October 29, 2006

The Further Adventures Of Dirtid Gritstein

Update: Poster Yaz-Tex meets Tito on a plane! See comments.


Anyone sick of the media gushing over lil' David Eckstein?

The undoubtedly-now-completely-insane people over at Fire Joe Morgan sure are. Click here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and (this one is out of chronological order, but I wanted to save it for last) HERE.

Ken Tremendous also pretty much destroys any defense of Jeter winning the Aaron Award for the best offensive performance.


L-girl said...

I won't click on those links, but I hope they included that idiot Griffin who writes for the Toronto Star. The headline was something like "Gritty Little Eckstein Proves 'We Believed In Ourselves'".


9casey said...

Granted, It is a little sickening , all the gritty talk. But I would take him on the sox anyday. He will always give you .280 and also plays a solid short. And a bargain at 3 mil a year....

redsock said...

Griffin is in there!

Here is Eckstein's OPS+ for every season of his career:

84, 103, 79, 77, 98, 81.

Career: 88.

100 is league average -- and this is what he managed to do from age 26 to 31 -- traditionally thought of as a player's peak years. Several of the FJM posts discuss how wildly overrated he is.

I'd waste a bench spot for him, but that's it.

Then again, Alex Gonzalez (77 in 2006 and 78 for his career) is worse. In only 2 of his 9 seasons has he had an OPS+ over 85. Jesus, that is BAD! But he can field.

Players like Gritty McWhitehair are a dime a dozen.

9casey said...

He maybe a dime a dozen.....and also a great bench player...The guy averages 150 hits a season. Thats all. Gonzalez did that once...I f we have resorted to slick fielding shortstop with no bat then we keep Gonzalez.....Or do what Theo wants to do and throw 7 million at Julio Lugo....Yippee ....I will save you the time his OPS+ is 92. Or we could sign someone who used to play shortstop a very long time ago his OPS+ is 130.

Yaz-Tex said...

Takes On A Plane

Boarded my flight in Orange County on Friday afternoon, delighted to have secured an upgrade to first for my flight back to DFW. As I approached my assigned seat in 6B, I found a somewhat disheveled looking man asleep in my seat - none other than Tito Francona.

Despite my suggestion that I simply take another seat, the flight attendant insisted that she check his boarding pass and, upon awakening him, he discovered that his assigned seat was 5A, and that he had taken mine by mistake. I told him I would gladly switch, and he thanked me and went back to sleep.

Having read of his recent foot infection and subsequent surgery that sidelined him from the upcoming MLB tour of Japan, I deduced that he was on his way back to Boston, connecting through DFW after checking out of the hospital in the OC.

The flight back was uneventful as I decompressed with a couple of Amstels, while I managed to catch a few glimpses of Tito snoozing blissfully as I went to/from the forward lav. Prior to landing, I noticed that I had a recent copy of ESPN Magazine in my briefcase, the one that featured the top all-time moments in MLB playoff history, with a nice picture of Dave Roberts sliding in ahead of Jeter's tag on the SB Heard 'Round The World.

Once we touched down, I turned around, introduced myself as a member of The Nation, and asked if I could impose on him to autograph the photo of Roberts' steal. He did so unhesitatingly.

As we waited for the jetway to be pulled to the plane, I asked him a few questions. Yes, he was glad to be out of the hospital, and he seemed truly disappointed that he wasn't going to be able to make the Japan trip due to his surgery.

On the MFY's decision to pick Sheffield, he flatly stated that this was purely a defensive move to keep Sheff out of Boston, and predicted that NYY would eventually rescind the option. He professed a strong personal relationship with Sheffield (I had forgotten they played together in MIL when Sheff was a rookie), and grew animated when he talked of the possibility of having that ferocious bat in his lineup.

He was almost paternal when descibing his delight in having Timlin back for one more year, and professed no surprise that TEX had finally shown Buck Showalter the gate. He spoke of a player revolt that had grown under Showalter's blistering managing style, and when asked what he would think of seeing Michael Young playing short for the Red Sox one day, he grinned ear-to-ear.

As our flight was late into DFW, Francona feared he would miss his connection to Boston, so we hung out at the top of the jetway while he waited to speak with an AA agent. He asked about life in Texas, how I liked it compared to growing up in New England, and I found myself looking at this guy in a much different light than I had ever before.

What impressed me the most was that he was simply and purely a nice guy. We agreed to have dinner if he had missed the last flight to Boston, but fortunately for him (and sadly for me), the DFW-BOS flight had also been delayed and he could therefore make his flight.

We shook hands, and I thanked him for 2004 and everything that it meant for me as I life-long Red Sox fan. I watched him walk away, limping slightly as he pulled his roller-bag through the terminal, gradually engulfed by the sea of humanity that is DFW Airport on a Friday evening.

