Saturday, July 29, 2006

Tired of Delmon being Delmon

I'm sick of Delmon Young.

He's shown in the picture to the right, smiling, seemingly having a good time as baseball's premier prospect. At just 20 years old, the reigning Minor League Player of the Year should be relishing in the limelight of Durham before he is thrust into the pressure and high expectations of The Show. Instead, his on-the-field exploits have been overshadowed by his impatience, immaturity and the infamous bat-tossing incident that cost him 50 games already this season.

The suspension - which should've been for the entire season - likely cost him an early-season promotion. Last season, he bumped umpires, scolded teammates and berated his organization, which hindered his hopes of opening the 2006 season as the Devil Rays starting right fielder.

This week, Delmon spouted off again in regards to his displeasure, publicly criticizing the people that cut him his checks.

"I don't know what they're waiting for. They're, what, 30 games out of first place? They think they're going to mess up their clubhouse chemistry. B.J. should be up there. What are they waiting for? They always have excuses."

Unfortunately, Delmon's piss-poor attitude and lack of respect is permeating the Durham clubhouse, and he's now accompanied by two other high-profile prospects who, in an attempt to rise to the major leagues more quickly, are only further damaging their careers and delaying the process.

B.J. Upton, who earlier this summer was arrested for DUI, commented on how he should already be in the bigs, and Elijah Dukes - who I fault the Tampa Bay brass for even keeping in the organization - somehow one-upped Delmon Young in this week's ridiculous-comment contest.

"In the big leagues, you throw your uniform on the ground and it's washed and hung up nicely in your locker," Dukes said. "Here, you do that, you come back the next day and find it still on the floor. Those guys up there (in the big leagues) shower in Evian. Here we use sewer water."

So, how would even the best front office handle this situation? First, Delmon should be dealt, immediately. Test the market for him (he's probably the best pure-hitter to come up since Albert Pujols), and see if the team can get a few arms for him. Young doesn't want to be apart of the organization, and the Rays have enough obstacles to overcome than to have its prima-donna star affecting any team chemistry that is built.

Mr. Dukes should be cut, immediately. If they want to find a cheap trade, do it. If not, just cut your losses and move on.

As for B.J., I'd like to give him the benefit of the doubt. He didn't behave poorly until joined by Young and Dukes. He didn't chastize the Rays front office as Young and Dukes did, only saying that he didn't understand why he was still in AAA (B.J., you must play defense in the major leagues, just so you know.) Leave him in AAA for the year, and if he commits to the current Rays philosophy, give him a chance to win a starting job at the start of 2007 (he'll still just be 21).

To the Rays credit, their words in response are appropriate. Manager Joe Maddon said,""I don't know what qualifies people, at any age, to disrespect anybody in the manner that article indicated to me," Maddon said. "It speaks to disrespect in general and it speaks to a sense of entitlement that young athletes have today that I totally disagree with."

New GM Andrew Friedman hinted toward disciplinary action, and stated that their comments were a "disrespect towards the game and the achievement of becoming a major league player."

I agree, and it has to be stopped.

Whatever it takes.


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