And happily, I am his Pontius Pilate. Hi Juan! Juan's been popping up in a lot of articles recently, and he's the star of an absolute beauty
written by the appealingly named Diamond Leung of the Riverside Press-Enterprise.$44 mil and he still practices bunting: New Dodgers center fielder Pierre a throwback
I award one point to the editor for calling a non-white guy a throwback. Good job. Here is the formula I think is the industry standard:
Non-white guy + 20 hours of bunting practice per week = White enough to be a throwbackQuiet respite from his hectic schedule is hard to come by, but in the seconds before every plate appearance, Juan Pierre makes the sign of the cross and prays in silence.
"Please God, give me the strength to OBP higher than Alfredo Amezaga this year."The Dodgers' new center fielder doesn't ask for a particular result,
And thus, in a little joke of His, God has condemned Pierre to finish first or second in the National League in outs for the last four years running.A manager's favorite, Pierre hasn't taken a day off in five years.
This is actually pretty awesome. Pierre is a durable guy. Unfortunately, his teams the last two years probably would have been better off if he had ceded some games to a guy who could stop making outs at such a prodigious rate.
Oh, and it's four years. Pierre has played in 162 games the last four years. In 2002, he played in 152 games."I just want to be perfect," said the 29-year-old, who reported to spring training early after signing a five-year, $44 million contract this winter. "Every year you have to be more perfect."
Well, he was more perfect in 2006 than 2005, upping his OBP from .326 to .330! Unfortunately, in 2004, when he was good, it was .374. Juan Pierre! With a .374 OBP! Seems like so long ago.But as Dodgers legend Maury Wills said in defense of his new pupil, "Nobody's perfect."
Maury Wills sounds like he's already super down on Juan. "Nobody's perfect" is the best defense you have of your guy? Don't jack up those expectations sky-high, now, Maury.Even Pierre, a powerless throwback to the dead-ball era whose name has been dropped in lyrics by hip-hop icon Jay-Z, can't be all things to all people.
The problem with being a throwback to the dead-ball era is that in the dead-ball era, everyone was hitting with no power, so it wasn't so bad to have 12 career home runs in 4110 career at bats (actually, that probably would've been pretty bad even then). Everyone's balls were dead. (Balls! Ha!) That's why they call it the dead-ball era. Pierre is now playing in a very very live-ball era and he has the power of a small, furry kitten who has been taught to swing a mini-bat.Since 2001, Pierre has the most hits (1,182) in the National League and the most steals (318) in baseball, but he's unloved by statheads armed to the teeth with evidence of his fallibility.
Ha! That's me! My "head" is a "stat." I have a stat where my head should be. And that stat of a head responds: in that time frame, Pierre has the second most outs (2,966) and the most caught stealings (110). Jimmy Rollins has more outs, but he hit 25 home runs last year. Juan Pierre hit three.Pierre didn't commit an error while playing with the Chicago Cubs last year, but critics cite his below-average arm. He stole 58 bases but was caught 20 times. He hit .292 as a leadoff hitter and was the most difficult player to strike out, but his on-base percentage was only 38 points higher than his batting average.
Wow. You did the arguing for me. Thanks.Call him a walking contradiction and you'd be shouted down with a retort that for a fast runner, Pierre doesn't walk much at all -- only 32 in 750 trips to the batter's box last year."That is so ludicrous," said Wills, who revolutionized basestealing in the 1960s. "Who's going to walk Juan Pierre? You're walking a double. They make him hit the ball, and he got 204 hits last year. What do you want?"
Yes, that must be why Rickey Henderson absolutely never walked. What fool pitcher would walk Henderson? (One year, Rickey Henderson walked 126 times and stole 77 bases. Another year, he walked 116 times and stole 130 bases.) Anyone who expects Juan Pierre to be Rickey Henderson must be a total asshole. I am that asshole."All he does is win and will you to win," said Dodgers third base coach Rich Donnelly, who also coached Pierre in Colorado. "The (critics) think a guy who makes the money that he makes should drive in 150, but there are so many things that he does that are not measured by stats -- getting a guy over, stealing a base, taking the extra base."
First of all, I'm pretty sure "stealing a base" is
measured by a stat. The stat is called a "steal." Secondly, steals are incorporated into EqA. That's why Juan Pierre's 2006 OPS+ is a miserable 81, but his 2006 EqA is only slightly below average, at .255. His ability to "will you to win," I grant you, is not currently measurable by stats.
"I gotta do it to survive in this game," said Pierre, who won a World Series ring with Florida in 2003. "I gotta be that much better because of my lack of power and arm strength. I don't look at it as work. It's just fun to me."
That's fine. I fully support Juan Pierre's industriousness. I'm impressed that you made the big leagues, Juan. You obviously did something right. It's not your fault some people think you're a little better than you really are. Congrats on the career and everything."There's only one man you gotta please, and it's the one upstairs," Pierre said. "People even hated God and Jesus. That'll tell you what all the critics do.
Now wait a minute! Because your OBP has fallen off a cliff the last two years, suddenly you're Jesus?
You know what -- now it all makes sense. In Juan Pierre's brain, out-liness is next to godliness. He already increased his out percentage in 2006 to a heavenly .670. In this coming baseball season, I look forward to watching Juan go all out for a perfect OP of 1.000.
I'm pulling for you, Juan!
Labels: diamond leung, god, jesus, juan pierre