A blog dedicated to the New York Mets with some other baseball thrown in.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Back In Business

I'm back, but I have not had time to chime in about the Mets. And really though, why would I? I leave for a bit and have to come back to this putrid display of baseball? To recap, the Yankees have three more wins than the Mets will in all likelihood clinch before the Mets do. The Nationals, who are not horrible, but certainly should be a team the Mets are capable of beating are absolutely owning the Mets. I did mention previously that this Nationals team is nothing to sneeze at and have not played all that much worse than the Mets since June 1st, but this is silly.

The Mets were at about 99.4% certain to make the playoffs when I left. Now, they are down to 97.9% which is still good, but not the right direction. Sure the Cardinals stumbled last year only to win it all and the Yankees had stumbled relatively recently at the end of the season only to win it all as well, but the Mets have big issues. The Duque's foot problem is persisting, Pedro needs extra rest, Maine's ERA is now comfortably north of 4.00, and Glavine still scares me.

No team is afraid of facing the New York Mets at this point. They still might have the most talent, but they are not the best team.

* * *

  • The Mets need for pitching help was plain to see way before I left.

    It's madness, really, asking someone with no experience to reverse one of the worst finishes in recent team history. What's worse, selecting Humber tonight exposes the flaw of using Brian Lawrence last Monday in D.C.

    Why wasn't Humber chosen then? The answer is as obvious as it is damning: the Mets are operating without a late-September blueprint. No one saw this collapse coming, and no one has a way to end it. Randolph's closed-door speeches haven't worked. Players-only meetings have accomplished nothing. Coming off the road hasn't made a difference in the Mets' play, either.

    Now it's down to guesswork, Humber and tightly crossed fingers. Not even the eternally optimistic Minaya could muster a strong defense of the rookie's enlistment.

    "He's the best option available," is how the GM put it. "In a perfect world, you'd rather have a proven guy out there."

    The Mets handling of their talent down the stretch is reprehensible. While it was clear they had a need, they failed to try some guys out and now it is probably too late. Nothing short of back to back no hitters would get Humber a serious look at contributing to this team but he should have been playing a large factor in the bullpen weeks ago. Now, he has three big league innings and has not pitched since the 11th and today is obviously the 26th. The last time he started a game was on August 27th. To me, that is not setting your guys up for success.

  • The Duque is inching his way back.

    After throwing "50, 60" pitches in a bullpen session Tuesday to test how the bunion on his right foot has healed, Orlando Hernandez said if no problems arise today, he expects to throw a simulated game Thursday.

    What can reasonably be expect from him health wise? His first start back might be in the playoffs and that certainly does not give me the warm and fuzzies.

  • There was some talk on the radio on with Joe Beningo on the Mike and the Mad Dog show about Willie feeling underappreciated. I'm sorry, but did I miss where he proved himself to be a manager who deftly navigates his way through the game and makes great decisions all the time? He is appreciated too much in this town in my opinion and a detriment to this team.

    They also spoke about Willie not being allowed to pick one of his coaches. Sure, Omar might be giving him praise now, but nothing speaks more volumes than that. They fired the only guy he was allowed to hire and replaced the open spot on the staff with Ricky Henderson. If this Mets front office truly though Willie was cats meow, he would have some semblance of control and he is far from having control.

  • Moises continues to do what he always does. Just hit the shit out of the ball.

  • Some Africa pics to wet your whistles. I have not had the chance to go through them all and can post more later, but here are a few.

    We were lucky enough to see two lionesses with seven cubs. Our guide said he has never seen more than three at a time so we were definitely fortunate. The best part was after the mothers did this woofing typing thing in a territorial manner, the little cubs would proceed to do what sounded a notch above a house cat's loudest meow in an attempt to be tough.

    Nothing to add about the warthog except they look tasty. Bush bacon anyone?

    It never gets old seeing one of these goofy bastards running around looking ridiculous.


    Definitely not a common occurrence to see a cheetah this close. We saw one a few times under a tree in the distance, but seeing one sitting on the side of the road was rather fortunate. None of the big cats gave a shit about anything. If they were chilling out, you could get really close since they have nothing to worry about.

    Baby elephant? Awesome.

    The Serengeti had flat out the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen. I have way more pictures than any man should own. I'll go put my mini skirt on now.

    They vote for the creepiest animal had to be the hyena. They oozed creepiness with little effort. For two nights, we actually camped on the Serengeti and it was just my friend an I with some beers and a bottle of Jamison. We were continually checking for eyes staring back at us with head lamps. One time, while checking our back, I saw two eyes staring back.

    I called my friend over to confirm what I was seeing and once he did, I ran to the tent. unable to get the zipper open more than five inches, I tried shove myself through. I couldn't fit and got shoved in with some help from behind. Feeling like girls, we went back out to check the scene and another pair was there. At that point, we called it a night. The camp people said it was most likely hyenas, but that was not exactly a gamble I was willing to take.

    This was one of the lionesses with the seven cubs. Check her neck out as she has some gnarly looking wound on it.

  • All in all, it was an amazing, albeit very dusty and dirty, trip. We saw every animal but the Rhino and ate plenty of unidentifiable meats. I'll try and get some more complete pictures up in the next week or so for those of you who are interested in seeing more pics.

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    Anonymous gbaked said...

    its official

    I have joined the The Ken Oberkfell For Manager Movement

    bringing muniz out for a 2nd inning in his first major league start, after he was a closer for the entire year (55 innings in 44 appearances says he very rarely if ever went 2 innings... in AA... again, in freakin AA) has to be one of the dumbest management moves of all time.

    I like Willie. I like the way he played the game, and I think he is a quality person. He was a great bench coach and could be a very good manager... in the American League. I just dont think he knows the National League style of ball well enough to win here.

    That... and he is a fuckin yankee...

    Welcome back home... sorta..

    10:45 AM

    Anonymous DG said...

    What a relief it was to think that someone was off in disconnected land away from this mess. Just reprehensible. I've lost a lot of Met respect these last couple of weeks. I don't expect no World Series.

    In fact off in perversity world (clean version) I've started secretly rooting for the Phillies to win the Wild Card so that all trips to the Series presumably pass through Philly, who have proved themselves to be a gutty, never die team. And this from someone who used to sit in the bleachers jawing at the Philly fans as a post-pubescent pain in the ass Metager! Series win would mean nothing without some sort of proof that we're not the Phillies' bitch.

    You mean you didn't have confidence in Lawrence? Really? Why's that? Met "thinking" was that Lawrence was no risk pitching with a seven game lead, but they should have tried out Humber way earlier. But as I've been saying there's a clear organizational bias against our resident Rice grad. Let's hope he doesn't come out overthrowing as he did in his first mlb appearance last year. He's got to find it quickly, very quickly!

    Pelfrey's appearance the other day was very promising for three innings - the best we'd ever seen, and then, well, it all just evaporated. You can see that it all may come and come quick, but he would have been best treated in a manner different than Justin Verlander. Cause Verlander, he's not. Methinks that the back and forth between here and Norfulk/New Orpeans may have done more to stunt than instruct.

    Great pix. Great trip. I'm jealous. Makes my upcoming trip to China seem pedestrian. When my wife and I moved to Europe in 1990, the idea was to move every three years or so, with Amsterdam & Africa on the map, but we've stayed put albeit traveling a lot. Kids made Stateside trips a higher priority than they would be if we were the married version of single (sans kids).

    But what about your friends' trip to Kilamanjaro? How was that? Did they make the summet? Can you post a picture?

    10:46 AM

    Anonymous ossy said...

    u ever seen those pics of guys who walk around holding hyenas like they're fuckin show dogs? sick

    willie is the hyena of the mets serengiti...

    they have mishandled this roster like nobody can. its partly because you gotta be a washed up major leaguer to get in good with willie.

    10:47 AM

    Anonymous DG said...

    "the hyena of the mets serengiti..." Swellicious!

    Yeah, the Mets ought to have applied their wealth of spaghetti philosophy of starting pitching to the pen as well, meaning holding on to the Lindstroms, Bells & Owens of the world. Throw em up and see what sticks. The Mets would never have put Lindstrom in the pen with barely any AAA experience - and no ridiculous multi-year contract! - but he stuck man, plain and simple. He threw hard and accurately over the weekend, consistently clocked at 98.

    And the Mets main goal this winter is still going to be relief pitching, but the market is fundamentally changing there too. Young relievers like Muniz are becoming more valuable as the FA market blow middling reliever cost to hell. Basically young and cheap is becoming very valuable.

    But, here's our hyena: you've got to be willing to throw the damn spaghetti against the wall and live with the pieces that don't stick. We like the Lawrences & the Williams over the young ones, and that's a model for disaster.

    11:15 AM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Gbaked! Good to have you. There is a reason why it is still down there. I suspect my movement will finally be gaining some momentum.

    Willie has no idea when guys are done. NO IDEA.

    DG, I was not totally disconnected. Someone checked at the hotel internet one day and advised me the Yankees were 2.5 out of first and the Mets were 1.5 ahead of the Phillies after getting swept by them. I could not even wrap my hands around that one.

    Pelfrey is a mystery though. He has the ability to look incredibly dominant at times. Then he just lays up a stinker.

