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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Hughson: Dirk Hayhurst Needs To Check Himself Before He Wrecks Himself

Zen and the Art of Garfooseball.

Following last night’s Blue Jays/Tigers game in which Ricky Romero allowed eight walks, newbie TV analyst Dirk Hayhurst had some choice words in evaluating Romero’s performance.  I quote:

  Jamie Campbell:  If the minor league season were to be extended a little further, would you envision (Romero) being demoted the way things are going?

      Dirk Hayhurst:  He’s absolutely warranted a demotion … 8 walks is just far too many walks to stay in the big leagues with.  I’m a big Ricky fan, I played with him, I like the guy, but at some point you have to look at all this failure and realize this is beyond the confines of normal failure, this is now stretching into the area of embarrassment. He’s out there and he’s embarrassed himself. He knows it, the fans know it, the team knows it.

While it is refreshing to see a Sportsnet personality not shilling for his Rogers overlords,  Dirk would do well to choose his words a little more carefully.

...I’m not saying you have to have been a Major League All-Star to be able to level criticism at another player, but if you are going to do so, at least have some sort of self-awareness.  I understand that making inflammatory comments is part & parcel for a best-selling author seeking publicity.  But if Dirk wants any sort of longevity in this media gig, he’ll need to tone down the hyperbole and personal attacks*.

*edit: on second thought, hyperbole and personal attacks will actually ensure his longevity.

Repoz Posted: August 22, 2012 at 11:10 AM | 35 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: blue jays, media

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   1. Bruce Markusen Posted: August 22, 2012 at 11:36 AM (#4214678)
Hyperbole and personal attacks? Sounds to me like an honest, straightforward assessment of a pitcher having a terrible season. I like to hear such honesty in my team's color man.
   2. Esoteric Posted: August 22, 2012 at 11:36 AM (#4214680)
I agree that it is surprisingly harsh criticism for a postgame analyst. But it's also bracing.
   3. eddieot Posted: August 22, 2012 at 11:49 AM (#4214694)
Hayhurst's two books are absolutely unflinching, honest looks at life in professional baseball. I'm not surprised at all by his comments. He spent enough years toiling in the minors and barely hanging on in the majors to judge exactly who warrants a demotion.
   4. SoSH U at work Posted: August 22, 2012 at 11:55 AM (#4214702)
I understand that making inflammatory comments is part & parcel for a best-selling author seeking publicity.


Apparently, inflammatory comments aren't limited to best-selling authors.

   5. Random Transaction Generator Posted: August 22, 2012 at 12:02 PM (#4214706)
Romero looks completely lost at this point.
It kind of reminds me of a lesser version of what Halladay was going through in 2000.

Everything in Romero's body language suggests he really can't figure out what's going on.
The Jays are completely out of it at this point (thanks to injuries to every other starting pitcher and half their batting lineup), so I think it would be a good thing to get him out of the spotlight for a while.

As for Hayhurst, he's fantastic and I wouldn't be surprised to see him get poached by ESPN/MLB in the near future.
   6. BirdWatcher Posted: August 22, 2012 at 12:08 PM (#4214713)
May Hughson end up in baseball hell and have to listen to Hawk Harrelson for the rest of eternity.
   7. Boileryard Posted: August 22, 2012 at 12:28 PM (#4214734)
Hayhurst and the blogger have been going back-and-forth on Twitter since the post was made.
   8. Bob Tufts Posted: August 22, 2012 at 12:29 PM (#4214736)
We don't have the full context of the exchange, but I partially blame the play-by-play announcer. The questions to ask Dick that would be informative would be:

What is he doing wrong? What part of his mechanics are out of control?
Have you seen this close-up before? What happened and did the pitcher recover?
Did you ever face a similar situation and how did you try to recover? (which could lead to the comment "no, I couldn't solve it and that's why I am sitting next to you today")
Who helped you? What was the best advice that you received?

Dealing with this by merely using emotional phrases adds little information to the conversation.
   9. The District Attorney Posted: August 22, 2012 at 12:30 PM (#4214738)
Dirk Hayhurst Comes Real Stealth, Droppin' Bombs on Your Moms, #### Car Alarms
   10. The_Ex Posted: August 22, 2012 at 01:18 PM (#4214796)
I agree that Hayhurst was very "honest" in his assessment. We complain that media types are bland we should welcome comments like Hayhurst made.

