Tag Archives: Mets

How to deal with a Mets fan you encounter at breakfast on the morning the Phillies-Mets game gets cancelled

After journeying into the savage heart of Bluebell and surviving one of its plastic country clubs – all in the name of Phillies-Mets tickets – I was quite peeved on Sunday when the game was rained out. Why, God? As were my three comrades. We decided that the best way to channel our negative energy would be to go and eat at one of South Philly’s fine establishments, the Black and Brew, a solid coffee shop with excellent food. And all was just honky-dory until an absolute atrocity entered the shop.

A Mets fan.

What madness was afoot here? Who dares to not only enter South Philadelphia donning the Devil’s colors, but decides to patronize one of its businesses? You might as well piss on a cheese steak, pull the plug at Boathouse row and call Rocky a sissy – you’ve already committed the most heinous of acts.

May God take pity upon your soul.

Very quickly, our table became ornery. Eyes slit. Fingers menacingly rolling over the glass-covering of the table. Eggs bitten into with the added emphasis of force and rage. Wisps of steam from hot coffee blown away in measured bursts, an obvious strain of self-control forming upon the face.

“What is he doing here?” Continue reading

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Filed under MLB, Phillies

The Pundit has a few housewarming gifts he’d like to give to the Mets…

Seeing as the Mets are moving into their new digs over at Citi Field, it seemed only fitting to buy them – and their lovely fans – some housewarming gifts. For starters, every new home should have a bookshelf brimming with quality works. Here’s a few must-haves I picked up for them.

choke

clutchperform

chickensoup

depressed

great-expectations1

champions

Those should start them off nicely. Continue reading

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Filed under MLB, Phillies

So Brett Favre is retiring, is he? Right…here are a few more things that might actually “happen”

So Mr. Favre is retiring…again. Right. I’ll believe it when the Jets (Editor’s note: Or Vikings and Bears, for that matter) take their first snap without him next season. It’s probably time that Brett “The Gritman” Favre took his leave – his last few years in the league have been clouded by too much controversy and conflict. It kind of hampered the whole “boyish exuberance” thing he had going for him out on the field.

brett-favre-mouth-open12

And that’s why we all loved him, wasn’t it?

So, in honor of Favre’s “retirement,” I’ve come up with some other news of the ol’ double-quote variety. We’ll call it the “Broken News.” In other words, here are some headlines that you would probably be wary of, and likely doubt almost instantly, were you to read them in the paper or on your computer. To the back page!

Pac-Man Jones claims he’s cleaned up act, changed lifestyle

O.J. Simpson swears he’s innocent

Of anything. It doesn’t matter what – you wouldn’t believe him. He could say he was black, and you wouldn’t believe him. Nope,  you would just shake your head at him in disappointed disbelief, the same way your grandparents did when they knew you were lying.

Accused Ballplayer X denies knowing substances were banned, insists everyone was doing it.

Eagles Front Office, Andy Reid says team is “close” Continue reading

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The Pundit’s Power Rankings: Meetings in Vegas, Portis is pissed, and Harrell can just stay home

Unlike traditional Power Rankings, which attempt to rank teams on a week-to-week basis, the Pundit’s Power Rankings avoid such arbitrary silliness. Instead, The Pundit wishes only to rank the pertinence, scope, and conversational value of the top sports stories of the week. Extra points for any stories that lend themselves to relentless mockery and high-horse rhetoric. On to the Rankings!

1. The Winter Meetings

They say, what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. In baseball’s case, what happens in Vegas ends up in New York. The Yankees and the Mets were the biggest players during the Winter meetings, with the Yankees landing free agency’s biggest prize, CC Sabathia. Plus, it looks like they’re going to snag A.J. Burnett. (Editor’s note: Damn Yankees). The Mets added pitching as well, obtaining closer Francisco Rodriguez. Plus, they added one more putz to their roster- setup man J.J. Putz, that is. (Editor’s note: Wow, never saw that first-rate zinger coming). Or, as they’re saying in New York: J.J. Pootz. Hah. Still waiting to see where big-namers like Manny Ramirez, Mark Teixeira and Derek Lowe wind up. And the rest of the National League can breathe a bit easier, as for now, talks between the Cubs and Padres over Jake Peavy are dead. May they rest in peace, and never, ever come back to life. Stay tuned.

2. Clinton Portis vs. Jim Zorn?

Clinton Portis was unhappy about being on the bench in the second half of a loss against the Ravens this past week, and he exclaimed his anger on a local D.C. radio program, going so far as to sarcastically call Zorn a “genius.” Then, it leaked that many of the players weren’t happy with Zorn’s habit of talking to the media about the specific mistakes made by players during games, and apparentely, some of the playcalling. Fun stuff in Washington, especially for a team that has dropped four of their last five games. Though, maybe this type of thing shouldn’t surprise us from Portis anymore…

What in the hell...?

What in the hell...?

3. Heisman Ceremony minus Harrell

Coach Mike Leech was pissed that Harrell wasn’t invited to New York. Many members of the National Media were pissed that Harrell wasn’t invited to New York. Me? Eh, doesn’t bother me – for me, the contest was between the three guys they picked. Though Harrell put up some sick numbers: 4,747 passing yards, 41 passing TD’s, 6 rushing TD’s, 7 INT’s, a 71.5% completion percentage. Let’s be honest: if Texas Tech plays at least a competitive game against Oklahoma, he gets the invite. It’s all about the last impression you leave people, and unfortunetely for Mr. Harrell, his cost him dearly.

4. The Cowboys in disarray

Jerry Jones is calling out Marion Barber for not playing through his injury? TO thinks there is some sort of conspiracy going on between Tony Romo and Jason Witten to get Witten, and not TO, the ball? The Cowboys are the perfect example of why you can look lovely on paper, but if you have no chemistry, all the paper in the world can’t ensure a championship. Jerry Jones, shut your mouth, and let your players play. TO, just shut your mouth, period. Why wouldn’t Romo want to get you, one of the most talented recievers in football, the ball? You normally make him look good – accept the fact that sometimes, the defense will dictate who Romo throws the ball to. It’s common sense, isn’t it? I guess it’s just TO’s world, and we’re polluting it, apparently.

5. Jimmy V Week

“Cancer can take away all my physical abilities. It cannot touch my mind, it cannot touch my heart and it cannot touch my soul. And those three things are going to carry on forever.” – Jim Valvano

If you can watch the speech he gave at the 1993 ESPY’s and not get a little choked up, you are probably a robot. Jim Valvano was a great example of how sports can extend beyond the field and impact the lives of so many people. Wins and losses, they fade in time. Some things live on.

“To me, there are three things we all should do every day. We should do this every day of our lives. Number one is laugh. You should laugh every day. Number two is think. You should spend some time in thought. Number three is, you should have your emotions moved to tears, could be happiness or joy. But think about it. If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that’s a full day. That’s a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you’re going to have something special.”

Amen.

6. Injunction suspended for NFL players

Looks like the Vikings and Saints can breathe easy, as they will likely keep their players for the playoff push. This was a bigger story last week, and I still think it’s fishy that the judge who ruled on this presides in Minnesota, but whatever. I mean, is anybody all that scared of the Vikings or Saints, anyway?

Viiiiiiiiiictory!

Viiiiiiiiiictory!

7. Carmelo Anthony goes for 33 in one quarter

I mean, that’s just ridiculous. 33 in a quarter? Unheard of. Melo’s got game, son, for real for real. Let’s put that into perspective: not one Sixer has gone over 33 points in a single game this year! Which is probably as sad for the Sixers as it is impressive of Melo.

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Filed under College Basketball, College Football, MLB, NBA, NFL, The Pundit's Power Rankings

The Pundit Poll – What is the best rivalry in Philly Sports?

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Filed under College Basketball, College Football, Eagles, Flyers, MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL, Olympics, Phillies, Sixers, Temple, Uncategorized

The Pundit says goodbye to Andy and Donovan

Before Sunday’s game against the Ravens, I was going to write a post about how it was time for all of Philadelphia to give up any hope for the Eagles. How, whenever we give up on our teams in the middle of the year, they seem to suddenly rebound and make magic happen. Remember Jeff Garcia? How about the Sixers in the second half of last year? Or the Phillies two seasons ago, when they were down 7 games to the Mets with 17 to go? I don’t know what it is, but if our team is within arm’s length of success, but has routinely been falling short of reaching it, what always seems to propel them the final distance is the complete lack of faith our city places in them.

