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.”
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.