Friday, March 30, 2007

Sunday, it Begins...

We are two days away now. The long, cold winter is nearly complete. We can start to put away the bad memories of last season, and the crushing loss in Game 7. All numbers go back to zero, in the standings, and in the stats. For the first time in 19 years, the Mets are defending NL East Champions, and there is a good possibility that they can repeat, for the first time in their short history.

We can move past last season, the likes of Lima Time! will not appear. Nor Jeremi Gonzalez. Nor Victor Zambrano. Of course, we will also be without Uncle Cliffy (a cub), and Dirty Sanchez (injured) and Pedro (injured as well, but hopefully back for the stretch run).

We have much to look forward too. Can Beltran build on his awesome MVP type season from last year? Will Delgado give his newborn daughter SON (thanks Shea) a present in the form of a top flight season? Can David Wright continue to build his career and exceed even the loftiest expectations? And we have Jose! Jose! Jose!, for whom the sky appears to be the limit. We may also see a lot of Lastings Milledge, a possible key cog for the future.

From the mound we have Glavine looking for #300 and another ring. We have El Duque, continuing to defy Father Time. We have the hope of John Maine and Oliver Perez building on their excellence in Games 6 and 7, when no one thought they could step up. And the new hope of Mike Pelfrey. It has been over 20 years it seems since the Mets last had a high potential starting pitcher reach that potential. It is time for the baseball gods to let it happen again.

Oh, their are those who do not share the optimism. The "experts" at the World Wide Leader in many cases do not see out Mets making the playoffs at all (I'm talking to you Steve "Skill Sets" Phillips.) They worry about the pitching being old or unproven, while at the same time ignoring the same about other teams. Players on other teams declare their second place 12 game back teams to be the "team to beat", while others who should know their place agree (paging Mr. Jacobs).

The Mets fan is used to all of that. We suffer the slings and arrows time and again. We are immune to the catcalls. This is no longer Art Howe and Jim Duquette. We have Willie and Omar. This is not Mo Vaughn or Robbie Alomar. This is Wright and Reyes. And Beltran. And Delgado. There are no Benny Agbayani's here, we have Endy Chavez.

We have faith, because that is what is best about sports. Having a favorite team means sticking with it through thick and thin, not jumping off at the first time of trouble. Or jumping on because a team is winning. We have been there in the dark days of the late 1970's, seen the hope of the mid 1980's, the pain of the 1990's, and the joy of 2000, and of last year.

We hear the experts and scoff, because when they doubt our boys despite the evidence, they have been proven wrong. Last year few expected the Mets to own the NL East. The Braves were still the team to beat, despite signs of a collapse. They derided the pen and rotation, yet the pen was solid, among the best in the game. The rotation persevered. The lineup ran roughshod over all comers, till the NLCS.

Hope returns on Sunday. Yes, we worry over Spring Training, and wish things had gone smoother, but realize that a lot of guys who were young, or perhaps will not make the team this year, were there playing for much of the pre-season. Championships are not won in March, they are won in October.

We have some worries of course. The loss of Dirty. The aching elbow of Heilman. Wright's missing power stroke. Shawn Green. But we have faith in them all, that they will do their best, and that in the end they will succeed. We have faith that Willie will make all the moves he needs to make to ensure the best players are on the field. We have faith that Omar will find another hidden gem for us if needed.

Sunday, it all starts again. We can sit back and watch another season unfold. And hope that it will be as good, if not better than last.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Ed Has Seen the Future!

Last night, I was finally able to complete work on my time machine. Alas, I can only jump 1 month into the future at a time. Here is what I saw

The Mets open the season with a nail-biting 5-1 victory over the Cardinals. Tom Glavine picks up win # 291. Jose Reyes leads off the game with a single, then steals second and third. David Wright, in his new #2 spot in the lineup drives him in with a home run. All of NY says Wright has found his power stroke again.

In game 2, despite 7 innings of good El Duque pitching (giving up 3 runs), the Mets lose 3-1. After David Wright gets only 3 singles, NY wonders if he lost his power stroke again.

Game 3 sees the first surrender by an opposing manager, as the Mets destroy Braden Looper, scoring 10 first inning runs, prompting Tony LaRussa to drink a fifth of vodka on the bench, and wave a white flag. Jose Reyes leads off with a home run, and goes 2-2 in the first inning. David Wright hits 2 double in the inning, as fans are relieved he found his power stroke again.

The Mets go to Atlanta, and win two of three. Despite Joe Smith having pitched 5 innings of no hit ball, Mike and the Mad Dog still say he is not a good fit, since no one mentioned him to them back in early February.

The Mets return to Shea, to face the Phillies. Despite Jimmy Rollins’ Spring Training proclamation that the Phillies were the team to beat in the East, the Phillies enter the series 0-6. The Mets sweep the series, as John Maine, Tom Glavine and El Duque each go 7 innings. Billy Wagner picks up his 4th and 5th saves of the season, having not allowed a runner to reach base.

The Mets lose 2 of 3 to the Nationals, as David Wright, who is hitting .389 with 5 HR’s and 6 doubles, fails to record an extra base hit, leading fans to worry his power stroke is gone again.

The Mets then travel to Philly, where Mets fans outnumber Philly fans 2-1 (as there are 12,000 Mets fans and only 6,000 Philly fans in attendance. “Lets go Phantoms” chants are heard, as the fans realize that the AHL Hockey team is the only decent team in the city. The Mets sweep the series, by a combined score of 25-3. In two games.

