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#2... The G.O.A.T.

There has never been a question about the greatest ballplayer of all time. Some would argue hit machine Pete Rose. Some would say old greats like Ted Williams or Joe DiMaggio. Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays fit in the argument too. Revisionists might throw in Barry Bonds or, if you're Peter Gammons, Nick Swisher or Scott Hatteberg. But in my mind there exists no doubt that the greatest player ever rests in a Manhattan townhouse that once also housed Jordanna Brewster, Mariah Carey and whoever else he dated. My eighth grade history teacher, a Red Sox fan, even described him as a "quality interracial ballplayer." The greatest player ever slots in between second base and third base every night for the Bronx Bombers. His name be Derek Jeter and there exists not enough server space on Blogger.com to do him justice in words. Let me begin: he has a .314 career BA. Beauteous, and, add that to a .389 OBP, the man is a god. Not to mention, he plays defense. He made that catch where he had to go headfirst into the stands, throwing cautions to the wind, the fearless leader did what he does best. And for all you naysayers, he could not have stopped nor could he have braced himself. Have you forgotten that relay he made to nail the fat and lazy Jeremy Giambi at the plate in Oakland? I can see it all coming back to me. Spencer's throw is off the mark, it will miss the cutoff man. OH MY GOD, here comes Jeter, with the backhand relay to Posada. Giambi is duck meat at the dish. What a beautiful play. I've never seen a better relay in my life. Jeter, also, in case you lived in a cave during the late 1990s, led the Yankees to four World Championships. How many did A-Rod win? Miguel Tejada? Ozzie Smith? Edgar Renteria? Cristian Guzman? Rey OrdoƱez? Cal Ripken? Bobby Crosby? That's what I thought. And who else has 142 postseason hits? No one, that's who. This guy is worth the price of admission himself. The one time I was fortunate enough to get great seats for a Yankee game, I was four rows behind home plate, and I called out to DJ. He turned around (so did Johnny Damon when I called to him, but that's another story for another time). The guy has charisma. All of these things combined don't even make him the greatest player ever. The beast is the total package: a 118 VORP in 1999 with a 180 million dollar smile.

We love ya, DJ.


The End of an Era

The world of sports has proved to us time and time again how volatile things can be. Studies and approaches to the games change frequently. Spitballs became prominent, amphetamines made their round and steroids dominated the 1990s and 2000s. A new era will begin in 2006, or rather an old era will end. And it is my time to pay homage to that era: the era of the career-destroying spouse.

Significant others who have destroyed careers:

Yoko Ono: Easy. Destroyed one of the greatest musical acts ever known to man since the Neanderthal Trio first played the tambourine.

Brigitte Nielsen: Took down Jets sack monster Mark Gastineau. Even though his hair was hideous, she singlehandedly swiped him out of football and therefore swept the Jets out of the 1986 championship.

Anne Heche: Didn't you sort of feel bad for Ellen DeGeneres after she came out and then her girlfriend went back to being straight? That was just weeeeeeird.

Teresa Heinz Kerry: Come now. Her way of life belied everything her husband stood for. She spoke pretensiously with a far-away accent, she drove around in a fleet of Hummers and she was totally unapologetic for it.

Shalimar: Not really a spouse, but driving around with a transvestite prostitute doesn't help your career if you want to have voice roles in Mulan and Shrek. Sure, Eddie, we believe you about the fact that you just wanted to drive him/her home.

Kevin Federline: What, you thought it was only women who could ruin a perfectly solid career? K-Fed turned the succulent pop tart into a hefty ho.

So, what, no mention of a story relating to a former Mets pitcher? Oh, right.

Anna Benson: Moved husband from Pittsburgh to New York to Baltimore while filling Jay Horwitz' doghouse in more ways than one. Here's to you, Anna Banana, may you find gratification in this sexy and single former Met. Have fun in Baltimore. Slut.

Let me also mention a damn good entry from MetsGeek about a pitcher who deserves more credit than he's ever gotten.


Mets Wrap-Up (aka Kepp' your head in the game, Jeff)

Apparently Omar Minaya took a page out of Dick Cheney's book.

Did Minaya accidentally shoot Tony Bernazard in the face during a toucan hunt? Certainly not.

But he is pulling the old hometown hose job. Rather than play Jeff Keppinger's superior numbers and awkward skinniness at second base, he's going for his second favorite player with two last names. His first is Flyers winger Turner Stevenson.

Why did he pick the attractive in-house candidate? Well, the Vance Wilson for Anderson Hernandez swap was only his second trade as Mets GM, after the Ryan-Fregosiesque Fatso for Run Fairy deal.

Keppinger was acquired in the (cartman voice)"Oh my god! They traded Wiggy!" deal, while Jim "I traded for Kris Benson Twice in a year and a half" Duquette was GM. Sure, he doesnt do anything but hit, but Minaya likes a good veteran 'stache over bench pop.

The last time a professional sports prospect was involved in this type of robbery, Maurice Clarett claimed he was innocent.

