Jerry Howarth said some stuff about Jose Bautista on Jeff Blair's show this morning, telling us all what a lousy leader he is, what a negative influence he is, all the same crap we've been hearing. The Drunks talked about it earlier.
This stuff bugs me. Bad teams blame their best players for losing. Bautista has been a very good player on a pretty poor team for awhile now. He is the face of the team and the team is losing, so it must be his fault. It can't be that we have a gaping hole at second base, catcher and left field, that we have a ton of injuries and that the starting pitching was lousy. No no, it's Bautista's leadership that causes us to lose.
This team has many many problems. Why do we have search to make up problems? Why do people want to make losing more complicated than it is?
Yes, Bautista is intense. That's part of what makes him the player he is. He plays best when he thinks it is him against the world. Some guys are like that.
When I was young, Gary Carter was the best player on the Expos, but the team didn't win. So the whisper campaign started. Carter smiled too much. He liked talking to the press. He spent too much time signing autographs. He was too nice a guy. He didn't drink with the guys. He wasn't a leader.
The Expos, not being the brightest organization in baseball, traded him to the Mets, for the baseball equivalent of a bunch of shiny beads. The Mets would go on the win the World Series. The Expos, they remained a team that was never quite good enough.
Anyway, Bautista. Yeah I would like him not to argue so much but then lots of very good hitters argue with the umpires. But much much more, I'd like J.P. Arencibia not to chase pitches out of the strike zone, I'd like us to have a major league second baseman, I'd our pitchers not to get injured. Bautista's temper is thing number 475 on the list of things I'd like to fix about this time.
It seems that Jose plays best when he's angry. I'd rather he play good and be pissed off than to play bad and be a nice guy. Arencibia seems to be a nice guy and yet I'd much rather have Bautista on the team any day.
Howarth is one of the nicest guy I've ever talked to. He's great at doing the play-by-play, but he is worried about the wrong stuff here. The media, for whatever reason, continuously wants to sell us snake oil. Leadership is huge they keep telling us. I think it is to keep the claim that being an insider is important. "Hey look, I'm there, I'm in the dressing room, I see this guy isn't a leader like Joe DiMaggio was, the way Derek Jeter is, the way Joe Carter was'.
Jerry is also still on the thing about R.A. Dickey and Mark Buehrle not coming to talk to him. More stuff I don't care about. I've never wanted to be an insider. I don't want to know that player X is a good guy, that this other guy isn't. I take dislikes to people, I don't want personal feeling clouding my judgement. Sometimes the lousy guys are just too likable, If you like a guy, you'll try to find reasons for why they are playing so bad. It can't be that the nice guy, who gives me great quotes, is the reason we are lousy, it must be someone else's fault.