What a crazy, mixed up town we call home.

I was going to compare it to a section in the book Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which, if you haven’t read, I highly recommend. Awesome book. Anyway, there was a section about flying, and the general gist was that the only way humans could actually fly was if you forgot you were falling. (Editor’s note: And the only way you will forget you are falling is by taking a few too many tabs of acid). Like I said, it’s an awesome book. The Eagles are the opposite: they fly, or “succeed,” when we assume all is lost.

So maybe Hitchhiker’s Guide was making a more poignant and optimistic evaluation of human behavior…whatever.

I guess there was a reason I never wrote that post – the reason being that, in all reality, all hope is lost. Seriously. It’s over. Everything…is…over. The Donovan McNabb era is over. The Andy Reid era is over. This season is lost. This is not an underhanded attempt to somehow send weird karma the Eagles way to save the season – there is no longer a season to save. Even if the Eagles win out, they will be 10-5-1, which probably would still get them in. But honestly – does anybody think they’ll win out with games against the Cardinals, Giants, Redskins and Cowboys, all in the playoff hunt, still on the schedule? I sure as hell don’t.

I mean, Kevin Kolb came out to start the second half! For those of you who somehow missed the implication of the previous statement, I will repeat myself: Kevin Kolb came out to start the second half! Andy Reid said that nobody’s job was safe, but I never thought I’d see the day that he would bench number 5. I suppose 8-18 with two picks and a fumble will do the trick, but this was as symbolic to me as anything else.

Think about it for a second. You are the Eagles, and you aren’t sure how much longer you will have McNabb as your quarterback. You have a young backup in place, but you really don’t know anything about him. The season seems to be slipping into oblivion, and your head coach benched the incumbent, who has started painfully slow every game, and hasn’t showed the ability to lead a team to victory in the tight games.

Think you might want to know how good the backup is before you start the next season?

After all, you may still be able to get some value for McNabb in a trade this offseason. If Kolb doesn’t have the look of a winner in the next couple of games, you can start to explore other options at QB. And, perhaps most importantly, you can see how Kolb fits into Reid’s system, and determine whether or not Mr. Reid has a future with this team.

And, though it pains me to say it, I don’t think he should. The system just isn’t working anymore.

It’s time to move on.

Not all was bleak from today. The defense, though it will never show it on the scoreboard because of the all of the points derived from turnovers, played well. DeSean Jackson, if he works his butt off, will be a very, very good receiver in this league. Brian Westbrook will get healthy once more. There are many bright spots on this team – for next season. But, barring a miraculous turn-around, the likes of which I have never yet seen, this year is over. Let’s see what Kolb has going on. At the end of the year, let’s ship McNabb out. (Editor’s note: Rant, during the game today, asked me what I thought was going through McNabb’s head after he had been benched. I answered, “Hmmmm…Minnesota, or Chicago?”) At the end of the year, let’s respectfully move on from the Andy Reid era. Maybe we could bring Steve Spagnola back into the fold, who knows?

But it’s all over. Seriously. Normally, I would chalk up my negativity to a bad loss, but this feels worse. Deeper. Like something ended today, something that we can’t get back. So surrender all hope. Throw in the towel. Forget you are falling. This time, I don’t think we are going to recover. (Editor’s note: You’re really bringing me down, Pundit).

It was a great ten years, and I’ll miss you, Andy and Donovan. But I think it’s time to say our farewells.

Farewell.

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From the Nosebleeds – The Philthy Phillies

As you may or may not know, From the Nosebleeds is a new feature to The Pundit, where anyone with the itch to write their take on the sports scene has their forum. Again, please feel free to email me with any material you may have. I will do some editing, and add my own take from time to time, but the floor will be yours.

