QUEENS, NY – Rookie second baseman Joe Brinks always dreamed of wearing the New York Mets’ orange and blues. But it’s been the black and blues that have Brinks shaking his head.
“I just don’t get it,” said a somber Brinks after the Mets’ 4-3 victory yesterday over the Atlanta Braves, “I can’t figure out why I’ve been getting beaned so often.”
Getting “beaned” means getting hit by a pitch and for reasons unknown within the organization, he is getting beaned at an alarming rate: 23 beanballs in the first two weeks of this young season.
“It was always my dream to play for the Mets,” mumbled Brinks incoherently, “but getting plunked twice a game by mid-nineties fastballs, sometimes in the ear, isn’t really what I had in mind.”
When asked if he knew of any reason why he would be targeted by opposing pitchers, Brinks shook his head.
“I’ve never met most of the guys I’ve faced so far and you know I’ve only been in the majors for less than a month, how could I possibly have made this many enemies in that short a time?”
Mets’ manager Jerry Manuel, who has over 40 years of major league baseball experience as a player and manager, confirms that he has never seen anyone take the kind of punishment that Brinks is receiving.
“I wince at the very thought of the pain that kid is in right now,” said a puzzled Manuel as he waited patiently outside the training room for the latest prognosis on Brinks return.
Manuel continued, “In 1965, I remember watching in horror as Juan Marichal beat Johnny Roseboro over the head with a bloodstained baseball bat. But that seems like peanuts compared to this.”
Manuel’s demeanor quickly changed when he was pressed about why he continues to ignore team doctors, all of whom are pleading that Brinks be given at least one day off.
“Well I mean what do you want me to do? The kid’s on my roster so I play him, I mean Jesus Christopher his on base percentage is nearly .700!”
Mets’ team captain David Wright was more concerned.
“He needs to retire like now,” a steely-eyed Wright concluded even before a reporter could ask a question.
“He has his life to think about. I know that if a player suffers even one or two concussions over his whole career, he will suffer long term symptoms. Then we go play the Giants last week and I see Joe get nailed in the head at least six or seven times.
Wright would not comment of Manuel’s decision to neglect to give Brinks a day off, but instead continued his tirade from before.
“I swear when that last [Tim] Lincecum fastball sunk into his temple, I could see his soul begging to leave his body.”
Adding more confusion to this bizarre situation is that none of the pitchers who have hit Brinks say they recall doing it on purpose.
Giants’ pitcher Matt Cain admits he has no explanation for his plunking Brinks a week ago.
“When Joe was up there, they had two men in scoring position and two outs I mean the last thing I want to do it hit a guy. I aimed for low and away but it got away from me. I think the ball even managed to hit him in the one place the batting helmet didn’t cover.”
Perhaps the strangest beaning was courtesy of Giants’ reliever Brian Wilson. Wison somehow buried a fastball into Brinks’s shoulder even though Brinks was not up to bat.
“It was the biggest fluke I could imagine,” said Wilson. “I was doing my warmup tosses and the ball slipped out of my hand and just nailed him. I can’t remember for sure but I feel like he may have even been sitting in the dugout.”
Brinks’s major league dream is proving a challenging one, but Brinks is not willing to give up just yet.
“I’m a baseball guy and I play baseball, there isn’t anything else out there for me,” said Brinks as he opened the refrigerator to answer the phone.