Monday, May 24, 2010

Helping the Yankees with Derek Jeter's range problem

Watching the Mets take out C.C. Sabathia on Sunday Night Baseball to win the Subway Series, one thing became apparent.

Actually, there were several things, but let’s focus on one of them. Friends, despite what Joe Morgan said, Derek F. Jeter has no range.

None. Nada.

The reason the Mets could rip doubles up the third base line was because ARod was playing so far over that he was practically a co-shortstop.

Perhaps part of the problem was that Jeter’s view of the plate — and, well, the upper deck — was blocked by the walking eclipse that is C.C. the Hutt.

But I’m pretty sure his range has diminished no matter who is on the hill.

The charitable folks at the Crane Pool Forum discussed during the game Jeter’s, um, issues, and decided to help the Yankees with this problem.

Here, submitted with love and respect, are potential players who, right now, have better range than Derek F. Jeter.

1) Roadkill opossum: Well look, he can cover both sides of the highway. And he’s already got pinstripes.

2) Garden gnome: A tribute to the Yankee farm system. Will have to lose the facial hair, though. But if Johnny Damon can do it. Hmmm, he can already throw better than Damon.

3) A tree: A little difficult to bring on the road, especially in stadiums with artificial turf.

4) The wax Jeter from the museum: All the range and twice the personality. Can also fill in for Derek’s busy advertising schedule.

5) A rock: Waiting patiently for his Yankee Moment, then he can be rolled out to Monument Park to be with the other True Yankee monuments.

6) Lady Liberty: Dressed for the occasion. Then again, the Yankees’ record on diversity isn’t good and they’re probably not going to let a lady take the field until every other team but the Red Sox makes the move.

7) Don Zimmer. Look! Zimmer already knows how to dive for a ball, as evidenced by this impromptu lesson from Pedro. When was the last time you saw Jeter dive?

8) A garden slug: Leaves a trail of silvery Yankee aura whever he goes. But no salt in the dugout, please.

Well, that should tide the Bombers over until the next Subway Series, when we can offer base running assistance to Francisco “Pump, Trot and Whine” Cervelli.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

If the Mets were playing "Survivor," who'd be a hero and who'd be a villain?

"Survivor” is the only show I watch that doesn’t include baseball players. And watching Sunday’s finale of “Heroes vs. Villains,” I had an idea.

Why not merge them up, and leave more room on the “not-Tivo” – what we call the DVR – for iCarly, Colbert and old movies, the viewing preferences for the rest of the family.

And we’re 38 games into the Mets season, and ”Surivor” started on Day 37 and followed to Day 38 and 39 on the Sunday show.

This season’s heroes and villains theme fits perfectly with the way the Mets season has progressed, Let’s see how the Mets would have been divided and fared on the island so far.

Angel Pagan: Hero tribe. He’s not known for his baseball smarts, kind of like JT on the show. But he’s somewhat loveable and seems happy to be there.

Mike Jacobs: Like Sandra, he’s on the villain tribe, but not quite sure why. Probably because he kept Ike Davis in Buffalo longer than he deserved. But Sandra lasted for a while. Jacobs was the first one booted from the Mets tribal council.

Pedro Feliciano: Hero. Dependable in challenges, carries the load but without being one of the loud leaders.

Gary Matthews Jr.: Villain. Parleyed one amazing challenge victory into a big contract and has done nothing in camp since.

David Wright: Hero. Everyone’s favorite player, but like Colby has some big moments, but has sucked at a lot of challenges this year, probably from trying to carry the whole tribe on his shoulders.

Frank Cattanalotto: Villain. Appeared to be a hero with his hometown boy story but everyone soon learned that the only thing he could contribute were weak-assed grounders and pop flies. Second person voted off at tribal council.

Johan Santana: Hero. Was done in by cheating Phillies punks in recent reward challenge, then can’t get any support from rest of the tribe when he needs it.

Jason Bay: Villain. He’s supposed to be a big power hitter. Has one more homer than I do.

Rod Barajas: Big hero. Was last one picked for the tribe after other catchers went to other shows. Hit more home runs in one game than Bay has all season, including a dramatic walk-off.

Luis Castillo: Villain. He’s really not that bad a player, but everyone wanted Orlando Hudson on the tribe and Luis makes too much to be voted out.

Mike Pelfrey: Hero. Playing better than anyone expected, even led the team in saves at one point. Which leads us to…

Francisco Rodriguez: Villain: The fact that a starting pitcher has a save is not a good thing. The fact that the starting pitcher got that save because the record-holding closer blew a lead in the 19th inning – and several others – makes K-Rod a villain.

Henry Blanco: Hero. Has about 40 tattoos too many, which makes him like Coach without the stupid “dragon slayer” nonsense. But he has some very big hits and the personal catcher thing going for him.

Fernando Tatis: Villain. Oh, he’s not a bad guy. But he must have some incriminating evidence on the Wilpons to be in the game in the first place. That’s pretty villainous.

Ike Davis:
Hero! Ike said he belonged in the game during spring training, and was kept out of the action. Now he’s one of the few player in the tribe worth cheering for.

Sean Green: Villain. Sucked mightily in early challenges then went down with an injury before be could be voted off.

Fernando Nieve: Hero. You know, you’re allowed to sit out a reward or immunity challenge once in a while.

Jeff Francouer: Villain. Oh, this hurts. Frenchy says all the right things. You know he’s trying. But after licking butt in all the early immunity challenges, Frenchy has become the hapless tribe member who stands there dropping his puzzle pieces on the ground while everyone else is getting ready to call for Probst.

Jon Niese: Hero. The Hawk’s a great warrior who keeps getting carried off by the medics.

Chris Carter: Villain. I think Carter wants to be a villain. The Animal knows he can beat these chumps and patrols the dugout with his weapon waiting to strike. Would anyone be surprised if we learned that he sabotaged Catalanotto to clear a spot on the roster?

Hisanori Takahashi: Hero. He’ll probably make it to the final two, but not win. He won’t get voted off because none of the other people in the tribe can spell Hisanori, and they can’t just write “The Japanese Guy” this year since there are two of them. But that also means they won’t write him down when it comes to pick the sole survivor, either. But that should make for an interesting final tribal council.

Alex Cora: Villain. Yeah, he’s popular in camp, but heroes don’t bat .232.

Jenrry Mejia: Hero. Talented as all heck, but some people think he needs to go back to Buffalo so he can be a starter. But he survives, probably because they keep writing down “Henry.”

John Maine: Villain. The smirk wants you to put him in the villain’s tribe. The performance this season makes it undeniable.

Raul Valdez: Hero. Isn’t he on loan from the Mexican League or something? The fact that he’s even on the roster makes him a hero.

Jose Reyes: Villain. I went back and forth on this one. How do you know love Jose, with that ever-present smile? Well, the whole resisting to being in the three-hole, then being great when he was forced to go there when becoming a pop-out machine after a couple weeks makes us put him on the villain tribe if pushed. But he doesn’t have to sit with Gary Matthews Jr. around the fire, and we the Heroes will happily talk him back into the alliance after the merge.

Manny Acosta: Hero. It’s not his fault he’s in the game. He’s probably the first to go when Ryota Igarashi comes back. That doesn’t make him a villain.

And finally:

Oliver Perez: Villain. Ollie is like Russell. He’s an uber-villain. Everyone knows he’s a villain. He’s a villain we all love to hate. And every time we think we’ve got him voted out, he somehow survives. Yet he doesn’t appear to get it, just like Russell, demanding to be the winner when he can’t get a single vote in the live reunion show. But after giving up homers to seemingly every Marlin but the pitchers, there can be nothing else to say but: “Ollie, the tribe has spoken. It’s time for you to go.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Tux or Tom? Go formal with The Franchise

My son is going to his senior prom this weekend, and he’s intent on renting a tuxedo with the fancy shoes, vest and bowtie.

It’s a classic look, and he’s not going to cringe in 20 years when we pull out the photos.

Meanwhile, a package of joy arrived in the mail Friday, containing what can only be called The. Best. Shirt. Ever., which we’ll call TBSE for brevity in the rest of the post.

I offered this to my son to wear in lieu of the tux. Why just look great when you can look amazin’?

The new TBSE is sold at the new Mets Hall of Fame and Museum, and is a mini biography of our hero Tom Seaver.

Tom is shown from a photo I’m guessing is from 1975 or 1976, about to unleash a laser-like fastball with his knee just about ready to skim the mound in the way we all know and love.

The late Shea Stadium is in the background, the workmark from the front of the uniform is in the top right, and just below it are his No. 41 and arching name, near as it appeared on the back of this 1983 uniform.

The top left has the cap logo, and under that are the year he was elected to the Hall of Fame, Tom’s career 3,640 strikeouts, his three Cy Young Awards and noting his World Championship in 1969.

I’m still ticked that there aren’t two more Cy Young Awards on there from the 1971 and 1981, but we can’t go back and correct voters at every turn. It’s a shirt, not a protest.

One might ask why it took until 2010 for the Mets to produce such a fantastic shirt, but, again, we must be thankful that it’s here now.

It should be noted that my son’s tux will have none of this important information. I fear that many, if not all, of his high school classmates will go through the entire evening without one discussion of Tom Seaver or reflections about upon his career, even the 1986 season we don't mention in polite company.

So I suggested he toss the tux and strut with Tom. He could still wear the shiny shoes, but not the bowtie. And the lovely blue color of the cotton-poly blend will certainly compliment whatever his date is wearing. We even had plenty of time to match the shirt with her corsage.

Hey, the Mets are still wearing a lot of black. He could wear the alt cap, too!


In fact, I’m not sure he seriously considered the offer. And he quickly denied my attempt to be a chaperone.

It should be noted that the new arrival is the latest in a collection of TBSEs. When these eventually wear out, my wife ensures they are still available for future generations by giving the shirts a second life as throw pillows.

They’re not allowed on the sofa in the living room – don’t get me started – but do add a splash of style and color to The Baseball Room.