Thursday, June 30, 2005

6/30 - Mets 5, Phillies 3

My co-blogger Mike pretty much summed up what happened in the game that I was going to write (I knew Beltran was coming back) after my work meeting wrapped up, so I guess I don't need to add anything.

I'll be taking a break from the Mets season for the next three days, as I'll be balls-deep in problems down in Philadelphia, working on the U.S. radio broadcast of--and somehow at the same time reporting on--Live 8. On the plus side, I have Friday night off with nothing to do, so I've scored a ticket to see the Phillies and Braves at Citizen's Bank Ballpark. So at some time next week I'll write about my trip to enemy territory. Mike will handle the play-by-play for the Marlins series. I'll be back for Monday's game against the Nationals.

That's Six Out of Nine, Folks

Today's game was marked by the pleasantly expected--namely, Pedro overcoming a rocky start to pick up another win--the pleasantly unexpected--the bullpen picking up huge double plays in the seventh and eighth innings--and the freakishly unexpected--Cliff Floyd dropping a bunt down the left side of the infield when the Phillies put on the shift. Carlos Beltran stole two bases, but I'm not sure where to categorize that.

As for Steve's All-Star question, I agree that Pedro and Cliff deserve the honor. I'd vote for Roberto Hernandez, too. Though set up guys tend to be named to the All-Star game only when no one else on their team is close to making the cut. I'm also wondering how much validity there is to the rumors of a Mike Cameron-for-Gary Sheffield trade between the Mets and Yankees. As someone who thinks that clubhouse chemistry is vastly overrated--teams that win find a way to get along--I think it's a good move for the Mets; they need the lift Sheffield's bat would bring.

The Worst Part of My Night

Part One
Yesterday afternoon was wonderful. I enjoyed a great book on my way to a matinee at the Film Forum in Manhattan; a perfect summer day. It was in the evening that things went sour. Coming home my trip that typically takes an hour and 15 minutes wound up taking two and a half hours. The culprit? Flooding north of White Plains, flooding which temporarily washed out miles of track and caused several trains to be cancelled. It brought an unwelcome Old Testament feel to the evening. We took a train to White Plains, then board a school bus that made local stops to Chappaqua where we boarded another train that finished the route.

Part Two
What's worse than all that time spent in transit? Watching Kaz Ishii pitch against the Phillies. He set down nine of the first 10 batters and entered the fourth inning with an emerging no-hitter. He looked like the good Kaz, the one we see every four or five starts, the one who keeps his walk total down and gives the Mets a chance to win. The wheels came off in the top of the fourth, though. He walked Jason Michaels and he walked Bobby Abreu and, upon seeing an unoccupied base, he decided to complete the set by walking Pat Burrell. The bases loaded, Kaz the Generous thought it time to yield a hit, so he gave up a two-run single to David Bell. It was quite a feat and Crafty Kaz knew it would take a lot to top himself. Then it came to him: serve up a home run. Kaz couldn't manage a grand slam, but the Phillies Chase Utley seemed content to accept a three-run homer. Final tally: two hits, three walks, five runs, one Mets defeat; everybody in Philly's happy.

Part Three
How does an evening further disintegrate? By admitting that I was at Shea last night, that I waited through a rain delay and paid to watch Ishii's performance. I deserve to be turned into a pillar of salt for witnessing such an atrocity.

Dear Pedro, please ease our suffering.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

6/29 - Phillies 6, Mets 3

How can a team lose when a pitcher only give up two hits over 3 plus innings? It happens when that team is the Mets, and that pitcher is the non-control specialist Kaz Ishii. Victor Zambrano was able to dodge the bases-loaded jam he created last night, but Ishii was not as lucky, as all his walks ended up costing him five runs in this slog marathon.

On the plus side, Cliff Floyd keeps hitting, which leads me to ask this question: is there any reason why the Mets should not have two All-Stars, Pedro and Floyd? (Of course, Mike Piazza will probably win the fans balloting at catcher, which will likely cost Floyd any chance of making it).

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

6/28 - Mets 8, Phillies 3

After the heartbreaking loss the Mets experienced Sunday night at the hands of the Evil Empire -- and the way the Phillies were manhandled by the World Series Champions at Citizens Homerun Ballpark, it would have been fair to assume that neither team would win this one. But somehow the Mets pulled it together behind the "have those cardiac paddles ready" pitching of Victor Zambrano. Kazmir's replacement really dodged a bullet in the 5th with the bases loaded, whereupon the Mets offense woke up.

The best development on the offensive front was Carlos Beltran's triple. It's obvious to even a casual observer that the quad injury was hurting him much more than he let on, even when he was riding the bench. His legging out a triple pretty easily was yet another good sign that he's feeling better (along with outfield play at Yankee Stadium over the weekend). Let's hope the stolen bases are to follow.

