July 16, 2007

This is Rickey Calling on Behalf of Rickey

The Rickey Henderson experience is underway. As one skeptical fan at Friday night's Mets-Reds debacle told me, "Ricky never knew how many outs there were when he was playing. How's he going to coach first base?" But I wouldn't worry about that... I mean, the runner can probably tell him, right? Remember:
"Rickey's gonna be Rickey. Period. No matter what I'm going to do or play or come here early, I'm gonna be Rickey. Rickey is not going to change and not be himself. I've been in this world too long to try to change Rickey and what he does . . . My mother don't even try to change me. She raised me, but she ain't gonna change me.
Ricky was being Ricky long before Manny was being Manny -- and he did it largely in the third person, too.

On the plus side: it was Endy Chavez Bobblehead Night. Those babies are currently retailing for $30+ on eBay, but personally, I think any fan selling their Endy Chavez bobblehead is just begging for lousy karma. It's too bad Chavez couldn't be there in non-bobblehead form; he's still rehabbing that hamstring, and while L Millz has done very well so far in the lineup... it doesn't make up for the lack of Endy.

The Mets took three of four from the Reds, which they needed to do against arguably the worst team in the National League. The Reds' roster is full of players I didn't realize were still in baseball: I could have sworn, for example, that Jeff Conine had retired several years ago. And poor Mike Stanton, onetime savior of the Yankees' pitching staff, staggered out of the pen and pitched terribly throughout the series; I had no idea he was still going.

It's hard to forgive superstars when they play too long, but I can't really hold it against middle relievers; they never get, or didn't until very recently anyway, the $15 million deal to last them through the rest of their days. And for a while there, Stanton was really very good: the Yanks are still struggling to find bullpen help as reliable as he and the eternally irritable, creepily-mustached Jeff Nelson were in their primes.

Tomorrow: the Yankees. Race relations! Groupies! The Devil Rays! You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll curse the day Kyle Farnsworth was born.

I leave you with one more Rickey anecdote, also from that Newsday story:
-- And, one final story I came across was a bizarre shouting match Rickey had with none other than El Duque during a spring training game in 2002. It wasn't clear what exactly bothered El Duque. He began yelling and they eventually had to be held back. "He needs to grow up a little bit," Rickey said. "I ain't a kid. When I broke into the game, he was crawling on his hands and knees. Unless he's as old as I am. He probably is."
Well, yes, probably. Interesting, though probably no big deal; Rickey also said, on a different occasion, and by way of explaining why he often didn't know all of his teammates' names, "I never get that close to pitchers."

No comments: