Monday, December 3, 2007
Mets Turn To New York Streets For Pitching Help
By Ronaldo H. Mexico, Dissociated Press Writer WASHINGTON HEIGHTS - A day before baseball's winter meetings begin New York Mets General Manager Omar Minaya believes he may have found a solution for his club's pitching woes. Strangely enough, it doesn't involve trading for American League aces Johan Santana or Danny Haren. Minaya, whose surprisingly smug demeanor in the wake of last September's monumental collapse continues to baffle reporters and fans alike, responded to questions about plans to bolster his team's pitching staff yesterday afternoon during an appearance at the Mets' Clubhouse store in Midtown. "Actually, I am going to a series of very important meetings addressing our pitching needs immediately after I finish scaring these children." Minaya told reporters through an interpreter while cradling a traditional Dominican storybook. "You all are more than welcome to follow me if you want." The Mets executive then murmured a remark that best translates to "No sweat from my balls." Minaya led a handful of sports writers to the Broadway subway line, emerging 20 minutes later from the 145th Street station of the 1 train. After a brief lunch at El Caridad Restaurant he walked his ever-curious flock across the fabled land bridge that has become a rite of passage for now millions of displaced Dominicans. "Welcome to Riverbank State Park. It's getting cold, but you'll still find the hardcore Dominicans out here playing." Hardcore Dominicans they would find indeed. On a 30-degree afternoon and lacking traditional equipment, the gladiators of turf and concrete engaged without regard to the unkind elements. Rudelvyn Santana, whose 94-mph tennis ball rang up 11 inebriated weed dealers also earned him an invitation to a Mets winter league affiliate. "I guess iss the sang chee [same *explicit*], ju know?" Santana bravely questioned without the help of an interpreter. "I put Manny [Ramirez] on his ass right here last summer. Nobody see." The Mets hope Santana can replicate the fortunes of the Cleveland Indians, who three years earlier found a sockless wunderkind on this very astroturf. Most baseball fans are well familiar with Fausto Carmona's sinker. Most aren't familiar with his Wilson tennis ball or blue Super Bounce. "There are just as many Dominicans here in West Harlem as there are in all of Santo Domingo. I let Carmona get away a couple years ago." Minaya said just 2 days after trading top outfield prospect Lastings Milledge to the Washington Nationals for a plate of mangu con salami frito. "From this point forward I plan to take full advantage of my proximity to this overlooked wellspring of talent." Area residents can expect a sharp spike in tennis ball sales from the Rite Aid on the corner of 145th Street and Broadway.