One swing makes Jacobs a rookie sensation

NEW YORK -- So how, exactly, does a guy go from trying to stay out of the way in spring training to taking a curtain call at Shea Stadium?

Mike Jacobs isn't completely sure how he got to that point, but there was no mistaking the sensation for the 24-year-old Mets rookie on Sunday.

Jacobs became the fourth Mets player ever to homer in his first at-bat in the major leagues, blasting an 0-1 changeup from Washington Nationals right-hander Esteban Loaiza into the right-field bullpen.

The Mets lost the game, 7-4, but after Kris Benson allowed six runs and didn't make it out of the first inning, the Shea crowd of 42,412 needed something good to cheer about. Jacobs provided it.

"I don't know, bro. I don't have words for that," Jacobs told Inside Pitch. "To be able to come here and then be able to get a curtain call, that's huge. You see guys like [Mike] Piazza and stuff get curtain calls, and then in your first game of the season - first game up here - to get one, that's awesome."

It is, of course, because of Piazza and the fractured pisiform bone in his left hand that Jacobs was even in a Mets uniform on Sunday. He'd been tearing up Eastern League pitching as a leading candidate for a Double-A MVP award with the Binghamton Mets, hitting .321 with 25 home runs, 93 RBI and a 22-game hitting streak.

While at Binghamton, Jacobs and the Mets embarked on an ill-fated experiment to expose the catcher to first base, but those plans were abandoned on Aug. 4, the last time Jacobs appeared in the infield.

Mets manager Willie Randolph was reluctant to use Jacobs in a game due to his heavy play at first base, but the home run has at least earned Jacobs his first major league road trip. He'll likely be sent down when the team activates right-hander Steve Trachsel, but Jacobs boarded the team charter to Arizona Sunday while left-handed reliever Dae-Sung Koo was shipped to Triple-A Norfolk.

"I can't complain about anything," Jacobs said. "I think going back to Double-A helped me out as far as getting back in the mix of playing again and getting to feel comfortable again.

"You have to give the Mets organization credit for doing that, because it made the situation so much easier. Then, to get called up before September and be able to be a part of all this, it's just awesome, man."

Jacobs said that the moments immediately following the crack of the bat were a blur. Inserted as a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the fifth inning for reliever Juan Padilla, Jacobs borrowed a bat from Cliff Floyd, took a strike and then turned on the floating change-up, pumping it over the wall for an estimated 385 foot home run.

"It's definitely a dream come true," Jacobs said. "You almost go numb. I didn't really see anything. I just rounded the bases and heard everyone yelling."

They were cheering up in Binghamton, too, where the home crowd at NYSEG Stadium was informed of Jacobs' exploits. Several of the B-Mets stood on the top step of the dugout and applauded, according to a reporter at the game.

But the roars were louder in Queens, where, for at least one minute, a 24-year-old kid from California owned New York's center stage.

"I'm just trying to stay out of the way," Jacobs said. "I don't know if I'll get in there again. It's just an awesome feeling."

"I'm sure he'll remember that for the rest of his life," Randolph said. "I'm happy for him. He's a good kid."


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