Friday, June 29, 2007


Paul LoDuca should know better. As a veteran, team leader, LoDuca is the one that diffuses controversy, not create it. He knows the media will take any semi-controversial quote and run with it. Twisting and turning it in anyway possible to stir the pot. Yet LoDuca not only touched on a sensitive topic, he did not choose his words wisely.

The Mets backstop briefly ranted about being the only person the media came to in the locker room, and specifically called out his Latino teammates for failing to speak up. Expressing his point by saying they all speak English, they can answer questions too, is probably not the smoothest way to handle the situation.

A day later, stories emanated about clubhouse dissension, LoDuca being racist, and anything else talk radio and callers could muster up. Clearly, that was not LoDuca’s intent. I believe he attempted to say that other veteran players also need to step up in the clubhouse. His off-handed line about Latino players speaking English, implying they dodge reporters, while possibly accurate, was absolutely unnecessary. It should have been intimated mych differently. The poor choice of words probably stems from frustration of constant questioning from the media. Apparently its an injustice to ask Paul too many questions.

I am almost certain LoDuca meant no ill will with these comments, and that he has no problems with his teammates. But LoDuca is the unofficial team spokesman, with right hand men Billy Wagner and David Wright, so he cannot complain or show frustration about answering questions. Its his job. Part of his value to the Mets is being that clubhouse guy, the veteran team spokesman that takes the heat during the losing streak and publicly defends teammates when problems arise. Instead, LoDuca firmly took foot and planted into mouth.

Usually players leave it to the media to misinterpret quotes. This time LoDuca made everyone’s job easy, delivering incriminating, newsworthy quotes, without any fabrication needed. Nothing likely comes from this. At least the Mets hope.


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