Thursday, July 21, 2005

So what does all that mean?


I haven't the faintest idea, except apparently "it's not the knee"---even though Hernandez seems willing to float the knee as a pretext to end his season and, yes, to quit on his team . . . even though Hernandez claims he won't quit on the team. Insofar as I am running out of quasi-grammatical conventions denoting asides or contradictions, I had better stop analyzing while I'm ahead.

Chris advises us to ease our worried minds a bit, and the advice is probably well-taken. He surmises that Hernandez is merely venting, and any of a confluence of factors set him off. But it probably has something to do with Frank Robinson.

Nationalz takes a different approach and points (admittedly, with conjecture as the guide) at a certain Mr. Tough Guy on the team as the source of Hernandez's ire.

Nationals Gallery freely admits what we all feel here: a near-complete cluelessness over this.

Nationals Interest lines up in the "blowing off steam" column but takes Hernandez to task for the ramifications of his words, if they're more than a threat.

And so forth. We're all concerned and we're all confused. Whatever the cause and whatever the result (we'll just have to wait until tonight, eh?), Rocket probably sums the whole thing up in a pithy, Natospherical manner: ¡Not good!


____________

I want you to take a look at the second "MLB.com" excerpt in the previous post ("The Joint Appendix"). Now compare it to this quote from the Associated Press account of Hernandez's tirade (linked from Baseball Primer because the ESPN link won't convert on my Blogger template):


"I’m not happy for three years. After the season, I’m going to tell you” why, said Hernandez, 12-4 with a 3.44 ERA and the unquestioned staff ace. “It’s 99.9 percent I’m not going to pitch no more” this season, he said.

(emphasis added)

Now, I'm not going to accuse "Rocket Bill" Ladson of willfully doctoring Hernandez's quote, even though his reporting in the past has seemed to skirt the line between accuracy and advocacy. And, truth be told, in his article Rocket Bill is really quick to counter any notion that Hernandez and the organization have had anything but a slappy-happy coexistence:


Hernandez being unhappy with the Nationals comes as a complete surprise. He has often expressed how much he has enjoyed playing for the organization. In fact, he said that the 2003 season, his first
year with the Expos, was his happiest in baseball -- this from a player who was the World Series MVP in 1997 with the Marlins and a Fall Classic participant with the Giants in 2002. He often talked about how the Nationals/Expos have left him alone and allowed him to pitch in peace.


It's a curious paragraph, because Ladson has Hernandez on record as saying he's "happy" with the organization; why stack up an argument to prove it? Nevertheless, Hernandez obviously has some "language barrier" issues and his rant was anything but a sequential run-down of his grievances last night, so it's best to give Rocket Bill the benefit of the doubt. Heck, for all I know, he could have been the one to get the quote right. After all, Hernandez did re-sign with the team, no? [Late edit: Furthermore, the WaPo story quotes Hernandez as saying he plays for "the best organization," so inconsistency abounds. I'd conclude that either Ladson got the quote wrong, but is justified for being confused by Hernandez's stream-of-consciousness, or the AP got it wrong.]

At any rate, the quote sets up a three-year time frame. Frank Robinson has been his manager during that entire window, and it's reasonable at least to speculate that Robinson is a cause for Hernandez's consternation. Lord only knows other pitchers have had run-ins with Robinson, and how many more times will the "[Ohka or Day] is a bad guy" analysis fly? At a certain point, we might start to believe we have a Mt. Piniella situation on our hands.

Still, I wonder what's the score. Anecdotal evidence is as probative as its beholder allows it to be, but I did find this blog entry from not even two weeks ago to be interesting:


What was interesting about the whole affair is that when he reached the mound and took Hernandez's ball, he smiled, patted Hernandez chest with the back of his hand. This caused Hernandez, who knew he hadn't done great, to smile in return. They looked like they hadn't a
care in the world, and I imagined Robinson saying like a father to a son: "Hey, you can't win all of them, eh? Losing's good for you." Even then, they remained on the mound for what seemed like an interminable time, smiling and exchanging unknown words. It was incredible because it lasted nearly half a minute, an eternity compared with the speed with which most managers relieve their
starters.


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