On Wednesday, July 21, 2010, Jim Thome faced the team that launched his career. What did the Tribe do? They walked Thome ALL FOUR TIMES. Now, as usual, I am a day (or two) late to the party, but my question is more of baseball in general, I suppose. When a team walks a former superstar of their team, does that show respect or is it ridiculous.
I see it as absurd. Sure, it theoretically shows respect that you think the guy will light you up if you pitch to him. Sure, you admit total ineptitude to the point that you KNOW the player with the bat is going to send the ball beyond the outfield walls. But, come on. This is baseball. This is a player who is climbing his way up the all-time charts in multiple categories. This is a guy who is aging, and let's honest a relatively easy out as long as you don't let him get you.
Now, I've seen articles saying that the writer would have walked Thome, too, given the next three batters to follow him. Okay, I get it. I understand strategy. I also understand that the Tribe is basically having its collective butt handed to the team this season. And, that is my point. Why NOT pitch to Thome? What's the worst that would happen? He hits a homer and you lose. Oh, wait, even with walking Thome four times, the Indians managed to do that anyway. Yeah, they lost 6-0.
If I had been in charge, we would have pitched to Thome out of respect for who he was with the team and who he is as a player. Then again, that could be why I am not the one in charge.