Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Wow! Wallace Matthews is NOT a Fan of Tim Wakefield's Style of Play

Wally was not too keen on having to watch baseball after 10 O'clock last night.

If you read the NY Post as much as I try to, you've probably stumbled upon the Post's resident sports critic, Phil Mushnick. His schtick is acting like a crotchety old man who complains about EVERYTHING and yearns for the days of yore. In Mushnick's world we'd be shooting free throws underhand, everyone would talk like Walter Kronkite and gas would be a nickel. Think Joe Morgan with the ability to formulate a sentence. It is a painful read but he's good at it and it can be pretty funny. He gets a lot of attention for his comments but strangely his position has not been copied by the notoriously unoriginal NY sports media market (unless you consider the ESPN.com ombudsman of a similar ilk). Well I think Wallace (formerly "Wally") Matthews of New York Newsday is beginning to mow Mushnick's lawn.

In Newsday today, Matthews launches a bizarre and rather hostile rant at Tim Wakefield of all people in a style that could best be described as Mushnickian. Matthews doesn't just rip Wakefield, he makes him out to be one of the worst pitchers ever and basically makes him responsible for all that is wrong with baseball, literally:
"Wakefield may very well be the least entertaining player ever to appear in a major-league uniform....

There's nothing remotely entertaining about watching big-league hitters stand rock still in the box, waiting for the ball to make its interminable trip from Wakefield's hand to home plate, then rock back on their heels to swing for Westchester County. At that point, the game crosses over into the realm of beer-league softball....

At 40 years old, Wakefield might not be quite ready to retire, but it certainly is time to retire his reputation as a Yankees killer.... In October, he's done more for this franchise than Alex Rodriguez....

His knuckleball, or whatever you want to call it, is a bigger menace to the game than steroids, growth hormone or Clomid will ever be....

What I want to know is, how in the world has Wakefield been able to draw a major-league paycheck since 1992 with the kind of stuff you generally see at a family barbecue?

....So before you start to think that the Yankees, who have now won two straight, are back to normal, here's one bit of advice: Now, let's see them do it against a major-league pitcher.

....If the commissioner of baseball truly wants to get to the bottom of one of the great mysteries of his game, he can shelve the steroid investigation and start looking into how Tim Wakefield has managed to get away with his act for the past 15 years."
EZ there Wally. Couple things:
1. Wakefield was probably a top 5 Cy Young Candidate before his last two starts, had an ERA in the low 2's coming into the game and still has a lower ERA than any starter in the Yanks rotation outside of Pettitte.

2. In the 2003 postseason (the Aaron Boone year), he went 2-1 against the Yanks, with a 2.57 ERA and would've been the MVP of the series. The next year, he volunteered to take one for the team and hop in a blowout so as not to stress the bullpen. If I remember correctly, that worked out ok.

3. When was Wake labeled a "Yankees Killer"? Jeter hits like .800 off of him and A-Rod kills him. The broadcast started off last night by noting that the Yanks were 6-1 against him in their last 7 games.

4. Wakefield may throw a slow pitch, but his style is no slower than anyone elses. Wakefield's game is no slower than Schilling's or Tyle Clippard as he stomps around the mound for 5 minutes between pitches. You know what really slows up a game? When Torre makes 10 pitching changes before the 5th inning because he has completely lost his mind out there.

Lastly, did someone pee on your cheerios this morning? Where is all this angst coming from? This article was just confusing and angry. Leave the undserved scorn tossing to Mushnick. At least he picks people deserving of criticism.

(Picture above is not Wally Matthews)

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