Johnson's tirade shows needed fire

Macon TelegraphMay 26, 2014 

So Chris Johnson threw a tantrum the other night. It was evidently not his first one, and it remains to be seen if it will be his last.

The bat Johnson destroyed in the tunnel shattered and pieces of it hit manager Fredi Gonzalez and catcher Gerald Laird. That wasn’t good. The last thing any player needs to do is make his manager mad by having bat fragments fly up and hit him.

Gonzalez took Johnson out of the game, which was the right thing to do. Then he made Johnson apologize to his teammates and take full responsibility by talking with the media, which was also the right thing to do.

Johnson handled it like a man. He did what his boss told him to do, and was humbled when he spoke to the media Friday night. He was apologetic. He knows he screwed up by taking it a little too far.

It’s natural that players lose their cool from time-to-time. Usually, we don’t even hear about it.

This is not a bad thing, really. Sure, no one needs bat fragments flying close to them, and Johnson needs to make sure if he does it again he won’t be close to people. But perhaps this team needs a little fire, someone to show some emotion, since it rarely happens.

That goes back to Bobby Cox, of course. The former manager frowned on anything of that nature. The Braves were always a coat-and-tie organization – a group of professionals that handled their business like business. Gonzalez has continued that tradition in the three-plus years he’s been the manager.

It has been criticized occasionally, mostly by those who believe the Braves have been too stale at times over the years. But that’s why it’s not necessarily a bad thing for this particular team to have someone go nuts like Johnson did Friday night.

Johnson is a good player. He’s not doing as well as he did last season, when he was in contention to win the batting title up until the very last week of the season. He’s still a decent performer for a complimentary player.

But if Johnson is the one that needs to show the emotion on this team, then so be it. This team needs that once in a while, and as long as no one gets hurt, it might not be a bad thing. Teams that have character often have a player or two that’s a little too high-strung, and for an organization not used to that Johnson may be a breath of fresh air.


Listen to “The Bill Shanks Show” from 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WPLA Fox Sports 1670 AM in Macon and online at Follow Bill at and e-mail him at

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