Saturday, June 06, 2009

They're both right!

Carlos Beltran: "The reality of this is coming here to Pittsburgh and getting swept, me, I feel embarrassed."

Pittsburgh Pirate Adam LaRoche on Beltran's comment: "I think it shows zero class and zero professionalism."

Personally I don't have a problem with Beltran saying what he said. I like an athlete who's not afraid to provide some real talk, and the Pirates are by any fair-minded assessment a very bad team that a prospective world champion should be embarrassed to get swept by.

But it remains very insulting to say as much, and you can't expect the Pirates to appreciate it. And note how LaRoche shrewdly declines to refute Beltran's premise (i.e. that the Pirates suck), and instead makes it a character issue. "Class" is a very big term in sports media. It's the central, catch-all term for all personal, non playing-related virtues: kindness, generosity, not committing sexual assault, etc.

So that's what LaRoche had to hit back with, and hit back he did. Good for him. And it's a shot that will probably get more traction for the fact that Beltran-bashing is surprisingly en vogue these days. Idiots like Steve Phillips were already arguing that Beltran is woefully short on intangibles. They might not have thought to take the Pirates comment as "clubhouse cancer" fodder but thanks to LaRoche they probably will now.

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