I Want it That Way

Somewhere in my house, I have a “Mojo Rising” t-shirt featuring the greatest infield ever. It became the anthem of the 1999 season. After Kenny Rogers forgot how to throw a strike, there was no more “Mojo Risin.”  I also stopped wearing the t-shirt. 

The following season seemingly every team adapted “Who Let the Dogs Out?” as their rally cry. I don’t know that I ever got that song out of my head. I knew something bad was going to happen when the Baha Men performed before Game Four of the 2000 World Series. My fears were realized when I watched David Cone struck out Mike Piazza. Luckily, after the 2000 World Series went away, so did the Baha Men. 

Speaking of the 2000 World Series, N’Sync performed the National Anthem at Game Three of the World Series. It was the wrong boy band. Clearly, this wrong choice set forth a catastrophic chain of events which led to the Yankees winning the World Series. That’s right. I’m blaming N’Sync. 

It seems Juan Uribe wants to right that wrong. He started blasting and dancing to the Backstreet Boy in the locker room. This is one of the reasons why Uribe is such a great addition. He keeps things loose in the clubhouse, and he keeps things fun. We all laughed when we saw it. It was fun. I can see this Backstreet Boys being a thing. 

Why not?  The dumbest things become a thing during a time when your team is winning. Earlier this year, it was the Citi Field raccoon:

 

Then, it was Yoenis Cespedes and the “Rally Parakeet“:
  
Finally, it was David Wright and his cookies:

  
These things take on a life of its own. Personally, I like the Backstreet Boys meme. First, it doesn’t seem as forced as the other ones. Second, it’s fun, and the Mets can have fun with it by blasting it on the loudspeakers. I think we should petition Uribe and the other Mets to use the Backstreet Boys for their walk-up music. It’s as organic as Robin Ventura playing “L.A. Woman” in the clubhouse leading to “Mojo Risin” t-shirts. Finally, the Backstreet Boys are there at the promised land:

Let’s let the Backstreet Boys lead us to heaven. They already seem to know the way. Lets Go Mets!

Is Logan Verrett Getting Another Start?

The strength of the Mets team this year has been their rotation. Even when they weren’t scoring runs, the rotation was able to keep it together for long enough to permit Sandy Alderson to make some moves to improve the offense. 

With the Mets actually having a major league offense, they now seem intent to tempt fate and continue to mess with the rotation.  They got away with it with Logan Verrett having a great game against the Rockies. Reading the tea leaves, Verrett may get another start. 

Verrett did not make an appearance in last night’s game even though they needed him. Instead, we saw Eric O’FlahertyCarlos Torres, and four outs from Tyler Clippard. Now, it appears Clippard will be unavailable tonight. If Verrett was truly available, he should’ve pitched in the eighth or ninth last night. This makes you question why he didn’t make an appearance. Was it because the Mets are giving him another start?

Another cause for suspicion is the Mets handling of the Steven Matz rehab. Initially, the Mets said they wanted to call him up on September 1st and move to a six man rotation. However, the Mets say Matz will need another rehab start before being called back up. That next start would be August 30th. This means he will first be ready to start Friday, September 4th in Miami. That leaves room for one Verrett start. 

In between that time, there’s another opportunity for Verrett to start. His next time up would be tonight. If Verrett comes out of the bullpen tonight, we’ll know he’s out of the rotation. If he doesn’t, barring a Jon Niese complete game, we can reasonably assume, he’s getting another start. 

The Mets may believe Verrett earned another start with his he pitched in Colorado. I think that’s faulty logic. While he pitched well, I think you only start him if you believe he’s one of your five or six best pitchers. I don’t think the Mets believe that. If that’s the case, put him in the bullpen so you don’t burn out your actual good arms like Clippard and Jeurys Familia before the playoffs. 

I think the bullpen is the greater need right now, and I don’t think there is a real innings limit problem. Get Verrett in the bullpen now. 

NOTE: while this is something I drafted after last night’s Mets game, it should be noted this is being published after Ryan Burdette’s excellent tweet. Since I saw this tweet, I felt the need to make this notation before publishing this post. 

Wilmer Flores

Now batting for the New York Mets, the second baseman, Wilmer Flores!

Colon Comes Up Big

The Mets bullpen was left in shambles by a combination of Sandy AldersonJacob deGrom, and Noah Syndergaard. With the injured wrist, we weren’t sure what Bartolo Colon could provide.

Well, it wasn’t always pretty, but he responded with seven innings of shutout ball. He was in trouble in the first. He was aided by a double play in the first inning, but he gets credit for inducing the ground ball. There was trouble again in the fourth, but he fought through that as well. After that, it was fairly smooth sailing. Maybe he was inspired by the pregame Backstreet Boys concert?  Whatever it was, the Mets desperately needed it. 

Unlike Thor yesterday, he was able to hold onto his three run lead. It started in the first inning with a misplayed ball off the bat of Curtis Granderson. The Mets cashed in with a Daniel Murphy RBI ground after Granderson moved to third on Yoenis Cespedes‘ infield single. Cespedes would score on Michael Cuddyer‘s RBI double. The first inning scoring would end with a Michael Conforto RBI single. 

These early runs would prove important as young Phillies starter, Jerad Eickhoff, would settle down after that. The Mets would not score another run off of him. However, as he surpassed 40 pitches in the first, he was only able to go six innings. 

The Mets were able to add three more runs off of a putrid Phillies bullpen. In the sixth, Juan Uribe singled home Conforto. In the eighth, Cuddyer hit a two run homerun making the score 8-0. It should be noted again that Cuddyer is healthy and contributing. 

Then in the eighth, the Mets sowed off their own putrid bullpen options. I don’t care if it’s a 20 run lead, you don’t let  Eric O’Flaherty pitch to righties. He did. He couldn’t get them or the lefties out. He left with two down, runners on first and second and one already across home plate. Carlos Torres came in and promptly allowed a two run double. 

Here’s where I think Terry Collins is starting to get better. He said enough of this nonsense and brought in Tyler Clippard. Clippard allowed an RBI single to Frenchy, but he then struck out Darnell Sweeney to put an end to the nonsense leaving the score at 6-4. 

In the ninth, the Mets then did something good teams do. They tacked on a run by taking advantage of a mistake. When Juan Lagares reached on an E-6, Granderson moved him to third with a hustle double. When the sweep tag was applied, the ball dislodged from the second baseman’s mitt. An alert Lagares scored easily from third. 
Cespedes then knocked in Granderson with an RBI triple. Cespedes then scored on a Murphy sac fly. Just like that the score was 9-4 removing the save situation permitting Collins to save Jeurys Familia. In place of Familia would be Clippard, who got to bat in the ninth, to permit him to record the four out save. 

It should’ve been a surprise to no one that David Wright didn’t play. He’s not quite ready to play everyday, so I have no problem easing him back (pun intended). I’m shocked Logan Verrett did not pitch. There were multiple spots to use him in the eighth. He could’ve been used in the ninth to give Clippard a blow. Him not being used tonight makes me nervousVery nervous

What I’m getting less and less nervous about is the division. With the Nationals loss, the Mets are now up 6.5 games with six head-to-head match ups remaining. The Nationals no longer have their own fate in their hands. 

Let Us Escape

It’s Wednesday, and it has already been a hard week. On Monday, people’s 401(k) took a hit with the stock market plunge. Today, there was the brutal on-air murder of a reporter and her cameraman. People go to sports to get away from things like this. 

If the sports media doesn’t get it, take their suggestion and don’t follow them. Don’t read them. They don’t want your opinions or your feedback. They don’t respect you. Don’t read them. 

I’m not wasting my energy with people like that today. Today’s not a day for scoring points. Today’s not the day to be the smart or funny person in the room. You’re angry and want a debate then go ahead, have it. However, if you really want to show everyone how smart and/or angry you are, do it in more than 140 characters. If Fox Sports doesn’t publish it, it’s probably because you’re a sports writer on a sports site. 

You want to have the debate?  Have it with your congressman or Senator. I say that for both sides of the gun control debate. You accomplish nothing by spouting off on Twitter other than trying to get people to tell you that you’re right. Instead of trying to get people to tell you how right you are, pray for the families. 

