Anthony Rieber has been at Newsday since Aug. 31, 1998 and in his current position since July 4,
At about the same time that pinch hitter Ike Davis' walk-off grand slam landed in the rightfield seats at Citi Field Saturday, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson should have picked up the phone and called Brian Cashman, his Yankees counterpart.
"Hello, Brian? Sandy Alderson. Have I got a deal for you . . . "
Cashman probably would have been surprised to get the call. The Yankees and Mets haven't made a trade since 2004 (Mike Stanton to the Yankees, Felix Heredia to the Mets).
But this is one that would make sense for both teams: Ike Davis to the Yankees. Dellin Betances to the Mets.
That's just an idea for starters. It doesn't have to be Betances. But he's the hard-throwing young bullpen arm the Mets desperately need. The Yankees need a first baseman after the increasingly brittle Mark Teixeira hit the disabled list again Saturday with a hamstring injury.
Davis would be perfect in pinstripes. His lefty swing is made for Yankee Stadium. When Teixeira returns, either he or Davis could get at-bats as the DH -- a luxury the Mets don't have with Davis and Lucas Duda except for interleague road games.
This whole Davis/Duda thing has not been the Mets' finest hour. It's been clear for some time that the front office favors Duda, but the team has never committed to him.
Both players were injured in spring training, leading to the world's least intense position battle. Then each got a start in the season's first series and went hitless except for a pinch hit by Davis on Thursday.
Even on Friday, when manager Terry Collins said he was giving Duda a chance to win the job, he still qualified the decision with tons of maybes and hedges.
Duda, who hit a pair of two-run homers Friday in the Mets' first win of the season, wasn't even assured of playing more than two games in a row; Collins said he always planned to start Davis Sunday against the Reds.
What if Duda had hit two more home runs Saturday? Collins didn't have to contemplate that because he went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts and Davis was the walk-off star of the Mets' 6-3 triumph over the Reds.
Davis has handled the whole situation with class. On Saturday, after his joyous trip around the bases, leap into his teammates' arms and postgame pie-in-the-face courtesy of Jonathon Niese, he continued that trend.
"That's basically going to be my role," Davis said. "I'm obviously not going to hit a home run every time, but you've got to be ready for those big at-bats. Hopefully, I can take advantage of it."
He did Saturday, and the Mets are fortunate to have a lefty bat off the bench for such spots. But Davis is a 27-year-old former first-round pick, not Mike Baxter. If the organization truly believes Duda is the better option, it needs to maximize Davis' value by trading him for something more necessary than a lefty bat off the bench.
Alderson tried during the offseason but never found a deal to his liking. That could be a case of more Mets hedging, though. Was Alderson really unable to find a quality deal, or are the Mets just too afraid Davis will blossom elsewhere?
It has to hurt Davis to refer to himself as a "bench player," as he did several times Saturday. He can be more than that, but he has resigned himself to the new reality that Duda is going to get an extended look at his old job.
"As long as Duda keeps hitting, I'll probably just stay in the same situation," Davis said. "All I can do is in the at-bats I'm allowed is put my best effort forth and hopefully, I get in there again."
Make the call, Sandy. If not to the Yankees, then to another team that will give you something you truly need. That's more important than giving Davis a chance for occasional glory.