FIRE JOE MORGAN: What the Eff?


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Tuesday, May 22, 2007


What the Eff?

I am not a trained psychologist, but I can say with 100% certainty that Newsday's Wallace Matthews has serious emotional problems. How else to explain this bizarre ad hominem attack on Tim Wakefield?

If the commissioner of baseball truly wants to get to the bottom of one of the great mysteries of his game, he can shelve the steroid investigation and start looking into how Tim Wakefield has managed to get away with his act for the past 15 years.

Let's just get a few facts and figures out of the way right off the bat, here. In his career, Tim Wakefield has thrown almost 2500 IP at an ERA+ of 109. That's pretty solid. Only twice has he ended the season with a below-league-average ERA+. In 2002 he had a 157 ERA+ and a WHIP just over 1.0. This year, at the age of 40, he has a 139 ERA+ in 57 IP. That's pretty darned good for a fourth starter.

In 1995, he was 3rd in the Cy Young voting and 13th in the MVP voting.

Let's face it, we already know that Juicin' Giambi, among many others, took steroids, that baseball's greatest batting records are already either irrevocably tainted or soon about to be, and that at least three of its MVP awards were won by cheaters under false pretenses.

What I want to know is, how in the world has Wakefield been able to draw a major-league paycheck since 1992 with the kind of stuff you generally see at a family barbecue?

What is your deal, man? How does this have anything to do with steroids, even in an over-the-top facetious way? Seriously, what are you talking about? The guy is a rock-solid MLB pitcher. He has better numbers year-in year-out than the majority of the other MLB pitchers. In this day and age, if a guy can throw the ball backwards over his head lefthanded and post a 109 ERA+ over 2500 innings, he's going to be very successful. In fact, one could argue that Wakefield's contract, which pays him $4 million a year in perpetuity at his team's discretion, is one of the absolute best veteran contracts in all of MLB for any team.

His knuckleball, or whatever you want to call it, is a bigger menace to the game than steroids, growth hormone or Clomid will ever be.

Okay. Even though you're joking, this is actually offensive to me. This is the sports journalism equivalent of yelling "fire" in a crowded theater. You need to apologize for this. I'm not kidding.

When Wakefield is pitching, the game moves slower than David Ortiz going from home to first.

Here are the times of the 8 games Wakefield has pitched in this year:

April 6: 6IP., 2:14

April 13: 7IP, 2:49 (and the Sox scored 10 runs)
April 18: 7IP, 2:24
April 23: 6IP, 3:02
April 28: 5.1IP, 3:25 (nine total pitchers used, one long injury delay)
May 4: 7IP, 2:33
May 10: 7IP, 2:18
May 15: 7IP, 2:45

The average time of a baseball game in 2006 was 2:51. Tim Wakefield works very quickly, and the longer he pitches, the faster the games go.

If as many guys in major-league baseball threw the knuckler as have taken performance-enhancing drugs, the game and its fans would have died of boredom years ago.

Hey! What did I just say to you? This is shitty irresponsible journalism. Steroids are actual health risks. They kill kids sometimes. MLB stood idly by and allowed them to infiltrate and generally fuck up the game that I love. Tim Wakefield is a good dude who is good at baseball. His knuckleball has nothing to do with anything bad. If anything, actually, it is a cool (and dying) link to the past. So shut the fuck up.

At 40 years old, Wakefield might not be quite ready to retire, but it certainly is time to retire his reputation as a Yankees killer. After last night, when he allowed six runs and five walks in five stupendously mind-numbing innings, his record in his last nine starts against the Yankees stands at 1-7, with an ERA of 6.00. That's not even counting the home run he allowed to Aaron Boone that put the Yankees into the 2003 World Series. In October, he's done more for this franchise than Alex Rodriguez.

Wake has struggled against the Yanks recently. But look at this game (6IP, 2H, 2R and a win) and then look at this game a few days later (7IP, 5H, 1R, and the win), and then shut the fuck up, please, again, thank you.

