To the pleasure of many, Alex Cora offered this to a laughing contingent in the Mets clubhouse last night, â€œA little respect please. They stuck it up our ass!â€
Hereâ€™s a guy â€œhittingâ€.216/.274/.288, who possesses the range of SNYâ€™s television signal last night, â€œearningâ€ two million dollars for clubhouse leadership calling out his teammates in front of the media.
This is leadership?
â€œTo be a leader for me, itâ€™s not enough to talk all the time. You have to go out and do it yourself.â€
That quote is from Jose Valentin three years ago — almost to the day — talking about the release of Julio Franco, the (then) 48-year-old pinch-hitter signed to a two-year contract for his purported clubhouse presence. Former Mets manager Willie Randolph added, â€œIf you play, you have to produce. That clubhouse stuff is overrated.â€
Major League Baseball players are a rarely-talented, gifted few with an ultra-competitive quality bred by years of trying to prove their worth. No professional ballplayer is looking to the worst player on the team for leadership. Leaders must be able to â€œback it upâ€ in a way that Alex Cora â€“ a 34-year-old utility player whoâ€™s been an irregular since 2004 â€“ canâ€™t.
The same holds true in all walks of life. How do you look up to someone in the same industry who isnâ€™t nearly as good as you are? It defies reason.
Â But such is life under Omar Minaya: an unreasonably expensive contract and aÂ roster spot given to a scrub to deliver some vague ideal. Instead of assembling a team with a complete lineup, a good pitching staff and complementary bench players, he cobbles together a loose collection of superstars, journeymen, vanity projects, mistakes, scrubs and archetypes. And like clockwork, folks in Metsland find themselves having a variation of the same tired debates about â€œleadershipâ€, â€œcohesionâ€ and â€œattitudeâ€. The team just isnâ€™t good â€“ end of discussion.
Alex Cora is in the wrong here and he should apologize. Assailing teammates in plain sight of the New York media, when you didnâ€™t even play in the game, is a dick move. That’s a good way to diminish a reputation built largely on attitude and demeanor. Furthermore, the team played hard. They were just befuddled by a pitcher they never faced before. It happens.
If nothing else, Coraâ€™s supposed to be a professional. He should have found a better way to deal with it.