I came across this post by Matt Myers on ESNY New York, that was about outfielder (or infielder) Jordany Valdespin. It really had little to do with Valdespin’s performance, well maybe just a tiny bit. but ventured more into Spn’s personality, cockiness and how it drives some fans crazy.
Whether it’s hitting a game-winning homer off Jonathan Papelbon, getting hit in the groin by a Justin Verlander fastball while not wearing a cup, or getting blamed for Daniel Murphy’s baserunning blunder, Jordany Valdespin is always in the middle of something, good and bad.
Unlike Woody Allen’s Zelig, this isn’t by accident. Valdespin plays with a flair typically associated with pro wrestlers, and his Instagram account suggests a man who is sure of himself. Baseball culture has always discouraged individualism, and it seems like Valdespin’s histrionics have made him a lightning rod.
I love Valdespin… I love everything about him. He makes the game fun to watch and as I’ve said before there is a catalyst-like quality to his performance that reminds me of Jose Reyes. He’s electric.
When I hear or see some of the fans and bloggers go off on him, I think they’re either overreacting of or just a bunch of prudes. There’s even one blogger who’s on a mission to prove to his readers that “Valdespin is a cancer.” (His words, not mine.)
Baseball is just a game, and it’s supposed to be fun. Valdespin makes it fun. I only wish we had a few more like him rather than some of the dull personalities we’ve had that never brought anything to the field or to the team’s chemistry.
Myers refers to a recent road game against the Phillies, when Valdespin earned a hearty round of boos from the Philly faithful when, after hitting a fifth-inning triple while the Mets were trailing 8-2, he pounded his chest and pointed to the sky.
Newsflash: Valdespin is not the only player that does that and there’s nothing wrong with it. It’s his way of thanking the man upstairs for his God-given talent and just a cultural thing. Even the great Roberto Clemente would do something like that, albeit a little less flashier, whenever he hit a homerun.
So did Ruben Sierra, Juan Gonzalez, Sammy Sosa and even our own Angel Pagan and Carlos Beltran. Their not doing it to show anyone up, it’s a gesture that’s part gratitude and part excitement. So as for the Phillies and their fans, get over it.
The article concludes that Valdespin could have a 10-year career or be out of the majors in August; neither would be surprising. But while he’s around, it’s important to embrace what he represents, which is a history that makes the Mets lovable and unique.
Like him or not, Valdespin is a Met in their grand tradition of colorful characters, which should make him a fan favorite. As a bonus, he may even turn out to be a decent player, too.
Sooner or later it will dawn on Terry Collins that Jordany deserves to play everyday and that there’s more to his game than just an occasional start to rest any of the other outfielders. Who knows, maybe Collins will take a look at his team’s stats and see that no Met outfielder has a higher batting average than Spin. Maybe he’ll even dig a little deeper and see that he is equally effective against left-handed and right-handed pitching.
Until those facts sink into his head, I’ll continue to enjoy Valdespin’s occasional starts and all the energy and excitement he brings to the lineup and the team.