Newsday’s Stephen Haynes boldy challenges popular notions surrounding the much traveled Carl Everett, as he finds the former Mets/Red Sox/Mariners/Astros/White Sox outfielder nothing less than a joy to be around during his stint with that repository of the extremely washed-up, the Long Island Ducks.
Carl Everett sang and danced, high-fived fans, called to concession stand workers and ordered free beer for a fan as he sauntered around the stands before Tuesday’s Ducks game.
“All I know is that I should still be in the big leagues,” Everett said. “You have people judge you according to what others say and not on what they know. That’s the only reason I’m here.”
But by all accounts, the man known for his surly attitude, crotch-grabbing, controversial comments (“You can’t say there were dinosaurs when you never saw them.”) and alleged head butt of an umpire has been a model citizen. According to stadium workers, he tosses autographed T-shirts into the stands and converses with fans. In the clubhouse, he’s convivial Carl.
“He drives me crazy with all the talking and singing, but he’s great,” said Jose Offerman, who is Everett’s locker mate, as he was with the Red Sox. “We love having him around.”
“He’s been perfect,” manager Dave LaPoint said of his designated hitter, who leads the team with 10 homers. “I heard about all this baggage, but I’ve seen none of it. He’s a good, humble man.”
It’s possible that the two-time All-Star and 2005 world champion (he hit .444 for the White Sox against the Astros) has been humbled by his relegation to an independent league, but Everett says the perception of him has never been accurate. “I know me; the media don’t,” he said. “Just read the articles and compare it to what you see. It’s totally different, and I haven’t changed.”
Everett, who is hitting .282, said if he isn’t signed by an MLB team after this year, he’ll retire to pursue philanthropic endeavors.
Everett said that in his hometown of Tampa, which has produced numerous big-leaguers, youngsters have stopped playing baseball because of the expenses. This, he said, has led to the paucity of black players.
“It’s now a pay sport,” said Everett, whose childhood hobbies was fishing. “I’ve had kids tell me, ‘My dad’s not going to continue to pay for this, so I’m switching to football.”