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Washington Catcher Paul Lo Duca Hates the Mets...And So Do I...But Do I Like Lo Duca In DC??

The New York sports media got their first crack at Paul Lo Duca this past Monday when the Mets and Nationals, (but not the injured Lo Duca), met for the first time on the field since the 36-year old catcher signed with DC this winter, leaving the Mets after two years of service in Queens. The desire to part ways was apparently not mutual, with Lo Duca claiming in a widely-circulated interview that stories about he and the Mets failing to agree on a deal after a stalemate over years and numbers, a fact which did appear in most articles on the Mets' catching situation this offseason, is patently false, or as Lo Duca tells Newark Star-Ledger Staff writer Lisa Kennelly in her article, "Ex-Met seeks revenge":

"'Are you kidding me with that?' Lo Duca said. "Seriously. There was never a phone call." writer Marty Noble's article from 11/17/07 entitled, "Mets end talks with catcher Torrealba", would seem to substantiate Mr. Lo Duca's claim that the Mets never called, by simply reporting the silence on the situation from Mets' GM Omar Minaya, as Mr. Noble writes:

"Minaya declined to say whether he planned to renew contact or if he had made contact with Paul Lo Duca's agent, who seemingly had been eliminated as a candidate to catch next season."

Now taking for granted that there would be an implied, and ubiquitous, follow-up quote from Mr. Minaya...(and all MLB GM's for that matter) stressing that the Mets, as a policy, don't discuss contract negotiations, the fact that the Mets' GM quote, "...declined to say...if he had made contact..." with Lo Duca, and the fact that Willie Randolph told another writer, Anthony DiComo, two days earlier, on 11/15/07, in an article entitled, "Randolph praises Lo Duca", that:

"'I thought he brought a lot to the table this year, but that doesn't mean that you hold onto a guy because of that,' Randolph said of Lo Duca. 'You hope you can bring other guys in that maybe can pick up that slack. But each year is totally different.'"

...a quote which would seem to justify Mr. Lo Duca's sense of rejection...and later in Mr. DiComo's article, he quotes the Mets' Manager again, with Mr. Randolph making the disputed claim:

"'He (Lo Duca) wants three or four years, and we have to look at that and see how that fits into our plans,' Randolph said of his old catcher. 'But I like Lo Duca. I think Paulie's the kind of player that knows how to win, and that gives me all that he has every day.'"

"'Are you kidding me with that?' Lo Duca said. "Seriously. There was never a phone call."

A varitation of the Mets' claim also appears in another Marty Noble article at from 11/20/07 entitled, "Mets deal for veteran catcher Estrada", in which Mr. Noble writes, (after catcher Johnny Estrada signed with New York as a free agent...):

"Lo Duca earned $6.25 million last season and was seeking a raise and a contract covering more years than the Mets were willing to afford him."

"'Are you kidding me with that?' Lo Duca said. "Seriously. There was never a phone call."

New York Daily News Sports Writer Adam Rubin backs Lo Duca's claims in his 3/18/08 article, "Paul Lo Duca can't mask irritation with Omar Minaya and wounded feelings", in which Mr. Rubin reports:

"The Mets have suggested Lo Duca's reps were seeking an unpalatable three-year deal, but it's clear there never was any negotiation or legitimate interest."

...Prompting Mr. Lo Duca to state, quite conspiratorially, as quoted by Mr. Rubin:

"'Maybe I wasn't the first choice to begin with,' Lo Duca noted, referring to his Dec. 5, 2005, arrival in Flushing during a Marlins fire sale."

At, New York Post sports writer Mark Hale quotes Paul Lo Duca, in a punnily titled article, "METS TOOK LO ROAD", (subtitled, "MIFFED CATCHER: AMAZIN'S NEVER CALLED ME"), in which Mr. Lo Duca explains the kind of treatment he expected from the Mets:

"'I wouldn't have been as upset if they would have just come to me and said we're going in a different direction,' Lo Duca said.

'And that's it. Regardless of what you read, there was no communication, no offer, no nothing.'"

..and Paul Lo Duca continues to openly express his opinion in a New York Times' article by sports writer Charlie Nobles entitled, "Hard Feelings Emerge as Mets Face Lo Duca", which quotes an obviously disappointed Lo Duca admitting to what he:

" an odd and frustrating feeling of wanting to stay in New York and not having the sentiment reciprocated.

"'Any time in your lifetime when you're not wanted, it's tough,' he (Lo Duca) said. "But that's it. It's on to a new start."

Lo Duca had previously claimed to be over his time in New York, as he was quoted by's Bill Ladson in Mr. Ladson's article, "Nats sign backstop Lo Duca", from 12/11/07 which reported on Lo Duca's $5.1 million, 1-year deal with DC, and quoted the catcher stating soberly:

"'It's water under the bridge," Lo Duca said. "The older I get, the less upset I get. I'm excited to be with the team that wants me going into a new ballpark -- that's going in the right direction. That's the way I look at it. It was disappointing [to leave the Mets]. It's over with -- this game is full of disappointments."

What should get Nationals' fans excited with Lo Duca's Nationals' debut still pending, (but expected any day), are some of the other quotes Mr. Lo Duca provided Bill Ladson for the same article, in which Mr. Ladson writes that Lo Duca is, "...looking forward to playing the Mets 18 times," and then quotes the catcher, who gives his best wishes to the Mets for their future success:

"I hope they lose every game, because I want to win every game. If they lose every game, that means we are going up the ladder. That's the way I look at it. It's tough love, so be it."

...and as for why Paul Lo Duca chose the Nationals? According to Mr. Ladson's article, Lo Duca felt that in his opinion:

"'...the Nationals wanted me more. That's the way I looked at it. A big part of it was staying in the National League, knowing the National League East, and [the fact that we will] play the Mets 18 times. That has a lot to do with(sic).'"

If Paul Lo Duca can hit for his career .288 AVG, that would be a significant offensive improvement over Brian Schneider, who hit for a .252 AVG over his 8 seasons in Montreal and DC, with an average of 10 HR's and 63 RBI's over that time, according to Schneider's profile's 162-Game Average projections, while Lo Duca's averaged 13 HR's and 74 RBI's per.

As for my feelings for Lo Duca, as a Nationals' fan...I'll wait to see how Lo Duca recovers from surgery on his knee and helps the Nationals this season before I decide whether or not to forgive him for pretending he tagged Soriano out on that Opening Day play...