No longer is he the man that struck fear into the heart of opposing starting pitchers, or the man that ran the outfield with the grace of a gazelle. He is a man that has led an embattled life, and the scars are showing. Darryl Strawberry has always been a controversial man, whether it be his failure to pay child support payments or his several drug charges. No matter what trouble he seemed to get in though, he always appeared to be a favorite amongst Mets fans. Now it seems that Strawberry wants to cut off connections with the team completely.
On an interview with Mike Francessa on his radio show on Thursday, Strawberry told Francessa that “It’s pretty clear with the organization of the Mets, it’s not the players, it’s not the fans, it’s not (general manager) Sandy (Alderson) and the new regime. It’s the ownership. It’s the ownership. My relationship is done with them.” Strawberry did not state exactly what problems had arisen with the organization, but would point out that it was not Jeff Wilpon that caused the riff. He wouldn’t go further.
Strawberry has been on a publicity rampage lately, revving up interest in his new book, “Don’t give up on me: Shedding Light on Addiction”. He has even made comments about discouraging players from voicing their opinions on political matters. It is a bold move coming from a man who had done everything he could do to alienate himself from professional baseball, yet still be lauded by its fans. Even at his lowest points, there was fans in his corner supporting him. It was gracious for the team to invite him to reunions and get together, and now he is turning his back on them.
Of course, Strawberry was adamant in reassuring Mets fans that they weren’t the reason for his displeasure. It makes you think though, what could have made him that upset? And at this point, should it even matter? Strawberry only makes money for the team in merchandise, and only makes the team look worse as a brand every time he makes a mistake. While he has behaved better ever since he became a born-again Christian, he is still known as a loose cannon, and you never know when he will go off again.
The Mets should be saying good riddance to the head ache that is Strawberry. If he has the audacity to separate himself from the franchise, and not even provide a solid factual reason behind it, there is something wrong with the picture. To throw salt in the wound, he did it on the Mike Francessa show. Francessa has constantly and consistently been a critic of the Mets and the way they operate, so he reveled in the moment of being able to broadcast criticism of the team.
Maybe I simply don’t understand the enchantment behind Strawberry simply because I was never alive to watch him or any of the 1986 Mets team play. As long as I have been alive though, I have only seen Strawberry as a headache publicly. Whether or not Mets fans who are clinging on the the last taste of World Series victory in 1986 are ready for it or not, Darryl Strawberry is ready to disassociate himself from the team.