Thursday, August 31, 2006

The Wright And Wrong Report: Slump Busting High

I guess that Rocky Mountain air has done wonders for David Wright. I wouldn't say his slump is officially over, but 5 RBI--including the Mets 10th grand slam of the season--are very good signs. And during this slump Wright defense hasn't suffered--his throw to nab to Clint Barmes in the bottom of the 5th must be seen to be believed. Somehow I ended up staying up until the end of this game, even though it was never in doubt after the 1st inning. When your team's starting pitcher gets on base four times in one night, you know that things are going well.

"All the cats wanna dance with/Sweet Little Sixteen..."

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The Wright And Wrong Report: Who Ya Gonna Call?

Slump busters!

Okay, pardon the Ray Parker Jr. reference, but I am happy that David Wright seemed to coming out of his slump last night by going 3 for 4 night with 3 runs batted in. And since Steve Trachsel was on the mound, the Mets had to score tons of runs, allowing some of Keith Hernandez's craziness to rub off on Gary Cohen in the mile high city. I barely had time to scribble down all the gems that rolled by on SNY:

1) "They were those red you-know-what umpires." -- Keith on certain umpires who were hotheads

2) "I'd thought you'd have one first -- you know, you're Keith Hernandez." -- Gary, making a Seinfeld reference when asking Keith about the new CW11 shirts they got for when channel 11 makes the switch to their new network.

3) KH: "You gotta pay attention to me and Ronnie when we're in the booth."
GC: "I do--TOO much, that's my problem."

4) GC: "Pittsburgh is an underrated place."
KH: "For you!!!!"

5) KH: "Is the lighter air getting to you?"
GC: "Are you suggesting my mind is going?"

6) KH: "His follow through looks like a karate kick."
GC: "Well, Byung-Hyun Kim's father was a martial arts instructor. And Kim does have a black belt in Tae Kwan Do."
KH: "With the stronger players today, If I was a pitcher I would take karate so I could drop them."

7) KH: "Did you work out a little too hard today?"
GC: "I might have -- I'm just trying to fill the time between pitches you know."

And lastly, 8) Gary hummed the Jeopardy theme during the 9th inning while Keith looked for some stat.

Bring on more crazy! And 17 more wins!

Monday, August 28, 2006

The Wright And Wrong Report: 18 and Counting

This Phillies series seems like a blur to me. I know the Mets won two out of three, but I'm not quite sure how they got there. Friday night was one of those rare weekend evenings where I got to settle in at home, cook a good meal and then go to bed early. I was so tired from events of the previous night that I barely made it through the post game--heck I don't even remember who pitched without looking it up. Saturday I saw the beginning of the Oliver Perez comeback tour, but then I had to leave to catch some rock. Today's rainout makeup I only caught bits and pieces, but enough to think that Shawn Green might be a good fit here.

The magic number is really 18? That's amazing. Onto the home of Kaz next.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Zisk # 13

Cooperstown by Andrew Mendillo

A History of Cheating in Baseball by John Shiffert

The Cleveland Indians by William J. Hughes

The Pretty Girl Says Yes! by Kip Yates

"I'm Krazy Keith Hernandez" by Steve Reynolds

Sox in the City: A Zisk Book Review by Jake Austen

(The Cincinnati Reds Have) Strong Dominicans By Shawn Abnoxious

Who Isn't Always Looking to Score? by Steve Reynolds

Cooperstown by Andrew Mendillo

Not too long ago, my two brothers, Matt and Nick, my father Butch, and I, went for a road trip to the baseball capital of the world, Cooperstown, New York. This place is heaven to any true fan of America’s pastime. Within the small upstate town are the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum and Doubleday Field, in honor of Abner Doubleday, the supposed creator of the sport.

Wonderfully, the local residents of Cooperstown have embraced the tourist attraction they call home by aptly tagging their local businesses with baseball themed names. When driving down Main Street, any long haired homerun hitting hippie can have their hair cut at the Grand Slam Hair Salon, or the Triple Play Barber Shop, where the Triple Play Special consisting of a shampoo, shave and cut costs only $15!

Now using baseball lexicon to name an establishment is adorable, but there is nothing clever about those two names because extra base hits have little to do with hair grooming. However, if you pay close attention to other Cooperstown storefronts and businesses, you will see some fairly interesting names. I was particularly fond of the Hit by Pitch and Putt, and the Strike Out the Side Walling. And I am positive all Cooperstownsmen and women fulfill there broom and mop needs at the Series Sweep Broom Hut.

If I were to suggest a place to grab a pint, head over to the Short Hops Brewery. Don’t drink alcohol? Then cool off with a raspberry smoothie at the Suicide Squeeze Juice Bar. Here, a lovely, busty brunette named Amy will serve you with a warm smile.

These institutions—along with the glut of batting cages and souvenir shops—make Cooperstown a fantastic sports getaway. But if you stay long enough, you begin to notice the cute baseball motif turning into a worrisome, yet manageable fixation.

In Cooperstown, send your unloved ones to the Extra Innings Nursing Home. And when they finally die, bury them at the beautiful and historic Long Gone Cemetery. Does your family have a crazy, World Series obsessing McMurphy that you feel needs mental help? Easy, commit him/her to the Off the Wall Insane Asylum. If your vagina is what’s driving you nuts, then set up an appointment at Batters Box Gynecology.

On a vacation by yourself and looking for some excitement? Rent a DVD at the Pop Up Porn Shoppe. Or for more one on one interaction, call the Into the Gap Escort Service. Don’t you worry if you accidentally knock up a Hall of Fame Hooker, because the Dug Out Abortion Clinic has two easy to find locations.

In case you do not want to get someone you know pregnant, feel free to take a load off at the Foul Ball Sperm Bank, where you can earn some extra cash. With all that extra money, make a reservation to see a local play put on by the No Balls Theater Repertory. Inside tip: the cast has their after parties across the street at the Cum From Behind Bar.

Cooperstown may seem crazy to an un-American baseball hater, but to a fan such as myself, I take pleasure in their community’s love for the National Pastime.

Andrew Mendillo is a comedian originally from Rhode Island. He proudly covers his receding hairline with a Red Sox hat.

The Cleveland Indians by William J. Hughes

The Indians, the natives, were gathered outside gate A. Indians, natives, from Ohio, Minnesota, Iowa. Chippewa, Shawnee, Sioux.

Opening day, Cleveland Stadium. The Indians were there to protest the Cleveland Indians, with their Aunt Jemima, watermelon, Indian logo. That was a quote from a syndicated columnist.

The Indians stood in a circle, a hoop, heavy coats against the spring chill. The signs they carried spoke of racism, disrespect, and shame. The ball team’s logo. Other tribes were in Atlanta doing the same.

The early arriving fans filed in past the Indians, more curious than hostile. Opening day would be a somber one, the Cleveland fans still in mourning for the three team members killed in the Florida boat accident.

“Hey, hey what are we doing there?” a beefy security guard watching over the Indians wanted to know.

Two of the Indians, a man and a woman, were tying something to the chain link fence.

Now two beefy security guards wanted to know what was going on.

Each Indian was tying a short leather pouch, braided with bright beads and white feathers, onto the fence.

Two local news channels focused their cameras on the fence. An anchorwoman got a microphone near the Indian man and the security guard.

“What’s this?” the security guard demanded.

“These are medicine bags. For the spirit. For the three young men who died in the boat crash. We wish to send them safely along on their journey.”

“Oh.” None of that in the security guard handbook, so he got on his walkie-talkie.

“You say they are spirit symbols?” the anchorwoman asked.

“Yes,” was her answer.

“For the players who died?” she asked.

“Yes, a peace offering.”

The anchorwoman didn’t quite know what that meant.

The lead security guard got an answer on his walkie-talkie. He turned and looked up at the stadium’s office windows. Someone was on their way.

That someone, in gray slacks and a blue blazer, with the team logo on the pocket, came jogging across from the stadium’s lower level. He was younger, thinner than the security guards.

A few clumps of fans stopped to watch what was going on, the rest of the crowd filing past them.
The young man in the blue blazer wanted to know. He asked the much older Indian. “What are you hanging there?”—interest in his question.

“Peace offering.” Directly to the point. “A message for the other life.”

The big security guard spoke at the young man’s ear.
“Yes, yes, I understand.” Irritated. He spoke on the walkie-talkie. He looked up at the stadium’s office windows. He waited, he explained. He waited.

“Yes?” walkie-talkie at his ear. “Yes, yes, I see. Yes, I understand. Yes, yes, I’ll make sure of it.”

The young man was in charge. “That’s it, everything stays. Have one of the men make sure that no one disturbs anything. Got it?”

“Got it.”

The young man nodded his head. The Indian man understood. The young man hustled back to the stadium. The Indians reformed the hoop, a hand held drum keeping an ancient beat.

(Epilogue: The Indians finished fourth in their division that season. The medicine bags stayed. So did the logo.)

William J. Hughes is a freelance writer living in Sacramento, CA. He has written five novels to date, including the novella Bottom of the Ninth. He is currently working on a story about American volunteers in the Spanish Civil War.

The Pretty Girl Says Yes! by Kip Yates

I waited over 25 years for this moment. 25 years of disappointment! Many Octobers were the source of nightmares that would wake me in a cold sweat or leave me tossing and turning, unable to stop thinking about the hit that never came, the wrong pitch or the misplay in the field. For 25 years, it always seemed to be something. But on the night of October 19th, 2005 the waiting ended. The very moment Jason Lane caught the routine fly ball, which was the farthest thing from routine, the waiting ended. The Houston Astros, my Houston Astros, had finally won the pennant. They were going to the World Series for the first time in their 40 plus years of existence.

I had seen the Astros reach the threshold of playing in the Fall Classic many other times before—1980, 1986, 2004. They had come close. So close you could taste it, smell it, but each time they somehow managed to lose it. Monumentally lose it I might add. Three outs away in 1980 before the Phillies stormed back to win the decisive final game of the NLCS. Again three outs away from sending Mike Scott, a.k.a. the Met Killer, to the mound in the 7th game of the NLCS in 1986 only to see the game tied and then won in an epic 16 innings. One win away in 2004, needing one victory in two chances to beat the Cardinals and win the NLCS. They lost both.

In the fall of 2005, the Astros went into game 5 with a 3-1 lead. I let down my guard and believed that a series clinching game at home was possible. But it was also chest numbing. If they lost this game then they would find themselves in the same position as the year before, having to win just one out of two in St. Louis. This was a frightening thought. If you are a Yankees fan, A’s fan or even a Marlins fan, you don’t have many fears when your team is in this position. That is because your team has a history of taking care of business. If they have a 3-1 series lead and playing a series clinching game at home with their closer, one of the most dominating closers in the league, on the mound, then it is never a matter of “if.” It is only a matter of “when” (2004 Yankees excepted). However, Astros fans, much like Red Sox fans (2004 Red Sox excepted) sit in silence waiting for the other shoe to drop.

My wife Jamie had already kissed me goodnight and gave me a “looks like they’re gonna win” boost of confidence. I should have known right then, THEY’RE GONNA LOSE. So it was not a surprise when Albert Pujols launched a rocket 3-run blast that is still traveling through the upper stratosphere to give the Cardinals a game 5 win and cut short the long overdue celebration. To be honest with you, I cannot recall the ball ever landing, perhaps because I had already stumbled back to the bedroom in a stupor to announce, stepford-like in a monosyllabic tone, “It’s happening again!” Jamie talked me down from the imaginary cliff I was standing on with the false hope that they could still win it in the bottom of the 9th. Yeah right! I walked like a zombie back into the living room to watch another post season nightmare materialize.
I did not watch the news, listen to the radio, or read anything sports related for the next two days. I just didn’t want to hear it anymore. Instead, I listened to The Bravery all day long and noted how each song somehow mirrored Astros personnel. (Ed note: See Bravery-Astros players below)

Quite simply, I was going mad.

I waited the two days between games and never once let myself get pulled in until the evening of the game. One of the Astros best pitchers, Roy Oswalt, was on the mound for game 6 and if we lost, Roger Clemens was ready to go in game 7. For the first time since Pujols’ blast, I liked our chances. I admit I did not watch the entire game. My heart would have exploded by the fifth inning if I had. Instead, Jamie called me twice with updates. I knew the Astros were winning because she had promised to call only with good news. I checked the score from time to time but I just could not bring myself to watch. I guess I had seen enough and did not care to see how this one would play out. I cut the strings that had long manipulated my emotions and made me punch newsstand kiosks, cry myself to sleep, and sit emotionless in soul draining stupors over this team. They weren’t going to get me again.

Oswalt pitched superb and the game was closed by Dan Wheeler. The last out of the game landed in Lane’s glove. The ball innocently went up; he got under it and caught the ball with exaggerated joy, the kind of joy I had imagined a moment like this would conjure. Replays show that Lane almost closed his glove too soon, but if you ask me, that pennant winning catch could not have happened soon enough. After a quarter century of waiting, my baseball team won the right to represent the National League in the World Series.

I sit in here in July of the following season watching the Astros and the Cardinals play a meaningful mid-summer four game series. Four games separate the two teams. The Astros were swept in the 2005 World Series by the Chicago White Sox. The hitters still struggle at the plate. Clemens just rejoined the team a few weeks ago. Andy Pettitte is a shell of his former self. Some way, somehow it is different this year. It does not seem to matter as much anymore. I am still a huge fan but a huge burden as a long time fan was lifted by the 2005 team. They played in the World Series. Though they were swept, they were in every single game and a few breaks here or there and they sweep the Sox. The games were not viewed by many but were highly competitive. Well pitched by both teams with bullpens being the difference. The White Sox pen was outstanding and the Astros pen was less than stellar. C’est la vie! The pretty girl finally agreed to go to the dance with you and it didn’t matter if you got lucky that night. What mattered is that you danced. You danced, baby. You danced.

Bravery Songs Astros Equivalent
“An Honest Mistake” Brad Lidge (for his pitch to Pujols)
“No Brakes” Craig Biggio (just put me out of my isery)
“Fearless” Roy Oswalt (this is when I started to “believe”, a term my Mets fan friends overuse in abundance)
“Tyrant” Jim Hickey
“Give In” Jason Lane (for his propensity for striking out)
“Swollen in Summer” Morgan Ensberg
“Public Service Announcement” Lance Berkman
“Out of Line” Roger Clemens
“Unconditional” Adam Everett
“The Ring Song” Jeff Bagwell
“Rites of Spring” (Dear Brad… I love you! Love Albert)

Kip Yates is the father of River and (baby in October) and husband of Jamie. He is a lifelong Astros fan who's dream of watching his team play in the World Series came true last October. Being an Astros fan, Kip understands how important baby steps are for the franchise and hopes that it does not take another 40 years to win the pennant and that when they do, they get that long awaited World Series game win. Is it too much to be crowned champions even? Or will an older River or a yet to be named sibling tearfully place an Astros hat on Kip's grave 60 years from now in recognition that they finally won or “broke a curse.” As Jamie is prone to say out loud sometimes, “Just win the damn thing already.”

