Saturday, June 30, 2012

Blue Jays 7, Angels 5: Adam Lind, Home Run Hero

home run hero adam lind amidst several lessers
I am not going to act like I thought Adam Lind had even a little bit more to give, even after he tore it up in Triple A, which, I mean, he'd better have torn it up in Triple A, as I may well have said at the time (I am unwilling to check). So yeah it came as a full-on surprise to me that Lind jacked not one but two entirely credible dingers last night, leading the Blue Jays to victory with his mighty wallops. Other cool things that happened twice last night include Rajai Davis stealing two bases, which is way less surprising than Rajai getting on, because on those rare occasions he reaches he just takes bases at will man he just straight up takes them. It is always somewhat more surprising when E5 swipes a couple, but swipe them he did! All of these cool things happened in support of the totally useful Carlos Villanueva, who just goes out and pitches completely OK-ly in whatever role he's cast in, and just like that, the Blue Jays did not make me sad on this night. That's all it took: all of those many things.


Friday, June 29, 2012

Angels 9, Blue Jays 7: The Angels Are Sort of Good Now, The Blue Jays Less So

pretty much yeah
No, Brett Cecil did not pitch well, and yes, Jose Bautista dinged his twenty-sixth dinger of the year last night, but what I would like to talk to you about here however briefly is how there was totally this little pigeon that made its way from the first baseline to the third baseline in the fifth inning, and as it approached the pitcher's mound and time had to be called, the crowd went nuts for it, and Jerry Howarth called it all like it was the most exciting thing to have happened during a baseball game in weeks, which maybe it was. Baseball is awesome.


Thursday, June 28, 2012


As I begin this where I have like 2 players in mind, there's two lines of thinking... I could plan this out and find awesome pictures for every player, or I could just throw the shit right the fuck at you straight from my bath salty mind. So obviously the second is the best choice, as this is the internet, where everyone thinks they think cleverly, instead of just admitting they are the giant but loveable dumbass they really are. So here I am.
This team will contain all 8 fielder positions, I guess a DH (even though seriously fuck a DH), a starting pitcher, a relief pitcher, and probably a couple of other things, and then also probably not some of the first things. Because. Fuck you. Here is the UNOFFICIAL OFFICIAL ALL-BF (BASEBALL FEELINGS) MID-SEASON SUPERSTAR TEAM OF SUPER DUDES!

STARTING PITCHER: R.A. DICKEY - Sometimes there are players so wackily awesome they make you overlook the fact they play for a wretched soulless franchise with a socially sickening fanbase that you wish would all snort anthrax, like Gary Payton on the Lakers or that fat dude who beat up people in diners on the Yankees. R.A. Dickey is such a dude. First off, he is a knuckleballer, which is perhaps the best type of baller of all. Secondly, on top of already being a strange style of pitcher, he tops this off with a weird Zen Buddhist on salvia divinorum attitude about it all. He is a wonderful human being, and if baseball had any fucking sense about what makes baseball special, it would be plastering posters of R.A. Dickey all over the inside of the brains of the youth of America.

RELIEF PITCHER: JOSE VALVERDE - I find relief pitchers annoying because I think they all try too hard to be like "Wild Thing" Ricky Vaughn, drinking tiger blood with Jobu and shit. This in itself would not be a huge problem if there were still the Al Hrabosky types to balance this style, but there does not seem to be such things, at least not in my short attention span. And certainly one of the four of you reading this is thinking, "Well fuck bro, Valverde is that as much as anybody." Except to me, Jose Valverde looks like Malcolm X was brought back to life, but then did too much ketamine. So I imagine he's out there on the mound channeling spirit molecules using supreme mathematics, and that pretty much makes him the best.

STARTING PITCHER: See, I was only going to do one pitcher but WU DARVISH is some sort of Iranian Chinaman gifted with magical powers that makes him unstoppable. Somehow he ended up in Texas, probably because Nolan Ryan was drunk of scotch one night when the scouts were like, "Hey check out this Wu Darvish guy," and Ryan was like, "What the fuck is a Woo Darvish? Bring that goddamned chink sand nigger here to Texas and let's see if he can do it the Texas Ranger way." So they did. And right now is a secret battle of wills and ways between the stubborn old coot Nolan Ryan and the metaphysical super-athlete of the modern era Wu Darvish. Right now Wu is winning more games than anybody, and seems unstoppable, but so was J.R. Richard before he had a fucking heart attack and his career ended because of Nolan Ryan injecting him straight in the fucking heart with armadillo adrenaline. So we'll see.

