It’s 5 days since Mets OF Jordany Valdespin (above) was intentionally drilled by Pittsburgh’s Bryan Morris, an act that seemingly occurred with the passive consent of Mets skipper Terry Collins (embarrassed that Valdespin would admire a solo HR while on the wrong end of a blowout the previous night). With the Mets receiving some grief for the failure to protect Valdespin or retaliate the following afternoon, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale visited some NY veterans in the visitors clubhouse in St. Louis yesterday to get their take on the matter. “To read these reports how we don’t have his back and how we don’t care about him is absolutely ridiculous. It couldn’t be further from the truth,” argued team captain David Wright, though the most scathing criticism of Valdespin came from a reliever with far less service time in a Mets uniform.
“I couldn’t believe he did that,” Mets veteran reliever LaTroy Hawkins said. “We were all dumbfounded. It was a bonehead thing to do. And to do that against Jose Contreras? He’s old enough to be his father, and one of the nicest guys in the world.
“What were we supposed to do there?” Hawkins said. “We were down six runs, he hits a home run and he acts like it’s a walk-off. This isn’t Little League.
“What, now we’re supposed to get into a fight for that? We’re supposed to throw at somebody because he did a bonehead thing? Now, if they throw at him for no reason, that’s a different story. We protect our team. But to do what he did put us in a bad spot, a real bad spot.
“He showed absolutely no respect. If you’re going to pimp it, you’re going to suffer the consequences. I have no problem defending my teammates, but some things, you just can’t defend against.”
Who better to lay down the about matters of etiquette than the highly decorated
mop-up man Hawkins? Maybe it took a full week for the message to sink in, but hopefully, Valdespin has come to understand they are some actions in baseball that are completely indefensible. And not showing proper deference to Jose Contreras after going deep against him is generally considered the worst atrocity of them all. If Valdespin is ever lucky enough to hit a home run against Contreras in the future, I for one hope he’ll immediately apologize, then refuse to run the bases.