Why Luis Castillo was Released
There are several reasons Luis Castillo was released by the Mets:
1. His skills have diminished with age
2. Because of his advance age and diminished skills, he does not factor into the team’s long-term plans
3. His presence prevents younger players with upside from developing at the position
4. He is not a fan favorite; i.e., keeping him on the team will not necessarily “put fannies in the seats”
There are also many reasons why Luis Castillo was not a favorite of Mets fans:
1. That dropped popup against the Yankees
2. His performance did not seem to substantiate his high salary
3. His propensity for hitting into double plays frustrated fans
4. His tendency to strike out looking with runners in scoring position frustrated fans
5. Chicks dig the long ball, and Luis doesn’t hit the long ball
Surely there are reasons I missed on both lists. Just as surely, not one of the reasons was related to race, as Andy Martino suggested in a recent newspaper column.
I’m not sure what is more telling about that article — that Martino is an extreme leftist with a warped view of reality, or that the New York Daily News is so desperate to sell papers and attract online eyeballs that the editors are encouraged to publish such unsubstantiated trash. We know the Daily News is not a bastion of editorial integrity, and has always relied on shocking headlines to sell papers, but suggesting that the release of Luis Castillo was racially motivated is a desperate and irresponsible stretch.
If it’s true — as Martino suggests — that the Mets released Castillo because they felt that the fan base has a racial bias against Dominican infielders, or Latin-American players in general, then why do so many Reyes jerseys get sold? Similarly, why at any Mets game do we see so many jerseys and t-shirts emblazoned with the names “Santana” and “Beltran”? And why, if the fanbase is racist, did the Mets bring in Ronny Paulino, Pedro Beato, Manny Acosta, Luis Hernandez, and other Latin Americans to compete for spots in camp? Why are they continuing to give Oliver Perez every chance to make the team?
Are there people among the Mets fan base who have a “problem” with players who come from backgrounds different from themselves? Of course. Are the number of racists among the fan base so significant that it would motivate the Mets to release a player to sell more tickets? Please.
Here is the extent of Martino’s “evidence” that Mets fans don’t like Luis Castillo because of his race:
In a sampling of recent Twitter posts, he is described as “lazy” and “hated.”
The shocking truth, eh? If Twitter was around when Kevin McReynolds played, I bet he’d be similarly described in tweets. Would that mean fans hated him because he was white and Irish?
Martino is getting grilled for the story in many outlets, both in mainstream media and in the blogosphere. Imagine if a blogger wrote a post that suggested the Mets released Castillo because of his race … what would be the backlash from “professional” journalists? No doubt the “pros” would rip bloggers and dismiss blogging in general as unreliable, amateurish, and unworthy of being read. Thankfully, it wasn’t a blogger who pulled the race card — otherwise it may have set the blogosphere back by five years. I’d like to hear Buzz Bissinger’s take on Martino’s column.
What do you think? Do Mets fans hate Luis Castillo because of his ethnicity?