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  1. #1
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    Mets teammate on Valdespin's HR trot: 'Bonehead'

    ST. LOUIS — Jordany Valdespin was sitting alone Wednesday in the New York Mets clubhouse, listening to blaring music on his iPod that could be heard from 20 feet away, swaying, singing and scrolling through his Twitter feed.

    If he had taken off the Dr. Dre headphones and dared to look around, he might have realized his teammates were talking about him, frustrated, irritated and downright angry.

    This is a team badly struggling with the second-worst record in the National League, but the selfish actions of a career .239 hitter have the entire team being scorned for the perception they turned their backs on a teammate.

    The Mets had listened and read the ridicule for five days, and Wednesday they could no longer contain their fiery emotions, revealing their frustrations in interviews with USA TODAY Sports about an immature act by an apparent naive teammate.

    "The easiest way to describe this is that it's stupid," Mets captain David Wright said. "The whole incident is stupid. It's gotten way too much attention. This thing should have been over, and now it's turned into a life of its own. To read these reports how we don't have his back and how we don't care about him is absolutely ridiculous. It couldn't be further from the truth. It's ridiculous."

    The incident that refuses to go away occurred Friday in the Mets' 7-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Mets were down 7-1 in the ninth inning, and Valdespin hit a solo homer off veteran Jose Contreras. Yet, instead of simply running the bases, Valdespin flipped his bat, admired the ball and slowly jogged around the bases.

    "I couldn't believe he did that," Mets veteran reliever LaTroy Hawkins said. "We were all dumbfounded. It was a bonehead thing to do. And to do that against Jose Contreras? He's old enough to be his father, and one of the nicest guys in the world."

    The Pirates were furious, and they quietly vowed revenge. The Mets knew it. And understood it. And just to make sure Valdespin understood it, manager Terry Collins sent him up to pinch-hit in the seventh inning the next day.

    They warned Valdespin that he likely would get hit, and catcher John Buck even recommended that he might want to wear an elbow guard.

    Valdespin was drilled on the right forearm on the second pitch by reliever Bryan Morris.

    It should have been end of story.

    It was only beginning.

    "The Pirates did what you were supposed to do," said Mets veteran outfielder Marlon Byrd, who has counseled Valdespin on numerous occasions this year. "They just sent a message that you don't do that.

    "We would have done the same thing to another team. Any of the 29 other teams would do the same thing. Anybody around baseball who knows anything about the game knows that's what's supposed to happen. It should have been done and over with."

    The next thing the Mets knew, Valdespin was sending out angry Twitter messages, fans were wondering why the Mets didn't retaliate, Collins was being criticized for sending him into the game knowing he was going to be hit and everyone but Valdespin suddenly was the bad guy.

    "What were we supposed to do there?" Hawkins said. "We were down six runs, he hits a home run and he acts like it's a walk-off. This isn't Little League.

    "What, now we're supposed to get into a fight for that? We're supposed to throw at somebody because he did a bonehead thing? Now, if they throw at him for no reason, that's a different story. We protect our team. But to do what he did put us in a bad spot, a real bad spot.

    "He showed absolutely no respect. If you're going to pimp it, you're going to suffer the consequences. I have no problem defending my teammates, but some things, you just can't defend against.

    "He's created a lot of unnecessary tension around here."

    Valdespin, who has a world of natural ability, has yet to publicly apologize, privately apologize or speak to the news media about the incident. The Mets keep waiting. Collins called him into his office Tuesday, scolded him for sending out a Twitter message as if he were the victim: "They criticize me to lower my self-esteem but I go straight to the top. I wasn't born to lose."

    "I tried to explain to him that if you were a (expletive) star or a big-time star and you do that, you might get away with it," Collins said. "But we're getting beat 7-1 with a 12-year veteran on the mound. Come on.

    "I don't care what the fans think. This is the big leagues. It's a big-man's game. I told him, 'Look, it's not about you. It's about us. It's about the team. We're all trying to teach you a lesson here.'

    "We'll see if he gets it."

    And the jury is still out, with no one in the Mets clubhouse having a clue about what Valdespin will do the next time he homers.

    "Sometimes you have to look yourself in the mirror," Hawkins said. "He's got to ask himself, 'What can I do to gain the respect back from my teammates?' And he's got to come up with that answer on his own.

    "For some reason, he doesn't want to do things the right way. He wants to do it the hard way. Hopefully, he'll figure it out, because he's got a chance to be a damn good ballplayer."

    Valdespin, 25, certainly has the ability to be a star. It's entirely up to him.
    http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports...-spot/2164869/

    Time for the little man to grow up.

    The reactions of his teammates is also fueled partly by the criticisms by some fans and media TC took for sending @JV1 up to hit. I like that the player's have TC's back. It tells me they respect him. Fans' discussions of firing him are a joke.

