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Mr. Julio, Your Flight to Norfolk is Ready for Takeoff

Mike SteffanosSunday, April 16, 2006
By Mike Steffanos

Happy Easter to all of you who celebrate the holiday.

In case you missed it from earlier, Carlos Beltran will miss today's game with a tight hamstring. And you thought that Jorge Julio's performance was the most painful thing you saw yesterday.

Speaking of Julio, it comes as no surprise that the papers are full of Julio stories this morning. My take on Julio is simple; you just can't leave him in New York right now. It would take an extremely tough man to deal with the negative feelings of the fan base, and Julio doesn't fit that bill. I never felt the same animosity towards Braden Looper that many of you feel; simply because I could never discount the mental toughness he brought to the table. I've been watching this team for a long time, and the Julio type meltdown is a lot more common than Looper's class and grit. As for Julio, if he has any options left he has to go to Norfolk, where he can pitch every day and the pressure won't be as great.

Maybe Mets' management will learn their lesson about trading away a guy like Benson for the wrong reason. We hear that there wasn't a big market for Benson -- fine, then don't trade him. I guess Maine is pitching well at Norfolk and looks like he has the potential to give the team something in return at some future point. When you think about it, if they were dead set on getting rid of Benson, maybe Maine and another prospect might have been a better deal. I have nothing against Jorge Julio, and hope he becomes the feel-good story of 2006, but he needed a fresh start somewhere, and all of the trade baggage gave him two strikes before he ever showed up in New York. That's a tough deal for anyone.

One quick note on Anderson Hernandez batting second yesterday. I am and have been a Randolph supporter. It seems I am one of the few Mets bloggers that doesn't have a problem with Beltran batting third. Having said both of these things, Willie needs to realize that it's okay to bat Beltran second when the alternative is a kid that hasn't proved he can hit big-league pitching yet. As an Italian, I can appreciate stubbornness, but it's not always a good thing.

Daily News: Cliff's Struggles
Peter Botte speaks with the Mets' left fielder, who is having a difficult time getting it going in 2006. When asked about Brewers' starter Tomo Ohka, Floyd felt he was the wrong man to assess Ohka's performance:

I wouldn't know ... because my grandmother could get me out right now. " The big boys who've been carrying us might be better people to ask.

Floyd admits that his early season difficulties are most likely due to a lack of confidence.

New York Times: Wright Not Missing Much
Ben Shpigel has a great story on David Wright's avoidance of the strikeout so far this season.

Gotham Baseball: The Boston Delusion
Mark Healy makes the point in his column that most Mets fans just can't seem to understand:

To Met fans: The whole "underdog" thing you've got going is a delusion. There's not a single fan of another team in baseball that perceives your team as anything but a huge payroll bully. P.S. Red Sox fans hate you almost as much as they hate Yankee fans.

When someone that doesn't live in the festering cesspool that is known as Red Sox Nation (as I do) tells me of this wonderful kinship between Sawx fans and Mets fans, it drives me up a wall. Healy is right -- get it into your head.

More Mets Stories:
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Comments (2)

I do live in that festering cesspool, and for the most part there is a great deal of kinship.

I've met literally hundreds of Red Sox fans, and even before they beat the Yankees, when I would tease them about Buckner, I was always reassured that while they hated to lose in 86, they didn't hate the Mets. How could they, when we all have the same hatred in common?

I watch the Sox a lot, mostly because Mets games are never on up here, and Pedro was my favorite player before he came to the Mets (second to Alfonso until he left.) I consider the Sox my second team, because they are a fun team to root for, and especially because a Sox win is a Yankee loss.

I guess you also live up in (Eastern?) CT somewhere, and have met your share of Sox fans who don't like the Mets, but I haven't yet. Even up here I'm surprised to meet so many Yankee fans, and they are the ones who hate us. Maybe it's because I'm somewhat younger, so Sox fans my age are less bitter, but I've met a few who are older, and the Mets aren't really even on their radar all that much.

It just seems to me that to say that Red Sox fans hate anyone 'almost as much as Yankee fans' is outrageously overstated.

As far as the underdog thing goes, the Mets are still the second team in their own town, as far as the press and the fans of that other team are concerned, and until they change that perception by winning, Mets fans can justifiably consider themselves underdogs.

Relax, Matt, I have friends and cousins that are Red Sox fans, and some of this is tongue-in-cheek. Outrageous overstatement is fun. I stick behind the rest of what I said, though. Red Sox fans have no kinship with Mets fans. You'll find out...

Healy's point about being an underdog was that no one else's fans see the Mets as underdogs, he wasn't talking about how Mets fans feel. People in most other markets feel the Mets are trying to buy a winner, conveniently overlooking how many kids are on this team.

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