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Jonathan Papelbon Ripping Anthony Rendon Because 'He Just Doesn't Give a Shit' Speaks for Us All

Jim McIsaac. Getty Images.

I have an informal agreement with the people who entertain me. I don't ask them to be good human beings. I don't ask that they be "nice," however you define the term. I don't care if their personal lives are chaotic or their relationships are dysfunctional messes. All I ask is that they care enough about their work to put in effort and make it as good as it can be. 

That goes for everyone. Musicians. Filmmakers. Comics. Actors. TV producers. And especially athletes. 

I don't hold these guys up to the standard I would if they were, say, friends or neighbors or wanting to date my sister. All I ask is that they give us the impression they're competing their asses off because winning matters to them. Take Nomar Garciaparra. It took the the Boston media about two seasons to start to despise him. But fans loved him. In the early days of Barstool, Dave and I couldn't write enough about how much we loved him. Because he played his ass off, hustled non-stop, and never passed up the opportunity to show that he appreciated the people who appreciated him. While I can't remember the exact quote or who he said it to, he reportedly told a teammate that all it takes to succeed in Boston is to play hard, thank the fans, and treat baseball like it's fun. And until things went south in 2004, he never failed to check those boxes. 

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Which brings us to Anthony Rendon, whom Hubbs addressed the other day:

And now we've heard from another Red Sox fan favorite, who ripped his former Nationals teammate a new butthole for his garbage attitude:

Source - The Angels third baseman on Monday said baseball “never been a top priority for me,” and was subsequently called out by former All-Star closer Jonathan Papelbon. 

The 43-year-old, who spent a season and a half with the Nationals and Rendon (2015-16) was beside himself on the show when talking about the $245 million third baseman. 

“Every single day this guy shows up to go out, it was like a chore,” Papelbon said Tuesday’s episode of “Foul Territory” of what he saw from Rendon in D.C. 

“He strictly got away with just raw athleticism and just raw talent. … There’s a reason why he’s not as successful as he really, truly could be. He’s got more raw talent than the three of us combined, but at the end of the day, he just doesn’t give a s–t.” …

Papelbon said he understands that players have personal lives and things going on outside the diamond, but added that the 162-game grind is “what you sign up for. …

“I’ll be honest with you, if I’m the Angels GM, I’m trying to get rid of this dude as fast as I can,” Papelbon said.

Stuff like this is just another reason to respect Papelbon. As much as he DID give a shit as a pitcher, he gives no shits about some unwritten code where retired guys are not supposed to call out current players. Not even ex-teammates. With the Red Sox, he had no fear (he played on a series of one-year contracts rather than sign a long term deal, gambling on himself that he'd hit free agency and make that cheddar, and he did), and now he has no filter. He respects the game too much to play nice with a Low-T, minimal effort fraud like Rendon. He's the Vox Populi. A voice of the paying customer. And you have to love him for it. 

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Here's the one issue I have with what Hubbs wrote. He said it's "insane" to put religion ahead of your career in 2024. Respectfully, that's missing the point. Plenty of people put family and faith ahead of their work, and are wildly successful at all of them at the same time. Because they're not mutually exclusive. Every Hall of Fame is lousy with devout men of different faiths. Mariano Rivera. Muhammad Ali. Kurt Warner. Steve Young. Reggie White. Hakeem Olajuwon. Deion Sanders. Curtis Martin. Almost to a person, they talked about how their devotion helped them succeed, and their success made them more devout. When Rendon says he doesn't care if he fails at baseball because he's religious, he's just using it as an excuse. 

As Matthew Slater put it in his retirement announcement, when he was a kid he'd go to Rams practices and watched how hard his father Jackie worked. "Never burdened by the work, he understood it was a blessing to do what he loved. It was a gift from the Lord," he wrote. "As a player, God used the game of football to instruct, discipline, encourage, and develop me as a person." 

Or sometimes, as Norman Dale put it, "God wants you on the floor, Strap":

Anthony Rendon might be an athlete who has his life's priorities in order. But that doesn't mean he's not an asshole who's stealing $245 million.