Thursday, June 15, 2006

Rumors Of My Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

After Metstradamus' latest tirade aganst me and the empire, I thought it would be apropos to start this post of with a quote by a Clemens. Only instead of Roger, I decided to go with Samuel. Just like the Yankees, the classics just get better with age.

And despite rumors to the contrary, I did not commit seppuku after the Yanks were swept by the A's. It was a very, very bad cold and other ailments, caused by nearly a year of debauchery, gluttony and lack of exercise, that has kept me from posting more frequently.

But now that that's passed, I can continue my lifelong mission; torturing infidels and making them realize that unless they change their ways...that the light at the end of their baseball tunnel is merely the gleam of a titanium wall.

My age-old enemy couldn't enjoy the fact that his beloved Mets, that doomed and tortured franchise is currently one of the best teams in baseball. He couldn't just enjoy the moment and ignore all the naysayers. He had to take a shot across the bow of the Death Star.

See, I knew the needle was coming. It was only a matter of time after my Yankee-free week came to an end as this guy returned from his vacation. And it was certainly just a matter of time after three newspapers proclaimed the Mets as new owners of New York City:

"You know, if the Mets played in the American League..."
-Darth Marc

He didn't even have to finish. I knew where he was going. American League...superior league...blah blah blah. Been there, heard that, bought the DVD.

But here's what makes the Mets so mind boggling: They're basically an American League team. And it a reversing of the tables if you will...because in 1996, a certain American League team started winning their string of World Series (two of which tainted by HGH using Jason Grimsley, he he) by playing...(gasp)...National League baseball, beating our league at our own game. Now, the Mets are beating teams by acquiring the horses to play their game.

There's a glimmer of truth in there. The Mets are a slugging American League style team. No question. However, the point that he didn't dispute was the fact that the American League is the far superior league right now. Why? Because in his heart of hearts, he knows I'm right.

I'm not disputing that the lack of the DH forces NL teams to use their lineups and bench more creatively than the American. That there is a different level of strategy in use in Senior Circuit games. No question.

But we're not talking about stratego and chess. We're talking about horses. Sheer brawn. Toughness. And what I'm saying is this, the teams in the American League are superior because of the DH. Because the lineups are deeper, which means the pitchers have to be tougher and smarter. There are very few gimmes in any of these lineups. Even the 7-8-9 hitters are threats. Which means the pitchers, once they get to the playoffs, are far more honed and battle-tested than their NL counterparts. If you just went through the Indians, Red Sox and Astros like the ChiSox did, then getting through the Astros is a garden party that even Ricky Nelson would have to applaud.

Take bad teams like Tampa and Baltimore. With their lineups, give them a couple of arms and they might wreak havoc on the NL. A team like Cincinnati is two games out of first with Eric Milton and Bronson Arroyo as their aces. Does anyone think that they would be that close in AL East or Central? The West is a mess right now, but once Oakland gets healthy and Angels remember how to hit, it will get much more interesting. The A's swept the Yankees this weekend. Can anyone in the NL boast a rotation as deep when Harden is healthy? Or the Twins? Or the White Sox? Or Detroit? If the Mets had one of the Tigers young arms, they'd have the pennant won by the end of the month.

It's the fact that these teams beat the snot out of each other that makes them so tough in the post-season. It's why basketball conferences like the ACC and the Big East dominate the NCAA tourney...and why it's hard for football teams from the SEC to ever win it all in a game where one loss in October, knocks you out in January.

AL teams develop a huge callous on their hides during the regular season. That callous makes them strategy proof. Is Tony LaRussa a better manager than Terry Francona? Probably. But it didn't matter, because the Red Sox had a "We're whupping your ass" attitude after beating the Angels and Yankees that the Cardinals couldn't match. Some would say that Billy Martin was as good a strategist as Sparky Anderson. Didn't matter, because in 1976, noone on the planet was beating the Big Red Machine. Try to manuever against a three run homer.

My point? Strategy has its place in the game. But sometimes, its effect on the game is overrated. A good manager can make the difference between a mediocre team and a good one....and a very good team becoming a great one. But he can't make a bad team into a good one, much less a great one. Players have to play and right now, if you look at the teams in the NL and's my opinion that the best teams are in the junior circuit.

With Pujols out, I can't think of one team in the NL that can beat the Mets. I can think of about four or five in the AL that could. The Red Sox, The White Sox, The Blue Jays, The Tigers and yes, the Yankees. Not saying that they would. But all of those teams in a seven game series would give the Mets fits.

Which brings me to my point of why, with the Dark Lord recovering from his illness, did Metstradamus decided to take a shot at me and my beloved team after tonight's win. In part, because he's seen this movie before. Only the last time, Clemens was the star and Mike Piazza was his foil.

I've said in the past, that Clemens started pitching like Clemens for the Yankees, when gave Piazza a haircut in 2000. I'm not advocating beaning anyone in the head. But what I meant is that he started becoming the fire-breathing dragon that gave the AL fits of diarrhea for the Yankees when he decided to stop trying to be a good citizen and put the fear of god into hitters again. That incident along with the thrown bat in the World Series let the world know that this mo-fo was a crazy bastard again. And that if you got comfortable in the box, you might end up on your ass.

Say what you want about whether Posada overreacted. What can't be disputed, is the fact that intentionally or unintentionally, Yankee hitters have been beaned at an alarming rate over the past several weeks. And with no response from the pitching staff. Posada had probably had enough of it. Johnson feeling the same way, responded in kind.

You can debate on whether they should have thrown at Victor Martinez instead. But hey, the if you can get an out in the inning and still make your point, then do it. It's a lot easier to get two outs in that Cleveland lineup than three. And with the way the bullpen's been used lately, every out helps.

But I think the heart of Metstra's angst is this...He knows the Yankees should be dead and buried, but somehow, at the time of this posting, they're a game ahead in the AL East. He knows that for all the headlines in June that declare the Mets as the New Boys of Summer...He knows in his heart of hearts that if last night's game means Randy Johnson has finally become the Big Unit in pinstripes, that Lupica, Newsday and all the Infidel naysayers will just be setting the scions of Shea for what might be the biggest fall in the history of their franchise.

This team has survived despite the loss of two of their big bats and one of their better bullpen arms. If Johnson coming back to form can solidify this rotation, this lineup, as constructed, can find a way to score enough runs to win. If A-Rod can ever get the fans out of his head play like his old self, he, Giambi and Jeter can carry us to the finish line. And don't get me started if Cashman can make a move at the trade deadline.

I'm not ready to call Johnson cured just yet. This is still the same guy that gave up homers last Friday to a guy hitting .030 and another guy with five RBIs. But if this was a glimpse of the future, then this could a special Summer of Hate for all the infidels. A summer where the Yankees still managed to power the Death Star into October, despite all of their losses. It would be nice if Moose could complete the sweep this afternoon. You bury a potential rival and start a nice winning streak going into interleague play.

For all the bluster in his post, what motivated my old enemy to write that was fear. He's seen the movie before....and he knows that his heroes die in the end.


Blogger Gob said...

Actually, the Rebellion won.

1:43 AM  
Blogger Darth Marc said...

Who says that I was talking about Star Wars?

3:03 AM  
Blogger Metstradamus said...

I fear nothing.

You will die.

5:38 AM  
Blogger Ed in Westchester said...

There is no good in you.
Repent, and be saved.
The Yanks are done my friend.
By the way, how many WS since 2000?
That's what I thought.

7:18 AM  

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