So, Nate McLouth has been named the Official Braves Journal Whipping Boy, the first permanent BJWB since the trade of Jeff Francoeur. Here to answer the questions you might have about this position is me. Take it away, me:
Q: Who else has been the BJWB?
A: Previous Whipping Boys, before Francoeur, have included secret Canadian Chris Reitsma, human implosion grenade “Kim Jong-il”, the oft-injured Mike Hampton, beer aficionado Dan Kolb, pointless shortstop acquisition Rey Sanchez, the strangely immortal Keith Lockhart, and future insane manager Ozzie Guillen.
Q: How does Whipping Boy status relate to the Lockhart Line?
A: While previous Lockhart Line violators have always been BJWBs, it is not a requirement for the position. Reitsma never crossed the Lockhart Line. Until the Line is crossed, all criticism of the BJWB will be fair. That is, we will point out that McLouth sucks, and will make fun of his play, but will not attack him as a human being.
Q: Wait, Hampton never crossed the line either and you were super mean to him.
A: Yeah, sorry about that. I was a bit frustrated.
Q: What about the Doghouse?
A: The Doghouse is more of a revolving door sort of thing. Anybody who screws up a lot or goes into intractable slumps can go in the Doghouse, but will probably remove himself fairly quickly. Yunel Escobar, before he was traded, was in and out of the Doghouse a lot.
Q: How is BJWB status achieved?
A: While continued poor play is a must, it also requires that the player be given a key role on the team and continue to not thrive in it. This isn’t really the player’s call, of course, though they could always retire. Anyway, just being a terrible bench player, ala Greg Norton, does not qualify for BJWB status. Nor does someone who, like Kenshin Kawakami pitches so little that he may have been kidnapped by aliens.
Q: What about Jo-Jo?
A: Reyes’ appearances were too sporadic for full-time BJWB status.
Q: Is BJWB status permanent?
A: Not necessarily. Nobody has actually removed themselves from the BJWB post due to their play, but it’s always possible. All Whipping Boys have been players who had accomplished something prior to achieving the title — okay, maybe not Francoeur, but even Lockhart had — and returning to that level would, theoretically, remove BJWB status. But don’t count on it.
Q: Can only a player be the Whipping Boy?
A: Only a player can be the permanent Whipping Boy. However, interim BJWB status has been granted to non-players Chip Caray and Brian Snitker at times.