• Rickt: I am the biggest Cal Jr fan around but one of my good friends played minor l...

Before I write about anything else here on Umpbump, or even watch postseason baseball, I need to perform some self-therapy.

As we all know, it became official on Sunday afternoon that the Mets will not be playing baseball this month. Come Monday morning, I was unable to follow my daily morning ritual of turning on SportsCenter before I head to work. I couldn’t bring myself to watch it – and for once, it wasn’t just because the show is mostly loud noises.

Instead, I watched an episode of “Saved By The Bell”, specifically the one where Zack and the gang spend their last day of the summer working at the Malibu Sands beach resort under the watchful eye of the guy who ended up doing the voice of Pumbaa the Warthog on “The Lion King”. This is also the episode where Zack feels compelled to end his romance with Pumbaa’s daughter, Stacy (played by Leah Remini), since she would be leaving California at the end of the summer to go back to school in New York. At the end of the episode, a heartbroken Zack Morris sits on the beach at night, but is comforted by his friends who lend their support (by the way, how far did Slater get with Denise Richards in this episode? Seeing as he JUST found out that she had a big crush on him AND the fact that he’s going back to LA in the morning, shouldn’t he be with her instead of hanging out with Zack on the beach? I’m just sayin’).

But in reality, it’s hard to feel badly for Zack for the following reasons:

  1. The writing is terrible and evokes no emotion whatsoever.
  2. Stacy really wasn’t that much of a catch.
  3. You just KNOW that as soon as he returns to Bayside – especially as a senior – he’ll be hitting on (and getting) pretty much any girl he chooses. He’ll be fine.

And it’s that last point that Mets fans need to remember. We’ll be fine. Come November, we can dream about the bevvy of free agents and trade possibilities. It’s a virtual harem of talent for those willing to dig deep or be creative.

I won’t get into too many specifics here. That’s for another time. But there are certain things that I would like the team to do before the free agency period begins.

  • Exercise the $7.5 million option on Moises Alou. No one can or should expect him to play 150 games any more. Hell, if you get 120, be thrilled. But on the days in which he can play, you know you’re getting a quality hitter. For a one-year option, the man is worth the gamble.
  • Release Guillermo Mota. He had one more year remaining on his contract at $3.2 million. Although I expect him to be better next year, his performance throughout the season has made the idea of keeping him a PR problem. Too many fans have become jaded by him. Unfortunately, he has zero trade value.
  • Let Paul Lo Duca and Tom Glavine go to free agency. I never was much of a Lo Duca fan. While his admirers called him a “leader” and “fiery”, I saw a below-average hitter and fielder who continuously talked like he was top-dog. A leader has to perform. As for Glavine, his time simply ran out. With Pedro Martinez and Orlando Hernandez already on the books for 2008, another aging pitcher who can’t throw seven innings is no way to keep your bullpen rested.

So much as it seems appropriate to sulk alone on a nighttime beach, free agency is right around the corner. Do not feel badly, Mets fans. For you are Zack Morris. You have the ability to bounce back and marry Kelly Kapowski. If anything, feel badly for the Pittsburgh Pirates. They are Screech Powers, for whom the best he will ever be able to do is Tori Spelling.

Oh, and it would also help if you didn’t visit Times Square. Because there, you find this:

Cruel.

20 Responses to “Zack Morris Can Save You, Mets Fans”

  1. Sarah Green says:

    In a totally unscientific poll on Boston.com, 35.4% percent of Sox fans described their current state of mind as “panic.” (This is the default state of a Sox fan, so this is perhaps not too surprising.) More alarming is the 31.1 percent—myself included—who describe their current state as “crawl on the ledge.” With 19.1% claiming “worry” and another 10% citing “concern,” just 4.3% of fans describe their current state as, “Relax! It’s all good…October is what matters, not September.”

    To vote, here’s the link:
    http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/extras/extra_bases/2007/09/panic_time.html

  2. Brian Sadecki says:

    Ortiz didn’t strike out on Sunday. He popped out. That might seem like quibbling but if you’re criticizing someone else’s article, you may as well get the facts right yourself.

