Friday, June 30, 2006

The Wright And Wrong Report: Now I Can Take a Look

Glad I actively choose not to watch this--it might have killed me in real time. Now I can get on to the real business at hand--rooting against the Yankees.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

The Wright and Wrong Report: Wake Me For the Yanks

With lots of pre-holiday work at the office (and spending what seemed to be hours listening to that Canadian dude talk about the ubiquitous "Bad Day"), I decided to stay late and watch the beginning of the "Pedro Returns" game. It was--somewhat surprisingly--a very classy reception from the Fenway faithful. Then I left the office, because I just didn't want to see what happened next. It's too much for my baseball loyalties to handle. When I can't enjoy a Red Sox 11 game winning streak, life is wrong. So tonight I might bust out of work to go see the Cyclones just so I can root for one side again. (And to check out Cliff Floyd doing a little rehab.)

You know what's even worse? I have both Tom Glavine and Curt Shilling on my fantasy league team. Ugh.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

On a Serious Note...

We at Zisk would like to send our thoughts to the family and friends of Peter Gammons, who was stricken with a brain aneurysm Tuesday. The prognosis for Gammons--the best baseball journalist ever in the opinion of this so-called "writer"--seems to be good from everything reported on ESPN (on the TV, radio and web sides) and the local Boston papers.

Gammons was pretty much the man who introduced me to quality baseball writing via his work with Sports Illustrated, and has continued to do great work on camera for the worldwide leader. I gained a new respect for Gammons (who always made tons of music references in his writings) when he mentioned my friends The Gentlemen in one of his columns a few years ago. The guys ended up backing Gammons at one of the Hot Stove, Cool Music benefits, which lead to Gammons recording an album with them (and tons of musical and baseball friends) called Never Slow Down, Never Grow Old, that's due out on July 4th and worth checking out. I was able to interview Gammons about the first Hot Stove Cool Music benefit album two years ago, and he was about as gracious as anyone I've ever spoken too. Click here and scroll about halfway down for the article I wrote from that interview and a little sidebar about the 2004 Mets (how wrong we were).

Get well soon Peter.

The Wright and Wrong Report: Me Vs. Me

Ack. This was painful to listen to. I fulfilled my earlier promise of not watching the Mets-Red Sox opener by slipping the multi-band portable radio into my shorts pocket and taking off for the laundromat. Having that extra distance of separation helped a little bit listening to my two favorite teams slug it out like every other boring AL game. Every good moment for one team meant a bad one for the other team. It's so much easier when the Sox play the Yanks.

I felt like Mr. Split Personality when I walked around my neighborhood while my clothes were spinning around. My brain sort of worked like this:

Me: Alright, the Greek God of Walks scored!

Me: Dammit, Allay Soler doesn't have it tonight.

Me: Carlos Delgado is continuing to hit!

Me: Dammit, maybe this Lester kid isn't as good as we hoped.

Me: Carlos Beltran is still hot!

Me: Julian Tavarez is still a scumbag.

Tonight I feel compelled to get home by the first pitch, just see more of the love Boston has for Pedro. After that, I may have to go back to walking around my hood and listening.

Monday, June 26, 2006

The Wright And Wrong Report: Jose Can You See Hits

Okay, okay, I fell for the David Wright "M.V.P!" chants a bit too early. It seems like the Mets' shortstop Jose Reyes has decided to get a piece of the chanting by getting all his hits for the rest of the season in one month. A 13 game hit streak with a .561 average? As Wright would say, "That's stupid hot." I especially liked how Gary Cohen and Ron Darling were running out of words to describe how amazing reyes has been the past two weeks. If only Ralph Kiner were around more often...

(UPDATE: Jose won NL Player of the Week, for a second week in a row. He batted .613 last week. WOW.)

Other quick thoughts from the weekend:

--I don't want to totally ignore Mr. Wright. A guy who hits 3 home runs and bats .333 for the week is no slouch either.
--Chad Bradford looks like the Chad Bradford from the early 00's A's. That's nice to see.
--Other teams should not test Endy Chavez's arm, but if they want to be that stupid, please be my guest.

I am glad tonight is an off night--I get to go see one of my favorite bands of all time, Soul Asylum, play a private show here in town without wanting to have my friend Erik text messaging me the score every inning.

