Sunday, November 28, 2004

Mets Offseason Report Card

Ok sure, there isn't much to report yet.

It's nice to see the Republican mouthpiece, clubhouse bigmouth and all around nice guy-but-still-a-douchebag-who-can't-pitch-past-five-and-a-third-innings-an-outing Al Leiter Get Shown the Door. The Mets already have an ageing lefty who can't pitch more than six innings under contract. His name is Tom Glavine. So we don't need another. Good night Leiter. Take you're Republican act somewhere else where they might appreciate it. It only works for Schilling because he won a World Championship for the Red Sox. Leiter has won nothing for the Mets.

I THINK it's good that they signed Kris Benson back for a three-year, $22.5 million contract. Of course, if he spends the next three years like he spent most of the last three, ie; ineffective, hurt or both, well, he'll make a nice 5th starter behind Glavine, (fill in the blank), Trachsel, and (fill in the blank). It isn't just because I want to see more of his bimbo wife Anna or hear them regale us with more of their sex in the outfield sagas (imagine walking around rightfield and having to think of Kris and Anna going it at it, burn marks in the turf all around you...)

Of course, if the Mets want to fill Shea with fit birds, well, why not get ahold of Barry Zito? Apparently, the unreasonably fit Alyssa Milano has dumped or been dumped by Carl Pavano (nix him off must-sign list for stupidity alone) and is now dating Barry Zito. Zito for Human Hammy Reyes, anyone?

I'd still like to see them make a reclamation project out of Kevin Millwood.

Not sure what to make of the recent Pedro Hoopla. It certainly isn't as crazy as portrayed. I've always thought of Pedro as a real whiner and real injury prone, a bad influence on a team. On the other hand, seeing him pitch back in the NL, with no DH, in a pitcher's park like Shea, giving the Mets a 1-2 punch of Pedro and Glavine for starters, well, I can't say as I wouldn't mind seeing it happen.

At this point, it's hard to say how realistic it really is though. Negotiating ploy? It isn't hard to believe that it makes sense for Pedro to go the NL. He's won his World Championship for the Red Sox and defeated his "daddy" demon from the Bronx. Tantalisingly close to King George and the Pinstripes yet far enough away to stay safe. Who knows? Depending on how much and how many years, it seems like not a bad idea.

That reminds me, considering other rumours, I've not really weighed in on the Sammy Sosa Sweepstakes. I'm not concerned about his "bad attitude" in Chicago, nor necessarily his progressively dwindling numbers. He'd be a great publicity and excitement coup at Shea and even he had his one revenga season to prove the Cubs wrong, he might be worth it...for a season. What frightens me is being saddled with more than a season, fat paychecks once he's proved his point and primarily, Sosa's hitting .129 with 1 homer and 6 ribbies at Shea over the last three years. Of course, I remember how much a deal was made of Manny Ramirez's numbers at Fenway when he went to the Red Sox and look at how that turned out.

Bottom line is, under the right circumstances, (no long-term deal and the ridding of either Cliff Floyd, Mike Piazza or both), having Sammy Sosa around for a season or two wouldn't be the same as having Fat Mo around. I'd take a chance on Sammy.

There are still rumours about a $10 million a year deal for 1B Richie Sexton. He strikes out ALOT is all I'll say. 806 strikeouts to 341 walks lifetime. Is that the kind of team Omar is trying to assemble? Strikeout Sammy, Strikeout Sexton, and alot of puffery in between? I dunno about a long term $10 million deal for Sexton. Seems to me, the money would be better spent elsewhere. Either Sammy OR Sexton, sure, we can endure one whiffy bat, let's just not start a trend.


Offerings on Sky 3 for NFL matches were a bit of a snooze yesterday - in theory Minnesota vs Jacksonville should have been good, two teams with winning records fighting for playoff advantages but the 27-16 Viking victory was really nothing to write home about. Maybe it is my continued disdain for artificial turf although frankly, the turf at the Dome seemed a little moist in places. Sure, Randy Moss is exciting to watch and seeing two black starting QBs face each other is still a novelty but really, for my money, watching Channel 5's coverage of The Raiders Stunning Upset of the Broncos in a blizzard was far more exciting (beautiful snow photo by the way). Snow, wind, dirt. Real football conditions, not artificial turf, fake lights, piped in air. When will these bastids learn? The clown coverage, in particular Phat Buffalo MacGuire in the studio, did their best to denigrate the Raiders when they were down 0-10 shortly before the half but give the Raiders credit. They and the Redskins are two of the best worst teams in the NFL.

