Alas, he signed with the Marlins. There was a lot of he said/ he said type flinging of accusations between his agent David Sloane and the Mets G.M. Omar Minaya. But it seems like the real reason for Delgado spurning the Mets was everyone's favorite Republican Al Leiter. The longtime Met felt quite jilted when Minaya didn't want to re-sign him for 2005. So he got revenge by convincing Delgado out of coming to New York.
Al Leiter sweettalks the impressionable Carlos Delgado.
From today's NY Times:
Jeffrey Loria, the owner of the Marlins, put his money where Al Leiter's mouth was last month. This is how Florida got the free-agent first baseman Carlos Delgado, Leiter said, "I told him to join us if he wanted to be on a better team, a winning team, a team that has a lot of fun, in an environment in a pleasant stadium in South Florida, an hour and a half from San Juan."
Leiter, a new pitcher for the Marlins, also told Delgado, a native of Puerto Rico, that the Mets and New York were not the only team and place that could offer a diversified fan base.
"You talk about Latin influence; you can't get any more Latino than South Florida and South Beach," Leiter said recently.
Leiter said a major point he made to Delgado was that slumping in Miami would be no big deal. In New York, it is material for bold headlines.
"You're not going to deal with the craziness of the media and all the little brush fires that happen periodically," Leiter said. "Whether true or not. Whether rumor or not."
Leiter said the Marlins can compete financially with the Mets and the other teams that pursued Delgado with the help of a new stadium.
"The stadium is huge," Leiter said. "In March they are going to announce they are getting a new stadium next to the Orange Bowl that's fabulous. It's going to be a wonderful stadium. They're crossing the t's and dotting the i's now.
"It will be done in a way that Loria will lose some money for a couple of years. But he's a huge baseball fan. He impressed the heck out of me when he told me before I signed exactly when my first appearance was for the Yankees in 1987. Who it was against. He knew incidents within the game."
It amuses me to no end that Mr. Leiter was so impressed by Loria's knowledge of the game that it didn't even occur to him that perhaps Loria simply had an intern google "Al Leiter debut" and see what popped up. I barely made an effort and I immediately turned up this article from last September in which the information that impressed the heck out of Leiter is easily found in the last paragraph. And I didn't even try that hard. I guess Leiter isn't quite as cerebral as he would like us to believe.
Jeff Loria: Baseball Renaissance Man, Killer of Montreal Baseball
And leave it to the Mets to mail out a letter letting me know that I can preorder individual tickets because I'm a partial season ticket holder. Of course, the letter details all the big series at Shea this year, fairly standard winter promotional bullshit. But this line struck me as odd, " Highlights on Our 2005 home schedule include: The Florida Marlins, with Carlos Delgado; July 1-3." What? The Mets lost out on the slugger and then have the gall to promote his arrival as a reason to come see the Mets? Show Up at Shea!
Speaking of the upcoming season- I'm ordering tickets this weekend for the home opener which is Monday afternoon, April 11. If you want me to get you a ticket, let me know before the weekend.