It doesn't matter that it was written two and half weeks ago. This column
will live on through the ages. They will speak the name of this column and shudder in fear and awe. This is the ur-column.
Pierre and Plaschke, a pairing like prosciutto and melon, like mini-golf and beer, like Travolta and Cage. Behold.Dodgers' Juan Pierre is right where he belongs
I would argue that Pierre would belong better in the cast of the movie Gosford Park
than atop a major league lineup.VERO BEACH, Fla. -- There's a boxer in the house.
There's a tiresome stylistic contrivance in the house.
"Yeah, last year, I got beat up pretty good," says Juan Pierre.
There's defiance in the house.
You see how he brought "in the house" back for another spin? You see that? That's what it takes to play in the writing big leagues, son. Take notes. Repetitive notes. Fragmented notes.
Poetic notes."If people really think the reason we lost last year was because my arm wasn't strong enough, or because I didn't get on base enough, hey, that's cool, I'll be the man, I'll take it," says Pierre.
Look, spare me the martyr shit, dude. A guy who loses his house to a tornado is a victim. You ain't no victim. The Dodgers lost for a bunch of reasons. It definitely did not help them that they gave the guy with the second-worst OBP on the team the most ABs.There's resolve in the house.
"I'm coming into this season with a chip on my shoulder . . . just like every season," says Pierre.
Does that mean we can expect EqAs of .256, .253 and .255 (Pierre's last three chip-shouldered seasons)? Maybe you should try playing happy or somethin'. Mix it up.Fans don't appreciate him. Statisticians can't calculate him.
No. No no no no no no no. They can. They really can. They did
. They are
. The fact that you, Bill Plaschke, for some reason believe that Juan Pierre plays an entirely different, incalculable, unknowable, ineffable, ethereal, spiritual, intangible, holy, effervescent, incorporeal, bioluminescent, antioncogenic game that is emphatically not
baseball does not make it so.
They have run the numbers, and they are ugly.Bloggers downright brutalize him.
This is akin to saying "Everyone who has written on a typewriter despises rabbits." Blogging is a medium, nothing more. It is not a religion. It is not a creed. We do not all think in lockstep. This is a motherfucking boring-ass recording.I like him.
Boom! The Plaschke turn. You thought I was going one way and then I went the other
-- Plaschke-style. Let me show you how it's done:
"Most people hate turtle shit. They say it's stinky. They say it's runny. They say it doesn't serve a purpose anymore in today's workaday world.
I like it."Now that the Dodgers have added Rafael Furcal's health and Andruw Jones' pop, I think Juan Pierre's presence at the top of the lineup will be as oversized as his cap.
Um, is he going to get any better at, you know, hitting and stuff? He's turning 31 this year. He's been very bad, I don't know if you've been watching the Dodger baseball team or anything...
Now that the Dodgers have moved him to left field, I think Juan Pierre will fit as easily there as his bat fits on a bunt.
Because if at all possible, you want your left fielder to slug .353.Now that Joe Torre is installing an aggressive running game, I think Pierre's ability on the basepaths will be as evident as the dirt streaks on his jersey.
Is he really going to steal more than the 64 bases he stole last year? That would be a terrible sign because it would mean he would be eating up like 700 plate appearances. Also: will baseball writers ever tire of mentioning dirt streaks as a proxy for baseball skill? Perhaps when we move to silicon-based fields, as I am proposing we do in 2011.Now that it can be a complement instead of a cornerstone, I think the idea of Juan Pierre will work.
New euphemism for "shit player": "complement.""My game is not pretty, it's just not pretty," Pierre says. "You have to be an old-school guy to appreciate it."
Your game is extremely pretty. It's exciting to watch guys take huge leads, play cat and mouse with the pitcher, kick up dirt when they slide. It invigorates the crowd. Kids love it. This is the best thing about your game
-- its entertainment value. Casual fans probably love watching you play, and I don't blame them. You're f.u.n.!!!
Yours is a crowd-pleasing style all in all, Mr. Pierre -- so it stands to reason that if the crowd has turned on you, well, things probably aren't going well, are they?That's one more reason this will be a good year for Juan Pierre.
Torre is one of those old-school guys who appreciates him.
"He does things the right way," Torre says.
If I were implausibly saintly The Wire
Season 5 character Baltimore Sun
City Editor Augustus "Gus" Haynes, I would slide my wise-person glasses down my wise, wise nose and pithily growl, "Cut that quote." Because it's the billionth time we've read that about the millionth different player, and it doesn't add anything. It detracts.Contrary to the winter hopes of many Dodgers fans, Torre's lineups have indicated that Pierre will be the starting left fielder ahead of Andre Ethier.
It makes sense.
Sure it makes sense. Andre Ethier is a major-league caliber player who gets on base, hits for some power, plays good defense, has a decent throwing arm, and is currently 25 years old. Juan Pierre is a professional longshoreman who has convinced a baseball team to pay him tens of millions of dollars despite the fact that he cannot get on base, cannot hit for power, runs borderline-insane routes in the outfield, and has an arm so feeble he struggles to open jars of kalamata olive tapenade.
