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Friday, October 04, 2019

Acuna’s casual baserunning irks Braves after Game 1: ‘He needs to do better’

Ronald Acuna Jr. has once again raised some eyebrows with his lack of hustle on the bases.

The Atlanta Braves outfielder led off the seventh inning of Game 1 of the NLDS against the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday, mashing a long fly ball to the right-field corner that nearly turned into a home run. It should have been an easy double, but Acuna was slow to get up the line in anticipation of a round-tripper and instead ended up with a long single.

The slow trot came back to bite the Braves when the next hitter, Ozzie Albies, grounded out. Acuna advanced to second on the play but would have been 90 feet from scoring had he legged out for the double. He was then doubled off second when Josh Donaldson lined out to the shortstop to end a promising inning.

Acuna’s gaffe came under the microscope a half-inning later when St. Louis tied the game. The Cardinals then scored four runs in the ninth to take the lead. Although Acuna homered late, St. Loius held on to take Game 1 by a score of 7-6.

With Van McCoy long gone, who is left that a respectable person would contact concerning hustle?

 

QLE Posted: October 04, 2019 at 12:08 AM | 110 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: baserunning, hustle, ronald acuna

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   1. JAHV Posted: October 04, 2019 at 03:11 AM (#5886330)
Yeah, but at least he had fun out there. That's what's really important. It's unquestionably better that a guy have full freedom to express his emotion and end up on first base than be oppressed and bullied into an emotionless sprint to second.

Sorry, the sanctimonious sarcasm is a little thick. Still, there's no justifying this. Guys need to run hard out of the box. I'd be pissed too, if I was one of his teammates.
   2. I Am Not a Number Posted: October 04, 2019 at 08:07 AM (#5886346)
He stood and stared at his 9th inning home run as well. The Braves just have to accept that Acuna's big blasts are either going to be home runs or singles.
   3. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 04, 2019 at 08:37 AM (#5886349)
(3) No they don't. It's time to start the $5000 fines every time he doesn't run
   4. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: October 04, 2019 at 08:57 AM (#5886351)

I didn't see the play and am not defending Acuna here, but it sounds like it didn't have an effect on the outcome since he would have been doubled off third on the line drive anyway. Is that correct?
   5. . Posted: October 04, 2019 at 09:13 AM (#5886355)
No they don't. It's time to start the $5000 fines every time he doesn't run


I like how when this came up in the regular season, the fanboys were all like "He's learned his lesson, he's knows better, why is he being fined and OMG how can you possibly publicly criticize this extremely talented player ...."

None of that was true and there was no reason whatever to think it was true -- beyond fanboy ideology.

He stood and stared at his 9th inning home run as well. The Braves just have to accept that Acuna's big blasts are either going to be home runs or singles.


There's a very real sense in which RAJ and the other posers aren't really even playing baseball. They're doing a lot of things that overlap with the component parts of engaging in the act of baseball, to be sure -- and doing them extremely well -- but if you just say to yourself, "If I hit a flyball I think might be a homerun, I'm not going to run the bases," you aren't really playing baseball.

It's critical to note here that to rightly criticize all this on aesthetic grounds, we don't even need to get into the whole, "Stop being a tightass, let the kids play" thing. Posing and loafing is an aesthetic affront in that it's just another example of the game's tedious lack of action and movement and energy.
   6. JL72 Posted: October 04, 2019 at 09:22 AM (#5886358)
but it sounds like it didn't have an effect on the outcome since he would have been doubled off third on the line drive anyway. Is that correct?


I don't think we can know that. He may have, but that throw would have been more difficult. DeJong throws with his right, so the quick toss to second was across his body in a normal throwing motion. Getting that throw to third would have meant pivoting his body to line up the throw. While doable, I don't think it is guaranteed that he gets Acuna.
   7. PreservedFish Posted: October 04, 2019 at 09:30 AM (#5886360)
I'm generally a pro-celebrating fan, but this is bullshit, and I'm aghast that he peacocked the homer in the 9th inning just after this happened. What a dick.
   8. Hot Wheeling American Posted: October 04, 2019 at 09:32 AM (#5886361)
I like how when this came up in the regular season, the fanboys were all like "He's learned his lesson, he's knows better, why is he being fined and OMG how can you possibly publicly criticize this extremely talented player ...."


Brian Snitker Pulls Ronald Acuna Jr. for Lack of Hustle: ‘You’ve Got to Run’

I count three contributors to this message board that were varying levels of defending and 'meh' in response to a similar incident with Acuna in August. I count one past-his-prime troll who tried to inject race into the discussion.
   9. Nasty Nate Posted: October 04, 2019 at 09:34 AM (#5886362)
The lineout FP is at the back half of this replay. He might not have had such a big lead if he was on third.
   10. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 04, 2019 at 09:44 AM (#5886365)
The lineout FP is at the back half of this replay. He might not have had such a big lead if he was on third.


Of course he wouldn't. If he's on third, he scores easily on any hit, and tags on any fly ball. No reason to be far off the bag.
   11. JL72 Posted: October 04, 2019 at 09:44 AM (#5886366)
The lineout FP is at the back half of this replay. He might not have had such a big lead if he was on third


Thanks for this. I thought the SS had been crouching more, so the throw would have been a bit easier than I thought. But your point on the lead-off likely being less probably gets us to the same place, which is that it would have been more difficult than doubling Acuna off second.
   12. bunyon Posted: October 04, 2019 at 10:10 AM (#5886372)
(3) No they don't. It's time to start the $5000 fines every time he doesn't run

This is one area in which the big, long contract probably bites them in the ass. It's hard to "punish" the guy you've given a huge reward to. And you can't sit (one of) your best players in the playoffs.

