Monday, March 31, 2008

Xavier Nady, still helping the Mets cause

I was a big fan of Xavier Nady for his half-season on the Mets. It was only due to the misfortune of Duaner Sanchez's taxi accident that the Mets traded Nady to pick up some bullpen help in Roberto Hernandez (and picked up Oliver Perez in the deal, as well). My fan-ocity (term still not trademarked) of Nady is still growing, as he just hit a solo homer in the 8th inning to put the Pirates ahead of the Braves.

On the subject of Nady, his story of finding out he'd been traded still amuses me. He dropped back 30-something (I could look up the exact number but I don't feel particularly motivated right now) games in the standings by going from the Mets to the Pirates in that deal. Here's the story, as I remember it: Nady said he didn't even know his name had ever come up in trade talks, and was at the beach with his fiancee all day. When he got back to his hotel room, he picked up his phone and saw there were over a dozen missed calls from Omar Minaya. "I knew that wasn't a good sign," Nady said. He then called Minaya and thanked him for allowing him the opportunity of being the Mets' right fielder for those previous four months.

"I knew that wasn't a good sign." It reminds me now of Bob Uecker's Hall of Fame Induction speech, where he listed the signs he noticed that he was possibly being released from a team: (1) Walking into the clubhouse on day one and having a coach tell you that visitor's aren't allowed; (2) Having management tell you they want you to consider joining the team as the 2nd Base Coach if they ever need one; (3) Being told by a manager to "Go grab a bat and kill this rally" or to "Go up there without a bat and try to work a walk." Oh, Bob Uecker. We all love you. But Xavier Nady is pretty good, too.


Edit by Joe Cook at 11:53 PM:

Nady hit another 3-run homer in the top of the 12th inning to put the Pirates up 12-9. The Braves scored two runs in the bottom of the inning, but were finally retired. Xavier Nady, with his 4-7, 2 HR, 4 Run, 4 RBI game against the Braves today, shares the honors with the entire Washington Nationals team (who defeated the Phillies [bullpen] handily today) for my daily "Non-Mets Player Mets Player of the Day." This is the Nationals' second selection this year, and second in a row, as yesterday they won the honor for knocking off the Braves in extras on an extra-inning blast by Ryan Zimmerman (who was teammates in AAU Baseball with David Wright).

Here's a convo just now between the two operators of this site, following Pagan's RBI double for the Mets a few minutes ago

Joe(5:24:02 PM): Angel Pagan is a god (or angel...) among men (or pagans...)!!
"JCS" (5:24:31 PM): lol
"JCS" (5:24:36 PM): gotta love that name, I've got to say
"JCS" (5:24:40 PM): it's pretty ridiculous
"JCS" (5:24:54 PM): what team is he on? to be honest, the name isn't really familiar
Joe(5:25:06 PM): I know it's pronounced differently, but I can't resist calling him by the way that's spelled
cooksbro10 (5:25:13 PM): He's the Mets starting left fielder
"JCS" (5:25:35 PM): ahh, okay
"JCS" (5:25:39 PM): hmm....interesting
"JCS" (5:25:39 PM): lol
"JCS" (5:25:51 PM): so either your team is blessed or has sold itself to the devil
Joe(5:25:55 PM): and to make it even more perfect, he's followed in the lineup by Ryan Church
"JCS" (5:26:01 PM): haha!
"JCS" (5:26:02 PM): wow...
"JCS" (5:26:09 PM): it really is a divine year for the mets

Time for my overarching pessimism to shine through

Reyes just struck out on 3 pitches in the top of the 1st. What a great way to start the season!

It's Opening Day!

The title is enough for incredible excitement among all baseball fans. Just on my buddy list of people at Gettysburg College, there are currently 11 people with away messages exclaiming "It's Opening Day!!" and then giving their favorite team. So I'm pumped. Santana is on the mound today against Hanley Ramirez and the otherwise AAA-level Marlins. So, being the Mets fan that I am, I'm cautiously optimistic about the game today.

So, in honor of opening day and hopefully the wide spectrum of readers we have here: Go Mets, Yankees, BoSox, Rays, Blue Jays, Orioles, Twins, ChiSox, Indians, Tigers, Royals, Mariners, Angels, Rangers, A's, Brewers, Cubs, Astros, Reds, Cardinals, Pirates, Rockies, D'backs, Padres, Dodgers, and Giants.

