June 10, 2005

Tom Glavine entered Thursday night with 266 career wins, none ever coming as a member of any of my fantasy teams. The fact that my fantasy career started at about the same time as Glavine’s big league days, and I’ve never once owned him, seems impossible.

So on Thursday morning, sitting in last place in wins in the MLB.com office league, I decided to pick up a spot starter for the night. Glavine was sitting on our waiver wire, despite going 3-1 with a 1.88 ERA in his last five starts. Since he was slated to face Houston, a team that is 6-23 on the road and scores less than any other team in baseball, he seemed like the best possible choice.

The problem with this decision is that it meant I had to sort of root for the Mets, something that goes against my upbringing, religion and everything else I’ve known as a baseball fan since 1977.

Here’s a not-so-quick account of the whole experience …

Tom Seaver and Dave O’Brien are calling tonight’s game and inform us that Houston’s starting nine is 12-for-83 (.145) against Glavine lifetime. Seaver then adds that Glavine is definitely going to have a really good night and mentions how terrific he has looked in his last five starts. Since I am a big believer in jinxes, I consider just shutting off the game now.

The .206-hitting Chris Burke falls behind 1-2, but then shoots Glavine’s next pitch right up the middle, breaking up his second no-hitter in two days.

Up next is the .185-hitting Eric Bruntlett, who runs the count to 3-2 before Burke falls asleep and gets picked off first. Nice break for Glavine. Can’t believe I just wrote that. In fact I think I’m now rooting against the Mets tonight since I am in ninth place and 52.5 points behind the top team, meaning none of this really matters anyway since I’m not winning this year.

Ball four to Bruntlett. Should be first and second with no outs if not for bad baserunning.

Jose Vizcaino (.243-0-6) is batting third? Wow, if Glavine doesn’t pitch a shutout tonight, something is very wrong. You know things are going bad on the Major League level when your No. 3 hitter wouldn’t start for a deep, NL-only fantasy team.

Seaver says "6 and 23" three straight times, asking how is that possible. When the top of your lineup is Burke-Bruntlett-Vizcaino, and you lost Bagwell (injury), Beltran and Kent, that’s how.

Vizcaino singles to right. Three straight runners have reached to the surprise of everyone but me. Glavine’s 9.00 WHIP is not looking good right now.

Here comes the .235-3-11 Berkman, who hasn’t been very good since returning from his knee injury in early May. He singles to left; 1-0 Astros. The announcers point out that Glavine hasn’t been sharp so far. Thanks.

Morgan Ensberg apparently flies out, although the camera misses most of the pitch. Maybe Glavine can only get guys out if no one actually sees him pitch. Ensberg, by the way, almost has as many homers (12) as the rest of tonight’s Astros lineup combined (16).

Jason "I batted .118 in May" Lane grounds out weakly and somehow Glavine only gives up one run despite allowing the first four runners to reach base.

I decide that I’m now rooting for a 2-1 Mets win — both runs coming off a pair of four-base errors — and Andy Pettitte pitching an Andy Hawkins-esque no-hitter.

After Jose Reyes whiffs to lead off, Mike Cameron steps up to the plate, at which point we are told that his .467 average against lefties would lead the NL if he had enough ABs to qualify. I look it up — 30 ABs. Doesn’t seem very statistically significant to me.

Carlos Bel-TRON, as the announcer calls him, lines a single into center. Phil Garner looks slightly jealous of Randolph right now.

Quick question: How has Willie Randolph failed to age in the past 30 years? The guy is going to be 51, yet looks like he should still be playing second for the Yanks. He is the anti-Otis Nixon or anti-Jim Wohlford.

Cliff Floyd weakly grounds out, inning over. Astros lead 1-0.

The .243-hitting Adam Everett leads off and flys out. Next up is Brad Ausmus, who apparently is 1-for-34 career against Glavine. Make that 1-for-35. Glad he is playing tonight instead of Alan Ashby or Tony Eusubio.

Pettitte grounds out to Glavine. Easy inning, feeling better. Actually should you be allowed to say you feel good after going 1-2-3 against Everett-Ausmus-Pettitte?

