I realize much of our off-season ire has been directed at Aubrey Huff ….. and for good cause. But, don’t forget to cross Erik Bedard off your 2008 Christmas Card list, either.
Less than 24 hours ago, the Orioles and Mariners finally completed the long awaited swap that jettisoned Bedard to the Pacific Northwest. It couldn’t have happened at a more appropriate time (okay a week ago would’ve been better) ….. with spring training nearly a week away.
Whether you like Bedard or not, I always found rooting for him to be a bittersweet experience. Sure, I want the Orioles to win and I wanted Bedard’s value to be as high as possible. But, I’ve lobbied for his departure for the past year.
I can vividly recall heated on-air debates between Mark Suchy and myself on the very issue. I don’t blame ‘Such for his original stance in support of retaining the dominating lefty. From all indications, the Orioles would’ve preferred signing Bedard to an extension ….. if he was open to it.
Bedard’s reluctance to share this OR ANY other desire with fans, media and evidently management obviously mandated his eventual departure. I’ll choose to believe Andy MacPhail on any issue regarding the reclusive Canadian.
Say what you want about MacPhail; he’s not the most charismatic or divulging guy, either. However, we have received measurable updates. And, his credibility is 100% intact. Whereas, Bedard’s agent, Mark Pieper has talked out of both sides of his mouth on numerous occasions. I’m convinced that if Pieper’s mouth had 7 sides ….. we’d get 7 different stories and versions of Erik Bedard’s plight.
Although, Bedard has never labeled Baltimore the equivalent of “horse dung” ….. on a radio show, at least. He was never really part of anything worthwhile, as it applies to this team ….. city ….. citizens ….. or fans. He is the classic example of a “personally selfish” guy.
Did you ever see Erik Bedard on the top step of the dugout rallying teammates? Did you ever catch him stepping-up on 3 days rest? Did he ever show up at Christmas for a charitable cause? Heck ….. did he ever show up for anything other than a paycheck?
Being a good baseball player and competitor takes more than sheer talent and personal production. I’ll suggest that being a good teammate and committed to the cause of an organization and its success will be the very character trait that defines the difference between an Erik Bedard and Curt Schilling. It’s the very factor that distinguishes Derek Jeter from Alex Rodriguez, Steve Nash from Kobe Bryant and Tom Brady from Michael Vick.
Erik Bedard is the kinda guy who doesn’t change his ways. He’s a millionaire and a very eligible bachelor. Yet, at 28 ….. he still lives with his parents. He’ll carry his “my way …. or my way” attitude to Seattle. Sure, he’ll start every 5th day and resume his hermit-like status on the other marks of the calendar.
He’ll belittle the media with arrogant sarcasm, ignore the fans with abstinence of any contact and load up his pickup truck the day the Seattle Mariners play their final game of the 2008 season. That’s right, he won’t see the Space Needle, again ….. until April, 2009.
This “IS” Erik Bedard. I guess we can’t call him a phony. Still, he’s arguably Major League Baseball’s living, breathing version of Howard Hughes. I’ll go out on a limb and say this demeanor isn’t a worthy ingredient in any team’s success.
Given these factors, Erik Bedard didn’t impress me ONE BIT at yesterday’s press conference, in Seattle. He threw the Orioles under the bus ….. claiming they were going “backwards.” However, he never took any responsibility in efforting the Orioles forward.
Yeah, he pitched well ….. damn well, at times. But, it takes more than on-field performance to propel a team to the next level. It takes heart, emotion and commitment. You gotta be a “stakeholder.” And, Erik Bedard simply isn’t that kinda guy.
I think he’s in the game for himself ….. and nothing more. With an impressionable clubhouse of youngsters, Bedard’s disposition is exactly what the Orioles don’t need. So, yesterday’s deal really was instrumental in changing the chemistry and direction of the Baltimore Orioles.
For some reason, I’ve gotta sneaky suspicion a writer in Seattle will be echoing these very words in about 18 months. I have no doubt …..