A Farewell To Arms

Evan Pritchard for Amazine

On Tuesday, May 10th, I read the following war report in the newspaper, and decided it was time to return to my swashbuckling war novel about Mets’ injuries. The article, by Steve Popper, said that “…after just four starts with the team, [Chris] Young’s season is almost certainly over. It was a day in which the Mets also received news that a second opinion by Dr. James Andrews on Jenrry Mejia concurred with the recommendation of Tommy John surgery. [Young’s] injury is the same one that has sidelined [Johann] Santana since last September. [Tommy John surgery] is the same one that has kept Mark Prior and Chien-Ming Wang sidelined since they underwent the procedure.”

I read these words and my blood ran cold. It was like that time I was in that rat-infested army hospital  in Abruzzi during World War I.  (harp glissando, fade)

A Farewell to Arms

Excerpts from my highly original novel on the Mets’ pitching situation, with apologies to Ernest Hemingway

BOOK ONE

CHAPTER I

In the early summer of that year we played in a stadium that looked across the river and to the Bronx. The water was not clear, but was orange and blue, our team colors,  due to the pollution. I watched the players running sprints each morning, and the dust they raised powdered the infield grass with lyme dust as well.

The seats in the outfield were brown and bare. Beyond that there were really good pitching battles being fought at Yankee Stadium just a few miles away and we could see highlights on the Diamond Vision, and listen to John Sterling between our own innings, broadcasting the Yankees’ battles. But our own pitching battles were not going well.  Sometimes at night we heard people milling around outside the stadium, and we thought they were fans, but in fact they were tourists looking for mango treats from the Hispanic  sidewalk vendors. We had some big bats, and bat boys lugged around equipment in team bags, the long barrels of the “guns” left uncovered out the side of the duffel bags. But we had noone to swing those bats, and we had no pitching.

To the north there was Boston, and Fenway Park, and there were battles for the pennant there as well, but not necessarily successful.  There were mists over the river and rain created mud along the basepaths. Our pitchers were wet in their caps, their gloves were wet and their cap bills as well. So many of them had huge casts on their arms that they bulged forward under their rain capes so that the men, passing on the road, marched as though they were six months gone with child.

There were small golf carts going back and forth from the bullpen to the dugout going very fast; Usually there was a pitching coach on the seat with the driver and more coaches in the back seat. If one of the coaches in the back was a very small and sitting between two beleaguered owners, he himself so small that you could not see his face  but only the top of his cap and his narrow back, and if the cart went especially fast, it was probably the GM.  He came out this way nearly every day to see how things were going, and things went very badly.

At the start of April came the permanent rain and with the rain came the pitching injuries like cholera. In the end only four of our pitchers were stricken down. It could have been worse.

 CHAPTER II

The end of April and there were many victories. The tie for last place was captured and there were victories both at home and abroad. The rungs beyond last  place in the standings could not be taken. The Braves seemed to want to come back to Citifield some day, because they did not bombard us to destroy us, but only a little, in a military way.

The third baseman was young and blushed easily and wore a uniform like the rest of us but with a cross in dark velvet above the left breast pocket. The team captain spoke in Spanish, for my doubtful benefit.

Third baseman today with girl,” the captain said, looking at the thirdbaseman and at me. The thirdbaseman smiled and blushed and shook his head. This captain baited him often.

“Not true?” asked the captain. “Today I see third baseman with girl.”

“No,” said the third baseman. The other players were amused at the baiting.

“Thirdbaseman not with girls,” said the captain. “Thirdbaseman never with girls,” he explained to me.

“The Times writer wants the Phils to win the battle for the NL East,” the General manager said. “He loves Charlie Manuel. That’s where the real money is. Did you ever read “The Philadelphia Story?

“Wash your mouth!” said the third baseman.

“Its a great book. I will get it for you,” said the base coach. “You might end up there, with our shortstop.”

“You should go to Philly, or Cleveland, or Colorado….the top teams….”

“He should go to Boston,”

“He ought to go to St. Louis.”

“He doesn’t want to see peasants. Let him go to centers of culture. Let him join the Yankees.”

“When you go, bring your MP 3. Get some good opera downloads.”

“Don’t bring  Sinatra. He bellows.”

“Don’t you wish you could bellow like Sinatra?”

“He bellows…I say he bellows!”

“Come on,” said the captain. “We go to alehouse before it shuts.”

“Good night,’ said the third baseman.

“Good night,” he said.

 

CHAPTER III

When I came to Philadelphia, the front  runners, there were many more big guns, like Ryan Howard and the spring had come. The field was green and a breeze came from the sea. I saw the town with the hill and the old castle above it.  I looked in the door of the big room and saw the General Manager sitting as his desk, the window open and the sunlight coming into the room. I did not know whether to go in and report or go upstairs first and clean up. I decided to go on upstairs. The room I shared with the reliever looked out on the ball field. The captain shouted, “Thirdbaseman not happy without girls.”

“I am happy,” said the third baseman.

“Third baseman not happy. Third baseman wants Phillies to win the NL East. The third baseman shook his head.

“No,” he said,

“Thirdbaseman never attacks with men in scoring position. Don’t you not want to score some runs?”

“No, if it is a game, we must attack.”

“Must attack, shall attack.”

The thirdbaseman nodded.

 

CHAPTER IV

The battery working out  in the bullpen woke me in the morning and I saw the sun coming through the window and I got out of bed. I went to the window and looked out. The base paths were moist and the grass was wet with dew. The battery fired the ball back and forth and the sound came each time as a blow and shook the windows. I went downstairs.

Ten Phillies’ pitchers were lined up shoulder to shoulder under the long shed. They were top-heavy, blunt-nosed Aces, their uniforms gray, their bodies built like moving vans.

“Do they ever shell that battery?” I asked one of the Phillies’ coaches.

“No, mister Santana. Never. They are protected by the good infielders.”

I was called to the local hospital to get my arm checked out.  It was hot walking through hthe town but the sun was starting to go down and it was pleasant. The Philly hospital was a big villa built by Germans before the war. Miss Barkley was in the garden. Another baseball player was with her, Jenrry Mejia. We saw their white uniforms through the trees and walked towards them. The relief pitcher saluted. I saluted too but more modestly.

“How do you do?” Miss Barkley said. “You’re not a Philllies fan are you?”

“Oh, no.”
“What an odd thing, to be with the Mets organization.”

“I’m not really with the Mets. I only live in the ambulance.”

“It’s odd though. Why did you join them?”
“I don’t know,” I said. “There isn’t always an explanation for everything.”

“Oh, isn’t there? I was brought up to believe there was.”

“That’s awfully nice.”

“Are the Mets near the front runners?”
“No, not quite.”

“I like the uniforms. They are beautiful. Are they going to have an offensive?”
“Yes.”

“They they’ll have to work hard. I had a boyfriend who was a Mets pitcher. I had a silly idea that he might come to the hospital where I was working with a finger cut, and a bandage around his head, after pitching against the Phils. Or shot by a line drive to the shoulder. Something picturesque.”
“This is the picturesque Citizen’s Bank Ball Park.” I said.

“Yes,” she said. “He didn’t have a finger cut. They blew him all to bits.”

I didn’t say anything.

“Do you suppose the Mets’ ill fortunes will go on?”

“No!”
“What’s to stop it?”
“It will crack somewhere.”

