Monday, April 7, 2008

Not Legit - Not Lidge-it Should Quit

Post #51 Topic: Mr. Lidge, Your Dignity Called, You Left it in 2004

Well Tuesday was sold out. The home opener at Shea Stadium where Oliver Perez (my favorite for this year’s NL Cy Young, and yes that puts him AHEAD of Johan Santana) will commence the 2008 and final season in that admittedly atrocious park and I couldn’t get tickets. So, when life withholds lemons what do you do? You use that crappy crystal light stuff that your anorexic roommate and his “health unconscious” girlfriend eat for all three meals… EVERY DAY. So I got tickets for Wednesday, when heroic starting pitcher, and Scott Boras product, Mike Pelfrey hopes to prove that he is indeed the final piece to an otherwise pretty formidable starting rotation.

There is a lot at stake in this series Between the Mets and their newest and largest rival, the Philadelphia Phillies. First, there’s the pride; the team that starts the season series (18 games) off on a winning note assumes the confidence boost synonymous with being labeled the early-season division favorites. And although Jose and D-Wright plan to tone it down this year (what with the chest bumps and all), no one can deny that a little swagger never hurts anyone. Should the Mets take even 2 of 3, they will undoubtedly be given the early season accolades in a semi-stacked division.

Second, the Mets lineup has not exuded any pop whereas the Phillies have already accumulated 3 home runs from one time anemic OF’er, Pat Burrell. The METS NEED TO PROVE THAT THEY CAN HIT TO THE GAPS OR OVER THE FENCES. Angel Pagan’s bloops, infield singles and choppers over second basemen will not be enough to propel the Mets to the Wildcard, let alone the division title. There needs to be more run production coming from the top of the lineup (David Wright excluded, he’s been fine and has had 1 bad game which he deserves now and then). That means Luis Castillo, Carlos Beltran, Jose Reyes… these guys need to take the weight off of Delgado and Church… AND BRIAN SCHNEIDER who have been hitting lights out but CAN NOT BE EXPECTED TO CONTINUE TO DO SO. What’s the alternative? We might be seeing Barry Bonds or Sammy Sosa back in uniform sooner than anyone hoped or (myself excluded) expected. So lets get the bats going fellas… sure its only 6 games in but Santana ain’t worth a dollar if we cant get him two runs when he only lets up one.

Third and most importantly, the largest factor to be determined this series is whether the Phillies have the character and talent to make them, once again, worthy of a post-season shot. Last season Brett Myers was decent in the closer position, finishing with 21 saves and 4.5 ERA (ok nevermind he sucked). But he’s been moved to the rotation. Tom Gordon just had a great grand son and gets to the mound in a rascal. That leaves the Phillies potentially enormous success in the hands of… DUH DUH duh… BRAD LIDGE. Oh boy hearing that Brad Lidge is closing for the Phillies makes me down right giddy. This guy has the mental stability of Britney Spears and the consistency of feces.

How bad is Brad Lidge? He’s freakin awful. Yes, that is an incredibly juvenile way to describe a distinct level of misery, bordering on “my daddy could beat up your daddy”, but if 9th inning (im)potency is any indicator of childish toughness then my Daddy could kick Brad Lidge’s daddy’s ass.

Allow us to briefly explore the origins from which Brad Lidge’s misery has stemmed. The bible says that Adam took a piece of his own flesh, and molded it into Eve (his biblical concubine). Following the divine train of thought, consider Brad Lidge’s past 5 years as a chunk of flesh from one time New York Metropolitan, who awed even a “low-expectation sick” crowd by starting the 1993 season 1-13 (eventually losing 27 in a row – in the same year that Vince Coleman threw a firecracker at a fan during a game).

Brad Lidge’s career stats tell a suspenseful, at times depressing, and overall promising story for Mets fans. In 2004, Lidge hopped onto the closer scene, attempting to fill the LARGE shoes of Billy Wagner, with 29 saves in 33 chances and an ERA under 2 – yikes. In 2005… more of the same: Lidge posted 42 saves in 46 opportunities, placing him among the league’s top 3 closers. Then “le merde frappe le fan”.

In the 2005 postseason, Lidge gave up a 3 run homerun in the ninth to Albert Pujols… and thus began the deterioration. The Cardinals were able to force an eventual game 7, which courtesy of the rest of the Astros (and a recently acquired and playoff monster Carlos Beltran) ended in favor of the Astros. And the ‘Stros went right back to Lidge in game 2 of the series against the Chi Sox. There, again in the 9th in a save situation, Lidge faced Scott Podsednik (currently a AAA player) who hadn’t hit a home run that entire year… until Lidge served him a meatball on the silverest of silver platters.

Lidge was never the same. In 2006: 32 saves in 38 opportunities. Respectable, if you ignore the 5.28 ERA. In 2007? 19 saves in 27 opportunities, and eventually relegated to setup man to the setup man duties.

So you can understand how there is a lot at stake in this series with the Phils. Chances are, if Lidge gets rocked early in the season he’ll be forced out of the closing picture, leaving the duties to an aged Tom Gordon, or forcing the Phillies to take Brett Myers out of the rotation (where he has always been projected to wind up). Seems like a perfect time for the big bats of the Mets to wake up no? In fact, I’d even take a loss in the process if the Mets were able to shake Lidge up a little bit, and judging by his performance (4/7), a lidge-shaking might not be asking for too much – 1 inning, 2 walks, 1 run, 24 pitches – not exactly closer numbers.

But then again, the Mets might not have to worry. Lidge is a coward. He has allowed one bad pitch to ruin 3 subsequent years of what was poised to be a solid Major League career. Based on his propensities, I’d venture that he’s going to be up in bed, the night before making his Shea Stadium debut, crying, chewing his nails and singing “I’m so excited, I’m so excited, I’m so scared (scuba)” after taking too many caffeine pills. And then the phone will ring. On the other side? Mr. Lidge’s dignity, calling from a sunnier, more promising 2005.

Other Notes

95% of my high school teachers disliked me. Probably because I was waaaaay smarter than them but that’s neither here nor there. There was however one teacher who hated me more than any other.

Today I found a woman on a Rangers message board who had two tickets to the Rangers playoff game for next Wednesday at the world’s most famous arena. Thinking she would be selling her seat also, I paypaled her butt 145 bucks, only to get 1 ticket in return. Quickly I turned to stubhub where I discovered that my $145 ticket was selling for over $350 (likely to go up). About to add it to the stubhub collection, I received another e-mail from the seller: “I’m so happy that I will be sitting next to a real fan for this game. I hate when I sell my tickets and the person who shows up is either disinterested or a fan of the other team”. So my guilt set in… how could I possibly not go now? So I decided to suck it up and sit next to her. Now prior to this last e-mail we had known eachother only as Karen and DCMSG (to protect the innocent). However, Karen chose to sign our final e-mail as Karen ____ ____ (again to protect the innocent). Now that wouldn’t bother me… and it didn’t for at least an hour. But for some unknown reason the name kept echoing through my head, so much so that I eventually said it out loud. Coincidentally, at the time the name came out of my mouf (ghetto for mouth) my good friend from high school was there, and the name immediately caught his attention. Here was his reaction: “wasn’t that the name of the teacher who absolutely hated your guts all through high school

With shit like that happening, thank god for Pirates… aaaaarrrgghhh.

Today i went to a fresh fish department and asked for catfish. When the guy picked up the fish it was frozen. I asked him "isn't this fresh fish"? HE looked at me like i was crazy and, no joke said, "yeah but the temperature of the display is too cold". Good work jackass, don't quit your 2 a.m. subway job.

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