Sweet Lou Is A Free Man

Is Willie Hearing Footsteps?

The Devil Rays officially announced that Lou Piniella will not be their manager next season, opening the door to all sorts of rampant speculation.

No doubt the monkey trust at Wilpon & Co. are quite happy with their fling with .500 under Willie Randolph but oh, how many must be itching to see him back in New York.

Mets Guarantee At Least .500 By Crushing Rockies

Tom Glavine sent his 2005 season off with a brilliant 2-hit performance, guaranteeing both his own first .500 record in three seasons with the Mets AND the Mets own .500 record for the first time since 2000 as the Mets defeated the Colorado Rockies in the opening game of the final series of the season, 11-0.

Glavine struck out 11 batters last night in his last start of the season to finish the year with a 13-13 record and a 3.53 earned run average. It was his 275th career win and his 24th career shutout.

Leading the offensive barrage was David Wright, whose two homer and three RBIS pushed him to 100 RBIs on the season

Mike Piazza added a homer following Wright's in the 5th, his 19th of the season, a massive 450 shot to left field which earned him a standing ovation and eventually, as the heady madness of watching the Mets career of a future Hall of Famer wind down, the barking mad calls for "one more year".

Jose Reyes' strikeout in the 6th was his 683rd at-bat of the season setting a Mets record. It's quite difficult to imagine that Reyes, injury-riddled all last season and with historically hampered hammies, has set a record for at-bats but there it is.

This, or the subsequent post tomorrow will be my last for the next month as, like Pedro, I am cutting out on the season a few games earlier to enjoy my offseason holidays.

Thus, my season-ending grades, comments, eulogies and epitaths will not likely be forthcoming until well after the rest of the blogosphere has finished and the misery that is the Jets well planted and perhaps already bearing fruit.

Mr Sports Net New York looking somewhat like an alien in his own skin

This is no secret but frankly, Manny Ramirez is a really bad Met signing waiting to happen. I can feel the muscles pulling, the bad clubhouse karma and the lengthy spells on the disabled list from here.

Read my lips, Freddy. Manny Ramirez to the Mets is a step back in the wrong direction. Stay away from the Manny, please.

After Elimination, Mets Choking on .500

Last night's 16-6 loss to the Phillies was probably a simple matter of the world righting itself again.

After five consecutive victories had them at 80 victories needing only one more to clinch a .500 season, the Mets finally predictably lost again, and lost big.

Steve Trachsel, having already endured back surgery and a comeback sometimes good and sometimes spectacular pitching performances down the stretch, fell back to earth last night, much harder the Seo the night before, by surrendering 10 hits and 7 runs in a mere 4 1/3 innings - several games worth of Phillies Phrustration coming home to roost.

Chase Utley was yet again a massive thorn in the Mets side by driving in 5 runs including a 3-run homer.

Cliff Floyd his his 33rd homer of the year and has now driven in 97 runs on the season which means with a four game finale at home against the Rockies coming up the Mets stand a good chance of having two 100-RBI men on their roster this season.


Mets Are Eliminated AND Lift Braves To NL East Title

It is perhaps fitting that the Mets won on the night they were finally mathemetically eliminated from the playoffs.

After a very untimely losing slump at the beginning of the month which saw their own postseason aspirations bagged, bound and gutted, the Mets were finally "officially" and "mathematically" eliminated from the 2005 playoffs last night when the Houston Astros defeated the St Louis Cardinals.

Nonetheless, they were perhaps not "philosophically" eliminated because the Mets, following their 3-2 victory in Philadelphia last night have virtually eliminated the Phillies from the wildcard chase and virtually vaulted the Houston Astros into the playoffs instead, appear to have been on some sort of secret crusade to make sure that none of their NL East brethren rode into the 2005 postseason on the NL Wildcard either.

Of course, by defeating the Phillies, the irony doesn't get any thicker than this: The Mets Handed The Braves The NL East.

That's right, lads. Our victory over the Phillies let the Braves clinch the NL East. Chew on that one awhile.

In an odd season that began with five losses and then six victories, the Mets have proven yet again that they are if nothing else, a team of extremes, now having knotted their fifth victory in a row and eight of their last nine, nine of their last eleven, all after a miserable but crucially crippling road trip during which they lost eight of ten games.

We're getting signals from Willie's substation on the moon that even though they had their spirits broken two weeks ago, the Mets are "proving" that they aren't quitters. Well, that's a comfort and an improvement over Art Howe-led teams. They aren't quitters.

Perhaps it's just a little too early to assess the importance of this because right now it feels that whilst they might not be quitters, they are most certainly chokers and regardless of whether or not they are quitters, whether or not we measure our esteem by little moral victories like that rather than victories on the road in the heat of the playoff race, the bottom line remains that the Mets are not in the playoffs either.

Oh yes, why be such a spoiled sport, right?

Hey, look kids, the Mets are great at winning games that don't matter. Hey kids, let's go to Shea today and watch the Mets play for.....Pride.

It's too early and the disappointment still too cutting to sit back with our feet up on the coffee table, picking our teeth with one meaningless victory after another and congratulating ourselves for knocking out the Marlins, Nats and Phillies from the playoffs too.

Let's not forget: we knocked ourselves from the playoffs as well and whilst the scorched earth policy might play well for the kids back in Queens when Willie's season comes up for review, the code word for 2005 was inconsistency.

They Mets had 9 streaks of three or more consecutive losses this season and 12 streaks of three or more consecutive victories.

When the season is measured in the winter months, we can examine how that compares with other teams but from here on the ground, it felt like being tied to fence post: every time they jumped to a start, the length of rope ended and yanked them right back to where they began from.

The Man in the dirt is the suddenly indominable Jose Reyes

And last night, still not mathemetically eliminated, the Mets tossed Victor Zambrano in lieu of Pedro, dog food in lieu of filet mignon. Somehow the Mets managed a victory anyway last night and on Zambrano, I'll let the NYT description suffice:

"Zambrano delivered one of his typical erratic performances. It was as if he were striving to fill in every statistical category on his pitching line."

Perhaps we deserve Victor Zambrano who can finally, trepidly step out of the shadow of Scott Kazmir who last night struck out seven, upping his total to 174 and setting the Tampa Bay single-season strikeout record while simultaneously helping the Devil Rays defeat the streaking Indians and picking up his 10th victory of the season with a six-inning, four-hit, one-run performance that perhaps in a nod to Zambrano, included five walks.

Kazmir: He's No Victor Zambrano - During the month of September, Kazmir is 3-0 with a 1.71 ERA in five starts. Zambrano is getting spot starts out of the bullpen.

So pretty much everything rotten that could have happened last night, happened.

1. Astros won, eliminating the last tiny little hope we'd secretly housed about the playoffs.
2. Braves won and we beat Phillies which means WE helped the Braves win their 10 millionth consecutive NL East title.
3. Victor Zambrano pitched less than five innings of erratic baseball whilst the man we traded to get him set his franchise's single season strikeout record.

Well done on a dying season.

I'll see what I can do in the interim about getting excited at the chance of the Mets catching the Phillies and finishing in second place.


Mets Take 4th In A Row - Wildcard Visible From Next Galaxy

This game had all the elements.

A two and a half hour rain delay during which time Glorified-Third-Base-Coach Willie Randolph played a game of scissors/rock/paper with Pedro Martinez about whether or not he could take an early holiday under that mango tree, the typical Pat Burrell homer against the Mets, a homer by rookie phenom Mike Jacobs, cameo appearances by nearly all our favourite Met punching bags - Danny Graves, Kaz Ishii and Shingo Takatso, an Ugueth Urbina meltdown, a two-run error by Chase Utley and, most of all, an improbable Met victory.

Shingo faced only two batters in the game and got only one of them out after surrendering Pat Burrell's seemingly predictable blast (and Today's Question is which was more inevitable, Burrell's homer against the Mets or Shingo being the one to surrender it) and yet Shingo STILL managed to gain a very undeserved victory for himself, his first and likely last as a Met.

Any suspense about Jimmy Rollins' fabled 30 game hitting streak coming to an end was quickly halted when he cracked the first pitch from New York starter Jae Seo off a beer sign that hangs off the second deck in right at Citizens Bank Park to give the Phillies a neat and quick 1-0 lead that quickly doubled to 2-0 when Met nemesis Chase Utley doubled and Met nemesis Pat Burrell singled him home.

Say what you will about Philadelphia fans being knuckle-walking, arse-whispering pederasts but it's impressive when a guy, even if he plays for Philly, extends his hitting streak to 31 games whilst his team struggles to stay in the playoff race.

And yes, a four-run rally in the 8th inning to give the Mets a 6-5 victory which pushed them a massive TWO games above .500 and inched them ever-so-closer to NL Wildcard chase, was quite impressive. As previously noted the Mets are really beginning to impress me with their ability to win when it doesn't count. They are now only 6 games behind the Astros for the NL Wildcard with 6 games to play and perhaps more importantly, they are only a half-game behind the miserable Marlins for 3rd place in the NL East. The same Marlins Carlos Delgado signed for this winter over the Mets because the Marlins had a better chance to make it to the World Series.

We might want to note for next season's reference purposes when it comes time to scratch out a starting rotation that Jae Seo appears to be falling to earth again.

In his last three starts Seo has thrown 16 innings, surrendered 25 hits and 10 earned runs. It isn't the floodgates of a Shingo appearance or the futility of Kaz Ishii outing but it is, if you'll pardon the expression, a chink in the armour.

It might also be interesting to note that Doug Mientkiewicz was sent in to pinch-hit for Takatsu in the 8th at the tail end of the Mets miraculous rally and as though the Shingo Disease of Incompetence called Shingoitis were transmittable, promptly struck out in his stead.

You can also call attention to the fact that the Mets have belatedly ripped through the NL East portion of their Late Season Win Once It Doesn't Matter Tour by winning 8 of 10 against their NL East rivals including a jarring sweep of the Nats which knocked them out of the competition and two of three late-rally-victories from the properly humiliated Marlins to wreck their postseason hopes as well.

