Tagged: The Rant

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The Rant: Cubs, Quit Your *****in!

Apparently this Rant thing is going to be used more than I thought. Anyway, I need to first point out that I hate the Cubs. I despise them. If after reading this you think I’m just a biased idiot, you may very well be right. However, I think my reasoning is sound on this one and surpasses my extreme hatred for the most inept franchise in the history of sports.

Ted Lilly and all the rest of the Chicago Cubs organization, for the love of everything holy quit your ********! You obviously intentionally beaned a player. That’s against the rules. You got thrown out. Take your punishment like a man instead of crying and whining like a little girl.

MLB’s Official Rulebook has this to say about the subject:

(d) Intentionally Pitch at the Batter.
If, in the umpire’s judgment, such a violation occurs, the umpire may elect either to:
1. Expel the pitcher, or the manager and the pitcher, from the game, or
2. may warn the pitcher and the manager of both teams that another such pitch will result in the immediate expulsion of that pitcher (or a replacement) and the manager.
If, in the umpire’s judgment, circumstances warrant, both teams may be officially “warned” prior to the game or at any time during the game.

Anyone who’s saying the umpire shouldn’t have thrown out Lilly, go back and read number 1 again please. Look, everyone in that stadium knew Lilly was going to hit someone in the first inning. The fact that Tim Hudson had beaned Soriano the game before and got away with it, has nothing to do with how Lilly should have been punished. The fact of the matter is that Lilly intentionally threw at the batter and was therefore thrown out of the game, just like the rules state.

Now, should Tim Hudson been thrown out the day before? Probably. Soriano had gone yard three times the previous game and it didn’t exactly surprise anyone, however, that’s not what the Cubs are arguing. They are saying that Lilly shouldn’t have been thrown out. Not only that, but that the umpire should be punished for the way he handled the situation. Excuse me?!? Your boy intentionally hits a batter, get’s thrown out, and somehow the ump is to blame?

I understand he said he "knew it was coming" and that he was "waiting for it". Because of that statement, all little bear fans are clamoring about how both teams should have been warned. Really? You mean to tell me that professional ball players need to be warned not to break the rules? Come on. Warning the teams is at the umpires discretion and I’d also like to point out that HAD the teams been warned, the same people would have complained that they weren’t allowed to retaliate.

So, what should the umpires have done in this situation? Exactly what they did. Lilly blatantly broke the rules and was punished accordingly. Don’t give me this two wrongs make everything right ****. The "he made me do it" excuse didn’t work when I was 6 and it sure as **** shouldn’t be your excuse now.

If the Cubs and their fans want the league to look into Hudson’s beaning, that’s fine. The umpires at the time didn’t feel it was intentional (as evidenced by the fact that they didn’t toss him and didn’t warn the teams) and the league isn’t going to do anything about that one. If Cubs want the league to look into Renteria’s slide into second, that’s fine by me. I’ve seen worse go unpunished but given the tense situation and the fact that Lilly had just been tossed, Edgar probably should have gotten canned as well. However, let me say emphatically, that NONE of that changes how the umpires should have reacted to Lilly’s bean ball.

To be honest, I think there should be more intentional beaning of batters. We’ve got batters like Barry Bonds walking up there in SWAT gear and covering the plate like John Daly eating a pork chop. You have players watching their home runs like it’s a Lord of the Rings movie and they react like you’ve shot them the first time someone dares to pitch inside on them. But, as I said before, if you’re going to do the crime (and I think you should), you’ve got to do the time. Disguise it a bit, don’t make it so obvious, bean a guy on a 3-0 count rather than the first pitch of the at bat, something, but if you get caught, for crying out loud, don’t ***** when you get tossed.


The Rant: C’mon ARod, You’re Better Than That

Well, it didn’t take long for readers to respond to the "draft notice" I posted yesterday. One of the first was Derek Wonderland, a die-hard Braves fan, and more importantly, a fan of baseball. I’m not sure what it says about him that his first guest post here will be in The Rant section but I think you guys will enjoy it. If all goes well Derek will pop up here from time to time so be sure to weigh in and let him know how he did.

