About Last Night – 10/4

Filed Under (About Last Night) by ubermet on 05-10-2009

Tagged Under : Atlanta Braves, Chase Utley, Florida Marlins, Houston Astros, JD Martin, Jimmy Rollins, John Mayberry, Josh Johnson, Miguel Cairo, Nelson Figueroa, New york Giants, New York Mets, Paul Hoover, Philadelphia Phillies, Raul Ibanez, Ryan Howard, Shane Victorino, Stephen Strasburg, Washington Nationals

No more baseball. Thank goodness for football, because I think I’d go out the window if I had only hockey and basketball for sustenance once the world series is over. Defenestration. I think that’s what it’s called. I must not be alone in thinking that either. Going out the window, that is. Imagine it happened quite frequently at some point. Enough to motivate someone to actually come up with a word for it. Think about that. We do lots of things every day that there isn’t a word for but should be. Throwing a pillow at the TV after Jerry Manuel starts Wilson Valdez at short, for example. Gotta be a word for that.

Anyway, the Phillies won yesterday—outlasting the Marlins 7-6 at Citizens Bank Park and avoiding a series sweep to end the season. I guess the secret to beating the Marlins turned out to be sitting all your regulars, because that’s what the Phillies did yesterday as Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino and Raul Ibanez all rode the pine. Josh Johnson must have been licking his chops as he warmed up to start this one, huh? Turns out, not so much.  John Mayberry, Paul Hoover and Miguel Cairo combined to blast the Marlins, who finish the year at 87-75–6 games out of first and 5 back of the wildcard.

Washington fans have to be feeling pretty satisfied with themselves this week, huh? After laying a 3 game sweep on the Mets, they go into Atlanta and sweep the Braves out of town too to finish the season on a 7 game winning streak. Still couldn’t break 60 wins, however, as the Nats finish up the season 59-103. That’s 2 years in a row at 59 wins. Whatever word there is to describe what the Nationals are, “good” is not one of them. Let’s hope Stephen Strasburg gets here quickly, huh? The game ball in this one had to go to J.D. Martin, who matched Derek Lowe down the line and shut down the Braves over 6 innings, scattering 6 hits and allowing a single run in a game that the Nats went on to win in extras 2-1.

Finally, the Mets. I actually can’t write any more about them. It hurts too much. Watching Nelson Figueroa out there yesterday though pitching his complete game shutout only made it harder to endure these next months without baseball. The playoffs and World Series will be fun, don’t get me wrong. And my Giants will make it bearable until January or so, but thinking about what could have been this year in Queens just brings me down. Maybe the Mets would have choked again this year, and you know what, I’d have preferred it to the dead from the neck up baseball I witnessed this year from basically mid-May. Sweeping the Astros to finish out the string here was nice, but watching the Phillies and Dodgers stumble to the finish this year got me thinking about how the Mets likely would have made it close.

About Last Night – 10/3

Filed Under (About Last Night) by ubermet on 04-10-2009

Tagged Under : Dr. Seuss, Horton Hears a Who, New York Yankees, perfection, Ricky Nolasco

Sorry for not getting the recaps out today. Thought about doing it now, but figured there wasn’t much point in doing it this late in the day. I was out all day today on Long Island and didn’t have internet access. I plan to do a more lengthy recap tomorrow analyzing the season’s final day.

A commenter to a previous post has caused me to spend some time this evening thinking about what “good” means. Which teams are “good”? Being located in NY and having to endure decades of Yankee propaganda, it’s tempting to view success narrowly. Either you win it all, or you are not successful. If you’re not successful, you are not good. Only teams that win it all are good. Is that fair? Can a team be “good” and not win simultaneously?

To some extent, every player who puts on a major league uniform is “good” aren’t they? They’re “great” actually–in relation to the millions of other professional players “not” on major league rosters. So even a last place team like the Nats has lots of “good” (even “great”) ballplayers. But they came in last place, so in relation to other major league players, they’re not good.

Is that fair?

Yes, I think it is. As far as it goes. It’s sometimes easy to forget that these 750 or so players at the major league level are as great as they are, but still, this is a subset of an incredibly large number of other professional players…which in turn is another subset of another incredibly large number of players who do not play professionally. I’m reminded of the Dr. Seuss book, Horton Hears a Who..and how this elephant found an entire world on a speck of dust. And what if a person on the speck of dust in turn found another speck of dust with another world on it? I think it’s called infinite regression. Whatever.

My point is that on one level, it’s not fair to say that the Nats for example are “bad”. They’re not. They’re amazing. In relation to the millions of other players not wearing major league uniforms. But we’re major league baseball fans. Our universe is closed. What we see is what we get. When we talk about the Nats as they relate to the other major leaguers, it’s entirely fair to say they are “bad”…as in…”not good”. They consistently lose the most games in the league. Every year.

So what is a “good” major league team? Are the Yankee fans right? Do you have to win it all to be good? Have you failed and are you a “bad” team because you didn’t win a championship? Surely you’re pretty good if you “merely” win a pennant, right? Maybe not. I think the point is that as fans, we all are entitled to think about this any way we want. We pays our money and we takes our chances. If my team gets close, maybe they are “good”, even though someone else doesn’t agree. They’re good “to me”.

