Let's take a look at Dennis Tuttle's lineup for his All-Grunt Team
, which he hilariously has christened "The G-r-r-r-unts!"Catcher - Pat Borders MVP of the 1992 World Series for the Blue Jays, vagabond Borders has played for nine big-league teams and spent all or parts of the past seven seasons in the minors. At 42, he's now the Mariners' starting catcher.
Pat Borders this year: 35 games .219/.252/.295/.547 1 HR 7 RBI
Career numbers: .254/.289/.376/.665
Surely there are better examples of "grunts" at the catching posistion. Perhaps some who aren't terrible?First Base - Julio Franco He will be 47 in August, and no one in baseball has a better body. He can still run, play adequate defense and, yes, he batted .309 last year in 320 at-bats. In his 21st big-league season, why should he stop?
I don't really have a problem with this. It is pretty amazing what Franco is doing this year. But let's check ourselves before we wreck ourselves by claiming that nobody in baseball has a better body than Julio Franco. Unless "better" means that Dennis Tuttle has done some epidemiological studies and proven that Franco's body ages differently than other humans. In which case I would use the word "scientifically anomolous."Second Base - Craig Counsell He does absolutely nothing skillwise above average -- except win. A major component of the '97 Marlins and '01 Diamondbacks championship teams, he's smart, gritty and does all the little non-stat stuff that wins games.
Do you realize that you're saying that Craig Counsell is bad at baseball but since he was lucky enough to be on two very good (and very lucky) teams, he's all of a sudden awesome? Can we stop using the number of championships a guy has won to argue how good he is? Because if we don't, get ready for my upcoming treatise on why Lenny DiNardo is the greatest pitcher ever.Shortstop - Guess The Fuck Who? At a generous 5-foot-7 and 165 pounds, Eckstein has used work ethic, desire and heart to defy the, uh, sizable odds of starting in the big leagues. All he does is hustle, get on base, make the plays and get the "big" hits.
I have nothing more to say about David Eckstein. But excellent plays on words, Dennis. Nice touch.Third Base - Ryan Freel A player of many positions, Freel is so insistent on playing somewhere that he carries 10 different gloves, including Ruben Mateo's outfield model and Brandon Larson's third-base mitt. And where are those guys?
There are a maximum of nine positions on a baseball field. What's more, there are only really 5 different types of gloves. I'm thinking Freel might just be nuts. Anyway, this gives me absolutely no idea why Freel is good at baseball. You know what does? His .407 OBP. How 'bout mentioning that?Outfield - Guess the Fuck Who? (Part II) A speedy leadoff guy plagued by injuries, Podsednik bounced among three organizations in the minors before sticking with the Brewers in 2003 and winning NL Rookie of the Year. Traded to the White Sox in the offseason, he has been their catalyst atop the AL Central.
I have nothing more to say about Scott Podsednik. (He's wildly overrated.)Outfield - Brady Clark One of the hardest-working players in the game, at age 32, Clark doesn't take a day in the majors for granted after being undrafted, released twice and traded once while in the minors. "Whenever my career is over, I don't want to have any regrets. I just want to know that every time I stepped on the field, I did my best."
This I have no problem with. Brady Clark is actually putting up decent numbers for a guy who, by his mere presence on this list, is a mediocre player.Outfield - Jason Bay Called a grinder by scouts, Bay, the 2004 NL Rookie of the Year, was a 22nd-round pick and part of the deal that sent Brian Giles to San Diego. All he does is hit, get on base and drive in runs.
C'mon, Dennis. the guy was a ROY and an all-star. This may actually be talent we're seeing here. I don't care how scrappy and Canadian he is.Starting Pitcher - Livan Hernandez A true throwback who refuses to look at pitch counts or innings, Hernandez also refuses to be pinch hit for and hates coming out of the game with a lead. Go ahead, try situational pitching changes with him. Frank Robinson stands down.
Wow. Touching on a subject we've already tackled here on FJM, Dennis Tuttle actually refers to a non-white player as a "throwback." Kudos. That said, this is the only other non-caucasoid player on this list, so we can all see that the scrappiness racism that pervades baseball commentary is alive and well.Relief Pitcher - Terry Mulholland Spot starter, long reliever, one batter -- you name it, and this 42-year-old bulldog will take the ball any time. No questions. More than 650 appearances over 19 seasons for nine teams.
Whoa, there Dennis. Just because he'll take the ball doesn't mean you should give it to him. Since 1994, do you know how many years he posted a sub 4.00 ERA? One. His career K/BB is less than 2. Hang on to that ball, Dennis.DH - Kevin Millar Always eager to play and a royal pain when he doesn't, Millar carries mitts for third and first and two models for the outfield, saying, "If they need me to play somewhere, I have a glove."
What is it about Tuttle and gloves? They say Willie Mays was the greatest player ever, not because of his hitting or fielding, but for the fact that he brought well over 3,800 gloves to every game. And another thing, Dennis. In your fantasyland of "grunty" players, is it actually a good thing when players bitch about playing time? Because in real baseball world it's frowned upon.
His final two players are Placido Polanco and Orlando Palmeiro, and he doesn't really say anything dumb about them. Perhaps he was sleepy. Like I am now.
Maybe we have more in common than we think, Dennis Tuttle.
Your New Best Friend,