For the skinny of the Jose Cruz Jr. signing, look no further than John Perricone’s Only Baseball Matters. Nuff’ said.
MEET THE METS
The Mets held their annual winter caravan yesterday, which included the unvieling of their new, bright orange BP jerseys.
Though Mo Vaughn was conspicuously absent, Cliff Floyd, Al Leiter, Tom Glavine, Mike Piazza, and of course, team mascot and number one goombats John Franco, were all in attendance. Too bad Ian Strombringer aka Tank Pratt isn’t around any more.
For the first time since the end of last season, Piazza spoke about the team’s new manager, and indirectly, their old one as well:
“Art has a very even-keeled disposition,” [Piazza] said. “Hopefully it’s going to be a little more consistent all the way around, from everybody, the players, the front office, the coaching staff.
“We want consistency. We want to stay off that roller-coaster, whether it’s on the field or off the field. We want to play good baseball, be professional, and play the way we’re capable.”
When asked if that was any sort of commentary on Valentine’s more mercurial personality, Piazza bristled at any notion that he was being critical of his former manager.
“I’m just saying … it was everybody last year,” he said. “The manager didn’t lose the games. The players lose the games. We didn’t play well. But you can’t fire all the players.
“They wanted to make the change. You can debate it. I’m sure everybody was a little surprised, but as professionals, you have to go out there. … I’m very encouraged with Art and his staff. We’ll see. I don’t know how else to put it.”
Tom Verducci has a good column about the historical significance of Piazza and Ivan Rodriguez playing in the same division.
The Daily News ran an article today about Al Leiter, who spoke eagerly about the prospects of working with Tom Glavine (a topic I touched on yesterday):
“I’m going to get a feel as to what his routine and his program is,” Leiter said yesterday at the Theater at Madison Square Garden, as the Mets kicked off a week of appearances to promote the 2003 season. “I’m not going to blow mine up just to be like him. But I like to know that here’s a guy who has been successful in the league for a long time, and does it with not the greatest stuff – I mean, not the raw stuff of a guy who is going to throw 95 mph.
“Like you look at Randy Johnson, he doesn’t help me much. I don’t throw like that. Very few guys can just throw a couple of fastballs and dump a little slider in the dirt. So to watch Tom, he’s got to pitch. He’s got to know the psyche of the hitter. He’s got to know what a hitter is trying to do. That you can absolutely look at.”
…”His style of pitching is night and day from mine. He lives away. He throws his two-seamer away. He pounds the outside corner. He expands the outside corner. He plays off the frustration of a hitter. He changes speeds much better than me. I’m a guy who powers the ball on the inside part of the plate. They complement, where I’m successful and where he’s successful.”
Does Glavine’s presence help in that it alleviates the pressure to be a “No. 1”? No, said Leiter.
“To think about the strength and weakness of a hitter and execute a quality pitch, that’s all that matters,” Leiter said. “What happens is, when you bring in a good pitcher, you’re better as a staff. And when you’re better as a staff, you have better people around you. And when you have better people around you, you have better ideas to throw around.
“Good pitchers give you good advice. Good staffs are contagious. Bad staffs are contagious.”
Finally, Newsday has a puff piece on my man Cliff Floyd, for those of you who are interested.