C’Mon ARod, You’re Better Than That

Let me start by saying that I am an Alex Rodriguez fan. I have nothing against the guy. In fact, if you told me that I could pick one player to start a team around, I’m going with ARod every time. I wholeheartedly believe that when his career is over, his statistics will force baseball analysts to talk about him the same way we talk about Ruth, Mays, and Dimaggio. He is that good. Period. Which is precisely what is so troubling. I don’t want to have to clarify my opinion of him. I want to be able to say, “ARod is a great player”, not “ARod is a great player, but he makes some real bush-league plays”.

I’m sure by now you’ve heard about ARod yelling “Ha!” (or so he claims) at Blue Jays 3rd baseman Howie Clark as he was running by, causing Clark to let a very routine infield fly ball drop to the turf. Evidently, Clark thought he heard someone say “Mine”, so he backed off the pop up. Should Clark have still caught the ball? Yeah, probably. But that’s not the issue. The real issue here is trying to figure out what kind of player ARod really is, because unfortunately, this type of play isn’t out of the ordinary for Mr. Rodriguez.

I used to laugh when I would hear Yankee fans say that they would keep Derek Jeter over ARod if they had to choose between the two. Jeter over ARod? That’s crazy, right? How could you take Jeter, a career .317 hitter with only 186 career HRs & 888 RBIs, over Rodriguez, who boasts career totals of 483 HRs and almost 1400 RBIs to go with his .305 lifetime average? After all, I’m one of “those guys” who say that Jeter would be nothing special if he played for the Royals his whole career. But now, I’m starting to change my tune. Derek Jeter would never in a million years try to distract someone as he ran by to make them drop the ball. Jeter would never try to slap the ball out of someone’s glove like ARod did in the 2004 playoffs against the Red Sox. I’ve never seen Jeter throw an elbow as he tried to break up a double play, like ARod did last week to Dustin Pedroia.  Now to be fair, ARod would probably tell you that he was just doing whatever it took to win. Well, Jeter is widely regarded as the biggest “winner” in baseball and he would never do those things.

If you asked me to name “dirty” athletes, the first names that pop into my head are Bill Laimbeer, Ty Cobb, Bill Romanowski, and Kent Hrbek. (Hrbek is a personal demon, dating back to the pick-off play in the 1991 World Series when he literally lifted Ron Gant’s leg off of 1st base and Gant was called out….but that is another story for another time.) I just hope that ten or twenty years from now when you ask me to name the dirtiest athletes I’ve ever seen, ARod doesn’t pop into my head.

~ Derek Wonderland

The Rant: Hancock Family Lawsuit the True Tragedy

As if the story of deceased Cardinal pitcher Josh Hancock wasn’t tragic enough, it appears the Hancock family is determined to make it worse. Hancock of course was the Cardinal reliever who drove a rental SUV into the back of a tow truck on Highway 40 in St. Louis killing himself but luckily injuring no one else. It was later revealed that Hancock had a blood alcohol level of nearly twice the legal limit, was speeding, and was using his cell phone at the time of the crash.

Now, the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that Hancock’s family is suing the restaurant that Hancock was leaving, as well as the towing company, the tow truck driver, and the motorist being assisted by the tow truck. The suit alleges

"The restaurant, operated by Cardinals broadcaster and onetime player Mike Shannon, seeks patronage of sports celebrities who become drunk there. It alleges that Hancock ‘regularly became visibly intoxicated’  at Shannon’s and that, ‘The intoxication of Joshua Morgan Hancock on said occasion was involuntary."

I’m sorry… WHAT? The intoxication was involuntary? As in one of the defendants named in the suit forced Hancock to get drunk? Now don’t get me wrong, I think restaurants and bars do share some responsibility to not over serve their patrons. The restaurant’s manager reportedly offered the pitcher a cab ride home but was told he was only heading a couple of blocks down the street. Obviously having not been there I have no idea whether they over served him or not.

That being said, this law suit might be the most telling event of this whole tragic episode. How does one get involuntarily drunk? More importantly, how in the **** do you decide to sue the tow truck company, driver, and motorist? I mean what are you saying to these people – You shouldn’t have clipped the median (apparently after another driver cut him off) and been stuck on the road that my idiot son was going to be speeding down drunk and on the phone? Get a CLUE!

