July 2, 2009

Word of the Day: Operation Shutdown

Operation Shutdown, noun: When a professional athlete quites on his team.

Example: Randy Moss went into 'Operation Shutdown' while playing his final season with the Oakland Raiders.

Word History: Former Houston Astros player Derek Bell came up with the phrase 'Operation Shutdown'. While at the end of his career, Bell was at the Pittsburgh Pirates spring training. He was struggling and wasn't aware that he was competing for a starting job. He felt like he didn't need to prove himself worthy of a starting job.

Bell told reporters:

"Nobody told me I was in competition. If there is competition,somebody better let me know. If there is competition, they better eliminate me out of the race and go ahead and do what they're going to do with me. I ain't never hit in spring training and I never will. If it ain't settled with me out there, then they can trade me. I ain't going out there to hurt myself in spring training battling for a job. If it is [a competition], then I'm going into 'Operation Shutdown.'Tell them exactly what I said. I haven't competed for a job since 1991."
Needless to say the Pirates released Bell at the end of spring training. Derek Bell went into permanent 'Operation Shutdown' mode. The Pirates gave Bell $4.5 million not to show up ever again. Bell's time with Pittsburgh was considered one of the biggest free agent busts of all-time.

Other Examples: Manny Ramirez went into 'Operation Shutdown' twice while playing with the Red Sox. In the middle of the 06 season, Ramirez basically quite on the team while his name was being mentioned in trade talks.

But the worst was in the middle of last season. Ramirez was involved in altercations with Red Sox 1st baseman Kevin Youkilis and the teams traveling secretary. Then during a series with the Yankees, minutes before the first pitch, Manny through a bench coach informed manager Terry Francona that he wasn't playing. Even though he was scheduled to start that game. He complained about a knee injury, but a lot of people speculated about Ramirez not being happy about not receiving a new contract offer from Boston. Needless to say he was gone only a couple weeks later. Just Manny being Manny I guess.

Randy Moss has also gone into 'Operation Shutdown'. In his last game with Minnesota he walk off the field with two seconds left in the game. He didn't think Minnesota would recover the onside kick. He was right and Minnesota still loss, but that is still not an excuse to walk away from your team.

Moss also quite on the Oakland Raiders. Moss showed a lack of effort during his time in Oakland. He would routinely quite on plays because he was on a losing team. Look I know the Raiders have sucked, but just because they are losing doesn't give you the right to quite on the team. He was eventually traded from the Raiders and went on to have the greatest season of all-time with the Patriots.

Levels of 'Operation Shutdown': There are certain levels that a player will be in before he goes into 'Operation Shutdown' mode on his team.

Level I: A player doesn't feel like he is worthy of competing for a starting job.

Level II: A player is frustrated by his current contract status.

Level III: A player is frustrated by losing games.

Level IV: He's frustrated about a lack of playing time.

Derek Bell and 'Operation Shutdown' will live in infamy. I'm sure there is another player out there who will go into 'Operation Shutdown' again.

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