June 2008

Aw, thanks!

Thanks to you readers for making Pick Me Up Some Mets not only the most-visited Mets blog at mlblogs.com this season, but also the most-visited mlb.com fan blog of any team. I’m glad we got the Mets up there at the top!

Considering all the awesome Mets bloggers I know and read, it’s safe to say that we Mets bloggers, at least, are wayyyyy over 500 ;-)

xx,

Zoe 

2008 Subway Series: 4-2 Mets

I’ll take that.

The woods, we are still in them, as in “not out yet.” The team is still playing 500 ball at best. Great one day, frustratingly flawed the next. Kind of like our Ollie Perez. He was awesome at Shea today, thrilling to watch, even in the pouring rain (which yes, I sat through the whole time, thankfully brief.) He seemed to send the Yankees toppling down one after the other, like the bowling pins at Port St. Lucie’s Duffy’s.

But Ollie, we need you to do that when it’s not a big market game too. When it’s “just” the 2nd division teams, like the Mariners. We need you to treat every game like it’s an adrenaline pumper. Gary Cohen thinks Warthen’s worked out some kinks in Perez’s delivery, but they said that about a tip from Pedro during Ollie’s last good start. So can he internalize these coaching tips for more than one game? Let’s hope so. We’ve got huge battles ahead, including the series against the Phillies, and we fans are all just chomping at the bit for our boys to do their best a few games in a row.

schein.jpgA highlight of my trip back to Manhattan included meeting SNY’s Adam Schein on the 7 train. Like all the SNY folks I’ve met or know well–Keith, Ron, Gary, Matt Yallof, Kevin Burkardt, Matty Cerrone, Ted Berg, and behind-the-scenes dudes Dan, Gerard, Greg and Mets Weekly cameraman Max–Adam Schein is a doll. If you don’t watch Loud Mouths, his show with Chris Carlin, I recommend it. They’re funny, insightful, entertaining, and low on the obnoxious meter, which can’t be said of all of SNY’s new programming this season. Adam spoke very highly of his SNY coworkers, which just goes to show what I’ve already known since 2006. Our Mets network just plain rocks.

Let’s keep the coverage going in October, Metsies, how ’bout it?

Quick placeholder about yesterday’s game

CrazyMetGirl thinks the umpires were out for retribution against us for Brian Runge’s suspension. Here’s what I thought Saturday (with a half-hearted attempt at making it more decent via photoshop) about the umpires:

Picture 686-1.jpg
Back to Shea this afternoon to see the final game vs. the Yankees. Come on, Ollie. Make it up to us. Focus. Care.

Winning: Fun! Bloggers: Fun! Lynn: Fun!

Picture 665.jpgAnother swell night at Shea, starring Lynn Cohen, Mike Silva, and Dana Brand, with special guest appearances you’ll see soon :-)

As the team started racking up runs, helped in large part by the long-ball, Mike insisted that a certain t-shirt deserved the credit. Back on Monday, our blogger-heavy group was chosen to be the special Bubba Burger coupon-and-t-shirt winners. Since I had forgotten to unload my Bubba tee, it was still in my bag. Picture 675.jpg“It’s because of that t-shirt!” Mike exclaimed arbitrarily as D-Wright’s ball sailed out of the ballpark. I was instructed to never take the Bubba tee out of my bag again. And also, to blog about its special powers. I will comply with the latter request, Mike.

A bit later, Mike blamed Matt Cerrone and his sweet-as-pie father when John Maine gave up his first hit in the 5th. Mike had seen Matty in the parking lot, and so I assumed he was at the ballpark on “business.” I text-slash-ordered him to “Come say hi!” not realizing he was in fact there with his dad. Just to watch the game. In the awesome right-behind-home SNY seats. When I confusedly remarked, “You’re not here for work?” Matt reminded me, “I am a fan, you know.” Well, as soon as Matty and daddy left us, Johnny gave up his first hit. As Keith might have said, “How could you leave? There were outs in those seats!”

