Mets practice, day 11, March 25, 2011
I think the new thing for me is to head over to Mets camp every morning at 9:30, watch whatever workouts/games/practices are going on at the back fields, try to snag autographs, and then plan my afternoon game around that, where I leave around 11:30am. Somehow, that seems to be more entertaining than being at another ballpark, watching the Mets take batting practice, and not signing autographs. Maybe it's only the Mets, but they're sucking some of the fun out of this experience.
I get in on Friday and see that there's only 1 field in use, on the minor league side of the complex, and that's where everyone is. It's the minor league intrasquad "game" that features Chris Young getting a start (instead of facing the division rival Marlins in Jupiter again) and Jason Isringhausen and Blaine Boyer fighting it out for a spot in the bullpen. The Mets press corps is there, plus a number of fans, and a few coaches.
It's somewhat interesting to see how this works. Mike Nickeas was held back from the big league game in order to catch for Young and get in some at bats. The other 3 starting pitchers (R.A. Dickey was away from the club) were used in bunting situations. And there was a pitching coach standing behind the mound, with 2 umpires calling the game. So it was somewhat official.
I saw fans talking to the different beat writers, and with each other. A few jabs at Mets Media Czar Jay Horwitz who had acted as a pinch runner slidning into home in a simulated game the day before, which had been caught on tape. Young looked really good in this game (and he signed autographs for the fans when he was done). He even hit a home run off of a minor league pitcher.
And then Carlos Beltran, our missing in action right fielder, made an appearance to be every third hitter in the game with a pinch runner after he reaches base. It's the closest to game action he had seen in a couple of weeks, and this became the "simulated" game he had been scheduled to appear in. It was more of a controlled game. He hit the ball pretty well. He ran the hits out more later in the game, and didn't play the field, but it's progress.
After that was all over, I decided to take another sick day rather than heading down to Jupiter to watch the Mets bench players compete against the Marlins. It just wasn't worth it.
And that ends my vacation.
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