Reese Kaplan -- Which Mets Are "Must See TV"?


When the televised games begin from Spring Training, who is it that you’re most anxious to see?  Let’s put aside the known quantities in a Mets uniform like reigning Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom.  There are others whose first appearance in the orange and blue have to have you chomping at the bit to see in action.

Edwin Diaz
Number one on my list has to be the young, former Mariner who manhandled the American league over the past couple of years.  As good as Jeurys Familia was as a closer, you’re looking at a quantum leap ahead in terms of domination.

J.D. Davis
BVW gave up a lot of capital to land the man and it appears he’s fighting uphill even to have a position on the 25-man squad (particularly since he has options left).  Granted it was the PCL, but a league-leading .342 AVG with 17 HRs AND the ability to pitch makes him someone I most definitely look forward to seeing.

Peter Alonso
The man with the gaudy power numbers from last year is going to be heavily scrutinized as much for his glove as for his bat.  No one expects him to be in New York until probably May 1st, but it’s the first long look most folks will have and they will want to see if the power and RBI production are for real.

Keon Broxton
Speaking of human capital, the flashy Broxton can out-highlight-reel Juan Lagares but strikes out at a prodigious rate (which is a common malady for power hitters).  He is also potentially the fastest guy on the squad, so I’d like to see how his speed compares to, say, Amed Rosario, on the basepaths.

Jeff McNeil
Not only do we want to see one of the few feel-good stories from 2018 repeat and grow, but most of us want to see if he can look more like an average outfielder rather than the failed experiments of the past like Dominic Smith, Todd Hundley, Lucas Duda and Juan Samuel. 

T. J. Rivera
A lot of people forgot all about him having missed almost 18 months with TJS recovery and setbacks, but all the guy does is hit at every level.  He’s a .304 career hitter in the majors after tallying .323 in the minors.  If he’s healthy, he’s going to make it a lot more difficult for some others vying for roster spots. 

Travis d’Arnaud
Before the acquisition of Devin Mesoraco last week it seemed that TdA was the default backup catcher to newcomer Wilson Ramos.  After all, they peddled Kevin Plawecki to Cleveland.  However, no one knows if the surgically repaired arm which was never that good to begin with is actually ready for major league basestealers. 

Juan Lagares
Everyone holds their collective breath whenever Lagares flies with reckless abandon tracking a hard drive as he prepares to dive or collide with the wall and then we must see the aftermath of his selfless and reckless style of play.  He was off to a surprisingly good start with the bat in 2018 before hitting the shelf.  Can he repeat that enough to push himself into the lineup against lefties?

Kyle Dowdy
I read a piece recently in which Mickey Callaway was singing the praises of Dowdy and offering up eerily similar “fix him in 10 minutes” proclamation infamously made by former Mets pitching coach Rick Peterson about Victor Zambrano.  We all saw how well that worked out.  The man is coming off a season with a combined 9-12 with a 5.15 ERA across one AA and two AAA teams.  No wonder Cleveland left him unprotected!

Luis Avilan
Someone elsewhere suggested that Avilan could turn out to be the THE value pick of the entire hot stove season considering BVW locked him up on a minor league deal.  The thinking in Avilan’s camp at the time was that it was a fait accompli that he’d come north with the squad considering Jerry Blevins’ departure and the fact that Daniel Zamora had not yet logged significant time in AAA.  That, of course, was long before the acquisition of Justin Wilson.

Justin Wilson
He had a bit of a down period lately, so many are anxious to see whether or not he can rediscover what formerly gave him some success.  More importantly, can he find the plate without a GPS?

Then there are the veterans – Robinson Cano, Jed Lowrie and Wilson Ramos.  History suggests we know what we can expect here, but since they are new to the Mets there will be a little bit more attention than usual focused on them.   

Who is on your must-see list for Spring Training?  


Open Thread - Manny Machado


IF Manny Machado signed with the San Diego Padres.

10 years


(such a deal...)



PC - Ernest Dove 

Let's say that you are a rival GM shopping for a first baseman.  

Would Dominic Smith entice you?

What are his attractive attributes?  How about these?

1) youth

2) MLB experience

3) at least average defensively   

4) has hit reasonably well as a minor leaguer

5) first round pedigree makes one believe he might have upside

6) excellent conditioning and weight control shows greater maturity and objectivity as to what it takes to be successful at the major league level

What about his performance, though?