In the case of the "spat", the blogger is talking from a statistical position, Hayhurst is reading emotions. If you have read his books you would expect him to read it that way.

I agree with #5, it seems like the season can't end quickly enough for Romero. No-one knows what to do and the team is two months into this issue. Hayhurst was being radical but this thing isn't going to fix itself today.

Finally Hayhurst is emotional, this isn't the first back and forward he has had on the twitter. He needs to learn to ignore the trolls and those looking for publicity for themselves. If he keeps reacting like this he is going to burn himself out.
   11. MM1f Posted: August 22, 2012 at 01:33 PM (#4214816)
Romero is leading the league in walks and, most embarrassingly, earned runs allowed. I'd say any analyst is allow to point out how terrible he has been.
   12. Good cripple hitter Posted: August 22, 2012 at 01:44 PM (#4214829)
We don't have the full context of the exchange, but I partially blame the play-by-play announcer. The questions to ask Dick that would be informative would be:


There was no play-by-play guy. Campbell and Hayhurst were analysis from a studio either during or after the game.

I like Hayhurst. It looks like someone at Rogers is high on him, they've given him a daily one hour radio show, and he's been filling in as an analyst on radio broadcasts and in the tv studio. I hope he doesn't change his style, the Jays have far too many sycophants on their broadcasts.

Romero looked awful yesterday, if anything he was lucky to get out with only five runs. He had no command of his fastball at all. It's at the point where I'd be overjoyed if he needed Tommy John, because at least that means he didn't get Blass-ed / Willis-ed.
   13. Rants Mulliniks Posted: August 22, 2012 at 01:47 PM (#4214834)
I can't argue with anything he said about Romero. Its not like this is a rough stretch in a normal season, he has been brutal all year.

I'm surprised that Hughson didn't mention what he said about David Cooper! Jamie Campbell asked him what his best role would be, given that although he's a good line drive hitter, he doesn't have much homerun power, is a poor defender and an even worse baserunner. Hayhurst just said "Japan?".
   14. bigglou115 Posted: August 22, 2012 at 01:50 PM (#4214837)
It's at the point where I'd be overjoyed if he needed Tommy John, because at least that means he didn't get Blass-ed / Willis-ed.


You know, when Willis first started to collapse I'll admit to a little perverse pleasure. But his collapse was just so complete that in the end I actually did start to feel sorry for him. This as opposed to a certain KC RFer who I felt sorry for at first, and as time went on I've kind of wished the league would figure out that he isn't as good as KC pretends he is.
   15. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: August 22, 2012 at 01:57 PM (#4214842)
I read the blog entry, and I still have to go with Dirk on this one. Hughson complaining that Hayhurst isn't offering constructive criticism is stupid, since Hayhurst suggested that they temporarily send Romero down to the minors to let him rebuild his confidence, something that worked for Halladay when he was in a similar position. And Hughson's use of the Astbury quote makes no sense at all, since Astbury was complaining about critics who lack the necessary context and experience base to understand what they're criticizing, and the time Hayhurst spent in the majors as Romero's teammate would seem like a pretty big mark in his favor in that respect.

Not to mention that Astbury is also wrong about the amount of casually hateful speech these days. That kind of thing has always been around, and is just more visible now because of the internet. When my dad was young, he and his friends would make the exact same kind of comments to each other about the popular music of the day. They just didn't have a soapbox.

In short, he should be embarrassed to have written that post. At best, it's cynical linkbait, and at worst, it displays a near-complete lack of understanding of the material under discussion. (Per the Astbury standard, I'm coming to that position from around five years of blogging about the Pirates for a major blog network. As such, I guess I'm qualified to "hate" on him for his sloppy work.)
   16. dlf Posted: August 22, 2012 at 01:57 PM (#4214843)
I'm glad Hayhurst has gotten this gig, but I would have loved reading the book he would have written if he had not abandoned the season in Italy.
   17. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: August 22, 2012 at 02:01 PM (#4214848)
I'm surprised that Hughson didn't mention what he said about David Cooper! Jamie Campbell asked him what his best role would be, given that although he's a good line drive hitter, he doesn't have much homerun power, is a poor defender and an even worse baserunner. Hayhurst just said "Japan?".


