Thursday, June 26, 2008

Down for the count

Let's say your performance is suffering at work. You've been so bad, in fact, that a demotion is imminent. You know it, your co-workers know it, your friends know it... it's not a secret. So the day comes when your boss walks to your desks and asks you to follow him to his office for a "chat". You have three choices:

1) Peacefully go with him
2) Stall. Think of a reason to postpone the meeting and the impending demotion
3) Choke slam the guy into the ground

Most civilized human beings would likely go with option #1. The move is inevitable, and some pay is better than no pay, right? I can even understand option #2. Maybe you can come up with a reason why you should stay in your current role.

Shawn Chacon chose #3. Astros General Manager Ed Wade supposedly went up to Chacon in the dining room before the team's match up against the Rangers, instructing the struggling starter to follow him to his (Wade's) office. Chacon - never one to want to miss a meal - told Wade that whatever needed to be said could be said in front of everyone.

After some back and forth yelling, here's what Chacon, in his own words, said happened next:

"So at that point I lost my cool and I grabbed him by the neck and threw him to the ground. I jumped on top of him. Words were exchanged."

Words were exchanged? He couldn't have just gone with the old school pin-the-guy-against-a-wall move? The choke slam seemed excessive if all Chacon wanted to do was talk, no?

The troubling part of the story is Chacon's refusal to accept any blame for the incident, and almost seems to try to justify his reaction:

"Maybe it shouldn't have happened, but when you do those things and you're yelling at somebody and you're cussing you better know what type of person you're dealing with. If there's any regret, I just wish they had just let me alone. I wish they had left me alone."

Wade may not be the best GM in baseball; pretty far from it. But he certainly never deserved to be slammed down by an upset player. And it's not like Wade's decision to remove Chacon from the rotation can even be disputed. On the year, Chacon is 2-3 with a 5.04 ERA.

I'm sure there are legions of fans, both in Houston and Philadelphia (Wade's former employer) who'd love to see bad things happen to the GM, but not this. This is another sad case of spoiled, entitled athletes not knowing how to carry themselves like decent human beings. The whole thing reminded me of this travesty from a few years ago.

The Astros have placed Chacon on waivers. Should he clear them (meaning every other team declines to acquire him), he'll be released without pay. Chacon is concerned that he may never pitch in the majors again.

I'd be concerned if he did.

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