If Shaun Marcum’s eight-year Major League Baseball pitching career should end sooner than later, no worries, he could always get work playing Cavity Sam. His medical record is morphing into the legendary patient profile of Hasbro’s Operation board game. With each passing season new ailments – and new body parts — pile up and pile on Marcum’s resume. Google Marcum and you can also read about his arm, elbow, shoulder, bicep, calf and, as of last Tuesday, neck. His career has been interrupted by a series of pulls, strains, stiffness, tears, inflammations, impingements and tendinitis.
A pair of Chicago Cubs centerfielders, Jimmy Qualls (1969) and Joe Wallis (1975), stole two of Tom Seaver’s early bids for a no-hitter. One year after being traded from New York to Cincinnati, Seaver threw a no-hitter for the Reds. Nolan Ryan never pitched a no-hitter – as a New York Met – but after being traded to the California Angels in 1971 he nudged Mets fans every couple years, throwing seven no-hitters. “Every time he pitched you expected a no-hitter – or 15 strikeouts,” said Jay Horwitz, Mets VP/Public Relations, referring to Dwight Gooden. In May 1996, Gooden tossed the only no-hitter of his career – as a member of the New York Yankees. Even Duffy Dyer had to leave the New York Mets to catch his first no-hitter (John Candelaria, Pittsburgh, 1975), 11 years before Josh Thole was born.
You can learn a lot about a baseball team from its locker room. The clubhouse is where relationships form, character is revealed and leaders speak out (or not). For the major league rookie, clubhouse real estate is valuable — sometimes priceless. Imagine being the rookie who spent eight months out of the year next to Sandy Koufax? Roberto Clemente? Lou Gehrig? Tom Seaver? These were model athletes, wise and humble men, who used their talent to teach.
The last time I spoke to R.A. Dickey it was 2010. It was a late spring morning in Port St. Lucie and he was sitting, legs crossed, on a wooden stool, Mets pinstripe pants, three-quarter sleeved t-shirt, stirrups, no shoes, quietly gnawing on a hot dog and eating baked beans off a paper plate in front of his temporary “space” in the New York Mets locker room. From a distance, Dickey appeared lost and alone amongst the anxious rookies and loud overconfident veterans. In hindsight, he probably was — at that moment in time.
C.B. Bucknor’s performance in the 2009 American League Divisional Series angered retired pitcher Curt Schilling to the point he could no longer hold his tongue.
“I don’t think [Bucknor] is trying to draw attention to himself, I just don’t think he’s a very good ump, and in his tenure in the big leagues has not improved even a little,” Schilling wrote on his blog 38Pitches.com after the Boston–Los Angeles series.
On Wednesday, Fox Sports radio station 104.3 WYKE in Florida invited me on their afternoon show to preview the Mets-Rays game that evening. The 10-minute interview lasted nearly 30 minutes, not because of anything I said or did, but because Richard and Bryan (the show’s hosts) took a serious interest in R.A. Dickey. They’re not the first — and if he continues to pitch the way the has over his first dozen starts of the 2012 season — they won’t be the last to make Dickey the focus of sports talk radio conversation.
Johan Santana threw a career-high 134 pitches Friday night. Of course, he tossed a no-hitter against the St. Louis Cardinals and etched his name in New York Mets franchise history as the first pitcher to no-hit an opponent.
Life is good — near perfect – in Flushing.
So why is Mets manager Terry Collins so anxious?