I, for one, love a good story.
Remember when the Blue Jays were .500 at the All Star break, and just when you thought it was time to shut the thing down, they went out and got Tulowitzki and Price?
But I also remember when Marcus Stroman infamously tore his ACL. It was a typical Toronto sports thing- just when you thought things were going to work out, they didn’t. Jays get an all-star third baseman? Ace goes down. Leafs with a 4-1 lead with 5 minutes in the third? Overtime loss in game 7. Raptors finish as 3rd seed in the East? First round sweep.
Stroman changed that narrative. He came back, and he did it with a bang. Five runs in 4 starts for a kid coming off ACL surgery less than 8 months before was pretty damn good. His presence off the field, however, was just as big as his ego on the mound. He was a stereotypical millennial- not necessarily looking for attention, but instead trying to add more value to his story.
That story, however, is slowly getting old.
I’ll be the first to say I am a sports hypebeast. Not the Kicks x Culture type (That’s @danielcolange) but the hypebeast that loves a classic redemption story.
When Marcus Stroman took to twitter to voice his displeasure on his arbitration hearing on Thursday, that’s where I drew the line.
I don’t mind seeing the StroShow do his dance and sing his song. I love it, actually. He brings intensity, talent, and a fresh new feel to the game of baseball.
We need more of that. More players who are passionate about the game, who bring more people to the ballpark. We need energy, a little bit of charisma, and a story. That’s just sports.
What we don’t need, however, is what went down on twitter two days ago.
He also wrote: “Is what it is. Looking forward to going out and dealing again. The negative things that were said against me, by my own team, will never leave my mind. I’m thick-skinned so it will only fuel the fire. Can’t wait for this year! #HDMH” in a tweet that has since been deleted.
I’m not in a position to talk numbers, but it undermines the integrity of both an organization and a player when both sides are fighting over $400 000 USD, and it goes public. The fans don’t want to see Stroman complain about his $6.5 million contract- they just want to see him play.
As much as Toronto sports fans say they don’t like his antics (@peteapostolopoulos) Jays fans will all agree Stroman has the ability to give them something to cheer about. A 13-9 record with a 3.09 ERA and 201 IP wasn’t a bad 2017 campaign. He also wrote a nice article about the city, and supports our local talent. (You can check that out at The Players Tribune: https://www.theplayerstribune.com/marcus-stroman-blue-jays-toronto-acl-comeback/ ). He loves the city, he loves the team, and he loves the game. He’s a franchise player.
So going after the team that gave you a chance in this league isn’t the right move in my eyes. We often hear the term “don’t bite the hand that feeds you”, and Stroman is doing just that. Being a professional athlete going into an arbitration case, you expect professionalism and class, even if your team is doing anything in their power to lowball you to save money. Instead of accepting what has been a relatively old concept, Stroman put the organization on blast, clogging up the timelines of fans who didn’t sign up for unnecessary and irrelevant drama.
After breaking into the league in 2014, it was always exciting to see Stroman walking out to a new Drake song, or promoting his HDMH brand. As time went on and his antics became more extreme, it got old, and Thursday’s tweet storm illustrated the new “middle finger to the world” mentality. Stroman’s attitude is getting tiring, and as much as I’m rooting for him to prove everyone wrong, it’s hard go do so when he’s trying too hard to be the protagonist in a story that doesn’t have a villain.
With the dawn of a new season on the horizon, it’s just the beginning of yet another story. This story, however, will be up to Stroman to finish.