Picture 669-1.jpg
Picture 670-1.jpg

Around the 8th, we were joined for a bit by the always gracious, ever-friendly, all-around-great guy (we love him!) Kevin Burkhardt. He insists he’ll still remember me the 4th time we meet, whenever that might be in the future. I’ll hold you to that, Kevin!

Here are the rest of our fun pics, with Kevin, Lynn, Mike, and Dana. Lynn and I conveniently got our girl-talk out of the way before the game, so as not to scare away the dudes ;-) By the way, notice the awesome GaryKeithandRon tanks, to be available on the site soon! They’re long enough to be just the kind I love, and I recommend them highly!

Picture 678.jpg
Picture 663.jpg

Picture 671.jpg

Much to discuss!

Let’s start with last night’s game. Oy. Just unacceptable. To not only lose, but lose 11-0 against the worst-scoring team in the AL? Embarrassing. And I’m not too fond of Ollie Perez’s post-game interviews after his poor outings. It’s always the same, along the lines of: You have good days and bad days, and I just have to prepare for the next start now.

No, Ollie. You don’t just have to prepare for the next start. You have to figure out what went wrong in the last start and fix it. Let’s hear you say you’re disappointed in yourself. That you want to do better. No more shoulder shrugging, Ollie. Own it and fix it. Period. Meanwhile, offense, let’s hit. Hit, hit, hit. Hit. And then plate the runs. Pretty please.

Still, as will happen when we’ve got Gary Cohen and Keith Hernandez together in the booth, there were some laughs even as we got pummeled. I will share them here with you, in case you got disgusted and turned off the TV.

Picture 661.jpgWhen the score was still only (grrrrr) 7-0, Keith and Gary started to get a bit loopy. They had new toys–stuffed, quacking Aflac ducks. With kerchiefs around their necks. Or “handkerchiefs,” if Keith had his way.

Keith: That’s very western. Let’s put it over his beak, and he’d be an outlaw.
Gary: A western duck.
Keith: Lemme see if I can get it over his beak. Hold on. There we go.
Duck: Aflac! Aflac!
Picture 662.jpg
Keith: Aw, I can’t do it.
Duck: AFLAC!
Keith: Stick ‘em up.
Gary: Oh! That’s very good. Let me see if I can do that. That’s like Jesse James. Jesse and Frank James Duck. There you go.
Keith: Get your hands up! Gimme your money and your jewels.

Our Keith would only get…loopier, to Gary’s amusement. Later on:

Keith: The fans here are looking for a sign. I said it again. It
reminds me of that Steve Martin movie, The Man With Two Brains. Kathleen Turner, of course, was the villain in the
movie. And his wife was dead, and he had a portrait of his wife up
above the fireplace, and he goes, ‘Honey, you’ve been dead for a long
time, give me a sign.’ (Laughs) And he got all the negative signs, and
he totally disregarded it. (Keith’s obviosuly tickled.)

Gary: So how does that relate to the experience here do you think?

Keith: No, it doesn’t. (Laughs.)

As the score got more painfully lopsided, we heard about Gary’s dogs, Angie and Wryly, and Keith’s beloved Dunkie. Then a rather detailed remembrance of the cartoon Underdog. Even Keith muttered at some point, “We’re just killing time here.”

I’m off tonight to the game with the always fun and exuberant Lynn Cohen, so let’s hope the team pulls off the win. Pretty, pretty please.

Monday, however, was my first trip to Shea this week. The entertaining Metstradamus and his brother Fred got a gang of bloggerati and assorted buddies together to watch…the first loss against the Mariners. Still, fun was had with an all-around groovy group.

Included in the pics are: Toasty Joe, Metstradamus, Me, Coop, Greg, and Rickey. And there’s also master commenter Dykstraw there with me.

Picture 654.jpgPicture 645.jpgPicture 640.jpg
Lastly, because clearly you haven’t heard enough from me today, let’s talk about Jerry Manuel. I, like many, have enjoyed him so far. Mostly. He’s relaxed, funny, and he seems to have eased the tension in the clubhouse. We think, “Ooh! Players having fun again! Look at them all gangsta.” (Erm, relatively.)