THIRD BASE: MIGUEL CABRERA, because there is no more awesome player than Miguel Cabrera. He always has that shit-eating smile, like he just drank two shots of Jim Beam from between your favorite milf's big floppy breasts. And sometimes it may seem like he doesn't give a fuck while playing, which may upset traditionalists, but if you imagined him drunk in the middle of I-94 yelling at taser-armed cops, "THAT'S RIGHT CABRONES! I DON'T GIVE A FUCK! CHINGA TE MOTHERFUCKER!" then you'd understand him not giving a fuck in the field at times is perfectly okay and appropriate.

LEFT FIELD: BRYCE HARPER, who has slowed down with the success the past couple weeks a little, as people are probably adjusting to him. But he's only 19, and he's pretty goddamned awesome. And this is a key positioning as well, even though he could play anywhere in the outfield (and does), but putting him out there behind Miggy, letting him learn from the old dude, that's a smart development move too. Being a 19-year-old Mormon fucker suddenly at the center of the universe, it could blow up a lot of people's minds pretty quickly. So you need a Miggy Cabrera there to teach the kid pacing, or at least try, kinda like when Robert Duval told Sean Penn that joke at the beginning of Colors about not running down and fucking one heifer as a bull but walking down and fucking them all. Remember how in the end Sean Penn was telling some other hard ass kid the same story, and Robert Duval was dead, and Frog had gotten sent to prison again? That could be Bryce Harper too.

CENTER FIELD: Well, even though he's sort of disappeared to an extent, it will always be NYJER MORGAN as long as he is a baseball player. He's a one-of-a-kind guy, and you want him on your team, if for nothing else to have the ever-present presence of mind to convince somebody at the bar to designated drive he and Cabrera back to the hotel.

DESIGNATED HITTER: JIM THOME, even though I contemplated giving ol' David Ortiz a little love here, but you just can't ever truly give props to a Red Sox player, mostly due to Red Sox fans, who are the fucking worst ever since the Red Sox got good there again. Good lord man, can you imagine how much Cubs fans will fucking absolutely suck should Theo Epstein work his tomfoolery again and enable the Cubs to win a couple of World Series? Holy shit man. It would be horrible. But Jim Thome has quietly been playing baseball since 1979, and somehow has even done it in recent years in Philadelphia where you actually have to play in the field if you wanna play the whole game, even at his ripe old age. I would expect him to go to the AL, perhaps in the coming weeks, where he will play for another decade at least.

RIGHT FIELD: JOSE BAUTISTA because this is basically a Blue Jays blog, and Bautista is the greatest spirit warrior on that cursed Canuck team. (Will you guys let me know when they get the one-way glass installed too, so I don't have to get arrested again for masturbating in public even though I'M IN MY FUCKING HOTEL ROOM! Expensive hotel room at that.)

At this point, I had a couple players in mind, but realized I was reaching out of the strike zone, so I'm gonna sit on this. Perhaps this will be the entire team, perhaps not. Dear KS, feel free to flesh out the rest if you want. Or maybe I'll remember this next week.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Red Sox 5, Blue Jays 1; Red Sox 10, Blue Jays 4: I totally got sneak-day-gamed today

what's up, sad guys?
I am an almost preternaturally with-it and together guy so imagine my surprised when I learned that a day game happened without my knowing about it even faintly. What did I miss? Ricky Romero getting absolutely pounded for only his second loss of the year, for starters. He has been less than himself for a while now so this is not shocking, but he really did get lit up, and lasted a few. However! E5 belted his twenty-second, and Jose Bautista his majors-leading twenty-fifth. Bautista, who is still only hitting .237, is now hovering around the AL top ten in OPS, because he is still walking a ton and yeah those homers but he is hitting like no doubles, which is really weird: he's at nine, and no triples, actually. So it is like, here is a dude with an OPS made up almost entirely of walks and home runs. The dream of the nineties!

Oh yeah the previous night the Blue Jays lost unremarkably by a score of 5-1, and I have no idea who is pitching any of the games until it's Romero again, honestly.


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Marlins 9, Blue Jays 0; Blue Jays 9, Red Sox 6: Et Tu, Henderson Alvarez?

lol seriously?
A 9-0 drubbing at the hands of the Marlins is obviously not great, but Jesse Chavez is not a dude who should really be pitching in the major leagues, and there he was starting, so what can you do? We do not have any guys. Further to that, young Henderson Alvarez left Monday night's game against the Red Sox with soreness in his elbow, making it I believe four starting pitchers pulled due to injury in the last two weeks. This is ridiculous, however, I have chosen to focus on the positive from last night: three dingers! Rasmus! Arencibia! Joseph Batts! Also I think it is kind of cool that the Blue Jays have signed 49-year-old Jamie Moyer who, honestly, could totally be a fit right now. In darker news, Adam Lind has been recalled after tearing it up in Triple A, but, I mean, he better have, and also it was Las Vegas. I don't know man. I do not know.


