BMets Handle Helling and New Britain

Music blasts from a stereo that sits in the corner of the Mets locker room between the bat rack and a locker. It is about 45 minutes to game time, but there are still only three Mets players by their lockers and none are on the field or in the dugout. The team is doing a variety of activities to keep themselves relaxed and focused for the upcoming game.

At first glance it is easy to mistake the scene as a bunch of guys just hanging out on a Sunday afternoon, but there is more to it than that. These players are doing what they can to stay relaxed and to make sure that they are not too tense when they take the field. There are a variety of activities taking place and both sides of the spectrum are represented in these pre-game rituals. Everything is played from casino to chess. Everything is read from the sports page to the Bible. They watch everything from CNN to ESPN. Most noticeably, they eat everything from deli platters to doughnuts.

Justin Huber, the B-Mets catching prospect, sits by his locker, cleaning his shin guards and explains why they are not out in the field or taking batting practice. "We've been here since about a quarter to eleven. The game is not until one thirty so at a certain point we have stretched and taken our BP and we still have some time to kill so we try and clear our minds so that we can just go out their and play." Justin Huber then has his neck shaved by Tim LaVigne who pitched 1/3 of an inning on Sunday allowing one unearned run.

It is clear that this fosters some extra team bonding. Several players are in a small room watching a repeated edition of Baseball Tonight, discussing which major league pitchers have "good stuff" and which do not. It is mentioned that Scott Erickson has been placed on the 60 day disabled list and that Jeff Duncan was sent back down which starts a debate over the value of Erickson and who the best replacement for him would be, while several position players are in a meeting with coaches going over the New Britain starting pitcher, Rick Helling.

Despite being a bona fide major leaguer with 90 wins under his belt Helling was knocked around by the B-Mets who scored in each of the first four innings and had a season high fourteen base hits. The top of the lineup was particularly effective. Manager Ken Oberkfell, when asked about Josh Pressley's first Home Run on Saturday said, "We know he can hit the ball to left field and now that he has started to do it, pitchers will have to respect him more and pitch to his strengths". This appears to be the case as Pressley had two more hits today.

Monday is an off day, but Tuesday there is a mandatory weight room session at 10:30 and then at 2:15 a stretching session. The game does not start until 6:00 so there should be more card games and ESPN sessions on the horizon.

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