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Spring Training - March 25, 2006 - The Mets Arrive and Bagwell Departs

I woke up this morning feeling like a truck hit me. I knew I had been coming down with a cold, but it looks like it may have reached its peak. I was coughing all night so I finally picked up some Formula 44 at the gift shop for a mere $10.00! There was NO way I was going to miss today's Mets-Astros game at Osceola. If I had to over-medicate myself then so be it.

I grew up a Mets fan and am still loyal to the boys in orange and blue. I'm not quite on the Omar Minaya bandwagon, however, and I've come to appreciate other team building philosophies much more (see the Braves!). Still, I was excited to get to see this team up close.

I arrived at Osceola and needed to pick up a new press credential. The one they issued to me Wednesday night was for one day only, and I was supposed to be granted media rights from the 22nd through the 28th. Plus, the flimsy credential stock had ripped during one of the windstorms the other night! The elderly gentleman at the will call window was extremely friendly and even funny. When I asked for a new credential to replace the old ripped one, he wanted to know if I had been drinking again! Of course, he was joking, but I played along.

Once again, I made my way out to the field to find the Mets taking their morning batting practice. Of course, since this was a New York road game, the Mets brought a second-string team (much like the Blue Jays yesterday) comprised of "stars" like Ramon Castro, Anderson Hernandez, Chris Woodward, and Jeff Keppinger. Top prospect Lastings Milledge did make the trip, however, and started in left field.

I took a ton of pictures (see here Spring Training - March 25, 2006) before I heard that the Astros were about to hold a press conference in the main clubhouse. It was 11:45 AM and the media were gathering at noon. I headed to the press box, picked up the game notes, and set out for the clubhouse conference room located behind the park down the left field foul line.

As most of you know by now, the press conference was being held by Houston's Jeff Bagwell. Also in attendance were manager Phil Garner, general manager Tim Purpura, and owner Drayton McLane. In a nutshell, Bagwell stated that he will explore the option of removing lingering bone spurs from his surgically repaired shoulder. Whether or not the spurs can be removed by Dr. James Andrews remains to be seen. Jeff emphasized that this is probably a last ditch effort to get him back on the field healthy. A solemn Bagwell explained that the spurs are "wrapped by nerve tissue" and that there's no guarantee the surgery can even be performed.

"I said I wasn't going to embarrass myself, and I felt like this was a joke," Bagwell explained to the room full of media. "I could not get the ball to the infielders, and they were on the grass." While Jeff Bagwell will officially start the season on the disabled list, this truly looks like the end of the road for one of the game's great players. Garner, Purpura, and McLane all spoke of Bagwell's accomplishments as if he already had retired. Jeff Bagwell will be missed by many.

Game News and Notes

  • The Astros beat the Mets "AAAA" team, 3-1
  • Andy Pettitte looked sharp in today's start, allowing just 1 hit through 5 innings
  • Preston Wilson continues to struggle for Houston, going 0-for-4 with 2 strikeouts and leaving 7 men stranded on base
  • Lastings Milledge looked a bit foolish against Houston pitchers, going 0-for-4 with 3 strikeouts
General Observations and Information
  • I got a little emotional during Bagwell's press conference today. I know, I know. I'm a wuss!
  • Speaking of the press conference, it's amazing how many cell phones went off while Jeff was speaking. It was so rude! It got so bad that before Garner, Purpura, and McLane began to speak, the `Stros manager asked the whole room to "please turn off your cell phones...seriously!"
  • Prior to the game, a couple actually got married on the field at Osceola County Stadium. Ok, I have to stop here for an editorial! First of all, if you're going to get married at a ballpark, can't you find one a little nicer than Osceola Stadium? I mean, Disney is 10 minutes away. At least go there! Secondly, who the hell knows a woman who would agree to get married at a ballpark? I sure don't. Where are these women? It reminds me of that scene from Something About Mary when Cameron Diaz asks Ben Stiller if he would like to come up to her apartment and watch SportsCenter! Again I ask...where are these women???!!!
On Tap for Sunday

I'll be heading back to Chain of Lakes Park on Sunday to watch the Indians face off against the Reds. Maybe the Reds will actually bring a real team with them this time. We'll see...

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