If the Mets were to sweep the Phillies it could very well mean that they were able to keep all but the hated Braves out of the postseason almost single-handedly.

Of course, third base coach and acting manager Willie Randolph sees it differently.

After saying that Pedro would pitch IF the Mets weren't yet mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, Pedro was able to bring Willie to his senses and urge him into believing that mathematically or not, it's time for Tio Pedro to have his offseason siesta.

So, lucky Phillies fans will get a chance at the magical Victor Zambrano piñata tonight instead of a vintage Pedro to ease their Wildcard worries.

Why not just fold up camp and call it a season?

Indeed, even glorified third base coach Willie has demonstrated he doesn't care:

"You just want to win as many games as you can. But to me, what difference does it make -- .500? One game under .500? Whatever. What difference does it make?"

What difference does it make indeed?

What a leader, that Willie Randolph.


Better Late Than Never

So, the Mets have crawled back to respectability, out of the NL East basement. They leave Washington with a 6-5 victory and three game sweep of the Nationals.

And what, we're supposed to forget their diabolical choke job this month? We're supposed to forget the road trip from hell, the gutless fashion in which they laid down for the Marlins, Braves and Cardinals? We're supposed to magically unrecall that Willie is a glorified third base coach in a manager's uniform? Spin in circles, clap our hands, chant and cheer because oh jeez, the Mets really are good after all?

Mike Piazza hits a pair of homeruns, makes a leaping catch and tagged out Brad Wilkerson at the plate in the seventh and we're supposed to get how he dragged his feet to help his team two seasons in a row by learning how to play first base? Are we supposed to develop amnesia about his thousands of two-hop throws to second and the weakest catcher's arm in baseball?

I'm not buying it.

The Washington Nationals deserve to be in last place. That's where everyone picked them to finish this season and that is where they belong. Frank Robinson has been auditioning his minor league players and reserves for the last three games. Why is sweeping the Nats and dropping them into last place suddenly such a big deal?

And Piazza's numbers, when you consider his age and how many games he missed this season, 17 homers and 61 RBIs with a .258 batting average, isn't worse than average, really. Problem is, he's got the throwing arm of an 80 year old woman and since he couldn't be arsed to ever bother learning another position, the only place he belongs is where he belonged the last two seasons: DHing in the American League, out of harm's way, reaching 400 career dingers, doing the one thing he always did well, hit. He didn't belong with the Mets this season and he has no business catching, regardless of what his career offensive numbers might delude the world into believing. Let us not forget, Mike Piazza was always just a crap catcher who hit well --

What we can get excited about is Aaron Heilman's two saves in three games.

Yes, we've all heard Aaron Heilman wants to be a starter, not a closer, but the Mets are chockablock with starters whilst the glaring deficiency in a closer cost them all season. Let him go to the Dominican League and practice closing and if he doesn't want to do that, trade him to the KC Royals and let him start there. We need a closer and Heilman is the man to do it.

David Wright has now driven in 95 runs with seven remaining games to crack 100. His homer in the 8th last night was his 23rd of the season and think about this for a moment - he also hit his 42nd double of the season.

It's also time to begin to wonder who Mike Jacobs really is and where he belongs.

Is a .276 batting average, 6 doubles and 7 homers in 76 at-bats and a .353 on-base average enough of an audition at first base to make a decision? 2 errors over 200 total chances and a .995 fielding percentage at first base is better than Offerman, Woodward and Marlon Anderson have done there and exactly the same as Mientkiewicz did there only with a much less repulsive bat.

So what does the Met braintrust whisper? Let's move him to catcher...

What's wrong with Ramon Castro? He threw out 50% of baserunners trying to steal on him. He hit a respectable .250 with 8 homers and 16 doubles in 200 at-bats. Oh he's no Mike Piazza at the plate, let's break out the goddamned violins, but hey, he throws runners out. He's a defensive asset.

Rather than have little wet dreams over what sort of first baseman we can overpay for, why not leave Jacobs at first? Why not make Castro the starting catcher?

What we should be worrying about is finding a second baseman and a pair of outfielders to sandwich around Carlos Beltran.

What's this blasphemy??

What about Cameron and Floyd you say?

Well, Cameron is a centerfielder, something we already overpay one player to do. We tried all offseason to trade Cameron so let's not kid ourselves. We don't need him. Let someone else pay for 150 strikeouts and a .250 average.

And Floyd will never be worth more than he is right now. He's had a wonderful season for the Mets, his best season since we signed him and he somehow managed to stay reasonably injury free this season. Thank you very much Cliffy, now let someone else pay you millions to pray you don't spend half of next season on the DL.

Overpay for splashy free agents in the corner outfield positions. Overpay for another starting pitcher and scour all of goddamned baseball to find some competent relievers to hold leads for for Heilman to come in and save.

But whatever you do, don't get excited about next year simply because the Mets start winning once it doesn't matter any more.

I dare say that with Benson, Glavine and Pedro, not to mention Floyd playing well, a full season of Wright and even Beltran, Art Howe could have managed this team to .500 so let's have another closer look at Willie too. Before we make the mistake of leaving him in there to lead us yet again to a third base coach's finish.


The Long Road Back To .500

A season of hoping to be in the playoffs is reduced to a season clawing back to .500 and hoping to climb out of the NL East basement but what the hell, it's something, after all and some of the Mets are beginning to show some life.

Might Makes Wright

Last night David Wright hit his second career grand slam to give the Mets all the runs they would need in the top of the first inning and Tom Glavine went eight innings, allowing four hits and striking out six to earn the easy victory but more importantly, Willie Randolph was finally ejected from a game!

On the other side of the coin, Nats manager Frank Robinson, captain of the swiftly sinking vessel called mediocrity in the nation's capital, opted to play, for the most part, rookies and backups, deciding to shut down most of the veterans for the final week of the season, quitting on the team owned by the owners.

"Im not going to challenge any of Earl Weaver's or Billy Martin's records [for ejections]," Randolph disavowed after both he AND Jose Reyes were tossed from the game. "But this one's been building up for a while."

I'll say, Willie. Must have been building like all fucking season whilst you sat on your hands and looked coy from the dugout, never littering the field with baseball, bats and shin guards in an obscenity-laded, spittle-on-the-lips sort of explosive tirade so many other great managers (like, let's say Lou Piniella, for example) are known for.

Finally, we can say with emphasis: our manager is no Joe Torre mannequin wanna-be any longer!

Talk about pulling your career out of your back pocket and going: look what I've found!, over his last 11 starts, Glavine has pitched at least seven innings 10 times and has allowed three or more runs in only two of those games and last night he was simply baffling to these rookies and reserves of the Nats, retiring 14 straight batters at one point and earning the 274th victory of his career, remarkably, grabbing sole possession of 29th on the All-Time Victory list.

"If there was a time when I wished we were going to the playoffs, it's now," Glavine effused. "When I'm going so well." -- interesting quote. Did he intentionally drop the rest of his team when referring to things going well or is he trying to say he only cares about himself and his 300 victories now?

Last night, a mere 11 minutes and 18 pitches into Nat All-Star pitcher Livian Hernandez's outing, it was 5-0 and the right-hander had yet to record an out. When he did, striking out Marlon Anderson, a bit of a sarcastic cheer rose from the crowd of 32,467.

Wright's grand slam gave him 93 RBIs on the season - he'll need 7 in his last 8 games to reach the magical century mark in what offensively anyway, has been a terrific season, one which will certainly garner future All-Star sympathy for him, perhaps as early as next season.

Not much else to say about this other than if the Mets win the rest of their games this season and the Astros lose the rest of theirs well...


152 Games Late, Carlos Beltran FINALLY Shows Up

Ahhh, Carlos me boy, too little too late.

Isn't it ironic in a twisted, melancholy sort of way that in Game 153 of the season in which the Mets need slide rules and astrophysics to figure how to avoid being eliminated from the post season, that the Houston Astros, the team Carlos Beltran bid adieu to in the off season, are nestled quite comfortably in the NL Wildcard lead whilst the Mets, "winners" in the Carlos Beltran Sweepstakes are nestled comfortably in last place in the NL East?

Granted, the Astros are hardly comfortable, they're only a game ahead of the still-hard-charging Phillies. And granted, the Mets are one and a half games from fourth place in the NL East, (a sweep of the Nats would propel them out of the basement but they'll probably choke on that one too...)

And granted, it hasn't been all Carlos Beltran's fault the Mets are in last place, (you could blame an absolute crap bullpen, the Achilles Heel of the Mets this season, if you were feeling generous).

But the cold and ugly truth is that Carlos Beltran failed us so many times in the clutch when we needed him already that last night's 3-run homer to win the game in the 10th inning was like an elaborate joke that took 153 games to set up.

Don't get me wrong. I like Carlos Beltran. He could have quit on the season when he fractured his face in that season-highlight collision with Mike Cameron. He could have pissed and moaned about hearing the boos and the cat calls at Shea like Cliff Floyd and many others have done in the past. He simply stood strong all season, tried his hardest and unfortunately in most cases, failed. He wasn't given that enormous contract to fail but this is, after all, his New York teething period and perhaps after this season is under his belt, we'll see a more clutch Carlos Beltran when it counts.

Still, a three-run homer to win a game late in September should have been pushing the Mets closer to the playoffs, not closer to .500 or closer to getting out of last place in the NL East.

And last night, despite the unusual situation of Beltran's game-winner, was quite typical of how the Mets bullpen has let us down time and again this season. How far removed are these relievers from that horrific Bradon Looper meltdown in Game One of the season against the Reds?

Well, for one, Looper is no longer the closer and if we're lucky, next season he won't even be a Met. But typically, Willie Randolph made a curious decision with his pen that has blown up in Met faces. If the idea of dropping Looper as a closer was to audition closers for next year then what the hell is the 40-year oldish Roberto Hernandez doing in the role? I'll ask again, as I have several times already, why would we want a 41 year old man poised as our closer next season? Isn't there ONE other guy in that bullpen we'd rather see auditioning? Oh, I dunno, let's say Aaron Heilman???

