Saturday, February 23, 2008

Koufax at Spring Training...for the Mets???

Remember back when Dodgers management, under News Corporation's leadership, pissed off Dodger legend Sandy Koufax so much he refused to make any Dodger appearances? Well, Dodger management has changed (whether for the better or the worse is debatable), and Koufax is now back to showing up at spring training, helping out and inspiring young Dodgers and Dodgers of the future...

...wait a minute! Koufax isn't just helping out the Dodgers at spring training! Koufax is also helping out the METS! (

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Billy Wagner was looking for a little help and Sandy Koufax was happy to oblige.

Legendary Dodgers pitcher Sandy Koufax, left, visits Saturday with Mets pitcher Pedro Martinez, right, and Mets bullpen coach Guy Conti, second left, at spring training in Port St. Lucie, Fla.

After getting a call from bullpen coach Guy Conti, Koufax visited New York Mets camp Saturday and spoke with the team's hard-throwing closer.

"I wanted just to talk to him," Wagner said. "I've known Sandy off and on for 12 years. He's probably about the only lefty I can go to and say, 'Hey, what am I doing?' and kind of have somebody I feel kind of connects with me."

Wagner, 36, went 2-2 with 34 saves and a 2.63 ERA last year. He's trying to maintain his status as an elite reliever.

"If somebody wants to get better and they think I can help them, then it's a pleasure," Koufax said. "I don't do it unless someone asks. If I help them, great. If I don't, I tell them, 'This is an experiment. If it doesn't work for you, forget it. It has to work. You have to be comfortable.' I don't have all the answers."

The Hall of Famer also chatted with fellow three-time Cy Young Award winner Pedro Martinez, who received a book in the minor leagues that included stories about Koufax and other famous pitchers. [...]

Koufax and Mets owner Fred Wilpon were high school teammates growing up in Brooklyn. Mets manager Willie Randolph said it's always great to have Koufax in camp.

"To me he's like royalty, man. He comes around, he's like the Pied Piper, guys just gravitate towards him," Randolph said.

Yep, Sandy is royalty...DODGER royalty. And yet here he is helping out a league rival's squad (he already visited the good guys this spring). As if the Mets' pitching rotation wasn't strong enough, Sandy...couldn't you spend more of your time helping out Jason Schmidt instead of Martinez and Johan Santana???


Jon Weisman said...

Koufax was already at Dodgertown this year.

Steve Sax said...

Post adjusted, thanks JW.

Bryan said...

from a cardinals article:
"I was excited about Barry because I had spent the winter around California that year and I had heard all the things Barry said he wanted," La Russa said. "And so I told him, 'We've got everything you want except money. And you shouldn't want money. You've already got money.' We never got past that."

Apparently, Barry really loves that money.