August 13, 2010

L'Affaire Jacoby, Cont.

Here are some media comments on the healing of Jacoby Ellsbury's fractured ribs and his prolonged (according to some) rehabbing in Arizona.

On July 30, Peter Abraham of the Globe answered some questions at SoSH:
absintheofmalaise: A few weeks ago Youkilis spoke out about Ellsbury spending most of his DL stint away from the team. From what you heard, was what he said the general consensus among the players or was it just Youkilis mouthing off?

PeteAbe: That was the general consensus by far. Terry Francona has all but come out and said the same thing. Jacoby has a lot of making up to do in there.


johnlimberakis: Lately chemistry has been the focus of several stories. There was a lot of media coverage on Jacoby Ellsbury being away from the team during his stay in Arizona. Why did it matter to the players where he was during his rehab? Or was this less of an issue to his teammates than it had been previously reported? Has/had anyone stood up for Ellsbury or, at least didn't care either way or was the whole team upset about his decision?

PeteAbe: The Ellsbury thing was two-fold: They questioned who it took so long for him to come back from hairline fractures in his ribs and they wondered why he had to do it in Arizona, where he lives. Why did every other injured player, every one of them, stay with the team? Jeremy Hermida had the same injury. His ribs seemed to heal fine in Boston. It wasn't a day to day issue because he wasn't there, just a lot of eye-rolling and "yeah, Jacoby, whatever." Nobody that I saw stood up for him.
A few days later, on August 5, Globe columnist Christopher Gasper wrote that Ellsbury is
in the equivalent of an 0-and-2 hole with many frustrated Red Sox fans, media and teammates who feel he dawdled in his return (for the second time) from five fractured ribs. ...

There is nothing Ellsbury can say, relay or explain that is going to change the belief of his detractors that he malingered the last couple of months with the rib injury. That might be unfortunate and unfair, but it's fact.
Gasper also noted that Ellsbury has "gotten a bit of a raw deal", pointing out that the recovery times for both Ellsbury and Jeremy Hermida were nearly identical.

It's interesting that Abraham mentioned Hermida since Gasper reported that the time it took Hermida to return from his rib injuries was no shorter than Ellsbury's, yet Ellsbury's time away was clearly perceived as longer. Abraham implies that the main issue was Ellsbury being away from the team -- which is a far different thing (and far less important, I'd say) than refusing to play in pain.

Also, didn't the Red Sox give their consent to having Ellsbury go to Arizona? There is no way in hell Ellsbury dictated his terms to management (regardless of who his agent is), so if the team signed off on Ellsbury-to-Arizona, then any disgruntled teammates should talk to Theo Epstein.

The following day, August 6, Amalie Benjamin of the Globe participated in an on-line chat. She was asked:
How's the Jacoby Ellsbury situation playing out? Is there tension amongst the team and management with him, or was this a media-created issue?
Her answer:
Not sure why people continue to think this was media created. I don't make things up, nor do any of my colleagues. This is stuff we're getting from being in the clubhouse, from talking to players. Sometimes we can't report who said what, due to off the record conversations, but we're not creating this.
Around the same time, team owner John Henry wrote in an email to AOL FanHouse:
It's frustrating to hear people question why a player doesn't come back as quickly as some would like. One of the problems we have is players trying to come back too soon. ... The questioning of whether or not Jacoby Ellsbury should have been back earlier hopefully was rooted in the desire to see him come back. No one should question his desire to compete. In fact, he came back too soon initially. We didn't realize he was as badly hurt as he was. No one was looking forward to this season more than he was.
My first impression was that this was classic CYA by Henry. These issues surrounding Ellsbury simply appeared in the media one day (May 28, to be exact) and everyone quickly picked up on it.

While I'm willing to believe that where there is smoke, there is fire, this entire controversy seemed orchestrated, most likely from a leak from management. A back-handed slap from an anonymous club source -- who declined comment, not wanting to make Ellsbury's sour relationship with his teammates any worse (paraphrase) -- did nothing to dissuade me from that opinion.

