Until The Next Breaking News

Now that the hangover of the World Series is over the speculation will begin but until the speculation begins in earnest in the form of the Mets, the Army will be keeping busy on a few other venues, namely Sports Amnesia (mostly American football, English football and baseball, where appropriate) and Desultory Turgescence (not sports related, beware)...

For those Mets-related items, switch back to the Army where practical for quasi-instant commentary on developing news for the Mets which we all hope and pray there will be plenty dollops of in the form of very good and very surprising news.

As always, tanx fer readin!


The Mourning After

"Don't let it end like this. Tell them I said something."

--Pancho Villa, last words

There was an almost inescapable feeling leading up to that fated, final called strike curveball with the Mets' best hitter's bat still on his shoulders, that like they had all season, the Mets would pull a last-minute rabbit out of the hat once again.

They didn't and in the moment after, the stinging reality that after 103 victories the Mets' season was finally over was partially assuaged by the fact that at least there should be no what-ifs haunting the memory over the winter months.

If they had gone down without a whimper; a one-two-three bottom of the ninth to send everyone home it might have been a bitterer pill to swallow. That they went down rallying and fighting, struggling and clawing down to the final strike typifies the entirety of the season and the collective character of a team that battled adversity throughout.

Expectations aside, there is no shame in last night's game nor in the season as a whole. Thinking back to the fragile hopes of March and April should remind us. We were confident but inwardly sceptical - we thought it were possible to win the NL East but we weren't certain. Not certain with the bravado of a Yankee fan, for example. We wanted to believe and time and time again, this team gave us the chance until that final strike, to continue to believe in the improbable.

We lived in a fog for the greater part of the season, dominating the National League as we did, winning the NL East by a double digit margin, rarily causing doubts to be raised and as such, with two outs, the bases loaded and our best hitter coming to the plate, we had every reason to believe that like those 103 previous victories, this too would be ours.

It wasn't and reflectively, there is no blame to be assigned. If we are to remember back to March and April, we might recall that whilst we were optimistic, the Mets were by no stretch of the imagination a sure thing and it was only all the success between those months and October that allowed us in that fateful bottom of the 9th, to believe it might all be possible.

So rather than mourn the end of the season, we should celebrate the reawakening of Mets faith, the renewal of expectation and the recognition that we are no longer the less prosperous younger brothers of the bastids from the Bronx but on equal footing and with a brighter immediate future ahead of us.

It won't prevent a cold pang in our hearts when we watch Game One of the World Series on Saturday night thinking that could be our team playing on that field in Detroit, but there are brighter sides to reflect upon. Not just that we got as far as we did, but the next season will await us, pregnant once again with legitimate belief that we could be back here again, with another chance in another October.


“I wish television would stop it,” sighed Claire Shulman, the former Queens borough president about the stereotyping of Queens by the media during the Mets' run. “Things have changed. We are no longer Archie Bunker town.”



Pre Game Chatter - Well, it's pissing down here in the UK per usual. Fortunately not in New York.

Admittedly, it was a dodgy proposition, having a couple Cidre Breton and staying up late without getting the requisite three hours nap before the 1 am wake up call to catch the beginning of this GAME SEVEN but if you're reading this, I must be writing it and thus, must have survived. It's only the day of work to follow that I will have to survive further and if the Mets win, I will survive it gladly with plans to do the auld lastminute.com business of getting to NYC for mid week. If they lose, well...there's always this ready-made noose to finish the plot...Just kidding of course, hahaha, he says manically.

Save us from ourselves...

****don't ask what's happened to innings one through four, the stories would be long and painful and the baseball police are not giving any secrets away...*****

Cardinals 5th - lead off single from Belliard, Suppan perfectly bunts him into scoring position. Mets getting more than ever could have been expected from Perez. Cardinals, like Game 6, are having trouble with the high fastballs. Eckstein smacks it into the corner, just inches from Chavez's glove but it blows foul. And Eckstein gets hit to put two men on with Preston Wilson coming to the plate. Willie coming to the mound to have a little fire talk with Perez. Double play to get them out without seeing Pujols would almost be too much to expect? High fastball swing and miss. There they go, those Cards, missing that pitch again. Another swing and miss, strike 3! Is Perez going to see Pujols?

Looks that way. Multiple runners on base, Game 7, Pujols up, hmmmm. High fastballs to Pujols, up and above the strikezone. Fly to left not deep enough, Reyes makes the catch, whew! Perez finishes another inning, amazing!

Commerical break - No real time for a break as I struggle to capture the lost innings leading up to now...and get the auld eyes and ears focused, but summing it up, the Mets got their lone run in the first inning from David Wright's RBI dump single after Suppan go the first two batters down but Beltran and Delgado got on.

The Cardinals tied it in the 2nd with a sacrifice bunt by Belliard and ever since then, both pitchers have shut down tense lineups.

Mets 5th - Oliver Perez staying on to hit for himself. Who'd have thought Perez would still be in with the Mets having only snatched two hits and a lone run off of Suppan so far. Reyes 0 for 2 tonight wondering if he's been a little over anxious again. Easy fly out. Is he trying too hard to hit that homer that would make him the hero redux? Wilson and Edmonds collide with Wilson barely keeping the ball at the warning track off of Lo Duca's smash. Sound of crowd at Shea hampering communication. No yuppies sitting on their hands over there.

Commercial Break - Still no time for commercials. Still rubbing sleep from the cidre'd eyes. Third inning saw Perez allow a lead off double by Eckstein (good job he hit him last inning then!) but then masterfully pitches out of trouble after intentionally walking Pujols, by getting Encarnacion to hit into a broken bat double play. No one has made any noise since and the Mets themselves have only had two hits.

Cardinals 6th - 76 pitches for Perez so far. Is this guy amazing or what? Maybe the Perez has finally "rediscovered" himself, that self of two years ago the FOX chimps were so in love with festering about a few games ago. 92 pitches thrown in Game Four, just Monday night ago and he's still twisting these Cardinals into knots. Edmonds steps out of the box just as Perez going into his wind up. Shea fills with booos. And it's the first unintentional walk from Perez and this earns another chat from Willie on the mound. Maybe this is Willie's finest trait, managing these young pitchers, sometimes batter by batter, challenging them, having the words when he needs them. And this is how he's....Edmonds slams the ball and it's not looking good, not looking...OHHHH! CHAVEZ steals a homer from Rolen and Edmonds is doubled off of first! Holy sheeeeeeyit! Chavez leapt and reached high over left field wall to pluck a certain pair of runs from the Cardinals!!! WFAN calling it maybe the play of franchise history. Hysterics. Wow, sweet hyperbole...Man was that ever huge. Pitching and defence, baby. Christ I can't wait to see that on the video replay. Started his jump a few steps from the fence, leaping like superman. This might be the game. 3-4-5 batters will be up for Mets.

COMMERCIAL BREAK: Sound familiar? from the Archives

World Series, 1969, Game 3, Mets and Orioles tied at a game apiece. In the fourth inning, Orioles catcher Elrod Hendricks steps to the plate. He's a lefty swinger, so Tommie Agee, the Mets center fielder, shades him to right. Hendricks smacks one the opposite way, and Agee, with an impossible distance to cover, is off at the crack of the bat. Lunging back, he just gets the tip of his glove on the ball, and it's enough. Three outs. In the seventh, Agee would make another sensational grab. There were four future Hall of Famers playing that day, but the game belonged to a journeyman outfielder on a miracle team.

Mets 6th - Ok, after all that excitement, this might be the spot to break Suppan and crush the Cardinals spirit for the game. Really, if they can score a pair here...Suppan isn't cooperating though, dribbler from Beltran. Delgado walks for the third straight time. Thinking Suppan is pitching vewwy, vewwy cowfully to the man with RBIs in his stride...David Wright has cashed in once already tonight and every at-bat in this Game Seven is now potentially, the at-bat to seal the NL Pennant. Rolen throws an easy grounder into the stands! 15 feet over the head of Pujols! There goes that gold glove, baby! Two men on, one man out and La Russa intentionally walks Shawn Green for Valentin coming up. Time for another unsung hero to break open this game...Good thing Delgado is on third so he won't hold all the other runners up with his hefty pace. Dave Duncan out on the mound to have a little chat of strategy. It's crazy talk.

Valentin up. Tension mounting, man this is great! Can you imagine, five hours and thousands of miles away, the tension is still palatable. Aren't we all just waiting for the minute...Suppan asking Molina to go through the signs again, talking his sweet time and then Valentin fouls off another. The hero Chavez on deck...

Valetin steps out of the box and plays a cat and mouse game with Suppan. Swing and a miss strike three, Suppan has almost saved himself, has almost wriggled off the hook. But it's Chavez coming up, 4 for 25 and no RBIs in 33 post-season at-bats. Must be time by now.

Nope, high fly ball to center, inning over. Mets strand three important runs.

Commercial Break - Cat and Mouse Game

Suppan and Valentin

Cardinals 7th - Perez, 6 innings, 4 hits and a run later, heroic and unexpected performance and all, is removed from the game for Chad Bradford. The Mets' bullpen have averaged 11 outs per game in the postseason. They only need 9 tonight.

Molina goes down without fan fare. Belliard coming up with Suppan on deck - pitch count at 88. Valentin gets Belliard, two down. Interesting statement about La Russa's bullpen that his starting pitcher, who might be good for only another inning or less, isn't interested in having one of this game-busting pinch hitters at the plate in the 7th with the game tied. Sure, Suppan has two homers this season but Steve Trachsel isn't pitching tonight so that's not relevant.

1-2-3 inning.

Commercial Break:

Mets 7th - Well it's the 7th inning stretch and this game is still too tight to call. Now the rain is coming down a little harder and Suppan asks the grounds crew to come out and work on the mound. Reminds me of the muppet grounds crew in St Louis taking a looooong break to fix first base two games ago. Nobody up in the Cards bullpen. Brave or stupid little man, that La Russa. Either that or faith in Suppan, stay with the hot hand. 1 run allowed in what, 15 innings pitched against the Mets? (well, 14...)

Michael Tucker pinch hitting. Nada Suppan 95 pitches, is this guy human?

Reyes 0 for 3 tonight. Second pitch swing bounces right to Pujols. What happened to getting on base, buddy? It seemed only a matter of concentration in Game 6. But let's give Suppan some credit. He's a bloody magician out there now that it isn't May when the Mets beat him 8-3. Lo Duca, another easy out, 1-2-3, Suppan cruising.

Commercial break - Dare we go there? Oh hell, why not? Mister micromanager grates on my nerves and I still can't forget the sight of him wearing shades in the bloody dugout.

Say hello to Mr and Mrs La Russa.

Cardinals 8th - Heilman stepping in from the pen. Eckstein is out easily. Scott Spiezio coming to pinch hit for Preston Wilson. Mr Hey, I've got a hideous blonde with sagging breasts tattoo'd to my bicep. 4 for 16 in this series against the Mets but a deadly, deadly hitter overall in the postseason. Imagine, La Russa doesn't pinch hit for his pitcher with nearly 90 pitches under his belt in the 7th but he pinch hits for Preston Wilson. La Russa hanging on to Suppan for dear life.