(Yes, I know I left out a few teams. That was not by accident.)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Finally another post: covering potato chips, the Nets, and the Mets

I've had nothing much to write about lately and have been terribly busy with classes and the work that goes along with them. However, someone complained that there hasn't been enough new stuff on here lately, so here goes something:

I was just eating potato chips just now and pulled out 3 straight chips that were shaped perfectly like Texas, Ohio, and Indiana and were even proportionately-sized. I take that to be a sign that either the Republicans are gonna win those 3 states in November or the Nets are going to have a very good road trip. However, since the Nets recently completed a dreadful Texas roadtrip and then lost to the Cavs, it could mean that they're also going to have a terrible showing against the Pacers soon. I haven't checked their schedule to confirm this possibility.

On the Mets front, John Maine pitched well again today, allowing only one run (a solo homer) on four hits in 5-2/3 innings. Brian Schneider and Ramon Castro are both nursing strained right hamstrings, which means right now the #1 catcher in the organization is Robinson Cancel or Raul Casanova (who had 2 hits and an RBI in the game tonight). Also, El Duque pitched a simulated game today, throwing around 75-80 pitches. Sadly, his top pitch speed was also in that range. And some people who watched it said that at times it seemed like slow-pitch softball. Now, everybody has seen El Duque occasionally throw the Bugs Bunny slowball, but from the sounds of the reports, his pitches today were all at very mediocre velocities. The Mets don't need a 5th starter for about a month due to the oddity of April scheduling that comes every year, but this is a very discouraging sign (unless, of course, you're either Mike Pelfrey or Mike Pelfrey's mother).

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Are We Seriously Relying on Delgado?

Carlos Delgado has played two games so far this Spring since returning from his latest injury, had 5 at-bats, and has struck out in all 5 of them. It's great to see he's right at mid-season form.... Maybe Easley or Anderson should be the everyday first-baseman. It's too bad Shawn Green only wanted to play for a West Coast team this year (and wound up retiring). I know he was never fully accepted by many Mets fans, but at least Green hit consistently. He certainly didn't have the power he had during his years playing for Toronto and Los Angeles, but an average around .300 with limited power is something I'd gladly take over Delgado at this point.

Delgado just made contact with the ball finally. However, his first ball put in play this Spring resulted in an inning-ending double play. It would have been better if he had struck out...

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Rays and Yanks battling it out

Steve is currently traveling around Europe for a few weeks, so it falls on me to talk about the first exciting event in Devil Rays history. This would be perfect for him, since he used to be a Yankee fan and now roots for the Rays, but since he's acting so special by traveling around while I spent my Spring Break with all the excitement of the flu and bronchitis, it serves him right to miss this story.

As some of you may recognize from a previous post I wrote, I'm a bit of a fan of bench-clearing incidents in Major League Baseball (as long as incidents don't get out of hand like Jose Offerman charging the mound with his bat as a weapon in the Independent League). So I am thoroughly enjoying this story (other than the fact that a Yankees catching prospect broke his wrist) about the Rays and Yankees charging at each other today after Shelley Duncan made a supposedly dirty slide into second base. Now, I've watched Shelley Duncan play since he first came up with the Yankees, so it doesn't surprise me that he's finding himself embroiled in the middle of this violent controversy. The guy plays hard. I have no problem with aggressive play, as long as it's legal aggressive play. I haven't seen the video of his slide into Akinori Iwamura, so I can't say whether it was legal or not. But I'm glad this will give the AL East another storyline aside from the Yankee-BoSox rivalry. Last year, there was the ongoing conflict between the Blue Jays and Yankees (specifically A-Rod). So this year the Rays join in hating the Yanks. As a Mets fan, there's no team I'd rather see everybody in MLB hate than the Yankees (sorry Phillies and Braves; the Yanks are the Mets biggest rivals).

