There are some things about which baseball players ought not to pop off, when it comes to their former clubs, especially when they’re about to face said clubs in a World Series. Things like .220/.273/.300 slash lines against their former teams. Things like their .258/.307/.335 slash lines when playing for said former teams, not to mention their measly two home runs and nine runs batted in.
Someone forgot to send Astros right fielder Josh Reddick the memo. In the middle of the Astros’ pennant-winning celebration, during which Reddick was photographed enjoying a champagne bath from a teammate while wearing nothing but briefs resembling an American flag, Reddick couldn’t resist unloading to Los Angeles Times reporter Pedro Moura, with a live microphone and recorder operating.
“I wasn’t really a fan favorite [with the Dodgers]. I got booed a lot as a home player,” Reddick said to Moura. “I didn’t really fit in, it seemed like they thought. I tried to put that behind me. But I think it’s gonna be fun to go back, especially to beat them. It’s gonna be a really good feeling for me personally.”
So my friend Howard Cole—president of the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America, writer for Forbes—was kind enough to send the memo:
Listen, you shrinking violet. The booing you experienced at Chavez Ravine in 2016 was child’s play . . . Poor Pedro Baez was booed more in one night than you were in two months of uninspired play. That you went to Houston and actually hit the baseball for six months and into a seventh was a tad annoying to the savvy fans of Los Angeles.
But again, you weren’t even on our radar. Now you are, and all none-profane, zero-objects-thrown booing is to be expected . . . You’d have been better off concerning yourself with your .220/.273/.300 line against Dodger pitching and your 1-25 American League Championship Series stats. Because those are Curtis Granderson numbers.
You get that players hope for satisfaction against the fans that gave up on them, never mind that those fans had sound at the time reasons for such a surrender. Those fans root for teams. And teams don’t particularly hold with guys who didn’t produce for them once upon a time cracking on their fans when about to face them, especially in a World Series.
Just like the Yankees got Lew Burdette—once a Yankee prospect who never quite impressed Casey Stengel, and itched to show his old skipper a thing or three—wanting to and making mincemeat out of them in the 1957 World Series, starting against and beating them three times.
The problem was that Burdette didn’t know the meaning of the word “quit.” After he beat them in Game Two of the ’58 Series, making it two straight to open for his Braves, Burdette shot his mouth off: “I wish the Yankees played in the National League. They’d be lucky to finish fifth.” The Yankees ended up winning that Series in seven, after a 3-1 deficit.
The Dodgers have been there before in the bulletin-board material department. When the Mets beat them in Game One of the 1988 National League Championship Series, Mets pitcher David Cone—who had a sideline in that set as a commentator for the New York Daily News—proclaimed Orel Hershiser “lucky for eight innings” (the Mets won, 3-2) and ripped closer and curve ball specialist Jay Howell as “a high school pitcher.”
Hershiser and Howell and company took it to the Mets in six games, including battering Cone in Game Two for five runs in two innings. Then they went on to beat the Athletics in a five-game World Series. Not too shabby for Mr. Lucky and the High School Pitcher.
Reddick went to the Dodgers in a mid-2016 trade from the Athletics and never really seemed to fit with them. He had a solid 2017 with the Astros after signing as a free agent last winter. He was solid in this year’s division series. Then his bat disappeared in the American League Championship Series against the Yankees.
His wasn’t the only Astro bat to disappear or at least sleep somewhat during the set, but none of those Astros have been heard popping off about their former organisations or figuring out how and where to poke the Dodger bear.
No matter how you hit for or against your former team, Confucius say, “Take champagne bath in skivvies, beware foaming at mouth.”