Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Carlos Conundrum


Why do you hate Carlos Lee? If you follow my twitter feed or listen to one of my random Carlos rants, you are likely to ask this question.....several people have before. However, I in fact do NOT hate Carlos Lee. Carlos actually provided a walk off grand slam at one of my greatest "I was there moments", at the end of the Biggio 3000 hit game. I also briefly met Carlos at Gallery furniture the week he was signed by the Astros (I can neither confirm nor deny that Carlos was asking for "the largest bed you have"). Carlos Lee is universally recognized as a "nice guy" and my own experience along with others cannot refute this. So let's start by acknowledging that I do not hate Carlos Lee.

The vitriol that I and other Astros fans direct toward Carlos begins with a number........18.5 million. That is what the Astros are paying their "1st baseman" this season. So far that has bought us a .263 hitter with 2 home runs and 14 RBI's. AL East lover Richard Justice (who used to cover our beloved team) would like you to know that Carlos is the toughest hitter to strike out in the NL, but what he and others haven't told you is that he is the easiest to pop out as well. Carlos routinely hits infield flies (on his bad swings) or warning track flies (on his good swings). His power that once produced 30+ homers is all but gone. If you're looking for a 1B for your fantasy team, you'd be much better off with Billy Butler, Bryan LaHair, or pretty much any 1B besides Pujols (just felt good to drop that jab in there).

Most of my subtle jabs at Carlos revolve around his waistline. I'm over 30 now, and do not get paid millions of dollars to perform physical tasks, but somehow I manage to keep myself in decent enough shape that I could run from home plate to third base without knocking on death's door from over exhaustion. When whispers started growing after Carlos was the last man to arrive at Spring Training that he was "out of shape", fans continued to pile on Lee even as the media defended him because of his happy-go-lucky demeanor. I can't speak for every fan, but it is much easier for me to forgive Yao Ming's injury plagued drop off amidst his tireless hours of playing basketball, than it is for me to forgive Carlos for his drop off amidst years of apparent physical apathy. So yes Carlos Lee is FAT, and in light of the amount of money and time I spend supporting the Astros I feel justified in throwing some jabs his way.....even if he is a "nice guy".

The biggest issue I have is that the Astros are good. Yes! Those Astros who the media dismisses at every turn, are turning heads and overachieving this season. We are young, hungry, and play with fire. None of those adjectives accurately describes Carlos......except hungry, but more for wings than wins. Unfortunately, in light of the above reasons it may be highly unlikely that GM Luhnow can move Carlos this season for more young prospects who are turning this organization around. So, the best we can do is start a CarlosWatch to count down to the last day of his massive contract. I know I won't be the only Astros fan celebrating the day his 18.5 million comes off the payroll.

So I don't hate Carlos, but I do hate that he plays for my team. Some of my hatred stems from things outside his control (payroll) and others he clearly can be blamed for (Fat). I wish Carlos nothing but the best when his time in Houston is done......I just wish that time would come sooner rather than later.