Terry Collins pretty much spoiled the idea of returning to wear No. 1 once he invoked the name of Jim Leland, but it doesn’t mean Luis Castillo is in the clear yet. Newspapers last week were speculating that Mookie Wilson would be named to fill the vacant first-base coaching job — and maintain the proper quota of 1986 laborers in continuing employ with the Mets as stipulated in a secret contract somewhere.
No seriously, Mookie’s a perfect guy for the job — let’s face it, Mookie’s perfect for about any job — so let’s hope it happens, and happens in his customary No. 1. Though real Mookologists know he wore another number — 51 — during his first tenure as a first-base coach under Bobby Valentine in 1997, accommodating Lance Johnson at least until Johnson was traded to the Cubs that August. The Met Braintrust also intends to name an outside choice as hitting coach, a good idea since the Mets have never really developed any hitters of their own beyond David Wright, who already has a job, and, of course, my close personal friend Darryl Strawberry.
Darryl you might know has a new restaurant out in Douglaston, which was where I ran into him a few weeks ago. Literally: I exited the Men’s room and there he was across the narrow hallway at the entrance to the kitchen. Though I was expecting a destination type place typical of jock establishments, Strawberry’s Sports Grill is really a neighborhood joint on a deadend street across from a LIRR station in bucolic Douglaston, itself resembling a North Shore Nassau County town. It’s loaded with memorabilia from Straw’s career including the Mets locker pictured above but plenty of Yankee stuff from his time there. I guess that’s just a business decision. Times are tough in the restaurant business these days.
The wings were sports-bar acceptable, the “1961” burger was pretty good despite the Yankee affiliation, and the bartender was terrific. But our server was kinda slow and surly if you want to know the truth. Some locals mentioned that the site had been though several incarnations before Darryl took the reigns, and if I weren’t terrified and stammering idiotic things like “Thanks!” over and over again to him during our brief meeting, I’d probably mention it to him — that and get him to remark on the significance of No. 18. I had a chance to touch the man’s shoulder as I turned him for the photo (thanks Greg!) and can report it’s massive and as firm as a car seat.
In summary, Darryl’s not the next hitting coach even though he’s a former 1986er, and you should get a beer and a burger at Strawberry’s while it’s still standing.