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When "annoying" is a compliment

I wrote an awkward, uninformed post more than seven years ago here about 10 players at the time who I wished were Dodgers.

Out of those 10 players, four of the top five listed did eventually play for the Dodgers. The results weren't great for most of those guys who were once so desirous, namely Jim Thome, Josh Beckett and Jimmy Rollins. As a result, I'm a little less of a fan (although Thome can't be blamed).

There is one of player on that list, though, who I still like quite a bit. Perhaps more now than ever. And that player is the "annoying" Chase Utley.

Utley is "annoying" or perhaps even "evil" in the eyes of Mets fans, who were tormented by that player long before his slide into Ruben Tejada last postseason. He's made things miserable for Mets followers and done it with barely the hint of recognition, which I absolutely love. Those two home runs and the grand slam after Noah Syndergaard threw behind him (you can pretend that wasn't intent but you're just fooling yourself) was the highlight of my weekend, and keep in mind I discovered 1972 high numbers at a surprise card show last weekend.

Utley simply plays baseball well. And there is nothing I see in his game that's worth a complaint, certainly not the whining I've heard for the last six months. I definitely don't see anything in his game worth legislating. And I think a few people are seeing where "the Utley rule" is getting baseball. It's another "unforseen circumstances" piece of ordinance from the Let's Be Nice Cops of MLB.

Mets fans complained how annoying Utley was over the weekend and I laughed. The guy does absolutely nothing annoying except beat those fans' team. Utley wins games and starts rallies (as seen in last night's game against the Cubs). And he has gray hair, so you can't even call him a punk.

"Annoying" is a compliment when it comes from the opposition. Think of the players who fans of New York teams have complained about the most: Tom Brady, Pedro Martinez, Chipper Jones, David Ortiz, Reggie Miller, Michael Jordan. What do they all have in common? They're insanely talented, insanely good at their craft and insanely successful. If "annoying" is what it takes to be that successful, I'll be happy to irk a few people with my skill. Because these guys aren't going out and killing zoo gorillas (even Brady's "crime" is pretty lame and I don't even like the guy). They're simply beating the teams New Yorkers like. Repeatedly.

It feels pretty good to have an "annoying" guy on your favorite team. And when I view it this way, I can see it from the other side. There are certain players who I find very annoying, simply by what they do on the field (not their personalities or how they act, that's a different category). Matt Carpenter of the Cardinals and Hunter Pence of the Giants are exhibits A and B. Completely irksome. But they do very well -- for whoever is misguided enough to root for the Cardinals and the Giants.

For me, Utley is only annoying in the fact that it took me so long to obtain his 2016 Heritage card.

It arrived a week or two ago from The Underdog Card Collector in one of those Supertrader deals (technically it's not a deal yet as I haven't sent anything back).

The Underdog combed my 2016 wants and came up with several more Heritage cards to go with Mad Sliding Utley.

I admit Arrieta's a little annoying although the Dodgers broke his streak yesterday. Greinke could be annoying but he's giving up nearly 5 runs a game so I can't get too mad.

These cards give me all the Dodgers I need except for the Clayton Kershaw shortprint. And, yeah, that's a lot annoying, Topps.

Zack wandered into flagship territory to find another annoying player that I collect. Puig gets on people's nerves for other things besides beating the opponent. But I still like him.

This is a Berger's Best card, which is flat out annoying and it doesn't have anything to do with being good. It's just a crap insert.

The final card here is not a Dodger or anything I had on my want list. But I appreciate it, particularly for this post. Marvin Miller made himself famous by being annoying. Annoying owners. Annoying fans. Even annoying some players. He annoyed just about anyone with a job in baseball. But a lot of good came out of being annoying.

"Annoying" can come in handy in my job, too. "Annoying" sometimes has its purposes, sometimes is a means to an end, and sometimes means you're just good.

He's a world f---ing champion, you know.


Stubby said…
Tom Brady is a proven cheater. I've never had a bad word to say about the rest on your list. I've actively cheered Jordan. Love Big Papi, and, sure, I enjoyed taunting Chipper with chants of "Larry", but that's just fun stuff you do when you're a fan. Utley is not "insanely talented". He is not "annoying". He is Satan incarnate and there is no place in the game for the likes of him. He's a POS and always was and always will be a POS. Break a guy's leg with a filthy dirty slide and its "Hey, no big deal. He's playing the game the right way" Throw a ball 18 miles behind him and its an instant ejection because, oh my god, that was intent to injure someone. Proves what I've always known. The Dodgers are Bush. They can dish it but they can't take it. I hope Utley rots in hell. And all his "fans" with him.
night owl said…
Well, that was objective.
Angus said…
Utley? No comment.
JediJeff said…
The next time the Mets face the Dodgers and Noah faces Utley, he just needs to hit him. It was a BS that he got instant toss for throwing behind him. Sure, Noah did what was expected - he had every right to and it's the unwritten rule you hit a guy when your guy gets hit, knowing you may get the heave ho. But next time, get your monies worth and drill him. Don't throw at his head - that's bush league crap. Let him know he has a debt to pay. And if Utley comes back with a couple dingers after getting plunked, good for Utley.

