Usually we don't cover blogs, because everyone knows they're written by clinically obese, pimply-faced, wheelchair-bound agoraphobics with Oedipus complexes. Or Mike Pagliarulo. But I'm making an exception for Lowell Cohn, who writes! professionally! for something called the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, and who apparently is award! winning! as the blog description tells us:Cohn vs. Cohn
It's a battle of the generations. Wizened, award-winning Press Democrat Sports Columnist Lowell Cohn squares off every Friday with his wise-guy, college-age son Iggy in a no-holds-barred debate on the sports topics of the day.
Here's the thing: you sort of want Iggy to come in and kick his 80-year-old dad's ass, right? Use your native Internet skills and limited attention span to show him who's boss, Iggy!
No such luck. For we see in this post
that Iggy and his dad agree on one very important thing about baseball: there are men -- legends, really -- who are gamers. These are the men who Win Ballgames with their hustle and their grit and their filthy, muddy, dirty, bloody uniforms and the sheer willpower of their gamey, grindy hearts.Gamers
This is a combo effort from Iggy and Lowell. What is a gamer in baseball? And who is a gamer?
Iggy, really? How could you? I feel betrayed. You were one of us
, Iggy. I've lost all hope for the future. In a world full of Iggys, how can we begin to make progress?We began thinking about this because the Giants have a clever ad campaign about gamers, and we decided a gamer is someone who does whatever he can to win -
Get on base, drive up the pitcher's pitch count, hit for power --stealing home,
Stealing home?! Iggy. Jesus. Iggy. How far down the list is fucking stealing home
when it comes to the skills you need to win a damn baseball game? How often has a steal of home won a game compared to, I don't know, a single to left?
Iggy, get off Facebook for once in your life and go read one of your fancy "websites" about baseball. You like "surfing the web," don't you Iggy?making a diving catch, taking out the second baseman, hitting the clutch homer, always playing hard.
Hitting a home run, apparently, is only gameriffic if you do it in the bottom of the ninth. All other homers are for selfish stat-padding jerks and actually hurt your team. I know this is true because I read it in the Bible.A gamer doesn't care about his stats.
A gamer will OBP .235 if it'll help the team (and it will)!He never takes a game off for a phony reason.
Like trying to be in top shape for the postseason!He gets his uniform dirty.
And not with tacos or fried chicken, like a non-gamer might (wink wink!). A gamer gets his uniform dirty the old-fashioned, American way -- with dirt and a dirt gun that fires dirt at your uniform.We've made a list of seven gamers and a list of seven non-gamers of guys currently playing. We're calling the Gamer List, the Cal Ripken List - for obvious reasons.
(white) (the previous parenthetical may seem unfair, but just keep reading)He was the ultimate gamer. He always played - you couldn't pry him out of the lineup. And he was a great fielder and hitter, one of the all-time great shortstops.
This is where Iggy and Pop fall down. You don't have to be good
to be a gamer. In fact, it's better to not be good. Gaming isn't about hitting or fielding or baseball, it's about what's inside your body. Like your heart, or if your blood is susceptible to sickle-cell anemia. He's the guy who changed the template for shortstops from swift little guys to big men with power.
Again, get this straight: swift little guys are the true gamers. Gaming 101, gentlemen. Power ruins baseball.He was A-Rod before there was A-Rod.
And that's a good thing? Good Christ: A-Rod is everything that is bad about baseball, don't you know that? You're writing an article about gamers, not guys who look like they're wearing make-up while they break the all-time home run record and move over to third base even though they're on the way to becoming the greatest shortstop of all time to accommodate (spoiler alert) the #1 gamer on your list.We're calling the Non-Gamer List the Barry Bonds List, for equally obvious reasons.
He's the greatest player of all time?He was a great player but he was not a gamer.
Uh huh. Right. He never, ever helped his team win games.He came to the plate so many times last year when he could have helped the Giants by hitting a ball to left field. Remember that crazy defensive shift teams used that exposed the left side of the infield and left field. Did Bonds ever once hit a ball to left? Get serious. He was a permanent resident of Jack City.
He was 43 years old and he OPS+ed 170. You're angry that he didn't hit enough balls to fucking left field? He got on base 48% of the time
. For that alone you should have been cool with him sitting in a lawn chair in left field, facing away from the batter and playing a vintage Sega Game Gear.
And yes, he was a permanent resident of Jack City. He is the holder of the record for most home runs hit ever ever ever. If this makes you not a gamer, God help your team of gamers.He wanted to hit home runs to make history.
