Tom Brennan - WHIPLASH
His foibles. His predilections. His faux pas. His infatuations.
I just read that he is excited to see Ruben Tejada in great shape and ready to compete for the starting SS job vs. Wilmer Flores. Actually, the article I read did not mention Wilmer Flores. So is this another case of Terry the Infuriator? Or…
Is he channeling J. K. Simmons?
If you don't know him, J. K. Simmons just won an Oscar for best supporting actor in Whiplash, a story centered on an elite music school where the band he is instructing/orchestrating is ruled by his whiplash.
The main actor, an incoming drumming student, has great aspirations, and Simmons sees a spark and so the kid is immediately put under Simmon's full array of psychological warfare. Simmons' style is to drive students beyond their limits. No tiptoes thru the tulips. And Simmons has the mouth, and sheer intimidation, to make or break those under his tutelage.
After an early "do I have your complete f---ing attention" series of moments with his new drumming student (and not to tell too many details in case you make the right decision to see the flick), the kid feels he's locked down a lead part in the main ensemble...only to walk in one day and be told by Simmons that he's trying out Connelly for the part.
Which got the right reaction from our lad: pissed, bewildered, driven and not backing down.
A conversation later in the movie shows Simmons telling our drummer that Connelly was just added to the mix to drive our drummer in competition. Simmons says he is trying to create the next great musicians, and so few have the potential, and those that do settle for less than what they’re truly capable of.
Could Collins be doing that to Flores? Pushing our lad? I hope so. I hope he really is not seriously entertaining having Ruben really compete with Wilmer for the spot, but just choosing to do it to spur Flores to greater heights.
So let's see how this thing goes. Along with any other Sandy/Terry head games this spring.
And please go to see Whiplash in the movies or rent it. You might agree that if the J.K. Simmons character managed the Mets, they just might win 100 games. Or implode and win 60. Likely nothing in between.
Simmons deserved his Oscar with one of the greatest acting performances I've ever seen. (But I root for Matt Reynolds, so much for relying on my judgment in that regard :)
Simmons is far better than Sandy and Terry in the acting department, although Sandy is quite the one for mysteries.
But…maybe this team needs a Whiplash to bring out its greatness.
If you see the movie, picture Simmons with Duda...or Ike...or Kirk...or others. Most of us would not want to work for a J. K. Simmons. Too tough. His motto: Greatness or bust. No half stepping in my classroom.
Let’s hope some of that seeps onto our ball field in 2015.