How Much is That Idiot in the Window?

For nearly a year I have been dogging the “great Troy Tulowitzki” for comments he made during the National League Championship Series. As someone in his first year of Major League Baseball he had no business opening his mouth let alone passing judgment on a fellow rookie. He doesn’t know Justin Upton or the type of person he is. He just used that event to try and vault himself as an elite player and baseball leader. Yeah, we don’t need leaders like that. That event was just the beginning of my disdain for the Colorado Rockies shortstop. Watching him as he went about his business before, during, and after the game it was clear that the “great Troy Tulowitzki” needed to be humbled so that he didn’t forget that he was not bigger than the game. So when he got hurt earlier this year I did not bemoan his plight nor was I sympathetic to what he was going through. Quite the contrary, I am hopeful that this time away from the game will give him a new perspective and a quieter demeanor when he does return. The one bad thing about the “great Troy Tulowitzki” being hurt is the fact that we as Diamondbacks fans are left without a villain. You have to have a villain, without one who do you have left to vilify? Luckily for us, just when we need a nemesis most, one appears in the most unlikely place.

Monday I briefly alluded to an exchange between Diamondbacks pitcher Randy Johnson and Pittsburgh Pirates utility man Doug Mientkiewicz. The incident occurred in the bottom of the third inning. Mientkiewicz led off that inning. The first pitch he saw was an 87 MPH fastball that he took for a ball. Mientkiewicz stepped out of the box then back into the box. Randy then threw a curveball for a called strike. Mientkiewicz again stepped out of the batter’s box and back in. The third pitch of the at bat was another fastball which was called a ball. This is when things started to get a little interesting. Mientkiewicz again decided to step out of the box and back. This time though he waited until Randy Johnson had already begun his delivery before calling time. Home plate umpire Jeff Kellogg allowed time to be called. It should be noted here that Jeff Kellogg had already at this point thrown Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin out of the game for arguing that Kellogg had incorrectly overturned a Mark Reynolds home run in the first inning. Kellogg has a history of screwing up Diamondbacks games throughout the team’s existence. For whatever reason Jeff Kellogg has what appears to be a personal vendetta against the Diamondbacks. If you go to a Diamondbacks game and seek Kellogg’s name listed on the umpiring crew you can rest assured that at least 1 questionable call will arise and the outcome will be against the Diamondbacks if Jeff Kellogg has his way. So it should not have come as a surprise to any Diamondbacks fan that Jeff Kellogg would allow Doug Mientkiewicz to call time out during a pitcher’s wind-up. It should also not come as any surprise that Randy would not appreciate this disruption. When Mientkiewicz got in the box then called time again before a delivery, the stage was set. In classic Big Unit fashion, he decided to make his way to the plate to let Doug Mientkiewicz know his views on proper batter etiquette. Mientkiewicz took umbrage to Randy’s remarks and began to make his way towards the pitcher. This of course is an immediate signal to anyone wearing a uniform to come to the aid of their comrades. Both benches cleared and everyone met in front of the plate to get a better look at the situation. This was a typical baseball type of gathering. There were lots of pushing and shoving as teammates tried to diffuse the situation. In the end no punches were thrown and order was restored. You would have thought that would end the situation, but quite the contrary that is just the beginning.

The Diamondbacks left Pittsburgh and made their way to Shea Stadium to face the struggling New York Mets. Before game one someone happened to ask Randy about the incident the day before. Randy tried to brush off the comment and made a short statement to describe how he felt.

It didn’t really bother me at all. If it would have, he’d probably be in a stretcher and I’d be out of the game.

Randy Johnson
Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher

The comment made for a great sound bite and you had to think this would be the end to this little ruckus. But this is June and obviously media people have nothing else to do so they decided that this is the little story that should grow legs. They went back to Pittsburgh and proceeded to let Doug Mientkiewicz know that Randy did not respect his position at Monday’s game. Now here is where Doug Mientkiewicz was faced with a decision. He could laugh and take the high road stating that sometimes in the heat of a game (and it was hot on Monday) we all say or do something we might regret. That statement would have diffused the whole thing. People would be left wondering who made the mistake, was it Randy or Doug but the thing would have been over. Or, Doug Mientkiewicz could take this comment by Randy Johnson and throw a little gasoline on the fire escalating the whole story into something well beyond a few words at Monday’s game. Doug decided he would be best served choosing the later plan of action.

I’ve been on a stretcher before and, technically, he’s been out of the game for three years in my mind. That just shows me how mentally weak he is. That’s why he got out of (New York). New York beat him down, let’s put it that way. He doesn’t have intimidating stuff anymore, so I’m not going to stand for it.

Doug Mientkiewicz
Pittsburgh Pirates utility scrub

Ding, ding, ding! It looks like we have a winner! Yes folks, in where we least expect it we find someone willing to take on the mantle of team villain. Perhaps if Doug Mientkiewicz would have taken as much time thinking before he responded as he did to get into the batter’s box he might have thought twice about what he was going to say. Here is a guy who is with his 6th team in 6 years and who has but 101 at-bats this season who deemed it necessary to call out a probable first ballot hall of famer. A guy who has not been a regular starter since 2003. A guy whose whole career is shorter than the existence of the Arizona Diamondbacks. A guy whose primary claim to fame is that he stole the World Series winning baseball from the Boston Red Sox in 2004. Yeah I can definitely see where he has the authority and the respect of those that play the game to make the kind of disparaging remarks that he just did. You know I have had a heyday ripping the “great Troy Tulowitzki” for making a stupid comment about Justin Upton looking at Jeff Francis. That was nothing compared to what the “idiotic Doug Mientkiewicz” just did. This guy should maybe hang up his cleats and give Conan O’Brien a call. I am sure Conan is always looking for a good joke and there isn’t a bigger joke in all of baseball than Doug Mientkiewicz. Congratulations Dougie, you may have done the Diamondbacks a great favor. Not only will ticket sales likely increase for the three game series at Chase Field on August 4-6 but you might have just fired up a team that was desperately in need of a spark. So please don’t do something even more stupid before August and get yourself traded or more likely cut from the team. I am not sure we can find another clown on such short notice. For now feel content that you have earned the title of the “idiotic Doug Mientkiewicz”, village moron.

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