Florida – beware of Cougars on the prowl… Or on a cruise.
by Angry Ward
WEST PALM BEACH, FL – Hey, when The Matts call and ask whether I’ll take an all-expense-paid trip to South Florida to collect some dirt on the Mets and report on various other goings ons, I don’t ask questions, I just get to the airport the minute their check clears. Aside from rescuing manatees, drinking lotsa rum, and blowing out a flip flop, here’s what’s shaking down here, as best I can tell.
After taking in two Mets spring training games (in Port St. Lucie vs. Twins and in Jupiter vs. the Cardinals) I didn’t see all that much to get excited about. Yeah, I know it’s only March but you always hope to see some spirited play. To wit…
First the bad news:
The so-called contest to see who will win the Mets’ starting first baseman’s job is the biggest disaster to hit South Florida since Hurricane Andrew or Little Elian Gonzalez. This dogfight between Daniel Murphy, Fernando Tatis, and Mike Jacobs is just that, a fight between three dogs. Should any of these guys be starting on any team, let alone the Mets? As for who gets my vote? I like Ike!, as in Ike Davis. He’s almost surely going to start the season in the minors but, hopefully, it’s not long before he’s brought up.
Jason Bay’s arm is only slightly better than Johnny Damon’s. Yes, slightly. Sometimes it appears as though he’s pitching a cricket ball rather than trying to hit the cut-off man. This will be worth monitoring for those not sitting in left field obstructed-view seats at Shea Shack this year.
Luis Castillo is still the starting second baseman. That is all.
John Maine looks very hittable. Maybe he’s working on some new pitches or messing with his mechanics but almost every ball the Cardinals hit off him was hit hard.
Ike Davis got sent down yesterday but may be back.
Alex Cora (left) will most likely be the starting shortstop on Opening Day. That is all.
Gary Matthews Jr. won’t quite have warning track power at Shea Shack.
Johan Santana got knocked around a bit by an unimpressive Twins lineup the other day. This one’s not as troubling as the others, but still.
Standing room tickets to Cardinals spring training games cost 12 bucks. A ripoff that I nevertheless paid. Hey, it’s on the Matts’ nickel, why not?
The Mets still don’t have a legitimate #1 catcher.
The good news is:
Fernando Martinez is hitting the cover off the ball. Even if he starts the season in the minors, this is good to see.
If he produces on the field, Jeff Francoeur could be the kind of clubhouse leader the Mets have been lacking.
The beers at Tradition Field in Port St. Lucie were very cold.
Tony LaRussa looks just as ridiculous in person as he does on TV.
After being spotted around Mets camp and at their game against St. Louis, there’s a rumor flying around that Jerry Seinfeld may try to buy the Mets. Even if this proves to be untrue, let’s try to keep this one going. Maybe then Costanza will get that GM position that he so desperately wants.
There is no shortage of desperate Cougar types down here in South Florida. In fact, Yankee Joe should move here immediately. This could be his best chance at meeting Ms. Right.
Other odds and ends: No offense to Sam’s-a-Fan’s lovely bride and her family but, Cardinals fans are not an attractive lot… My father-in-law knows more about Cypress trees, commercial real estate, and muscle cars than your father-in-law does… Dr. Jonathan Zizmor could make a good buck down here.
That’s all for this week. Looking forward to getting back in the New York groove next week. Dr. Diz, tomorrow…