“Brett Favre’s f@%d it up for everybody.”

NFC Title Game Open Thread
Open Thread: AFC Title Game

It’s natural to want to compare athletes. In a world where success means being the absolute best – just look at the things we’ve forgiven professional athletes for – you really can’t avoid it. When a professional athlete begins to stand out, be it for their numbers or personality, they become easy targets for comparison. How many closers have been compared to Mariano Rivera? How many prospects might grow up to be Babe Ruth or Albert Pujols?

But there is no “next Mariano Rivera.” It’s not Jonathan Papelbon. It’s not Carlos Marmol. It’s not Jenrry Meija. Some comparisons just don’t work. Maybe it’s a matter of statistics. Maybe it’s a matter of personality. Maybe it’s both. No one is “the next Mariano Rivera,” because no one has dominated some of the toughest batters in baseball with one pitch for 15 (fifteen!) years. It might also have something to do with the fact that you could probably be crushed to death by Rivera’s postseason records.  But the whole Mariano Rivera comparison fails especially badly in the case of Jonathan Papelbon, who is not only not as good at closing and lacks Rivera’s longevity, but is also a total brat.

Another common, terrible comparison which seems to have reared its absolutely hideous head as of late: Andy Pettitte is not Brett Favre. Andy Pettitte is nothing like Brett Favre. Their positions in their respective sports are totally different. Their public personalities are totally different. The way they go about trying to decide if they’re going to retire is totally different. Can we please stop insulting Andy Pettitte by suggesting he is even remotely like Brett Favre?

Admittedly, I’m totally biased on the matter. I grew up in the 90’s, near New York, and Andy Pettitte was a huge part of my childhood. I watched him grow into the pitcher he is today while figuring out who I wanted to be. I cheered for his successes and winced at his losses. I nearly cried when he went to Houston and rejoiced when he returned. Meanwhile, I honestly do not care about Brett Favre. I’m the last thing from a football fan. I watched a grand total of two football games this season, both in the postseason. I had to ask someone what Mark Sanchez’s first name was.

Yes, I know Brian Cashman recently referenced Favre in regards to Pettitte. But it sounded like to me he didn’t want Pettitte to be like Favre, not he actually thought Pettitte was acting like Favre.

Let’s start with the sport and background: from my understanding of football, teams are built around the quarterback. You basically have to figure out what you’re doing with your quarterback before you can make any other moves. The type of quarterback decides what kind of passing game you’re going to play, what kind of running game you’re going to play, and what kind of offensive linemen you need. He’s the leader of the team.

Fourth starters are significantly less important. Even third starters aren’t as big as quarterbacks. Heck, baseball is a very compartmentalized sport: not even your Opening Day starter changes most of your team! Let’s face it, Andy Pettitte isn’t the ace of the Yankees rotation even if he does return. His decision affects absolutely no part of the Yankees lineup besides the starting rotation and where Sergio Mitre starts, maybe if we go after another pitcher or not. It’s not as if Pettitte’s return changes the plan for outfield or helps out in the catching/DH jumble. Cashman has been forging ahead regardless of Pettitte’s decision, and that’s just what he should do. Meanwhile, Favre basically holds up the whole team while he sits on his hands.

Secondly, has anyone noticed that Andy Pettitte has, at no point in time, actually said that he is going to retire? Sure we get that he’s 75% leaning towards retirement, or that he’s not showing up for Spring Training, but the fact of the matter is this: Pettitte hasn’t come out and said he’s retiring. He might retire, yes. He’s considering it. He has a family he wants to spend time with, and he’s admitted he’s not exactly a baseball spring chicken. On the other side, he’s keeping in shape. But I think everything that has been said about Pettitte’s retirement ignores the fact we honestly do not know if he’s going to retire. There is no ‘Yes, I’m retiring.’ It’s not like Pettitte said after this year (or ’09, or ’08), that he’s retiring. He certainly did not hold a press conference to announce his retirement following a tearful post-game interview like Favre did in 2008.

Also, comparing these two totally different athletes does more than talk about their different retirement strategies. One of these players sent pictures of his, uh, nether regions to a reporter and, if you believe what you read on the internet, harassed plenty of other women too, all while being married. He’s a guy who’s been addicted to both Vicodin and alcohol at different points in time. The other one of these guys publicly admitted to and apologized for messing up even in the heat of the steroid drama.

Let’s say tomorrow Andy has a tearful press conference in which he says he’s going to retire and hang up the pinstripes. We all have a good cry about it, but we move on. Then, Pettitte decides he’s actually going to pitch this year, and he ends up starting for the Tigers. Shortly after, we discover Pettitte said some lewd things to Kim Jones and had some lovely ladies over at his house. Then this comparison is a legitimate one. Until then, it’s totally wrong. Andy Pettitte is Brett Favre and Jonathan Papelbon is Mariano Rivera.

I’m going to guess that most of the people reading this blog are probably Yankee fans. Why would you insult someone as wonderful as Andy Pettitte by comparing him to Brett Favre? Come on. Really?

*Quote in the title is from Billy Wagner, who appears to actually be retiring when he said he’s retiring.

NFC Title Game Open Thread
Open Thread: AFC Title Game
  • http://www.richardiurilli.com Richard Iurilli

    Thank you for nipping this in the bud. If ever there were a comparison that didn’t make sense, it’s this one.

    • http://www.richardiurilli.com Richard Iurilli

      Also, thank you for a post about baseball in the midst of the sea of football. =D

  • Scott

    I was present (sitting 10 feet from Cashman) at the event (chamber of commerce meeting – middlesex, ct) in which Cashman made the Bret Farve comment in reference to Andy…it was meant for two reasons 1) a laugh 2) he actually went on to explain that Farve came back and his heart wasn’t totally into it…and that he would only want Andy back if he was all the way in…this is what he meant – nothing more nothing less.

    Everything else being written is pure conjecture.

    • David

      Thank you. That is exactly right. Cash meant that he wanted Andy to be fully committed to playing if he comes back, instead of doing the 2010 Favre act.

      Nobody could possibly compare the two men. Andy is a classy guy, while Favre is a total scumbag. The comparisons, unfair as they are, come from Andy’s indecision, and nothing more than that.

  • http://www.twitter.com/jordansmed JGS

    The other one of these guys publicly admitted to and apologized for messing up even in the heat of the steroid drama.

    In fairness, he didn’t apologize until he had been outed, and wouldn’t have at all in the absence of said outing (nor would I have expected him to, but it’s not like his apology was an act of innate goodness). He is miles upon miles ahead of Brett Favre, but he is hardly a saint here.

    and yea, in regard to Cashman–“Don’t Brett Favre us” is not at all the same as “stop Brett Favre-ing us”

    • Poopy Pants

      I wonder if the Jets or Vikings ever said to Favre: “Don’t Pettitte us!” meaning they didn’t want to find out that he’s performing really well at an old age due to PED’s?

      • http://twitter.com/steveh_mandaura Steve H

        They don’t care about PED’s in the NFL.

    • http://www.retire21.org first name only male (formerly Mike R. – Retire 21)

      “he didn’t apologize until he had been outed”

      Who exactly has apologized before being outed? If you’re selling a book, it doesn’t count.

      • http://twitter.com/steveh_mandaura Steve H

        Well his 2nd apology was legit. His first apology was full of crap. I’m guessing that’s what JGS is referring to. His story changed after there were further revelations.

        • http://www.retire21.org first name only male (formerly Mike R. – Retire 21)

          Ok. I can see that.

  • Rivera Venue Blues

    My favorite new weekend writer so far (not that I haven’t enjoyed the others as well). Well-written.

    • Teh Comp Pick

      My thoughts the same.

  • steve

    Hopefully Andy will be like Favre in one way.
    Favre always comes back for one more year.

  • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

    I think Clemens is a much better comp for Favre. Clemens actually retired and then actually came out of retirement to pitch for another team.

    But the Favre thing just isn’t a good comp because starting quarterbacks aren’t really like starting pitchers. Like Hannah says, QBs really define a team; starting pitchers, even really good ones, don’t necessarily.

    I totally get Cashman’s comments, though.
    What they actually meant: “We would love you to come back but if you do, please make sure your heart is in it.”
    What some people interpreted it as: “Andy, stop dicking us around and please refrain from texting your d— to Kim Jones.”

    Good article, Hannah. I’m not unbiased though ;)
    What they didn’t mean:

    • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

      what the heck is that “what they didn’t mean” thing doing there. I suppose I meant to write “what they didn’t mean, but what some people interpreted them as”

    • http://twitter.com/kschmidt2 Kiersten

      Clemens actually retired and then actually came out of retirement to pitch for another team.


  • EndlessMike

    Brett Favre is one of the top ten quaterbacks of all time and Andy was one of the top 50 pitchers of all time. Yeah Andy isn’t like Brett Farve.

    Man this site treats Pettitte and Jeter like they are the greatest players ever and hype prospects beyond what they really are.

    • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

      Man this site treats … Jeter like [he is one of] the greatest players ever


      • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

        And Andy isn’t treated like one of the best players ever either

    • FIPster Doofus

      Jeter is treated like shit here.

      • JohnnyC

        Well, he does have one helluva ugly house/mansion according to most RAB posters. Fangraphs did a whole study on it and they came to the same conclusion.

    • Sweet Dick Willie

      Brett Favre is one of the top ten quaterbacks of all time and Andy was one of the top 50 pitchers of all time. Yeah Andy isn’t like Brett Farve.

      This post


      Your head

  • eyerishyank

    Love Andy, named my dog after him.

    For you to state that Brett Favre’s addiction to painkillers/alcohol as ways Andy is better than him is disgusting and should anger anyone who has someone in their family addicted to anything.

  • Sal

    Nick Johnson forthe 25th roster spot

  • Arman Tamzarian

    I don’t take issue with any athlete not being sure if they want to retire. What confuses me is more the Bernie Williams/Barry Bonds/Jermaine Dyd type situations, where they kind of just dissapear for a bit, but don’t reitre. If no team would sign you this year, why would a team sign you after you’ve had a year off?

    • hogsmog

      I’m personally of the opinion that Rickey Henderson should have been our 4th OF. According to Rickey, Rickey can still steal bases!

  • Jonathan

    Ya your QB doesn’t dictate your linemen/RB etc but the point is well taken. I think a lot of it is he’s a white southern guy who throws the ball who always waits awhile to make his decision. That’s all the MSM needs nowadays. Keep up the good work.

  • CountZero

    I appreciate where all you guys are coming from on this — but just to be fair…

    No one has indicated that AP = BF in his personal life.
    No one has indicated that AP = BF as an athlete.
    No one has indicated that LHS = QB.
    No one has indicated that AP = BF at any time.

    All this comes down to is one thing: AP has been doing this “I’m not sure if I’m going to play another season or not” thing for three straight years now. One would think that if you were really that much on the fence about it three years ago, by now it would have been an easy call. He really misses being with his family that much? Then why is he jerking THEM around by intimating that he is going to be home to stay, and then not following through? If I were his kids, I would be pretty pissed at Dad by now. “Geez, Dad — don’t pretend you’re going to come home to stay and then do the ‘just one more year’ thing again. Do me a favor and don’t even bring it up until you’re actually going to follow through on your promise.”

    It’s like when you tell your kids that it’s time to clean up their room and they say, “OK — in five minutes as soon as I finish this level of CoD.” And then ten minutes later you tell them again, and they say, “Almost done — just a couple more minutes.” And ten minutes later, you’re yelling at them because they still haven’t moved. It’s frickin’ annoying as hell. :)

    In this one specific regard, he is just like Brett Favre. Like it or not, it’s a valid point of comparison. No one is even intimating that he is just like Brett Favre in any other way. You guys are just a little over-sensitive on the Andy topic.

    • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

      Except Andy’s kids and wife reportedly urge him to return every year, so…

      (They must not like him very much)

      • JAG

        Hey, I can totally understand why they’d do that. It’s not as though he’s now missing out on his kids formative young years or anything. His kids are both in high school now, IIRC. They WANT him to keep pitching b/c it’s cool that they get to say their dad pitches for the Yankees. They’re at the point where although they love their dad, they wouldn’t really hang out with him all the time if he was home anyway so they’d rather get to go see him pitch in the Majors.

        There’s also the consideration that if Andy can keep pitching for a couple more years at the level he’s pitched at recently, he could have a shot at the Hall of Fame. You have to think that his family understands that they’ll get to spend time with him for the rest of their lives, so giving up some time for a couple years for a chance to take their grandkids to see their dad’s plaque in Cooperstown is probably totally worth it.

        • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

          Oh yeah, agreed. The “they must not like him very much” was tongue-in-cheek if you couldn’t tell.

          • JAG

            Oh, no, I got that. I was more agreeing with you than anything.

    • Donna

      The fact is, some of Andy’s kids want him to stay home, and some want him to play one more year because they all love baseball as well. I admire Andy for taking the time to make the right decision.

  • MattG

    “Why would you insult someone as wonderful as Andy Pettitte by comparing him to Brett Favre?”

    I find most of the information in this post irrelevant, most of all comparisons of personalities of people few (none?) here have ever met.

    What compels people to mention Favre and Pettitte together is that neither one knows how to gracefully exit their profession. Favre’s been much more egregious, as anyone will give you. That’s why his name can be used as a verb.

    But to say Pettitte is not farving isn’t reality. Pettitte can’t decide what he wants to do, and to those of us that have had to make tough career choices where every option pretty much sucks, his behavior smacks a little bit of petulance.

    So, in one way, Pettitte is like Brett Favre, which isn’t to say that in other ways, he’s unlike Mother Theresa, Teddy Roosevelt, Roger Rabbit or Gorden Sumner.

    • CountZero

      My point exactly.

  • chris

    At least Andy dosen’t do stupid Wrangler Jeans adds.

  • botz

    I am not enjoying the weekend writers at all.