Mets An Ever-Flowing Fountain Of Losing

Nothing changes but the new ways the Mets find to lose.

Last night, a blown four run lead in the 7th, today, a blown one run lead in the 8th.

Different goats every night. A veritable smorgasbord of goats, losers and chokers.

Nothing changes but the new ways the Mets find to lose.

How about a nice strikeout by David Wright with two on and none out in the 9th? By god, gone for a few days and what happens when I return? Mr Wright continues a season-long audition for Mr Wrong, Mr Can't Hit When It Matters. Not unless it's another rally-killing double play in the third inning.

Why not strand base runners, 14 of them, for good measure including 3 in the bottom of the 9th today when Omir Santos popped up to end the game? Santos of course, knackered no doubt running back from the bullpen to pinch hit for Ramon Castro, was afforded the opportunity to win the game on his birthday but why should he be any different from his higher paid, more respected team mates who fade in late innings day in and day out like cheap sun bed tan?

I won't harp on it. I'm sure anyone reading this is already sick watching the Mets fumble their way through a pathetic April of disappointment.

Instead, how about harping on the bloody instant replay?

Or the idiots who can't keep their hands away from interfering, or in the case of today's muppet, trying to interfere on balls which are in play but making an arse of himself intead.

Can you imagine if interference discounted a Fernando Tatis homerun? Lifetime ban from the Food Court should be the punishment. Or a one way trip to Mexico.

Sing it together with me fans, "9 and 12, 9 and 12!" Whoooop! What a great start to the season.

And now, yes indeed, the Phillies up next. Cover your eyes for this one...


The Game By Game Guide To Public Humiliation

If increasing their stature as League Laughingstocks was their goal, the Mets have certainly seen great success in getting swept by the Cardinals, each game a progressively bigger, demoralising disaster.


If Santana had pitched in this series he'd probably have been hit in the head by an errant throw to first by David Wright.

Maybe the Mets are the anti-Cardinals.

Oh goody, Sheff in Left. Omir behind the plate.

Am I the only one who still thinks "PITCHER" every time I see Rick Ankiel's name in the batting order?

(Or at least he made that diving, fully extended catch to steal Sheffield's extra base hit and then hit that homer.)

You know what the best thing about this mlb.com tv thing? No bloody commercials. Not a peep about watery American lagers. Just silence. It's wonderful.

In the 5th, bases loaded, 1 out for David Wright. Whattaya think?

4 base hits in one inning. Result, 1 run. Met Inefficiency at it's finest.

Cardinals open the 5th with 2 hits. Result, 2 runs.

Even the Cardinals telly broadcast team are inoffensive. Is everyone on soma in St Louis?

Hernandez joins the conga line of Met starters who pitch batting practice during games.

Whattaya know, the Mets are folding again.

No chance that K-Rod is going to break his own save record this season. He's getting more time off than Pedro.

I'm going to go on strike now from Mets blogging until the Mets win another game.

Actually, I'm going to the FÉNYÍRÓK FESZTIVÁLJA in Győr for a few days. Hopefully the Mets will have won again by the time I return and the repugnant start to the season will magically disappear. Ha.

Mets Roll Over And Whimper To Have Their Bellies Scratched

This is what you call a baseball game devoid of any inspiration.

You know what words of encouragement and hope the genius manager had to say after the game, a third consecutive Mets loss?

“We can’t continue to perform and pitch in this manner and expect to be champions of this division.”

Jeez Jerry, are you sure about that?

Are you absolutely certain that the Mets can't expect to be champions of the division if three of their five starting pitchers look like they'd struggle in Triple AAA let alone the Major Leagues? No doubts slinking around in the back of that clever little mind of yours that a continued streak of clutchless hitting and meek capitulation night in and night out is precisely the formula that will win the NL East?

Captain Mediocre fell to 0-2 with a 7.47 ERA in three starts to open the season.

John Maine, you aren't ready to come back yet.

You belong in Buffalo with Ollie and Pelf learning how to be pitchers instead of clubhouse furniture. Among this trio, nearly 37 innings pitched, 32 earned runs surrendered. That's not pitching, that's squandering. That's malingering.

No Jerry, as you so cleverly pointed out, you are not going to win the NL East with these three pitching like they're being paid by the earned run rather than the out.

And of course, it's not just the rotation.

This is the second night in a row the Mets batters floundered in the late innings. Of course, this time they didn't even have a lead to lose so instead of watching the Cardinals come back, they watched the Cardinals build a bigger lead. That's what you call diversity. Never lose the same way twice. Keep us guessing...

Let's see, will it be the horrific pitching or the lack of clutch hits that is our downfall tonight? How about Little League errors in the outfield? How about a team superstar who thinks Jesus won't love him back if he gets his pants dirty? How about that gagging sound that drowns out any stadium of fans whenever the Mets realise they have to score after the first inning to win games?

It is demoralising, considering the absurdist moments of Tuesday night's game, that the Mets had no answer to being knocked down and kicked. Didn't even dust themselves off. Just lie there, waiting to be kicked again. And again.

What you see with the Cardinals is a well-disciplined, well-coached team that knows how to execute. What you see with the Mets is a lack of direction, an inability to execute, a blasé dysfunctional group of players, floundering.

Yes, we hear you. It's not even May yet. Two games under .500. Still plenty of time, 148 games to turn it all around, blablabla. I don't care what the Phillies record is or that the Marlins are cooling off.

You're right Jerry, these Mets are not going anywhere with the way they've been playing but down.

So, Mr Manager, do your job. Don't explain the obvious to us. Sort the team out and get them rolling or frankly, you'll be gone on the first midnight telephone call on a West Coast trip after the All Star break.


Meet The Mets, A Baseball Team With No Balls

You'd be hard pressed to find someone who looked less like a Major League baseball player last night than The Magical Murph tripping over his own feet out in left field in the 8th, falling on his arse, lamely reaching up to try and catch it but letting yet another easy fly ball to fall safely to ruin another game.

Sure, left field is not his normal position but jaysus, it's not like he was chasing a sinking line drive, is it then? This was pretty much a routine fly ball, easy out.

Nonetheless whilst he will no doubt absorb most of the blame for last night's 6-4 loss make no mistake, the loss was a collective effort, a farcical adventure of miscues, weird plays and the usual incompetence.

But whatever percentage of blame Murphy deserves is irrelevant. There is now clearly a problem with his fielding and despite his gorgeous swing and precocious bat, he may well have to be removed from the lineup. There's simply nowhere out there to hide him.

Don't wanna get my uniform dirty by sliding home with the go ahead run...

"I was too close to slide into home plate," Beltran said later of his ridiculous lack of effort. "I was running, looking at the ball, and I didn't realize how close I was."

Hmmm, I dunno, you're making a break for home plate and you aren't thinking about possibly having to slide to make it there safely? I think even Little Leaguers are aware of these scenarios, aren't they?

