A.J. Burnett: A Dutch Uncle Talk about the Baltimore Orioles
Dear A.J. – Are you familiar with the phrase “a Dutch uncle talk?” It is this: A man who gives frank and direct advice to someone, unlike a natural uncle who might tend to pander or indulge.
So, let me as an older guy do the Dutch uncle thing with you.
If it is true, as reported, that you have made the decision to pitch at least another year, you need to do it in Baltimore. Yes, I’m a bit biased about this matter, but hear me out and see if it is not true that my reasoning is decent.
There are a lot of us out here who would give their right arm to be able to do what you do … except that, if we gave our right arm, we wouldn’t be able to do it, but you get the idea. You have had a couple of great seasons the past two years, you’ve clearly got some good baseball still in you, and you don’t want to get older and wonder “what if?” Go for it while you can!
Simply speaking in baseball terms, there are two reasons why you should pitch for the 2014 Baltimore Orioles – 1. The Orioles’ offense; 2. The Orioles’ defense.
Offense – Surely you noticed that the Orioles led the entire universe in home runs last year. The core six players of Adam Jones, Chris Davis, J.J. Hardy, Nick Markakis, Manny Machado, and Matt Wieters are as solid as any six in the game. There is reason to believe that the other three spots in the lineup will produce at a much higher level than the past two years. This could be pretty amazing run support.
Defense – Do you realize that the Orioles’ defense is statistically among the greatest defenses to EVER play the game of baseball? You have never had anything like this behind you in the past. They have actually made moves that will improve the team in the field. Surely you’ve thrown to some fine catchers over the long years of your career, but Wieters is pretty special. He controls the base paths, as other teams simply don’t even attempt to run much on him. Matt does the extra things to help – like squeezing foul tips, blocking wild pitches … stuff like that. (Again, A.J. – just being the Dutch uncle here – you did lead all of baseball on two occasions with the most wild pitches in a season!)
In that you live in Monkton, you can get up each day in your own home, drive to the ballpark, and at night come home to your own house and bed. Your family can be a part of this experience with you like never before. I’m not sure of the exact ages of your two boys, but this year can be a family experience that they will always remember. You can make memories, and as a father of five grown boys, I can speak with authority on this subject that they remember and cherish such moments of their childhood. It can be a bonding experience that most players do not get to have.
You can be a regional hero as soon as this Saturday. Yep – FanFest at the Baltimore Convention Center. Sign with the Birds this week, and this will go a great distance toward salvaging a strange offseason for the Orioles. You will immediately have tens of thousands of new friends.
And finally this; you will help your Dutch Uncle Randy have more good stuff to write about! No pressure … just don’t mess up! Sign the contract. After making $120,771,500 so far in your career, there will be enough additional millions this year for you to enjoy all the amenities listed above.
Thanks … I know you’ll do it!