In 2006, the year the Mets ran away with the National League Eastern division they had a certain attitude. There was a swagger that team had. They were aggressive and teams hated facing them. In 2007 the swagger and attitude disappeared. Instead of team’s hating to face the Mets they were making fun of them. Jimmy Rollins started the spring training tradition declaring the Phillies the team to beat even though the Mets finished 12 games ahead of the Phillies. Last season the Washington Nationals were taunting and making fun of the Mets during a game. The Mets never retaliated. They never brushed a batter off the plate, never got in anyone’s face.
Last year when the Phillies were celebrating their World Series victory Jimmy Rollins mentioned Johan Santana and the Mets during their parade. Of course during the off-season we all heard Cole Hamels call the Mets choke artists more than once. During Spring Training the team to beat talk got started once again. K-Rod coming over from the Angels got into the mix and declared the Mets the team to beat.
After Luis Castillo lost the game for the Mets on Friday, Brian Bruney, a reliever for the Yanks who spends most of his time on the DL said
“He’s got a tired act, I think that’s bad, but two years ago, when he lost the game…I don’t know if anybody saw it, I did. He was in Oakland and he was pitching for Anaheim, didn’t get a call, and so he was like complaining.
“The catcher threw it back and he just kind of did one of these [Bruney half-heartedly holds his arm out] and hit off his glove and bounced behind and the guy from third scored and they won the game. He gets what he deserves, man. I just don’t like watching the guy pitch. I think it’s embarassing.”
Normally that might have been it if this was the last 2 seasons. The Mets don’t really respond, they don’t get angry, the nod and say something that will sound totally fake. K-Rod is not backing down, he is not going to sit there and take it when a nobody like Brian Bruney who has spent more time on the DL than actually on the field talks trash to him. K-Rod had a few responses on Saturday:
“Instead of sending a message through the paper, next time when he see me at Citi Field come up to me and say it to my face, don’t be sending a message through the media.”
“I don’t even know who that guy is. Somewhere in Double-A? I believe he hasn’t even pitched one full season. He’s always been on the DL. That’s all I know right now. He better keep his mouth shut and do his job and not worry about somebody else.”
That wasn’t the end of this verbal smackdown. Before Sunday’s disaster K-Rod confronted Bruney and had to be pulled away by Mike Pelfrey. I like this attitude. It’s something that has been missing the last 2 seasons. K-Rod wasn’t happy with what Bruney said, so he went out and made his point. He could have just gone back and forth in the press but he wanted to confront him man to man, face to face. K-Rod showed he had some fire in him, something that the Mets do not display on a regular basis. How many times this season have we’ve seen pitchers throw at David Wright’s head or force him to move out of the box? Wright does not glare at the pitcher. The Mets pitcher(s) do not brush the opposing pitcher or the other team’s third baseman off the plate. I’m not looking for the Mets to become brawlers and start fights every night. We don’t need these guys to get suspended, break a hand, hurt their backs, etc… fighting but it would be nice to see some of fight and passion in the rest of the team.