All that being said, NO - you seem to support Utley and his actions. He "plays the game hard", even when that hard play causes an injury. I think most people would be okay if he showed any remorse for his actions. They guy's leg didn't break by itself. It was hard. Too hard.

But because he was wearing your precious Dodger blue, you seem to be giving him a break.

Let's go back a couple years. 2013. I am sure just the mention of that year will bring up what I'm going to talk about: Greinke vs. Quentin. When the tables were turned, you let your feelings fly time and time again about Quentin:

I'll stop there. I am sure there are a few more. It appears, in your mind, when your Dodgers are on the giving end, it's a good play or "definitely [nothing] worth legislating".

But on the receiving end, someone is deluded, an idiot, and thuggish.

If you have LA on you hat and you injure someone in the flow of play, whether or not it's too aggressive, you are a good ball player. If you have LA on your hat and you get injured, no matter how aggressive the Dodger was, the other player is a "Dim Bulb".
night owl said…
You sure went out of your way to dig up ... well, I don't know what you dug up, because you're not proving anything. In fact, what the fuck are you talking about?

Carlos Quentin and Chase Utley are not the same thing. At least not in my eyes. I was pissed off at Carlos Quentin for charging the mound. That is not the same thing as a rough slide. That may cause eye rolls from the the Slide Police, but the two things are different to me (and a lot of people). Charging the mound is not anything that should be part of the game. I was upset because he caused injury by doing something that isn't a part of the game, in a fit of anger that wasn't even warranted. A slide is part of the game and even a hard/late slide has been part of the game all the way up until they made a rule about it.

If a player from another team slid into the Dodger second baseman and injured him, yeah, I'd yell about it. But I certainly wouldn't yell six months about it. I wouldn't yell six months about it after my team ended up winning the series anyway and went to the World Series. I certainly wouldn't want a RULE made about it. That is First Degree Whining, it's bullshit, goddamn annoying, and there's no way I'd do that if Ruben Tejada was a Dodger and was injured by a slide. It's too bad he got hurt. That doesn't ring sincere, but I don't know how else to say it. Baseball is a tough sport. Sports are tough. Things happen. To have someone call someone a Piece Of Shit because they play the game of baseball the way a lot of people have played the game of baseball says more about that person than the player.

Syndergaard was throwing at Utley when he threw behind him. Yeah, he should have hit him. He didn't, but he was throwing at him. I really don't care whether Syndergaard wanted to hit Utley. I expected it. Most people do. The "you can dish it out but you can't take it" bit that is being thrown at me is a huge pile of shit. I wasn't screaming for Syndergaard to get thrown out. The ump threw him out before I knew what was happening. Sure, I'm happy Syndergaard is out of the game. I'm a Dodgers fan. But I wasn't screaming for him to be thrown out. I was just happy the ump did it.

You haven't proven your point, all you've proven is you really want to prove me wrong for whatever weird reason. And Stubby has proven himself an over-the-top Mets fan. God love him. But he's way too angry for someone who's team ended up going to the World Series and having getting MLB to make a rule about the play. The Mets got their way. Be happy about it. Also, I used the word "annoying" because I read and heard several fans describe Utley that way. I didn't make it up. It came from Mets fans.

Carlos Quentin is still an ass. And it doesn't have to do with him hurting Greinke. ... Well, it does, but I'd call him an ass if he did it to any other pitcher, too. It has to do with Quentin being an idiot.

You think you know me. You don't know me.
Tony L. said…
There are some players who are annoying and are just annoying.

Steve Wojciechowski, at Duke, was nothing but annoying.
Stubby said…
You don't know me either, NO. You call me an over-the-top Mets fan, and I'll wear that proudly. But I'm consistent. I am likely the only Mets fan in the known universe who wasn't a big fan of the '86 team. I hated those guys (not all of them, but a lot). Why? Because they were bullies and assholes and I don't appreciate that behavior in the game from anyone--my team or not. I was just as angry at Ray Knight for the Punk-ass shit he pulled as a Met as I am at Utley. Sliding hard into second base is part of the game. Doing a purposeful roll-block into the fielder with no intent to reach the base (in fact, Utley's "slide" didn't start until he was beyond the base) but a very real intent to "take him out"--an intent to injure--is NOT. And to quote you, "you can pretend that wasn't intent but you're just fooling yourself". That's Punk-ass bush league crap. And to make matters worse, the umpires not only didn't call him out, they awarded the thug an extra base, to which he had no right and never would have reached in any universe. I didn't ask or call for an Utley rule. I just wanted the criminal to serve his time. Two days seemed pretty cheap to me, but it was something. But because Torre is such a POS, himself, with a pro-Dodger bias (let's face it, the only blight on Torre's career was his time with the Mets; he hates the Mets), even that token "punishment" was quietly dropped. And that's the frustration. Utley committed a crime, but didn't do any time. It's baseball that said he should be suspended for it. But they didn't even wait for an appeal. They just dropped the whole fucking thing. Except they keep making the Mets pay for Utley's crime. Thor has damn good control. He had no intent to hit Utley with that pitch. It wasn't anywhere near him. Believe me, if Thor wanted to hit Utley, Utley would have been well and truly hit. It wasn't even a message pitch--that would have been inside, not behind him. It was a calling card. His "intent" was nothing more than to say "we haven't forgotten". But you go ahead and keep defending that piece of crap Utley. What goes around comes around. Maybe next time, he isn't facing off against a pitcher with a conscience. You know, sure as shit, that Gibson or Koufax would have parked that pitch right in Utley's ear. Or maybe they'll take out Kershaw instead. That's playing the game the right way, right? Just good hard-nosed baseball.
JediJeff said…
What I dug up were times you called Quentin names. And I never said that Quentin was right. My point was that you let Greinke have a pass when he started it. Hey - Quentin knocked him out of the game for a while. Not in the run of play - okay. But maybe if the pitcher didn't continue to throw at him, especially when he wasn't crowding the plate, things would have been different.

