There is no doubt that David Wright is my favorite Met, but I must say, Justin Turner is coming in a close second these days. Bench and role players are the most crucial spots to fill on a roster, for a couple of reasons: if a starter goes down with an injury, the manager needs to have confidence that he has someone waiting in the wings to fill in and be productive, either for a pinch or an extended period of time, and the reserves help bring out the true team chemistry.
A professional baseball season is a grind; 162 games in 180 days in no joke. So, it’s important to have guys on a team that enjoy spending that much time with each other, and this is the kind of chemistry the 2012 Mets have. Being a mostly homegrown team, there is a good mix of young players with older veterans, that bring a lot of different personalities to the table. To me, Justin Turner is the glue that helps bring the rest of the team together. He was able to find success last year due to some injuries in the infield (.260 BA, 51
RBI, in 435 at-bats), but this year, he has seen his role diminish greatly, becoming mostly a pinch hitter and late-game replacement. Yet, he’s making the most of it.
Turner has been able to grind out solid at-bat after solid at-bat, with his latest coming yesterday in New York’s comeback win against the Reds. Would he rather be playing everyday? Well, duh. However, he’s enjoying himself in the Major Leagues, living his dream, and helping his team win. I would take that any day.
On the flip side, he’s been able to show his sense of humor and endear himself to plenty of fans with his walk-up song this season. Last year, his choice of Lupe Fiasco got me hooked on the song, but this year it’s down right hilarious that he walks up to “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen. I wonder if how this choice came about, whether it was on his own or a dare from a teammate (my guess would be Tim Byrdak), but either way, he’s shown that he, clearly, is the man.
When getting interviewed on the radio after the comeback win yesterday, he continued to show that he’s just a happy-go-lucky guy; talking about the MVP chants the crowd was giving David Wright, Turner interrupted and said, “Wait, those weren’t for me?” It’s very subtle, but those types of comments and actions help me feel more connected to this team that I love and follow religiously, while keeping his teammates laughing. The cowboy themed trip to Houston, the most recent hockey themed trip to Toronto, and tossing what looked to be a bucket of sunflower seeds in Kevin Burkhardt’s hood during an on-air interview are just a few of the reasons why this team is so likable.
I haven’t seen this kind of team chemistry since 2006, when we all know what happened and what could have been. Will the Mets repeat that success this year? Most likely not to that degree, but it’s awfully fun to watch. Thanks to the shenanigans of players like Turner, the monotony and grind that comes with every baseball season can be broken up simply by him walking to the plate at Citi Field.