Adam Kilgore of the Post, who subbed for Chico (the writer, not the pitcher) last night, is a real-life friend. He's a Facebook friend. We were on the Virginia Tech beat together for a while. He's friends with my kids, once borrowing my son's computer to do a story after his melted down. Terrific guy, terrific family. I have enjoyed a fine lunch at his family's restaurant in Maine.
I could not love him more. But, even though he had a grammatical faux paus in his game story today, my love for him has indeed increased thanks to this great line: Felipe Lopez submitted questionable focus.
If anyone read my post last night and wondered what I meant with my head-up-ass line, there you go. Felipe Lopez submitted questionable focus.
Chris Needham and I used to debate about FLop. We all have our players we like even though reason and performance suggest we shouldn't (see Kearns, Austin for me). Chris likes FLop and, given that he knows way more about baseball than I do, I yielded to his opinion. I also thought Lopez handled the deserved benching well and deserved to play again when he got his job back. For a while, all looked well.
Alas, a leopard can't change his spots. Soon, he was back to being FLop. With all due respect to my favorite former blogger, the tide has turned for me. It pretty much did during the Saturday game against the Brewers when, with the game in the balance, he went up and looked at three straight strikes and sat down. I sent a text message to a friend in the press box: That might have been the worst at-bat I have ever seen. The reply: It might have been the worst at bat anybody has ever seen.
I do not know Felipe Lopez. He might be a fine guy who reads to kids and rescues puppies in his down time. I do know the way he carries himself and his body language screams "bad attitude" whether he has one or not. And I hate that crap with a passion. He's getting $4.9 million to play a game. ACT LIKE YOU CARE. I'd much rather see an eager kid from Class AA in there, with 10 percent of his ability, than someone who gives the impression that it isn't important.
Felipe and I share a birthday. I turned 24 the day he was born. So he gets points for that. It is also Yogi Berra's birthday. I'd almost rather have him out there - the current Yogi and not the former Yogi.
UPDATE - FLop not in lineup tonight. Willie Harris at second. Maybe Manny is tired of the FLop act, too.
Unrelated, a friend in Atlanta sent me a text this morning that said the buzz around town is Smoltz may be retiring soon. If so, bon voyage to a terrific pitcher and first-class person. I spent a lot of time around the Braves professionally in the 1990s and Smoltz is as stand-up as they come. I bow to his greatness and I will applaud if he is inducted into the Hall of Fame (not likely but a guy can hope). UPDATE - season-ending surgery, hopes to return in 2009.