Carlos Beltran and the Mets: no hard feelings

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One of the Mets’ offseason dramas involved Carlos Beltran, the front office and a disputed surgery clearance.  Beltran, who was angry with the Mets’ front office at the time, is willing to let bygones be bygones:

“You know, it took me a while because I’m a human being, of course, and
I’m a person who has feelings. It took me like a
week for me to forget everything and focus on what is important for me.
What is important for me right now is just to be with the team, be
ready, and being able to play.”

Spring training tends to heal these kinds of emotional wounds.  As for the physical wound, Beltran says he’s progressing nicely. Reporters on the scene today said that there was no limp in his walk and all appeared hunky dory.

Less than hunky dory was Beltran’s fashion sense, as evidenced by these pictures by Howard Simmons of the Daily News.  Note the ugly shirt tucked into jeans! Behold the two-hole-deep white belt which was EXACTLY like one your old man had back in the 70s!  Note also that Beltran, not content to rock a mere trucker’s hat, rocks what appears to be a very expensive takeoff on a trucker’s hat.

But perhaps the worst atrocity in that photo array is the last picture, in which Sandy Koufax — in Mets camp because apparently the Wilpons have taken an option on all Dodgers history prior to the 1970s — checks out Oliver Perez’s skills.  The look on his face says “Scott Boras compared this guy to me last year?”  Koufax is about as awesome as it comes, so he no doubt has ninjas or pirates or something on the payroll who will no doubt be paying Boras a visit after nightfall.

Gaylord Perry, two-time Cy Young winner, dies at 84

Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports
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GAFFNEY, S.C. — Baseball Hall of Famer and two-time Cy Young Award winner Gaylord Perry, a master of the spitball who wrote a book about using the pitch died at 84.

Perry died at his home in Gaffney of natural causes, Cherokee County Coroner Dennis Fowler said. He did not provide additional details.

“Gaylord Perry was a consistent workhorse and a memorable figure in his Hall of Fame career,” MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement, adding, “he will be remembered among the most accomplished San Francisco Giants ever … and remained a popular teammate and friend throughout his life.”

The native of Williamston, North Carolina, made history as the first player to win the Cy Young in both leagues, with Cleveland in 1972 and San Diego in 1978 just after turning 40.

Perry went 24-16 in his debut season with Cleveland after 10 years with the San Francisco Giants. He was 21-6 in his first season with the Padres in 1978 for his fifth and final 20-win season.

“Before I won my second Cy Young I thought I was too old – I didn’t think the writers would vote for me,” Perry said in an article on the National Baseball Hall of Fame website. “But they voted on my performance, so I won it.”

Perry, who pitched for eight major-league teams from 1962 until 1983, was a five-time All-Star who was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1991. He had a career record of 314-255, finished with 3,554 strikeouts and used a pitching style where he doctored baseballs or made batters believe he was doctoring them.

The National Baseball Hall of Fame said in a statement that Perry was “one of the greatest pitchers of his generation.” The Texas Rangers, whom Perry played for twice, said in a statement that the pitcher was “a fierce competitor every time he took the ball and more often than not gave the Rangers an opportunity to win the game.”

“The Rangers express their sincere condolences to Gaylord’s family at this difficult time,” the team’s statement said. “This baseball great will be missed.”

Perry’s 1974 autobiography was titled “Me and the Spitter,” and he wrote it in that when he started in 1962 he was the “11th man on an 11-man pitching staff” for the Giants. He needed an edge and learned the spitball from San Francisco teammate Bob Shaw.

Perry said he first threw it in May 1964 against the New York Mets, pitched 10 innings without giving up a run and soon after entered the Giants’ starting rotation.

He also wrote in the book that he chewed slippery elm bark to build up his saliva, and eventually stopped throwing the pitch in 1968 after MLB ruled pitchers could no longer touch their fingers to their mouths before touching the baseball.

According to his book, he looked for other substances, like petroleum jelly, to doctor the baseball. He used various motions and routines to touch different parts of his jersey and body to get hitters thinking he was applying a foreign substance.

Perry was ejected from a game just once for doctoring a baseball – when he was with Seattle in August 1982. In his final season with Kansas City, Perry and teammate Leon Roberts tried to hide George Brett’s infamous pine-tar bat in the clubhouse but was stopped by a guard. Perry was ejected for his role in that game, too.

After his career, Perry founded the baseball program at Limestone College in Gaffney and was its coach for the first three years.

The Hall of Fame’s statement noted that Perry often returned for induction weekend “to be with his friends and fans.”

“We extend our deepest sympathy to his wife, Deborah, and the entire Perry family,” Baseball Hall of Fame chairman Jane Forbes Clark said.