4/15/2005 08:38:00 PM
�IT�S NOT EASY WATCHING BASEBALL WITH YOUR HANDS OVER YOUR EYES�
That�s how I watch most starts by The Zambrano Project, peering out between my middle and ring finger. Credit Willie Randolph with the understatement of the night:
[He gets into those little lulls where he struggles," Randolph said of Zambrano, who had such lulls in the first, third and sixth. "But he comes back. When he gets in a zone, he can be tough."]
Willie�s being kind here, but give The Zambrano Project credit his starts have not been museum quality but last night he got the job done. What�s so intriguing about The Zambrano Project is the movement on his ball is astonishing. If he could ever get command of his breaking pitches he would make all of us Kazmir advocates look silly. Last night was a prime example as that was the hardest 105 pitches I�ve seen a guy throw in a long time. Sid Fernandez was that way as well, although Sid hid the ball better than Zambrano. After awhile though starts like these will take it�s toll on the team as you would not want to be the guy standing on the field during a 90 degree day in August while Zambrano is putting two or three runners on every inning.
Jose Reyes� at bats are starting to become �Strawberry-esque� as they�re not to be missed. Straw�s were for the chance to see a majestic home run and Reyes it�s to watch the infield panic while trying to field a ground ball and hope to throw him out at first.
You know what the best part of this young season has been for me? Randolph makes no excuses about injuries. I railed against Artie from Queens and any other coach or manager who keeps brining up injuries as an excuse for bad play. That�s a loser�s mentality. So far the Mets have lost two-fifths of the starting rotation (Trachsel and Benson) lost an everyday outfielder (Cameron) for an extended period. Last night Floyd, Valent, and Matsui came up with ailments and had to sit out but because the bench is so deep (The Benchmarks as I like to call them) are ready and able to step in and contribute. Miguel Cairo has been in the middle of a couple of rallies during this little streak. Chris Woodward took his outfielder glove and manned LF for the first time since his Little League days without any drama. Victor Diaz is the best 8 hole hitter in the NL only his defensive play could keep him from stardom. It�s little intangibles like this that separates the contenders from the pretenders.
Randolph brought Ramon Castro in for defensive purposes again last night and it seems this could be a regular late inning move by Willie. The question is though, when does Randolph knock Piazza out of the cleanup spot? Right now there is no one to stick in the coveted spot as the offense has been a bit stagnant as far as �long ball� is concerned but if David Wright ever get his bat in gear that could be the catalyst to move Wright to the third spot and Beltran to cleanup and Mikey down to the six hole. Hey, getting old sucks!!
If you don�t have a ticket for tomorrows Pedro vs. The Senator match up you�ll have to pay the scalper as the game is SOLD OUT. Knowing Leiter he probably thinks it�s because of him the games a sell out. Not since the days of Doc Gooden has a start by a Mets pitcher become a must attend event like Petey�s starts seem to be.
Speaking of Rosalita Leiter this little tidbit was in yesterday�s Miami Herald:
Leiter is so jittery about facing the Mets, in fact, he begged out of a late spring training appearance against New York in Port St. Lucie. But he can't avoid this weekend's start, so he says he'll do what he can to manage it.
''I recognize that it's different than just going back anywhere,'' he said. ``It's a matter of trying not to get caught up in the whole emotional [thing]. When we do things that we're supposed to, what types of logos and marks are on the uniform of the [opposing] team . . . doesn't matter.''
BOO-HOO, get this guy a box of Kleenex. Then I saw this posting on a Marlins blog called Fishstripes:
Al Leiter Feels Bad about Facing His Former Teammates
Was I the only one bothered by Al Leiter's sentiment in today's paper Oh, poor Al, he's conflicted about having to start at Shea Stadium against his beloved Mets.
If he loved it so much there, maybe he should have taken a big paycut and stayed in New York. If I was him, I'd take the money and be happy to be back in Florida - where I started Game 7 of the 1997 World Series.
Yes, I understand that Al grew up as a Mets fan. But he had choices here. He probably could have found his way back into the Mets rotation at the right price. He also could have signed with an American League team that wouldn't face the Mets this year if he was so conflicted about it.
He's a Marlin now. Not a Met. He should act like one.
One thing, Omar wanted no part of Senator Al just as he wanted no part of Franco, Stanton, and Vance Wilson. It was time for Senator Al to take his buttinski ass to a new venue to disrupt.
�WELCOME TO HAGERSTOWN�
From Flushings Future web site:
[We�re only seven games into the 2005 season, but Hagerstown, the new Class A affiliate of the Mets, is showing quite early that they are going to be a formidable force in the South Atlantic League. Led by a barrage of top prospects, the Suns stand at 7-0, good for the top record in the league and there�s no signs of them slowing down any time soon. The town of Hagerstown will see an excellent product on the field this season, with such players as Gabriel Hernandez, Matthew Durkin, Ambiorix Concepcion, and Carlos Gomez making the Suns one of the Mets most talented affiliates.]
I�ve taken the Mets to task for stocking the Brooklyn Cyclones like they�re an independent team instead of the short season A ball team they are but I have to give them credit a lot of very good talent has come through Coney Island and a lot of them are at Hagerstown. Check out Flushing Futures for more on the baby Mets.
�NEXT ON YES, THE DRAMA QUEENS�
One of the great things about having Direct TV is you get different perspective on sporting events from around the country. Last night was a great example. In the 8th inning of the Highlander-Olde Town Team game at the Fens, Jason Varitek hit a ball down the right field line that caromed from the corner and along the right field fence. As Gary Sheffield went for the ball, the fans in the front row along the wall tried to grab the ball as it rolled along. It seems one fan as he stuck his hand down, struck Sheffield in the face. Sheffield reacted by throwing his arms into the fan and knocking him back to his seat. Then after throwing the ball into the infield he went back to confront the fans. A cat quick security guard jumped from the bullpen into the stands to act as a buffer between Sheffield and the fans. Excellent job of crowd and player control.
Well, on the post game show on YES, you would have thought there was an assassination attempt on Sheffield. Resident inter-locking metrosexual Michael Kay was not as excitable as he usually is when a Highlander is wronged. Bobby Murcer was ready to have the fan in question brought up on war crimes charges and send him off to Gitmo. Jim Katt was his usual cool self as he sticks out like the proverbial sore thumb on Highlander Government Television. But the guy who was the most over the top was David Justice. First off, every time I see this guy I shake my head as how could a man who was sharing a bed with Halle Berry dump her like an old pair of Nike�s. I don�t care how annoying she could be at home, it�s HALLE BERRY!!!!! Just imagine having an argument with her what kind of make up sex you�d be having!!!! Sorry I digress, Justice was beside himself with what happened saying that nothing will be done about these incidents until a player is killed or seriously injured. He claimed Sheffield did the right thing going after the fan and how the fans of the Old Town Team should be ashamed of themselves for the behavior and on and on and on. I just scratched my head and wondered am I watching the same thing as Justice and the YES girls?
So I switch one channel over to NESN and Eck. Eck took the same stance as me, the fan was totally wrong for interrupting play and going after a ball in fair territory. He felt the fan was reaching for the ball and inadvertently struck Sheffield and both he and the shows host were very �oh well� about the whole thing.
Same incident and tow completely different takes on it by the annoucers of the teams involved.
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