I was at the Twins game at Wrigley Field on Sunday, to witness the Twins’ first loss of the season against a National League opponent. I don’t want to talk about it, except to say that I like Wrigley. I may have more on that in the future. What I want to talk about today is FunBobby’s t-shirt. You see, he was at the game too, and was wearing a Delmon Young t-shirt jersey; I amused myself by making fun of his choice. I believe I called it “an unwise investment.”* But really, I like Delmon Young. And, like FunBobby, I’m still rooting for him to turn it around.
* Of course, since he knows more about such things than I do, he accurately pointed out that t-shirt jerseys aren’t really investments. And here I thought my beat up old #27 Morneau was sure to skyrocket in value one of these days. Maybe I shouldn’t feel so bad about spilling toothpaste on it the other day, then.
Patrick Reusse, on the other hand, is done rooting for that. He feels like an idiot for being tricked into thinking Delmon Young had potential two years ago, and now he’s on the rampage. And do you know what happens when Reusse takes a look at history? He conveniently rewrites pieces of it.
The [scouts'] observations included: “… Delmon, still only 19, has proven himself one of the bright talents in the D-Rays farm system. He has often been compared to Albert Belle,* albeit minus the attitude, for the way he attacks the ball.”I’d heard Frank Robinson, but oh well. Reusse’s probably just paraphrasing that quote anyway. There’s no link to verify a source.
Four years later, the actuality has been that Young compares far more favorably with Belle in attitude than in productivity.
At this point of the article, I can’t tell if Reusse’s trying to say more about Delmon’s production or his attitude here. But, in reality, while his production couldn’t be much further from Belle’s, his attitude also couldn’t be much further. Delmon has been close to a model citizen in his time with the Twins, aside from a Kubel-esque lack-of-inner-fire-boiling-over-through-the-face,* and this is the first criticism of his attitude I’ve heard all along.
* I believe this method of measuring the quality of baseball players explains why Nick Punto is so beloved. He’s got competitive fire boiling up out of his face all the time.
But maybe I should give Reusse the benefit of the doubt here. I mean, I tried to do that for Geoff Baker, and for Jim Souhan … and you know how that goes. If you find yourself having written an article that heats up my hackles,* it means you don’t get the benefit of the doubt.
* I think I’m going to try to start using that phrase. Who’s with me?
So, Reusse, can you justify yourself? Do you earn the benefit of the doubt by either dropping the bad-attitude thing or, preferably, by explaining exactly how he has a bad attitude?
The Twins had found themselves with a messed-up hitter who had no interest in listening to batting coach Joe Vavra or anyone else.Okay, so the fact that Delmon’s not hitting can only be due to the fact that he’s not listening to Joe Vavra? I don’t know if anyone else has noticed, but Vavra hasn’t exactly done a great job with anyone else, either. In fact, I’d say that there are three real possibilities here:
- Everyone is listening to Vavra, and that’s why they all suck
- Nobody is listening to Vavra, and that’s why they all suck
- Vavra never should have become the hitting coach at all; his one “success,” Morneau, is a great talent who probably would have started hitting like this anyway
Reusse goes on to talk about Gardy’s debacle in December, when he told a bunch of farmers that Delmon would be his fourth outfielder. Here Reusse was compelled to put words into Gardy’s mouth, and to project some motivation:
Gardenhire backtracked after that statement reached the Twin Cities, but the message was clear: One season of Young — with Albert Belle attitude and Chad Allen production — was about all the manager could stomach.Firstly, do you think Reusse is aware that Chad Allen was mentioned in the Mitchell Report? If so … isn’t this exactly the sort of stuff that got Jerod Morris in all sorts of trouble? I mean, I guess this is just another example of a sportswriter making such a claim when — wait a minute! It’s much more likely that Reusse simply had no idea that Allen’s meager production may-or-may-not-have-been fueled by steroids. So this is really just two things: an amusing example of Reusse’s obliviousness, and a cruel insult to Allen, whose promising career was cut short by a busted seam on the Astroturf.* I’m calling “asshole” on Reusse for this one.
* By the way, Chad Allen finished the play on which he blew out his knee. You could see on his face that he knew his career was over, and he still hopped on one leg to chase down the ball as it bounced away from him, and threw it back into the infield to save a run before collapsing in a heap. It was an extremely heart-warming story, until Senator George “World Series Ring” Mitchell turned it into a dark tale of drugs and unspeakable evil.
Oh, it’s one more thing. It’s another comparison to Albert Bell’s attitude. Still no evidence, of course, or “quotes” from actual sources. Just Reusse’s insistence that Delmon’s got a bad attitude. I hope someone shows this article to Delmon, and then starts painting pictures of Reusse onto the balls they’re throwing for batting practice. Joe Vavra, are you listening?
At the end of the day, this is all about Delmon’s production. And people react differently to that.
I, for example, write angry blog posts at work, and unsuccessfully attempt to shout things from the stands when I’m at the game. I’m pretty sure none of the things I yelled actually made sense. FunBobby can surely attest.
FunBobby shows support for him by buying the t-shirt jersey and sporting it to games.
Reusse pens a fogeyish possibly-racist attack on Delmon’s attitude and how he’s not living up to his vast potential as an athlete, and that he just doesn’t understand how someone could throw their god-given talent away like that.
Don’t believe me?
How could that be a young man’s mission, and six years later he’s watching tape of a swing that’s all arms and doesn’t do anything about it? How can a hitter with the assets of strength and bat speed find himself apparently content with bouncing and fisted singles?That’s what Reusse said. This is the internet. You can’t just make up quotes.
I don’t get it. I don’t understand.
And finally, Aaron Gleeman sits back, pleased with himself that he totally called it all along, and Delmon Young just isn’t good. That’s one way to do it, I suppose. Just doesn’t seem as fun to me.
Maybe Delmon’s finished. Maybe he never actually had all the potential it looked like he did. Maybe he’s just a small tweak from finding himself again. Maybe he needs a new hitting coach. Maybe he needs a change of scenery. Maybe he should be in RF instead of LF. Maybe … a million different things.
But none of them are his attitude.6 comments