“Will the Phils crack?”

“No, they did very well last summer.”

“Anybody can crack.”

“The Yankees too.”

“No,” she said. “I think not.”

CHAPTER V

The next afternoon I went to call on Miss Barkley again, and again she was  with injured teammate Jenrry Mejia. The head nurse said,” There’s a war on you know. A war for the NL Pennant.”

I said I knew.

“You’re the Los Angeles Angel in the Mets army?”

“Yes, ma’am.”
“How did you happen to do that? Why didn’t you join up with us Phillies?”
“I don’t know,”  I said. “Could I join now?”
“I’m afraid not now. Tell me. Why did you join up with the Mets?”
“I was in Queens, and I spoke Spanish.”

“Oh,” she said. “I’m learning it. Beautiful language.”

 “You may see her later, but don’t bring a lot of Mets fans.”
“Not even for the beautiful language, or for the beautiful uniforms.”

The day had been hot. I had been up to Citizens Bank Park.  It was there that the offensive was to begin.

Everybody was in the dugout. There were racks of bats standing to call for help if the pitching got too beat up. It was quiet, hot and dirty.  I looked over the guard rail at the enemy lines. None of the Phils were in sight. I had a drink with one of the coaches in the dugout and then left.

I went back to the hospital. “Good night,” I said.

“Good night, Mr. Jenrry,” she said to my sidekick.

“Don’t write anything that will bother the Philadelphia reporters.”

“Don’t worry. I will only talk about what a beautiful place Philly is and how brave my Mets are to be here.”

“That will be nice. Good-night Catherine.”

“I’ll see you at the game,” Miss Barkley said.

 

 

STAY  TUNED TO AMAZINE FOR THE NEXT EXCITING INSTALLMENT OF

A FAREWELL TO ARMS, The  Saga of the Mets’ Pitching Injuries

With apologies to Ernest Hemmingway

Scioscia sixth in a line of highly successful managers

It isn’t often that the editors of Amazine enjoy someone else’s article so much that they decide to  reprint it, with actual credit given. But this is one of those situations. This “Amazine-like” article was posted Monday on MLB by one of MLB’s researchers. It deserves a second look.

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Mike Scioscia, who recorded his 1,000th win as a manager in the Angels’ 6-5 victory Sunday over the Indians, is part of a managerial legacy that dates almost to the beginning of professional baseball.

Consider this:

Ned Hanlon became player-manager for the National League’s Baltimore Orioles in 1892. He won 1,313 games as a manager, elected to the Hall of Fame in 1996. A 19-year-old utility player named John McGraw was on that Baltimore team.

play video
Scioscia on winning 1,000 games
00:01:39
5/8/11: Angels manager Mike Scioscia talks about winning 1,000 games with the Angels after they beat the Indians, 6-5
Tags: milestone, More From This Game, Los Angeles Angels, Mike Scioscia
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      McGraw succeeded Hanlon in 1899 and later managed the New York Giants for 31 seasons, winning a total of 4,769 games. He won four straight NL pennants, from 1921-24, and went into the Hall of Fame in 1937. One of his players was second baseman Frankie Frisch.

      Frisch, another Hall of Famer, won 1,137 games as a manager for the Cardinals, Pirates and Cubs. In 1936, Walter Alston had his first and only Major League at-bat for the Cardinals.

      Alston managed the Dodgers from 1954-76, winning 2,040 games. He was elected to Cooperstown in 1983. Among the players he managed was left-hander Tommy Lasorda, who later became Alston’s third-base coach and successor, winning 1,599 games in 21 seasons. That got him to the Hall of Fame in 1997.

      Scioscia was the Dodgers’ primary catcher for 13 seasons under Lasorda. Hanlon to McGraw to Frisch to Alston to Lasorda to Scioscia: More than 9,800 victories in 120 seasons by six managers.

      Scioscia is the winningest manager in Angels’ history, far ahead of Bill Rigney’s 625. Scioscia is the 56th manager to reach 1,000 wins, and the 23rd to have at least 1,000 with one team. He is the fifth active manager with at least 1,000 wins, joining Tony La Russa (2,658 through Sunday), Jim Leyland (1,510), Dusty Baker (1,423) and Bruce Bochy (1,292). Among the five, Scioscia’s .550 winning percentage is the best.

      Jose Valverde
      Detroit’s Jose Valverde collected the 200th save of his career. Valverde, who led the Majors with 47 saves in 2007 and led the NL with 44 in 2008, is the 41st pitcher to reach at least 200.

      Jose Reyes
      The Mets’ Jose Reyes went 2-for-5 with his Major League-leading sixth triple of the season. Reyes is the 10th player in the past 20 seasons to have at least six three-baggers through his team’s first 34 games, and first to have so many in 34 games 2007, when he had six.

      Anibal Sanchez
      The Marlins’ Anibal Sanchez took a no-hitter into the seventh inning, finished his day with seven innings of two-hit, no-run ball, and struck out a career-high 11 with no walks. It was the seventh time this season a pitcher has reached double digits in strikeouts and issued no walks.

      The Marlins defeated the Nationals, 8-0, to improve to 20-13. The 20 wins through 33 games is the best-ever for the franchise, surpassing the 19-14 record of the 2004, 2005 and 2008 clubs.

      Here and there
      • The Rays beat the Orioles, 5-3, for their eighth straight win on the road — the best single-season streak ever for the franchise.

      Tampa Bay is the 12th team in the past four years to win at least eight straight road games. The others: 2010 Cubs (8), 2010 Reds (8), 2010 Rangers (8), 2009 Braves (10), 2009 Rockies (9), 2009 Angels (8), 2009 Yankees (8), 2008 Indians (10), 2008 Cubs (9), 2008 Brewers (9) and 2008 Royals (8).

      The Rays’ team OPS is .855 and the team ERA is 2.13 over the course of the winning streak.

      • The Pirates defeated the Astros, 5-4, to improve to 17-17. It is the best record for the club through 34 games since 2002, when they were 18-16.

      • Derek Jeter went 4-for-6, hit his first two home runs of the season, and increased his career hit total to 2,960. Jeter, who has 10 career multi-homer games, is one hit shy of tying Sam Crawford for 29th on the all-time list.

      The Yankees hit five home runs in their 12-5 win over the Rangers. It was the 17th time they have hit two this season, having played 32 games. The Yankees are the 12th team in the live-ball era to have at least 17 multi-homer games in their first 32 contests. The high mark of 23 games is held by the 2000 Cardinals. The American League high is held by the 1964 Twins, who had at least two home runs in 20 of their first 32 games.

      • The Athletics’ Tyler Ross allowed two runs on six hits in six innings and picked up his second win of the year, while the Braves’ Jair Jurrjens allowed one run in 6 1/3 innings and improved to 4-0. The Braves and Athletics are Nos. 1-2 in the Majors, with 23 and 22, for the most starts of six-plus innings and no more than two runs allowed.

      The Phillies have had 20 such games, followed by the Cardinals with 19. The Indians, Tigers, Padres and Mariners have each had 17 such games.

      Jurrjens has gone at least six innings and allowed no more than two runs in all five of his starts. It is the longest such streak to begin a season by a Braves pitcher since Tom Glavine began the 2002 campaign with seven consecutive starts of six-plus innings pitched and two or fewer runs allowed.

      Roger Schlueter is senior researcher for MLB Productions. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

      Day Late and Dollar Short on Mother’s Day

      Evan Pritchard (c) 2011 for Amazine

       Mets Leave Winning Run On Deck in Suspenseful Loss to Dodgers

      Pink bats for mother’s day didn’t help the Mets too much today as they lost to the former Brooklyn Trolley Car Dodgers (formerly the Superba’s) 4 to 2. They had a number of chances to tie the game in the last three innings, but failed to get enough key timely hits to put the right numbers of runs across to make up for one or two pitching mistakes. Call it a lost opportunity to create tentative possible opportunities to get back in the game. On a positive note, alot of the mothers of the Dodger players were alittle happier today watching their sons beat the xxxxx  out of the Mets’ mothers’ sons on a bright sunny day.

      The Mets dropped to 4th worst in the National League at 15 and 19 (.441)  If they had won the game, they would have ended the day at 16 and 18, (.471) 7th worst and tied with the Nationals. The Dodgers, by losing, would have wound up  15 and 20 at .428.

      Here are the Race for the Worst in the NL standings as they really are right now.

      1. Houston ……….13    21   .382

      2. San Diego…….13  20  .394

      3. Milwaukee……14   20    .412

      4. New York Mets 15  19  .441

      Here is the Race for the Worst in the NL standings as they would be if the Mets had won:

      1. Houston…… 13  21   .382

      2. San Diego….13  20   .394

      3. Milwaukee…..14   20   .412

      4. Los Angeles..15 20  .428

      5. Chicago……15   18    .455

      6. Arizona ….. 15  17   .469

      7. Washington…16  18  .471

      8. New York Mets..16 18  .471

      As you can see, if the Mets won today (Sunday) they would be tied for 7th worst with the Nationals, and that means they would no longer have been dead last in the NL East, but would have climbed to a tie for last place.

       REYES’ MOTHER PROUD OF HIM FOR LEADING ALL HITTERS IN THE NATIONAL LEAGUE WHO HAVE AT LEAST 135 AT BATS

      National League Batting Champion Race

      100+ AT BATS

      1. M Holliday  104 AB  .394

      2. L. Berkman  103  AB  .388

      3. K. Ethier   132  AB   .371

      4. Polanca   126 AB   .365

      5. J. Votto  116 AB  .345

      6. B. Wallace   109 AB  .339

      7. M. Kemp  133   .338

      8. J. Reyes  148  .331

      As you see, if the minimum qualifying number of at bats is 100, a reasonable number, Reyes is number eight in the race for the NL batting championship.

       

      125+ AT BATS

      1. Ethier  132 AB  .371

      2. Polanca  126 AB   .365

      3.  Kemp   133 AB .338

      4.  Reyes  148 AB .331

      If we raise the bar to a minimum of 125 at bats, Reyes places fourth in the NL batting crown race.

       However, if we cleverly raise the minimum to 135 at bats, we see Reyes take the batting crown unchallenged, which has something to do with the fact that he has the most at bats.

      135+ AT BATS

      1. Reyes  148 AB .331

      REYES MOTHER PROUD OF HIM FOR RETAKING LEAD IN NL TRIPLES RACE

      With a triple today, Reyes has now retaken the lead in the triples race for major league baseball with 5. His 143 at bats is number two in the major leagues, and leads the NL.  His 47 hits are number one in MLB. His 21 runs scored is #28 in the NL  and his 11 doubles is #11 in the major leagues, but #4 in the NL.

      Reyes’ has 12 stolen bases for the number two position in the MLB. Burne has 13 stolen bases. If Reyes had stolen one more  base he’d be tied for first in the MLB and his mother would be proud of him for taking the lead; as it is, she must compete with Burne’s mother in the pride category at number two.

      MRS. BELTRAN PROUD AS LITTLE CARLOS TAKES LEAD IN NL DOUBLES RACE 

      Beltran leads the NL with 12 doubles which is number 4 in the MLB. Beltran has 5 home runs which is #19 in the NL, but if he had one more he’d be #13. Beltran has 18 RBIs which is good for #21 in the league.

       

      RON DAVIS’ WIFE RELATIVELY PROUD OF THEIR SON FOR BEING IN THE TOP TEN

      Ike Davis has 7 home runs which is sixth best in the NL; but if he had hit one more he’d be in 4th place in the home run derby. He has  23 RBI’s which is good for 7th place in the NL, but if he had batted in one more he’d now be #5 in the NL in that category. His runs scored is 20 (#32) and his hits number 36 (#30). Ike’s famous father Ron is probably taciturn and tight lipped about his son’s 20 runs scored and 36 hits, though these are healthy numbers. Tough love from dad may help push those numbers up by Father’s Day. Meanwhile, I’m sure his mom is very happy with his 7 homers, what with all he has to struggle through on the field with the bright lights, the mosquitos, the allergies, and the bumps and bruises.

       

       

       

       

       

      Mets Need Tighter Stats Races to Keep Fans Hopeful

      David Wright is number 9 on NL Home Run Leaders List with 5, but One More Brings Him to 5th and a Spot on the MLB homepage.

      baseball stats.jpgThe Mets are a long way out of first place right now. When you yell “Let’s Go Mets!” you need to accompany that with the modern-day sports radio equivalent of fine print, those innanely quick compressed speech sotto-voce disclaimers that follow many commercials nowadays. You need to say “Let’s Go Mets…realistically speaking….. out of the cellar and also in terms of individual player stats! 

      When you say “Let’s Go Mets” you have to provide footnotes defining your terms to the satisfaction of nearby Yankee and Phillies fans.  In this case”let’s” means  “allow them”, “go” meaning to move  forward towards our realistic short term goals,  boldly out of last place and also into the top five in individual NL stats. When you say Mets, you may want to specify “trade bait” and “free agent” stars not long for New York as opposed to the small time players who are likely to be left standing in September.

      David Wright is one swing away from the top five on the NL home run list. Ricky Weeks look out.

      NL HOME RUN LEADERS

      1 Ryan Braun  MIL 9 homers 

      2. Alfonso Soriano Chic Cubs 7 homers

      2. Albert Pujols  St L  7 homers

      2. Troy Tulowitzki Colo 7 homers

      5. Ricky Weeks    (plus 3 other players) 6 homers

      9. David Wright NY Mets 5 homers

      Since the MLB site mainly focuses on the top five of everything, it is very important for David Wright to hit that 6th homer to  tie with Ricky Weeks for 5th so that Mets fans can cheer for him with more authenticity, and see his face on the MLB homepage without having to click additional tabs for stats.

      heroes.jpg

      David Wright is 8th in runs scored with 18, but if he hit one more he would be 4th, and would make  the top 5. Here is the runs scored list:

      NL RUNS SCORED LEADERS

      1. Braun 23

      2. Votto 22

      3. Philips 20

      4.Berkman St. L 19

      4. Fowler Col 19

      4. Kemp LA 19

      4. Weeks Mil 19

      8. Davis Wright Mets 18

      8. Bourn  18

      Reyes is #2 in stolen bases with 8, (one behind Pittsburgh’s Tabata who has 9) and  tied with 4 other players, and #1 in triples with 2, (tied with 11 others) Reyes should focus on getting more stolen bases, regardless of their affect on the game so he can pass Tabata and be number one in two categories.

      Ike Davis is number four in the league in terms of RBI’s; way to go Ike. You saved us alot of clicking and dragging.

      NL RBI LEADERS

      1. Fielder  23

      2. Braun  21

      3. Howard 20

      4. Davis 18 (tied with others). Davis should focus on getting three more RBIs than these other gentlemen so he’ll rise to second place.

      NL SLUGGING LEADERS WITH 80 OR MORE AT BATS

      1. Braun .721

      2. Tulowitski .674

      3. Votto  .627

      4. Kemp .612

      5. IKE DAVIS .600

      Ike is in the top 5 but MLB does not list by 80 or more at bats. Sorry Ike!

      Beltran is having a great year for doubles! That was always his favorite. He is third in the league right now. You can see him on MLB’s homepage under doubles.

      NL DOUBLES LEADERS

      1. Ethier 9

      2. Fowler 9

      3. Beltran  8 

      (Davis has 7, but so do alot of other people)

      NL BATTING LEADERS

      1. Holliday  .407

      2. Ethier  .379

      3. Kemp  .379

      4. Berkman  .378

      5. Votto .373

      6. IKE DAVIS .338

       

      Votto, Berkman and Kemp are bunched up, a few points apart, and Davis has a long way to go behind them. MLB could really help him and the Mets by extending the NL leaders lists to six places, but that is probably not going to happen. The only solution is for the individual Mets such as Davis to play harder, which is not such a bad idea when you think about it.

       

       

       

       

      Mets Skyrocket to 7th Worst in Baseball with Jason Bay in the Lineup

      After winning five straight games against Houston (.391) Arizona (.455) and Washington (.455) the Mets are feeling on top of the world. That doesn’t mean they are actually on top of anything, but it just feels like it. Their situation has something to do with losing nine straight two weeks ago, but things are certainly looking better since Jason Bay walked into our “yard” and caught the chickens off their guard. In fact, the Mets have won every single game Bay has played in this year!

      Jason Bay came back to the land of the living on April 21st and went 1 for 4 in his first game of the season, helping the Mets beat Houston. The following day he went 1-4 against Arizona and the Mets won. On April 23rd, he went 2-4 against AZ and the Mets won again. The following day he went 1-3 and the Mets swept the Diamondbacks. On Tuesday April 26th, Bay went 2-4 raising his average to .368 and helping the Mets beat Washington 6 to 4. I don’t know what magic he has in that bat but let’s be reaalllly nice to him, okay? He seems to have what the Mets need, and it probably isn’t good looks.

      Bay is not the only one doing well. Ike Davis is at .338 with 7 doubles one triple and 4 homers with 18 rbis and a slugging %%% of .600. Reyes is batting .314 with 6 doubles, 2 triples and 6 ribbies with 8 stolen bases.  Wright, although at .247 has 5 homers  (with some near misses!) and 15 rbis. Beltran’s 8 doubles and 3 homers (.289) count for something as well.

      Once touted as the worst team in baseball, the Mets have now leaped into a three way tie for seventh worst in baseball, and third worst in the National League. They are still three games under .500, so the loveable losers label is not in danger yet. Here are the standings for the worst in baseball.

      RACE FOR THE CELLAR;

      The Worst Records in Baseball

      San Diego  9  15  .375

      Seatlle   9  15    .375

      Houston 9  14   .391

      Chicago WS 10  14  .417

      Minneapolis  9   12   .429

      Baltimore   9  12   .429

      Tied for seventh worst:

      NY Mets  10  13  .435

      Chicago Cubs  10  13  .435

      Pittsburgh   10  13  .435

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        If the Mets jason bay.jpgwin tonight against Washington, it will be a major breakthrough for the team. They will skyrocket to 11 and 13 for a .458 win/loss record. Washington will go to 11 and 13 as well. The Mets would then be tied for last instead of dead last in their division.  If Boston loses, they too will go to 11 and 13 as would Arizona if they lost. This means the Mets might find themselves in a six way tie for seventh  worst.

      In any case, we need to send good energy to Jason Bay. Apparently all he needs to do is get one hit and the Mets are so happy they forget all their financial woes and win the game.

       

       

       

       

      A MET TO FORGET

       

      Ollie Perez 2010 Season Worst Met Pitching  Since Sherman “Roadblock”  Jones Hit the Wall in 1962

      Evan Pritchard

      Oliver Perez’ contract in 2008 was one of the fattest in Mets history, and there was no reason to think he’d be a Hall of Famer then. His contract was a “black box derivative,”  a huge gamble in any case foisted on us by people who are now looking a lot like Bernie Madoff. The Wilpons  gave him three years (2009-10-11) for $32 million in play money, which now has become oh so real. We need to research as fans and find out if Perez is somehow related to Bernie Madoff . Now the Mets, who are “too big to fall” are in need of a bailout, not only financially but in terms of pitching. We need a miracle, someone pure and holy like Andy Pettit  to pitch for us for free if we’re going to get to the promised land.

      Of course, rumors have been bandied about that I’m going to come in and be the fifth starter, but these are only rumors. I’m not saying I’m MUCH better than Ollie Perez on the mound, but I’d work $11 million a year cheaper!  Ollie now has an 18.00 ERA in spring training. Hey, I can do that!

      How bad was $12 million a year Ollie Perez in 2010? Really bad. One for the ages.

      To find a pitching season that bad you have to go back to 1962, the worst Mets team, and look at the worst pitcher on that team, (at least that year) Sherman  Jarvis “Roadblock”  Jones, who was promptly booted out of baseball for good before the end of the year.

      image_php_302604.jpgSherman Jones; a Met to Remember

      Compare their stats, Ollie from 2010 and Jones from 1962. It’s an educational experience.

      In 2010 Ollie was 0-5, even worse than Jones who went 0-4.

      Ollie’s ERA was 6.80, just under Jones’ whose ERA was 7.71 in ’62.

      Ollie had 7 starts and 10 relief appearances, Jones had 3 starts and 5 relief appearances.

      Ollie pitched 46.1 innings, Jones pitched 23.1 innings; half the innings. In 2010 Ollie got paid $259,180 per inning, more than Jones made his whole life in baseball.

      Neither had any complete games, saves, shutouts or wins. But you guessed that.

      Ollie gave up 54 hits, Jones only 31.

      Ollie gave up 37 runs, Jones 22.

      Ollie gave up 9 homers, Jones 3, one third the homers!

      Ollie beaned a total of 4 batters. Jones hit only  2.

      Ollie had 42 bases on balls to  37 strikeouts. Jones had 8 walks to 11 strikeouts. (in other words, in half the innings, Jones had 1/5 the walks!)

      Ollie had a WHIP of 2.07. That means better than two men reached first base every single inning, which means that 19 men reached first or worse every complete game he pitched.  Jones was much better, his WHIP was 1.67, which means 15 players reached first or worse every complete game.

      Ollie’s OBA  (opposing batters average) was .429, Tedd Williams level, while Jones was a  Mel Ott-like .373.

      I don’t know what Jones’ salary was, but it sure wasn’t $12 million a year. The entire Mets didn’t earn $12 mill that year!

      But at least Sherman Jones was a sane, normal guy. Someone you’d like to have a beer with. Someone who tried hard and just had some bad breaks (like pitching for a team hitting .240,the worst in the league!) Sherman Jones, like Ollie Perez, had some decent years when he was younger. He pitched for the Reds in the 1961 World Series against the Yankees. But when the time came, he knew when to quit. And he quit. Ollie doesn’t have the dignity to do the right thing— get out of baseball and return the money. The Mets could use that $32 mill right now.  