Last night Steve Trachsel pitched six plus scoreless innings, allowing only five hits and striking out seven before being removed in favour of the demolition squad with a 2-0 lead.

Juan Padilla came in to pitch two scoreless innings but then, rather than stick Heilman in to save the game, Willie reached for The Roberto and The Roberto responded by surrendering a game-tying two run homer to Carlos Baerga (oh, remember the days of Baerga and wine?) to blow the victory for Trachsel and nearly blow it for the Mets on a night they had an uncharacteristic 10 hits.

And it was only AFTER Carlos Beltran gave the Mets their 3 run lead in the 10th that Willie went to the man he should've gone to to begin with: Aaron Heilman. Heilman responded by walking one, but saving the game, his second of the season.

So instead of being lumped in with the Astros, Phillies and perhaps even the Marlins for the NL Wildcard chase, the Mets are fighting to reach .500 and inching ever so closely to climbing out of the NL East basement, which is now one and a half games in sight.

Maybe that's why we bought Pedro and Carlos. To keep us out of last place. And how bad does it seem that even with them, we still haven't done it?


I was looking over the season stats to date when I noticed something miraculous:

DO you realise that Jose Reyes has 656 at-bats this season?

Granted, he allows himself to be walked about as often as a leg-less dog but still, if someone told me at the beginning of the season that Jose Reyes would not only avoid rehabilitating those tragically fragile hammies this season but would lead the Major Leagues in at-bats, you could've knocked me over with four shots of single malt and a feather.

Not only that, but his OBP now stands at .302 - for a lead off hitter that is, of course, nothing short of pathetic, and it is the lowest of anyone with over 600 at-bats this season, but let's give credit where it's due - Reyes also has 58 stolen bases, which lead the league and just three nights ago, when his speed caused the normally sure-handed Juan Pierre to bobble the ball in excitement in centerfield and allow Reyes to take second, Jose showed that he certainly has a debilitating effect on players who have to face him.


Oh, what could be.

Tom (occasionally Terrific) Glavine takes the mound today as the Mets attempt to reach .500 once again, this time, against Livian Hernandez, the sometimes ace of the Nats staff. Hernandez however, has a 6.60 ERA against the Mets this season, despite his 2-1 record.

And what the hell, we have little to root for so a struggle back to .500 after it seemed like the Mets had already quit on the season and a battle against the Nats to climb out of last place, will have to suffice.


Pedro Retires Early, Out D-Train'd As Mets Lose 2-1

Pedro Martinez is finally doing the smart thing, he's quitting on the season whilst he's still ahead.

Removed after tossing just 75 pitches over five innings, it is Pedro's will that this be his last outing of this memorably miserable 2005 experience. He can pack up his toys and head home.

Adios, Pedro, have a Happy Offseason

Pedro's inning total has reached 217, the same total he had last season with the Red Sox, the 27 post-season innings notwithstanding. Pedro of course, will be pitching ZERO post-season innings for the Mets this season.

"It's their decision," the Magic Pedro blamed. "I haven't talked to them about it. They can do whatever they want to do. At this point, everything's said and done."

Let's face it. The Mets management isn't smart enough to see that far ahead in the game to shut Pedro down and let him rest for next season a few games early. Hell, they aren't officially eliminated from the post-season yet and as we all know, Willie Randolph is not the kind of manager to throw the towel in early for these "meaningful games" - isn't that why Anderson Hernandez didn't get a start until earlier this week? Isn't that why Looper was still the closer until a night or two ago?

Whether it was Pedro's decision or the Mets, it really doesn't matter - it was a well-overdue move. There is absolutely no reason not to rest him the rest of the season just in case the Mets are somehow competitive next season. I should know, having recommended this move myself some two weeks ago.

But perhaps to sell tickets for an otherwise meaningless game to the Mets, Pedro pitched another, this time against the D-Train who is the only non-LaRussa managed pitcher to hit 7th and whose batting average at 2.50 is higher than his ERA, which is 2.44 to go with his 22nd victory against only 9 losses.

D-Train is fighting Chris Carpenter of the Cardinals for the Cy Young but we're not sure what effect outdueling Pedro for 5 innings and shutting down the teeny, tiny bats of the New York Metropolitans, is going to have on the voting. The Mets are in effect, the tomato cans of the NL East and even though they took two of three from the Marlins, it was only because the pressure is off of them whilst for the Marlins, the pressure is still on.


Last night also so another Mike Piazza swan song.

Summoned as a pinch hitter with two on and two out in the 7th last night, Piazza, we can say, staying consistent with his MO for this sadly fading season, struck out.

No hang on, he was only doing his Carlos Beltran imitation, he said after the game.


Even Though The Season's Lost, Mets Finish Fish Again

The Mets winning run came from an unusual source last night - Miguel Cairo.

Cairo, brought to the Mets as a backup to the Kaz Man, who was brought to the Mets to be their answer to the poor man's Hideki Matsui or the poor man's Ichiro, has been forced through injury and the incompetence of others, to play the majority of the season himself at second base. Not having been brought in to start every night it's rather difficult to hold him accountable for his dodgy starting play all season and let's face it, after the signing of Carlos Beltran, he wasn't brought in to make game-winning hits or lead the Mets to the pennant.

Last night though, he had the game-winning hit just after Jose Reyes ended up on second base by virtue of some daring, Jackie Robinson-style running and whose speed caused Juan Pierre to bobble the ball on a single to center and got Reyes to second base in the first place.

(A Man of Many Talents, Jose Reyes Can Clap And Slide Home At The Same Time)

"When I saw he missed the ball a little bit, I said I'll go to second base no matter what happens," said the formerly hamstrung Reyes, who stole two bases in the first inning to give him 57 for the season, tops in the majors.

So, if you're still keeping track at home, that's four of five victories and two straight series wins. All too late to matter.

But if it's any consolation, the Mets bullpen did its normally flashy job of trying to blow the game. Bradon Looper, as though auditioning to be placed on irrevocable waivers, entered the game with one out in the 8th and after getting Juan Encarnacion out, proceeded to walk, allow a single and then give up a run-scoring single to the 900 year old Lenny Harris to tie the score.

Let's recant the wish to get a closer and make Bradon Looper the set-up man. Let's just get rid of Bradon Looper altogether and start from scratch.

Shingo Takatsu, who has never mattered for the Mets except in circumstances where he could and would blow a game wide open for the opposition, was then mysterously summoned in. Willie's boy, let's not forget. And Shingo, yet another Met failure at busting open the Japanese ballplayer market (Kaz Man, Ishii and Shingo just this season alone), allowed another run-scoring single, this one to pinch-hitter Josh Willingham, who has 36 MLB at-bats over the last two seasons, an impressive resumé. That single gave the Marlins a 4-3 lead and frankly, when you've got Looper followed by Shingo, what more could one reasonably expect?

So let's hand it to the bullpen, or perhaps Willie's usual mismanagement of it, for trying it's best to blow the game but failing.

Now that the games don't matter any more other than to pad stats for the rest of the season and in the instant case, for his career, Mike Pizza had a run-scoring single in the 8th to tie the score at 4-4.

And yes, the irrepressably illogical Willie Randolph, insisting on putting Roberto Hernandez in as an experimentational closer when clearer he is too damned old to do the job next season anyway, sat through a rather nervy 9th when Hernandez proceeded to allow a leadoff double to Conine, who advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt. He then intentionally (so they say) walked Carlos Delgado, and then Juan Encarnacion hit a grounder to second base.

Cairo charged in, scooped up the ball and pump-faked a throw home, freezing Conine. Cairo looked off the other runners to prevent them from advancing, moving forward all the while, and eventually tracked down Conine 10 feet from third.

Cairo's play relieved some of the pressure on Hernandez, leaving runners on first and second with two outs. Hernandez walked the next batter, but then induced Lowell to hit a pop foul to Mike Jacobs to end the rally by the width of a wet taco.


Tonight the Mets, playing for pride and .500, go in for the sweep against the Marlins who are still battling for a Wildcard spot. Dontrelle Willis faces Pedro Martinez in what might have been exciting were the Mets still in the wildcard hunt. But they aren't so this is more like half an exhibition game where the result only matters to one of the teams.

And for the record, that would be the Marlins, who didn't eliminate themselves with a hideous losing streak over the last month and then start winning after all was already lost.


A Win When It Doesn't Count

Win when it doesn't matter.

This reminds me of thinking of a great comeback, a real fuck-you-in-the-face zinger only after the jerk has walked away and it's a week later and it's been rolling around in your head, filling you with a backlog of bile the entire time.

What was it Delgado's agent once said? That Carlos signed with the Marlins because they had a better chance of making the World Series?

Not yet, muthahfuckah.

Even though they managed only four hits in twelve innings of play they somehow came from behind for a strangely competent 12 inning 3-2 victory to win for the 32nd time this season, in extra innings for the seventh time in 13 tries, win in their final at-bat for the 14th time, and on a game's final pitch for the seventh time.

What does this tell you about the Mets?

Nothing. Let's be real.

I like that they've won, don't get me wrong.

But I would have liked better that they had won BEFORE they collapsed and dropped themselves like junkies out of the human race.

So should we be pissants, beatifying our every victory now, after we've let so many slip away when it mattered?

No, we should celebrate the meaninglessness of it, the season, the hopes, the little anginas that happened two or three times this season when we thought to ourselves or aloud, "fuckin hell, maybe we DO have a chance after all..."

No, these are the ashes from wherein a small burst of fire erupts inexplicably.

Must I pantomime the exercise of pretending?

"Wow, two of three from the Braves and now winning the same way we used to lose against one of the teams still in the hunt...?"

Just wait til next season.


the Mike Piazza Doll, you can break it's hand, throw beanballs into it's head, smash it and knock it over repeatedly yet it still won't play first base.

And not to be overlooked, they have won consecutive games for the first time since Aug. 25 and 26.

Floyd made another brilliant throw to cut down Jeff Conine at the plate for the third out, taking Juan Encarnacion's base hit in left-center and producing his 14th assist. Floyd leads the National League in outfield assists.Jeff Conine was thrown out by Floyd while attempting to score from second on Juan Encarnacion's two-out single. Floyd's throw arrived just ahead of Conine, who slid into Piazza's glove as the Mets' catcher blocked the plate.

