Friday, February 20, 2015

d'O What Now?

A lazy Friday evening saw me tooling around on the TV, flipping around stations and ultimately landing on SNY because I saw something involving the Mets, and after all, Spring Training has in fact begun in spite of the fact that it's a robust 4˚ out in New York right now. But they're living it up in Florida so if nothing else that's a sign that the weather will be turning eventually. But not yet.

Apropos of which, I was watching some video of a workout and something caught my eye: Travis d'Arnaud, who'd been wearing uniform number 15 since coming to the Mets two seasons ago, was curiously wearing number 7. I wondered if maybe this was just a Spring Training thing. After all, it seemed somewhat prescient of the Mets to give d'Arnaud #15, a number that for many years was worn by standout Mets Catcher Jerry Grote, and I have, at times, seen a lot of Grote in d'Arnaud. Given tenure, I can see d'Arnaud as the kind of catcher with a general scowl on his face going out and screaming at pitchers when the situation presents itself. Plus, it's not unheard of for guys to wear different numbers in Spring Training. I know Dwight Gooden for one used to put on #64 in Florida before going back to his customary #16 up north.

But after some sleuthing, I came to discover that d'Arnaud had, in fact, swapped numbers with Bob Geren, and #7 was a permanent change. Why, I'm not totally sure, I can't imagine d'Arnaud wished to pay homage to Todd Pratt, but he's a Major League ballplayer and can do what he wants. Particularly if he builds on his solid, if somewhat uneven, second half performance last season.

The joke, however, is on anyone who bought a d'ARNAUD 15 T-shirt last season, like I did. I like d'Arnaud and late last season I was on a coupon/discount card-aided kick of replenishing a Mets t-shirt collection that was old/ill-fitting/full of holes and bought T-shirts featuring d'ARNAUD 15, deGROM 48 and WHEELER 45. But now that d'Arnaud is out of date. He's hoodwinked me. I'm not going to plonk down more money for a d'ARNAUD 7 shirt. I'd rather save it for another fascination, say, FLORES 4.

At least the other Met to change his uni number, Noah Syndergaard, had the foresight to swap numbers before he made it to the Major Leagues and had a spate of T-shirts made up. In a less eye-catching number change, Syndergaard has abandoned #55 in favor of #34, recently worn by another excessively large-framed right handed pitcher, Mike Pelfrey.

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