Mar 22

No Conspiracy: The Mets Needed To Make Wright Captain

There is a conspiracy theory everywhere you look. I read one suggesting the Mets made David Wright captain to divert attention away from the field, where they are projected to be bad. Very bad.

C’mon. Are you serious? How long do you think that will last? With virtually no hope given to the Mets this year, they’ll be coming out to see Wright and the young players such as Matt Harvey, Ike Davis, Travis d’Arnaud and Zack Wheeler. The last two you’ll probably see sometime in June.

Smokescreens like that never work. Besides, Mets fans are like children and dogs in a way, after awhile, they know when they’re getting duped.

Besides, if taking the fan’s attention away from the team is the goal, they should have done this three years ago as the attendance at Citi Field has consistently dwindled.

Wright is simply the best player the Mets have, and arguably the best player – outside of Tom Seaver – they ever produced. And best, I mean both on and off the field.

As Major League Baseball goes after Ryan Braun and others in a witch hunt over PED’s, Wright has publicly stood up against drug users. A long time ago, when I asked Derek Jeter about steroids, he said: “I don’t use them, so it’s none of my business.”

Guess again. It is every player’s business for their sport to be clean and Wright, whether or not it comes from his father who is in law enforcement, has always stood for that goal. He should be commended for that alone.

I know some don’t feel Wright is clutch enough, but that’s nonsense. Baseball is about failing three out every ten at-bats just to be good, and Wright is the best the Mets have in that regard. Who else would you rather see at the plate in the ninth inning of a close game?

Jeff Wilpon said the appointment was for all Wright has done, and will do, for the organization in the future. The Mets have been awful on the field since 2008, and even worse off it with the Ponzi scandal, numerous bad signings and public relations fiascos. With all those around him losing their heads, Wright kept his, to paraphrase Rudyard Kipling.

When it was clear the Mets were about to sack Willie Randolph, Wright spoke out for his manager – and against management – because it was the right thing to do. He blamed himself and the players, not the manager whom management had spied on with Tony Bernazard.

A leader sometimes deals with uncomfortable things, and yes, Wright spoke against Lastings Milledge coming in late. He downplays it now, but it had to be done. Players often take their lead from other players, and when somebody doesn’t hustle, Wright lets him know it in a low-key, yet effective manner.

He doesn’t get in their faces, just their minds. And, that’s what leaders, and captains, do.

Feb 18

Collins To Initiate Process For Wright To Be Captain

David-Wright15It was during the summer of 2008 when I first broached the question with then-Mets manager Willie Randolph: Could David Wright someday be named captain?

I went back to my story and this is what Randolph said: “It’s not something we’re talking about now, but yes, David certainly has the qualifications needed to be a captain. He has the respect and admiration of his teammates. They listen to him.”

The Mets didn’t pull the trigger because they had veterans with more experience – such as Carlos Delgado and Carlos Beltran – and didn’t want to ruffle the feathers of the older players. Randolph wasn’t kept around long enough to name Wright captain, but it was always a foregone conclusion it would eventually happen.

Now, with Wright armed with an eight-year contract that will have him finish his career with the Mets, manager Terry Collins said today he will begin the process of naming his third baseman to the honor, joining Keith Hernandez, Gary Carter and John Franco.

The first step is to involve discussing the matter with GM Sandy Alderson and chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon.

Continue reading

May 14

Will Martinez ever make it?

Fernando Martinez is 22, still young enough in the sport where he’s graded most on potential. However, the past few years have been rough on his body and he’s lost more gams due to injury than anybody his age should have the right to.

MARTINEZ: A glimpse into what was supposed to be.

At one time Martinez was part of a group of three Mets outfielders who were going to race their way to stardom. Lastings Milledge, Carlos Gomez and Martinez were three raw talents blessed with speed, quickness and the potential – there’s that word again – for power.

They represented a bright future for the Mets, young, athletic and talented. They would be something to see, and teams were always rebuffed when they called. Reportedly, the Mets said no to Manny Ramirez for the cost of Milledge.

However, the opportunities given Milledge and Gomez – especially the former – didn’t pan the the Mets relented and Milledge was sent to Washington for Brian Schneider and Ryan Church, and Gomez was part of the package that brought in Johan Santana.

With Santana’s injury, there’s nothing left to show for the trade. Once one of the top prospects in the majors, Martinez isn’t even one of the top five Mets’ prospects. Times have changed.

Martinez, called up Friday night as a patch in the Mets’ outfield, hit a two-run, pinch homer to remind us once again what all the fuss was about. But, did he show us a glimpse into the future or into what was supposed to be?

Nov 19

Changes in attitude ….

There were some interesting comments late last night on the Manager of the Year post. I was asked whether I saw young guys seemingly not care after a loss.

I sure did. Saw it during the games, too. And, yes, Tom Glavine and Billy Wagner spoke out about it. I wrote it several times. Some guys, Lastings Milledge for one, and Jose Reyes was another, who came across as not caring at times.

GLAVINE: Quote misunderstood.

GLAVINE: Quote misunderstood.


Although Carlos Beltran is quiet, I never got that impression from him. Carlos Delgado? Well, let’s just say he never wore a loss on his face.

As far as Glavine being a fraud? I don’t buy it. Never have and never will. Yes, he got shelled, and yes he answered a question by saying “this is not devastating.” Glavine’s problem was he was too literal in his use of the word. The rest of the quote, and I’m paraphrasing, “is losing a child or a loved one is devastating not losing a baseball game.”

In that context he’s right. Believe me, he was embarrassed and angry at his performance. He just wasn’t devastated.

May 28

Was an opportunity wasted?

MARTINEZ: Was a teaching lesson lost?

MARTINEZ: Was a teaching lesson lost?

Did Mets manager Jerry Manuel miss an opportunity last night to set a career molding example for Fernando Martinez?

There’s no doubt Manuel talked to Martinez after the 20-year-old rookie gazed at his pop-up, and only failed to run after it was dropped by the catcher.

I’m thinking more should have been made of it, and a mold would have been set had Manuel pulled Martinez from the game with the warning if it ever happens again he’ll go to the minor leagues. If such a reprimand scars Martinez, then doesn’t it show he’s not mentally tough enough?

I throw this out there because Martinez was warned two years ago by Tony Bernazard when he wasn’t running out ground balls. Maybe Martinez had a brain cramp, maybe he was upset because he isn’t hitting, but it doesn’t really matter.

They tell you in Little League that when you hit the ball you run hard, and don’t stop running until the play is over. And, you’ll know when the play is over.

Lastings Milledge never got it and the Mets gave up on him. Don’t you think if Milledge’s attitude was better he’s still be here? But, Milledge didn’t give the Mets hope he’d change.

And, Jose Reyes? Well, they’ve already lost him. The Mets have coddled Reyes to the point where discipline won’t help. There are too many times when Reyes fails to run hard, or loses focus and muffs a play in the field, or give away an at-bat.

What, all of a sudden they are going to clamp down on him? Don’t think so.

Martinez is a different story. By all accounts he’s a good kid with a load of talent. No ceiling, the scouts say. Now is the time to put a harness on Martinez.

I just wonder if Manuel missed an opportunity last night.