To welcome back our friend and blolleague Metstradamus from his high seas adventure and save him one more day-after-vacation errand, we humbly present the Faith and Fear Hate List for July 12, 2006, All-Star Game Edition.
This homage became necessary because as the National League’s victoryless streak reached 10, I found myself really far more full of hate than one should be for something known as the “Midsummer Classic”.
1. Phil Garner. Is it any surprise that he’d be outmanaged yet again by Ozzie Guillen? You can almost hear the doh-dee-doh-doh music playing when he opens his mouth, especially when he says things before the game like “I’m not going to have any signs” and “I’d do it all the same again” afterwards. Since last October, it’s Guillen 7 Garner 1, and the one game Guillen lost, last month, came in the 13th when the White Sox probably just wanted to get some shut-eye. Scrap Iron, you and me, we’ll see each other at the Astros & Affiliates Alumni Picnic pretty darn soon.
2. Trevor Hoffman. This is our idea of a great closer? Have we ever seen this guy close as much as a jar of mayonnaise when anything more than a turkey sandwich was on the line? He did quite a job in the ’98 World Series. His lifetime All-Star ERA is fittingly astronomical, so, sure, no wonder you’d do it all the same again. An 84 MPH changeup with the game in the balance? Where’s John Franco when you need him? Oh that’s right — off with Leiter convincing the world they had nothing to do with losing Scott Kazmir.
3. The Texas Rangers. Either win your stupid division and get to the World Series or mind your own business, the whole bunch of you.
4. Alfonso Soriano. Ex-Ranger still causing hassles for the National League. Ran through a stop sign (unless Garner wasn’t authorizing any stop signs either) and did so incompetently. Saving grace: Cleared the deck so Beltran could steal third and be even more of an All-Star hero…not that anybody but us will remember now.
5. Miguel Cabrera. Channeling Roger Dorn, apparently. “It was out of my reach. What do you want me to do, dive for it?” Could he have been less interested in playing third base? Scott Olsen had the right idea.
6. Scott Olsen. Next time finish the job. A harder slap in the Marlin dugout Sunday and maybe Cabrera doesn’t make the trip to Pittsburgh and Garner (doh-dee-doh-doh) is actually forced to use Scott Rolen, the multiple Gold Glove award winner who was on the same bench as he was last night, if in fact there’s some reason to remove David Wright…which there never is.
7. Mike Jacobs. Learn to tag first base properly and you won’t spike your league’s starting shortstop. If Jose Reyes had played as he was elected to do before his Jacobs-induced pinky injury, even Phil Garner (doh-dee-doh-doh) would have been bright enough to have inked Reyes in as his leadoff hitter and then you wouldn’t have had Edgar Renteria starting and Edgar Renteria batting fifth. How on earth do you bat Edgar Renteria fifth and David Wright sixth???
8. Red Sox Nation. I assume Nomar Garciaparra sailed onto the National League roster as the 32nd man because of a boost he got from his old fans in New England (can’t imagine Dodgers fans cared enough to put him over the top). Nomar deserved an All-Star berth in the first place but a) Garner (doh-dee-doh-doh) didn’t use him and b) if Billy Wagner had won that vote, at least he would have blown the ninth inning throwing a few fastballs.
9. Fox. Aside from their usual clueless ineptitude at broadcasting baseball (the irrelevant interviews while there’s action; McCarver confusing leagues; Jeanne Zelasko babbling in couplets; Kevin Kennedy bloviating; the evening generally schlepping on and on and then Joe Buck congratulating the game for not lasting all that long), they were TOTALLY setting us up for the presentation of the MVP to either Beltran or Wright, probably Beltran. I’ve been watching All-Star Games almost religiously since 1970 and never, not even when Lee Mazzilli was homering off Jim Kern and walking against Ron Guidry, has a Met — let alone two — been the focus of one of these things. But here we were, with our coming-out party and Fox discovering that, hey, these Mets are good, and here are two of them leading the National League to an overdue victory and…then what? Then with two out and nobody on in the top of the ninth, they show a distraught Derek Jeter staring into space. Jeter? He didn’t do anything. Why are they showing him? Because Jeter and Fox were working together to transmit their evil vibes. Suddenly, Konerko is singling by a statuesque Cabrera, Carlos Lee is admiring Troy Glaus’ double and Michael Young reminds us that Arlington, Tex. still has a team. Nice work, Fox. Go ahead and cancel that wretched-looking Brad Garrett sitcom while you’re at it.
10. The System. Prior to 2003, I found this National League losing streak a mite embarrassing, but not something that would carry over into Wednesday morning. Then Bud Selig and Rupert Murdoch and whatever other dictators of The System there are decided to imbue the All-Star Game result with meaning. Josh Beckett rendered it meaningless in Game Six of the 2003 World Series, bless his formerly teal soul. The last two years didn’t seem to matter, but this year? This year it counted, and you all know what I’m talking about. I hate to be presumptuous about why home field advantage in the World Series would have any particular meaning for Mets fans — it could be the Cardinals or Padres or Dodgers or any number of quasi-contenders who Garner, Hoffman and Cabrera screwed over last night — but we know why we were paying extra attention. The stars were aligned. It was the Carlos & David Show for eight innings, which was appropriate since it was they and Lo Duca who had the most on the line among NLers. I’m seeing Game One at Shea Stadium, Game Two at Shea Stadium and, if necessary, Games Six and/or Seven at Shea Stadium. Then I’m seeing nothing but rage. Ah, the hell with it. Should it be an issue in three months, we’ll start on the road and finish wherever we have to finish. No thanks to those we must trample en route to wherever we are going.
11. Dick Young, Mike Francesa, Richie Hebner, Steve Phillips & Jeff Torborg. Our thanks, once more, to Metstradamus for letting us borrow his signature piece (especially since we didn’t ask). Don’t forget to vote between now and tomorrow night for his Hall of Hate. Write in Phil Garner, too.