What a monster! He should have hit some balls to left field to get his team to 72 or 73 wins instead of 71. Then we would always remember 2007 as the year Barry Bonds gamered, through sheer force of his gaminess, his team to a 73-89 finish. Instant Classic -- the entire 2007 Giants season.He cared nothing about the team. He cared only about himself.
Iggy knows a lot about Barry Bonds' psyche. Even if this were 100% true -- did he help the team or not? Keep in mind a) he was the only regular on the Giants who OBPed over .344 and b) he led the major leagues in OBP. By 35 points.THE CAL RIPKEN GAMER LIST:
Original choice.He is the essence of a gamer. No one else is like him.
I think Jeter's fragrance should have been called Essence of Gamer. That or Eau de Can't Go Left.He is a great player, a sure Hall of Famer, and every day he plays like he's a rookie trying to make the club. He is a throw-back to another era. And he is the one who makes the play that wins the game.
I give you credit for calling Jeter, a guy who is not completely white, a throwback player.Remember in 2001 in Game 3 of the division series against the A's --
No one, and I mean, no one, remembers this game. Who could remember such an obscure game? Please, lay the details on me --when he ran across the field and backed up a throw from right field, a throw the first baseman missed, and he threw home and the catcher tagged out Jeremy Giambi who would have tied the game but he forgot to slide - a non-gamer. Jeter's was the ultimate gamer play.
Oh. Oh my God. You're right. I didn't know that about Derek Jeter. Since he did make that one play once, he must be awarded the Gamer of the Century Award posthaste.
(Derek Jeter has played in 123 postseason games. Think about that the next time someone brings up how many big moments he's had. 123.)
Now it gets crazy:Mark Ellis: He is a gamer and he's what they used to call a hard-nosed ballplayer. He hangs in on the double-play pivot and he gets big hits and nothing bothers him, ever. He is the best player on the A's because of ability but mostly because of attitude.
Look, Cohn father and son, maybe it's time you get out of the blogging business. It's rough out there. There's a lot of competition. And you, as they say, are making no sense. How is Mark Ellis more hard-nosed or better attituded than Asdrubal Cabrera or Brandon Phillips or Kaz Matsui or Miguel Cairo or Mike Fontenot or Trey Willinshamerson, the second baseman on my high school team? He hangs in on the double play? How many major leaguers are constantly bailing on double play balls?
Mark Ellis is a good player who has many mediocre teammates. Can we agree there's nothing magical about him?Aaron Rowand
This is going to be a long post.The Giants hope to mold all their up-and-coming players in his gamer mold. He famously dove face first into a chain-link fence to catch a deep fly ball when he played for the Phillies.
I scorched my face in a Belgian wafflemaker this morning. Pressed it real good. Can I have $60 million please? Thank you.
Torii Hunter - A better fielder than Rowand, Hunter is famous for catching potential home run balls. He's a hustle player who brings energy to his team and makes his teammates play better.
You want to put that statement up for scrutiny in a court of law? This isn't basketball, where I'll buy that Magic Johnson or Steve Nash or Chris Paul make their teammates better (at least on offense, for a couple of those guys). How many more doubles does Torii Hunter make Jeff Mathis hit this year? Seven? Twenty? A hundred? You tell me.Although he isn't a great hitter, the Angels gave him a 5-year $90 million contract this off season, which shows how highly people value his gamer contributions to a ballclub.
Whoops!Nick Swisher - He does whatever he can to help the team win. He's a switch hitter and he can play several positions. His teammates love him, which is a must for any gamer candidate.
So now we have, gamer qualification-wise:
Play to win
Hang in on double play
Make your teammates better
You make people smile
Here's my new theory: literally anything you do can make you a gamer. You like Neapolitan ice cream? Gamer. You play the harpsichord? Gaming it. Civil War reenactment buff? Game on.Eric Byrnes - He makes diving catches in the outfield, always sells out his body. He always hustles on the base paths, and he'll more than likely be an analyst on ESPN when he retires, for whatever that's worth. Gamer.
ESPN analyst? Gamer.
Troy Tulowitzki - A great fielder, plus he has power and above-average size for a shortstop. He draws favorable comparisons to Cal Ripken Jr. - the highest compliment.
Read that again. Nothing in there has anything to do with the traditional definition of a gamer. This is just a description of a good baseball player. Great in the field, he hits well, he's big.
