The St. Louis Cardinals opened camp on Tuesday morning with the traditional pitchers and catchers workouts. It did not take long for the first quote to fire up the fan base to come out.
Lance Lynn has arrived at camp looking fit having dropped a reported 40 pounds. He has successfully avoided using the phrase “best shape of my life”, is on the heels of an 18 win season, and addressed the one thing that critics had for him last year by improving his offseason diet to hopefully address the fatigue that set in at the end of 2013. In the midst of losing starter Chris Carpenter and the buzz around three young rookies hoping for a rotation spot, Lynn is a bright spot in early camp.
Then, on Tuesday morning during a media scrum, a quote came flying out from Lance Lynn. It may or may not be “out of context”, but it seemed to fire up the fanbase pretty quickly. Via Twitter, beat writer Jenifer Langosch shared Lynn’s thoughts on the rotation competition this spring:
It is easy to see how that could rub some fans wrong. That is not the way players tend to act around St. Louis. Players that have been in the league for years, won multiple awards, and are solidified in their positions for years to come say “I’m here competing for my spot on the team”. It shows a cockiness and brash attitude that this team, and it’s fans, are not accustomed to hearing.
The question here is: was it really wrong to say?
He is right, isn’t he? I would say, due to the news of Chris Carpenter’s injury, that Lynn’s spot in the rotation is his to lose and in order to lose it, he would have to collapse pretty hard this spring. His season last year was impressive, especially considering the second half issues he ran into. The work he has already put in to attempt to fix that part of his game deserves accolades.
The St. Louis Post Dispatch ran an article on Tuesday as well, discussing Lynn with his manager. Matheny had high praise for his starter and his offseason work. The manager also had this to say about early perceptions that Lynn was not guaranteed a spot in the rotation this year:
“I know (that) made Lance a little frustrated,” said Matheny “I told him, ‘We want you coming in competing for a spot. We don’t want you rolling in thinking this is yours.’”
It is not easy to say if there is a right or wrong here. Some will say “Carp would have never said anything like this.” Others will point out that Lance Berkman was a breath of fresh air and would tend to be brutally honest with the media and the fans. It is easy to see that type of quote being attributed to Berkman and fans would have applauded his honesty. So why the outrage that Lynn is doing so? Is it because of his age?
I freely admit that my immediate reaction was negative. I don’t like it. I don’t want a young player who, in my mind, still has some things to prove to sound so cocky. I want him to talk about working hard to prove that last year was not a fluke. I also admit that this is a personal preference. Personally, I don’t like what Lynn said. However, I also don’t feel what he said was incorrect.
The basic thought is there: an All Star pitcher made a statement that most of us were already thinking.
Is there anything really wrong with that?
Bill Ivie is the editor here at I-70 Baseball
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