Saturday, November 14, 2009

Does Fonzie Want To Be A Met? Correct-A-Mundo!

Aaaaayyyyy! Apparently, Fonzie wants to end his career as a Met. No, not Henry Winkler. I'm talking about former Met infielder Edgardo Alfonzo. According to Kevin Kernan in today's New York Post, Alfonzo yearns to play for the Mets again in whatever role they feel is right for him. He turned 36 last week and still feels that he has something left in his tank.

Alfonzo played the majority of his career with the Mets from 1995-2002 and is plastered all over the Mets all-time career batting leaders. He ranks in the top ten in batting average (.292, 6th all-time), home runs (120, 9th all-time), RBI (538, 6th all-time), runs scored (614, 3rd all-time), doubles (212, 3rd all-time) and Henry Winkler-related sports page headlines (1st all-time).

Spring training is still three months away and Alfonzo would like the Mets to invite him to Port St. Lucie. In Kernan's article, Alfonzo is quoted as saying:
“I’m prepared for anything. Baseball is the one thing in my life that I know how to do. I don’t expect to play every day, but I feel I can help anytime. I can say many things with my mouth, but I have to prove it.”

For the SMFs who believe that the Mets would be jumping the shark if they signed Fonzie, please remember that he does not expect to play every day. If he made the team, it would be as a role player. He could fill in at any of the infield positions and would offer leadership and guidance to the younger players.

Plus, he WANTS to be here. He could try to make any major league roster, but the Mets are the team he wants to play for. If he made the team, it would cost the Mets far less money than if they went out and got another veteran infielder. He might also accept a hometown discount, being that he wants to play in the city he called home for eight years.

The Mets only had to pay Gary Sheffield the major-league minimum salary in 2009. He responded by leading the team in home runs until Daniel Murphy passed him at the end of the season when Sheffield was injured. I'm not expecting Fonzie to do anything like Sheffield did last year, but neither is he. That's not why he wants to come to the Mets.

The Mets lacked leadership in 2009. Fonzie would provide a veteran presence in addition to being a serviceable bat off the bench who can play all four infield positions. Also, how can you say no to a man who has this to say about the Mets?

“My dream is to retire with the Mets colors. That’s my dream. That’s what I’m praying for. Maybe it will happen, maybe not, but dreams sometimes come true, you know. I have a lot of hope for my future. I want to show people I can play in winter ball. I love the Mets and I love the Mets fans. I would like that dream to come true.”

Fonzie is loyal to the team that gave him a chance back in the 90s. He was one of the core players that brought the Mets back to respectability and contention in the late 90s. Although he would not be one of the core players now, he can still provide leadership and be an influential figure in the clubhouse. Those intangibles don't show up in the boxscore, but winning teams are full of players who provide these qualities.

If the Mets want to give Fonzie a chance, then I wish him all the best. I have my #13 Mets jersey ready to go if he makes his return at Citi Field. After Mookie Wilson, Fonzie is my favorite Mets player of all-time. You wouldn't hear me complaining if the Mets gave him a second chance.

Dugout photo of Edgardo Alfonzo and his beanie baby friend by Sharon Chapman. (great shot, right?)

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