But it's definitely something they need to get through to him.
   13. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 04, 2019 at 10:14 AM (#5886373)
This is one area in which the big, long contract probably bites them in the ass. It's hard to "punish" the guy you've given a huge reward to. And you can't sit (one of) your best players in the playoffs.

He's "only" making $560,000 this year, and $1M in 2020. Fines that start at $5K and quickly escalate might get through to him.

In the regular season, if he does it, you can immediately remove him from the game, and embarrass him publicly.
   14. . Posted: October 04, 2019 at 10:20 AM (#5886376)
I'm generally a pro-celebrating fan, but this is bullshit, and I'm aghast that he peacocked the homer in the 9th inning just after this happened. What a dick.


He's not playing baseball. He's playing a subjective simulacrum of baseball.
   15. bunyon Posted: October 04, 2019 at 10:22 AM (#5886377)
You can, and I have no philosophical problem with it. I also don't know that it will work. Some guys need to be humiliated. Others convinced. Others praised. I have no idea how best to motivate Acuna.

It also may not be possible. In which case, you could decide if you want to make the long term investment. Only the Braves already made that decision.

I'm not really arguing with you in principle. But none of know enough details to know "how" to accomplish what obviously needs to be accomplished.

While we're at it, fining Snitker $5K for every bunt he calls might not be a bad idea, either.
   16. . Posted: October 04, 2019 at 10:23 AM (#5886378)
Does baserunning WAR ding guys for posing doubles into singles?
   17. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 04, 2019 at 10:53 AM (#5886385)
Could you maybe hire wolverines trained to chase him after he hits the ball? Just trying to think outside the box here.
   18. Itchy Row Posted: October 04, 2019 at 10:59 AM (#5886387)
They could put Chipper Jones on a modified snowmobile. He'd probably work cheaper than wolverines.
   19. rconn23 Posted: October 04, 2019 at 11:00 AM (#5886388)
"Yeah, but at least he had fun out there. That's what's really important. It's unquestionably better that a guy have full freedom to express his emotion and end up on first base than be oppressed and bullied into an emotionless sprint to second."

I enjoyed Mark Melancon's muted reaction while single-handedly blowing the game. But hey, Melancon at least he played the game the "right way" in sucking and I'm sure all his teammates greatly respected him for it.

Acuna is 21, the Braves best player and was their best player in last night's game. He should have run harder, but that this is the primary story after Game 1 is absurd. Apparently, Martinez who was objectively terrible last night, was mad that Acuna didn't run fast enough around the bases. I could care less about either of these teams, but if the Cardinals needlessly throw at Acuna in his first at bat, I hope he hits three straight home runs off of them and pimps every one of them.

I love baseball, but the people inside the game really ruin it sometimes.
   20. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: October 04, 2019 at 11:04 AM (#5886390)
Does baserunning WAR ding guys for posing doubles into singles?

I wouldn't think so - the "ding" is in the Rbat where he gets credit for a single instead of a double.
   21. PreservedFish Posted: October 04, 2019 at 11:09 AM (#5886391)
#19 - is it really wrong to make a big deal out of someone not trying hard? The idea that competitors are competing kind of underpins the whole event. Yes, of course every team would rather have Acuna than a Joe McEwing type, but that's not really what this is about.
   22. . Posted: October 04, 2019 at 11:11 AM (#5886392)
I love baseball, but the people inside the game really ruin it sometimes.


Yeah -- loafing doubles into singles in a playoff game is a pretty big buzzkill. It's utterly bizarre that there's a not insignificant niche out there that actually thinks this question needs re-litigation.

Yes, of course every team would rather have Acuna than a Joe McEwing type, but that's not really what this is about.


That's kind of baseball's curse in this area -- it's so data-driven and measurable that there is a measurement case to be made that the loafing doesn't really "matter" and then because the sport has so many people who understand the numbers but not anything else, the "it doesn't matter" brigade has an outsized voice. It's also unique (I think) in that there are several seconds of ambiguity in waiting to see whether its best batting event actually happens, while at the same time the player should be doing something else during the wait. Maybe someone else can come up with a comp, but I haven't been able to. We wait a bit for the outcome of a long football pass to be determined, but at that point the player who put the ball into play (the QB) is long out of the play and it's fine if he just stands there waiting.
   23. pikepredator Posted: October 04, 2019 at 11:14 AM (#5886394)
His teammates need to help him out with this. Whether he needs a serious conversation, to be yelled at, or given a bunch of good-natured #### is up to them based on their relationship with him and his temperament.

If I were them, next batting practice I would make him run out every single ball he hits like his life depended on it.
   24. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 04, 2019 at 11:30 AM (#5886400)
like his life depended on it.
Exactly - this is where the wolverines are helpful.
   25. Nasty Nate Posted: October 04, 2019 at 11:33 AM (#5886402)
He stood and stared at his 9th inning home run as well.
Wow. Apparently he had already forgotten what happened just 2 innings earlier. That's really stupid.
   26. . Posted: October 04, 2019 at 11:34 AM (#5886403)
Apparently he had already forgotten what happened just 2 innings earlier. That's really stupid.


More likely, nothing registered with his consciousness as having "happened" at all.
   27. Lassus Posted: October 04, 2019 at 11:39 AM (#5886404)
I would like to cast my vote for 'meteor' in this debate.
   28. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 04, 2019 at 11:47 AM (#5886410)
Apparently, Martinez who was objectively terrible last night, was mad that Acuna didn't run fast enough around the bases.
Did anyone else notice that after the last out of the game, Martinez seemed to turn to start barking at someone, but Yadi immediately shut him down by yanking him into a celebration? Props to Yadi if that was the case.
   29. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 04, 2019 at 11:48 AM (#5886411)
I enjoyed Mark Melancon's muted reaction while single-handedly blowing the game. But hey, Melancon at least he played the game the "right way" in sucking and I'm sure all his teammates greatly respected him for it.

