Today's Mets 11-5 loss at the hands of Seattle completed an exasperating three game sweep, and while it was plenty unwatchable (thank God for the U.S. Open), it was also rather revelatory, simply throwing into focus what the vast majority of Amazins' fans already know; this is strictly a .500 club, the bullpen is in dire need of an overhaul, Beltran needs to wake the f**k up, and Willie Randolph continues to have his head way too far up his ass when it comes to managing his pitching staff.
The latter fact reared its ugly head once again by Randolph's decision to remove Aaron Heilman after the bottom of the fifth, after the Mets had nearly erased Tom Glavine's horrendous outing by crawling to within one, after Heilman had already pitched a scoreless three innings, and after he had thrown 40 pitches. Is there something that Willie and Rick know that the rest of Mets' nation does not? Did he forget that Heilman is a former starter, the only somewhat sure thing out of the bullpen these days, and that you don't need to pinch hit for the pitcher in the American League (i actually forgot for a second that it was an AL game when I saw Victor Diaz pinch hitting for Chris Woodward in what would have been the pitcher's spot)? I watched most of the game with the sound off, so maybe there was a legitimate reason for taking Heilman out. Like an injury. I don't know. Mike DeJean is a complete waste of skin, every Royce Ring pitch is either way outside or 89 down the middle, and Heath Bell, while better than the aforementioned, is very hittable when he neglects to keep the ball down, which has been often.
For the love of Jeebus, put Heilman in the rotation until Trachsel gets back, and Ishii in the pen where he belongs (and might actually be useful). There must be other devious forces at work here because while such a move may not spark the Mets' bats, it strikes this fan as an obvious thing to do, and just might give fans a little more hope each game before Pedro pitches.
Every so often I seem to forget that this is supposed to be a music blog as well, and for that I apologize. I did something bad last week in that I downloaded The New Pornographers' upcoming Twin Cinema waaaay before it's apparent August release date. I feel a little less bad knowing that I'm seeing them this Wednesday and Saturday and wanted to be familiar with the new material, and even less bad knowing that there's absolutely no way I wouldn't purchase the album both out of respect for the band and their label. It also helps that unsurprisingly, it's great. Moreso than the last two records, Twin Cinema almost seems like a compilation of solo material from their three main songwriters (Newman, Case and Bejar), which might sound somewhat crappy, but it's not. It just means that the tunes where Neko sings lead are more akin to her solo work in that she's no longer restricted to simply belting it out (e.g. the excellent "Bones of an Idol"), and the A.C. tunes sound more like stuff from The Slow Wonder (the title track, "Sing me Spanish Techno") than before. They also use loops now too. Whatever. The New Pornos have now taken on a Super Furry Animals-like consistency of quality, and I'm not gonna expound too much on a record that doesn't come out until August. But believe me when I tell ya that I'm going to be screaming for "Stacked Crooked" at the Maxwell's gig (despite the fact that such enthusiasm might clue the band into the fact that I've already heard the record, pissing them off).
A few days ago, Central Village made a post discussing Hella sideproject "The Advantage", and their rockin' take on old Nintendo tunes. CV posted an Advantage take on a song (actually two songs strung together) from the game Goonies II, and if nothing else, the band's execution was a little too pure to the source material, and sort of suffered as a result. A little better IMO, is this band from Phoenix called Minibosses, who also do the 8-Bit NES cover thing, but with a little more rawk action. Their take on the themes from Castlevania III production-wise sounds like it came from the same sessions that birthed the new Sleater-Kinney record (though probably not by choice). Still, they too suffer from treating the source material with a little too much respect....and there's the odd fact that some of these songs actually sound better when played with the NES's dinky sound than a full scale band. Why nobody has attempted to tackle the first level from Life Force (the other non-Contra Konami game to utilize the legendary Up Up, Down Down, L,R,L,R, B,A start code) is beyond me. Konami games always had the best tunage.
The only thing closer to a complete meltdown in this afternoon's sporting world other than the Mets belonged to defending U.S. Open champ Retief Goosen, leading the pack at the start of the day at 3 under, only to drop to a 4-way tie for 11th at 8 OVER. He dropped 11 strokes! Even I wouldn't have dropped 11 strokes at Pinehurst, and I'm lucky if I can get out to the links more than once every two months.