To the pleasure of many, Alex Cora offered this to a laughing contingent in the Mets clubhouse last night, “A little respect please. They stuck it up our ass!”
Here’s a guy “hitting”.216/.274/.288, who possesses the range of SNY’s television signal last night, “earning” two million dollars for clubhouse leadership calling out his teammates in front of the media.
This is leadership?
“To be a leader for me, it’s not enough to talk all the time. You have to go out and do it yourself.”
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, “If you play, you have to produce. That clubhouse stuff is overrated.”
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 “back it up” in a way that Alex Cora – a 34-year-old utility player who’s been an irregular since 2004 – can’t.
The same holds true in all walks of life. How do you look up to someone in the same industry who isn’t nearly as good as you are? It defies reason.
But such is life under Omar Minaya: an unreasonably expensive contract and a 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 “leadership”, “cohesion” and “attitude”. The team just isn’t good – 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 didn’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, Cora’s supposed to be a professional. He should have found a better way to deal with it.