Casanova's luck may never run out
Veteran catcher considers himself fortunate to be at opener
MIAMI -- It hasn't happened yet. Perhaps it won't happen at all. But the way the Mets' catchers went down in Spring Training, chances are Raul Casanova will appear in a game soon. And that will complete the circle, please his late grandmother and add to an already extensive, if not particularly impressive, professional resume.
Casanova was in uniform -- No. 30 -- and standing on the first-base line Monday when members of the Mets and Marlins were introduced before Opening Day only because Ramon Castro was again assigned to the disabled list. It wasn't a career first for Casanova. Indeed, he was the Opening Day catcher for the Brewers in 2002. But he hadn't seen a big league Opening Day ceremony since then -- nor all that much big league time, for that matter.
At age 36, Casanova is a genuine journeyman. If and when he plays this season -- for the Mets or their Triple-A New Orleans affiliate -- the team will be his 26th, the organization will his 12th. If he appears in a game with the Mets, they will be his sixth big league employer. If his 2008 debut is with the New Orleans Zephyrs, he will have played with 10 Triple-A teams.
"You've gotta like baseball to do what I do," Casanova said before the game Tuesday. "I love it. Lucky me."
He says that a lot -- "I'm lucky." He felt lucky in 1990 when he was selected by the Mets in the eighth round of the amateur draft.
"They were my grandmother's favorite team. She was happy then. She'd be happy now," he said.
And he was luckier when he was with the White Sox in 2005. He has a World Series ring.
And last year, he was lucky when he played with the Rays in St. Petersburg, minutes from the home of family members in nearby Clearwater.
"I've seen so many places, not always in the Major Leagues," he said. "I would like to see more, But I'd like to stay here and play for a while."
Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.