Are Milledge’s makeup issues exaggerated?

Quite a bit has been made recently about Lastings Milledge being a “cancer in the clubhouse.” While this could be true, I think fans are dismissing him pretty quickly based entirely on reputation. It did not help that his arrival meant the departure of Nyjer Morgan, a favorite among fans and teammates (and virtually everyone else that has ever known him). Anyway, Dejan lists the known transgressions in Milledge’s past in the PG’s article on the trade. Let’s take a look at them.

In 2007, Milledge performed on a profanity-laced rap album that prompted one New York city councilman to declare, “He’s lost his mind.”

Does anyone care about this? Is this the first time anyone has ever made a profane rap album? Has anyone ever listened to the vocabulary of an average major league player?

The previous year, he followed his first major league home run with a victory lap of high-fives with Shea Stadium fans.

From what I understand about this incident, he high-fived some fans on his way out to right field the next inning. It was not exactly a Cal Ripken type of victory lap. In fact, this action seems pretty Nyjer-ish.

Going back further, he was expelled from Northside Christian School in Florida amid allegations of inappropriate behavior with a 15-year-old girlfriend.

There does not seem to be much public information on this vague incident. Since I don’t know much about it, I will not claim that it is not a big deal. It very well might be an extremely big deal. Or maybe a high school boy was caught making out with a high school girl in the stairwell. I just don’t see any indication that this incident that occurred when Milledge was in high school will tear apart the clubhouse chemistry.

Milledge opened this season as the Nationals’ leadoff man, but it took only seven games — as well as a 4-for-24 slump and two missed team meetings — to tick off manager Manny Acta. He was sent down to Class AAA Syracuse, with no return trip scheduled.

That 4-for-24 slump is totally irrelevant. I don’t support a player skipping meetings, but if that is the worst thing Milledge has done, I think his attitude issues have been blown out of proportion.

Maybe Milledge will turn out to be a cancer in the clubhouse. I have no idea. What I do know is that I did some pretty stupid things in my early twenties. Most people have. Just because Milledge spent that part of his life as a celebrity in New York City does not automatically make him a bad person.

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4 Responses to “Are Milledge’s makeup issues exaggerated?”

  1. nicolas Says:

    don’t forget, one of those “skipped” meetings was that incident where he was late because he was making an appearance at a little league field and wanted to make sure tou honor every autogrph request before he left.
    i am sumpremely confident that all of this “bad attitude” is a combination of overexaggerated events and ones that have happened way too far in his 0past to be truly relevant to the guy we just got in this trade.

  2. Mike Says:

    there’s nothing wrong w/ milledge. you guys got a great talent and a good guy. the rap album? you explained it best. the high fiving of fans? he wasn’t trying to show anybody up. he was excited and having fun. he hit his first career homerun to tie up a ballgame in the bottom of the 9th. the kid deserved the chance to enjoy him moment. the missed meetings? not a good thing but it’s true that one of them was actually a result of him doing a great PR stunt, and i’m pretty sure he was at a charity event. as for the high school thing? it doesn’t take much to get yourself expelled from a catholic school, especially considering what they would call ‘inappropriate behavior’ remember the recent story about some kid’s christian high school that told him he would be expelled if he went to some public school’s prom with his girlfriend?.
    milledge’s actions are getting completely blown out of proportion because people expect him to misbehave. the guy plays with fire and passion. he likes to have fun and celebrate. who cares? i feel like that would help the clubhouse more than hurt it. here’s another player who’s had his celebrations complained about: Jose Reyes. I don’t see him hurting the clubhouse (only his leg).

  3. Mike from DC Says:

    In the first comment, Nicolas confuses Milledge with Elijah Dukes. It was Dukes, who was late but did not miss the whole meeting when he was meeting with area little leagers. The Nats just sent Dukes to the minors- you guys want to trade him for Zach Dukes? We’ll do that for sure.

  4. Harper Says:

    Couple things – that was Dukes who was signing for little leaguers, and Manny Acta was never pissed at Milledge. As a former Mets guy, he’s the one in the Nats organization that went to bat for Milledge. The decision to send Milledge down was all from over his head.
    He’s not a cancer, and not a bad person. He just ingores to what people tell him to do. Sometimes thats fine, like when he was told he shouldn’t celebrate or he should show up hours early to ballgames just because, sometimes it can be a real problem like when he was told he should take as much fielding practice as possible.


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