It seemed that Ryan Franklin was a bit delusional when he repeated time and time again that there was nothing wrong with his stuff despite the mounting evidence to the contrary.
But he must have really lost his mind to pointedly take on Cardinals fans in the press Wednesday. Is he trying to talk his way out of town?
I realize that some ballplayers have feelings like us mere mortals. But this isn't New York where Yankees fans may have destroyed the club's chance to sign Cliff Lee by verbally abusing his wife during a playoff game at Yankee Stadium or Philadelphia where pitcher Ryan Madison's wife unloaded thusly on Phillies fans in the press:
"I hate the fans. It is bad enough that they bother us during the season, but they will not leave us alone in December when we go out to eat. We stayed here during the off season last year, but we will be going to California this year. There must be something particularly bad about Phillies fans because all the players leave in the off season."
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Franklin specifically pointed out that buying a ticket doesn't give fans the right to boo a bad performance. And, while I would certainly hope that people in the stands keep it clean and civil, it rubs me the wrong way when players say that we, the fans, should pony up our hard earned money to pay their multi-million salaries, we should clap and cheer when they play well, but if they'd don't keep up their end of the bargain... Well, we should just shut our pie holes.
Franklin's exact quote from the BND's Dave Wilhelm:
"You're either a fan or you're not. You don't boo your own team. I don't care who you are or what you say. Just because you spent your money to come here and watch us play and somebody happens to make one bad pitch and gives up a homer, you don't start booing them?
"I've been here for five years and four years, I've been pretty good. You should go write stories about the fans booing. They're supposed to be the best fans in baseball. Yeah, right."
One bad pitch, eh? Franklin has given up nine hits FOUR home runs and three walks in 6 1/3 innings of baseball.
I wasn't there when the Fans booed Franklin Wednesday afternoon. But I've been to games at the Mets, Yankees and Red Sox home parks. And St. Louis booing -- at it's worse -- can't match the venom players sometimes receive in some of those places.
More than I care what Franklin thinks about the fans, however, I worry about how his behavior is affecting the Cardinals clubhouse. He obviously isn't taking his demotion as well as I'd hope he would. That makes me concerned he is going to make things uncomfortable for Mitchell Boggs and Jason Motte.
The fact of the matter is that he wouldn't have lost his job had he not blown four saves in five tries and put together an ERA north of 10.00. Manager Tony La Russa was more than fair, sticking with Franklin beyond the point when he was one out of four in save opportunities. What was the skipper to do, send the whole team down in flames to save one man's ego?
If Franklin would have saved half of his chances, the Birds wouldn't be in a four-way tie with the Reds, Cubs and Brewers. They'd be alone in first place in the National League Central.
So, if Franklin really believes he still has the stuff to be a major league closer, there are two ways he can go. He can quit his complaining and pitch when the manager wants him to, thereby proving that he should get his old job back. Or he should ask to be traded to any team that will take on his $4 million paycheck to give up tape measure home runs to wrestle defeat from the jaws of victory.