Once upon a time, in a land not to far away, baseball players could make statements and not worry about them getting scrutinized and analyzed from hundreds of different directions. But with the advent of – and exponentially increasing popularity of – social media, no statement made is ever safe. And, if a player says the wrong thing, well, on my command, unleash hell.
Earlier this week, it was Angels’ fans favorite new punching bag, Joe Blanton, who stepped in the doo-doo when he was asked about whether or not he’s worried about being demoted to the bullpen. When asked if he felt a sense of urgency, Blanton had this to say:
“I’ve been doing this for a long time,” he said. “Why should I feel urgency now?”
When asked if his next start could determine whether or not he stays in the rotation, he had this to say:
“I don’t have anything to prove.”
And after his craptastic performance in Boston the other day, Joe had this to say about his 1-10 record:
“There’s nothing I can do about it,” Blanton said. “I’m never frustrated. It is what it is. I went out and did my best today. That’s all you can do.”
I can see why fans think that Blanton doesn’t care. Personally, if my name is attached to the stats that he has compiled so far this season, lets just say that nothing that came out of my mouth would be safe for print. Joe on the other hand, is brushing aside the idea that he could lose his starting spot. Batting away the idea like the fly that won’t leave you alone at the family BBQ. And with this team now being 11 games under .500, and fans helplessly watch as this season slips into the realm of meaningless, it could go a long way if a player were to get, I don’t know, pissed off.
On the flip side of this coin, is Sean Burnett. Like Blanton, Burnett was brought in to shore up the pitching staff. And in the 9.2 innings that he’s been active and available, he has done just that. Aside from 0.93 ERA that he’s posted, he’s also stranded 73% of the runners that he has inherited. Burnett has been as close to a sure thing as you could possible hope for. But yesterday, news came out that Burnett was going to be shut down for at least the next month.
What did Sean have to say about his injury plagues season? He had this to say:
“I was crushed, man,”
“I came here to help this team, and it’s been disappointing. I haven’t been able to do much, if anything. I just want to play, and I’m unable to do that.”
I, of course, am biased in this post. I pined for Jerry Dipoto to sign Burnett this past offseason, even bringing it up here. But just because i am biased, does not mean that I blindly follow. If Burnett had been dismissive or condescending, I would have called him out for it the same way that I did Joe Blanton.
Blanton’s quotes, at face value, smack of smug entitlement. “Don’t you know who I am? I’m Joe freaking Blanton.” Sorry Joe, your past performances aren’t that good that you can pull this one over on the fans of this team. I’m watching you *Points at eyes, points at Blanton, points back at eyes*
Burnett, on the other hand, just sounds like he wants to play the based ball. The only thing that he is at fault for this season, is having a balky left arm. And even as early as his first spring training appearance, Burnett showed that he was only satisfied with being excellent. This is the kind of player that fans rally behind.
The downside is that we, as fans, are stuck with Blanton regardless of the comments that he makes to newspaper columnists and beat reporters. But at least we can point and laugh at him when his start get’s skipped. LOL Blanton. Get well soon Burnett. This team is going to need you in the recurring event that Joe Blanton is terrible at pitching.