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Deja Blew

That sucks. Just sucks.

This team, granted only for this one series, looks an awful lot like the team that played last year. The "Heart Burners" in 2005 gave us some terrors, what with Loopy and Heilman and Bert not looking consistent. No Looper anymore, but come on... the resemblance is uncanny. And I mean that in a bad way.

Without Sancho, this bullpen is hurting. Aaron Heilman's numbers dictate he's going to give up a run somewhere in between every third and every other inning. So Heilman said, "Hell with it, I'm just gonna give up three tonight!"

That was basically it. And blah blah Lo Duca shoulda had him blah blah Dontrelle's defense turned a bunch of sick double plays.

Whatever. That was weak. And when Bert's working every day and Heilman's working every day, it makes me long for the days of Mr. Koo when he just told Willie that he wouldn't warm up. What's Mr. Koo doing, you may ask? He's back in Korea, playing for those Hanhwa Eagles, where everyone on the roster has three names except "Lou Collier". No joke. Koo has a 2.68 ERA in 47 innings. Get on the horn, Omar.

So once again, for what seems like the millionth game in a row, Miguel Cabrera comes up with a game that's late and close and a right hander with a funky delivery on the mound. (Heilman, Bradford, Takatsu) Oops. I just broke my moratorium on Takatsu again.

Pedro was nasty tonight, eh? Jake... how dare you do that to us?

So how about Reyes' extension? And Firstings looked ridiculous tonight. He showed all six hundred of his tools, including his bat speed which is greater than the speed of light. And so is he.

Valentin was good. Nice play in center by that Beltran guy.

I can't think about this game anymore. It makes my head hurt. Let's go get 'em against Philly. And break Chase Buttley's (clever, huh?) hitting streak!

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Take Your Lumps

Billy Wagner tried to kill us all. But he came up big when he needed to.

And while you know the fans were breaking out the Tums and Pepto-Bismol, Wagner got it done.

There was a lot to dislike in this game. Trachsel failed to take advantage of an offensive outburst early, both by allowing a few longballs and by failing to get deep in this game.

The bullpen showed less of the success it had last night, while using pretty much the same group of guys. Bradford couldn't come up with the big out against Cabrera, although he looked a bit better than Shingo Takatsu did last year in the same situation. On an aside, this is like my fifth time invoking Zero-Man's name in the past few blog entries. I'm trying to quit.

The worst part was that Roberto Hernandez didn't look so good, as I had reluctantly forecasted. On another note, X-Man went 0-3 tonight, starting his second game in a row at first base. It's pretty sad, you know, because his former team cremated the Braves over the weekend, by scoring ridiculous outbursts of runs, while he, X-Man, and his band of Buccaneers have lost back to back close games to woeful Braves pitching. Still don't like the trade, because ERA is always going to be a crappy way to evaluate a reliever, yet every silly man around has used it to boost Bert.

But it is worth noting that Aaron Heilman was outstanding for the second straight night. I bet someone in that clubhouse told him to get his ass in gear and step up to the plate. Or maybe he gained some confidence when he had not been traded. It could easily upset a player, even one feeling trapped in the bullpen, if the team that drafted him was considering trading him away. Kudos, Aaron. Hopefully, Pedro will be money in the bank tomorrow and the Mets will tee off against Dontrelle Willis like they usually do. (Somewhere in that last sentence, I lied. Find it.)

Tonight's game at first seemed to be just one of those nights, where everything seems to go right for you. The Marlins looked like my former Little League team (the Wendy's White Sox, for those of you keeping score at home), where I was so bad at the dish that my highlight of the year was an outfield assist at second base. I was a one-tool player. For the record, my position was LCF. We played with four outfielders. The Marlins were throwing the ball around, seemingly indifferent about whether or not it got to its intended destination. The Miguel Cabrera play made it abundantly clear why most people would still take David Wright, who looked awful for what seems like the millionth over him if building a franchise. Cabrera is immature and seemingly lacks focus on the field. When you have to get talked down by a pitcher, especially one who has underperformed this year, it's not exactly a high point in one's career.

