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Saturday, June 28, 2014

Mike Napoli calls Masahiro Tanaka an ‘idiot’ after hitting game-winning home run to beat Yankees

Dum Dum boys.

Masahiro Tanaka probably would agree.

If, in a tie game, you throw a two-strike, two-out pitch over the middle of the plate to a hitter who can knock the ball out of the ballpark—with first base open and a guy on deck who couldn’t get a hit with a tennis racket—well, you’ve just made a colossal mistake.

And so, after first baseman Mike Napoli lined Tanaka’s belt-high fastball into the first row of the right-field bleachers on Saturday night for his 10th home run, giving the Boston Red Sox a 2-1 lead in the ninth inning (and an eventual victory), he wanted to make sure his teammates knew what he was thinking.

As he high-fived the hollering Boston bunch on the top step of the dugout at Yankee Stadium, Napoli screamed: “What an idiot!”

The comment by Napoli, who had struck out against Tanaka in his previous two at-bats, was caught (loud and clear) by the FOX broadcast.

Repoz Posted: June 28, 2014 at 11:12 PM | 51 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: red sox, yankees

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Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. Walt Davis Posted: June 28, 2014 at 11:24 PM (#4738623)
At least he's smart enough to live in NY. :-)
   2. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 28, 2014 at 11:31 PM (#4738625)
I gotta admit that Napoli was right, a point the Fox commentators reinforced when they said that it's too bad that McCann didn't know Japanese and been able to go out to the mound and talk Tanaka out of throwing a fast ball.

OTOH two runs in nine innings should win any game. Bronx Bombers, my asss. More like the Bronx Binkys.
   3. theboyqueen Posted: June 28, 2014 at 11:45 PM (#4738628)
Man, Boston is a chronically insufferable team. They did not deserve Pedro, or Ted Williams for that matter.
   4. ptodd Posted: June 28, 2014 at 11:53 PM (#4738631)
Tanaka speaks English he just does not speak it in interviews, and for more complex conversations uses a translator.

Definitely a dumb pitch with Drew up next. Napoli better prepare to duck his next AB against him.

Tanaka has to learn to stay out of the zone on the high FB. Its ok to throw high, but out of the zone to get them to chase. Can't hurt you up there around the neck. Been getting hurt on the high FB all season, especially against RHB'ers. His split and slider has been his bread and butter
   5. Bunny Vincennes Posted: June 28, 2014 at 11:56 PM (#4738633)
Man, Boston is a chronically insufferable team. They did not deserve Pedro, or Ted Williams for that matter.


I'm a Cubs fan, but have spent an irrational amount of time in Boston and love Pedro and revere Ted Williams (along with all of the Celtics), but all of those guys have had their insufferable moments. Pedro was a handful, Williams was as cantankerous as possible. By most accounts DiMaggio was kind of ####### too, that just wanted his two martinis and a pack of smokes. Ron Santo was an ####### as a player. Being competitive frequently results in the darker side of humanity coming out. And that was a pretty throw away comment by Napoli. Larry Bird said #### that was far more offensive about a 1000 times a game than that.
   6. Justin T., Director of Somethin Posted: June 29, 2014 at 12:00 AM (#4738634)
Yes, Mike Napoli really drilled that heater over the wall in that stadium's cavernous right field. A colossal whopper.
   7. Bunny Vincennes Posted: June 29, 2014 at 12:03 AM (#4738635)
Tanaka has to learn to stay out of the zone on the high FB. Its ok to throw high, but out of the zone to get them to chase. Can't hurt you up there around the neck. Been getting hurt on the high FB all season, especially against RHB'ers. His split and slider has been his bread and butter

