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Showing posts from August 12, 2007

Styx and Stones

Forgive me for skipping the post-game (Styx) concert and fireworks show on my final night in Pittsburgh, but I was in an "unfun" kind of mood. Now it's on to Washington D.C. and I make no guarantees that the travelogue will continue, because I'll be "with people" on this part of my expedition, but I'll try to sneak in the necessary postings. * Thursday was a game that was for the birds, literally, because it made the highlight of my day the National Aviary, America's only independent indoor non-profit bird zoo. I didn't expect to enjoy it, but it proved to be a good way to kill a couple hours (30 minute walk from the ballpark, an hour's worth of entertainment). My favorite bird was one named "Franklin" after Benjamin, the inventor of the spectacles. Franklin had a 'stare-of-death' for those who walked past him, akin to the one I had as I walked out of PNC Park on Thursday evening. * Speaking of which, Guillermo Mota has turned…

Conn Job

So I spent nearly four hours Wednesday, prior to the ballgame, at the John Heinz History Center, Pittsburgh's version of the Smithsonian Institution, combined with the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum.

While there, I learned about, among other things, Lewis & Clark, the history of ketchup, and the story of former light-heavyweight champion/Pittsburgh sports hero Billy "The Pittsburgh Kid" Conn.


Conn's story is a tale of woe, one in which he got the opportunity to fight then-heavyweight champ Joe Louis, and had the bout won, until he got greedy, went for the knockout punch, and got staggered by Louis to the point of crushing defeat.


That could have been the tale of Wednesday's Mets game (thank you Aaron Sele/where the hell are you, Pedro Feliciano?), one of the weirder games I've witnessed this season. From this game, I'll sing praises for Moises Alou and Jorge Sosa, laud the good fortune the Mets got on a ninth-inning error that led to the night's …

Grass or Dirt?

OK, since there's no possibility of a walk-off win during my trip to Pittsburgh and I'm not much of a hotel bar kind of guy (they look at me funny when I order orange juice), I figure I'll entertain myself in the late hours by doing a travelogue of sorts. Let's see if I can be satisfactorily entertaining.

* My flight to Pittsburgh was similar to the way in which Orlando Hernandez pitched Tuesday night. It didn't show up early, but it still got the job done. First plane out at 11 a.m. was canceled (mechanical issues, like the kind that cause you not to throw first-pitch strikes) but my 1 p.m. rescheduling arrived, departed and landed without incident.

* One of these days I'm gonna have to pen a "Didja Ever Notice?" about the various ways in which the 1986 Red Sox won games, as chronicled well by Dan Shaughnessy in the rarely-seen tome "One Strike Away" (not to be confused with the outstanding "One Pitch Away" by Mike Sowell), which ma…

Mets vs Pirates, Rivalry Minutiae

So I'm headed to Pittsburgh for the Mets 3-game series with the Pirates this week and their 328th game in that city will be my first, unless you count my unpleasant one-inning venture into last year's All-Star Game.

Because I wanted to be properly armed minutiae-wise for my travels, I did some studying on Baseball-Reference.com and BaseballMusings on previous Mets voyages to The Steel City, and here's what I've gleaned.


* The Mets are 316-350 all-time against the Pirates, with 146 of their victories coming in Pittsburgh. The all-time record is slightly misleading, because if you subtract the first five seasons in Mets history, the club is 295-281 against Pittsburgh. That's pretty good considering they started 1-10, 2-20, 5-30, and 8-40 against the Pirates.


* Only two players have had a .400 or better batting average for the Mets against the Pirates (minimum 50 plate appearances). If you guessed that the pair were Rico Brogna (.414) and Dave Gallagher (.409), you'r…

DiFelice NaviMet

It's been quite some time since Mike DiFelice had that big of an impact on a Mets game. It's been just over 10 years to be exact.

DiFelice was a Cardinal back on August 5, 1997, a semi-regular on a mediocre 73-89 team, which seems to be befitting a player who entered Sunday with a .235 average and four hits in 42 Mets at-bats. He started that day, batting seventh, and catching Matt Morris (whom I'll get to see in action on my trip to Pittsburgh this week), who was opposed on this rainy night by Mets starter Pete Harnisch, making his first start in four months after being activated from the 60-day DL while battling depression.

This was a game in which the Mets built a 3-0 lead through four innings and appeared to be in command until Juan Acevedo made like the Guillermo Mota and Aaron Heilman we saw on Friday and Saturday night. The lead, built up by RBI from Msrs. Lopez, Olerud, and Huskey, still was 3-2 with two outs and nobody on base in the seventh when Acevedo yielded a s…