Comments on the New York Mets, Shea Stadium, and other matters large and small.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

You Win Some, You Lose Some

Not a bad game for the Mets, especially considering the horrendously frigid conditions in Atlanta (Andruw Jones looked like he was ready to go snowboarding). They could have very easily tied the game in the ninth had Shawn Green's lightning fast line-drive not ended up in the glove of Craig Wilson. Those are the breaks in baseball, which don't always go your way on a daily basis, but do tend to even out over the course of the year.

I watched today's game on our little, 5" black and white t.v., which--I swear--was receiving airline radio communication at various points of the game, adding nice little interruptions to the stale commentary by Joe Buck and Tim McCarver (McCarver: "you see, when a batter makes contact with the ball, he's always going to start running to first..." Airline pilot interrupts: "pccchhhhhhhhhhhhhh....0849er, we'll call you when we're on the ground...pcccchhhhhht").

Anyway, I was watching the game in an uncomfortable position. No, my orange vinyl chair two feet away from the "set" wasn't giving me cramps. It was John Smoltz on the mound for the Braves. Smoltz is a starting pitcher for the Bob Ross Machine, my fantasy baseball team. And you see, sports fans, the Bob Ross Machine is off to a slow start. The Mets are off to a hot start. I needed the win from Smoltzy more than the Mets needed the victory from Glavine. And besides, no one makes fun of me when the Mets lose, but when my 40-year-old fantasy pitcher gets tanked, I have to hear about it from the three other guys in the league with me.

So I watched the game mostly expressionless, secretly hoping the Mets would win, then secretly hoping the Braves would win. I suppose it could say something of where my true heart lies when I uncontrollably cursed at Shawn Green after he dropped a fly ball in the outfield and yelled in exasperation upon Green's game-ending line-out. But then again, both of these things happened at a point in the game when Smoltz was securely, at least, not the loser and quite possibly the game winner. Brook was in the room with me throughout the whole game and she always gets on my case when I root for my fantasy players against my real teams. So maybe my few bursts of emotion were just a cover-up for what I was actually desiring. Maybe I'm a bigger Bob Ross Machine fan than a Mets fan. Which leads me to ask, is my fantasy more important than my reality?

[cue Sex and the City music]

That's actually the sort of dilemma that almost prevented me from playing fantasy baseball in the first place. I grew up an Orioles fan (still am an Orioles fan) and became a Mets fan in 1999, when I moved to the city. It was hard enough to suddenly become polygamous in my support for baseball teams, so I figured it would be too confusing, or too sacrilege, or too something not quite right to then also start pulling for various individual players who were scattered on a number of different teams.

But sure enough, I signed up anyway and I've stuck with it for six years now. There are occasional conflicts like today's, but generally I can split or commit my allegiance according to fairly straightforward logic. The bottom line is: who needs the outcome more, my fantasy team or the Mets (or the Orioles)? And further, what would be the greatest possible outcome, which would grant the most amount of pleasure to both the Machine and the real team out there? That can boil down to, say, I hope the Mets win 1-0 with Smoltz going the full nine, striking out eleven, and giving up an unearned run. Or maybe, Smoltz pitching extremely well, the Mets winning, but said pitcher not credited with the loss.

But today, with the near-freezing temperatures, I knew Smoltz would neither go the distance nor have his best stuff, so a win was the most probable beneficial outcome I could desire. And he got it. And the Mets didn't look too bad giving it to him. Thanks Mets.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Mets 20, Cardinals 2


A very nice way to start off the season. Sweeping the defending World Champions, on the road no less. I listened to tonight's and last night's games on the radio and they "sounded" great. Maine seemed unhittable and the Mets' bats were off the hook.

It's a long season, but you've got to like how things are going so far.

Now, if only my fantasy team could start getting to business as well...

Sunday, April 01, 2007

6-1


Ok, so David Eckstein and Yadier Molina had good games and Delgado and Wright didn't hit homeruns. But 6-1. That's pretty close.

Unfortunately, I couldn't watch the game too carefully; I was at a bar with a lot of other people around me, most of whom (or maybe all of whom) didn't care about the game nearly as much as I did. And as soon as the game started, they turned the audio off and put the stereo on so I couldn't hear any of the play-by-play.

And another thing: I made the mistake of trying to politely explain to this slobbering drunk tough guy--a Yankee fan--why everyone else hates the Yankees so much, which resulted in him giving me this "'AHM from Brooklyn. I was BORN here. Where are you from? Where are you from?"

"Pennsylvania."

"OHH FUCK. And you like the Mets? Why the fuck don't you like the Phillies or something." He's still yelling.

"It was pretty much equidistant to Baltimore, New York and..." He interrupts me.

"EQUIDISTANT?!? What the FUCK does that mean? You mean you lived JUST AS CLOSE?!"

That was pretty much the end of our conversation. His friend, also a Yankee fan, made a point of then coming over and talking baseball to me. A really nice guy.

Yankee fans are like cops. Good fans. Bad fans. Nice fans. Arrogant fans.

But most importantly, the Mets won. And they looked good. The infield was hot defensively. Beltran's throw from center was a big moment of the game. Everyone was hitting the ball hard. Glavine was on. It was great to see him pitch so well. Did you notice that in the first inning he was trying to shave the edges of the strike zone, but the umpire was calling his pitches balls? And then, like the true future Hall of Famer that he is, he adjusted and moved his pitches in a bit, now hitting the black of the plate. Feliciano was good. Joe Smith...not so much. Heilman: job well done. Wagner gave us our usual near heart attack in the ninth. I hope he can deliver as advertised this year.