I try to watch most of the Sox/Yanks games and I just watch a lot of baseball in general and if Tanaka is pitching I'll make more of an effort to see the game. I didn't understand that pitch selection at all. He's been burned up on the in the zone high fastball numerous times. I want to say it was the Orioles, but I could be wrong, he went 2-2 on somebody and then went high fastball that was fouled straight back, came back with it, same thing, came back with it, titanic foul ball ball into the RF corner, then threw a splitter for the strike out.
   8. Lars6788 Posted: June 29, 2014 at 12:04 AM (#4738636)
Man if Ortiz had said something like that, Keith Law or Craig Calcaterra's heads might have exploded at the same time.
   9. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: June 29, 2014 at 12:09 AM (#4738638)
Yup, stupid pitch, but this loss was ALL on the bats.
   10. theboyqueen Posted: June 29, 2014 at 12:27 AM (#4738643)
I'm a Cubs fan, but have spent an irrational amount of time in Boston and love Pedro and revere Ted Williams (along with all of the Celtics), but all of those guys have had their insufferable moments. Pedro was a handful, Williams was as cantankerous as possible. By most accounts DiMaggio was kind of ####### too, that just wanted his two martinis and a pack of smokes. Ron Santo was an ####### as a player. Being competitive frequently results in the darker side of humanity coming out. And that was a pretty throw away comment by Napoli. Larry Bird said #### that was far more offensive about a 1000 times a game than that.


I'll make this easy for you: the Cubs, the Yankees, and the Celtics are also chronically insufferable. The Celtics especially!

I lived in Boston for a year and I was never more insufferable, so it's all quite understandable.
   11. Bunny Vincennes Posted: June 29, 2014 at 12:34 AM (#4738645)
I'll make this easy for you: the Cubs, the Yankees, and the Celtics are also chronically insufferable. The Celtics especially!


So you are a Pacers fan? No that's not possible you'd like Larry Bird. Philly?
   12. Bunny Vincennes Posted: June 29, 2014 at 12:36 AM (#4738647)
OH WAIT, it has to be STL. That's okay. Its what we do.
   13. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: June 29, 2014 at 12:52 AM (#4738651)
Yup, stupid pitch, but this loss was ALL on the bats.


And Brett Gardner's legs and/or decision-making on the bases.
   14. theboyqueen Posted: June 29, 2014 at 01:30 AM (#4738658)
No No and No. Are there even Pacers fans outside of Indiana?

Anyway, I love Larry Bird (and Pedro).
   15. Walt Davis Posted: June 29, 2014 at 03:05 AM (#4738672)
So Tanaka won't be joining Detwiler on the all-fastball all-stars?
   16. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: June 29, 2014 at 06:56 AM (#4738682)
I had just told my brother before the homer that Baldy McDouchebeard had easily become my new least favorite player. The guy makes Jason Varitek and Kevin Millar seem likable. That was before I read this story. Now I hope Dellin Betances hits him in the neck.
   17. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: June 29, 2014 at 06:57 AM (#4738683)
I thought I wouldn't be so into this series because both teams stink and the World Cup is on, but last night pissed me off to no end.
   18. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 29, 2014 at 08:06 AM (#4738691)
First we complain about bland players who all sound like Derek Jeter, but as soon as a player says something impolitic, we jump all over him, even if the truth of what he said was clear as day.

Or perhaps we think that Tanaka wouldn't have agreed with what Napoli said, even though part of what makes Tanaka so great is his laser beam focus on perfection. He even curses himself if he get away with hanging a pitch, as he did at least twice previously in that same inning.

I know one thing: I sure as hell wish that "obnoxious loudmouth" Napoli were putting on pinstripes tonight. They sure could have used him last night.
   19. Chip Posted: June 29, 2014 at 08:19 AM (#4738692)
Jake Peavy curses himself when he hangs a pitch too, and he sucks now. A "laser beam focus on perfection" is no guarantee of greatness.
   20. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: June 29, 2014 at 09:45 AM (#4738713)
A "laser beam focus on perfection"


"Six! Six main weapons! I'll come in again."
   21. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: June 29, 2014 at 09:59 AM (#4738717)
I'd be more bothered by what Napoli said if he'd said it publicly. I doubt he's the first person to say something like that in the dugout he just got picked up by a microphone.
   22. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 29, 2014 at 10:00 AM (#4738718)
Jake Peavy curses himself when he hangs a pitch too, and he sucks now. A "laser beam focus on perfection" is no guarantee of greatness.

