Sunday, December 4, 2011

Thanks, JD Drew

A big part of why How Youz Doin Baseball exists in the first place is because the Boston Red Sox had the nerve to give a seemingly-interminable five-year, $70 million contract to a player who had never exceeded 100 RBIs and had played a brand of flat, underachieving, uninspired, lazy baseball that alienated fan bases in each and every city in which he had ever played.  Billed as the next Mickey Mantle because of the occasional flashes of his God-given talent, Drew held out for a year after being drafted because the Philadelphia Phillies wouldn't offer him triple the previous all-time record for a draftee signing bonus.  Maybe he'll make it into the Hall of Fame after all as a labor pioneer.

Sure enough, JD came to Boston amid some controversy and delivered in a way only he could.  He did in Boston exactly what he did in every other city he played.  He showed up about once a week, usually on Friday nights, drew a lot of walks when he needed to get hits instead, underachived his way out of the heart of the order and into the seven spot, and eventually underachived himself out of a starting position.  However, statheads loved him because he drew a lot of walks and took a lot of pitches.  Drew also sat out a tremendous quantity of games with minor injuries.

He showed a flash of brilliance in the 2007 ALCS after doing virtually nothing throughout the 2007 season, played well and put the team on his back for a month in June 2008, came short of sucking in 2009, and pretty much went into early retirement in July 2010.  He was a complete disappointment, not only in his Red Sox career, but in his career in general.

However, I do not think JD Drew is a bad guy.  I think he's a capitalist.  In the words of one of my co-workers, he treated baseball not as a passion, not as a privilege, but as a 9-to-5 job.  JD treated his job the way most Americans (maybe Europeans would be a better way to put it) treated their jobs.  Except he got to play a game that most people would love to player, and he got to make up to $14 million a year to play that game and give the bare minimum.  Most Americans also negotiate pretty hard to maximize their salary at every juncture of their career.  JD Drew is most certainly greedy, but so are most people.

I also think that along with this greed and clear (I'm not going to use "perceived" because even ultra-player's manager Francona crushed this guy for not trying/caring) apathy toward his job, he's a good human being.  He seems to have done a lot for his hometown in Georgia, and he seems to care deeply about his family and his church.  He doesn't strike me as a guy who beats the crap out of his wife, threatens to kill his pool boy with a machete, smokes crack in Tampa with his cousin, does steroids (doesn't care about baseball enough to do that), drops tens of thousands of dollars at strip clubs, leaks information about his co-workers to the media in a smear campaign, or does other immortal or misanthropic things that many of our favorite baseball figures do.  He's probably not the most friendly guy outside of his own inner circles, but who is?  A crappy player, a crappy employee, but not a crappy guy.

In the grand scheme of things, there are plenty of players, including Coco Crisp (who irresponsibly racked up a DUI in 2011) who probably deserved a lot more crap than what JD Drew got in this space for the last five baseball seasons.  I'm not apologizing for this in any way, because the scope of this blog was to analyze people's performance in their baseball jobs, something that this guy sucked at compared to what he was capable of. 

But I am saying that if for any reason this player or one of his friends, family members, or well-wishers, happened to stumble across the unwavering torrent of venom coming from nyycolbysox.blogspot.com, thanks a lot for understanding the passions of a baseball fan who cared a lot more about winning than this player did.  Thanks, JD, for being the inspiration of way too many posts here, and thanks for being there to inspire me to come up with creative ways to bash you.  But first and foremost, and I can say this for the majority of his baseball career in which he drew the ire of fans across the country, thanks, JD Drew, for being a good sport about it.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

DV

Well said--just because you play hard doesn't mean you're a good guy (Ty Cobb) and just because you don't play hard doesn't mean you are a bad guy.

One thing that we should note about JD Drew--I never heard him whine about the fans or the media getting on him. And while it's probably because he didn't care at all, it's still worth mentioning, especially because so many other Red Sox players in recent years have had their poor feelings hurt by fans unsympathetic to the plight of men who play a game for $15,000,000 a year.

When does Julio Lugo get a thank you post?

--the Gunn

Anonymous said...

JD Drew would succeed in using a machete as he would just watch the pool by stroll past five or six times before he dropped the weapon and walked ninety feet down the pool. The next move would likely involve Varitek swinging and missing a couple of times, ending the opportunity to slice up the target, leaving JD 'stranded' on his deck chair, and perhaps leaving a smile or two on nearby TI-83's.

When does Dice get a domo arigato post?

TimC

Ross Kaplan said...

Just as fans love the guy without much talent who plays hard, but ultimately didn't have a great career besides the occasional glimpses of brilliance (see Broisus, Eckstein, et al.) fans despise the guy who has a world of talent, but does not even try to take advantage of it.

It really goes back to what DV said about baseball being no more than a 9 - 5 job for Drew. People despise him the way they do because 99.9 % of the baseball loving populace would pay just to walk onto a pro ball field and take grounders with their childhood heroes which is why you the existence of Fantasy Leagues where aging Boomers spend a week in Florida with Bucky Dent.

Drew is simply the antithesis of the underdog.

the gm at work said...

Gunn,

There have been articles (like the one cited in the "Your Words in Italics" post) that have plainly said that JD hears what we all say but doesn't care about what's being said about him. It's actually somewhat amazing how little he can care about how others view his job performance. At a certain point for most human beings, there's probably some sense of pride or some desire to be appreciated. Not for JD Drew. It's pretty crazy if you really think about it.

Lugo gets a thank you post right after Aaron Boone's. Actually, if you want to look at the posts "Balls" from July 26, 2010 and "What the f*** did I do last night?" from July 20, 2009, I gave Lugo some respect for the fact that Lugo, as opposed to the last three years of Red Sox teams, took accountability for sucking.

Timmy,

Well done on your machete reference. The real question, if Varitek took the machete and tried to hack unsuccessfully, would he get the fourteen years in prison that Ugueth Urbina got? I mean, it would still be attempted murder, correct? Or would his intangibles make it impossible to convict him? Maybe that's Sandusky's defense, too.

The domo arigato post will come after the Junichi Tazawa domo arigato post.

Tank,

Your evaluation of why Drew isn't well liked is completely accurate. As a fan of the Yankees, you want each member of that organization to care about winning the World Series as much as you care about them winning the World Series. That's why Drew drew (hah) flack here, and it's also why this ownership group has drawn flack since "Sox Appeal" went on the air and they started selling membership cards.

Forget Baby Boomers playing with Bucky Dent. I thought you were gonna ask me about Billy Crystal taking at-bats in a real live spring training game at the age of sixty. Remember that series of rants right in the dawn of How Youz Doin? What a clown.