I went to Binghamton on Saturday with our video producer, Jeff. We t drove up during the day, interviewed a few players, watched the B-Mets score 11 runs thanks to a brutal Reading Phillies defense, ate dinner, crashed at a HoJo’s and headed home. Quick trip.
Anyway, the most exciting part, for me, was when we took a look at the R-Phils’ (they really do call ’em that) roster posted in the B-Mets’ dugout. There among the outfielders, born in 1975, listed at 5’9″: Timo Perez.
And sure enough, there, leaning up against the batting-practice cage, no taller than 5’7″, was the familiar face of baserunning blunders past.
I grew giddy.
“We gotta get him! Dude, we’ve got to talk to Timo Perez. This is incredible!”
I didn’t even stop to think about what Timo Perez was doing there. I figured I’d ask him about his time with the Mets, and the little-heralded Matt Ginter trade that took him away, and how he was working with younger players now as an experienced veteran in something closer to a coaching role, and how he had played baseball all around the world and played in the World Series with the Mets in 2000 and won one with the White Sox in 2005.
So after the Phillies finished BP I made my way through their dugout, over a bag of batting helmets and into their tiny clubhouse where Timo Perez sat typing into his cell phone.
“Hey Timo — I’m Ted; I’m from SNY, the Mets’ TV network — you got a minute for an interview?”
And that was that. A couple of his teammates appeared incredulous; probably most members of the Double-A Reading Phillies don’t get many media requests to reject. But Timo Perez didn’t want to talk.
It’s his right, of course.
And you know what? What an a******* I am for getting caught up thinking it’s funny, a 35-year-old former Met out in cow country trying to play his way back to the big leagues. That’s Timo Perez’s life.
I can point to his age and his .690 Major League OPS and his .663 mark in Reading this year and draw a pretty clear conclusion about what’s happening to him. But that might not be as easy to do when you’ve been playing baseball professionally for your entire adulthood.
So Timo Perez doesn’t want to chat up some grinning jackass who appears entertained by the fact that he played in the World Series five years ago and now is backing up 22-year-olds. Who could blame him?