Monday, June 18, 2007

Better Team Wins Again

LET'S GET RIGHT TO THE POINT HERE on this hot & sticky New York Monday morning: How sweet it was for Yankees fans to watch their Bombers win this coveted Subway Series rubber game, crushing ther bitter crosstown rivals 8-2! For me it was made that much sweeter after picking up the Sunday Daily News and seeing Mets shill Mike Lupica fire off his usual tiresome barbs at the Yankees in his Shooting from the Lip column, which at this point really should be called Mailing It In From Home, because Lupica no longer has anything original to say. When a writer becomes that predictable and formulaic, he ceases to be worth reading. But just in case you don't want to take my word for it, here's a sampling of what stuck in my craw, as our country cousins might say.

Lupica led off with another embarrassingly amateurish pro-Met sentiment, absurdly proclaiming, "Oh man, do I hope Carlos Gomez can hit. Because even when he's not hitting, he sure is fun to watch play baseball." Little Mike would never root for any Yankee to excel, but here he's all over the jock of a guy who has 1 HR and 17 strike-outs in 71 at-bats. Yeah Mike, we're looking at the next Miguel Cabrera here.

Then the diminutive suck-up takes his usual weekly shot at Jason Giambi, no surprise there, followed by his requisite homo-erotic salivating over Jose Reyes: "You know who the Knicks need at point guard? Somebody like the Mets' point guard: Reyes." Doesn't that come off as just a little too forced a sentiment, slightly too effusive? Writer Richard Price had a word for when seemingly heterosexual men cross over into the realm of overly gushy or breathless language: he called it "using faggotese," as in "Sorry, but I don't speak faggotese." It seems Lupica and other area sportswriters just can't help expressing their sad man-love for either Reyes or David Wright, to the point where you wanna vomit in their general direction.

Then Tiny Mike tries to put a damper on the Yankees recent hot streak. See if you can follow this logic: "On May 14, the Red Sox were seven games ahead of the Yankees in the standings. On May 29, they were 14 1/2 games ahead. So they picked up 7 1/2 games in basically two weeks. Between May 29 and June 14, the Yankees got seven games back. It's just all much more monumental when it happens in pinstripes." Real objective, isn't it? I guess the Yankees should apologize for not giving up on the division! The front-running Lupica will be the first guy trying to climb back on the pinstriped bandwagon when it picks up steam again. You know what you will never hear from these anti-Yankee weasels: the fact that the Mets have the highest payroll (by far) in the entire National League. That fact is always conveniently omitted when discussing the savvy genius that is GM Omar Minaya.

By my count, the Mets have developed precisely two impact players from their highly overrated farm system, both of whom preceded Minaya in terms of when they were signed: Wright and Reyes. That's it, folks. Everyone else the Mets either signed as free agents or traded for in deals that were little more than fire sales: Carlos Delgado, Paul Lo Duca, Carlos Beltran, Tom Glavine, Pedro Martinez, Billy Wagner, Shawn Green, Orlando Hernandez. Pitcher John Maine was a throw-in when they traded Kris Benson to Baltimore; they got lucky, pure and simple. The jury is out on Maine, as he has pitched poorly after his unexpected 5-0 start. Minaya also got lucky on Oliver Perez, admittedly a solid pitcher, but most of the credit for Maine and Perez goes to pitching guru Rick Peterson, the man responsible for developing the Big Three of Zito, Hudson and Mulder while he worked in the same position for Oakland a decade ago.

Now, I know nobody in their right mind goes to the Village Voice for sports or really for much of anything anymore except maybe Nat Hentoff, a political cartoon or two, and the classifieds (that's why they give it away these days), but every once in a while for some unknown reason the excremental Allen Barra pens a sports-related column, such as the laughably ill-timed "Bandwagon, Anyone? It's time New York got more excited about the Mets" from last week's typically forgettable edition. It's more Met shilling and Yank bashing from a lame-ass who co-authored a couple of unreadable sports books with mental-case Chris Russo, who comes across as so verbally challenged, so prone is he to butchering the language, that he has no business being in the book writing biz at all. In fact, listening to him constantly mutter & stutter his way through the on-air ad copy on WFAN, Russo seems to have his hands full just reading the English language. Russo is just lending his name to the enterprise, the same way a retired ballplayer lends his name to a restaurant, with about as much credibility. There's something inherently wrong with the whole practice to me, although to delineate why and how is for another post & time. Nuff said for now.

