Thursday, September 29, 2011

Let's Take it Back to the Old School

I'm not even going to discuss the Atlanta Braves, the (current) Boston Red Sox, or mention the fact that they both just broke records for the worst end of season collapse in the history of baseball.

Er, wait - I just did mention it, didn't I? Well I'm not going to discuss it any further, because I'm disgusted. Instead, I'm going to discuss something else that disgusts me, because I feel like it.

You probably weren't aware of this, but there was a close race in the National League this season, between Jose Reyes, of the New York Mets, and Ryan Braun, of the Milwaukee Brewers, for the batting title. Before yesterday, Reyes was in the lead with an average of .347. What he did to secure his lead in yesterday's game was lame, as far as I'm concerned.

Jose Reyes bunted on his first at-bat, which with his speed almost guaranteed a hit. That in itself is not a big deal, but what he did next is a sign, to me, of what's wrong with our culture these days. He asked his manager to take him out of the game. He did. This preserved his average, meaning he did not have any strikeouts, groundouts, or outs of any kind that day, which could have lowered his average.

He should have played the rest of the game, because Ryan Braun ended up going 0 for 4 against the Pittsburgh Pirates, and Reyes would have won no matter what.

Anyway, you're probably wondering why Ted Williams is up there, assuming you knew that was Ted Williams. Ted is up there because I want to use him to illustrate how things should be done.

70 years ago, Ted Williams was in the same position as Jose Reyes - poised to take the title, and with a decision to make. His situation was a bit more historic though. He had a .3996 batting average, something which is essentially unheard of. The last day of the season was a double header. He could have sat out, which his manager suggested, and MLB would have rounded his average up to .400.

What did Ted do? He did what any self-respecting hero and role model would. He played both games, went 6 for 8, and ended up with a legitimate .406 batting average. No one has ever had an average of over .400 since.

Not one single player.

Kids, don't be like Jose Reyes. Be like Ted Williams.

He played for the Boston Red Sox. I bet they wish they had him back.

43 comments:

Shain Brown said...

I'm not much of a baseball buff, but I loved the story. All of us should be like Ted Williams.

Suzie F. said...

I'm a bit relieved that the Red Sox put me out of my misery last night. No use prolonging the torture. There's always next year, right? *hopes*

I once met Ted Williams about 25 years ago. My college had our bacchalaureate dinner at a nice hotel in Boston. The banquet room next to ours was hosting a dinner for the Red Sox "Old Timers" who were playing that weekend (much to the delight of my Dad and boyfriend at the time).

A Daft Scots Lass said...

I'm not a baseball fan either and I enjoyed reading this

Kristen said...

Ted was a sight for sore eyes today. It's a different generation out there now.
I wrote about the Red Sox today. (How could they...?)
Sorry, was I whining?

Angela Felsted said...

I'm not even into baseball and that was an awesome story!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

That's called putting self before team. Really sad.
I was happy to see the Rays made it though. And swept the Yankees - even better. Evil empire.

Slamdunk said...

Great post Matthew--I can't agree with you more.

Teddy Ball Game was all about honor. Missing time from baseball to serve on two occassions in the armed forces says about everything.

Steve Abernathy said...

The Mets are the worst organization in all of sports. They proved it yesterday; tactless hacks.

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

I totally thought that was you as a youngin'! :)

Crystal Collier said...

Grr. Quitters suck. You're right though, something has changed in our modern day mentality, a precious something I often wish we could recover. But I'm not here to rant nostalgically. I'm here to give you an award. I hereby bestow the Versatile Blogger upon thee. I'm new to your blog, but I love it!

http://crystalcollier.blogspot.com/2011/09/goalget-out-and-live.html

Joshua said...

And that is why Ted Williams is one of the greatest to play the game. And major props to Ryan Braun for swinging the bat.

I wish I could say the same for the Braves last night.

Or my Cubs all season.

LTM said...

ho, Matt... you're KILLING ME today. Baseball? I'm just going back to bed now... :D LOL! <3

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

There's no honor in that.
Really sorry about the Braves. That was one wild night of baseball.

maine character said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
maine character said...

Awesome post, and even better lesson.

Listen to Matt, all ye who wish to be heroes.

Donna K. Weaver said...

Wonderful post, Matt. We need more heroes like Ted, ones who actually deserve the title.

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

I don't know much about baseball, but this post really sings to me. Jose Reyes is a selfish SOB who doesn't love baseball, his team or his fans nearly as much as himself. Gah! No wonder you're disgusted.

Michael Offutt said...

I love looking at baseball players. Post more pics of them please.

elizabethreinhardt said...

You just made me fall a little in love with baseball! What an awesome comparison story!

Carolyn V said...

I don't know much about baseball either, but I'd hope to be a Ted Williams and keep on playing.

Nicole Zoltack said...

I heard about Jose Reyes on ESPN and that it was completely classless. Talk about not having any faith in yourself to be able to legitimately win the batting title.

It doesn't help that I'm a Yankees fan so of course I hate the Mets.

Jeffrey Beesler said...

Jose Reyes reminds me of a plagiarist for some reason. Like others have said, he doesn't believe in himself, so of course he looks for the easy way out, rather than work hard to try and earn the title. Just like what a plagiarist might do.

