June 2009

What I would like Jerry Manuel to say

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Oh, Jerry. To hear the Mets’ skipper tell it, we’re all on a sinking ship. His team is subpar, just treading water until the real players return from the DL and magically restore the Mets to a winning team. Wah, Omar, give me better players so I don’t have to manage these minor leaguers. Wah, wah, laugh laugh laugh.

I have been asked more than once if I agree with his verdict. Are the Mets hurt? Or course. Have they automatically rolled over and died? No! The question isn’t whether I agree with Jerry. It’s what should Jerry be saying to begin with? So here, Jerry, is my speech writing attempt, which I think you should print out, fold in your pocket, and bring with you to the next press conference. Here is what, as a manager, you should be saying about your team.

Press: Jerry, with all the injuries, do you just simply have a losing team?

Jerry: No, no, I can’t say that. But I know you’ll write that in your papers tomorrow, heh heh, shoot. But look, I will tell you–is this the team we thought we would have in July when we started on opening day? Well no, of course it isn’t. But even without a lot of our core guys, and even without a good number of our pitching staff, it’s still our job to win ballgames. And we have a professional group of guys who are going to give a hundred percent to try and get that done. Look, is it hard when we lose a game because of an error or two (or three even, shoot). Well yes, yes sure it is, I can’t lie about that. But the fact that we were close enough to win those games tells you that we’ve got the potential to pull out some wins that might not be expected of us. What we have to do is make sure we’re not careless. Playing short staffed, it doesn’t mean we’re a losing team, it just means we have to take advantage of the opportunities that come to us when we get the chance. So I will say we have less room for error.

But now, we still have some very good guys on our team. We’ve got David Wright, who’s been a lot more clutch than people give him credit for, even if he can get streaky sometimes. We have an Alex Cora, who’s been just phenomenal, not only as an everyday player, which we did not expect him to be–and an injured one at that, showing quite a bit of heart turning down surgery to play every day. But also as a leader, a veteran presence in the clubhouse. And Luis Castillo, I think once we find the right spot for him in the lineup, he’ll really step up and continue to perform like he did in the beginning of the season. And I plan to play Daniel Murphy more so he can get in the swing of things, get his rhythm going. I need to trust the guys I have, and I need to figure out the best way to use them.

You know, yes, it would be an easier job for us with more power in the lineup, but we can do what we need to do with the guys we have. I believe in them, that they’ll sharpen up their game, turn the double plays that need to be made, make the routine plays that they just have to do. And if we can score runs playing small ball, knocking out a few base hits or drawing walks instead of relying so much on the long ball, well then we can still win games.

So don’t count us out yet. I think our players will see this as an opportunity to prove a lot of you all wrong. I think they have the fire in them to start a winning streak and keep us going as a major player in the division. We might just surprise you all, and then what would you have to write in your papers? Heh, heh, heh.

Two Mets events, featuring Faith and Fear’s Greg and Metsblog Matty

Last week (aka a hundred years ago in blogland) I attended two Mets bloggery events where the fans were all enthusiasm even as our Metsies were continuing to play understaffed. This season, the disabled list is the new black.

Despite the near DEATH of my computer, which is now just mostly dead (a la Princess Bride and JJ Putz’s elbow), I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t share the pics with you!

Picture 050tb.jpgFirst up was a trip to the Lower East Side to visit a bastion of Metsiness that I didn’t know existed: Two Boots Tavern. Two Boots Pizza I knew about–I remember way back in the 80s when it opened in my hometown neighborhood of Park Slope, and I knew the owner is a Mets fan. But I didn’t know there was this enclave with baseball cards lining the walls, Mets banners flying, and a mural including an afrotastic 70s style lady Mets fan. Rock on.

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Picture 043tb.jpgWhat a fitting place, then, to attend a book reading featuring the biggest Mets fan you will ever know. No really, he’s it. Read the book and you’ll have to agree. The fan in question is the blogosphere’s own beloved Greg Prince, of Faith and Fear in Flushing. Here’s where I’m being given the perfect opportunity to review his book, which I am allllmost done with. I’ve been reading it during Mets moments–on the 7 train to Citi, during commercials of game broadcasts, and it’s been a great companion piece to Metsy fun (and fury). However, I am strapped for time right now, and so I will give you my solemn oath to review it soon. Picture 044tb.jpgFor now, you may see the pictures of Greg, his blog partner Jason, Coop, Dana Brand, and Mets By the Numbers author Jon Springer, who also read from his blog-turned-book, all about the history of the Mets as told through their uniform numbers. Fun stuff. You may also want to check out the third book, a recent reprint called A Magic Summer: The Amazin’ Story of the 1969 New York Mets.

