Saying goodbye to Luis Castillo was great, but Oliver Perez calls for the real celebration. Castillo at least made an effort and was a legitimate part of the competition for 2B (though that says more about the Mets' lack of good options). Ollie was just plain useless. Most importantly, the Mets were finally willing to eat an eight-figure salary.
Squawker Lisa has graciously offered to help me celebrate Castillo's departure by providing links of various calls of his dropped popup against the Yankees, a game we had the misfortune of attending. I have declined all of Lisa's generous offers. I don't need to see that play again - it's seared in my memory along with Lisa's laugh and the long walk out of Yankee Stadium and into the crowded subway surrounded by gleeful Yankee fans.
But Ollie's departure does bring back memories of games we attended that I am more willing to revisit. One was the first time I went to Citi Field. It was the second exhibition game against the Red Sox. Lisa and I were excited to try the new food options, and with Shake Shack already packed, we started with Blue Smoke. It had a long line as well, and by the time we got our ribs, the game was underway. We didn't mind because it was an exhibition, and we didn't think we'd miss much anyway. But by the time we got our food, the Mets were losing, 6-0, and it was still the top of the first.
Of course, the pitcher was Ollie, who did his part to inaugurate the new ballpark by giving up a grand slam to Jed Lowrie. Ollie was just starting his three-year deal and was already getting boos following his shaky spring, when he was accused of not staying in shape when he was participating in the World Baseball Classic.
(By the way, is it worth noting that Ollie was at least a serviceable pitcher before appearing in the WBC, but has been a disaster ever since?)
Last August, Lisa and I went to see Darryl Strawberry, Dwight Gooden, Frank Cashen and Davey Johnson inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame. The ceremony was great - the game, not so much. By the eighth inning, the Mets trailed the Diamondbacks, 10-1. It was Ollie time. He gave up a run in the eighth, earning another inning.
As the ninth inning started, Lisa and I, not sure why were were still there, realized that it would be a good time to visit the Mets Hall of Fame. So we were taking pictures of the new plaques while Ollie was giving up three more runs to make the final score 14-1. A perfect day to celebrate a time when the Mets were actually a great team.
Looking over the box score, I now see that when Ollie entered the game, so did Castillo. Talk about garbage time!
I didn't make it to another game after that, so that was the last time I saw Castillo and Perez in Met uniforms. (And, perhaps, major league uniforms.) On Mets Hall of Fame Day, Lisa and I got to say farewell to proud members of the Mets Hall of Shame.