Sox in the City: A Zisk Book Review by Jake Austen

I was at a White Sox game where the team’s furry mascot was suspended for making an obscene gesture with a baseball bat. I was there when the Sox first baseman had a surprise pre-game epileptic seizure. I was in attendance when a trained frisbee-catching dog pooped in centerfield between games of a doubleheader. I was at a Sox blowout where a player made a meaningless throw to the plate so that the fans (who were chanting “Pizza, Pizza, Pizza…”) could win the Pizza Hut personal pan pizzas that were free with ticket stubs from shutouts.

I’m including my Sox Fan resume here because that’s the way Richard Roeper opens his new book, Sox and the City (Chicago Review Press). I can’t pretend to be the superfan Roeper is (he boasts of attending 1,000 games, I’ve only been to about 400), but I did feel that I was hardcore enough that probably nothing he had to say about Sox devotion would be a revelation to me. I was wrong. The book, ostensibly a nostalgic look back at the writer’s forty years as a Sox rooter, framed by his accounts of the homestretch of the Sox’ 2005 World Series championship season, elicited some unexpected feelings in my southside heart.

I’m jealous.

What I never realized before reading this book was that I was born a decade too late to catch the Sox years that I would have dug most. Basically, Roeper lived an ideal Sox fan life. In utero during the White Sox disappointing 1959 World Series loss, Roeper was born into a household of southside Sox fanatics and spent the 60s rooting for interesting, sometimes competitive teams. As he was hitting puberty the Sox fielded his all time favorite squad, the 1972 team that was anchored by the outrageous, ultra-talented slugger Dick Allen.

I grew up with the legend of Allen well ingrained in my consciousness (“Who was the first black manager in baseball,” a co-worker once joked, “Dick Allen—he ran the White Sox for three years!”), but as a toddler I have no genuine memory of the 1972 season. More importantly, when I began to attend games in the mid-70s the park was filled with teenagers and longhaired kids in their early twenties. The back rows of the upper deck were thick with mysterious sweet smelling smoke and the place felt more like a rock concert or a bar than a ballpark. Roeper was a teen during those years—he was at Disco Demolition, he was sneaking in gallon jugs of beer, and he genuinely understood the bizarre ways that in Chicago rock & roll and sports are allowed to intersect. The 70s, with revered peg-legged Bill Veeck at the helm and Zisks, Fisks and 3 foot afro-wearing Chet Lemons on the field, were a golden age of Soxdom, and being a teen during those years was paradise, as this book ably relates.

Sox In the City may be the best White Sox book that doesn’t prominently feature Shoeless Joe Jackson as a protagonist. That is not saying much, however, as unlike storied franchises like the Yankees and Red Sox, the Pale Hose have inspired only a handful of books. Roeper is a better writer than most die-hards, and he’s certainly better than most ex-athletes (reading a near-illiterate autobiography by my favorite player Ron Kittle was a devastating experience). Though the book is aimed towards Sox fans, the earnest devotion and love he has for his team would probably ring true with any sports fan. I can attest that Roeper’s detailed descriptions of games he attended in the sixties drew me in even though I knew nothing about his obscure favorite players. The book includes the obligatory, but heartfelt, tales of father and son bonding over baseball. It is chockfull of sidebars and special sections containing trivia and nuttiness (including a detailed description of the all time best highlight film clip—the time Carlton Fisk brutally tagged out two Yankees at home plate simultaneously). It also deliciously features plenty of excerpts from “longtime Sox watcher” Jay Marrioti’s doomsaying 2005 columns where he continuously declared the Sox dead to rights. Sometimes the author is a little too proud of his cleverness (he coins the phrase “bi-soxual” for fans who claim to like both the Cubs and Sox) but for the most part this is a solid read.

Roeper is an interesting figure because he’s primarily defined by who he isn’t. As a regular-guy Chicago newspaper columnist, comparisons to Mike Royko are inevitable, but to Roeper’s credit he is the least blatant Royko impersonator of the bunch. For one, he isn’t a rabble rouser (he goes easy on the Daley clan). More significantly, unlike Royko-esque, hard drinking, hard-living newspapermen of yore, Roeper is unashamed to be a bit of a nerd. When Allen, his favorite player, appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated smoking a cigarette and juggling, clean-cut adolescent Roeper continued to shun tobacco—but took up juggling!

Roeper’s national profile is defined by him not being Gene Siskel, the late film critic he replaced on the syndicated movie review TV show that is now called Ebert & Roeper. Roeper is certainly a better writer than Siskel (Siskel was never even the best film critic at the Tribune), and he’s far more pleasant, clever, and personable. However, much of Siskel’s appeal was the course, bitter manner in which he would disagree with his hefty co-host. The arrogant, dour-faced Siskel was exciting to watch because he was not slick, which made the tension between the two critics seem real, like a deeply troubled marriage. Thus, despite being a better wordsmith and a more professional broadcaster, Roeper will always be branded Not-Siskel.

But Roeper’s Sox fanaticism is a realm where he can be his own man. Sure Siskel engaged in predictable Jordan-era Bulls boosterism, but that’s incomparable with being a devotee of Sox “greats” Cisco Carlos or Bobby Knoop. However, Roeper does lose me a little with his inability to separate his trade as a Hollywood hype man with the unglamorous world of 35th and Shields. Roeper obviously loves showbiz gossip, celebrity culture, and watching The Insider, and too often it seeps into his Soxuality.

It seems kosher for any writer to allude to cultural milestones like The Wizard of Oz, Gone With The Wind and John Wayne, but Roeper casually (and sometimes cryptically) drops references to movies like Dodgeball and Deuce Bigelow Male Gigolo, and he actually mentions Kevin Federline twice in this book.

Occasionally his pop culture references sublimely capture a moment in White Sox history (“Dick Allen was Fonzie before anyone had heard of Fonzie”), but more often they read as annoying, bordering on blasphemous (“Veeck— more of a maverick than Shrek”).

Here’s a sampling of some of Roeper’s Us Weekly-type references: “Those last games against the Twins? I figured they’d be about as meaningful as a third date with Wilmer Valderrama.” “Marte threw a 58-footer that would have been too low for Verne Troyer in a crouch.” “No hitters — they’re extremely rare, like quality Paul Walker movies.” (For those of you who don’t, or want to pretend you don’t, watch Entertainment Tonight, Valderrama was on actor on That 70s Show who dated a lot of starlets, Verne Troyer is the dwarf who played “Mini-Me” in the Austin Powers films, and I have no idea who Paul Walker is.) [Ed. note: Paul Walker starred in the first two The Fast and the Furious films. They were on cable, and I was bored.—SR]
The problem with these E! Network moments is that they don’t really jibe with the Old Style-swilling South Side Irish Sox fan aesthetic. Though, like all Sox fans this season, I’m certainly aware that references to a Sun Times columnists’ manliness can lead to mandatory sensitivity training, I have to say there’s something kind of prissy about these passages. I can’t quite close the gap between teenage Roeper sneaking gallon jugs of hooch into a rowdy Comiskey Park with a dude who compares a playoff race to an American Idol audition, including imaginary quotes from Simon, Paula and Randy.

But ultimately it’s Roeper’s southside roots and not his Tinseltown traipsings that ground this book. As he describes being on the field during the World Series pre-game (since there are few celebrity Sox fans he was the best the network could come up with) he isn’t arrogantly displaying a sense of entitlement. He’s relating the boyish wonder, and sense of disbelief he had while experiencing these unbelievable circumstances. He’s giving his fellow Sox fans a feeling of what it was like, because he knows we all deserved to be down there.