Melancon was trying, Acuna was not. Trying your best and losing is totally acceptable. It happens to one team every night. Not trying your best is a dereliction of Acuna's duty to his employer and teammates, and is not acceptable.
   30. Hot Wheeling American Posted: October 04, 2019 at 12:00 PM (#5886415)
Did anyone else notice that after the last out of the game, Martinez seemed to turn to start barking at someone, but Yadi immediately shut him down by yanking him into a celebration? Props to Yadi if that was the case.

Yes
   31. Perry Posted: October 04, 2019 at 12:06 PM (#5886418)
Did anyone else notice that after the last out of the game, Martinez seemed to turn to start barking at someone, but Yadi immediately shut him down by yanking him into a celebration? Props to Yadi if that was the case.


According to The Athletic, Martinez was already on edge because of the death of "a close relative" in the DR the day before. Don't know if that had anything to do with his reaction, but it might have.

Getting back to Acuna, I'm pretty sure that not only did he loaf on the single/possible double, he also missed first base. That's why he slammed the brakes so hard after rounding it.
   32. JL72 Posted: October 04, 2019 at 12:07 PM (#5886419)
Melancon was trying, Acuna was not.


I would categorize it as a mistake of execution vs. a mistake of lack of effort.

Acuna's mistake was not putting effort into the particular play (or at least the running part of it). On the flip side, Grisham's error in the Brewers-Nats game was in not executing the catch as he charged the ball. The latter happens. The former should not.
   33. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 04, 2019 at 12:20 PM (#5886425)
I would categorize it as a mistake of execution vs. a mistake of lack of effort.
I'd call it more a mistake of ego. He was too focused on preening to realize that he should be running in the event that the ball doesn't go out.
   34. JL72 Posted: October 04, 2019 at 12:26 PM (#5886428)
I'd call it more a mistake of ego.


I would be fine with that. I just wanted to push back a tiny bit over the idea that he was not trying. His hitting demonstrates he was trying, even if he then made a mistake of ego or effort or whatever.
   35. rconn23 Posted: October 04, 2019 at 12:27 PM (#5886429)
"Melancon was trying, Acuna was not. Trying your best and losing is totally acceptable. It happens to one team every night. Not trying your best is a dereliction of Acuna's duty to his employer and teammates, and is not acceptable."

How can you quantify that? Acuna was on base four times - three hits and a walk. So I guess he wasn't trying when he worked an EIGHT PITCH walk to leadoff the game? Hey, he should have run harder on that one play. Of course.

But castigating a guy this much who was clearly your best player last night is patently absurd. It can be a story, but it shouldn't be the story of the game. The Braves terrible relief pitching should be the story. Melancon allowed seven baserunners in one inning of work. He tried, only in the fact that he was asked to go in the game and throw pitches. He did technically throw pitches, so great effort.

If this Acuna thing is such an affront to the game, bench him and watch how quickly the Cardinals sweep the Braves.

   36. SandyRiver Posted: October 04, 2019 at 12:31 PM (#5886430)
He stood and stared at his 9th inning home run as well.
Wow. Apparently he had already forgotten what happened just 2 innings earlier. That's really stupid.

While I totally agree that his turning a double into a single via ego was unacceptable, I might give him a pass on the homer, as Statcast pegged it at 455'. Just about everyone who hits well enough to reach MLB (and to drive a ball 450+) knows when it's a no-doubter. I suppose if he had a twinge of conscience after the earlier fail, he'd have been better to run hard in the 9th.
   37. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 04, 2019 at 12:31 PM (#5886431)
The Braves terrible relief pitching should be the story. Melancon allowed seven baserunners in one inning of work. He tried, only in the fact that he was asked to go in the game and throw pitches. He did technically throw pitches, so great effort.

Melancon was hung out to dry because his idiot manager used 17 relievers in the first 7 innings and had nobody left. He clearly had nothing and was left in to get pummeled.

Pitching is hard. Getting major league hitters out is hard.

Running to first base, not sprinting just a normal 75% effort run, every time you hit the ball in play or close, is dead easy. Any idiot can do it. Except an idiot like Acuna who's more interested in preening than winning. That's why we're so hard on Acuna.

If this Acuna thing is such an affront to the game, bench him and watch how quickly the Cardinals sweep the Braves.

Why bench him and hurt the team? Fine him. Hit him where it hurts. $5,000 fine if you don't run out of the box, doubling for every subsequent offense.
   38. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 04, 2019 at 12:37 PM (#5886433)
I suppose if he had a twinge of conscience after the earlier fail, he'd have been better to run hard in the 9th.
He didn't seem to have a twinge of conscience even in his postgame comments. Very much of the "yeah, I guess it was a mistake, but what's the big deal?" genre.
   39. The Yankee Clapper Posted: October 04, 2019 at 12:39 PM (#5886435)
His teammates need to help him out with this. Whether he needs a serious conversation, to be yelled at, or given a bunch of good-natured #### is up to them based on their relationship with him and his temperament.
Judging by the remarks of his teammates, especially Freddy Freeman, they already went through that on the earlier incidents, and it’s now up to Acuna to straighten up. Acuna has a lot of talent, and was a triple short of the cycle while making a great catch in the field last night. However, truly great players don’t give up bases by lack of effort, and modeling how to play (and prepare for) the game is something they also do, setting the tone for the entire team. We will see if the latest incident has any effect on Acuna, but it would be a shame if he continues to tarnish his reputation in this manner.
   40. Nasty Nate Posted: October 04, 2019 at 12:40 PM (#5886436)
Just about everyone who hits well enough to reach MLB (and to drive a ball 450+) knows when it's a no-doubter.
Now apparently you have also forgotten what happened just 2 innings earlier!

