Monday, September 28, 2015

Example fail

And now some numbers, as we watch this again and reminisce fondly of the days when Reggie Jackson and Billy Martin used to have their marital spats, especially that one at Fenway Park that was the most famous dugout fight of all time until ... well, until yesterday.

But the numbers.

Here they are: 22 games, 23.2 innings pitched, 22 hits, 13 runs, four homers, a 3.04 ERA.

That's what Jonathan Papelbon was doing, or not doing, when he decided, after a month with the Washington Nationals, that he was the guy to call out Bryce Harper, the only National who's actually been worth a lick this lost summer.

Harper apparently didn't sufficiently run out a hopeless pop fly in a hopelessly lost game, and Papelbon took exception. So he got in the kid's face, the kid told him to stick it, and Papelbon grabbed him by the throat.

Papelbon, who hasn't done anything for the Nationals but feed gophers and blow saves as their alleged "closer."

Papelbon, All-American tool and clubhouse poison of the first order, whom the Phillies were only too eager to dump on the market because, like most people who've ever had to deal with the guy, they were heartily sick of him.

This is the guy to teach young Bryce how the game should be played?

Look. Maybe Harper's a bit brash and maybe there is something to be said for running out every play, even when your season is done and you're all just playing out the string. But Papelbon was demonstrably not the guy to call him on it.

To his credit, he acknowledged as much later on, publicly apologizing for his actions. Maybe, belatedly, he realized that leadership springs from what you do, not what you say. And Papelbon simply doesn't have the Do.

Harper, meanwhile, does. With a .336 average, 41 homers, 96 RBI and an on-base percentage of .467, he's carried the Nationals all season when no one else either could or would. Yet some Johnny-come-lately closer who can't close a screen door presumed it was his place to lecture him?

As if.

Update: The Nats have suspended Papelbon four games for going after Harper. Bullpen immediately improves.

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