Monday, March 23, 2009

This Is Why Nobody Likes You

Before I'm accused of starting a personal war, let me quantify my title. The "You" in "This is Why Nobody Likes You" refers to the collective media who sometimes likes to stir the pot for no real reason except for stirring the pot. This isn't a swipe specifically at the gentleman who wrote the article I'm about to refer to:
Ramirez quickly warmed to the idea of batting third for Florida. "That means I'm dangerous," a grinning Ramirez said. "All the good hitters bat third, fourth, fifth. I want to be around those guys."

Reyes took a passive-aggressive approach, saying without a hint of enthusiasm that he would hit where the club wanted him to hit. Reyes' reluctance spoke volumes.
This seems to be the modus operandi (you know it as M.O.) of some of the national media, reading into the reactions of two players and picking the conclusion that stirs up the most reaction and the most controversy. Now, Gerry Fraley might be dead on with this. Maybe Jose really is a selfish dope who only wants to hit leadoff. Maybe Fraley is a better judge of psychological ticks than everybody else. But if a cliched "I'll do what the club tells me to do" is all he has to go on, then with all due respect I'm going to need a little more convincing.

Yeah, their responses were telling, as Fraley says. It tells me where these players play as much as anything. Is it possible, maybe, that Reyes' five years in New York dealing with the hoards of media has him more conditioned towards cliched, no-risk answers when dealing with the non-regulars? Meanwhile, the most Hanley has to deal with on a daily basis is Dan LeBatard yelling "Bam!" in the lockerroom when he's feeling particularly warm and fuzzy. So the cliche hasn't exactly seeped into Hanley's consciousness yet (as if his "I hate the Mets rant" from '07 wasn't enough proof.)

Reyes says something without enthusiasm. Therefore, he's passive-aggressive and he's going to lie down like a dog if he hits third. Because that's the gist of the whole passive-aggressive thing, in case you haven't looked it up lately. That's a wild conclusion to come to ... it's the Murray Chass school of logic: Mike Piazza has back acne. Back acne is a symptom of steroids. Here to forth: Mike Piazza is on the juice. The media is full of people who think they're Matlock who are just waiting to get these players on a witness stand:

Matlock: You don't want to hit third, do you?

Reyes: I don't care where I hit.

Matlock: No no ... you don't want to hit third. You can't hide it.

Reyes: (/breaks down in tears)

I'll concede that Jose Reyes is just never, ever, going to get the benefit of the doubt on things like this until he puts the Mets on his back single-handedly and gets them to the playoffs in September. I realize this. I hope it happens one day. In fact I hope that someday, Reyes is playing in the World Baseball Classic and makes an error which leads to three runs, and the ESPN announcers are so shocked that they stumble for things to say until they rationalize that it was actually the speed of the runner that caused Jete, uh ... Reyes to throw the ball into Orange County, and that it really wasn't his fault. I hope that this is the case one day.

Until then, we're left to fend for ourselves when it comes to separating the factual brain locks from the ones that are conjured up.

Thanks: Jaap, for pointing me in the right direction.


Anonymous said...

I think that MyBiznitchIsTheShiznit's comment on the article sums it up:
How refreshing everything's been decided. Two 24 year old player's careers have been determined by an op-ed piece and a blog. They should both retire.
Doesn't matter that Ramirez doesn't have three other players with 30 HR power on his team and Reyes' proposed switch to third was more about motivating Luis Castillo by batting him first. I shouldn't even mention Reyes had more extra base hits than Ramirez last season.
Author Gerry Fraley displayed his premonition skills when he picked the Cubs to win the World Series Sept. 30th. He knew all about J.P. Ricciardi( He advocates Jim Kaat for the Hall of Fame based on little statistics( He knew all about the Cardinals scouting practices too ( Fraley also advocated that Posada, Rivera, ARod all be banished from the Bronx after the '07 season ( Quite a track record, game over man.

Unser said...

Well put. How about the "Glavine blasts Pedro" story. I had to re-read the quote three or four times, trying to find the "blasting" this reporter was talking about.

If Reyes had said "yeah, big time, hit me third" the story would have been "Reyes disses Wright, says I'M the man". You can't win.