By Hoffman

It’s been well documented over the years that in the city of Brotherly Love, “we” (Editor’s note: We really do lump ourselves together with the teams and a whole slew of people we don’t even know, as though “we” are connected through the force, or something along such mystical lines) have been without a world championship among the four major sports. For the time being we will forget about pseudo-championship won by the Philadelphia Soul, the arena football team. (Editor’s note: Who?). I tend to think they won not because of great coaching, solid players, and the execution of a good game plan, but rather raucous shouting of Ron “JAWS” Jaworski and the flowing locks of owner, Bon Jovi. I would like to make something extremely clear: I have a strong dislike for Bon Jovi, and I would appreciate if he would find another town to crap in. (Editor’s note: Clearly, Mr. Hoffman wants Bon Jovi out of this town – dead or alive!)

So, going back to my original thought, that being the lack of winning in Philadelphia, I believe that could very well change in the coming weeks. (Editor’s note: People, knock on any wood you have near you, immediately. If you jinx us Mr. Hoffman, I swear to all that is sacred, I’ll get you. Believe that!). After watching a rather lackluster performance by the Eagles this Sunday, I was warmed by thought of the Phillies hosting Game 1 of the NLCS. Oh, and by the way, I’ll be attending, ignoring the burning $200 hole in my pocket. (Editor’s note: You can’t put a price on love, people).

For about the past few seasons, the Phillies have been on the cusp of greatness, or at least a playoff berth, dragging true Philly fans along until the last day of the season. Last year they ended a 14-year playoff drought, ending the Atlanta Braves division dominance, all while the Mets stumbled to the finish line (HAHA!!!). I believe last year at this time the Phillies were just happy to make the playoffs. It was a huge hurdle to jump. Obviously, we know how last year ended. The Phillies got in the way of a locomotive, in the form of the Colorado Rockies. (Editor’s note: Ok, I don’t know if it was intended, but I instantly thought about those stupid Coors Light commercials, where the train rolls through the hot areas, making everybody cool, which, if the metaphor was intended, was precisely what the Rockies did to us last year). How torrid they were, winning 14 of 15, and 11 in a row to close the season. They then went on to sweep us in 3, the D-Backs in 4, only to get swept themselves in the Fall Classic against the Red Sox. (Editor’s note: They cooled off. The mountains turned blue. Mmmmmm…beer).

For the last couple years the Phillies have been picked to be very competitive within the very competitive NL East (Braves, Marlins, Nationals, The Mess. Wait, sorry, I meant the Mets). The Phillies can hit and have three legitimate MVP candidates in J-Roll, Utley, and Howard. Everyone knows we can hit, though they haven’t as consistently as I, the fans, and even they would like. Conversely, the pitching has always been thought of as average at best. A group of decent pitchers that give up a lot of hits is something I have become way too accustomed to. But as the Phillies seemingly displaced the wild card winning Brewers with some amount of ease, and the most overwhelming part of the four game series was the quality of the Phillies pitching. It was vital, and dare I say, borderline brilliant.

Cole Hamels has been given the title of staff “ace,” which is a term used much to often around the league these days. When I think of what makes an “ace”, I think of a pitcher who is around the Cy Young Award discussion from the beginning of Spring Training to the first pitch in the autumn air. To be completely honest, Cole isn’t quite there yet. He has all the qualities and attributes to have a great career in this league. Being just 24 years old, his future looks extremely bright. But for now lets leave the “ace” talk for those who truly deserve it, i.e. Brandon Webb. (Editor’s note: I tend to disagree here – I think if Cole Hamels had been given more run support, and thereby gotten more wins, his name would have surfaced more in the Cy Young discussion. He was second in the NL in innings pitched with 227.1, was sixth in ERA at 3.09, was sixth in strikeouts with 196, was fourth in strike out to walk ratio with 3.70 K’s per walk, and was fourth in hits per 9 innings with 7.64. He’s an ace). Cole in game 1 was absolutely stunning. It was an amazing performance, by a guy with seemingly sparse big game experience. That start will propel him throughout the playoffs and probably the next several seasons as he continues to mature.

