San Diego Padres outfielder Will Venable being the first hitter faced by $100 million Texas Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish isn’t exactly the kind of confrontation you’ll be telling your grandkids about. Or even your coworkers.
But that doesn’t mean Venable and Darvish can’t turn this into the kind of feud only baseball players could get into. The headline of this ESPN article would have you believe that Venable objects to even the concept of Yu Darvish, but really it’s just to the suggestion (by Darvish, through an interpreter) that Venable didn’t “square up” the double he hit off Darvish in their first meeting. This line of questioning led to this gem by Venable:
“I would have liked to hear a little more humility from the guy. To each his own. He’s a confident guy. Of course I didn’t square up a ball because he’s Yu Darvish.”
“Of course I didn’t square up the knife because he’s The Juice, Sincerely Nicole” Wait, sorry, that was my email to the Jim Rome show after reading the ESPN article. Because I’m exactly the kind of guy who wants that meme to never, ever die.
Some in the Japanese media thought Darvish meant that he, the pitcher, didn’t deliver the pitch correctly, but why should that stop anyone from trying to start some stuff between Darvish and Venable?
Darvish also gave up another double in his start, but those were the only two hits in an otherwise very solid appearance for the Rangers. No way does he earn the full value of what the club paid for him, but hey at least he’s trying.
And if Darvish had any sense of how the American media worked, he would play up the impression that he believes no one can hit him solidly. Throwing shade over every solid hit off him would be a fantastic way to
give us stuff to keep writing about piss off a few of the guys he’ll be facing this season, giving at least some drama to otherwise long and often pointless MLB seasons.
Also, did Will Venable get confused and think he is an NHL defenseman? Saying a guy didn’t do something well is a reason to throw hands on the ice. But in Major League Baseball, Will Venable is a mediocre outfielder who probably shouldn’t be saying that the hardest he can hit a ball is off the wall in center. Then again, that makes him a perfect enforcer.
And since the Padres are going to suck, they might as well give in to the red-ass tendencies lurking in some of their players and take everything personally. Did I just go Reg Dunlop?