Don't Kill the Mellinger

Columnist Sam Mellinger's thoughts on sports and other important stuff

Adam Wainwright’s stupid moment that followed a stupider comment at the All-Star Game

07/16/2014 11:06 AM

07/16/2014 11:23 AM

This post was going to be about Royals owner David Glass’ interview with Andy, and you should still read that if you haven’t already. Glass swears he’s committed to winning, says he doesn’t care much about perceptions, calls himself a fan, and mentions a few times how much he believes Kansas City deserves to root for a winning baseball team.

We don’t hear from Glass much, so when the owner of the team talks, it’s always worth a listen. Or a read. Whatever. You know what I mean.

I have some thoughts on what Glass said, and we’ll talk about that soon, but for now I wanted to point out something stupid about Adam Wainwright’s somewhat predictable pipe shot to Derek Jeter and then his astounding admission of said pipe shot to Derek Jeter in last night’s All-Star Game.

The stupid moment came after Fox’s Ken Rosenthal told a national broadcast audience that Wainwright told reporters: “I was going to give him a couple pipe shots. He deserved it.”

Wainwright went to a bit of a panicked damage control after that. In a live interview with Erin Andrews, Wainwright said it was “mis-said,” and that “I made a mistake.”

It was a bit like a teenager getting caught sneaking out of the house, and then alternately denying that he was sneaking out of the house and apologizing for sneaking out of the house.

“I don’t know,” Wainwright said. “It’s a distraction, and I do not want to be a distraction. I want it to be all about Derek.”

I don’t think anyone was surprised that Wainwright grooved one to Jeter, but it was fairly shocking that he admitted it. What Wainwright did was absolutely in the spirit of the All-Star Game, with the inconvenient conflict with baseball’s insistence that This Time It Counts.

Anyway, there are a ton of places around these here interwebs where people are talking about the grooved pitch. The stupid moment that caught my attention — you can see the interview here — is right at the end, when Andrews closes the interview with a sarcastic throw-away line:

“Don’t you love social media?”

Wainwright, of course, gives an embarrassed laugh and says, “No, I don’t love social media.”

OK then. Now, I have a lot of beef with social media. Of the two I use most frequently, Facebook has far too many directionless political rants, aren’t-you-jealous vacation pics, “witty” lines with far more self-importance than self-awareness, and “cute” lines from kids that really aren’t all that cute. Twitter has far too much mindless snark, personal attacks, groupthink, and an apparent collective agreement to hate pretty much everything.

There is a lot to be annoyed about with each, and there are times I absolutely hate each. So I get the frustration.

But Facebook and Twitter also have a lot of positives. You can keep up with friends’ lives through Facebook. You can see your friends’ kids grow up. Heck, I reconnected with the Smokeshow through Facebook. Twitter gives you instantaneous news from people you choose to get news from. It is unfiltered, sometimes very funny, and often very smart.

I want to pause here to stress that this is not meant as some grand criticism of Andrews. I actually think she’s really good, most of the time. And here, she was just making a mindless throwaway jab at the negative part of social media (Twitter in particular, I’m almost certain).

I’ve done the same thing a thousand times. But in this case, it was, literally, mindless. Stupid. The implication was sort of a, Jeez, stupid Twitter, creating controversy out of nothing I wish these nerds would leave us alone. Wainwright played along, because why not when someone gives you a life raft on live TV.

But in this case, it was a bit like someone getting pickpocketed, and after the cops find the crooks and give you back your stuff, turning to a friend, rolling your eyes, and sarcastically saying, Man, don’t you just LOVE the cops?

Wainwright, in this instance, should have been on his knees and kissing the feet of social media. He should have worn a Twitter hat to do the interview, and announced he was starting a scholarship for underprivileged kids in the name of Twitter.

He should have taken out ads thanking Twitter for pointing out that while he is a terrifically talented pitcher with a great reputation around baseball, he also said something entirely moronic, which Twitter alerted him to and gave him a chance at damage control far quicker than would’ve otherwise been possible. Andrews should have had the same perspective, even without the personal stake of Wainwright.

Instead, they both turned off their brains and insulted something with way more brains than Wainwright had in a moment that caused the whole ruckus in the first place.

Man, don’t you just love the way this all works?

To reach Sam Mellinger, call 816-234-4365 or send email to smellinger@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter: @mellinger. For previous columns, go to KansasCity.com.

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