In the Will Ferrell’s comedic classic Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, the actor plays a role as an iconic newscaster that at one point proclaims jogging as a “fad”. Apparently, the leisure activity is becoming routine for Atlanta Braves 21-year-old outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. During Thursday night’s NLDS Game 1 matchup of the MLB postseason, all eyes were on Acuna for his lack of hustle.
Acuna launched a ball off the right-field wall and took his time getting to first base. During a play that should have finished with him standing on second base, the Brave’s best player settled for a single. During the events that followed, it became apparent that Ronald could have eventually scored if not for the blunder.
The Cardinals wound up beating the Braves 7-6 during the matchup played at Sun-Trust Park in Atlanta.
This is not the first incident involving a lack of hustle for Acuna. On Aug.18th in a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, the youngster was benched by Atlanta manager Brian Snitker for a similar situation. According to ESPN, Snitker said, “He should have been on second, and we’re kind of shorthanded to do anything about it right there. You hate to see that happen.”
Freddie Freeman, the Braves’ first baseman and clubhouse leader was also critical of the play, saying, “That can’t happen in the playoffs. Can’t happen in the regular season. Unfortunately that happened tonight,” and, “Yeah, it’s frustrating. But I think you have that conversation once. It’s kind of beating a dead horse after that if you keep having the same conversation over and over again. You have to know that was a mistake.”
When speaking through an interpreter to reporters, Acuna didn’t have much of an explanation for the lazy play. “Things happen. Stuff like this doesn’t happen to the one who is sitting on the bench,” Acuna told ESPN’s Enrique Rojas. “It could have been a double, but things happen. I didn’t speak with the manager about it. I just went out to enjoy the game. I always try to give my best, but these are things that sometimes get away from me. They are not things I want to do. As players, we always try to give our best effort, but we make mistakes, we are human.”
Acuna is a very young player with sure-fire talent, and has the ability to potentially one day go down as one of the best players in Atlanta Braves history. The blunders and lack of hustling, including his regular show-boating on home runs speak to his lack of maturity. After all, he is merely a child among men and needs to understand the seriousness of these jogging “mishaps”. His manager has already attempted to teach the outfielder a lesson, when he held him accountable in August and Ronald STILL is choosing not to give 100% effort on every play. He had a great night at the plate with three hits, including a home run. Sadly, it’s all being overshadowed by the “jog”.
Yes, we are all human. However, it would be a stretch to believe Acuna’s comments that he always tries to give his best effort. Clearly, not in this situation. “Trying” is a word that doesn’t speak volumes to an entire fan base and a 25-man roster of teammates hoping to win a World Series. Might I presume, they are also growing tired of these jogging re-occurrences? Get it together junior, this is the postseason. There is a lot at stake. Stop feeling yourself, put your head down and play hard!
Header Photo Credit: NBC Sports