I’m Sorry; This Entire Post Is A Rant About A.J. Burnett

When I saw this picture, I couldn’t help thinking of another character altogether.
But the image that sticks in my mind is the one of him walking off the mound after Joe pulled him tonight.
AJ leaving.jpg
He’s kind of smirking, kind of scowling, kind of nutty – sort of like Tony Perkins in “Psycho.”
But then I lit on the shot from the “It Is High” blog, and that did it. I started cracking up, and tonight’s miserable game became just a bad joke. Their caption is entitled…”A.J. Brunette.”
AJ Brunette.jpeg
He’s cute, isn’t he?
OK, enough about the photos and onto AJ’s “performance.” He had nothing. I mean nothing. The Jays can hit the ball, no question, but did every pitch have to be right in their happy zone? What the hell is wrong with Burnett? Is it just a confidence thing at this point? Because I thought he and Dave Eiland had worked it out, talked it out, hugged it out, whatever it is they do, and yet the result has been awful. I get why he needs to stay in the rotation; he did pitch well in the playoffs last year and Ivan Nova isn’t ready for prime time. But his 2010 has been abysmal, and it’s hard to understand why. Yes, I know. The Rays lost. So what? This isn’t about other teams. It’s about the fact that we need starters. Now. When I saw that Roy Halladay clinched tonight for the Phillies, I turned green with envy. He was the one I wanted all along. People said, “Oh, we don’t need him. We already have an ace.” True, but what would have been the problem with having two aces?
I’d better stop now before I explode.


  1. travelingbballbabes

    Now do you see why Lisa and I broke up with him? I know you wanted us to give him a chance, but the heart can only take so much. A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do!

  2. YankeeCase

    Holy crap! What’s with that last pic?! lol…

    I just wrote about this in my own blog tonight…(two in the last two days! whoa!) I played a season game of MLB 10 on my PS3 before the start of tonight’s game. The pitcher? Of course, AJ…

    And wouldn’t you know it? He gave up seven runs, although I had him last six innings. His fastball was everywhere and his curveball didn’t break. Not a good start, he just didn’t have it. (The game is really good about being authentic, from player performance to just about everything else baseball.) So I guess you can blame me for his start. If I can take credit for A-Rod’s home run yesterday, then I can take the blame for this debacle.

    My guys played valiantly, coming back to tie the game at seven, but then the game froze up so we’ll never know how it should’ve ended. Our real guys weren’t so lucky tonight, but at least they didn’t lie down for the Jays.

    The ‘pen was good, if not great. Let’s just hope this was a case of AJ not having it, because he almost resembled a competent pitcher his last few outings.

    I was hoping for a lot from the offense, seeing who they were up against. We roughed him up the last two times out. Tonight he was a man possessed, until everyone finally started laying off his slider.

    It would’ve been great to win, since Tampa lost, but we have five more games to right ourselves. And don’t forget Jane, this time next year we should have those two aces… CC and Cliff Lee! (maybe three with a more matured Phil Hughes…?)

  3. Jane Heller

    I do understand, Serena. He’s a frustrating man. He teases us with his talent and then destroys our trust. We must break up with him if only to keep our hearts from breaking. Sob.

    Cliff Lee, I know, YankeeCase. But we won’t be the only team trying to sign him. And he hasn’t been as reliable as Halladay. (Few are.) Yes, the pen was good – even Gaudin didn’t cause any trouble, although what he was doing on the mound for the 8th is beyond me. It’s just that when your starter gives up that many runs early, the offense tends to shut down. It’s disheartening. And my patience with A.J. has run out. Do you want him out there in the playoffs? Seriously.

  4. lenn23

    And here I was starting to think that he was turning it around. If they start him in the playoffs they better have someone warming up in the first inning.

  5. devilabrit

    Still 5 very tough games left for the Yankees, it’s hard when a season comes down to 4 or 5 games at the end of 162…
    AJ has a similar expression to those we seen from Jayson Werth over the last couple of months, maybe AJ just needs a new manager…


    Phillies Outside

  6. mel.tmottbg@gmail.com

    I’m glad I’m looking at that last picture in the morning, because if I looked at it right before bed, I think I’d have nightmares!

    Oh AJ, AJ, AJ! How can you do this? I guess we shouldn’t be angry because I think he’s embarrassed and more unhappy than we are ( but he’s also a lot richer).

    Halladay : 21st win, 4th shutout, 9th complete game. Yes, I yearn for him.


  7. Jane Heller

    Len, the sad thing is I never really thought AJ was starting to turn it around. He had a couple of good games (better games) after Eiland came back from his “personal matter,” but his September hasn’t been good. He said after the game that he’d “keep working at it,” but how much time is there?

    I don’t think AJ needs a new manager, Peter. I think he needs a good shrink. He’s got all the talent in the world, so why isn’t he using it?

    I’ve used that picture before, Melissa. I figured you’d be used to it by now! The thing is, AJ didn’t look embarrassed after the game. Did you watch his post-game interview either on YES or on their web site? Kim Jones was in funereal mode and trying to be delicate but straightforward in her questions, and he just kept spouting cliches and said he’d get back out there the next time. At some point, there needs to be some accountability. We need him to do well and want him to do well. He seems like a good guy, but I’m sure the players are losing patience with him.

