Tuesday, August 2, 2011

"Bush League" Writing at SI

Since the Tigers/Angels Black Sunday matchup, much has been said and written about it. I’m amazed that the majority of it has been about Justin Verlander being upset over Erick Aybar’s bunt attempt instead of Jered Weaver trying to kill Alex Avila or Carlos Guillen’s admiring of his homer. I mean, with the timing of the bunt attempt and JV being in the heat of the moment of his third no-hit bid, I’d have been shocked if he wasn’t upset over it. But really, who cares in the big picture?

The idiot media, that’s who. Drew Sharp and Jamie Samuelsen at the Freep are all over Verlander for being upset about it. ESPN’s idiot talking heads have chosen to focus on JV and Aybar over everything else. Same with talk radio. I never cease to be amazed at what the big dogs in covering sports do and do not choose to focus on.

And I planned on being a wiseass with one of the freep pieces until I came across Joe Posnanski’s piece for Sports Illustrated. You remember SI, right? Relevant years ago and now mainly read by old men and people waiting to see the dentist?

Well, Joe actually skipped the Verlander/Aybar nonsense and has written about Guillen and it hit a nerve with me because it appears that Joe didn’t even watch the game. If you want to get high and mighty on something, it would be nice if you had all the details on a matter. This is why I don’t blame the Angels fans for jumping all over Carlos, JV, Maggs, or even the ones that jumped on me after the game. They’re defending their guys. And they watched the game. I may not agree with them, but I can respect them defending their team. But I don’t think Joe saw anything but the highlights.

I’ll explain this more as we go on.


I think Posnanski gets paid by the word because he babbles quite a bit through this. It’s not as bad as the usual Peter King 10,000 word column with around 200 words actually about football, but it’s still longer than it needed to be. I’ll save you the trouble and skip around to try and illustrate my problem with his piece.

OK, so here’s the deal: I get why pitchers sometimes throw at hitters. I’m not saying that I approve of it or agree with it or even like it, but I get it.

This is the opening of the article. He gets why pitchers sometimes feel the need to possibly end the careers of batters. I just wanted to establish that point first.

And for the record, I’m with him. As long as they don’t throw at anyone’s noggin.

We jump ahead…

OK, so best I understand it, here’s what happened:

In other words, I didn’t watch this game. Someone told me about it and I read a report of it somewhere.

That’s fine. Joe or anyone writing about baseball cannot possibly be expected to watch every single ballgame for every single team during a season. Except Buster Olney. He’s a nut. But don’t do what you’re about to do later in this piece, Joe.

In the bottom of the third, in a scoreless game, Weaver started off Magglio Ordonez with a hanging slider, and even though Ordonez at age 37 is pretty much spent as a hitter, well, muscle memory kicked in. He crushed the ball over the left-field wall.

Yes. Poor Magglio, spent as a hitter, even though he hasn’t finished a season under .300 since 2006 when he hit .298. The same Magglio that is hitting .286 with 9 multi-hit games since returning from the DL in mid-June. Had to be muscle memory kicking in. Makes sense.

If you’re a dipshit.

That’s where the trouble began. Ordonez did walk slowly out of the box and watch the ball go over the fence. Ordonez has always seemed a classy player, and so my own sense is that he was just watching the see if the ball went fair or foul. Weaver, in the heat of the moment, was not quite so forgiving in his assessment. He clearly thought that Ordonez was trying to show him up. And he was also probably pretty ticked off that he threw a hanging slider. All of it led him to shout some rather course words at Ordonez, this in full view of the Tigers bench and the Tigers crowd and so on. OK. Put that in the memory bank.

Gotcha. But…

Now, as they used to say on the old Notre Dame highlights show, we move to later action. It’s the bottom of the seventh.

/record scratch

No. Moving to later in the action is a bad idea. Like rooting for Notre Dame. (Eff yew, I’m an Irish fan…I’m allowed to say it.) If you skip to the seventh, you miss Weaver jarring at Miguel Cabrera after the Ordonez at bat. You miss Weaver STILL cursing like a sailor at Ordonez and others later in the game. The fact that Weaver would not SHUT THE FUCK UP is a very important thing that you and the rest of the mainstream media that didn’t watch the game keep missing. If Jered had sucked it up, whether he mistook Magglio staring at the ball or not, and just kept pitching like the supposed ace he is, none of the rest of what followed would have happened.

