It's Mets For Me: Off-Beat, Tangentially Relevant Mets Ruminations

Off Base Since 2005! Mets commentary from the counter-intuitive to the unintuitive and all the intuitives in between. ** "Through the use of humor and gross inaccuracy...a certain truth can be gained." Rob Perri ** (pester me or follow me @itsmetsforme on twitter)

Friday, February 10, 2006

Bill Singer Interview: Rickey Henderson

Rickey Henderson is back! Our own Bill Singer gets the inside scoop on how Rickey plans to approach his new opportunity in the bigs.

Singer: What are you doing here?

Henderson: Rickey has decided that he wants to play another year, and he thinks he wants to play for the Mets. I think my physical condition is in good umm... condition. So when Rickey heard from Rickey's friend Vince Coleman that the Mets were celebrating their history this season, Rickey called Omar Minaya and said "this is Rickey, calling on behalf of Rickey" and Omar invited me aboard. I like playing for the Mets, they have a very colorful uniform.

Singer: But I've been told that you've only been invited back in the capacity of a spring league instructor, perhaps to tutor the Mets leadoff batter, Jose Reyes. Minaya said he told no one other than Carlos Beltran of his plan, keeping it quiet for fear other clubs would pursue you (ed. note: WTF?). Some are saying this plan is odd, since you left the team under strained circumstances, without a ring after the "homerun" trot and the famous card-playing incident in the 1999 Mets playoff run.

Henderson: Rickey never heard of Jose Reyes, but Rickey will play wherever whatever team pays him asks him to play. As for the cardplayin', Rickey ain't taking that heat on that one. We were in there with eight pitchers. We got them all together and said did we play cards? They said no. Then how did it get in the press that we played cards? We played cards before every game, yes, and we were winning. To say you and Bobby Bo, you played cards, and that's why we lost the game, that's bull. Get somebody to tell me I played cards (during the game), and I'll get face-to-face with them, and they won't say it to me. I think playing cards gave me the opportunity to relax in the game. It gave me the opportunity to go out there and play the game that I played so well.

Singer: Where are you from?

Henderson: Rickey was born in Chicago, but grew up in Oakland.

Singer: (Nonsensically mocks Chinese) What country in China?

Henderson: Rickey don't understand what you're saying.

Singer: Many people have asked, when is Rickey Henderson going to retire?

Henderson: Why you talk about when a player wanna quit? What is that player's ability? How much does he enjoy the game? Can he still compete? My grandmother didn't stop working when she was 40, and my mom sure didn't, either. There is nothing in life that says you have to quit at a certain age.

Singer: We've all said some things that we regret, though in my case it was the result of a low-carb diet. Have you ever said anything you regret?

Henderson: I'm too much speed in my mouth, and I don't sometimes come out clear as I want to.

Singer: Have you ever tried a low-carb diet?

Henderson: Let's see, for breakfast Rickey will have bacon and eggs, and grits if I can get 'em. Then I'll have a good meal after the game, either the clubhouse buffet or at a restaurant someplace. I'll eat a steak sometimes, sure. But not too much. I always leave something on the plate. Never eat till I'm full; pick here and there, eat small, eat often.

Singer: During your tenure in major league baseball, what is your favorite memory?

Henderson: Ten years? What are you talking about? Rickey got 23,24 years. I still think I can play the game of baseball. I'm gong to camp to help the young kids. Anything can happen this year. I'm going to play it by ear. If I get the opportunity to go out and play or try out, I'm willing to do that too.


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