By the way, in case you missed it, how about this lucky bastard? How do you survive a fiery crash of a private plane that kills two people? Nice one, Dick. Does this mean more crap programming from NBC for the foreseeable future?


It was quite a thrill yesterday to see the Puds Top Arseholenol in the closing seconds of the match. The Puds well outplayed the French Gooners in the first half and deserved their 1-0 lead. When Arsenal equalised in the second half, I thought, "that's it" only a matter of time before they go down 2-1 or the game ends in a 1-1 draw, which in truth, would have been a moral victory for Liverpool considering their injuries. But to see this last second goal drain the air out of Arsenal's sails and leave them a full five points behind Chelsea for the top of the tables.

Quite a thrill indeed. Ever since that whingeing loss to Man U which ended their record streak of loss-less matches and saw them cry like little girls, Arsenal's mystique is being challenged on a weekly basis. They are no longer the kings. They are no longer to be feared. They are the little french squealers exposed en fin.

Good for Liverpool and even better for Chelsea!

Monday, November 15, 2004


It only takes two weeks for Giants coach Tom Coughlin to discover how ineffective QB Kurt Warner can become and grease the skids for Eli Manning's NFL Debut against the Atlanta Falcons this week.

The Giants and the Jets struggle in Metropolis to see which team can have the most disappointing downslide in the second half of the season. The Jets, with Mr Carter at QB, are a train waiting to be derailed and can only hope Chad Pennington is a faster healer than they dare imagine.

The Giants have Eli and he's got the whole world in his hands. Let's see if he can hold on.


Barry Bonds has earned his seventh MVP award.

Detractors who whinge about steroid abuse should note, as ESPN's Jason Stark does in Bonds In His Own League that:

"Bonds reached base 376 times. Only the Babe ever beat that. Barry had an .812 slugging percentage. Just Ruth -- and Bonds himself -- have topped that. He was the oldest man ever to hit 45 home runs. He was the third to drive in 100 runs in a season in which he didn't even get 400 at-bats. ... And then there were all those walks"

Illegal performance-enhancing drugs might give Bonds an edge but it doesn't send him into the stratosphere of his sport. If it did, we'd all take it and we'd all be famous millionaires whose exploits are ignored in favour of constant harassment by the holy soapbox media.


Bowl Bullocks

In case you've become confused by a certain university's 24-6 rout of a highly regarded Georgia squad last week, it is confirmed here there is no bowl controversy.

No one outside of the south is interested in watching Auburn play for the national championship, even though with three weeks remaining, it's allegedly a three-way battle for the privilege, with USC, Oklahoma and Auburn each 10-0.

The only National Championship that will be worth watching will be Oklahoma and USC. Both teams have a pair of Heisman candidates. Both teams have played a tougher schedule than Auburn. Both teams have been #1 and #2 all season. Now, the argument could be made for Auburn, or any 10-0 SEC team considering the number LSU did on Oklahoma last season. But that was then, this is now, as they say.

Auburn's comical non-conference schedule of Louisiana Tech, Louisiana-Monroe and Division I-AA The Citadel, despite victories over Tennessee and Georgia.

"They played three teams that wouldn't win their state high school tournament," said BCS expert Jerry Palm, who operates the Web site. "If Auburn doesn't get to the Orange Bowl, [team officials] might look back and say, `We wish we would have played somebody better.'"

Sunday, November 14, 2004

The Enemy Within
"Everyone wants to shoot the messenger when the message is frustrating, but I operate in the arena of truth," super agent Scott Boras once said. "My job is to carry that bulletproof vest and go through it."

There is one common denominator in all the free agent baseball talk so far and that is agent Scott Boras.

The temptation to hate the co-author of the $252 million contract is easy enough. After all, this season alone, Boras represents free agents Carlos Beltran, the most coveted of all free agents, Adrian Beltre, Jason Varitek, JD Drew, Derrick Lowe, Magglio Ordonez and Kevin Millwood. These players alone would probably total about $330 million in new contracts. When considering that most agents earn between 4%-10% on a sliding scale, that means Boras, who neither plays baseball nor pays baseball players, could stand to earn anywhere between $13.2 million to $33 million just for doing his job of milking maximum salaries at inflated rates for his overrated talent.

And let's not mistake hype for reality - as A-Rod has proven, no single player is worth bankrupting a franchise for. Someone signing Beltran, for example, will likely be looking at a 9 figure contract, a crippling contract if you're anyone but perhaps the NY Yankees. And let's be realistic, shall we? Outside of a sizzling postseason, what has Beltran achieved, other than his hype, to merit such an enormous payday? Is it .284 lifetime batting average? Is it how Beltran compares with such certain Hall of Famers as Carlos Lee, Richard Hildalgo, Phil Nevin and Preston Wilson, to name a few?

The point is not to bash Beltran, he's hired a gun to be placed at the head of owners in the name of Scott Boras and whatever wretched things one might say about Boras, he is successful in getting the most money for his clients imagineable.

The point is that Boras has nothing but a negative effect on baseball. Yes, the players hire him and the owners pay him but the players have a responsibility to play well enough to get their inflated paydays and the owners have the ultimate responsibility of generating enough revenue to be able to pay Scott Boras in the end. Scott Boras only has the obligation to make as much money for himself as possible. An argument might even be made that Scott Boras doesn't care about the players he represents, he only cares about how big a contract he can get for that player and thus, how big a cut he can get for himself.

Do you think A-Rod was happy with his $252 million contract in Texas? Do you think the fans were happy? Was the owner even happy? None were happy, which is how and why he ended up in pinstripes. Hang on, one was happy: Scott Boras, because regardless if the Rangers, the Rangers' owner, the Ranger fans or even A-Rod himself were all unhappy, he still got his cut. A rather substantial one at that. And to "earn" that money, Boras didn't have to play baseball, didn't have to pay baseball players, didn't have to pay subsequently inflated prices for tickets to watcht that player. He only had to pay himself.

So rather than get excited about potential free agents and where they might be headed perhaps the focus should be on what greedy agents do to the game of baseball, how overrated each one of his clients really are and examine who, amongst all the teams, will be dumb enough to help Boras earn another fat payday for players who aren't worth what they're paid.

The other agents, by comparison:

Adrian Beltre, lifetime .274 hitter. 48 homers last season but only 57 homers in the THREE years previous, combined. Comparable to Mike Lowell, Aramis Ramirez, functional mediocrity down the line.

JD Drew, lifetime .287 hitter. 31 homers this season. NEVER drove in 100 runs in a season, averages about 110 games played a season (meaning of course, he misses about a third of his teams games every season.

Jason Varitek, lifetime .271 hitter. Comparable to legendary players like Chris Hoiles, Mike Lieberthal, Bo Diaz. Certainly not worth the numbers Boras is asking for and although a valuable member of the Red Sox last season, perhaps just another average Joe playing for some other highest bidder next season.

Derrick Lowe? 72-59 lifetime. 3.88 lifetime ERA. Has started over 30 games the last three seasons running. Perhaps the most solid pitching prospect of the free agent market.

Kevin Millwood, 98-64 lifetime. Has averaged about 30 games started over his career, but has won a decreasing amount of games over the last three seasons: 18 to 14 to 9. Might have to do with his ERA running up from 3.24 to 4.01 to 4.85.

Magglio Ordonez, coming off knee surgery, not the best time to be a free agent, but a .307 lifetime hitter, has averaged nearly 30 homers a season. Comparable to Mike Sweeney, Cliff Floyd, Bobby Abreu, Kevin Mitchell.

Of them all, Lowe and Ordonez might be the only two who might be worth what Boras tries to get for them. The rest are overrated and will soon be overpaid as well.

