Back in 1988, Darryl Strawberry was asked about someday playing for the Dodgers, returning to his roots in Southern California. Strawberry told the reporter that it interested him. The reporter sat on the quote, waiting until the eve of the ’88 NLCS against the Dodgers to print the quote to maximize the headline. And maximize it did, as it caused a firestorm under the guise of Strawberry saying this right before a playoff series against the team he wanted to play with one day, when he actually said this closer to the middle of July.
With social media, the reporter that pulled that in 1988 couldn’t get away with that today. So if somebody, say, Yoenis Cespedes, were to make a similar statement about wanting to play for another team, we’d know it right away. But of course, Cespedes would never say such a thing because he took less money to play with the Mets and seems to like playing for Terry Collins.
In a rare interview conducted entirely in English, Céspedes told The Chronicle on Friday that he’d love to wrap things up where he started.
“I wish that happens,” Céspedes said, adding of former A’s and current Mets teammate Jerry Blevins, “I told Blevins, ‘I don’t know how many years I’m going to play, but I’m going to play the last year of my career with Oakland.’ I don’t know if that’s possible or not, but that’s my goal.”
“I still love the A’s, they were the first team to give me an opportunity to play in the big leagues,” Céspedes said. “I love Oakland all the time.”
Well, I guess that’s okay … to want to play one last season with Oakland when he’s 40 and can barely move and have no hamstrings anymore. I can deal with that.
A reminder: Jason Giambi played for the Yankees for a long time. He also wanted to play one last year in Oakland at end of career. NBD.
— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) July 22, 2017
Okay, I feel better now. What about Bob Melvin, now?
“I tell my guys here all the time that he’s the best manager for me so far,” Céspedes said. “I don’t think there’s a better manager than Melvin.”
This is the part where Mets fans complain about Cespedes in the first inning for dissing Terry Collins, and then spend the sixth inning complaining about Collins after he pinch hit for Steven Matz in the fifth inning.
Susan Slusser (seen in tweet above) wrote the piece and stressed that it was just Cespedes being nice to the A’s organization and Melvin with Oakland reporters, and there was no nefariousness to this. I would tend to believe her, mainly because she was there and I wasn’t (and because she’s one of the best in the business). But there are two things Cespedes has to consider. Number one: While it wasn’t a dig at Terry Collins, probably not a good idea to say another manager was the best you’ve ever played for while you’re currently playing for another manager. Especially a manager who has defended you through other fake controversies. (That he was favoring a manager who was supposedly one of the other choices to manage the Mets in 2011 doesn’t help those who still rue that decision.)
Second: Not great to say that when you haven’t hit a home run in almost a month. This isn’t an issue if you’re leading the league in a couple of triple crown categories and the team is in first place, but unfortunately it is an issue while the team is preparing for a fire sale and you’re hitting into double plays to end games. Because even if you didn’t mean anything by your comments other than the positive (and I don’t believe he did), you know those two dreaded words are going to come up: “bad optics”. You don’t want to hear those words, I certainly don’t want to hear those words. But they’re coming now, and you have to answer for them. Not only do you have to answer for them, Terry will now probably have to answer for them. And any word he says other than “don’t start with that” will take away brainpower he would normally use to look at Hansel Robles’ reverse splits. We can’t afford that right now.
All this accomplishes is gives the Cespedes haters more ammunition, and throws a few of the undecided into that camp. It’s another one of the goofy controversies that we’ll remember more about 2017 than any actual game. (Well, except maybe that 23-5 game. Sweet Jesus.)
If anybody remembers anything from tonight’s game, it will probably be both of Michael Conforto’s home runs to lead the Mets to a 7-5 victory over Yoenis Cespedes’ first and final team. They might remember T.J. Rivera’s three run little league homer where Matt Chapman threw the ball so far away from everybody after tagging out Lucas Duda that Rivera basically walked home from second base. But what they may remember most of all is Addison Reed being asked to get a five out save and not being able to get any (thanks in part to Dan Iassogna squeezing him, but that’s another story). But Jerry Blevins came in to a 7-5 game with the bases loaded in the eighth and got Yonder Alonso to pop up, and struck out righty Khris Davis before returning in the ninth to swat away the bottom of the lineup for the win.
It was a Freaky Friday in the bullpen as not only did Reed pitch the eighth and Blevins got the five out save (Terry Collins has announced that because of the usage, Blevins won’t be available out of the pen until he gets traded), but Hansel Robles got the W with a scoreless inning. That bit of freaky means that I should probably play the lottery, but I’d settle for getting to the park with enough time to score one of the Noah Syndergaard Thor bobbleheads with fully detachable and anatomically correct phallic hammer.
Today’s Hate List
- Dan Iassogna
- Bob Melvin
- Khris Davis
- Chris Davis
- Rajai Davis