LA Angels: Infinity Bour-ed
By Benny Bam
Let’s be honest, Justin Bour needs to be released by the LA Angels. Or, nicer put, designated for some palm tree filled vacation on a beautiful distant home planet.
Maybe the LA Angels can call up the Phillies and see if they want Bour back in the city of Brotherly overpaid temperamental gloves? So what that he apologized for his mental lapse against the Mariners?
Effort is infectious. Mistakes happen and not every time does someone deserve to be released of their duty to a baseball club. But on a team full of grinders, hustlers, and brimming with up and coming first base options, is it worth spreading the lack of care to aspiring future contributors?
I know, his quote to reporters after the game explaining that there was “no excuse for it” seemed sincere. Implying his Friday, bottom of the 8th base running gaffe against the Mariners was an isolated incident. That not even trying to run to first base on a pop-up while a teammate was stealing from first to second was somehow just… an accident? That his sacrifice was not an attempt to gather the Soul Stone, but simply to get to its cliff side resting place and then… leave?
Seattle’s Dee Gordon yelled at his teammates in disbelief, shouting to let the ball drop, so that instead of one out they would get two. After the game talking about how embarrassed he was since “that’s something you’re taught from the day you start playing baseball,” Justin seemed contrite. We all collectively sighed then said okay, Justin, we forgive you.
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Meanwhile with a straight face Brad Ausmus gave a no support comment type support comment, stating that “it was an extreme mental error that once it happens, it never occurs (again).” Then added context in tone, stating because “you learn that one early on in Little League.” Clearly, the Mind Stone was not with Bour. Hey, it happens… right? Wait, where’s Gamora? GAMORA!?
Welp, not even the Time Stone could exactly fix this problem.
A Saturday Cubs game had given time and some distance from the whoops moment; yet showed the lesson was not exactly learned… in Little League, the Minor Leagues, or the Major Leagues. After the “I am getting on base whether you like it of not” incomparable, undeniable, sensational Mike Trout hit a rally inspiring home run to tie the game at 3-3…
Justin Bour would sap the energy from any such feeling. BOOM! A HIT, round first… to SECOND and HE IS called safe at second base! BUT WAIT- Bour would DISAGREE WITH THE CALL- and walk back toward the dugout allowing himself to be willingly tagged out. WHAT!? Even though the call appeared that he was in fact out, Umpires get calls wrong, not all plays get reviewed, and inevitably each team gets a few bad replay calls against, and good fortune in ones for- which seemingly even out for the most part over 162 games.
Is it possible that Rob Manfred anointed Justin Bour the new Head Umpire to overturn calls on the field while no one was looking? Is it probable that he knew the outcome of a replay that had yet to be asked for by virtue of some hand gauntlet Infinity Space Stone wielding paradox? NO!? Then maybe it’s time for Billy Eppler to snap his fingers.
Yes, I am saying It’s time to turn the Justin Bour era in Anaheim into a matter dissolved blown ash.
What? Will we really miss his .176 (.160 last 7 games) average at the plate? And his majestic home runs giving us power from the left side of the plate? Both of them? Oh, that’s right- he is not doing that at all. Most Angels faithful will say just wait for Shohei Ohtani to come back when we won’t need Bour.
As much as the beginning of the season talk, and giving guys chances through 400 or so at-bats to be fair seems well and good… those things are warranted assuming the player cares, hustles, and pays attention on the field instead of willingly becoming a liability. We all understand accidents, mistakes, and problems you work through in any job. But attitude and effort cannot be given to someone.
Skills, coaching, and craft intangibles are only received as a seed to plant and watch grow when the absorbent party WANTS to participate. What’s the harm? Well, to Justin maybe none other than solidifying what teams that didn’t want him apparently already knew. But, for the Angels?
How about not getting a look at Taylor Ward, Matt Thaiss, or a variety of other options who are chomping at the bit to come to the club and HUSTLE while they water the seeds the staff plants in their potential Halo futures? Wasted opportunities that some of these guys may never get back. When Ohtani returns from the IL, Pujols will switch back to first base a majority of the time, and all these Bour-ed at bats will not be there as often for potential development.
Why not make the move now, let Justin move on to other suitors, and give your farm system the confidence to know that if they do their part they will have every opportunity to succeed? An organizational message that hustle and being a team oriented success seeking sponge mean more than hitting a shot out of the stadium once a month.
A little visit from something called the Reality Stone. Ward was the 26th pick in 2015, he only made his MLB debut last season. In 43 games he has 24 hits, 6 home runs, and 15 runs batted in. He hits .177 and has barely seen ML pitchers. A point higher than Bour with 4 more home runs as an Angel. How about Matt Thaiss? No.5 Angels prospect, and No.10 first base ML prospect overall. Drafted as a “pure hitter” in 2016 before learning first base from former Angel Wally Joyner.
He is already in Salt Lake hitting .243 after ripping through the Minors. He has a career average in 16′, 17′, and 18′ of .278 already totaling 32 home runs.
Not a fan of the prospects? Alright, I can respect that. How about sticking Tommy La Stella at first base? His Power Stone has been far more uplifting than Justin’s. What about letting David Fletcher flourish as an everyday player at second or third, and letting Luis Rengifo help out more?
Peter Bourjos has been playing some infield lately, with Upton back soon and Goodwin seemingly locking down the 4th Outfielder spot, maybe it could rebirth Bourjos into an ultimate utility role? Sure- there is still a lefty match up problem in some of these cases. But is Bour really solving that now? He is batting .150 versus right-handed pitchers. So as hard as it may be to say goodbye, sometimes the endgame is a natural culmination of features… or the lack thereof.
How many stones is that, Justin?