Sunday, March 23, 2008

Better than Ever

The great thing about humankind is our ability to make ourselves ever better. This, right now, is the greatest moment in human history so far, and the next one will be even better. As a race, human beings have a distinct, unique ability to learn from the past, correct our mistakes, and move forward into an ever-better future. The great irony is that many, many people feel this is a world that has passed them by. They yearn to return to an earlier age, one that was not as good as the age we live in now.

Which brings us to Juan Pierre.

I have taken my share -- and my bride's share, and my spawn's share, and the guy down the street's share -- of easy shots at Pierre, but on one level, I sympathize with the guy. In an earlier age, he would have been lauded as one of the best players in baseball. He works hard and arrives early every day. He hits .300. He gets 200 hits a year. He steals bases, seemingly at will. He runs out every bunt, every grounder, every popup. One measure of predicting his future gives him about a 1-in-3 shot at reaching 3,000 hits, which would put him in the Hall of Fame.

The problem for Pierre is that the tireless march of time has passed him by. Not only has the average player gotten better, but with what we now know about how runs are scored and games are won, we know that Pierre is not a good baseball player. Stolen bases don't count for as much as we thought. Hitting .300 is great, but not if you rarely walk, as Pierre does. Hitting for power, which Pierre also rarely does, is also important. Today's batter contributes so much more to scoring runs than a batter a generation ago, and Pierre can't compete with that. Juan Pierre, like Howard the Duck, is trapped in a world he never made.

With four outfielders competing for three positions, Dodger fans stand now on the edge of a great precipice as the 2008 Dodgers try to decide what kind of team they're going to be. The three best outfielders on the team are Andruw Jones, Matt Kemp, and Andre Ethier. Juan Pierre, the fourth-best outfielder on the team, maybe, should be benched, or, if possible, traded. And yet, it may happen that Pierre will become the team's regular left fielder. This would be wrong. It is a call to action.

Last year, this blog attempted to spread the word about Pierre by counting each and every out that the man made. Real life, unfortunately, got in the way. It is very difficult to keep up with such a task. So, this year, the reborn OutWatch returns to you, but modified in two ways.

First, the OutWatch will no longer track each and every out made by Pierre. Instead, it will become a watchdog of sorts for the outfield situation, reminding all Dodger fans that any plate appearance that Pierre takes from Andre Ethier, or, heaven forfend, Matt Kemp, is a wasted plate appearance, regardless of the outcome. Posting may be irregular, and we thank you in advance for your patience with that. We will try to make it up to you with keen insight that you can't get elsewhere.

Second, it is clear that this is a job that I can't do alone. With that in mind, you will see posts from the very talented and much calmer JimBilly4, as soon as I get around to figuring out how to make him an author here. JimBilly4 is a very good and funny writer and a lifelong Dodger fan. I know you will treat him with the same respect, warmth, and invitations for unspeakable things that he can do with his mother that you have given to me.

Thanks again to you all, and here's to the Dodgers figuring it out to much success in 2008.


Martin said...

Maybe you could count the extra bases runners will take on Pierre. It will be a lot, but not nearly the same number as outs. Plus, if he doesn't start every game, you have your breaks built in. Its win-win!

Andrew said...

Trolls keep trolling,
Dodgers keep rolling.

Something about an iggy bin.

Go Dodgers!!1!

Joseph said...

Dodgers arent rolling.

4th place...With a 120 mils payroll...Paul DePodesta still is pwning Colletti.

San Diego has finished ahead of the Dodgers each year that DePo's been there.

Please, end the curse and fire Ned. Its the only way the Dodgers can lift the stench off their roster.

Juan Pierre???

Oh my oh my oh my...Whan has become of my favorite team...?

Take me back to 2004 or crank up the time machine to 2012.

jimbilly4 said...

A Howard the Duck reference?

Humma's knowledge is deep and broad.
Too broad really.

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