But let’s not take this new lighthearted regime too far, now Jerry. We get that you’re easy breezy with the media. Picture 659.jpg
But after an 11-0 loss against an awful team, you should not start your press conference cracking jokes and looking like this. I like that he didn’t let Ollie off the hook. I like that he’s not letting any player off the hook. But I’m not sure I’m cool with the all smiles after a truly unnecessary loss.

I’ll leave you with this: So, Ollie. When you’re pitching aces, it’s okay to dance around at batting practice. I’d even say it’s sweet and cute.
But when you’re pitching like you’re pitching this season, stop dancing and get to friggin’ work.

The moment after the moment

Even as it happened, we all knew the big story of Jerry Manuel’s first game as the Mets’ manager–win or lose–would be the moment in the very first at bat when he took Jose Reyes out of the game. Jose had clutched the area around his knee, and Jerry wanted to be conservative to avoid any serious injury. As we watched Jose protest, and then finally bark something out while throwing down his helmet, we all knew we’d hear about it in the post-game show and all the papers the next day.    

But what the papers wouldn’t catch was Jose Reyes’ expression as he apologized later to Jerry Manuel. He threw his arm around his new skipper’s waist and gave the kind of “I’m sorry, I know I did bad” smile you’d expect from a puppy. Or, ya know, from Jose Reyes.  One hopes that Jose learned his lesson. But one also enjoys that sheepish “I’m sorry, papa” smile. I have a feeling that smile lets Jose Reyes get away with a whole lot, if perhaps mostly off the field.

Picture 639.jpg 

Really? You’re gonna do it like this?

Picture 637.jpg

Here’s a screenshot from the moments after last night’s win v. the Angels. A smiling Willie Randolph, probably thinking “Whew, I made it for another day, at least,” claps a hand on his next day’s pitcher. “You’ll do it for me too, Johan,” you can almost hear him think. “I have faith.”

But apparently Willie was one of the last people to know he was already toast, gone, kaput. Johan Santana would not be his next day’s pitcher. He’d be Jerry Manuel’s next day pitcher. I keep thinking how Jerry and Willie seem to be so close, always side-by-side in the dugout, laughing together, partners. And yet Jerry had to know for a significant amount of time what was going on. It just feels smarmy.

Why not let Willie Randolph, Rick Peterson, and Tom Nieto sleep through the night, happy about the win. Why fire them right after their return? Why send them to CA to begin with? Why make them all wait so long if the decision had been made days ago? I know I’m not the only one with these questions, and it’s a terrible answer if the reason is that the front office thought they could sneak the story in under the radar. This story was never going under the radar, no matter how the business was done. This story was always going to be a ten-story blip on the radar.

Whether you wanted Willie fired or not, a shake up or not, I mean…badly done, Mets organization. All around, from start to finish, badly done.

I find myself disappointed that Willie is gone. I believe I had more faith in him, in the end, than I had realized. But more, I can’t imagine that Jerry Manuel is the solution, even in the short term. Could Ken Oberkfell or Dan Warthen help the current team? Maybe. I’ll hope for it.

Right now, only winning will do anything to make the current situation any better. Lots, and lots of winning.

Otherwise, I fear, the spiral of backlash against the Mets powers-that-be has truly only just begun…

Picture pages

Saturday night, I was all excited for my friend Diane to come watch the game with me at Shea. And then the rain came all Noah’s-ark-like, and the game was a no-go. Leave it to Diane, though, to help make a night at Shea fun even without an actual game. We enjoyed the Citi Field “Experience” on loge level–my 2nd time–and snapped some pics that I’ll share here.

Also, it was Shea Stadium Replica night, and they ran out of the little figurines, so at least 25,000 people were sent home from the postponed game that night. The replica? ROCKS. I heart it big time.

The other pics include (in order): 1) Diane at the Citi Field Empire Suite kitchen bar top. 2) Me snooping through the mock drawers of the sample Empire Suite kitchen. 3) Comfy, but impractically colored, fancy Empire suite upholstery. 4) Look! Citi Field view! From your fake seat! 5) Diane right by Jose Reyes’s future locker. Included in every one? A safe for the players precious jewels.

