Let’s face it, the Mets probably won’t make the playoffs this season. However, they can at least hang their hats on this little distinction. According to Mike Vorkunov of the Newark Star-Ledger, the team destroyed the one-day record for the number of cheesesteaks eaten in the visitors’ clubhouse in Philadelphia.
Yes, apparently they keep track of such things in Philly. They even have individual and team records for a single day or a series. As for the Mets, their amazing feat of eatery occurred on April 30 as the team was waiting out a rainout:
On April 30, over some ten hours, the Mets ate 103, they say, setting the new single-day team record. Though baseball may be a sequence of individualized events, this was the work of a collective. It was planned two cheesesteaks per person, or more for those that were willing to help out where other teammates could not eat their share.
By the time the Mets left for Denver, distended and at over-capacity, they were now record-holders, breaking the previous mark that stood somewhere in the 80s.
Before you ask, no, Vorkunov didn’t provide any evidence that Bartolo Colon played a significant part in setting the record. In fact, there’s more evidence to suggest that bullpen catchers Dave Racaniello and Eric Langill did most of the damage, as both have set individual records in the past. Anyway, that must have been a pleasant flight to Colorado.
With the 2017 World Baseball Classic around the corner, Team Israel has reportedly reached out to Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. Tournament rules stipulate that a player’s roster eligibility can be achieved in one of several ways: they were born in the country in question or hold citizenship/permanent legal residence there (or are simply capable of qualifying for citizenship), or one of their parents was born in the country or holds citizenship/permanent legal residence there.
For Kipnis, it’s the latter. Kipnis’ father, Mark Kipnis, is Jewish. That gives Kipnis the status he needs to suit up for Team Israel, despite the fact that he is a practicing Roman Catholic. He has yet to confirm or deny his participation in the competition.
Fifteen players have confirmed for Team Israel so far, including Mets’ infielder/outfielder Ty Kelly and free agents Sam Fuld, Nate Freiman, Jason Marquis and Jeremy Bleich. Per MLB.com’s Chad Thornburg, eight minor leaguers will also appear for the team. Like Kipnis, at least three other major leaguers are eligible for Team Israel’s roster but have yet to accept or decline involvement in the WBC: Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson, Mariners infielder/outfielder Danny Valencia and free agent left-hander Craig Breslow.
Free agent first baseman James Loney has reportedly signed a minor league deal with the Rangers, per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The deal includes an invite to spring training and a $1 million salary if he makes the major league roster in 2017.
Loney picked up a one-year stint and starting role with the Mets in 2016, slashing .265/.307/.397 with nine home runs in 336 PA. While his numbers were down a hair from the .280/.322/.357 batting line he produced with the Rays in 2015, he provided the Mets with a necessary, if underwhelming upgrade over an injured Lucas Duda through most of the season.
The 32-year-old infielder is expected to have some competition at first base, with at least five other candidates in the mix: Jurickson Profar, Ronald Guzman, Ryan Rua, Joey Gallo and Josh Hamilton. Rumor has it that the team is planning on platooning Rua and Profar in 2017, barring any impressive breakouts or injuries during spring training, though Loney could still provide the club with some veteran depth and a decent left-handed bat off the bench.