Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Bad guy does something right

There is this fellow named Jonathan Papelbon, a relief pitcher for the Washington Nationals.  He's been around for a while, pitched for some good teams and some bad ones, and what he can do while gripping a baseball with his right hand will pay him $16 million for next year alone, no matter where he plays.

And it's quite certain that he won't be playing for the Nationals, since this past Sunday, when he used his left hand to wrap itself around the neck of their star slugger Bryce Harper, as irritating a man as there ever was.  The best pitchers never use their throwing arms for mundane tasks such as cutting celery or throttling outfielders.

It was a bad week for Papelbon.  On Wednesday, after our Oriole star Manny Machado clobbered a home run to put the O's ahead in a game against the Nats, Papelbon threw a baseball toward Manny's head, and was suspended for that action.  Then came Sunday, a lazy afternoon game for the Nats.  Harper popped out to left field, and failed to hustle down to first.  I mean, I could have beaten him in a footrace, although it would have meant having to drive to our nation's capital to do so, and the roads were still filled with papal stragglers.  Returning to the dugout, Harper found himself publicly chastised by Papelbon for dogging it, and the two soon found themselves in a dugout tussle, or fracas, or donnybrook, or brawl, as it always says in the sports pages.
"What do you mean? Of COURSE I love myself!"
Young Mr Harper is already raking in long green for his lazy style on the field and will doubtless earn more than brain surgeons or plumbers in the next few years. And he is an excellent baseball player when he wants to be, or in sports writer terms, a "helluva player."  But when he says things like, "I mean, it’s just some of the things I do. I’m very genuine with what I say. It’s not like I go out there and I’m an ass. Maybe on the field and between the lines I am. Walking out of the clubhouse, I feel like I’m one of the nicest guys you’ll meet" to Sports Illustrated, and when he fails to exert a little effort running to first base, when he takes his spiked shoe and obliterates the other team's logo behind home plate, and when he acts like a guy who became a millionaire as a teenager for playing a little boy's game, well, you have to give a little nod to Papelbon for pointing out what a butthead young Mr Harper is.

No comments: