Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Escape From Witch Mountain

Before I begin...is it just me, or how fucked up is it that Ted Kennedy has a dog named Splash?

I'm gettting old.

Normally going to hell...I mean Shea.... two days in the row doesn't faze me one bit. For all their bluster, Mets fans are a pretty tame lot and despite the stadium being an eyesore....it's not a bad place to watch a ball game.

But 14 innings, five hours and two seventh innings stretches extended my powers of observation to their limits.

A great game if you were a Mets fan. Horrible for anyone else. My friend Erica aka "Go Dawgs!" accompanied me to the game. A lifelong Braves fan, she decided to the game in a white Atlanta hat and a white Atlanta jersey. She couldn't have stood out anymore than if she announced that she was carrying Andruw Jones' baby. Noone bothered her thanks to yours truly (Mets fans aren't crazy)but I finally got her to toughen up a little bit concerning going into an opposing parks to root for your teams. If you want to cheer for your team, then cheer!! Don't let these people intimidate you. As long as you're not obnoxious about it, do your thing.

The second game on Saturday was cool as I went with my friend KC Teresa who had been bugging me to go to a ballgame for the better part of a year. Unfortunately, this was the only game that fit into her busy schedule, so I was forced to take the infidel (she's a Royals fan in case you didn't figure it out)to Witch Mountain and go to my second Mets game in 12 hours. I probably didn't help my cause by staying out until 3am after watching that 14 inning debacle. After sneezing up a storm due to the toxins the infidels were trying to poison me with at Shea, I should gone home and spent 10 hours in a hyperbaric chamber.

Nope, I go back to Shea on four hours sleep. It's no wonder I was wasted the rest of the weekend.

A couple of observations from my time on Witch Mountain:

The Mets have a very good ball club. And for the first time since the Braves entered the NL East, a much better team than Atlanta. Barring a monumental collapse by the scions of Shea or someone giving Pedro a Columbian Necktie, it would be a victory for the Braves to finish within 10 games of New York. Outside of second base and centerfield, the Mets are visibly better at every position(Chipper and Wright is a close one at third, but I have to give Wright the edge because Jones can't stay healthy). Their starting pitching, even with Zambrano's elbow exploding on Saturday, is better and their bullpen is one of the strongest in the majors. This team should win this weak division by no less than seven games. Noone in the NL East has the pitching to keep this lineup in check.

I owe an apology to Metstradamus. He kept telling me the Zambrano for Kazmir trade was the worst trade in the history of the franchise. He kept telling me that they could have held out and got a front-line starter like Zito, Mulder, Hudson or the like if they were going to trade their best pitching prospect away. Not a number five starter with elbow problems and a penchant for walking 100 batter a year. After seeing Zambrano's elbow explode Saturday afternoon(the blood splattered in my face in the left field mezz), Metstra, I apologize. You were right, I was wrong. It's easily one of the worst trades of the 30 years and the worst trade in the history of the Mets. The irony of it all, is hearing all the Mets fans calling WFAN in a panic on Monday. After their first taste of Lima Time on Sunday (a game that wasn't all his fault btw. Angel Hernandez is an awful umpire) they want to trade all their top prospects for Willis or any top line starter Omar can find. Thankfully, Minaya refuses to push the panic button and says that he plans on staying the course. And he's right. There's no reason to go nuts after 30 games. They'll be fine.

Anyone who says that there are no real Braves fans out there has never met Erica. This poor kid earned her stripes last Friday. She was living and dying with every pitch, making insightful comments and asking questions only someone paying attention could ask. While every Mets fan would probably say she deserved to suffer like that for infinity....and it bogles the mind as to why she would like the Yankees after they did Sherman's March twice on her beloved Turner Field. She is definitely a real fan.

And she's gonna have to be watching that team. That team is the definition of mediocrity. Outside of Smoltz, their starting pitching is awful (I think Hudson is shot personally). And their bullpen is even worse. It would be Bobby Cox's best managing job is he can get 80 plus wins out of this team. With Andruw Jones is his contract year and Chipper on the decline, it might be the beginning of the end for this team. They've got a great farm system and a great management team so I don't expect them to be bad for long. But this run could be over if Schuerholz can't pull another McGriff or Farnsworth out of his hat.