Oh and hey, speaking of…Mets, Orioles, 40th year anniversary. Surely we’d have a repeat performance by our amazin’ Mets, squeaking out a victory that Thursday night and not at all blowing a save with the best closer in baseball. Surely. Or not… So let’s focus on the reading then, an evening of Mets bloggers and writers and pizza and beer and booze and cool Mets t-shirts. Enjoy.
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Picture 059tb.jpgOh, and I made these two dudes (I asked nicely) pose tog
ether to show off two of the most popular unofficial shirts floating around the Mets onliniverse, ImKeithHernandez and No Mas’s I’m Calling it Shea. So if you’ve seen them, and you’ve wondered, now you know!

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Picture 072ht.jpgThe next night would see me and Coop (The Mets Divas, of course) joining Matty Cerrone at a sort of SNY, sort of Metsblog viewing party at the Hawaiian Tropic Zone in Times Square. We had a fun time–the drinks were good (as they should be at $12 each), the company great (Dykstraw made an appearance early on too), and the Mets actually won. Yay!

I voted for our bartender, Missy, for the bikini contest, and yes, I’ll show you her picture here. She was very nice, but lost to the girl who “always wins,” because she goes to every table soliciting votes. Boo.

My favorite moment was when a Metsblog groupie approached Matt with a cell phone. “Dude, would you say hi to my friend’s voicemail? He’ll flip. He’ll just flip.” Matt held the phone, said “Hi,” then gave it back. And then I took a picture of him. So this is Matt’s “Yeah, yeah, I know you’re ribbing me” expression. One I know and love–and he takes it well.

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That last photo may well be the blog debut of a behind the scenes superstar–someone responsible for many hours of your blog enjoyment, though you might not know it. He’s John, the proprietor of BlogHarbor, which hosts both Metsblog and Faith and Fear in Flushing. Matt credits him as making his whole shebang possible. John, it was great to meet you!

Okeedoke, game’s about to begin now. Which I keep thinking is a rubber game against the Cardinals even though there’s one more tomorrow. What are we now, 0-100 in rubber games this year? Headed to the Blind Pig to watch me some ball…

3 Mets events to report on, starting tomorrow…

So…guess what? My computer died. Heaved its last cough, gave me a scary blue screen, and seems to have vowed never to boot again. However, Computer Man is coming to help me tomorrow, and the lovely Lynn Cohen has lent me a spare laptop to see me through the dark hours.

Which means tomorrow, you can expect coverage to continue. I have 3 events to tell you all about, starting with 2 that will come tomorrow, featuring Mets bloggers you know and love well…

Stay tuned!

Twitter with Delgado

twitterdelgado.jpgMlblogs verifies that this is Carlos Delgado’s official Twitter feed, carlosdelgado21. He’s not the most prolific updater, but I enjoyed June 3rd’s “Nothing really
exciting about being hurt, most days are pretty slow and boring but
therapy is going well. Good spirits all the time!!” And June 2nd “
Right at 2 weeks after surgery, recovery and rehab are going very well!!”

Keep letting us know how it goes, Carlos! I think good news about your rehab will be welcomed happily by all. Carlos himself counts among the Twitter feeds he follows, Danny Glover, Brooke Burke, the Zappos CEO, NPR, and–I do not kid–Wil Wheaton. Wil Wheaton?? Well, okay…

And so, by the way, I am also on the Twitter, @ZoeHelena. In truth I’m not a huge enthusiast, but feel free to follow if you like.

Mostly I’m waiting for the Delgado tweet that says “OMG you guyz, hip totally fine! Wherez my bat?!!”

Pics from the *good* game at Yankee Stadium

I started writing this entry on Sunday, when score was 11-0–and not the good kind of 11-0–in the 4th inning (for reals? 4th??) of the rubber game of the Mets-Yankees subway series. Then it got worse. I typed “brb” to the blog and went into the kitchen to stick my head in the oven.

