Ned Colletti has determined that the best way to light a fire under the Dodgers is to rip Matt Kemp. After criticizing Kemp’s baserunning and defense to Peter Tilden of 790-KABC, he said:
“Why is it? Because he got a new deal? Can’t tell you. But you
know, it’s below-average. If this is the last day of the season and
people are voting for the Gold Glove, his name is not even on the
ballot. It’s a shame that he would go from where he was a year ago to
revert back to when the ball goes up in the air and you’re not sure
where it’s going, or if it’s going to get caught.”
I’ll grant that Kemp hasn’t been as stellar on defense this year as he was all last year, but if Ned Colletti thinks that the team is 8-12 because Kemp isn’t running everything down he’s nuts. The Dodgers are 8-12 because the only team with worse pitching in the National League is the Pittsburgh Pirates, who at least have the excuse of being the Pittsburgh Pirates. But even the Pirates didn’t place their hopes and dreams in Vicente Padilla and every Tom, Dick and Harry Ortiz who wandered into Camelback, Arizona between February and April. That’s all on you, Ned, so if you want to rip someone, take a long look in the mirror.
And when you’re done doing that, remember that no GM who calls himself a professional rips his own players in the media, let alone his best player. His best player who decided to go year-to-year though arbitration rather than sign a long term deal and thus could very well bolt in a couple of years if he decides that getting called out by the boss on a radio show is not the sort of franchise for whom he wishes to serve as a cornerstone.
This is low rent behavior from an organization that has been called a lot of things in its history, but never low rent. Colletti ought to be ashamed of himself.
The story of Rick Ankiel is well known by now. He was a phenom pitcher who burst onto the scene with the Cardinals in 1999 and into the 2000 season as one of the top young talents in the game. Then, in the 2000 playoffs, he melted down. He got the yips. Whatever you want to call it, he lost the ability to throw strikes and his pitching career was soon over. He came back, however, against all odds, and remade his career as a solid outfielder.
It’s inspirational and incredible. But there is a lot more to the story that we’ve ever known. We will soon, however, as Ankiel is coming out with a book. Today he took to the airwaves and shared some about it. Including some amazing stuff:
On drinking in his first start after the famous meltdown in Game One of the 2000 National League division series against the Braves:
“Before that game…I’m scared to death. I know I have no chance. Feeling the pressure of all that, right before the game I get a bottle of vodka. I just started drinking vodka. Low and behold, it kind of tamed the monster, and I was able to do what I wanted. I’m sitting on the bench feeling crazy I have to drink vodka to pitch through this. It worked for that game. (I had never drank before a game before). It was one of those things like the yipps, the monster, the disease…it didn’t fight fair so I felt like I wasn’t going to fight fair either.”
Imagine spending your whole life getting to the pinnacle of your career. Then imagine it immediately disintegrating. And then imagine having to go out and do it again in front of millions. It’s almost impossible for anyone to contemplate and, as such, it’s hard to judge almost anything Ankiel did in response to that when he was 21 years-old. That Ankiel got through that and made a career for himself is absolutely amazing. It’s a testament to his drive and determination.
A couple of weeks ago our president wrote one of his more . . . vexing tweets. He was talking about immigration when he whipped out the phrase . . . “Easy D”:
No one was quite sure what he meant by Easy D. Was it the older brother of N.W.A.’s founder? The third sequel to that Emma Stone movie from a few years back? So many questions!
Baseball Twitter had fun with it, though, with a lot of people wondering how they could work it in casually to their commentary:
It wasn’t a scout who did it, but twelve days after that, a player obliged Mr. McCullough:
I have no more idea what Turner was talking about with that than Trump was. We’ll have to wait for the full story in the L.A. Times. But I am going to assume Turner was doing McCullough a solid with that one rather than commenting on the president’s tweet. Either way, I’m glad he made the effort.
And before you ask: yes, it’s a slow news day.