NEW YORK, NY – I’m sure everyone – all four of you – expected me to write today about Ichiro being traded to the Yankees, but I’m just not feelin’ it. It seems apparent, at least to me, that Mariners ownership did with Ichiro what the Boston Bruins did with Ray Bourque at the end of his career when they shipped him off to make one last run at a Stanley Cup with a genuine contender. If it had been any team but the Yankees, I’d be pulling like hell for Ichiro to get a World Series ring. Oh well. What’s done cannot be undone. Besides, there are plenty of other things to talk about. For instance, the Mets have fallen and they can’t get up.
The Metsies have been a fun story this year, all the way up to the All-Star break, but things have taken a distinct turn for the worse. The gang who plays at the stadium I earlier dubbed “The Scrap Yard” is starting to rust over. The Metropolitans are a dismal 1-9 in their last 10 and now find themselves 10.5 out of first and well back in the wildcard race as well–from playoff contender to pretender in the span of a couple of weeks. The offense has lost its mojo, the defense has been Chico’s Bail Bonds quality, and the pen is as leaky as a Whizzinator. Still, there are some things to watch down the stretch. I mean there have to be, I’m a Vikings fan fer crissakes, and we know there’s no hope come Fall. Anyway, here’s what’s on the radar.
Dickey Situation. The feelgood story of the season, Mets starter R.A. Dickey still has a legitimate shot to win 20 games. How amazin’ would that be? Well, it might not be as rare as a Mets no-hitter, but the last guy to win 20 in Flushing was Frank Viola in 19-friggin-90. That’s over 20 years! As it stands, the Mets have only had eight 20-game winners in their franchise history and the guy they called “The Franchise,” Tom Seaver, has four of them. Maybe the most impressive of the bunch would be the 21 games that Jerry Koosman won in 1976. If anyone remembers that team, you know that feat was the baseball equivalent of parting the Red Sea. Though he didn’t get a win last night, here’s hoping that R.A. gets to 20.
Jason Lives. If you love high-budget summer horror movies with horrible scripts and stiff acting, then have the Mets got a player for you. Jason Bay is back from his umpteenth injury and still swinging the bat like Michael Myers swung a knife after getting shot in both eyes. He’s a worse nightmare than Freddy, has the matinee idol looks of the guy from The Hills Have Eyes, and a batting average sub Humanoids from the Deep. Look away at your own peril.
Wright On. I’ve absolutely killed David Wright in the past, and for good reason. The guy has always had that annoying Alex Rodriguez trait of getting the big hit when it absolutely didn’t matter and for disappearing when he was needed most. Not so this year. He’s been solid. Sure his glove is showing some of those old moth-bitten holes, but he’s gotten some honest to goodness clutch hits and is in the mix for the NL batting title.
Zombie Ball. When you’ve got a rag-tag, undead bunch like the Mets you can never count them out. I’m not… at least not yet. This has all the makings of a team that can fall on their collective asses just enough to get pissed, not care anymore, and start playing inspired ball. I sincerely hope that happens.
Before we sign off, happy trails to Sherman Hemsley. We have no doubt that TV’s George Jefferson has already moved on up to that deluxe apartment in the sky.
Stay tuned for Lori Levine or Cam James or Mr. Bentley tomorrow. And to blazes with Ichiro Suzuki.