Friday, April 04, 2008

Growing Pains

So, an increasingly oft-injured pitcher gets hurt the first night he suits up, bringing his signing under more scrutiny. No, no, fair readers, I speak not of Pedro Martinez. I'm talking about Mike Hampton.

"ATLANTA -- Mike Hampton is headed back to the disabled list after hurting himself in pregame warm-ups Thursday night, preventing him from making his first start in almost three years."

Heh, heh.

You know what also hasn't happened in three years? I haven't taken a single potshot at the former Met and (presumably) still current "Little Bulldog." Why is that? For a while I was something of a broken record.

Win it for the Little Bulldog, Mike Hampton, because it's just not fair that after selling his soul to Colorado and wrangling a shady deal to land on the team that's won its division for every year since helmets were implemented, he hasn't gotten to win the World Series yet. Life is so cruel.

...the makeshift pitching staff is overachieving. [Except for the Little Bulldog, sadly (1-6, 5.49).]

Hampton served up more hits than Casey Kasem (again) and his ERA now looks like my dry-cleaning bill. Damn shame. Ah, well, he did say he didn't like playing in New York. I have some distaste for those "we chewed you up and spit you out" New Yorkers who love to rail on guys who didn't find solace in NYC (read: Yankee apes), but there was just something about the way Hampton abandoned the team when they most needed him -- for the money, money, and more money the Rockies were offering -- that left me very, very cold on him. And he's probably just a nice fellow with a dorky nickname (the "little bulldog"), but I'm relishing his lack of success since. He went belly-up in Denver, landed on his feet in Atlanta after some sketchy dealings with the Marlins, and gave the Braves less of a marquee season than . . . Jason Marquis. His two outings this year, both against the Mets, have been horrendous. This, my friends, is karma, the kind of karma you talk about when you have no idea what Buddha was really all about.

Seeing former Met and Rob fave (a little too much so) Mike Hampton take a shellacking is never a bad thing.

Fran Healy and Howie Rose were discussing a quick, unpleasant conversation between Mike Piazza and Braves pitcher Mike Hampton. I guess Hampton said something to Piazza, trying to stir up trouble, but Piazza quelled it with a "Just play baseball." Healy and Rose went on to bring up something from three years ago that wasn't discussed enough when it happened -- if Hampton had plunked a Yankee after Clemens threw the bat at Piazza, warnings would have been issued to both teams and Clemens' inside pitch might have been altered. At the very least, it might have felt like the score was evened. As it happened, Hampton made the decision not to hit a Yank. And as we all know, Clemens pitched well and got a boost from Armando "Seattle Is Almost Far Enough Away" Benitez, and the Yankees won the tone-setting World Series game. Anyway, what happened afterwards was that Hampton bad-mouthed Piazza (from Denver), saying he should have fought Clemens when he threw the bat at him. Implying that Piazza backed down. Ignoring that it would have meant the Mets losing their MVP for not only that game but probably at least one more. Forgetting that if he himself had been tougher, things might have been much better for the team. What a wiener. And Rob loves this guy.

I suppose that, what with Hampton in something of a witness protection program over the past few seasons, he hasn't been pertinent, and I would've really been going out of my way to rag him. (Never been above that, mind you.) More than that, though, there was a sense that old Karma had served him his papers for his sins, and piling on goes against the credo we espouse over at Gheorghe: The Blog. After all, he was only guilty of being some combination of avaricious, pusillanimous, and turncoatly. (Avapusscoat, so says the urban dictionary.)

So I've held off while accusations abound that Hampton had his suits tailored by Radomski, McNamee, & Sons (or that the reason he didn't plunk Clemens was because they frequented the same juice bars). I haven't made further mockery of the shambles his career has plummeted into. It's just not that cool. And besides, people with glass #2 pitchers shouldn't throw stones. So, today I merely mention this latest setback as a newsworthy note about our divisional adversary.

Heh, heh.


rob said...

there's some venom underneath all that jocularity. i like it.

Whitney said...

A bit.

Itsmetsforme said...

i think you said it best in '03: "What a wiener"

Things I look forward to every spring: 1) the lush smells of reborn garden vegetation.2) Mike Hampton pulling up lame.