    Africa was interesting for sure. I would like to see more of Tanzania, South Africa, and North Africa. I would love to go to Egypt for sure. But alas…there are too many places in this universe.

    Kili was rough. Not one person had fun and my brother flat out told me he would never suggest it. You hike for three hours a day…no campfires allowed, it’s freezing out, there is nothing to do, and no one makes sense.

    Ossy…I did not see any hyenas getting walked around. They must be cutting back on that.

    Willie operates this team like he has an agenda against certain people. Not good.

    The Mets main goal is bullpen and getting an ace, which seems like a tall order. I might have to reduce my expectations a bit for this team.

    We like the Lawrences & the Williams over the young ones, and that's a model for disaster.

    Right. It baffles my mind how they could think BL was ever a good choice and a better choice to give innings to than a young guy with upside.

    1:24 PM

    Anonymous benny blancofrom da bronx said...

    Phil Humber was not handled properly. In fact the bullpen hasn't been handled properly. In games that are obvious blowouts or about to be blowouts there is no reason to see Pedro Feliciano or Jorge Sosa pitching. NONE!
    Put the scrubs out there, let Willie COllazo get bitched around...

    All signs point to El Duque pitching out of the bullpen in the first roound, with a possibility of him starting a game in the 2nd round.

    I have a problem with all the positive Willie articles going around, especially the ones pointed out by Cerrone at Metsblog. And I don't have a problem with the fact they are positive articles, I don't care about that. What I do have a problem with is that they always point to his communication skills and leading skills or whatever as a reason why Willie is good. And the reason I have a problem with that is because I think at this point, I don't think ANY of us have a problem with or disagree with the notion that Willie is a bad communicator or can't handle the personalities. WE KNOW HE CAN DO THAT AND IS GOOD AT THAT! That's not why we're not his biggest fans. It's his bad bad bad bad in-game decisions/strategies.

    7 Cubs when the average is 3? Jeeze, the male Lion is a genetic jack-hammer.
    I've seen Lions and Hippo's and all those badassed animals before at a Zoo and thought that was pretty fucking intense. I can't imagine how an African Safari would be.
    Alcohol+African camping trip complete with animals? Oh man, that's scary as shit. THAT is intense.

    Serengeti having a beautiful sunset? I'll take your word for it but in terms of beautiful sunsets, the Greek Island of Santorini is a place you must check out as well. It ranks up there.

    willie is the hyena of the mets serengiti...

    2:46 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Benny...I believe the cubs belonged to two seperate lionesses as they were cubs sucking on each ones teats.

    Willie is not very good when it comes to strategy and I'm not sure how that can be glazed over. Also, are we completely sure he is such a great communicator?

    3:32 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Oh, and Benny...it kind of had a zoo feel. Really, it felt like a huge drive thru safari. Like Great Adventure in NJ but infinitely better.

    3:33 PM

    Anonymous DG said...

    When people were commenting on whether Pedro could succeed at 86-87 mph, Lawrence was throwing 83-84, AND Lawrence does not nearly throw as many types of pitches as Pedro. Yet no one abstracted this crosswise - you'd watch the guy struggle through each inning without any surprise whatsoever, but no one mentioned how obvious his struggles were.

    The Yankees at least - and this pains me to say even though it's obvious - have completely deviated from their FA dominant, youth as collateral past to integrate as many young pitchers as necessary this summer whereas the Mets seem stuck in the headlights of the Yankees' old ways. You cannot dispute that the Cranks have more interesting pitching prospects, but the Mets certainly have two or three noteworthy near major league ready prospects (Humb, Pelf & Mulv). No reason to insist that only one of these three, Pelfrey, is worthy of an emergency start. I mean this is the team that for years found the Bascik's and Rusch's and Byrd's of the world and anointed them fourth and fifth starters with a verve that suggested they were some sort of saviors for having two consecutive solid starts.

    Re: Wee Willie Won't. Media plays it like the Met fans crit Willie because they're struggling and as if there wasn't a sizeable minority who didn't get his managing style already. I have no doubt the Willie walks the walk, talks the talk (though he can be rather pissy with his unisylabic answers), but what worries me is elementally a question of strategy!

    Must say that I have gained respect recently for John Delcos's blog, but the in game commentary (not his) is as ignorant and petty as on Metsblog back in the days that I would even read the reader commentary on that site.

    3:54 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    DG....you have highlighted the point of confusion for me. The Mets have no regressed a bit and fell in love with veterans no matter how bad.

    Willie can tend to get a bit cranky. It is very amusing actually.

    4:28 PM

    Anonymous Scott from peekskill said...

    Welcome back.

