- Faith and Fear in Flushing - http://www.faithandfearinflushing.com -

As Mets Catchers Report

“Hello, Mr. Santos. I’m not sure if you remember me…”
“You’re that kid, right? That kid from last September [1]. Holy? Holy Something?”
“Thole, sir. Josh Thole. I just wanted to remake your acquaintance.”
“Yeah, Thole, right. Hey, you don’t have to call me Mr. Santos.”
“Well, it’s just that you’re so much older than I am, and my folks taught me to respect my elders.”
“Listen, Holy..”
“That’s Thole, Mr. Santos. I guess at your age the hearing must begin to go a bit.”
“Thole, how old are you?”
“I’m just a lad of 23.”
“Thole, I ain’t even gonna be 29 until April.”

“Twenty-nine, sir? Can I get you another stool? You must be growing weary putting on all that equipment.”
“Thole, if I didn’t know better, I’d think you were trying to tell me something, like you think being younger than me is gonna win you my job.”
“Gosh, no, Mr. Santos. I mean you’re a veteran and everything. If I remember my SATs right — and I think I do since I didn’t take them all that long ago — the word for you is venerable.”
“Knock it off, kid. I ain’t no venerable veteran or whatever you just called me. I was a rookie last year, just like you are this year.”
“At your advanced age? That’s remarkable, Mr. Santos. You must have spent a lot of years in the minors. A lot.”
“Kid, I worked hard to get here and I earned my position as the No. 1 catcher going into the season. Don’t think a few years between you and me is gonna make that much of a difference.”
“Six years, sir. Say, I think I’m gonna sprint out onto the field with all my gear on to get a head start on the workouts. When you’re as young as me, you have a lot of energy to burn, even after hitting .381 in winter ball [2]. Maybe you remember that feeling, Mr. Santos.”
“It’s Omir, kid. Omir.”

Hola, fellas. This where we don the tools of ignorance?”
“You must be Mr. Blanco.”
Mister Blanco? Where you get that from, muchacho? Ain’t we all big leaguers here?”
“Ignore him, Henry. Kid’s playing mind games with us. Geez, look at him run…”
“Yeah, sure. And who are you?”
“Aw, c’mon, Henry. You know me.”
“No offense, bro, but I meet a lotta ballplayers in my line of work. Can’t keep ’em all straight.”
“Dude, I’m Omir Santos!”
“Doesn’t ring a bell.”
“Omir Santos! Topps All-Rookie catcher [3] from last year!”
“From what team?”
“What team? This team, fool!”

“Oh, right. Sorry, pal. Yeah, I guess I’ve heard of ya.”
“C’mon! The home run against Boston? [4]
“Boston? So you were with the Angels last year?”
“Angels, where you get that from?”
“Home run against Boston, you said. I thought you were talking about the playoffs, like it was something big. Wait a sec…is this the Angels? Is that who signed me?”
“No man, the Mets. You know…New York Mets?”
“Oh. Listen, no offense, Sanchez…”
“San-TOSE. Omir Santos.”
“Look, Omar…”
“Buddy, I’ve caught for seven different teams [5]. I can’t remember from one year to the next who I’m catching for or who I’m catching behind. I just know my agent sent me a plane ticket and directions to camp. I don’t even know who I’m backing up. Who’s the starting catcher here?”
“I am! I’m Omir Santos, dammit. I was on the Topps All-Rookie Team last year!”
“Calm down, amigo. I’m glad you still collect baseball cards. Good for you. What team’s this again?”
“The Mets.”
“Mets, huh? Hey, Piazza still here? It would be an honor to back that guy up.”
Sigh…no. Just us.”
“Aw, too bad. Well, I’m gonna go hit the field and find out who my pitchers are. Nice to meetcha, Shamir.”
“That’s OH-mir.”

“‘Scuse me, catchers dress over here?”
“Uh-huh. Hey, you’re the guy from Philly, right?”
“Damn right. Chris Coste of the Philadelphia Phillies. And you’re goin’ DOWN, Met boy.”
“What the hell?”
“Oh, sorry, man. Force of habit. I mean, yes, I’m Chris. Chris Coste.”
“Nice to see ya. I’m Omir Santos.”
“Yeah, I know who you are. You’re a Met. And I don’t like Mets.”
“Chris, you all right?”
“Geez, did I do it again? I gotta apologize. I just have this thing. I was in the Phillie organization an awful long time. They were more like family to me than my own family. I can’t help but think of myself as a Phillie [6].”
“But didn’t they let you go last year? Houston picked you up on waivers, right?”
“Chris, chill!”

“Gosh, Omir, I don’t know what comes over me. I guess I’m just such a Phillie, that I think I’m still on their team. And knowing you’re a Met just brings it out in me.”
“Chris, man, you’re a Met, too.”
“You say that one more time, and I swear I’ll pop you right in the face.”
“Whoa, take it easy there.”
“Don’t tell me to take it easy! The Phillies aren’t gonna take it easy on you losers! I’m gonna go get my buddies Chase and Shane and J-Roll…and, oh, don’t get Ryan Howard mad. He’ll mess you up but good! We’re the team to beat [7]!”
“Chris, seriously…”
“And who painted this clubhouse these disgusting shades of blue and orange? Why isn’t it red and white like it always is? How did the Clearwater city authorities allow this?”
“This is Port St. Lucie, Chris. You’re a Met.”
“Oh, that’s it! I’m telling Hamels to come inside on you, and you’re not gonna like it, you choke artist [8].”
“Chris, I think you need to go see the trainer or something.”

“Who was that?”
“Just some guy who’s lost, I think.”
“Say, you’re Omir Santos, right?”
“Yeah. Who’re you?”
“Oh, hi. I’m Shawn Riggans [11]. I was with the Rays the last few years. Didn’t play much, though. I just signed a minor league deal with the Mets and I’m looking forward to hopefully being your teammate.”
“You another catcher [12]?”
“Go screw yourself. You and that guy whose footsteps I hear [13] out in the hall.”