Monday, May 22, 2006

Are the Mets on Strike Against Their Fans?

By Nicholas Stix

During tonight’s otherwise inspiring, 4-3 victory over the Yankees, a development caused concern in this observer. When Carlos Delgado hit a three-run homer in the fourth inning, to turn a 2-0 deficit into a 3-2 Mets lead, the Mets faithful (there were thousands of Yankees fans who had also managed to sneak in) at Shea Stadium gave the lefthanded-hitting first baseman a long ovation, seeking a curtain call from Delgado. And yet, Delgado ignored the fans.

The next batter, David Wright, also hit a home run, but the fans did not clamor for a curtain call from him.

In years past, when the fans clamored for a curtain call, the Mets always obliged them. Always.

And so it remained, until April 6. That night, Carlos Beltran hit a big home run, to break an 0-for-9 beginning to his second season with the Mets, after signing the biggest free agent contract ($119 million for seven seasons) to join the team in 2005, and being a bust. He was paid $17 million per season to bat third, knock in 110 or more runs, and score 110 or more runs, as per his career stats. Instead, he knocked in only 78 runs and scored only 83, numbers that might justify a $2 million contract in today’s inflated major league baseball market. Beltran is lucky he wasn’t arrested and tried for grand larceny.

The fans had booed Beltran mercilessly at the beginning of the season, and reportedly had begun booing him late last season. But if you want the big bucks and the cheers when you produce, you have to accept the boos when you don’t.

Beltran evidently doesn’t see it that way. The camera caught him glowering as he walked in the dugout immediately following the home run, shaking his head that he would not give the fans a curtain call. The camera then caught 47-year-old player-monument-unofficial coach Julio Franco go to Beltran and talk to him once, twice, and even a third time, before Beltran would deign to quickly wave a helmetless hand to the fans from the dugout, to another huge round of cheers.

Since then, although the Mets’ Web site has frequently featured one of Beltran’s rare smiles (perhaps from last year?), a scowl has been almost frozen on his face.

Beltran’s hostility, and Delgado’s snub of the fans bring back an issue that keeps coming up with Latin players – which team are they playing on? The team whose uniform they wear, or some invisible Latin Nation team of players who are paid by different organizations in different cities? You see it when Hispanic players flagrantly violate age-old rules against fraternization with opposing players and coaches on the field before games, when they set themselves up as a team-within-the-team (e.g., Manny Ramirez and Pedro Martinez in Boston) and when they snub their own non-Latin teammates for Latin players from opposing teams after the game.

The most obscene case I know of Latin chauvinism (so far) came three years ago, when Sammy Sosa’s corked bat exploded in a game when he hit a ground ball, and exposed Sosa to all the world as a cheater. Sosa was suspended for eight games, but rather than take his punishment like a man, he lied about the cheating, claiming that the corked bat was one he usually used to entertain the fans during batting practice, and then appealed his sentence, getting it reduced to seven games. At the time I wrote,

Sammy Sosa's two most vociferous defenders have been retired, Cuban-born slugger Jose Canseco, and Dominican superstar pitcher Pedro Martinez of the Boston Red Sox. Imitating the style of black race hustlers, Canseco and Martinez have attacked American whites as "racist" for criticizing Sosa's cheating.

Canseco is engaging in a form of racial demagoguery that is increasingly common among white Hispanics, who are notorious for priding themselves – among other Hispanics, in Spanish – on their whiteness. However, in public, the same proudly white Hispanics declare themselves "persons of color," and shamelessly race-bait non-Hispanic whites.

Martinez, who is brown, has been Sosa's most aggressive defender, suggesting that he would assault a writer critical of Sosa, and demanding that baseball apologize to Sosa.

Prior to the 2005 season, New York magazine published a puff piece on the Mets by feature writer Chris Smith, “Los Mets,” claiming that it was now a Latin team. “How Omar Minaya ensnared players like Pedro Martinez and Carlos Beltran to create a new Latin dream team.”

