If This Was My Son Saying Stuff Like This...
...I think I'd head for the nearest bridge. And, I'd cross it sideways, if you get my drift.
As thrilled as I am to see Prince Fielder do what he's doing this baseball season, it saddens me to hear what he and his father have to say about each other. The younger Fielder revisited their ongoing hostilities Wednesday night, shortly after jacking his 49th and 50th homers of the season in the Brewers' 9-1 win over St. Louis.
Fielder sets a new team record with each circuit clout, and is now the youngest player ever to smack 50 in a year. And, along with his pa, Cecil, they've become the first father/son duo to ever jack 50 in the bigs.
And that, friends, is why Prince was invoking the father's name Tuesday night. He admits he's doing a lot of what he does to shut his dad up--a father who apparently had no trouble reminding his son about his MLB career while Fielder The Younger was growing up. Tom Haudricourt recapitulates in his Journal/Sentinel column today:
Fielder was not happy about comments his father made in a magazine article earlier in the year, claiming his son never would have been a first-round draft pick if he hadn't paved the way. The two haven't spoken for years and that rift apparently has widened.
That subject resurfaced when Fielder was asked about the "MVP!" chants at Miller Park and if he thought much about winning that award.
"It would be a cool award to get but that's not something I think about," he said, "besides the fact my dad never did it. If I do get it, that shuts him up again."
Fielder said he was "serious" about trumping his father, adding, "A lot of people said that's the only reason I got drafted. That's what drives me. People said I was too big and all this, and the only reason I got drafted was because of the name.
"That's why I'm so passionate about playing. I don't mind people comparing me to him but I'm a completely different player. One day I want people to mention my name and not have to mention his."
As for the recent comments from his father, Fielder said, "You've got to look at who's saying it. Let's be honest. He's not really the brightest guy."
See what I mean about that bridge?
No one knows where these feelings come from--except, of course, for the Fielders. You can read the story in question here.
I'm a huge Prince fan--I've blogged in the past about his maturity on the field, citing examples where he's shown wisdom beyond his years. As fan and season ticket holder, I'm delirious about the season he's having. Yet, I'm saddened to hear that what's fueling the son's passion is the anger he has about his father. There's no denying the hurt--I guess I just wish it was kept inside.
Then again, Prince Fielder's candor is part of his appeal. He's not abrasive, brash or outlandish, but he isn't one to ladle on the sugary frosting, either. His honesty hurts, and as a parent, it's not hard to project how YOU'D feel if it was you feeling it's sting.
I'm not one to offer advice, especially when it comes to someone else's family affairs. I do think, though, that what the Fielders need is probably a little less microphone...and a bit more telephone.