As more and more Mets crowd into Port St. Lucie just long enough for it to be exciting before it becomes amazingly tedious, here’s what I don’t get: The Mets have four — four! — alliterative pitchers in camp, and none of them has been issued an alliterative uniform number.
According to the spring roster Adam Rubin was kind enough to post on the ESPN New York Mets blog, Chris Capuano will wear 38; Taylor Tankersley possesses 47; Boof Bonser is to model 27; and Blaine Boyer — the reason we didn’t make the playoffs in 2008, I read a while ago — alights in No. 23.
So Sandy Alderson goes to the trouble of assembling a quartet of alliterative pitchers and then Kevin Kierst, the Mets’ new and alliterative clubhouse manager, doesn’t think to clothe them in repeating numbers.
Rookie mistake. Or a communications breakdown. It’s too bad, whatever it is. The Mets need to be known for something positive on the off chance their wins aren’t frequent and their lawsuits aren’t rare. Alliteration can still be their ticket to ride if the numbers get switched appropriately. In a year when nobody dares to pronounce The Magic Is Back or that Baseball Like It Oughta Be is in effect, “Bring Your Kids To See Our Alliterative Athletes” looms as a splendid, no-cost marketing concept. Besides, check the calendar: ’11 is as alliterative a year as we’re going to have until 2020.
Can’t anybody here play this theme?
Let’s see who’s in the numbers that could conceivably belong to the pitchers who should be known as C.C., T.T., B.B. and the other B.B.
11: Ruben Tejada. He had it last season. He won’t have it this season, at least not right away. Tejada showed plenty of second base glove and a little bit of bat in 2010, but his youth (and perhaps a nefarious plot to unload Jose Reyes) will have him exiled to Buffalo this April where he’ll refamiliarize himself with shortstop. Wear a coat, kid. I hear it gets chilly up there. 11 may be the Opening Day temperature at Buffalo.
22: Willie Harris. Like this whole Willie Harris on the Mets thing isn’t some kind of counterintelligence plot undertaken by the Phillies. Let’s face it — Harris is just here to gather information on where to best play Mets hitters when he ultimately signs with Philadelphia. And by “best,” I mean how far away he can position himself as a defensive replacement for Raul Ibañez in order to make yet another soul-crushing circus catch to kill yet another ninth-inning comeback. Willie Harris on the Mets…yeah, right. Switch with Boyer, you phony.
33: Taylor Buchholz. Except for Taylor and his more accomplished cousin Clay, I don’t know that I’ve ever come across internal alliterative h’s on a baseball uniform. That alone is impressive, but not enough so that he couldn’t trade with Taylor Tankersley. Then Buchholz must pitch real well, for 47 needs an overwhelming presence to rid itself of whatever residual Gl@v!nism still lingers between the 4 and the 7. Hisanori Takahashi did a fine job last year, but his aura has faded as quickly as Casey Fossum’s (who will be wandering around the minor league complex this spring for some unknown reason).
44: Jason Bay. For a man who slammed his face into the Dodger Stadium fence and coped with a concussion for two months thereafter, the last thing we need is for him to see double. Bay starred in Pittsburgh as No. 38. Jason and Chris Capuano can switch at once.
55: Chris Young. I assumed he was 55 in his previous stops on the assumption that no veteran just winds up with 55 on a new team without a history with it. Orel Hershiser had been 55. Shawn Estes had been 55. I was going to bow to Chris Young’s veteran’s prerogative, but he’s never been 55 in the majors before, so the hell with that now. You want a new number? You be 27, and give 55 to Boof Bonser. Boof Bonser among all the alliterative pitchers cries out to be in an alliterative number (or annumerals). Two hashtags (BONSER ##) would be even better, but let’s not get carried away just yet. It’s only February.
OK, so now we are placing Blaine Boyer in 22, Taylor Tankersley in 33, Chris Capuano in 44 and Boof Bonser in 55.
There. You’re welcome.
As long as we’re fixing things in this vein, let’s move D.J. Carrasco and his internal double r’s (which are more noticeable than Harris’s) from 77 to 66. How can you have a “D.J.” and not align him with the frequency of your flagship radio station? For crissake, the Mets haven’t been on WABC-77 AM since 1963.
A real visionary would change the name on D.J.’s back from CARRASCO to WFAN and you’d open all kinds of potential revenue streams with WFAN 66 coming into pitch. (It didn’t work when Ted Turner tried to send Andy Messersmith to the mound as CHANNEL 17 on the old WTBS, but Bud Selig seems more amenable to playing ball.) This would click that much more perfectly if WFAN actually had DJs instead of sports talk hosts. They certainly have my blessing to go all-music every weekday afternoon at 1 o’clock.
In case you’ve forgotten (or somehow lived this long without ever knowing it), the Mets have already had one D.J., two-sport athlete D.J. Dozier, in 1992. He wore No. 7 and batted .191, going 9-for-47 and proving he was better suited for football than baseball, let alone radio.
What kind of D.J. can’t put together a Top Ten hits list?