We all know that spring training games are meaningless, right? I mean, isn’t that what players, coaches and managers always say after losing a spring training game? It’s kind of interesting that you never seem to hear players, coaches and managers that win spring training games say this – kind of like you never hear winning players, coaches or managers say “it’s still early” in April and May as you do from losing players, coaches or managers trying to justify their loss.
I’m sorry but I disagree – spring training games are not meaningless games, especially if you are a scout or even more so if you are a general manager who may one day have to make a decision on which player to keep and which player to trade. And if you were a scout or GM, who would you rather choose to go after or choose to keep – the guy who runs out every play as fast as his God-given talent allows him to (and who frequently beats out throws by doing so), of the guy who “phones it in” and lollygags back to first base on a routine fly ball out to right field and gets doubled up by a good two feet because of it, whereas he could have easily made it back if he had run at even half speed?
I am, of course, comparing phenom prospect Yasiel Puig with 7-year MLB veteran (and owner of a 5-year/$85 million contract) Andre Ethier, who made a complete ass out of himself for doing the latter in the Dodgers 5-3 loss to the Diamondbacks on Monday afternoon at Camelback Ranch.
Ethier being doubled up at first base because of his lack of hustle was disgusting, spring training game or otherwise. Even Little Leaguers know better than this. It was a joke. Is Andre such a prima donna that he would think that the right fielder wouldn’t dare try to double him up off of first base because it’s only a spring training game? Ya, right. What kind of message does Ethier’s “meh” attitude send to the thousands of kids who worship the ground that he walks on?
I can only hope that Dodgers first base coach Davey Lopes gave Andre an well-deserved ass chewing (and I have to believe that he did) for his bush-league attitude.
Did Ethier’s embarrassing play affect the outcome of the game? Maybe not. But maybe it did. One thing is for certain – it brought an abrupt end to a one-out rally.
Please don’t get me wrong, I am a huge Andre Ethier fan – especially over the past several years during which time he has clearly matured and has become a team leader and a much-needed veteran presence in the Dodger clubhouse. But here again, what message did Ethier’s actions send to the many minor leaguers who were in the dugout at the time of his screw up, not to mention to the 10,332 fans in attendance.
We still love you, Dre, but please play the game the right way, even in these so-called meaningless games – because they aren’t meaningless to us and probably not to Ned Colletti either.