Friday, September 4, 2009

5 comments This Man Does Not Deserve A Puff Piece

Everyone who is in the Yahoo College Pick 'Em League don't forget to make your picks today. Some of the lines on the football games this weekend are pretty interesting in my opinion, especially the Virginia Tech-Alabama game.

I think we should just start a Bill Plaschke Friday, since it seems like we cover his latest "writing" on Fridays. Today he takes pity out on Juan Pierre and writes what a great person and baseball player he is. If there is anyone to take pity upon it has to be an average baseball player who doesn't have to do his job every night and still has two years left on a 5 year $44 million dollar contract. He just has it so hard and should always be in our thoughts, at least that is what Bill Plaschke wants you to think.

This is what I don't like about puff pieces. They have no redeeming quality, just absolutely none in my opinion. They are articles where an athlete gets profiled but none of the bad qualities or any type of negative discussion occurs, or if it does, it gets portrayed in a positive light. If you are doing an article on a person without legs who does wheel chair races, that is one thing, but if you are going to talk about Juan Pierre, you have to also talk about how he has not even come close to earning his contract for the first two years of said contract. Maybe it is just in my DNA but I find puff pieces as a whole worthless.

When Plaschke decided to write this piece what his intent? To let everyone know that Juan Pierre is playing well this year or to know that Juan Pierre is humble enough to take a backseat to the 3 superior outfielders on the Dodgers team? A lot of people are aware Juan Pierre is playing well this year but you can't ignore the fact in what you are writing that Pierre has (I shouldn't even say underachieved because he has achieved exactly what his career shows his potential is) if not underachieved, gotten a contract that was too big for his skill set. He has to be humble because he is getting paid way too much for his production. Don't bash him but don't make everything rosy and blow wind up your audience's butt because most people can see through that type writing. I am supposed to take Plaschke serious as a journalist but who can I when he writes stuff like this? I couldn't take myself seriously (which I really don't anyway) if I started fawning over an athlete.

Ok, enough rambling, let's get to the puff piece.

He failed to persuade anyone to trade for him. He failed to persuade the Dodgers to play him. He was stuck behind one Hall of Famer and two hellacious kids.

Could this potentially be because he has these numbers from playing baseball?

The irony of all ironies is that he has one of his best years as a professional when he no longer has a starting job. The story of Juan Pierre is like a Shakespearean tragedy. Oh how the Gods have forsaken this man!

"It ain't right," he said, and you thought, here it comes, a gushing of ego, a drenching of teamwork, the pathetic plea of the fallen.

Oh no, it's right. You are not a very good baseball player. For a guy with speed you sure get caught stealing a lot (74.7% stolen base success rate), don't get on base even close enough to steal bases (.348 career OBP), and don't walk enough (has led the league in at bats three times and has a career high of 55 walks). Unless the Dodgers were willing to trade a prospect or two along with you and swallow your entire salary, there was really no reason to make a trade for you. It's oh so right Juan and Bill...

"Don't get me wrong, I don't feel bad, I feel guilty," he explained. "I've been thinking about it. I'm making $10 million and doing nothing. It's like I'm just taking the Dodgers' money."

He was taking the Dodgers money even when he WAS "doing something" on the baseball field. This hasn't changed at all, he just doesn't get to drag the team's payroll AND baseball team down at the same time now.

He hit .293/.331/.353 and .283/.327/.328 the two years he was "doing something" for the Dodgers. The only thing Juan Pierre was doing was holding up the Dodgers without a gun the past two years.

"I owe this team something every night, and it ain't right that I can't do that, and I've got to figure out a way to fix it," he said,

Sure, he should learn to steal bases more effectively, get on base more often and contribute to the team other than running fast to 1st base while hitting a ground ball...actually, he should do pretty much what he has been doing for part of this year.

His team being one of expansive personalities and pride, I root for everything Juan Pierre does that is small.

Of course Plaschke does. He roots for David Eckstein, old men who are scouts, and Juan Pierre. Essentially anyone that is fairly ineffective at their job he cheers for because that person reminds Bill of himself, because they are not always good at their job either.

Given one of his rare starts, Pierre reacted with what has become a common occurrence.

Three hits. Two runs. Two RBIs. An inning-ending running catch in center field.

A common occurrence? He has 28 total RBI's on the year and 51 runs. He got 7% of his total yearly total for RBI's and 4% of his total runs on the year in one game. I don't know if I would call that a common occurrence. If this was a common occurrence, he would actually be playing a lot more and I would not be using him as a punching bag right now.

Remember how Pierre hit .318 while starting all 50 games in left field during Manny Ramirez's suspension?

Even more impressive is that, since going back to the bench upon Ramirez's return, he has hit .329 in 11 sporadic starts, scoring a dozen runs.

Perhaps this proves he is better used as a part-time fill-in player and a 4th outfielder? I think it is odd he has never been that great of a player as a starter and the first year he has been a part-time player he plays a lot better. I don't think it is a coincidence.

"No excuses this year, none of that 'Oh, but I don't play enough' stuff," he said. "If I'm in there, it's my responsibility to make that happen, and I take that very seriously."

It's good to see he is taking this seriously now on the 3rd year into his contract with the Dodgers. Wouldn't want to take any of the Dodgers money for doing nothing would we?

Not even while pinch-hitting, a job career regulars often find difficult and distasteful. Even here, Pierre has turned potential humiliation into triumph, hitting .353 in 34 at-bats.

I hate to think I am picking on Juan Pierre because I actually believe he would be an incredibly useful 4th outfielder, which I think was proven this year, but he gets paid way too much to be as bad of a baseball player as he is. If he is your 4th outfielder, you are in decent shape, if he is starting for you, then you need to find better options.

And when Pierre broke the game open in the seventh inning with a two-run single that was hit so hard, it caromed off the mound and into left field?

He again hid from his pride, lightly pumped a fist to his chest, briefly stared at the sky, and quickly returned to first base.

"I'm not Hollywood, I'm not glitz and glamour, I'm not a guy people notice, and that's OK with me," Pierre said. "For me, winning is enough."

These three sentences are why they call articles like this a "puff piece." It is like eating cotton candy. It has no redeeming value and it feels good at the time but after a while you realize you aren't full. Juan Pierre puff pieces don't make me full and Bill Plaschke should stop writing them.

In Ramirez's return to Dodger Stadium last month following the drug suspension, the loudest cheers occurred during an appearance by Pierre. A standing ovation for a pinch-hitter in July? It has been the most emotional sound of a heart-stretching season.

I feel like there should be strings playing in the background and Chris Connelly should be narrating this right now.

"...and the crowd started cheering knowing finally Juan Pierre came to terms with the expectations he and the fans had placed on him. Just when less had been expected of Pierre, he had risen to the challenge knowing every time he went to bat he may not be given that chance for a couple more games. Almost having the game snatched away from him because he dared to make too much money had been a wake up call for Pierre. He had made peace with the fans and the expectations of his contract just as everyone had been ready to give up on him. By having the game not as big of a part of his life, Juan Pierre had become complete."

"I was shocked, I never heard anything like it before," Pierre said. "I've done the same things before, but it's like they finally recognized them."

You had done the same things before, just not as well as you are doing them now. How does he not understand the correlation between his better performance and the fans liking him more? They are cheering you because you are actually playing good baseball now.

Maybe because Juan Pierre also finally recognized them, all those little things, not as statistics but as glue, less gifts than obligations, a $10-million man just trying to earn his keep.

Glue? What the hell? Who needs good statistics when you have "little things" that are glue!

That's the problem, he is making $10 million and just earning his keep. If you sign a contract that big you should be expecting equally as large expectations. Puff pieces written by Bill Plaschke are unnecessary and they suck.

-Scoop Jackson has written the worst...article...ever.

It's called "What if Brett Favre Were A Woman?" The article somehow only gets worse after the title. I don't know why I linked it, I can't in good faith encourage you to read it...but just try to read it.

My first thought was, "Brett Favre does waffle like a stereotypical woman" and then my second thought was how absurdly bad this article was. Like epic bad. I am embarrassed for Scoop.


Martin said...

Sadly, ten years ago Plash had some bite to his articles, and while not chock full of facts, they would at least be interesting for local readers. Now all he does is write these terrible articles with almost as many paragraphs as sentences. They all seem to be about the oppressed underdog, and how they persevere in the face of everybody doubting them. Except, how oppressed is Juan at 10million a year?

Plashcke has become one of those guys who some how manages to make great players become underappreciated while proping up guys who are the 20-25th best player on a team. If he wrote in St.Louis you would never know the Cards had a guy named Pujols on the team.

Martin said...

And I went through and made all my picks...and then found out I was picking with a spread. Hmmm, well I guess we'll see how this goes....

Bengoodfella said...

Plaschke=horrible. You can't write a puff piece on Juan Pierre. You just can't. You are write about what he has become. I am embarrassed for him.

Martin said...

So I only lost the Ohio State-Navy game and the BYU-Oklahoma, I feel better! Just no way I thought either OSU or Okl would cover those spreads. I did think that both would win though.

Bengoodfella said...

My picks this weekend were just horrible. I got the OSU game b/c they are incapable of covering a spread and Navy is a good team. I just blew the rest.