First, I want to congratulate Mike Nickeas on his call-up to the big leagues. It really couldn't happen to a better guy.
Now, you're probably wondering why I like this guy in the first place. He's just some random minor league catcher.
I've been to Spring Training once. It was 2008 and Mike Nickeas was there. I was getting autographs from pretty much anyone in a Mets uniform that was willing to sign. It was busy and everybody wanted autographs. I didn't know everybody who was signing, but I wanted them all. When I finally found the guy that turned out to be Mike, he grabbed my baseball as soon as I got to him. He said "'sup" and it was most likely to any random person, but I could've sworn he was talking to me. After that, I didn't really care who else's autograph I got. I just knew #59 supposedly asked me "'sup" and I needed to find out who it was. When I did finally find out it was Mike Nickeas I wasn't going to forget that name.
My new favorite player started 2008 in AAA. He didn't hit much in AAA and hit even less in AA. I'm pretty sure he was injured at some point, but not much was happening. 2009 was more of the same. Another injury ended his season early. Then this year something amazing happened. He didn't get much playing time at the beginning of the season. Then the injuries started coming. Finally, Mike was the one staying healthy. The biggest of the injuries was Omir Santos, who is still out. He was playing most of the games and was hitting. He hit .283 with the B-Mets this season and was an Eastern League All-Star. He didn't spend much time in AAA this year, but obviously he's shown enough. He's always had the defense, but the finding his swing has really helped this year.
And this finally brings me to our encounter this year. For the first time I wondered why I've never been to a minor league game. I also wondered why I've never seen Mike Nickeas play before. I had been following his stats for a few years, but I had never seen him play. The B-Mets were coming to Trenton which isn't terribly far from where I live, and I wanted to go. I went to a game with the intention of getting an autograph from Mike Nickeas and just enjoying watching him play. It turned out to be so much more. Not only did I get his autograph, I also got a picture with him. During the game, he threw the baseball from the last out of the 6th inning to me. And after the game, after I told him I got the baseball after a mishap (my fault) he gave my brother a bat, which is now in my possession. He was so nice, and I couldn't have asked for a better time at the game.
We always hear about the players that are really nice. The ones the writers talk about and I'm glad I've had the chance to briefly meet one of the nicest players I could possibly imagine. I'm glad the guy who happened to say half a word in my direction turned out to be a really cool dude.
Congrats, Mike. You deserve it.
Let's Go Mets!