No, but it's a huge part of Tanaka's makeup, and one of the main reasons he's performed beyond all reasonable expectations.
   23. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 29, 2014 at 10:02 AM (#4738719)
I'd be more bothered by what Napoli said if he'd said it publicly. I doubt he's the first person to say something like that in the dugout he just got picked up by a microphone.

And WTF is the point of wiring dugouts in the first place?
   24. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: June 29, 2014 at 10:26 AM (#4738723)
And WTF is the point of wiring dugouts in the first place?


I ask myself this whenever a broadcast features this, as well. Is it for boring stuff? Of course not - it is for colorful or insightful stuff. And I'll be that most of the insightful stuff is colorful (as in, it involves foul language you can't use on TV, and/or it involves saying stuff you probably would not like the other team to hear.) The fact that Napoli says as he returns to the dugout, "What an idiot!" is actually pretty insightful. I'm amazed that major league hitters can know exactly what pitch they hit, and why it was a mistake to throw it...in real time.

The funny thing is, if he had said, "What a f###ing idiot!", we probably would not know he said it...
   25. bobm Posted: June 29, 2014 at 10:42 AM (#4738728)
First we complain about bland players who all sound like Derek Jeter, but as soon as a player says something impolitic, we jump all over him, even if the truth of what he said was clear as day.

At least Napoli recognized Tanaka's role and didn't take all the credit for the home run himself (or thank God for it.)
   26. Nasty Nate Posted: June 29, 2014 at 10:50 AM (#4738731)
Maybe Napoli was talking about whoever designed the stadium?
   27. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 29, 2014 at 10:53 AM (#4738733)
And WTF is the point of wiring dugouts in the first place?

I ask myself this whenever a broadcast features this, as well. Is it for boring stuff? Of course not - it is for colorful or insightful stuff. And I'll be that most of the insightful stuff is colorful (as in, it involves foul language you can't use on TV, and/or it involves saying stuff you probably would not like the other team to hear.) The fact that Napoli says as he returns to the dugout, "What an idiot!" is actually pretty insightful. I'm amazed that major league hitters can know exactly what pitch they hit, and why it was a mistake to throw it...in real time.

The funny thing is, if he had said, "What a f###ing idiot!", we probably would not know he said it...


Which is truly a shame, because as you say (or at least imply), what's the point of wiring a dugout if you're going to mute all the truly interesting stuff? It's part and parcel of the whole contradiction between trying to be "real" and at the same time not wanting to "offend" anyone. These dumbassed motherfuckers should either piss or get off the pot.
   28. Dale Sams Posted: June 29, 2014 at 02:27 PM (#4739002)
My problem is, "Who does that?", "Who says that?" what kind of mindset do you have that your first instinct is to call a guy having a Cy Young season an idiot? He made a mistake, you capitalized.

On any level, in soccer or baseball, I've really never seen an athlete say that about someone they have no beef with. It's just a weird thing to say.
   29. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: June 29, 2014 at 04:37 PM (#4739067)
First we complain about bland players who all sound like Derek Jeter, but as soon as a player says something impolitic, we jump all over him, even if the truth of what he said was clear as day.

You can hate the villain while still being grateful for his existence.

Not that I hate Napoli or consider him a villain; this is pretty small potatoes.
   30. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 29, 2014 at 04:45 PM (#4739082)
I thought this was an endearing term in Boston.
   31. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: June 29, 2014 at 04:46 PM (#4739083)
My problem is, "Who does that?", "Who says that?" what kind of mindset do you have that your first instinct is to call a guy having a Cy Young season an idiot? He made a mistake, you capitalized.

On any level, in soccer or baseball, I've really never seen an athlete say that about someone they have no beef with. It's just a weird thing to say.


Really? You've never had a situation in a competition where someone had you overmatched and then did something to make it easy for you?
   32. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 29, 2014 at 04:47 PM (#4739086)
My problem is, "Who does that?", "Who says that?" what kind of mindset do you have that your first instinct is to call a guy having a Cy Young season an idiot? He made a mistake, you capitalized.

On any level, in soccer or baseball, I've really never seen an athlete say that about someone they have no beef with. It's just a weird thing to say.


