Monday, May 30, 2005

Ode To Tony Clark

Compassion. Consistency. Connection. Just some of the words to describe one of the most important players in New York Mets history, Anthony Christopher Clark. You know him simply, as Tony.

What can you say about Tony? The tallest first baseman in Mets history, Clark was more than just a baseball player...a lot more. Midway through the 2003 season, Tony changed his uniform number from 00 to 52. While on the surface that might not seem like a major move, with one uniform number change Tony made history. Not only did he become the first player in Mets history to wear two numbers for the first time, but he's the first player ever to give up a number to a team mascot with a big baseball for a head. You see, Mr. Met also wears 00. Children and Mr. Met fans everywhere were confused throughout the first half of the 2003 season, wondering if the true identity of Mr. Met was revealed (Clark and Met are about the same height), and if the aura of Mr. Met was compromised forever. Clark, not wanting to give kids the impression that there really was no Mr. Met, switched to 52, and children everywhere rejoiced as Mr Met was able to keep 00 all to himself.

You see, Tony Clark is all about the children...that's what made Tony special. Who was there to pick up the pieces from Mo Vaughn's .190 batting average in 2003? Yes, Tony Clark. Who was there to set the right example for the rest of the Met bench by caring enough to give up his uniform number to a mascot? Tony Clark. And who did a solid for Met fans everywhere by NOT hitting a home run off of Keith Foulke in the ninth inning of game 6 of the historic 2004 ALCS for the Yankees? You guessed it! Tony Clark!!!

Seriously, Clark is having a good year off the bench for the Arizona Diamondbacks this season, .321 with 5 HR's and 22 RBI's and an OPS of 1.005 in 78 at bats. The Snakes visit Shea starting Tuesday...

Tuesday: Brad Halsey (3-2, 3.34) vs. Kris Benson (3-1, 3.86)

Willie Randolph used today's off day to flip flop Benson and Victor Zambrano to keep Benson on his regular rotation. Good idea, considering Benson has had three straight lights out starts including the last two against the Yankees and the Marlins. Luis E. Gonzalez has 8 hits in 15 at bats including 3 doubles and a homer lifetime against Benson. Craig Counsell is 5 for 9 lifetime. Halsey, the former Yankee involved in the Randy Johnson trade, outpitched Roger Clemens on May 19th.

Wednesday: Brandon Webb (6-1, 3.39) vs. Victor Zambrano (2-5, 4.74)

Of course, the downside of flip flopping Benson and Zambrano is that you have this matchup. Webb has been amazing this season, and is as much a reason for the Diamondbacks resurgence as anyone. Former Angel World Series hero Troy Glaus is the other big reason, but he only has 2 hits in 11 AB's vs. Zambrano. Zambrano hasn't been horrid lately, only giving up 9 earned runs in his last 23 innings for a 3.52 ERA. But again, expectations have been so low for Zambrano, to say he hasn't been horrid is equivalent to saying a normal pitcher has been pitching like Walter Johnson lately.

Thursday: Shawn Estes (4-3, 3.79) vs. Pedro Martinez (5-1, 2.79)

Funny how I immediately thought to wax poetic about Tony Clark but completely forgot about another former Met and current D'Back Shawn Estes. That's probably because the best thing Estes ever did for the Mets was bring back Brady Clark in the trade to the Reds. But as is the Mets way, they couldn't even take advantage of that as they went and released Clark after he hit .417 for the Mets. And now Clark is hitting .335 for the Brewers. And don't get me started about the attempted beaning of Roger Clemens as he missed him by three feet as Clemens stood there and smirked that arrogant Yankee smirk of his. Nice job Estes, thanks for nothing.

Wouldn't it be typical if Estes turned around and beaned Piazza on Thursday? Wouldn't that be kind of like Hulk Hogan turning on Macho Man Savage and teaming with Kevin Nash and the NWO?

No comments: