FIRE JOE MORGAN: Ryne Sandberg: Brief But Idiotic


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Tuesday, July 26, 2005


Ryne Sandberg: Brief But Idiotic

Really amazing. It's his list of the 10 players he respects the most. It's an amazing combination of the most obvious statements, coupled with some really bizarre choices with virtually no back-up. I guess it's the guys he respects the most, and I don't really know how to disprove him. Still though, just try to read through without shaking your head.

Let's start with the first sentence:
"I can't believe the Hall of Fame inductions are less than a week away."

>>Huh. I can.
I know that it's a popular phrase of exaggeration to use, but it's still funny to me that he'd choose to write that. I like to picture him waking up, checking his calendar, seeing a big ol' red circle around Sunday (when he's being inducted into the HOF) and thinking to himself: "Wha? That can't be right..." Then shouting: "Honey?! Did you mess with my calendar? I'm getting Punk'd, aren't I."

Okay, onto the list. It's mostly contemporaries of his, but then he goes back for some oldies:

Willie Mays – He probably was the best defensive outfielder ever. I loved how he combined speed with power.

Joe DiMaggio – Obviously I never saw him play, but I always have respected the way he was a true professional. He was a great player and an American idol.

>>He never saw Dimaggio play. But he respected how he was a true professional. Why? He doesn't say. It seems to me that this happens quite often: players put up huge numbers, get elected into the Hall, and the best thing someone can say about them is how professional they were. Stand-up guy. Always gave his all. Put his pants on one leg at a time. Great teammate. And on and on.

In reality, their professionalism is probably the thing they shared in common with their peers the most. They all showed up to play the game. They all had the same job. Very few players are "bad seeds," or total dickheads, or show up late for games or lack "professionalism" in some serious way. Even if Ryno had reasons for why Joltin' Joe was a true professional, I'd probably respond by saying: "aren't most players like that?" Fortunately for us, Ryno doesn't even try to support his claim.

Now, he never saw Willie Mays play neither, but that doesn't stop him from proclaiming him the best defensive outfielder ever. Probably.

Back to the list:

Andre Dawson – Another teammate of mine who was a great professional. He hit 49 home runs in 1987, and it seemed like he was going deep every other day.

>>What the hell was so great about Andre Dawson that made him more professional than any of Ryno's other teammates? Was Keith Moreland kind of a jerk? Did Leon Durham complain about having to play baseball? Was Jody Davis some kind of amateur? Did Steve Trout bang Ryno's wife?

Also: "It seemed like he was going deep every other day." Well, he wasn't. It only seemed that way. He hit a lot of homers, yes, but let's not give the Hawk extra credit just because in your (Ryno's) brain, it seemed like he was hitting 90. I'm about 2/3 of the way through your article, and it seems like you're an idiot. But I'll wait for the results of your Stanford-Binet intelligence test to come back. Unless you put someone crazy on your list, like, I dunno, Larry Bowa or something. Then I'd be pretty sure that you're an idiot. That would never happen though, right?

(Side note: In 1987, when Dawson hit 49 taters, his OBP was 328, 16 points below league average. He had a great year, no doubt. But it wasn't that great.)

Back to the list:

Larry Bowa – We were traded together from the Phillies, and when I came over to the Chicago Cubs, he was at short and I was at third base. He showed me how to prepare for a game – from taking ground balls before the game to the mental preparation of facing a pitcher.

>>I mean, I guess I know what he's talking about. But I still like to think that Ryno had absolutely no idea how to take ground balls before the game until he got to the Cubs. Then, say, one night in May before a game in San Diego, a young Larry Bowa pulled him aside. "Hey kid. When the first baseman throws the ball to you, on the ground, field it the way you would if it were a game. And then throw it back to him. 'Kay kid?" Bowa then walked back to his place at short, and would eventually find his place in immortality, on Ryne Sandberg's list of 10 players he respects the most.

A list that includes Willie Mays, Joe DiMaggio, Hank Aaron, and Babe Ruth.
No, wait! I'm sorry -- did I say Babe Ruth? I meant LARRY BOWA. Babe Ruth is not on the list. Larry Bowa is.

posted by dak  # 4:09 AM
I'm going to stick up for Rhino here. The list is players he respected, not players he considered great. If he wants to throw freakin' Todd Benzinger on that list, God Bless. Personal opinion; not necessarily stat-based at all.
I only sort of agree with you. As I said, you can't disprove that these aren't the players he most respects. He can pick whatever players he wants.

I just think the reasons he gave were either so obvious as to be not worth mentioning, or weird, baseless impressions about how "professional" some players were as opposed to others.

And in that respect, I maintain that it's terrible sports journalism
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