCenter at 11pm after a day of being harangued by my family. The Mets didn't make me feel any better.

In reality, I'm not at all surprised that the Mets went into Philadelphia and got swept. I know that a lot of people are really up in arms, how could they lose facing Rodrigo Lopez and Jamie Moyer, blah blah blah, but the Mets had this coming to them. When you don't play good baseball, the familiarity of sucking begats itself until you finally reach rock bottom. I don't know if this past weekend was rock bottom, but hopefully it will sound the alarm bells that should have been ringing since early June. In Steroid Field II, where Home Runs fly out of the park with a ferocity, the Mets managed 3 runs in 3 games.

You can tell it's starting to wear on everyone. The fans have been apoplectic all season. I heard a quote from Johan Santana after Sunday's game. When asked about a pitch he threw to Chase Utley that was hit for a HR, Santana replied, "It doesn't matter. The game was over after the pitch to Rollins [sic]."

If that doesn't sum everything up, quickly and concisely, I don't know what does. The pundits will say, "Sure, we're only 4 games out after all this," but I think too many of us know the truth. Between the injuries and the inconsistency and our inability once again to beat Philadelphia when they're at their most vulnerable, well, we're screwed. You can pretty much write off the 2009 Mets.

If it makes anyone feel any better, the Phillies scored 10 runs in the 1st inning last night en route to a 22-1 victory over the Cincinnati Reds. The Reds will be coming in to Citi Field this weekend. This means you can expect the Reds to win 2 of 3 from the Mets, mostly by scores of 5-2 and 3-1.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Inside Citi Field, Part 2

When we left off on Friday, I was heading up an escalator to the Promenade Level of Citi Field. What awaited me at the top? Well, let's jump right back into the action and see...
Why, it's the Pepsi sign again! If you missed the first shot of it, here's another angle.
The water fountains at Shea were not only decrepit, they were also sparse. Seemed like you could never find one when you needed it. At Citi Field, you can't sneeze without hitting a water fountain.
Does anyone know what the hell this is? I saw these all over the place, but I don't have a clue. Is it a payphone? Some sort of mind-control device? All I know is that it's glad I'm here.
Not surprisingly, there are about as many of these as there are water fountains.
My stance on Subway at the ballpark has been well-stated. Earlier this year, El Guapo and I were talking about it, wondering if you could get a $5 footlong. He seemed insistent that you could, based on the fact that there's a huge sign advertising it. I said no way, they would be blatantly undercutting everyone else in the ballpark. The answer: No, you can't get a $5 footlong. Everything is $7 and up. And besides the point, I didn't go to Citi Field to get a Subway sandwich.
The toppings bars are still out. This one has stuff for Pizza, since it's right next to...
...Cascarino's. I've written about my experience with the Pizza at Shea. I'm told it's better now. I don't believe it, and I'm still too afraid to try.
This is usually where I end up. You can't ever go wrong with the sausage sandwich.
The Promenade Food Court is truly one of the hidden gems of Citi Field. The lines are almost always manageable, mainly because everyone looking for food has gone downstairs to the high-end concessions and is standing on line at Shake Shack for 3 innings.
Some things never change.
Reverse angle of the Food Court.
I'd never seen this stand before. What the hell is "Kettle Korn? Well, apparently it's a giant metal drum that's making popcorn. What's so special about it? Beats the hell out of me.
This is the view I'm used to.
Yankees.
Here's another angle of the Food Court, from the stairs leading to Section 515.
Now, I've walked around to the lone Citi Field ramp, out in the Left Field corner. Here's the view.
Picturesque, that view is, of...LaGuardia Airport.
The Apple again, this time from the top, off the Left Field end of the Promenade.
Looking back in from Section 538.
The line at Shake Shack is, at this point, much longer than it was when I was there.
If you were wondering why it seemed so empty in the Promenade, well, here's why. Everyone is down there.
Further proof.
Mark Teixeira in the cage. What a strapping young man he is.
Empty dugout.
More airplanes.
I walked back downstairs to the Excelsior level, and made my first trip into the Caesar's club, which, I guess is a step or two below the Diamond Club at Shea. What a weird place this is. It's sort of like walking into a lounge in the middle of the Upper West Side. I wasn't too crazy about it.
And here's the menu in the Caesar's Club.
There's also these rogue bars, serving whatever mixed drink and wine you might want. Also bizarre.
Well, now they're watering the infield, which means it's almost game time. We'll skip that part of the evening...
...And, here we are, 3 hours and 40 minutes later.
And almost 6 hours since I'd made that stop at Shake Shack. I think I need a little snack...
...before I head home. But not in this traffic. This is the kind of view that makes me glad I never got my driver's license. A quick trip down the ramp and straight on to an Express train home, closing out a fine evening and a fine tour around the Mets new home, that is, if you forget the game that went on that night.