Former Met Lastings Milledge was recently waived by the Pirates, a serious blow to the outfielder who’d already flunked out of Billy Wagner’s Baseball Etiquette Finishing School some years ago. Currently playing winter ball with Venezuela’s Tigres de Aragua, Milledge reportedly mimed tossing a hand grenade into the dugout of the opposing Tiburones de La Guaira after hitting a double this past Sunday night. A subsequent plunking of Milledge led to a rather large brawl between both teams, leading New York Baseball Digest’s Mike Silva to scold, “(this was) not the best way to let 30 general managers know that you have matured and are serious about playing baseball” (“Milledge has talked about growing up in the past, but apparently that is still a work in progress”).
OK, granted, the stories sound pretty awful, but shouldn’t a club be interested in a player who possesses Lastings’ bouncebackability? Check out the footage above ; just two days removed from charges of nearly sparking a riot, Milledge went yard against Tiburones, and his Tigres teammates and fans showered him with love. Fuck that “growing up” booshite, Milledge received far too much heat for showing the sort of passion for the game sorely lacking from recent Mets squads. If he’s demonstrated a little more flamboyance than old-schoolers like Silva are comfortable with, surely I don’t have to remind anyone that there’s a precedent for once-shunned, larger-than-life characters to parlay excellence south of the border into a new opportunity with an MLB organization?