Adam Rubin reports today that the feud between Francisco Rodriguez and Brian Bruney has escalated.
The whole thing started when Rubin was in Trenton and talked to some of the players about the blown-save/Luis-Castillo fiasco Friday night. Watch Bruney veer into left field, figuratively:
Regarding the Luis Castillo mistake, Bruney said: “Unbelievable. I’ve never seen anything like that. I have, but in high school. It couldn’t happen to a better guy on the mound, either. He’s got a tired act.”
Why the unsolicited K-Rod rancor?
“Two years ago, when he lost the game—I don’t know if anybody saw it, I did—he was in Oakland,” Bruney said. “He was pitching for Anaheim. He didn’t get a call. So he was like complaining. The catcher threw it back and just kind of did one of these. (Holding out glove at side with indifference.) It hit off his glove and bounced behind. The guy from third scored to win the game. So he gets what he deserves.”
Asked if there was anything personal between the two, Bruney added: “No. I just don’t like watching the guy pitch. I think it’s embarrassing.”
So, today before the game supposedly Bruney (now activated and with the big league squad) and Phil Coke came over to ‘make amends.’ It didn’t work out so well:
the Mets closer wanted no part of it and started getting animated. The Yankees’ Jose Veras and Mets bullpen coach Randy Niemann eventually had to intervene.
Players later were hugging in the outfield, including Alex Cora and CC Sabathia.
Well, Rubin’s vague use of ‘players’ suggests that no relievers were probably hugging in the outfield, so the bully-on-bully hatred is going to seethe it’s way through the game today. It’s silly.
Our take is that people make mistakes. Obviously, Francisco Rodriguez would like to have that game in Oakland back. It was an embarassing lack of focus in the face of a blown call, and it did cost his team the game. But he’s obviously had a ton of value for his teams, so the scale gets balanced in his favor.
Bruney has no such value to fall back on. His mistake, taking K-Rod on in a battle of the words, actually is a little more glaring without the years of experience to back it up. It’s the classic case of think it, but don’t say it, kid.
Luis Castillo would love to have that ball back, but the play was actually indicative of his failing defense. This year is the second straight year he’s been worse than average at second base defensively. If that continues, he’ll find the pine because his hitting is so close to average that it won’t float his sub-par defense. He’s an embattled character, but for a reason. If he can get his defense and offense to an average major league starting second baseman, he’s a reasonable #2 hitting 2B and we won’t hold one blown play against him.
But if he continues to be sub-par in the field and barely at par at the plate, Friday night may have been the beginning of the end.