At the time, Smith’s claim was bogus. The team had only two Latin starting position players, shortstop Jose Reyes and newly signed centerfielder, Carlos Beltran. Its starting first baseman (Doug Mientkewicz), third baseman (David Wright), and catcher (Mike Piazza) were all white. Its starting second baseman (Kaz Matsui) was Japanese. Its leftfielder (Cliff Floyd) and rightfielder (Mike Cameron) were both black. Its starting rotation had two Hispanic pitchers, newly signed free agent Pedro Martinez and Victor Zambrano, the latter for whom they had traded late in the previous season, but the above-named players certainly did not make them a “Latin” team. The New York magazine writer, Smith, was clearly guilty of Hispandering.

This year, however, with Minaya’s acquisitions of slugging starting first baseman Carlos Delgado, starting right fielder Xavier Nady, and relief pitchers Duaner Sanchez and Jorge Julio, and manager Willie Randolph’s decision to start the since-injured Anderson Hernandez at second base, the team opened the season with a majority-Latin starting lineup. Minaya also signed several Latin bench players -- Julio Franco, Jose Valentin, and Endy Chavez this year, in addition to Ramon Castro, whom he signed last year. (Last year he also signed second baseman Miguel Cairo, who this year returned to the Yankees.)

Minaya has put together a good team; it would be an even better one, if its starting rotation could stay healthy. But is he biased against non-Latin players, and is the team he put together hostile towards its predominantly white fan base? Is Omar, like so many decision-makers in today’s America, looking to elect a new, non-white base? Things are not looking good for Minaya, in either case.

Although Carlos Delgado is an American by birth, he had long snubbed the playing of “God Bless America” during ballgames, by refusing to stand for the song. He claimed it was due to his opposition to the War in Iraq, a claim that the socialist MSM has let him get away with. In fact, the singing of “God Bless America” didn’t begin with the War in Iraq; it began with the first game played after 911 had caused the 2001 baseball season to be temporarily suspended.

(Delgado is from Puerto Rico, and was opposed to the U.S. Navy using the island of Vieques for live ammo naval maneuvers, a practice that was ended, to the detriment of the nation’s military readiness. However, Delgado has never opposed the millions of dollars in show-no jobs that Puerto Ricans continue to make from the now useless U.S. Navy base in Vieques.)

One of the reasons why Hispanic players feel emboldened to insult the people who pay them tens of millions of dollars to play a boy’s game, is due to politically correct whites who encourage Hispanic racism and anti-Americanism, in order to insult American whites who love their country.

One such white enabler is Dave Zirin, a columnist at The Nation magazine.

Carlos Delgado’s acceptance of the fact that Fred Wilpon is the Mets owner and thus that Wilpon, who loves his country, gets to determine team policy, upset to no end Zirin, who had wanted to politically exploit Delgado. In the same editorial in which Zirin recounted how Delgado suffered no consequences from his previous corporate masters when he snubbed the playing of the song, Zirin complained that Delgado was now giving in to his corporate masters. (No logic, please, we’re leftists.)

Zirin desperately insults Fred Wilpon’s son as “baby-boy,” the Wilpons as “little more than mosquitoes,” and conscripts Roberto Clemente for his jihad. He takes for granted that Fred Wilpon should pay Carlos Delgado $13.5 million this season, while letting his new player humiliate him and his country before millions of fans watching the game on TV.

(It is hardly surprising, then, that Zirin would seek to cut Babe Ruth down to size, in order to try and inject Barry Bonds with humanity.)

Zirin claimed, histrionically, that the necessity of Delgado sticking it to his boss and the New York fans was a matter of democracy, social justice, and freedom of speech. I am not aware of him ever defending the right of employees of leftwing enterprises (including universities and public schools) to dissenting “freedom of speech,” “democracy,” and “social justice.”

If the Mets don’t get some sense in a hurry, and start treating their fans with some respect, it might be curtains for the team from Flushing. After all, the local Latin population is not exactly stampeding to buy Mets tickets.

And remember, guys, fans can go on strike, too.


Anonymous said...

I bet you cheered every single one of Beltran's homers or Endy's catch. no?

Nicholas said...

As a matter of fact, I did, though my cheers for Beltran eventually became subdued and ambivalent. But why do you speak of speak of Beltran and Endy in the same breath? They have nothing in common.