Saturday, June 23, 2012

Blue Jays 12, Marlins 4; Blue Jays 7, Marlins 1: lol the Marlins suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck right now

you're that is totally sad john buck back there
The scores here would suggest that these similar kinds of games, but really they weren't at all. Friday night, Ricky Romero continued to not pitch all that bossly, while Bautista et al. wilded out on that ridiculous(ly awesome) new ballpark in Miami. Today's game, despite the score, was a full-on pitcher's duel most of the way, featuring, for the Blue Jays' part, this new version of Brett Cecil who is not all that bad but about whom you cannot help but have continued concerns re: velocity. The game's duelishness outlasted the starters, and carried right into the ninth, where an E5 solo home run looked as though it might well be enough to win it but then the Marlins totally kicked it around literally balked and before you know it we are looking at a 7-1 fiasco after a Colby Rasmus grand slam rather than the 2-1 nailbiter it had seemed only moments ago. Also notable: Darren Oliver being his bad self throwing breaking balls for strikes even when he's behind because he can


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Brewers 7, Blue Jays 6; Blue Jays 10, Brewers 9; Brewers 8, Blue Jays 3: Look, We Don't Have Any Pitchers

we do however have the above guy
Seriously, that's it. There are no more pitchers. So it is was pretty rad last night that the Blue Jays went dingers bananas, back-to-back twice in the same game. Colby Rasmus has been pretty rad since an adjustment to his swing; E5 is not at the torrid pace he was to begin the season, which, I mean, that's fair; and yeah man Jose Bautista is shaking off a weird start and just straight-up killing it of late. Make no mistake: the Blue Jays are largely boned, as would any team be that had just seen sixty percent of their starting rotation hit the disabled list. But I am ready to just sit back and watch an at-or-near .500 club hit some dang dingers.


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Mets Fan Community Loses One of its Own

I think enough time has gone by where I can discuss the following.  

Two weeks ago, the Mets fan community was shocked to lose one of its own.  As a feeling of dread burrowed its way into our stomachs, it became clear that an old school Met fan was going to lose his life.  

That fan was Lane Pryce.  

One of my favorite understated features of Mad Men was the old school Mets pennant that Lane hung in his office.  I always wondered if he'd gotten it on a trip to the ballpark in one of his first visits to New York, or hung it up there to win favor with a potential client.  Nevertheless, there it sat, season after season, and we never found out if Lane followed the team (through losing season after losing season) or if it was just up there inadvertently, as so many of us leave calendars up well into May of the following year because screw it.

I like to think that Lane decided his baseball allegiance over something no simple as "No proper Brit would ever root for the Yankees" or something.  Regardless of why he picked them, a sad truth hit me a couple of days after I watched the episode.  

This season of Mad Men straddled 1967-1968 which meant that, when he died, Lane was a year removed from seeing one of the most improbable World Series victories in history (and oh yeah, some guy walking on the moon).  While it's unlikely that something like that would have wiped his troubles away (or at least his grim final decision) it would have been nice for him to see it before he went.  

I'm fully aware that this could become, like, a thing among Mets fans, so here is my submission.  I expect a LOT of Oliver Perez ones, guys.  

After a Proper Sample Size, I'm Ready to Admit Something

I've known along that this Mets team was special.  I've watched a no-hitter, two one-hitters, the ascension of possibly the most improbable ace ever and taken joy in every minute.  Now, at last, I reveal the Mets' secret weapon.  

My daughter, Grace, born in the middle of February, a spring training filled with dark clouds and questions swirling around ownership, Santana's shoulder, and the rotation.  One month after her birth, the Mets ownership reached a settlement in the Madoff fiasco and things just seemed to get better for the team. 

They started out hot, saw some injuries, but also some outstanding fill-in work by players like Captain Kirk, and some really good pitching.  They've overcome injuries to their first through fourth string shortstops, their cleanup hitter hitting under .200 all season, and the demise of Mike Pelfrey.  Through it all, they've remained at a steady 3-7 games above .500, and have been chasing those amazing Nats with some tenacity.  

Not sure how things will finish up, but just to have awesome things happening (like a no-hitter, a potential All-Star game starter and Cy Young, please, and oh my god, some playoff hopes) is amazing.  Being able to share them with the Mets' good luck charm takes it to a whole new level.  

Knuckleball Nerdery

Perhaps you are like me - an idyl bureaucrat wasting away another afternoon of your life anxiously awaiting the inevitable collapse of western society. And perhaps you are like me and would enjoy reading a bunch of bourgoisie jibber jabber about knuckleballin'.