So before you start to think that the Yankees, who have now won two straight, are back to normal, here's one bit of advice: Now, let's see them do it against a major-league pitcher.

If you thought the Yankees were "back to normal" after salvaging one game of a 3-game series with the Mets and then winning the first game of a series with the Red Sox, making them an awesomely "back to normal" 4-6 in their last 10 games, you are already a moron, and if you think that Tim Wakefield is not a "major-league pitcher" you are a double moron, and if you just blindly write spittle-laden hate pieces against a guy because he doesn't throw fastballs despite the fact that he has pitched an an above-average level for fifteen years, you are a triple-asshole moron, which are very rare. So, this is actually quite an honor, to be reading your writing, good sir!

Wakefield may very well be the least entertaining player ever to appear in a major-league uniform, unless of course passed balls, uncontested stolen bases, endless delays between pitches and three-ball counts on every batter is your idea of fun.

Well, your claims about speed have been scientifically disproven. Passed balls are indeed an element of his game, yes, as are a lot of stolen bases. Over his career, Wake walks 3.0 per nine innings. Tom Glavine is at 2.7, as is Randy Johnson. So, there you have it. Tim Wakefield: walking one more person every three games or so than Tom Glavine and Randy Johnson.

Last night's 6-2 victory over the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium was like watching a T-ball game, only slower. There's nothing remotely entertaining about watching big-league hitters stand rock still in the box, waiting for the ball to make its interminable trip from Wakefield's hand to home plate, then rock back on their heels to swing for Westchester County.

I happen to think it's incredibly entertaining to watch him pitch. It's weird and different and fun. Perhaps you would like all pitchers to be replaced by pitching machines, and for the batter to be able to program the pitch speed and location. Now that would be some fun-style baseball!

And the only thing slower than Wakefield's knuckler is the time he wastes in between throwing it.

I have already shown you to be a moron when you make this claim. And yet you continue to make it. Your only real move right now is to resign in disgrace.

Once Terry Francona, and the rest of Yankee Stadium, had seen enough, the remainder of the game moved along in an orderly fashion.
By then, of course, Wakefield had done his job, at least for the Yankees. He got Rodriguez back on track in the first inning, allowing a monstrous two-run homer, and did the same for Giambi, who claims now to be playing with the help of nothing more than orthotics for his aching feet. In fact, Giambi's performance-enhancer of choice last night was Wakefield, who served him an upper-deck homer in the second and walks in the third and fifth.

He also did wonders for Johnny Damon, who had three hits off him, and Robinson Cano, who tagged him for a double and a three-run triple. In fact, by the time Wakefield was lifted, it was hard to believe this was the same Yankees team that was sitting dead in the water, four games below .500, 10 1/2 games behind the Red Sox and 7 1/2 games out of the AL wild-card spot.

The Yankees are very good hitters. They hit all kinds of pitchers. Last night they hit Wakefield. What is your point? That Wakefield losing that game is going to propel the Yankees to a return to glory? Well, Papelbon just struck out Captain Intangibles looking, and the Yankees are right back where they were before Wake took the hill.

A sweep would still leave the Yankees 7 1/2 games out,

Irrelevant, now.

and to reach 90 wins, the minimum number any team could expect to need to eke out a playoff spot, they would have to go 70-49 the rest of the way. Under any circumstances, it is a lot to ask.

Unless, of course, they get to face Wakefield 70 more times.

Why do you hate Tim Wakefield? What is your problem? Is this just sour grapes because ther Yankees are having a bad year, or something? Seriously. I need to know. Please, Wallace Matthews, if you ever read this, e-mail me and explain this weird factually inaccurate and bizarre attack so I can sleep at night.

(I mean, Papelbon just struck out Jeter looking to end the game, so I'll sleep fine. But I would sleep better if you e-mail me and explain yourself.)

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posted by Unknown  # 3:21 PM
Thanks to Mel T. for the tip.
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