Shawn Andrews: Donovan McNabb was degrading, spread rumors

Shawn Andrews: Donovan McNabb was degrading, spread rumors

Former All-Pro offensive lineman Shawn Andrews was back in the news a couple weeks ago claiming he was bullied by Donovan McNabb while a member of the Eagles. Andrews declined to get too deep into specifics at the time, but he assured us McNabb rolled his eyes a few times.

What Andrews wouldn’t tell Mike Missanelli on 97.5 The Fanatic, he shared instead with Nate Olson for a publication called Sync Weekly (via Deadspin). This time he and his brother Stacy—who had a dismal stint of his own on Philadelphia’s offensive line—paint a scathing portrait of the entire Birds locker room, with McNabb as one of the ring leaders.

Shall we sample the sniping?

 “[McNabb] was a big part of it — he was a big part of my issues there. Bully is a strong word, but he was degrading to me and spread rumors. It’s bothered me that I haven’t really spoken about it.”

“I went into Coach [Andy] Reid’s office and told him it might be a good idea if I was traded because I was so fed up that I was afraid I might do some uncharacteristic and uncool things,” Andrews says. “I’m a loving guy and so many guys have gotten it twisted up. They totally misunderstood me. When you are dealing with a guy who presumably has everything on the outside looking in — commercials, endorsements and making a $10 million contract — and it’s still not enough attention for him.”

“I poured my heart out. I’m not a public speaker, so I was nervous,” Andrews says. “But I felt it had to be done, so I was standing there talking, and in the middle of talking to them I was making eye contact with as many of the [players] as I could. So guess who was looking at me rolling his eyeballs? Can you guess who was doing that while I was pouring my heart out to my teammates? You know how that made me feel? After that, my thoughts were so screwed up. Then I started to stutter and thought, ‘These guys probably think I’m full of sh*t.’ At that point I really cared. [McNabb] was rolling his eyes at me the whole time.”

In the nearly 4,000-word piece (seriously), Andrews discusses being bullied as a child, his well-publicized battle with depression, and contemplating suicide. There’s some heavy stuff in there that nobody should make light of.

Then of course there’s what he’s saying about McNabb and the structure of the Eagles locker room circa 2007-09—when he went AWOL as training camp opened and later couldn’t get on the field due to injuries—which comes off as a tad melodramatic and is littered with contradictions.

Andrews felt ostracized, yet admits he rarely talked to teammates. He claims teammates spread rumors about him, but gossips about their behavior in the shower (seriously) and extramarital affairs. He says he’s just trying to focus on positive things and stay away from negative energy, yet here we are, three years after his pro career ended with a one-year stint on the Giants.

In the end, he viewed his time in Philly in a very negative light:

“It just felt like I was in a living hell,” Andrews says of his time with the Eagles.

The issue with Andrews’ allegations is he really brings very little concrete evidence at all, even admitting McNabb denied spreading the rumors. He doesn’t understand why he was a target, but what exactly was he even a target of? It’s entirely possible any rumors about Andrews took on a life of their own because he was a strange dude who seemed to keep to himself, not out of a concerted effort to harm his reputation. Other than that, there was no direct name-calling, no hazing, nothing of the sort apparently.

I don’t doubt for a second some of Andrews’ teammates didn’t care for him or his personality, but that’s life.  It’s a shame he had a problem with some people, but maybe he needs to look in the mirror too.

>> Not always sunny in Philadelphia [Sync]

Thinking man's pitcher, Phillies prospect Cole Irvin enjoying time with Clearwater

Thinking man's pitcher, Phillies prospect Cole Irvin enjoying time with Clearwater

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Clearwater Threshers pitcher Cole Irvin is a student of baseball, but maybe the word “student” – simply stated and in its base meaning – describes the young left-hander best.

A graduate of the University of Oregon who completed his undergraduate degree in sociology in just 3½ years, Irvin has applied a studious, methodical approach to his work on the mound, where he starred as a freshman and senior for the Ducks as a regular Friday night starter.

His 2014 collegiate season was marred by Tommy John surgery, but he reflects on it now as being an important part of him staying in college and obtaining his degree. He remained in Eugene another semester after getting drafted by Pittsburgh in the 32nd round, his second time getting selected.

“I look at it as a positive. I wouldn’t have been able to finish my degree at Oregon if I didn’t have the surgery,” said Irvin, who was drafted in the fifth round by the Phillies last June.

“Sociology covers so many topics. It’s a great degree to have. My studies varied from the population of salmon affecting society to the study of social media. There was so much I learned in so many diverse topics. I like interacting because everyone’s opinion mattered.”

The sociological background also easily translates to the diamond for the 6-foot-4, 190-pound Irvin.

“It’s the same in baseball. The more information you have about the opposing team, our team, if we’re doing the shift and other things… now you have all that collected information. Now you just go do your thing. I think I apply (sociology) to so many different aspects of what I do,” he said.

Sociology aside, Clearwater pitching coach Aaron Fultz has been impressed with the mental approach Irvin has displayed.

“Very (much so),” replied Fultz when asked if the southpaw is the quintessential cerebral pitcher. “He’s a no frills guy and he’s here to work.”

Fultz broke in to MLB and played three seasons with the San Francisco Giants – 2000 to 2002 – and the former big leaguer said Irvin reminds him from a work ethic standpoint of a Bay Area teammate of his.

“He kind of reminds me of Jeff Kent. He comes here and he wants to work and get better,” said Fultz of Irvin, who also bears a slight resemblance to the five-time all-star and 2000 NL MVP of the Giants.

That industrious attitude worked well for Irvin in his first spring training camp in the Grapefruit League in February. He broke camp by bypassing Low A Lakewood and joining the Threshers. Then he proceeded to overwhelm hitters in the Florida State League.

Irvin, 23, was 3-1 in four starts in April, posting a 1.04 ERA. In 26 innings, he allowed 22 hits, struck out 20 and walked just three. His WHIP stood at 0.96.

“His first four or five starts, I thought he was the best pitcher in the league,” Fultz said. “Since then, we’ve had a little hiccup here and there about location and just giving up some hits. He’s had some bad luck, too.

“But I love the way he goes about his business. He gets the ball and he’s ready to pitch. He has a very good idea and is a smart kid. He doesn’t throw 95, but he’s left-handed – that helps – and he has a really good change-up. His stuff is better than average, but his tenacity and the way he goes after hitters is a really good selling point for him.”

Irvin said he tries not read what is written about him or the multitude of numbers baseball produces.

“The past three outings haven’t gone the way I’ve anticipated, especially after the first five starts of the year,” said Irvin, who is 3-5 with a 3.20 ERA after four straight losses starting on May 4 against Jupiter.

He will try to break that winless skid on Tuesday when he faces Florida back in Clearwater.

Of his standout first pro season at short-season Williamsport last year (5-1, 1.97 in 10 games), Irvin admitted he doesn’t look at the stats, saying, “Honestly, I don’t know the numbers. I don’t get ahead of myself and look at stats. Every once in a while, I’ll look at media stuff, but I try not to follow that stuff.

“Once it gets in your head, you start to get anxious about moving up and thinking about things you’re not supposed to be thinking about. I’m supposed to be thinking right now, ‘What can I do to get better and get to the big leagues?’ It’s not about being in the minor leagues; it’s about being in the big leagues.”

Irvin has enjoyed his season so far and, like a good sociology student, is harvesting his own data.

“There’s a lot to build off of. It’s my first full season, so it’s exciting to spend a whole year playing baseball and doing something you love and is fun. It’s something I’ve dreamed of as a kid,” he said.

“I never thought I’d be here this quick, so I’m taking it one day at a time. I can only focus on this day, and tomorrow will come tomorrow.”
 
Three questions with Cole Irvin

You throw a one-seam fastball. What does it do?

“It’s literally across one seam, holding it with one finger. It depends on the wrist. If it’s on the side of the ball, it’s going to fade (versus righty batters). But if your wrist is more on the inside toward your body, it’s going to cut. I only use it as a strikeout pitch. [Laughing] I’d say it’s a wipe-out pitch, but I don’t have wipe-out stuff like most of the guys on this team. It’s an effect pitch, where there’s a little uncertainty where it’ll go.”

You’re from Yorba Linda, CA, the birthplace of Richard Nixon and home of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum. Have any good Nixon stories?

“Actually, I do. When I was 12, I had to do community service for the high school I was going to go to. I had to have so many hours. The library was looking for someone to clean the helicopter – Air Force One helicopter or whatever it was called. Every Sunday morning I’d show up at 5:30 a.m. to clean that helicopter. I had to go through the Secret Service back door and security checks. I was 12, so there wasn’t much information on me. I spent four or five Sundays cleaning that helicopter. It was so much fun.”

As an Oregon Duck, you were able to play in the Civil War against the Oregon State Beavers and New York Mets outfielder Michael Conforto. Any success?

“My senior year was the first time we’ve ever gone to Goss Stadium and won a series at Oregon State. I pitched against Conforto and also played with him on the Team USA collegiate team that had (Chicago Cubs star Kyle) Schwarber. Honestly, Michael’s one of the great guys to know and talk to. He’s just a world-class, awesome guy.”