If you scroll down this page and read about Billy Wagner’s comments yesterday, the New York newspapers thrived off of it and made every possible story. Often in New York, when a team starts losing confidence, losing games, or just not being in first place, the newspapers try to act like the situation is worse than the bombing of Pearl Harbor and World Trade Center attacks combined.
These newspapers, however, need to remember that we are talking about sports here. Not world news, events, etc. We are talking about entertainment and fun, at least, that’s what it’s supposed to be.
Through his 2+ year career as Mets closer, Billy Wagner has not been afraid to say what is on his mind, regardless of using his head. Yesterday was a prime example, as he started bleeping the world out in frustration because the reporters refused to talk to somebody else.
Let’s think back to another example of a New York player who became frustrated with an excess amount of reporters in his direction. Last June, Paul Lo Duca was accused of being racist, simply because he brought up the topic of what language players speak. It was a day that the game was rained out and he did not want to talk to any reporters, so he responded with:
"Some of these guys gotta start talking," he said. "They speak English, believe me."
That short, simple quote was perceived as a racist quote by many, as Lo Duca simply wanted the reporters to speak to somebody else. His teammates agreed with him on the fact that he was not a racist, because he gets along with everybody in the clubhouse, whether they were white or hispanic.
"What’s racial about that?" First Baseman, Carlos Delgado asked.
"It’s like, there’s a lot of guys here that speak Spanish. Is that racial?" Delgado said. "There’s a lot of guys here that speak English: Is that racial? Maybe he was implying that you guys don’t speak Spanish. Maybe he was kind of cracking a joke on you. I don’t know. I don’t find it offensive at all."
Another example was when the New York Giants were in the process of throwing away first place and nearly missing the playoffs in 2006. When Giants Wide Receiver Plaxico Burress didn’t try to catch balls thrown his way that were intercepted in a game against the Titans, Michael Strahan said some negative comments toward Burress to WFAN following the game. Strahan was not with the team at the time, since he was hurt. The Giants were up 21-0 in the fourth quarter before losing. Strahan was asked if he talked to Burress about the comments he made on WFAN. He responded with:
"I want to see your face when you ask me this question and in the way you are going to ask it," replied Strahan. "I know you are going to ask it in a way that is more of a negative way than what it was, alright? If you are a responsible journalist, look me in the eye and ask me this question. Look a man in the eye before you try to kill him and make up something."
The reporter then went on to ask the question:
"Plaxico said you haven’t spoken to him about your comments on WFAN, is that true?"
"I haven’t spoken to you about him! I’ve spoken to Plaxico," said Strahan. "I spoke to Plaxico at the team meeting, as well. Do you think Plaxico lost us the game? No. Do you think the interception by Eli lost us the game? No. Do you think the tackle by Kiwanuka lost us the game? No. Is that what I expect from the team? Yes. But the fact of the matter is, we’re 6-5. We’ve lost three games in a row. What do you want us to do? Put our heads down and go into a corner? We don’t do that."
The list goes on and on. The point is that when something is just a little big off with a New York team, the papers can often destroy a team. We’ll see how that plays out this season with the Mets, who are currently 2.5 games behind the first-place Florida Marlins and Philadelphia Phillies.