Alas, Tuesday starts the week I have been dreading since the schedule came out--Mets vs. my other favorite team, the Red Sox. 1986 was horrible trying to figure out which side to go for (I did eventually go with the Mets because I was a big fan of Mookie and Nails). In 1997 and 1998 I rooted for the Sox, just to even out the score I suppose, and in 1999 through 2001 I rooted for the Mets because I wanted them to catch those f-ing Braves. The two teams haven't played since. This week is very hard--I want the Mets to continue their roll. On the other hand, I want the Sox to win to keep ahead of the Yanks, and it's not like the Mets don't have the biggest lead in the majors.

Dammit. Maybe I just won't watch.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

The Wright And Wrong Report: What is That Chanting I Hear?

You know, it kind of sounds like "M.V.P., M.V.P."

But I could be wrong.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The Wright And Wrong Report: What Could Have Been...

I could have been writing high praise for David Wright's three hit night.

I could have been writing about how Jose Reyes has kept up his hot streak with a cycle, one of many I think he will get in his career.

I could have been writing about how Aaron Heilman seems to be coming out of his funk.

I could have been writing about how Jose Valentin batted left-handed against a lefthander, and yet still crushed a ball to center field and added another chapter to his amazing story of this year.

OH, what I could have been doing...

This one hurts.

At least the Phils lost.

The Wright And Wrong Report: Last Dance With Mary Jane

So it was a night of UTW* for me, so I had my friend Erik text messaging me the results while I was at the garden for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. When he wrote, "Steve Trachsel hit a home run," I thought the pot wafting from the kids next to me must have clouded my eyes.

And I guess it's okay for David Wright to go 0 for 4 when the X Man bashes two home runs. Who needs those extra body organs anyways?

(*=Unable to Watch)

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The Wright and Wrong Report: A Pop Quiz

What is more disturbing out of last night's 4-2 loss?

A) My former fantasy league mainstay Bronson Arroyo -- who I decided not to draft this year because I thought he'd crap the bed at the Great American Ballpark -- baffling David Wright and everyone else in the Met lineup for a complete game.

B) Xavier Nady looking as though he could use another week to recover from his appendectomy.

C) Keith Hernandez saying, "I like him [Eddie Vedder] more solo than with the band [Pearl Jam].

It's a tough call.

I predict an offensive comeback the next three games.

Monday, June 19, 2006

The Wright and Wrong Report: I Apologize

Dear 2006 version of the Mets,

I am sorry.

I'm sorry that I didn't realize that my viewing support was what was needed to keep your winning streak going. I foolish expected no resistance from the Baltimore Orioles and figured my presence in front of the TV (or my mini radio tuned to WFAN) was not needed Friday or Saturday. Those nights I decided to take in some culture the Tri-State area had to offer -- Friday it was The Figgs in Hoboken, where I got to hang out with Jason from Faith and Fear for the first time (we did talk about you after the great rock show, I swear); Saturday it was a series of six one act plays in the hottest theater in Brooklyn. I'm sure the pain I felt Saturday was transmitted to you guys as Kris Benson had his revenge.

As you can probably guess, I was able to watch Sunday. You're welcome David "Grand Salami" Wright. And I promise to watch tonight, in a game that is blessedly not that infernal interleague crap.

Lastly, I am glad that my two days of ignorance didn't cost anything of that 9 1/2 game lead. One question however--is it okay that I root for the Phils tonight against the Evil Empire? Please let me know.

Your fan,


PS: Can I see the ball up the shirt play again?

Thursday, June 15, 2006

The Wright and Wrong Report: Shhh, Don't Tell Anyone, Even Me

(Thought very quietly at my desk at work...)

I wonder if this streak will continue.

Maybe if I just don't mention anything about winning (oops, I did it), this streak will continue.

If we Mets bloggers keep thinking its 2004 and don't mention how David Wright is possibly the best third basemen in the NL after today's incredible at bat in the first inning that turned into a home run, perhaps this streak will continue.

If Gary Cohen is back tomorrow, will this streak continue?

If Lastings Milledge continues to prove that he's an immature and cocky 21 year old and gets sent back down to Norfolk, will this streak continue?

Pardon me for the lack of quality in this entry, but I just don't know how to react when my favorite team is the best in Major League Baseball.

