The Blame Game – Building Narratives

elvis

It’s been five days since the Torment of Toronto. Five days since Elvis Andrus was a little league shortstop. Five days since Sam Dyson was the Miami Marlins version of Sam Dyson again. Five days since Jose Bautista became Rangers Enemy #2 (no one will ever replace David Freese as #1).

It’s been five days since we last cared that baseball was still happening.

I don’t know about you, but I had to take a hiatus. I’ve watched all of about four innings since last Wednesday and not because I’ve been crazy busy, but because I just didn’t want to. I stayed away from social media, and I’ve tried to avoid any baseball talk with my coworkers, family and friends – for good reason.

The 7th inning took 53 minutes according to Matt Hicks and Eric Nadel on the radio broadcast. Nadel described the inning this way:

Regarding the first Elvis error on the ball hit up the middle:

That’s a play Elvis makes in his sleep!

Regarding the Mitch Moreland low throw to Elvis on the next play:

Moreland makes that play better than anyone in our league!

Regarding the Elvis dropped ball at 3rd on the bunt – the next play:

AND ELVIS DROPS THE BALL! He simply dropped the baseball!

Then Rougned Odor misplayed a popup and soon after that, Jose Bautista happened to Sam Dyson.

Dyson had been unhittable since his first outing in Texas. His appearances were book ended by home runs however and the latter one being the most costly.

The biggest takeaway from that inning is that nearly everyone, not EVERYONE, but nearly everyone immediately started blaming Elvis Andrus for the loss, and the season being over.

I admit, I was angry with Elvis. We all were and that is justifiable. But let’s get one thing straight right now, Andrus was not the SOLE reason the Rangers lost that series or that game. It’s easy to blame Andrus, I get it but if you know anything about team sports, you know that is not true.

Yes, Elvis himself came out and took blame for it. What else do you realistically expect him to say? It wasn’t his fault? You expect him to say “Mitch’s throw was too low for me to handle, not my fault” or ” Hamels distracted me on the ball up the middle, he should’ve just fell down and got out of the way”.

No. He’s not throwing anyone under the bus. He’s going to take his lumps.

For those of you who still want to blame Elvis, remember the Rangers had a 2-0 series lead heading back to Arlington. Jeff Banister chose to start two average left handers against a team that demolished lefties during the regular season. Martin Perez and Derek Holland are not on the same level as Cole Hamels. You don’t feel the same confidence about them when you trot them out there as you do a guy like Hamels.

Had Colby Lewis started Game 4, we might be prepping for Game 3 of the ALCS right now. Had Chi Chi Gonzalez buried the two out two strike pitch to Troy Tulowitzki instead of leaving up in the zone, we might have been celebrating that night in Arlington.

Had Prince Fielder decided to show up for the ALDS, had Mitch Moreland remembered to bring his lumber to the games, or had Derek Holland realized that batting practice was over, we might be writing ALCS articles instead of evaluating our offseason plans.

Did Elvis Andrus contribute to the Game 5 loss? Absolutely, without question. Did he lose the entire game on his own?

Not a chance in hell.

People choose to build their narratives around the timing of the circumstances. Had this inning happened in Game 3 or even Game 4, we may not even have this conversation. Or we would be, this time with people building their narrative around the “we should have never been to Game 5 had Elvis made those plays in Game 4!”.

People will build whatever narrative they want when they want. It’s the easy way out. It’s the blame game. Take a look at the series as a whole. There is a lot of folks to blame. Elvis Andrus isn’t the only man on the 25 man roster and he damn sure wasn’t the only man on the field that day.

Now, it’s back to the drawing board and there is a very good chance that drawing board includes Elvis Andrus next year.

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Billy Casey
Billy is a baseball fanatic and has been around the game since he was four years old. The first ever game he attended was in September of '89 and Pete Incaviglia denied him an autograph after he had a bad batting practice session. Billy has held a grudge since. Billy is also a baseball coach who is known to dance around the dugout like Ron Washington during big plays in the game.

14 comments

  • Elvis set the bad tone for the inning and we saw how a manager learns on the job.. Rookie manager made some bad calls, next year will be better but if Andrus begins to suffer jet lag like Neftali suffered I say trade him inmediately!

  • Billy Casey your 100% absolutely correct Sir and I for one am disgusted at how blind these so called Ranger fans have been. I’m fed up with the ignorance that’s being displayed. These so called fans just don’t get that you win as a team and lose as a team.

    Elvis doesn’t deserve the bashing he’s getting. All people want to point out are the errors he made, that he’s had a couple of down seasons, and the amount of money he gets paid. It’s the typical over reaction DFW attitude. These people wouldn’t understand good baseball if it hit them in square in the face.

    They say he’s had a down year at the plate but if you get 1 less hit a week your average might be down 10-15 points at the end of the season. They don’t take in to consideration that Elvis has been moved up and down the line up over the last couple of seasons.