Project Knuckleball from the New Yawker

Monday, June 18, 2012

the internet

This is a thing so horrible that I just had to share it with you, where not only is Bryce Harper considered a conservative hero, but also today's conservative grass roots efforts are somehow punk rock. I actually emailed Al Qaeda about membership after reading this.

Bryce Harper - Conservative Hero

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Blue Jays 6, Phillies 2: Brooms, and Yet Doom Still Probably

brett cecil is like "I totally don't remember us having uniforms this cool"
I am not one to look a giftsweep in the mouth and so thank you very much for this, you Phillies of Philadelphia, and I will also thank Colby Rasmus for the dinger and Brett Cecil for his first start of the season and everything. But man, we are so boned right now. Cecil's 87 MPH fastball and pretty iffy curve are unlikely to do to AL East teams what they did to the Phillies (no diss), and who even knows who even knows who will be starting by the end of the week. But hey, big crowds this weekend and a nifty little sweep, so chin up I guess.


Saturday, June 16, 2012

Blue Jays 3, Phillies 0; Blue Jays 6, Phillies 5 (F/10): Oh Man What Is Even Going On Here

sorry skip my arm exploded
So, because of baseball I totally get that clustering is a feature of randomness, and also that random clusterfucks are a feature of baseball, but Jesus Christ what is going on here is a feeling I definitely felt following yet another Blue Jays starter -- this time young Drew Hutchinson -- going down with an injury after basically no pitches and further dooming us. Mike Wilner, who I on the whole do not enjoy, tweeted something to the effect that after the trainer had been talking to the freshly injured Hutchison, he sat down on the bench for a minute and had a few words with Ricky Romero, who then proceeded to bury his head in his hands (like a boss?). After the Phillies (specifically Mike Fontenot) threw that game away Friday night, it was Ricky Ro himself who took the mound Saturday afternoon, and he wasn't all that good. But a J. P. Arencibia tied it late! And Rajai hit the walkoff double in the tenth! But we still don't have any pitchers! What will become of us!


Friday, June 15, 2012

At 5:55 PM on this the15th of June, 2012, I Am Calling It: The Blue Jays are Done

symbolism imo
Even with the glorious extra wild card spot, this isn't going to happen, is it? With Brandon Morrow out, Kyle Drabek out (try not to walk anybody on the way to the DL, duder), and Ricky Romero not throwing anywhere as well as a 7-1 win/loss record would suggest, I am pretty much set to abandon all hope. The bats have been weird so far, too, with only E5 really surprising in a good way, although it must be said that Kelly Johnson is rad and Jose Bautista looks headed for another +.900 OPS with plenty of dingers, so, I mean, fine and dandy to all of that for sure, but Lawrie hasn't been great, and Escobar had a horrible start, and I don't know, man, I just don't know. They're a game under .500, six and a half back in the division, and four out of the second wild card, none of which probably sounds insurmountable with ninety-nine games left to play, but as far as my own hopes and expectations and indeed feelings, this 2012 season is no longer the 2012 championship season it started out as for like a minute. 

No scoreboards will be watched.


Metaphysical Statistical Hyper-Analysis

For approximately 17 hours the past two days, I have been feeding various forms of data culled from a multitude of sources into a 37-tabs Excel spreadsheet with highly complicated formulas. This data goes back to 1978, in regards to baseball as well as U.S. Census Bureau GMA statistics, and has been taken from online databanks as well as actually mildewy books from the library four blocks from where I work, which are reference only meaning I had to sit there and take notes into a dollar store composition book. Non-statistical sources include four in-depth phone interviews, one with a childhood friend's father who has an excellent unpublished manuscript completed about Negro League baseball, one with a local sports radio figure who spent years in sports journalism at a regional level, a former AAA ball player who flaked out Zen Buddhist style and now teaches Hsing-I martial arts in a former boxing gym, as well as a guy I used to get high as fuck with at baseball games (he always had an uncanny ability to see things develop before they did, being blessed the natural intuition of an old school scout, just scummy as fuck and covered in stereotypical tattoos thus unemployable). After having let all this data ferment together overnight on a lime green thumb drive kept in a zipper-lock sandwich bag underneath my oldest rooster's coop overnight, I plugged it into the ol' Mini-Mac this morning, opened up the main file, and the end result was that the New York Yankees fucking suck more than any other thing in sports could ever hope to suck. Not just on a baseball level, but a sports plane, that goes internationally, only really threatened as the most suck by two European-based football/soccer clubs. The franchise and the fans help highlight all that is bad with New York City, baseball, sports in general, humanity in general, people with the last name Rodriguez, Italian-Americans, and many other items far too numerous to even bother listing or we'd be here all weekend. Suffice it to say Go Nats!

Perhaps you are asking yourself what baseball teams was the second most suck in the end results of my data analysis? That's a clown question, bro.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Nationals 6, Blue Jays 3; Nationals 4, Blue Jays 2: At Least Brandon Morrow is Pretty Hurt

oh man my oblique
Heck of a series so far! Not only have the Blue Jays dropped the first two to these young and exciting Nationals who used to be the old and depressing Expos, but Brandon Morrow has messed up his oblique and is out for weeks, probably! It is kind of funny that he threw nine pitches, allowing a dude to reach base and eventually score, and so he is saddled with the loss. Not a good stat, pitcher wins and losses. Really not a very good stat at all. 


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Braves 5, Blue Jays 2; Blue Jays 12, Braves 4: Man I Missed A Lot of Baseball This Weekend

two awesome dudes who spend a lot of their time around third imo
Barely caught an inning this weekend, friends, but don't worry: it's because I was having an awesome weekend, not a horrible one. Saturday's loss was brightened for me by Jose Bautista's home run, because I love it when that guy hits home runs man I just love it, and today's win was darkened by Ricky Romero getting roughed up and failing to stick around long enough to pick up the win in what turned out to be a laugher. Fortune, good night, smile once more; turn thy wheel! One time a guy said that.


Saturday, June 9, 2012

Braves 4, Blue Jays 3 (F/10): Be Fair to Francisco Cordero

is that big fat Eric Hinske on the left? Orlando Hudson and Eric Hinske in back-to-back posts like this was 2003
Look. There can be no doubt that J. P. Arencibia blew it by double clutching and then skipping the ball in the dirt and by Brett Lawrie as Jason Heyward stole third and then came into score. And Heyward only reached in the first place by legging out an infield single. But stop running Francisco Cordero out there guys just stop it. Just a total shit-show aside from Bautista's home run, this one, what with Atlanta runs coming in on a balk and a bases-loaded walk. Miserable, miserable stuff.


Friday, June 8, 2012

White Sox 4, Blue Jays 3: Not Even Mad

long may you run
This is kind of like when it got so bad with E5 at third base that you couldn't even get upset when he'd sail one over Lind's head and into the crowd, or whatever, because absolutely everyone knew what E5 was, and yet he was still being misused. At that point the player is blameless in my view, and all ire is redirected towards the manager who insists on using a player in a particular way that all but ensures failure. This is what the Francisco Cordero situation has turned into. When he came into pitch the bottom of the ninth in a 3-3 tie, it was like, oh OK, a 4-3 walkoff loss, here it comes. It was totally worry free!

Also mitigating any potential minding on my part is the fact that Orlando Hudson -- yes, the O-Dog -- knocked in the winning run. I like that guy and always have. If you cannot find it within yourself to like a scrappy good-natured chatterbox of a second baseman, then you and I are very, very different people.  Hudson came up with the Blue Jays as a decent defensive second basemen and became quite a good one, actually, under the tutelage of the much-loved Brian "Butters" Butterfield, who, like Moneyball-era Ron Washington, has seen some shit. It's surprising the extent to which he's bounced around in his career, and here he is towards the end of it, playing third base, and a pretty awful third base last night, the kind of awful third base that doesn't turn up in the box score but that is juuuust awful both to the advanced metrics and to the naked eye, the kind that clearly costs runs. So good for him with the big hit and everything! 

I am unable to find any video of his lovably awkward in-stadium promo thing they used to run in Toronto for the O-Dog Combo, which featured Hudson on the big screen saying (way too quickly), "Checkoutconcession . . . fortheODogcombo . . . consistingof . . . ."  Alas, the rest is lost to history. Here however is a video of him talking nonstop, though, and again, if you do not like this, then I just don't know man, I just don't know.


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Blue Jays 9, White Sox 5: You Got Lucky, Colby Rasmus

you've won this round, rasmus
You have no idea how ready I was to denounce Colby Rasmus for whiffing on another totally catchable ball in centre, but then he went 5-5 with a double and a home run, and the anger just melted away, man, that is all it took. The takeaway here is that I am not made of stone. Let it also be noted that while Ricky Romero is now 7-1, he is still not as bosslike as he or you or I would want and expect him to be, and I am not yet ready to say that it is troubling, but it isn't awesome. It isn't that. 

Anyway, how is this for a wacky lineup? E5 got the day off, and they went like this: Lawrie, Rasmus, Bautista, Johson, Escobar, Cooper, Arencibia, Vizquel, Davis. Weird!


missive from a Greyhound somewhere in rural Wyoming

Internet, I gave up on my photo per game thing because honestly I have mostly given up on most aspects of this modern life. I occupy my time snorting bath salts in bus station bathrooms, then riding in whatever direction I feel while reading Technological Slavery, the collected writings of Ted Kaczynski. But I have followed the Nats from afar thru bus station TV monitors (where available) and day old newspapers, and let me tell you a thing: Strasburg and Harper have been as awesome as one could possibly expect. Before the Nats came to DC, I was a Giants fan due to playing on a team called the Giants when I was 8-years-old, and that era when Barry Bonds was dialed in was something else, and yet it also disheartened me to the beisbols because of all the obvious reasons from that era. I can tell you that in my mind I already compare Bryce Harper to Barry Bonds, and think Harper is a much more enjoyable force.
I hope that DC stays successful and Peter Angelos stops sabotaging the Nats long-term viability with his errant TV bullshit where he skims off the Nats like a baseball mafioso (which he is, of course), because I would like to grow old and grey reading about Bryce Harper on the Nationals on Greyhound back seats. To idly sit on a Missoula, Montana, bench, reading of his 12-inning heroics, it made me drunker in my soul than any amount of panhandling for Four Loko money ever could, at least for the moment.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Blue Jays 5, Red Sox 1: It is All Fun And Games Until E5 Gets Plunked on the Hands

I should have been free to enjoy Daniel Bard's historically bad six-walk, two-hit-batsmen-in-less-than-two-innings outing -- the first since 1918! -- but I was not, exactly, because E5, who is a motherfucking monsters this year, got hit on the hands, which is the worst. Apparently he is making the trip to Chicago, though, and it is just all sore, rather than all injured, so there you go. Did you know that young Drew Hutchinson put in a fine seven-inning outing? And that, holy cow, Jose Bautista is up to fourteen dingers at this point despite still not really being himself? Mostly though I am glad that the sweep was averted because sweeps suck one's life force, a little.


Monday, June 4, 2012

Friday, June 1, 2012: Mets 8, Cardinals 0. 50 Years in the Making

The top of the sixth inning has ended, and rather than letting myself be drawn into yet another no-hitter tease that only ends in heartbreak, the only thing I’m choosing to agonize over is the kind of ice cream I want to order.  

It’s the first Friday in June, and I’ve spent the previous few hours traveling from my office outside of Philadelphia to Wildwood, NJ.  For all intents and purposes, it is the southern tip of the Jersey Shore – Exit 3 on the Parkway,  about as far as you can go before needing a ferry - and I’ll be spending the weekend with my wife, three-month old daughter, sister-in-law, her husband, and their three-year old daughter. 

My wife, Kate, and I have always shared a special relationship with my sister-in-law Beth, and her husband Bob.  Our first official date was their wedding, and they live so close to us now that it’s rare when we see each other fewer than five times a week.  Kate and I were both at the hospital when their daughter, Haley, was born at about one in the morning, and Beth flew out to be with us when we left the hospital with Gracie after her birth. 

We’ve already vacationed together, taken care of each other’s kids, and been through some agonizing situations together. The only bad thing I can say about any of them is that they’re all Phillies fans. 

So they can’t possibly care less that something is cooking at Citi Field on this first Friday night in June. 

But it doesn’t matter.  I’ve just realized that Santana is working on a no-hitter.  In the past, any occurrence of this - whether its in the third inning or the seventh - results in an immediate dose of cold water when the opposing team, as if a switch went on, knocks a base hit to keep the drought alive. 

Having listened to the pregame on the drive to Wildwood, I’m only able to get back to the broadcast in time to listen to the top of the sixth.  Watching or listening having just arrived at the shore house would have been rude, but I allow myself to catch up during a long drive several towns over to get ice cream.  On the way I hear the controversial call on Carlos Beltran’s foul ball – as Mets play-by-play announcer Howie Rose so wonderfully articulated the following day “The lines were drawn too far left anyway,” - and realize that the no-no is still intact.

When I make this realization and Santana goes on to record the final two outs in the sixth, I allow myself to wish, but it doesn’t last long. 

By this point of the season, it’s common knowledge that Santana’s maximum pitch count will be 115, tops.  He is, after all, recovering from a surgical reconstruction of his pitching arm, and had never thrown more than 125 pitches in a game before that.  Through six innings he’s already hovering around the 90-pitch mark, and there’s no way he’ll be able to finish at this rate.  On top of that, there’s already been some rain in New York with more in the forecast and if the umps call for the tarp, his evening will be finished. 

It’s not happening tonight.  Maybe ever.  I opt for chocolate chip cookie dough. 

