Wednesday, April 13, 2005

A Few Thoughts While Verbally Abusing My Television

Game 8 - Mets

Mets 1, Astros 0 (11)
Record: 3-5

Actually getting to see a Mets game this evening . . . life is good, regardless of what happens here. In case you haven't noticed, I've been pretty into the Mets' season this far.
  • Roger Clemens could throw the ball into a dugout and get a called strike. It's the sure sign of a greenhorn sports fan to blame your woes on the fellow calling the game, but that doesn't mean said fellow is excused from his responsibility to execute the most fundamental of assigned tasks. Clemens struck out the side on five actual strikes -- even the first-base ump got in on the fun, taking the check out of a David Wright check-swing. Seriously, Enrico Pollazo seemed to take less pleasure in ringing guys up on balls way wide of the zone.
  • Roger Clemens could throw the ball in the dugout and Jose Reyes would swing. Reyes is not a rookie any more, and it's time to show at least traces of plate discipline. "Go ugly early" was great as Rob Russell's hook-up mantra sophomore year, but it's not much as the leadoff hitter's tendencies. The way he steps in the bucket every time is vaguely reminiscent of . . . deep breath . . . Roger Cedeno. Seriously, in the time it took me to type this paragraph, he struck out again.
  • Roger Clemens is still the same guy who won all those Cy Youngs. Of course, he's still the same guy who gets called "Dick" more than the vice president, but that's part of the gamer persona, I suppose. Once he realized tonight's home plate had love handles resembling his own, he got into a serious groove and just made the Mets look silly.
  • The powers that be have reduced the overall time of a baseball game . . . by trimming it down in all the wrong places. The time in between innings is nearly nil now. It's impossible to grab a beer, make a quick phone call, hit the head -- I can't even clean up the shards of beer bottle glass that mysteriously appeared on my floor after a particularly egregious strike call. Meanwhile, it's still acceptable to step out of the box after every single pitch to undo and redo your batting gloves. Why is that? If tennis players were allowed to untie and retie their tennis shoes before each serve, the four majors would intersect.
  • Just when you thought Doug & Wendy Whiner were locked up in Lorne Michaels' basement (have you noticed he won't allow the '80-'85 Lorne-less SNL years to air in syndication?), Misery Loves Company presents this special tribute to the tragically underappreciated Joe Piscopo with: "The Whiners Whine About the Umpire" skit. Not nearly as funny, but with every bit of the overlong tedium and resultant awkardness of that era of the show.
  • Marlon Anderson is the new Rusty Staub, minus 50 pounds, a restaurant, and a silly French nickname.
  • As soon as I tout him, Marlon is picked off first. Except, as the replay clearly shows, and I screamed out like a six-year-old girl in real time . . . he wasn't. That's first-base ump Gary Darling, called out by name by Keith Hernandez for the second time tonight. Keith is currently busy looking up Darling's address and phone number to post in case any irate fans would like to give him their own performance review after the game.
  • Speaking of Darling, former Met fave Ron Darling is doing color commentary for the Washington Nationals these days. Caught some of his work last night; he's still pretty raw at it, and I can't seem to get past the fact that he sounds exactly like James Woods. Darling is nicer than every character Woods has ever played put together, so it's even weirder . . . for me and only me, I'm quite sure.
  • Speaking of announcers (at MLC, it's the segue or the highway), I, for one, dig Fran Healy. Always have. I'm not sure what all those people have against him, but folks, honestly, go have a listen to a YES broadcast and see what you ears could be subjected to every night.
  • Biggio just got plunked in the forearm bone; they keep showing his arm and it's inflating and turning purple as we speak. Looper just threw over to first and made Biggio dive back in a show of "You think your pitcher's an a-hole?"
  • Looper just got squeezed on the same pitch Roberto Hernandez got squeezed on and the same pitch Clemens threw 17 times for a strike. Keith now mentions Paul Nauert (he's thisclose to actually spelling it for us), the home plate ump who is making Armando Benitez look extremly consistent.
  • Bottom of the ninth, no score, brilliant pitching and D by both teams. But the Yankees-Red Sox game is on ESPN. I have, at long last, no further comment.
  • Enter Dan Wheeler. [A dinner bell rings in the distance.]
  • The Mets win on a Jose Reyes single to plate Victor Diaz from second!
  • The Mets have won three in row in starts against Smoltz, Pettitte, and Clemens, reminding me of the competitive stretch the Mets ran last May in five games in a row against All-Star starters. No letdown tomorrow against Brandon Backe, I hope.
  • Dan Wheeler wasn't as atrocious as, well, as he was for the Mets last year when his nickname was "Lead Poisoning." He did, however, take the loss to extend the uncanny but thoroughly welcome recent pattern of ex-Mets getting abused by their former team. Wheeler, Weathers, Alfonzo, Franco and others -- pretty much everybody except for Armando Benitez, which makes me ask Rob to pass the fork.

What a good win. There were plenty of opportunities for the Mets to blow this one, but they simply didn't. It took 10+ innings to score, thanks to an "on" Roger Clemens and an "off" Paul Nauert (his information is available here thanks to Keith Hernandez), but this was a losable win in the face of those winnable losses, and that alone is reason for optimism.

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