38-38--five games left until the mid-season mark.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Two Out of Three Ain't Bad, But It's Not Enough

"Unable to say exactly what the disease is, I want the Sonics to cure me." -- David Shields, writing about his weakness for the Seattle Supersonics

Yesterday was an unpleasant day. It wasn't awful--no compound fractures were suffered, no bankruptcies filed--but it was unpleasant, nonetheless. The dog had diarrhea and I found out that book/zine tour I was scheduled to go on in August had been cancelled. So I turned to the Mets to lift my spirits. They were going to complete a sweep of the Yankees in the Bronx, for the first ever, and, for the first time in weeks, I was going to be able watch the entire game. I tuned in not hoping for a Mets win, but needing a Mets win. Their victory would turn the tide on my crummy day and set the tone for a great week to come. It was a low-scoring, thin ice game from the start, Kris Benson topping Randy Johnson 1-0 for most of the evening. I started feeling better, noticing that the dog was nearly back to normal and that, by not going on tour, I'd actually save money. Then the Yankees defense went Bad News Bears and the Mets pulled ahead 4-1. I started feeling great, thinking about how I could work on the website for my other magazine with the time freed up by the cancellend tour. The Mets success was bringing validation, perhaps even euphoria, within sight. Then David Wright bobbled a grounder down the third base line. The door to a comeback was open just a crack and, true to Torre-era form, the Yankees came barging through, bold and rude, like always. True, the Mets were still up 4-3 in the bottom of the ninth, but I knew it was over. Once the Evil Ones got a runner to third base I left the living room, fuming, and went downstairs to read, foul mood guaranteed. When Allie came downstairs and confirmed that Looper had blown the game, I, well, read Steve's entry from this morning. He says it all.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

6/26 - Yankees 5, Mets 4

Braden Fucking Looper.


Let's hope this loss doesn't send this streaky team back into a tailspin.

6/25 - Mets 10, Yankees 3

Cliff Floyd has definitely recaptured his swing of April and early May. Both of his home runs in this game were majestic, no-doubt-about-it shots. And the Yankees looked so bad fielding and pitching-wise yesterday that for the first time ever in a Subway Series, I knew no comeback was coming. I left my house when it was 7-2 to go to a concert in Brooklyn's Prospect Park with no doubt in my mind that the Mets would win. That is an odd feeling.

A sweep at Yankee Stadium would be great, but somehow I think Randy Johnson is going to come back with a great game in the wake of his last start against Tampa Bay, and his especially memorable last start against the Mets. ("Now pinch-hitting, Mr. Koo?")

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Nearly Coming to Blows Poolside

Allie and I are lucky in many ways, but none moreso than having a pool in our apartment complex. On a day like today, 90 and muggy, the dogs reduced to panting piles of fur, there's nothing better than a couple thousand gallons of water to toss yourself into. Even if you have to dodge several games of Marco Polo in order to cool off and block out the sounds of screaming toddlers when trying to relax as you dry off. Approaching the pool area we exchanged pleasantries with a family of four. It started off as nice, neighborly stuff. The mom and dad said hello and the daughter smiled, but things turned ugly when the boy, who was about eight and wearing a Yankees cap, caught sight of my Mets hat. The kid just scowled, making no effort to hide his contempt for another lowly Mets fan. He held my stare for a good five-count, looking at me like I held his family at gun point. Allie noticed it too. I teach elementary school for a living and I've never seen a look like that before. Lucky for me the kid kept walking. He'd made his point, and I suppose he hated last night's game as much as I loved it. I was ready to jump ship when Jeter send Pedro's second pitch of the night over the centerfield fence, but then Pedro settled in, giving up just one more run through eight innings. He wasn't great, chalking up a mere three strikeouts, but the Mets' defense picked him up, especially in the outfield. In some ways I think Jeter's home run helped the Mets. Usually the Yankees are very patient with Pedro, making him throw a lot of pitches, wearing him down. But the Yanks were more aggressive last night, swinging early in the count, hoping Jeter was onto something. I think the Mets can take two of three in this series. I realize that means for the rest of the summer I'll have to look over my shoulder when I go to the pool, but it'll be worth it.

6/24 - Mets 6, Yankees 4

This was the kind of game that makes one forget the bad road trip last week. The Mets excelled on all facets of the game last night--great defense, solid picthing and clutch hitting were all on display. I was glad to see Pedro Martinez prove that once again the "Who's Your Daddy?" comment means nothing.

And could Cliff Floyd be gearing up for another hot streak? It certainly looks like it, and that could be great news considering the division schedule they'll face leading up to the All-Star break.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Pre-game Pondering

Last night on Baseball Tonight, commentators Larry Bowa and Buster Olney were listing which teams were buyers--"glass is half full" teams who should think of upgrading for this year--and sellers--"glass is cracked and leaking" teams who should abandon ship for '05, building for the future by unloading more expensive talent. Larry and Buster agreed that the Mets are sellers, a team with too many holes to contend this year. I know they're under .500 and in last place, and I remember calling them a very, very bad team just a week ago, but is it time for the Mets to run the white flag up the pole?

