Athletes come in all shapes and sizes, but not everyone recognizes that, and Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Alek Manoah won't stand for it.
The Toronto Blue Jays hurler, a 2022 AL Cy Young Award finalist, was criticized over his body by MLB Network analyst and former player Anthony Recker Wednesday night. And on top of that, the 25-year-old was also left off the program’s top-10 2023 starting pitchers list despite his dominant 2022 campaign.
Recker attacked Manoah’s 6-foot-6, 285-pound frame and his work ethic in the gym, passive-aggressively implying that he wants the right-hander to lose weight and slim down ahead of next season.
“Alek Manoah. I love you, Alek - just show me you’re willing to put a little more time in the gym and that you’re gonna be there consistently for a little bit longer,” Recker said. “I still love you.”
— Addison (@YankeeWRLD) February 2, 2023
As you can imagine, Recker’s comments didn’t fare well on social media, and it wasn’t long before they reached Manoah’s timeline.
Manoah, who’s never been shy to respond on Twitter, quote tweeted the video clip and tagged Recker, saying, “Hey Anthony Recker, my job isn’t to please you. You are an outsider, you don’t know my work ethic. What I do in the gym has clearly worked, check the numbers, sucks you can’t say the same for yourself.”
Hey @Anthony_Recker my job isn’t to please you. You are an outsider you don’t know me or my work ethic. What I do in the gym has clearly worked check the numbers, sucks you can’t say the same for yourself. https://t.co/9Je9xqTBYx
— MANOAH (@Alek_Manoah6) February 2, 2023
Recker responded to Manoah’s tweet, attempting to diffuse the situation but didn’t issue an apology. Instead, he tried to defend his comments by saying they were taken out of context and were not intended to upset the talented pitcher.
Don’t let someone throw a video out of context at you and get you upset. You’re an incredible talent man and I’d love to see you make the most of that. I hope to see you continue to get better and be great for a long time. I wish I had even a tiny speck of the talent you do.
— Anthony Recker (@Anthony_Recker) February 2, 2023
The Blue Jays' ace called Recker out for those replies, as well, while inviting him to learn what it’s like to train with a first-class professional.
Youre just like everyone else. Love to talk and then wanna say sorry when you get called out. If you wanna see how an All Star, 1st team All-MLB, and CY young finalist trains. Come meet me @ManoahDriven https://t.co/I6phAeeJML
— MANOAH (@Alek_Manoah6) February 2, 2023
A Miami-based gym called Manoah Driven, which Alek and his brother Eric operate, also had some fun at Recker’s expense by tweeting some workout clips of the former first-round selection from 2019.
The tweet also tagged Recker, inviting him to “step in the box and show the world why your [sic] a broadcaster now.”
— ManoahDriven (@ManoahDriven) February 2, 2023
Former Jays pitcher Marcus Stroman also came to Manoah's defence, clapping back at Recker and shaming him for his comments.
What a clown you are @Anthony_Recker. Poo-poo take from a bum. A nobody who has accomplished nothing in life. Keep your mouth shut and stop talking down on players. @Alek_Manoah6 is one of the best pitchers in baseball. You talk on TV for a living because your game was trash! https://t.co/SkkWrU2hez
— Marcus Stroman (@STR0) February 2, 2023
One of Manoah’s teammates, Anthony Bass, also chimed in on the conversation, replying to the 2022 All-Star’s tweet with a GIF of music producer DJ Khaled eating popcorn.
Manoah has logged 308.1 career innings since 2021, posting a 2.60 ERA, a 3.51 FIP and 307 strikeouts. He has also been worth 6.1 fWAR, the 19th-highest among MLB starters, according to FanGraphs.
Recker, meanwhile, played just seven big-league seasons from 2011-17 and posted a zero fWAR rating or worse each season, resulting in a career minus-1.6 fWAR. The 39-year-old also featured a miserable .199/.283/.348 slash line with a 76 wRC+ across 206 career games.
Manoah has previously spoken against body shaming, defending teammate Alejandro Kirk last season when a Montreal-based radio host criticized the fanbase’s admiration of the catcher, for which he later apologized.
The Homestead, Fla., native continues to be an easy person to root for, on and off the field. And he certainly has a bright future ahead of him with the Blue Jays.
In his first full major-league season, Manoah finished fourth in ERA (2.24) among qualified MLB starters and fourth in innings pitched (196.2) in the American League, completing five innings or more each start. He also recorded a 3.31 xERA, a 3.35 FIP, a 16.4 percent strikeout-to-walk rate difference and a career-best 4.1 fWAR.
Manoah is the current favourite to be named Toronto’s 2023 Opening Day starter.
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