It’s time to overreact because well, why not? That’s what baseball is all about. In the NFL, it’s called “Overreaction Monday”. In baseball, I just call it being an overly concerned fan, and right now, there are many concerned Milwaukee Brewers fans, particularly about closer John Axford. But there’s a difference between overreacting and verbally assaulting someone. Last night, I witnessed too much of the latter.
Axford has had his struggles but some fans take it too far. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Before I go any further, I feel it’s necessary to remind you that baseball players are human beings, they breathe just like you and me. Personally attacking a player after giving up a home run or striking out in a crucial moment of the game is not only dastardly but it is also embarrassing. Embarrassing for the person spitting the malicous venom and embarrassing for the player getting hit with it as if he did something to deserve it. It’s perfectly okay to be critical of a player’s performance but to launch an expletive-filled tirade at his expense is just shameful. There’s no place for that in baseball or in all of sports for that matter.
Here’s two examples of “Brewers fans” who do way more than just cross the line. Warning: Profanity is used.
Can you believe that?
The first tweet is simply ludicrous. Releasing Axford just might be the worst move ever in the history of major league baseball, not to mention the season is only three days old. You’re hunting in the wrong part of the woods if you think the Brewers are better off without him. The second tweet is one of the most disgraceful things I’ve seen on Twitter. It’s despicable and it’s exactly what’s wrong with sports. Some people take games way too seriously. Baseball isn’t about life and death so wanting to take Axford’s life because he had a rough night at the office is sickening. Grotesque tweets like that make me wonder why athletes even have Twitter accounts.
There are plenty of genuine Brewers fans out there who are beyond frustrated with Axford but still give him words of encouragment. And while that gives me hope for humanity, the ugly tweets ruin all of it.
In all honesty, Axford has had one bad game in 2013 as I refuse to include his opening day blown save in that category. He made a one pitch mistake and it cost him, but other than that, he abused the Colorado Rockies hitters. Last night, however, was a different story. The Canadien-born pitcher gave up a career-high five hits, including two home runs that resulted in three runs. Not his best work.
Many pitchers go through a “dead arm” phase and that just might be happening to Axford now, but if hitters are seeing his release point as clearly as this scout says, then he needs to switch up his delivery.
Despite 2012’s debacle, it’s too early for Brewers fans to fret about Axford. Yet it is never the right time to personally bombard him or anyone else when they don’t live up to your standards. Nobody is perfect but everybody has feelings. So before you take to social media to unleash your thoughts, stop and think about this: Players are human beings just like you.
The majority of us still believe in you, Axford. And the next time you take that mound, you’ll be sure to hear applause.