Streeeeek three! Spiezio fooled. There goes your pinch hitter. Two out, nobody on, Pujols to the plate. I reckon this is Mr Intentional Walk time...

Nope. Carefully pitched, no doubt but they are indeed pitching to him this time. Really, what's the bloody difference, pitching so carefully or just intentionally walking the bastid to get it over with. 3 and 0. There we go, final ball is intentional. Common sense prevails.

Juan Encarnacion coming up. His story: 0 for 3 tonight. Hitting .190 in this series. Delgado speaking with Heilman, probably begging him not to throw to first again, Pujols isn't going anywhere with those dodgy hammies. Up on your feet! 0-2 count...two outs...Heilman throws to first again. Keep focused on the plate, Mr Heilman s'il vous plait

Fastball swung on and missed!

Commercial Break: Bottom of the 8th, it's Inspiration Time:

Hang on, wrong ad...

Bottom of the 8th, it's Inspiration Time!

Well, something like that...

Mets - Bottom of the 8th - So Taguchi has come into the game to play for Preston Wilson instead of Spiezio. Suppan staying in though. La Russa will hang on to him until there's nothing left to hang on to. Meanwhile Wagner is warming up in the bullpen. I'm not sure that makes me happy just yet. Why not another inning of Heilman?

Beltran to the plate. This is the inning to really make it happen, meat of the order and all...Suppan at 103 pitches. At least La Russa has a pair warming up in the pen. Maybe he isn't going to stay with him into the long and dreaded night. Beltran draws a lead off walk!

Delgado coming to the plate. La Russa on his way to the mound and asking for the lefty, Randy Flores.

Bullpen Break: La Russa letting the bullpen loose!

...Delgado up...lefty on lefty. Mano a mano. Cliché versus cliché.

Mets have only two hits in this game so far. Several pick off attempts, 2 and 2 the count, Delgado fouls it off and let's the bat out of his hands. Slippery bat in the rain or subtle warning, bwahhhaaa. Relatively quiet crowd at Shea now. Uncharacteristic or scared? Strike three, Delgado went around on a slider. One away.

David Wright to the plate. Righties kill Flores. He's got like a 9+ ERA against righties this season. I've looked it up now, 9.72 ERA against righties. But Wright's average against lefties was just over .200 in the second half of the season. Which came first, the chicken or the egg, the lefty's weakness against righties or the righty's weakness against lefties? Oh, it's confusing! 4:11 AM. Ball three to David Wright. Season on the line for both teams in case we've forgotten...Swung on and missed! Two bloody strikeouts in a row for Flores.

Dave Duncan coming out to the mound with Shawn Green coming to the plate.

Remember that Game Seven of the 1991 World Series with the scoreless tie through nine? This feels like it, sort of except the Mets are playing this time and it was uh, still the 20th century...

Green grounds weakly to Pujols, side retired. Last frame, lads.

Commercial Break Destiny Awaits:

Cardinals 9th - Heilman staying in, thank christ for that. Forget the strategic imlications, I don't want to see Wagner out there just yet without a 10 run lead...

Swing and a miss, third strikeout for Heilman.

Rolen coming up for the first time since he wuz robbed by Chavez's game-saving catch.

Jyuuuuust inside, 94 mph, ball three. Where's that strike zone, Mr Ump, full count...

Rolen almost kills a few teammates in the dugout with a foul ball, yes! He's hit Jeff Weaver, another fouled pitch and then, a single for Rolen. Rolen waited out that change up from Heilman until the fastball finally came around.

Yadier Molina up. Tension high - fly ball to deep left, Chavez back...it's gone... No magic glove that time. Holy shit, lads, 3-1. Shea is stunned. Belliard grounds out to Reyes, who cares now...man, .216 hitter for the year that Molina was...

Now time to consider who's coming up for Mets' last gasp in the 9th...

Pinch hitter for Flores, John Rodriguez. That's right, who cares. Shea is silent nights.

Mets will have bottom third of batting order up. Ugh. No hits for the Mets since the first inning. Are they due or doomed?

Side retired, golf claps. Three outs to save the season.

Commerical break - Due or Doomed?


Well, here it is lads. The ENTIRE BLOODY SEASON down to three outs and what the bottom third of the order can do to save the Mets once more. Improbable? Yes, of course. Impossible? Not in this season of impossible dreams so far.

Cardinals closer Adam Wainwright on the mound.

Valentin up. Maybe his last at-bat as a Met. Last at-bat for 2006 if he doesn't do the business.

Full count. This is going to be excruciating.

Bloop single drops in for a base hit! Tying run to the plate.

Endy Chavez up to the plate. 103 wins so far this season. Chavez needs to keep the ball out of the air.

Is Wainwright getting a little nervous. LOUD Let's Go Mets chants. I keep hearing Wainwright's postgame giddiness after he closed out Game Five for the Cards. this is what it's all about, he said. We'll see.

Chavez lines it into the outfield, base hit! Holy shit!

Cliff Floyd coming to the plate to pinch hit? Called back to dugout and then send back out. Pinch bunt here?

Mound conference with Dave Duncan. WFAN saying usually after a mound chat the next pitch is a fastball...

My guts are churning, I can't imagine what Wainwright is feeling like, or Floyd for that matter. Fastball was right, but swung on and missed.

C'mon, just bunt the runners over for the top of the order, no?

Called strike two. Can't let Wainwright get back into this, keep the pressure on. Wonder what Floyd's timing is like after such a long lay off. Why isn't he bunting?

Molina throws to first to try and pick off Chavez, almost sent it wild!

Whew. Wainnwright steps off the rubber, Floyd steps out of the box.

2-2 pitch, popped foul.

Curveball, strike three. Was that Floyd's last at-bat for the Mets?

Jose Reyes coming up. Please just don't swing at the first fucking pitch, Jose.

High ball one. Thank you Jose. Patience is thy name.

Curve ball in for strike one.

Fastball fouled off. One and two. Another curve, this one fouled off.

Curve ball lined into centerfield, Edmonds catches it. Pffft. Two away, Mets down to their last out.

It's ALL up to Lo Duca to save the season.

First pitch, fast ball 1-0. Beltran on deck. Lo Duca calls time.

Slider, called strike, a high strike.

Crowd has settled. Slider low outside, ball two.

Lo Duca taps some dirt out of his spikes.

Will Beltran have a chance to bat?

Fastball high, ball three. Guess he'll be taking all the way on this one. Lo Duca goes for another little walk out of the batter's box.

Whew, man.



Oh sweet bloody hell, this is exactly where the season should be, win or lose, in Carlos Beltran's hands. Bet Wainwright didn't want to do that.

Let's Go Mets chants wafting through Shea.

Bases loaded two outs, bottom of the 9th, Mets superstar at the plate. Can it get any sweeter than this opportunity? The opportunity of a lifetime for Beltran.

Fastball strike one.

Curve ball fouled off, two strikes.

Here it comes...curveball, strike three.



Glad I'm not seeing the mob scene on the pitcher's mound.

Well, you can't complain about the conclusion's possibilities. It was right there for us but Carlos Beltran goes down on three pitches to end the season.

Adios, 2006.

GAME SIX: Home Sweet Home

So, there will be a Game Seven after all.

Just barely though, after Billy Wagner gave us more drama than any of us were really looking for and as you would expect, the Cardinals did not go down without a fight.

The evening's hero, pumped after snuffing out the great Alberto with a K in the 5th

But they did go down and they did stay down and with this 4-2 victory the Mets live for at least another night where still more questions will follow them.

Following the superlative pitching of Tom Glavine in Game One, the gutty and passable pitching of Ollie Perez in Game Four, John Maine, as one of a short history line of rookies pitching in a championship series with elimination on the line shut the enigmatic Cardinals lineup out for a little over five innings, just enough for the Mets to take hold of the lead and keep it on the way to winning Game Six and forcing the decisive and final game of the NLCS at Shea.

One ace down, one more to go...

There's probably not enough that can be said about a rookie whom many of us considered a mere throw-in to the Kris Benson deal this winter, outpitching Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter to save the Mets' collective skin last night. But then again, although it was certainly more efficient than Perez's Game Four, it was no more surprising, no more invigorating, no more mandatory. That Maine and Perez, two pitchers acquired by GM Omar Minaya with very little fanfare, have saved the Mets' collective skin twice when a starting rotation in tatters needed help from anywhere it could get it, speaks volumes of Omar's value to this team and both players' nerve and survival instincts.

Ironic then that the man we paid so much to get over the winter nearly blew it for the second time in this series with a less than impressive closing performance.

Can't help but like a guy who points to the crowd rather than heavenwards when he produces...

From the batter's side of things, Jose Reyes opened the scoring with a lead off homer 395 feet over the right field wall in the bottom of the first and never looked back. With the advice of his teammates to just get on base ringing in his ears after an impatient game at the plate the night before, Reyes responded with three hits and a pair of stolen bases to lead an offensive charge that perhaps lacking in the usual explosiveness, was sufficient and workman-like enough with solid pitching to seal the victory.

The Cardinals had their chances - in the top of the 1st they had men on second and third with only one out before Maine inhaled and struck out Jim Edmonds and induced Scott Rolen to fly out to end the inning. That was the first sigh of relief. And then again in the third, the Cardinals had Maine nearly on the ropes with runners on first and second, one out and again, Jim Edmonds at the plate. Edmonds flew out and Juan Encarnacion went down on strikes to end the inning. And finally, top of the 9th, So Taguchi, who should only be beaned or intentionally walked Thursday night if he comes to the plate in the late innings with a chance to win the game, hit a two-run pinch hit double that brought the Cards to within a pair before Wagner finally sealed their fate once and for all. The Mets survived each of those innings and survival, the instinct most predominate in the Mets' season, was again sufficient.

And so here we are, poised on the precipice of the World Series with no idea who will start the decisive Game Seven. Quite appropriate perhaps, considering the questions about the starting rotation that began last winter with Pedro's toe and have continued on through injuries until Steve Trachsel's bitterly disappointing and short performance in Game Three threw his scheduled start into question.

Given the Cardinals' season-long weakness against lefties, perhaps Matt Dillon will be available to start Thursday night...


With virtually no time to savour this victory staving off elimination all heads now turn to the decisive Game Seven.

On paper the matchup of Jeff Suppan, who stunned the Mets' lineup in Game Three to the tune of Shut Me Out Of The Ballgame and has a 4-1, 1.85 ERA mark against the Mets in seven starts, versus TBA should be a betting man's wet dream. In fact, Cardinals fans must be having a hard time containing themselves with anticipation. But on paper, the Mets probably shouldn't have gotten past the Dodgers in the NLDS after losing both Pedro and El Duque from their rotation almost overnight, a double whammy few teams could survive on such short notice.

It appears Oliver Perez will be the Mets' Game Seven starter and again, on paper, this game will be a blow out. Suppan has pitched four NLCS games in his career, is 2-1 with a 1.80 ERA. At Shea, Suppan is 1-0 with a 1.56 ERA. He has a better ERA on the road (3.65) this season than at home (4.75). His lone NLCS loss came in 2004 against the Astros in Game Three against Roger Clemens. Is that demoralising enough?

