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Floyd at peace with big city team

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Floyd at peace with big city team
Slugger happily arrives Sunday to Camp Tranquility
By Kevin T. Czerwinski / MLB.com


PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- The first four days around Thomas J. White Stadium have been about as peaceful and calm as anyone could have possibly imagined. Many of the Mets continue to mention how laid back and tension free Spring Training seems to be this year.
That's just what Cliff Floyd wants to hear. The free agent slugger tiptoed into camp on Sunday, not generating the kind of excitement that accompanied the arrival of Mo Vaughn and Roberto Alomar a year ago. Rather, it was a quiet entrance followed by a subdued question-and-answer session with the media.

That's okay with Floyd. He isn't shy about talking about his search for stability. Floyd, 30, was looking for a setting where he could relax, pressure free, and play his game. While New York doesn't seem to fit that description -- when is the pressure ever off in the Big Apple? -- Floyd believes he has found the nirvana for which he has been searching.




It's easy to understand why Floyd gets just a bit jittery when talking about settling down. He played with three teams last season, including his second tour of duty with the Expos, and has had to cope with playing for Florida and Montreal during unsettled times for those franchises for most of his career.
By the time Floyd arrived in Boston (the third stop on his North American Tour) last summer, his head was spinning. Though he eventually began to fit in with the Red Sox, he never got comfortable. All that changed when he signed with the Mets back in December.

"I'm very thankful to have the opportunity to stay somewhere for at least four years and hopefully longer," Floyd said. "I try to do my job and help the team win, but when you're not comfortable with your surroundings and things are not going the way you would like them to go, it starts to make you wonder about your ability. You wonder what you can do. Are you a bad person in the clubhouse? It's all things you don't want to bother with. The health of the team plays a big role in how you play."


Floyd hit 28 homers last season and drove in 79. He also hit .288; four points higher than his career average but 29 points lower than he did in 2001 with the Marlins. He said he never got comfortable because of all the uncertainty, though he steadfastly refuses to use that as an excuse for his play.

"I was just trying so hard to get accepted," Floyd said. "I tried to get comfortable in Montreal and then BAM. [Manager] Frank [Robinson] said one night that I could get unpacked and settle in and then after the game he calls me in and I'm thinking it's something simple. But I got traded. And it's a whole different game in Boston.

"I tried to settle in with Boston but they were in a pennant race and you can't get comfortable in a week. They need you right now. But I don't know any of these pitchers. I have no clue. I haven't seen them before. I tried as hard as I could but it didn't work out. But it all worked out and I ended up in a great situation and a great place."

Floyd never figured on landing in Queens. He had heard all along that the Mets wanted to move some salary before they signed a big-name free agent. So he was as surprised as everyone else when general manager Steve Phillips came calling just before Christmas.

Now, he's looking for a long run on Broadway, providing the left-handed protection for Mike Piazza as well as being a stabilizing force in the outfield.

"I can't that say I've ever been in a settled situation," said Floyd, who drove in from his Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., home. "Even those few years in Florida. They were talking that if things don't go right by the All-Star break, I'm out of there. When you're on a team, and I'm not taking anything away from the Florida Marlins, that doesn't have anything good going for them at a particular time, the top players on the team are always in doubt. Why continue to lose and pay these guys this amount of money?"

Floyd won't have to worry about such whispers in New York, especially if he produces. Based on the way he looked Sunday, he could step into a game now if need be. He's been working out all winter and working with a nutrionist. Floyd says he's in as good a shape as he's ever been in the offseason, crediting a maturation that was aided by last year's trials and tribulations.

He added that a month and a half in Boston prepared him for the rigors of the big city, particularly the fact that he'll be playing before bigger crowds than he saw in Montreal and Miami.

"I was overwhelmed when I stepped on the field in Boston," Floyd said. "Before I knew it, I was down and out and couldn't handle it. Never in my career had I played before a full house like that at home every single day. I just tried too hard. After a while, I just chilled out and said I'm going to have fun with this thing. That approach worked."

Some folks, however, didn't see it that way. Floyd got stung over the winter when searching over Internet sites that rated this year's free agent class. In several reports, he was tagged with a label of not giving 100 percent every time he's on the field.

It left him with a bit of a bee in his bonnet.

"I just want to put that not hustling thing to rest," he said. "I won't go out there right away and try to do something extra because before you know it, you blow out because you're trying something crazy. The way I played the game in the past should prove to whoever said that that they are wrong. It hurt me that people question me like that.

"I approach the game with a lot of pride. When they said that, it ticked me off. I don't know where it came from. I never, ever, ever dogged a game and said I'm not playing today because I'm mad. When I step between the lines I'm trying to help my team win.

"Wherever it came from, I just hope they go somewhere and chill and leave me alone because I play the game a lot different than I see a lot of other guys playing it."

Floyd won't have to worry about too much of that, at least not in Port St. Lucie. Things are calm and quiet with the Mets. Floyd wouldn't want it any other way.
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Well I guess this shows players are human, but I knew that already. I guess there is just an "air" of negativity for people that give as much back to the community as they give on the field. You can please some of the people some of the time, but you can't please all the people all of the time.
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AJBurnett34

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you got to add a link! Admin is gonna get in trouble if you dont....

yea floyd is really happy there and is enjoying his time there and hopes to stay there for a long time. He is in great shape and hitting the ball in BP extremely well! I hope he has a good season up there but not against us.... ;)
 

Mephisto

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he gave credit to the author so i dont think Admin will get in trouble
 

Mephisto

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Oh i thought you were suppose to add a link.... :blink:
not is you give credit
 

DurableTear

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As long as you say who the Article is from.. there is no problem... tho a link to the article would be good but not required.
 

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