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Chunky Bits of Tid

NostraDennisSaturday, May 12, 2007
By NostraDennis

Who likes brain teasers? Okay, here's one. What's the next number in this sequence? -1, 0, -1/2, -1, -1/2, -1/2, -1/2, +1/2, -1/2, +1/2, -1/2, +1/2, +1/2, +1/2, +1/2, -1/2, -1/2, +1/2, -1/2, -1/2, -1/2, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, -1/2, -1/2, ____. Answer: I'll tell you after today's Mets and Braves games have gone final. That's the number of games ahead, or out of first place, the Mets have been for the last thirty days. That's right, May 11th was the last time the Mets were more than a game up or a game back of the Braves (they were two games out at the time). Never in baseball history, since the start of divisional play in 1969, have two teams been so close to the top together for so long. If it's happened before then, somebody let us know, but I seriously doubt it. You wanted a pennant race? You got one...

My Met-hating naysayer friends are giving me grief over this: "Yeah, they're playing good. But who have they played all season?" The same could be said of the Milwaukee Brewers. After winning two of three opening weekend against the Dodgers, each of the Brew Crew's opponents since then is currently at or below .500. Ned Yost's bunch may be the first team in over a year the Mets have faced who had a better record than them, but the Mets are the first quality team the Brewers have played, too. You can't be the best until you beat the best, so I look forward to taking two or three from the team with the best record in baseball. Till Sunday night, that is...

Next week, my home town of Orlando gets its first taste of real live major league in-season baseball. Not just spring training, but games that actually mean something. Well, the games don't mean much -- it's the last-place (14-21) Tampa Bay Devil Rays "hosting" the last-place (14-21) Texas Rangers at Disney's Wide World of Sports. Someone's got to win, right?...Of course, with this never-before-done event so close at hand, the sports talk in town is all about...well, it's about whether Tiger will make the cut at TPC, who Dale Earnhardt Jr. will drive for next year, and the Predators' stirring victory over the New Orleans VooDoo Friday night. To the Rays' credit, they've poured money into radio and TV advertising in Orlando the past few months, but what's that phrase I'm searching for? Oh, yeah: "good seats still available"...

Speaking of Florida baseball, were you aware that the D-Rays and the Florida Marlins are 11th in baseball in attendance so far this year? It's true. Add the 15,725 that pack the Trop each game to the 17,726 that keep Dolphins Stadium busy until Miami's NFL team starts losing there instead of the Marlins, and you have a total of 33,451 fans per game. That's fits snugly in between the Phillies' and Padres' gates. While it's exciting that major league baseball is trying new markets like Orlando, it's kind of sad that they haven't yet filled a 9,500 seat minor league stadium for a three-game series...

I keep biting my tongue, not wanting to jinx anything by saying it's nice that David Wright is finally pulling out of his slump. But isn't it nice that...owwwww, my tongue...Hey, Willie Randolph, nice double-switch there. No, I'm not being sarcastic, I really mean it. But I'll feel better when I can go through an entire Mets game without predicting exactly which moves you're going to make right before you make them. Surprise us every now and then, dude...

So the Mets are shopping for a second baseman? I might have met him back on January 5th, when I noted this in my "Mike's Mets" post: "Eck(stein)'s deal with St. Louis expires at the end of 2007. I asked if he'd mind playing in New York when his contract was up. He didn't say yes or no, but just chuckled and said we had a pretty good shortstop already. True." Since then, contract extension talks have gone nowhere with the Cardinals. And while Eckstein was one of the most exciting shortstops to watch in the National League, at least until a kid named Reyes got here, he was a second baseman for most of his college and minor league career. In fact, consider this from Baseball Prospectus' 2001 analysis : "Claimed on waivers from Boston in August, David Eckstein is an average defensive second baseman with good plate discipline and no power. Unless Adam Kennedy breaks something, Eckstein will be labeled a career minor leaguer. Eckstein/Kennedy would be a good gestalt second baseman." As you know, the two have played most of their careers together, first with the Angels, now with the Cards, and each has spent enough time at both positions to be comfortable playing there...

The Mets could do far worse than to work a sign-and-trade deal for Eckstein. St. Louis might jump on such a deal, it if they believe their only alternative is to see one of their fan favorites go away for absolutely nothing in return. Who to deal? Heck, pick any two or three names from the usual suspects. I know he's a hated Cardinal, but Eck has game, and he's earned World Series rings with two teams. One big problem with this idea, though: who would bat eighth?...

In honor of the Mets' new hairstyles, I'm shaving my hair down to a quarter-inch long as well. Wouldya look at that? Looks the same as it did before...

About Dennis McCarthy: I was born in the Bronx in 1960, but moved to Long Island four years later. I became a Mets fan in '69, thanks to my Aunt Ellen, who still lived in the Bronx.   Read More -->

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Comments (3)

ERRATA: Adam Kennedy did not split time between short and second base in the bigs, as I said incorrectly in this post; he was exclusively a second baseman. Don't know what I was thinking...

ERRATA{ Adam Kennedy has played only second base in the bigs; no shortstop experience at all. My bad...

ERRATA: My send button got stuck, and I sent it twice. Can't win for losing...

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