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Scenes from Spring Training: Meet The Mets Part 2

Mar 8, 2010, 10:30 AM EDT

Francoeur Marquis small.jpgAfter walking the grounds I went to the media work room. Same setup as the Winter Meetings, writ-small: tables with outlets and internet connections, a lot of handouts with lineups and player facts written on them, and a bunch of working reporters who looked at me like I was from Mars. I knew most of them though, and as they walked in I kept thinking “I wonder if he read that post I wrote calling him a dumbass that time.”

One of the reporters brought in bagels for everyone. A voice from the back of the room yelled “where the bagles from?”  The reponse “Panera.”  Dejected groans filled the room.  Panera bagels are perfectly edible of course, but even a Midwesterner like me knows that they don’t compare to the real McCoy.  I actually felt kind of sorry for all the New York reporters for having to deal with something so inferior to that which they are used to. It’d be like someone from California trying to give me what they consider to be bratwurst.

As I uploaded pictures and surfed the web, I listened to the New York media chatter. Two guys were discussing Bob Klapisch’s piece about Darryl Strawberry from Saturday. They were convinced that Klapisch included all the bits about Strawberry smoking and his gut and everything as a way of getting back for some dismissive things Straw said to Klapisch during their interview. “Bob’s just killing Darryl,” one of the guys said as he read, “he must have been pissed off.”  A few minutes later one of them looked at his Blackberry and said “Rodriguez is still out with pink eye.  What the f— kind of pink eye lasts three weeks?” Good question. My daughter had pink eye last year. Two days of drops and it was over.

Leaving the media room I walked out onto the field. The Nationals had arrived and were taking batting practice and infield.  Mets players were hanging around.  At one point Jeff Francoeur and Jason Marquis had a mini-Braves reunion. I was surprised to see Ivan Rodriguez taking BP as established veterans don’t usually make road trips in spring training, but there he was hacking away. He obviously didn’t like how it went, though, because as he left the cage he threw his bat towards the dugout. It landed close to a photographer. Pudge gave the “I’m sorry” wave. The photographer gave the “no problem, but if it had hit me I would have sued you and retired, so next time throw it a bit harder” wave in return.

By this time the Mets reporters had assembled in a little circle in front of the Mets dugout. I went to go eavesdrop.  I heard two really good dirty jokes and some stories about guys from New Jersey with bad grammar. Then the subject of Davey Johnson — now an assistant to the GM in Washington — came up. One of the writers said that they heard Johnson might make the trip to the game. An almost hushed reverence came over the four or five of them, and then one of them said “Oh, I hope he comes down, gosh I’d love to see him.”  After dropping f-bombs and ethnic jokes for five minutes, the sudden switch to “gosh” made it feel like I’d entered church or something.  The old writers really love them some Davey Johnson.

After a quick lunch in the media room — questionable chicken and pasta that they actually charged us for rather than provided gratis — it was up to the press box.  After all, there was an actual game to be played yesterday.

  1. BC - Mar 8, 2010 at 10:58 AM

    If you want a real insight into Darryl Strawberry (and for that matter, Chris Brown) read “The Ticket Out” by Michael Sokolove. Phenomenal read.

  2. BC - Mar 8, 2010 at 11:36 AM

    BTW, Florida pretty much universally has lousy bagels. A buddy of mine who went to Mets camp last year suggests this place:

  3. Old Gator - Mar 8, 2010 at 2:22 PM

    This is not true of the Macondo area nor even of that sliver of the United States directly north of the Golden Glades interchange along the water. This is largely due to the wave of Jewish Nyawkas who came down here in the 1950s to find a convenient catheter someplace to hook momma and papa up to and decided to stay themselves, bringing their culinary preferences with them. Yes. Panera bagels down here are just as nondescript and easy to chew through as a congressional Democrat, but the heart n’ soul bagelrys – like the late and deeply lamented Wolfie’s Restaurant, or the thriving and ambrosial (where ambrosia is extracted from rubber trees) Roasters n’ Toasters New York Style (watch out for that phrase – in this case it’s true but it isn’t always; not all Macondo bagelrys have rats) Deli and Bagelry on US1 in Kendall. There are even better ones further south but Nyawkers can get funny about proceeding beyond the last Macondorail station. Something to do, they claim, with their rental car insurance not being valid out of the country. Ah well. But for those of you with a little adventure in your souls, pick a day when it’s below 75 degrees when the Burmese pythons will be torpid and the fire ants and killer bees will be confined to their nests, and continue down US1 to SW 136th Street, make a quick left (if you don’t move quick you’re going to be blindsided by a driver formerly from a large unnamed island about a hundred miles south who didn’t bother to notice the red light for the northbound traffic) and a quick right into the corner strip mall and hit Pinecrest Bagel Cafe. Those suckers are the real deal, and usually they’ll’ve been baked immediately before your heart finished palpitating from the excitement of that left turn. And man, when I tell you that the whitefish salad in this little place imparts a sensation to your palate that you never knew you could have so far up your body, believe it.

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