What's the issue here?Pierre adds an irreplaceable speed component to the top of the Dodgers order. And, in left field, what Pierre lacks in arm, he can overcome with that speed.
That too. What Pierre lacks in OBP (twenty points to Ethier last year), he can overcome with speed. What Pierre lacks in EqA (eighteen points), he can overcome with speed. His zero homers -- well, he's fast. His 32 extra-base hits -- he's speedy. His team worst 75 OPS+ -- guy can motor.
"Johnny Damon never had much of an arm, we moved him to left field, it worked out fine," says Torre. "You can offset that kind of arm with your aggressive play. You can get good jumps, get to balls that other guys can't."
Johnny Damon is on the downslide. Johnny Damon is 34 years old. Johnny Damon was never a big power hitter. Johnny Damon has like fifty-nine different injuries. Last year Johnny Damon out-OPSed Juan Pierre by 62 points. It was Johnny's worst season in seven years.Pierre also brings something that, during last season's doldrums, everyone seemed to forget.
You can find it in a locked box in his Fort Lauderdale home.
It is the severed finger of Angela Lansbury.He's one of only three Dodgers with a World Series ring.
But the finger -- the finger is what will lead the Dodgers to victory. Well, it'll have about as much impact, anyway.
You know who else has a Florida Marlins 2003 World Series ring? Ugueth Urbina
. The evidence is conclusive: World Series experience causes you to travel to Venezuela, pour gasoline on some men and commit attempted murder on them with a machete. Ugie Urbina: he's a winner™!
"The young guys know about it, they ask about it sometimes," Pierre says. "But I don't like wearing it. I'd rather lead with my actions."
"I'd rather lead off and finish third, first, second, second and first in outs in the league the last five years."Those actions were uninspiring early last year, the first of a five-year, $44-million contract that was questioned before the ink was dry.
Trying too hard, he spent much of the early season surrounded by boos for a mediocre batting average, an awful on-base percentage and general ineffectiveness.
There you have it: when Juan Pierre sucks shit, it's because he's trying too hard. When some dickface like Pat Burrell or Adam Dunn posts a low batting average but a high OBP, he's a lazy fuckbutt. Plaschkevision."Yeah, I heard everybody," Pierre says. "It was like, 'Pierre, you stink' ... 'Pierre, go away' ... I heard it all."
I don't really advocate yelling insults at players, but hey: sort of perceptive work, there, Dodger Stadium crowd. I'll see you at the ballpark in person several times this year. I'll be the one in the Juan Pierre Laker jersey (Crossovers, trademark dak).He batted .308 after the All-Star break, three points higher than his average during Florida's 2003 world championship year. He finished with 41 runs batted in, the same as in the championship year.
Batting average has never ever ever ever been Juan Pierre's problem. That's one of the like two and a half baseball things he's good at. The issues are twofold here, though: 1. Batting average is stupid and 2. Batting average is really, really stupid. Actually, I'll make another point here: in the second half of 2006, Juan Pierre improved (presumably from not trying too hard) and hit .311! He had found his stroke! He was bound for a roaring comeback! Sign this man to a $300 million deal!
Then in the first half of 2007, he batting averaged .282 and OBP-ed .311. :(
You can do a lot of fun things with pre- and post-All Star Break splits. Will Juan Pierre settle in and become the Juan Pierre of 2003-2004, when he was a valuable major league player? It's possible. Weird shit happens all the time. But after three execrable offensive years, it's hard to bet on a guy who's permanently out of his twenties.
He scored four fewer runs (96), stole one fewer base (64), and, with the exception of a lack of plate discipline amid a lousy offense, he performed just as he did in Florida.
With the exception of getting on base, the most important thing a hitter can do, he was fantastic. Damn Rafael Furcal's lousy year! He's to blame for Juan Pierre's lousy year. Thank god Furcal's ankle is healthy so Pierre's eyes will work again.In the end, Juan Pierre did exactly what Juan Pierre does.
Embarrass everyone except Bill Plaschke.While unfairly taking the fall for a team that crumbled around him.
What exactly is unfair about saying a player burned through a ton of at bats and didn't help the team? You know what's unfair? Andre Ethier, a better player in every aspect of the game except baserunning, is being denied playing time because of a bad contract. These are Ethier's prime baseball years. He's not going to be playing as much baseball as he should. He will never get these years back. He is not a kid anymore. He's played in 279 major league games, and he's played well in those games.
Juan Pierre hit zero home runs last year. Mythical fairy creature David Eckstein hit three, for Chrissakes, and he swings a three-inch bat carved out of a candy cane.The truth is, the idea of Juan Pierre was a good one, and still is.
Plaschke has spoken. This is The Truth. They will carve this column on alabaster tablets and hang them in our most hallowed halls of justice. Wise men will memorize these words and teach them to our young to prepare them for the trials of life. This column is the new Torah.
Labels: andre ethier, bill plaschke, dodgers, juan pierre