Thursday, February 28, 2008

Church In Hell

I'm really getting tired of Ryan Church. The guy took a lot of crap. Far too much crap. But, jesus, the guy has to be the dumbest guy on the planet. He doesn't know when to shut the hell up. What's that about opening your mouth to remove all doubt?
"How would you feel?" Church said with a laugh one recent morning, sitting at his locker in the Mets' star-studded clubhouse. "It was like an early Christmas present, like a weight was lifted off my shoulders."

Church unfairly took a lot of crap here. He was constantly getting ripped by team officials and fans for not being better than he was. Not too many people looked at what he did, just what he didn't do. Oh, he had his problems, many of them, I suspect because he sometimes come across as a laid-back (idiot) California dude.

This is fairly stunning to hear from a player:
"They'd play me, sit me, play me, make a trade, sit me," Church said of the Nationals. The trade he is referring to is the one that brought Wily Mo Peña to Washington in mid-August, after which Church started just 13 games.

"It's a business, and I totally understand that, and not everybody is going to like it," Church said. "But I think I lost about 100-something at-bats, and there was a reason for that. People who were there know [what that reason was]. You could see it. There's a business side."

Church paused briefly. "There's arbitration," he continued. "There's this . . . "

Church holds up his hand and rubs his fingers and thumb together, the universal sign for "money."

Sounds a lot like something Gary Sheffield would say, huh?

That's a pretty serious charge to level. Not only does it imply that Bowden was pulling the levers behind the scenes, but it's undermining Manny -- that Manny decided to play Nook Logan over Church not as a baseball decision, but as something handed down from the front office. I'm not sure I could see Manny doing that.

Bowden, of course, denies the charge:
"That is absolutely not true," Bowden said. Church "was benched because we traded for Wily Mo Peña and then started scoring one more run a game. I promise you that is not true."

But in doing so, he pees all over Church, as he loves to do. He's implying (with the same level of empirical argument you're sure to get from Rush Limbaugh) that getting Church out of the lineup was the reason for the surge.

For the month before the Pena trade, Church clearly wasn't a problem. He hit a pretty impressive .283 .336 .495 over that stretch. They scored more runs because Kearns found his stroke, because Flores started taking ABs away from Schneider and because, well, anything can happen over a month or so of games. That's just Bowden asserting his GM prowess and taking another unnecessary shot at a player he was never especially fond of.

Anyway... I do feel bad for the way he got jerked around the last few years, while the team fiddled with crapbags -- and worse, OBVIOUS crapbags -- like Endy and Logan. If he's your worst outfielder, you've got a pretty good team. Just nobody every really took the time to notice the small things he did... just the big ugly things he did wrong.

But at the same time, good riddance. The team is better with Milledge than it is with him. And Church's biggest asset to the team always was how cheap his contract was relative to the league-average performance he gave. Now that he's making north of $2 million, that value starts to erode.

I hope he enjoys NY. I hope he enjoys putting his foot in his mouth at some point this year. And I hope he enjoys the choruses of boos he's going to get when he flails weakly at a breaking ball in the dirt. (since he's the only batter in the history of baseball who has a hard time with breaking pitches...)


  • Eh this is what happens when you keep shoving the microphone in front of someone that doesn't know any better. You see the same thing with the NY press and Lastings Milledge.


    and here:

    in the last week for instance

    By Blogger Harper, at 2/29/2008 12:12 AM  

  • I think someone needs a hug, Chris. (here's where I'd customarily insert the *huggles Chris* but I don't think that'll play real well on this blog)

    Seriously, though, you're absolutely right, but it's not worth jacking up your blood pressure over jerky statements like that. Church is gone now, and unless he starts throwing punches the next time he plays the Nats, let's just ignore him and his mouth. If you're real nice to Lannan maybe he'll break his hand or something for you.

    Let's just be excited that our first truly official (and officially broadcast) spring training game is tomorrow at 1. Better yet, we get to smack the AAAA Marlins around for 9 innings and watch as the new Nationals bash brothers put up some nice slugging numbers.

    It's spring, even though you'd never know it from the weather (since I currently reside in Boston, I have ~4 inches of snow on the ground) so let's just vicariously embrace the joy of our players.

    By Blogger Michael Taylor, at 2/29/2008 12:31 AM  

  • As my six-year-old daughter would say, Ryan Church had one non-reprehensible quality: he had good theme music ("Crazy Train" -- that was the only misgiving my daughter had about trading him).

    Whiner, non-clutch hitter, every time we needed a big throw from him the ball went straight into the dirt, let's just say he had a few "questionable" social views. I would have given him the fireman's carry myself to NY to get Milledge.

