Friday, August 13, 2010


I'd like to offer some thoughts about Francisco Rodriguez and the situation in which he's put himself. He represents to me everything that's wrong with the modern ballplayer. Yes he has nasty stuff when he's sharp, and he’s not even 30 years old yet. But I’ve never liked the guy much. Actually, that’s not true. I liked him in the 2002 World Series. He was a great bridge to Troy Percival and came up huge in some tense situations. But he hadn’t yet become the ass clown that he is today and that he's been for a long time now. At some point after the 2002 World Series, he decided that he does not need to comport himself in a way that honors the game. He is part of the new breed of self promoters that have become more common in baseball as the salaries have gotten more and more obscene.

With Frankie there’s too much fist pumping, too much pointing to the heavens and thanking God, as if God is all about Frankie Rodriguez and only Frankie Rodriguez. It's hard to for me to watch. It's exactly what I hate about the way baseball has evolved. It also happens to be the type of behavior that always has the potential to get one of his teammates drilled in the rib cage. He regularly violates one of the fundamental unwritten rules of baseball: Never do anything that embarrasses yourself, your teammates, or the opponent. In other words, don't flip the bat if you hit one out, don't stand in the box and watch the ball, and don't Cadillac it around the bases. Don't do juvenile handshakes and dances if you make a great play. Don't pump your fists every time you strike a batter out. Act like you've been there before. Play the game hard, but play it like a grown up. I would say the same thing to Brandon Phillips and even Jose Reyes. In fact, Brandon Phillips now knows the consequences of acting like an ass clown:

A few years ago, I was watching an Angels telecast when Frankie came in to close out the game. With each out he recorded, he gyrated wildly, pumped his fists, and did his whole ass clown routine. Rex Hudler, who always played the game the right way in his day, was doing the color for the Halos at the time and he pointed out that opposing teams see Frankie acting the way he does and it makes them want a piece of him. They want to shut him up. They want to put him in his place. They want to teach the guy a little humility. That's not the kind of teammate I would want if I were a ballplayer. Who wants to play behind a guy who gives the other side even more motivation to win?

Frankie got away with his antics in the OC because, while the fans in Anaheim are devoted to their Halos, they are not given to the fits of apoplexy that you get with fans in New York, especially Met fans, who've endured so much disappointment and humiliation, not the least of which comes from having to play in the same town as the fucking Jankees. The difference between playing in Anaheim and New York cannot be overstated. There’s very little pressure, relatively speaking, on guys who play for the Angels. A player who signs a big contract with the Angels will never feel like there's a noose around his neck. He can live in a huge house on the Pacific Ocean in Corona Del Mar, show up to the yard, deal with benign beat writers, and play in front of fans who get into it, but not too into it. Look at Hideki Matsui for proof. He's been a complete bust for the Angels, but he never hears boos from the fans at the Big A and he never gets slammed in the LA Times or the Orange County Register. Same goes for Scott Kazmir. The only thing that gets the fans and writers angry is if the player turns on the team, like Jim Edmonds and Mo Vaughn did, or turns on Mike Scioscia, like Jose Guillen and Shea Hillenbrand did.

Frankie obviously didn’t take into account the yawning cultural chasm separating Anaheim from New York when he went for the slightly higher contract the Mets offered him after the 2008 season. I bet he'd like a do-over on that one now. He didn’t realize that the pressure of playing in New York would get to him and that it would be all the more intense for him because he was going from a very good team playing in a relaxed environment to a bad team and a very poorly run organization playing in arguably the toughest town to be a pro athlete. He obviously can’t deal with the pressure because this most recent meltdown of his, attacking his 54-year-old father-in-law in full view of the players' wives and children at the ballpark, is the fourth (publicly known) such incident he’s had since coming to the Mets. The guy doesn’t belong in New York. The ass clown act and the inability to deal with serious pressure are both part of the same overall personality profile, one that belongs to an immature, selfish, self promoter. I'd like it if the Mets could move him, and I bet at this point Frankie would like it as well.


  1. Is it something about putting on the Met uniform? see:
    Coleman, Vincent
    Saberhagen , Brett
    Bonilla, Robert

  2. Good point, but the guys you mentioned just sucked, right? As far as I can remember, none of them ever did anything criminal like assaulting an elderly man in the clubhouse, in full view of the players' families. K-Rod is a special case.

    August 15, 2010 9:48 AM

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  3. Agree- and now it looks like Kfraud may need surgery and done for year. I hope the Wilpons hold back some of his overpay

  4. Your Phils are starting to come around. Once Utley and Howard come off the DL, they will be a force to be reckoned with down the stretch. I hate the Phils, but I respect them, too. They have a lot of quality guys. They are the antithesis of the Mets. I even have grudging respect for Jayson Werth. He's so smart and so gritty that you forget what a classless punk he is off the field.