You say to yourself, “I’m gonna hit him with a brick”.

(Edited for a bit of pimping: You can follow TTR on Twitter here and join the TTR group at its new address on Facebook here. Thanks, as ever, for the support.)

Nick Cafardo hearts Shea Hillenbrand: I’m an obvious example of becoming a fan of a player an not letting that go. I make no apologies for that and I understand when other people do it as well. But I’ll never understand latching on to someone like Shea Hillenbrand.

It’s amazing how baseball people just don’t get that a guy can change. Hillenbrand might have been one of the biggest pains in the backside, but here’s a guy who could fall off a horse at his Arizona ranch and hit, yet he can’t even get a tryout. He’s also a guy who spends his days giving sick children tours of his farm and petting zoo. Wouldn’t want a guy like that in the clubhouse.

I looked up Shea’s petting zoo. Sounds like a pretty cool place if you’re into that kind of thing. You can also have birthday parties and other events there as well. But I don’t see how having something like that on the side changes who you were. Hell, Don Imus has a ranch for sick kids, do you want HIM hanging around you all the time?

Shea Hillenbrand very well might have “changed”. But, given that he was out of baseball in 2008, how would people know this? Just because of his petting zoo? Since when is that the sole indicator of why you would want a player on your team? I quote from Wikipedia because it had the information the easiest to access, but I’m guessing most of you remember this:

On July 19, 2006, Hillenbrand criticized the Blue Jays organization for failing to congratulate him on his recent adoption of a baby girl and not playing him upon his return. He was also disgruntled about sharing first base duties with Lyle Overbay and third base duties with Troy Glaus while being made to play as a designated hitter. Hillenbrand refused to sit with his team in the dugout during that night’s game. After the game, an argument in the clubhouse took place between Hillenbrand and manager John Gibbons over Hillenbrand allegedly writing defamatory comments about the team on the clubhouse billboard (“This is a sinking ship”) after batting practice. This led to a confrontation between Hillenbrand and Gibbons.

He was designated for assignment that same evening, with the club citing irreconcilable differences. Two days later, Hillenbrand was traded to the San Francisco Giants with reliever Vinnie Chulk in exchange for Giants reliever Jeremy Accardo. He later admitted to writing the comments on the board.

That was in 2006. He was actually playing well and because of his attitude they still chose to get rid of him – hmmm…that sounds mildly familiar. (Mind you, this doesn’t take away from that fact that I think Gibbons is a horse’s ass and shouldn’t have challenged his player to a fistfight.) He’s declined since then, in the time he’s played. So we have a 33 year-old infielder whose numbers are declining and is notorious for having an attitude problem…LET’S SIGN HIM BECAUSE HE LIKES ANIMALS AND CHILDREN!

Since I’m writing about Shea, I’ll take this moment to remind folks that not only did lob a homophobic insult Theo Epstein’s way while he was still in Boston, but when he was well out of Boston he even took a shot at Josh Beckett:

“He should be embarrassed of himself to represent the Boston Red Sox and the fans in that fashion. That’s not what the team and the league is made of.

“The way he handled the situation, that’s not right. He doesn’t know. People make mistakes. But I would be embarrassed. And if he was my teammate, he would know about it. If any of my teammates acted like he acted on the field right there, I would let him know about it. Not to take away from the intensity and taking care of business, but you just don’t do that.”

I’ll take a Josh Beckett over a Shea Hillenbrand any day of the week. With or without the cute animals.

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