      Sherman  Jones didn’t return the money because he didn’t have any.  After bowing out from baseball he  got an honest job as a police man, then joined the Kansas State House of Representative, and then the State Senate, not a bad showing for the son of a poor black farmer from North Carolina. He passed away on February 27, 2007 in Leavenworth, Kansas.He was a Met to Remember. Oliver Perez, on the other hand, is a Met to Forget!!!

      Jonessherman.jpg

       

       

      Let’s Go Met!

      Let’s Go Met!

      Evan Pritchard for Amazine

       

      angel-pagan-arrested.jpgNew center fielder Angel Pagan points to a bright Mets future ahead…. or is that a freight train? Only time will tell.

      Since I last posted an article at Amazine, things have become a little bit shaky for the once unshakable  New York Mets.  Bernie Madoff has put the Wilpons in the same ethical dilemma as he did Eli Weisel; how do you recover from an ethical dilemma caused by hanging out with Mr. Wrong without doing more unethical things? In the case of the Mets, you borrow $25 million smackers from the charitable foundation known formerly as MLB, but now to be known as “Our Lady of Perpetual Help to Lost Causes”  Holy Mother Church of Baseball. Not to be confused with the Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parrish, South Ozone Park, Queens, to which most of the Mets will be visiting for spiritual crisis counselling this season.

      Glimpsing myopically into the fog of what might be the 2011 season, we see only shadows. Who’s on second? Who is in right? Who is catching? Can anybody here pitch that ball?  Is there relief in sight? (Not unless you gotta believe in Taylor Buchholz, a guy with two consecutive H’s in his name or Henrri Mejia, with two Rs.)

      Will Reyes disappear to free agency one month after ace starter Johann Santana makes his big comeback? Will Pelfrey continue his up-down pattern with a lousy year after a great one?  Will third base be occupied by the David Wright who can’t hit at Citifield, or by the David Wright who can? Will Ike Davis turn out to be presidential material or an also ran? Will Jonathan Niese turn out to nice or is he a false hope? Will Beltran be able to run down  the caroms of right field at Citifield? Will his knee hold up? Will his other knee give out?  Does he still remember how to belt a line drive? Will Oliver Perez suddenly snap out of his amnesia, find out who he is and earn his dough? Will Jason Bay ever relive his glory day with the Red Sox when he hit two dingers and went 7-17 in the ALDS in 2008? Or was his concussion the writing on the wall none of us want to read?

      If you are reading this article to  find out who will be at second base this year, sorry to disappoint you.  I haven’t the foggiest idea. Castillo can only resurrect from the dead on so many Easters. Ruben Tejada can’t hit, Daniel Murphy can hit but can do little else. Brad Emaus is barely a Met yet. It doesn’t seem like the Mets really have a second baseman. Does that answer your question? In fact, I would offer to play second, but two questions cloud my career; can I hit a major league curve ball? and where’s my x*%# glove?

      Catching is another question mark. Enter Josh Thole to answer it, maybe. Joshua  was born on October 28th, 1986. That date should send many Mets fans on a sentimental journey back to better days. That was the morning we woke up to find ourselves World Champions, and we weren’t dreaming. That dream has not recurred since! This, however is not sufficient reason to pin all our hopes on Thole. He only played 73 games last year with only 202 at bats with 3 home runs, a .277 batting average. His walk to strikeout ratio is about even with 24 walks to 25 whiffs, and his stealing stats are %100; 1 for 1. However, he is untested, and last season he finished with a 10 for 50 (.200) streak, and that included a walk off homer to mitigate his collapse at the end of the season. That streak lowered his batting average from .303 to .277; will he continue with the .303 or the .200? We don’t know. His throw-em-out-at-second percentage is very high, however, 11 caught stealing out of 25, for a .440 percentage. That puts him in a tie with Johnny Bench’s lifetime stats  if he can keep it up. Johnny only hit .267 which Thole can do. All he has to do is hit hundreds of homers in the post season like JB. As backup I like Omir Santos over Raul Chavez who is 37 years old. We should trade that other guy for some corked bats.

      Other question marks surround names like Pedro Beato, Chris Capuano, Chris Young…like who the *%# are these people? Then there is R A Dickey. Was last year’s stellar effort a fluke? Well, of course it was, but can he have a similar fluke year this year too? He is a man not unaccustomed to flukiness.

       

      The only Met who seems like a solid Citi-zen this year is Mr. Pagan (pronounced Pay-GAN, not like one of those tree-hugging eco-terrorists!) in center field. And yet management has never shown a lot of respect for Pagan before. Will they hold him back or give his so much playing time he wilts in the heat of summer? According to David Fletcher, who sits next to me on the schoolbus and feeds me insider information that makes  this blog the most explosive in the majors, the only Met we can really be sure about is Angel Pagan.

      For this reason, I say, at this time in history,  LET’S GO MET!                                

      The Angel from Puerto Rico batted .290 last year, with 11 home runs. He had 69 RBI’s and 7 triples, with 31 doubles, and 80 runs scored. He is a well rounded player with lots of hustle and team spirit, with 37 bases stolen out of 46 attempts, but he had 97 strikeouts to 44 bases on balls last year, and that will have to change if he’s going to be the new Willie Mays and replace Beltran and the spirit of Duke Snyder, Joe DiMaggio, and Mickey Mantle, and perpetuate this city’s love affair with Center Field! If Pagan can hit 20 more homers, 20 more RBI’s, score 20 more runs, and raise his average by 20 points, I feel sure he can singlehandedly carry this team into the post-season.

      No pressure though!

       


      called shot.jpg 

      The Global Warming Series

      California Holds Back Challenge from  Texas as Mythopoetic Embodiment of Battle Over Proposition 23.

      Copyright 2010 by Evan Pritchard  for Amazine1.mlblogs.com

      Most World Series are interesting , not so much for the evolution of post-season statistics, which are somewhat dull, but for the way they come to express, through means not easily explained, the mythopoetic zeitgeist of the human condition at the time. Hardly an October (now we have to say October/November) goes by that a World Series matchup fails to bear a strong resemblance to either well-mythologized clashes of titantic forces of nature, or some socio-political struggle.

      This year’s one-sided rout, of George W. Bush’s well-funded Texas Rangers by Nancy Pelosi’s underdog San Francisco Giants  may seem a surprising one, ending as it did, the day before Nancy Pelosi was voted out as Speaker of the House by a Carl  Rove-backed Republican surge. But there is a deeper level of meaning there to be sure. It is the story of California State Proposition 23, expressed in the language of baseball.

      The Giants’ state, California, has in place a climate law designed to lower the level of CO2 in the atmosphere. CO2 levels are directly related to both oceanic and atmospheric temperatures; as CO2 rises, so do temperatures. Higher temperatures can cause drought, hurricanes, tornadoes, and the loss of ecological diversity. Democrats believe that rising CO2 is mainly caused by human activity, specifically carbon emissions, traced mainly back to internal combustion engines and the oil industry. The California Law limits the use and exploration of petroleum in order to protect the environment.   Its existence is resented bitterly by Texas oil companies, many of them with corporate headquarters in the Dallas-Fort Worth area where the Rangers’ home stadium stands. Bush has been their champion for years, and is former co-owner of the Texas Rangers. Much of the money funding the team can be linked back to oil interests. These oil interests are credited with creating Proposition 23, a move to strike out the current laws on controlling the use of petroleum, and global warming.

