Sunday, March 25, 2007

Keith's in Mid-Season Form; The Mets, Well...

Got a chance to turn on today's Mets-Astros spring training game on CW 11 while doing some work on the computer in my bedroom, and it took less than an inning for Keith Hernandez to show he was more than ready for the regular season to start.

--He gushed about adding purple to his highlighter collection. (He added in the 7th inning when the Astros knocked Jorge Sosa out of the game, "I hate when they bat around; it screws up my scorecard." He then revealed he marked the bottom of the 7th in the Astros side, not the Mets, so he pleaded with Gary for some whiteout.)

--On Astros pitcher Wandy Rondriguez, Keith claimed "Wendy is Wendying it. Or I mean Wandy. Right."

--On a sloppy inning on the field from the Astros: "This is like one of those innings out of They Shoot Horses, Don't They?"

--While Ralph Kiner was in the booth, Keith mentioned he was seeing Rusty Staub tonight and that le Grand Orange was doing the cooking. "That means lots of butter."

--And finally, this gem in the third inning between Ralph, Gary Cohen and Keith:
Ralph: "Keith, you're a dancer, right?"

Gary: "You're going to be on Dancing With the Stars this season, right?"

Keith: "That reminds me of an old Three Stooges line. My father died dancing--on the end of a rope. Nyuk, Nyuk."

Oh yeah, it's gonna be a fun broadcast season.

As for the game, this team just does not look ready to defend their division title. I know it is spring training and all players hate the last two weeks in Florida, but that's no excuse for the sloppiness on display. Maybe they'll pull it together in the next six days, but I think we won't be seeing a 9-1 start this season.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

It's My Rock and Roll (Baseball) Fantasy

I've got a confession to make.

As of Tuesday night at 10:30 p.m., I was not looking forward to the baseball season.

I know, I know, "That's not right," you're thinking to yourself. You think I've been singing Patsy Cline or Gnarls Barkley songs. But it was true, oh so true.

Perhaps it was a hangover from Game 7 of the NLCS. Maybe it's because I was pissed about MLB yanking the Extra Innings package away from cable and selling it to DirecTV. (Today there was more bullshit on this topic, which I will discuss once it's all settled.) It could be that I thought my fantasy league draft was going to last over four hours because our mostly office league has expanded to 18 teams. Or it could it be that I'm dreading the task of coming up with a topic for Zisk (print edition). Perhaps I've just remembered how hard it is to write something for Zisk (the blog) that I (and hopefully readers) find interesting almost every day for the six months that the Mets play the national past time. I look at what blogs like Fair and Fear in Flushing and Metstradamus come up with almost every day and I want to erase everything I posted from our blog archives.

Or maybe it's just that March has always sucked and that early fucking time change has fucked up my sleep schedule so I've got myself a nice dose of insomnia, which is perfect timing since I have tons of shows to see and work to do over the next two weeks.

Whew. I need a nap.

Then, two small things saved my season. One, I listened to my Tuesday interview with Hoodoo Gurus singer-guitarist Dave Faulkner. I needed to transcribe a couple of minutes of it to pass along to my pal Jason at FAFIF to complete his entry about how his fantasy draft and the Hoodoo Gurus tie together. And something Faulkner told me made me smile as I sat at my desk typing away:

"We’re talking about coming back again hopefully in October, and the World Series will be on and hopefully the Mets will be in it, but I think it’ll be too late for me to get a ticket."

If this guy who flew halfway around the world to play some rock is that excited about seeing the Mets in the playoffs, I can't approach my fandom this lackadaisically. I need to step it up. And quite simply, his enthusiasm rubbed off on me. Hope does spring eternal. The Mets were thisclose to going to the World Series last season; I have every reason to be confident they can go even further in 2007. We're finally going to see Mike Pelfrey for a full season; David Wright and Jose Reyes still have room to improve; and there's a sidearming rookie reliever named Joe Smith (a former Brooklyn Cyclone who drank a few times at the bar I work at before being called up to Binghamton last summer) who is going to play a big part in making the Mets bullpen again the best in the majors. A summer of fun (mixed with heartbreak 37 percent of the time) is the best reason to get up in the morning.

