Let’s be honest about this, of all the sports, baseball is very very unique in its relationship between players and media…in the NFL, there is a day when the media comes in (and it’s like Wednesday or Tuesday…I forget) gets most of their stuff and then they leave…in the NBA, there is a lot of days off…you don’t deal with the media, even average players on a daily basis…but baseball is different!
From Spring Training to the Post-Season its an 8 month relationship…your with guys every single day on the road for 15 days. And so the relationship between the players and the media is an interesting one…umm, as players have made more money through the years, they have distanced themselves from anyone would could offer an opinion that they may not agree with…and so the relationships between baseball and its players are often strain and it forces baseball people to suck up a lot! You know, where in the NFL you can take shots at guys and not see them for six days and you don’t live with them.
In baseball, when you cover baseball…you’re like a guy’s roommate and so you gotta be very careful about criticism. So you’ll find baseball players that they only use the media when it serves them…and generally your getting to a tipping point…and I’ll give you an example. The Mets are not a great team, they got some good position players but they don’t have the pitching depth to be great…umm, but this year started better than expected! Mike Pelfrey has been solid as a # 2 starter, they got good position players although Beltran is still hurt…but they’ve made this little run to start the season and people are all fired up!
Now they got this guy named Oliver Perez, who is absolutely dreadful and who they are spending a fortune on….and the organization wants to send him to the minors to get his groove back and he doesn’t wanna go..he’s in the big’s for 5 years now, so he can turn it down…basically the way it works with a major league contract is that 5 years or more in the bigs…and you can turn down minor league assignments…so you have this little issue here where the Mets want him gone, Perez doesn’t wanna go..and now what your seeing is very interesting…your seeing players take shots at Perez…a deal with the Devil…they went to the New York paper, The New York Post and they took shots, ripping Perez through the paper…and its interesting because what it tells you is that your getting very close to a locker room confrontation. The first thing you do when your upset with a player..you make a deal with the Devil…you go to the press…and you hope that the player and his representatives read it and react… but if Oliver Perez doesn’t go down to the minors, after you’ve fired your first salvo which is going through the newspapers.
The second thing is, you confront him in the locker room…so this thing is rearing to a conclusion very very quickly, and remember this…is that, its one thing if your Brett Favre of A-rod and there is animosity because you’re really good..you know, some VIkings with Favre, some Yankees with A-rod…it’s another to stink and be a $20 million dollar titanic and pull everyone down because of your undertoe…so you have this Mets organization which is reactionary to begin with…they are the step child in New York, they’ve always been reactionary, they do not have an elite front office, they will react often based on callers to radio shows to columns in the newspapers.
So you have this situation where you have this low-self esteem franchise, this locker room potential nightmare, fans all over it…real hope after sweeping the Phillies and not giving up a single run to them..all rearing its head, with closure on this story coming to a quick end..and your gonna get a locker room confrontation in about 48 hours, you can see it bubbling! cause this is the way it works, baseball players…they don’t wanna deal with the media , they don’t wanna give the media the story..they don’t want to! You got players ripping other players via the press…all it tells you is that they are this close to a shoving match in the Mets locker room!