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

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#1 Parker Hageman

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 09:27 AM

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”:

[QUOTE]“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.”[/QUOTE]

In response, Paul Lukas, the blog’s owner, writes:

[QUOTE]“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!”[/QUOTE]

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:

[QUOTE]“Those who critique how a man chooses to mourn the loss of his baby daughter are a special kind of *******.”[/QUOTE]

Amen, brother and shame on Uni-watch.com.

#2 YourHouseIsMyHouse

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 09:39 AM

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 Thrylos

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 09:39 AM

+1 on that
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#4 Twins Fan From Afar

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 09:42 AM

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?


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#5 davidjcampbell

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 10:01 AM

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

#6 SpiritofVodkaDave

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 10:06 AM

Breaking news: Person on internet says something stupid! More at 11!

#7 James

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 10:08 AM

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 Boom Boom

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 10:13 AM

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 Shane Wahl

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 10:18 AM

I didn't know that is what AFW stood for. That's rather touching. I am confused by all that bothers anyone.

#10 Guest_USAFChief_*

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 10:30 AM

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 IdahoPilgrim

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 11:02 AM

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.

#12 nokomismod

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 11:15 AM

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).

#13 JB_Iowa

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 11:24 AM

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 ashburyjohn

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 11:27 AM

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.

#15 CDog

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 11:54 AM

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.

#16 drivlikejehu

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 11:54 AM

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 twinsnorth49

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 11:55 AM

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 SpiritofVodkaDave

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 11:55 AM

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 SpiritofVodkaDave

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 11:56 AM


I personally don't think pitchers should be allowed to 'write' on the mound,


Does it effect the game somehow?

#20 CDog

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 12:02 PM

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."

#21 tmerrickkeller

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 12:15 PM

This isn't about "hey, notice my grief." Or the Facebook era. I think the legitimate criticism is the slippery slope - players aren't allowed to alter the uniform to place personal messages on it, and I'm pretty sure MLB will impose a rule that the players aren't allowed to mark or alter their bats or gloves or the field itself (if they don't have that rule already). Until it is banned, I have no problem with it, but I do think that it might/will lead to copycats who want to exhort their political position ("Vote Obama") or a website or any number of other messages, and at some point, relatively quickly, someone will place the wrong message on the mound and it'll all be over.

Edited by tmerrickkeller, 23 May 2012 - 12:17 PM.
wording


#22 Boom Boom

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 12:23 PM

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.


I don't disagree on any of this.

The way I see it, no area of a baseball stadium is sacred anymore. We've got huge advertisements everywhere that I don't particularly like to look at. If it doesn't affect the game and it's not violating FCC broadcasting rules, I don't mind. I don't really get the "slippery slope" argument that if Walters is allowed to write on the mound then players are going to start graffito-tagging the rest of the park with curse words and controversial imagery. Personally I believe that the players are smart enough to know what's offensive and what's not.

I blew up my own personal Facebook page because I kept getting friend requests from people I knew but didn't like, and realized they all were reading my personal goings-on. But the connection to Walters' tribute is dubious. I don't think it's about sharing everything with everybody, but as a symbol of inspiration for himself. Maybe he can find a more agreeable way to do that, I suppose.

If he were to write *redacted* on the mound, or plant a flagpole in center field then I should hope MLB would crack down on it.

#23 ashburyjohn

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 12:35 PM

I think you're on the right track in one sense. ... [but] 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.


You're right, that part of the quote by "Phil" (I didn't search the site to see if anyone else shared the view) crossed a line big-time.

I think I didn't react to it at first because I infer discomfort that I share surrounding the spectrum of behaviors that go
1) "People might or might not notice, I don't care either way"
2) "Yes, I *want* and even *need* it out there, people can mind their own business"
3) "In fact, I'd like someone to call me out on it, it's a conversation I would *love* to have"
4) "LOOK AT MEEEEE!"
For concreteness, I think Walters is at #2 and Tim Tebow is at #3, for whatever it is worth. "Phil" is mixed up badly to think these are the same as #4.

Hm, I wonder what <strike>antics</strike> gestures Tebow might attempt if he were a pitcher. Sorry, no. I don't actually mean to threadjack. :)

#24 Fire Dan Gladden

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 01:04 PM

What about all of the gestures to the sky for dead relatives or love of God? What about initials on shoes or wristbands? Hell, I guess we need to do away with all of the pink stuff on Mother's day. Why pick on one thing when there are hundreds of other examples of essentially the same thing. This is just stupid. Why am I even commenting on it?

#25 scottz

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 01:08 PM

Lots of players do different things for different reasons. A pitcher strikes a guy out and points to the heavens, a batter crosses himself before stepping into the batter's box, and PJ Walters writes his baby's initials in the dirt. Beyond that, Wade Boggs ate chicken for every pre-game meal and ran in as close to the same pattern as possible out to 3rd base every time. Turk Wendell ballet-leaped over the foul lines, chewed black licorice on the mound, and brushed his teeth between innings. Ozzie Smith tumbled and flipped his way out to shortstop, you may recall. Which leads me to this point...who cares? Let the man honor his daughter. If MLB decides it is distracting to the game or the opponent, they'll tell him to stop and he'll honor her in another way. Why anyone at uni-watch.com (or uni-corn, uni-brow, or uni-cycle.com for that matter) is bothered by this is silly. "How dare someone act differently than I, uni-watch user, think they should! Clearly, the only reason he's doing this is for reasons I define!" Simpleton thinking.

#26 woolhouse

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 02:20 PM

If a batter can go into the batter's box and dig a 6"-deep hole for their batting stance, a pitcher can draw initials in the mound as a way to get through the pain of losing a child.

#27 StormJH1

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 03:11 PM

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.

This. Maybe there is an argument in there somewhere about "what if everyone did it"...but I can't even listen to it after they accuse him of grandstanding. Doesn't Denard Span point to the sky every time he gets a single for a friend/relative who died? I thought I remembered a batter (Curtis Pride, maybe?) who wrote the initials of his deceased friend in the batter's box everytime he stepped in. I always thought this stuff was as much a part of the game as rally caps. Heaven forbid players act like human beings and not robots.

And I'm totally with Parker's take on the statute of limitations for grief. This a personal gesture that harms nobody. It isn't overly distracting, nor is it directed at the other team, or even his own team. If he wrote something like "Twins rock!" on the mound, I could maybe see the fuss. This is something that doesn't require anyone's commentary.

#28 SpiritofVodkaDave

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 03:20 PM

If he wrote something like "Twins rock!" on the mound,


He would be a filthy liar if he did that.

#29 glunn

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 08:51 PM

It seems sad that anyone is even talking about this.

#30 Ultima Ratio

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 09:02 PM

Does someone have link to a photo so we can see how big the inscription is? I fine with him doing this so long as it's not a gaudy display. Just writing small initials is a classy and touching tribute to his girl. Size does matter in this case.
Man is born free, but everywhere he is in chains.