Sunday, May 28, 2006

News & Notes, Heroes & Goats, Commentary & Quotes- Just Another Manic Sunday!!

El Duque, Orlando Hernandez, made his Mets debut today, in the sweltering heat in Florida, and it was an interesting debut to say the least! Jonathan and family went to the game, and the fans wearing Mets' gear far outnumbered those in Fish garb! El Duque's performance didn't make it easier on the fans today, as he threw over 100 pitches in 5 innings, elongating a game that was played in heat so strong Jonathan, who remembers who pinch-hit in games played 25 years ago, could hardly remember what teams he was watching! (LOL- and of COURSE, WHY would ANYONE want a DOME in South Florida??!!!) Once he settled down, El Duque's line was 5 innings pitched, 3 earned runs, 3 walks, 7 strikeouts and a decent first performance. Oh, and by the way, WE WON!!! That's 2 of 3 from the Fish- does anyone see a pattern developing here? Heath Bell pitched 2 strong, scoreless innings in relief- will he be sent down tomorrow??

Okay- as a kid, there was nothing better then cracking open that new pack of baseball cards, wondering what superstars and Mets you'd get in the pack...and the ice cream man knew to stop at my house every day, rain or shine, as I'd buy packs with every bit of change I could scrape up. Remember, this was the late 60's, early 70's, and packs were still cheap, but allowance was $1 per week, so every bit of change not going towards comics went towards purchasing cards, even after I'd complete the entire series (in those days, there were 6 series, coming out one at a time, seemingly every 3-4 weeks and Topps was the only manufacturer). I even kept the cards that were disfigurd by the gum (and cardboard or not, the smell of that gum is still one of the greatest smells of childhood!) The reason I bring this up is because the last time I purchased a box of unopened packs was in the late 1980's, and I think I paid something like $28 and was shocked because I used to pay something like $8 for a box as a kid! Well, that was a mere warm-up, as I found out yesterday that a box of Series 1 Topps Baseball Cards is selling for around $55 for 36 small packs- with NO gum!!!! And they DO have packs with gum that cost more- but the gum is sealed in a little plastic envelope!! One PACK was $2.75- and you wonder why kids would rather purchase video games for $30 then buy 10 packs of baseball cards? If the hobby is to survive, the manufacturers need to understand the buying habits of kids a bit better, and price cards more aggressively, as autograph cards, cards made out of various chrome reflecters and what-not are mostly appealling to older collectors and those who use ebay as a source of steady income! I know that my love for the game grew exponentially due to collecting cards, and I worry for the future of the game when such an integral part remains a business and not a hobby- let's put the game back in the hands of kids and make card-collecting easier and more accessible finacially to kids! THAT is step one to reclaiming the next generation of fans!

On Saturday, Tom Glavine won his 8th game of the year and sixth in a row, remaining in the top 10 in ERA (2.59) and tying Jim Kaat with 283 lifetime victories. He also began the game with 5 perfect innings, and was helped by the hitting stroke of David Wright, who went 4-4 one day after being held out of the lineup with back spasms. To Mr. Glavine, we say - bravo! Keep it up and we'll have the starting pitcher in this year's all-star game (especially with Chris Carpenter apparently going on the DL today). To Mr. Wright, way to come back (literally) and go 4 for 4!! Game balls to both of you! (Funny note- Paul Lo Duca said Wright hurt his back from "carrying the team on his back.") The reminders of the late 90's Yankees team keep coming- a veteran pitcher coming through with another great performance (a la Roger Clemens), a young star lighting up the opposing pitcher (a la Derek Jeter) - more proof that Omar is taking the right path with this organization, as just being able to compare this team to that dynasty shows you how far our team has come so quickly. With 2 out of 3 from the Marlins, Phils and Yanks, we go into the series with Arizona with some real momentum. Let's take at least 2 of 3 from the snakes, and get ready for the upcoming series with the Dodgers, from June 5-7, of which I will be attending all 3, and the 4-game series in Arizona that weekend, of which I hope to catch the weekend games (or at least 1). Of course, I'll have pictures from all games, and hopefully some great road stories for the site.

