Thursday, May 16, 2013

2 comments Bleacher Report Makes a List of Lazy Minority Baseball Players

Okay, well maybe Bleacher Report didn't specifically attempt to make a list of lazy minority baseball players, but I figured the tabloid-ish title was appropriate when discussing a Bleacher Report article/column/slideshow. The author compiles a "Least Likely to Hustle" team and it has one white guy on the team, whose presence on the list is fiercely debated in the comments. You don't call David Wright lazy apparently. This team consists of players who are not going to hustle and work hard on the baseball field. Ironically the very idea of writing a slideshow on the laziest players in MLB is a very lazy column idea. In writing this slideshow I would place the author on a "Least Likely to Think Hard for a Column Idea" team.

A lot can be said about a player who runs his hardest every time he takes the field.

And most of what will be said is in the form of useless hyperbole followed by the regular use of synonyms for the word "gritty."

Some players simply don’t hustle around the bases; they usually takes their time, especially if they hit a routine ground ball to the shortstop.

Chipper Jones occasionally didn't hustle out ground balls to second base or to first base. He's not an active player and isn't on this list, but not surprisingly I've never heard him called lazy for failing to run these ground balls out. I mention this because one instance of not hustling got a couple of players included on this "not hustling" team, so I would think Chipper's periodic jogs to first base could have earned him a spot. 

Want an example of a player who hustles? Bryce Harper. He arguably hustles more than any other player in baseball.

Want an article filled with hyperbole? Look no further than this column where the author says Bryce Harper "arguably" hustles more than any other player in baseball. It's good the "arguably" was included because there's no fucking way to determine which player actually hustles the most. Arguably, this is a dumb sentence.

If there were a team that wasn’t likely to hustle, here are the players who would be on it.

Let's start the slideshow! The team is broken down by position, so it's just like a real baseball team! Well, there are no relief pitchers represented, so it is broken down like a real baseball team from the early 1900's when starting pitchers always threw a complete game.

Carlos Santana, Cleveland Indians

Let's find out why Santana made this team...

Santana is much better known for his power from behind the plate. Because Santana hits a solid amount of home runs—55 over the course of his four-year career including four so far in the 2013 season—he gets to round the bases at his leisure.

So Sanchez is lazy because he hits a lot of home runs. Boy, Babe Ruth must have been really, really super lazy then.

A bunch of catchers could qualify for this position on this team, but Santana fits relatively well. Watching video of him, even just from this season, it’s obvious that he doesn’t round the bases as quickly as he could.

So video, unlinked in this column of course, show that Carlos Santana doesn't round the bases as quickly as he could? Maybe I will search for my own evidence. 

This is the only video evidence I could find and I wouldn't call that being lazy, but being dumb about base-running. There was an incident on August 30, 2012 where Santana was benched for a lack of hustle, but that was one incident and he seemed contrite. I guess one incident of not hustling is enough to make this list. In fact, if you Google "Carlos Santana hustling" then the fourth link that comes up is this very article. This is the Bleacher Report dream. The article written about how Carlos Santana doesn't hustle can be cited as evidence he doesn't hustle when doing an internet search on the topic. Those algorithms really work!

So Carlos Santana doesn't hustle because one time he didn't hustle. Plus, there is a bunch of video out there proving this point is true. Go look for it because the author doesn't have the time or energy to link it as proof what he is saying is correct.

Carlos Lee, Free Agent

Carlos Lee is currently one of many players without a major or minor league contract, and we’re well past the offseason and spring training. Is there still a chance that he signs a deal? Sure, but teams may be concerned with his hustle.

Or they may be concerned he is 36 years old, not a good defensive player, and hit .264/.332/.365 last year. His salary demands could also be the reason.

Spoiler alert: the salary demands appear to be the reason Carlos Lee isn't signed. Yes it is true, the author wonders whether it is Lee's lack of hustle that wards teams off from signing him, then links an article where Lee's salary demands are stated as being the main reason he hasn't signed a deal with a team. So the author proves his own hypothesis wrong. Brilliant writing.

Although he can probably still hit, there’s still the perception that he lacks hustle, according to an April 2012 article on Fox Sports Houston (h/t YardBarker).

