A blog dedicated to the New York Mets with some other baseball thrown in.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Get Out of Jail Free Card

For now, Lastings Milledge is not in trouble as his actions have been chalked up to being rookie mistakes and simply being an overly exuberant 21-year old.
"We weren't too happy about that. But he's a young kid," Giants reliever Steve Kline said. "I don't know if he's going to be slapping five with everybody after he goes 0-for-15 and the New York fans are booing him. But in the heat of the moment, you can't blame the kid. He knows better. I think he genuinely knows he did wrong."
"Oh, boy. He has a little growing up to do," outfielder Cliff Floyd said. "I'll just mention to him the consequences that come along with that. If that's what you want to do, you do that. But at the same time, if you want guys throwing at your head constantly, you proceed to do it that way.

"He has the talent and everything, but you have to understand the game at this level. At Triple-A they're going to treat you like a king, and what's wrong with that? When you come here, without losing your mojo, you've got to bring the mentality down. If you can do that, you'll earn the respect of a lot of people."
"I had a little conversation with him about that. I told him to tone it down a little bit," Willie Randolph said. "He got excited about his first big home run. Wouldn't you? I talked to him about it -- it won't happen again."
"Now I know what's expected. It was a rookie mistake. We learn from it," Milledge said. "I was just excited to get the team back. If it was just a solo homer that meant nothing for the team, I wouldn't have been that excited."
I was at the game and did not think too much of it at the time, but Fiver Gate was not well received by people that actually play the game. I kind of liked it when it happened though I thought it was weird because I have never seen that before. I really do not think it was Milledge being a show boat. The kid hit a big homerun, had his index finger and middle finger raised as he rounded first, did a curtain call, and threw out some love to some people. To say the crowd was going berserk would be an understatement as the place was completely out of control and Milledge was obviously excited too.

"I honestly wasn't showing anyone up," Milledge said. "I just wanted to show the fans how much I appreciated them."

Baseball is a game that players get very offended and very easily. Any attempt to showboat a little is akin to running over someone's dog. Is everyone supposed to act like robots and show no emotion? Was Milledge a little bit over the top with the high fives? Maybe. How many players actually go out for curtain calls on their first big league homerun? Not many, but Lastings was probably having an insanely surreal moment.

"I didn't realize it was my first major-league home run until I touched third," the 21-year-old outfielder said. "The first thing I thought was, 'tie score.'"

With this being a big deal in the media and the recent articles about his arrogance, Milledge is going to have a hard time shedding this image. Once a guy is tabbed as lazy or a bad clubhouse guy, it generally follows him around. Personally, I thought everything he did was fine. It was a cool moment when high fived the fans. After all, that is what they wanted him to do and a little more of that would add some color into the game. If you are on the other team and do not like it? Beat them. The Giants did that so who got the last laugh?

"I wanted to give the fans the chance to experience my first home run with me," Milledge explained. "I was just excited to have helped us get back in the game. Willie just said that other people will take it differently than what you want it to be. I understand I made a rookie mistake."

Whether or not you like soccer, the World Cup is always fun to watch. While I understand the stakes are much higher in the World Cup than a game in early June, watching the emotion being poured out on the field during the game and after game is amazing. But that extends outside of the World Cup too in the soccer World and it just is not at our fingertips to watch like the World Cup is. The crowds at soccer games are out of the control and the overall atmosphere is really what makes those games so exciting. Maybe baseball should take note of that and stop worrying about players getting feelings hurt and wanting players to be emotionless.

Rookie or not, it is pretty impossible not to get excited when a large crowd of some of the most intense fans in professional sports are going wild. There are definitely things that can be done that are simply unacceptable when it comes to showboating and Milledge did not do any of that in my eyes and there are a few fans who were down on the right field line yesterday that will probably have a different opinion than most in regards to the entire situation. Milledge’s makeup questions have been more or less of a non-issue for me and I think Michael Vaccaro said it best in his column today.

If the worst we'll ever say about Milledge is that he got a little too excited after his first signature moment as a major leaguer, then Milledge will have lived a long and prosperous baseball life.

Preach on brother. Preach on.

* * *

  • Mark Herrmann pretty much captured what a lot of people were thinking about yesterday's loss. I usually am not a happy camper after Met losses, however, yesterday's loss just didn't feel very bad. Strangely enough, I still felt positive when I'm usually down about any loss.
    • Steve Trachsel gave the Mets a great start.
    • The team proved it's resiliency yet again and overcame a devastating eighth inning error and two runs allowed in the tenth to cap two big comebacks on the day.
    • Lastings Milledge put up a 3 for 4 day with a homerun, three RBIs, and a nice sliding catch in right field. Sick. Just sick.
    • David Wright continues to be on fire while spraying the ball the all fields.
    • Jose Valentin continues to swing a great bat and is really playing well.
    • Finally to top it off, one of the Mets comeback came courtesy of an Armando Benitez meltdown.
    You do not want to take anything away from the other team for winning. The Giants executed in the end and made it happen, but the Mets were in it. They were in it and they beat themselves with some costly mistakes and there are too many positives to take away from this game to be upset with that loss.