The offense was clicking on all cylinders early, as the Mets were driving Ricky Nolasco batty, as they had in his two prior appearances against them, as he saw his 22.24 ERA against the Mets actually fall with his 3 ER in 2 IP. But it seemed that the offense stopped working after the first three innings, as Renyel Pinto, a personal favorite of mine since I watched him shred opponents as a Cub in Spring Training 2004, shut the Mets down for five relief innings. I hope Darren Oliver hasn't been going behind enemy lines to coach him.

The Marlins are a bunch of players more talented and more successful than David Eckstein, but color commentators and analysts alike have started throwing Eckstein-esque superlatives on them, describing them as feisty, scrappy, and hustling. Let it be said in this space that David Eckstein sucks (read after the recap for more on that one).

For the Marlins, that's a pretty accurate description. They kept picking away at Steve Trachsel's lead, getting the best of the Mets' staff.

And they seemed to have some help from the esteemed umpiring crew. First they blew a bunch of those pitches Bradford made, giving them to Marlins pitchers Borowski and Tankersley later in the game. Eats at me.

Then they blew the Jose Valentin pickoff call at first base. Come on. The throw didn't even beat him. It's foolish for an umpire to give credit to the first baseman for an outstanding tag that didn't occur when a safe Valentin is far more likely. The Mets had a good shot at tacking on an insurance run there, but the umpires thought it best to bilk them and keep it interesting when Wagner got on the hill.

And it was interesting, but the fact that the Mets won makes that point moot. We were sweating in the ninth inning, but I'll lie and say it was because of the heat wave. Feel free to tell that one to Wagner when you see him next.

This kind of game is gonna happen to every team, but the fact that the Mets won it means a whole hell of a lot about this team. Sure, the umps screwed us over. But it was the resilience of this team, not the scrappy/feisty/Ecksteiny Marlins, that forced the outcome. Take your lumps in wins if you can.


In fact, while I was watching the ESPN Cardinals-Phillies game after the Mets game, Eckstein (shown at right... sitting on Michael Barrett) came up to the plate.

Dave O'Brien: Eckstein's having a great year with the bat, as you can see with his .296 batting average. But he's also a rock in the field.

At the risk of sounding like a Fire Joe Morgan dopplegänger, have you guys at ESPN just opted to ignore statistics other than the ever so meaningless batting average? He has one homer this year. One! He has only thirteen doubles. And one triple. So therefore he's slugging a robust .337, good for last place among NL shortstops with at least 375 plate appearances. That's awful. His VORP is a thoroughly unimpressive 6.9. So he's been worth almost one win over a replacement player at the plate.

And Mr. Rock In The Field has been worth 13 runs above a replacement player in the field! Nice! He therefore has a FRAA (Fielding Runs Above Average) of zero. Nice work. What a player. He gets John Kruk's vote for MVP.

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Not so Ho-Hum after all

Before launching into the recap, I just had a bunch of thoughts cross my mind about tonight's telecast and everything else.

-Do you get the feeling that the trivia writers got a bit lazy tonight and just decided to ask us to see if we were paying attention to Gary Cohen on either Sunday or earlier tonight?

-The SNY crew was at their funniest today. They poked fun at the hot water Keith was in earlier this year, quoted a memorable Seinfeld episode and told some other humorous anecdotes. Keep up the good work.

-Which commercials are more annoying? Taylor Hicks and the absolutely agonizing Ford "Possibilities" Commercials -or- the god-awful Dr. Z Chrysler commercials? I'm not sure if I can decide. I'm also going to say that I'm very sick of Chase Utley's hit streak. When he faces the Mets this weekend, we should walk him all but one time in the game. Or hit him. Then ask him how that hit streak is going.

-I know what Tom Glavine said to Mike Pelfrey. "Listen, kid, don't pitch too well tonight. You know why? I'm the weak link in this starting rotation and I deserve to get bumped. So please, just go away. Give some hits up. Please."

