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Labor Day Defeat

This was ugly.

I guess the Mets figured that Labor Day applied to them. It seemed like no one really gave a damn. Even the defense was bad. Did anyone see that Steve Trachsel was going for the league lead in wins? Anyone think wins is still a meaningful statistic? Anyone?

Trachsel was awful, walking everyone and not doing the one thing he’s supposedly good at: eating innings. The veteran Trachsel walked seven. That’s in, uh, four innings. No debate about it: Steve does not deserve a playoff start unless he picks it up or if Maine/Duque collapse.

But Chuck James (bitch) dominated the Mets today. No question about it. They only had one hit all day. And David Wright was thrown out trying to take second on a ball that was absolutely scorched.

Obviously, this is the kind of game the Mets can afford to lose. I don’t see it fit to reference the big lead in the NL East right now, but suffice it to say the Braves pose no immediate threat.

Maybe, though, this game signified a bigger problem that came with the Shawn Green acquisition. The Mets lineup, especially via that trade, became so lefty-dominated. This was especially apparent when Wright stopped lefty-mashing for a while.

The season began with pretty good balance. Nady, Wright and Lo Duca would provide right-handed at-bats, while Reyes, Matsui and Beltran would switch hit with Floyd and Delgado bringing some left-handed power.

Now? No more Nady and in his place a left-handed hitter with seemingly no power and a ton of pop-ups. I miss Firstings.

I really do mean that. There was no need for the Mets to invest in a skinny journeyman when we had the most talented human being in the history of anything. He’s got tools. Lots of ‘em. So maybe he wasn’t hitting. But we didn’t wind up with anyone better.

Chuck James pitched pretty well. But there’s no reason why a pitcher who the Mets destroyed earlier this season should actually be throwing one-hitters against this team.

Maybe it was because Beltran wasn’t in the lineup. Maybe it was because my new favorite player Michael Tucker (I’ll explain later) was playing left field rather than Cliff Floyd. Maybe it was because Valentin can’t really hit lefties despite claiming to be a switch-hitter.

The vibe at Shea was that of anticipation for humiliating the Braves... again. Instead, the joke was on us. The game was boring and dreary, with Andruw Jones and Matt Diaz seemingly snagging every line drive.
This game was a disappointment. And, sure, I know this moment lacks immediacy for the Mets. They could probably lose three quarters of their remaining games and still wind up division champions.

But there’s no reason to go out to the ballpark to watch a team that doesn’t hit well or pitch well. No matter. I’ll be there again on Wednesday.


Didn’t T.S. Eliot say something about going out with a whimper instead of a bang? I feel that was what today was like. I got to the game really early on account of travel precautions. It didn’t seem much heavier than normal despite the U.S. Open next door.

So, I had a pretty good day at the ballpark. Michael Tucker threw me a ball during batting practice, making him my new favorite player. During BP, I also saw ball hunter extraordinaire Zack Hample (of Mets Weekly fame). He was doing the routine he explained to us on SNY, speaking Spanish, saying please and what not.

I don’t think he got a ball though. Guess who did?

Speaking of ball hunting, would it have helped for me to ask Australian Braves relief pitcher Peter Moylan what his thoughts on Steve Irwin’s death were? Good thing I didn’t.


Quoting the WFAN 20/20 guy: “Carlos Beltran had an RBI earlier today on his bruised knee. Seems he’ll be okay.”

Phenomenal. I think I have an irregular heartbeat, so I’m going to go get an ERA.


Just another thought on brushes with pro athletes. As a child of five years of age, I met Andre Agassi in New Haven. I didn’t really know who he was then, but I was for some reason at the local tennis tournament’s hotel of choice with my father.

So, Andre’s career is apparently done. All in all, he put together quite a portfolio of success, despite various hiccups and poor showings at points in his career.

The only remaining question: Where’d all that hair go?

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