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)