But on that point I have no envy of Roeper. V.I.P. treatment is nice, I’m sure, but I wouldn’t trade my World Series experience way up in section 548 for all the Bud in Wrigley.

Jake Austen publishes Roctober magazine and helps produce the public access children's dance show Chic-A-Go-Go.

(The Cincinnati Reds Have) Strong Dominicans! by Shawn Abnoxious

Marvel at our Dominicans because our Dominicans have marveled me. And I really want you to understand my cryptic ways of doing things, if for no other reason then you will be in the same place as I. That morning, when I picked up The Cincinnati Enquirer and its section titled “Life” had a big spread on Edwin Encarnacion...they dressed him up like a smiling Greek god. He said something about how he liked to wear simple clothing, jeans and t-shirts. They dressed him up in $100 t’s and $200 jeans with shoes and socks that cost more than the gross national product of his native land. He said something about how he likes to shop in the malls with his brothers and sisters. I would be lying if I said that his humble approach to being a pretty good shortstop and loyal family member didn't sell me right away. I was all “Dominican this” and “Dominican that” because I saw a humbleness in Edwin that I could appreciate, a standard that could be called a standard. I began referring to all my favorite players as “Dominicans” from that day forth. I see a good play, or a good case of sportsman like conduct and I applaud that person as a Dominican. I sit in a multi-million dollar stadium, I eat over-inflated gas station style snack foods, I feel used and I know in the back of my mind and in the bottom of my empty wallet, the millionaires are getting richer... Edwin Encarnacion, a true Dominican, is having a good night. Freel is on it. Dunn can come through. Griffey can be one of the best players in the sport (if he wants). I smile and think “Our Dominicans are strong!”


I tried to help them figure out a band name from their earliest news that they were, in fact, a band. That fragile, new time, when everything is fresh and new and exciting and open. I cannot remember the rather extensive list of names that I ended up running in an article for The Neus Subjex, except one. It was one they liked.

It was Crime Spree. Or was it Crime Wave? I can’t remember now, but they ended up calling themselves The Cincinnati Suds. This was in homage to a “professional” softball team that existed in Cincinnati at one time or other. Early fliers for the band played on the whole “suds” ethic of the band. Lots of big breasted and big assed women in tubs of soap suds with captions like “It’s bath time.” They were pretty funny. I was close to the band then, as I am close to the band now. One time, while taking some pictures of them on a hot summer day, in the basement of a place they called The Red Alamo, I saw a 12 pack of beer move across the floor by itself, unassisted by any worldly means. Odd, unexplainable forces at work. It was something. Really something.

Like I said, I am close to the band. Somewhere along the line, even though they were supposedly named after a softball team, the use of the Cincinnati Reds logo played into their whole game. Adam, a guitarist and main vocal contributor of the band got a tattoo of the Reds “C” logo and where it would normally say “Reds” he had it spell out “Suds.” He wears a Reds hat while he plays, at every show. There's a local guy who will replace Adam’s hat with a Yankee hat at times throughout any Suds performance. I hate when this happens and refuse to take any pictures or show any form of acknowledgment when Adam is wearing that fucking Yankees hat. I see any baseball fan as either a Yankees or Red Sox fan (as well as their home team, first and foremost, of course) and that being said, I’m more Red Sox. So that means, I cannot endorse the Yankees thing. Instantly though, Adams tattoo, it was a fucking hit. I remember an evening when I was visiting him, he had just arrived from Louisville (where he lives) for a Suds appearance at a local Cincinnati dive. Me, him, and Grandaddy (drums, secondary vocal contributor to The Suds), his wife Angela (who I refer to as “Fair Angela”) and two other locals were sitting around talking baseball and the dreams of the Reds making it past the regular season (which we agreed would happen) and the totally insane dreams of them making it past the playoffs to the World Series (which we all realized was an even more impossible dream). Adam had just gotten the tattoo in question and Fair Angela was giving him all kinds of shit about it, about it being stupid. And her, doing this while a pork chop was on the roof, just outside the window, as an experiment maybe, I’m not sure, but ants were all over the discarded piece of meat, a whole story above the ground level of the residence. It was a perfect setting. A place of marvel.

Some one calls Aaron Harang “The Harang-a-tang” and everyone in the room laughs. Well, everyone except Angela who is still accosting Adam for his new tattoo.


They are all Dominicans. And I love them all. They have the gusto, all of them, and are happy to be playing the game. When the sign of the cross is made on their chest, just before they bat, and after they adjust their cups. It means something big will happen.


And my dad, captain of the Cincinnati Reds, was in bad shape. Lying in the hospital bed, the prospects of open heart surgery were not looking good. In fact, just a few hours later, after an angioplasty, the hopes of any form of open heart surgery were squashed. His heart was too damaged in the wrong places. They put in a stint, and he got as ok as a guy who had three heart attacks would get. He now leads my mom in the heart attack series 3-2. And he is close to death and taking about the Reds to me while hooked up to oxygen and IV’s and all that hospital shit. He talked about me getting a Reds hat to wear at a game that my brother and I had promised to take him to earlier, before this latest attack of the heart. To diffuse the seriousness of the situation, I joke. I tell him that I want one of the fitted ones, the kind you get at the mall, and I want his number embroidered on the back, the number he would have used if he had become a Cincinnati Red, and become their captain, as he said. He said he would have used the number nine.

Humble. I appreciate the humbleness of the Dominicans. Just happy to be there. I am not ashamed to admit that I first learned about the term “humble” from watching the animated movie Charlotte’s Web and Wilbur, but I most associate it now with Jesus Christ who along with Wilbur is a prime example of humility. Did I mention that our Dominicans are strong? Because they are.

And here we are in right field. My brother, me, and my dad, captain of the Cincinnati Reds. I’m wearing an adjustable Reds hat, like the ones they wear when playing at home, and I bought it for $4.97 from Value City. It’s about a week and half until I leave for Florida to get married. This night at the ballpark is sort of my bachelor night out. My dad marvels me by reading the players on the field, telling me how they are feeling and how they are standing in all the wrong spots. Well, mostly players from the Rockies are standing in the wrong spots. Maybe that’s why the Reds won that night, or that's what he said. One of the Rockies eats M&M’s in-between batters and this infuriates me, despite him being on the team that I want to be defeated. It just looks bad. And my dad agrees. My brother, DeWayne, has a great time and watches a family three rows up from us eat nachos with hot peppers and cheese. We get up at the seventh inning to walk around the ballpark. We check in on the bullpen, I buy hot dogs for all of us. We get yelled at from stadium security for standing in all the wrong spots and can’t find a drinking fountain anywhere, which forces us to take another loan out for sodas. My brother tells me to cherish the coke and sip on it slowly, ‘cause he put his house up as collateral for his snack-loan.

I appreciate them for their unfriendly-jersey names. The Dominicans. Encarnacion. Lopez. Freel. Phillips. Griffey. Aurilia. Dunn. Harang. Coffey, all of them Dominicans. My Dominicans—and I declare them strong. I love each of them. In the end, though, I realize that the Dominicans will decide the World Series, them and their brothers. The boys of summer. It will be the team with the strongest Dominicans that will rule the day. That, mien friends, is my prediction, and afterwards they will go shopping at the malls with their brothers and sisters.

