Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Ricky Romero Blows a Head Gasket, Kicks the Family Dog

If you watched Ricky Romero leave the field in a fit of body-convulsing expletives after the seventh inning last night, then his frustrated rant in the post game shouldn't have come as any surprise. We're sure that getting taken deep by the opposing pitcher is infuriating enough, but to have it done to you when you have no margin for error is probably enough to send any competitive soul into paroxysms of rage.

We're not going to channel out inner Emily Post and tell you whether or not if it was good manners to underscore the failings of his teammates in a public forum. If such a thing offends your sensibilities, that's fine, we get how it could be taken as poor form. But then, such a thought is what results in all the "110%", "one game at a time", "best shape of my life", "win as a team, lose as a team" platitudes that have become the white noise of sports journalism.

Here's the thought to which we've been returning over the past half-hour: Ricky Romero is not unlike our patron saint around here. Back in his day, Dave Stieb used to glare at infielders who didn't make plays behind him, and earned himself a reputation as a "not nice" guy (which, in polite Canadian society is just a small step beneath "war criminal" in terms of justifications for public scorn.) But Stieb's excellence was born of a singular focus on perfecting his own craft, and a fierce competitive streak that drove him to rise above and improve his performance.

Two seasons ago, a 24 year-old Romero was getting one more shot to prove he could contribute after an unspectacular minor league career. What he's done since to refine his game (and in particular, the mental aspects of using his pitches more astutely) is commendable, and surely stoked by the same fire that leads a player to vent frustration after seeing one teammate after another wave weakly at balls down and away.

(Seriously: RickyRo mad contact with a couple of pitches, and as such, had better at bats than either Aaron Hill or Rajai Davis last night. He's got a leg to stand on.)

The fact is that after posting 4.8 runs per game over the first two months of the season, the Jays have slid back in the month of June so far, managing 4.2 runs per outing. This can be attributed, as RickRo rightly pointed out, to not getting on base (OBP for April/May: .331; for June: .296) and not taking advantage of the opportunities (SLG drops from .424 to .382 for same time periods.)

Maybe you buy into some bullshit athlete's code, and maybe this should have "stayed in the room". But you can't question the truth of what Romero said, and we don't think you can question his motivations.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Was it the offense that gave up the two run shot to Hudson? I'm not saying he should have to pitch a shutout to win, and the Jays clearly haven't been scoring a bunch when he's pitching, but suck it up like all the other pitchers that this happens to because he's not the first or the last to have run support issues.

Tao of Stieb said...

It's the offense that made a two run homer in the 7th inning a decisive blow. Don't ask your pitchers to be perfect.

And it's not a matter of him being pissed because he's not getting the Wins...I think he's pissed because he's pitching well enough for the team to win, and they're not getting it done.

So you can suck it up.

Chill said...

Angry Tao...I love it!

And, you're right. Considering how inconsistant the offense has been, I think that Ricky has every right to make comments about their inabilities to get on base. This team shouldn't be expected to lead the league in runs, but they sure as hell are better than they have been for much of June.

ck said...

Romero is right. should he have said it? not without realizing whatever he says will be spun by the media for more drama. can't blame the guy though, they hardly give him any run support (did i hear somewhere they produced 13 runs for his last 9 starts? i might be making that up. or i hope i'm making that up)and he gives them every chance to get the W. that's frustrating for even the fans. and to his credit he did begin by saying he only concerns himself with how he's pitching...

William Tasker - Caribou, ME said...

Maybe Ricky didn't make any friends in the clubhouse, but he is correct in his assessment. Still, the gut is telling me he was out of line with calling out his teammates.

Bottom line: I'm torn and we'll have to see how it all turns out.

Rory said...

I think Ricky's opinion is out of line. Just a quick check shows me that the Jays are 6th in the 30 team league in runs, 25th in ERA. I know these aren't the most showing stats, but they do demonstrate some that if there is to be blame given on the w-l record, then the pitchers should be taking more of it.
I know this doesn't apply to Ricky himself (as he has gotten pure run support), but that actually makes it worse since it makes him out to be whining that he doesn't get runs scored for HIM and is blaming the hitters, who, on the whole, have been doing on okay job, unlike the pitchers.
He should shut his mouth about the hitting and concentrate on his pitching, and helping his pitching mates not be among the worst in the league (unlike the hitters).

Rory said...

Whoops! "poor" run support. I wonder what "pure" run support is?

Anonymous said...

What are you Tao, two fucking years old? Yeah, so I can suck it up. You sure told me.

Mark said...

The Jays offense is 6th in runs scored in the majors and the staff has an ERA that's 25th in the majors. Romero's right that other guys in the lineup have to step up...but let's not make it out to be like the pitching staff is the reason the Jays are around 500.

It sucks that he isn't getting run support, but he's really complaining about the wrong part of the team.

Buck16 said...

Remember - he didn't say they can't score runs... he said they need guys other than Bautista and Lind to step up and get on base or hit the fucking ball (maybe not quite a quote) once in a while.

He didn't say they can't score runs, he said they need more guys to contribute at the plate.

Chad said...

Hey Anon, you realize that you told Romero to suck it up in your post?

You sure told him!

@dwbudd said...

Tao -

amen, and pass the ammo.

The pitchers haven't been stunning, but they've done an adequate job (aside from the embarrassing demolition at the hands of Boston a couple of weeks ago).

In the set with Atlanta, the Jays scored 0, 1, and 1 run, and managed 2, 5, and 5 hits. Basically, they went 12/93 in the series, which is an abysmal performance.

Whether Romero should have lashed out in public is an issue between him and his non-supportive team mates. But his comments were spot-on.

Does anyone, for example, DENY that you cannot win a game if you don't score?

Finally, what I find bizarre is that anyone is surprised that this motley crew of cast-offs can't hit. The lineup on Wednesday featured four guys (Patterson, Arencibia, Nix, Hill) plus the pitcher with OBP under .300. And they pinch hit with three other guys (Davis, Encarnacion, and McDonald) with OBP of .271, .287 and .250.

Paul said...

So in three or four years, when the Jays are on their 24th annual "two years away" plan, will we be trading Romero away to a contending team for some head case prospect?