Play it safe, Carlos, especially with your fragile little body. Play it safe and just kind of walk into the tag, minimising fuss. We didn't really need the run anyway, no sense putting yourself out.

You know what the problem is? The same problem he had in Game 6 against these Cardinals a few years ago. The same problem he has when he thinks he should bunt instead of swinging away. The same problem this whole team has had, the core, rotten as it is with fear.

They have no balls.

A player with balls would have reached around or run through the catcher if for some crazy reason he couldn't slide. He wouldn't have just passively allowed himself to be tagged out like the Mets passively allowed themselves to be overtaken in September by the Phillies the last two seasons.

No don't get me wrong, I didn't say the team doesn't have heart. They all want to win, sure. They all try very hard. But they've got no killer instinct, no street fighting sense.

They're too bloody meek which is why instead of building on early leads they let the other team, time and time again, fight and claw their way back to even the score or even take the lead themselves.

The pattern is crystal clear, for more than two years running now and as much as Jerry Manuel talks tough about cutting people and comes up with clever little inventions which despite myself, I find endearing, Jerry Manuel is not the kind of manager the Mets need.

They need a manager who is going to terrify them. They need a manager who is going to instill a killer instinct in them. Not one who scratches his head with the same bewilderment that his players do but a manager who is going to go ballistic about these kinds of mistakes, this kind of choking, break shit in the clubhouse, through colossal tantrums, epic tirades. A man the Mets will be too afraid to lose under.

But there is none on the horizon.

So limping along, squandering leads, choking with runners in scoring position, losing and generally affirming their position as the laughingstocks of all of baseball looks like the only option left available.

So laugh along with the Mets this season. The Captains of Underachievement.

Or, we can just shrug and say That's How It Goes, a perfect slogan for the Mets if I've ever seen one.


Citi Field, The World's Greatest Food Court

Thanks to the good lads at Flushing University, you can now read my most recent column here and which is excerpted below:

Although I wasn't around when Teatro all Scala opened in Milan in 1778, something tells me the reviews of the Salieri's opening performance of Europa riconosciuta in the world's greatest opera house weren't overrun with laudatory verses about the spaghetti alle vongole being sold during intermission.
Yet after a week's opening run of official baseball at Citi Field the recurrent observation by the media and even fans seems to focus more on the ponderous abundance of quality nosh than it does on the quality of play on the field.

Happy reading and let's hope the change of venue does the Mets some good.


Sticking With The New Recipe

Although Jerry Manuel didn't reveal this is in the post-loss press conference he found so hilarious, the Mets have indeed discovered a three star recipe for losing they find agreeable.

You start with an opposing pitcher who doesn't have his right stuff, at least early on, and you fill up the bases with Mets. Oh, you'll also need a mediocre club behind them on the one side and of course on the other side an absurdly talented and well paid team of 9 players on the other side who you will need to be able to put up gaudy numbers for at-bats that don't matter, just so the expectation is raised high enough.

Then, instead of driving all those runners home like the normal chef would do, (here is the secret for those of your trying this at home), you leave those runners on base so that even if you do manage to squeak out a run or even two, the lead isn't so insurmountable that the opposing team becomes demoralised.

Next you allow whatever slim you have to slowly drizzle away, inning by inning until either the score is tied or you've actually managed to fall behind by a run or two.

Simultaneously, in your own at-bats in the middle innings you will again put numerous runners on base and in scoring position and make sure that each of your hitters, no matter how famous or how well he hits with nobody on base, fails in that key moment to deliver anything but a weak bouncer back to the pitcher, a double play grounder or better still, strikes out weakly.

This is the key ingredient folks, and whilst the temptation to drive runners in to take the lead might be there, ignore that temptation and stick closely to the recipe because it is proven to work.

Then, once you're down to oh, let's say the final inning or two, once again you've got to put runners on base and again, make sure at least one is in scoring position, then strikeout or ground out into a rally-killing double play. This way the game remains exciting but the result, a loss, is easily achievable.

And that is how you make a Mets Typical Loss.

And voila, Brewers 4 Mets 2.



I suppose we shouldn't be picky.

A win is a win, right?

Maybe Santana should be developing secret handshakes with the Mets bats rather than the players who swing them since that seems to be getting him no where.

A brilliant Johan Santana start, seven innings worth of it, and flowed by the intimidating precision of the Mets 1-2 knock out punch from the bullpen in the form of Putz and K-Rod saw the Mets shut Brewers batters down for the day. Completely.

Shhhh, we're trying to enjoy this.

Don't ask aloud why the Mets only scored one run and even that, barely so.

Don't spoil the party by bemoaning more pathetic plate performances - that the Mets for example, went 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position.

Sorry, I'm not buying the Yovani Gallardo as the Mexican Cy Young comparison just yet

After all, Santana doesn't complain. Look how they treat him: four runs in support in three starts.

Is that taking the piss or what? Four runs in three starts? That's not support. That's standing around and watching. Closing your eyes in the dugout and imagining support.

Not that he's needed it. Have you memorised the statistic yet? Say it with me:

In 19 2/3 innings this season, Santana has allowed one earned run — for a 0.46 earned run average.

So it's not like he's asking much out of these Met batters.

And Mets batters failing in clutch situations is no surprise but seeing The Magical Murph get benched in favour of a very dodgy Gary Sheffield in left field raised more than a few eyebrows.

Clearly Santana has put the word out; he doesn't want that kid out there dropping fly balls. After all, it was Murph's fault that Santana had to withstand a lost against Josh Johnson and the Marlins his last time out.

I tried to send Santana an email after the game since I haven't got access to the exclusive Shitty Field interview room. I tried to intercept some post-game twittering from the players car park.

Did you really have Murphy benched because you were so sickened by that fly ball cock up that blew the game for you against the Marlins, Johan? That's cold.

Was Danny Boy the sacrificial lamb for Santana's victory yesterday?

From Santana, nothing but silence. He can feed the boys in the interview room those fat quotes in two languages but when it comes to answering real questions, he's nowhere to be found.

"Hey Johan, buen juego. Are you ever going to let Murphy start in left field in a game you start the rest of the season?"

More silence.

But that's not even the biggest mystery. The biggest mystery is why did Keef have the day off from the broadcast booth? You think we like to be subjected to listening to Gary Cohen and Ron Darling try to out nerd themselves all afternoon with a bunch of bad puns?

Sure Keef said he had to clean out his garage and he was going to Tivo the game but who in their right mind really believes that? What kind of broadcaster takes the day off less than a dozen games into the season? Can the Mets not AFFORD to pay three announcers every game? They've got to give Keef a few days off?

Hell, to distract me from nattering on about the Mets lack of clutch hitting, I'll even discuss why MLB has a lede on the opening of Alyssa Milano's Touch Boutique at Shitty Field. Is this baseball news, a clothing line?

