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I've got my eyes closed
by Gabriel Desjardins on Oct 02, 2004
Damned A's and their damn collapse! The Angels are a better team and the only thing that's standing in their way is spending the end of the season on the road, while the A's are at home. I can't bear to watch them for the rest of the season. Somebody wake me up on October 4th and tell me what happened.
Are the Anaheim Angels the stupidest team ever?
I really feel bad for Jose Guillen. I mean, he made $3 million this year, so I don't feel that bad for him, but I do think he's been unfairly singled out. In case you didn't hear, Guillen was suspended indefinitely without pay for having a mild temper tantrum on Saturday. I say mild because his accusers allege only that he threw his batting gloves against the wall and tossed his helmet towards the same side of the dugout that Manager Mike Scioscia was standing on.
So what gives? In a league where Buck Showalter defends his pitcher's right to leave the dugout to throw a chair into the crowd at someone's head, why does Jose Guillen get suspended for something that seems to happen in every single game? The answer's simple: Guillen's been branded with the Scarlet Letter 'B' -- for BAD attitude.
The funny thing is, Guillen played for the A's last year as a late-season pickup, and no one really complained about his attitude. He got into an argument with Ken Macha over his playing time, but then he also played in the playoffs despite a broken hand. Yes, he demanded to play more in Cincinnati when he was hitting .340, but isn't that a reasonable request? He was known as an intense player, but is that out of the ordinary for professional athletes? You can't win once you've been branded. Ben Grieve, who was certainly a good player in Oakland, got ripped mercilessly in Tampa because he didn't measure up to Lou "I think I'll just rip first base out of the ground and throw it at the umpire" Piniella's standards. Grieve was too mellow for Piniella, got stuck with the scarlet 'B', and his career has suffered for it.
When I think of bad attitudes, I think of Terrence Long. Long had two horrible season in Oakland, posting a combined .682 OPS in 2002-03. And he complained about his playing time (302 games in two years!) and demanded a trade. That's a bad attitude -- when you play poorly and complain about missing a few starts here and there.
Now, you say, there are special circumstances. Under Arte Moreno, the Angels are trying to paint themselves as a "family" organization. The same Arte Moreno who said, "Losing makes me puke." after he signed Vladimir Guerrero to a long-term contract? The same guy who lowered beer prices because he wanted people to drink more at the park? The same guy who signed Raul "sorry, can't make the game today coach" Mondesi after he disappeared in Pittsburgh?
You might ask -- did the Angels bench pitcher John Lackey when he intentionally threw at Toronto's Simon Pond twice in a row on May 24? Did they suspend Adam Kennedy when he instigated a pre-game fight with Texas catcher Gerald Laird on July 29? Did they suspend pitcher Derrick Turnbow when he tested positive for steroids in January?
The answer to each question is no, no, no. In Turnbow's case, the Angels pretended nothing happened. About Kennedy, Mike Scioscia said, "I don't think it's an issue that needs any punishment." And ironically, as to Lackey, Scioscia complained: "We're as responsible as anyone else in baseball of not having retaliation." And yet, Jose Guillen gets pissed off -- but starts zero fights and throws at zero opposing players -- and Scioscia and Angels GM Bill Stoneman lack some retribution smackdown on him.
At any rate, this isn't the JV football team. The Angels aren't wearing their jerseys to class on game days. Coach Scioscia shouldn't be trying to teach anybody any life lessons. And as long as Jose Guillen hits .300 with 30 homers, he doesn't need to learn any. It's all about the scarlet letter 'B'. Your coaches can give it to you any time, it takes years to get rid of it, and while you've got it, every single thing you do will be blown completely out of proportion, as the Angels have capably demonstrated.
by Gabriel Desjardins on Oct 02, 2004