Chico Harlan of the Washington Post gives a raw but not surprising glimpse into Lastings Milledge and his feelings about the Mets.
Here is some of what he said to Harlan:
I mean, the thing was, the first time I came out [to NY] everybody was like, ‘You’ve got to be this way.’ I have to show up at the park at a certain time or whatever. I just kind of separated myself from people who were like that. I’m not going to say who, but you know. Sometimes jealousy comes with it. But if you’re here you’re here. It doesn’t matter if you’re here for 20 years. We’re all playing at the highest level, and we’re all major league players. We’re all even.”
You know, there’s always a thing where, Oh, rookies have to be here 2-1/2 or three hours before stretch. No. I’m not gonna be here three hours before stretch. If you’re here and you get your work in, it shouldn’t matter how early you’re at the field. You know what you need to do. That’s fine. You don’t have to be at the park three, four hours before the park if you don’t want. You don’t see nobody clocking in three or four hours before they have to show up to work. So, I mean, some people feel like they have to get here to read the newspaper or do crossword puzzles or get their mind ready. I feel like I come to the park, I have 45 minutes of stuff I have to do to get prepared for practice and get ready for the game. Five minutes might be watching videos. Fifteen minutes might be going in the cage. And then getting whatever other work I need.
Over a year and a couple of more controversies later, and still the same old Milledge.
His maturity is still on par with the same cocky, ignorant and warped view of commitment he had shown when we first saw him during his debut in 2006. Back then, we were all willing to cut him some slack because he was the youngest player in the National League, but now I just shake my head and appreciate guys like Mike Pelfrey who joined the Mets rotation for good when the Mets optioned Milledge to the minors in April of 2007.
The difference between the two is so vast that one can hardly believe they were both once considered the Mets’ top prospect.
Pelfrey has worked hard to justify his first round selection by the Mets, while Milledge slowly but surely became just another Mets first round bust. Sure Milledge may someday carve out a decent career, but his talent can only carry him as far as his determination and commitment, and he lacks in both those areas.
The phrase “good riddance” were coined for a guy like Lastings Milledge.