A.J. Burnett Kills Twitter (And People’s Kittens) Every Five Days

by Stace

I am a prolific Twitter user. I first started using the service in November 2008 and I rarely miss a day of posting on the site.

I have met quite a lot of people through Twitter – it’s even how I got this gig at Aerys.

In the nearly three years since I tweeted my first message out to the masses, I’ve gained over 2000 followers and a lot of them are Yankee fans. We usually “live tweet” the games; some people do play by play – which drives others crazy – some people just react to what’s happening on the field. I usually do the latter.

Some Examples
Derek Jeter gets an RBI single: “YAY!”
Mark Teixeira hits a home run: “WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO TEX!”
CC Sabathia strikes someone out: “Sit!” or “K!”

What can I say? I’m a simple girl. Okay, so sometimes they’re not always that clean but you get the gist.

Most of the time live tweeting is a lot of fun. I follow a lot of funny and clever people on Twitter and they make watching Yankee games very enjoyable unless it’s an A.J. Burnett start.

I joked the other day that there is nothing worse than Twitter during a Burnett start but it’s actually true. Maybe a severe sunburn is worse. Or a punch to the face. Maybe not. There is no other player on the Yankees that evokes more anger than Burnett. It’s absolutely astonishing.

Sometimes I think about how it would have been if Twitter were around in the early part of A-Rod’s tenure with the Yankees then I shiver, horrified at even thinking about that possibility because it would have been a total nightmare. My God, why did I even bring that up?

Back to Burnett, no Yankee in the past three seasons has made fans crazier or more rabid. Certain people act as if he killed their kitten or pissed in their cereal.

  • They act as if he purposely goes out and pitches badly.
  • They act as if he isn’t historically a mediocre pitcher.
  • They act as if he has to pitch well because the Yankees stupidly gave him a large contract.

Did people think that he was magically going to become a 20 game winner because he was with the Yankees? Or better yet, did they think he was going to turn into CC Sabathia? Apparently so.

I will admit I have a soft spot for the guy. I usually gravitate toward the player that fans are hardest on for some reason – Jason Giambi, Alex Rodriguez, etc. I will also admit that there are times when he makes me crazy as well but some people are out of control.

  • They say they hate him.
  • They say he’s a mental case – this is a favorite of some writers *cough*Jon Heyman*cough* on Twitter as well.
  • They make it seem like he’s committed murder if he has a bad outing.

They trash him before his start, during his start, after his start – regardless if he wins or loses because something is always wrong. He only gives up three runs, it’s not good enough because he gave up ten hits. He only gives up one run it’s not good enough because he only lasts six innings.

With the way some people act on Twitter, A.J. Burnett could pitch a perfect game and people would find something to bitch about. Too many three ball counts or too many fly ball outs, etc.

There are also some people who you never see complimenting Burnett when he does well – yes, I know it’s been a while since that’s happened – but who will be one of the first ones to moan and groan the second he gives up a hit in a game.

Some people need to just stay off Twitter when A.J. starts a game. I did it tonight and it was great. I was relaxed and calm.

Then I naively logged onto Twitter when I thought it was safe, saw how everyone else was reacting and had to log off again.

The other problem is the amount of money he makes. It makes people act like he magically should morph into CC Sabathia. Sorry but that’s not how it works. The Yankees were silly to give a guy who is a career .500 pitcher such a big contract. And truth be told, I was so wrapped up in everything else that was happening that offseason – Sabathia’s signing and the pursuit of Mark Teixeira – that I didn’t even really pay attention to Burnett. I just thought, “Oh cool, we have another pitcher.” Plus, I was dealing with personal stuff (being laid off) that I was just happy that the Yankees were stocking up on people. Did I care about their contracts? Nope. It’s not my money.

Was he expected to be the number two guy? Yes. Did it work out that way? No. Is it the end of the World? No. Does it really impact your everyday life? Not really. But you all act like it does.

Your Yankees are tied for first place right now, even with terrible, horrible, no good, very bad A.J. Burnett on the team. And guess what, he’s not as terrible as you make him out to be. He’s just being A.J. Burnett.

So my fellow Yankee fans, writers and bloggers, you need to accept the fact that A.J. Burnett is not C.C. Sabathia and will never be. Hell, at this point he’s not even Phil Hughes or Ivan Nova.

Believe me, the sooner you do, the better – and less angry – you will feel.

Originally posted 8/16/11 on Spreadin’ The News, your home for all things New York Yankees on the Aerys Sports Network.