Thursday, May 24, 2012
So Indians closer Chris Perez went off on his own team's fanbase the other day, calling them out for their boo-happy ways and the team's home attendance ranking (dead last).
"Asked if it bothered him to get booed at home, Perez said, "It doesn't bother me, it p----s me off. I don't think they have a reason to boo me." "
And despite his horrible beard, the dude is right. Maybe it's my own personal bias showing here, but it's generally accepted that booing the home team is poor form at best and assholish at worst. It breaks the fan code. My fan code, anyway. Unless a player is openly dogging it on the field, or is caught punching a puppy in the face away from the park, it's a distasteful practice. I'm sorry (I'm really not) if you're a booer and the above offends you, but what... you're going to scream at a player's talent level relative to the competition?
"Hey Overbay, you're middling power at first base is offensive to me! Booo! Booooo!"
"Vernon Wells! Your biweekly paycheque is not commensurate with the level of production you are showing on the field! Your tireless community improvement charity work and playing through injury doesn't cut it with me! Screw your tenure and model behavior on this team! BOOOOO!"
"Rios, failing to fulfill your poten..." nevermind, because Rios didn't give a fuck so let him have it. There are exceptions to rules, y'know.
But back to the matter at hand.... if we can agree (I know we don't) that booing the home team is distasteful, why is it then OK to rip a player apart via twitter? This whole post was borne from Ricky Romero's twitter bomb the other night following his shaky (generous!) start vs the damn Rays.
And no, I don't care to link to it, because quite frankly, I'm hurt by your words, Rick. In case you missed it, after chastising the hatas out there, Romero concluded that none of it mattered because he plays for his teammates and his family. As I noted on twitter, for those of you who follow, it felt like a big F-U to the fanbase.
But can you blame him? Can you blame Chris Perez, who made similar comments (and maybe Mr. Rick followed that story more closely than we think...)
"It's a business. You didn't choose to get drafted by Cleveland. I'm in it for my family. Who knows? I could throw my last pitch tomorrow.
"At the same time, I'm here. I'm here to win. I'm here for my teammates and I want to bring a championship to Cleveland, to do my job and help the team win. I think I do a pretty good job of showing that on the field. I don't think I bring any undue attention to myself. I'm out there for the team. In big wins, I get excited and I'm like a kid again, because it's fun."
It's the downside of social media. Twitter at it's best brings fans closer to athletes; it gives us a window into their lives, personalities, and in some cases, their intimate thoughts. That's also the downside. It allows parasites to flap their yaps in their direction and drive a wedge between the player and the fans in general, even if 95% are well meaning.
I don't want Romero and the boys to be mad at us. So cut it out, jerks.
Saturday, May 19, 2012
(If the post title sounds familiar, it probably should.)
See, I hate this side of the game.
I'm as guilty as the next guy about pining for a better option at first base than the struggling incumbent, but when you're pining for that more productive bat, you're not really thinking in the context of a lifelong Blue Jay losing his place on the team. Are you? I know I'm not.
Who hopes for that? "Hey! I hope that human piece of baseball garbage Adam Lind is optioned to AAA and outrighted right off the damn 40-man roster!" C'mon.
Maybe it's just me... it's very likely to be just me, even... but I can't always separate the human side of the game. Yeah yeah yeah... here comes the Ack, bringing his maudlin shit to the internet again, crying crocodile tears for a millionaire athlete who's time in the Toronto sun just might be over. Boo hoo, wipe your tears with the millions still owed Lind, right?
Well, forget about the money for a moment.
Adam Lind was a guy we watched grow up in the organization, from highly touted hitting prospect, to the major league boy wonder, to the Silver Slugging first baseman who'd man the position for years to come. No worries! Or so we thought. Think of it in terms of today... imagine if Travis Snider is recalled and finally lives up to the hype. Dominates for a few seasons. Then falls right the fuck off the map to the point where he's designated.
You wouldn't feel a little sentimental about that? Who isn't pulling for Snider?
Before you answer that, remember there was a time when we all pulled for Adam Lind, too, and he made it.
So you'll forgive me if I'm having a little bit of a hard time just walking away from that.
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
A few quick points of order, as tonight's banging of the gong has pulled me from the doldrums of self-imposed exile (is anyone reading this, anyway?)...
1. You can't defend the helmet-toss, you just can't. Those were some egregiously bad strike calls, reeking of horse-shittery and show-uppery of the first degree by venerable old Billy Miller, but you can't bounce the lid off his leg. That's instant suspension zone, and I'd be surprised if it was less than 5 games (equally surprised if it exceeds 10).
Truth is I know nothing of the ump, but now I've got him squarely in the Bob Davidson category of umpiring. Way to steal the show, boss. I know that I dedicate countless hours of my life just waiting for the boys in blue to make highlight of the night.
2. ... and yet - are you surprised? I might be inclined to say I'm surprised it's taken this long for Brett Lawrie to explode/implode, given the way he plays the game and lives life in general (my assumption only).
3. As bad as it was - and you can't explain away the optics of it all, because they are terrible - I ain't mad at ya, Brett. To each his own when it comes to perspective, but Brett Lawrie is a fun guy to watch play the game, and you have to take the good with the bad when it comes to an
4. I think my next post might be on the Jays' collective swag... where has it gone, will it come back (maybe this is the spark?), and do we want it to come back? But I could be talked out of it. Let me know, friends.
Saturday, May 5, 2012
(ed note pt II: sorry for ripping off the pic from your twitter feed, Rick... but I believe it's for the greater good and I'm not pimping anything around here. Hit me up on twitter if you want me to yank it.)
(ed note pt III: yeah, right...)
So this is the post that probably sets me aside as an outcast among hardcore Jays fans. You see... it's not that I'm against advanced statistical analysis. It's fascinating stuff. I'll admit that some of the measurements out there float more than just above my head, and I'll doubly admit that I've invested some time in attempting to understand them all before giving up out of confusion... or boredom.
Here's the gist of it: I want there to be a romantic side of baseball. I want to believe there's more that goes into becoming a successful team than a simple accumulation of the most statistically attractive athletes. We've all heard the argument that "I don't care if it's a roster of 25 unlikeable assholes - as long as they win". I may have agreed with such statements in the past, but my heart wasn't really into it, man.
Isn't it more fun this way, rooting for a team that clearly roots for each other? Isn't it more gratifying to know there's joy in the dugout and locker room after each win, with the boys slappin' backs and dishing out the praise amongst peers? You don't care if the old adage of "25 guys/25 cabs" applies so long as the club wins 95 games? You want to cheer for the 2011 Boston Red Sox?
Well, pardon my language, but fuck all that. Of course I want 95 wins too, but I want the team to want it for each other as well, and not just for contractual purposes.
Am I an old fool for this? I dunno. What I do know is that I chuckle every time I see Brett Lawrie run through his intricate routine of personalized handshakes with each teammate in the dugout, I laugh when Jose and Edwin flex their muscles after a big fly, I enjoy reading Ricky Romero tell Drabek "Shut up Kyle!" over twitter.
I look at and manipulate numbers every day to earn my keep in life; you'd think a stats-based view of this game would be right up my alley. But sometimes it feels like death by overanalysis. I'm not saying I'm right, but I guess I'm saying it's time to get back to fun. I'll leave the advanced metrics to the front office.
Sometimes you run across a post that feels like God's work - whoever your God may be, if you choose to believe in one. And if you don't, just call it full-on nails. You can find such words here. As I type this, my 20 month old boy is wearing his Blue Jays cap with the curved peak pulled down low, just like his dad does. That's just proper parenting, friends.