V Vernacular

07/14/2007 (9:27 am)

DRAMA!

Filed under: Frenchy,Heap,Salty,Skip

So I woke up this morning feeling like I’d only dreamed a baseball game last night, after all the off days. I came to the computer and read email for a few minutes before I remembered that there would be AP photos and quotes to harvest, brand new! And boy were there. Apparently the second half is going to be dramatic as hell, if this morning’s crop is any indication:

1. Gary Sheffield opened his mouth, the usual drama ensued. I love Leyland’s response anytime the press tries to pull him into the Sheffield fray: “I don’t care what he says,” Leyland said. “He’s a grown man.” You tell ‘em, Jimmy.

2. Ledezma ran his passport through the washing machine. Hey, who hasn’t! This of course means that he’s stuck in Venezuela.

3. Terry had some minor heart trouble, but he’s okay.

4. Mini headline on AJC.com: “Mets are panicking”!! We’re only 1.5 back. They lost to the REDS last night. The Reds, you guys. What is this “still in the race after the break” thing and what do I do with it? Last year is still haunting me, and I keep waiting for the punchline, but this is exciting.

5. JS on Salty: “I don’t have any intention of trading him.” Thank goodness! Now if only he’d add, “and I have every intention of miking him permanently.”

6. Skip’s shirt last night. Enough said.

And what’s this?:

+

“That’s what you’ve got to do to starting pitchers, is make them work and not just go up and swing at the first pitch,” McCann said.

Who you talkin’ bout, Willis?

06/27/2007 (11:30 am)

The Scooter Situation

Filed under: Frenchy,Kelly,Salty,Thor

Scooter has entered platoon land, and he doesn’t want to talk about it. Dave O’Brien assumes this means he’s pissed. I of course came to the same conclusion, but I kind of hate to see Scooter called out for his dissatisfaction with the situation, since he’s already on Bobby’s bad/platoon side. I think it’s interesting that guys like Scooter get yelled at openly in the dugout and then promptly platooned while Frenchy is scot free to do whatever the hell he wants without consequences. Really interesting.

I like Escobar, and I enjoy seeing him play up here, but it still seems like Scoot got the shaft. He’s been slumping along with everyone else (Frenchy, anyone?!), but he had such a great start to the season after working so hard to get ready, I don’t think he should be slapped with a platoon death sentence so quickly. Maybe it’s not a death sentence — some platoons work. I used to harp on Bobby for having the nerve to platoon Diaz with dead on his feet Langerhans, but when Diaz got a (very short) chance to play more regularly, he wasn’t spectacular, and the platoon with Willie works beautifully. But I personally would have liked to see Scoot get a real chance to authoritatively reclaim second base before Bobby handed half his playing time over to Escobar.

Still, Escobar is a valuable addition to the club, and Bobby has to play him somewhere, he’s too good to just ride the bench with the likes of Orr and Woody. But I don’t blame Scoot for feeling like he got his playing time docked a bit prematurely.

In the meantime, Salty on first base is an absolute delight, but I feel bad for Thor, who just can’t seem to get anything going consistently. I always feel more optimistic when I see Salty over there, and he’s still at that developmental defensive stage where his errors are just like comic relief.

We just have too many likable fellas on the team right now. And as likable as Frenchy is, it’s really starting to piss me off that his slumps don’t yield the same consequences that the others’ do. I’d be all for playing Willie in right once in awhile, but hell, I’m ready for Willie to play center . . .

06/16/2007 (9:26 am)

Close Call

Filed under: Heap,Orr,Salty

Noo, Heap, don’t touch Orr, he’s bad luck!!!!

Phew . . . he stopped himself just in time.

Heap needs all the good luck he can get right now. His arch nemesis has recently taken his place in the lefty-platoon version of the batting order, where he is kicking ass, I must say, and rather endearingly so.

Salty on he and Yuney’s heroics in last night’s win:

“Maybe it’s just being young and dumb,” said Saltalamacchia, smiling widely in a postgame clubhouse that felt like something other than a morgue for the first time this week.

How can you not love him? I certainly didn’t expect to, but he won me over quick. I think Thor has a lot more to worry about than Heap, but I would love to see Heap throw out a few baserunners and get his defensive mojo back (not that Salty didn’t have a game where five Marlins stole on him — ouch! I was at that game, but could just imagine the broadcast cutting to suggestive shots of Heap watching from the dugout). Offensively, I think Heap will come around soon — the homer during the Loss of the Century was a good sign. And I’d rather have him behind the plate when it comes to calling games and babysitting borderline pitchers, even if a few bases get stolen in the process. Just stay away from the poisonous cloud that is Orr, Heap, and everything will work out.

05/21/2007 (3:39 pm)

Youk’s Revenge

Not much to say about that road trip except “wow, it sucked.” I mean, sucked like I didn’t even think we were capable of sucking. Not yet, not when I was just getting used to the idea of actually staying on pace with the Mets this season. I really wanted to go into this series at home on a high note, but I guess we’re just going to have to turn things around starting tomorrow.

Things I did like about this series:

–Smoltzy looked great, despite the pinky. That little collision with Kearns could have gone so much worse.