Next up are the Marlins. Mike Jacobs goes 0-8 in the two game set, and states “I’m sorry I picked the Phillies over the Mets, what the hell do I know, I’m just a guy who can’t hit lefties”. The Mets win the two games.

The Mets return home to face the Braves, and lose 2 of 3, leading the NY Media to proclaim the Braves are in the Mets heads. Mike and the Mad Dog still refuse to acknowledge Joe Smith, stating that simple name cannot belong to a pro athlete. “It sounds like some guy on the street” says Mad Dog.

The Mets finish up the month taking 2 of 3 from the Rockies (despite Kaz Matsui going 9-15 during the series), losing 2 of 3 to the Nationals (Manny Acta has the Nationals in second place) and taking the first game of the three game set from the Phillies.

As the month ends, despite Glavine and El Duque pitching into the 7th inning in each of their starts, Oliver Perez looking good despite taking a couple of hard luck losses, and John Maine and Mike Pelfrey pitching very well, Steve Phillips still thinks the Mets will finish in third place, despite already having an 8 game lead in the East.

The Mets are 17-9. David Wright is hitting .379 with 7 Hr’s and 10 doubles. Jose Reyes already has 13 walks. Carlos Beltran and Delgado have 4 HR’s each. Moises Alou has started 20 of 25 games and is hitting .295. Shawn Green is hitting .280 with 6 doubles and 3 HR’s.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Weekly Observations 3/28/07

1. Billy Wagner has had quite a spring full of quotes. First, he said the Phillies are the best team in the East, but that the Philly fans will hold them back. Then, opining on the return of Mota from a steroid suspension he said that everyone cheats. I'm guessing Billy doesn't cheat, since if he did, he might not have blown all those games last year.

2. Oh, and Billy, little less talking, little more consistent pitching, OK?

3. Let's see, all the experts were worried about the Mets rotation, given the old age of some, and the youth of others. In the Bronx, the experts were giddy about Pettite being back (though he didn't exactly dominate the "weaker" NL), Wang rounding into form, the arrival of Kei Igawa. So far, The Mets have had El Duque miss a couple of days. The Yanks have had Pettite out for a week, and have now lost Wang for a month. Yet, the "experts" think the Mets win 84 games, while the Yanks will win 100. How's that work?

4. Katie Couric took a lot of heat for her questioning of the Edwards' on 60 Minutes over the decision by John to continue running for the White House despite the illness. Many have said Katie was too hard on them. I wonder if a man had asked the same questions if the same points would have been made?

5. Oh, in case you were wondering, yes, the Mets did age another week since last week. Experts now predict that they will finish last in the NL East as a result.

6. The Jets signed Andre Wadsworth, who last played in the NFL in 2001. I saw Uneccesary Roughness, bringing an old guy back only works in the movies.

7. Peyton Manning apparently acquitted himself quite well on SNL the other night, some saying he did better than any other sports star before him. I'm sorry, but nothing tops Joe Montana's "I'm going upstairs to masturbate" skit.

8. Peyton's only problem was he kept trying to change the skits with audibles during rehearsals, but SNL brought in Bill Belichick to confuse him.

9. PacMan Jones will be coming to NY to meet with NFL Commissioner Goodell. As a result, all strip clubs in NY will be closed for 3 days.

10. Martha Stewart is trying to trademark the name "Katonah" which is the name of a rich town in Westchester, for a line of furniture. Katonah inhabitants are against this, since they do not want to be linked to K-Mart.

11. Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen are planning to get matching nose jobs. Tell me why I should care about this.

12. Britney is apparently done with rehab. I'm trying to figure out, have more guys been in and out of her than she has been in and out of rehab?

13. Snoop Dogg has been banned from Britain, causing the cancellation of a tour featuring him and Diddy. I'm just trying to figure out, why the hell is SNoop touring with Diddy?

14. A report out this week states that pregnant women who eat a lot of beef may cause their sons to have lower sperm counts later in life. I'm left thinking, who signs up for this study?

15. A zoo in Thailand is trying to get a panda that won't mate interested in the act by showing it porn. The panda is said to have taken one look at "Deep Throat" and said "how the hell is that going to get her pregnant"?

16. The Soprano's wanted to film in NJ, but a local town was against it, since they felt the show put Italians in a bad light. Yeah, a TV show makes people think italians are mobsters. I can think of another series of shows that does the same thing. The News.

17. This just in, in an attempt to upstage the Jets signing of Wadsworth, the Patriots have signed Blair Thomas.

18. The NHL and NBC have extended their contract to air weekly games for a month and games 3-7 of the Stanley Cup Finals. All 3 fans who actually watch the NHL on NBC are thrilled.

19. A 7 ft 9" man in China has married a 5 Foot 6" woman. Too many jokes to list here.

20. The mother of a missing Wycoff NJ (a rich area) teenager thinks the boyfriend, from Patterson (a not so nice area) is involved in her running away from home. She opined "He does not belong in Wycoff". Strangely, she was not wearing a sheet over her head at the time.

21. The U.N. is urging adult men be circumsised as a way to combat HIV. Yeah, that'll work. You can't get guys to wear a condom, you really think they are going to let a doctor use a knife on their penis?

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


looks like sanchez is going to be late again...a few months

"The Boy", comment posted 3/26/07

Yep, that seems to be the case. Dirty has a hairline fracture in his shoulder, a possible after-effect of the original injury. Assuming the surgery and rehab goes well, and that Dirty is on time for all of it, he could be back in AUgust, around the same time as Pedro. I'm not gonna hold my breath. Not that I don't have faith in Dirty, it's just you don't know what is going to happen.