Thursday, June 23, 2005

I Second That Complaint

...and I hate day games when I'm not busy at home. I was craving reasonable excuses to put off this project I've got in the works, and a Mets day game would have been perfect. At last they won, which makes two of three going into the Bronx for the weekend series against the Yankees, who have dropped two of three to the Devil Rays. (Has there been a time this season when both New York teams were playing well? Their hot and cold streaks seem perfectly out of phase.)

A Site We Highly Recommend

Zisk contributor John Shiffert (who has his own great email zine Baseball 19 to 21) clued us into to this site: Mets Walkoffs And Other Minutiae, written by ESPN baseball researcher Mark Simon. It's an absolutely fascinating look at the comeback kids the Mets have been in their 43 years of existence, and is worth a look even if you're not a diehard Mets fan.

6/23 - Mets 4, Phillies 3

Damn, I hate these day games when I'm busy at work. All I know is that somehow the bullpen didn't totally blow it. And if Jose Reyes keeps stealing three bases a game and getting three hits, critics won't think that he's an underperforming player.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Damn, He's Tall...

So I left my office tonight a bit late, dodging the raindrops as I was walking to meet a concert pal of mine to give her a couple discs of groups we recently saw (Tom Petty) and will see (The New Pornographers). And as I crossed 49th street at 6th avenue in midtown Manhattan, I looked at the tall guy having a conversation with some short dude in a suit. I thought, "He looks damn familiar." And when it struck me just who it was, I literally walked right into the woman in front of me. There, in a cheesy looking white shirt, was the bane of baseball--Alex Rodriguez. A-Rod, Pay-Rod, Gay-Rod, Therapy-Rod--whatever nickname you want to use, he was standing right there.

My stumble into that woman cost me. I couldn't easily stop, and cost myself an opportunity to do what any Mets and Red Sox fan would do--punch A-Rod right in the groin.


Once I got to the corner where my friend was, I stared back at A-Rod from a block away. It was funny watching people walk by him and then do double takes once they figured out who he was. A-Rod's conversation didn't last that long, most likely because the rain was starting to pick up. He hugged the guy in the suit, and then sprinted up the block. And it was easy to see him run from a block away because the damn guy is tall.

And I still hate him.

6/22 - Phillies 8, Mets 4

It’s my fault the Mets lost tonight. Seriously.

On Sunday I complained that Aaron Heilman wasn’t being used enough out of the bullpen.

Then I picked him up for my fantasy league team, as if to back up my point.

Of course, Heilman then had to completely fall apart tonight.


Zisk Readers' Poll #1

What was the weirdest part of my day?

A) Hearing Rob Halford from Judas Priest on NPR's Fresh Air . (Terry Gross: "Rob, the early songs have such pop hooks.")

B) Listening to reggae on the drive home. Voluntarily. (Black Uhuru's Red album...I say you punch right here and you punch over there/It's sponji reggae...)

C) Watching the Mets rack up eight runs last night against the Phillies (a good team playing at home behind a very good starting pitcher)

Vote early, vote often.

6/21 Mets 8, Phillies 5

So for the first time all season I think "I'm glad I'm not going to see the Mets game because of a concert," they actually score some runs and win. What in the name of Rusty Staub is going on here? It was good to see in the boxscore that Doug "Daubach Who?" Mientkiewicz break out for at least one game.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Hapless in Seattle

The Mets are a very, very bad team.

6/19 - Mariners 11, Mets 5

Why did Willie Randolph take out the best pitcher the Mets have in the bullpen (Aaron Heilman) just after they crawled back into game in the top of the 6th? This will haunt me all week, just like the 1-5 record against the bottom feeders of the AL West.

6/18 - Mariners 4, Mets 1

While I didn't start my summer vacation like my colleague Mike, I did decide to take a night off from hitting my local Brooklyn bars and stay in to do some reading and listen to Pedro Martinez right the ship last night. Of course, this would be the game that Pedro has a let down. I suppose it was about time -- the guy was 13 and 0 against Seattle. David Wright's highs and lows summed the game pretty well; the guy makes an amazing catch in the stands, yet makes a boneheaded running play that costs the team a run.

Is Art Howe laughing somewhere?

