Saturday, May 06, 2006

Beating the Braves is like crack to me

I won't bother recapping last night's game, partly because you can get a thorough and properly AP-styled account of it here, and also because I didn't see the last two hours or so.

When I left it was 6-6 and Heilman was just about to enter the game. As an aside, I find his face really odd-looking, and the low lighting in the bullpen makes him look like some sort of unfinished golem, kept in total darkness and seclusion until his services are required.

Anyway, when I got back home, after midnight (I'm something of a party animal), Billy Wagner was addressing the media and explaining how shocked he was to have surrendered a particular home run.

His remarks and his body language suggested that the Mets had lost, which was disappointing. What was only slightly less disappointing was that our boys had in fact pulled it out in a marathon 14 inning game, and I missed it.

At some point in the middle innings, Keith Hernandez incorrectly described Xavier Nady as 25 years old. Would it were so! He's 27, which is a big enough difference to make me wonder how much homework Keith is doing. It may sound nitpicky, but not only is that two fewer years he has left on his, um, biological clock, but at "peak age" he also faces much longer odds of improving substantially from his current level of production. Mind you, there's nothing at all wrong with his current level of production (.918 OPS). I'm just saying that if he were 25 we probably couldn't have gotten him for Mike Cameron.

I never thought I would ever look at a line of .268/.336/.409 and think "now that's what I'm talking about!" But Jose Reyes is a unique situation, and the stakes are extremely high for a few reasons:

1) As last year proved, he will be our leadoff hitter come hell or high water. If he doesn't improve on his career .306 OBP, we're just going to have to eat all those outs.

2) As one of the very fastest men in baseball, he gets more leverage from his OBP, not only by stealing bases but stretching triples, scoring from 1st, etc.

3) Even if you reject the notion that a player "is who he is," and that there's little you can do to transform a free swinger into Kevin Youkilis, Reyes is still so young that I think it's definitely a little bit surprising how much he appears to have changed already.

Is it too early to declare him fully cured of hackatitis C? I guess so, but he's already about halfway to his 2005 walk total. There's nowhere to go but up.

Today's game is just getting underway, and I've realized that in-game blogging is not my core competency, so I'm going to sign off for the moment... Maybe make some eggs... I am the worst case scenario of Dan Rather's vision.


Wow. Cohen just made the observation that seeing as how last night's game ran so late, today's game could be influenced by the recently imposed ban on amphetamines. It's an entirely reasonable point, but not one that you necessarily expect an employee of an MLB team to make on the broadcast. Hernandez then agreed that this would be the kind of game where players would have been inclined to "go to the jar." Good stuff.

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