Why does the perception become a reality? From the article:

Often maligned for his real or perceived lack of hustle in the past it can not be denied that Lee can still hit the ball better than the average player.

This perception doesn't mean Lee lacks hustle. So why is he on the "Least Likely to Hustle" team? 

So even with his five times on base and two RBIs his game on Tuesday was not flawless. He has brought leadership and yes, hustle, to the young Astros and so far is a role model to be followed.

So the article linked to provide evidence that Lee still lacks hustle actually goes out of its way to mention that Lee in fact DOES hustle. Again, brilliant writing. Bleacher Report has landed a great writer.

Maybe he sees that if he wants to change his mind and play more he needs to change perceptions. Astro fans know what those perceptions are. Carlos Lee can hit, but doesn't always (or often) hustle.

Again, it is a perception and the author is needlessly and foolishly buying into this perception by placing Lee on his team of players who don't hustle. Way to reinforce a perception that may or may not be true.

Also, I love the idea of Bleacher Report citing Yardbarker for a column link. It's like the "The National Enquirer" citing "US Weekly" about whether Jennifer Aniston is pregnant or not.

Lee is in actuality a happy go lucky guy who plays the percentages. He knows how fast he has to run to get to a ball and make a play. He knows when false hustle is just to make him look good, but really not productive. The problem is that when he measures his running effort it appears to be lack of hustle.

But again, reinforcing a perception with the only evidence this perception being true is the existence of a perception is ridiculously bad writing. The appearance of not hustling in the past doesn't serve as evidence that Lee doesn't hustle now. The author basically says, "There is a perception Lee doesn't hustle so that means he doesn't hustle and that's why he is on this list."

Ken Davidoff of the New York Post wrote in March that Lee hasn’t been willing to sign for a low-base salary.

So maybe the fact Lee doesn't want a low base salary is the reason he has not been signed yet? So why would the author believe it was Lee's lack of hustle when he cites a column specifically stating a very good reason why Lee hasn't been signed...that reason being he isn't willing to sign for a low base salary? I can't answer my overly-long question either.

Robinson Cano, New York Yankees

Robinson Cano might be one of the best players in baseball, but there’s no guarantee he’s going to leg out a double instead of taking it easy by stopping at first base. He has, however, hit at least 40 doubles in each of the last four seasons.

(Bengoodfella's brain explodes)

So let me get this straight. There is no guarantee that Robinson Cano is going to leg out a double instead of stopping at first base, but he has hit 40 doubles over the last four seasons. Isn't that the guarantee that Robinson Cano will try to leg out a double? What more would the author need? Cano obviously legs out doubles since he has hit at least 40 doubles over the last four seasons.

He was benched for a lapse in attention back in 2008.

Five years ago. He was benched for a lapse in attention five years ago. Five years ago is five years ago, and not considered recent.

Through 20 games this season, Cano is hitting .325/.378/.614 with six home runs and 14 RBI in a depleted New York Yankees lineup. It would be smart to assume that Cano might make more money on the open market this upcoming winter if he showed a little more effort this season.

It would be even smarter to assume a guy hitting .325 with an OPS of .992 is already expending a lot of effort. Of course asking a person who randomly says Robinson Cano doesn't hustle to be smart is probably asking too much.

David Wright, New York Mets

All it takes is one lapse for a player to end up on this list.

Unless you are Chipper Jones and then you would have permission to jog to first base as much as you want.

Well, back in 2009, he didn’t act professionally on one night.

You mean four years ago on one night David Wright didn't hustle!? One time out of over a thousand games he has played in the majors Wright didn't hustle and this means he is not likely to hustle. I guess one time is now a trend.

In a late-September game against the Florida Marlins—yes, they were still the Florida Marlins back in 2009—Wright was benched after a lack of hustle, according to Bart Hubbuch of the New York Post. Wright reportedly apologized to his teammates for not giving it his all.

“That’s just a mental mistake,” Wright said of the baserunning blunder—who took his time going home from third base on what was an easy play. “That’s my fault, and I take responsibility. It won’t happen again.”

