(members of the 89-73 New York Mets try to contain their excitement during postgame festivities that included video highlights of each Black 47 concert from Shea’s legendary Ethnic Heritage Nights)
Does a team with a 12-13 mark in September have any business ruing a playoff miss? How about a club with the vaunted production of Jose Reyes, David Wright, Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado scoring a combined 5 runs over the course of 3 must-win games? While Jerry Manuel deserves considerable credit for funny press conferences turning the Mets’ season around, the fact remains his squad was beaten by a nose to the Wild Card by a Milwaukee side that fired their manager two weeks ago. Really, let the freezing fucking cold winter of recriminations begin, and since I can’t find any members of the Mets relief corps at the moment, I’ll instead consider the status of Omar Minaya, he of the recent 4 year contract extension.
Minaya has now presided over a pair of late season folds, and if he’s gonna receive bouquets and job security for promoting Manuel, the question oughta be raised whether or not Gangsta Jerry was sent into battle with inadequate ammo. That both of the Mets 2008 manager were provided without a Plan B in place for the loss of Moises Alou and routinely had to endure the torture of watching Aaron Heilman, Pedro Feliciano, Duaner Sanchez, etc. falter, is squarely on club management and ownership. It’s pretty hard to get psyched up for keying Luis Ayala’s car (but go on, twist my arm, I’m free all week) — at what point did any of us close our eyes and believe he’d morphed into Trevor Hoffman?
At one stage earlier this month, the Mets dropped 3 of 4 to a pair of teams (Braves, Nationals) a combined EIGHT THOUSAND games out of contention. They managed barely any offense this weekend against a foe with absolutely nothing to play for besides pride. Well, that and the satisfaction of giving Wally Matthews a boner.
These Florida Marlins are becoming awfully adept at ruining the final day of the Mets’ regular season. If Hank Steinbrenner were in charge, you can be sure he’d already be on the phone to next year’s schedule makers.
Christian Abbiati, 31, an Italian international, said: “I am not ashamed to proclaim my political beliefs. I share [the] ideals of fascism, such as the fatherland and the values of the Catholic religion.”
The player’s remarks, published today in Sportweek magazine, come amid debate over Italy’s fascist past and rightwing present under the leadership of AC Milan’s billionaire chairman.
The minority partner in Berlusconi’s parliamentary alliance, the Freedom People, is a party spun out of the country’s neo-fascist movement. Some members remain unabashed apologists for the dictatorship of Benito Mussolini.
The defence minister, Ignazio La Russa, sparked a row this month after he paid tribute to Italian soldiers who fought alongside German troops in the second world war. His comments came after the mayor of Rome, Gianno Alemanno, told a magazine he did not consider fascism an “absolute evil”. Berlusconi dodged a question on his own views, replying: “I think only of working to resolve the problems of the Italian people.”
“When the whole Russian thing went on here, the Philadelphia Flyers and the Spectrum managed to chase a whole political system out of the building, not just a team,” he said. “They chased communism out of the building.”
Considering the Core StatesFirst Union Wachovia Center may yet have a new name, I suggest the ’08-’09 Flyers also dedicate themselves to beating up on failed political or economic systems. Too bad Merritt Paulson doesn’t own a hockey team.
[Is Angel Guzman, pictured, the Mets last best hope?]
Mets fans, please send “thank you” notes to Mr. Lou Piniella, c/o Wrigley Field. For reasons I don’t want to worry about “ such as Carlos Zambrano’s undead arm returning for the post-season “ the Cubs have announced that all that stands between the Brewers’ CC Sabbathia and another win tomorrow is Angel Guzman “ not Zambrano. “He’s 0-7 in 32 career games. Maybe Sunday, he’ll get a win,” says the Cubs’ Carrie Muskat, in a bit if uncharacteristic sabre-rattling. Muskat reassures Mets fans with the following, headlined, “Guzman Standing in Brewers’ Way”:
The Cubs will have a 20-something right-handed Venezuelan on the mound Sunday, but it’s not who you think.
Angel Guzman will start for Chicago in the final regular-season game, which has much more meaning for the Brewers than the Cubs. Milwaukee is tied with the New York Mets for the National League Wild Card lead, and whatever happens Sunday could determine who the Cubs will face in the NL Division Series, which begins Wednesday at Wrigley Field.
If both the Mets and Brewers win Sunday, they will have a one-game tiebreaker game Monday at Shea Stadium. If the Mets win, and the Brewers lose, the Cubs will play the Mets in the NLDS. If the Brewers win the Wild Card, the Cubs will play the Los Angeles Dodgers.
