As I mentioned last night, another guy jumped onto the field in Philadelphia. This guy was quite a piece of work. First, check out his Twitter page right before it happened:
“turn on the phillies game, im about to be on the feild!!!!!!!!!!”
You know what that means: his charge just went from second degree jackassary to premeditated jackassary. Not smart. I think that can get you the death penalty in some places.
Second of all, just look at the guy:
Forget the premeditated jackassary, I think you can get the death penalty for those pants alone.
Topping off his display of intellect was the fact that he had drugs on him when he jumped, resulting in a charge of narcotics possession on top of all of his trespassing/disorderly conduct stuff. Repeat: the man who planned on jumping out onto a baseball field in front of God, Chase Utley and everyone was holding. Brilliant!
Anyway, I felt kind of bad yesterday that the first jumper/taser thing led to so many people jumping on the “God, Philly fans are the worst” bandwagon. I mean, sure, there’s a history there, but the overwhelming majority of Philadelphia sports fans who aren’t idiots really don’t appreciate their whole sordid past being dragged out every time something happens.
But, man, wouldn’t it be a lot easier to look past all of that if fan idiocy didn’t continue to happen in Philly? In the past couple of weeks alone we’ve had an intentional puker and now two jerks running out onto the field. These things aren’t imaginary. They actually happened, and they probably require that the people who run Citizen Bank ballpark take a closer look at what the rabble are doing.
Spring training is tough for players under the best of circumstances. Even in an age when players work out all year, getting back into the swing of baseball-at-full-speed is tough. Many players spend the bulk of February and March knocking off the rust and getting their timing back. Because of this — and because the games have no real stakes — it is not wise to take spring training statistics super seriously. Especially if the player in question is assured of a spot on the roster and is trying to avoid injury before the regular season arrives.
Spring training for Shohei Ohtani is doubly difficult. Not only does he have to knock the rust off from the offseason, but he (a) has to get used to a new country and language; (b) has to get to know all new teammates, coaches and, really, an entirely new baseball culture; and (c) do all of that while dealing with a media crush that hasn’t been seen in baseball since Ichiro first arrived 17 years ago. In short, Ohtani is under massive pressure and has to make massive adjustments in a short time.
With that said, neither the Angels nor Ohtani can be all that pleased with how his spring training has gone. In two actual major league exhibition games he’s allowed eight runs in two and two-thirds innings. Seven of those came on Friday when he was shelled by the Rockies in an inning and a third. If you include B-games against minor leaguers, he has allowed 17 runs on 18 hits, four of which were homers, in four games. As a hitter he’s 2-for-20.
As Jeff Fletcher of the OC Register notes, Ohtani’s peripherals are not bad, as he has struck out a lot of guys and walked very few and the average on balls in play against him has been brutal, which is not super sustainable. Bad luck and some fat pitches at a time of the year when luck doesn’t really matter and the pitches, because of the rust, are likely to be fatter than normal.
As Fletcher also notes, Nolan Arenado, who faced Ohtani on Friday, said that his stuff looked good and that he’s going to be a good big league pitcher. Ohtani and Angels officials are all striking the right notes about bad luck and adjustments, saying that they’re not worried.
I imagine they’d be worrying even less if things had gone well this spring. Unless of course this is just a professional wrestling-style work aimed at getting more of us to watch his regular season debut, in which he’ll reveal that he was sandbaggin’ all along.