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Small Sample Size

The 2010 Citi Field promotional date that has me most excited? It’s gotta be the retiring of 76 and 78.

Sure, we’ll be disappointed to learn that Ike Davis and Jenrry Mejia have bowed to the world-wide clamor and agreed to curtail their electrifying rookie seasons and report for immediate induction to Cooperstown, but we’ve known since about mid-May that they already belonged to the ages, and we were merely borrowing them for the briefest of times.

Ike Davis is 11 for 21 with two very long home runs and an increasingly Paul Bunyanesque legend. (I saw him with the Cyclones a couple of years back and he looked huge and immobile. I’m no scout.) Jenrry Mejia has thrown 33 Grapefruit League pitches and watched 27 of them get recorded as strikes. Small sample size? Pssht. Take it somewhere else, Bill James. You can stack our young heroes’ ages one atop the other and not get one El Duque? Age and experience hasn’t gotten us anywhere except the DL. We’re ready for a summer of ESPN riffs on Mets fans declaring I LIKE IKE and copy editors and play-by-play guys driven to drink by the first name of a pitcher who’s not old enough to join them. Besides, if we weren’t talking about Ike and Jenrry we’d be exchanging hosannas about a suddenly resurgent Fernando Martinez or the supernatural Chris Carter, he of the two home runs in one inning. Or how about that Hisanori Takahashi, who may not be young but is Japanese, which has been the only faster ticket to Met disaster for a decade or so.

You’d think those who live by small sample size would also die by small sample size, but the happy hypocrisy of spring training doesn’t abide such logic. A good couple of days is enough to vault a prospect to “promising,” “eye-opening” or “major-league ready,” but a veteran hitting a bump or two or four is inevitably focusing on his basics, knows to take it slow, or will be ready when the bell rings. Witness Johan Santana today — his pitches were up, he got cuffed around, and everything’s fine.

I’m just trying to enjoy it. It’s what March is for, ideally: kids with quick bats and lightning arms, second- and third-year guys who’ve turned corners, veterans with things to prove, and all the other gleeful cliches of the Grapefruit League. I like my glasses when they’re not just half-full but the products of a pause in pouring. Besides, like we want to talk about pink eye or wrecked shoulders or overenthusiastic thyroids, or the fact that it’s a good stretch when Oliver Perez spreads 27 strikes over 33 batters, or anything that happened in 2009.

It’s March, man. Don’t be a bringdown. That’s what April’s for.

Remember: Amazin’ Tuesdays will return on March 23 at 7 p.m., at Two Boots. Details here [1].