The Mets have finally shown some life on the field, folks. After going 4-9 during a 13-game stretch against losing teams, they somehow found a way to take two of three from the Tampa Bay Rays, aka the best team in baseball. Whether the Mets win or lose, though, some people always find a way to criticize certain players. Shortstop Francisco Lindor seems to be at the top of that list.
Former big-league infielder, Jason Kipnis, appeared on A.J. Pierzynski’s Foul Territory podcast earlier this week. One of the topics they discussed included the Mets and their general struggles after starting 14-7.
Here’s part of the discussion Kipnis and Pierzynski had (via Cleveland.com and NJ.com):
“All those veterans and no leadership,” said Kipnis.
To which Pierzynski replied, “You played with Lindor. Was he a leader?”
“I’ll say it again, all those veterans and no leadership,” answered Kipnis.
If everybody is a veteran there, you’re just under the assumption that everyone is taking care of their business and going about things the right way. But you kind of need someone to be those bumper pins on each side when people start getting out of line a little bit.
It helps keep people in order and in track and focused on the same thing. Everybody gets a little comfortable because it’s all veterans, and you don’t have to worry about what you’re doing because you can do no wrong.
You kind of forget that (feeling of) being on edge when you’re a young guy. Oh, I don’t know if a veteran saw me or should I be doing this? You lose that, should I be doing the right thing mentality.
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. And while Kipnis hasn’t played in the big leagues since 2020, he definitely still has friends in the game that can tell him stuff we as fans/spectators don’t see. But, I’m wondering how he has any idea of what the leadership is like in the Mets’ clubhouse. And also how he can essentially say Lindor isn’t a good one.
These two overlapped in Cleveland between 2015 and 2019. Lindor was a 21-year-old rookie in 2015, and by the time he and Kipnis played together for the last time, the shortstop was 25 years old. I know he plays a position that screams “on-field general” but things are different when you’re young and within your first few years in the league.
Once Kipnis started catching criticism for his comments, he immediately took back what he implied about Lindor:
Said what I said, we’ll move on cause I don’t have the energy nor the want to for Twitter back n forths!
-Also Frankie wasn’t expected to be a leader when he was so young. I bet he’s grown into a damn good one. We’re just talkin about shit cause they’re not winning like they can
— Jason Kipnis (@TheJK_Kid) May 17, 2023
Ah, yes — it’s the “Well, the Mets aren’t winning, so let’s just blame it on something we don’t have any real information about” thing. Gotta love it.
After Pete Alonso’s dramatic walk-off home run on Wednesday night, Lindor caught more criticism on social media. Why? Well, because he calmly walked up to the plate to greet Pete while the rest of the team went nuts. Those critics are forgetting to mention that Lindor was the first to engage with the Polar Bear on his way down the third-base line.
Maybe since Edwin Diaz’s season was over before it started because of a simple celebration, he’s a little apprehensive to do so. Check it out:
GET KNOCKED DOWN, GET BACK UP!
PETE ALONSO WALKS IT OFF WITH A 3-RUN HOMER! pic.twitter.com/x9njGXxtxJ
— SNY (@SNYtv) May 18, 2023
He clearly doesn’t want to jump up and down. What happened during the World Baseball Classic has to be the reason why.
I’m probably a little biased here, but give the man a break. This feels like the same constant criticism Carlos Beltran used to get. Despite that, Beltran is universally viewed as the best center fielder this organization has ever had.
Francisco Lindor will likely become the best shortstop in Mets’ history. And probably by just about every metric imaginable. Let’s enjoy it and watch him hopefully cook all the way to a World Series title one day.
Let’s also not make assumptions about who is or isn’t a good leader and who is or isn’t good for the clubhouse. Because we really have no idea what goes on in there.
You can reach Matt Musico at [email protected]. You can follow him on Twitter: @mmusico8.