April 23, 2007

If There Is Ever A Braves-Red Sox World Series, I Will Flee To Europe

Well, it wasn't the smoothest weekend in New York's two biggest baseball rivalries. I was at the Mets-Braves game at Shea Saturday when, accompanied by absolutely gorgeous weather (finally!), Oliver Perez pitched a gem. He allowed no walks in more than six innings, one start after allowing seven in less than three. Go figure. Meanwhile the offense flexed its muscles with home runs by Jose Reyes, Ramon Castro, and Damion Easley and four hits from Carlos Beltran, and they won 7-2. Between the relatively low-stress win and the sunshine and the breeze, the crowd was in such a good mood they barely even bothered to call the enormously fat man in my section wearing a Derek Jeter jersey an asshole, and several children in Chipper Jones tees were left unmolested. Spring fever!

Today was a different story, though. The Mets got a nice little lead for Tom Glavine, once again pitching against his pal John Smoltz, only to watch the bullpen spit it back up. Three of the Mets' four losses to the Braves this season have been come-from-behind wins for Atlanta, and it's starting to look like maybe there's a few demons left after all. The Mets are only half a game back, though, so there's no real cause for concern at the moment. The Yankees, however... well, more on them tomorrow. Everything looks better in the morning.

Scattered Mets notes from the weekend:

  • One overzealous Mets fan was arrested after he (allegedly!) pointed a bright flashlight into the eyes of Tim Hudson and Edgar Renteria during Friday's game. Granted, you can't have people doing this (and the guy is 40, which is pretty damn pathetic), but he was charged with "interfering with a professional sporting event" -- who the hell knew that was a crime? And can we arraign Sidney Ponson on those charges?
  • Joe Smith is such a cool story. Not even a year out of college -- Wright State, no less -- he's now made ten appearances without allowing a run. Obviously that streak will end at some point, probably sooner rather than later, but he looks like the real deal, and Willie Randolph's been using him in big spots from the start. On Saturday, he came in with the bases full of Braves and struck out Andruw Jones: he said Shea Stadium got so loud it made him shake. Awesome. It'll be interesting to see how, or if, hitters adapt once they get used to his unusual delivery...
  • Love the fake tomahawk chop once the Mets get a comfortable lead, as they did Saturday. I loathe that chant and it deserves to be mocked whenever possible. I was also thrilled when Rangers fans at the Garden broke it out as New York was demolishing the Atlanta Thrashers -- though, since half their hockey team is from Eastern Europe, I kind of doubt they had any idea what the fuck was being referenced.
  • This would be a good time for David Wright to snap out of his slump. After one of his at-bats Saturday, when he once again left runners on base, the crowd at Shea kind of, almost, sort of made a booing noise. A little bit. It never quite materialized, but they were right on the edge. And the idea of Wright getting booed at home is completely demoralizing.
  • I always figured John Smoltz was kind of a jerk. Not for any particular reason that I can remember now, but since the mid-90s I've pretty much operated under that assumption. (I know there's a reason I starting hating Chipper Jones in '96, too, but damned if I can put my finger on it). Recently though, Smoltz has seemed downright funny and agreeable in interviews. And if he really is good friends with Tom Glavine, AAA-grade upstanding citizen, well, it's very possible I was wrong about him. I'm totally annoyed by this realization; it's a major pain to try to correct a full decade of irrational but now deeply rooted dislike. Actually, I might start disliking the guy for this very reason. Thanks a lot, Smoltz. Why'd you have to go and be a decent guy after all for no reason? Bastard. Yes... this could work.

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