Peyton Manning Bandwagon:

Following the 5 td pass performance yesterday, the elder brother of Eli Manning now needs 18 td passes in the next 7 games to break Dan Marino's single season mark. Of those next 7 games, he and the Colts will face the Bears at Chicago (8th in TD passes allowed), at Detroit in a dome (20th in TD passes allowed), home in a dome versus Tennessee (21st in TD passes allowed), at Houston Texans (now 32nd in TD passes allowed), home in a dome versus the Ravens (4th in TD passes allowed), home in a dome versus the Chargers (18th in TD passes allowed), at Denver (3rd in TD passes allowed).

Monday, November 08, 2004

”The good befriend themselves.”, Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus.

For those of you utterly disinterested in the comings and goings of the Mets future, I promise to intersperse this opinion with philosophical, political, literary and sociological scatology so as to appear to make it interesting, so please bear with it and if you aren’t a Mets fan, imagine your own club’s problems…

"Those who don't know how to weep with their whole heart, don't know how to laugh either." -- Golda Meir

BULLPEN: When you’ve got two auld starters who can’t pitch more than 6 innings an outing, you’d better have a deep bullpen. It isn’t hard to burn out a bullpen when half of your regular starters can’t be counted on to pitch the team into your set-up man and closer.

Omar Minaya is the kind of GM who can do much with little and thus, should take that philosophy to his bullpen refurbishment. Middle relievers aren’t overly expensive. Set up men are a little pricier but the majority of the budget should be spent on other needs.

LEADERSHIP: Simply put, the Mets have none, on the field at least. Perhaps Willie Randolph will figure out what he’s doing quickly, but I’m not convinced about this player’s player rubbish. That’s how they described Howe. He understood the players. What is important is understanding winning. By whatever method.

Leadership isn’t running your gob, like Leiter or whingeing, like Floyd. Allegedly, the Mets’ most important player is Mike Piazza, and he too, consumed as he is with playing catcher, no matter how poorly he fields, no matter how weak his arm, is no leader.

So you’ve got first base and rightfield up for grabs this offseason for the field and at least one of them is going to have to be a leader. This is especially important because we don’t really know what kind of manager Willie Randolph is going to be.


I say trade Mike Piazza straight up for Jason Giambi.

"If fifty million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing." --Anatole France

Giambi, free to grow his facial hair again, can repeat his imitation of superstar that he performed so admirably under the dim lights of Oakland. Excluding this season’s walk around the block with ill fate, Yeah, he’s 33, but that isn’t very old for a first baseman. He hit 82 homers in 2 seasons with the Yankees before last year. And frankly, the media microscope is trained much more highly on the Yankees than the Mets so Giambi has a little less on his plate to deal with. So I’d bet on his coming back strong. I’d take the risk if it meant ridding the Mets of a dead era.

"Every man is guilty of all the good he didn't do." -- Voltaire

Mike Piazza, on the other hand, has a catcher’s body that has been run through the mill and has not responded well, has no leadership qualities to speak of, three hops throws to second, and plays lousy defence in general. What is to like about this guy? That he is quiet, uncomfortable and for two reasons running a disaster as a catcher?

Now you might ask why would the Yankees trade Giambi for Piazza unless they knew Giambi wasn’t coming back strong and didn’t want to waste money on a wasted player.

Answer is: They wouldn’t. Not unless they were wrong. Not unless they were desperate for Beltran and Randy Johnson and would trade Posada to get a top flight starter…all possible scenarios.

I would let Leiter go and sign Millwood.

I would trade Piazza for Giambi.

Jose Reyes’ shelf life is about a half season at this point. If he doesn’t come out this year like hell’s fury unleashed and gets hurt or whatever, his trade value will be a disaster. At the moment, he’d be worth a lot. Hell, if he could go an entire season without getting hurt, I’d venture to say he could lead the Mets to stardom, but that’s a big IF. I rather think he’s just injury-prone and while he might have a career season in him, chances are this injury problem won’t go away for very long, and it’s best to get rid of him now, while he’s still worth something.

Of course, the problem is that the SS market is saturated with free agents.

