The final day of Mets Fantasy Camp is at hand and FAFIF correspondent Jeff Hysen doesn’t sound quite ready to leave the big league life behind for the drudgery of Lean Cuisines, but that, one supposes, is why they call the week he’s been living in a fantasy. But there’s still the little matter of the final game Saturday, and what it will be like to face big league pitching, so the fantasy ain’t over yet. And what’s this about an infiltrator in the midst of Met paradise? Jeff has the St. Lucie scoop from Friday.
When I talk about the “big league experience,” I mean everything here is big league. The grounds crew rakes and manicures the fields. The batting helmets are organized for us by size. The kitchen staff is feeding us like pros. Each meal has been excellent and I will miss it on Monday when I put a Lean Cuisine in the microwave for lunch.
After breakfast and a final lesson with Mickey Brantley (this guy knows so much about hitting — I can’t believe that he doesn’t have a major league job), we had our final morning meeting. We have apparently mastered the laundry loop, or it doesn’t matter anymore, because we didn’t receive any further instruction. John Stearns gave out the Brown Rope and Golden Rope awards for the day and I was nominated for both: brown for screwing up two fly balls in right and looking particularly bad in the process, and gold for my perfectly executed bunt that helped us win a game.
After stretching, it was onto the semis. I set a few modest goals for myself, and one was to get two hits. I had three going into the semifinal game but I wanted to know what it would be like to hit one hard and in my third AB, I did.
When you hit a ball on the screws, it makes a very loud sound…loud and glorious. It was an RBI double that helped us defeat Kevin Baez’s team and move onto the finals. I wish it happened more than once.
Stearns said that it was one of the best championship games in camp history. Sadly, the final was very Metlike for us as Millan’s Nine Lives scored four in the bottom of the seventh to win 7-6. The guys on our team were great and it has been a pleasure meeting them and playing ball with them. The coaches really got into it to; the game even featured a mild argument (in Spanish) between Felix Millan and Willie Montañez.
As I’ve mentioned, many of the guys came with friends. There are some fathers and sons, some brothers, some cousins and some guys whose wives and kids are hanging around, but most guys are on their own. Yet, it doesn’t matter because after a day, you become friends with your teammates and the guys around your locker. There is great camaraderie in camp. However, sadly, I must report, that there is one guy who has upset many of us. He’s not a bad guy, and he’s a good ballplayer, but he’s a fan of the MFYs (you know, the other team in New York). He’s part of a group of ten pals and the word has gone around camp about this guy. I would never-EVER wear an MFY uniform but this guy is wearing a Mets uniform…and to make it worse, he’s wearing 9, not in honor of J.C. Martin but for Graig Nettles.
To respond to two comments:
1) Sorry, but I can’t break the sanctity of Kangaroo Court. I will tell you that you shouldn’t be talking to your wife when it’s your turn at bat.
2) To the poster who asked where my “boo-boo” is from being hit by a pitch, it’s on my left bicep which is massive so it didn’t hurt. However, a black and blue mark has appeared which I am wearing as a badge of honor.
Friday night was the closing banquet. We mingled with the coaches and got autographs and pictures. They were friendly and accommodating and it was fun talking with them one last time. Even though we’re almost finished, they continue to be regular guys. Randy Niemann seemed very psyched to be with the Mets staff this season. Awards were given out to the championship team and individual awards were given out as well for various categories, including the Cleon Jones Award for highest average and the Gary Carter Award for best defensive catcher.
Tomorrow is the big day as the campers play the pros at Tradition Field. Pete Schourek and Anthony Young are two of the pitchers. I’m told that if you want one of the pro pitchers to show you what it’s like to face a major league fastball, you tell them to “bring the s**t.”