Is There Another Way to Say It? -- The Mets Suck

While Steve and I are engaging in "Peace and Harmony Week: Let's Get Along," there's another bit of common ground I'm sure we agree on: the Mets are a bad team. Last night, the first day of my summer vacation, I treated myself to the Mets/Mariners game, which had a 10:00 start time here on the east coast. The Mets started their most successful pitcher, Pedro, who had never lost to Seattle, against the Mariners least successful pitcher, Ryan Franklin, a guy who's lost 80% of his starts over the last two years. To top it off, Richie Sexson, the Mariners only homerun threat, was tossed in the first inning for arguing with the home plate umpire. In short, the Mariners were giving away the game and the Mets refused their gift; very rude. Seeing the Mets lose wasn't odd--they've been a .500 team all year--it was the way they lost. Throwing to the wrong base, misguided baserunning, and most disappointing, never giving a sense that they could come back. During the first 33 games of the season, when the Mets were second in the NL in scoring runs, there was always the chance of a comeback. Over the past 33 games, a time in which they've dropped to 12th in the league in scoring, the threat of a late-inning come back has withered. Across town the Yankees are back on track and in the NL East the Nationals are pulling away; the media's set to pounce on Willie Randolph and company. Barring a hot streak, it's going to get ugly in Metsville.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

6/17 - Mariners 5, Mets 0

Thursday's offensive barrage was just a mirage apparently. As soon as Ichiro hit a 3-run home run in the 2nd inning off of his countryman Kaz Ishii, I knew this game was over, so I finished my dinner and quickly left the restaurant and a found abr that didn't have it on. This is the reaction I would have had in 2003 and 2004 to an early home run.

This is NOT a good sign people.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

6/16 - Mets 9, Athletics 6

Finally the Mets offense woke up--and Brian Daubach had nothing to do with it (no hits, but he did walk three times). Carlos Beltran finally homered in a game Pedro Martinez was not starting and Mike Piazza broke the longest homerless streak in his career. However, Danny Graves doesn't seem to be the answer for the bullpen troubles, as he gave up three runs in the 8th inning of what was a blowout, causing Willie Randolph to bring Braden Looper to close it out.

Up next is Seattle, where I predict Mike Cameron will have at least one monster game.

6/15 - Athletics 3, Mets 2

When Brian Daubach is looked at as some sort of offensive savior, you know we're in for a long roadtrip here. The Mets did show a little bit of life coming back when Doug "I'm Haven't Hit the Wall at 30, I Swear" Mientkiewicz drove in and scored a run in 7th, and Victor Zambrano pitched a solid game. But the bullpen once again imploded, sending this team to its sixth loss in seven games. One game under .500 and in last place--it seems like the ghosts of 2003 and 2004 have decided to make a visit to this season...

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Clarity Achieved!

Well Mike, once again we agree. Those "Perceived Problems with Shea" are things other fans and whiners believe in, but both of us know they’re not true. And I think it would be fair to say this:

You: The Mets don’t need a new stadium
Me: The Mets want a new stadium, and need one. Shea at 50 (in 2014) ain’t going to be pretty. It will take a lot of spackle to fill in the cracks in its foundation by then.

And now we return you to the Mets stinking up the joint in Oakland...

Let's Clarify!

Even when Steve and I argue, we kind of agree. Astute readers will notice that in refuting my third point Steve basically made the same point that I did. That said, I should note that the problems I listed yesterday aren't my beefs with Shea so much as the complaints I often hear other people voice about Shea. It would have been more accurate to label them "Perceived Problems with Shea."

Steve, in the interest of making this as much of a "reality blog" as possible, what say we settle this publicly? Would it be fair to say the following...

You: The Mets want a new stadium.
Me: The Mets don't need a new stadium.

6/14 - Athletics 5, Mets 0

The Mets returned to location of their first World Series loss -- the Oakland Coliseum -- and played not like it was 1973, but 1977. The offense has completely disappeared over the past two weeks, and the anemic showing against the A's journeyman starter Joe Blanton was downright disheartening. And Carlos Beltran's quad must be hurting him more than he lets on -- what other explanation could there be for such shoddy fielding and hitting?

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Viva Shea--A Counterpoint

Besides Rolling Rock being a great beer, Mike and I also agree that Young Fresh Fellows and The Figgs are two of the most underrated bands ever; Barry Bonds is an asshole; comics books have a lot to offer and stapling Zisk is a bitch. And I must admit that I do like Shea very much (why else would I always sit in the upper deck unless the tickets were free) and have nothing but great memories associated with that hunk of concrete and metal. (Doc Gooden’s 20th in 1985 and the season closer in 1999 are the first ones that come to mind.) I just think Mets fans deserve a stadium that is better than average. I mean, the only baseball stadium I’ve been to that’s in worse shape is RFK down in D.C. Dodger Stadium is older, yet it is in infinitely better shape (and it’s not just because of the great weather, I’m convinced of that). Shea looks shitty and feels shitty when you sit down in an uncomfortable plastic seat--that’s why people stand for the T-shirt launch. And with the Yankees about to build their own stadium, do we Mets fans need to have that rubbed in our face as well? No fucking way. Fuck them and I hope Steinbrenner doesn’t live to see their new stadium.