Well, I'm gonna go back to ESPN and look at this page:

The M&M Mets: Readjusting Expectations

What I expected coming into Philly was for Glavine to come back from his last start. I also expected the offense to spudder a bit. Not because of the change of venue--the dimensions of the Phillies' park barely qualify for middle school competition--but because it's inevitable that the Mets will cool off.

What I got was further evidence that the Mets' offense can produce like world beaters, scoring early and often and relentlessly. And do it while seeming to have fun. The offense has also masked a lot of suspect pitching lately.

Milledge should go down to Norfolk when Nady returns.

There I said it. They should stick with their original plan. The kid's got it all in terms of heart and talent and my kid is going to grow up loving Lastings, but he, Milledge isn't there yet. You can't do it all every time. I'm thinking of his base running mistake from tonight, trying to score from first on Julio Franco's single. I'm a member of the Milledge fan club like everyone else these days, but I think Nady will produce more consistently, offensively and defensively, over the course of the season.

Ain't it great that we're having these kinds of "debates"? Choosing which productive hitter we want patrolling the outfield. To paraphrase Mel Brooks from History of the World: Part One, It's good to be in first place by 8.5 games.

(Blogger's note: Mike wrote this entry, but because Blogger has been porking us left and right, he wasn't able to post it, so I had to.)

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The Wright and Wrong Report: A Gold Glove Play

I'm going to simply forget every other bad thing (cough cough, Glavine, Heilman, Wagner) that happened last night to focus on one play. One play that showed the passion of this team, a passion not seen from the Flushing nine for years. One play that, when we look back on the 2006 season, might cause us to say, "Wow, that really set this team down the winning path." One play that made me stand up and applaud in my apartment, most likely to the dismay of my downstairs neighbors.

David Wright snagging Pat Burrell's line drive in the 9th.

This bullet had double written all over it. Yet somehow Wright snagged it and started a huge double play. I know the season isn't even half over, but if there's a bigger defensive moment than this one I'll be shocked.

And it wasn't only the play itself--it was the reaction of all four players involved. The replays of seeing Wright, Chris Woodward, Carlos Delgado and Billy Wagner all pumping their fists after the play was the best thing I've seen on TV since the last few episodes of 24. These guys knew how big it was. After a few passionless seasons from the Mets, it was absolutely thrilling to witness.

Brett Myers must be thinking, "I gotta win, I gotta win."

Monday, June 12, 2006

Off-Day Digest: Lastings Milledge is...

Here's one good byproduct of the Mets playing so well--people create really funny websites about players:

Lastings Milledge Facts.

I have rarely laughed so hard over baseball in my life.

The Wright and Wrong Report: It's All Right

As Mike wrote over the weekend, our experiment of focusing on two players apiece has gone the way of Jose Lima--shipped out the door without a goodbye. And while writing just about David Wright could fill a book itself, I find myself wanting to comment more on, well, everybody. Endy Chavez, Lastings Milledge, Jose Valentin, heck, even Eli Marrero (with one of the 65 doubles the Mets hit on Sunday) I am really starting to like all parts of this team. I find myself not even switching over to Red Sox games to check that score. (And yes, I am not looking forward to having my two favorite sports teams in the world play each other again later this month.) I'm fascinated how this Mets club seems loosey-goosey in the dugout and the clubhouse and then how they (usually) have a laser-like focus on the field.

In short, I am starting to believe. Maybe it's the dry Arizona air causing me to be optimistic, I'm not sure. But after the "Massacre at the O.K. corral" (Ron Darling's term, not mine) it's hard not to be a bit happy on this off day.

So while I'll still be calling my entries The Wright and Wrong Report, I expect to write about everything that's right, not just Wright.

In unrelated news, does anyone else realize how much they miss Howie Rose full-time on TV?

Sunday, June 11, 2006

The M&M Mets: Me and Fidel

I woke up in a strange mood this morning. I found myself thinking about, of all people, Fidel Castro. Probably because of Allay Soler 's shutout last night. I pictured Fidel sneaking peeks at his blackberry during a cabinet meeting, watching the scoreboard as yet another Cuban defector, pitching for the Mets, shut down the Diamondbacks, those capitalist dogs whose players indulge in illegal stimulants. First, El Duque went the distance against Arizone. Then Soler. I realized that Castro and I were rooting for the same guys, both of us feeling vindicated. One because the recent success of El Duque and Soler, both Cuban defectors, validates a continued belief in the Marxist experiment. The other because he just likes the Mets.

