Thanks, everybody, for all the congratulations you?ve been posting about my new contract. The deal wasn?t quite done the last time I posted, so I wasn?t at liberty to say anything about it yet. But I?m really excited that the ownership and front office here are so forward-thinking that they came to Jose Reyes and me and wanted to sign us to long-term deals.
One of the things the club wanted to do was avoid having the distractions of going year-to-year with our contracts. But it also speaks well of the ownership and the front office in that it shows everyone is thinking both short-term and long-term. Not only are we trying to win this season -? Wright Now! -? but we?re also trying to build a team that New York fans can be proud about for years to come.
I?m really flattered that I?m considered one of the core guys that the Mets want to build around and that the club has enough confidence in me that they would make such a big commitment.
There is the business side to baseball that you have to consider as a professional, but that?s why we have agents and my representatives are among the best in the business. We were able to hash this contract out in a period of just about three days. When the Mets came to us, we decided to set aside a window of a few days to get it done so that it wouldn?t drag on and become a distraction during our playoff push. The last thing we need as a club is having a contract negotiation become a distraction during the season. Fortunately, we were able to accomplish what we set out to do.
It will be nice not to have to consider the business side for a while and we also won?t be in a position of having to go to arbitration. I won?t have to think about contract issues for the next six, maybe seven, years if the option year is picked up. I look at this as a great first step. I?d like to play for the New York Mets my entire career.
But it really hasn?t sunk in completely yet. As someone who grew up in a middle-class household in which both of my parents had to work 9-to-5 jobs, it?s difficult for me to comprehend the idea of having that much money. But we?re in the middle of the season, so I it?s not like I ran out and got a new car or anything. We just went out to dinner and celebrated a little, but I?ll probably consider buying an apartment in New York during the offseason.
One thing for sure is that the contract won?t change the kind of person I am and it won?t change the way I go about my job on the field.
Carlos Delgado’s influence
It was great to watch Carlos Delgado hit those two home runs in Philadelphia. He means so much to this club in a variety of ways. His batting average may not be where he wants it to be at the moment, but he?s come up with big hits for us all season long in the most important situations.
It seems like whenever Carlos Beltran or I have struggled this year, Carlos Delgado has come through with big hits to carry the team. But I think that goes back to the way this club was put together. We have such a deep, talented lineup that nobody has to take on the entire load by himself, which, in turn, allows everybody to remain comfortable and play within their own abilities.
Beltran carries us for a month or so. Then Delgado comes up with big hits. Jose Reyes sets the tone and even adds some power. It?s almost impossible for us to go into a team slump because someone is always going to be hitting well.
Carlos Delgado means as much off the field to this club as he does on the field. If you were to ask Carlos Beltran, I bet he?d tell you that having Delgado around has helped him go out and have fun playing the game this season. They?re very close friends.
Delgado?s numbers speak for themselves, but you also couldn?t ask for a better leadership in your clubhouse than we get from him. Just watch the way he carries himself. He?s confident, he?s intelligent, he helps the younger players out.
Personally, he?s taken me under his wing and helped teach me about driving in runs and situational hitting. Who better to learn from? He?s been one of the most consistent RBI guys in baseball from the time he began his career.
Lastly, I?ve been getting a lot of comments ?- especially since the David Letterman show -? about sticking my tongue out, so I figured I’d better address the issue here on my blog.
First of all, I like to think of it as more Michael Jordan than Gene Simmons. I?ve been doing it forever, though. In grammar school, I would have my tongue out while I was taking a test and my teachers would tell me about it.
I don?t even think about it, but every picture I see of myself playing baseball, I see my tongue sticking out. It?s become kind of a running joke.
I don?t think about it or try to do it, but one thing you?ll notice is that whenever you see me with my tongue out, it?s always a moment when I?m really trying to concentrate and stay focused.
So whenever you see me with my tongue out, rest assured that I?m concentrating and 100-percent focused.
Until next time…
It was really difficult losing a guy like Xavier Nady. He meant a lot to us in the time he was here and contributed big-time to our success. He mixed in well with the rest of the guys in the clubhouse and he was really coming into his own on the field this season.
Looking at it from the business side, Xavier played so well that he became a valuable bargaining chip when the club really needed it. That taxicab accident, a freak thing, was a huge blow for Duaner Sanchez and the team. Happening right on deadline, our front office did a great job by bringing back Roberto Hernandez in the trade with Pittsburgh.
You can?t really replace a set-up pitcher the caliber of Sanchez. The bullpen has been one of the strengths of our team and he?s been the guy that you can count on late in a game, night after night. But Roberto?s been
here in a similar role. He?s comfortable in this atmosphere, he knows what it takes to win and he?s obviously been very successful here.
Hopefully, Roberto will be able come in, pick up where he left off and the bullpen will remain one of the team?s strengths.
That other NY third baseman
A lot of people in New York seem to think Alex Rodriguez is struggling. It?s hard to imagine having such high expectations that you can be putting up A-Rod?s numbers and still not be satisfying the critics.
I guess he?s always going to be under scrutiny because of the contract he signed, and with the payroll over there the Yankees are expected to win the World Series every year.
Plus, when things go wrong in New York, even a little bit, they tend to get magnified. The fans in New York are passionate, knowledgeable about the game and they?re going to express their emotions. They don?t hold much back, good or bad.
But Alex and everyone else in baseball knows that he?s one of the top few players in the game and he does everything exceptionally well. Alex is going to be fine. He?s a great player. It?s only a matter of time before he starts putting up those MVP-type numbers again.
When the wins start rolling in, he?s going to be right in the middle of it.
One game at a time
One of the keys the rest of the season now that we?re in August is to make sure we don?t become complacent. We have to be mindful of the things we?ve done to get the lead in our division. That means we have to keep taking it one game at a time, one series at a time. We can?t look in the rearview mirror and we can?t look ahead to October, either.
(Posted courtesy of MLB.com during the game.)