People who go to bat, both in baseball and in life, should expect to strike out every now and then. It's the laws of probability. No one can win 100% of the time. But those who work hard have a greater shot of winning than those who cop out.

Cynthia said...

As much as this post is about baseball, it's not, and that is what I love about it. Thanks!

Laura Pauling said...

Awesome! That's how we all should be.

Wine and Words said...

I just went through my umpteen gamillion baseball cards. I collected them for the asthetics...not necessarily the players. My husband was thumbing through and he yells, "You have a "blah blah" rookie card????" Yeah, I guess so. Who's that? I get an eye roll. My 1996 Leaf Statistical Standouts are my all time favorite baseball cards. I have the whole set of 8. Damn, they are the most beautiful cards I have ever seen...still. And I suppose that is more than you ever wanted to know. I really know zilch about baseball.

RaShelle Workman said...

It's the hard, difficult choices that make or break us. Great post, Matt. =D

Michael G-G said...

My new mantra: What Would Ted Williams Do? (WWTWD)

Thanks for this story, Matt. Now, anyone for cricket?

Jenny S. Morris said...

I honestly had to go back and read it a second time, because the first time my mind glazed over. Sorry, you were talking baseball. Now that I have actually read what you said, I want to be like Ted!

D.G. Hudson said...

Ted Williams - did you also know that he was a very good pilot and a world class fisherman?

My hubby knows his baseball. He claims Ted Williams was arguably the best hitter of all time, considering he hit for power and had the principles we wish all athletes had.

We visited the Ted Turner stadium when last in Georgia, and loved watching the Braves beat the Mets. Our girls had never seen a live baseball game but now are fans (considering that in Canada hockey rules).

Sports has one iron-clad rule: only one team can win. Somebody's got to come back and try again.

Like we writers do.

Hannah Kincade said...

Wow, you made a subject I don't enjoy, interesting. Could you be a writer perhaps??

Carrie said...

This is wonderful. People just aren't like Ted Williams anymore but maybe it is because there seems to be more at stake with huge salaries and endorsements on the line.

The Twins didn't do well this year at all but I always like to think of the Twins as the kind of players who would do the right thing.

Oh well, next year.

Susan Kane said...

I am afraid all they could get of Ted Williams is his head. He lived his final years down in San Diego county, even has a "Ted Williams Parkway" named after him.
When he died, he had left directions to cyrofreeze his head, so that he could be attached to a younger body once science figured that out.
His kids are still fighting it out in court; some want his head buried, some want it frozen.
Maybe the Red Sox will someday get Ted Williams back. Awesome player.

Old Kitty said...

Hooorah for Ted and boooooooooo to Jose! Bad Jose! No idea about baseball but never knew a player could ASK to be removed from playing a game ( I think that's what he did right!!??!). What kind of rule is that?!?!

At the moment in UK footy, we have poor Carlos Teves of Manchester City being suspended pending an inquiry because he allegedly refused to go on as a subsititute player when his manager asked him to during a game.

Ah sport!

Take care
x

Angela Brown said...

I did not know that was Ted Williams but I heard his name quite a but back in the day when Mark and Barry and Sam were going round and round with the whole "homerun recond" business and so many people wondered how the greats like Ted Williams and Hank Aaron made their marks without turning baseball into an "all about ME" spectacle.

Your post is a very telling commentary, very disturbing actually, to think that a player is so concerned about his numbers that the team can suffer...but hey, he got great numbers.

Very sad indeed.

Sub-Radar-Mike said...

Ted Williams is my new hero.

Munk said...

The Splendid Splinter did a lot of good but I'm not sure "role model" applies. His motivations were a bit skewed.
Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio?

Kelly Polark said...

Wow! That was bold and selfish!

And since I'm only an hour from Milwaukee, I wish Ryan would have beat out that jerk!

Kristen Pelfrey Faulconer said...

I love Ted Williams. That Other Guy*spits* isn't worthy of the game.
Great post.

Jennifer Hillier said...

I don't anything about baseball, but I enjoyed this story. Great moral.

Ted Williams would have made a great, much-needed role model these days.

Jessica Silva said...

I don't follow baseball, but this is awesome all the same. Always end like a winner. Not bow out like a coward.

Bryan Russell said...

Ah, the Splendid Splinter.

Ishta Mercurio said...

I completely agree. What Reyes did showed poor sportsmanship, among other things.

And your daughters are so, so fortunate to have a father with your sense of morals.

Rusty Webb said...

My Bravos? Nooooo! Actually, I've not followed baseball for several years now. Back when we first got cable though, and we had like, 10 channels, I would watch something like 100 Braves games a year. Which meant would also watch something like 90 losses a year. I would cry through every one. Sigh. They ruined my childhood, they really did. If only I'd been a kid through the 90's instead of the 80's. Oh well.

George Brett did something similar to Ted Williams, if memory serves, during the year he hit .390. I can't recall the details, but he had hit more that .400 most of the year and hit a slump late in the year that pulled his average down to around .380. He had a good final week and got his average up to around .390 and was given an opportunity to sit his final day. I think Rod Carew had hit .388 a couple of years earlier, and a bad day could have dropped Brett's avg below Carew's and perhaps diminishing his great season. He played, went 2 for 4 and kept the .390.

I guess Tony Gywnn's super season in '94 sorta overshadows that now. But still.