The End Of Yuniesky Betancourt

Dave · June 10, 2009 at 7:12 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Ronny Cedeno played shortstop for the Mariners again last night. That’s four games in a row with a couple of off days thrown in. Add it all up, and Yuniesky Betancourt hasn’t been in the line-up in a week. And this time, it’s not an ultimatum with an opportunity attached – the Mariners are ready to pull the plug on the guy. LaRue’s got the good quotes:

Betancourt, who has had meetings with his manager and coaches all season, insists he’s doing nothing different now than ever.

“I’ve been doing the same routine for years,” Betancourt said. “I can’t control the lineup. I’m doing whatever I’ve done in the past.”

That, of course, may well be the issue. Betancourt has never been a hard worker, and the past four days have not served him well.

Since being out of the lineup, his teammates say, Betancourt has not taken a single ground ball.

And Monday, when 12 position players showed up for early batting practice, Betancourt was not among them.

“I was asleep on the plane when they announced that,” Betancourt said.

Clearly, this management group – from general manager Jack Zduriencik to Wakamatsu and his coaches – have had enough of half-assed workouts and a failure to adjust.

The simple truth is, Betancourt has minor league options left, and one plan is to send him down and tell him he won’t be back until he shows his work ethic has changed.

“You can’t play a guy who doesn’t work hard on a team where everyone else busts their ass,” one Mariner said. “I don’t know why this never happened before, but no one in this clubhouse has any doubts about why it’s happened now.”

Well, no one but Yuni.

We’ve all watched first hand as Yuni has regressed from an athletic young player into a complete waste of space and time. His lack of hard work is nothing new – even after an offseason where he trained with Raul Ibanez, he showed up to camp as the same rotund non-athlete that he was at the end of last year. He’s getting worse at every facet of the game, and at this point, he’s not a major league player.

We’ve all had enough, and so have the M’s. If Betancourt wants to actually put in a little bit of effort to live up to the abilities he was born with, great. But he needs to do that in Tacoma, and earn his way back to the major leagues by showing that he cares enough to make himself into a guy who deserves to be here. If that never happens, so be it – I’m perfectly happy never having to watch him play baseball again.

Comments

114 Responses to “The End Of Yuniesky Betancourt”

  1. Carson on June 10th, 2009 7:17 am

    He’s just so damn lazy and apathetic. He obviously still doesn’t get it. Maybe going to a new team and being dropped to AA or something will help. I doubt it, though.

    It’s too bad really, because anyone escaping that island should end as a good story.

  2. idahowriter on June 10th, 2009 7:18 am

    Finally.

  3. jimmylauderdale on June 10th, 2009 7:23 am

    So, what is the next course of action taken with him? Is he sent to AAA? Is there a team out there willing to take a shot on him? I imagine that any trade would have to involve either money going with Yuni to cover at least part of the contract, only a non-prospect coming back in return, or a similarly flawed player with a relatively equal contract coming as a return from the other team. Who knows, though. Perhaps Zduriencik is able too accomplish something worthwhile in regards to this situation.

  4. themedia on June 10th, 2009 7:37 am

    I like the emphatic finale of this post. Booya!

  5. Utis on June 10th, 2009 7:49 am

    I find all the outrage and comments about Betancourt’s character and work ethic disconcerting. I thought we didn’t care about such intangibles. The only problem with Betancourt is that he can’t field and he can’t hit. Guess what? Cedeno can’t hit either. Hard to believe Bloomquist would be an upgrade at SS on this team. At least he has the work ethic.

    In yesterday’s draft, it was obvious that the Mariners are drafting for character. Is that a good thing?

    There is no reason to hate Betancaourt more than any other player who has failed. Why do people seem to have more contempt for Yuni than they did for Rich Aurilia. Is it because he hasn’t lived up to expectations?

    Like Morrow, Yuni needs to go down to AAA and find his game. Jose Contreras, to name another Cuban player who struggled, just did that for the White Sox. Yuni may never regain his form. If that’s the case, I’ll wish him well and thank him for the memories. He did make some amazing plays at short.

  6. beef on June 10th, 2009 7:53 am

    Taking extra (or any for that matter) fielding and batting practice are not intangibles. It’s called repetition/practice to get better at the things you are supposed to be able to do as a major league player

  7. Soonerman22 on June 10th, 2009 7:53 am

    I have no issues with the Mariners sending him down. I know it isn’t my money, but I am fine with buying out the rest of his contract. This all being said now that we finally got rid of Yuni, what do we do now?

    Cedeno isn’t that answer and neither is Woodward. Carlos Triunfel has a broken leg.

    Mike Morse? He doesn’t have much range and would be a stop gap, but his bat is way better then Yuni.

    Am I missing someone else in the system the Mariners could use?

  8. Russ on June 10th, 2009 7:57 am

    In yesterday’s draft, it was obvious that the Mariners are drafting for character. Is that a good thing?

    My take on the draft was that they were taking players with tools and ability. I didn’t see anything in the news reports that would indicate character was a factor in any of the picks. Perhaps you read something that should be shared?

  9. Jeff Nye on June 10th, 2009 7:59 am

    In yesterday’s draft, it was obvious that the Mariners are drafting for character. Is that a good thing?

    Really? That’s what you took away from yesterday’s draft picks?

  10. Soonerman22 on June 10th, 2009 8:02 am

    This might get me booted from the chat but…

    Think we could trade him for a dozen Louisville Sluggers?

  11. wrob4343 on June 10th, 2009 8:03 am

    If the trigger really is pulled on this, I think the two best days of this season were yesterday and today. Yuni doesn’t get it, but maybe he got his attitude from that selfish right fielder that everybody on the team hates?

  12. Dave on June 10th, 2009 8:04 am

    I thought we didn’t care about such intangibles.

    There’s a huge difference between making statements like “you can’t predict chemistry, therefore don’t try” and “we don’t care about work ethic”. We’re not anti-intangible – we’re anti-things-that-aren’t-predictive-of-future-events. Being a good teammate, making jokes, that good clubhouse character stuff is totally different than being unwilling to stay in shape or improve your ability.

    Betancourt is a massive waste of talent. He’s not a guy who just wasn’t good enough to play in the majors – he was a good major league player as little as two years ago, and he’s pissed it away.

  13. The Ancient Mariner on June 10th, 2009 8:05 am

    I find all the outrage and comments about Betancourt’s character and work ethic disconcerting. I thought we didn’t care about such intangibles.

