Two weeks ago I wondered why Jordany Valdespin wasn’t getting more playing time. Now, I’m wondering why I bothered to care.
Why should I, or anybody else for that matter – outside his immediate family – care about Valdespin, of whom GM Sandy Alderson recently said is testing his limits of tolerance?
Answer: There is no reason.
The Mets finished in fourth place last year and are in fourth now. They are a season-high six-games below .500, and after losing three of four to Pittsburgh, are about to start a stretch that could flatten them for the season.
Bottom line: They can lose with or without Valdespin.
Valdespin’s actions over the weekend illustrate he’s a me-first player. His posing after a homer in a blowout loss defined “bush league.” His post-homer comments put that assessment in bold.
“When you hit the ball, you got to enjoy your hit,’’ Valdespin said. “Every time I hit the ball, homer or something, I enjoy that. Every hit, I’m enjoying, my family’s enjoying, my friends enjoying.’’
Kind of says it all about him, doesn’t it?
Mets manager Terry Collins, thinking old school, acknowledged payback could be coming, but his response was inadequate and weak. It made me wonder why he should be manager.
“We’ve talked about this individually and as a group,’’ Collins said. “In the game today, you have to turn your head on some things. It’s done everywhere. Do I like it? I don’t know if it really matters. I can’t change the game.’’
Maybe not, but he damn sure can change his little role in it. Collins’ answer and willingness to put up with Valdespin’s histrionics, shows how dysfunctional the Mets are as an organization.
Valdespin styling after a meaningless home run was the epitome of selfishness and Collins knows it. While it might be the way of the world elsewhere, the only appropriate thing for Collins to say was: “Other managers can put up with that, but I won’t tolerate it on my team.’’
That Alderson didn’t say the same and send him down as punishment was also weak. In Alderson’s Sabremetric world, is there an adequate measure for Valdespin’s actions?
The next day Collins suggested there could be payback, and that it might be directed at David Wright was sobering. That the Pirates didn’t retaliate against Wright was a classy gesture on their part. Go after the real culprit was their reasoning.
They were right to plunk Valdespin, and I don’t want to hear any more Pollyanna crap about a fastball to the ribs wasn’t right. That’s the baseball code.
In that code you take your punishment and shut up. However, Valdespin went berserk in the dugout and slammed his helmet, drawing more attention to himself.
Wright, as captain, did an excellent soft-shoe trying to defend his teammate, although his words seemed hollow, as if deep down, he knew he didn’t believe what he was saying.
I wonder if Wright would have been so generous had the Pirates went after him in retaliation, or if Valdespin’s slammed helmet ricocheted and hit somebody in the eye?
Somehow, I doubt it.
Valdespin had no business being incensed, as he was the one who created the mess. His anger also indicates he either wasn’t aware of the circumstances or didn’t care. Valdespin doesn’t get that this is a team sport and not about him.
His actions scream “look at me,’’ as if he were a NBA diva. However, Valdespin doesn’t bring enough to the table to warrant the Mets putting up with him. They can finish fourth with or without him.
I prefer the latter.