Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Alfonso and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

It takes one to know one, apparently. photo adapted from colour-fool
Never in all my life have I laughed so hysterically at booing. Usually I frown on fans booing their own team or the players for whom they would normally cheer. I'm not sure what the desired effect is. Motivation? Vengeance? Catharsis? A chance to extol the virtues of the First Amendment, which allows us all the freedom to voice our thoughts in unintelligible groans to the full extent of our stupidity? Outside of maybe one of those options, I don't think it works. If anything, it seems entirely counterproductive to the entire fan experience.

All of this is decidedly beside the point, because the jeers I heard yesterday were so hilarious. I watched and listened as a grizzled, disheveled man with trademark Kelly Leak sunglasses, a scraggly neck beard, and his own personal atmospheric system (consisting of nothing but alcohol fumes, body odor, and what I can only assume was the aroma of madly cavorting head lice) made his opinions of each and every Cubs player known to the world. He was a bit louder than most, but he obviously wasn't alone; this is standard player introduction protocol. Ted Lilly and his non-setback back probably received the loudest ovation. Big Z wins the award for mixed receptions. But when Soriano's name was announced, Shower McStinky had the quote of the day:

"Soriano is a BUM!!!!"

Peals. Of. Laughter. I mean, the guy was dead serious, but I couldn't stop giggling. This man, who looked as though he were dressing up as Homelessness Incarnate for Halloween, was calling Alfonso Soriano, who will make $18 million a year through the 2014 season, a bum. It was kind of like when that grimy old lady called Buttercup the Queen of Putrescence.

But I understood the general sentiment, all comedy aside. Soriano had pretty much given the previous game away by failing to catch a fly ball that hit him in the glove. It may have been poor word choice, but I don't begrudge the angst of the vagrant in training. But that was before the game.

I fail to understand, however, the complaints about Soriano after he went 2 for 4 with a run scored and a scorching line drive that almost put a baseball-shaped hole in Casey McGehee. It was right at the guy and absolutely uncatchable. But of course he struck out and didn't run to first after the ball hit the dirt (maybe because he didn't actually swing). So boooooo.

The fans weren't alone in their inexplicable overreactions, however. Barry Rozner laments Soriano's dreadful 2-for-4 performance with disgust intermingled with relief that a Cubs source said Fonzy has to bring something to the table or else. In a scathing chastisement of Soriano's how-dare-he media evasion, Gordon Wittenmyer finds it titillating and scandalous that Soriano was removed from the game with the Cubs protecting a 9-4 lead heading into the 7th. ZOMDR!

Is this what it's come to, people? A guy has a good game, and he gets skewered? Just because an outfielder doesn't want to talk to a horde of petulant, seething junior-high media members you feel the need to change the facts on his performance? Rozner called Soriano's I'm-gonna-get-you-sucka line smash a soft infield single. Wittenmyer pretended to know why Soriano didn't talk to the media (because he was mad about being removed for defensive purposes . . .  I think it's because he's dating Elin Woods, did you hear?).

It might be a bit too early to judge the Cubs or any one player this season, but I'm not holding out hope that the media learns how to behave like real journalists, let alone adults. Maybe the fans can make better progress and actually judge things according to reality and not what they hear on TMZ in the papers.


  1. Thanks, and good call. I know I'm in the minority in thinking Soriano will have a great year and I fully understand why that is. It just seems really odd for them to break out the negative stories on Soriano after a positive day. Just weird.

  2. Your "Labels" at the bottom misspell "Alfonso". Just to let you know.

  3. Thanks. I think it autocompleted which might mean it's wrong everywhere on this site. Whoops.

  4. Well put. I'm pretty sure the Daily Herald employs Barry Rozner because Bruce Miles is so over-the-top awesome that they feel they have to balance it out somehow. Fortunately for them (not for us), Barry gets the job done.

  5. Ha, at least if he fills that void for the Herald we don't have to worry about them forcing Bruce Miles to follow suit.

  6. Well said. Soriano had a good day yesterday. Not saying that means he's going to have a great season, but give it a rest. Much too early to tell.

  7. haha, that's because soriano IS a bum. the guy is a waste of millions of dollars. the yankees were smart to get rid of him when they did. i hope colvin gets a chance to see what he can do.

  8. When Soriano was pulled in the 7th Carrie Muskat tweeted something that made it sound like he was being pulled because of the boos. I don't know if she intended for it to sound like it did, but that's how it came out. And while I'm not too overly confident in Soriano right now, I agree it's way too soon to write him off.

  9. I could be wrong, but I believe Muskat watches from the press box like all the other beat writers. I'm guessing the boo-theory was something of a press consensus. It's uncharacteristic of her to make that kind of silly connection though. If Lou pulled players because of boo-birds, they'd have to play with three guys some days.

  10. I think she probably didn't realize how it read.


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