For nearly two decades, "pitchers and catchers" was a far more vivid harbinger of spring than Groundhog Day, or the first snowdrops trying to peek through the ground, or the fact that on the rare occasions when I actually leave the office at 5 PM (I never seem to actually leave "work", since most nights I'm working after dinner until bedtime) it's still light out.
This year, for us Mets fans, "pitchers and catchers" is mostly a time to sigh at what used to be and realize that it's become yet another "so what?" in our lives. If I'd had any stirrings at all about the approach of yet another season of Mets futility, the organization gave me a reminder this week when they demoted the longtime journeyman Omir Santos
, who did nothing other than play his heart out, hitting .260 in 281 at bats with 7 home runs including one grand slam, on a team that was dropping like flies from injuries or showing appalling ineptitude, to AAA.
The Mets, who in recent weeks have been signing what looks like anyone still standing at the corner bar before last call, have brought no fewer than six catchers to spring training. The leading candidate for the starting job, and what passes for a Big Signing™ is Rod Barajas, a 35-year-old journeyman (Santos is six years younger) whose highest average was .254 in 2006 with the Texas Rangers, and who hit a sizzling .226 last year. As Bill Madden notes
, 2010 is starting to look an awful lot like 1962. If the Wilpons want us to believe they didn't really lose $700 million to Bernie Madoff, they sure aren't doing a good job of it.
So, if you find American League baseball boring, and you simply feel that spending 2-1/2 hours or more every weekend on an organization that's so shitty it's enough to make one remember Marge Schott's Cincinnati Reds fondly, the only pleasure to be had from baseball this year is the writings of another former journeyman, Doug Glanville
, who's been writing gorgeous prose about the sport he loves for the New York Times
for over a year. If you, like me, just can't bear another season of craptacular baseball in Flushing, you could do worse than to just read
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