I laughed out loud when they flashed on the jumbotron that Edgar Renteria was born in 1975. If he's 30, than I'm 10. Rent-a-Wreck has to be pushing 40. I wouldn't surprised if someone has pictures of him and Julio Franco in some Latin Baseball camp getting instruction from Roberto Clemente in 1968. He's horrible. People talk about Jeter being overrated. All he's ever done is win, hit .300 with 200 hits every year. I've heard NL fans crow about Renteria for 10 years. How he's one of the best shortstops in the game. But outside of that big hit in the 1997 World Series and a couple of gold gloves, what exactly has he done? And those days are over. He's finished.

But enough infidel talk. Let's talk about the empire.

I was dying a slow death on Friday watching the out of town scoreboard. Seeing the Yankees give an 8-1 away was enough to make me swallow my own tongue. Thankfully Mo came in and reestablished order.

Considering the Rangers were one of the hottest teams in baseball, the way the Yankee pitching cooled them off was pretty impressive. I'd like to see Wang go seven and wish Sturtze would get his shit together, but otherwise, I'm pleased with what I saw over the weekend. Four straight quality starts from the rotation. Proctor is finally trusting his stuff. The two pitches he used to strike out Texeira on consecutive days (a fastball on the outside corner to get him looking on Saturday and a breaking ball to get him on Sunday) were nasty. Just filthy. If he continue to pitching like this and Dotel comes back to form, this has the makings of the best bullpen we've had here in a very long time.

Speaking of Sturtze, he's pitching for his future right now. He's the odd man out with Dotel and Pavano coming back in a month or so. They're probably going to keep Small and Wright as the emergency starters and long men. Villone and Myers, the southpaws are pitching well. Proctor's pitching well and Mo and Farnsworth are givens. The rotation will probably be Johnson, Moose, Wang, Chacon and Pavano with Torre fiddling with the bottom three somewhat. I can't see Torre carrying 13 pitchers with a veteran team that needs rest. You see what's happening with Sheffield. And you know Matsui and Giambi are going to need a blow at DH from time to time. So unless something dramatically changes, it's buh-bye Sturtzie.

I really wish Sheffield would shut up. I can understand that he's upset about not getting his option from 2007 picked up. I can also understand why the Yankees would be reluctant to pick up a $13 million on a player who will 38 on opening day 2007. But does he really think what he said is going to help matters? If he had said that I can't play right now and I'll do what I can to get back on the field as soon as possible, everyone would have given him the benefit of the doubt considering he's played banged up the last two years.

But that temper tantrum just cost him a ton of money. Even if he does come back and have a big year, do you think it's a given that the Yankees will pick up that option? With Andruw Jones and others on the market? And do you think there will be a line around the corner to sign a slugger pushing 40? Look how long it took for Beltran, Guererro and Tejada, three players in their primes to sign deals. Does he really think that with his shady past and surly reputation that he's going to do better than whatever the Yanks will offer?

If I were Cashman, I would offer a boatload of money to Andruw Jones next season. Move Damon to left and Matsui to right. That solves all my problems right there. I maintain my offensive firepower and get better up the middle defensively. Plus I get a player entering his prime instead of one on his last legs. Good riddance to all that attitude. And with the Braves on a decline, it might work.

I'm done defending Gary. Even if he comes back, has a great year and we win it all, I still want him GONE!!!!!


Blogger kigogal said...

My God you know a lot about baseball. Nice post.

Angel Hernandez is easily one of the league's worse umpires. (Altho if my memory serves me correctly, doesn't he have a great strike-out call move? I love a good, flashy umpire call.)

Last year I liked Sturtze because he's a hothead with a temper, and I like that in a man (don't talk to me about it, it's confidential betw. me and my therapist...) but now I'm just sick of his crappy pitching. I cannot wait for Pavano to come back. He's not just one of my faves because he's a cutie. (sorry, girl talk.) :-)

The only point I really see that I want to ask you about is this. Do you really think Myers is pitching well? Every time I see him I feel like he's mediocre at best. I like it that the Yankess have a guy with a weird delivery, something they usually don't have, but is Myers the man? I personally don't think so.

You going to any of the Boston games this week? If so, I'm so jealous I could spit! (Well, that wasn't very lady-like.) :-)

5:44 AM  
Blogger Darth Marc said...

Angel likes showing players up and imposing himself into the game so I wouldn't be surprised if he did.

Myers delivery makes him tough on lefties because it's tougher for southpaws to pick up the ball as leaves the pitchers hand. Since you're talking about a fraction of second, that can be the difference between a strikeout and a base hit. His sidewinder delivery has made him pretty good against lefties. The Ortiz homer are the only runs he's given up. He's awful versus righties though.

No comment on your Pavano talk....

I'm going tonight. Feel free to hate me right now.

7:20 AM  

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