Friday, May 21, 2010

Remember when the media said Jose Reyes and David Wright were better than Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez?

Today's Joel Sherman column in the New York Post reminds me of two of the dopiest ideas pushed by the New York sportswriters over the past few years - that David Wright is better than Alex Rodriguez, and Jose Reyes is better than Derek Jeter.

And this wasn't pushed by one writer or two - this idea was pretty common in the New York papers from about 2006 on. You would have thought that Jeter and A-Rod were as worn out as Emmitt Smith in the Just For Men commerical, the way certain writers in this town insisted that the Mets stars were on the rise. As Doctor Phil would say, how's that working out for you?

Sherman writes:
Wright was going to be the Mets’ Jeter; the homegrown kid who mixed skill, intangibles and charisma to become prince of the city. Instead, he has finally passed Rodriguez in the worst of all categories: Wright is now the most dissected athlete in New York. We break down his swing and psychoanalyze his mind. What is up with the wild arm, the lack of clutch play and, yes, all of those strikeouts?
You see, this is why you don't make somebody an "untouchable" before they've really proven themselves. Jeter got that type of treatment after four rings. Wright got it before the Mets even won a playoff series. Now that Wright is finally getting scrutinized, and it's got to hurt, after the years of the media telling him how great he is.

On the other hand, A-Rod has a much thicker skin after all these years of criticism than you would think. (If you want to see the flip side of that, look at how poorly David Ortiz has handled getting criticism this season. But I digress.)

As for Wright, I don't know whether he is afraid of getting plunked again, or he doesn't feel comfortable in Citi Field, or something, but he's not quite the third baseman he was projected to be. And he's certainly not better than A-Rod. I remember one A-Rod hating Yankee beat writer suggesting a trade of Wright for A-Rod straight up to "get rid of the headache" of Rodriguez, only for the writer to then say that the Mets would never want to do such a trade. Another writer wrote earlier this year that he would prefer Wright to Rodriguez. Please.

And I do think the Mets rushed Jose Reyes back before he was healthy enough to play. I still contend they're not taking his thyroid issue seriously enough.

Sherman continues:
Reyes and Wright have dwindled from cornerstones to puzzles. The Mets went all in during the 2006 season, signing both to multi-year contracts, believing they had erected a long-term foundation. Now the Mets will have to decide on Reyes’ $11 million option for 2011 and whether a champion really can be built around the left side of their infield.
As a new Subway Series begins, the question now is not whether Reyes and Wright have passed Jeter and Rodriguez, but if the best days for Reyes and Wright already have passed and, if so, how do the Mets survive that?
I see Sherman's point, but I think he is going a bit too far in the other direction for my tastes. I don't think Reyes and Wright are washed up. But I do think that the Yankee-haters in the media pumped them up to be bigger than they were. Somewhere in between are the real players. It would be nice if the press had kept some perspective on them in the first place.

What do you think? Tell us about it!


Ryan O said...

I thnk they meant Wright was cleaner than ARod...remember...he does steroids...anyone remember??

Anonymous said...

I wholeheartedly agree - the media makes too much of every little thing going on with the Mets (and that other team). It seems that, at times, the media will "invent" things to talk about, just to have something to talk about. But they have to make money somehow I guess, and when they are not talking, they're not making money. So once again, it's all about the money.

Uncle Mike said...

Remember when the media said Rey Ordonez was better than Jeter? Remember in 1999 when Sports Illustrated had John Olerud, Edgardo Alfonzo, Ordonthit and Robin Ventura on the cover, and called them "The Best Infield Ever?" Took until October for the Dreaded SI Cover Jinx to work, but work it did.

Like Patrick Roy once said to a guy heckling him, Jeter can say to anyone who ever though either Ordonez or Reyes was better, "I can't hear you, I've got my championship rings stuffed in my ears." To which A-Rod can say, "I can still hear out of one ear, so let's go, guys!"

When you make it "all about the money," and not all about winning, you get neither money nor winning.

That sounds like something Benjamin Franklin said. Then again, Ben left our actual arch-rivals' city (Boston) for the Mets' actual arch-rivals' city (Philadelphia). Smart guy.

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