    The Sox have less to worry about considering that Torre won’t be playing for the division but, rather, resting his players to prep for October. Jeter and his balky knee, Joba, Mo, Giambi and his balky everything. These guys will all be resting to prep for a strong start.

    Red Sox fans should be happy as most of them are bigger fans of the burden of being a Red Sox fan than of baseball.

  3. Sarah Green says:

    Brian, as long as we’re quibbling, it was not a pop. It was a flare/weak fly to shallow center. A pop goes straight up and straight down. This is actually an important distinction because rather than dominating the Sox, Mariano Rivera was just one gust of wind away from a blown save.

    Also, why do you think Manny, Mirabelli, and Youkilis have been taking so long this month to return from various bang-ups? So that we can play Moss, Cash, and Hinske in October?

  4. Sarah Green says:

    Oh, I should have added Crisp to the list of day-to-day Sox starters. You can bet you’ll be seeing Ellsbury in October, but probably not starting.

  5. Brian, you’re right. It was a pop up/flare to Jeter. But in the movie script I’m writing for Paramount right now, it’s been rewritten as a strikeout.

  6. Also, Rivera would have struck Papi out, but the Yankees closer didn’t have his best stuff, because he was pitching with a sore thumb, because your Canadian disaster hit him with a wild pitch while warming up!

  7. Brian Sadecki says:

    Sarah: It was scored a P6. Not a Flare6 or a Game-Winning-RBI-Minus-Necessary-Wind-Gust6.

    Also, I never said that the Sox weren’t resting their company. This is an important distinction because I never said it. I was just making the point that Torre’s not playing for the division… hopefully.

    Coley: Have you casted yet? May I suggest CGI’ing Ortiz?

  8. Sarah Green says:

    I don’t care how they *scored* it, dude. I actually watch the games. I know what I saw. Jeter had to cover a fair bit of ground to reel that one in.

    But I’m just a lame Sox fan who secretly likes to lose, not a real baseball savant.

  9. Brian Sadecki says:

    I watched the game too. I swear. I was like this: “Oh my god. I’m so nervous. He popped it up. Jeter caught it.”

    In fact, I watch almost every Yankee game and those “flares” that come off the handle of lefty bats have been Mo’s bread and butter forever. If you want evidence of Mo’s lack of dominance, he loaded the bases. So there you go. He hurt his pinky or whatever.

    Listen, I don’t know exactly what we’re arguing here but I know I’m right… dude.

  10. Sarah Green says:

    You said it was a pop. A pop is when the pitcher has fooled the batter and the batter skies it and the catcher or second baseman or whoever comes in and catches it. A pop is evidence of dominance. There is no such thing as a “sac-pop.” This was not a pop.

    I had been considering doing some sort of summation post on the Sox-Yanks series, but didn’t get to it. Basically, I can’t decide if those three games were:

    I. Evidence that the Red Sox are fully capable of pounding the Yankees in October because:
    A. Boston had the lead in every single game.
    B. Game 1 was an insane outlier in the realm of Boston’s bullpen performance.
    C. Game 2 showed Beckett cowing the Yankees like so many errant schoolchildren.
    D. Game 3 really could have gone either way, and it was only due to a failure on the part of Kenmore Square’s air currents that the Yankees held on.
    E. Boston was clearly running its B-squad out there.

    or:

    II. Evidence that the Red Sox realized they were overdue for their annual heartbreak/horror/choke-fest and that the Yankees are, as usual, coming to rain on my parade, shit in my bed, and utterly ruin my ability to appreciate the aesthetics of New England fall foliage because:
    A. Boston squandered leads in two games!
    B. Boston only has one remaining lights-out starting pitcher, though I still think Curt Schilling would pitch well in October even if he had to tape his head back onto his shoulders after a freak Everquest accident.
    C. New York’s lineup is insane.
    D. Boston’s bullpen is falling apart at the exact wrong time.
    E. Boston isn’t just resting mildly injured players who could totally play if they had to…those players are actually too injured to play.

