Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Pettitte Hatchet Jobs Coming Out of Houston

It was only a matter of time before the so-called "unbiased" press of a home baseball town began to fellate the wealthy owners of the local club and place blame on any player who dares leave the hometown environment. It happens (frequently) in Boston. It happens in Seattle, and Milwaukee, and Pittsburgh. Now it's happening in Houston, courtesy of Houston Chronicle writer John P. Lopez.

Team Andy shovels, and it's not snow

Copyright 2006 Houston Chronicle
Snappy headline there, seeing as how it is winter and people in some areas are shoveling snow.
It might be the season of searching for a good deal, but if you're buying the stuff Team Andy is shoveling, then you probably shop at the same place as New York's, make that, Deer Park's favorite son.

It's that place where defective merchandise comes cheap.

I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that when Pettitte was signed after the 2003 season, Lopez didn't consider Pettitte "defective merchandise" although the Yankees certainly had valid concerns about his elbow.
Such as: The book the faithful Andy Pettitte recently must have come across, the one that had a page torn out and one of the deadly sins — greed — conveniently missing.
Wait a second, is he now questioning Pettitte's Christianity? And unless my Catholic school upbringing is failing me, I don't believe the Seven Deadly Sins were in the Bible, so I'm not sure to which book Mr. Lopez refers.
Don't get me wrong, greed can be good in moderation. Nothing wrong with chasing a dollar, or 32 million of them for that matter.
Oh, ok. He's not claiming to be a better Christian than Pettitte, he's claiming to be Gordon Gecko.
But as Team Andy has turned the spin dial to full-tilt in the wake of Pettitte's signing with the New York Yankees, don't get caught up in the angling and logic being spewed.

Saturday, Pettitte told us he was shocked the Astros didn't try hard enough to raise their offer and that his hometown team, "really didn't do much."
Well, they didn't. They offered $12M for one year to a guy with a decent track record. Fear of injury? Ask Adam Eaton or Gil Meche whether or not teams in thie market see that as a concern.
Yeah, all they did was go out and fortify the lineup with a $100 million slugger in Carlos Lee, sign proven veteran Woody Williams, hire a pitching coach, set aside millions for Roger Clemens' possible return and allow Pettitte to take longer than they would have liked to decide whether he wanted $12 million.
Carlos Lee is an awful defender whose presence in the outfield would most likely hurt a pitcher's ERA. He has a career OPS+ of 113, which is great is he were a second baseman, but unimpressive for a corner outfielder who doesn't have a multi-faceted game. Lee has never had an OPS above .900, and while called a "slugger" has never hit 40 homeruns, and usually averages around 30. Oh yes, but he's a "$100 million slugger" now, so salary trumps ability. As for signing "Proven Veteran™" Woody Williams, this is supposed to excite Pettitte or the fan base? The last three seasons, Williams has posted ERA+ of 100, 79, 116, which amounts to average, awful, slightly above average. Yes, I'm sure Pettitee did backflips when he heard about that big aquisition. Good thing also the Astros hired a pitching coach, and McLane didn't go with the unconventional approach of being the only major league team without one.
Earlier, Pettitte's representation, the formidably shrewd team of Alan and Randy Hendricks, tried mightily and with a measure of success to turn Pettitte's signing with the Yankees into an indictment of the Astros.

They implied the tired, no longer valid perception that Astros owner Drayton McLane was too frugal to get it done.
Not too frugal, but willing to spend his money in the wrong areas. Carlos Lee's contract is now a huge weight that hangs over the team's neck for years to come.
They strategically planted stories with New York and national media outlets, one national columnist pointing out that this deal was killed over a measly $2 million and the Astros' misstep damaged a harmonious relationship between McLane and the Hendricks brothers.
Yes, planted. Buster Olney or Peter Gammons couldn't have come up with that on their own, huh?
Huh? Anyone else remember the bizarre, hostile words exchanged between the sides in 1998? That's when Clemens first appeared to be headed home, punctuating the end of the deal by saying of former GM Gerry Hunsicker and current team president Tal Smith, "I can't work alongside those two men."
So you're saying the Houston front office has been inept for a while now?
As for the supposed $2 million impasse here, it was never about just $2 million. That's 99 Cent Store hyperbole.
Yes. At this stage in Pettitte's career it was about two things: a second year option, and winning a World Series.
Still, that's the story you're supposed to believe. Clearly, had McLane bumped his offer to Pettitte, the counterpoint from Team Andy would have been: "OK, now let's talk about the player option in the second year, like the Yankees."
Mmmmhmm. The second year was a big deal. So was the winning. Oh but the Astros got Lee and Williams so I'm sure they're poised to overtake the Cardinals and the Cubs.
It was about an additional $16 million, minimum. Perhaps $18 million. Pettitte's father, Tommy, even got into the act, telling New York Newsday the Astros' offer and trade attempt for White Sox starter Jon Garland was, "another slap in the face" from the Astros.

I don't know about you. But if I'm a pitcher who's had elbow trouble two of the past three years and was offered $12 million to pitch, while still getting to tuck my kids into bed, hanging with my lifelong friends and attending my home church, then slap away.
Again with the church stuff. Is Lopez trying to tug the religious heartstrings of the people of Houston? I say yes.

