Wallace Matthews Hates Tim Wakefield

Everyone has that one thing that irrationally pisses them off. For me it’s Nickelback. Mention that group’s name and I just get angry. If I’m near my desk I throw papers and pens and anything and everything around on the ground. And then I turn green and muscular and scream at the top of my lungs "I’m angry!!!" and then call up a telemarketer and scream at him for interrupting my rage. And then I collapse pathetically on the ground weeping for shame. Why did I let Nickelback get under my skin again?

Apparently, Wallace Matthews hates Tim Wakefield. He thinks he’s boring to watch. He doesn’t understand how he’s a major league pitcher. In his very angry piece, Matthews goes off on the highly-regarded (or so I thought) knuckle-baller. Writing about last night’s Yankee victory, Matthews opines:

So before you start to think that the Yankees, who have now won two straight, are back to normal, here’s one bit of advice: Now, let’s see them do it against a major-league pitcher.

Wakefield may very well be the least entertaining player ever to appear in a major-league uniform, unless of course passed balls, uncontested stolen bases, endless delays between pitches and three-ball counts on every batter is your idea of fun.

Jeez! I can’t say I enjoy the aesthetics of a Wakefield performance, but this seems a bit much. For one thing, I’m pretty sure the least entertaining player to ever pitch a major league baseball game is Steve Traschsel. The least entertaining hitter probably was Mike Hargrove, although that’s based on what others have told me. I found Don Baylor a remarkably boring player to watch in my early days of following the Bombers. Secondly, it’s pretty cool that Wakefield has been able to be so successful using such a difficult pitch to master. Props to him for his hard work. Without him, the knuckle-ball wouldn’t be around right now. And that would mean there would one less thing, one less style of play, to watch and wonder over. Also, he’s a pretty good pitcher. You might even call him a major league pitcher.

Hat tip to Scott SF for the link.

18 comments… add one
  • I don’t have any quibble with the idea of subjectivity. We can like who we want, dislike who we want. If it’s because of style, so be it. So Matthews has every right to dislike watching Wakefield. Personally, I hate/hated watching certain pitchers as well – I couldn’t stand Jeff Nelson’s herky-jerky motion, I couldn’t stand Jimmy Key and Dave Steib (man, I hated watching Dave Steib). But Matthews takes it a step further, to a point where he writes with zero dignity or intelligence. The whole “Wakefield isn’t a major league pitcher” thing is ridiculous and insulting. It’s one thing to critique a pitcher legitimately, to deconstruct his statistics, his performance, it’s another thing to debase your own writing with stupidity. A comment like that means Matthews has no credibility whatsoever. Move along.

    SF May 22, 2007, 1:02 pm
  • Traschsel! That’s the guy who I was thinking of. To me, he slows down the pace far, far more than Wakefield does.
    I don’t know, I read the article a second time and started laughing at lot of it. Even if it’s not meant as humor, I’m starting to see it that way. I mean, does he see Charlie Hough and the Niekro brothers this way?

    Scott SF May 22, 2007, 1:09 pm
  • When I first read the first half, I thought he was doing a Tim Duncan parallel. Unforunately, this is just silly and stupid. Passed balls, uncontested stolen base and 3 balls on every batter is my idea of fun though, when it’s from a Sox pitcher! ;)

    Lar May 22, 2007, 1:22 pm
  • Hargrove was torture to watch. He’d step out and readjust his batting gloves a hundred times in between each pitch.
    Actually, Cano does this a bit, as does Alfonso Soriano.

    chrismarz May 22, 2007, 1:34 pm
  • Nomar was the worst at that, chrismarz. I hated it so much.

    Regular_Brad May 22, 2007, 1:37 pm
  • I loved watching Key pitch. Maybe it was the uniform.

    Nick-YF May 22, 2007, 1:41 pm
  • Wakefield may very well be the least entertaining player ever to appear in a major-league uniform
    This comment is the best. This means that Matthews thinks Wakefield is less entertaining than Andy Phillips. He’s also less entertaining than Alex Cora, Bob Zupcic, Alvaro Espinosa, and Miguel Cairo. Also less entertaining than John Habyan or John Wasdin. And, not as entertaining as Carlos Quintana (maybe the most boring hitter ever), Mike Blowers, or someone named Kevin Mmahat (who once pitched a couple of games for the Yankees in the late 80s).

