Friday, March 5, 2010

Is This A Mirage?

There's a scene in the middle of the movie Goodfellas, where Tommy DeVito (Joe Pesci, above in the middle), asks if he's a "mirage." He had been asking Michael Imperioli's character Spider for a drink, but Spider failed to respond quickly enough. For that and other transgressions, Spider was eventually gunned down by Tommy. While following both of today's Mets games (via gameday, message boards, and my friend who's fortunate enough to have a TV on his desk), I started to wonder if Jenrry Mejia was a mirage. And when his name failed to appear between Jon Niese and Ryota Igarashi in the gameday stats (it was a blank space, as if he had never entered the game), the feeling got stranger.

When 20 year old Jenrry Mejia AKA King Jenrry (credit for that nickname goes to the witty posters over at NYFS) entered the game in the 3rd inning, I completely lost my concentration at work. When his two and a third innings were complete, and he had struck out four, walked none and given up no hits, I began to laugh to myself like a crazy maniac. I was only one year old when Dwight Gooden exploded onto the scene in 1984, and although I've seen videos of him at his peak, I never experienced it. The closest I came to "experiencing" Doctor K was when I was in attendance to see him shutout the Rockies on Opening Day of 1993 - when he was a shell of what he once was.

Before anyone screams, I am NOT comparing Jenrry Mejia to Dwight Gooden. I'm discussing the two of them in the same paragraph because since I've been following the Mets, there hasn't been one Ace brought up from the minors by the franchise. Generation K had the talent, but none of them could stay healthy. Scott Kazmir was traded to Tampa. Mike Pelfrey has the goods to be a #2, but not nearly the stuff that Mejia appears to have been gifted with.

The drum started to beat earlier in the Spring, when Jerry Manuel talked about Mejia becoming the 8th inning man. Then, Darryl Strawberry nearly had an orgasm after he saw Mejia pitch for the first time (comparing the movement on his fastball to that of Mariano Rivera). Then today happened. Mejia came into the game and recorded 7 outs - 4 by strikeout. Yes, it's only Spring Training. The pitchers are ahead of the hitters. However, that doesn't change the fact that Mejia's pitches move like no one elses. His 94 MPH fastball has as much action as a slider, and he also features (albeit less often) a changeup and a curveball.

Pardon me and the rest of the Mets faithful as we drool. Jenrry Mejia is 20 years old, and has been blessed with a golden arm. Today in the Daily News, I shook my head as I read an article by Bill Madden that ripped the Mets' farm system. Aside from Mejia, the Mets have close to 10 guys who are ready to break through.

But back to King Jenrry...

I am not one of the people who believes he should start the year in the bullpen with the big club (before eventually becoming a starter). I can't say, though, that I would be angry if that happened. Worried, yes, but not angry. In a perfect World, Jenrry Mejia goes down to Binghamton or Buffalo and dominates - inflicting pain on opposing hitters the way Clubber Lang did to Rocky Balboa during their first bout. Soon enough, if all goes according to plan, his talent will lead him out of the minors and straight to Flushing. If I had three wishes, I'd ask for World Peace, unending riches, and for Jenrry Mejia to stay healthy and harness his talent. If there's a genie out there who wants to grant the last of those wishes, be my guest.

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