Some cool things happen in the bottom of the sixth.  Kirk Nieuwenhuis and David Wright get on base in front of Lucas Duda, who promptly smacks a dinger to run the lead to 5-0.  Bob is amused since he thinks Lucas Duda has a funny name, and he certainly heard it enough in the finale of the Mets’ series against the Phillies earlier in the week when the right fielder hit two meaningless home runs.  

Then the seventh inning starts and who comes to the plate but Yadier Molina. 

Molina’s new teammate, Carlos Beltran, is the face of the 2006 NLCS defeat, having watched Adam Wainwright’s unfairly good curveball drop in for a strike to end the Mets’ last, best hope for a World Series, but the game would not have been over if it wasn’t for Molina.  On that October night in 2006, Molina simultaneously punched 50,000+ Mets fans (still celebrating Endy Chavez’s miracle catch, I should know, I was there) in the gut with his two-run homer in the top of the ninth.  The homer propelled the Cardinals to a World Series victory and the Mets to over five years of frustration.  I still have this image of the game ending seared in my mind!

Three of these four men played a part on Friday.  The wound is still fresh.

The son-of-a-bitch was going to do it again. 

After David Freese popped out harmlessly to first, Molina smoked a line drive to left field that, on the radio, sounded like the end.  That is, until Howie Rose almost screamed Mike Baxter’s name, who dove with a full head of steam toward the wall to make the catch and keep the no-hitter intact. 

Mike Baxter is from Whitestone, Queens.  He grew up in the Mets’ backyard, attended games as a kid, and -based on a report from SNY field reporter Kevin Burkhardt – called New York’s WFAN radio to cheer, gripe, and defend the Amazin’s.  He had grown up without a no-hitter just like the rest of us, and now he was going to do something about it, goddammit. 

He made the catch on Molina and lay prone on the warning track from a long time, having plunged head and shoulder-first into the padding on the wall. Molina thought he had a homer, and circled the bases until he was corrected.  Santana applauded the catch with his hand and glove before he realized something was wrong.  The trainers went out to check on him, and eventually escort him to the dugout to a standing ovation.  Not tonight, Molina.

The subsequent groundout to Ike Davis was without incident, and the tension mounted.  Seven innings down.  Six outs left to get.  107 pitches.  Johan batting second in the bottom of the inning.  What happens now? 

Insufferable troll Adam Rubin brings up Francisco pitching the ninth.  My Phillies friend Erik (seriously why do I surround myself with these people) texts me, I assume to try and jinx it.  We’re almost back from the ice cream trip, but are making a stop at a bar close to the house to get some wings.  Don’t judge us. 

Omar Quintinilla pinballs an infield hit off of Rafael Furcal to get on base, and we have our answer.  Santana will bat.  This game is his to finish.  I can hear the ovation over the radio and there is another when he executes his sacrifice bunt perfectly.  Then, fans need to wait SIX MORE BATTERS as the Mets tack on three more runs, and in my mind, Johan Santana’s arm forms into a useless hunk of ice as he sits on the bench.  Eventually the inning ends and he goes out to the mound again. 

Tyler Greene flies out softly and Shane Robinson strikes out, which at this point in the game is NOT COOL.  Strikeouts mean more pitches.  Furcal, another thorn in the Mets side for years draws a walk and then the moment we’ve all dreaded.  Terry Collins goes out to the mound.  In my mind I can already see the completely unsatisfying “Mets combine for no-hitter” headlines in my head, and am sad.  Then I am simultaneously exhilarated and terrified when Collins leaves the mound without Santana, potentially putting his job on the line for a chance at history. 

His faith is rewarded when Beltran, yes that guy again, hits a scary-sounding line drive that humpbacks and safely hits the outfield grass, but only in my imagination, since Daniel Murphy is able to grab it at second.  Eight down, one to go.  Three more outs to history. 

I immediately text those who might care.  My friend Al, who is a Dodger fan, but Mets well-wisher.  My uncle, whose sister and mother are the reasons for my being a Mets fan – not unlike vampires creating other vampires.  My friend Elliot, whom I affected in a similar fashion during our freshman year as roommates at Seton Hall University.  The same message for all.  “Put the meta on now.”

I meant to say Mets, but my iPhone still hasn’t gotten the hint after three weeks of use. 

Al is the only one to respond during an uneventful bottom of the eighth.  “Hmm” he says, not saying the words, well aware of the etiquette.  Josh Thole, who would later admit he just wanted to get the inning over with, strikes out.  Omar Quintinilla gets a single, the nerve.  Santana doesn’t dare swing, even though the Cardinals pitcher almost walks him before the umpire puts Santana out of his misery by calling him out on strikes.  Andres Torres grounds to first, and the ninth inning begins. 