I'm kidding ... a little. But players have shown over and over that they are not perfect at judging whether something is a no-doubter.
   41. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 04, 2019 at 12:42 PM (#5886437)
And the hit in question was the furthest thing from a no-doubter - it was a slicing squib to right that, had it gone out, would have had everyone going "Ugh. 2019 juicy ball homer."
   42. phredbird Posted: October 04, 2019 at 12:43 PM (#5886438)

this is weird. i'm mostly siding with sugar bear shooting blanks on this.

maybe acuna has become the baseball example of a generation who experience a sort of slippage, who can't distinguish between the life situation and their avatar. baudrillard would have a field day with this. simulacrum of baseball. nice.

most of the time it doesn't bother me, we're all products of our upbringing, so to speak.

lack of hustle is an objective thing, but if someone is in their own little world, where there are other considerations, like doing your own thing (which is weird because it seems to look just like a lot of other people 'doing their own thing') then you get these kinds of results. the braves may not be able to fix this, and the numbers guys are right -- maybe in the big picture of a season it doesn't matter.

but boy. in a short series? outsized repercussions. a case can be made that he cost them the game. even if it's not true, the implication is already in the braves' heads.

He stood and stared at his 9th inning home run as well.
Wow. Apparently he had already forgotten what happened just 2 innings earlier. That's really stupid


not only that, but he did a little shuffle rounding third. i couldn't believe it. it was like he didn't even know his team was still down two runs IN THE NINTH INNING. perhaps he honestly believed there was going to be a hollywood ending.

i dunno ... glad i'm not in the braves front office, faced with what to do about this.

and it's not just today's players really. didn't andruw basically loaf and eat himself out of a HOF career, telling people he was just being himself?
   43. PreservedFish Posted: October 04, 2019 at 12:43 PM (#5886439)
While I totally agree that his turning a double into a single via ego was unacceptable, I might give him a pass on the homer, as Statcast pegged it at 455'. Just about everyone who hits well enough to reach MLB (and to drive a ball 450+) knows when it's a no-doubter. I suppose if he had a twinge of conscience after the earlier fail, he'd have been better to run hard in the 9th.


We have very good evidence that Acuna does not know when it's a no-doubter. In fact he seems particularly terrible at it.
   44. rconn23 Posted: October 04, 2019 at 12:46 PM (#5886442)
"Except an idiot like Acuna who's more interested in preening than winning. That's why we're so hard on Acuna."

He's not an idiot. He's 21, made one dumb play in a game where he showed great effort by basically being the only offensive force in the game other than the late HR by Freeman. If Acuna is 25 and still not running hard then fine, that's dumb.

Melancon was asked to go in and pitch one inning and failed miserably. The fact that he had nothing is entirely his fault. Go and get outs. That's your job. He was well rested and there was no excuse. Blame the Braves manager for leaving him in too long, but his effort was terrible.
   45. PreservedFish Posted: October 04, 2019 at 12:51 PM (#5886448)
He's 21, made one dumb play in a game


Two dumb plays, each of which showed with increasing authority that he is incapable of learning from previous dumb plays.
   46. rconn23 Posted: October 04, 2019 at 12:52 PM (#5886449)
"Two dumb plays, each of which showed with increasing authority that he is incapable of learning from previous dumb plays."

What other dumb play? Hitting a ball 455 feet?
   47. phredbird Posted: October 04, 2019 at 12:52 PM (#5886450)

Melancon was asked to go in and pitch one inning and failed miserably. The fact that he had nothing is entirely his fault. Go and get outs. That's your job. He was well rested and there was no excuse. Blame the Braves manager for leaving him in too long, but his effort was terrible.


as noted earlier, the braves were out of relievers, so, yeah, the braves manager should shoulder some blame. but maybe it wouldn't have mattered so much if, when melancon gave up all those runs, it was only enough for the cards to be 3 runs up instead of 4 going into the ninth. martinez pitched like poop, we were lucky to pull it out.
   48. . Posted: October 04, 2019 at 12:56 PM (#5886451)
It's more than just a "dumb" play.

I want to make my position on this crystal clear. He should be running hard out of the box until he knows whether the ball is gone -- for the purely baseball reason that he should maximize the hit quality if it doesn't go out. If the ball is proven gone, I give less than zero ##### what he does after that. He can slow trot, he can one flap down, he can do back flips all the way to home plate, he can stop to break dance, he can run backwards for all I care, and if anyone says that isn't "playing the game the right way" they can stick it. I'm all about baseball and competing, all the other #### I couldn't care less about.
   49. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 04, 2019 at 12:58 PM (#5886452)
He's not an idiot. He's 21, made one dumb play in a game where he showed great effort by basically being the only offensive force in the game other than the late HR by Freeman. If Acuna is 25 and still not running hard then fine, that's dumb.

He's an idiot. He did this in the regular season, and was called out for it, and benched by his manager.

He did it again in the 7th, potentially costing his team in a F***ing playoff game. He then, learning nothing, preened again in the 9th, even though his team was still losing.

21 has nothing to do with it. It's happened repeatedly yet he either can't or won't learn. So he's either terminally dumb, or an ####### more concerned with preening that winning.

