The New York Times’ William Rhoden drops a heavy name while chatting with the Mets’ budding indie label operator, Lastings Milledge.
œGrowing takes time, but nobody™s going to wait on you, Milledge said. œYes, it™s good to be young and everything like that. At the same time, you™ve got to produce.
Milledge said that he wouldn™t be devastated by starting the season in Class AAA. But he would be deeply disappointed to be sent down for seasoning.
œI hate the word seasoning, he said. œYou™re either going to do it or you™re not. Noting the obvious ” that Class AAA is not the major leagues ” Milledge added, œYou need big-league experience to become a big-league All-Star, to become what you want to become in the big leagues.
When he was told about Milledge™s take on the minors, Randolph said, œYou have to make sure you™re ready for the majors, and Triple A is a good proving ground for that.
Randolph added: œThere™s a real fire inside this kid that I like. People may look at it as being cocky or arrogance. I don™t see it like that. He competes.
œI believe we have to be patient ” no matter how impatient he might be. We have to be patient with him because I think once he figures some things out, he™s probably going to wow you a little bit.
In the spirit of patience, I shared an anecdote with Milledge about a young trumpet player I met several years ago at a club in New York. The musician had achieved the highlight of his career by joining the Sun Ra Arkestra, which was playing that night. He said that he was so eager to do well that he practiced incessantly, day and night. Finally, a veteran band member took him aside and told the young musician not to rush the process. The veteran used the analogy of planting a tree. He said you could drench the tree three times a day, seven days a week, but the tree would not grow any faster, and in fact might die.
Milledge thought for a moment about the tree, the trumpet player and his career.
œI wouldn™t compare it to a tree, he said. œUltimately, the tree™s going to grow, that™s guaranteed. It™s not guaranteed I™m going to blossom and grow into an All-Star.