Silly, Silly Mat Latos

Matt Latos, pitcher for the San Diego Padres, recently signed three baseballs with the words, “I hate SF!” These are powerful words coming from a dude that only has one full year in the Bigs under his belt.

As a devout Giants fan living in San Diego, I feel some pull to take responsibility for the divisive words of my fellow sun bronzed So Cal local (enjoy that mildly fabricated visual snapshot). I believe there are two ways to approach this bold, but immature statement:

1. Get Offended and Angry: Latos pitched pretty well against the Giants last year. Not dominant, but solid. With that said, Latos is far from a proven veteran. There are some guys who run their mouth and it is somewhat expected in the wonderful world of overpaid/immature athlete discourse. But those guys’ comments become an afterthought once they hit 40+ homers or win 20+ games the following year. Mat Latos is certainly not one of those guys (yet). In fact, he sandwiched his solid year by going 1-2 with a 6.20ERA in March/April and 1-5 with a 5.66 ERA in Sept/Oct. So, how could a guy with only one year of big league experience, who pitched terribly when it counted, say something like this? It is offensive, immature and will certainly create a heated rivalry in 2011.

2. Laugh Whilst Waving the WS Trophy: Maybe Latos was just trying to be funny? Even if he was, no Giants fan will give him that much credit, so we must continue to assume that he was trying to take an unwarranted jab. With that said, a Giants fan should be thrilled about his comments. Not only did he make himself look bad, he offered another opportunity to show off our World Series Trophy. What better way to offer a sterling rebuttal than to simply step to the trophy closet and begin to polish your hardware? I couldn’t help but laugh when I heard a fan’s recent response to Latos’ actions: “Lincecum should sign a ball that says ‘Who the (*&% is MattLatos’?”

Bottom line: Writing “I hate SF” isn’t intimidating…in fact, it might be showing some insecurity on the part of a team that collapsed in historical proportions down the stretch. Now, Latos can quiet his “haters” by pitching lights out next year (specifically against the Giants), but if he doesn’t he will realize the ceaseless brutality of a fan base that not only was offended, but has the pride of a championship banner to point to.

So was it something to get offended by, or to laugh at? Is there a third approach?

(-JH)

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7 thoughts on “Silly, Silly Mat Latos

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Silly, Silly Mat Latos « baseballmonk -- Topsy.com

  2. I think it’s something to laugh at. Latos is just trying to stir up the pot which will only make his first start against the Giants this year that much better to watch!

    Imagine the backlash if instead of I Hate SF he wrote I Hate Sabermetrics though!!!

  3. 3rd option: Perhaps you’re over-thinking things. Pretty standard inter-divisional-preseason-rivalry-chatter.

    He also had a pretty good year for a 22 year-old mostly-rookie. Heck, for anyone. You could even put it up against Mr. Timmy Lincecum’s first year.

    Actually, Latos’ year was probably better.

    • oh, look nick, here’s a useful opportunity to use some advanced metrics!

      lincecum’s first full year (2008): 169 ERA+, 265 K, 10.5 K/9, 1.17 WHIP (also, won the CYA)

      mat-with-one-t’s first full year, (2010): 126 ERA+, 189 K, 9.2 K/9, 1.08 WHIP (nice but not better)

      • also, to use WAR

        timmy in 2008: 6.9
        latos in 2010: 3.3

        all stats are from baseballreference.com

        in fact, using WAR, timmy had a better year in 2010 (his worst year at 3.5) than mat did (3.3)

  4. Well, I was thinking more along the lines of 23 year-old Timmah’s 20+ starts in 2007 (112 ERA+, 1.28 WHIP) compared to a 22 year-old Latos’ 20+ starts in 2010 (126 ERA+, 1.08 WHIP). But I suppose Mat’s 50.2 innings in the late season callup of 2009 make that his rookie season. So I was way off. I just wasn’t giving Latos enough credit for being so much younger than Lincecum. He must be even better than I thought!

    Damn these numbers!

    Why, you could even say they are ruining the game of baseball!!!

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