I'll let you pick which.
   50. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 04, 2019 at 01:04 PM (#5886457)
the braves were out of relievers
Well, except they had another guy to bring in to face *Martinez* for the last out of the inning, after leaving Melancon in long enough to make sure not an inch of crap-free sheets remained on the bed. Because that was a pitching change that really needed to happen.
   51. rconn23 Posted: October 04, 2019 at 01:05 PM (#5886460)
"I'll let you pick which."

He was one of the 10 best players in the NL. For someone so dumb, he sure has seemed to pick the game up pretty quickly. If he's history's greatest monster as people on this thread want to make him out to be, then the Braves should put him on the trade market and watch how quickly other teams line up to get him.
   52. Tin Angel Posted: October 04, 2019 at 01:05 PM (#5886461)
I don't think the suggested $5000 fine would do much. Could the Braves legally remove a toe of his every time this happens?
   53. rconn23 Posted: October 04, 2019 at 01:13 PM (#5886465)
"Could the Braves legally remove a toe of his every time this happens?"

For most posting on this thread, that's too light a penalty. You see, he has disgraced the game and everyone in it. I've heard it, so it must be true.
   54. phredbird Posted: October 04, 2019 at 01:14 PM (#5886467)

Well, except they had another guy to bring in to face *Martinez* for the last out of the inning


you're right, my bad. i'm not familiar with the braves pitchers, is newcomb any more reliable? well, we'll never know.
   55. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 04, 2019 at 01:14 PM (#5886468)
Could the Braves legally remove a toe of his every time this happens?
I doubt the wolverines will be so precise.
   56. PreservedFish Posted: October 04, 2019 at 01:15 PM (#5886470)
What other dumb play? Hitting a ball 455 feet?


Not running out a probable homerun immediately after making an immense error by not running out a potential homerun. It's marvelous evidence of his stubbornness and/or stupidity.

Your refrain "but he's really good!" doesn't address this. No #### he's really good.
   57. phredbird Posted: October 04, 2019 at 01:17 PM (#5886472)

If this Acuna thing is such an affront to the game, bench him and watch how quickly the Cardinals sweep the Braves.


its not affront to the game as much as an affront to the braves chances of winning, which need to maximized at every single opportunity. if this young man doesn't see that, it does not bode well for his org.

the cards would sweep if acuna is benched? really? he's one player. brewers did pretty well without christian yelich IIRC. but yeah, it won't happen because the braves manager wants to keep his head attached to his body.
   58. bunyon Posted: October 04, 2019 at 01:37 PM (#5886489)
and it's not just today's players really. didn't andruw basically loaf and eat himself out of a HOF career, telling people he was just being himself?

Mickey Mantle. Probably hundreds of others. People are stupid.

Acuna isn't learning. It's going to cost the team - has cost the team - relative to if he'd run. But he's still their best option. Pretty much everyone who thinks it's no big deal or who thinks it's the worst thing ever need to calm down. The Braves need to figure out how to reach him. Lecturing, setting an example, benching, fines, so far haven't. I'm not optimistic they can make him change. So they'll just need to figure this in as a weakness, like a guy who can't hit lefty heat or has poor range to his left.

As a fan, it's infuriating. But it's better than watching Otis Nixon.
   59. JAHV Posted: October 04, 2019 at 01:50 PM (#5886497)
You see, he has disgraced the game and everyone in it.


I think the point is that he's disgraced himself by deciding that celebrating and stroking his own ego is more important than helping his team win. There's no defense for that. Your counter-argument, that Melancon pitched terribly, is irrelevant to that point. Melancon did the best he could, but due to some combination of lack of skill and bad luck, did not get the job done. Acuna did not do the best he could, and it's not hard to draw a line from his lack of effort to making an out on the bases when he otherwise would have been on third.

This isn't about wanting to replace Acuna with some other player who's worse. It's about wanting Acuna to grow up and realize that running hard is more important than trying to look like a badass when he hits the ball. I refuse to believe that "preening idiot" is just what he is and the Braves have to shrug it off and live with it.
   60. phredbird Posted: October 04, 2019 at 01:54 PM (#5886498)
it's better than watching Otis Nixon.


oh REALLY?

:-)
   61. bunyon Posted: October 04, 2019 at 01:56 PM (#5886499)
I refuse to believe that "preening idiot" is just what he is and the Braves have to shrug it off and live with it.

I hope he's not and the fact that he's 21 helps one believe that.

At the same time, it's not out of the question that he is just a preening idiot who is, otherwise, really good at baseball.

As for the Braves having to live with it, I suppose they can turn down the club options for 2027 and 2028.
   62. Sweatpants Posted: October 04, 2019 at 01:59 PM (#5886501)
and it's not just today's players really. didn't andruw basically loaf and eat himself out of a HOF career, telling people he was just being himself?
Andruw got pulled from a game in 1998 when he didn't hustle after a fly ball. That was the immediate comparison that came to mind when Snitker took Acuña out earlier this year.

With that said, I don't really recall Jones having issues with hustle or mental mistakes after that. Some people were annoyed by his lack of intensity (he never looked particularly upset after striking out), but it didn't seem to manifest itself in on-field effort. He absolutely did get fat, and he also had a lot of miles on him - he probably averaged over 160 games a year from 1998 through 2007. He also seemed like he was content to just swing for the fences rather than becoming an all-around hitter, but that's a different thing from loafing.
   63. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 04, 2019 at 02:01 PM (#5886504)
Well, except they had another guy to bring in to face *Martinez* for the last out of the inning, after leaving Melancon in long enough to make sure not an inch of crap-free sheets remained on the bed. Because that was a pitching change that really needed to happen.

