January 2002

            Winter and post-holiday doldrums are only slightly offset by football season as baseball fans wait for the first signs of spring.  Today in Virginia, the weather started with snow, changed to sleet, freezing rain and all rain, but the dampness chills one all the way to the bone.  Longing for the warm weather and sunshine one can only dream of spring training in Florida still over a month away.  Get another log for the fireplace.

            The Glen Allen Mets today announced their coaching assignments for the upcoming season.  Only one coach was not resigned from last years staff, at his request bench coach Buddy Harrellson returned to his native NY to be the third base coach for Brooklyn to be closer to his family.  Pitching coach Jimmy Key, Bullpen and catching coach John Stearns, hitting coach Eddie Kranepool, first base, outfield and base running coach Mookie Wilson and third base and infield coach Billy Ripken will all return to their positions for the National League East Champions.  The new Glen Allen bench coach will be the familiar face of Mike Stanley.  Mike spent most of last season on the bench beside manager Clark learning his tendencies and strategies while he played as occasional fielder, designated and pinch hitter.  He appeared in 66 games with a respectable .286 average slugging 13 doubles and 14 homers while driving in 48 and scoring 35 runs.  His clubhouse presence will be important as the team get younger and to act as intermediary between management and the players.  His unselfishness did not go unnoticed by the fans, management, coaches or player when Stanley volunteered to play third base in last years playoffs after Cal Ripken and Fernando Tatis were both injured in the same game.  Fortunately, Mike did not have to field any grounders, but Iím sure he will be teased this spring training.  The Glen Allen Mets wish Buddy Harrellson well in Brooklyn and welcome Mike Stanley to their coaching staff.

            This is the season for general managers to be doing their homework.  Hours are spent checking scouting reports, and at their computers checking e-mail trying to prepare for the annual rookie draft and making trades.  The Mets trade Doug Mirabelli and Marquis Grissom to Cook County for their #3 draft choice. GM Clark always likes to get draft choices. ďTo trade two players for one will only help with the numbers game when only 30 players can be protected for the draft.Ē  The Mets have five openings for amateur picks to try to find those potential diamonds in the rough.  Last year, Glen Allenís first pick was Albert Pujols, who will be the cleanup hitter and contender for rookie of the year award.  Other general managers have tried to pry Albert away from GM Clark, but the offers have not been overwhelming enough and so he remains a Met, future All-Star etc.

            Now back to the hunt for the next jewel.