(Johnson shown with one of the few critics who had the guts to face him)
Baseball (and journalism) etiquette 101, courtesy of Randy Johnson, with quotes culled from the New York Post’s Brian Costello.
The big left-hander threw some heat at the Big Apple press corps, saying it was the biggest problem in his two years as a Yankee and caused him to pitch with a back injury that required offseason surgery.
“Last year I pitched in pain,” Johnson said.
Asked why he didn’t let the media and fans know about his injury, Johnson said it wouldn’t have helped, because of how he was portrayed by the press.
“I tried to do something maybe I shouldn’t do,” Johnson said about pitching while injured. “It was going to be a no-win situation, especially where I was at. If I didn’t pitch, then [it was], ‘Well, see, we told you. He’s got a bad back and he’s old,’ and all that. If I did pitch with a bad back and I pitched poorly [it was], ‘Well, you know, what the hell is going on? You are not supposed to pitch like that.’ “
Johnson, whose pinstripes never quite fit, claimed his injured back restricted him last year, when he went 17-11 with a 5.01 ERA. He looked happy and relaxed in a red Diamondbacks’ T-shirt as he discussed his time in The Bronx but became agitated while discussing the media.
“That was the one thing that didn’t click very well,” Johnson said to the one New York reporter at his press conference. “[It was], ‘Oh, he’s surly,’ and all that. You’re damn right; if you are going to use me as a floor mat and not take the time … and write your own stories and not come get to know me, then I don’t want to sit down and give you my time. If you already have your mind made up of your perception of me.”
The 43-year-old asked to be traded back to Arizona after the death of his brother in December. He wanted to be closer to his elderly mother. The trade was viewed as the end of a bad experiment, which began with him pushing a cameraman on his first day in New York. Though he professed his love for New York many times yesterday, he also was clear it was not without it’s problems.
“The thing that I got [ticked] off about the most, a lot of times in New York there were people that wrote [stuff] that never even bothered to come and introduce themselves,” Johnson said.