The other day I was talking to my friend Bart, who is excited about the start of the Minor League Baseball season. He was telling me about how he did getting autographs at the Trenton Thunder’s annual meet & greet event on Tuesday, and about some of the teams that are coming in to Arm & Hammer Field in April.
First on the slate are the Richmond Flying Squirrels, the Double-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants. “Guess who’s their manager?,” Bart asked.
I had no idea. (I think I’m doing pretty well to know Jay Bell is managing the Trenton squad.)
Despite the wet weather yesterday, Freddy and I made the trip to Allentown, Pa. to see the Louisville Bats take on the Lehigh Valley Ironpigs. The evening’s promotion was a team photo giveaway and pregame autograph session.
It was the best-organized autograph session I’ve ever seen. Staff members handed out maps showing where all of the players and coaches would be signing along with the team photo giveaway. There were two or three people per table, and nearly the entire team participated.
Ryne Sandberg had the longest line, but if you went to his table as soon as you got in the gate, you probably were able to get his autograph. He was signing everything from baseball cards, to baseballs, bats and even a Cubs jersey.
It’s been about a month since the Topps Update cards came out, and I imagine card collectors have seen their fill of them by now. Just in case you haven’t, here’s a look at the nine Mets included in the set.
On the left, we have Scott Hairston’s actual 2011 Topps Update baseball card. On the right, we have a photo of the giant baseball card that the Mets’ graphics department mocked up for use in the daily lineup display posted at the top of the Jackie Robinson Rotunda at Citi Field. I think I like the official card better.
Thanks to a rain delay that held up the start of the game for more than two hours, I was home in time to see the last few innings. When I turned on SNY, Chris Capuano was already out of the game, the Mets were down 4-1 and Nick Evans was hitting into an inning-ending double play. I thought about flipping the channel, but I changed my mind because there are only six more Mets games left before the start of winter.
It got worse before it got better; Josh Stinson and Daniel Ray Herrera combined to put the Mets in a 6-1 hole. I kept watching anyway, because you never know what might happen.
On Sunday, Josh Satin‘s major league career finally began. Although he was called up on Thursday, it took Terry Collins a few days to get him into a game.
Satin started at first base, batting seventh. When he came up against the ageless Livan Hernandez in the third inning, he hit a 63 mile-per-hour curveball into left field to set his batting average at a perfect 1.000. Three batters later, Ruben Tejada drove him in to score the game’s first run.
Satin came up again in the fourth inning and took a called third strike. He would not get another plate appearance.
In the sixth inning, Satin was due to come up again with the bases loaded and one out in a tie game. Davey Johnson just brought in Todd Coffey to relieve Hernandez. Now Coffey has held right-handed hitters to a .186 batting average this year, while lefties are hitting .329 against him. Collins played the percentages and sent Willie Harris up to pinch-hit; for a change, Harris came through.
As happy as I was to see the runs go up on the board, I wanted to see what Satin would do in that spot.
Winter is coming, and that’s the best reason I can give you to keep watching Mets baseball this year. You’ll miss them once the season’s over – I know I will.
I had the game on, but I was paying more attention to the fortunes of the Starks, the Lannisters and Daenerys Targaryen in George R.R. Martin‘sA Storm of Swords than I was to the Mets and Brewers on Sunday afternoon.
R.A. Dickey pitched well for seven innings, but the Mets didn’t hit. When they finally did, it wasn’t enough. Terry Collins had little choice but to pinch hit for his starter with the go-ahead run in scoring position and two out in the seventh, but when Willie Harris is the best bat on your bench and your bullpen is awful, maybe it’s a better idea not to make a move.
The bullpen faltered, again. Justin Turner made a bad throw, and the Mets lost another one. They’ve slipped to six games under the .500 mark with their 5-14 record in the month of August.