Sunday, June 19, 2005

Anger Management Redux

That series against the Angels was so much fun, I can't stop talking about it. The suspensions are in from the Pine Tar Incident. The managers got one game each, and Brendan Donnelly got ten. Ten games -- that's quite a few. Maybe putting pine tar on your glove actually is cheating. Somebody better tell Mike Scioscia before he says something stupid again.

Cheap shots aside, it's worth pointing out that the series concluded with a regular ol' baseball game rather than a beanball war, and both managers deserve credit for not giving in to that kind of thing, even if I was just the tiniest bit disappointed. Plus we won, so nah nah.

Unfortunately, our own Jose Guillen couldn't let bygones be bygones. After the last game of the series, he had the following comments:
Scioscia showed no class, no respect. He was talking to me about respect and class. I really don't care about Mike Scioscia. I have no respect for him any more because I'm still hurt about what happened last year. I don't want to make these comments, but Mike Scioscia is a piece of garbage. I don't care if I get in trouble.
Hmm. Well, that's too bad. Back in March, I took issue with the line of propaganda coming from the team and the local media. Jim Bowden and his willing mouthpieces were trying to convince us that Jose Guillen was a changed man who'd willingly taken anger management classes and was completely cured. It was nonsense. He was most likely forced to take the classes, and every word out of the man's mouth indicated that he hadn't learned a thing, as Guillen was insistent that his future good behavior was conditional: as long as he played every day and not "disrespected," everything would be ducky. Not to toot my own horn, but his latest outburst makes me think I was right.

But this isn't about Guillen (Basil has that angle covered). Mostly I feel sorry for the man. He's paranoid, and it can't be fun to go through life like that. His talent has gotten him far, but he doesn't seem very happy. This sequence of events gives us a couple other things to think about. First, is Jose Guillen a good long term investment? Our esteemed general manager thinks so. Guillen came to the Nats under contract for 2005 with a team option to extend it through next year. Instead of waiting to see how the outfielder acquitted himself on and off the field, Jim Bowden yanked the lever (I'm assuming that's how the option was activated) within the first month of the season. Since then, Guillen's OPS has dropped more than 90 points, and he's demontrated the kind of instability that made the Angels so eager to see the back of him. He's under contract with the Nats for another year and half. His relationship with management is great now, but will that last?

The other thing: maintain your skepticism. We were fed a story based on nothing but wishful thinking from Bowden and some things Guillen sort of said. A pliant local sports media was all too willing to accept Bowden's "changed man" fiction without really looking at it, and this in spite of the fact that Guillen couldn't even be bothered to say quite what he was supposed to. Keep that in mind the next time the papers start fawning over Bowden's latest pet project.

When asked in 1972 what he thought was the impact of the French Revolution, Chinese Premier Chou En Lai replied, "It is too soon to tell." That's a good way to look at a lot of things, including the recent Nats/Brewers trade and the accompanying pickup of Ryan Drese. It looked bad for us on Tuesday, as Tomo Ohka threw 9 innings of shutting out at the Devil Rays, whose offense isn't as bad as you probably think. He struck out 6 and walked none and afterwards probably got loaded and sang obscene songs about Frank. We caught up a bit on Thursday as Drese pitched 8 shutout innings in spite of giving up 4 walks against 3 strikeouts. Junior Spivey, meanwhile, isn't hitting: 138/242/276 since joining the Nats. The first batch of results isn't good for Bodes, but remember Chou En Lai: we're talking about a grand total of 11 games among all three players here, so it's much too soon to tell.

7 comments:

Chris Needham said...

How dare you slander our fine local media like that!

It's an interesting point -- at what point does 'journalism' end, and PR begin?

That being said, especially on a few of his longer-form pieces on Guillen, Barry Svrluga has hinted around these issues.

That he can't come right out and say this is a bit disappointing, I guess.

But, you have to imagine some of that is self preservation. He doesn't want to get brained from behind with an angry Guillen swing.

Ryan said...

It's an interesting point -- at what point does 'journalism' end, and PR begin?

I wonder what Ladson thinks.

I should have mentioned Svrluga - he does as much as he can given the limitations of his position. He's so damn good!

Chris Needham said...

Does Ladson think?

I have no problem with Bill with what he does. But, to pretend that what he does is journalism is silly. There's a fine line between what he's doing as am [cough]independent[cough] voice for MLB.com and what the team's PR people do.

But, that's an industry-wide problem, and it even affects the beat writers.

As long as the team controls the door, there are certain rocks you can't turn over.

Look at what Danny Boy has done with the WaPo over a few [gasp] critical stories about his mediocre team.

El Gran Color Naranja said...

But Junior Spivey can't be doing poorly. Bowden is a genius! It must be a mistake. Check your numbers.

Ohka vs. Maddux tonight. Let's see if he's still one angry guy.

Basil said...

_I have no problem with Bill with what he does. But, to pretend that what he does is journalism is silly._

Ladson's a quasi-journalist. When he's fulfilling a journalistic role, he's good at what it required of him: get something substantive down quickly. That's part-and-parcel of a web site, of course, but you could really post a blog entry for a recently-concluded game, with excerpts of quotes, really quickly. That's because Rocket Bill is exceedingly fast in what he does.

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