What Can You Expect, It’s NY

February 1, 2009

“There’s no place I’d rather be than New York,” right handed pitcher Tim Redding said during an interview that was recorded for the MLB Network. Redding also added, “New York is where I want to be.” MLB Network’s Harold Reynolds quickly hopped up in his chair and asked Redding, “Why?”

Being a native of Rochester, NY, the answer was simple. “I know NY sports, I was a NY fan.” “I know what to expect from them, I know what they expect from me,” Redding said.

With twenty-eight other baseball towns that major league teams call their home, why is New York considered to be a more demanding place to play? Mets rookie prospect Daniel Murphy was asked if there was anything he noticed during his short time playing in the Big Apple. Without hesitation, he said, “I think that the media is the big one because when you look up at the end of the game, there’s going to be thirty people in the locker room.” With that comment in mind, the thought of answering the tough questions may seem more daunting than moving a runner over into scoring position.

New York has always been considered, “the media capital of the world.” The most interesting personalities eventually seem to find their way over to the bright lights of the big city. In the late ‘70s, Yankees slugger Reggie Jackson came over from the West coast and was quickly swept up in the glitz and glamour of New York night life. It didn’t take long for Jackson to be spotted dining at the prestigious 21 Club donning a full- length fur coat.

Upon entering the “fish bowl,” what the media equates to playing in New York, an athlete can easily lose his way and have a hard time regaining their footing. It is not unusual for some players to come to regret their decision of playing for a NY club. Players have expressed an immense dislike of the media’s obsessive focus on their every move, both on and off the field.

Recently-retired second baseman Jeff Kent spent nearly four seasons with the Mets from 1992-96 in which he took a lot of heat for being too rigid and isolated from his teammates inside the clubhouse. The NY media never took to Kent and used his self-assurance against him. Kent was eventually traded to the San Francisco Giants. His next nine seasons, six with the Giants, two with the Astros, and one with the Dodgers, were considered his most productive years as a baseball player. Tim McCarver was the Mets lead television voice throughout Kent’s run at Shea. McCarver acknowledges he misjudged Kent. “I’ve never been so wrong about a player.”

Other players such as Carl Everett have been discontent while playing for both NY teams. After being dealt from the Mets and left non-tendered by the Yankees, Everett stated that those in management were all “hypocrites and idiots.” This kind of confession only leads fans to further mock former NY players even harder.

The majority of athletes who have played here acknowledge that “playing in New York has taught them a lot.” The media would have you think that that was their intention all along. The current refrain for athletes among fans and club ownership is of a desire for transparency and accountability. Both demand and expect the absolute most from their players. Athletes, who dip their feet into the fishbowl, be forewarned.

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