Back 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.