Sorry, you just made the "Least Likely to Hustle" team because you didn't hustle one time four years ago. Hey, someone has to play third base in this terrible idea for a fictional baseball team.

In the comments when he was questioned about Wright as a selection to make this team the author said that he asked quite a few "FC's" and they named Wright as a third baseman who didn't hustle. "FC's" are "featured columnists" at Bleacher Report. So take that for what you think it is worth. Wright is the only non-Hispanic/African American player on this list. It's not racist, just interesting regarding what this could say about the perception of white athletes.

B.J. Upton, Atlanta Braves

Back in 2008, the center fielder was benched a pair of times by his former manager, Joe Maddon.

Again, this was five years ago. I'm sure a bunch of FC's named Upton as a member of this team though. FC's can't be wrong.

Upton told reporters that he thought that there were two outs and that’s why he didn’t put a ton of effort on the play. He also said he was “stunned” to get pulled from the game.

He's going to be even more stunned to be named to a team for players that don't hustle because he didn't hustle a couple of times as a 23 year old.
Alex Rios, Chicago White Sox

The Chicago White Sox used to be managed by Ozzie Guillen, who didn’t have the best relationship with outfielder Alex Rios. Guillen didn’t care for the way that Rios failed to hustle on plays. Now, Guillen isn’t the manager, but Rios still takes his time occasionally.

Oh, so he doesn't hustle on occasion even after Ozzie Guillen no longer manages the White Sox? Let's look at the evidence the author has for this...

Guillen benched Rios back in 2011 after he didn’t hustle on the basepaths.

But said that Rios still takes his time occasionally now, even after Guillen is no longer the manager of the White Sox. The only evidence you use of Rios not hustling is from when Guillen was the manager. How are we to believe the author that Rios still doesn't hustle now if he can't cite evidence he is telling the truth about Rios not hustling now? Maybe the author just asked the FC's and they said Rios still doesn't hustle.

David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox

I'm guessing this is the reasoning for saying David Ortiz doesn't hustle.

But there is somewhat of a correlation between being a DH and putting 100 percent effort into running the bases.

But is there a correlation? I know the author says it, but is this a fact or an opinion? I'm betting this is an opinion. I don't know any FC's though, so my opinion doesn't count.

He frequently doesn’t run out ground balls to the infield because he knows there’s a slim chance he'll be able to beat the throw. 

Ortiz has had injury issues lately, which could prevent him from hustling hard.

I don't see how an Achilles tendon injury on a 37 year old would in any way prevent him from running at full speed 100% of the time. Inconceivable.

But in all honesty, it’s ugly watching him try to score from second or turn a single into a double. He’s probably just going to get thrown out no matter how hard he runs.

(Bengoodfella's brain re-explodes)

So David Ortiz doesn't hustle, but mostly because he has injury issues, but even if he did hustle he would get thrown out anyway? Doesn't the author's acknowledgement that Ortiz tries to score from second or tries to turn a single into a double contradict his contention Ortiz doesn't hustle? I think I am using too much logic. I'll never completely understand this column by using logic.

Hyun-Jin Ryu, Los Angeles Dodgers

I’m not sure if pitchers have to hit or run the bases in Korea,

If only there were a thing called "the Internet" where such answers could easily be found. If only.

Ryu hit a ball weakly down the third-base line but barely even jogged to first base despite the ball being live. He was thrown out with ease, and the crowd gave him quite a few boos as he returned to the dugout.

It was a bad effort, but nearly every National League pitcher at some point barely runs down the first base line in an effort to not get hurt running. So there could be 50 pitchers in this spot, but the author chose a Korean pitcher who didn't hustle in his very first National League start, which was also his first start in the United States. Interesting.

This "team" didn't have a relief pitcher on it and there are certainly relief pitchers who have to bat or could be seen as lazy. I guess the author didn't want hustle to find any lazy relief pitchers.


ivn said...

as you can see, that took two-tenths of a second. good job good effort, Bleacher Report.

Bengoodfella said...

Ivn, just grand. But that one time Ozzie Guillen says he didn't hustle. So he isn't not a hustling player. Plus...he did talk to FC's. Did you talk to any FC's before you did that Internet search?