Saturday, February 27, 2010

Is Luis Castillo the most despised man in queens?

Besides Omar and Jeff that is?

Wow, I’ll tell you, to listen to the fans who call sports talk radio and write into sports websites, Luis Castillo must have beaten up a lot of guys’ grandmothers… because it seems EVERYONE hates him.

What is this a product of really? Well, to me I think it’s a matter of perception, because in reality Castillo has a pretty good 2009.

He batted .302, scored 77 runs, stole 20 bases, had an on-base percentage of .387 and only struck out 58 times.

But ask any Mets fan about 2009 (hell, ask any YANKEE fans about Castillo’s 2009) and what you will get is “He dropped that damn pop up.”

It’s the kind of thing even the best fielders (and at this point Castillo cannot be counted among the “best” fielders) do on some occasions. He went to make a one handed catch on an easy pop up and dropped that damn ball. Of course it was in the bottom of the 9th with two out and a one run lead in Yankee Stadium, which means it might as well have been in game seven of the world series.

It’s a crime he’ll likely never be forgiven for.

Castillo came to camp in 2008 (after signing a ridiculous four year, $25 million contract in the offseason) looking a little out of shape and basically had a lousy season. The fans were unhappy with him already and wanted him traded in the offseason and replaced with Orlando Hudson. That didn’t happen. Then in 2009, with him facing the wrath of the fans for his bad 2008, he made the ultimate error… being the focal part and the considered main reason they lost a game they should have won against the mighty Yankees.

The thing is, at what point do you take a step back and look objectively at the situation? Castillo isn’t the ideal second baseman right now, I agree, but considering he had a fairly good year last season despite the entire team looking like the inside of a M.A.S.H. unit, maybe the guy deserves the benefit of the doubt? He’s what the Mets have right now. They tried again (in vain) to trade him in the offseason and couldn’t make it work… and going into the season he’s likely looking at a lot of boos from a lot of frustrated fans who seem to think poor Luis is worthy of their wrath. However, it’s really something Mets fans should be reconsidering. If Reyes is back and being Reyes, and Castillo can put up the numbers he did last year, The tables should be properly set for Wright, Bay and (eventually) Beltran. At this point, unless he starts playing poorly, maybe the guy shouldn’t be considered such a target .

Yeah, he had a lousy 2008 after signing a contract that made even Castillo fans scratch their heads. Yeah, he dropped a ball that would have given the Mets a nice win over the hated Yankees. But is he REALLY deserving of such animosity? Think about it.

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