August 28, 2002
It sounds like a plot straight out of the movies, maybe even a Tom Hanks movie: the ballplayer with the rotten attitude alienates teammates, fans and opponents with his behavior, then sees the error of his ways and becomes a better person.
Short-season Brooklyn outfielder Alhaji Turay has the first half of that scenario down, but whether or not he turns into a better person remains to be seen. What is certain is that the growth he'll be doing won't be on the field, because the Mets sent him home to Auburn, Wash., after several incidents involving Turay's behavior.
“I've been with the Mets organization since 1991, and I can count on one hand the number of times we've sent a kid home,” assistant general manager Jim Duquette told Brooklyn Newspapers. “It is not something we do lightly. But that's an indication that there were some extreme issues.”
Among those issues: Turay bristled at signing autographs, sometimes feigning that he didn't speak English and at least once signing Hanks' name. Over the course of the season he's also cursed at a fan and destroyed a water cooler in the dugout.
On the field, however, Turay was hitting .327-4-19 in 153 at-bats and stood third in the New York-Penn League in batting.