The Phillies return tonight to Citi Field. Since their last visit, accusations have come out that the Phillies’ bullpen coach, Mick Billmeyer has been stealing signs, using binoculars.
Major League Baseball issued an executive order in 2001 barring the use of “electronic equipment”, citing that it could not be used “for communications or for the purpose of stealing signs or conveying information designed to give a club an advantage.”
Obviously, bincoluars do not constitute “electonic equipment”, but their alleged use in this situation seems suspect, at best.
Yes, yes, I know: stealing signs has been around for as long as there’s been baseball. But, somehow, stealing signs with the aid of binoculars seems egregious to others besides me. The Rockies filed a formal complaint against the Phillies over the matter and the team was reprimanded. Rockies manager Jim Tracy stated,
“A pair of binoculars staring down the gun barrel of the hitting area, I don’t think a club in baseball that’s competing against that team would take too kindly to that,” Rockies. …You start reflecting back on some of the things that have taken place in previous games and it makes you sit here and wonder a little bit.”
And here’s what Cy Young winner Steve Stone was quoted as saying when Sammy Sosa was taken to task for stealing signs by the Cardinals in 2002:
“To be honest with you, sign-stealing used to be much more of an art than it is now. But as long as you are not stealing signs from the scoreboard, using a camera or something, then you are stealing legitimately.”
Because of the accusations, the rather absurd retort by Charlie Manuel that he found the Mets’ astounding home record (at that time, anyway) suspicious, along with the usual animosity created by uncivilized Phillies fans in our ballpark, I’m willing to bet the fans, if not the players themselves, will show up tonight on the lookout for any signs of foul play and ready to extract vengeance in the form of a big win.
Am I the only one that thinks Jason Werth looks like the Devil?
I actually thought that his little strip of a goatee and his angular eyebrows and long face made him look Lucifer-like WELL before Sunday’s L- O – O – O- NG rain delay.
But when Billy Wagner was one strike away from FINALLY ending this game and Werth hit a hellish two-run homer off of him to tie up the game and force us into extra innings–blowing Billy’s save–I know many of us Mets fans were thinking up some pretty diabolical names for the guy.
So then–in last night’s giveaway-that-turned-into-a-nail-biter–how could it have been anyone beside Satan himself facing Billy in the bottom of the ninth with two outs and the tying run on second base??!!
While Billy had us sweatin’ there, but this time the Prince of Darkness popped-up to right and Endy Chavez caught it to end the internal game.
I later heard Billy Wagner interviewed on SNY-TV. He said something to effect that he thought the Mets should play hard all the time: so hard that when they left town [or they left the opposing team’s town], their adversaries were “tired”.
I don’t know about any other viewers, but between (1) the angst created by the interminable rain delay–Would they play again or would it just keep raining and we would win??!, and(2) the anxiety of the scenario should they continue the game: two Phillies on base and Howard due up in the bottom of the ninth, (3) followed by last night’s 10-1 score in the sixth diminshing to merely a one-run lead by the time Billy Wagner was in fact needed for the game, and finally, (4) Billy not exactly looking invincible…I am TIRED!!
I feel mentally and physically exhausted after “staying in the game(s)” with our guys.
With that in mind, I’m going to take a quick nap before heading out to Shea to welcome the victorious Mets back home and help them deal with this Lincecum fellow from the Bay!
• bête noire •
Part of Speech: Noun
Meaning: A threat, something feared and to be avoided, a bane, something that makes life miserable for an individual or organization.
Notes: Today’s word is good for representing any distasteful threat. Because it is actually a French phrase, it has no relatives in English with one possible exception. Some people, with good reason, refer to the red bug, sometimes called a chigger or jigger (the larval Thrombidium), that causes relentless itching, a true bête rouge “red beast”. In A Handful of Dust, Evelyn Waugh wrote, “He had picked up bêtes rouges in the bush and they were crawling and burrowing under his skin.”
And, boy, were the Mets itching to end that nine-game losing streak against their bête noir: the Phillies.
The Phillies practically gift-wrapped the end of the Mets’ losing streak.
Even if the Mets couldn’t seem to get any hits, Phillies starting pitcher Kyle Kendrick awarded innumerable walks. The Mets left the bases loaded, though, in each of the first two innings.
With a good showing by Mets starter Mike Pelfrey, and the bust-out offense in the bottom of the third inning, though, The Beast–red, black, or otherwise–was slain…
…well, at least for the night.
The adversaries meet again tonight for the rubber game.
Yesterday afternoon in Queens, the curtain went up on a new season–what is to be the last season in this house. Both expectations and hopes were high.
Although the setting itself was the same as many previous performances, striking new sets of CitiField–the work of union construction workers–almost made it seem as if we the audience were due to see a new production. Not only that, but there were also a few additional cast members as well.
But with the exception of the minor cast and set changes, yesterday’s matinee bore a striking resemblance to many of last year’s performances of this same show.
The Mets opened with a predictable and somewhat routine performance of the Overture of the Shea Bouquet.
In Act I itself, Mets pitcher Oliver Perez found himself in some sticky situations but was able, through some timely counseling by newcomer Brian Schneider, to settle himself down and keep the Phillies scoreless through 5.2 innings.
As Act II began and the bullpen entered, one began to feel the tension mount in the stands as well as on the field.
And, at the conclusion of Act III, the starting pitcher’s well-pitched game and the initial runs scored by the Mets did not prove to be enough to withstand the onslaught of the Phillies.
The curtain fell, following a bracing rendition of the closing aria, “Rittorno vincitor!”, sung with much bravado by Jimmy Rollins.
I’d really like to exchange my tickets for future performances…I’ve seen this show SO MANY TIMES BEFORE.