    .
    Last edited by Dugmet; 05-16-2013 at 10:28 AM.
    "The 90 wins is about challenge. It's about changing the conversation. It's about framing questions for ourselves as to how we get there. So I stand by the notion that we need to get better, and in doing so we need to set concrete goals for ourselves so that we have sort of specific conversations among ourselves about how we're going to get there." -- Mr. Alderson

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dugmet View Post
    Time for the little man to grow up.

    The reactions of his teammates is also fueled partly by the criticisms by some fans and media TC took for sending @JV1 up to hit. I like that the player's have TC's back. It tells me they respect him. Fans' discussions of firing him are a joke.

    .
    Agree. TC did the right thing and said the right things. If he gets fired, it's because the team isn't performing. But his handling of Valdespin has been appropriate.

    If anything, I'm concerned Valdespin is the one hurting the team chemistry, and think he should be demoted. He doesn't do enough on the field to have a reason to carry him if he's bringing down the rest of the team.

  3. #3
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    Love that Byrd and Hawkins, whose careers have been over for years, are so taken aback. All they have left to contribute is moral criticism.

    Did he deserve to get hit? Probably. Am I mad at Valdespin? Not at all.

    To be honest, there's little to no chance he did what he did with the intent to rub it in or showboat. That's the way he plays the game. It's going to get him plunked a few times. If anything, he should realize that and not expect his team to retaliate.

    I'm sick of this unwritten rule that showing emotion or reacting to a personal victory, however small, should not be done because it is disrespectful.

    Who. The hell. Cares? You want me to respect you? Get me out. Send me back to the dugout so that emotion is turned onto myself. Valdespin generated all this attention, which means he clearly got in the Pirates' heads, which is reflective of their team, not JV. JV is going to do things like this, it's a consequence of how he plays. He shouldn't need to apologize for others reacting like offended, self-important, and condescending pseudo-parentals.

    Like I said, Valdespin likely deserved to get hit because of this ridiculously warped view of 'respect' that people in the MLB have. If anything he should understand that, and not be surprised when his teammates don't back him up. But when his teammates overtly insult him and berate him for something he likely didn't even know he was doing? Of course he's going to be angry and firing off tweets in broken english.

    I don't understand all the outrage. Sure, it's a media circus. But again, who the hell cares? We need something to fill the hours of media coverage, so we decide to act like there's been a huge moral sleight perpetrated by a Met that actually appears excited to be playing the game-- based on a violation of a made up and babyish unwritten 'code' of respect.

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    The only reason there is controversy to begin with is because TC pinch-hitted Valdespin in the game knowing he would get hit. Like I said before, he could have simply started Valdespin the next day, and if the Pirates wanted to hit him, so be it. In NY, this kind of story will always be scrutinized and over-examined, especially when the team isn't very good and losing. So Mets, how about winning some games so we can stop talking about it?

  5. #5
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    For me, doing things "the right way" is playing the game in a way that is most conducive to the success of your team. Oh, and having ****ing fun because it's a god damn game, not a test to see who can be the biggest stuck up saint of morality and respect.

    Someone please explain to me how the Mets perform better with a subdued and worried Jordany playing the game. That kind of attitude saw the ball skip right through his legs against the Nats last year.

    His attitude is that he is going to win and succeed, and no one is going to stop him. He does not make excuses, and he does not apologize. If our whole team had this outlook, we wouldn't be focused on trivial **** to fill up media time slots.

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    Also this **** is being a little bit exaggerated. Watch the replay.

    The reason he brings his bat around slowly and "flips" it is because that's the nature of his follow through, which brings his bat around at an angle such that the end of the bat nearly touches the ground, ala Griffey/Floyd.

    Yeah, he looked at the ball he just crushed. Oh, the humanity. I can't believe it. Seriously? You're supposed to put your head down immediately, and anything less is disrespectful?

    And that's a completely normal home run trot. At a speed WAY faster than any of these fat troll nothings that are coming out of the woodwork to criticize him can run.

    If the Pirates have sand in their vagina over something like this, let them. Don't assist them in moaning and crying that they were spited. They gave up a home run. Don't give one up next time. Jesus Christ.

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    And the fact that our team is making a big deal of this is really telling. Really shows how much of a group of whining losers we are.

    David was spot on. It should never have been a big deal. If anything, you tell him not to do it again if your team doesn't tolerate that kind of thing (I don't know why they wouldn't, but that's another argument). As for these aging has-beens trying to take the excitement from a kid, **** them.

    Valdespin quickly became my favorite player when he sent Papelbon to his own dugout with his head hung. The contrast between Jordany's joy and elation, with his chin up as high as it could be, and Papelbon's disgraced reaction was just beautiful.

    He's only making me admire him more with his insistence on being the best and shooting for the top-- while making ZERO excuses for failure.

