Yes, I’m back. I’ll explain some of the reasons for the “hiatus” in another post, but for the time being, I’ll share what happened during my 3 days at Mets Fantasy Camp 2013. In 2011 and 2012, I only went for 1 night and was there for the awards dinner. Baboo had told me about how much fun the Kangaroo Court was, so this year I was able to get the day off from work and went for 2 nights.
I left home at 5:45 (close to an hour later than I left the other 2 times) and, because the state and the various counties have been working to improve the road, the 135 miles didn’t take 3+ hours as it has done before. This time, it only took about 2 1/2. It doesn’t sound like a big difference, but it was. The road wasn’t quite as lonely and I wasn’t forced to follow so many slow-moving farm vehicles as much as I had in the past.
Unfortunately, not as many former Mets were on hand as there have been in years past. There were enough players for 10 teams — barely enough, as we found out — but there were 2 more teams this year than last. Baboo’s team was called Guys & Dolls and the coaches were Ron Swoboda and Guy Conti. I arrived in time for the morning meeting, and heard the nominations for the brown and gold ropes. As a reminder, the brown rope is awarded to the player who made the most spectacularly boneheaded play of the previous day, and the gold rope is awarded to the player who made the most spectacular play, period. On Friday however, the brown rope winner was not a player. The winner was Rodney McCray (known as Crash — here’s why) in honor of the truly dumb instructions he gave a player on his team. On Saturday, the only 2 women in camp swept the awards. It was the first time ever that both awards had been won by women. Obviously, nobody wants to win the brown rope, but it was still pretty neat to have the women up there in front of the audience.
Unfortunately, Baboo’s team finished in 10th place, with a record of 1-6. The winning team was coached by Eric Hillman and Rodney McCray. They beat Pete Schourek and Doug Flynn’s team in Saturday’s finals.
While Turk Wendell, Benny Agbayani and Bud Harrelson were among those who weren’t at camp this year, there were a couple of newcomers — Doc Gooden and Cliff Floyd. Mookie Wilson was in attendance also, but he left early and I never got to see him “up close and personal.” Doc pretty much kept to himself, but Baboo did get me an autographed baseball for my collection. I got a photo with Cliff, but no baseball. Maybe next year…
Anyway, here are the pictures:
Bobby Wine acts as Judge and Doug Flynn is the prosecuting attorney at Friday night’s Kangaroo Court. Commissioner Stearns pays a fine while Eric Hillman laughs at him (as did we all).
Commissioner Stearns speaks to the campers at Saturday morning’s meeting.
AY (Anthony Young) sits next to Lenny Harris. In back are Crash McCray and Pete Schourek. To our right is Felix Millan.
Cliff Floyd and Doc Gooden present an award on Saturday night.
Eric Hillman, Duffy Dyer and Joe Pignatano at the Awards Dinner.
Randy “Nemo” Niemann and Ed Charles (once again wearing the World’s Greatest Jacket — see last year’s report for the close-up).
Representatives of the ’86 World Series team (Wally Backman, Tim Teufel, Randy Niemann and Doc Gooden) as a statement from Sandy Carter is read. All proceeds from the Kangaroo Court went to the Gary Carter Foundation. Even people who weren’t fined donated to the cause.
As some of you may not know, the last day of camp features games at the Mets’ spring training stadium where the pros play the campers in order of how the campers finished in the standings. Here is Doc Gooden preparing to bat in one of those games. He did not pitch. But we did see AY, Pete Schourek and even Kevin Baez on the mound.
Baboo is versatile. He pitches too.
Felix Millan coaching first.
As I told Baboo, if I am invited again next year, I will be there. It’s some of the most fun I have all year. If you live in Florida, the Sunday games are open to the public. The concession stands are closed, but the team store is open so you can pick up swag. I can almost guarantee you’ll have a blast.