YanksZoeEric3.jpgBut now it’s Tuesday. The oven door is firmly shut. A new series is just starting literally right now. Come on Big Pelf! Let’s go, Metsies! And as for the subway series, we’ll focus on Saturday’s game, shall we? Thankfully, that’s the one I saw in person, a crisp, rainy, and yet wonderful Saturday at Yankee Stadium with Pick Me Up Some Mets friend, Eric. Click here to see all the pics from Yankee Stadium, where Eric and I got into not one single fight with opposing fans–but that didn’t stop the Mets fans around us. Oh we saw some doozies. Apparently we were in the beligerent section–wayyyyy in left field, 4th row from the back. Really, we could almost touch the very back of the very top of the stadium. But we didn’t. You know, ’cause of Yankees cooties.

Picture 043fy.jpgBut we were sheltered from the rain, and in truth the seats were total fun. I really like the way the field is laid out, with broad tiered sections that surprisingly must give lots of great seats, since ours were some of the worst and we liked ‘em just fine. The rest of the ballpark? I mean, it’s okay. I don’t dislike it. It’s just…well, in truth, it’s not all that special.

We entered into the great hall entrance, with the banners and the high ceilings and the feeling of nice, airy space. Okay, I can dig it. But hey, Yankee Stadium, what’s with your tons of tiny cramped concrete industrial looking hallways? We kept thinking we were in the areas that were supposed to be behind the scenes, like the hallways at Shea that led to the broadcast booth, past the Diamond Club.

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Picture 001ye.jpgOur first stop, and our first narrow hallway, led to Monument Park (expect a line). And Monument Park is fine–it’s historic, it’s all bronzy, has some flowers, some stately brick and granite going on, it’s perfectly nice. But I don’t think we were blown away. Still, it’s a necessary photo op. I gotta say, though, those bronze likenesses are just not the most flattering. Every forehead crease looks deeper, and what’s with those creepy looking bronze teeth? But it’s a fun little stop. I posed with Babe Ruth and Casey Stengel, and Lou Gehrig seems to flatter Eric, no? (I think he really just wanted a pic with the dude in white.)

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Our next order of business, of course, was getting fed. I believe I chose the wrong option. I was dazzled by the idea of sliders–I love sliders!–and chose the buffalo chicken option. Mmmm, spicy chicken sliders. Eh, not so much. Clearly I have been spoiled by the beauty and wonder of Blue Smoke. Take a look at my sliders, which were poorly advertised as “spicy,” and tell me if you are more impressed than I. The real winner of the day was Eric’s choice, the garlic fries. Crispy and very, very garlicky, you can smell them all over the ballpark. With all that garlic, methinks Yankee Stadium need not worry about an impending vampire attack any time soon.

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 Other options include a deli corner, an Asian noodle nook, and a butcher. Right there behind a glass window, all zoo-like. Look at the beef man slicing Lobel’s steak for the sandwich stand right there. A rare breed, the butcher.

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Meanwhile, there were more PMUSM friends to be found in the ballpark–Coop! We found Coop at the Tommy Bahama’s bar area of the park, a narrow, semi-enclosed spot where they have some delicious looking drinks. Mojitos! And big blue slushy looking things! I tried Coop’s, and let me tell you, that big blue slush is not for the weak of liver.

As for the below, I never thought I’d see Coop and I posing with pictures of Yankees in the background!

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Picture 020yze.jpgDespite what happened the game before…and the game after…Saturday’s game was really quite fun, with Fernando Nieve earning a standing ovation, going longer and stronger than anyone expected. And with a very unblown save by K-Rod, followed by his signature raised arms.

And okay, fine. Maybe Eric and I punched out one little Yankee. But don’t feel bad for the creepy statue. I totally punch like a girl.
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Off to Yankee Stadium today…

I’m gonna guess that most if not all of you haven’t been reading this blog from day one. So perhaps you don’t know that although you should definitely classify me as die-hard now, I was not always a Mets fan. In 2003, when asked about baseball, I would have said, “I’d root for either team, I’m a native New Yorker.” WRONG ANSWER, Zoë!

Picture 046rz.jpgSo if you’re interested in seeing how I became a Mets fan, read this from June 2006. I started out a Mets girlfriend, but by 2006 I was a true fan in my own right, and you’ll see a bit how I got there. Kudos (or really, painful laser darts from my eyes) to Rob for getting me to Shea for the first time. He was a great Mets boyfriend for 4 years, and we remain the poster children for post-breakup friendship (see left for evidence).

