By: Belinda Smith

The Silent Man: Lucas Duda


So we all remember the throw. Game Six. The entire magical season hanging on a tether, a dream. A hope. That was unraveling. And quickly. And then the play. Duda takes the throw and then throws home to Travis, a play he has made a thousand times.

And it’s wild.

Travis does his best to try and grab it but it sails past him and that’s it. Us in Mets Nation stand there stunned. It’s gone. It’s over.

But that was November. It’s now early May I write this and Lucas Duda, who was probably six feet tall and 200 pounds in the fifth grade, is doing, erm, not bad.

I love and adore Lucas Duda. That crazy kind of Flock of Seagulls kinda haircut – and yes, I am old enough to remember that 80s group – and the beard. The tall, quiet, gentle man who, when in the zone, blasts these moon shots into the good, dark night. When Lucas comes up to bat, I’m the one in the stands screaming “DUDA! DUDA” while others have their heads in their hands, waiting for him to ground into that inevitable inning-ending double play.

I love and adore Lucas because I honestly don’t recall the moment he appeared in a Mets uniform. They say that Larry Bird just magically appeared on that basketball court in Indiana all those years ago and perhaps that was the same for Lucas. Disclaimer: I am in no sane and reasonable way comparing Lucas Duda to Larry Bird. But that moment the Mets signed him I have absolutely no idea where I was. Unlike the moments they signed Keith Hernandez. Gary Carter. The moment Darryl came up from the minors. I turned around, looked and there was this hulky dude standing at first base. I remember Ike Davis at first. I remember Lucas sitting in the dugout when Ike had that great year. But I also remember the following spring when Duda and Davis duked it out for first base. And Terry and his knowing coaches chose Duda over Davis. And never looked back.

I’ve been hearing so many talk about his streakiness. And, of course, the throw. All winter I heard about the streakiness. Duda is so streaky. Yeah, well, here’s a newsflash: most major league ballplayers are “streaky”.

To go back to that throw, David Wright was interviewed and said, “it does nothing for us now to sit here and try to pick apart this play or that play.” We’ve had a couple of months to process that throw through the not-so-cold winter and in the sunshine of the Grapefruit League and now the harshness of the light of a new season. Lucas, as I read it, refuses to be haunted by that throw. And neither should we, as fans.

But I can understand everyone’s frustration. Terry Collins said just the other day that we need Lucas’ bat in the lineup. True that. Terry is older than dirt and has been around baseball longer than I’ve been alive and he’s almost always right. But yeah, we need Lucas’ bat in the lineup. He’s been hitting cleanup of late since Cespedes is having his knee drained – good grief, that sounds painful – but Lucas seems to be coming around. Maybe he’s in one of those moments during the season when he does get in the zone and the pitches float to him towards home plate, as big as watermelons and only as sweet and he hitches that leg and crushes the ball into the good, dark night.

About Belinda Smith

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