Brett Myers looks like his old self, or rather a new, better self. Throughout his career in Philly, Brett has had all of the talent, passion, and fire to be great pitcher. But it always seemed like something was getting in the way. And then I figured it out. He couldn’t get out of his own way. His emotion seemed to get the best of him more often than not. His first half of the season, he looked very bad. He couldn’t spot his fastball or even throw it with any sort of velocity. His curveball, which made him a dominant closer in the 2007 season, was non-existent. After coming back from the minors (with the good ol’ Iron Pigs”), Myers has been fantastic, making pitches, throwing with authority and fight, and most importantly, keeping those volatile emotions in check. There have been a few battles between him and manager Charlie Manuel in the past several months regarding Charlie pulling Brett out of the game, but his heart is in the right place.

Game 2 with the Brewers was the pivotal game of the series. Myers was pitching against arguably the best pitcher in the second half of the season, if not the league. CC Sabathia has been pitching out of his mind, posting an 11-2 record with a 1.65 ERA, throwing seven complete games and three shutouts since joining the Brew Crew (show him the money!). But coming off of his fourth straight start on 3 days rest, he was noticeably fatigued. The Phillies bats took advantage of that fatigue, getting out to an early lead with Victorino’s grand salami. They were even able to score runs without help from the glove of Rickie Weeks or Mike Cameron (see Game 1 highlights, or lowlights for the Milwaukee More Taste League).

I’ll quickly touch upon Game 3, as it was a fairly disappointing game, one I missed some due to a little bit of camping. From what I heard and saw as far as highlights, it was not a pretty game. All I have to say is that we need Jamie Moyer (Souderton Graduate in 1981) for the playoffs. We really need him to do well. It would be great if he could throw three consecutive no-hitters, like he did in high school. I mean, seriously…that would be sweeeeeeet!

Joe Blanton has been a great addition to this pitching staff. (Editor’s note: Well, I don’t think I’d go that far). While his midseason numbers were less that spectacular, he did have some playoff experience, which he gained during this days in Oakland. If he can be the pitcher he is capable of being, the Phillies can go a long way this postseason.

I’ll be honest; the Dodgers kind of scare me. They are playing really well, as good as anyone in baseball. They have one of the best modern-day postseason pitchers in Derek Lowe, in my opinion the best hitter, especially in the postseason, and worst left fielder I have ever seen, in Manny Ramirez, and one of the best postseason managers of all-time, in Joe Torre. That is quite a scary combination, but one I am looking forward to face this Thursday. I don’t know if I mentioned it, but I’ll be at the game, and you probably won’t. (Editor’s note: Jerk). With everything I have mentioned above, I still just have a feeling about this group of players, a feeling that winning is not just a destination, but also a journey, a journey that will hopefully end dancing down Broad Street.

I hope to be a regular or irregular contributor to this publication. I can only hope my writing can quench the large thirst of the Pundit. (Editor’s note: To do that, you’ll probably need to bring over a case of beer next time you’re around, Mr. Hoffman).

Long Live the Pundit of Pattison! (Editor’s note: I swear to God, I didn’t add that myself. Seriously. All his doing).

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Filed under From the Nosebleeds, MLB, Phillies

Absolutely Infuriating – Quick Hits from the Eagles Game

– This was one of the more frustrating games I have watched in a long time. The Eagles offense, minus Brian Westbrook, could not capitalize on the opportunities they were given. The defense provided four turnovers. We had three chances from the 1 to take the lead, and we blew it. David Akers missed 2 field goals. Aaaaaarrrrrrgggggghhhhhhh!

– Donovan McNabb’s body language was not pretty as the game went along. He looked frustrated and a bit hobbled.

– A lot of Donovan’s throws were less than stellar, but there were too many drops by Eagles receivers and tight ends.

– The ups-and-downs of DeSean Jackson are exhilarating and debilitating to watch. He is really fast around the corner on the reverses, and he darted behind the defense on the first quarter touchdown catch. But he had a few drops, and he did not look good fielding punts. Obviously, there was the fumble, but he also let one roll that cost the Eagles a substantial chunk of real estate. He keeps you on the edge of your seat, for better and for worse (Editor’s note: Nickname idea – DeSean “Wall Street” Jackson. Sure, he’s been money, but his actions have also caused confusion and despair for those trusting in him).