Could he be traded for equal value? Well, I’d take him with Royce or someone similar for Soriano. Soriano is proven. If Jaramillo is the batting coach wizard his consideration as a Mets manager would lead one to believe, then Soriano must have unlearned a bad habit or two at the plate. But I doubt it. Still, a healthy Soriano is far more valuable than a consistently injured and historically fragile Jose Reyes would be, despite Reyes’ potential.

What I wish for most this offseason as a Mets fan is a reason to feel passion, a reason to believe in them again, believe they have a chance.

There isn’t any one player who will do that – probably the point of the tongue-in-cheek suggestions. An aura has to be created. Omar Moreno, I thought, demanded some interesting things from his potential managers – around the clock coverage including scouting in the Hispanic world in the off season. It’s a wonderful vision of commitment and I hope Willie Randolph lives up to it.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Hell Hath No Fury Like A Franchise Scorned
"I'm not concerned about all hell breaking loose, but that a PART of hell will break loose... it'll be much harder to detect." -- George Carlin

DC Baseball continues to be an enigma. One blundering moment of stupidity follows another in seemingly predictable patterns and colours yet somehow, something new always happens to jump out at it.

It started with the Selig decision to wait on making a decision. That allowed enough time to pass so that there might be an appropriate handicap to appease Oriole's owner Peter Angelos. That and the decision to put his competition in the slum of a dangerous city instead of an easy Beltway-accessible Northern Virginia suburb.

Then, a move was finally decided and yet, there was no ownership. No one to name the team, no one to budget the team, no one to consider trades and free agents.

Then the owner's ownership cabal decided, hang on, it might be a good idea to at least have a general manager for this team with no name and no confirmed budget because there is no real ownership. So they announced Jim Bowden as the new interim GM.

Bowden said he did not know what kind of budget he had to work with, but he expected it to be more than the $41 million the Expos spent last year. According to a person close to the situation, the Expos are hoping to increase their payroll by $15 million.

But they weren't really sure. Hmmm. How much money will we have to spend? Certainly other than who will own the team, how much they'd be willing to spend is another pressing issue. After all, how in the world will Scott Boras ever be able to find out if some collective of kazillionaires is coming forward to buy the DC Baseball franchise and represent another market to blackmail and extort from.

Then of course, there is still the issue of what the hell will they be called?

What do you call a team that doesn't really exist yet anyway?

You might want to call them The Washington Wishful Thinkers because now all the tinkering and inertia has finally ripened still stranger fruit as the previously unknown player in the game of destroy baseball in DC, DC council chairman Linda Cropp, decided she too wanted in on the fun.

After the fact, Cropp has announced there will be no Anacostia riverfront stadium as promised and agreed to. She says build it instead near the RFK Stadium site. Who cares will they build it, one might think, if you build it, they will come, yaddayadda. Problem is, the agreement was the Anacostia riverfront stadium and Major League Baseball officials have made it clear they have zero interest in a site far from downtown.

The WP reported that Cropp, according to two close friends who spoke with her at length about her decision, felt that if she was going to be a realistic contender for mayor, she had to move now to align herself with the anti-stadium feeling in town. And if that meant losing the Expos entirely, so be it.

Align herself with the anti-stadium feeling in town? What kind of feeling is that for a town luring MLB to it's grim environs?

Well, apparently, there is one. And none other than council member-elect Marion Barry, rearing his cracked up head from the ruins of his political career, has found the head to place upon his political pike and that head is the anti-stadium issue.

So now, while people still senselessly pick over the carcass of bad names to name their new team with, (really - "Senators" for a city which has no representation in the Senate? - "Nationals" for a city that voted by an overwhelming margin against Bush and clearly does not hum the same tune as the majority of the country?) even as the debate goes on, the debate now shifts to the more important issue: will there even BE a team to name?

Well orchestrated. The competition for who can foul the franchise more, the Commissioner of Baseball or the city itself, has begun. May the best side win.


One thing you could say about baseball in DC that you couldn't say about the Mets at the beginning of the week was, at least they have a manager.

