Following a column in yesterday’s New York Daily News in which Bob Raissman accused the Mets of bullying reporters (in this case, Adam Rubin) intending to mention an incident involving Lastings Milledge that was already a matter of public record, NY Baseball Central’s Mike McGann goes a step further in condemning the team and the player.
I can absolutely tell you that accurately reporting about an incident that happened in public isn’t libel. Milledge is disliked around the International League for his swagger and attitude, just as he was disliked in the Eastern League and rubbed a number of people in Binghamton the wrong way. Plus, by donning that pro uniform, Milledge is a public figure, so someone over in Flushing needs to brush up on Sullivan v. New York Times.
Why is the Mets brass on the phone with a reporter, screaming over something that is pretty minor, and for the most part, provably true? Look, the kid clearly has some thug tendencies — he drives his Hummer like a banshee (nearly running me over last spring training) and walks around like he’s a 10-time All-Star — but the irony here is that the team brass is showing itself to be a much bigger punk than Milledge ever could be with this sort of behavior.
Whomever is behind it, should be shown the door, although despite Raissman’s take that the Wilpons are behind it, I’m not convinced, based on past history.
I would like to point out that Milledge has been in the big leagues for a total of 2 games and between Raissman and McGann, we’ve already seen less than flattering references to do-rags, a Hummer and a big gold chain (OK, I mentioned the gold chain, too). McGann has apparently spent more time around Milledge than most of us, so he’s more qualified to give insights into the player’s character, but I do hope it is acknowledged that being a hot dog doesn’t necessarily make the guy a thug, nor does bad driving. I seem to recall Chris Mullin had some troubles behind the wheel when he was a young man, and but don’t remember his ever being described as a thug.