August 4, 2013; Anaheim, CA, USA; Toronto Blue Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia (9) scores a run in the ninth inning ahead of Los Angeles Angels catcher Chris Iannetta (17) at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
J.P. Arencibia is not having a good season. Below average defence and an inability to get on base are not the qualities of a great MLB catcher – or most replacement level ones for that matter. Gone are the days where J.P. was considered a promising, homerun-hitting prospect. He’s logged 346 games (321 catching) and has given the Toronto Blue Jays a good sense of what he brings to the table (hint: not a whole heck-of-a lot).
In making this statement, I am a little late to the party. Travis Batemen of Tip of the Tower wrote about what was projecting to be among the worst Strikeout to Walk Ration (or K:BB) seasons of all time. A rate of 7.00, this many games into a season, leaves J.P. sitting tied for fourth worst rate of all time. Andrew Stoeten of Drunk Jays fans has also written about J.P.’s season at great length. The fans have gotten on his case and, as everyone knows, so has Gregg `2G`Zaun (via the Fan590). Steve Buffery of the Toronto Sun called him a ‘whiner’.
In short, he’s been the recipient of a lot of ‘hate’. For this reason, he closed his Twitter account on July 23rd after a making a public statement that he was ‘praying’ for the ‘haters’ (thanks brah!).
With some small exceptions, his remaining allies are grouped into two categories: 1.) the softhearted who point to his great relationship with the community and his love for Toronto; and, 2.) casual baseball fans who only like him for his good looks.
The latter group is the subject of this article.
We all know someone in this second group. It could be a girlfriend, a crush, a co-worker, a close friend, or a relative. Just when you think your conversation is hitting its stride, the subject of your desire drifts their eyes to the game with more focus than what your rich knowledge of baseball could possibly provide. Someone at a dinner table ask you about the Blue Jays season, pleading for the insight that you’ve laboured tirelessly for all year while others enjoyed an ‘active lifestyle’. You bring up the crater-sized hole at the catcher position as a contributing factor to a disappointing season and the counter argument is that he’s ‘hot’.
For reasons unknown to me, the universe conspired to give him qualities that my girlfriend finds attractive…and many other young girls, from what I’ve come to understand.
Courtesy of Deadspin.com
Using a sample size of 3000 tweets mentioning each of the Twitter handles for J.P. Arencibia (@jparencibia8), Jose Bautista (@joeybats19), Mike Trout (@trouty20), and Miguel Cabrera (@miguelcabrera) over an entire year, one notices a change in demographics:
Maybe he just speaks to the female consumer better than the average bloke? If so, I am sure that is also the case for One Direction and the cast of Twilight.
Yes, the stats are terrible. Yes, the small displays of arrogance are oft putting. Yes, the notion of a self-proclaimed “run-creator” (one with a slugging % of .397) is aggravating. But there is only one reason to truly hate J.P. Arencibia.
Hating someone, after all, is not suitable for the arena of sports. Passionate dislike of someone because of their lacklustre performance (relative to the rest of the major leagues) from the comfort of your couch is not warranted. This young man has worked incredibly hard to defy the odds and make it to a top level – an achievement that is akin to getting hit by lightning. You may not enjoy watching his play, but you should not hate him for his performance. I am sure he’s trying hard. Who would want to play like this?
As the season grinds to a disappointing halt, and J.P. Arencibia continues to be a subject of criticism from both informed baseball minds and hateful Twitter trolls, it is important for Blue Jays fans to truly understand what illicits such a grave emotion. After all, he’s only human.
If you’re going to hate J.P. Arencibia, do it because of his good looks – the strong jaw, that touching smile, the- dammit I got lost in those soft brown eyes! Reaching the major leagues and making millions of dollars is enough of a reward that he doesn’t need the attention of our significant others or the objects of our infatuations.
No, this article is not just a product of a jealous rage. All I am trying to say is that the only reason to truly “hate” a player is to find whatever reasoning you can beyond their performance. Point to a DUI, extramarital affairs, anything. In my case, I am not happy with his performance and the notion that he could be our starting catcher in 2014. I hate him for his fortunate physical appearance.
So yes, this piece was in some part a product of jealous rage. Just you know, he sucks too.