Strangely, it seemed odd that the manager of the 2004 World Champion Boston Red Sox would be traveling alone, a sort of Tito Incognito. You would think that for all his millions, John Henry might have thought it the decent thing to do to send a plane for him, even though he was not traveling on company business.

Makes you wonder.

Peter N said...

YT, what a great and illuminating and engrossing piece. Tito comes across as such a nice guy, and your personal encounter just confirms that view. Thank you so very much. I was enthralled.

Woti-woti said...

As an 11-year old who didn't make Little League for 'being too small', I'm supposed to like gritty little guys. I don't, and Eckstein is the poster boy for why not.
Now, can we see a series of articles about what downtown Detroit is really like?
BTW, Yaz-tex, great take. Somehow, Tito incognito (another good one) doesn't surprise me. Although neither would Youks carrying his baggage.

Jack Marshall said...

Great account Yaz-tek! Did anyone really doubt that Tito was a nice guy?

1) But boy, I hope the Sox resist signing any long-in-the-tooth sluggers like Sheffield...especially long-in-the-tooth sluggers with steroid reps hanging around them. Bad risk all around, and if Shef has turned into a "good clubhouse guy," I'll eat my hat.
2) Surely Casey is joking about Nomar. This was one of his GOOD health years, and he still missed about a month. Of "the Three Young Shortstops," of the 90s, he's the one who won't be in the Hall of Fame.
3) Eckstein over-rated? Sure..just like Jerry Remy. It still was dumb of the Sox to just release him.
4) Does anyone see the Sox re-signing any of the early Sox free agents? Nixon: no. Kaplar: I hope no. Mirabelli: maybe.

9casey said...

Great stuff Yaz. I was joking about Nomar. Overrated is another subjective arguement. I tend to see overated in Baseball as money such as the Mussina's and Giambi"S
of the world at 3.3 million I see Eckstein as a bargain.

redsock said...

Great post, Y-T. Too bad your dinner plans fell through. You missed the big question: What blogs does he read?

If the Sox go after Sheffield, I will seriously question Theo's sanity.

Does anyone see the Sox re-signing any of the early Sox free agents? Nixon: no. Kaplar: I hope no. Mirabelli: maybe.

I know Belly's a folk hero and all -- and he's got the cushiest job since Ringo -- but he flat-out sucks as a hitter. In 2006, he recalled the glory days of Marc "Nepotism" Sullivan. We can do better than that.

L-girl said...

I know Belly's a folk hero and all -- and he's got the cushiest job since Ringo -- but he flat-out sucks as a hitter.

He flat-out sucks as an anything. He must be the Sox's most replaceable player. The fans will learn to live without him.

L-girl said...

Now, can we see a series of articles about what downtown Detroit is really like?

It's not a bad city, as far as the US Midwest goes. It has its good points.

But I'm sure you know, never look to baseball announcers to know anything about a city. They never see anything more than the park and the hotel.

Announcers always gush about how Camden Yards and the Jake revitalized Baltimore and Cleveland. Lots of national chains around the ballpark, then you walk two blocks away, and it's the same old unemployment and run-down stores you see everywhere.

Zenslinger said...

Nice writing, Yaz.

The last Eckstein piece was a genuine laugh-out-loud experience.

Woti-woti said...

Sox re-resignings? 'Belli--in the name of anything that's holy, please, NO! How about a real backup catcher? Barajas, maybe?

Nixon and Kapler are part of the same outfield quandary. NO to both of them, but how to replace is the problem. Think of A's having 3 CF's in the OF, then think of Sox OF defense. Not pretty. Both Coco and WMP seem to have terrible first-steps on some fly balls (and not just getting fooled on over-swings, which happens to lots of OFers). I heard McAdam say last night that he doubted Manny would go anywhere because Sox wouldn't get value. Poor old Sean actually sounded disappointed. WMP needs to play every day to fulfill that great potential. I hate baling on Coco cuz of the injuries (don't forget the kidney stones), but getting good value for him may be the key. Dazed and confused here.

Jack Marshall said...

Oh, I'm with you on Belly...I thought the Cla-Bard trade was a panic move, and it may well go down as the reverse equivilent of Slocum for Lowe/Tek. He is a very good defensive catcher, however...but there are a lot of those.
I'd sure like to see Coco healthy for a year before giving up on him, but Manny, Coco and WMP does sound like a nightmare outfield defensively. Which Sox OF was worse...let's see: Troy O'Leary, Dwayne Hosey and Kevin Mitchell, maybe? There haven't been many.

redsock said...

I thought the Cla-Bard trade was a panic move, and it may well go down as the reverse equivilent of Slocum for Lowe/Tek.

Theo has pretty much admitted it was a panic move.

I don't see the deal being that bad. Can Bard become another Varitek? I doubt it. ... Then again, does The Cla Face exist?