The New York Times had a seemingly innocent piece today about Ryota Igarashi and the new Met's
quest to learn a new pitch.
Apparently, Igarashi's curve ball is not up to major league standards (Note to the front office - awesome signing. My curve ball is also weak. Can I get a job? I'm a lefty, if that would help seal the deal.).
Our still-employed pitching coach Dan Warthen has recommended Igarashi learn a slider to replace that wobbly curve. This is all interesting talk but what makes this article memorable is the source reporter David Waldstein contacted for comment:"Bobby Valentine, who managed the Chiba Lotte Marines for seven years in two stints, saw Igarashi pitch in interleague play there and agreed with Warthen about his curveball.
He also says practice is paramount for Japanese players. In Japan, a pitcher might practice a new pitch for a full year, throwing it thousands of times, before unleashing it in a game.
"I'm sure Igarashi threw a lot of pitches in the off-season and over the years to prepare for coming here, and the slider isn't one of them," Valentine said. "But he could be a quick learner."
This three grafs are the best part of spring training so far. Bobby V is back on U.S. soil and clearly pacing his Connecticut estate, waiting for the Jerry Manuel era to end. NY sports reporters probably can't resist turning to their old pal to weigh in on his former club. And here is Bobby V in all his glory. We get:
- The worldly Bobby (he managed in Japan for seven years, ya know)
- The gracious Bobby (agreeing with Warthen)
- The passively combatant Bobby (he disagrees with Warthen. "Don't you know Japanese pitchers need a year to learn a new pitch? Oh that's right. You didn't manage for seven years in Japan.")
- And then my favorite: the wise-ass Bobby ("I'm sure Ryota is a quick learner. Wink, wink. Did I tell you I just got back from Japan?")
We're wasting time people. We need Bobby Valentine now, not in June when the Mets are 15 games under 500 and we're still blowing on the embers under Maine's/Perez's/Pelfrey's feet, hoping these guys catch fire some day. Bobby is not going to issue some Gary Carter-esque plea for the manager gig. He needs to be asked. Lets go Mets. Hire Bobby Valentine already so we can start getting ready for the 2011 season.