Monday, April 17, 2006

Cat Scratch Fever - William Tecumseh Sherman edition, part 1

Pick up the Daily News, watch SNY for more than 2 minutes, and you'll see some kind of reference to the 1986 Metropolitan world championship team. Like the current Darlings of the Hudson Valley and Beyond, they were a complete team, a contender with pounds of charisma in a 6 ounce bag.

But these aren't the Mets of the Kid and Hernandez, of Doc and Daryl, of cocaine in bathrooms and wife-fights on airplanes. This is the team of the smiling kid giving Spanish lessons on the big screen, followed by the working class catcher, followed by the Born Again centerfielder, followed by the courageous pacifist who refused to have his picture taken with Dick Chaney, followed by the bright eyed kid who goes out of his way to sign autographs, followed by the unofficial team captain and fashion consultant, followed by the hustling and bustling new kid in town followed by whirling dervish second baseman. It's a clean cut team, one your nephews and nieces can be proud to call their own. And, David Allen Wright willing, it'll stay that way.

What's also nice is that this isn't last year's team either. Last year's team probably loses tonight's game, leaving our fearless man under the mango tree at number 199 for another week.
This year's Sterling Squad sent the Bravos to an early 5-game deficit with a tight win tonight, and left Prince Fielder and his Brewers teammates to cleanse themselves in the waters of Lake Minnetonka after Friday's tough loss.

Tonight we celebrate, cautious of the knowledge that every time Tom Glavine faces his former team, he, well, go to the dealership but he don't ever cop nothin'.

BBPOTS METS FAN OF THE WEEK: DENNIS FRANZ


Happy recap

Five games in front never felt so good. I know it's April, but it's always good to beat the Braves, and we needed this one, what with Pedro starting against what's-his-name.

What more can be said about Xavier Nady? Another 3 hits, another homerun, and another 2 RBIs. And of course Delgado chipped in with another bomb.

And Pedro Jaime Martinez recorded his 200th victory in the major leagues. More importantly, he's 3-0 to start a season when two months ago people were saying he wouldn't pitch in the first week.

And Duaner Sanchez leaping off the mound after getting that strikeout?! It's getting exciting...

Let's keep this going!

BBPOTS Player of the game: Pedro Martinez

Metropolitans Haiku






Ed Coleman, the fan.
His weatherbeaten face shows
Of past wanderings.

A blind eye in the Bronx


Every hero has a simple weakness. For Samson, it was his long, flowing locks. For Achilles, it was the area of his foot held by his mother when she dipped him in the river Styx. For 2000 AL MVP Jason Giambi, it was a grand jury convened in San Francisco.

You see, prior to testifying to this group in December of 2003, Jason Gilbert Giambi simply mashed the ball, averaging more than 40 home runs and 120 RBI per season the previous four years. During the next two seasons, he averaged a pedestrian 22 home runs and 63 RBI. What could account for such a tremendous dropoff in production for the man who signed a deal totaling more than $100 million with the Yankees a year before his testimony?

Wallace Matthews gives a brief rundown of Giambi's condition in Newsday:

For most of the 2004 season, Giambi looked like a man who could barely get out of bed. His eyes were yellowed, his skin blotchy, his body soft. We were told he had an intestinal parasite. Then he didn't have one. He somehow developed a pituitary tumor. Then it went away. Nobody questioned that at the time.


Giambi suddenly came alive in the second half of 2005 and has continued that into this season, hitting two absolute bombs in Minnesota on Sunday. He even won last year's Comeback Player of the Year award, voted on by his fellow players.

Why is it that this man gets a free pass from players and fans? Is it because he was the only player in the BALCO web to apologize (not that he actually apologized for anything specific, just repeatedly telling fans in a press conference he was "sorry")? Maybe it's because he's shown himself to be a true family man (he admitted to the grand jury that he had drug shipments mailed to his parents' house).

I think it's clear to anyone who watches, and cares, about baseball that the 35-year-old didn't manage to one-up Ponce de Leon and find a Fountain of Youth while rehabbing at the Yankees spring training complex in Tampa. The only reasonable explanation is that Giambi has instead dipped into a far more insidious (though infinitely more accessible) source of power, the one that helped him to an MVP award and gargantuan contract.

