I have made my feelings on this year’s Spring Training pretty clear, but one storyline has emerged from the proverbial rubble. In a Mets training camp polluted with the negative elements of a disgruntled ace, no major-league caliber outfielders, and the absence of the team’s top star and de-facto captain; one player has emerged as an interesting, captivating and yet polarizing entity.
“The Man… right now”, as he has referred to himself, is fighting for a job on this team, and getting closer and closer to one. But in addition to his talent and proficiency at the plate, Valdespin is displaying the swag of some of the all-time great Mets characters. He is not afraid to tweet how he “can’t be stopped” or to post all manner of self-pics on Instagram. In person though, when interviewed by the media, he comes off as a very humble and hard worker, and has even dedicated home runs to his Mom. But unfortunately, as happens often, a common side effect of supreme confidence is the polarization of the fan base.
JV1 devotees love his exuberance, his the unabashed pride in… well, himself. These same qualities may turn some people off, but as has always been the burden of “certain” athletes, the talent has to match the bravado. Deion, Shaq, athletes like that need to support their larger-than-life personalities with support beams made of talent and numbers. Otherwise, they become another Channing Crowder or a similar irrelevant gasbag athlete.
The WSJ published a great article on Jordany and his “zany world”. As time goes by and Valdespin keeps succeeding on the field, the attention will continue to increase, as will the criticisms.
My only hope is that the rest of the Mets fanbase will embrace JV1 for his high level of play, as well as his wonderfully refreshing personality. At least until either of those qualities begin to fade.