Oliver Perez, despite his gutty performance in Game Four, comes into this game with a rotund 7.94 ERA. At Shea for the Mets this season he is 1-1 with a 3.72 ERA in three starts. Yes, Darren Oliver will be waiting in the wings. Yes, the entirety of a very efficient bullpen is also waiting in the wings. In some ways, this hydra-headed starting pitcher philosophy for Game 7 is the perfect response to Suppan, provided Suppan gives up a few runs or has to throw too many pitches early on, because Cardinals batters will have no chance to get accustomed to any one pitcher's rythym.

I still would have made the argument to see Steve Trachsel pitch this game. I know it sounds crazy but there's a continuity involved - September 18th he held the Marlins to 3 hits over 6 1/3 innings to help the Mets clinch the NL East and on the 7th of October he started the game against the Dodgers which saw the Mets win their NLDS. (Granted, 3 1/3 innings, 6 hits and 2 runs but,) nonetheless he was the starting pitcher on the mound for those two clinchers and there's a certain karmic value to seeing him start Game Seven.

Secondly, one has to wonder with the allegedly gutless performance in Game Three of this series sticking in his craw if Steve Trachsel might not rise to the occasion and strive to make up for letting his team down earlier. Motivation and karmic factors should have weighed heavier on Willie's mind. Then again, fortunately for all of you, I'm not the Mets' manager, Willie is and what Willie does, is most often make the right decision so there you go. Time to push our luck that Oliver Perez can have two non-disasterous starts in a row. He has not won two starts in a row all season.

In any event, it's time to sit out the remaining 19 1/2 hours or so until first pitch with alot of time to ponder the immeasurable in between. Good luck to the Mets and whatever the result, it's been a helluva season.

And if you REALLY want to get the crowd going at the onset, why not have PEDRO throw out the first ceremonial pitch?


1969 - NLCS - Won over ATL
1969 -WS - Won over Balt
1973-NLCS - won over Reds
1986-WS - Won Over Boston
1999-NLDS- Won over ARIZ
2000-NLDS - Won Over SF
2000- NLCS - Won over STL


GAME FIVE - Staying Awake For Nothing

1:36 - Damn another late wakeup - missed the top half of the first with the Mets threatening, two hits - rushing about trying to get all the crap up on screen (including this new "enhanced" MLB Gameday which I haven't had a chance to look at yet,) and rubbing the sleep out of my eyes.

It's a commerical (naturally) and there's time to see that both Delgado and Wright failed to deliver with Reyes and Beltran on base...pity. Jumping on Weaver early could've killed the Kardinal spirit in Game Five and save us all alot of unnecessary nerve-fraying.

St Louis First - Wonder if 13 consecutive shutout innings is unlucky, if Glavine shouldn't have pitched an extra shutout inning or given up a run in his last outing...

Eckstein gets his first hit off of Glavine. With Pujols coming up, time to observe that in St Louieee, they're busy bashing Pujols and likening him to Barry Bonds. Wow. One so-so series to date and they're ready to pillory the bastid.

For some odd reason, Pujols has once again turned the NLCS into a joyless pursuit of excellence rather than an extraordinary opportunity to display his singular greatness, and I just don't get it.

He comes to the ballpark every day and treats people with a needless surly demeanor.

Instead of seizing on the chance to step onto baseball's big postseason stage and impress the nation's baseball press with his athletic brilliance, he instead has made quite the impression in the worst kind of way.

"Get out of my freakin' locker — you people are a pain in the (butt), you know that?" he snarled last week inside the crowded Shea Stadium visitors' clubhouse after Game 1 was rained out.

Pujols goes after the first pitch and after all that hoo-haa about Glavine and Pujols, nada. A few pitches later, Eckstein steals second to get into scoring position for Encarnacion who breaks his bat hitting it back to Glavine, inning over.

Mets 2nd - Chavez, hitting 2 for 19, delivers a two out double - clutch if only so Glavine isn't leading off the 3rd next inning. Glavine does the usual - I notice already the yuppy crowd seems a little louder - maybe they're holding the microphones down closer to the seats for this game or perhaps the PA System is playing recorded cheers from like 1980...

Commercial Break - This Gameday thing on mlb.com is stupid. A few cheap graphics, less information than the regular one. Tells me what the bloody degree of arc is or whatever. Rubbish. And because I'm sick of hearing the same WFAN commercials, I'm going to poke over and listen to what the enemy is saying for an inning or two - KTRS broadcast - my guess will be a pair of Midwest muppets will be even less exciting than the WFAN commercials.

Cardinals 2nd - Rolen leads off with a hit the drunk slurring his broadcast barely registers. The drunk slurring his broadcast is Mike Shannon and, reading his little website bio off the station, "During the 1964 Series opener vs. New York, Shannon hit a game-tying, two-run homer off Whitey Ford as St. Louis went on to defeat the Yankees in seven games"

I dunno what he's been up to in the interim (binge drinking and chain smoking?) but his articulation and cadence is like a drunk Ralph Kiner and his voice sounds like as he's gargling phlegm as he speaks. You'd have to be on heavy sedatives to get through this broadcast, ugh. Looks like it's back to the WFAN, you're not going to learn anything listening to this except why the midwest is about two decades behind New York culturally.

Strike 'em out, throw 'em out! Inning over.

Commercial Break Mike Shannon's heavy sedatives...

Mets 3rd - Reyes up...I'm hating Howie Rose and Gary Cohen less after that dose of Mike Shannon...Beltran 11 homers in 19 postseason game. Weaver is up in the zone but finding a rhythm. Do I miss idiot chatter of Joe Schmuck and Tim McSnore on FOX? Nyet. Crowd is on their feet for a two strike pitch - did someone drop a few bennies in the Evian at Busch?

Commercial break

Cardinals 3rd - Molina up, 6 for 13 in NLCS, but goes down quickly. Weaver hit .133 during regular season. This game is going down like Game One, pretty fast and pretty efficient...Cohen and Rose chatting about the NL Cy Young award and then start goofing on Trevor Hoffman for blowing the save in the All Star game and costing the NL homefield advantage. All-Time Saves Leader indeed. Cards down in order.

Commercial: Seems like I'm spending more time during commercial than I am listening to innings the pitchers are working through so efficiently. Intellectual stimulation instead of Pete King for Congress commercials...A little St Louis history instead:

In 1763, Pierre Laclède, his 13-year-old "stepson" Auguste Chouteau, and a small band of men traveled up the Mississippi from New Orleans. In November, they landed a few miles downstream of the river's confluence with the Missouri River at a site where wooded limestone bluffs rose 40 feet above the river. The men returned to Fort de Chartres for the winter, but in February, Laclede sent Chouteau and 30 men to begin construction. The settlement was established on February 15, 1764.

So, it was founded by a French paedophile? Interesting.

Mets 4th - Pujols doing some first base manicuring, unhappy with first base bag that the grounds crew cocked up in between innings. Now more grounds crew out to work it some more. How many St Louis grounds crew does it take to properly place first base for crissakes? Now they're bringing a shovel out. Think Jeff Weaver is enjoying this unnecessary delay owed to muppet midwest incompetence? Now they're changing the base. What is this bloody rocket science?! Why are they changing bases in between innings anyway? Stooges. You'd think they'd do it to Glavine rather than their own pitcher. Maybe they're just trying to piss off Pujols.

Nice. After Weaver's unnecessary break, he walks Delgado to lead off. David Wright K'd his last time up. Note the difference between media coverage on Wright in NYC during his NLCS slump and the coverage of Pujols in St Louis during his own slump...Wright, 1 for 14 in the NLCS...make that 1 for 15. A wee bit over-anxious. Liberal strike zone from the ump tonight. Green kicks up some chalk on the left field line and knocks it for a ground rule double after a St Louis fan interferes with ball. Second and third.

Valentin, over the glove of Pujols with another double! 2-0 Mets!

Look who's found his hitting groove!

Wonder what they're making of the unnecessary break for Weaver whilst the grounds crew fumbled around with first base...Chavez out, Glavine up with a chance to help himself with another run...Inning over but a little damage done.

Commercial break - In honour of the St Louis grounds crew - A 16th century brewery:

Cards 4th - John Maine and Chris Carpenter have already headed back to New York. Oops! Pujols homers off of Glavine - Chavez leapt to try and get it at the wall but yet again, no joy. I'm sorry I can't remember which blogger was writing about Mets practicing making these kinds of off-the-wall catches...pitch was up. Wonder what that cunt Pujols is grinning to himself now about sweet justification. Glavine's first post season run allowed in 16 2/3 innings. Replay shows Chavez wasn't that close to catching it after all. A few feet behind the left field wall. Now Glavine goes 3-0 to Scott Rolen...walk. WFAN official speculation that he'd rather face Edmonds than Rolen since Rolen hits him better but with two outs does that really make sense? 3-1 on Edmonds - is he trying to avoid Edmonds too? Base hit. His 4th hit of the series. And now the pudgy kid, Belliard comes to the plate. Infielders need to smother anything near the hole to keep the tying run from...nope - Belliard, RBI single between first and second to tie the game at 2 apiece. Remembering Game Two when the Cards answered back it seemed every time the Mets scored. WFAN crying that Delgado gave up on it too early. How many pitches has Glavine thrown I wonder...Now Molina up who has been going nuts in the postseason and Glavine falls behind 2-0. What's up Mr Glavine? He's thrown 62 pitches already...Now he walks Belliard to load the bases for Jeff Weaver. This is a very, very key at-bat. 8th guy up this inning and if Glavine doesn't get Weaver here, we're fecked. Bullpen starting to warm up. Glavine goes 2-0 on the bloody pitcher! Wonder what's happened to him. Whew, Weaver out but Glavine has now thrown 73 pitches...36 pitches in one inning alone.

Well-Earned Commercial Break:

Mets 5th - Reyes swings at the first bloody pitch after Weaver had the long inning break, one out. The 2-2 tie seems like a Cardinals lead somehow. Pujols broke his cherry and Glavine, perhaps demoralised as a result, threw 36 pitches and gave the lead back.

Lo Duca hits it by the line in right field, blocked by side wall placed midwest architecture stupidly and is limited to a single. LaRussa has the bullpen warming up already. Beltran rips one to the warning track but no dice. Think Delgado has used up his quota NLCS RBIs with his 5 ribbies the night before? Same situation as Sunday night, tie game righty facing Delgado in the 5th...Flores had been up in Cardinals bullpen to pitch to Delgado if necessary but now he's sat down again. Delgado pops it up uselessly. Weaver has still thrown less pitches than Glavine.

Commercial Break Public Service Announcement:

Cardinals 5th Eckstein pretends to bunt then bloops it over Reyes' glove to put the first runner on. Trouble brewing? Wondr if Willie will bring in Chad Bradford to face Pujols if Glavine doesn't get Preston Wilson out right here...He lines it to right field gap, rolling to wall, Eckstein scores, Wilson, RBI double, Cards lead 3-2 - still nobody out. Glavine has lost his stuff with Pujols coming to the plate, man on scoring position. Time to break out the intentional walk...

