Hot or Not: Port St. Lucie Edition

Happy Spring Training Mets fans! I can’t wait for the season to begin so the Mets can prove everybody wrong! With the arrival of Spring Training, I’m bringing back the Hot or Not feature. I really can’t judge anyone based on their performance just yet, mainly because half the team is leaving for the World Baseball Classic in a couple of weeks (seriously, they can’t do this in like November or something??).

The competition for the 5th rotation spot just got better with the signing of Livan Hernandez. I can’t wait for these pitchers to duke it out, even though I believe Jon Niese and Bobby Parnell may need more time in the minors. I also think it’s a little pompus of Freddy Garcia to expect to get the starting job. He hasn’t pitched since 2007 and I wouldn’t be surprised if Hernandez or Tim Redding got the spot.

I love reading all the reports of players showing up early and ready to put 2008 behind them. Anyone who beats David Wright to camp probably deserves a medal. Notable players that showed up early include Johan Santana, Mike Pelfrey, Oliver Perez, Daniel Murphy, Nick Evans, Brian Schneider, and Ryan Church. However, it annoys me when gimpy second basemen who have a lot to prove Luis Castillo doesn’t show up to camp early. Now, somebody like Wright or Carlos Beltran could saunter into camp the day they’re expected to and no one will even bat an eyebrow. But Castillo has officially become my scapegoat with the departures of both Heilman and Schoeneweis.

Even though I am a Florida Mets fan, I won’t be going to any games but I will offer a few tips to those that are going. Going to the team workouts before the game will give you much better access to the players, but don’t station yourself by someone like Wright or Beltran because that’s what everybody does. Last year, I got to watch our lovely pitchers take batting practice and it was honestly more entertaining than the team workout. Also, don’t ask for an autograph while a player is working out. Wait until they’re not doing anything. Some players are more than happy to sign for everybody that wants an autograph. Try for these players first and don’t set your sights on one player (i.e. David Wright) because you will be let down (i.e. my failed attempts 2 years running to get David’s autograph. I’m still waiting for a “To Jessica. Love David” on a ball). And there will be traffic when the game is over; there’s no way around it, just like Shea, erm, Citi, I mean Taxpayer Bailout Field.

Enjoy Spring Training and LGM!!!

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