Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A.J. Burnett Miiiiight Be Kind Of A Dick

I went back through the RSN (the Blue Jays home network) broadcast of the game last night to get some more background as to what the announcer said about the enthusiasm of the crowd. I let it play out a little bit longer and they pulled a clip out from last July that I either missed when it happened or had completely forgotten about. 

On June 7th, 2008 starting against the Orioles at the Rogers Centre, Burnett gave up 8 runs in 4 1/3 IP and on his way back to the dugout, mockingly doffed his cap to the crowd. Classy. The score was 8-1 at the time and the loss Burnett dropped to 5-6 on the season. If it wasn't less than a year ago, it would be easy to chalk it up to immaturity but this was after he had already spent almost two and a half seasons with Halladay, who had supposedly made much him so much more of a professional. The guys on RSN cited it as a major reason he was getting booed last night.

He wasn't particularly well liked when he was there either, with some claiming that some of the many chunks of time he spent on the DL, he wasn't even injured:
Early in his first season as a Toronto Blue Jay, Burnett became a lightning rod for disappointment, opting to stay on the disabled list despite no physical evidence of injury. And he would stay there for long stretches of his first two years in a Jays uniform. 
I alluded to it last night, but here is the full quote that caused him to miss the his last start of the 2005 season with the Marlins, when he needed to pitch only one inning to reach the 210 mark, triggering a $50,000 bonus: 
We played scared. We managed scared. We coached scared. I'm sick of it, man. It's depressing around here. A 3-0 ballgame, I give up one run and leave guys on base, it's like they expect us to mess up. And when we do, they chew us out. There is no positive, nothing around here for anybody.
Burnett represents the most frustrating type of pitcher, the one with electric stuff but inconsistent performances. He'd throw a shut out one start and get tagged for 8ER the next. All this stuff reminds me how much hatred I put aside when Yankees committed $82.5M to him this offseason.

He sports a pricktastic sneer that makes appear constantly pissed off.  A.J. looks like he would have been the biggest asshole in your entire high school. Yes, it's a pretty superficial judgement to be making, but there isn't a whole lot more we have to go on as fans. A player's on-field demeanor makes up a tremendously large part of your perception of them, whether we like it or not. And it's not like he's done a whole lot in the "Performance" category to make up for that. Of course, if he's dominant his next time out, much of this will be forgotten.


  1. He might be a dick and the sky may be falling, but A.J. didn't really pitch that poorly last night. Doesn't help when you're going up against the guy who pwns the Yankees at an all-time percentage. The only pitcher in history w/a better record against the Yanks is one George Herman Ruth.

  2. Everyone can relax. Anon has returned.
    Seriously though, I just wanted to say, wow Jay, that was a great post.

    I think you are kind of getting closer to ONE of the (major) reasons EVERYONE HATES THE YANKEES....

    The players who sign with them for top dollar know what they are getting into... they know the media is going to scrutinize ab$oloooootley everything they do.... and if they do bad they will be hated by NY and be a joke for all other fans in baseball... and all that other horrible shit that goes on with being a Yankee (mom gets arrested and the whole world knows / you bang Madonna, the whole world knows)... and knowing this, THE FREE AGENTS STILL GO TO THE YANKEES!!!

    Why do they do it? For the love of the game? Or the love of the money?

    I mean, Burnett still gets paid whether he wins or loses, right?