Every spring, like many other teams, the New York Mets parade a series of old timers in Port St. Lucie in an attempt to mentor the younger players on their current roster. In years past, we’ve seen the likes of Sandy Koufax, Nolan Ryan, etc.
Now, this season can be officially considered another trip in the time machine. Let’s set our dials back to a time when things were good in Queens and New York was an undisputed Mets town. Let’s take a time warp back to 1986. That’s exactly what the franchise is doing, after news today, that yet another former member of the ‘86 team is being beckoned by the organization for the specific purpose of mentoring.
The New York Mets have asked Dwight Gooden to be a spring training adviser to the team, and share with the players his knowledge and his experiences in the hope that they can properly adjust to life in the big city. Add to the list that already is a reuniting of bad guys that won, including Darryl Strawberry, Keith Hernandez, Mookie Wilson, and Tim Teufel. This collection of Mets heroes is wonderful for the fan to reminisce over, but may not be a factor in the current clubhouse.
The truth is, some of these current players were either too young to know these former Mets, or they didn’t follow the Mets, so these names don’t spark any emotion in them. Perhaps it may help David Wright, who grew up an avid Mets fan. Can you honestly say that Jason Bay, who was born and raised in Canada, has heard of any of these players before the age of 17 or 18 when he was old enough to grasp a historical sense of the game? I don’t believe so. The majority of this team was born and raised far from this country and even more, this city. This cavalcade of old timers will not be effective enough for them. Only time will tell, but this attempt at mentoring may fall on deaf ears, and when it does, the apologies by some of these current players to the fans and management will too.