John Smoltz whines about the baseballs

If you would have told me that either (a) the tough future Hall of Famer John Smoltz; or (b) the flaky Bronson Arroyo would be whining about the quality of the baseballs in a given game, I would have guessed (b) in a heartbeat. Shows you what I know:

Starter John Smoltz and manager Tony La Russa expressed irritation with what they felt were unusually slick baseballs, and Smoltz also took exception to a third-inning stolen base by Reds rookie Drew Stubbs.

Typically, baseballs are rubbed with mud before a game. By rule they must be rubbed down “so that the gloss is removed.” In Smoltz’s mind, however, the treatment was insufficient. And he felt it contributed directly to his six-run, five-walk, four-inning showing that was easily his worst since coming to St. Louis.

“I’ve been pitching a long time, and [those were] the worst baseballs I’ve ever pitched with in my life,” Smoltz said. “The other guy [Cincinnati’s Bronson Arroyo] was pitching with them too, so he did a nice job. But I mean, I walked [four] guys all year and then I walked five today. …

That quote about “the other guy” is what transforms this from a simple whine to a really, really pathetic whine. John: thank you so much for your pre-2009 career and all you did for the Braves and their fans. Now kindly STFU, retire and/or just go away someplace for a while, OK?

(thanks to J.C. Bradbury for the heads up)

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  1. Randy said...

    So LaRussa has issues with the bullpen mound and the game baseballs. Maybe he’ll express irritation over the 60’ 6” next.

  2. trokenmatt said...

    Huh. I interpreted that a little more generously to Smoltz. To me, it sounded like Smoltz was giving Arroyo some credit for doing a better job than him in dealing with the (perhaps imaginary?) problem.

  3. YankeesfanLen said...

    Haven’t you ever gone to a new job with a slightly deluded boss and gone along with what he says for a few weeks to assimilate, even while inwardly rolling your eyes?

  4. Craig Calcaterra said...

    I guess tone of voice matters for that, trokenmatt, but for me “the but I mean” part of the quote seals it for me as more of a whine than it was credit to Arroyo.

  5. Mike said...

    To top that off, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch quoted Dave Duncan accusing Arroyo of using pine tar from his hat:

    “Duncan, who said the umpires told him the baseballs indeed were rubbed up, said Arroyo was able to deal with the issue because “I’m sure he had pine tar on his cap. He didn’t have any problem getting a grip. Balls like that can generate a lot more movement than a slick ball that hasn’t been rubbed up.”

    Asked if he had seen Arroyo go to his cap, Duncan said, ‘Just every pitch.’”

  6. Ryne said...

    He can complain about the balls all he wants, but how do you take exception to a guy stealing a base in the third inning? Now THAT is pathetic…

  7. Andy H said...

    “Typically, baseballs are rubbed with mud before a game. By rule they must be rubbed down “so that the gloss is removed.”“

    Why don’t the balls come pre-rubbed?  Or can’t they be made without a gloss?  If the rules say they can’t be glossy, can’t MLB, when they place their order for balls for the year, ask for non-glossy ones?

  8. MooseinOhio said...

    List of potential excuses to be used in the future.

    1.  Lack of Halogen lightbulbs gave the field an unnatural look.

    2.  Chemical composition of the dirt was altered making it stick more to the cleats.

    3.  Flight patterns were re-routed by the FAA causing both audio and visual distractions.

    4.  Gatorade mixture was off resulting in a slight decrease in effectiveness.

    5.  The dryer shrunk his shorts causing a very irritating chafe.

  9. Daniel said...

    How often do you find yourself reading a quote by Dusty Baker and nodding in agreement?  I just about fell out of my chair with the realization.

    Seriously, it was the third inning, Smoltz.  With Bronson Arroyo on the mound, I would have wanted a bigger lead, too.  Dusty got this one right.

  10. lar said...

    For those interested, here’s a pretty good post about how baseballs are rubbed up before the game. It does seem to require some good attention from the guy doing it.

    It seems to me that there’d have to be some sort of conspiracy going on between a) the guy who rubs the balls down and b) the umpires who choose the balls if what Smoltz was saying – that all of the balls were improperly rubbed down – was true.

  11. The Rabbit said...

    For 20 years, I lived in the town along the river in NJ where the special “mud” was harvested.  Actually, the idea of a mud harvest is pretty funny when you think about it.
    Given the amount of overdevelopment in the area, I’m sure Smoltz could use “polluted mud” for his next excuse.

  12. YANKEES27 said...

    Please retire!!  You are terrible!! JS had a great career and should be a first ballot HOF, but crying like this is unbecoming and pathetic. Let’s put it in simple language.  YOU ARE OLD!! BECOME AN ANNOUNCER FOR ESPN BASEBALL TONIGHT!!!

  13. The Rabbit said...

    “Who got in without knowing the secret handshake?”
    I don’t know, Len, but the Sergeant-of-Arms is not performing his duties.  A similar post mysteriously appeared in yesterday’s thread.

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