Big League Stew - MLB

After watching the Mets beat the Phillies 8-0 on Tuesday, I resolved to start today with a positive post on the team that's been dumped on more than any other squad in baseball — often very deservedly — the past two years.

Of course, the New York tabs were still clogged with controversy this A.M. Teammates are reported to be glad that bullpen coach Randy Niemann told Francisco Rodriguez to zip it. Jeff Francoeur(notes) and Jason Bay(notes) are busy denying that they were put off by Darryl Strawberry's "pep talk" in Washington last week.

My blogging plans were looking bleak. 

Thank god, then, for rookie first baseman Ike Davis(notes). He's at the center of a couple of positive stories that seem to fit a New York Mets team that just took two of three from the Yankees and opened a series against their biggest rival with a blowout win.

• Davis kicked off the official "I Like Ike" t-shirt campaign at a Times Square sporting goods store on Tuesday. That might seem like a self-absorbed move, but not when you consider Davis is selling the shirts for a charity that's close to his heart. All proceeds will support Ewing's Sarcoma research, a disease that took the life of Davis' close friend, Mike Lio, last October.

"I thought this was an amazing idea because of the charitable part of it and maybe getting Mike's name out there a little more," Davis told the NYDN. "We're trying to figure out a way to start Mike's charity anyway and this is a great way to start it."

• Davis has been publicly embracing his Jewish heritage (his mother is Jewish) and, as you might imagine, that has been a big deal in New York. DNA Info has the story:

"It's cool," said Davis, of being Jewish and playing in New York. "Jerry Seinfeld turned to his kid and said, ‘Look, you can be Jewish and be a professional ballplayer.' In that sense it's a good thing, for sure."

Davis wasn't a headline maker on Tuesday night — he went 0-for-3 with a walk — but after 33 games, he's hitting .282 with four home runs and eight doubles. For a Mets fanbase that's normally greeted by negative story after negative story each morning, the "I Like Ike" movement seems like something they'll be happy to get behind.

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