Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Bay wanted the Mets, really

Jason Bay sounded very sincere today during his introductory press conference when he said he wanted to play for the New York Mets. Unlike the Boston Red Sox, the left fielder knew the Mets wanted him very badly and went after him hard.

Besides a lot of money, a free agent really wants to be wanted by the team and city he's going to spend the next four or five years playing for. He was very complimentary of the Mets, praising Johan Santana as probably the best pitcher in baseball and citing their numerous injuries for last year's collapse. Maybe I'm just being naive, but I believed Bay when he said that he wanted to play for the Mets. "I wouldn't have signed the contract if I wasn't happy or didn't want to be here," Bay said.

I still don't get the reluctance of the Red Sox to aggressively pursue Bay. But I have to admit that I was rooting for the Mets to get him instead of Boston. I'd much prefer that the New York Yankees have to face him only six games each year than 19 games. "I think the Mets wanted me more, this is where I wanted to be and I'm very happy about that," Bay said.

Signing Bay was the right move for the Metsies. They got themselves a good player who performs brilliantly under pressure and a great character guy. And if he could handle replacing Manny Ramirez in Boston, he can handle anything that gets thrown at him in New York.

Bay seemed to have some fun today, pointing out that no one would confuse him with Torii Hunter in the outfield when asked about playing in cavernous Citi Field and jokingly offering to bat 9th if the Mets wanted.

The Mets had a little fun today too, having former hockey player Rod Gilbert give Bay a New York Rangers jersey with his #44, thrilling the Canadian in him. The Mets took one solid step toward getting their moxie back. But they have much more work to be done.

Thanks to Keith Allison via Wikipedia for the photo.

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