John Rocker

Who is the most hated player in your team’s history?


I try to ac-cent-u-ate the positive and e-lim-i-nate the negative as much as possible, but it’s a long baseball season so it’s easy to get negative.

I tend to get the most negative about my own team when they’re not playing well. Oh, if you could take a man’s life for the thoughts that’s in his head I’d have been on that execution line many a times over the past 25 years. Between Robert Fick and Lonnie Smith I’m surprised I’m still living.

Jim Moore over at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer goes through the exercise with respect to the Mariners today, trying to figure out who the most hated Mariner of all time is.  He settles on Bobby Ayala but thinks that Chone Figgins is closing fast. Only Mariners fans can judge, though, because such assessments are inherently subjective. Only fans of a given team can speak to who that team’s most hated player is. Those on the outside just can’t understand.

I don’t know who the Braves’ most hated player is. Robert Fick was only there a year, but I truly hated him. It’s not Lonnie Smith. He was actually the only good player they had for a while there and I think people forgive him for his World Series (and other) transgressions. It might be John Rocker, but I bet that’s more because he embarrassed Braves fans more than he was actually hated, because he pitched pretty well while with the Braves.  I have to give it some thought.

In the meantime, what say you?  Who is the most hated player in your team’s history? Or at least recent history.  Show your work, please.

Nationals fire reigning Manager of the Year Matt Williams

Washington Nationals' manager Matt Williams looks on from the dugout during a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Friday, May 2, 2014, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson)

Matt Williams was voted the National League Manager of the Year on November 11, 2014, receiving 18 of 30 first-place votes from Baseball Writers Association of America members.

Today the Nationals fired him following a season full of disappointment, reports of clubhouse discontent, and Jonathan Papelbon choking Bryce Harper in the dugout.

Williams went 179-145 (.552) in two seasons in Washington, which is an excellent winning percentage, but when you take over a stacked team the expectations are extremely high and there was seemingly nothing anyone could point to about his actual managing that suggested he was doing a good job.

His in-game tactics and particularly his rigid bullpen usage patterns infuriated fans. His dealings with the local media became increasingly antagonistic. And even setting aside two players literally fighting in the dugout there’s ample evidence that Williams lost the clubhouse a long time ago.

Williams was far from the only thing wrong with the Nationals this season and he’s hardly the primary person to blame for their disappointing record, but it’s also hard to make a strong case for his sticking around–meaningless, beat writer-voted award or not–and general manager Mike Rizzo predictably acted quickly to move on.

Now we’ll see who gets to take the next crack at managing the Nationals to play up to expectations.

Dan Haren plans to retire after the playoffs are over

Dan Haren
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Dan Haren, who said two months ago that he was leaning toward retiring after the season, reiterated those plans following the Cubs’ regular season finale Sunday.

At age 34 he started 32 games for the Marlins and Cubs with a 3.60 ERA and 132/38 K/BB ratio in 187 innings, so Haren would have no problem finding work and a solid paycheck for 2016.

However, he’s not expected to part of the Cubs’ playoff roster and told Jesse Rogers of ESPN Chicago:

That was it for me. If I have to pitch in the postseason, I’ll be ready for sure. Happy the way the last few starts have gone. Being able to contribute to this amazing team. I’m just thankful to be a part of it. If I don’t pitch in the postseason, that’s it. It’s been fun. Hopefully there’s a lot more games to go. … If my name is called, I’ll be ready.

Injuries has lessened Haren’s overall effectiveness in recent years, but he’s remained a solid mid-rotation starter and has pitched 13 seasons in the big leagues with a 3.75 ERA in 2,419 innings. He made three All-Star teams and earned more than $80 million.