04.25.13

Mets’ Jordany Valdespin Receives An Unusual Bonus For His Heroics

Posted in Baseball at 5:54 pm by

Jordany Valdespin’s 10th inning HR with the bases juiced Tuesday night was the Mets’ first walk-off grand slam since Kevin McReynolds hit one in 1991. And if you thought Valdepin’s teammates would stop at a mere shaving cream pie to acknowledge the milestone, think again.  Via the auspices of the New York Daily News’ Andy Martino, here’s an overview of Valdespin’s many crimes against baseball etiquette, including claims of “he’s an idiot” and “he’s a douchebag” from adoring teammates.

Rookies and sophomores are not supposed to pound their chest after hitting triples in the late innings of blowouts.  They are not supposed to ask veterans for money for clothing by saying, “I’m a rookie, you have to buy me a suit.”

They are not supposed to show up on the team bus in an undershirt. Or declare themselves “the man” after their first big league homer.  Or fail to run out popups all through the minor leagues. Or be suspended twice in one winter ball season for insubordination. Or miss the cutoff man often. All of these things, Valdespin has done.

From his perspective, he is just being himself, having fun, enjoying life, refusing to conform to the game’s conservative norms (many of which, he’s right, they’re stupid), while insisting that there is no real issue.  “We’re a family,” he said. “We play hard every day. We have young guys in here. We have veteran guys in here. We have everybody on the same page.”

The veterans see it differently; they view it as their responsibility to teach young whippersnappers how to act like big leaguers.  There are a lot of disconnects at play here — cultural, generational, personality — but both sides have shown incremental movement this year toward one another.

“It’s getting better,” one player said Wednesday. “Last year he would get mad when we tried to help. We’re like, ‘we’re trying to help. You’re a part of this team.’”

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