NEW YORK -- Upon re-signing with the Mets last offseason, Yoenis Cespedes spent much of his press conference waxing poetic about New York. Cespedes fawned over the five boroughs, expressing his love for the Mets and their fans.When a newspaper report brought those allegiances in question on Friday, Cespedes forcefully
NEW YORK -- Upon re-signing with the Mets last offseason, Yoenis Cespedes spent much of his press conference waxing poetic about New York. Cespedes fawned over the five boroughs, expressing his love for the Mets and their fans.
When a newspaper report brought those allegiances in question on Friday, Cespedes forcefully reaffirmed them, praising New York, the Mets and manager Terry Collins.
"This is my home," Cespedes said through an interpreter following the Mets' 7-5 win over the A's. "This is my team. I love those fans. I can't say that enough that this is my home."
Earlier Friday, the San Francisco Chronicle quoted Cespedes as saying he would like to finish his Major League career with the A's, the organization that brought him to the United States from Cuba in 2012. While Cespedes did not retract that notion, saying "it would be nice" if he finished his playing days in Oakland, he called the article a "misrepresentation" of his comments and "a little bit of an error" on the author's part.
Mostly, Cespedes chafed over a portion of the story in which he called Oakland's Bob Melvin "the best manager" for whom he has played -- a statement that some interpreted as a condemnation of his current boss, Collins.
"That does not take away from my relationship with Terry," Cespedes clarified on Friday. "That does not mean that I do not have a good relationship with Terry, that we don't get along well, that I don't respect him. Like I said when I first got here, this is my home. This is my team. The way everyone greeted me here, the fans -- nothing has changed that. This is my home."
Asked about Cespedes' comments following Friday's game, Collins said he was hearing them for the first time.
"Bob's a great manager," Collins quipped. "I don't blame him."
With that, Collins and Cespedes did their best to deflect an article that rapidly spiraled into a social media firestorm. Some Mets fans, restless with Cespedes' .204 July batting average and frequent lower body injuries, used the Chronicle story as a platform to question his commitment to the organization. Overall in his age-31 season, Cespedes is batting .282 with nine home runs in 49 games. He missed six weeks earlier this year due to quad and hamstring injuries.
Yet few doubted Cespedes' love of New York when he inked a four-year, $110 million contract in November, demanding a full no-trade clause in the deal. At a press conference shortly after signing that deal, Cespedes said: "God willing, I will finish my career with this team."
Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook.