Where are all the Jacoby Ellsbury critics now?

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    Where are all the Jacoby Ellsbury critics now?

    by Jerry Thornton/WEEI
    Let's start with a quiz. The category is Boston sports and the media.

    Let's say there's a young, up and coming athlete in town. Which team he plays for is not important. He's a unique talent. Exciting and charismatic. In a few short years he's already broken club records and won a championship. But early in one season, he gets injured on the field while trying to make a play and is out for a long time. There's some controversy about the exact nature of the injury. Some in the Boston media start to question why he's taking so long to get back out. There are rumblings that he's soft. And disgruntled. Eventually he gets back on the field only to re-aggravate his condition and is lost for the season. Rumors spread that his teammates think he's dogging it. The kid is taken apart, psychoanalyzed, slandered, libeled, called words you never heard in the Bible. One radio nitwit Tweets about him and uses the Hiroshima bomb of athletic insults: the dreaded the P-word.

    Now say this same much-maligned player comes back the following year healthy. He misses next to no playing time. He plays hard. Not only plays as well as before, he improves. He shows skills no one thought he had. The club is winning, he's a major contributor and even drawing some MVP talk. Now here's where the quiz comes in. Those same media types who ran down and disparaged him the year before when he was hurt and couldn't get on the field:

    A) Admit they were wrong

    B) Apologize profusely and vow to help the kid clear his name

    C) Conduct a spirited dialogue among themselves about the dangers of rushing to judgment when destroying the reputation of a young ballplayer

    D) Say nothing and pretend none of it ever happened.

    If you said anything other than 'D' you're obviously new around here. Welcome to our city.

    In case you hadn't figured it out by now, the player in question is obviously Jacoby Ellsbury, who last season was the subject of a public stoning not seen in this town since the Witch Trials. And believe me, Boston has some experience at this witchhunt business. The treatment Ellsbury got was like Hester Prynne, Sacco and Vanzetti and SpyGate all rolled into one.

    To recap, briefly: In early April of last year, Ellsbury was hustling after a foul ball. Also going after it was Red Sox long-term-temp third baseman Adrian Beltre, who ran into him. Now unless everything I've been taught about baseball from Weymouth Farm League on down is wrong, the outfielder in that situation calls for the ball. So you'd think Beltre would've been criticized for boneheadness on the play. I sure did. But that was only my first mistake.

    My second was assuming Ellsbury would get the benefit of the doubt on this. He didn't. The team announced he'd suffered “bruised ribs” and would be back in the lineup in no time. When he wasn't, the grumblings started. He tried painkillers but they couldn't help him swing a bat. It was suggested everyone is playing hurt and he just wasn't tough enough. He said he'd seek a second opinion. He was called a malcontent. Turns out he had four fractured ribs. He came back in early August, collided again with Texas pitcher Tommy Hunter and was done for the year.

    At one point in all this, Ellsbury took the unheard of step of reading a prepared statement in the Toronto visitors dugout to put his side of the story on the record. It was considered weird by most people. But I remember thinking he looked like Andy Dufresne trying to convince the warden that he should listen to the story of the new, Elvis-looking inmate who might be able to get his conviction overturned. Of course, the warden threw Andy in the hole and had Elvis guy shot. Which is more or less how Jacoby's statement was received.

    The third mistake I made was not being ready for the media s-storm that followed. The sports press smelled star ballplayer blood in the water like they hadn't been able to feed on in a while and the frenzy ensued. That's when Ellsbury got Enola Gayed with the P-word. Which was more funny and ironic than infuriating because it came from a guy who looks like his only involvement with sports should be bringing you live aerial coverage above football stadiums with Snoopy painted on his sides.
    But it wasn't just one guy. It was everywhere. It was as if the media in town saw the chance to flip the script and go back to the way things used to be around here. The good old days (for them) when the sports landscape was an inverted pyramid with them at the top and the athletes and coaches at the bottom. A paradigm in which they formed public opinion and made and broke people the way Max Mercy did Roy Hobbs. A model that stopped working once the championships started coming and their influence disappeared.

    What Ellsbury got treated to last year was what pre-Duckboat Sox players always got. A chain of great Red Sox from Nomar to Boggs to Rice to Yaz to Williams. (Note: I could throw Clemens in there too, but you can't say a bad thing about Clemens I won't agree with.) For the life of me though, I couldn't make sense of it in his case. I couldn't figure out why he of all people would be subject to the Boston media Dutch Oven Treatment.

    He hustles. He does things no one else in our lifetimes has ever been able to do. He's fascinating to watch. I was at his first Major League start and he'd already established he was one of those rare guys the park starts buzzing about when he comes out onto the on-deck circle. And in that game he scored on a wild pitch, from second. Most importantly, he played his butt off late in '07, saved the club from a Coco Crisp slump, and was a superstar in the postseason. And, I could add, won America millions of 10-cent tacos.

