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A Winning Preposition

FAFIF Fantasy Camp Correspondent Jeff Hysen [1] is rounding third and sprinting toward his final full day in St. Lucie. Are his pockets lighter? Did he prepare his laundry correctly? Is it possible one former Met is a stickler for grammar? Here’s the dope from Thursday.

One piece of advice [2] that I would give someone going to a baseball fantasy camp is to do sprints. I took up jogging and that’s helped me lose weight and gain stamina but it doesn’t help you when you have to drop the bat and run or run around the bases or move to track a fly ball. As a result, my quads hurt. I’m not complaining, though. It’s part of the Fantasy Camp experience. The trainers are fantastic — they are from the Mets minor league system — and they treat us great. There are a lot of campers with injuries far worse than mine but nobody is going home or missing a game.

Having regular Mets staffers here is one of the ways that they treat each of us like a major leaguer. Our bus driver is used during Spring Training, and he drives the Port St. Lucie Mets during their season. The clubhouse guys are regular staffers. They’ve welcomed us like we’re part of the team.

Thursday officially began with the daily meeting. First, we received our third talk about the laundry loop [3]. Then, Commissioner John Stearns gave out the Golden Rope and Brown Rope. The Golden Rope is for play the previous day. They have multiple nominees (and were generous enough to make me one) and wound up giving the rope to a guy who pitched a complete game despite having a broken bone in his pitching hand. The Brown Rope goes to players and coaches for misdeeds like forgetting to wear your helmet; wearing your chest protector inside out; or for making a bad managerial move. Everybody applauds and it gets the day going on a fun note.

A lot of credit for that goes to Stearns who has nonstop enthusiasm. The four games are on adjacent fields and he goes from field to field cheering us on.

To amend the original coaches list — not here: Eric Hillman, Rodney McCray, Rafael Santana, Guy Conti; here: Ed Kranepool (for two days but two days of seeing Kranepool was special); Bernard Gilkey; and, as of Thursday, Tim Teufel.

The weather finally turned warm as the day went on. We won our final “regular season” game. Bunting is not encouraged because guys usually want to swing the bat, but with the game on the line, I bunted with the score tied in the bottom of the sixth (we play seven innings) and runners on first and second, nobody out. I managed to beat it out and we scored 4 runs. Later, we won our first playoff game in extra innings to advance to the semis.

Pat Zachry [4] update: he said that I seemed sinister because I smile [5] so much. Zachry is one of many good guys [6] among the coaching staff. Wine, Brantley, Randle, Schourek, Gaspar, Millan, Capra, Montañez…I really could name them all.

Thursday night was the Kangaroo Court. As it was a “closed session,” I will not tell you exactly what transpired, but I can tell you that I managed largely to escape its wrath. I was told that I would be fined for wearing jeans in the batting cage — it was 7:30 in the morning, at least I was in the cage! — but there were other transgressions worse than mine.

From there, it was back to Duffy’s. I’ll just say that the coaches don’t mind hanging out with the players and the players are thrilled to hang out with the coaches. Turns out one of them claims to have been reading my reports here and believes I end too many sentences with prepositions.

Nevertheless, he’s still a good guy to hang out with.