And not only that, perhaps a directive from whatever MLB executive she's had off in the car park, but they also forced Kevin Burkhardt to listen to a stream of banal prattle about clothes and her childhood memories. Basically, the kind of rubbish Burkhardt would have been forced to pretend to be interested in if the two of them were having dinner out somewhere and Burkhardt were trying to get her back to his hotel room.

I mean come on, do we really need to be forced fed some shitty clothing line from the woman who brought us that fascinating acting performance in Embrace of the Vampire, the "erotic" thriller?

But look, Alyssa Milano's fashion sense is as prolific as the Mets' ability to score runs in the clutch so rather than dig deeper into these mysteries, I'll just leave you with an oversized reminder of the bombardment of Touch, it's subsidiaries and of course, the futility of the Mets generally, even in victory.

At the end of of a 162 game season this is going to be a victory, nothing more, nothing less. Probably a forgotten win, one which we won't remember to bitch and complain about the Mets only scoring one run. At least the a nice strike-em-out-throw-em-out finale almost made the day bearable.

Game over!

Mets Bullpen Is The Difference In A Walk Off Win

Bases loaded none out, Carlos Delgado to the plate, just what you'd want to start off the first inning. Not a grand slam, but a shot to the warning track, knocks a run home. But Beltran, struck out in an at bat with a 3-0 count and men on 2nd and 3rd.

What? The Mets getting a clutch hit with the bases loaded? You've got to be kidding!

Ramon Castro, whose two run homer the night before nearly tied the game for the Mets, got his shot with the bases loaded one batter later and was walked to make it 2-0. You'd had to be hating life at that point if you were a Brewers fan, more despondent even than a Mets fan watching your starting pitcher walk a run home in the first inning.

And when Castillo hit a grounder in the hole that JJ Hardy managed to stop, Brewers fans must have become even more deranged watching Hardy's inexplicable throw to no one somewhere near third base to make it 3-0.

A real knee-slapper, that first inning. Except for the fact that the Mets had a 3 run lead after one the night before and where did it get them? Another notch in the loss column, that's where.

Look familiar? Another lead disappearing...

So when the Ryan Braun hit a three run homer in the 6th inning to give the Brewers a 4-3 lead, the nauseous, queasy ill ease was understandable.

Not often the first hit as a Met is your 500th homerun

Yes, the pinch hit 500th homer by Sheffield was a pleasant moment to tie the game, but much like Castro's two run shot the night before, it wasn't quite enough to push the Mets forward. Especially after Delgado just missed the left field line that would have scored two runs and given the Mets an insurmountable late-inning lead, it was easy to start looking around the room for breakable things to throw against the wall, things which would give a satisfying shattering sound when the Mets failed to put up another run in the 7th despite bases loaded and only one out.

Anyone catch that drunken guy screaming in the background of the telly broadcast, The U, The U, the fucking U? Anyone know what he was on about, other than about 20 pints?

And in the 8th, the bases juiced for Wright, the King of the Meaningless Hits, after getting on base four times already, Wright grounds out to end the inning. A second inning a row with the bases loaded the Mets failed to put the game away. All very typical. All very Mets.

Luis Castillo, 2009 Comeback Player of the Year?

Fortunately for everyone concerned the Brewers bullpen is not as hearty as the Mets bullpen and in the 9th, FINALLY, Luis Castillo's clutch infield single scored Delgado from 3rd and gave the Mets the victory.


Pedro Feliciano, Sean Green, Bobby Parnell and J.J. Putz combined for four consecutive scoreless innings which made all the difference in last night's game. The Brewers bullpen, by contrast, 3 2/3 innings, 6 hits, 4 walks and 2 runs.


And much as you may like The Magical Murph, jaysus, fielding problems, absurdist bunting mischief, you can certainly see he's not always quite ready for prime time, a long shout from a finished product.


It's early in the season, but I'm thinking a Prince Fielder versus Heath Bell sumo wrestling match during the All Star break might be more interesting than any homerun hitting contest.


Beltran and Wright combined to leave 9 runners on base last night.



Rollicking Start, Whimpering Conclusion, Mets Lose Another

It's been bugging me all during Spring Training and the beginning week or so of the season but I've finally come up with it, come up with who it is that John Maine reminds me of every time I see him.

Paul Giamatti playing Limbo in Planet of the Apes.

Sure, it's not immediately evident to the casual viewer but have a look in particular at the anguished grimace in Maine's face as he surrenders an early three run lead gifted to him by Carlos Delgado's first inning homer.

Go one, allow yourself to see it, the twisted mouth, the baleful eyes and well, yes, Maine has considerably less facial hair, but for comic relief, perhaps he should be encouraged to grow his facial hair thick, if he's capable, of course, just so during these incessant battles with inconsistency that Maine is so famous for we'd at least have something to distract ourselves with, something to take our minds off of the the grinding teeth, the clenching and unclenching fists watching Maine coming off the rails for no apparent reason and throwing away a perfectly good lead, a perfectly good chance at taking two of three from the Padres in the Shitty Field opening series.

"It just seems a lot of time it's just one inning that does me no good in a game," said Maine, who was reportedly visibly upset as he stood in front of his locker.

You know what makes a good team? I mean a good team worth watching? A good team worth rooting for?

A team full of people who are good at making excuses, that's what.

Because isn't that what every supporter likes to hear after another demoralising loss? A nice, neat little summation of the mysteries of getting paid not to do your job?

You know what John Maine? We don't need to listen to you sound remorseful standing in front of your locker after the game pointing out the obvious. Fix it. Why do our starters have such an excruciating yet common inability to find consistency?

"It is troubling, because it's happened a number of times," Jerry Manuel was quoted as speculating. "He is still growing, he is still trying to become a consistent guy, trying to maintain mechanics and fundamentals throughout a game. But again, when you have that type of stuff that he had tonight and struggle like he did in that one inning, that's kind of discouraging."

It IS discouraging Jerry, thanks for telling us what we already know.

Now how about "managing" to get this team of yours to play with some inspiration, with heart and passion, without putting us to sleep or driving us insane with stupid, simple errors and repeated moments of inconsistency that plague the team like indigestion? Isn't that what the "manager" is paid to do? Win? How about it?

How appropriate, with Willie and the Brewers coming to down that Jerry has these Mets playing with exactly the same kind of maddening inconsistency that stigmatised Willie's teams for so long.

You see? It wasn't Willie, it's these shitty players playing with mouthfuls of excuses. It's the core, a cowering, incapable bunch who can collect meaningless hits and fail when it counts.

Psst. Try opening your eyes when you swing

David Wright is a perfect example. Oh bully for him, a meaningless single extending a meaningless hitting streak on the season. Meanwhile, he's struck out 13 times in his last 33 at-bats. Both in the first and the fourth innings he bailed. This isn't him just struggling at the season's onset, this is the mark of his career - meaningless numbers.