So, our pen wil now rely more heavily on Heilman (he of the balky elbow), Joe Smith, The Show, Park (who better get out of the habit of hanging breaking balls, or the fans are going to break his), PedroDos and whoever else Omar is able to pull off the scrap heap. Is it time to panic, no. Is it time to be a little concerned, yes, since the hope was that Dirty would be back in April or May. Losing him will hurt. Let's hope Mota can come back and be effective without the benefit of needles.

In other news, the Islanders are still struggling to make the playoffs. Seven games left, and it is a tough road, playing mostly other playoff teams the rest of the way. This will be the time for them to show what they are made of. Ricky has been great since his return. Now, the offense needs to start scoring some damn goals.

Finally, this past weekend saw the second Fantasy Baseball draft of my life. Last year was year one, and I did not do too well. I did have Reyes and Wright, but too many other guys who were streaky. Plus, my pitching sucked, escpecially once Glavine and Duque went down in August, as I lost a couple of weeks for not meeting the minimum innings. So what did I do differently this year? Not much. Here is the roster for "Looper is a Douche", which I will probably change to "In Omar I Trust".
Note this is a head to head non-keeper league with 21 rounds of drafting. Not an auction. I picked 6th out of 12.

Hitters - Runs, HR's, RBI, Steals, K's, BB, AVG, SLG

C - Mike Piazza (a late round pick)
1B - Delgado
2B - Dan Uggla
3B - Joe Crede
SS - Miguel Tejada
OF - Carlos Beltran (my First round pick)
OF - Rocco Baldelli
OF - Pat Burrell
Util - Prince Fielder
Bench - Bengie Molina
Bench - Aubrey Huff

Pitchers - Wins, Saves, Holds, K's, ERA, WHIP

SP - Roy Halladay
SP - Jeremy Bonderman
RP - Brad Lidge
RP - Jason Isringhausen
P - Dontrelle Willis
P - Scott Linebrink
P - Oliver "Coop's Fav" Perez
BN - Brad Penny (only for games not at Shea)
BN - Pedro Feliciano
BN - Mike Pelfrey (Last pick for me)

These are my guys. I'm not too happy with my closers, but the pickings were slim. I don't have a lot of speed, so steals will be a category I won't win.

That's all for today. Be back tomorrow with the Weekly Observations.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Mets Preview Part 2 - Here Comes the Questions!

Well, I was prepared to write a blog of support for Mike Pelfrey to make the rotation, but apparently Mike gave Willie all he needed to see, so I can settle down to my Pitching Preview.

Since last season ended, we have seen some changes in the make-up of the pitching staff, particularly the bullpen that helped the Mets make the NLCS. Gone are Darren Oliver, Steve Trachsel, Chad Bradford, Guillermo Mota (for a little while at least). Pedro Martinez will be MIA until July or August. Omar did what he could to fill in the bullpen, adding Scott Schoenweiss (aka The Show, which is a hell of a lot easier to type). From a rotation standpoint, Pedro is not available until July or August. Barry Zito is not walking through the door, deciding to go with the less egocentric San Francisco Giants (note to Barry, hope you like the losing).

The rotation as of now looks like this:
El Duque

Of course, the "experts" are making a lot of noise about the age of Tom and El Duque, as well as about the recent past of Perez in Pittsburgh. All they have done this spring is basically look good. Glavine is on target to be the Game 1 starter. Duque, despite arthritis, has looked good, going 6 his last time out. Perez has done very well, as had Maine until Saturday. Better to get the clunker out of the way now. Pelfrey is night and day compared to last spring, as his slider and change have looked a lot better, even if he did leave a change up high yesterday.

The thing that annoys me is that yes, Glavine and Duque are old, but they have pitched well. Glavine had a very good playoff, and El Duque did well for the Mets. Perez and Maine, well, we all know what they did in the playoffs. So yes, there are a couple of older guys at the front end, but there is youth in spots 3-5, and we have Rick Petersen to show them the way. I think Maine and Perez could win 15 games each. Glavine will win around the same, possibly 18. El Duque is an enigma, but he could win 12-15. Pelfrey I'm thinking will win around 10. Not too shabby.

The bullpen on the other hand is a question in my mind. Wagner is still working on another pitch. I still like the signing, and think he is among the top closers in the game. He just needs to focus a bit more, and stop worrying about how big the lead is when he comes in. Billy, always think it is a 1 run game.

In front of Wags, we have Heilman, who turned it on once Dirty went down. Yes, he gave up the homer in Game 7, but he is still among the top set up men in the game. If The Show can do his job against lefties, we can deal with the missing Dirty for a while. Mota coming back May 27 (game 51) will leave him fresh for the second half, assuming his performance here was all Him, and not all whatever he shot into his ass. Pedro2 is back, and has had a great spring. I'm not worried about him. Replacing Bradford is rookie Joe Smith, who's non-descript name belies a nice mix of pitches and strong character. He will slot in nicely. Jon Adkins will have a role, somewhat surprisingly, as he struggled early in camp, but has done well as of late. The question is, who replaces Oliver, who filled the role of long man, short man and seemingly every role except emergency starter? For now, it appears Chan Ho Park has the role. So our pen looks like this:

The Show

With Mota on deck, and maybe Dirty Sanchez, depending on his rehab. We are still waiting to hear the results of his MRI fromover the weekend.

Omar made a couple of other additions, adding Ambiorix Burgos for Brian Bannister, Jorge Sosa (who is probably a goner). Jason Vargas came abourd, but was sent to the minors to work as a starter. Aaron Sele was brought in, but odds are he will be released, since he thinks he is too good for the minors (note to Sele, um, not really there champ, take a look at the numbers will ya?)

