Puerto Rico Just Like the Mets? A Proud Island Loses to Team USA

Joe NoaCorrespondent IMarch 19, 2009

PORT SAINT LUCIE, FL - MARCH 4: Team Puerto Rico poses for a picture during photo day at Tradition Field on March 4, 2006 in Port Saint Lucie, Florida. (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)

Team Puerto Rico reminded me of the 2008 Mets in the way they lost to Team USA.

Team Puerto Rico was leading Team USA 5-3 going into the bottom of the ninth inning. Pedro Feliciano reminded me of last year, and to most Puerto Rico fans, it wasn't good. He did not have good command and put himself in a hole.

The Puerto Rican team had a chance to get out of it with a double play, but Carlos Delgado was pulled off the bag. It was all downhill from there.

With the bases loaded, David Wright took a low and outside pitch and dropped it down the right field line for a game-winning two-run single to defeat Puerto Rico 6-5.

As I saw Team Puerto Rico's bullpen implode, I could not help but remember almost 30 games the Met bullpen blew in 2008. It was enough to make me sweat a little, but I quickly reminded myself that the Mets now have Francisco Rodriguez and J.J. Putz. I quickly regained my composure.

The Mets had 16 players in the WBC, and with the exception of Oliver Perez, they all played well. This is a good sign for Mets' fans to see their players progressing in preparation of the 2009 season.

Delgado is swinging the bat extremely well, much better than when he started the 2008 season with a surgically repaired right hand.

Carlos Beltran was playing his all-around game. He robbed Team USA of a home run with a spectacular catch in center field.

Nelson Figueroa deserves a serious look at being a fifth starter, after pitching scoreless baseball in the WBC. His breaking pitch was sharp, and he had full command of his pitches.

Congratulations to Team USA for pulling out a victory against Team Puerto Rico to advance to San Diego. As for Puerto Rico, it is wait until the next time. Hopefully, they will solve their bullpen problem like the Mets did this year.


Off the top of my Head

Did the Mets make a mistake not signing Ivan Rodriguez? The Astros got him for $1.5 million with another $1.5 million in incentives. That is a bargain for what he can do. Maybe the Mets should have given Ramon Castro away and signed I-Rod.

Livan Hernandez is the front-runner now for the fifth slot, but Figueroa needs to be considered.

It's a long shot to see Pedro Martinez in a Mets' uniform but don't count him out yet.

Freddy Garcia has pitched his way out of being a Met.

Sign of the times—only six fans in line at Citi Field to buy tickets. Those six were not affected by Bernie Madoff.

Only in America would you see players from the Mets, Phillies, Yankees, and Red Sox hug each other after Wright's game-winning hit.