by user Iancass

It was one of those "Say what?!" blurbs that makes you want to rewind the tape, except you're not watching a tape, you're watching a live broadcast, so you have to wait for the loop to run full circle. It was a piece of news from ESPN's crawl I noticed last night, while watching Baseball Tonight.

If you haven't already heard, Durham Bulls outfielder Delmon Young, perhaps the top prospect in minor league baseball, was ejected last night from a game against the Pawtucket Red Sox for throwing his bat at an umpire.

Here's a description of the incident by Paul Kenyon of the Providence Journal:

Batting with two on and no outs in the top of the first, Young was called on out strikes. As Pawtucket catcher Corky Miller stepped in front of the plate to make sure the runners stayed where they were, Young lingered at the plate.
"I heard the umpire say, you better get going," said Miller, who thought the strike call was correct. "I turned around and saw he was still in the box. I didn't hear him say anything. I think he took a little too much time."
As Young began to walk away, the umpire ejected him. Young was four or five steps away when he realized he had been thrown out. He turned and flipped the bat underhanded at the umpire. The bat was going end over end as it struck the umpire in the chest and shoulder.

Complicating the matter is the presence of replacement officials, in lieu of the regular minor league umpires being on strike. As the replacements have reportedly received threats, teams aren't releasing the names of the umpires. (The Association of Minor League Umpires, as you might imagine, has no such qualms.) So the guy on the business end of Young's bat toss was kept from the media after the game.

Young had no post-game comment, which might have been the smartest thing he did all night. While sitting in time-out back in his hotel room, perhaps young Delmon contemplated the explosiveness of his temper, which has bit him in the @$$ before. Last year, he was suspended three games for bumping an umpire (though he may have been mad about playing for a team called the Biscuits - it's unclear). He also demonstrated a loose grip on the bat in times of anger when he threw his bat in the air after being hit by a pitch. (The bat landed about 20 feet from the pitcher.)

Delmon, what's up with that? Why the chip on the shoulder, son? Did you already spend your $4 million signing bonus? Are you pissed about the Devil Rays not calling you up to the majors, while Damon Hollins somehow holds a spot in the Tampa Bay outfield? (Don't be mad about Joey Gathright, though. Fantasy baseball owners need those stolen bases, okay?) Or maybe you're frustrated that big brother Dmitri was off to such a slow start before going on the DL. (If that's the case, Detroit fans hear you on that.)

I guess what I'm trying to say, young Delmon, is turn that frown upside-down. Things aren't so bad. Hey, I have a bad temper, too. Just yesterday, in fact, I almost cut down my neighbor's tree because one of its thorny branches nearly poked me in the eye while I was mowing the lawn. But I took a deep breath, walked away, sat on the porch with a bottle of water, and thought about all the falafels, hummus, and bread I'd stuff in my face later in the evening.

Visualization, Delmon. Take yourself to a better place. Think about what makes you happy. You have friends here, Delmon. We're all rooting for you. Well, except for that guy you threw the bat at last night. He might still hold a grudge.

(Meanwhile, what should we set the over-under at for Delmon's suspension? 10 games? 25? 30? I'm going to say 15.)


Thu 04/27/06, 5:47 am EST

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