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Ten Things I Like About Zito

NostraDennisThursday, November 30, 2006
By NostraDennis


(Thanks to Wikipedia, JockBio.com, the Oakland Tribune, MLB.com, and Robert Zemeckis)

10) His Strikeouts for Troops charity sends $200 to wounded GI's for each one of his strikeouts.

9) Zito has never missed a scheduled start in his career. That's the kind of dependability the Mets need, especially with the changes and uncertainty in both their starting rotation and their middle relief corps.

8) He's acted in theatre, performed on stage with the Dave Matthews Band, and has done uncredited voice work for The Venture Brothers, only one of the coolest shows on cable TV.

7) In 2005, in a stretch of 20 out of 21 starts, Zito allowed fewer hits than innings pitched.

6) Barry's in touch with his feminine side. He collects stuffed animals, brings satin pillows on road trips, and was forced to wear a wedding dress his rookie season. He admitted he kind of liked wearing the dress.

5) His curveball has three nicknames: "Captain Hook", "Rip-Curl", and "Bert". No doubt, if he ends up in New York, we'll create a fourth.

4) He's not fazed by the high expectations he'd doubtless face under the microscope of the Big Apple, since he has great expectations for himself: "I'm not happy when I pitch seven innings and give up two runs and get a win."

3) Tom Seaver and Doc Gooden are, of course, the only Mets pitchers to win a Cy Young Award. If signed by the Mets, Zito would be the twelfth pitcher to win a Cy Young Award and pitch for the Mets, but not at the same time. List available on request, but I'm sure most of you know most of them.

2) He'd rather buy his own autographed baseball cards on eBay than buy unsigned cards. "Because they're authenticated".

1) In winning his Cy Young award in '02, he was the first to do it by beating out another pitcher who'd let the AL in ERA, strikeouts, and winning percentage. Who'd he edge out? Some schlub named Pedro something or other.

One Thing I Hate About Zito

1) Scott Boras is his agent, so wherever he goes he'll probably be paid much more than his admittedly impressive numbers reflect. However, he is the best available arm out there by far, and in the words of Doc Brown from Back To the Future when Marty asked him about screwing up the space-time continuum:, "Well, I figured...what the hell!"

Sometimes, you've just gotta say, "What the hell!" We're the Mets. We deserve nice things.

About Dennis McCarthy: I was born in the Bronx in 1960, but moved to Long Island four years later. I became a Mets fan in '69, thanks to my Aunt Ellen, who still lived in the Bronx.

Got in trouble with Mrs. Kozak in 8th grade in 1973 for sneaking a transistor radio into her English class so I could listen to the Mets.

My mom wrote a note of apology, promising that my attention to English would improve - just as soon as the season was over.

Met my buddy Ray (Metphistopheles) that year as well. While he's now way up near the Canadian border, and I'm down in America's wang, we remain friends via blog.

Lost interest in baseball in general and the Mets in particular when I gained interest in girls, but rejoined the fold in time to root for Hubie Brooks and not much else in the early 80's.

My college buddies at Adelphi University all turned out to be Mets fans. That says something about my judgment of character. We all bought into the Saturday season ticket package in '85, just in time to enjoy the playoffs and Series the following year. Sat in the far right field upper deck for Game 4 of the NLCS and Games 1 and 7 of the Series.

Got married to Sharon in '85, and started a career in radio - behind the scenes, not on the air - that continues to this day. We've got two daughters, Virginia, 20, and Denise, 15.

Got mad at major league baseball after the '95 lockout, and moved to Orlando, Florida that same year (those facts are unrelated). I decided to spend my money on minor league baseball for several years, patronizing the Myrtle Beach Blue Jays, the Tidewater Tides, the PawSox, the Wilmington (N.C.) Waves, and the Orlando Cubs.

Forgave MLB in '98, and traveled to St. Louis to see McGwire get thrown out of Saturday's game. In the first inning. Arguing balls and strikes. Fortunately, I had a ticket to Sunday's game, so I got to see him hit #55 against Dennis Martinez of the Braves.

The following year, met my college buddy Mike in Chicago, and watched Sammy Sosa hit #60 on Saturday and #61 on Sunday. I was back. What can I say? Dudes love the long ball.

Sat in a recliner in Wilmington, North Carolina in October 2000 with my dad to watch the Subway Series, and learned for the first time that he was a Yankee fan as a kid. My folks divorced when I was six or seven, and Dad and I never talked sports. He died of lung cancer spread to the brain the following summer.

Met my new best Mets friend, Johnni Gunnz, at the radio stations for whom I currently work. Talking Mets sure makes the day a pleasure. Got turned on to Mike's Mets and FAFIF by Ray, who survives the lack of Mets info up in the wilderness between Buffalo and Rochester with his own blog.

My unfulfilled dream job (but don't tell my current boss): baseball PA announcer. My current dream job (though it's definitely NOT a job): guest blogger at Mike's Mets.

Comments (2)

NostraDennis--

I've always been a fan of your posts. I thought this one was great. I'd have to say you gave some pretty convincing reasons to bring Zito here... but that one counter-argument is huge. The last thing I want to do is lock up a huge amount of payroll into a guy who is not clearly a number one.

Matt,

Thanks for the love, seriously. It's more than I get most days at home or at work.

The good news about Glavine helps ameliorate that one thing I hate about Zito. The Mets' posture can now shift from "we NEED to sign you, Barry" to "we'd love to sign you", or maybe even "we might like to make you an offer".

I'd still do it, but if not, so many other options are now open for what should prove to be a very interesting Winter Meetings.

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