For the first time since the Kansas City Royals defeated the Mets on November 1st last year, I was able to watch them play a baseball game today.
Sure, the stakes were much lower…today’s contest was just an exhibition, which was allowed to end as a 4-4 tie. And some of the players on the field at the end of today’s game will finish their professional careers with the same number of major league at bats as me.
But it was baseball, and especially for a few moments while we watched Dilson Herrera turn a wind-blown fly ball into an inside-the-park home run, it was magical.
Jacob deGrom refused to sign an autograph on his 2016 contract.Though he will still make more money this year than most Mets fans, deGrom rightly feels that the Mets’ $607,000 doesn’t reflect his value to the team. He’s hardly the first pre-arbitration player to go down this road, and definitely won’t be the last.
And even before today’s Mets game was over, the story was largely forgotten… thanks to an interview Jenrry Mejia gave to the New York Times.
We all wanted to know how Mejia could get suspended not once, not twice, but three times in less than a year for failing drug tests for steroids.Well, Mejia gave us an answer today… though it sounds like something for Agents Mulder and Scully to investigate.
Mejia said that baseball officials told him that if he appealed the punishment for the second doping offense, “they will find a way to find a third positive,” Mejia, who is from the Dominican Republic, said through an interpreter. “I felt there was a conspiracy against me. I feel that they were trying to find something to bring me down in my career.”
Maybe those who didn’t think A-Rod‘s case was handled fairly, or those who still believe Ryan Braun‘s original claims of innocence can find a shred of credibility in Mejia’s allegations.
The best I can do is ask: Wouldn’t Mejia be smart enough to come up with something better if he was just going to make up a story? (Of course, we’re talking about somebody who is barred from practicing his chosen profession for failing three separate drug tests…)
But really, even if you do believe Major League Baseball had an axe to grind against A-Rod…how is a player on Mejia’s level even worth planning a conspiracy against? Outside of the New York area, how many people had even heard of him prior to his “lifetime” ban?
For the record, a spokesperson for Major League Baseball denied Mejia’s allegations. However, the former pitcher has retained a labor lawyer and appears to be keeping his options open. It would be interesting to find out if Mejia has any evidence to support his assertions.
But enough of the ugly side of baseball. Spring training is well underway, Opening Day is less than a month away and a new season lies ahead of us. Let’s try to enjoy it.
This week’s featured Mets baseball card is really a sticker, a promo for Topps’ MLB Wacky Packages product that’s coming out in March. It’s part of my collection thanks to one of my blog readers, but I’m really not sure what to say about the “N.Y. Deli Meat Mitts.” (John also sent along some other, more traditional baseball cards and I’m sure I will get to featuring some of them in the days ahead. All are much appreciated.)
I have to admit that I’m not really feeling the spring training vibe this year. Sure, it was fun when camps officially opened a couple of weeks ago. But since then, all we’ve had to focus on are stories about Yoenis Cespedes‘ car collection, the new slide rule, and a whole bunch of other stuff that doesn’t seem very interesting.
Maybe Friday’s first Mets spring training game telecast will rekindle some of my enthusiasm. (It probably will for the first few innings… until the field is invaded by players wearing football numbers and identified in on-screen graphics as “minor league guy.”)
But I don’t think I’ll really be excited about baseball season until Sunday night, April 3rd, when the Mets play their first game that counts.
Former Mets pitcher Dillon Gee is in spring training with the Kansas City Royals, hoping to win a spot in the team’s rotation or as a swingman in the bullpen.
“It was bittersweet, obviously,” Gee told the Kansas City Star’s Rustin Dodd about his departure from the Mets. “I had been there going on five years in the big leagues, and it’s like: ‘I was there during the lean times. I wanted to be there when they were celebrating at the end.’ ”
“It wasn’t the best of circumstances, but things unfolded the way they unfolded. They went to the World Series, so obviously they pulled the right strings, I guess.”