Don’t have a big problem with baseball players getting in heated arguments
With umpires, opposing players, coaches or managers. Even teammates.
No biggie to me. Not even if the verbal fisticuffs lead to some physical altercation.
But, the reason for the commotion has to be legit, and so does the initiating combatant.
Sorry, Jonathan Papelbon fans and proponents of his actions Sunday afternoon in D.C., but your boy fails miserably on both counts. If you need a visual, check it out.
Yeah, yeah, we get all the unwritten codes and how in-house policing works, But we’re not talking about a guy who follows either. He marches to his own drum, at all times, and that drum in solely and constantly banging for one reason, to promote himself. Period. End of story.
There is no wavering on that. If “Paps” surfaces outside of his own head, makes himself known in any way, there is but one rationale for it: attention.
The guy makes proclamations that NFL wide receivers are sports’ ultimate divas laughable, if not moot.
If you believe, truly believe, that Papelbon was righteous in what he did, calling out Bryce Harper and then putting a choke hold on the young MVP candidate when the latter responded in kind, because of some higher calling, like he was a beacon of sportsmanship sanity and, its ever-popular calling, right-hand calling card, “playing the game the right way,” well, bless your blinders-wearing, gullible soul.
Put it this way, the words “professional” and “Papelbon,” or any variation of it, should never cross paths and join in a united front, even in convoluted fashion.
Seriously, if Paps is your idea of a “team player” or someone willing to sacrifice himself for the good of the organization, start taking “reality check” classes. The guy was an all-out, only-for-Paps d-bag with the Red Sox, the Phillies and now Washington, where, not for nothing, the demise of the prohibitive NL East favorite into pathetic joke was pre-ordained the moment Nationals management traded for him.
A cancer has been used ad nauseam through the years to describe athletes detrimental to their team’s chances. No one identifies more with that than Paps.
The hilarity of this latest “look at me, look at me, LOOK AT MEEEEEE” exhibition by this mid-30s child is that while his complaint aimed at Harper, which contests that the superstar should give full effort in every circumstance, indeed, may have been legit if it came from someone else, it isn’t coming from someone who doesn’t do so himself.
How many times did Phillies fans, after witnessing another late-inning implosion, have to listen to this nincompoop babble on about how he just didn’t have it because the stakes weren’t high enough, that his juices weren’t flowing because the playoffs weren’t on the line? Ten, 15, 20 … does it even matter?
Paps, in what he did, showed what a hypocrite and weasel he is, and what dopes those who support what he did Sunday are.
The silliness that emanates from “those who really know,” with current and former ballplayers espousing old-school beliefs as if they’re gospel scripts that they truly follow at every juncture, the type that suggest Paps was, if anything, showing his teammate much-needed tough love and giving him an education in real baseball, reeks of a distaste for Harper than anything else.
Sorry, but this concept of locker rooms, especially baseball locker rooms, being the end-all, be-all of the hard edge in society, as if “the rest of us” cannot relate, may be the most comical thing ever hatched in the minds of hero-worshippers, not to mention the objects of that worship themselves.
Been in a lot of locker rooms, professional ones, in all the major sports, and there is nothing shared in there or stated in there that hasn’t seen life outside of locker rooms, and, frankly, you’d have to look far and wide to find a more pampered, babied, coddled lot than what resides in your typical, professional baseball locker room.
Paps AND Harper, at least their personalities, are byproducts of that whole deal, and Paps’ most recent attack … well, really, does he comes across as anything other than baseball’s version of a teenage girl throwing a tantrum for not getting enough likes or comments on a “selfie” she posted on whatever social media is most popular this second?
Not to me he doesn’t.
- Jack Kerwin | email@example.com
1. The shine officially is off Bill Cubit as head coach. Thrust into an awkward situation, with being handed the reins when Tim Beckman was fired a week before the season opener, Cubit raised hope with Illini Nation for 2015 and beyond by directing the team to an impressive demolition display covering the first two weeks that saw the Orange & Blue roll up 96 points and surrender just 3. The initial “ice to the face” awakening of what reality actually is right now hit with last week’s 48-14 loss at North Carolina. But, frankly, Saturday's win was more crushing to the psyche. Getting pounded on the scoreboard by a pretty talented power-5 school is one thing, but physically failing to overwhelm a non-power-5 one is another. MT didn’t out-scheme the host Illini in this one to stay close. It just stood toe to toe with a Big Ten foe, no problem, and would have won had a very makeable 43-yard FG not been hooked in the final minute.
