The legendary Jamie Hoffmann.
As the New York Mets continue to build a contender unmatched since perhaps the 1927 Yankees, rival teams and the National League in general quake in their collective boots as the team recently signed star power hitters Jamie Hoffmann and Brian Bixler, and potential perennial Cy Young winner Carlos Torres.
Those three players, complemented by lesser stars David Wright, R.A. Dickey and Ike Davis, ensure the Mets at least 120 victories in 2013. With the team jelling as it is, it might even exceed those admittedly low expectations and win at least 162 games, becoming the first baseball team to have a perfect season.
In fact, the rest of the league will probably lose count of its enormous number of wins and ungodly runs scored about a third of the way through the season. It’ll throw its arms up in surrender, grant them 175 victories and beg them for mercy during the rest of the season.
Let’s take a look at the raging behemoths of men and ballplayers the Mets signed over these past couple weeks.
First, it was Brian Bixler, who the team inked on November 16th. Knowing his signing was a coup, the Mets tried to keep the deal on the down-low by making it of the minor league variety. But we all know what that really means. It means the rest of the league will wish it was back in the minor leagues, so they don’t have to face the terrifying might of Bixler’s bat every single night.
It is said Bixler once ripped the spine out of a grizzly bear and surgically reattached it before the animal even knew what happened. He eats light bulbs for breakfast and his sweat is so pure and holy that it has been known to cure cancer, herpes and even the laziest of eyes. Don’t let Stuart Scott find out.
Officially, his age is 30, but some claim he may be only seven years old, that he came out of his mother’s womb fully matured, with a moustache, wearing a suit and carrying a briefcase.
His baseball career has been utterly stellar so far. His career batting average is listed at .189, but further research indicates that this is a clerical error and in fact the mark is .981. The statistician who made the mistake is no longer working for Major League Baseball. Some sources say he may no longer be alive.
He plays shortstop, outfield and third base, but only because he wants to. He could play all nine positions at once if he felt like it. In fact, he did so 14 games in a row while in Little League, so the legend goes. In those 14 games, he hit 1.423, with the opposing teams allowing him more base hits just to let the games end sooner so they didn’t have to keep losing.
His speed is legendary. He is credited with 156 career steals in the minor leagues, but it is believed he actually stole all those bases in his rookie professional season. To keep his better-than-Henderson-and-Coleman-and-Wills-and-Brock-combined wheels off the bases, professional baseball clandestinely paid him upwards of a billion dollars to let them spread that year’s steal total over the rest of his career to date, dividing it among his other seasons and giving him more human-looking numbers. But that agreement only runs through 2014. When it is up, be prepared.
Then the Mets signed outfielder Jamie Hoffmann, who may be even better than Bixler. He has appeared in only 16 major league games, but it’s not because of any sort of inferiority on his part—sources claim it is because Major League Baseball pitchers secretly petitioned the commissioner to force him to stay in the minor leagues. His mighty lumber alone, it is feared, could raise the league ERA over two points in a matter of weeks.
He doesn’t just swing a baseball bat, they say. He swings an entire acacia tree. He doesn’t just steal bases, they claim. He steals, them, pawns them off and donates all the money to a Third World charity. Then, before anyone can bat an eye, he replaces them with perfectly carved marble substitutes, masterpieces so glorious even Michelangelo weeps in his grave.
In 2009, he hit a single home run at the major league level—a deep shot in his first at-bat on May 24. It broke pitcher Matt Palmer’s heart and shattered his dreams. He left the game just a few short innings later and, it is said, took a long and lonely walk down the streets of Los Angeles, trying to find himself and reconcile what had happened just a few hours before.
He had been victimized by a Jamie Hoffmann blast so hard hit, no one knows just how far it really went. Some claim 350 feet. Others say 450. We may never really know, for those at that game on that warm California afternoon swear that as the ball was about to leave Dodger Stadium entirely, it suddenly vanished. At that same moment, perhaps a finger snap’s time later, a young boy in Ibusuki, Japan, was hit in the head by a baseball appearing seemingly from nowhere in the powder blue sky.
Hoffmann is part man and part light and pure energy. He hits home runs and he swipes bases as any respectable ballplayer does, but he does both like no one else can. Or ever could.
It was not Babe Ruth hitting all those home runs in the 1920s and 1930s. It was Jamie Hoffmann’s transcendent soul and spirit travelling the waves and ripples of space-time, planting himself in the Bambino’s legendary lumber. Babe Ruth was Jamie Hoffmann…Jamie Hoffman was Babe Ruth.
And then there is pitcher Carlos Torres, perhaps the most human of the triumvirate. Modest and humble, the ever-decent human being that he is intends to have a high ERA. He prefers to allow near-innumerable home runs and walks. He wants his opposition to do well and have a good time.
“I do it on purpose,” he is reported to have once said. “I do it to be fair. It’s not fun constantly winning all the time. It gives me a challenge.”
From the beginning of his career, Torres has followed this legacy of gentlemanly fairness and decency. In 2004, his rookie professional season, he went 19-0 with a 0.00 ERA. But he asked—nay, he demanded—the league change his numbers to a more human and reasonable 2-2 with a 4.74 ERA. And to this day, that is what the record books say.
One source close to Torres tells us: “He doesn’t want people to look at him as ‘Carlos Torres, that guy who once threw a ball 240 miles-per-hour, that guy who throws a changeup so slow he can walk to the batter’s box and hit a home run three minutes later. He wants people to look at him as Carlos Torres, the normal human being.”
Some may consider his modesty a weakness, one that may harm his teams in the long run. After all, his major league record is only 6-6 and his ERA is 5.97.
But for what he cannot do—or chooses not to do—on the mound, he makes up in the other facets of his incredible life.
Torres is a master of 18 languages, including three that are technically extinct. He paints masterpieces with his eyelashes, using only ground-up berries and pure cane sugar as his media. He once composed a sonata so beautiful it was made illegal in 86 countries. They feared cult-like religions would spring up around it.
If the pitcher ever ditches his modesty, however, the league better be prepared.
“He could be the greatest pitcher who ever lived,” one scout says. “I’ve seen this guy throw. He is an amalgam of all the best hurlers ever. He could win 30 games a year even if he doesn’t reach his full potential. If he does, I envision at least 500 strikeouts and a Cy Young Award each season.”
With the additions of Bixler, Hoffmann and Torres, the Mets have become the team to beat in 2013 and, perhaps, for decades to come. The squad now boasts a team loaded with power, speed, defensive versatility and incredible pitching—and that’s just in the recent signees.
In fact, the Mets temporarily considered dropping all the other players on the club and building the team entirely around the newly acquired trio. Bixler would have manned the infield, Hoffmann the outfield, and Torres would have pitched. Only when alerted that the official rules of baseball state nine players must be on the field defensively at all times did manager Terry Collins decide against the idea.
Perhaps it was for the better. Now the team can showcase its trade bait—that is, the rest of the squad—during the 2013 campaign, as it rides its way to a perfect season on the backs of these newly acquired stars.