Friday, August 31, 2007

Things I'd like to forget about this month...

1) The new Rilo Kiley album was released and it is awful.

2) Um, this.

Things will be dark on the blog front this holiday weekend, as the band's vacation is over tonight, Saturday is a FOX game and Sunday I will most likely only be able to listen on the radio. And really, I'm not sure what to write anymore.

See you Monday.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Crazy Keith's Corner: The Text Message I Sent... my friend Erik at 10:12 p.m. read,"A 2nd inning of Mota? Game over."

At 10:16 he replied, "U called it."

I don't even feel like writing up Keith's great comment of the night, but I will anyways:

(After Adam Eaton was warned for hitting Carlos Beltran, he was extra careful throwing inside)
Keith: Eaton was cruising, but now he looks like Archie Bell and the Drells out there.
Gary: You mean he's doing the Tighten Up?

At least I won't have to suffer tomorrow night or Thursday--I'll be in rehearsal tomorrow as the bullpen finds a way to blow another game and the day game I won't be able to hear because I'll be at work. Let's hope El Duque can go nine on Thursday.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Crazy Keith's Corner: Gary Said it Best...

Gary: There isn't much to recommend about this game--except for the ice cream.

Well, at least it wasn't this game.

It's Just Me, Right?

How to Win - Mets 2007 version

--Avoid direct competition with teams over .500 (NL Central teams are the best)
--Keep "M" pitchers off the mound (Mota and, lately, and it kills me to say this, Maine; hopefully Pedro snaps this)
--Do not ever, but especially when either Beltran is hitting or when the team is down four runs, try to steal third base
--Sliding into first should probably be erased from the "To Do" list, too

Finally, a general note for the readers of this blog--take Steve's entries in proper doses. His need to rant is rubbing off on me. Anyone else noticed this effect? In their own behavior, that is, I don't expect you're monitoring my in-game, at-home monologues.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Crazy Keith's Corner: So Easy, Keith Could Do It

Our hero Mr. Hernandez was back in the booth last night--and the Geico caveman was in the "Dream Seats," making Gary, Keith and Ron cackle:

Kevin Burkhardt: So does that ad in the airport still upset you?
Caveman: That's not me in that commercial--do you think we all look alike? This interview is over.

--Keith is okay with losing out to Wes Parker for the All-Time Gold Glove team
Keith: I was crestfallen. Oh well. There's always next year.
Gary: You mean the 51st anniversary team?
Ron: You've got 25 more years in you, you could make the 75th.

--Gary knows a different brand of German
(Gary and Keith talk about Dodgers pitcher Joe Beimel and his German last name)
Gary: I believe Beimel is German for "Cutting your hand on a shot glass."

--Keith likes cereal
(After David Wright made his third amazing defense play of the night)
Keith: Whatever David had in his Wheaties today, keep doing it!

The weekend games are FOX and ESPN (sounds like WFAN time Sunday night--F Joe Morgan). But as a treat, Ralph Kiner is going to join Tim McCarver during the third inning of the FOX game today in a reunion of the Mets broadcast team of 1983 to 1994. If anything funny happens (yeah, right) I'll let you know.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

On the Plus Side...

...the Phillies and Braves once again lost.

Holy crap, this series would have been fun to watch if you were a fan of baseball but had no rooting interest in Padres or Mets. Why is it that now the spark seems to be there offensively, defensively and with the bench--and now the pitching goes in the crapper. Ugh.

Maybe the Mets just need to play on the road all the time.

No Poetry, No Zeppelin References

Steve, yes, please, unleash the full brunt of your Krakatoa like fury on Mota. Take Wagner too. Maybe Delgado. Oh for 13 with a walk. I'd have added Green to the list of the underachieving but he's pardoned, at least for now, because of those two runs he punched in tonight. Plus, Milledge is getting more playing time in right so that, the reduced playing time, is punishment enough for Shawn. (Steve, you can be harsh, viscious even. Mel Rojas? That's below and through the belt.) I'm reluctant to say this, but toss Willie in the mix. This club is not playing like a Randolph team. No spark, no flair, and he's let that go on for a long time. It's amazing that they've been in first place for nearly 100 days--weak competition certainly helps--but this doesn't look like a team that's going deep into October. When you beat a pitcher like Chris Young in the opening game of a series, you have to take that series, especially at home, and that's true even when the Padres can start a guy as good as Jake Peavy in the second game. As others have said, I like the individuals on this team, which makes their ho-hum collective personality all the more perplexing.

