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Thursday, May 19, 2005

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Jose Reyes at 162 games

i've been fairly harsh on jose reyes, mostly for the fact that he's been a sub .300 obp (what i've dubbed the "reyes line") leadoff man for the past 90+ games extending back to his return to action last summer. he's really degraded as a contact hitter, and his plate awareness and clue of what to do in the batter's box has worsened each year.

overall though, the 162 game numbers aren't that putrid at all for the now nearly 22 year old phenom.

i was planning this blog entry yesterday, and i think jose knew about it. going into the game, he had a .299 obp, .397 slg, and .695 ops. all numbers heavily carried by his 69 game rookie season. by going 3-5 today with 2 triples and 2 runs scored, jose really prettied up his career stats. he even stole a base to make it a nifty round 40 for his career.

so really, what's to make of this "rookie season" that spans parts of 3 years? offensively, 185 hits, 103 runs, 10 hrs, 36 doubles, 9 triples, 40 steals in 49 attempts. that's really quite impressive no matter how you slice it. yeah, i can nitpick (boy, can i!) about the atrocious 23 bb/96 k. that has to improve, and it should.

i think the biggest thing with him is i'm not waiting for his next hammy or back or ankle or whatever injury to strike him down out of the blue. hopefully, i haven't just jinxed him, but that's really been the source of most of my reyes angst. you just can't build your franchise relying on a perma-damaged kid. it'll take a couple healthy seasons (not a couple healthy months) to finally assure me this guy can stay in one piece.

perhaps, jose is still in "recovery" mode from all the injuries, rehabbing and time off. his overall game (offensively, defensively and on the basepaths) is clearly not at the 2003 level when he bid us all adieu at the end of august. i'm looking at the current level jose has been playing in 2005 as his floor and it must and will get better from here.

i've always said that for jose to play up to his potential, it's really a mind game. more so than with most others players. jose has been just as mentally fragile as physically fragile. he carries a heavy load of expectations here and he knows it. he's supposed to get on base, steal the next base, score runs, and win gold gloves, and he knows it. jose has to play his game, which means put his natural god-given aggressiveness ahead of trying to learn the unnatural skill of patience. jose plays the speed game and he plays it fast. that's what brought him to the majors at the age of 20 and it's what gave him his only 2 months of major league success that summer. hopefully, he recaptures that magic. i think he will. his next 162 game stats will be a level higher all around, and it won't take until late 2007 to accumulate them. (knock on wood)

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

The Kazes rock Asian Night

when i was a kid, the mets had some great "giveaway" days. i went to the infamous "seat cushion" night, which became "projectile" night. the cheap-ass plastic covers ripped easily to expose the asbestos foam inside. i went to "bat" day. they gave out bats painted blue which looked cool, but the paint came off easily. no doubt that was a lead poison hazard. i went to "glove" night, which truly was the cheapest plastic, fake leather mitt. i went to "rain poncho" day. more cheap plastic, but i was actually able to use it for many years. i remember wearing it in washington square park the day hurricane gloria hit. i nearly blew away like a kite. i went to "helmet" day. who hasn't worn that cheap plastic helmet while playing hardball? i went to "photo album" day. that was a pretty cool giveaway. i went to a bunch of fan appreciation days, too. actually, the first game i ever went to was fan appreciation day in 1975 and i got a cool plastic zipper bag. i kept all my mets baseball cards in it.

the mets still have some giveaways, but their big thing recently have been these ethnic nights. today was asian night, so i guess they gave away asian people or autographed darth shinjo photos or maybe let asian people in half-price or probably none of the above.

ok, i have no idea what these ethnic celebratory games are all about. i went to a merengue night once and there was a lot of dancing going on in the stands, on the field, everywhere. they built up a lot of excitement and i was eagerly awaiting the free lemon cream pie, but it never came.

anyway, back to tonight's asian night at shea. manager willie got in the spirit by bumping victor zamboozled and putting kaz ishiity on the mound. ishiity was just taken off the DL. no doubt because he demanded to be out their on asian night. well, he must've been seriously pumped up because he was sharp. as sharp as robert guilleaume was last night.

the one thing about ishiity that separates him from tommy boy and zamboozled is he doesn't give up hits. yeah, he's a wild man and the walks will come usually, but he doesn't give up hits. glavine and zamboozled combine the batting practice stuff with the walks and thats why they average 2 baserunners an inning. ishiity has a much better opponents' oba, and that's what enables him to crank out some winnable outtings more often than the two bozos.

