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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

For the Second Half

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Saving for posterity

back on december 1, 2004, the new york mets management held a big powwow in westchester. i posted the following in serial form that day on the MSG messageboard. unfortunately that board scrolls off old posts and banishes them to the cornfields, never to be seen again, so i just want to save it here. it was pretty funny at the time, and maybe some of it still holds up.

first reports are filtering in... things got off to an awkward start when bill livesey, al goldis, sandy johnson and tony bernazard all attempted to sit in the two chairs labeled "SUPERSCOUTS" at the same time.

jeff: hmm, let's see. bill, you sit on sandy's lap. tony, you sit on al's lap.
fred: shut up, jeffy. no, bill and al are the superscouts. you other two. who are you? anyways, just stand behind them.
omar: wait a sec. i hired my own superscouts and i have full autonomy. i want them to sit.
fred: oh ****. yeah. okay, you two guys sit then, and bill and al, you can kneel on either side of my throne.
bruce: daddy, i thought jeffy and i kneel beside you?
fred: oh ****. let's take a two hour break and get briq to draw up a damn seating chart!
briq: i need a pen and some paper.

... two hours later. seating chart is made. more folding chairs are brought into the rooom. everyone's seated.

fred: okay, i want to welcome everyone to our annual organization braintrust powwow. where's mookie?
everyone: [blank faces]
fred: c'mon dammit! i wanted all the top people here. where's our new damn manager, mookie!?
briq: uh, sir, willie is his name.
fred: oh ****. willie, mookie. isn't willie short for wilson? same guy? different guy?
briq: different.
fred: dammit. erase that from the minutes.
briq: yessir.
fred: where's willie!? our new manager, willie! where is he?
omar: willie randolph isn't here.
fred: damn, i'd like to meet him. does he light up a room?
omar: oh yes. like a black light, he does. just beautiful.
fred: ah nice, i'd like to see that. call him up and get him here.
briq: he doesn't have phone privileges yet, sir.
jason phillips: damn, that's why he hasn't returned my call!

fred: i say, briq, this is some damn fine hot cocoa.
briq: i'm glad you like it, sir. i bought your favorite kind with the mini-marshmallows.
fred: i noticed. you get a star today. note that in the minutes.
briq: thank you, sir. noted.
fred: okay, got our seating chart. got our cocoa. i think we're done for the day. good job, everyone. goodbye. i'll see you in florida in march.
omar: wait!!! i thought we had a whole list of things to go through.
fred: is this right, briq?
briq: i've got the list here, sir. there's more to discuss.
fred: well, i'll be damned.

fred: well if we have a list, then let's get to it. what's next on the list?
briq: i have "sign phil humber - june, 2004" written here.
fred: what does that mean?
briq: i jotted it down so long ago, i don't remember. i think he was a player we were supposed to sign.
fred: hummer? hummer? anybody know who this person is?
everyone: [blank faces]
bruce & jeff: he said 'hummer,' hehehe
fred: what are you laughing at, jeffy? do you have your new supercomputer plugged in yet?
jeff: almost, daddy.
fred: well, when you get back to shea, search 'hummer' and see what pops up.
jeff: okay.
fred: all right, are we almost done with this damn list? what's next?
briq: agenda item #2 is assign duquette to a new position.
fred: who the hell is duquette?
briq: me.
fred: oh briq, you're the... um.... what the hell were you before?
briq: i was the autonomous general manager. then you hired autonomous omar to replace me.
fred: okay, so that makes you the assistant gm now. fine?
omar: wait a sec. i hired sandy and tony as assistant gms.
fred: who's sandy and tony?
sandy & tony: we're sandy and tony.
fred: huh? you guys are sitting in the SUPERSCOUTS seats. i thought we settled all this already. where's that damn seating chart, briq?
omar: i hired them as "superscouts - SLASH - assistant gm's."
fred: wtf? lookie here... um.
omar: omar.
fred: lookie here, omar, that's not how we run things here. it's one man for one job. none of this slash stuff. you look very familiar, omar. did we meet in brazil before? how do i know you?
omar: i'm your newly installed autonomous baseball overlord.
fred: doesn't ring a bell.
jeff: he worked here before, daddy. we used to hit the shea executive john the same time every morning.
omar: i was the assistant gm under steve phillips.
briq: so was i.
fred: wtf? we had 2 assistant gm's before, too? how many guys am i paying to do the same job?
omar: no, i was steve's first hire. remember, you sent me to japan to scout and sign shinjo.
fred: shinjo? bruce, you handled that one, didn't you?
bruce: yeah, i think so. little asian guy, right?
briq: no, that was kaz matsui last year. shinjo was from many years ago.
bruce: kaz? yeah, that's him. little asian guy.
fred: i like sushi. what the hell are we talking about again?
briq: i need a position, sir.
fred: well, just hand your resume to somebody here. i'm sure we'll find a spot for you somewhere.
briq: no, i'm already on the payroll. i thought i was the assistant gm again, but seems we have too many of those already.
fred: well kid, titles are overrated. you make damn fine cocoa and do well with lists and seating charts. that's good enough in my book. where's your office?
briq: you put me in the shea stadium basement custodian closet with jeff and the new supercomputer.
fred: how about we call you the "mets overlord of the underworld."
jeff: that's my title!

