Couldn't let the opening day of meaningless baseball pass by without notice, so I tuned in to SNY's evening rebroadcast of today's spring training game against Detroit. Though I have to admit, I was flipping back and forth between the brutal Knicks-Celtics game (and thinking about my contribution to the belated first half review coming up over on Fortuitous Bounce). As usual for these games, the positive, negative, and simply curious were all on display. And none of it meant anything, of course. Which is part of the joy of spring training, to be honest. It's stakes-free. You could lose 100-0 and not give a damn; you're just happy to be there, on your ass, able to watch baseball, miraculously, in February.
Jose Reyes stole a base, naturally. Your first RBI of the spring? That would be newcomer David Newhan, late of the Orioles, with a sac fly in the sixth, scoring Ben Johnson. Random note on Johnson for the curious: doesn't look like he runs that well. He did drop in a classic "Bermuda Triangle" ball on a converging 1B, 2B, and right fielder in the eighth, the kind you can see coming a mile away as the fielders collapse on the ball. Johnson saw it coming too and dug in for two bases.
I'll say it: I missed the announcer banter, I really did. Keith and Ron had some fun reminiscing about the time the light-hitting Rafael Belliard, now a Tigers coach, tagged Ron for two home runs in a spring training game in the early Eighties. Darling cheerfully noted that Belliard had exactly two homers in his entire 17-year major league career. It will grow old quickly, and Keith in particular can get irritating, but there's nothing quite like baseball announcer b.s., at least when it's not of the obnoxious Michael Kay or Hawk Harrelson varieties. Really.
Neifi Perez had two errors, which is always fun to see. I have no idea how it is that reasonable baseball executives keep giving jobs to Neifi Perez. It's one of those ongoing mysteries, like, What did the cave drawings mean? or, What the hell is nougat made of? We might never know.
Let's not focus on this too much, but since I brought it up: As the game got started there was poor old Shawn Green staggering around right field while Lastings Milledge and Endy Chavez looked on helplessly from the bench.
Oliver Perez got off to a decidedly rocky start, pitching two innings and leaving everything up in the zone and out over the plate. As Keith and Ron are quick to point out, he's just airing it out, stretching his arm and getting into the habit of repeating his motion and arm slot. If I had the stomach for it, I'd have tuned in to WFAN later to hear the fans overreact and tear their collective hair out giving up on Ollie for the season, but you know what? Life's too short.
The just plain curious
Odd starting lineup: Reyes, Beltran, Alou, Delgado, LoDuca, Wright, Green, Julio Franco, Damion Easley. I think it's safe to say David Wright won't be batting sixth this year. And Beltran hitting second raises the ol' eyebrow. I always wonder about these spring training moves that don't end up amounting to anything. There's no problem with them, but what's the point? Just for the hell of it? Why not, I guess.
Mets2Moon will like this: we had a Timoniel Perez sighting! I keep forgetting he ended up with the Tigers. He flied out harmlessly in the seventh.
The tigers have spoken
Down 5-1, the Mets rallied to put up three in the eighth, but that was as close as they got. And Spring, the season of glorious meaningless baseball, is underway.