FIRE JOE MORGAN: Gallimaufry Time!


Where Bad Sports Journalism Came To Die

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007


Gallimaufry Time!

I'm kind of in the zone right now, posting-wise, so let's keep it going with a little thing we like to call:

Tim writes in and sez:

Just read your comments on Woody Paige's column about the Hall of Fame and had to point 1 thing out. The "Primarily a DH" comment concerning Jim Rice irks me. Paige is making a claim without bothering to look up anything to support it.

Jim Ed played 1543 games in the OF and 530 as a DH. In fact, he had only 3 seasons in which he played DH in more games than he played the OF. 1989 when he only played 55 games, all as the DH. 1988 when he was 35 years old and past his prime, and 1977 when the other OF options were Lynn, Evans, and Yaz. Between 1980 and 1987, Rice played an astounding 41 games as a DH.

This took me 2 seconds to look up, but I guess what Woody Paige recalls about the last 2 years of Rice's career is more important than what really happened.
I would have been ok if he had just said... he never lived up to his potential, or his career was over by the time he was 34, or even ... he was a poor defensive OFer, but he went with... he was primarily a DH.

To put Rice's designated hitting in perspective, Paul Molitor played 1174 out of 2683 career games as a DH... but his hands were just so damn quick.

Thanks, Tim. I wish I had done that research. But I did not. And that's why I love the invention of the

We'll keep things going with Trey. This one is very important, so pay attention:

Just to add to the Eckstein discussion, I was the sports editor at the University of Florida when Eckstein played and I think you might reevaluate his scrappiness once you realize how many times he was hit by pitch in his collegiate career -- a school record 41 times! As I recall, he led the NCAA as a Senior and had a shot at the all-time Div. I record, but didn't quite make it.

I can't seem to verify any of this since this was just on the verge of the Internet being a useful historical tool and even now I can't really find NCAA records ... but I am certain we ran a particularly adorable cartoon with a caricature of cute lil' Eck taking a pitch in his tiny bird-sized chest and tumbling down with the caption Hitting the Deck(stein) or something like that. Even now, I can't decide the best way to punctuate that particular play on words. (Just found some UF stats -- Eck was HBP 25 times in 64 games in 1997.)

First off, I love this email very much. I love that people were ironically onto how "scrappy" Eckstein is, as far back as 1996. Second of all, I very much desire a copy of this cartoon. If anyone out there has a copy -- as unlikely as that may be -- I beg of you to scan it and email it to me forthwith. In return, you will receive a personal email from me, commending you for your duty and service in the name of American Freedom, as well as the knowledge that a crappy print-out of it will hang over my desk at Fremulon Insurance, Inc. as long as I am alive and working there.

But enough about Fremulon Insurance, Inc. Let's keep things moving with more of the

Stan asks:

Is that you in that Joe-Morgan-buying-a-beer-and-a-dog video? You're old.

No, it is not me. That is my son, Ken Jr. I am much older.

Justin chimes in on the Bob Elliott/NAMBLA David Eckstein Fluff(er) Piece:

I also especially like that when talking about how MLB needs to be cleaned up and have its image improved, Elliott then compares Eckstein to.... Pete Rose, one of the few men ever completely banned from baseball. Well-done, Bob.

Yey verily, love of Eckstein is a corruptive force. Besides melting men's hearts, L'il Eck will sometimes melt their minds, in a Death in Venice kind of way.

The Allan Ryan post, wherein he typed "David Eckstein scrappy" into Google and then wrote that fact into his article, let to a flurry of similar experiments. First, Andrew:

In light of your recent post, I typed in "Alex Rodriguez Scrappy" to google, and it gave me the following results:

Results 1 - 10 of about 59,000 for alex rodriguez scrappy (0.27 seconds)

That's more than 10 times as many results, and for whatever ridiculous reason, it's faster, too.

Telling. Now we have Nicholas:

Just thought I would let you know I googled "David Eckstein crappy" and I got 11,900 possible hits in 0.31 seconds. So not only is it lazy journalism for using scrappy, he hasn't even investigated all possibilities...

Get on that, journalists. I want a google search result for all like 10^72 possible results of "David Eckstein" and any other combination of letters.

James chimes in with a question that elegantly allows us to use the coveted "Food Metaphors" label:

I'm not entirely sure what the etymology of the word "scrappy" is. It has two meanings, one of which is "made of scraps" which I suppose could describe David Eckstein since he looks like the Good Lord made him out of the leftovers from real adults, but I think when the sportswriters use it they generally mean he's a fighter. I'm not sure, but I'd wager that this meaning of scrappy comes from a willingness of hungry people to fight over small scraps of food. Food metaphor?

My Condensed O.E.D. has scrap as lME, and the resultant scrappy as chiefly North American, though the quote below scrappy is Thackeray: "There is a dreadfully scrappy dinner, the evident remains of a party." Interestingly -- or not, depending largely if you're even still reading this -- there is a N. Amer colloq. for "scrapper," which is "a fish that is hard to land once caught." This seems as apt a description of Eckstein's style of play as any.

The point is: food metaphor, definitely, for all of this.

Finally, let's end the

with a message of hope from Benjamin:

FYI, a year or two ago I was quite drunk in the Wrigley Field bleachers at a Cubs/Cards game while David Eckstein was warming up in the outfield. I yelled "David Eckstein, you are scrappy!!!!" He laughed and pointed at me and all the other players laughed as well. So I think even he realizes how stupid this is.
Let's hope so, friend. Let's hope so.

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