In 2018, there were 51 first basemen with at least 100 at bats. The once-mighty Miguel Cabrera was lowest at 134, Smith had 143.

Smith was 2nd to last in on base % (.255), barely ahead of horrific Chris Davis.

Smith was last in RBIs with just 11, and also had one of the lowest RBI per at bat ratios of the 1Bs.

Smith also fanned 47 times - former Met Wilmer Flores was up 3 times as much and fanned just 42 times.

Smith was last in runs scored with just 14, also a very low per-at-bat ratio. 

Splits-wise, Smith was .224/.255/.420 overall - the latter number indicates some promise as, for instance, the slugging % of the great Albert Pujols was worse - just .411.  

Neil Walker (remember him?) was 2nd worst at .354, and (who else?) Chris Davis was horrific at .296.

Former Met Lucas Duda was, in the interests of full disclosure, better in 2018 than Smith, at .241/.313/.418.

Not all was bad news, though.

To Smith's notable credit, he had 11 doubles, or about 1 every 14 plate appearances.  Top-in-doubles first baseman Freddie Freeman had 44 - but was closer to an inferior 1 double  to every 16 plate appearances ratio.  

Smith was a doubles machine at times in the minors, and that could be attractive to the Mets or another club.

Could Smith suddenly blossom?

Lucas Duda as a rookie had very similar weak stats to the 2018 version of Dominic Smith: .202/.261/.417.

The following season, in 2011, Duda started off in truly awful fashion, going just 6 for 42 through June 21 - what is with this dude, huh?

But in the rest of June, he went 9 for 24 (.375), then hit .300 in July, .319 in August, and .311 in September.  From bum to baseball-bashing bruiser.  

Could Dominic Smith be ready for a similar surge?  

Why not?  

He no longer is the overweight, naively presumptuous rookie of 2017 - he is physically transformed and more mature.  

He has one little problem with the Mets, though.

Well, not so little...

Peter Alonso.

All Mr. Smith can do, given the approaching Alonso Super Storm, is rip the cover off the ball this spring in hopes of fending off Alonso for a while.

Maybe Smith becomes a trade commodity with Chris Davis' Baltimore team that won just 47 games in 2018 despite having the sought-after big bat of Manny Machado for much of the season.  

Davis is a grossly overpaid albatross, and the O's seem to have no 1B prospects in their top 30.  I am not sure if the O's have other 1B alternatives - just a thought that the O's might be more than willing to whip up a trade and give Smith a whirl at first base.

So - can Dominic Smith be "Duda circa 2nd half 2011" this year?  

We will soon find out.  I have been a critic of Dominic, but I wish Smith great future success.  

No reason he can't make it happen, I think.

Mack – New Weekly Post


Good morning.

Twitter correspondence between myself and Mets pitcher Andrew Church:

Andrew Church - @PapaChurch36 - I guess the word is out now. I will be back and ready to work as hard as I can to not only be the best player I can be, but to win. I have taken full advantage of my time away from the game to better understand myself as a baseball player and as a man. Now I’m ready.

Mack - @JohnMackinAde - you get em'

Andrew Church - Will do!!

PC - Ed Delany
Andrew came to the Mets straight out of high school in the second round of the 2013 season. We are now in 2019. He has spent six seasons in the Mets chain and this would be the year needs to step up. Frankly, so far he hasn’t. A 4.73/1.41 career stat line with only 289-K in 427-IP is not good enough and Andrew is the first to realize this. A lot of people had this guy either released or retired after last season, but that’s the plan here.

I wish Andrew all the best.

I want to write a little about the International signing period that is quickly coming upon us.

PC - Ernest Dove
It was reported this past week that the Mets are the odds-on favorite to sign uber-prospect, 16-year old Alexander Ramirez, on July 2nd, during the International signing period. The 6-3 outfielder will ink a seven-figure bonus, similar to the one given out to catcher Francisco Alvarez and outfielder Freddy Valdez last year.

This ‘raising of the bar’ by the Mets internationally seem to begin in 2015 with the signings of shortstops Andres Gimenez ($1.2mil) and Gregory Guerrero ($1.5mil). This continued with the signings of OF Adrian Hernandez (2017: $1.5mil) and SS Ronny Mauricio (2017: $2.1mil), Alvarez (2018: $2.7mil) and Valdez (2018: $1.45mil).

The educated rumor regarding Ramirez only goes to prove that this increased Mets international presence will continue under Omar Minaya and  Allard Baird.

