McDonald: Cespedes Deserves Better From Fans

NY Sports Day Columnist Joe McDonald weighs in on Yoenis Cespedes and the rude reception he received from Mets fans over the weekend.

Story originally published on nysportsday.com

Oh, come on now! How quickly does the Flushing Faithful forget?

Yoenis Cespedes went from 2015 darling to getting booed in the second home game of the season. Who cares if he took a sweetheart deal to return and so what if he carried the New York Mets to the World Series last year?

This is 2016 and the fans want to see results.

“We have a passionate fan base,” said manager Terry Collins. “The one thing I know is they want to win, so when you strikeout or pop up, it’s part of playing here. They want to win and we do too. No one feels worse than Yoenis.”

Sure, it could be the under 40 degree weather that made the crowd ornery or maybe it’s just the nature of playing in New York, but man, can you give the guy some slack. He’s bound to go into a slump or tow and after what he did last season, he shouldn’t be treated like a wet dog by the crowd after two home games.

Cespedes should have some house money with New York after hitting 17 home runs the last two months of the season, carrying the Mets to the NL East crown. He then told his agents to get a deal done with the club because he was so comfortable playing in Queens.

All of that is forgotten when you go 0 -4 with three strikeouts to bring you to 2-16 on the season.

Yes, we know the fans are paying customers and can boo if they want to, but try hitting Phillies starter Vince Velasquez, who seemed to have had the whole team stymied, leading to the 1-0 win.

“We hit some balls good,” Collins said. “It was one of those nights that it was going to be tough offensively. You had to come up with the big single, but we didn’t have many guys on. It was just one of those games.”

The Mets are now in new territory with Cespedes, who didn’t go through the slumps last season. Instead they will have to work with him and see how coachable he will be.

And because the guy seems to beat to his own drum, so it will be interesting to see if hitting coach Kevin Long and Collins can easily snap him out of some bad habits.

“He didn’t have (a slump) last year, so we didn’t have to pay attention,” Collins said. “If we could get him to stop chasing a bit and start squaring some balls up.”

Also you have to wonder if Cespedes will react negatively to being booed. He didn’t seem happy today – no one was – but this is the first time he’s gotten negative attention here.

It’s partially why the Mets didn’t want to go long-term with the 30 year-old. A three-year contract with a one- year, can correct a mistake if Cespedes feels that this season isn’t as warm and fuzzy as the last.

But let’s not look that far down the road. There’s 158 games left in the season for the slugger to make good on the bet and the better news is that it starts tomorrow.

“He’s played enough games in this town that expectations are high when you are a star,” Collins said. “It was just one night and tomorrow he will get three hits and they will be giving him a standing ovation.”

And if he doesn’t, Cespedes still doesn’t deserve to get booed the first week of the season.

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