So let’s look at what Mike’s problems are with Shea:

Current problem #1: Flushing, Queens is an eyesore.
Non-problem #1: Flushing, Queens is not an eyesore. The area around Yankee Stadium, now that’s an eyesore (except for the bowling alley). The area around Giants Stadium is even worse, and likely has bodies wearing cement shoes floating near it.

Current problem #2: Shea is near LaGuardia Airport, there are flights streaming overhead throughout every game.
Non-problem # 2: I’m halfway deaf, so this has never bothered me. The players that complain are just wimps, as are the fans. New York is loud--get used to it.

Current problem #3: Fans don't go to Shea because it's outdated.
Non-problem #3: Fans don’t go to Shea because the team stinks. The Mets have broken 3-million in attendance twice--in 1987, the year after they won the World Series, and in 1988 when they won the NL East. The team didn’t even come close to that figure again until--you guessed it--1999 (Wild Card with 2.7-million) and 2000 (World Series with 2.8-million). Attendance has dipped steadily since then…right along with the Mets record.

I suppose we could debate this all summer (I’m sure other people will do the same), but I think we can agree on one thing--the Mets will never have to vacate their new stadium because of the Olympics. Fuck you Mr. Billionaire Mayor Bloomberg.

Viva Shea!

Steve and I agree on an alarming number of topics (we'll both look you in the eye and tell you that Rolling Rock is a good beer, for example), but we part company when it comes to Shea Stadium. The Mets do not need a new stadium. I like Shea. I want it to stay. Granted, Shea has problems but none of them would be solved with a new stadium.

Current problem #1: Flushing, Queens is an eyesore.
Impact of a new stadium: None, Flushing will remain a place people drive through quickly.

Current problem #2: Shea is near LaGuardia Airport, there are flights streaming overhead throughout every game.
Impact of a new stadium: None, LaGuardia will continue to specialize in air travel.

Current problem #3: Fans don't go to Shea because it's outdated.
Impact of a new stadium: None, new stadiums don't increase fan interest in teams. Ask the Tigers or Pirates. Winning draws fans. Ask a ticket taker whenever Pedro starts.

Off Day Digest: The Waiting is the Hardest Part...

So seven years after first unveiling plans for a new stadium for the Mets, Fred Wilpon finally gets his wish. Of course, just like most things with the Mets, many other things had to fall through for this deal to go through. But even though Queens and the Mets got treated like second class citizens in the current stadium merry-go-round in the metro area for so many years, I’m not going to complain. Shea Stadium, for all the great moments that I’ve witnessed there, is a dump, and having a new stadium will make those late April bone-chilling games that much easier to take. And the fact that it’s the most financially sound deal for us -- the taxpayers -- out of the monstrosity planned for the West Side of Manhattan, the new Yankee Stadium and Bruce Ratner’s rathole in Brooklyn is even better.

Oh, and the best part is that Mayor Mike Bloomberg and his fucking lackey, Daniel Doctoroff, had to come crawling to Queens to make their Olympic dreams happen. When July 6th rolls around and New York is turned down in its bid (making EVERY SINGLE PERSON I KNOW IN NEW YORK HAPPY THE OLYMPICS WILL NOT BE COMING HERE), I will be having a drink in honor of Bloomburg’s folly that got my team a new stadium, finally.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

6/12 - Angels 4, Mets 3

There was no comeback today after Braden Looper (with some fielding non-help from David Wright) couldn't hold the Angels at bay. The 6 and 6 record on this homestand can be labeled nothing but a disappointment, considering the Astros were in town and today's game should have been won with Pedro on the mound. The wild west, here they come...

6/11 - Mets 5, Angel 3

Here's a lesson learned on my part--don't give up on this Mets team. Last night I went to see my friends The Figgs play at the Knitting Factory, doing their own set and then backing up the great singer-songwriter Graham Parker. It was an early show (and the best show I have seen in 2005), so I figured I would miss most of this game. But the 90-minute rain delay meant I got to see the last couple of innings when the band, some friends and family went to a bar called South's right around the corner from the club. I was stunned by Marlon Anderson's inside-the-park job, and then deflated when Braden Looper couldn't hold the tie (with help from an uncharateristic fielding gaffe by Doug "I Swear I Can Hit Better That This" Mientkiewicz). It was at this point that I figured, "It's over with this Angels bullpen" so I left at the same time as the band and grabbed a train back to Brooklyn. Once I got to one of my favorite haunts, Magnetic Field, I asked the owner Lee to double check that they indeed lost. He then told me how Cliff Floyd hit a "majestic home run" to win the game.

Damn, why did I leave that bar before the bottom of the 10th.

Watching the highlights on Sportscenter, seeing Floyd just miss a home run before the game-winning shot and hearing Dave O'Brien stunned call when Floyd did belt one gave me goosebumps. And I missed it, dammit. This could be one of those games that defines a season. O'Brien himself said during the pre-game for today's game that it was one of the best regular season games he had ever called, while my pal Erik sent me a text me this morning that probably summed it up best: "Floyd's [nine-pitch] at bat was one of the best I've ever seen. If it happened in the post-season or a pennant race, it woulda been the best ever. Thrilling."

