White Sox

Hendriks' called out for 'temper tantrum' in the rain

White Sox

It would be difficult to find any example of a bashful Liam Hendriks, so when the White Sox closer refused to pitch in the midst of a cloudburst in the bottom of the ninth inning in Detroit on Friday night, he did so with the same demeanor he does everything else with – absolute fire.

The White Sox were up 4-2 against the Tigers when Hendriks was called on for the save. But as soon he took the mound, a torrential downpour ensued. A frustrated Hendriks threw one pitch, said “screw this” and angrily threw the next pitch out of play into foul territory.

After a few words with the home plate umpire, everyone seemed to agree that the conditions were unplayable. Well, everyone except for Tigers’ broadcast duo Matt Shepard and Kirk Gibson, who called Hendriks’ outburst a “temper tantrum” and scoffed at the pitcher’s disgruntlement.

They weren’t the only ones who had words about Hendriks’ behavior. After the game, ESPN published a game recap headlined, “Hendriks has temper tantrum over rain, gives up tying homer.”

No rational person would think the conditions were safe, let alone playable, enough to finish the game in, so I guess Shepard, Gibson and whoever wrote that non-encompassing recap headline just had a problem with the way Hendriks communicated his concerns about the weather? Because god forbid a professional athlete show a little bit of gusto.

 

“I slipped on one of the warmup pitches, and then every ball I was getting was actually wet,” Hendricks said after the game. “… That was what I told him, ‘look, every ball I’m getting is wet.’

“Obviously, they’re trying to get this game over with, but it was to the point where I didn’t have any [grip] of the ball slipping out of my hands. I had no idea where anything was going, and that’s not safe for anybody.”

Hendriks’ concern over his lack visibility would be justified even if it were solely referencing the impact it would have on his performance. But when you consider that he’s throwing a baseball at 80 to 90 miles per hour, I think everyone within a 10-foot radius would prefer him to be able to properly aim his pitches.

Was Hendricks emphatic about the affair in the heat of the moment? Sure. Because when is he ever not emphatic. But to call it a temper tantrum, especially in a situation where safety is a factor, is more dramatic than Hendriks’ behavior was in the first place.

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