Weapons Grade Stupid

Don’t get me wrong, I love sports radio. I am very much appreciative that John Russo that he brings me on his radio show each Wednesday on AM 1490 to talk baseball just as appreciative as I am when Shot Doctor and Scottie have me come on 740 to talk baseball twice a month. I’ve been listening to sports radio for a very long time since my best friend’s car only had an AM radio in it as we drove back and forth to campus for class. That said, one has to tolerate a certain amount of stupid when listening to sports radio and a lot of it comes from callers but from time to time, the hosts get to wear that dunce crown. I am rather selective in the sports radio I listened to but when Tommy Rancel IM’s me to “tune into ESPN 1040, now!” I am drawn in.

I tune in and hear Mark Benarzyk on his Swarm show just railing on Joe Maddon blaming him for everything from losing to the Jays, the Rays attendance, and I think he was heading toward blaming him for the BP oil spill but got cut off by a commercial break.  Benarzyk was incensed that Carl Crawford got three days off this week as he only played in one game of the Jays series and got the schedule day off all of the Rays did on Monday. Sadly, 98% of the sheeple that were calling in were agreeing with him. I just hate it when facts get in the way of a good argument but here are some facts. Crawford has appeared in one less game than Derek Jeter this season. The season is a marathon, not a sprint. Crawford has made no bones about how the turf in Tropicana Field is not very kind to his legs. I would be pissed about him missing a game in late September or October that was related to his legs than I am bothered by a day off in June.  Way too much is made about Cal Ripken and his consecutive game streak but there certainly were times when a 80% Ripken was hurting the club in the field rather than helping the club. If Crawford needs to sit out most of two games in June so that he is ready for October, so be it. He has played 150-156 games in five of his seasons in Tampa Bay and if he keeps up with his current pace of games played this season, he will once again fall into that range.  Prince Fielder was the only player that played all 162 games last season; players are going to get days off. Much is being made here, about nothing.

The host’s next rant was that Joe Maddon is an absolute clown who has no idea what he is doing as a manger. He said that Ray Rhodes won a coach of the year award so Maddon’s hardware proves absolutely nothing. Benarczk and callers were praising Joe Girardi (this is a TB area station that carries Yankee games) but funny thing – over the past three seasons, Girardi has all of nine wins more than Joe Maddon. This, with 3-4x the payroll that Maddon has had to manage with. That’s nine less wins without a real closer for half of it. That’s nine less wins with a star player in B.J. Upton who has been playing much less than full strength until this season. That nine wins with a pitching staff that has made less in the last three season than Alex Rodriguez will be paid this season.

There were more rants about the lineups and him going off on any fan that dared to disagree with him to the point of calling one a slurpee-pouring douchebag. The irony here is that he takes the time to call out fans on the attendance (fresh angle!) about not coming out to games despite the fact his own company undermines the Rays in their own market by carrying Yankees games on the radio each night.  I listened to the show for 90 minutes and heard seven Yankee promos and all but two calls ripping on the Rays who are two games ahead of the Yankees and own the best team in baseball.  His show and his station are part of the problem. You would think that he could find just one or two things positive the Rays are doing and mention those instead of going on a long-winded rant between each call. All of his rants were anecdotal and contained no facts to support his position which is quite disappointing for someone who is quick to tell you on his website he holds two Masters Degrees and a Bachelor’s Degree.

You might remember that story from a few weeks ago where Maddon was laughing off local criticism when he said:

“I really do think it’s humorous. Frankly, these people don’t know what they’re talking about. I would never go into a person’s place of business where I’ve never been and feel comfortable in telling them how to do their jobs. Most of the critics, even the average fans, have no idea what it’s like to work a major-league clubhouse. It’s not at all what they think it is. All the things we do, all the things we might try, whether it’s lineups or plays or pitching, are really well thought out.”

After listening to The Swarm today, I now know exactly who Joe Maddon was talking about. Once it hit me, I laughed too.

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About Jason Collette

Writer/Analyst
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