It's now the top of the tenth as I write. Were this last year I'd have nary a single doubt in my mind as to who would win. And with '05 Mets I would have had doubts about the ability to comeback but not their desire to do so. I'll take a team with heart over a team with talent any day. Isn't that why we love the Mets and loathe those creeps across town?

Hmm, Heilman gives up another homerun? Steve, scratch Wagner from your list, he'll bounce back, pencil in Heilman.

Haiku: The Principle of Moments

Sledge drops the hammer
Beltran hot like Human Torch
Bullpen departure

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Hey Mike...

...if we start doing entries again about the Mets players we hate, can I pick Guillermo Mota?

Can I?

Can I?

It was exactly a year ago that Mota made his debut, and his steroid-addled arm threw a scoreless inning in a classic that almost made me break my iPod at Shea. Tonight the Mets would have won, except for Mota. Simply put, he needs to DFA'd as soon as possible. He is the Mel Rojas of this team, and must be replaced for the stretch run.

Or he needs to get back on the juice ASAP.

On the plus side, this almost-comeback made me feel good about the team again. Three in season pickups--Marlon Anderson, Jeff Conine and Luis Castillo--gave this team a spark in that bottom of the 9th, that certain something that had been missing for a long time. I have hope, thank goodness.

Again, if Mets management is reading this, No Mota = Steve happy.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Wow. I Mean WOW.

Now that was some kind of game. I actually hurt my neck jumping up at the end.

But damn, this bullpen reeks right now.

Haiku: Pictures at Eleven

A broom that moves the
smallest speck is still sweeping;
Moonlight in D.C.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Crazy Keith's Corner: Day Games Are Funny

I missed Saturday night's game because I randomly ran into some friends on the streets of Brooklyn and didn't get to see much of today's game due to rehearsal, but wow, they were on fire today. I didn't get to take notes about Keith's trip on the subway after the Saturday game (which he kept saying fans recognized Gary because now they have a face to go with that voice), their pride in perhaps inspiring the presidents to have the numbers of their presidency on the back of their Nationals jerseys, Gary's odd fixation with William Henry Harrison or Gary waking up Keith Sunday morning by clanging hangers.

Again, wow.

--Keith likes Gary's mastery of turning a phrase
(Ryan Church missed the cutoff man, which allowed a Mets runner to advance an extra base. Then they rolled the replay...)
Keith: Well there's the #1 rockhead play of the day. I will keep track today. Boy, these last place teams. He didn't have a prayer of catching him at the plate.
Gary: Not a prayer, on a Sunday, for a guy named Church?
Keith: Oh, you're good.

--Keith is modest
(A replay shows Shawn Green making a nice grab at first)
Keith: I couldn't have done it better myself.
Gary: Oh, you did.
Keith: Well...

--What does friendship mean?
(El Duque hits Austin Kearns in the back as he's running to first, and the Nationals outfielder is called out for running inside the baseline)
Keith: How is that scored?
Gary: 1-3 my friend.
Keith: I'm your friend?

--Keith knows how to party, example #538
(A fan makes a catch in the stands while holding on his bottle of Bud)
Keith: It's hard making a catch with a Budweiser in your hand.
Gary: You say that from personal experience?
Keith: Well, there were times I wished I had a Bud on the field.

Didn't this seem like the lamest 5-1 roadtrip ever? Holy crap, I'm writing like I'm a Yankee fan.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Crazy Keith's Corner: Hey Rocky, Watch Me Pull a Rabbit Out of My Hat!

