Yuniesky Betancourt Is A Damn Fool

So by now you've probably heard about Yuni's benching. The organization is upset with his poor work ethic and lack of drive, and they're prepared to sit him or demote him until things get better. I just want to focus on one quote in particular. From LaRue's piece:

Betancourt, who has had meetings with his manager and coaches all season, insists he's doing nothing different now than ever.

"I've been doing the same routine for years," Betancourt said. "I can't control the lineup. I'm doing whatever I've done in the past."

Read that quote. Now read it again. In the first sentence alone, two things are made clear:

  • Yuni's been meeting with his unhappy superiors all year
  • Yuni isn't doing anything differently

Betancourt...insists he's doing nothing different now than ever.

Self-awareness this bad should send people to prison. I can barely fathom the levels of arrogance and obliviousness necessary for one one to believe that, despite countless meetings with bosses who want you to change, you've been doing things right all along. Jeff Weaver made adjustments. Horacio Ramirez made adjustments. Carlos Silva made adjustments. Yuniesky Betancourt hasn't made adjustments. He has consciously and deliberately eluded change, and by remaining the same player he's always been, he's turned into a worse one.

Not that he knows it. If you ask Yuni, he's still the same guy. After all, if he's not preparing differently, then he shouldn't be playing differently, right? Fleeting flirtation with patience aside, Yuni doesn't think anything's changed, and it can be a million times more difficult to convince a player with that mindset that something is wrong and needs to be fixed.

Player X: You wanted to see me, coach?
Coach: Hey. Yeah. I wanted to talk to you about your plate discipline.
Player X: What about it, coach?
Coach: It's not where I'd like it to be. I think a little improvement in your eye could really elevate your game to the next level.
Player X: I know what you mean, coach. I've been swinging at too many bad pitches. I really need to get better.
Coach: Glad to hear it.
Player X: I'll spend extra time in the cages. Hope that pitching machine doesn't throw any Pedro changeups! Ha ha!
Coach: Ha ha!

Player Y: what
Coach: Hey. Yeah. I wanted to talk to you about your plate discipline.
Player Y: what I'm fine
Coach: No, you're not.
Player Y: yes I am
Coach: No, you're really not.
Player Y: look we can sit here and argue until the cows come home but I don't see the point because I'm right and you're wrong
Coach: You're wrong and you're benched.
Player Y: you can't bench a superstar
Coach: I wouldn't dream of it.
Player Y:
Coach:
Player Y:
hey look over there a giant spider! look out it's gonna get you!
Coach: What? I don't see a-
Coach:
Coach:
Hello?

Yuni's broken. That much has been obvious for at least a calendar year. Yuni's broken, and the team is now punishing him for his lack of growth. Yuni, though, doesn't understand why this is happening all of a sudden, which can't bode well for how this whole episode turns out. The team will hope that a benching or demotion finally wakes him up and gets him to put forth a little more effort, but if Yuni can sit through dozens of face-to-face meetings and not figure out that something is wrong, I'm not sure anything'll be accomplished by taking discipline to the next step. Some people just don't get it. Though I occasionally feel guilty for writing off most professional athletes as complete idiots, Yuni's done nothing to shed the label.

Betancourt...insists he's doing nothing different now than ever.

Unbelievable.

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