In other news, Omar Minaya has placed Heath Bell below Desi Relaford and Todd Zeile on his list of potential bullpen options. Bell, however, will be at Shea on Opening Day, as rookie Braves 2B Jon Schuerholz (yes, he does exist.) tried to take a hit out on him after watching Mets Weekly and finding his house. Said Schuerholz, "Daddy said that he needed me to fix their bullpen. I broke Wags' finger, beat the funk out of Chad Bradford, changed the prescription in Duaner's goggles and fed Jorge Julio 16 kilograms of fried chicken. I decided it was best to coat Heath's massage chair in Icy Hot and jump him."

Mets brass also decided to shove "Donnie Drysdale" in the pen. With the lethal bunch they've got out there, maybe Mr. Milledge will have to park his RV under the scoreboard and invite the gang for dinner. Just because KazMat's on the DL doesn't mean he can't cook (or not cook) his famous sashimi. "It made Mr. Saul Katz want to let me try on his ring. So, yeah, I give it to Anderson, he'll give me the second base job. If I can slip it in Julio's egg whites, maybe I can even be a veteran leader," Matsui said through his interpreter.

One final note, an obligatory plug for the city's greatest magazine. They ran a piece on Johnny Damon this week. Check it out.


The Experts Weigh In

Award | Schuyla | Dyslexia
NL East | Mets | Braves
NL Central | Cardinals | Cardinals
NL West | Dodgers | Giants
NL Wild Card | Brewers | Mets
AL East | Yankees | Yankees
AL Central | White Sox | Indians
AL West | Angels | Athletics
AL Wild Card | Blue Jays | Red Sox
NL MVP | Albert Pujols | Andruw Jones
AL MVP | Vladimir Guerrero | David Ortiz
NL Cy Young | Pedro Martinez | Pedro Martinez
AL Cy Young | Roy Halladay | Johan Santana
NL ROY | Ryan Zimmerman | Prince Fielder
AL ROY | Joel Zumaya | Ian Kinsler
NL Manager of the Year | Ned Yost | Bobby Cox
AL Manager of the Year | John Gibbons | Eric Wedge
Schuyla: Cardinals over Brewers; Mets over Dodgers
Dyslexia: Braves over Mets; Cardinals over Giants
Schuyla: Mets over Cardinals
Dyslexia: Braves over Cardinals
Sschuyla: White Sox over Blue Jays; Yankees over Angels
Dyslexia: Red Sox over Indians; Yankees over Athletics
Schuyla: White Sox over Yankees
Dyslexia: Yankees over Red Sox
World Series:
Schuyla: Mets over White Sox
Dyslexia: Braves over Yankees

jump on the bannister

Following the 2005 season, the Metropolitans had seven quality major league starters (six if you are familiar with Victor Zambrano and Kazuhisa Ishii). They had Pedro, Glavine, Trachsel, Benson, Seo, Heilman, Zambrano and Ishii and starters with strong minor league showings behind them in Brian Bannister and Yusmeiro Petit.
Fast forward to Spring Training 2006. Petit is wearing the black and teal, Kris is in Baltimore and Jae Seo in Chavez Ravine after pitching for Team Korea.
These players were dealt away, along with the Hammer, Mike Jacobs and Grant Psomas in separate deals that netted Carlos Delgado, Steve Schmoll, John Maine, Armandito Benitez and Duaner "Goggles" Sanchez. Ishii has returned to where he should be, pitching for Japan's Yakult Swallows. The Mets are now left with a rotation of considerably less acclaim and a bullpen filled with strong and unproven arms. The rotation is still headed by P-Mart, of many injuries and ailments. Glavine slots in as the forty year-old #2, one who had a .330 BAA last ear. Trach will be the #3 starter, and, after spending much time on the DL last year, he resumed play with one terrific start and several mediocre ones followed. Trachsel has also not been solid in spring training. Victor Zambrano, the #4 starter, holds the position of wild card in the rotation. He has looked, to use scientific terminology, sick nasty during this spring, and I don't think it's unrealistic to think that he could continue this success during the season. He had a stretch of strong starts last year, although all of that was overridden by that game at Shea against the Brewers (which also made me think I needed to explain to Willie how one should manage a bullpen: one eleventh inning walk-off walk by Piazza where Loop and Hernandez threw two innings, next two games consisted entirely of bullpen blow-ups) where he was absolutely shelled in the first inning. The fifth starter is the only position in question. It could be filled capably by Aaron Heilman or Brian Bannister. Heilman has been an utter disappointment as a starter, while Bannister shot through the Mets' farm system last year. Heilman was lights-out as a reliever for the Mets last year, and, without a doubt, he should stay there.
The bullpen shapes up much better with the young Sanchez pitching the seventh, Heilman the eighth and Wags the ninth. Bradford, Julio and Royce Darren Pedro Ring Oliver Feliciano can then work situational duty and a Yusaku Iriki or a Heath Bell would fit in there somewhere.
With Heilman in the rotation and Bannister in AAA, the Mets not only waste a valuable starter; they waste a valuable reliever with a devastating change-up.
Brian will show up and pull what Dontrelle Willis did in 2003. Let the B-Train get rolling.