I’ve had a full day to digest what I saw and heard down in Port St. Lucie and now I’m going to attempt to bring it to you with a few snazzy little iPhone pictures sprinkled in here and there. I’ll be doing it in installments, chronicling two or three guys at a time since there is so much to report.
First off, it was almost impossible to ignore the overall jovial attitude the Mets exuded in the two days I got to hang around them on the field and in the locker room. I know, anyone would have a smile on their face when it is 65 degrees and sunny and 1,500 miles north it is snowmageddon.
Seriously though, it seemed you couldn’t wipe the smiles off some of the guys faces, specifically David Wright and Jose Reyes. The addition of the always upbeat Jeff Francoeur I believe also set the tone. I think we’ve seen that this is the type of ship Jerry Manuel likes to steer, but I am not quite sure it is the disposition Mets fans want to hear about or see. Last year was such a colossal disaster that I personally would like to have seen a bit more seriousness and anger in some of the words that were spoken.
I had a chance to shoot the video and listen to Wright and Francoeur being interviewed in tandem for about 10 minutes by my reporter. It is clear that these two Southerners have become fast friends. As stated in a previous post, I believe Francoeur is going
to take a good deal of pressure off of Wright in the locker room and with having to face the media hoards in New York. What I gleaned directly from Frenchy is that he is delighted to have a fresh start to revive his once promising career. He admitted that the pressure really got to him in Atlanta, being the hometown high school legend, and a change of scenery was best for both parties. We got a glimpse last year the sort of physical tools he has and I am confident Francoeur is going to add some pop to the bottom of the Mets order.
As for Wright, the first detail I noticed is that the dude has beefed up his upper body significantly. His arms and chest are clearly more buffed and most noticeably his back muscles have grown. Wright admitted that he spent the offseason taking part in a rigorous upper body regimen. You just hope that he didn’t do it to try and just to tackle the cavernous dimensions of Citi Field and overcome his paltry 2009 HR count of 10. To me, Wright is not a home run hitter. He is a line drive hitter who hits home runs because of his power to the opposite field, though a few more dingers would certainly be nice. Despite last year’s debacle, Wright seemed at peace and ready to put his and the team’s failures in the past.
Another guy we sat down with for an extended interview was Mike Pelfrey. I have stated that I am a big believer in this guy, though I know a lot of Mets fans who do not feel the same way. To me, you just don’t teach 6’7″, 230 lbs with a devastating sinker. Those are attributes that point to a big- time winning pitcher. The knock on Pelfrey is that he is a headcase. What I gathered from Big Pelf’s words is that he believes he has matured and is ready to step into the role of the #2 behind Johan Santana. He admitted that his mental state (lack of concentration) on the mound is something he has battled and will continue to have to battle. At 26, entering his third full season as a starter, it is now or never for this former first-round draft pick. Lord knows the Mets need Pelf to step up…big time.
Stay tuned for details on what I heard from newcomers Jason Bay and Rod Barajas and an update from Carlos Beltran.