Shawn Abnoxious is the editor of The Neus Subjex. You can contact him at and at Check out the Cincinnati Suds at

Who Isn't Always Looking to Score? By Steve Reynolds

In the 30 years I have been a baseball fan (I count my fandom starting when I watched Hank Aaron’s 715th home run when I was four, and subtract from 1989 to 1991 when I didn’t care about sports that much) there are two things I’ve never done—attended a World Series game and kept score at a game. While I’m cautiously optimistic about the Mets chances this year of getting through the NL playoffs to the Fall Classic, I knew that grabbing a pencil and keeping track of intentional walks and sac flies was a much easier task to cross off my list in 2006.

In early July I scored a free pair of tickets to a Mets-Pirates game, but my friend who actually had the tickets couldn’t get off work. I decided that I would just go by myself, which would give me the perfect opportunity to attempt this most ancient form of baseball arts. So I grabbed the 7 train out to Shea, picked up the latest Mets magazine and a couple of pencils, took the escalators up to the right field upper deck, sat down and peered at the huge scoreboard, trying to match up numbers with their name on the Pirates roster.

Now I didn’t feel like a total rookie while doing this. During the occasional Yankee game I’ll catch on the YES network they’ll show an in game box score for a player using the common symbols placed on a scorecard. And when I first started going to Mets games with Zisk co-editor Mike Faloon in the mid-90s, he always kept score, so I vaguely knew how and where everything went. After a couple of innings I felt very comfortable and only once did I have to peek at the scorecard of the guy two rows down. It was a quick, cleanly played Mets win, which made it a whole lot easier than some 11-10 error filled extra innings affair. During the trip home I kept looking at the scorecard, amazed that there were only a few spots that were totally illegible. (Well, in my eyes at least. There are four-year-old children with neater writing than my penmanship.)

Looking at this jumble of letters got me thinking—have new symbols been invented recently for keeping score? With all the changes in our national pastime over the past two decades, someone must have created new symbols for amazing or out-of-the-ordinary events at the ballpark. And if not, then I was going to have to do it myself. So I present new scorecard symbols for our 21st century game.

9TBC — The team’s right fielder was traded during the game because even though he had a high OBP his contract was too expensive. (And was signed by a previous GM.)

FU5 — This signifies that the team’s third basemen is stinking up the joint and can’t hit with runners in scoring position. This has been used extensively on Yankee fans’ scorecards this year.

BLK — To be used when a, um, let’s say a bloated, big headed player whiffs on a pitch that they would have crushed…oh, perhaps three years ago or so.

CSD7 — To be used only at Boston’s Fenway Park when the left fielder gets distracted by the Citgo sign when he’s trying to play a carom off the Green Monster.

BPAWO! — This marks when Red Sox DH/first baseman David Ortiz—a.k.a. Big Papi—gets another walk off hit, which is usually a home run. As a matter of fact, he just hit another one while you were reading this sentence.

KNOB — To be used when an infielder all of a sudden can’t make a throw anywhere close to first base, named after the immortal Steve Sax.

CLROLAIDS — This is used for when a team’s closer has let the tying or winning run score in the 9th inning. Fans of the Astros, Brewers, Braves, Royals and Giants have been writing this a great deal this season, sometimes in their own blood after they chew their fingernails down to the bone.

BBDM — A temporary placeholder used by a scorekeeper when he gets distracted by a woman wearing a rather low cut shirt walking by his seat a few times during the game. (Not that I have ever used this symbol.)

FBMS — Used when a foul ball comes into the stands exactly where you’re sitting and the ensuing pandemonium to get the fifth foul ball hit in one at bat by the eighth place hitter for a last place team causes some idiot to spill his entire Coors Light in your lap, drenching your shorts, making your Chuck Taylors stick to the stadium floor and making your scorecard all smeared. (But perhaps later on you can say it was a scorecard done by Jackson Pollack and make some big bucks off it.)

So there are my suggestions for keeping score at a ballpark near you. Just remember—when the sudoku fad is over baseball scorecards will still be around, keeping the electric pencil sharpener industry going until the next century.

Steve Reynolds is the co-editor of Zisk. He rejected over 100 jokes about scoring with ladies during the writing of this piece. Alas, he thought of 101.

Friday, August 25, 2006

The Wright And Wrong Report: Now That Is a Party

This was another WAW game for me due to my night time gig, but it looks like Shawn Green is already paying divends by giving David Wright some protection. And the night ended with a Mets connection, as a drummer from a popular band (who I know from interviewing at my day job and making him sing at my night gig) came in with his bachelor party...who had been at the Mets game. And I thought to myself, "A Mets game and then tons of shots at a great bar afterwards? Man, maybe this getting married thing isn't the crock I thought it was."


Thursday, August 24, 2006

The Wright And Wrong Report: How About Some Power Pop?

Since both Mike and I have both quoted Fishbone recently, I decided to dig a little deeper in describing last night's game, which featured another "gem" from Steve "I Give My Teammates Wine So They Hit" Trachsel.

"If you can dig a big enough hole
To bury all your youth
No you still won't be prepared for the ugly truth."
--Matthew Sweet, "The Ugly Truth"

When Jose "Subway Series Scumbag" Vizcaino blasts a home run, the ugly truth is that you're lucky to come away with a win.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

How About Some Proof?

(From left to right: WFAN/New York's Jocelyn Taub, WPLR/New Haven's Pam Landry and Zisk co-editor Steve Reynolds can't believe that they're this close to Manny Acta (!!!) at the Mets batting practice on August 18th, 2006.)

Damn, we really were very close. (Thanks to Pam and Bob for the pic)

The Wright And Wrong Report: David's Numbers...

...might have dropped even further last night (he's now batting below .300 for the first time since May), but the numbers crunched after midnight at the Zisk Brooklyn office after I attended last night's thriller keep going up. And they look pretty damn good after one of the most exciting games of the season--and perhaps the most exciting game I’ve ever seen in person. (And after seeing four games in six days, I might need a break from the smells of Shea.)

My 2006 record: 5-0

The overall record of my Irish Night ’98 hat: 3-0

Number of 6 run deficits I've seen the Mets overcome: 2

Number of times I’ve donned a rally cap during a game: 1 (during the 9th inning last night)

Number of players I’ve witnessed hitting HR # 400: 1 (Carlos Delgado)

Number of multiple home run games from Carlos Delgado I’ve seen in the past week: 2

Number of trades I’ve seen announced during a game: 1 (Shawn Green for who?)

Mets wins in a row at home: 9

Amount of days till Tom Glavine returns: 7 to 10

Number of people I now know that were at Game 6 in 1986 after my packed week of games: 2 (My friend Jocelyn and her friend Pam)

Number of games I have been to at Shea that ended with a Mets walkoff hit: 2

Number of times my Ipod has flown out of my pocket while I was jumping up and down celebrating a Mets game winning home run at Shea: 1 (Somehow that precious item didn't break last night when it landed in the row in front of us in the left field mezzanine. Thanks again Alli for picking it up.)

And a final note to Mike's brother Casey--don't give up. As a red Sox fan as well I am beaten, but not totally down and out on the team. There's always a chance the Yanks bullpen will resort to the way it's been the rest of the year, and the Twins or White Sox will kick their asses in the first round of the playoffs. Then we can still ask Yankee fans, "When's the last time your team won a World Series? Six years ago?"

Scrapbook Night

Part one: Last night's 8-7 win over the Cardinals will surely make the end-of-year highlight reel. Early on there were hints of a pitcher's duel. Then it became an Albert Pujols/Carlos Delgado showdown. Finally, it was the greatest of comebacks. All with Bill and Roger Clinton in attendance.

Part two: I am now the second most devoted Mets fan in my household. That's probably been true for a long while, but I finally realized it last night. I thought I did myself proud by not giving up when the game was 4-1, but yes, I did walk away at 7-1. I had work to do. My wife, Allie, though, never wavered. She alerted me to the brewing rally and I was able to see Delgado's 3-run homer. Were it not for her I'd have been asleep long before the ninth inning comeback.

Part three: Timo Perez was greeted with a mix of cheers and jeers when he pinch hit last night. Fair enough. He was amazing in the 2000 playoffs and fell asleep in the 2000 World Series. He deserved a mixed reaction.

Bradon Looper was doused in boos and that was unfair. Granted, he stumbled often as the team's closer last year and we at Zisk were among his more vocal critics. But it's since come out that he was hurt most of last year. Looper informed his coaches but the decision was made to ride it out. To his credit, Looper never complained, taking it for the team for much of the season. It's one thing to boo a guy with no heart, but that's not true of Looper.

Jason Isringhausen was treated like any other opponent, he barely registers as a former Met because it's been so long since he played in Flushing. The only rudeness Isringhausen experienced came at the hands of Beltran's game-winning home run.

Part four: And this is as much a note to my co-editor Steve as anything else...Yes, I have abandoned my original concept of following two Mets, Pedro and Kaz Matsui, over the course of the year. I tried to persevere despite Pedro's injuries and Kaz's being traded, but when my replacement player, Jose Valentin, started missing games I realized that I wasn't taking a break from the concept so much as shelving it.

Part five: I want to publically apologize to my brother Casey for any part I may have played in convincing him to follow the game of baseball. I root for the Red Sox but my heart's not in it when they get crushed, I can walk away unscathed. Casey has no choice. He's become a rabid Sox fan over the past five years and this weekend must have crushed him. I don't know. I'm reluctant to call him. I'm assuming that my mom would have called with the news had he taken his own life or inflicted any bodily harm following this weekend's Boston Massacre. Sorry, Case. Watch those 2004 highlight tapes again and think about next spring.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The Wright And Wrong Report: 3 Days of Wonder, 1 Day of Worry

I was going to attempt to write an entry for each day of my recent baseball extravaganza, but I just couldn’t find the time or the energy, for reasons that will come readily apparent as I tell my tale. Last Wednesday I wouldn’t have dared dream it, but it would become the best three days of my baseball fandom to date.

Advance Scouting
I didn’t set out to attend three Mets games in three days while traveling through three different states. When the schedule was first announced over the winter, I saw that the celebration of the 1986 champs was set for August 19th. I knew I had to be at this game. So I also roped in three Mets fans who also happened to own Brooklyn bars—my longtime friend Erik of Vegas and Lee and William from Magnetic Field (the place where I live out my rock star side). I got into work wicked early on that Saturday in February, and scored us seats in the loge section.

And then we had to wait seven months until the game, and I had to repeatedly remind each of them when it was taking place.

Hank, my junior year roommate from IC, is from Philadelphia and has suffered the ups and downs of that team’s interesting existence. Back in late May he suggested that we take in one of the Mets-Phillies weekday games at Citizen’s Bank Park. Always being up for a road trip (and knowing a cheesesteak would awaiting me when I got there) I told him I was down for August 17th. I even planned ahead and took the day off.

My friend Jocelyn is also a longtime Mets fan (she was at Game 6 in 1986 and is the only person I know who was there at Shea that fateful night), and her job at WFAN gives her some perks that the average Flushing faithful doesn’t get. A month ago she told me she was trading in tickets from a rainout, and that she picked August 18th because it was the night the ticket office had the best seats available. She asked if I wanted to go, so I said yes. (I had already missed going to the Marlins doubleheader she had tickets, so I wasn’t going to miss out here.) So I knew in early July that I was going to have back-to-back-to-back nights of Mets games—and I wondered if I would get through it.

The first wrinkle in the plan came Monday when Jocelyn emailed me to say she had gotten batting practice passes for Friday’s game. That meant she and I and her friends Pam and Bob (both veteran radio folk like myself) would be on the field during batting practice—and that I had to get there at 4:30 to take advantage of this. I knew getting out of the office that early after I had the previous day off (and had an interview out of the office as noon) would be next to impossible. Fortunately I had and ace in the hole, as I had to work on Monday, which was technically my vacation day. I proposed to my boss (and occasional DJ collaborator) Ira that I take Friday off, but do my interview so no one else would be bothered by it. He agreed, so now I was not only go to go to there games, but I was going to put my feet on the same ground near home graced by Mike Piazza, Todd Hundley and Gary Carter.

August 17th Game 1: Mets vs. Phillies, Citizen’s Bank Park, Philadelphia 1p.m.

The trip to my first game started off on a rough note. Accompanying Hank and I on the trip down was Alli, a baseball fan who unfortunately has chosen the Evil Empire as her favorite team. However, she doesn’t have a problem rooting for the Mets and wants to see as much baseball as she can. So we let her join our posse for the day. Alli was to pick me up at the Brooklyn offices of Zisk and then we would head over to Jersey to Hank’s place and ride down in his car. Late the night before she called to tell me she was already in Jersey moving stuff into her new pad and was going to spend the night there. (Rooting for the Yanks is a bad mistake, but spurning Brooklyn for Jersey? Heresy.) So that meant I had to hop on the F and then the PATH train to Hoboken. That also meant getting up about an hour earlier than I had planned, which my Mets-beer addled brain did not like one bit.

We have a saying on Brooklyn—F means forever. And indeed that was the case this particular Wednesday, as the 35 minute ride to West 4th street took over an hour. I sprinted (well, as fast as I can sprint—no one will mistake me for Marion Jones) from the subway to the PATH, and finally made it to Hoboken at 9:30. I hopped in Alli’s truck, we discussed why WFUV was playing shitty ’70s songs that day, and somehow listened to Peter Frampton’s “Do You Feel Like We Do” for more than half of the drive to Hank’s place.

After a brief tour of his lovely house, we piled into Hank’s car and set out for Philly, only 20 minutes behind schedule. Then the second snag of the day hit 90 seconds later, as Hank had a run in with a gas station attendant. Let’s just say the whole event ended with Hank rolling up the window and calling--in a somewhat raised voice--the guy an asshole. Having lived with Hank in college, it had been a long time since I had since his angry side come out. It was fun--I had missed Angry Hank.

Somehow we made it to Philly in time to pick up the other Phillies fan in our posse Nick (we had to balance the rooting karma out) and made it to the park in time to wait in line 25 minutes for cheesesteaks. (I take mine “wit wiz,” as they say in the City of Brotherly Love.) As we settled into our seats, I realized that we were right in a pack of Mets fans. In fact, there were Mets fans everywhere. And as the game went on and the Mets extended their lead, it seemed to me that Phillies fans got more joy rooting against their own players than against the Mets. Some of the comments I heard people behind me say about Pat Burrell were so cruel I don’t think I would have ever said them about Victor Zambrano.

Well, maybe I would if he were still pitching for the Mets.

The way back home was that much sweeter with a Mets win...although I think Hank made sure the A/C didn’t reach the backseat of his baking car just to punish Alli and I. Maybe I’m just a bit paranoid. To complete our trip, we went to a Wawa and I bought an entire box of Tasty Kake Peanut Butter Kandy Kakes, which are the best snack food ever. (I proceeded to eat almost all of them in one sitting once I was back home.) Peanut butter and chocolate taste much better when your team snaps a three game losing streak.

August 18th Game 2: Rockies vs. Mets, Shea Stadium, Flushing, 7 p.m.