So far we have Phillies players talking in their clubhouse about eventually brawling the Mets despite the fact that a pitch hasn't been thrown with those two teams on the same field yet. Now we have the Rays and Yanks already fighting two weeks into March. It's going to be an entertaining year. favorite quote concerning the Yanks-Rays brouhaha has to be this one from Troy Percival: "There's no room in baseball for that kind of stuff. Ty Cobb's been gone a long time." It's good to see Ty Cobb hating is still alive and well in players, keeping up the traditions of Babe Ruth ("Ty Cobb is a prick, but he's a prick who sure can hit.") and one of the Black Sox in Field of Dreams ("Ty Cobb wanted to play here, but none of us could stand the son-of-a-bitch when we were alive so we told him to stick it.").

Here's to Shelley Duncan keeping Ty Cobb style of baseball alive and kicking.

"C is for Cobb
Who grew spikes and not corn,
And made all the basemen
Wish they weren't born."
-Ogden Nash, "Line-Up for Yesterday"

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Update from last post

Out of the large number of Mets listed in the last post as being injured, several returned to the lineup today. The biggest surprise was Ryan Church, returning from the Grade 2 concussion he suffered in his collision last weekend. Church looked good, ripping two line-drive singles to right in his only 2 at-bats. Also returning to the lineup for the game against the Marlins were Brian Schneider, Damion Easley, and Endy Chavez. This was a split-squad game, and on the other squad which traveled to face the Baltimore Orioles, Marlon Anderson made his return to the lineup.

Duaner Sanchez is also scheduled to pitch for the first time in 8 days in the game against the Marlins, though he hasn't entered the game yet as of now.

Beltran, Castillo, and Delgado continue to sit out. Reports on Beltran and Castillo sound like they could appear in a game any day now. Delgado has taken batting practice and reported no pain.

Moises Alou will definitely miss the beginning of the regular season. Orlando Hernandez has finally thrown a bit down in Florida, but there is no definite timetable for his first appearence in a game.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

No Surprise from Alou; Mets' team injury recap

The first poll on this blog asked readers to choose which Mets player would be most seriously injured this season. By a large margin, readers selected "Moises Alou, just by being Moises Alou." Those people are off to an early lead, as today it was learned that Alou will miss 4-6 weeks following surgery for a hernia.

How exactly did Alou get a hernia? From all that heavy lifting he does in his life? The bat and ball are really heavy.... Every Spring Training game he has played so far, I've yelled at the tv screen for Alou to just walk to any balls hit to left and allow the batter to get an inside the park homerun in order to avoid injuring his legs. I don't know what he could have done to cause this hernia, or possibly could've done to prevent it. What a disaster.

So, to recap for people, the Mets regular starters in the outfield (Ryan Church, Carlos Beltran, and Moises Alou) are all injured. Their primary back-up outfielder (Endy Chavez) is injured. Their starting catcher (Brian Schneider) is injured. Their first baseman (Carlos Delgado) and both of his backups (Damion Easley and Marlon Anderson, both of whom are also backup outfielders and backup utility infielders) are injured. Their second baseman (Luis Castillo) is injured, along with both of his backups already named and also the person who would come 4th on the depth chart at second base (Jose Valentin). So out of the Mets 8 position-player regulars, only David Wright and Jose Reyes are uninjured at this time (though Reyes did take a couple days off after awkwardly fouling a ball off his own knee). What a great start...

Monday, March 3, 2008

Mets reserves on a roll...I guess...

The Mets have won 2 in a row. Win tomorrow, and that's our first winning streak of the season.

...Yes, I know it's only Spring Training. But I spent over two hours tonight in East Rutherford watching the Nets play like crap against the Spurs. So Mets' reserves are really all I have in sports right now (though I appreciate that the Colorado Avalanche, my favorite hockey team, are apparently putting the band back together from their 2001 team by recently re-acquiring Peter Forsberg and Adam Foote).

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Church and Anderson collide

Crap!! Ryan Church and Marlon Anderson just collided going for a flyball in shallow right. It was nowhere near as horrifying as the Beltran-Cameron collision. It looked like Church's head collided with Anderson's chest or chin. Church probably has a concussion, I would guess. Anderson took longer to get up. Obviously, they both came out of the game. A serious injury to either would hurt the Mets badly.

The Mets are currently tied 0-0 with the Dodgers, but the Dodgers have the bases loaded with 2 outs, with Pedro Feliciano on the mound.