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Kansas City Blues

Platooning an All Star


by Bradley Joseph

 

Who but Manuel would do this?

 

Some have argued that the institution of a regular platoon situation is not an actual act of tinkering, but rather a consistent and predicable act of taking advantage of lefty/righty match-ups wherein the players involved know their roles.  In general, I agree with this principle.  A regular platoon is not the equivalent of tinkering because tinkering is by nature irregular and chaotic. 

 

However, in certain situations, the platoon has a similarly drastic effect as an all-out tinker.  The current platoon of Carl Everett and Aaron Rowand is one of these situations.  How so, you ask, when Mr. Everett has a .676 OPS as a right handed batter, can it be wrong to platoon him with the human torso (Aaron Rowand), who has been hitting fairly well, and also plays a solid centerfield?  Well, there are several reasons. 

 

First and foremost, statistics do not tell the whole story in this situation.  As I write, we have a lineup that is threatening to return to the supreme zone of lethargy that earned the nickname “corpseball” on the WSI message boards.  Yet, amidst the corpses, Everett’s bat still looks alive.  For the past two weeks he has looked hitterish even when fouling balls off or recording outs.  Statistics don’t measure the fact that when we look at Carl in the box, we can see he is feeling good at the plate, and ready to bust out.  He seems on the cusp of returning to the form that made him a 2003 all-star.

 

And let me reiterate that he is an ALL-STAR!  How many all-stars can you remember being regular platoon players?  As a position player, contributing every day is necessary to being an all-star.  If you can only play against right-handed pitchers, then you are no all-star. 

 

Furthermore, for all of you statistics buffs who aren’t buying my “he looks hitterish” argument, I will briefly toil in your world of numbers.  Let us remember that despite the fact that Carl’s 2003 stats are the most immediately pertinent, we can also learn from older statistics.  One such stat-line shows that in 2000, his last full non-injury riddled season, Everett had a .937 OPS and .357 batting average from the right side of the plate.  From this we can deduce that Carl Everett is neither necessarily, nor intrinsically unable to hit well from the right side.  In fact, during stretches in his career, he has hit as well, or better, from the right side as he has from the left.

 

So perhaps some consistent at-bats from the right side, in conjunction with a generally good feeling at the plate, could help to bring him back to form as a right handed batter.  Considering the energy, attitude, and “hitterishness” (all of which help to ward off corpseball) he has been bringing to the table recently, it seems worth the try.  If we, by chance or miracle, make the playoffs, it would behoove the Sox to make sure Everett is as comfortable as possible hitting off of lefties by that time.  There are a plethora of talented and feisty southpaws that will likely take the mound in the American League playoffs, and I’d rather have Everett facing a Zito or a Pettite, than Rowand.

 

Nancy's Organ and Ballpark Tradition!

 

On another note, there has been much talk on the WSI message boards regarding Nancy Foust’s loss of air-time due to the disc jockey, as well as all of the other technoelectrolucient things that seem to be happening at all times in every direction at The Cell...

 

I would like to weigh in on the side of the traditionalists as well as make some other general remarks regarding the culture at the ballpark.  While I acknowledge the need to direct some of the marketing towards the easily amused youth, Gallas and company are going a bit too far.  Every year the frequency of oppressively electric sights and sounds increase in volume.  Now, seemingly after every foul ball there are strange noises reverberating through the stands that sound like they belong in either a factory or a rave or both.  Perhaps cutting down such sound effects by half would provide a happier medium.  They would not be happening so often that you become numb, and also would not irritate those trying to watch a baseball game, yet would still get an occasional rise out of those who dig such mechanistic sound effects.

 

Furthermore, this season it seems that we get a new scoreboard race every inning.  They are apparently trying to figure out how to race every possible animate, and sometimes inanimate, object.  It freaks me out when I look up at the scoreboard and the salt, the pepper, and the oregano, are neck and neck on the last lap.   I mean come on.  Scoreboard races are not an entirely bad thing, but one or two would be sufficient.

 

Then there is the “make some noise” graphic that pops up on the scoreboard, often at very odd times.  Again, in theory I have no problem with this graphic – if utilized properly it can energize the crowd, thus the team, at the right moment.  Too frequently though this “make some noise” image starts flashing when there is a ho-hum pitching change, or we are down 4 with a runner on in the fourth inning.  The ultimate result is that people stop making “some noise” as soon as the image vanishes from the scoreboard, because there is in reality nothing to make noise about at that time except the command to “make noise”.  This leads to a sudden eerie silence which makes the entire enterprise come off as a bit ridiculous.  My advice to Mr. or Mrs. Scoreboard Operator is to utilize the “make some noise” graphic only at appropriate spots in the game where there is a reason to make noise, thus, acting as a legitimate cue to the audience rather than a brief, awkward, and artificial noise producer with absolutely no value at all.

 

Finally, due to my seats being in the right field reserved section, I have been witnessing a true debacle.  During each of the last two games I’ve attended, a fan has caught an opposing homerun ball and been badgered into throwing it back.  The whole time I’m up and yelling “This ain’t Wrigley!  Don’t do it!  This ain’t a Cubby game!  Keep the ball!”  but I am drowned out by the seven or eight morons chanting “Throw it back! Throw it back!”  Good grief! 

 

The last time this happened I did look around and thankfully noticed several Sox fans frowning in disdain at the “throw it back” chanters, but folks, frowning is not enough.  We have to take action and let these oafs know that we don’t “throw it back” on the south side.  Obviously these people know so little about baseball in Chicago that they think we are all the same.  Please, if this happens in seats near you, I ask that you too stand up and try to communicate (verbally) that we do not throw balls back in The Cell, because, frankly I can’t take this utter Cubby nonsense anymore.   

 


 

Bradley Josesph grew up in Aurora, IL, but now resides in downstate Bloomington where he teaches English at Heartland Community College.  He became an obsessive Sox fan in 1983 when he was 8 years old.  Brad struggles to maintain sanity living in central Illinois because it is saturated with Cubs and Cardinals fans.  Regular attempts to subtly brainwash his students into Sox fans have proven largely unsuccessful.  Brad’s White Sox memories include being struck in the chest by a Carlos Lee homerun ball and catching two foul balls in one game against the Devil Rays while vacationing in Tampa.  Both of these events happened during the glorious 2000 season, leading Brad to consider himself an instrument of cosmologically orchestrated events that were a sure-fire omen of a division title.  He of course is crazy, but in a good way.  Feel free to contact Brad at bwjosep@yahoo.com

 

More Features from Bradley Joseph here!

Have a Thought about
Platooning an All Star?

You Can Put it on the Board -- Yes!

 

 



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