The Yankees announced today that they had signed fifty-nine-year-old actor/comedian Billy Crystal.
Yes, that’s right: fulfilling a lifetime fantasy and a sixtieth birthday wish, Crystal will be signed to a one-day, minor league contract–with Bud Selig’s approval–enabling him to play with his beloved Yanks in an exhibition game against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday.
If I keep working out on a regular basis, should I hold out hope for some distant day when I too might spend some time on the field with my Mets idols as I near retirement from my day job?
Um. I think not. But it’s good for my heart and respiratory system, so I’ll keep doing it anyway, I guess.
But I AM green with envy, Billy Crystal. I hope Xavier Nady hits a line drive right to you, pal!!
Then followed the lavish February 6th press club announcement of said signing (timed in such a manner so as not to take any much-deserved attention away from the New York Giants’ Super Bowl victory celebration in Manhattan the previous day.)
And, finally, there were the countless stories and interviews with managers, players, fans, and Santana himself on what this trade might bring to the Mets organization and if this might erase the horrible memories of the collapse of September.
And then, when some of the dust settled, some of us began to wonder: how is Pedro going to take all of this?
Would Santana’s presence be seen as a threat to him in some way? The less-than-fraternal relationship he and Schilling shared when they were both with the Red Sox came to mind.
Seeming to quell these fears, interviews with Pedro started to appear in which he claimed that he was glad to have Santana on "our side" and, showing even more humility, even stating for the record that he’d be fine with Santana pitching Opening Day. Attempting to describe what affect Santana’s addition to the starting rotation would have on him personally to Ben Shpigel of the New York Times, he said,
"I can breathe, you know what I mean? I can breathe. It’s like a big glass of cold water when you’re really thirsty."
So, I don’t know about you, but I felt relieved then. I was feeling elated about having signed Johan while now being assured of not having alienating Pedro who we are obviously still relying on in a very major way.
What a relief, right? RIGHT??!!
Except I’m beginning to wonder…
Yes, I know it’s been announced since a long time ago that Pedro was not going to pitch a Spring Training game until March 6th.
But there’s something a bit disconcerting how COMFORTABLE he looks every time the SNY-TV camera guys focus on him during those Spring Training games that he’s sitting out.
He looks like he’s totally in his element as a zen master of sorts, dispensing his pitching wisdom to the younger guys from his perch on the dugout steps, gently tossing a baseball in his hand, his cute little white headband on. I half expect some of his young "disciples" to come up to him and kneel on the grass in front of him and say something to the effect of, "Oh teach us, wise sage. Guide us in our journey to the plate that is home, oh guru."
I’m actually beginning to get a tad alarmed that he seems not anxious at all to get out there and throw off the mound himself!
Is this what Spring Training is about? Fans getting all paranoid about the season to come? Or have I just witnessed a few too many injuries already?
Go ahead, Pedro: chant your mantra, do your tai chi, don’t let me make you the slight bit anxious. I can wait…
Watching the first home exhibition game yesterday in Port St. Lucie on SNY-TV with Johan Santana in a Mets uniform on the mound.
Is THIS what they mean by FANTASY BASEBALL??
It sure fulfills all of mine!!
THE FIRST PITCH
O.K., so he had one bad pitch that Juan Gonzalez took advantage of, but so what?!