There is a great article in today's Newsday by Bob Herzog, about flame-throwing pitchers reinventing themselves as finesse pitchers. His prime examples are Pedro and Mike Mussina. Pedro's pitching coach with Boston, Joe Kerrigan, traces Pedro's change from flamethrower to finesse pitcher back to October 11, 1999, in Cleveland, when Pedro had to throw 6 innings in intense cold, and labored to hit 89 on the radar gun. Apparently, that was the first time Pedro threw his cutter, and a career change was underway. Here's the link to this great article:
Also in today's Newsday, Ken Davidoff speculates that Lou Pinella might be the next manager of the Cubs, since Joe Torre's days with the Yanks do not look numbered right now and Dud-sty Baker's do. We hoped the Mets would have signed Pinella, but apparently the Devil Rays wanted a package that included Scott Kazmir, and we'd NEVER trade Kazmir to Tampa, let alone for so little in return, right??!! Davidoff lists the Mets at #4 in his weekly power ratings, and wonders if half-brothers Livan and Orlando are to be reunited as Mets? Interesting...

And speaking of managers we didn't sign, in today's NY Post, Joel Sherman writes about why scouts believe the Tigers are for real this year, under Jim Leyland, another manager we hoped to land. Here's the link:

Also in today's NY Post, Steve Serby offers his usual Sunday Q&A, and this time it is with our own backstop, Paul Lo Duca. Some highlings:

~PLD loved Lenny Dykstra and Paul Molitor as a kid.
~He called Jesse Orosco "grandpa" when they played together with the Dodgers, because PLD had been a fan of the '86 Mets while a kid in Arizona.
~He hopes Dontrelle Willis comes to the Mets "someday", as he'd love to catch him again.
~He thinks Sheffield was a great teammate because he plays hard and can lift him up with one arm (unenhanced?)
~On following Piazza not once, but twice, "He's a future Hall of Famer. I'll never step into his shoes. I'm just gonna do the little things to try to win ballgames. The way it's going right now, I guess I'm gonna end my career in San Diego. "
~On his three all-time dinner guests: Jackie Robinson, George Washington and Mother Teresa.
~Favorite Movie: Good Fellas - Favorite Meal: Bowl of Spaghetti
A fun interview, and great insight into a real gamer. Here's the link:
Pedro Beato worked out for Omar Minaya and Fred Wilpon yesterday at Shea, and the Mets have until midnight tomorrow to sign him or lose his rights. Not having a first round pick in the coming draft makes it more imperative that we sign Beato, who has been clocked as high as 97 since undergoing successful Tommy John surgery two years ago. Let's hope we sign Beato, as Mr. Martinez has shown, you can NEVER have enough Pedros!!!
Okay, take a breath, because he's not going to do so until at LEAST after the 4-year contract he signed is finished. Jonathan
called me from the car yesterday, and I had to check the calendar to make sure it wasn't April Fool's (again) until he calmed me down and told me that he was indeed, looking to complete his contract first. Remember, it wasn't that long ago that Omar was receiving grief for signing Pedro to such a long, and expensive, contract, and now the mere thought that Pedro might retire, even in 2.5 more seasons, is enough to send Mets' fans into a panic. Shows you how much he has come to mean to us, and so quickly. Here's a link to today's column by Adam Rubin of the New York Daily News, as he discusses this: (And that's 3 articles today about someone named Pedro, and we didn't even discuss the special edition DVD of Napoleon Dynamite!)

In today's LA Times, baseball columnist Tim Brown breaks down each division, listing Revelations, Pivotal Pitcher, Pivotal Player, Players Available by July 31, MVP & LVP. For Pivotal Player, he lists our own Carlos Beltran - "He doesn't have to carry the Mets' offense, not with Carlos Delgado and David Wright around, but it wouldn't hurt if he did once in a while." Has Mr. Brown been WATCHING our team this year? Wasn't that Mr. Beltran knocking in his 37th RBI today?? Also meeting the list is Tom Glavine, listing him as the division's revelation - "Not done yet, 40-year-old Tom Glavine is 8-2 after a 13-13 2005 and has lowered his ERA by more than a run. Seventeen more to 300." Here's the link:,1,4519958.story?coll=la-headlines-sports-majorbaseb Go to the second page for the NL East.

According to Peter Gammon's column on today, Julio Franco said that he will retire when he's 50. "Then I will do what I have always wanted to do," says Franco. "I will go to rookie ball and work my way to the majors as a manager. I figure I'll be ready to manage in the big leagues at 56. That's a little older than some, but I'm not worried. I just want to earn everything I get." Well, I guess we can expect him to be back on the Mets as a manager in another 7 years or so...let's start the countdown...

No comments: