Spring training doesn’t have to be all hard work chased by long hours of boredom, although we can imagine the boot camps of baseball aren’t exactly near and dear to players. While the Mets are squared away at their Port St. Lucie facility in Florida, long workouts are followed by serene trips to the local ponds and lakes. According to The New York Times, several Mets have discovered the relaxing properties of hooking local largemouth bass.
It’s not unusual to see infielders Zach Lutz and Omar Quintanilla tug around pails filled with bait and plopping them down on wet soil for yet another afternoon.
“It’s relaxing, and it kills time,” said Bobby Parnell. “It’s Port St. Lucie. It’s about the only thing there is to do.”
Lawn chairs are folded out and rods dipped lazily in the water. The players agree that it’s the perfect capper to an arduous day’s work.
“We got like 20 or 30 fish in a couple of hours, just crushing them,” recalls Brandon Hicks when he and some of his buddies took a boat onto a small lake nearby. Angling in Port St. Lucie is both a way for some players to connect back to their roots and to share stories about their childhood, while others are newly introduced to the art of rod and reel. All the players have been invited to the outings, which serve also to get to know the new signees. The outdoors are a welcome reprieve from the stadium.
Some of the players reported alligator sightings, which leads one to imagine if the players don’t “borrow” a few balls from practice. A 100 mph pitch is no joke, even to the scaly hide of a gator.