06.03.06

NY Baseball Central Cites Milledge’s “Thug Tendencies”

Posted in Baseball at 8:47 am by

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.

8 Responses to “NY Baseball Central Cites Milledge’s “Thug Tendencies””

  1. Rog says:

    Yeah, we should really employ the Albert Belle rule on this one. He hasn’t tried to run over any children, so he should get a clean slate until that happens. Anyways, we should be talking about that fantastic play the other night when he dropped a lazy fly ball in right field. That was unbelievably bad.

  2. GC says:

    well, we could also talk about the play the same night where he gunned down Craig Counsell trying to go from 1st to 3rd. The dropped fly was pretty embarrassing, but Pedro ended that inning with no further harm… the throw to Wright however, was pretty amazing and had more than a little to do with the Mets keeping Arizona off the board all night.

    I don’t feel qualified to pass judgement on Milledge as a player or a person after 2 games in Flushing. I agree with Raissman and McGan that the Mets seem to be totally out to lunch in the propaganda department —- it’s perfectly reasonable for Rubin and anyone covering the team to point out Milledge’s rep up until this point (which, as I’m sure you know, includes some legal trouble prior to signing with New York). But it does strike me as a little over the top that in the space of 2 days, he’s been knocked for the doo-rag, the Hummer, the bling and finally, accused of “thug tendencies.”

    I read in Sports Illustrated this week that David Wright once threw a hamburger at a kid in high school. Nobody’s perfect.

  3. Gary G says:

    Gerard, why not talk to McGann yourself and express your thoughts to him directly? And then report back to us. Thanks.

  4. GC says:

    Gary,

    sorry if this is boring you. Though I don’t have Mike’s number, I don’t think there’s anything out of line about expressing an opposing viewpoint in a public forum. Was Mike obliged to take his gripes up with Jay Horowitz or Jeff Wilpon before blogging about it? What about Milledge’s side of this alleged Hummer drive-by?

    Anyhow, this isn’t specifically about Mike McGann. I’m just trying to point out that in a very short space of time, Lasting Milledge has acquired a reputation for something other than his skills as a 5-tools player. Perhaps some of that rep is deserved. Maybe some of it is exaggerated. As I said earlier, McGann’s obviously had more up-close-and-personal time with the player. But I will remind everyone that Hummers, doo-rags, gold chains and getting into fights with Fortunate Son Schuerholz are not, in and of themselves, valid indictments of Milledge’s character.

    If he turns out to be a total asshole (or as Rog seems to be predicting, Joey Belle the 2nd) feel free to say I Told Ya So. But this seems like a rather fast burial, and one based on too many superficial things.

  5. Gary G says:

    Mets brass are probably overreacting and oversensitive and don’t want the bad press to hurt them in the wallets. There was another player who was a wild and crazy guy and was cocky and the Overly Family Conscious Wilpons traded him to Tampa Bay for an older pitcher with a bum shoulder. So they look the other way with this kid, and when it gets reported, they are a bit sensiitive.

    Gerry, perhaps McGann’s choice of words weren’t perfect, but his analysis sure sounds credible to me.

  6. GC says:

    Gary,

    indeed, Scott Kazmir was a total freakzoid. You don’t pull the plug on Leiter’s Springsteen’s CD’s in favor of Craft’s ‘Fuck The Universe’ without some kind of heavy retribution.

    secondly, there’s no one named Gerry around here.

    Just to be very clear, I’ve not merely singled out McGann, I’m also including Bullet Bob R. in this one. The comments about the Mets P.R. department, I have no problem with, but tarring Milledge with brushes marked “thug” and “punk” is exactly the sort of choice of words designed to provoke a reaction. If my reaction is different from  yours, so be it. But I’d like to give the kid, say, an entire week in the big leagues before reaching any grand conclusions about him as a person.

  7. Rog says:

    I don’t think that Milledge is Belle Jr., actually. For me, Belle raised the bar to a very high level with his asshole behavior, on and off the field. I was actually saying the opposite: that Milledge has a long way to go before he reaches that elite status. I was more interested in talking about that dropped fly ball because that actually had something to do with sports.

    Anyway, we should really be talking about his name. I think it should be added to the list of Really Weird Baseball Names, if it’s not already there.

  8. MIKE says:

    Yes, Lastings antics left an impression on quite a few, but like he said, it wont happen again and with all the excitement after just hitting your first major league homerun, it’s understandable. Many other players or people for that matter, have a hard time even expressing themselves..what Lastings did was out of pure joy. If you want to talk about his do-rag or his ” bling “..what’s next.. his love of rap music ? Thank GOD he isn’t listening to Elvis Presley in that over priced “hip hop ” jeep of his….( although someone in the media would probably say something about that ). I dont see the media label any other players as “thugs”. What about all the other “thug” looking players ? Before Johnny Damon got cleaned up, he looked like a Klansmen in my opinion, but I didnt label him as a redneck or any kind of “thug” for that matter, I saw a great ball player. I mean so what if Lastings has a swagger , as long as he keeps it professional on the field then thats all that counts.

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