He's probably not wrong. You can make a hell of a lot of money in Japan with that skill set, if you catch a few breaks.
   18. Der-K: Hipster doofus Posted: August 22, 2012 at 02:06 PM (#4214857)
16 - details?
   19. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: August 22, 2012 at 02:11 PM (#4214869)
Dirk Hayhurst Gets The Gas Face
   20. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: August 22, 2012 at 02:25 PM (#4214891)
After a terrible call in a recent Orioles game, Jim Palmer said something like "well everyone knows that he's just a terrible umpire." The honesty was refreshing. I've noticed that he and his color guy have become a lot more candid about blown calls generally.
   21. snowles Posted: August 22, 2012 at 02:40 PM (#4214919)
You know, this Jays season has been a total bust, but it is nice to see Rogers employing some employees like Ashby, Zaun and Hayhurst who have no qualms in being critical, especially when the company is in a position to stymy the message with its hold of both the team and the country's major media providers. Frankly it's refreshing.
   22. Rants Mulliniks Posted: August 22, 2012 at 02:41 PM (#4214920)
He's probably not wrong. You can make a hell of a lot of money in Japan with that skill set, if you catch a few breaks.


Oh, I know, but its odd for him to say it when the player in question is still on the ML roster.
   23. Moloka'i Three-Finger Brown (Declino DeShields) Posted: August 22, 2012 at 02:48 PM (#4214933)
Judging just by his Twitter feed and the few times I've heard him on podcasts/radio, I could see Hayhurt's mouth getting him into trouble. Not in a trolling/malicious Rob Dibble sense, but in a lacking-a-filter sense.

I don't agree with the blogger here, however.
   24. Jarrod HypnerotomachiaPoliphili(Teddy F. Ballgame) Posted: August 22, 2012 at 02:52 PM (#4214940)
I'm glad Hayhurst has gotten this gig, but I would have loved reading the book he would have written if he had not abandoned the season in Italy.


Seconded, and my disappointment isn't just about the potential book. I don't know all the particulars, but from what I read, he hung that team out to dry.
   25. AROM Posted: August 22, 2012 at 03:06 PM (#4214967)
What is he doing wrong? What part of his mechanics are out of control?
Have you seen this close-up before? What happened and did the pitcher recover?
Did you ever face a similar situation and how did you try to recover? (which could lead to the comment "no, I couldn't solve it and that's why I am sitting next to you today")
Who helped you? What was the best advice that you received?


Those are good questions, Bob, and it makes me curious how you would answer those questions.

As for myself, I had trouble throwing strikes, which I never did solve. Which is why I'm typing here today instead of shagging flies in BP right now. Well, that and not being able to top 80 MPH, or throw a breaking ball. Oh, and being 41 years old, so even if I had been good enough to have a pitching career, it would likely be over by now.
   26. dlf Posted: August 22, 2012 at 03:14 PM (#4214987)
Seconded, and my disappointment isn't just about the potential book. I don't know all the particulars, but from what I read, he hung that team out to dry.


I hadn't heard that, but what I read was only from The Garfoose blog and from HardballTalk posts largely quoting him. Can you shed any more light?
   27. Random Transaction Generator Posted: August 22, 2012 at 03:20 PM (#4215001)
I'm surprised that Hughson didn't mention what he said about David Cooper! Jamie Campbell asked him what his best role would be, given that although he's a good line drive hitter, he doesn't have much homerun power, is a poor defender and an even worse baserunner. Hayhurst just said "Japan?".

When Cooper had that brain freeze at 1B, didn't throw home, and then tried to beat out the batter to first base (without even trying to tag him, even though they were right beside each other for the last three steps), I'm guessing he was starting to think about Japan as well...
   28. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: August 22, 2012 at 03:34 PM (#4215019)
You know, this Jays season has been a total bust, but it is nice to see Rogers employing some employees like Ashby, Zaun and Hayhurst who have no qualms in being critical, especially when the company is in a position to stymy the message with its hold of both the team and the country's major media providers. Frankly it's refreshing.


I was about to argue that the emergence of Encarnacion was pretty cool and that there must be some other cool stuff going on, but I didn't realize how disappointing the rest of the team was. Geez.
   29. Bob Tufts Posted: August 22, 2012 at 03:39 PM (#4215025)
Those are good questions, Bob, and it makes me curious how you would answer those questions.


These questions can often get interesting answers. When I played with the Giants, pitching coach Don McMahon hung around the guys who were throwing well and tended to avoid those who were struggling - he was very open about this. Whwn I needed help, bullpen coach John Van Ornum was the one who was active and proactive. He helped with bullpen sessions and did things like introduce me to fellow lanky lefty Gary Lucas. I was able to compare physical and mental notes with him before a game in San Diego. In Kansas City, Cloyd Boyer acted like VO and not McMahon.

In AAA in Phoneix, the trainer Harry Jordan noticed a key flaw in my motion (or the motion in my flaw) regarding opening up my right shoulder too quickly and I was able to rescue my season in 1980 after a horrid first three months.

Unless a team had a large investment in you, you were pretty much on your own. I'm meeting the Phillies minor league pitching coordinator tomorrow and will ask how they treat their prospects and suspects in today's game.
   30. Jarrod HypnerotomachiaPoliphili(Teddy F. Ballgame) Posted: August 22, 2012 at 03:45 PM (#4215033)
I hadn't heard that, but what I read was only from The Garfoose blog and from HardballTalk posts largely quoting him. Can you shed any more light?


Can't find the original piece I read, but digging around, this may just be a he said/they said thing. He left the team after less than a week to take a more lucrative media job back home (the one he has now, I suppose) and the team claims he wasn't in pitching shape when he showed up anyway. That part's probably just sour grapes. The team was certainly left in a bit of a lurch, though, as they'd used up their allotment of visas for international players and couldn't get a comparable replacement.

The highlight of one article I found and read with the help of Google translate is the photo caption: In the photo, Hayhurst launches with the coat of the San Diego Padres in Major League.

   31. snowles Posted: August 22, 2012 at 03:53 PM (#4215040)
I was about to argue that the emergence of Encarnacion was pretty cool and that there must be some other cool stuff going on, but I didn't realize how disappointing the rest of the team was. Geez.

For about the first two months of the season, the team was pretty entertaining - Morrow and Hutch coming into their own, Drabek actually throwing strikes, EE&JB; forming an elite duo. Then it got real ugly, real quick. EE has been a great story, but he's been surrounded by pretty close to nothing to help him out - Mike McCoy of the .600OPS, batting 2nd!, Copper hitting behind him. He could very well hit 40 homers this year and still not crack 100 RBI. His game logs are just littered with a home run and only 1 or 2RBI days.

The Jays have had 31 different pitchers this year; 32 including Jeff Mathis.
   32. Good cripple hitter Posted: August 22, 2012 at 04:32 PM (#4215093)
In the X games since Brett Lawrie went down, Yunel Excobar has batted 5th 10 times and cleanup 8 times. Escobar's line is .246/.293/.326, good for an OPS+ of 67. And it's not like he's been hot, he's hitting .222/.278/.299 since the All Star break.

The Jays lineup, with Escobar, Vizquel, Mathis, Gose, Hechavarria and the rotting corpse of Kelly Johnson is so eye-bleedingly bad that Jeff Mathis has been a bright spot (although he too has cratered in the second half). If I was watching the games on DVR/MLB.tv, I'd be tempted to skip everyone outside of Encarnacion and maybe Rasmus.

   33. Swedish Chef Posted: August 22, 2012 at 04:34 PM (#4215095)
I can't say I blame an American player for running away screaming when confronted with realities of European baseball.
   34. asinwreck Posted: August 22, 2012 at 05:20 PM (#4215181)
Harry Caray & Jimmy Piersall used to be way more critical than that. Then again, announcers are mostly so bland that Hayhurst's comment might sound shocking to Hughson.
   35. A Random 8-Year-Old Eskimo Posted: August 23, 2012 at 12:10 AM (#4215421)
Dirk's candidness has been extremely refreshing. He's been a very big addition to the baseball media landscape in Toronto. I hope he doesn't change (or isn't encouraged/forced to change) his style and demeanour.

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