FIRE JOE MORGAN: Bruce Jenkins in the Hizzy


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Monday, November 21, 2005


Bruce Jenkins in the Hizzy

Bruce Jenkins is paid -- every week, presumably -- to write about things for the San Francisco Chronicle. Here's one example of what they get for their money. The subject is new Dodgers' GM Ned Colletti. (Thanks to reader Tony and others for the link.)

Some people in L.A. have expressed concern that Colletti was never a scout, but take our word for it: He sees the game as well as anybody.

He has excellent vision, and his position as GM means he has great seats to every game.

And that's the key: He sees it. He'll take statistics into account, but Colletti is the kind of guy whose first impression of a prospect might be, "There goes a ballplayer" -- and he'll be right.

The secret behind this amazing ability: He identifies them by their uniforms, and the fact that they are holding mitts and bats.

"To me," he says, "how a player approaches the game, how he approaches life, far outweighs what the stat line looks like." For Dodger fans weary of Paul DePodesta's computer-generated philosophies, there is palpable relief.

Really? This is what you want? A guy who actually says that the way a guy "approaches" the game is not as important as how well he plays the game? Look, DePo made some mistakes, and more importantly, he got absolutely housed by injuries. But why there is this sense of snotty "vindication," or something, by people who frown on actual analysis of players' abilities...I just don't understand it. It has the same flavor as a bunch of 19th century noblemen sipping brandy in a drawing room and laughing about the idea that women would get involved in politics, or something. "Well, of course, the very idea of this new approach is ludicrous. But we'll let them have their little fun, and then get back to the way things ought to be."

Along those lines, such mercurial talents as Juan Pierre and Carl Crawford are reportedly available in trade. The "Moneyball" guys can forget them. Way too fast and disruptive. Too much imagination. Too much of a threat to manufacture runs.

If you're going to snidely dismiss us, please cite players we would actually not want. Carl Crawford can play on my Moneyball team anyday. He's 24 years old. His OPS in the last three years has gone .671/.781/.800. His HR have gone 5-11-15. He is awesome. I might take Pierre as well, though his OPS dropped 100 points from 2004-05, and his .326 OBP last year just killed his team.

Also: "too much imagination?" What the effing eff are you talking about? That doesn't mean anything. These two guys do exactly what all baseball players do: they hit, run, and field. Does "imagination" mean "bunting?" Sometimes these two guys bunt. Or does it mean "steal bases?" Because lots of guys do this -- and these two guys do it well. The reason they are good is because they are good hitters and they are fast and play good defense. The reason Crawford is excellent -- and a potential MVP candidate someday, if you ask me -- is because he also hits for power, which Pierre does not do.

And please, please, please, stop using the phrase "manufacture runs." Please. I beg of you. It's really dumb.

The point is, don't criticize something you don't understand, Bruce Jenkins. Because, as the old saying goes, when you criticize something you don't understand, you make an ass out of you.

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