Monday, February 8, 2010
Dolphins linebacker Joey Porter is in the midst of a very public, very acrimonious divorce with the Miami Dolphins, and he is burning bridges like it is no one's business. The chain of events led Sun Sentinel columnist Ethan J. Skolnick to claim on Twitter "Joey Porter has officially topped Dan Miceli and Shaq for most classless South Florida sports exit."
Oh, but Ethan forgot the greatest bridge burner in the history of South Florida sports history, Allan James Burnett. During the 2005 season, Burnett was, along with Josh Beckett and Dontrelle Willis, gave Marlins high hopes. With those three, we felt the Marlins had a great chance to have a top-notch rotation. By the end of the year, the team having fallen out of playoff contention heading into the final week of the season, Burnett was dismissed from the team unceremoniously. The straw that broke the camel's back came after Burnett complained
I'm sick of it, man. It's depressing around here. A 3-0 ballgame, I give up one run and leave guys on base, it's like they expect us to mess up. And when we do, they chew us out. There is no positive, nothing around here for anybody.The irony, of course, is that apart from his 2001 no-hitter and a 7-0 stretch in June and July, Burnett had never lived up to his potential during his time in Florida, posting ERA+s of 104, 122, and 155 in his three full seasons with the club (2003 and 2004 were injury-shortened due to Tommy John surgery). So with his contract ending after the season, the Marlins decided to hell with him, and gave him a one-week vacation to end his time with the team.
But Burnett, I suspect, knew he was on his way out anyway, and decided to get his licks in while he had the upper hand or whatever, and let everything fly before the season was over. It took Porter a few weeks ago to start taking shots at the team. AJ Burnett burns bridges with impunity, he doesn't wait around waiting to see which way the wind blows.
BONUS: Burnett's suspension led to Josh Johnson's major league debut, so at least something good came out of it.
EXTRA CREDIT: Greg Cote's takedown of Burnett shortly after the incident is, unfortunately, protected by a paywall. I remember it being good, though.