Remember… this is not the domestic draft. If you sign a player here, you don’t have to wait until 29 other players are picked by other teams. Think of it like high school seniors deciding what college to commit to. Every school is up for grabs.

The Mets have finally figured out that the only limit here is what the league allows you to spend and they are investing in the scouting needed to secure the respect of the players, their parents and the representative/agent that has much of the power here.

Eventually, all this cream will rise to the top and, coupled with excellent domestic drafting, you will have the kind of organizational depth that will allow you to determine your own fate.

The first thing they did was build a state- of-the-art facility in the Dominican Republic, similar to the one in Port St. Lucie Florida.  Then came Omar, followed by Baird.

Let’s hope Ramirez isn’t the only stud that will be signed this year.

Speaking of stadiums…

(this was written prior to last night's announcement that the Mets and the town have agreed to a new deal that stretches past 2040...)

There was a story written this past week in the Port St. Lucie newspaper that the Mets may be looking to (jump ship ) if they can’t get their renovation deal with St. Lucie County back on course.

I watched from afar a similar dust up between the Savannah (GA) powers to be and the Sand Gnats that eventually cost the Coastal Empire a minor league franchise.

As for Port St. Lucie and the Mets, I can’t see things not being settled here. I have been there a number of times and can speak from experience that this entire community is built around the team and its players. The residents are retired Mets fans from the New York area and the rest of the homes are owned by the Mets players that house down there when they are rehabbing or during spring training. Throw in all the restaurants and you could imagine how much of a ghost town this would become if the team was to leave.

An example of this is just one exit north on I-95. Here’s an old story I wrote about it:  Dodgertown

The vast majority of people still living in Vero Beach are 90+ year olds, driving at 20 miles per hour back and forth to their doctors and drug store. The team is gone, the restaurants have closed, and the heart was ripped out of this community when the Dodgers moved their spring training operation westward.

I just don’t see this happening to Lucy.


PC - Ernest Dove
The chatter war on Twitter about Jacob deGrom, Mets beat writers, fans, and the Mets front office is getting more heated every hour. The latest salvo comes from Jake’s agent who says that if a renegotiation deal isn’t done before the end of spring training, he will end any contact with both he and his client (Jake).

I have always been a proponent of negotiating deGrom’s contract, but I have to tell you, I have made a 180 on this. I predict that baseball will basically see the end of the 7-10 year contract extensions and there will be a tremendous amount of pitching talent available to us over the upcoming seasons.

I look for General Managers to tell agents that they need to bring their clients to them for a three year extension, with an additional 4th year team option.

We have two more years of control over deGrom, who will then be 32 years old. Are we supposed to give, let’s say, a 5-year additional extension to deGrom on top of this commitment? That means we would end up with a 37-year old pitcher.
If I told you that the Mets agreed to a $35mil one year deal for a 37-year old pitcher, you would storm their executive office.

Yes, our pipeline could use a little more depth and talent but I’d rather see them concentrate any extension effort on Zack Wheeler who becomes a free agent after this season. Zack turns 29 in May. A 3-year extension would be just fine here.


Tony Plate - Cespedes Looking to Return in 2019

PC - Ed Delany

Yoenis Cespedes is looking to return to the field with the Mets in 2019, but he is not quite sure when that will be. He has been working hard with the daily workouts as he tries to get back into game shape as he is recovering from heel surgery. Cespedes will begin baseball activities next week. 

He does not know when the doctors will clear him to begin running. He has been frustrated knowing that he can’t assist the team, because he has been out of the game for months and is bored. Nobody really knows when Cespedes will actually return. 

He did say that he feels better. He can currently walk without any pain which is a good sign. The Mets will look forward to have his bat in the lineup. Once Cespedes does come back there is no guarantee that he will be a thirty-home run slugger again. 

His goal when he returns is for his body to be one- hundred percent like it was in 2015. Since he signed that $110 million contract, he has appeared in 119 games with a .282 batting average and 26 home runs.

Tim Tebow is likely to begin the 2019 season at Triple-A Syracuse, but General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen thinks that he has a chance to make the opening day roster. In 2018 he played for the New York Mets Eastern League Affiliate-the Binghamton Rumble Ponies and was named to the Eastern League All-Star Team in his second full season in the Mets minor league system. 

His success from his college football days of two national titles and winning a Heisman trophy at Florida had created an impact in attendance. His popularity had helped the Florida state league boost attendance by 12.4% during his first year in the minor leagues.