    If any of these losers criticizing him realized the kind of attitude you need to have to be the best you can be, maybe they'd have a high enough sense of self that they wouldn't have to rip on a man who's done more than they could ever dream of.

    "They criticize me to lower my self esteem but I’m going straight to the top. I was not born to lose."

    You want to stop him? Throw the ball by him, don't ***** when he beats you. Do something to advance yourself, don't try to bring others who've succeeded down. You do your work in the weight room, in the cage, on the field to get yourself to a point where you can stop him. Don't try to invalidate him by attacking who he is as a person.

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    Let's take the words of Jose Reyes.

    "There are no friends. A friend is a dollar in my pocket. As soon as you turn your back your friends want to stab you in the back. A real friend is a glass full of water in the desert to quench your thirst. … Where were you when I used to practice without any food to eat or when I used to spend a week with the same T-shirt? There are no friends. My friends are my mother and my father, the ones who struggled with me to make me who I am."

    Struggle with your teammate. And maybe, just maybe, admire him for his unrelenting confidence, joy, and insistence on winning. Instead of bringing him down like a pack of leeches.

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    Hawkins and Byrd can keep doing things the right way. Sure.

    Like when Hawkins threw over the head of Luke Scott in '08 for no reason, clearing both benches.

    Like when Byrd tested positive and was suspended 50 games in 2012.

    Sure.

    Notice how these events weren't sparked by joy, as all of Valdespin's 'boneheaded' moves are. Instead, these has-been nothings have done nothing to put them in a position to criticize. And by doing so they're just revealing the fact that they're losers. I'll bet they regret their insane views on how the game "should" be played when they look back and see how little fun they had.
    Last edited by Angry Norwegian; 05-16-2013 at 11:59 AM.

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    Damn, you went in lol.

    I agree completely.

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    I do agree with you to a minimmal extent Angry Norwegian, but to some point he does have to grow up.

    I didn't think it was overtly disrespectful either, but when coupled with many of the other bonehead actions around the clubhouse that we don't always see, like showing up late, thinking he is already stabalized and a Star with actions like, someone has to run him errands and he is entitled to extra benefits. He needs to do for himself and drop the entitled attitude.

    Looking at the play I thought okay he was about to pimp and then looked to the dugout and someone gave him the heads down notification and he quickly corrected himself dropped his head and ran the bases. An act of self-correction and realization what was being perceived, his seeking for approval quickly turning into an Awe dang moment. A hope for sparking some life into his team, into freak really. He did show resilency by not letting it get to him. Kudos to him for those actions.

    I also think TC did have the right perception there and needed this moment to show him it is not just the Mets which feel this way. David Wright also made the right comments cementing that he is perfect to be one of the few team captains ever to be named such for the Mets.

    Valdespin did go on to apologize for his immaturity and stated he is trying to learn the game and do it the right way as well. It has been over blown, but to a degree I am okay with that if it does help him to be a contributer to the team. Byrd and Hawkins should have taken a note from David Wright, they are the ones adding to the anomosity. You have to let it go and give your teammates the support. By supporting, it doesn't mean they needed to go out and fight because in that situation it would have sent the wrong message, but words of encouragement and maybe an at-a-boy for taking it for the team and getting us a base runner (FREE), followed by at least now its over and we can all move on. So V reallizes they do support their teammates and make it a positive learning experience.

    How many people absorb better through positives rather than negatives? That would be all of us. Have to put a positive spin on it, suck it up and drive on. But, when it is so repetitive sometimes that is hard.

    I do like JV and hope that he can get it right and become a very solid player for the organization, but I also want him to show that he is the consumate teammate as well as an individual player. No one player makes a team, which consists of 25. Hopefully it doesn't take away from the game he has and only fuels he drive to succeed and do it the right way.

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    I always hated this part of baseball and as I discuss this with my roommates at school, I see why baseball isn't as liked as basketball and football.

    The consensus is baseball does not want to adapt and is too enamored with "tradition" as well their tendency to bash players who show emotion.

    Who gives a ****.

    This is a sport in which day after day, games are being decided by horrible calls by inept umpires and refuse to implement available technology all because it takes the tradition and human element out the game...yet makes a huge deal if a player celebrates and is seen as utter disrespect.

    In the NBA and NFL players talk smack to one another all game and makes for great entertainment and sport. I can see why people think baseball is incredibly boring. I never will, but completely understand the hate.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by MetsFlunky View Post
    I do agree with you to a minimmal extent Angry Norwegian, but to some point he does have to grow up.

    I didn't think it was overtly disrespectful either, but when coupled with many of the other bonehead actions around the clubhouse that we don't always see, like showing up late, thinking he is already stabalized and a Star with actions like, someone has to run him errands and he is entitled to extra benefits. He needs to do for himself and drop the entitled attitude.