Point of all this? Oh, you were there. You saw it. Last night was the worst regular-season-non-season-ending loss I’ve seen yet as a Mets fan. I was watching with a new member of my Mets circle, Eric, whom we love. We were at Landsdowne Road, aka “The Beer Money Bar,” and we were surrounded by Mets fans, and it was awesome. And I actually said, “Come on, K-Rod, just get him to pop up!” And then he did. And I jumped on the bench, grabbed Eric’s shoulders in excitement (sorry, Eric), and was about to jump up and down uncontrollably–what a great game! So back and forth, but we hung in there and…and…AND…

Are you kidding me???
But how…!
No, no, no, no, no. That’s not possible. Rewind. Try again.
Please? Please try again?

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Today I go, again with Eric, to Yankee Stadium in a different mood than I would have otherwise. Swagger? What’s that? But I’m determined to have fun. Hear me? Determined. So let’s put last night out of our minds as much as we can. You’ll see pics tomorrow of me and Eric frolicking around Yankee Stadium, touring the goods, wearing our Mets gear, and cheering on our boys. I’m not going to boo Luis Castillo. And though it still feels a bit weird, I’ve been practicing my “Come on, Nieve! Let’s go Nieve!”

Even if it’s not easy, let’s all make sure–the team, the fans, all together now–that today is a better day.

Coop and Zoe do DC, and it will never be the same again

Picture 022fzcw.jpgThis past Saturday morning saw me and Coop headed toward DC to support our Mets for the last two games of what we’ll call not their best road trip. Do you see us there at Nationals Ballpark? Holding yard-long frozen margaritas? With the smiles? Oh, Citi. Oh, if you only had refreshing frozen beverages for us to enjoy during the game! Honestly, I’m a 1-drink at the ballpark gal, if even that, and I don’t like beer. But I will tell you Citi Field is missing out on a gold mine here with the frozen margaritas. I am sure, like me and Coop, every fan would be responsible and have only one…

For the complete trip photo album, with shots of the ballpark, close-ups of the players at BP and during the game, and pics of us frolicking fans and bloggers, click here!

I was all excited to see my boy John Maine pitch. Ay, Johnny. But I don’t know why Jerry Manuel was going on after the game about dead arm. It was obvious John Maine had lost a bit of weight from his stomach flu, he looked on the pale side, and buddy Tracy saw him leaning over and a lot and spitting in the bullpen before the game. Hopefully he’ll be fully recovered and effective once more come his next start.

Picture 018fcw.jpgNow on to more fun topics like–ooh!–the ballpark itself. What a fun spot to watch a game. There’s a lovely open feeling to the park, a lot of cool baseball-related art–statues and mobiles, columns with paintings of historic players on them–and, of course, there are the presidents. We love the presidents. It’s possible I molested Lincoln a little, but it’s not like he was complaining. As for refreshments, I devoured the delicious giant chicken nachos and Italian gelato (chocolate hazelnut, mmmm). And everyone (except for one bartender, boo him and his stank attitude) was just the nicest person you could ever meet. The people who work at Nationals Ballpark are awesome. They greet you with smiles every step of the way, they offer to take pictures of you and your friends–and then take like a million of them until they get it just right–and they’re just super polite and friendly.

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Picture 060fpw.jpgNot to mention the company we had at the ballpark. Mets bloggers were representing hard core. We had Metsie and Mrs. Metsie, Danielle from The Wright Stuff and her best bud Andrew, frequent Pick Me Up Some Mets guest stars Tracy and her son Ryan, and a drive-by hello from Dykstraw and Lady Dykstraw.

Mets fans were everywhere at the ballpark, and all over DC. I assure you New Yorkers took over our capital for the entire series. For the most part, we were friendly and well-behaved. We commiserated together during the loss and celebrated the win. I’m guessing Mets gear outnumbered Nats gear by two to one :-)

At BP, some of the Mets were nice enough to sign autographs, but I missed the 2 I really wanted! Johan Santana was signing–he put his glove on his head so he could use 2 hands. Very cute. And Daniel Murphy signed for the fans juuuuust to the left of me. I just missed him! But I got Jerry Manuel and Brian Stokes. Brian Stokes, by the way? Super nice, the nicest Met to us by far. It’s possible I yelled out “Brian Stokes! I’d use you more!” before he lifted an arm in appreciation and signed my cap. And after I shouted “Razor Shines, you rock!” he was sure to toss me a ball, which Danielle expertly caught for me.

