Muniz’s wake-up call turns out to have a major impact


first_img“I woke my mom, my little brother and sister up,” Muniz said. “I called like two of my friends, but from there, it just spread. Up to this point, my phone has been blowing up. “I had to get a new phone.” Muniz, 26, joined the Mets in Miami for a game that night. “That whole experience, it really didn’t set in ’till I got to LAX,” Muniz said. “Once I hopped on the plane, I just kept thinking about it. There was a car service waiting for me. I got there 20 minutes before game time. I missed the national anthem and everything. I kept thinking, `I’m going to wear the uniform, I’m not going to be sitting up in the nosebleeds. It’s my time.”‘ Muniz had completed a whirlwind season in the minors before being called up by the Mets, who were desperate for bullpen help in the midst of a pennant race. He spent the bulk of the season at double-A Binghamton, N.Y., going 2-4 with a 2.45 ERA and 23 saves. Muniz was promoted to triple-A New Orleans on Aug. 29, tossing 52/3 scoreless innings to help the Zephyrs advance to the Pacific Coast League playoffs. Muniz tossed three scoreless innings in the semifinal victory over Nashville. He then gave up two runs in his only inning of Game 2 of the championship series against Sacramento, which New Orleans lost in three games. After that last game ended on Sept. 14, Muniz was informed that he had been named Binghamton’s MVP and would be needed at a ceremony in New York. He flew across the country on Sept. 15, attended the award ceremony on Sept. 16 and then flew home to Los Angeles on Sept. 17. Three days later, he was sitting in a major league bullpen. “This is a veteran staff,” Muniz said. “They’re classy guys, they go about their work very professionally. When I got here they were telling me congratulations and welcome aboard. Everybody is really close. “Billy Wagner, our closer, said, `Hey kid, I’ve heard really good things about you. Don’t feel like you’re not part of this team. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask me.’ Him, Aaron Sele, Pedro Martinez, Carlos Delgado, everybody welcomed me with open arms. “That’s just the way the clubhouse is. Everybody respects everybody.” Muniz made his major league debut on Tuesday at Shea Stadium against the Washington Nationals. With his team trailing, 6-3, he was summoned in the sixth inning, taking the mound in place of future Hall of Famer Tom Glavine. “Absolutely there were butterflies,” Muniz said. “It’s a pennant race. You’ve got to take that into consideration. You’re not pitching halfway through the season. “In a pennant race, you feel the pressure. I was a little nervous, I’m not going to lie. I’ve been doing this all this time. But once I got into the game, everything just flowed.” Muniz retired the first two batters he faced before Jason Bergmann singled. Muniz didn’t flinch, though, striking out Felipe Lopez. His teammates presented him with the ball. [email protected] local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! He wanted to ignore the phone that was ringing at 5:30 a.m. last Thursday. The right-handed pitcher who went to Banning High, Harbor College and Long Beach State had just completed an exhausting end to his minor league season in the New York Mets system. Muniz eventually answered the phone. He’s pretty glad he did. “It was Tony Bernazard, our minor league coordinator who called me,” Muniz said from New York on Wednesday night. “He woke me up and was like, `Carlos, you still sleeping?’ I said yeah, and he said I needed to get up and get to the airport. I asked him what for, and he said I was coming up to the show.” Muniz proceeded to wake up his entire household, while furiously packing his things for a flight in less than four hours. BASEBALL: Ex-Banning starinheatedracewithMets. By Chris Jackson STAFF WRITER Carlos Muniz just wanted to sleep. last_img

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