Juan Pierre is trying to win an outfield job on the starting nine. That’s fine, it’s a free country. And I imagine it’s a task made all the more intimidating when you’re not sure if the 40,000 stares hitting you in the back are doing so out of interest or malice. If your every move is monitored by a collection of quite easily enraged folks, who when determined enough, can so relentlessly ruin your day that you can’t let it go for years, then each day brings a new bout with immense stress.
Juan was recently reminiscing about his favorite Phillies memories, the first of which was being called “Juanita” in Philadelphia. He also recalled almost having his bus flipped over as a Dodger during October 2009. Plus, he brought up that infamous Todd Pratt/Alex Gonzalez rivalry we all remember from 2003.
Juan just wants to get all of this out of they way before he begins competing with Scott Podsednik for a left field gig, so it’s only therapeutic for him to say all it out loud. Podsednik, on the other hand, has chosen to try and win the job with superior play. Let’s see how this pans out!
Who of us hasn’t listened in terror as our first names were somehow transformed into a girl’s name as children? Yes, we’d laugh with the rest of the playground crowd as they made Mike into “Michelle” and “Dan” into “Danielle.” But where was that laughter when “Justin” became “Justine?” It was replaced by horrified shock–suddenly, the torment had discovered a new target, and instead of laughing and hurling a basketball at a classmate, we were the ones being laughed at and concussed by sports equipment.
So obviously, Juan heard “Juanita” and it burrowed into his psyche like a ferocious mind-chigger, chewing it’s way through his feelings and eviscerating his focus. Even off the field, his children would come to him for a bedtime story and he, rocking back and forth in a chair, his eyes bloodshot and raw–an ocular crime scene–would send them away with a wave of the hand and a slight whimper. This is a man destroyed by us, now being asked to make us happy. His job is not an envious one.
Now, hopefully, he’s off to the field, where he can make a play for our our hearts by being the scrappy veteran from nowhere who finds a way to be productive, despite being another mid-thirties guy on the oldest team in baseball. Then maybe we can stop haunting his dreams and telling his kids to call him “Juanita” to slowly drive him insane.