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Picture 240fmw.jpgPicture 285fgw.jpgCoop and I stayed at quite a nice hotel! We’d gotten a fantastic rate by booking early, and I recommend the Fairfax at Embassy Row highly. Embassy Row is beautiful, perhaps the prettiest part I’ve seen of DC. Nationals Ballpark? Not in the prettiest part of DC. But it overlooks water, which I have to say is a helluva lot prettier than our Willets Point chop shops.

Here are some shots of our lovely little corner of DC. But don’t miss the full album, which has tons more pictures of our Mets, and a guest appearance by Kevin Burkhardt filming the pregame show. When I waved hi, he said (having seen on Twitter), “You took the bus?” I yelled back, “Yup, it was okay. I’m not that fancy.” He smiled and said, “I know!” Ha. You gotta love KB!

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Rained out game means…meeting the players!

Not me. Oh, how I wish it had been me too! But Pick Me Up Some Mets friend Tracy and her son Ryan were in Pittsburgh to catch the game last night, when the rain started coming down, the game got canceled, and they instead wound up in the same hotel restaurant as many of our favorite Mets! Thanks to Tracy for sharing her pics with us! Below you’ll see David Wright, Daniel Murphy, Gary Sheffield, Omir Santos, Fernando Tatis, and Jeremy Reed–and of course Tracy and Ryan. Tracy reports that all our Metsies were charming and delightful, and Daniel Murphy’s trademark dry humor was present in full effect. When they told him they’d come from New York, D-Murph deadpanned, “So did I.” You’ll also notice that D-Wright has traded his pastel polo shirts from a couple years back for something a bit edgier. If that’s all that’s changed since his $50 million plus contract, then he’s still the David we all know and love! Enjoy, and thanks again to Tracy.

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You never quite lose that Metsy feeling

I’ve written the beginning of about 3 separate entries now that keep becoming irrelevant before I can finish them. So let’s start again, shall we? And we’ll save the other stuff (Delgado shaved his goatee! David tongues his bats! Did you see that Times article about the food?) for a happier time.

This evening started so well. Yes, last night’s loss was a toughie. Oy, Putz. I’d forgotten how frustrating that feeling can be in your stomach–the one where you’re watching it go downhill, a 5 run lead, just given away! It can only be described as the Bullpen ’08 Dread. We’d been kept apart, mostly, that feeling and us Mets fans, for most of the season. But boy does it sting, even if it’s getting rarer. Still, tonight was going to make up for it. Johan! And the Pirates! There’s no way Johan loses to the Pirates. That’s like Woody Allen knocking out Evander Holyfield.

Picture 1018.jpgBut more, I would be joined by two of my favorite new Metsy friends, Eric and Mets Weekly host Julie Alexandria whom, by the way, we love. Eric brings an impish sense of humor and a smile that lights up a room, and Julie is just born to be everyone’s best girlfriend. It’s impossible not to like her. Add Johan and bar drinks to the itinerary, and the night was guaranteed to be winner.

But you never quite lose that Metsy feeling. The company was winning, yes. The game, not so much. I’m still not quite sure what happened. I have it on DVR, but when I got home all I wanted to watch was something else, something entertaining. So now I’ve got Baby Mama on in the background. Oh, Tina Fey, you are so funny and soothing.

I’m not overreacting. Tomorrow I’ll be my usual sunny self, and yes, I will believe that it’s only June 3rd, and I’ll be sure that the Mets will go on a winning streak and put the Phillies in their place and give us something to be proud of. But for tonight, I’m nursing a wound. As I left the bar with Eric (Julie left early in order to prepare for a morning Mets Weekly shoot tomorrow–how professional!), I shook my head. “They tease you–they get you so excited by winning the big games, but then they just throw away the gimmies.” Eric nodded, “And then you realize at the end of the season that they all count the same.”

So for now, I’m stewing over two stupid losses. Hoping they’re not *the* two stupid losses that wind up hurting us in September. But also knowing that tomorrow, or the next week, our team will start winning the exciting games again. The guys we least expect to will make the diving catch or drive in the winning run. They’ll be there for us, they’ll lift us up.

And I’ll forget that Metsie feeling one more time.

 

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