Friday, July 13, 2007
Rickey on Rickey
By Jeff Pearlman
Special to Page 2
The press conference begins with an announcement from Jay Horwitz, the Mets' media relations chief. "The New York Metropolitans are excited to announce that we have hired Rickey Henderson as our new hitting coach. As many of you know, Rickey played 25 seasons in the big leagues, and is the all-time stolen base king, as well as ..."
RICKEY: Uh, Jim ...
HORWITZ: Excuse me?
RICKEY: Rickey wants to talk.
HORWITZ: My name is Jay.
RICKEY: Yeah. Rickey wants to talk.
HORWITZ: Without further ado, our new hitting coach, Rickey Henderson.
RICKEY: First off, Rickey would like to thank Rickey, God and Rickey, none of whom could have made this day any less possible. Rickey would also like to thank Mr. Steinbrenner. Rickey had some tough times when he was in New York last time, but Rickey ...
HORWITZ: Uhm, Rickey? We're the Mets.
HORWITZ: George Steinbrenner owns the Yankees.
RICKEY: Who's paying Rickey to be here?
HORWITZ: Fred Wilpon.
RICKEY: Rickey doesn't know Fred Wilpon.
FRED WILPON (waving awkwardly from two seats over): Uh, that's me. I own the team. We met for the 100th time three minutes ago. Let me just say the Mets are very happy ...
RICKEY: When Rickey Henderson was asked to manage the Mets, he thought to himself, "Rickey, you're handsome, you're intelligent, you're a great dancer, you ..."
WILPON: Uh, Rickey. You're not our manager.
RICKEY: Yes, Rickey is.
RICKEY: Rickey's not?
WILPON: No, our manager is Willie Randolph. He's sitting next to you. You played with him for 4½ years with the Yankees ...
RICKEY (turning toward Randolph): Rickey thought you were Wayne Tolleson.
RANDOLPH: Noooo-I'm Willie Randolph. The manager.
RICKEY: Rickey says you look like Wayne Tolleson.
RANDOLPH (chuckling awkwardly): Rickey, I'd just like to say how excited we are ...
RICKEY (turning toward Horwitz): Rickey wants a raise.
RICKEY: Rickey wants a raise.
WILPON: You just got here.
RICKEY: Rickey wants a raise. Rickey needs to be highest paid, or Rickey's not playing.
WILPON: Rickey, you're our hitting coach.
RICKEY: Does Rickey know you?
WILPON: I own the Mets. We just spoke ... twice.
HORWITZ: With us today is Jose Reyes, the Mets All-Star shortstop. Jose leads the league in stolen bases, and is very excited to have Rickey ...
RICKEY (turning to Reyes): Does Rickey know you?
REYES: Of course. We ...
RICKEY: This spring Rickey instructed someone who looked just like you.
REYES: That was me.
RICKEY: No. Rickey remembers. Guy spoke Spanish to Rickey.
REYES: Si, hablo Espanol. Me llamo Jose Reyes. Somos amigos.
RICKEY: Rickey doesn't understand what you're saying to Rickey.
HORWITZ: OK ... OK. Let's take some questions. Selena ...
SELENA ROBERTS, NEW YORK TIMES: Rickey, do you have any thoughts about Barry Bonds' pursuit of Hank Aaron's home run record? Do you think he used steroids to get an adv ...
RICKEY: Rickey never used steroids. Rickey is all natural.
ROBERTS: Uh, yeah. But do you ...
RICKEY: Rickey is all natural.
HORWITZ: Joel ...
JOEL SHERMAN, NEW YORK POST: Rickey, are there any hitters you're especially excited to work with?
RICKEY: Most definitely. Rickey.
SHERMAN: Excuse me?
SHERMAN: I don't understand ...
RICKEY: Rickey needs a few minutes of BP, but Rickey can still hit, Rickey can still run, Rickey can still change the game. Rickey will steal 300 bases this year if Rickey is given the green light. (Turning toward Randolph) Wayne, give Rickey the green light.
RANDOLPH: I'm Willie Randolph.
RICKEY: Lou Brock was the symbol of great base stealing. But today, Rickey's the greatest of all time.
WILPON: Rickey, what are you talking about?
RICKEY: Rickey just being Rickey.
MARTY NOBLE, MLB.COM: Rickey, excuse me. Rickey you're 48 years old. The Mets didn't hire you to play ...
RICKEY: Rickey's hammies are sore.
RICKEY: Rickey's hammies are sore. Rickey needs a massage.
RANDOLPH: Rickey, our guys are about to hit from the cage. I think we should ...
RICKEY: Does Rickey know you?
Jeff Pearlman is a former Sports Illustrated senior writer and the author of "Love Me, Hate Me: Barry Bonds and the Making of an Antihero," now available in paperback. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.