Different Animals

manuel-ghandi-smBack in May, before the entire Mets roster went on the disabled list, there were many “stars” in the lineup but only a handful of “gamers” — the type of players who went all-out, all the time, regardless of the score, the opponent, or the condition of their body.

One of those players was Ryan Church.

Or, as Jerry Manuel described him — AFTER he left the Mets:

“You have to be careful into stereotyping individuals. David is a different animal, so to speak. How he is made up is a little different than, say, Ryan Church, in my opinion. That’s not to say that one is better than the other, but they’re different.

With Ryan, there was always something thrown from leftfield – ‘We need to check that.’ That made it somewhat difficult to evaluate that particular situation.”

Um … actually, it IS saying one is better than the other. Further, it’s saying that Ryan Church isn’t as “tough” as David Wright.

Strangely enough, it was Church who was rushed back into service not once but twice after concussion injuries, while the “different animal” known as David Wright was immediately placed on the DL.

To Church’s credit, he acknowledged Manuel’s statement but wouldn’t engage it any further:

“I could read between the lines,” Church said before the Mets-Braves series opener at Citi Field. “It was kind of a cheap shot, but it is what it is. I’m not going to get into a pissing contest. It’s not worth it. I’m here trying to make the playoffs”

Manuel’s response was Minayalike:

“What I was referring to is that he is different from David Wright … I didn’t mean no intent … I just mean they are different individuals”

Huh? “Didn’t mean no intent” ? What in the world does that mean? Ah, heck … moving on …

Now, there has always been buzz that Church was a guy who didn’t play through pain the way some other players do — one rumor is that Frank Robinson hated Church for his reputed “softness”. Regardless of that reputation, it’s unfair for one individual to judge another’s pain — and it’s completely unacceptable to measure one’s toughness when it comes to head / brain injuries.

Maybe Ryan Church was “soft” before he came to New York, but he played as hard as anyone when he was on the field and wearing the orange and blue. His type of animal is welcome in my zoo any day of the week.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. edfever August 19, 2009 at 11:15 am
    Frank Robinson is well liked by this group of Mets mgt.= Minaya, Alomar, Manuel, Shines all have ties – i’m sure he had their ear as it’s clear he wasn’t a Manuel guy since day one of this season.

    I intially thought maybe he was using the episode to send a message to Reyes and didn’t mind stepping on Church to do so, but maybe I’m reading too much into it.

  2. Stephen Greene August 19, 2009 at 12:28 pm
    Where does Frank Robinson fit in this?
    Church came back from the DL. What about
    Carlos and Carlos and Jose I guess they are not
    made of the Wright stuff?
  3. Wally August 19, 2009 at 12:50 pm
    Why would Omar acquire Church in the first place if Robby had bad things to say about him?
  4. Walnutz15 August 19, 2009 at 1:19 pm
    If this is the case, then Frank Robinson would hate a large-majority of this current Met-team.

    “With Ryan, there was always something thrown from leftfield – ‘We need to check that.’ That made it somewhat difficult to evaluate that particular situation.”” — replace Ryan with any other Met-name on the D.L. right now, and you’ll encounter the same exact situation….excuses, double-talk, and “out of left field” b.s.

    Additionally, it should be apparent to all that anyone associated with this team — stepping outside of the “company line” to give a quote — will butcher it 6-ways ’til Sunday….and immediately have to go into damage-control, hours after the original was issued.

  5. edfever August 19, 2009 at 1:51 pm
    I was simply adding to Joe’s thought not blaming everything on Frank Robinson, Church was available because he was the black sheep in washington.

    Many linked his status to some comments he made but there were grumblings that he was precieved as soft and needed to be pushed. Those grumbling, while I never saw them substantiated were attributed to his manager Robinson.

    Church was an Omar guy, he had acquire him from the indians when he was with the Expos. he re-acquires him with the Mets but then lets the mgr. basically run him out of town, what changed.

    Come 2009 suddenly he’s in the doghouse and now that time has past the same grumblings are coming out. either two seperate managers have come to the same conclusions with the second getting the GMs ear ( who liked the player) or the influential first got in the others ear.

    When Robinson first retired i rem. him spending alot of time in Omar’s box but didn’t get quite the warm reception from Willie , however Manuel and ALomar speak glowingly of him.

    All specualtion of course, could just be that Manuel and Church didn’t get along. Like I said I think manuel was sending a message to some of his slow healing players and didn’t mind using Church in the process.

  6. isuzudude August 20, 2009 at 12:04 pm
    What’s this? Another case of Jerry inserting his foot into his mouth? No, this is definitely the media blowing a story out of proportion again. Church is a pansy, and Jerry is always right. When are we finally going to get that?
  7. Walnutz15 August 20, 2009 at 12:14 pm
    This organization sucks — from top to bottom.