If the hyphenate "Lunch-Pail" occurs in the title of your sports article ...
... you just might be the subject of an FJM post.
Thank you. Thank you.
And thank you, Mr. Benjamin Shpigel of the Times of New York, for the inspiration. For it seems that you much admire
the, shall we say, intangible
qualities demonstrated by one Mr. Paul Lo Duca during the course of his playing of the game of baseball, and that additionally, you are very much looking forward to his performances with the Metropolitans of Queens this season. Fair enough. He may very well be an "underdog," a "dynamic clubhouse presence" (your words, not mine), and "everything you like to see in a winner" (Jim Tracy's words, not yours or mine).
But -- and forgive me, as finding fault in the work of others is my gift and my curse -- might I also point out that in your very article exalting the man's character, there is an example of conduct perhaps unbecoming of Mr. Lunch-Pail America? To wit: in 2000, Mr. Lo Duca, while in the employ of the Los Angeles Dodgers, believed himself to be ready to start in the major leagues, but General Manager Kevin Malone did not share this opinion. After Mr. Malone informed Mr. Lo Duca of his decision, what did Mr. Lo Duca do?"I went berserk, tore up the locker room and everything," Lo Duca said.Grit
, you might say. Passion for the game. Heart. Fire. World Series-caliber leadership. Jeterian.
But imagine if a certain ex-Dodger / board game proprietor had done the same thing? Would we be saluting the method by which he transports and protects his midday meal? After all, this wasn't even a team loss -- it was an individual slight.
Let us not forget Mr. Shpigel's closing argument:Lo Duca thrived, hitting .320 with 25 homers, and his presence was soon felt behind the plate. In 2002, the Dodgers had the fifth-best earned run average. In 2003, when they scored the fewest runs in the major leagues (574) but still finished 85-77, they had a 3.16 E.R.A., the best in the majors by nearly half a run. Then last season, Lo Duca's only full season in Florida, Dontrelle Willis recovered from a subpar 2004 and Todd Jones rebounded to post 40 saves.
Lo Duca indeed had a remarkable 2001 season at the plate, with an eye-popping OPS+ of 144, a full 44 points higher than any other season in his career. Since then, he's been a merely adequate hitter, even for a catcher. To credit him for the outstanding performance of the 2003 Dodger pitching staff is, to put it mildly, lunacy. What percentage of Kevin Brown's 211 innings of 2.39 ERA ball can be attributed to Lo Duca? Eric Gagne's 82.3 innings at 1.20?
No, pitching is primarily that: pitching. And it's done by pitchers, the men who throw balls over the plate, or don't. Certainly catchers can have an effect on ERA, but to sneakily imply that Lo Duca is responsible for Dontrelle Willis' 2005 or Todd Jones' rebirth is like blaming all of Cheaper by the Dozen 2
on Piper Perabo.
If Paul Lo Duca compels Victor Zambrano to a sub-1.20 WHIP, I will manger
Labels: benjamin shpigel, paul lo duca