It's clear that even though Giambi may have gone cold turkey on the steroids and human growth hormone after being rattled at his testimony, leading to his gaunt appearance in the early part of the season, he soon realized that since MLB doesn't test blood, only urine, there were a cornucopia of drugs left for him to abuse.

Fans need to make a stand. Guys who have been caught cheating, admitted to cheating (in secret testimony, at least) and apparently continue to cheat need to be harassed, harangued and haunted by their decision. I implore every fan who sees Giambi come to bat let their feelings be known. And to the media covering him, stop acting like his contrite attitude gives him leeway, though I guess if you give Gary Sheffield the benefit of the doubt, anyone who doesn't openly disdain you is considered saintly.

King David

David Allen Wright was just on Mike and the Mad Dog...

Asked about his .429 average, he said "The 9-2 is a little better"

Talked about learning a lot from Delgado, how to adjust to different pitches. Says CD works with a lot of the young hitters on the team. "The most intelligent hitter" DW has ever seen.

Commented especially on the melting pot chemistry in the Mets clubhouse. Says Floyd went to him in spring training and told him he should be hitting 5th ("Real classy guy"). Says his rookie year he carried Floyd's bags and "ran some errands" for him, now Floyd picks out suits for him every year.

On Atlanta: "To be the best, you got to beat the best."

"We have a swagger to us, an attitude that we're not going to lose. We go out there and expect to win every single night."

Could anyone have said that about the 2000 Metropolitans?

Possible to tell.

Slow dulcimer, gavotte and bow, in autumn,
Bashõ and his friends go out to view the moon;
In summer, gasoline rainbow in the gutter,
The secret courtesy that courses like ichor
Through the old form of the rude, full-scale joke,
Impossible to tell in writing. "Bashõ"
He named himself, "Banana Tree":  banana
After the plant some grateful students gave him,
Maybe in appreciation of his guidance.

--Pinsky, "Impossible to Tell"


Our Bashõ takes the mound tonight. Our banana tree, our guiding light. But what's impossible to tell in writing is possible to tell in baseball, and in baseball shall Pedro Martinez take the mound tonight against the Atlanta Braves and shut them down!

"Bashõ"
 

Monday's talking points memo

Los Bravos, the hated ones, start a three-game set vs. the Metropolitans tonight, and the importance of this series cannot be overstated.

It's a young season, and the Mets have a 9-2 record to Atlanta's 6-7. If we take this series, we'll be 11-3 and they'll be 7-9, already back several games in the race for the pennant.

That should be motivation enough for a team that has shown already it gives its all every time out. And who but Pedro Martinez, the fearless one, the warrior, our paladin, our Gawain, to take the hill tonight to face down the evil empire of Robert Edward Turner III, the famed Olympic-hating Bildeberger who wields the power of the United Nations for his own benefit.

On another note, BBPOTS wants to welcome a couple of contributors to the blog. One is a Yankees fan, who we will ridicule mercilessly, and one is a Red Sox fan with whom we will celebrate solidarity, except from June 27 to 29, when we will sweep his beloved Sawks at Fenway.

And by the way, today's unbridledly optimistic win total prediction is 118.

Cat Scratch Fever - Easter Sunday Edition

If your game is on point, the only thing you have on is Power After Hours.

While driving Interstate 80 across New Jersey on Sunday night, listening to R&B on the radio, I reflected on my holiday weekend spent in the mountains of Pennsylvania. A striking moment was walking into church Sunday morning past a framed portrait of the late great Pope John Paul II. Still stinging from Saturday's loss, I began to think of the Mets' own African-American Karol Wojtyla - manager extraordinaire Willie Randolph.
A year after being placed at the helm of a struggling franchise, Il Papa Willie has stood stoic as a Kennedy at a gravesite, refusing to flinch at the sight of Evil Empires both in his own homeland - New York - and Atlanta.
Who can forget his immortal words in the Caribbean earlier this spring? "Mr. Torre, you will not take my delightful sandwich, go and get your own - and put Giambi back on a diet!"
With a 9-2 record to start the year, the Metropolitans are overcoming great odds with moxie not seen since the early days of the Solidarity movement, and more wins are sure to come. Losing the hearts and minds of a fan base with Reyes-like speed, who knows what Steinbrenner's Kremlin will try next to stop our beloved Princes of the Diamond?


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