Di-Jest (by Larry Smith): Li'l Murphy's Diary
Well here we are in Port St. Lucie, Florida, for another spring traiining with the New York Metropolitans baseball team. Whew, for a while there I didn't think this was going to be my spring training home on account of I thought I might get traded elsewhere where I'd have to make a whole new set of friends/teammates.
Let me make you aware of what's new and different this February. First of all, I got myself a big raise in pay. Where last year I played for $2.9 million here in 2014 I'll be making almost double of that, $5.7 mill. It wasn't easy scraping by last year. Tori (that's my wife, you know) and I had a lot of meals out at McDonalds but we won't be eating Big Macs this year. No sir. It'll be Wendy's, Pizza Hut, and KFC for us. And when the players go out for lunch or dinner we know to stick the tab on David (Wright) since he'll be making $20 million this year and can afford it. That's when I get the big steaks and lobster tails. Getting hungry just talking about it. Sometimes I wonder how those "Ordinary Joes", the fans, making just one or two hundred thou a year can even get by. But you don't want me to go on and on about money so let's talk some Metsies baseball.
The first thing I noticed when I got here was what great shape Ruben Tejada and Lukie Duda are in. They told me they spent a lot of the offseason at a clinic in Michigan and that place got them all sorts of fit. I have a feeling mostly what they did was shovel snow everyday because I hear that's what all the folks out there have been doing all winter. But whatever the magic formula is they both look swell. Ruben's showing muscles no one knew he even had. On one hand maybe that means he can hit a couple of homeruns for us this year. But knowing Ruben it might mean that the next time one of the coaches tells him to go take some grounders he'll end up replying, "Who's gonna make me?"
And as for big Luke. Looking huge and intimidating has never been his problem. We have to figure out a way to get him to swing the bat more often. Can't imagine that the clinic in Michigan worked with him on that.
The truth is I'm shocked to see both Luke and Ike in camp at the same time. For weeks Mr. Alderson has been trying to trade Ike and nothing took. I'm getting the impression that Mr. A is good at moving the big stars (like Beltran and R.A. Dickey) but us little planets (me,Ike, Lucas and others) seem to stick to the bottom of his shoes like flypaper. So it will come to a competition between Ike and Luke to see who gets to play most of firstbase. I think our friend, Mr. Eyebrows Satin, will be the righthanded part of that platoon over there.
Another interesting story this spring - and it could affect even me - is what to do with Eric Young Jr. Skipper Collins likes him and would like to use him as our leadoff guy because he's fast, steals bases, and creates havoc like our old bud Joses Reyes used to. The problem is that Eric is not all that great at getting on base. I've been studying up on my Sabermetetrics (gosh, I hate long words) and using those guidelines it seems that Eric shouldn't really be a leadoff hitter even though he can steal a slew of bases. But one thing Eric is OK at is hitting against lefties and, to be quite honest, that's not something I'm all too good at doing. Might the Skipper platoon me and Eric? I hope not but I guess it could happen.
The pitchers got here before us position guys. One cool dude is Thor, aka Syndegaard. That guy is huge and seems to have a wicked arm. The team won't bring him north to start the season on account of they want him to "refine" his game at AAA. I know them well enough to know that that means, "we know if we keep him in the minors a few more months we can retain him an extra year before having to pay him the big bucks that we don't have to pay to anyone except Wright."
Another guy who's big is Bartolo Colon. But his bigness is left to right instead of up to down. I wonder how the centerfielders see around that guy to see whether the batter's has hit one out to them. Hey, that's their problem, right?
I like the beginning of spring training because it's great to see the guys and run around outside where it's warm. But it gets tedious as the weeks go on and on while we're playing games that don't count. I'm sure I'll be writing in you some more in a few weeks Dear Diary. Wish me luck as the Mets try our damndest to win as many games as we lose.
Larry writes a humor column for us at The Real Dirty Mets Blog once or more per week. You can follow Larry on Twitter at https://twitter.com/@dr4sight There he comments on the teams that drive him crazy: the Mets, both NY football teams, the NY Rangers, and the Knicks.