Tejada, We Need To Talk About Your Flair

By Taryn “The Coop” Cooper

When there’s drama, it must be spring training.

Greetings from Port St. Lucie.  Well, not really since I’m not there.  But I am there in spirit.  Especially when I read the articles coming out of there.

Okay.  Here’s a big problem I have with that whole “pitchers and catchers” thing.  It’s changed quite a bit from when I was a kid.  Though it’s always been optional for anyone other than pitchers and catchers, it’s almost required now.  But it’s not.  Sort of.  But it’s expected too.  Sort of.

Possibly a player who will be under the microscope the most this spring (and going into 2012) is Ruben Tejada.  The guy has some big shoes to fill, especially at the position of shortstop.  We have an idea of what he can do as a player and defensively.

Terry Collins has decided that the minimum amount of flair pieces should be 37, that the pretty boys have so far, and not the 15 that’s supposed to be on the rule sheet.

Only problem here is that Tejada, while he should have made every effort to attend camp as an early bird, didn’t technically have to.  After all, Collins mentioned it after Tejada didn’t show up.   He also can’t make him report early.

Last year was a bit different, what with Luis Castillo and Oliver Perez.  I admit that I was waiting for Castillo and Perez to slip up and do something I could perceive as not being for the team’s benefit.  Possibly other fans were too.  However, given their precarious situations with their terrible contracts and awful performance, it would have been a nice gesture for them to show up early.  Especially since they were told they needed to compete for their roles.  Yet they had bad attitudes.

Let’s cut Tejada some slack though.  He’s a young dude who is making probably close to league minimum and has to come in from Panama as well.  I’m sure there are other players who are coming in from great lengths, but I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt for some reason.

No one asked Tejada to take the place of one of the most popular players in Mets history.  No one made the early report mandatory.  Is it really going to kill the team if Tejada, who is supposed to report Saturday, misses a few days?  I can tell you, they are pretty much conditioning and doing exercises.  He plays a grueling 162-game sport.  Trust me, he’s in shape.  (Well, he should be…he’s never had a problem with that before).

I guess my point is that there needs to be some kind of conflict in PSL each year, and Tejada is an easy mark.  I’m sure Collins will give his pep talk as to why he should show up early, but the reality is, he’ll be there this weekend, and we’ll forget this has all happened once they start playing some games.

Okay? Okay.  This is just a problem with flair.  Nothing to see here, please carry on with your day.

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