NEW YORK, NY – Just like you can’t pick your relatives and you can’t coach stupid, you also can’t legislate douche. And this is different than not being able to tug on Superman’s cape, not spitting in the Wind, and not pulling the mask off the old Lone Ranger.
In a span of two weeks, a couple of remarkable and admirable acts took place. An NFL prospect named Michael Sam came “out” as gay, right before this year’s NFL Combine. The fact that his performance at the Combine was hardly Jadaveon-like is irrelevant. He did step up. And Jason Collins made his NBA debut for the Brooklyn Nets after 13 NBA seasons in the closet… as an openly gay player. Agree or disagree, it took oodles of courage to make these statements.
For guys like Zack Greinke and Stephen Drew though, oodles of courage or oodles of brains or self-awareness do not come to mind. Oodles of imbecilic self absorption is more accurate. Alert: the next paragraph will be fraught with self-important populist prattle about professional athletes being badly out of touch with the common working man.
Zach Greinke, whom one NL General Manager once derisively referred to as “Rain Man,” for his mono-syllabic flat way of communicating and alienating teammates, had some things to say about his Dodgers opening up the 2014 regular season against the Arizona Diamondbacks…in Australia. As all of the major sports leagues have been doing for some time now in their own futile attempts to “go global,” the MLB thought it was a good idea to honor Craig Shipley and have two of its teams fly 7,500 miles to open the season.
I remember the Mets opening the 2000 season in Japan of all places and watched them win on a walk-off Home Run by the great Benny Agbayani. That Bobby V-led squad would go on to the Subway Series later that fall, but I hardly remembering any of Bobby V’s stalwarts like Jay Payton, Rick Reed, or Todd Pratt saying “Boo” about having to fly to Japan. I watched this game live at 5:00am EST as it was broadcast live and it was fun.
But back to Greinke. He gets the ball on Opening Day in Australia because Clayton Kershaw will apparently not be subjected to such an arduous trip. Instead, Zack has to put up with the long first class flight Down Under. The injustice of it all makes me uncomfortable. The guy’s career post-season record is 2-2 with a 4.30 ERA. He makes $24M per year. And he’s bitching about having to schlep to Sydney. Hey Zack, I know things are sparkly-like-a-holiday in LA, and that it’s only a few minutes to Wapner but shut the hell up, get on the plane and do what your bosses are asking you to do for your $24M salary.
As far as Stephen “Don’t Call Me JD” Drew is concerned, he doesn’t much care for the fact that should some team other than the Red Sox sign him, that team would have to surrender its top draft pick in the June Amateur draft. Drew feels like this has kept interest in signing him way down, and is frustrated by the dearth of viable offers he’s seen. Here’s the rub, though: Drew supported this – as did all of the sheep/MLB players – who unanimously ratified this most recent labor agreement with Owners. So Drew was familiar with the ground rules when he decided to enter free agency and -get this – reject the Red Sox’ $14M qualifying offer. So, hold those tears for just a moment. Drew TURNED DOWN a contract from the Red Sox which would have paid him $14M in 2014.
In 2013, the Sox paid $9.5M for Drew’s slightly above average defense, .253 Batting Average, 13 HRs; .333 OBP and 124 K’s. Ye, the Sox offered him a RAISE OF $4.5M! And HE SAID NO!
Now however, he doesn’t like this system and thinks it needs tweaking – particularly for a “top 5″ SS, which is how he describes himself. Well, we’ve covered the fact that our Mets could surely use Drew to play SS for them. But let’s keep things in perspective. Drew would be a nice upgrade over Ruben Tejada but that’s mostly because Tejada is probably the worst starting SS in Baseball. It’s all relative, just like Stephen’s brother, JD, who was himself an historically selfish player that rarely played more than 110 games a year. So pass the collection plate for Drew if you must, but in the spirit of Alex Rodriguez, he is biting the hand that has fed him very well by criticizing the union who made it possible for a scrub like him to be able to get a 50% raise off of mediocre production.
Greinke and Drew deserve each other. They should stay at Wallbrook AND live with Charlie Babbitt.
Angry Ward, fresh off his MTM sabbatical, tomorrow.