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Parting Shots and Opening Salvos

It's not really a new thing to hear Cliff Floyd not toe the party line about Flushing or the Mets franchise. But earlier this week, when he seemingly challenged Willie Randolph's decision making with regard to that fateful October night where Floyd and Beltran went down on knee-buckling curveballs, it was a scary sign that Floyd was no longer one of ours.

The veteran outfielder, now with the Chicago Cubs, will most likely be mired in a muck thicker than that of the 2002/2003 Mets when he arrived. I always liked Cliffy and his swing was certainly good for scaring the crap out of someone in the late innings, but his 2006 with the Mets was rather pathetic.

While we here at the Rivals tend to wish all former Mets good luck (with the partial exception of John Thomson), I pray that Floyd doesn't believe he's going to start a war of words between the regular-season NL pennant winners and, well, a team that was actually worse than the Pirates and Nationals last year.

However, our good ol' wife-beating friend Brett Myers over there in the City of Brotherly Love has tried to precipitate a war of words between the Phillies and Mets.

Myers said, "I hate the Mets." I find it awfully difficult, on some level, to even respond to this. Why do we give a damn that Brett Myers hates the Mets? He beat up his wife, ladies and gentlemen, and was allowed to start only a few days later by that fine organization they have there.

I have no doubt that the Phillies will be improved this year, given that their staff no longer has to suffer through the work of Scott Mathieson and Gavin Floyd. But are we really supposed to fear the Phillies, carrying Wes Helms, Rod Barajas, and Shane Victorino in their starting lineup?

And is the rotation really much better? What has Adam Eaton done, ever? Nothing. And why is Freddy Garcia expected to salvage this team? His PRAA (Pitching Runs Above Average) of 3 in 2006 looks really impressive. El Duque's PRAA was two, and that's just in his time spent with the Mets (never you mind that it was -5 with the Diamondbacks.)

Jimmy Rollins is still running his mouth off as well, seemingly unaware that dem Phillies ain't going nowhere no time soon.

Why don't we all just settle this on the ballfield? April 9th. Mets home opener. Bring a couple extra batting helmets, Rollins, just in case Tom Glavine's changeup goes so slowly that it cracks your helmet.


You have already heard, I'm sure, that El Duque has arthritis in his neck. Sometimes I wonder how the baseball gods can be so cruel to me and so kind at the same time.


Rangers-Blue Jackets. Tonight, 7 p.m.

I hope the Rangers lose badly, just so I can see Larry Brooks' (right) smiling face in the Post twice tomorrow.

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