John Lackey just being his usual self.
I like to think I’m a pretty friendly guy…but one thing I can’t tolerate is when athletes get upset at a teammate over a mistake said teammate made in the field. In the 2nd inning of last nights Game 4 of the World Series, John Lackey got embarrassingly angry at Kris Bryant after the Chicago 3rd basemen made his second throwing error of the inning, which led to the Indians scoring a run and taking a 2-1 lead. Bryant, at only 24 years of age is not only one of the most talented young players in the game, he’s also an incredibly bright player who doesn’t need some jerk-off, over-the-hill pitcher making him feel even crappier than he already does after making such a mistake. Bryant contributed more to the Cubs success this season than any other player on that Chicago team and he’s more than likely going to win the MVP in just his second year in the big leagues. It’s understandable that you’re emotional out there Lackey, but try to have a little more sense when it comes to controlling your outbursts towards teammates, because that kind of behaviour does sweet ****-all when it comes to helping your team win ball games…especially in the World Series when even the slightest disturbance between teammates might be detrimental to a teams chemistry and momentum.
These type of over-the-top ultra-competitive athletes in my opinion have the ability to do so much damage to a teams chemistry, and hence take away from the success of the team. I used to see this type of behaviour with one of the biggest competitors of them all, Roy Halladay. Don’t get me wrong, Halladay is maybe the greatest pitcher to ever play for the Blue Jays, but you should have seen how he’d react (almost explode) whenever then Toronto first basemen Lyle Overbay would make even the smallest of mistakes. And because Halladay was such an important part of the team, you could see that Overbay was devastated whenever Halladay got upset with him like that. Sure Overbay’s mistake may have led to a runner reaching base, which may or may not have led to a run, but how much of a negative, lingering impact was made by Halladay’s response to chew out one of his teammates over one little mistake?
Having players like John Lackey, Roy Halladay, and even a guy like Josh Donaldson is wonderful in so many ways because their high level of competitiveness is a big contributing factor to what makes them so great. But what these same players need to understand is that as great as their competitiveness/edge can be when it comes to intimidating the competition and giving their team a sense of confidence, their overly aggressive mentality has a tendency to back-fire big time if they ever re-direct their aggression at one of their teammates.
This type of competitive jerk who has no empathy for a teammate when they make a mistake represents the type of behaviour that is so unnecessary when it comes to helping a team win. Look at Cleveland and the wonderful chemistry they have on that ball club. As a Blue Jays fan, it killed me to see the Cleveland team have a much better chemistry than Toronto in the ALCS, because I knew a talented team that has a great time playing the game together is incredibly difficult to beat. Look at the camaraderie between Francisco Lindor and Jason Kipnis, these guys play the game with such enthusiasm and respect for one another that you can’t help but admire their approach and think that’s the way the game was meant to be played. There’s a saying by the old manager Leo Durocher, “nice guys finish last”…well I’ll tell you what, I’ll take a nice guy who can play over a douche bag who can play any day of the week.