Strawberry gave an impromptu "pep talk" to some of the Mets stars last Thursday in Washington, imploring them to ignore the criticism and just play. A pair of newer Mets - identified on WFAN as Jeff Francoeur and Jason Bay - were said to be bothered by it right after it happened.
"That was just Darryl being passionate about the team," said one Met who asked not to be identified. "If you haven't spent a lot of time talking to him, maybe you don't realize how he can be."
If Francoeur and Bay, who had two RBI apiece in the 8-0 victory over Philadelphia Tuesday night, were initially bothered, it doesn't appear they are any longer.
"It's not like he just let us have it," said Francoeur whose second-inning single ended an 0-for-12 skid. "He wanted to let us know that we're better than we were playing and that we need to do better. It's not a big deal. It's not like he came in (cursing) at the whole clubhouse.
"If it was some Joe Blow coming in and saying it, yeah," he added, when asked if he had a problem with it.
"When you talk about someone coming and getting on guys, that's motivation," said Bay, who has a 16-game hit streak at Citi Field. "He didn't come in to (tick) guys off or anything like that. He came in to motivate guys. Sometimes when the guys in here aren't doing it, you get somebody like that and it works. . . . We've been playing well ever since."
If Francoeur was taken aback, maybe it was because he was surprised by the source and not the message.
"Shoot, my dad has jumped me 75 times harder than that before," he said. "I can take criticism and I can use advice. . . . At no point did I take exception to it.
Now when the story first came out after it happened, the NY media had Darryl pissing off the whole team and causing a ruckus in the locker room. As usual the everybody who jumped to conclusions had to take a step back and wait for the truth to come out. If you like or don't like Darryl you still have to know that he still after all these years just cares about the team and wants to see them play up to the level they should be with the talent they have. All I know is since this little "episode" the Mets have been playing much better in taking the last game in Washington and two of three from the Yankees and the first of a three game set with the division leading Phillies. (They are winning early in the second game as I write this) I really don't know if it's coincidence or if Darryl lit a little fire under the team. I don't really care as long as the wins keep coming.
Here are a few Darryl Strawberry cards to show off from my collection.