What’s unrealistic

I don’t want to spend too much time on anything Mike Pelfrey said this weekend, or even the way it was presented or the fallout that followed. To belabor the relatively benign quotes and perpetuate the conversation about them is to do exactly what the New York Post hopes will happen when it makes them the focus of its game recap and publishes them under an inflammatory headline.

It’s not even a bad thing or something for which we should fault the paper or journalist responsible, it is only one more example of a business model that is as old as daily newspapers themselves. If you find it tiresome, upsetting or misleading, the best way to combat it is to understand the context and/or ignore it.

The rest of the quotes from Pelfrey in the same story, paragraphs beneath the weighty lead, present not only his confidence in the Mets’ front office but his willingness to shoulder responsibility for the club’s sub-.500 record in 2011. The most incendiary comment in the article comes from an anonymous teammate, who was likely reacting to only one small fraction of Pelfrey’s conversation with the reporter — just as countless Mets fans have.

For some reason, many people — including Pelfrey, apparently — decided that because Pelfrey pitched on Opening Day for the Mets in 2011, he should perform like the lauded True No. 1 Ace. It was never going to happen; Pelfrey does not have an effective enough arsenal of pitches to be more than the league-average innings-eater he has been since joining the Mets’ rotation full time in 2008.

He has suffered through a rough season, as pitchers who yield lots of contact sometimes do. And in the absence of obvious targets Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo, down-year Pelfrey makes for as good a bugaboo as any.

But it’s silly to punish a guy for some harmless, realistic comments and your own unrealistic expectations for his performance. If he pitched the the way he has pitched but said he thought the Mets were going to win the World Series in 2011, people would want to run him out of town for being delusional.

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