Thursday, October 12, 2006

Why Is The Infielder Pitching?

I waited 18 years and change to be present at an NLCS game.

I think I can wait two more days.

As I'm sure you have heard by now, Game 1 of the 2006 NLCS has been postponed by rain. That is bad news for the Mets, as Tony LaRussa now has the option to bring Chris Carpenter on board for Game 2 at Shea instead of having to wait until Game 3 in St. Louis.

But you know something, it's just as well. Frankly, it wouldn't have been quite the same experience to attend Game 1 of the NLCS with a pit in my stomach.

Because nobody deserves the fate that befell Cory Lidle and his flight instructor, Tyler Stanger, today.

The freshest memories we'll have of Cory Lidle are of him trashing Barry Bonds, trashing the Phillies on his way out the door, and defending himself on the Mike and The Mad Dog show to deny that he was trashing Joe Torre.

He somehow became "Cory Lidle: Lightning Rod".

My memories of Cory Lidle has always been the one where he first came up with the Mets and I thought "what the hell is this middle infielder doing pitching for us?"

If you were to imagine Lidle's future by watching him in his rookie season, 'lightning rod" would not have been a term in the forefront of your mind. After all, he looked like an infielder...was about as tall (or as short) as an infielder...had a pitching motion like a guy called in to finish the wrong end of a 25-3 blowout...like an infielder. But the telling sign was Lidle's number 11. Pitchers don't wear eleven...that's an infielder's number, not a pitcher's number (and certainly not a catcher's number, as the enormity of Fluff Castro's back seems to be on the verge of snapping those two number ones like they were twigs). But here was Cory Lidle...pitching in relief and putting up seven wins and two losses in 1997. Not bad for an infielder, I thought.

Lidle had a future in Flushing, but you can only keep so many players in an expansion draft...so Lidle was picked by the Arizona Diamondbacks and off he went to a decent career with a handful of teams, while finally wearing a pitcher's number.

With the transient nature of role players in baseball, Lidle had friends that wound up all over the league. A pall had certainly been cast over both playoff series as Lidle had teammates on all four teams left this season. From Placido Polanco to Barry Zito...from Mark Mulder to Billy Wagner. As such, baseball fans everywhere lose a small piece of themselves...because where else but sports do we refer to guys we don't know by their first names...or nick names...because we feel like we know them? Ultimately, we root for the laundry. But it's times like these that we remember that there are human beings that wear the laundry, and provide stories for the laundry.

Even the pitcher's laundry that has an infielder's number stitched to it.

13 comments:

Unser said...

What an odd day. Like you MD, as I was heading to Shea I was sort of hoping the game would be rained out.

No news yet on the start time for Friday's game, huh. It would be nice if MLB would make up its mind so we can all plan our day.

Mets Grrl said...

Rock and roll is the other place where you refer to people you don't know by their first names.

Okay at least I do. It's always Mick and Keith. Pete and Roger. Joe and Mick (the other Mick). Patti. Joey, Johnny and Dee Dee. you get the idea.

Shea Gadfly said...

It is a sad day...and I wish I could leave it at that but I am too cynical. The media plays everything up to tragic proportions. Maybe, I'm insensitive but just like when JFK Jr. died, I wondered about the big deal that was made. Especially since someone somewhere probably lost a daughter or son in a car accident, a boating crash, or even in a plane crash. The only difference is that no one talks about it, knows about it, and for that reason no one cares about it.

Jeter called Lidle "a great man" but was Jeter going to share some of his playoff shares with him? I somehow doubt it...I'm just cynical I guess. I remember how the Mets players treated Rick Reed & Benny Abgyani. It's a sad day but like with anyone else, if your name doesn't end in Lidle or you weren't one of his close personal friends, you just have to move on...

Unser said...

Gadfly, I was saying the same thing last night to my wife. No one seemed to be interested in the name of the flight instructor who perished in the crash, or the type of person he was.

But that's our society I guess - we're the TV/media generation and we think of famous people as members of our family. Kind of strange.

Metstradamus said...

All true. And still, we don't know the name of the flight instructor.

The Metmaster said...

Happy birthday to you.
Happy birthday to you.
Happy birthday, METSTRADAMUS
Happy birthday to you.
(no shit, it really is)

Happy birthday my friend. Here's to many more and a Mets/Ranger win for you tonight.

Metmaster

Metstradamus said...

Metmaster, thank you for being so kind.

Boy, for an Islander fan to wish a Ranger win on my behalf that's a special birthday wish! I'm touched.

Ed in Westchester said...

Metstra - is today really your Birthday?
It is mine as well.
This is the first time in a long time I have "met" someone who shared this day.
Happy Birthday!

Ed in Westchester said...

And you'll notice the lack of a Ranger win wish. I can't go quite that far :)

Metstradamus said...

Holy crap Ed, Happy Birthday!!!

I too have only known of celebrities that share this day, such as Sid Fernandez, Luis Polonia, Garth Iorg, J.J. Daigneault, Luciano Pavarotti, and Kirk Cameron. But never a regular Joe like me.

Metstradamus said...

And to add some more who were born on October 12th: Oilers goalie Dwayne Roloson, Heisman trophy winner Charlie Ward, pitcher Tanyon Sturtze, former Red Sox star Joe Cronin, track star Marion Jones, and skiier Bode Miller.

And King Edward the VI.

Shea Gadfly said...

Bodie Miller & King Henry?

Happy B-day Dudeth!

Put that one in your books!

Metstradamus said...

Gadfly, many thanks.