Thursday, June 23, 2011

Go Home

First, let me clarify something:  I did not have the pleasure to see JD Drew dog it on the passed ball third strike.  I did have the pleasure to hear Tony Massarotti talk about how JD's stats are almost exactly the same as another right fielder the Red Sox had.  I think it's time for everyone to say that DV was right.  Okay, on to the real thesis.

John Lackey's performance in Wednesday afternoon's game was unacceptable.  For a while we had some benefit of the doubt going on here.  The personal life thing sucks.  I feel for him there.  The fact that Lackey cares, where there are other players, especially two of them in the outfield who clearly don't give a crap, is awesome.  I have tried for a solid year and a half to like John Lackey.  But similar to Daisuke Matsuzaka that Monday night against Tampa when he clearly grooved up some pitches Chan Ho Park style just to prove a point that he's smarter than everyone else, Wednesday, John Lackey died to me.

Hey Theo Epstein!  Where the F were your private investigators when looking at this guy in free agency?  Right now, on the Felger show, there are journalists from LA talking about how John Lackey was cantankerous there.  Are you kidding me?  Manny Ramirez was a hero there and John Lackey was viewed as cantankerous?  Whoa.

Yesterday, Lackey fired up the Random Excuse Generator (props to the DA Show on that one) and blamed the weather.  While he might have a point about that - and I have already given you the thesis about how interleague play sucks, partially due to this - that is disgusting.  Did I complain about the weather a month ago when I ran like a girl in Vermont?  No.  I actually killed Lackey for blaming the weather a month before he even did it in that comments section, didn't I?  That was everyone else consoling me all month by saying I ran slow because of the weather.

Also, let me try to figure it out:  Was Clayton Richard plagued by the freaking weather?  No.  The fact that he prevented himself from drilling people and flipping out because he's drilling people would indicate that maybe it's Clayton Richard who should be making eighteen million dollars.  Clayton Richard was too busy trying to win a baseball game instead of being a prima donna who will only play when it's 80 degrees and sunny.  Who are you, JD Drew?  That's embarrassing.

Let's get real here.  I was listening to the game on the radio, and I know what happened.  Lackey drilled Anthony Rizzo and got pissed off that Rizzo didn't try hard enough to get out of the way.  Um, duh, they're the worst offense in baseball.  I wouldn't try too hard to get out of the way either.  So instead of making sure the next guy hit into a double play - you know, doing his job? - he flips out and loses it.  This makes the Derek Lowe situations back ten years ago look like a game of dominoes.  Or a game of beer pong.

I know that the infamous "I thought you were gonna ask me" Theo Epstein interview went something along the lines of "if a player shows emotion outwardly and he's scuffling, fans say he can't control himself."  But I don't think any of us have seen a player melt down like this on such a habitual basis, either due to an umpire, due to a teammate dogging it after a fly ball in right field, due to Bud Selig's hideous gimmicky scheduling, or due to an opponent not getting out of the way.  If you're strong mentally, you get the double play and drill someone in the back the next inning.  Then you can blame THAT on the weather.

If you can't get it together, and if it's something going on with your personal life, seriously, dude, go home.  This team is doing fine, and someone like Felix Doubront or even Andrew Miller can consistently post efforts better than that embarrassment that can wear on a team's psyche over a period of time.  We've seen bad attitudes spoil a clubhouse in Boston, as recently as 2009 in my opinion.  This guy needs to go home, be by his wife, maybe see a shrink, and come back with his family and life back intact in 2012. 

9 comments:

Wilesthing said...

I love it when radio callers start by saying "First time, long time." I haven't been following the HYD all that long so maybe I can't say it, but it is my first comment.

I've been waiting for this post since I saw the game the other night. You're right on with this. Speaking as a current runner and former pitcher (To bastardize the Robert Frost quote, "Nothing flatters me more than to have it assumed that I could run-unless it be to have it assumed that I once pitched a baseball with distinction.") I can point out that one important similarity between running and baseball, with particular emphasis on pitching, is that emotional control and a short memory are critical.

Pitchers have to be able to maintain their smoothness on the mound, physically and mentally. That is how you avoid big innings. The snowball effect can happen quickly if you can't block out the last at-bat or even the last pitch and get back on track. The similarity to running is that successful guys put a bad race behind them quickly and don't let it convince them that they are only as good as their last race. Just like baseball, bad days happen and the effective guys can accept that without letting it effect their next performance.

