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Thread: Uni-Watch.com does not like P.J. Walters' "AFW" gesture

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    Owner Big-Leaguer Parker Hageman's Avatar
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    Uni-Watch.com does not like P.J. Walters' "AFW" gesture

    Many people may have noticed during last night’s game that Twins starter P.J. Walters etched the initials “AFW” into the back of the mound. In his two previous starts, Walters also placed these letters on the back of the mound. The initials are those of the daughter who passed away after just 52 short days - an unimaginably devastating loss, no doubt.

    I assume for most viewers, this gesture of memorial for the daughter he and his wife lost seems appropriate. As a pitcher, Walters will approach the mound from the back and see his daughter’s initials and be reminded of her. However, at Uni-Watch.com, the proprietor and several commenters have found this practice to be inappropriate.

    First opinion is from a commenter named “Phil”:

    “You have to feel sorry for anyone who’s lost a child, but that is a “Look at me” move if there ever was one.

    Wear a shirt under your jersey, write her initials on your cleat, ****, get a tattoo … but for the love of Christ, keep the mound clear of that.
    And this seems like a total ratchet move too. If someone else loses a kid, or their wife, or their mom or their sister, or their childhood friend … what’s to stop them from expressing a similar sentiment? You’re gonna have all kinds of mound graffiti.

    Nay, there are other and more appropriate ways to mourn someone than defacing the bump. …

    First game back after her death, as a one-off? OK, I’m down with that. Three (at least) games approximately two years after her passing? No.”
    In response, Paul Lukas, the blog’s owner, writes:

    “I’m with Phil on this one. I’d be more okay with it if the initials were on the side of the mound, where the TV cameras couldn’t pick them up — then it wouldn’t have as much of a “Look at me” factor. As it is, it’s the mound equivalent of some guy who stands behind a TV correspondent and waves because hey, he’s on TV!”
    Personally, I do not think there is a statute of limitations to how long a person should grieve a loss of a family member – particularly one’s own child. Having the good fortune of not losing anyone close to me, I cannot fully speak towards the topic but I would assume the pain lingers on day six hundred as it does on day two.

    Secondly, in response to the “grandstanding” comment, it would appear (although Seth Stohs or a Rochester correspondent would have to confirm) that Walters has performed this act prior to coming to the majors when cameras were around. As I said above, most pitchers climb the mound from the back (or at least circle behind it frequently) and the position of the initials would give Walters the best view.

    To summarize my sentiments on the issue, I direct you to Clarence Swamptown’s tweet in reply to the article:

    “Those who critique how a man chooses to mourn the loss of his baby daughter are a special kind of *******.”
    Amen, brother and shame on Uni-watch.com.

  2. #2
    Senior Member All-Star YourHouseIsMyHouse's Avatar
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    I thought it was a very sweet and loving gesture. I can't complain. It does seem to help him and I fully agree with Clarence Swamptown's response.

  3. #3
    Senior Member All-Star Thrylos's Avatar
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    +1 on that
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    Blogging Twins since 2007 at The Tenth Inning Stretch
    http://tenthinningstretch.blogspot.com/
    twitter: @thrylos98

  4. #4
    Wow, I guess I didnt realize that a pitching mound was as sacred as the Sistine Chapel.
    Is the mound not the same place where pitchers spit, swear and engage in other such behaviors?
    And is it not also common now to have a team's corporate logo right on the mound?


    Andrew Walter
    Twins Fan From Afar
    Providing Twins and Rock Cats Coverage
    http://twinsfanfromafar.blogspot.com
    Follow me on Twitter: @MNfanfromafar

  5. #5
    This feels like a 'complain about something so we have something to complain about' sort of topics...

  6. #6
    Senior Member All-Star SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
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    Breaking news: Person on internet says something stupid! More at 11!

  7. #7
    Senior Member All-Star James's Avatar
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    Great Tweet Clarence Swamptown. If anyone thinks this is just showboating, they have a real twisted sense of the world.
    You can come up with statistics to prove anything. Forty percent of all people know that.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Big-Leaguer Boom Boom's Avatar
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    Considering all the garish and cheap advertisements plastered all over MLB stadiums, it seems awfully petty to take issue with this. I didn't even notice it until I read this post.

    Where was this guy when the Twins put up that obscene milk jug at the Dome?

  9. #9
    Senior Member All-Star Shane Wahl's Avatar
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    I didn't know that is what AFW stood for. That's rather touching. I am confused by all that bothers anyone.

  10. #10
    Super Moderator MVP USAFChief's Avatar
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    That there's a website called "Uni-Watch" with apparently devoted followers is the topic worthyof ridicule, not someone harmlessly remembering their infant daughter. Sheesh.

  11. #11
    Senior Member All-Star IdahoPilgrim's Avatar
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    When he's pitching it's his mound. As long as it's within the rules, let him do what he wants. My guess is the anal-retentive people at MLB aren't too thrilled with it either, but they probably don't want to look bad by telling him to stop.

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    Senior Member Triple-A
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    Huh, just checked out Uni-watch and I like the idea of the website-dedicated to "athletic aesthetics". I should post something there about the Twins ugly blue jerseys. They should be banned in my opinion (grey, white, or cream only please).

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    Senior Member All-Star JB_Iowa's Avatar
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    Okay, I'm going to sound like the grinch here. When I first noticed the initials last night and found out what they stood for on Twitter, I wasn't particularly bothered by this. But the more I think about it, the more it bothers me.

    Perhaps this is generational, but I don't really understand the need to make the letters so large. Or in other cases the need to blog every detail about one's life. Or to post photos of every thing about your child or your spouse or your friends.

    In a way it ties into Facebook nation. People are your "friends" whether you've met them or not. Not merely acquaintances but "friends".

