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Newsday.com: Bitter Hidalgo has last laugh

Discussion in 'Houston Astros' started by bigboymumu, Aug 10, 2004.

  1. bigboymumu

    bigboymumu Member

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    Bitter Hidalgo has last laugh


    The Mets have little to get excited about during the last two months of the season, but there is one subject that still riled Richard Hidalgo in a discussion about this week's visit by his former team, the Astros.

    As soon as the name Jimy Williams was mentioned, the soft-spoken Hidalgo became angry, his voice cutting through the Motown hits playing on the clubhouse stereo on a lazy Sunday morning.

    Williams was fired by the Astros the day after the All-Star Game, when he was booed at his home ballpark, but the bitterness Hidalgo feels toward his former manager has not subsided.

    Hidalgo refuses to go into detail about his clashes with Williams, an ongoing feud that he said began in 2002. That contentious relationship is why Hidalgo fell into the Mets' laps in the lopsided June 17 trade that sent reliever David Weathers and Triple-A starter Jeremy Griffiths to the Astros.

    "It made me sick," Hidalgo said. "I don't really understand why he did some things to me."

    Hidalgo will only acknowledge that he repeatedly clashed with Williams. The final blowout came after the manager told him he would no longer be an everyday player for the Astros. It was a shock to Hidalgo, who felt he couldn't function in that hostile environment.

    "How can I play my game like that?" Hidalgo said. "How can I go into the clubhouse like that? I didn't want to see anybody. [Williams] was driving me crazy over there."

    The Mets talked about fixing Hidalgo's swing, but the only thing he truly needed was a less stressful working environment. Hidalgo made an immediate impact, launching a 13-game hitting streak that began a week after the trade. He batted .400 (20-for-50) during that stretch with seven home runs and 12 RBIs. The Williams curse had been lifted.

    "The first day I got out of Houston, I was feeling so good, so happy," Hidalgo said. "I'm glad that I'm here."

    With Hidalgo's production falling off lately, the Mets probably wish Williams - and not his replacement, Phil Garner - was going to be in the Astros' dugout tonight for the opener of the three-game series. Maybe just seeing the black-and-gold uniforms will be enough.

    After slamming two home runs in Montreal on the first day of the Mets' just-completed trip, Hidalgo batted .159 (7-for-44) with 2 homers, 5 RBIs and 11 strikeouts in the next 12 games as the Mets stumbled out of contention.

    Hidalgo, whose average is down to .258, whiffed three times in Sunday's 6-2 loss to the Cardinals, but with Mike Piazza slumping badly, manager Art Howe is reluctant to give his rightfielder a break, even though he has started all 45 games since the trade. It might be in the Mets' best interest to make sure he's in the lineup against the Astros the next three days.

    "I know when I got traded from the Pirates, I couldn't wait to play against them," Howe said. "It's just a business, but as a player you take it personally, especially the first time that you're traded."

    The Mets are hungering for more of the same power that Hidalgo unleashed Friday night in crushing a 470-foot home run that caromed off the leftfield scoreboard at Busch Stadium. It was the type of awesome blast that Cardinals fans had been accustomed to seeing from Mark McGwire, but Hidalgo said he had two more impressive shots in previous visits to Busch. Both, he said, sailed over the Big Mac Land advertisement on the fa├žade of the leftfield upper deck that McGwire made famous during his record season in 1998.

    "It was a long way, so I remember those," Hidalgo said. "How can I forget that?"

    Based on his reaction to the departed Williams, Hidalgo is someone who doesn't easily forget things, whether they are tape-measure home runs or slights from a manager. In his mind, Hidalgo got his revenge when Williams was fired, and he did not hide his feelings when asked if he applauded the move.

    "You know what? Yes," Hidalgo said. "I believe everybody in Houston was happy about that."

    MRI clear for Matsui. An MRI of Kazuo Matsui's back was negative, the Mets said yesterday, but his return is uncertain after he was removed from Sunday's game in the fifth inning because of back spasms.

    Matsui missed three games last week with a bone bruise above his left ankle. He said Sunday that the spasms were the result of compensating for the nagging leg injury.

    The condition bothered him occasionally in Japan, Matsui said, lasting from a few days to a month.
     
  2. Rocketman95

    Rocketman95 Hangout Boy

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    Let's see, he says Jimy said stuff to him that made him sick, but won't say what it is...

    Yeah riiiiiiiiiight. What made you sick is that you sucked and Jimy was sick of playing you. Good riddance Hidalgo.
     
  3. LongTimeFan

    LongTimeFan Contributing Member

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    Riiiiiiight. But if he would've gone into detail about them and blasted Jimy, then he would be unprofessional, right?
     
  4. Rocketman95

    Rocketman95 Hangout Boy

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    You think it's any more professional to say a former manager said things to you that made you sick? He didn't think far enough ahead to make up his story. Simple as that.
     
  5. Dennis2112

    Dennis2112 Contributing Member

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    It doesn't matter, after a hot start, he still sucks in NY just like he did here.
     
  6. LongTimeFan

    LongTimeFan Contributing Member

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    I think it's more professional to keep your mouth closed and just say we didn't get a long, then to completely bash the guy and tell of every incident where they fought and how bad he was. So, yes, I feel Hidalgo is being professional.
     
  7. Rocketman95

    Rocketman95 Hangout Boy

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    How do you keep your mouth closed and say something? If he wanted to be professional about it, he'd have shut his overpaid, underperforming ass up about the entire thing. Instead he didn't just say they didn't get along, but that Williams said things that made him sick. At that point, you don't lose any professionalism by saying what was said. It's already gone.
     

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