Categories: Sports, Baseball, Hockey
August 8th, 2007
Barry Bonds just hit his 756th career home run. Goodbye Hammerin' Hank Aaron's record. Hello controversy. FUCK. THAT.
I am not here to talk about Barry Bonds in relation to asterisks, steroids, grand juries, Home Runs, or even baseball. I'm writing right now because watching what I saw was sickening.
Barry Bonds just hit the home run that he was waiting his entire career to hit. He stood at home plate with his fists in the air for a few seconds, and then began to round the bases. As he rounded third, his son, also wearing a #25 jersey stood at home plate waiting for him. Barry arrives at home plate.
And ignores his son.
His son goes to give him a hug, and Barry stands there, receives the hug from his son, and raises his arms in the air in his own personal triumph. This was not going to be shared with anyone, arriving at home plate. This was for Barry and Barry alone. His son hugs him, is proud of him, and Barry ignores him completely.
And I am fucking disgusted. Because that's totally fucked. That's completely fucked. That is 100% fucked.
You are the home run king (and I use the term loosely) second and a father first. I don't fucking care who you are, you don't ignore your son at that moment. You should be so proud that your son was able to be there, you should look him in the eye and give him a hug, and then if you wanna raise your fucking hands in the air to take in the atmosphere around you, to revel in the moment, go a-fucking-head. But you do it after you've hugged your son, not before.
And then, you make sure to hug your son, rather than going to start hugging your teammates, leaving your son behind. He will never tell you how much it would've meant to him, he may not even realize why he didn't think the moment was as great as it could've been, but that's why, right fucking there. Family first, Barry. What you did, on national television, a picture that will be circulated for years and decades to come, was totally fucked.
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June 14th, 2007
I'm not really sure what happened. We were doing so well. Now the Mets have lost 9 of their last 10 games. Ice cold. And they're going in to Yankee Stadium tomorrow to face the red hot (8w in a row) Bronx Bombers.
The most startling thing, though, is that though the Yankees are playing like a first-place team, and the Mets are playing like crap, the Mets still hold a 2-game lead over Atlanta, while the Yanks have finally come back to single-digit games behind the BoSox.
A-Rod, who's hotness in April was matched by his coldness in May is back to his earlier form, with more home runs so far just under halfway through June - 6 - than he had in all of May - 5.
But I don't care about A-Rod. I am a Mets fan. I do not hate the Yankees, and I could surely rant about how fucking stupid many Mets and Yankees fans are when it comes to each other. But I'll save that for another day.
I'm here to talk about the Mets sucking it up, hard. I will give them some leeway, because there was a point during this skid when their entire starting outfield from opening day was injured. Indeed, as one player finally came back, we'd lose two more. But, that only gets you so far. Even injured teams can win a game occasionally. The Mets, at the moment, can not.
I am not worried about them. I know that they will start to win again. But right now, while they are not winning, focusing on the present is torture. Poor fielding, poor base running, poor batting, and poor pitching. How many times over the last 10 games has Jose Reyes or David Wright booted a play they make a thousand times out of a thousand on a normal day. Last night, Reyes fumbled an easy double play, making an already unmanageable 6-1 game more of a blowout. But where many times not turning the double play means still getting the out at second, Reyes couldn't hold the ball. The run scored, no outs were recorded, and a pitching change was forced.
And so Jose briefly lost concentration. I'm not going to jump all over him for that. He's not the first player to do it, and he won't be the last. But it is symptomatic of the whole team right now. They are unfocused.
I love watching baseball, in particular the Mets, and right now, I can't watch because invariably one or two players will lose focus, and the team implodes, and implodes quickly. John Maine pitched a great game the other night. Except for those back-to-back-to-back home runs he gave up in the 2nd inning.
And Willie Randolph, I love you man, but sometimes it seems like you leave your relievers in a tiny bit too long. When a more conservative manager might pull a pitcher, you leave them in for another batter or two, and it is, at least currently, coming to bite you in the ass. You can't trust in your players as much as you always do during stretches when they're questioning themselves.
