If You’d Like To Make A Call, Please Hang Up And Dial Again
CITIFIELD – The Dodgers’ dugout-to-bullpen phone fiasco of Wednesday night has been explained – kinda.
“It was hung upside down,” explained a denizen of the Dodger bullpen just before Thursday’s getaway matinee here. The denizen shall remain nameless because we didn’t want to risk trying to make a phone call to get approval from the team. “That’s how it was explained to us, anyway. So it couldn’t ring and nobody could hear anything.”
So the receiver was where the microphone should’ve been and the microphone was where the receiver should’ve been? “A little more complicated than that. But I’m not sure how exactly.”
Further probing by the estimable Ben Walker of the Associated Press suggested that the way the phone had been placed back on its cradle had tripped a wire that rendered the whole bullpen without communications. As delightful as it might be to imagine a major league coach screaming “Hello? HELLO?” into the end of the phone with the cord coming out of it, it wasn’t that simple.
Baseball had supposedly fixed the phone problem – which was, er, called into prominence by the Cardinals during the 5th Game of the 2011 World Series – by replacing the cranky landlines with state-of-the-art cellular communications this season. But the new system has not reached CitiField and the old one has now twice had problems or, if you prefer, hang-ups.
The Great Gazoo and Happy Hour
OK, so there it is. That’s what the new super-sized batting helmet debuted tonight in Denver by David Wright evokes: Fred Flintstone’s little green prehistoric Shark-Jumping visitor from outer space.
Jim Thome And Other Personnel (Fifth Update)
that outfielder Jose Tabata, the high-upside crapshoot of a prospect, doesn’t even have to succeed for this to indeed be a ripoff – for Pittsburgh. Nady may never play again, and nailing Thome on a ground out on Sunday lowered Marte’s ERA to 10.57.
Told Ya So
From this blog on June 18th:
Johan Santana Must Be Hurt
This does not come from Mets sources, and it does not come from ballpark speculation, and it certainly does not come from the player himself, but barring an extraordinary breakdown in the mechanics of the game’s most-mechanically sound pitcher, Johan Santana must be pitching with an imposing injury.
This thought had been in the back of my mind since a fired-up Santana virtually willed the Mets to a victory in Boston, then followed that with a six-walk game against Washington on May 27, and finally his four-homer victory over the Phillies last week. Having now gotten to see Santana from field level during his implosion this afternoon at Yankee Stadium, there is not only the loss of velocity suggested by the radar guns, but he also seemed to have a softer break on his breaking stuff, and he clearly had trouble keeping the ball down. Many of the Yankees’ nine hits would have been swinging strikes on Santana pitches in the dirt, if he was 100 percent. Hideki Matsui’s homer might as well have been hit off a tee.
The problem, of course, is that all pitchers from Little Leagues to Jamie Moyer start hurting after the 50th pitch of the season and never really stop hurting. With experience comes the ability to push the threshold outwards. As Santana proved last year, shutting out Florida just days before surgery, you can go mind-over-matter on such things.
Often it’s even worse. The impediment to effectiveness can come before the pain. This was the middle of June; Santana now says he first felt discomfort in the elbow just before the All-Star break. It is certainly plausible, given that he’s had chips cleaned out of that elbow before, that he had stiffness or just a minor loss of his usual functionality, in the joint, long before it began to really hurt.
And thus this has been one of the few truly amazing Mets seasons. The opening day line-up in Cincinnati:
Reyes, ss (all but officially done for year)
Murphy, lf (failure to field there, moved to first, failure to hit there)
Wright, 3b (concussion, assumed to be back next week, don’t assume)
Delgado, 1b (out since May, might make it back for a token appearance)
Beltran, cf (out with an endless bruise, might have a cameo yet)
Church, rf (traded to Atlanta)
Schneider, c (to disabled list, back, in a platoon with non-roster invitee Omir Santos)
Santana, p (done as of August 25)
Relieved by Green, p (totally inconsistent)
Pinch-hit for by Anderson (released days later)
Relieved by Putz, p (just shut down, possibly for the year)
Relieved by Rodriguez, p (at key moments, utterly inconsistent).
Were that not amazing enough, the host Reds produced the following line-up:
Hairston, LF (now with the Yankees)
McDonald, CF (to the minors, just recalled)
Replaced by Dickerson, CF (back to the DL)
Votto, 1B (to the DL)
Phillips, 2B (inexplicably healthy)
Bruce, RF (out in July, presumably for the season)
Encarnacion, 3B (hurt, traded, hurt after he was traded)
Hernandez, C (hurt, moved to 1B to replace Votto, hurt again, might make it back this year)
Gonzalez, SS (to Red Sox)’
Harang, P (out for the year after my injury, the emergency appendectomy)
Last Met Standing
had not seen David Wright since early July and we had not had time for more than a quick hello since before the Met injury plague had hit its apex. He is the proverbial good fellow and very little of his rookie-year enthusiasm has yet worn off and he greeted me with a warm handshake. How, I asked him, do you like being the last Man standing? he laughed and corrected me: Last MET standing. we then talked about the ludicrousness if the criticism of the Mets for not having replacements for all the fallen. if we had anybody three quarters as good as Beltran, hed have been starting for us, wouldnt he? Wright then said he still couldnt get over the sheer volume of injuries (there were nine Mets on the DL as the day began). And then two hours later he lay in a heap in the batters box here at CitiField and the place was utterly silent. Fortunately he made it off the field on his own power, walked to and through the clubhouse, and climbed into the ambulance that took him to his CT-scan rather than being lifted into it. As a past recipient of a concussion I can tell you it is a good sign that his motor skills seemed unaffected and his walk confident but it might be of some concern that he was breathing as heavily as he was. Of course lost in the equation of the batter hit flush above the ear with a fastball is the terror – and even less frequently cited is the awful sound – like having your head inside a ringing churchbell for a minute or more. Updates as available.
Lost in the adventures of Luis Castillo at Yankee Stadium last Friday was the reality that even if Castillo had made a game-ending catch, Francisco Rodriguez would have begun tonight’s Mets game in Baltimore having recorded consecutive saves in which he had allowed two base runners and just escaped with his life.
Meet Wilbur Huckle. Again.
Last month I introduced you to Wilbur Huckle, the latest apparent inductee into a very unfortunate, star-crossed club: guys who were on big league rosters, eligible to play in big league games – and never did.
HUCKLE CALLED UP TO VARSITY
San Antonio’s Wilbur Huckle, who was named the all-star shortstop in the Class A Carolina League, has joined Casey Stengel’s Mets.
Huckle flew from Raleigh to New York Tuesday to join the parent club. “He didn’t know whether the Mets planned to play him any, or whether they just wanted him to work out with the club a few days,” his father, Allen Huckle said Wednesday. “We’ve been hoping to see his name in a box score.”
Wow. That last line – given that they never would, is particularly poignant.