    Was trying to keep the conversation around this home run "issue".

    Looking at the play I thought okay he was about to pimp and then looked to the dugout and someone gave him the heads down notification and he quickly corrected himself dropped his head and ran the bases. An act of self-correction and realization what was being perceived, his seeking for approval quickly turning into an Awe dang moment. A hope for sparking some life into his team, into freak really. He did show resilency by not letting it get to him. Kudos to him for those actions.

    I don't think it happened like this. Really a non-starter here-- no one knows if this point is true, and it likely wouldn't make a difference if it was.

    I also think TC did have the right perception there and needed this moment to show him it is not just the Mets which feel this way. David Wright also made the right comments cementing that he is perfect to be one of the few team captains ever to be named such for the Mets.

    Just disagree here about Collins. Once again this is just kind of a cut and dry disagreement. I already made my points about why I don't think JV has to apologize.

    Valdespin did go on to apologize for his immaturity and stated he is trying to learn the game and do it the right way as well. It has been over blown, but to a degree I am okay with that if it does help him to be a contributer to the team. Byrd and Hawkins should have taken a note from David Wright, they are the ones adding to the anomosity. You have to let it go and give your teammates the support. By supporting, it doesn't mean they needed to go out and fight because in that situation it would have sent the wrong message, but words of encouragement and maybe an at-a-boy for taking it for the team and getting us a base runner (FREE), followed by at least now its over and we can all move on. So V reallizes they do support their teammates and make it a positive learning experience.

    He hasn't apologized. "Valdespin, who has a world of natural ability, has yet to publicly apologize, privately apologize or speak to the news media about the incident. "- from the article.
    What is playing the game the right way? People keep saying this, without specifying what it means at all. It just ends up being a dogmatic way to justify a sort of pseudo-moral insistence on suppressing emotions and failing to anger the opposition in any way. I think this is a ******** notion of playing the game "the right way". I've already specified what my take on the right way is.

    How many people absorb better through positives rather than negatives? That would be all of us. Have to put a positive spin on it, suck it up and drive on. But, when it is so repetitive sometimes that is hard.

    I do like JV and hope that he can get it right and become a very solid player for the organization, but I also want him to show that he is the consumate teammate as well as an individual player. No one player makes a team, which consists of 25. Hopefully it doesn't take away from the game he has and only fuels he drive to succeed and do it the right way.

    I don't understand why showing happiness and confidence makes him not a consummate teammate. I don't want teammates who suppress their emotions and do anything they can not to offend the opposition. I want a teammate like Jordany. One of my earlier posts expressed the idea that if more of our players with ****** attitudes acted like Jordany, we'd be better off.
    All in all, I don't really think you addressed what I said, rather just reverted back to this unspecified account of "the right way" to play. You say he needs to "grow up", but offer no account of what that means.

    From all I've gathered, some of his teammates are looking down on him for being confident, arrogant, and having fun. They also respond negatively to his strong sense of self-worth and refusal to apologize or make excuses. This makes me think they're losers and bums.

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    You can say anything you want to about some dated notion of "respect" that doesn't actually exist in sports.

    If you don't like what he did. Then get him out. It's that simple.

    Don't like Joba screaming after he K's you? Don't strike out. It's that simple.

    **** this fear of emotions and sandy-vagina reactions to someone doing something cocky. Why can't we offend the other team? Pittsburgh is mad? **** 'em. Who the hell cares? They were up 7-2, if they're that insecure about someone admiring a home run in the 9th inning, then how is Jordany the one that needs to grow up?? It would seem that the Pirates in this case have the emotional capacities of 4th graders. And for that matter, so do most teams in baseball.

    I love the Dominican Republic for how they played in the WBC. I love Bryce Harper for breaking a bat that cut his face after striking out. I love Joba for screaming after succeeding. And I love Jordany for being an arrogant prick. If you don't love it, then beat them. Stop whining and insisting on nobody being offended.
    Last edited by Angry Norwegian; 05-16-2013 at 02:11 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KingsOfQueens View Post
    I always hated this part of baseball and as I discuss this with my roommates at school, I see why baseball isn't as liked as basketball and football.

    The consensus is baseball does not want to adapt and is too enamored with "tradition" as well their tendency to bash players who show emotion.

    Who gives a ****.

    This is a sport in which day after day, games are being decided by horrible calls by inept umpires and refuse to implement available technology all because it takes the tradition and human element out the game...yet makes a huge deal if a player celebrates and is seen as utter disrespect.

    In the NBA and NFL players talk smack to one another all game and makes for great entertainment and sport. I can see why people think baseball is incredibly boring. I never will, but completely understand the hate.
    'Who gives a ****' is really the lesson here.

    You can't make people live or play as you want them to. Stop expecting it. If someone offends you by celebrating, don't give them the chance to celebrate. It's really that simple.

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