-The Wild Card standings that they showed are really depressing, with only Cincinnati and Arizona above .500 in the race. That graphic appears to be just a case for the abolition of interleague play. As far as I'm concerned, let's just play the Yankees for a series or two and call it a day. Come on.

-Lastings Milledge has, despite not even coming close to his arbitration years, become the Six Million Dollar Man. Or you could just call his right arm the first phase of RoboLastings. On another note, it's a good sign for him that he took two unintentional walks tonight. That's two more than he took during his entire previous call-up.

-Another spiked speedster by a Florida Marlin? Has Joe Girardi issued some orders?


Tonight was a tale of two tall, hard-throwing pitchers, both born in the Midwest during January of 1984. Pelfrey was very good and appeared to have good command of his fastball, which was sinking and running every which way. He made one bad pitch in hanging a slider to Hanley Ramirez with men on, but he buckled down and toughed it out, whiffing Miguel Olivo and Alfredo "Sauce" Amezaga with only a walk to ridiculously athletic Joe Borchard in between.

Scott Olsen, the baby-faced lefty with a firy temper, was even better. He got in some trouble early, but turned around and started striking the crap out of everyone, using his nasty slider and changeup and his deceptive left-hand delivery. He walked a few, but made big pitches in the fifth and sixth innings and impressed me greatly.


Gary Cohen, when Carlos Beltran came up to bat in the seventh against Randy Messenger, mentioned his 2-for-2 (with a homer and a double) line so far and used the words "Ho-hum" sarcastically. But Beltran has been anything but ordinary lately, and while his home-road splits somehow make me feel guilty, it seems he has become the class of the National League, with a 1.013 OPS coming into tonight's game. This number is due to Beltran's insanely good .628 slugging percentage. It's good for second best in the league, second to only some Pujols guy.

Did anyone think after that first homestand with the reluctant curtain call, we'd be saying National League RBI leader Carlos Beltran? He's #3 in the NL in home runs as well. The move which appeared to be a disaster last year has paid off very well for the Mets, as Beltran has been en fuego this entire month.

Beltran has also been carrying this team through slumps by Delgado, Wright, and the entire starting pitching staff. It is without question that he is head and shoulders above Jose Reyes and David Wright as the Mets' team MVP. While he probably will finish third behind Albert Pujols and (anti-NY media bias) Ryan Howard as the league MVP, he deserves a ton of credit for everything he's done this year.

On the whole, with Beltran's atrocious showing last year, resembling Aaron Rowand more than Andruw Jones, any success this year is a breath of fresh air. Those who whispered he was faking injuries to produce excuses, à là everyone under Art Howe,


The Mets saw the first of their new-look set-up corps tonight.

Six up, six down. Nice work, ChadBrad. Keep it up, Heilman. We need ya, kid.

The loss of Duaner Sanchez, while it obviously won't affect the Mets' chances of making the postseason, could potentially be crippling in the postseason. Heilman's got a chance to step it up in what could be his last few months in a Met uniform.

Should he manage to pitch well, the Mets could try and flip him to start on a young team while moving Henry Owens and Royce Ring into next season's pen.

Another closer-caliber reliever would be nice too. Why?

Because Wagner sucks.

I don't mean that, but he hasn't been the pitcher he was last year and that was pitching in a smaller park on a worse team. I'm not going to really stick a fork in on either side of this, but everyone's human (except RoboLastings, who bleeds Mercury) and Wagner might just be a little more human this year than B.J. Ryan, Jon Papelbon or Mariano Rivera. He's still been the third-best closer in the NL this year, behind two people who we could have signed as free agents last offseason instead of him: Trevor Hoffman and Flash Gordon.

This is a good little aside on the value of insurance runs. When the Marlins got that leadoff man on, the Mets' chances of winning, while still in their favor, decreased dramatically because the lead was one run. I won't blame Carlos Beltran for grounding into a double play with the opportunity to score some more, but the Mets definitely blew a few late chances (Julio, I'm looking your way) and those, maybe even more so than Wagner's, were responsible for the loss.