For the last time -- smaller is gamier. Do I have to refer you to the "david eckstein" tag on this very site? Bone up, Iggy.THE BARRY BONDS NON-GAMER LIST:
Barry Zito: He never wins a big game. He always has an excuse. He always wilts under pressure.
He just sucks, okay? It's not that he's not trying. He's not good. He hasn't been good for a pretty long time. You want to make a list of players who suck? We can do that. It would make a lot more sense.Maybe it's unfair to call him a non-gamer. Maybe he's just not good enough.
Thank you.Manny Ramirez - An awful fielder, and he frequently doesn't run out fly balls. The other day against the A's, Manny stood and watched a long fly he hit to center field as if he expected it to be a home run -- not a gamer thing to do. It got caught.
So...it didn't matter. Let's also ignore the fact that Manny is known for absolutely killing himself to prepare for games, training-wise. Take some lessons from Mark Ellis, Manuel.Eric Chavez - Clearly it was a mistake for the A's to sign Chavez instead of Miguel Tejada. Chavez is always hurt, and when he's in the game, he has a new batting stance every week - none of the stances work. Plus, he never has come through for the A's in the postseason, hitting a career .222 in October.
Seems like a dick move to pick on a guy who just can't get healthy. Wouldn't Chavy have been an example of a guy who would have been a quintessential gamer in 2004? Team leader, seems like a good guy, pretty great player? Now, since his back muscles don't work, all of a sudden he's an asshole? If Chavez is reading this, he's gotta be like, Come on, father and son bloggers, I just had like seventeen epidurals. You think I'm trying to suck out there?
Right, I'm trying new batting stances every week. That's apparently incorrect. The guy most famous for doing that is the captain of your Gamer Team and an American hero. I think he fought in Afghanistan. Carlos Beltran - The Mets gave him $119 million to be the player they would build their team around. He's been unreliable, frequently missing time to injury and playing poorly in the playoffs. The Mets have shifted their focus to third baseman David Wright - an up-and-coming gamer.
This is just inexplicable. Carlos Beltran, on the whole, has been brilliant in the playoffs, with an overall OPS of 1.302 and a slugging percentage of .817! He hit 3 home runs in the 2006 NLCS for the Mets. Do Lowell Cohn and son remember the 2004 playoffs, when for 12 games Carlos Beltran hit like he was using Mjolnir for a bat? He hit 8 home runs in 46 at bats! This is the choker you're complaining about?
Also, games played as a Met: 151, 140, 144. Not perfect, but he's not exactly Rich Harden, either. The last two years Carlos Beltran has been super-valuable for both his offense and his defense.
Andruw Jones - He doesn't play center field as well as he used to, and he's a lock to strike out 100 times a season. He hit 51 home runs three years ago, and people started calling him the best center fielder in baseball. But last year, he hit only 26 dingers while batting a measly .222.
This is turning into a list of guys who used to be good but then declined. What in the name of Carlos Beltran's Mjolnir-bat is the point here? He strikes out and he's fat, so he's not a gamer? Tulowitzki is big, so he is a gamer?
I'm going to start writing exclusively in bewildered rhetorical questions.
Pedro Martinez - He's been hurt for the last 2 seasons, and who knows how long he'll be out now with a pulled hamstring. He's always been a controversial player, throwing at players' heads and fighting with old man Don Zimmer. Now that he isn't a dominant a pitcher, he's more of a distraction than he's worth. Gamers don't distract their teammates.
He's the most dominant pitcher of his era, and maybe ever. He's declining with age. What a lazy son of a bitch. Also, fighting another team's coach should be the number one characteristic of any gamer list worth its salt. David Ortiz: This is a great hitter, a great clutch hitter. And he's a pleasure to watch. So why is he a non-gamer? Because he doesn't use a glove. He doesn't play a position. No designated hitter ever can be a gamer. Ortiz is the ultimate Half Gamer.
I like that Iggy and Lowell call David Ortiz "This." And they close with one final nugget of lunacy. David Ortiz -- the clutchiest, most beloved, winningest player in baseball in the 2000s -- is not
A couple more things. Gamer list:
Or, in other words:
Latino (Born in San Diego, but hey, a last name that ends in -ez!)
Afro-Caribbean (I think? Born in the Netherlands Antilles. Not white.)
Hmm. Also, shit, dogz. That non-gamer team, when they were healthy and not as old, would really have kicked the living tar out of the gamer team.
Labels: gamer, iggy cohn, lowell cohn