"The loser is always at fault."
-Vasilii Nicolaevich Panov, Russian author.
Perhaps someone could inform Arizona State baseball coach Pat Murphy of that little nugget of truth. It all started on Thursday with Murphy's declaration that pitcher Mike Leake has "probably serious tendinitis" and that his star pitcher could be done for the year. Reportedly a common tactic by Murphy, it turned out to be as much of a waste of breath as anything could be coming from a certifiable blowhard. Whether it was a petty bit of gamesmanship or "insanely irresponsible," as 40AS sports termed it, the end result was that Murphy came out of the whole thing either looking Bush League for his bit of amatuerish deception or like a Bill Belichick clone, take your pick. But that was only the beginning.
During his post-game press conference, Murphy sounded like a sore loser possessing no connection to reality. To be fair, Murphy did give Texas credit for winning the game, but then complete contradicted himself by whining about how his closer (or whatever stupid name Murphy has for Mitchell Lambson) "had the kid struck out ($)," referring to Cameron Rupp's crucial at-bat. It's hard to tell what Murphy was talking about, because the first pitch of the at-bat was clearly low and the fourth pitch was clearly inside.
Perhaps Murphy needs some glasses because neither one was a strike and only the first pitch was that close and that was the pitch that was low, something the Arizona State coach should have easily seen from the dugout. Somehow, Lambson probably had Connor Rowe struck out of as well, even though Rowe hit the first pitch out of the ballpark. No doubt Murphy will have an explanation concerning that before too long.
But, the sob story continues for Pat Murphy. The big crybaby went on to say that the top of the ninth inning "wasn't a fortunate inning" for the Sun Devils, even though Jason Kipnis was fortunate to reach first base as the first batter, as both Brandon Belt and Travis Tucker had a chance to retire Kipnis, who ended up on secon base after Tucker threw the ball away. Perhaps fortune is what you make of it, coach Murphy -- that's probably what Augie Garrido would tell you. Or maybe that baseball is a cruel game, which it is.
And no, that's not all, folks. For Murphy, "it would have been fitting if this team won it all, to be honest with you." To be honest with you, Murph, I don't see how that would have been fitting. But, oh, "A call here, a call there. We could have won it all. It tears you up. It doesn’t seem right." Like I said, cry me a river, you big baby. What is fitting about a team winning when it gives up six-run leads with a pitcher on the mound who is supposedly better than Stephen Strasburg (yes, Murphy said that, too)? What is fitting about a team winning when it can't respond to adversity, giving up a total of 10 unanswered runs in the aforementioned game? What is fitting about a team winning when it gets another chance using that same awesome, incredible, best-ever pitcher and still loses? I would say nothing, but then maybe that's only because I have a connection to reality.
Hey, coach, it looks like you're on a roll, so maybe you should just keep talking. Bent on heading further into this own little version of the "truth," good ol' Patty boy saved the best for last, a true gem: "A baseball tournament doesn't always indicate the best team in the country. I'll take our team no matter what...A tournament doesn't always show the best team."
Wow, but Texas deserves credit for the win, huh? Somehow I don't believe that now. I think, in this case, that the tournament actually is supposed to determine the best team, since that's how college baseball has decreed that the championship be determined. Actually, how the basketball championship is determined as well. And the Super Bowl in the NFL. Hell, in the two latter sports, a team only has one chance to beat another team. This last week, Arizona State had two. If two games don't determine that Texas is better than Arizona State, how many would? Five? Six? Twenty-seven? How do you propose to set this up, Murph? I guarantee you that Texas is a better baseball team. Why? Because I saw it with my own eyes! And these comebacks are not a fluke. In fact, Texas has made something of a habit of it during this post-season, if you hadn't noticed there, coach.
Maybe Arizona State lost because you simply overused Mike Leake this year, coach. Maybe he just crapped the bed on a big stage. Maybe the problem was that Leake had "probably serious tendinitis" and shouldn't have pitched. Maybe, and here's where I'm going to stretch things, buddy, maybe Mike Leake isn't Stephen Strasburg. Maybe the problem was that Arizona State left 12 runners on base on Friday evening, days after leaving 10 stranded. When you lose after stranding that many runners, it could possibly maybe just a little bit have to do with poor clutch hitting. Or maybe the poor Sun Devils just didn't get the benefit of a few calls, as they didn't in the crucial at-bat when Lambson "struck out" Cameron Rupp. Problem is, acknowledging those truths requires taking responsibility. Oops, I know I lost you there, coach.
Maybe the problem was that, when you called that team conference during the game on Friday, coach, you were coaching your team angrily, yelling at them and demanding more. Maybe they needed to be built up at that point, not torn down. Maybe you should have watched how Augie did it on Tuesday, helping his team leave their guilt behind and move on, giving them confidence when they needed it, and, here's a strange thought, actually smiling and having fun out there. Ever have fun when you coach baseball, Murph? Didn't think so.
Maybe the problem was that your closer (or whatever stupid name you call him) was starting his sixth inning in several days against the Longhorns by the time the ninth inning rolled around on Friday. Maybe the problem was that you relied on a guy with a bulls***, batting practice fastball to try to hold down a good baseball team. Maybe that kind of thing is just going to happen when said pitcher tries to blow hitters away with high fastballs that are slower than most changeups. Thing is, when said pitcher misses a little low with pitches like that, they get hit, say, around 450 feet, especially when there's a hitter with some major power sitting on it. But, of course, I'm forgetting that said hitter was already struck out. Maybe the problem was that said pitcher tried to pitch Connor Rowe the exact same way for the fourth time and Rowe finally got wise to it. Doing that kind of thing isn't exactly a stroke of luck for this team -- Preston Clark hit a walk-off grand slam doing the same thing. Maybe Arizona State wasn't really the better team.
So the moral of the story here, Murph, is that maybe you should go home and shut the f*** up before you sound like any more of a sore loser than you already do. No one likes sore losers.