    So. I’m not sure why I wrote all that, but there it is. Basically, I keep swinging back and forth between a faint whiff of hope and the foul bowels of despair.

  11. Brian Sadecki says:

    Only on UmpBump could a David Ortiz popup be interpreted as a could-be-game-winner that failed only through divine intervention but a Derek Jeter rocket to the track in center as the greatest choke performance in the history of athletics.

    http://umpbump.com/press/jeter-at-the-bat/

    The Red Sox have been playing just barely over .500 for the last quarter of the season. I say panic!

  12. Wait, where in that poem did I suggest that Jeter’s making out in that game was “the greatest choke performance in the history of athletics”?

    I didn’t.

    I was just noticing that that *particular* situation in that *particular* game was similar to Thayer’s poem.

  13. Sarah Green says:

    Brian, as a follow up to your way earlier comment, I note that in BP today, Joe Sheehan argues that Torre isn’t resting his squad enough because he’s been playing for the pennant. (While Terry Francona is “resting players all around the roster, diddling with his lineup, and trying experiments like, ‘let’s see how many batters Eric Gagne can walk in one inning.’”)

    I wonder if Torre is doing that Steinbrenner will throw a hissy fit if the Yankees don’t win the division? Or just because—such as with his famous over-reliance on Scott Proctor—he doesn’t actually like to *manage* that much?

  14. Yes, exactly right Sarah. Changing the lineup to any extent greater than substituting Miguel Cairo for a superstar just hurts Joe Torre’s brain too much to even contemplate.

  15. I’m not a huge Torre fan. But outside of the game on 9/13, Joe’s been playing these games sort of brilliantly.

    But, Jesus, read the article. He doesn’t argue that at all. He’s responding to some quote about how true Yankee fans need to aim for a pennant victory. He even says that he should wait until there’s a comfortable cushion.

    “If form holds through the weekend and the Yankees’ magic number reaches three or so, Torre needs to worry less about seeding and more about making sure his aging team is ready to go on October 2.”

    Way to totally misrepresent someone.

    Nick: Hyperbole aside. You have to see my point.

  16. Sarah Green says:

    Picking up from where I left off in the BP article:

    “It would behoove Joe Torre to start doing this as well. The Yankees are up five games in the loss column on the Tigers, with a magic number of seven for the wild card. If form holds through the weekend and the Yankees’ magic number reaches three or so, Torre needs to worry less about seeding and more about making sure his aging team is ready to go on October 2. Alex Rodriguez has missed two games all year, and none since August 8. Robinson Cano hasn’t missed a game since May 6. Jorge Posada has played his usual 130-odd games behind the plate; a couple of extra days off next week couldn’t hurt. I can’t quantify the effects of rest on a player’s performance, but I can say that the cost of doing so—possibly ending up as the wild card versus winning the division—is essentially zero.”

  17. Brian Sadecki says:

    Yea… “it WOULD behoove Joe Torre to start doing this as well.” “If form holds through the weekend.”

    He’s saying he should do this down the line. Not that he fucked up because he’s not doing it now. Francona has a cushion. Torre has one now. He’s always rested his lineup down the stretch and there’s no question that he’s going to continue to do so this season.

    And if Francona is doing this too and being so careful with his Mannys and Crisps then why was an injured Ortiz out there yesterday? And Papelpon in a loss?

  18. Brian Sadecki says:

    Oh, this is awesome.

    Francona on Gagne: “Ten games, he can probably make five appearances if we want. That’s a significant amount. Ten games is a long time. [He could make] probably more appearances than that if you want, because of the days off.”

    I can’t wait for him to gain some confidence in Gagne because he dominates some lame duck DRays and Twins and then puts him up in the playoffs expecting the same results.

  19. Brian Sadecki says:

    Papelbon has other plans for the stretch:

    ["I want to win the division probably more than anybody," said Papelbon, who gave up a grand slam in Wednesday night's loss. "That's part of the goal, to win the division. Right now, we need to put our sights on winning that division and go out there and execute and do it."]

    I’m assuming he screamed this entire quote into his glove.

  20. Actually, he whispered it quietly into the air, through pursed lips.

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