Early in 2009, a 32-year-old pitcher new to New York with initials for his first name introduced pies in the face to an often-tense clubhouse. His new team, which had finished a disappointing 89-73 in 2008, missing the playoffs, would do far differently in 2009.
They would win 70 games.
That's right - A.J. Burnett was not the only pie thrower in New York this year. (And yes, as hard as it is to believe now, the Mets and Yankees did have the same record only a year ago.)
Early in spring training, new Met J.J. Putz hit SNY' s Kevin Burkhardt in the face with a pie.
MetsBlog's Matthew Cerrone posted the video here:
At the time, Cerrone wrote of Putz:
his attitude in the clubhouse, the way he keeps people loose and having fun, and it's a big reason why he was acquired, because it is believed he can have a positive impact on the clubhouse for a team that is often tight when playing under pressure…
Putz and Cerrone had the right idea. But Burnett was the one who took this concept all the way to November, while Putz did not make it past the first week of June.
The three-way trade for Putz was one of the highlights of last year's offseason for Mets fans. Little did we know at the time that Omar Minaya was trading for damaged goods.
With Putz signing with the White Sox and Jeremy Reed probably not coming back, all Minaya has to show for the trade now is Sean Green.
It is too bad that the Mets never got a chance to see what a healthy Putz could do.
But it is probably just as well that Putz' pie-throwing was curtailed. Because the way things went last season, one of those pies in the face probably would have resulted in some sort of injury and would have been played endlessly on YouTube.