Friday, May 11, 2012

Blake Griffin & Bryce Harper: New School athletes facing Old School rules by Greg Gee with bharv

Too many New School athletes are mental softies. They are soft as Twinkies. This growing list includes:

  • Athletes criticizing Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels for intentionally hitting Washington Nationals Bryce Harper.
  •  Los Angeles Clipper Blake Griffin for complaining about hard fouls on him.
First, let me unequivocally state, I believe in and support player safety but in each above example neither athlete was in harms way -- it was just professional athletes enforcing unwritten sports codes. I will explain.

Cole Hammels plunks Bryce Harper:

Ever walked into a stuffy, stale room? That's what MLB baseball has become over the years with it's play and boring personalities. I welcomed Hamels honesty on why he hit the19 year old rookie:

"I was trying to hit him. It's something that I grew up watching , so I'm just trying to continue the old baseball."

Hamels hit the rookie because by some accounts, Harper is acting like a superstar before he has paid any dues. The Phillies pitchers believed he was enforcing one of baseball's unwritten rules which is understood by managers, players and umpires. Now he did break with traditional by admitting it, so next time Cole, take the fifth.

But my overall feel for this situation is: Ahhhhh(with a smile)...a breath of fresh air...not the statement but the act of pitching inside/purposely hitting a batter. I know agreeing with old baseball seems contradictory to the stale statement but the incident reminded me of how pitching inside and purposely hitting batters was a strategy that has been taken away from MLB.

Pitching inside use to be a mental toughness game -- or chess match -- that the pitcher and batter played. (After hitting a home run, it use to be customary for the pitcher to come inside hard on the batter's next at-bat.) The pitcher is trying to place doubt (and fear) in the batter. And if he disrupts or intimidates the batter in this process, the pitcher wins....

On the other hand, if the batter patiently waits for his pitch enduring the inside heat, batter wins. The at-bat was a battle of wills between pitcher-batter --  but of lately -- it has been reduced to Tee ball of "...let's be nice to on another."

Why? Because the batter may get hurt....waa, waaa, waa.... (cue the whining childish voice). Former Phillies reliver Al Holland once told me that all was fair as long as the pitcher did not aim for the head or below the knees to injury a player. He also emphatically stated that no player's career was cut short by an  intentional bean ball.

Human highlight Blake Griffin and hard fouls:

In the case of Griffin, he is complaining about hard fouls, again:

“I’m definitely sick of taking hard hits,” Griffin said after the Clippers’ shootaround Monday. “…There’s a point, I can’t remember what game it was, in my mind where I thought this is kind of ridiculous. I’m sick of it, but it’s going to keep on happening...You got fouled like that, and a lot of times, it doesn’t get called. That’s frustrating. source

Once more, cue the wailing baby. For starters, I believe most of the so-called hard fouls are players grabbing and preventing him from creating an ESPN play of the day highlight. To borrow an old school phrase, they don't want to be posterized.

My two cents to Blake:

Blake, you have earned a reputation of not only delivering high flying, jaw dropping monster dunks but high flying, jaw dropping physically EMBARRASSING moments (that go viral) for defenders -- remember Kendrick Perkings and Pau Gasol. Then you "add insult to injury" by giving the defender a quick in your face stare down.

Now Mr Griffin, I've never played professional sports but I do know the competitive nature in me would retaliate by being more physical and do my best to outplay you. So if I had this pride on a high school level, what would you expect from professionals who has made the ESPN top 10 for being dunked on?

So my friend here are some suggestions to stop opponents from making unnecessary hard fouls:

  1. Make Higher Percentage of Free Throws--52% from the foul line doesn't cut it...poor foul shooter vs  high flying dunker -- you do the math -- they will send you to the line every chance they get until you can consistently hit your foul shots.
  2. Stop the after the dunk stare -- self-explanatory.
  3.  Develop a Signature Move(s)-- the more ways you can score, the less opportunities for intentional fouls will occur. You are a beast but your game is so one dimensional -- add more finesse (i.e. better footwork) and stop relying on pure athletic ability (i.e jump over some one)  to score.
 I like your game -- and lord knows you are an exciting and dynamic player to watch-- but please, know that what your doing will cause retaliation. But most importantly, to Blake and this generation of athletes, man up. Please.

No comments:

Post a Comment