Secondly, my fantasy team (Graham Parker Posey this year) once again is led by David Ortiz. I had him for the first three years I was in this league and did pretty well. Last year I had a low draft position and couldn't snag him, and I landed in dead last. Of course, because Bud Selig and Bob DuPuy are cocks I won't be able to see Big Papi on the Red Sox telecasts, but he knows I'll be there in spirit.

Ah, baseball, welcome back. Now I'm ready for you.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Why Didn't This Happen Sooner?

For a guy who became well known over three years ago for posting on the Sons of Sam Horn board, it's shocking it took this long for Curt Schilling to get one of these:

Schilling just started it, but the first two entries are very promising. If he can be this verbose during the season (and I mean blog-wise--everybody knows he is not shy of the press) Red Sox and baseball fans in general will have some new required daily reading. Who knows what controversy this guy will kick up?

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Well Isn't That Colorful?

With Blogger updating all its software, I figured I might as well do a little experimenting with a new template. I think I like it, especially since I was able to make the colors blue and orange. It looks damn good on my new home widescreen PC monitor.

I'm not so sure if I like the way the archives look, but I'm going to give it a few days before I tinker with it again.

Will You Be in His Korner July 14th?

When I glanced over the Mets promotional schedule the team emailed out a couple of weeks ago, I immediately grabbed a pen and wrote down one night that jumped off the page -- Saturday July 14th is Ralph Kiner Night. And all I can say is, it's about fucking time. Kiner was in good form last year during his appearances on the Friday night games. Ron Darling seemed to be even more pumped to be in the booth when Kiner would step in, and his prodding would bring some great stories and lines out of Ralph. For all of the misspoken words and odd phrases the man said over the years, he is still an essential part of the Mets way of life.

Yesterday I wrote how spring training brings out some great baseball feature writing; Kiner's life falls into that category today. He was in Port St. Lucie to call a few innings of the Mets-Indians game on SNY and the AP baseball writer Ben Walker used the opportunity to interview the Hall of Famer. Walker's piece is a great overview of Kiner's career on the field and life off it. And I discovered something I never knew before--it took Kiner all 15 years on the ballot to make the Hall of Fame. Geez, the voters can be pretty dumb.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Another Reason to Enjoy Spring Training

Due to the lack of meaningful game action (unless someone gets hurt or a player wins a starting role with a great performance) baseball beat writers spend their days in Florida and Arizona coming up with stories there probably wouldn't be enough time or space to do during the regular season. In today's New York Times Ben Shpigel tells the story about the Mets new left fielder Moises Alou coming to play in the town where his father-in-law was murdered. It's a great piece of writing and well worth checking out. And reading how Alou dealt with the tragedy makes me thinking signing him will go down as one of the best deals of the winter.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Do You Hear That?

It didn't really click in my brain for a couple of days.

I saw parts of two Mets spring training games at work with the sound down, so I knew baseball was upon us again. I read stories about the various pitchers the Mets had in camp battling for a slot in the rotation; how Mike Mussina called out Carl Pavano; how D-Mat looked a bit tubby when he showed up for Red Sox camp; how Tommy Lasorda was mentioned in a new book from a Hollywood madam (shudder); how Gary Matthews Jr. and Jerry Hairston Jr. were implicated in the latest steroid bombshell that was broken wide by my former home area paper, the Albany Times Union; and that the Mets marketing department picked "Your Season Has Come" the team’s 2007 slogan. (Shudder)

But then this afternoon I heard Gary Cohen's voice calling a flyout to Moises Alou on Ch. 11 and it just hit me:

Baseball is back.

That means life is about to get good again, and Mike and myself will start posting again. We're gearing up for issue #14, which should hit mailboxes by mid-May. This is about a month later than our usual spring issue, but we wanted to give ourselves and our contributing writers a little more time to ponder their baseball thoughts. I know we have some good stuff lined up already.

As for our third year of Mets-related blogging, we're once again going to take a different path. Since my Issue #13 cover story on Keith Hernandez was such a hit, I decided that anything I write about will only relate to what Krazy Keith says on the SNY and Ch. 11 telecasts. That means I won't be posting every day, but the posts are about to get a whole lot funnier. Alas, I can't remember what Mike was going to blog about this year. I'm sure he'll let you, the reader (and me, the co-blogger) know soon enough.

Finally, here's the scariest discovery of this spring training time: Fran Healy does a baseball podcast. I think you can come up with your own joke.