After killing two hours at Snakes on a Plane, I hopped the 7 out to Shea very early on Friday afternoon. It was so early that when I got there at 4:30, the vendors hadn’t yet even entered the ballpark. Jocelyn and Pam and Bob showed up a bit late--each of them was frazzled due to traffic. That feeling went away when we were led in through the bowels of Shea by this woman Heather (who may be the cutest person I have ever seen working for a MLB team) out on to the field.

Yup, onto the field, right behind home plate. And I did something so cliché that I almost wanted to hit myself over the head with a bat because I had stooped this low--I reached down and grabbed a handful of dirt. Unfortunately I didn’t have a baggie, so I only made my hand dirty for the few minutes I held the dirt and pebbles in my hand. But it gave me a feeling that’s almost indescribable. It was almost overwhelming standing there and looking at David Wright 15 feet away from us taking hacks in the cage. During that first minute of standing there I had visions of every memorable game at Shea I had either attended or seen on TV--and now I was standing on that same field, and got to hang there for almost an hour. It was something I will never forget.

As an added bonus, Jocelyn introduced me WFAN Mets beat reporter Ed Coleman, and in the 10 minutes I got to speak with him, I quickly determined that this was one of the better people I’ve met in the radio business. (And trust me; the radio business is filled with a lot of shitty folks.) We spent a good deal of time talking about the viciousness of Phillies fans--and that fact that he got his start spinning albums at a rock station outside Boston. The rest of the night was kind of blur--the Mets won, we got to eat some free food at the WFAN suite, I got a lift back into Brooklyn and we hit no traffic on the way there. It was an incredible day, the best I’ve ever experienced as a baseball fan, and one of the best I’ve ever had in New York.

August 19th Game 3: Rockies vs. Mets, Shea Stadium, Flushing, 7 p.m

After the previous day, even the 86 reunion seemed to me like it would be a letdown.

It wasn’t.

Other folks have written extensively about the ceremony and the visits to the booth by former teammates. All I can say is that when Mookie Wilson came out on the field, it sounded like a jet plane was taking off from third base. The “Mookie” chant is probably still echoing across Long Island sound. If these players didn’t realize how much the 86 team meant to a generation of Mets fans, they do now. When the ceremony was done, I could have cared less about the game...until I realized the Mets were being no hit. So I got up and walked around, found my friend Erik at some other seats, and as soon as we started talking the Mets rally started. I left the park drained, and with a perfect 4-0 record at games I’ve attended this year.

After the baseball orgy was over, I rested all day Sunday and got to listen to Keith Hernandez say he liked to work on tipping beers back during off days in 1986--and how Tom Glavine’s career might be in jeopardy. Fortunately, today’s news about Glavine is all good. And tonight I am yet again traveling out to Shea for my fourth game in six days--and after spending so much time there in the past few days, I can say with certainty that they can’t bring the new stadium on fast enough. Being on the field was great, but have a better place to sit without weird food smells in your face all game would be better.

Sunday, August 20, 2006


What a week for the Mets. Dropping three of four in Philly was unpleasant, but that didn't worry me. Pedro and Otto did.

First, Pedro. In the midst of that ugly first inning earlier in the week, a look flashed across Pedro's face, a look of anger. Carlos Delgado saw it too. He put his arm on Pedro's shoulder. I'd never seen that before. The mound is Pedro's stage. One place he's not supposed to require "it'll be all right"s. I knew he wasn't coming back for the second inning.

Second, Otto. He's one of the custodians at school and he's in a panic about the Mets. His theory is that Xaxier Nady played a bigger role in the Mets' offense than anyone realized and trading him, Nady, is causing things to unravel. I tried to explain that the disappearance of Cliff Floyd this year played a part, too, but Otto would have nothing of my theory.

Yesterday set things right. Granted, to overcome a 4-0 deficit it took a dropped ball, a bobbled ball, a passed ball, and an errant throw--along with a long overdue big night from Lastings Milledge--but the Mets were on top of the Rockies by the count of 7-4 by the end of the game. My favorite scene was Jose Reyes hugging Chris Woodward after they turned a double play. The '06 Mets aren't the wild bunch that the '86 Mets were, but, like a 70s disaster movie, there is a sense with this team that you never know who's going to get hurt next so you may as well try to get along with each other. Affection in the face of adversity. I like it.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

The Wright And Wrong Report: My Last Will and...

So I am going to Philly after the Mets have had their asses handed to them for 3 consecutive games. I predict some sort of fisticuffs.

Um, tell my family that I kind of cared for them (well, not really), and please bury me with my Ipod playing Abbey Road.


Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Wright And Wrong Report: Perhaps I Should Reconsider My Travel Plans...

Let's see: over the past two nights Citizen's Bank Park has the been the site of 24 Phillies runs and three home runs in one game by the Mets' Jose Reyes.

Um, how could Bobby Abreu NOT hit home runs there?

Thursday afternoon will be my second trip to CBP, and the first when the Mets are playing. Even with this horrible opening to the series, I will show up Thursday; I hope the Mets starting pitching does the same.

Monday, August 14, 2006

The Wright And Wrong Report: They're Possessed!!!!

Does anyone know a good exorcist? I believe the Mets need one, as they were possessed by the spirit of the 2002-2004 Mets tonight at Citizen's Bank Park with that amazing amount of piss-poor play in the first inning.

Let's hope this calf injury Pedro picked up doesn't keep him out another month.

And yes, I'm going with the Ipod tonight to help me fall asleep--I don't need to hear every knee jerk (underline the jerk) Mets fan crying on WFAN. Beck's Mutations is much more peaceful.

The Wright And Wrong Report: A Back in Time Weekend

After last week's workload (three 12 hour days, one 9 hour day with four hours of my night job thrown in and one 11 hour day) there was no way I was going to even touch a computer keyboard over the weekend. And for once, I actually stuck to that. I even took the anti-technology route even further by listening to all of Friday and Sunday's game's (and a few innings of Saturday's) on the radio. Kicking it old school seemed to work well for the Mets, who kicked it old school themselves by getting some great pitching every day in taking two out of three from the Nationals. Heck, I thought Sunday's game might be over before I walked from my house to the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge (which takes just about 2 hours) because Steve Trachsel pitched like he had a train to catch.

This week will be a bit interesting for me, as on Thursday I will be heading down to Philly to see the Mets play. I wonder if I'll get in a fist fight when John Maine shuts down the Phillies and the Mets have a 19 game lead? I hope so.

Friday, August 11, 2006

...Soon We'll Be Making Another Run...

I thought that yesterday's 12:10 start time was for the sake of all the summer camp kids in attendance. Who knew it was actually to accomodate open auditions for outfield and catching positions? Michael Tucker in left field; Rickey Ledee in right; Mike DiFelice behind the plate--yesterday's game was like watching an episode of The Love Boat. (Wasn't that Charo in the on-deck circle in the eighth inning?)

Despite it being "Second Banana Day," the Mets won easily, 7-3, sweeping a three-game set from the Padres. Further testement to the fact that Willie Randolph can take whatever Omar Minaya gives him and make it work.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

The Wright And Wrong Report: In Dreams Part 2

I thought I was awake at work for the entire day, so I must have been daydreaming this--Michael Tucker throwing out Dave Roberts at second.

Damn, I don't even have a new child and I'm not getting enough sleep.

The Wright And Wrong Report: Um, Is It Okay to Feel Conflicted

I missed most of last night's game because I'm presently getting hammered at work with lots of extra duties and some infuriating stupidity. I did get to listen to the last two innings while doing laundry, and hearing Howie Rose's call of Mike Piazza's drive in the 8th inning off Aaron Heilman was conflicted enough to make me think, "Glad I'm not watching this for myself."