David Wright leads off and quickly ties the game with his 10th homer of the year — liner right off the screen of the left field pole. After Chris Woodward flies out and Ramon Castro walks, Kaz Matsui hits into an easy double play and then gets booed for the 372nd time this season. Have to imagine he wishes he was back home or at least out of New York by this point. Anyone who picked him in the middle rounds this year, ahead of Brian Roberts, has felt this way since April.

Let’s see if Glavine can have better success this time against the top of the Astros’ fearsome lineup. Burke grounds out. Bruntlett singles, but Vizcaino and Berkman both ground out as well, making it a much easier inning than the first, outside of having to listen to Seaver talk about his 12 or 13 career homers as a hitter for four minutes

Mrs. Klayman asks what else is on — I quickly scan the guide and luckily she nixes the debut of "The Cut." Are people really going to watch a reality show about folks trying to make it in fashion? The appeal of "Survivor," "The Apprentice," The Amazing Race," and "American Idol" is that most people can either imagine themselves on those shows, or at least one of their friends. How many people would even want to be on "The Cut," nonetheless watch other people compete for a job no one could possibly care about?

I come across a listing for "Home Alone 4." Huh? They even made 3? I’ll have to check on this later once it starts.

Glavine fans, Reyes weakly grounds out and Cameron flies to center in the bottom of the third. The announcers tell us that "both of these veteran lefties are starting to get into a groove." Who are they kidding? Seaver himself could probably come out of the booth right now and throw a few shutout innings.

In the top of the fourth, we are told that Lane has been compared by some to Berkman. Who made this comparison, the same guy from the "Revenge of the Sith" newspaper ad who supposedly said "It’s Better than the Original ‘Star Wars’?" You know the actual quote was probably something like "Only a ***** would think it’s Better than the Original ‘Star Wars,’" and someone conveniently edited out the first five words.

"Jason Lane is similar to Lance Berkman, except for the fact that he doesn’t have as much power and will never hit even close to .300."

The Astros go very quietly in the top of the fourth, and Glavine even decides to strike out his first two batters of the game. Since starting out 0-3-1-1-1-0, Glavine has now improved his line to 4-4-1-1-1-2. Ever since I decided I couldn’t root for the Mets, he’s been pretty lights out, of course.

Is there anything more annoying than having to hear Angelina Jolie say "Who’s you daddy now?" while kicking Brad Pitt in the "Mr. And Mrs. Smith" TV ad, 17 times in one night? Is this supposed to make me want to go see the movie? Looks like it is going to be "War of the Roses" except with guns. Think I’ll pass.

Bel-TRON doubles to lead off. Perfect. One more run, a 2-1 win. I can live with it. Hopefully my dad just didn’t read this.

I just realize that Bel-TRON only has one steal the whole season, and has been caught twice. This is from a guy who has gone 13-for-13, 31-for-32, 41-for-45 and 42-for-45 in steals during his career, and yet he is pace to join the 5-5 club instead of the 40-40 like many people predicted.

Floyd flies out, but Wright delivers again and puts the Mets up 2-1.

Maybe I’ll just rotate in whoever is pitching against the Astros the rest of the year. They have scored the fewest runs in baseball (206 in 57 games heading into this game) and with few dependable bats, this will probably continue the rest of the season. This would mean I pick up Ted Lilly after tonight’s game since he is slated to pitch against Houston and the pitcher with the wimpiest sounding name ever, Wandy Rodriguez, on Friday. I check Lilly’s numbers and see that he is 3-6 with a 7.41 ERA. OK, maybe it’s not such a good idea.

Woodward, by the way, has been up for at least six minutes and has a 2-2 count. Turns out we are on pitch 11, plus four pickoff throws. Exhilarating baseball going on right now, so I decide to check on "Home Alone 4."

The made-for-TV movie stars French Stewart and Mike Weinberg (as Macauley Culkin’s character) for those of you wondering. According to IMDB.com, Stewart has starred in other memorable shows/movies such as "The New WKRP in Cincinnati" and was Business Man 2 in "Leaving Las Vegas." 633 IMDB users give this movie 2.6 stars out of 10, which after watching it for 17 seconds seems very generous, and surprising that 633 people would actually take the time to rate this movie.

When I remember to flip back to the Mets, someone named Lolita Lopez is reporting from behind the first base camera, telling us how sore Doug Mientkiewicz is feeling. Do we really need a sideline reporter in baseball? Couldn’t the normal announcers have just told us the same thing? It’s not like Randolph just came up with this knowledge and rushed to tell the sideline person. Being a baseball sideline reporter could be the easiest job ever, by the way, outside of being a weatherman.

Ausmus goes to 1-for-36 against Glavine. Pettitte hands Glavine his third K of the game, yet somehow manages to make Glavine throw 10 pitches to him. Glavine then fans Burke, and with 79 pitches thrown through five, he’ll be lucky to get through seven.

Just found out that Clint Barmes really got injured when he slipped carrying a slab of deer meat. Now I know I have no right to ever make fun of anyone else’s freak injury, considering I once missed school because I blinded myself with an English Muffin crumb. But this has to qualify as the early candidate for this year’s Glenallen Hill bizarre injury award. Plus he was carrying my team in my family league, so I’m a little bitter right now.

The Mets go 1-2-3 in the fifth, which I completely miss because I’m still surfing around on IMDB.com. When I turn back to the Mets, the announcers for some reason start questioning the Royals’ hiring of Buddy Bell, saying he isn’t the right person to shake up an organization. They somehow ignore the small fact that he is 6-3 so far as manager with a team that was 13-37 before he got there.

Glavine throws only nine pitches and retires the order. Pettitte then breezes through the bottom of the sixth and all of a sudden the game is flying.

Glavine opens the seventh with his fifth K and is rolling. The announcer mentions that he has retired 12 in a row, at which point Lane promptly hits one in the gap, and after Bel-TRON fumbles the ball, Lane is standing on third with only one out. I can feel my much-needed win slipping away.

Everett smashes a shot at the drawn-in infield, but Reyes goes airborne and snags the ball out of the air. I’m so happy with Reyes’ great play that I decide to finally forgive him for being injured all of last year and messing up my SB total in two leagues.

One more out to go before Glavine finishes off a rather solid night holding the lead. And who better to be up than the 1-for-36 Ausmus? The announcers remind us for the 56th time that Ausmus can’t hit Glavine, at which point Ausmus socks a double into right to tie up the game. There goes the "W."

Craig Biggio finally appears for the first time tonight, pinch-hitting for Pettitte. We find out that he is only a .231 hitter against Glavine two seconds before he lines a shot off Glavine’s leg. The ball flies up in the air, lands near no one and Ausmus scores to give Houston the lead.

One pitch away from going 7-5-1-1-1-5 and being in line for the win, Glavine finishes 7-7-3-3-1-5 and is trailing 3-2. Looks like I’m going to be stuck on 21 wins for another day.

With one final shot to give Glavine the win, Wright, Woodward and Castro make Chad Qualls look like Brad Lidge, and Glavine can only lose or get a no-decision at this point.

Time to change the channel.

Let’s see how my other starter Josh Beckett is doing tonight against Seattle (somehow I haven’t seen the score all night since I have been so focused on trying to type — and eat — while watching the Mets game).

Super, 8-0 Mariners, just in time to see Ron Villone retire Juan Encarnacion for the final out. Beckett: 6-10-8-7-1-6. Brutal. Plus Eddie Guardado doesn’t even get a chance to pick up a save for my team.

How ’bout checking to see if my other closer, Francisco Cordero, is somehow pitching? Alright, he is! Too bad Texas is losing by six runs.

Well, maybe, Wily Mo Pena, whom I picked up today in another league is doing some good stuff since Cincy is up 14-5. Nope: 5-0-1-1 with 6 LOB, pretty disappointing in a 14-run game.

Back to the Mets. Super, now it’s 3-3 and the 57-year-old Roberto Hernandez can steal the win away from Glavine.

Time to go out for ice cream. I’ve had enough.

(The Astros wound up winning in 11 innings, so the night was not a complete disaster.)

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