2. The passing numbers are lame and attributed to QB Wes Lunt and his core of WRs, but, really, they belong to Cubit and his son and fellow play-calling czar, Ryan – neither of whom has met an aerial show they didn’t like, even if it were going backward. Against the Blue Raiders, Lunt started relatively hot and then cooled significantly. The fact he never reheated whatsoever following the team’s second series did nothing to derail the Cubits from calling 51 pass plays that dropped to 49 courtesy of the immobile Lunt being sacked twice. Before tossing an incompletion to end that second series of the day, Lunt was 7-for-10 for 92 yards and a TD. Starting with that misconnection, he went 22-for-39 the rest of the way for just 146 yards. That’s a measly 3.7 yards per attempt. That’s ridiculous. It’s not even worth throwing the ball if that’s all the yardage it yields, especially when the running game was averaging 4.6 yards per pop (36 carries for 167 yards) when Lunt wasn’t involved.
3. Speaking of the ground attack, the Cubits deserve some kudos for utilizing freshman Ke’Shawn Vaughn right out of the chute this season. One of the more ballyhooed prospects in Beckman’s final recruiting class, he is justifying all the talk with 52 carries, 227 yards and two TDs through four weeks as Josh Ferguson’s understudy. Though he doesn’t have the shake-and-back elusiveness of his senior mentor, Vaughn is slightly bigger and runs with a purpose, and the Illini benefitted greatly from his 13-carry, 80-yard effort Saturday that included an 8-yard TD late in the third quarter to push the hosts’ lead to 24-12. The Cubits, however, also deserve criticism for not relying on Vaughn, Ferguson and others running the ball when CLEARLY that part of the offense is working better than the passing game.
4. While placekicker Taylor Zalewski remains a hit-or-miss proposition, his 51-yard FG with 2:09 to play made this win possible. Honestly, his somewhat erratic tendency is not a major problem, but the defense getting torched for 330 yards by a Conference USA QB is. Brent Stockstill completed 29 of 42 passes, three of them going for scores, in process of piling up all that yardage. Frankly, he looked better than Lunt, and didn’t exactly look great, either. It was nice to see Dawuane Smoot get a couple sacks and LBs Mason Monheim and T.J. Neal combine for 27 tackles, but you almost have to discount the positives with this group because it allowed a lesser light to stay in the picture all game, not to mention drive downfield in the final minutes to put itself in a legit position to win. That’s not good. MT shouldn’t be within two TDs of the Illini, never mind two points. Furthermore, what does it say about the overall scheme AND performance of the D (and recruiting efforts) when its star player, Clayton Fejedelem, is a former walk-on and just racked up 12 tackles from the free safety spot?
5. Can’t say enough positives about the uniform combo selection. Seriously. It seems like two decades have passed since the Illini busted out the classic orange-blue-orange look, and it was great to see. The team looked sharp and tough, just in its gear. Now if its performance had matched the likes of say, Simeon Rice or Red Grange, it actually would have been sharp and tough. Regardless, the O-B-O at home is as “Illini” as the Illini can get, and it would be fantastic if they made that their staple attire at Memorial Stadium. The white-blue-white seen earlier this season was sharp, too, and the white-orange-white worn so often last season was decent, but O-B-O is the way to go. If nothing else, though, avoiding the all-white or all-orange getups would be most wise, although the jury is still out on an all-blue since it has yet to be unveiled, if, indeed, it ever were to be. Frankly, though not the biggest fan of Nike, which came up with the unis, or the “victory badge” it created to go with the rebrand, gotta give two thumbs to what it produced here. The Illini look great in many combos, even the ones not favored here.
- Jack Kerwin | firstname.lastname@example.org