Picture 633y.jpg
Picture 635.jpg 

Picture 631y.jpgPicture 630.jpgPicture 629.jpgPicture 627.jpgPicture 625.jpgPicture 618.jpg

 

It’s not Lupus

house.jpgI can’t be the only one who watches House, right? If I am, the premise of the show is that master diagnostician Dr. Gregory House sees all the patients no one else can cure. So when a patient shows up with symptoms that make absolutely no sense, Dr. House goes through rounds of radical treatments until he discovers what the problem was to begin with.

So, basically: We’re paging Dr. House.

Patient, the New York Mets, presents with severe case of losing and multiple organ failure. When certain organs function, other formerly healthy ones go into crisis. If the hitting works, the starting pitching goes into v-fib. Or if the starter functions optimally, then the bullpen flatlines.

Patient’s symptoms have been worsening steadily for the past year, with occasional periods of remission. Most recently, patient had to have its damaged Alou removed, and the Wagner has been secreting toxins.

This is when Dr. House brainstorms with his team for the next round of treatment.

Obvious answers always get dispelled first. So, firing the manager? House would consider that answer too easy. He’d ask: What are we missing? He’d rule out fungus. Has the team added something in the past year that’s altered its state of health? Recent crucial roster changes have included Ryan Church and Brian Schneider. To House, these formerly outside influences would make no sense as the culprit. Next, he’d rule out infection. Could the problem be low morale infecting the clubhouse? Defeatism? A general bad aura invading the team’s brain? Well sure, yes, that could be a problem. Patient gets treated with a round of antibiotics–in this case, a few sustained wins, which the patient has had, and which had to boost the team’s morale–but in true House fashion, though the antibiotics seem to work initially, the problem always returns.

Next, House would turn to an allergy. Could the Mets be allergic to winning? The symptoms certainly fit. Especially since allergies worsen with age. On House, the cure in that case would be a massive dose of steroids.

I think we can all agree we must avoid that round of treatment.

The problem, then, must be immunodeficiency–for obviously the patient has been unable to heal itself. This is when House does something crazy, like drilling a hole in the patient’s brain, dosing it with massive radiation, or–in one episode, at least–digging up in the patient’s hoo-ha to find a hidden tick. (Oh, if only the solution could be so easy as finding a tick up the Mets’ hoo-ha!)

But House always saves the patient.

By House logic, then, it’s time to try something crazy. Is that my logic too? Fellow fans, I just don’t know anymore. But if the problem is immunodeficiency, then the team, as it is, just can’t heal itself.

So lets hope our team finds its Dr. House and lets him perform his miracle cure.

Stat.

 

John Maine enjoys “The Office”

I made two mistakes last night. 1) Watching the game without a cocktail. Haven’t I learned my lesson!? and 2) Thinking, when we had a 5-1 lead, “Oh thank God, we’re going to win this one.” Haven’t I learned my lesson?

Argh.

But you know me, always looking for the moments to enjoy even when the game itself might not provide them. This time, that moment came during John Maine’s post-game interview. The interview itself was rather depressing. My beloved Johnny was so despondent, at one point he mumbled “I don’t know what to say.”

So let’s look at what he didn’t say.

Picture 607.jpgDo you see it? Behind Johnny’s sweet, sad face? Yup, it’s the Dwight Schrute bobblehead.

Picture 607-1.jpgdwight bobble.jpg  

If Rainn Wilson, who plays Dwight, gets a John Maine bobblehead, then they can be bobble buddies. (If you clicked on that link, have you ever seen a bobblehead that looks less like its player!?!)

Note to the Mets: Do you see that I’m now writing about players’ TV preferences? Let’s do something about that, boys.

Another worthy non-game moment came when Wags and Schoeney rushed to help a struggling grounds crew keep the tarp down in gale-force winds.

Gary Cohen and Ron Darling rightly worried about these lefties possibly hurting their pitching hands or arms, but let’s still give them some golf-claps for “pitching in” to offer a helping hand.

Picture 600y.jpg

Picture 601y.jpg
Picture 605y.jpg

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.