Congratulations to the Yankees’ own Mr. Sunshine, Kevin Brown, whose surprisingly sharp outing versus the offensively challenged A’s yesterday, officially relegated the Mets’ Tom Glavine to the status of the Most Overpaid Pitcher In New York.

Glavine, though not nearly as awful as in his prior 2 starts, still struggled with the Brewers in Sunday’s 5-4 loss. On “Baseball Tonight” the erudite John Kruk observed that Glavine is pitching on “a quarter tank”, and that the former Braves starter “isn’t hitting his spots” while a reel of Glavine throwing 81 mph balls right down the middle of the plate rolled. “But both of these guys really know how to fill up the tank, correct?” asked Chris Berman, speaking of Glavine and Brown. I won’t bother with Kruk’s answer because I have no idea what the question meant.

By the way, I’m a recent convert to HD, and after catching a glimpse of Berman’s turquoise sport jacket & pink tie combo, I think I’m ready to put the set and receiver on eBay.

Glavine, much like WB11’s Dave O’Brien, is trying to take solace in the fact that a few of the 11 hits he allowed in 6 innings were texas leaguers. Quoted by the NY Times’ Pat Borzi, Glavine said “the way I pitched today, I could’ve easily given up one run or nothing.”, but apparently he’s forgetting that the Brewers had two runners gunned down at home in the first two innings, and under ordinary circumstances, the bullpen would’ve been employed far earlier.

Milwaukee’s tying run, which scored on a 9th inning RBI single by the slumping J.J. Hardy, was set up by an earlier swipe of 2nd base, Junior Spivey (above) being ruled safe despite replays indicating that Mike Piazza’s throw beat him. Spivey, as quoted by Newsday’s Anthony Rieber in Monday’s edition.

“I don’t know Piazza’s percentage as far as throwing runners out or anything like that, but I don’t think it’s very high. You try to be more aggressive, I think, whenever he’s behind the plate. I’ve been playing against him for a few years now, so I pretty much know … We all know.”

Classy stuff. Piazza’s defensive shortcomings are no secret, but he’s still going to the Hall Of Fame. Not only is Junior Spivey far from the most accomplished player named Junior, he’s not even the most famous Spivey out there.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Ron Cook fanned the flames between Mets P Kris Benson and his former manager, the Pirates’ Lloyd McClendon in yesterday morning’s paper.

A month into the baseball season, Kris Benson decided it finally was time to make his 2005 debut for the New York Mets. Anyone who had the unpleasant experience of watching him pitch for the Pirates for five seasons couldn’t have been surprised by the results Thursday. Benson didn’t make it out of the fifth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies, leaving a 2-2 game with the bases loaded.

Is that so Benson or what?

“I’d just like to know whose fault it will be when he doesn’t get it done this season,” Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon (above) said the other day. “You know it won’t be his fault.”

That churlish observation was in response to some inane remarks Benson made in spring training. He gushed about being with the Mets and being able to learn from pitching coach Rick Peterson and veterans Tom Glavine and Pedro Martinez. He talked about having a big year, then, about an hour later, developed a strained chest muscle that put him back on the disabled list, where a guy gets to collect his big checks without actually having to earn them by staring down big-league hitters.

“There wasn’t anybody in Pittsburgh to give me tips,” Benson told the New York Post.

“I pretty much had to learn everything myself …

“The Pirates didn’t have my back …

“It’s a good thing I moved on. Been night and day here.”

That, apparently, was Benson’s lame attempt to justify his 47-53 career record, most of which came with the Pirates before they dumped him on the Mets in July. The Pirates were so thrilled to get rid of Benson and his big contract that they thought Ty Wigginton was more than equal value.

“I had heard what he said and I was totally shocked by it,” McClendon said.

The part about the Pirates not having Benson’s back stung McClendon, who frequently would all but lie to the media when he protected Benson after his difficult starts. But McClendon was most incensed about Benson’s assertion that he didn’t receive proper instruction with the Pirates.

“[Pitching coach] Spin Williams was hurt by that. He was devastated. This guy works harder than anyone in a Pirates uniform. He lives and dies with every pitch his guys throw. Then, for one of them to say that [garbage], that’s a shame.”

We put in more time with [Benson] than with anyone we had. It’s absolutely amazing to me that this guy wasn’t able to learn anything here. Some of the other guys who came through did pretty well.”

It’s not hard to take the Pirates’ side when it comes to Benson. He was an overpaid underachiever from the day they made him the No. 1 overall selection in the 1996 draft. Even many of his teammates thought he was soft. Benson clearly is a guy who has beaten the system, taking millions out of the game and giving very little back. The Mets signed him to a three-year, $22.5 million contract after last season, even though his wife has a much better chance of being a big star in the big city.

“Doesn’t the onus have to be on the player once in a while?” McClendon asked.

“When you’re on that mound, it’s just you out there. You had better have some [nerve]. [Benson] had great stuff for us, but he didn’t have the heart of a lion. They’ll find that out in New York

Can anyone verify whether or not Todd Jones wore a pink armband yesterday, and if not, did he get a religious wavier?