As recently established on this site, there are lots of reasons to tell someone he sucks. Sometimes, you say it because you mean it. But there are also times when you say it ironically. Or for fun. So, just to avoid confusion, I wanted to state for the record that, when I tell Michael Kay he sucks, I am in earnest. 100%.
There are a number of way in which Michael Kay embodies the essence of suckiness. He asks asinine questions. He is pompous and self-obsessed. He cheers for the other team too much. But, at the moment, none of these are the reasons why I feel compelled to tell him he sucks. This time it’s because he had to go and open up that big, fat yap of his. About Torre. Again.
What he’s saying isn’t new. That Torre just happens to stumble into postseasons—thirteen in a row, for a refresher. Apparently, he did it twelve times on the steam of a great team that Buck Showalter put together, once on the steam of a former Chowda power hitter. Some guys have all the luck.
As I said, this isn’t the first time that Kay has had something less than glowing to say about Torre—St. Joe, as he likes to call him. (Though, he swears that’s not meant to be cutting or condescending.) Just a few months ago, Kay took issue with the fact that Torre had called Jorge Posada to inquire about his injury. According to Kay, as the manager of the Dodgers, it was inappropriate for Torre to check on the health of a player for the Yankees, even if that player happened to be a guy he had managed for twelve years. Apparently, a manager is only supposed to take a fake interest in his players and only for the duration of time for which he is under contractual obligation to do so.
It’s sort of funny that, of all things Kay should take issue with, it would be Torre’s loyalty to former players. That actually sort of contradicts some of the other things about Torre that Kay has taken issue with. For example, Kay once said, “There are things about Joe Torre, if I wanted to come out and say, would show how cold and calculated he really is… Joe Torre is for Joe Torre. … The graveyard of Yankees coaches is loaded with bones of coaches Joe Torre did nothing about.”
OK. Let’s leave aside the weird dead body imagery for a second and consider the rationale behind this assertion. If Torre’s so self-interested, why is he calling former players to inquire about their health? For some secret, selfish reason that I just can’t wrap my brain around because I’m a baseball outsider? And if Torre has such a bad rapport with his coaches, why would he have brought Mattingly and Bowa along to L.A. with him? Better yet, why would they have agreed to go? Is it just me, or is Kay’s logic a little unsound?
Lord knows it wouldn’t be the first time.
As some of you may remember, a couple of years ago, Kay became completely unhinged over complaints that he had interfered with a Chien-Ming Wang no-hitter by announcing it as it was happening. It is, of course, an old baseball superstition that you should never, ever mention a no-hitter in progress, lest you jinx the pitcher.
Now, do I believe that someone can affect the outcome of a game by what he or she says? Well, no. Obviously. But I also can’t affect the outcome of the game because I did or did not wear my hat to the stadium, nor can Jason Giambi by growing or shaving a mustache. Or wearing a gold thong. And, yet, we do these things because silly superstitions have always been a part of the age old tradition of baseball.
But Kay doesn’t buy it.
When a fan called into his show to complain, claiming that Kay had breached what was universally considered to be “baseball etiquette,” Kay went all kinds of Mike Lowell in a dark alley on him. He told the caller he was “infantile,” “asinine,” and “cretinous,” yelling “That was a stupid, stupid thing to say.” Apparently, though, Kay was worried that he wasn’t being explicit enough. He decided to analogize. He went on a tirade about how lots of things used to be considered “etiquette” that are no longer tolerable. Things like slavery and “putting people in ovens” in Nazi Germany.
No, you read that right. He said, “putting people in ovens.”
The issue of whether or not it’s appropriate for a broadcaster to mention a no-hitter in progress is debatable. On the one hand, there’s Michael Kay’s argument—the one he managed to spit out in the midst of his on-air meltdown. What he said was that it wasn’t his job to aid Wang in his attempt at a no-hitter; it was his job to report that it was happening. On the other hand, tradition is tradition. And you would think that, if anyone was going to understand a long-standing baseball tradition, it would be, well, a baseball broadcaster. It is ultimately up to Kay to decide if he wants to adhere to the unwritten no-talking during a no-no rule. But it hardly seemed necessary to make his caller out to be the Second Coming of Hermann Goring just because he happened to have strong feelings on the subject.
But I am not trying to convince you that Kay is off his rocker just because I want you to ignore what he has to say about Torre. There is another reason to do that. You shouldn’t listen to what Kay has to say about Torre because Torre once embarrassed Kay inside the Yankees’ clubhouse, and Kay has had it in for him ever since.
It was way back in 1996, Joe’s first year with the Bombers. Kay questioned Torre about a managerial decision, and Torre got upset with him for making inquiries that could be damaging to the clubhouse atmosphere. Some say that Kay felt Torre had humiliated him in order to rally his team together and that Kay has never gotten over the resentment. To add insult to injury, Torre dubbed Michael Kay the Rona Barrett of the clubhouse. Rona Barrett is an old-timey gossip columnist. To call Kay Rona Barrett was basically tantamount to calling him a nosey Nellie. Presumably, Kay didn’t love that too much. After all, he does sort of pride himself on, well, himself. All this was only compounded by the fact that Torre, who never appeared on Kay’s radio show, was a frequent guest on Mike and the Mad Dog—Kay’s major competition.
So, nothing against Michael Kay, but his beef with Torre sort of appears to be more of a case of sour grapes than anything else.
I mean, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe Torre is a sham who lucked into twelve Yankees postseasons. Maybe it’s a coincidence that the first year that the Yanks have failed to make it to October just happens to be the first year that Torre is no longer managing. Maybe Manny did singlehandedly lead the Dodgers to the DS. And to a sweep of the Cubs—the universally acknowledged favorite for that series. Maybe all this is true. Or, maybe, it’s like Chris said, and Joe just got a little hand from a farm animal and some indie kid. Whatever the case, as far as the Cubs are concerned, all that I can say is, sorry guys, but for this year, it’s not gonna happen.
It doesn’t really matter how Joe got there because, at this point, he remains my only rooting interest in what is panning out to be a really stupid postseason. Friggin’ ChiSox. And, man. What are the odds that the only game that the Angels would have taken against the Red Sox would have been the game that Beckett was pitching? Oh, well. I truly don’t care when or how the Chowdas get eliminated. If it happens early, it’s more humiliating. If it happens later, Chowdas Heads suffer more of a crushing defeat. Either way, I’m happy. Either way, Boston sucks.
And, either way, you suck Coco Crisp.
I will never be silenced on the subject.