[Marxism] A reason to root for the NY Mets
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
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
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
"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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