    Then all I can say is that you haven’t been reading this blog very closely. Not being willing to say that someone’s a great ballplayer because they have great grit when they clearly don’t have talent doesn’t equate to thinking that character and work ethic are irrelevant. Character and work ethic play a significant part in translating talent into results. You might think of Yuni as Bloomquist’s evil twin — one has character and work ethic, one has ability, both have tended to be overrated by people who see what they have and dismiss what they lack. At this point, it looks like Bloomquist has more ability than Yuni has willingness to work, so I guess that’s advantage to Willie — but neither’s ever likely to be an all-star.

  14. idahowriter on June 10th, 2009 8:07 am

    I, for one, don’t hate Yuni. He just doesn’t deserve a roster spot on a big league club right now. If he gets his shit together in Tacoma, sweet. If not, he has no one to blame but himself.

    And I do not see that the M’s drafted for character yesterday. They drafted for realistic baseball skills within a budget.

  15. jro on June 10th, 2009 8:11 am

    I like LaRue’s summation in another post:

    The message here isn’t just for Betancourt – it’s for the entire roster, the whole organization. And it’s simple.

    Do what we ask, the way we teach it, or someone else will get your playing time. Someone who listens.

    Too bad you don’t understand, Yuni. Maybe when you’re sitting in Tacoma and watching others get promoted to get a try at shortstop, you’ll give this more than a passing thought.

  16. msb on June 10th, 2009 8:16 am

    Not long after her blog post noting Betancourt’s absence from early BP went up yesterday, Drayer was on 710 and pointed out that over the last three years various coaches and players have been designated as Yuni-butt-kickers, all to no avail. She added that on Sunday you could see Sweeney (fluent in Spanish) standing at the rail next to Yuni, talking to him for several innings … for all the good it did.

  17. CMC_Stags on June 10th, 2009 8:18 am

    Am I missing someone else in the system the Mariners could use?

    Nope. The system is pretty barren @ SS. Morse is horrible defensively at SS (-27.1 UZR/150 in a pretty limited sample) but that was in 2005 when he was a bit slimmer.

    Woodward’s hitting fairly well in Tacoma, .303/.381/.4oo, but that is based on a .363 BABIP which is unsustainable for him.

    Barring a trade, the best the M’s could do right now is call up Woodward as the new utility player and keep Cedeno at SS.

    Is it too early to look at the free agent SS market for this off-season? Jack Wilson, Tejada, Crosby? Someone will be needed at least through 2011.

  18. Spanky on June 10th, 2009 8:20 am

    Is Yuni really 27 years old? Appears to be more like a declining 30 something player. Diminishing range. Slowing bat. Typical declining skills for an older player…except the walks.

  19. Mike Snow on June 10th, 2009 8:22 am

    Yuni doesn’t get it, but maybe he got his attitude from that selfish right fielder that everybody on the team hates?

    That must be it, because the other guy you never see doing any extra work is Ichiro.

  20. Dennisss on June 10th, 2009 8:24 am

    I’ve been doing the same routine for years.

    And it hasn’t been working, so why change? That’s just classic.

  21. Wolfman on June 10th, 2009 8:37 am

    I never liked the way Yuni just kind of smirked when he messed up. He just hasn’t looked to me like he cared. I think that’s why everybody is so frustrated with him. He has all the talent in the world and has done nothing with it lately. Too bad.

    I do like the message this sends to the rest of the team. If I was a Mariner right now I’d be working my tail off. Couldn’t hurt for these guys to be taking extra batting practice. Lord knows they need it.

    I didn’t know Wilson, Tejada, and Crosby were out there. Might be worth a shot to nab one and see what he can do. We were deep at SS in the system not that long ago. What on earth happened???

  22. The Ancient Mariner on June 10th, 2009 8:45 am

    We were deep at SS in the system not that long ago. What on earth happened???

    We took it for granted. That’s how you wind up dealing your top SS prospect for a platoon DH who broke in sometime in the Cretaceous period.

  23. JerBear on June 10th, 2009 8:50 am

    Wow… This has been a good couple of days.

  24. gwangung on June 10th, 2009 9:07 am

    “You can’t play a guy who doesn’t work hard on a team where everyone else busts their ass,” one Mariner said. “I don’t know why this never happened before, but no one in this clubhouse has any doubts about why it’s happened now.”

    Sounds like one of the new guys; holdovers from last year would state it differently.

  25. Red Apple on June 10th, 2009 9:13 am

    Morrow wants to be a starter again…management being fed up with Yuni and doing something about it…and a draft that most of us feel good about. What a fine couple of days!

  26. DMZ on June 10th, 2009 9:16 am

    “Yuni always seemed like a hard worker to me.” — Carlos Silva

  27. DMZ on June 10th, 2009 9:18 am

    How Yuni looks when he messes up is not the issue. I could (and you should) not care how players react visibly. It’s like the whole “how does a player take a loss” thing, where if you’re not sufficiently angry or sullen you’re not considered a gamer. There are plenty of even-keeled players with tremendous work ethics, and emotional ones who don’t.

    The issue isn’t that Yuni smiles, it’s that he’s not good and hasn’t done anything about it.

  28. Grizz on June 10th, 2009 9:21 am

    Not only does Yuni have a minor league option left, he has two options left. As a player with less than 5 years of service time, he cannot refuse the option. So if the M’s really wanted to punish him, they could keep in the minors for two years.

    But as a player with more than 3 years of service time, the M’s apparently would have to put him through waivers before they could option him down to the minors. (A BP Guide to Transactions article by Thomas Gorman from 2006 cites MLR 10(e)(2)(B) as the applicable rule — pay site, so no link.) Yuni is guaranteed $9 million after this season ($3m for 2010, $4m for 2011, $2m buyout for 2012), so any team claiming him would have to assume his salary obligations.

    Would he clear waivers? Or would he be wearing Royals blue a week later?

    My guess: I hope he likes the Tacoma Applebee’s.

  29. joser on June 10th, 2009 9:23 am

    We took it for granted. That’s how you wind up dealing your top SS prospect for a platoon DH who broke in sometime in the Cretaceous period.

    Of course, that prospect is sitting on the bench in Cleveland right now with a shoulder injury that put him on the 15 day DL. But, yeah, Bavasi pissed away Choo and Asdrubal for basically nothing. That’s why having a glut of anything (like, say, good-hitting LH outfielder prospects) is not really a problem.

    FWIW, at the Seattle Library gathering (does that thing have an “official” name) McNamara said that when they’re looking at kids to draft one of the things they strongly value is “makeup,” which is distinct from “character” and something Yuni appears to not have in any particular abundance.

    BTW, Zduriencik was on the post-game show yesterday talking about the draft (and Yuni). I don’t think they have a podcast of it at 710 (at least not yet), but you can read Drayer’s summary of that interview where he talks about their philosophy.

  30. wrob4343 on June 10th, 2009 9:24 am

    That must be it, because the other guy you never see doing any extra work is Ichiro.

    I think somehow sarcasm doesn’t read well on this site unless its DMZ, so let me clear it up.

    Yeah, his extra work is so self-serving. Yuni knows what he is and isn’t trying to surprise the team with any inkling of extra ability that effort gives. His consistency is unrivaled. That Ichiro on the other hand is only concerned with being the best player and a leader by example. What a jackass.

  31. rmac1973 on June 10th, 2009 9:31 am

    “I was asleep on the plane when they announced that,” Betancourt said.

    If there was a more apropos statement by the young shortstop, I missed it.

  32. Utis on June 10th, 2009 9:31 am

    Baseball history has lots of guys (e.g. David Wells) who had terrible work ethic but did OK. Perhaps they did not make the most of their talents but why should that be a reason for opprobrium?

    In all walks of life there are people who don’t have to work as hard as others at their craft. There are others, whose single mindedness allows them to rise above their talent level. It seems that a big reason some of you hate Yuni is because of wasted potential. By all means, send him to AAA but don’t kick the man while he is down.

    Can you imagine what Griffey could have done if he had Ichiro’s work ethic? It is useless to speculate since they are two different people.

    I cringe every time I hear the word “lazy” or “stupid” used to describe players and people. In the past, it has been used to exclude people based on cultural and personal differences.

    Without hard evidence, assesments of character should be neither too complimentary nor too vituperative.

  33. rmac1973 on June 10th, 2009 9:33 am

    Would he clear waivers? Or would he be wearing Royals blue a week later?

    Is there honestly a team out there intrigued by a weak-hitting shortstop that can’t field his position and shows little to no interest in improving?

    If so, let them have ‘im.

  34. Carson on June 10th, 2009 9:33 am

    That must be it, because the other guy you never see doing any extra work is Ichiro.

    That’s pretty cool. I hadn’t seen it before. I gather Yuni’s schedule goes something like:

    Noon-4pm Wake up, eat, watch TV, nap.

    5-7pm Visit clubhouse buffet, stand around watching all the silly players get work in.

    GAME TIME

    Lose concentration from smell of garlic fries filling nose while standing in the field. Swat at flies with bat while standing next to the guy dressed like a crab.

    9:55ish Expend more energy chasing Lopez after his game winning hit than the previous 10 hours combined.

    10pm Clubhouse buffet!

  35. Dave on June 10th, 2009 9:34 am

    We do not lack evidence of Betancourt’s remarkable laziness.

  36. Mike Snow on June 10th, 2009 9:34 am

    Would he clear waivers?

    If some other team wants to pay his contract, by all means let them.

  37. rmac1973 on June 10th, 2009 9:35 am

    opprobrium

    Word of the day, folks.

  38. rick m on June 10th, 2009 9:36 am

    Man, you look at Cedeno’s minor league stats and you just know there’s got to be a hitter lurking in that body somewhere – at least the caliber of a Jose Lopez.

  39. rmac1973 on June 10th, 2009 9:40 am

    rick,

    Agreed – Cedeno has shown some minor-league promise in 2005 and 2007 (at AAA Iowa) but has yet to be able to turn that into productivity at the MLB level. However, his defensive ceiling looks pretty low.

    Essentially, he looks like a Yuni-clone with a work ethic.

  40. Tek Jansen on June 10th, 2009 9:41 am

    I really like how Wakamatsu has handled Yuni. He gave him opportunities to succeed and put him in positions where he might be likely to succeed. When Yuni failed to adhere to the club’s philosophy and ethic, Wakamatsu made sure that Yuni and others knew that there were consequences for such behavior. This is a welcome change within the M’s organization.

  41. rmac1973 on June 10th, 2009 9:44 am

    Tek,

    With the exception of a few gaffes, I think Wak has done a pretty solid job in just about every aspect thus far.

    I’d like to see him get riled up sooner or later, but his even keel is one of his strong suits.

  42. gwangung on June 10th, 2009 9:56 am

    With the exception of a few gaffes, I think Wak has done a pretty solid job in just about every aspect thus far.

    That sounds like a good to great manager.

  43. wrob4343 on June 10th, 2009 10:03 am

    Man, you look at Cedeno’s minor league stats and you just know there’s got to be a hitter lurking in that body somewhere – at least the caliber of a Jose Lopez.

    Jose Lopez isn’t that good. Man do we need to aim higher as a fandom.

  44. Evan on June 10th, 2009 10:14 am

    “Yuni always seemed like a hard worker to me.” — Carlos Silva

    Never before have I honestly wanted to punch Carlos Silva in the face.

  45. Utis on June 10th, 2009 10:14 am

    We do not lack evidence of Betancourt’s remarkable laziness.

    That is not the point. Laziness is a cultural/value judgement. The question should be. Do we have evidence that Betancourt has/had any baseball talent? As many young people do, it is quite possible that he developed bad habits precisely because he had talent. As he ages his talent level alone may not be enough to keep him in the majors. He would not be the first or the last. Can he get back to at least replacement level through hard work? I don’t know. Should he try? It’s up to him. Calling him names does not seem helpful.

    BTW How recent is the evidence? Links? If it is relatively recent, then we may have an issue with causation. If it is from his whole career, then we probably have an issue with development in the organization.

  46. Tek Jansen on June 10th, 2009 10:21 am

    Yes, laziness is a value judgement, but Yuni’s documented actions meet any standard definition of laziness. Not meeting with coaches, not taking BP, not taking infield.

  47. GarForever on June 10th, 2009 10:26 am

    Can you imagine what Griffey could have done if he had Ichiro’s work ethic? It is useless to speculate since they are two different people.

    Utis,

    While it is true that such words as you cite in your post have been “code” in the past for uglier, unspoken sentiments, I really don’t think it’s the case here. And, even if Betancourt (for whom I once had very high hopes) is neither “lazy” nor “stupid,” the fact remains that he is apparently completely unteachable, and the M’s have tried just about every trick in the book to correct his flaws. (Sidebar: I do think the fact that he plays too close to 3B, where there is a Gold Glover who doesn’t need his help, and far away from 2B, where his teammate there could desperately use some cover — after having been repeatedly told not to do this — is at least evidence of a pretty low baseball IQ if not good ol’ fashioned, garden variety stupidity).