–Frenchy went through a little stupid spell in Washington, but he remembered whatever he learned from his Heap Tapes in Boston, and looked so smart up there. Unfortunately, as Mac suggests over at Braves Journal, Andruw seems to somehow have gotten ahold of Frenchy’s old brain. Didn’t Bobby tell Frenchy not to leave that thing lying around? Doesn’t he know Andruw’s at that age when he gets into everything?! But speaking of smart, how brilliant was Salty pinch hitting, looking at eleven pitches before walking in a run (after he missed a grand slam by about ten feet)? We really, really need another starter, but I want to keep him. Could we get a starter for Thor? I’ve always liked him, but he’s pretty much dead to me after grounding into that double play yesterday — at least for a week or so.

–I haven’t seen them all stupid-happy like they were during that monsoon win on Saturday night in awhile. The Former House Mates in particular: did anyone else notice the shot of Frenchy giving Kelly a pep talk before he went out there to try for a single to complete the cycle? And Heap pulling Kelly out of the high-five lineup to hug him just killed me. Classic Those Two — Frenchy being all, “EVEN IF YOU HIT IT TO THE WALL, STOP AT FIRST, OK?!?” and then Heap with the sympathetic encouragement when he couldn’t do it. Winning is always good, but they’re also so much funnier when they’re winning.

Though Heap can be pretty funny when we’re losing, too. Check out the latest pupil in the Chipper Jones School of Stink Eye:

Here he is all thrilled that he’s tagged out Youks at home, biting his tongue and trying not to grin. But then:

Youks hits a cheap, foul-ish homer, and BOY has Heap got the stink eye working. Nice. Chipper would be proud.

We’re up against our old friend Jorge Sosa tomorrow night. I wish I could be at the game to boo the living hell out of him. One of my greatest memories of last year was Bobby putting Sosa in late when we had a significant lead, and Sosa immediately giving up a walk. Before the batter had even made it down to first, Bobby stormed out to the mound (and we all know that Bobby isn’t normally very quick on his feet) to flagrantly chew Sosa out (this was well into the long season of bullpen mediocrity, plenty of it from Sosa himself), and poor Rent had to stand there and translate. The best part was Heap standing in the middle of all of this and looking terrified, his eyes bouncing back and forth between Sosa, Bobby and Rent like one of those cat clocks.

But anyway, we’d better absolutely annihilate Sosa tomorrow. I wonder if he and Rent still have their matching purses?

05/13/2007 (3:41 pm)

Some Site News

Filed under: Joey Devine,Salty

Over the weekend, I was invited to join Martin at Talking Chop, so I’ll now be covering media-related stories over there. I’ll still post to this blog regularly, just not every day. Between the two blogs I will probably post close to every day, so you’ll hear from me one way or another. I’m really excited about contributing to Talking Chop, and thanks again to Martin for the offer!

The game this afternoon gave me a headache. I felt sorry for poor Salty — not only did they make him wear that goofy getup, he had to catch some truly awful pitching. I’m sure Heap at least had a laugh over the pink chest protector. I’m ready to send Barry back down in favor of Devine, who is leading the Southern AA League in saves. Joey has had his issues in the majors, but Barry looked absolutely lost out there. Hopefully Lerew’s problems stemmed just from having so many friends and family members attending the game and putting too much pressure on himself. If not, I guess we’ve got Cormier in the wings . . .

On to Washington. I’m definitely in the mood for a long series against the Nationals after today.

05/07/2007 (8:02 am)

“He Wants to See the Kid Hit!”

Filed under: Chipper,Salty,Skip

Chipper’s fury after that check-swing call by Davidson was pretty glorious, and based on his post-game quotes, I don’t think he calmed down for quite awhile afterward. I wonder if all those dogs they had at the park yesterday were barking along with him?

The official site collected this quote on the incident:

“Looking at it in slow, slow, slow motion, it could have gone either way,” Jones said. “But that’s not even what made me mad. The fact of the matter is he looked over at our dugout — when Bobby stepped out, he [leaned toward our dugout], waited on Bobby to open his mouth, couldn’t even tell what was said, and he threw him out. That’s what upset me.”

Pretty diplomatic, admitting the call could have gone either way, then carefully explaining that he was only sticking up for old Bobby.

The AJC included these little gems in their coverage:

“Bob Davidson feels like the thousands of people in the park come to see him. He’s always been like that. It’s a joke among the players.”

“It’s a shame the cameras have to put [Davidson] on TV for 30 seconds.”

That’s the Chipper I know and love! I just hope Davidson doesn’t end up calling any playoff-clinching games for us down the line . . .

Skip had his dog (Larry Caray) in the studio during the broadcast, and apparently he got pretty excited when Salty came up to bat. Skip laughed and said, “He wants to see the kid hit!” I have to agree, Larry. I tried to keep an emotional distance from Salty, knowing we had no place for him, but he’s definitely grown on me in the past few days. I know the possible scenarios for keeping him have already been talked to death, so I won’t bother, but I think I may actually be moving into the Keep Salty camp for the first time.