Wait. Did that just happen?
Answer: Yes. I don't apologize.
Right. Where was I?
"It." "It" is about Yunel Escobar. Of course. Ok. This makes me sound like I'm a crazy "Yunel is my favorite (active) player in the whole wide world," which isn't true (it's Martin Prado. Stud.)... but he was/is pretty high on my list of favorite players. He's just not a Brave anymore, so I have to kind of temper my adoration for him a LEEEEEETLE bit.
Cue Poorly Drawn MS Paint JPG:
At least we didn't trade him to New York?? :P The obligation to hate would arise. I had a similar situation this past winter, when we traded Javy Vazquez to New York. I was crushed because I knew I had to root against him... and root against him with every fiber of my being because he is a Yankee.
Back to the subject at hand. Anyway, before the trade, there were grumblings about Yunel being a "lazy player" or a "bad teammate," etc. But that was all they were, grumblings in the background that true fans (like me) ignored. [Even one of my customers talked to me about it. "He had a really nasty attitude," he said. "He acted out on the field all the time." Ok. I call bullshit on that. I watch practically every game on television and I go to as many games as my schedule will allow. I have never once seen any of this supposed primadonna attitude. The commentators (who are sitting all the way up there) don't know what is going through Yunel's mind, nor do they comment on BMac's "goddamnit"s, Blanco's hand-claps, etc., either. Nor should they.] Then, as soon as he gets traded, you see headlines like, "Addition by Subtraction" or "The Braves Dump Escobar" etc. And the negativity and the trash-talking just continued.
Craig and I talked about this at length.
Alison: I am trying really hard to be happy with this trade. It's hard. Because there are tons of people being like, "whatever, he was an asshole." And it bothers me.
Craig: yeah, it kinda wounds me emotionally to read people talking shit about Yunel
Craig: because they're totally trying to be optimistic about the trade, but doing so in the wrong way
Craig: taking it to the point of being unfair to YunelCraig: trading him for prospects and Gonzalez was, at least possibly, a good deal for the BravesCraig: because they have a surplus of infield talent right nowCraig: and they got prospects for it, plus someone else to keep the roster from shrinkingCraig: who's been playing wellCraig: if you wanna justify the tradeCraig: say THATCraig: but to say that Bobby hated Escobar is below the belt
There have been a lot of quotes in the vein of "a Braves player said" such-and-such a thing. Names? Hey, I'm not trying to skewer whoever said such things, but everybody seems so eager to skewer Escobar, so I think it's only fair that if you're calling out a player, that you attach your name to it. Plus, I just don't find any of this credible. These "journalists" (MARK BOWMAN, DAVID O'BRIEN, etc.) have an agenda, and it's the "Smear Yunel Campaign." Even the "positive" stories about Yunel carry that hint of "but we know you're a SOB." This attitude bleeds into these articles. (Ask me, and I will provide evidence. I didn't debate in high school for nothin'.)
Anyway, my new stance is: Just squash it, already. Yunel-lovers are going to disagree with the Yunel-haters. (And the Yunel-haters are SUCH haters, btw. I wonder how good they are at fielding and hitting.)
Because the new thing to hate about Yunel now is "Oh, he's hitting home-runs for the Blue Jays now? That must mean he was holding out on us. He didn't try for us at all. That explains the lack of home-runs."
Come on. If anybody really thought Yunel wanted to leave his childhood dream-team, they're really just... stupid. There's really no other way to put it. That isn't to say that he doesn't like being with Toronto now (wouldn't you be happy for a new beginning when you're maligned like a mofo?). But the Braves are the team he grew up watching. And you think he was holding out hoping that the Braves would trade him away? PUH-LEEZE. I have heard 3 year olds tell better stories.
Like I said. If someone wants to come out and say that Yunel was a bad player, then so be it. But as long as no one is willing to have their name attached to that statement, I don't buy it. And just because there are reports of "several Braves players" who didn't believe Yunel gave 100% does NOT make it a fact. The FACT here is that maybe several players DO think that, but none of them are willing to attach their name to it. (Also, I'm going to throw in here that I'm willing to bet my laptop, my guitar, and next semester's tuition that Martin Prado, Omar Infante, Gregor Blanco, and Melky Cabrera disagree with this portrayal of Yunel. I'm also willing to bet the cost of next semester's books that Tim Hudson, Matt Diaz, and Bobby Cox do NOT hate Yunel.)
So the only thing that Yunel-lovers and Yunel-haters can do in this unending argument is squash it. He's in Toronto now, flashing the leather and making the hits. And Alex Gonzalez is here, flashing HIS glove and making HIS hits. It turned out well, and everybody can be happy. What's with all the negativity? Acting like friggin' passive aggressive middle schoolers.
I'm really going to miss watching Yunel play live though. :(
Another thing I want to note: The language and cultural barrier is a very real thing. I don't think most people understand just how hard it is to overcome (this applies to Kawakami, as well). As a child of immigrants and as a person who knows a lot of people who can't speak English well, this is a very hard country to get by without a very good command of the language. My co-workers are good examples--they are very intelligent and hard-working, but they open their mouths and some people perceive them as rude, mean, and/or stupid. None of those things are true. But people brought up in a different culture react to certain things in different ways, and the way they speak doesn't necessarily express what they are trying to say. Things get lost in translation way too easily. (See Love Actually or Lost in Translation.)