NL East Infection: Is It Normal to see Hideous Demons?

New York Mets

America was clamoring for it, and boy, did we not get it.  R.A. Dickey threw what was pretty much a no-hitter the other day, except for a questionable call on a B.J. Upton grounder to third, which was dropped by David Wright, yet labeled a ‘hit.’  Had it been an error, Dickey would have been the second Mets pitcher to hurl a no-hitter after so many years of the Mets never doing that.

Manager Terry Collins loudly informed everyone that he was planning on protesting the call so everyone knew how good a guy he was, and Dickey himself was clawing at the door of MLB headquarters, demanding attention to feed his relentless self-obsession.

“I don’t know if it would be quite as satisfying. I think the asterisk beside the no-hitter would get more attention than the no-hitter, you know?”

R.A. Dickey

But MLB made the call all on their own and decided that no, they would not do the highly unorthodox thing and give R.A. Dickey a retrospective no-hitter.  Which spits in the face of Bud Selig’s entire previous campaign.  The man has made a career out of garishly tossing tradition aside in favor of brash, colorful new arrangements.

So you can understand Dickey’s completely undignified mental breakdown when he heard the decision, screamed himself hoarse and urinated in his pants.

“I’m fairly relieved that it ended up the way that it did because of my previous comments on it.”

–R.A. Dickey

Atlanta Braves

Humiliating homestands seems to be a trend in the NL East, with the Phillies, Marlins, and Braves all embarrassing themselves in front of their fans this week.  The Braves ended a 3-6 stretch at Turner Field with back to back shutouts courtesy of the Orioles, and get to move on to New York to face baseball’s hottest team.

But there are more unfortunate things shifting behind the scenes for the Braves, one of baseball’s most middle-ish middle market teams.  With a payroll of $90 million and dreams as far as the moon, Atlanta can’t really afford to waste money on anyone.

And sadly, they are.  A lot, actually, and for a very long time.

This thing here says that both Bruce Sutter and Al Hrabosky are still written in red in the Braves’ ledger, despite not having played for the team in the early ’80s and not playing very well for the team ever.

“If the reports were correct, Hrabosky would be paid through 2014 and Sutter through 2021.”

Bill Shanks, in that thing

Now, Shanks admits he couldn’t get anyone associated with the Braves to admit or explain anything, but isn’t refusal to confirm the same thing as confirming?  Let’s say that it is.  In fact, let’s not even say that we’re saying that it is.  It is.

It’s always funny to watch this kind of stupid thing happen to a competitor, but when Shanks writes that it is “Perhaps the worst thing that can happen to a club,” he is clearly unaware of all the things that have happened to the Mets in the past few years.

He’s also clearly out of the loop on what happened to my LEGO Club when we held our inaugural building session the same day my mom bought an industrial vacuum cleaner.

Washington Nationals

We all have bad days.  Why, the other day, I forgot to set my alarm and woke up two hours late!  Sheesh!  Then, to make matters worse, I looked in the mirror and realized I was covered in blood, holding a bloody knife, and someone had written “I AM INSIDE OF YOU” on the wall in what I assume was ketchup! Ha! I tell ya, some days.

Even baseball’s greatest teenager, Bryce Harper, suffers occasionally.  Why, just the other day, he went 0-for-7 with five strikeouts against Any Pettitte.  The poor kid!  Why, for 24 entire hours analysts were forced to mention some of baseball’s other hundreds of players.

It just goes to show you, even the greatest people who ever lived can have bad days.

So devastated was the National that Jayson Werth took him by the hand and led him to a back room for a good cry.  The two held each other, commiserating about the unfairness of baseball, and how people just suck sometimes, you know?  Anyways, they came out of the emotional tailspin with some good laughs, then watched Finding Nemo together while eating ice cream right out of the container.

But other people had bad days this week, too, including the not-so-good players.  Brad Lidge was designated for assignment from the Nationals, which means he’ll have to find a new Greatest Team He’s Ever Been a Part Of.  The assignment that he was designated for was to leave the Nationals alone and not pitch for them anymore.

Ah, memories. Brad Mills-US PRESSWIRE

Hey, is it normal to think you see hideous demons in the reflections of car windows as you walk down the street?  I’m asking for a friend.

Miami Marlins

As a kid, my idea of what the hitting coach did was watch players take BP, then jump in the box with a bat and show them everything they are doing wrong.  Then they’d get somebody to toss them a few meatballs and they’d chop off a few off the plate until skying one that just made it to the outfield grass and nodding in self-approval, as if every theory they just yelled had been vindicated by a pop-up.

In truth, I’ve probably heard many helpful things about hitting.  I even own a book about it.  And I still hold the Little League record for striking out while simultaneously being hit by the pitch.

MLB Hitting coaches are tricky, because they are usually friends with the manager and by the time the players for whom they are supposed to provide guidance are at the Major League level, they are pretty set in their ways.

The Marlins offense–effective at times; cold and still at others–would love to blame hitting coach Eduardo Perez for their troubles, except for one thing:  Ozzie Guillen won’t let them.  He won’t let anybody.    What?  Were you just blaming Eduardo Perez for something?  Huh?  **Shoves you, hard**  Huh?!?

“I fire my coaches.  The only reason they’re going to get fired is if I see them not do what they’re supposed to do. This guy [Perez] has been working hard every day. He makes suggestions, tells [players] what he thinks. When the game starts, he cannot perform for them.”

Ozzie Guillen

It’s a straight forward theory on Guillen’s part.  Instead of putting a bullseye on his hitting coach, he’s actually blaming the players.  Which made me wonder.

Why aren’t we blaming our hitting coach for anything?!  We’ll get contested if we blame Charlie, and debated if we blame particular players, but setting Greg Gross’ car on fire… that would be effective!  Right?!  Let’s just heap it all on him.  The shaky offense, the faltering starters, the relentless injuries, the incompetent bullpen, all of it.  Why is Greg doing this to us?

If you look closely, you can follow the Marlins’ example for many things.  Let’s see what they wind up doing about their terrible performances at home and we’ll have our answer there, too.

Tags: Nl East Infection

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