The standings for the Mets and Yankees are directly opposite at the moment. Mets L10: 1-9. Yankees L10: 9-1. And that's fucked. Let's go Mets. Step it the FUCK up.
May 22nd, 2007
This past Saturday I'm sitting in my living room watching TV. There are 2 things on. Game 5 of the Buffalo Sabres / Ottawa Senators playoff series which started at 2:15pm on NBC. And the 2nd game of the Mets / Yankees series at Shea Stadium which started at 3:50pm on Fox.
A few things about me before I angry up the blood a bit more. First, Hockey is my favorite sport, followed closely by baseball. Second, I am a (NY) Rangers and Mets fan. Third, given an opportunity to watch playoff hockey not involving the Rangers and a Mets / Yankees game, I will be unable to choose which I want to watch.
So, now, let's jump back to last Saturday. Unsurprisingly, come 4 o'clock, I'm torn. I decided that since the hockey game was further along, it would get more attention, so I watched mostly hockey, jumping for commercials over to the Mets / Yankees game. And now the fun starts. Buffalo ties up the score with 45 seconds left, and the game is going to OT. I hit the channel+ button and begin watching the Mets/Yankees. The inning came to an end and I flipped back to watch the intermission recap and analysis of the hockey game only to see pre-race coverage for the Preakness. WTF? Excuse me, I was watching that...
Apparently what I (and presumably many others as well) missed, was that NBC said "We're going to be moving our coverage over to Versus." So, I sat there, dumbfounded as to where the hockey went. It would not occur to me that they would simply turn off the coverage on one channel and two minutes later pick up the coverage on another channel. And, oh yes, there was a two-minute delay. But, I didn't know any of that, so I went to my computer and pulled up the box score so that at least I would know the final score. And I sat there and watched baseball. Happily, might I add, because I do love a good Mets / Yankees game.
A few commercial breaks later I'm starting to flip out there. There is overtime playoff hockey afoot, but I didn't know where it was. On a whim, I decided to turn to Versus. Maybe, I thought, they would put the game here. And sure enough, there it was. Daniel Alfredsson had his arms in the air, his teammates were mobbing him, the Ottawa Senators were going to the Stanley Cup finals, and I had not seen the goal or the overtime. And that's fucked.
But there's more to it. For, you see, the Playoff game ended at 5:14pm, and the main event at the Preakness wasn't scheduled to start until 6:09pm. So, instead of running playoff hockey overtime for 14 minutes of their Preakness coverage, they started their Preakness coverage early (at the end of the 3rd period) with barely an announcement as to where the game went. There was no reason for that. There was no reason to deprive people of watching the game. There are plenty of people around the country who don't get VS, but most of them get NBC. What were they supposed to do if they wanted to watch hockey instead of horse racing? You can't do that. It's total nonsense and unfathomable. In the spring of 1994, that wouldn't have happened. But 13 years later, the NHL is such a weak draw that things like that do happen, and that doesn't just make me angry, it makes me sad. It makes me sad to see that one of the most beautiful displays of athleticism and team work is so downtrodden now that it is broadcast on a network that no one had heard of before it picked up hockey. And, many people still have not heard of it even now that it does have hockey. I've already ranted about this, though, so I'm not going to again, but it's a fucking disgrace.
And there's still more. NBC broadcasts in HD and that HD channel is available to most viewers with HD capable cable boxes or satellites. Versus also broadcasts in HD, but I have yet to meet someone who has VS HD as a channel available to them. So, if I had figured out quickly enough where the game was, I wouldn't have been able to watch it in HD anymore. A small complaint, maybe, but hockey is a sport that is meant to be seen in HD. It looks so much better, it's mind-blowing.
The Mets beat the Yankees 10-7 that game. David Wright hit 2-run home runs in his first 2 at-bats before getting intentionally walked his next 3 times to the plate. That wasn't so bad.
