June 29, 2007

Mr. Met Needs to Start Talking, Too... That Guy Speaks English, Believe Me

The Yankees finally get a lead, and the game is suspended due to weather. At this point, shouldn't we expect storm clouds to just follow the Yankees around, pouring rain on them everywhere they go? Can we just suspend this entire season?

Meanwhile, the Mets seem to have gone a little nuts during yesterday's rainout. First Willie Randolph complains about the schedule and admits he got so mad during the Mets' recent slump that he threw a chair and broke a door in Los Angeles. Then he says he expected the Yankees' current awful road trip, and that he had a bad feeling about last fall's NLCS (even though "You think the Cardinals were really better than us last year?"): "I had a feeling Molina was going to have a good series because he had a horse[bleep] year. I just had a feeling that he was going to be one of those unsung hero guys. There’s always one of them. When he hit the home run [in the ninth inning of Game 7 for the winning runs in St. Louis’ 3-1 victory] I wasn’t even surprised." Well, that makes one of us.

Meanwhile, Paul Lo Duca seems to have ordered t-shirts comparing the team to a circus and, less amusingly, implied that his Latin teammates aren't talking to the media enough. From John Delcos' Journal News blog:

He wasn’t in a talking mood, but opened up.

“I’ll do this, but you need to start talking to other players,” Lo Duca told reporters in a loud enough voice for others to hear. “It’s the same three or four people every day. Nobody else wants to talk. … Some of these guys have got to start talking.
They speak English, believe me.”

Uh oh.
Lo Duca may not have meant anything much by this, but any statement that begins with "these guys" and refers to an ethnic group is almost always going to be trouble. From what I've seen, the Mets clubhouse gets along just fine -- better than most -- but this provides fuel to the segment of fans that's been complaining about what they see as a too-heavy Latin presence for the last few years now, a position that comes across, to me, as thinly veiled (and sometime totally unveiled) xenophobia.

Naturally, Lo Duca is not pleased with how that comment has been portrayed in the media. Never exactly crazy about reporters since the whole 18-year-old-mistress/divorce/gambling tabloid saga from last season, he's royally pissed now. Yeah, his quote is probably being blown out of proportion, but it was still a dumb thing to say; and from what I saw in my few weeks covering the team, plenty of Latin players were perfectly accessible to reporters -- they were to me, anyway. Lo Duca seems to be one of those players, not unlike Gary Sheffield actually, who always needs to feel aggrieved about something, and uses anger as a motivating force. For all that he whines about the media, he brings this stuff on himself... I mean, really, all you have to say is "Sorry, I don't feel like talking today."

(Updated to add: It's tough on players, though; reporters need interesting quotes, but whenever they get one, writers pounce on it, the news cycle goes into overdrive, and everybody overreacts. This is why Derek Jeter hasn't said anything interesting since 1998. It's smart, but it sucks: will nobody think of the bloggers?).

In actual baseball news, Delgado and Reyes have both hit home runs today in the first game of the Phillies doubleheader, and it's 4-1 in the fourth... if the Mets go on a real winning streak, all of this grumbling will vanish in a hurry.

Update: RBI single for El Duque! 5-1. Ramon Castro diving headfirst into home plate is truly something to behold.


Al said...

1. Really?

"this provides fuel to the segment of fans that's been complaining about what they see as a too-heavy Latin presence for the last few years now"

Where have you been hearing this? Are you talking about the lameos on call-in radio and freepers? Or everyday people in the stands?

While snoooor job david tofu wright snags madison ave play, the streets shake it over Reyes, El Duque, Perez, and especially Beltran.

And I say this as a devout Yankee. For example, bloggers are still pissed Cash didn't sign Beltran. And it's not like my 'curb has a picket fence, I constantly run into losers who blame women for their own inadequacies.

2. Lo Duca had TWO 18 year old paramours. Talk 'bout ISSUES

3. pet peeve: mistress has a demeaning etymology, and there's no male equivalent. Plus, most paramours aren't as creative as an Anne Rice protaganist or as captivating as an Emile Zola courtesan.

Emma said...

1. Yep, really. Don't get me wrong, it's definitely a small minority, and yes, mostly on the lunatic fringes of sports radio (though to a lesser extent, the occasional newspaper story or blog post or drunken fan too). "Omar prefers Latin players" is how the refrain goes... hey, every fan base has its share of reactionary dimwits. They had to shut it last year, when the Mets had so much success, but now that they're struggling somewhat, the cranks have come out of the woodwork.

And yeah, it's a mistake on the part of advertisers not to have Reyes do more endorsements. I mean, I'll have what he's having.

3. "Kept man"? No, you're right, there isn't really a good one. What IS the etymology of misstress?

al said...

Full Circle… err, sorta

Master originates from the Latin magister.

The original 9th century denotation was "a man with authority or control over others."

Occupational connotations developed: job descriptions, status (ie teacher, skilled worker).

It was later used to describe the head of household. Of course, this led to the variant “mister.”

The female equivalent “mistress” began in the 14th century, denoting occupation, “governorness,” but the meaning quickly shifted into a sexual context. Here, the prime sense of the word is flipped on its head, and instead connoting authority, it denotes a subordinate, unequal position in a sexual relationship (currently the first definition in American Heritage Dictionary).

Mistress remained in a sexual context, but intertwined with its original intent of authority or control over others, when it began being used to define a brothel manager.

In the early 20th century, “mistress” developed further sexual meaning, as the dominate party in a sexual relationship.

Now don't get me wrong, I love sex workers, I really do. They're funny and really good story tellers. And I have no problem with anyone's sexual interests (we all evolve and ebb and flow). But inequity, including word usage, rubs me the wrong way.

Al said...

Hmmm, "Circus", that could be a pithy title" "Da' Queen's Circus." I can feel a book coming.

Speaking of which, the Daily News has a great feature on the "Bronx Zoo" but more over you get a real feel for the golden age of Hype.

Awwww, Happy Days, indeed. Before dailies were stripped and starved by greedy multinationals and buffoonish billionaires.

Alotta classic art work and, be still my heart, Jimmy Breslin!!!

Lisa Olsen has a nice piece on how the Mets should embrace their crazyness.

Don't be surprised in Lo Duca starts his own blog. I expect he'll call it, "Catcher In A Lie." He's sounding like a cross btw Schilling and Nixon in the bunker:

"Right now I'm a gambler, a racist and I like 18-year-old girls. That's the perception of people in New York about me," Lo Duca said. "Is any of it true? No. None of it. Yet no one knows that. Do you understand where I'm coming from?"


"It's like the President got killed," Lo Duca said Thursday, after claiming his suspension was bigger news than the war in Iraq [actually, it probably placed more inches that the casualty reports, but that's the "fair and balanced" era of "patroitic" reporting for ya].

By the way, ARod gots nutin' on Mr. Met Phew!! What a playa.