The Smell of Pedro In The Air

In the midst of waiting for the WFAN broadcast of the Mets-Astros game this morning, just before the game broadcast went on air there was a small snippet of the hazardously caustic talk show chimp, Russo Maddog in mid-rant, foaming at the mouth about Carlos Beltran bunting whilst batting third.

I have a feeling this is some of the Spring Training warm ups for the Carlos Beltran Hate Club licking their lips with anticipation over the possible disappointment of Beltran, whose salary is usually highlighted in any criticism of Beltran unleashed in these sorts of backseat driver tirades.

Is it true that Beltran has an incentive clause in his contract, an extra $50,000 if he reaches the 25 bunt benchmark in a season or is this merely emblematic of the situationalist, one-run-at-a-time hitting philosophy?

"It's about winning," Beltran cautioned to his critics. "If I do that and we win, then I will continue to do that. If I do that and we don't win, then I'll change. What I did today, if it would have been the season, I would have done the same thing. I wouldn't change anything."

See? It has nothing to do with contract incentives. And who can argue with such a broad stroke rationale? Winning can justify almost anything short of steroids and wife beating in baseball. Even if a marketpiece cornerstone of the Future Mets decides to bunt instead of swing for a fence-busting line drive to clear the bases.

Is Beltran enforcing a continued audition for the number two slot in the lineup?

He hits for average almost 20 points better from the number two position, not to mention a higher OBP and slugging percentage.

Manager Willie swallowed hard after the game.

"There'll be times where he won't do it. But in a situation like that, and a good pitcher like Carpenter, it's not a bad play. If you get it down, no one says anything. You pop it up, it's a story."

Somehow, I get the feeling it's a story regardless of the result. At least while everyone seems pleased to savour the chewing over Beltran's salary v bunt ratio.

"I've been playing the game like that since I got to the big leagues," Beltran continued defending. "Some people like it, some people don't. But the thing is for me to help the team, and there's nothing better than that."

Except winning.

Or bunting.


Tom Glavine's next start will be his first start as a 40 year old. Jamie Moyer went 21-7 as a 40 year old in 2003. Same season David Cone was 40. And Al Leiter would appear to have retired at 40.

Oh alright, let's just get right to it:

Pos. Pitcher, Team T Age Team Year W L ERA

SP Grover Alexander R 40 Cardinals 1927 21 10 2.52
SP Gaylord Perry R 40 Padres 1978 21 6 2.73
SP Warren Spahn L 42 Braves 1963 23 7 2.60
SP Cy Young R 41 Red Sox 1908 21 11 1.26
SP Nolan Ryan R 42 Rangers 1989 16 10 3.20
CL Hoyt Wilhelm R 42 White Sox 1964 12 9 1.99
CL Dennis Eckersley R 42 Cardinals 1997 1 5 3.91


Jorge Julio has yet to give up a run in his four outings this Spring.

Fortunately, we can begin to feel the sway of the feeling that he isn't going to have to serve as the closer. At least if the Billy Wagner Throws Without Pain headline barks in the right key.

In theory, the Mets could have a devastating bullpen trio of Julio, Sanchez and Wagner and in theory, Xavier Nady could have a break out season. Omar's wet dream of vindication.

Following Brian Bannister's outing in an effort to fortify his claim to the starting rotation, Aaron Heilman's stock must have gone up with every one of Bannister's five walks. However, he gave up only one earned run in all of that and continuously demonstrated an ability to fight through tough sitations. I guess that's the best you can say for someone issuing 5 walks in five innings. But nearly everyone has days like that and even Heilman's, with his 1.29 ERA in four spring starts, could be just around the corner.

Before Lastings Milledge is painting into the starting lineup, let's not try and look past his 15 strikeouts in 54 at-bats. Yes, somewhere we must find the glitter fading.

Tike Redman deserves further consideration to make the roster despite the growing overcrowding of prospective outfielders this Spring. Recently dumped reassigned Julio Ramirez was the sole disappointment of the group but Redman has a certain je ne sais quoi he brings both in fielding and in clutch hitting. Only David Wright and Cliff Floyd have more RBIs in fewer at-bats.

Milledge is also the only outfield candidate with an error this Spring. Not that it's necessarily a damning fact, I merely thought it interesting that not even Victor Diaz, who occasionally plays like he's doing his Ray Charles in right field routine, has missed a fielding opportunity this spring.

A few days ago I read an article about Xavier Nady's first name and the long history of Xaviers in the family. What I didn't know until it was just handed to me a few moments ago is that Everybody's Favourite Punching Bag, Fran Healy, also hides the name Xavier in his history.

That's right.

Francis Xavier Paul Healy.


Finally, Pedro and his Toe make their 2006 debuts today against the Baltimore Orioles and Anna's Husband, Benson getting his second chance to show what if anything, Leo Mazzone has taught him against the Mets.

This is of course the pinnacle of the ongoing saga thus far. I pity those of you who will be watching the game on television presuming there will be a bare minimum 6 zillion shots of Pedro's mound footwork and 14 katrillion references to his toe made during the broadcast.

Well, there's an oasis in one corner - Bill Parcell wingman and O's manager Sam Perlozzo is more interested in seeing how Nick Markakis does against Pedro.

I haven't finalized the lineup, but it will be interesting to see if he's throwing really well, to see how [Nick] Markakis does in there," Perlozzo chanted thereby becoming the first person in three months to mention the name Pedro and not the word toe in the same sentence. "If he's throwing really good, it don't matter who's up there, usually. It will be interesting. I would look forward to that."

What do we expect from Pedro today but two innings?

"My body will tell me what's next," Martinez boldly predicts. "It will all depend on how I feel."

Look for more exciting chapters forthcoming in Pedro's Body Controls The World, coming soon to an off license book dealer near you.


This is Japanese for open a beer.

The Kaz Man is on the barby.

That's right, Mr Matsui still isn't ready to begin baseball-related workouts and is still getting his cardio on an exercise bike.

And now you too can join the Matsui Bicycle Club.

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