|48 degrees at game time|
Cespedes went through a number of major league teams in a short time and was known for both his talent and insolence, yet he seemed to find a home with the Mets.
What got to Mushnick more than Cespedes lack of hustle, which is highlighted not just by his $110 million dollar contract, but by his need for attention: heavily weighted down in both jewelry and neon, was the lack of honesty in the broadcast booth. As Muschnick said about Cespedes, "he plays as if he isn't allowed to get his school clothes dirty."
Do Met announcers ignore Cespedes' lack of hustle and penchant for pouting when things don't go his way, instead, focusing on "MVP caliber play"?
This is Phil's point: they see the lack of hustle and actually praise it.
Mushnick called them on the betrayal of truth. It is not that the Mets announcers ignore Cespedes' refusal to run out fly balls, but they actually praise him for it, calling him the team's "smartest baserunner." Mushnick rightfully pointed out that Cespedes' leg injury last year was caused specifically by his lack of hustle. Mushnick called Cespedes "the worst baserunner" in the game.
Met announcers are in a tough spot.
Their boss spent $110 million dollars on Cespedes, betting that he would have a good season, control himself, avoid injury and produce.
If the broadcasters are honest about Cespedes' lack of hustle, they make their boss look bad, just as Terry Collins was forced to play big contracts who did not produce.
There is something else to consider about this:
If Ron Darling and Keith Hernandez rip Cespedes for dogging it to first base, or flipping a throw, or any one of his nonchalant moments, Cespedes may just go dark on the Mets as he has been known for pouting. Do not think that the Mets brass is unaware of this.
Mets Public Relations 2017
We got quite an earful about Cespedes since the signing from the Mets Public Relations team.
The Mets took to the PR machinery to report how disciplined Cespedes was this year, getting up before 5am to work out, and that the other players were amazed by his physical condition.
Unfortunately for the Mets, a photo of Cespedes without his shirt on did not back up this claim.
We were told he was "more serious" and sold off his cars, in reference to last year's Spring training circus starring Cespedes.
Now, Cespedes has gotten off to a bad start after a torrid Spring.
He will hit as he has the talent, but what is concerning is if he will resort to being the head case that drags down other players around him, especially younger players. Hustle, just as with its absence, is contagious in baseball.
For one to deck himself out in jewelry on the field, as if 40,000 fans and many more adoring him on television wasn't enough attention, Cespedes can be his own worst enemy when he disrespects the game like this. He did not learn from last year's jog around first that turned into a last minute sprint and injury.
Injury, Golf and Dedication
I do not believe his age is reported accurately and if you listen carefully to Sandy Alderson about being "okay" with all day golf before night games, you're likely to buy into the hype.
Mushnick wrote, "Thursday, with Cohen and Darling, Hernandez again hit us with a Cespedes lard-gusher: “I’m telling you, I am so thrilled that he re-signed — and I’m sure the two of you will concur — we’ll get a chance to watch him play for years. He’s just a pleasure to watch.”
Well, when he's hot (think long ball), he is a pleasure to watch as we love to win. But when he is not hot, he is provocative to watch when he carries his bat to first base or has the MLB's slowest Tator tot, or dons a mask that may even impact his vision.
The Mets have an opportunity to do something special this year and World Champion teams are built to endure the dog days of summer.
Champs get dirty.
They go into the trenches 162 times.
Champs pick each other up.
Self seeking glory can rip a team apart even where there is talent and sometimes it goes public.
The Mets have a pitching staff that should keep them in contention. They need Cespedes to just try embrace a bit of humility and respect for the game and produce. He is not the MVP that the announcers make him out to be but he is a legitimate home run threat with a decent (.280) average.
It will be interesting to see how Ron Darling and Keith Hernandez react to Mushnick's tongue lashing.
Both Darling and Hernandez know what level of dedication it takes to win.
They are in a tough spot between their boss, their paycheck and the truth.
If provoked and they respond and call out Cespedes, will we then see what a very unhappy Yoenis Cespedes looks like?
Boston did, and it was not pretty.