      Proposition 23, near and dear to Texas’ oil interests,  was defeated by California voters the day after the Texas Rangers were defeated by California’s San Francisco Giants. MSNBC November 3rd, 2010, posted: “Also in California, a ballot initiative primarily funded by Texas oil companies seeking to suspend the state’s landmark climate law has failed.  Proposition 23 would have delayed greenhouse gas regulations until California’s unemployment rate fell to 5.5 percent and stayed there for a year. Unemployment in California is now at 12.4 percent.  Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, environmentalists and Silicon Valley entrepreneurs had warned that passing the initiative Tuesday would derail a growing investment in alternative-energy technology in California.”

       

      On October 27th, in the first round, the usually unassailable Cliff Lee was lit up and sent packing in the fifth. All told, Texas pitching gave up 11 runs on 14 hits, plus committing two errors while  Texas batters scored only 7 runs. It was a surprise slugfest, considering the pitching matchup, and a victory for the California team, but it didn’t stop there.   On October 28th, the Texans were shut out 9-0 on a four hitter by Cain.

      It was also interesting that the Rally to Restore Sanity, which attracted ten times the number of people needed to fill The Ballpark at Arlington, Texas,  invaded  Washington, D.C.  on Saturday October 30th, 2010, just hours before  the Rangers, formerly the Washington Senators, won their one game in Texas against the Giants. In a pivotal skit, Steve Colbert was depicted as a giant puppet made of paper mache, set to “attack” John Stewart in a debate. He was defeated by the chants of the largely left-wing crowd. In the evening matchup that followed, Texas defeated the Giants 4-2, getting 8 hits off of Sanchez and crew. Lewis got the win in spite of homers by Cody Ross and Torres. George Bush, who is the pop leader and figurehead of the Texas oil industry, stood in the dugout during the entire game, cheering on the players to one last lone victory before falling to two more decisive defeats the following days.

      The Texas Rangers were shut out on Halloween Sunday, 4-0, held to only three hits by the Giant Bumgarner, the second shutout of their four losing decisions, foreshadowing how Californians were able to shut out Proposition 23 in their state, as well as the so-called “Tea Party,” funded largely by Texas oil interests and Carl Roves’ “Crossroads” Initiative. . It is ironic that “tea” is a nickname for both oil (Texas Tea) and marijuana. One home run for the Giants was by Buster Posey, whose name evokes memories of San Francisco’s “flower children” of the late sixties. It was one more “trick or treat” for the terror-stricken Texas fans.

      Also defeated in the election was the proposition legalizing marijuana in the state of California. This was interesting because the Giants’ big star is 26 year old Tim Lincecum, who was arrested this season for smoking marijuana. On the other side, the Texas Rangers feature three  colorful “hombres” who had been serious drug addicts in the past, but who have each  found salvation from addiction and come back to the team; Josh Hamilton, manager Ron Washington, and co-owner George W. Bush. Hamilton had been straight enough to sock a homer in Texas’ lone win on Saturday evening.

      Monday, November 1st, saw a pitcher’s duel between “Flower Power” Lincecum of California and “Texas Chainsaw” Cliff Lee of  Texas.  Lincecum gave up 1 run on 3 hits, ended up with a 3-1 victory on a homer by Rentoria  and a 1-2-3 inning by “Beach Boy/Fear the Beard” Brian Wilson, to clinch the World Series. The Giants were happy the  series did not have to go back to California–Licecum said they wanted to “shut them up” in front of  their own fans, reflecting a long standing rivalry between the nation’s two most populous states, and perhaps the battle over global warming as well. The Giants’ champagne celebration in Texas was exceeded (I presume!) only by  their celebration of the defeat of Proposition 23 the following night and Pelosi’s re-election to the seat in  her 8th congressional district (where Obama got 85.27% of the vote in 2008) which  is also the home of the Giants’ AT&T Stadium, where I presume she also still has a seat!

      The stock market actually fell slightly after the tea party’s “save the economy” victory on November 2nd. On November  3rd,  the Giants paraded down Market Street in Frisco amid ticker tape and confetti, celebrating a number of Democratic victories in the state, and also the House and Senate, not to mention the coming eradication of Global Warming.

      In future articles, I will discuss how past World Series also reflected mythopoetic themes relevant to their time and place.

      The Mets Is Dead; Long Live the Mets!

       Wilpons Hire Sandy Alderson as New Headmaster

      Evan Pritchard  October 27, 2010

      The Wilpons, the meddlesome owners of the New York Mets, fired Omar Manaya and failed to renew  Jerry Manuel’s contract at the end of 79-83 season, a year  that revealed that most of the Mets’ contracts were overpriced. Under Manaya, the team payed top dollar for Manaya’s old friends, guys with hidden injuries, attitude problems, and other issues. That seemed to work in 2006 when everyone played above parr, but in 2010, the honeymoon was over, and both new and old overpaid guys, ticking time bombs all,  self destructed. As Gary Coleman would say, “The wheels fell off the wagon.”  It was the end of the Mets as we knew them.

      The Mets were one big dysfunctional family, with Omar Manaya as the uber-uncle and headmaster of the school for wayward boys. Former Amazine articles have revealed the far-reaching biographical interconnections between countless Mets players since 2006, thanks to their connections with Manaya. Many of them were rags to riches stories; guys who grew up in poverty in the Dominican Republic, donating much of  their, excuse me, our, hard earned money, to poor communities in the DR. It was heartwarming at the time, but now we see the cost of such nepotism: A losing record and an entire team on the DL. As Confucius would say, “Where was the civil service test?”

      The Mets spent like the Yankees and behaved like, well, the Mets. I am okay with knowing that the dollars I spent on high priced Mets tickets went to make the DR a safer place to live, but then I learned that a lot of their/our money was turned over to huckster Bernie Madoff, for him to invest without any oversight. To make Bernie Madoff’s life a safer place for him to live, I suppose. But a fool and his money are soon parted, and now the money’s all gone, and the Mets have to rise from the debt like the Phoenix from the ashes. There has to be a morning-aerobic-workout-after.

      Now the much-chastised Wilpons  have gone to the other extreme, hiring  62-year-old Sandy Alderson as the new GM. While the old Mets were as far from the Yankees’ corporate culture as possible, the new Mets, under CEO type Alderson, who speaks the language of Bud Selig better than he does Quisquaian, are going to have to act a lot more like the Yankees, but without the money. That could be a mixed blessing.   They may lose that funky, most-elaborate-high -fives-in-baseball groove, but they might actually win more games than they lose.

      Alderson has previously served as the general manager of the Oakland A’s, the chief executive officer of the San Diego Padres and the vice president of baseball operations for Major League Baseball.  In the language of corporate culture, this move seems to suggest that Bud Selig wants to keep a close eye on the Boys of Citifield. It also will make it difficult for the Wilpons to interfere with the progress of the team and its players.  Is Alderson an “axe-man,” just hired to fire everybody and deal with the law suits pending with people like K-Rod? Or will he be the new headmaster, sent in to infuse discipline into the unruly students of the game? Time will tell. According to the Associated Press, ” The Mets could announce the hiring of Alderson as early as Friday, the off-day between Games 2 and 3 of the World Series.”   I have a feeling that by next October, everything we now know about the Mets as a team will be irrelevant! The Mets is dead; long live the Mets!

