December 29, 2006

What New York fans would have expected from Zito

Gary Peterson at Contra Costa Times, in San Francisco, writes about New York and what the fans would have expected from Zito:

Playing there and earning that money, Zito would have been expected to be Roger Clemens multiplied by Pedro Martinez. He would have been expected to add 25 mph to his fastball, to spit broken teeth at opposing batters when his arm gave out and, what the heck, to grow a pencil-thin mustache for dramatic effect.

New Yawkers are funny that way. They like their heroes larger than life. Sometimes even that isn't enough. Randy Johnson -- 6-foot-10, 225 pounds -- joined the Yankees two years ago. In his first day on the mean streets, he stiff-armed a cameraman while burying the poor fellow in a hailstorm of unpleasantries. You may have read about it -- the incident made all 237 daily newspapers in the greater New York area.

Now Johnson wants out of the Bronx Zoo. His desire to be traded back to the Arizona Diamondbacks is driven in part by family concerns, but you can bet he won't look back should it come to pass.

It is highly unlikely that Zito -- decidedly life-sized at a Zen-like 6-foot-4, 205 pounds -- would have been what New York wanted him to be. You may recall reading somewhere just a few days ago -- OK, it was here -- that Zito's free agent odyssey would end A. with him signing with the Mets, and B. unhappily.

It's pretty funny. But there are seeds of truth in every lie. I can't deny that we, as fans, demand the best from our players. Look at what they are paid!

Can you blame us?

Didn't think so.

Expecting anything less is just nonsense. If they don't want to be treated like that, than they should take a substantial pay cut. End of story.

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