    By Blogger John O'Connor, at 2/29/2008 8:55 AM  

  • Just think about the awesome young player we got for two crappy/to middling old players.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2/29/2008 9:37 AM  

  • Church took far less crap here than he could have, given his antisemitism. Really, I was amazed at how fast that issue died down. What he said is about on par with Lastings's rap album, but for some reason I can't quite figure Church was given a free pass while Milledge was labeled a problem. Oh yeah, Church is white.

    Plus, the guy just couldn't play every day and perform. I don't agree that people didn't appreciate what he did for the Nats--at least not the fans I talk to. People did appreciate what he could do, but were frustrated that he couldn't stay healthy long enough to do it for 500+ ABs. It was clear that he needed to be a 4-day-a-week player, max, in order to avoid cratering. In football, you call that a "coach-killer."

    So I agree, good riddance and take it easy on those hangnails, you Nazi bastard.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2/29/2008 9:56 AM  

  • That last comment was from Steven Biel. I don't like to post as anonymous, but I can't figure out how to get to take my name.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2/29/2008 10:15 AM  

  • I don't think you're going to have to wait long to have your revenge. Something deep down inside me says that Ryan Church is probably not going to be very successful in the NY. He's going to start slow and when the NY media machine really start to ramp up he'll mouth off and be relegated to 2nd team status a la Blastings Thrilledge

    By Blogger Kyle, at 2/29/2008 10:23 AM  

  • Church is going to have a blast in New York. Nothing like being a bigot who can't keep your mouth shut in the biggest sports media market in the country, which also happens to be the most diverse city in the country. When he hits a slump and everyone gets pissed at him for not producing, he'll invariably say something stupid and get himself relegated to bench duty. He'll probably end up blaming Scott Schoeneweis.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2/29/2008 10:27 AM  

  • It was stupid for Church to say that. Especially for someone with experience of having words taken out of context and used to smear him. We see that again with Mr. Anon 9:56's disgusting accusation of antisemitism. It just gives openings for morons to bring that nonsense up again. And now that Church is going to have to deal with the New York media, the chances are greater that that pot is going to be stirred up again. He has got to learn to keep his mouth shut, or just confine his comments to what goes on on the field.

    I'm pretty sure there were comments on blogs that raised the possibility that lineup decisions were being made on these sorts of financial considerations. It's just that it doesn't do the players to talk that way -- especially to the media.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2/29/2008 10:28 AM  

  • I also feel that Church will find the going tough in NY, especially if he doesn't learn how to shut his yapper.

    Church made some flat out dumb comments, that may have been taken out of context a little but nevertheless, were better left unsaid.

    However, I'm not sure calling somebody a "Nazi bastard" on a message board makes you a better person than him. It just makes you look like someone with a lot of hate and anger in your heart.

    By Blogger Chuck B., at 2/29/2008 10:55 AM  

  • Bowden and Acta run the show.

    If they see the net result of adding Wily Mo at the expense of Church's PT as cause for better team performance...that simply means they're making moves to improve the teams chances.

    I'm no stat hound, but I can tell you I felt much better watching Wily Mo step to the plate than Church....and seeing him when the Mets come to town...well at least one of their players won't be hitting over .325.

    Adding Millage? That is just another good thing.

    Seya Ryan.

    By Blogger Ray Firsching, at 2/29/2008 11:30 AM  

  • Church is correct. There are several outfielders in addition to Pena that Bodes acquired which resulted in pushing Church to the bench. Not one of them delivered. Church will get even though by having a good season with the Mets. My prediction is a .290 BA, 90 RBI's and 25 homers.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2/29/2008 11:55 AM  

  • “Enough is enough. You’re a [New York Met] now. Don’t worry about what happened last year or the year before that. Just go out there and try to help the Mets win. It makes no sense to bash your former team. He just needs to turn the page and worry about helping the New York Mets. Forget about what we’re doing over here. Forget about the Washington Nationals.”

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2/29/2008 12:26 PM  

  • wait a minute. Why is it a "disgusting accusation" to say that Church is an antisemite. He said all Jews are "doomed" because they "don't believe in Jesus." Seems like a pretty prejudicial statement to me. Is it that you think going to hell isn't such a bad thing? Sorry, but if you don't want to be considered a bigot, you should avoid damning to hell entire ethnic groups.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2/29/2008 2:05 PM  

  • Because within the context of Church's religious beliefs, it wasn't aimed at Jewish people in particular? That belief could apply to anyone who does not become 'born again.' Church happened to mention a Jewish person because his old girlfriend was Jewish. He may have applied that belief to all Jewish people, but if you follow the line of his belief it would reach a helluva lot of people who aren't Jewish too.

    The belief might be wrong or hateful, but it's a far cry from anti-semitism as most people recognize it.

    Within the context of this discussion, it has nothing to do with anything, other than that Church is dumb.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2/29/2008 2:26 PM  

  • " has nothing to do with anything, other than that Church is dumb."

    which is why evil will always triumph over Ryan Church

    By Blogger Harper, at 2/29/2008 2:35 PM  

  • I'm not sympathetic to Ryan over his non-playing issues, but he got jerked around during his time in DC by an organization that failed to appreciate that he was one of their few major league quality players. He lost time to Marlon Byrd and Nook Logan over the years. There was virtually no time when Church was in DC when he shouldn't have been playing (except when injured), but he wasn't even with the big league club for a material part of the 2006 season.

    I won't miss Ryan, because of what the Nats got in return. Hopefully going forward the Nats will play their best players.

    By Blogger ger, at 2/29/2008 2:37 PM  

  • Methinks this will not be Mr. Church's last change of scenery.

    I'll try to keep my blood pressure down, but it will be a pleasure to greet him from Section 310 at Nats Park on April 23.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2/29/2008 2:38 PM  

  • yeah! go churchie!

    i hate this trade more every day.

    By Blogger Ken Dynamo, at 2/29/2008 2:38 PM  

  • Church probably feels this is a case of revenge being a dish best served cold, after all the front office haven't liked him since he turned down their request to play winterball and try to improve his ability to recognise pitches with a vision specialist.

    Of course, Church is quite new to the NY press, won't belong before they see him against a quality lefty. And reach for the journalistic knives.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2/29/2008 4:35 PM  

  • "Within the context of Church's religious beliefs, it wasn't aimed at Jewish people in particular? That belief could apply to anyone who does not become 'born again.'"

    Church specifically singled out Jews, and showed that he has a particular axe to grind with Jews. If he didn't intend to single out Jews, he shouldn't have.

    Besides, he's a BASEBALL PLAYER. How many questions do you think he gets on theological matters? I've never played MLB, but I don't think it's that hard to make it through a season without discussing religion, UNLESS you have a particular bee in your bonnet.

    But now that he's with the Mets, he and Wagner can fight about who's worse, the Jews or the blacks. Should make things nice and happy in that clubhouse.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2/29/2008 4:36 PM  

  • "I'm not sympathetic to Ryan over his non-playing issues, but he got jerked around during his time in DC by an organization that failed to appreciate that he was one of their few major league quality players. He lost time to Marlon Byrd and Nook Logan over the years."

    First, did you see what Byrd did in Texas last year? He outplayed Church, that's for sure.

    But Church wasn't jerked around by the Nationals--he didn't play every day because he couldn't perform unless he was absolutely completely healthy. Any little hangnail and he cratered. (That, and he couldn't hit lefties AT ALL.) If he could have maintained the numbers he put up in 250 ABs (against righties) over 500, Frank and Manny would have given him that for sure. But every little ow-ie (and left-handed pitcher) sent him below the Mendoza line. He has no one but himself to blame.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2/29/2008 4:45 PM  

  • It's Ryan's job to tell every NY reporter how happy he is to have been traded to the Mets. Unfortunately he lacks the intelligence and maturity to avoid turning that into a slam against the Nationals.

    I wish him well, but I also look forward to coming to Nationals Park and watching his flailing strikeouts in another uniform.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2/29/2008 5:06 PM  

  • Wait a minute, wait a minute!

    Has anybody asked SBF what he thinks about his MAIN MAN!!! making these kind of statements.

    Also, i like that two anonymous posters are having an argument about whether or not Ryan Church was an anti-semite.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2/29/2008 7:50 PM  

  • He's the 2008 right field version of John Rocker. Good luck on the No. 7 train, Ryan old-buddy. Feed this idiot a steady diet of off-speed breaking balls in the dirt and he won't hit .180.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2/29/2008 7:50 PM  

  • Smoking hot wife, however!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3/01/2008 7:58 AM  

  • It's ultimately all about performance. He isn't a starting right fielder on a world series team, and being advertised as one might be a PR nightmare. If the Mets platoon him, he'll do fine. Otherwise, it will all go sour. The media will go for the stupid ugly things he said to paint the picture of him as a low-character guy just because he's not a good enough player. He didn't have a solid role with the Nats but he didn't force their hand either by proving that he deserved to play every day.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3/01/2008 9:10 AM  

  • I could almost agree with you at the time you wrote this post. Almost. Church, attitude aside, was an extremely talented hitter. I always figured he would be a 20-30 HR player if he had protection in the lineup and more ABs. Alas, Bowden has a hard on for Kearns and Wily Mo (2HRs to date). He always hated Church. Concussion aside, Church was arguably the best first half player on a team that is likely to be a factor in the playoffs this year. Good call getting rid of him because he has a less than reliable bullshit filter. check out

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