Notes: Smith getting hang of New York

Notes: Smith getting hang of New York

NEW YORK -- For the most part, Joe Smith is enjoying his first month as a big leaguer. He fits in well in the clubhouse -- his primary residence is under the wing of Aaron Sele -- he's pitching well and is being given innings of significance to work. He's making more -- $370,000 -- than most people who were attending college this time last year, and most of his "firsts" have been positive.

But not all of them.

One he would have preferred to miss, his first ticket, happened on Wednesday -- $115 for illegal parking in Long Island City. He wasn't real pleased.

"The sign said 'No standing.' Well, I wasn't standing. I was parking," Smith said. "If they mean 'No parking,' shouldn't it say 'No parking?' I mean, I just figured they didn't want anyone standing there. I don't know why. I mean, obviously, there are a few things I don't know about New York.

"But there was a lot of room to park."

Clearly, Smith is learning. He drove to Shea on Friday afternoon, only the second time he's done so without following John Maine, and the first such trip on which he didn't get lost. And he made it back on Saturday without incident, escort or a citation.

Leading by example: Maine serves as something of an NYC advisor for Smith. He already has counseled the rookie in two ways about parking and parking penalties. Maine's car was ticketed on Tuesday and towed on Wednesday.

Twice as nice: A great -- and quite beneficial -- disparity exists on the Mets statistics sheet. They entered Saturday having grounded into five double plays, the third lowest total in the National League. And they had turned 17 ground-ball double-plays, by far the most in the league. Indeed, the 17 are the most ground-ball double plays turned in any 10-game sequence in Mets history.

Twenty-three and mounting: David Wright singled in his first at-bat to extend his six-month consecutive-game hitting streak to 23 games, equaling the third longest in club history. Only Hubie Brooks (1984) and Mike Piazza (1999) have had longer streaks as Mets.

Keep on Swingin'
The six longest hitting streaks in Mets history.
Hubie Brooks
May 1-June 1, 1984
Mike Piazza
May 25-June 22, 1999
Cleon Jones
Aug. 25-Sept. 25, 1970
John Olerud
July 19-Aug. 9, 1998
Mike Vail*
Aug. 22-Sept. 15, 1975
David Wright
Sept. 17-April 14, 2007
* Rookie

Wright is the first Mets player to hit safely in the first 11 games of the season. Darryl Strawberry (1987) and Robin Ventura (1999) hit safely in the first 10.

Batting second, number... For the 11th consecutive game, Wright didn't bat second.

Endy Chavez made his first start, in left field, and took his turn at the No. 2 slot. Wright batted fifth, and Ramon Castro hit seventh. Moises Alou and Paul Lo Duca were given days of rest.

Willie Randolph was aware of the likelihood of a rainout on Sunday, but still excluded his regular left fielder and catcher from the lineup. The lineup change wasn't made just to give the 40-yar-old left fielder and the 35-year-old catcher some rest.

"Endy and Ramon have to get at-bats, too," Randolph said.

Alou had started every game and Lo Duca all but one through Friday. Chavez and Castro had two and four at-bats, respectively.

Wagner on the rise: True to his word, Billy Wagner called Roberto Hernandez on Friday night after earning the 327th save of his career and moving past Hernandez into sole possession of 10th place on the all-time saves lost. Hernandez didn't answer.

Wagner had planned to greet his friend with, "Hey, No. 11."

"Bert would get it. He understands," Wagner said. "That'd never offend him. But I don't know if I'd do the same thing if I passed Goose [Gossage]. He might show up on my doorstep the next day."

Gossage (310) was one of the 10 pitchers Wagner passed last year when he increased his total from 284 to 324.

Tip o' the hat to Froemming: If Sunday's game is played and becomes official, it will be interrupted for a brief ceremony recognizing a milestone moment for veteran umpire Bruce Froemming. The game will be his 12th in this, his 37th season. Bill Klem worked 11 games in his 37th, so Froemming, 67, will have the longest continuous service as a big-league umpire.

Froemming worked his first four games at Shea Stadium in April, 1971. The first game he was scheduled to work was snowed out, and the first he did work -- on April 6 -- was called after six innings because of rain.

He worked third base with Tom Seaver starting against the Expos, second with Gary Gentry starting against the Expos, first with Jerry Koosman facing the Reds and the plate with Seaver pitching against the Reds.

This date in Mets history -- April 15: With Ed Kranepool driving in three runs and Billly Klaus hitting a final pitch home run in the 10th inning, the Mets defeated the Astros, 5-4, on this date in 1965. The victory came in the Mets' third game, which made it the earliest victory in franchise history in terms of games played. The Mets lost their first nine games in 1962, their first eight in 1963 and their first four (and eight of their first nine) in 1964.

On this date in 1966, they lost, 3-2, to the Braves on Opening Day at Shea. The Braves scored twice in the ninth; the second run was unearned. ... Seaver and Tug McGraw combined to shut out the Pirates on five hits, all singles, and no walks in a 4-0 Opening Day victory at Shea in 1972. ... One day after he had hit a ball well beyond the Friendly Confines, a home run estimated to have traveled 550 feet, Dave Kingman hit two more homers and drove in five runs in the Mets' 10-8 victory against the Cubs on this day in 1976. The Mets had trailed 7-2 at one point.

Coming up: A real threat of postponement exists for Sunday afternoon. If the game is played, Maine will start for the Mets opposite Matt Chico. Scheduled first pitch is 1:10 p.m. ET.

Marty Noble is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.