    As for Griffey, Wells, etc. Some guys may have the talent to get away with not doing as much work, but while no one has ever accused Junior of being particularly durable or outwardly serious, I am unaware of anyone ever suggesting he didn’t put in the time he needed to be the best player he could be. Also, I’m not sure what more the man would need to prove; 600+ career HRs when he lost more than two and a half seasons to injuries during his prime power years? Jeez. Tough room…

    Wells may have played out of shape most of his career, but again, he worked at his craft, and he was a very effective pitcher for it. If Yuni would do the same, he has the talent to be an above average MLB SS. LaRue’s blog makes it pretty clear that YuBet just…doesn’t…get..it.

  48. Dave on June 10th, 2009 10:39 am

    Do we have evidence that Betancourt has/had any baseball talent?

    Yes.

    Calling him names does not seem helpful.

    I didn’t call him names. I called him lazy.

    The sky is blue, Derek drinks beer, and Yuniesky Betancourt has the work ethic of a six year old. There’s no value judgments here – these are statement of facts.

    Your Wells example is ridiculous. Do you not realize that Betancourt’s lack of work ethic is the reason he’s no longer a major league player? Wells lack of work ethic had little to no beaering on his abilities as a pitcher. You can be fat and pitch. You can not be fat and play shortstop.

  49. pygmalion on June 10th, 2009 10:53 am

    Laziness is a cultural/value judgement.

    This is the kind of statement that I underline on papers that I grade with the comment “lazy.”

    The only thing here that even approximates a “value judgment” would be the judgment, “laziness is bad.” ‘Laziness,’ however, is a factual description of someone’s character, describing the person as being unwilling to do unpleasant or strenuous work even when it is apparent that it is necessary (or something along these lines). This is exactly how Yuni has behaved. He has willfully pissed away his baseball career.

    Why are we so annoyed with him? He has willfully made the Mariners a worse team. You know why people come to this blog? Because they care about the Mariners. What kind of reaction do you get from people when you willfully injure what they care about?

    Yeah, you make them angry.

    Avoiding any discussion of “laziness” and the like is not a royal road to clear-headed rational analysis. It just obfuscates the fact that Yuni could be a better player, but has chosen not to be.

  50. Breadbaker on June 10th, 2009 11:03 am

    If you want to understand the difference between work ethic and “character”, look at the stories about Kobe Bryant and LeBron James and last year’s men’s Olympic basketball team. No one is going to call Kobe Bryant a good “character”, but what LeBron learned last summer was that Kobe’s work ethic was second-to-none, and used the example to step his own game up a couple of notches.

    Staying in shape, being willing to accept instruction and criticism, being willing to be coached (e.g., positioning yourself where the manager tells you rather than where you’ve always been), these are not “character” things. They are part of how a professional athlete maintains an edge or improves.

    Sports history, and particularly baseball history, is replete with athletes who had superior athletic ability and did not have that degree of dedication. Brien Taylor never made the majors. Josh Hamilton nearlyd died before he got it.

    We talk a lot here about what a manager can and can’t do. Taking Yuniesky Betancourt out of the lineup is something a manager can choose to do. And any manager who has the balls to do it, as Wakamatsu has, is the kind I want running my ballclub.

  51. Utis on June 10th, 2009 11:18 am

    I didn’t call him names. I called him lazy

    That is name calling and feeds into the all too prevalent meme of Latin ball players as being “lazy”. The words we use do matter. “Fat”, “stupid”, “lazy”, are indicative of scorn whch is unwarranted.

    Do you not realize that Betancourt’s lack of work ethic is the reason he’s no longer a major league player?

    I do not know the causation. For all I know he has a drug problem, or a drinking problem, or bad genes, or a nutrition problem. It is best not to attribute performance to percieved character flaws. Presumably he had bad work habits back when he was considered a prospect.

    Nie try but the issue wan’t being fat and playing SS. Some people don’t need to work out as hard to keep their weight down.

  52. Dave on June 10th, 2009 11:23 am

    Yea, this isn’t productive. You can believe whatever you want. Yuni is lazy, and your argument is beyond weak.

  53. Mike Snow on June 10th, 2009 11:25 am

    Please don’t make us break out all the studies that show exercise is the best way to keep weight off. And nobody’s being racist by calling Betancourt lazy. We’ll gladly acknowledge that players like Ibanez and Beltre have a great work ethic.

  54. rmac1973 on June 10th, 2009 11:27 am

    Some people don’t need to work out as hard to keep their weight down.

    Yuni isn’t one of those guys.

    That is name calling and feeds into the all too prevalent meme of Latin ball players as being “lazy”.

    Uhhh… no. It feeds into Yuni being “lazy” – not taking BP with the team, not fielding ground balls, not going the extra mile to improve his training and practice habits which all-too-obviously translate into his performance on the field). Those are the things that point to Yuni being “lazy”, not his latin heritage.

    “You can’t play a guy who doesn’t work hard on a team where everyone else busts their ass,” one Mariner said. “I don’t know why this never happened before, but no one in this clubhouse has any doubts about why it’s happened now.”

    That’s a quote about Yuniesky Betancourt, who was one of two positional players who missed the off-day extra BP Monday.

    Even his teammates say he doesn’t work hard.

    What more evidence do you need?

  55. GarForever on June 10th, 2009 11:30 am

    Yea, this isn’t productive. You can believe whatever you want. Yuni is lazy, and your argument is beyond weak.

    Have to agree with Dave on this one, and while it isn’t productive, since part of the spirit of this forum is backing up what one says, I assure you Utis that this is not the product of our collective imaginations here at USSM. From Spring Training:

    “Betancourt’s work ethic was questioned last year when he could be found on the clubhouse couch while other players were outside doing early work. Even this year at spring training, under a new manager and coaching staff hoping to see a more motivated player, Betancourt often fielded ground balls in practice with more flair than focus.”

    The entire article is here. It was only one of several that appeared in a very imaginative Google search I ran including the words Yuniesky, Betancourt, and work. But it got to the heart of the matter.

  56. dw on June 10th, 2009 11:30 am

    I think what’s being said here is that “lazy” is a code word used to denigrate Hispanic/Latino players. And I can understand why it’s a problem.

    So let’s put it this way:

    1. Yuniesky Betancourt can’t field well anymore and has done nothing to alleviate this. Remember last year when he was throwing the ball everywhere but the first baseman’s glove? He still does that. The fact he hasn’t sought out extra fielding practice suggests he doesn’t think it’s a problem.

    2. Yuniesky Betancourt is a terrible hitter. He had to be chastised into taking a couple of walks last month. He never had power, but now he barely has contact. The numbers tell us that. Our eyes tell us that.

