It was a late Sunday night on the 30th of July when one of the most important New York Mets
got into an unfortunate car accident that ended his season. Setup man Duaner Sanchez was riding in a taxicab near the team’s hotel in Miami when a wayward car crashed into the vehicle. Sanchez was badly injured, he had suffered a season ending, separated shoulder. And although Duaner will recover from the accident with no adverse effects, the same cannot be said for the Mets 2006 championship aspirations.
The injury must have had quite a collapsing domino feel to it for Mets GM Omar Minaya, owner Fred Wilpon and manager Willie Randolph. Instead of working on a potential trade that might have landed a standout, starting pitcher like the Astros’ Roy Oswalt or the Giants’ Jason Schmidt, the New York Mets brass were busy getting rid of their right fielder to bolster their now pedestrian bullpen. In the end, the Mets were down Duaner Sanchez and outfielder Xavier Nady, and had brought in relief pitchers Roberto Hernandez (the former Met) and lefty Oliver Perez from the Pittsburgh Pirates. One would normally have thought that their National League pennant chances were in serious limbo, but not this year. The National League is so bad this season that it would probably take a complete collapse for the Mets not to get to the World Series despite these hard times.
By themselves, these events didn’t really interest me all that much, players get injured all the time, shit happens, move on, but the reaction of the New York press and sports talk shows was fascinating. In print and on the airwaves, several New York personalities went to great lengths to make sure that Duaner Sanchez was seen as a selfish, ungrateful bastard. If I hadn’t known better I would’ve thought that Sanchez had slaughtered the families of these so-called journalists.
The main “beef” that these people had with Sanchez is that he acted irresponsibly. To be clear, let me tell you exactly what Mr. Sanchez did on that fateful night. Most reports have stated that Sanchez, who hadn’t seen his brother in quite sometime, left the hotel that night to find a restaurant (read: bar) so he could catch up with his bro. Unfortunately, the cab they were in got into an accident and that’s that. The main word in this equation is: “unfortunate.” However, that’s not how the New York media portrayed it. Despite having an off day on Monday, “there’s no way Sanchez should have left that hotel,” they exclaimed. “He showed poor judgment and now his teammates are paying for it.”
Well, in my opinion, that’s ridiculous. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that Duaner Sanchez displayed exemplary judgment. He could have rented a car and gone gallivanting around Miami Beach half drunk and behind the wheel. But he didn’t. It’s unfortunate, that’s all. Duaner Sanchez did nothing and I for one am not going to crucify him.