    Call me a rumpswabbing, cheerleading fanboy, but I don't see how that didn't earn the kid the benefit of the doubt. After all, this wasn't some mysterious injury no one could explain. He wasn't claiming the Rib Injury Fairy came to him in his sleep. There was no story about a foul ball that struck him in batting practice no one remembers hitting. This wasn't a Boston fire fighter slipping on a puddle in the back room while filling in for his boss so he'd have more time to do bodybuilding. We all saw the play that busted his ribs a million times on replay. But for some reason I've never been able to wrap my brain around, he flat out got convicted of faking it in the court of public opinion.

    So how's he doing now that he's healthy? Try he's in or near the Top 10 in the American League in Batting, OBP, Slugging, OPS and Extra Base hits. Hitting leadoff, he's a remarkable 11th in the AL. He's second behind the leader in steals. His No. 1 job is to score runs, and he's second there. And he's showing power few could've imagined he'd have, with an astonishing 24 HRs at the end of August. He missed one game all season prior to being held out of the lineup by Terry Francona after being drilled in the spine with a pitch that was probably faster than the bullet that put Larry Flynt in a wheelchair. So much for saying he can't make it through a full season.

    Which brings me to my final mistake. I thought maybe, giving the fact that Jacoby Ellsbury is on such a Redemption Tour that he should sell t-shirts with all the stops and dates listed on the back, I'd hear one of the critics who harped on him so unfairly last year own up to their mistake. Well unless that sounds like crickets, it hasn't happened. And it won't.

    During the Reagan Adminstration, he had a Secretary of Labor named Ray Donovan, who was indicted by a Bronx grand jury for being part of a bribery scam involving a NYC subway railway construction contract and the mafia. After he was acquitted, Donovan famously asked, “Now where do I go to get my reputation back?”

    Ellsbury has won his reputation back. I suppose that will have to do because an apology for trashing it in the first place is too much to ask.

     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from jete02fan. Show jete02fan's posts

    Re: Where are ALL the Jacoby Ellsbury critics now?

    he'll be along shortly..Tongue out
     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from Hammah29r2. Show Hammah29r2's posts

    Re: Where are all the Jacoby Ellsbury critics now?

    I hope you didn't give your boss the business this morning "B"......that would probably be commiting employment suicide. congrats on taking the series. we got one more to go. have a great long weekend old pal.
     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from theYAZZER. Show theYAZZER's posts

    Re: Where are all the Jacoby Ellsbury critics now?

    jerry shouldn't be stealing words from paul simon.
    i think that's called plagiarism.

    when are you gonna do a story on crawford and theo?

    you are peter abraham, aren't you?
     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from jete02fan. Show jete02fan's posts

    Re: Where are all the Jacoby Ellsbury critics now?

    In Response to Re: Where are all the Jacoby Ellsbury critics now?:
    I hope you didn't give your boss the business this morning "B"......that would probably be commiting employment suicide. congrats on taking the series. we got one more to go. have a great long weekend old pal.
    Posted by Hammah29r2
    she kicked me out before i could...Laughing...besides, she was still pizzed about Tuesday's game...
     
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  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from BOSOX1941. Show BOSOX1941's posts

    Re: Where are all the Jacoby Ellsbury critics now?

    I was a critic. I called him a glorified Otis Nixon. I WAS WRONG. If he plays any where near what he's doing this year, for the rest of his career, he'll be one of the greatest center fielders in the history of the Red Sox. How's that for a turn around?
     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from S0ftl@w. Show S0ftl@w's posts

    Re: Where are all the Jacoby Ellsbury critics now?

    Still here, and pay attention to AGon's arrival and Crawford's 2010 and 2011. Where was his pink hat doting fan club in 2010? Waiting around and hoping for career year in 2011, then pretending AGon and career averages no longer matter and Crawford and Ellsbury was smart. Still here, and noticing how weak OF is against LP.
     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from harness. Show harness's posts

    Re: Where are all the Jacoby Ellsbury critics now?

    Jake is better vs. southpaws than AGONE.

    Why hasn't AGONE effected CC in such a positive manner?

    Jake has prospered because of Aceves.
    Jake wasn't this good until Aceves came along.

    Note: This statement is 43% unsubstantiated.
     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from S0ftl@w. Show S0ftl@w's posts

    Re: Where are all the Jacoby Ellsbury critics now?

    Jake is better vs. southpaws than AGONE.

    Specious. Its v. Rhp that Bellsbury is having a career year.

    CC hasnt been put in leaoff all season.

    Note, DiceK was never on DL in 2007, so 100% of the harnut comment is a stalking lie. 
     
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from antibody. Show antibody's posts

    Re: Where are all the Jacoby Ellsbury critics now?

    He's too short.

    He's too skinny.

    His legs are too close together.