The collision knocked Piazza onto his back and several feet off the plate. And we could, by reasonably deduction, conclude that Conine is a pussy.

Victor Diaz's 5 at-bat four strikeout routine reminded us that at .259, he is no bargain as a hitter and he certainly isn't yet capable of compensating for the confused manner with which he patrols right field. However, he managed to fist a double in the 7th inning and eventually scored despite an otherwise rough night.

Collectively, the Mets managed only two hits through 11 innings and struck out an appalling 15 times so perhaps Victor was only trying to fit into this strange new Mets offensive philosophy.

Anderson Hernandez had his second consecutive 0 for night in two MLB games and has now struck out three times in eight at-bats.

Kris Benson gave up only two hits on four runs in seven innings of work whilst the Mets were nearly being no-hit by AJ Burnett who did in fact, take a no-hitter into the 7th inning.

"Spoilers are losers," Randolph said, pretty grandly considering that in fact, the team he's managing are by his own definition, losers. "I don't want to ever have my team feel good about being spoilers."

You can tell the Mets aren't taking the season seriously any more when Victor Zambrano is out there pitching in the 8th inning, giving up two hits and an "intentional" walk though no runs and showing us he's still the same auld Victor.

Spoilers are losers Willie, you said as much yourself. But who is the manager who got them there, spoilers instead of contenders?


Glavine Shows Braves Who's Boss, 4-1

There haven't been many moments of to be proud of for these Mets this last month.

We don't have to run through the litany of cock-ups, meltdowns, insults to the fantasy of the post-season, and general incompetence. They are there to be seen like a trail of blood behind a bitch in heat. The Mets had us fooled for awhile but in the end, they couldn't fool their opponents.

So perhaps that's what makes Tom Glavine's sublime six-hit performance against his former team, the gang that has terrorised the Mets for well over a decade and ever since his move to Shea, that much more bittersweet.

Willie and Mr Tom Enjoy the Moment

We've taken two of three at home from the NL East beast on its way to its 14th consecutive NL East title but they were in essence, a meaningless two of three after the flood's tides have just begun to recede and leave behind the evidence of destruction in its wake.

Is it meant to be encouraging? A warning shot fired over the bow to our greatest enemies outside of the Bronx? Or is it merely a harmless snarl after years of getting kicked and practically forgotten?

There's no telling about next year, no telling how Glavine might fare in his quest for 300 career victories, no telling if his added pitches and new attitude will be enough to offset age and the team of blundering failures he joined in 2002. So far, his new team has failed to even produce a .500 season, let alone a championship.

And for awhile yesterday, it didn't seem to matter how well Glavine pitched. Upon taking a shutout into the sixth inning, he surrendered a homer to Marcus Giles to quickly make it what normally seems against these Braves, an insurmountable 1-0 lead.

Victor Diaz, from his free-swinging #2 perch in the order doubled Jose Reyes home in the bottom of the 6th and was swiftly followed by Carlos Beltan's double to allow the Mets to take the lead. Then, almost incomprehensibly, as they'd drawn it up in the pregame, Cliff Floyd pounded his career-high 32nd homer of the season to make it 4-1. Just like that the Mets erased a Braves lead and didn't look back.

Of course, it took Glavine finishing the game himself rather than handing it over to a heartbreak bullpen to actually earn the victory but doing what it takes is something the Mets have not had much success at this season so for a change, the Braves leave town without dropping the Mets in the dumper on the way out.

Needless to say, Mets fans were also heartened by the introduction of Anderson Hernandez playing second base to form what might one day be the Mets super future infield: Wright at 3rd, Reyes at short, Hernandez at 2nd and perhaps Jacobs at first if he isn't coerced into catching instead.

Not bad at all. Hernandez was named the top player at AA Birmingham and Jacobs was named the Mets minor league player of the year. Brian Bannister, who may eventually climb to stardom for the Mets was named their minor league pitcher of the year.

After yesterday, we might be encouraged to hope again, until the memories of this disappointments come flickering back again.


Even with the victory the Mets are still an embarassing three games below .500, left to play the spoiler in their three game series against the Marlins.

As predicted, the Willie Randolph bobblehead giveaway produced a few extras. Rumoured to have an incredible 25,000 bobbleheads available, the crowd only numbered 7,500 and god only knows how many of them even WANTED a Willie Randolph bobblehead. Not unless it can take out the trash or walk the dog.

And as the Marlins approach, it looks like we can no longer deride Carlos Delgado for brushing off the Mets offseason advances and signing for the Marlins because they had a better chance at the postseason.


Lastly how about this kids? The season isn't even over yet and already, the Manny For Beltran rumours have begun.

I wouldn't make this trade. I wouldn't even consider it. I'd laugh in the face of anyone who suggest it. Maybe even spit in their face. Pedro would probably like it but really, no matter how clutch Manny has been, no doubt a Queens ending to his career would prove to be a long series of injuries, disappointments and recriminations against whatever idiot made the trade to begin with. Let the Sox keep their headaches and that payroll eater. We've already got enough headaches as it is.


First And Last, Braves Baffle Mets Yet Again, 7-4

The Collapse has now reached 16 losses in their last 20 games for the Mets and back to their familiar position of Braves-stooges after a Pedro day off from reality, the 7-4 loss yesterday was just another thick roll of fat in a season already obese with disappointment.

They tried to battle back from a 5-0 deficit in a matchup of the first place team in the NL East against the Last Place team in the NL East. But it was clear throughout why the two teams are positioned where they are. One wins with predictability, one losses with predictability.

Ooof! Mike Jacobs juggles David Wright's errant throw that opened the floodgates for a 3-unearned run Braves blowup in the 1st inning. "I tried to pick up David," Jacobs said of the errant throw, "but I couldn't." Typical.

So Wright had his 21st error in a season of costly errors and regardless of his key performances at the plate this season, a reminder that although he is quickly blossoming into a star, he still has a long way to go.

Unable to fully take advantage of an un-Tim Hudson-like performance, the Mets showed yet again that they are fate's favourite victims against the Braves.

After back-to-back walks to Carlos Beltran and Cliff Floyd in the bottom of the 1st, David Wright strolled to the plate eager to atone for flubbing what should have been an inning-ending grounder - instead of homering to tie the game, he watched Hudson walk him, the third batter in a row to load the bases for Mike Piazza.

Piazza, back for his first game since getting beaned, had every chance in the world of making this a memorable close out to his Shea career but instead of breaking the game back open, Piazza's liner to centerfield was trapped by Andruw Jones, incorrectly ruled an out and the inning, just as quickly as hope was sprung, was over.

To his credit, Piazza, fuming with anger at the call, came back in his next at-bat to blast a massive angry homerun to the back of the left field bullpen to make it 5-3 and was quickly followed by Mike Jacobs' even more massive 460 foot blast to the back of the right field bullpen to make it 5-4 but that was the extent of the Mets hopes for pulling off a second-straight meaningless victory over the Braves.

Shingo Takatsu gave Marcus Giles a homer in the 7th to fold up the Mets chances. Still pitching for the Mets? Still in New York? Why?

They made one more effort, in the bottom of the 7th, getting the first two men on only to see Beltran, Floyd and Wright retired with barely a whimper.

Ho-hum, Braves beat the Mets again.

Adding a poignant kick to Met misery was the death of Donn Clendenon, the MVP of the 1969 World Series.

Clendenon hit three home runs and four RBIs during the Mets' five-game upset of the Baltimore Orioles.

The power-hitting first baseman batted .274 and amassed 1,273 hits and 159 home runs over a 12-year Major League career that began with the Pittsburgh Pirates.


The chatter is all about Anderson Hernandez, number one in your programmes, getting set to start at second base sometime in the very near future, perhaps a glimpse of what the Mets might look forward to next season after Kaz Matsui is jettisoned like rubbish out of an intergalactic space ship.

Tom Glavine will face his old team in the rubber match today against John Thomson. Rubber match indeed - does anyone really believe the Mets have a chance to take two of three, even in a series which no longer matters?

If that isn't enough excitement for you, how about Willie Randolph Bobblehead giveaway for today's game? It goes to the first 25,000 fans with enough stomach to bother showing up. Think they'll have about 10,000 left over for the E-bay vultures to pick over?

And, if that STILL isn't enough to entice you, all Boy Scouts and Leaders in uniform will participate in a Pre-Game Scout Parade around the field. How much more exciting can it get?

Stay home, kids. Watch the Jets perform miracles against the Dolphins instead.

If you're ever tiring of the dreary droning about the Mets, have a look at my other sports site:

Sports Amnesia.


Pedro The Maestro Dulls The Pain For A Night

It wasn't so long ago that Pedro was lights-out every game he started and we were afraid we'd run out of superlatives before the end of the summer.

The Maestro Takes A Bow

Alot has changed since then but Pedro's brilliant 10 K, complete game shutout (his first as a Met) of the hated Atlanta Braves reminded us for nine innings of the excitement we felt last winter when his signing was first announced as the stepping stone towards Met competency.

Just last Sunday he helped the Mets snap a six game losing streak and beat the NL-best St Louis Cardinals and last night, he outshined John Smoltz in yet another duel between two old starters who aren't yet ready to be put to pasture. Martinez evened his season record against Smoltz at 2-2. He beat Smoltz on April 10, the Mets first victory of the season. Smoltz won showdowns on April 26 and Sept. 6. ... Martinez now has nine seasons of 200 or more strikeouts.

But in reality, this victory was like fucking a fat chick in some drunken sorority party after breaking up with the hottest chick on campus. It just serves to remind that you can go through the motions and claim success but sometimes that success is just too hollow to bother getting excited about.

WHO would you rather be waking up to after a night's debaucherie?

The Fat Chick; a meaningless 4-0 victory over the Braves with the season in this pisser,


The beautiful ex: A 4-0 victory over the Braves to keep the Mets in first place in the NL East?


