Put it in the books. It was a thing of beauty in game 1, from the weather to the pitching to the timely hitting. Who can complain about the best opening day franchise in baseball? No Met fan in Met Nation could have hoped for a better opener. (Unless we are talking about a no hitter from Johan)
Something caught my eye more than David Wright’s opposite field HR, more than Johan’s performance. More than anything else…The Mets 66 Million Dollar investment paid immediate dividends…
Jason Bay came to the Mets this winter with a less than stellar reputation for his defensive play. Jason Bay came to the Mets, ostensibly, for his ability to hit with power. Yesterday, Bay rang the opening bell with his usual aplomb and answered many who were critical of his defensive prowess and showed that leadership doesn’t have to be of the vocal variety. It can come in many forms.
Jason Bay’s leadership is of the ‘show me’ variety, and he showed leadership. Bay’s triple yesterday was a hustle triple. He busted it out of the box and took the extra base. He then scored the run which began the Met assault which put the game away.
In the outfield he nearly threw out Jorge Cantu who looked surprised when Bay threw a perfect strike to Luis Castillo to nearly get a sliding Cantu. It appeared so close you could argue Cantu was out. Is it any wonder that Bay had 15 outfield assists last season? If Bay’s throws are that accurate, maybe it’s time for the UZR disciples who claimed Bay wasn’t very good defensively last winter to reevaluate his status as a “below average outfielder”.
I’ve had several discussions with Pirate fans and family in Western Pennsylvania who assured me that Jason Bay is a hustler and will always give 110% effort. Boy, they’re scouting report was right on. Granted, pessimistic fans will argue it was only one day, and there may be 0-for’s and errors on the horizon, but for game 1, we saw a player lead by example. This is a refreshing bit of good news for Met fans, and more importantly, for the Met clubhouse.
Bay looks to have impressed his teammates with his hustle and effort as evidenced by various quotes from his teammates David Wright, who even commented; ‘I didn’t know he was that quick’.
But when anyone on this team sits and watches the replays of this game, they’ll see that this guy was busting it from the minute he hit the ball. Leadership comes in many forms…Hustle and effort, are 2 things that Bay brings, which we haven’t been in plentiful abundance of these past years. Hopefully, by “ringing the bell” on day 1, Jason Bay has articulated a message to his teammates. “Watch how I hustle and give effort. If you give that little extra, you can become better players and we can win.”
Yesterday, whether he likes it or not, Jason Bay became a leader on this team. Because his younger, more impressionable teammates saw a guy who is set for life financially with a 66 million dollar contract hustling his butt off to get an extra base… That, ladies and gentleman, says more about this player than anything else…