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Monday, September 3, 2024
Story by Steve Ran, Sydney Times Sports

SYDNEY (AP) - "What do you expect me to say? We just gave up a perfect game!"

These were the first words spoken by Sydney Rebels Owner Ad Costa after sitting through what had to be the most agonizing game of his tenure with the team. He had just sat through ten innings of watching his team get manhandled by Berlin Brewmasters ace Dontrelle Willis, who throughout the game made them look like a squad of out of place minor leaguers. Dontrelle was masterful over the course of the game, keeping the entire Sydney offense looking completely lost from first pitch to last. As he did this Mr. Costa sat in the visiting team’s skybox and just continually shook his head in open disgust. At one point in the seventh inning it got so frustrating to the Sydney owner that he threw up his hands in disgust and walked out of the skybox for a period of five minutes. When asked about it later his answer was not his typical diplomatic and friendly type of answer.

"Am I proud about that reaction? What kind of stupid question is that? No I’m not proud of it, but you tell me what you would have done in my place. I had sat through six and third innings of just embarrassing baseball by my offense and I was frankly disgusted beyond my ability to control it anymore. Lambaste me about it that all that you want to, it makes no difference. If you can sit there with a straight face and tell me that you wouldn’t have been as visibly upset as I was if that had been you sitting in that chair watching your team get made to look like total chumps then you know what… you’re a saint and a far better man than I am. Congratulations."

After fielding a few more questions which were all sensible to ask but at the same time questions that were more than observations of the obvious Mr. Costa lost his temper a little bit again. It came after a question about whether or not he felt that Manager Jim Edmonds made a mistake in leaving Starter Horace Scherbarth in the game going into the tenth inning. Although the question probably didn’t come out as it was meant to sound the team owner took noticeable offense to it. It’s not entirely fair to say that the reaction was completely irrational after hearing his Manager and his Starter, who had pitched a fantastic game, get blasted by a reporter who was known to criticize the team even when it played well. Mr. Costa’s reaction was less than friendly when the question was posed to him by Sydney Sentinel sports writer Neil Beck.

"Do you sit up and night and think up the most obnoxious question that you could possibly ask me Neil? It seems that every time that I hear from you at a post game interview or I read one of your columns that you’re ripping my team and raking my people over the coals. I expect you to ask hard questions and be critical Neil, but you’re just plain nasty most of the time. How can you sit there and say that Jim or Horace is somehow completely responsible for this game’s outcome? Could Jim have made a few changes during the game? Sure he could have, but he didn’t and I’m not going to second guess him like that. If Jim did it he had a reason. Don’t sit there and lump it all on them because that’s nonsense and you damned well know it. How about calling some of our hitters to a little accountability in this mess? I’m not taking a damned thing away from Dontrelle, because he was absolutely brilliant but come on… watching guys who have been playing this game for twelve or thirteen years at the professional level hack like overly excited Little Leaguers was just disgusting. There are big changes on the way for this team."

Another four minutes of questioning went on where various questions were asked about the players and how they felt after the game and about what he meant about changes. He answered all of the questions, speaking openly about the many holes that the offense had and what he planned on doing about them. He spoke about how some of the young talent in the system was coming along well and would likely be seeing action in the next few seasons if the team was patient enough to wait for it. Again it was Neil Beck who asked the powder keg question. He asked if it would have been better to have started someone else for the game or brought in the bullpen earlier. Mr. Costa dismissed both questions as being ludicrous and said that he’d give no further response on them. Beck pressed the point, standing up even though he’d been asked to sit down and again placing the blame squarely on the shoulders of Starting Pitcher Horace Scherbarth after stating that he knew that Mr. Costa would never blame his "Golden Boy" Jim Edmonds or, as Beck put it his "Beloved Hitting Coach"Derek Jeter. Mr. Costa stood silently for about forty five seconds trying to fight his rapidly deteriorating control over his temper. Beck pressed the question, phrasing it the same way again in spite of being told again to take his seat. Finally he leapt up and asked; "What’s the matter 'AD'? Are you just afraid to face the truth that you’ve constructed a perpetual loser? A lemon of a team? A dud? Perhaps you should be fired along with your entire crappy staff and someone who knows a little about Baseball should take this poor team over!"

This statement proved to be too much for the already very angry owner, who wheeled on the reporter and shot him the kind of look that spoke volumes to the insistent reporter. Beck saw the look and immediately backed off, putting his hands up defensively. Mr. Costa was not about to let him off of the hook that easily though.

"What’s the matter Neil? You asked the question like an incessantly yapping poodle and now when the bigger dog is about to respond you back off and hide? You’re a real tough guy. Let me tell you something about this team. Right now we stink. Right now we’re coming off the worst loss we’ve suffered since I took this team over but you know what… teams are tested by this kind of loss. They prove their character by being embarrassed like this and I’m sure that this team will show itself as better for this experience as time passes. The simple truth is that this team has a lot of holes in it right now and I honestly believe that we have kids in the minors who will fill those holes nicely in a couple of seasons. In the meantime this team has a solid starting rotation and we have one of the most talented young pitchers in the game in Roy Rock. We have kids like Paul Rowen and Philip Mars in the minors who I can see as giving us one of the most imposing starting rotations in the league in a few seasons. If you want to sit here and tell our guys that they’re all losers then go ahead and do it, I’ll use it as a means of motivating them. I'll print out those statements and hang them in our locker room so that they can look at them every day and get fired up to it. If you want to bury me go right ahead and do it. I’ve made some bad decisions since I got here, but don’t you dare bury my Manager, my Batting Coach or ANY of my players. If that’s all you want to do then stay the hell out of my post game conferences. Next question."

The conference lasted for about another ten minutes and ended with the owner fully endorsing his entire managerial staff and praising Horace Scherbarth for his gutsy performance. "Horace deserved a better result than the one he got. He pitched an inspiring game and I’m proud of him for the fight that he showed. To say that he in any way disappointed this team is just stupid. If not for him it could have been a lot worse. I’ve already spoken to Horace and he knows how I and the rest of the team feels about how he played that game. He was excellent and he knows that we all know it."

The post game conference wrapped up soon afterward as the team prepared to head back to Sydney for a three game homestand against Chernobyl before heading out on the road for a three game set in Amity.

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