Yup. No doubt. Intentional walk. So it'll be two men on with Encarnacion coming up. Willie coming to the mound and calls for Bradford. Smart move. He's no Grady Little with his starters, that's for sure. So much for the sole starting pitching advantage the Mets had, Glavine down the tubes. Perhaps we can speculate on how fresh he'll be for Game One of the World Series?

Bullpen Break Quotes from Cardinals chat room:

"Well the wretched old man is getting yanked, after being a chickenschit to Pujols!"

Back to the action...Encarnacion gets a base hit and suddenly the Cardinals have the bases loaded with nobody out after Encarnacion failed to get the bunt down and decided to reach out and swerve it into the outfield. Shit.

Rolen rips the first pitch foul and suddenly the yuppie crowd is alive. Mets infield playing to concede a run for a double play (if only they're that lucky...)

Bradford tugs on his cap a few times and asks for a new ball, yuppies boo, as if they know what the feck is going on. But Bradford Ks Rolen. Nice one. Lo Duca comes up to chat with Bradford - giving the pen some more time to get warm? Willie comes out to bring Feliciano on.

Bullpen Break Cardinals chat room getting more intelligent by the minute:

"That blew doo-doo. No slack for Rolen there at all. That was a bullsh*t at-bat. Amazing. NO PATIENCE, NO DISCIPLINE."

Back to the action again...Edmonds a .156 hitter this season against left hand pitching...Delgado gets the safe force at home rather than trying a dodgy DP. Belliard coming to the plate...Chavez makes the catch at the warning track! Bullpen saves the inning, Cardinals leave the bases loaded. Oh that was clutch. The Cardinals could have blown this game wide open and instead, they only managed a run out of all that. Perhaps this turns the tide for the Mets. Weaver can't have much left in him so we'll get another shot at the Cardinals bullpen soon.

COMMERCIAL BREAK I need to relax the tension...

Mets 6th - Weaver takes the mound with the lead for the first time. Wright up to bat. Fouling them off with reckless abandon, five in a row...measuring Weaver for a smash? 2-2. Weaver stomping around behind the mound, upset with the call. 10th pitch of the at-bat...ball three. Wright having a brilliant at-bat. Dribbled on the ground to third, out. At least he burned Weaver out a little more.

Pujols makes lungeing catch to get Green. What happened to that bum hammy? Maybe that article in the St Louis paper comparing him to Bonds really pissed him off. Valentin up with the hot bat. Weaver has given up 34 homers...Yuppies waving white rally towels now. What genius handed those out to them? As if they have enough life in them to wave or get excited. Are they rally towels or surrender flags? Ball four, 3-2 slider misses. Chavez coming to the plate and Roberto Hernandez warming up in the pen with the pitcher's spot coming up after Chavez. What, Willie isn't going to let Feliciano hit?! Change of philosophy? Endy 3 for 18 in NLCS. Rubbish grounder ends the inning. Ok, pinch hitter to lead off next inning and then the top of the order. Yeah, blablabla. A run-scoring triple from Chavez would've been alot sweeter.

Commercial Break:

"Meet me in St. Louis, Louis,
Meet me at the fair,
Don't tell me the lights are shining
any place but there;
We will dance the Hoochee Koochee,
I will be your tootsie wootsie,
If you will meet in St. Louis, Louis,
Meet me at the fair."

from Meet Me In St Louis

Cards 6th - Weaver had 95 pitches so he'll be pinch hit for. Molina up to lead off. I just realised Spiezio didn't start this game. Only took me six innings. Way to be alive to the batting order, d'oh. That means he could come up for some pinch-hitting duty later in the game but it also means less chances to kill us in between.

Oh fuck. Chris Duncan hits a pinch hit homer, 4-2 C'mon for crissakes - 22 homers in 280 at-bats this season. Who is this twat? He was 1 for 12 in the postseason up til now. He hit .170 against lefties this season. Inning ends mercifully without further damage...

Commercial Break Chris Duncan scouting report from Newsday:

"Which player is most likely to disappoint?

Chris Duncan. There's a guy who all of a sudden can get into a funk on you."

Good one.

Mets 7th - Righty Josh Kinney takes over to face PH Michael Tucker. Kinney has thrown four scoreless innings in postseason so far. Tucker starts us off with a phat pheckin strikeout.

Reyes overmatched on curve, swinging strike three. Dis no lookin good amigos...

1-2-3. Easy and fast. Faith is fleeting...

Commercial Break: PSA - Doom Is Coming:

Cardinals 7th - Roberto Hernandez coming in to pitch. 0-1 against the Cards this season. 4 runs surrendered in 8 1/3 innings - all runs surrendered with Pirates. Went one inning so far in postseason v Cards without giving up a run. Blablabla. Yeah, if he holds 'em great but if the Mets don't score some runs it means I've gotten no sleep and for no good reason. Double whammy. WFAN in between pitches giving me the life history of Juan Encarnacion, his trials and tribulations with Marlins, his wake up with Cincinnati and woops, there he goes, base on balls. Another long chapter in his infintissimal biography. I dunno what they were even on about with Cincinnati - all his power years were with Detroit...

Wow, I'm getting almost as boring as these WFAN announcers. Just shows you what getting lulled into a loss does to you...

3-0 to Edmonds, Roberto throws wild pitch to put Encarnacion on second...last pitch intentional ball to get to Ronnie Belliard. I guess because Belliard's single to tie the game earlier wasn't convincing enough. Well, there it is, inning over.

Commercial Break Must be time for a fit cartoon bird break to bring the spirits up:

Mets 8th - Kinney staying out for the 8th. This is the inning to do it if the Mets are going to do anything the rest of this game. Beltran, Delgado and Wright.

3-2 to Beltran - checked swing, called strike three. They say it was a beautiful pitch. Four outs to go.

Delgado up. 4:11 in the morning, Delgado swings and misses, 1-2. Mets have left 6 men on, half of them in the first few innings when they could've made Weaver pay. Delgado rips it foul. Full count now. Each pitch makes Mets more and more desperate. Willie will have to manage Game 6 like it's Game 7. Delgado is on with an infield hit.

Hookay! Time for David Wright to snap the slump and tie it...0 for 3 in the game so far. Where's that traditional late-inning magic now?

Count even on Wright. Kinney's location not where it was earlier. Ripped down the left field line, Wright is on at second. One man out, tying run in scoring position! That's it for Kinney. Oh, love the silence of that crowd. La Russa going with a lefty from the pen to face Shawn Green.

Randy Flores coming in. 10.93 ERA with runners in scoring position this season. Green hit .267 against lefties this year.

Green loops it to center but Edmonds grabs it and the runners hold. Two outs for Valentin hitting right handed. La Russa not taking any chances, he's going to his closer already. Double switch. Adam Wainwright coming in. Quick glance shows lefties hitting .301 against him and righties hitting .182 against him. Curious.

Valentin batting from the left side but wow, weak swing, good pitch, 0-2 count. Wainwright steps off the mound twice in a row, 2-2 count. Valentin breaks bat on foul ball. Curve ball, called strike three. Fucketyfuckfuck.

Commercial Break

Cardinals 8th - Mota in for Mets. In dunno, does it matter if he gets them down 1-2-3 or let's another 10 runs score? For me, only because if the Cardinals score 10 runs, I won't be able to listen to the rest of the game before work. It's already 4:33 am. Miles gets a triple with a head first slide into third. Shawn Green fell asleep a little out there. Eckstein at the plate - a squeeze?

Suicide squeeze bunted foul.

Inning over eventually. Last chance for the Mets.

Commercial Break For Prayer For the Mets


Chavez, PH and then Reyes...I guess it's not utterly hopeless. Still what are the chances they put two men on again like after they blew their chances last inning?

Chavez - bunt effort, called strike two. Ground out.

Cliff Floyd coming up for the first time since Game One. Whattaya think, a little rusty not to mention injured? Desperation, I smell thee. Even if he gets on, Willie will have to replace him with a pinch runner. Basically, he's only of use with a homer. Floyd retired - Pujols didn't bother tossing it Wainwright.

Reyes up. Last hope. And not much of one at that. 46,496 in the crowd. Reyes dejected in batter's box for being fooled so badly. Swung on and missed, strike three.

Time to smash up some furniture. Just before five in the morning.


Pre Game Rainout Chatter...

Glavine is 2-5 with a 6.75 ERA in his seven career postseason starts on fewer than four days of rest. Still, he's looking forward to pitching to Pujols, who dissed him after Game One:

"I have a ton of respect for Albert. He's a great player. It's a great challenge when I face him individually. If he truly didn't think I pitched well the other night, then I hope I do something (Monday) night to really impress him. That would be a good thing."

Scott Spiezio's blonde tattoo:

gracias bump shack

More crowd bashing from Cardinal fans...

Mets half of first inning, 2 out, 2 on, 2 strikes. I stood and starting cheering on Reyes. A male 30-something 2 rows behind me in a half empty section yelled at me to sit down. I said there were 2 outs & 2 strikes ! He replied, I paid for these seats and want to see. I sat down. Of course as soon as we got the third strike, the usher called me out and lectured me and said I could not stand during an inning. That set the mood for the whole evening. I could hear the beer vendor 2 sections away. My section had all age groups so don't blame the silver haired. Not once all night could you get anyone to even clap unless the ribbon board flashed "Clap your hands". After the 7th I went over to the bleachers where people still had some life.

Anyway, the oddities in life find me checking the St Louis weather page (god who'd have thought of doing that over here where it's pissing down every bloody day?!)

Just trying to figure out whether to set the alarm for 1 am or get a full night's sleep for a change...


This morning marks a very rare opportunity for the Army, a chance to see the Mets on the telly rather than imagining them through the internet radio waves. The UK's fifth terrestrial channel shows live or quasi-live broadcasts of what is usually ESPN's Sunday Night baseball game all season and this morning, it is the FOX Channel live broadcast of Game Four of the Mets-Cardinals series.

Thus for the first time all season I'll be watching a Mets game in the comfort of the living room, just like the rest of America and jotting handwritten, illegible notes as the game goes on.

Unfortunately, I awake from my late night nap a little tardy and it's already the bottom of the first inning, 0-0 when I click it on.

St Louis 1st - Carlos Delgado drops the throw with Pujols coming up knowing Pujols hits Ollie Perez well and the first thing to imagine is jesus, we've got that kid out there starting his first playoff game ever and get the veterans, knowing what a dodgy proposition Perez is going to be all night at least give him some solid bloody defence in support? Visions of a two-run shot by Pujols dissipate...

FIRST THING you would notice about this broadcast is that when the inning ends and FOX goes to whatever horrific commercial they're going to torture the audience with, the UK broadcast goes to a dark little studio booth where one yank and one brit are sat, discussing strategy and events rather than having to go to commercial.

