On April Fool’s Day, I was sitting in Section 413 to watch the Mets beat the San Diego Padres by 11-2. Collin Cowgill, who had started off as a symbol of the disappointing off-season, put the game out of reach with his seventh inning grand slam and became a hero. He even earned a highlight baseball card from Topps, though it came out months after Cowgill’s time in New York had come to an end.
If Citi Field had had Collin Cowgill t-shirts on Opening Day, I would have bought one. Fortunately, they did not – otherwise, it would probably be hanging unworn next to my Omir Santos one.
I really wanted to like Collin Cowgill. Sure, Sandy Alderson didn’t pick up any big name outfielders last off-season and the Opening Day lineup of Lucas Duda, Cowgill and Marlon Byrd inspired more apprehension than confidence. But I think most of us wanted them to surprise us and succeed.
On Opening Day, Cowgill obliged. He became the only player in Mets history to hit a grand slam in a season opener that was also his first game with the team. Of course, we probably should have paid attention to the calendar – it was April Fool’s Day after all – and Cowgill’s career numbers. By the time the Mets traded him in June, Cowgill had lost his starting job and was hitting just .180 / .206 / .311 in 23 games.
Cowgill had a bizarre autographed insert card with a badly Photoshopped picture in Topps Series 2 that showed him in a style of uniform he never wore as a Met. This card, commemorating Cowgill’s Opening Day Grand Slam, is likely to be the only one that legitimately depicts him as a Mets player.
Note: If this card appears to have rounded corners, it is an artifact of my blog theme. The actual card has standard 90 degree corners.
Baseball is back, and the Mets got things off to a fun start with an 11-2 victory on Opening Day and an 8-4 win on Wednesday night. Unfortunately, they couldn’t complete the sweep on Thursday afternoon, but I’ll take a 2-1 start.
Sure, the San Diego Padres aren’t very good – they finished 10 games under .500 last year and are making do without their best player, Chase Headley, who’s on the DL with a fractured finger.
But why let that spoil the fun of watching the Mets play well? Jonathon Niese turned in an ace-like performance on Opening Day and managed two hits to help his cause.
Collin Cowgill earned fans with his Opening Day grand slam and his hustle – he was already closing in on third before the umpires had signaled it was a home run.
Scott Rice finally arrived in the major leagues after 14 years in the minor leagues and stints in independent league baseball with the Long Island Ducks, Newark Bears and York Revolution.
John Buck already has a pair of home runs and is earning praise from Mets pitchers. It’s certainly making it easier to accept Travis d’Arnaud starting the year in the minor leagues, and who knows? Maybe Buck will continue playing well enough to become a legitimate trade chip in July. (And in case you haven’t seen it yet, he’s got a really sweet catcher’s mask.)
Matt Harveydrew admiration from Tampa Bay Rays ace David Price for his performance Wednesday night – seven innings, one hit and 10 strikeouts. How can you ask for much more?
Even Dillon Gee was a hard-luck loser on Thursday – he held the Padres to just one run and pitched into the seventh inning.
This weekend’s games against the Miani Marlins may tells us a little bit more about the 2013 New York Mets. While the quality of competition isn’t going to improve much, the Mets will have to rely on the back half of the starting rotation. Jeremy Hefner and Aaron Laffey aren’t exactly Tom Seaver and Jerry Koosman (or even Harvey and Niese), but we might as well embrace them.
Sure, I’d be more excited about Zack Wheeler getting the ball on Sunday than watching Laffey, but let’s root for him instead of getting frustrated. Hopefully the Mets offense will look more like it did on Monday and Wednesday than it did Thursday afternoon.
Cowgill is a bit more complicated. Lillian said the name probably derives from a village in England called Cowgill, which may take its name because it was a place where cattle grazed. In Middle English, the word cowgill translated roughly to “cow gully.”
When told of his potential ancestry in England’s famed cow gullies, Cowgill said: “You’d have to have a lot of time on your hands to come up with that.”
If you didn’t see it, click through and read the full article – the quotes from some of the players and the “baseball card” mockups are amusing.
Today was more fun. Ruben Tejada hit a wind-aided home run off of Stephen Strasburg. Zack Wheeler got to make his unofficial New York Mets debut. Collin Cowgill made a nice catch, hit a double and scored from second base on an error by Washington first baseman Micah Owings. Bobby Parnell kind of looked like a closer.
Sure, it’s just one game… and a Grapefruit League game at that. But this season is going to be about enjoying things where we find them.
I always keep a scorecard for the first baseball game that I watch each year, even if it is a spring training game on SNY.
I suspect I’ll end up scoring a few more games this spring as I continue to tweak my scorecard design. (I lost the original file for the scorecard I’ve been using for the last few seasons, so I’m taking advantage of the opportunity to revise it for 2013.)
I’m still concerned that having only two spaces per batting order slot will be a problem, but I like having more room to write player names.
I definitely need to clean up the “Game Notes” section some more, and I’m not happy with the way the running totals blend with the inning totals at the bottom of the page.
The Mets acquired outfielder Collin Cowgill from the Oakland Athletics for minor league infielder Jefry Marte on Tuesday. I’ve got a vague memory of seeing him play against the Mets last year when he was with the Arizona Diamondbacks, but I remember Cowgill more for his unusual name than his playing ability.
In very limited major league playing time, Cowgill has good numbers against left-handed pitching and he has played centerfield. That probably sets him up as a platoon partner with Kirk Nieuwenhuis next year, but I guess we’ll find out during spring training.
Marte was another Omar Minaya-era international free agent who doesn’t have a real position. He’ll probably blossom in the Oakland farm system, but we’ll never hear about it since no one ever pays any attention to the A’s unless they’re beating their favorite team.