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July 30, 2014

BBQ State of Mind

In the Citi, Part 2

by Jake Mintz and Jordan Shusterman


For most teenagers, sleeping in past nine o’clock is an expectation and not a privilege. Waking up before noon is a rarity over the summer months, as a lack of motivation and responsibility fuse to create the perfect incentive to continue sleeping. When we’re on the road, we are not so fortunate; we are usually awake before the clock strikes 9. But yesterday morning was a different story for us curators of the CFBBQ as we were #blessed with the opportunity to doze past our usual roadtrip-influenced deadline. While an extra dose of REM was helpful to our overall psyches, nothing could prepare us for the obscene horror of another Phillies/Mets game.

Game Notes by Jordan Shusterman
We were down on the field again for Mets batting practice, and today we were treated to several rounds of batting practice from Monday’s starting pitcher, Bartolo Colon. Sure, it was a lot of bunting, but we saw a couple full hacks from Bartolo. His lackadaisical, passionless swing miraculously produced a few hard hit balls to the wall. Several beat writers in the press box insist that despite his rotund nature, Bartolo is legitimately one of the best athletes on the entire roster. His offensive prowess continues to defy all baseball physics and baffled us even more up close. To honor him, we spent some of the game creating an absurd video of Bartolo swinging in slo-mo.

Bobby Abreu sat out the 2013 season before showing up to the Venezuelan Winter League, where he hit .322 over 180 plate appearances. He parlayed his Winter League success into a minor-league deal with the Phillies. The Phillies released him at the end of spring training, allowing the apparently desperate Mets to sweep in and pick up Abreu right before Opening Day. Abreu’s posted a .677 OPS in his 64 games with the Mets this year and does not appear to be getting any better. You know how some players look like their positions? Anthony Recker, for example, just looks like a catcher. Chris Young looks like an outfielder. Bobby Abreu looks and walks like a veteran major-league manager. The way he wears his pants certainly doesn’t help his case, but it’s not just that—there’s a remarkable cadence about the way he interacts with everything on the baseball field that just screams manager. Who knows, maybe he’s been the Mets manager all along. I don’t know how else to explain Bobby Abreu getting semi-regular at-bats in 2014. Abreu fun fact: the Astros signed him out of Venezuela two weeks after Mets infielder Wilmer Flores was born.

Internet favorite Grady Sizemore cranked a home run down the line in the fourth inning off Dillon Gee. (If you look closely to the right of the foul pole in the orange shirt is Jake.) This was his first home run since signing with Philly at the end of June. Numerous injuries over the past three seasons have turned Sizemore into one of the more obvious what-ifs in baseball; he was arguably the best center fielder in baseball before the barrage of injuries. The Arbitrary Endpoints Game is the perfect game to play with Sizemore, but it helps illustrate how valuable he was. From 2005-2008, the only three players with more bWAR than Grady Sizemore were Albert Pujols, Chase Utley, and Alex Rodriguez. We all want Sizemore to be healthy and/or great at baseball again. He’s somehow still only 31 (he’s younger than Shin-Soo Choo!), so we can hold out hope for a career resurrection for a little bit longer.

The Postgame Press Parade by Jake Mintz
For the first time in our extremely short journalistic careers we were granted full access to the clubhouse after the game. Unclear about what exactly we were to do and where exactly we were to go, we decided to follow our elder writers. As soon as Phillies reliever Ken Giles wrapped up the 6-0 route by getting tRaViS d’ArNaUd to fly out, the entire press box grabbed their notepads and scurried toward the elevator at top speed. The elevator ride felt like a mix between a can of sardines and a can of beat writers as space was at a premium throughout our brief trip down to the underbelly of Citi Field.

Following the beige button-downed, pleated khakied army into the conference room, we sat in on our first presser. A few of the more well known members of the media asked Terry Collins some hard-hitting and investigative questions like, “how do you think Dillon Gee looked tonight” and, “why isn’t Bobby Abreu better at pinch-hitting?” After the press conference was over, the entire conglomerate of writers headed straight to the Mets clubhouse. Newbies to the clubhouse scene, we continued our pattern of following the dudes who actually have an idea what they’re doing. As soon as the credentialed army entered the locker room they spotted Dillon Gee getting dressed at his locker and swarmed toward him like Jerry Seinfeld did in Bee Movie when he was pollinating those flowers. Gee quietly and politely answered the questions thrown his way: “Thought I threw pretty well... Made a couple bad pitches... Bartolo Colon is an amazing human being...” OK, maybe not the last part.

The thing that really hit me about being in a major-league clubhouse was the pure physical ridiculosity of the players. I go to the gym relatively frequently and as a Division III athlete I try to keep my body in decently good shape. What I realized by gawking over Anthony Recker’s pectoral superiority in person was that no matter how often, how hard, or how many synthetic steroids, I will never contain the pure, unadulterated athleticism that these guys have.

What’s Next
Instead of subjecting ourselves to the pain of another Mets/Phillies blowout, we are going to watch some futbol. English Premier League giants Manchester City and Liverpool are showing down at Yankee Stadium tomorrow for a friendly. If you want to read what two teenagers have to say about the odd experience of watching soccer in a baseball stadium, check back in tomorrow.

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Premium Article Minor League Update: G... (07/30)
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Eyewitness Accounts: J... (07/30)

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