The Mets are off today, so there doesn’t necessarily have to be a meet-the-press moment for the main players in Fred Wilpon-a-palooza until another day of the news cycle has passed. But at least one of the players called out by Fred Wilpon in the New Yorker profile — David Wright — has responded. And he has done so in a manner that suggests that maybe — just maybe — this could blow over with less craziness than one might expect:
“Fred is a good man and is obviously going through some difficult times. There is nothing more productive I can say at this time.”
I wonder if Reyes and Beltran will follow Wright’s lead and play the pity card rather then take a swipe back. They’d be smart to, but really, I can’t say how I’d respond if my boss showed such a lack of discretion in a big feature article in the New Yorker.
Either way, the real damage here is the internal damage in terms of how the clubhouse responds and whether these sorts of comments by the owner sours players to coming to New York and all of that. The responses of Wright, Beltran, Reyes and others, however, will likely determine the kind of shelf life this all has as a media story.
Following the Astros’ decisive 4-0 shutout over the Yankees on Saturday night, Justin Verlander was named the Most Valuable Player of the American League Championship Series. Hall of Fame outfielder and former MLB manager Frank Robinson handed the award to Verlander, who was beaming as he thanked his teammates and members of the Astros’ organization.
“I’ve got to say, it came down to the wire, and one thing kept going off in my head was Dallas,” Verlander told the crowd gathered at Minute Maid Park. “When he called me, he said that I won’t regret my decision to join the Houston Astros. And here we are right now, it’s the best feeling in the world. We’ve got four more wins to win a World Series, and I do not regret my decision to come here. This is the best feeling a player can have. So, thank you.”
Among a cast that boasted the likes of Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and Dallas Keuchel, among others, Verlander was spectacular. He locked down a complete game win in Game 2, holding the Yankees to one run on five hits and a walk and striking out a postseason-high 13 batters. In Game 6, he saved the Astros from elimination with seven scoreless innings, helping propel the club to their eventual 7-1 finish that set up their series-clinching finale on Saturday.
The 34-year-old righty also took his place among some postseason greats. Thanks to an eight-strikeout outing on Friday night, his collective 136 postseason strikeouts are good for sixth-most in MLB playoff history, just a smidgen shy of Tom Glavine (143), Mike Mussina (145), Roger Clemens (173), Andy Pettitte (183) and John Smoltz (199). He also joined Bob Gibson, Curt Schilling and Sandy Koufax as one of just four hurlers to strike out 20+ Yankees in a postseason series.