The key to this team last year was the bullpen. The same holds true for this season as well. At first look, it seems a little shakier, since Dirty is not there at the start, Heilman's elbow was barking, and the loss of Oliver and loss of Bradford leave some reason for concern. That being said, Park can take over for Oliver, and Smith seems to fit in for ChadBrad. Willie must use the pen wisely, taking care to not overuse people if possible. The return of Mota should help, as will Dirty. The bullpen is the question in my mind, moreso than the rotation.

This year we will not have to suffer through Lima Time!, or the other misfits. The depth this year is a little better, with Vargas and Park probably ready to step in if another starter is needed.

So, experts be warned, any staff can have issues (take a look at the Bronx, who have had a couple of injuries, and will have Carl Pavano as opening day starter). There is something to be said about a 41 year old with 290 wins as your rotation anchor, along with a winner like El Duque. The wild card is Perez. If he can recapture his form of 2004, the Mets will have stolen him from the Pirates, and will have a 3-5 of youth and talent.

Last year, I stated on Metsgeek that the Mets needed to win 6 of 10 in order to win the division. They nearly did so, going 97-65 for a 599 %. I think that between the bats and the arms, they can do the same. Remember, they did not have Pedro for a while last year, and did not have a talent like Pelfrey at the back end of the rotation.

That's my prediction, and I'm sticking to it. Feel free to add yours in the comments.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Weekly Observations 3/21/07

1. Former MLB Commissioner Bowie Kuhn died last week. I tend to think fondly of Kuhn, since he was the only Commissioner with the testicular fortitude to reject a trade the Yankees made for being too lopsided.

2. Dick Cheney's leg was bothering him the other day, the same one he had a blood clot in a couple of weeks back. There were worries about the clot travelling to his heart, but instead it travelled to an undisclosed location.

3. Pete Rose was upset to hear the Kuhn died last week, he had May 23 in his dead pool.

4. I stopped caring about the NCAA BB Tournament the moment Albany lost, which was at noon last Friday as soon as they stepped onto the floor against Virginia.

5. Never have so many been so elated over a loss in the NCAA as when Duke lost. Perhaps the only other loss enjoyed more was the Yankees in 2004 to the Red Sox. BIGGEST.CHOKE.EVER!

6. I have to ask, a lot was made of Phil Mickelson's choke jobs last year, yet when Tiger lost on Sunday, shooting a final round 76, not a peep about his choking. I smell bias against men with man-boobs.

7. Sorry, I have just been informed that Tiger does not "choke", he simply decides he does not care to win.

8. Dancing With the Stars had its highest ratings ever Monday, as 21 million tuned in to see Joey Fatone and Ian Zering. Wait, you mean people wanted to see Heather Mills? Why, its not like she only has one leg or something.

9. So let me get this straight. Investigating the firing of 8 US Attorneys is not important. But investigating the firing of the White House Travel staff is?

10. So the Maple Leafs got revenge against Cam Jannsenn last night for his dirty hit on Tomas Kaberle. Hey Magoo, isn't that premeditated goonery? Shouldn't Wade Belak be suspended? Or was Jannsenn ask for it by daring to step on the ice?

11. Nassau County DA Karen Rice has decided to not press charges against Chris Simon for his hit on Ryan Hollweg. Hollweg decided he did not want to persue the matter, and Rice decided that she has other crimes more important to look into, like rape and murder.

12. Britney has left rehab. Bar Owners in California are rejoicing!

13. At the Mets game last night in Port St. Lucie, a fan decided to yell "A-Rod is better" as David Wright came to bat in the third inning. At what, choking with RISP?

14. During a broadcast of a Tom Brokaw special about Health on NBC last week, an affiliate in Arizona showed some hard core porn. The worker was fired, since he did not leave it on long enough to generate any ratings.

15. A woman on a flight from Delhi to London died in coach and was upgraded to first class. Wow, and you thought the $500 fee at the gate was tough.

16. Lastings Milledge cut his hair recently, in another step towards creating a better image. He then announced he was donating the hair to Britney Spears.

17. Note to El Duque, lets not run full out for a while, OK?

18. Andy Pettite could miss a start due to back spasms. Tell me again why the age of the Yankee staff is not a concern amongst the experts? Mussina is 38, Pettite 35, and Pavano, well, he just sucks. But the Met staff is old.

19. Doug Mientkiewicz is hitting a robust .077 this spring. Oh Dougie, you still suck. Tell me again why you hated the Mets?

20. Anna Benson has put her fat mouth in the spotlight again. She once again rails against the Mets for trading her husband Kris Benson for "a fucking bag of balls". Well Anna, they needed them, since you had Kris'.

21. Anna also said Kris is a 30 year old stud pitcher. What Anna fails to realize is that the bedroom does not tranfer to the field. She also said if she was a Mets fan, she would be beside herself. Well, this Mets fan is beside himself with giddiness that the Mets actually made it to the NLCS last year. Meanwhile Kris did what exactly?

22. It's OK Anna, you can crawl back into your hole now. I'm sure you can fit.

23. Isiah Thomas said that the Knicks were no match for the Dallas Mavericks. Wow, talk about a coach who knows how to motivate a team.

24. Zeke was right of course, as the Knicks lost 92-77. Then again, the Knicks aren't really a match for most NBA teams.

25. Several Pro Wrestlers have been named as having purchased HGH and Steroids in the ongoing on-line Roid case. Pro-wrestlers do steroids? Next you are going to tell me that the matches are fixed.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Mets Preview Part 1 - Here Comes the Pain!

