Monday, June 30, 2008

Random (but Pertinent) Baseball Musings

There’s dumb stuff happening in baseball, both on the field and in the ESPN studios. Time to weigh in and set the world right, even though the dummies won’t listen.

On the media front:

  • I don’t watch ESPN’s “Baseball Tonight” all the time. But lately I’ve gotten way too good a gander (and an earful) of Eduardo Perez, the Worldwide Leader’s latest pathetic dumbass diversity/ex-jock hire. Well, check that. Eduardo’s been doing ancillary baseball stuff for ESPN since 2006, so I guess his recent appearance on the in-studio dais amounts to a promotion of some kind. Yikes!

    Poor Eduardo. Every phrase is an adventure. You can almost hear his brain ticking away, only the sequence in which the words come out indicates his brain is probably working very little. And if he’s getting it off the TelePrompTer, then apparently he can’t read too well, either. He’s got a dumb-sounding voice, too.

    I guess we could excuse it—if Eduardo was born in a Latin American country or something. You know, just finally getting the hang of English after finishing up his beisbol career. But in case you didn’t know, Eduardo is the son of Hall of Famer Tony Perez. Dad was from Cuba, but son was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1969, when Dad was in the midst of his terrific years with the Big Red Machine. So Eduardo gets into the ESPN Club on the nepotism clause as well. But one would think he could speak English fairly well. If you’re gonna be on television and all...

    As for his ex-jock status, well, I would guess most people don’t remember that Eduardo played in the majors from 1993-2006, clocking in with six clubs, playing infield and outfield and DH, with a career batting average of .247 and amassing 79 home runs and 294 RBIs. Well, at least Eduardo hit more home runs than the other Eduardo Perez, the guy who played from 1995-2005 for the Braves, Indians and Brewers, and who had to get saddled with the name “Eddie Perez,” doubtless to keep him straight from Tony’s kid. (Actually Eddie’s career batting average was better than Eduardo’s, at .253, but basically both were mediocrities.)

    So let’s see....Eduardo was a dumb jock who was lucky to have had as long a career as he did (being Tony’s kid didn’t hurt that), and he’s an absolute stiff in front of a camera. So why would ESPN hire the guy, much less promote him? (Oh yeah, he’s Tony’s kid...and he played some ball.) Eduardo earned over $5 million in his pro career. He doesn’t need the money. Fire his ass. (Hell, give Eddie Perez a shot. He may actually need the money.)

    And by the way, researching this story led me to Tony Perez’ career stats. There was some initial controversy about him getting into the HOF, and it took him 14 years after his retirement, and 9 years after his first eligibility, to finally get the nod. Back then, in 2000, his election seemed right. But now, I dunno. His key career stats—.279, 379 HRs, 1,652 RBIs—are actually looking a little “lite.” The championships with the Reds helped, of course, and Perez was a run-producer, for sure. But so were Andres Galarraga, Fred McGriff and Andre Dawson, all of whom have more homers and near-equivalent or better numbers elsewhere but have diminishing chances at getting to Cooperstown.

    But at least Tony’s not merely filling space in the Hall the way Eduardo is on “Baseball Tonight.” Bench him, please. He’s an embarrassment.

  • On the front office front:

  • It took a lot of people about three months to realize that the Tampa Bay Devil Rays are now just the Tampa Bay Rays. That’s probably because the team is off to its best start ever and folks are paying attention to them. It was back in February when team president Matt Silverman announced that "we haven't made a final decision, but we are leaning toward the direction of a change in uniform, a change of colors, a change in logo and perhaps a slight modification of the name. But it's unlikely we will have a dramatic change in the name."

    Change it they did, in a compromise decision, that kept the “Rays” but expunged the “devilish” connotation that some people supposedly found objectionable. Really? Someone actually found “Devil Rays” to be objectionable?? How wimpy.

    "We've integrated fan sentiments, results from focus groups and surveys into this," Silverman said at the time. Focus groups. Great.

    Sure enough, now they are the amorphous and gutless “Rays,” one of the blandest, most nonspecific names in the history of sports teams.

    It’s always totally cool when a sports team’s nickname derives from the geography or history of the area.

    Ravens comes from the Edgar Allan Poe poem, and Poe was a Baltimorean. That’s cool. Dolphins hang out in the water in Miami. Makes sense. Celtics are in Boston because the Irish settled that city. Good deal. Astros, because of the space program in Houston. Rangers ’cause of the famous Texas Rangers. Suns ‘cause it’s hot and sunny in Phoenix. Spurs and Mavericks ’cause of the cowboy stuff. Timberwolves in Minnesota (‘nuff said). Patriots in New England (y’know, Bunker Hill and all that?). Broncos in Denver (rodeos). 49ers in San Fran (1849 Gold Rush, remember?). Rockies in Colorado (no-brainer). Marlins in Florida. Knickerbockers in New York. Trail Blazers in Portland (Lewis and Clark, explorers). Pittsburgh Steelers, right? Brewers brew beer in Milwaukee, eh? Packers in Green Bay, named after a (guess what?) packing company. Diamondbacks are a snake in Arizona, hence...

    With the exception of standby aggressive names like Lions and Tigers and Bears, sports teams have delightfully reflected their regional character in their nicknames. Hence, “Devil Rays” comes from the Manta ray, Manta birostris, the largest of the rays or any species of ray in the genus Mobula. They’re unusual-looking fish with kind of an aggressive reputation, and it makes sense for Tampa Bay, a city on the Gulf Coast. It’s a name derived from the area where the team plays. It’s unique.

    Ho-hum. “Rays” is not unique. It’s really boring. And that’s what focus groups’ll get ya: More wimpification of the society, and the extraction of anything that smacks of aggression in our sports names.

    I hope the Rays start sucking again. It’ll serve ‘em right.

  • On the field folderol:

  • Jered Weaver got removed from the game this past Saturday even though he had a no-hitter going through six innings. You can’t really blame Angels manager Mike Scioscia—he wanted to win, and he was losing 1-0, and his team’s offense had been anemic of late. So he pinch-hit for his starter, which he had to do, ironically, since this was an interleague game with no designated hitter rule. The Angels never did score.

    Meanwhile, Jose Arredondo came in and pitched two more hitless innings for the Halos. They lost 1-0, but since they were the visitors to Dodger Stadium, they only had to pitch eight innings in the losing cause. So they got the no-hitter, right? Apparently wrong. According to some arcane rule change of the early 1990s, no-hitters now have to be at least nine innings in order to be officially recognized. What kind of stupid crap is that? It may not have been a nine-inning no-hitter, but it WAS a no-hitter.

    Lissen. Say Alex Rodriguez hits a grand slam in the fourth inning of a game that ends up rain-shortened after six innings but still goes into the books as a completed game. The game is deemed official, and ARod gets credit for his homer and four RBIs. Why the f&%k is it any different for Weaver and Arredondo? They collaborated on an eight-inning no-hitter, and that’s all there is to it. If the league wants to make a distinction about the innings pitched, okay. Or if they want to categorize the no-no’s into the ones pitched solely or the ones pitched as a joint effort, then so be it.

    Records are records. Rain-shortened games happen, and the stats compiled in them go into the books. If Weaver and Arredondo could’ve gotten a crack at that ninth inning, they may or may not have completed the gem, but why punish them because they never had the chance??

    Believe me, dumbass baseball execs, the folks at won’t mind breaking the no-hitters down into categories for you. And they can keep the nine-inning gems in the forefront category, so we’ll all know the difference.

    Sheesh...a lot of dumb people out there in baseball.
  • 1 comment:

    Anonymous said...

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