May 17th, 2007
The NY Mets organization is trying to fuck with me. They've tested my patience, tested my faith, and then rewarded me for my pains.
As I posted yesterday, the Mets got beat up 10-1 on Tuesday night. I was unfortunate enough to be in the crowd for the game. At least, part of the game. I broke a time-honored tradition of mine, which is to never leave a game early. It was a combination of factors. The 6-run 6th inning, the lack of run production by the Mets, the generally poor pitching by the Mets, and some back spasms that I'd been having all day. It was enough. I left after the bottom of the 6th, which I never do. I don't believe in leaving early from a game, because I think that if you've paid for it, you should sit through it, and that you should never give up on the team you've paid to support. But sometimes it's more than I can handle, I guess.
So, as a show of good faith, I decided to go to Wednesday night's game. I had several friends who were going to come, but one by one they checked the forecast and decided that they changed their minds. No matter, I have one die-hard friend who I knew would come, and so we went to Shea. It was raining when I got there around 6:30, and I saw that they were offering Picnic Area seats for the same price as Upper Deck seats. We always sit Upper Deck, but Picnic Area was too good to pass up, so we bought a pair of tickets. My friend got there around 7:10, which would've been the game start time, but already, the game was delayed because of rain. No problem, I thought, it seemed to be letting up, and we'd get the game started soon enough. The forecast called for the rain to be letting up around 8pm anyway.
My willful ignorance here was foolish. My friend's was as well. The rain did not let up, but got progressively heavier. We sat underneath the bleachers and watched the rain steadily get heavier and heavier as the time ticked by. We grabbed a beer each, started drinking them, turned around, and they had already closed the bar under the bleachers.
At this point, it was about 7:45. We should have left. But the Mets should've announced what the hell was going on.
And here's where the annoyance begin. We're getting somewhat soaked; we're sheltered, but restless; we want to watch a ball game from our bleacher seats, which we are not even allowed to sit on while it is raining. The Mets should have announced something. "We will wait as long as necessary to get this game under way" would've been nice. It was certainly true. But the Mets and Shea Stadium hung us all out to dry... They simply let us sit there. Because they made no announcement, there was no guarantee that we would get refunds for our tickets. If they play the game, chances are we don't get our money back. That's aggravating. Time ticks by and we wander around the stadium to the gate nearest the subway. It is now 8:30, the game has been delayed an hour 20 minutes. That's manageable and the rain seems to be letting up. We look in to the outfield and they have let some fans on to the bleachers to sit and wait. We debate "should we leave, or stay?" "We came to watch a game, let's stay."
So we wander back to the bleachers, load up on more snacks and beers, and sit down. The grounds crew is standing around the tarp, things are looking good for a 9:15 or so start. But the grounds crew doesn't remove the tarp. They just stand there. For 20 minutes, they stand there. Then they leave the field. At this point, it's 9:15. We could've left 45 minutes earlier. But, no, maybe just a quick delay, final instructions. Then it starts to pour again. They clear the bleachers, and we give up. We know they're going to play this game, but we can't wait any more. As we're walking out of the stadium at 9:25 they announce over the loud speaker that the game is expected to start at 10:15. FUCK THAT. We hopped the subway and went home.
But that is not the whole story. The story here is the Mets, the Cubs, Shea Stadium, and the MLB scheduling office conspiring, in a way, to fuck the fans. The story goes like this:
- The Mets and Cubs had one more game scheduled for Thursday afternoon at 1pm. Then the Cubs were to travel home to Chicago where they would open a series Friday afternoon against the White Sox. And that's where the problems start. Cubs vs. White Sox is nearly as meaningful as Mets vs. Yankees. Thus, there is no way in hell that the Cubs will reschedule the Friday game, even just to push it back to Friday night.