Pedro on the hill right now as I write this; a win today would give the Mets a 7-5 homestand before heading out West for a long road trip.

Give Up Two Runs and Call Me in the Morning

"Disappointment haunted all my dreams"
--The Monkees

She's at it again, coughing like my late '89 Celica trying to chug up a hill. When Allie came down with strep throat last weekend I knew we were in for a hell of a ride. It's almost the end of the school year and I've been working a lot of late nights, and I knew I was susceptible to catching at least part of what she had. I tried to avoid getting sick by spending a couple of nights sleeping on the couch, but it didn't work. By the middle of the week I was hacking like an 80-year-old hooked on filterless Camels. It was the first time Allie and I slept in different rooms in our 12 years together. We decided to stage a fight to amuse ourselves.

Me: (Grabbing a pillow, heading to the couch) Go ahead, cough one more time. I dare you.

Allie: (Coughs) There... (coughs again) you bastard. Sleep tight.

I took my pillow and stormed upstairs to the couch (we live in one of those reverse-o townhouses with the bedrooms downstairs), making a detour in the kitchen to down a fifth of bourbon, you know, complete the Raymond Carver effect.

Now it's Saturday night and Allie's cough is going full tilt. But it's not just our lingering colds keeping me up, part of it's probably the adrenaline rush I got from watching Cliff Floyd pop a three-run shot in the bottom of the 10th against the Angels. That was sweet. I tried to hit the hay early, but wasn't tired enough. When I went upstairs Allie was watching the game which had gone into extra innings. Too bad Kris Benson didn't get the win, though. He looked great. Much like Kaz Ishii did for the first five innings last night. I went to bed around the fifth or sixth inning last night, wiped out by work and the cold, and was stunned to see the Mets wound up on the shortend of a 12-2 final score. Kaz really let me down, though he has inspired me to start a "Countdown to Trachsel's Return" chart on the refrigerator.

It was weird being in bed while it was still daylight, especially on a Friday night, but I was surprised that I was able to stay up that late. Thursday night I was at Jigsaw, a fanzine and comic book store in Manhattan, staying out late (for a school night) to see a triple-header of readings: Sean Carswell, Joe Meno, and Mickey Hess, three great storytellers and talented writers. I had such a great time it put my cold on hold for a few hours. (I swear the couple of beers I had did as much good as did the cold medicine I'd taken.) The only letdown of the evening was the low turnout. It wasn't so much that I felt bad for Sean, Joe, and Mickey, who were coming through town on a reading tour--they seemed to have a great time--as it was severe disappointment in the denizens of New York to come out to such an event. New York beats its chest loud and proud about being a cultural mecca, but I've seen much better turnouts to similar events in smaller cities, like last summer when I was in Portland, Oregon, and attended a similar event at a bookstore called Reading Frenzy.

But who's got time to linger on the lame aspects of the Big Apple? It's just dawned on me that neither Allie nor I have coughed the whole time I've been writing. Time for some shut eye.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

6/10 - Angels 12, Mets 2

This game was close at one point--until Kaz Ishii fell apart after having to run the bases in the 5th inning. It obvious that Ishii was winded after having to go back and tag up twice on fly balls, and with the current heatwave in New York, he must have sweated out his picthing ability during that adventure. And why of why is Manny Aybar still with this team? When he had the bases juiced in the top of the 9th I had turn off the T.V. in disgust. The soon-to-be-a-Met Danny Graves has got to be better than this guy, who seems to be the second coming of Mel Rojas.

Friday, June 10, 2005

6/9 - Astros 6, Mets 3 (11 innings)

How does this team lose two of three to the most offensively challenged team in the National League? I'm glad I missed the extra innings due to a show--it was bad enough seeing Carlos Beltran misplay a ball which led to Tom Glavine's almost certain win evaporate in the 7th inning.

Three with Angels this weekend -- who most certainly have a better offense than the Astros -- could lead to a lengthy losing streak. Ugh.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

6/8 - Astros 4, Mets 1

I'm glad I missed this game and saw Spoon instead. (They rocked, by the way.) I just can't take watching Victor Zambrano pitch. All I keep thinking is "Kazmir, Kazmir, Kazmir."

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

6/7 - Mets 3, Astros 1

"The disappointment is tangible. You can almost reach out and touch it." -- WFAN's Howie Rose in the bottom of the 7th after Pedro Martinez's no hitter was broken up.

