This Week in Arguments

Sure, baseball is the slowest moving sport.  However, there are certain things that can liven things up and turn those yawns upside down, into totally conscious screams of joy, or at least confusion.  Anthropomorphic food with a bad attitude.  Protests for important causes.  Your section transforming into a warzone right before your eyes in the span of three and a half minutes.

But nothing sparks a contest like somebody blowing their top and tearing into an umpire/one of their teammates/other stuff I came up with.  A true argument; a genuine spit-flying, nose-bumping shit fit can really jump start the game.

Actually, it slows it down even more.  But everybody loves it when a child throws a temper tantrum in the grocery store, right?  And you pretend you’re memorizing the nutrition facts on a Jell-o packet just to get a look at this kid humiliating himself and his parents?

Well, imagine that kind of appeal, but with a grown man in front of tens of thousands of people.

Yeah, baseball’s great.  And it’s been great a lot recently.

Evan Longoria vs. B.J. Upton

The important part of this was that Rays fans get to say what a man Evan Longoria has become.  Frustrated with Upton’s “Hanley Ramirez-ing” his way after a base hit in the gap, Longo took a deep breath and stepped directly into Upton’s face.  The cameras were there and the whole country got to watch his balls drop in the Rays dugout.  Meanwhile, Upton did his best to look offended at what was a totally appropriate criticism from his teammat.

Like Ramirez, you’ve got to wonder what his defense was.  What were all those words flying out of his mouth in the once the accusation was out in the air?  What could he possibly be arguing? We all saw him.  Even his manager didn’t know what in god’s name he thought he was doing.

The problem may be that B.J. Upton can’t figure out if he wants to be balls-to-the-wall awesome or just lackadaisically sashay from play to play.  To some guys, like Evan Longoria, the answer is obvious.  To B.J. Upton, well, you’ve got to wonder how exactly he thought he was helping.

Carlos Zambrano vs. Derrick Lee

If you’re going to explode at Derrick Lee for no real reason, then say your own team is “horse shit,”at least have the back bone to stand by what you did.  Yeah, it may have fractured your relationship with the organization, gotten you drop kicked back to the bullpen, cost the (further) respect of your teammates and coaches, and more than likely jeopardized your future.

But don’t try to change the past by claiming you were just trying to be a cheerleader, not an abrasive psycho looking to shift the blame for a bad inning.  I know when my old coaches would say I was “horse shit,” it only made me want to play harder to prove to them that I wasn’t.  It also made me seek out daydream about cutting their brakes and watching them glide uncontrollably down that hill on Westfield Drive.

What I’m saying is, it made for a completely healthy environment.

Then, after the game, Big Z did what anyone would do if they were stressed; he relaxed with a friend.  To calm down, he and Ozzie Guillein dined at the Wit Hotel, in what was probably a conversation primarily about doing things normally and behaving like an adult.

The Cubs were so put off by the display that even Lou Piniella said it was “embarrassing,” and the whole organization didn’t even talk to him for 48 hours.

Its like that inevitable day where some family member greets you on bended knee to inform you that Uncle Carlos still loves you, but after what he did to the cat, there’s really no other option but to shun him at Thanksgiving until he goes away.

How much patience can the (once more) struggling Cubs really have for this kind of implosion?  Lou Piniella and GM Jim Hendry can’t be in the best of moods.  It’s hot.  The Cubs are losing.  Wrigley Field attendance is plummeting.  What would be nice is a core group of likable, talented players who the fans can rally around and actually want to see play ball.

What they get it is a 260-pound testament to jack shit.

”It’s impossible for a team to function with the things that were said,” Piniella admitted.  That’s what the Cubs need; more things to gum up basic functionality.

Joe Maddon vs. Matt Garza wait no Gary Cederstrom

You get the feeling the desk in Joe Maddon’s office is upside down so that he can hang his laundry on clothes lines stretched between the legs.  Its always got to be different.  Its always got be insane.

So obviously, if Maddon’ going out there to have an argument with somebody, you know he’s going to make it as batshit wacky as he can figure, so why not involve some unnecessary third party?

The evolution of Joe Maddon’s mound-meeting-turned-ump-attack:  ”Hey, Matt, great effort, bullpen’s gonna take it from here AND IF YOU’RE DUMB FUCKING FACE WOULD LOOK IN THE DIRECTION OF A PLAY WE’D HAVE A FUCKING CHANCE AT WINNING THIS THING, GARY, YOU SHIT-SPITTING CORNHOLER!”

He’s the J.J. Abrams of baseball.  Everything’s just got to be different enough to be his own.  You’d love to just get a peak inside his head, or at least, the head of the invisible clown that sits on his shoulder, telling him to do things.

Apparently, arguing a balk call is one of those hot button issues umps get real touchy about, so to help their feelings, it’s in the rules that the action is grounds for ejection.  And, given the trigger happy, “hey-why-not?” umpiring we’ve seen so far this year, it seems more they’re more ravenous than ever to send somebody packing.

The real question is, how does Matt Garza feel now knowing he’s got a face Maddon is comfortable screaming a hole in?

ESPN’s K-Zone vs. logic

They can just draw the freaking rectangle wherever they want, people.

Topics: B.J. Upton, Carlos Zambrano, Chicago Cubs, Derrick Lee, ESPN, Evan Longoria, Joe Maddon, Matt Garza, Tampa Bay Rays

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