“It’s amazing how you play 161 games and it comes down to the last game,” Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. “It’s unbelievable.”
Before Saturday’s game, a 7-3 Chicago win, Piniella said Carlos Zambrano would start in the series finale and most likely go only two innings. The last time Zambrano pitched at Miller Park, he made history, throwing a no-hitter Sept. 14 against the Houston Astros. The game had been relocated to Milwaukee from Houston because of Hurricane Ike.
Asked what he’d do if Zambrano didn’t give up a hit over his two innings, Piniella laughed. More important, Zambrano probably would have insisted on at least one at-bat before he was pulled.
“I might as well hit him fourth,” Piniella said.
That’s old news. After Saturday’s game, Guzman was announced as the starter. The young right-hander underwent Tommy John ligament replacement surgery on his right elbow last August and has overcome shoulder surgery as well. He’s 0-7 in 32 career games. Maybe Sunday, he’ll get a win.
The Maker’s Mark and Blue Moon have been choppered in. The Ricobone’s with Spinach is on board. The liveblog… begins
2nd: Sox 1 Indians 1: While I was out discovering that my neighborhood liquor store had closed its doors, Shin-Soo Choo launched one in the first, but was answered immediately in the bottom frame by Jermaine Dye. Meanwhile up in Twinkieland, the Twins are again down against the Royals 4-2 and Joe Mauer just hit into his second double play in the bottom of the 9th courtesy of The Mexecutioner Joakim Soria….
UPDATE: Twins LOSE 4-2. Mexecution couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of fellas. (Tied for) first place feels pretty good again.
UPDATE: (Top 4th) Choo has a great look on Javy, just sent one to the warning track in right but Dye pulled it in. K number five for Javy – buh-bye Jhonny Peralta – another 3-up-3-down inning for Mr. Relaxation.
UPDATE: (Bot 4th) …and Jhermaine’s got an equally good look on Zach Jhackson, threatening at the track. These two should get a room. Jackson’s (6.12 ERA) got good heat and the Sox haven’t seen him before. Just announced: Cliff Lee has been SCRATCHED for tomorrow’s start vs the Sox. Eric Wedge, the beer’s on me at the next Pere Ubu gig…Konerko just went to the track too. The forecast is for fireworks tonight.
UPDATE: (Top 5th) Garko singles up the middle…Dellucci walks, first BB for Vazquez…1 out…Javy goes 3-0 on Ben Francisco who rolls one past Juan “How Much For Parking?” Uribe – bases loaded, one out. Asdrubal Cabrera puts an inside fastball down the first base line for a bases-clearing double…Cle 4 Sox 1…but even worse, there’s activity in the bullpen. Where’s the bourbon? Jamey Carroll up…hey, a two-run double! Cle 6 Sox 1! Amid the boos, Ozzie found the bullpen, and I found the bourbon. Mmmm, bourbon. Javy out, Clayton Richard gives up another gapper …7-1 Indians…You know, the thing I admire the most about borbon is the vanilla notes in the flavor, it’s almost like having an ice-cream cone but you can’t feel your face…Garko forces Come Back Jhonny out at second and this 6R 6H 2B inning is now over. Face: can still kind of feel it.
UPDATE: (Bot 5th) AJ with a 1-out line drive single up the middle. So is this payback for the 2005 September where the Chisox almost choked their gi-normous division lead but took the last series to clinch against an almost identical Indians team? All I know for sure is this: you gotta let Ronald be Ronald. Clayton Richard: you got out of the inning. Don’t trip over Javy’s suitcase back there.
UPDATE: (Bot 6th) Brian Anderson walks…Dye srikes out looking. It is nothing short of astonishing that this tired bunch of millionaires can’t even manage to get eliminated tonight. Goddammit, lead, follow, or get me another Maker’s neat.
UPDATE: (Bot 7th) Solo bomb from Konerko. Cle 7 Sox 2. Remember that scene in The Bad Lieutennant where Harvey Ketel is watching the NLCS and Darryl Strawberry turns in one of his “patented moon shots”…to make it 11-2 Dodgers? Fists….in the air….
UPDATE: (Top 8th) Richard out, Lance Broadway in. Impromptu staging of “Cats” takes place in living room. Broadway gets into the mood by giving up a double to Garko, driving in Martinez. Cle 8 Sox 2. Actual cats not amused. Face: numb.
