Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Let The Meeting Begin

MLB.com commences the meeting of the Robert Fick appreciation society. Expect nuggets from the Post and Times manana.

MLB's article is constructed artfully:
First Part -- Fick is a jerk
Second Part -- Frank likes him
Third Part -- He's reformed and changed, accempting his role. Bowden even says so.

The more I'm sold something, the less I'm inclined to believe it.

Fick's a jerk. A redass. He's vulgar -- the article notes how many times he's been fined, especially for abusing the umps. It's not that swearing is a bad thing (don't tell my mom, but I've been inclined to toss off a few, typically while watching Frank bunt a runner from second to third), but it's symptomatic of what's been his biggest problem, his temper.

That all manifested itself in one of the dirtiest plays I've seen in baseball. In the 2003 NLCS, while playing for the Braves, he grounded to the pitcher. First baseman Eric Karros took the throw, and received a swinging arm block to his forearm from Fick, who was trying to knock the ball loose. This wasn't a pansy slap of the glove like the one ARod delivered to Bronson Aroyo in 2004. Fick was clearly gunning for his forearm, driving his arm down hard on Karros'. Fick was fined $25,000 for the play, and many were urging his suspension.

(Good accounts and blogger reaction here and here)

After the game, Fick, as is per his usual, delivered a profanity-laced tirade: "It's an elimination game and you've got to do what you've got to do," Fick said in a profanity-laced explanation. "I'm not saying I did it on purpose. But it's ... baseball."

Even his own manager refused to defend him:
"I think he tried to grab the ball out of Eric's glove, which is a little bit of a violation of the rules," Atlanta manager Bobby Cox said. "I know there wasn't an attempt to hurt Eric but that's a good way to hurt somebody probably."

Fick has also, for what it's worth, been a central figure in two brawls. In the most famous one, he earned an 8-game suspension (handed out by Frank Robinson) for going crazy on the Royals. The other was against the Cubs. I'll let the AP Account speak for itself: Fick was seen taunting fans in the visitor's bullpen, and fans doused him with beer.

Delightful!

He's not a guy I'm going to be rooting for, even if I pull for the jersey.

  • Some people hate him so much that they've written a song (complete with MIDI file!) about him.

  • And now we find out that he has 'loose bodies' in his elbow. And we expect him to be a backup catcher? (Did you know that he's only caught 31 games since 2002?) Fick says that he doesn't think it'll impede his season, but I'm not at all inclined to believe Dr. Fick's diagnosis. I'm not a doctor, but if it's to the point where it's noticeable to him this early into the season, it's probably something that's going to require surgery, even if it's not a major one.

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