In his initial salvo, Tony Massarotti stated that Ellsbury always had issues with management about not playing hurt, including throughout the minor leagues -- he "required a great deal of maintenance" is how Mazz put it. I had never heard that before. Maybe I missed something. I'd love to see any reports since 2005 if they exist.


laura k said...

1. Don't you love Pete Abraham's use of the words "hairline fractures" instead of "broken ribs"?

2. If you ask media if a story is "media created," are they ever going to say yes? But nice try there.

3. If no one on the team stood up for Ellsbury, that sucks. I'm pleased to see a few fans did in these questions.

4. Further to your perception (which I share) that this was orchestrated, when this story was at its height, all the Sox broadcasters - radio and TV - everyone - suddenly started talking about players on the DL cheering from the dugout, hurt players still in uniform taking whatever workouts they could, how the active players love to see players on the DL in the dugout. All at once, everyone just thought of talking about this - a topic we seldom, if ever, heard about before? It seemed planned and executed to me.

allan said...

1. Don't you love Pete Abraham's use of the words "hairline fractures" instead of "broken ribs"?

They were hairline fractures, though. Obviously, his ribs did not snap in two. The fifth fracture was apparently there all the time, meaning he did not suffer a second injury on that dive in Philly. So it maybe have been small enough to initially miss -- though still hurt like hell, clearly.

True, no writer is going to say "Yes, we were told to grease the wheels for trading Ellsbury, so we made up some shit."

Abraham says he is 100% sure that LBJ will be on the block this winter, though that might not be all that bold a prediction.

Point 4 is key. Where are the stories about how this was a problem back in 2005 or 2006?

9casey said...

This is a core group of guys that voted to have Manny voted off the team , so if they don't think you fit in will be gone...

I also don't think the writers and broadcasters were told to say things...sometimes people are just different and meld with a certain group of guys.. Would it really shock anyone if Ellsbury really was a primadonna..It is shame because he has alot of talent and is quite exciting to watch play...

If the media gets this off the record info from the players, why nothing else on any other players...i.e., do they like the fact that Beckett seems to put them in harms way alomst every game by his arrogance and tendency to plunk people...

What are the players thoughts on JD do they all love him?

Do they think Pap has lost it?

Or is the only thing they talk about off the record is "where is Ellsbury".

We all know it is alot easier to talk about someone who is not there...

allan said...

Part of my problem is that Mazz presented this as something that has *always* been an issue with Ellsbury, but to my knowledge, it has never been reported or even hinted at in the media, including by Mazz.

allan said...

This is one of those times when I wish I still saved media stories, so I could go back several months ago and see exactly what was reported when.

JP said...

Concerning L-girls 4. (that media criticism of Ellsbury was orchestrated), I'm not convinced. It assumes that the media is both active and organized. More likely, they are lazy. Accordingly, one guy gets a story going and the lemmings start leaping. Then if you're really late to the game, now you have to cover it, because it's "the story." In a season with so many long injuries and a great need for Ellsbury's return, it is natural to want to know what's up with him and to jab at him since he's not there dirtdogging it like the others.

I don't have a horse in this race. I just don't see the "planned and executed" bit as clearly as L-girl does.

allan said...

he's not there dirtdogging it like the others

1. Dirtdogging is not a verb.

2. WTF? Have you watched him play at all? He almost always goes full bore.

JP said...

I wasn't clear. By dirtdogging, I meant while on the DL being a part of the team in the ways that certain fans dig: out on the bench, hollering at umpires, spitting out sunflower seeds, high-fiving, and all the rest.

Make no mistake, I love Ellsbury's game and I'm glad to have him back.

allan said...

I totally missed the sarcasm.

allan said...

Peter Abraham sure can be a raging ASSHOLE when he feels like it. From tonight's Globe game thread:


Ellsbury update

The official report on Ellsbury: Left side pain.

The unofficial report is up to you. But it sure looks bad that he took himself out of the game. I'm sure we'll get a full report in two months after he gets back from Arizona and gets his statement written.


Jeff Faria said...

"Peter Abraham sure can be a raging ASSHOLE when he feels like it."

When DOESN'T he feel like it?