Earlier this week, when asked about his role as set-up man to John Axford on a playoff-bound Brewers club, the manic and pock-marked hot head had this to say:
“There’s been plenty of save opportunities, and I’ve pitched once in the ninth inning and it wasn’t a save. I’m not happy. That’s the bottom line for me.”
Whaa whaa whaa. Cry me a river, you big, overpaid, underachieving man-baby.
You see, dear readers, K-Rod is what we nowadays call a “stat-whore” — an obvious “save” chaser, a child more concerned about his “legacy” than the overall well-being of his team. And apparently, winning means nothing to him. Being successful means nothing to him. If it did, he’d keep his mouth shut. Instead, he’s yapping about how rough he has it while presumably yearning for a return to that moribund, going-nowhere New York Mets club.
Are we, US Americans, responsible for this man-childish behavior? Probably. To be fair, we are the ones who tune in to train wrecks like The Jersey Shore. We are the ones who judge people based on appearances. We are the ones who look the other way while skinny little Brady Anderson racks up 50 bombs.
Will it ever end? Probably not. But being aware is being alive, which is good news for you and me.
And K-Rod? Well, he is just another one of the walking dead.
PS. Aside from being a big baby, K-Rod is also the poster child against extreme, high definition close-ups. I mean, seriously, there is no reason for a grown man to have that much acne. Unless…
They are getting sound pitching from both their starters and their pen. They catch the ball. They make all the routine plays. And boy can those Brewers hit.
But perhaps the best part of the Brewer’s m.o. is that they’re unconventional. I mean, Prince Fielder is fat. I mean FAT. Also, Nyjer Morgan (aka Tony Plush — AHHHHHHHHH!!!) is insane. And John Axford looks like he just stepped out of a Civil War reenactment.
Of course, nothing could be as unconventional as their storied radio broadcaster, Mr. Baseball himself, Bob Ueker. Artie Lang explains why:
If you’re not havin’ fun, you’re not doin’ it right.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Opening Day saw some pretty spectacular bullpen meltdowns. But what
does it say about the game that teams have become so reliant on the
bullpen that relievers can pretty much make or break a season? Have
pitchers gotten soft?
*Breaks window, jumps from the second story, runs down the street screaming even though forgot pants*
Believe me, Mr. Jake, I am really trying to tackle this one without any bias, without any memory of Opening Day in the ‘Lou, without a mammoth-sized chip on my shoulder. But let’s be honest: in baseball, there isn’t much worse than watching your team dominate throughout a game, only to blow it all in the 9th when the win is on the line.
My Redbirds managed to do that on Opening Day. The Brewers did too (all credit goes to John Axford). The Mets ran into it last night with Jail-Rod’s shenanigans (Also, his unfettered desire to fight people proves that pitchers — at least this one — have not gotten “soft”… unless the pitcher’s name is Kyle Farnsworth). Hell, ask the 2010 Baltimore Orioles… they know all about losing games late considering they blew more games last year than Lil Kim did Bad Boys in the 90s.
But what does it say about the game that teams have become so reliant on the bullpen that relievers can pretty much make or break a season? Gee, I’m not sure it’s really come to that. The ’08 Cardinals were pretty awful, as I remember the bullpen yacking up over 25 games late… but, after giving it the old eye test, I’m not sure it’s really fair to say that the state of Major League bullpens is any different than it has been in years past. You either have a good one, a mediocre one, or a bad one.
And even when you have a bad one, that doesn’t necessarily spell gloom and doom for one’s team. 2009 Brad Lidge comes to mind; my pedestrian and oft frightened colleague, Mr. Krause probably could’ve done a better job on the hill than Lidge that season, but the Phillies still managed to grind their way to the World Series.
Unfortunately, these days, the role of a “closer” and “set-up man” and “7th inning guy” has been magnified because of money. The more money involved, the more pressure. The more pressure, the fewer who can actually deal with it.
In fact, for my money, there’s only one closer who is reliable every single day and that man’s name is Mariano Rivera. I think the Yankees could realistically state that their season might rely on Mo’s cutters; but then again, their set-up man saved 40+ last year. And, oh yeah, their all-star lineup doesn’t hurt either.
But for the other 29 teams, yeah, it could be a problem. But when your team is in flux — featuring an unsigned future Hall of Famer, a sidelined perennial Cy Young contender, and an All-Star outfielder absent because of an appendectomy — then you got more problems than you can actually stomach right now. The bullpen is just one of many.
Don’t hate me. ‘Cuz I’m right.
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