The game's not even over, but I'm leaving the office once my iPod updates so I wanted to jot this down here. I haven't been able to take notes, but hearing Gary and Keith a) placing the presidents from the President's race at RFK Stadium in chronological order and b) Gary talking about Rocky and Bullwinkle and Fractured Fairy Tales and Keith saying "that was a great hour" made me happy.

Still, I can't imagine writing anything about the team they broadcast for a while. They don't deserve my words.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Thursday Night TV

"Hey Steve, did you catch the latest episode of Burn Notice on USA?"

"Why yes I did. That and Flight of the Conchords are making this summer worth sitting in front of the TV for."

"Um, wasn't there something else you liked to watch on TV last night?"

"Nah, it was just a bunch of crap. The other channel had a show that we all thought was good at one point, but its only a matter of time before one of the other three hour long broadcasts surpasses it in the ratings. I think many of us fans are only watching out of habit, not because we like the show anymore."

"Sorry to hear that dude."

"Yeah, it was fun for a couple of seasons, like Lost. Than it got shitty, like Lost. The only way it could redeem itself would be a great season finale, again like Lost. But I don't think the head writer Willie and the executive producer Omar know what to do the make the show better. Sometime a shows' shelf life just runs out. It happens. Then another show replaces it and the head writer and producer move on to make a show that they hope is better. I look forward to what they come up with for next season, but I don't know how long I'll watch it."

"Well, there's always that 1986 DVD set.

"Yeah, maybe I'll bust it out Friday night."

Haiku: Walking into Clarksdale

Five early, five late
Too bad they can't play the Bucs
In the post-season

Crazy Keith's Corner: The Blahs

Well, that was ugly. I can't believe I watched most of it. This Mets team is just maddening. Greg and Jason at Faith and Fear in Flushing have nailed it on the head--this team is just not likable. Maybe its due to my own high standards after 2006, but I just can't feel invested in this batch of guys, many of whom seemed to have slipped past their sell date. Even doing this blog is definitely not as much fun as it has been in the past.

Maybe we need a shot of Pedro? Who knows. At least Gary and Keith had some fun...

--Keith awards medals at will:
(Gary mentions that Bobby Cox got ejected once again from a game to set the major league record.)
Keith: He'll be going into the Hall of Fame--that'll be on his plaque.
Gary: You think???!!!
Keith: Yeah, its like his purple heart.
Gary: (Laughs) You know, on the Braves telecasts they keep an open mic next to where Cox is in the dugout, and you hear him complain about every single pitch.
Keith: He's...(pauses)...tough on umpires.

--Keith and Ron are psychically linked
(A replay i sshowing a ball being thrown from left field to the Pirates third basemen)
Keith: It goes to the cutoff man--Hello, there's a runner on first base.
Gary: (Chuckles) You know, Ron dropped a McFly on the Marlins Sunday. (Pauses) Hello, McFly!
Keith: It's been a long time since I saw that movie.
Gary: Back to the Future
Keith: Yeah, its been a while since I thought about it. He really said that?
Gary: Yeah, that's why I totally thought you were going to drop a McFly on me.
Keith: No, I totally forgot that.

Well Keith, there's a lot I'd like to forget about this season.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Haiku: No Quarter

DiFelice's sojourn
Essense of Elmer's on bases
That's not quite the way

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Crazy's Keith's Corner: Ups and Downs

I missed most of the game because I had rehearsal, but I did get to hear Keith berate their stats guy because his cell phone rang. That is not really enough to do a blog entry, so let me break it down into my fantasy league terms:

Good -- Moises Alou drove in a couple of runs.

Bad -- Solomon Torres got the loss.

Elsewhere, Roy Halladay got me a complete game, so I should be pretty set this week to scratch out a win.

How about two out of two tomorrow John Maine?

Say a "Holy Cow!" in His Honor

Obviously people who read Zisk know I'm not a Yankee fan, but this is still sad news.

Yankee games on WPIX Channel 11 (shown on WTEN in Albany) were the only games I got to watch outside the NBC Game of the Week (Albany stations didn't show the Mets until the late 90s), so I was pretty familiar with the Yankee teams of the 70s and early 80s. And Rizzuto was a hoot to listen to as a kid. I never understood why they didn't bring him back like the Mets did with Ralph Kiner.

Oh, and Scooter was a great pitchman too.

Haiku: Coverdale/Page

Whoop-ass is dispensed
Late in game, liberally
Pedro we await

Haiku: Outrider

Fish feeding frenzy
Candle-like pen melts once more
Wright: Wasting my time?

Monday, August 13, 2007

The Off-Day Digest: #15 Preview

Our latest print issue -- #15!!! -- is due out in early October (please email me if you need to update your address or if you want subscription info). This issue has a couple of things I couldn't get into #14 in time so they were pushed back. I figured that the lack of a game and news on the Mets front (Ramon Castro, how old are you really?) I'd use the time to roll out a preview of the next issue by publishing a shortened version of book review that will appear in a feature we're calling The Zisk Book Shelf. Enjoy.

Tim Wakefield’s Got Nothing on this Knuckleball

When I look over to the left from my computer in my home office, I get a close-up look on my small library of books. It’s shrunk over the years due to spatial limitations and my changing tastes. More specifically, I’ve ditched almost every work of fiction I’ve ever owned over the past decade -- and kept the music and baseball books. (The exceptions to this rule are anything written by Michael Chabon, Tom Perrota and David Sedaris.) So when the baseball-oriented novel The Knuckleball from Hell by Michael Wayne crossed my desk I had a few reservations. My only other experience with baseball fiction was a sub par Christmas gift called Searching for Ted Williams and reading over an article Zisk contributor Michael Baker wrote in issue # 8 about five different baseball novels. (Which, on the face of it, really is no experience at all.)

Even with all that baggage, I found Knuckleball to be a very entertaining read. Wayne has concocted one doozy of a story that at times had me thinking of the late Kurt Vonnegut. Trying to sum up the plot could take a couple of pages itself -- a teen pitching phenom wants to pitch for the Mets, but gets hurt at the end of his high school career. A mysterious professor gives the phenom a chemical that makes his pitches unhittable and helps propel the sad sack Mets towards the playoffs. The Mets owner gets killed in a mob hit and then the team is purchased by a crazy suffer dude who hires the two remaining Mets fans to run the team. Throw in a donut worshipping batboy, a cast of teammates that all speak different languages, a horndog of a commissioner who wants to run for President someday and a movie producer who follows a guru and you’ve got…hmmm.

Well, reading the above paragraph it looks like you’d have a mess on your hands trying to make that work. Yet Wayne succeeds by moving the story along at a brisk pace, not getting bogged down by focusing too much on one character and generally showing off a wicked sense of humor about the game, finance and people who like to wield their power around like they’re, well, you can probably come up with your own penis metaphor. The Knuckleball from Hell takes a lot of twists and turns like its namesake pitch -- and that’s the fun of reading it.

(You can order The Knuckleball From Hell Amazon here or from our friends at Powells here.)

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Crazy Keith's Corner: Who Needs Him When We Have Hall of Famers?

Keith was off today (gearing up for Pittsburgh I suppose) and shockingly the Mets did not take the day off, unlike much of this summer. Two quotes from today's broadcast sum it up pretty well:

"There's a cloud surrounding this team right now, and its not just about wins and losses. Players not talking to the media after games, players leaving games under mysterious circumstances and some very lackluster play is normal now." --Gary Cohen after the Mets botched a pickoff throw and then a throw to second.

"Hello McFly, Hello!" -- Ron Darling (Even though he said it about the Marlins, it still could apply to the Mets)

10-4 win that was much closer than it looks notwithstanding, the ceremony for Tom Glavine was nice and at times a bit cheesy. But it did lead to Hall of Famers Tom Seaver and Ralph Kiner being in the booth with Gary and Ron. I could have listened all day to them...

--Tom Seaver's brain is a bit fuzzy
Gary: It was just over 22 years ago, August 4th, 1985 you won [your 300th].
Tom: You got a good memory--I can't remember what I had for breakfast.

--Tom and Ralph could take their act on the road
(Tom talked about having a complete game for his 300th win at Yankee Stadium, and White Sox temp manager Dave Duncan telling him on the mound during a jam that "50,000 people would kill me if I took you out.")
Ralph: If it was during today's game, they definitely would have taken you out.
Tom: Or they would have put me away for murdering him. (All laugh)

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Crazy Keith's Corner: Sometimes We Don't Like Laughter

The guys were quiet tonight, except for one odd moment when the Marlins were threatening and Keith just kept laughing. I was thinking, "Why is a Marlins threat so damn funny," and as if Keith read my mind he immediately said, "Mets fans are probably mad at me. I'm sorry."

Not as sorry as this team is though. Not by a long shot. I guess I should finally accept that fact that last year was a career year for this group of Mets. I can't believe I got my hopes up after last season. What a stupid idea. I mean, it is the Mets. Its not as bad as being a Royals fan, that's for sure, but sometimes tasting success makes it much harder to let go.

Crazy Keith's Corner: I Gotta Get a DVR

I definitely need to start recording some of these night games. Keith, Ron and Gary were all amped up last night. Maybe it was the past two losses that made them looser than usual.

Let's not talk about those loses (although I don't blame Wagner for Friday's). I don't need an ulcer. Let's talk about how Moises Alou's batting stance reminded Ron how he ruined his uncle's wedding photos when he was a knock kneed kid; how Keith needs to lose five pounds because Rusty Staub was in town for a visit and they "binged" on wine; or how when Gary mentioned Keith having a lost weekend with Rusty that Ron's first thoughts were about Harry Nilsson and May Pang.

In other words, let's go crazy.

--A SNY camera caught Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez with a cut on the bridge of his nose. Gary decides to explain:
Gary: Freddi Gonzalez has a scar on his nose. He walked into a plate glass window at a Starbucks today.
Keith: I've done that.
Gary: I'm sure--and I bet it was late at night too.

--After Kevin Burkhardt does a report from the photo pit, Gary comments on his non-SNY pullover during a oddly cool August night:
Gary: So Kevin, when did you get promoted to security supervisor?
(All three in booth laugh)
Kevin: Hey, I'm talented. I could do two jobs at once. Just watch for me to throw someone out.

--Keith only cares if he understands:
Keith: I know I'm getting technical here, but if you don't understand it, well, sorry.

--Keith is amazed that Gary has a good memory for player and game details...or at least can read the media guide updates:
Keith: You never cease to amaze me Gary.
Gary: Well, the feeling is mutual, Keith

--However, Keith doesn't inspire the same confidence when recalling a tidbit of trivia:
Gary: Excellent recall Keith.
Keith: I know, that's rare.
Gary: Yeah, if that's right! (all laugh)

--And Keith's plan to lose five pounds went the way of most diets:
Ron: A lot of foul balls up here tonight.
Keith: Was it up here?
Ron: It was close
Keith: I missed it.
Ron: You're our Gold Glove guy, you're supposed to catch it.
Keith: But I was eating my ice cream, that's more important.
Gary: I thought you weren't going to have ice cream tonight?
Ron: Hey, he lasted four innings.

Haiku: Lucifer Rising

Seance in clubhouse
Wagner communes with Franco
Boleskine House strangeness

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Taking a Break from the Haiku

