OK. As we all know by now, The Orioles played 8 pretty awful innings with the exception of another brilliant performance from Zach Britton. Just as we all thought this was going to be another waste of 3 hours watching the Orioles futily flail away at whoever the yankees put on the mound, Joe Girardi inexpliably took Bartolo Colon out of the game and brought in Mariano Rivera who the Orioles have been equally inexplicably efficient against this year. Thanks to a few clutch hits and a sacrifice fly from Vladdy, the rejuvinated Orioles managed to send the game into extra innings. From innings 10 through 15 the Orioles bullpen performed extremely well, working out of mutiple jams that easily (and should have) surrendered game-winning runs to the Yankees. Throughout these exciting, stressfull and often-times miraculous innings, however, an ominous shadow loomed in the Orioles bullpen. Jim Johnson pitched a few scoreless innings, and as Jeremy Accardo approached 60 pitches in the 15th inning, Orioles fans everywhere sensed the impending danger lurking like the storm clouds that surrounded the stadium throughout the game. At 11:12 I updated my facebook status to "Oh dear God I think Mike Gonzalez is the only person left in the bullpen...." My trepidation here, I think, is not unwarranted. Since his arrival a year ago, Gonzalez has decended upon this team like an angel of death. His only discernable talent is to engender unparalleled rage among the fan base and to squander hours, days, weeks and even months of hard work and dedication his teamates have devoted to helping the Orioles become a winning franchise. As Gonzo pranced, carefree to the mound, the outcome was inevitable.
To be fair, Mike Gonzalez had been performing better recently, logging 3.1 hitless innings in outings against the Royals and the White Sox, with an especially good showing against the (adnittedly terrible) White Sox on April 30, pitching 2 hitless innings with no walks and 4 strikeouts. But do not misunderstand me - his recent relative success was certainly an anomaly. Lest anyone was deluded by his successes I mentioned, he promptly returned to form tonight. If you've read this far, you clearly know that I hold Gonzo in the same esteemed regard as the likes of Albert Belle and Jeffery Maier, but his failure tonight against the Yankees surpassed even my exoectations. I am confident in saying that this might be the most pathetic performance performance of any pitcher in the history of baseball, and I'm including the likes of Joe Cleary who once gave up 7 runs in 1/3 of an inning. At least he got an out. As Gonzo toed the rubber, presumably trying to remember which hand his glove is supposed to go on, I found myself wondering why Matt Wieters was still wearing his mitt, because the chances of the baseball making it that far were exceedingly remote. As sure as the sun rises, Gonzo lobbed his signature batting pratice fastball, which Robinson Cano promptly ripped in the gap, driving in 2 runs. The game was decided before Gonzo even through a pitch.
After Adam Jones dejetedly picked up the ball and threw back into the infield, I witnessed a profound moment: Mike Gonzalez was holding his glove up in a manner indicating that he wanted the ball back. Why? I guarantee that, given a choice, Robert Andino would not give him the ball back if it meant that he got to "pitch" it again. What would happen if the Orioles infield collectively refused to give him a baseball? Would he have to leave? Becase if that theory is consummate with the rules of baseball, I would pursue it without hesitation.
But Gonzo's act of attempting to retrieve the ball raise mch deeper issues. Why would he want it back? There are several reasons why one might wish to be a professional baseball pitcher: love of the game, the fulfillment of helping your teamates, a desire to please your coach, a desire to please your fans, the satisfaction of a job well-done, etc.... I cannot conceive of a single reason why Mike Gonzalez would want that baseball back besides legal contractual obligations. It is impossible to love the game when you are terrible at it and everyone hates you. I'm pretty sure he has never done anything even close to helping his teamates, so he doesn't know what that feels like. There is no possible way he is pleasing Buck Showalter unless Buck has some kind of weird, sports-related masohism fetish that we don't know about. Every single Orioles fan that has ever existed hates him. And he rarely, if ever has done his job from start to finish well. So I can honestly conceieve of a single reason that he would want the baseball back aside from the fact that he has to appear to be trying in order to collect his payheck. If possible, this makes me hate him even more.
If Michael Gonzalez has any desire in salvaging whatever dignity he has left and restoring my faith in his humanity, he needs to retire immediately. He dereases his team's chances of winning every time he pitches, and by doing so, injures his teamates, fans, and community emotionally and financially. His teamates have a true desire to win, the chances of which derease every time he pitches, and by contributing to the Orioles's losing trends, he his hurting his teamates' chances of making more money becase they lose value by becoming assoiated with a losing franchise. The Orioles fanbase is strong, despite the extended losing trend, but by handicapping a team that otherwise shows signs of legitimate talent, he is disenfranchising Orioles fans and keeping from them a genuine source of joy in their lives. Baltimore depends heavily on the revenue brought in by its professional sports franchises, and through his poor performance and lack of effort, he is decreasing enthusiasm in the franchise, and robbing the commnity of potential revenue.
I do not know MIchael Gonzalez personally, but based upon the only information available to me, namely his actions on the field, the best, Mike Gonzalez needs to do himself, the Orioles, and the worls a favor, and retire immediately.