"Hope Springs Eternal."
Whenever we watch or hear a spring season game, we too often hear that famous adage: "Hope is in the air." Although each team may not have a $300 million payroll, they still have hope. Hope is the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best. Ahh, yes, WE, the Washington Nationals, have hope. WE, the Kansas City Royals, have hope. WE, the Tampa Bay Rays, have, er, an American League Banner? Yeah, that's hope at its best.
But where do we, the fans, put our hope? With whom do we channel our positive thoughts and unrealistic optimism? Our team? Perhaps, but allow me to put our hope in that which, never previously let us down, never collapsed in front our eyes, and never celebrated his 23rd birthday. Meet Dillon Kyle Gee.
Gee, (pronounced JEE), was selected by the New York Mets in the 21st round (663rd overall) in the 2007 draft and threw 2 innings of 1 hit ball in the Mets' second game of spring season yesterday. Gee spent most of the 2008 season with Class A Advanced St. Lucie and after winning five straight decisions from May 30-July 6, and pitching 15 consecutive scoreless innings over two starts from June 20-25, was promoted to play in Binghamton (AA) in August. He allowed just four runs (one in each of his starts) in 27 innings, going 2-0 with a 1.33 ERA to end last season in Binghamton. Mmm, hope.
He then went on to player winter ball in Puerto Rico and was watched closely by his pitching coach, Ricky Bones, who was also his pitching coach with the B-Mets. Bones said, "… the twenty-two-year-old continues to impress, relying on a high 80s to low 90s fastball with very good location… he’s not going to overpower you by any means but works the corners very well, mixing in a changeup and soft curve…he’ll likely begin the 2009 season with the B-Mets…". Hope is building.
In the Puerto Rican Winter League, Gee went 4-0 in 10 games with a 2.22 ERA. He pitched 48.2 innings allowing 43 hits and striking out the same amount. He gave up just 14 runs and only allowed 2 home runs. How does that compare with other pitchers in the league? Well, let's just say that he was the PWL Pitcher of the Year. Getting hopeful, eh?
But the critics say, "that's great, but we need someone who won't crumble in the post season. A pitcher who can withstand the heat." And to them I answer, "He was the PWL Post-Season All-Star."
Will we see Gee (nice rhyme) in the 2009 season sporting a Citi Field emblum on the side of his hat? Some say he will end off the season with the Buffallo Bisons (AAA) and some say even further than that. But all agree that whenever he does join the big league Mets, he will have something that we left in him back in good ol' cold February, and that is a healthy dosage of, yup, you guessed it, hope.
Move over Weatherman, there is a new Mr. Gee in New York's forecast.
A 2:43 video of Dillon Gee, in his 2007 rookie season with the Brooklyn Cyclones, striking out Oscar Tejeda of the Lowell Spinners on a slider, changeup and a 95 mph fastball. There is no sound to the clip but it can still be heard from miles away.