A curtain call for an opposing player? Now that's a bit odd.

Pedro being a ground ball machine? That's odd as well, now that you mention it.

Today's game is so wicked early (players must love the camp day games at 12-fucking-10 p.m.) and I'll be so busy that I won't see a bit of it--and I'm glad, since Piazza won't likely start. I don't want to kick myself if I miss him hitting three home runs today.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Idle Hands...

It's not supposed to happen in the National League, the circuit where fewer runs are scored helping pitchers maintain lower earned run averages. Yet there he is, Steve Trachsel, second on the team in wins (11-5) with an ERA of five. It's possible that Trachsel could finish the regular season leading the Mets in wins (he's only one behind Glavine for the team lead) and yet have the worst ERA among starters (he's currently at 5.03 and El Duque is at 4.97). Which leads me to wondering when was the last time a guy led his team in victories and was passed over for a start in the playoffs?

The Wright and Wrong Report: One Name...

...Mike Piazza.

I had a hard time thinking about anything else involved with last night's game. A Mets win was good (David Wright might be breaking out of his slump), but I honestly didn't even care. I just wished I wasn't stuck at work until game time and could have been at Shea for the untold number of standing ovations. Even on TV, it was pretty moving.

Monday, August 07, 2006

The Wright And Wrong Report: Dear David...

...Steve from Zisk here.

As you might have noticed, my blog entires this season have been titled after you. It was part of an attempt by myself and my co-blogger Mike to cover the team in a different way--by looking at one favorite player and one not-so-favorite player. Alas, Omar Minaya kept doing a great job by getting rid of the two guys (I'm sure he somehow ripped apart Zambrano's tendon) we planned on writing about, and the team has been so damn good this season that focusing on bad stuff almost seems like nit-picking. And after yesterday's announcement that you signed a six year contract and last night's thrashing of the Phillies with John Maine continuing to put zeros up on the board, Minaya looks even smarter than ever.

So my question is this--can I borrow some of that new bonus money? I have a vacation coming up in September, and I would love to eat as much BBQ and Mexican food as I can. 35-grand should cover it.

Thanks, and I look forward to watching you playing 3rd base until I am 43,


Saturday, August 05, 2006

The Wright And Wrong Report: That's Our Namesake

Billy Wagner, we here at Zisk suggest you buy David Wright a beer or six tonight, as he saved your ass with that stop in the bottom of the 9th. And with the blood on his arm, you might want to get Wright a band-aid or two.

Another comeback. Another one-run win. Sparkling defense and a clutch hit by Wright. Tom Glavine looking like the first half of the season Glavine after the first inning. These are the things I've come to expect from these Mets. Glad to see they came back into fashion today.

Here's a thought--is Tim McCarver less annoying when he's not paired with Joe Buck? Or is Buck just that annoying that he infects McCarver just by sitting next to him?

The Wright And Wrong Report: Catching Up With a Hungover Team

I missed most of Thursday night's duel between Pedro and Dontrelle (first names only needed for those two) as my friend Eric--who's been living in Japan the past two years--was in town for one night. We packed the night with dinner, drinks, an amazing Soul Asylum show, more drinks, and then for the piece de resistance, having our car service driver pulled over by the cops at a road black and discovering the guy had nothing even close to a license.


What I did see was Aaron Heilman coming in for the third day in a row, and my gut told me that this was definitely the wrong move by Willie Randolph. We left the bar before Heilman threw one pitch, which was definitely a good thing.

Last night's game I caught most of at my home, which was finally cool enough to cook a decent meal for myself for the first time in six days. (Living on the top floor of a building can suck sometimes in the summer.) As I sat there shaping the ground turkey into some tasty meatballs, I was stunned by the Shea faithful booing Chase Utley. C'mon folks, this guy isn't Pat Burrell, the only player in the NL East I hate more than every player on the Atlanta roster. I would have gladly let Utley get 5 hits if the Mets could have gotten a win and broken out of their funk.

This team looks more off-kilter now than they did during that horrible trip against the Red Sox and the Yanks. David Wright looks more uncomfortable at the plate than he did as a rookie; Cliff Floyd seems to be heading back into his early season dive; Lastings Milledge is no Xavier Nady--at the plate I mean; and the bullpen is trying too hard to adjust to life without Duaner Sanchez. After the sweep of the Braves and then Sanchez's accident, the Mets have that hungover look that I occasionally get the day after I mix a whole night of cheap beer topped off by numerous candy-ass shots (I like to sip my whiskey).

Somebody get this team a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich and ginger ale--that'll fix 'em.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

The M&M Mets: In Dreams

I knew going into fatherhood that sleep deprevation was an occupational hazzard. It's the odd dreams that have been surprising. Two nights ago I dreamed that Bradon Looper had returned as the Mets' closer. It was frightening. The Mets had a one-run lead and Looper blew it in the bottom of the ninth. And it was realistic, too. I thought I heard Steve, my cohort in Zisk, cursing from faraway Brooklyn. The next night I dreamed that John Franco was back as Mets' closer. It was similar to the previous night's dream--bottom of the ninth, one-run lead--but it was a slow, agonizing victory. Franco put two guys on base before shutting down the Marlins and getting the win. Thank god these things don't happen anymore.

The Wright And Wrong Report: Rolaids Anyone?

I'll admit it--I thought that the Mets were going to lose in the 9th inning again. When you hit a pinch-hitting pitcher, things are not going well. I have no idea how Billy "Reverting to Early Season Form" Wagner got Miguel Cabrera to miss the last pitch he threw, but I'll take it.

I am a bit worried about our report namesake David Wright--an O'fer for the series with this many strikeouts is a bit atypical. Thankfully the top 3 in the lineup continue to hit as if every at bat is just another round of batting practice. And how about Aaron Heilman, looking very much like the 2005 edition of Aaron Heilman?

Pedro vs. Dontrelle tonight. I can't think of too many reasons to miss it; actually, I can only think of one this week. This band is one of the few that means more to me than the Mets. I can't wait to act like I'm 22 all over again.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The Wright And Wrong Report: Gee, That Was Quick

I walked to my kitchen to get some iced tea just as they flashed Billy Wagner's stats last night, and the game was over before I made the 10 foot return trip.

That sucked.

I'd write more, but the heat has sapped my ability to complain.

The only thing hotter than the Northeast right now? Carlos Beltran. I take back all the crap I gave the guy last year. I am glad to be wrong.

Alas this loss overshadowed Mike Pelfrey getting out of jam in the 6th in fine fashion, and the great work by Chad Bradford and Aaron Heilman.

How about a nice cool win tonight?

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The Wright and Wrong Report: Like the Hitchhiker's Guide Says...

..."Don't Panic."

Seriously. I waited to post about yesterday's stunning developments just so I could take the pulse of Mets fans. And almost every Mets blog I have read over the past 18 hours looks like it was written by Chicken Little. I'd like to point that there are still two full months left until the end of the season. That is plenty of time to sort out what role everyone will have in the bullpen after Duaner Sanchez's accident; how right field will play out since Xavier Nady was traded to the Pirates for Robert Hernandez and Oliver Perez; and how the starting rotation will shake out and if Tom Glavine will regain his first half form.

Sometimes I want to slap the idiots that post on Mets blogs and tell them to look at the big picture. Looks like I won't be listening to the FAN for a few days--I wouldn't want to punch my radio over the stupidity on the airwaves. The guess here is that this team won't let adversity get them down--it may in fact galvanize them for the remaining 58 games, and into the playoffs.