Although they won for only the 4th time in 19 games, the Mets, amazingly, are still not quite mathematically eliminated from the NL Wildcard race.

Hmmm, let's see.

If the Mets sweep the Braves, the Marlins win one then lose one to the Phillies, the Nats lose their next two out West and the Astros lose two in a row to Milwaukee, they will be a mere six games from the Wildcard lead with 13 games to play. Of course, everyone but the Cubs would still be ahead of them, that's what, five teams ahead of them?

Mathematically in the race indeed. If the Mets win out the rest of the season, sweep the Braves, sweep the Marlins, sweep the Nats, and sweep the Phillies whilst all their opponents lose their remaining games (except for the dodgy question of when the rivals are playing each other and only one of them can lose...)well, there you go, Mets 2005 NL Wildcard.

Ha, a mere seven games out of the wildcard chase as it stands right now. The proverbial snow ball's chance in hell? A season of waking up to fat chicks?

Even a sweep of the Braves would still see the Mets a game under .500, hardly an encouraging thought.

More likely, the Mets will not have a chance for .500 when they close out the season against the Rockies.

Close, but no cigar - The Kaz Man nearly appears to go for Chipper's Head last night but like everything else he does, just missed.


So it's taken nearly the entire season for Willie to realise the closer's spot needs to be filled by a closer. One of his brilliant ideas to audtion other bullpen Mets is to consider the 40 year old Roberto Hernandez in the closer's role. That sounds like a pretty productive experiment. And if he wins the audition what, we start next season with a 41 year old closer? I sure hope not. And with Aaron Heilman on record as saying he wants to pitch as a starter in the winter leagues and vie for a starter's role next season, the Mets aren't really left with many options.

You don't want to begin next season without a clear cut, potentially dominating closer. Not if you hope to compete - although, the Braves, for whatever magical reason, seem to have done well this season without one.


I wonder, if I lived in NYC and had tickets to go see the game Saturday afternoon if I'd even bother. Why? To watch Tim Hudson shut out the Mets? He's 2-0 lifetime against them with a 0.82 ERA having given up 19 hits in 22 innings of work against them.

Steve Trachsel is 11-13 with a 4.73 ERA in his career against the Braves.

Prediction: Carlos Beltran drives in his specialty: a meaningless run, late in the game and the Mets lose, 5-1.


Once We Were Babes

I'd like to say more but frankly, I can't see the keys so, I'll let this image stand on its own and only suggest.

Hey Look, Kids, Mets Get Swept!

Now listen, I like a humiliating sweep at home just as much as the next guy.

But this, just another too much on the TooMuch-O-Meter.

Swept by the fucking Washington Nationals, the former Montreal Expos, the team owned by the owners, the team everyone or nearly so, picked for the basement. Sweeping us.

LAST lesson of the day, kids. Watching the Mets gives you diarrhea and diarrhea is very dangerous, don't try this at home...

Swept by the fucking Nats. Good one.


Where's The Pride? Mets Quit On Season

"Tears, idle tears, I know not what they mean,
Tears from the depth of some divine despair
Rise in the heart, and gather to the eyes,
In looking on the happy Autumn-fields,
And thinking of the days that are no more."

--Alfred, Lord Tennyson: Tears, Idle Tears


You know when players, in any sport, it doesn't just have to be about baseball, start playing to save their manager's, or their coach's job?

You know the story: a team that sucks all season long whose manager or coach's head seems inevitably on the chopping block and then suddenly, the team rises above their talents, or reaches them, flies above their station and goes on a torrid winning streak and either makes the playoffs by hair's breadth or just misses them but either way, giving their fans and the ownership reason to believe that the coach/manager can still inspire his jugheads to victory?

Wayne Fontes practically made a career of doing that for the Detroit Lions back in the 90s when they'd bottom out at the beginning of the season and roar back just in time to save the coach's job every year until finally, they failed and Fontes was gone forever...

You see, I was just trying to lull you back off the ledge with distracting tales of hope and glory from another sport but now reality returns: smack!, Mets lose another to the Nats, this time 6-3.

Rather than rallying around their manager, the Mets seem to be saying collectively, Please fire this pigeon of a man, he's of no inspiration to any of us, he just sits there like a wax museum figurine, muttering platitudes and making sure he doesn't get tossed from a game because he's too cool for that, he's an ex-Yankee after all. Too cool to be associated with we subterranean upstarts and losers, we inglorious and perpetually useless Mets."

In fact, that's Willie over there in his office secretly watching replays of his beloved and successful Yankees, dreaming about the days when he stood out there in Yankee Stadium waving Yankees home from third base. Oh what love. What dedication. He calls Joe Torre nearly every day, Hey Joe, can we tape another Subway commercial, can we Joe, huh, can we? Hey Joe, will you be my friend, hey Joe, can I have my old job back in time for the playoffs?"

I think there's no way to avoid the meaning of a team losing 14 out of 17 of the most important games of the season. The Mets have quit on Willie Randolph and given his utter lack of expression about it, perhaps Willie Randolph has quit on the Mets as well.

Oh, players are loathe to hear they've quit on a season, love repeating some mindless mantra about how hard they're trying, how tough the losses are, etc and blablabla, ad nauseum. But the fact of the matter is, unless you're the KC Royals, you don't lose 14 of 17 and you certainly don't lose 14 of 17 when you're allegedly in the midst of a playoff charge.

Not unless you've quit, not unless you've had your spirit snapped in two and the manager is unable to lift you back into an upright position.

It's a Bitch's Brew, this potion of losing the Mets are gulping down as if it were the last free beer on a Labour Day picnic.

Look at this:

Two nights in a row, the Nationals have someone get tossed from a game. First Frank Robinson gets tossed in Game 1 then in Game 2, Jose Guillen blows a gasket, is thrown out of the game and then tosses shit on the field, still outraged. Granted, Jose Guillen is a bit of a nutter anyway who is well known to crack under pressure but at least the Nats are showing some life, showing they aren't ready to end their season, showing they still know how to win by taking their first two at Shea in this series. When was the last time the Mets took the first two games of an away series? Arizona, the apex of the season, that's where.

Meanwhile the Mets accept their fate of losing like quiet little church mice too busy nibbling on their scraps of cheese as their whiskers twitch, too busy to notice the losses left in their wake like little mouse pellets of shit.

Guillen took a called third strike from Kris Benson leading off the inning. After he went back to the bench, he was thrown out of the game by plate umpire Bill Miller, sparking his tantrum, his spark of life, his spastic rallying cry.

"He yelled and cursed at me out of the dugout," Miller said. "I ejected him. That's it."

Guillen first tossed a batting helmet out of the dugout. After a bat boy retrieved that, he threw a few bats onto the field. Once those were collected, he tossed a shinguard.

"It was a ball," Guillen said. "I don't like it, I let my anger come out, I did whatever I need to do."

Coincidentally, mere moments after Guillen was tossed and nearly spontaneously combusted on the field, Preston Wilson and Vinny Castilla clubbed home runs on back-to-back pitches, turning a tie game into a 6-3 victory, a rallying point, a distinct moment that yet again showed the difference between a team with guts and a team of gutless quitters.

With 16 games to play, the Nats are now just three back of the Florida Marlins and Philadelphia Phillies. Know where the quiet little church mice quitters are? So fucking far back from the NL Wildcard chase they might as well have continued right on losing after their five loss start to this season - we didn't request the side dish of a false sense of excitement.

The more games the Mets lose in this fashion, the further they slide down into oblivion, the more apparent it becomes that Willie Randolph is not the man to get the job done.

He's a far cry from his beloved Yankees, who instead of losing 14 of their last 17, have actually WON 12 of their last 17, 22 out of their last 32. Wonder where the Mets would be had they put in a similar performance? They'd be leading the NL Wildcard race by about three games, that's where!

So in case those keeping score at home have fallen asleep, Willie Randolph is NO Joe Torre. He's a glorified third base coach who is obviously in over his head.


On the other hand, perhaps everyone should be thanking the Mets for holding out as long as they did.

You know, if the Mets really do suck this bad - hard to believe, I know with one of the better starting rotations in the league, a guy who single-handedly nearly led the Astros to the World Series last season, and a few Hall of Famers on their roster, but bear with me on this one, then perhaps the Mets have actually outperformed their true level of talent for most of the season - perhaps they really are no better than a .500 team, or perhaps they are stuffed with AAA players up a year or two too early or perhaps they are just a very, very expensive version of the Cincinnati Reds, who knows?

And if the Mets really DO suck and if they've simply been playing over their heads all season (will this be Manager Willie's rationale in post-season discussions on how to save his job?) then this collapse was inevitable. You can't keep your head above water forever if you don't know how to swim. Adrenaline only goes so far.

So rather than pissing on the memory of this season and becoming rapidly disgusted with the efforts of this pathetic assemblage of baseball riff raff before us, perhaps we should all give them the sustained and appreciative applause they deserve for holding on for so long as they did before finally letting go.


That they have let go at all, that they've finally quit on us after threatening to all season, is proof enough that pride is an empty word they are mouthing at this moment and that the quitters are rising to the top. There's no one better than the manager to blame.


Now for a quick glance at the non-quitting portion of NL Wildcard race, the Phillies overcame Andruw Jone's 50th homer of the season to mash the Braves, 12-4. In doing so, they moved into a tie with Florida for first place in the NL wild-card standings, and closed within five games of NL East-leading Atlanta with their third straight win over the Braves. (See, it CAN be done) - They've won five of six overall since Houston swept a three-game series in Philadelphia last week.

See, swept by the Astros and win five of their next six, not LOSE 14 of their last 17.

This is an example of a WINNING team, a team that doesn't QUIT.

Just so we all have that clear in our minds.

After today folks, it's all a parody. No more taking these lads seriously. We at Archie Bunker's Army will make the dying embers of this wretched season interesting for the readers, even if the Mets won't.


Let's Face It: The Mets Suck; Lose to Nats 4-2

We all had a day off from suffering. The road trip from hell is over. We weren't playing the Braves and we weren't playing the St Louis Cardinals.

Hey Tom, Would You Trade That Extra Million To Be Back With The Winners In Atlanta?

We'd had a day's rest. We were home and we were only playing the Nats.

So Mets, most every fan was waiting, just waiting for any excuse in the world to keep believing in this season, keep believing in you, stand back the doubters who are beginning to grumble and mumble about Willie not being much of a manager after all, keep making the obscene calculations required to keep the Mets in the race for the NL Wildcard.

Stoic and Stupid Is No Way To Go Through Life, Screw Joe Torre-Light, Let's Have A Heaping Dollop of Lou Piniella!

And how do the Mets repay this thin line of hope drawn in the salt?

They lose to the Washington Nationals like a troupe of fucking baseball clowns, that's how.

What did the day off and playing at home do to reverse the momentum on a choking, gagging, cowardly and gutless slide that saw them lose two of three to the Phillies and Marlins, get swept by the Braves and nearly get swept by the Cardinals?

Did their enemic hitting improve? Well, let's see, four innings of flailing for three hits and two runs and six strikeouts against a guy pitching for the Nats in Hector Carrasco, a reliever for crissakes, not even a starter, who hadn't started a game since 2000 doesn't sound like it. A guy who had appeared in 557 major league games and started just one of them and was only doing so last night because the scheduled starter John Patterson was out with a sinus infection and bronchitis that turned into a slight asthma attack and should have turned into a Mets Bat Attack.

Were the Mets inspired after Carrasco finally left, to take it out on the Nationals' overworked bullpen? Not at all. They did even worse against the bullpen, pinching out a mere two more hits and, how do you call it, oh yeah zero runs with precisely the kind of bone-headed running mistakes and lack of attack that have plagued the Mets offense all season.

Fundamentals anyone? What exactly is it that Willie Randolph has done with these kids all year? Six months after Spring Training and the Mets are still making the same kind of stupid mistakes they should have already gotten out of their system. Costly fielding errors, costly baserunning errors, costly costly costly lack of clutch hitting, same as always, same fucking song skipping on the same fucking record all fucking season long. Does this LOOK like a well-managed team to you?

How did out Boy Blunder Beltran perform? His usual clutch performance kiddies. Oh For Three - just about right for him. No hits, no clutch and no use. He twice left the tying run on base and heard his fair share of boos last night. Get used to it you jesus-loving choke artist. You were paid millions to come here and produce and night after night after night of failing to do so may hurt your little christian sensibilities but you'd better get used to it, or start performing because people are only going to become angrier at you and before long the boos will turn into batteries and coins.

Beltran Missiles, Anyone?

Then again, what difference would it have made with people like Jose Offerman forgetting to run to second on Matsui's single up the middle and instead, getting thrown out by the centerfielder??! Or Jose Reyes getting picked off of first as if he forgot there was a game going on and he wasn't just standing there counting mosquitoes.

And just to keep things predictable and even, closer Bradon Looper put in another foul and destructive performance, just to make sure the game was out of reach for the Mets final turn at bat by surrendering a run of his own in the 9th to make the score 4-2.

You notice Frank Robinson got tossed from the game? Did you notice how infuriated he got about a missed check swing call on the Mets' Victor Diaz, how he was ejected by home plate umpire, the King of the Douchebags, Jeff Nelson and then engaged in a prolonged, heated exchange with crew chief Joe Brinkman?

You notice how Willie Randolph sat on his fucking hands all night as if he were afraid to show some emotion lest people not thing he was Joe Torre incarnate? Note to Willie, meat head, even Torre gets tossed from games once in awhile!

Was Tom Glavine the man upon which to build your sand castle of hope? Not at all. When we needed a strong start at home to keep everyone interested he proceeded to allow more runs in the third inning -- three -- than he had in any one of his previous six starts. Choke? Ineffective? Loser? Past-his-prime? Waste-of-money?

Or is this just a man trying to outpitch the ineffectiveness of Met bats in his starts? The lefthander was 4-5 with a pair of no-decisions despite a 2.47 ERA in the previous 11 starts. Why? Because they scored as many as three runs for him only once and managed just one run in four of his starts, getting shut out in the other.


Not much more to say. No point in noting how the NL Wildcard teams performed because the Mets just dropped out of it once and for all.

Ten Things I'd Like To See Before Season's End

1. Carlos Beltran hit a homer with men on base to win a game.
2. Willie Randolph to lose his cool, get thrown out of a game, throw bats and balls and a water cooler out on the field, tear up the locker room and later try to come back out into the dugout wearing a fake mustache and glasses costume.
3. Bradon Looper as set-up guy and Aaron Heilman as closer the rest of the season.
4. Carlos Beltran batting leadoff. Let's face it - he doesn't hit for power and he barely hits at all but the one thing he CAN do is get on base and although he does a good job of hiding it, he appears to have some speed as well. And let's not worry about your bloody 3-4-5 hitters Willie, they've done sweet fuck all the entire season, experiment a little, see if you can come up with a few different possibilities in that little pea of a brain of yours.
5. Give Pedro the rest of the season off. Save him for next season on the off-hand chance the Mets will be competitive.
6. Ditto Tom Glavine. His heart has been broken by a lack of run support too much for one year. Let him leave the team early, take in a few Braves games for the rest of the summer.
7. Stick Anderson Hernandez in there in the number two slot behind Beltran and playing second base and see what he can do. Pressure is off now on the season, give him the exposure, see if he's a possible answer to the question why the fuck are Kaz Matsui or Miquel Cairo still out there doing that?
8. Start your christmas shopping early Omar - get a bead on your target for a slick-fielding, power hitting for average on base sort of monsterous first baseman. Your work is cut out for you, no doubt, but that IS your job after all. You appear to have fallen asleep since Spring Training.
9. Fire Manny Acta as third base coach and make him the clubhouse cabana boy.
10. Have a nice Good Riddance ceremony for Mike Piazza on the last home game of the season. We might have gotten something for him this past offseason if everyone hadn't been so afraid of dumping Franchise Boy over for a few minor league prospects. Instead, we'll be stuck with nothing in return.


At Last Our Long Lost Friend The "W" Returns

We've been looking all over the place for that elusive litte W these last few weeks but far away from home, boys and girls, what we've learned is that the elusive little W is very hard to find.

So we had send Uncle Petey out to see if he could find a W anywhere, under the bushes, on top of the roof, in the sewage system, underneath the skirts of women, behind D cups, at the bottom of hot plates filled with chicken and ribs, and Uncle Petey, boys and girls, as he's done so many times this year, was able to return triumphant, long-lost W in hand.


Uncle Petey threw 8 innings of 8 hit ball, allowed only two of these contemptible Cardinals to come home and struck out seven of them en route to his first victory in three starts and the first Mets W in what seems like months but in reality is "only" a little over a week.

Uncle Petey in his very special FDNY search and rescue hat throwing the magic orb in the hopes it would land somewhere near the magical W we were desperately searching for.

Joining Uncle Petey in the hunt for the W were Cousin Carlos Beltran who woke suddenly from his slumber going "wha? wha? Yeah, o'course I'm awake!" and to prove it, he managed to hit a homerun in the seventh inning, as he often does when Uncle Petey is pitching.

Cousin Carlos, awoken from his long September nap, receives congratulations from his teammates for finally singing us all a song called "Better Late Than Never"

All in all, our brave Mets were able to get 13 hits whilst they looked all over for the W. David Wright, Mike Jacobs and Ramon Castro, all of whom have been taking little naps of their own over the past week, each had two hits a piece. During their naps over the last seven days, prior to last night, David Wright had been hitting .236, whilst Mike Jacobs and Ramon were both hitting .200.

More suprising than the outburst of success at the plate was when the always dangerous and nearly-always disappointing Bad Bradon Looper actually managed NOT to blow the entire game and make us lose the W even though he appeared to try hard as he always does, to undo all our hard work when he surrendered two hits in the final inning before finally and gratefully ending the game with the third out.

The moral of the story kids, is that you should never trust Bad Bradon Looper to carry the W home all by himself, even though the rest of the bullpen is just another unhappy ending waiting to be written. We were very, very lucky today boys and girls that the bullpen didn't ruin it for us all once again.


The Phillies were able to beat the Marlins for the second time in three games at home yesterday, this time by an impressive 11-1 margin and the Astros lost yet again which means that not only did we not lose any ground in the NL Wildcard chase, we actually GAINED a game and are perched a mere five and a half games from the top with most of the month still left to go.

The Phillies were able to bounce back from a demoralising sweep at the hands of the Astros only the series before and now the Marlins will travel to Houston as part of their 11 game road trip. Unlike the Mets, they've managed to win a few of those games and in fact, are 4-3 so far.

As it stands today, the Astros are still ahead by a half game over the Marlins, one and a half over the Phillies, four over the Nats and the Cubs have joined the Brewers and Mets, five and a half games back in a belated chase.

The Astros, right after sweeping the Phillies and seemingly clearing the path for the wildcard spot, lost three of four to the Brewers - a team no one is quite sure whether or not to take seriously.


Looking ahead, after a day off to recover from the road trip or perhaps enough time to forget it ever happened, and time for both Piazza and Cliff Floyd to heal (we need all decks on hand for this incredibly unrealistic push) - Tuesday Tom Glavine (10-12, 3.89 ERA) takes the mound against John Patterson (8-5, 2.74 ERA) and the Washington Nationals in a 7:10 p.m. ET start at Shea.

The Phillies will host the dreaded Atlanta Braves beginning tonight and the Astros will host the Marlins in key games. Although difficult to take the rest of the NL Central division seriously, it should be pointed out that the Cubs will host the Reds and the Brewers have some easy going at Arizona to face the Diamondbacks.

Root for the Marlins to take two of three from the Astros because in doing so, the Mets can creep further ahead if they win than they can if the Astros take two of three from the Marlins. Root for the Phillies to be swept by the Braves since we don't care about the NL East anymore and root for the Diamondbacks and Reds to catch fire. That's the best-case scenario for the week.


The Devil and Mrs Beanball: Mets Lose Another, Tralala

"I told Mike that. And I told him that if I could rewind the game so that he wouldn't get hit, I'd take a loss. That's how strongly I feel about it." Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa on Mike Piazza's beaning and a 4-2 victory for the Cardinals.

Don't worry, Mikey, it was only a dream...

Of course with 91 wins to their credit already, the most in baseball, three in a row against the Mets and a massive 14-game lead in the NL Central, after his relief pitcher beaned Mike Piazza in his first game back after four weeks off, Tony LaRusso can afford to be magnaminous and offer to give away victories in exchange of taking away a beaning by his own bean-headed pitcher, Julian Tavarez.

How strongly does Mr LaRussa feel about it, really? Would he be willing to take 10 losses, or perhaps loan 10 victories to the Mets? Will he tell his players to lie down quietly for us on Sunday? No, no and no.

Piazza later approached the Cardinals clubhouse in search of Tavarez but was stopped. After his postgame news conference, manager Tony La Russa met with Piazza in a nearby office as a St. Louis policeman stood inside the Cardinals clubhouse. Guillermo Mota, anyone?

Public Enemy Number One?

Julian Tavarez a sinkerball pitcher, maintained he lost command of a fastball he wanted to throw inside but unfortunately, his career is a highway littered with emotional outbursts and we know better than to believe him.

When he was with the SF Giants, he once drilled Oakland catcher Mike Macfarland in the back because he'd been pounded for six hits and four runs in a third of an inning outing against the A's. He got into a fight with San Francisco third baseman Russ Davis, spin-kicked him during a spring training game for which he was suspended five games.

When he was with the Cubs, he was fined by them for making comments derogatory toward gays in San Francisco after getting showered with abuse by the fans there because they already hated him so much.

"Why should I care about the fans?" Tavarez notoriously said after the game against the Giants whilst with the Cubs. "They're a bunch of assholes and faggots here."

And since he's been with the Cardinals, he has already suffered one 10-game suspension for getting caught with having a "foreign substance" on the bill of his cap. And in last season's playoffs against Houston, he broke his left hand after surrendering a homerun to none other than Carlos Beltran in Game 4 of the NLCS and punching the dugout phone when the inning was over. The pitch right after Beltran's homer he threw over Jeff Bagwell's head. He has had tantrums against umpires, punched dugout walls and should hope LaRussa doesn't send him out as a pinch hitter in today's game.

But, let's admit it, rage against Tavarez, the Piazza first-at-bat homer and the Piazza beaning were all fine ingredients to take our mind off of the following:

1. Mets lost their 6th game in a row, the first time they've managed that all season, 8 of 9 games on this 10-game road trip.
2. Mets are now an even dozen games behind the Braves in the NL East, deep in last place.
3. Mets are now 6 1/2 games behind the Astros for the NL Wildcard, tied with the lowly Milwaukee Brewers.
4. Mets are now two games below .500 for the first time since June 23, when their record was 35-37.
5. Mets have scored fewer than three 11 times in 15 games. They've lost six straight for the first time this season and eight of nine games on this 10-game trip.


Post-Katrina Blues

Since Katrina hit New Orleans, the 29th of August, the Mets are 2-10.

Beginning on Tuesday when they return to Shea Stadium, the Mets will ask their fans to donate to the Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund. In conjunction with Major League Baseball, fans will be able to make donations at specified gates at Shea. Their contributions will be forwarded to the Red Cross.


Meanwhile, musing on the Met meltdown, Manager Willie let escape the kind of wishy-washy, mutton-mouthed Howeism that we became so accustomed to and nauseated by the two seasons previous to this. "Time is dwindling down," Randolph said yesterday as though he were an Art Howe ventriloquist. "We can use a jolt right now."

So that is what a once-promising season has boiled down to: Willie Randolph doing Art Howe impersonations whilst the Mets season goes down in some sort of natural-disaster-related swoon.

Ah, familiar territory once again.

The red cross symbol (or bull's eye?) on Piazza's helmet would prove apropos as Pujols easily steps over his diving yet misguided tag in the third inning.

Is it tragically funny in a schadenfreudesque sort of way that Mike Piazza is finally activated only to be beaned in his first game back and returned to the bench?

Probably not to Mr Versatility but when your team is in the midst of a stupendous and torrid affair with losing, you try to find the lighter side of things to prevent homicidal urges of frustration to bear fruit.

If I were Julio Tavarez, I would have beaned 20 people by now; people walking in the road, people having a pint in the pub, people riding their horses, people watching cricket matches and shouting whenever there is a wicket. In fact, if I were Julio Tavarez, I'd probably have thrown so many beanballs I'd have run out of baseballs by now and would have start throwing rocks and punching telephones and calling everyone a bunch of faggots.

Of course here, in England, we eat faggots:

Faggots and mushy peas, yum.

So yes, poor Mike Piazza comes back, hits a homer and then gets beaned. What an eventful day in an otherwise dreary conclusion to what had once been a season of hope.

Mets reliever Aaron Heilmann hit shortstop David Eckstein on the left arm as retribution for the beaning. The retaliation also ended Eckstein's 14-game hitting streak.


How do you think Mets pinchhitter/utility man Marlon Anderson feels these days? Last year he was with these same Cardinals as they marched to the World Series and this year, he's getting humiliated by them as they compile the best record in baseball, playing with a bunch of stiffs and choke artists.


Then again, just when you thought the season was in ashes, the Mets announce that they'd claimed first baseman Todd Self off waivers from the Astros Saturday. 9 career hits in 40 career at-bats with the Astros, a .200 lifetime hitter. Is further comment necessary? Is this the jolt they needed that Willie was talking about?


Today's game will likely be the last the Mets ever play in Busch Stadium which is scheduled for demolition following the season. The Mets are 149-147 there as a franchise. That's the second-best record any visiting team has managed.

Today's game will also feature Pedro Martinez wondering why the hell he left the Red Sox for the Mets as he takes the mound this afternoon having failed to win seven times in his eight most recent starts. The Mets have won twice in those eight games and will bat against yet another strong pitcher in the seemingly endless assembly line of strong starting pitchers the Cardinals have, RHP Matt Morris who is 14-7 this season with a 3.97 ERA.

The Mets produced winning percentages of .500 or higher in May, June, July and August, the first time since 2000 they did so in four successive months. That streak is in serious jeopardy, though: Through Friday night, the Mets' record in September was 1-9.


Change the Record! Mets Lose Again, Sink Below .500

What do we call the 9th loss in 10 games, and the 5th loss in a row on the road?

Why, we call it road kill, of course:

Oh, so many different ways to lose baseball games and yet so few games left to lose them in.

Last night, ladies and gentlemen, we present to you The Moon Shot: Larry Walker's epic, gargantuan bomb in the 8th that handed the Mets another come-from-ahead loss on the road, another Don't-Cry-For-Me-Metropolitans sort of loss begging to bring this season to a screeching halt, hit rewind and start all over again about two weeks ago...

(The Larry Walker Bomb, a 457 foot homerun, the longest home run hit by a Cardinal at Busch Stadium this season.)

But no, for Seo, an inspirational pitching performance ruined, unfortunately, his massive personal winning streak snapped. Ruined by a vote of no confidence in the bullpen that saw him out there in the 8th at all to begin with as the century mark for pitches loomed. Facing facts, there was really no one in that bullpen to inspire confidence. No one you could say, hey, let's close it out and go home. Just a collection of sad sack disasters waiting to happen, biding their time out there in the bullpen, probably dreaded the call. (Oh please coach, DON'T put me in, I've humiliated myself enough already for one season...)

Jason Marquis, on the other hand, the Cardinals pitcher, has now won three consecutive games, allowing two earned runs over a span of 26 innings. Marquis (12-13) worked eight innings against the Mets, allowed just one earned run and struck out four before handing the game to closer Jason Isringhausen for his 35th save.

Nice and easy, lads. That's how it's done when you're the defending National League Champions and you don't sweat teams like the Braves, they sweat you.

But it certainly wasn't Seo's fault. Seo ploughed through St Louis' dreaded 3-4-5 hitters, Albert Pujols, Jim Edmonds and Walker, like they were mere chaff to be separated from the wheat, as they went 0 for 10 with 4 strikeouts before Walker's eighth-inning homer that sealed the game for the Cardinals. Unless we develop a pitching rotation like, say, The 1903 Pittsburgh Pirates, selected at random for in that day, most rotations were like this: 141 games started, 117 complete games.

That is the only way the Mets can escape the miserable truth staring back at them and Manager Willie's dilemma. The bullpen held itself together for a little while this season but da facts is da facts. The Mets bullpen sucks.

As Jason Stark recently noted:

"The last 10 World Series winners had a closer who averaged 36 saves and a 2.67 ERA. Only two of the last 10 World Series winners had a closer who blew more than five saves all season.

Eight of the last 10 World Series champs had a bullpen crew with a total ERA under 4.00. And just two failed to convert at least 70 percent of their save opportunities."

Just to put this in perspective, the Mets bullpen have a closer with 28 saves and a 3.70 ERA. He has blown six saves already and the probably the only reason he hasn't reached double digits is that the men coming in ahead of him have usually already pissed the lead away before he got in. He certainly is no Armandogeddon but it's safe to say he reminded us loudly and clearly this season that his true calling is that of a set-up man, not a closer.

Things could be worse. We could have Jose Mesa as our closer, as does Pittsburgh, deservedly at the bottom of the NL pit. Mesa is one of the rare closers with a higher ERA than Looper and has blown six, just like Bradon. Funny thing is, look at the feckin' Braves: they've had one audition after another of closers with miserable results like Dan Kolb - 11 saves out of 17 tries and a 5.57 ERA and Chris Reitsma - 15 saves out of 22 chances and a 4.02 ERA, and yet somehow, the Braves keep winning and winning and winning all just so we can have the last laugh when they perform their traditional post-season nose dive.


The sideshow to this series beyond the predictable losses and the numbing breakdown by the Mets, was the competition between the basepath Mets (first in steals last in OBP - well, likely and exaggeration but certainly the way it feels) facing the Cardinals Yadier Molina, the best arm in baseball behind the plate.

Of the 35 catchers with at least 400 innings caught before Friday's games, Molina has the fewest steals against - 11 in 805 2/3 innings. The next closest is his brother Jose Molina with the Angels, who has 14 steals against in 426 innings.

The Cardinals have had just 26 steals against them this season, and according to Elias Sports Bureau, they are threatening the division-era record of 31 steals allowed by the 1972 Cincinnati Reds when Johnny Bench was behind the plate.

And of course, Jose Reyes, the league leader in stolen bases with 50, would be tempting him.

Thursday night when he got on, Reyes attempted to steal and was gutted. Molina threw him out. Last night in the first Reyes got on again and stayed right where he was.


You might take comfort in knowing that the Braves have been cited for abuse of Mets...

"In an historic report, the human rights organization Amnesty International has cited the Atlanta Braves baseball club for a “systematic pattern of abuse and torture” against the New York Mets and their fans, extending as far back as 1998. The sweeping 5,643 page report, released yesterday, cites the Braves for “deliberate, repeated obstruction” to the Mets’ attempts to reach the post-season."


Around the rest of the NL, the good news was both an Astros and a Marlins loss which keeps the Mets (now tied with MILWAUKEE for gawd's sake for the NL WC) at a steady five and a half games out with 21 more to play.

When your chances for the wildcard are just as good as the Milwaukee Brewers, you might as well throw in the towel.


But, the games are there to be played, as unfortunate as that appears right now. Today, the finally-official starter Steve Trachsel will go up against Jeff Suppan, hasn't allowed more than four earned runs in a game since June.

Let's see, how do we see this game playing out? Pitcher's duel for 6 or 7 innings, Cardinals score a run in the 7th and a run in the 8th, Mets lose 2-0? Sound about right?

Ok, so go see your bookies and at least make some money out of all this misery.

And in the meantime, how about a little sunshine to ease the pain?

United States Solheim Cup member Natalie Gulbis, waiting to become pinup material...

It won't lead me to watching women's golf (or any golf for that matter) but well, it might make me buy the calendar:


Nothing Shocking - Another Day, Another Loss

"camera got them images
camera got them all
nothing's shocking...
showed me everybody
naked and disfigured
nothing's shocking..."

--Jane's Addiction, Ted, Just Admit it


The Mets are the girl who stops returning your calls, deletes your emails unread, pretends she doesn't know you when you see her on the street until gradually, day by day, it sinks in that hey, this girl isn't into you anymore.

And so have the Mets, told us, by actions, deeds and performances, that hey, they just aren't into keeping this season interesting for us anymore.

What else could explain 10 losses in 13 games during the most important stretch of the season? Granted, all but three of those games were on the road but the wildcard playoff spot isn't awarded for best excuses, it's awarded for most victories.

Let's face it, Arizona and 32 runs in two days was our season's orgasm - it's been over for weeks and it's only now that we've figured it out.

(Mets reach metaphorical orgasm, 24th August 2005 v. Diamondbacks and it's been nothing but petty little arguments ever since...)


Last night was a 5-0 shutout against the NL's first 20 game winner, now 21 game winner, Chris Carpenter. He allowed only three hits and struck out seven over seven shutout innings and kept the game quietly out of reach from the first pitch onward.

Kris Benson was able to keep it knotted at zero for until the 6th inning when Albert Pujols, arguably the best hitter in baseball, pounded his 38th homer of the season to make it 1-0.

Knowing the Mets were never going to crawl back from such a deficit, Benson then allowed a pair of singles around a pair of groundouts and the next thing you know it was 2-0 and it wasn't until mercifully, after another walk, that he faced Carpenter himself to end the inning.

So naturally, the Mets spirit broken, the floodgates opened in the 7th. Pujols hit another homer (#39) and after the Kaz Man booted a grounder to put another man on, Benson was removed after 107 some odd pitches for the rookie with the maniacal minor league buzz about him, Tim Hamulack, was led in as the proverbial sacrificial virgin and promptly allowed John Gall's first career homerun to make it 5-0.

Prayer in the 8th when Carpenter was removed for Al Reyes?

No chance. Ramon Castro and Victor Diaz struck out swinging in what must have been a paen to the season, as in, "let's get the hell out of this place as quickly as possible, I'm already embarassed enough as it is by Atlanta..."

And oh, just so you know, Carlos Beltran had two enormously meaningless hits and drove in zero runs to raise his season's batting average to .271. I will forgive, but I will not forget Carlos Beltran's three at bats during this road trip with the money on the line and his absolute and indisputable failure in each one. The Man let us down so don't bother showing us peacock feathered hits in games now that the season is virtually over and meaningless. Don't bother at all. Let yourself sink into a slump, a hitless continuation just so you can't point out your numbers at the end of the season and pretend you've done well.

Well, c'mon, in truth, the guy is still out there playing with a fractured face so lack of clutch or not, Carlos still gets bonus points for trying...

So, down they go, pushovers, the psychological makeup of the team in disarray, utter collapse.


Hey Mets fans, buck up! At least we aren't as miserable as the Yankees, in the heat of a race for the AL Wildcard, getting their heads handed to them by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. We may lose consistently but at least we lose to the best teams in the league...


Jae Seo becomes sacrificial lamb number 71 as the Mets, having stumbled all the way back down to .500 will now battle to keep the season at a mediocre level. A prolonged losing streak just might sour whatever shiny little gadgets this season has provided for us.


Good News: Sweep Is Complete!

Ok ladies and gentleman, my cup of disappointment officially runneth over.

"Awww, c'mon," the Mets tell me collectively, rubbing my head, "We're only 10 and a half games out of first and five games from the NL Wildcard! We've still got 22 games left! Mathematical elimination is still 20 games away!" exclaims Willie Randolph's half-eaten Subway sandwich to me from the rubbish bin of an empty, dismal clubhouse.


Now that those pesky Braves are finally out of the way, all that's left looming on the horizon of doom is a four game set in St Louis against the best team in the league. The nightmare is almost over and the real party can begin.

Well, maybe it won't be that much fun, but at least we'll be at home.

Yes, back to Shea where we are an indominable 41-27, the only place left on this rapidly shrinking season upon which to make our final stand.

Washington, Atlanta and then Florida, bingbangboom.

Then back on the road to Washington and Philadelphia and then, oh boy, THEN we close out at home with four games against the Colorado Rockies, the third worst team in baseball!

And look, we're not the only ones getting swept. Philadelphia just dropped three straight AT HOME to the Astros, so if you think we're bad, just look down there over at the Phillies and you can feel a little better.

Of course, the team we are chasing for the Wildcard, the team that had Carlos Beltran last year when he could still hit, the team that just swept the Phillies, are the Houston Astros. And of course, whilst the wild card hopefuls of the NL East pound each other game after game, the Astros move on to the cream puff portion of their schedule: 6 games against Milwaukee sandwiched around four against the Marlins. Then four against Pittsburgh and seven against the lowly Cubbies sandwiched around a pair of games at St Louis.

Who designed this schedule, Junction Jack?

(Houston Astros mascot Junction Jack hides something deadly behind his purse: the NL schedule!)

As Thomas Hobbs, lifelong Mets fan once noted: "Appetite, with an opinion of attaining, is called hope; the same, without such opinion, despair."

So where is this train heading, next stop hope or next stop despair?

I don't know about you but I'm going to withhold final comment until that next homestand is over.


Now, about last night:

(No, this isn't Glavine celebrating his Clemente nomination.)

This one was probably even more cutting than the other two losses if that's possible. I mean, Woodward's bases loaded single in the top of the 10th to score Beltran with Ramon Castro, former hero, coming to the plate was about as close to ecstacy as we've been allowed to come in this series.

But the double play lineout that ended the inning swiftly should have been our omen.

No wait, our omen was that Bradon Looper, who had only blown the goddamned game an inning before, hadn't had his arms and legs broken by his teammates in the dugout in the top of the 10th, no, he was coming back out for more!

Now, I don't even have to give you the play by play, do I?

How does Looper repay the misguided faith Willie had in him, why he promptly loads the bases with none out in the bottom of the 10th, that's how.

And here's the punchline:

By the time he finally gets around to replacing Looper, who hopefully we will read has been placed on irrevocable waivers this morning, WHO does Willie reach for in the bullpen to get the Mets out of their looming disaster?

Shingo Takatsu, that's who.

I'll tell you, Manager Willie has got some good goddamn sense of humour, he does. Cosmic absurdity.

"We should have won the game," Looper said afterwards. "I stunk it up."

Stunk up? No, Bradon, you didn't soil your diapers you cretin, you created the second biggest blown save of the Mets season, the first having been Opening Day against the Reds when we all should have realised what a piss pot of a pitcher you really are! You didn't "stink it up", you ruined the goddamned season, AGAIN.

And Manager Willie goes to Shingo Takatsu, get it? Hahahaha.

I thought he was on a whaler to Yokohama, anyway.


Tom Glavine continued his long road back to respectability last night, once again proving his resolved whatever psychological dramas he had about pitching against his former teammates as if he had money on them. Last night he threw into the 8th inning, allowed only five hits and a run. Better than Pedro. Better than Trachsel. But not good enough to win.

So, the Mets lose their 9th in their last 11 games, just the sort of performance you want out of your team in the biggest stretch of the season. No sense extending the suspense, let's just rat ourselves out straight away, the Mets seem to be telling us with their performances. We aren't cut out this season for the playoffs.

Go get'em next year, ha!


One saving grace is that we've probably seen the last of Victor Zambrano for the year. After a season of futzing and pretending his internal blowups weren't a massive character flaw, Manager Willie finally laid the goods out on the table exlaining to us what we all knew well ahead of Willie: Victor is too unpredictable, to unsteady, too, well, not too good except once in awhile.

So tonight, Kris Benson will go up against Chris Carpenter, 20 game winner, who just outdueled Roger Clemens in his last start.

Hmmmm. Wonder how this one is going to play out.

Burning question of this four game series is:

Will the Cardinals score twice as many runs as the Mets?

Stay tuned, kids. The season is just beginning.

Hahahahaha. Shingo Takatsu. Hahahahha.