Precisely the kind of clutch plate presence that has the Mets leading the league in runners left in scoring position. (Do they actually lead the league? I dunno, but it feels close enough like it to me so I'm going to put it in the books. Choke artists create masterpieces of gagging.)

Inning by inning, like water torture, the Mets disappoint.

There were only three exceptions last night, two seconds in more than two and a half hours of water torture where the Mets weren't making you sick.

Delgado's three run shot then Ryan Church's ballsy bunt single in the 8th, down three runs whilst Duaner Sanchezz gets him to second with an ill-advised and wild throw to first and then compounds the mistake by allowing a homer to Sweet Ramon down the left field line. Oh yes, have it, Duaner!

But the awakening doesn't last long.

Four of the special hologram balls pitched to Gary "Still Hitless as a Met" Sheffield are balls and Duaner looks to be on the ropes, but no. What happens? What can you bet your money on when the Mets are starting to rally or have runners in scoring position?

That's right, fans. Sweet feck all. Reyes grounds into an inning-ending double play and the only consolation at the minute is still the beating the Yankees took in the inaugural game in the "new" Yankee Stadium, the humiliation they suffered at home making the Mets meagre output during the first three games of the season almost epic and joyous by comparison.

Delgado, done wrong by a misguided ump.

Even behind by only one run, the reality was the best hope the Mets would have in the 9th was a hot Carlos Delgado. And whilst he kept it interesting, in the end, 11 pitches later, he was called out to end the game after a brilliant at-bat, done in by an umpire eager to get back to his hotel room and settle in for room service.

Next up to wipe our noses in it, Willie and the Brewers.


Jackie Robinson Night Unveils First Victory AND Unexpected Pitcher's Duel Until the 7th

When Jason Johnson faced Johan Santana the other day, you expected a low scoring, tense affair between two of the best pitchers in the National League and that's precisely what you got.

"All Fords are exactly alike, but no two men are just alike. Every new life is a new thing under the sun; there has never been anything just like it before, never will be again. A young man ought to get that idea about himself; he should look for the single spark of individuality that makes him different from other folks, and develop that for all he is worth. Society and schools may try to iron it out of him; their tendency is to put it all in the same mold, but I say don't let that spark be lost; it is your only real claim to importance." -- Henry Ford

Last night, Jackie Robinson Night with everyone wearing number 42, with the ever-unpredictable Ollie Perez facing Kevin Correia, who last season was one of the worst pitchers in baseball, the last thing you expected was a low scoring affair.

But that's exactly what you got through the first 6 innings which concluded with the Mets holding on tightly to a fragile 2-1 lead.

Then with Padres reliever Luke Gregerson throwing 10 straight balls to open the 7th, the game was virtually handed to the Mets on a platter. Given the Mets offensive production, this was no gimme, but the anticipation of the potential of the inning, the third time the Mets had two men on and none out in the game, was palatable.

Edward Mujica came in for the Padres and promptly executed an error on Castillo's bunt "single" to load the bases for Ryan Church with no one out. Oh sweet redemption in the first game Church didn't start all season.

A runs scores on a wild pitch before Church can even work his magic. The Padres are looking more like the Mets of Opening Night but then Church strikes out for the first out of the inning and there's no sweet irony, no sweet redemption.

Reyes is walked intentionally to get to The Magical Murphy with the bases loaded. Murph of course, was the source of significant uproar by Keef and the Lads in the boof in the 5th when he threw to the wrong cut off guy leading to the Padres only run of the night. Murph wasted 8 pitches before a sac fly made the score 4-1.

And then all hell broke loose and another wild pitch leading to two runs scoring, including Reyes from first base, perhaps the most effective base running by Reyes all season.

Bonehead fielding, wretched relief pitching out of the bullpen, generally sloppy play all around - were the Padres auditioning for the Mets role?!

But no, on the night Gary Sheffield started for Church in right field, striking out and grounding into a double play in his first two at-bats with men on, which only seemed to mock the Mets decision to sign him and indeed, Jerry's decision to even insert him into the lineup with Church wielding such a hot bat in the first place. It also buggers belief that Sheff gets his inaugural start in right field during Ollie's start bearing in mind Ollie allows balls hit to right field more than any other Mets starter.

Is there a bigger enigma than not just the signing of Sheffield but the use of him?

Well, talking about enigmas, you can't neglect mentioning auld Ollie who, after several consecutive nauseating outings, finally focused and voilà, a magical one-run, six-inning outing featuring the Good Ollie and a magical, newish change up.

The bullpen, without pressure, performed if not flawlessly at least effectively enough not to lose a 6-run lead entirely.

Showing the clear relief he feels after success, Jerry discusses The Good Ollie with the post-game press. "What kind of stuff did you have, Ollie?" he said to Perez, who was sitting in the front row to the right of reporters. "Great stuff?"

Woof, woof, what a happy story, Jerry.

So the Mets have their first ever win in Citi Field, a .500, and a little less bile in their mouths now. Let's see if they can build on that momentum because judging by the Marlins' pitching staff as well as their early best-in-the-Majors 7-1 jump on the season, the Mets are going to have their work cut out for them.


Surprise, surprise. After throwing a career-high 200 2/3 innings last season, Big Pelf likely to miss his next start due to some forearm tendonitis which at least explains his early struggles.


For those of you who hadn't heard, Lastings Milledge was "demoted" to Triple AAA.

Of course considering he plays for the Triple AAA Nats, this in effect is hardly a demotion yet the lack of glamour, the head case and the failed potential is there for all to see and because I'm quick to whinge about Omar when he gets it wrong, how about a little golf clap for Omar now? He clearly got it right, despite our misgivings about this trade initially.

Hillybilly Returns

Tucked away in the comments section under the article about Billy Wagner throwing his first bullpen session was this rare but truly dignified and utterly relevant rant on Capitalism:

Hey cool roberts I'm glad you like the Yankees guess you must be a New Yorker but Let's get one thing straight I'm not even American I'm a South Korean majoring European Philosophy at SNU(Seoul National University) and I'm sorry if I disturbed you Americans by talking about something other than baseball which I think is only a method of brainwashing proletariats to become dull to the Capitalist Exploitation System.


Welcome To Shitty Field

The good news is, Shitty Field, including "Taste of the City" features a 41 percent increase in concessions over Shea Stadium. The bad news is that, new home or not, new faces or not, it's the same shitty team of underachieving tossers being put out on the field, a psychic extension of futility that no food can possibly sate.

Where am I? Is this Shitty Field? Hey Sheffield, can you do THIS?

HEY! Anyone want to practise catching fly balls to the outfield for the next 24 hours straight? Maybe then somebody will catch them once in a while.

HEY! Anyone got a spare 365 days to count the build up of runners the Mets leave on base?

Can Reyes still out-run the cat?