BTW - Utley violated a rule that existed BEFORE his actions:

Rule 5.09 (a) (13) Comment: The objective of this rule is to penalize the offensive team for deliberate, unwarranted, unsportsmanlike action by the runner in leaving the baseline for the obvious purpose of crashing the pivot man on a double play, rather than trying to reach the base. Obviously this is an umpire's judgment play.

If you look at the video, Utley makes no attempt to contact the base. Certainly not with is feet but with no attempt by his hand either, with is well in reach of the plate. His slide was intended to take out the defensive player, making no attempt to reach the base. That is interference, plain and simple.

And the rule change was made to clarify the wording. It did not take the play out of the game. Just made the runner being forced out to show intent to get to the base. It would be like a batter making contact and then running straight towards the mound to initiate contact with the pitcher, and then going to first. That it obviously zero attempt to run out the batted ball but every intent to make contact with the pitcher.

Hey - the new Utley rule is not perfect. No rule change ever is. But no one should lose days, weeks months or even an entire career because someone was just "playing hard baseball - old school".

"Charging the mound is not anything that should be part of the game."

So just to be clear, all these times, the charger would be a member of the Dim Bulb club, correct. And no - they are not all Dodgers. I threw in a couple of my White Sox as well: (both sides)
night owl said…
The Mets won the series and they got a rule made in their honor. Anything after that is whining. And that was a message pitch. You can believe whatever you want, which you clearly plan to do.
night owl said…
Not excusing Utley, but many players have done what he did and there was not nearly the vitriol and definitely no rule. It looks uglier because Tejada did a spin move, in order for him to have a better shot at a double play, that also made him more vulnerable. And it turned out uglier because of the injury.

I don't believe in charging the mound in almost any instance, so it doesn't matter who is those videos. They're wrong and they shouldn't do it, and if there's anything you want to make a rule against, it's that.

Quentin stupidly thought Greinke was throwing at him during a situation when no one would be throwing at anyone (one-run game, 3-2 count, first batter of the 6th inning, no one on base). And he decided to take matters in his own hands about something that wasn't even correct. That is more offensive to me than anything Utley did. It's vigilante garbage and putting yourself first in a team game. People can believe Syndergaard wasn't throwing at/or sending a message to Utley. I can insist that Greinke wasn't throwing at Quentin forever.
AdamE said…
Wow, seems you hit some nerves.

I know it is totally separate (sort of, there was a 2nd bas play but that wasn't really the cause) but I didn't see your take on the Jays and Rangers.

My take on it is (and I have not seen this anywhere else so I may be alone on this) the whole situation was MLBs fault. The players/managers did a good job of disaplening themselves for 100 years. In years past Batista would have got plunked for his horrendous bat flip and it would have been over after the first game this year. Instead MLB had tried to eliminate the intentional plunk and it carried over until there was a fight.
night owl said…
I'm with you. MLB listened to the yellers and whiners and now there's a mess.

And I hit nerves with 2 people. There are bunch of people on Twitter who either agree with me or yucking it up over the reaction. I actually don't really care that much other than having an opinion. But 2 people obviously are bent out of shape for reasons I don't want to know.
carlsonjok said…
Well, I am no fan of Utley, but I will tick you off in a totally new and unique way. If you want to talk about the best performance by a position player after being thrown at, you can't beat A-Rod taking Ryan Dempster downtown after an intentional HBP.
Robert said…
Wonder if he thinks the same about Chris Coghlan??
Robert said…
Some of these lengthy replies would have been great as blog posts. Truly.

I would have loved to have seen what folks thought about the cards that you got....
Fuji said…
Love me some crappy inserts. Gotta get me one of those Berger's Best 56T Robinsons.
ned said…
this is funny shit at least it would be if it wasn't so sad
followed the link here... and I can't believe the comments about Utley playing the game as it was supposed to be played. This whole culture is getting more and more pussified ie. participation trophies,bizzare giant mushroom helmets on kids riding bicycles,and the horror of bullying!!!! to many kids brought up playing softball and for fucks sake!.. maybe these people would enjoy the tutu ballerina league of Transgenered nerf ball?