By all accounts, Luis Castillo is a good teammate and works hard at being a winning baseball player. So why is he universally disliked by Mets fans?
There are several reasons, not the least of which is the four-year contract that GM Omar Minaya “had” to sign him to following the 2007 season. Castillo, one of the few Mets to show up with a pulse during the second half of the Collapse, was rumored to be headed to the Astros following the 2007 campaign. The rest is history.
Though little has been written about it, according to several people I spoke with during the winter of 2007-08, Castillo’s recruiting or “positive feeling” about the Mets (Santana was incensed when then-GM Terry Ryan dealt Castillo to Mets in July ’07), went far in Santana’s final decision to agree to the blockbuster trade that brought the Cy Young Award winner to New York.
Castillo owns two World Series rings, has played through pain much of his career, and was arguably the Mets’ MVP in an otherwise dreadful 2009.
So what’s the deal?
I have my own theory, and frankly, as a lifelong Mets fan, as well as having covered the team since 1996, I have a unique perspective on this issue.
He’s not Wally Backman, Edgar Alfonzo, Felix Millan or even Danny Garcia. He’s a import that has seen better days, and is no longer the All-Star caliber player he was with his former teams. To many Mets fans, fairly or not, he is Roberto Alomar, Carlos Baerga and Kaz Matsui reincarnated.
Mets fans want a 2B who can “grow” with Jose Reyes, and current Triple-A SS Ruben Tejada fits that bill. They envision an infield of homegrown players; David Wright, Reyes, Tejada and Ike Davis, and are giddy about it getting closer to reality.
It’s hard to blame the Mets fan for that, and though I share that enthusiam, it’s unfair to a guy that shows up to play every day.
Even if he, as my wife pointed out recently “runs like a 90-year old man.”