Losing to San Diego in your ball park début, losing with former Mets Duaner Sanchez and Heath "Can You Find The Medicine Ball In My Belly" Bell getting the final six outs, losing with another fielding gaffe in the outfield, losing with a balk by Pedro Feliciano, losing with a lack of timely hitting, losing and giving up a homerun to the first batter ever to hit in a regular season game at Shitty Field, to Jody Gerut, of all people, losing with a pitching pig like Walter Silva facing you on the mound, losing with Jose Reyes getting thrown out at second in the third by Jody Gerut after overshooting the bag.

Did the cat get thrown out at second base as well?

Hey Jose, how about flying out with the bases loaded? Hey Mets, how about going 1 for 9 so far this season with the bases loaded?

Losing is still losing no matter how much you change the back drop.

The Mets have lost 4 of their last 5 games already and it's not even September!

Is the Mets bat boy auditioning for the Padres closer position?

You want to know how many happy moments there were for Mets fans at Shitty Field tonight? One. One moment to think the Mets weren't going to slink along at the loser pace they've been moving at for the last several years.

Couldn't they even find a clean jersey for Tom Seaver?! Sweet Jaysus, talk about cheap!

Anyway, I don't see the point in belabouring the point. Yes, it's a nice ball park, yes it's exciting to have Opening Night and yes, it still sucks being a Mets fan.


Mets Lose Pitcher's Duel And Series Against Marlins

40 some odd miles by bike to Bath and back today just in time for the Mets pre-game. Too knackered to really give this any considered commentary so the plan is just add a few inning by inning sort of mundane and obvious observations. The kind I am highly paid to provide you...

Hellooooooo, Marlins!

How was that for a first inning? Jose Reyes adds to his caught stealing total (now double his amount of successful steals, way to use that head for speed, Jose) and then Josh Johnson's 98 mph fastball struck out David Wright. You can actual hear the ball sizzle on the telly broadcast.

Second inning highlight, everybody's hero, The Magical Murph makes his first true bonehead play of the season, dropping an inning ending fly ball for no apparent reason, to allow the Marlins to stay alive and go ahead 2-0. A two run lead against Johnson looks formidable.

Marlin announcers race to the finish...

At one point, a foul ball is hit into the seats, an adult male jumps up and snatches it just as a little kid (on Kids Day at the Marlins Football Stadium) is going for. The muppet Marlin announcers tsk tsk taking a foul ball souvenir from a kid but then the guy gives it to his own kids. Should be enough right there but then one of the Marlin Muppet Announcers says, completely unprovoked, must be a Mets fan. What the fuck does that mean? Floridians hate their own children? A Marlin fan wouldn't snatch a ball for his kid? Bastids. It's like listen to a hillbillies give jug band commentary. Lead Muppet, Tommy Hutton. Apprentice Shisterhosen, Rich Waltz. Champion Arseholes. I know, not proper Easter thoughts but fuck it, the Mets are down 2-0 and it ent looking good. Listening to these half wits only compounds the aggravation.

After four innings we wouldn't want to jinx it or anything but Johnson hasn't given up a hit yet. No jinx mind, just a no hitter already, no hitter, no hitter. Johnson's got a no hitter through four...

Nope, that didn't work. Mets still hitless after five.

On the other hand, Santana has 10 strikeouts through five.

That's what they call a pitcher's duel, as advertised.

Johnson's pitch count is low, I think 57 or so after 5 so there's a chance the Mets might not even get the hits and runs buffet of the Marlins bullpen this afternoon.

Whew, finally. Took Castillo's one out shattered bat to bloop a single, the first Met hit of the day. Whilst Santana bunts him to second, with two outs, not looking hopeful for a big rally. And it's not. Reyes, who was thrown out stealing second in the first, adds to a generally unexceptional day by weakly grounding out. Maybe today is not his day to focus. Or maybe he's still pouting about getting thrown out trying to steal. Hard to tell.

Just to add to a previous observation, for the avoidance of doubt, Marlin Announcers Are the Spawn of Jackals. In the top of the 7th they bring some kid up in the booth to talk to. Presumably because a small child is the only one who won't show up these two intellectually but in the midst of it and the kid holding his own, the Marlins infield begins to resemble a Chinese fire drill, screw up an easy double play and the Marlins equal the Mets in bonehead plays for the day.

Unfortunately, the best the Mets can manage are infield squibbers instead of massive fly balls to the warning track so even errors are marginalised on this fine day.

Bottom of the 7th, Santana around mid 80s in number of pitches, Luis Castillo lets an easy grounder roll between his legs, d'oh, Mets behind 2-0 in runs, but ahead 2-1 now in bonehead plays.

Santana finished the 7th with 98 pitches. He's batting 4th in the top of the 8th but who's betting there isn't even an opportunity to pinch hit for him after the Mets bow down meekly again to Johnson?

Is this Johnson tired yet? Doesn't appear so. He's only thrown 80 pitches going into the 8th. The hope of getting to the Marlin Bullpen Buffet continues to look weak.

Hey! It's not just the Marlins announcers who are the idiots, the security guard in the canary yellow top interferes with Ryan Church's fair ball, god only knows why, too much Easter bunny chocolate, but with none out a man in scoring position....Jesus, Johnson not tired. Consecutive fastballs, 97 and 96 mph against Balloon Head. Jeremy Reed, pinch hitting for Santana, walks, first and third, two outs and Reyes coming up to show his enthusiasm for the game, swings on the first bloody pitch and bounces it back to the pitcher. Maybe he should join those two up in the Marlin's broadcast booth.

I reckon you can fish wrap this little bastid. It's not looking promising any more. Down two, Santana gone and Johnson not looking like he's planning on giving up his shut out.

Looks like Jason Johnson is the early favourite for the NL Cy Young.

(I just said that to try and jinx him against Delgado. Worked. First career hit off Johnson...)

Beltran singles up the middle! 2-1 and a conference to see who is going to pitch against Ryan Church. C'mon Church, Sheffield is right there on the bench...

Bahhhhh. Shoe string catch in left. Bollocks!

Moment of Redemption, Livan Saves The Day

I had it all figured.

Rather than bow to the whim of Fox TV to watch the game in full (as those of you reading are likely all aware, because of profit-seeking arseholes the start of the game falling under Fox's exclusive MLB broadcast window on Saturdays because of the start of the game being pushed forward due to a bunch of shite fireworks and a concert by some untalented muppet going by the name of Flo-Rida), I decided to wait out the game and wake up in the morning to watch it now, fresh, as though it had never happened and IN FULL since the rebroadcast has not idiot's rules and I could watch the game in full. In England, it's easy not to have the result blown in advance since no one else is watching, so don't try this at home, folks.

Fox TV executives hard at work at figuring out how to screw the Mets fans.

So for those of you who didn't see the first two innings thanks to Fox or the Marlins or Flo-Rida, I am now in a position to reveal about the only interesting thing you might have missed was Cody Ross slamming his batting helmet repeatedly on the bench in the dugout in the 2nd inning after flying out weakly to Beltran in center to help kill a potential early Marlins rally. Cody Ross is a big douchebag and watching the frustration of his 1 for 15 start play out was indeed, very satisfying.

Take THAT, Mr Sheffield

As for the game itself; Ryan Church, good lawd, is this a guy who does not wish to be replaced in right field by an ageing, paranoid big mouthed troublemaker who can't field and perhaps can't even hit, or what? Wow. Church deserves special consideration here for rising to the challenge of the Sheffield signing so distinctly and so powerfully. Not just with the bat but for example, running down that deep liner to right centerfield that certainly would have been a double with Sheffield out there.

Or, we could gush about Livan and his timely brilliant pitching into the 7th inning whilst the Mets built their 5-0 lead.

Or about David Wright's unbelievable line drive snatch in the 3rd, doubling off the runner after one of those almost look-what-I-found moves but still having the presence of mind to dive to third base with the gloved ball to double off the runner and end the inning. Saved Livan's bacon early. AND, Wright got his first RBI of the season, five games in.

You couldn't say the same for Brian Stokes, who was brought in to face Bonifaciano and gave up a run scoring single with two outs in the 7th facing his only batter of the day.

And of course this brought further delirium tremens of terror, not unlike 2008, watching the lead whittled, Pedro Feliciano coming in with the tying run at the plate. Feliciano escaped on one pitch, and that was it: relief.

We can breath an incredible sigh of relief that Reyes' shin turned out to be ok after a little scare at the end of the 5th. Yes, we do love bashing him for his single digit IQ and lack of ambition and focus but really, even Reyes is better than thinking about Alex "Still Hitless As A Met" Cora in the every day lineup. Especially after a night with a 3 RBIs, a double and a homer.

Luis Castillo's BP with Jerry Manuel certainly paid off, innit? Three hits in his first three at-bats, four hits on the night. (Should have been five hits but the official scorer changed his mind, wrongly)

Yes, the Mets hold on, Johan is coming up, I'm caffeinated and I'm happy on this fine Easter morning, so now that the hard work's been done, off to spend Easter in Bath or at least trying to get there along the Bristol & Bath Railway path.


Mets Lose 2nd In A Row, Where's K-Rod?

The less said about Friday's hideous 2008 flashback, with Darren O'Day working in the 9th and surrendering the winning run, the better.

Hey, at least we don't face them on the last game of the season again....

Well, the hell with it: The Marlins' bullpen, thought by many to be their Achilles Heel, pitched 4 innings, gave up 7 hits and 4 runs, ruining a brilliant outing by Anibal Sanchez, who stifled the Mets through the first 5 innings. They tried to give the game away, they really did. But not even a rubbish bullpen can give away games facing the likes of Alex Cora with two on and two out in the 9th. With a bench comprising of automatic outs, the chances of a rally in these circumstances appear to be unlikely.

In fact, we might be looking at the scenario of, like last season, scoring often and early and hoping the Mets can hold on.

Not with that bullpen though.

Where's my bullpen?

Yes, Putz and K-Rod do their jobs. (so far)
But when you're sticking O'Day out there with the game tied, hoping to hold it so the top end of the Mets order can get a lick again in the 10th against the Marlins bullpen, apparently your chances of success are not very good.

Not leaving 14 runners on base.

The rest of it, blurred. Let's just forget it. A second loss in a row, this one against the still undefeated Marlins.

Good points: Church continues to sizzle and keep Sheffield on the bench. This nonsense about Sheffield learning to play right or, improving, whatever, is just that. Church will stay in the lineup until he's no longer hot. Not even these Mets are dumb enough to remove a hot bat for an old man in his waning seasons whose bat is questionable and whose fielding is crap.

And Maine. Maine's velocity was encouraging as much as Pelf and Ollie were discouraging and I've got a feeling Livan is going to be sharp so maybe the rotation isn't as hideous as thought. Maybe it's this bloody bullpen that still needs sorting out after all...


First Loss of the Season Goes To....Ollie Perez

I don't know how you summarise the surreality of an Ollie Perez start better than this simple little article:

"All my pitches were working," Perez said. "They were taking chances."

That was the extent of Perez's explanation for what went wrong. When asked if he knew what Perez meant by that, catcher Ramon Castro said, "No."

Pitching coach Dan Warthen? "I don't understand," Warthen said.

Think YOU'RE sick and tired of sucking, Ollie?

Oh I think we all understand. We've seen this enough.

It was the Reds, early in the season.

Where's the incentive to stay focused? Oh sure, he can slap it together for a pair of innings, excitement of his first official start of 2009 and all but look, there isn't any pressure, it's in Cincinnati, it's a weekday afternoon, there's about 12 people in the stands, who is going to care?

Not Ollie, that's who.

Maybe Ollie and Reyes can form their own, The Lack of Concentration and Focus Team.

Ollie was repugnant after those good first two innings, putting men on, letting them score, in essence, vintage Ollie. 4 1/3 innings 5 hits, 5 walks, 8 runs, all earned. The only thing missing was a few wild pitches.

Reyes struck out "looking" to start the game off, got himself thrown out trying to steal in the 3rd and then struck out in a miserable at bat in the 4th, swinging lacsidaisically at an ugly pitch high and outside and struck out "looking" again in the 9th. Sure, he had two singles but really, Reyes' head didn't appear to be in the game.

And what can we say about Darren O'Day's debut? Comes in, hits the first batter, comes within a hair's breadth of walking in a run and then surrenders a two-run single. Brill, baby. Way to cement your spot on the team. Now maybe that's down to the news that his former teammate Nick Adenhart had been killed the night before, I don't know, no one dared touch on it, the built-in excuse of it. Maybe Jerry should have before he stuck him in there. Or maybe that's just the way O'Day is going to pitch. Far too early to tell.

What we CAN tell is something we knew from the beginning. Ollie is an enigma wrapped inside an enigma wrapped inside a rubbish and now greatly overpaid pitcher.

This isn't the time to foam at the mouth because yes, everyone and their brother is saying I told you so about Ollie and wringing their hands about the money spent on him and cursing Omar for being an Idiot and not forking out the extra scratch to sign Derek Lowe.

And on days like today, you do bemoan the penny ante attitude of the Mets front office, this faux sagacity geared towards throwing low cost, low risk losers into the mix, free agent nobodies and reclamation projects in the hopes that some of them stick.

Has anyone spent as many seasons being "promising" as Ollie?

Just look back at this tidbit from when Omar first traded for him, a neat and timeless summary that hasn't changed in three or four years.

Perez reported to spring training last season with the Pirates in poor shape and never did get straightened out. He went 7-5 with a 5.85 ERA and 97 strikeouts.