And the Chass story? How utterly stupid can you get? Surprising too, since Chass was regarded as one of the better reporters. He blasts the Post and then makes an accusation out of whole cloth, which is completely "Postian".

Anonymous said...

Good points. When I read that email, I got really annoyed. In fact, I only read about half way through. It was so clear this writer was biased. I rarely get that frustrated when reading someone's article or opinion piece, but this was different. It was just so unfair. I couldn't believe what I was reading. I'd call it the epitome of specious logic except to be specious, doesn't the argument have to at least "sound" good? Then again, some of the replied to that piece show how clueless some people can be.

A major point that he overlooked was that it was a pretty well accepted given that Hanley was going to move down to 3rd this year. Most fans knew that, like Soriano, Hanley is not a true leadoff guy, not with his power. So, in no way was Hanley surprised by this. I am sure he was either already aware of it, or was expecting it sooner or later. OTOH, Reyes is arguably the game's best leadoff hitter. He is absolutely deadly in that role, and fans expect him to remain and thrive in that role for many more years to come. So, when it was brought up to Reyes by the media, not directly from Manuel, almost the very moment Reyes got to camp (hec, he didn't even get to put his bags down), he was understandably caught off guard. Despite that, he still said he would do what was asked of him. But that's not good enough for this writer. It doesn't matter that Hanley is supposed to be a middle of the order guy in a place nobody pays attention to, whereas Reyes is supposed to be a leadoff hitter, in a place where he found out by a swarm of media before his own manager. C'mon, give me a break. That guy shouldn't be allowed to write another article for a week. Doesn't matter to me though. I only read stuff that doesn't suck. You see, I can be immature, too.

Anonymous said...

To add to my reply above, when I first saw the title to that piece over on sportsspyder, I originally misread it because I had just assumed it was complimenting Reyes and putting down Hanley, since I had never read Hanley's comments, that's how caught off guard I was by what the guy said. I just couldn't believe he was taking issue with Reyes' response, that's just how far off base he truly was, so much so that my eyes actually played tricks on me... I was like, "Oh cool, an article on what makes Reyes a good teammate for being willing to move to the 3 hole.". Wow, was I wrong. And the thing is, you could make the exact opposite argument. Like I said, Hanley is SUPPOSED to be a 3 hitter, Reyes isn't. It's not a surprise to Hanley. It is to Reyes (especially with how he found out, but that blog writer conveniently left that part out, but that's what everything in his argument was, convenient- at least what of it I could stomach). But here's the other way to look at it- where has Hanley batted the past few years? Leadoff. And most anyone can tell you that this is not where he should be hitting, not with his power, especially with the lineup he's in, one that could definitely use his abilities in the middle of the lineup. And yet, there he was, hanging out in the leadoff spot, where all those homers and doubles drive nobody but himself in. The Marlins had a good year last year. For a good while, they were even the leader of the division. They didn't lose the division by all that much. Who's to say that had Hanley batted third, given the strong starting rotation the Marlins put out there in the second half, that this wouldn't have made a huge difference, afterall, IMO, Hanley was the first half MVP of the NL. Who knows how much more of a difference he could have made in the middle of the lineup. The Fish didn't hit that well in the second half. I imagine they could gave used his all world stick lower down where it could have actually done some damage. Sure, Hanley doesn't set the lineup, but use your noggin, something smells fishy here, pun very much intended. Why didn't the Gonalez put Hanley down lower two years ago? Or, after having that great 2007 season, why not move him down to start last season? Or even after the all star break when they needed the offense? Did Hanley resist it like Soriano? Or did Gonzalez imagine that he would and so he never bothered even asking? These are fair questions, and perhaps it's a bit unfair to Hanley, afterall, he wasn't the one to write that piece. But he's found himself in the crosshairs nonetheless. And as for Reyes, passive aggressive? All I need to say to that is, hey, guy, did you see what Reyes did in his first game in the 3 hole? He had two homers, and 6 RBI, including a nicely professional RBI ground in the first inning, and a Grand Slam in the third. Sure, that's acting like he wants out, right? Please. Nice try.

Ceetar said...

Besides all the ridiculousness.. All Hanley's statement says is "yeah, my team has no good hitters. They need me to third."