My heart is pounding.  This is still not new territory for the Mets.  Tom Seaver took a perfect game into the ninth in 1969 before allowing a bloop single to Jimmy Qualls.  All told, the team has had 35 one-hitters, each one as unsatisfying as the last.  Before Holliday bats, I get a text from Al “whew, Holliday was the scary guy there.”

He’s ahead of me, I think, and I frantically inform him of such and close out Messenger.  I want this experience on my own.  Rose’s alarmed call of Holliday’s sharp line drive to center doesn’t phase me.  That one was a free Bingo spot, one where I could breathe easily.  The next two outs wouldn’t be.  If this was happening or not, I wanted the pure experience. 

Rose’s tone escalates when Allen Craig flies to left, but there isn’t the undertone of defeat and it hangs up until it lands harmlessly in Nieuwenhuis’ glove. 

One to go. 

A rainstorm which had been threatening for most of the evening has arrived, and so have we, back at the beach house.  Beth and Bob bring Haley inside before most of the rain begins to pour, andI’m free to go inside and watch either history or disappointment on television. 

I stay right where I am.  All of this has been happening while I was listening on the radio, and if I mess with that and it ends, I’ll never forgive myself. 

I tell my wife to leave my daughter in her car seat.  If this happens, I want to be able to tell her about it.  I’ll bring her in when it’s over. 

“I want to hear what happens,” Kate tells me, God bless her. 

Naturally, the next batter is the defending World Series MVP, David Freese, and Santana runs the count to 3-0. 

I almost want Santana to walk him.  Then I think about Collins’ last mound visit after a four-pitch walk and Johan’s pitch count of 131. 

Ok, don’t walk him. 

Freese, possibly thinking the same thing, takes a called strike.  Then he fouls off a changeup. 

Full count.  133 pitches.  Two outs in the ninth.  No Mets pitcher has ever been this close. 


I don’t even feel the drops as I get out of the car, unlatch Gracie’s car seat and rush inside.  I am ready to soak in everything, and will start with the live look-in that MLB Network or ESPN would surely have established. 

I’m horrified to see the Phillies game on the television. 

Beth and Bob tell me that the NBA playoff game is on ESPN and the network didn’t switch over.  And then, as if on cue, the Phillies announcers receive the news and cut to the SNY broadcast, and I see what I've been waiting to see for a long time.  

The ultimate victory, having the live celebration from Citi Field broadcast on the Phillies’ own network.  I see Santana being mobbed by his teammates (and one jackass in jorts.)  Santana is saluting the fans.  He knows, he gets it.  A hobbled Justin Turner gets him with a whipped cream pie.  He’s sitting with the long-suffering WFAN reporter for the Mets Eddie Coleman, getting sprayed with champagne. 

It’s glorious. 

I’ve waited every day of my 29-year existence for a Mets no-hitter.  My daughter has one at three and a half months. has already shuttered its doors.  Every online sports site  in crashing due to traffic. The eyes of the baseball world are on Queens. Yesss. 

Over the next few days, I soak it all in.  I buy newspapers for the first time in ages.  I read every behind-the-scenes recount of the tale.  And the more I hear, the more cosmic the entire situation seems. 

You want subplots?  How about the catcher of the Mets’ first no-hitter nearly missing the game, as he’d missed the previous 27 games with a concussion?  How about a kid who grew up bleeding blue and orange sacrificing two months of his season to preserve the no-hitter?  How about eight runs, eight hits and 134 pitches:  1 + 3 + 4 = 8, alluding to the number of the recently deceased Gary Carter, whom many said played some divine part of the game? 

But here’s my favorite. 

How about the three architects of that heartbreaking 2006 NLCS loss; Beltran, Wainwright, and Molina, being prominent figures in this game?   Wainwright the losing pitcher.  Beltran the not-double.  Molina the hitter of the Baxter Ball. 

Could this have been one huge message from the universe that the underachieving, frustrating, LOLMets of the past five-plus seasons are no more? 

I’m not sure.  But if they make the playoffs, just remember that I told you that it was. 

This was awesome.  Baseball is awesome.  

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Red Sox 7, Blue Jays 4: It Was Sunny and I Fell Asleep Outside

 I don't know either
I heard the part where Colby Rasmus messed up on a ball hit straight at him, and also the part where Kyle Drabek stood around like a dink instead of backing up third on a ball ripped to the gap, but for much of the rest of this one I was asleep on the back deck, and not, like, in a chair on the back deck, but on the back deck, unmediated. So frankly I am limited in what I can tell you here other than that I had an awesome Saturday.


Red Sox 7, Blue Jays 2: Hurry the Fuck Up, Clay Buchholz

this is actually an animated .gif
Getting beat, I can handle. But hurry the fuck up about it, Clay Buchholz. Hurry the fuck up.