By Mike Steffanos
Greg from Faith and Fear in Flushing was at the game last night and was a little bit bothered by the actions of some of his fellow fans:
Well, the first game of the rest of our lives has come and gone and absolutely nothing has changed. The Mets lost; no biggie there. We didn't lose any ground. I'd argue there's no ground to lose. What hasn't changed is the Met fan reaction to anything less than eternal perfection.
I went to the game and there was a nice ovation when the Mets took the field, but eventually there was booing. Booing of Mets. Booing of the Mets. Booing of the team that just won eight in a row on the road and put away the Phillies and separated themselves irrevocably from the Braves. Booing of the team that ended Thursday with the best record in baseball and - the nerve of them - maintains the best record in the National League.
No doubt at all that Heilman has sucked for most of the past month. His June ERA is a very ugly 12.27. Man, that's some bad pitching. Some think this is some sort of twisted audition for a staring job. To my mind, the only job in the major leagues that an ERA that bad will get you is Atlanta Braves closer.
Greg was right. This is a tough town, but it seems like fans are looking for a reason to boo today, and as a lifelong Mets fan this bothers me. Guys are going to suck sometimes, but unless there's a sense that they're not giving 100%, what's up with the booing? Are these the same fans that booed Beltran on opening day? How did that work out?
Note: this posting is being discussed in the MetsMerized Mets Talk Forum.
Bob Herzog cites coach Rick Peterson on the mechanical problem that's causing Aaron Heilman's struggles:
Pitching coach Rick Peterson said Heilman's struggles have been caused by a faulty arm slot. "His angle is too high," Peterson said, demonstrating where Heilman's normal three-quarter delivery is and how he currently is releasing the ball with his arm held a bit higher. "It affects his command and his finish. It's the human element. Everyone goes through it."
By the way, there is a bad misquote in an AP story on last night's game written by Hal Bock:
Heilman should pitch way over the top. But he's reverting to a three-quarters delivery.
Bock attributes that quote to Rick Peterson, but the Daily News also quotes Peterson that Heilman's arm angle has become too high. Hal Bock has been covering baseball for the AP for a long time, but I not sure what he was listening to yesterday. His misquote was so bad, it was outright irresponsible.
Mestradamus: Sigmund Says
Mestradamus puts Heilman on the couch.
Daily News: Right field still belongs to Nady
According to Darren Everson, Willie Randolph reiterated yesterday that Xavier Nady will still be his right-fielder when he returns from the DL. The slumping Lastings Milledge, whose average has fallen below .250, seems likely to go back to Norfolk and play everyday, depending on when Cliff Floyd makes it back from that ankle injury. Everson reports that Milledge was spotted on the field 4 hours before game time doing some early work.
ESPN Insider ($): Turn out the lights...
Rob Neyer summarizes all the reasons why we will not see another Atlanta playoff appearance in 2006.