Tommy Pham is now on the highest stage of all, helping to represent the Arizona Diamondbacks at this year's World Series. He found his way there after the New York Mets sent their surprisingly productive outfielder out to the desert in one of several trade deadline moves.
Prior to Game One against the Texas Rangers, Pham spoke about the difference between the Diamondbacks and Mets. Among the observations, he declared the Mets weren't hungry enough despite having more talent.
This isn't the first time Pham has talked about his time with the club. Last month, he called out the position players for their lack of work ethic. In a weird way, it was a backhanded way to motivate the team. The same is true for the latest dose of tough love.
Tommy Pham is helping the Mets with these comments
Pham isn't stating too much that wasn't already speculated about with these new words. When you craft together a ball club, a lack of hunger to win can grow contagious.
Pham has avoided getting specific about anyone in particular with his criticism. If he really wanted to start a fire, calling out someone like Max Scherzer could have been good fodder for the World Series. We don't know how much of a relationship, if any, Pham has with Scherzer. His past critique on not working hard was specific to position players with Pham adding an appreciation for how players like Pete Alonso, Francisco Lindor, and Brandon Nimmo handle themselves.
We can come to plenty of conclusions as to where the lack of hunger may be. This year's Mets included plenty of guys who already got paid. A few of the important players had already won a World Series. Two of the big driving forces in sports are money and rings. A few guys on the team already got theirs.
A team like the Diamondbacks, one lacking high-priced and temporary mercenaries, was able to embrace the underdog role. Their hunger came in the form of a dog few believed was capable of surviving the season. Why feed it scraps when it won't last long?
Being an underdog works for some teams. This year seems to especially inspire clubs beyond the Diamondbacks. Who would have predicted the Baltimore Orioles being as good as they were? The Cincinnati Reds just missed the playoffs one year after selling almost everything they could. Even the Rangers had some hill climbing to do.
If Pham's assessment of the Mets is dead on, let this be the motivation to go into next year hungry. The front office should make it a mission to have those types of personalities.
The best candy isn't always the sweetest just like the best players aren't always the most expensive. Those remaining Mets with the hunger for a championship need to remember this feeling. Adding more of those types of players who have the will Pham didn’t see could do them wonders.