Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Birdland Bulletin: An Open Letter to Bobby V

Dear Bobby V,

I’m not going to piss in your face and tell you it’s raining.  I’m not going to give you a couple of compliments and then sneak in a dig, that’s never been my style.  Don’t consider this letter hate mail, just consider it a statement of facts; this season has left you completely and utterly exposed for what you are…an undeniable clown.

OK, I lied.  I’ve got one nicety to get out of the way.  But brace yourself because it’s more backhanded than Rihanna’s face.

Bobby, I would like to thank you for turning down the manager’s job with the Baltimore Orioles back in 2010.  Not only did you spare us with the experience of watching you mismanage our bullpen, alienate our stars, and from taking a fat dump all over our fan base; but you are the Anti-Buck.  Because of your bigger-than-the-Green-Monstah ego, you felt managing the Orioles was beneath you.  And if not for your self-entitlement, Buck Showalter would not be our skipper and leading us to the playoffs for the first time since English Patient won Best Picture.

Do you remember your reasons for turning down the job with the Birds? Don’t worry we haven’t forgotten:

"I did go down there and I did talk with the owner (Angelos) and the general manager (MacPhail) and they have a whole lot of problems and they seem like they're really putting their heads together to try to solve them somehow, some way, [but I'm] not sure how."

One solution to solving the problem was certainly not hiring you.

"It's a big challenge. I like big challenges, but I like to have some reward too, and the reward is in the standings and their standings don't look like they're going to turn around very quickly."

I get it; you are an instant gratification kind of guy. You want the proof to be in the pudding from the get go.  And to your credit, you did make things in Boston happen pretty quickly.  You were able to lose your locker room early in the season when you called out Kevin Youkilis and alienated team leader and resident garden gnome, Dustin Pedroia.  But you were very wrong; those standings turn around awful quickly, don’t they? Especially when you take a team with 90 wins last year (even if they missed the playoffs) and turn them into a 90-loss team.  If you are looking for the Orioles we are the team near the top of the division saying, “we told you so.” 

You are a hack.  I do not care about the titles you won in the Japanese Professional leagues.  They mean nothing to us in the land of back-to-back World War Champions. Winning the Japanese World Series is like being the smartest person on Honey Boo Boo.

I get it, this has been the most frustrating season of your career, but that does not give you the excuse to just simply mail it in.  Seriously, you and your team have less backbone than someone with spina bifida. 

The final three games of the season mean the world to the New York Yankees and the Baltimore Orioles.  The A.L. Beast crown is still on the line and therefore the two teams who are playing the O’s and Yanks can take a lot of pride in impacting the outcomes of their division.  Joe Maddon and the Tampa Bay Rays got the memo, heck he’s got Evan Longoria whose playing on one leg in his lineup every night.  But you and your team have rolled over and taken what is coming to you like Jerry Sandusky is about to when he is unleashed into general population. 

The lineup that you wrote for game one against C.C. Sabathia was a gigantic middle finger to Buck Showalter and the Orioles.  I understand that guys you expected to rely on this season have gotten hurt or sold off for spare parts, but no Ellsbury (due to a left on left matchup, weak sauce) and no Pedroia (ouchie my finger hurts!) is an obvious white flag.  I thought you were Italian, but I guess you are pretty French.

If Game 1’s circus wasn’t enough you seemingly lost last night on purpose.  I mean that is my only rationale for the way you used your bullpen in the back end of the game last night. Left hander Craig Breslow only needed 13 pitches to get through the 8th inning last night and had plenty left in the tank to face LEFT handed hitting Curtis Granderson leading off the 9th, followed by the ballerina swinging right handed Eduardo Nunez, and LEFT handed hitting Ichiro Suzuki.  You felt that right handed throwing Andrew Bailey and his 6.00 ERA would be a better matchup against Granderson (who kills righties), Nunez who would obviously be pinch hit for with a left hand bat, like say Raul Ibanez, and then followed by ANOTHER left handed Ichiro Suzuki. 

I’m not a big league manager and overall baseball genius like yourself, but I am a student of the game and you botched this one.  When your closer has a tougher time getting outs than the ghost of Kevin Gregg, it may be time to strictly go matchup by matchup with your bullpen to grind out those final three outs and secure a 3-1 win. 

But, hey you’re Bobby V and you’ve got all the answers. Which is why I’m hoping you can answer these questions:

1) How do you seriously start a DH who is hitting .160?
2) How do you not use a single pinch hitter or pinch runner in a 12 inning game compared to Joe Girardi who used 3 catchers, two pinch hitters, and on pinch runner

On the game-winning play last night, I saw all I needed to see on how much your team respects you and how much you are motivating them to play hard.  Raul Ibanez sent a seeing-eye single bouncing between 3B Pedro Ciriaco and SS Jose Iglesias.  There was a runner (Francisco Cervelli) on 2B with 2 outs, and this is known as a “belly up” or “do or die” situation for infielders.  Meaning, if there is a groundball remotely close to them they are expected to sell out and dive for the ball in order to knock it down and keep that runner on 2B from scoring.  By holding the runner to 3B, the pitcher and his defense lives on to fight another day – the next batter.  The ball was close enough to either defender that even though neither would have had any chance of throwing Ibanez out at first, they still would have knocked the ball down and saved a run. Instead, neither guy laid out, the ball trickled into left field and Cervelli came around to score the game-winning run for the Yankees.  I guess the only thing going belly up in Boston is your job security, eh Bobby?

As of today, the Orioles need to win and we need you guys to beat the Yankees in order to tie for the Division lead and force a one game Division Championship to be played tomorrow at Camden.  But it appears you have already licked the stamp, sealed the envelope, and mailed it in because you are sending Daisuke Matsuzaka to the mound. Domo arigato Mr. Bobby.

It’s time to take a page out of Buck Showalter’s playbook.  He was in the same position you were in last year (minus the whole everyone hates you and you’re going to get fired thing), and he motivated his players to go all out because even though they were not going to the playoffs they still had an opportunity to completely decide who did. All Birdland asks is that you and your trash squad BUCKle up and show some pride and compete tonight. 

And hey if you really like challenges you’re going to love your next one. It’s called cleaning out the gutters on a Sunday, cutting the grass, running back out to the store to pick up the low-fat vanilla Soy Milk, or any thing else on your honey-do list because you are staring unemployment and free time right in the eye. Don’t blink Bobby.



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