Just What Is Wrong with Mitchell Johnson?

Mitchell Johnson

Mitchell Johnson: Which one will show up?

When Mitchell Johnson, the Australian left-arm fast bowler, is good, he is very, very good. Unplayably good. Fiersomely, multiple-wicket-takingly good. He can also hit clean and hard and score runs very quickly. When he is bad, though, which is (to the great misfortune of the Australian team) more often than not, he’s wretched: spraying the ball all over the place, bowling wides and no balls, and generally serving up dreck that opponents can whack all over the park. He also (and we have no proof to back this assertion up) seems psychologically vulnerable to barracking from the crowd. In other words, he’s a nice guy who can’t take the pressure; and when he’s bowling poorly, the crowd gets under his skin, which will make him bowl even worse. His mercurial nature must drive Australian captains mad—you never know which Mitch will show up to play for your team! Any baseball equivalents past and present that those of you reading this care to mention? While you’re thinking about it, here’s Mitchell Johnson when he’s on song—and not the subject of one:

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About rightoffthebatbook

Co-author of the book, "Right Off the Bat: Baseball, Cricket, Literature, and Life"
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4 Responses to Just What Is Wrong with Mitchell Johnson?

  1. I have been watching Johnson since he first burst onto the scene. He just never had the consistency either with bat or with ball to fulfil either a role in the test match side, or his potential. He has a great looking wife though.. 🙂

    • Mrs Johnson I (Evander), unfortunately, do not know….Some of the notoriously inconsistent pitchers include Jack Chesbro (early 20 c), Dean Chance (1960s), and Bret Saberhagen (1980s). Rube Waddell, more or less from the Chesbro era, was also one of the legendary “characters” of all time, while Mets closer Armando Benitez always seemed rattled in this key role.

  2. Chris says:

    When I lived in Philly in the early ’90s they had a closer nicknamed ‘wild thing’ for his erratic performances. My memory may be playing tricks, but wasnt he another Mitch? Mitch Williams?

    • We are fairly certain you remember Mitch Williams correctly. There have been pitchers with inconsistent careers, such as Doc Gooden, who, sadly, devolved for other reasons. Vida Blue never quite lived up to his promise, for causes unknown to us. Kyle Farnsworth and Armando Benitez (and Williams) represent a different sort. Then, there is LaTroy Hawkins: always around, always of value to some team short in the bullpen, but not terribly consistent.

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