It was a sunny, crisp morning at the FDNY Training Facility at Randalls Island where R.A. Dickey, Mike Pelfrey, Bobby Parnell, and Dillion Gee traded in their spikes and Met uniforms to don fire repellent jackets, pants and boots. And just for kicks, CEO Jeff Wilpon joined them either to feel like a kid again or to watch over and protect his investments. Either way, it was a crash course for all involved and all kidding aside, it was serious business as these men did the real training exercises taught to them from real fireman of the FDNY.
The FDNY didn’t sugar coat anything. The first exercise was walking or rather crawling through a room that was on fire. But it wasn’t until I was standing on top of the four story building that I could see that the FDNY officials were going to show the New York pitchers exactly how they train. All the Mets repelled off a building and even Jeff Wilpon, after repelling, demonstrated how someone could be “saved” from the second story by volunteering to be carried down the building by one of New Yorks Bravest. He was a real good sport.
Jeff Wilpon is all smiles watching Bobby Parnell repel off the building.
Mike Pelfrey and R.A. were shown how to put out a car fire and put on a good demonstration for the crowd. Dillon Gee and Bobby Parnell followed with their own later on.
Bobby Parnell, whose father was a fire fighter, climbs a ladder.
There was one sombre moment when an FDNY Official lead everyone across a courtyard and paused near what looked like a chin up bar.
He explained to all of us how all the cadets must do chin up’s on this bar that is made up of the steel girders of the World Trade Center. It is used to remind the FDNY of their commitment and sacrifice their brothers made. Everyone there was extremely touched.
Some notable quotes from yesterday.
Pelfry was asked how this compared to being on the mound.
”Pitching is a lot easier. ..It makes you appreciate what they do. It wasn’t easy at all…”
Dickey had this to say about his experience.
“Y’know it was a lot tougher than what I anticipated, it really makes you respect what they do everyday anytime they go into a fire. We weren’t even carrying a third of the equipment that they still have to carry so, it gives you real respect of what they do. I got as nervous as I do pitching when I was on top of that building. A great experience….You have no idea not only what the training that they have to undergo but what they have to go through to do their job…it was a real eye-opening day for me and one that really put things into perspective.”
The men were made into Honorary Firefighter Academy Members and given hats by Sal Cassano the Commisher of the Fire Department.
Jeff Wilpon after stating how the Mets have always supported the FDNY touched on baseball thanks to a Adam Rubin’s question regarding baseball and the state of the Mets. He asked whether Jeff and company are pleased with what the Mets have done so far.
“I think Sandy and his staff have put together the best team we can to put on the field now it’s time to get there and prove that we’re better than people think. ”
Regarding the payroll for 2011 Jeff had this to say:
“I don’t think they realize the payroll is up to 145 million or better range…people don’t realize that. Unfortunately, we were somewhat hamstrung by what had happened before. Sandy’s plan was to go and deal with it this year and make sure we have tremendous flexibility next year”