Yes Mets fans, 6903 games (that's regular and post-season combined) and this team still has not had a no hitter. And if not for one bad pitch to Astros rookie Chris Burke, it truly seemed like Pedro Martinez was going to throw one last night. I must admit, after the third inning I was afraid to move from where I was sitting at the laundromat because I feared I might upset the no-no. I've said it before, and I'll say it again--Pedro Martinez is the best free agent the Mets have ever signed, and he makes them a team worth paying attention to again. His next start is Sunday against the Angels.

On a side note, while cooking dinner post-Pedro gem I was watching the Twins-Diamondbacks game, and Mark Grace used Tom Seaver's favorite term for a hanging pitch--"Right down Broadway." So of course I chugged what was left of my Rolling Rock.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Off Day Digest UPDATE: The Astros Hit-Man

To prepare myself for this week's matchup against the Astros, I went looking to see what kind of crazy websites that were out there about Roger Clemens part-time employers. And wow, did I find a doozie about Craig Biggio, the soon-to-be-king of HBP. I mean, I have Biggio on my fantasy league team and have followed him pretty closely all season, but this is nuts.

6/7 update - The New Yorker, of all magazines, did a piece on Biggio as well.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Bull McCabe's: No; Kabin Bar: Yes

My friend Brian and I are writing a musical about Lyndon LaRouche, infamous economic eccentric and political crackpot (or so "they" will have you believe). We usually meet up on Sunday afternoons, which isn't easy to do in Manhattan because so few places are open then. For awhile we'd been going to Bull McCabe's on St. Marks Place. They bill themselves as "An Irish Pub" and in addition to their James Joyce poster, they hang both Mets and Yankees logos in their front window. Seemed like the right place for a couple of Micks like us, hacking away at our lap top. We were raised right so week after week we tipped well and said "please" and "thank you." We even cleared our table every time. But the woman tending bar treated us like a pair of drooling derelicts, turning off the charm that flowed so easily for other customers and refusing to tune into Mets games (even with no one else in the bar--"Someone asked to watch the NBA playoffs later"). So yesterday we tried a new place, the Kabin bar, near East Fifth Street. $2 cans of Reingold, Mets on one screen, Bronx Bombers on the other, and a friendly bartender who noticed us rooting for the Mets. When we bought the next round she said she liked Mets fans, said they were more blue collar.

Genna, bartender: I'd rather have bar full of Mets fans than a bar full of stockbrokers. People with expense accounts never tip as well as people who pay in cash.

Me: So you'd rather have a roomful of Mets fans than a roomful of Yankees fans?

Genna: No, I wouldn't say that necessarily, but the Mets fans are more blue collar.

Okay, couldn't hurt to try, but you can read between the lines: Mets fans are better. Now it's time for the Mets faithful to realize how asinine it is to chant "Yankees Suck!" when the Mets are playing the Giants. Or Phillies, or Marlins, etc.

Off Day Digest: A Game Yankee Haters Will Love

(I know, three posts in one day--what the heck am I doing at my real job?)

One of my favorite (and perhaps the best) sports-related blogs out there in the world wide mess is Batgirl, which features some intense coverage about her favorite team, the Minnesota Twins. And since the Twins were battling the dreaded Evil Empire this weekend, one of Batgirl's readers created a great game for those with a touch of Yankee-hating in them. Play to your hearts content here.

Off Day Digest: Join Our Mailing List!

With an off day for the Metropolitians, I wanted to take this time to invite you to join our new mailing list by emailing us at Now I'm not sure what this mailing list will entail, but I can tell you we won't be selling you email addresses to spam companies or the I.R.S. What you'll most likely get is the occasional email telling you that the new print issue is out, or if we have something special up on the website or if we've figured out a way to make Jose Reyes increase his on base percentage. You can also email us at that address if you have any comments or questions.

6/5 - Giants 6, Mets 3 (Gm 1) / Mets 12, Giants 1 (Gm 2)

This doubleheader seemed to sum up the Mets season so far--crappy pitching and hitting one game, outstanding defense, hitting and pitching the next. In Game 1 Kaz Ishii looked like he was serving up batting practice, with hits going all over the place (including a bases-clearing double by Giants pitcher Brett Tomko). Fortunately all of those bad thoughts were washed away in the nightcap where Carlos Beltran set the tone by gracefully robbing Michael Tucker of a home run. Then the Mets decided to get home run happy themselves, with Cliff Floyd blasting two of them, David Wright adding to his ever growing resume and Victor Diaz crushing one that landed somewhere out on Long Island.

On the minus side, how much longer can Kaz Matsui being the fans whipping boy before he completely loses any confidence he has left?

Saturday, June 04, 2005

6/4 - Mets 5, Giants 1

Could it be true? Could Tom Glavine be making a comeback to the way he pitched at the begining of last season? One run in 7 1/3 innings and no walks is why the Mets signed Glavine in 2002, so perhaps now they're finally getting their money's worth.

