You’re just going to have to indulge me as I get this out of my system. I know you know damn well that the Mets are doing baseball stuff in Port St. Lucie, and I promise there’ll be more substantive posts to come in the near future.
But for today: Baseball!
The Mets dissipate after morning stretches, and I am Homer Simpson at the Knowledgeum. On Field 2, Jose Reyes and Luis Castillo throw to each other, Castillo hobbling a step back after catching each of Reyes’ bullets, Reyes firing away, his familiar short windup reeling off liners at any distance.
A horn blows, then the Mets — all the Mets, or damn near — shag flies sprayed all over the field by a Juggs gun at home plate. They practice calling each other off, voices adjusting back to shouting after so many quiet winter workouts, repeating in guttural baritone: “I got it! I got it!” Ike Davis chides Daniel Murphy for calling him off on a blooper in short right. There are a bunch of guys taking turns in the middle infield, but Davis is alone at first. David Wright is alone at third.
Next the outfielders go someplace else. The infielders, catchers and pitchers stay on to practice rundowns while coaches run the bases. From 30 yards away, you can hear Terry Collins boasting about his footspeed after a giggling Reyes chases him down and tags him out. Davis, with no backup, seems to be running as much as the rest of the infielders combined, and a coach sends Murphy to first for a spell to replace him. Murphy takes one pickoff and chases down Ricky Bones, then Davis shoos him away.
Moments later, over on Field 5, catchers in shin guards take high pop flies from another gun. Each catcher takes a turn: Three or four balls are in the air before the first one comes down, and the backstops are charged with tracking and handling all of them. A group of fans gather behind the backstop to watch, and they cheer whenever a catcher successfully shags all the pop-ups in his turn. Josh Thole needs a quick move to get to his fourth and final pop, and the crowd gasps in approval. “The dolphin show starts in 25 minutes,” Jon Debus says to the crowd as the catchers pack up.
There is more, then: Pedro Beato, Jenrry Mejia, Dillon Gee and Pat Misch pitching, with Beltran, Murphy, Davis, Reyes and Wright, among others, standing in the cage tracking pitches. Other stuff on other fields. Baseball everywhere you look.
This is right about the time when, this time of year, the sun breaks between the buildings at 40 and 30 Rockefeller Center, beaming into the window at my desk and making staring at my computer a brutal exercise. That is normally my main concern at 1:17 p.m. on a Wednesday afternoon. So you’ll have to excuse me if I’m a bit overstimulated today.