April 12, 2006

Teflon Trot

Wily Mo Pena's play on F-Cat's home run is getting a bunch of ink today -- Welcome to Fenway, WMP! -- but Trot Nixon's worthless bellyflop on Aaron Hill's double in the second inning was a worse play. First, he misread the fly ball, then he didn't just concede a single on the play. While it didn't lead to any runs, it left Mr. Dirty Hat with a mild left groin strain that could keep him out of the lineup for a week.

It amazes me that the Boston media and many fans forget Nixon's bone-headed baserunning and misadventures in the outfield almost as soon as they happen, while certain other Red Sox outfielders (who by the way hit much better and miss fewer games than Nixon does) get raked over the coals for stuff they did (or didn't do) years ago.

Trot can fall asleep at second base, dive for balls 25 feet in front of him, and hand baseballs to kids in the stands when there are only two outs, but as long as his shirt is dirty or he has some stubble or eye black, well, then, he's a gritty, grimy, gamer who gives his all. Is it against the law in Boston to criticize Nixon?

And what's with Josh Beckett yelling at Shea Hillenbrand for starting to head to first base on what he thought was ball 4 in the first inning? The 3-1 pitch was on the outside corner and the umpire was in no hurry to actually make a call. Oh, and Beckett had walked three of the last four Jays. 99.9% of all big leaguers are going to move towards first. ... I'm thrilled with having Beckett on the staff, but this stupid outburst, coming so soon after his encounter with Ryan Howard, seems to mark Beckett as a bit of a tool. Ah, well, he'll be fine. He's white.

Both Wily Mo Pena and Dustan Mohr will start tonight against lefty Gustavo Chacin. ... Rachel Ray looks into Big Papi's fridge.

10 comments:

L-girl said...

Surely you're not suggesting the Boston media might be anything short of colour-blind! How dare you imply such a thing! Everyone knows racism is a thing of the past.

Whatever year it is, racism ended 20 years earlier. Don't you know that?

[/sarcasm]

Jack Marshall said...

The news that Becket is an ass-hole bodes well for the Sox...almost all the great pitchers are ass-holes. Roger, Unit, Schilling, Pedro. Gibson. Carleton. It might even be the dividing line between great and not quite great: Mike Mussina's a real nice guy...and he's a weenie.

Not to open this can of worms again, but suggesting that the media makes a bigger deal about an outfielder who nonchalants a ball into the bullpen for a homer than one who misjudges a fly that doesn't even result in a run... because the former is black and the latter is white is just race-baiting. Trot gets less crap for his brain farts because he's basicly a very good outfielder, as the Globe piece this week on fielding stats pointed out. His goofs are aberrations, and are treated as such. Manny, to name your favorite "victim", is a wretched fielder; his mis-cues are more frequent, and thus more annoying. At least, I find them more annoying, and I don't think I qualify as a racist for thinking so.

A baseball town where David Ortiz could be elected Mayor tomorrow deserves a bit fewer snide "more politically correct than thou" grandstanding swipes. Was Flash Gordon treated more harshly by the press as a closer than Derek Lowe? Hardly! Were the fans and media harder on Edgar Renteria for his half-hearted, mopey mediocrity at the plate and in the field last season than they were on Bellhorn and Millar, who at least looked like they tried their damndest on their way to failure? The reverse was true.

In short, the last line of the post was a wholly gratuitous cheap shot and not worthy of the blog or the author, and I would respectfully request that you knock it off.

Drew said...

Don't listen to the haters. Trot Nixon is an average outfielder who CAN'T HIT LEFTIES. To have him as anything other than a platoon-mate at this point of his (oft-injured) career is sheer good 'ol boy favoritism.

It looks like Beckett is a total tool. Maybe everybody who still misses Clemens (lord knows I don't) will have a new hero to anoint. But between him, Papelbon, and Schilling, we've got more than our share of toolier-than-thou Great White Hopes in our clubhouse for the media to suck up to. Too bad. Actually, Papelbon seems like an okay kid.

Jack Marshall said...

IS Trot anything other than a platoon-mate? My impression, at least since Jimy left, was that Trot is usually platooned, though he isn't pinch-hit for enough. There is some evidence that he is getting better at hitting lefties, but your assessment jibes with mine. Average, hustling, middle of the pack right-fielder who handles Fenway's right rather well Not Evans well; Brunansky well.

I'm rooting for Willy Mo to take his job away, starting TONIGHT.

Y'know, they should have platooned Yaz too. He was only a .255 hitter against lefties, but never LOOKED that bad against them, like Trot often does.

redsock said...

Damn it Jack, I thought you saw the light on this crap last year. :>)

Jack Marshall said...

A couple of distinctions: I agree that Manny-bashing has reached an unfair level, and agree that you, wise one, picked up on it before most, especially me. And I know that Boston is generally one of the most racist cities in America, because I lived there and saw it first hand.

But I don't think the criticsim of Manny is racially motivated, and I'm certain the fans and media are no tougher on darker players than lighter ones. I thought they were back in the 60s with Reggie Smith, the 70's with Jim Rice and even in the 80s with the treatment of Ellis Burks. But I think Mo Vaughn changed the tone, and it's stayed changed.

Andrew said...

Without getting full bore into the race debate again, I'll say this: I was sitting about 10 rows behind Wily Mo, and he definitely did NOT "nonchalant" that ball. He came back on it well, ran into the wall in an unfamiliar RF, and the ball clanged. He gave it a solid effort, and nearly stole the HR anyway; it was definitely going in.

Zenslinger said...

Andrew,

Your comment is a big reason why it's worth the time to read these blogs. I mean, I'd be reading it anyway, but it 's great to hear an opinion from someone who was there.

Jack Marshall said...

Ditto, Andrew, thanks. I was judging from the highlight clip, and it looked to me like Willy Mo was not taking the requiste amount of care around the short fence...we've seen that kind of "homer" before.

WMP looked pretty damn good last night. Watch out Trot!

Jackie said...

I think there are two main reasons that Manny gets a lot more crap than Trot. 1) Manny has a don't-worry-be-happy vibe, whereas you get the sense that Trot beats himself up over every miscue. Self-flagellating Sox fans want the players to feel bad when they mess up. 2) Manny gets paid a whole lot more than Trot does.

As far as Wily Mo goes - he's a new guy, we got him in a trade for a fairly popular player, he looked real bad at the plate in his first few appearances, and one of his first defensive plays resulted in a 2-run HR. I don't think the treatment he's been getting is fair, but I'm not surprised that the media pounced on him right quick.