Sunday, February 19, 2006

The Phenoms of a Florida Spring

Two formative years were spent by this writer as the trainer, traveling secretary, equipment guy for the Tidewater Tides. They've since be renamed Norfolk Tides with the building of a new stadium. It was an extremely demanding job that prompted me to call myself the person in charge in the event anything at all went wrong. I say formative because of the relationships I developed. One of which was with the late editor of The Viiginain-Pilot, George McClelland. Long before my arrival he'd been nicknamed Scoop.
Scoop never seemed to mind and clearly relished his time with the team. Scoop saw all of our games, a rarity that a AAA Team have a full-time beat writer. I once asked Scoop how he got away with it and he said simply, "I'm the Editor."
Scoop loved the game and when he retired, he went to work for the Mets down in Port St. Lucie and had some player development role. Keeping in mind all the phenoms he's seen come through Tidewater in parts of three decades, its easy to understand the query he made to wise old sage, the late Darrell Johnson.
"Do the Mets over rate their pitching?"
The former major league manager easily replied, "Yes."
The history of the Mets franchise is relatively sort when considered retrospectively. Its only 45 years old. And after some understandably hapless years in the early 60's, the magical season of 1969 sprang upon the world. The names Seaver, Kooseman, Ryan, McGraw permanently became embedded in the subconscious of the Mets and their fans forever becoming the standard for any pitcher to follow. The expectations became one and the same. Intead of accepting a Craig Swan or a Tim Learly as they were, a combination of bloated expectations and hype allowed for a reality perceived as failure. And then along came Dwight Eugene Gooden, and with him a second generation of unobtainable expectations.
Mets' grown talents in Anthony Young, Pete Shourek, David West and Paul Wilson all faced expectations from a very short window of history being held to a Seaver, Ryan and Gooden standard.
George McClelland's question for Darrell Johnson should be kept in mind when considering the new phenoms of the spring. This morning in the tabloids it was Mike Pelfrey and Henry Owens. And for them comes a 45 year-old burden of expectations.


At 10:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mets also touted Jason Isringhausen, Bill Pulsipher, Bobby Jones(s), Kirk Presley, Julio Valera, Chris Roberts, and Eric Hillman


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