– I’m sure Chicago fans were pretty pissed off watching this game also, as every time it seemed as though the Bears had a golden opportunity to seize control of the game, they somehow blew it. Case in point: after taking an interception to the Eagles 11, already up by a touchdown, Kyle Orton throws a pick in the end zone. It seemed at times as if neither team wanted to win this game.

– Give Chicago’s defense credit. They pressured McNabb and stifled the run game. They stood tall at the goal line and assured the win. In a season where there does not appear to be many teams standing above the pack, this Bears’ defense should keep in the playoff discussion as the season progresses.

– Omar Gaither, you did everything you could to help the Eagles win this game. Every time the defense made a big play, you seemed to be in the middle of it. If you can continue to play with the energy and nose for the ball you exhibited tonight, the Eagles defense will be really tough.

– Nice job Trent Cole and Juqua Parker. Kept the pressure on Orton for most of the night, especially in the second half. This was the second straight week I have been impressed by the play of the front four and the pressure they generated on the QB – when they are capable of getting to the passer on their own, it enables the Eagles to be more selective with their blitz schemes. This keeps the offense on their toes, as it eliminates obvious blitzing situations and allows the defense to disguise both their blitzes and their drops into coverage.

– Correll Buckhalter, I said it last week and I’ll say it again: I love the heart, baby. Love the way you play the game. You aren’t Westbrook, but you give us everything you have, and that’s all we expect.

– I felt as though the Eagles should have gone for the early 4th and 1 instead of trying 50 yarder that Akers ended up missing in the first half. Even if you don’t get the first down, you still give up possession deeper in Bears territory than you do if you miss the field goal.

– How, in God’s name, with three chances from the one to score, do you not get in? And how, in three plays, is one of them not play-action? The Bears are a tough defense, and you knew they would stack the line; I don’t care which play it was, why not try the play-action? Didn’t understand that, and I think it may have cost us the game. That, and we squandered a slew of other golden opportunities.

– This was what I call an Infuriating Game. Your team blows all of its chances, yet continues to get more, and then blows them. Every time you think you’ve got the game in control, the team squanders a key opportunity. You know that your team should be winning, but can’t stop beating itself. You find yourself daydreaming a Brian Westbrook highlight reel, as Aerosmith blasts I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing in your imagination. (Editor’s note: Alright, that’s just frightening). But it was more than just this game – it blew my perfect weekend trifecta. The Phillies clinched while the Mets blew the wildcard (Editor’s note: Trying…so…hard….to…be…classy…BAHAHAHAHAHAHA, they blew it again!), Penn State looked extremely impressive against Illinois and moved to number six in the polls, and then the Eagles went out and beat the Bears. Except they didn’t. Ah, what can you do? Two out of three ain’t bad.

– Bring on the Redskins, they of the outdated, innapropriate, and totally racist moniker. At least they don’t play in our nation’s capital. Oh, shit. They do. Right. Good work, guys.

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The push to the MLB playoffs: the tale of one city, and the fail of another

I. Philadelphia

Watching the Phillies tonight, I observed in myself a strange phenomenon. (Editor’s note: He wasn’t wearing any pants). I wasn’t concerned. I wasn’t flipping my shit that they were losing 10-4. It wasn’t bothering me that they were about to drop two against the Braves and lose the series. I was watching the entire game in an almost zen-like state, as though there was little in the outside world that was going to shake my unwavering belief that the Phillies were still going to make the playoffs.

This worried me.

This isn’t a Philadelphia attitude. Now, I don’t want to pigeonhole every Philadelphia fan into one attitude – that’s far too simplistic. But I don’t think you can deny that a large population of Philly fans watch every game with a certain amount of tension and doubt; countless failures will do that to a fan base. And truthfully, I have always felt that Philadelphia teams played at their best when they were left for dead and had to play catch-up, especially the Phillies. It was as though they themselves were motivated by the very tension that regularly adds years to the lives of Philly fans.

Some may say that this is a sign of inexperience, and that may be true. In Philly, we call it character. (Editor’s note: And anybody that says otherwise is a frickin’ schmuck, ya know whadda mean?) We’re not used to being the front runner, no matter what J-Roll says. Had I, after the Phillies swept the Brewers and started their hot streak, suddenly been lulled into a false sense of security?

And, more alarming then this, had the Phillies themselves done the same thing? Had they lost their urgency?

This didn’t seem right. I still worry about every game the Phillies play. I don’t take any NL East teams lightly, and I’m certainly worried about the pesky Nationals. I dreaded seeing the Marlins, and though I believed the Phillies would play better against the Braves, I knew they were no joke. So I hadn’t somehow developed the idea that the Phillies, of their own volition, were guaranteed to make the playoffs. Something else was keeping me cool and relaxed.

I didn’t realize what it was until I flipped to ESPN after the Phillies game.

II. New York

I won’t go into the nitty-gritty of the Mets-Cubs game. All I really need to illustrate my point is the bottom of the ninth inning, game tied at six. David Murphy had led off the inning with a triple, and the Mets seemed destined to take the game and slide 1/2 game behind the Phillies. A sacrifice fly or a well-placed hit would score the winning run. And they couldn’t do it. David Wright, in my opinion the Mets best player, and one of the best all-around players in baseball, struck out. After two intentional walks, the Mets only managed a grounder to second for a force at the plate, and another strike-out. The Cubs scored three in the next inning, and won the game.

And suddenly, it hit me – my feeling of zen was completely derived from my complete lack of faith in the Mets ability to win a big game. After Aramis Ramirez hit his two-run homer to extend the lead to 9-6 in the top of the 10th, I literally laughed out loud. (Editor’s note: Lucy, grab the haloperidol, pronto). Not in a mocking sort of way, but more like how you laugh when you have an epiphany and suddenly everything seems right with the world again.

And you know, for the briefest of moments, I truly felt for Mets fans. I know that sinking feeling they have in their gut; that feeling was a fairly regular part of my adolescence supporting Philadelphia teams. Yet this feeling was quickly replaced by a far more sinister realization – I enjoyed watching the Mets blow this game almost as much as I do watching the Phillies win one. Maybe that’s unsportsmanlike, I don’t know, but its also the nature of rivalries, and this has certainly become one.

III. Conclusion

So, in thinking about this, I have decided that I would like to take Mr. Met out to the bars and buy him exactly two beers. Beer one – the “I’m sorry this happened to you” beer. I recognize the plethora of unrecognized potential in the Mets, and how this often leads them toward a spiral of heart-wrenching failure. Cheer up, Mr. Met – someday, somewhere over the rainbow, they may figure it out.

But beer two is an “I appreciate you” beer. You may be trapped in a whirlwind of your own underachievement, but thanks for being such a good friend. When I need something, like a loss that keeps you a game back of the Phillies in the loss column and ties you in the wildcard standings with the Brewers, you always come through. You’re a good friend, Mr. Met, and I drink to you.

Fear the Nationals, Phillies fans. But thank God for the Mets.

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Filed under MLB, Phillies

The Week in Review (9/15/08 – 9/21/08)

No-Show/s of the Week

So, he’s been the ace for the second-half of the season. That makes this harder. But Brett Myers, you can’t give up 10 runs in 4 innings of work against the Marlins. I know, the Marlins have been hot, and you were due to get hit hard one of these games, but this is a bit much. Everyone has off days, I am privy to that; but you can’t be this off, especially when every game is so valuable. The offense scored 8 runs, which should almost always be enough to win. Hopefully, Brett will take it for what it was – one bad start – and focus on the next one. I truly believe that, if Brett maintains his dominance, Cole Hamels keeps finding ways to win, and Jamie Moyer continues to be the ageless blessing he’s been all season, this team could legitimately make a run to the Series.

Stud/s of the Week

The entire Eagles defense and Jim Johnson. 9 sacks, a safety and 3 turnovers against the Steelers will get you Stud recognition every week. We’ll just ignore the fact that technically Monday night’s game against the Cowboys falls within the dates I listed in the title; they more than made up for it this week. The front four generated a rush on its own; Big Ben never knew where the blitz was coming from; Dawkins was soaring through the air and causing mayhem; Asante Samuel made a beautiful interception; Willie Parker had 20 rushing yards. 20! And they didn’t allow a touchdown. As dominating a performance, against a good team, as I have seen from this unit in a while. They were solid across the board, and will need to be again next week, as a game against the Bears, potentially without Brian Westbrook, will probably be another defensive struggle.

My All-Encompassing Thought of the Week

This isn’t about Philly, but bears mentioning – last night was the last game ever played at Yankee Stadium. Now, you may not like the Yankees; God knows I don’t. But it is still sad for me to think that a place that fielded the likes of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Reggie Jackson, and yes, we’ll someday say Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez, will no longer be hosting MLB games. Yankee Stadium is our Colosseum, though it wasn’t a place where warriors were beloved for defying death and committing acts of violence. (Editor’s note: That sounds more like a description of the Vet and its fans). No, Yankee Stadium was a place where perhaps otherwise ordinary men captured the imaginations of people everywhere while playing a child’s game. Where Babe Ruth, a man who looked more akin to the chubby guy on the corner playing cards than a great athlete, represented an American love of excess and just having a good time. For every home run, there was a beer, a woman, and a hot dog to go along with it. Yet the measure of his power, especially when compared to his peers, will likely never be duplicated. Babe Ruth often hit more homers in a season than some teams did, and did so without ever missing a good time. A deity amongst mere mortals. Contrast him to Lou Gehrig, who’s work ethic and consistency perfectly mirrored the blue-collar lifestyle of so many Americans. Fittingly, Gehrig was vastly underrated, and remains so, though I believe him to be one of the five greatest hitters ever. Than there was the tragic figure of Mickey Mantle, whose Herculean abilities were only stymied by his constant injuries and habits. Yet, if you ask anybody who ever saw him play to describe the experience, they will remember it with a certain degree of awe and reverence that is rarely reserved for athletes. Certainly, we all admire the athletic prowess of our favorite sports figures, but to hear someone talk of Mantle is to hear them describe something more than simply a ball player; he was Superman, a man lacking weakness on the diamond. And yet, he was also the protagonist in his own tale of Greek mythology, befallen by tragic flaws but an important reminder that even the most spectacular of us is simply human. Joltin’ Joe dated Marilyn Monroe and hit in 56 straight game; Yogi Berra was always a quip away from profundity.

The Yankees, and how they’re received outside of New York, are strangely representative of America itself. Many people don’t like them, but they win more than they lose, and many of the most important accomplishments in baseball history have come from their players. They’re the big spenders, the guys with money, the team that’s got it made. And yet, much as they are despised, they have traditionally set the bar for success in baseball. The best players in baseball want to play for them. Any true fan of a team from another city will tell you that they despise the Yankees; what they won’t mention is how much they respect them, at least their legacy. Farewell to Yankee Stadium; you may now take your place next to all of the greats you hosted, firmly entrenched in both baseball and American history, and perhaps more fittingly, forever etched in our imaginations.

My Painfully Specific Thought of the Week

It doesn’t bother me one bit that the Yankees will miss the playoffs this year.

Moment of the Week

Yesterday was awesome, and frightening, but mostly awesome. The Eagles D looked great, but seeing both Westbrook and McNabb leave the field with potential injuries was horrifying. The Phillies won, but Lidge sure made it more exciting than it needed to be. So, after three games, the Eagles look like, if they stay healthy, one of the NFC’s top teams, and the Phillies, with 6 games left and leads of 1 1/2 in the division and 3 over the Brewers for the wildcard, look as though they’re headed to the postseason (Editor’s note: Somebody knock on some frickin’ wood, for God’s sake!). I mean, the following things happened yesterday: Big Ben was hit so many times by Eagles defenders, he had to leave the game; we beat the pesky Marlins and don’t have to play them again until next year; the Mets’ bullpen blew another game. A beautiful Sunday, and though it most certainly is not always sunny in Philadelphia, it sure as hell is today.

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