Buck Showalter thrilled with Mets Old Timer’s Day return
The day Mets fans have been asking for since tradition was broken 27 years ago has arrived.
Owner Steve Cohen brought Alumni Day back this year, for the first time since 1994. About 60 former players and managers will take part in the festivities and the game ahead of Saturday night’s game against the Rockies at Citi Field.
“Big day tomorrow. I can’t wait to be there, it’s going to be really cool,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said Friday before his team’s 7-6 win over the Rockies. “It’s a great day to celebrate people who mean a lot to the organization and the fans. Let’s just hope we have good weather and nobody gets hurt.
Eleven members of the Mets Hall of Fame – Edgardo Alfonzo, Ron Darling, John Franco, Dwight Gooden, Keith Hernandez, Cleon Jones, Ed Kranepool, Jon Matlack, Mike Piazza, Darryl Strawberry and Mookie Wilson – and three men enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown (Joe Torre, Mike Piazza and Pedro Martinez) will be present. Gooden and Bartolo Colon will be the two starters.
Torre will be one of four former managers in attendance, along with Bobby Valentine, Willie Randolph and Terry Collins, while 1973 World Series manager Yogi Berra will be represented by family members.
« I think it’s a great day for the players’ families as well, » Showalter said. « Some of the kids and people here have never seen their dads or grandfathers play. I think seeing the response people have for them means a lot to their families.
There will be a red carpet arrival for former Mets at 2 p.m. at the Seaver VIP entrance, with doors opening for fans at 3:30 p.m. and presentations scheduled to begin an hour later.
Third baseman Eduardo Escobar (oblique) is expected to be activated from the injured list on Saturday after playing in a second game Friday night for Single-A Brooklyn.
The Mets wanted the switch hitter to get some shots on the right side of the plate as a DH against a left-handed starter for the Jersey Shore BlueClaws.
Escobar went 0 for 3 after hitting two hits and going seven innings at shortstop Thursday night for Brooklyn.
“He felt good physically, and the decision was that the left-handed starter was the last bridge to cross,” Showalter said. « We hope he will be a player for us on Saturday. »
Tylor Megill (shoulder) kicked off a bullpen Friday and is expected to kick off live batting practice Monday before possibly starting a rehab assignment later next week. The Mets are hoping to get Megill back as a reliever in September. … Tommy Hunter was activated from IL and Michael Perez was opted for Triple-A Syracuse.