Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Games 113 through 116 - Mets
Technolo-gee, That's Annoying

Mets 2, Astros 1
Mets 10, Diamondbacks 6
Mets 4, Diamondbacks 3
Diamodbacks 2, Mets 0
Record: 56-60

Although this sounds like a load of . . . untruthfulness, I wrote quite a lengthy piece on Friday, only to have the quirks of modern technology erase any trace of it. Miller Time never arrives more quickly than when a box of wires and chips undoes my hearty effort. I lack the abundance of time and/or memory of my own work to reproduce the column, but here's the abbreviated version:

1. Hilarious intro
2. Detailed recap of the Mets' 2-1 victory over Houston
3. Clever witticism
4. Insightful analysis on the surprising Mets win, including mockery of the starting lineup
(this I will reproduce)

G Williams LF
J McEwing SS
T Zeile 1B
R Hidalgo RF
M Cameron CF
D Wright 3B
J Phillips C
D Garcia 2B
V Zambrano P

5. Mention that only two of them were in Opening Day lineup (this point was raised in a national publication two days later) and those two are averaging .220
6. Punny joke; very, very funny, I assure you
7. Laud Victor Zambrano for his great outing
8. Knee-slapping zinger about Kaz Matsui (ouch!)
9. Trash David Weathers again for kicks
10. Segue into a list of best and worst Mets trades of all time -- this I might actually have to re-write someday
11. Tear-jerking closer (no, not Armando Benitez)

Okay, so maybe my four-day-old memories of this may be a bit embellished. But I permit myself such liberties after that stunning display of self-control Friday, i.e., refraining from gravity-testing my government-owned computer from the rooftop.

Then the weekend came, and with it the arrival of the lowly Arizona Diamondbacks at Shea Stadium. After breezing through Friday's and Saturday's contests, the Mets were squelched by Randy Johnson on Sunday, eliciting perhaps the only (albeit brief and fleeting) moments where I wished the Big Donut had been traded to the Yankees. So, after swapping sweeps with Milwaukee and the Cards, your New York Metropolitans have won consecutive series . . . at home against the National League's most disappointing teams (outside of Philadelphia).

Speaking of the Quaker City, the Phlailin' Phillies continue their free-fall into pennant race obscurity, threatening to disappear from the "Wild Card Standings" graphic any day now. Larry "Feather" Bowa is still gainfully employed by the club, outlasting most of the media prognostications, probably because injuries have taxed the Phils a lot more than any manager could. With Jim Thome now out with a shoulder problem and Pat Burrell being advised to call it a season (well, some of the more vocal Phils fans have been advising him to do this for two years now), the chances of a late season rebound just don't look good. I mean, for Pete Incaviglia's sake, the Phillies are only two games better than the Mets.

While my cohort contends that the Red Sox have endured a more deleterious rash of injuries, the Mets' past few weeks have brought a crippling series of wounds. Mike Piazza's absence is brutal. Four relievers are on the DL, including two who were breaking out just before they got hurt. The middle infield is gone with a stress fracture and an ailing back -- the irony being in the lack of load-shouldering these two have provided. (Of course, Kazoo Matsui has taken it upon himself to collect most of the team's errors; he's got 23 -- the next highest total on the current roster is 6. What a workhorse.) Finally, they're not on the DL, but Cliff Floyd plays hurt more than Nine Inch Nails and Tom Glavine's teeth are lodged in the back of a cabbie's seat (right in Shea Stadium on the NYC map, from what I hear). This is all without mentioning the portly gent from Norwalk, CT who remains on the Mets' Disabled List despite retiring last year. The Sox' woes make their goal of postseason play harder and harder to achieve; the Mets' woes make it harder and harder to recognize their players. Yesterday they called up first baseman Craig Brazell, about whom I have absolutely nothing to say.

A recall I am familiar with, unfortunately, is pitcher Dan "Double Dealer" Wheeler, last seen handing out extra base hits like they were buffet coupons in an Atlantic City casino. Up came Wheeler and down went Matt Ginter, whose solid spot start last week was rewarded with an all-expenses-paid trip to lovely Norfolk, VA. Sure, there was no place for him in the rotation and he'll get more innings in AAA, but this kid could use some more major-league innings before next season.

Speaking of the minors, Mets cuttee "Come Back" Shane Spencer signed a minor league deal with his old club, the Yankees. This guy digs the five boroughs as much as the Beasties, or maybe he's got the hook-up in a few of the bars in town and doesn't want to start over. Spencer, recently ranked at #2 on Loaded Magazine's list of "Shanes Most Likely to Make the News for an Alcohol-Related Incident" (Shane MacGowan will forever hold the title spot), is headed for AAA but could wind up in AA, which just feels right, doesn’t it?

The Mets visit Colorado this weekend, a site I vaguely recall being a house of horrors last year. Something about a 7-0 lead in the 7th going away quickly, and a similar choke the next night. (I can't bring myself to scroll down and refresh my memory.) And as the Mets fly into Denver with a bullpen that blows more leads than a Broadway groupie, it could be more of the same, I'm sad to report. The pitching match-ups seem to favor the Mets, but has that ever mattered for the New York nine? Nay, I say, nay.

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