Tough day. I'm not going to invoke the names of Braden Looper, Armando Benitez or John Franco, but suffice it to say we will all be intently watching what Wagner does in his next few appearances.

It's the friggin Marlins. You can't blow a save against the Marlins. Although I'm ninety-five percent facetious in saying this, the lead is down to 13 games.


Good Met of the Game: Carlos Beltran 2-4, 2B, HR, 2 RBI

Bad Met of the Game: David Wright (0-4, 3 K, 4 LOB)/Billy Wagner (L/BS, .1 IP, 2 ER)

-I think I'm going to keep this feature up. Recommendations for other things?

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Mistakes Were Made

I think there was a lot of questionable decision-making going on at this deadline.

One can question whether Jim Bowden had his apparent drinking problem under control when he held on to Alfonso Soriano.

There's a possibility that the Nationals will be able to sign Soriano long-term with the money coming in from a new stadium and a new owner. The problem is that, in case their management hasn't noticed, Soriano's efforts have entirely failed to make the Nationals a contending team, as they are 17.5 games behind the Mets and 9 games behind the Wild Card-leading Reds. So, basically, the third worst team in the NL is spending a bunch of money to assure that they will try to keep this bad team together? Trading Soriano for prospects could have developed two or three quality starting pitchers or a couple young position players. Instead, they got nothing and two draft picks won't mean much.

One can wonder what kind of a joke machine Jim Duquette and Peter Angelos are putting together in Baltimore, where Angelos, the club's owner, doesn't realize that they stink. He also doesn't know anything about baseball, as he nixed trades to bring quality pitchers like Ervin Santana and Roy Oswalt aboard and opted to keep his high-paid ironman shortstop around.

This blunder was compounded by the fact that rumors swirl about Tejada's intensity and his willingness to play for a noncompetitive club in Baltimore. Although I am far from a gambling man, it would not surprise me if Tejada wound up being dealt from waivers. His contract is pretty big and unlikely to be claimed, given the teams that sit below the Tejada bidders in the standings.

One must wonder, though, fandom aside, whether Omar Minaya and his staff looked at peripherals for pitchers. They acquired an arm in Roberto Hernandez who was dependable last year for the Mets with an 8-6 record and a 2.58 ERA in 69 and change innings. Unfortunately, this year Hernandez's stats look pretty similar in a bit more than half a season: 0-3 with a 2.92 ERA. The problem? ERA is a terribly ineffective measure for any pitcher, especially relief pitchers. DIPS (Defense Independent Pitching Statistics) ERA is slightly better. Last year? Hernandez had a DIPS ERA of 2.78. That's very good. This year? His DIPS ERA is an average 4.16.

Hernandez has been, simply put, worse than he was last year. He's walked more, given up more hits and more home runs (per innings pitched), and seen all his peripherals decline.

Hernandez had a K/BB ratio of 2.18 last year, near a career best. This year? 1.38. Other statistical declines include his OPS against going from .627 to .759. That's a pretty steep increase. Bert, his admirable performance last year notwithstanding, is an interesting acquisition to say the least.

That's to say nothing about the other player acquired in the deal, Oliver Perez. For a second there, we believed that Omar made a shrewd move and packaged the enigmatic lefty with professional spare part Heath Bell to acquire solid setup man Scott Linebrink. Linebrink was untouchable last year but has regressed somewhat this year.

Perez is a joke of an awful pitcher, a guy with a great arm and a head full of rage and ego. Slick Rick told me personally that he could be fixed in ten minutes.

He had only one full season of good production, where he stunned for the Pirates in 2004 with a career high strikeout rate and a career low walk rate after being acquired along with Jason Bay from the Padres in late 2003 in exchange for Brian "Thank God Marcus Wasn't Talking About Kissing Your Brother" Giles.

This year, he was 2-10 in fifteen starts for the Pirates with just atrocious numbers. He allowed a ton of hits and a ton of walks, as evidenced by his sky-high WHIP of 1.83. That's just south of Russ Ortiz land.

And Minaya gave up a starting rightfielder with power a long way away from free agency? As much as I detest X's indifferent play in right field, and I really do, I think the Mets should have instead of Perez tried to grab one of the other Pirate setup men, like hard-throwing lefty Damaso Marte, Hernandez comparable Salomon Torres, or lefty closer Mike Gonzalez.

This move also pushes Firstings Milledge into the starting lineup or at least in a semi-platoon with Endy Chavez. I'm not sure he's ready for that, as he proved earlier this season by his rather low .287 OBP.

On another note, I'm very worried about the news with Duaner Sanchez. I am always skeptical about injuries off the field, especially since the Mets are citing a taxicab for injury woes for the second season out of three. Remember when Kaz Matsui slept wrong and scratched his cornea?

Remember when Mo Vaughn and Satoru Komiyama came down with mysterious injuries way back when?

What was Sanchez doing out at one in the morning anyway? After we heard stories of the Mets' wild partying earlier this year, involving the words "body shots" and "Jorge Julio" in the same sentence, you have to worry that this team's success might be going to their heads. Let's keep it Rated-G, boys.

It's hard to say that the Mets didn't have a net loss from this deadline, especially since the deal made in the offseason was now Mike Cameron for Roberto Hernandez, who were both on last year's team. And yes, I consider Oliver Perez useless. Don't forget that he has to clear waivers to go to the minor leagues as well. So yes, Mike Cameron was given away.

I put together a list of winners and losers at this deadline.

1. New York Yankees
-They did the only thing their front office is good at (taking on other team's bad contracts) in nabbing Bobby Abreu and getting Cory Lidle as a throw-in. They also got rid of Shawn Chacon, the equivalent of a bag of dog poo, while acquiring versatile bat Craig Wilson in return.

2. Detroit Tigers
-None of the teams chasing them made any moves of significance, while they added singles machine Sean Casey to replace the slumping Chris Shelton. I'm not in love with Casey, but he at least provides something of a left-handed threat that they were lacking.

3. Texas Rangers
-They nabbed Carlos Lee on Friday while grabbing a semi-capable starter in Kip Wells and a left-handed power pinch-hitter in Matt Stairs. This is further good news because the A's, Angels and Mariners, who were linked to Alfonso Soriano, were unable to do anything.

1. Washington Nationals/Baltimore Orioles
-Collectively, what are they doing? They both held on to players who aren't going to help them much, seeing as they are eons away from contending. They both should have taken whatever pitching-heavy packages they could get. It's also shocking that the Nats couldn't find a way to get anything at all for Tony Armas, Jr. or Livan Hernandez.

2. St. Louis Cardinals
-They made a headscratcher of a move on Sunday, dealing 2B Hector Luna for the much more expensive and less successful Ronnie Belliard. I tell all the kids that just because he looks like Manny Ramirez and grew up in the Bronx, like Manny, it does not mean he is capable of hitting like Manny. He's overrated. All of this happened while they stood pat with their mediocre starting pitching, atrocious left field production and bullpen, and Albert Pujols underwent MRIs. This team is treading on very thin ice.

3. Boston Red Sox
-I just have trouble endorsing a team that starts Kevin Youkilis, Alex Gonzalez, Trot Nixon (who is DLed, so it's actually Gabe Kapler and Wily Mo Peña in right) and Coco Crisp every day for the AL Championship. That's not to mention that Jason Varitek has been massively underperforming. They were also linked in a ton of blockbusters, but were unable to do anything, including upgrading the mediocre middle relief.

Let it be said that while the Mets will easily coast to a division title the rest of the way, it's tough to see these moves and the Sanchez news helping them at all.

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The Deadline Has Passed.

Duaner Sanchez is out for the season.

Oliver Perez and Roberto Hernandez are Mets in exchange for Xavier Nady. The quality of this move all depends on the success of Perez or if the Mets can flip him for Linebrink.

The Mets are supposedly trying to spin Perez back to his former team (Padres) along with Heath Bell for setup man Scott Linebrink, according to CBS SportsLine.

EDIT: No dice. The deal most likely fell through.

The Nationals have not traded Alfonso Soriano, ESPNNEWS is reporting.
-That is awful work on Jim Bowden's part. They can't afford to offer him arbitration, so they will get absolutely nothing for him. Idiots.


-Jorge Sosa has gone from the Braves to the Cardinals after being DFAed this week.

-The Rockies found a way out of their logjam at first base, dealing 1B Ryan Shealy and P Scott Dohmann to the Royals for P Jeremy Affeldt and P Denny Bautista. Move along, nothing to see here.

-Julio Lugo is a Dodger in exchange for Joel Guzman and another prospect.

-Greg Maddux is likely going to be a Dodger in exchange for Cesar Izturis. Ken Rosenthal is reporting that the deal is official, pending commissioner's approval.

-The Yankees agreed to a Shawn Chacon for Craig Wilson swap.

-Matt Stairs (dealt for former Met prospect Joselo Diaz) and Kip Wells are Rangers.

-Todd Walker is a Padre.

-Miguel Tejada will not be traded. Who's running things up in Baltimore? DUQUETTE? WHAT? Gross.

-Brad Lidge isn't going anywhere. Earlier, Houston asked Texas for Hank Blalock and Carlos Lee for Lidge. If that's the price they're hunting for, a deal must be unlikely.

-Steve Phillips is also talking about the Tejada trade that fell through. He said that the Orioles were going to spin Roy Oswalt to the Mets, not the Astros, for Milledge and some pitching. The Orioles are stupid. They turned down any possible deal of helpfulness.

-John Kruk is stupid.

-None of these minor deals have happened yet, but they're coming soon, I am assured.

-Alfonso Soriano will probably be a Twin.


This deadline is crazy.

I've been trying to track the rumors amidst a day job and it's just not working.

So look to our quality friends in the blogosphere for this one.

-Hot Foot has the pulse on what three-way foolishness the boys of Boston are up to.

-Metsblog is trying to keep up with the chaos from Flushing regarding Wagner lobbying for former teammates Lidge and Oswalt and every other trade going down.

-MLB Trade Rumors is covering their niche and analyzing trades as they go down.

-Don't forget about the boys from the print side, including Will Carroll, Jon Heyman and Jayson Stark.

-So far, the Reds have been active in improving their staff, by nabbing Cliff Floyd's owner Rheal Cormier and Twin legend Kyle Lohse.

-The Tigers also satisfied their need for a lefty bat, by acquiring "The Mayor" Sean Casey. In an unsurprising move, they demoted early-season flash in the pan Chris Shelton to AAA.

-With three hours to go, Oakland has emerged as a candidate for Alfonso Soriano's services. As explained in Moneyball, they enjoy getting free agents and then losing them for draft picks.

-The Pirates are also bound to make some moves, with a bunch of impending free agent veterans that need to be dealt. Damaso Marte, Salomon Torres, John Grabow and Roberto Hernandez could be moved as relievers. Craig Wilson, Joe Randa, and Jeromy Burnitz could also be dealt.

-Other relievers on the market include the entire Cubs bullpen and LaTroy Hawkins.

-Let it be said in this space, however, that the Mets' biggest need is neither Schmidt nor Oswalt nor Lidge, but rather a left-handed bat off the bench to replace Eli Marrero and a solid reliever to replace Pelfrey should he be sent down.

I'll update again just before two.

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Paying My Respects

I guess the Mets really do read this blog.


I walked into the hot, sweaty Baptist church, down in Atlanta. There's a lot of spirit down there. Just as the Mets have Merengue night to celebrate a prominent minority in the community, the Braves recently had Faith Night, where John Smoltz proselytized about finding Jesus, to celebrate the community's majority.

The reverend started to speak.

"Today, we eulogize and mourn the loss of a great friend to some and a feisty adversary for others. She was splendid, never failing to show up during the regular season.

Sure, the playoffs were tough, but she won one, right? Let's not forget 1995.

Every year since 1991, 'cept 1994, but that was a fluke anyway. No damn Canucks should be playing baseball anyway. The division was hers, like clockwork. Sometimes even before the season started.

But even if she had already clinched the division and had her fill, the little dynasty never failed to show up the Mets late in the season. Armando, meet Brian Jordan.

Her arms were always open to new players and only one guy had been there all those years. Smoltzie, she died in spite of you, not because of you.

And there were other figures: Mad Dog, Glavine, Andruw, Javy, and Larry, who always seemed to be there, even if they missed a little bit of time.

And there were other guys who endeared themselves to her, if only for a fleeting moment in time, like David Justice, Fred McGriff, Terry Pendleton, Steve Avery, Jeff Blauser, Ryan Klesko, Mark Lemke, Rafael Belliard, Rafael Furcal, Marcus Giles, Kevin Millwood, Andres Galarraga and Julio Franco.

There were those closers too. My, my, those closers. There was Juan Berenguer. Not much to say about him.

Alejandro Pena. He came around for a little bit. He was nice to her.

Mike Stanton closed for a year or two. What a guy. He always wanted the ball.

Greg McMichael closed for a year or two there.

There was Mark Wohlers, who threw hard but couldn't come up big.

There was Kerry Ligtenberg for one year. He had some crazy sideburns.

And then came Rocker. Oh, Johnny Rock, you had me at "queer with AIDS." But she traded him away and got back the cream of the cream.

Smoltzie, you always were her favorite.

But in 2005, you spurned her for the rotation, and so came in Danny Kolb and Chris Reitsma and Farnsworth for the end, but they all wound up exiting somehow.

And now what? Nothing. Reitsma, Ray, Sosa, Villarreal, Remlinger, McBride, Devine and now Wickman. What a shame.

But she was venerable, you know? It seemed like nothing could ever best her, no matter what happened.

Then, however, Omar Minaya happened. Shee didn't like this Minaya guy. He seemed to be committed to nothing more than making the Mets better, unlike his predecessors who acquired overseas overpaid starstruck shortstops just to appease the owner's son and a prematurely white-haired skirt chaser who traded for Jeromy Burnitz, Roberto Alomar and a morbidly obese first baseman owed sixteen million dollars per year who hadn't played a game in two years.

Minaya brought in Willie Randolph, a manager much tougher and no-nonsense than the bumbling fool he replaced. He brought in Pedro Martinez on the same day she traded for Tim Hudson. He brought in Carlos Beltran, who delivered the final blow to the fair dynasty's throat.

He turned the team around, then made some more moves, bringing in murderous accomplices like Carlos Delgado, Paul Lo Duca and Billy Wagner. And I'll be damned if Wagner didn't shoot her twice when she was down.

He didn't trade away young talent like Jose Reyes and David Wright, and he even made smaller moves to bring into the fray roleplayers (and co-conspirators) Endy Chavez, Julio Franco, Chad Bradford, Pedro Feliciano and Duaner Sanchez.

Minaya orchestrated her death. No doubt about it. He wanted her gone.

"Let us pray for eternal sanctity for this beautiful lady who lit up marquees along the Eastern seabord for fifteen years. May God bless the Braves Dynasty. She will live on in our hearts," the preacher continued.

"Not mine," I thought.

The summer heat could have driven a man mad in that churchyard, especially with a bunch of athletic-looking men in heavy, black suits. One dropped the coffin in the procession. The other wouldn't stop talking about kissing his sister. One strained an oblique muscle.

"Here she will lie, in rest, forever," said the Reverend.

And I, speaking louder than most, said "Amen" to that.

My favorite Mets idols were there, digging a grave incredibly deep for that casket to lie in. Inexplicably, they were digging with brooms.

After that, there was a small ceremony with finger-foods and a sign next to the casket. It read,


There rested the old lady, her skin creased and crinkled, her face battered with Louisville Slugger logos.

And the dead was finally laid to rest.

In other news:

The Yankees pulled off a great deal for a slugger and a dependable starter.

Chase Utley is more than halfway.

Be back tomorrow for some deadline surprises. Now it's Entourage time.

Crosstown Rivals is sponsored by JustGreatTickets.com, your home for Chicago White Sox Tickets.