This One Is For Mr. Bartow

By Taryn “the Coop” Cooper

We’ve all had memorable characters in our lives growing up, and one of the most memorable characters in my life was a former Phys Ed teacher from grade school, Mr. Bartow.  He always wore orange (Mets orange as we would be apt to call it) and had some key phrases.  In fact, one of his favorite catch phrase was the following:

“GEE WHILLAKERS MOTHER MACGILLICUDDY!”

It was funny, and everyone who has reconnected with him in recent years on Facebook always remember that about him.  In fact, a few days ago, when Angel Pagan danced over second base, but forgot to touch it (such a minor detail that means so much), he sent me a message and said “You know Taryn, sometimes, Angel Pagan makes me say, ‘GEE WHILLAKERS MOTHER MACGILLICUDDY!’”

That’s what you need to know about Mr. Bartow.

So it would be obvious that my next parlay would be into the performance of Dillon Gee, who has been a welcome surprise for the pitching rotation…but for this blogger, it was expected.  See, I predicted that at some point this season (I even predicted by Opening Day, since I doubted one of either Chris – Young or Capuano – were going to be formidable enough to start…go figure).

But I can’t help but think of all the silly headlines and mottos we see after a (mostly positive these days) Dillon Gee start.  “GEE WHIZ!” or “OMGee!” or “Gee-Spot” (um, no comment).

But I always think of Mr. B, with his Gee Whillakers.

So let’s talk about the Mother Macgillicuddy factor here.  We’ve discussed Dillon Gee on our podcast, but I have rarely touched him in a blog.  Why’s that?  Well, I feel like it’s too soon.  Sure, I feel confident whenever he takes the mound – along with Jonathon Niese, I always expect solid starts from these guys.

As R.A. Dickey stated in the Wall Street Journal article on Gee yesterday:

“It’s not so much the way he pitches,” teammate R.A. Dickey said. “For me, it’s much more his state of mind when he’s out there. He just looks very unflappable and very consistent mentally. He doesn’t get shaken or rattled easily. It’s a real mature way to be, and I think it’s going to help facilitate him being up here for a while.”

But let’s be fair for minute: when National League teams, especially the East, see him more often, they will “figure him out” as we discussed in our BlogTalkRadio chat room last week with Friend of Coop (FOC) OnTheBlack, even discussing it prior to last night’s game in Atlanta on his video chat.

He could be more of a John Maine type, but less of a head case (that’s not a bad thing).  Or maybe a John Maine without the Rick Peterson influence (which means, he could just be good and give us good starts – more of a Chris Capuano-lite).

Possibly the most definitive piece I’ve seen on Gee yet is from ESPN’s Mets Blog by Mark Simon, “Just How Good Is Dillon Gee?”, putting into perspective the thought that Gee will level out.   That’s to be expected.

For now, though, everyone including me is riding the Dillon Gee wave to positivity and of course driving the marketability of his name to the masses (to the marketing department with the Mets and CitiField: Get Niese and Gee shirts in the stores.  Now.  They will sell.  Just a hunch).  The Mets won his 10th start of the year but he did not get the win officially (stupid “official game” rules that have to pitch to the 5th inning).

According to what I’ve read on Dillon Gee, though, he doesn’t let this stuff get to his head.  He’s a good egg, it seems, and hopefully being surrounded by Niese and Dickey, hopefully he doesn’t get game day tips from my boy Mike Pelfrey (I’m realistic about him!!! I really am!!).  And with the return of Johan Santana, perhaps the planets will align and the Zen masters of pitching will really help Gee become a formidable rotation guy.

In the meantime, Dillon Gee would have been the perfect student for my friend, Mr. Bartow.  If Dillon was in his class, I’m sure he would get a kick out of his Gee Whillakers Mother Macgillicuddy’s all day long.

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