I wonder if Fidel marvels at the 2006 Mets the same way I do. They only have two consistent starting pitchers and one of them, Pedro, hasn't won in six starts. They have but one regular player hitting over .300 (David Wright - .339). The rest of the starting line up is being outhit by two pitchers (Tom Glavine - .300; Brian Bannister - .400) and a 47-year-old pinch hitter (Julio Franco - .308). And yet the Mets are in first place. Winning on the road. Against good teams (the Dodgers and D'backs are tied for first in the NL West). And this despite guys like Cliff Floyd, Jose Reyes, and Xavier Nady dealing with injuries to various extents. And Delgado slumping below .250.

I'm just assuming Castro has the time to follow American baseball on a regular basis. How much time does he spend at the office these days?

The H&K Report: Protocol, protocol, protocol!

Earlier this week, I awaken one morning to the middle of the Cubs game, with Carlos Zambrano pitching a no-hitter in the seventh. Because it's a webcast, I'm stuck with the Astros announcers that day. And all they talk about is the no-hitter, the Cubs' history of no-hitters, what it takes to do a no-hitter, blahblahblah.

Baseball, if nothing else, is a game of tradition and superstition. Turk Wendell and his quirks. Wade Boggs and his pre-game chicken. Bill Spaceman Lee and his buckwheat pancakes every morning, sprinkled with marijuana for that pick-me-up we need every morning.

And we all know you do not mention a no-hitter if someone on your own team is pitching one. But what's the etiquette if your opponent is shutting you down? Sure, you don't want to be no-hit, but it's baseball, man. There are rules, especially the unwritten ones. Care to discuss?

PS: Zambrano lost his no-hitter in the eighth to a strong single to right. Damn you, Jim Deshaies and Larry Dierker!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

The M&M Mets: It's All in the Moustache

I realize our original concept was that Steve and I each choose one hero and one villain to follow during the season, but in light of recent events, namely the unceremonious unloading of Kaz Matsui, I am forced to change things a bit. I'll stick with Pedro Martinez as my first "M," but for my second "M" I'm going to slot in Jose Valentin, moustache and all. He's far from boo bait these days, but think back to the early weeks of the season when Jose was 0-for-everthing as a pinch hitter. At some point Jose is going to cool off and the Shea faithful will be there to remind him of his shortcomings. But not me. I'm in Jose's corner all year, come hell or highwater.

Friday, June 09, 2006

The M&M Mets: One M Gone


So Mike, we've both lost our least favorite Met players now--who am I going to find to hate on this team?

UPDATE: Newsday has more details...such as Kaz agreeing to go to the minor leagues. And Metsblog has some conjecture that Eli might be released when Xavier Nady comes back.

Really, this is one interesting team to write about this year.

The Wright and Wrong Report: Hey, Look, I Can Blog!

Well, Blogger finally lets me in. Apparently they've fixed everything. But at this late point, I don't even feel like writing about the past two games. However, I have drawn two conclusions:

1) Don't piss off El Duque.

2) Lastings Milledge might not go back down to Norfolk after the X-Man comes back.

Hopefully Blogger will be bug free this weekend so I can write some actual game reports, as I plan on a couple of nights in front of the TV.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

The M&M Mets: The Devil's on the Field

Since Blogger is STILL giving me problems, I'll keep this entry about Pedro's start short:

He had nothing.

Of course, when 5 runs would have won his last two starts, that's what the Mets decided to score last night, even with Reyes and Floyd hurt.

6-6-6 indeed.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The M&M Mets: I've Got Your East Coast/West Coast Rivalry Right Here

Despite losing the weekend series to the Giants (more on that in a moment), I like where the Mets are going these days. They won a string a key series (Yankees, Phillies, Diamondbacks) going into the weekend and with Pedro and Glavine lined up for the next two nights, I like the Mets' chances of taking the Dodger series, too, especially if Delgado is about to break out of his slump. But the best news of all comes from skipper Willie Randolph. He's finally over "he's my guy" syndrome. Last year Matsui remained the starting second baseman long after it was clear that he was not producing. Willie's rationale: He's my guy. Same with Zambrano. He continued getting starts in the #5 spot even when it was obvious he was about the tenth or eleventh best pitcher on the team. Again Willie's rationale was "he's my guy." Loyalty's a virtue, but it has it's limits.