Here are a few lowlights from Barra's typically way-off-base ravings: "
We'll see if the Yankees' momentum continues. Meanwhile, we have no doubt that the Mets we saw in the first two months of the season are the real ones." Just like Chris Russo, his opinions are inseparable from the facts, don't you see! Such arrogance from a fan of a team that hasn't even won a measly pennant in a watered-down league yet.

Then Barra writes that, "It's worth noting that the Mets have gone through their recent slump with a sub-par Carlos Beltran and Jose Valentin and entirely without Shawn Green, Moises Alou, and, of course, Pedro Martinez." Where does one begin parsing or debunking such a stinking pile of crapola? Uh, do we have to point out to Barra that even casual fans know that teams go into slumps in the first place if enough key players go into slumps, and vice versa. What is his point here? That the Mets slump is somehow different? First off, I didn't know that Jose Valentin was capable of carrying the team on his shoulders, such that a prolonged slump by the journeyman second baseman would send the powerhouse Mets spiraling downward. Second, they've played many more games without Martinez than with him for most of the past two or three seasons, so now you're missing him in the starting rotation? What disingenuous bullshit! And Moises Alou? Are you fucking kidding me? You sign an injury-prone 41-year-old outfielder and then make excuses for the team when he goes on the disabled list! How about noting all the Yankees injuries this year, you whining shill? What's worth noting, Barra, is what a sub-par writer you are, or should we say you've been slumping your entire sorry career?

Next, the always-reliably clueless Barra laments the fact that no Mets have appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated this year! I hope Barra's not paid for having such good industry sources, because on the cover of the recent SI is
Mets GM Minaya surrounded by some of his big "finds" -- guys like Carlos Beltran, John Maine, El Duque and Endy Chavez. Now, I actually like Omar, a (fellow?) Queens boy made good, and he's done a solid job resurrecting a dormant franchise, and I know the story goes into Minaya's being the first Hispanic GM in baseball, which is great, but can't the Mets win something before they're celebrated in this fashion! They have a scant one-and-a-half-game lead in their own division! Maybe Barra wants the Mets featured next on the cover of Time and Newsweek in the same week, like Springsteen in '75, so much have they captured the cultural zeitgeist of the entire nation. Mets fans are a real piece of work these days. It is good to know, however, that the SI cover jinx is alive and well! Let's hope the Boston Red Sox are next to adorn the cover of an upcoming issue (and soon).

Then Barra wonders out loud why the Mets are only sixth in National League road attendance. It's not enough that after years of sucking the Mets are finally competitive; this total schmuck has to worry why people would rather pay to watch Barry Bonds' Giants or Ken Griffey's Reds! Get a life, Barra, you fucking nerd; I guess Carloses Beltran, Delgado and Gomez just don't put the fannies in the seats around the NL, or else a Jose Reyes steal of second is not all it's jacked up to be outside the self-absorbed baseball confines of NYC.

Another Barra clunker ends the pathetic puff piece: "When Pedro Martinez returns, they just might have the best starting rotation in the NL. But—and this is what Mets fans have to remember—even without Pedro having thrown a pitch this season, the Mets would still be odds-on favorites to win the National League pennant if the playoffs started tomorrow." Now, correct me if I'm wrong, and I hate for reality to intercede in Barra's fantasy world, but weren't the Mets a big favorite in last year's playoffs against a very ordinary St. Louis Cardinals team -- one with a much, much lower payroll than the Mets, and one of the worst teams in recent memory to win the World Series? How'd that series work out? I guess I must've missed the parade held in the Mets honor, unless you count beating a mediocre L.A. Dodgers squad in the division round. Maybe Barra has a ring he wears commemorating that great accomplishment. Ah, why bother with a scrub like Barra when he's so easy to ignore? The next time you're in the sports section of a bookstore, find one of his books, take it into the bathroom, find his picture on the book jacket and then wipe your ass with it. That's really the only proper response, although experience tells me it's likely that large swaths of society usually frown upon such a proactive critical approach.
When Roger Clemens (44) faced Julio Franco (48) in Friday night's Subway Series opener, the combined age of the two was an eye-opening 92 years! ... Jose Reyes showed off his baseball IQ last night, getting caught stealing in the 4th inning with the Mets down 5-0 ... Looks like Carlos Beltran has reverted to 2005 form; let's see him play through the boos another season like A-Rod did last year ... Paul Lo Duca has become my least favorite Met. What a hypocritical scumbag this guy is. First, with a wife & kid at home, he hits on and dates a fucking teenager, now he is the ultimate decider of proper baseball etiquette -- letting everyone know when it's okay to showboat after a HR (when he does it) and when it's not (when anyone who's not a Met does it). All of which makes him a douche-bag and a big-time butthole, not that I'm gonna resort to name calling here on the World Wide Web; wouldn't wanna start a trend or anything ... It was cool to see Lo Duca have to leave the game last night after taking a 95-plus MPH Chien-Ming Wang fastball to his forearm last night. There's more where that came from, boy-eee! ... Of course it's okay for Jose Reyes to shake his ass and act like a salsa dancer in the Puerto Rican Day Parade after scoring a meaningless run; I hope someone plants a heater in his cabeza next (and soon); that's right, I said it...

