January 25, 2008

Get To Know Your New New York Players, Part 1: Brian Schneider

With spring training just around the corner, it's time to take a closer look at some of the new lambs to the slaughter players we'll be watching all season (or at least until they tear their hamstrings). Most New York fans probably know new Mets catcher Brian Schneider better by his nickname, "They Traded Lastings Milledge For WHO?" Schneider. But let's not rush to judgment until all the facts are in, particularly the silly and irrelevant ones.

Paul Lo Duca left big shoes to fill -- not so much because of his actual play, but what you might term the local color he provided.

He came to the plate to "Stayin' Alive" and "No Sleep Till Brooklyn." Will this Schneider fellow be photographed with nubile teens on his lap, get busted for sending friendly thank-you notes to steroid dealers, take part in a messy public divorce, love the horses, toss all his catching gear onto the field (YouTube!) after questionable calls, or make his eyeballs do this when angered?:

Early signs suggest... probably not:

We seem to be looking at a level of wholesomeness here that rivals David Wright's. (By contrast, and before I move on, let me just recommend a quick Google Image Search of "paul lo duca umpire." Whee!). An extensive search on Brian Schneider reveals very few juicy details. He's from Pennsylvania, he apparently attended Nationals fan events as fast as the team could dream them up, and - trivia alert! - he was behind the plate when Barry Bonds hit #756. Schneider also agreed to an interview with Nationals blog Nats320 after being traded, which is pretty cool of the guy.

He's boldly anti-junk food; his idea of a clubhouse prank involves baby powder. (I'm guessing Paul Lo Duca's clubhouse pranks involve Jager and razor blades). Finally, he has two dogs named Dinger and Ribbie. Cute, Schneider, cute. But let's see you rip an umpire's chest protector apart with your teeth.

Anyway, Schneider has spent his entire career with the Expos/Nationals, so it'll be interesting to see how he might react to, say, being on a team that's over .500. Or playing in front of crowds. Welcome, Brian, and remember: we only viciously insult your abilities and parentage because we care.

(As an aside: in the course of researching this post (and obviously I use the term "researching" loosely), I discovered that the Montreal Expos had a theme song, "Les Expos Sont Là," which basically translates as "The Expos Are There." Now, probably the actual lyrics are positive enough, but I've only got the title to go on, and I love that this is apparently the most enthusiastic sentiment the songwriter could muster. Not so much "Meet the Expos" or "Let's Go Expos," but more along the lines of, "Huh, There Seems To Be A Baseball Team Over Here.")

One more for the road -- though in Lo Duca's defense, Lima Time had this effect on many of us:

No comments: