Monday, August 14, 2006
Who else won't be at the reunion?
This Saturday is the big celebration at Shea of the glorious 1986 champions. A big reunion was planned, and potentially it was a very cool march down memory lane. But as players start dropping like flies, I’m starting to wonder who exactly is going to show up to this thing.
As my wife said, Mookie could have that plate of cocktail wieners at the reception all to himself.
Here’s the list of players and other folks who have either announced they’re not showing up at Shea, or the excuses I expect them to use by the end of the week.
Darryl Strawberry: Straw already said he’s not coming. He invented some excuse about being bitter about the Mets not paying some of his deferred salary to pay off tax issues. We know the truth. Darryl’s gone Yankee. And once you’ve gone Yankee, you don’t come back. He even appeared an at Old-Timer’s Day over there. There’s still some prodigal son-like hope for him. But he’s been brainwashed, caring more about the 26 championships the Yankees talk about seemingly between every break in the action than the one he won with us in 1986.
Dwight Gooden: Well, we know that Doc is a guest at the hotel with the striped shadows down there in Florida. At least his orange jumpsuit is kind of like the bating practice jersey we used to wear.
Howard Johnson: HoJo just served a 10-game suspension as the Tides hitting coach for leaving the team without permission. Do you really think he’s going to risk leaving the team again?
Randy Niemann: Niemann is the pitching coach for the Tides. After seeing what happened to HoJo -- and having much less fan appeal -- Niemann isn’t leaving the stadium to sleep, much less head to New York.
Lee Mazzilli: Lee can’t come because he’s Joe Torre’s bench coach. Apparently Joe can’t find anyone else to do those essential tasks delegated to bench coaches, like taping the lineup card to the dugout wall. Seriously, what do these guys do? It can’t be that hard. After all, Don Zimmer held the job for years.
Rick Anderson: He was on the roster for part of the year, but not for the post-season. Now he’s the pitching coach for the Minnesota Twins. I suspect he’s already in hot water for allowing stud rookie Francisco Liriano’s arm to practically fall off this past week. He won’t risk straying far from the Metrodome, lest he come back and find his 1986 World Series ring and other possessions in a cardboard box on the front step.
Gary Carter: Carter is managing the St. Lucie Mets as we speak. He’s not shy about saying he should be managing the Mets because he guided a short-season rookie league team in the Gulf Coast League to the championship. I don't think Willie wants Kid anywhere near Shea, at least not without a food-tester to make sure Carter doesn’t, ahem, create at opening at the major-league level.
Doug Sisk: We didn’t invite Doug Sisk. We’re trying to purge Doug Sisk from all team records.
John Gibbons: Gibbons is managing the Toronto Blue Jays, where his assigned task is keeping the Yankees out of the playoffs. And not doing a very good job, I might add.
Roger McDowell: The class clown of the 1986 champs is another employee on special assignment. The Braves think he is their pitching coach. We know he’s on our payroll, driving Atlanta’s pitching staff right into the ground.
Kevin Mitchell: The last thing we heard about Mitchell and the Mets is that he was freaking out teammates and threatening to behead cats. Can you imagine what would happen if he showed up at the reunion? Cat Fanciers, Garfield fanatics, little girls with Hello Kitty! T-shirts, Kit Kat candy eaters -- they’d all be protesting and boycotting.
Davey Johnson: Davey, our former manager, now works as a consultant for the Nationals, where he is undermining Frank Robinson so he can return to managing.
Randy Myers: You just know that with all the unrest in the world, Myers is working in some jungle as a mercenary. Even if we tracked him down, getting him through airport security at LaGuardia would be a challenge.
Jesse Orosco: Orosco, the major-league leader in games pitched, is still playing somewhere. I’m convinced.
Ed Hearn: On a serious note, Hearn was diagnosed with focal segmental glomerulosclerosis in 1991, and he has suffered from poor health ever since. He was treated for cancer twice, underwent three kidney transplants, and requires mechanical assistance to breathe. His condition forces him to take more than fifty types of medication on a daily basis. Let’s pray for this guy to recover!
Lenny Dykstra: “Nails” wasn’t the sharpest guy in the world, and there are those rumors that he kind of got involved with steroids while playing for the Phillies. He’s probably going to confuse John Mitchell, the pitcher, with George Mitchell, who is leading the steroids investigation for MLB, and stay far away, lest he have to answer some questions.
Wally Backman: Poor Wally. That thing with the Diamondbacks was kind of sad. I wouldn’t be shocked if he’s a recluse, but I hope he shows up.
Sid Fernandez: “El Sid” moved back to his native Hawaii and was hired as an cutive assistant to Mayor of Hawaii Jeremy Harris. Allegedly his job assignment was to find sponsors and users for sporting facilities on Oahu. Truth is that with Jack Lord dead, the government needed someone to take over Five-0, but with a lower profile. That does, however, explain why “Book ‘em Mookie!” became an island catch phrase. With Wo Fat on the loose again, I don’t think Sid’s going to be able to shake free.
Bob Ojeda: Last I heard, Bob stormed away from being the pitching coach of the Binghamton Mets after Rick Peterson got the major-league job. Allegedly he was muttering something about being able to fix Victor Zambrano is just five minutes!. Now he’s teamed up with Rich Gedman to be pitching coach for the Can-Am League’s Worchester Tornadoes.
Ray Knight: Knight’s post-Mets career is best remembered for serving as a caddy for his wife, pro golfer Nancy Lopez. It’s well-known around the Mets that Tom Glavine likes to hit the links. Knight probably fears that he’ll be forced to carry Tommy’s clubs, a job formerly held by Jose Offerman. That’s the only reason I can think of why Offerman was on last year’s team.
Tim Teufel: Backman’s platoon partner was managing the St. Luice Mets until Gary Carter decided he needed a promotion. Now Teufel’s “taking a year off.” Think he’s bitter?
Rafael Santana: Raffy is ticked off because every time some loudmouth columnist says a team needs a great shortstop to win, someone always says “Well, the Mets won with Rafael Santana.” I’d still take him over Derek F. Jeter.
Danny Heep: Since 1998, Heep has been head coach for the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio. They claim to be a Catholic school, but that kind of sounds like a cult to me.
Bud Harrelson: Bud is co-owner and third base coach for the Long Island Ducks. I’m not saying it’s a small operation, but he also drags the infield, works in the parking lot -- which is a lot like being third base coach -- and sells soft-serve ice cream in little plastic Ducks helmets. He’d come to the reunion, but the Duck would be in chaos.
Rick Aguilera: Rick ended his playing days and went on tour with is daughter Christina, where he supervises the roadie that runs on stage to replace her body piercings when one shakes loose during a particularly hot move.
Keith Hernandez: Mex, of course, is a star of the Mets television broadcasts. But we know what happened in San Diego. Rumors are that Keith scanned the guest list, saw Terry Leach on there and said “Terry’s a girl’s name and they don’t belong in the dugout.” and decided he’s not coming.
Ron Darling: Darling shares the booth with Keith Hernandez. But since Keith’s not going to come down the field, that leaves Ron free to come down and share in the festivities with Mookie Wilson.
So my wife is incorrect. Mookie won’t have the cocktail franks to himself after all.
In other words:
I suspect Bob Sikes has a much better handle at who won't be at the reunion. His always excellent blog is www.gettingpaidtowatch.com