       

      Amazing End-of-Season Predictions for National League East

       You Won’t Believe It!!! Mets Will Tie for First!!!

      Copyright c 2010 Evan Pritchard  September 14th, 2010

      A lot of reporters are making their football predictions for the 2010-11 season right now. As a baseball fan, I think, “But the baseball season isn’t over yet! Who cares about the Giants or Jets getting into the wild card spot? Who’s going to win the pennant?”

      Many baseball fans  are making World Series predictions right now and not even thinking about the Mets. But in fact, the Mets are far from being mathematically eliminated.  Believe it or not, they could still win the pennant.

      On September 12th, in order to get an accurate prediction of the Mets future for the remainder of 2010, I went to a renown psychic, known to channel Elvis Presley and the ghost of Ty Cobb  once in a while, and I asked about the immediate future of the NL East Penant race. I asked, “Who’s going to win the NL East this year?” This psychic, whom we shall call, “Swami Salami,” answered, slowly and sleepily, as if in a trance, “The Mets will win the pennant! But not the Mets as you know them!”

      “Not the Mets as I know them? What do you mean, Swami?”
      He said, “The events that are about to transpire will be so miraculous, so surprising, that no one will remember the 1969 Mets as “the Miracle Mets.” That distinction will only belong to the 2010 team. But in fact it will be a different Mets organization than the one you have been following lo these many years!”

      “Oh! Swami! I fail to understand! Tell me true. Will the Mets win the pennant or not?”
      “Got your attention, sonny! You wanna know what’ll happen?”

      “Yes, I do!”
      “Gimme fifty bucks and I’ll tell you.”
      Without thinking, I reached in my pocket and pulled out fifty bucks in US currency.  His old, gnarled hand whipped around and snatched it from  my grasp before I knew what hit me. He said, “I owe Ty Cobb fifty bucks, and he’s been haunting me about it since he passed on. Thanks a lot! See you later!”

      “But.. but…” I said. “You were going to tell me about how the Mets are going to win the pennant THIS YEAR!”

      “Oh, so I did. “Well, have a seat. This is not going to be a short story.”
      I pulled a hassock up in front of the dias he was sitting on, and stared at him. I said, “Well…”

      Swami folded his legs underneath himself in full lotus posture, and pulled a baseball out of his pocket and began to toss it gently between his hands. “Tomorrow, the great drama begins to unfold! Tomorrow, Monday, the Mets will beat the Pirates 1-0. Then on Tuesday, the Mets will beat the Pirates again 9-1. Reyes, Davis, and Beltran will all light up the board with hits and crush the Pirates handily. Reyes will go 3 for 4 with three runs scored; Pagan will go 3 for 5 with 3 rbis; Beltran will go 2 for 4 with 3 ribbies; Evans will go 2 for 4 with 2 runs scored; And Tejada will go 3 for 4 with 2 runs scored.

      But this is the tip of the iceberg. In fact, in secret, they have been having meetings with the Wilpons about the future of the Mets. Most fans know that the Wilpons lost millions of dollars in a Ponzi scheme involving Bernie Madoff. Most do not know that in fact they lost ALL of their money, and can no longer pay the players or even the ushers. In fact, they are thinking of having a yard sale before tomorrow’s game to raise money to pay the rent on Citifield. Right now the players have more money than the Wilpons. But of course Governor Patterson has advised everyone involved not to talk to the press about it, for fear of a panic that could affect Wall Street.

                      “Before Monday’s game, the Wilpons will meet with a player delegation led by David Wright and Mike Pelfry, and offer them a chance to buy the team and to incorporate as a cooperative worker/stockholder corporation, sort of like what the airlines did, and to buy the team from the Wilpons outright for $500 million, with a downpayment of $1 US currency. Wright agrees, and the deal is made. Everyone shakes on it. The lawyers quickly draw up the papers and everyone signs it. The new team is now secretly called “The Autonomous Collective of Metropolitan Baseball Players.” There are no more crabby bosses, no long, cumbersome chain of command, no heartless hierarchy. Everyone has equal say in everything. Even the team will be managed inning by inning by a democratic vote from the dugout.”
                      “But what about Omar Minaya? What about Jerry Manuel?” I cried out.

                      “Not needed! In fact, Jerry will stay on for a few more days to talk to the press about the games, only until the news is released. He will be part of a cover up. Sort of like how JFK went to Chicago during the Cuban Missile Crisis just to make it look like everything was normal.”
                      “Okay, that makes sense….I guess!” I said. “Who is going to make those calls to the bullpen?”
                      “Relief pitchers will be elected to warm up in the pen by a committee of players, ratified by a simple majority over the course of an at-bat. The decision as to who shall make the call to the pen will be on a rotating basis by seniority.

                      “So how can the Mets win the pennant anyway? Aren’t they already eliminated?”
                      “They are not eliminated at all, and in fact will win. Here is exactly how it will happen. Do you have a pen or pencil?”
                      “Yes, I do!”

                      “Then get this down before I forget! Ty Cobb talks fast!”

      On Tuesday the ACMBP, aka The Mets, buoyed up with enthusiasm, and driven by the pride that only equity ownership and profit-sharing can bring, will win 9-1, as I said earlier.

      On Wednesday, September 15th, the Mets will send 14 men to the plate in the 4th inning to score 7 runs to overcome a 5-0 deficit, and will go on to win 8-7 adding a long homer by Reyes. The Phillies will beat a newly reorganized Florida Marlins, also now a socialist collective, 10-5. Fueled by a grand slam, Washington will beat Atlanta in an unlikely 4-2 victory. At the end of the day, the Phillies will lead the division with an 86-61 record; Atlanta will be 3 behind with a record of 83-64; the Marlins will be in third at 73-72, 12 games behind; the Mets will be in fourth with a 73 and 73 record, again at .500 after a several weeks below the water line. They will be 12 ½ games out. And the Nationals will be 62-84. The Mets will be a half game out of third.

      On Thursday, September 16th,  the Mets will beat the Pirates behind a nice effort by Mike Pelfrey, 6-0 (oops I meant 6-2) . It will be Pelfrey’s 15th win and the Mets’ fourth consecutive win. The other teams will be dormant, leaving the Mets 12 games behind with a record of 74-73, in a virtual tie for third. But wait! There’s more!