fred: okay, that's settled. jeffy, you remain the "overlord of the mets underworld." briq, you are the "king of the shea basement." okay, are we done? let's adjourn.
omar: no, we have to discuss sammy sosa, pedro martinez, mike piazza and lots of other stuff.
fred: is all this stuff really on the list, briq?
briq: yessir, and more. we've got another embarrassing scandal with anna benson.
fred: scandal? wtf!? again!? what's this about, horwitz?
jay: minor stuff, chief. nothing to worry about. she just said all players cheat on their wives and if she caught her husband cheating, she'll ***** everyone on the mets.
fred: what?! who's her husband.
omar: kris benson. just gave him $22.5m for 3 years plus an option.
fred: what?! my god, that's a lot of money. is his wife asian? god, we have trouble with asian women. who was that last year with that chick?
briq: bill singer. our 2 week superscout who got all drunk.
jay: we had that under control in a jiffy, chief.
fred: dammit. what about shinjo? does he have a wife? she's probably asian, and you know that spells danger.
bruce: right! he does have an asian wife. i took them out to dinner last year!
omar: no, i took the shinjos out to dinner years ago. he's not on the team anymore. you took out kaz matsui and his wife.
bruce: little asian guy? right.
fred: dammit, horwitz, you just keep this cheating kris benson away from mrs matsui, you hear!? this thing is going to blow up in our faces. i just know it. i just know it!

omar: can we finally talk about sammy sosa now?
fred: you know you look like sammy sosa.
omar: uh, okay.
fred: look, omar, you're the autonomous baseball overlord here. just make your decision and i'm fine with it. now what about sammy sosa?
omar: i want to trade for him.
fred: is he old and very expensive?
omar: yes.
fred: okay, he has two positives going for him. look, as i said, you're the man. make the call.
omar: i've been exchanging proposals with the cubs. we've finally hammered out a deal: cliff floyd for sosa + cash. i'm going to do it.
fred: fine. let's take a vote.
omar: what?
fred: all in favor of this trade, say 'aye!"
omar & sandy: aye!
fred: well, **** that. okay, briq, what's next on the list?

