Cry Me A River
Of all the various character flaws there are, I admit that I have the least patience with ingratitude. I also find that many of the people to whom the most are given tend to be the least grateful.
Case in point: struggling Milwaukee Brewers third baseman Bill Hall.
After the 2006 season, Bill Hall signed a guaranteed four year contract that will pay him a total of $24 million. The contract contains a club option for the fifth year that, if exercised, would bring the total value of the contract up to almost $33 million.
In other words, Bill Hall will never have to work another day in his life.
In the first year of his new contract (the 2007 season), Hall hit .254 with 14 home runs and 63 runs batted in. He also struck out a stunning 128 times in 452 at bats. He hit .270 against left-handed pitching and .247 against right handers. Overall, not awful - but certainly nothing worth $6 million a season.
This season, Hall is hitting .227. Of this total though, Hall is hitting only .158 against right handed pitching.
Not being content to let the season slip away, the Brewers called up left-handed hitting Russell Branyon approximately 10 days ago. Since that time, Branyon has played against right-handed pitchers and Hall has played against lefties. Since Branyon's call up, the Brewers have won 7 of 9 games. During this time, Branyon has hit three home runs and has a .292 batting average (playing almost exclusively against right handed pitchers).
Math wasn't my strongest subject but, last time I checked, .292 was higher than .158.
Rather than be happy that the team is playing winning baseball and that his enormous paychecks continue to clear, Hall (through his agent) has demanded that he be traded. Now that's a team player for you!
Hall's agent suggests that Hall could be traded for a pitcher who could really help the team. If that were really the case, I suspect that Hall would be gone in a New York minute. Frankly though, I doubt that there are currently too many takers for a guy with a huge contract who can't hit .200 against right-handed pitching.
My guess is that Russell Branyon will fade as the season wears on and that opportunity will again present itself for Hall. In the interim though, he really needs to shut up and play better.
A little gratitude wouldn't be too terrible either.