Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Breaking News: Game Ten!

Part of the best thing about baseball is that, in the words of Billy Chapel in the movie For Love of the Game, "we count everything." That's partially why a lot of people got worked up over steroids - it affected the numbers. But when you reach big numbers - you know, like 600 home runs, 3,000 hits, 56 games in a row, 300 wins, it's a big deal. It's worth ESPN covering each of your at-bats so that nobody watching sports will miss the player reaching the milestone.

Well, tomorrow, there will be a major milestone happening in baseball. Maybe two, with Arod's 600th home run. Maybe not. But Red Sox outfielder 46 will be playing his tenth game of the 2010 season! That's right, double digits! The ironman with sore ribs will become the 34th player on the 2010 Red Sox to play ten games.

It has been a long journey so far, and it's involved 46 making great efforts to get back in the lineup, like a 10-minute impromptu press conference with note cards and a 2-month vacation in Arizona and away from his teammates. But here he is. August 4th will no longer be known as Roger Clemens's birthday. It will now be the point where 46 officially clinches playing baseball for 6.25% of a baseball season in 2010.

Historic.

So at least temporarily, 46's retaliation against the Boston Red Sox for moving him to left field, thinking he's a pussy, and not putting an MRI on the front...and back. As he said, "it's important to remember that. Front...and back." Okay, so they misdiagnosed your injury that would have been treated the same way. I understand the issue there. I actually ripped the team for it a few weeks back when I was couch-ridden.

But as you see Victor Martinez come back without a rehab at all, when you see Dustin Pedroia take grounders from his knees, and when you see Mike Cameron play 48 games without the use of his lower abs or basically his legs, you don't see anything wrong about what is basically a holdout and a temper tantrum? What about when the team is trucking out Ryan Kalish, Bill Hall, and Darnell McDonald in the freaking outfield? Obviously 46 is treating this situation with maturity and professionalism matched perhaps only by Colgate overachiever/$75K holdout/new HYD Baseball punchline Scott Nicholson.

The fact that he absolutely lit up the minor leagues for his prolonged rehab stint in the Gulf Coast League and Pawtucket are yet more telling that the guy, while he's not 100%, is hovering right about 99%. The guy can make Shelley Duncan-style acrobatic leaps to try to rob home runs in Pawtucket, but he apparently can't help the team win in Boston. Clearly this is the player's decision, the player's decision on whether he can play major league baseball or not, and the player does not want to play major league baseball. The comments, including his latest reiteration that he's "going to feel it all season," the same diagnosis that Doctor 46 made back in April, indicate an message of "I'm smarter than you, so F you and F the team whose doctors aren't as good as me and my Oregon State education."

The fact that he has played three games in the last sixteen weeks may have once been a way to make sure he's not wrecking his stats. But then it very clearly became retaliation against the team that's signing his paychecks.

"You don't want to shell out an extra $1,100 to MRI me front...and back? You don't want to play me in center? This is how important I am. I'm going to sit out while your team fades in the pennant race with 40% of Mike Cameron playing center field. We'll see how much of a pussy I am now."

I'm going to the game Thursday night and I am going to make negative comments mercilessly unless 46 is instantly traded for a player at least with the talent of Jonathan Van Every. Shaughnessy wrote this morning that 46's pouting in the dugout was like Nomar pouting in 2004. Fair, but there's a better similarity:

Back in 2008, there was a player pissed off that he got fined. During a pinch-hitting appearance, possibly to spite the team that did him wrong, he took three straight right down the middle against Mariano Rivera, losing the team the game. 46 is the exact same way by sitting out when he very clearly has been healthy.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

DV

At this point I don't know that we should really care all that much about Jacoby Ellsbury from a baseball standpoint. On the whole, he's probably an above average baseball player. Not much above average, but slightly above. A guy like him can probably help Boston, but isn't exactly a difference maker. Not unless he turns back into the guy we saw in 2007.

The bigger issue right now is that the Sox just keep getting raped by injuries. Seriously, what the F@#$? Has this type of injury roll ever happened before? To any team? I find it very hard to believe. Youkilis is their best player. He's one of the five best players in the AL. And now, after All-Stars Beckett, Martinez, Pedroia, and Buchholz went down, so does our other, and best All-Star. Awesome.

The shame of this is that if Boston were even a little healthy they'd be right there with the Yankees and Rays. Instead their six best players have all spent significant time on the DL and their best is likely lost for the season. Ultimately you have to look at this season in two ways--first, it's a fluke. This wave of injuries has to be something that can only happen once every 50 years or so. And two, that it just wasn't meant to be.

--the Gunn

the gm at work said...

"Could he come back and hit .353 again? Could he do it all? 'Why not?' he said, and smiled."

-Amalie Benjamin, 3/8/089

timc from work said...

If 46 starred in a remake of "For Love of the Game", would it be re-titled "For Love of the Cash?" The way I see the plot unfolding is like this:

1. Ellsbury is about to walk into his last contract negotiation. Essentially, he holds a player option for $35 million (worth less in the future) while the team needs to pay him less. Him exercising the option would, literally, bankrupt his team (which we will say is Arizona) and send them out of MLB.

2. Some early highlights of 46 playing in World Series and being loved by all while making pennies.

3. He stops his car to help someone on the side of the road, which we eventually realize is Boras.

4. Some more highlights are cut into the early negotiation scenes as Boras wines and dines 46 while showing him a world flush with cash. 46 also spends some time trying to get along with some of Boras's other clients.

5. A falling out (movie is strictly flashback by now) after Boras leads 46 to a 5yr, $80 million deal in KC for the 2011 season, thanks mostly to 46's insistence that he get a sixth year and eighth digit. At this point, the negotiation is over and a press conference is scheduled.

6. We get a shot of Boras in an airport bar waiting for the press conference.

I won't ruin the ending. Needless to say, the movie will suck but appeal to a small group of people who will reference it in blogs. Amalie Benjamin may or may not appear as some kind of female lead.

TimC said...

Reposting #5:

5. A falling out (movie is strictly flashback by now) after Boras leads 46 to a 5yr, $80 million deal in KC for the 2011 season, thanks mostly to 46's insistence that he get a 69 (6th year, 9th digit, commonly used term by Baseball Tonight's 11-man show). At this point, the negotiation is over and a press conference is scheduled where a decision will be revealed.

the gm at work said...

Tim C,

Would the press conference be an hour-long NESN prime-time special? Remember, chicks in Boston would still dig 46, no matter the uniform.

Also, for the record, For Love of the Game is a top-ten all-time chick flick, period. If you have a girlfriend but she does not like For Love of the Game, you need a new girlfriend.

TimC said...

DV,

There is some kind of joke there about Schilling and Shaugnessy, but I cannot find it.