Judging by the number and intensity of panicking Mets fans calling up the sports talk shows after Saturday's Yankees win, you know they wanted to win the rubber game bad. I couldn't help but hear the guy who lives downstairs from me carrying on again during Friday's Mets win. I say "couldn't help" because, after all, he was screaming at the top of his lungs after any& every positive Mets development. He pours it on thick because he knows I'm a Yankees fan, but I gotta tell ya: the silence the last two games was indeed golden ... Another rabid Mets fan and long-time friend saw fit to e-mail me Friday night right after the 2-0 Mets win, declaring that the Mets "owned" Clemens now ... My buddy titled his e-mail "That's 1," and he turned out to be right on: one was indeed all the Mets would get this weekend! ... And call me cynical, but scoring two runs off a 44-year-old making just his second start of the season is hardly enough to take ownership of anything, much less a living, breathing human being ... I mean, if that was the case, then Orlando Hernandez is now the Yankees bitch after getting butchered last night by the Bombers! 7 hits, 6 runs, 2 homers, knocked out in the 5th ... I got another e-mail Saturday after the Mets took an early 2-0 lead off Tyler Clippard, which I ignored of course, but I did get a classy congrats! message after the wild 11-8 Yankees win ... Someone tell me why Joe Torre is bringing in Mariano Rivera with a 5-run lead in the 9th; give the guy the day off, willya! How do ya know you won't need him for an inning-plus on Sunday night? C'mon Joe! Maybe it's all the Bigelow Green Tea going to his head ... El Duque is listed as 39 years old but for all we know he may be even older than The Rocket! If Mets fans are counting on this guy to deliver, then maybe they're in bigger trouble than we thought.

I think 6 games a year is 3 too many for the Subway Series. They should rotate between Shea and Yankee Stadium each year
, with each team playing a series in the other's ballpark ... As much as I enjoy it, if you play an even number of games and the teams split, it prevents one team from claiming dominance ... When I grew up there was something called the Mayor's Trophy Game, one exhibition game per year between the clubs from 1963 to 1981, and we still managed to work ourselves into a frenzy over a game played for charity that didn't count in the standings and one in which the respective managers rarely tried to actually win the damn thing, instead stocking the lineup with minor leaguers and second stringers...

Mets fans who complain that their team is not getting its due in NYC relative to the Yankees come off as even more pathetic than hockey fans wondering why the NHL is a distant, faraway fourth among big league sports (don't make me go get the ratings) ... that's just the way it is, and wishing otherwise shan't make it so ... either accept reality or make up your own ... Next up for the Mets, the Minnesota Twins and Oakland Athletics: complete, well rounded teams, not feeble NL teams with two or three legit hitters scattered throughout the lineup ... I won't get greedy, but another nice stretch where the Mets lose 4 out of 6 would go a long way toward warming the cockles of my heart, if I can still say "cockles" on the Internet ... Fucking Giants couldn't have sucked more versus Boston over the weekend, dropping three games in the process; thanks for absolutely nada ... Melkie Cabrera was dreadful at the plate versus the Mets, going 1-12 and killing rallies left and right; he's also now 2 for his last 19 ... One last thing for Mets fans: those objects in your rear-view mirror may be closer than they appear: Braves now a game a half back, Phillies two back! ... WFAN's Steve Sommers, one of the more gratingly insufferable Met shills on the airwaves in a city seemingly full of them, said he absolutely loved the pitching match-ups in the Subway Series: Clemens vs. Perez, Clippard vs. Glavine, Wang vs. Hernandez. And now, after the Mets dropped 2 of 3 and looked awful in the process, with Mets pitchers getting scorched for 19 runs in the Yankees victories? Probably not so much. Can you say Mets Rehab? Priceless!


jimithegreek said...


Wardens World said...

Jim, were you scouting these guys in China with Cashman and Hank Steinbrenner? Seems like too much of a coincidence. But yes, it was most enjoyable to take 2 of 3 from the Mutts... Welcome back, brother...

Johnny Starr said...

The Mets will win 27 World Championships in the 21st century. Mark my word. I will be 130 years old, but it will happen!!!