The Mets signed former New York Yankee infielder Adeiny Hechavarria to a minor league deal and he will back up Amed Rosario. He is 29 and served as a backup shortstop for the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Yankees last season. 

Mets manager Mickey Callaway wants his team to be the best defensive team they can be, because of their pitching and they are going to address that as they move forward. I thought the Yankees would re-sign him since he did a good job for them defensively. I’m also surprised the other teams did not try to sign him.



Reese Kaplan -- Depth in 2019 at Most Positions


Depth has been a problem during the “hope everyone stays healthy” years but for the most part BVW has reinforced the position players and, to a lesser extent, the bullpen should injuries befall the Mets roster once again.  In the past we were shown the likes of James Loney, Austin Jackson, Jose Lobaton, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Eric Campbell and others of that ilk when the regulars were on the shelf for a prolonged period of time.  How have things changed?  Do they have sufficient spare parts?


PC - Ernest Dove
Going into the season we have Todd Frazier most likely penciled into the starting role due to the arrival of Jed Lowrie.  Behind him you have Dom Smith, J.D. Davis and then Peter Alonso waiting in the wings in Syracuse. 


Robinson Cano will surely get the lion’s share of the work here as he is an All Star, Gold Glover and Silver Slugger.  However, behind him you have Jed Lowrie, Jeff McNeil and T.J. Rivera potentially all available.


PC - Ed Delany

Here the roster is still a bit thin.  Amed Rosario turned a lot of heads with his final six weeks of hot hitting and baserunning.  Should he hit the injury list the backups are not idea.  Jed Lowrie hasn’t played much shortstop in recent years.  Luis Guillorme hasn’t demonstrated his offensive or defensive skills in limited playing time.  Non-roster signee Danny Espinosa has a lot of experience and used to flash some power, but at a batting average that would rival Frazier for ineptitude.  Then there's 11th hour addtion, Adeiny Hecchavaria, who has never learned to hit.


Jed Lowrie is getting the starting gig off his sensational 2018 (and his BVW client history).  Another BVW client, Todd Frazier, is being displaced as a result but will be able to back him up.  You also have Jeff McNeil and J.D. Davis capable of playing 3B as well as T.J. Rivera assuming he can throw the ball. 


PC - Ed Delany

Last year the Mets had the misfortune of losing two catchers in two days.  That led to prolonged stints of Tomas Nido who was greatly overmatched and Jose Lobaton who demonstrated why he spent the majority of the year in the minors.  This year they have Wilson Ramos backed up by Travis d’Arnaud and Devin Mesoraco also in the organization.


PC - Ed Delany
Starters are likely to be Michael Conforto, Brandon Nimmo and then some combination of Jeff McNeil, Juan Lagares and Keon Broxton.  In addition J.D. Davis has logged time in the OF, hopefully with more grace and skill out there than Dominic Smith showed in his trial-by-fire introduction to left field last year.  In the minors there are Gregor Blanco, Rajai Davis and Rymer Liriano awaiting opportunities, though they strike me as all more of the Austin Jackson level which is not very good.


Behind the starting 7 or 8 out there you have several folks in the minors who would love to have a shot at the Show, including Jacob Rhame, Tyler Bashlor, probably Paul Sewald, Tim Peterson, Matt Blackham, David Roseboom, Joshua Torres and others. 

Starting Rotation

Here they are even thinner than they are at shortstop.  After the five regulars, your backup options are Chris Flexen, Corey Oswalt, Drew Gagnon, Kyle Dowdy (if not offered back for failing to make the club out of Spring Training), and others whose likelihood of a successful major league career match that of most Americans starting the day without their cup of coffee – possible but highly doubtful.  If, for example, Jacob deGrom or Noah Syndergaard took a line drive off his knee, the club would be in a world of hurt. 

So, for the most part, BVW has indeed reinforced the club.  Yes, they are thin at SS, not as robust in the OF as you might like and woefully inadequate in the starting rotation if injuries occur.  It’s not perfect but it does represent progress and forethought not seen in the previous eight years under Sandy Alderson…remember him?  He’s the guy who brought you Jason Vargas who pitched to a devilishly bad 6.66 ERA from July through the end of 2017 with batters hitting .297 against him, yet Alderson felt he was a good addition to the 2018 (and 2019) Mets’ staff.  Be grateful there’s a new sheriff in town!



