Hours after Johan Santana and the Mets ended a disappointing weekend series with a loss to the Nationals, I came across a rather disturbing article on ESPN.com, that really upset the hell out of me. The piece was written (and I use that word loosely) by Ian O’Connor, and to say that it was one of the most irresponsible articles I’ve ever read on ESPN about the Mets, might just be an understatement. It was pure trash and it was an unprovoked swipe at Johan Santana and the Mets.
In an articled entitled “Santana is Flushing Away His Talent“, O’Connor begins as follows,
Johan Santana would give back the $2.5 million, every last cent. If he knew he was cutting a Faustian deal with the Mets, he would have walked out of that negotiating room rather than nickel-and-dime a franchise that would make him live to regret it.
Wow, how did I miss this I thought… I immediately skimmed through the entire article three times trying to find when and where Johan made this shocking revelation. He never did. It was a complete fabrication disguised as journalistic speculation. It was only intended to shock and then hold the readers attention… journalism at its worst.
He gets even more presumptuous with this final volley:
Yes, Santana has to be wondering what in the world he’s gotten himself into. He’s only human. That voice in the back of his head is growing louder, moving to the front, telling him he should’ve put his money on a different horse. He was a frequent playoff participant in Minnesota, and his friend and fellow recruit, Rodriguez, was another October regular who won a World Series with the Angels.
If he could give back that $2.5 million today, Johan Santana would surely cash out of Queens.
What the hell is O’Connor’s deal? I thought Wallace Matthews was bad, but obviously I was wrong. Dead wrong.
This type of slash and run journalism is just a pathetic attempt by O’Connor to resurrect a fading and inglorious career that has been littered with too many trashy pieces like this one. It was a shoddy attempt at grabbing some attention at the expense of Johan Santana. You may remember how he baited Willie Randolph and led him to believe that some comments he made were off the record, only to turn around and reveal the entire conversation in that mornings edition of his paper. The shocking interview eventually led to the firing of Willie Randolph. Randolph, to this day, still says he thought he was talking to O’Connor friend to friend and off the record. He sold Willie out for a week of fame.
Now, O’Connor attempts to paint one of the classiest players in the game as a shallow minded, egocentric player who cares little about about helping the Mets win a division.
If O’Connor had any real clue about Santana, he’d know that Johan is the ultimate warrior and teammate, and that he finishes what he starts, including his financial commitments. Santana is not the type to pull a Randy Johnson or Alex Rodriguez type power-play for more money or a trade. Santana is cut out from a different mold entirely. O’Connor is oblivious to this because he’s just plain ignorant and unable to grasp such personal nuances. How can you evaluate another persons character and when your own is so questionable?
Who is O’Connor to presume to know what Johan Santana is thinking and what his innermost thoughts are regarding the Mets?
This is the kind of sleazy journalism one would find only in the lowest forms of print journalism. Maybe Ian should consider a gig with Hustler magazine.
I believe in freedom of speech, but not in tainting someone’s good reputation and integrity for the purpose of furthering your career or to make an extra buck.
Ian O’Connor owes Johan Santana, the Mets and their fans an apology.