[Marxism] A reason to root for the NY Mets

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Nov 24 16:40:57 MST 2005


NY Times, November 24, 2005
A Player Known for His Politics, Too
By MICHAEL S. SCHMIDT

As quickly as they had heard that the Mets were close to acquiring Carlos 
Delgado from the Marlins, fans and radio talk-show hosts reacted 
passionately to the news yesterday, devoting as much attention to Delgado's 
personality and politics as his on-field play.

On New York sports-radio shows, callers argued about Delgado's politics, 
while some of the on-air hosts questioned his desire and passion for the 
game. Delgado is an unusual player because he has taken stands on 
controversies like the war in Iraq and the Navy's use of the island of 
Vieques as a military testing site in his native Puerto Rico.

The preliminary deal to acquire Delgado, which would send him and $7 
million to the Mets for first baseman Mike Jacobs and the minor league 
pitcher Yusmeiro Petit, was the second significant off-season acquisition 
by the Mets. (They acquired Xavier Nady from San Diego last week for Mike 
Cameron.)

Blogs posted pieces on how "Santa Omar" had arrived early this year for the 
Mets, while some discussion groups questioned whether the franchise was 
sacrificing a piece of its future for an overpaid aging star (Delgado is 33).

"People think he has been a dispassionate player," Chris Russo, the co-host 
of "Mike and Mad Dog," a sports-radio talk show on WFAN, said in a 
telephone interview. "Remember, he vetoed a trade to the Dodgers two years 
ago and said he didn't want to go there, blowing off playing in a pennant 
race."

Delgado has a checkered history with New York. In 2004, some Yankees fans 
reacted negatively to his refusal to stand up during "God Bless America," 
which the team plays during the seventh-inning stretch. Many in the crowd 
booed and chanted: "U.S.A.! U.S.A.!" Delgado said his refusal was an act of 
protest of the war in Iraq and the Navy's activity in Vieques.

Last season, after spurning the Mets to sign with Florida as a free agent, 
Delgado complained to The Toronto Star that the Mets' management, including 
General Manager Omar Minaya, had overemphasized their common Hispanic heritage.

But Gary Cohen, the longtime radio announcer for the Mets who was recently 
hired to be the play-by-play announcer for the Mets on the newly formed 
SportsNet New York, said he thought Mets fans would react favorably to 
Delgado's presence.

"The climate is different than a few years ago," Cohen said in a telephone 
interview. "As long as he produces, his political stances are not going to 
be any more important that Al Leiter's political stances. Looking at 
opinion polls on the issues he was protesting, a lot of people are coming 
around to his thinking,"

Eric Simon, who runs the fan Web site Metsgeek.com, said reaction among the 
site's users had been mixed.

"A lot of people are excited; they know what type of player he is," Simon 
said. "Fans that follow the youngsters are sad to see those players go; 
they could be great players down the road. But most people think it's an 
enormous upgrade in the short term."

Cohen criticized Delgado last season for not chasing down a ground ball hit 
by Jacobs, but he said yesterday that the criticism had not been aimed only 
at Delgado. He said he pointed out everyone who was not hustling.

"Jacobs might turn out to be Carlos Delgado," Cohen said. "Petit is a guy 
with a lot of minor league success. You are taking two guys who could be 
stars and trading them for one of the best hitters, who is an incredibly 
good teammate, a man of tremendous conviction and intelligence, and the 
Marlins are throwing in $7 million to boot."





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