Jhonny Peralta is not a perfect baseball player. And last year was a down season for him, as he hit .239/.305/.384 with only 13 homers and 63 RBI. He still managed to put up a 0.8 WAR after 2011’s better than expected 3.5. And he still has some pop in his bat, catches everything hit near him despite somewhat limited range, and is a good teammate. He is reasonably priced and there’s nothing obviously better on the free agent market.
So why does Detroit News writer Lynn Henning seem to hate the guy so much? I tend to like Henning more than most Tiger fans and find his 15 year old emo girl Twitter rants entertaining, most of the time. But he can’t seem to resist crapping on Jhonny Peralta on a near daily basis. Meanwhile, he talks about Danny Worth like he’s Sparky Anderson gushing about Chris Pittaro.
There has to be a reason for this. I’ve racked my thimble-sized brain for what the motive could be and have come up with several possible answers.
-Being that Peralta is a mute, he makes for poor postgame quotes. Seriously, have any of you ever heard the man speak in three years?
-Envy. Henning secretly wishes that his name was spelled “Lhynn”.
-Danny Worth is really Lynn’s bastard son. Don’t tell anyone. Especially Danny’s mother.
-Jhonny’s chinstrap beard makes Lynn think of Lions football. And like most folks, thinking of Lions football fills Lynn with rage.
-Peralta has made it clear that “Liam” is his favorite member of One Direction. Lynn’s on the record as being a “Zayn” man. Instant catfight.
-Lynn’s one of those assholes that insists on trying to crush your fingers every time while shaking hands. Peralta greeted him with a limp handshake last June and Henning has been plotting his demise ever since.
-Peralta claims that he, in fact, CAN believe it’s not butter. Lynn stubbornly believes that this is horseshit.
-After seeing Mike Ilitch at the podium with Dombrowski and Leyland after the Tigers’ ALCS victory, Henning made a tasteless “Weekend at Bernie’s 3” joke. Jhonny was the only player to not offer an uncomfortable fake laugh.
-Simple racism. While comfortable in the presence of Venezuelans, Henning cannot stand what he believes to be “those Godless Dominicans”.
-Jhonny once mistook Henning for Tom Gage. Lynn wept for a week and hasn’t fully recovered.
-He believes Peralta to be the secret identity of @AlmostHenning on Twitter. Lynn, however, lacks the evidence to prove it.
-Jhonny has no problem with the outfield dimensions of Comerica Park. Blasphemy, says Henning.
-Mistakenly believes the Tigers traded Geovany Soto (the right-handed catcher) for Peralta instead of crappy minor league pitcher Giovanni Soto. Henning suffered all of 2011 from Gerald Laird’s notoriously quick wit and believes Soto would have kept Laird from ever returning to Detroit. Sad.
-Jhonny replaced an injured Derek Jeter on the 2011 All Star team. Like most white sportswriters, Henning views this as an unforgivable sin and believes that roster spot should have remained empty in honor of the fallen Yankee captain.
-Lynn’s six year streak of having the highest score on the Tigers’ clubhouse Galaga arcade game was broken by Peralta in September of 2011. Henning has plotted his revenge ever since.
-Henning believes a proper shortstop must have as substantial of a chin as possible. Danny Worth, Jay Leno, or Sgt. Slaughter would be ideal for the position.
-Peralta once accidently grabbed a sandwich from the grub set out for the press at Comerica. And everyone knows that 90% of Detroit sports reporters are only in it for the free food.
-There is a baseball statistic known only to longtime sportswriters. It is “OSI” or “Overall Scrappiness Index”. Peralta’s OSI is a below average 1.5. Danny Worth, however, posts a robust OSI of 13.8. Projected over an entire season, only Brandon Inge, Adam Everett, and Will Rhymes have been in the 13 range in Tigers history. Of course, David Eckstein is the MLB season record holder in OSI with 52.8. Wow.
We may never know the real reason behind Henning’s distaste for Jhonny Peralta. Perhaps it’s meant to be one of the great mysteries of Tigers baseball like how Randy Smith kept his job so long, why anyone thought getting Jacques Jones was a good idea, or where the body of the third FSD girl is buried.
It doesn’t stop us from speculating, though. My money’s on the One Direction theory. It makes the most sense.