January 27, 2008

Get To Know Your New New York Players, Part 2: LaTroy Hawkins

Last time, in Part 1, we vainly looked for dirt on Brian Schneider, the Mets' apparently ludicrously wholesome replacement for Paul Lo Duca (dislikes: junk food and steroids; likes: puppies and signing autographs for kids). Now it's time to look at the Yankees' only major newbie of the offseason to date, 35-year-old reliever LaTroy "Well He Can Hardly Be Worse Than Farnsworth" Hawkins of Gary, Indiana. Personally I'd prefer Ronnie "The Hawk" Hawkins, but what are you going to do? This guy may be the only thing standing between Joba Chamberlain and the 8th-inning role, so read on for information regarding tarps, 'roids, media boycotts, and sign-stealing.

I confess I had completely forgotten this, but Hawkins was the losing pitcher when David Wells threw his perfect game in 1998. I'm predisposed to like him, because remember that crazy rainstorm last summer in Colorado, when the Phillies endearingly ran out to help the grounds crew with the tarp? Well, the Rockies didn't exactly distinguish themselves there, as just one single home team player offered assistance -- and that was, of course, LaTroy Hawkins.

More recently he went on the radio and, with sentiments I suspect an increasing number of fans can relate to these days, announced that he doesn't care about steroids:
LaTroy Hawkins: “It’s not any of my business. First of all the thing is I don’t care. Only person cared about that was [Commissioner Bud] Selig. I don’t care about it. That’s just my own personal opinion.”

Page: “You don’t care if hitters are juicing up?”

Hawkins: “No, I don’t. That’s just my personal opinion. Still got to hit the ball, brother.”

Indeed, though unfortunately, too many hitters have had an easy time doing that against Hawkins recently. He had a good 2007 (oddly pitching much better at home at Coors Field), but rough sailing for a few years before that; Cubs fans certainly weren't too fond of him, and the feeling may have been mutual. Also, it seems Hawkins has, or had, a bit of a running feud with umpire Tim Tschida. In 2004, he had to be restrained while arguing calls and was suspended three games...

...an animosity which apparently stems from an incident in 2002, when Hawkins was with the Twins, and Tschida asked him to move his bullpen chair -- because the Red Sox were accusing him of stealing signs. Excellent! Anyone prepared to steal signs from the Sox, or at least make the Sox think their signs are being stolen, can't be completely useless... although: I can't help but notice Hawkins' career ERA against Boston seems to be 5.79.

On top of that, I'd say there could be some potential media trouble on the horizon, based on this Hawkins interview on Sportznutz dating back to his unhappy time in Chicago:

TH: What was your rational or thinking at the time you were named the closer when you decided not to speak to the media?

LH: Because I didn’t want them to start a soap opera. It was plain and simple.

TH: Did you do it because you didn’t want the media to approach you perhaps if you had a bad game?

LH: No. That was my intention in the first place and all that other bullshit, that wasn’t my intention. You know how they are – the media here. Always looking for something. Write (about) what’s on the field.

TH: You previously played in Minnesota, a lot smaller market than Chicago. How would you compare the media in Minnesota to Chicago?

LH: It’s not even comparable. Minneapolis and Chicago – there’s a big difference.

TH: Did you have a better relationship with the media in Minneapolis than you do in Chicago?

LH: Nope. I had one guy in Minnesota, Souhan, with the Star Tribune. Only guy I talked to...

...TH: Do you plan on keeping up with the media boycott as long as you are here?

LH: It’s not actually a boycott. Actually, I speak when I feel like speaking. Plain and simple. When I feel like speaking, I’ll speak. And when I don’t feel like speaking, I’m not going to speak.

Right then. What could possibly go wrong in New York? Say, LaTroy, there's someone I'd like to introduce you to. Have you met Mike Lupica?

...LaTroy? Where are you going?

1 comment:

RollingWave said...


still though, i don't think the spot light will be on him much unless he sucks to an extreme degree (which is certainly possibel though )

Also, ironic because his suckmate in the Cubs pen was... Kyle Farnsworth :P