Tom Brennan - KOOSMAN'S FIRST 3 GAMES OF 1968 - WOW!!


Tom Brennan - KOOSMAN'S FIRST 3 GAMES OF 1968 - WOW!!

Well, I covered Nolan Ryan, and I covered Tom Seaver, in two recent articles - about how the blazing duo did in their debuts.

Jerry Koosman did not debut so well over the course of 1967, when called up in early 1967, the same time as 1967 rookie of the year Tom Seaver.

Oh, Kooz did great when he debuted in relief in the game that followed the very next daafter Seaver's debut.  

Koozman went 2.2 innings and allowed 2 walks and fanned two. Nice!

But otherwise in 1967, he only got into several early season and September games.  In those other games, he tossed 20 more innings and surrendered 17 runs.  Either a bum, or tired (the last 2 outings were particularly bad), or in need of more seasoning.  

Mets fans had reason to think it was one of the latter two, because he was GREAT in the minors.

In 1966, he had a stunning 1.38 ERA and sub 0.90 WHIP in A ball in 170 innings.  He also excelled in 99 innings of Florida Instructional League outings in 1966 and 1967.  Besides that, he put up a 2.43 ERA in AAA in 178 innings in 1967.  

(Man, a lot of innings those 2 seasons, don't you think - 447 innings in total in those 2 seasons, PLUS the 22.1 innings in 1967 with the Mets).

Anyway, looking at those 1967 minors numbers, and it sure seems the then-lousy Mets could have just left him in the Mets rotation from the start of 1967 and let him grow and adjust - seems to me that he wasted that season in the minors. 

Well, forget 1967, he sure was ready to start 1968:

1) First outing, a complete game 4 hit shutout on April 11.

2) Second outing in April  a complete game 7 hit shutout with 10 Ks.

3) Third outing in April, a complete game, 1 run, 11 Ks.

Hot dang.  How brilliant is that!

He tossed a brilliant 12 K shutout against the Cardinals in July, too.

Pitching for a team that scored just a historically low 473 runs in 1968, he still won 19, lost 12, and had a 2.08 ERA in 264 innings.  Johnny Bench edged Jerry out for the rookie of the year award, but as good as Bench was, Koosman IMO deserved the award.  Because the lefty was THAT GREAT in 1968.

In games he pitched that the Mets lost, in one game, he threw 12 shutout innings, but the team lost 1-0.  In 2 losses, he allowed 1 earned run, in 2 more, just 2 earned runs, and in 4 more, just 3 earned runs.  He would have won 20 games with a decent hitting squad.

He rang up 17 complete games and 7 shutouts, and his ERA was sub 2.00 the entire season until his second to last game.


So, going into 1969, most of us programmed-for-losing Mets fans thought the Mets, if lucky, might somehow get to .500, despite having what appeared to be a great pitcher in Seaver.

And Jerry Koosman.  And Nolan Ryan.  

And McGraw (in an upcoming article).

Mets fans were too pessimistic, clearly.

Koosman, as I have written before, had a lot of bad luck in his career due to pitching for a lot of anemic hitting teams.   

It probably kept him out of the Hall of Fame.

Case in point: after winning 21 games in 1976, in 1977 and 1978 he went a combined painful 11-35, despite an ERA for those 2 seasons of just 3.63. 

Traded to Minnesota after the second of those 2 seasons, he promptly won 20 games again.  

In his 20 loss season in 1977, he allowed 3 or less earned runs 10 times, and just 4 runs in 7 others.  It was a similar story for him in 1978.   Horrible run support.  What a shame.

The 1977 and 1978 Mets teams averaged only about 3.7 runs per game.  As bad as that was, when he pitched, their offense was worse.  

Baseball is a team sport - in those 2 seasons, particularly, his team let him down.  

Simply put, Koosman was one of my all time favorite Mets.  

He just should have filed suit in Family Court for non-support. 

From The Desk – Junior Santos, Desmond Lindsay, Josh Jung, Tim Tebow, Garth Brooks


Good morning.

