Quote of the Day: Heyman on Bert Blyleven

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Jon Heyman wrote one of those New Year’s Resolutions-style columns, in which he put voice to what he wishes 50 baseball figures would think heading into 2011.  Here’s his entry for Bert Blyleven:

I will consider myself fortunate when I am voted into the Hall of Fame, and understand that while I had a great career, I am not Tom Seaver or Steve Carlton but rather Don Sutton and Phil Niekro, near-great pitchers who were borderline candidates that gained enshrinement, and I will thank the small coterie of Internet zealots who kept calling attention to the value of strikeouts, shutouts, complete games, longevity and durability and helped me rise from 14 percent of the votes in my second year of eligibility to more than 75 percent and act gracefully upon hearing the expected good news.

Yes. Blyleven should act gracefully.  Mercy.

UPDATE:  Heyman has been defending the above passage over at his Twitter feed.  His claim: he was merely comparing Blyleven to Sutton and Neikro and, my word, how can that be a slam, because those guys were great?  In this he’s missing the point entirely.  We see this by merely changing what he wrote from the first person of Blyleven to a third person account reflecting what are obviously Heyman’s own feelings. Ask yourself: what would you think if Heyman had written this:

Memo to Blyleven: consider yourself fortunate that you’re getting voted into the Hall of Fame, and understand that while you had a great career, you are not Tom Seaver or Steve Carlton but rather Don Sutton and Phil Niekro. You — like them — were a near-great pitcher who was a borderline candidate that gained enshrinement. You should thank the small coterie of Internet zealots who kept calling attention to the value of strikeouts, shutouts, complete games, longevity and durability and helped you rise from 14 percent of the vote in your second year of eligibility to more than 75 percent. And you should act gracefully upon hearing the expected good news.

That’s nothing short of obnoxious.  And it’s nothing different than what he wrote in the first place.

 

 

Oh good, it’s “Yasiel Puig is a showboat” season

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With the Los Angeles Dodgers punching their ticket to the World Series, Yasiel Puig is now going to be the subject of commentary by people who tend not to care about Yasiel Puig until it’s useful for them to write outraged columns or go on talk radio rants about baseball deportment.

We got a brief teaser of this last night when, after scoring the Dodgers’ ninth run on a Logan Forsythe double, TBS analyst Ron Darling criticized Puig for his “shenanigans” and “rubbing it in.” Never mind that his third base coach was waving him home and that, if he didn’t run hard, he was just as likely to be criticized for dogging it. In other news, baseball teams don’t stop trying in the fourth inning of baseball games, nor should they.

That was just an appetizer, though. The first real course of the “Puig is a problem” feast we’re likely to be served over the next week and a half comes from Phil Mushnick of the New York Post, who wrote it even before the Dodgers won Game 5 last night:

If you were raised to love baseball and to recognize the smart, winning kind from everything less, the Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig is insufferable. As the sport is diminished by professionals who disregard the basic act of running to first base as a matter of style, Puig, an incurable home-plate poser, often makes turning doubles and triples into singles appear effortless . . . In the postseason, Puig continues to behave as if he’s in the Home Run Derby. He even seems to relish his high-risk flamboyant foolishness despite frequent backfires.

This may as well be a fill in the blanks column from 2013 or 2014, when “Puig is a flashy showboater who costs his team more than he gives it” columns were all the rage. It ignores the fact that Puig, commonly dinged for being lazy, worked his butt off in 2017, particularly on defense, to the point where he has a strong case for a Gold Glove this year. It also ignores his .455/.538/.727 line in the NLDS sweep of the Diamondbacks and his .389/.500/.611 line against the Cubs in the NLCS. In the regular season he set career highs for games, homers, RBI, stolen bases and almost set a career high for walks despite having seventy fewer plate appearances than he did back in 2013 when he walked 67 times. He’s not the MVP candidate some thought he might be, but he’s a fantastic player who has been a key part of the Dodgers winning their first pennant in 29 years.

But the dings on Puig from the likes of Mushnick have rarely been about production. They’ve simply been about style and the manner in which he’s carried himself. To the extent those issues were legitimate points of criticism — particularly his tardiness, his relationships with his teammates and his at times questionable dedication — they have primarily been in-house concerns for the Dodgers, not the casual fan like Mushnick. On that score the Dodgers have dealt with Puig and, by all accounts, Puig has responded pretty well. An occasional lapse to be sure, but nothing which makes him a greater burden than a benefit. I mean, if he was, would be be batting cleanup in a pennant-clinching game?

So if the beef with Puig is not really about baseball, what could Phil Mushnick’s issue with him possible be?

I, for one, have no idea whatsoever.