He is always screamed about and pounced on, but when the pressure is on, New York Mets OF Curtis Granderson personifies Big Apple baseball.
With the recent struggles of Curtis Granderson, the New York Mets are wondering how much time the 36-year-old has left. Just like he has in the past, Granderson has gotten off to an extremely slow start this year, batting just .201 with four homers and 19 RBIs.
Even though his production is low, Curtis still embodies how the game should be played. He has been one of the Mets top MVPs since he arrived when considering his production on the field and his personality off it.
When the Mets acquired him in 2014 in free agency, they knew that Curtis was going to be a player that hit a lot of home runs, but did not hit for a high average. To an extent, that’s exactly what happened, but he ended up offering the team so much more.
In 2014, Granderson hit just .227 with 20 homers and 66 runs batted in. That’s not a terrible season for the average player, but a very typical Granderson-esque season. On the other hand, the Mets were hoping to expect more from him, and the next year, Curtis delivered. He was one of the top reasons why the Mets made it to the World Series. He had notched his highest average since 2011, batting .259, with 26 long balls and 70 RBIs. That year, he led the team in games played, runs scored, hits, stolen bases, walks, OBP and total bases.
He was an extremely productive leadoff hitter for the team in which he changed his style at the plate, allowing him to draw more walks. He has always done what the team has asked of him, and has never said a word about it. Mets fans would agree that 2015 was the best season for Granderson in a Mets uniform.
During the 2015 postseason, he was the second most productive Mets hitter, right behind Daniel Murphy, who was on another level. Granderson hit .283, with three homers, 12 RBIs and nine walks. That was on route to a .375 OBP. He came through when needed in the clutch moments in the playoffs, and that’s part of how he will be remembered in New York.
Twenty-sixteen was a very weird year for him as his average went back down to .237. However, he had 30 homers, which was his most as a Met, but just 59 Runs Driven In, his least as a Met. He got off to such a slow start, that it was hard for him to catch up.
Defensively, Granderson has always been a solid outfielder. The Mets have been able to shift him from Right Field to Center whenever they decided. He doesn’t have the best arm, to say the least, but he always knows how to track down balls and communicate with other outfielders.
Whether Granderson was on fire or struggling mightily at the plate, his demeanor on and off the field was exactly the same. One couldn’t tell how he felt because he came into work every day with the same attitude. This is a big help to the rookies on the team who are struggling and trying to find themselves in the big leagues.
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Curtis said, “It’s been really cool to watch and be alongside them. If there’s sometimes where I have to go to them and say some things here and there, I’ll do it, but these guys are very professional.”
Michael Conforto has benefited from Granderson as a role model. Last year, he struggled in the big leagues and was sent down to the minors. This season, he is having an all-star season for the team, batting leadoff. In essence, he somewhat took Granderson’s place as the leadoff hitter.
Additionally, Curtis has also been the healthiest guy on the team. The Mets are an organization that has been plagued with injury after injury. Yet, he is always out on the field. He is extremely durable, where management can rely on him to either start or hit off the bench every day. Terry Collins knows that if you have to sit Granderson, he will be totally ok with it, and a peep won’t be said. When he does have to come off the bench, he will be ready.
Finally, Granderson’s charity work off the field is the most important aspect of why he embodies New York Baseball. First of all, he has promoted Baseball in England, Italy, Netherlands, France, China, South Africa, New Zealand and other countries.
Even former commissioner Bud Selig has said, “There are so many fine young men playing Major League Baseball today, but I can think of no one who is better suited to represent our national pastime than you.”
Curtis also has a foundation called Grand Kids Foundation, where he has raised money to benefit the educations of inner-city children around the country.
There are many other things that Granderson has done that have not been mentioned. He is similar to Derek Jeter, in the sense that they both handle themselves with nothing but professionalism in a tough New York market. Granderson has been a true professional with the Mets, and he is really what New York Baseball is about.