Hate is a strong word.
But it has been 16 years since Jim Presley played for the Mariners and he still ticks me off. Presley had power, a quick bat, a strong arm at third and absolutely no idea what a strike was. Here was how a typical Presley at-bat went:
|LOVE TO HATE|
So much hate, so little time ... and to heap it all on one person? Forget it.|
Spread the love, um, hate all around and vote on who you hate the most from the playing field to the front office.
Slider, low and away in the dirt, 18 inches off the plate. Swing and a whiff.
It was the easiest scouting report in the league. Presley's on-base percentage with the Mariners went from .324 to .303 to .296 to .280 to .275. To make matters worse, the Mariners kept playing him while Edgar Martinez rotted for three years in the minors, losing service time that will probably cost Edgar a plaque in the Hall of Fame.
I really grew to dislike him.
Fans of every team have their Jim Presley. Their Public Enemy No. 1. Earlier this season, the Cubs were essentially forced to trade LaTroy Hawkins to the Giants because of Hawkins' persona non grata status among Cubs fans for his string of blown saves.
Sometimes Public Enemy No. 1 is a rival player, or opposing manager, or maybe a team executive. It cannot, however, be George Steinbrenner. That's too easy. We all hate Steinbrenner. With that, here are my suggestions for Public Enemy No. 1 for all 30 major-league teams (click on each team name to vote in a poll for your choice of Public Enemy No. 1 for that team):
Baltimore Orioles: Jeffrey Maier. Imagine losing a playoff game because a 12-year-old brat who roots for your archenemy snatches defeat from the claws of victory by stealing a flyball from your right fielder, setting in motion a series of events that turns your archenemy's rookie shortstop into on October hero, which helps your team lose the series and your archenemy reestablish its once-proud dynasty, and your team to spiral into a lengthy period of depressing, losing seasons. The hate does tend to fester.
|Patrick Hruby says player hating does a body good. And Jason Whitlock's not a huge fan of Jeremy Roenick.|
Boston Red Sox: Alex Rodriguez. Bucky Dent, Bill Buckner and Grady Little, you're now excused.
New York Yankees: Curt Schilling. Bloody hell, indeed.
Tampa Bay Devil Rays: Vince Naimoli. Is there a bigger joke in pro sports right now than the Devil Rays? Thank you, Mr. Naimoli. Now, can you please sell the rest of your stake in the team? Naimoli's latest act of bush-league ownership: Allowing a local furniture store to set up a showroom at Tropicana Field, complete with dangling price tags. Here, Mr. Piniella, test out the cushions on this leather couch. Sitting here during games may help you relax.
Toronto Blue Jays: Raul Mondesi. Canadians are the nicest people this side of the Danes, so, really, Blue Jays fans are filled only with love and admiration for all things baseball. And slight bursts of animosity for the grim period known as the "Mondesi Debacle."