Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Hamels Deserves A Pass For Saying Something Stupid

  • A total overreaction to frustration:

Does Cole Hamels probably really wish this season was over?

Yes. I think it's likely that he does. But that doesn't mean his frustrated statements after his game 3 shelling reflect the type of competitor he is. The main statement that was grabbed and treated like a national tragedy was the following:

"I can't wait for it to end."

"It's been mentally draining. At year's end, you just can't wait for a fresh start."

I don't think people realize that when an athlete has just had a bad game and gets back to the safety of the lockerroom, the last thing he wants to do is discuss, deconstruct, explain and answer the same questions repeatedly as to why he was so bad. I don't care who it is-----Derek Jeter, David Cone, Joe Torre, whoever-----even if they handle the press deftly, smoothly and fairly, they're going to have moments where they say something they'd rather take back if they talk long enough.

Believe it or not, even I lose my prodigious temper every once in awhile and say or do something stupid.

To think that Hamels is ready to call it a season on his team and teammates----especially after the guy won the MVP of both the NLCS and the World Series last year----is silly. He's had a bad year; he's struggled mightily in the playoffs; and his team is on the brink of losing the World Series in large part because of him. I tend to think that would light someone's fuse when they're goaded and antagonized for long enough.

With the Phillies pitching so questionable, they're not going to have a choice but to ignore any issues with Hamels's mindset and let him pitch if they get to game 7. If that happens, he'll have a short leash (as any pitcher in a game 7 will have) and they'll hope they get the Hamels from the 2008 playoffs rather than what he's been for most of this season.

  • The Brett Myers-Cole Hamels confrontation(?):

There are conflicting reports as to what really happened between Myers and Hamels as the Phillies were leaving the clubhouse after game 5. Some have said that Myers made a comment to Hamels along the lines of, "what are you doing here, I thought you quit", to which Hamels responded with a cuss.

The Phillies are denying any rift between Hamels and the other players and are saying the reporters misunderstood the way the players address one another in jest.

Either explanation is feasible. What casual fans don't realize is that this stuff goes on between teammates all year long; along with shouting/shoving matches and out-and-out fistfights, it's par for the course.

We all know Myers's history and he's not the brightest guy in the world, so I wouldn't put it past him to say something of that nature to Hamels in front of reporters. Of course it would've been better to confront a teammate about something he'd said or done privately, but impulse control and thinking have never been Myers's strong suits.

I have no idea what really happened, but if the Phillies win tonight and get the series to a game 7 and Hamels pitches well in game 7, all that happened due to tension and stress will be forgotten.

  • The Pirates way of doing things:

Say this for the Pittsburgh Pirates: they have a unique style of running their club.

Not that that's a good thing, but it is what it is.

The Pirates traded reliever Jesse Chavez to the Rays for infielder Akinori Iwamura.

What the Pirates need with Akinori Iwamura is the question of the day. And it's one of those questions that you'd have to climb to the top of a high mountain in Tibet to consult with a wise man to learn the answers to all questions of life and he'd stroke his beard, look at you, frown, shake his head and shrug saying, "damned if I know."

Iwamura is a useful player on a good team. He can play second and third base; he can run (at least before his knee injury that almost cost him all of 2009); he plays hard; and his teammates like him. He's also about to turn 31; is making over $4 million next year; strikes out a lot; is coming back from the aforementioned knee injury; and he's going to the Pirates.

For what possible reason do the Pirates need a 31-year-old second baseman who's overpaid and returning from injury? And to trade a power arm like Chavez for him?


They did the same thing last winter as they signed Eric Hinske and Ramon Vazquez----moves that made absolutely no sense whatsoever for a team like the Pirates. Did they want another over-30 infielder to go along with Vazquez? Iwamura's not a journeyman like Vazquez, but he's useless to the Pirates.

Chavez has an arm out of the bullpen that can blow away hitters. There were times I watched Chavez come into games and the hitters were literally overmatched. Why trade him? And if they were intent on trading him, why for Iwamura?

What are the Pirates?

Are they rebuilding with youth as was the obvious intention when they traded away every single last one of their veteran players for youth? Are they bringing in veterans to influence the young players positively? Or are the just throwing stuff at the wall with no plan, no reason, no nothing to make it look like they're doing something and only succeeding in increasing the evidence of their cluelessness? Is this a form of total organizational anarchy by design?

The decisions that were made last winter----Hinske and Vazquez----were acquisitions for a team on the verge of contention who needed to bring in bench players who had some use. Then the mid-season trades of Nate McLouth, Adam LaRoche, Freddy Sanchez and Nyjer Morgan were a housecleaning to the bare bones of youth. Now, they've acquired Iwamura. Is this part of some grand scheme? Or is it a deranged and haphazard bit of purposeful lunacy?

To make things worse, they have a young player in Delwyn Young who can play second base and deserves at least a chance to play every day. Why not give him a shot instead of trading for another 30-something that they're only going to trade sometime next season?

The Pirates organization is so totally inept that no matter what they do, it's not going to work. They run their club like a ne'er-do-well 20-something who has nothing else to do with himself, so his family gives him a toy to try and get him motivated.

They're a mess.

They don't deserve to have fans come and watch them and, conveniently, the numbers of people who are willing to invest anything emotionally in such a team is dwindling to the point where they should seriously consider just shutting the doors. Financial disparity is no excuse for ridiculous management and it's a trend with the Pirates. They lose and lose for no reason other than that they're fools.

They deserve their fate.

They've earned it.

  • Viewer Mail 11.4.2009:

Jane Heller at Confessions of a She-Fan writes RE yesterday's posting:

You had a few hilarious lines in this one...."a bullpen that resembles a group therapy session in 'Fight Club.'....'beatifically happy like Eliot Spitzer at a high-class whorehouse.'" Good work! I agree about the Yankees pitching situation. It's not Girardi's fault that he wasn't given a #4 starter. It's Cashman's. Chad Gaudin was never the answer.

Oh, even I get in the zone sometimes. I don't know if people realize what a compliment it is that Jane thinks I have a modicum of talent. She's a real writer. Like me. Only successful.


Jeff said...

The Pirates are a joke of an organization, but at least they are hardcore about being a joke and don't slack on the hard work it must take to be a joke.

Rays VP of Operations Andrew Friedman said about the Iwamura deal: "Pittsburgh has been all over us for about a month."

Aki is decent and all, but is he so good that you'd be jammin' the phone lines to get him? No way.

That Friedman quote has been cracking me up for a good 12 hours now.

Anonymous said...

Excuse, I have removed this message