      On Friday, September 17th, the Mets will meet the Braves and beat them 9-4, gaining sole possession of third place. The Nats will surprise the Phils 4-3, and the Marlins will fall to the Cubs 3-1. This leaves the Phils at 86-62, the Braves at 83 and 66, the Mets in sole possession of third at 75-73, and the Marlins at 73 and 73. The victorious Nationals will be at 64 and 84. This will be the standings:

       

       Phils       86-62 

      Braves 83-65     3

      Mets     75-73     11

      Marlins 73-73     12

      Nats       64-84     22

       

      On Saturday, September 18th, the Mets will again beat the Braves, by a score of 6-5. The Nationals will beat the Phils 3-1, and the Cubs will beat the Marlins 4-2. This will result in the following standings;

      Phils       86-63  

      Braves  83-66 3 ½

      Mets     76-73  10

      Marlins 74-73  10 ½

      Nats       65-84  21

       

      On Sunday, September 19th, the Mets will beat the Braves 3-0 with a brilliant shutout by Dickey. The Cubs will beat the Marlins 8-4, and the Phils will lose 7-6 to the Nationals due to a poor performance by Blanton.  This will result in the following standings:

       

      Phils       86-64   

      Braves  83-67    3

      Mets     77-73     9

      Marlins  74-74    11

      Nats       66-84     20

       

      On Monday, September 20th, the Mets are not scheduled to play. The Marlins beat the Cardinals 6-4; the Braves beat the Phils 4-3, and the Astros beat the Nationals 9-2. The standings will be:

       

      Phils       86-65 

      Braves  84-67  2

      Mets     77-73  8 ½

      Marlins 75-74  10

      Nats       66-85  20

       

       

      On Tuesday, September 21st, the autumnal equinox will see the Phillies continue to slide, losing to the Braves by a score of 4-3, the Nationals will beat the Astros 3-1, and the Mets will beat the Marlins by a score of 7 to 2. This will result in the following standings:

       

      Phils       86-66 

      Braves  85-67     1

      Mets     78-73     7 ½

      Marlins 75-75     11

      Nats       67-85     19

       

      On Wednesday, September 22nd, the Mets will beat the Marlins 5-4, extending their winning streak to nine in a row, and sending the Marlins below .500 for the first time in the month. The Braves will beat the Phils 4-3, entering into a tie for first with the Phils; and the Nationals will defeat  the Astros  5-4. The standings will be:

       

      Phils       86-67  

      Braves  86-67    

      Mets     79-73     6 ½

      Marlins 75-76     10

      Nats       68-85     18

       

      On Thursday, September 23rd, the Mets will be inactive, and Washington will defeat the Astros 3-0 for their 69th win.  On Friday, September 24th, the Mets will beat the Phillies 8-4 for their tenth consecutive win, the Nats will beat the Braves 4-1, and the Marlins will defeat the Brewers 5-2. This will leave the standings as follows:

       

      Phils       86-68 —

      Braves 86-68 —

      Mets     80-73     5 ½

      Marlins 76-76     9

      Nats       70-85     16 ½

       

      On Saturday, September 25th, the Mets will continue to win, beating the Phils by a score of 9-2. The Nats will beat the Braves 7-1 and the Marlins will beat the Brewers 5-1. This will tighten up the standings yet further, as follows:

       

      Phils       86-69 

      Braves  86-69 

      Mets     81-73     4 ½

      Marlins 77-76     8

      Nats       71-85     15 ½

       

      On Sunday, September 26th, the Mets will continue their remarkable 12 game win streak, beating the Phils 7-3. The Nationals will continue to upset the Braves 4-0, and the Marlins will beat the Brewers 8-1. This will help the Mets get closer to first place.

       

      Phils       86-70 

      Braves  86-70 

      Mets     82-73     3 ½

      Marlins 78-76     7

      Nats       72-85     14 ½

       

       

       

       

      Monday, September 27th, and the whole baseball world is noticing the Mets miracle surge and is watching the tightening pennant race in the NL East with increasing interest. The Mets respond to the limelight by defeating the Brewers 6-1. The Nationals, in a major upset, defeat the Phillies 6-5, and the Marlins beat the Braves 4-3. Suddenly it’s a real horserace.

       

      Phils       86-71      

      Braves 86-71    

      Mets     83-73     2 ½

      Marlins 79-76     6

      Nats       73-85     13 ½

       

      Tuesday, September 28th, the Mets win their 14th in a row as they defeat the Brewers 7-5 in extra innings. The Nats edge out the Phillies 1-0, and the Marlins outscore the Braves 10-9. The race tightens further.

       

      Phils       86-72    

      Braves  86-72    

      Mets     84-73     1 ½

      Marlins 80-76     5

      Nats       74-85     12 ½

       

      The following day, Wednesday, September 29th, the Mets are the talk of the town as the Mets defeat the Brewers 10-0. The Braves fall to the Marlins 8-7 and the Nationals yet again upset the Phils 9-2. Fifteen wins in a row for the Mets.

       

      Phils       86-73     -

      Braves  86-73    

      Mets     85-73     ½

      Marlins 81-76     4

      Nats       75-85     11  ½

       

      On Thursday, we reach the last day of September and things are just getting more exciting. The Mets defeat the Brewers 4-3, and the Marlins defeat the last place Pirates 7-2. The Braves and Phils are dormant, allowing the Mets to creep up on both teams, entering into a three way tie for first place, with their 16th consecutive win.

       

      Mets     86-73    

      Phils       86-73    

      Braves 86-73    

      Marlins 82-76     3 ½

      Nats       75-85     11 ½

       

      On Friday, October 1st, the battle for first in the NL East takes a decidedly dramatic twist, that turns New York City upsidedown.  The Nationals come into town and break the Mets win streak at 16, defeating them in a 12 inning marathon, 9-8 on a popup dropped by Luis Castillo. The Marlins beat the Pirates 4-3, and the Braves defeat the Phillies 8-7 in 14 innings to spring forward and take first place with one day left in the season. The Braves take sole possession of first place for the first time in several months. The Mets fall into a tie for second place.

      Braves 87-73  

      Mets     86-74     1

      Phils       86-74     1

      Marlins 83-76     3  ½

      Nats       76-85     11 ½

       

      Now it comes down to the last day of the regular season, and anything can happen.  In any case, it will be one of the most exciting final finishes in history since 1967 when the AL East was a four way race. On Saturday October 2nd, the Mets defeat the Nationals at Citifield in a 1:10 day game, a 10-9 in a nailbiter, concluding with a walk off home run by Ike Davis at 4:10 PM. At that same time, the Phillies will begin a game in Atlanta that may decide the pennant. If the Braves win, they will win the pennant. If they lose, it will be a three way tie. As it turns out, the Phillies defeat the Braves 7-6 on a home run by Ryan Howard. The Marlins defeat the Pirates 4-3 to end their season on a high note. When the smoke clears, the Mets, Braves, and Phils are in an unprecedented three-way  tie at the top of the NL East.

       

      Mets     87-74 

      Phils       87-74 

      Braves  87-74 

      Marlins 84-76     2 ½

      Nats       75-87     12 ½

       

       

      To break the tie, MLB announces that the teams will play until one team has won two games, and that team will win the division pennant. The Mets defeat the Phillies 2-1 on Sunday, October 3rd. They then defeat the Braves on Monday, October 4th in a sudden death 10 inning game, 5-4 to win the pennant.  If the Mets had lost to the Braves, the Braves could have defeated the Phils for the pennant. If they’d lost to the Phils, the Phils and Mets would play the final game for the pennant.

       

      The Mets continue on to beat the Reds and the Padres to win the National League pennant, and then defeat the New York Yankees in the World Series.

       

      I asked Swami how he knew all this would happen. He laughed, and said that he just made it all up to pull my leg. He said, “It’s nice to have a little hope, isn’t it? It felt good for a minute, right?”

      I agreed that it was nice to fantasize about all those exciting Mets victories. I said, “If the Mets can sweep the Pirates as you described, then I will truly believe!”

      Swami looked at me funny, with a kind of hurt look.  He said, “You’re a Mets fan! You GOTTA believe!”

       

      I guess in a season like this, we all gotta believe….

       

       

       

       

       

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