Yes, I commented on the in the game chatter.
   64. Mike A Posted: October 04, 2019 at 02:01 PM (#5886505)
To be fair to Andruw, his body was pretty much shot by his early 30s. Happened to Griffey Jr and Dale Murphy as well...playing CF can be rough on the ol' knees. Andruw keeping in better shape may have helped, but we don't really know for sure.

As for Acuna, he should have ran, sure. What ticks me off is his bonehead play gives validation to Steve Blass and all the other old baseball guys who are now patting themselves on the back while muttering about 'playing the game the right way' in their sleep.

Always did wonder what would have happened in the 1991 World Series had Otis Nixon not gotten suspended for cocaine use.
   65. bunyon Posted: October 04, 2019 at 02:05 PM (#5886507)
oh REALLY?

:-)


Thanks for that. I can still remember how that made me feel when I saw it live. I might still be jumping around that apartment in one reality.

Unfortunately, it also made me remember watching him bat. Or "bat".

And it's part of what I was getting at with my comment on Mantle. Most players have something that you'd like to change. For a lot of guys, it's off the field. Drugs, food, domestic strife, that keeps them from maximizing their talent. If it turns out the ONLY thing that Acuna does like that is turn doubles into singles, well, I don't like it but I'll take it. We don't have to see the guys who blow it doing stupid stuff off the field. His stupid stuff (so far) is on the field.

Of course, it decreases his margin for error. If he keeps turning doubles to singles then he can't be the guy to loaf off the field or snort his paycheck.

The reason we're all so frustrated - the ones of us who are - is that it should be an easy thing to fix. But not having seconds or another drink should also be easy to do. Sometimes we are who we are.

I hope he fixes the problem. I hope Braves coaches can reach him on this. But, it's not a new problem and the idea that Braves just aren't trying hard enough is silly. If they aren't reaching him, he may not be reachable.
   66. rconn23 Posted: October 04, 2019 at 02:05 PM (#5886508)
"Not running out a probable homerun immediately after making an immense error by not running out a potential homerun. It's marvelous evidence of his stubbornness and/or stupidity."

455 feet is not a probable HR, it's a no doubter off the bat.

"Your refrain "but he's really good!" doesn't address this. No #### he's really good."

When Acuna does any of the marvelous things he does, it's well, "he's really talented." Being that good also takes a lot of effort.
   67. bunyon Posted: October 04, 2019 at 02:07 PM (#5886510)
Always did wonder what would have happened in the 1991 World Series had Otis Nixon not gotten suspended for cocaine use.

He'd have bunted with two outs in the 10th.
   68. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 04, 2019 at 02:08 PM (#5886511)
and it's not just today's players really. didn't andruw basically loaf and eat himself out of a HOF career, telling people he was just being himself?


Mickey Mantle. Probably hundreds of others. People are stupid.

Wait, Mickey Mantle loafed himself out of HoF career?

I also think you're confusing suffering from osteomyelitis his whole career, and knee torn to #### (speculated to be a torn ACL) on an OF drain at 19, with loafing. Mantle was likely in pain every time he ran for a large portion of his career. By the end just swinging that bat caused severe pain.
   69. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 04, 2019 at 02:10 PM (#5886513)
When Acuna does any of the marvelous things he does, it's well, "he's really talented." Being that good also takes a lot of effort.

Much less effort that running to first base on a fly ball. No one is saying he's lazy. We're saying he's either stupid, or so self-absorbed he cares more about his preening than his team winning.
   70. bunyon Posted: October 04, 2019 at 02:11 PM (#5886514)
I was referring to his alcohol problem. Which, yes, was probably due to the pain.

My point is: Most players have some dumb, terrible, sad habit that lessens what they could have been. Some still are great. Acuna would be a better player - a better teammate and man - if he didn't preen on any ball that goes more than 300 feet. But, if that's his only flaw, he's still going to be a great player. Just not as good as he could be.

See my other comments. This has gone on for a year. It's probably who he is.
   71. rconn23 Posted: October 04, 2019 at 02:13 PM (#5886516)
"Melancon did the best he could, but due to some combination of lack of skill and bad luck, did not get the job done."

The only thing a pitcher could do for someone to say he showed no effort is run out of the clubhouse when asked to take the mound. There's zero evidence to support that he did the best he could last night. Maybe that was the best he had, but the nature of a pitcher's position always absolves them from the "lack of effort" tag. They have to take the mound and throw the ball. That doesn't necessarily constitute great effort.
   72. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 04, 2019 at 02:19 PM (#5886519)
They have to take the mound and throw the ball. That doesn't necessarily constitute great effort.
"Bullsh*t." -- UCLs everywhere.
   73. Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: October 04, 2019 at 02:19 PM (#5886520)
Robinson Cano has done the exact same thing as Acuna and he's turned out OK. And frankly so have many other players. It's pretty common. I don't like it but it's not unique or unusual.

Acuna ###### up, I don't think there is any kind of valid defense. It doesn't make him a terrible person or moron or anything else, it just means he is someone who made a mistake. At some point you have to decide if the payoff of his overall performance is worth the occasional loss of a base or two. He's good enough that it is so far.
   74. rconn23 Posted: October 04, 2019 at 02:25 PM (#5886522)
"Acuna ###### up, I don't think there is any kind of valid defense. It doesn't make him a terrible person or moron or anything else, it just means he is someone who made a mistake. At some point you have to decide if the payoff of his overall performance is worth the occasional loss of a base or two. He's good enough that it is so far."

Totally agree.
   75. Nasty Nate Posted: October 04, 2019 at 02:26 PM (#5886523)
The only thing a pitcher could do for someone to say he showed no effort is run out of the clubhouse when asked to take the mound.
He could also turn a would-be double that he hit into a single by watching it instead of running...
   76. Jeremy Renner App is Dead and I killed it Posted: October 04, 2019 at 02:28 PM (#5886525)
The whole pose on the dinger thing seems to be more downside from a cost-benefit angle. If you are right hey you got to pose for a replay but the team doesn't get any more credit. But if you are wrong the team legit loses from a run probability perspective. So it's positive result zero and negative result whatever happens in terms of where the batter ends up on base.