Mets 2nd - Valentin up after Green and I'm trying to calculate how that many Mets got to the plate in the first without scoring a single run...Valentin is 2 for 10 in the post season. FOX notes that this is the first time since 1993 that both starting pitchers of a playoff game are pitching their first postseason ever - last time it was Wilson Alvarez v Pat Hengten. Unfortunately the graphic doesn't tell you what happened or what it means for this game.

Does Valentin get fooled by Reyes' changeup or is he just a fool at the plate? Still, this telly thing is amazing. Closeup watching the changeup rotation.

Endy Chavez gets on so at least Reyes won't start the next inning having to face just the pitcher. Perez is 4 for 38 from the plate and proceeds to look almost as confused as Valentin. And hey, another nifty FOX graphic - this is the worst combined winning percentage of any duel in playoff history! (3-13) - and you wonder how two pitchers with a combined 3-13 record are out on the mound for the most important game of the series to date...Reyes goes 3-1 in the count on Perez, yeah - walks the pitcher! And now we'll have Reyes v Reyes...graphic shows that Jose "likes singing and making music in his spare time." are they fecking kidding with this? Of Reyes the pitcher's first 48 pitches (and hell, this is still only the 2nd inning) 24 balls, 24 strikes. Reyes the batter gets fooled badly, going to see the St Louis bullpen early regardless with such a high pitch count so early. Mets have now gone 14 innings without scoring a run.


During commercial break, back in the UK they show hightlights of Game 3, my first glimpse of the little red soul patch of Spiezio, who is hitting .700 in the postseason for his career. Is that for real? And looking at Jeff Suppan shutting down the Mets highlight I can't help but imagine he looks like a gay Mario Lopez when he's smiling. Tried to google image of "Jeff Suppan smiling" and nothing came up. Won't bother sticking Mario Lopez's image up then. Trust me though, for that millisecond, the smiling Jeff Suppan looked like Mario Lopez playing this gay guy in Nip and Tuck...


St Louis 2nd - Rolen, the leadoff hitter gets on base. I listen to FOX broadcasters, who are category three somnambulists and as boring as watching an auld man's ear hairs grow, talk for the hundreth time about how good Ollie Perez pitched two years ago as if the subsequent two years of mediocrity will just vanish and this auld Ollie Perez will reappear in his place. Why don't they just hold a bloody seance? Come back, Ollie Perez from two years ago, come back....

Ok, getting a grip on FOX booth - Buck the idiot I remember going crazy a few years back when Randy Moss pretended to moon the Green Bay crowd and acted as though Moss had just opened fire on them with a gat instead of tauting them. Douchebag number one. And Tim McCarver, folksy muppet with nothing interesting to say. Lastly, an ex-player who sounds like he should be doing professional wrestling rants (later I discover this is who, Buck Martinez?)...

Belliard is 1 for 10 in the series. He doesn't LOOK like a baseball player. Chubby little kid who would be made fun of anywhere else but the baseball field. Looks like he's got Medusa locks coming out from underneath his batting helmet. But he drops one in that Beltran just misses in centerfield because Beltran was playing him too deep. Why are you playing someone who is 1 for 10 that deep? Runners on first and third now, Molina coming to the plate with his .425 batting average with RISP in the post season. .348 with 3 RBIs in postseason overall. Anyone else worried? Ok, he smashes one down the 3rd base line and the Cardinals score first, 1-0. This could get out of hand quickly but Endy Chavez throws out Belliard at third base. What was Belliard thinking?? Why do you run yourself out of a rally with a sad sack like Perez pitching against you? Ohhhh, golden opportunity blown by idiot Cardinal. Thank christ. Rally killer Belliard. Now the pitcher is coming up. Cardinals just shot themselves in the foot...

Commercial break in the UK Studio analysis: Reyes threw the changeup alot in the 1st inning but then made adjustments because he threw more fastballs to set up the changeup in the second. Perez on the other hand, made no adjustments. He didn't use the slider versus Molina when it had worked so well against Belliard...

Mets 3rd - Mets' bat boy is handed the phone in the dugout, a call from the bullpen - next shot shows everyone laughing it up in the Mets bullpen. That's a good sign - they're relaxed at least...

BELTRAN TIES THE GAME WITH HOMER! Bang, just like that, his 6th homer versus Cardinal pitching in 11 games. And all that after they'd just shown him looking like an idiot with his bullfighter/golfer outfit...Mets scoreless streak is over!

Count is 3-0 on Delgado - the camera man is still preoccupied with the coffee supply in the Mets dugout, or lack thereof after Beltran goes for a shot. I didn't know baseball players drank coffee in the dugout. Sure, I can imagine an auld man like LaRussa needing a little caffeine dose as the game goes past his bedtime but Beltran? He just hit a homer for crissakes, what does he need caffeine for. Must be something else besides coffee. But what? It isn't Gatorade, that's in a clearly marked container. Maybe it's tea. Or beer.

WRIGHT BLASTS ONE OUTTAHERE, 2-1 METS! His first hit of the series is a homer. 0 for 10 before that. Looks like the Mets are waking up. Maybe it IS coffee after all...A fastball right down the pipe.

Latest FOX blurb makes me wonder why Shawn Green is nicknamed Gumby. They must be making it up, just to make Shawn Green seem interesting. Every time I see a photograph of him that isn't missing a fly ball in the outfield, he has this serious, pensive look on his face like he's some tormented teenage intellectual. Reyes has given up 17 homers in 85 1/3 innings...now they tell us...Green gets foiled by a changeup, inning over.

UK studio analysis- Our yank in the studio disagrees with Tim McCarver about Reyes falling in love with the changeup. He says instead that it's merely a matter of pitch LOCATION not pitch selection and then goes to show where the pitches were thrown, where the catcher wanted it...Of course, finding McCarver is talking out of his arse is nothing special, is it?

Cardinals 3rd - I predict a 1 run lead for Ollie will never be enough. Then he throws a great slider that makes Eckstein look like a chump. Eckstein then fouls a pitch off his ankle/left shin. I'll bet It's the Mets for Me loved that one considering how much they hate watching Eckstein run out base on balls to first.

ARE THE RED WHITE AND BLUE GRAPHICS just because it is FOX doing the broadcasting? Do they do this on ESPN too? I don't remember. Is this the ultimate patriot channel humming some sweet auld patriot slogans for us and blinding us with the colours of oil and blood? (Sorry, I'm just having a flashback from the past...)

4 pitch walk to Spiezio to set up Pujols. Trouble brewing...but then Pujols smashes it to Reyes who catches it and drops it on purpose to try and get the DP. Everyone has a good chuckle. Really bad acting job the way he just sets it down like that. Clever though. Maybe if he works on his acting along with his singing in the offseason he'll get it down better...But there goes Encarnacion with an RBI triple in the gap between Beltran and Green to tie the game. 3 innings pitched for Ollie, 2 runs surrendered by innings end. I'll take it. This isn't as bad as I imagined it might be.

Mets 4th- Why does LaRussa wear shades in the dugout at night? Has this been addressed already? He looks like an auld blind man. What's next a seeing eye dog in the dugout? Maybe that's pitching coach Dave Duncan's job. Seeing eye dog...pitching from the stretch versus pitching from a windup for Reyes...someone is shouting encouragement to Valentin in Spanish that the sound picks up. Someone in the Mets dugout or Pujols taking the piss from first? Ball Four! Nice one. Valentin hitting 0 for his life and Reyes walks him. Reyes' 4th walk in 3 innings pitched.

Ollie looks to bunt Valentin forward. His bunting effort looks like a cricket batsman. But he's crap at it and with two strikes, swings away. Then he falls all over himself swinging and missing. What an ugly swing. He should have stayed with the bunting pose. So he doesn't help himself at all, the twat. Reyes coming up to face Reyes for the 3rd time...nothing...

UK studio comments at commercial break: Expressing shock that Ollie Perez is going to pitch another inning. Willie has big ones they say. A shout out to Silas Simmons, baseball's auldest old timer. 111 years old?? Jesus.

Cards 4th - Reyes' windup was apparently tipping pitches, so LaRussa says - how can he see anything with those sunglasses on? In any event, Reyes is finished for the night. Perez surrenders a 1 out single to Belliard and then nearly throws wild to 1st to pick him off. Is Ollie rattled or tiring? Another pitch goes wild. Perez must be tiring fast. Then he throws a good 95 mph pitch, maybe not...A DP would end the inning and negate pinch hitter for Reyes and put a pitcher up to start the Cardinals next inning...

But Belliard steals second - LoDuca had the throw there in time but the muppet Valentin can't bring himself to make the bloody tag! What is this?

Why is Chris Duncan pinch hitting for pitcher when he's only hitting .091?

Then Valentin makes up for his muppet no-tag with a brilliant play to end the inning.

UK studio break - they get David Lengel on the trans-Atlantic blower. For those of you who don't know him, he's the smartass guy who used to do the yank in studio for the baseball games over here before they brought the genius yank over with the mind for stats. Lengel used to crack me up with his sarcasm and taking the piss out of the brit in the studio but somehow, they got rid of him or he got sick of eating fucking bangers and mash and had to go home for some real food. He's in NYC right now, the lucky bastid. He says the Mets are looking like the Yankees right now. Not moving runners and parallels with the Yankee series against Detroit. Win Game One, nearly take Game 2 just to lose it, series spiralling out of control...

Mets 5th - Meat of the order up to face Brad Thompson, who looks vaguely like he has Down Syndrome. Belliard boots a sure out by LoDuca and there is Beltran at the plate looking to...BUNT?! $119 million over 7 years to hit, not to bunt, says our boy genius, Tim McCarver. Might have to agree with that one...Then Beltran straightens up and hits a proper single. Good timing. Delgado up and I wonder where is FOX red white and blue graphics for Delgado's batting average against pitchers with Down Syndome....

Brad Thompson

Stephane Ginnsz, a 12 year old actor with Down Syndrome



Wow, Delgado! I can't let myself get too excited though - his three run shot in Game Two didn't work wonders for the Mets and the Mets will still have Ollie Perez on the mound when this is over...still, I want to believe this is a momentum shift.

Down Syndome Thompson gets no one out and is surgically removed by blind man LaRussa. FOX goes to commercial again.


During the break I want to see if this is an overused cliché, this Brad Thompson Down Syndome thing and surprisingly, I see no other references to it. Am I hallucinating in the wee hours of the morning? So giddy from getting to watch baseball on the television that I'm imagining it all? Instead what I find are references to Brad Thompson and shopping, innuendo about his sexuality. Scrolling down a reference from a deadspin padres v cardinals live playoff blog I see why:

Is there such a thing as Gay Down Syndome? How many strikes can you get?

Hoo haaa, where is Steve Lyons when you need him? Oops, that's right. Sacked for making fun of who, Lou Piniella or all hispanics, I'm still not sure who the insult was directed at.

Ok, it's giddiness over Carlos Delgado's shot, I'm certain, I'll try to calm down and just remember that Ollie Perez will be taking the mound again eventually so no lead is too big.


Randy Flores is on the mound for the Cardinals now. Oh! Buffoonery in the outfield! Scattered boos show there is life after all in the yuppified St Louis home crowd. Cardinals 2nd error of the inning. And now there's two men on but Mets have been wretched hitting with men in scoring position so far this series. Banging out homers, sure. Extended rallies? Tough one. No one in the Cardinals bullpen if they load the bases with Chavez...1st and 3rd, two outs, Oliver Perez to the plate?

Willie must REALLY want to rest his bullpen. C'mon, here's your chance to build on the lead and here is Willie letting his pitcher hit in a key situation again. It's not like Ollie is going to shut the Cardinals down the rest of the way. Every pitch he throws is potentially a big bang. And look at that swing! Wild swing. He shouldn't bother swinging again, IMHO. Just stand there with the bat on his shoulders and pray for a walk. But no, Ollie swings on 3 and 2, missing wildly. Jesus, has this guy ever held a bat in his hand before tonight? Ok, he's just a pitcher but c'mon. He's still a professional baseball player for the luvvachrist.
It's a 5-2 lead but who knows what horror Ollie has in store for us in the bottom of the frame? I'd have the bullpen up and firing already. Then again, I'd not have let Ollie hit either...

Cardinals 5th inning - Chad Bradford loosening up. Thank christ. Someone showing some sense finally. Eckstein homers and it's 5-3. Here we go. Eckstein homers? How does that happen? He hit two homers all bloody season before this. Wonder who they were off of, Steve Trachsel?

Looking forward to hearing Willie justify why he let Ollie hit for himself in the 5th. But look! Spiezio K's badly. Willie interviewed between innings says: "Ollie is throwing the ball well, so far so good..." Wow, those FOX reporters sure know how to make a manager squirm. They never ask him why the hell a guy like Ollie is hitting for himself with a man on first and third when Ollie will be lucky to hold this lead...Woooo! Ollie Ks Pujols who swings through a bad ball. Maybe Willie is a feckin genius after all.

And Ollie does the business, down go the Cards without further damage. I take it all back, Willie. You're brill. Then again, PH for Ollie last inning and it might be 7-2 or 8-2 instead of 5-3. Time will tell, but Willie's faith is rewarded.

Commerical paws:

Just because it's between innings, it must be time for a fit bird break:

Mets 6th

Josh Hancock, 3rd reliever for the Cards in. Reyes and LoDuca coming up but are a combined 0 for 6 so far tonight...Interesting FOX comment: Reyes' 60 stolen bases and 80 RBIs - Joe Morgan is the only other player to do that since World War Two. It makes me wonder what happened before World War Two...(so of course, I gotta look it up...) - Rickey Henderson never did that? Nope. But it looks like Ty Cobb did it FIVE TIMES. Must be why they threw in the "since World War Two" bit...


Reyes leads off the 6th with a base hit. LoDuca hitting .219 for the series. No stolen bases for Reyes yet in the NLCS. Hit and run! LoDuca slaps it through the hole, runners on first and third no outs.

Beltran up. Goes from 0 balls 2 strikes to a full count...and then walks to load the bases for guess who...CARLOS DELGADO!!

Yes! Ground rule double, 5 RBIs for Delgado in the game, 7-3!!

Spiezio looked like a bewildered red-bearded goat trying to chase that one down. Still, probably would've been a GRD either way.

The bases are loaded again STILL with no outs. Hancock is leaving the game - 5 batters up, none out.

UK Studio break - Whilst America is watching some commercial for the 700th time, over here, they take the break to "explain" the ground rule double rule. I'm sorry but if you're awake at 3 am to watch this bloody match, I think you know baseball well enough to know what a bloody ground rule double is...However, we get the bonus explanation of Carlos Delgado's hips and how he keeps them in place until the last second which is what gives him his great opposite field power. Interesting.


Lefty Tyler Johnson, 4th reliever for the Cards, running that bullpen down to the nub tonight. Up to now, opposing batters have hit 1 out of 27 with runners in scoring position against the Cardinals bullpen. That's all coming to an end very quickly. Five of Delgado's six hits in this series have been to left field and all for extra bases.

Green bloops a single, 8-3

Six batters up and none out. Valentin up.

Another hit! Three run double! 11-3! Holy shit!

Wow, with a lead like this, maybe even Ollie Perez can hold it and stay in longer, give the Mets bullpen and even better rest...

Sarcastic cheers from the St Louis crowd when the 8th batter to the plate is finally out. Bitter little yuppies. This is just like Game Two at Shea when the home bullpen blew the game. Now its the turn of the Cardinals bullpen. Fair play, everyone is vulnerable.

With the score 11-3 I can't help but wonder what the biggest blown lead is in the history of postseason baseball. Maybe I better not think about it...although an 8 run lead should be sufficient. Reyes, up for the 2nd time this inning. Edmonds makes a great catch running into the wall to end the inning. 24 minute inning. 3:30 AM now. Think I'll blow off work on Monday. Open a bottle of cider. Wonder if Edmonds has hurt himself again by running into the wall. He's got cajones, that lad. Didn't he concuss himself a few weeks/months ago doing something similar? No fear.

CARDS 6th - Guess Edmonds isn't hurt. He homers to make it 11-4. How's that for a great sequence. A running catch to rob Reyes of certain extra bases, slam into the wall, get up, jog back into dugout, come out to hit and smack a homer. Edmonds is okay in my book. The only Cardinal who doesn't make me sick so far.

Molina makes it 11-5! Well well. Ollie is busy trying to blow an 8 run lead. He's thrown over 90 pitches but he just needs one out to get out of the inning alive.

Note - So many blondes in the Cardinals home crowd. It's like watching a football match in Germany. Is it something in that crappy beer they drink in St Louis?

Willie's seen enough. (finally) Ollie did the business though. A clutch performance. More than you could say for John Maine or Steve Trachsel. But that's been the Mets all season. Unlikely performances from unlikely players sandwiched around steady greatness from the players you expect it from.

Now I've just considered something awful. Game Seven, if there is one, would probably have Trachsel starting for the Mets. That sounds horrific on the surface but there's a certain symmetry involved. Trachsel started the game the Mets clinched the NL East and also started the game the Mets clinched the NLDS. Why not start the game the Mets clinch the National League pennant?

Willie got quite animated with Ollie in the dugout after he pulled him. Tough love?

Here comes the rain!

But Chad Bradford on the mound for the Mets. Do you think Ollie isn't the most relieved guy in the stadium right now? Imagine how terrified he must have been knowing the Mets season was riding on his performance and now it's over and not only did he not humiliate himself, he kept the Mets in the game long enough for them to tear up the Cardinals' bullpen.

Mets 7th - Looper pitching garbage time. How apropos. Of all the guys in the pen you'd think would gag up 8 Met runs, Looper was probably the best candidate and here he is, mopping up.


This ties him with Babe Ruth for most postseason homers against the Cardinals with 7. Amazing. He's on base in all 5 at-bats tonight. Making up for David Wright's somnambulism. Wright is hitting .083 in the NLCS.


It's late, kids. It's really late, the game is in the bag and my eyes are getting droopy. I'll just ease on over to the sofa and have a quick lie down for the 7th inning stretch and....


GAME THREE: Tough Loss Follows Tough Loss

I suppose you could say that at least this one was disappointing right from the start to relieve you of any unnecessarily frayed nerves, broken furniture or misguided false hopes.

Bewildered, worried or shaken?

And perhaps like the symptoms of a 24 hour bug, the last trail of vomiting losses, the final sphincter twitches of diarrhoeal miscues have now ended at this disappointing 5-0 loss and the Mets will be ready to resume regular programming for Game Four.

And I'm perfectly willing to believe that. I really think it would have been difficult for any team to overcome their closer exhibiting a complete choking meltdown of skills at home and blowing a game that could have been a pivotal victory for them with a trip to the enemy's city looming on the horizan. I didn't expect the Mets to win Game Three. I hoped they would of course, and that hoped lasted even through an early 2-0 deficit but if you want to know when I stepped away from the computer broadcast and allowed myself, somewhere around two in the morning, to listen to the game lying down in bed rather than sitting up and staying awake by typing, it was certainly the moment Steve Trachsel surrendered a homerun to the bloody Cardinals PITCHER, Jeff Suppan.

Yeah, it was the bruised thigh that did it...

The heart sunk when Endy Chavez made his leaping effort but couldn't prevent Suppan's shot into the Mets' bullpen (apropos given the circumstances, no?), the first homer by a Cardinal pitcher in the postseason since 1968. And the funny thing is, it was only the second homer of his career. The first one came off of well, Steve Trachsel. Imagine that.

Not only that but Suppan's 8 inning effort gave the Cardinals bullpen a much appreciated rest, something bonehead Steve Trachsel simply couldn't muster.

Since that fateful 7th inning Friday night when Willie left his belovèd Guillermo Mota in too long and blew another Mets lead, the Mets have given up 10 runs and mustered only five hits of their own. That's some powerful shifting of momentum considering the first 16 innings of this series were the Mets' to own.

But through all this muck and disappointment, Darren Oliver rose to the occasion, replacing an injured Trachsel when the Mets seemed on the verge of complete breakdown; bases loaded none out, bullpen exhausted, and then pitching six innings allowing only three hits. It didn't matter much in the sense of the final score since the Mets couldn't muster a run off Suppan but Oliver, like Suppan, helped give his team's bullpen some much-needed rest.

Trachsel walked five guys and gave up five hits and don't try and tell me it was all down to taking a shot off the thigh in the second inning because that was probably the only that saved the Mets losing this game by double digits. Trachsel pitched like crap. And yes, as much could have been expected from Trachsel considering his lifetime ERA but you'd have thought with the Mets down in the dumps like they were with the bullpen pissing Game Two away, it might have been time for Trachsel to step up with a gutty and admirable performance. Nope. Same auld Trachsel giving runs away like blowjobs at a hooker's fair.

(Well, there is no such thing as a hooker's fair of course because if there were, nobody would be playing baseball or watching it, they'd all be at the hooker's fair and this miserable little postgame recap wouldn't be getting typed...)

So the big question is you have was amounts to a MUST WIN game coming up tonight, who do you start?

Oliver Perez, of course.

I'm going to remain optimistic for one more game at least.

If they ever do a movie about Jerry Manuel, Morgan Freeman is a shoe-in for the role.

After all, the Cardinals are putting out a rookie, Anthony Reyes, to pitch Game Four. Granted, he's a lefty and god knows how many times we've had to listen to the story about how much fecking trouble lefties give the Mets but he's a rookie and he's not even a particularly oustanding rookie.

So for those of you looking for encouragement, think about a few things:

The last time Oliver Perez pitched in what could even remotely be considered an important game was probably in the World Baseball Classic when Mexico beat America, 2-1. Perez was pitching for Mexico against Roger Clemens. In that game Perez allowed only one hit in three scoreless innings pitched, even retiring 12 American batters in a row at one point. He's pretty much sucked thereafter for both the Pirates and the Mets, save for a decent four inning performance in his last outing of the regular season against the Nats.

Of course, this is real baseball now, not some joke Spring Training tournament to let the third world have their day in the sun and of course, he would be needed to pitch more than three innings for the Mets tonight but nonetheless, it's something to hold on to in the maelstrom of fickle Met fate.

