It's official, Dave Racaniello is my favorite Major League Baseball Player. Everyone but perhaps his parents and close friends are now looking quizzically at the screen and saying, "Dave who?" I had actually not heard of "Rac" either until I was catching up on some back issues of Sports Illustrated and stumbled upon an article focused on David Wright in the March 8, 2010 issue. The following comes from the article (full article here):
The pickup came to a stop in downtown Newark at 5 a.m. on Jan. 13, and Dave Racaniello hopped out of the passenger's seat, into the morning frost. He walked around to the back of the truck and pulled his Trek mountain bike from the bed, along with a small trailer packed snug with sweaters, sandwiches and a tent, survival tools for the odyssey ahead.
Racaniello is the Mets' 31-year-old bullpen catcher, known to friends as Rac. He spends most of his professional life hidden behind chest protectors, face masks and outfield fences, the last person on a team from whom you would expect a grand gesture.
But over the winter Racaniello mentioned to his New York roommate and Mets third baseman David Wright that someday he wanted to ride a bicycle cross-country. Wright urged him to shorten the trip and timetable: Bike to spring training.
Wright laid out the terms of the challenge and started taking wagers. Racaniello, with only $20 in his pocket and nowhere to sleep but that tent, would have three weeks to reach the Mets' spring home in Port St. Lucie, Fla.
As it turns out Rac completed the trip eight days ahead of schedule. For those not familiar with baseball or spring training, for the Mets it takes place in Florida and the trip for Rac was about 1,900 kilometers. Converted for American foot long hot dog fans that's almost 6.2 million hot dogs.
Therefore I give this shout out to Mets manager Jerry Manuel . . . PUT HIM IN COACH!