    SF May 22, 2007, 1:43 pm
  • You and YF, Nick. YF LOVED Key. I hate lefty junkballers as a rule. And Key always struck me as kind of apathetic, in addition. He was utterly unentertaining, to use Matthews’ silly measure.

    SF May 22, 2007, 1:45 pm
  • Alvaro Espinosa was entertaining. No one wore or will wear his hat like the great Alvaro did.

    Nick-YF May 22, 2007, 1:45 pm
  • I really like watching Glavine pitch, who I suppose is maybe the best junkballer of all time (maybe that’s the wrong label?). To me, there’s something remarkable about the way he’s been able to be so successful. I suppose I admire smart pitching more than anything else, which might explain my irrational dislike for young Josh Beckett (who is suddenly pitching intelligently). I like the crafty over the powerful. Pedro was the best of both worlds.

    Nick-YF May 22, 2007, 1:48 pm
  • If Wallace Matthews (whoever he is) thinks that the knuckleball truly is such an easy pitch, then why is he writing about sports and not racking up millions of dollars a year throwing knuckleballs in the big leagues?

    Adam May 22, 2007, 2:31 pm
  • Usually they let players go or send them down to the minors if they aren’t “major league pitchers”. Seeing as Wakefield has been a productive member on a pretty good roster for a long, long time I’m willing to just toss this guys words aside as wacky bias. I for one love the knuckle and while it has frustrated my team for many years, am still glad is in so prominently and succesfully displayed.

    nate May 22, 2007, 3:23 pm
  • Usually they let players go or send them down to the minors if they aren’t “major league pitchers”. Seeing as Wakefield has been a productive member on a pretty good roster for a long, long time I’m willing to just toss this guys words aside as wacky bias. I for one love the knuckle and while it has frustrated my team for many years, am still glad is so prominently and succesfully displayed.

    nate May 22, 2007, 3:23 pm
  • I mean, Wake is only third on the all-time Sox wins list, behind two pretty decent “major league pitchers” named Cy Young and Roger Clemens. Not only that, but he’s done everything – started, closed, been in middle relief. Aren’t the old timers (and Wallace Matthews is clearly an old-timer w/ that name) supposed to value the gritty, stats-be-damned, gamers? Those, those…those BASEBALL PLAYERS?

    Andrew BoSox May 22, 2007, 4:32 pm
  • “endless delays between pitches”
    i’ve always thought that wakefield is one of the fastest working pitchers around. when wake starts against teams that aren’t the yanks it seems that the game is over within 2:30. of course, every sox-yanks game these days last four hours, so last night’s 3:20 affair was also ahead of pace.

    Tyrel SF May 22, 2007, 5:54 pm
  • Just read the article. Whoa. Wallace “whoever he is” Matthews is getting a lot of flak.
    I like Wake. He’s a change of pace in the Sox rotation. If all the Sox pitchers were pitches, he’d be the changeup. For me, its fun to see him pitch because he has one — read: ONE — pitch.
    When I first heard about Wake, I was like ” okay, how can a guy exist in the Majors with just one pitch? I knew Mariano Rivera relies on one pitch too, but Mo is a releiver — Wake is a starter who has also closed and relieved. How the hell can he do that?
    I like Wake. Case closed.

    Rain SF May 22, 2007, 8:29 pm
  • I don’t read the NY press, but I’ve gotta believe this column was a “changeup” as well from Fire Torre/Fire Cash/Hallelujah Roger/Is Mo Done?/Much Wailing and Gnashing of Teeth/Etc.
    Although he sure couldn’t resist the A-Rod shot.
    For those who’ve been around a while, BORING was watching Dennis Martinez pitch 8 innings to a lineup including either Hargrove or Fisk….relieved by Tippy Martinez and Don Stanhouse. That’s a 4+ hour, 3-2 game. At least Trachsel’s usually gone after 5.

    Jim in CT SF May 23, 2007, 7:09 am
  • For the rcord, this is the second time Wallace Matthews has written something very, very stupid. Last time, he was hoping — because he thought it would be good for the Yankees — that Daisuke Matsuzaka turns into Pedro Martinez.

    Paul SF May 23, 2007, 7:19 am

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