So much for appreciative cries of BOOOOOOOOne making Shea a deceptively supportive place this season.
Bret Boone, non and future Met, hung 'em up this morning. Word is it was quite the emotional ordeal. For him anyway.
No offense to a guy who just realized that his 14-year Major League career is over, but I'm sadder to realize the Mets will be without Juan Padilla and his bag of tricks for the duration of Puerto Rico's participation in the WBC. Padilla will return in a couple of weeks. Boone was never really here. Sure, he put on a Mets uniform, fielded a ball in it and then said goodbye to it, but what's that? That's Bret Boone playing a Met, not playing for the Mets. That's County Stadium and Camden Yards dressing up as the home of the Cleveland Indians in two Major League movies. It's like he rented out the Mets for a fantasy camp of pathos.
Veterans sign and don't make the team every year. Fine and honorable. Spring training is the time for the Terry Puhls and Mariano Duncans to give it their all one more — possibly one last — time. But what's with the guys who get this far and decide the last thing they want to do as Major Leaguers is stiff the Mets? The Boone, as I'm told he was known when he was hitting home runs for other clubs, didn't even bother to show for the intrasquad game yesterday. Perhaps he was playing catch out in the swamps with Todd Van Poppel and Kevin Stocker, two others from recent springs who never made it over the business end of the Tradition Field wall.
Yeah, they're people and they're entitled to make people decisions, but how could any of us possibly understand this kind of decision? In our minds, a baseball player strives all his life to one purpose: wear a Mets uniform in Major League competition. Only 771 such men have earned that highest privilege. And Bret Boone would rather abandon that opportunity and shed that uniform than attempt to reach the pinnacle of his profession?
Shame on the Boone.
While he debuted as a Red and excelled as a Mariner, Bret Boone was, almost imperceptibly in memory, a member of the dreaded 1999 Atlanta Braves. With all the unsavory characters on that squad, I don't hold it against him, especially given that after his single year of ineffectual contribution to their institutional torture of the Mets, he signed with San Diego and declared, “now I can go back to hating the Braves.”
If he had shown that kind of pulse during his mysterious “analyst” stint with Fox during the 2003 ALCS, he might now be finding a home behind a mic. I never heard somebody say so little for so long as Bret Boone did across those seven something-to-talk-about games. The lingering image of him, however, did say a thousand words: his brother Aaron mobbed at the plate after homering to win the pennant (for which team, I don't recall) then a cut to the booth where Bret stared stunned at the field. Bret Boone never won a World Series. Now he never will.
Regards to Van Poppel.