  • Here is some info on Xavier Nady from NorthJersey.com:

    Looking noticeably thinner Sunday, Xavier Nady strode into the clubhouse saying, "I was bored. I couldn't stay at home."

    Nady underwent an emergency appendectomy early in the morning May 30, and until taking a few gingerly steps Saturday, he's "mostly been laying around." Nady's on the 15-day disabled list for now, and he's hoping his doctor will give him clearance at his Friday appointment to start baseball maneuvers.

  • Bonds was booed unmercifully. He was booed the point that I actually felt bad for the guy for bearing the brunt for the entire steroid era. The were signs o' plenty, foam asterisks, blow up syringes with arms, eyes, and a '25' on the back, and fans booing his every move. Yesterday, I felt bad. Today I don't.

    "This was pretty weak," he said of the fans' reaction to him. "It's much tougher in Los Angeles. I love the way the fans act out there. I just love it."

  • Carlos Beltran lent a helping hand to Lastings Milledge after the game.

    After the game, Milledge also looked a little disoriented as he wandered around the clubhouse trying to figure out the proper dress code attire for the plane ride to Los Angeles.

    Finally, Carlos Beltran, known as the best dresser on the team, took him aside and hooked him up with the right jacket and pants ensemble so he could catch the team bus to the airport.

  • According Dayn Perry, Willie Randolph is the Manger of the year in the 2006 'one third' awards.

    Because of Omar Minaya's frantic (and pricey) winter, the pressure on Willie Randolph has been acute. He's dealt with injuries, uncertainty in the middle infield and upheaval in the rotation, but there the Mets are — in first place by a full five-and-a-half games. There's plenty of time for the wheels to come off, but if Randolph fends off the Braves and Phillies, he'll be the toast of Gotham. At least until the playoffs begin.

  • You just cannot make this stuff up.

    Jeffrey Maier is the talk of the town in Baltimore, where fans can't believe the 12-year-old boy who ruined their 1996 season is eligible for the draft--and that the Orioles are considering drafting him. By now you know that Maier, who reached over the wall at Yankee Stadium and changed the course of the American League Championship Series by grabbing a Derek Jeter fly ball and turning it into a home run, became a solid player at Wesleyan (Conn.) University and is a marginal draft prospect. Some Orioles fans think Maier's interference was the beginning of their team's downward spiral, but owner Peter Angelos said he is intrigued by the idea of bringing Maier into his franchise. "I wouldn't be at all opposed to (drafting Maier)," he told The Washington Post. "In fact, I'd say it's a very interesting development. You can say the Orioles are very seriously considering him. I know this much: I was at that game, and he certainly did seem to be a heck of an outfielder. Sure, we'd take him. In fact, I like the idea more and more, the more I think about it."

  • Jose Valentin is officially the starter at second base. Who would have guessed that would have happened?

    Solidarity by moustaches.

    Q: Why would anyone want to grow a moustache?
    A: To get Willie to put them in the starting lineup.

    Jose's moustache is the only reason I can think of that he is still around. He was pretty bad in 2003. He followed that up by being pretty bad in 2004. Not to surprisingly, he followed that up up by completely shitting the bed in 2005. In Spring Training of 2006, he looked completely lost. The trend continued for the first part of the season and he posted a .136/.136/.136 line in April. Then May came around and Jose Valentin put up a .320/.368/.600 line and he has a .444/.545/.889 line so far in June. Valentin has been hitting with power, roping line drives, and playing solid defense. Truly bizarre turn of events. In the past, some teams shaved their heads to show solidarity. Some teams did not shave their beards to show their solidarity. However, I propose that all Met players and Mets fans (including woman who have the wherewithal to) grow moustaches. Dayn Perry says Willie has been the manager of the year so far and Valentin has been playing like a stud. Much like Samson’s strength coming from the hair on top of his head, it is hard not to see some sort of correlation between Randolph and Valentin's success and their moustaches. With 25 players on the team and multitudes of fans with fuzzy upper lips, this team would be unstoppable.

    Anonymous benny said...

    Lastings Milledge is the fucking man.
    Atleast Kline didn't act like a little bitch like Josh Beckett would.

    Maybe "Wild Thang" Mitch Williams should have hit Joe Carter in the head after his big World Series homerun. Showboating all over the place-- Oh wait...

    Milledge high fiving people reminded me of Bret Hart in the WWE... more for the good guy in wrestling than a baseball player though.

    I wish Met fans would act the way Soccer fans act. Those stadium are amazing. The noise and energy is just... priceless, you can't beat that.

    If this series was played last year I would be different in opinion.
    Last year? i would have been pissed, sad, and it would have ruined my weekend.
    This year? shit... I'm hyped. Well... not hyped we did lose but it didn't "hurt". Now, I'm just looking forward to tonights game. Expecting a win.

    With Bonds, i love how fans really, truely and genuinely feel that an * will make everything go away.
    People have to stop it with that * talk. It's just dumb...

    I'm speechless on Bonds quote in regards to NY fans. Did he just say that LA fans are more emotional than us? He's not on steroids... he's on fuckin' CRACK-COCAINE.

    I can't grow that sick type of moustache that Zorro has. It would take me years of not shaving for that type of immense power and to be honost, I'm just not quite up for it.

    1:27 PM

    Anonymous Benny BLANCO said...

    Forgot to share this with everyone....
    Found this last night, must share, too funny.

    Chicks dig the long ball.

    1:42 PM

    Blogger Toasty Joe said...

    You know, Mike, I was gonna lead off my post on my blog today with the same theme you've got about how the loss didn't really feel like a loss. Lots of positives there. As for Milledge, having been listening to the FAN all day, I have yet to hear a single host or caller say they thought he was out of line. So I think we can close the book on this "issue."

    1:57 PM

    Anonymous benny said...

    To counter the whjole Milledge thing... if some other player did what he did, would we be pissed off? lol, probably...

    Double Standards...

    2:22 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Agreed. Kline wasn't a bitch, but only because he deffered to the Mets to do the bitching.

    Not only was his comment quote out there, but the fans were RIDING him. If LA is worse, they must be really, really bad.

    Benny, sometimes it takes dedication to be a fan. What's a few years of not shaving?

    Toasty, too many positives and Armando getting blown up alone makes it worth it.

    I thought the Milledge thing would be a bigger deal. It might be just a big deal with the players and not everyone else, including the media. I just figured everyone would jump on the Met-hating bandwagon.

    The book may be closed on the issue, but Milledge will be toned down and more 'professional' for now at least. That's kind of dissapointing even if nothing else is said about the issue.

    2:27 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Benny, honestly? If they were home and they did it? Why would I care? I love Manny's showboating and he is not on my team.

    I love when pitchers get a big K and got nuts and especially when Pedro would point in the other dugout back in his Boston days.

    I'm never against that shit and you know it. I know you aren't either and would not be pissed.

    2:29 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Oh, that video was great. I remember that commerical.

    Maddux in his nerdy voice..."Hey we got Cy Young winners over here."

    Classic commerical.

    2:31 PM

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Yes, the Benitez thing made the whole game worthwhile. I had heard how Benitez was joking before the game how much the fans "love him in NY". Fuck him. Pisses me off that he can joke about the fact that he totally screwed us in the 2000 world series and countless other games for many years. Glad he can get a laugh out of it. I can't. It was great seeing how pissed he got after he imploded like he always did here. LOSER.

    I love Milledge. When he did that, my reaction was like yours Mike. I didn't know what to really make of it because I hadn't seen it before. But I actually thought it was great interacting with the fans like that. The kid has got a TON of energy and style. Hopefully he doesn't change a thing. You are right on the money, we could use some edge in baseball. Something tells me that Milledge may not be seeing Triple A again. He's going to light it up.

    Weird that we all felt the same. I had the exact same reaction, just didn't seem to suck that bad. Now if they lose tonight, it will start sucking.

    Benny, that video is priceless.

    3:16 PM

    Anonymous DtotheMFingG said...

    Man, people are pissy. When Ledge ran up the right field line high fiving everyone, I thought it was wonderful, and I'm sure that NY fans are going to love him because of it.

    I wish that Bonds had been met by nothing but icy silence as one columnist suggested on Friday. That would have been cool and much more of a diss. Bonds probably disses each city's fans, at least in the towns that boo him. Pitchers dissed him the best this weekend.

    In defense of Stache - and I cannot believe I'm going to defend him - he looked really good playing for team Puerto Rico. He'll make it a couple of weeks as a two bagger, but I expect the defense will bring him down a notch. I was doubtful when we brought him in and still have my longterm doubts, but hey, he's proved he's not washed up yet.

    Lastly, wouldn't it be great if the O's drafted Jeffrey Maier and then completely destroyed his career by limiting his playtime to nearly nothing? They'd control his right for a lot of years and pay the minor league pittance. Call it divine retribution. He's a friggin Yankee fan anyway, so (insert expetive here) him.

    3:16 PM

    Blogger Anthony said...

    Anonymous is me Anthony. Not sure why it didn't show.

    3:16 PM

    Anonymous jake said...



    motherfucer is unwelcome on the moose knuckles.

    3:25 PM

    Anonymous jake said...

    what about reyes not stealing home or delgado not slapping it the other way?

    3:32 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    The World Series just hurts so bad. It was actually a close series and with Clemems going game two, he killed us. HE KILLED US!

    Yeah, if we lose tonight, that sucks. If Alay labors through the first, I'm shutting the game off. He needs to be on his game from the start this time.

    DG, Mets fans do love him for that, which is so bizarre. So many people loved it, but not the other 49 guys on the field.

    Every town boos Bonds but SF...They love him there. I love how they went after him each at-bat. Screw walking him. There was a time when people would think about walking him with the bases load if they were up by at least two.

    Oh, I have my long term doubts too. He will not keep this up....unless he is juicing of course.

    I didn't think about the revenge factor of the Orioles. Never promote the kid above Rookie league and make him leave the game.

    Reyes was home. Morris balked. It looked so awkward, how could it not be?

    3:59 PM

    Anonymous Dgenerate said...

    Reyes should have stolen home. It was like a gift horse lookin you in the mouth! And I think the umps were scared to call the balk. (PS, where was Willie? nary a word?)

    4:28 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Willie's lack of making any noise was disturbing. The entire place thought he balked including Morris. It took him 20 mintutes to toe the rubber again and he wiped his head like 1000 times.

    4:38 PM

    Blogger Condor Schmitt said...

    Willie has no heart, we should name him 'scarecrow'. Didnt get ejected in any games last season, has Milledge apologizing FOR BEING A KID FOR SHIT SAKE, plays this stupid bunting baseball with Lo Duca when a hit would be a better option especially with the lineup following Lo Duca, beaned Eckstein instead of Pujols last year when Piazza was plunked by Tavarez(?)...typical bland Yankee crap. SCARECROW.

    Delgado desperately needs a day or 2 off. Man he looks tired and his numbers are suffering for it.

    Damn! Maddux and Glavine looked so damn gay int that steam room!!

    6:42 PM

    Anonymous Dandy DG McGee said...

    Interesting. Adam Rubin says that Beato is not expected to go in the first round, and even Baseball America has him falling to 24th on their prospect board after he was listed as 13th while the Mets were bidding. Would be funny if the Mets caught him in the 2nd round and signed him for the money they offered. That's not going to happen though; imagine it wouldn't even be well received by the Beato camp.

    Man, one day at the French Open and I missed all this Milledge bs this morning. Like the media is trying to force the Mets to trade him or something by scaring the team's pants off. Lot of ill will out there...

    7:00 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Condor, good take on everything. Especially the commerical.

    Delgado needs a quick round trip ticket back to the PR to clear his head. I wonder if his elbow is hurting or is this just a really bad streak.

    Well, Beato kind of shot himself in the foot here because he might not get what the Mets offered. It looks like Omar knew what he was doing and did not let anyone hold him hostage. If the Mets want a hard throwing high school pitcher, they could get one if they wanted at that spot. Don't get me wrong, getting Beato would have been good, but it surely is not like missing out on a Pelfrey or Humber.

    The media needs to create conflict. Nothing to complain about.

    8:50 PM

    Blogger Condor Schmitt said...

    Where can a true Mets fan get a good deal on a Mo Vaughn jersey? Just kidding! I'm looking for a Delgado or Wright jersey but I dont want to pay $100 smacko's.

    Anyone know?

    11:02 PM

    Anonymous Will said...

    Got to see the Mets on TV here in Korea...loved what Soler did to Lofton in the 5th after the walk to Furcal. Lofton came up all smiles but didn't head back to the dugout that way.

    6:30 AM

    Blogger Whitney said...

    The Scarecrow didn't have a brain. It was the Tin Man who had no heart. The Scarecrow & Cowardly Lion comparisons emanated after the Kazmir trade, referring to a Wilpon and a Duquette, respectively. At least they did on our inane blog.

    Interesting to see Willie praised and panned simultaneously. I think what we're seeing is national sports coverage giving him credit (deserved or otherwise) for not lousing up a talented team's chances and actually guiding them to a slew of wins -- and at the same time a legion of die-hards who aren't so sure they want him steering the ship if and when the Mets approach their desired destination.

    9:45 AM

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