I’d like to think that this is simply a grief stricken family lashing out, perhaps on some bad legal advice. However, as I said earlier, I think it gives us a glimpse into Hancock’s life. The young man made the worst possible choice at the worst possible time. He killed himself and was fortunate not to have killed other innocent people. But rather than apologizing to the victims and the community for their son’s idiotic and criminal activity, the family sues everyone in sight. I’m surprised they didn’t name the St. Louis Cardinals and maybe even Anheuser Busch in the suit as well!

You see, according to Hancock’s family and their lawsuit, it was everyone else’s fault. The blame does not belong to their son. No, no, certainly not. The bartender shouldn’t have served him, the motorist shouldn’t have gotten cut off, and the tow truck shouldn’t have stopped to help him (even though the truck’s flashing lights and heavy frame likely saved the motorist’s life in this case).

Now maybe I’m reading too much into this but it certainly seems to me that by blaming everyone else, the family is trying to make excuses their son’s actions. If they are unwilling to blame their son in this case, where he is so obviously the one at fault, chances are that they’ve never held him accountable for his actions. "Oh, you drove drunk son? It’s not your fault. You put everyone on the road that night in danger? That bar shouldn’t have served you. You ran into a truck and ended your young life? Someone has got to pay because it couldn’t have been your fault."

I’m sorry, Hancock family, when your son decided to put the key into the ignition and drive off even though he was drunk, he alone was responsible for his actions. Those actions and your son’s subsequent death were unfortunate and saddening. This lawsuit, the logic behind it, and the message it sends, however, are truly tragic.

The Rant: Fans Aren’t Owed Anything

Up until this point I’ve kept The Rumor Mill relatively free of controversy. That is about to change. This will mark the first, but surely not the last, rant on this blog. When I’ve finally had enough, I’m going to get it all out in a hopefully not too regular column called The Rant. St. Louis sports fans might recognize the name as Kevin Slaten’s daily gimmick and in fact that’s where I got the name. I figured it was only fitting as this post is inspired in part by the purse swinger himself.

I’m not sure where this myth or school of thought started but I have had enough of it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people ******* and moaning about how much tickets cost these days. Of course, in St. Louis they are still selling out every game but the fans are sick of it. Ownership made too much money last year off the championship, they make too much money off tickets, merchandise and food, and they made too much off selling memorabilia from the old Busch for the team to be performing the way they are. Somehow the team "owes it to the fans" to put a better product out on the field. Really? They OWE it to us?

Now correct me if I’m wrong but I was under the impression that what you were buying was a ticket to the game. That’s it. If ticket prices are too high, and you don’t think you’re getting enough value for your dollar, then don’t go to the game. If you feel like you need to send a message to team ownership, boycott the game. Organize a grassroots effort to get the attention of the men and women in power. But please, for the love of everything holy, don’t just sit there and whine!

This notion that a team owes me as a fan something is ridiculous. Sports teams are businesses and are supposed to make money. Obviously putting a winning team on the field tends to help generate more excitement which in turn generates more money coming in. However, the only thing they owe us fans is a baseball game. As long as they put 9 men on that field and play 9 other guys for at least four and a half innings, they’ve fulfilled our agreement. To make matters worse, we as fans know for the most part what team ownership is going to be fielding when we buy the tickets. Sure, season ticket holders usually buy their seats before the rosters are set and they certainly buy them before we know for sure how the team will fare, but Kansas City Royals fans aren’t buying season tickets expecting them to win 100 games. You have your expectations and you purchase tickets accordingly. If the team isn’t performing, then don’t buy tickets next year. Sell your seats and recoup as much money back as you can. But no matter what, the team doesn’t owe you anything.

Do I wish the Cardinals had spent more money this offseason and tried to acquire Carlos Lee? Yeah, of course. Do I wish the Cardinals would shell out the money to be a serious player in the upcoming Alex Rodriguez spend-a-thon? You bet. But, if the Cardinals cut the payroll in half next year and became the Royals East would they owe me anything? Nope, not at all.

I’m sure most people will have an opinion about this so feel free to leave a comment. Whether you disagree with me or you think I’m the next Billy Bean, let me know.