Ronny Paulino reportedly isn’t in Mets camp yet. How can they tell? Based on the onslaught of images filtering north from Port St. Lucie, there seem to be approximately 2,000 players in Mets camp. Check harder — our backup catcher’s visa’s gotta be in there somewhere.
In the spirit of that which is so crowded that nobody goes there anymore, I’ve treaded (or perhaps trod) lightly on in-depth Spring Training coverage since it began to spill out of every pore of my computer, my digital device and my SNY. I’m not complaining that it’s there, mind you; it beats the hell out of staring out the window and waiting for snow to melt. But if I were perched breathlessly on every syllable regarding how good [guy I never heard of/gave the slightest thought to before this week] looked in this morning’s side session, I’d probably be OD’ing right about now.
Whereas I usually read as much of what is written about the Mets as possible, I’ve mostly skimmed the minute-by-minute Florida updates, and otherwise marveled at all the pretty pictures. My sense from my marveling is the 2011 Mets, as presently constituted, are one big blur of blue. There go a few hundred guys in Mets batting practice tops running this way and there go a few hundred more in Mets batting practice tops stretching that way. Somewhere in between, perhaps in several places at once, is the blurriest Met presence of them all, Terry Collins.
Is Terry Collins doing a great job? Well, he’s doing a job, which in itself is commendable in this economy. Otherwise it’s premature to draw conclusions based on every last pronouncement the manager makes to however many microphones are projected toward his lips. For the rest of us in our comparatively humdrum occupations, whatever Terry Collins is doing would qualify as preparation, the stuff nobody else would see, the stuff nobody else would judge us on. Terry operates on a more fascinating stage, I suppose, but everything to this point is a rough rehearsal for which the stage door happened to be left unlocked. Just because people get to watch what he’s doing doesn’t mean there’s a ton to be divined from it.
Let Collins at least manage one pretend game first…and whaddaya know? The Mets’ first pretend game is Saturday, on Channel 11, which will help me craft the vaguest of underinformed impressions regarding who should play second, who should be in the bullpen, who should be handed the ball on fourth and fifth days. Right now, I blissfully and ignorantly admit I have no idea whose those players should be. I could pick a name based on all the well-intentioned observing others have done, but I’d like to see a few pitches, a few swings, a few ground balls in exhibitions for myself. Then and only then, when I happen to be looking at the TV long enough to be impressed by a fleeting shot of [some other guy I never heard of/gave the slightest thought to before this week], will I insist that that guy has to make the team.
Right now, I only insist that there be a team, and I’m comforted that there seem to be enough Mets in St. Lucie to form forty of them. Until they sort themselves out, I’ll content myself to root for that big blue blur.
In the meantime, does MLB have a job for you!