Although I am on Twitter, obviously, I’m old, so I remember the days before everyone felt the need to let their brain vomit onto the internet (yes, I realize the irony). Since one of the guiding rules in my life is “just because you invite me to the argument doesn’t mean I have to attend,” I don’t engage in Twitter slap fights. But there are many times when I read something on Twitter and think, “every time I think Twitter can’t get any dumber, someone goes and totally redeems that.” After the Giants’ sweep of the Pirates yesterday, that was one of the times. When I hopped on this morning, I saw that Pirates play-by-play guy Greg Brown was trending. Since I’ve learned no one trends for good things, I checked it out.
Apparently people believe Brown’s a racist because he got on Oneil Cruz for flubbing a routine pop-up but not on Josh Vanmeter’s error in the ninth that facilitated the Giants’ walkoff win.
As the kids say, LOL, whut?
When was the last time you heard VanMeter being referred to as a “special player?” Vanmeter has never been anything other than a placeholder, a backup. I believe Ben Cherington’s plan for the 2022 season was to start bringing up the kids and see what happened. And a lot of the kids showed that they’re not quite ready for prime time. And VanMeter can play multiple infield positions and occasionally the outfield. His hitting leaves a lot to be desired, but that can be said about just about the whole lineup.
So why didn’t VanMeter get DFA’d like Yoshi Tsutsugo? Youth and versatility in the infield. I believe Cherington was looking to get something for Vanmeter. No one came calling, so here he stays because he’s better than nothing (insert joke here).
Which brings me to Cruz, yes, who can hit the sexy missiles and throw a hundred miles an hour, but who routinely swings for the fences on pitches in the dirt and can’t be depended upon to make routine plays. But when one is routinely referred to as a special player, a little bit more is expected (this is also an issue with Ke’Bryan Hayes, but one issue at a time). I don’t envy Brown his job. It’s hard to stay positive about a losing team. I remember towards the end of the 2019 season remarking to my husband that Brown and Walk seemed to have just given up trying to put any sort of good spin on things. So yes, they might seize on positivity a little too hard sometimes. Kevin Newman also played a part in the flub (which was later credited as a base hit because “swirling winds”) by not definitively calling for the ball. But still, guys who get hyped as much as Cruz has should get taken to task for not doing the routine things.
As I wrote a couple of weeks ago, coaching or lack thereof is by far the Pirates’ biggest problem. I truly believe that the players like playing for Derek Shelton, but he made his bones as a hitting coach, and when someone like Bryan Reynolds regresses, that’s an issue too. I’d also point out that although he supposedly signed a four-year contract, there hasn’t been much sign of progress. I think his underlings will go before he does though. Andy Haines is much more on the hot seat than Shelty at this point, but no one’s job is ever guaranteed.
No, Cherington won’t be on the hot seat just yet, but as I’ve also written before his strength lies in development. And Major Leaguers still need some. He’s the captain of the Pirate Ship, and it’s time to get some new swabbies, particularly on this hitting side.
But calling Brown a racist about this is absolutely ridiculous (BTW, I also learned he’s a racist because he occasionally slips and calls a team that just changed its name this year the name they were known by for over a hundred years). I just heard frustration—as I’ve been hearing from Pirates fans all season.