But I know the players likely don't care about the math on posing.
   77. Dale Sams Posted: October 04, 2019 at 02:32 PM (#5886527)
Hey Braves, you want to make Acuna the next Puig...I'm more than happy to have him on my team.
   78. phredbird Posted: October 04, 2019 at 02:37 PM (#5886533)

Wait, Mickey Mantle loafed himself out of HoF career?


the tragedy of the mick.

gimme a break. great player, but he belongs in bunyon's 'off the field' category. you simply cannot deny that he could have taken better care of himself. he had the best medical care available to deal with all of his maladies and if he had followed it instead of continually partying like it was his last day on earth his career would have been challenging babe ruth's. following basic good habits would have easily gotten him three more seasons.

it was his choice. it made him into the 'might have been' poster boy.

   79. PreservedFish Posted: October 04, 2019 at 02:40 PM (#5886536)
The only thing a pitcher could do for someone to say he showed no effort is run out of the clubhouse when asked to take the mound. There's zero evidence to support that he did the best he could last night. Maybe that was the best he had, but the nature of a pitcher's position always absolves them from the "lack of effort" tag. They have to take the mound and throw the ball. That doesn't necessarily constitute great effort.


Pitchers can (and often do) show laziness or indifference by failing to participate on defense.
   80. Howie Menckel Posted: October 04, 2019 at 02:42 PM (#5886538)
It's also unique (I think) in that there are several seconds of ambiguity in waiting to see whether its best batting event actually happens, while at the same time the player should be doing something else during the wait. Maybe someone else can come up with a comp, but I haven't been able to.


This is not close to a perfect analogy, but some NBA players who shoot long three-pointers "hold the followthrough" to show off - and some of those miss.

the smarter players can realize where a ball is liable to miss if the shot doesn't go in, and thus run toward that potential spot to try to fight for the rebound. if it goes in, well, it still was worth the hustle just in case.
   81. Nasty Nate Posted: October 04, 2019 at 02:44 PM (#5886540)
Hey Braves, you want to make Acuna the next Puig...I'm more than happy to have him on my team.
If the Braves knew that his first 2 years were his best like they were for Puig, they'd be more than willing to trade him for a big package this off-season!
   82. The Duke Posted: October 04, 2019 at 02:52 PM (#5886544)
Acuña was a tour de force last night. And he basically told the press to f. Off with his comments. If this is the worst thing he does, im perfectly ok with it. Snitker better not sit him
   83. PreservedFish Posted: October 04, 2019 at 02:53 PM (#5886545)
It's also unique (I think) in that there are several seconds of ambiguity in waiting to see whether its best batting event actually happens, while at the same time the player should be doing something else during the wait. Maybe someone else can come up with a comp, but I haven't been able to.


Are punters supposed to hustle as soon as they've kicked the ball? I've never thought about it before.
   84. Dale Sams Posted: October 04, 2019 at 03:06 PM (#5886551)
Are punters supposed to hustle as soon as they've kicked the ball? I've never thought about it before.


I don't want my punter sprinting downfield cause:

1. I don't want him pulling a hammy
2. Getting lit up
3. I need him as a last resort tackler.
   85. rconn23 Posted: October 04, 2019 at 03:16 PM (#5886555)
"If the Braves knew that his first 2 years were his best like they were for Puig, they'd be more than willing to trade him for a big package this off-season!"

If you think that Acuna is going to be Puig, as a Yankees fan I nominate you to be the next GM of the Red Sox:)
   86. Howie Menckel Posted: October 04, 2019 at 03:22 PM (#5886557)
Are punters supposed to hustle as soon as they've kicked the ball?

it's not that unusual to see a punter try to prevent a TD maybe 15-20 yards from where he punted it to.
so not a dead sprint by any means, but he's supposed to focus on the play.

the Giants lost, 52-49, to the Saints in 2015 this way: Giants punter Brad Wing did his thing with 20 seconds left, and the Saints returned it to around midfield. not close enough for a FG - but wait. Wing, who is an Australian who doesn't really understand much about American football, worked his way into the action well enough to draw a 15-yard facemask call on the tackle. then the Saints kicked a 50-yard FG to win it.

in the 1970s-1980s, the Chargers had a kicker named Rolf Benirschke who was given dispensation to head immediately to the sidelines after kicking off. this had something to do with his ulcerative colitis, which led to a pair of major surgeries - one of which removed his large intestine. A punishing full-speed body block on him would not have ended well, at all.

(in 1989, Rolf spent six months as the daytime host of a TV game show called "Wheel of Fortune." I wonder whatever happened to that show.)
   87. SandyRiver Posted: October 04, 2019 at 03:37 PM (#5886562)
the tragedy of the mick.

gimme a break. great player, but he belongs in bunyon's 'off the field' category. you simply cannot deny that he could have taken better care of himself. he had the best medical care available to deal with all of his maladies and if he had followed it instead of continually partying like it was his last day on earth his career would have been challenging babe ruth's. following basic good habits would have easily gotten him three more seasons.

it was his choice. it made him into the 'might have been' poster boy.

