When it rains, it pours for Billy Butler.
After enduring a week of criticism and backlash regarding the thumping he took at the hands of Danny Valencia, Butler finds himself in an ongoing battle in the media and with fans a like. A number of former teammates have come to the defense of Danny Valencia and today Mike Sweeney was added to the list of those going on the offense towards Billy.
“When I saw that Billy and Danny got in a fight, it did not surprise me. Billy is a great-hearted guy. He’s like a 31-year-old kid that can hit, that wakes up and says I’m going to go out and get two hits today. Sadly, whether we win or lose, it wasn’t at the top of the list for Billy, as far as my experiences with him. But he’s a great-hearted guy, he’s just not a team guy. I felt the same with Danny.”
Something so small as a few quips at a sales rep have turned into a bona fide reason for the baseball community to continue its assault on Billy Butler's reputation it seemed.
Whether deserved or not, the hits keep on coming while a mob mentality fuels the outburst of all of those who have ever had beef with him in the past.
There were a few hints of discord now and again during his playing years, but by and large, Billy was a well respected and mostly liked player throughout his tenure in Kansas City. So what has changed?
Billy did turn down the Royals offer following the 2014 season so that he could accept a much more lucrative one in the $30 million deal he accepted with the Oakland A's, but it seemed a universal acceptance that the idea of paying an aging and declining Butler that kind of money was nothing short of ludicrous. Billy had no choice but to accept and the Royals had no choice but to say "see you later" to the former 1st round pick who managed 8 seasons in Royals Blue all while batting .295/.359/.449 during his career in KC.
With his declining numbers and advancing age, it seemed at worse an amicable split between two parties that were leaving with a mutual respect and admiration. One disagreement with a teammate in the tumultuous Oakland clubhouse and suddenly Royals fans and media alike are all to keen on throwing those years away.
This isn't to say that anything his former teammates are saying isn't TRUE. Its that it isn't necessary.
There is no doubt that over the course of 8 years people will get rubbed the wrong way. But in the end, what did Billy actually do wrong? There has been very little talk of his ACTUAL crime, and a plethora of ongoing dialog about his demeanor and attitude years ago. Where was all of this hatred then?
There is of course no simple answer. Billy may very well deserve every last bit of it. He may have been a real SOB in the clubhouse, and everyone may have hated his guts.
But I doubt it.
Much like when two divorced people look back and say "I never loved you" it is too obvious to look back through old photos and see differently. There was a twinkle…….a spark…..a mutual admiration. And Im not going to let him getting punched change how I feel about Billy Butler. You can pretend you didn't love him, and that he didn't love you….but look back through those photos and its obvious that isn't true.
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