No, I'm not talking about the state of the Mets pitching staff. I'm talking about the lineup, which can beat opponents in a variety of ways, so long as guys are producing (wow, there's a shock eh?) The last part is why they lost the series to the Cardinals in the NLCS. It wasn't the pitching (for the most part), it was the fact that guys who for most of the year had produced, simply did not get the job done against the Cards (I'm talking to YOU David Wright and Jose Valentin.)

Here are the numbers the projected starters put up last year. I threw in super-sub Endy Chavez, since he will see significant time again, due to the age of Green and Alou.

Reyes .300 64 19 81 .354
Lo Duca .318 3 5 49 .355
Beltran .275 18 41 116 .388
Delgado .265 0 38 114 .361
Wright .311 20 26 116 .381
Alou .301 2 22 74 .352
Green .277 4 15 66 .344
Valentin.271 6 18 62 .330

Chavez .306 12 4 42 .348

The big difference for this year should be the addition of Alou in place of Cliff Floyd. Alou typically destroys left handed pitching, something the Mets did well early last year, but succumbed to in the latter half of the season. A chief culprit in that was David Wright, who in the second half seemed to lose his power stroke. I'm not talking about Home Runs, I'm talking doubles. Was he tired? Did the HR Derby hurt him? Was it the Vitamin Water? Was it the Evangelist? Who knows, but whatever the cause, he needs to be more consistent this season. I'm not down on young David, he's quite possibly my favorite Met along with Jose Reyes, I'm just keeping it real.

As for the rest of the lineup, two players had huge years, both after seasons where some fans questioned their abilities. First, Jose Reyes, who had many fans questioning if he was the right fit for the leadoff spot. He responded in a big way, boosting his OBP and walks, and hitting 300. Oh, and he had 19 HR's, 64 steals, 30 doubles and 17 triples. Where the year before the "experts" at ESPN were saying he was not all that special, last season he showed he was the most exciting player to watch, and someone that could make a run for the MVP. He is a catalyst, and Omar was wise to lock him up towards the end of last season, removing the specter of arbitration hearings in the future.

The other bounce back guy was Carlos Beltran. After an first season in Orange & Blue beset with injuries, a mostly healthy Beltran showed why he was given the $120 m contract. Tying the Met record for HR's with 41. Hitting 275, driving in 116 runs, and playing very good defense. He missed some time early with a quad injury, and some late with a knee injury thanks to the stupidest damn fence in baseball in Houston. He is a quiet player, who last year showed all the tools. I think we can see further improvement from him. Already he is talking about running more, something he does quite well. Add that the lineup, and it becomes even more dangerous. Julio Franco deserves some credit for his acceptance by the fans, urging Carlos to acknowledge an early season curtain call. But the addition of friend Carlos Delgado had to help as well.

Delgado brought with him a fearsome reputation as a hitter. Some fans tried to make an issue of his stance regarding the singing of "God Bless America", but nothing came of that potential issue (of course, the trading of the Mouth that Sored Anna Benson probably helped here). He became the main bat, allowing Beltran to relax and settle in. It was an up and down season for Delgado, but when he was down, others stepped up, and he was there when others slumped. After some off season surgery on his elbow and wrist, he feels ready to improve on his numbers. That is not something the opposition wants to hear.

The addition of Moises Alou is good news. Yes, he has been injured the past couple of years, but even the, he still rakes. He will offer protection to Wright (though some studies show protection in a lineup is not real, only imagined), and also avoids the LOOGY's of the opposition being able to stymie the bats. Let's hope he can play 120 - 135 games this year.

Shawn Green is a player who many think is done. I'm not quite sure. A look at the numbers above shows his bat is still OK. He may not hit 30 HR's anymore, but he can still be an effective hitter, as he was in the NLCS. The problem with Green is that his fielding is not exactly Bronze Glove, much less Gold. Odds are, he will be lifted late in close games for Endy, who is an above average fielder.

If Green struggles in April and May, we could see the arrival on a full time basis of Lastings Milledge. Lastings rubbed opponents and teammates the wrong way last year. He seems to have learned, as he has shown more maturity this spring, from his dealings with teammates and the media. He has stated that it is time for him to step up and no longer be a prospect. He knows he has to show he can get the job done. He's had a good spring, though K's are somewhat of a worry (then again, he is still young). Let's hope this growth, as a player and a person, continues.

Jose Valentin was a revelation last year. Many (including myself) were booing him early on. Once Kaz Matsui was hurt, Jose played 2nd every day, something he had never done before, and played very well, while sporting the best Porn Stache this side of Keith Hernandez. He also began to hit, removing a gaping hole at the bottom of the lineup. Alas, he slumped at the end of the season, and Chris Woodward was not a suitable replacement. The hope this year is that Damion Easley can spell 'Stache every once in a while, keeping him fresh.

Finally, we have PLD. Acquired in a trade from the Marlins, PLD came with the rep of slumping in the second half of the season. Many were worried that Omar had given away too much in the trade by moving Gaby Hernandez, while he could have signed Bengie Molina or Ramon Hernandez. By the end of the season, most were eating crow. PLD set the tone for this team, adding a bit of swagger. He was not afraid to call for an inside pitch. He was not afraid to call out an umpire (though he needs to dial this down a tad). He was a very good #2 hitter behind Reyes, taking enough pitches to allow Jose Jose Jose to run, and still hitting .318. All this while battling tabloid reports about his gambling and love life (Paulie likes the fillies and the young 'uns), as well as a bad ligament in his thumb. He had surgery to fix the thumb, and I'm hoping someone is going to validate the ages of his friends this year. Oh, and Joey Bagadonuts, Paulie asks that you stop calling him, he ain't betting anymore.

There are a few areas of concern in regards to the lineup as we get ready to invade St. Louis April 1st. PLD has had a poor spring, though he has battled the flu and other ailments. Willie has had Wright batting 2nd a few times this spring, as a possible PLD replacement if he struggles.

Green and Alou have also struggled, though this is the norm for them in regards to poor ST stats. That being said, the Mets need at least one of them to produce up to past high standards. Replacing both would be tough.

Is Delgado totally healthy after the surgery? He says he is, and if so, and he can improve on last year, this lineup is going to be dangerous.

As for the bench, we have Endy of course. Ramon Castro will be the #2 catcher. Ageless Julio (DP) Franco will be there. That leaves room for Easley and David Newhan. Easley is the backup infielder, and Newhan gives us scrappiness, which we have to hope is not crappiness. If Newhan struggles, we would see Ben Johnson, though that limits Willie's infield options if there is an injury to Valentin and Easley has to start a lot.

All in all, the lineup looks to be one of the top in the game, much less the NL. There are 3 - 4 MVP candidates (Reyes, Beltran, Delgado, possibly Wright).

Part II, where I look at the pitchers, will come within the week.

Blast away if you feel the need. Or, you can show a little love.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Weekly Observations 3/14/07

1. So Greg Maddux is ailing due to a mild lower abdominal strain. Seems Greg, who likes to give rookies a "golden shower" while in the showers, hurt himself sidling up to his next victim.

2. The new Nationals stadium will have Cherry Trees behind the left field bleachers. I'd love to hear Ralph Kiner say "He popped that one into the cherry" just once.

3. The Reds are unveiling a Pete Rose exhibit in their Hall of Fame. Among the items will be old uniforms, hats, bats and balls, along with his betting notebook and a copy of his book.

4. Rose still thinks his fans would love to see him reinstated. Of course, his fans are all bookies, but that's beside the point.

5. Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez admitted that mistakes were made in the firing of 8 US Attorneys. He followed that quote with "what, you expect anything to actually go right in this administration."

6. Dick Cheney is healing well after being treated for deep vein thrombosis (a blood clot) which occurred after a recent long trip in Asia. Of course, he did not go to Walter Reed, since only veterans can go there.

7. Has the Anna Nicole Smith judge stopped crying yet?

8. I have a question for Paula Abdul, are any of the women on American Idol not pretty?

9. A-Rod said yesterday that NY fans will either ask him back or force him out. Now, we are talking about Yankee fans here A-Rod, so get those bags packed, and be ready to exercise that opt out option.

10. Carl Pavano made it through another start without an injury. More at 11.

11. So ESPN finally remembered that the NHL is around. Of course, only due to Chris Simon's dirty hit. Otherwise, ESPN could give a rats ass about hockey, concentrating instead on such things as poker, and the Arena Football League.

12. Glad to see Steve Phillips in is mid season form already. In other words, he is still an idiot.

13. Barry Zito stated in a forthcoming issue of Esquire magazine that he enjoyed the meeting with the Giants because there were no ego's involved. I guess that means Scott Boras was not in attendance.

14. Some are taking Zito's comments as a swipe at the Mets. Barry my boy, a little news flash for you, it's not nice to piss off Met fans.

15. Of course the Giants had no ego's when compared to the Mets, they SUCK!

16. The smart folks over at Deadspin (which I enjoy by the way), used the fact that Tina Fey went to Virginia as the rationale for their picking Virginia to beat SUNY Albany (alma mater of Ed in Westchester.) They overlooked the fact that Albany is the alma mater of Steve Guttenberg, star of the Police Academy films. OK, so maybe that is not such a good thing. Moving on...

17. Former NJ Gov Jim McGreevey is suing his ex-wife for custody of their young daughter, as well as for alimony. So, not only is he a "Gay American" he is an idiot. What judge is going to give a man who has admitted to cruising rest stops custody of his daughter?

18. Britney has apparently fallen for a guy she met in rehab. They had a lot in common, drugs, booze, lack of panties.

19. Iran is pissed about the hit movie "300". Then again, they're pretty much pissed about anything the US does.

20. In Iraq, the sons of Saddam have been re-buried near dear old dad. Ah, family, together in life and hell.

21. The Packers are looking into dealing for Randy Moss. Ah, that will go well, given the past mooning and all.

22. In case you are wondering, yes, the Mets pitchers did age another week.

23. Seattle Tight End Jerramy Stevens was arrested for DUI and pot possession. He immediately received a contract offer from the Bengals.

24. Lastings Milledge cut his hair last week, in an effort to further ingratiate himself to fans and media. If it works, A-Rod will shave his head bald.

25. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Peter Pace came out this week against openly gay men serving in the military saying it is morally wrong. As for openly gay women, he said "no problem there, so long as I can watch."

26. Has anyone seen Aaron Heilman? This is turning into the newest game of Where's Waldo.

27. Ah, the Post. After Chan Ho Park's recent not so great outing, the headline read "No Day in the Park". The best in journalism in the NY Post.

28. Oh, Colin (Mr. Magoo) Campbell, time for new glasses. That WAS a fucking goal by the Islanders in the game against the Rangers next week. Fuck you very much. If they miss out on the playoffs by a point you fucking waste of space, it is your fault. Next time, pull your head out of your ass and look at the fucking replay. (YES, I'M VERY BITTER.) Hey Magoo, you are no longer employed by Dolan, so you can stop giving him the reach around.

29. Mr. Magoo is also upset that Brendan Witt questioned his review of the call, and the lack of follow up punishment for Donald Brashear, who punched Witt (who had his hands down) flush in the face with his glove on Saturday. Magoo claims that Witt had feigned a punch at Brashear just before the punch, so it was in essence deserved. That's great. So during the next Islander Ranger game, if Witt beats the piss out of Sean Avery, there better not be a suspension, cause Avery speared Witt earl er this season.

30. I still want to know how Magoo, who was an awful coach, got a job with the NHL.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Ed is Not a Professional Photographer

These are the pics I took during my 1 hour visit to Port St. Lucie a couple of weeks ago.

Yes, this time, Beltran did take the bat off his shoulder.

Young Lastings was heard to mutter "back in High School, I had other guys take batting practice for me.

Carlos Delgado at Batting Practice

Shortly after this photo was taken, Aaron finally had enough of the teasing over his parking space, and started pegging the other pitchers with fastballs.

Friday, March 09, 2007

And the Winner Is...

The Fucktard of the Week Award (thanks Toasty Joe) goes to New York Islanders forward Chris Simon for his gutless action last night where he baseball batted Ryan Hollweg of the NY Rangers late in the third period of last nights game.

Forget for a minute that the ensuing penalty led to the game winning goal. THe key here is that Simon, who did get hit from behind by Hollweg earlier, should not have reacted in that fashion. Hollweg is a fighter, so Simon should have invited him to drop the gloves if he was so pissed.

Instead, Simon decided to swing his stick towards the head of Hollweg. It nearly hit him in the throat, which could have been deadly. As it was, it hit his chest first, and hit Ryan in the mouth. Given the recent brawl in Buffalo, and other ugly incidents this season and in the recent past, the NHL cannot allow this type of action. I fully expect Simon to be suspended for the rest of the season, and the playoffs. This was reminiscent of the Bertuzzi/Moore incident, and for those who have been fans for longer, the Hunter/Turgeon incident. Just ugly and gutless.

And if the league does not step in, it is incumbent upon Islander Coach Ted Nolan, GM Garth Snow, and owner Charles Wang to see to it that Simon never wears the Islander jersey again. He brought dishonor to the franchise last night. He is a discredit to the game and the team.

My hope is that the Rangers do not try to retaliate. There are two more games left between these teams. I would hate for this to lead to something worse.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Weekly Observations 3/7/07

After a missing week, the Observations are back.

1. In case you are not aware of this, the Mets have a few players on the team that are older than 40. Thanks to all the local NY papers for reporting that today, because we fans never would have known.

2. Moises Alou had his first spring training hit yesterday. Apparently, he had run low on his favorite hand lotion due to dehydration.

3. The Brother's Giles are apparently fond of shaving their body hair. I'm guessing San Diego is gonna need a lot of Drano for the showers this year.

4. John Rocker has been linked to the HGH scandal that is rocking the sports world. He claims it was prescribed to help his recovery after rotator cuff surgery. Even Barry Bonds thinks that excuse is lame.

5. Britney Spears apparently tried to hang herself last week. I can understand. I mean, when K-Fed is being viewed as a better parent, you're pretty much fucked.

6. This just in, the Mets have questions about the starting rotation.

7. The Islanders traded a couple of former first round picks and a 1st rounder in this years draft for Ryan Smyth, due to be a Free Agent at the end of the season. And we thought Mike Milbury was no longer in charge.

8. Carl Pavano made his first ST start without hurting himself. In other news, he also did not fall in the shower, did not trip over his shoelaces, and was able to recite the alphabet without hurting his tongue. No word on whether he has finally learned how to drive however.

9. Gary Sheffield expects A-Rod to have a great year this season. "I left him all my stuff from my locker, including the cream and clear."

10. Breaking news from Yankee camp, Jeter and A-Rod actually said "Hi" to each other today. More at 11.

11. The papers in Florida feel the Marlins pennant chances are hurt by the loss of Johnson for the first two months of the season. Really, I thought their chances were hurt by simply being the Marlins?

12. By the way media, other teams have some rotation issues as well. Like the Braves (Hudson and Hampton coming back from injury), the Yankees (Igawa? Pavano? Wang?). How about a little talk about them eh?

13. Jimmy Rollins is still an idiot.

14. The Mets are all a day older today, film at 11.

15. Why do I feel that after the Isles Rangers game on Monday Rick DiPietro was like Denis Lemiux from "Slapshot" in the locker room after the first period of the championship game?

16. "Scooter" Libby was found guilty of several charges in the PlameGate case. I'm thinking if he goes to jail "Scooter" ain't gonna find many guys with similar nicknames.

17. VP Dick Cheney was treated for a blood clot in his leg after some recent travels. The White House thought about blaming Iran, but they realized that even Fox News wouldn't fall for that line of shit.

18. Anne Coulter called John Edwards a "faggot" at a recent speech and claimed she is not sorry, because it is locker room talk. I'm just wondering how much time Anne spent in men's locker rooms, and what she did while there.

19. Bud Selig claims that even if baseball goes ahead with the Direct TV deal for the Extra Innings package, fans should not be upset, because they can still see their local team. I'm sure the folks in Alaska are real happy about that.

20. Pac Man Jones could be released by the Ravens in light of the recent Las Vegas shooting during NBA All Star Weekend. If Al Davis were still alive, he'd sign him to the Raiders in no time.

That's all for this week. Ed's a tad busy and there isn't all that much funny out there.

