Originally posted on Metstradamus  |  Last updated 3/2/13
It's not every day that a major league team faces Stephen Strasburg on one day, and Justin Verlander the next. It's also not every day that a team matches their effort on both days. Though it is only spring training, the Mets starting pitchers did that. Today was more impressive than the previous day as Jon Niese matched zeroes with Verlander for three innings in a 6-2 Mets victory. Of course, he didn't match every zero as Verlander was perfect against the Mets and Niese gave up three hits, but Niese's 2013 exhibition debut was strong enough to allay the fears that you may have about Johan Santana perhaps not being ready for the opener (which is a fine way to avoid the awkwardness of having Santana start Opening Day on reputation when Niese's numbers last year earned him the start ... along with the trade of a certain knuckleballer.) But what I want to talk about today revolves around Thursday night's starter, Rafael Montero. Do you remember when the Mets got swept by the Rockies last season, and Mike Francesa went on an epic rant about the series, and about how not to drink the Mets' kool-aid, as it were? Let me refresh your memory: "I don't want to hear any more about these Mets pitchers ... Don't let the Mets, or SNY, or Kevin Burkhardt or anybody else try to force feed you these pitchers that they're the second coming of Seaver and Koosman." Now I try to avoid watching or listening to Hall of Hate inductee Mike Francesa if I can help it. I know we as bloggers have collectively made an effort to comb anything Mets related for news and soundbites, and that includes having to listen to Francesa. Well I hope the rest of the bloggers are having fun with it, but I can't do it. If I listen to him, it's an accident. Friday was one of those accidents. And the portion that I heard was Francesa interviewing Sandy Alderson from Port St. Lucie. The smaller portion of that interview I heard revolved around Montero, and here is a loose transcription of the key components (go to about the 20 minute mark of this if you want the exact context): Mike: Do you have a young guy here who you think is maybe a year or two away from doing something good?" Sandy: The guy who pitched for us last night, Montero. Mike: I don't know much about him. Tell me about him. Sandy: He's got four pitches and a fastball around 94-95 and he's got great command. Mike: Wow ... and he throws 94? Sandy: 94, 95 Mike: And he has four pitches? Sandy: Four pitches, and great command. Mike: Wow, really! That's a lot, that's a mouthful. What's his first name? Sandy: Rafael. Mike: Rafael Montero, I haven't heard about him. Is he a right hander? Sandy: He's a right hander. You know, we've got a number of quality pitching prospects below the Harvey, Wheeler level. First off, if this doesn't prove that any outrage that Mike Francesa has against the Mets is merely for show, then I don't know what will. Hearing Francesa eat up what Alderson was saying about Montero and the rest of the pitchers just six months after telling all of us not to eat the same portions up is absolutely freaking hilarious. Second, way to do your homework, Michael. If I asked Sandy Alderson what Rafael Montero's first name was and if he was a freakin' righthander ... the night after he pitched in a major league game ... he would laugh me out of the interview room, as he should. But I guess it's true that being an entertainer is more valuable than being prepared. Living in a world where Honey Boo Boo is popular, this shouldn't shock me. But it still makes me shed a tear ... especially when at the same time as Francesa was asking whether last night's starting pitcher was righthanded, the other local sports option in town (give you a hint, it starts with an S and ends in an NY) was asking its viewers: "Is the Miami Heat's Harlem Shake video the greatest viral video of all time?" It was then that I shut off the television and contemplated the possibility of taking my brain out of my skull and beating it with a ball peen hammer, just so I can get through the day. Then I realized that I should save that step for that August series against the Royals when Jeff Francoeur hits three HR's in a game against them.
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