Magazine article The New Yorker

MEET THE METS; SPRING TRAINING DEPT. Series: 2/5

Magazine article The New Yorker

MEET THE METS; SPRING TRAINING DEPT. Series: 2/5

Article excerpt

In a week, the Mets will have assembled in full at Port St. Lucie, back from representing their various native countries at the World Baseball Classic. Expectations are high. The last time fans were this optimistic was probably 1988. Those Mets, who won a division title (as none have since), were a brash, hard-living bunch, the stuff of tabloid legend: Doc and Darryl, Nails, Coney, HoJo, El Sid. And what of this year's squad? Much has been made of the growing Hispanic influence, sought by Omar Minaya, the general manager, and of the outspoken liberal politics of the new slugger Carlos Delgado, but perhaps the best portrait of the 2006 Mets can be gleaned from an unwieldy spreadsheet assembled last week by Sandra van Meek, a member of the team's communications department.

Van Meek set out to catalogue the "answers to some questions people like to ask about the players," she wrote in an e-mail. Those questions include the names of the players' pets, the dishes they most like to cook, their game-day superstitions, and their favorite board games. A few of the stars (Pedro Martinez, Delgado, Billy Wagner) eluded van Meek's survey, but twenty-six players participated, providing a broad sample from which to generalize.

The team is certainly diverse, like the borough it plays in. Six languages are spoken, or could be spoken, in the clubhouse: English, Spanish, Spanglish, Swedish, German, and Japanese. Musical taste runs from James Taylor (Tom Glavine) to Jay-Z (Cliff Floyd and Victor Diaz) to Wisin y Yandel (three players). Career aspirations, if baseball had not been an option, range wide: a cop (David Wright), a veterinarian (Carlos Beltran), a soldier, a doctor, a lawyer, a pastor, a financial planner, a teacher, a hockey player.

Taken as a statistical composite, however, the typical Met has 1.08 children (pick a name: Bella, Tobias, Yomar) and a dog, probably a terrier (Mitch Wylie's is called Gucci). He started playing baseball when he was six years and two months old, and in grade school his best subject was math--the better for calculating his stats. He now drives a Mercedes, a BMW, or a Cadillac (and possibly some combination thereof). He likes rice and beans, and among meats he favors pork chops. Every so often, he gets out the spatula and fires up the Weber.

The typical Met's golf handicap, if he's willing to name one, is around eleven or twelve--the result of almost a decade of links experience. …

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