Series 6-Pack: And Then There Were Mets

The Phillies recently redefined “predictable awesomeness” by being it.  The Mets are 2-1, making them more successful than anyone could have dreamed.  Tomorrow, we start a three game series against the only franchise in baseball currently being sued for a billion dollars, and Ben Berkon of Rising Apple and I decided to briefly put our childike hatred aside to do this thing.  Briefly.

1.  Mets spokesman Jay Horwitz says that “You can’t react to criticism,” after a Family Guy clip insulting the Mets was played on air after the 6-2 opening day loss.  Given the pretty unmerciful wave of hostility/mockery from the media and blogs like this one, would you say that the Mets should start reacting to criticism?

I think it depends on the criticism. If you recall, Sandy Alderson stated after the Castillo release: “I don’t think there’s any question that there’s some linkage between [Castillo's] situation and a perception of the Mets that has existed to this point. [...] At some point, you have to make an organizational decision that goes beyond just an ability to play or not play.” Essentially, the fans heavily criticized the Mets for keeping Castillo on the roster, and their criticism was taken into consideration. Plus, Family Guy hasn’t been good in like five years, so who cares what they think.

2.  Do you agree with Brian Cashman that the Mets “abused” Pedro Feliciano by having him pitch a lot, or is Cashman merely doing what he does–whining to the papers?  I have a follow-up:  Don’t you just hate that guy?

I think the Mets misused Feliciano, since he was nothing better than a situational lefty, but “abused” is a little ridiculous. It’s not as if Feliciano was begging the manager to not give him the ball–if he was ever hurting and didn’t admit to it, it’s his fault, not the Mets. When it comes down to it, Cashman has buyer’s remorse. The Mets didn’t force Cashman to sign Feliciano, it was his doing. If Cashman really felt that Feliciano was abused by the Mets, then he shouldn’t have signed him. I’d also be interested to hear Cashman defend Joe Torre using Scott Proctor in 102.3 IP out of the Yankees bullpen in 2006, and then how he was never the same pitcher…

3.  How hard did you laugh when the Phillies signed Luis Castillo to a 10-day contract, and did you, like I did, assume it was a sick joke?

I was looking forward to double-booing Castillo–one boo for being a Phillie, and a second boo for sucking.

4.  Who is going to be the next owner of the New York Mets and in what direction will they steer and/or crash the franchise?

I think the Wilpons will sell the Mets for scrap parts to China.

5.  Terry Collins’ open letter to Mets fans was a nice move; not every manager does such a thing.  If Charlie Manuel wrote me a letter it’d probably be full of indecipherable colloquialisms and sealed shut with a circle of tobacco.  I read your point-by-point breakdown, but in general, what motivates such an action, and did you find it encouraging?

Hey, if the players are somehow motivated by a trite speech filled with poor man’s Hoosiers one-liners, then I’m all for it.  But until the Mets prove they’re more than the 4th-place team I think they are, I’d tell Collins to keep off the blogosphere.

6.  Every time a Comcast ad comes on TV starring Cole Hamels, I throw up a little because he is a terrible actor.  What is the general Mets fans’ stance on Keith Hernandez’s performances in Just For Men commercials?

We know he’s capable of better roles (see: Seinfeld, The Boyfriend).

BULLSHIT BONUS QUESTION:  Also being a Knicks blogger, what did you think of Carmelo Anthony’s recent cameo on SNL?  I felt as though he didn’t have a lot of time to rehearse, but got me to chuckle during the Laser Cats skit.

SNL really doesn’t know how to bring the best out of their guests. For instance, if they had just showed clips of Carmelo Anthony playing defense, it would have been funnier than Steve Martin’s “King Tut” skit.

1. Do you think the Phillies offense will be greatly affected by the loss of Utley for the next few months?

Yeah.  A whole bunch of times.

2. How confident are you with the combination of Wilson Valdez/Michael Martinez/Pete Orr at second base?

So far we’ve seen nobody but Wilson out there, and the man’s fielding the ball, and throwing the ball, and hitting extra base hits, and tying ball games in the bottom of the 9th; so the question is, if you’re not impressed by Wilson Valdez, then you need to remember you’re used to watching Chase Utley play that position, so you’re used to watching a power-hitting sorcerer do the things Wilson is doing now.

3. As exciting as it would have been to watch Dominic Brown start in right-field, are you secretly happy to see Ben Francisco get a crack at it while Brown is on the DL?

I don’t know how excited I’d be to watch Dom Brown go out there and scream in pain every time he’d try to catch a ball with a broken hand, so yes, it’s great Benny’s got this chance.  Dom will clearly take advantage of the extra development, and if we can sneak him into right field, rather than drop him out there with a dozen spotlights following his every move and every broadcaster uttering the phrase “…replacing Jayson Werth” 10 or 12 times per nine innings, it’ll definitely do him some good.

And the Phillies said nobody was winning that job outright, so in the name of fairness, Benny won it.  He tore through spring training like he wasn’t the afterbirth of the initial Cliff Lee deal from Cleveland; the man wanted a god damn job. And he got it.  He had three hits, a home run, and a monster catch today that destroyed the city of San Diego.  Let him out there.  When Dom comes back, we’ll have the space and the desire to find him a job.

4. If Jose Contreras/Ryan Madson hold down the 9th, what do you see the Phillies doing with Brad Lidge if/when he returns?

Did you ever see one of those action movies where the villain is holding some neutral third party character hostage, and the third party guy has some valuable information, but then at the end of the second act, the villain finds out the information through some other means, and looks at the third party character and says, “Well, Mr. ______.  I believe you’ve outlived your usefulness.”  And then the next scene is some henchmen throwing a rolled up carpet with feet sticking out of it off a bridge?

Brad’s such a likable character, though.  He’s totally enthusiastic and works hard and wants to be here.  He called Charlie all winter to tell him how excited he was.  But when your bones won’t stop snapping and your muscles won’t stop straining, and there are two other guys who can do your job well, and one of them has been groomed for it for years… I mean, hell.  We all know what a baseball team would do.  Nobody has a “Likability clause” in their contract.

5. Which of the Phillies aces (Halladay/Lee/Hamels/Oswalt) do you see having the best season?

Felix Hernandez.  Ruben’s talking with Jack Zduriencik about some trade that makes no sense.  Because we are the Phillies, and we’ll just take all of the pitching; thanks.

6. The Michael-Young-to-the-Phillies rumors seem to be coming back–think the Phils will actually pursue him?

Go ahead and look Chase Utley in the eye during a Phillies game.  He’ll be the guy in the dugout wearing a wind breaker with his hands shoved in his pockets, his eyes glazed over in a continuous state of repressing pain.  He would like nothing more than to work out his knee until it heals over night, sprint out to second base, roll Wilson Valdez into a ball, and drop-kick him into the Delaware River.  And he likes Wilson Valdez.

The point is, Chase wants to be back, to the point that he popped up on the big screen at CBP on opening day to tell the crowd “I’ll be back soon!”  The effort we’ve put into “replacing” him for the time being is enough; if the Phillies were to bring in some other talented player with a big dumb contract it’d either mean Chase Utley was dead or close enough that they’d be willing to put another player’s life at risk by using him to replace Chase Utley.

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Tags: Chase Utley Luis Castiloo Mets Phillies Series The Wilpons