The left-hander was 2-10 with a 6.63 ERA in 15 starts for Pittsburgh this season before being optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis on June 29. In six minor-league starts, he was 1-3 with a 5.63 ERA.

Each of the Pirates' last two pitching coaches, Spin Williams (2005) and Jim Colbert (2006), has had trouble getting Perez to develop a consistent delivery.

He releases pitches from all angles and arm slots, and that leads to big variations in his velocity. He was regularly in the 97 mph range in 2004 but now often drops into the high 80s.

"He has some upside," Minaya said. "We think Perez has some potential to be turned around."

Maybe. At least he's got a long, fat contract to turn it around in.


It's Ugly But It's Ours; Victorious In Game Two

Oh yeah, bullpen queasiness has been sorted alright.

What looked after Monday like an imposing bullpen looked on Wednesday rather like an inept fire department.

If after one mere game you were under the delusion that every day was going to be a cakewalk, a play-it-as-they-drew-it-up-on-the-board sort of sleepy victory, no doubt your Mets skin became a little more calloused after the gruelling 9-7 victory over what looks to be a fairly mediocre Reds team.

But they got there eventually....

Not only did the quintuple of Bobby Parnell, Pedro Feliciano, Sean "I get hit hard every day" Green, Mr Poootz and K-Rod allow 9 base runners and three runs over 4 innings (5 of which were gifts, free passes, attempts to give the game away) but K-Rod nearly blew an ugly, ugly save by nearly giving up a game-losing homer to Lance Nix, a career .235 hitter. Yeah it "only" made it to the warning track but a little gust of wind the other way and the Mets would be looking at a chilling 11-9 loss on a grand slam walk off homer instead of an ugly 9-7 win.

On the bright side, well, the Mets won. It's important to keep that in perspective.

But ugly, ugly, ugly.

Votto watches his three-run blast that gave the Reds the first inning lead

Ugly from Big Pelf giving away a 2-0 lead in the first inning by surrendering a three run homer to the third batter he faced and using 44 pitches to finally get out of the inning.

Ugly from Jose Reyes' first inning error that allowed another run to score and kept the inning alive for the Reds forcing more pitches from an already unsteady Pelf.

Ugly watching Pelf hitting for himself with the bases loaded in the 4th and the Mets down by two runs. Sure, there probably wasn't much choice under the circumstances but Pelf clearly didn't have his best stuff out there and his rocketing pitch count meant he was likely to be out of there after another inning anyway. Presumably Jerry figured with the Reds pitching staff there'd be plenty more opportunities.

Ugly double play ground out by Ryan Church to end what should have been an even more extended rally in the 5th at a meagre three runs.

Welke takes a quick smoke break after the strain of the 9th inning

Ugly all the way to Bill Welke's absolute CHIMP call in the 9th, awarding a safe passage to Edwin Encarnacion by ruling Carlos Delgado had taken his foot off the bag prematurely on an easy ground ball second out that gave life to an otherwise lifeless Reds rally.

But look, what wasn't ugly was looking at 2-0 for the season, regardless of how they got there.

Point to Pelf surviving without his stuff. Good. Tough.
Point to Delgado's two-run homer in the 1st.
Point to Brian Schneider's rather unlikely three run double in the 7th.
Point to victory, kids. That's all that matters this early.


Next up is the Magical Mystery Oliver Tour in an afternoon game, which, if you translate to English time, is perfect. First pitch just after 5:30 in the afternoon just in time for week-ending cocktails for the onset of a four-day bank holiday. Perhaps flagons of stiff English ale will get us through the Ollie's performance. He should be well-rested at least. And perhaps flagons of stiff English ale will also get us through watching what might project to be the Mets' B team given they are playing an afternoon game following a night game and stars will be rested, even this early on no doubt. High doses of Alex Cora and Balloon Head Castro will do that to you.

And what's up with Hillbilly Wagner?

I thought he was pretty much gone for the season. Written off.

And there he is out there speculating he's going to throw off the mound and maybe back in August? Can you imagine that bullpen? The heart attack kids. On the other hand, can you imagine what kind of goods a reasonably healthy Wagner might be worth on the trade deadline market? Hmmmm. Something to consider. Our future.


Off Day Literary Piece

I don't often torture readers with poetry or prose but this was passed along to me by a mate and is prefaced on baseball so in the absence of a Mets game to skulk over, enjoy your pre-game hours today with a little reading:

Body and Soul
BH Fairchild

Half-numb, guzzling bourbon and Coke from coffee mugs,
our fathers fall in love with their own stories, nuzzling
the facts but mauling the truth, and my friend's father begins
to lay out with the slow ease of a blues ballad a story
about sandlot baseball in Commerce, Oklahoma decades ago.
These were men's teams, grown men, some in their thirties
and forties who worked together in zinc mines or on oil rigs,
sweat and khaki and long beers after work, steel guitar music
whanging in their ears, little white rent houses to return to
where their wives complained about money and broken Kenmores
and then said the hell with it and sang Body and Soul
in the bathtub and later that evening with the kids asleep
lay in bed stroking their husband's wrist tattoo and smoking
Chesterfields from a fresh pack until everything was O.K.
Well, you get the idea. Life goes on, the next day is Sunday,
another ball game, and the other team shows up one man short.

They say, we're one man short, but can we use this boy,
he's only fifteen years old, and at least he'll make a game.
They take a look at the kid, muscular and kind of knowing
the way he holds his glove, with the shoulders loose,
the thick neck, but then with that boy's face under
a clump of angelic blonde hair, and say, oh, hell, sure,
let's play ball. So it all begins, the men loosening up,
joking about the fat catcher's sex life, it's so bad
last night he had to hump his wife, that sort of thing,
pairing off into little games of catch that heat up into
throwing matches, the smack of the fungo bat, lazy jogging
into right field, big smiles and arcs of tobacco juice,
and the talk that gives a cool, easy feeling to the air,
talk among men normally silent, normally brittle and a little
angry with the empty promise of their lives. But they chatter
and say rock and fire, babe, easy out, and go right ahead
and pitch to the boy, but nothing fancy, just hard fastballs
right around the belt, and the kid takes the first two
but on the third pops the bat around so quick and sure
that they pause a moment before turning around to watch
the ball still rising and finally dropping far beyond
the abandoned tractor that marks left field. Holy shit.
They're pretty quiet watching him round the bases,
but then, what the hell, the kid knows how to hit a ball,
so what, let's play some goddamned baseball here.
And so it goes. The next time up, the boy gets a look
at a very nifty low curve, then a slider, and the next one
is the curve again, and he sends it over the Allis Chalmers,
high and big and sweet. The left field just stands there, frozen.
As if this isn't enough, the next time up he bats left-handed.
They can't believe it, and the pitcher, a tall, mean-faced
man from Okarche who just doesn't give a shit anyway
because his wife ran off two years ago leaving him with
three little ones and a rusted-out Dodge with a cracked block,
leans in hard, looking at the fat catcher like he was the sonofabitch
who ran off with his wife, leans in and throws something
out of the dark, green hell of forbidden fastballs, something
that comes in at the knees and then leaps viciously towards
the kid's elbow. He swings exactly the way he did right-handed
and they all turn like a chorus line toward deep right field
where the ball loses itself in sagebrush and the sad burnt
dust of dustbowl Oklahoma. It is something to see.