By the way, last week I got the invitation to my 20th High School Reunion. The letter noted that there are quite a few people from my class who they have not been able to locate. So, if anyone out there graduated, or knows someone from William Floyd High School in Mastic Beach, NY in 1987, drop a comment here so we can communicate about this.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Tanned, Rested and Ready

I'm back from the week in sunny Fla. Nice little trip, we had a lot of fun and sun. Seems there might have been some interesting stuff happen with my teams since I last posted, but first, a quick review or the trip.

First, I hate Delta Airlines. I travelled with a party of 4, me, the wife and the two little girls. There is apparently a rule that checked luggage can weigh no more than 50 lbs. per bag. So, if we checked 4 bags, we would be allowed 200 lbs total. We had two checked bags, one weighed 54 lbs, the other 64 lbs. Delta would not see the common sense approach, which is that we are still under weight, so they charged $25 per bag extra. Pricks. The flight down was uneventful, though we were on an old MD-80 which did not have any TV's or even radio. The flight back was delayed departure by 25 minutes, though we did touch down on time. We then sat on the tarmac for a 1/2 hour, first waiting to cross an active runway, then for our gate to clear. Finally, we gate, they tell us where to get our bags, only to find that they switched where we would get them, but of course they did not tell us. I'm pretty much done with Delta. Jet Blue (yes, I know about the issues during the storm on V-Day) is my preference for now on. TV and music and nicer planes for me.

As for Fla., I took the 6 year old to Port St. Lucie last Monday, which wound up being the first Intra-Squad game. We got there in time to see some pitcher fielding drills and some BP. Then, it was game time. No "charge" though they did ask for a $5 donation to the Brian Cole Fund (for those who don't remember, Cole was a prospect who died a few years ago in a car crash). I gave a bit more than $5. Nice job by the Mets organization.

So, after getting some food and memorabilia (hat, cards, ball for my older girl, socks for the baby and a new BP hat for me), we settled into our seats. One "fan" was heard stating the "Milledge had shown me nothing so far this camp" and "Beltran does nothing for me". Had my daughter not been there, I might have had to have a conversation with said curmudgeon. I did get to see a couple of blasted foul balls by Beltran (one just missed down the left field line) and a nice HR by Delgado, but not much else in the way of hitting, as my daughter was antsy in the hot sun, so we left after about an inning and a half. I did get a couple of pictures, which I will post once I (1) figure out how and (2) get my home computer a new fan. Sorry, the scouting report stinks guys and girls, but it's hard keeping a 6 yr old entertained.

So, what else happened while I was gone. Oh yeah, the Jets cut a few spare parts, like Patrick Ramsey. This move Kellen Clemens to the #2 spot, and prepares him to be #1 (many hope) in 2009. They were quiet over the weekend once Free Agency opened. Other teams made big splashes, but Tannenbaum and Mangini waited. And then, yesterday, they struck freaking GOLD, trading down in the second round and getting 29 yr old Thomas Jones from the Bears. This is HUGE, the one thing they lacked last year was a consistently strong running game. They cut Kevan Barlow, and were looking for a primary back to share the load with Leon Washington. Jones is coming off back to back 1,200 yard seasons, and a Super Bowl where he was the Bears best player. How they did it for so cheap is amazing.

So what else happened. The Mets didn't sign anyone. The Knicks won a couple of times as the Nets lost, so everyone has the Knicks making the playoffs and the Nets not. There was something else, what was it now. Oh, that's right...

I almost passed out when I read this. First, thanks "Dep" (commentor from metsgeek) for posting the comment here. I happened to check it and saw that post and couldn't believe my eyes. This is an absolutely FANTASTIC move by Garth Snow. Yes, he gave up a couple of former first rounders, but neither were projected as "Stars". Nilsson was a mistake, they should have drafted Parise, and it seemed Nolan did not like him. O'Marra is pegged as a #2 center and a good leader. The pick this year, middle of the first round in a weak draft, is nothing to worry about.

Smyth is a player I have liked for years, dating back to when I used to participate in a fantasy hockey league with some old college buddies and some other guys. I must have drafted him half the time. He is not flashy, and is not a 50 goal scorer, but he is a power forward of the Tonelli mold. He's going to part his ass in front of the net on the power play, and drive to the net when needed. For now, he is playing with Blake and Robittaile. The hope is that Yashin comes back soon (perhaps Thursday against the Rangers). What a first line that would be. The PP has already improved, scoring much more frequently and creating a lot more chances. The addition of Bergeron on the point, and now Smyth, allows Nolan to roll out 2 PP units with different styles. Special Teams play has not been great this year, but it is improving now.

So last night, the Isles faced the Rangers at the Garden. Big game, and I was all set to watch in HD for the first time. But I did not realize that the game was going to be on Vs, which does not have HD. Another great move by Bettman. How the hell do you go to a non-HD network for a game MADE for HD? Sweet jesus, they screwed the pooch on that move. Plus, the audio and video on Vs. remind me of the days of UHF.

As for the game, the Rangers dominated, firing 57 shots at Rick DiPietro. Rick denied all but 1, allowing a goal at the start of the third period, and nothing else until the shoot out. The Isles lost, but gained a point, which is still important. And DiPietro showed again that he is coming into his own. He made several outstanding saves during the game. Even new pick-up Richard Zednik made a save, hugging the post in the third while DP was on the ice. The defense is tight for this team, DP is outstanding of late, and the offense, with Zednik and Smyth and the soon to return Yashin makes for a team few will want to face in the playoffs. I'm not saying Cup, but they can cause some damage.

That's all for today. I'll have a Mets post later in the week. In the meantime, head on over to MetsGeek for daily game chatter and other topics. I'll be there I'm sure.