Carlos Beltran is playing against the Mets in today’s St. Lucie appeteaser. Well, that’s just wrong. So much for instructing Jeremi Gonzalez to stick it in his ear. We need that ear. Jose Valentin’s, too, I suppose. What are their/our ears doing under red batting helmets emblazoned PR instead of ventilated, two-tone jobs sporting NY? And who knew Dicky Gonzalez was alive and well?
Gosh I hope Beltran tells Bernie Williams, “I always thought it would be a thrill to play alongside you, but now that I have, it’s not that special.”
For all the storm and stress over the World Baseball Classic, it was nice to have a game to watch live at 4 in the morning. Couldn’t stay up for the conclusion, but Korea and Japan presented an entertaining, professional contest in a big league setting.
Which is why this thing is more enticing than the Olympics or the hundreds of college baseball games that I assiduously avoid when they seep out of the cable. These are pros, with wooden bats and everything. They’re playing in stadiums where pros play. (Don’t say you don’t remember our mornings in the Tokyo Dome.)
In other words, big league-type baseball games make for viewing preferable to almost anything else.
Spring training games fit or fill — I’ve seen it both ways — that bill very nicely, too, which is why springing this WBC in spring made as little sense as possible. Gather these players a month ago and it would have been heavenly. Now it’s just a finger-crossing exercise, as in oh, please, please, please, don’t let anybody I care about get conked.
I saw Jung Bong, the erstwhile Brave pitcher, on the hill for Korea. Bong was the kid Bobby Cox sent up on the last day of the 2002 season to pinch-hit, allegedly because Bong was a good tweak of Bobby V’s sinking Mets after Grant Roberts was pictured in the paper with a bong of his own. Seemed a little deep for Bobby Cox, but spying a Brave, even an erstwhile one, made me root for Japan to the extent I rooted for anyone. I found out that Korea came back and won. Well, as long as Bong didn’t benefit. Or Bobby Cox.
Japan? Korea? It’s Atlanta I hate. Which gives me an idea…
Baseball needs to take the idea of playing for national pride one step further. How about instead of teams identified by country, we split them by city? Figure out a way to assign players to teams in each major American town (the players may have to get paid, but that can be worked out). In the bigger markets, we’ll have two teams. Then those of us who live in a particular city can develop a rooting interest for that city’s team, and rivalries between our own city and others who compete against ours can flourish.
See, if baseball had that, there’d be no need for contrivances like the WBC.
First looks at Milledge and Pelfrey, courtesy of ESPN. I could think of worse guys to look at. I’d be lying if I said I came up with anything deeper than “he sure is fast” and “he sure is big.”
Pelfrey vs. Beltran: C’mon…one of you.
How come the Mets don’t have a restraining order in place against Steve Phillips?
No judgments, I swear, but as three different correspondents have suggested, Tom McCarthy is vocally not altogether dissimilar from Gary Cohen. I’d say the voice is a cross* between Cohen and, no offense to Tom, Todd Kalas. Maybe that’s an occupational hazard of McCarthy having hung around with Todd’s dad Harry in Philly these last seven years.
Eddie Coleman sounds like Eddie Coleman sounds like Eddie Coleman. And the fifteenth batter of the game was…well, I’ve already forgotten, but it’s good to know somebody’s keeping track again. Must be March. And that must be not at all bad.
*Imagine tuning into a Mets game between 1989 and 2005 on WFAN, except instead of turning the dial to 660, you’ve accidentally set it at 650. THAT’S what McCarthy kind of sounds like vis-à-vis Cohen.