MLB Pipeline http://m.mlb.com/prospects/2018?list=nym   Top Mets Prospects –

   Junior Santos | Rank: 29 (Preseason: NR)

Team: GCL Mets (ROK)        ETA: 2022   Position: RHP    Age: 17 DOB: 08/16/2001

Bats: R Throws: R      Height: 6' 8" Weight: 218 lb.   Signed: Sept. 28, 2017

Scouting grades: Fastball: 60 | Slider: 50 | Changeup: 45 | Control: 60 | Overall: 45

The Mets were very aggressive on the international amateur free agency market during the 2017 signing period, handing out a total of seven bonuses of six figures or more. While shortstop Ronny Mauricio and outfielder Adrian Hernandez were the big-ticket buys, with bonuses of $2.1 and $1.5 million, respectively, they were also happy to get Santos for $275,000. The long and lanky right-hander began his pro career in the Dominican Summer League, but pitched his way to the United States before the end of the summer.
Santos has grown since he signed and now stands at 6-foot-8. Unlike many young pitchers of that size, however, Santos has a very good feel for pitching and how to command his developing three-pitch mix. Using a high three-quarter slot, Santos fills up the strike zone with a fastball in the 91-95 mph range, thrown with excellent extension, and a pitch that should have more in the tank as he matures. When he signed with the Mets, Santos didn't have a breaking ball, but he has quickly gotten a good feel for a slider that has the chance to be an out pitch in the future. His changeup is below-average right now, but with his feel for pitching, the Mets are confident it will come on as a third effective offering.

Santos' size and plus command all point to a future as a strike-throwing starting pitcher. It's been no surprise the Mets have received multiple calls from teams looking to make deals asking about him as his first full season in the United States awaits.

Fangraphs https://blogs.fangraphs.com/top-25-prospects-new-york-mets/   Top 25 Mets Prospects –

10. Desmond Lindsay, CF Video
     Drafted: 2nd Round, 2015 from Out of Door Academy HS (FL) (NYM)

    Age     22.0    Height 6 0    Weight            200     Bat / Thr         R / R    FV       40+

  Tool Grades (Present/Future)
    Hit       Raw Power     Game Power  Run     Fielding          Throw
    30/45        60/60                30/50       60/55       45/50             50/50

Lindsay was frustrating to scout as an amateur. He flashed plus speed, potential plus power, and plus bat speed, but also suffered through a number of nagging injuries on his way to being a speculative second round pick by the Mets. The raw tools have still been there in pro ball but so have the nagging injuries, mostly of the hamstring and elbow variety. Lindsay also hasn’t shown much bat control at any point in his career, so his path to success (after staying healthy) is as a lower average hitter with some power playing a solid average center field. He’ll find himself lower on this list if he doesn’t stay healthy and produce this year, but there’s a route for him to turn into a player along the lines of new Mets center fielder Keon Broxton.

   Josh Jung went undrafted out of high school, but he will likely be the first third baseman off the board in the upcoming draft.

As a freshman at Texas Tech in 2017 he hit .306 in 245 at-bats with 55 runs scored, 14 doubles, 6 home runs, 43 RBI, and a .395 on-base percentage.
That summer he hit .368 over 117 at-bats in the California Collegiate League with 24 runs scored, 6 doubles, 2 home runs, 31 RBI, and a .454 on-base percentage.

He stepped it up a notch during his sophomore season with Texas Tech hitting .392 in 263 at-bats with 69 runs scored, 17 doubles, 6 triples, 12 home runs, 80 RBI, and a .491 on-base percentage.

PC - Ed Delany
Former college football star Opens a New Window.  Tim Tebow turned down another shot at a professional football contract in order to continue his bid to make a Major League Baseball roster Opens a New Window.  as a member of the New York Mets.

Steve Spurrier, the college coaching legend and current head coach of the Alliance of American Football’s Opens a New Window.  Orlando Apollos, told “Pro Football Talk” this week that he asked Tebow to join his team in the offseason. Tebow, however, declined the offer.

Garth Brooks http://www.fox13news.com/news/local-news/garth-brooks-trades-cowboy-hat-for-baseball-cap-during-spring-training   trades cowboy hat for baseball cap during spring training –

           "This is my team. I grew up with this team. Roberto Clemente that was my guy. I had his poster on my wall. The day that he died, I promised him that I would do something with baseball and kids like he traded his life for. This came late in my life," said Brooks.

That promise as a young kid to his baseball idol turned into a worldwide charity with Teammates for Kids.

"We started with a little over 30 major leaguers. Then we had one from every team. Then here comes the NHL the NFL, NBA, major league soccer, PGA, rodeo. They all kind of chipped in. Now 4,000 athletes strong we are hopefully just doing things for kids all across the globe,” said Brooks.

Mack's Mets © 2012