    My sense of personal privacy just makes me wonder why he feels the need to make HUGE letters on the mound. He could make them much smaller and still honor his daughter and his wife.

    Maybe I'm just the grinch reincarnated but I think that someday the generation under the age of 40 is going to wish for some of their privacy back.

  14. #14
    Super Moderator MVP ashburyjohn's Avatar
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    I think the uni-watch guys are guilty mainly jumping the gun a little, with a "but what if everyone did that" point of view that really hasn't been rebutted in any of the discussion I've seen. Yes, it's hard to reproach the specific purpose of grief over a tragedy. But each person out there is going to decide differently what is appropriate - I recall a pitcher (Eddie Bonine with the Tigers?) a couple of years ago catching flak for digging a sign of the cross on the mound. Tomorrow, who knows what worthy event or cause will be symbolized? Maybe some pitcher will think it's important to bring awareness to a balanced budget amendment. BUT... it hasn't happened yet, and the discussion can occur if and when it does happen. So, the uni-watch guys have a certain mindset, and have jumped the gun. They aren't baby haters or anything.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ashburyjohn View Post
    I think the uni-watch guys are guilty mainly jumping the gun a little, with a "but what if everyone did that" point of view that really hasn't been rebutted in any of the discussion I've seen. Yes, it's hard to reproach the specific purpose of grief over a tragedy. But each person out there is going to decide differently what is appropriate - I recall a pitcher (Eddie Bonine with the Tigers?) a couple of years ago catching flak for digging a sign of the cross on the mound. Tomorrow, who knows what worthy event or cause will be symbolized? Maybe some pitcher will think it's important to bring awareness to a balanced budget amendment. BUT... it hasn't happened yet, and the discussion can occur if and when it does happen. So, the uni-watch guys have a certain mindset, and have jumped the gun. They aren't baby haters or anything.
    I think you're on the right track in one sense. I don't think anyone would care or much mind if they just put in a rule that no individual was allowed to essentially write their opinions or thoughts on the mound (much like they wouldn't be allowed to wear a Clinton-Gore sticker on their uniform). Because, as you hint at, eventually someone's going to get to something actually controversial. By the nature of the act, people are likely to want to put things there out of the middle...nobody's going to put a big capital 'R' to let the world know their favorite color is red (probably). Where the discussion seems to have veered into the "special kind of *******" is by moving away from that general notion, and making assertions of merit on the motives and methods of a particular person on how he should or should not mourn his daughter. And going beyond that and seeming to accuse him of actually taking some sort of enjoyment in calling it a "look at me" moment is pretty disusting.

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    Senior Member Triple-A
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    Call me crazy, but I'm pretty sure Walters would rather have his daughter alive than her initials on the mound. The link is almost unbelievably disgusting in claiming that Walters just wants attention. I also doubt somehow that he sat down and pondered the exact size the letters should be.

    I personally don't think pitchers should be allowed to 'write' on the mound, but in the absence of such a rule it is despicable to call out Walters for what he does.

  17. #17
    Super Moderator All-Star twinsnorth49's Avatar
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    Here's the point, it's none of our f****ing business what Walters wants to do to honour his daughter and everyone should just butt the hell out and trying to judge what is right or wrong. JB I'm sure P.J. Walters doesn't give a rats ass whether it bothers you or not or whether you think he should cherish his privacy more. He does it for his daughter and himself and I'm quite certain if any of his cyber critics actually had the chance to bring it up to him they would quickly excuse themselves from the discussion.

  18. #18
    Senior Member All-Star SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by USAFChief View Post
    That there's a website called "Uni-Watch" with apparently devoted followers is the topic worthyof ridicule, not someone harmlessly remembering their infant daughter. Sheesh.
    Very nice.

    As long as a player isn't drawing anything vulgar in the dirt who the hell cares? People act like pitching mounds/stadiums are some sacred grounds which never be touched, when in reality US Cell field or whatever it is called is a dump that should be burned to the ground, just like the other Chicago stadium.

  19. #19
    Senior Member All-Star SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by drivlikejehu View Post

    I personally don't think pitchers should be allowed to 'write' on the mound,
    Does it effect the game somehow?

  20. #20
    Senior Member Big-Leaguer
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    Quote Originally Posted by JB_Iowa View Post
    Okay, I'm going to sound like the grinch here. When I first noticed the initials last night and found out what they stood for on Twitter, I wasn't particularly bothered by this. But the more I think about it, the more it bothers me.

    Perhaps this is generational, but I don't really understand the need to make the letters so large. Or in other cases the need to blog every detail about one's life. Or to post photos of every thing about your child or your spouse or your friends.

    In a way it ties into Facebook nation. People are your "friends" whether you've met them or not. Not merely acquaintances but "friends".

    My sense of personal privacy just makes me wonder why he feels the need to make HUGE letters on the mound. He could make them much smaller and still honor his daughter and his wife.

    Maybe I'm just the grinch reincarnated but I think that someday the generation under the age of 40 is going to wish for some of their privacy back.
    Most of what you wrote doesn't seem grinch-ish to me at all. I don't think I'd choose the same thing, and I equally wonder and don't understand at the generational difference in desire to share EVERYTHING with everyone (and I'm not only talking about mourning, here...but mean it more generally and including this particular thing). I also agree that the notion of privacy and personal thought and space has changed. What I wonder, though, is why it "bothers" you. It's different. It's difficult for us to understand maybe. But I also don't understand why you/we/whoever would be bothered by something that is different but doesn't seem to be inherently better or worse. Even if you do make the assumption that your notions of privacy and friendship are "better," I don't see why it's worth being bothered that someone else has chosen to think about it differently.

    By the way, and I'm not sure if this is exactly on topic, but there was recently (three weeks ago or so?) an article on grantland.com about the culture of "facebook mourning."

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