That’s what I’m going to do. I’m also going to keep my opinions to myself because this is a sports site. You come here for sports, specifically the Mets. You’re not here for political theatre, and I’m not going to set the stage. 

So enjoy tonight’s game. Take a couple of hours to get away from everything. It’ll be there after the game. 

Need Fallguy League

I’m getting tired of the NFL. I get more sick of it as a parent. Here are some fun story lines from the past year:

  1. Ray Rice punches out his fiancée in an elevator;
  2. Greg Hardy beats his girlfriend, allegedly pays her off so she doesn’t testify, signs a free agent contract, and he appeals his suspension; and
  3. Adrian Peterson beat his son with a switch. 

These are just some of the lowlights. The NFL’s advice on how to deal with this and other crimes? Get a “fall guy!”

Notice who else is in the video?  Cris Carter in his Hall of Fame jacket. Now, Cris Carter has some former drug problems and has had I problems giving unsolicited advice on the topic. Now, I’m not suggesting his past history precludes him from giving advice. Rather, it’s his past history that makes him uniquely qualified to give out advice. I just can’t believe his advice is to get a “fall guy.”

The other person in the video was Warren Sapp. Like Rice, Hardy, and Peterson, he would also face domestic violence charges. This should have come as no shock because he’s been previously charged with domestic battery. Those charges were dropped. Subsequently, he became an NFL Network analyst and advisor to rookies on how to handle yourself in the NFL. 

Now, I love the Giants. The past three Super Bowls were some of my favorite sports memories. However, how can I sit there and support this product when they’re constantly in the news cycle for the wrong reasons?  How can I support them when their advice to players is to get a “fall guy.”  The NFL supported this message as it was on their website until the public outcry. 

This is disturbing. However, I’ll admit that I’m going to watch this season, but I’m also dangerously close to checking out.  I may not let my son watch.  I want to wait until he’s much older to explain why some people beat women and children. I’m not looking to shelter him from the world. Rather, I’m waiting until it’s a more age appropriate conversation. 

The NFL talks about protecting the shield. I think they need to start protecting women and children instead of looking for scapegoats. 

Hahn & Humpty

As I’ve said before, I’m a fan of Hahn & Humpty. I’m thrilled they’re replacing the miscast political activist Mike Lupica. 

Hahn & Humpty are smart, and they talk about all sports . . . including hockey. Hahn is an old Newsday reporter, who worked the Islander and Knicks beats. He’s well connected, and he uses this to keep his listeners informed.  Rick DiPietro is the former Islanders goalie, who used to drive me nuts because he seemed to only play well against the Rangers. 

Together, they have good chemistry. I’ve found them to be both funny and informative. They’ll get into it with their listeners on the air and over Twitter. They understand what it means to have a radio show in 2015.  They can create real competition for WFAN and Joe & Evan. 

If you’re like me, you hate commercials . . . especially the Kars 4 Kids jingle. I also am diving for the dial when Joe Benigno has another Sabermetrics or Billy Beane rant. As I’ve said before, I don’t understand why Sabermetrics bothers people. You don’t like it? Great don’t bring it up on the show. It’s your show, and by extension, I’m presuming you have control over content. 

Now, Hahn & Humpty is behind the eight ball everyday. First, they follow six straight non-New York, non-baseball sports talk. Joe & Evan enjoy the lead-in from Boomer & Carton, who are number one in their time slot. Joe & Evan already have a strong following and are number one in their time slot. 

They also have to fend off hack attacks from hacks like Bob Raissman. Seriously, where does he come off?  He has the gaul to attack they’re credibility due to Hahn’s relationship with MSG, but he fails to mention both he and Lupica work for the New York Daily News. Also, Raissman is no stranger to conflicts of interest. He appears on Daily News Live on SNY. I must’ve missed his articles criticizing this show. 

I really hope ESPN Radio gives Hahn & Humpty a chance. It’s going to take a while to make a dent, but they’re certainly capable. I encourage everyone to listen for a few days. I know I will. If you’re interested, they go on the air five minutes after this post. 

Wilmer Flores

Now batting for the New York Mets, the second baseman, Wilmer Flores! 

