Yesterday, we went down to DC to see the Mets play the Nationals, in what was the culmination of our weekend-long celebration of International Dance Day, party hats and maracas in full force. RFK might be the dumpiest ballpark I have ever attended a sporting event in, especially from the outside. I suspect that the fine gentleman I met at the Mets-Phillies game a couple weeks ago would be even less likely to take a crap in this parking lot than he would be at Shea.
The Mets were lucky to get out of RFK this weekend with 2 wins. They easily could have gotten swept by an awful team, but luckily for the time being the Yankees seem to have cornered the market on that practice. Saturday night was one of those games that remind you why you love baseball, as more than any other game, it's a game of inches: Easley getting called safe at first, Chavez sliding under the tag at the plate. Any of these things end up an inch off, and the Mets lose. Yesterday was all about John Maine. This guy looks like the real deal so far. He doesn't overpower you or have incredible stuff, but it seems like he just knows how to pitch and he consistently gets the job done.
The news today is that the Mets age seems to have already caught up to them, as both El Duque and Valentin are headed for the DL. In terms of El Duque, we expected this. There was no way he was pitching a full season. So, the Chan Ho Park era begins. I suspect this will be imminently (used correctly and precisely here) followed by the Jorge Sosa era, and then possibly the Phil Humber era. Here's hoping that El Duque is back before we are forced to get to the Av Sinensky era.
As for Valentin: first of all, it's worth pointing out that an actual person would never hurt his ACL. Now that we have that out of the way, while we still don't have the full diagnosis and projections for his injuries, ACLs are always scary, expecially considering his age and past knee problems. If he's going to be out awhile, I hope Omar isn't seriously viewing any of the in-house options as the long-term replacement. Damion Easley, Anderson Hernandez, and Ruben Gotay are simply not everyday players (in the case of Hernandez and Gotay, possibly not even anyday players.) My vote: Mark Grudzialanek of the Kansas City Royals. I wanted them to sign him last year and I think he would fit perfectly if Valentin can't come back. He's a solid veteran with a good reputation, plays great defense, and will be a solid .280 hitter and a smart player. And I can even save Omar some time because I will be in Kansas City next week, so I can do some scouting and maybe initiate trade talks with the front office. I would have to think he would be gettable without giving up too much. Next best option: my dad. If you can't replace the ball player, at least replace the mustache.