Heilman & Wagner: All Fired Up, and Last Word On Lastings!
It feels so good to have baseball back again. I have to admit it was a pretty long and boring offseason for Met fans, especially when we were left with the memory of that awful game 7 in our heads! Blah! They say the best thing to do after you fall off your horse, is to get back on again. Well, unfortunately for Met fans, the season ended and we haven’t been able to get back on that horse until now. And man, I gotta say that whoever came up with that stupid saying, was absolutely right! I’m completely recovered from 2006 and I am totally stoked for the new season.
There’s so much stuff coming out of Mets camp today and it’s only the second full day of spring training! First and foremost in my mind though, is our catcher Paul LoDuca.
Paul LoDuca has made it known that he would love a contract extension that will allow him to finish his career with the New York Mets. LoDuca, who will turn 35 in April, is entering the final season of a three-year deal that will pay him $6.25 million this season. He hit a team-leading .318 last year with five home runs and 49 RBIs, helping New York win the NL East for the first time since 1988.
Among his other contributions, LoDuca instantly became one of the leaders in the clubhouse after joining the team, and was a driving force and steady influence when he was on the field. He was also largely credited for leading an injury plagued pitching staff to a 4.14 ERA, that was ranked third best in the league.
Considering the fact that he was bedeviled with personal problems as well as a lingering thumb injury all season long, I have to credit him for gutting it out and helping the Mets win their first division title in over a decade.
There was also some other crazy story about Aaron Heilman being totally pissed off because he didn’t get one of the 12 reserved parking spots at Tradition Field. Poor Heilman, he never seems to get what he wants. I think Omar should give him a free pass to Disney World so he could go to the Magic Kingdom, where all your dreams can come true.
Meanwhile, Billy Wagner sounded like a man on a mission when he showed up. He vows to have a better season in 2007 and blamed some of his poor outings on nagging injuries. He said that this year he plans on bringing back the "old Billy Wagner." Somebody let me know when he gets here, I really miss the old Billy Wagner. Between me and you, I was quite pleased with Wagner’s performance last year. Sure he had a few too many blown saves, but when I think of Benitez and Looper, I suddenly remember how thankful I am that Wags is our closer.
Hey, I didn’t mean to go off on Milledge the way that I did yesterday, but I had to get it off of my chest. There’s nothing that disappoints me more than a guy with a million dollars worth of talent and a dime’s worth of common sense. Milledge is one of the most exciting young talents in the game. He has one of the highest ceilings of anyone in the organization.
I guess if he didn’t have the personal problems early on he may never have fallen to the Mets with pick number 12, when everyone expected him to be a "Top 5" pick in the 2003 draft. I wonder if the Mets ever regret passing on players like Chad Cordero, Carlos Quentin, Brandon Wood, and Chad Billingsley, when they selected Milledge. OK, I’m gonna shut up now, before I get into more trouble. I’m just mad because the Mets have invested so much in Milledge, and it’s time for him to give the team some payback. Even though he was drafted 12th we paid him like he was drafted number one overall, and gave him a $1.9 million dollar signing bonus to boot. I’m not saying he has to be the poster child for the Boys Club of America, I’m just saying, smarten’ up dude, and lets play ball.
About the Author: Joe DeCaro
I'm a lifelong Mets fan who loves writing and talking about the Amazins' 24/7. From the Miracle in 1969 to the magic of 1986, and even the near misses in '73 and '00, I've experienced it all - the highs and the lows. I started Mets Merized Online in 2005 to feed my addiction. Follow me on Twitter @metsmerized.
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