But why make a long story long: runs pile up on both sides,
the boy comes around five times, and five times the pitcher
is cursing both God and His mother as his chew of tobacco sours
into something resembling horse piss, and a ragged and bruised
Spalding baseball disappears into the far horizon. Goodnight,
Irene. They have lost the game and some painful side bets
and they have been suckered. And it means nothing to them
though it should to you when they are told the boy's name is
Mickey Mantle. And that's the story, and those are the facts.
But the facts are not the truth. I think, though, as I scan
the faces of these old men now lost in the innings of their youth,
it lying there in the weeds behind that Allis Chalmers
just waiting for the obvious question to be asked: why, oh
why in hell didn't they just throw around the kid, walk him,
after he hit the third homer? Anybody would have,
especially nine men with disappointed wives and dirty socks
and diminishing expectations for whom winning at anything
meant everything. Men who knew how to play the game,
who had talent when the other team had nothing except this ringer
who without a pitch to hit was meaningless, and they could go home
with their little two-dollar side bets and stride into the house
singing If You've Got the Money, Honey, I've Got the Time
with a bottle of Southern Comfort under their arms and grab
Dixie or May Ella up and dance across the gray linoleum
as if it were V-Day all over again. But they did not
And they did not because they were men, and this was a boy.
And they did not because sometimes after making love,
after smoking their Chesterfields in the cool silence and
listening to the big bands on the radio that sounded so glamorous,
so distant, they glanced over at their wives and noticed the lines
growing heavier around the eyes and mouth, felt what their wives
felt: that Les Brown and Glenn Miller and all those dancing couples
and in fact all possibility of human gaiety and light-heartedness
were as far away and unreachable as Times Square or the Avalon
ballroom. They did not because of the gray linoleum lying there
in the half-dark, the free calendar from the local mortuary
that said one day was pretty much like another, the work gloves
looped over the doorknob like dead squirrels. And they did not
because they had gone through a depression and a war that had left
them with the idea that being a man in the eyes of their fathers
and everyone else had cost them just too goddamn much to lay it
at the feet of a fifteen year-old-boy. And so they did not walk him,
and lost, but at least had some ragged remnant of themselves
to take back home. But there is one thing more, though it is not
a fact. When I see my friend's father staring hard into the bottomless
well of home plate as Mantle's fifth homer heads toward Arkansas,
I know that this man with the half-orphaned children and
worthless Dodge has also encountered for the first and possibly
only time the vast gap between talent and genius, has seen
as few have in the harsh light of an Oklahoma Sunday, the blonde
and blue-eyed bringer of truth, who will not easily be forgiven.


Sunny Outcome On A Drizzling Opening Day

The Mets have the best Opening Day record in baseball so if you were feeling cocky before yesterday's Opening Day game you might have considered to yourself the preferred methods of victory:

Lopsided drubbing wherein Wright, Delgado and Beltran all homer and the Mets jump to a lead so large and so early, say 13-0 by the 3rd inning, that Johan can leave the game as soon as he's reached the minimum innings to earn the victory.

"To get in a close game and perform on Opening Day, that says a lot about those guys. We know that K-Rod likes the big stage. J.J. is a guy who's taken a different role, but now he sees how significant that role is. And Green came in to relieve Johan Santana. It was big for us to have that particular combination work out the way it did today." -- Jerry Manuel

Or nail-biter result showcasing the shiny new bullpen featuring the glorious new closer and holds your interest throughout.

Church making a stumbling catch in right field in the 2nd and doubling off the runner, showcasing his talents, the auld nya-nya, Gary Sheffield.

Dusty Baker in the dugout wearing white gloves and chewing on his toothpick.

Santana had 86 pitches already with only one out in the 4th and with the game still 0-0 at that stage, getting a long hard look at the bullpen seemed the likely outcome. Especially when he barely escaped the 4th without surrendering a run.

Apropos of nothing, I just realised the Mets, potentially, could have TWO guys reaching 500 homers this season. That can't ever have been done before.

And then suddenly and without warning, just like that, pow, the first Mets homer of the season is hit by none other than The Magical Murph for a 1-0 Opening Day lead.

But the stadium is like a mausoleum. It kills the excitement in a way, imagining how crazy the Citi Field crowd would be going whilst they stood in line for their gourmet food, going from stand to stand uncertain at which culinary delight they could tickle their taste buds with, they'd be going crazy trying to clap with a taco in one hand, a fruit shake in the other and pulled more money from the cash machine to fund it all.

And in Cincinnati, quiet. Hushed. Heads bowed. The inevitable.

Outfield buffoonery later in the 5th by the Reds reminds you for the what, thousandth time during the broadcast that you're not living in Cincinnati or even Ohio for that matter. Ugh. The weather looks worse than England, the announcers drone like somnambulists talking in their sleep, the team fields sloppily, the line up is full of holes...just reminds you that whilst our criticisms of the Mets are quick and shrill in coming, at least we aren't stuck supporting the bloody Reds!

Indecision on the base path is a killah.

Wright, what a day. K'd in the first with Reyes in scoring position to kill a rally in the making. Got thrown out at the plate for sort of jogging to third before being waved to home after the outfielder bobbled a single.

Church on the other hand, two hits in his first two at-bats, cut off from an RBI single in the 4th by a quick catch at second base, that catch of his own and doubling off the runner from right field in the 2nd...should we be grooming Sheffield to play third base instead of right field?

And then in the 6th, it all started going pear-shaped with Santana up to 92 pitches clinging to a meagre two run lead, just saving a run from scoring by heady fielding back up before finally exiting at the 99 pitch point with a one run lead.

Finally, the much ballyhoo'd bullpen was to make it's regular season appearance.

Sean Green, the first contestant. Saved by The Magical Murph on a well-hit ball to end the inning. Oh boy, Sean Green, you'd have been hearing it from all the way over here had that ball fallen into the gap. Nonetheless Sean, you were saved. First batter faced in a Mets regular season uniform and somehow you manage to get that key out.

And Green got them out 1-2-3 in the 7th but again, only just; another hard liner, this time at Wright. A pressure situation, a different team, maybe a different story. Mr Sean Green's outing whilst statistically perfect, well, the hell with it, well done. Stay lucky.

Thereafter, something we might enjoy singing as the season goes on: Putz and K-Rod Do The Job.

Happy Joy at surviving Opening Day