There's encyclopedic knowledge inside this man, everything he knows ...
Who do you think we're talking about here? Bill Gates? Some sort of male version of Marilyn Vos Savant? Dick Wikipedia? Wait. The sentence begins an article
written by a guy named Rich Draper. And it's on mlb.com. And in its entirety, it looks like this:SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- There's encyclopedic knowledge inside this man, everything he knows -- and was never afraid to ask -- about playing the outfield.
Uh oh. This is starting to smell a little funny. Sort of puff-piece-y. I'm still open to guesses, though. Willie Mays? Ichiro's dad who happens to be visiting Scottsdale, Arizona for some reason?Giants center fielder Steve Finley has a master's degree in physics on the infinite art of snaring fast-flying objects, where hand-eye coordination and foot speed are merely basic elements.
Oh, Lordy lord lord f. Steve Finley? Fun fact: if you Google
steve finley defense
you get, on the first page of results, phrases like
"Finley’s defense had already gone south,"
"Finley's defense last season was likely in the -10 range,"
"Finley will actually hurt the already bad San Francisco outfield defense," and
"Finley's defense has really slipped."
That last phrase comes from an article written in 2004. I'm not kidding. Try it. Unlike most fun facts, this one is actually fun to verify.
Oh yeah, you have to run after the ball like a border collie chasing a Frisbee, but Finley can spend hours discussing every brain-firing synapse involved in outfield play, aspects of the game akin to Einstein's E=mc2 theory.
What? I'm not even angry about the hyperbole here (okay, that is an absolute lie); what the hell is he talking about? As far as I know, a synapse is a junction between two neurons, between which electrical or chemical signals are passed. How can a synapse fire a brain? (Fun fact: if you Google for "brain-firing synapse" (with quotes) you get zero results.) Never mind the 5th-grade level "Einstein is my go-to smart guy and I only know one scientific equation" comparison. An acknowledged pro's pro outfielder,
Again, what? This is clumsy. Acknowledged by whom? Other pros? Isn't that implicit in the phrase "pro's pro"? Which is itself a meaningless cliche?the 17-year veteran and five-time Gold Glove Award winner returns to the National League -- after a season's hiatus in Anaheim -- with San Francisco for 2006, and he brings with him information on West division hitters that he stores on his inner PDA.
He also brings with him a sweet .271 OBP from last year (and an OPS+ of 73). But we're talking about his fielding, sorry. No, wait, you're going to mention his offense now.An early shoulder injury hampered Finley's offense last year, but the two-time All-Star is healthy now, and he's three homers away from joining Willie Mays as the only players in baseball to compile at least 425 doubles, 100 triples, 300 homers and 300 stolen bases in a career.
Ah, the legendary 425-100-300-300 Club. Mr. 425-100-300-300
is the title of the sequel to Mr. 3000
, I believe. Those numbers are horrendously arbitrary. It's Finley's defense, though, that causes jaws to drop. The man is a complete package, and he doesn't mind saying it.
Last year, according to Baseball Prospectus
, Finley was 1 run below average as a center fielder."I feel there [are] guys who can hit more home runs than me, guys who can run faster than me or are better than me in center field, but I don't know if there [are] too many guys who can put it together more than I can," said Finley, who turns 41 on March 12.
Yes, yes, yes, and in fact, yes there are, Steve Finley. Oh, you were a fine player in the mid- to late Nineties, and even managed a few good seasons in the early Aughts. But honestly, at 41, no one expects you to be even marginally better than a replacement player. In any facet of the game. Also, here is my list of guys who can "put it together" more than you can:
Gary Matthews, Jr.
Pretty much every starting MLB center fielder
Many AAA center fielders
A handful of AA guys, any position
Some Japanese dudes? Probably
I hear there's some guys in Turkey who play on the weekend like twice a year"Especially the knowledge of how to play hitters," he said, "knowing where they like to hit the ball on 2-0 counts, 0-2 counts, with guys in scoring position, different situations of the game. It just goes on and on, and I don't have to think about it. It just happens."
Wow. He really thinks he's awesome.Finley has seen, heard and felt thousands and thousands of airborne baseballs, and there are veterans who claim the new Giant can manipulate gravity -- absolutely will it -- to make balls land in his soft Wilson gamer glove.
Who are these veterans? I demand a list. I will post it at TheFollowingMLBPLayersThinkSteveFinleyIsAMagicalBeingCapableOfTelekinesis.com
The article goes on and on, but I've lost the will to continue commentary. I'll leave you with this:"Some teams look good on paper, and this is one of them," he says. "We've got a lot of great young talent and veterans who can play. That's the big key for us."
I actually really like the way he finishes that first sentence. So often you hear "some teams look good on paper" and then the person says, "but the GAMES are played on the FIELD," as if that's some sort of revelation. Oh, the FIELD!! That's where they play the GAMES of BASEBALL that I'm watching!!
I do, however, take issue with his claim that the Giants look all that good on paper. Plus, the "big key" for you is that you have a lot of great young talent and veterans who can play? That is the most generic big key I've ever heard. You know what my "big key" is for the Yankees, a team that will be awesome? Their baseball ability. That will be the key.
Labels: rich draper, steve finley