    As for the errors…well…when you lead the MLB in games started at shortstop, opportunities, put outs, assists, and come in 2nd in turning double plays…you’ll make some errors. He gets to balls most shortstops don’t. You can’t make a play or an error if you can’t get to the ball.

    The contract…yeah he’s a bit over paid but that’s because if you want to lock up a good YOUNG shortstop you will have to pay a premium in doing so. When you do it when he’s young though sometimes you end up reaping the rewards on the back half of the deal when the player has matured and enters his prime.

    I can think of another shortstop who ended his career as .262 hitter with an OBP of .337 and fielding percentage .978. This guy started at shortstop for the good part of 19 seasons.

    Elvis so far is a career .270 hitter with an OBP of .331 and a fielding percentage .972. I hope he can play for the Rangers for 19 years. Both these guys have brought their leadership intangibles to the game of baseball.

    Oh…that shortstop that played 19 seasons…he was traded from the Padres after 4 seasons. He then played 15 more seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals. He’s the great Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith. Need I say more? I bet that’s one trade many Padres fans wish was never made.

    • Well if the organization is smart they will trade Error Andrus asap I am so sick of all you bleeding hearts for Error Andrus he choked and he should pay for choking by being traded this winter . He makes to much money to play like he did in game 5 . Holland should go right along with him . You all sound like a bunch of Liberal . It soesn’t matter what he did he’s Elvis Andrus he is so great he can’t even catch a ball that most kids that play minor League ball in grade school could of caught and they sure son’t make money to play . Get gone ERROR Andrus you suck

  • I would love to see anyone who thinks they can go out there and play ball without an error, DO IT. This is baseball folks, the should have’s doesn’t happen in baseball. Not one player goes out there and likes making an error, they are crushed. SO, either support your team or get your wagon on down the road. Go Rangers, we’ll see you next year.

    • I do support my team and I am not on the wagon. I watched every game for the last several years. So don’t tell me to move my wagon on down the road . Get real elvis sucks and you don’t make the kind of weak errors he did and make the kind of money he does. Elvis needs to be the one who moves on.

      • Barry, here’s what Jeff Banister told Elvis after Game 5: “I put my arms around him. Hugged him. Told him he’s a special player. . . . He’ll use Game Five as power to drive him to be an even more elite player.”

        I hope you never have to work for someone as harsh and unforgiving as you are.

  • Brenda the blame is souly on Elvis he cost us a home run that got us beat he is the total cause of us having three scores added to the scoreboard

    • I disagree. He didn’t throw the pitch to Bautista. He didn’t make the low throw from first base. He didn’t misplay the popup to second base. If Mitch’s throw is on target, a double play might have been turned and the inning is suddenly completely different. Remember, the Rangers still have two more opportunities in that game to score runs and they failed to do so. Also, they had two chances at home to close out the series so it never made it back to Toronto. If Chi Chi doesn’t give up that home run to Tulo, this conversation isn’t happening. Incredibly narrow minded and surface level to blame Elvis and only Elvis. We’ll agree to disagree.

      • If Error Andrus had of done his job none of the other plays would of happened inning would have been over. He doesnt deserve to be a Texas Ranger .

  • People should be more angry that he’s been a pretty crummy player for two seasons. This is the culmination of that. At this point, he is what he is — slightly better than replacement level. But it’s fun, smiley, Gatorade-cooler-celebrating Andrus, so he continues to get a pass.

    • Which Texas Ranger had the most errors in the season , Elvis thats who . Who committed two fatal errors durinf the seventh inning of game 5 , Elvis that’s who . Who makes 107 million dollars for the life of his contract , Elvis that’s who . Who lost game 5 for the Texas Rangers and their fans totally his fault Elvis that’s who . If he would of should of caught the balls the inning would have been over .and all the other mishaps would of not happened . There is know excuse for Elvis’s choking he is the soul reason the Rangers lost game 5 hecan not perform under pressure so lets trade him if we can .

  • Great article, it was grossly unfair for everyone to blame everything on Elvis. No matter what, 2015 was magical and in 2016 the Rangers will be a force to be reckoned with! #NeverEverQuit

    • I respectfully disagree with you and Billy and I think Billy writes wonderful articles . Elvis Andrus is the sole reason that we couldn’t get out of the seventh inning I am not a hater but I think that his substanard duty performance should get him remobed from the Texas Rangers team. Elvis makes to much money to choke in a tense moment . So lets say good bye and good luck but the Texas Rangers need a shortstop that can catch minor league balls thrown to him.

  • So glad you wrote this, Billy. I actually felt bad for Elvis getting all the blame. But it was a total team meltdown. And I want to emphasize that while it was bizarre, everyone of the Rangers feels horrible about it.

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