    He wears his hat wrong.

    He doesn't like potato salad. (I'm making that one up)

    ...uuuuuhhh, that's all I've got right now.
     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from rameakap. Show rameakap's posts

    Re: Where are all the Jacoby Ellsbury critics now?

    Ellsbury is better for this team with AGon and Pedroia behind him then Damon ever was with Papi, Nomar and Manny behind him... they put up superior #'s 02-05 than the current 2011 middle of the lineup of course.

    enough said

    Great season, 3rd full year, 3rd year of growth, unexpected power but otherwise the package the real fans expected him to become and the jealous hateful board jester can rant on and make up 100% wrong excuses.. we just cheer for Ells, love out sox, and pity the disgusting man

    let the ignorant racist snivel, lie, nit-pick and bloviate.

    Ells is having an all-star top 10 season and only a handful of guys in the game would put up his #'s, even if given the chance to leadoff in front of AGon. which its absurd to say has much impact on his talent when he is simply growing as a player into his prime. He had a more fearsome 2-7 behind him in '09 (check the Pedey, VMart-Youk-Papi-Bay-Drew stats that year) than he does now

    softy exposed, humiliated and proved wrong?

    check

    par the course with the clown
     
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from harness. Show harness's posts

    Re: Where are all the Jacoby Ellsbury critics now?

    In Response to Re: Where are all the Jacoby Ellsbury critics now?:
    Jake is better vs. southpaws than AGONE. Specious. Its v. Rhp that Bellsbury is having a career year. CC hasnt been put in leaoff all season. Note, DiceK was never on DL in 2007, so 100% of the harnut comment is a stalking lie. 
    Posted by S0ftl@w


    Yet in Jake's career year vs. righties, he is still out-hitting AGONE vs. Lefties.

    Note: Dice wasn't on the DL in 2007?
    What a shocker! I had no idea. Great internet research! You did a fine job.
    Why is it we get not one word of proof on 43% fat city fabrication?
     
  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from nhsteven. Show nhsteven's posts

    Re: Where are all the Jacoby Ellsbury critics now?

    I wouldn't be that surprised if Ells is given the MVP; he might have gone past AGon as the favorite, as hard as that is to fathom.
     
  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from carnie. Show carnie's posts

    Re: Where are all the Jacoby Ellsbury critics now?

    I seem to recall Mazz and CHB coming down on him pretty hard last year, and not so much as a my bad this year.
     
  16. You have chosen to ignore posts from kimsaysthis. Show kimsaysthis's posts

    Re: Where are all the Jacoby Ellsbury critics now?

    In Response to Re: Where are all the Jacoby Ellsbury critics now?:
    In Response to Re: Where are all the Jacoby Ellsbury critics now? : she kicked me out before i could... ...besides, she was still pizzed about Tuesday's game...
    Posted by jete02fan


    Sounds reasonable to me. Tongue out
     
  17. You have chosen to ignore posts from kimsaysthis. Show kimsaysthis's posts

    Re: Where are all the Jacoby Ellsbury critics now?

    I, for one, never thought for a second that Ellsbury was faking anything. That's ridiculous. I wouldn't want to crash into Adrian Beltre. I don't know when I'd ever get up. I'd probably still be on the field to this day.

    With fractured ribs, I would imagine there is pain throughout your whole mid-section. Any movement probably just makes it worse. Playing baseball would seem like the last thing you could do -- even more so his way of playing baseball, all out. I wasn't confused by that at all.
     
  18. You have chosen to ignore posts from antibody. Show antibody's posts

    Re: Where are all the Jacoby Ellsbury critics now?

    In Response to Re: Where are all the Jacoby Ellsbury critics now?:
    He's too short. He's too skinny. His legs are too close together. He wears his hat wrong. He doesn't like potato salad. (I'm making that one up) ...uuuuuhhh, that's all I've got right now.
    Posted by antibody

     
  19. You have chosen to ignore posts from slomag. Show slomag's posts

    Re: Where are all the Jacoby Ellsbury critics now?

    To me, Ellsbury's success this year supports the criticism of him last year.  We missed the playoffs by 6 games last year.  Barring a slump, Ellsbury will be valued at over 8 wins over replacement at the end of the year.  Theoretically, that means that if we had seen 75% of the Ellsbury we see now in 2010, we would have made the playoffs. 

    2010 was epic for its injuries to Bosox players and everybody but Ellsbury did everything they could to help the team.  Before everybody starts crying about how Ellsbury was treated, ask yourself if you would feel the same way if he wasn't putting up the numbers he is this year.  Do you know who our iron man in the OF was in 2010?  JD Drew.  He played in 139 games, and was probably hurt through many of them.  Hermida was playing with cracked ribs.  Cameron was playing with a sports hernia.

    Is anybody sympathizing with JD Drew right now?  His team-mates aren't calling him out.  He's not slamming the Sox medical staff in the media.  He's not letting his agent tell us when he will return to the lineup.  Here's what Jerry Thornton, the same self-righteous duche bag shaming us about the treatment of Ellsbury, about JD Drew as early as February this year ...

    So you can hear J.D. Drew already talking about his Hamstring of Glass after months of inactivity and be frustrated all you want. But I appreciate him for what he is: A true genius. An absolute craftsman at the art of making excuses. 

    ...

    Call him lazy. Call him a faker. Call him an overpaid waste of talent. But I call him my hero. He's everything I wish I could be.
     
  20. You have chosen to ignore posts from rameakap. Show rameakap's posts

    Re: Where are all the Jacoby Ellsbury critics now?

    In Response to Re: Where are all the Jacoby Ellsbury critics now?:
    To me, Ellsbury's success this year supports the criticism of him last year.  We missed the playoffs by 6 games last year.  Barring a slump, Ellsbury will be valued at over 8 wins over replacement at the end of the year.  Theoretically, that means that if we had seen 75% of the Ellsbury we see now in 2010, we would have made the playoffs.  2010 was epic for its injuries to Bosox players and everybody but Ellsbury did everything they could to help the team.  Before everybody starts crying about how Ellsbury was treated, ask yourself if you would feel the same way if he wasn't putting up the numbers he is this year.  Do you know who our iron man in the OF was in 2010?  JD Drew.  He played in 139 games, and was probably hurt through many of them.  Hermida was playing with cracked ribs.  Cameron was playing with a sports hernia. Is anybody sympathizing with JD Drew right now?  His team-mates aren't calling him out.  He's not slamming the Sox medical staff in the media.  He's not letting his agent tell us when he will return to the lineup.  Here's what Jerry Thornton, the same self-righteous duche bag shaming us about the treatment of Ellsbury, about JD Drew as early as February this year ...
    Posted by slomag


    C'mon, glad he's your hero but thats kinda an inaccurate post

    Ells was misdiagnosed, had multiple broken ribs, and tried several times to come back from what he was told were 'bruised ribs' even tho he said it felt like he was stabbed with a knife when he tried to swing.

    Sox should have given the Crawford money to Matt Holliday (actually woulda been 15 million less) and left Ells in CF. No rib injury. Then even if Ells just went .305/.360/.440 with 15 HR's last year we'd have cruised into the playoffs.
     
  21. You have chosen to ignore posts from moonslav59. Show moonslav59's posts

    Re: Where are all the Jacoby Ellsbury critics now?

    Sox should have given the Crawford money to Matt Holliday (actually woulda been 15 million less) and left Ells in CF. No rib injury. Then even if Ells just went .305/.360/.440 with 15 HR's last year we'd have cruised into the playoffs

    I really wanted us to make a strong push for Holliday, but remember, softy said he wasn't an "elite hitter".

    The argument that Ells would not have been hurt had he been in CF is pure speculation. Who knows, he may have had a career ending injury instead. We'll never know.
     
  22. You have chosen to ignore posts from slomag. Show slomag's posts

    Re: Where are all the Jacoby Ellsbury critics now?

    In Response to Re: Where are all the Jacoby Ellsbury critics now?:
    In Response to Re: Where are all the Jacoby Ellsbury critics now? : C'mon, glad he's your hero but thats kinda an inaccurate post Ells was misdiagnosed, had multiple broken ribs, and tried several times to come back from what he was told were 'bruised ribs' even tho he said it felt like he was stabbed with a knife when he tried to swing. Sox should have given the Crawford money to Matt Holliday (actually woulda been 15 million less) and left Ells in CF. No rib injury. Then even if Ells just went .305/.360/.440 with 15 HR's last year we'd have cruised into the playoffs.
    Posted by rameakap


    What's the inaccuracy?  Why did it take Ellsbury a year to recover from an injury that took Hermida and Zack Greinke 4 weeks to return from?  Why did Ellsbury feel the need to hold a press conference to describe his mis-treatment by the Sox medical staff, while the Red Sox were still very much in the race?  Why did Ellsbury come back from his first DL stint, rake in his minor-league rehabs, and then shut it down after a 1-14 at the MLB level?  Why were his team-mates calling him out?  Why would Ellsbury say he 'felt good' swinging the bat in early July, if he was still another 6 weeks away from returning to the club?  Why was he allowed to create his own timetable for return?

    I'm just saying - there is evidence in my opinion that Ellsbury was putting himself ahead of the team when everybody else on the roster was doing everything they could to get the Sox a win.  I'm happy he's doing well right now, but I appreciate the efforts of the guys who really took one for the team.  Mike Cameron, JD Drew and Jeremy Hermida may not be MVP candidates, but I find it difficult to throw them under the bus in the same motion that I hoist Ellsbury on my shoulders.

     
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