A recent article by Joel Sherman of the New York Post criticized the New York Mets organization for the way they let Yoenis Cespedes act around camp, and the way that the team handles media relations in general. As you can see, Sherman is not very fond of the fact that not only is Cespedes free and easy around camp, but also that he is hard to get to from a media standpoint.
Having been in the locker room after Seton Hall basketball games and being told I only have access to a select few players, I understand Sherman’s frustration. However, its mutually understood that it is a privilege to be in a locker room after a game, and you are lucky to have access to the players you get to speak to.
What I can’t understand is Sherman’s disgust at thee free-bird mentality that Cespedes displays. Sure, there have been times when Cespedes has shown a lack of focus or effort during games, and of course his dehydration antics have struck a chord of annoyance that only he would know how to strike. You simply can’t criticize this man and expect him to be someone who he is not, however. The whole backwards hat argument started of course with Ken Griffey Jr., who was one of the most gifted players in the history if the sport.
Griffey was often criticized for wearing his hat in an unconventional way. Griffey of course was an unconventional player. Cespedes of course, is not even in the same league as Griffey in terms of greatness. He does however, wear his hat backwards. Maybe it is because I am younger, but I don’t see a problem with this. If you look at the way Cespedes has clubbed the ball this spring, you can tell that the way that his hat faces has no impact on the way he swings a bat.
As for Cespedes acting loosely around camp, it just seems that he is acting normally. It may even be good for a player like Cespedes, who has seemed to suffer tightness in every muscle in his body, to be a little more loose around camp. Maybe the yoga that he has been doing has helped to encourage such behavior.
The bottom line is that Cespedes doesn’t seem to be distracting the rest of the team by laying down in the grass and wearing his hat backwards. Jay Bruce even said to Sherman that “I have learned not everyone does things the same way.”
It seems that Bruce learned from his stint with a personality-filled Indians squad that different playing styles can come together to be successful. If Bruce brings this lesson back to Flushing, the combination of him and Cespedes could be deadly.
Maybe this would be a different column if it were the regular season and he was struggling, but it’s currently spring training and he is crushing the ball to other galaxies. Its possible that Sherman was looking for something to write a story about, as it does get challenging to do so this time of year. Keep wearing your hat backwards, Cespedes.