Rome Was Not Built In A Day
With a slow news day being that there was no game last night, the article of the day goes to Bob Raissman. He goes over the perceived attitude problem that Lastings Milledge is said to have and the only thing that comes to mind is who cares.
So, there was hardly a word or whisper about how Milledge, during spring training, often had his watch set on "Pedro time," taking the star trip and arriving at the ballpark late. What about those legal issues Milledge encountered when he was drafted by the Mets in 2003? They were a figment of some reporter's imagination, right?
The kid might not be David Wright (who can possibly replicate my Sugar Pants?), but he sure has had a knack for saying the right things to the media during interviews so far. He seemed like a well adjusted kid with his head on straight before this stuff came to light. Now it comes out that he is a bit arrogant and was brought up to be put into an atmosphere more conducive for him to learn how to play the game right and learn some character.
Milledge just turned 21. To think that he still has some stuff to learn should not be that foreign. This is the reason that teams put together squads with character and guys that can guide the young players before they go off track. A team like the Marlins might not have that, but the Mets surely do. As far as Milledge’s legal issues when he was in high school, he had some ‘relations’ with a younger girl in school. That is not the first time that has happened I’m sure of it. Keith Hernandez admitted to using cocaine and he turned out just fine and Milledge’s past legal issues are far less worrisome.
Being around guys in the Mets clubhouse like Pedro Martinez and Tom Glavine has to undoubtedly have a large influence on a player. How could being around two legends not? When words come out of their mouths, people tend to listen. That goes for Delgado, Franco, and Floyd too. Those are all guys that will have in influence on Lastings and all but one of them will be around after this year.
Yes, Milledge is a brash young prospect who has immense talent. Sometimes arrogance is a trait that kids pick up when they are gifted, rich, and successful before they are even allowed to drink. This is all nothing new and while Milledge might not be the person they want him to be right now, my guess is that he will eventually be that guy. He seems like a good person and a little flamboyancy in a good way is certainly something that is welcome. Whatever the problems that people have with Milledge, one thing is for sure. Lastings is no Delmon and Milledge’s cockiness will probably be shaped into a positive down the line.
When he dropped that ball in right field for a future Hall of Famer only to have that same guy come up to him after the play and have some words of encouragement is part of the process. If Milledge steps out of line and starts to act like he can do what he wants when he wants, then he needs to be disciplined. If Frank Robinson can discipline Alfonso Soriano at this stage in Soriano’s career, then Randolph can discipline Milledge. It is all a process and sometimes the skill comes before the character, but I have no worries about Lastings Milledge being the player the Mets want him to be down the line.
Due to DSL issues, this is all you get. This was tough enough to get out.