Here’s a few things that caught my attention over the weekend:
Andrew McCutchen makes an impression
During the course of the Major League Baseball season, most teams send their players on visits to various children’s and veterans’ hospitals. And to those of us watching the clips on the news, it sometimes seems like those events are just photo ops to get positive publicity for millionaire athletes and their teams. But that overlooks the impact those visits can have on the people in those hospitals.
There are 47 days until New York Mets pitchers and catchers report to Port St. Lucie for spring training.
Since 1962, 14 Mets players have worn #47. Jay Hook was the first, Hisanori Takahashi was the last, Tom Glavine was the most famous and Joe McEwing was the most versatile. But the player I associate with #47 is 1986 Mets closer Jesse Orosco. Who can forget the sight of Orosco’s glove flying up into the air as he celebrated getting the last out of the 1986 World Series?
GM Sandy Alderson made a bit of news yesterday, signing minor league free agent infielder Omar Quintanilla (as first reported by Adam Rubin of ESPN New York.) The move was widely panned by Mets fans, but for the sake of my own sanity I’m going to pretend that Quintanilla was signed to back up Reese Havens, Jordany Valdespin, or whoever else might be playing the middle infield positions for the Buffalo Bisons this year. (At least until Quintanilla ends up on the major league roster, anyway.)
A star pitcher for the Yomiuri Giants in Japan, Hisanori Takahashi was an afterthought when the Mets were putting together their roster this spring. I saw him make his major league debut, but I was paying more attention to Jenrry Mejia and Ruben Tejada that April night.
After that rocky start, Takahashi emerged as a reliable long-reliever. He held that role for the first six weeks of the season, until Jon Niese suffered a minor hamstring injury. Takahashi started in Niese’s place on May 21st and shut out the Yankees for six innings.
He pitched another six shutout innings against the Phillies on May 26th, one of the few games I attended that the Mets won. Takahashi remained in the rotation through the early part of summer, but as National League hitters became more familiar with his unconventional delivery his effectiveness diminished.