Last night, game number 113, I finally made it to Shea. It took a visit from Zisk's resident Hong Kong correspondant Throm Sturmond to get me out to Flushing for the first time this year. (Fatherhood's reshaped my life for the better, without a doubt, but it knocks going to ballgames down several dozen notches on the totem pole of priorities.) Throm was back in the states for a couple of weeks and making his first trip to NYC. A Mets game was in high order. A Mets/Braves game with El Duquee matching up against John Smoltz was even better, and we got what we hoped for--an early lead, a good pitching duel, and a late inning comeback, along with ample ninth inning drama. (Perhaps Virginia native Billy Wagner didn't notice the mugginess, didn't realize that it was already hot enough without having to load the bases with no outs.) Still, the best part of the game was listening to Throm's tales from the east, catching games in Japan (he's working on an article for the next issue) and traveling to as many neighboring nations as he can. I should have taken notes. At one point last night I knew the best places in Asia to gamble and drink and swim and dine, but the details got lost in the humidity and, getting back to the game for a moment, so did the Mets/Braves contest. The Flushing faithful seemed complacent, bored, even. The Wave generated as much noise as anything happening on the field. With a divisional rival, the divisional rival, at home in August, I'd hope that the game would move to the forefront, but it didn't. I was guilty, too. In addition to Throm's stories, the most memorable part of the night, for me at least, wasn't Moises Alou's game-winning home run. It was the sight of hundreds of baseball cards, a promotional give-away from SNY, fluttering from the upper decks. They looked like flashbulbs popping as they caught the light. Engaged fans might toss their free cards on the ground, leave them behind with the hot dog wrappers and beer cups, but they don't need to amuse themselves with projects that border on performance art. Are we in the Knicks Zone? That "Yeah, yeah, the regular season is just a warm up, bring on the playoffs" mindset that plagued the Knicks throughout the 90s despite winning as many titles as the Raptors? Is another divisional crown a ho-hum foregone conclusion?

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Crazy's Keith's Corner: It Was in the Cards

By the time I finally got to sit down to watch Mets-Braves Part deux (wow, commuting after a rainstorm can be fun, especially on a day when a tornado landed a hop, skip and a jump away) it was already the bottom of the 8th. And after Alou's blast and Wagner's escape, I'm kind of glad I only saw a full inning. My brain couldn't take much more after a day like today.

Yet even with just one inning, Keith, Ron and Gary know how to bring it for the blog. Keith got it rolling when fans started tossing the SNY trading cards...

Keith: There go the cards. Those aren't flashbulbs folks.
Ron: I thought they'd at least take some home to use for beer coasters.
Gary: Well, I think its just my card guys.
Ron: I think its all of our cards--those people are just hanging onto the Julie Donaldson one.
Keith: I've still got mine.

Keith loves the ladies...


So a former Mets gives up 756...and the guy who came up with the ball was wearing a Reyes jersey? What gives in the city by the bay?

(That seemed better than writing about another fucking loss to the Braves. Keith and Ron said some funny shit, but I just don't feel like digging out my notebook to transcribe it. Maybe tomorrow, a.k.a. later today.)

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Haiku: Whatever Happened to Jugula?

Three hundred in hand
Frozen moment, Chicago
Warren welcomes Tom

Monday, August 06, 2007

I Know That Its Been Said Before...

...but god damn, Jon Miller and Joe Morgan are awful. After Miller misidentified the Mets as the Cubs FOR A THIRD TIME (!!!) I gave up. Morgan's stating one thing and then stating the exact opposite to contradict himself didn't seem as awful as Miller's mistakes.

And while we're at it, fuck Joe Buck and Tim McCarver as well. Saturday McCarver said he didn't know why pitching coaches went out to the mound to talk to pitchers because it made it clear to everyone in the stands the pitcher was struggling. I don't know Tim, maybe the pitching coach is going out there to HELP THE PITCHER PITCH BETTER? Fucking moron.

Congrats Mr. Glavine; now lets move on and try to win 2 out of 3 from the Braves, shall we?

Thursday, August 02, 2007

A Thursday Afternoon Game Prediction

Ron Darling will take matters into his own hands and start beating up this incompetent umpiring crew. I've never heard any analyst get so pissed about the umpiring. I think it's possible that this crew is the worst in the majors. I have never seen so many blown strike calls (for both teams) in any series I've ever watched in 30 years of being a baseball fan. These bozos working the plate the past two nights must think they get a salary bump with each pitcher they piss off.