Rob Johnson, redux

It’s apparently still “snowing” here. That was supposed to stop today. We’ll see what happens later today, since the default time  setting for WordPress seems to be adjacent to the time in Britain. I’ve got a mean case of the new job anxiety, which means that I got three and a half hours of sleep, and was up at 3.30 this morning. It also means I have a few hours to myself to just sit and surf baseball sites, something I’ve been just terrible at this offseason.

As usual this offseason, I’m late to the party, but I wanted to point out this post at Shannon Drayer’s blog regarding Rob Johnson. I don’t remember there ever being a true point in time where I had anything that could be called ‘fandom’ for RJ. I had the hope that he would do well (the same hope I place on the shoulders of any player wearing Mariners blue) when he was sort of shoved out into the spotlight, but it was fairly obvious early on that it wasn’t going to happen. I accepted Johnson with several grains of salt and a series of rolling eyes, and just figured ‘hey, at least we have a number 9 hitter’.  Reading Drayer’s article, a lot is pointed out that I had forgotten in the turmoil of the past two-three years. I think I may have PTSD from Jeff Clement, so I have the tendency to forget that he ever had anything to do with our catcher situation. 162 games is a long season, and events that seem so important when they happen easily get lost in the shuffle later on in the year. What I do appreciate is that the post has settled me down a little regarding Johnson’s time here. Being able to see that some of his tenure was not necessarily his fault, and that he was more or less mismanaged in the pecking order of the majors without any veteran leadership makes me feel a little sorrier for him. It’s one thing to wonder why he wasn’t kept in Triple A for a little longer before he was brought up here to continue his assault on the defensive end of the major league game, it’s a completely different thing to know that Don Wakamatsu actually kept him here based on faith that he would eventually improve, regardless of the fact that his performance proved otherwise time and time again. Not to mention that it sounds like Wakamatsu fed him the “belief system” line to the point where Johnson may have believed his own hype.

Don’t get me wrong, I still have a lot of love for Don Wakamatsu, and I still miss him. Wak was, in the world of baseball managers, an anomaly – and I can get with that concept – but in hindsight, obviously, here and now was just all wrong for us. He was let go in accordance with the unwritten rules (talk up the support for your manager, let him go a few weeks later), and Johnson suffered not only for him being here, but also for him being let go. It’s nice to know that Johnson may get some badly-needed mentoring, and, as Drayer says, further healing time in regards to his dual hip surgery. I feel like parts of my past opinions on Johnson stand corrected, and for that, I thank Shannon. There is nothing more my pessimist viewpoint loves in baseball than to be proven wrong.

Following up a bit on the Alfredo Simon case, it looks like Simon has been or will soon be charged with involuntary manslaughter. I’m not sure I can feel badly for this guy – there are better, safer, more adult ways of handling disputes, and firing a gun into the air is, for lack of a better word, stupid. If anything, I feel poorly for the team, who now has a PR mess that they have to deal with, a mess which may cost them a relief pitcher, depending on how everything goes for Simon in the legal department.

I have also had a little time this morning to take a peak at this season’s 16-game plans. My normal criteria is for all games to be night games – day games on the weekends are fine, but I am never guaranteed to get a day off, and I’m a terrible liar when it comes to getting a half day at any sort of job. I hate saying I have an “appointment”. An appointment to skip work and knock off at the ballpark, an appointment that anyone who knows anything about me could figure out. So it looks like Plan I is the best one that suits my needs. I’d have to deal with two Yankees games, but I also get two Phillies games, so it works for me. (Yay, Cliff Lee! Yay, ex-Mariners!) The other plans that work time-wise are also mostly AL games, and I can see the AL all year long, so seeing the Phils twice and the Padres once is an OK deal. Now, to go to work and make this daydream a reality. A girl gots ta’ get paid!

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