Ike Davis and New York Post Mets beat writer Mike Puma provided us with our first really good player vs. media fight of the 2014 baseball season Monday morning in Port St. Lucie. It stems from an article in today’s Post which was teased on the back page: “Ike’s Secret Injury in 2013.”
Puma writes that Davis concealed an oblique injury from the Mets most of the 2013 season — a year he batted .205 in 103 games and was demoted briefly to Triple A Las Vegas. Davis’ season came to an end in late August when he heard a “pop” in the oblique. Davis is quoted in the story and tried to downplay the injury saying, “It makes me look like a baby. It looks like I’m whining about how I [stunk]. I was terrible, now it’s over.”
But it wasn’t over. After the story was published Davis became angry in the Mets’ clubhouse Monday morning, questioning why Puma and the Post ran with it in the first place. Again Davis downplayed the injury telling reporters in the clubhouse:
“It’s an excuse. It shouldn’t have been a story anyway. … It’s just an overblown thing. Everyone has injuries and then they get hurt. So it was pointless to write an article. I sucked last year because I sucked. It’s not because I had an injury. You always have injuries. And now it just looks bad.”
The full audio of Davis’ rant, via Mets Blog, came be heard here:
Puma doesn’t appear as if he backed down, instead escalating tensions with Davis with a well-placed zinger about Davis’ penchant for strikeouts on the Boomer & Carton show:
It’s easy to see why Davis would be angry. On the one hand he doesn’t want to be labeled a whiner or use injuries — whatever the severity — as an excuse. Davis has also been subject of trade rumors all winter, so perhaps he’s frustrated and bubbled over when this story published. Then again, wouldn’t an injury — even if he concealed it — help explain his lousy 2013?
The final line of the Post story is a quote from Davis that reads, “I had an oblique injury for the whole season, basically.” The context of that quote from the conversation between the player and reporter is seemingly at issue since Davis says he told Puma it wasn’t a story. Of course what an athlete and what a reporter think constitutes “a story” can often fall in two separate spheres of perspective.
Puma cites “industry sources” tipping him off to Davis’ oblique issues and followed that up. It’s possible the injury was a minor, nagging type of thing — Davis says it was soreness from extra batting practice in the Post story. If Davis was hurt and didn’t tell either manager Terry Collins or GM Sandy Alderson that is very newsworthy, especially in the competitive New York media market.
In any event who’d have guessed of the two New York baseball teams it would be the Mets providing the first player/reporter fireworks. Less surprising is the Mets having potential injury issues with a player and having it play out like this.