Well, Napoli had already struck out twice on breaking pitches earlier in the game, and had gotten to two strikes in his final at-bat by the same way.

And now he gets served a fast ball right in the zone? WTF?

Okay, the location was a mistake, but the selection was idiotic. There's no polite way to put it. Nobody homers off Tanaka's splitter, and Napoli had been biting off it all night to no avail.

Not to mention that even if he'd miraculously found his eye and been able to lay off those splitters and had drawn a walk, the batters behind him were a pack of dregs: Drew (.125); Bogaerts (.251, and about 6 for his last 62); Bradley (.206); and Ross (.180). Napoli, OTOH, has the highest OPS on the entire Red Sox roster, and had homered off a Tanaka fast ball earlier in the year.

So yeah, I'd say "idiotic" is more than a fair description of that choice of pitch. Hopefully Tanaka will learn from the experience.

And of course Napoli didn't say it to Tanaka's face, or even say it in public. It just happened that the mike picked it up.
   33. Koot Posted: June 29, 2014 at 04:49 PM (#4739092)
I had just told my brother before the homer that Baldy McDouchebeard had easily become my new least favorite player. The guy makes Jason Varitek and Kevin Millar seem likable. That was before I read this story. Now I hope Dellin Betances hits him in the neck.


To each their own, but, I have no idea how anyone can even hold a candle to Kevin Millar in the "least favorite player ever" competition.
   34. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 29, 2014 at 04:51 PM (#4739094)
First we complain about bland players who all sound like Derek Jeter, but as soon as a player says something impolitic, we jump all over him, even if the truth of what he said was clear as day.

You can hate the villain while still being grateful for his existence.


Sure, but as a Yankee fan the only way I can think of Napoli as a "villain" is by playing the pajama game, which I guess I've always found kind of silly. I only wish he were doing his damage in pinstripes instead of in a Red Sox uniform.
   35. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: June 29, 2014 at 07:58 PM (#4739315)
Molehill, you are now a mountain. Good job, guys.
   36. Dale Sams Posted: June 29, 2014 at 08:22 PM (#4739323)
Really? You've never had a situation in a competition where someone had you overmatched and then did something to make it easy for you?


Yeah, and my first thought is, "Thanks for hitting that right at me*"...WHICH is what Napoli means, but he expressed it oddly. Now if someone taking a penalty did some elaborate run-up and blasted it over the bar, I'd think "What an idiot". But I don't think Tanaka was doing anything cute. If he were a bit more off the plate, Napoli might have lunged at it.
   37. Baldrick Posted: June 29, 2014 at 08:31 PM (#4739327)
First we complain about bland players who all sound like Derek Jeter, but as soon as a player says something impolitic, we jump all over him, even if the truth of what he said was clear as day.

Weird. It's almost like 'we' is a large and pluralistic group of people who have different opinions and different rooting interests. And, even more, I bet that 'we' tend to find things refreshing when they're said by people that they like and obnoxious when said by people we don't like. And strangely 'we' both like and dislike pretty much everyone.

'We' sure are a difficult bunch to please.
   38. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: June 29, 2014 at 08:37 PM (#4739331)
Well, see, it's really confusing that the site says "Baseball for the Thinking Fan," not "Fans" ...
   39. Sunday silence Posted: June 29, 2014 at 09:57 PM (#4739366)

Weird. It's almost like 'we' is a large and pluralistic group of people who have different opinions and different rooting interests.
.

+1.
   40. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 29, 2014 at 11:10 PM (#4739408)
Love the people here who think they know more about pitch selection than Tanaka does.

Laughable.
   41. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 29, 2014 at 11:36 PM (#4739426)
Love the people here who think they know more about pitch selection than Tanaka does.

Laughable.


Jesus, we're talking about one pitch that I'm sure Tanaka himself would never throw again in that spot.

OTOH you've called for managers to be fired because they didn't pinch hit for a starter who was throwing a three hitter after seven innings with a pitch count in the high 70's. You seem to think you know more about baseball than 90% of the managers and 90% of the GMs, not to mention 99% of the writers who've ever covered the sport. Where did this sudden breath of humility come from?
   42. Dale Sams Posted: June 29, 2014 at 11:39 PM (#4739429)
Napoli just K'ed on a fastball right down the middle. So are they BOTH idiots?
   43. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 29, 2014 at 11:47 PM (#4739436)
Napoli just K'ed on a fastball right down the middle. So are they BOTH idiots?

He was just hitting to the score.
   44. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: June 30, 2014 at 01:01 AM (#4739468)
Napoli was laughing with Ortiz in the dugout after the K. I wonder if he took it because he was so convinced he'd get an off speed pitch there and Ortiz was giving him ####.
   45. SandyRiver Posted: June 30, 2014 at 08:39 AM (#4739502)
Really? You've never had a situation in a competition where someone had you overmatched and then did something to make it easy for you?


Makes me wonder what Bernie Carbo said after rounding the bases in 1975 G6. As a ph he looked absolutely overmatched against Rawly Eastwick, with his last foul-off swing looking like a man out in the garden using a hoe, and I figured "sure K" and the Sox' last gasp was ended. Then Eastwick got one up in the zone, and Carbo deposited it in the CF bleachers to tie the game and set up Fisk's famous walk-off a few innings later.
   46. Howie Menckel Posted: June 30, 2014 at 10:56 AM (#4739610)
Red Sox fan pal of mine reports that Yankees announcer John Sterling the next day "had the gall to say that Napoli 'floated one into the first row in right field.'"

actually that's hilarious, coming from an announcer who uses the same call with every Yankees HR: "IT IS HIGH IT IS FAR IT IS GONE!" - even if it floats into the first row in right field.

now who's the idiot?
:)

   47. Koot Posted: June 30, 2014 at 12:15 PM (#4739725)
Red Sox fan pal of mine reports that Yankees announcer John Sterling the next day "had the gall to say that Napoli 'floated one into the first row in right field.'"

actually that's hilarious, coming from an announcer who uses the same call with every Yankees HR: "IT IS HIGH IT IS FAR IT IS GONE!" - even if it floats into the first row in right field.

now who's the idiot?
:)


The answer is always John Sterling. He's always an idiot. I don't think he can go one inning without saying something moderately stupid, and cannot go an entire nine innings without saying something embarassingly stupid.
   48. SandyRiver Posted: June 30, 2014 at 03:16 PM (#4740032)
Article I saw said it was a LD. Maybe it didn't clear by much, but was apparently well hit - think Ortiz' slam in last year's LCS.
   49. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: June 30, 2014 at 04:48 PM (#4740144)
Article I saw said it was a LD. Maybe it didn't clear by much, but was apparently well hit - think Ortiz' slam in last year's LCS.


Definitely not hit that hard. The grand slam was a rocket, Napoli's was more line drive than fly ball but was certainly not anything memorable.
   50. Bhaakon Posted: June 30, 2014 at 08:29 PM (#4740361)
Love the people here who think they know more about pitch selection than Tanaka does.

Laughable.


Napoli's thought it was foolish, and he's been playing baseball longer than Tanaka has, most of that time as a catcher. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that he knows a thing or two about pitch selection (not that I think it's a particularly complicated science).
   51. Smiling Joe Hesketh Posted: July 01, 2014 at 09:32 AM (#4740555)
On any level, in soccer or baseball, I've really never seen an athlete say that about someone they have no beef with. It's just a weird thing to say.

You need to play more sports then. Even in my horrifically unskilled soccer leagues, this stuff happens all the time. A defender let me go and the keeper made a terrible decision on a corner kick and I got the easiest goal I'll ever score; Stephen Hawking could have put that ball in. I went over to the bench and laughed with my teammates (not in front of the opposition) and said "Can't imagine what they were thinking." It was self-deprecating, like Napoli's comment was. He knew if he got the splitter he was striking out on it.

Napoli is basically saying the same thing, in the heat of the moment after putting his team up late in a badly-needed game. He's not getting in Tanaka's face about it. My guess is that this stuff happens in pretty much every game in MLB throughout the season. There's just usually not a camera there.

TL;DR version: people who got offended by this need to be offended more often. I mean really.

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