The concept of fault lines in the media is something we all witness on a daily basis, but rarely recognize. Fault lines are a tool that help shape the perception of ourselves, others and events around us. The ones most are familiar with are culture and gender, but they can also contain factors of age, socioeconomic status and geographical location of the subject.
Some of these categories can help us in understanding the enigma that is Jordany Valdespin.
As I surf around the web at the plethora of voices representing the Mets, I can’t help but notice one underlying theme: Valdespin bothers people. That’s fine. This is nothing new. We’re all entitled to our own opinions, myself included.
Valdespin was the subject of another Mets controversy when he didn’t attend a batting practice session before Friday night’s game in Atlanta. Here’s what we know from recent reports:
- Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork reports Valdespin was asked to attend batting practice before Friday night’s game and did not show up.
- Rubin also reports that Valdespin said to ESPNDeportes’ Marly Rivera that he had been told not to attend by a coach.
The rest is speculation. It’s safe to say general consensus is that Mets fans and media are upset. Rubin went on to say that “team insiders” said the Mets were “irked” by the incident.
“Anyway, it is all part of the Valdespin package,” Rubin writes.
Let me come full circle in regards to fault lines. I’m 24 years old. Valdespin is 25. I’m not here to speak on behalf of Valdespin because we’re a year apart in age, but let me present this analogy:
If one of my professors told me that coming to a class was voluntary, I might not go. That shouldn’t besmirch my academic track record or define who I am as a student. That doesn’t represent the Nelson “package.” I currently hold a 3.7 GPA and consider myself a good student. That doesn’t mean I’m going to show up to every extracurricular activity that’s asked of me. I have a life outside of school.
I’m willing to acknowledge that there’s a difference between going to college and playing baseball. I pay for school and Valdespin gets paid to play baseball, but the principle is the same. We both possess lives outside of what we spend a majority of our time doing. We shouldn’t immediately make a decision about Valdespin because of media priming. If you ask me to attend something voluntary, there’s a chance I might not go.
Maybe Valdespin felt the need to rest a nagging injury. Maybe he wanted to hang out with his friends. Maybe his dog died. Who knows? My point is that this seems more like a matter of opportunity cost than being mature. I’ll do my best to attend most extracurricular activities, which we have no reason to believe Valdespin doesn’t as Michael Baron of MetsBlog writes:
“Now, Valdespin has participated in early batting practice many times since joining the Mets last year, and he has done so on the road as well.”
But sometimes I need a break from the grind. Baron also writes:
“Perhaps if he conformed to the culture and practices of the team consistently, he would reap the rewards of his performances and talents and be respected a little more as well…”
This is where the cultural fault line comes into play. If I own a store and want someone to show up to work then I tell them to show up. I don’t turn it into a test and then get upset when the person doesn’t pass. That’s not an acceptable culture by any rational standards.
I’ve spent a lot of time tutoring international students around my own age and most take instruction quite literally. A coach told Valdespin not to come to practice so he didn’t go. That’s all we have to go on. Apparently that makes him immature. That seems a bit unfair. I would even venture to say that it’s immature of the Mets to be upset that Valdespin didn’t pick up on a hint that they think he should have taken.
At the end of the day, many who think unfavorably of Valdespin won’t read this. If they do, they’ll quickly click away. It’s called the cognitive dissonance theory and it basically means that people will go out of their way to imbibe information that conforms to their already established belief systems to prevent conflict of thought. It just seems like El Dramático gets thrown under the bus quite often and if I or other MMO contributors don’t step out and say something, he’ll fall victim to the throws of negative media. Such is the world we live in, I suppose.
What are your thoughts on the portrayal of El Dramático?