I’ve got a new hero.
Alfonso Soriano has pulled off a trifecta that makes him worthy of stunned, gaping awe. And this time, it doesn’t even involve swinging at a pitch that’s three feet over his head, or thrown behind his ass. Here’s what old Alfie-boy accomplished:
First, two offseasons ago, Soriano was traded away from the Yankees in the ARod deal.
“Club officials may be heard to ask questions like, ‘Is that number even real?‘, ‘This is a joke, right?‘, and ‘What do you think, I shit Benjamins for breakfast?‘”
Yeah, I know it was a long time ago. But this is Red Sox country — leaving the Yankees buys you brownie points for a long time around here. Even if it wasn’t his choice, it’s all good. Short of thawing out Ted Williams’ popsicled head, there’s very little Soriano could do at this point to lower himself in the minds of Boston fans.
(But it seems he’s trying, nonetheless, to alienate baseball buffs everywhere. Keep reading.)
Now with the Washington “Don’t Call Us Expos, Bitch” team, earlier this offseason Soriano lost his salary arbitration appeal.
(For those of you unfamiliar with the arbitration process in the major leagues, it essentially boils down to this:
1. A player decides on an astronomically large amount of money that he thinks he’s worth. Often, the player determines the exact dollar amount to ask for by asking his agent ‘What’s the biggest number you’ve ever heard of?‘ Other times, he’ll multiply his PIN code and his phone number (with area code, if he’s a real slugger), or simply look up and match the GNP of his favorite small Caribbean nation. It’s an inexact science, to be sure.
2. The player’s ballclub laughs, heartily, at the number suggested by the player. Club officials may be heard to ask questions like, ‘Is that number even real?‘, ‘This is a joke, right?‘, and ‘What do you think, I shit Benjamins for breakfast?‘
(The last one is reserved for Steinbrenner only. Because, as far as anyone can tell, he does.)
3. The club responds to the player with an outlandishly astronomical, but not quite as outrageous, dollar amount. Still, a hefty sum capable of feeding and clothing a reasonably frugal family of five for, say, the amount of time remaining until the sun burns itself into a cold, dead rock. The player, invariably, sees this ‘compromise’ as a ‘snub’, and immediately voices his displeasure at the club’s ‘disrespect’ to the media at large.
4a. Players with little service time in the league are told, politely but firmly, to ‘shut the fuck up and get on the field‘. These players, being ineligible for arbitration, typically do just that, saving their ‘man is holding me down’ speeches for family members and sympathetic entouragers.
4b. For more senior players, an independent arbitrator is brought in to assess just how much the player is truly worth. The player pleads his case, with his agent pointing out important statistical achievements like ‘runs created’, ‘game-winning hits’, and ‘cola commercials revenue earned’. The ballclub then spends a few hours trying to convince the arbitrator that the player is useless, worthless, rude, boorish, and of rather questionable family origin. Also, he can’t read and his feet smell like cabbage. The arbitrator then decides who ‘wins’ and ‘loses’, by setting a salary mark suggested by one side or the other.)
So, in losing — read that again: L-O-S-I-N-G — his arbitration hearing, Soriano ‘settled’ for the measly pittance of ten million dollars a year. That’s ‘million’. Ten of ’em.
(How on earth will the man ever feed himself? Or buy the eyeglasses he apparently desperately needs, to see that those pitches he’s flailing at hit the dirt three feet in front of the plate? Tragic.)
That’s worth a few points right there, in my book. When have you ever ‘lost’ something, and made out with eight figures’ worth of the cold hard stuff? I’d like to see a little ‘arbitration’ around the old office, dammit, if that’s how the game is played.
Finally, just today, Soriano refused to play left field in a preseason exhibition game. Since coming over to the Ersatz Expos in (another) trade this offseason, Soriano’s said he’d ‘prefer‘ to stick with his second base position. Apparently, he’s more comfortable there. Or maybe he’s still stinging from his arbitration ‘loss’, and is simply too melancholy to be gallavanting around the outfield. These athletes can be very weepy, you know.
So today, for the first time, the manager penciled our boy Alfie into left field. And Alfie said:
‘No. No, I don’t think I’ll let you play me there today, thanks just the same.‘
I guess ten million bucks doesn’t buy you much these days, eh? Must be the inflation.
And there wasn’t much the manager could do in that situation. The team’s already got a guy they like at second base, and Soriano’s stamped his little feet and said he won’t play anywhere else. So the skipper scribbled a new name onto the lineup card, switched around the outfield, and Alfie sat the game out.
So, ‘Fonzie Soriano is my new hero now. Why, you ask?
Is it because he’s selfishly standing up for his own interest, propriety and sportsmanship and contractual obligations be damned?
Is it because he’s petulantly seeking revenge on his ballclub and innocent teammates for the decision of an impartial panel of judges who he feels bilked him out of a few bucks he’d never have the time to spend?
Not exactly, no.
Because he’s stubborn? Because he’d suck in the outfield, anyway? Because he’s the only major leaguer who strikes out more than you do in softball?
No, no, and — hey, shut up! I can too hit a curveball. The pitcher should just have to tell you when it’s coming, is all. I SAID SHADDUP!
It’s because he’s not playing for the Yankees any more, isn’t it?
Okay, a little. I’m only human. But mostly it’s this:
Alfonso Soriano must have the biggest cojones ever bestowed upon a human being in the history of mankind.
And any guy crazy enough to bitch publicly about his new boss’ requests, demand a raise, get handed ten million dollars, and then refuse to work altogether is not someone I want to see on the other side of the battlefield. Ever.
So yeah, as far as he knows, he’s my new hero. I think he’s being a hefty-sized douchebag, just like everybody else — but dammit, I’m scared. You’re either ‘for him’ or ‘agin him’ with guys like that, and I’m not gonna cross him. That hombre is loco, man!Permalink | 1 Comment