One of my favorite movies of all time is “Tombstone”. What you’re doing is like watching the first half hour, seeing Wyatt and company coming into town, and then you leave the room for an hour to jerk off, beat your wife, whatever you do in your down time. Then, you come back and wonder why Earp is running around shooting the nice mustached men wearing the red sashes. You missed the entire plot. Like you apparently did in this baseball game.

So Guillen homers.

And Guillen watches it go. And he watches. He takes a step. He then takes another step. He turns his head ever so slightly and looks at Weaver, then holds out his right arm and drops the bat dramatically. He fully turns to look at Weaver and hops. I haven’t seen anyone try so hard to steal a scene since the last Mel Brooks movie I saw.

I hate old white people. What a timely reference. Mel Brooks’ last movie was “Dracula: Dead and Loving It” in 1995. That was sixteen years ago. And no one stole any scenes in that hunk of shit. Anyway…

If he could have, Guillen would tried to steal Weaver’s girl, scratched Weaver’s car, stolen Weaver’s lunch, and if he had access to a metal folding chair he probably would have tried to hit Weaver with it.

Why stop there? I mean surly the kind of guy that would admire a home run to tick off a pitcher that had been cursing at his teammates for several innings would also probably likely to:

-skull-fuck his mother

-deflower his 13 year old sister

-urinate in his gas tank

-ruin the ending to “The Sixth Sense”

-turn his favorite pet into chili

-etc.

Oh, is that too much? Sorry, Joe. Excuse me for going overboard. You twit.

It was as bush league as anything I can remember seeing for a long time.

Where is this mysterious “bush league” at that I keep hearing about? Joe says that Carlos is bush league. Verlander and others (including myself, I think) accused Aybar of being bush league. With all the boring poker tournaments and other nonsense on ESPN and Fox Sports, why can’t we get some Bush League Baseball? That would be awesome.

Also, Joe, suck a dead dog’s cock. I’m pretty sure that Alex Rodriguez yelling at the Blue Jays fielder during a pop up a couple years ago was a tad more bush league. Also A-Rod’s knocking the ball out of the Red Sox first baseman’s glove in the 2004 playoffs…that was worse.

In fact, I’d argue that Weaver crying like a bitch for several innings was more bush league than admiring a home run. I can’t go a night of ESPN highlights without seeing David Ortiz, Prince Fielder, or Detroit’s own Miguel Cabrera admiring every fly ball they hit, whether they make it out of the park or not.

Did Guillen go overboard? Fuck and yes he did. But he’s hardly the first and he’s not going to be the last. Get your head out of your ass.

Because I was soon told by the good people of Twitter that Guillen’s little act was not, in fact, bush league at all. No! Apparently, Guillen was “standing up for a teammate.” I got this line over and over again from Tigers fans (and perhaps some neutral fans as well).

Yeah, dude. Those are called “people that watched the entire fucking game”.

I couldn’t believe my Twitter.

I believe they make pills for that, Joe.

Is this really where baseball has gone? Really? Retaliation by posing?

Wake up, Gramps. When is the last time you actually watched a professional sporting event? Whether it’s LeBron James doing a dance after a dunk or Ray Lewis acting like he won the Super Bowl after every tackle he makes, athletes celebrate. It’s not like they are taking a hard potential weapon and INTENTIONALLY throwing at the head of their opponent. Wait…what was your opening to this piece?

I get why pitchers sometimes throw at hitters.

Oh, that’s right. Attempted assault/murder is okay. Posing is wrong. Gotcha.

Weaver did throw a high fastball somewhere near Avila’s head, which is an absolute no-no, and he was rightfully tossed from the game and rightfully castigated by people. And I don’t want in even the slightest way to downplay that.

But I bet you will.

The pitch had a clear purpose, but it was well over Avila’s head (I don’t think it would have hit Avila even if he had stood frozen like a statue), and Avila did not have go to the ground or anything like that. He bent down and the ball was probably three feet over his head.

Alex Avila is 5’11. Three feet is more than half his height. That ball was not three feet over his head, you putz.

I’m not excusing it — you can’t throw the ball anywhere near anyone’s head. And if your aim is even slightly off, you can kill somebody throwing a pitch up there. No excuse. Ever.

At least you said it. Now go back to bitching about the guy watching his homer. And has anyone considered that the walking M.A.S.H. unit Guillen’s bones simply froze after connecting off of Weaver? I’m amazed he actually made it around the bases without his bones turning into dust.

There are obviously no good guys in any of this,

Bullshit. No matter whose side you’re on, you have to admire how Avila handled it. Dude just turned his back and walked away when Weaver clearly wanted to brawl.

Alex Avila won my respect on Sunday. Jered Weaver lost all of it I had for him.

So feel free to read the entire Posnanski article if you wish. But I’m done with it, just like I’m done with Weaver-Guillen-Verlander-Ordonez-Gate.

Until next year. And I don’t think I’m alone.

11 comments:

Brandon Sain said...

If a pitcher wants to make a statement (like Weaver wanted to), throw behind the hitter or bounce the ball near their feet. I think what Guillen did was awesome, but just because there is no other way to show up a pitcher who was trying to show up the hitters all game.

I wonder if Cabrera  was dragged into it more for scoring from 3rd on the "sacfly" in game 2 when we were up 9 runs more than for popping out in the inning. When he took off on the lazy throw in that game, I expected things to happen the next game, not the last game.

Brett Walker said...

I read this article this morning...  It was very obvious that this guy didn't understand the whole context of what happened in that game.  
Really, all I have to say about it is...  I have no issue with what Maggs did.  Guillen went overboard...  I understand why he did it, but I think it was a bit much.  Weaver was way out of line...  not for throwing at Avila, I expected that.  But for placing that ball above his shoulders.  If you wanna throw at someone, ok...  it has it's place...  but it has to be below the shoulders.  No excuse for going above...  Avila, I agree with you Rogo.  Stand up professional there.  Walk away and let the game go on.
Oh, almost forgot about Aybar.  Again, no issue...  if it was someone at the plate where bunting has no place in his game...  or if it was a blowout, I'd have an issue.  But Aybar regularly bunts for base hits in games...  and this one was not out of reach.

A middle aged white guy said...

Weaver was cussing out Maggs like a mad man after he hit a fly out later in the game. The guy needs some anger management classes. I also love his excuse for how he was tring to come inside to Avila and the pitch got away from him. So now he's a liar too. Get a haircut you hippie. Smoke a fat boy with your brother and chill out.

AlKaline said...

Baseball is a great, emotional game, but has no bearing on the rest of one's life. Weaver, however, could've ENDED A MAN'S LIFE OVER A CHILD'S GAME. I think this point has been lost among all the fuss. Which is more important, pride, or someone's life?

Paddy McMahon said...

You come at the king, you best not miss. You ... missed.

Oldenglishd said...

Although I didn't see the game, I did see the highlight of Avila getting buzzed, and it was clearly not three feet over his head.  I watched the pitch at least five times, and it was LESS than a foot over his head. So yeah, that's something to be upset about.

David Tokarz said...

JoePo is actually a pretty good writer, and I agree in principle with what he was going for here. Guillen probably shouldn't have acted like he did. I understand why he did it, but he shouldn't have. 

SamR said...

This is awesome. 

catholiclutheran said...

Weak, paddy.  Posnanski is usually very good.  He didn't watch the game and didn't bother to seek out the greater context.  Guillen responded to Weaver in his own language.  In another situation, Guillen is out of line...but not in this case.    

h2opolopunk said...

I'd love to see a Bush League game too. Let me know if you ever find one, and I'll buy the beers.

Jason Sparks said...

So this "Bush League" thing I keep hearing about. Is there a "Furbush League" as well?