But with pitching, it really can be considered on a pitch by pitch basis. Miraculously, I survived a career as a D1 and D3 pitcher without ever taking a loss on my record (though it might make some former Mules smile to know that when I was at D1 UMaine we lost a fall game to Colby in Orono). One night I gave up bombs to the first two batters, including a belt-high change up that might still be in the air somewhere over Wyoming. We ended up winning the game 4-2 because I was able to turn the page, take a deep breath and move forward with composure.

There are times when a little adrenaline is good and it is OK to channel frustration in a positive way, but too many guys these days melt when faced with a little heat. In my mind, the inability to keep your cool is an embarrassing sign of immaturity.

Like Kipling (a 4:30 miler!) said, "IF you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you, if you can trust yourself when all men doubt you...
If you can fill the unforgiving minute with sixty seconds' worth of distance run, yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!"

Wilesthing out.

Anonymous said...

DV

Lackey was terrible last year. And he didn't have any of the personal life excuses he had back then. Also, Kobe Bryant was being prosecuted for a Class A Felony not too long ago and had one of his best playoff runs while it was happening. I don't buy the whole personal problems stuff unless you're a golfer (because those guys aren't athletes and nearly the entire sport is mental).

John Lackey just isn't good. The Sox were at their best when he was on the DL and that's where he should be for the rest of the season. Andrew Miller looked more than OK Monday and you can bet he'll be better than Lackey has been. Hell, Aceves has been better than Lackey.

JD Drew is the worst outfielder in the American League.

Jacoby Ellsbury--how are you still taking potshots at the guy? He's having an All-Star caliber season. Other than Granderson, who is having a better season in CF than Ellsbury?

--the Gunn

Anonymous said...

DV/PF

I think it's also worth noting that Wilesthing just overtook TimC for the 'Deepest Comment in blog history.'

Tim--you're gonna have to bring something new here kid.

--the Gunn

Wilesthing said...

Not sure if that's an honor I should want? Might have to change my handle to Adele-thing if I'm going to keep rolling in the deep.

the gm at work said...

Wilesthing,

It's great to have you aboard, especially if you're contributing stuff like what you contributed this morning. Beating Tim C in thoughtful posts is tantamount to beating me in races.

Your stuff about snowballing is good, and it's pretty obvious that pitchers, including recently Lackey, Lowe, Beckett, and Papelbon, have struggled at times with that. It's several times this year that if something happens, Lackey flips out. You saw it out of Beckett most notable when he had the Blister Curveball going on a Friday night against the Yankees last spring. He had a perfect game or something going, one thing went wrong, and after about five minutes, the Yankees had eight or ten runs on the board.

Gunn,

I DO think the "personal problems" thing can act like a crutch for people. Hey, they're saying Tiger had been using it instead of the "drug testing has been banned" excuse. Varitek used it when he should have just said "wait, I just suck at baseball," and saying that about Lackey is more than fair.

I'm down with riding Miller, Aceves, and Wakefield's hot hands, as I pretty much stated outright in my post. I don't want Lackey's attitude to be a distraction.

JD Drew had the second-highest OPS of all AL outfielders in 2009. I thought you were gonna ask me about that.

To answer your question about 46, all I have to say is December 2, 2007.

Okay, I replied in the comments section, pretty much accomplishing what's expected of me. Time to do one clap.

the gm at work said...

Also, letting Mike Cameron out to dry with a hole in his abs all season last year while his ribs are at 99%...and skipping to Arizona so he could at least pout in the sun...and then the note-card interview on NESN is enough of a reason to continue my anti-46 shots.

Front AND back. Y'all have a good weekend.

Anonymous said...

Goodness, I take a little sabbatical to watch the playoffs and we have titles I didn't even know I had being taken away!?! Unacceptable. I'll be JD-ing soon, no worries there Gunn, I have a nice theory on LeBron that I'm cooking up which I may have missed the boat on a bit but will nonetheless post on one of those one-comment Tuesdays and we'll see who wears what belt.

TimC

Anonymous said...

Just throwing in my two cents here:

Lackey's excuse is dumb because while he had to struggle with the bad weather, so too did all of the batters he faced that day. Also, the opposing pitcher had to deal with it too, and he did just fine.

Your excuse, on the other hand, is completely valid because the (arbitrary) qualifying time doesn't get adjusted based on the weather you ran in. Maybe that's on you for picking a spring marathon where its possible for that to happen, but you certainly can't expect to run well in hot, humid conditions. Don't blame yourself for bad luck.

- Rocci

Wilesthing said...

Also, I should probably apologize for quoting two poems in my first comment. Or at least throw out a quick "NH". I shan't be making a habit of that.