How about if you're a pitcher who's had elbow problems and your career is coming to a close you'd like to pitch for two more years with a shot at a championship? Huh? How about that, huh? Huh?
The only slap in the face was by Pettitte. He is a good man. Church-going. Sings in the choir. Brings his best.
But now he's a-gonna be goin' to some new-fangled New York church.
But in this case he was at his worst. The advice Pettitte has followed contradicts everything he ever said was most important in his life. It also cast a shadow on all the good feelings he brought his hometown.
The things that were important to a guy earlier in his career are not neccesarily the same things important to a guy in the latter years of his career.
"My heart started pulling me, tugging me to come back down here."

— Andy Pettitte, December 2003, about Houston

Case in point. Lopez also fails to mention that Pettitte turned down more money from New York to play in Houston. But now he's all about the money for some reason.
Sometimes the best spin is none at all. All Pettitte needed to do was be honest.

Tell us it was about the money. Tell us, yeah, it's going to be tough leaving the wife and kids again for maybe eight months, but $32 million is $32 million. We'd understand.
How much is Drayton McLane paying you to write this artcile?
"My family is the most important thing to me. I think everybody realizes that now. I'm sure everyone thought I'd just go after the money. It wasn't about the money. I could have gotten a lot more money other places."

— Andy Pettitte, December 2003

Everyone should realize something else now. Team Andy again is talking about it not being about the money, even saying again that Pettitte could have gone elsewhere for considerably more than the two-year, $32 million paid by the Yanks. They've turned the tables. They've blamed McLane. Don't buy it.
Ok, so Lopez believes it wasn't about the money when Pettitte signed with the Astros three years ago because he turned down more money and other things were important. Because he now signed for more money than the Astros offered, it must be about the money despite Pettitte saying other things were important, because Andy Pettitte has become a lying liar who lies.
Even in opening discussions with the White Sox for Garland, all McLane and the Astros did was explore all options. It wasn't a slap in the face. It was the Astros doing exactly what Team Andy did. They searched for the best deal and had an alternative plan.
Goose, say hello to the gander.
Perhaps you don't understand the goose/gander metaphor. He is calling Pettitte the "goose" and the Astros the "gander." Since the phase is "what's good for the goose is good for the gander" the one who first does the action would be the goose. The Astros pursuing trade discussions came first. Thus they are the goose. Your slam against Pettitte there is not only factually incorrect due to the order of events, but clearly shows the bias written in the article. In fact if anything, it demonstrates how what Pettitte "did to the Astros" is completely justified, since he is in fact, a gander.
The Astros being smart shoppers clearly was something Pettitte and his representation did not expect. They're used to having the Astros over a barrel, making them wait, calling the shots.
Carlos Lee. $100M. That is akin to calling NASA "smart shoppers" for paying $500 for a toilet seat.
The Astros made one offer here and compared it to the one over there. That's not just smart baseball, it's smart business.

Fans are smart, too, and should realize this was about good, old American greed, nothing more and nothing less.
I'm sure Carlos Lee came to Houston because he loves the local food and has been a huge Rockets fan all of his life.
Pettitte has every right to cash in, sure. Good for him. He had his reasons for wanting to stay, but in the end Pettitte was no different than, say, Terrell Owens.
What? Terrell Owens? Compared to Andy Pettitte? One of the biggest assholes in professional sports who alienates his teammates and repeatedly throws them under a bus until teams keep him on the roster but don't play him and then release him is at all comparable to Andy Pettitte choosing a second year and the chance to win a ring? Are you fucking kidding me?
There were 32 million reasons home is where he'll hang his Yankees cap.
No, there are four, and he'd like a fifth.
Listen to John P. Lopez weekdays from noon-3 p.m. on 790 AM. john.lopez@chron.com
No fucking thanks.

posted by Mr. Faded Glory @ 1:06 PM   4 comments


At 12/12/2006 5:03 PM, Blogger Rex Banner said...

Pettitte is such a bad man for take 16 million instead of 12. He should go straight to hell. I hope I can join him there for making similar decisions.

At 12/12/2006 5:16 PM, Blogger June said...

you were killing me throughout your post with not mentioning the fact that he already HAS won World Series (plural) with the team that he is rejoining. I love - LOVE - how this pindick ignores the whole postseason/WS (past and future) part of the picture.

At 12/12/2006 5:43 PM, Blogger Mr. Faded Glory said...

I intentionally held that until the end because I decided it was way too easy of a way to make my argument.

Besides, this is about going to chuirch and singing in the choir! Let's see him try that in (Pace Picante salsa voice) Neew Yorrk Ceety! (/Pace Picante salsa voice)

At 12/17/2006 5:16 PM, Blogger susan mullen said...

Then the Astros must have 'planted' the column in the NY Times, which immediately blasted Pettitte for greediness, saying it was only about money (article by Murray Chass). Pettitte was offered $54 million to play for the Red Sox 3 years ago, and didn't even discuss it. As far as 'keeping people waiting,' the Yankees hung Andy (and the fans)out to dry by failing to communicate with him during the entire 2 weeks following the 2003 post season. And I've been waiting 3 years to thank him for what he's already done.


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