omar: wait one cotton-pickin' moment! i thought i was autonomous!
fred: sit down, son, and stop swearing. this is a family atmosphere powwow.
omar: i took this job because you promised autonomy!
fred: you are autonomous. english isn't your first language, is it? i told you exactly what i told the press. you will have the same autonomous powers as briq had. no more. no less.
everyone: he did say that.
fred: okay, briq, what's next on the list. let's get a move on.
briq: pedro martinez.
omar: i had dinner with him last week.
fred: what did you have?
omar: excuse me?
fred: i remember i took tommy glavine and his lovely wife to the four seasons. they were greatly impressed. even had mike richter stop by the table. you know him? hockey player. [points to his head]. tommy's crazy about hockey so i knew i sealed the deal with that. that glavine deal worked out well, didn't it?
everyone: YES!
fred: so tell me, did you wine and dine pedro? who did you introduce him to? that cha-cha-cha girl from the love boat?
omar: excuse me?
jeff: charo! i saw that episode, daddy!
omar: um, no. we just had a quiet dinner and i told him the mets were greatly interested in him.
fred: isn't that a little premature?
omar: i don't think so.
fred: you didn't offer a contract, did you?
omar: yes i did.
fred: what the hell is wrong with you? you can't go off willy-nilly without taking a vote first!!! let's vote! tommy boy?
glavine: i like him.
fred: steve?
trachsel: i like him.
fred: anyone else?
guru conti: i love him. he is like my son. i teach him english. he is our clemens.
fred: who the hell are you?
guru conti: bullpen coach
fred: is he on the seating chart, briq?
briq: he is now, sir.
fred: damn, you're good.

fred: well, it's been a long day. let's take a moment to stretch. how's the rehab going, jose?
reyes: i don't like it. shilstone is making me do exercises, changing my running style and says i will get hurt if i play winter ball. i want to quit seeing him and play ball immediately.
fred: okay jose. you know your body the best. try these little wieners wrapped in a roll. briq made them.
omar: fred, i'd really like to speak with you in private. i'm very confused.
fred: get in line, buddy. can't you see i'm having a wiener with jose?
jose: i want to sit out spring training and do rehab in my own way. then i'll be ready for opening day.
fred: sounds good, jose. i'll see you at shea in april.... or maybe not!
fred: hey briq! get over here!
briq: yessir.
fred: how much is left to go over on that damn list? that gold throne is killing my 'roids.
briq: well, some minor stuff. omar wants to talk about carlos beltran, mike piazza, carl pavano, matt clement...
fred: damn, where did we dig up this guy? i can't deal with all this crap. this guy is like phillips all over again. what about the non-tenders!? that's my bread-and-butter, baby!
briq: i had that near the top of the list, but omar crossed it off. he wants to concentrate on the big name free agents.
fred: arrrrgghhh... look briq. you keep your bags packed in that basement broom closet. i don't know how long i can live with this omar guy. he's got a serious attitude problem.
briq: yessir.
fred: and where's johnny?
briq: horwitz said we better let things cool down awhile with the, um, mafia thing being made public.
fred: ohh, damn shame. where's al?
briq: last i heard, he was dining with steinbrenner.
fred: wtf? sigh. now george knows how to wine and dine! i bet he brings out charo during dinner. things sure are changing with our powwows. i miss the old gang already. we had a lot of good laughs.
briq: at the fans' expense.
fred: of course!

fred: okay everyone, let's take our seats again. we've got some more important people here, so i have enough folding chairs for all. did you like the little wieners in a roll?
everyone: YES!
briq: that's my mom's pig a blanket recipe.
super joe: i helped with the rolling.
fred: excellent. okay, i'd like to wrap up the 2nd half of this powwow. let's make it tight. let's make things concise. nick & jessica's family christmas special is on tonite and you know how i'm big on family.
omar: i'd like to continue our discussion about sammy sosa...
fred: hold yer horses, charlie. let's follow protocol. we're professionals here. what's next, briq?
briq: we have a player grievance filed by jae seo that needs addressing.
fred: ah, jeezzzz. what happened already? kris benson fool around with his wife? dammit horwitz, you're supposed to keep an eye on that horndog. damn, what are we fixated on asians today? you know we called them 'orientals' in my day. actually, we called them a lot worse than that. well okay, so what's up with shinjo?
jae: i'm jae seo, not shinjo.
fred: my bad, jae seo. you know, you look just like shinjo? are you related?
jae: no, he's japanese. i'm korean.
fred: ah, opposite sides of the 38th parallel. that brings me back to my youth in brooklyn. we didn't have orientals back then, but we did have jackie. god, i sure loved jackie...
jae: sir, i demand a trade!
fred: what's this?
briq: jae wants to be traded back to korea, sir.
fred: are you mad!? don't you like electricity and indoor plumbing, son?
jae: i want to pitch! i'm not getting any respect here!
fred: well damn, we all want to pitch. i wanted to be like my childhood pal, sandy koufax, but i threw like a girl. anyway, i sure don't want to stand in the way of you going back to your country. do they have anything in korea of any value to give back to us?
jae: they have companies like hyundai and samsung and daewoo that make lots of products.
fred: you know what i need? one of them toasters that a bagel can fit into? do you make them?
jae: not me personally, but i can ask my cousin at samsung if they do.
fred: okay, please do. happy now?
jae: yes!
fred: goodie! i like to hear that. happy, happy. we're here to make everyone happy. i feel like santa. speaking of which, johnny's not going to be santa at the mets annual christmas thingy?
briq: um, probably not with the, um, mafia matter.
super joe: i'll do it! let me! let me!
fred: ah, beautiful. is super joe useful or what? okay, what's next on the list?
briq: cliff floyd wants to cast his vote on the sammy sosa trade.
fred: how do you vote, cliff?
cliff: i vote no.
omar: wait up here! cliff floyd gets to vote on a trade involving himself???
fred: certainly!
omar: c'mon now. cliff's all damaged and getting old and his contract is bad and his attitude is questionable. he said 'there's no light at the end of the tunnel' last year! that's practically quitting on the team!
fred: you said that, cliff?
cliff: i did, and i meant it, too. i came out of the shower and the light was out and i twisted my ankle stumbling to my locker. that was my good ankle too!
fred: is this true, vinny?
vinny greco: yessir. i fixed that light right away though.
fred: vinny, how do you vote on the sosa deal?
vinny greco: i vote no. cubs clubhouse attendant said sammy is a primadonna who demands a 1000 stitch count in his towels, and he wants his jockstrap washed only in dreft detergent because the regular stuff makes him itchy. i'm not going to deal with that crap.
fred: things don't look good on this sosa thing, omar. vinny and cliff are just pushing the electoral college way over the edge. let's just forget that one and move on.

fred: god, it's really getting late now. did you set up the tivo?
jeff: yes, daddy. nick & jessica will be taped.
fred: great. well, let's just wrap things up quickly now. i've never had such an exhausting corporate powwow in my life. usually we just look over x-rays and stuff and we're outta here in 30 minutes.
briq: there are still a bunch of free agents omar wants to discuss.
fred: zzzzzzz. look omar, why the obsession with free agents? we've got a thing going with our "younger and more athletic" plan.
omar: actually you gutted the minor leagues pretty good over the summer. i feel we'll have to look outside the organization if we wish to contend next year.
fred: excuse me? gutted? you want to say that to aaron heilman's face.
aaron: say it, omar.
omar: c'mon, this is silly.
aaron, say it, man! who you calling gutted, you rat turd!!!
omar: good lord, i didn't mean to offend you personally.
fred: aaron, how do you vote on sosa and pedro martinez.
aaron: i vote NO! anything this turd wants, i vote NO!
fred: word of advice, omar. don't offend the kids. god bless them. they're our future. okay, thank you, people! i love you! we got a lot done.
omar: but...
fred: omar, you're the man. you know this. i brought you back into the mets family because i believe in you. but remember... there is no OMAR in TEAM. from now on, any wacky idea that pops into your head, just run it through proper channels first. we've got jeff here, briq, guru peterson, vinny greco, etc. it'll get to me eventually and we'll take a vote, ya know? let's do it the mets way. no renegade heroes here.
omar: but...
fred: okay folks! meeting adjourned. briq, give mookie phone privileges pronto! our new manager needs a phone. jason phillips is awaiting a return call.
briq: yessir.


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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