Tomorrow should be good--a true, old fashioned two games for the price of one doubleheader on a hot summer day.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Otto Knows Best

Like Steve said below, everything went well for the Mets last night with Mike Cameron's catch being the standout play. Two nights ago, when he leaped against the rightfield fence to steal a homerun, Cameron played it cool, keeping a serious, business-as-usual expression until he reached the dugout. But last night, Cameron was grinning from ear to ear as soon as he made eye contact with fellow outfielder, Carlos Beltran. Then he burst into laughter as he passed Pedro en route to the dugout. The good feelings were contagious. It was one of those nights that had me swearing the Mets are contenders. At school today I was talking with the custodian, Otto, also a Mets fan, about how the Mets look like world beaters one day and chumps the next. Otto hit it on the head, saying he loves the Mets but he'd never bet on them because they're so unpredictable.

The only thing that makes a Mets win sweeter is when the Yankees lose, and seeing the Pinstripes get swept by the Royals is pure bliss. It's gotten to the point where the three diehard Yankee fans in my class, kids who never lost faith in their team during last year's ALCS, have all agreed to take a one week break from the Yankees. One's going to root for the Nationals, another is going with the White Sox, and the third, now my favorite and a shoo-in for great grades on his upcoming report card, is switching to the Mets.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

6/2 - Mets 6, Diamondbacks 1

This was by far the most entertaining game of the season. I found myself furiously scribbling notes throughout while laughing, applauding and yelling at my TV. Here’s what we witnessed on a beautiful June night:

--Pedro Martinez doesn’t let much phase him as a New York Met, especially when he gets drenched by the stadium’s sprinkler system coming on for no apparent reason.

--Another drinking game has started when the Mets are on the WB11: whenever Tom Seaver says, "Right down Broadway," chug half a beer.

--Mike Piazza can score from first on a double to right field—and look as fast as I do when I go for a jog.

--Kaz Matsui can get a clutch hit once in a while, which he’ll need to do more of if Miguel Cairo is out for a few days with the hamstring pull.

--Pedro Martinez is charismatic even at the plate, especially when he gets his first hit since 1997 on a dribbler that goes 20 feet from home plate.

But most of all, the name of this game will be filed as "Cameron’s Catch" for years to come. Jose Cruz Jr. hit a curving line drive to right field which had Mike Cameron running hard. Cameron slipped, fell down and still somehow reached up to catch the ball.

"Can I get it?"


"I am awesome!!"

It was, without hyperbole, one of the best catches I have ever seen. The looks on Cameron’s and Martinez’s face after that catch in the dugout were unforgettable. It’s the kind of play that we’ll look back upon as a turning point if the Mets actually make a run for the division this year.

Some Suggested 'Roid Reading

Finally, someone brings up the Constitutional issues that the Clean Sports Act of 2005 totally violates. This article by Murray Chass is a must read, and I encourage all the Zisk readers to check it out. (You may need to register to read the article, but it will be worth it.)

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

6/1 - Mets 2, Diamondbacks 1

I don't really have much more to add than what Mike wrote below, except five words more about this pitching-rich game: Jose "The Fucking Speedmeister" Reyes. Now if he could get his fielding under control and walk once a week, this team would really have something.

Okay, how about six more words about this game: Braden Looper's struggles still worry me.

Pedro goes tomorrow, which makes me think the team will be heading into the weekend with a two-game winning streak.

Hi, My Name's Mike and It's Been Six Days Since...

I'm starting to feel like I'm stuck on step nine of a 12-step program--making amends--what with all the apologizing I'm forced to do to Mets starting pitchers. First it was Glavine, rolling through his last two starts, and tonight it's Victor Zambrano. He was great. Sure, he made a Bad News Bears-like throwing error and gave away a few walks, but we're not supposed to qualify apologies. Well played, Victor; eight innings, five hits, and a smooth, much-needed 2-1 win over the Diamondbacks.

5/31 - Diamondbacks 7, Mets 0

This was a downright ugly game for our Metropolitians--Carlos Beltran was exceedingly rusty, Jose Reyes made another boneheaded defensive play that ended up costing two runs and Mr. Koo just plain sucked. For last night's game I decided to do laundry and listen to WFAN and one of the best announcing teams in the business, Gary Cohen and Howie Rose. These two are obviously long-time Mets fans, but they're not blinded by their love for the team like some "home rooters." And they always come up with interesting (and usually funny) non-baseball topics to discuss during the game. Last night included:

--Cohen making a a comment about the weather being "perfectly clear," to which Rose responded, "that's a good term to use on the day we discover the identity of 'Deep Throat.'"

--Cohen talking about the crazy facial hair of Diamondbacks coach Brett Butler, who was well known for being clean-shaven during his playing days.

--And best of all, Cohen and Roses discussing which type of orange juice they drink after reading a spot about what orange juice futures closed at yesterday. (They both prefer it without pulp.)

I've already got some new batteries lined up for the walkman for tonight.