And as for Anthony Reyes, he's pretty much a younger version of Ollie Perez. Talented but inconsistent. When he's good, he goes at hitters and when he's bad, it's when he tries to pick at the corners.

What They're Saying In Saint Louis

Trawling the Cardinals sports forums:

This I will bet my house on

There is NO WAY, I repeat, NO WAY, Glavine beats us again in ths series. Take that to the bank. He lucked out the other night and we'll beat the living fertilizer out of him Monday.

That said, I don't like Anthony Reyes starting an NLCS game. Marquis should be on the mound, but I wish Reyes well. He's just not ready for that pressure.

From Viva El Birdos, a clever play on words which took me a few Sunday morning minutes to absorb:

The question is which Reyes will we see?

A.) The brilliant, aggressive Reyes who 1 hit the White Sox, fearlessly throwing strikes at a World Champion lineup that had just hammered the Cardinals for 33 runs in previous 2 games.
B.) The "tired-arm" Reyes who got killed for 7 runs in 2.1 innings against Arizona on 9/8, and couldn't make it out of the 1st inning against the Brewers Oct. 1st.
C.) The solid Reyes, who gets plenty of K's with his fastball/change-up combo, but labors to stay under 100 pitches through 5 innings.

Viva El Birdos was also good enough to point out what happened the last time the Cardinals pitched a rookie in the playoffs..


The main thing Cardinals fans complain about is yuppy-filled seats in their stadiums, not enough noise and not much of a homefield advantage.

Maybe they should build an airport about a mile from the stadium...


Pray For Glavine And Four Days of Rain?

Sunday Night: Showers likely. Cloudy, with a low around 50. South wind between 9 and 11 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%.

Monday: Rain likely and possibly a thunderstorm. Cloudy, with a high near 59. South wind between 11 and 13 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%.

Monday Night: A chance of rain. Cloudy, with a low around 53. South wind between 6 and 13 mph. Chance of precipitation is 50%.


Cultural Identity

You Know You're From St Louis when...



Well I see no reason for gloom and doom scenarios. You might call Game Two a TKO for the Cardinals but this has been a resilient team all season these Mets. It doesn't mean they can overcome ANY level of adversity and frankly, having the balance of the series depending on Darren Oliver is a pretty unenviable position, if we're honest.

Naturally the Mets are going to have to jump on the Cardinals early just to put an end to this 12 inning momentum the Cardinals are allegedly running on. Then again, a 3 run homer by Carlos Delgado in Game Two wasn't enough to shock the Cardinals into submission and even though the Mets had them on the ropes, it's the other way around now.

I've played this game already with the strategic formula of dice wherein one roll for each inning frame indicates the number of subsequent rolls for that inning to get roll a six, which equals a run. Using this formula, the Mets jumped out to a first inning 2-0 lead, the Cards got two back in the 2nd and then a 3-run 5th inning by the Cards put the game out of reach. Final score, Cardinals 7 Mets 4.

Let's hope the dice lie.


GAME 2: What Can We Say, It Was Friday Night

The Army confesses. You'd think a game starting at a little past one in the morning would be late enough to catch it but frankly, it being Friday night over in this universe, the Army was marching elsewhere so the Friday night game is brought to you courtesy of Saturday morning with a swollen head and a cuppa.

And just to keep the readers guessing, I'm changing the reporting format for Game Two to random notes, even more random than the live notes because I am after all, traveling through time, listening to the past...

The pre-game show finds an ebullient Willie Randolph making jokes like, "maybe Maine will pitch a 9 inning shutout..." and for a moment, you get an inside look at a giddy clubhouse.


John Maine loves to work quickly.

POOOOO-jols. 1-2-3.

Chris Carpenter is a New Englander, big fan of the Patriots. More reason to despise, not to mention, bursitis in the pitching shoulder and the one thing I'm thinking is ALL those people, myself included, who immediately typed after the rain-out, the obvious, the Cards get to use their ace, blablabla.

Reyes, lead off double head-first slide. A buffet of curve balls finally pays off. If Reyes wakes up this postseason we can call the Mets lethal again.

Lo Duca bunting, whew. I'd have rathered he hit away but there you go, I'm not a National League manager. Pound the bitch early is what they say in the back corners of smoky rooms and when the smoke finally clears...

Homer every 6.6 at-bats in the postseason for Beltran.

Carpenter home ERA, 1.81 road ERA 4.70. How's that for a rainout, Tony La Chimp?

Beltran walks and Delgado coming up to give us all a tilted infield to the right side. Delgado led the league in sacrifice flies.

Either this will be a double play or the Mets will crack this Carpenter nut early and sweep.

DELGADO THREE RUN HOMER!!!!! Into the picnic seats, 3-0!!!!

Yeah, rain out, advantage Cardinals. I sniff Tigers.

More balls than strikes, the magical Mr Carpenter is throwing. Bring it on early and bring it on hard, I don't need suspense. Let's have a few more bangers over the wall.

6-7-8 batters a combined 1 for 34 off Carpenter. Another walk, and now here comes that colon of the batting order...

Shawn Green, who bristles at the suggestion of being any part of the colon of the batting order, should just sit and wait for Carpenter to lose his bearings with a 3-0 count, trouble with location.

Green slaps a sure double play grounder but no, Wright avoids the tag and there's a man in scoring position with two outs for Mr Valentin. 0-12 in the post season, 1 for 15 against the Cardinals' Mr Magic. End of inning. 0-13 in the post season. Do I hear a small chant for Anderson Hernandez? Couldn't Anderson Hernandez go 0 for 13 in the postseason equally? Surely he couldn't do worse...


Maine walks the lead off man for Spiezio, in for Scott Rolen. Rolen trying belatedly to tie Cliff Floyd for fastest trip to the DNP list.

E - for Delgado. So long as it doesn't equal three runs, we're all ahead of the game but if it does, I think he'll have to stand for the 7th inning patriot song.

First and second no outs.

Ball four! Bases loaded, no outs. Nice one, John Maine.

The difference between Carpenter and Maine is that Carpenter will probably settle down after that first inning outburst whereas Maine will likely combust and the bullpen will get overtaxed if he doesn't spin a double play ball right here...

Infield Fly. No should come the DP ball, kid.

Ooops, two-run double for Yaddayadda Molina. 3-2.

Nothing pisses on the march of momentum like your pitcher giving back an early 3-run lead. I'm bordering on disgusted here. I'm forgetting all those 20ish shutout innings Maine once threw this season but hell, maybe that's the fates. Pretty soon we'll be praying for Maine just to get out of the bloody inning.

Called strike three. Promising. Ump's strike zone might be growing. Maine thinks he's getting Glavine's strike zone apparently. Settle down lad, you ent that close to the Hall of Fame. 37 pitches and the 1st inning isn't even over yet. Loooooooong night for the bullpen. Do we really have a rookie pitching Game Two? Wow.

*****Commercial Break*****

Way to almost blow a three-run lead.

Endy Chavez 0 for 11 lifetime v Carpenter.

Fair ball! Stand up double, way to break that streak!

Good bunt by Maine to move Chavez to third, helping his cause.

Jose Reyes is it time to break out for your postseason debutante ball?

Why yes it is, RBI single, 2 for 2 for Reyes, 4-2 Mets!

By god, I think Tony La Russa sure is happy it rained two nights ago.

And here we come to the moment the insider's world has been waiting for: Reyes v. Yaddayadda Molina on the basepaths.

Hit and run, all these hours waiting for this moment and well, pffft.

Oh how he loved his cup
and now he's dirt
under the pine trees

--Li Po

Well, lulled into a false sense of security, we now hear Jim Edmonds hits a two-run homerun to tie the score, 4-4. And here I was thinking this was going to be it, no problems, Mets walk away with an additional win.

Mr Maine, you are oh so disappointing. Twice you've blown your lead. Why oh why can't you revert back to Mr Consecutive Shutout Inning Streak?

And let me rant a moment please. 61 pitches through three and now walks Spiezio. Is this really our number two pitcher now? The rotation is Glavine and the Bullpen? But the rant is about here we were, twice holding leads over the Cardinals ace and twice blowing them. If you lose to the Cards 2-0 with Carpenter pitching, it's understandable almost. But if you lose after Carpenter gives up 4 runs in two innings, you're just playing with fire, pissing in the wind. And after tonight, it's good bye NYC for several more days so this game is pivotal to crushing the Redbird Spirit.

Jaysus. Finally, Cardinals inning over.

Mets half - what's the point of scoring more runs? Maine will just give them back anyway. Maybe if we go scoreless for an inning Maine will rediscover how to pitch. It's all about perspective, baby.

4th walk issued by Chris Carpenter. I'm starting to think all of this cold air I hear has decended upon NYC is causing both pitchers to have subpar sessions.

Valentin up, Valentin down. 0 for 14. C'mon. Willie likes to show confidence in this guy but he didn't even hit his meagre weight in September and he's like, 0 for October - can't Anderson Hernandez do this (going 0 for 14) with a better glove?


Public Service Announcement: Spanish Wine and English Ale Don't Mix Well.

Ok, time to test the theory - Mets don't score, Maine doesn't give up runs. Think he can handle it or will he leap into triple digits for number of pitches and tax the bullpen needlessly

Well, with two outs, he gives up walk number five to move ahead of Carpenter in the Futility Department.

83 pitches thrown with the 4th inning still going. Four innings max from your Game Two starter. To help him on his way, Paul Lo Duca throws the ball away trying to throw out David Eckstein stealing. The walked batter is now on third. Still better than watching Piazza two-hop his throws to second base.

Woa! John Maine strikes the batter out and YES! the theory works. If the Mets don't score, John Maine doesn't surrender runs. Still a tie game, 4-4.


I think John Maine should have a new nickname - remember Molly Hatchet, Flirtin With Disaster? That's Mr Maine. Molly Hatchet Maine. Apropos, lads. I think I'll suggest it the next time he's doing one of those internet write-in interviews.

Anyway, he's being pinch hit for so that's it for him. 4 stinkin' innings and 4 stinkin' runs. 9.00 ERA. Brilliant.

Chad Bradford loosening up in the pen. Feliciano will probably follow. The rest of the game the question will be Who Will Pitch To Pujols?

Michael Tucker takes one on the knee, the 12th batter Carpenter has hit this season. Not surprisingly, Reyes' DP grounder is beaten out by Reyes. Reyes on against Yaddayadda Molina again. I have the feeling this is an overrated matchup. Not a key to the series, just overhyped. LoDuca grounds out, no runs no hits one man left.


Commerical Break: No More Blood For Oil:

Pujols to lead off the inning. And isn't this like eating refried beans and waiting to fart? Pujols has been on the verge of breaking out for the last 13 innings.

Pujols had the cheek to diss Tom Glavine last night:

The Cardinals' slugger, who went 0-for-3 with a walk, flipped his chair into the leg of a reporter gathered at his locker, turned his back, dressed slowly and then faced the media with obvious reluctance.

