Friday, July 25, 2008

What Joba Should Say

Joba should have said, "Kevin Youkilis has every right to be angry. No one playing this game should ever feel like they're risking their life. There is no excuse for throwing a ball at a player's head and obviously I would never do it on purpose. But it's my responsibility to see that it doesn't happen even on accident and I apologize to him and the Red Sox. I know it's happened several times in the past but I'll do everything I can to avoid it in the future short of forfeiting my ability to pitch effectively for my team. And I want to emphasize again how sorry I am -- we want to win games by playing better and pitching better and batting better, not by shaving corners or putting someone's safety, season and even their life at risk."

Of course, he can't say it...BECAUSE IT'S NOT TRUE. Even the Yankees announcers on the post-game YES show all finally admitted it was pretty damn suspicious given their past history, Joba's excellent control the rest of the game, etc. There's simply no excuse for headhunting. Roger Clemens was a poisonous influence and hopefully Andy Pettitte (who has hit all of one player on purpose in his career and still regrets it) will give Joba a talking to. This doesn't help win games. It helps inflame the opposition, get them pumped up and put your players at risk of serious injury. Wanna protect your players? Then NEVER intentionally hit an opponent. And if you do unintentionally hit them, walk over a few feet and apologize and say it was an accident. I know this isn't considered manly and that pitchers are supposed to terrorize their opponents and any sign of weakness is for wimps. Bullshit. There is no more cowardly act in all of sports than an American League pitcher intentionally beaning someone, especially near the head. The sooner people realize it's cowardly, the better we'll be. Joba should be ashamed of himself. And before you say I'm wrong and no one in that situation would ever intentionally blah blah blah, imagine for a second that a Boston pitcher had thrown over the head of your favorite Yankee TWICE, then beaned them, then threw that pitch Joba pitched last night -- all from a pitcher who has shown EXCELLENT command and has no issues with any other player. You'd be screaming for his head and rightly so and it's only fair to hold our own players to the same standard. If you want fights, switch on ECW. I do.

P.S. I am SO glad I was pushing for Joba to become a starter, because damn, he is the real thing. Seriously, we all thought Joba had huge potential and I am so glad I was wrong and that the Yankees jerking Joba around and changing his role mid-season like this has not only not messed with his mind but that we've seen him flourish. Plus, he's been so effective -- 7 innings with just over 100 pitches? -- that we might even have him for the post-season.


priv8pete said...

"imagine for a second that a Boston pitcher had thrown over the head of your favorite Yankee TWICE, then beaned them, then threw that pitch Joba pitched last night."

You mean like the way that Schilling always pitched to Jeter? Of course it pisses you off, but you can't blame the pitcher for not wanting the opposing batters to be digging in on every pitch. The notion that they could be dead on the next pitch, intentionally or unintentionally, is a powerful tool in the mental game which is pitcher v. batter. For someone who is such a fan of "old school baseball" I'm surprised that you're against this notion...

Michael in New York said...

I'm against intentionally beaning players, which many pitchers feel pressured to do to "protect" their players. Good Christian Andy Pettitte always refused (except once). There's nothing old school about hitting a player -- it's just cowardly. And I can tell the difference between pitching inside (especially with a player who practically stands on the plate like Jeter) and trying to bean a player and/or force the player to dive out of the way. Jeter is one of the most beaned players in baseball but it doesn't usually prompt me to call for someone's head because I know how Jeter stands -- a ball that comes dangerously close to Jeter's chest is often just an inch or two off the plate. Being "old school" refers to the fundamentals -- running out of the box, knowing how to bunt, respecting the game. It doesn't mean playing lke Ty Cobb for heaven's sake.