He’s No. 15 on your scorecard, No. 1 in your heart if you’re a Czech fan, and Public Enemy No. 1 if you’re an umpire or opponent.
He’s Marik Vykoukal and he’s drawn the ire of just about everybody not wearing a Czech uniform at this week’s Sporto Vilkai Cup.
I dare say if he pulled his antics in the states, guys would be headhunting him from the time he gets off the bus.
When he pitches, if a close pitch is called a ball, he stares in at the umpire and/or throws up his arms. When he bats, he’ll turn and stare if an umpire calls a strike. If someone makes a nice play against him, he stares the fielder down on the way to the dugout. His sarcastic applause and the rest ofthe show make me sick.
He thinks his feces are aeromatic.
And, apparently, Eastern European umpires agree, because I was appalled at how much they let him get away with this week, even after saying that they wouldn’t or don’t allow such antics.
Personally, it galls me to see the kid act out as he does. And to see his teammates and the Czech fans excuse it is equally appalling. It’s the worst I’ve seen anywhere in Europe.
It won’t change until umpires warn the kid and toss him a few times. Or until some pitcher headhunts the kid and he gets the message. And neither of those things are going to happen anytime soon.
Although there are now at least two American teams who have witnessed his act in the last few weeks and who will be looking out for him next time.
I can guarantee you that Ladera Ranch’s players won’t forget this kid. And the traveling under-16 team from North Carolina that saw him two weeks ago probably won’t, either. The baseball community is very large, but it gets very small when there’s a rooster in the hen house.
The Czechs beat Belarus 9-1 Friday to reach the championship game. They had hoped to meet the Americans again, and no doubt the Americans were looking forward to a rematch, too. But homestanding Utena beat Ladera 5-3, setting up final-day games of Czech Republic vs. Utena for the title and Ladera vs. Belarus for third.