Asked about the effectiveness of Mets starter Tom Glavine, Pujols, who lined out twice, said, "He wasn't good. I thought we hit the ball hard but we didn't get any breaks."

Pujols 0 for his last 12. And this is what we like about the Cardinals. NOTHING. The manager is a cunt and the star is a sore loser. And the beer, ladies and gentlemen, let me let you in on a secret, the beer in St Louis TASTES LIKE SHITE. So I'll leave it to the tragically few literate St Louis natives who might happen across this blog - tell me something good about St Louis. Impossible request? Why don't we ask Mr All-American Steroid, Mark McGwire?

Bradford gets the Cards in order.

And here we can begin to feel good. Cardinals' ace starting and the game is still tied and there's little left but the battle of the bullpens.

I predict Carpenter won't last this inning.



5-4 Mets lead and fer feck's sake if he ent havin himself a Carlos Beltranish postseason in his first postseason ever!

David Wright beats out the throw, La Russa comes out to piss-n-moan. Wear are the kids at Shea with the batteries? The size D batteries with LaRussa's head as the target? Error against Ronnie Belliard says the official scorer.

Carpenter has allegedly only thrown 83 pitches so far. I find this very difficult to believe. Maine had thrown 83 pitches before he even had the first out...

But let him keep pitching, Shawn Green singles sharply to right. Jose O for Post Season Valentin coming up. PINCH HITTER ANYONE??!!!

Well, I guess Willie's playing the odds that Valentin won't go hitless for another week. Some day he'll have a hit and hopefully, it will happen when it matters. Valentin once smashed Carpenter's face with a line drive. His only hit off of Carpenter. 18 stitches inside Carpenter's mouth. Make it count.

But not this time. Fly out, 0 for 15.

Still, Mets 5 Cardinals 4.


Public Service Announcement: Pre Marital Sex and The Bible

I like this. What about the Immaculate Conception? How do you prevent that?

Bradford 79 mph sinker strikes out Cardinals clean up hitter. Chad Bradford. What a name. Brad Chadford. Ford Bradchad.

Two outs, he gives up a single to Yaddayadda Molina. 0-2 fastball through the hole and into left. And Carpenter's being pinch hit for. Time to sink our teeth into that shite Cardinal bullpen. And the pinch hitters are caught completely unaware. You see? This is the Cardinals problem, pinch hitter can't find his bloody batting helmet. Bradford is so disgusted, he's being pulled from the game by Willie in favour of Feliciano.


And a good one, at that...

Johnny Rodriguez pinchitting against Pedro Feliciano, nothing doing. Cardinals are done for another inning. Johnny Rodriguez indeed, what kind of name is that? At least the name Pedro Feliciano seems to sing. Johnny Rodriguez, do you know where your mother is?


Bottom of the Frame.

Anderson Hernandez getting his first at-bat of the postseason pinch hitting for Pedro...Hancock pitching for Cardinals. Couldn't keep himself in shape, 20-40 pounds too heavy for the Red Sox who let him go. Too fat. I never thought that could keep a relief pitcher from being effective. Or a starter, for that matter. Baseball is pretty much the only major sport where you can get away with being fat and out of shape. That and snooker.

Ok, Anderson Hernandez proves he can be as ineffective as Jose Valentin if he wants, one out.

Reyes is on for the third time tonight. Once again we can breathlessly await the long awaited Yaddayadda Molina v Reyes on the bathpaths and if something doesn't happen this time, I think every writer who wrote this was a key to the series should be taken out into the street and shot, point blank, in the head. How's that for Russian justice?

Base hit for LoDuca! Reyes waved around third, scores standing up, RBI double for LoDuca and now it's 6-4 Mets!

The fat feck, Hancock is ineffective. Shocking. The Cardinals bullpen wilting under the pressure of the Mets' batting order. Whuddathunkit?

Beltran out on a sharp play by Belliard. Delgado up once again. How about another two run homer to put this game to rest?

Belliard again. Throws out Delgado to end the inning.

Commercial Break:

There are worse things than dying - You could be Tony La Russa's wife.


Guillermo Mota coming in.

He's appeared in so many post season games for the Mets I'm almost starting not to think of him and Mike Piazza every time I hear his name any more. When that happens, he will finally be a Met in my mind. As if it matters. I'm sure his thank you note is in the post.

56,000+ people on their feet. They must be cold. Tolstoy cold. So cold Pujols finally gets a hit, albeit a single.

3 balls and 0 strikes on Jim Edmonds. Pujols on first. Ball four. Two outs and now two men on. I think Mota's had it already. Bring Heilman in for crissakes. Oh no, he's convinced Willie he's good to go. Let's see if he was lying.

Scott Spiezio, two strikes, one hard foul and now LoDuca walks out to have a chat with Mota. Heilman is ready in the bullpen but Willie's letting Mota go do or die...

Shawn Green leaps, off his glove.

Tie fucking game. Thank you Willie for leaving Mota in too long. Can you break up with him already you love sick little bastid?

And the little monkey LaRussa comes in to whinge about the ball going over the fence.

Now the CHUMPires are going to confer.

Sweet jesus, we're going to leave it down to human error are we?

Huddled together between first and second base. Mota wandering around aimlessly. If I had TV, I'd see it but no, the radio I have to leave it to the WFAN announcers to tell it. According to them, no way the ball went over the fence, hit something and came back behind the fence.

Two run triple, no homer and the cunt LaRussa is coming out again to whinge some more. D-sized batteries? What a great promotion at Shea for Game Six. Tony LaRussa D-sized battery night.

NOW Willie takes Mota out. Way to manage that bullpen. Good thing you listened to Mota tell you he was still ok to pitch. What was that, your Grady Little impression?


Thanks, Guillermo.

...Heilman gets the last out. Two two run leads blown. Not a good omen. I'm feeling a little doomish at the minute.

Mets have left runners on in EVERY INNING.

Hey, Congratulations Jose Valentin, first hit of the post season!

Willie's got the bullpen up again, this time Hernandez. What, you wouldn't let Heilman hit for himself? Remember Game One against the Dodgers when you let GUILLERMO LOVER BOY MOTA hit with the bases full? Remember that?

I'll tell you - Chavez is out by the way, inning over, I'm not looking forward to the 8th inning with Roberto Hernandez coming in.

Commercial break -

This time, I'm going with the real one on WFAN because I've heard about Christo's Steak House so many fucking times already I'm starting to get hungry. It must work, this bashing you over the head with the same idea. I bet the steaks taste like shit, otherwise they wouldn't have to advertise. Or maybe my favourite steakhouse in NYC doesn't want Mets fans sullying their cool surroundings. They probably do ads on the Yankees broadcasts.


Thank god, Heilman is still in there.

Mounted police on hand at Shea tonight.

Yaddayadda Molina is hitting like .600 in the postseason, isn't he? Another hit. 3 for 4.

Heilman rubs up a fresh baseball.

6-6 one out, top of the 8th.

Preston Wilson at the plate.

Swing and a miss on a changeup! Wilson's bread and butter, the swing and the miss. How many Ks did he have this season? 121? Guess Mookie won't be getting any batting coach jobs any time soon.

Heilman rubbing the ball some more, blowing on his hands...


Ok, it's back on just in time for Heilman's wild pitch that moves Molina into scoring position. Nice one.

Not a good sign that Eckstein has fouled off so many pitches.

A good, tight game nonetheless. Heilman has thrown 32 pitches, most of them to Eckstein and...side retired! Whew!


Bottom of the 8th.

We'll start off with a pinch hitter for Heilman and then top of the order. It isn't now or never but hell, Josh Kinney is out of the bullpen for the Cardinals. A right hander. His first year pitching in the bigs.

Julio Franco batting for Heilman. Only Billy Wagner warming up in the pen. Franco hitting over .300 against righties this season.

LaRussa's holding up the game to make a last-minute substitution. So Taguchi coming into left field for Duncan. He couldn't have figured this out BEFORE the bloody bottom half of the inning started? Twat.

Franco strikes out.

Let's see a bunt single from Reyes here...

Nope, base hit into center instead. His third hit of the game. Reyes is starting to get hot, hoo haa! Fourth time on base and I'm not going to bother with that rubbish about Molina v Reyes so there'll probably be a steal attempt now, get him in scoring position.

2 balls no strikes on LoDuca. Let him blast a fastball down the middle.

Nope, slider high, ball three. I'd still let him hit away but it's not typical baseball philosophy. Ball four!

And here comes Beltran! Two men on, one out.

Will the lefty come in from the pen now?

Beltran hit 41 points higher against righties during the regular season.

Nope, the kid is going to pitch to Beltran with the deadly Delgado on deck.

Double play. LaRussa takes a chance and wins. Another rally snuffed. If they don't win this game, the Mets can blame the number of runners left on base. Every inning they've left a man on base.

Commercial break:

Mets need runs...


Billy Wagner in to pitch the 9th. 6th pitcher used by the Mets.


7-6 St Louis.

Ouch. This sucks.

I think given Wagner's heavy southern twang they should play the theme from Deliverance instead of Metallica's song when he enters the game.

Pujols singles, no, he turns it into a double.

Time to think about pulling Wagner at this point so he won't throw a trillion pitches in a losing effort with another game coming up on no rest...

Is that overreactive?

I dunno if I care now. Even if the Mets come back to tie, who would pitch the 10th?

But hey, maybe Braden Looper will come in to pitch the 9th.

Spiezio RBI double. Billy Wagner, where the fuck are you?

8-6, Cardinals. Four men up, three hits.

Yeah, let's have Billy Wagner pitch all night. 20 pitches already and only one out. C'mon dickheads, get him out of there.

Another fucking hit. RBI single for Encarnacion, 9-6 Cardinals.

And now Billy Wagner is going to be toast for Saturday night.

Very, very bad omens for the rest of this series.

Now Willie comes out to remove Wagner. I guess Roberto Hernandez had to get warm first. What difference does it make? Oh, this does suck indeed.

No good starters left, star closer blows a game and won't be available for Game Three. Bullpen overtaxed already two games into series. Cardinals ace gets smacked around and the Mets still don't win?

The side is finally, mercifully retired. Bottom of the 9th coming up.


Lefty Tyler Johnson pitching for the Cards.

Delgado up.

No Braden Looper on the horizan to save us.

Delgado down on strikes, LaRussa brings in closer, Adam Wainwright.

I'm tempted to stop listening now, this is just masochistic.

What can you do, really? Closer blows the game, you leave a shite load of runners on base, you blow the lead what, three or four times in one game? You lose at home, you lose your advantage, you've got crap for starting pitchers for two of three games on the road, etc. If Carpenter had pitched a brilliant game and the Mets lost you could just shrug but losing this way is demoralising. This was a game the Mets should have won and I fear they are going to pay for blowing it. Ultimately, we can thank Willie's love affair with Guillermo Mota.

Rolen makes a great dive and the Mets are down to their last out.

And that's it, lads.

Mets lose and the series is even.

Two things before I go:

One, a head's up for Its Mets For Me, loyal readership should not go unrewarded.

And lastly, just to wash away the bile, a few fit birds to send you on your way to St Louis: