After a recent three-run home run, Padres infielder Ian Kinsler let loose. The veteran addressed his critics with a salute to the crowd that did not go over too well. His response in the locker room after the game was a bit of a surprise.
Ian Kinsler told the fans what he thought of them. Let’s start there. The Padres’ second baseman pointed at the stands and uttered an expletive. Then he did it again. Then he did it again, except in the dugout.
There’s plenty to unpack here, including his postgame comments, but let’s get one thing out of the way first. We here in our little, mellow corner of the nation aren’t used to this.
I’m happy to report Padre fans rarely boo our own. It’s not our style. I won’t get into the reasons why, but it has something to do with surfboards, Hodad’s and microbrews.
However, someone (or many someones) made a noise that Mr. Kinsler heard and filed under “disparaging” in his memory bank. That lead to what we saw, and overheard, in game one against the Pirates.
Can we all agree so far? It would seem these are the facts.
The veteran second baseman told reporters his gestures and corresponding vocal suggestions had nothing to do with anyone spectating that night. Those comments and gestures were for his teammates, or so his story goes.
I’m no body language expert, but I’m pretty sure when you look a direction, point a direction and tilt your head in the same direction, you’re aiming your words in that direction. Call me crazy.
Therefore, it’s pretty obvious that isn’t true, or at the very least, it isn’t completely true. So, why not just be honest? Personally, I have no problem with the outburst at all. The guy is a professional athlete who just did the most difficult thing to do in sports to bring his team back from a deficit after a difficult stretch of games. Dude had a lot on his mind. Go ahead and let it out, man.
Instead, he decided the best course of action was to sound like a politician refusing to take a stance on an issue. Not sure that is better than something like this:
“Yeah, there were a couple of huckleberries giving it to me during the game, and I guess they got to me. I probably shouldn’t care so much, after all, I’ve played in Fenway, and if you slump there, they will tell you about it. So that’s on me, but I’m glad I helped us grab a win. Anyone got change for a $20? I’m gonna grab a soda.”
If that was the response, I suspect Padre fans would drop to DEFCON 5 almost instantly. Instead, he decided to go with the see/hear/speak no evil line. A curious decision.
Listen, I don’t hold a grudge. I don’t boo anyone on my own team, except Kevin Kouzmanoff for a totally different reason. (I liked Kouz a lot, but I digress)
In fact, I’ll go a step further, why do we ever boo Padres? What the hell good does that bring forth? We don’t need to be like Philly and New York fans. We have our own style, and that style typically includes the beach, and you can’t boo someone on the beach.
That being said, it does overcook my grits a bit when I am lied to. I’m not going to ever boo Ian Kinsler or anyone on the Padres, but that doesn’t mean he handled this correctly.
We are eager to forgive. Just admit what happened, own it and move on. What Kinsler did was try to convince us he did nothing wrong. That sounds a little like my child explaining why his mistakes were not his fault. Dude, we all do things wrong all the time. Confessing you’re in the wrong doesn’t make you bad, it makes you like everyone else and that’s okay.
I’m not a public relations executive, I’ve never been on the show Mad Men, but I’m pretty sure Mr. Kinsler extended the life of this issue unnecessarily. And that’s too bad, because it was a heck of a home run.
Baseball is the greatest athletic endeavor we have. It is a sport of poetry, beauty and nearly imeasurable levels of skill. The Padres are my team, my only true team. They are the expression of my love for this grand game.