By Mike Steffanos
We'll be moving away from song controversies today and back to real baseball as rookie Brian Bannister makes his debut tonight. There is always pressure when a rookie pitcher comes up and has adjust to facing major-league hitters, but this will be compounded by the fact that the team he is pitching for is a legitimate playoff contender.
Everything we hear about him indicates that Bannister has the kind of makeup that responds to being challenged, and that he will not be intimidated. Detractors will point out that he lacks overpowering stuff, while supporters would note that he knows how to pitch and possesses a mental toughness that has allowed him to surpass many Mets farmhands with more obvious physical gifts. Bannister is never going to be the type to wow the guys that write the top prospects lists, but if he has a productive major league career, I suspect that's not going to matter much. In any case, it will be fun to see how he responds.
Bergen Record: The Kid
Steve Popper quotes Brian Bannister on his start tonight:
There will be an intensity, but I think that adrenalin kick will take over. Your body just kicks in because it's doing something it's never done before. It's just settling in. I'm glad I got a lot of innings in spring training because that really helped, just being around the guys out there. I know they've got my back. I know the fans are supporting me.
Newark Star-Ledger: Bannister's Dad
Don Burke speaks with Floyd Bannister on his son's upcoming start:
This is the culmination of a lot of hard work. A dream come true. His playing in New York is the culmination of a long road up through the ranks.
NY Sports Day: Learning from Dad
Joe McDonald quotes Brian Bannister on the help he receives from his father:
[My father and I] talk about the mental side because we are different pitchers. You can control how hard you work, how much you prepare and what kind of adjustments you make out there, so the hitter will have to come to you. That's what we talk about because our styles are so different.
We always talk about the mental side of the game - how not to get too high or too low and just always stay on an even keel. That's the most important thing as a pitcher; just keep my poise and don't let things get to me because baseball has a way of evening itself out over the course of 162 games.
For those that don't know, Floyd Bannister, Brian's Dad, was a hard-throwing leftie starter.
Gotham Baseball: More Bannister
Mike McGann has a nice column on the Mets rookie starter.
AP: Gooden Sentenced
We receive the sad news that Doc will be going to prison for a year and a day. Maybe that will be enough time for him to finally turn it around.
New York Times: Hint: Rivera Doesn't Care
Ben Shpigel reports on the controversy over a song.
Mets Guy in Michigan: Helpful Suggestions
Dave Murray helps out the Yankees by picking out some songs for them.
Metstradamus: On Booing
Metstradamus discusses when to boo and when not to.