John Lackey is a literal major league asshole.
That’s not really news, at this point, but the ways in which Lackey’s asshole nature manifests itself can be news, and he’s outdone himself this time.
Eric Thames making a triumphant return from Korea has been one of the best stories of the young 2017 MLB season. It’s shocking how good he’s been:
Thames, 30, has seven homers in 13 games, which is tied for the most in baseball. Six of them came in five games over the past week. He’s hitting .429 and slugging a whopping .959. By comparison, in his last stint in MLB, he hit six homers in 40 games with the Seattle Mariners in 2012. Between then and now, he found his stroke, hitting 124 homers in Korea.
Now, in itself, that doesn’t really mean something is amiss. Players go on hot streaks all the time, and 7 bombs in 13 games doesn’t mean he’s going to hit 70+ homers this season. In fact, home runs are up across baseball early on this season.
But one of Thames’s bombs came off Cubs starter John Lackey, who may or may not eat people, but definitely is an asshole:
The first instance came courtesy of Cubs pitcher John Lackey. He was tagged for a double and a home run by Thames during Monday’s 6-3 loss. When asked about Thames following the game, Lackey gave somewhat of a strange response:
“You watch film on recent stuff and try to figure out a way, you know, to get him out. But I mean, really even the homer hit the other way, I mean, you don’t see that happen here very often. That’s kinda one of those things that makes you scratch your head.”
On the surface, that quote isn’t all that suspicious. But as Brew Crew Ball points out, it takes on a slightly different meaning when you watch video of the news conference, which can be found here. As Lackey says the words “scratch your head” he smiles and winks at the reporters.
And then Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio weighed in as well:
So, yeah, it’s probably a ‘head-scratcher’ because nobody knows who this guy is. And when he was here before, his body has changed. But, like I said, I’ll leave that to everyone else and we’re just gonna try to worry about how to pitch him better and get him out.”
Sigh. Bosio also mentioned Barry Bonds and Manny Ramirez alongside Thames, which…okay. But Bosio may have just been unprepared for the line of questioning. John Lackey knew exactly what he was implying. It’s silly, dangerous, and just plain bad form. Make better pitches. Not everyone who succeeds off of you is cheating, John Lackey.
The Cubs just won the World Series last season, and they are trying very hard to become a hate-worthy team in record time. Fortunately they have Kris Bryant to even things out:
Can't wait to see you Kolt! https://t.co/86rcxatYub
— Kris Bryant (@KrisBryant_23) April 19, 2017