Bowa is Crazy

As I said last night, what Hansel Robles did last night was bush league because he threw the ball with the batter’s head down. Travis d’Arnaud tried to slow him down. Robles went ahead. 

Technically, Robles wasn’t wrong. The batter was in the box. The home plate umpire never called time. Instead, he called time AFTER the pitch was thrown. The pitch should’ve been called a strike. The home plate umpire lost control of the AB and then the game. 

Jeff Francoeur came out of the dugout looking to defend his teammate. Larry Bowa also came out of the dugout to . . . challenge Daniel Murphy?  Yup, he had a problem with Murphy’s bat flip from the PRIOR game. Finally, the umpire threw Bowa out of the game. I’m glad because the man was unhinged. People who have followed the game since his playing days are not surprised. 

I get the unwritten rules of the game. They exist to prevent hot heads like Larry Bowa and the obnoxious Larry Anderson from having pitchers throw at players heads. However, the problem is people like Bowa and Anderson use it as an excuse to throw at people’s heads. 

There is a right way and wrong way to play the game. Part of playing the right way is to address problems from a particular game within that game. After the supposed egregious bat flip, Murphy batted one more time in the ninth inning in a 16-7 game. That’s the time to drill him. 

The Phillies didn’t do it. They issue then became moot. Next time Bowa has a problem, he should direct his players to address it during the game. When he doesn’t, or if he’s overruled by the manager, he needs to shut up about it. He needs to respect the game. 

You do that by handling in game beefs within that game. I’m pretty sure there’s something about that in the unwritten rule book. 

Thor Forgets His Hammer

Everyone can talk about the home-road splits with Noah Syndergaard. However, if you think of yourself as a future ace, you don’t have games like Thor had tonight. 

He was handed a 3-0 lead by another “Feat of Strength” by Yoenis Cespedes and Thor’s own RBI single. He gave it back and couldn’t make it past the fifth inning. This was important because the Mets have a really short bullpen. Normally, you’d ask your starter to get some extra innings with a short bullpen. The smarts couldn’t do that because of the phantom innings limit issue. 

What we have instead was another day with a Mets reliever going multiple innings.  Today, it was Hansel Robles‘ turn (more on him later).  He pitched well only allowing one of the inherited runners from Eric O’Flaherty to score. I’m assuming the Mets will not have him and Sean Gilmartin available. Plus Logan Verrett will only be available for one inning. This is not the situation you want to be in with Bartolo Colon on the mound tomorrow, reagardless of his health

Thor was bailed out in the top of the sixth when Travis d’Arnaud, who was inexplicably batting eighth, received an RBI from a bases loaded walk to tie the game. Michael Cuddyer then pinch hit for Thor and hit a two run single to put the Mets up 6-4. This is the latest example showing Cuddyer may still have something to contribute

Tyler Clippard had a rough eighth inning. He left 1st and 2nd with two outs for Jeurys Familia, who came on for the four out save. He induced a groundballs to David Wright to get out of the jam unscathed. He then pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to secure the 6-5 win. Now with Familia going four outs for a save, we now have to question his availability for tomorrow. 
Back to Robles. What he did was bush league. It was bush league not because he quick pitched. It was bush league because Cody Asche‘s head was down when he threw the ball. The Phillies dugout was rightfully upset. Normally, I’d argue that Jeff Francoeur should’ve been ejected, but he was protecting his teammate. The dugouts emptied, but neither team really crossed the lines. 

My overall issue is with the home plate umpire. You either instruct the batter to get in the box or have your hands up the whole time to let Robles know he can’t throw a pitch. The umpire needs to be aware Robles likes to quick pitch, and he needs to umpire the game accordingly. 

It should also be noted that Wright’s second game back wasn’t as successful as his first. He didn’t look as good at the plate. He swung at a lot of balls off the plate and out of the strike zone. Overall, he went 0-4 with a walk and two strikeouts. On the bright side, he was better in the field. Regardless, like last night, this was just one game, and I still have faith in him

Ironically, despite the predicament Thor left the Mets in, he notched his first career road win. The Mets have problems to deal with tomorrow with an even shorter bullpen and no Wright tomorrow. At least they took care of business tonight and still lead the divisio by 5.5 games. Let’s enjoy tonight and worry about tomorrow.