We heard this was happening a couple of months ago, and now it has happened: the street outside of Dodger Stadium which used to be Elysian Park Avenue is now Vin Scully Avenue.
There was a dedication ceremony yesterday. Scully said he was “overwhelmed” and said, to the several hundred fans who showed up, “I can’t believe you’re all here,” he said.
As I said when this was first proposed in January, a pessimist could say that when they start giving you lifetime achievement awards and naming things after you, well, maybe your best years are behind you. In Scully’s case, however, it doesn’t really apply given that he won the broadcasting version of the lifetime achievement award, the Frick Award, 34 years ago and afterwards his fame and legend only grew. Time has never really mattered much when it comes to him.
And now, for all time, people while drive up Vin Scully Avenue to Dodger Stadium.
It was a big day for Mallex Smith yesterday. The Braves center field prospect was called up and penciled into the lineup to leadoff in his first ever major league game. Was he ready? Hard to say. Baseball America ranks Smith as the No. 10 overall prospect in the Braves’ system and the ex-football player is probably still raw. But they needed an outfielder, he’s their best outfield prospect and he’s fast as all get-out, having stole 88 bases in 2014 and 56 a year ago. The Braves stink. Let the kid run!
And Smith ran. He was standing on first base following a fielder’s choice in the fourth inning. He broke for second, trying to steal. He slid head first into the bag just as the throw from Wilson Ramos got there. Except his helmet fell off, bounced off the ground and smashed into his own face. It gave him a laceration over his left eye. A pretty bloody one, as you can see above. You can watch the play here if you’re into that sort of thing.
Smith was not only out on the play but he was out of the game. He may be given another day off or two. It was already a memorable debut for Smith, who earlier singled. Now he will have something additionally to remember it by. A scar.
I said in the recaps this morning that, given the Mets 2-4 start, “you know the tabloids are gonna start poking pretty soon.” Little did I know that they had already started. The first baseball article I read today came from Kevin Kernan at the New York Post and it’s a classic of the “Oh my God, the Mets are doomed” variety.
The first line is “Welcome to Terry Collins’ nightmare.” That “nightmare” is the Mets not being off to a good start. Six games, apparently, is the stuff of nightmares.
It goes on to the next telltale sign of a good inducing-Mets-panic piece: quotes from an anonymous scout. This one saying that Steven Matz — who had a bad start last night — should be sent to the minors. Look at the stunning and precise professional insight on display here:
“He looks like a young guy who needs a month in Triple-A to clean up some things,’’ one veteran scout at the game told The Post.
“Clean up some things.” For a guy who hadn’t pitched in nine days. That’s what led to the headline “Scout calls for Steven Matz’ demotion as Collins’ worries grow.” And I’m sure that quote came in the service of a total professional breakdown of Matz’ current state and wasn’t a casual comment in the course of a conversation with a buddy ballwriter during a night game that was already going poorly. Indeed, all good scouting work comes from the pressbox. In other news, anonymous scout quotes are about as lazy an appeal to authority as there is. In this context they may as well be “my friend says . . . ”
I have no idea if the Mets season is going to be good or bad, but believe it or not, teams which start slowly in their first five or six games are not ALWAYS doomed. The 2015 Mets started out 2-3, for example. Then they ripped off an 11-game winning streak. Then they sucked for a while. Then they got better. Then they won the pennant. It’s a long season.
Either way, I feel like, perhaps, Terry Collins’ “nightmares” are being somewhat overstated in the interest of freaking out Mets fans and selling some newspapers.