With the 12th pick in June 2003 draft, Jim Duquette in the possibly only useful thing he did as General Manager of the Mets, selected Lastings Milledge. Milledge was touted as the best high school hitter in the draft.
Soon after that selection some innuendo was reported in the Daily News concern Milledge who was only 2 months past his 18th birthday when he was drafted may have a sexual relationship with an underage girl. It turned out that Milledge did have some sort of relationship with the girl while he was a high school junior and the girl was a freshman, which is not a crime in Florida or anywhere else in the free world, on account that half the adult male population would probably be considered sex offenders. The Mets in their first act of bad faith toward Lastings decided to with hold offering a him contract until they could "investigate" said charges, found nothing and offered him a large bonus to sign and he did. to Unbeknownst to him, his New York baseball career fate was likely sealed at that time, the image of Lastings as a black thug predator was out the of the bottle, and it wasn't going back in.
Milledge attended his first big league spring training in June of 2006, and did nothing but hit all spring, however his hitting wasn't the story. See was he sporting a large wooden cross and a shoulder length dreadlocks, which apparently annoyed Willie Randolph and several members of the media. Anyway he didn't make the team out of spring as expected, but made his debut in late May of that season, still wearing his cross and dreads, a game yours truly attended in person. Playing RF and batting 8th, he collected hist first major league hit, a double and his first outfield assist gunning down Craig Counsell going first to third to preserve a 1-1 tie in a well pitched game by starters Pedro Martinez and Brandon Webb. He went one to have a couple of relatively minor run ins with Randolph over him coming to day game late and one with Billy Wagner over who knows what. He also had a comical day Boston with Green Monster that won't be soon forgotten. Anyway he didn't perform too poorly hitting .241 with a decent walk rate some power including a bomb of a home run that tied a game against the Giants and he decided to high five some fans down the right field line. Not too bad for a 21 year old in his first major league look see, but not good enough for a lot of our media. He was called a "false prospect" by Wally Matthews and constantly derided as a thug and a trouble maker by many in the print press, due to the fact he wore dreads and a large cross.
So in the off-season he cut his hair and stopped wearing his cross on the field, put on about 10 pounds of muscle came to spring training declaring he was getting his grown man on, hit like a terror again to the point that he made the team as a reward for his hard work. With no dreads, young girls, or crosses to talk about, the press let Milledge fly under the radar for the most part sensing that they was nothing they could stir up negative about him, but they didn't stop digging. It turns out 18 months before he made a rap recording containing profanity and some references to women that were not the most respectful, note no laws were broken, as the first amendment allows him to say what ever he wants on record. It probably was a matter for his mother to deal with, but instead it ended up the front page of the newspapers as if its news that 20 year old guys sometimes say profane things and are times silly enough to record them. We were treated a picture of this hard-core thug Lastings wearing an Argyle sweater and sunglasses. Anyway after that furor died down Lastings return from being hurt all year and came and started hitting again (sensing a pattern here) and all was seemingly forgotten, until the Pittsburgh Pirates complained about him jokingly playing third base coach after a John Maine home run, never mind the suckitude the Pirates had going on allowing a HR to one of the worse hitting pitchers in the National League, Milledge was news again. The HR celebration controversy hit a crescendo after Milledge in a do or die game for the Mets slammed his second of two HRs (there is that guy hitting again) in a Saturday game against the Marlins and engaged in a dancing celebration with Jose Reyes. The Marlins were so offended they decided to throw not at Reyes who was the batting two spots in the order behind Milledge, but at Luis Castillo and they did not bother to actually hit the baseball, collecting a lone infield hit for the entire afternoons work. But after 16 hrs to ponder Milledge and Reyes dancing in the 5th inning the day before, they decided to be fired up, or maybe Tom Glavine sucked ass at pitching that Sunday, but the Mets got whipped pretty good that day and didn't make the playoffs. So of course, a scapegoat had to be found, why not the too cocky black kid we decided was a sex offender in 2003. Millions of trees died, hypertext served and hot air released all over the NYC Metro complaining about Milledge dancing.
So Omar Minaya had a choice in the matter, he could well say he isn't getting charged with rape, like Ramon Castro, or drunken conduct like Mike Defelice, or taking anabolic steroids like Guiliermo Mota or Lino Urdenta. Maybe we do not like his dancing or dreads but he is not breaking laws or anything and tell the writers who think differently to go pound sand. Alternatively, he could look at Milledge as a liability, just like how many owners looked at minority general manager a few years ago. It is obvious which way he chose. He let Wally Matthews, John Delcos and the writers decide that Milledge was a black thug problem child athlete and a hence a liability. Maybe that expedient for Mr. Minaya now, but now he bestowed the right of the press to decide which prospects are liabilities and which ones are good and wholesome, he surely won't mind when the prospect he has the they don't like they can decide to run him off the team. We do not like Delois Guerra personality; they can get rid of him. Do not like some Fernando Martinez taste in music we can get rid of him too. He had better hope they had sex with the right girls in high school. Also, not for nothing, good luck signing any black of consequence free agents to the Mets now, because when they have choices they'll choose us for that wonderful organization support when times get rough with the press. At least we know who runs the team now, and that our General Manager is simply a puppet for them.