Pedro Fever, Catch It

It's one of the first moments of excitement of this new season. The offseason was a long high and the last few weeks following the missed stab at Delgado has been time for introspection on just what all the changes might mean for the Mets ability to compete for the NL East this season.

But in reading this gem, it's hard not to feel optimistic. At least about Pedro.

I'll always disliked Pedro. He's a prima donna, he's got a big mouth, he put down Piazza after the Guillermo Mota incident, and despite all that bravado, he almost always seemed to choke against the Yankees.

"Pressure is a lack of confidence." Pedro philsophised in the Vecsey's piece.

This is what's changing my opinion about Pedro. Rather than the humdrum nonstatements, the kind athletes and politicians are so enamoured with, Pedro speaks his mind and Pedro shows you what he really thinks. His honesty is refreshing and he seems almost immediately likeable. This was not usually the light Pedro was painted in through the media but up close, he seems more human, more vulnerable, more insightful and infinately less arrogant. It seems pretty transparent that the arrogance is confidence, necessary confidence. Pedro psyching himself into being Pedro.

Maybe he's just on his best behaviour at this honeymoon moment with the Mets, their fans and the media but for the moment anyway, he seems to resemble none of the creatures he was written as in past seasons.

And Pedro fever was unwittingly defined by Mike Piazza earlier:

"You need a stopper, the go-to guy," he said. "Your confidence is up. You score runs for him."

In Pedro's first season with the Red Sox following his trade from Montreal, he went 19-7 with a 2.89 ERA and 251 strikeouts.

If he musters the same kind of performance here this season, you can be sure that Pedro Fever will catching all over New York.


Looks like Manager Randolph is busting out the rules on his first day in charge.

"...the Mets joined the Yankees in banning facial hair other than mustaches. Randolph spoke to Martínez, who has a mustache and a tuft of hair on his chin, and Mike Piazza, who has a beard, about shaving. Piazza said he would not even keep a mustache.

Among Randolph's other rules were no alcohol on the team bus or airplane, no smoking and no cellphones in the clubhouse and no earrings on the field, which are stricter policies than some organizations have.

The list makes you wonder a little what the hell baseball players are up to out there. No smoking or alchohol on the team bus or airplane? Right. Can you just see Pedro turning the Mets team bus into a salsa parade, loud Dominican music, deep fried Dominican food, bottles of El Presidente and Mike Piazza in a conga line. Come to think of it, imagine what that clubhouse would have been like if Omar had made the trade for Sammy Sosa. A Santo Domingo discoteque? What would holy Al Leiter think of it all?

I'm not sure about the facial hair rule other than it's absurd and if Willie thinks that is the secret of success he is bringing over from the Yankees, he ought to consider how quickly Jason Giambi faded once he had to shave his facial hair in submission to King George.

So long as it works, you can feel free to make the argument that it bonds a team, a communion of sacrifice for some. Piazza probably made a back room deal with Willie that it he'd go along with the ban on facial hair but banning hair dye was simply out of the question.

And as you've heard, Pedro was late on his first day to meet the media and the first official address by Willie to the team. I'd say Willie's got a handful. But, if Pedro has a spectacular season, this is the sort of team that will embrace that rebellion in a positive manner rather than allowing it to be devisive. Winning, of course, is the great uniter.

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