    3. Between these two things, Yuniesky Betancourt has moved from being an MLB regular to being a marginal MLB player. If he had the skills to play multiple positions he might be in a Bloomquist role, but he doesn’t.

    4. He’s apparently refused every attempt people have taken to get him to put his talent to use. Just about everyone on the club has tried to tell him if he wants to keep his job he needs to show work. He hasn’t.

    5. And yes, if he were white, maybe we wouldn’t use “lazy.” Maybe he might get a little more benefit of the doubt. But right now his two most obvious comparisons in the “scrappy white guy” department, Bloomquist and Eckstein, are outhitting him, and arguably both of them are fielding better than he is.

    Yuniesky Betancourt will never be a major league ballplayer until he recognizes the need to work on bringing his talent out. If he wants to rest on his laurels, he can do it in Tacoma or with another team.

  57. tmac9311 on June 10th, 2009 11:35 am

    so i guess this eliminates any chance of trading him for any value? Do you think we could get someone like the Mets or Red Sox to relieve us of him and Branyan for one or two low end prospects?

  58. currcoug on June 10th, 2009 11:38 am

    Ugh. This only makes the swap of Asdrubal Cabrera for the 87 AB’s of Eduardo Perez (ESPN analyst), all the more painful.

  59. rmac1973 on June 10th, 2009 11:38 am

    Just as a matter of practice, I looked up the word “lazy” to make sure I understood it as well as I thought I did.

    I didn’t find anything that directed my attention to latin baseball players.

  60. GarForever on June 10th, 2009 11:39 am

    Unfortunately, tmac, I think the only way the M’s will ever get value out of him is if some time in Tacoma helps him get his mind right long enough for someone else to see the upside in him again. At this point, most (though not all) of the other 29 teams have someone in their system who would probably be at least equivalent to YuBet. That’s why teams with an obvious need at SS (due to injury, non-performance, etc.) haven’t been lighting up Jack Z’s phone, as far as I know.

  61. msb on June 10th, 2009 11:52 am

    Can you imagine what Griffey could have done if he had Ichiro’s work ethic? It is useless to speculate since they are two different people.

    Where did the notion that Griffey didn’t work come from? Is it from Griffey’s own “it’s all natural” cracks through the years?

    FWIW, from Larue this spring:

    Griffin has seen what few fans have over the years– how hard Griffey has worked. “He took 20-30 minutes of early batting practice every day for 10 years here,” Griffin said. “He’d do whatever we asked and then more, he just didn’t do it when or where many people could see him.”

    Take pregame stretching. On the field, Griffey almost never does it. “If you only stretch on the field, that’s too late,” Junior said. “I stretch at home and I stretch in the clubhouse, and if something’s tight, if something bothers me, I can get it taken care of. If you don’t stretch till you’re out there, it’s too late to come back in and get ready.”

  62. GarForever on June 10th, 2009 12:04 pm

    msb –

    Exactly. I think this speaks to the fact that the posts that started this leg of the discussion (see Dave’s and my earler responses) was, shall we say, ill-informed and reactive at best.

  63. mln on June 10th, 2009 12:12 pm

    Instead of reading about Ichiro’s daily routine, I think it would be more illuminating to read about Yuni’s daily … um workout regimen.

    There would probably be a lot of useful tips that people could pick up on the cardiovascular benefits of Krispy Kreme donuts and the Xbox.

  64. wrob4343 on June 10th, 2009 12:19 pm

    Where did the notion that Griffey didn’t work come from? Is it from Griffey’s own “it’s all natural” cracks through the years?

    I guess before we had a selfish right fielder who happens to be the best player on the team, we had a lazy center fielder that only was maybe the best player in the game…

  65. Sports on a Schtick on June 10th, 2009 12:27 pm

    Yuni is quickly climbing up the list of my least favorite Mariners of all-time. And it’s quite a decorated list.

  66. SequimRealEstate on June 10th, 2009 12:49 pm

    He is not lazy, he is insane.

    “I’ve been doing the same routine for years,” Betancourt said. “I can’t control the lineup. I’m doing whatever I’ve done in the past.”

    One definition of insanity is “Doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different results” by Albert Einstein

  67. scott19 on June 10th, 2009 12:49 pm

    Well, at least Yuni lasted a little longer than former White Sox “can’t-misser” Mike Caruso did…but that may not be saying much.

  68. scott19 on June 10th, 2009 12:58 pm

    Ugh. This only makes the swap of Asdrubal Cabrera for the 87 AB’s of Eduardo Perez (ESPN analyst), all the more painful.

    Not to mention, giving up on Carlos Gullen for those wonderous fifty-some at bats from Ramon Santiago because it was thought the Next Great Shortshop was waiting in the wings.

  69. Jeff Tolin on June 10th, 2009 1:05 pm

    That is name calling and feeds into the all too prevalent meme of Latin ball players as being “lazy”. The words we use do matter. “Fat”, “stupid”, “lazy”, are indicative of scorn whch is unwarranted.

    Calling the description “unwarranted” is a value judgment and feeds into the all too prevalent meme of bloggers feeding all too prevalent memes.

    That was easy. I can do it in my sleep. On a plane, while batting practice schedules are being handed out.

  70. scott19 on June 10th, 2009 1:08 pm

    Sorry, guys, for accidentally dropping the “i” in Guillen…however, it does not diminish the painful thoughts of that shortstop situation.

  71. Bremerton guy on June 10th, 2009 1:17 pm

    Where is Rey Quinones when we need him?

  72. gwangung on June 10th, 2009 1:20 pm

    “Fat”, “stupid”, “lazy”, are indicative of scorn whch is unwarranted.

    Sorry, but “lazy” and “unwilling to be coached” are HIGHLY warranted based on observed behavior. An unwillingness to use these terms when they fit the observed behavior is condescending toward Latin players and stems from the exact same mindset that would term them lazy and stupid when it isn’t warranted.

    Not keeping the weight down, not listening to instruction, not positioning yourself right are all good ways to be unemployed.

  73. Tek Jansen on June 10th, 2009 1:21 pm

    According to Baker’s latest, Yuni is back in the lineup. Hopefully he doesn’t nap and miss seeing his name posted on the lineup card.

  74. jeffs98119 on June 10th, 2009 1:24 pm

    I guess Wak and Z don’t think it’s such a big deal after all. Keep up the great work Yuni!

  75. TomTuttle on June 10th, 2009 1:42 pm

    So when does Yuni get DFA’d?

  76. kenshabby on June 10th, 2009 1:43 pm

    I think we’re all overlooking one distinct possibility, that Yuni has an undiagnosed case of chronic fatigue syndrome. That, or chronic apathy syndrome.

  77. TomTuttle on June 10th, 2009 1:44 pm

    I can’t help but wonder too if the management has the same problems right now as Lopez and the reason why they won’t bench him at this point is because Jose is the lesser of the two evils. . .

  78. chris d on June 10th, 2009 1:46 pm

    As a psychotherapist specializing in treating Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), I think Yuni is probably suffering the effects of trauma from growing up in Cuba and his harrowing escape on a raft where he came very close to death from what I understand.

    He is has an inability to focus, he is not able to perform up to expectations probably due to depression, anxiety, or shame. His weight gain might be part of this as well.

    When people suffer from PTSD they cannot change by just trying harder. They might be able to do so for the short term but eventually the disorder catches up with them.

    When performance declines like this and we have seen it in other players like Vin Baker and Sasaki, it is usually due to depression, anxiety, or substance abuse. And unless these are addressed he can try all he wants, he will not improve.

  79. Ike Clanton on June 10th, 2009 2:06 pm

    As a psychotherapist specializing in treating Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), I think Yuni is probably suffering the effects of trauma from growing up in Cuba and his harrowing escape on a raft where he came very close to death from what I understand.

    I thought it later came out that he was brought here on a speed boat with a couple other ballplayers by some lawyer/agent/opportunist in Florida. Maybe I’m remembering incorrectly.

  80. wabbles on June 10th, 2009 2:09 pm

    Yeah, it’s really too bad. I can’t help thinking about Rocky Balboa’s trainer expressing dismay that a boxer with more talent than him instead is working as a leg breaker for a two-bit loanshark. “It’s a wasted life!” He has the talent, or at least had. He was a breath of fresh air in 2005 after all those failures that followed Carlos Guillen at shortstop. He really was, as the commercial said, a magician out there. He played this weird SS/LF/2B/P(for popups) position that was a pleasure to watch. Then his family escaped Cuba and he stopped trying.

  81. shortbus on June 10th, 2009 2:18 pm

    Aaaand Yuni’s back in the lineup. (See bottom of Geoff’s post on Ibanez.)

    WTF?

  82. Gump on June 10th, 2009 2:25 pm

    I’m just in awe with the attitude after this extensive benching! Why someone wouldn’t go out and take batting practice or take ground balls to prove you belong just doesn’t make sense. Maybe he is seeing Cedeno’s poor offensive stats so far thinking he doesn’t have much to worry about and people will get over it.

  83. Gump on June 10th, 2009 2:32 pm

    Kudos to Wak for benching him for as long as he did but I don’t think he’ll get the REAL hint until he is demoted off the club.

  84. Utis on June 10th, 2009 2:47 pm

    Excellent posts dw and wabbles. We don’t have any disagreements on the facts surrounding Betancourt’s situation. Where I disagree with some is on tone and attributing the situation to lack of work ethic or being “lazy”.

    These are adult men we are talking about. They are all too human. Betancourt will either produce or not. There is no need to put down his character if he doesn’t. Work ethic or not, Cedeno isn’t a better player than Betancourt right now. Sad, I know. Work ethic doesn’t make someone a better person or a better player than someene else. It can help people reach more of their potential but it isn’t a character defect if it is lacking. The only reason to care about Betancourt’s work ethic and coachability is the possibility for improvement. My impression is that he is unlikely to change his approach on other than a temporary basis (e.g. the temporary walks). If so, he’ll have a short career but is is far from a dishonorable career.

  85. Gump on June 10th, 2009 3:03 pm

    Why are you so caught up in people calling Yuni lazy? There could be plenty more derogatory terms that could be used. If someone isn’t giving the effort to make himself better then he deserves it. He makes millions and is in the public eye which opens him up for scrutiny.

  86. Utis on June 10th, 2009 3:19 pm

    Because civility matters.

    Because I am hispanic and I am tired of hearing references to the “lazy” latins.

    Because I have a son with disabilities and I am tired of seeing people mischaracterize his behavior.

    Because I believe in treating people with respect even if their perfomance disappoints me.

    Because I would not use in writing a term that I would not use to someone’s face.

    Because no one “deserves” it. The point of sending Betancourt to AAA or benching him should not be to “punish” him. The point would be to see if we can somehow get better performance from him.

  87. Ralph_Malph on June 10th, 2009 3:21 pm

    I guess I was asleep on the plane when the racist meme about lazy Latin ballplayers was announced. I have heard a vicious racist stereotype about lazy ballplayers (or other occupations) directed toward another ethnic group, but not Latins.

    Isn’t the stereotype of Latin ballplayers that they grew up in adversity in San Pedro de Macoris, playing ball 25 hours a day with rolled up masking tape or whatever? I have truly never heard this said about Latin ballplayers.

  88. Jeff Nye on June 10th, 2009 3:21 pm

    Uh, the only one connecting “lazy” and “Latino” is you.

    Nobody here is a racist, and if you’re going to continue to imply that we are, I’d reconsider your next post.

  89. Ralph_Malph on June 10th, 2009 3:24 pm

    Work ethic doesn’t make someone a better person or a better player than someene else.

    Really? If I ran more I’d be faster. If I lifted weights more I’d be stronger. But I lack the work ethic.

    Now better person is something else entirely. Nobody is saying Yuni is a bad person. But he could certainly be a better player.

  90. aaron c. on June 10th, 2009 3:27 pm

    Work ethic or not, Cedeno isn’t a better player than Betancourt right now.

    I disagree vehemently.

    It can help people reach more of their potential but it isn’t a character defect if it is lacking. The only reason to care about Betancourt’s work ethic and coachability is the possibility for improvement.

    This isn’t about Yuni’s character, it’s about the fact that he is paid a not insignificant sum of money to play major league baseball. He was given a contract based on the assumption that he would put in a reasonable amount of effort to attempt to maintain his level of performance. He has not done that. Because of this his work ethic (or lack thereof) is fair game.

    My impression is that he is unlikely to change his approach on other than a temporary basis (e.g. the temporary walks). If so, he’ll have a short career but is is far from a dishonorable career.

    Yuni is unwilling to change his approach after having been told it was necessary by numerous coaches and teammates. I think that it is reasonable to say that he is either unbelievably stubborn, lazy, stupid or some combination of all three.

    Lots of people would kill to have the God given ability with which Yuni has been blessed. The fact that he is decided that he is no longer willing to work in order to improve (or even maintain) his abilities is not only dishonorable, it is downright shameful.

  91. Lauren, token chick on June 10th, 2009 3:27 pm

    I just have to say that I love that this is a site where someone would bother to make the case against using words that could be misconstrued based on past use. Don’t get pissed with Utis, folks. If we’re going to err on one side or the other, isn’t it better to err on the side of thinking hard about the meaning of the words we use?

    That said, I can understand why people are saying that their perceptions of Yuni’s “laziness” are based in reality. That’s fine, but there’s also nothing wrong with taking a minute to make sure we’re not using the term for the wrong reason.

  92. Lauren, token chick on June 10th, 2009 3:30 pm

    BTW, Utis makes a fine point about only caring about Yuni’s “work ethic” insofar as it affects his results. It’s like the chemistry of a team–no one cares about it as long as the performance is good.

    Of course, based on common sense we can also conclude that the amount of time a player spends practicing may well improve his results. And since he has little to lose at this point, we’d like to see that effort.

  93. Typical Idiot Fan on June 10th, 2009 3:32 pm

    I quote Crash Davis:

    Your shower shoes have fungus on them. You’ll never make it to the bigs with fungus on your shower shoes. Think classy, you’ll be classy. If you win 20 in the show, you can let the fungus grow back and the press’ll think you’re colorful. Until you win 20 in the show, however, it means you are a slob.

  94. Utis on June 10th, 2009 3:41 pm

    I am not implying anyone here is racist. As far as I can tell all of you are well intentioned. Some of you don’t have the best people skills but that’s not a character flaw and I’ll still buy you a beer if we ever meet.

  95. Utis on June 10th, 2009 3:42 pm

    Work ethic or not, Cedeno isn’t a better player than Betancourt right now.

    I disagree vehemently

    Evidence please?

  96. Gump on June 10th, 2009 3:44 pm

    I would say the same thing about Branyan if he was acting like Yuni as race doesn’t matter to me. Oh well i’m not going to beat a dead horse. Lets see if Yuni riding the bench for a bit helped….

  97. aaron c. on June 10th, 2009 3:53 pm

    Work ethic or not, Cedeno isn’t a better player than Betancourt right now.

    I disagree vehemently

    Evidence please?

    The sample sizes for Cedeno are too small to make a statistical case, but given their respective track records they seem about even with the bat. Cedeno is probably a slightly below average defensive SS, while Yuni may very well be the worst defensive SS in the majors. Even if I were to make a concession to Yuni’s side of the argument and call Cedeno solidly below average (which is certainly possible) he’s not in Yuni’s league of defensive butchery.

    Coupled with the fact that Yuni has done nothing but backslide since 2005 I would take Cedeno going forward even without salary considerations. Yuni is below replacement level at this point. Cedeno isn’t great but he’s better.

  98. scott19 on June 10th, 2009 3:54 pm

    TIF -

    That Crash Davis quote made me think of Bill “The Spaceman” Lee for some reason…perhaps because he, too, was never a 20-game winner…

    Still, he was a hoot to watch — and I don’t think his “quirks” really bothered too many people as long as he was pitching well.

  99. Lauren, token chick on June 10th, 2009 4:07 pm

    Thinking more about this. I think that both “laziness” and the concept of “work ethic” definitely have a big ol’ value judgment attached to them. For instance, I’ve recently been griping about a coworker who doesn’t appear to put very much effort into his job and gets very little accomplished, and I’ve definitely talked about his (apparent) lack of work ethic as a character flaw.

    While it’s useful to remind ourselves that we don’t really know what’s behind someone’s poor performance (it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re deliberately accepting money for little return), you’re still left in the end with the job not getting done. And it’s hard not to make a value judgment then, especially when you’re in there doing YOUR job every day.

  100. ppl on June 10th, 2009 4:32 pm

    Bottom line on Yuniesky Betancourt: he is paid what he is paid to be a “First rate” defensive shortstop. And while his offensive flaws are obvious, they would be generally acceptable if he performed with the glove the way he was supposed too.

    Not only is he sub-par with the glove, he rates as the MLB worst at short. And even some guys who were moved off the position because they were not up to big league calibre there, who have been back playing there, have been doing better.
    That being the case his offensive contribution, which seems to be in decline, is a major issue as well. Anyone on any job who ceases to do what they do best, and also declines at what they don’t, usually loses their job.

  101. GarForever on June 10th, 2009 4:36 pm

    My last thoughts on this topic:

    1. I certainly can appreciate the sensitivity about what certain words have been used to denote in the past, which is why I acknowledged at the outset of my contributions to this thread that a term like “lazy” has been used as a loaded code word in the not too distant past. I guess as someone whose favorite ball player of all time is a Latino (Edgar Martinez, for those of you who missed the significance of the handle), who also happened to be extraordinarily gifted and who prepared meticulously throughout his career, I just assumed that the criticism directed in this forum solely against one player was exactly that: directed at one player.

    2. “Work ethic” may mean a lot of different things in many different contexts, and, yes, it may be evaluative or a judgment call. But the fact remains that Betancourt is paid a seven figure salary to do something most of us here probably fantasized about growing up. Further, he has been cajoled, encouraged, threatened — repeatedly — and still refuses to do the basic things his teammates are doing to try to make this a better team, such as taking extra BP, extra infield, etc. Regardless of ethnicity, any ballplayer who conducted himself that way would rightly be open to the scorn of those of us who have invested our passion, time, and money in the Seattle Mariners over the years. I don’t expect the Mariners to win all the time; I do think it’s fair, however, to expect them to try.

    3. I am not suggesting that Yuniesky Betancourt is a bad person or has bad character; I’ve never met the man and couldn’t say. He is, at the moment, however, very much conducting himself irresponsibly as a major league ballplayer. And while I sympathize that this may be the result of extraneous factors, the team and the fans deserve better. He began his career with a lot of promise defensively with work to do as a hitter. If he had held steady on defense, many of us would probably forgive him his transgressions at the plate. But the fact remains that he has regressed in virtually every facet of his game, especially on defense, and seems not to be concerned to address it.

    4. Whatever Betancourt’s shortcomings, it will not do to try to obfuscate the topic by alleging “facts” that are demonstrably false, such as suggesting that Ken Griffey, Jr., has not worked his tail off throughout his career, or suggesting that because David Wells is tubby, he never worked hard on refining his skills as a pitcher. Comparing “work ethic” across players and positions may be unfair, but the simple fact remains that, for whatever the reasons, Betancourt seems unwilling to try to do the bare minimum necessary to impress management, his teammates, and fans that he at least takes their concerns seriously.

    Don’t get me wrong: no one would be happier than I if some light would go on and YuBet began to realize the vast potential he showed four or even three years ago. In that sense, I don’t consider being sent to Tacoma a punishment, but an opportunity for him to try to turn his career around.

    FWIW…

  102. Dave on June 10th, 2009 7:02 pm

    This is why people hate political correctness. I have no interest in “progressing” to a point where it’s considered insensitive to point out that a guy is lazy when he is unwilling to work hard enough to perform the job that he was hired to do, and finds nothing wrong with requiring his employer to live up to their end of the bargain while he chooses to play video games and take naps during work hours.

    Yuniesky Betancourt is lazy, by every definition of the word. If you’re offended that there’s a lazy hispanic in this world, I don’t know what to tell you.

  103. Jeff Nye on June 10th, 2009 7:17 pm

    In addition to what Dave is saying, nobody has said that Betancourt is lazy BECAUSE he is Hispanic.

    He’s lazy because he’s lazy, and there’s nothing even mildly racist about saying that, just because he happens to be Cuban.

  104. gwangung on June 10th, 2009 7:31 pm

    This is why people hate political correctness. I have no interest in “progressing” to a point where it’s considered insensitive to point out that a guy who is unwilling to work hard enough to perform the job that he was hired to do, and finds nothing wrong with requiring his employer to live up to the end of the bargain while he chooses to play video games and take naps during work hours.

    Given that I’m pretty damn close to being a professional Political Correctness consultant, I’m find accusations of stereotyping to be useless and detrimental when there is so little basis for it. Questioning Cedeno’s advantage over Betancourt when all the defensive statistics support the point just devalues the use of the term.

    Baseball eyes shows Betancourt isn’t getting the job done. Stats show he isn’t getting the job done. He is resisting any guidance in remedying that; he’s not doing extra work to fix that performance gap. “Lazy” is an apt term.

  105. SonOfZavaras on June 10th, 2009 10:32 pm

    If Betancourt wants to actually put in a little bit of effort to live up to the abilities he was born with, great. But he needs to do that in Tacoma, and earn his way back to the major leagues by showing that he cares enough to make himself into a guy who deserves to be here. If that never happens, so be it – I’m perfectly happy never having to watch him play baseball again.

    Hells. Yes. And AMEN.

  106. Utis on June 10th, 2009 11:18 pm

    Dave, there is a big difference between political correctness and pleas for civility and fairness. No one is arguing that Betancourt’s performance hasn’t sucked. No one is arguing that there should not be consequences for his performance. No one is accusing anyone of racism. If you are lumping in my remarks with other inconsequential pleas for political correctness then I have failed in communicating my concerns.
    I have been and will continue to be a supporter of the writing at this web site. On this issue, we’ll just have to disagree.
    Peace.

  107. Jim_H on June 11th, 2009 12:37 am

    Utis,

    [Hello. I am being a passive aggressive tool.

    Love,
    Jim H]

  108. aaron c. on June 11th, 2009 1:21 am

    Utis,

    You have committed the unforgivable sin of disagreeing with the management here. It’s worse than being a bad spellar.

    Unfortunately there is a forest/trees problem with people not wanting to understand what you are trying to say. Instead they are twisting your words to mean what they want them to mean and using them against you.

    Or maybe he just made a really bad argument. No? I’m not capable of thinking for myself? Oh. Well, okay…I guess you’re right. I am now sad.

  109. Utis on June 11th, 2009 7:09 am

    There is no good or bad on this issue. There are just different points of view. Which side you end up in will depend on what you value. If you all understand where I am coming from a little better then that is good. I understand the counter argument even if I don’t agree.

    I have no beef with the management here. They provide the soapbox and have not censored anything I’ve written. I could not ask for more.

  110. Graham on June 11th, 2009 7:28 am

    I’ll take credit for that last edit assuming it’ll spare Dave/DMZ some grief. You don’t get to dress up metacomplaints with on topic discussion.

  111. rmac1973 on June 11th, 2009 7:45 am

    Utis,

    I don’t think anyone labeled anyone’s opinion “good” or “bad”; rather, it seems there is a more effective means of expressing displeasure with Yuniesky Betancourt.

    His inability to maintain good physical condition and keep his body weight where it needs to be in order to be a MLB shortstop displays a lack of respect – for himself, his employer, and his co-workers – on his part. The terms “fat”, “lazy” and “stupid” might seem to be hurtful, in which case if we were all in a sensitivity training class then they would all be a big no-no.

    However, the value judgment being made against Yuni to which you refer is based solely on his inability to:

    a) perform his job as required
    b) effort to improve his skills
    c) effort to maintain his skills at their current level
    d) maintain good physical condition

    This is not a snap judgment based on one missed off-day BP session and a few poor decisions in the batters box in recent weeks – this has been going on for nearly two years, and four different managers and countless teammates have (as reported by dozens of journalists) tried and failed at inspiring him to do the bare minimum.

    I understand the PC ideals, and it’s neat that you embrace it so dearly. But this isn’t a matter of making any kind of judgment on the type of person YuBet is outside of the baseball world. He might very well be a great buddy with whom fishing trips result in epic adventures and fantastic tales of impossibility. He might spend his off-season time teaching blind kids how to read braille. Maybe he mops the floor of the Sistine Chapel for free every Saturday in winter. Good for him if that’s the case.

    But, in the world of baseball… he has become fat, and he has displayed laziness and stupidity on and off the field. Those traits have directly and adversely affected his ability to perform the duties of the job he was hired to do. He has efforted his way out of being an MLB-caliber baseball player.

    It’s not really a debatable topic.

  112. Jim_H on June 11th, 2009 8:11 am

    [moderation complaint]

  113. Utis on June 11th, 2009 11:43 am

    rmac1973 I am responding only because I think you are mischaracterizing the exchange. These things stay around for a while so I don’t want to be misunderstood. So, here it is for the record.

    1. Betancourt is underperforming. Fact.
    2. He has not worked to improve his skills. Fact.
    3. He has not listened to coaches or teammates. Fact.
    4. Betancourt underperforms because he is lazy. He is a waste of time and space. Opinion. You might argue it is informed opinion but it is still an opinion. It is so heavily dependent on a cultural frame of reference that some people regard it as self evident.
    5. I find statement 4 objectionable. Fact.
    6. The reasons for objecting to 4 are bogus PC correctness. Opinion.
    7. The reasons for objecting to 4 are valid. Opinion.
    8. Some people value plain speaking. Fact.
    9. Some people value civility and sensitivity. Fact.
    Opinions will be heavily influenced by your culture and life experiences.
    Let’s agree to disagree.
    Peace

  114. Jeff Nye on June 11th, 2009 12:50 pm

    I think this topic has run its course.

    Comments closed.