Subjectivity, pure and simple. Which is what makes all this blogging business as good a time as it is. We don’t have to be right. We just have to care.

There’s a quote out there that says something like “don’t let perfection be the enemy of good”…and I think it’s entirely appropriate to this discussion. Perfection is not attainable, so don’t hold out for it and in so doing reject lots of stuff that’s entirely “good”.  There’s lots of “good” stuff out there that’s totally acceptable. Enviable, in fact, by those whose own stuff isn’t quite as good. So grab it. Don’t let some dream of an ideal (which by definition, you’ll never have anyway) prevent you from realizing happiness.

Or something like that.

I have no idea if the Marlins are “good”. To me, they’re not. They’re OK (Mr. Nolasco’s gem the other night notwithstanding). But maybe that’s me holding out for perfection. Too long in the shadow of Yankeeland, I guess. If you want the Marlins to be good, who am I to tell you otherwise.

Go fish.

About Last Night – 10/2

Filed Under (About Last Night) by ubermet on 03-10-2009

Tagged Under : Alyssa Milano, Atlanta Braves, Cameron Maybin, Chipper Jones, CitField, Cole Hamels, Florida Marlins, Houston Astros, John Maine, Livan Hernandez, New York Mets, Oliver Perez, Philadelphia Phillies, touch, Washington Nationals

For me, last night was all about heading out to CitField with my wife (no, that’s not her on the left) to watch the Mets. As I said in my previous post, I have a soft spot in my heart for games like this. Absolute garbage time at the ballyard where the game is a total afterthought. We actually missed the first half-inning shopping for “female” fan gear at the Alyssa Milano “Touch” shop. What a great place that was, let me tell you. You know the only thing it was missing? Alyssa Milano. Instead we got some rude ugly chick who told us to drop our beers before we came in. She didn’t ask. She told. Pointed to the ground and everything. I think if you’re going to have an Alyssa Milano store in your stadium, the least you could do is hire better looking girls to run it.
I’d have settled for polite, actually.

As for the game itself, gotta hand this one to John Maine. He shut down the Astros for 7 innings as the Metsies won by the score of 7-1. Maine’s season is sort of a microcosm of the entire Mets’ season. It seems almost impossible that the Mets were actually relying on him to be their #3 starter this year (or was that going to be Ollie Perez?). Either way, you get the point. Ineffectiveness gave way to injury for John, but it is sort of comforting to see him come out and spin a nice game. Even if it is October 2 and in a meaningless game against another washout team like the Astros.

Howsabout them Nats, huh? It’s actually pretty galling for me that they’re as close to the Mets as they are, and when they keep playing like this, it makes it that much worse. Especially since my fantasy season is hanging by a thread and I stocked my lineup with Braves to take advantage of their (supposedly) porous pitching. This time it was Livan Hernandez and his robust waistline shutting down the Braves for a 6-3 Nats win. That’s 5 in a row now  for them. Can’t say as I care about the Braves taking it on the chin, though. Not exactly my favorite bunch of guys. Larry, Larry, Larry and all that.

Finally, a word about the Phillies. Last night, they fell to the Marlins by the score of 7-2 and their chances of taking best record in the league got a little dimmer. It’s not that I’m a stranger to having the Marlins come in and pee all over the carpet, because they did that to the Mets the past 2 years and it’s gut wrenching. The Marlins are not a good team, but they’re just good enough at the worst possible moments to have you cursing them for weeks. Last night it was Cameron Maybin doing the bulk of the damage by going 4-5 with an RBI and 3 runs scored. Hamels on the hill today, but will he be enough to cancel the momentum of the spoiling Fish?

About Last Night – 10/1

Filed Under (About Last Night) by ubermet on 02-10-2009

Tagged Under : Atlanta Braves, CitiField, Citizens Bank Park, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Colorado Rockies, Felipe Paulino, Garrett Mock, Houston Astros, Livan Hernandez, martin prado, matt diaz, New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies, Stubhub, Tommy Hanson, Washington Nationals, Yunel Escobar

There’s really not much drama left in the NL East these days now that the Phils have clinched and the Braves have sort of exploded after teasing us for a couple of weeks there with an improbable late run toward the Rockies and the NL Wild Card. Ironically, there is still some juice flowing from the most unlikely of sources—the Nats.

After sweeping the Mets earlier in the week (not that you need much juice for that), the Nats opened a 4 game set against the recently resurgent Bravos at Turner Field last night and promptly dumped them by the score of 2-1. The story in this one, to me, was Garrett Mock–he of the 5.62ERA and 1.73WHIP–who matched his counterpart, Atlanta’s wunderkind Tommy Hanson, all night long. This is especially sickening to me because, being the astute fantasy baseball man that I am, I had Escobar, Prado and Diaz in my lineup last night to take advantage of the aforementioned Mr. Mock’s anticipated ineffectiveness. No dice. Nice game, Garrett, I’ll have to make hay against Livan tonight instead.

The only other NL East game last night saw the Astros cut down Cliff Lee and the Phillies 5-3 at Citizens Bank Park. I know it’s garbage time for the Phils, but you’d think they’d have found a way to get Mr. Lee a victory at home to cap off a pretty amazing run he’s had in Philadelphia since his trade from the Indians at the deadline. Heading into the postseason, Phillie fans have to feel pretty confident seeing Lee and Hamels out there at the top of the Phillie staff. Bullpen? Not so much. Lee didn’t have it last night, however, as Felipe Paulino pulled a Garrett Mock laid a hurting on the home team. And just who is Felipe Paulino? Good question. Let me know if you find out.

Finally, in one last bit of Mets-related news (because I know everyone’s just dying for a last bit of Mets-related news), last night I sprung for tickets to tonight’s game at CitiField against the Astros (thank God we missed Felipe Paulino!). The Mrs. and I will be there tonight while my parents watch the boy. The masochist in me loves these types of meaningless, end-of-season games, when the stadium is empty the bathroom lines are short. As a Met fan, I’ve had many opportunites to acquire a taste for this type of experience, and the truth is, I’m sort of looking forward to it. I’m especially excited now because I scored some prime Caesar’s Club tickets ($120 face value apiece) off StubHub.com for the measley price of $35 a pop. I’ve never sat down there, so it should be special. Has anyone scanned the offerings on StubHub recently? If your team is out of it like mine is, you’ll find a cornucopia of fantastic seats at fractions of face value. No reason EVER to get your tix through the MLB websites. Their best seats are already sold (to the people reselling now on StubHub!) and they’re charging face value to see (what by now is) a severely overvalued event. Anyway, there’s a nickel’s worth of free advice for y’all.

Enjoy tonight’s games.

About last night – 9/30

Filed Under (About Last Night) by ubermet on 01-10-2009

Tagged Under : Atlanta Braves, Brendan Donnelly, Florida Marlins, Francisco Rodriguez, Justin Maxwell, land of misfit toys, Leo Nunez, matt diaz, New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies, Ronny Paulino, Washington Nationals, Wes Helms

Hi, everyone. Before I get started, I thought it might be good to introduce myself since I’m new to NLEast Chatter and you’re probably all wondering what the hell an ‘ubermet’ is. Good question. Fact is, I don’t even know. It’s a nickname someone gave me in high school or college or something and I guess it just stuck. I think it’s German or something. I’m not German though, so it’s all a bit unusual. I am a monster Met fan, however, so maybe it’s got something to do with that. Who knows. Nobody really calls me that, but I figured it’s a good nom de plume for this site.

At any rate, my real name is Al and I’m from Queens but no, I don’t call in to sports talk radio shows, even though that’s one hell of a stereotypical moniker, right? “We’ve got Al from Queens on the car phone.” Priceless.

Hope everyone enjoys my posts. And where you don’t, I hope you tell me so.

So how about this NL East, huh? Talk about the land of misfit toys. Outside of Philadelphia, does anyone really get excited when the Phillies clinch the division? Well, it happened again last night as the Phils blasted the Astros 10-3 at Citizens Bank Park. As a Met fan, this creases me, because once again it seems that if only the Phillies had some decent competition in this division, they wouldn’t be perceived as the mini-dynasty they’re otherwise shaping up to be. The Phils won it in 2007 with 89 wins. Then again last year with 92. Now they’ll probably end up with 93 or 94, which is a bit more respectable but hardly indicative of a powerhouse…especially when you factor in that they play the Nationals and Mets alone over 30 times a season.

Francisco Rodriguez

As for my Mets, they lost in mind-blowingly horrific fashion once again last night, falling to the Nats 7-4 with K-Rod giving up a bottom-of-the-ninth, pinch hit walk off grand slam to light-hitting September callup Justin Maxwell. At this point, I realize K-Rod is about as sick and tired of this season as the rest of us are in Metland, but is it too much to ask to at least permit Met fans to sniff what October might have been like by slamming the door on the lowly Nats? I mean, that was the whole point of K-Rod in the first place, right? With him out there instead of say, Luis Ayala, we’d have taken last year’s pennant. I think maybe even Ayala gets Maxwell last night, I really do. And that’s what it’s like to be Met fan these days, I guess. Never good enough no matter what we do or who’s in charge.

Leo Nunez

But speaking of mind-blowing, I was literally biting my nails over the 9th inning of Braves/Marlins last night willing Leo Nunez through my laptop to find the goddamned plate so that I could scrape out a save and salvage my fantasy season, when in a matter of seconds (refresh, browser! refresh!) the Marlins pulled him with the bases loaded, replaced him with Brendan Donnelly (does he still wear those funky glasses?), and then picked Matt Diaz off third to preserve the Marlins’ 5-4 win. Who gets the save? Did Donnelly even throw a pitch? Turns out he did…a wild one…almost chucking the game himself before Ronny Paulino threw a dart to Helms at third to nab Diaz and end the game. No save for Nunez. Interesting question though. If Donnelly threw over to 3rd instead of throwing a pitch, and Diaz was tagged out, does he get a save without throwing a pitch?

A question for another day. Perhaps tomorrow.