- The Cubs set Thursday afternoon as their "travel day" and more or less refused to compromise. If they had simply run a straight double-header, maybe even push the start time of the first game to noon, they could've been out by 6, maybe 7 o'clock. But they didn't want to compromise their travel time, so that was out of the question. That left the Cubs and Mets and Shea and MLB executives sitting inside, sheltered, deciding that the fans could wait, because if the game is played, fuck the fans, they don't get their money back, and we don't have a scheduling problem. So they rain delayed the start of the game 3 hours and 7 minutes. The first pitch came at 10:17 to the few remaining fans. By the time the Mets had put away the Cubs in convincing fashion, 8-1, it was Thursday, and the teams had barely 12 hours to sleep, and get back to the ballpark for the opening pitch.
And what do the Mets offer to those ticket holders who gave up? and even to those who stayed? We can mail them our ticket stubs and get comparable tickets to the Twins series in June? FUCK YOU. That's a fucking insult. Not that I could make it to a game if they had rescheduled it for this evening, but they're not even trying to be fair to the fans here, and it was clear from the start. An announcement early on could've saved me several hours of sitting and waiting to find out I wouldn't get my money back or get to watch the game. And that's fucked. That's not customer service, that's customer disservice.
So, what do they do, after 2 days of pissing me off? They hold a "2nd Chance" ticket lottery for the Mets/Yankees series this weekend, and I win the chance to buy tickets. Suddenly I've got 3 tickets to the Mets/Yankees game on Friday, and another three for the game on Sunday. Is that fair? How can I stay angry when I've got the most coveted tickets a Mets fan can get during the regular season. They're just fucking with me for the fun of it. Let's Go Mets!
May 16th, 2007
After some initial difficulties, I have finally restored the website and now with a shiny, new URL: www.unnecessarilyangry.com.
But, what good would it be if I posted something that wasn't angry?
I went to the Mets vs. Cubs game last night at Shea. Look up the box score yourself, I'm not going to link it. I'm a huge Mets fan. So, I'm sitting there watching a 3-1 game, and Scott Schoeneweis is pitching with the bases loaded and one out. TO FUCKING ALFONSO SORIANO. Schoen, I like you man, but Willie, you gotta take his ass outta that situation, and pronto.
But I was proved wrong. Schoen got Soriano to weakly pop out to short left. That's fine. Willie, I still think you should've taken him out. Now it's Schoen vs. Aramis Ramirez who is off to a somewhat slow start this year. That's not surprising, because he is on the Cubs, and therefore is more-or-less doomed to failure. But, not last night. Last night he hit the shit out of the ball over the left-field fence and up in to the stands. Grand slam. a manageable 3-1 game starts on its way to becoming a 10-1 blowout. I like Willie Randolph. A lot. I think he's a great manager most of the time, but there are some times when he trusts in his guys more than in his gut. Or, if not his gut, than the gut of every other person in the freakin stadium. Last night was one of those times. Schoen has no business pitching to those two guys, and he got burned because of it. I'm not going to suggest who I think should have been in there instead, because I'm not sure that any of the Mets pitchers, with the stuff they brought last night, could've done much better, but I just don't think after Schoen's last appearance, that he should've been in there to face that, and then the stadium-wide boos upon his departure.
Which brings me to the topic of booing. As a NY Sports fan, it is our right, nay, duty, to boo our own teams, right? WRONG. Now, I can understand booing someone on the home team. If the highest paid player on your team is not showing up night after night, and then running his mouth to the media, boo him, he deserves it. If a player is playing so poorly over a long stretch of time, then maybe you can boo him after a particularly bad play, but excessive booing, believe it or not, doesn't help.
Take Marek Malik of the Rangers. During the PLAYOFFS, a large number of jackasses at Madison Square Garden decided that it would be a good idea to continue harassing Malik because of bad plays he makes. And, unfortunately for Marek, a lot of the mistakes he makes are very very visible, because they are large, and lead to big goals for the opposition. What gets lost is his positional play and the plays he does make, which are many. In fact, even I booed him on occasion at MSG during the regular season. But NOT IN THE PLAYOFFS. There is no place in professional sports for booing a player on the home team in the playoffs. He was so shaken up in Game 3 of the Buffalo series this year by the boos on his first shift, he could barely handle the puck. So, now, not only have you demoralized him, but you're affecting his play on the ice, and for what? For you to be an asshole? If you pay money to watch a team that you want to win, then during the playoffs, you don't fuckin boo them. That's just stupid shit. I mean, STUPID.
But the Rangers fans got it right in the end. At the end of Game 6 vs. the Sabres, the World's Most Famous Arena was as loud as it had been for the entire series. For 5 minutes, both before and after the final buzzer, Rangers fans showed themselves to be classier than they did when Malik first got on the ice in Game 3. It was moving, it was appropriate, and it was what NY Fans should be like. It was NY sports fans at their collective best.
One last item for today, check out my friends at SaveTheApple.com. They're fighting to make sure that the Home Run Apple at Shea Stadium becomes the Home Run Apple at Citi Field. I fully support the cause and couldn't agree more. Let's Go Mets! Let's Go Rangers!
April 26th, 2007
My list of complaints about the Versus network is long and all-encompassing regarding their NHL coverage.
It's a real kick in the face to the NHL that the games are broadcast on Vs. Vs, the home of such other great sports as WEC - World Extreme Cagefighting, PBR (no, not the beer, the bull-riding), the NLL (indoor lacrosse), and Hunting and Fishing. If I have to see another WEC commercial during a hockey game, I may have to get a brick to throw at the TV. It's just absurd.
Meanwhile, ESPN, the former partner of the NHL, is promoting sports like Arena Football and MLL Lacrosse like they're real sports (and, to be fair, compared to the rest of the Vs lineup, they are). The NHL is a joke at the moment because it is on a network that, before the NHL came to it, no one had heard of. In fact, there are still plenty of people who haven't heard of it. It's disgraceful. They've allowed the NHL to become a weirdo sport that can be stuck on a channel with other crap.
I'd rather see the NHL make a deal with ESPN giving them the games FOR FREE than take another cent from Vs. Even Fox, with all of it's stupid gimmicks (glowing puck, anyone?), had much better coverage than Vs and people could see the games, because everyone has Fox. Bettman's trying to "grow" the league? Well, here's a thought, maybe you should start by putting it somewhere that people will see it.
And then, as if just the concept of being on Vs wasn't enough, the coverage is horrendous. The announcers are third- and fourth-rate, the camera work is appalling, and the producers obviously don't know how to broadcast a hockey game. To put anything over the ice while the puck is in play, a graphic, anything, is unacceptable. And this is the network that for the first 5-6 months that they had hockey put the SCORE on the bottom covering the ice.
But what really put it in perspective for me is when Vs was broadcasting the TSN or CBC feeds of the late-night games last round.
CBC and TSN have their cameras zoomed out a bit. You can see the whole offensive zone while the players are there. It was wonderful to watch. So there's a bit of extra crowd on the top and bottom of the screen. That just means that the score isn't covering anything important. Meanwhile, Vs has zoomed in so far that oftentimes the camera man loses track of the puck. Hockey's not an easy sport to watch on TV, but if the puck's not on the screen, it's impossible. You can't follow something that's not there.
The announcers sit there and promote Vs and their sponsors during the play-by-play. It's an art, play-by-play announcing, and it's an art that gets tainted when they're forced to pitch products and sponsors rather than tell you what's going on in the game. And, one last thing, ENOUGH WITH THE ADJECTIVES and SYNONYMS. I don't need you to find new words to describe things that are happening in the game. You can use the same words over and over again. It's not going to make me lose interest, I promise. I don't care if someone "feathered a pass towards the cage." You can say that he "threw it on net" instead and then tell me something else in the time it took you to think of a different way to say that.
And now, I'm forced to watch the Vs coverage for Games 1 and 4 of the Rangers-Sabres 2nd round playoff series? And some of you who aren't so lucky as to get MSG will have to watch it for all of the games besides 3 and 6? It's a slap in the face. Hockey fans deserve better than this shit, and Hockey deserves better too.
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