Enter Willie Randolph, 2006. Kaz not hitting? Hit the pine, son, Jose Valentin has your spot in the line up. Back in mid-May, when Cliff Floyd was slumping, Willie sat him for a couple of games in Milwaukee. Valentin stepped in and drove in six runs in two games. (Notice how these things are related? Willie's first move, resting Floyd in favor of Valentin, lead to the second.) Willie is much more flexible these days and he's the better manager for it.

Back to the Giants series...Saturday was the longest baseball day of my life. First came the nearly three-hour rain delay. Then came the double header (which, oddly enough, was never announced at any point, via P.A. or scoreboard, at Shea. It was like they wanted to rush through the game and didn't care to have anyone watching. There couldn't have been more than seven or eight thousand people left in the stands. It made me wonder: Has there ever been fewer people watching a first place team play a home game in June?). Finally, there were extra innings in game two. We spent over nine hours in Shea that day. There were a number of on-the-field highlights (about half of which were undermined by the bullpen's refusal to hold a lead in game one). But the day's highlight went down at the merchandise stand, on the upper deck, behind home plate. After shivering our way through game one, my brother, enjoying his first MLB game since 1981, realized he needed a long sleeve shirt.

Casey, my brother, speaking to the woman behind the counter: What's the warmest thing you've got?

Merchandise lady: Me.

Casey: Wow. For nine innings?

Merchandise lady: Sure, come back and I'll warm you up.

The Wright and Wrong Report: Allay Your Concerns

David Wright apparently left his how streak back at Shea, racking up an 0 for 4 last night in Chavez Ravine. But getting out of Shea was great for Carlos Delgado and Allay Soler. Delgado crushed a pitch in the first, and added a double to boot. He has something good to write in his book now. And the "Cuban defect" pitched very respectably--at least from what I heard. Not having Howie Rose call the game on the FAN last night (I almost always listen to the West Coast game in my bedroom while reading or writing on the computer) put me to sleep before the top of the 6th. Tom McCarthy and Ed Coleman are a decent team (and seemed to really be enjoying themseleves last night when they couldn't figure out where Gloversville, New York was) but Coleman's voice is so monotone at times it just lulls me to sleep. And for those who care, Gary Cohen should be recovered from his appendix surgery in time to start calling games on June 16th when the Mets are back in Flushing.

And here are the last two pieces you should ever have to read about the stupid Lasting Milledge hi-five controversy from our friends at Faith and Fear and Metstradamus.

Monday, June 05, 2006

The Wright and Wrong Report: F-ing Finally!

Well Zisk readers, sometime technology is not your friend. Over the weekend I wrote an entry between the games of Saturday's doubleheader, noting how David Wright was on fire (3 for 4, 2 doubles), but he couldn't pitch for the team.

The entry didn't save.

Then after the amazing 11th inning walk-off, I wrote something summarizing the whole long-ass day of baseball.

Again, the entry didn't save.

After Sunday's game and the "controversial" act of Lastings Milledge hi-fiving fans (WHO FREAKING CARES?), I decided to sum up the whole weekend.

Blogger wouldn't even open.


So after numerous attempts today, I have been able to get on and actual write an entry, with the belief it will save. But at this point, I'm too aggravated to rewrite all three entries again. What I can say is that while these late/extra-inning comebacks are fun to watch, how about a few blowouts going our way so we can save the bullpen for later in the season?

Anyways, all West Coast games this week, so looking bleared-eyed will be standard attire every morning at work.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Zisk # 12 is Now Online!

Just look to your right to find the link to read all the articles featured in our latest print issue.

Or just click here.

And look for Issue # 13 around Labor Day!

The Wright and Wrong Report: Saved by Zero

On the Mets to do list for this off day:

--write letter to Pedro apologizing for lack of offense in May (and especially last night). Promise that in June we'll average 6 runs a start.

--Look at Jae Seo's stats for the Dodgers; laugh once again about how for once we bilked another team in a trade.

--Get lots of ice for Carlos Beltran's knee.

--Order all of team to starting growing replicas of Jose Valentin's moustache.

--Rewatch Lasting Milledge's throw to nail Craig Counsell at third base.

--Keep looking for another starting pitcher.