    My South African friend told me of the time when he was camping on the Serengeti. He too ran into his tent when he saw eyes peering back at him in the night. He stuck his head out a few minutes later to see the guides and 2 Canadian dudes still sitting aroung the campfire. When he wandered out he asked them why they hadn't run inside. The SouthAfrican guide told him "You in a tent islike a hiot dog wrapped in a plastic bag. If you are hungry r u going to let a plastic bag stop you eating that tasty treat?"

    Glad it wasn't a Lion peering at u.

    5:58 PM

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    DG, there was a time when Metsgeek was a great place to chat. Not now.

    I'm sick of watching this pen vomit away games. I really hope they choke completely -- I CAN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE.


    11:43 PM

    Anonymous Two-By-Four said...

    Mike, I’m glad you weren’t shelled to death by a rogue Elephant that mistook you for a peanut. BTW were you invited to dinner by a tribe of cannibals?

    Humber pitched about as well as anyone could have expected tonight. The Mets must have known that the best they could get out of Humber was 4, maybe 5 innings. I wonder if they had a game plan to cope with it.

    It appears as if LM is being punished for his argument with the ump that earned him a 3 game suspension. This is not the time to teach him a lesson.

    I wonder if Wags is still having back problems. It’s hard to tell because his history is one of meltdowns in crucial situations.

    DW’s mvp considerations have been taking a hit with every GIDP he hits into or wide throw he makes to 1st base.

    2:15 AM

    Blogger Itsmetsforme said...

    welcome back, but i think you could've probably seen better baseball in africa. Anyhow, plenty of room out here on the ledge.

    emad, a good chat is hard to find these days indeed. I have been looking.

    This is the center of all anti-willieness, and though i am not particularly for or against him, that's why I'm using this blog to go ahead and throw my hat in the ring for the soon to be open position of NY Mets manager for next season. Here are my qualifications.

    I am a great communicator.

    i will throw the fucking buffet table on the field, esp if the spread is something i dont care for, like lamb. Never cared for lamb as it has to be cooked right. But I digress.

    I can pull a double switch with the best of them.

    Oberkfell nice and all, but hard to spell.

    I have years of experience in National League.

    I was never a Yanker.

    I don't run back to my dugout after arguing a point.

    I argue points.

    The only one doing roids on my team is me.

    Emad is my bench guy.

    Until i know how to manage my pitching staff, i'll hire someone who does.

    I can beat Hojo in armwrestling.

    I throw umpires out of games.

    I'd appreciate your support.

    3:02 AM

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    That's it, folks; I've reached that point. Stayed up so late into the European night that it was very nearly morning when I shut my eyes. But that was the last time. I'm not going to even ponder the possibility of what I would do in the playoffs - why bother wasting thought on that abstraction at this point? I'm not watching any more games, certainly not night games. This lack of sleep is not doing shit for me. I woke up in the middle of my "night," my kids already at school, thinking what a waste of my time, fell back asleep and am still thinking the same thing. This team has seemed flawed all year, even when everything was an easy, near dominant gait. But no more. I'll read the box score, watch the highlights. I'm not wasting my late nights anymore. A complete, utter waste!...

    6:00 AM

    Anonymous That Was DG said...

    That last comment was from me, DG.

    6:02 AM

    Blogger Coop said...

    Ugh. Double ugh. Triple ugh. Glad to have you back Mikeee, as I believe you are the voice of reason around here. I have been around a bunch of positive people concerning this team and while a nice sentiment, i really truly cannot back it up right now. I just can't. I know about teams just making it into the playoffs last minute but this is so absurd. Not only is this the Mets we are talking about but its the pitching, stupid. We are not getting anywhere with our pitching falling apart early in games, not lasting more than 5 innings and the bullpen is heart attack inducing. I've about had it myself. I got my playoff tickets already as I'm sure most plan holders have. I get so upset looking at them. You know I am far from being a Willie fan but i can't pin this all on him right now. Believe me, I'd like to, besides the BP mismanagement, this team has not been able to seal the deal when they should be.

    Love your pics!

    7:08 AM

    Anonymous Danny said...

    The way the pen has just completely destructed is amazing. They can't put out any fires. They can't get through an inning they start without creating their own fire. They don't hold leads when the Mets are ahead. They don't keep games close when the Mets are behind.

    It's the perfect storm of suckitude. I mean, the guys in the bullpen are not great but they are not THIS bad. For everyone to meltdown at the same time is just.. . stunning, I guess.

    I'm at a loss for words at this point. The offense is doing its job, even with Reyes struggling so badly. I just don't know what to say.

    10:30 AM

    Anonymous 22 said...

    Wow!!! I think I might be kinda jealous right now! Looks like an 'amazin' trip!

    1:58 PM


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