    Yup, Jeff. It’s the inconsistency that kills it, although this year he’s been consistently bad.

  8. Jane Heller

    It’s an odd thing about that picture, Audrey. I was watching the game and saw him leaving the mound, wearing that expression, and it struck me as a defense mechanism; that he was trying to look macho and “I-don’t-care”-ish and even mad that Joe was taking him out. He even referenced his early exit in the post-game interview. He does have a bit of an attitude, as he showed big time when he left the Marlins. That said, I’m sure he wants to do well and last night’s performance must have been devastating, whether he admits it or not.

  9. phillies_phollowers

    Expressions like that one make you wonder if they guy even cares that he just stunk the place up. Like, he’s getting paid anyway so what does he care? I’d hate to think that, but I can totally get why you are infuriated by AJ’s seemingly passive attitude.


  10. dschaub@gpo.gov

    Melido Perez.
    That’s the “Blast From The Past” who most closely resembles AJ right now, according to ESPN. By that, I mean that the last Yankee hurler to LOSE 15 games or more was Melido Perez, who lost 16 in 1992. “In Those Bad, Bad Old Days…” Sorry, The Foundations just hit the right/wrong sour note…
    As for our starters in general (General Chaos reporting): how does a 2-10 record with a 5.91 ERA sound, ’cause that’s what they say it’s been…oh, and 8 times our starters haven’t lasted past THE 5TH INNING…! But what about “Rocky” Burnett himself? How about a 1-7 record with a 6.98 ERA since August began? Hmmmmm…
    But they’re just numbers, that’s all. Let’s just try to wipe this ugly blackboard clean, pound the chalk out of our erasers (i.e. bullpen) to freshen ’em up, break out some new chalk (i.e. some fresh hot bats), and hope that that little “mechanics” workout that Mo had with Eiland will do the trick. We ain’t askin’ for much…just one single measly W before that trek to Beantown…then you guys can imitate Melido Perez all you want (but hopefully not)…!

  11. nyyfaninvt

    To me, that picture of A.J. leaving the mound is the most disturbing. He looks like he almost thinks it’s funny! I felt sorry for him until I saw that pic – now I’m just mad.

  12. jojovanb27@hotmail.com


    It’s amazing where friends pop up. My son and I were discussing the jet stream, so I Googled it, and the second image in the display referenced your blog entry from June 3, 2009. For the record, the game you talked about that day wasn’t much different from last night’s.

    As for your A.J. “rant” today, didn’t Tony Perkins also star in Fear Strikes Out? A.J.’s problems are not the same as Jimmy Piersall’s, but I’m not sure they’re all that far off either.

  13. colombiano2386@yahoo.com

    We don’t blame you for ranting, Jane. Every Yankee fan deserves to be pissed at AJ. What got me angry though was his seemingly nonchalant behavior in his post game interview and seemingly unwillingness to accept responsibility and just admit that he sucked. It’s mind boggling how a guy so talented can be so streaky. No middle ground, he’s good when he’s on but boy is he terrible when he’s off. Halladay would’ve been nice to have on our team for sure but I would’ve preferred someone like Felix Hernandez. Felix is only 24 and already pitching like an ace. His stats are mindblowing and he’ll only get better as he matures. Too bad that’s a pipe dream now considering the extension he signed last offseason with the M’s which if I remember correctly, has a no trade clause in it. Hell, Montero is our best prospect and I believe to be untouchable but I would give him up for an elite talent like Felix. Felix is so talented and deserves to be with a winning team. Maybe by 2015 when he’s a free agent.

  14. Jane Heller

    The expression does make it seem as if he doesn’t care, Jenn, but I know he must care. He’s a professional. He’s getting paid beaucoup bucks to be one of the elite pitchers in the game. He has to have pride in his work. Maybe he was smirking at his own awfulness.

    Yes, Tony Perkins did star in “Fear Strikes Out,” jojovanb – one of my favorite baseball movies. I didn’t even think of it when I wrote the post! I don’t think AJ is clinically ill, the way Piersall was. I just think he needs his confidence back (if he ever had any) and a better way to express/harness his emotions. Maybe Dave Eiland isn’t getting through to him after all. Or maybe he’s just uncoachable. Who knows?

    I agree, Leo. It would have been better if AJ had just come out and said, “I stunk up the place,” instead of “Well, I’ve been worse.” THAT infuriated me. Felix would have been nice, no question. He’s younger than Halladay and is an amazing pitcher. But experience is not to be overlooked and Halladay has it – plus an incredible work ethic. He’s always in shape, always prepared, always ready to give you a complete game. I’ll forever regret that we didn’t go after him.

  15. Jane Heller

    I see the order of the comments is acting weird again. Don’t know what to say to get that fixed. Are you listening at all, MLBlogs? (Counting to ten and taking deep breaths.) Glad you mentioned Mo, Dave. He proved that you can teach an old dog new tricks. Or something. How many closers of his ilk would go to the pitching coach and have a session to correct mechanical problems? Obviously, he’s not too proud to try to fix flaws and I bet he’ll come out in his next outing and be lights out because of it….unlike AJ who doesn’t seem to learn anything. Grrrrr.