All of this, plus Bunyon's follow-up posts. Mantle was my favorite player during his career, by so much that there barely was a 2nd. I can't recall him loafing on a questionable home run, though he would occasionally do so on a grounder or popup. Looking back I can see many reasons (not excuses) for his behavior.
1. He was not the sharpest knife in the drawer.
2. He fell in with city slickers like Whitey Ford and Billy Martin plus the bright lights of New York, but the country bumpkin lacked whatever maturity those guys possessed that tempered their behavior (somewhat.)
3. All of what Snapper wrote in #68.
4. And #3 came on top of Mick's fatalism borne of watching his father and uncles die in their 30s. Long ago, probably in 1957, I read of a sportswriter asking Mantle about his goals:
"40."
"Wait? What? You hit 52 last year. Whaddaya mean?"
"Just 40!"

"Of all sad words of tongue or pen, these are the saddest: it might have been." (Don't know the source)
   88. . Posted: October 04, 2019 at 03:44 PM (#5886565)
Pretty sure, but not positive, the punter is assigned a particular role as something like the tackler of last or close to last resort.
   89. Sweatpants Posted: October 04, 2019 at 04:24 PM (#5886581)
2. He fell in with city slickers like Whitey Ford and Billy Martin plus the bright lights of New York, but the country bumpkin lacked whatever maturity those guys possessed that tempered their behavior (somewhat.)
In what way did Billy Martin ever temper his behavior? Maybe I don't know the stories of Mantle and Martin well enough, but I'd never use Martin as an example of a guy who knew how to drink without becoming a problem drinker.
   90. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: October 04, 2019 at 04:45 PM (#5886589)
The ricochet of the wall was huge.

   91. Howie Menckel Posted: October 04, 2019 at 04:54 PM (#5886593)
I'd never use Martin as an example of a guy who knew how to drink without becoming a problem drinker.

I guess I may be the only one here who ever saw Martin in his natural habitat - knocking back one drink after another with pitching coach Art Fowler at "Who's On First" long after a Yankees-Red Sox day game at Fenway Park in 1986.

my jaw dropped looking at that hollowed husk of a man.
3 years later, he was dead.
police said alcohol was involved.
   92. Walt Davis Posted: October 04, 2019 at 05:46 PM (#5886604)
I like how when this came up in the regular season, the fanboys were all like "He's learned his lesson, he's knows better, why is he being fined and OMG how can you possibly publicly criticize this extremely talented player ...."

You do realize that Snitker's punishment in August CLEARLY DIDN'T WORK, right? And you see the failure of the "traditional" approach to accomplish a single damn thing as vindication of that approach and proof that those who criticized the approach were wrong?

And of course when the first punishment failed to correct the problem, the best approach is to punish more often and more harshly.
   93. Dale Sams Posted: October 04, 2019 at 05:52 PM (#5886608)
What the #### was that
   94. . Posted: October 04, 2019 at 08:42 PM (#5886671)
You do realize that Snitker's punishment in August CLEARLY DIDN'T WORK, right?


Because he hadn't learned his lesson and doesn't know better. My criticism of the fanboy view wasn't that Snitker's punishment would work -- given the player and the fanboy enabling of him, there's no reason to think it would have and it of course didn't -- my criticism of the fanboy view is that it's stupid and indicative of a complete lack of understanding of people and comparative responsiblity.

Here's an easy hint/rule of thumb -- when an employee in any walk of life continues to loaf and ego, and does so even in the company's very most important moments, it really isn't the employee's manager's fault.

How exactly do people arrive at the conclusion that Snitker should be kissing the guy's ass to do the simple act of running 90 or 180 feet in a playoff game? Very odd.

And of course when the first punishment failed to correct the problem, the best approach is to punish more often and more harshly.


When a guy's proven to be an incorrigible dick about it, and even a playoff game isn't sufficient deterrence, then yeah unfortunately that's the position he's put his team in.


   95. The Yankee Clapper Posted: October 04, 2019 at 09:02 PM (#5886673)
Marly Rivera, ESPN Writer

Ronald Acuña Jr. to our ESPN Deportes colleague Enrique Rojas: "What I did was unacceptable. I talked to my teammates today. I asked them for a meeting and I apologized. I apologize to all the people I have offended. I also spoke with the manager. I went to the manager and I apologized. I was filled with emotion. He knows that I always play with intensity and love for this game."
Let’s see if anything changes.
   96. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 04, 2019 at 09:38 PM (#5886679)
Translation: I got a call from my agent last night.
   97. Howie Menckel Posted: October 04, 2019 at 09:43 PM (#5886684)
And of course when the first punishment failed to correct the problem, the best approach is to punish more often and more harshly.

but enough about parenting
   98. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 04, 2019 at 09:53 PM (#5886687)
And of course when the first punishment failed to correct the problem, the best approach is to punish more often and more harshly.

Yes, pretty much. All discipline is a test of wills. The reason people have badly behaved children is because they blink before the child does. They're too afraid to make their precious little baby unhappy for even an hour, to impose real consequences.
   99. rconn23 Posted: October 05, 2019 at 02:00 AM (#5886737)
I don't think there is a punishment severe enough for Acuna. I mean, they didn't bench him for his unforgivable sin of turning a possible double into a single. I say, trade him to the Evil Empire Yankees. Would Clint Frazier and a couple C-level prospects do the trick? Come on, I mean Frazier can't play the outfield or hit that well, but by God he hustles. So much hustle. Yeah, that's the ticket.
   100. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: October 05, 2019 at 02:16 AM (#5886738)
I look at it as a mental mistake. The guy may work his butt off in practice and preparing for the game (I don’t know) but he’s made this particular mental mistake a few times now and it has / could have cost his team.

The way you get out of the habit of these type of mistakes is through reminders and repetition. So I agree with whoever said make him run out every ball in practice. And also remind him to run it out every time he heads up to the plate until this stuff doesn’t happen anymore.
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