UPDATE: (Bot 8th) At some point during the Tony awards, RHP Brendan Donnelly took the bump…Juan Uribe reaches by beating a roller up the 1B line…Carbrera sends a wicked slice double down the RF foul line, Uribe on 3rd..Dewayne Wise up…Donnelly’s stuff is on the dead side..3-2…struck out looking. Dye sac flies to Choo in right, Uribe beats the throw for RBI #91 Cle 8 Sox 3…out goes Donnelly, in comes LHP Rafael Perez to face Jim Thome with Cabrera on third…2-2…fastball smacked to the left drives in Cabrera – Cle 8 Sox 4…Jensen Lewis in to face Konerko with one on…FIRST PITCH — POW 2 RUN SHOT TO RIGHT — PAULIE’S SECOND FOR THE NIGHT! Cle 8 Sox 6…replay looks like a changeup, drifed inside…Alexei singles on an E5 off of Carroll’s glove to bring the tying run to the plat…AJ up, 1-2 count…Ozzie yelling about Lewis balking, high fly to Sizemore in center…3 outs. Face: very numb, slightly moist.
UPDATE: (Top 9th) Welcome to the mound Scott Linebrink, who looked very much like his old self in oe of the few bright spots against Minnesota..Asdrubal Cabrera singles a chest-high slider under Konerko’s glove…Sizemore singles up the middle nearly decapitating Linebrink…Carroll lays down a 5-4 sac bunt, followed by ihntentional whalk of Choo…bags juiced..for Jhonny Peralta…fhuck. Perlata line drives to left to score Cabrera…Cle 9 Chi 6...bases loaded, Matt Thornton in, line drive single scores Sizemore…Cle 10 Sox 6…I’m sure I’d feel much worse if I wasn’t so heavily sedated…Franklin Guttierez in for Delucci, what are you worried, Wedge?…anotehr line drive to right, drives in two. Cle 12 Sox 6.
“This has a chance to be the final soundtrack at Shea: jeers, curses and various expressions of anguish as Mets runners on third never score” scoffed the NY Post’s Joel Sherman after Friday’s dispiriting 6-1 loss to Florida. Some 14 hours later, the Schizo Mets remain alive for at least one more day after Johan Santana made Shea’s penultimate game one of the most memorable in franchise history. Pitching on three days rest after throwing 125 pitches against Chicago on Tuesday, Santana’s 3 hit shutout of the Marlins earlier today was the sort of heroic performance even the most delusional Mets fans wouldn’t have dared imagine. The talismanic Venezulean starter — who might cost Tim Lincecum and Brandon Webb a few first place Cy Young Votes — whiffed 10 and walked just 3 in an electrifying outing that will hopefully inspire some greater concentration on the part of Oliver Perez tomorrow afternoon. And at the risk of sounding terribly morbid, short of rendering Shea’s closing day meaningless, what could be more distasteful (or appropriate) than having the entire season riding on the back of the enigmatic Ollie?
As of this writing, Ted Lilly hasn’t allowed a baserunner in Milwaukee, with the Cubs leading the Brewers, 4-0 after 5 1/2. Supposedly, Carlos Zambrano will start for Chicago tomorrow, and keep in mind he’s got a hitless innings streak of his own happening at Miller Park.
There’s hardly been a shortage of fine performances at Gonerfest 5 thus far ; under normal hit-or-miss rock fest circumstances, the Sic Alps’ reverb-soaked set Thursday night would’ve been a gig-of-the-year contender (please, save the “you must not go out very often” chatter for someone else — I go out all the time, I just have much lower standards then you). But much like the fateful auditions for the voice of Poochy The Rockin’ Dog, the Sic Alps have been forced to relinquish the crown of The World’s Greatest Band (Of The Past 48 Hours) in favor of the London trio Black Time.
To paraphrase Giuseppe Franco, I don’t have anything to do with Black Time. I don’t know a thing about them. But I do know that unless or until the Scanlon/Hanley X 2/Burns/M.E.S lineup of the Fall reforms, I’m unlikely to see an English band (or perhaps a human band) so totally locked-in. I don’t know of many bands under the age of 100 that could’ve held their own alongside Chain Gang, the Panther Burns in their prime or the first couple of Flesh Eaters incarnations, but I’m not exaggerating when I claim Black Time are the perfect antidote to feed whichever of your friends complain about contemporary music sucking. I’ve got a couple of (borderline) pals like that, and if they don’t make it to Emo’s on Monday to see Black Time, the Cola Freaks and the No No No Hopes, at the very least, I’ll know who to delete from my social networking buddy list.
No disrespect is intended towards those who prefer Newman’s portrayals of “Fast” Eddie Felson or Luke Jackson, but the late thespian will be best remembered at Chez CSTB for his nuanced performance as player/coach Reggie Dunlop in George Roy Hill’s “Slapshot” (1977).