Chastises Teammates : Strawberry Lets Mets Know He’s Not Happy
In case the New York Mets did not quite get the message from Davey Johnson’s postgame meeting Sunday following their 5-3 loss to the Cardinals, Darryl Strawberry made it as unmistakable and emphatic as the two home runs he ripped in the game. Strawberry followed Johnson’s outburst with a coarsely worded session with reporters in which he charged that his teammates are not taking their jobs seriously.
“A lot of guys here act like we’re in Little League,” Strawberry said. “Just because we won last year can’t help us this year. Some guys have got to start sacrificing. We’re here to play ball, not play cards and golf. . . . You can play cards and all the golf you want in the winter. Maybe that’s fine for relaxing, but when you’re a last-place team, you should be thinking about getting the job done on the field.”
Johnson and Strawberry exploded after the Mets had sunk to last place and five games out seemingly without any concern. The team is hitting .223, but when the Mets had an off day in Pittsburgh on Wednesday, nobody showed for extra hitting. Instead, several players hit the golf course, just as they had done after a short workout Monday. Many of them played as many as 45 holes.
And their clubhouse before each game has the look of a back room to a poker hall, with games of casino, hearts and solitaire to be found for all. Fully one-third of the team are regular card players.
“He (Johnson) has got a right to be (ticked) off,” Strawberry said. “We didn’t play well in spring training. Some guys didn’t take spring training seriously. They took it as a joke. The same thing . . . is happening in the regular season. It’s no joke.
“It’s time to do something. . . . How embarrassed do you feel to be in last place after being National League East champs a year ago?
“It’s just a matter of how we approach the game. We feel intimidated. Guys feel like they can’t get a hit. That’s what it seems like. We should have won the last two games.
“It’s kind of like everybody’s looking for me to do it all the time. Other guys have got to come through.”
Strawberry has hit three home runs in the past two games and is batting .282. He does not play cards or golf.