ishiity pitched into the 7th, only allowing 3 hits and 1 run, but left as the losing pitcher of record. the deadwood mets were being stifled by ramon ortiz until asian night fever struck him in the bottom of the 7th. mr. clutch, kazuo matsui, belted a two run shot into the mets bullpen to give the mets the lead.

willie pressed his luck by bringing out koo koo roo for the 2nd night in a row. well, it was asian night and there was surely some kind of magic in the air. if a korean lefty specialist can ever close out the 9th against 3 tough lefties (casey, griffey, dunn) for his first ever major league save, it would have to be on asian night in shea stadium in koreatown flushing by the bay. the stage was set for the asian trifecta, except mr. koo flubbed it. koo got casey, but gave up a single to griffey and a walk to dunn. poopy pooper became an honorary asian for the night by scooping koo's poop and saving the game.

but in the end, no one will remember the koo thing. it was all about the kazes tonight. kazuhisa and kazuo on asian night.

number nine, number nine, number nine...

for your reference, here are all the past #9 overall draft picks:

2004: HS SS chris nelson (col)
2003: HS P john danks (tex)
2002: Col P jeff francis (col)
2001: HS P colt griffin (kc)
2000: HS P mark phillips (sd)
1999: Col P barry zito (oak)
1998: HS 3B sean burroughs (sd)
1997: HS SS michael cuddyer (minn)
1996: Col OF mark kotsay (fla)
1995: Col OF geoff jenkins (mil)
1994: Col P cj nitkowski (cinn)
1993: HS SS matt brunson (det)
1992: HS OF preston wilson (nym)
1991: Col OF mark smith (balt)
1990: HS P ron walden (la)
1989: Col P kyle abbott (cal)
1988: Col 2B ty griffin (cubs)
1987: Col P kevin appier (kc)
1986: HS OF derrick may (cubs)
1985: Col P mike poehl (cle)
1984: Col OF alan cockrell (sf)
1983: HS C matt stark (tor)
1982: HS P duane ward (atl)
1981: Col P ron darling (tex)
1980: Col SS ross jones (la)
1979: HS P steve buechele (wsox)
1978: Col SS glenn franklin (la)
1977: HS SS david hibner (tex)
1976: HS P bob james (mon)
1975: HS OF clint hurdle (kc)
1974: HS 3B ron sorey (mon)
1973: HS P lew olson (kc)
1972: HS OF steve englishbey (hou)
1971: Col P david sloan (clev)
1970: HS P jim haller (la)
1969: HS P don stanhouse (oak)
1968: HS OF dick sharon (pitt)
1967: HS C mike nunn (cal)
1966: HS P michael biko (phil)
1965: Col SS eddie leon (minn)

Monday, May 16, 2005

A laugher at Shea

who remembers the sitcom "benson?" it went off the air in 1986 (the year the mets last won a championship), but for one night, benson reigned supreme again.

it was practically a perfect game for the mets as they disposed of the reds, 9-2, at shea. they played a bad team with a struggling pitcher, and they pummeled them. the 1986 #1 overall pick on the mound for the mets, anna benson's husband, was terrific in defeating the mets former #1 overall pick in 1984, paul wilson. benson turned back the clock to the mid-80s when he truly was a blue chip ace at clemson. i half-expected missy gold to pop out of the dugout for a curtain call.

the big mets machine got things started off in the game with a highly improbable jose reyes leadoff triple, and ended with the impossible: mr. koo koo roo wrapping things up with 4 straight outs, 3 by strike out. wow.

in between, there was fun for kids of all ages. cliff floyd hit homer #11 and walked twice, mikey piazza had 2 clutch hits and runs scored, doug mientkiewicz had 2 ribbies, david wright had 2 doubles and 2 runs, and kazuo matsui had 2 doubles and 2 ribbies. things were clicking so well, the team even had 3 sac flies. wow.


speaking of sitcoms, i want to say a public goodbye to one of the all-time greats, "everybody loves raymond." what other show had an episode with eddie kranepool, art shamsky, jerry grote, tug mcgraw, tommie agee, ron swoboda, cleon jones and buddy harrelson? that's right, none. their childhood dog was named shamsky, too.

thanks for the laughs, and cya in syndication.

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