  16. bgalaxy@verizon.net

    i am very excited because we are going to clinch a playoff spot tonight. i am not going to think today that we have no pitching. i am just going to think we are going to the playoffs. most teams are not, and we happily are. who knows what happens when we get there. i was so tired and sleep deprived from sundays game that when aj stunk last night i went to bed and slept a ton so that i am rested and ready for our playoff clinching game tonight!

  17. Jane Heller

    Glad you’re rested and ready for tonight’s game, Barbara. Maybe you can pitch in relief if CC mows down the Blue Jays and it’s a blowout for us. LOL. Fingers crossed for some champagne – or however they decide to celebrate.

  18. peggy3

    Hey Jane & Yankee fans ….

    YAHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO …Playoffs here we come.
    Let’s get the division ….

    CC is just AMAZING and MO is BACK !!!!! I LOVE MY YANKS !!!!


  19. pennylane_1976@yahoo.com

    First of all, I must admit that I am a huge AJ Burnett fan. I root so hard for him to do well–and not just because good AJ equals yankee wins. Maybe it’s because he looks exactly like my adored nephew who is also a bit of a head case. Maybe it’s because I have a soft spot for the underdogs–particularly the ones that the NY media take pleasure in piling on (i.e., Alex pre-2009 WS.)
    That being said, I feel that a chunk of blame must be laid at the feet of Dave Eiland. AJ was spectacular until Eiland’s personal leave from the team–and he hasn’t been the same since Eiland returned. It’s never a good idea to abandon a known head case!! Whatever Eiland did or didn’t do for AJ, AJ clearly fell off without his coach there. Beyond that, our pitchers–aside from CC and Andy–have been mightily struggling over the past couple of months. Why is the pitching coach not fixing it? Javier Vasquez was a superb pitcher for the Braves but he gets to the Yankees and throws batting practice pitches every start? I know that the thought is that “some people can’t handle New York” but I don’t completely buy into that.
    I don’t know. I just look at the amazing job that Kevin Long has done with the hitters and it seems that the Yankees don’t have an equally amazing coach for the pitchers.
    Just a thought,

  20. Jane Heller

    Interesting thoughts, pennylane. I’ve rooted for AJ too – and still do. I just find him incredibly frustrating and don’t know what his future holds in the rotation. We need him badly. As for Eiland, yes, AJ did seem to take a nosedive after Eiland went on leave. But AJ is getting paid millions to pitch and at this stage of his career he should be able to apply what he’s learned and use it on the mound. Vazquez is another story. He had problems in big games for the White Sox too, which is why Ozzie called him out when he was in Chicago. Pitching well in the NL doesn’t always translate into success in the AL East, never mind in NY. Maybe the Yankees do need to take a look at Eiland when evaluating their coaches for next season. Maybe there’s somebody better we could get. I’d be open to that for sure.

  21. seindsfeld@aol.com

    I wanted Halladay too, actually, the way Bum-nett has been pitching, the hot dog guy probably could pitch better. But it’s not as fun when all the best players are on the same team. I mean, as much as it would have been fun to have won the division before September with the Doc (Though the NL East is 20x more awful compared to the AL East, so who knows how well he would have fared wearing pinstripes) I just don’t want to clump all these stars together. Look at the Heat: LeBron, Wade and Bosh all together. Whats the fun in that? I’m sick of people also saying the Yanks just pay for World Serieseses. Of course when other teams do it, it’s genius by the GM, but for some reason the Yanks get it under the microscope. It’s also more fun, though it’s not fun when I’m using a defibrillator at the age of 25, when the Division races are so close. The Daily News’ cover was “Finally In” as if saying, “What took so long?” What makes people think teams aren’t gonna get better? And they get better because the Yankees hold a standard of excellence that other teams wish they could match. This post is a lot longer than I thought it would be, so in closing…. hopefully Burnett won’t have to pitch in the post-season XD

  22. Jane Heller

    I think the Daily News’ “Finally” had more to do with the fans and how most of us were on the edge of our seats waiting to clinch, seindsfeld. Yes, the Yankees are supposed to win, but they were playing crappy baseball for a stretch and fraying everybody’s nerves. Things got a little too close for comfort. As for having Halladay because it wouldn’t be fun to have too many good players, I doubt the Phillies or their fans mind having Doc, Hamels and Oswalt.

  23. pennylane_1976@yahoo.com

    I know that a man who is getting paid $50 million over the next two years should be able to right himself. My only thought on that is that Brian Cashman knew exactly who AJ was when he signed him. If you know that this pitcher has a tendency to go completely off the rails, you must have the means to keep him on track.
    For what it’s worth, I became a Yankee fan in 2004 (when I met my now-husband) so 2009 was my first experience with the World Series. Winning last year was so joyous and exhilarating that (in my mind) AJ earned every penny of his contract with his Game 2 performance. (I guess it’s easy for me to say that because it isn’t my money!) That said, my fingers are crossed that AJ can find it again.

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