Well, it's official. We won't have Art Howe to kick around any more. Instead, we've got a 50 year old ex-Yankee who claims to have rooted for the Mets as a kid. Better still, he doesn't have ANY managing experience. Not in the Major Leagues, not in Single A, not even in the Little Leagues.

The one thing that immediately jumps out at me is the wisdom that at least Omar Minaya and the Wilpon Idiot Collective weren't allowed the opportunity to hire Wally Backman before it was too late. They dodged a bullet there. They didn't have to wake up this morning with huevos rancheros on their faces like the muppets running the Diamondbacks. And they can even push forward the notion that they aren't the dumbest run team in baseball anymore. But poor Wally Backman. Not only did he get fired in a George O'Leary sort of record time, but now, he might even be facing jail time.

Another thing to consider: last year saw another ex-Yankee coach hired as a first time manager; Lee Mazzili. With questionable talent and a weak-knee'd pitching staff, Mazzili was able to manage to eke out a 78-86 record which isn't really .500 respectable but wasn't bad enough to get him fired in the first season. Hell, some people even think he did a decent job, under the circumstances. But even someone as managerially challenged as Art Howe lasted more than a season, so Mazzili surviving his first season isn't exactly laudatory praise.

Basically what you get with Willie Randolph is some breathing room. No one knows how he manages yet since he's never managed, so no one can point out his losing seasons or his World Championships as any portend of his managerial ability. There isn't a blip in his history to suggest he will fail, win or even just maintain the rule of Met mediocrity. So his critics are still like larvae waiting to come to life.

At the moment, he has the virtueous upside of being from New York itself, from being the first Afro American manager in New York, reasonable, young and accustomed to the heat of the New York media.

Well, he isn't either of my first two choices, Valentine or Piniella. Piniella, by the way, is also a former Yankee who was hired as a manager with no prior experience. But he isn't Wally Backman and he isn't Art Howe and he isn't Jim Fregosi either. That's a pretty good start.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Ex-Yankee To Manage Mets

There will be paens to "doing the classy thing" and hiring New York's first black baseball manager, giving a guy a chance, hiring a manager with NO managerial experience but it's difficult to know what to make of the Mets announcement that they've hired Willie Randolph to manage them.

This isn't one of those smack-to-the-heads, oh-christ-what-are-they-doing sort of moments like when they hired Art Howe to lead them into oblivion and Fast Freddy Wilpon was positively gushing like a schoolgirl at how impressed he was with Art Howe's commanding presence.

It shouldn't be held against him immediately that he is a 13 year Yankee veteran. GM Part Trois, Omar Minaya was pretty clear in what he was looking for: "I'm looking for a person, a manager, that's going to have good work ethics, going to communicate with the players, communicate with the front office on a daily basis," Minaya said. "I'm looking for a manager that's going to be able to delegate to the staff. I'm looking for a manager that's going to interact with the community."

Of course whether or not "interaction with the community" would be on my priority list of qualities for my candidate for manager, let's not start cursing and breaking furniture just yet. Hiring Willie Randolph could prove to be one of those sly, backhanded sort of brilliant decisions that will make Omar look like a genius. One can hope anyway.

In the meantime, the Most Selfish Player In Baseball, Mike Piazza, continues his death watch with the Mets. For Wilponian reasons it appears they are enamoured with Mike Piazza's inflexibility and even more with his stylish lack of talent behind the plate so there will be no DH For Life role in the near future, no unloading of the cancers from the team. In order to justify keeping him on as worst defensive catcher in baseball, Mike Piazza will have to hit around .375 with 45 homers and 150 RBIs. Of course he won't. And whilst he remains with the team, Omar Minaya could have announced Jesus Christ as the new Mets manager and I wouldn't be any less certain that the 2005 will be YAUD, yet another unmitigated distaster.


On the brighter side, it appears Latrell Sprewell has one big family and cannot feed them on $10 million per year. According to Sprewell, the $30 million offer for three more years is an insult.

"Why would I want to help them win a title?" Sprewell whinged. "They're not doing anything for me. I've got a lot at risk here. I've got my family to feed."

Here's a quid for the Feed The Sprewell Family fund. Quick, somebody set it up. I'd hate to see the lovely Sprewell family go hungry.


No End to the absurdities in sight:

As if there weren't any other infielders in the world to pick on, the rumour today is that No Mas Garciaparra wants to include the Yankees in on his offseason shopping wish list.

Maybe he, Jeter and A-Rod can stand for a late March Sports Illustrated cover shot with all of them in Yankee pinstripes crowded into a phone booth strategically placed between second and third base. It's true what my grandmother used to say:

Jaap, you can never have enough shortstops

Indeed. Words I have lived by.

Monday, November 01, 2004

It's All Over - Even The Crying

Be happy I'm not a Red Sox fan and for this not being yet another testimony of the relief of the burden of my suffering.

I tried all week to figure out a sports equivilent to the Red Sox ending an 86 year long draught. There isn't one. In England, everyone dreams of 1966, the last time England won the World Cup. That's 38 years for a tournament that only happens once every 4 years. That's like 756 years in Red Sox suffering years.

The strangest thing I've read about it to date was a piece out of, (if I remember correctly) Bill Simmons who repeated the bit I imagine is well-known: St Louis and Boston history in sports and how if they could've broke the streak against anyone, St Louis was the city.

But kudos to Red Sox fans I know here. Dawson especially - his first hand pieces were a joy to read.


I was never able to jump start any enthusiasm for the latter stages of the postseason. I was in Bratislava with a crunchy hangover one morning in a hostel and got on their lone internet access and saw that the Yankees had defeated the Red Sox by some absurd score (19-6 or something?) and went ahead three games to nil in the series and I thought to myself, like any rational being would think: well, that's the end of that series.

And then a few days later in Hungary, another shot at the internet showed that the Sox had won Game 4 in extra innings and but still, I was like, yeah nice moral victory, chachacha.

By the time I'd returned home, I was able to watch Game 7 at 2 in the morning. They had it on the English equivilent of network television, live, with the feed of the hyperbolic American network coverage. Even when they whooped the Yankees in Yankee Stadium, I still thought, well christ, this won't win them the World Series.

And in England, they broadcast the World Series every night it lasted. And for Game One and Two, the England-side commentators, the ones the network goes to when the American feed goes to commercial, wore tuxedos in celebration of the World Series.


Of course, none of the pageantry excuses Bud Selig. As much as I hate him for his moments of stupidity, I have to respect the fact that under his reign we've seen a stablisation of the union and the introduction of wild cards in the post season. Without those post season wild cards, where would the last three World Champions be?

I don't like how he knee-capped the Washington Expos (or whatever they will be in the end). Nor how he knee-capped the Expos when they were in Montreal. Having them play games in Puerto Rico was either incredibly stupid or incredibly sadistic. Either way it doesn't point to brilliant leadership.


So where are the Mets?

They still don't have a manager. They still have Mike Piazza. They still have Cliff Floyd and this doesn't sound like a very good beginning for the year's prospects. I was happy they made Omar Minaya the whatever he is as one of three unofficial GMs. But if no one in the franchise is going to have the bullocks to shed the franchise of it's excess and damaged weight, it really won't matter who manages them.

I was disappointed to find no more Bobby Valentine references since my three week sojourn. Before I'd left, there was mention of the possiblity of him coming back now that Phillips is gone. When I returned, nada. The new rage is Jim Leyland.

I really liked Bobby Valentine. He brought success and a World Series appearance to the Mets. He brought the fake nose and moustache to the dugout. He brought the "stoned batter facing a 98 mph fastball" stance and face to the late season press conferences. Plus, the thing I loved about Bobby Valentine was that when he was manager of the Mets and I'd go to a game at Shea, there was no doubt that I'd run out of space on the scorecard to keep track of all of his double switches and changes. He was an entertaining manager in all facets and I would have loved to have seen him return to the Mets.


Good luck to you Americans with your election. I hope you're living in the right state for your vote to matter. Good luck Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, etc.


Does the Red Sox World Championship really mean the demise of the Patriots?

0-1 so far. Perhaps the stashed decades of suffering can only be cashed in once.